It is over 30 years old, but it watches much older mainly because DePalma is as usual trying way too hard to homage/imitate someone else's direction style while at the same time putting way too indelible of a 70s dorkism stamp on the texture. Much about the pop culture of the 70s is rather non-nostalgic and cringing camp, and a film like this one so completely bathed in the decade's cheap cologne, very justifiably suffers. Carrie has some effective horror scenes, maybe even a couple iconic ones, but these are too often followed by wandering Film School exercises that leave you scratching your head as to the whereabouts of an editor. The background score is soap opera grade and distracting. The performances are very good and the casting of the hate-ables is spot on. PJ Soles and the chubby obnoxious guy from Miami Vice shine as the hard to look at, too cool for school loathsome antagonists. Yet as with virtually all King works, the book is more satisfying than the film for lots of reasons. You lump all of these many negatives together, and the result is a film that really can no longer be watched in its entirety and survives only for about 15 minutes of its effective and disturbing horror imagery, which Im sure you could just you-tube and spare yourself a wasted evening.
Toni Collette whom i used to really respect, has bitten the forbidden fruit by accepting this role. Great actress, and she holds her own, but this is embarrassing. She plays a woman suffering from a multiple personality disorder who could be in a straight jacket, but instead lives as a happy housewife/mom tormenting her family with her perverse alter egos. These things are sometimes mildly funny when executed in a sketch format as farce, but not like this. Predictably, Tara is presented not as farce, but as some twisted vision of reality the series producers have created that begs our acceptance. With most other Sopranopera possibilities exhausted, little else remains but to turn mental illness into dark comedy. Sybil, the PG-13 sitcom. If this all seems unimportant to you then you will be delighted to learn the entire premise really isn't important anyway because what is the show really about? What else, vulgarity.
How many squirms, how many titillations can we still manage to strip out of a thoroughly mined audience. Oh the language we will use, and isn't it oh so 2009 having a little kid in shot having to hear and process it all. Its both wonderful and liberating that Showtime sees entertainment in a mentally ill Mom bizarrely empathizing with her high school daughter's proclivity for anal sex. I guess, they envision you as parent watching it with your own teenage child and enjoying some breakthrough 'anal sex is cool' bonding moments together?
Gimme a break, you are watching skinless porn, and hey thats cool, I just hope you realize it and I hope your kids are off playing Guitar Hero in another room talking about how warped you are.
When he receives an anonymous post card inviting him to spend a night in a haunted NYC hotel room, room 1408 of the Dolphin Hotel to be exact, Enslin of course meets his match.
From the opening frames, "1408" constructs an effective anticipatory pace- roller coaster style, and thats obviously vital in a scary film. I especially enjoyed the conversation between Cusack and the forever and needlessly angry Samuel L. Jackson. He's still that of course, but good direction here has him properly harnessed and enjoyable for a change as he does an excellent job as the obligatory "don't go in there" hotel manager. Of note to Jackson fans, in spite of the movie poster, Jackson is a supporting character at best and on film for all of 7 minutes, maybe 8.
From the effective buildup we enter at last, the haunted hotel room and the fun begins, and there the fun soon ends. Indeed the remainder of the film has us locked in the evil room with Cusack. We start slowly with some truly creepy and memorable images before eventually and all too inevitably, the full Hollywood special effects ghost treatment, floods, fire, ice, make their dreaded appearances. Some frights are really effective and for me the 15-20 minutes where the scary stuff happens sorta makes the entire film OK. But that all happens and the horror peaks and passes way too quickly. Before it ever gets really terrifying, our roller-coaster is making the slow boring return to the platform via the maudlin sub story line.
I say again however, this is a good movie - using the grading scale sadly needed in the year 2009. Its good. But in keeping pace with all modern films "1408" has way too much cowbell and the special effects orgy eventually becomes boring, no matter how much you like this sorta stuff. I liken film viewing these days to hanging onto a greased pole. I'd say it took a good hour into this before I lost interest and slid off into the kitchen for some Oreos.
Yet my biggest criticism, really my only substantive criticism is that "1408" apart from actually being watchable to the finish, fails to distinguish itself as a horror film. It breaks no new ground whatsoever, whether in terms of fright excitement, plot twist or even human drama. There's tons of unanswered questions, but not the provocative kind, more the kind that lead you to believe a lot of this wasn't well thought out. But I'll leave that up to you.
One of the very Broadway crossovers in recent memory to actually do its job and entertain, and boy, does it ever! Chicago sucks you in at minute one and you don't really come up for air until a half hour has passed. Now thats a good movie. Musicals, theater etc are hardly my cup of tea, and Hollywood's opium dream renditions are even less in my scope of enjoyment. Why Chicago works where most of them have flopped utterly, I am not sure but would have to bet its down to direction. Chicago's song and dance segments are cut MTV style, but, Marshall seems to have almost perfected this technique to somehow capture the in-theater dramatic 'zowie' feeling that almost never makes it from stage to screen. While many argue Chicago owe its success at the Oscars to the drubbing Moulin Rouge took (quite deservedly) the year before, I happen to disagree and believe that for once the Academy actually got it right. The cast is fantastic. Sure you can nitpick about Gere being too nasally and too Gere, and maybe Zellwegger's drunken bridesmaid dancing could have used a couple more takes, but the final product even with those bizarre ingredients is one of the most enjoyable experiences to come out of Hollywood, maybe ever?
P.S. now he's on Broadway, and don't bother, I already asked and the theater won't let you in with a crate of old tomatoes.
I did not read this book and I realize that for many reasons, material like this is more easily digested when its served via the printed medium. So take what I say obviously with that grain of salt as a chaser. But I found this movie a big disappointment. Yes, a disappointment. Enured as I've become to viewing disturbing graphic images as entertainment, the annoyance I now feel when confronted with disturbia, such as Perfume, is akin to that annoyance a parent must feel when he or she gets yet another call from the principals office telling them their troublesome tot has again gotten himself into, well, trouble. You get to a point where the horror and shock value of what should be is replaced by the needling tedium of what inevitably always is. Perfume, again all too predictably, rears back and hooves you in the forehead before the opening credits have done unveiling themselves, with scenes of abject destitution on the streets of 18th century Paris, and with only about an hour of actual storytelling to spell you, keeps on kicking until the credits mercifully again appear, a NY to Miami flight later. One has to wonder, and to me this is the Regis question, one has to wonder who is actually sicker? Is it our uncivilized ancestors who (we like to think) lived lives of such brutality, OR we who painstakingly 'reenact' them to detail in the name of modern entertainment. Perfume becomes a movie depicting the Age of Reason as told though Age of Pornography eyes. The inept storyteller as always reveals far more about his own flawed character. As far as whats out there movie-wise, Perfume is the IPhone. Its got the writing, the director, the big name talent, and the incredible set design, you name it. Sadly it also includes the same anti-theism, feminist, anti-death penalty etc. clichéd nonsense found in the B-est of B movies clichés. Includes them in abundance. To be fair, buried beneath the muck and filth of Perfume the movie, is a story that is more than a little intriguing however frustratingly poorly told it most certainly is, but be forewarned. 'Tis the muck and filth'll follow ye out and walk away with ye after watching Perfume, an nae her plot.
DO NOT WASTE EVEN 5 MINUTES on these recent travesties that pass as Mystery! installments here in America. Better to join Netflix and rent the older saner versions, which are still quite good. All of the Geraldine McEwan Marple tales; Sittaford, Bertrams, etc., aren't simply modern adaptations done for modern viewer trolling purposes, as we get so often with Shakespeare. Nor is it the writing of fresh tales using the familiar characters as was done quite successfully with Sherlock Holmes during the second world war. I guess that requires real talent and imagination by writers that apparently the schlock Grenada television people cannot find. No, what is done here is quite different and quite frankly legally dubious in my opinion. You keep the title, keep the characters, their names at any rate, but CHANGE the story. Yes, you heard me, quite literally Change the story! So Agatha Christie who I believe is the most widely read author ever, if we can leave Harry Potter out of the conversation, Agatha Christie stories according to the producers just ain't good enough anymore to portray as they were originally written. Of course the Agatha Christie franchise is still strong enough to use and abuse and falsely lure unsuspecting viewer, but the stories apparently need rewriting lol. If only to deprive some diseased minds from knowing somebody else watched this drivel, I implore you, the would be viewer, not to. And as respect for literature and plain old honesty in broadcasting are not enough to guide television executive decision making, perhaps shunning this garbage might just bring about some much needed change.
In terms of this type of fare, there is no American counterpart. Forget that satire itself has very little in the way of broadcast outlets, American entertainment simply does not or will not go after its own a la the Brits. That might well be because producers think American wont laugh at show business parody, but somehow cynicism makes me seriously doubt that. Even the terrific Larry Sanders show, ostensibly a similar type satire of the chat show genre, though hilarious, never once made Larry Sanders himself look professionally incompetent. To be fair, Knowing Me, Knowing You, is a fictional chat show of the type we don't really have in America, as its a hybrid of a Letterman format with a Regis daytime format. They may not have them in England either. Evening chat shows are likely in America to be very stiff, formal and almost nerve wracking as the hosts do their very best to keep celebrities ill at ease, in further glorification of the said host. I wont argue with success. So though the satire might be hard to relate to, the comedy makes that fact immaterial. I will say that if you have an aversion to British comedy in general, you will not change your opinion after watching this show. Yet the converse is definitely true. British comedy fans, this is what you live for!
Sarah Silverman is the bombing comic on the old Johhny Carson show, mysteriously given show business carte blanche a la the bizarro world. Is she offensive? Who can even say anymore. Pushing the boundaries of good taste in the year 2007 means a young woman can now stand on stage and tell "in depth" bathroom jokes one after another without clearing the house. Example:
Sarah: Cause now I'm at that point where I'm comfortable peeing in front of my boyfriend, and you know its kinda nice...now Im going to try it in the bathroom.
Not just A bathroom joke, but perhaps the Oldest bathroom joke in the catalog. Eyes on the prize ladies, lol. To be fair, the show isn't all 80 year old jokes and vaudeville/burleque. She has a few funny lines and even at her embarrassingly low moments, Sarah Silverman remains an engaging and attractive on-stage personality. Her overt charms notwithstanding, the question that kept running through my mind was not, How is "I hope the Jews killed Jesus, I'd do it again!! considered funny, but "Who exactly is this chick and 'Why exactly is she on my television?' Who exactly is Sarah Silverman other than a look alike for her namesake semi-successful not brother, Jonathan Silverman, and the next Mrs. Jimmy Kimmel? Is there such a dearth of female comics that this is what distills out of the machinery? I don't think so. I think Sarah only gets to do and air a bad show like this or get booed off the stage at an awards show because.... boyfriend Jimmy K has got a lot of juice! That is indisputable. Just as Sarah's nonstop passage on the Bad Comic Forgottenville express was abruptly interrupted as soon as she starting dating Mr. Kimmel is likewise not in dispute. That's Hollywood, and it ain't gonna change. Now if seeing the not particularly funny girlfriends of talented people act out in a feature length video/stand up thingamajig is your idea of a good watch, by all means, have at it, this movie is for you!! I'd personally prefer to watch someone with a little more talent. Or to take a page out of her act, Sarah Silverman successfully debunks the 'all Jewish comedians are funny' stereotype.
Up until the final Act, I would have been able to write, ...'but for all its stupidity, it was still enjoyable.' Cant do it! The last stage of this movie was a hitchhike back to town on the guano wagon after 16 hours of hoeing clay. Movies like this always turn me into an instant sociologist, maybe even anthropologist in that I keep pondering the question, 'how can I possibly be living amongst people who call this entertainment?'. There's a lot of star power to the movie, and it has some really funny moments and it is packed throughout with the right kind of dialog, Jason Bateman's scene is in fact, hilarious. Unfortunately for the filmmakers of Aces Eleven Smoked, the biggest laughs of the film come in the final 10 minutes when FBI chief Andy Garcia gives the obligatory 'revelation' 'expose the wizard,''Kaiser Cose' speech in what i think is supposed to be a Gulfcoast dialect/accent? He completely lost the audience to the point where people began giggling and talking amongst themselves, getting their coats, making dinner plans etc, by the time the credits began to roll most people were already standing. But it had lost me about 30 minutes earlier when the world's most dangerous and elusive assassin was strolling through the hotel lobby with his one distinguishing physical characteristic, chewed off fingertips, just dangling at his side for the GMan to see. Its not even worth it. This movie has a target audience, and they probably already know who they are. This film will not attract crossover viewer-ship period. Save your time.
You can call me crazy, but Ricky Gervais has merely channeled Carroll O'Connor's ghost, and made it his very own. The Gervais Merchant brand of humor likewise is more Norm Lear than anything else. We get the laughs from racial, ethnic, etc. punch-lined jokes because we are really laughing at the ignorance, insensitivity and gross stupidity of the joke teller, who is in the end, the ultimate joke. Every sacred cow topic or taboo joke in the book is conjured triumphantly on this show, and I sit and laugh I mean really laugh, right along with everyone else out there. Borat utilized the same principle. Unlike Borat however, Gervais and Merchant don't go overboard and falsely portray positive stereotypes. That lack of hypocrisy is what makes this show and The Office before it, far superior to Ali G, Borat and company. Make The Office and Extras a top priority in your viewing.
Pay channel grist. An uncommonly bad script coupled with a less than convincing Robin Williams as a slick talking, philandering Queens car salesman caught up in a hostage workplace crisis. The laughs aren't there, the message(s) or morals are just all wrong, and the film cant ever decide on whether its a comedy or drama. Pretty good cast all acting pretty badly. When a movie ages so badly so quickly, you got yourself a stinker. Not much else to be said other than maybe, avoid at all costs. Textbook mediocre movies like this are actually more tedious, and less enjoyable than the over the top bombs.
Stylish but vapid effort that leaves you for the most part, unsatisfied and somewhat confused. The clichés are in abundance, and the plot alternates between good and dumb like a little kid playing with a light switch. Predictably, in the end it all falls back to earth with a resounding Holloywood ending thud. Pacino and McCon handle some cartoonish material admirably well, but their characters, like the overall story, are just completely unreal and thoroughly unlikeable. To this mix we toss in Exec. Producer Renee Russo, who gives a credible yet superfluous performance playing the faithful former junkie wife. Sigh.
Its difficult not to compare this film to Devils Advocate, as Pacino is basically handed and relives the exact same role complete with generous helpings of blasphemy-rich, meant to make you squirm F dialog. An idiotic sequence where Pacino coaches goody 2 shoes McCon on incorporating the F word into his vocabulary, ends up with the latter using it in a telephone conversation later with his mother...she was calling him about some major family crisis that believe it or not, is never fully revealed to us and is in no way resolved. Shall I talk of the Gamblers Anonymous meeting where Pacino hands out business cards looking for new customers for his 1 900 operation? The situations, arcs and overall template are near carbon copy of Devils Adv., but as you can see nowhere near as plausible, which is a laugh considering Devils Advocate deals with the supernatural. (alas no naked Charlize this time either.)
To be fair, major shortcomings and annoyances thrust aside, I grudgingly admit this movie somehow manages to entertain. I credit that more, however, to the subject matter. If you have any sort of interest in gambling, and who doesn't, there is a decided thrill in watching someone ride the roller coaster vicariously. Silly and banal though it may be, 2 For The Money still manages to scratch that gambler euphoria itch.
Tim Burton presents Charlie and the Chocolates Factory and ostensibly seeks to pull off not just a remake, but a re-telling more in line with the actual Roald Dahl's children's classic. What was wrong with the Gene Wilder film? Good question. Again visually its the bomb-digger, you cant argue with it. Plotwise, for the most part, ain't bad. So whats the problem you ask? The film doesn't play, at all!! The characters especially the main characters other than Wonka and perhaps Charlie, have about as much flesh on them as the Corpse Bride and muster zero sympathy. The film wows your senses and even delights you with the song and dance numbers, the only real achievement of the film in my estimation, but does a very poor job in storytelling. Very poor. The emotional impact that touched all of my generation, is nowhere to be found in the remake. We get this quandary a lot now with these remakes that are so technically superior to their predecessor, that you feel stupid not calling them an improvement on the original. As far as the Charlie comparison is concerned, the remake's only attribute is that it helps make the original shine even more brilliantly. Which sadly brings me to my final observation. This film has the distinction of showcasing Johhny Depp in what might be his worst characterization of his great career. Depps Wonka looks for all the world like a Technicolor incarnation of the fiend in the lost silent classic, London After Midnight. He 'acts' like the alleged fiend known as pop star Michael Jackson, and sounds exactly like Dustin Hoffman's Tootsie!!!! Put a hatchet in his hand, and you'd have the makings of a good Hammer film. Doesn't exactly work or belong here, Sheila.