Posted on 4/04/10 01:38 PM
A comedic, romantic, action-packed retelling of the epic struggle between men and the pantheon of Greek gods.
Despite the fact that the entire premise of the movie is based on "how the cruel gods have wronged us", not a single example is given and in fact the movie starts off with a group of soldiers inexplicably tearing down the mighty statue of Zeus. Okay?
The "council" of gods on Mount Olympus is rather simplistic and, to put it bluntly, stupid. It's only the grandmaster Zeus giving orders to everyone else or just doing everything himself -- nothing at all like the actual relationships found in Greek mythology. A more pointless group of deities you would be hard-pressed to find.
In fact, the true conflict is not between men and gods but rather between Zeus and Hades, and while both characters are well designed and acted, the rivalry renders much of the rest of the plot meaningless. For example, Hades tricking Zeus to "release the Kraken" when apparently he could do this any time he wished anyway. And if Hades feeds off of the people's fears while the rest of the gods feed off their prayers, it would seem a thousand times more logical to go into the city of men, "Argos", and destroy it himself, which he was clearly capable of doing.
And of course the laughable idea that even though the King of Argos refuses to sacrifice his daughter to appease the gods, they take no further action and simply wait for the Kraken to appear and destroy them as the deadline looms. Okay...
The worst part, however, has got to be the dialogue. Absolutely atrocious, unbearable, and bland beyond belief. Here is a para-phrasing of one particularly bad sequence:
"You are a demi-god"
"I don't want to be a demi-god"
"You'll always be a god"
"But I choose to be a man"
And that settles the argument. Yeah, it's that bad.
But with all that said, there are is a good amount of redeeming value in this movie. Skip the first and last 10 minutes of the movie and you actually have a great adventure story full of palpable action and drama.
Overall, however, the movie tries to go in too many directions and yet still leaves so much unexplained and head-scratchingly void of logic, despite its Greek-era setting.
Posted on 3/07/10 09:48 PM
The familiar story about a Victorian-age girl falling down a rabbit hole and encountering a fantastically imaginative and compelling world inside.
The hectic pace and hidden emphasis of this movie is completely different from the Disney version, a version that many of us are most familiar with, which I believe has caused the majority of negative reviews for the movie. With an open mind for the director's own personal message and direction, I don't believe that enjoying this film is difficult.
There are times when Johnny Depp's dialogue is difficult to understand, and the narrative sequence just a bit too hurried, but overall it's not a bad piece of moviemaking. The climax and ending are surprising enough to leave the viewer with a inspirational feeling of making the impossible possible.
Posted on 2/27/10 10:39 PM
A story about a town that is infected with virus that "destabilizes the population" and the resulting coverup / containment by the government.
While cliche in the many typical ways that most zombie movies are, in this particular case the plot and suspense are executed almost flawlessly. It plays it safe for the most part, never letting the developments get out of hand and beyond what the viewer might reasonably expect. I was even able to anticipate what would happen in the next few seconds on several occasions, and yet mysteriously that didn't prevent me from enjoying the event.
For the avid zombie-flick fan, this will be a welcome addition to your collection. To the average viewer, this will be a reasonably enjoyable experience that won't rock your sensibilities too far.
Posted on 2/21/10 03:26 PM
The story revolves around a U.S. Marshall who is called to an island off the Washington coast that houses criminally insane patients to investigate an escape attempt.
Going in one solid direction, the movie suddenly shifts gears and heads along a completely different path. While normally this would have adverse effects on the power of the movie, Scorsese pulls it off flawlessly and stays very loyal to the plot of the original novel (so I'm told). It gradually builds towards one expected climax, then completely reverses itself and you are shocked with an entirely different outcome. I am not one to "jump" at movies, no matter how many zombies jump out of dark corners. But this movie truly made me jump at one point, rocking me to the core.
There are also a number of historical elements that I also appreciate -- pulling you into the era and setting in such a way that you really get a feel for the psychiatric industry in 1954 -- not humankind's best hour, unfortunately.
Posted on 2/14/10 11:29 AM
A movie that attempts to explain and demonstrate both the origins of the werewolf and how its curse spreads from one person to another.
Instead of saving these points for perhaps a final dramatic "revelation" or "surprising twist", these ideas are laid out in a nonchalant, ordinary manner that is neither surprising nor amazing. The appearance of Gollum from Lord of the Rings is especially troubling.
The love story seems forced and contrived; the only real tension is between the son, the father, and the investigator. While these three actors (Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving) do their best trying to save the muddled flow of the movie, ultimately the entire project fails to deliver any meaningful suspense or drama.
Speaking of which, the audience is not given a single victim of the massive violence that they would be remotely concerned about, which, given the high body count, is actually quite a remarkable feat.
The only merits of the movie are the relatively high production values of the CGI action and backgrounds, such as the climax between two werewolves and the moon sequences. But even the climax leaves something to be desired...that sticky feeling in your mouth after drinking a warm can of flat diet soda.
Posted on 2/04/10 09:09 AM
A powerfully realistic, character-driven narrative into the external and internal conflicts of living in a daily war.
When a safety-conscious and by-the-book bomb diffuser is killed on duty, he is replaced by a hardened, brash, at times suicidal leader, causing intense strains on the team relationships. Success leads to weary acceptance by the other members, but also highlights their differing points of view as they become more comfortable with themselves. One member feels the urge to have a son before he is killed. The leader already has a child, but can only think of returning to the hazardous work in between tours.
The action is raw, seemingly unscripted (like a documentary) and intensely suspenseful. The emotions are fluid and dynamic, responding to the events as they transpire. This movie has no discernible flaw; the ending leaves you with a sense both pride and despair. A complex mix that brings out the kind of introverted reflection only war can.
Posted on 1/15/10 04:05 PM
A wonderful adaptation and reinvention of Sherlock Holmes, giving us a fresh and livid depiction of the late 19th century. The true conflict of the movie is not between Holmes and the villain but rather a neurotic, introverted Holmes struggling to maintain his smothering partnership with newly-engaged, bright-future Watson.
The action is always engaging, the criminal love-interest a welcome change to pattern, and the friendly bantering between Holmes and Watson always amusing. The only drawback to the movie is the lackluster climax at the end, which is the only reason it gets a 90% instead of 100.
Posted on 1/15/10 03:26 PM
Rarely has a movie with such a cookie-cutter, ordinary and predictable plot (think Dances with Wolves, FernGully, and Pocahontas) done so well at the box-office. $400 million really can buy you happiness!
News Flash! Raping the landscape for resources and displacing the natives is a bad thing! OMG!
The movie tries to throw out the angle of "betraying one's species" and the internal struggle in which that contains, but at no point did I ever feel that Jake or the others would think twice about taking the Na'vi side. Get it? Native....Na'vi? Oh, and don't forget about the Flux Vortex (wasn't it Inverse Vortex in an earlier trailer?) and the planet name - Pandora. Oh, as in, be careful when you open Pandora's box, you may just get what's coming to you...or a really unique way of listening to internet radio.
Getting to the CGI, while most people raved about it, I was not impressed at all, even with the 3D version. I felt more connected and drawn into the POV of Cloverfield than I did in this 100% fabricated world which had no limit in where it could place the camera. The only thing that saved this movie was the large battle scene, in which we finally feel some angst and hardship as friends start dropping like flies.
I could also see the corporate angle the movie tried to push, but by the end of the movie you entirely forget about the corporate head-honcho guy until he reappears -- being escorted off of the planet. It would've been nice to drop a lot of the melodramatic nature stuff (we get it, nature is good, people bad) and mention a coming retribution by the humans, who won't take kindly to being kicked out. You know, an actual drawback to the otherwise perfect-in-every-way natives because they don't fully understand the mechanisms of the wide universe (kick us out, expect payback).
I also thought the references to the Iraq war were a little too obvious, with phrases like "preemptive strike" and "shock & awe campaign". The fact that truck-loads of humans were killed in battle is also completely forgotten by the end of the movie.
Overall, I think what we see in the movie is a one-sided, idea-plagiarized, generic and mostly unremarkable spectacle that perks your interest on occasion but fails to really speak to anybody's soul...unless you have a pony tail that can speak to trees, of course.
Posted on 12/18/09 04:07 PM
One of the best movies of all time. Tarantino once again brings us long periods of engaging, enjoyable dialogue pierced with horrifically soul-gouging violence. Lulled to sleep almost at times before being shocked to the core. The historical background is done flawlessly and really gives us a feeling of Nazi-occupied France. The characters are all driven by either simple or complex motives that interact compellingly on-screen without a hint of contrivance, making the major plot twist very believable. Only a director like Tarantino can get people to cheer out of their seats on multiple occasions in a single movie -- this is one of those movies.
Posted on 12/18/09 03:48 PM
This is one movie so bad it belongs in the same league as Episode I: the Phantom Menace -- it shouldn't exist. The sequel will no doubt be spectacular given the developments of the last few minutes of this movie; the other 2 hours or so can be easily forgotten as unmemorable and frivolous. The characters have no personality, either as heroes or as people. The villians have no personality, either as villians or people either. The action gives no feeling of suspense or drama and it might as well be drawn out as stick figures on a notepad and then thumbed over to animate (which probably would be more entertaining)
Here's to hoping that enough studios/producers aren't scared off by this pointless prequel and bring us what we really want: a world dominated by Cobra and the Joe's as the only hope for freedom.