High school may have blown, but post-high school, sucks even worse.
Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) are a pair of outsiders who have just graduated from high school and are trying to figure-out to do with their lives. There’s the possibility of college, getting an apartment together, making money, having boyfriends, spending time together, getting jobs, and all of that other, annoying crap that you have to deal with after the days of high school. However, Enid is more concerned with her friendship with a strange man she met through an ad in the classifieds, a nerd named Seymour (Steve Buscemi).
People may make fun of it a lot and write it off as it’s some sort of plea for help or pity, but seriously: it’s hard being a teenager, let alone, a young adult. It really is, especially after you hit that ripe-part in your life where not only are you out of high school and have the rest of your life to think about, but also realize that for the past 4 years of your life, you’ve been sleep-walking in a state of normality, without any ideas or consequences of what you want to do next with your life. I know this all comes off as very angsty and straining, especially when you know that this is coming from a 19-year-old male, who lives with his parents, goes to a city college, and makes a living off of Craigslist, but it’s the truth and that’s what resonated with me so much throughout this whole flick: it’s just like me, in one way or another.
I’ve never read or even given a look at the original graphic novel that this flick is based-off of but from what it seems like, the author, Daniel Clowes, definitely knows a thing or two about being stuck in the middle of your life and having no idea how the hell to get out of it. I was never an outsider throughout school, hell, not even life, but I really connected with these two gals in the ways that they weren’t able to connect with the rest of the world around them. They sulk around their days as they go-by, make fun of every person they see, and never seem to be happy with anything that comes their way. They are just the typical, normal, neo-cool teenagers that are way too hot for their britches and act like everybody else around them are a bunch of idiots and as annoying as that may sound to watch a whole, hour-and-50-minute long movie about, trust me, it’s a lot darker and dramatic than it may have you think.
The flick never really gets down on these girls for being such a bunch of bummers, it actually, more or less, shows them-off as being true, near, and dear human-beings that just go about their lives in different directions than say, you or I. Watching them interact with one another was great because I felt like they were two friends that knew everything about one another, and loved each other for all of it, but yet, it was also sad to see at how rapidly they were changing and how things between the two become a bit hostile, once one person’s laziness gets in the way of the other person’s happiness. It shows that these two are friends that love each other for all that that are, but maybe not for all that they are going to be, considering that their lives may soon be changing, as well as their personalities and whatnot.
That “friendship” aspect is what really touched me in a way, but the whole idea of not knowing where to go when your life of high school is all said and done with, well that, really got to me. Not only is it done in such a way that’s pitch-black humorous with all of it’s insights on how stupid and annoying people who give into conformity can be, but it also done in a way where life doesn’t always hand you out questions, as if they were lemons. It’s sort of like that old saying, “You get more out of life, by what you put into it”, and in a way, that’s sort of truthful. You can sit around all day, watch movies, critique them, talk shit on other people because they aren’t like you in every, which-way, and at the end of it all, just go back to your bed and be peaceful with your own anger and self-misery. In a way, that’s sort of my life story, but yet, it isn’t because I actually do a lot more than just all of that boring, dull shite that I just mentioned. I like to be happy with friends, hang-out, go to parties, listen to some neat-o music, and just do all of the typical things that make a person happy, no matter how old or young they may just be.
That’s why the old saying that I just mentioned up there, is, relatively true to the point of where you understand where you’ll life will go if you don’t do anything with it, and yet, still expect it to give you the happiness and pleasure that you so rightfully desire. If life can’t do it for you, then you just have to do it for yourself and it’s a lot easier said, then actually done, but it can, and it will be done if you give yourself the time and pace. This main theme resonated with me very well and I love how everything played-out here in a very brutal, honest way that made me laugh, made me a bit emotional, and also, made me realize that there is more I can do with my life than just sitting around and talking shite on people. I don’t want to say this movie is a “life changer” by any stretch of the imagination, but it is one that will definitely connect with you, if you have ever felt out-of-place in the world, or just don’t have any sense of general direction of where you want it to go.
However, I felt like that main theme was sort of ruined by the ending that plays it almost a little too safe. Without giving too much away, there is this red herring that continues to pop-up throughout the whole story and at first, it seems like a sweet, little quirky touch from the writers and director, but after awhile, it becomes so insistingly obvious, that you sort of just want them to get it over and done with. It got so annoying that by the time the actual ending came about (which there seem to be 2 of, mind you), I was left a bit more dry than I originally expected. Yes, the thoughts, ideas, and messages that this movie made me think about were still left in my head, but did not impact me as much as if the film just knew the right time and place to end, exactly when I thought it should have. Oh well, not everything can be perfect I guess.
Going back to my point about the friendship between these two gals, the main reason why it works so well is because Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson are so good in the roles, whether they are together, or not. Johansson is the type of actress that doesn’t seem to get cut-enough slack, but as of late, she’s been proving that, time and time again, she can knock it out of the park and shut all those naysayers up, but here, in one of her earlier roles, she’s great. She’s young, brass, full of attitude, but also a bit different from Enid because she has more of an inspiration for what she wants to do with her live and understands the concept of, “Having money, allows you to buy the things you want, and therefore, you are happy”.
Enid, on the other-hand, does not roll that way and god bless her for that. After American Beauty boosted her to stardom, Thora Birch seemed to go straight for the same, exact role she played as the misunderstood outsider, but this time, with more of a comic-edge to her here, than that role. Birch’s comedic-timing is just perfect with her deeply deadpan, sardonic delivery that makes you feel like this girl is way too smart to hold a conversation with, or let alone, even be around in the same area with. That doesn’t make her the loveliest of lovely characters to watch grace the screen, but it still makes her a very honest character, albeit, a female teenager in a teen-dramedy. She’s full of angst, but not in the way you’d expect, she’s pissed at the world, angry at how it doesn’t accept it, and and mad at how it’s not making her happy. It’s a very honest-portrayal of a girl that has no sense of direction and doesn’t really care to have one, and it really makes you wonder just why the hell Birch left the spotlight after this and hasn’t really done a movie, as big as this? Seriously, Thora! Come back to us and show these whiny, little teenaged, Twilight-girls what going through angst is all about!
The highlight of this whole cast, mostly has to be Steve Buscemi who plays the endearing nerd, Seymour. When we first see Seymour, we see him as this type of loser, that doesn’t really talk to many people, have great-enough social-skills to be bothered with the rest of the world, and even better, doesn’t give a shit about anything, really. It’s sort of sad, but Buscemi plays it up so perfectly to where you really feel for the dude, especially when things start to really come-out of his soul and character that at first, may seem a bit strange, but once you get to thinking about it, realize, that maybe, just maybe, it’s what was going to happen to this guy all-along. Buscemi has such a great look and feel to him that doesn’t make you cringe at how awkward or weird he can be sometimes, but more or less, at how he’s just sad dude, who’s nice, but still very sad that the rest of the world hasn’t fully been able to make sense of him, either. It’s a wonderful performance from Buscemi that basically shows the guy can do anything, especially a comedy where he’s all about being subtle, and way, way too serious. But hey, that’s the Buscemi charm!
Consensus: Ghost World may end on a bit of a dinker, but it’s themes and central-message hit harder than any, other teenage-dramedy of the past decade or so, and the performances from everybody feel fully-realized, and never used as caricatures even though that’s definitely the type of direction this film could have gone in.
God, I wish I was as cool as these guys. I seriously do.
Dapper Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is a man of action. Less than 24 hours into his parole from a New Jersey penitentiary, the wry, charismatic thief is already rolling out his next plan. Following three rules – don’t hurt anybody, don’t steal from anyone who doesn’t deserve it and play the game like you’ve got nothing to lose – Danny orchestrates the most sophisticated, elaborate casino heist in history. This is where the fun begins in Ocean’s eyes, and you know what? His eyes do not deceive him a single-bit.
Heist flicks are and have always been a favorite of mine, and to feature a cast with the likes of Clooney, Damon, Cheadle, Pitt, Mac, Reiner, and even Affleck (Casey, that is), you know I was even more excited because it seemed like the perfect-opportunity for a bunch of guys to just pal-around, have a good time, and pull-off some neat-o heists. However, just to make sure that this isn’t one, long bro-sesh from start-to-finish, we got Steven Soderbergh at the helm to keep everything under control and honestly, what better man to do that then the guy who has made one of the greatest heist/crime flicks of all-time, Out of Sight? Well, you could probably argue Tarantino or Scorsese, or plenty of others, but if you were to really get down to the nitty-gritty of it, I think you would be pretty damn fine with having Soderbergh behind it all, because I definitely was.
Having a guy like Steven Soderbergh doing your film means one thing and one thing only: it’s going to have a crap-load of style. And that’s not really a bad thing at all, because with a generic and relatively conventional story like this, you need that to add more pizzazz and spice to the whole-product, even though it’s obviously apparent that’s what Soderbergh is relying on the most. However, it didn’t get in the way of material and you can’t help but just love the fact that Soderbergh gives the flick a more-polished look than you are used to seeing with heists, but also realize that it makes the setting it takes place-in, all the more beautiful and smoother in it’s own, coolio way. Soderbergh is the man of being cool, looking cool, and filming cool, and he was definitely the perfect-choice for material like this.
There’s also a great-deal of fun and entertainment that Soderbergh brings to this flick and it’s not just all about the style, either, it’s more about the actual heist itself, and keeping you constantly wondering, guessing, and figuring-out how it’s all going to play-out in your mind and on-screen. Soderbergh definitely does a little-job of trickery here and there with this heist and the twists and turns it takes, but that just adds more to the overall enjoyment of what we all see and it’s perfect since everything until then, was all just one, big lead-up to what was going to go down. We see bits and pieces of how this heist is going to go down, but not enough, so that when the heist does go through and we see everything that goes-down, we’re not only surprised, but pretty gripped to our seat, as you don’t really know how it’s going to turn-out for this cats in the end. Sooderbergh has as much fun with this as his cast does, but by doing-so, he allows us to just revel in his enjoyment in making the material and it’s no surprise that the guy came-back for 2 more of these flicks. However, more on them later as the reviews keep on coming, so just you wait DTMMR readers/follows out there!
Topping-off this cake of coolness, with a sweet, little cherry on-top is the cast that is filled to the brim with the coolest mofo’s on the planet, and some, you have yet to even know are cool just yet. George Clooney is the brains behind the whole operation as Danny Ocean and is cool, lean, and suave, exactly as we know and love him to be. Clooney sort of takes the background in this flick and allows the rest of his cast to show-off and do their thing, but whenever he gets a chance to show why he’s so cool, he does it with perfection. Damn that George Clooney. Playing the “other” brains behind the operation is Brad Pitt as Rusty Ryan, a dude that knows it all, can walk the walk, and talk the talk. Pitt’s good at playing cool and smart, we all know him for that, and we all love him for that. ‘Nuff said about that. Matt Damon is the new-blood of the gang and does a great-job at playing up that cocky-rookie look to him, while also being able to put-up, when shut-up time is right there, in front of his face. Not the most memorable performance from Damon but the guy sure as hell can act and make any role, seem like the perfect-fit for him.
Playing the opposite-side of these fast-cats is Andy Garcia, aka, the guy who owns the casino that they are robbing, Terry Benedict. Garcia is a tough-guy that you really feel like can’t be out-smarted, no matter who the person/people doing the out-smarting are. Garcia’s got a lot of intimidating-looks in those eyes and you never quite know if he’s going to pull-off the win in the end, or just give it to Ocean’s dudes. Once again, it’s a tense-ride to the finish that you never quite know where it’s going to end-up or how, for that matter. Julia Roberts is fine as Benedict’s gal/Ocean’s ex-gal, but does her usual, “I’m-Julia-Roberts-And-My-Shit-Don’t-Stink” act that some love her for, some hate her for, and some are just tired and bored of her for playing so much. Me, I linger somewhere around the latter and as juicy and spicy as the scenes with Clooney may be, her character is still Julia Roberts, playing Julia Roberts.
Everybody else in this cast is pretty damn fine as you’ll see a crap-load of familiar faces pop-up, do their thing, and be done with it and continue onto the road. Seriously, everybody is good except for Don Cheadle as Basher, who is supposed to be channeling this wry, British-accent that goes in-and-out like a you know what, and is even more distracting to this character, because every time he’s talking, it just sounds like Don Cheadle trying hard to sound British. And yes, Cheadle does have a very distinctive voice that is easy to point-out as to when it’s real, when it’s being fake, and when it’s trying to be British. Oh well, I guess this cat needed to have one bad performance to throw in there for his whole filmography. Bastard.
As fun and exciting as this flick may be, you really do just end the film, happy as a fly, and continue on with your day as if nothing happened. In a way, that’s not such a terrible thing to have in life, considering it’s a happy-thought, but in other ways, it’s a bit of a disappointment considering the cast and crew that was on-display here. Yes, it’s fun, exciting, and entertaining for the 2 hours it’s alive and well on the big-screen, but other than that, you don’t have much else to really hold you over or make you think of anything afterwards either. I don’t know, maybe I was just expecting a bit too much more than I was given, but I definitely feel like there should have been more for me to seize-onto at the end, no matter how conventional or obvious it was trying to be.
Consensus: Ocean’s Eleven is no game-changer in terms of heist movies, but is still entertaining, fun, exciting, well-acted, and just really, really cool, almost to the point of where you feel cool for watching it but you soon realize, that you’re just a poor college student who drives a 2005 Scion, and has about $20 in your wallet as you speak. Yeah, I’m speaking from my point-of-view, but if only I wasn’t. If only dreams really could come true, after all.
Somebody, anybody, just please! Let there be light!
On the secluded isle of Jersey in the final days of World War II, a young woman waits for her beloved husband to return from the front. Grace (Nicole Kidman) has been raising her two young children, Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), alone in a beautiful, cavernous, Victorian mansion, the one place she believes them to be safe. But they are not safe, or at least, not anymore.
I remember being a little tike and seeing all sorts of trailers and ads for this on TV, and being absolutely scared to death by everything I saw, and mainly, I’m talking about that “I am your daughter” scene that had everybody’s interest from day-one. Basically, it was a movie that was bound to scare the shit out of people and that’s why, even as a little guy, I really wanted to see it and possibly wet my Spider-Man undies (I was so cool back then, not much has changed actually). However, after all of these years of searching, looking around, and waiting for the right time to actually sit-down and enjoy this spook-fest for all that it is, I have to say: I’m pretty damn disappointed at the fact that my Spider-Man undies were not soiled at all, not even once. Oh, and I was disappointed that the movie sort of blew.
The film definitely starts off very promising and offers you a different-view and look at what we are usually used to seeing with haunted-house flicks. We get a lot of spooky, atmospheric stuff that makes you feel like you have no idea what’s going on, what’s in the other room, and just what the hell is making all of that noise, and that works exceptionally well here, because director Alejandro Amenábar, definitely seems like the type of guy that’s tired of all of these CGI-fueled, horror-trips. He wants to go back to being old-school where what you did not see, was the scariest thing of all and it continued to work for about, I would say, 10 minutes. After those 10 minutes, however, things start to go really, really downhill from there.
Even though it’s apparent Amenábar doesn’t want this movie to be like all of the other haunted-house flicks that it so takes inspiration from, it ends-up being that, albeit, a very dull and boring one. We’ve seen and heard it all before: the floors creaking, the doors mysteriously closing, the spooky children, the weird elders, the lurking darkness, the sound of a piano being played with nobody there, and etc. All of these elements were being used as far as House on Haunted Hill and still, about 40 years later, not much has changed as they are still not scary or freaky, no matter how much of a big-budget you may or may not have. There were so many moments in this flick where I felt like I should have been scared, I should have been freaked-out, and I should have been floored to my seat, but really, I was just bored and as it all came-and-went along, I started to just continue to make more-and-more fun of this movie with my buddy. I get that it’s the type of flick that really scares the shit out of people if you don’t know what to expect next, but I did, and so did my bud, and it just became a bore.
And I hate to say it, but what added insult to injury was the non-stop repetitive motion that this flick seemed to go through. It seemed like every time Kidman’s character was pissed about the shades being opened, she would yell at her house keepers, who would then try to help-out the children, who would continuously bicker and banter with one another about “the ghosts” that they see, and then, get into a loud shouting match, that would ultimately start the whole cycle back-up again. Everybody’s always yelling, everybody’s always fighting, and everybody’s always looking spooky or looking spooked, and it just became tiring and annoying to see that this flick had nothing really cool to throw at us. There were a couple of cool moments where I really felt like Amenábar had a sense of style and detail that he wanted to kick our asses with, but somehow, it just ended-up kicking our asses out of the seats we were in, and into the bathroom as we downed 5 Coca-Cola’s in a row, just to stay-awake for the whole thing, and that was a pretty good choice on our parts, because trust me, the ending is something that you want to stay around for.
Hell, it’s the best part of the whole movie and sure to change your left-over thoughts and opinions about the whole movie. I don’t want to go into anymore detail about this twist and the ending, but it’s very smart, very thought-provoking, and very intelligent with how it constructs itself and the whole flick, in and of itself. However, I still just wish that the rest of the flick was like that and at least tried to keep me wondering and guessing, almost as much as this twist did. Trust me, it’s good enough to make me want to give this thang a positive-rating and that is really, really saying something.
Maybe I’m not giving enough credit to Nicole Kidman cause despite her seeming like she is way-above the material she is given here, she actually brings a lot to the table and makes her character seem more than just an angry, bitch-of-a-mother that can’t seem to keep her kiddies away from the sunlight. Kidman does all that she can with a script that doesn’t really seem to know what to do with her talents, other than have her running-around, yelling, and looking terrified, but you know what? Kidman milks it all for what it is and in-return, made this movie a tad bit more enjoyable and entertaining than I expected after the first 10-minutes of realizing that this chick was not a happy-camper, and sure as hell not one I would want as my mommy. That’s fo damn sho. Although, maybe a girlfriend instead would be nice? Definitely would.
The two that play her kids, Alakina Mann and James Bentley, are fine and aren’t as unbearable to watch as kid actors because they know what to do, how to do it, and still look creepy and innocent at the same time, while doing it. It’s a pretty rare-achievement to see in kiddie-roles, especially the kid actors/actresses themselves. Also, Christopher Eccleston shows up in this flick and as good as that bloke may be in everything else in the world that he has done, he’s pretty lame here and brings nothing to the table other than more agony and boredom for a bunch of stiffs like me and my pal. However, we come very close to seeing Kidman naked in a scene that he’s in, so that at least counts for something, right?
Consensus: An intriguing plot-twist and fine performance from Kidman save The Others from being just another lame, boring, dull, and obvious haunted-house, horror-flick that’s all about what spooks in the night and lurks in the shadow. However, it definitely is, despite trying to hide it with a couple of neat, style-points here and there. Neat, but worthless on lame-o material such as this.
5 / 10 = Rental!!
Alright, bring on the freaks!
Set in Middle Earth, the story tells of the Dark Lord Sauron, who is seeking the One Ring. The Ring has found its way to the young hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood). The fate of Middle-earth hangs in the balance as Frodo and eight companions who form “the Fellowship” begin their journey to Mount Doom in the land of Mordor, the only place where the Ring can be destroyed.
Obviously with the fact that Peter Jackson is returning to Middle Earth soon with The Hobbit, I thought to myself, “It’s been awhile since I actually wasted my day and watched one of these movies. So, why not just go back to the whole trilogy and waste three days now? Woo-hoo!!” Trust me, people, it’s all for you out there so you better be freakin’ happy.
Anybody that ever talks about this movie, or the trilogy itself, always says the same thing, “You have to have read the books to fully understand.” Is that true? Well, yes, in a way, but that does not mean you can’t still appreciate it for what it truly is: a very, very well-made film. Jackson has never been a huge favorite of mine but I have to cut the guy some slack here because this direction is one of the more inspired-directions I’ve seen in a long, long time. Jackson obviously has a near and dear passion and love for the J.R.R. Tolkien novels, and that shows here with his set design and attention to detail.
Saying that everything in this movie is beautiful, is a downright understatement. Everything looks so perfect the way it is, that at times, believe it or not, I actually caught myself wondering just how they got it to look so real and put it out into a film without ever making it look cheesy one-bit. I will say that in the year 2012, the CGI and special-effects may not be as up-to-date as we all are used to nowadays, but just checking this film out from a viewer’s stand-point and realizing how much attention and detail was given to each scene really makes me want to get up, and give Jackson a big old hug. The guy really has a distinctive look with this film and made me feel even closer to Middle Earth, even though the shots were obviously from New Zealand. But you know what? Who the hell cares, because if Jackson can make it look like Middle Earth, then that’s good enough for me.
I feel like I should have been more open in this review by starting off and saying that I’m not a reader/nor have I ever read any of Tolkien’s novels and to be honest, I still think that the story made me enough sense for me to get the gist of it. In the beginning, Jackson spells-out everything pretty nice and clear for everyone to understand just what’s going on with a detailed and heavy prologue and definitely makes it clear right from the start, just what we’re in store for: hobbits, elves, dwarves, wizards, sorcery, action, violence, and plenty of other weird-looking creatures just hangin’ around. Jackson’s attention to detail in terms of setting and scenery, carries out very well into the characters and creatures that he creates but I feel like that’s a pretty obvious statement already. Let me just get it out of the way: Jackson’s direction is superb here and he pays attention to detail like no other. Also, it’s a very, very, very beautiful film! Okay, now that I got that thought out of my mind, I can move on now and just tell you that it’s a pretty fun movie once you get past all of the kookiness behind it.
You don’t generally have to be a fan of fantasy movies (like me), to enjoy the hell out of this movie, but it definitely does help. There’s so much exposition, secret powers coming out of nowhere, swords clashing, people yelling bold statements about courage, weird creatures, and more exposition. It’s exactly what you expect from a fantasy movie and I didn’t have much of a problem with that because the story kept me involved, and I found myself to have a lot of fun with it as well. The action doesn’t take over the whole movie, but that was a-okay with me because I payed more attention to the adventure that all of these colorful characters were on, where it was going to take them, and the danger that lied ahead of them. There was definitely a great deal of suspense in the air because I never really knew when shit was just going to pop-off for these characters and their adventure, and quite frankly, I was a bit scared for them as well. It’s one of those movies where you feel as if you are on an adventure that may never end, but you sort of don’t want it to end because you feel as if you’re along for the ride, without having to worry about being killed or eaten alive by some weird-looking, monster/creature/thing.
Regardless of how fun and exciting this movie really was, it still does not make it “The Greatest Movie Ever Made”, a statement and accolade that has seemed to be given by anybody who has watched this movie. Is it a grand, sweeping epic that catches your attention right from the start and keeps you watching? Yes, but is it perfect? Awwww, hellll nooo! The reason why this movie is not perfect is because of how long it is. It comes close to clocking in at over 3 hours and even though I don’t mind that with most movies, just as long as they keep my attention, I minded that with this movie because of how many times it seemed to start-and-stop all over the place.
What I mean by this, is that every time the movie would fire-up with an ultra-epic action scene, it would just automatically slow-down, start having everybody talk in their exposition jibber-jabber, continue walking, focus on another character from another setting, have another ultra-epic action scene, and then go right back to the same pattern. At first, I didn’t really mind this because it was entertaining to see and I liked watching where Jackson went with this story, but after awhile it became a bit repetitive and I could almost tell where all of the action was going to go down and when. That’s not good for me, because I usually like my surprises, especially with my action-adventure movies and if Dan the Man’s not surprised, Dan the Man’s not happy! Waaah!
And to be honest, it was even worse when these people would go off on these rants and raves in this jibber-jabber, that really seemed to get in the way of any type of excitement or energy this movie had going for itself. When I thought the movie would continue to go at the pace it was going at, it just slows down, focuses on a character talking a whole bunch of nonsense that only people who sleep with the book would be able to comprehend, and loses that steam for the longest time, that is, until the next action scene files in and picks the movie right back-up from where it was left off in the first place. A couple of scenes where these characters had these “talks” really seemed to come out of nowhere, and maybe should have gotten a call from Jackson’s editor to cut that one the hell out. One scene in particular is where Cate Blanchett comes in out of nowhere and starts to go crazy about the ring, and even though it is visually-stunning, it’s still pretty obvious and serves no purpose to the story or the message other than, “everybody is obsessed with this ring and wants it like Grandma’s secret meat loaf recipe”. Yup, I think I got that idea right from the beginning of the story when I saw how bat-shit crazy this ring made everybody go so it didn’t necessarily do anything for me when all of these characters kept falling for the same bag of tricks over and over again.
But I can’t rag on this film anymore, really, because it still kept me entertained and kept me watching a great ensemble, do fantastic jobs in each of their own, respective roles. This whole cast is jam-packed to the core with familiar-faces and superstars of the silver-screen, but the one who really stood-out for me was Ian McKellen as Gandalf. McKellen owns it as Gandalf because he gives this character a great deal of warmth and sympathy that it makes it real easy for us to believe why so many people feel comfortable around him, and why they don’t have to fear for their lives whenever he’s around. I also liked how McKellen didn’t really ham it up and kept everything very straight-forward with what he was going to do next, and why. I also can’t forget to mention Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn. The guy just looks intimidating and definitely holds his own as the only guy who could be considered an “action hero” throughout the whole movie, but there’s going to be a lot more of him talked about in the future reviews of this trilogy so I won’t go and spoil it now. Just be ready, everybody, as I wastes my life away watching swords, sorcery, and stones.
Consensus: Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring may be a tad overstuffed with scenes that feel unneeded, but it’s epic-nature still cannot be denied with it’s fine, fine, fine attention to detail from Peter Jackson, and engrossing story that makes you feel as if you are along for this ride in Middle Earth, where nothing is safe and nothing is sacred. Not really sure if that’s the right statement to use for this movie, but you get what I mean.
Just stay out of insane asylums. Even if you’re job is to clean them.
The plot focuses on the growing tension within an asbestos removal crew (lead by Peter Mullan) working at an abandoned mental asylum that’s already pretty freaky as it is but hey, they need the bonus money so why the eff not?!?!
Co-writer/director Brad Anderson is most known for his ultra-creep-o flicks like The Machinist, Vanishing on 7th Street, and Transsiberian, but can you believe that he never started out in that genre. Nope, this was his first movie after he did two rom-coms and it’s a real surprise now knowing that this guy can go from making lovely little tales of romance, to sick, twisted tales of paranoia and psychos. You are one, crazy mothereffer, Mr. Anderson.
Anybody going into this horror flick expecting all of these guys to go into this mental asylum and start hacking one another up into tiny pieces, will most likely definitely be disappointed. Anderson does not care about that type of horror and instead, builds and builds on the atmosphere and tension of this flick to fully get us immersed in just what the hell is going on behind these freaky, closed-doors. It’s a horror film that doesn’t show you much, but has you continuously thinking the whole time as to what the hell is going to happen next and why is everybody acting so weird with one another. There’s many answers to that question, but you still never know until that final twist comes out of nowhere and grabs you right by the throat. Anderson always has a knack for doing that, and that idea is no different here, either.
But what really sets this film apart from all of those other, spooky horror flicks, is the setting that still gives me creeps to this day. The abandoned Danvers State Mental Hospital in Massachusetts is where Anderson shot this whole flick and it provides a very strange, a very weird, and a very creepy subtext for the whole film. Every single shot in this film just oozes tension as this place literally looks like it’s about to fall-apart any second now, and these guys are stuck trying to re-built it. Apparently Anderson and his crew didn’t really have to change anything up whatsoever in this abandoned hospital, and just left everything around and filmed along with it. That makes it even creepier to know that this hospital looked exactly the same before these guys showed-up, when they showed-up, and after they left. I wonder if it’s still up, cause if so, I think I know of the next place me and my buddies are going next for “haunted house hunting”. Yeah, I know we’re lame but we’re 19, what you gonna do?
However, as creepy as this setting was, something about the movie as a whole just felt off. I will say that this is one of those rare horror movies that focuses on the atmospherics but if you look at it from a real, horror movie standpoint, there isn’t much here that’s worth scaring you. Yeah, it’s tense and creepy but nothing ever jumped out at me, nothing ever made me feeling like I can’t go to sleep, and nothing really that dark or sadistic stayed in my mind long after the movie was gone. There was this one, phenomenal shot that takes place in a hall-way with the lights going out, one-by-one, in a weird-fashion, but that’s all I can really remember that terribly freaked me out and that wasn’t even what I originally imagined. Basically, you can be as freaky and creepy as you want, but you got to have some scares here and there to really keep my horror-self going.
The lack of scares, is something I put the blame on Anderson for because the guy plays it too subtle here. I get that the guy doesn’t want to give too much away and just wants this setting and story to linger-on into our minds, until we can’t take it anymore but it doesn’t really work that way here. Instead, we get way too many shots of random scenery that does look freaky, I’ll give it that, but that’s pretty much it and by the 5th time Anderson pulled this move, I was about to just give up and fall asleep. Trust me, there were plenty of other times when I could have just called it a day and dozed off right on this film, but I chose not to and stayed alive, but still, Anderson was not helping with that one-bit. So maybe, just maybe, drinking a little 5-hour energy beforehand won’t kill you either.
Thankfully, Anderson the fact that Anderson tried hard to play it low-key, didn’t effect the performances here because everybody still knocks it out of the park, much like I expected. David Caruso is good and charming as Phil Cronenburg, the guy who knows what to do, how to do it, and when to get it all done. He’s basically acting like he’s in another episode of NYPD Blue, but instead, is placed inside of a crumbling hospital, rather than the crook-filled streets of NYC. Peter Mullan is good as the weird, headmaster of this whole operation, Gordon Fleming, but the problem I had with him was that it seemed like almost everything he said, came out in a stutter or a piece of language that I just didn’t understand. It wasn’t really a problem with the film, as it’s more of a problem with him and the way his Scottish accent never really left the role. Then, there’s Josh Lucas as Hank, the d-bag that stole Caruso’s girl and isn’t as one-dimensional here as he usually is in flicks. Don’t get me wrong, the guy is still a total d-bag here, he’s just one that has a bit of a humane side to him that makes you realize that the guy is just a regular human-being, who is still a jerk none the less.
Consensus: Session 9 may not satisfy all of your horror-loving needs with it’s lack of blood, gore, and showy-presentation, but still hits it’s tension hard with an eerie sense of suspense, dread, and no clue as to what’s going to happen next to these characters and the setting they’re involved with.
Robert Redford stars as a three-star general who has just been sentenced to 10-years for unknown crimes. He’s sent to a prison that houses military convicts nicknamed the castle. Running this institution is Colonel Winter (James Gandolfini), a meek-looking bear of a man who’s unafraid of doing what ever it takes to maintain order.
With any prison movie, you have to make us care and feel something for the prisoners that we are supposed to watch for the whole 2 hours. And even if you don’t do that, you have to at least try to and make somebody look much, much worse than they already do. This is something that director Rod Lurie couldn’t seem to get his head behind.
I can’t say that I hated this film because I sort of enjoyed it, even though it’s basically another generic prison flick with plenty of problems when it comes to its script and one of its biggest problems is it didn’t make much sense. First of all, why does this huge break-out even go down in the first place? Why, because a murderer didn’t follow an order and in doing so, he got shot in the head? I mean I can understand retaliating against something that is completely and utterly unfair but this dude wasn’t listening when he should have been and instead got blasted for it. Does that mean that a whole jail full of people should just go insane, destroying millions and millions of dollars of government money, killing/hurting prison guards, and losing other prisoners in the mix, just so you could prove a point? Come on people, isn’t there a better way to solve this rather than just going full-on coo-coo for Coco Puffs?
Speaking of these prisoners going crazy, it also seemed unbelievable that these prisoners could pull off such an invasion as the one they pull in the last sequence of the flick. It’s not like I’m giving much away by saying this because it’s pretty damn obvious just by looking at the trailers and posters, but what bothered me was how they could pull such an invasion like this that would require so much planning, so many coincidences, and so many close calls of actually having another prison snitch on them, or having a guard picking up on the plan. It also didn’t help that they pretty much planned all of this shit out within a week, which made it even harder to believe that it would work out THIS well.
But don’t get me wrong here peeps, this film isn’t a total waste, actually, it’s pretty entertaining once you can get past all of those holes. The last half hour, where the invasion goes down, is actually very entertaining to watch and it actually feels a bit unpredictable as to who’s going to live and what’s actually going to go down. I don’t want to say that I was on the edge of my seat the whole time because most of this does come out as some pretty predictable stuff, but I still think that Lurie had a good eye for action and knowing how to keep the energy pumping, even if it only was in the last 30 minutes. Also, if you’re a big patriotic person, you’re going to love all of the several themes about war, soldiers, and showing pride for the country you love. Hoooorah!!
The cast is pretty good here, even though I think they are sort of wasted on cheap material. Robert Redford is basically playing Robert Redford in a very stoic role here as Gen. Eugene Irwin. I could easily buy Redford as the hero and the guy that everybody in the prison basically looked up to as if he was Santa Claus himself, but I do think that by the end of the flick, they start to get a little carried away with his random montages about the good old days of being trapped as a POW. Oh, the war torture! Those bring back the memories. Mark Ruffalo is also OK in a role that seems like it deserved more development, just to suit Ruffalo’s acting.
However, the other problem I left out with this film earlier came back to me just now and it was that this flick didn’t have much character depth to these members of the “chain gang” and even when it did, it came off as way too contrived to be taken seriously. Basically, every prisoner here has a heart of gold. This is a person, which means that this is a place that is full of drug dealers, killers, rapists, smugglers, pedophiles, and all sorts of other baddies, which made me wonder why not one of them ever shows any signs of giving these guys some trouble. I get it that not every person you put in prison is a mean s.o.b., but everybody sure as hell isn’t a disciple of the lord himself, either.
I think out of this whole cast, I really liked James Gandolfini here as Col. Winter. Gandolfini is basically playing Gandolfini but it works and gives this character a very self-conscious look that isn’t sympathetic at all, but still makes you look at him more than just another piece of shit warden that only gets off on watching these prisoners suffer every day. Wish Gandolfini got more roles like this because he can play a good villain that has a bit more to him than people may see at first. Then again, the dude was the leading man on one of TV’s biggest shows of the past decade so he can’t complain too much I guess.
Consensus: With a lot of holes in its screenplay when it comes to its characters and plot, The Last Castle doesn’t hit you as hard as it should, but with a reliable cast and entertaining feel to it, especially with the last 30 minutes or so, it still will keep your attention. Especially, if you love America.
Being a player: money! Being a mobster: not so money.
Bobby (Jon Favreau) is an aspiring boxer who refuses to abandon his dreams, despite the urgings of his friend Ricky (Vince Vaughn) to pursue a higher position in the organisation of old-time mob boss Max (Peter Falk), who offer both of them a job.
OK, so who doesn’t love Swingers? I think it’s pretty safe to say that everybody does but I think that people loved it so much that maybe they weren’t able to even give this film a shot. Maybe they shouldn’t have gotten rid of Doug Liman in the first place, huh?
With Jon Favreau taking over writing and directing duties, the film gets a very personal feel from him as he keeps the story moving as well as the hand-held camera style that almost makes it seem like we’re watching a documentary in a way. What I can say about this flick that Favreau does do well with its story is that he keeps it somewhat character-based, where we see a lot of interaction between his character and Ricky, whether they’re fighting, arguing, or showing that they have each other’s back, you can tell that these guys have been life-long friends ever since they were little tikes. Also, when you do practically have the main two guys from Swingers, you have to expect a nice amount of laughs and even though they definitely aren’t as rapid as I would have expected, I still had some nice laughs and chuckles here and there that held me over for the rest of the flick. That Dustin Diamond cameo was probably my favorite part of this flick now that I think about it, but also very random.
Where I think Favreau messed up with this film was not giving us much to care about, let alone, anything cool with the plot to see. Granted, Swingers didn’t really have much a plot other than just a bunch of guys hitting on chicks and trying to get laid, but at least that film had a whole bunch of buddy-buddy energy that kept it going, this plot sort of just meanders on and on. Actually, some of it I thought would have done better as a drama because you have all of these problems with these characters and even at times, they are scared to death that they may get “whacked” but the film treats it as a joke, but an unfunny joke at that. And I also guess that the joke of this movie was that they just wanted to go from scene to scene to scene of showing Vaughn ramble on like an ass and have Favreau play off him as the long suffering friend that can’t seem to escape his childhood buddy. Lame, lame, lame!
However, even when the film does try its hardest to go into drama, it comes off pretty corny. The “relationship” that the film tries to force down our throat between Favreau and Famke Janssen was totally unbelievable and very predictable as to how it was all going to end, and even as cute as the kid was, the film uses her more as a reason why Favreau has something to live for. Hey, I don’t mind when a film tries to give us reasons to care for a character, but when the reasons are as contrived and obvious as this, then don’t expect me to even care. Also, what the hell is this dude doing with a chick that basically rides on dude’s erections for a living? Come on Jonnny!
With ‘Swingers’, it’s pretty much the same thing where you have Vince Vaughn playing Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau playing Jon Favreau, which isn’t so bad really. Vaughn is a wild-fire pretty much throughout this whole flick and just doesn’t let loose of his energy one bit. He’s funny, quick, and a character that makes you feel so damn uncomfortable because of some of the shit he says with the people he’s around. Favreau is also pretty good as Bobby, and gives another one of his silent, but lovable guy performances that we see from him so very often. But hey, that’s not a complaint. Also be on the look-out for two little performances given here by Peter Falk as the menacing gangster, Max, and a menacing “gangsta” named Ruiz, played by none other than Sean “Puffy” Combs. Yes people, before Get Him to the Greek, Puffy played another bad-ass mofo.
Consensus: Made is basically living off the legend of Swingers but still has enough laughs and good performances to hold you over, even if the contrived emotions of the so-so plot are too obvious to ignore the whole time.
Barbers are definitely some cruel people.
Ed Crane (Billy Bob Thornton) goes about the business of cutting hair with a stoic resignation. He’s stuck in a rut and has no clue how to get out. When Crane discovers that his bookkeeper wife, Doris (Frances McDormand) is having an affair with Big Dave (James Gandolfini), her boss at Nirdlinger’s department store, the gears of change start turning.
Take it from the Coen Bros. to take us back to a time that seems so simple, so clean, and so nice, and make it seem like everything other than that.
This is one of those flicks that show the Coens basically giving a little tribute out to the good old days of black and white cinema noir, and it actually feels like one that would have been made back in those days too. The cinematography is beautiful and I think it was used for a great mood because I couldn’t have expected this being filmed in anything else other than black and white. The score is also great not because it sounds cool but because it’s actually made up of a bunch of actual pieces of orchestra music that adds a lot to the dark mood as well. Technically, the Coens do a fine job here and made me feel like I needed to blow some smoke while watching it just to get in the mood.
The story itself is a pretty slow one at first, but after awhile it actually builds up to a story that you sort of get involved with. Everything here is pretty straight-forward but I couldn’t help myself wondering just what was going to happen next and what road this film was actually going to try and go down. I can’t say that this is a suspenseful thrill ride by any means, but it’s still a flick that has a story that keeps on moving on and on as it goes. It will also probably make you feel a lot better than your life because things go from bad to worse for this dude Frank, and it pretty much made me thankful for everything I have in my life. Never thought the Coens would be able to make me think that but hey, they can work wonders when they want to.
The problem with this film isn’t that it’s not good, because it’s a very good flick, it’s just that it’s very hard to actually care what happens. Yes, I did like this story and where it went with its direction but when it came to actually having some sympathy for these characters, there just wasn’t anything touching me at all. Ed, our central character, is a pretty numbed-out dude that doesn’t talk much and doesn’t really have many emotions in this flick and it’s hard to connect with somebody like that considering it seems like he doesn’t really care all that much either about what’s going on with his life and where it’s taking him. His wife, Doris, also seems like she doesn’t have much going for her life other than running around on her husband which makes it even harder for us to care and even Big Dave has dreams but even those are pretty boring and mediocre. Basically, it’s a film that you can try your hardest to like and connect to one of these characters, but in the end, it’s just going to come off as empty.
As for people that are looking for a fun time with a Coen Bros. flick because they saw ones such as ‘True Grit’ and ‘No Country For Old Men’, well then you have to look a little further than this one. The film is very slow and even though I do feel like they needed the time to actually develop these characters as well as the story, there were other times where I felt like certain scenes just ran on a little too long with nothing else but just silence. Also, the 116 minute time-limit may also add insult to injury for that as well but then again, this isn’t the Coens having a fun time.
Billy Bob Thornton is his usual self in this flick as Ed Crane (great name), which is what adds a lot to this character and film as well. Billy Bob isn’t exciting, he barely shows any emotions, he smokes in about every single frame of this flick, and he’s a character that just seems like he doesn’t care at all about anything but it’s also what makes this character work. It may have been hard to feel anything for him but I was still able to like Billy Bob playing Crane because even though we may always seem him play the same character in every flick no matter what, it still never really gets old and still seems fresh especially when he’s playing a barber.
Frances McDormand is also good as his wife, Doris, and she adds a lot of sass and coolness to a character that is pretty unlikable, only because she is committing some infidelities; James Gandolfini is pretty much here as Big Dave and not doing much else other than just being there; and Tony Shalhoub practically comes out of nowhere and steals this flick by the end of it and made me laugh a hell of a lot more than I actually expected in a dark and sad film like this.
Consensus: The Man Who Wasn’t There shows the Coens in a good-form with fine performances from the cast, nice touches for its score and camera-work, and a nice story that builds up more and more, but also has characters that you may find it harder to connect with which makes it even harder for you to care what really goes down in the first place.
Those French are just so damn whimsical.
Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) lives in Paris and in a world of her own. She works in a café, rents an apartment. Life seems to be dull but ok. Except that she’s lonely. Then everything changes. When Amélie discovers an old box of childhood treasures in her apartment and returns it secretly to its middle-aged owner, it transforms his life – and hers.
I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of films that are whimsical just to be whimsical, which is why I went into this flick with low expectations. However, by the 20-minute mark I knew I just had to give in.
Writer/director Jean-Pierre Jeunet seems to be a legend where he’s from and I can definitely see why. First of all, he makes this film look beautiful and probably the most beautiful that I’ve seen Paris look ever, which is really saying something. It’s so colorful and just gives you this warm feeling whether we’re in a bistro drinking some coffee, in an sleazy adult-video store, checking out an old fun house ride, or just simply walking around the streets of Paris. I’m a sucker for Paris locations as it is so it was kind of a given that this film, visually, was going to take me over.
When it comes to the script though too, there’s a whole lot of fun and originality to be had. The ideas that this film keeps on stewing out gets better and better. There are things here that Jeunet does with this simple “boy meets girl” story, that I could never think of in a billion years. It also helps that this film practically had me chuckle every time they made a little funny joke that sometimes may be a little annoying with all of the whimsy they use, but in the end just works because of the fun and light approach that this film is given with its script and direction. It’s just one of those scripts that features a great sense of humor that can find even the most pessimistic person in the world, at least getting a little smile on their face.
The script is so charming though, mainly because of its heart that makes you realize that there’s more beauty in the world. There are so many things out there in life that we usually don’t ever take a look at because it’s just there but in reality, it can bring out the happiest moments in anybody’s simple life. Things like skipping stones, popping bubble wrap, collecting photo stubs from those booths, playing a game of marbles, and so many other countless little things in our life that can make us so happy and bring us back to a nostalgic and innocent time in our lives. The general premise is so nice and sweet that it’s even better to see that it’s heart is in the right place after all, and focuses on the finer things in life that surround us.
There were little nitpicks that I did have with this flick and even though everybody here may call me a dick and whatnot, I still had some problems. Sometimes, I felt like the flick would be a little contrived with the events that happened and especially with the whole love thing between Amelie and her boy-toy because they both love each other but for some odd reason, she keeps on playing cat-and-mouse with him. I get that your nervous and don’t know what to do, but sometimes it can just be a little strange. Also, the whole narration makes Amelie feel more like an urban legend rather than a real person so the whole time that’s what I basically looked at her as and nothing else. Then again, these are just nitpicks so don’t mind me.
Amelie is is a great character to begin but having the amazing Audrey Tautou play her, seems like the perfect choice. Tautou is so damn cute that every scene where she is just looking at whatever it is, you can’t take your eyes off of her, however, it’s also the fact that her character is just so nice, so sweet, so full of life, and so delightful to be around is what makes her such a great character to begin with. Yes, I never felt like I was watching a real person here but then again, I don’t really think the film was going for that and that’s why I have to say that I enjoyed watching Amelie herself and Tautou play her so well. Everybody else is very good here as well and makes me really want to go and check out how pleasant actual people are in Montmartre.
Consensus: Some parts may feel contrived, but Amélie is still a fun, delightful, and charming flick that has originality in every scene and feels like it not only was a bunch of fun to write, but film as well and that fun is contagious.
The story is about Hank (Billy Bob Thornton) who is an embittered prison guard working on Death Row who begins an unlikely but emotionally charged affair with Leticia (Halle Berry), the wife of a man under his watch on The Row.
For the first hour or so, nothing was going right for me with this flick. I knew that it was going to be a slow-ass flick right from the start but the film barely felt like it was moving at all. It has this very dark and depressing feeling to it right from the start, which will kind of throw you back a bit but somehow, somewhere there was happiness and hope in this story, and then it suddenly started to grow on me. Damn Billy Bob!
I think the main reason why this flick got better in the way that it did was because of its script. This a very character-based flick that focuses on these gritty, dirty, and sad people that all need something in their life, whether it be love, family, or just a nice little bang here and there. The script just feels very human in the way how everybody deals with their problems and it’s also one of the rare cases where the the screenplay decides to take a step back from actually having non-stop talking but focus more on the quiet side of this story which spoke louder to me than any of the racist crap Frank Barone was saying here.
The problem with this flick is that I don’t think the direction here from Marc Forster does the script justice. Take it for granted, there isn’t anything really flashy here done by Forster to get in the way of the material at-hand but he feels very unfocused. There will be moments where it focuses on this nice romance between Billy Bob and Halle, then will go towards the racism she faces, then towards the fact that she has little or no money, and then it will go right to Billy Bob being sad about something. There were too many times where I feel like the film constantly brought up all of these other things that these characters were feeling, which in all honesty, were definitely not as interesting as the romance between Berry and Billy Bob, especially when they start boning in everybody’s favorite sexy time scene.
Where the flick did work was at the center of it all: the romance. The romance between these two feels subtle and something that would happen between two 8th-graders almost but then it really turns into something serious, heart-breaking, and very very real. I liked this romance that these two had going on because it showed just how much they needed each other at a certain time in their lives and even though they both may not be the same person, they still feel hurt and need someone or something to take their pain and anguish away. However, whenever they are on-screen together, you can feel the romance and deep-down inside, was this sweet little love they had going on which really worked for me.
Halle Berry won the Oscar here for Best Actress and even though I can’t recall seeing any of the other performances from that year, I have to say that I think the Academy made the right decision. Berry lets it all hang loose as Leticia. She’s sad, vulnerable, full of pain, anger, remorse, but also very optimistic for the future and feels like a very real person when it comes to how she wants to be treated. Berry is a very stunning chicky but she lets the grit take over here and she dives into this character without any fake steps. Her emotions are almost all-over-the-place but Berry makes us sympathize with this character and actually feel something for her no matter what. Amazing performance from Berry and one that truly did deserve the Oscar.
Billy Bob Thornton was pretty good here as Hank, even though when he is being compared to Berry, his character is definitely the one you least remember. It’s not that this is a bad performance by any means, it’s just that Billy Bob isn’t really doing anything other than playing sort of a dick that somehow changes half-way through, even though we don’t really realize it until his own daddy brings it up. Speaking of his daddy, Peter Boyle is quite good as the totally racist dad, even though it was kind of funny watching him spout out the N-word left and right; Heath Ledger is also good in this flick as Hank’s son, Sonny, and is very chilling every time he is on-screen; and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs does a nice job as Lawrence, Leticia’s husband, and doesn’t really over-play any of the lines like rappers-turned-actors usually do.
Consensus: Despite a slow beginning and feel to the film, Monster’s Ball starts to pick up with a very sweet romance in the middle of the story, great performances from the cast, especially Berry, and a script that doesn’t try too hard but still is able to make us feel something for these characters.
Bigger and badder, but surprisingly no pastries were harmed.
After a year apart – attending different schools, meeting different people – the guys rent a beach house and vow to make this the best summer ever. As it turns out, whether that will happen or not has a lot to do with the girls.
The original is by far a classic by all means and a favorite of mine so when I was going to see this one again, I was expecting something all the same but still enjoyable enough to not hate. Thankfully, I didn’t hate it this time around but damn is it like all other sequels.
The one element about sequels is that they always do everything that they did with the original, but instead do more of that because the more the merrier, right? Well, in some cases it works here but other times, I think they really dragged on with this flick and it’s jokes. The first one was crude, but at least the crudeness came in and did its thing and made me laugh. Here, they came in, lingered around for awhile and waited till the joke was practically dead in the water and then they just gave up and went onto another scene. I can’t be too surprised considering most Hollywood sequels do this but still, it’s something that’s noticeable right away.
I’ll also point out that everything else from the characters, to the plots, to the relationships, all seemed a bit under-developed with the exception of the main relationship between Jim and Michelle. I already knew all of these characters for what all that they are and were from the first flick, so I didn’t need that much character development but there was barely any of that and instead of actually focusing on these characters, the film felt it was more important to just focus on the gross-out gags that go on way too long sometimes. And I don’t know if it was me, but did anybody else feel like all of this partying could have been much more exciting than it actually was? Then again, it’s just a thought so don’t mind me.
However, as much ish as I may be talking here I still had an enjoyable with this flick mainly because the parts that did work, really worked. There are a couple of gross-out gags that really made me laugh and there are plenty of other moments full of comedy that made me laugh just because it’s a bunch of young dudes partying, drinking, and trying to pick up girls. It’s all in good fun and there’s a couple of moments that are very memorable such as when Jim gets glue and lube mixed up, and another time where Stifler and Jim have to do a little version of “shadow” between a couple of “lesbians”. It’s all funny, trust me, even if it does seem a bit too much like a Farrelly Brothers comedy.
I also liked the focus on Jim and Michelle’s relationship that I thought made the film so much better every time they were on-screen together and I was glad that they actually did decide to go down this road. It’s such a sweet, little romance that works because they are both geeks and it’s just great to see two geeks in love even if the one is a total freak in bed and the other is just a dude who can’t seem to do anything right when it comes to getting it on. But it’s not all about the sex, it’s all about the love between two people that matters and you could feel it with this flick and it sure is believable.
As for the cast, everybody here has returned and all do great jobs with their own, respective roles. Seann William Scott gets a lot more screen-time here as Stifler and made me laugh just about every time and is definitely that one kid you would invite down to the shore with you because he has all of the moolah in the world. However, it’s great to see everybody all be friendly with each other once again and it totally serves up the whole point about this film about how we all change but we should all stick together and keep in touch. Maybe there was no point to this flick after all, but it’s always good to look in a lot more than you would expect.
Consensus: American Pie 2 features an over-abundance of what the first one did and starts to drag a lot, but the moments that worked, really made me laugh, and it was just also great to see the cast all back together doing what they do best with these likable characters.
CGI is better than costumes.
After flying through a space “worm hole,” astronaut Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) crashes on a planet where simians rule over humans. Aided and abetted by a sympathetic chimpanzee (Helena Bonham Carter), Davidson leads a small band of rebels against their captors.
Back in August when I watched ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’, I said it was a 100 times better than this 2001 piece of junk, but actually, this one isn’t so terrible to begin with.
Director Tim Burton is a guy who’s usually known for doing some crazy ish with his material, but here he doesn’t do anything real different with this material, instead of just gives us pretty good-looking visuals. The action is here and there but the problem that Burton runs into, is that it doesn’t really get off the ground and it feels like he just pushed this film to its ending without any real emotional connection or point about his story.
It’s kind of a shame considering how great of a director Burton can be, and if he didn’t direct this, I wouldn’t have noticed because there’s nothing really striking at all about this material that reminds me of Burton classics such as ‘Ed Wood’ or ‘Edward Scissorhands‘.
The script is also pretty terrible because the lines are just so incredibly cheesy to the point of where I was laughing, and when these “characters” aren’t spitting out corny one-liners, they are either growling, snarling, or making crazy little ape noises at each other. I liked how the plot is all new and taking a cool new twist on this plot, but they way it ended up and turned out, seems kind of disappointing because the script was kind of a real let-down.
However, I have to say that even though this can all be pretty lame, I actually enjoyed myself for the whole 2 hours of this flick. The plot moves along at a slick pace, and even though it sometimes falls into some boring spots, it still kept me interested. The action here is also pretty fun because there are actual ape-on-ape battles that actually are pretty fun to watch as well as some other cool moments to watch.
I also really liked the the visuals and the costumes that Burton supplied with this film because a lot of it looks really cool. The world of the Apes seems straight-out of the original and still looks pretty to look a. The costumes of all of the Apes that were done by Rick Baker were done very well, with a great deal of detail added to each character, but the real problem with the costumes is that these Apes just look so damn goofy. I mean they have these funny and little goofy faces where their teeth just show and they make these funny hissing noises, and instead of actually being horrifying they are actually pretty laughable but I guess the film really wasn’t going for any seriousness.
Marky Mark is one of my favorite actors, but his performance here as Leo Davidson is one I think he should try to forget. Wahlberg doesn’t really have the strength here to actually command this film and his lines are even worse. He does seem a little confused and with no idea what to do with this lead role, other than make scared faces and do his “signature voice”. Still, he’s the man.
Tim Roth actually turned down the role of Severus Snape to play Thade here, which is a real shame cause he could have really had such a bigger career with that role instead of this. Roth isn’t bad here, cause he’s actually pretty menacing, but his villainous character is so cartoony and cheesy that nothing really comes out as scary and more of just goofy. Helena Bonham Carter plays the nice ape, Ari, and does her usual crazy lady performance; Michael Clarke Duncan is loud and full of yelling as the black Ape, Attar; Paul Giamatti actually made me laugh as Limbo; and Estella Warren is pretty damn laughable with her performance as Daena. The cast is all OK, just nothing really special since the film doesn’t really take them all too seriously.
Consensus: Planet of the Apes is cheesy, poorly written, and filled with sub-par performances from the impressive cast, but it’s still an entertaining B-flick with great visuals, some fun action, and a feel of not taking itself too seriously which is good for any film about a world of apes.
Cool. A film about teenagers that doesn’t treat them like teenagers.
Bobby (Nick Stahl) takes great joy in bossing around and beating up his best friend, slovenly ex-surfer Marty (Brad Renfro). But when Marty’s girlfriend (Rachel Miner) witnesses one too many of these incidents, she vows to kill Bobby, enlisting her friends — and a hit man — to help.
Director Larry Clark is a dirty son-of-a-bitch who seems like he has only one subject he does in every film: naked and dumb teenagers. However, naked and dumb isn’t always that bad.
The first 45 minutes or so of this film is basically just a bunch of wild and young teenagers having sex, getting high, being dumb, and not giving a shit of what they do next. You know, the finer things in life. This actually bothered me because I know that it was building up its story and characters but when you have them set up like this, it’s almost too hard to understand where this film is trying to go, and what’s it even all about. Thankfully, it went somewhere.
What Clark does well here is that he actually brings so much to this disturbing true-story and makes so much of it seem so much more real than half of the crap we see on Lifetime. In Bully, there are barely any or little parents involved or shown in this story, and it is practically up to these teens to make up their own decisions on what they want to do, with no real motivation or someone there to tell them what’s right. This spoke very very true to me because these kids are all victims and want to hurt the closest thing to them that’s hurting all of them. Which in this case, is a fellow teenager.
There are some truly disturbing and downright horrific scenes within this film and truly brings you into this world where the teens live free, and don’t have a single care in the world. There’s an under-lining sadness to this whole film because these kids don’t know what their doing so by trying to take another life into their own hands and hopefully getting rid of the problem, when in reality, it’s only creating more and more problems for them. I was shocked by what I heard, saw, and actually thought which was used well for this film but that only went on for so long.
The problem Clark runs into with this film is that too much of this feels like the same crap we see time-and-time again, with nothing really new even happening and a story that wants to get off the ground, but doesn’t know how to move. Clark tries so hard to shock any yuppie-parent that would dare watch this film with the drugs, the sex, and the crime, that he actually starts to lose the people who are watching and to be honest, he kind of lost me at one point.
Moments in this film rang true, such as how messed up these kid’s lives were and how they got away from all the pain they suffered, but that doesn’t mean some parts weren’t put-on. Kids don’t drop acid everyday, kids don’t do as much sex in one day without even the thought of getting pregnant, and kids certainly as hell do not dissolve their precious little friendships by stabbing a kid 40 times to death. If it weren’t for this actually being a true story, I would have thought that Clark got a little out-of-hand but the sad thing is that it is a true story, and disturbing one to say that.
All of the young cast members were great. Brad Renfro plays Marty, Bobby’s “best-friend”, and is stunning in this performance because just by looking at his eyes and face, I could exactly what emotions he was feeling and what certain moment. His emotions go crazy throughout the whole film and you’re kind of left wondering just what this kid will do next. It’s a shame that Renfro is now gone, because this kid could have honestly had such a bigger career.
Rachel Miner plays Marty’s sweet and innocent girlfriend, Lisa, who does a great job especially in the last 20 minutes where her character really starts to get a little crazy; Bijou Phillips is great as the town whore, Ali, who proves that even if you do have some nice T & A, you still have to be able to show it off well which is something she does perfectly; and Michael Pitt is also pretty good as Donny, even though his character’s main thing is that he’s just stoned the whole time.
Nick Stahl probably gives his best performance ever as the “Bully” Bobby Kent. Bobby is a total asshole that rapes girls, and practically takes any advantage he can of his friend, which gets so bad that he even takes his girl. Stahl plays this perfectly because he has that under-lining sense of range within him but also that sweetness behind those eyes that makes you wonder if you feel bad or hate this kid. It really seems like a hard character to pull of but somehow Stahl does it well. Now if only he got his damn ass out of those straight-to-DVD pieces of crap, and did more stuff like this.
The one thing about Bobby and all of these other characters is why exactly did Bobby treat Marty like his little bitch and why didn’t Marty just stand up for himself. I mean the whole first 45 minutes is not only sexy-time and getting high, but there are also scenes where Marty is being terribly manipulated by this menacing asshole and Marty does nothing except punch him once, and that was it. There would be a point for me where I would just stand up and have to lay down some whoop-ass on little olde Bobby.
I also never understood why anybody actually did stand up to him and beat his ass especially after the rape he performed, because if any person I knew was in this film, they would know that rape, no matter who or what it’s on, is not a good thing and whoever feels the need to perform it on another, deserves to get a serious beating. I’m not saying death should be allowed, don’t get me wrong here, but sometimes you have to let the raper know that RAPE ISN’T RIGHT. Sorry for the rape rant, I just felt like it was needed for this subject of the film.
Consensus: Director Larry Clark’s Bully is a challenging film at the most. The story is dark, sad, and pretty disturbing with some real chilling honesty and brutally painful moments shown from the cast, but then all of the greatness of this film is lost within pacing issues, too repetitive sex and drug-use, and just some problems with how it all played out I still don’t understand.
Second best bank robbers, behind Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.
Two bank robbers, charming Joseph (Bruce Willis) and neurotic Terry (Billy Bob Thornton), battle over the affections of Kate (Cate Blanchett), a housewife they kidnapped before one of their big heists. Gaining notoriety as the “Sleepover Bandits,” the partners then force a reality TV show host to cover their 15 minutes of fame while they go on a crime spree — Kate in tow.
Director Barry Levinson usually does a lot of good films that are all very talky so it was kind of cool to see him touch a thriller, with some talking there too. However, it’s not the best thing he’s done.
The script here is at times very good and other times, just plain weak. I liked how the film doesn’t take itself way too seriously with all the robberies and there is a lot of funny things that are said and done which will surprisingly have you laughing. It’s sort of like a combination of The Odd Couple and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and it surprisingly works well. Let’s not also forget the little twists and turns that keep this film entertaining especially when the action is happening as well.
The problem with the script here is that the film is about 2 hours long and the script can’t really keep itself going for that long. By the end, there were many dry spots where they started to rely too much on slapstick and just weak comedy. The film also acts a little cute by showing barely any blood while the robberies take place, but that’s just dumb because blood or no blood, there’s nothing at all about robbery and kidnapping that’s wholesome.
However, the main reason this film actually works is because the cast is so damn likable. Bruce Willis is awesome as the straight-man, Joe Blake. Willis practically plays the same guy in every film ever since his Die Hard days but it never stops working for him and here it works even more because while the whole film is a tad goofy, he always plays it straight and never seems out-of-place. Billy Bob Thornton is a riot as Terry Collins, who is so up-tight about everything that it’s almost too laughable to be taken seriously. Thornton does a great job here playing a character that some people would usually get irritated of quickly, but thanks to Thornton’s appeal, the character is the best in the whole film. Cate Blanchett is sexy as well as very good as Kate Wheeler and doesn’t let the guy’s steal her spotlight one bit and has many funny moments although I think the little love triangle was kind of stupid. But it brought more the story so I can’t be hating that much.
Consensus: Though it’s script may start to get weaker as the film’s last act starts to come, Bandits is still very funny and entertaining because of it’s playful feel to the material, and the amazing trio of leads, that make these characters so much more likable than they had any right to be.
I wish I played these guys’ video games, other than that chump Tony Hawk’s.
Legendary skateboarder Stacy Peralta directed documentary that focuses on the Z-Boys of Venice Beach, Calif., who revolutionized skateboarding in the 1970s when they infused surfing techniques into the sport. Credited with founding skating culture as we know it, these young, innovative guys became legends in the field, and the depth of their influence is still felt in a variety of sports — and society — today.
I was never a big skater, mainly because I’m a puss, and I can’t really take a fall but I must say after seeing this, these guys make me really wanna go out there and break some more bones.
The material here may not actually interest most people, since most don’t give a damn at all about skate-boarding, but what this film does best is that it makes this material, somehow very entertaining to learn about. The fast-pace keeps this film going at a fun and quick feel, and the stories and the way they tell each one actually works too. With the soundtrack, rare pictures/videos, and the great interviews from everybody involved from this movement, I felt like I was actually there with these guys, skating it up during the 70′s.
Speaking of the soundtrack, I have to say that the music here is absolutely awesome and takes me back to the time of when these guys were skating around California. Songs from the likes of The Stooges, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, and Ted Nugent. You know when you got “the Nuge” on a soundtrack its just going to be the shit.
My main problem with this film is that I wanted to know more about the lives of all these people involved. Now of course we get to know the Lords of Dogtown’s story the most, but there were plenty of others that I would have liked to know more about since they all influenced just as much. The fast pace made this film feel like an hour rather than an hour and a half, but I think this film could have done with more minutes added on to show more stories.
Sean Penn narrates here and does an OK job, but I have to say I was rather disappointed. I thought it was cool how they got this guy to actually narrate a documentary about a bunch of skater bros, but I hardly even knew it was him, and if they didn’t tell me in the beginning, I don’t think I would have really noticed in the first place.
Consensus: You want to know more about these people, and the narration isn’t awesome, but the fast-pace, and rockin’ soundtrack makes us feel like we’re right there with these guys, which makes this documentary succeed at making a subject fascinating, whether you like it or not.
Those dudes with more make-up than my mom, sure do know how to rock!
Mark Wahlberg stars as Chris, a lead singer wannabe who gets to live his wildest dream when he’s whisked from anonymity to being front man for Steel Dragon, the enormously popular metal band he worships. Accompanied on tour by his girlfriend, Emily (Jennifer Aniston), Chris soon discovers life in the fast lane is not what he envisioned, and the relationships he holds dear are strained as his star rises.
The 80′s was a pretty silly decade now that people look back at it. The hair, the make-up, the new wave music, but most of all heavy metal music.
One of the biggest problems with this film is that it’s script doesn’t do anything new or original to the whole rock star film genre. There are moments upon moments where the cheesiest lines pop up, and I’m not going to lie, some of it actually had me cringing. Lines like: “I’m leaving and never turning back” and “If you follow your dreams, you can do it”, just had me wondering where they actually serious when they wrote this script.
Another problem with the script is that there’s no actual insight into this film and every character here just seems like another cliche for a film that had so many. By the end of the film there is this life lesson about becoming your own person, and taking a life that is yours just seemed really lame and contrived.
However, this movie is actually somewhat entertaining throughout. I have always liked that 80′s glam metal and there’s a lot of it with bands such as KISS, Mötley Crüe, Ted Nugent, and AC/DC appearing on this soundtrack and it added a lot more of a fun vibe to the film. There is also a good amount of humor within this film that will have you laughing and feel like you’re apart of the ride with these guys, partying, drinking, having sexy time, and most of all just living the life of a rock star.
Mark Wahlberg is one of my favorite actors because he can play that everyday man like no other, and his role as Chris Cole is no different. I like how Wahlberg is this happy-go-lucky, smiley kid that finally gets to live his dream, but slowly starts to see that he doesn’t want all this chaos, and becomes fed up. Wahlberg plays this all so well, and that pure charm that he has, is one of the main reasons why Cole is a guy we like. Jennifer Aniston is actually good in this role as Emily Poule and had me laughing with some of the things she said here. Timothy Spall was basically the man as Mats, and all of his scenes just had me laughing, mainly because of Spall’s delivery that gets me every time. Dominic West, Timothy Olyphant, and plenty others pop up and all do a pretty good job too.
Consensus: Rock Star doesn’t have that much insight into the world of heavy metal music from the 80′s, and not a very good script, but the solid acting jobs and fun pace, keep this film entertaining although predictable.
The one that started all the car-craze nonsense.
Aptly named Vin Diesel stars in this high-octane action-adventure as Domenic Toretto, a Los Angeles street racer suspected of masterminding a series of big-rig hijackings. When undercover cop Brian Spindler (Paul Walker) infiltrates Toretto’s iconoclastic crew, he falls for Toretto’s sister (Jordana Brewster) and must choose a side: the gang or the LAPD.
So looking at this film as a whole, The Fast and the Furious is about street-racing, and let me tell you there is a lot of that.
The one thing about this film is that it’s mindless entertainment, and doesn’t try to be anything else. The stunt-work is awesome, with a lot of crazy scenes here that almost reminded me of 90′s action thriller classics like Point Break or Speed, so even when the story is pretty bad, they can still rely on these awesome action scenes that will really have you entertained. This is what a B-Picture is all about: fast cars, big action, loud music, and every single awesome action sequence kicking more ass than the last one.
Now the main problem with this film is when all the racing, cars, and sexy girls are gone, the film starts to become unintentionally laughable. This film has a lot of, and I do repeat, a lot of cliches here. I mean there are certain lines here that I have heard before, and what’s even worse is the characters themselves. Each and every one of these characters are cliches themselves. You got the undercover cop who ends up loving what he was assigned to do in the first place, the bad-ass leader, and of course the sexy chick that comes in between it all. I have seen this all before, and nothing here is any different except for the fact that the action is pretty awesome.
Even though these characters are all pretty paper-thin, somehow the cast tries their best. Vin Diesel is good as Domenic Toretto who uses his scary look to his advantage. Even though Vin gets a lot of shit talked on about his acting, I still think he’s good because he is actually able to make his character seem even more scary by the emotions on his face. Paul Walker is a lame actor, but he’s OK here as Brian Spindler, the cop who’s torn between love and doing the right thing. So so so cheesy. Jordana Brewster is hot, but also good as Mia, but some of the lines she has are just so bad that I couldn’t help but laugh. And of course, what would an action film be without Michelle Rodriguez here being the bad bitch that she is in every film. Poor girl, she can never be a doctor in a film now.
Consensus: Loud, aggressive, dumb, stupid, and ultimately entertaining, The Fast and the Furious may have huge problems with its script, but it will keep you excited the whole time with it’s B-Level thrills to give you the ultimate guilty pleasure feel.
I thought Tom Cruise was confused in Eyes Wide Shut, but damn was I wrong!
David Aames (Tom Cruise) has it all: wealth, good looks and a gorgeous woman (Cameron Diaz) on his arm. But just when he’s found true love with warmhearted Sofia (Penélope Cruz), his face is horribly disfigured in a car accident, and he loses everything … or does he?
Vanilla Sky is directed by Cameron Crowe, and this is a remake of a Spanish film called Open Your Eyes. Once again, an American director is remaking a foreign classic, however, this is not so bad compared to others of that demographic.
I think my favorite element of this film is Crowe’s direction. It seemed kind of odd having his guy direct this type of material, but he has a bigger budget this time, and he spends it all so dearly. The film starts off all normal, with a sensational shot of a deserted Times Square, but then the car accident happens, and that’s when shit gets out of whack. However, it’s also so well done.
The film gets a lot of ish talked on it because it doesn’t make all that much sense the first time around, but that’s because you won’t be able to get it really the first time around. It’s one of those films that right from the beginning you have to pay close attention to every little detail, because they eventually will come back up later in the film. I also found myself finding a lot of beauty within this film, and some shots are just so perfect the way they look, and gets you this idea that you are in dream-like state of some sort. There are little clues to the real idea behind this whole story that you kind of have to look at, and at first you’ll be totally confused but if you can look past all the confusion and look at the clues underneath it all, you’ll find a real, brilliant message from the story.
The message is that the world we live in, is it just a dream, and if so how far do our dreams go, until they become nightmares. David Aames is a douche who thinks he’s got it all, but then in a quick second he loses it all, and creates this world of fiction where everything is perfect, and means something. What does reality consist of? This film searches for those answers and although they may not be telling you them right in the open to your face, it’s the idea of looking at everything and thinking is where the real beauty of this film lies.
My only gripe with this film is that I do feel like their are times where the film loses itself. Especially the ending since it kind of gives everything in a way that we aren’t really expecting. I feel like Crowe gives too much of a conclusion to this story and the reason as to what is happening, but somehow you can’t be too sure really. This is a minor complaint, because even though I feel like I have the whole story already thought out, I can’t be too sure honestly.
Tom Cruise does a lot with David Aames here, and it’s not easy stuff to do in the first place. Cruise has to play this narcissistic asshole, that goes through a whole bunch of transformations as he starts to have no idea just exactly what the hell is going on. His character gains a lot of depth, and many of the more emotionally intriguing scenes are from Cruise, and his crazy, balls-to-the-walls performance. Penelope Cruz is very likable here as Sofia, and you can see why Cruise’s character fell in love with her after all. Cameron Diaz is sickly sexual as Julianna, and brings out the films best performance because her character is so disturbing, and crazy that you almost feel like she is a big nightmare. There’s also some nice little side performances from the likes of Jason Lee, Kurt Russell, Timothy Spall, and the always creepy in any film Tilda Swinton.
Consensus: It may be too ambitious at points, but Cameron Crowe’s fearless direction brings out intelligent points about dreams, the life we live, among others, and the performance add more dimensions to this film than you expect.
Your head will probably hurt by the end of this one.
A troubled teenager (Jake Gyllenhaal) is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident.
Donnie Darko is one of those cult films that is “the crazy film” that all the hip, cool teenagers all talk about. Some say it’s amazing, some say it makes no sense, and as for me I’m sort of in between which is all good.
Writer/Director Richard Kelly is amazing here in his debut flick with a lot of things to do, but makes it all so perfectly laid out for us to easily follow. There are a lot of perfect scenes where it’s just a cheesy 80′s song played over all this movement around one area, and it really is perfect how he captures how humans inter-act. My favorite scenes are the ones he uses with the school, because he captures all of the cliches of your typical high-school, but makes them look so real. He also has a lot of mind-bending scenes where he does a play-back, speed-up, and some cool special effects that all look great and add a lot to the overall feeling of this film.
My favorite element of this film probably has to be the amazing script this has. It touches on so many subjects with such wit, bravery, poignancy that it all works here. There is a lot of confusing things that happens, but to back it all up you have these pitch-perfect conversations that these characters have that almost feel like real-life. There is plenty of talk about how the 80′s American dream was viewed as, and how the suburban family really was, and the way Kelly satirizes it, just works so well. Despite all the normal, every day talk that this film brings up, there are also questions about life that make you think. Is the life we live, exactly how we imagine it? And if so, can we change our out-comes or are we all just destined for our fate with no way of changing it at all? These as well as many other questions are brought up and we never quite figure out what exactly this film is talking about sometimes, but it’s almost too hard not to be confused.
However, I think that Kelly’s best part with this film was the human parts of this film. I loved the scenes where Donnie is sitting at dinner with his family, or is in school, or just talking to his friends. All of those scenes were perfect of how they captured human emotions, and reactions, but I almost wish there was more of that. The film tends to lose it’s head in all the craziness that ensues so a lot of the poignant and honest human parts are lost.
Jake Gyllenhaal is the perfect choice for social out-cast Donnie Darko. Donnie is one of those kids in school that didn’t really talk to anybody because he didn’t care, was a little strange, and didn’t want to be a conformist, and Gyllenhaal plays that part so well. He’s such a smart kid that almost everything he says is like poetry, and the teenage angst he has is just so perfectly played. Donnie Darko may be one of the best teenage character’s of all-time, and one of Gyllenhaal’s best performances of all-time.
The rest of the cast is pretty good too each getting their own screen-time. Jena Malone is great here as the main love interest, Gretchen. Her character is so sweet, and cute that the scenes that her and Donnie have are my favorite. Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, which in case you couldn’t tell is Jake’s real-life sister, they all play members of the Darko family and do a great job as well. Others in the cast that do good jobs as well are Drew Barrymore, Noah Wyle, a really young Seth Rogen, Beth Grant, and the always reliable Patrick Swayze doing everything right.
Also, may I add that the ending is epic. The film perfectly builds up to the last 15 minutes, and you won’t forget about it when it’s over.
Consensus: Writer/Director Richard’s Kelly debut feature may lose it’s head with the mind-bending elements, but it has a perfect script, great performances, and a story that goes places you won’t be expecting, and won’t be disappointed in seeing anyway.
Almost two hours of trick after trick.
After being caught on security cameras during a robbery at a Manhattan jewelry store, master thief Joe Moore (Gene Hackman) grudgingly agrees to pull off one last job at the behest of his maneuvering fence (Danny DeVito). Trouble is, pinching a shipment of gold ingots from a Swiss cargo plane won’t be easy.
Writer/Director David Mamet has always been known to be a very smooth, stylish director, that always seems to be one step ahead of the audience. And with this film he shows that very well, as he keeps this story interesting more, and more as the film goes on. There are plenty of plot twists mainly because a lot of the film is a bunch of acts created by these guys. What you see, isn’t exactly as it seems, and it was such a joy to see double-cross after double-cross, and how each one plays out.
I liked the old-school vibe to this film as it all played out so cool, and classy. Mamet doesn’t focus on random shoot-out sequences, instead he uses words to describe his actions, and the heist scenes themselves are actually pretty awesome and keep you on the edge of your seat.
My main gripe with this film however is the fact that not all of the double-crosses seem realistic enough to actually be believable. There are some moments where I thought to myself as to whether or not certain events or happenings would pan out the way they did realistically in real life, and some usually they didn’t seem believable. There isn’t also anything incredibly new that’s brought up here, but yet, I don’t think that’s really harming anyone either.
Gene Hackman does a good job as Joe, making him a likable character even though he does seem like sort of a grouch. Danny DeVito may not have the height to pull off a dangerous character such as the one he plays here, but he still makes it worth it, and has you believe that this small, tiny, bastard could really kill your ass. Delroy Lindo is basically the man in everything he does, and it’s nice to see him, playing the bad-ass he always is. Sam Rockwell also shows up, and does an amazing job as Jimmy, and brings a lot more to the screen, than the film had in mind.
Consensus: Not everything is believable, and certainly not different, but Heist offers up some good twists, with a good, old-school direction from Mamet.