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Norton is always brilliant
Almost 200 comments here, so I won't rehash it all.
All I will say is this: I have a movie geek friend who will not watch this movie again with me because Ed Norton plays Worm so well, that he really viscerally hates him on the screen.
Norton is that good of an actor. I haven't seen him phone it in yet. Nothing against Damon, who takes more abuse than he should, but Norton is the shining talent here.
A Mighty Wind (2003)
Wanted to like it more
I'm a HUGE Guest and Co. fan, and I eagerly awaited this movie. I mean, if you can't appreciate My Dinner With Andre action figures, then comedy is dead.
And I laughed, a lot, in this movie. A lot of great bits, moments and jokes.
But something was missing. Don't anyone tell me I missed the subtleties, just because I don't think it was a perfect film.
Knowing the method behind the filming, and that they had over 80 hours of footage to work with, I wonder what other directions could have been chosen that were on the cutting room floor.
Guest's films are always short, and maybe that's part of the formula for success of this genre, but I really wanted more character development. Or more continuity. More something, I'm not sure what.
Seeing the immense outtakes on both the criterion and later "special edition" of This Is Spinal Tap, you see that there were many subplots and abandoned storylines that could have made it a very different movie. I hope the same volume of material is on the Mighty Wind DVD when the time comes, because I am curious to see what Guest decided to abandon in the editing process.
Still smarter and funnier than 99% of hollywood's "products" but I don't measure the good stuff against Dumb and Dumber. Comparing it to other genius work by these great comics, I feel a bit let down. Still looking forward to that DVD.
Jackass: The Movie (2002)
what about property damage??
So, I rented it knowing what it was -never saw the show, wanted to see what the fuss is about.
Watching idiots do stupid things to themselves: funny.
Watching idiots damage innocent people's property: not funny.
What happened to the hardware store? Did they go back and clean up?
Hate to be a wet blanket, but that's the decent human being in me showing. Otherwise, I can't wait to hear that one of these idiots finally became a statistic of natural selection. That's the jackass in me I guess.
Comic Book Villains (2002)
Mediocrity at its Most Mediocre
Here's a great cast, with a good concept for a plot, how can it go wrong?
It can, if there's no writing! OK, that's not fair, if there's CONSISTENT writing. Like so many SNL skits, the first half is well developed, then, well, they have to end it somehow.
I had the same problem with this movie that I had with Monster's Ball. Now how could I mention those two movies together? One is the great academy award winning darling, one is a straight to video farce.
But both suffer from the fatal flaw: failing to convince me of the characters' motivations, and changes. In Comic Book Villains, we get a basic greed motive, but I didn't care what happened to any of the characters except Archie. That may have been intentional, so we wouldn't feel horrified by their bad behavior, but that just goes to show how de-sensitized we are to violence. It's a plot device to end a movie, not a logical or understandable part of the plot.
I guess if you feel you have to see all movies with references to comic books, go for it. But otherwise, use your 90minutes for something else.
Monster's Ball (2001)
Could have been great, but I wasn't sold
Lots has been said about this film, so I won't recount it all.
I just want to say what the fatal flaw was in this film that kept me from engaging it as the masterpiece it's supposed to be. that flaw is the lack of convincing change in Hank's character. A film like this is far more deep and nuanced than most Hollywood nonsense, so I would expect it to work harder at character development. That's all this film is: character development. So where is it?
If the instant change was intended, it was a big risk, and I think it failed. If we're just supposed to infer or understand the change in the character because of the tragic preceding events, then OK, what's the movie about then? I don't complain about lack of plot when there's something deeper there.
This tried to be that movie, with something deeper. But without demonstrating the development, I'm left wondering why I should care about this character at all.
Oh yeah, and Halley Berry was great.
Rust Never Sleeps (1979)
Yes, we do need to see the Jawas
Another reviewer complained about the opening with the Jawas. On one hand, I see how it slows the beginning of the film.
As a fan of live music, I have to say that the best concert videos are those that capture, as well as possible, the essence of the live show. If part of going to the show was the theatrics, then why not include it in the film?
Too much of today's pre-packaged pop may be choreographed, but has no sense of theater. I'm not saying that Jawa roadies are the height of performance art, but it's something.
Overall - I'll echo everyone else: great slice of Neil's career. I always pause whatever I'm doing when I hear Sugar Mountain, and I'm still not sure why.
Well, I don't reveal any plot development, but the fact that there is a twist may lead some to look at the movie differently when they go in, and you should see it fresh with no pre-conceptions.
People are so impatient. The reviews against this movie basically want an action movie. There is a difference between a film and a movie. This was a film, made by an artist. As for the obviousness of the finish, I have this to say. I was surprised, just as I was at the end of Sixth Sense. And then I immediately went back in the film in my mind and saw all the foreshadowing of the "obvious" twist. But I wasn't looking for the twist. Had I been looking for a "who is the....." I would have gotten that right away. But as I usually an one to try to guess every plot angle ahead of time, with both this film and Sixth Sense, Night has been masterful at convincing me to pay attention to one thing, without worrying so much about another. He is, in this way, a master magician. But the viewer has to be willing to let a film be a film for this to happen. You have to trust the film maker to create a world for you to live in for a brief period of time. Sadly, too many people are not imaginitive enough to do this. Our world has become one without mystery, magic, and the unknown. We are unwilling to step outside our narrow boxes of "what happened" and ask "why?" Most people will probably be disappointed with this one, but as another reviewer noted, most people thought "Spinal Tap" was dumb and think that the Patriot is the ultimate in film making. P.S. Having lived in Philadelphia for four years, I also enjoyed once again the Philly backdrop. My only criticism is that there had better not be a third movie, set in Philly, starring Bruce Willis, featuring a character with secret knowledge/power that must be used to help others, and a twist ending. I can take it twice, since I wasn't watching for it.
Titan A.E. (2000)
wish I was 15 years younger
OK, I have to admit, I am not already an anime fan or a big comic book guy. So I understand that to judge a movie in a very specific genre, you ought to knwo the rules and standards of that genre. Don't criticize Garth Brooks if you're not a country fan, for example.
So I went to this film with a friend who is more well-versed in comic books and anime than I am. He loved it. I enjoyed it, I suppose, but it left me with nothing after the film. I have come to a conclusion: either A: This is a great example of what anime is all about. or B: This is a fluff piece.
If A is true, then I am right to avoid this genre. If this is the great example of the genre, then it is to be reserved for grown men who are still adolescents. If this is all it is, then I am too old for this. I remember going to see Heavy Metal a few years ago in re-release. I was disappointed. Why? I last saw it when I was 14. It was SOOOO COOOOOL then. However, I grew up. So many of my contemporaries have not.
But if B is true, then I still give anime a chance to wow me. I was always told that comic books and anime, at their best, are a better representation than live action, of the great romantic mythical themes that pervade every culture. I am still seeking for good examples of that depth. This wasn't it. This was just a distraction, and what has been called so many times, "eye-candy." That's fine if it's what you want, but if the guys hanging out in comic book stores want more respect from the general public (and I am talking about my own personal friends here, so this is not a slam) - then attempts at reaching a broader audience had better get more depth than Titan A.E. (Or any tripe that Disney offers either - because as much as every fan complains that they have nothing in common, the general populus can't see any difference - and lightweight stuff like Titan AE won't help your case any.)
The Omega Code (1999)
bad PR for the Church
As a pastor, my main objection to this film is that it helps perpetuate the myth that to be Christian, you have to be obsessed with two books: Daniel and Revelation (there is no S in that name by the way) and that you have to read them as literal facts, which is not even what they were written as for their original audiences. My comments will be derided by fundamentalists as satanic liberal influences in the church, but I have come to expect that. The overwhelming majority of Christians I know, however, are not obsessed with end-times prophesies. This film presents itself as a Christian family movie. What a heap of nonsense. Please do not see this movie and assume this is what the average Christian is interested in. Oh yes, and the acting was only bad because these people had nothing to work with - I was never convinced of the motivations or character of any of these caricatures.
Mission: Impossible II (2000)
Derivitave but a guilty pleasure
I liked this movie the first time I saw it, when it was called "The Matrix," "Face-Off," and "James Bond."
I enjoyed the movie, but only because I was able to suspend every shred of disbelief. If you can't do that, you'll laugh out loud at how ridiculous it is, from the first mountain climbing scene, to the last sequence. But, hey - it's an escapist comic-book-esque experience, not a film about realism.
And while Woo is a stylistic director, does he have to keep reminding us? The slow-mo, the constant use of pigeons and doves, the focus on flowing fabric in the air - yes, John, we know you made this movie - your signatures are all over it like a graffitti artists overdone tags.
The romance storyline was unneccesary - in love after one night? I guess ultra-good looking people don't have to build relationships like the rest of us normal folks.
I would even say there are two nods to Star Wars. The opening credits shift to a starry sky, then the camera drops to the skyline. Every SW movie opens this way.
POSSIBLE SPOILER HERE And the other is the entry into the Biotech company's building. The fortress of security is penetrable through a shaft (not for ventilation but light) - it's the one place of weakness. Is it just me, or isn't this like SW Ep 4's blowing up of the Death Star?
Overall, I enjoy picking on these little things, but as your action movies go overall, still a good escapism. However, I have to agree with other comment writers that the violence was ultra-high. The PG-13 was probably because of little or no profanity, and no nudity - the ratings board is all screwed up -you can kill and maim and get a PG-13, but Jason's Lyric was slapped with an NC-17 for making love.
to be expected - a disappointment
I haven't seen the faces of death series, though being 28, I grew up hearing about them from friends, and the mystery has always remained. I thought this might be a good explanation of the series - I was wrong. However, I should have known that it would be a waste of time, since it was made by the same people who made faces of death. Adding to the comments of others, I have to ask, what is the deal with that horrible "Doctor" actor? Is this thing tongue in cheek, or are they really assuming the audience is so stupid that we won't see through this?
If you want a good documentary, watch PBS or Discovery.
If you want a good fake documentary, rent Spinal Tap.
Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)
here's a Lutheran point of view
As a Lutheran clergyman, I need to clear up a couple inaccuracies in this one: #1, many Lutherans do use wine for Communion and #2 there is no Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club. the rest of the stuff is pretty close, and as I am East Coast and not Midwestern, I will not presume to comment.
As for the rest of the movie, as a gen-x'er I loved it. I can handle black comedy, and when a character is an idiot and says bigoted things, it does not mean that the film purports this to be a good idea - this is what people ranting about the film's immorality cannot see.
My only other problem with the picture is this: Denise Richards. When is she going to actually ACT in a movie? She is so typecast, that she was the only character in this movie without an accent. I came up with two reasonable explanations for this: either the character lacks one because she took coaching to sound more mainstream and less local (for pageant reasons) - or, Denise Richards is just incapable of doing an accent. With no indication in the movie to the former, I guess the latter.
Otherwise, I love over-the-top satire, and this was one of them. However, I agree with those who have complained that they rented it based on the advertising, and got something else. It should be R, and should be marketed at an older audience.
Chris Rock: Bigger & Blacker (1999)
under the language is brilliance
I was not old enough to know or appreciate Lenny Bruce. The comics I grew up with used foul language for the sake of foul language. On the surface, one might make this assessment of Chris Rock. That would be a tragedy. This guy is one of the smartest, most insightful, challenging entertainers to be found today. To watch this video, you have to tolerate the language, but if you can, the content is fantastic. The first 14 minutes are a strangely Dr.-Laura like tirade on parenting, gender relations, and responsibility. But delivered by Chris Rock, it's a whole different experience. Other topics include Clinton's escapades, racial relations in America (with surprising atypical conclusions) and sexual relations between couples. As the video goes on, the content gets raunchier, so if you want great social commentary, but aren't interested in his theories on the three ways women relate to oral sex, then skip the last 15 minutes. All in all, though, I found myself laughing myself silly, and thinking seriously about the subject matter. And I am a white, rural clergyman. Go figure.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
a fine line
Nigel of Spinal Tap said it best: "there's a fine line between stupid and clever." For me, this sums up the reactions to Blair Witch that I have surveyed. Myself, I go back and forth. On one hand, the criticisms I hear of the film make sense. On the other hand, the ending rocked my world. I think it requires more suspension of disbelief than most modern movie goer's are capable of. There's no music playing in the background in real life, but we must have it in a movie. If you allow yourself to get into the perspective the film demands of you, it can be chilling when you really think about what's going on around you. But if you are viewing this as a complete outsider, it will appear stupid and trite.
why the bad reviews?
I just viewed the movie, and came right to the IMDB to see comments. I am surprised by the negativity. Many have dismissed this movie as predictable Hollywood fare. Others have said "it's not really disturbing, just because it's about illegal porn." Exactly how jaded are we now as a society that the subject matter isn't enough to be disturbing? Well, that's much more subjective - to my main point. I think Cage did a fine job of portraying a man on a mission to understand "why?" To me, this was the essence of the movie. I disagree with the assessment that there was an unexplainable shift to avenger. I didn't see it that way. I understood his motivation completely. I agree, "Seven" was fantastic, but just because this didn't top the shock of Seven doesn't mean it's somehow inferior. Cage far exceeds Pitt as a character actor (though I think Pitt is a great actor - too bad he's normally considered only for looks and not innate ability). Bottom line: I followed Cage's character throughout, and I understood and sympathized with every move. Maybe that says more about me than the film. Hmmm..