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Somewhere in Time (1980)
This is the poorest excuse for a movie I have seen in along time!
When I was a young boy, I could always remember seeing parts of a movie that starred 'Superman' (aka Christopher Reeve) and having a very dreamy, almost surreal ending. 20 or so years later, I have finally had the chance to catch up with it. The film in question was 'Somewhere In Time', a typically corny romantic movie, that is badly acted (especially by my late movie hero Reeve), has a contrived storyline (based on a crazy form of time travel), while the direction from Jeannot Szwarc is to put it bluntly, disgraceful.
I have mentioned before that I really hate wasting my time reviewing movies that I find have played me for an absolute idiot, and sorry to those romantic movie fans out there, but that is what this film did to me. I wish I could have my time, money and choice back, so I could go to another section of the movie store and pick a better movie to watch.
It is sad to realise that this was Christopher Reeve's second movie after 'Superman', and for me I could tell that. Reeve seemed to look like he was trying to be his superhero character in a film that he simply could not be. His facial expressions were all wrong, especially when he looks at the portrait of the beautiful Else McKenna (Jane Seymour) and desires to be with her. Richard Collier did not have x-ray vision, but the movie seemed to want to make him believe he did. In my opinion, this was Reeve's most unconvincing movie role in his career. For Reeve though, he mentioned that this was one of his other favorites movies to work on. That is hard for me too accept.
"It is 1980 and I am back in time to stop the making of this movie". Sorry, just a joke, because I could not take those sections of the movie seriously at all. I will leave you with my rating and then go clean up the stench of the vomit that this movie left me with. What a sickening experience 'Somewhere In Time' really was.
CMRS gives 'Somewhere In Time': 0
Scary Movie 2 (2001)
This is not a movie, this is an uninspiring, disgraceful, pointless crappy spiel of wasted film. Trust me, there are better ways to spend your time then watching this garbage.
I have to say that writing about Scary Movie 2 is a painful experience, but not as painful as actually watching the ridiculous film that we are given by Keenan Ivory Wayan and his crew. To put this movie in perspective, it was supposed to make me laugh, right? I did not laugh once, which shows where it fails for me.
So I am not going to deeply analyse this film, just tell you that it is not funny, has virtually no moments of greatness, the performances are pretty poor from all involved (including the Wayan brothers, Anne Faris, Malcolm in the middle star James DeBello, Tori Spelling, in a career destroying role, James Wood and Natasha Lyonne). While the direction of the film lacks any sense and is just one contrived mess in my view.
To learn that acting legend Marlon Brando was going to accept a role on this film almost made me faint from shock. Thankfully the great man was not well enough to do so, because if he had have been a part of this terrible conglomeration, I believe it could have cost him more than his health. Scary movie (2000), the very original movie spoof, was a surprise in the cinemas, taking off some of the great horror movies of our time much better and was more to my liking. Yet with that film, I could only enjoy it once as it ran thin on me after that. This is the sort of comedy where you are either going to love it or hate it. I hate it with an absolute vengeance.
So my rating? CMRS gives 'Scary Movie 2': 0
Sorry there is nothing here to really get your hopes up about this film. After turning this film off four times in disgust, the best part about this movie was seeing the closing credits, knowing that it was finally over and I was out my misery.
P.S. Now seeing that there is a 'Scary Movie 3' out, I just sit, cringing in silence, hoping that this is the end to these bad movies. If I had one request as a movie-watcher, it would be that I could have those 100 minutes of my life back. I am disappointed that will not be happening. A friend warned me that this would happen. Why, oh why did I not listen to him? I am such an idiot!
Angel Baby (1995)
An extraordinary story of love's transcendent power. More movies need to be presented, just like this one, about the serious issue of 'mental illness'!
The issue presented in the Australian movie 'Angel Baby' is one that is very close to me. I am talking about mental illness and how destructive any of them can be to individuals that get it. I have been affected by both depression and a mild case of schizophrenia (the illness that is shown here) and the highs and lows that come with those illnesses. This film is important as shows what it takes to overcome a mental illness and what affects they can have on your life and those around you.
A funny, haunting love story, 'Angel Baby' tells the story of two lost souls, Harry and Kate, who fall in love against the odds and find hope strength in each other to accomplish the impossible. Full of humour, compassion and hope, Angel Baby is a testament to the power of love and a roller-coaster journey to the magical fringes of the human psyche.
There is a lot to like about and take in with this movie. The writer /director Michael Rymer has bought a very interesting Australian movie to our screen. The story that we get here is one that is probably not all that uncommon, but is not known in our community. It accentuates the difficulties that people have when they are battling any mental illness and what rash choices they make when they are unable function mentally. This story also had the wonderful aspects that show Kate's obsessions of seeing messages from a TV game-show, while I am glad that the story shows both Kate and Harry choosing a life that they are probably not able to keep in complete control of because of their mental illness issues.
Then as director, Rymer makes some very impressive moves. I love how the movie makes us as the audience feel like we are experiencing what the mental illness is like that both Kate and Harry actually have. I believe this mainly through the extraordinary camera work that is used, with all of its different views and angles. This aspect of the movie is helped by its cinematographer Ellery Ryan, who captures it all perfectly. I also love the choice of scenery used in 'Angel Baby', such as the shots of the city and the grand 'West gate bridge', which is used to great effect in the film.
The leading cast to this movie was outstanding. Harry (John Lynch) and Kate (Jacqueline Mackenzie) are wonderful on screen together. They were both very convincing as both very mentally ill patients and it is through their performances that I believe this. There were some very real moments (well that is what they felt like for me) in this film where I believed these actors were suffering a mental illness for real. One such incident is when Kate is totally taken aback by being hit by kid skate-boarding at the local shopping centre. What I saw was a haunting sort of vision, one that I can relate to, and one that I was glad too see.
The rest of the cast is pretty good as well. Harry has concerned friends, the Goodman's. Morris (Colin Friels) and Louise (Deborra-Lee Furness) both show at individual times that they are truly concerned with the situation they find Harry and his girl in. Their son, Sam Goodman, (Daniel Daperis) was another important character, who has a terrific scene with Harry, about being unable to sleep one. What Harry helps Sam out with is ironic, considering the situation that we see Harry gets himself into.
I watched Angel Baby and 'Cosi', (another Australian movie, which deals with mental illness) back to back. Cosi was not as good as Angel Baby in my view, but the two films are completely different. One is from a totally serious point of view, while the other is coming from the comedic perspective about mental illness. I am still yet to see the classic Australian film 'Shine', starring Geoffrey Rush. But from what I have been told, it must be another worthwhile movie about how mental illness affects people, even brilliant and successful individuals.
I am a firm believer that mental illness is an issue in society that is culturally misunderstood by most people. I believe this because people are either misinformed or misdiagnosed, or they immediately dismiss a person with such a problem, saying either 'they are making excuses for themselves' or 'they should just snap out of it'. I personally hate that point of view as it is not only arrogant, but it is also a very naïve point of view in my opinion. I say that compassion should be shown instead of criticism, while understanding and sensitivity should be learnt instead of straight dismissal and sheer arrogance.
I guess my only criticism of Angel Baby is that it has a very limited cast, but perhaps that was a deliberate move, to show both Harry and Kate, for as long as they could. I would have preferred a bit bigger cast. I am glad that we were able to see all sorts of ideas, visions and images presented about how mental illness can affect people in 'Angel Baby', and are eternally grateful that an Australian movie is willing and daring enough to show it. For that, I thank the makers and actors from the bottom of my heart.
CMRS gives 'Angel Baby': 4.5 (Very Good Brilliant Film)
Dr. Phil (2002)
Forget Survivor and Big Brother, Dr. Phil is the 'real' reality TV show that I like!
This piece I am writing is not a review, but more a thank you to a person who I believe right now is one of the most influential personalities on TV in the world. The man I am referring to is arrogant, in your face and straight to the point. He is also very caring, compassionate, giving and understanding. His name is Dr. Phil McGraw or simply 'Dr. Phil' as he is known in the TV world. He is a very clever man, with a great way of being able to sum up any given situation. Phil also shows that his experience as a clinical psychologist is very invaluable.
Dr. Phil C. McGraw is a renowned life strategist and best-selling author, formerly on the 'Oprah' show. He now hosts his own daily program that is a "stop talking and do something show." Covering a full range of topics from news headlines to coping with life's challenges - Dr. Phil offers viewers a positive, transformational, and entertaining experience like nothing else on television.
I am guilty of initially thinking that Dr. Phil was just another bald Doctor on TV who is raving on about the usual old issues. Well I was totally wrong. Sure he might be talking about these old issues, but Phil somehow has a different angle to present his opinion on a certain issue. Some of his shows are so fascinating that they are tantalizing for me and I am sure the thousands of viewers he has.
Another good point that Phil does have for the show is that he creates some wonderful series for his programs that are not only good viewing, but crucial for many people's well being and lives. Things like 'Parenting 101', 'The ultimate weight loss challenge', 'Family in crisis'/'Family divided' and just recently 'relationship rescue retreat' have all been great. All of these segments are terrific, give good insights, and I continue to wait with anticipation for the next new segment he comes up with.
The show itself has many good parts to it, besides the stories and the Doc. Robyn McGraw (Phil's beautiful wife), Jay and Jordan (his two sons) are a part of his shows from time to time. In fact, Robyn is at every show, and her and Phil walking of set together at the end of every show is great. I also think that the crew Phil has assembled are incredible for the work that they do. While the show's musical theme is something that at times I cannot get out of my head, it is just great.
I feel that in these times, psychology, psychiatry and counselling are dismissed by many people as being unimportant and very much a waste of time. Well I totally disagree with that opinion and say that those people should watch Dr. Phil to see that they are wrong and that those areas are all important in the world we live in. In fact I have been fighting a battle of my own over the past few years, in relation to mental illness, had many highs and lows and with the help of these areas have almost beaten my illness. Trust me, it has been a challenge too! Dr. Phil is not everyone's cup of tea, I understand that, but I think he is the best man on international TV, and although he is predominantly targeting American audiences, Phil is touching many people around the world, and that includes my country, Australia. Dr Phil from the bottom of this Aussie's heart, thank you so much, keep up the incredible and more importantly inspirational work going that you do.
Your friend Old Joe
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Words cannot describe Mel Gibson's most passionate movie to date, but here is my try at it. As a Christian, I am extremely thankful for The Passion of the Christ. This movie is not entertaining,
The Apostle's creed is the basis for The passion of the Christ', which states:
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified dead and buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven; he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead'
So what is it that we celebrate at Easter? Is it for the chocolate eggs that we buy for one another or perhaps for the image of a man who died on the cross without so much as a scratch? No, I believe that it is for a man, the one perfect person to have walked this earth, who had to endure a death that was so cruel and unjust, that it killed off, not only a great man, but the sins of mankind as well. Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ' is one of the most unrelenting, unforgiving and powerful pieces of cinema that the world is ever likely to see, one which has a strong, poignant message.
The film opens with Jesus (well played by Jim Caviezel), very unsettled, in a state of disharmony, praying to God in The Garden of Gethsemane', with his disciples. At this point we have a very chilling confrontation between Jesus and Satan (Italian actress Rosalinda Celentano). Here Satan tries very hard to tempt Jesus and make him doubt his destiny'. She says no one man can carry the burden of man's sin'. However, Jesus continues to defy Satan. One of the great moments in the movie has to be when Jesus proves once and for all that Satan's power is finally coming to an end.
Through all this, Judas (Luca Lionello), a disciple of Jesus, tells Caiaphas (Mattia Sbragia), a powerful Roman high priest, the whereabouts of Christ. Quite early in the film, you get the gist Jesus is hated by the majority of people. Back to Gethsemane, where Guards capture Jesus, not before his disciples try to defend their leader. Here we see Jesus perform his final miracle (the repairing of a guard's severed ear). After this Jesus surrenders and the movie starts showings a very rough, violent and unrepenting treatment towards Christ.
At his trial, Jesus is accused by Caiaphas and the other high priest of all sorts of crimes. Caiaphas then asks for Jesus to be crucified by Pontius Pilate (Hristo Shopov), who is in charge of prisoner's punishment and/or deaths. He is already amazed by the treatment already inflicted on Jesus. Pilate personally questions Jesus and sees no reason for him to be punished, let alone crucified. Yet the boisterous crowd continue to chant crucify him'.
After much deliberation, Pilate allows Jesus to be punished'. Here is where the film gets really graphic and violent. Christ is whipped and beaten unceremoniously by Guards who get great pleasure from it. This part of the film goes on for along time and for some people is difficult to watch. But I am glad that we see Jesus taking his punishment, as he knows he must, getting rid of sin'. After this punishment, Pilate gives the people what they want Christ crucified'.
Jesus is given a heavy wooden cross to carry on his back, which he struggles with through the streets of Jerusalem. While doing this, the people spit, mock and jeer at him. Here the movie shows two interesting images. Firstly, we see Satan weaving through the crowd, fascinated by the event. Secondly, we have Mary, Jesus' mother (Maia Morgenstern) and Mary Magdalene (Monica Bellucci) who openly weep at the proceedings taking place. Mary is an emotional character, obviously hurt by what she is seeing happen to Jesus.
Towards the end of Jesus journey with the cross, a farmer, Simon from Cyrene (Jarreth J. Mertz), is ordered to help a weak Jesus carry the Cross. He is a great help to Jesus, who appreciates it. The crucifixion of Jesus, while hard to watch, is terrific in my view, as it shows how devastating an event it really was. Seeing the nails' go into Jesus' hands and feet was an amazing visual image. After Jesus dies, a change overtakes the film, as we see God, show his power and anger, destroying the temple and scaring the people. I will not give away the film's ending, but I found it to be a brilliant' conclusion, not like the typical Jesus crucifixion film'.
I give Mel Gibson, his actors and crews all praise for their performance on the film. Gibson certainly made this film the way he wanted to, unequivocally and graphic, but I have no problem with that, or with the Arabic language and English subtitles. I also love the way Gibson shows certain memorable Jesus flashbacks', which are some of the more compassionate and easier scenes to watch in the film. I totally disagree that this film is Anti-Semitic', as that is not the point to Gibson's movie, rather it is the sacrifice the messiah' makes for all of God's people. The resemblance to Gibson's Braveheart' and this film, is amazingly ironic in my view.
I have heard and read many positive and negative reviews on this film. In my opinion, I believe that this is a great film, a must see' for any Christian. A fortnight before I saw this film, I collapsed with heart troubles' just hours before I wanted to see this film on that particular day. Perhaps God wanted me to wait and see this film at a different time, who knows? All in all, I am very thankful to God for sending his only son' to take the punishment for my sins, when I realise that it should have been me in Christ's place. What a sacrifice this is!
CMRS gives The Passion of the Christ': 5 (Brilliant Film)
Bad Eggs (2003)
Someone is on the shonk. To steal a phrase From the opening scene we know that we're onto something good'. Finally, after along time, we have a decent Aussie movie on our hands.
In a time when Aussie movies are in a bit of bad patch, here is one that really surprised me. It is the Tony Martin brainchild, Bad Eggs', a film that is so serious, that you have to look real hard for its funny bits. Martin has made a very intelligent movie, one that simmers along at a nice pace, includes a fine cast and shows off some of the great Melbourne locations. Bad Eggs' is a movie that proves some cops will go to extraordinary lengths to get to the bottom of the trouble. But no-one told these cops the trouble they might end up in as well
Ben Kinnear and Mike Paddock are undercover cops with the elite Zero Tolerance Unit. Busted down to uniformed duties after a series of humiliating blunders, the duo accidentally uncovers a conspiracy that goes right to the middle. Helped only by embittered reporter, Julie Bale and a reluctant computer geek, Northey, Ben and Mike set out to clear their names and expose the villains.
Most of the praise for Bad Eggs' has to go writer/director Tony Martin. With this film he has proven that he has a future in the industry. The script he wrote for the film was extremely well written, as it had a fascinating story, some clever character creations (although some of the guys we see onscreen are anything but clever) and the Aussie language we hear in the film is a good reminder of that culture. Yet the story was also quite complex, as we learn more and more about what is actually going on.
Martin's direction was another highlight of the film. With this sort of quality direction, it would be hard to believe this is Martin's first time as a movie director, making this film an even bigger achievement for him. The opening of the movie must have been difficult to shoot, but Tony got it spot on. The film flowed beautifully after the start. I truly look forward to Martin's next movie.
Bad Eggs also has a great Australian cast. The main characters in the film are Ben Kinnear (Mick Molloy) and Mike Paddock (Ben Franklin). Molloy gives a pretty good role here, as he is funny and serious at various moments of the film. His expressions are also quite interesting. It is a much better role from Molloy than his performance in Crackerjack'. Franklin (From TV's Crash/Burn), was great in his role, as he was very funny, although he seem not to have to work hard at being this way. Paddock says and does some of the more silly antics in the movie. I love how he goes Chicka-chow'. Another integral character to the story is Julie Bale (Judith Lucy). Here, Lucy shows that she really can act. Lucy and Molloy suit each other onscreen, sharing a good chemistry in Bad Eggs'. Judith also gives her character a steely resolve, something that I enjoyed seeing.
The supporting cast of the film is just as great. Northey (Alan Brough) might be a geek, but proves he is a good guy, who helps Kinnear and Paddock when they need it the most. Heading the ZTU unit is Doug Gillespie (Marshall Napier), who we see has many headaches thanks to his undercover agents. While, Widow Eleanor Poulgrain (Robyn Nevin), help out Ben and Mike, when she could be excused for not doing so. The bad guys in the film are a bit schonky' alright. Ted Pratt (Bill Hunter) is a foul mouthed senior cop, who is definitely not on the level. Helping Ted is Wicks (Nichols Bell), a very sneaky and unethical police official. Then, with a very interesting cameo appearance in the film is state premier Lionel Cray (Shaun Micallef). Micallef was pretty good in the movie, with his character very dubious and having some of the more memorable lines.
The various scenes in the film are great. The opening of the film with the out of control car, going into a shopping mall was great to see. Then you have setups such as the fire at the widow's house, the bombing of the house and the driving of a car into a service station gas tank all being entertaining. However there was one scene that reminded of a film that I did not like too much. The infiltration of the highly guarded computer room by Ben and Mike, reminded me of the vault scene from Mission Impossible (1996) for some reason. I also enjoyed the dancing sequence used at the end of the film, with Molloy and Lucy showing that they can dance beautifully together.
With that in mind, I also like the musical themes in Bad Eggs'. The music makes the film seem like it is super serious, then at the change of a tone, the film can seem to be very light-hearted'. I like the music that was used in the final scene of the movie, as it gave the film a classy' kind of feeling, with the song in question being "Where or When" from singing maestro Frank Sinatra. The musical score for Bad Eggs was by David Graney and Clare Moore.
I have never seen a film that is so serious, yet at times so stupid. The balance of those elements works particularly well here. This film is not meant to be taken that seriously by its viewers, as the movie takes care of that for us. I was weary of this movie, because I was not a fan of the Mick Molloy Aussie flick Crackerjack', but I have plenty of respect for Bad Eggs'. Tony Martin can be pleased with this effort as director, as he has proven to me that he should continue his career in movie-making. I highly recommend Bad Eggs', a film that I believe just might help clean up the bad smells' that are starting to overtake the Australian Film Industry.
CMRS gives Bad Eggs': 4 (Very Good Film)
This movie was just a big excuse for a sequel. Why did something have to survive'?
I might be pre-empting the cinema going public around the world here, but I believe most of them would have loved the 1997 sequel to Jurassic Park titled The lost World'. Well there is movie-goer that did not like it that much, and that was ME! This movie loses the appeal that was created in the first movie, has moments where it so over the top that it kills the movie, and lacks the depth of characters that could make me care. Jurassic Park: The Lost World' is living proof that it takes more than a big budget, a successful director and box office hype, to make a decent movie sequel.
It has been four years since the disaster at Jurassic Park. The individual scientists who had been hired as consultants on the project agreed to remain silent about it. Now something is wrong at second Remote Island of prehistoric inhabitants. Dr. Ian Malcolm and his group are about to find out... something has survived.
The special effects in this film are the only saving point for me. Once again the special effect team make the dinosaurs come frighteningly to life, in a way that I really like. These creatures actually cease being special effects and seem real. Back doing the dinosaur special effects in the Lost World are Dennis Muren, Stan Winston and Michael Lantieri. To say that the one reason to watch this film is because of the continuation of the great special effects would be an understatement.
Yet the story presented is very corny, perfunctory and does things just because they need to be done. First time around I was convinced that seeing a dinosaur theme park going wrong was entertaining, but in the second part of the story I feel it is a complete waste of time, as it is just not that interesting, in fact it is down right boring. The story is based on Michael Crichton's second novel of the same name, which I have read many people criticise for being a farce. Then back again as screenwriter is David Koepp, whose screenplay has many problems including clichéd characters, boring storylines and bad flat spots. The other problem to the Lost World story is that it did not allow the dinosaurs to be the main stars of the film, which is what the first film did better in my view.
Now was Steven Spielberg actually directing this film? From where I viewed it, it did not feel like it. From all my research, I agreed mostly with movie critic Roger Ebert. He said about Steven Spielberg as director of The Lost World, This feels like the kind of sequel a master hands over to an apprentice, and you sense that although much effort was lavished on the special effects, Spielberg's interest in the story was perfunctory.' Now while I am big a fan of Spielberg, I am afraid that I agree with Ebert here. The strong presence that I was expecting from Spielberg is not present here and it brings the film down.
I also agree with Ebert about the key weaknesses to the film. There are too many scenes drawn out and elaborate for the sake of being just that, not good enough in my view. The worst scene in the film has to be where the research trailer is hanging over the cliff, we see a terrifying drop and of course there is a dinosaur attacking our characters to just add to the cliché of it all. This scene is placed into the film, forty-minutes after the most boring of lead-ups I have ever seen.
While the last half an hour to the film seemed too much like a typical Hollywood ending, with the film overstaying its welcome. Now while most people would be thrilled by these set-ups, I found them very frustrating in this film, as I believe it did not add anything to the film, although Spielberg and his team wanted the audience to believe it had. Well it did not work on me!
The movie stars some famous names. Back for a second dose of dinosaur action is scientist Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). Now I had problems with his performance in the first film, but Goldblum here is unconvincing as the dinosaur expert, as his dialogue is delivered in such a quiet and unconvincing way. Malcolm is in a relationship with another dinosaur expert, Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore). Now this character was ok in parts of the film, as she has intimate moments with dinosaurs, which were interesting to see.
Also along for the ride is a wasted character in Malcolm's daughter, Kelly (Vanessa Lee Chester), who is one of the characters I have referred to as clichéd', as she does nothing that makes her seem that important to the story. However, my favourite character in the film has to be the game hunter Roland Tembo (Pete Postlethwaite), whose character is very smart, while being surrounded by people, getting eaten by dinosaurs. When asked about the possibility of working full time with dinosaurs he states I have spent enough time in the company of death'.
This movie had a rival coming out around the same, that being Godzilla', another big budget Hollywood farce in my view. Spielberg I can only imagine looked at this movie as competition, and in a way tried to out stage it before it was released. Now while I think neither movie have had a positive influence on cinema, I think Spielberg should have been more focused on getting his movie right. I mean this film could have been as good as the first, but with so many flaws, I cannot forgive it. It is only lucky that this film got the box success it did, because I firmly believe it could have hurt Spielberg's career, or may have even started the end of it.
CMRS gives Jurassic Park: The Lost World': 1 (Bad Film)
If These Walls Could Talk (1996)
Changing Times, intimate decisions, and the four walls that hold their secrets. There's one question only a woman can answer. This is the most powerful TV movie you will ever see.
I have a strong opinion on the issue being show in the 1996 TV movie, `If These Walls Could Talk', which is about abortion. This film presents the issue in 3 different generations and shows what the attitudes and dilemmas are when it comes to a woman choosing and/or having an abortion. Is abortion the right choice for a woman who is pregnant? I am not so sure it is.
Here is a film with three powerful, intimate stories of abortion and how times and freedoms have changed. A recently widowed nurse struggles to take control of her life in the early '50s. A mother of four is overwhelmed by trying to raise a family and maintain a career in the '70s. While a young student makes a decision with the help of one woman that will change the course of both their lives in the '90s. These women, living in the same house at different times, share one thing in common, the decision they must come to on how to deal with an unplanned pregnancy. Have an abortion or keep the child they have growing inside them alive?
This film was very well directed by two women. The 1952 and 1974 segments of the story were directed by Nancy Savoca. I especially like the way that she goes inside the lives of the people that we meet. Then directing the 1996 story is Cher (who also stars in the film). Now considering what we see happen in this part of the story, especially to Cher's character, the way Cher directed it was most skilful and praiseworthy.
The stories that are presented in this film are very well balanced and written. Each story goes on in the same house over that time. Yet the feelings towards the issue of abortion change from each generation. The 50's it is frowned upon, the 70's it is more accepted, and by the 1990's, while it is still protested, it is commonly practise by women.
Each different story has a main character that it focuses on, with their views on abortion and how far they will or will not go being very interesting. What is also interesting are the different characters we meet in the stories, as they present a different view on how they feel about abortion, another good aspect to the story. The stories for this movie were written by Pamela & Earl Wallace and Nancy Savoca (1952), Susan Nanus and Nancy Savoca (1974), with the final story by I. Marlene King (1996).
Playing roles in this film must have been difficult for all the actresses involved. The 1952 story has a widow nurse, Claire Donnelly (played by executive producer Demi Moore) who we find out is pregnant, but do not understand the circumstances for how she got that way. The lengths that she goes to fix her problems certainly are disturbing, with the finale to her story very distressing.
Then the 1974 story shows mother, Barbara Barrows (Sissy Spacek), with four children, in a somewhat dysfunctional family. She is a college student and has found out she is pregnant. We are shown that she is unsure of what she wants to do. She wants to continue with her studies, but also wants the child. Her daughter Linda (Hedy Burress), is a girl who states to her mother, do you think this baby would have a good life, if its mother resents it even being there?' saying that abortion is the only sensible option.
Finally we have the 1996 story. Here we meet Christine Cullen (a very young Anne Héche in a fine role), a girl who has had relationship with a college professor and is pregnant from that relationship. With Christine we see that she is torn apart by being pregnant and with the decision to have an abortion. She lives with Patti (Jada Pinkett Smith), a girl who strongly opposes abortion, but considers other options as better for the child's life.
This part of the story also goes inside an abortion clinic. Here we meet many caring people. Dr Beth Thompson (Cher) is the doctor who does the abortion procedure, while other carers make the time pass, as easy as possible for the patient. Cher's part in the film is truly amazing to say the least. The finale to the 1996' story haunted me the first time I saw it, and after recently seeing it a second time, had a similar effect. I believe it is showing what a divided issue that abortion creates in the public arena, with the result of the actions of certain people not helping to resolve the issue, but just making it worse.
While it would be naïve of me to not accept that abortion is a legal option for a pregnant woman, married or unmarried in the western world, I am afraid I cannot agree with abortion, as someone is physical killing a human life'. Men and women consent to having sex whenever they feel like they want it, but most do not consider the consequence of that action, which in most cases ends up in a pregnancy, an unwanted one at that. By killing it, you give the life' created no choice in wanting to stay alive or not. I believe God is the only one who has the right to abort a child.
This film puts my life in perspective. I do not want to have sex outside of wedlock, or have to go through the painful (and wrong decision in my view) of looking at abortion as a way of covering up any mistake. That is all abortion does. I also know that God would look down upon me for making that decision. If These Walls Could Talk' might be a TV movie, but it is a film that we all can learn from. Please confront this most controversial of issues in a great movie, just Iike I have.
CMRS gives If These Walls Could Talk': 4.5 (Very Good Brilliant Movie)
His passion captivated a woman. His courage inspired a country. His heart defied a king. This is Mel Gibson's brilliant epic movie.
Mel Gibson's Braveheart', is a movie that I feel inspired by every time I watch it. William Wallace certainly was a man that was driven by all sorts of emotions, a man who loved the women in his life, was forced in the end to fight for country, but did it in a grand style and was never intimidated by his enemy, that being the English, his only goal, for Scottish FREEDOM!' Braveheart is a rich, emotionally charged historical epic filled with passion, betrayal and courage, one that is too savour.
Braveheart is the sweeping saga about Scotland's brutal battle for impendence in the 13th century. When William Wallace's wife is ravaged and murdered by English troops, his quest for revenge quickly turns into an impassioned fight for his country. Tales of Wallace's bravery inspire every commoner to take arms against the English and escalate their crusade into a full scale war.
Firstly I want to praise Mel Gibson for the work he put into making this movie. His vision as director was first-class and gave the movie a grandness' that it deserved. It is also a great achievement for Gibson to star in the movie, playing the integral character of Wallace, a difficult role. For his direction of Braveheart, Mel won the 1995 academy award for best director.
Under Gibson was Academy Award winning cinematographer John Toll, who certainly gave Braveheart' the right look onscreen. The camera shots of the open plans, were just fantastic, and made the Scottish land look green, lush and rugged. The one that one that sticks in my mind the most, has to be the moment in the film which shows William Wallace climbing to the top of a mountain, what we see as this unfolds, really did stun me, but in a good way.
The story contains characters that I am unsure are fact or fiction. But whatever they are, were very convincing onscreen. William Wallace, aka Braveheart' (Gibson) is a man that is shook up as a child by the disturbing visions he sees happens to his people, especially his father Malcolm Wallace (Sean Lawlor). We see quite quickly that Wallace as a man, was born to fight, with a dead eye' when it comes to throwing with any sort of stone. Gibson is terrific in his role here, playing it with grandeur, flamboyance, style and slight humour that suits the film. Braveheart' also looks intense, with the blue paint draped across his face.
Yet Wallace did not want to fight. He marries his childhood love, the beautiful Murron (Catherine McCormack) that he weds in secret. However there life together would be cut short by the warriors of the king of England, who capture, violate and kill Murron for not submitting to their desires. This death was hard for me to watch, but without it, we would not have the rest of the film. The small role that McCormack plays in the film is vital, as she softens the brutalness of war onscreen.
After this event, Wallace is filled with raged and turns on all the English troops. Helping Wallace was his friend Hamish (Brendan Gleeson), a brute of a guy that is the size of two warriors, who never at any stage, takes a backward steps in the war. While Robert the Bruce (Angus McFadyen) is a very interesting character, a guy who you think you know, but then surprises you.
On the English side, the enemy that Wallace wants to defeat, is King Edward I (Patrick McGoohan), or longshanks' as he is referred to. He is a very aggressive type of king, when in a fit of rage throws a friend of the Prince of Wales (Peter Hanly), out a high rise window, as he has no time to listen to this inferior sort of person. McGoohan is a nasty king and does not like what Wallace is achieving by the war. His son is a weakling, so afraid of what he is seeing take place.
The Prince was arranged in marriage to a French woman, for political reasons. Her name is Princess Isabella (Sophie Marceau) a beautiful woman, who is used to try and bribe Wallace to stop the war. He immediately picks up that she is attracted to him. The Princess hates her husband, but is truly in love with Wallace. When Wallace is close to death, the Princess tries to help him handle the ordeal. Marceau is great in this role as she is nice to look at and convincing in her role.
I love all the battle scenes in Braveheart', as they are filmed in a big and bold way by Gibson. That is not to say they are easy to watch. The first battle at death of Braveheart's wife is tough to watch. Yet there were times I was laughing (unintentionally) as the English were frightened for their lives at the sight of Braveheart' and his men. The major war scenes are great, but also leave nothing to the imagination, as we see arrows, swords and axes wounding and killing many men on both sides.
The music to Braveheart was another important element, as it gave the correct Scottish feel to the film. The composer on Braveheart was James Horner, whose music gives the film true emotion when it needs it. The bagpipes are used in a very effective way here especially.
Mel Gibson is currently in the spotlight with his movie The Passion of The Christ'. I felt I would prepare myself for that movie by going back and watching this film and I am glad that I did. The resemblance that this film has with the story of Jesus is amazing. Braveheart' is the ultimate Hollywood movie experience, a most powerful film, made by a man with a passion, about a man with an intense passion, who was willing enough to sacrifice himself in order that his country could have freedom. What a sacrifice it was too!
CMRS gives Braveheart': 5 (Brilliant Film)
They're the Friends we've grown to love...... It has truly been a joy for me to watch 'Friends'!
When Friends began way back in 1994, I was not swept by the euphoria that this TV series started. I did not find it funny, in fact I found it rather silly and could not relate to the 6 characters created. Then one day, I was watching an episode that I started laughing at, then from that time on I was able to relate to Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe, and the crazy antics that each one of them seems to get into.
This half-hour comedy features six young friends who face life and love in New York. Together, they find true companionship and comfort as they get entangled in numerous hilarious dilemmas. Through any circumstance, the group have a bond of friendship that helps them laugh while dealing with the world around them.
The show was created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, and they must be astounded by the popularity of the show. To create such interesting characters was wonderful, with the difference in personalities being fascinating.
This leads me to the dedicated writing team that have brought us 'Friends'. Helping Crane and Kauffman is a huge team of writers. All of these writers have continued to come up with funny, interesting and shocking storylines. It also has to be said, that these people do have a very fine sense of humour, as some of the lines these characters say are priceless. It is credit to these people for how fresh the stories have stayed for the show.
The main characters are all people I have grown to love as I have got to known them. Here is a small piece on each of them:
Rachel (Jennifer Aniston): Rachel is a very good girl at heart, although she can be tough to get along with when she wants. She has a history with Ross that has been funny to see as the years have gone on. It is a known fact that Rachel cannot cook or make a decent cup of coffee. Jennifer Aniston is simply stunning in this role and is probably the only actor out of this six that has been able to transgress into mainstream movie acting.
Ross (David Schwimmer): Ross is a guy that has had some really bad luck, but you would have to also say that he is pretty stupid for some of the things that he does. He has been divorced three times (one from a wife who is now a lesbian). Ross also has some of the more crazy stuff happen to him. David Schwimmer is a very interesting actor, as he really does make a fool of himself for the millions of people around the world. Interesting note: Schwimmer has directed a few episodes of 'friends' as well.
Monica (Courtney Cox Arquette): Monica is Ross' younger sister, a girl who is very head strong, stubborn, unbeatable (in her mind) and someone who likes to get her own way. She is also a person that is very articulate and likes to keep things extremely clean. Monica was once overweight, eating everything she could get her hands on. Courtney Cox is very good at being Monica, with her strange personality a little over the top, while her performances as overweight 'Monica', being the best in the entire show. Cox has been a part of the famous 'Scream' trilogy, which has helped her career. It was funny to see the episode where all the cast had the name 'Cox-Arquette' attached with there names.
Chandler (Matthew Perry): Chandler is the comedian in the group, always likes to laugh, tell a joke or make a smart comment in a conversation. Yet he knows when has said a bad line. Chandler for the best part of the show has had terrible luck with relationships, until he hooked up with Monica, which was one of the big highlights to the show. The lengths that the pair go to hide the fact was very funny. Chandler's parents were also very interesting to meet. Perry plays his part very well (no joke).
Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow): Phoebe is the wacky part of the group. She sings and plays guitar at the coffee shop, albeit badly. She has lost a mother, has an identical twin and has been a surrogate mother for her half brother Frank and his older partner Alice, making her life a bit twisted. Yet through all this she has a very sexy confident manner, which is irresistible not to like. She says and does some of the more silly things, not too unlike Ross. Kudrow plays Phoebe as if she is really like her, but I would be guessing that Kudrow is much different to Phoebe in real life.
Joey (Matt LeBlanc): Joey is the guy all the women die for. Well that is what Joey wants us to believe anyway. He is, I guess, charismatic, but only ever in a relationship for the goal to sleep with the woman in question. Joey is an actor, playing Dr. Drake Ramoray in 'Days Of Our Lives'. He is the unintelligent person in the group, but covers it up pretty well. Joey also has seven sisters. Matt LeBlanc is great as this character, although he is way different to Joey in real life.
'Friends' has had some impressive guest stars including Elle MacPherson, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Giovanni Ribisi, Tom Selleck, Helen Hunt, Morgan Fairchild and George Clooney to name just a few. I like the sets the show has had, as they are well made and suit the show well. This is a big task for the crew that assemble them. I also love the theme song to Friends titled 'I'll be there for you' sung by the Rembrandts. With Friends now coming to an end, the TV world is losing a big show, as is the audience which it pleases. But we all have to be thankful, that for ten years, our lives have been enriched by six extraordinary people, people I call 'Friends'.
Jurassic Park (1993)
Spielberg and his team have made one fearsome and mesmerising movie.
When I was told about the greatness of the 'dinosaurs' as a young child back in primary school, I had a complete fasciation with some of God's most powerful creatures. Dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus Rex have their own strange and unique characteristics which make them so interesting to learn about. So when I heard that Hollywood was making a movie on Dinosaurs titled 'Jurassic Park', I was truly excited. This film gives life back to creatures I wish I could have seen in the flesh.
One of mankind's most thrilling fantasies has come true, an astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. With this discovery we get 'Jurassic Park', a remote island theme park, with actual living dinosaurs. The only problem is, it is about to turn deadly as five people, including two palaeontologists, must battle to survive among these prehistoric predators.
Steven Spielberg has made a film full of terror and scary creatures. I like how the film opens, as it gives us as the audience a chance to see what it is that man has created, and that it might not be the best investment to be involved with. The only problem I have with Spielberg's vision for 'Jurassic park' is the ending. Learning that he thought it up, I feel is a little corny and is too easy an escape for our characters, considering what they have escaped from before all this. Yet Spielberg did a great job in giving us a look at the wonder and/or scariness of the dinosaurs, as I believe I was moved almost every time I saw a scene with a dinosaur.
This was definitely helped by the team that created these dinosaurs for Spielberg. The special effects are terrific, as the dinosaurs seem real and alive in this film. In the last few weeks I have seen films from a similar time as Jurassic Park, and the special effects were appalling. Now they were going to either make or break this film. Thankfully they were good enough to make this film. The dinosaur special effects were very well done by Stan Winston, Dennis Muren, Phill Tippett and Michael Lanteri.
The screen play was the inspiration of novelist Michael Crichton and David Koepp (from MI and MI2). The story to the film is taken from Crichton's novel on the same material. Although some of the character creations for the screenplay might be a little weak, the story is very interesting to see as
it unfolds, as the dinosaurs get into a very powerful position.
At the forefront of the movie are palaeontologists and dinosaur experts Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Fern). They are convinced to come and evaluate a new 'family centric' park with living dinosaurs. The owner of the park is millionaire Dr. John Hammond (Richard Attenborough). The pair are initially overawed by what they see at the park. Neill and Fern are good in what they bring to the film, with Neill the standout, bringing a calmness and sensibility to his character, which keeps everybody from breaking down in many crisis situations.
Attenborough's character could have been better, as it is very strange how he reacts to the situation that he sees 'Jurassic park' in. The two young grandchildren of Hammond, Tim (Joseph Mazzello) and Lex (Ariana Richards) are very good, as they make us feel emotion for their many dangerous situations we see them in.
Yet the rest of the cast cannot get the same credit. Firstly you have a mathematician along for the joy ride here, his name is Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), who is only ever placed in the screenplay for some funny and some stupid lines. Then Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) is one of the computer experts, in charge of running Jurassic Park's main working centre. Now unfortunately Knight is not a good character here, as his storyline lacks in sense and does not add to the film, although it could have. If he got away with what he stole it would have been very interesting.
The film has some very memorable moments. When the character's meet the many different dinosaurs, they truly have a sense of grandeur and amazement. The running herd of dinosaurs are wonderful, as they are very alive and it would be a dream to meet such a flock of animals. All the moments with T-Rex are terrifying, such as when the park shuts down and the two kids are attacked in their vehicle. The lawyer in the car makes a rather selfish and crazy choice. The kids also have a fascinating sequence, where they play hide and seek with two smaller dinosaurs in the park's kitchen.
The musical score to Jurassic Park is another of the film's highlights. Composed by the greatest movie composer ever, John Williams, the score gives the movie an awesome feel when it requires it. Then in an instant changes a scene to make the film seem terrifying. When a musical score does this to a film, it is hard not to be affected, as I know I was.
Steven Spielberg has been involved with some very impressive movie creatures, such as the scary shark 'Jaws', the very unique alien 'E.T', and of course the gruesome little buggers known as 'Gremlins', creatures that love to cause havoc. Now Spielberg has tinkered with Dinosaurs, awesome creatures that are very violent and destructive.
Jurassic Park is a film that only confirms in my mind that dinosaurs are not meant to be played around with and shows what happens when man starts to play God. He soon realises that it is an area that he has no right to deal with. I like this film as I was entertained by the story, love the historical ideas that are presented by the dinosaurs and how man should only remember what Dinosaurs were like, as living with them in today's world could be catastrophic.
CMRS gives 'Jurassic Park': 4 (Very Good Movie)
The Delinquents (1989)
All their lives they were told they mustn't, they shouldn't, they can't .. one year, they did. A love that was not meant too be, but could not be broken!
The 1989 Australian movie, The Delinquents', is a grand look into the conservative 1950's Australia, how harsh it was for young people to live and be in love. Yet this movie also has a good feel to it and shows what defiance can do for your life. Although it can make it extremely hard, it also liberates teenagers and allows them to choose the life they want for themselves.
Adolescences the time when teenage friendship boils over into adult desire and the time when Lola Lovell meets a boy called Brownie Hansen. Too young to be together, too in love to be apart, Lola and Brownie's obsessive passion for each other breaks all the rules laid down by their parents and society. Quickly branded as rebels and defiant troublemakers, they will be forced to face the hardest punishment of all separation! But NO person, NO law and NO institution will ever keep them apart. To Lola and Brownie, the first love is the ONLY love there is.
This movie's screenplay is based upon a novel of the same written by Criena Rohan. I believe that it would be an interesting read, as it looks into a very historical time in the Australian country and allows us to understand that young people especially, were not give the freedom and respect that they deserved. The story also has a very strong love story placed within it and the characters we are presented with take risks, some worth it, some not. But all in all, they prove that risks are a big part of growing up. The screenplay for this film by Clayton Frohman, certainly gives a good insight into all these areas.
Although this film might seem slow, mushy and only for romantics, it is presented in a most noteworthy way. Director Chris Thomson allows us to see how hard the times are, especially for Lola and Brownie. He certainly leaves nothing to the imagination when it comes to seeing both of these characters being violated. I also feel it is the good work of Thomson that we get a historically correct recreation of the times, as places like Melbourne, Brisbane and Bundaberg, look the way they would have been back in the 50's.
The main stars in the film are Brownie (Charlie Schlatter) and Lola (famous Australian Icon Kylie Minogue). These two characters quickly developed a very intense, romantic and physical relationship. Brownie is a guy that is abused by father and the law (and the film clearly shows this), while Lola, who is deeply love struck, is treated very harshly by her conservative/liberal mother (Angela Punch-McGregor). The pair in their own way stand up for themselves. Although Schlatter has little to say here, is effective as Brownie. He really is a good guy. Kylie looks stunning' and is great as the young girl who grows up quickly. She has some of the more memorable lines in the film and one of the best moments in the movie has to be when Lola right hooks (punches) her Aunt Westbury (Melissa Jaffer) in the face.
Brownie and Lola have some friends in the midst of all these bad people in their lives. Brownie is befriended by his sailing boss Bosun (the late Bruno Lawrence), who is a man that deeply cares for Brownies well-being. Bruno is great in this film and is from the popular Current Affairs spoof Frontline'. While Brownie and Lola meet a happy couple Lyle (Todd Boyce) and Mavis (Desirée Smith). What happens to this couple is very tough, but this helps Brownie and Lola, and is another moving moment in the film.
The soundtrack to this movie is just wonderful and adds to the historical time and romantic feel that the story has. Songs from it include Only You' Since I Met You Baby' She's My Baby', Great Balls of Fire' and Lucille'. While we have a song from Kylie herself entitled Tears on My Pillow' and another song by the Aussie act Johnny Diesel (aka Mark Lizotte) and the Injectors called Somebody on my love'. This is one great compilation of music for an Australian movie.
After all these positive words on this movie, I know I will be shot down by other people around the world who truly do hate this film. Some of the comments already placed on this movie's IMDb page are very harsh and have nothing good to say. I disagree with these negative opinions, simply because I had a good experience watching this movie many years ago and just recently. I believe that this movie is not to dissimilar to the 1985 American sex comedy Mischief', as it certainly had similar themes, characters and looked into the same time. The delinquents' is an Australian movie that is a must see!
CMRS gives The Delinquents': 4 (Very Good Film)
Supposedly in space no one can hear you scream'. This film is overrated and just not good enough in my view.
In reviewing Alien', I want to say that this movie might have been better for me to see, back when it was released in 1979. I only believe this, because for some reason I could not completely get rapped up in it. That is not to say I did not like some of it. However, as soon as part of me was starting too really like it, I had an experience with this film that I found unwholesome and frustrating, especially with the ending, a feeling that I remember I had through another popular movie Fight Club'. It is a shame, because the idea that Aliens are out there and are scary is totally fascinating to me.
The terror begins when the crew of the spaceship, Nostromo' investigates a transmission from a desolate planet and makes a horrifying discovery a life form that breeds within a human host. Now the crew must not only fight for its survival, but the survival of all mankind.
Director Ridley Scott was and still is praised for giving us one of the great horror/Sci-Fi classics. I was not in awe of this film, however I feel I could have been. Scott's direction is one of the main problems with this film. Firstly, the film is given a pace that for me is far too slow. I would have preferred the film to have a quicker pace which would have increased the tension. The other problem is the way that Ridley did not take full advantage of the Alien' aspect to the film, especially with the ending that we see Ridley present. But the fans really do make a big song and dance about this film and the director is one of the reasons for that.
Yet the story to this film is also guilty of being weak, even underdeveloped. The screenplay was written by Dan O'Bannon, based on the story written by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, which does have merits I have mentioned. But the story could have done so much more with the Alien' created. Also whoever devised the ending to this film did a terrible job, as I found it totally unsatisfying, bringing the film down for me.
Some of the actors and characters in this film are very good. At the start of the film we see the entire crew of Nostromo' awake. The ship is commanded by Dallas (Tom Skerritt), who cares more for his crew than for the actual space mission. Skerritt is pretty good as this character. Under Dallas is female commander Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), who is a real find as female action hero. Ripley has balls', and I get this feeling from Weaver's performance. Ripley believes in following protocol, a big difference to Dallas.
Another interesting character is Ash (Ian Holm). With the discovery of this Alien life-form, Ash is genuinely excited instead of scared which is the reaction the rest of the crew give. What the movie reveals about Ash is quite unbelievable, but very interesting. While what happens to scientist Kane (John Hurt) might be a pretty ordinary demise, but another of the film's great moments.
The rest of the crew (or cast) is not so great. The other female crewmember Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) is strange, as she does nothing more on this ship, other than whinge and scream. But more annoying than Lambert, are the two space engineers Parker (Yaphet Kotto) and Stanton Brett (Harry Dean). This pair get along very well, suiting each other. These characters brought nothing inventive to the film, and are very frustrating. Seeing all these characters go' was a blessing, rather than upsetting in my view.
I liked the Alien' effects that were presented here. The Alien creations themselves were wonderfully done by the special effects crew (Carlo Rambaldi and Bernard Lodge) and costume crews (John Mollo, H.R. Giger, and Roger Dicken). Everything from the creation that looks part spider, part female genitalia (which causes some of the great scary moments in the film), up to the actual Alien' we see, which is gruesome, but in its own way very attractive, were fantastic. This is one of my favourite areas of the entire film.
To be honest I first watched this film around 5 years ago, and was feeling so scared, I had to fast forward the DVD. Since that time, when I put this film on, I am waiting in anticipation for the movie to give me as much of that scared' reaction as possible, as that is the feeling I desire as I am watching it. But that experience is very limited in this film. So with all these factors, I have to say I am disappointed in Alien' and do not agree that this is a brilliant movie, in fact it is quite the opposite. What a pity!
CMRS gives Alien': 1.5 (Bad Ok Film)
American Wedding (2003)
Whichever way you look at it They are going all the way' or forever hold your piece', what more can get they hope to get out of this series?
Fans of the American Pie' series will undoubtedly love American Pie 3: American wedding. My feelings after seeing the third film in the series in four years, is that I am unsure if I like it or not. Perhaps I am just showing my age, then again it could be that this series has run its race, with the sex comedy' genre past its used-by date. It is my opinion that AP3', while not a great film does not mean it was a bad film. The big questions are being asked, strange and disgusting things are being eaten, and now the band camp' geek and apple pie' rooter are about to tie the knot!
In American Pie 3: American wedding, Jim and Michelle are getting married -in a hurry. Jim's grandmother is sick and wants to see Jim walk down the aisle, so they are going for it in two frantic weeks. Stifler plans to be invited, for the bridesmaids, and so he can throw Jim the ultimate bachelor party, with strippers! Finch is all for the hedonistic rituals, but not for letting Stifler steal the maid of honour, Michelle's sexy younger sister, Cadence. But while everybody else sweats and frets, Jim's Dad is cool as ever, getting ready for one of the proudest days of his son's life.
Most of the usual cast are back for a third time. Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Allison Hannigan) are very much in love. Jim wants to take the next step which means getting hitched. The opening of the movie shows this ridiculously funny proposal, involving Jim's Dad (Eugene Levy) just typical of these films, making Jim look totally crazy, (I am still wondering if salami was used once again for his tackle?) Both Biggs and Hannigan suit each other onscreen, sharing a good chemistry together.
Then when the other members of the gang hear there is to be wedding bells, guys like Kevin (Thomas Ian Nichols), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Stifler (Sean William Scott), cannot contain their excitement. While Kevin has a quite unusual, and for me, unsatisfying role in this film, it is Stifler that steals the limelight. Sean William Scott does many things that are very funny, disgusting, slimy and classy, all typical of the Stifler character.
One of the best scenes in the film involves Stifler at a gay bar, up against this huge gay guy. When Stifler is totally embarrassed, he comes back, having a very entertaining dance contest with the gay guy, both being very good on the dance floor. Stifler also continues his battle with Finchy' or s@%tbreak', as Stifler affectionately calls him. The changes in their characters make the film very entertaining.
I guess I would have liked to see other cast regulars back for a third time, as they would have made the film even better. Characters like Chris Ozzie' Ostreicher (Chris Klein), Heather (Mena Suvari), Jessica (Natasha Lynne) Vicki (Tara Reid) and Jim's first love, Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) all would have been entertaining to see once again. But I have been told that many of these actors did not want to return for another American pie' sequel.
With the wedding come some new characters for the series. In this film we meet Michelle's family, her Mum Mary (Debra Rush) and Dad Harold (Fred Millard). They are very strange parents, and when they first meet their future son-in-law, it is a totally embarrassing moment for Jim. Also, the scene involving two strippers organised by Stifler, is another hilarious moment in the film, as Mr. and Mrs. Flaherty are totally oblivious to what the girls actually are. We also meet Michelle's gorgeous sister Candice (new comer January Jones). The battle for her affections between Finchy and Stifler are very funny, with what Stifler does to win Candice just amazing.
The screenplay for AP3' was written once again by Adam Hertz. The comedy he wrote for the film was cleverly incorporated especially the opening, the dance scene and the stripper's sequences. The story also has some quite disgusting moments, with what Stifler has to do when he loses the wedding ring, just vulgar. Also seeing Stifler getting on with someone he thought was Cadence' in a closet was also hard for me take. I also believe the wedding scenes could have been written better, as I felt that might have done something totally crazy for it, but alas they did not.
Directing AP3' was Jesse Dylan (son of rock legend Bob Dylan). He continues on the American Pie tradition, and creates some of his own. I love the way that he directed the dance sequence, because it gave the film a touch of class. But as I have said, I wished that the movie had done a lot more with the wedding sequence at the end of the film, with the director being the first person I have to blame.
The problem I have had with all these films is the way that they abuse the great gift of sex. They make sex feel very cheap, unfulfilling and something that has to be won'. The quote that Jim's Dad says to Michelle before the wedding, about making love' is a valid one, one of the few times where love and sex is thought of to be very a sacred' ideal in the series.
Having heard a bit about the film in the Australian media, it was great to see a TV interview with Sean William Scott, which has helped me appreciate how good an actor he really is, who in real life, is nothing like Stifler. I also read that Jason Biggs said nothing he does in these films are embarrassing, considering that Jim has screwed an apple pie and super glued his member to his hand. American Pie 3: American Wedding, will keep the fans entertained for yet another year.
CMRS gives American Pie 3: American Wedding': 3 (Good Film)
American Pie 2 (2001)
The gang might be back for a second helping of the 'pie', but I am sorry, it was not too my liking!
I have been and will continue to be criticised for not liking this movie, and although I understand almost all young people around the world loved the 2001 sequel 'American Pie 2', I was one person who was not that impressed by it. The major fans of this film will be sex-crazed teenagers, who love this sort of rude crude stuff. Unfortunately this sort of sex comedy has started to lose its appeal on a movie watcher such as me.
A year has passed and the gang is back home after their first year of college. They are now ready to party hard all the way through summer. But the group is also taking `the next step' into the fringes of adulthood. The guys (Kevin, Jim, Oz, Finch and Stifler) rent a beach house, vowing to celebrate their friendship and make this the best summer ever. But as always, whether their dreams come true or not is ultimately up to the girls (Vicky, Michelle, Nadia, Heather and Jessica). Through one boisterous summer of ear-splitting parties, side-splitting mishaps - and yes a trip to band camp - the gang discover that times change and people change, but friendship last a lifetime.
The script for American Pie 2 for me personally was good and bad. On the good side, I like how the gang sticks together through thick and thin, helping each other when they feel down. The other good elements include the introduction of 'band camp' which was fun to see at times. Then the storyline showing how hard it is for people from past relationships to remain just friends would be one of the biggest highlights of the film for me, as I totally get what the movie is trying to show. Yet the script goes too far at times, which bought the film down a fair bit for me. The script for the movie was written by Adam Herz (also an executive producer).
These sorts of films will never win awards for great acting, but it is these performers who make the fans so happy. Jim (Jason Biggs) is back doing more crazy stupid antics, which make Jim look like an even bigger idiot. While Jim's Dad (Eugene Levy), is a total embarrassment to his son. Levy is terrific in his role here, as he is truly funny how he handles his varying predicaments. Stifler (Sean William Scott) is still as sleazy as he was in high school, college if you would believe has made him worse. While Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is now into Tantra, in the hopes of scoring again with 'MILF', aka Stifler's Mom (Jennifer Coolidge). Oz (Chris Klein) and Kevin (Thomas Ian Nichols) bring a serious side to the story, as they are the mature guys in the group.
The girls are also back in a big way in American Pie 2. 'Band Camp geek' Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) was fun to see in this film, as she is trying to help Jim become a better lover. However some of her techniques are in my opinion a little over the top. Jim was questioning them at times as well. While Vicky (Tara Reid) looks stunning in this film, which I believe is a deliberate move by the film to show difficult it will be for Kevin to see Vicky again, and control his emotions towards her. Yet the other girls like Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) and Jessica (Natasha Lyonne) are not as good the second time around, as they have 'bits and pieces' type roles, which add nothing to the film.
American Pie 2 had some disgusting scenes attached to it. Firstly, we get to see Stifler have a rather 'p*** weak' drink, secondly Jim gets his hands stuck to embarrassing parts of the body and to some rather crude audio visual material. While the film's most degrading scene includes the boys trying to see their homosexual fantasies come to life, which were not funny in the slightest for me. Also the jokes this film had were not funny, and are a bad influence on the young people of today, who use them to bad effect in real life.
Director of American Pie 2, J.B. Rogers certainly goes all out to make this film even stupidier than the first film, and at times he succeeds. But even he goes too far, which is something I cannot excuse. The soundtrack to this film is made of songs that were popular with the teen at the time of release, which suit the film'. I really like the song 'Everywhere' by Michelle Branch from it.
I was told that I was not watching this film in the right frame of mind, which is to relax and not take it to seriously, but I am afraid I could not get that way to like what it was showing as a whole. Obviously fans of the film can and that is why they are obsessed by it. American Pie 2's theme is that `this summer is about sticking together', which is nothing that bad on the surface. However, I found that theme only comes through in certain sections of the film. This movie was basically another sick look at a theme which has been overdone - sex. Really sex is overrated in today's society if you ask me and needs to start having a lot less attention placed upon it. If you have not got the gist, I was not the biggest fan of American Pie 2 and believe younger people should demand more from a movie than what this delivers.
CMRS gives American Pie 2: 2 (Ok Film)
After Sex (2000)
If this is what happens after sex', heaven help us!
Usually when I review any film, good or bad, I like to comment on why I have the feelings I do. But in the case of this film I truly cannot be bothered. This film lacks good direction, has lame acting, a terrible script and starts to be become laughable and in poor taste. It also shows that the actors and actresses really have chosen a project that will bring a quick end to their careers. I am talking of people such as Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan), Virginia Madison (from the great romantic comedy Electric Dreams') and D.B. Sweeney, so on and so on.
So my rating for the film?
CMRS gives About Sex': 0.5 ( - Bad Film)
Why? Well quarter of that rating goes to the entire cast, crew and behind the scenes people for turning up for a few weeks and putting on a movie, albeit a disgraceful one. The other quarter, goes to the best parts of the movie, that of the two men talking in what looks like a psychologist's office. I have plenty of experience in such a place, and a lot of what these guys say makes plenty of sense. It is a shame the other parts of the film did not add up.
Enough has been said already. Please beware. This is a film that you will most likely hate, with a vengeance, because I know I do.
American Pie (1999)
There is something about your first piece!
While this movie might be a very funny look at the very taboo subject of sex, I feel it is the right time for me to give my opinion on what was a very popular teenage film. This film had a cast that was extremely funny and a story that should and does appeal to many teenagers. However I am going to also throw some ideas to young people, that think sex is just a game or something which has to be dared, pressured or made a pact on in a group to do, to thus gain the greatest human conquests, of getting 'laid', (a term I totally disagree with).
In this coming-of-age comedy, a group of friends at the end of their senior year make a pact to lose their virginity by prom night. In their outrageous attempts to fulfil this mission, they come to some surprising, hilarious and often touching realisations about themselves, their friendships, their notions of love, romance and their relations with the opposite sex. As the fateful date draws near, the boys wonder who among them will get lucky. More importantly, do they really want to do it at all?
This story was very funny the first time I watched it, in a packed cinema. Yet as I have gotten a little older, my feelings on the movie and what it is about have changed quite substantially. Having the four main characters try to find glory with a girl has been done so many times, but then again I can see this film had some sort of originality to it. I did like the direction this film took, under the guidance of the Weitz brothers.
The cast this film had, while rather unknown in talent, was extremely good. I enjoyed the role that Jason Biggs took on especially. To think that his character Jim was bagged for almost everything he did, it was even more courageous to act it. I remember in an interview, he said he had no problems doing the 'pie scene'. I am not sure I would have been so calm about it. Jason has gone on to do movies such as the disappointing Loser and a film called 'Boys and Girls'. The other obvious favourite in this film would have to be the gorgeous Shannon Elizabeth. She was very good as exchange student Nadia. The scenes she has with Jim are priceless, but alas of course he 'blows' the chance with her.
Other members in the cast include the innocent Heather (Mena Suvari). She was a different member of the movie's group who stood out a little bit, and made the right decisions for herself. The better role the Mena has done would have to be in American Beauty, where she was a lot more liberated in what she did and said. Finch was played Eddie Kaye Thomas, and I can relate to the way his character is treated in American Pie. He is the supposed 'brains' of the group, yet outside of the classroom he was made a complete idiot of.
The other standout role in this film (if you it can have such a thing?) would have to be that of Stifler (Sean William Scott). He was the bragger of the film, saying he can score with any girl he likes, which in reality is probably true. Why I don't know? Sean has also appeared in other films such as the crazy 'Dude where's my car', which I did not like, 'Road Trip' and in the tense thriller 'Final destination'.
Yet we have other roles such as Vicki (Tara Reid) and her onscreen boyfriend Kevin (Thomas Ian Nichols). While Jessica (Natasha Lynne), the flute toting Michelle (Allison Hannigan) and Oz (Chris Klein), round out a pretty good cast. Yet the one person who was a little older in this movie, but still very good, was Jim's Dad (the hilarious Eugene Levy). He was so funny, that he could almost be my favourite of the whole film, with his adlibs just great.
Yet this film makes a great mockery of something is meant to be so special. If people around the world try to lose their virginity, because others around them have, then I am afraid to say that sex has lost all it sacredness and value. Yet also think about what the consequences are of a sexual relationship. The AIDs virus is a deadly part of our society now, as are other STDs. Then what about unwanted pregnancies? They are common occurrence these days, which is a real problem. I am not so sure that this film worries about issues such as these, instead trading them in for a good laugh instead. Can people see where I am coming from?
This film also reminded me a lot of films such as the totally funny 'Mischief', starring the gorgeous Kelly Preston. I remember reading that this film was based a little bit on Mischief. It also felt a bit like 'Fast times at Ridgemont high' and the brilliant 'Breakfast Club'. In that way I say that American Pie was good, yet it also had originality that it could only have.
I have heard many people who loved this film, especially young immature teenage boys (who else but the silly looking boys hey?). Yet I met one girl who said that after one hour of viewing this movie she told me that she had to leave the cinema. I am not surprised by this reaction. As a Christian, I feel that sex is a gift that was given to us by God. Yet the general public abuses something so special by making it a very selfish act. We are not making love any longer, but sleeping around to get better names for ourselves. If people can not see that American pie does this to a very big extent, then our younger generation are more naïve than I thought!
CMRS gives 'American Pie': 4 (Very Good Film)
Sliding Doors (1998)
What a difference a few seconds can make?
The romantic comedy, 'Sliding Doors', is a great look at how quickly a person's life can change in a matter of moments. By taking one path instead of another, forming a tantalizing 'what if?' In fact this movie gives the impression that some things are meant to be known, while some things are not.
London publicists Helen, is effortlessly sliding between parallel storylines that show what happens if she does or does not catch a morning train back to her apartment. Love. Romantic entanglements. Deception. Trust. Friendship. Comedy. All come into focus back and forth, overlap, then surprisingly converge in one of the great romantic comedy films in years.
Sliding doors is one of the best films that Gwyneth Paltrow has done. It has it all, humour, anger, sadness, love, compassion and a lot of lying. This movie is most special for the way the two storylines overlap, making this a very original movie. Paltrow's performance is grand as the 'hurt Helen' or the very 'naïve Helen', depending on which parts of the film you are watching. Some of her lines are priceless. Paltrow has had a very celebrated career in acting and of late singing and deserves all the accolades she gets. It was also refreshing to watch her in the murder thriller 'The perfect murder', along with screen legend Michael Douglas.
Yet there are some other great performances in this film. John Hannah was exceptional as the sensitive and understanding 'James', who is helping the 'hurt Helen' back to being her 'old self'. Then you have the cheating boy 'Jerry' played by John Lynch, who was using the 'naïve Helen' to live out a very adulterous and selfish lifestyle. It was very funny to see the way he handled the situation with Helen actually. Then to top it all off, we get a great performance from Jeanne Tripplehorn, who was Jerry's girlfriend on the side, who gives Jerry a very difficult time in both parts of the story.
This film also has an impressive soundtrack. With acts like Blair, the Brand New Heavies, Dodgy, Jamiroquai and the Space Monkeys. Yet there are two very famous parts to this soundtrack. One is Elton John, who is given a bad mention in the movie, when Jerry is caught in a most precarious of positions while playing the Elton John song, 'Honky Cat'. However the best song on the whole soundtrack comes from the band Aqua, with the tune 'Turn Back Time', which suited the film perfectly. The film clip to this song is also very good.
Sliding doors is one of those feel good movies, which can also make you feel sad as well. It shows how difficult life can be in a relationship and how important relationships can be as well. It also proves that relationships are extremely hard work and you need to find someone who you trust and love and that you get the same feelings back in return. If you want to see the good and bad sides of love take a look at this romantic classic.
CMRS gives 'Sliding Doors': 4.5 (Very Good- Brilliant Film)
The American President (1995)
The American President' is more than just a political movie!
Rob Reiner's The American President', is a refreshing look at the controversial and sometimes boring subject of politics. This movie also does more. It has a wonderful love story, with a very comedic feel, which is different to other romantic movies I have seen. I am sure that being The President of the United States' is arduous task at the best of times. However this film gives a much different look at what it means to be the US president, in the public eye and in private as well.
How does the widowed leader of the free world balance his many obligations to his country with the ordinary demands and everyday rites of courtship? When US President Andrew Shepherd, quite unexpectedly, falls in love with Sydney Ellen Wade, an environmental lobbyist, he must overcome obstacles not faced by average citizens; he must worry that the public's right to know will collide with the desire for personal privacy. Political crises are different than personal ones and somehow the American President alone must find a way to balance time to do his job, for the love of his country with his love for an incredible woman.
It is obvious that this movie's main stars, that being Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) and Sydney Ellen Wade (Annette Benning), steal most of the limelight. There roles as politicians are so believable, it allows them to do so. There onscreen chemistry was amazing. In addition to having such comedic scenes also makes this movie funny to watch. One such highlight is when the President is asking Sydney out on a date. He is immediately snubbed as she thinks it is a big prank and comments to him you have a great ass'. When she realises that it really is Andrew Shepherd the president' on the phone, she contemplates on the terrible blunder she has just made.
There are some other funny moments in this movie, many surrounding what and how the president approaches courting' Sydney. The simple task of ordering flowers over the phone is a difficult thing for the president, when his credit cards are stored in Wisconsin'. Furthermore when the flower shop hangs the phone up on the President, it just goes to show that the presidents personal matters should be handled someone other than him. Sydney also has her problems with this relationship. The career woman is told by her boss that, `The time it will take you to go from presidential girlfriend to cocktail party joke can be measured on an egg timer.'
The screenplay was well written for this movie by Aaron Sorkin. I like the comedy and drama, in addition to the three differing circumstances that he presented. We have the president and the job that he must continue to do, while also being in a re-election year. This part of the story gives good tension to the movie. Then you have Sydney and her political position as an Environmental lobbyist who is trying to win votes to pass a crucial fuel bill. Then to interweave the beautiful love story between the two, keeps the movie interesting and strikes up the perfect balance.
The supporting cast for Douglas and Benning in The American President' is first-class. A.J MacInerney (Martin Sheen) is the president's right-hand man, Lewis Rothschild (Michael J. Fox) is the president's conscience, with a brilliant scene of retaliating remarks between Douglas and Fox close to the end of the movie, Robin McCall (Anna Deavere Smith) is the press secretary, Leon Kodak (David Paymer) is his pollster and Janie Basdin (Samantha Mathis) is his personal secretary. I also enjoyed the role of the president's daughter Lucy' (well played by Shawna Waldron). Her character had wisdom that her Father needed and was a good change to see from time to time.
The political feel this film had was also a highlight for me. It handles such issues as the environment via Sydney's character and gun control through the president character in the most professional way. The final speech of the president's, is as powerful a moment I think I have ever seen in a movie, and has a very political feel to it as well. I love the end of the president's speech when he says My name is Andrew Shepherd and I AM the president!'
Someone told me before I viewed this film, that `fans of the West Wing, will like the The American President'. While I do agree, I also feel this movie can be enjoyed by anyone if they desire to watch it. I am not a fan of The West Wing', but you can certainly see the resemblance to that show in this film.
Also consider for a moment the scandal that has surrounded the title of US president'. After the revealing affair of former US president Bill Clinton, I am certain this movie has helped in making the title of The American President', strong and great once again. For some reason I was attracted to this movie and perhaps it is because I like Michael Douglas' onscreen presence so much in it. However after viewing it I loved every aspect of it, the cast, the story, even the politics. If you want to see a good night's entertainment, then The American President' is the movie just for you.
CMRS gives The American President': 5 (Brilliant Film)
Part man. Part machine. All cop. The future of Law Enforcement.
Law enforcement is a dangerous job for all police at the best of times. That is no more apparent than in the 1987 science-fiction movie, Robocop. After seeing this movie a few times I appreciate what it must be like to be a cop and what it is like to be the target of criminals, and at the mercy of the public they are protecting. Robocop allows us to see first-hand what it means to have your life 'robbed' away from you, then what it takes to right the wrong that has been committed.
When a good cop, Alex Murphy, gets blown away by some ruthless criminals, innovative scientists and doctors are able to piece him back together as an unstoppable crime-fighting cyborg called 'Robocop'. Impervious to bullets and bombs, and equipped to with high-tech weaponry, Robocop quickly makes a name for himself by cleaning up the crime-ridden streets of violence-ravaged Detroit. But despite his new, hardened exterior, Robocop is tormented by scraps of memory of his former life, and relives vivid nightmares of his own death at the hands of the vicious killers. Now he is out to seek more than justice.he wants revenge!
I am fascinated by Robocop director Paul Verhoeven. His direction style is pretty good, with his most famous work being Basic Instinct, a movie I did like. I am sure that this movie took along time to direct, and I also know that Verhoeven was very 'hands-on' directing it. However he has a very weird mind, especially with his obsession about the crucifix. In Robocop, Verhoeven said 'I wanted to show Satan killing Jesus', in reference to the character of Alex Murphy. I question this man's morals and values, as they are very confronting. His fascination with violence is also a very hard thing to understand.
The other people involved in making 'Robocop' were screenwriters Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner, who wrote a wonderful script for this movie. The hero of the film was especially well written. The people who were involved in making the 'Robocop' suit, had an arduous task, but did it beautifully. The suit was designed by Rob Bottin. I am sure he would have had to put a lot of thought into what and how the suit would be like.
Actor Peter Weller had the difficult, but enviable task of being Police Officer Alex Murphy/Robocop. I feel that he was a great choice for being 'the knight in shining armor'. The way he makes us believe that he is a robot is terrific, as is the way that he brings a human side to his other personality. I recently saw Weller in the movie 'Styx', starring alongside Aussie actor Bryan Brown. 'Robo's' partner is female cop Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen). Her character remains loyal to Robocop, because when other people believe Alex Murphy is 'dead', Lewis knows her old partner is inside that machine somewhere.
There are some really bad characters in Robocop. Robert 'Bob' Morton (Miguel Ferrier) would seem to be on the side of good, as he is the one responsible for making 'a man become a robot'. However it also evident that he is only doing it for his own gain. The meanest character on this film was a man by the name of Clarence Boddicker, (Kurtwood Smith). His character has no conscience, as he goes around Detroit killing innocent cops without blinking an eye. He is doing this under the evil instructions of OCP employee Richard 'Dick' Jones (Ronny Cox). By the end of the movie you are willing that Dick and the bad guy are blown away by Robocop.
I would describe the scenes to this movie as being either 'gruesome or heroic'. Alex Murphy's death is one of the most challenging pieces of cinema I have ever seen, as was the introduction of Police robot 'Ed 209'. When Ed goes haywire, killing an innocent man, once again the violence is very confronting for the audience. This scene also shows the subtle use of comedy. After shutting down the robot, a person calls out for a 'paramedic' to help the dead man. This was very humorous, as the man was more than just 'dead', and makes what was something so violent seem to be just a joke. By the end this movie, I felt very desensitised by the violence, as if it were commonplace.
This movie also has some heroic scenes. All of the screen time with Robocop seemed to make him feel like a hero, as we are all willing him to do his job, by being a tough indestructible police officer. My favourite two 'Robo-scenes' are one, when Robocop confronts one of his killers at a 'Shell' gas station, and two, when our hero uncovers a major drug raid, again involving the scum that ended Alex Murphy. I also like the soundtrack to 'Robocop'. The Robocop 'march' highlights the status of our hero and these scenes. Yet we are also made to feel for this cyborg. I like how we see him revisit his former home, and what affect his 'human brain' has. This robot is still very vulnerable and disturbed by what has happened to him in the past as a human.
It is a known fact that people hated working on this movie, which is understandable. I am sure it would have been demanding, on and off screen. Peter Weller also openly admitted that being 'Robocop' was the worst experience of his acting life, simply because of the costume that he had to wear. I was not surprised to hear that. Yet he gave the Robocop figure great 'heart' which it needed. This movie will test your threshold for violence, as it is 'cynical and unblinking'. It will also make you feel good, as the main star is a 'likeable' robot. Watch out for the wonderful DVD which is now available for this movie. For an 80's movie, Robocop was a very good one.
CMRS gives 'Robocop': 4 (Very Good Film)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Comment: Pulp: Soft, moist, formless mass of matter, a magazine which is made of poor quality paper and containing sensational stories. Fiction: Invention; invented statement or narrative; prose literature c
With a cult following around the world, a couple of years ago I thought I better get around to watching Pulp Fiction', and see what all the fuss was about. To my horror, I found this movie too sick and violent for my liking. Then just the other day I gave it a second chance and boy I am glad that I did. Pulp Fiction' is an inside look at a memorable community of criminals. This is one of the more unique pieces of cinema the world has ever seen.
Prize-fighter Butch Coolidge has decided to stop payment on a deal he's made with the devil. Honey Bunny and Pumpkin are a couple of young lovers and small time thieves who decide they need a change of venue. Meanwhile, two career criminals, Vincent Vega and Jules, go about their daily business of shooting up other crooks that are late on payments to their boss. While one is asked to baby-sit their boss' dangerously pretty young wife, the other suddenly realises that he must give up his life of crime.
The screenplay written for Pulp Fiction' by Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avery is unusual and interesting at the same time. I like how Quentin made the story be out of chronological order, in addition to the way he cleverly changes the pace of the movie (e.g. from violent-humorous or vice-versa). Then there is also the very subtle use of humour in PF', which is another part of the script l like as well. Tarantino, I have read, used the humour to offset the violence that was about to, or has happened. Yet the script also holds some weird dialogue, for instance when Mia and Vincent are in the Diner, as I felt the first time it was really boring. A second viewing I can appreciate that it is a little different, not like your normal movie lingo. I am not surprised that this screenplay won an academy award, as it was very original.
This movie has an all star line up. It resurrected the career of John Travolta who was on a downer before taking on the character of Vincent Vega in PF'. Travolta is good as the bad guy, as I also like his performance in the action hit, Broken Arrow'. Travolta shares an interesting, but bizarre chemistry with Uma Thurman, who plays Mia. The dance sequence the pair does at the burger diner has to go down as one of the great pieces of cinema I have seen. I know I will not forget it for along time to come. Thurman is also part of the movies most distressing scene, when her character accidentally OD's on heroine. What follows is quite unbelievable.
Vincent's mobster sidekick is Jules (Samuel L. Jackson), whose role is so serious that in some circumstances it has to be laughed at. Jules always misquotes a bible passage, thinking that he has it right to the very word. The verse is Ezekiel 25:17'. I love how the script allows both Travolta and Jackson to make fun of what essentially are dangerous, violent and serious situations. They also share funny dialogue at the beginning of the film, as Vincent asks Jules, do you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris? A Royale with Cheese.' The mob pair work for Marcellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) who for most of the movie we only see the back of his head. He is one of the more influential characters in the entire movie.
Then you have the character of Butch (played by action superstar Bruce Willis). He has been asked to throw a fight he is in, but doesn't, with the consequences of that being great. We also learn about the history of a wrist watch that his grandfather had in the war. One of the two great cameo performances in PF' comes from Captain Koons (Christopher Walken), who tells one of the movies funnier moments. The wrist watch is an important item to the movies make-up. The other is a bad guy by the name Jimmie (played by Tarantino himself). Tarantino is one guy who sure is involved when it comes to making a movie!
I have to admit that I was not a fan of the contents of Pulp Fiction' when I first watched it. Yet three years on, I can see why many people like what it covers. The violence (one of the main reason why I did not like it first time) is nowhere as bad I thought, as Tarantino cleverly cuts away to a different camera angle or too a completely different shot all together to make it a little less shocking. Yet it still has the same impact, as you know exactly what has happened. Sure the bad guys use guns, but again they are used in such a way, that I could approve of them a second time around. There are many other deeper aspects to this movie that I have learnt to see and want too find more about.
Early on in 2003 I was away with friends on the beach. At one stage I started drinking a can or two of alcohol. After an hour I was getting really happy, and started to dance like they do at the diner in Pulp Fiction'. Since that night I have wanted to watch the movie and see what I was mimicking. Quentin Tarantino has had what I believe is a positive influence on movies that we watch today. Sure he might push the envelope on what people like, but he also makes movies that are a little bit different, unlike the normal predictable' movie formulas. Tarantino also uses some extraordinary camera angles in Pulp Fiction, just great! First time around, I would have only given Pulp Fiction a very small rating, however after many viewings, Pulp Fiction has shown me that it is a brilliant film, exceptionally well made by Tarantino.
CMRS gives Pulp Fiction': 5 (Brilliant Film)
Amy's Orgasm (2001)
Every romance has a climax. I am sorry, but this movie only brings back bad memories.
Hollywood had to bring out a movie just like this one. Firstly the name used, for me had to be the name, then the topic following the name is also very creepy and ironic. I will explain later why I feel the way I do about this movie, and what I will describe are the thoughts and ideas that I have had, when it comes to the whole deal that I guess is Amy's Orgasm'.
Amy Mandell is a sophisticated, beautiful 29-year-old self-help author who, having been burned by men over and over, has made it her mission to convince women that they don't need men to feel fulfilled. Desperately lonely and having trouble practicing what she preaches, Amy meets Matthew Starr, a shock jock known for his sexist on-air antics, irresistible charm, and sexual prowess. Amy finally throws down her guard and dares to experience the most elusive orgasm of all -love.
This movie was written and directed by its star, Julie Davis, which created some problems for me. Firstly the screenplay, while not being completely bad, had some downfalls. At times, the main character of Amy was hard for to me like or even understand. While some of the other characters were a bit too much, such as Amy's parents and her priest, who I feel is the most unrealistic character I have seen in a movie for a long time. Then look at what was contained in the movie's screenplay, with all these different notions of love and relationships. In the end, I felt that the story overanalysed love, and started to become boring, repetitive, predictable and confusing.
Davis did a pretty good job in directing the movie, although I did have problems with her overall visions for the film. I was not a big fan of the way that we hear all these various voices churning through Amy's head, as they really do show that this girl has no right to give out advice on love, when she is totally confused on the issue herself. However, I did like the movie's preempting about what sorts of situation Amy might like to be in, via her very deep sexual fantasies.
Amy Mandell (Davis) is a woman famous for writing a book called Why Love Doesn't Work', loved by many thousands of women, but widely criticised by the media. It was a very open role from Davis, as she would show herself in many personal predicaments, and then would also talk about many issues that most of us shrug away from.
While on her interview bandwagon, Amy is interviewed by Radio DJ Matthew Starr (Nick Chinlund), who initially we are meant to think is a really sick jerk. But as Amy and the audience get to know Matt, he shows himself to be a pretty reasonable sort of guy, someone Amy could love. While I like Matt as a movie character, it is all a bit too freaky for me, for two reasons. One my name is Matt and the situation I found myself in just a few years ago was with a girl named Amy. This movie had to use those two names! And, two, I once wanted to be a radio DJ like Matt, making AO seem all the more coincidental.
We also meet some other interesting characters in AO. Amy's publicist, Janet Gaines (Caroline Aaron) is a strange woman and we learn quite quickly what sort of person she is. While Amy's parents (Mary Ellen Taylor and Charles Cioffi) are very cold and callous when it comes to their daughter and what has happened in her life. Yet Amy's friends, young couple Don (Mitchell Whitfield) and Elizabeth (Jennifer Bransford) help their friend feel better about life and love. However, the priest (Jeff Cesario) is character, who I am sure many people would love, but I did not appreciate here.
This movie also reminds of other things I have seen on TV and in cinema lately. Firstly, the downer for this movie is the way it brings back bad memories of a film that did not like, the disgraceful 2001 Josh Hartnett film '40 Days and 40 Nights'. The area AO reminds me of that film is the stupid way it involves religion within the context of a film that deals primarily with a human view on sex, just not good enough if you ask me. The other thing is how much better CBO's Sex and the City' handles all the issues involving, relationships, love and sex. Unfortunately, AO was unsuccessful in dealing with these issues.
AO also brings back some bad personal memories for me. An example of this is the moment in the film where Amy asks Matt a very personal question about his sex life. Now, while most people would have no problem with questions of this nature being asked of them, I have regretted admitting this to other people, especially those who did not deserve to hear about it. I have also learnt that this movie's was originally titled, Why Love Doesn't Work', a much better title than Amy's Orgasm in my opinion. I am a bit confused as to the change in name for the video release.
If any other name had been used in this film, I think I could have stomached it more than I have, but by using the name AMY', it really does bring back memories for me of a person who I have forgotten. I have also forgotten the personal things that she told me about her life, like her deep sexual feelings, her very lurid sex life and what many of her orgasms were actually like. To say that these words and images affected me is an understatement. So a movie with this name was always going to be difficult for me to like, which just so happens to be the case.
CMRS gives Amy's Orgasm': 1.5 (Bad Ok Film)
Heavenly Creatures (1994)
A brilliant movie which shows the true story of a crime that shocked a nation.
Before Peter Jackson got into showing us how good a movie maker he was with the Lord of The Rings trilogy, he had made a very good movie 10 years ago, called Heavenly Creatures, an ironic title, as the people that we meet here are anything but 'Heavenly'. This is a truly unbelievable movie, as it shows two very unique friends, and how far they would go, to keep from being separated.
Heavenly Creatures paints a vivid and disturbing portrait of two teenage schoolgirls whose obsessive friendship leads to an unspeakable crime. This hypnotic thriller chronicles the story of Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker from the moment they meet during the 1950's in New Zealand. Unhappy with their lives, the girls withdraw deep into a bizarre fantasy world of their joint creation. But when faced with a devastating separation, the notorious pair plots a horrifying and violent solution to stay together.
I want to give great praise to director, co-producer and writer of Heavenly Creatures, Peter Jackson. He made a very intelligent movie, putting great emphasis on every minor detail. His direction for this film does many things that I like, such as showing off many great scenic views of New Zealand. With every movie I see of Jackson's, I get the feeling that I would not mind going to New Zealand for a look. Then to keep in sink with the story, Jackson beautifully recreates a time that was undoubtedly very very conservative. Then to finish it all of, we get some remarkable special effects from Jackson, that show what a weird world these best friend's allow themselves to imagine and escape to.
But without a well written story, this movie would not have been as great as it was. Helping Jackson with the screenplay was Francis Welsh. I very much like how the movie opens for us, as we get the impression that something strange has happened, but we are not sure what. While the ending of the film is also very confronting, as it shows what these girls plan to do and how they do it. Then to have the story retold to us via the diary entries of Pauline was great, as you could the true feeling of what life was like for these girls and how much they cherished each other.
Other interesting themes in this story include how the film deals with the issues of homosexuality, an issue I am sure people in the 1950's would have not liked to confront. It was also good to see the mental issues surrounding both Pauline and Juliet. It was clear to me that Pauline was suffering from some sort of depressive illness, showing herself to be a very mixed up and crazy person. The scenes with Pauline at the psychiatrist are great as we get a true insight into what sort of person she really is.
This leads me to the great performances by the two leading ladies of Heavenly Creatures. Pauline Parker (Melanie Lynsky) was a very interesting character watch unravel before me. Firstly she seemed a very quiet shy person, but after she meets Juliet (Kate Winslet), she certainly starts to change, as they share common interests, like tenor Mario Lanza and movie star Orson Welles.
What I like about Lynsky's performance is her look, especially the camera shots from above her head, where she has this scathing look on her face, of pure hatred, just brooding inside of her. Winslet, in her first major role is quite superb as this girl who seems very easy-going and hyperactive. Her change in character was also great, as she could be so 'bright' and bubbly, and then look so sad and unhappy. It was as if she was a chameleon, able to change her way at the drop of a hat
The supporting cast here is also good. The roles I like the most, include Honara Parker (Sarah Peirse), Pauline's mother, a woman who is very good to her daughter, but is treated appallingly back. The other performance is Juliet's father, Henry Hulme (Clive Merrison), who alerts the Parker's that something bad could be developing between the two girls, as they grow closer as friends.
As I was watching this movie, I started to remember a movie I watched last year which also showed another unspeakable crime. That movie was the controversial 'Bully', which showed another view of teenage sexuality, and how evil young people can be. In fact the 'plan' to trick a person into a vulnerable situation in Heavenly Creatures, was almost a carbon copy of Bully. I recommend both movies if you are yet to see them. The fact that this movie is based on true life events, makes it all the more poignant for me, because a crime such as this committed back in the 1950's would have been a huge scandal, but in today's society could construed as common place.
Peter Jackson has made a great movie and presented a story that obviously he thought needed telling. I am glad he did. I also want to commend the casting people for their choices, as the wrong actors playing Pauline and Juliet would have made this a bad movie to watch, but they got it right. Finally it was interesting to read, that the character of Juliet Hulme, is in real based on person by the name of Anne Perry, now a British crime novelist. From my research, this woman seems like a good person, and is still puzzled by the fact that she could help commit such an atrocity all those years ago, that this movie shows. All of us we be of that mind set after we have watched this movie, because I know I am!
CMRS gives 'Heavenly Creatures': 4.5 (Very Good - Brilliant Movie)
The Empire falls. A Grand Finale to the greatest movie trilogy of all time.
Many millions of people love Star Wars, and I am not going to hide the fact, that I am part of that trend. In my opinion, Star Wars (Episodes 4-6) make the greatest movie trilogy of all time. In Episode 6, Return of the Jedi, we see the gripping conclusion to the ultimate movie joyride. So strap yourself in for the ride of your life!
After rescuing Han Solo and Princess Leia from certain doom at the hands of crime lord Jabba the Hut, Luke Skywalker revisits Yoda, Jedi Master. For only by completing his Jedi training can he become a true Jedi Knight and defeat Darth Vader and the dark side of the force. Creatures from all over the galaxy rally in attempt to defy the Galactic Empire in rebuilding an even more deadly Death Star.
ROTJ is not the best Star Wars film of the trilogy, but it is not a bad film. It tidies up all the loose ends that have been started by the previous two films and continues on the emotion that Empire Strikes Back had. The Screenplay for ROTJ was done by Executive Producer George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan. I love the new characters that were included in this story, as they are fun to watch. I also enjoyed the funny little bits that were added into this Star Wars story, like having a musical section at the start of the film.
I was amazed to see that all of the Star Wars trilogy movies have been directed by three different people. But with George Luca's in charge of the Star Wars franchise, any good director could do the film and it would come out ok. In the director's chair for ROTJ, was Richard Marquand, who did an amiable job. He continues on the space fantasy which is concluded in ROTJ.
I have spoken about my feelings towards all the usual characters in the Star Wars trilogy. People like Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and the robot droids R2D2 (Kenny Baker) and C3PO (Anthony Daniels). They have all had a great impact on the series, and do what is needed to be done to make ROTJ an enjoyable film.
In ROTJ we get to see some brand new characters. For the first time we get the chance to see the Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) who in the flesh, is a gruesome looking person. You can see why Darth Vader is so driven to serve the dark side of the force, as the Emperor is totally focused on making his side the strongest in the galaxy.
But the best inclusion in this film has to be the fun little creatures called Ewoks, who are never referred to by name in the film. These Ewoks look like a cuddly teddy bear, but are very strong and aggressive little creatures. The funniest part with Ewoks has to be when these creatures mistakenly think C-3PO is some sort of god to them. There was also another interesting character from the rebellion, who was a major space commander. Insect look-a-like Admiral Piett (Kenneth Colley) is a man who is supposed to be taken seriously, but by looking at this person, you could be forgiven for starting to laugh at him as well.
RTOJ has some very enthralling moments in it. The start of RTOJ shows us with Luke at his home planet, where he is out to rescue the ill-fated Han Solo. Here we meet back up with Jabba the Hut, a slimy creepy blob, who is very happy to see Han Solo in the position he is. But the demise of Jabba and his crew is great, as Luke shows himself to be a real Jedi. In fact in this sequence we see two other gruesome creatures, one, a scary monster, who Luke defeats and the other is a creature in a pit that lies in the waiting for his next feed.
Other enjoyable sequences are the parts with the Ewoks, as they make the film seem much less serious, a good thing in my view. In this part of the film, we see Luke and his friends trying to destroy a power station for the new death star on the Ewoks planet. Here high speed hover scooters are driven, and although all these scooters seem fake, they only add to the fantasy. Finally the final confrontation between Vader and Skywalker is great, as more sword fighting just gets me more excited. Then for us as the audience to see Darth Vader's head was a true highlight of the film. It is interesting to note: Darth Vader is the first character in movie history to be played by three actors (body by David Prowse, voice by James Earl Jones, face by Sebastian Shaw)
So who are my favourite Star Wars characters? Well I like almost all of them, but my most compelling characters have to be Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Obi-wan Kenobi, Yoda and the two droids, R-2D2 and C-3PO. All these character creations are some of the best I have seen in a movie.
Every once in a while I have a great experience at a movie. That very experience was captured on me in the whole Star Wars trilogy (episodes 4-6), because people like myself can love these sorts of movies and get lost in them, so much so that we feel like we are part of the fantasy we are seeing played out on the screen. When a movie (or movies) can do this, I feel that they are something very special. Seeing all of the various characters from all of the Star Wars movies (episodes 4-6), has been a great pleasure and privilege for a film freak such as myself. So thank you George Lucas and may the movie forces be with you forever!
CMRS gives 'Return of the Jedi: 5 (Brilliant Film)
Mission: Impossible II (2000)
In my opinion, this is still one of the worst movies of the new millennium!
Contains Spoilers!! Mission Impossible 2 is a film that suffered from the pretense that it believed it was a good film. Unfortunately, this moviegoer was tricked into thinking that it would be an 'unreal' film. How wrong I was, as I had a very negative experience, as I found it boring for the most part. I have to ask, why is that Hollywood cannot get the 'Mission Impossible' formula the way I like it?
The world's greatest spy, Ethan Hunt is partnering up with the beautiful Nyah Hall to stop renegade agent Sean Ambrose from releasing a new kind of terror on an unsuspecting world. But before the mission is complete they'll traverse the globe and have to choose between everything they love and everything they believe in.
I was truly disappointed in the direction that MI2 was given. John Woo (from the brilliant action thriller Face/Off), was the man in charge, and I believe he was the wrong man for this job. He really over did many things in this film. But the most overdone and frustrating part of the film for me, has to be the way Woo just had to keep showing things in slow motion. If Woo had done these shots a few times that would have been ok, but he had to do umpteen times.
However Woo got the right look to the film. The shots of the mountain tops, the Aussie landscape which included the outback and of Australian city, Sydney, really did impress me. Woo had cinematographer Jeffery L. Kimball doing this aspect of the movie, and visually I found nothing wrong to the film.
The same cannot be said for the script of MI2, which once again was disappointing. The story was the inspiration of Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga, different men to the first MI film. However the screenplay writer, Robert Towne was back for a second shot at this story. Unfortunately all these writers got this story totally wrong again. I believe this because of the crazy plot, which involves the silly virus, just not good enough. Then with this as the sole focus of the story, we get another story that becomes very complex, confusing and at times rather boring. Another complaint in this story has to be the character creations, which are pathetic, especially the bad guys, who are not convincing at all.
Main character of MI2 is Ethan Hunt (Producer Tom Cruise). As I have mentioned previously, Cruise certainly looks the part in these films, and while he was ok in the role of Hunt this time, I still think he needs more MIF members to help counterbalance the film's spy aspects. Hunt's mentor in the film is Mission Commander Swanbeck (Sir Anthony Hopkins), who was well casted in his small role.
The female lead in MI2 is Nyah Hall (the gorgeous Thandie Newton). She is a professional thief recruited to help Hunt on his mission. We learn that Hall used to be romantically involved with a defective agent. Nyah is asked to do a very dangerous job, one that could cost her life. Luther (Ving Rhames) is again an ok character, but he does not have a great affect on me. But a funny new man was Billy Baird (John Polson), who has a very over exaggerated Australian accent, but for some reason I did not mind that.
The bad guy here is a man by the name of the Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott), who is not a nice man at all. He is driven to get his hands on this new deadly virus, and noting will stop him from getting it. Ambrose is a pathetic bad guy, poorly acted by Scott, as he did not get me overawed like a good bad guy can and should do. Ambrose's right hand man is also just as bad. His name is Hugh Stamp (Richard Roxburgh) and knowing that this guy is Australian, he has a terrible accent all the way through this movie.
MI2 has some good sequences and some very bad sequences. I enjoyed the start as it opened the movie up nicely. But after the race course scenes, the film gets lost in a rather boring sequence, where Hunt is trying to get a hold of the deadly virus guns. This scene is bad reminder for me, as it is just like the vault scene in the first MI film.
Yet the ending does make up for some of this film's short falls. The bike/car chase is really well shot, but unfortunately John Woo had to overuse the slow mo shots which ruined it for me a little. Then the final confrontation between Hunt and Ambrose was fine, up until a point where see a knife held extremely close to Hunt's eyeball. Now these shots are supposed totally thrill us as the audience, but once again they did not work on me.
I also want to give my opinion on this movie's marketing. I feel that it was crap the way that they made the film look so much cooler and better than actually was, mainly via its trailer. The whole glasses thrown at the screen really did build this film up, but in retrospect, I find it to be totally 'wanky'. I am now very careful not to get the right or wrong impression of a movie via its promotion and or trailer, mainly because of MI2.
I have learned that they are doing a Mission Impossible 3 very soon. As big a film as it will be, I will not be seeing it cinema, after the bad and bitter experience I had of watching this film in the cinema. I am unsure if I will ever like a Hollywood inspired 'Mission Impossible' film, because for some reason the powers behind each individual film does not do, what I relate to being in the MI story. I guess time will only tell.
CMRS gives 'Mission Impossible 2': 1 (BAD FILM)