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A horrendous embarrassment to film making
12 July 2000
I didn't think any movie could be worse than THE FACULTY. I was proven wrong when I watched this poorly-written movie. I can hardly express how awful it was!! The plot is horribly predictable and the dialogue could use more than a little work. The acting was lacking in so many ways, and the giant digital insects were not convincing. I was laughing at the beginning, moaning half way through, and in a comatose state by the end. I couldn't believe I had wasted time with it. I dearly miss the brain cells destroyed while watching this movie.

If you have to see this movie, I recommend Mystery Science Theatre 3000's clips from the Robot Choice Awards. Their hilarious commentary is what makes this movie bearable.

"It's a bug hunt, man!"
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Gladiator (2000)
Stunning, beautiful, heart-wrenching
11 July 2000
This movie is nothing short of brilliant, simply brilliant. It is honest in every way. Russell Crowe is so natural as Maximus (as he is in every role he undertakes). Joaquin Phoenix was a dynamite casting choice, and unlike many movie villains, he was complex and had such a wonderful history behind his actions. The whole cast was MADE to act with each other. The casting choices were perfect.

The movie is magical because it so easily makes the audience believe its reality. True, the story itself may not be true but Rome was portrayed so wonderfully. Few movies (if any!) have been made that have been so believable in its atmosphere of the ancient, yet surprisingly advanced Rome (though its tastes for sex and violence might have been more than gruesome). However, Ridley Scott has toned down the gruesome aspect so that we can focus on the story at hand, which is moving and very enjoyable.

This has become the highlight of the movie industry for the summer, in my opinion. It has fast become one of my favorite movies! I have not done it justice here. It's definitely one to catch in the theatres.
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Beautiful, brilliant
20 December 1999
Stephen King is a poet. I read the book several months ago and fell in love with his style of writing and his way of stringing words together to create imagery. I doubted any movie could do the book justice, but this movie proved me wrong. It was absolutely perfect! Most of the characters and sets were exactly as I pictured them, and every single actor delivered a stirring and believable performance, from Michael Duncan as Coffey down to the mice they used for Mr. Jingles. Tom Hanks isn't my favorite actor, but his work in this film amazed me and moved me.

Frank Darabont is to be applauded on this wonderful success. This movie deals with sensitive issues but he presented them with tact.

If the academy can scrape together some of its dignity after snubbing Shawshank, they should award this film Best Picture of the year, for that is what I think it is. Many great movies have hit the theatres this year, but none have been so artistically brilliant or as deeply moving as this movie. I have never cried so hard in a movie in my life! That is saying a lot...

Wonderful. Bravo!
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Wow! What a masterpiece!
19 May 1999
Oh, WOW!!! Where do I start? The moment was finally here. The opening credits rolled - we were all screaming with delight. I was nearly in tears. Amazing! To think I was actually seeing a new Star Wars movie!

My reactions to the movie are nearly all good. It was interesting how the Jedi were portrayed. From the original trilogy, we knew that they were once an important part of the galaxy, but we never really knew how. Now we get to see how they used to be, to see what they were before they were destroyed by Darth Vader. Let's examine the characters. First, Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn. He was absolutely fantastic!! I knew he would be. I've always admired his acting ability. I have no complaints at all about him. WOW! His death scene was good, VERY good. I was sobbing all the way through the end credits. Both he and Ewan McGregor did a stupendous job. I had my doubts about Ewan as I went in, I had none as I left. His character was a little underdeveloped, but I say that because I know what his character becomes in Episodes IV-VI. That's the problem with already knowing the end of a story. His character should be developed much more fully in the next two. He did an excellent job of showing his grief for a dying friend who had really been a father to him. Oh, and let's not forget that these two men had nice accents. :)

JarJar. What can I say about him? People I talked to had portrayed him as so utterly despicable that he was beyond all hope of liking. I didn't have a very good opinion of him from the trailers either. He turned out to be less annoying than I had anticipated, though. Still, I think far too much focus was given to him. At times, I felt like his dialogue was inappropriate to the scene, and was just added because they wanted him to be noticed. I feel like, unfortunately, George has resorted to some shallow humor regarding this character. Why must he be a bumbling, clumsy fellow? It's almost a cliche. It was too much.

Anakin was somewhat of a disappointment, mostly because I had expected him to be different. That is the problem with excessive hype about movies - we get our preconceived ideas about characters, plot points, etc., and when the movie is different we don't like it. He was a very believable child, but at the same time I didn't think he carried the seriousness and maturity that a child slave would have. Of course, this could be attributed to the scriptwriters. His outbursts of "Yippee!" bothered me because I wanted him to be different, but if I ignore my preconceived ideas, he did a pretty good job. Plus, he's a cute kid!

I'm eternally jealous of Natalie Portman. She's so beautiful and she's a splendid actress. She did the split role well. Ian McDiarmid did a wonderful job playing a seemingly good senator on the surface with evil intentions underneath. Ray Parks... WOW! He far exceeded my expectations. He was SO GREAT! And let's not forget his menacing facial expressions. The first time he appeared I caught my breath. As a villain, he demanded attention and was very, very effective. Some people have complained that he should have been more like Darth Vader, but I'm proud of George Lucas for being able to create different kinds of villains.

Which brings me to the duel! Can I just say I was completely taken in by this? It was the most breathtaking duel I have EVER seen, Star Wars-wise or otherwise. It was incredible. This was a very fitting end to the movie. This scene alone made the whole thing worth it. Not that the rest wasn't "worth it," but for those who can do nothing but complain about the movie, they need to see it for this scene. Fast-paced, tragic, awe-inspiring all at once.

The pod race was enjoyable in every aspect except one. I hated the announcer. That was an unnecessary character cliche, and I didn't find him funny at all.

I thought the plot point explaining the Force scientifically was interesting. I'm still contemplating my reactions to throwing this in. I'm not sure if it was necessary, but I think I did like it.

I would have liked to have seen more of the Jedi Council. I was looking forward to seeing Yaddle, among others, but we never got to know him at all. Samuel L. Jackson was superb in his role. I do wish he could have had a little more screen time, but again, his character will be more developed in the next episodes.

The costumes were gorgeous! Bravo! The music was astounding. Perfect. Wonderful. John Williams is nothing short of a genius. Duel of the Fates - Mmmm... Truly moving. And finally, the special effects. I was surprisingly impressed. I used to cringe at the mention of computer animated characters. This movie has believable CGI characters. The sets were beautiful as well. It all fit together into a believable galaxy. Naboo was breathtakingly beautiful! It is indeed a breakthrough in movie technology, and once again, George Lucas was the first to do it. I have to add, though, that the real, physical characters are who I ultimately ended up caring for. CGI characters will never be quite as "human" (for the lack of a better term).

As for the story itself, of course it leaves loose ends. It's supposed to. It's comparable to A New Hope. It's overall an exciting, happy movie that promises more to come.

So yes, there were a few things I would like to have been different. I expected that. Overall though, a fabulous movie. One I will see again and again. It is destined to take its place next to its predecessors!
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A touching end
11 May 1999
I'm sick of people whining about Ewoks! True, they're not the best thing that ever happened to Star Wars, but they DID happen, so deal with it! Besides, they ARE cute, and I don't care if they're marketable. Yubb Nubb!

This movie always leaves me in tears. It's perfect. The end could not be better. I'm excited for The Phantom Menace because it will suddenly throw the focus of the whole story from Luke to Anakin. I love how he is revealed at the end - it would be too unresolved any other way. So those of you who are complaining that Vader's helmet was removed, take a moment to think about it. It's very effective. Vader, the man who hid behind a mask for 20 years, is finally revealed as a sick-looking man. He is not entirely machine - he's vulnerable.

I don't know how the casting director happened to pick such good actors in A New Hope. They all do so well. They are believable characters. Hamill does an excellent job with his dramatic character development. Fisher does a fine job being a female role model (I mean, come on! She killed Jabba even when so many others had failed!). Harrison Ford - need I say more?

The music is once again brilliant. It's so very touching and significant when you can pick out character themes at different parts of the movie. The best climax is when Luke shouts "NOOO!" and jumps out to fight his father in the Final Battle. John Williams is nothing short of a genius! What an amazing man!

Already, the movie has so much more meaning for me because of Episode I. I can't wait to finally see it in the theatres (CAN I WAIT???) and then watch the original trilogy yet again.

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Pure Genius
10 May 1999
I'm most disappointed that this movie did not get the recognition and praise it deserved. This is one of my all-time favorite movies. When I first saw it I was just a kid and didn't understand very much of it, but I was still impressed by it. Years later when I saw it again, I understood so much more. My newfound love of HAMLET made this a hilarious movie. Yes, the play is different. Stoppard had to take sets into consideration when he wrote the play. The movie allowed him to expand his play into a castle whose layout never really makes sense, adding to the general confusion felt by the characters. It's a brilliant piece of art. The cast couldn't have been more superb. Gary Oldman once again astounds me with his chameleon abilities, and Tim Roth interprets his role as Guildenstern in the best of ways. Richard Dreyfuss does marvels with his part - he is intriguing, mysterious, and somehow omniscient, a very different role than is written into the play. Iain Glenn was the perfect choice for Hamlet. I've never seen him played better. He's tortured, angry, bent on revenge with the heaviest tone of tragedy underlying his motives. He feigns insanity so well that by the end, he's truly a little insane. I love it! I've always imagined Hamlet that way, and I was delighted to find that Glenn shared my interpretation. The King and Queen, the players, Ophelia - all were played extremely well. The wordplay is brilliant and lines are delivered in such a way that you really can't pick up everything the first time you see it. It makes each time you see it new and exciting (and I've certainly seen it more times that I dare count!).

True, this movie isn't for everyone. It's an intellectual comedy that only a sophisticated audience will understand and an even smaller, even more sophisticated audience will appreciate. I admire Stoppard so much. The plays of his that I have read are incredible. I am glad he took a chance and made this movie, and I don't think it could have been any better. A definite 10!

"...For all the points of the compass, there is only one direction, and time is its only measure..."
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A Timeless Classic
10 May 1999
Wow! How do I express my admiration in a few short words for a story that has so affected my life? These (for I'm talking about the trilogy here) are some of the best movies ever made. Some people call it "shallow," "cheesy," and other degrading words, but these people clearly don't understand the depth of this story. I hesitate to call it science fiction. True, it is set in a different galaxy with beings different than us, but I think the main emphasis is the story and not the setting. Lucas and the screenwriters did a fantastic job creating a believable world. The Force is the most intriguing concept. It is a religion, really. I just saw Lucas' interview on Rosie today. I knew I'd been reading the right meaning into the story! God is Love! This is a story about a conflict between genuine good and evil. It's about a fall from grace and finally, redemption. It's so inspiring! There is hope for all of us if there is good in Darth Vader!

This movie has touched my life. I love it. I'm inspired by it. It is so very like my own philosophies about life! I can't watch it without weeping! I hope that Episodes I-III will live up to the original trilogy.

Oh, and I just HAVE to add (even though it might lower my credibility in writing this) that the men in it, good and evil, are incredibly beautiful. Just cream on the cake!! It makes a wonderful movie even better!

May the Force be with us.
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Titanic (1997)
Don't give away the surprise ending!
21 April 1999
This is a movie that unfortunately had a lot of potential, but never lived up to it. There were some wonderful aspects of it (i.e. costumes [when the actors were WEARING costumes], the ship, Kathy Bates and the man who played Mr. Andrews) but on the whole, this was a very disappointing movie. The acting was bad, the script atrocious, and the music annoyingly repetative. There were a total of two musical themes in a movie over three hours long. To make matters worse, most of it was synthesized and the musical themes were never developed.

The movie did have its moments, though. These moments did not involve the two main lust interests, however. The most beautiful moments (and the ones that made me cry) were when the mother was reading to her children and when the band (bless the band!) decided to stay behind and play music so that perhaps it might make things easier for the passengers. "Gentlemen, it has been an honor playing with you tonight." That was truly moving.

I'm utterly embarrassed that this movie was so successful. It will never really be remembered and honored in history as Gone With the Wind, Star Wars, To Kill a Mockingbird, etc. It is just a trendy movie full of irritating one-liners and cliche characters. Bad form.
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