That’s why you gotta fly high, Marriott Inn-style, baby.
It all started on a very-rainy night with a woman getting run over by a limo-driver (John Cusack). After this, the man tries to save her life by bringing her to a motel in the middle of the desert, owned by an odd man named Larry (John Hawkes). There’s no such luck, until a cop (Ray Liotta) with a prisoner in his custody (Jake Busey), comes on by. There might be hope, but there somehow isn’t, considering the more and more people that show up, the more deaths there are. But here’s the kicker: nobody has a single-clue exactly as to who’s killing all of these people in the shadows. It could be anybody. Hell, it could even be YOU, the viewer!! AHHH!!
This movie is such an obvious rip-off of an Hitchcock movie, it’s not even funny. Everything from the strange-o characters, to the tense setting, to the mystery, and hell, even to the actual motel itself. It looks exactly like the one that Norman Bates rented out for anybody that strolled-along, almost to the point of where the actual sign itself continues to flicker on-and-off to portray just how shady the area actually is. Yes, it can get pretty obvious where the creators took their inspiration from, but the distractions go away once the story starts, and ultimately: where the fun really begins.
Going into this movie, thinking that you have a hot-head for detail and knowing what’s good when it comes to any movie, may just have take your high-hat off for this one because it’s a total puzzle in every stretch of the imagination. Every time a new character is brought to our attention, more of a mystery is presented to us, and just when we think we know exactly what this story is all about, where it’s going, and who’s going to end up being the slasher behind the closed-doors; the movie still toys with us and gives us something new to think about. There were countless times in this movie where even I thought I had it all figured-out, but somehow I was stooped, once again.
Movies like this where you can’t trust anyone, not even the director himself (in this case, James Mangold), always are a treat for me to watch because it’s very rare where I actually get to check out a movie that makes me second-guess myself, almost every step of the way. No matter what I thought was right, I was usually wrong. Even by the end once all of the pieces seemed to start to come together, once more, I was slapped in the face with a disapproving look. Not to say it was an insult or anything, but it was more of a slap to wake up, and look at the finer-details in order to see if I could really get on with this movie, and what it was trying to pull.
But most movies like this, with all of the twists and such, remind me of a young-at-heart relationship between two people. At first, all is good. You see where things could go, you get happy, and you start to appreciate everything that you have in front of you, even if you may be stepping-out of your comfort-zone a bit. Actually, maybe even a bit too much for yourself. However, suddenly things go awry and you realize that maybe not everything was as perfect as you once thought it was, and now it’s time for a slight-change. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s time to over-do everything, show the other person how much you care, and rather than gaining their love and support back, you gain other thoughts and feelings that you didn’t quite want in the first place. You know, the baddie one.
That’s how this movie felt to me. Once everything got ready and going, I was happy and ambitious. I expected the movie to keep me puzzled, glued-in to what was going on, and shock me, every time that it felt like it wanted to. However, things got a little crazy at a certain point that I eventually started to realize that maybe this movie was turning it’s wheels a bit too much. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated the movie for being fun, clever, and original in it’s own type of way, but after awhile, it only went on for so long and so far, that is, until I started to question whether or not this movie even believed in the twists it was throwing at the wall and seeing what stuck, and what sort of just surely, but slowly continued to slide-down the wall.
Then, on the other side of the stadium, I am a bit torn with this movie because I enjoyed myself, had fun, and continued to second-guess myself, even when I was sure that I was correct in my pretentious, critical-ways (hey, it comes with the job). So therefore, I guess it’s all just a judge of character. Whether or not you are able to take the numerous twists the movie begins to launch into the story, is all up to you. For yours truly, some of it worked and seemed smart, whereas some of it didn’t quite work so well and actually seemed goofy. Oh well, that’s just me. Make up your own minds, kids!
But no matter what crazy shit a movie tries to pull, you at least have to give it credit for getting a cast such as this assembled, and allow them to do whatever it is that they can do to make a movie as goofy as this work. Nobody is really playing very far and away from what we’ve seen them do before, but at least they own it and are game for this type of material. At least. John Cusack is good as the ring-leader of the group, who knows exactly what to do, when to do it, and how to pull it all off so no more people get killed. You see that he has a past where the guy used to be a cop, but suffered a problem that left him emotionally-strained and messed-up in the head, therefore, he left his duty. But that doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy, right? Keep on guessing.
Ray Liotta plays, as you could expect, a cop that has a huge chip on his shoulder with a dangerous criminal in his custody, and a bit of anger-issue. However, as obvious and conventional as this may sound (even for a character played by Liotta), Liotta makes him work because you constantly believe that there is more to this dude than he lets in, even if the character himself doesn’t seem to admit it. Liotta is always good at playing these types of roles, even if it sort of has become a trademark of his by now. That’s fine, though, because the guy seems like he would do the right thing if he had to, but does that mean he’s really a good guy? Keep on guessing.
The only one here who really seems to have a clear-enough conscience not be considered a prime-suspect in all of the killings, is a whore with a heart of gold played by Amanda Peet. I usually love Peet in everything she does, but she seemed a bit annoying here. It wasn’t Peet herself, as much as it was more of her character for having that loud, obnoxious Southern-accent that continued to ring in my ears, even when she wasn’t yelling at somebody for looking at her hot body. Yeah, blame us for this, Amanda!
But they aren’t the only ones in this movie, they’re just the main stars that may (or may not) attract the audience to the wider-show. There’s plenty more where that came from, and they are all great. Clea Duvall plays a young, just-recently married gal that’s having problems with her d-bag hubby; John C. McGinley’s character’s wife is the one who gets hit in the first place and is good at being awkward and twitchy, without reminding me of the legend of all this; John Hawkes is a fun-fit as the type of dude you’d expect to own a motel out in the middle of nowhere (meaning he’s a bit of a creep-o); and lastly, the lovely and equally-as-creepy Rebecca De Mornay is here as an aging, but still very uptight actress that believes she deserves more than she’s given. Art imitating life? Just maybe.
Consensus: Most of what Identity has to offer and whether or not you’ll be able to go along for the ride, is all up to you, the viewer. Twists and turns will occur, and it all depends on whether or not you are game for them. Me, I was quite game, but I will admit that there is some goofiness underneath the blankets of a story that seemed drench in mystery.
7.5 / 10 = Rental!!
Glad I actually celebrated my Sweet Sixteen the right way. Hooters baby!
It’s Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald)’s Sweet Sixteen and no one in her family remembers the occasion. What’s even worse is that she can get away from this creepy freshman (Anthony Michael Hall), and can’t have the boy she wants, the dreamy hot-stuff known as Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling). Everything she feels totally resonates with me, because I would always remember the days of when jocks would tease me with their hot bods, and the dorks would never get the hint that I didn’t want anything to do with them. Oh, high-school. How I miss you so!
Well, now that I’am officially a high-school graduate (have no idea how in the hell that happened) I can easily say that I do miss a little bit of it. Not all of it, but a bit of it. That’s why watching one of these flicks really hits me harder than I imagined because being all done with my high-school days, I can now look-back, reminisce, and realize that the 21st Century that I grew up in, isn’t that much different from the 80′s. Don’t know if it’s good or bad, but it’s just a matter of what hit me first. Nope, it’s definitely bad.
So, in case you didn’t know, this is the directorial debut of John Hughes who is one amazing writer that defined the 80′s. This was one of his most prime-examples for many reasons, but the main which being because the dude was able to get inside the mind of the youth going through teenage angst and show it in a funny, but very truthful way. Everything you see here, you remember from high school, whether it’d be a loving or angry memory. Everything from the nerds, to the high-school crush you never had a chance (I don’t know what that feels like because I get all of my babes), to the lame-o school dances, to the crazy after-parties, to the cheerleaders you never had a chance with, to the clubs that nobody cared about but were somehow there, and just all of the other signature things in-between that make high-school, well: high-school. Gets me a tad nostalgic now that I think about it, but I’m still holding back the tears.
Whenever you watch a film from the 80′s, you see all that happens and you listen to the dialogue, and what they thought was so hip and cool then, has sort of played-out now and been deemed, “lame”. However, Hughes’ writing has somehow been able to over-achieve that problem, and still have his writing be considered funny and actually, iconic in it’s own way of capturing what it was like to be a teen in the 80′s, but what it was like to be a teenager, angst-fueled and all. The guy knows how to write snappy, but humorous dialogue that doesn’t go over too many people’s heads, but can also still get to the bottom of the barrel and shows just what a freakin’ hassle it can be to be a teenager, and worst of all, having nobody remember your 16th birthday. Never happened to me, but shit, I would have been pissed-off to the high heavens had it happened.
Of course, though, this is Hughes’ first movie he’s ever directed, and to be honest; you can sort of tell. As I’ve mentioned before, the script is great and it has it’s fair-share of wonderful lines that make you belly-roll, but it does lose focus on Samantha Baker and begin to focus way, way too much on the side-characters that bring-out most of the humor in this story. Don’t get me wrong, I liked all of the side-stuff that Hughes had to throw in here for comedic-effect so we wouldn’t have what seemed like a Lifetime-movie on our hands, but when it seemed like it had to deliver that emotional and romantic-note at the end, it just came off as very weak and didn’t do much for me. The ending is probably not suited best for a 19-year-old, d-bag like myself, but still, for who it is for, it works and actually still has them ladies swooning until these very days.
No matter what any member of this cast has done in recent-time (and that’s not saying much), they will forever and always be remembered for being members of the illustrious “Brat Pack”, and this film is one of the main reasons why they were apart of it. I don’t know if the performances had to do anything with it, but they aren’t that shabby, either. Molly Ringwald feels like an actual 16-year-old gal going through the usual-problems that it seems like most teenaged-girls go through: school, boys, mom, dad, brother, sister, menstrual cycles, dances, money, etc. However, she isn’t always pissing around the whole movie about how nobody remembers her birthday, because when she does decide to cheer-up and look at the bright-side, the girl’s got a lot of charm to her that makes me wonder why she didn’t do more when her teenier-bopper days were long-gone. I could understand why, because people wouldn’t be able to get past the fact that she’s still that girl from all of the John Hughes movies, but still: the girl has obvious-talent on-display here and it’s sad that she didn’t continue. Oh well, it was probably her idea anyway. Either way, poor gal.
Everybody knows and loves Anthony Michael Hall, not only because he seems like he’s the only one out of this main-cast to keep himself alive and well in the hearts of moviegoers, but because his character, Geek, is such a fun character to watch and Hall brings a lot to the character. Yes, his name is actually “Geek”, but don’t feel bad for him because he’s probably the best character in the whole movie and also the most-endearing as well. I highly doubt anybody would have ever thought that out of everybody here, he would be one of the more-successful ones to keep himself active, but hey, good for him. At least somebody’s keeping themselves a bit busy with life.
Can’t say the same thing about Michael Schoeffling, who plays the hunk amongst all hunks, Jake Ryan. Schoeffling is fine in this role but he isn’t given much to do other than look cool, suave, and sexy, so that Samantha, and all of the girls at home can just stare-at his beautiful-face all day and night. I guess it ain’t so bad when you think about it, but it didn’t do much for him in the future, since the guy’s last credit to-date was something called Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. Oh dear, doesn’t sound all that hopeful to me. Also, why the hell would Gedde Watanabe speak out against his role as the iconic Asian, Long Duk Dong?!? I mean I can understand that the film shows a very racist and politically-incorrect look at Asians but still! ………Okay, now that I’ve actually thought about it, maybe he was right. Hey, it may have been the most stereo-typically racist thing you’ve ever seen on-screen but don’t try and tell me that you found it hard not saying, “What’s happening hot stuff?”, after you came back from watching this.
Consensus: May not be as good, as memorable, or as important as some of John Hughes’ other pieces of work, but Sixteen Candles is still a funny, smart, and honest-look into the life of teenager going through angst that may have you look back on your high-school years with a smile, and maybe even a chuckle. I know it did for me.
8 / 10 = Matinee!!
Would have been better, had it been based on the Nintendo games.
Ward, a reporter (Matthew McConaughey) and his younger brother, a college drop-out named Jack (Zac Efron) investigate the events surrounding a murder to exonerate a man on death row, named Hillary (John Cusack). However, the only reason they are doing so is because the gal that wants Hillary out, a sexxed-up, piece of work named Charlotte (Nicole Kidman), just so happens to be the apple of Jack’s eyes.
I’ve been hearing a lot of crazy shit about this film and to be honest: it’s all deserved. Everybody knows Lee Daniels because he pulled-off Precious about 4 years ago and it showed him as the type of director that can get a story, no matter how gritty or despicable, and be able to make it in the least-bit inspirational for people. However, it wasn’t his first rodeo, as that honor (and I guess, dishonor) goes to a little, fucked-up movie called Shadowboxer. If you’ve never heard of it, please, don’t go watch it because it’s just an insane piece of work to watch and it will have you question whether or not you’ve just watched two films, from the same director. And if you have heard or have actually seen it, then buckle up, because that exactly the same type of crazy shit you’re going to get here.
As much as Daniels’ debut may have blew huge gonads, this flick is actually more controlled than that one and that’s probably because it’s just wild, without making any excuses for being so. There’s definitely that type of grungy, exploitative look and feel to the movie that has you feel as if you are in the dirty South, around the 60′s when racial-issues were up to the forefront and everybody was just sweating their asses off. If anything Daniels does do right in this flick, it’s at least nail the look and feel of the period that he has it placed-in, but everything else, well, it is sort of all-over-the-place.
Being “all-over-the-place” isn’t really all that much of bad thing if you can do it, and get away with it. The problem isn’t that Daniels can’t do it, because he sure as hell makes sure that everybody knows he can in every, damn second of this movie, but it’s more that he can’t get away with it. He can show two people making each other cum without ever touching one another and just simulating dirty things to one another, but it sticks out like a sore-thumb to everything else, and he can’t get away with it; he can show a girl peeing on a guy because he got stung by a bunch of jelly-fish, but it’s just odd and seems like it was only done for shock-factor, and he also can’t get away with it; and lastly, he can try and bring some issues up about the whole Civil Rights-movement, but when you compare it to the last sequences I just mentioned, it seems uneven, and once again, he can’t get away with it. Directors like Quentin Tarantino, Pedro Almodóvar (who apparently wanted to take this material at one time), or even Robert Rodriguez for that matter, could take this material, do whatever the hell they wanted to with it, and at least make all of the crazy shit and melodramatic stuff gel well enough together, that you almost don’t notice it, but Daniels isn’t one of those directors. He’s just a regular-director that seems like he’s trying his damn near hardest to have us all forget about the over-weight girl story he pulled-off 4 years ago, and try to distract us with insane amounts of sex, whether it actually happen on-screen or just be insinuated. Either way, there’s a bunch of sex that seems to come out nowhere at times.
Is all of this wackiness and cookiness fun? In a way, yes it is and honestly, as much as I may be ragging on the film right here, I am more or less just hating on Daniels. Not to say that the guy doesn’t know how to make a story move, because he definitely does, but it focuses way too much on the personal lives of these characters and not in an exciting or electric way either, it’s just a boring, way-too-dramatic way that comes off as trying too hard. We never really care for these characters, the case they continue to push to the side, or what their relationships are with each other and how that affects one another, and I guess that was the point. Daniels is just giving us a bunch of dirty people that we can either care to like or not. Whether or not we actually do, doesn’t matter, because as long as Daniels is just allowing us to see how insane he can be, then he’s the one with the real joy in the end. That kind of ticks me off now that I think about it, because there was definitely a crap-ton of promise with this flick and premise, it’s just a shame that it had to fall so far from ever achieving that said promise.
The only promise that this flick ever does hit head-on, is the ensemble cast and what they are able to do with each of their roles, no matter how wacky or unbelievable they may be. Zac Efron is the sort-of voice of reason throughout this whole flick and is definitely growing-up right in front of our own eyes, but if you think about it, it is sort of a dull role for the guy but nowhere near as dull as the role Robert Pattinson had in Cosmopolis. Still, Efron makes this character work and his performance shows-off a kid that definitely wants to be treated like an adult, yet, still has the tendencies of a kid that just doesn’t yet know what to do with his life or who to spend the rest of it with. Sort of how Efron is now, just without being peed-on. Then again, I still have no idea what him and Vanessa Hudgens did in their spare-time.
Playing his big bro, Matthew McConaughey is good as the slick and sly reporter that can not only charm his way into getting whatever the hell he wants, but also has a bit of problems brewing underneath that he’s pretty good at hiding. This is a nice role for McConaughey and it’s one that he can practically play while sleeping, but after a year where tore the roof down as force to be reckoned with in flicks like Killer Joe and Magic Mike, this one definitely ranks the lowest-of-the-low for him. Not to say it’s bad, but it’s not to say that it’s anything special, either. John Cusack is playing really, really against-type here as the psychotic and nutty Hillary, and shows that Cusack can probably do more than any of us ever expected from him. He’s strange, he’s weird, but he’s also very sinister and I like how Cusack totally just swan-dived right into the role, totally leaving all shades and memories behind of Peter Gabriel tapes in his pathway. Not to say that this is a special performance that makes us think of Cusack in a different way now, but it’s definitely a role that shows the guy can do more than just be that old dude from the 80′s we all remember relating to when our dates walked-out on us at prom. Yeah, that he is no more.
The one who really steals the spotlight from the rest of these dudes is Nicole Kidman, as the starlet fire fox, Charlotte. Kidman hasn’t been this sexy or bad-ass since the days of Eyes Wide Shut and To Die For, but here, she totally steals all the glory and attention, and has all of the fun out of everybody here. She just relishes in the fact that she can be sexy, be a little dirty, but also be a little bit sympathetic as well and once things start to go South for her and this story, she’s the only one you really give a single hoot about, especially since she’s the only one that has the most believable convictions out of the whole story (she just wants love). Kidman is probably getting the most recognition and praise for her work here and rightfully so, because the gal just looks freakin’ hot and steams up every scene she’s in, whether she’s trying to seduce people and act sexy, or not. Either way, Kidman definitely had my attention in almost every scene and I’m glad so, too, because she deserved it.
Consensus: You may have a boat-load of fun with The Paperboy if you’re looking for some weird shit to happen, non-stop without any rhyme or reason as to why exactly, but if not, then you may just be bored and annoyed by how uneven everything is, despite Daniels trying his hardest to make us think or see otherwise. You strike-out this time, my friend!
Do con-men and women really look this dashing? If so, I’m not cut-out for the job.
Lilly Dillon (Huston) is a veteran con artist who begins to rethink her life when her son Roy (Cusack), a small-time grifter, suffers an almost-fatal injury when hit with a thrust from the blunt end of a baseball bat, right after a failed scam. However, she doesn’t realize that her boy has fixed himself up with a dame (Annette Bening) that may not seem to be all that she appears to be.
Calling this movie a “thriller” would not be doing it any justice, and I’m still contemplating on whether or not it’s the good type of justice, or the bad. Good, mainly because it has you siked and ready for a story about a trio of cons that never tell the truth, always seem like they’re up to something, and always know to make a little extra-dough by playing to cool, but at the same time, bad, because it has you siked and ready for a story about a trio of cons that never tell the truth, always seem like they’re up to something, and always know to make a little extra-dough by playing to cool. See, it’s not the type of film about cons that you’d expect. It’s not filled with a big-heist, it’s not filled with thrilling suspense and action to hold you over, and it’s not even really filled with that many twists or turns. Instead, it’s sort of like the day-time soap opera version of a movie about cons and that’s both good, and bad. It’s very love-hate with me here, and I think you’re about to find that out.
The problem I ran into with this flick was that I feel like it would be going-on in such a slow, tedious-pace that it almost felt deliberate. Most movies that have this slow pace, usually do it for the same reasons that this flick did it, but it works a lot better for them since it’s exactly how the story should be told and judges how effective it will be to the viewer. However, with a story/movie like this, the slower-pace doesn’t quite work as well as it might think and continued to piss me off, because every time the film felt like it was really getting somewhere and picking-up itself and all of the pieces it was leaving on the ground, it would just stop, take a moment to pause, and jog it’s way through.
It was like me in a 5k mile run. I start off so perfectly, then I realize I put too much energy into the first 5 minutes, then I decide to slow things down, almost to the point of where I begin to walk, then, I get some inspiration and energy in my step and begin to run again, and then so-on, and so-forth, all up-until I get to the finish-line and everybody treats me like I just cured cancer, even despite me coming in 2nd to last place. Okay, maybe that’s not exactly how it goes with me (I obviously always win those runs, obviously…), but that’s how I felt with this flick and I feel like director Stephen Frears was just toying with me on-purpose. In some ways that works and makes the flick seem less predictable as it strings along, but in other ways, it just feels cheap and sort of like the director wants to be like the characters and play a sick, cat-and-mouse game that some people may not be too happy with in the end when they find out what’s to come of it all.
However, I can’t hate on Frears too much because no matter how slow and languid the pace got, I was always interested in seeing what was going to happen next. The story definitely takes it’s fair-share of detours into the past and they are definitely what feature the most energy and fun of the whole flick, but whenever it focuses on these characters, what they’re doing now, how they’re getting their money, and who’s playing who, the film still stays fun, if not all that energetic as the flashback sequences. Seeing cons do their thing like no other is always a blast to see on-screen and rather than just having it be a flick that exposes trick-after-trick, we get more of a balanced look at how broken and dull some of these cons lives are, and how money cannot buy them happiness and instead, only buys them more trouble. You actually care for these characters and that’s only what raises the stakes even more when the unpredictable-factor of this story comes into play, and you feel like you have no idea where it’s going to go or how, you just know that somebody is playing somebody. Then again, when you think about life and all that is: aren’t we all?
Okay, away from the philosophical ramblings of a 19-year-old film critic, back to the movie at-hand here. Yeah, the Grifters. I think without this trio of leads that the flick features, it probably would have folded underneath it’s own weight but thankfully, this trio of leads are here and are here to give some magnificent performances that stick with you, long after the flick is over. Before ’90, John Cusack was mainly known for racing randomly in the streets and always knowing the right Peter Gabriel track to have the ladies swooning, but once the year 1990 actually hit and this flick came-around, people began to look at him differently and realize something about him: this guy’s all grown-up. Cusack never really got a chance to stretch his acting-skills back in those days, mainly because everybody thought he was made for just hooking-up with high-school girls and in a way, they may have been right, but Cusack proved them all wrong and showed that the guy could play a sly, evil son-of-a-bitch that was as slick as they come and didn’t know when to stop pulling-in jobs and ranking-up the dough. Cusack always seems like a believable character and that’s all because the guy never over-does his whole cool essence and look to his act and always seems like he’s one step ahead of everybody else in the flick, as well as the audience themselves, yet, we always like him and cheer for him as things begin to go South for his hormones and his job. I guess being a con is considered a job and if so, he definitely must have had to won “Employee of the Month”, at least once.
Anjelica Huston plays his mommy, who just so happens to be 14-years-older than him and shows you that the gal can, as usual, play a strong-willed and big-brained, female-lead like no other and as much as this may seem like a convention of hers by now, I still can’t hold that against her. Huston’s great with this role and you always wonder whether or not she is Roy’s mom, his lover, a past-fling, or simply, just some chick who’s trying to play a con on him and get his stash of cash. Like the rest of the characters in this trio, you never know what’s up with her and what her next move is going to be, but like typical, Huston-fashion, she always keeps you guessing and interested. Still, I was just waiting for that wig to come off. I could not believe how legitimate it truly was in terms of the story and setting.
The best out of this trio, and the one who really stands-out among the rest is probably Annette Bening as Myra, the fellow-squeeze of Roy. Bening, no offense to her or her looks, has never really been the type of actress that I could really declare “sexy”, “hot”, or even one that I would just have to take to bed, if I saw her in real-life (because they all would go to be with me, let’s face it), but here, she totally had me re-think that. Bening uses her flair for sexuality and nudity to her advantage and has her character come-off as a bit of a tramp, but a smart tramp at best, and a tramp that knows exactly what she’s doing, even if the others may not be able to catch onto it right just yet. Out of of the three, you’ll be wondering the most what side Bening’s is on and when you finally get your answer, you may be shocked, you may not be, but what you will be, is surprised by how much Bening uses the look and feel of sex-appeal to make a character that’s full of it, really, really work.
Consensus: Stephen Frears’ direction definitely makes you feel as if he is just playing with you, just in-order to be more like his subjects, but that’s why The Grifters does, and does not work in it’s own right. However, you can’t deny the charm and power that is within these three performances and it’s just wonderful to see them act each-and-every-single-one of their asses off, even if the pace seems to not be serving them the full-plate that they so rightfully deserves.
Glad we all died this year!
With the Mayan calendar ending in 2012, a large group of people must deal with natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, typhoons and glaciers.
Director Roland Emmerich stated that this was going to be his last “disaster flick” and since he already did ones like Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, you can tell he needed to go out with a total bang. So you know what that means: more people dying, more destruction, more shit blowing-up, more corny one-liners, and more special effects to eat-up, and shit-out like an all-you-can-eat, Chinese buffet.
Everything I just described up there may make this seem like another piss-poor attempt at trying to just throw a bunch of dollhairs at the screen, in hopes that it will actually make most of it back, and then some, but it actually makes this film a lot of fun because Emmerich knows he isn’t trying to make some piece of “art”. It’s not one of those flicks that makes you think twice about the world we live in, what could happen, how it could happen, and nor is he trying to make a film that’s going to make a run for Best Picture. He’s just trying to make a movie where the Earth, the beautiful world we all love and live in, goes, “BOOM! CRASH! BANG! SPLAT!”, and everybody else suffers because of it. It’s pretty fun, and sometimes exciting to see what Emmerich puts into this type of destruction and the special effects look pretty good, for the most part. Other times, they look like something that came straight out of GTA: Apocalypse but you have to give this movie the benefit of the doubt: showing the world blow up in every which way possible, is a pretty hard thing to pull off. And it’s definitely something that Emmerich shows total joy and glee in doing-so.
Still, whenever the destruction wasn’t going down, this film tried it’s hardest to give us some melodrama that just didn’t work and made me laugh more than anything else. The screenplay is obviously terrible and of course, we get all the same old melodramatic speeches and corny-ass catch-phrases that show up here but what bothered me more about this writing was that it was way too predictable for my taste. The whole story about Cusack saving his family from every line of death imaginable is all good and fun to watch, but there’s so many coincidences here, that I wondered just how this guy didn’t break a leg, a hand, an wrist, a shoulder, a tibia, a collar-bone, or any type of bone in his body, for that matter. Hell, the guy actually drives a limo through a volcanic eruption and he barely even gets a scratch on his cheek, let alone, a scratch on the fine set of wheels he’s been trucking around this hell-whole full of destruction. I don’t want it to seem like I wanted to see the guy perish in the first earthquake, but I thought him, as well as plenty others, just got by without anything really bad happening to them whatsoever and it was a little too unrealistic and too obvious for me to really just let slide-by and act as if it’s not really happening in-front of my eyes. I know, I’m hating on a Roland Emmerich film for not being realistic, but I just couldn’t get my head past it.
Watching places like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Yellowstone National Park get blown up into tiny little pieces and get sucked into the ocean is pretty cool to watch, but I could only imagine how a person would feel had they actually lived there. There was no mention or scenes showing Philadelphia being destroyed, but I would think that if they had, I would feel pretty sad about it because that’s my home and just the thought of everything around me, anything I ever knew, and every person I ever met, being killed instantly would put me in a total bummer of a mood. It also started to hurt me once Emmerich started showing all of Vatican City being thrashed up and made me think: why would you want to kill the Pope in a movie like this? I get it, it’s realistic that him and plenty of other holy people would die in catastrophic events like this, but really!?! Of all people to show being killed in the Apocalypse you’re going to show the Pope and all of his followers? Did you even need to show that, or could it just have been implied? Just bad taste, that’s all and a bit too extreme for a popcorn flick.
Also, why the hell did this film need to go on for 2 hours and 40 minutes. I like disaster movies, but not when they can take up about 3 hours of my life and have me practically wasting my day, wondering just what the hell I’m going to do with the rest of it. And if that was the case, I would just watch a double feature of Emmerich’s last two disaster flicks and find more enjoyment out of them both than this junk. It actually got to a point of where I started dozing off by the end when this film decided to go all The Poseidon Adventure on us and it just goes to show you, that once you run-out of ideas about destroying the whole world, just go back, and try stealing from other movies, because nobody’s going to notice. They’re already wasting their times to see your dumb-ass movie, so screw em! Not my thoughts, they’re Emmerich’s and the other Hollywood producers who help him put-out this crap.
The film has a pretty huge cast that works fine with what they are given, but are pretty much wasted on such a shit script like this one here. John Cusack is pretty freakin’ awesome as our central hero, Jackson Curtis, mainly because he doesn’t over-do it one bit. He doesn’t take this role too serious, nor does he ever really freak-out whenever it seems like he and his family are going to perish just like the 95% rest of the world already has. He plays it cool and still has that great comedic timing that we all know and love him for, back from his Peter Gabriel listening days. And also, it’s about freakin’ time that we gave more, heroic-roles like these to Cusack because the dude’s got that, every-day-kind-of-guy look to him, that makes you want to stand-up, pat him on the back, and just cheer him on until he can’t go on no more. Thanks Roland Emmerich! Even if the rest of your movie sucks, at least you have Cusack the shot he so rightfully deserves!
Danny Glover plays the President (as you would assume) and does a pretty good job bringing out some emotions in a guy that I feel like I would blame all of this bad shit on in the first place (don’t know why, but I would probably just be mad); Woody Harrelson has a nice cameo as Charlie Frost, the bearded and dirty hippy that knows all about the end of the world and loves spreading it all out on the airwaves; Chiwetel Ejiofor is fine as the scientist with a heart, Adrian Helmsley, but he also seems a little too good for this ass-like material; Oliver Platt plays his usual “dickhead” role as top government official, Carl Anheuser, and just oozes the corruption; and Amanda Peet and Thandie Newton just stand there and look scared the whole time. Pretty fine bit of casting as everybody here have proven in other flicks, that they are some heavy-hitters. However, when Roland Emmerich gets ahold of them, they have nothing to do other than ham it up like it’s nobody’s business. That’s exactly what they do here and although it may have made their banking-accounts a bit more filled, it made me a bit more ashamed to see them all stoop this low. Oh well, each and every one of them have done something better since then, so I can’t complain too much.
Consensus: 2012 may remind you how much the end of the world is going to suck with its constant explosions, endless use of special effects, and cheesy-ass writing, but also isn’t as thrilling as you would expect from the dude who did Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow. And yes, despite them not either of them being, written-down masterpieces, this one still should have been as fun as them.
When Samuel L. tells you not to go into the room, DO NOT go into that room!
After a string of best-sellers discrediting paranormal events in the most infamous haunted houses and graveyards around the world, he scoffs at the concept of an afterlife. Mike Enslin (John Cusack)’s phantom-free run of long and lonely nights is about to change forever when he checks into suite 1408 of the notorious Dolphin Hotel for his latest project. Defying the warnings of the hotel manager (Samuel L Jackson), the author is the first person in years to stay in the reputedly haunted room.
If there is ever a person who should be allowed to Stephen King adaptations, it’s Frank Darabont. Sadly, the guy was nowhere to be found with this one and because of that, look what we got! Damn you Darabont!
Before I get into the negatives of this film, let me just start off by saying that director Mikael Håfström does a lot here and I think he at least deserves some praise for taking what is essentially a story that could be told in 30 minutes, and stretching it way, way out to an hour and 30 minutes. There’s not a lot here that happens, other than Cusack facing off against this room and the evil spirits that lie within, but Håfström keeps it somewhat interesting by starting us off slowly with tiny amounts of tension, that only continues to build and build, until shit gets way too out-of-hand. Håfström seems like he wanted to make this material and have fun with it, which he is somewhat successful in doing, it’s just a shame that there wasn’t much else here to hold onto.
Let me start off by saying that this is a horror movie, without any type of horror whatsoever. Actually, that’s not right to say because there probably is some stuff here that would scare the bajeebers out of certain people, but for me, I didn’t once get frightened by anything I saw on-screen and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that Håfström starts to get a bit too carried away with his budget. The film started off perfectly with little spooky things happening here and there, but then once things start to get crazier and crazier and actually pick up, then Håfström just lets all of this annoying and fake-looking CGI take over the film just to show how much havoc this room is causing. Not only doesn’t it look scary, but it’s also a bit goofy in a way that made me chuckle unintentionally and it kept on coming at me, too. After about the 4th wipe-out Cusack has with a random wave of water coming into the bathroom, I was starting to get annoyed, but oh wait, there’s drama that’s needed here as well! Great….
In case you couldn’t tell by that last sentence, there was barely any drama here whatsoever that glued me in once things started to get goofy. There was a very tragic death that has occurred in the lead character’s life that is very, very sad, I’ll give him that, but it’s pretty obvious where they were going to go with it and how they were going to incorporate it into the story, which seemed so damn cheap. And just about everything else that concerns anything dramatic with this dude’s life is what really took me out of the film because as much fun as this whole haunted-house aspect of the film seemed to be, it never really went anywhere with itself other than being just that, just like the dramatic aspect of this movie as well. Yeah, neither part of this movie barely went anywhere, that’s why you should always depend on the stars to give you their top-caliber performances and save the day.
Thank heavens that John Cusack was in this movie because the man freakin’ saved the day here with his performance as “the non-believer in ghosts” writer, Mike Enslin. Cusack is always an actor that turns out great work, year after year, and barely ever gets recognized for it and I think this is one of the rare films where we see him for all that he is when it comes to what kind of work he can pull off. Since this all takes place in the room (I think), it’s all John Cusack for the longest time and he’s left to basically one-man show this bitch up and does a great job by making it all seem believable, especially by the end when he starts to lose a little bit of his mind. Cusack definitely makes this film and the material he’s working with, a hell of a lot more watchable just because of his presence and it’s a great show-case of an actor that in my opinion, doesn’t get as many roles as I think he should.
Oh yeah, and let’s not forget to mention Samuel L. Jackson in his teensie-tiny, itty-bitty role as the hotel manager, Mr. Olin. As always, Samuel L. is great with this material and makes his bit-role almost as memorable as Cusack’s and both of them have a very nice scene where they both play off of each other very well and you see the real fun of this film actually come out. Sadly, it was somewhat short-lived once Cusack opened that room’s door. Why John!?!? Why?!??
Consensus: Cusack makes 1408 a hell of a lot better than it has any right to be, but it’s almost not enough due to barely any scares, too much lame CGI, lame drama, and an ever lamer ending that makes you wonder how many times these writers re-wrote this ending over-and-over again just to hit the right spot, but ended up doing the opposite.
Apparently Poe likes Peter Gabriel too.
‘The Raven’ finds Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) teaming up with a detective to search for a serial killer who has kidnapped the author’s fiancee and has gone on a murder spree that mimics the author’s work.
Edgar Allan Poe is by far one of the most influential writers ever when it comes to the world of horror. Even though I have only read and heard a couple of his writings, I can easily say that for his time, he was very different and many people in today’s world definitely take notice to that. That’s probably why it would be best for some of people to see this flick.
Director James McTeigue does know do one thing right with this period piece here and that is, make it look and feel as dark as you can possibly get it to be. The mood here is very somber as if it was one of Poe’s gothic tales straight from his mind, put out onto film. McTeigue also helps this tone out with a bunch of beautiful set designs that take you into 19th Century Baltimore. Seems like a random place to actually have a whole bunch of mystery, murders, crime, and poetry going on but somehow, McTeigue was able to make it all work and feel as if we were there watching all of this crazy ish go down.
I also have to say that a lot of the gore here, was used to great effect. In a day and age where we have films constantly trying to tone it down for a friendly PG-13 rating for the big box office take in, it’s pretty relieving to see a “horror” flick take so much pride in its gore and barely leave anything out whatsoever. It’s very gruesome and has a couple of scenes that reminded me of ‘Saw’ but with a cooler, 19th Century spin on it that worked as well. The most memorable scene of gory torture probably came from when they use a pendulum here that is not only really brutal, but also really clever by how the poor slob they use to kill, is actually a critic. Here I am, a critic, sitting in the press screening for this movie, seeing a fellow critic get his insides hacked up! Now I am definitely going to watch what I say next about what movie and what actor/actress.
Problem with this flick is that behind all of the beauty, it’s pretty much your standard thriller film that doesn’t really even deliver the goods on that at all. The whole whodunit side of this flick seemed half-baked in the first place because not only did it seem like it ripped off plenty of other mystery thrillers, but it also didn’t bring any tension to the flick either. If a film is going to go down the road of being a whodunit, then it should run with the idea by messing with the audience, giving us clues, giving us twists, and just having a whole bunch of fun with its silliness. Or, you can just not do it all, which is what I think that this film should have done after about the first 30 minutes it started talking about this mystery and the killer.
At the center of this mystery, the flick also tries to stuff a love angle down our throats and instead of giving us more reason to see Poe and his lady friend together, it didn’t carry much steam and sort of made me care less and less about what happened really. Alice Eve looks very sexy and obviously tries her best with the material that she’s given, but her chemistry with Cusack was barely even there. This wouldn’t have been such a shame if the film didn’t rely on this courtship to make this mystery stronger, but they do, and for that reason it sort of just didn’t hold my interest as much as the rest of this flick did. Come to think of it, I actually nodded off a couple of times but please, don’t tell the other critics that.
John Cusack definitely didn’t seem like the type of person that was destined to play Edgar Allan Poe, but then again, who is? Cusack brings a lot of energy and humor to a person that we only know through a bunch of eerie and creepy stories. Yes, Cusack brings him to life with a lot of flamboyancy to him but also made him a compelling person to watch which bummed me out more considering that I think this guy could have definitely done a lot better if the film was just based on Poe’s life, rather than just his final days surrounding some mystery. Then again, the box office returns for this flick may not be so hot so I guess we won’t ever get a chance to see that flick, will we?
Consensus: Gory, entertaining, and featuring a very good performance from John Cusack, The Raven is definitely an enjoyable flick about a figure in literature we don’t know much about, but with a weak script, weak whodunit subplot, and weak romance, the film feels like it should have been more of a biopic rather than one just disguised as a mystery thriller.
Jams really are the best way to get over a chick.
When record store owner Rob Gordon (John Cusack) gets dumped by his girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjejle), because he hasn’t changed since they met, he revisits his top five breakups of all time in an attempt to figure out what went wrong. As Rob seeks out his former lovers to find out why they left, he keeps up his efforts to win Laura back.
The film is based on a British novel by Nick Hornby, and it just so happens to be one of my favorite novels of all-time because it made me look differently at a lot of things. This film didn’t do the same, but that’s OK.
The problem with a lot of romantic comedies is that their sappy, predictable, unfunny, and overall not very original on anything they talk about or do. For the most part, High Fidelity doesn’t have these features as much as you would expect. Basically the premise here is “the one that got away” storyline but the script here is what makes this all a little different from other romantic comedies.
The novel is one of my favorites, and mainly because of the witty and smart pop-culture, and music references that it had, references that this movie either keeps or adds. I loved just listening to these dudes talk like real people about their “top 5 lists” and if “I Just Called To Say I Love You” is a good song for your daughter. The script has many witty lines that will either leave you shaking your head as to what these people are talking about, or either laughing your ass off. I was sort of somewhere in the middle.
I liked how this film had that sort of laid-back feel to it, but for me, the novel was so much better and in ways made more sense. There is this running narrative in the novel that the film uses, however it just seems oddly placed here and doesn’t bring much reality to the film. Also, there were many times where I think they could have done so much more insight to this film, like the novel did, but I guess sometimes novels are better than the films after all.
John Cusack is the one actor that is basically the definitive poster-boy for 80′s romantic comedies, so it was cool to see him play the role as Rob Gordon, a guy who needs to get over his ex-girl as quick as possible. He delivers the lines well, and makes you believe that he really does know all of this crazy music information. Jack Black is a guy that nowadays gets a lot of crap, but this is the film that put him on the map and with good reason. Every time the guy is on screen, he is an absolute riot and I can tell why he’s a household name now because of it. Iben Hjejle is alright as Laura, although other times I do feel that she could have been better at playing the bitchier parts of her. Also, gotta give some love to Tim Robbins here as Ian, Laura’s new boyfriend, and he is just the man in this, as Robbins always is in anything he does. There are also some other funny ones here such as Lisa Bonet, Todd Louiso, and the always awesome Joan Cusack.
Let’s also not forget the soundtrack. I loved how the film relied on a lot of actual licensed music for their mood and scenes, because it felt like it was all happening in real life, and each of us have our own soundtrack. When you have artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground, and hell even The Roots, you know this is going to be a keeper.
Consensus: With a rockin’ soundtrack and some very good acting, High Fidelity is fun, breezy romantic comedy, but doesn’t do much to liven up the book, and has less of an effect when it comes to actual insight on relationships than the book did.
Like Snakes on a Plane, what you see is what you get.
Fueled by energy drinks, vodka and nostalgia for their younger, wilder days, a group of aging best friends (John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke) travel back in time to 1987, where they get the chance to relive the best year of their lives. And their time machine? Well, it’s a hot tub.
When you watch this film, you must remove any part of your brain that has any type of reality, or sense, and you can enjoy this film. The reason why I enjoyed it.
I never thought I would say this but a film with a title like Hot Tub Time Machine, is actually pretty smart. Crazy I know, but it works in many ways. The more you recognize things like MTV, Ronald Reagan, the brick-sized cell phones, the Kanye glasses, Crispin Glover’s casting, leg warmers, and the references and homages to movies like “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”, “Red Dawn”, and “The Terminator”, the more you’ll laugh your ass off. There’s even a “Rambo” poster hanging around somewhere. But, the thing is that it’s not all filled with 80s jokes, but there is a LOT of them.
The film is not afraid to pull the type of punches it has. This is RAUNCHY to a new level, without a doubt, and for some it may get way too dirty, but for me, ehh its whatever. Some jokes were mostly hit-or-miss but I laughed enough over, just chuckling. You will soon realize that this movie is sef-aware that its joke, but you never quite find yourself crying on the floor. But I have got to say one thing, this is exactly what comedy needs in today’s world: dirty, raunchy, irrelevant, fun.
The film is a riff on the whole 80s movie genre, and having John Cusack in the lead role, gave it that push it was looking for. However, I just found him to be boring, and always depressing. His character took a lot away from the story at hand, and the scenes with him just drag on. Craig Robinson, as usual, is hilarious, because mostly everything he does, he plays the same crazy black guy, that just belts out hilarious lines. Rob Corddry and Clark Duke, play the same characters they always do in almost every movie, but it works well here, blending nuttiness, with reality.
The cameos from this film are obviously alive, and alright. Chevy Chase is not funny at all, as this random-ass repair man, and could have been used as an extra, and would have been even better. It was also funny to see William Zabka playing his usual ully type roles he always plays. But the best here is Crispin Glover, as the bell boy, who is a running gag, but works so well. Nice homage to the Back to the Future days.
Consensus: Don’t expect any sense or reality from this film, but Hot Tub Time Machine works cause of its non-stop laughs, that border along terrible raunch, and funny satire.
When it comes to being ultimately depressing, this is the film.
Director James C. Strouse’s indie drama stars John Cusack as Stanley Phillips, an ex-military man trying to find the courage to break some devastating news to his two daughters: Their mother has died while serving in Iraq. As he works through his complex feelings about his wife’s death and the war, Stanley delays telling his girls the truth, instead taking them on an excursion to a theme park.
This is just one of those films I found late at night on HBO, I had nothing else to do, and I’m actually glad I chose to do nothing else.
The film works in many ways although it isn’t a great movie by any means. First, the stereotypes of war are taken down early in the film. Usually in war films like this, its the guy that’s sent off to war, but instead the woman is sent off, thus giving us a new fresh look at the effects of a family in grief.
Second, it succeeds in it’s ability to dramatically examine a politically sensitive issue (the Iraq war) from both conservative and liberal perspectives without alienating either. This is a very intense film which unfolds in a paradoxically low-key fashion throughout. And behind the arras subtly lurks a searing indictment of the numbing and emotional wasteland of middle class suburbia with malls, discount stores, and plastic hotels/motels, all of which form a pervasive and repetitive landscape in which the characters attempt to deal with matters of far greater depth.
And finally, the picture is genuinely heart-on-sleeve emotional and occasionally touching without pandering some sort of deeper message. It’s not overly entertaining but I don’t think it’s meant to be; a mechanically solid and capable movie, this will most appeal to those that can relate to either a death or prolonged absence due to the US/Iraq war.
But the problem I had with this film was that it was just so upsetting all the time. Barely, any happy things happened, and I was disappointed cause I would have liked to see a lot more heart than just sorrow. I think it was also very very simply made. The way it looks and feels is just very obvious and cliche. There is a scene where Cusack lets his daughter smoke and in all honesty I didn’t see any real point in this scene at all. There was also, a little random appearance by the guy playing Cusack’s brother, who just so happens to be the dead-beat, pot-smoking, bum brother, which I found very cliche and just overall stupid.
Cusack does very well here playing against type, however. There are a lot of scenes that call for the right emotion at the right time, and I think Cusack being very quiet and mannered, worked cause he does give that right emotion at that right time. His two daughters are played so realistically, and honestly that even though this is probably their only movie, I can’t wait to see them in more by how great they actually are.
Consensus: Emotionally in-tact, refreshing, and ultimately well-acted, Grace is Gone works well when showing the real effects of grief and healing, but is filmed too simplistic, with way too many random and obvious screen cliches.
One of the worst planned out plays ever!
In the 1930s, as labor strikes erupt across the country, New York City launches a dramatic cultural revolution of its own. Orson Welles (Angus Macfadyen) stages the controversial titular play — a leftist manifesto. Diego Rivera (Ruben Blades) paints a socialist allegory on the walls of Rockefeller Center. And Margherita Sarfatti (Susan Sarandon) gives Da Vinci masterworks to any millionaire who’ll fund her war effort on Mussolini’s behalf.
Now this film has an insanely huge star-studded cast. It is honestly filled with some comedic and dramatic greats that it’s hard to say it almost doesn’t work, but in reality it kind of doesn’t.
It often talks down to the viewer, as it assumes that no one outside of the film and professional theater industry could know about these events or the mood of the nation at this time. The movie’s radical stance is that artists should get to do their art without being destroyed by mean rich people, and aren’t we just wonderful for agreeing with that?
The film puts all these ideas or radicalism, and communism in the film that it makes you wonder is this even about the play at all? I asked myself that many countless of times, I just wish that the film actually focused more on the play, cause I found those scenes to be more entertaining than the ones that were all about the themes of communism and radicalism.
There are some very good things about this film though. I did like the setting and I thought that was really welld done of how it actually did look like the depression era. Also, the script although packed with a lot of combustion and crazyness still does bring out some good ideas, and actually funny humor. It has very dramatic moments, but is soon brought out by it’s comedic factor which works very well at times.
The best part of this film is the acting from the cast. The film does have that great ensemble-cast who each fits their part respectively very well. Tuturro gives a very solid performance showing the anger that has always been inside of him, and Watson shows she can use her charm to probe to still be a cute young character. The best of the side performances I think was Bill Murray who plays a ventriloquist, and brings a lot of humor to the film but also the heart that the film needed.
Consensus: Cradle Will Rock is over-stuffed with way too many themes, and different stories that don’t jell together very well, but has a very witty screenplay, and a wonderfully acted ensemble cast.
Honestly if my chick believed in just fate, then I would dump her ass right away.
An amalgam of the plot lines from When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, Serendipity has John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale meeting during a Christmas shopping spree but parting company soon thereafter. Ten years (and a few failed relationships) later, they yearn to put true love to the test by reuniting. But first, they have to find each other.
The film has a very cute and light touch to it. Many of the things that happen in this film is something you see almost all the time in every single romantic dramedy, except the difference is that its all based on fate.
The one problem I had with this film was that it was based way too much on fate and circumstances. The fateful future “coincidences” are so contrived and far fetched that the movies premise was lost for me.
This movie has no depth and will disappoint those that find the extreme serendipity to be too much to deal with. Why two people would at the last minute dump their fiancee’s on fate was preposterous to me.
Cusack and Beckinsale are actually pretty good in this but are never given any time on screen together since they are so used to just playing little tricks on each other. I cared about these characters and I wanted them to get together, but soon by the end I knew they were, and didn’t really care for them since the whole plot was basically based on them playing one another.
Consensus: Though it’s a cute and light film, Serendipity suffers from a overly destructive plot that has us forgetting about the characters and not worrying what happens to them next.
Don’t we all just feel like this at one point in our lives.
After his girlfriend (Amanda Wyss) ditches him for a boorish ski jock (Aaron Dozier), Lane Meyer (John Cusack) decides that suicide is the only answer. But his increasingly inept attempts to off himself only bring more agony and embarrassment. Dan Schneider co-stars as Lane’s socially awkward neighbor, Ricky, whose mother takes in a foreign exchange student from France (Diane Franklin), only to meet with an explosive end.
I basically went into this film without any knowledge whatsoever, if it was good or bad. I luckily came out with a good side, and probably think this could be one of my favorite teen comedies of the 80s.
The film does a real great job at combining all these three different styles of comedy with Black, surreal, and mostly all absurdest. The film had a lot of serious and actually straigh-forward messages, but they were all broken down with the hilarious and at times random pieces of jokes.
There are little running gags in this film that really made me laugh. There is this paperboy that doesn’t get his two dollars from Cusack’s family, so throughout the whole film he just chases after Cusack. You would think this would get boring, but this and plenty of other running gags are just too hilarious to hate.
This may be an odd complaint but I feel like there wasn’t enough dark jokes about suicide or anything like that. In the beginning of the film there are little funny jokes about it, but never really did it go over the edge with it. I think this would have made the film a lot more insightful and also a lot more funny as it progressed.
By the end of the film, it starts to deride itself into a more natural romantic comedy film. I really felt this was not needed one bit, and by the end really did ruin it. There were so many little messages about suicide, friends, and love that were well brought out, but this end of the film really did destroy all those messages it was trying to give off.
John Cusack gives a very good performance here as the lovable loser type we all know and love him for. I felt myself cheering for him as the film went along, and I really did believe him as this young and heart-broken teen.
Consensus: Better Off Dead has hilarious blends of comedy and a noteworthy perforance from a young Cusack, but destorys itself with the last 30 minutes, and descending into a romantic comedy feel.
Nic Cage takes a ride with a bunch of convicts featuring Dave Chapelle, yeah this is a movie.
When the government puts all its rotten criminal eggs in one airborne basket, it’s asking for trouble. Before you can say, “Pass the barf bag,” the crooks control the plane, led by creepy Cyrus “The Virus” Grissom (John Malkovich). Watching his every move is the just-released Nicolas Cage, who’d rather reunite with his family. John Cusack plays the creator of the plane and stands by as his whole dream turns into a nightmare.
Con Air combines elements from many other films such as Airplane!, The Rock, The Dirty Dozen, and a little bit of Silence Of The Lambs. Now all of this may seem like a weird combination for a film, but it turns out to be one of my favorite action films of all-time.
First of all, the great thing about Con Air is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Scott Rosenberg’s ultra macho script knows it is having a lot of fun with the writing, and it brings in a lot of good laughs. The tongue-in-cheek approach that this film had never really dies out, cause although some of the lines may be cheesy, they are still hilarious and well worth it.
The action that takes place in this film isn’t so bad either. I liked how it was fun but it wasn’t non stop to the point of where there’s no room for a story to take place. The things that happen in this film seem very believable and the action is never too dumb to where its unbelievable.
The only problem I really had with this film was that it was working out really well by the end, and it loses itself in a routine explosive third act. Yeas, it was very good and fun to look at, but it just didn’t seem like it was needed for this film. I liked how the action took place in that scene, but when it was all said and done I felt like everything else sort of was lost cause of it.
The acting in this film is pretty good but mostly from Malkovich. He plays this slick, witty, and actually pretty smart villain that you want to hate cause he’s so crazy, but you can’t help but to love cause of his amazing apporach to the lines and the events that happen. Cage, I thought could have done a lot better, but his accent by the end just got really annoying for me, and by the end I just couldn’t stand it. Steve Buscemi plays a little side character in this film that is really funny, and by the end of the film, he turns out to be the most-liked character from the whole film.
Consensus: Con Air is full of energy and humor, that is fun to be a part of and does hit the right spots every time throughout the movie. Though the ending was a little bit out of hand, the film still holds a great place in my heart.
Jeez, war films in 1998 took over the Oscars.
With an all-star cast — featuring Sean Penn, George Clooney, Nick Nolte and Adrien Brody — director Terrence Malick’s lyrical and beautiful retelling of James Jones’s novel about the 1942 battle for Guadalcanal was nominated for seven Oscars. With narration by Pvt. Witt (Jim Cavaziel), the men of C-Company become a tight-knit group as they each individually face the horrors of war to hold onto a key-positioned airfield.
The Thin Red Line, is basically a remake of the original 1964 flick, and to be truly honest after watching this film, I don’t think I will have to dig back into the archives and watch that.
Most War films over-exploit the gore and the violence of the war, but never really capture the feelings of the war within it’s soldiers. This film, captured all the feeling imaginable. We really do get to feel what these characters feel through a lot of emotional and overall beautiful images that are being narrated over by soldiers that are present in the film.
Immediately, I was caught up in this film, even in its first frame that features an alligator. It not once lost my interest until the very end where I did start to believe the moral story of good and evil started to wane on, and become a little boring and I didn’t that there wasn’t any material to work from.
Terrence Malick returns to film-making after his 20 year absence, and it doesn’t feel like he missed those years at all. He without a doubt capture the right emotion at the right time with every little scene. The cinematography that he worked on really made us feel the intensity of fighting an enemy that was hidden. Malick should’ve won Best Director for this film because although he doesn’t steer this film into perfection, he does steer into the right and very inspired direction.
Visually, this film is just one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. There are some scenes that are so beautiful, so touching, and so inspirational that I couldn’t just help but shed a tear. Some scenes as I stated before are over-lapped by little narration from the soldiers, but you almost forget about the speaking and can’t stop but gaze at how beautiful the look and feel this movie really does have.
The all-star cast really does a good job in this film and really do step away from their public images and create characters that we like and can relate to. Out of the whole cast Nick Nolte is who I really think does the best. He is angry, ruthless, and also very misguided and you can see that coming out of his performance. I wish that there was more time for these big stars to interact with one another but overall I was pleased with the way some of these characters were used. I also liked how the Japanese weren’t portrayed as these savage killers who have no souls. Instead, they were shown with having as much fear and terror as much as the U.S., and that’s what really separates this film from others.
The only complaint that I really do think killed this film to be as much as a success as Saving Private Ryan, was that there are way too many scenes of just down time. In SPR, the down time was actually interesting and you actually got a sense of what those characters lives we’re like before war. However, in this the down time is submitted to beautiful visuals but overall not very interesting dialouge that I thnk made this film not win one Oscar.
Consensus: The Thin Red Line is visually astonishing, incredibly-well directed, and features amazingly true messages about how the war turns people into animals. However, the film offers to much time for boredom and doesn’t quite connect as well as Saving Private Ryan.
Very first Gen-X romantic comedy.
A budding romance between noble under achiever Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) and high school valedictorian Diane Court (Ione Skye) is threatened when Diane’s overly possessive, disapproving father (John Mahoney) interferes with their relationship. With a prized scholarship to study abroad hanging in the balance, Diane must find a way to make both men happy.
The one thing that I first realized about this film was that the whole love part of the film didn’t feel exploited or shown in any wrong way.
The film was written and directed by Cameron Crowe, who also made one of my other favorite high school comedy films, Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Crowe shows us with his screenplay that he knows how young people talk, interact, and even how their moods change from time to time. Crowe also shows the randomness of life, with the uprising things that happen in life when you have fallen in love.
The one thing that really touched me about this film was it’s sense of realism. It all seemed so real with it’s underlying messages about the future, and the little father-daughter relationship. All of it felt so real and not so much of as it was a really dumb film.
Unfortunately for me, this film flopped like a dead fish. It tripped over its own heels, alternately over-dramatic and sappy love story. One minute were on the edge of our seats with her father under investigation, the next minute Lloyds sobbing over her in the rain. Sometimes I felt like the film moved away from it’s comedy element and just stayed a little too much on the romantic element.
I do have to give a lot of props to John Cusack who is so good at playing that lovable loser that we all know and love him for. He makes this character a lot more likable because of his desperate attempts to have this girl like him, and also his little insight on how he interacts with his family. I also enjoyed John Mahoney and thought he gave a very good portrayal of a father trying to come to terms with his own life and his daughter’s life.
Consensus: One of the best Generation X films. Though it’s not perfect it shows a great realistic look on love with a fresh screenplay and a very likable performance from Cusack, Say Anything is one of the best modern romantic comedies in a long time.
I never knew that the mafia was attracted to Broadway so much.
The story follows a hack 1920s playwright (John Cusack) who uses a mobster to finance his newest play. When the gangster’s bodyguard (Chazz Palminteri) starts rewriting the play to make it more believable, he shows more talent than Cusack. The complications of the play come within it’s stars who also include Diane Wiest, Jim Broadbent, and Jennifer Tilly.
This is directed by one of my favorites, Woody Allen, and I thought this film was a whole lot more funnier than any other of his films. The film doesn’t break any new ground or give us a new spin on the way we watch film, but it’s very enjoyable nonetheless.
Allen writes one of his best scripts ever, when in this film he does know that it takes time to create these characters until we find out their funny. I liked how a lot of these antics from these characters were all just so funny. Not the kind of chuckle funny, but really big laugh out loud funny, and found this as a very interesting take on a not so inspired plot.
The film is very funny but it’s also very sly. You can read it as a comedy, but you can also sense that in a subtle way, Woody Allen is making some comments on his own roles as an artist. Is he the Cusack character that is earnest but lacking in emotional strife? Or the gangster who follows art with a sure conclusion of what’s really going on? It’s very fun to actually figure it out for yourself, and keeps you thinking about the statement.
The only problem I had with this film is that it seemed to much of a parody. I felt like it was a Woody Allen parody film on a late-period film. The jokes, stage direction, some of the characters, and even the killings. Though they were funny I still felt the parody sense of the film that lied within.
The performances are one of the most vibrant I have seen in a long time from any film. Cusack does a good job, as usual, but it’s really the witty side characters that are really good. Chazz Paliminteri does one of his best jobs in this film, and is used in the beginning as a side character, then one after another, is used more and more and he creates this wonderful character that you love and hate at the same time. Wiest is amazing in this film and totally steals the show with every scene, also with Jennifer Tilly turning in a surprising Oscar nominee performance.
Consensus: Not very inspired, Bullets Over Broadway features some eccentric performances, a hilarious script and a great message, which ultimately climaxes in one of Woody Allen’s best films.
No not the time of season, a chick.
When his girlfriend, Summer (Zooey Deschanel), unceremoniously dumps him, greeting-card copywriter and hopeless romantic Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) begins sifting through the year-plus worth of days they spent together, looking for clues to what went awry. As he recalls the good and bad times he spent with the commitment-phobic girl, his heart reawakens to what it cherishes most.
This is surely one of the best romantic comedy’s, if you would like to call it, that I have seen all year. I was totally suprised by this film and its deliverance of the story. I expected this film to be showing the days of their relationship from day 1 to day 500, but instead you get a totally original way of showing these two relationships’. We go from day 43 to day 3, and from day 147 to 79, and we begin to string together their relationship.
The heavily inspired and originality of this film is what really got me. There are some really original moments that are both memorable but also very true and I just wish that more directors would take as many chances as director Marc Webb has. The non-linear telling of the story is not distracting one bit and falls into total order and fully gives us the ups and downs of their relationship.
Many other things about this film are just so amazing but one imparticular is that this is not your regular romantic comedy that you come by. It’s true about love and life unlike many other romantic comedy’s that have come and gone and surely shows what its like when two “real” people get together. The stylized scenes are there and not very show off and through these scenes you can actually feel the sense of being in love.
Chemistry between the two leads is so perfect that I actually thought I was watching a documentary on a couple. Gordon-Levitt is amazing, and sort of reminds of a John Cusack type guy who is your normal everyday dude but he’s not boring. He’s also very believable and very entertaining to watch and I caught myself loving this guy throughout the whole movie. Deschanel is also very good playing the character she always plays but this one adds a little twist and you like this one a lot more than anyone she’s ever played.
The feelings I felt during this film I cannot explain. I never have come around a film in my life that has made me feel so happy and mesmerized about my life and this film, and overall it was a very touching experience.
Consensus: This film is so original with great chemistry, true screenplay, real-life people, very fresh soundtrack, and overall a very different but touching unconventional love story that I loved from beginning to end.
Reading a book and then seeing the film can actually can kinda ruin a film for you. You know whats gonna happen and you don’t really have much of a on the edge on your seat feeling of what’s gonna happen next.
The plot of High Fidelity centers on Rob Gordon (John Cusack), a self-confessed audiophile whose flair for understanding women is less than par for the course. After getting dumped by his current girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjejle), he decides to look up some of his old flames in an attempt to figure out what he keeps doing wrong in his relationships. He spends his days at his record store, Championship Vinyl, where he holds court over the customers that drift through. Helping Rob in his task of musical elitism are Dick (Todd Louiso) and Barry (Jack Black), the “musical moron twins”.
The film is very loyal to the novel, it features a lot of the same discussions, events, and actually mostly the same lines as well. When I read the book all the characters I pictured in the book, were the same exact pictures of people that were in the film. However, some of the events in the book that were actually pretty key moments, were left out in the film. Also the ending for the film was not as effective as it was in the book, this is what kind of ruined the film for me.
However, despite this problem everybody in this film does a great job in this film. John Cusack must’ve studied the book about 1,000 times cause he without a doubt matches the attitude, mannerisms, and look as Rob in the book I pictured him as. Cusacks facial expressions also are something extraordinary, cause they show how he feels at that exact moment. Todd Louiso and Jack Black also do a very good job at portraying Dick and Barry.
The all-around rock soundtrack is also something that’s great and fixes every song with every emotion felt during that time.
Much like the novel the screenplay is very realistic as each character have debates on their “top 5″ whatevers, and each lists are used with such realism.
Despite some obvious differences from the book the film is still a great watch filled with comedy, great music, spot-on performances, and most of all a great love story we can all learn from.