Jeremy Renner plays Jeffrey Dahmer, who was also known as one of the most notorious serial killers of all-time. He killed over 17 men and boys, after he usually manipulated them into sex, drugs, and drinking, but also was able to get away with it for a pretty long time. Here’s a glimpse into his life, or at least his later-life that some may or may not find all that settling.
No matter who you, chances are that you have heard of Jeffrey Dahmer. Yeah, that dude was very messed up and going into this movie, that’s exactly what I was expecting. Sadly, I just got a really good glimpse of how freakin’ creepy Renner can be. You know, when he isn’t around, defusing bombs and such.
David Jacobson hasn’t done much since this movie hit the indie-theaters, which is a shame because the guy gives us a nice glimpse into the life of a guy that I’m sure none of really wanted to see for ourselves anyway, but yet, couldn’t keep away from neither. Why that is that we always want to see more and more about these sick, sadistic killers lives is beyond me. But then again, I’m the one who’s wondering and I’m also the one who not only watched the movie, but is reviewing it as well. So, screw me, I guess. Anyway, back to the review I just mentioned.
Jacobson does a pretty good job at keeping his direction very low-key, and never going anywhere near to over-exposing his subject. This isn’t your normal type of slasher movie where we see people constantly being hacked up into little pieces and then the killer eating them with ketchup on top, it’s more subdued in the way it tells the story, as if it most likely happened. I liked that approach and I like Jacobson’s very low-budget look that made it seem like this could be happening in any place, town, or city. There could even be people like this, who live right next door to you without you ever knowing. It was a nice way to touch on a subject like this and that’s honestly what I thought I was going to get, but that’s the exact problem with this flick: it never goes that extra mile.
When I say “extra mile”, I mean that this flick could have easily gone into extra depth about this infamous figure and showed us what really made him tick, but it never does. It does show us things that happened in his past that irked him and kind of set him to madness, but we never get inside of his head or see things the way he sees them. We get a couple of clear-cut examples as to when and how he went totally ballistic, but never anything to where I could say “oh, I see why he does this as a chore/hobby of his.” Now, I’m not saying that there should be or ever is any excuse to murder people, let alone 17 boys and adults, and there wasn’t any here at all, it just needed to give me something that I could hold onto when I was watching a person like Dahmer up on-screen. Jacobson seems to get the story, but not the subject if you know what I mean.
But other than not doing much with its subject, the film also suffers from being somewhat, dare I say it: boring. A couple of murders happen here and there, and we get a pretty crazy montage of Dahmer doing his dirty stuff with his boys in a midnight gay club, but other than that, nothing else really all that exciting happens. The movie just sort of meanders around from to scene to scene without any real genuine suspense or thrill behind it. Instead, we’re just sort of watching a guy be weird and plan to do some even weirder things. I didn’t go into this expecting a slasher along the lines of Halloween or Scream, but I just wanted something more to keep me glued. I guess I’m just a little brat because I have probably mentioned the word “more” about 10 times already in this review. Actually, if you have seen this movie, there’s something for memorable about that word “more” that comes into play in this movie. I don’t want to give it away but if you watch the movie, then you’ll understand. Until then, stay in the mysterious dark of not knowing.
This whole review that I’ve done so far may make it seem like I didn’t like this movie, but I actually didn’t mind it. That’s mostly thanks to the one guy who saved it all for me and really kept me going for this whole movie: Jeremy Renner as Jeffrey Dahmer. Renner has been a guy on my watch for the longest time and I definitely think he’s going to be the next best thing for Hollywood when the time comes around. However, it’s these roles in lesser-known movies that he does is what really gets my hopes up for him higher than ever before. Renner is absolutely amazing as Dahmer, because he plays it subtle, without over-reaching his grasps into how psychotic he can make this guy seem to be. He just is, plain and simple. Just looking at this guy from afar, would have you guessing right away that he’s crazy as shit, which he is but Renner gives him this very charming act that works not only the people in this movie, but us, the audience as well. He seems like you average, every day dude that just so happens to be one of the craziest mothaeffa’s around and Renner plays that to the brim, showing barely any emotions the whole time, but still being able to release a cold chill about him that settles in throughout the whole movie, even when it seems like everything is calm and collective. It isn’t, and just by watching Renner’s performance, you can tell that this guy has got presence whether or not he’s saying or even doing anything. He just needs to be there, on-the-screen, to really keep your pulse beating. Great performance from Renner and it’s honestly a role that should have gotten him way bigger, way back when. Thankfully, he’s on the top of the food-chain now, and it doesn’t seem like he’s coming down. Thank the movie heavens for that.
Consensus: Dahmer is one of those movies that makes you feel like it’s really going to get deep down inside the mind of a serial-killer, especially one as notorious as Jeffrey Dahmer, but it never hits that peak. It just sits there, acts a little weird, and lets Jeremy Renner take over the show. It’s not as bad to watch because Renner is so good, but there could have been more than just a weird guy, who did bad things.
6 / 10 = Rental!!
Never be able to watch Planet of the Apes the same way ever again. The original, by the way. Not Tim Burton’s crap-on-a-silver-platter.
After the Columbine Massacres occurred in 1999, the world as we knew it was all in a wrestle because of the whole idea that the two kids were able to get guns, get bullets, and get all the materials that they needed, with little to no problems whatsoever. Heck, they aren’t even half of the problem. Basically, everybody’s allowed to get a gun in certain states and all it requires is a couple of papers to be signed, a slight exam, and that’s it. You got your gun, you got your bullets, and best of all, you got your tool to fuel your madness, if you’re that type of person. Michael Moore takes a look at this issue, and like always: the insights are never sweet.
No matter what you may think about his political-views, the way he goes on walks, or how he makes the simple, joyous moment in the history of every film maker’s life, a walking-preach of what he thinks is wrong with the Bush administration, the guy is still one hell of a film maker and you cannot deny that. This movie is the prime example of what the guy is able to do and it never, ever ceases to amaze me. No matter how many damn times I get the privilege to see it. And that is always an honor as a movie lover, as a movie critic, and as a person, in general.
The whole gun-control issue in America is a very big one, but that isn’t what’s all discussed here. In fact, Moore goes on other topics such as fear, the media, violence, racism, corporate associations, K-Mart, musicians, war, money, hypocrisy, and so many other topics that I can’t even remember, but best of all, he goes for the jugular on all of them. I’ve heard so many things about Moore being a guy that does not take any prisoners when it comes to presenting something in front of our eyes and it’s no different here at all. I don’t even know where to begin with this review so let me just get down to the simple basics, baby.
This film doesn’t always give us the cut & dry solutions to certain happenings like the Columbine Massacre or 9/11, but it provides us with enough evidence, real-life conversations/interviews, and discussions as to why it is happening and what is behind all of it. I never, ever thought I could feel so much for documentary’s topic like gun-control and what’s really going on underneath the silver linings, but Moore made me think and feel something different. He isn’t out there to just bullshit us and give us what he thinks are the right solutions to these problems; he pretty much tells us and gives us valuable examples, statements, and reasons to back it all up. Moore talks with a bunch of people on a lot subjects and some of which, may have you totally surprised by how they are portrayed here.
Dick Clark just is a total asshole when Moore tries to talk to him about one of his prime restaurants and honestly made me wonder why the dude was even bothered with in the first-place. Seriously, you may not like Michael Moore or want to talk to him, but you do not have to be this much of a dick to get your point-across! Charlton Heston starts off his interview with Moore, being all “pro-rifle this, pro-rifle that”, but once Moore really gets to him and tells him what’s up, Heston starts to run away like a little baby because he’s so flustered in his argument. I don’t want to get into spoiler-territory with what this dude says or how he acts, but it will surprise the hell out of you and have you think a lot differently about the dude that our grand-parents never stop talking about.
Marilyn Manson may seem like the oddest-choice for this documentary, in terms of his music or what he brings to the table, but actually brings out one of the best points of the whole film. He tells us what he feels like to be blamed for the Columbine Massacre, and what he would have done to stop those kids from even thinking of doing such a thing. It sort of humanizes the guy in a way, that I didn’t think was capable of remotely happening. And finally, there is Matt Stone who also shows up and gives a bit of insight into the town of where he lived in, and how it’s considered one of the nicest places to be, despite it’s violent up-rising. It’s nothing special, but to hear it from a guy like this, still made me happy. There are plenty of other interviews here with other random, but significant people (such as a dude who “supposedly” committed an Oklahoma bombing and seems like one dude you do not want to be giving any type of lethal weapons to) and they all provide the best amount of information and insight into the world we live in as well as the documentary itself.
But what I liked the most about this movie isn’t that it’s a documentary all about Moore spouting-out facts left-and-right at us, it’s actually pretty entertaining to watch and follow along with, if you have the stomach for these kinds of things. I was surprised by how much I laughed during this flick, but by the same token, surprised by how much I was also very disturbed by. For the funny moments in this flick, there’s a nice animated-segment that play’s in the same breath as South Park that’s obscene, but true in the way that are history has wrapped it’s strange head. But then, you get to the very sad and disturbing stuff we are shown, as we actually get a couple of montages where we see people actually killing others with plenty of guns, military-footage of the war, and a whole scene where we see the Columbine Massacre happen, from the surveillance-video in the cafeteria. You’ll be glued in from start-to-finish with everything that Moore talks about, brings up, and states, but it isn’t boring in anyway and would have me howling at one point, but totally have my breath taken away (not in a Berlin-way) by some compellingly powerful stuff that Moore would show us as well. Whenever you can make somebody laugh one second, and then have them almost close to tears the next second, that’s usually a good sign of being a great director. Not good, not okay, but great.
Where this film bothered me at was how much it talks about and where it goes. I know that in this review, I stated that I liked how Moore went from topic-to-topic to give us a clear and broad understanding of what he’s talking about, but I didn’t like how it was so jumpy with it all. I get it, all of these acts of violence and anger are somehow connected to each other through some sort of statistic, but can you stop jumping around every five minutes? Please?!?!
I know that this is one of Moore’s most known flicks (hell, it won him an Oscar for Christ’s sakes!) but it’s one that should be watched by everybody I think. There is so much anger, so much hatred, so much violence, and so much fear in our country that it’s almost too hard to handle sometimes. You see in the news all of the time, about how a black man robs a corner market, or how some woman was robbed by some hoodlum in the projects, or just how some act of violence was committed, in someplace, at some time, but we never see anything else other than that. Everybody sees the bad stuff in the world, but are there any other times where good happens in this world? Or do we just have to wait until a 6-year old goes off by shooting, and killing a fellow 6-year old until we have to realize that maybe some things need to change, and need to change now. I have never really given two shits about the whole “gun-control” issue we have had in America for quite some time, but it’s one that I look at in a more intelligent-way now thanks to Mr. Moore and I can assure you that the next time I go out to a shooting range, I’m making sure the gun stays away from everybody else except for me, myself, and I.
Consensus: Michael Moore may go all-over-the-place with his topic at points, but Bowling for Columbine is still one hell of a documentary that is entertaining with it’s constant shifts from humor to drama, powerful facts and statistic it backs up with for its idea, and an unrelenting idea of how America, is a country that is based on fear, violence, and guns. May be a hard pill to swallow, but your eyes will be opened afterwards.
9 / 10 = Full Price!!
May 3, 2002 will officially go down as the day the nerds came back to rule the Earth, as well as the box-office.
This tells the age-old story of science whiz kid Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), who is in love with his next-door neighbor, Mary Jane Watson (Kirtsen Dunst) and wants to do something successful with his life. That all changes when he gets bitten by a radioactive spider and then he becomes the web-swinging hero who we all know and love: Spider-Man. Problem is, there’s a certain person named Norman Osborne (Willem Dafoe) who stands in the way of him.
I don’t even know why I bothered writing out a little synopsis for this flick because all I probably had to do was just say; “this is the story of Spider-Man”, left it at that, and there would have been no confusion whatsoever. But for all of you younglings that apparently loved The Amazing Spider-Man, well, I got a bomb to drop on you: this is better. Yes, Andrew Garfield is a hottie, I’ll give ya that one.
If any of you peeps out there did read my review that I did for that flick, you could probably tell that I held this series up above everything else and that these flicks actually have a close spot to my heart, as I saw them when I was only about 8 and started getting into my movie watching days. However, now that I watch this film, I do realize that some of this may not work-out as perfectly as I thought when I was just a little tike but it still holds up 10 years later and with great reason: it set the bar the for every other superhero flick that came out after this. May have been a little risky saying that but seriously, think about all of the other superhero films that came out after this and just notice the format that they follow.
Director Sam Raimi deserves a lot of credit for taking this film, when it seemed like nobody else would, and gave it that “fun” element that all of the fan-boys craved from this story. Raimi takes a lot of time to develop his characters, their relationships, and what they mean to this story, but he also doesn’t take it too seriously by allowing there to be plenty of light-hearted moments of comedy, that can sometimes border on camp (the good kind, though), and give us some high-flying action we wanted to see in the first-place. There’s a lot of cool scenes with Spidey, flying throughout the sky and even though they may not look all that real, they still are a lot of fun and it’s great to see what it looks like up there whenever he does fly around on his webs. And even when the action kicks in, you can feel a certain amount of fun energy come right from Raimi’s direction. That’s what makes it pretty obvious that this guy loves the character of Peter Parker/Spider-Man and just cannot wait to get the chance to show us on the big-screen. Sometimes the film may go a bit over-board with it’s goofiness, but it’s all in good, old-fashioned, Raimi fun. And that was A-okay with yours truly, folks.
But back to what I was talking about before in how Raimi allows there to be a story here, because that’s one of the major assets to this flick. I have always thought that Spider-Man has had some of the most likable and endearing characters ever written for a comic, and it’s great to see that come out so well on-screen. Parker is obviously a loveable kid and you’d have to be the freakin’ devil to find anything wrong with him. He isn’t a Saint, but he’s just a lovely kid that you could have over for dinner, and ask him to clean the dishes because you wanna take an early-nap. Nobody has yet to ask me to do that, so the kid’s gotta special! However, what makes this kid so damn special is the little dramatic scenes between him and MJ that get your heart swooning, the scenes with him and Aunt May that show you that the ladies (young or old) think he’s adorable as hell, and it’s the scenes with Uncle Ben that makes you realize that this kid is going to have a lot on his plate as his life goes on. These little snippets of drama that occur here in this flick, make this story all the better to follow through on and pay attention to because you know that these characters are people you love to watch, and you can’t wait to see how they’re relationships develop over time. Mucho kudos to Raimi for giving us a bunch of comic-book characters that feel more three-dimensional than an actual comic-book. Yeah, that was cheesy but I think you’re picking up what I’m putting down.
Going back to Peter Parker, though, Tobey Maguire was probably the most perfect choice of casting you could ever get and it’s total surprise to me now, why the hell people were so against this in the first place. Obviously Maguire wasn’t a huge name in Hollywood and didn’t even really have a leading role in one until this point, but Raimi saw something in Maguire that made this character work wonders and give us a superhero that is not only loved by all out there, but also one that feels very realistic in the way he acts and how those acts change over time as he grows older. Parker starts out as this nerd who one day dreams of being a huge scientist (much like daddy Parker), but still can’t get past the fact that everybody picks on him and bullies him all for one reason: he’s geeky. But then his life changes once he gets bitten by this radioactive spider and that’s when we start to see a realistic transformation, not only in Peter Parker, but in Maguire’s performance as well.
It didn’t matter which side of this character he was playing, whether he was Spider-Man or not, Maguire owns every layer there is to this character and gives us a hero to root for and feel like is one of us. He’s a nerd, yes, but he’s also a kid that genuinely has good intentions in his life and it’s understandable why he wants to help all of the innocent people he does ends up saving. Maguire handles all of the action elements in this character that makes him somewhat of a bad-ass but also handles a lot of the character elements to him too, that make him seem more like a regular-guy that has to put up with some major responsibilities in his life, all because of one little, radioactive spider. It’s a total shame that Maguire has been trying his damn near hardest to get out of this type-casted role as the lovable geek, but I think with a choice role in Brothers (best part of the movie, in my opinion) and a big role coming-up in The Great Gatsby, he may have finally found a way to break out of that mold and I really do hope that he does because he deserves it. God, I love that kid.
Kirsten Dunst plays the apple of Peter’s eye, MJ, and she does a fairly solid job at a character that could have been one of those annoying, “save me, save me” female characters that these superhero flicks always seem to have. I remember as a kid, I fell in love with her and thought she was the hottest thing to ever grace the screen since Glenn Close in 101 Dalmatians (please, don’t ask) and I still think that holds up to this day even if I do think that the romance between her and Peter seems a bit phony. It doesn’t seem very clear why Peter loves her so much in the first place, other than the fact that she’s a hottie that he may actually have somewhat of a chance to be with. Maybe with the rap-sheet that I got, I have no room to be dissing on a guy about what traits about ladies tingle his spider-sense, but this just seemed like Peter wants her only because she’s good-looking and that’s all.
James Franco plays Parker’s nerd-o buddy, Harry Osborne and seems like he’s hamming it up just a bit, but it’s not until later where we see his true colors come out. However, I think that should be saved for another review, my dears. J.K. Simmons was also another perfect choice of casting as J. Jonah Jameson as every-line he says, made me laugh my ass off and even better, he actually looks like J. Jonah from the comics! Perfect choice right then and there!
And the last piece of perfect casting goes to Willem Dafoe for his role as Norman Osborne, aka The Green Goblin. Dafoe is perfect for this villainous role because he just looks like a freak show in the first place, but also plays up a lot of the elements that makes this character tick so much in the first-place. There’s a lot of weird stuff that Dafoe has to go through with this character, but he handles it perfectly even if the big distraction with this villain is that he looks so freakin’ ridiculous. Honestly, with a budget this big, you don’t think they could have come-up with anything better other than a distracting plastic mask that looks like some piece of over-priced junk I’d get at Halloween Adventure for $30! I don’t think I could have come up with anything better than what they got for him here, but there could have been something that looked a little more menacing. Just a little bit more. Machine-guns, maybe?
Consensus: Though it may not hold-up as perfectly as I once imagined it did, Spider-Man is still a fun and entertaining superhero ride from start-to-finish with a light and breezy feel from Raimi that shows his passionate love for Spidey, characters that we actually care about, a story that touches us in a way, and a bunch of performances that are all very, very good, especially Tobey Maguire’s iconic performance as Peter Parker.
9 / 10 = Full Price!!
Even without guns and cars, I’d still be pretty freakin’ scared to go toe-to-toe with a gangster from the 1800′s. Especially, if they were in-character the whole time.
Taking place in New York City around the 19th Century, the son of a gang leader named Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) comes back to his hometown in order to avenge his father’s death. He plans to do this by killing the leader of the Natives, a simple and kind fellow named Bill Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis). By the way, the “simple and kind” statement, was bullshit. The guys fuckin’ crazy.
Apparently, this was a “dream project” for director Martin Scorsese for about 5 or 6 years that took longer than he expected to actually get made. Like all dream projects we have in our minds, we joggle them around forever, and actually crash-down to reality and realize, “oh shit, this is going to take longer than I ever wanted to”. Yeah, even directors feel that way and yes, even Marty Scorsese apparently too. It was reported to cost over 100 million dollhairs, took months and months to build actual sets of the film, needed to go through tons of editing, and was released in December of 2002, a year later than it originally had planned. Usually when this kind of crap happens, this usually shows trouble with the overall film quality, regardless of who the actual director is. Thankfully, Marty is unlike any other and that’s all that matters.
What I liked most about this flick is how Marty tackles the same exact style of gangsters, crooks, and bastards in the 1880′s, the same way he would with the ones of the 1900′s. There’s a very fast-paced essence and feel to the whole film that keeps you on-edge as to what’s going to happen next, what characters are going to be finito by the end, and when this final-battle between the two opposing sides is actually going to occur. Now, does it look and feel like an actual Scorsese flick? Not really, but that’s what’s so interesting about the guy. He’s able to change-up certain trademarks he has about himself and give a new story, a whole different type of look and feel you wouldn’t quite expect from him. It does get pretty damn violent at times, so there’s the obvious trademark for ya, but regardless of how many trademarks are shown in here, it’s still pretty damn entertaining to watch even if you have seen it over 5 times and can calculate everything now, like yours truly.
However, as many times as I have sat-down and watched this 2-and-a-half-hour-movie and been entertained by it, I still can’t deny that there lies a whole butt-load of problems brewing beneath the surface. First of all, one of the biggest hints that this film was going to have trouble with itself was the fact that it has three writers working on it (Jay Cocks, Steve Zaillian, Kenneth Lonergan). Usually, that spells out trouble and that’s exactly what we get here as this film tackles a bit more than it can get away with. In fact, it actually seems like these writers were all given different subjects to write about, understand, and bring back to Marty so they could make one, big, and long epic about life in NYC in the 1800′s. That idea, in case you were confused by what I was saying, does not work here as it’s too many ideas, with too little of a pay-off.
The whole idea is about gangs that hide out and cause havoc in New York, which makes a compelling and entertaining watch on it’s own, but then, once you add all of those other ingredients in, it get’s a bit over-stuffed to the point of where you have no freakin’ clue what this movie is trying to talk about or even convey. Is is about a young dude getting revenge on the guy who murdered his dad? Yes, well, sort of. Is it about a possible “romance” between this young dude and untrustworthy gal? Yes, well, sort of. Is it about the history of New York in the 1800′s? Yes, well, sort of. Is it about the war and how everybody had to take part in it? Yes, well, sort of. Or, is this flick all about how politics usually came into play with the gangs and how they all acted around one another? Once again, yes, well, sort of. As you can tell, this film touches on too many subjects, adds in too many subplots, and juggles too many ideas, which shouldn’t have been such a huge problem, given the time-limit offered to the script, but somehow it just does not work altogether and seems jumbled around like the best bits of an musician’s career. However, these “best bits”, aren’t really the best. They’re slightly mediocre to say the least.
Probably the most compelling story of all should have been the whole revenge tale with this young dude going after the man that killed his father when he was a child and he vowed at nothing to stop him from succeeding at that. However, that whole story seems a bit half-baked considering we barely get to see the young dude with his father as a kid; barely get to see how all of this has an effect on him as an slightly older dude and constantly being in that man’s presence; and barely get any tension except for the last 20 minutes where everything really comes into play. And heck, even that final stand-off doesn’t really count, for reasons I can’t state.
Speaking of the ending, some people freakin’ despise it and count it as one of the worst of all-time (and once you see it, you’ll know why), but I actually thought it was a pretty clever way to allow it to tie into history and give it more of an importance in terms of how we view New York City now, and how it really was. Yeah, it wasn’t the best way that a genius like Scorsese could come-up with and yeah, it may have dropped the ball on some fun and excitement, but it still was pretty neat to see how everything was going to be tied around in a nice little bow at the end. It comes off as a nice reminder that NYC has history and is a beautiful place to live, which was an idea that some people may have brushed-off to the sides during the lean days of ’02.
Despite all of this bad talk, I still had a lot more fun with this flick because of the performances from an impressive ensemble that Marty always has a knack for casting well. Leonardo DiCaprio proves he is able to take on a stronger, more dramatic role as a young kid going through a bit of a crisis and makes Amsterdam a believable, and compelling character to watch. It’s also better since the guy is easy to get behind and can practically kick anybody’s ass, but doesn’t get too in-over-his-head like most characters of this same-exact convention usually do. The kid may not always have a huge ounce of charm to his look and personality, but it’s Leo, and the guy is always great to watch on-screen and you can’t help but root for Amsterdam as things start to go from better-to-worse, sooner than later. Then, there’s Cameron Diaz, who I am not a very big fan of but is serviceable in a role that could have easily gone to any other actress and still been as good or entertaining. That’s not really a good thing or bad thing, it’s just that her character doesn’t offer much to really intrigue you and Diaz doesn’t help us with that much, either.
But despite these two, the one who really steals the show is none other than the man, the myth, the effin’ crazy man who stayed in-character the whole time during the making of this flick: Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill Cutting, or as my dad likes him to be referred to as, Bill the Butcher. Cutting is a very fun character to watch and the fact that he’s played by Daniel Day just makes him all the more compelling to keep your eye on as every chance he gets, he proves to you why this guy can never be trusted and why so many damn people in the city fear him for the things he can do. Cutting is a bit caricaturish, but Daniel Day makes sure it doesn’t get too over-the-top and strangely, keeps the guy human and believable in his own, sadistic way. There’s the one memorable scene that really touched me where he’s talking to Amsterdam about the only man that was worth remembering that he killed (Amsterdam’s father) and it gives us a wonderful look-see into a man that does some pretty terrible and evil things, but still feels something for the people he kills, even if they are his biggest enemies. Daniel Day is electrifying in this role and makes it all the more fun to watch, but sadly, he is probably the only interesting character of the bunch, and he’s the freakin’ bad-guy you’re supposed to despise!
Consensus: Gangs of New York struggles with way too many ideas, themes, and a bunch of plot-points that never come fully-realized, but has a very entertaining feel and vibe to it, that places you in this setting of New York City during the 1800′s, and features compelling performances from everybody involved, including the magnetic Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill Cutting/the Butcher.
7 / 10 = Rental!!
It seems like every cop in Detroit is dirty and never does a nice thing for anybody. Only in the movies, though, and I don’t know how much fact there is behind that.
The plot revolves around the efforts of two police detectives (Jason Patric and Ray Liotta) as they search for the murderer of an undercover police officer. As they proceed in the investigation they engage in suspect tactics and give viewers a glimpse into the seedy side of undercover work.
Right before I even got into watching this movie, I was thinking that it was going to be another fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled, cop-action movie but instead, I got something totally different, and probably a hell of a lot more gritty. Actually, “gritty” is probably the best word to describe this flick as I could literally taste the blood, sweat, and dirt that seemed to fall right-through the camera and into my face. Okay, maybe it’s not that bad and literal, but you get what I mean: it’s pretty freakin’ gritty!
I have to give a lot of props to writer/director Joe Carnahan, who takes a pretty normal cop-story of two detectives on opposite ends of the spectrum, that are looking for a killer, and giving it a dark and eerie style that kept me involved with this film even when it seemed to be a tad too predictable. Carnahan makes this film look just as depressing as these two characters are, and it shows us just what sort of terrible side-effects come along with being an undercover cop. Yeah, it’s another one of those hand-held camera style movies, but it’s not as annoying this time around since nobody really saw a Paul Greengrass film around the time this came-out so the hand-held camera was still young, innocent, and normal, just like my grade-school days. Oh dear, how they went to waste after. Definitely not as fun and easy as other movies make it out to be, but Carnahan shows us differently, but that is also another separate-reason as to why I liked this movie so much.
The main mystery surrounding this film was pretty good, but what really got me involved with this story was Carnahan’s detailed-attention to its characters, that not only made me feel something for them, but also made me realize just why they were doing all of this undercover ish to begin with. You get a feel for how these guys go through their jobs on a daily basis and it doesn’t seem like that much of a walk in the park at all. These guys pretty much have to deal with terrible shit all of the time at-work, only to come home, some more terrible shit with their wives/families hootin’ and hollerin’ at them for choosing a job like this. Maybe the film doesn’t go that far in showing us how these guys live but I like what I saw with these characters and it kept me riveted through every twist and turn this story took. The attention to characters made more of an emotional-bump for me, just when things started to seem to get very, very sour for these jokers in the end.
What I was bummed out by here was that the story does get ultimately formulaic by the end and I could kind of tell just where this story was going, mainly because of the type of cliches I’m used to seeing with all of these cop-dramas. There’s a certain point in this flick where you realize that something is a little not all that right with one character, and it starts to turn into something we have all seen before. The same old, tired “bad-cop, good-cop” element starts to get in the way and take over the flick which was a real, real shame for me as I felt like I really was getting to see a new, interesting, and fresh-take on the whole cop-drama. Instead, I was only saddened by the fact that Carnahan starts to lose himself and give us what we didn’t want in the first-place: predictability.
Let me also not forget to mention that the ending does feel a tad rushed. There’s a whole bunch of twists with the ending and how everything with this mystery actually did happen, but that’s not what really bothered me. What really bothered me was how they just dove right into it as soon as the tension was really picking up and it made me feel like Carnahan was a bit too scared of over-staying, his welcome which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in the first place, but he almost seems like he dropped the ball a bit too early. Then again though, this guy has some real talent for taking a generic story like this and give it an unpredictable feel so I can’t hit him too much.
Having said all of that junkola, the real reason this story works so well is because of the performances given by everybody here, especially the two main stars. Jason Patric is, in my opinion, a very underrated actor but with his performance here as Nick Tellis, he shows that he has the dramatic range to be a great leading man. He’s trying to get away from all of these problems he’s been having as an undercover cop, trying to seek some peace at home with his wife, and is just trying to do the right thing but the guy keeps on finding himself in once again, terribly shitty situations. Patric displays this sadness very well here and is character that’s easy to trust even though he may not have all of the right answers.
I was actually very impressed with Ray Liotta as Lieutenant Henry Oak, a guy who I would not want to be stuck in the room alone with at all. This guy is one hard-as-nails son of a bitch that’s a force to be reckoned with throughout this whole flick but he also shows a lot of heart too, that made me feel something for this lean and mean character. There’s a little monologue that Liotta gives that makes you realize that this character has a lot more going on then you would first imagine, and it’s a very good scene that shows Liotta isn’t so bad when it comes to drama. Shame that this guy doesn’t get better roles nowadays, but maybe he’s done that to himself. Who knows.
Consensus: Even though it’s ultimately a pretty formulaic cop story, writer/director Joe Carnahan gives Narc a style that is gritty, mean, and grungy, and the performances from Patric and Liotta make this more than just another another, run-of-the-mill story about two messed up cops.
I may be a noob because I don’t know a Orc from a Uruk-Hai, but as long as we got elves, wizards, dwarves, monster-creatures, and trees all duking it out in one flick, I’m fine with not knowing.
Taking place literally 3 days after where the first one left-off, we follow three stories of our favorite characters and see how they all are separated, but go-out on their own quests as well. Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) continue their journey towards Mordor to destroy the One Ring, meeting and joined by Gollum (choreographed by Andy Serkis), the ring’s former owner. Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) come to the war-torn nation of Rohan and are reunited with the resurrected Gandalf (Ian McKellen), before fighting at the Battle of Helm’s Deep. Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) escape capture, meet Treebeard the Ent, and help to plan an attack on Isengard.
That’s a pretty lengthy-premise, hell, probably the longest one I have ever done, and hell, this is a pretty lengthy-movie. But even though it may clock-in at 2 hours and 59 minutes, just missing that day-changer by a measly minute, you still can’t help but have a great-old time watching all of your favorite fantasy characters, battle it out like nobody’s business. Oh, and let’s not forget the walking trees, too. Can’t forget about them.
Once again, as you could probably expect from the guy, Peter Jackson does a great-job at nailing each and every single, little detail of this setting down to it’s core. Everything just looks perfect the way it is and those swooping shots that seem to take over the film, do nothing else but put you in the mind-set that yes, you are in Middle-Earth and it’s time to get ready for a place that is filled with mystical-beings and happenings, but also a place that’s filled with a lot of darkness and war, as well.
Believe it or not, from a reader’s stand-point, this is the most controversial movie-adaptation of the three because apparently Jackson took some liberties of his own in changing up the story-structure, events, and even the characters as well. Obviously any person who has ever read these books and is expecting the exact, same thing on-screen are going to be a little pissed to see some things shook-up a bit, but I don’t think Jackson could have told this story any other way. What I mean by that, is that since there are three stories going-on at the same time, you sort of have to tell them all just like that, rather than telling one-story, being done with it, and moving onto the next without any transition to other stories. It can be done, but it wouldn’t have worked for this movie and that’s why I’m really glad Jackson kept all of these three stories to continue to go-on at the same time, without a break, or stop, or anything. It’s just got a beautiful flow to it and that’s because Jackson knows the story from head-to-toe and wants to show everybody his love and appreciation for it, even if he has to stick to his movie-rules and piss a couple of people off by doing-so. Hey, you can’t please everybody out there, Pete, but you sure as hell pleased the hell out of me.
I think where this film works so well compared to the first-one is the sort of tone and approach it takes to the story. You can definitely tell that this story is starting to get more and more tense as it develops and you can tell that there’s more of a drastic-feeling to every scene, where you don’t quite know what’s going to happen next, who you’re going to have to say bye to, and just how far the story will progress in-time. You have a bigger, emotional-connection to everybody here and it’s not just about who’s going to get killed-off next, it’s about who are you going to miss when it’s all said and done. There is definitely a lot that’s worth standing-by and awaiting the next surprise, but it’s not all about surprises, twists, or turns with this story, it’s about the feeling of the world you’re placed into and whether or not you’re going to be able to stay-long and watch as all of your favorite characters risk their lives 24/7.
That’s why the infamous battle at Helm’s Depp is considered one of the best battle-sequences of the past-decade, there’s so much emotion, turmoil, and intensity going on behind it, that you can’t stop feeling like you are involved with it as much as the actual-characters themselves. Anybody that talks about this movie, always talks about this huge-spectacle of a battle and as they should, because it is absolutely awesome to be entertained by, and absolutely gripping to watch. You never know what’s going to happen next with this scene and you feel like anything could happen, and usually does actually happen. It’s filmed-beautifully, as well as you could expect, and just goes to show you that Jackson had an inspiration for how he wanted this battle to look and feel like and holy damn, if it wasn’t for this whole-sequence, I don’t know how much of this film I would have actually loved.
However, I shouldn’t really talk like the battle at Helm’s Deep is the only thing worth watching here, because it isn’t. Each and every other story that they throw at us is as epic, dramatic, and gripping as the one that comes before it, the only problem is that when it gets in the way of the battle-sequence, it slows things down a bit. I liked the story of Sam and Frodo continuing their quest with the Ring, and the two hobbits with the walking trees, but whenever they showed-up, it was usually to break-up the action that was happening during the battle and it felt a bit cheap, as it just took away from all of the excitement and intensity that we were feeling beforehand. I mean, yeah, these stories needed to be told and needed to be spliced-in with the main-one, but still, you can’t help but feel like they just dedicated a good solid 45 minutes to the battle at Helm’s Deep, and be done with it, rather than just jumping back-and-forth and breaking some of the fun.
That same person who you heard talking about this movie and mentioning the battle at Helm’s Deep, would also probably mention that this is the flick that first introduced the CG-driven powerhouse of Gollum, played by Andy Serkis. See, what most people at the time didn’t know was that Serkis donned the blue-suit for this role and encapsulated all of his movements, flow, and feelings all into this character to give him a realistic-look and feel. Instead, everybody else thought that it was just another case of the computers taking over the magic of Hollywood, and just using a bunch of special-effects that may look beautiful, but are still special-effects none the less. That’s what’s so amazing about Serkis as Gollum here, is that he just brings all of this feeling to a character and makes it seem very unbelievable how he was able to pull it all off so well. I also can’t forget to mention that Gollum looks as real as you’re going to get and it’s a work of art to watch and just gaze at. Yeah, technology is better now, but at the time, it was beyond art. It was a freakin’ masterpiece.
Ian McKellen was the anchor of the first movie, but is rarely here as Gandolf, even though he still kicks as much ass here in this movie, as we expected from him in that movie. Instead, that anchor is given-away to Viggo Mortensen who absolutely nails it as Aragorn. Viggo just has this look and feel to him that has you wonder what he’s going to do next, but yet, at the same time, still has you feel like you’re in safe-hands whenever he’s around. That’s why it was pretty freakin’ awesome to see him take over ship here a lot of times and just let everybody know that he’s the boss, he’s the man you don’t want to mess with, and most of all, he’s the man that’s going to slay all of these weird-looking, freaky creatures. Just goes to show you that Viggo really can scare anybody, whether he’s playing a Russian-mobster, playing Sigmund Freud, an ex-gangster-turned-family-man. Yeah, that last sentence pretty much puts Viggo Mortensen’s career into a nutshell.
Consensus: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is the second-installment that hits, and hits hard with enough emotions, action, and characters running through, that you feel like you have a full grip and feel of this story, what’s happening in it, and what’s to come of it in it’s grand, epic finale. Return of the King, here I come!
Apparently in the future, all cops will know kung-fu. Quentin Tarantino will be so happy.
Christian Bale portrays John Preston, a warrior-priest and enforcement officer in a future dystopia where both feelings and artistic expression are outlawed and citizens take daily injections of drugs to suppress their emotions. After accidentally missing a dose, Preston begins to experience emotions which make him question his own morality and moderate his actions, while attempting to remain undetected by the suspicious society in which he lives.
What you have here is a film that’s pretty much a cross with action of The Matrix mixed with the world from 1984. Should be a lot more epic than it sounds, but hey, it’s not all that bad.
The plot here is about a far future, where nobody feels anything and anybody that does or at least try to, ends up getting killed for their actions. The film hits this plot right away with right mood and takes you into this place where absolutely everything is dark and emotionless, and everybody is practically making sure the other isn’t smiling or having a happy though in their head. I was definitely feeling the mood that this film was giving off and I especially liked a lot of the stylistic touches that writer/director Kurt Wimmer had here as well. Everything looks so shiny and very futuristic but doesn’t try too hard to force its look down our throats.
But I’m just going to get past all of the bullshit, because the main reason this film works so well is because of it’s action. The film isn’t a total action-fest the whole way through, but when the action does come through, it’s freakin’ awesome and brings so much more energy to the flick than anything else did. You actually have to be more patient with this film for its action scenes because there is a long stretch where we get little, or no action scenes but they kick ass because of the Kata-like action style going on here. The hand-to-hand combat fights were probably the best because whenever Bale would rip, snap, or crack somebody’s body parts, I almost thought I could feel the same exact pain. There’s a lot of gun-play here as well where Bale pretty much blows everybody up left-and-right and there is even a really cool scene where he faces off against a dude who also has a gun, and they just continue to try and shoot each other, but they keep on missing as they keep on struggling to kill the other. Definitely a lot of fun action to be had here and probably the best part of this flick.
Problem with some of these action scenes is that they all pretty much consist of Bale kicking everybody’s ass, and never ever showing a sign of danger that he may die. I get that the story is all about him being the big dog and can pretty much do no wrong when it comes to fighting and using his skills, but seriously, this guy takes on about 30 dudes at once with just two pistols where they all have assault rifles shooting at him. I mean come on, Patrick Bateman couldn’t even pull that off! It seemed like the film just made him an indestructible force that never lost or got hurt, and therefore, no real danger of loss ever came to this story. It was just me waiting to see when Bale was going to take down a whole army by himself.
I also didn’t really understand the future this film had created, even though they definitely went through its details enough. One of the main elements about this future that I already named were how they can’t feel anything. No emotions. Nada. So what really got me wondering was how the hell are kids made, when the two people who have to make the kids aren’t allowed to feel anything in the first place. I mean, two people have to be horny and ready for action when it comes to making a baby so how can they do such a thing, when they have to worry about being killed for doing so? I know this is a very weird thought that went through my head but it’s just one that kept me thinking more and more as Bale kept on hanging around his kids. Didn’t understand that part and there were plenty of other times where I would someone give off a smile or a sign of anger and it made me think: where’s all of the punishment for all of these feelings?
The real reason this film actually does work as well it does is mainly because of Christian Bale as John Preston. We all know that Bale is a great actor and can pretty much do it all, but this is the one flick where he shows that he can actually handle an action hero role very well. His performance goes from starting out as an emotionless prick, to showing signs of sadness, rage, and joy. The guys transformation makes this story a lot more meaningful in the end and the action scenes make his character more of a bad-ass than ever. What I’m saying here may not make it seem like Bale is all that important in this flick, but he definitely lifts this material up which it needed in the first place.
Taye Diggs holds his own as Preston’s partner Brandt, a guy who you can never tell what he’s going to do next and the scenes where him and Bale face-off, are pretty awesome as well; Emily Watson has some choice moments as Mary and shows a lot more emotion than the boys here; and Sean Bean has a pretty solid cameo appearance, that made me wish I saw more of him in the end. However, some Sean Bean is better than no Sean Bean.
Consensus: Equilibrium may not be the smartest sci-fi flick, and definitely not the most original, but it features a lot of super-hyper action sequences, good performances from the cast, and a pretty dark look at a future where nobody can feel anything.
Billy Madison finally grew up, and got really, really awkward.
Barry Egan (Adam Sandler), who owns a failing company, becomes obsessed with collecting pudding coupons that offer frequent flyer miles. When he learns that a woman (Emily Watson) he met by chance and can’t stop thinking about has left for vacation in Hawaii, he uses his coupons to buy a trip and find her.
Everybody who has ever seen any of P.T. Anderson‘s flicks know two things about him: 1. he likes his films very, very long, and 2. he can make anything work. Even though he kind of disregards #1, he gets #2 down perfectly.
I have probably seen this flick about 4 times and just about every time it gets better and better with each viewing. So many people complain about how it’s not as funny as it should be and how it’s just a weird movie, which it’s supposed to be…maybe. Anderson is a director amongst directors. He essentially takes a very odd story, about an odd man, and brings it into some pretty strange places that include a phone-sex operator, frequent flyer miles, pudding, a piano, and a bed & mattress owner. Yeah, if that sounds pretty strange don’t worry, because it is and I wouldn’t have had it any other way with this one. Anderson knows that this film is goofy but he never lets loose of his direction and as much as he allows all of this weird stuff to happen, he still gives a lot of time to this romance at the core of it all and that’s what really brought me over.
The romance is so sweet and innocence that when you have all of this crazy ish, with people yelling and cussin’ at each other, it sort of makes you want to beat everybody else up that tries to get in the way of it. You can definitely feel a lot of love coming from this little thing these two have going on here but there are so many other emotions going on through here as well, that it’s almost too hard to be fixated on one. People that say this film isn’t funny really need to see this flick again because it’s all of the small, subtle things are what makes it funny. The perfect example is when one of Barry’s employees ask him why he’s wearing a suit to work, and Barry tells him, “I don’t know, I just wanted to get dressed up for work”. Makes no sense, but who cares. However, the next day Barry is at work, you see that same employee wearing a suit with a tie and it just made me laugh my ass off. Maybe that’s not a perfect example as to how and why this flick is so damn funny in it’s little way, but it’s certain things like that for you to pick up on that make movies like this so damn special.
As great as this story may be though, you still can’t forget about this flick without forgetting to mention Anderson’s incredible vision, that makes everything just look like it came from a painting. Seriously, I know a lot of people say that about certain movies in certain reviews, but I mean that here: sometimes this film looks like a painting. There’s a lot of wonderful color art sequences that come around every once and awhile that are astonishing to check out, but the way Anderson gives the camera this very dark look gives this film a distinct look that I haven’t seen before. I really can’t put my fingers on what it is but the way this camera looks with a hint of darkness to bring down all of the color, gives this film a tone. I think I’m just speaking a whole bunch of jibber-jabber, but it’s a beautiful film the whole time, especially a couple of great romantic sequences that get you right into the feeling that you’re in love with these two people as well.
If I had any c0mplaints here, it was that I think that Barry’s sisters were a little too mean for me to believe. I understand that there are sisters and brothers of certain people out there that are very mean but I also can’t understand some relatives like these ones, treating another relative in such a terrible, and bratty way, especially when they know that the person has some emotional problems. It seemed like a lot of it was to go along with the ridiculous plot but it just felt like it was trying way too hard to get me inside of Barry’s head and feel the pain he feels because in all honesty, the character of Barry Egan is an amazing one as it is.
I’ve said this once and I’ll say it again: Barry Egan is Adam Sandler‘s best performance ever. There! I said it people! Sandler pulls out everything within him to make this character work and it’s the one performance that’s made us all realize that this guy can do drama, and make some of the weirdest characters work, no matter how painfully awkward they are. Barry Egan is such a strong character as it is because the dude is a nice, but lonely dude who just wants to be appreciated and treated nicely by the people around him. However, his sisters are all terrible bitches to him, he can’t seem to get a date with any girl, and he’s getting effed over by these phone-sex line people that just want all of his money. This guy has a lot of sympathy already going for him but Sandler takes him up a couple of notches. Sandler shows us a very subtle side to his acting but also shows that he can still make you still crack up, even if he isn’t doing any goofy faces or noises. Instead, the guy just relies on his very dry and awkward sense of comedy that shows a character that really can’t fit it anywhere he goes and you just can’t stop rooting for him the whole flick. It also gets better when Egan starts to show signs of a real bad-ass but I’ll leave it at that, because it’s something that needs to be seen to be believed. I don’t know if this last paragraph does Sandler’s performance any justice but all I can say is that it’s a memorable performance and the best Sandler has, and maybe will ever do.
Emily Watson wasn’t really given all that much to do here as Lena Leonard, but she pulls off being cute, charming, nice, sweet, and convincing very well and it’s easy to see why she would fall in love with such a wacko like Barry Egan. Let me also not forget to mention that the chemistry her and Sandler have is actually pretty good, if you can believe that. I also can’t forget to mention this flick without talking about Philip Seymour Hoffman as one of the dickheads that eff with Egan from the phone-sex line and a lot of his scenes are just perfect, especially by the end. Oh and Luiz Guzman is here. Can’t forget about him.
Consensus: Though it’s not for everyone, Punch-Drunk Love is one of the best romantic films of all-time with a strange story that gets stranger and stranger as it goes along, a vision from Anderson that shows he can make any style of film-making work with any story, and a couple of great performances from the cast, especially Adam Sandler who has never been better. Ever.
Yippie Kay Yay Nazi!
Lieutenant Tommy Hart (Colin Farrell) is a second year law student who is enlisted as an officer’s aide in World War II due to his father’s political pull. When he is captured and thrown into a German prisoner of war camp, top ranking Colonel William McNamara (Bruce Willis) assigns him to defend Lieutenant Lincoln Scott (Terrence Howard), an African-American POW accused of murdering a fellow white prisoner.
Everything from the poster, to the trailers, and even to the title may have you think that this is a slam-bang action, war flick filled with none other than John McClane at the fore-front. Problem is, it’s more like 12 Angry Men filled with Nazis. Don’t get too hyped up though, not as cool as it sounds.
What this film does and does will is that it has three different parts to it: it’s war movie, it’s a courtroom drama, and it’s also a racism-movie as well. All that may sound like a little bit too much of a jumble right there but surprisingly, the film doesn’t loose itself too much that’s worth crying about. The first 15 minutes starts out where Farrell is getting interrogated and held captive for questioning, then it turns into this “prisoner of war” movie where it almost seems like a “jail house” flick, with all of your random assortments of characters here and there scattered throughout the camp. Then the racism card comes out, as soon as the murder goes down and that’s where the courtroom ish starts to take place but there is still some stuff brewing underneath it all which always kept my interest.
As much as this film would have liked to focus on one subject and one plot only, it still finds its way to get all of these other stories going and place them in this film somehow which made my interest seem to never wan. Beneath the courtroom drama you have a racism issue, beneath the racism issue you have a Lt. who wants to prove himself, beneath the Lt. who wants to prove himself you have the superior officer who wants to come out on top, and beneath the superior officer who wants to come out on top you have WWII and everything else that came with it. Sounds like a real combustion of things going on here, which it is, but it still kept my interest as this story started to develop more and I realized more about these characters and just what all of their intentions were.
Problem with a lot of this film though was that I felt like the screenplay really lead it down in so many damn ways that bummed me out. It really did. The racial issue is a very important one to be brought up and is actually talked about in a very sensitive way here (even though the “N” word does get splashed around quite a lot) but sometimes it could get so heavy-handed with what it was trying to say, I felt like I was talking to Reverend Al Sharpton or something. The black man they are accusing here is practically in the film, just to give off speeches and montages about his race, what he’s going to do with his life, and all that yadda yadda yadda. I don’t mind when a film wants to throw me some racial themes and issues out there to further enhance the story and make it more important than it has any right to be, but maybe there was too much of that and less of something else that may have made some importance as well. Can’t say what it is, but it’s there.
As much as I’m able to let loose of some logic just for the sake of being entertained by a flick, there are times when there’s just too much logic to let loose. First of all, since these soldiers were all in a POW camp, why the hell were they allowed their on theater, let alone, allowed to even hold a court session on the campgrounds. I’m an American so it’s obvious who I’m rooting for in the end, but don’t you think that if I was a German Commander that I would at least try to punish the enemy that I was facing? Maybe if I was a ruthless German Commander from a WWII movie I would, but I guess that’s just the logic I have when it comes to stuff like this.
Also, why the hell would a German Commander get so lovely and overly nice to his prisoners? I could understand if you wanted to humor the prisoners from time-to-time and have a little piece of shits and gigs here and there but inviting them in for drinks to shit the shit is sort of pushing it and a little too far fetched for my taste. Then again, Hans Landa was pretty nice and look what happened to him….oh wait! Nevermind!
The film is high-lighted as a Bruce Willis vehicle and even though he is a big character in this flick, he definitely isn’t the main center of it. That honor is actually given to Colin Farrell as Tommy Hart, who gives a very rich and mature performance from a dude that, at the time, was really starting to grow up and realize what dramatic skills he really had behind all of those bad-boy looks. The role that Willis does play in this film is definitely not one of his best because I honestly think that he is terribly miscast here as William McNamara. Yeah, Willis can play tough and rigid like no otha motha and he has his moments here as well, but his stiff demeanor and limited vocal range doesn’t fit this overly ambiguous character that seemed to always be up to something, even though we never really find out. Somebody else could have definitely fit this role a lot better than Willis, but I think the film just needed him so they could use his name for advertisement. Understandable.
Terrence Howard gives off a very good performance here as the soldier on trial, William McNamara, and gives one speech by the end of the flick that feels very genuine and also shows why Howard is one of the better African-American actors working today. There’s so many emotions in this guy’s system as he’s telling this speech that it actually makes you think twice about what you’re seeing and hearing. Howard definitely bumps this flick up but once again, it was the screenplay that kind of brought him down.
Consensus: Hart’s War has good performances from it’s cast, features some rich stories dealing with a lot of different issues, and is an entertaining enough of a war flick to hold you over, but with it’s heavy-handed approach and unbelievable writing, the film sort of feels like a fable made for inspiration, rather than an actual story that could have possibly taken place.
All he had to do was call up Ben Affleck and everything would have been A-OK. See what I did there?
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is a guy who has no past, may have no future, and who’s memory is blank. But now he is marked for death, caught in a maddening puzzle, racing for survival through the deep layers of his buried past into a bizarre world of murderous conspirators, aka, the CIA!
Believe it or not, but I have never seen any of the Bourne films before and trust me, I do feel ashamed about that. However, I’m not a huge spy guy either so that may have something to do with it as well.
What I liked most about this film and what I thought was very intriguing about it was how the spy dude that the story is centered around, is an amnesiac. This means that this guy has no idea what’s going to happen next, what he’s going to do next, or just whatever the hell is going on in general. Sucks, right? It’s particularly cool to see when he kicks the arse out of these two police officers kung-fu style and not only are we realizing that he’s one mofo to not mess with, but he’s also realizing it as well. I know it’s a little detail in the story but it makes it all the more interesting as we see all of the crazy twists and turns that this film makes without us ever really knowing what may pop-up or come to Bourne’s mind next. Definitely a lot of suspense to be had here and I have to give a lot of that to director Doug Liman, who obviously knows how keep a good amount of tension going on throughout the whole film even when it started to slow down a bit.
However, that’s also my problem with the film because I expected there to be so much more action and ass-kicking, that I was sort of let-down by it all. Don’t get me wrong, there is action to be had here and whenever it does happen, it’s pretty freakin’ awesome but when it’s spread apart very far in this movie. It does give the plot more development, as well as the characters and such but too much of it actually takes away from the film and comes off as a bit, well, should I say, boring. I know the word “boring” definitely isn’t what some of you were probably thinking while watching this flick but there was just something about it here that made me feel like I wanted to see some more ass-kicking, because when it does go down, the film gets a hell of a lot more intense.
What I do think is very notable about this film was the casting of Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. Even though I’m not in love with him, I still do think that Damon is great at playing “the everyday man” and can definitely bring a lot more to his character no matter what the film may be, especially here considering this character is trying to find himself in this big world of intrigue and CIA agents roaming all about. Also helps that the guy did all of his own action stunts and is pretty damn good at it too. The casting of Franka Potente was also pretty neat-o to see too because she gives this film a very European feel and her scenes with Damon actually work with the chemistry they have. I couldn’t help to think that their whole love angle was a little forced though, but I guess when you have a male and a female who are just traveling together for reasons unknown, eventually some hormones are going to start flying all over the place.
I also have to give some love to two vets who are very good at playing villains in almost every film that they do but do exceptional jobs here: Brian Cox and Chris Cooper. Nothing else really needs to be said about them other than they do great jobs as bad guys. Case closed.
The two characters in this film that I didn’t think needed to be here at all were Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Wombosi and Julia Stiles as Nicolette. The reason Adewale’s character doesn’t matter to the story and basically served this plot for one purpose and one purpose only. It seemed strange that they even had him in here considering it didn’t do anything for the flick other than add another character to the equation, which didn’t even need to happen. Also didn’t help that the dude was over-acting out of his ass and I probably would have liked it just for him to go away in the first place.
The same thing can be said for Stiles in here as well because if you t0ok her part out of the film, it wouldn’t make a single difference to their plot or anything else here. And even when she does talk in this film, she sounds like a little whiny brat that seemed to get this job because of her daddy and it probably was also a little strange how the chick was 18 and looked it when she was playing the role of a CIA underground operation. Just how many other people my age are doing shit like that? If they actually are in the real world, then I need to quit doing this and start applying. See ya!
Consensus: The Bourne Identity does slow down at points, which can take away from the fun of the action that happens here, but is still none the less very entertaining, suspenseful, well-acted, and intriguing with the ending they leave you with which definitely gets me excited to see what happens in the next installments that I still have yet to see. I know, I’m a schmuck.
Damn it sucks to be a Culkin.
Igby Slocumb (Kieran Culkin), a rebellious and sarcastic 17-year-old boy, is at war with the stifling world of old money privilege into which he was born. With a schizophrenic father (Bill Pullman), a self-absorbed, distant mother (Susan Sarandon), and a shark-like young Republican big brother (Ryan Phillippe), Igby figures there must be a better life out there – and sets about finding it.
It’s pretty obvious that a lot of people compare this to the Catcher in the Rye because just from reading the plot on the back of the book, they seem to have plenty in common. However, I have not read that book just yet so don’t worry it’s not going to be another one of those “book vs. movie” reviews.
Writer/director Burr Steers does a pretty good job here with all of the expectations that would come from “adapting” a classic like Catcher. Steers puts a modern spin on this story and gives it this dark edge to it that can sometimes be funny but can also be very sad. I can’t say that this flick is a dark comedy because there are moments that are legitimately meant to be funny but so many other jokes all have to do with either drugs, death, or mental illness that it’s kind of hard not to categorize it as that in the first place. Regardless of what you may call this film though, it’s funny and may surprise you with a lot of the jokes it pulls out of its behind.
Where I think Steers’ writing really worked was in the way he showed Igby’s life, as well as Igby himself. Igby is a great character because he is a total smart-ass that always has something sarcastic to say, seems like one of those kids that would do perfectly on his own, and just reminds me of the type of high school rebel that I always tried to be but somehow failed. The kid is an ass and hates his mother so much that when she dies (not a spoiler because they tell you in the first 2 minutes) he calls up everybody she knows and just tells it like it is, “Yeah…she’s dead”, then moves onto more and more people to tell. There’s also a couple of other scenes that made me laugh at everything he was doing and it was just great to see a teenage character in a flick that wasn’t there to show a dilemma he has with picking up chicks or getting good grades, no, this kid’s trying to make a living and figure out what he wants in life.
It’s not just all of the funny ish that happens here that makes Igby so damn cool, it’s also the fact that he feels like an actual kid with a lot of problems that he tries his hardest to hide from. There’s a lot going on in Igby’s life that has effed him up from a father that basically went nutso right in front of his eyes, a mother that he absolutely despises, a godfather that won’t just let him be his own man, a brother that has always been better than him in anything, and an inability to deal with all of the crazy roommates he gets. Maybe it doesn’t sound all that bad to begin with but for an 18-year old kid (hollah!), it can be a lot to take in at a quick pace and we feel for Igby even though he’s surrounded by assholes constantly.
Some parts of this flick worked for me on a dramatic basis, but others, did not. There’s some little love thing going on between Igby’s lady friend and Igby’s brother that felt forced and just another way to bring conflict to the story of how much more his brother reigns supreme over him now. I also didn’t like how the film just sort of left everything up in the air without any resolution to any of these characters whatsoever. I’m not saying that I loved all of these characters, because a lot of them were just plain and simple assholes, but I still spent enough time with them to actually get to know and care about them, so why not show me what actually happens to them after it all? Hell, we don’t really know what happens to Igby at the end either but what bummed me out was just how sudden and abrupt the ending was without showing me the characters that I spent so much time with.
The reason Igby is so damn good as a character though is because of Kieran Culkin is spot-on with this act and I hope that more and more people take notes and see that this kid has a real true comedic talent. Don’t believe me? Check out ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’, and you’ll see what I’m saying. As for everybody else they’re all good too. Claire Daines is a fun character named Sookie to watch and learn more about, which was a surprise because Daines is usually very bland in her flicks; Jeff Glodblum is the absolute man as Igby’s godfather, D.H.; Amanda Peet is just fine as Rachel, even though I think she kind of over does the whole “I’m on heroin” act she had going for a good part of the movie; Ryan Phillipe plays, once again, the soulless ghoul here as Igby’s bro-brah and does a nice job even though he’s playing another rich kid who thinks he’s better than anybody else; Bill Pullman is great in flash-backs as Igby’s daddy and he has some of the more emotionally wrenching scenes; and Susan Sarandon is back doing what she does best: being a bitch. And that’s all we really want from her.
Consensus: Igby Goes Down has an involving lead character, as well as some very funny moments that take us inside the mind of a teenager, no matter how quick life may come at you for it.
Whoever thought that Dawson would end up being Christian Bale’s little bro.
Set in a small, affluent liberal-arts university in present-day New England, USA, where three students named Sean (James Van Der Beek), Lauren (Shannyn Sossamon), and Paul (Ian Somerhalder) who have no plans for the future – or even the present – become entangled in a curious romantic triangle.
If you don’t know who Bret Easton Ellis is by now, go on over to Wikipedia and check him out. He’s the writer of several novels like Less Than Zero, American Psycho, and The Informers. Basically this guy is a fucked up dude who sees the world differently than I can say I do, but I also got to give him a lot of respect because this damn guy is original and it’s even better when you have an original director to help out with the adaptation.
Writer/director Roger Avary is one of the main reasons why this film works so well because he gets inside the mind of Ellis and sees the world through his eyes. Everything is mean, nasty, cruel, but also very very dark in a way that is like unlike any other flick I have seen in quite some time. On the surface, this is a college flick that shows non-stop debauchery, hell, probably a lot more debauchery than ‘Project X’, but underneath it all is actual themes about how people can never connect and these characters are perfect examples of that. They all try to connect to one another and actually be noticed, but somehow, it never works out whether it’s bad timing, miscommunication, a tongue slip, or just a total fuck up which makes everything go to shit. It’s sad to say it but this film is more brutally honest than I ever expected it to be and it was very hard to not agree with what this film was trying to say.
But as I said, this film is also about non-stop debauchery and when I mean debauchery I mean everything such as snortin’ cocaine, drinking beer, having sex, partying, snortin’ cocaine, drinking beer, having sex, and so on and so forth. There is so much of that here but it works for the film because it not only adds to the whole central theme of the flick but it also takes us into this satirical world of college that Ellis has created. These kids never go to class, any time we ever see them they’re doing something bad, and when they aren’t doing something bad, in their heads their planning on doing something bad next. It was funny how Ellis just makes fun of how young adults are, especially ones in college, but the humor isn’t obvious at all, actually it’s the kind of humor that’s pitch black and is almost too dark to understand at first. The inner-thoughts that go through these kids minds is funny because of how short-minded they are but it’s also very sad because it’s true and it seemed like every time I got a laugh out of this flick, I sat there and thought that I shouldn’t be laughing because this film is basically making fun of me as well. Hey!!!
The screenplay is awesome and fits Ellis’ style but it’s the style and inspired direction of Roger Avary that really got me here. I can’t say that this film is filled with a style that is unlike any other film you have ever seen before, but there are some pretty inventive things that Avary does here with this story that gives it that extra kick. For example: Avary uses this technique where he plays forward with his camera then rewinds it in a different place and does the same thing to other scenes. This was a technique used in ‘Memento’ but for this flick, Avary gave it this very weird and bizarre feel that not only made me feel like this director could do anything but he actually will too. There’s plenty of other memorable scenes where Avary uses a split-screen to show us the difference between fantasy and reality (hello 500 Days of Summer), a Trainspotting nod, a scene where a snow flake falls down Van Der Beek’s face to melt into a tear in a very emotional scene, a long but quick-paced montage about a dude who went to Europe and all of his experiences, and one of the best “love at first sight” scenes that I have seen in a long, long time. That’s right, a movie that is based off of a novel from the same dude who gave us Patrick Bateman, has one of the better “love at first sight” scenes I have recently seen. Don’t understand it either but it’s something that Avary did here that made it work.
However, as much praise as I may be giving this flick, there was still a huge problem in the end. Earlier I said that this film is basically non-stop debauchery, and as perfect as that idea may have suited this film, it als0 leaved a lot to be desired. This film has no plot, and while it does move at a regular pace, nothing really goes down other than all of the crap that I mentioned earlier. It takes us inside this world of these obvious, loser kids but it still doesn’t really do anything for this film to keep it’s story going and it was sort of a bummer in the end because there could have been a really solid story to work with here in the first place.
Another problem I had with this story was that I think it also lost a lot of focus here because even though it’s supposed to be focusing on these three characters, it mainly puts Sean Bateman in the front, and everybody else in the back or not there at all. I get it that Bateman is basically the notorious asshole here, but there was a good 20 minutes where they didn’t even include Paul, and barely even had Lauren show up either. It was a shame that not only was there barely any story here at all, but it’s even more a shame that they try to sell this as a love triangle, when they barley focus on it or even anybody else other than Sean for that matter.
The cast is a bit odd on paper, but they all do perfectly with each of their incredibly sad and depressing characters. Shannyn Sossamon was absolutely likable and believable as the sweet and innocent virgin gal, that definitely seems like a chick I would love to just hang-out with and maybe give a hug too as well, since the whole time she seemed like she needed one. Ian Somerhalder is pretty solid as Paul, and was definitely giving off those homosexual winks at everyone around him and it worked because this character was weird but also very sad. Jessica Biel may seem like a strange choice for a total slut in a college flick, but she’s actually very good and creates a wholly unlikable character in Lara. Then again, everybody else in this flick is basically unlikable as well so she basically already had her hand in the bag.
The best performance out of this whole cast that really did shock me more than anything was probably James Van Der Beek‘s amazing performance as Sean Bateman. Yes, Dawson is the one dude in this flick, who goes to college to fuck everything up and succeeds at it. I didn’t think I was going to believe it when I was watching this, but slowly and surely, I started to really believe just how sick, effed up, and mean this character was but I also couldn’t hate him since Van Der Beek plays him with such charm and likability, much like Bale did with Patrick Bateman. This is one of the best “against type” roles that I have ever seen and Van Der Beek nails what it’s like to be a person that is angry with everything in the world, especially yourself. I’m a little ashamed to say it, but dare I say that I was actually a bit scared of him here as well…? Great performance and it’s an honest shame that he hasn’t gotten any big roles since this because this definitely should have knocked him back up in the books.
Consensus: The story is basically non-existent but where The Rules of Attraction works in is it’s inspired writing and directing work done by the wonderfully stylized, Roger Avary, and a cast that makes this more than just another film trying hard to be mean and hard to watch, it’s one that may make you look at college and young people in a different way. Still, can’t say that it’s everyone’s cup of tea either.
It’s like ‘My Cousin Vinny’, except everybody is trying really hard to sound Italian.
The film follows Matty Demaret (Barry Pepper, Johnny Marbles (Seth Green), Taylor Reese (Vin Diesel) and Chris Scarpa (Andrew Davoli), four sons of major Brooklyn mobsters who team up to retrieve a bag of cash in a small Montana town ruled by a corrupt Sheriff. Specifically, the plot gets started when Matty goes on a job to deliver the money for his mob father, Benny “Chains” Demaret (Dennis Hopper), on the advice of his uncle Teddy Deserve (John Malkovich). Things don’t go as planned though…
I honestly have no idea why I wanted to watch this other than the fact that it has a pretty cool cast and I like gangster flicks. That’s pretty much it and maybe next time I’ll be a lot more cautious.
Where co-writers/directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien dropped the ball on this flick was that it’s essentially a plot that should be pretty goofy, but takes itself a bit too serious. That’s a shame because even though the whole “mobsters in country land” plot device has all been done before, I think that this film would of had a little bit of fun with it.
That’s also another problem with this flick as everything is just about as cliché as you can get with a gangster/crime movie. There’s a boy who wants to prove to his daddy that he can make it in his work of being a gangster after being traumatized as a little guy, a crooked sheriff in country town, a Mexican stand-off, a two-timing gangster, two dope kids who end up with a big bag of money, a brawl in a Southern bar, and the list just goes on and on and on. Yeah, it’s nothing new and basically everything you get here is something we have all seen done before, but for some reason I still found myself entertained.
I don’t know what it was with this flick but even though everything here was too serious and too cliché, I still enjoyed myself watching it. The plot does take its time to get moving but somehow I found a lot of fun with that and it gave me a chance to actually get to know these characters and also be able to feel the tension building up in this story. I think that there are a couple of plot twists here and there that work in order to keep the flick going, and it’s just strange that the script had nothing new to do or say but I still found myself watching and interested in just what was going to happen next.
A lot of my enjoyment with this flick probably also had to do a lot with the cool cast they have assembled here. Barry Pepper is good in a very rare leading role here as Matty Demaret, which is a shame because this guy really does deserve bigger roles; Vin Diesel does his usual “stand there and look intimidating” act here as Taylor Reese, but don’t get me wrong it still works none the less; Seth Green seems a little too phony with his Italian accent as Johnny Marbles, but he still tries his hardest with what he’s given; Dennis Hopper shows up for a little bit and just plays the hard-ass daddy role as Benny “Chains” Demaret; Tom Noonan is probably the best out of the cast with his once again sinister performance as the crooked sheriff, Sheriff Decker; and John Malkovich seems like he’s pushing his Italian accent a little too far as well, but he’s still pretty good to watch. It’s a cast that are all pretty good at what they usually do and even though they aren’t in top-form here, they still are watchable and what I think made this film a lot less cringe-inducing than so many people have said about it.
Consensus: The plot features just about every cliché in the book, takes itself a bit way too seriously, and obviously could have done a lot more with what it had, but Knockaround Guys has a pretty good cast and some good moments that make this film at least entertaining enough to be a fun, if flawed guilty pleasure. Hate me all you want people, but I enjoyed myself.
When a woman (Monica Bellucci) is brutally violated, her angered boyfriend (Vincent Cassel) and ex-boyfriend (Albert Dupontel) team up to track down the rapist and take justice into their own hands.
After hearing about how damn traumatizing this flick is for over 3 years now, I finally found the time, the place, and the right mood to actually just sit-down and try to “enjoy” it but in the end, I ended up just liking it without ever really throwing up. However, there were a couple of close calls.
The plot seems very simple and actually generic but what really throws everybody for a loop is that it’s all told backwards. No, not in the way ‘Memento’ was but more of showing us what happens from the after-math to the lead-up. It’s not as confusing as it may sound and I think that’s a real showing of writer/director Gaspar Noe‘s talents.
I have never seen any of Noe’s other flicks but from what I hear, they’re almost just as bad as this one but what really got me into this flick was the fact that it is shot perfectly and dare I say it, beautifully. The camera feels like it’s constantly just moving, zooming, and swaying all-over-the-place as if Noe was given the camera after a nice little sitting during Happy Hour. The camera barely ever rests easy (except for the infamous rape scene) and the whole frenetic style really got to me after awhile and took me to this place where I never ever wanted to go. It also helped that this is a very dark flick but the colors they use to pop-out at us, work in such a disturbing way. I also love films that feature one-shots and this has a ton of them but since the story is going backwards, the camera actually never cuts away and feels more like one, long, uninterrupted shot. Definitely couldn’t have been an easy thing to pull of but somehow this Noe guy makes it seem possible.
Also, I think the way that Noe chose to tell this story, was a pretty brilliant idea. First of all, he shows us what happens after this revenge takes place but he also allows us to see through reverse chronological order that maybe this revenge was meant to happen after all this time. I don’t want to say that it was obvious that this flick was trying to show this in a way, but instead of just plopping us in the middle of a story, with characters we don’t know or even like for that matter, Noe actually lets us get to see them before and after the terrible event that takes place.
Still though, no matter how much you can at least praise Noe here for his technical side, you still can’t get past the fact that the two scenes here are pretty effed up and stay in your mind for a very long-ass period of time. The infamous rape and murder scenes here are some of the hardest that I have ever had to watch because the camera never once pans away from it. Hell, the rape scene goes on for 9 minutes and in just one single take! It also doesn’t help that about 20 minutes into the flick, the murder happens as we see some dude’s head bashed right in. However, me saying all of this won’t make a difference in how you view these scenes anyway. They are both effed up, hard to watch, and ones that will probably stick in your head forever and even though they sort of felt germane to the whole story, I kind of want to know, what was the point?
The story is shown in a way that works and makes you think about these characters but its the story itself and the fact that it has a brutal rape and murder scene is what bothers me the most. I get that Noe was probably looking for a way to shock the hell out of whoever went out to go see this (which he succeeded with) but what I don’t get is what are they here to even tell us? Is he disputing the ideas of revenge as to when they should, or should not be used? Is he showing us how fate can sometimes grab us by the ass and rape it? Or is he just showing us a glimpse into the lives of people that just had bad luck after all? I don’t know what this story was supposed to tell us and I don’t really think Noe knows either. He just wanted to make people vomit and run away disgusted, which is something he may have done to everybody else but certainly not me! Muwuahahahahahahaha! That was supposed to be my evil laugh.
The performances here given by Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel and Albert Dupontel are all very good pretty much for the reason that they are put through some mighty-hard shit in the first place. All play their respective roles with realism because they all have to show a lot, go through a lot, and change their whole emotions when a tragedy comes through and it’s what made this film feel legitimate as well. It also probably helped that Cassel and Bellucci were going out at the time (and married now), so whenever they were on screen together, they felt like a real couple that actually did love each other.
Consensus: Even though the violent matter of this flick may take most heads away from it’s overall enjoyment level, Irreversible is still a grueling flick with a wonderful and innovative style that not only takes us to dark and scary places, but also gets inside your head just a little bit. Still, can’t say that I recommend it to anyone nor can I say that it’s a film that I’ll want to watch it again.
Was Allstate Insurance around in the 50′s?
Cathy (Julianne Moore) is the perfect 50s housewife, living the perfect 50s life: healthy kids, successful husband and social prominence. Then one night she discovers her husband Frank’s (Dennis Quaid) infidelity and her tidy world starts spinning out of control. In her confusion and grief, she finds consolation in the friendship of their African-American gardener, Raymond (Dennis Haysbert) – a socially taboo relationship that leads to the further disintegration of life as she knew it.
Writer/director Todd Haynes does something very strange with this flick that I don’t think I have seen done before ever. He takes what is the style of a 1950′s film and puts themes and conversations that would only be talked about in film’s today. It’s sort of like a confusing combination between two different time-periods but I have to say he makes it work.
This is definitely Haynes’ film right from the get-go as almost everything here is meshed-out perfectly and completley with style. Everything here fits the look of the 50′s with all of the bright colors that take over every scene and seem to pop right out at us, the costumes look real instead of making it seem like these famous people are just dressing up for Halloween, and the cinematography captures some real pretty shots that add so much more to this flick and give it this feel of beauty. The score is also done very well, almost a little too well as it constantly comes into scenes with a soaring sound, but that’s pretty much done on purpose. Haynes has a style here and he keeps to it which makes this one of those films that even a deaf person can enjoy since every shot just oozes beauty.
The screenplay, that was also written by Haynes, is very well-structured in a different way. This is very much a film that shows people in the 50′s talking about social taboos during the 50′s but still being able to talk like as if they were living in this time-period. Everybody is so corny and says such things as “aww shucks” or “gee golly” but then when they start talking about such topics as racism and homosexuality then the film gets a little edgy but in a good way and not over-exploitative. There’s a good story here as well and as it goes on, you start to feel more and more for this woman even though it may be a little hard to relate to her considering not many out there have to deal with a gay husband.
Even though the script is well-structured, there were still moments where it had its big faults. The whole racism subject is touched upon gently when it’s just Cathy and Raymond talking but when it comes to the other people and how they respond to it, well that’s where the film seems a little too over-dramatic. The scenes where other people see them together have this score music that almost makes it seem like the shower scene from ‘Psycho’ or any other horror flick to give it this hyper-charged feel. Not only was this a problem but even the scenes where we see the differences between black and white people from Hartford seem way too different to even be considered in the same film. The black scenes seem a little too modern as if they were filmed in a completley different place than the rest of the film was located and it seemed like too much of a fault to let go.
Still, this film definitely depends upon its lead performance from Julianne Moore, and she does not let it down. Moore is an actress who I think always seems to play the same type of gal in every film but she’s very good here as this very simple, nice, and sweet lady who starts to see her world crumble down. She’s curious, sad, confused, but most of all, real and that’s the type of genuine feelings I got from Moore’s performance here as Cathy. Dennis Quaid is amazing as her husband, Frank, and he gives off one of the better dramatic performances of a confused guy that I’ve seen in quite some time. It’s a real wonder as to why Quaid doesn’t do more dramas because he’s really good here.
Dennis Haysbert plays Raymond with a great deal of subtlety and restraint to give you this feel that he is totally nice dude and would never ever hurt a fly. We always see this guy in those Allstate commercials (see the pun up top) but with this performance here and as the daddy in ‘Love & Basketball’, he shows why he can really pull out some great dramatic chops with a voice that almost has Morgan Freeman running for his money. It’s also pretty funny to see Viola Davis play a role here as the nanny, Sybil, a role she would still be playing all these years later but actually getting nominated for it in ‘The Help’.
Consensus: Far From Heaven is a film that perfectly matches the style of films from the 50′s, with a great story that touches on the life-styles of the times, and performances from just about everybody involved that make this an emotional and heart-felt story, even if it seems a bit over-dramatic.
This is the main reason why they stopped making VHS tapes.
A strange videotape makes it way around a circle of friends. Strangely, everyone who views the tape seems to die exactly one week afterward. After believing this to be a strange urban legend worthy of an article, cynical reporter Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) watches the tape and shortly thereafter unsettling occurrences begin to happen to her. Is she slated to be the next victim of some kind of bizarre and seemingly supernatural force?
After seeing almost all of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ flicks, it’s very strange to see director Gore Verbinski doing a horror film that originated from Japanese. I also have to say that seeing this film for about the 7th time, it still remains quite freaky.
What works here so well is when it comes to the horror that this film has to deliver, it doesn’t feel cheap or something we’ve seen before. Verbinski is all about creating suspense rather than just throwing things right at you with the constant jump-scares just about horror flick has nowadays. You don’t know what’s going to happen next at most points and right when you think something is about to happen, Verbinski pulls the rug underneath you completely and every single time he does it, its something that works.
Another cool element about this flick is that it’s not only a horror flick but a mystery film as well. As the film moves on, we start to find out more about the story that lies behind the type and why all of the crazy shit that happens in it, happens in it and what it exactly means. Speaking about that tape, it’s freaky as hell and probably one of the freakiest things that I have ever really seen in a film in the past decade. If I woke up in the middle of the night and my TV had static on it, I would throw that damn thing out right away.
The problem with the story that is behind the whole video, is that it doesn’t really make much sense. It’s never explained why the mother does what she does to the daughter and why, and another thing I never understood is where the hell that the tapes of the girl in the psych-ward came from, if she was apparently dead. Still, without giving way too much away I just have to say that this film doesn’t hold up when it comes to its plot.
Another problem I had with this flick was that when you watch it for as many times as I have, it starts to lose it’s freshness. I won’t lie and say that barely any of the scares work, because I still got a little bit scared here and there by what I saw but to be honest, I couldn’t really get terrified when I knew everything that was going to happen. Also, why the hell would a mother leave a tape that if it is watched will result in a death sentence, around the house where her young son can watch it? Mommy of the year everybody!
Naomi Watts is fine as the slightly-bitchy but also very determined reporter, Rachel; Martin Henderson is a lot of fun to watch as her ex-boyfriend and investigative partner if you know what I mean, Noah; and let’s not also forget to mention the little cameo by Brian Cox who is always the man in no matter what he does. The one performance that seemed pretty blank was the one given by the kid who plays Aidan, David Dorfman. He seems more like a copy of the usual creepy little kid we see in every horror film and he just seems to be put in the film for that matter. But then again, he is just a kid so I guess I’m kind of a dick for beating this kid up.
Consensus: The Ring has its fair share of plot holes that don’t make sense, but Gore Verbinski creates suspense to the point of where you don’t know what’s going to happen next, and the mystery behind the whole story is pretty interesting as well. Don’t go see the sequel though. It blows.
Hey, they may be mentally challenged by now but they still are richer than you or I will ever be.
‘Jackass: The Movie’ is basically all of the stunts that these bunch of dickwads used to do on their show, except now they have a bigger budget, more exposure, and more freedom to do whatever the hell it is they want. Their pain is our enjoyment, and it is totally awesome.
Whenever I was little and would hang out with my sissy, she would always somehow have this on the tube and I could not help but watch. I always remember just watching these dudes do some incredibly crazy shit like throw a blue ball around a circle of dudes in their undies, trying to all hit their balls or beat the shit out of each other in a grocery store. Oh, the sweet sweet memories.
I can easily this stuff isn’t for everyone, especially the older and more sophisticated crowd, but sometimes you can’t go wrong with how these guys are. It’s funny when somebody gets hurt, on purpose or by accident, until that person is in a coma and not even breathing. Still though, watching a dude get hit it the nuts with a basketball is still pretty funny. Come on, who doesn’t appreciate a nice little nut-shot every once and awhile.
Everything they do here is all pretty funny and very disgusting but it’s a lot better because they are able to do more things, since it is a movie now. Since they don’t have the TV censors anymore, they can practically do anything they want like a dude stick a car up his bootie-hole, or put a muscle stimulator on their gooches. It’s dirty and gross but it’s incredibly hilarious to watch. But there are some other stunts where they guys are just walking around some place and effin’ with all of the people around them and they are probably the funniest things in the film.
My only down-fall with this film is that I have honestly seen this film about 20 times, on TV or actual movie, but it starts to get a little old after seeing it so many times. I watched this by myself after finding it somewhere in my DVD cabinet, but probably watching it with friends is a lot better then just sitting there watching this for the hundredth time. Don’t get me wrong, I always have fun watching this film or any of these dudes’ shenanigans, it just doesn’t really hold you over when you watched it more times than you can count.
I think what is the best part about this film is how much of a simple and genius idea it actually was. There’s no such thing as a script, no such thing as acting, and there’s nothing you can actually judge this film on other then whether or not it’s actually funny, which I can assure you it is. But the real “art” to ‘Jackass’, if there ever was one, is the fact that anybody could have went out there and punched themselves in the face or get run over a bike, however, these guys actually did that and made a movie, therefore, making tons and tons of money. These guys were sort of the first people to ever bring something like this to the movie theaters and it works incredibly well because it just shows you how the times are changing and people just like to see other people getting hurt. It was a million dollar idea and that’s why Bam, Johnny, Steve-O, Pontius, and all of the others are living in their huge mansions probably swimming in dolla’ billz. Lucky bastards.
Consensus: Jackass: The Movie is not for every one, but the people who it is for will always laugh their ass off at all of the stunts, no matter how crude, rude, sick, or disgusting they may be.
Fun Fact: The golf course that they destroy in this film is actually about 5 minutes away from me, and I went there about a month before these dudes came in and knocked it down. Assholes.
Michael Caine is still a pimp.
A British reporter, Fowler (Michael Caine, in an Oscar-nominated performance), falls in love with a young Vietnamese woman, Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen), and is dismayed when an American, Pyle (Brendan Fraser), also begins vying for her attention.
The nice thing about The Quiet American is that it looks very very pretty and gives us a great image and view of Vietnam before everything started getting a little hay-wire. This was actually filmed in Vietnam so it gave me that real time and feeling that served this material very well, and when you look at a big ocean with little boats with lights, it’s nothing more than a just a very pretty screen saver pic for your computer.
However, if only the actual story and writing did the looks some justice. First off, the film totally ruins itself within the first 10 minutes because it shows Pyle dead and it’s basically assumed that there was some sort of love triangle going on with these three. So basically for the next hour-and-a-half we are left wondering just how big of a role Fowler actually played in Pyle’s death and what lead to everything. In some movies, this actually works well, but here, not at all.
Another problem with this film is that the writing is pretty crappy with the script sometimes going from this love-triangle to the problems in Vietnam with France. This constant going back-and-forth between stories and themes bothered me as I didn’t know what the film was trying to get across other than the metaphor of Phuong actually representing Vietnam, that the film was bashing me over the head with.
Speaking of Phuong, what the hell was so amazing about this girl that made these two practically fall in love, fight, and almost die for? The whole film she is just there to sit and look pretty, spouting out incomplete sentences and being a face that looks pretty familiar honestly. I mean these guys could have gotten a million girls in Vietnam, but what was so special about this chick? That was never really answered and then the film went so low as to try and get me to root on Fowler as he was trying to divorce his wife. When the hell has divorce for the sake of being with some Vietnamese mistress been alright? I guess in some cases it is, but this one threw me off a bit.
Michael Caine is actually very powerful as Fowler, and is probably what makes this film watchable in a way. He got nominated for an Oscar here, and with good reason because his character isn’t likable or even morally attracting at all, but something about Caine just draws you into him the whole film. Caine’s character goes through many transitions and he makes them all seem believable and draw you into Fowler.
Brendan Fraser also stepped away from his usual goofy roles to play Pyle here and is actually pretty good. We never know what his full intention’s are but the whole time we wonder just what will Pyle end up being at the end of the film and that mystery is what kind of drew me into his character. Fraser plays a pretty nerdy guy and then gets dark real quick, but still makes it seem very believable and it’s a good thing that he doesn’t get blown away from Caine in the end.
Consensus: Caine and Fraser are very good in The Quiet American but this pretty film suffers from some bad writing, metaphors that are too obvious, and film that is practically spoiled within it’s first 10 minutes and takes you out of the whole film.
Are people that liked to be spanked this weird? I mean I don’t mind a nice little spanking every once and awhile.
Recently released from a mental hospital after treatment for self-mutilating tendencies, a young woman (Maggie Gyllenhaal) gets a job working as a secretary for a successful attorney (James Spader) with a tendency toward angry disapproval. The mix of self-loathing (her) and egomania (him) leads them into a unique relationship charged with sadomasochism.
I’ve been hearing a lot about this movie, and just how racy it really is. And to be honest, being a very racy film doesn’t mean you have a good one either.
The problem with this film is that I really didn’t care about what this film was trying to get across or say for that matter. I found it hard to connect to these characters right from the get-go, but the film made it seem like I should once they started getting a little kinkalicious. I mean everybody likes to get a little freaky-deeky sometimes, why should I care if these two do also? But that’s only when their playing around at first, until they start to develop feelings for each other and then it starts to turn into an annoying, dumb, and downright predictable romance dramedy.
Director Steven Shainberg basically says that we shouldn’t look at these people as oddly as they may seem. Just because they like to sexually show themselves off in a different, non-conventional way doesn’t mean they should be made fun. This is a good point and I think Shainberg handles a lot of the material well but too much of this is bogged down from cheesy lines that seem like they came off of All My Children, a score that wants to be all quirky and weird when it’s just annoying because it pops up every five seconds, and these characters just weren’t people I really cared about in the end.
The real saving grace to this film, and probably the only memorable part of this film is Maggie Gyllenhaal as Lee Holloway. Gyllenhaal is very good in this role that’s pretty weird, a little sexy, but altogether, real. No matter how much of the rest of the film seemed dumb or predictable, Maggie always seemed to be living up beyond the material and gives her character a whole great deal of emotional as well as sexual depth. She goes full-on nude in this film and as much as I want to say that it should have been for a better film, I think her performance and her rockin’ body was the only really memorable thing about this film.
The rest of the cast is kind of just there and not really doing much else. James Spader plays the lawyer, Mr. E. Edward Grey, and is totally freakin’ weird. He was also very eccentric but kind of a dick that didn’t really do anything nice except for be a little dirty-bird, which I guess we were supposed to care about. Jeremy Davies plays Maggie’s sort of boyfriend here and does what he does in almost every film so there’s nothing really new either.
Consensus: Secretary has a great central performance from Maggie Gyllenhaal but the rest of the film doesn’t do much other than just be a racy, sex dramedy that we don’t care what happens with these characters, and personally don’t really wanna know either.
Damn…sex is everywhere.
Roger (Campbell Scott) is a hopelessly cynical advertising copywriter with a razor-sharp wit who believes he’s mastered the art of manipulating women. But Roger’s seemingly foolproof methods unravel when he tries to school his teenage nephew (Jesse Eisenberg) in his techniques. Smooth talk and casual sex used to work fine, but now it seems he’s got a lot to learn about women.
I’m always a fan of films that have a lot of insight on the world we live in, people, and how they all function. So with this film actually stinging around on my drawer for quite some time now, I thought what better way to see more insight.
The writing here is absolutely amazing which is a lot of thanks to first-time writer and director, Dylan Kidd. Kidd keeps this film moving with a lot of snappy dialogue that is sure to make you laugh and just thing some more about the relationship that men and women have between us, especially when it comes to sex.
Kidd brings a lot of actual frank conversations that have a certain bit of wit to it and keep us glued as every line pours out of these characters as if it were almost actual real-life conversations I was just hearing. You can almost start to feel like Kidd himself is channeling conversations that normal, every-day people have and with his constant smart witty banter that these two get involved with, you can only wish that you have conversations like these one of these days. It’s not as funny as it is smart and that is something that I can appreciate any day.
Kidd also gave me the real-life feeling with the way he films this all because he keeps the pace rapid and moving, while also keeping the camera following these two dudes wherever it is they go for the night. I actually felt like I was here with these guys of their night on the prowl.
However, my problem with this film is that I feel like Kidd gets a little bit lost with this material right around the last 20 minutes where he starts to aim for fluffy cheesiness rather than the actual grimness that this subject material may actually bring about. I don’t want to give away too much here but there was this one still shot that I think the film should have originally ended up with instead of just doing something else that I was not wanting at all, but instead, I got.
Campbell Scott has always been someone I have enjoyed no matter what he’s in but he finally lets all of those acting skills out in a total, tour-de-force performance here as the totally vain but sophisticated, Roger. This guy sees the world through his own two eye’s right through the lens of sex. Scott is nothing more than just electrifying, giving all of his might into every line of dialogue that comes out of his mouth, which is sometimes nasty, mean, strange, and sometimes just plain embarrassing. However, either way you look at it, this is a guy who knows what he’s talking about even if his ego does get a bit in the way of things. It’s still a surprise why this guy doesn’t have more roles.
Jesse Eisenberg came into the spot-light with this role at just age 19 playing Roger’s nephew, Nick. Eisenberg is the total opposite compared to Roger; he’s sweet, nice, eager to learn, and cares a lot, which provides some great scenes where these two just talk it out like men about what they know about women, and what they don’t. Eisenberg is still great in this role even though it’s the same one he has always been playing and it’s just great to see him play such a meaty role at such an early age. The gals in this cast are played Jennifer Beals, Elizabeth Berkley, and Isabella Rosselini, who are all good with their times on-screen.
Consensus: Although the direction from writer-director Dylan Kidd may get lost by about the last 15 to 20 minutes, Roger Dodger still has a totally hilarious, insightful, and altogether smart screenplay with great performances from the cast, especially Scott who is just mesmerizing, that makes this film a great commentary on the world we live in, which is basically all about sex.