The X-Files: I Want to Believe (The X Files 2) Reviews
The film overall lacks the Horror Sci Fi elements that made the first one great. Still watchable. Just expect something average while watching this film.
This movie was a better than average thriller that stood on its own apart from any knowledge of the characters going in.
I think this is what made diehard fans upset...we didn't need to be privy to much beforehand to make this movie work.
It is a hardcore thriller that speaks to the true evil in men's hearts as well as a bit of the supernatural. The performances were solid as was the storyline.
The movie does not rely on gimmicks or special effects. There aren't big explosions or frenetic gunplay. There is just a story and a lot of tension.
I think it played quite well.
Were some of the ways they resolved certain issues unbelievable? Yeah, but...I want to believe (had to do it...sorry for that).
The movie was taut, dark and sometimes difficult to watch and I challenge the fanboys (which I am one of) to give me a reason that this did not work for you outside you expecting your old pals Mulder and Scully to play to you. They don't.
This brings me back to the early days when Carter really put his heart and soul into the writing of X-Files and Millennium.
Far superior to the first X-files movie which only sought to tie up loose ends. This film is a 3.75 solid moving on 4 stars.
There is a compelling mystery for the first half of the film, accompanied by a defrocked priest/pedophile who suddenly has visions that lead him to clues. So far, so good - you can believe him, or... but then the coincidences mount up, and several charactors become characatures; throw in a totally gratuitous chase scene (that has little to no tension) and it's goodbye plausability and interest.
In the end, the villians seem rather mundane (as I suppose they should be, as they were just "doing their job") with the reality aspect of having them not even speak English totally derail any sense of hatrid or interest. So some Russian scientists decide to play god - why might have made an interesting question; but that falls by the wayside.
I suppose it's only natural to compare this film with a tv series (any series, not just the one that spawned it) - and really, there are several tv shows being filmed today that leave this feature length film in the dust.
But like most supernatural stories, it just isn't true.
Everything that made The X-Files unique and magical was completely absent from this film. For instance, Scully always acted on her emotions, and now that she is a doctor, she now rationalizes everything. In fact, I found her new role to be extremely annoying. Scully, played by Gillian Anderson, looked 10 years older and she didn't fit the part any more. It was sad to see....
David Duchovny, as Mulder, looked like he hadn't aged a day. He still nailed his role very convincingly...
Where this film ultimately fails is the plot. It's ludicrous and dry. There was hardly anything paranormal about it. It was just a very average crime flick. In the era of CSI, it's laughable to create such a story that is only pieced together by a ridiculously trite subplot of a pedophile priest who seeks forgiveness from God by helping the FBI with his "visions." This guy is the only reason they find their clues. It's extremely lazy script writing.
I gave it higher marks than it deserved because I'm a fan of The X-files, but this franchise deserves better than this crap. If this franchise wasn't dead before this film, it definitely is now. What a bad way to go out....
Nate's Grade: C+
The Visitor - The follow-up by Thomas McCarthy, the writer/director of the sparkling Station Agent, is an affecting indictment on our nation's immigration policies that manages to say a lot of important things in small touches, ditching histrionic messages. Walter (Richard Jenkins, in a commanding and deeply empathetic performance) discovers a pair of illegal immigrant squatters living in his seldom-used New York City apartment. He strikes up an unlikely friendship that moves in subtle strokes that keeps the movie very character-based. The second half of the film revolves around Walter's attempts to work within the system to free his new friend from detention. I could have spent more time with Walter and Tariq, the Syrian immigrant who teaches Walter how to play the African drum. The Visitor explores a man learning in his autumn years how to reconnect with people, and it has moments of astonishing emotional clarity. McCarthy is a filmmaker that can spin narrative gold from just about anything; The Station Agent had a hot dog vendor, a single mom, and a dwarf. The Visitor is further proof that McCarthy is an extremely talented man who knows how to target and tap the humanity of his unique characters. There are very few moments in this movie that feel false.
Nate's Grade: B+
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day - The movie seems to float on the effervescent air of 1930s screwball comedies, and in truth it does possess some of that snappy allure. Francis McDormand travels into the inner circle of the upper social classes in London and befriends a bubbly lounge singer, played by bubbly actress Amy Adams. The film moves at a ridiculously fast pace, sometimes too fast as it tries to pile on complications and setbacks. This day-in-the-life confection is sweet and well natured but rather too digestible. Once the movie is over I do not see myself ever dwelling upon it once again. It's a pleasant and entertaining experience even if it dances right out of your memory.
Nate's Grade: B
Man on Wire - Why? That's likely to be the question on many people's minds when this documentary concludes. Why did effete Frenchman Philippe Petit decide to walk on a tight rope between the World Trade Center towers in 1974? Why devote an entire feature-length documentary to a subject that seems pretty limited? Well, Man on Wire is certainly an engaging film; amusingly, director James Marsh structures the flick like a heist movie, where we watch Petit assemble his team and practice his stunt. There is a sense of beauty watching a man balance on a wire hundreds of feet above the ground. The film also has colorfully French characters to fill in the details on how they pulled off the "artistic crime of the century." Of course any modern art dealing with the World Trade Center is given new meaning, and Man on Wire is aided by added poignancy of watching the building construction and then the daring feats of Petit. I confess, though, that I'm dumbstruck at this movie being declared the finest documentary of 2008. It's a good movie, sure, but not even the fourth best documentary I've seen in a doc-heavy year. The footage of Man on Wire is more amazing than the story behind how it happened.
Nate's Grade: B
Hellboy II: The Golden Army - I hated the first Hellboy, dubbing it the second worst film of 2004. The fact that I enjoyed the sequel is nothing short of shocking. Honestly, I think this mumbo jumbo is easier to swallow when it's more fantasy based than science fiction based. I can accept an alternative magical world filled with elf princes, troll markets, and tiny "tooth fairy" creatures that act like piranhas with wings. Nazis and Zombie Rasputin trying to open a portal to giant squids? What the hell are giant squids going to do against nuclear bombs? I'm sorry, that's powerfully stupid and unacceptable. Hellboy II is even more imaginative and far more enjoyable. Writer/director Guilermo del Toro has refined the world and makes sure his story follows the rules it sets, which means that while the plot gets crazy it doesn't feel cheap. I actually had some fun with Hellboy II and del Toro knocks out some pretty crafty action sequences. As expected, the makeup and creature designs are impeccable, which may explain why I had more fun watching the various magical creatures than following Nazis and slime wolves in the first flick. The lithe Angel of Death is particularly startling, with a head like a fried calzone and eyeballs dotted along expansive bird wings. This is a film that feels much more confident about its identity, thanks in part to getting rid of the rookie main character from the first film and focusing on the big red guy. If del Toro ever makes a third Hellboy film, I can honestly say I'll be highly intrigued to see what weird wonders he cooks up. This statement is astounding considering I felt that there was only one 2004 film worse than the original Hellboy.
Nate's Grade: B[/color][/font]
Think of a bad X-Files episode. Then make it 104 minutes long. Put Fox Mulder in a big fake beard. Have Dana Scully solve the mystery by web searching ?stem cell research?. There. I just saved you watching X-Files: I Want To Believe.