[left]First off, I have a challenge to you non-sci-fi watchers out there. If you have any sense of adventure left over from your childhood and still love to watch Star Wars...Watch the BattleStar Galactica Mini-Series pilot. You will find out very quickly that this show is something beyond your expectations.[/left]
[left]Though initially just discounted as a cheap attempt to cash in on a cult classic, and threatened with boycott from fans of the classic 1978 series, the new series is nothing less than amazing. It is top quality television if you ask me. Even many non-sci-fi watchers are getting into it.[/left]
[center][img]http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c330/impavido/bsg2.jpg[/img][/center] [center][size=1]First he was retiring Replicants in Blade Runner, [/size][/center] [center][size=1]now Edward James Olmos retires Cylons.[/size][/center]
[left]Sure it has all the glitz, space ships, and special effects that are so important to sci-fi. If you just want spectacle you'll get it. But the best thing about the new series is it's complexity. The story transends genre and has some dead serious situations. Where the original was campy adventure, BattleStar Galactica is [i]dead[/i] serious adult entertainment. For those of you who've seen the pilot mini-series, the little girl the President speaks to and what happens afterwards is proof enough. Real situations of love, hate, morality, philosophy, faith, and politics are intelligently and compellingly interwoven. BattleStar has grown up. Expect situations that will not only entertain you, they will motivate you will serious reflection on the characters, their motivations, and how you percieve things. Much like the moral dilemas that made classic Star Trek episodes so fascinating, BSG is this...times 10. Plus bad-ass bad-guys...er...gals.[/left]
[left]I HIGHLY encourage all, even you non-sci-fi fans, to give this show a shot. It is gripping, and much as it did with everyone from the start...it will exceed your expectations. You have my [i]promise[/i] on that.[/left]
[left]PLEASE, I IMPLORE YOU. At least rent the Mini-series pilot and tell me what you think![/left]
This is perhaps my favorite Shakespeare adaptation film. Kurosawa controls what the camera sees through light, smoke, and movement in a masterful way. Character entrances/exits and scene transitions take on a seamless and ghostly quality. The scenes in Spider's Web forest are particularly interesting.
The best part is, despite the big cultural gap, this is in fact a VERY faithful adaptation of Macbeth. If you've not seen it, don't expect swash-buckling adventure like Sanjuro or Seven Samurai.
My reviews of Pixar films tend to be rather short. Why? Because people know what they are getting. There is no studio I can think of, animation or otherwise, that has consistently delivered such great writing and high overall quality year after year. The Disney board of directors should resign and just turn their entire company over to these people.
Yes UP is very funny.
Yes UP is charming.
Yes UP features a script that is for kids but does not insult the intelligence of adults.
Yes, I recommend UP fully as what will likely be one of the best films of the year.
So, why don't I test out this much maligned new RT journal with a review? Good idea...
SIDEWAYS (Alexander Payne, 2004) -- 2nd viewing
The most important thing that elevates Sideways is its humanity compared to other comedy films. Where many comedies let characters fall into archetypes or stereotypes, some well and some very badly, Sideways propels itself as a character driven story with a side-helping of humor. As opposed to most modern comedies, which delve out the humor and expect the story to come after.
Miles is such a rich character played by Giamatti very effectively with an appropriate mix of hysteria and subtlety. He is the emotional core of the film and propels it forward. Thomas Hayden Church, who plays Jack, Miles' old-college friend whom he is taking out on a trip before Jack gets married. Jack is the source of a lot of humor and is believed to be a shallow grown-up frat-boy. His arrogance and naivety off-sets Miles' morose attitude and down-trodden outlook. However Jack hints at evolving past this shallowness later in the film. Sandra Oh and Virgina Madsen, who play two California WIne-Country locals who become the source of sexual interest of Jack and the reluctant romantic interest of Miles. Oh's character is rather flat but Madsen's character, Maya, compliments the film beautifully--both contrasting and complimenting Miles' emotional plights.
The crafting of the film is very warm and subtle. This film feels like it was loved from beginning to end. This was a labor of love, which compliments the themes of the film very well.
[center][size=5][color=#9e3400][url="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047445/"]Sansho the Bailiff[/url][/color][/size][/center]
[left]Sansho the Bailiff is firmly placed among my favorite pieces of classic Japanese cinema. It is a simple morality tale told by the journey of various characters whose family has been exiled, separated, and sold into slavery. The film itself is about individual freedom and moral responsibility. Typically as westerners, we often see the subject of slavery from the racially defined variety we are more familiar with of centuries past. We are unfamiliar with some of the non-racial forms of slavery that have plagued other cultures.[/left]
[left]Sansho the Bailiff is shot in a very simple and direct manner. There are key moments of beautiful cinematography, however they are usually devoid of dialogue. Mizoguchi preferred his settings drab and non-distracting as he wanted to focus on the emotional performances of the characters. This visual simplicity does indeed achieve the goal of keeping the audiences full focus on the dialogue and the performances. This consistent simplicity is also apparent and beneficial to the film in the light use of music.[/left]
[left]The film is fully engaging on many levels and easily approachable because of it's script and thematic simplicity. The philiophical journey of Zushio, the noble-born boy turned slave, is the intellectual heart of the film. Whist his sister and his mother are the emotional core that brings the audience to understand the pain and evil that permeate their lives.[/left]
[left]Sansho is a technical msterpiece, however it has always carried one flaw. This flaw is less so the fault of Mizoguchi and moreso of his studio, as it angered him greatly. The film has always bore the title of the character that Mizoguchi wanted to focus on: Sansho the Bailiff. He is the cruel aristocrat who personifies the evil and greed of slavery. Mizoguchi greatly wanted to approach the film as a moral examination of the character, however the studio interfered. Sansho the Bailiff became a token villain with no real development or thematic power beyond being the source of anguish for the protagonists. Though the emotional and bitter-sweet journey of Zushio and his family are quite capable of carrying the film, a lot was lost in this long-time example of studio meddling.[/left]
[left]Regardless, Sansho the Bailiff is a beautiful film and typical of Mizoguchi's deliberately subtle and minimalist style. It may not have the swash-buckling samurai adventure that many Kurosawa fans crave from Japanese films of the same period, but it is a fascinating moral journey.[/left]