So what's wrong with this movie? Well, the situation is as harrowing as Funny Games, which it is clearly "inspired" by, but the acting and writing here are so painfully stilted and poor that there is no reason to keep watching. Sure the thugs say horrible things to these poor people, but during the twenty minutes of intimidation tactics that come after the opening credits, there's just no way to keep going unless the bone in your head the perceives truth and reality is broken. I'm not sure if its a language-barrier thing, because I heard some thick accents, but the performances are equally bad from the Father as from the Cockney Home Invader, who gives some of the worst line-readings this side of Samurai Cop.
I would not recommend this movie to even the most eager gorehounds, and that is the only crowd who will get past the brutal opening ten minutes. Oh, this is also one of those movies where they show you a monster during the opening credits because they aren't planning on showing it to you for another very slow hour, or what feels like an hour. I watched half of it, but life's too short. And bear in mind that I've seen A Serbian Film and Martyrs, so if the writing and acting is good enough I can stomach some strong horror, but there's no redeeming features in the first half so I'm out.
Tropic Thunder is basically a self-aware action-comedy, a satire on the vanity of movie actors. Its easy to misjudge it, I've found. On first viewing, I just didn't think there were enough jokes. Its a strange animal because it has its feet equally in the action and comedy camps. Its almost as much about becoming the thing, as it is about satirising it. The movie I think is interesting in the way it pushes through the meta stuff to get to some kind of reality. It would make a good introductory text for a class on the nature of truth and reality, if not for how easily misunderstood its dialogue about race and disability groups are. While its clear to me that the intention is to make fun of movie actors at all times, I can understand how some people might have felt the movie was irresponsible in its messages with the "Simple Jack" storyline and the blackface storyline.
I know Downey Jr. was conflicted about accepting the role of a method actor who gets so immersed in his role as a black seargent that he can't drop character, but I'm glad he did accept it, because he's hilarious. He steals every scene he's in. As does Tom Cruise, who many didn't recognise until the closing credits, back in the day. Some of the team players get forgotten. Jay Baruschel is an excellent straight-man. He's the character we relate to, the one actor who hasn't been swallowed up by vanity. Jack Black also has a bit of a thankless job. He's unpleasant as the Fatties star, unpleasant as the drug addict, and has one hilarious scene when he's tied up to the tree. Steve Coogan also has an important part, and he plays it well.
Back in 2008, I was expecting maybe Zoolander or Anchorman, which have maybe 50% more jokes. Tropic Thunder is a different animal. Its a bit more measured, but its way more exciting and immersive than any of the other over the top comedies it gets lumped along with.
Trainwreck is hilarious, and that's all you need to know before going in. However, as a companion piece to Amy's sketch show, or a movie in its own right, its pretty disappointing. It lacks the structural and cultural anarchy of the sketch show, and is pretty bloated and conventional for an Apatow comedy. There are about 50 terrific laughs, more than worth the price of admission, but considering the fact that Schumer's show has set a new standard for sketch comedy, I'm going to suggest that she can do better than "Trainwreck."
In romantic comedies, protagonists need to be likable, and her persona here is a selfish brat with no redeeming features. That's fine for a regular old comedy, but here there's no reason to care whether she ends up happy or not, therefore its easy to get bored between the jokes. There's a serious lack of coherence to the plotting. There's no progression, it just plays like a series of moments, far too many of which don't feature Amy Schumer, they instead feature LeBron James (for some reason) or Amy's father in an unnecessary nursing home plot. So many characters, so much unnecessary subplot.
Her character is also not quite deep and nuanced enough to justify the length of this movie. But then again, no earthly human can justify the way Apatow movies outstay their welcome. I liked Knocked Up and 40 Year Old Virgin, but in general the man doesn't seem to have an entertainer's sense of when to get offstage. Next time, more sketch comedy, or a movie with one of her TV directors please.
The whole thing feels about as authentic as Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride. This is truly a prime example of Hollywood's excesses getting in the way of a good time. Yes, its fun if Richard Gere tosses his hair and acts all seductive, and yes I suppose its fun if there's a Wipeout-style obstacle course inserted into the Arthurian legend, but if there isn't a certain basic realism or internal logic to the characters, then a non-parodic narrative film like this is pretty well doomed. These aren't people, they're a bunch of cardboard cut-outs, play-acting around a round table.
They both play minor characters, which further adds to my theory that this film was a preexisting "make lovers from friends" script featuring Forlani and Prinze Jr's characters that was forced into the old pie-tin once American Pie became a huge hit.
The acting is stilted, the dialogue is horrid, Claire Forlani is miscast as anything but an ice queen and Prinze and Biggs seem like they did a last minute switcheroo in an attempt for both to play against type, but Biggs can't play confident and Prinze is too good looking to be believably shy. I've seen worse movies, but I strongly recommend you don't see this one.
its just not good in any way.
The movie is a masterclass in pacing for action films. It works equally well as an action and horror film. In fact, it is the originator of a structure that I have come to think of as the Predator Structure, where people are hunted down and die one by one until only one remains. Its standard blu ray release has incredible sound quality, but just a passable picture. The film was shot with a lot of low lighting, and that doesn't tend to pop on in definition. Its murky and grainy, but still looks better than the previous DVD release.
The only thing that has not aged well are the special effects related to the alien technology: the Predator's heat vision and invisibility cloak always looked bad, but they look positively silly in high def. Once you're used to them, you can easily look past.
Who am I kidding, my love for Predator and Arnie in this movies goes way beyond the measured art of reviewing. This was a childhood favourite of mine and yes I had an awesome childhood. I first heard about it on the handball courts in primary school from this description "an alien hunts down a bunch of marines and kills them one by one, its awesome." I instantly wanted to watch that movie as soon as I could, and I loved it then and have loved it ever since.
The Net is a good thriller with an excellent title that is elevated by the charisma of star Sandra Bullock (still a star in 2015, amazing). Bullock is an incredible role model as a female hero: she is smart, funny, feminine and likable. The main issue for The Net over the years has been the march of time itself. Thrillers require a certain immediacy and immersion, and the mentioning of goofy out of date technological jargon risks dragging you out of the moment. As a period piece, or a time capsule, The Net is perfect, but does it still work as it did for audiences in 1995?
Luckily, the Net is not really about technology, its about the nature of identity in a bureaucracy, explored through the lens of technology, with the interweb as a weapon, and those issues are still relatable, and a movie like The Net serves as a good reminder of how trusting we have become of our internet privacy.
This might have played as a twist if not for the fact that Ray Liotta is physically incapable of playing a good guy. The only real question is what he wants: does he want the money or the wife? Kurt Russell's character is completely blind about it though. I was shouting at my Laserdisc player at one point: anyone who tells Ray Liotta their security password has clearly never seen a Ray Liotta movie before.
The only other thing worth talking about here is the audacity of the title. It has two meanings. There's a house break-in. There's also a sexual assault. I honestly can't believe that passed quality control. Its just an icky title.
Movie is totally tepid and predictable. Do not recommend.
Had I known there was a neo-noir element in this movie, I might have watched it sooner. I pretty much expected a non-stop smut-fest. Well, there was hardly any of that, actually. This is not your explicit sex-drama like Last Tango in Paris; there's a lot of sweating, hot breath, horniness, but enough of a thriller element to keep all that from getting too awkward.
Speaking of awkward, I kept getting swept up by Body Heat, when suddenly William Hurt's moustache would creep up and spoil it. Bill just didn't do it for me, and I never really got why he would do it for Kathleen, but I just ignored that personal reaction and found an enjoyable thriller, of the hot-breathed variety.
Of course the movie also deals with this in the course of its narrative: one doesn't simply watch Flatliners and think "wow, yes, please, hand me a barrel of near-death experience." To the right individual, Flatliners is a fun movie with a gripping central premise, an excellent sense of momentum. So how come its not heralded as one of the best movies of all time?
Well, its by Joel Schumacher so everything is ratcheted up to 11. There's wind machines indoors, everyone speaks corny dialogue in elevated tones, lit by extreme primary colours that give an air of alternate reality.
Some movies are about whether two incredibly good people can stay together, or whether a suburban Barbershop can be funny. Flatliners is about something truly important: we are built to die, everyone does it; what are we put on earth for and what happens afterwards? Flatliners is highly original and unique, and though it may not quite live up to the lofty questions it raises, this is a really cool and watchable movie, recommended.
Your first hurdle here is that for most of the running time, a gorilla is very clearly being played by a man in a suit. And everyone acts like its a real Gorilla. Then there's the wristband that interprets its gestures into a Stephen Hawking voice and says things a baby would want. Then there's the irresponsible stuff: Gorilla is given a martini, his carer says "she's allowed one." Gorilla is given a cigarette, against her carer's wishes, so he tells her "Don't inhale!" I hope nobody uses this movie as a guide to good Gorilla management because who-ee... Then there's the dialogue. Like, there's a sort of heavy type played by Ernie Hudson, who tells the heroes "I'm your great white hope, I just happen to be black." Just non-stop relentlessly bad writing. Dylan Walsh is a complete absence. He is a massive black hole. He's like that character in The Mighty Boosh where people look at him and don't see a face. I'd say the movie suffers 50% total quality degradation because of this guy. Laura Linney is Laura Linney: you're either in camp Laura Linney or you're most moviegoers and would rather it wasn't Laura Linney. I personally would rather it had been Renee Zellweger or Adrienne Barbeau or some dude. Laura Linney is again more minus value. From my perspective, there's nobody in this who is worth watching.
If this were a movie by the Wayans brothers, I'd probably be giggling. Congo definitely falls into that "so bad its good" category, because its made with slick Hollywood filmmaking, and just happens to feature a string of situations and dialogue so ridiculous they provide a good laugh.
Well, I think I've made my point. This is not good.
Still, the movie is slick and fun, even in 2015. It's mainly saved by Hugh Jackman, who is, as always, eminently likable. The overall tone of "Swordfish" I put somewhere between smarmy and patronising. Its got that cocky assurance that comes from being a self-aware techno-thriller that came out just before the bubble of The Matrix was burst by all those revolutions. Yes it was a hit, but it was so cynically designed to be a hit that time has forgotten about it, now that computer hacking is more a nuisance than a source of novelty and excitement.
Enjoyable as a time capsule, and an example of a hit movie made without superheroes. And for that awkward topless scene that only sort of makes sense in context. Fans of Hugh Jackman will not be disappointed, of course. He is in it, after all.
So my 5/10 is a 10/10 for season 1 and a 0/10 for season 2.
Stick with S1.
There's definitely something strange and sinister going on here that has nothing to do with titillation. The problem is, it comes across as tawdry exhibitionism. You have to look beyond the boobs and into the cold and spiky performance from lead actress Elizabeth Berkley. Its a strange one: when she's not angry, she's bratty and entitled. The narrative, such as it is, buckles badly 50 minutes in under its massive lack of stakes or anything interesting happening. So I can understand the Razzies and the hatred.
When I was younger, Showgirls was always a guilty pleasure for me because of the nudity. Looking at it now, I'm baffled as to why. In Showgirls, sex is almost warfare. Its an open act of aggression. The strippers are openly hostile towards the clientele the entire time, and in general have this mutually abusive relationship. There's always violent thrusting or swearing. Its actually pretty interesting, but you have to see it enough times so you're not titillated any more to get to the message, which is a pretty obvious one about the abusiveness of the sex industry that nevertheless didn't earn the film any respect. But how can you blame us when it was marketed as softcore porn. Well, a lesson for next time I guess.
Some vague plot where people fly planes and such. Apparently Howard Hawks is only as good as his script. This one, based on his story, has not aged well. Its all surface: sets and costumes and props and movie stars play acting.
Hugo Weaving plays a blind man with a penchant for taking photos and having people describe them to him. Now, he uses the photos as "proof" that what he sensed in the room was really there. Yet, he can't see the photos, so he's relying on the accuracy of people's descriptions of them. The concept is a bit fiddly. It reminds me a lot of Memento, I believe that character used polaroids as mementos, because he had a short-term memory problem. Its kind of strange here, because the photos I guess are some kind of weird truth contract for this guy. My issue is that there is never any way for Hugo Weaving's character to verify what is in the photos, so what is the point of them?
This kind of far-fetched concept reminds me of a lot of the old arty novels I used to read about lonely people who find some strange way to connect with one special friend, in this case a lovable rascal played by Russell Crowe. The production style of the film has aged fairly well, and it contains some well written scenes, but I just think the basic concept is pretty flawed and silly. I guess if it was released with a descriptive audio track and rang true for blind audiences I'd be happy to admit I was wrong, but it rang fairly false to me, in a logical sense. As mentioned, I also found Hugo Weaving to be unnecessarily creepy.
A strange one. I appreciated that it wasn't terrible, but found such a profound problem with its scenario. I don't know, 5/10?
1/10 No redeeming features whatsoever, I'm a worse person from having watched it.
This picture was directed by the great Raoul Walsh, and you've either come here for him or Gary Cooper. Neither one of who really impresses here. It looks OK, with some decent technicolor photography.
I guess I might be giving up on westerns unless they're supposed to be the absolute creme of the crop. Its just not my genre.
For a movie that is famously about Nashville, it finds more joy in soul and folk music than in country. The film's heart is a scene which contrasts a sincere and moving folk performance by Keith Carradine with a terrific and sad scene where Gwen Welles' realises she had been hired to strip instead of for her singing ability. The song featured in this scene "It Don't Worry Me" became a hit apparently. There's also the opening scene which contrasts a pair of recording sessions: a lively gospel one + bad singing by the charming Lily Tomlin with a cold propagandistic country session with Henry Gibson.
Its rough as guts, with some scenes set-pieces such as the airport scene early on seeming carefully choreographed, but all the acting has the loose improvisational style common to both Altman and Cassavetes films, which you either love or hate. I tend to find the actors higher calibre in Cassavetes, so Altman sometimes grates on me.
Nashville is famous as a trope-originator for Altman's sprawling long films that are broader than they are deep, sort of like Love Actually, where you don't get a full Sleepless in Seattle thing, you get a bunch of tiny versions of it. Here, you get a bunch of musical bio-pics in one, but here there's no attempt to give each the same arc like in Love Actually, its more in Altman's slice of life style. Its absolutely a landmark film, there's not many others like it, and it is entertaining. Your mileage may vary with how picky you are about actors being cast as singers and having several protracted singing scenes that are often squirm-inducing, yet you get the feeling they weren't supposed to be.
I've got it on VHS and don't love it enough to upgrade. I've watched my VHS copy twice and have grown attached to its pan and scan ugliness. For me its a picture I like and find fascinating, plus an extra point for being so unique, so 8/10.
In short, abstract arty film with incredible musical soundscape and the appeal of Johannsson, but too distant and vague for most. I got it on blu ray because I conveniently forgot how frustrating I found it and wanted to look at Scarlett again. After all she's naked twice in it.
Bear in mind I do like some abstract and arty movies, just not this one. And I really wanted to like it too. All those real people. I'd love to see outtakes but couldn't find any on the blu ray.