A friend recently summed up my review writing rather eloquently...it's irreverent. I am bitter, cynical and downright unhappy with current-day cinema in general because I am convinced it is suffering from an unprecendented level of pathetic mediocrity. The reason? Big corporations own all the movie production houses now and their goal is to make money, not produce intelligent cinema. They cater to the masses and, let's face it, the masses are about as brainless as a corpse after a zombie has had its way with it. Artistic, creative and provocative films are slowly dying because they dont generate enough revenue for the corporations. It's much like what's happened to the recording industry. Jack Black was right in "School of Rock" The corporations are ruining everything and we're letting it happen.
That's why we see nothing but pointless sequels ad nauseum and all the Godforsaken remakes (if a movie sucked when it was first released 30 years ago what in the HELL makes you think it won't suck now????) The latest craze that drives me bat guano crazy? The films turning non-violent literary heroes into action stars. Sherlock Holmes firing a gun? Edgar Allan Poe as an action hero? Jack from the beanstalk acting like Aragorn? WTF????? What's next? George Washington: Kung Fu Master????
I don't pretend to know anything, but I DO know what my heart tells me and I trust it when it comes to cinema so my reviews reflect this disdain. If you truly consider yourself a movie nut please feel free to add me. I always welcome new friends. Just know, I might trash your favorite movie. Badly. Don't take it personally. I won't get upset if you trash my faves. All's fair in love and cinema.
WHAT I LOVE THE MOST ABOUT GOING TO THE MOVIES...
-- Getting to the cinema early enough to get the best seat in the house and seeing all the trailers (I hate those damned commercials).
-- When the cinema sells Peanut M&Ms (those who don't SUCK).
-- When I sit down at the theatre and the floor isn't sticky from someone else's soda being dropped the viewing before.
-- Getting the high score on the lobby video game while waiting for a movie.
-- Trailers for movies I've been waiting YEARS to see.
-- When it's just me and the big screen.
-- A movie that moves me to applaud.
CINEMATIC THINGS I HATE THE MOST...
-ALL THE GODDAMNED REMAKES. The only passable movie remake I've seen in the last 20 years was True Grit and even then I was still miffed at the audacity of remaking a John Wayne classic. What's next? A new Casablanca????? (knock on wood) Producers should be dickpunched for such cinematic blasphemy.
-- Good looking but terrible actors and actresses, especially when they take themselves seriously and believe they actually have acting ability. Yes, I'm talking to YOU Tom Cruise.
-- The unholy alliance of Jerry Bruckheimer/Joel Schumacher/Michael Bay. I liken this alliance to opening the 7th Seal of the Apocalypse...only instead of the 4 Horsemen you have stupid plots with really big explosions, too much CGI, and Shia LaBouef (gasp!)
-- Nicolas Cage playing himself in all his films
-- Ignorant morons sitting behind you who can't keep their mouths shut during a film.
-- Walking into the theatre itself and the trailers are already playing. I LOATHE that.
MOVIE GENRES I LOVE THE MOST...
-- Classic Noir
-- Classic Westerns that don't turn into musicals.
-- Anything by Clint Eastwood and Sean Connery. Even their crappy movies are good.
-- Non-hokey musicals (Phantom of the Opera, The Sound of Music, Les Miserables, Moulin Rouge.)
-- Most sci-fi, fantasy and action/adventure films that have GOOD special effects and don't star Tiffany and Debbie Gibson (i.e. everything produced by the Sci-Fi Channel).
-- Anything Martin Scorcese makes. Dark, edgy, smart and well-acted masterpieces.
-- Anything directed by Kubrick, Hitchcock, Robert Altman and Francis Ford Coppola...in the days after his nervous breakdown.
-- Anything that makes me yell "WTF?????????????!!!!!!!!!!" out loud while watching a movie alone. (i.e. Human Centipede, A Clockwork Orange, Caligula, Angel Heart, Ichi the Killer, James and the Giant Peach, The Nightmare Before Christmas).
-- Robert Rodriguez's work WHEN he makes smart, violent and hellaciously fun movies to watch (Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico) NOT when he's doing cheesy family fodder that makes me want to puke. Make more Grindhouse, dude.
-- Pixar (yeah, I know they're owned by Disney, but Disney doesn't control them like they do everyone else. Up yours Mickey!)
-- Brian Singer's super hero movies.
-- Christopher Nolan's dark edgy films.
-- The messed up minds of The Coen Brothers.
-- The Hughes Brothers (From Hell, The Book of Eli). How I wish you two would make more movies.
-- John Wayne WW2 movies.
-- George Romero zombie films rule!
MOVIE GENRES I DETEST LIKE AN 8-YEAR OLD LOATHES BROCCOLI...
-- Disney making Star Wars movies. If I see Zac Effron with a lightsabre I'm going to punch Bob Iger in the face. So help me God.
-- Any film reccomended by a 13-year old girl for the sole reason that the lead actor is cute. Cough, cough, cough, Twilight, cough, cough.
-- Bollywood productions with musical numbers. I LOVED Slumdog Millionaire because they saved the musical number for the closing credits, which is fine with me because I had already shut the DVD player off.
-- Anything released straight-to-DVD. That happens for a reason peeps. If an overeager producer bent on making money refuses to distribute it in theatres there is something HORRENDOUSLY wrong with it.
-- Unneccessary horrid sequels: Caddyshack 2, Iron Eagle 4, Meatballs 4
-- Asian/European drama with no gunfights, swordfights, fistfights, wars, mafia turf battles or really cool special effects. If I want to watch a soap opera in a foreign language I'll watch Days of Our Lives on a Spanish-speaking channel and laugh at the horrible dubbing.
-- Movies or documentaries that bash America and the American lifestyle (i.e. anything by Michael "Is a floating fat turd" Moore). I know the U.S. isn't perfect, but jeez, give us a break. You ain't perfect either, you fatass.
-- Really cheap/stupid horror films (If your catering bill is more than the film's entire budget, don't produce it. PLEASE!!!!)
-- Any movies that came out before 1939 (The modern cinema era began with Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz in 1939).
-- Movies that glamorize terrorism (i.e. anything produced in Palestine).
-- Anything that stars Fran Drescher and/or Gerard Depardieu. I consider their movies the cinematic equivalent of nuclear waste. I won't get within 50 miles of that crap without a HAZMAT suit.
-- Nicolas Cage
-- Will Smith's unwillingness to do a provocative film. The man has talent and he's not using it. Kind of like Michael Jordan playing baseball.
-- Tom Cruise and his voodoo magic. Don't make me summon my witch doctor, dude.
Rest in peace, Heath Ledger, Sidney Lumet and Natasha Richardson. We will miss you terribly.
The Dude Abides!
I finally got down to watching the first two Hunger Games films after reading the novels and I must admit I came away surprised how well they were made. The first film in the series paints a realistic post-apocalyptic view of what the U.S./North America could turn into some day: a totalitarian dictatorship bent on hegemonic control, right down to deciding which children live and die (cough, cough, present-day China). If you're Chinese and you find this offensive, the truth hurts. Anyway, the only major knock I have on this film is Jennifer Lawrence looks more like a 30-year old than a 16-year old Katniss. However, I am sure finding a 16-year old actress with the acting talents of Lawrence was near impossible and my gripe is more petty and might rub people the wrong way as a petty complaint. But if you read my reviews you know I don't give a rat's ass what anyone thinks. Don't get me wrong. J-Law is the most talented young actress to come along in more than a decade and I have put great hope in her for the future that the art of acting is not dying with the present generation of young actors and actresses. At least not yet anyway. Lawrence's turn as Katniss is what carries this movie more than the special effects, story/script and supporting cast. Director Gary Ross does a superb job with great storytelling, action that was fun but not typical summer popcorn film over the top action, great special effects and most importantly, loyalty to the novels. Haymitch (played by the brilliant Woody Harrelson) was precisely how I envisioned and President Snow (delightfully played by Donald Sutherland) was dead on. Notice the Nazi/Roman correlations with the chariots and Nazi-esque propaganda machine. Julius Caesar and Josef Goebbels would've been proud. Does that offend you? If so, bite me. This is art, it's supposed to offend you or make you think. Great cinema and leaves you excited for the next installment.
I saw this once when I was a child. This was only the 2,000th movie Sandy Duncan and Dean Jones did for Disney so it's like all the others; slapstick, lame dialogue and an animal with some inexplicable superpower (in this case a duck laying the golden egg. I thought geese laid golden eggs?). Great for a family who have nothing better to do on a Saturday night or lazy Sunday afternoon dreading going back to work/school the next day.
Could have used a little more Unforgiven-esque darkness. Comes across as almost comical. Not sure what Sam Raimi was trying to accomplish but he experienced some failure in this film as it SHOULD have been totally freaking amazing an it wasn't. What's tragic about it is this is a great cast with a decent storyline. But I had serious, serious issues with the dialogue. It just sucked. It was silly. That's all it was to it, which is inconceivable considering the freaking cast: Russell Crowe, Leonard DiCaprio, Gene Hackman, Sharon Stone, Gary Sinese AND Sam Raimi directing and they STILL can't come up with better dialogue with this? The movie could have notched itself up with the greatest westerns of all time. Instead, it falls flat. The misuse of an obscenely-talented cast is what's inexcusable.
I recently gave this film my first viewing since I saw it in the theatres back in 2001 and I found new appreciation for it (and I came away loving this film when I saw it back then). Any film enthusiast will adore this movie simply because it's the final film appearance of the legendary Paul Newman. He's his classic self. So much so that you almost find yourself wanting to root for him only to realize the man is a cold-blooded mob boss that's protecting a monster (Daniel Craig), who ironically is his own son. I had forgotten how much I loved Tom Hanks portrayal of Michael Sullivan. It goes without saying what kind of a tremendous actor the man is but this turn is one of the only, if not THE only, dark roles he has ever played. It's a story of redemption but not for Sullivan. His "Road to Perdition" was paved long ago and no one simple act of goodness can redeem him. But Sullivan CAN save his son from taking the same path he chose. The father-son relationship is singular, powerful and leaves you feeling with hope but on the same token, you know Sullivan has to pay the piper at some point. But that path through hell that Sullivan must follow has a silver lining. Any good father would go through hell to save their son. Brilliant cinema and fantastic storytelling.