Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Monthly Archives: June 2010

Sea of Love (1989)

Good ole’ Al Pacino doing what he does best.

Lonely, burnt-out NYPD detective Frank Keller (Al Pacino) is on the hunt for a serial killer who uses personal ads to attract potential victims in director Harold Becker’s taut, suspenseful thriller. Unfortunately, Frank falls hard for Helen (Ellen Barkin), the alluring top suspect in the case. Now, their white-hot attraction could save him — or kill him.

Pacino, during the 80’s, was basically doing nothing. He made starred in crap-fests like Cruising, Author! Author!, and the even worse, Revolution. So when this film came out, it was quite a relief to get a film that had Pacino doing something, other than just collecting paychecks.

The film works really well, especially when it comes to its suspense/mystery feel. Everything starts out as your typical thriller, with the murders happening, then when Pacino and Barkin start dating, the slight suspicion in the movie, is that the person you are with, might just possibly be the killer themselves. I liked how they fell in love, because it wasn’t a generic way, they both started out as opposites, and then soon realized there was this sexual attraction between each other, that they both wanted. This is all fairly predictable stuff, but the scenes between Barkin and Pacino are steamy and sizzling.

I have a feeling though that now seeing this, I probably won’t remember it too much after a week or two. I mean it is a good popcorn flick, however, that’s really all it is. It does work as a good “who done it” thriller, but overall, nothing amazing happened. The climax too, felt really dumb, and just totally implausible. We never get any clues, or even an idea, that the person who is actually doing these crimes, actually is, and when it pops up who actually did do it, I didn’t believe it all.

Al Pacino gives off that great, funny man charm, that is Al Pacino. He plays this cop, that at first you feel bad for, cause he hates his life so much, then you realize that this guy is cool as ish, and you want him to prevail in finding the killer. Ellen Barkin is good as this steamy, sexy lady, that steals Pacino’s heart, mostly cause she is just a fire in bed, and who can’t resist that. These two make a good piece of chemistry on-screen, which helps the film in the end. Also, John Goodman, is well, good here, and brings a lot of comedy to the film.

Consensus: Sea of Love has two great performances from Barkin and, the ever so cool Pacino, along with some good mystery, but in the end is just another meaningless pop-corn flick, with an ending, that just doesn’t mean much.



The Life of David Gale (2003)

Does this even argue anything about the death penalty?

When Texas professor David Gale (Kevin Spacey), an advocate for the elimination of the death penalty, is falsely accused and convicted of the rape and murder of another activist (Laura Linney), he ends up on the state’s notorious death row himself. In a series of flashbacks, Gale tells his story to a young reporter (Kate Winslet) who’s visiting him on death row, leaving her to sort out his guilt or innocence.

The whole film I was expecting it to be another argument on the death penalty, and how it is just soo wrong. However, it just turns out to be an interesting jig-saw puzzle that you can’t steer away from.

The first two thirds of this film are quite riveting, mostly because the plots twists and turns, all come at you right away, without you even knowing. By the end the films twists really do seem to be implausible, and actually kind of stupid, but it was first two thirds that really had me going in the first place.

The cinematography is very ho-hum and certain editing techniques used to link scenes in the present to scenes in the past, where the camera spirals over words like: innocence, love, guilt, hate, are pretentious as hell. These montages are also so grossly out of place that they seem as if they were clipped from an episode of NYPD Blue.

The performances given here by Spacey and Winslet, is what in the end really won me over here. Kevin Spacey gives one of his best performances here, cause the whole film is basically given to him, to act his ass off, and well, he does just that and even more. Kate Winslet, is good as this mean, kind of bitchy reporter, but does give some good emotional scenes, although it may seem she is trying too hard. I wish these two had more scenes together to show that they could build up a great chemistry on screen. But just way too many flashbacks prohibit this.

Consensus: Although it’s plot and message seems so out-of-place by the end, The Life of David Gale, has at least two strong performances from Spacey and Winslet, as well as an interesting first two thirds of a film.


The Jacket (2005)

Do they really do this stuff if your insane??

Adrien Brody stars as Jack Starks, a Persian Gulf War veteran who has lost his memories to amnesia. When Jack is accused of a heinous killing, he realizes he must find a way to prove his innocence. Desperate to unearth clues about his past, he seeks a controversial treatment that allows him to go back in time — which turns out to be a heart-wrenching decision when he realizes he’s destined for tragedy.

There are plenty of things that this film could have done right. However, it chooses to do none of them, and just get more confusing as it goes along. I think this film had the idea that if you just add a bunch of crazy looking images, along with the more confusion, then you have a great psychological thriller that the crowd will be scratching their head so much. If that’s the case, then the film succeeded in that, but for all the wrong reasons.

I had no idea what was going on by the last act at all. Was he in the future? Was he just imagining this? What are the exact dates of the occurrences? Why am I still watching this movie? All questions had meaning but there were no answers. We get too many random montages of this guys “past life”, but none of them have any meaning nor explanation as to what this has to do with anything.

I at least enjoyed watching Adrien Brody on screen. Even though the screenplay is written very bad, he at least fines ways to bring out some charm within his character, and give us a protagonist we enjoy watching. Keira Knightly was so unintentionally hilarious on-screen. She was trying so hard to make sure her accent didn’t come out, so the whole time she’s like gargling, being really deep with her voice, and just sounding retarded when she’s trying to show emotion. The way these two fall in love is so quick and unbelievable that you just don’t care by the end of the film.

Consensus: The Jacket is highlighted by a good performance from Brody, but is confusing, illiterate, and at times just stupid, doing nothing but trying to confuse the audience for no reason.


7 Facts About Me

My homies: Aiden R., Heather, Peter, and probably many others have tagged me in the latest meme. Now instead of doing another list of movie facts, that some probably already know about. So I have just decided to go along with the facts about me, as in myself. Here goes nothing!

1. The only obsession that I have more than movies, is music. Anything you put in front of me I’ll listen too. Bonus Fact: Fav Band is indeed Nirvana. Don’t worry guys I love life.

2. My parents usually call me fat boy. It’s a nickname that I take in stride.

3. I barely ever play video games anymore, but when I do it’s always either Call of Duty (online of course), or Saints Row 2. Yeah, pretty weak game choice I know.

4. Except for C & C (Corn and Carrots), I dislike vegetables soo much. I know that their good for me and everything, but I just cannot stand the taste of some of the food. Like Broccoli, come on!

5. I do play drums, and I have been in two bands, each lasted about 3 months, maybe not even. But I still play drums, and trying to get another band together, I just need a new snare, that ish is ripped in half…nbd.

6. My favorite book of all-time is indeed Girl With a Pearl Earring. So many people hated that book, but I loved it soo much. I read a book almost every once and awhile, but when I do I get so into them. Other books I have read: Watchmen (I know it’s a graphic novel!), High Fidelity, The Road, and plenty of more.

7. Porn Star Name= Name of pet: Pearl, Name of Street you live on: Martin Dr. So my porn star name is Pearl Martin baby! Eat your heart out Dirk Diggler!

So now that everybody basically knows my life, I’m supposed to tag some playas in this. You guys don’t have to make a meme about yourself like I did, you can honestly make it about whatever you want to.

1. Mah bull Frank at Koungaroo

2. Silly Willy Mill1924 at CyniCritics

3. Lover Silver Emulsion at well, Silver Elmusion

4. The other Frank at Pompous Film Snob

Tag! You’re it!! Now do it!!!!

Team America: World Police (2004)

Putting the “F” back in WTF!?!?!?

“South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone apply their acerbic wit to global crime-fighting in this musical satire about an all-marionette police force that takes on the challenging role of keeping peace on a troubled planet. Wherever there’s a dictator itching to rule the world, Team America flies in to dismantle the government. The team’s newest recruit is Gary Johnston, a Broadway star who just may have found his true calling.

Parker and Stone are literally considered two of the biggest a-holes ever. They basically offend anyone: blacks, whites, celebrities, politics, even Jews, considering that Matt Stone is Jewish.

This film totally makes a mockery of any famous person, and does a pretty damn good job with it too. I love tongue-in-cheek films and this one wasn’t any different. Mostly the jokes are satire pointed at the government and how we put ourselves in situations that we don’t even belong in. Also, the whole general concept is too make fun of the big-budget action pic, with its cheesy lines, predictable story turn-outs, and crappy actors. All of these provide laughs, as well the fact that there is obviously plenty of sex jokes, and the F-bomb being delivered.

I also found it to be quite annoying. I understood that the puppets aren’t to be taken seriously cause their funny-looking, but come on, you can only do so many jokes about how funny a puppet walks so much. It gets dull by the last act, and it seems like their trying a little bit too hard for the non-stop laughs, but in ways it works.

I will give the film one thing, and that it is smart. It doesn’t have a side (democratic or republican), and it doesn’t even mention the white-house, or the war on terrorism. Instead, it uses a smart-ass appeal to make fun of any popular figure, who takes any news story seriously. It mentions 9/11, but it doesn’t get too out-of-hand with offending too many Americans that will see this film.

There is also some funny ass moments with the music: such as songs like I’m So Ronery, or the constant action, and sexual things they show. However, it’s all puppets so it doesn’t make any difference. Unless, you are that revolted by two puppets doing it.

Consensus: The satire may get dull by the last act, but Team America: World Police is full of hilarious satire, witty writing, as well as a smart approach to the ideas approaching war, and its subjects.


Jerry Maguire (1996)

The real d-bags, behind the other real d-bags.

After years of successfully navigating the shark-infested waters of sports management, Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) experiences a crisis of conscience and leaves his high-powered job behind, with one loyal football client (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and a starry-eyed co-worker (Renée Zellweger) in tow.

Jerry Maguire is a film that I see all over the world, is quoted all the time. Lines like: “Show me the money“, or “You had me at hello“, are phrases that never go away. So I finally get to see what all the quoting is about, and what do you know, there are reasons for this to be quoted non-stop.

The main reason this film works is because it is covering a lot of ground, but yet does not seem to get lost in all of it. Wonderful writer/director Cameron Crowe, who has great films like Say Anything…., and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, blends a wonderful deal of almost of almost everything for all to like. The humor in this film starts off strong, and does start to fall by the last act, but its witty appeal in the first 2 acts, is what makes it fun. The romance is even better, as it gives us a romance that at first doesn’t look like its going to happen, but somehow the script makes you have faith in it, and your cheering for it to work. Also, the overall sports element, that will have all dudes from around the world happy. We never get a huge picture on the world of sports like the other two elements, however, we still see what happens behind all these big-time athletes and what goes into them being big stars, and how much effort it really is. Crowe makes this film have a lot of likability, and most of that is due to the heart-warming feel, the film gives off.

However, I still feel like the editing was a bit flawed. It almost feels as if there are two films in here: one about the cut-throat operation of sports agents, and another one about the romance between two lost souls in a way. Both stories could have been made into completely separate films, and although it isn’t a huge flaw, I still feel the sports agent story could have been brought on more. Also, the romance between Cruise and Zellweger does feel a bit rushed and pushed into the viewers face, but I mean it works, obviously. But you can see they rushed into it, and may not be the best couple which kind of ruined the overall appeal of the romance for me, but not that much.

Tom Cruise gets a lot of crap for playing total jackasses like Jerry Maguire, but hey, he fits the role. Jerry is a deuche, and cares a bit too much about his job, and the chicks he bones (what else did you expect, it’s a Tom Cruise film), but by the end, he starts to go through a transition that is overall believable. Also, his charm is what adds a lot more to the likability of the character, so we’re not just stuck there watching a total ass, be big, rich, and have happiness. I hate how people will always be talking ish on Cuba Gooding Jr., saying he didn’t deserve the Best Supporting Actor win, but compared to him and Ed Norton‘s performance in Primal Fear, he is great. He is funny, and adds a lot of spunk to his character, that isn’t just because all black men are funny, but you can tell this guy is trying his hardest to be the next big thing in football, and its kind of great to see the chemistry between him and Cruise, cause they may seem so opposite, but they both share one love, money. It sucks that he isn’t doing crap, other than shitty straight-to-dvd movies, but he’s bound for a come back. I just know it! I have faith in you Cuba!! Renée Zellweger has never really been my favorite actress, but she gives out a breakthrough performance here, and gives us that cuteness she always does so well, and would help her later in life.

Consensus: Jerry Maguire may get caught up a bit too much, but blends a great deal of romance, sports, and witty comedy, backed by great performances from the cast, to create a likable, romantic dramedy helmed by great Cameron Crowe.


2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Makes me want to fly into space right now.

While investigating the appearance of mysterious monoliths throughout the universe, astronauts David (Keir Dullea) and Frank (Gary Lockwood) battle their ship’s intelligent computer, HAL-9000.

Questions about space are never answered. Many people sit and wonder about the actual mysteries of space, and what is really out there. I can count myself as one of those people, but thinking about a new life out there? That is what mostly brings up my curiosity.

The one thing about 2001 is that this film, like many of Stanley Kubrick‘s others, confuse the hell out of people. And this film, is really no different. Kubrick films this project with great style. The way he uses almost no dialogue, and replaces it with either, orchestra music, or just the sound of silence or breathing, he is adding a lot more to the mystery of space. He is trying to take us away from the story and more towards the idea of humanity, and where we came from, and what is out there.

However, a lot his style may turn off a lot of viewers. At times, I did find myself a little challenged by everything that was going on, because it is so different. Literally, the first three minutes are just pitch black, with a creepy-ass score, and that’s when I knew I was in for a big-ass ride. People will not just be taken back from the minimal dialogue, but also the extraneous amount of symbolic images, that people have no idea what they mean. The film is open to viewer’s, and for me I understood most of the symbolism, however, some people will find a lot of this, totally out of their comfort zone, because I questioned it too, if whether or not I knew exactly what was going on. But, it’s just the fact that Kubrick keeps this film together with a script that brings out so many questions, and ideas that we, as a society, have never thought about. Where did the first murder occur? How did it occur? When will technology take over the world to a point of where it is practically turning against us? How far will it go, till the point of the end of humanity? All these questions are brought up, and although some are answered, and some are not, we all know one thing that as humans, we may never know, until it actually happens. Its not just about the one human, but just as the human species in general.

I was totally blown away by those special effects. Kubrick uses a lot of hand-crafted puppet materials, that we’re later used in a very similar movie, but you didn’t hear it from me. It still astonishes me that this film was made back in 1968, where images like this were unheard of, and Kubrick got every single image, and effect right, whereas many films, that spend almost $1,000,000 on CGI-special effects, and can’t get it close to even looking right. The images of space, and the numerous space crafts that inhabit, are just beautiful. Mixed with the sound it really does give you sense of isolation, and adds to the overall effect that the film was going for. By the end, Kubrick uses certain colors, that just totally boggle your mind, and actually make you think what drugs you took, however, all of it adds to the overall effect of a place, farther than where our imagination can stretch.

The acting here is highly sub-par but that’s because there’s barely any dialogue, that can show off these actors talents. I have to give it the most to Douglas Rain, who does the voice of that evil-ass red-dot computer, HAL-9000. The best thing about HAL 9000 is that it is one of the first “robots” to be used as a harmful thing in a film. We always see how robots help us out through almost every time, but we never see how, and what happens when this piece of technology turns on us. Rain does a great job of voicing HAL because, he doesn’t show too many emotions, and just sticks with one tone of voice the whole movie. The last couple of scenes with HAL, are just heart-wrenching and will have you totally feeling upset over a robot. This adds a lot more over the idea of technology over humanity.

Consensus: Though some viewers may find themselves catching some z’s, others will be astonished. 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most influential sci-fi films of all-time that brings up great questions about humanity, and space, but has an incredible direction from Kubrick, that holds a lot of symbolism, and great visuals, of outer space. It has to be seen to believed.

9.5/10=Full Pricee!!!

Orphan (2009)

Why adoption isn’t always the best thing.

Picking up the pieces after their baby’s tragic death, the Colemans — Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard) — adopt 9-year-old Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) from an orphanage, but it doesn’t take long for Kate to see through Esther’s angelic façade. When John brushes aside Kate’s paranoid suspicions, Esther wreaks havoc on the world around her.

Imagine just losing a child, and then adopting one, having a bright future and everything just set out for this child, and then the kid ends up being The Good Son.

Orphan is different from some horror films because it gives us some good dark comedy, that is mixed with scares that get held off. You think that the shock is going to come right up, and then it gets taken back and saved for later, changing our trace of suspense.

However, those are the only things that are different. Other than that it turns into your typical “demon child movie”. I mean just looking at this chick, she’s scary, white, artistic, and most of all, of Russian decent. All those things just do not add up to a girl scout, and besides why would you choose this girl out of everyone else in the orphanage. I could have thought of about 1,000 other kids I would have chosen over this creepy one.

Also, there were many times where the film is just upsetting. Esther does all this mean stuff: like beating up a nun with a hammer, lighting tree houses on fire, and overall just being a total bitch. We never got a real sense as to why Esther did the crap she did to everyone in the family, only until the end, and its just too late, cause we can’t fathom any more with this chick. The way she takes advantage of her deaf little sister, is just really sad to watch, and took away a lot from the film. I wish they paid attention more to the relationship between the two parents and coping with their loss.

I will give the film one thing that it does well, and its that the performances are actually good. Vera Farmiga is perfect as the only one with sense in the film. She knows right away that somethings up with this girl, and doesn’t let her forget about it. Her character could have easily been one-note but she adds a lot more dramatic emotion, and a strength within her character. Peter Sarsgaard is also good here, because his act does bring out a good deal of dark comedy that almost works in the film’s favor. Isabelle Fuhrman is good too, but never really gets past the fact, that she’s just some evil little bitch, and hell give me some makeup, and a cute little hair cut, then I can be the next Esther.

The twist in the end is understandable, but other than that stupid, and won’t change how you feel about the film.

Consensus: Orphan has some good moments of dark humor, but doesn’t do much to add anything new to the horror genre, and becomes something like The Good Son or The Omen.


Tropic Thunder (2008)

Its funny, even the 4th time around.

This combat film send-up from director-star Ben Stiller tracks a group of actors who are forced to become real-life soldiers when they’re abandoned in the jungles of Southeast Asia. The all-star cast includes Robert Downey Jr. (in an Oscar-nominated role), Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey and Nick Nolte, with an unrecognizable (and Golden Globe–nominated) Tom Cruise playing a crude movie mogul.

For the most part, I have seen this film about 4 times, and almost every time I laugh more. When I first saw this, I didn’t quite get the satire the film was using, however, knowing more and more about the movie biz I understood everything that this movie was saying.

The script I have to say is very well-written with some of the best satire in a long time. The jokes here are centered towards anybody, because the films finds its ways to make fun of anyone and everyone: blacks, whites, homosexuals, mentally-challenged, drug addicts, and of course celebrities. All of these jokes are in bad taste, but almost every single gag works. Some people don’t understand the jokes because its jokes are more Hollywood based, so it will go over some people’s heads, but once you understand the joke, their actually very funny and smart.

However, I will say that some of the jokes were pretty stupid, and it seems like they were trying their hardest to get a lot of really funny jokes out there, and it just looked like they were trying too hard. Don’t get me wrong they were funny, but sometimes, it seemed like it was just itching for the laughs.

The cast is the main reason why this film works. Each star gets credit, cause they take the bait, by letting themselves be made fun of. Ben Stiller is the typical down-grading action star, Jack Black is the drug-addicted, fat comedy man, Brandon T. Jackson is playing the rapper-turned-actor, who can’ stop drinking booty sweat, and Jay Baruchel, is…well….the guy who’s just there. Each character makes fun of someone, and its easy to see who, but others will just go over your head.

The two best worth mentioning are obviously the only two that were nominated for awards. Robert Downey Jr., sometimes didn’t make any sense when he talked, but he is hilarious when I did understand him. He has the greatest lines of the whole movie, and brings nothing other than his A game, and makes everything funny. Tom Cruise, is also funny as hell. He brings a lot of random funny as hell moments, with his random out-bursts, and spoof of real-life agents.

Consensus: Tropic Thunder sometimes tries too hard to bring laughs, with some easily offensive ones, but is other than that, a hilarious spoof, that is boosted even more by the great performances.


Audition (1999)

Do not trust Asian chicks, sometimes you get one like this!

Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) has lived as a widower for too long and decides it’s time to marry again. But how will he find a wife? When a friend suggests he hold a fake audition to pick the right woman, he takes him up on it — only to realize that his choice may be a better actress than he bargained for.

The film starts off really slow. We get to know this dude, as he is coping with being alone for the rest of his life, and you can tell shits going to get out of whack, mostly cause of the ironic feel to all of it. However, I never really thought shit would get this out of whack.

It has a slow pace, but for the most part, it works. It builds up suspense, for the scenes when we see that she has totally lost it. Many scenes are filmed with no score, and creates this state of unsettlement within the story, and although the subject material is dark, it doesn’t get too dark until the end. It not only works as a suspense thriller, but also as a psychological thriller, where we are taken back by what actually is going on.

As many of you have heard, this is an extremly up-setting film. The violence in this film is gruesome, disgusting, but at the same time, made in an extraordinary. I couldn’t turn my head away, cause the violence doesn’t feel exploited, it is shot with no score, and all of the sound is concentrated on the shock of the violence, and the terror that is being shown.

Director Miike explores themes about the role of women in male-dominated Asian society, with the women taking their revenge in a jarring sequence that plays like a kick to the gut. The tone of the film shifts seismically between beginning and end, and Miike handles it seamlessly, moving from quiet, contemplative scenes to psychologically and graphically violent imagery. And although I was glad we fully understand why this chick, Eihi Shiina, was well told throughout the film, however, there are times when I feel like Ryo Ishibashi’s character was shown in a d-bag way. He is trying to pick up chicks using a fake film audition, I didn’t really see the coolness in that, so why would I want to cheer for this guy, let alone think of him as a protagonist. Also, the film is quite slow, and doesn’t quite speed up until basically an hour and thirty five minutes into it.

Consensus: Audition uses suspense, and psychological aspects well enough to convey senses of emotions, but is way too long for, especially when it all leads up to the final 15 minutes, and doesn’t seem that well thought out.


The English Patient (1996)

See not all Germans are bad, kind of.

Adapted from Michael Ondaatje’s acclaimed novel set against the backdrop of World War II, Anthony Mingehlla’s Oscar-winning drama stars Ralph Fiennes as a horribly burned pilot who recounts a tale of doomed romance to the nurse tending him (Juliette Binoche). As his story is revealed via flashback, so too are secrets about his identity and the depth of his passion for the woman he loved (Kristin Scott Thomas). Willem Dafoe co-stars.

The film is played out and in the style of old Hollywood films, such as Lawrence of Arabia, or Sunset Blvd. However, the way its structured makes it stand-out more from those classics.

The direction from great director Anthony Mingehlla is what makes this film great. I liked how we came into this story, not knowing much about any of these characters, especially, Fiennes, and through the flashbacks it all plays out as if its really happening. Too many times have these non-linear plot structures played out, and we are confused, and totally twisted up about what is actually happening, but with this it plays along to both stories, and they work hand in hand.

There are many aspects of this film that just make this amazing. It is shot so beautifully, with plenty of images in the desert of Egypt, while feeling like Indiana Jones, with the Persian set pieces, and actually looking realistic. The screenplay adds a lot more onto the subject material. Its a moving love story, but also shows the harsh realities that come with love, and especially when the love is dangerous, as we have here. There are moments of love that are happy and passionate, however there are plenty of times, that its sad, and can not work out. So much detail was put into this and you can just tell.

The problem with this film that plenty of others have had, was that it is that its too long. For me, I didn’t think it was totally long, however, there were parts that could have been cut out, along with the slow pace that it so dreadfully annoying at times. There were also moments in this film that I felt the love between Fiennes and Scott Thomas was a bit too self-absorbed. They didn’t quite think of anyone else when they were having this affair, and it kind of spiraled out of control, how we were supposed to feel pity for these lovers.

Ralph Fiennes, stars in his best performance, since the bad-ass Nazi, in Schindler’s List. He not only uses his charming looks to win the audience over, but there are plenty of times, that you can see the pain he goes through as this character trying to understand the way of true love. French actress, Juliette Binoche, is even better showing that she can use beauty, to convey the central innocence and likability within a character. Kristin Scott Thomas is great in her performance, and the scenes she has with Fiennes, are just sometimes spot-on with the chemistry. Willem Dafoe is a kind of random character, but still has some good moments when he’s on screen.

Consensus: Though terribly long at times, The English Patient still delivers a true, and moving portrayal of love, with powerful performances, and a direction that is beauty.

9/10=Full Pricee!!

House of the Dead (2003)


On an island off the coast of Florida, a college rave party is in full swing. But the kids’ X-laced escapades are soon interrupted by zombies and monsters that attack them on the ground, from the air and in the sea. Seems the freaks are ruled by an ancient ghoul named Castillo, who once upon a time searched for a fountain of youth and eventually found it — but at a hideous price.

I freakin’ loved the House of the Dead video games. That shoot-em-up style, mixed with the creepy atmosphere, and even better story line, it was just my child hood wrapped in game. So when somebody comes around and tries to make a mockery of it, ohhhh, you know I’m gonna be pissed!

OK, Uwe Boll, is a bad director, I get it! But this right here, is just terrible! I mean it didn’t even look like this guy was trying to make a good movie, or even a movie for that matter. It starts off slow as crap making me already want to kill myself, by the incredibly cliched script, where the teens are off on some shady island for a rave, which is supposed to be a tropical island, when the water is like brown. Then the film moves to the zombies, or in this case, “dead”, and lets just say the laughter comes right in.

These are single-handedly the worst looking zombies, I have ever seen in a film. At least, Night of the Living Dead’s ones, were at least acting like zombies, these ones just moved around like normal people, and didn’t even like bite people, just moved around, and were totally conscious about what they were doing.

But I was just mainly pissed, cause in all honesty, this could have been a great film, if they just stuck with the original story-line, or something of that nature. I mean the way Boll makes the action in this movie is nothing like the video game. He does stupid slow-mo shots, that had nothing to do with the game, and what’s even worse is how he randomly shows shots of action from the game, like he wants us to know that this is House of the Dead were talking about.

Consensus: Terrible, cliched, horribly written, and directed. That’s all I have to say.


Sid & Nancy (1986)

Romeo & Juliet, mixed with heroin. Lots and lots of it.

This gritty biopic portrays the relationship and downward spiral of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman) and his junkie girlfriend, Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb), from their first meeting soon after Vicious joined the iconic punk band to the tragic end of their story.

I love the Sex Pistols! They are the definitive punk group that had attitude, problems, snarling lyrics, and great songs to back it all up. But they were also known for having one of the more well-known suicidal figures of Rock, Sid Vicious.

You have probably heard the stories about him, and almost every one is true. But the film doesn’t just focus on how much of a crazy and wild character he was, it focuses on the love that he and Nancy Spungen shared. It shows some sides of Vicious’ rock playing, however, its more focused on how these two met, and how each of their actions together, actually effect themselves, and the people around them. So if your looking for a hard-kicking biopic on the Sex Pistols, this is not your film.

This movie had its problems of course, mostly with the script. Its not predictable, since you know how these two lived their lives, unless your not familiar, but there are just too many problems with the inaccuracies of the things that had to do with the band. The film focused a lot on Sid & Nancy, which I didn’t mind, but many facts like: how the Sex Pistols broke up, or how they performed with Sid half-way out of it on stage, were all too fake for me to believe. Also, at points it is a huge downer, that barely features any bright and shiny moments. I wasn’t expecting a film with rainbows and sun in the sky that’s about a love with heroin, but if you want to be depressed, this is the film.

People always ask: why make a film about two selfishly absorbed people, on the way to self-destruction? And for the longest time, I actually thought about that myself. However, the film is not only used to tell the story of love between these two, but also used as an anti-drug story. Drugs destroys everything, the music is gone, the lose is gone, they vomit and yell at the end more than they make love or music. There are a lot of scenes here that will effect you big time, and make you understand, what drugs do to you.

Gary Oldman is perfect for the role of Sid. Nowadays, he may not be viewed as the best pic for the role, however, back in the old days, he was perfect. He showed the attitude that made Sid Vicious famous, and also the mind-set of being lost in a world of heartbreak and drugs. Chloe Webb is also strong, here as Nancy, and plays this very annoying, and not so attractive character, to its finest. These two make a great chemistry and add a lot more to the film, especially when its just them two on screen.

Consensus: It may be a downer, but Sid & Nancy shows how a beautiful romance between two low-lives can actually be a beautiful thing, with great performances from the cast, and a great anti-drug message.


G.I. Jane (1997)

Changes any sexual fantasies I had about Demi Moore, forever.

Lt. Jordan O’Neil (Demi Moore), a Navy topographer chosen as a litmus test for women in combat. O’Neil trains with the elite but punishing Navy SEALs — and with a 60% dropout rate, no one expects her to succeed. But the steely-nerved and tightly muscled O’Neil attempts to prove everyone wrong. Viggo Mortensen co-stars as a crusty instructor who dishes out the grueling training regime.

A lot of people discarded this film due to its lack of an accurate portrayal of the Navy SEALS and their training- you can watch almost any documentary and will realize this is true, but who cares this is Hollywood! Where everything is totally wrong!

The screenplay is the one main thing that works, cause although it is still a big-blast summer action flick, the movie still has an idea. An idea that self-reliance, not self-pity, is the key to the feminist revolution, or any revolution. Ridley Scott directs this pick as if it were a documentary, showing the training, and how everything goes down behind closed doors, in the training, and the base itself.

The problem with this film is that there isn’t enough depth into this picture. The first part of the film raises the question as to if she’s going to make it or not, we already know the answer. But there were also parts that had to do with her sexuality, the love for her man back at home, or even the fact that she may have to go to war to fight. Some of these issues I wish were actually brought up, however, some of the stuff they had actually made it OK.

Demi Moore, is sometimes criticized for her mainly voice, and awkward body shape, however here she uses it to her advantage, and gives a great performance, probably her best. The role is demanding, using a lot of energy, strength, and muscle for the role, and Moore uses this all, even more. She looks the part, and can act the part, especially when she’s telling guys to “suck my dick”. Viggo Mortensen is good here as a guy that at first is a total d-bag, that you just wanna see get his ass beat, then, he’s suddenly a cool as hell dude.

Consensus: G.I. Jane doesn’t go far enough, but still features a great performance from Demi Moore, and an inspired script and direction from Ridley Scott.


Paris, Je T’aime (2006)

I love Paris, and I do want to go there. I just hope there isn’t so much love there, as it is in here.

Paris comes to life in this whimsical patchwork of 18 five-minute shorts united by a common theme — love in the City of Lights — and helmed by an international cast of filmmakers, including Gus Van Sant, Olivier Assayas and Alexander Payne. Natalie Portman plays an American actress who captures the heart of a blind student; Juliette Binoche is visited by a ghostly Willem Dafoe; Bob Hoskins solicits a prostitute’s advice on pleasing his wife.

The one thing about this film, is that there all just a bunch of short films, wrapped into a 2 hour film. There are so many stars, so many great directors here, that you would think it would be too hard to put them all into one film, when it could have been better, I still enjoyed it for the most part.

Some of the short stories are better than others, and not all of them are exactly about love. There are some very dark concerning with the deals about racism, drugs, homosexuality, death, and many more, and its not just one big love-fest.

The problem with this film is that some of these short stories just didn’t make any sense at all, and didn’t seem like they belonged. There was one with Elijah Wood, and this other chick as vampires, and it played out as a horror story, but made no sense as to why it was in the film, and what it had to do with the subject of love. There was one more, directed by Wes Craven, with Emily Mortimer and Rufus Sewell, that had to do with death or something like that, and it seemed just so stupid and took me right out of the film.

I have to give it to three directors who did the best with their showcases: Coen Bros., Alexander Payne, and Tom Tykwer. The Coen Bros. add in their own little flavor of whimsy, and it works with its hilarity. Alexander Payne strong fully closes out the film with a sad, but joyful, ode to Paris. However, the best here was indeed Tykwer’s who added in a great love story with Natalie Portman, but with a twist. The things he does with the camera in that short is just magnificent, and captured the whole essence that the film was going for.

Consensus: Some stories are better than others, and some had no intention of being there, but Paris, Je T’aime, works because there is enough wonderful whimsy, and love added to this spectacle.


Every Which Way but Loose (1978)

Sorry Clint, sometimes you can be the man, other times, I don’t know what the hell your doing!

Philo Beddoe (Clint Eastwood) is an easygoing trucker and a great fist-fighter. With two friends — Orville, who promotes prizefights for him, and Clyde, the orangutan he won on a bet — he roams the San Fernando Valley in search of cold beer, country music and the occasional punch-up. When Philo falls hard for sexy country singer Lynn Halsey-Taylor (Sondra Locke), he sets out to win her over.

I wish when it came to old 1970s comedies, I wish they were just all great “classics”. However, its kind of hard to say that, when there’s junk like this always sitting around.

This movie is in the Dukes of Hazzard vein that ruled the late 70s. Southern rock, Southern comedy… well, it all goes deep south right here. This movie was obviously just thrown together, which is a poor choice regardless of whether this is meant to be a farce or not. You have a good ole boy, who likes fighting to earn some extra money.. oh yeah, and he has a monkey. He won it in a fight, but it really doesn’t matter… its just another one of those idiotic messages thrown in here.

I am not a comedic snob, I love lowbrow as much as the next guy, but theres so little to laugh at in this movie. You’ll get a chuckle the first time they throw out the jokes, but you quickly realize how formulaic and predictable it all becomes and you just wait out the movie, basically predicting the whole thing. Philos epiphany at the end of the movie is the only sort of non-predictable part, but trying to salvage this train wreck in the last 5 minutes cant pull this movie out of the gutter.

The only possible good thing about this movie, is that there are slight great scenes of Clint Eastwood, just showing how much of a boss he actually is, but with a script like this, it’s very hard to actually branch out.

Consensus: Clint Eastwood tries his hardest, but the film’s terrible format of jokes, predictability, and overall sense of just being one stupid redneck fight after another.


Away We Go (2009)

It seems like all directors are taking the Indie road. Yes, Sam Mendes is next to follow.

Buoyed by the news that they are expecting their first baby, Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolph) embark on a journey to locate the perfect place on the planet to raise their child. But their quest inevitably yields many unexpected surprises.

Director Sam Mendes has always been known to make films about family dynamics (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road), but instead of depressing the crap out of us, like those other 2, he brings out a happier, lighter tone.

The screenplay here isn’t written by Mendes, instead is written by real-life couple, Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida. This was a very good idea, cause we can see how real people, in love talk to one another about passion for each other, parenthood, and most of all, life itself. Its also very well-written when it comes to the heart-warming comedy. There are set of quirks that feel genuine, and it makes you think that life isn’t always so god damn serious, there are actually the funny moments that happen. When I mean funny, I sure as hell do mean funny, I was on the floor laughing half of the time, but its not offensive, it’s more of a sweet type of humor.

I had a big problem with this movie, and I think many others that I knew did too. The movie was speaking more towards ages 30 and over, who are expecting children, and to be a good parent, and that didn’t really connect to me. I mean I’m 17 years old, and I have millions of children all over the world (PIMP), so this didn’t really stick out to me quite as well. Also, I had a problem with the film being a little bit too “indie”. The obvious acoustic folk songs, added with the scruffy people looking into space, made me feel like I’ve seen this movie before, but it seems like this is how most directors get their material to work.

The acting in this film, is what really stands out. I was expecting John Krasinski to just be Jim from The Office the whole time, you know “Jim”. However, he does create a likable, goofy character that we enjoy watching on screen. Maya Rudolph is even better here, showing that she just isn’t another SNL alumni trying to make it big, she actually can show a lot of emotion. They look and feel like a married couple (even though their not), and it adds a lot more to the charming appeal that the film is going for. The quirk is obvious when you see the witty side of supporting cast members who are all funny such as Catherine O’Hara, Allison Janney, Jeff Daniels, and the best, Maggie Gyllenhaal. She’s funny even though crazy, and weird, creating the most unlikable kind of people, rich hippies, thought I’d never say that in my life.

Consensus: Away We Go may kind of get stuck trying to relate to one certain group, with obvious quirks, but is an overall charming, likable experience, that shows the true hard-ships of parenting, as well as the humor, with good performances.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Probably the Citizen Kane of video game movies.

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Prince Dastan, who pairs with spunky Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) to keep the Sands of Time — a mystical dagger that gives its holder control over the flow of time — from falling into the wrong hands and putting the world in peril.

There haven’t been many good video game adaptations: Resident Evil is probably the best, even though that kind of sucks too. So when we finally get a good one, it brings out a lot of hope for a genre that was basically dead before it even started.

Right from the beginning you can tell this is based off a video-game mostly cause it plays out like one. The action in this game is very exciting, with plenty, and I do mean plenty, of CGI. Mostly cause I was a fan of the video game, I was interested in seeing this, and if they actually stayed true to the source material, and surprisingly they did. The idea of the sword, being able to push you back in time, was a lot like the video game by the way it looked, and the daring stunts, as well as fun action, made me feel, like I’m playing the game all over again.

This film although may be fun, still has plenty of faults. There is not a single memorable moment to be honest. I mean its a fun film, with great action, but nothing in my mind really stands out from watching this film. I was glad that they decided to use a big-budget, unlike other video game adaptations that look cheap and stupid, but the effects still don’t seem realistic that much, and a little too corny. When the story slows down, to focus on Dastan and Tamina, I couldn’t help but to catch some z’s. These parts of the film just left me out of the film, and I wasn’t brought back in until all the action started back up, then I was interested once again.

Jake Gyllenhaal shines in his role as Prince Dastan. He’s likable, and charming, and instead of playing against type, he actually brings in that boyish charm he has with his action role, and it works well. Gemma Arterton is also good, and actually does have some acting to back up her wonderful, and gorgeous looks. Ben Kingsley is cheesing it up, but is barely on the screen as much so its hard just to critique him, when he’s on for like 15 minutes the whole film. Alfred Molina, is perfect in his role as the dude who hates taxes (Iraq symbolism???), and steals almost every scene he’s in and brings a lot of comic relief to this film.

Consensus: It may not be the most memorable, and sure as hell not the best thought out film, but Prince of Persia is still a faithful video game adaptation, that features charming performances, and enough action to satisfy.


You Don’t Know Jack (2010)

HBO can actually make some damn good movies.

Al Pacino stars in this enthralling biopic that focuses on the life of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the controversial physician who boldly advocated the legalization of euthanasia and personally helped over 100 terminally ill patients commit suicide.

Dr. Jack Kevorkian is one of the first public speakers to be brought into this assisted suicide deal going down in today’s world, and is sometimes is referred as Satan or the Devil.

I don’t want to bring out any of my opinions on assisted suicide or anything like that, because that will just spur a whole bunch of other drama, but that is the main reason to see this movie. It doesn’t matter what side your on, cause your view won’t change as much, although it actually does bring up some good points.

There is times when director Barry Levinson could have easily just stood up for Kevorkian, and say that he was a wrongly convicted man and such, however it does none of that. Whatever your feeling is on this topic, you will be intently watched every scene and see the personnel struggles/egos/pain of many different characters. Like the movie states in its title..”You Don’t Know Jack”. You only think you know about the Kevorkian story but upon viewing this movie, you will have a much better understanding.

The problem with this film is that some parts are better than others, and its just really slow in parts. Also, the story was a little lacking. Some of the more interesting things he did in life are either left out or glossed over. He was a jazz musician, but we only get like one scene of that, and he was also jokester, we never got to see that either.

Al Pacino, I have to give it to him, shows that he is a great actor. There just those certain performances, where you can’t get past the fact that the actor is playing somebody else, and you just see them as the actor. For me, I saw Pacino as Kevorkian, nothing else. Really, Pacino has some great scenes where he does his usual freak-out, but he also doesn’t act like some other characters he’s played in the past.

Consensus: Whatever your opinions are, You Don’t Know Jack is a great, moving biographical pick on a media figure, that although was misunderstood, still had many problems, all played perfect by a once again great, Pacino.


Catch Me If You Can (2002)

In today’s world, Leonardo is being chased around all over the country. However, it’s not by Tom Hanks, just millions upon millions of screaming girls.

Frank W. Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a cunning con man — posing as a doctor, lawyer and pilot all before turning 21. He’s also a deft forger, and his work attracts the attention of FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), who makes it his mission to put Frank behind bars. But Frank not only eludes capture, he revels in the pursuit, even taking time to taunt Carl by phone.

Steven Spielberg is most known for making viewers bring the kleenex out with movies such as E.T., or Schindler’s List. So it’s kind of a refresher to see when he isn’t trying to make us cry, and is more or less trying to make us have a good time, without pulling our hearts out.

Spielberg does something very well in this movie, and that’s totally keep us entertained throughout the whole 141 minutes. The movie is a drama/thriller with little bits of comedy that actually work quite well. Some people will complain about it dragging on too long, however, I think it didn’t drag on enough, and was satisfied with the time it was allowed. It was surely great to see how this character was put into all these situations, but yet seemed to find a way to con his way out of them. The best thing about those situations, is that almost all of it is true. He basically got away with anything, due to his will to charm the best of them.

The one thing that really makes this film work is that it focuses on Abagnale Jr., not as being a petty con man, but more of a victim of a lost child-hood, and who is so ashamed of his own parents divorce, creates his own identities, to get away from his “real” one. I think the problem with showing Abagnale Jr. in his later life, early in the film was a mistake, particularly because it seems that the pattern of the story-telling is a bit mixed.

I have to say that if there was a film that really started showing audiences that he can really act, this is the film where it all started, for Leonardo DiCaprio. This character could have been so easily hated, and so unlikable, however, DiCaprio somehow makes it like you want to see this guy get away from the cops, and actually never be found forever, even though he is robbing the country dry. There are plenty of moments where DiCaprio just shows his beautiful artistic ability, especially when it comes to him almost breaking his act, and coming clean with what he is doing, overall its just a performance to see.

It was also great to see Tom Hanks working again. You know, he does these star-turning roles every once and awhile, however we barely see him get lost in roles, to where we don’t think its him, and these are one of those roles. Hanks is serious, but yet he is so serious, that its actually pretty funny. Must I not forget to mention Christopher Walken is in this! He, as usual, is just perfect, and there is just one scene between him and Hanks actually on-screen, and it is actually very remarkable to see, but its still vintage Walken at its finest.

Consensus: This story could have been used so wrong, however Spielberg uses great pace, and great character study to make this film a refreshing film, with even better performances from the cast.

9.5/10=Full Pricee!!!