The main problem, and there were many, was that there just wasn't enough of him. We don't want to see sappy family reunions, we want to see the baddest monster of all time. He is the god of monsters and it's him we want to see. Ken Watanabe stands around the whole movie looking stunned and amazed. He was never proactive yet he has the most info on the monsters of anyone in the film. And the whole thing about the military firing guns. It's like they have no idea what they're up against, as if guns will help. That's just a leap of logic in 2014. If you know a weapon has no use, the military in that context is impotent, so more intelligent and creative methods should have been shown to initiate military operations.The whole family sappy film stuff is just too much. When did I feel the most emotion, not when the family got reunited I'll tell you that. I teared up a little at the other moment. If you like Godzilla you'll know when. The movie was 30 minutes too long.
Dallas should have bolted, did okay in the future, not great, but doing what he wanted to do. When I saw that he was crying and driving to her I said, "Oh hell naw!" That was bogus writing and a bogus ending. How does he go to someone who only broke him down and never gave anything of herself? We don't even like her. They never had any romance, yet at the end it comes, like out of the blue from Mars and she's all in. Bull!!!! I haven't been on User Reviews for awhile but this movie just chapped my hide. Yeah, I gave it a 4 because the dancing was good, the music(original and selected artist singles) was above average and MM was solid. CT was good.
And nice try editor/cinematographer(SS) trying to pass NoHo for Tampa in the "...your sister was there" drive with Dallas and the Kid.
I saw it.
A couple of problems for me.
1. Pacing. There seemed to be scenes that slowed the story down and derailed the momentum. I wanted to feel like the protagonist was spiraling into a world that he should not have knowledge of, and yet he is drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Perhaps more editing. Especially the love scenes.
2. The Girlfriend. Men, please stop making women in your movies cliché, shrill and annoying. There were forced love scenes and quite frankly, the actress added to the slow pacing. She should've been proactive and supportive of the leads journey into hell. And do we need to see women falling down while running away YET AGAIN?! Conflict is essential in a story, but it should be natural conflict that pushes the story forward, not contrived and coming off as nagging. Every time she came on screen I just waited for her to get off screen to get our guy back into the story. Side note, I thought Brooke Shields should've been the chick. She was great. Cold. Calculating. The type that would push her man further into the pit. That's the woman the lead needed, and he got the stereotypical girly-girl. Boo!!!! 3. The Butcher. He was creepy, but I felt that we shouldn't have seen him fully until halfway through the movie. The scary moments in any film is the fear of not knowing. In this movie we got glimpses of the Butcher, creating tension and fear for Kaufman. But soon after we see him fully as a regular human who kills people, it moved from horror into a slasher-suspense movie. It should've been more than that. The supernatural element should've been pushed more with The Butcher. The short story presented something epic and ancient in scope. The Butcher was a necessary job that had to be done to keep The City running. Once the film became a simple slasher-gore fest (which is not bad in any movie as long as the story works with it and we care about the leads), the Butcher just became a run-of-the-mill serial killer, no different than Jason, Michael Meyers or Freddy Fruger. Those guys did their killings for revenge. The Butcher has to kill to keep order in the human world. Just like ancient Greeks and Romans and other cultures that made human sacrifices to appease the Gods, an offering if you will.
That was the reveal in the short story. In the movie, he just kills for some nasty monsters we barely see at the end. Bad! The Butcher had noble work to do. Nasty work yes, (like any butcher in real life who kills the meat for society to consume. Most people eat burgers and steaks without thinking about what has to be done to the animals that provide that great meal. Please, go visit a slaughterhouse.)but it must be done for the rest of us to survive. This movie missed that point at the end.
4. Some of the kill sequences were just there to see how cool the CGI effects could be done. It stopped being scary to becoming typical Eli Roth/Saw 3-5 schlock. How many cool ways can we kill a person? Horror, to me anyway, should be horrific, not funny. Once it becomes funny at the expense of not really scaring people, then you've lost me. Granted, one of the funniest lines in the movie was when the subway train conductor tells Kaufman (after the train has ended its run) "Please, step away from the meat." The humor is surreal and it works at that moment because of the banality of the line. The conductor could've been saying, "Please step away from the ramp/shoe/dog etc". The conductor has a job to do, and so does the Butcher, so please step away from our work. Classic.
All that said, the movie is a mixed bag. I'd be curious to see what Clive Barker had to say. The film looks great, nice atmosphere, set design etc. I might've recast the two leads, but I'm glad I got to see it in a theater. I had the opportunity to get a real movie experience with the film.
I'm not going to go all out intellectual on this puppy, because frankly, I don't have th energy to nitpick every detail, so I'll skim over a few things that bugged me. I've read some of the other postings by fans of the movie. It seems that the few folks who dislike the film are accused of not "understanding" the greatness of the Coen brothers themes on violence in America..blah,blah,blah. I love movies, seen a lot (foreign and American made) so the reality is, this movie didn't work FOR ME. It bored me, left me uninspired and I regret that I didn't wait until DVD. Potential "spoiler area" ahead. You were warned.
1. They did try something interesting, which is kill off a lead character by the third act. But Tommy Lee Jones's character was not that interesting to sustain the last section of the film. As a writer, I applaud the bait and switch technique of taking out a character that we've followed from the beginning. However, having Tommy's monologue at the beginning, and showing him later in the film does not help sustain his presence once his character takes over in the third act. Plus, his being an old gunslinger weary from the battle is old. I kept wondering if the dynamic would've shifted dramatically had this been a younger sheriff. Every time Tommy Lee came on screen, I just got tired because who looked so drained. I understand this was probably an attempt to be the "message" of the film, (How do old folks deal with changes they can't fathom?), but I've seen that too many times.
2."Quirky" dialogue by the killer and potential victims was not enough to pull this clunker together. As stand alone vignettes at a short film festival, it would've been entertaining. But to string them throughout two hours kills me, and smacks of pretentious dribble. Perhaps if they had opened up the film with that scene in the gas station, prior to us knowing who Bardem's character is, it would've set a tone of unease, given us the rules of the killer's world.Prepared us with the sense of dread whenever he appears then cut to his short capture, and then onto the idiot Moss and his discovery. For this project, I didn't buy it. It smells like a writing technique/device to razzle dazzle us so we don't notice that nothing is really happening.
3. Stupid people do stupid things and kill any chance of me rooting for them. Moss was plain stupid. Although this is set in 1980, don't make the person who we follow in the story stupid. You find money. You take it. You do NOT go back in the middle of the night to bring a man water, A man who you left in the hot desert sun all day. If your conscience bothers you that much, make a call to the police, and you leave town with your wife outside of Texas. What a bonehead. Once you've made the decision to steal the goods, you check the goods and make sure you can't be traced. (the fact that Moss said " I know what a transmittor is" but doesn't check for one, or even dye pellets inside the money, dude you are a screw up and deserve your fate).
4. It just sucked for me. I can't even put my finger on why this flick sucked for me. The cinematography was okay but not that impressive to make up for the story. The acting was okay, but no one in it made me jump up and proclaim "Dagnabit! That boy deserves an Oscar!". The best I could say is that this honestly could've been a made-for-TV movie. The violence was minimal. The cattle prod-gun was cool the first time you see it, but then I started thinking "You're lugging that thing around, and no one notices? You pull a man over in a cop car, but you have no uniform and you have a cattle prod air tank with you, and the yahoos in town just look at you?" More than anything, this movie made Texans look like dumb hicks. (maybe this explains Bush's background) So those are my main reasons for disliking the film. I've heard loving reviews of the theme of the hunter and the hunted, a killer with no conscience and the sheriff with morality leaking out of his a$$. It's all lies I tell you! It is hyped "blah", just like "The Departed" was last year. Any talk of Oscar Buzz is undeserved in my opinion. In it's place I would recommend "Eastern Promises".
Snoop should never, ever be in a movie again. He is a caricature of himself. I remember the days when his sneer used to frighten white folks, but now he's their favorite fake-a** pimp! WTF!? If Snoop's in a movie, it automatically drops to "D" level entertainment. Sorry Snoop, stick to rapping, homie.
The animation was not very good, but I figured the budget was uber-low. The pacing was ultra slow, and the dialogue was corny. If this was supposed to be horror with jokes (like "Shaun of the Dead") the jokes were one note stereotypes. Nothing original. Just rent "Tales From the Hood". It's the same movie only worse...much worse. Fangoria magazine gave it high marks, but I warn you, for the love of decent horror, stay away! I will never trust Fangoria again.
You know a movie isn't happening when the ONLY entertainment is the clever ways people can be killed. And even that gets old. Plot motivations were null and void, there were times when Snoop cuts into a scene and starts talking about bullsh*t that doesn't move the story forward and kills the pacing yet again. The ending is like an extended music video with Snoop rapping about the various crap scenes we just saw. So you are forced to re-live the pain again.
Out of respect for the cast, I kept my groans inside, but if I see that director or writer again, I will slap them both. I'm out here killing myself to write decent horror scripts with great stories and characters, and this turd gets made?
(Megan, it's time for you to do more films like "Brick". I think you have the range to break out in some different roles outside off 'hood flicks)
Kimora Lee Simmons is hilarious in her cameo. She may need to do a movie herself! Just check out the way she curls her lip when she gets an unwanted man in her house. I will have to add her performance to my collection of "Great Actor Scenes that stand out by themselves"
There are clichés galore, and one scene I found insulting to elderly black women. (Megan's character calls a grandmotherly-looking black woman the "B-word". It was funny in an earlier scene where Megan Goode's character is called one off screen for holding up traffic, but it doesn't work when used on an old woman in a bank. Kasi, you shoulda told Vondie to drop that line!)
Lastly, I always laugh when I see so-called "gangsters" making money hand over foot with their hustling,but they never move to nicer areas? You have thousands of dollars stashed in safety deposit boxes and $250,000 worth of jewelry, and you still live in a jacked up house in the worst parts of L.A.? Dumb.
Hunter Hall who plays the kidnapped son is a cute little boy, but his acting was stilted and unnatural in several scenes to the point of being distracting. But he sure does look like his momma! (Kasi, you need to be in more movies! We miss you!)
This movie is strictly popcorn fun. As Mr. Vondi Curtis Hall stated before showing his film last night, "This is a movie, not necessarily a film" in the artsy-fartsy sense. Most critics have been complaining that it's hodge-podge of various genres, but it works for what it tries to do: tell the journey of a single-parent father trying to save his son at all costs. How often do you get to see that? **(And the brother survives? Shee-itt!)
Lessons learned from this flick? You can shoot and kill a handful of bad people, rob empty houses in the Hollywood Hills because a half naked girl can fool police, and you can drive to Mexico and live happily ever after in a Malibu-styled beach house without a passport, just a bag full of money. Let me get my glock!