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Reviews of Art, Books, Movies, Music, & Pancakes

Friday, November 11, 2005

9:20PM - Derailed...

Derailed (2005)
Directed by Mikael Hafstrom

Clive Owen plays Charles Schine who is an executive unhappily married to Deanna Schine (Melissa George) and suffers from stress due to his sick daughter and being kicked off an ad account at work. He is tempted to start an affair with Lucinda (Jennifer Aniston). When Charles and Lucinda check into a hotel room, they are attacked by a thug/con-man Philippe (Vincent Cassel). Charles and Luncinda don't get around to the actual affair, but Phillippe blackmails Charles into giving him money for his silence about Charles' attempted affair.

The relationship that developed between Charles and Lucinda dragged on. The only purpose of it was to show how parts would later serve in an intricate scam played on Charles. However, the relationahip development wasn't an interesting story and could have been told more succinctly.

This movie was advertised as a thriller, but there wasn't anything thrilling about it. If a movie relies on a 'twist' in the plot to be the main substance of it then, it will come across as ineffectual. Derailed is not an interesting story. Its twist was predictable, and the violent, graphic scene with Jennifer Aniston was unecessary.

If there was no twist in the story, and if it remained in the hotel room, it would have the potential to be an interesting story about two people who try and start an affair but end up being mugged in a hotel room. You could also throw in an interesting development this time between Charles and Lucinda- fleshing out doubts, guilt, shifting blame. As it is, I don't reccomend this movie.

Saturday, November 5, 2005


hm, I don't know if anyone checks this place out, but I saw Jarhead and here's my review...


Monday, August 8, 2005


I've been reading Crum by Lee Maynard for the last hour.

It's autobiographical fiction. (The author grew up in the town of Crum) A lot of the stories read like tall tales. The author twists fact and fiction so well, you can't help reading further just to see what weird and horrible things will happen next even when you find yourself thinking, "How could a bunch of kids be that evil!?" It's about the last year of a young man's life in a small Appalachian town in West Virginia. He has an overwhelming desire to leave the town while everyone else around him seems to be finding reasons to stay, whether they know it or not...they're stuck. This book definatlely has a place next to the great bildungsromans of contemporary literature.

Even though it has a lot of elements of a typical coming of age story, I can't help but think that it's going to lead the narrator to the discovery that the town, in some way, was a special place. On the surface it seems like a hick town removed from the rest of society, but the characters experience things very similar to any group of teenagers growing up in an urban environment. At some point, one of the female characters discovers that she can use her body to make money and the boys take advantage of that. It's not just about a bunch of kids poking at dead horses with sticks. The world they live in is largely ignored by the adults around them, and that kind of "let the kids be kids" freedom causes them to put themselves into very adult situations.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

8:52PM - The Best 3 Films of the Year So Far

1. Batman Begins
2. Revenge of the Sith
3. Land of the Dead

All three are artistic, thoughtful, political, and, most importantly, just entertaining. Three popcorn films that are more art-film oriented than what the indies are producing.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

1:14PM - Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut

Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing Donnie Darko in its natural habitat. That’s right Canal Place is having their midnight movie series (next week is The Goonies).

I’ve stated before that Donnie Darko owes a debt to The Last Temptation of Christ. I won’t say it is an allegory of that particular Christ story but it is applicable. Donnie is saved from death from a creature and gets to see what life would be like if he didn’t die (that is the temptation of Christ – not sex). Then finally he has to make a choice. I don’t think I’m making a stretch with this comparison for why would that movie be playing at the same movie theater for Halloween as three horror films?

Donnie is a savior figure. He saves the children (like he says in his poem) from the hands of the righteous adults. He sees and always speaks the truth. He refuses to listen to the bullshit from others. His decision to die doesn’t save everyone (Swayze’s character gets to continue being a sleaze if Donnie never gets to burn down his house, but Jesus never got rid of evil either, now did he?)

However, what makes this film great is not the story (which is applicable to many things; the Christ/savior story is what works for me). It is the family unit. This is one of the sweetest, honest families ever in the movies. The best scenes in the movie don’t deal with time travel (which is nothing more than dues ex machina), or Frank, or Ruth, but are the quiet family scenes. The argument at the dinner table was true and honest (it helps that Jake and Maggie probably have had 100’s of these arguments) but the parents reactions are great too. The scene where the mom and dad talk about Donnie escaping his fate in the hotel room is touching and moving – a parent showing genuine concern for their child. The other parent alone scene at the restaurant (“Telling a female teacher to forcefully insert a book into her anus is something that should not go without consequences” “I think we should buy him a moped”) again shows that they show not only concern for Donnie but they are actually on his side. Very few pieces of fiction pull this off as well as this. And the best scenes of the movie are the last ones in which Donnie has with his parents are as good as any in any movie. Holmes Osborne’s advice (“You know what ya tell’em: Fuck you!) is priceless and true. How many movies can make you that proud of a dad without manipulating you? This is exactly what Donnie’s dad should say (but at the same time he shouldn’t) and Osborne just delivers it perfectly. The other perfect scene is when Donnie asks his mom “How does it feel to have a wacko for a son?” Mary McDonnell wonderfully replies with such sincerity that it breaks your heart, “It feels wonderful.”

Not only do Jake Gyllenhaal, Osborne, and McDonnell give wonderful performances, but Richard Kelly does make the minor characters lives mean something by giving the actors some room to breathe. Patrick Swayze gives one of his bravest and most effecting performances by playing up the Swayze sleaze. Katharine Ross is not only Donnie’s doctor but his third parent. Beth Grant makes a wonderful Pharisee supporting her false idol instead of her child while at the same time criticizing other’s parenting skill. And Jenna Malone is well Jenna Malone (which means great).

Donnie Darko has become a cult phenomenon that you either hate or love. It’s not a film for everyone. It challenges you to pay attention (“Pay attention. You might miss something”). I’m for one waiting eagerly for Richard Kelly's next film.

Only if for just his taste in music.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

9:37AM - a few reviews...


Thursday, June 2, 2005

2:53PM - Quick Reviews

Bubba HoTep: I expected too much. C
American Splendor: Part Documentary, Part Movie. All Good. Who thought the simple life could be so complex. A-
Y tu mamá también: A realistic coming of age story, meaning plenty of sex, drugs, and alcohol. However, it achieves a pathos by making you live in the present, like its characters, instead of worrying about the past or the future. A

Sunday, May 22, 2005

7:00PM - Revenge of the Sith

Anyone who says they expected Revenge of the Sith to be great is lying. Episodes I and II have shown us that our hopes shouldn’t be raised. I liked Episode I; I truly loathe Episode II. I expected E3 to be just ok.

Maybe it was the lowered expectations, but damn it I love this movie. I have seen it twice and enjoyed it more the second time. In fact, flame me all you want, but I agree with A.O. Scott of the New York Times – this is the finest of the Lucas directed sagas. It is only outclassed by Empire Strikes Back.

Lucas’s eye here is in fine form. The worlds here are absolutely believable and in some cases quite beautiful. His writing is still weak (none of the Star Wars films have great scripts to be honest) but the actors for the first time feel comfortable getting their mouths around the dialogue.

Speaking of the actors, Hayden Christensen is much better this time around. He is much closer to his performance in Shattered Glass than he was in E2. His reaction to Padame’s pregnancy is actually perfect. Ewan McGregor is also great here; for the first time he shows the affection he does have for Anakin. Ian McDiarmid is so wonderful here that his performance makes me hate E2 even more for not showing him interact with Anakin enough. R2 and Yoda are also completely believable sentient beings.

The problem with E3 is how it makes you feel. Does it make you sad or does the knowledge of E4 make you feel sad. If it is the latter, then really the movie is a failure. For me, what came before it, is what really moved me.

Grade: A

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

9:51PM - Kinsey

Recently, I have been studying and teaching Orsen Welles in a media literacy course at school. The amazing thing about Welles is that he spent his whole life doing anything to make his art. Kinsey follows nearly the same story.

Taking a cue from Robots, Kinsey sees a need and fills it. He sees that this country, because of its Puritan and Victorian ancestry, was (you can argue that it still is) a very prudish country. It was only sixty years ago that people really believed that masturbation led to blindness. Kinsey sets out to study sex scientifically -- meaning love has to be place aside because unlike sex, it can't be studied scientifically.

Kinsey is helped by his supportive wife and a group of like minded scientists who are willing to follow Kinsey in his pursuit for the truth. Of course, he runs into trouble (much like Welles right after his masterpiece). Funding starts to dwindle and his coworkers can't separate sex from love.

It is a shame that last year's best acted movie only recieved one Oscar nomination for the great Laura Linney. Linney hear provides a much needed to the humanity to the very scientific world of Kinsey. Liam Neeson is perfect as a man obsessed with the science of sex. He realizes that his work will break down barriers and help humankind. He shows the frustration great people like Kinsey must suffer when others just don't get their work. Other actors that must be mentioned for their fine work are John Lithgow, Timothy Hutton, and Chris O'Donnel -- all reminded me they can still act. However, the best work here is Peter Sarsgaard's. He is the first face we see being taught how to interview someone about their sexual history. Later we see seduce Kinsey in a very touching, well done gay scene. He is so convincing in his attraction to Liam Neeson that i forgot his character was bi, until he says one day to Kinsey that he wants to sleep with Mrs. Kinsey. In the hands of a lesser actor this role could have made the movie campy. Sarsgaard, American's next great actor, gives the film a center to which Kinsey needs to understand what is the one thing that is more important than his work -- Mrs. Kinsey.

Bill Condon directs with a sure hand throughout. He doesn't crowd the scenes with useless information because he knows its the words that are important. He has made a movie that frankly talks about sex, much like Kinsey wanted us too. It's a shame that Kinsey never finished his work, for I still felt uncomfortable listening (and seeing) some things that I should never feel uncomfortable around. This is a great movie that needs to be seen and discussed.

2:12PM - The Merchant of Venice

Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare's problem plays. Along with Measure for Measure, it has a happy ending, but not necessarily a deserved one. In Roger Ebert's review, he said he went to his bookshelf to reread it and pulled down his book of Shakespeare Tragedies. It's a comedy. I understand Ebert's mistake because it is not a happy or completely funny play. A general rule I've found is that in tragedies the hero and others die; in comedies, the hero and others don't.

The basic plot of Merchant revolves around anti-Semitism which our "hero" practices. That is fun stuff there. Antonio (Jeremy Irons) has a history of making acting like Shylock (Al Pacino), a Jew, doesn't exist or when he does, the existence is lower than a dog. Antonio has a friend, who Jeremy Irons makes clear he wants more than friendship, who needs to borrow money so he can marry the very attractive Portia (Lynn Collins). Problem is Banquo (Joseph Fiennes), Antonio's friend, has no money and no credit. He goes to borrow from Antonio who has all of his money invested in shipping so is, in turn, broke. They go to Shylock, who makes a business of lending money at interest, something that the Christian Church has deemed as unchristian. Shylock has been turned away in all of his advances of friendship to Antonio, so he agrees to but for a strange price. If Antonio can't return the money as agreed to in the terms, he is to give Shylock a pound of flesh. If this plot is not convoluted enough, Shylock has a daughter who not only leaves him for a Christian, but leaves with some of his money. I'm not sure what upset Shylock more -- the losing of the daughter or the losing of money.

This last line gives you an idea of the problems this play has. Does Shakespeare, that paragon of us, have anti-Semitic feelings?
Anti-Semitism it's central theme. It doesn't shy away from it in the characters. Shylock often gets to eloquently respond ("Prick us do we not bleed"). However, the ending doesn't sit right. It's an underserved punishment based on prejudice.

Now to get to the movie. Irons and Pacino do great work here. Irons, who wears sadness the way I wear a shirt, is brilliant as a man who has lost everything financially and the one the thing he truly loves, Banquo, loves another. Pacino makes a wonderful Shylock even though I could do without the Jewish accent. His aforementioned speech was one of the more exciting speeches of Shakespeare in film. Fiennes is solid but nothing more. The true jewel here is Lynn Collins. She captures every mood of Portia so wonderfully that it seems effortless (which is the essence of great acting isn't it). She is believable when all aflutter when Banquo shows up, wonderful portraying a young male when Portia in disguise cross examines Shylock, and totally scorned when Banquo loses a gift she gave. Having mostly small roles in small comedies, she is one to watch closely.

Well, what about the film. The movie, like the play, totally gripped me up until the end. I had forgotten how the play ended. And if you don't think Shakespeare wouldn't take a pound of flesh from a main character then watch Titus. The problem with the play is the punishment of one of the characters. It is cruel and unusual. Plus, the people that are our heroes escape freely from their sins. Like I said, it's a problem play.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

8:06PM - Valentine Day Recommendations

Happy Movies:

1. Love Actually
2. Sabrina (Bogart and Hepburn version)
3. Four Weddings and a Funeral (even though he should end up with Kristen Scott Thomas)
4. Anything Screwball comedy with Cary Grant
5. Sideways

Tearjerker Movies:

1. The English Patient
2. West Side Story
3. Love Story
4. Casablanca
5. Dr. Zhivago

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

1:55PM - Finding Neverland

James Matthew Barrie claims, in Finding Neverland, that “just” is a dirty word, a destroyer of dreams. “It’s not a diamond, it’s just a rock,” is one of the sentences he uses to illustrate his point. The point he is trying to make, to a little boy named Peter, is that anything is possible with the help of your imagination.

Finding Neverland is the story of how Barrie, played by Johnny Depp, wrote Peter Pan. After having a flop in with a recent play, he goes to the park to relax with his dog and maybe get some writing done. He invites his wife but she doesn’t want to go. Big mistake on her part, for in the park he gives his heart to another. No, not Kate Winslet, but the children of Winslet’s character, Sylvia Llewelyn Davies. They use something most kids don’t know how to use these days – their imaginations. Barrie in turn writes Peter Pan to celebrate childhood and his.

The script could easily have derailed with sappiness but the mastery of Depp and Winslet never let it. Winslet’s character is sick, probably with consumption, which also claimed the life of her husband. Winslet’s character is brave and full of life and wants her kids to celebrate life even though they have only known death. Three of the children handle it fine, but Peter, played with fierce intelligence by Freddie Highmore, is tired of being treated as a child. He wants to be a grown up because he thinks that adults don’t feel as much as children. Barrie, who has his own childhood and adulthood scars, writes so he can heal and also so can the children.

Mr. Depp deserves all the praise he receives. Here he is sweet and tender to all around him, even his wife who has become just a companion. Depp, when in imagination mode, doesn’t need the beautiful special effects the film provides – you follow him there just by his acting. Winslet never solicits pity from the audience, but impresses with her bravery. The ever gorgeous Julie Christie plays a wonderfully icy mother to Winslet who is so worried about taking care of Winslet she does the complete opposite. All the children give good performances without relying on their cuteness.

The best way I can sum up this movie: The next time I watch Peter Pan, I will clap with all my might to save Tink.

Grade: A

Monday, February 7, 2005

3:16PM - Quick Movie Reviews

1. High Noon -- its a great and awful feeling when you are the only one who is right. A+
2. The Great Dictator -- Chaplin talkie. Made in 39 critizing Hitler (and saying things the rest of the world was afraid to say). While his physical comedy is the highlight here, his final speech maybe the finest non-Shakespeare speach in the history of cinema. -- A+
3. Coffee and Cigarettes -- Not really a movie but a collection of short movies. My favorite was Iggy Pop and Tom Wait's. A
4. Far From Heaven -- if you like weepy melodramas like All that Heaven Allows and Imitation of Life you need to watch this. This is the great film that could not be made in 1958. The story is about a housewife whose's husband is a closet homesexual and so she seeks solace with a black man. Beautifuly shot and acted (especially by Dennis Quaid). B+
5. Pulp Fiction -- You could actually turn the picture off of this movie and still enjoy it. A+
6. Citizen Kane -- weak storyline is overcome by visual and sound brilliance. A+.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

3:00PM - Quick Reviews of Stuff I Saw the last Couple of Weeks

1. Star Wars Trilogy Box Set -- Impressive. Most Impressive. A+
2. Boys Don't Cry -- Interesting movie, but a bit thin. Swank deserved the Oscar but she much better in Million Dollar Baby (tells you how good she is). B+
3. Garden State -- While having some laugh out loud moments, character quirks do not a movie make. I really didn't care what happened. D
4. Mystic River -- Flawless. 2nd time I watch it. 2nd time I am amazed. A+
5. Unforgiven -- Eastwood's western deserves to be mentioned with High Noon, The Searchers, and Red River as one of the greatest weasterns of all time. A+

12:14AM - Hide And Seek

I will say the only thing I can say nice about this movie first: Famke Janssen is gorgeous.

The plot (so called) centers around a father and daughter trying to overcome the grief of suicide of their wife/mother. This would make an interesting movie in and of itself. It doesn't need anything weird to go on for it is already there.

But of course, failed imaginations make sure that they give us something that we have already seen before. Now horror is the hardest movie to make because there are a finite amount of ways to scare someone. This movie doesn't really find any of these ways.

Now the movie does start off promising. The young girl, played well by Dakota Fanning, creates an imaginary friend who seems to not like her dad, played not-so-well by Robert De Niro. This is an interesting premise and I can't think of anything scarier than watching a child go insane while her father, a psychologist, can't help her. But no, the movie goes for cheap thrills.

This movie does have a great cast: Elizabeth Shue, Famke Janssen, Amy Irving, and Dylan Baker. They also have absolutely nothing to do.

De Niro, along with Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson, was accused of phoning it in by GQ magazine last summer. Well, Pacino has tried to make art with his delving in Shakespeare and Nicholson with About Schmidt. However, De Niro's last good movie was Heat (1995) and his last great one was Goodfellas (1990). I understand he has the right to use his name to get paid, but since I'm doing the paying I think I deserve to get a good De Niro movie again.

Grade: D

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

11:43AM - Grades

Being a school teacher, I've gone back and given grades to all the films I've reviewed. Now I have to pass out test to my future Black Panthers. Power to the People Say!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

9:28PM - Sideways

There is a common misconception with movie goers that you have to like the characters in the movie to like the movie. The best example I can prove that misconception wrong is Gone With the Wind, in which truly none of the major characters is someone we would to have as a friend. To like a movie, you have to like the story, but more importantly you have to like the way the story is being told.

Sideways is another perfect example to prove this concept wrong. Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church play to selfish, shallow, and narcissistic characters named Miles and Jack. Miles is a born loser, who teaches 8th grade english, loves wines, and is a "failed" writer. (Exchange wine for movies and his character really hits close to home.) Jack is a washed up movie actor who know reads the 5.8% financing on commercials and lets his "instinct" determine his life. Jack is getting married in a week, so Miles plans a wine tasting trip for one final hurrah.

Jack wants to have as much sex as possible to forget he is getting married. Miles wants to have has much wine as possible to forget he ever was married. Along the way, Jack finds out what he truly needs; Miles finds himself.

While not necessarily a comedy, this does have some laugh out moments. My favorite was when Miles is contemplating suicide but can't go through with it for unlike Plath, Sexton, and Hemingway he hasn't been published. Jack, trying to cheer up his friend, replies, "What about the guy who wrote 'A Confederacy of Dunces'? He was published after he committed suicide and look how big he his now." Giamatti's glare at church was worth the price of admission.

Miles does meet someone who is perfect for him, Maya, played with a pure heart by Virginia Madsen. She is perfect for Miles, so therefore he will screw it up. Giamatti, a pure misanthrope of the movie, carefully articulates a change in his characters outlook on life. He does it by doing small things such as running into a married couples bedroom -- while they are having sex -- to retrieve Jack's wallet. (Why the wallet is there explains Jack's character.) He does it by letting Jack wreck his car. Giamatti takes an unlikable character and without fully changing him makes you hope he can change. Church here is all id doing everything based on his drives -- sex, drinking, sex, food, sex. But he delivers every line not for laughs but as if it were exactly what he is thinking making it even funnier. Along with Million Dollar Baby, this is one great triangle of performances.

Alexander Payne (Election) does a masterful job here. Every scene looks great and sounds right. Each character has their own way of talking (instead of all sounding like the screenwriter). He also catches the wine fields beautifully. He also incorporates the musical score, a jazzy Manci-like piece, seamlessly into the movie.

His best scene is one in which Maya and Miles tell each other how much they love wine and why. The dialogue, while ever word is about wine, is more about the love of life and about who each person truly is. It's the kind of scene that can make the most hard-hearted person believe that they can change into someone good, into someone worth loving. Words, they have a power. As said by these two actors in this great little film, it was the most poweful dialogue I have heard in a long time.

Grade: A+

Monday, January 24, 2005

10:35PM - Million Dollar Baby

Note: This film is not in theaters as of this writing. I saw a sneak preview with a pass given form Borders. Not the recommended way to watch a great film

I remember getting ready to watch a film (that I can't remember) and seeing a trailer for The Unforgiven. I thought that was the silliest thing ever. A western directed and staring a washed up actor. I laughed. Then it won the Oscar. Then I saw it followed by a nice meal of crow. I credit that "film" for letting me know there was a difference between "movies" and "films." I've lost it ever since at the movies.

Let me get it out of the way -- Mr. Eastwood is the greatest talent in Hollywood. For this film he deserves Oscar nods for directing, original score (yes original score), and acting. The man never stood so tall; he has never been more tough. Especially, when he weeps.

The film is about a female boxer named Maggie Fitzgerald. Hilary Swank plays her with such a combination of grit and charm, that she doesn't deserve an Oscar nomination. She deserves to be the only one nominated. She's that good. Clint Eastwood plays Frankie, the best cut man in the business. Frankie, grudgingly, becomes her manager. He's not too sure about managing a girl, but he sees the something special in Maggie. And of course Maggie lets him see what is special in him.

I can't give anymore of the plot away. But, I don't think if I did it would ruin this movie. Eastwood, now in his mid-seventies, is in such complete control of his talent the only comparison I can make is that of Micheal Jordon at the height of his game. He's that good. He's that flawless.

Working with a great script, by Paul Haggis, helps plenty. The script manages to be both funny and sad at the same time. Plus, it gives Morgan Freeman a chance to play a moral center of a film without becoming overbearing or stale (he plays that part a lot). Ms. Swank, in a year of good women's performances such as Kate Winslett in Eternal Sunshine and Nicole Kidman in Birth, is in a league of her own. She delivers her lines in a way that when she is happy she breaks your heart out of happiness and then turns around in the same sentence and breaks your heart out of sadness.

I thought Scorsese would be the shoe in for the director nomination and The Aviator would get best picture. I'm afraid if they do win, it will be because Eastwood has been there before.

Grade A+

10:18PM - Phantom of the Opera

First, let me say that I have never seen the play. I have seen Crawford sing "Music of the Night" one time on PBS. I was interested in seeing the movie because I think musicals still have some life left in them, but they need this one to be good.

Well, things didn't look so well when both male leads started singing. The Phantom was the worse of the two (he was downright awful), but Raoul was not much better. Their voices sounded thin plus the fact that their voices (all male voices) in fact were poorly mixed with music. The music almost drowned them out. Plus, there is the story. Not much in plot development hoping that b/c he looks like a phantom and dresses like a phantom we must believe he is a phantom. I'm not giving much away here, but the female lead says that the Phantom will murder indiscriminately after he does kill one person (note verb usage). Before she truly seems to care about the Phantom, but now she calls him a madman. Why? Because a guy followed, and by doing so, threatened him? True logic would have her running to the Phantom to console him or to confront him. But no the little fluzzy runs to her childhood sweetheart (who she totally shuns in the beginning). Why? For those steeped in Phantom lore I'm sure this all makes since, but for someone who never has seen a production, it leaves one scratching one's head.

However, I do recommend this film for two reasons. First one is Emmy Rossum. She survived "The Day After Tomorrow," and in "Mystic River" you would have done the same thing Sean Penn did. Here, in a star is born performance, she blooms fully in front of your very eyes. She does her own singing (it's not a crime to have others sing for you, though; see "West Side Story" and "The King and I"; they should have done the same for the Phantom), and she not only sings well but conveys emotions and acts while doing so. Plus, she is the most gorgeous thing to hit the screen since Nicole Kidman in Dead Calm.

The other is Joel Schumacher. Schumacher has threatened to make a film like this for some time. Here, he is the star. The direction is flawless, especially the Masquerade sequence, which is one of the great musical dance sequences. It was he, not Weber, who made me care about the story through his daring and exciting look at this story. I would have enjoyed this film muted.

Grade: B-

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

9:47PM - I don't like every movie

I really don't. Lately, I've been seeing many good movies probably b/c of the Oscar season. These are movies I have seen that I don't like:

1. Chronicles of Riddick: About 3 hours too long. Grade:F
2. I, Robot -- This one was a real disappoinment. Great story, great director (he directed the underated Dark City). This was one movie in which I wanted the bad guys to win because they were ten times more interesting. And they were as interesting as two snails racing. Grade:D
3. Shrek 2 -- Why does anyone like this film is beyond my understanding. While it did have some laughs, it was completely bankrupt of any good ideas for its story. If I want to see a movie spoof other movies I will rent Hot Shots. The original was exactly that. This was tired. What would have been interesting would be for one of them to remain human and the other to remain an orge and for them to remain in love. That would teach kids something about not judging on the outside. And one more thing, every cat I've owned wouldn't just give up b/c it coughed up a hairball. Cats are the gangstas of the animal world; pus-in-boots went out like a punk. Grade: C-
4. American Beauty -- I know this didn't come out any time near the present, but I don't get why this film was loved by so many. I can live with the characters not being likable (many of my favorite films have characters that aren't likable) but these characters, with the notable exception of Chris Cooper's character, are totally unintersting. The plastic bag had a better story to tell. Now if the movie would have been about Chris Cooper's character I could understand all the fuss -- and let's face it, he is not a likable character. The rest of them I didn't really find all that fasicnating. And why did they use Baba O'Reily in the trailor and The Seeker in the movie? Grade: C

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