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The Jerks (1987)
A classic
26 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Giorgos Konstandinou in one of the definitive moments of his career and in a film that is now considered classic, as it managed to capture almost everything "late 80s." The film is shot during an era long gone. Those teens that watched it in cinemas or on VHS (for younger readers, a technology allowing the reproduction of films in the home environment using magnetic tape as the medium...) will find this a very funny and nostalgic film.

The fat wife, the clueless karateka, the undertaker, the ever unlistenable Linda Giga, everything falls into place. This is as much a heist film as it is a treatise on late 80s Athens. If you are over 35, you will understand.
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Trailer Park Boys (2001–2018)
Best reality show ever made.
26 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Superbly crafted to resemble something authentically amateurish, Trailer Park Boys is in fact the best reality show ever made in English. Why do I call it a reality show? Because like reality shows, it pretends to show actual people while in fact being scripted. The irony here is that a show that set out to mock a particular genre ended up leading the class.

Every single character in the show is interesting, and every single character is unique. Jim Lahey is absolutely sublime; Philadelphia Collins is stunning; Sam Losco is inimitable, and the list goes on. The boys themselves are of course without peer.

Although some would warn parents against letting young children watch TPB, in my view it is poseurs, marginally literate progressive social thinkers, and clueless concerned moralists that are more at risk. If this is you, have a touch more white wine and tune into NPR instead.

For everyone else, a strong recommendation!
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Idiocracy (2006)
Promises fall short
22 January 2007
Mike Judge has always had an eye for idiocy and has always delighted in pointing out the absurd in a direct, almost painful manner. This time he may have gone too far though; instead of taking a step to the side to allow the audience to see stupidity for what it is, he revels in it, smearing himself, the characters, and his film with a level of idiocy that may seem outlandish or even cartoonish to many, but may also, shockingly, seem all too familiar to anyone that's ever visited sand dunes, stadiums, cinemas, or any other place where the masses gather.

Judge's targets this time around are the usual suspects: corporate America, monster truck fans, fighting fans, sex-crazed lowlifes, custom motorcycle fans, beer can cognoscenti, etc. Starbucks, Fox News {sic}, Carl's Jr., Costco, and countless others come under his fire and most don't do so well. However, the film doesn't gel well at all. The President, the Attorney General, Rita, Joe, and Upgrayedd were all excellent, and the President's address to what was apparently a joint session of Congress was actually quite realistic, what with all the swearing (like any respectable modern-day VP, I guess) but the film seems to plod on from one mini- skit to another.

All is not lost in the world of tomorrow, despite the extent to which morons have taken over mainstream society. There's no hint of racism or even religion, meaning that no matter how dumb people are in the future, even they can figure out they're all the same under the skin, and even they can figure out that talking to somebody invisible in the sky and asking for favours is, well, dim...

If you like idiots, or even if you are an idiot, this film is recommended -- but only for a slow Sunday afternoon or early AM after a long night out. It's heavy-handed and can be strident at times, but all said, it's good clean fun.
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Barely 7 out of 10
30 November 2006
Given previous great performances by Tom Hanks (for example, in "Apollo 13" or even "The Burbs") I had high expectations for this film. The plot, at least if the original source is considered, had more than enough in its favour -- after all, there have been blockbusters and hit films with much worse to work from, and the supporting cast also looked very promising. The locations in the story would also make for great scenes in a movie -- or so I thought...

The best part of the film are the supporting cast. Jean Reno in particular was very good, and everyone else put in an honest day's work or better. However, the director did not take advantage of the great locations as much as he could have, with dark and/or short scenes where next to nothing is visible, the actors mutter a few lines, none of the actually simplistic but ostensibly intricate aspects of the Jesus mythology are explained, and the next scene comes on too quickly despite the fact that the entire film has a "slow" pace about it. Along the same lines, not enough (mock) art history is presented in the dialogue to allow someone that has not read the book to follow what the characters are thinking and why.

Hanks did an adequate job looking out of place and socially semi-inept, however, he still did not approach the overall "feel" of a genuine academic. Perhaps attending more wine-and- cheese events after seminars would have helped him get a better feel for his character.

There are good moments nonetheless. Silas is done well and his scenes tend to steal the show. Also, the last scene is IMO the best in the film, and one of the view scenes where Howard uses the surroundings to his advantage in order to bring the viewer into the action.

Not bad, but not as good as it could have been.
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Fantastic Four (I) (2005)
1 November 2006
This is the worst Marvel-based film of the 21st century (so far at least...). Although competently made and well produced, with adequate if not good special effects, the film lacks drive and after 20 or 30 minutes of building up to what turns out to be, well... nothing much after all, the viewer is left looking for something to do.

The action sequences are OK but they are few and far in between. Meanwhile, character development seems pointless, as the film fails to raise the viewer's interest in the background and/or well-being of anyone being described. The viewer is left with no better idea of what Reed is all about than they had before watching the film; all the dreary, long-winded "development" scenes only amount to a guy that can stretch...

X-men and Spider-man are much better.
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Alalum (1982)
12 May 2006
This is Klynn's first and best attempt at cinema, and is actually more like 3 short films put together, or, more accurately, three short plays put together (Klynn is clearly influenced from live theatre; light-hearted review productions combining social and political commentary come to mind).

The characters Klynn plays in all his films, not just here, are caricatures he derives from the people around him; everyday and not-so-everyday people in modern society. His performances in this film are very good, and the film as a whole is hysterically funny. The inept detective who literally destroys a house and the lives of every person inside while trying to solve a crime that actually happened next door is my favourite.

Strongly recommended!
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Trying to redeem the inherently worthless?!...
12 March 2006
This is an enjoyable film and will entertain the viewer on a slow Sunday afternoon. It is let down by two main drawbacks: the rating, preventing it from using more realistic language, and the hopeless nature of the basic premise.

The rating first: B.B.T. has done simply outstanding work as a down-on-his-luck, self-loathing drunkard. His efforts in "Bad Santa," for example, represent some of the finest acting ever put on film in Hollywood history. Regettably, in this film his talent and his range are limited by the censors; he neither uses the correct language nor the four-letter-word-laden expressions we have all come to love and enjoy. Anyone naive enough to think this sort of censorship will actually "protect" children has probably not paid attention at the local playground. Without the profanity and vulgarity that is natural to 12-year-olds, the film simply comes across as fake, and, ironically, insulting...

The second flaw is the premise. The film focuses on the children, and this choice turns out to be a terrible mistake. Like most children, the ones here actually have far less to offer society than the anti-hero, their coach. Though a drunk, the coach can at least make his own way in the world and has a job, albeit not a glamorous one. In contrast, only one of the children is gainfully employed (the female -- is this another example of political correctness, I wonder?).

On the other hand, this is a fun film. Some scenes drag on, like the training scenes and the date scene at the skate park; both were predictable and bordered on pandering. Still, I give this 7 out of 10. If only it had more profanity, more drinking (see Badder Santa, the unrated DVD!), and less hopeless PC efforts to redeem children (Why?!) this could be an 8 or even an 8.5.
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Best court film ever made
25 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
9 out of 10 for this masterpiece. The acting, the drama, the musical score, all elements of this fine film add up to the best courtroom movie ever made.

The Brothers Howard and their accomplice, Larry Fine (who, incidentally, has probably got the best hair in Hollywood), find themselves key witnesses in a murder trial. Who better to focus a life-and-death drama on than The Three Stooges?! The boys are terrific in this one. Their timing is impeccable and they are clearly at the top of their game. From the initial slap delivered by Moe while playing jax outside the courtroom, to the magnificent, aesthetically perfect manner in which Curly falls over the divider and lands on his face when attempting to enter the courtroom, every aspect of their performance is peerless.

The best part of the film, and indeed one of the most emotionally charged moments ever filmed in Hollywood, is the scene where Larry lets off a primal scream after doing battle with a piece of bubble gum. The footage gets a little jumpy before he stands up, indicating perhaps there was some editing gone wrong there or -- and why not? -- someone simply threw away a few frames. Either way, neither the audience nor anyone else has any idea why Larry stands and starts screaming, but the end result had me in pieces on the floor, laughing so hard I teared up and turned red.

I am imposing a 1 point penalty for the dance number in the film, as I feel it does not do nearly as much as the straight dialogue parts in advancing the plot (whatever...) and it also is not as funny as the rest of the film. Still, this is a truly excellent film and I strongly advise anyone with cracked ribs to avoid it at all costs, as the laughter will literally kill you.
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22 February 2006
Much worse than the first film, this sequel seemed totally contrived and from what I gather was simply a vehicle for the actors to hang out in Holland while getting paid. Nothing to see here. The plot is silly, the characters overdone and boring, and not even the ranting and raving of TJ can save the film. I am giving it 3 points out of 10 because it did have me chuckling at one or two scenes (max!) but it deserves no more, as all the gags are recycled and/or not original (tossing a midget out a window, for example, is not exactly the most novel stunt around -- though I will grant that having him land in a canal may be a new twist on a well established, if not worn out, gag). With uninvolved actors, predictable (lack of) plot, and general red-light Amsterdam pseudo-aura about it, this one is suitable only as a $1 rental for teenagers, and then only if the teenagers are particularly dim. If your kids are dense, go for it. Otherwise look elsewhere.
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Our Man Flint (1966)
The 60s, tongue-in-cheek
22 January 2006
They don't make them like James Coburn any more; compared to the likes of him, modern Hollywood leading men seem like fairies suited to play nothing more than Tinkerbell in Peter Pan remakes.

Here, Coburn plays the plethoric, three-doses-of-everything Derek Flint. Four girlfriends (up to five at one point as we learn in the sequel), able to stop his heart, master of combat techniques, uses two wolfhounds and a GSD to greet guests and escort them in (dog lovers, note the GSD's silver colouration, a rare combo with black in the US -- and note that a black and tan GSD is used in the sequel), forensic science genius, private jet owner, philosopher... the list goes on.

This is a fun film with plenty of outright silly moments. No more or less silly than James Bond films or even The Saint, the difference being Connery and Moore's characters appear to take themselves and their work much more seriously than Coburn's Flint does -- and with good reason. His clothing, made of fibres not found in nature on this planet, is at least three sizes two small; his pantlegs are configured for an imminent flood; his hairstyle rivals that of any British Invasion band member; his attitude toward women is similar to that of Alexis Zorbas (special albeit frail creatures that must be respected and loved); his shrieks and cries during hand-to-hand combat make Bruce Lee sound like Caruso.

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Crash (I) (2004)
Nothing to write home about
17 January 2006
The script apparently had some promise but a series of poor casting decisions keep this movie from reaching its full potential. For example, casting an actress who is half Zambian as a "white woman" (by her own admission in one of her lines) was really not on, nor was having Ludicrous around without at least one scene where he can show his magnificent afro.

Ryan Phillipe was very good as the naive rookie cop that gets to shoot his first random person by the end of the film, and the country music in the soundtrack was used to good effect. It was nice to see Marina Sirtis again as well, and Brendan Fraser's hair looked great. Despite all odds, he and Sandra Bullock both managed very good performances, though their scenes were limited. My personal favourite was the woman who played the enraged, panicked wife of the illegal immigrant "importer" at the hospital. It's about time someone calls a nurse a "cow" for asking stupid questions.

Good for a rainy afternoon, though frankly the laughs are few and far between.
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Not bad at all
15 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I've been alarmed by Wilson since his disastrous participation in the fiasco, "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" but I have to admit he didn't really mess this one up nearly as badly as he's capable of. Vaughn put in a decent day's work as well, and the female performers were all very good. Add the always-on, now almost stereotypic performance of Walken and the cast overall can be rated as quite good.

The worst scenes of the film concern the main love story involving Wilson't character. I found myself almost completely uninterested in what happens to him during those scenes; whether he gets the girl or is killed by wild dogs would not have made a difference to me. On the other hand, the wedding scenes and the banquet scenes were well done and very entertaining.

This isn't "Gone with the Wind" and it isn't a film that'll be discussed in film classes next century, but it is fun to watch and will give you a positive feeling when it's all said and done. Look out for Jane Seymour as a nymphomanic upper-crust has-been trophy wife, look out for the good presentation of upper-class twits (big ears, big ego, inbred to the point of almost complete homozygosity etc.), look out for the Yoda-style, old-time-master appearance by Will Ferrel, and look out for late fees -- this isn't worth buying and it's not worth paying more than $1 to rent. 7/10; needs more profanity and more explosions to rate higher.
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Enjoyable but not much more.
30 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Knoxville, America's finest thespian, is wasted in this film. Almost everything wrong with the country is showcased in "Dukes" and I couldn't avoid feeling sorry for Nelson -- his financial troubles must be quite severe if he has to do this for a living.

"Bo" comes across as annoying and, with his signature stare, borderline developmentally disabled; although this worked for "American Pie" it is out of place here. Another problem with Bo is the facial hair, that reminded me -- and I'm sure most experienced cinema critics -- of the "Beavis and Butt-head" episode where the heroes cut strands of hair off their heads and glue them to their faces in order to appear more masculine.

Knoxville does what he can but he's too alone and the script is too poorly written even for someone of his stature to save. Catch him in "Grand Theft Parsons" instead, it's almost a shame he's in this one.

Willie Nelson looks natural and quite stoned on camera, and either he'd been smoking trees between scenes or he's still high from an earlier bowl's worth.

Even the car and the female cousin -- both crucial to the original storyline as seen in the TV series -- were poorly implemented here. The driving was poor, with ungainly drifts and frequent over-corrections that took a lot away from the aesthetics of the chase scenes. The collection of 70s US vehicles at the "rally" was both alarming (the US actually made cars like that!) and unrealistic (they're not on blocks on a Klansman's front yard, they're actually running!). As for "Daisy," the actress chosen for the part -- Simpson -- may also be an airhead in real life but that's not enough to play Daisy Duke. She's simply too short for the role (check the scenes where she is standing next to Nelson or Knoxville) and frankly, she's too heavy. She needs at least 3 inches of height and at least 10 lbs. less weight; as is, she's a bit of a "widescreen" edition of Daisy and it didn't help a film that was already struggling to cast a dim, oblate spheroid as the lead female character.

Finally, there's Flash, the dog. The animal chosen for the role was docile enough, but its coat didn't have enough of the original dog's rich colourations and its ears were also "off" compared to the original animal.

Attention to detail pays off, and it's a shame nobody took care of these issues. The film could have done so much better.

It's not all bad though. Nobody gets injured and nothing unpleasant happens. Although there's no real plot, what storyline is there does get exploited to good effect, showcasing the "talents" and mentality of backwoods, backwards, no-future hillbillies. The scene where the two cousins steal a safe by dragging it behind a tow truck is the best in the film, followed by the scene where the governor joins Uncle Jesse for a smoke.

Don't rent this. Someone might buy it for you as a gift, and you can watch it for free before passing it on to someone else.
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Excellent film despite the protagonists
21 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is a difficult film to comment on because, if seen in terms of a storyline with a main character (Andy) and a love interest for the main character (Trish), it's completely demoralizing and almost disturbing.

Andy goes 40 years before finding someone, and everyone around him claims to want to help him do so. Yet, when he falls for a loser with no future, nearly nothing to offer him or any other man, and a mediocre grasp of life (severe emotional and family problems that she tries to off-load onto him etc.) all his good-meaning friends go along with it, even encouraging him! Consider Cal, a master of male issues and pro-male activist: even though he admits the protagonist's love interest, Trish, is "f#$*ing crazy" to his boss, Paula, who agrees, neither he nor she warn poor Andy; in fact, Cal ultimately ends up helping Trish's "cause" (she calls it "love" but ultimately the goal is to suck Andy into her life so he can deal with the mess she's made of it).

However, if the viewer tries her hardest to ignore the two main characters and looks at the film scene-by-scene instead, focusing on the supporting characters, this is an exceptional film! Cal, the ganjaholic lounge warrior; David, the hopelessly romantic prince that holds and talks to a camcorder a la Hamlet before shoving it down his trousers whilst it's filming and projecting onto a bank of monitors; Jay, the free spirit victimized by an overbearing woman who wants to "change" him by getting pregnant and telling him his clubbing days are over as a result; Paula, the calm, collected, outspoken woman who wants to have a holiday at home so she can remain stoned for a week and watch "Gandhi" on video, and Mooj, the wise, grounded elder from exotic lands (Brooklyn, NY).

Considering the film as a series of monologues or dialogues between these characters, one is inevitably led to the conclusion that his film is truly fine cinema. Mooj's advice to Andy, although inaccurate (for Andy, it *should* be exactly about what Mooj says it's not about...), is heart-warming and will bring a tear to the sensitive viewer's eye. David and Cal's discussion on their feelings while playing a video game is also very well done. Paula and Cal's chat, either the one included in the film or the one in the unrated DVD extras, provides a tremendous amount of insight into the psyches of both characters.

7 out of 10 points for this one. -1 for Trish, a loser that borders on being the villain in the film. -1 for Andy, who changes in order to be with her (this is a very poor example to set for the children that will watch this film). -1 for excluding a number of critical scenes from the release (these are in the unrated DVD extras; for example, the Paula:Cal talk about Cal dropping 4 TVs and being sexually attracted to Barbara Walters (RIP in advance), then asking Paula to steal some hydroponic equipment for him from her new job so he can grow some skunk in his apartment). Another example of selling out one's art for the sake of getting a rating or attracting a specific audience sector -- bah!

This is a very entertaining and funny film and I'd recommend it regardless.
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A Child's Wish (1997 TV Movie)
22 October 2005
This movie is probably John Ritter's worst work. Ritter fans should look elsewhere, particularly at his fantastic performance in "Bad Santa." It's amazing to think the same actor took part in this movie.

The only saving grace is toward the end, when Bill "The Thrill" Clinton appears playing himself. The scene is shot in the oval office and is generally very well done. Wild Bill fans should simply fast-forward to the Oval Office scene and skip the rest of the movie entirely.

If you are not a tear-jerker fan, or are a Ritter fan, see if you can get your wife to change the channel because you cannot re-live the time you'll spend having to watch this film. Bill is the only positive note in this, and it's over an hour before he appears so I don't know if it's worth hanging around.
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Overbearing and boorish
16 September 2005
What a self-indulgent snorefest this one was. At over 2.5 hours long I thought it'd never end, and pity those who paid real money to sit through it in a cinema.

I ended up disliking the "hero" much more than I disliked "Bill" since at the very least Bill could be taken at face value without appearing one-dimensional. He was a real person with a breadth of beliefs and emotions and D. D.-L. did a terrific job playing the character. DiCaprio, on the other hand, was almost cardboard and frankly I've seen better drama from the protagonist on "The Benny Hill Show." Perhaps less time spent pondering his own legendary acting skills and more time considering what real people look and behave like would be well spent.

Cameron Diaz looks and behaves like she's dressed up for Halloween in this one, she never convinced me her character had the least interest in anyone around her or in anything going on.

The shot at the end where the graves are seen in front of an increasingly modernized, more familiar NYC was disliked by several people I spoke to for some reason or other but I actually enjoyed it and thought it was a good touch.

3 points for the morphing NYC time-lapse scene

-4 points for DiCaprio

-2 points for Diaz (at least she had less dialogue than the leading man).

-1 for the soundtrack

Don't rent. Consider giving as a gift to someone that you don't quite like, especially if they're smug and will find it difficult to state openly that they dislike this -- rest assured they'll be tortured for over 2 hours yet feel compelled to deny it.
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Alexei Sayle's Stuff (1988–1991)
Absolutely terrific
16 September 2005
Sure, Alexei isn't always spot on, and sure, he's much easier to follow if the viewer is at least a little drunk (the more the merrier). Nevertheless, the way he opens his shows alone is worth the price of admission, whether it's the small children singing "Who's an ugly bastard and as fat as he can be..." a la The Mickey Mouse Club, or whether a handsome man with a glamorous woman drives up in a Jaguar convertible, walks in, and transforms himself into the familiar Alexei we all know and love only to have the receptionist ask in amazement, "Who's that fat bastard?!"

This is the 80s at their best, or perhaps their worst. Unemployment, political turmoil, pointless angst in a world where superpowers are still pointing ICBMs at one another, Thatcherism... it's all enough to drive one insane, and maybe in Mr. Sayle's case it did.

Funny and irreverent in its own right, Alexei's "Stuff" is even funnier to me since I had to watch on PBS, the local public TV station in California that at the time prided itself in its "open-minded" attitude and was mostly patronized by affluent, upper-class, left-wing "intellectuals." Picture these people sending in money in the name of art and enlightenment, only to have Alexei come on screen and announce he's fond of writing the numbers from the front of buses on small pieces of paper before crumbling them up and inserting them in his rectum! It still gives me a chuckle.

"Stuff" isn't for everyone. Between the gems there are, frankly, some moments where Alexei is off on some tangent or other and despite his best intentions it just doesn't always translate well to today's audience. Kids will love it though, as there's always a funny outfit and a silly song to chant, and Alexei does dance quite well when he initially comes out in a suite 2 sizes too small.

If you would like your kids to share the memories with you, and to be able to recite things like "Is it fat, bald, and Jewish in here or is it just me?" and of course "Who *IS* that fat bastard?!" then get the DVD release and indoctrinate them as early as possible. Alexei Sayle gets my vote over The Wiggles any day!
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My Friends (1975)
Brilliant, hopelessly romantic, full of life!
13 September 2005
This is a terrific film and probably one of the sweetest, funniest comedies ever made. The fearsome foursome never miss an opportunity to make a total mess of established society, all in the name of a good time. Nothing is sacred and anyone can become an instant, impromptu victim or their pranks.

The scene at the train station is by far my favourite, and just the thought of the old guys lining up to slap people straight in the face makes me want to laugh out loud. See this film wherever you can, it's heartwarming and hilarious.

If only it were more accessible so that younger generations could enjoy this!
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Troy (2004)
Why does The Iliad need alterations?!
6 September 2005
What a fiasco this film turned out to be.

What a shame that they set themselves up for a no-win situation, whether it was by arrogance or sheer ignorance. Did Homer not do a good enough job with the story? Did Hollywood have to rescue it?...

By ignoring major aspects of the correct plot and altering other aspects of the plot, they've come up with something only someone neither familiar with nor interested in the original might like, much less be able to follow. The wrong characters are involved in the wrong subplots, the wrong people die at the wrong moment, and so on.

I guess a story 4,000 years old just wasn't interesting enough, it had to be changed...

-4 points for messing up Homer's plot.

-2 points for leaving out the Gods. Would they make "The Ten Commandments" without incorporating that mythology and that god, and would that film make any sense?

-1 point for only exploring love between men and women and ignoring the Achilles- Patroclus connection.

Don't bother renting this and only watch it on cable if nothing more cerebral is on -- this of course would include anything like "South Park!" What a mess.
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Lucas is capable of much worse.
2 August 2005
It's difficult to make this film and not disappoint someone. The expectations are just too high; after three decades, grown men are still wearing silly outfits and making odd sounds while waving their plastic light sabres outside cinemas. I don't fault Lucas for the criticism he's received, nor do I think that he should be chastised for not making the best science fiction film in history. Furthermore, if he wants to make some more money and have his characters sell stuff on TV, more power to him; if you don't like it, buy another brand. I could care less whether Vader ends up advertising for Playtex. My gripes lie elsewhere.

Somewhere along the way, the novelty wore off. Effects that should be better are now simply larger and digitized. The puppet Yoda from the 1980s looks better than the CG Yoda of today. Dialog between main characters went from campy to painfully corny -- Anakin never sounded more contrived.

Beyond the poor effects that almost universally look fake, and the dialog that at times borders on ridiculous, the real downfall in my opinion is that I wasn't convinced Anakin had compelling reasons to turn to the dark side. Since this is the whole point, my opinion of the movie dropped.

Another problem I had was that Lucas chose to side-step plot points by either covering them in the cartoon "Clone Wars" or deleting them from the story entirely. Again, it's his call, he made it; however, I don't have to like it...

On the bright side, it's a fun film with plenty of action and lots of things blow up.

I suspect lots of people that have waited for three decades might be wondering if it was wise to attend conventions and dress up like space creatures after all...
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Honour among thieves...
23 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Thoroughly enjoyable, there's nothing not to like about this film except Ms. Kukhianidze's hairstyle in every single scene save for the final casino outing, where she decides to comb it at long last.

The cast are nicely chosen for their roles, with Nick Nolte looking significantly better and more "together" at his character's lowest point in the film than he did in his real life mug shot. With a gravely voice that sounds like his throat has dealt with one too many cigars and one too many shots of booze, he wanders around in a daze all the while putting together an incredibly daring, multifaceted plan to loot a casino and trying to figure out how not to overdose on smack.

There's fun here for almost everyone, and the kids in particular will get a thrill seeing a transvestite capable of benching "400 lbs." hold a man over a balcony and threaten to drop him, then later ruin the robbery plan because (s)he is post-operatively afraid of spiders...

In the end it's Nick Nolte's semi-acting, semi-natural performance that carries the movie and makes it so easy for the audience to end up hoping a drug addicted, thieving loser ends up on top. Thankfully, he does, and the pace is such that we don't lose interest.

Incidentally, just a few rough points in the script: most Europeans would have said "180 kg" not "400 lbs." regardless of their current gender status, French police don't get involved in Monaco, and locals not on the lamb or not wanting to look odd wouldn't necessarily produce a passport at a "border" check nowadays, though this last point is perhaps the most realistic "oops" committed. Now, who decided the stop-frames are artistic? It made me question my freebie DVD copy or even my player.

Give the film a try, you'll most likely find something to like.
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Great youth film
13 June 2005
Very good film about a teen aged victim of society, fashion, genetics, and his own utter stupidity.

Jon Heder delivers the performance of a lifetime in the lead role; his delivery, realism, and fitness for the role are all on a par with Ben Kingsley as Gandhi.

The rest of the cast are also well chosen, with the exception of Haylie Duff who portrays Summer with the indifference usually reserved for washed-up ex-divas in their 40s.

In a small town, a high school boy meets a new friend and attempts to help his new friend in the upcoming student elections. The plot doesn't exactly thicken from there, but the movie is excellent entertainment and each line is well thought out. Each word is meticulously chosen to be completely meaningless, and the whole world takes on a weird "stuck" and pointless tone.

Very enjoyable.
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Private Parts (1997)
Strictly for "superfans"
7 June 2005
I tried very hard to find a laugh-out-loud moment in this film and have failed.

This is a film adaptation of HS's autobiographical book, and as such is portrayed through the "eyes" of a self-centred megalomaniac. As badly as HS wants us to think all this is interesting and even funny, it simply isn't. The scene with the patient in the park, for example, looks so poorly acted and so predictable.

Too bad really. Lots of interesting characters have appeared on the show, and many of them could have made this movie more interesting. The supporting cast, particularly Fred, are very good; the sole exception is of course Robin, who comes across at least as equally self absorbed as HS regardless of whether she actually is or not.

Rent it on a slow night only.
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Murray's worst in years
19 May 2005
This film left me with mixed feelings. The premise is refreshingly anti-PC and the self-centred megalomania with which the great Steve Zissou lives his life gives me some hope all is not lost after all, but overall the interesting moments are few and far in between.

I think poor pace is the main drawback to this film. The characters are at the very least adequate, the plot, or lack thereof, interesting, and the visuals compelling with one exception: the CG effects are quite poor in quality and the special effects in general are about at the "high school drama class" level.

Still, it's an enjoyable film and Murray fans will enjoy his muttering while sporting a red cap and a sour, almost constipated look on his face. Angelica Houston could have been absent from the cast entirely without much loss, but the rest of the actors do reasonably well given the circumstances.

Too bad Jean Reno wasn't hired, he'd look great in one of those red caps and have a 3-day beard and accent to match.

5/10 on this one, 4 points for effort and one point only if they promise not to attempt a sequel.
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Good clean fun
17 May 2005
A semi-sociopathic history buff and his geeky friend are convinced a series of clues hidden in plain sight by the founding fathers of the US lead to a mythical treasure that dates back to the Templars. The necessary pretty girl and ornery father then aid him to find it and protect it.

Not bad! Sure, the paranoid fantasies and pseudo-mystical gibberish gets to be a bit much at times, but overall it's a relatively fast-paced film that keeps things moving and keeps enough things blowing up that the audience isn't bored.

This isn't a film to take seriously whether you believe in conspiracy theories and secret societies or not. It's a decent film for a rainy afternoon and taken in that context it's quite good. "Enjoyable" comes to mind.
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