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Posted on 8/30/11 07:12 PM
Fair Game starts off exciting and engaging but ends up being quite awful and unsatisfying. Despite its ending, the film handles the process of mishandling intelligence and facts for political manipulation fairly well, especially from the perspective of those insiders involved. Its actually a great story about how those in power get to abuse the integrity of professionals.
However, this story stops working as a film when it relies on Valerie Plame leaving Joseph Wilson as the plot point for the conclusion. The 3rd act ends up a schmaltzy vomit-inducer as Plame is finally convinced to testify before Congress all while Sean Penn delivers a pseudo-narration, à la Commissioner Gordon at the very end of The Dark Knight.
Director Doug Liman should have known better: scenes of standing ovations completely disarm films of their seriousness and immediacy. It works for films like Mr. Holland's Opus but not for Fair Game because such a happy ending has in reality eluded us all. We are still paying for the damages done by that Presidency.
Posted on 7/11/11 11:10 AM
Christ on a stick! It takes some seriously dull, unimaginative ignorance to call this god-awful movie "powerful". I was prepared to watch this without any consideration to the annoying historical Truth that this exact story was used to incite persecution toward Jews and other peoples in Europe. Though I personally did find that the overall Jew-baiting to be pretty toned down (it could've been much worse), this movie's reason to exist is a mystery when its taken out of that sort of context.
The laborious efforts taken to recreate a real, gritty, historically accurate environment, faithful to fundamental Bible interpretations, and the attempts at true language use would have been highly impressive, BUT ...
... what was the deal with Jesus inventing dining room furniture? Yea, I get the metaphor that's going on here, but I dont ever recall THAT being in the bible. Another example of how no director can stay faithful to the source material, unable to resist drastic rewrites even when they are making the Mother of All Source Materials.
Thus, all that impresses from this movie are the amazing make-up effects and blood and gore, admittedly very worth watching - Making this movie a highly commercially successful snuff film.
Posted on 7/08/11 12:27 PM
If the god-awful Passion of the Christ needed to be made for this masterpiece to exist then so be it. A beautifully and expertly made movie about the unsettling elements of civilization. It effectively drives the point that the threats of persecution, violence and despair can never disappear. You might think your own life is pretty safe right now but really how secure IS that job of yours?
The film becomes especially profound when it is thought about as commentary on the emergent effects of urbanization, corporatization, and mass media. The embodiment of how morality is not constant and always at the mercy of a people's state of desperation or security.
What's great about Apocalypto is that the outcome from the conflict between the protagonist and antagonist have no bearing whatsoever on the plight of the overall population. The force driving this great civilization to ultra violence is not attributable to simply a tyrannical overlord or to a corrupt small group of individuals subverting peacefulness - No, it is the very CONDITION, the overall CIRCUMSTANCES which these people live under enabling this treachery: there is starvation, disease, hopelessness, insecurity ... a total state of DESPERATION felt by the whole of these people which is breeding superstition and cruelty.
Further unsettling is when the Catholic, cross-wielding Spanish approach the beaches in their ships. As the film ends we know that more slaughter is to follow, now from the hands of Europeans - However unlike the indigenous peoples, they slaughter not out of desperation to survive, but rather because of their desire for conquest and luxury: ultimately being strongly critical of the disingenuous use of Christianity to legitimize the whims of the ruling class.
If Gibson was indeed going for a message on the consequences of indigenous people worshiping their false gods in a false religion then its a relief that this message was completely lost on me. Christianity comes off looking just as bad. I feel the ideas in this film are much bigger than what he may have personally envisioned and intended.
Posted on 7/08/11 02:20 AM
What really bothered me: a whole bunch of randomness, circumstance, failed CGI spectacle, and not to mention that skull prop which no one on set pointed out to be hideous. All that up until the end only for Indy to say, "it was knowledge, the aliens were after knowledge!" It was the worst payoff anyone could stick into a disastrous second half. The noble theme of knowledge-seeking is reduced to a few moments of "look what our computers have rendered." I enjoy visuals and epic special effects but not when theres an absence of any emotive.
What a tremendous disappointment. I was buying the story until about halfway and it seems like I am the only one who actually loved the refrigerator bit: I mean, if there ever was a slight chance of surviving a nuclear blast then surely Indiana would. But after they leave for Peru is when I gave up trying to accept that this was something as profound as the Trilogy.
There was no reason to bring back Marion; Mutt's mother should have been left unknown and unexplained. I would think Indiana has almost a dozen other Mutts around the world, so why the wholesome family image? Its the same revisionism akin to Greedo shooting first. Marion's presence does not legitimize this movie, and neither does injecting a shot of the Ark of the Covenant.
The action makes the movie slightly redeemable despite the weak villains. The Russians were right to be upset at this movie since the Soviets were portrayed as so ridiculously non threatening. Cate Blanchett is awesome but there was definitely something lacking in the villains. Secret Nazis in Argentina would have been much more interesting and made more sense.
The vine swinging fiasco of course could have only been enjoyed as a deleted scene while stoned.
I am not even going to trash the sappy wedding at the end. With all the misplaced setups and characterizations throughout this mediocre adventure, its the only sort of ending which makes any sense.
Posted on 6/27/11 10:09 PM
Judging the hatred surrounding this movie its apparent that an alcoholic and misogynistic date-raping protagonist is unacceptable in a silly spy thriller ... unless he has an English accent. Terminal Velocity, with all its problems, is still a much more enjoyable, exciting and satisfying action film than the god-awful majority of the 007 movies.
Posted on 6/27/11 09:07 PM
Has your buddy ever sent you an email to get you to watch an unsuspecting picture or video and you're supposed to be looking for something innocuous when suddenly pops up a grotesque monster with loud screams in an attempt to shock you into fright? Well that's basically Paranormal Activity.
For what it tries to accomplish it does a good job but honestly I felt nothing from this movie. However, the performances are really good and I would highly recommend watching this just for the Dr. Fredrichs character - his final scene is absolute brilliance.
Ultimately I came out of the theater thinking: 'tweenage girls would probably enjoy this.