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Biutiful (2010)
Don't waste your 2.5 hours of your time! Just because it's "art" doesn't make it good
28 December 2011
This movie and story are simply a long, SLOW collection of depressing scenes strung together that have NO deep meaning, and NO profound wisdom.

It is very frustrating to me when the collective "art mentality" raves about such a film being of epic depth, or philosophically/intellectually stimulating. This film meanders aimlessly -- a wallowing journey of despair, misery, and hopelessness. Don't waste 2.5 hours waiting and wanting this film to improve or deliver a worthy denouement. It is absolutely horrible.

I am a patron of the arts, and I believe in "ars gratia artis," however it is ostensibly lemming pretentiousness when people view a canvas on which an artist has vomited and call it "good art." Yes, it may be "art," but just because someone says it's art doesn't make it good. Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder, and such is the case with this film.

Regarding Javier Bardem's "fine" acting in this film: His brooding persona appears the same as in the movie, "No Country For Old Men," sans the dark psychologically twisted murderer ingredient. This role could've been played just as well by a number of different actors. Bardem's swarthy appearance and throaty voice lend more of a grittiness to the role, but come on—he's perfectly typecast; review his filmography. It's not too much of a stretch to see him in this role. In my opinion, "good acting" is when an actor/actress can become the character (and I don't mean method acting) so as to dissociate as much of their own "self" as possible from the performance that the character, such as Marlon Brando in "The Godfather," Anthony Hopkins in "Silence of the Lambs," Tom Hanks in "Forrest Gump," or Al Pacino in "Scarface."

For those supercilious reviewers who applaud this film's exceptional ability to depict the dismal characteristics of the grim and squalid parts of society: exploitation, meager existence, futility, juxtaposed with thinly veiled ephemeral moments of poignancy, I'm appalled to see that so many people rate this film highly in comparison with other films and docudramas which express and portray these elements more effectively. It's not significantly difficult to create a depressing film and to evoke a catharsis with the audience. Seriously, what do you find that is monumentally profound about this movie?

Save yourself 2.5 hours of depression (unless you like that type of torture)of and watch something else.
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Fun, warm hearted, and great for an afternoon laugh
16 November 2008
This movie is a return to the excellent Mr. Bean of the TV series, and I recommend it for a nice in-doors afternoon, lighthearted, fun watching.

I don't understand the negative reviews from people? The movie is harmless, fun, and entertaining. If you're looking for a late-night, deep, meaningful movie, select something else, but definitely save this to watch at a time when you want a feel-good movie.

Don't take the negative reviews too seriously; Those reviewers probably preferred Dumb and Dumber. Bean's Holiday is a fun movie, and I'm glad I caught part of it while watching a movie channel because I set my DVR and caught the whole movie another time, and it was well worth it! Very entertaining without having to resort to grotesque scenes, bad language, or stupid sight gags.
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Not worth your time, nor an Academy Award, nor ANY award. A waste of time.
8 July 2008
Fortunately, I borrowed this disc (Blu-Ray) from a friend. Many of us use that common rating system: Is it worth seeing at the theater, or wait until it comes out on disc and rent it? Thankfully I didn't pay anything to see this movie because that's what it was worth. Bottom line, don't waste your time; it's VERY unfulfilling.

I don't have any faith in the Academy Awards choosing best picture any longer. It seems that they had to give it to something, so why not this? I generally enjoy Tommy Lee Jones's acting, but for him to portray a Texas sheriff isn't much of a stretch at all; he's practically been typecast (US Marshalls, The Fugitive, etc). He's just older and more tired in this movie.

The movie meanders along showing us senseless killings by the antagonist using a cattle gun and a shotgun with an enormous (uh, movie blunder) brushed nickel silencer (shotgun silencers are not very effective, and only cut the VERY loud noise by about 5-6 dB). The protagonists' character development never takes place, and we're supposed to sympathize with the older sheriff's bleak perspective of the country, senseless brutality, and futility of justice all from his monologue at the opening of the film and a few short scenes a few friends or his wife. It doesn't happen.

Without giving anything away, the ending will probably leave you questioning: "What, that's it?" You might sit there staring blankly at the screen (as many people did after Blair Witch Project) wondering what just happened and how it could have ended that way, but thankful that it's finally over.

This movie was entirely over-rated, and is the perfect example of people thinking it's good simply because they've been told by others that it's a work of art and is good. Instead of behaving like mindless sheep, they should speak their own opinions rather than parrot the views of others and simply state: this movie was dismal. It was just plain bad. Many have said there is fine cinematography... if setting a camera up to shoot the wide Texas landscape is fine cinematography, then any idiot with a panoramic movie camera must be an incredible DP (Directory of Photography). The subject and location do NOT make fine cinematography. Lighting, focal length, aspect ratio, and filtering in addition to camera angle and movement are used to determine fine cinematography (and "mood") such as shown in The Godfather in the opening scene.
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Iron Man (2008)
Excellent adaptation of the Iron Man comic, and one of the best movies of 2008!
18 June 2008
I was an avid reader and collector of the Iron Man comics as a kid, and this movie is one of the best comic book adaptations I have seen (comparing others such as Spider Man, etc).

I was a bit worried to learn that Robert Downey Jr had been selected to play Tony Stark/Iron Man because I had felt that RD Jr. had wasted his talent and career on drugs, he was too arrogant, and he really had yet to "prove himself" again. In short, he did prove himself here. He toned down his own ego enough to fit the character of Stark (a sort of Howard Huges knock-off) quite well. I have a new admiration for Downey Jr's ability to shake off the ghosts of his personal past and put forth a first-class acting job as Iron Man.

The story is well-told, without excessive use of CGI, and a few nice sprinkles of humor.

I rarely would rate a movie this high, but Iron Man is the complete package. It is very enjoyable, and easily calls for repeat-viewing (as soon as it's available on Blu-Ray).

I've heard Downey Jr. comment on his desire to make MANY sequels, and if they're as good as the first (and only if they are), please make as many as you can.
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Fun, but overly contrived; a waste of acting ability & locations
4 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
What was the magic of National Treasure 1? It was the sense of discovery with the pressure of a time-line in which to solve complex puzzles having interesting connections in history, all the while having the "bad guys" attempting to do the same.

That element is lost is NT2, and this film goes the way of Tomb Raider 2 by having the the good guys team up with the bad guys to solve the puzzle by forcing them to cooperate, but never with any real sense of a threat. This type of plot tool is very weak.

The movie also wastes too much time in character development of Ben's mother and father which adds very little light humor, but serves to burn screen time and bog the film down rather than propel it. They should focus more on the verbal sparring between Ben and his tech buddy, Riley, which does more for humor in the film. Diane Kruger (Abigail) seems to be there for eye candy in this film, not really contributing much to the plot like she had in NT1 by hampering Ben's progress or threatening to take flight with clues Ben needed.

NT2 seems to move "too fluidly, too quickly." The director simply wants to rush the viewer from location to location, seemingly for the sake of showing Ben in different locations as in NT1, but Ben solves puzzles so efficiently at lightening speed in NT2 that there's never the feeling as in NT1 of struggling over a conundrum. Ben seems to make historical connections so effortlessly that you're never on the edge of your seat, nor are the viewers ever given time to ponder the puzzles themselves. With the "bad guys" teamed up with Ben, there's no sense of urgency. The antagonist isn't going to shoot so-and-so by such-and-such time, so why are we being rushed to the next filming location? It'd be nice if Ben and his crew DIDN'T get a clue right for once and then they generated some humor from that.

Turteltaub needs to watch "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" again to understand character motivation. The main character is driven with purpose of action for well-defined and valid reasons. In "Raiders" it's because Indiana doesn't want the bad guys to have possession/control of the Ark which could give the Nazis a powerful advantage during WW II. It's almost the same reason in the 3rd film--the Nazis want the Holy Grail which would tip the balance of power in their favor. All the while in both films, the lives of characters close to Indiana are put in peril. National Treasure 1 had similar character motivation. National Treasure 2 did not.

Turteltaub, if you're reading this (hah! yeah, right), and considering a plot device for National Treasure 3 (based on page 47 of the book of secrets), then you should consider using the same plot device as Indiana Jones #3: Indiana Jones' father was missing (causing Indiana to act), then his father was shot (causing him to act to find the grail); place one of Ben's family members (Abigail as Ben's wife?) in mortal danger, forcing Ben to solve puzzles on a compressed time-line. It works all the time for the hit TV series, "24." Bottom line: NT2 is a fun, mostly fast-paced ride from location/country to location, and if you set your brain on auto-pilot it's enjoyable. Hopefully NT3 will have the same suspense and wonder as NT1.
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Not a "gritty urban thriller" whatsoever. More like a boring drama revolving around an urban legend
2 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
If you're expecting a thriller, don't watch this movie. After reading the review I was hoping to see a film with suspense and intrigue, similar to "Derailed" (with Clive Owen). This movie falls extremely short of its promise to deliver anything close to a thriller, let alone a "gritty urban thriller." If simply having the story feature main characters as struggling immigrant cab drivers and hotel workers in London's "less than posh district" makes for a gritty film, then maybe you'll think it's "gritty," but if you believe a gritty thriller should expose the underbelly of a tough world, then this is far from it.

With the "a-ha" point of the plot revealed so early on, you'll find yourself waiting for this movie to deliver the suspense it promises, but it never does.

This film starts slowly, very slow, and you hope that the strange revelation about 15 minutes in will propel it along, yet it bogs down by attempting to mesh a "real world" story of two immigrants struggling to survive England's tough immigration procedures with a bizarre/dreadful scheme (based on an urban legend about black-market kidney selling) to obtain illegal passports, and it's sprinkled with characters who are so formulaic that it becomes a chore to suffer through watching. If you believe the "hook" that random people could have their kidneys removed to sell on the black market to anyone else, then maybe you'll think this movie was good, but anyone should know that organ donations require strict and exact matching.

The attempted poignant end of the film was empty because the movie never really finds itself and what genre it wants to be.

If you're looking for a good suspenseful thriller, do not be deceived by this movie's title, or by anyone saying it was "riveting" or "suspenseful". It was neither.
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DON'T waste your money or time! This movie was SO BAD, it's a waste of film, time, and money!
21 July 2006
First of all:

DON'T watch this movie! DON'T watch this movie! It is a WASTE of time and money!

I'm not going to waste my own valuable time nor this website's space by writing a "review" of this movie. It's not even worth the film on which it was shot. When you read the other negative reviews written here which describe how bad this movie is. BELIEVE them!

This movie is one of the worst hack & slash, formulaic, idiotic movies ever -- poorly written, poorly acted, poorly directed, poorly filmed.

I accidentally ordered this movie on pay-per-view, confusing it with "Silent Hill" (which I've read might not be all that great either), and what a disappointment this was. Fortunately we were able to fast-forward through much of it. I can't believe I watched even half of this stupid flick.
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Sideways (2004)
Boring, long, slow, mid-life crisis reflection... like watching grass grow
18 October 2005
I'm stunned by the amount of favorable reviews of this movie. Sideways was recommended to me as a "guy's version of a chick flick"– a real "male bonding adventure." For most guys this movie will be a 2 hour waste of time.

While both Paul Giamatti and Alexander Payne provide nice performances, the material is so steeped in the mundane reality of mid-life crisis that it's not a challenge for either actor to pull this off. The prosaic story is set against the backdrop of wine and wine tasting, drawing many metaphors from its enology and culture. While the characters deliver some depth, the story did not. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, the dénouement. The humor is rare, low-brow, muted, just as the is cinematography. What better scenery in which to develop characters than vineyards? A panoply of a canvas to fill, however, it is grossly underutilized. I can't say that this film had wonderful character development because the characters are simply lifted from the context of everyday life. The obvious conclusion brings no catharsis for the viewer. The characters simply "are." Sideways leaves nothing "to chew on" by the time it runs its course–it's simply a long, tired vignette.

This was 2 hours and 10 minutes of Ars Gratia Artis (art for the sake of art). One could carry around a video camera and capture the same provincial characters meandering through their infrequent polemic encounters in their otherwise unremarkable lives. Why would we care? What is the draw to give 2 hours of your time to this movie? If you enjoyed "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," or if you like to sit and feed pigeons in the park, or if you are the type who can stare at the same painting for 2 hours, you might like this film. If you enjoyed other movies such as Shine you may not like this, and might be left as empty as the bottles of wine which the main characters quaff.
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