the66afghans's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

in BC, probably in Victoria, but possibly in Vancouver, there is a rock and roll radio station that, on Sunday nights, played (or perhaps still plays) old radio shows. at 10, they'd play an episode of The Shadow with Orson Welles and then after that it was wide open. they once took up a series, that I seem to remember was wildly requested, called The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. and I quite enjoyed it. but that was a good while ago, I was in middle school, so I don't really remember it well. I had hoped that I'd like the movie (British Mini-Series, really) as much as I did the radio show, but unfortunately, that didn't exactly happen here.

it's all so dated. "Super Bowl Shuffle"-dated. worse though: the acting is atrocious. everyone is either stiff or hammy. it's also long. really really long. 190 minutes long.

it does have moments though. that's why it gets a four. the voice over material is regularly amusing (probably in part why the radio rendition worked better, more reliance on that, less on the cutting edge digital effects [it's also quite a bit shorter]) and I also feel a great level of affection for Marvin, "the paranoid android".

in related news, imdb.com reports that a new adaptation of the book is due to begin filming in early 2004. which is good, because this can material can be done a much greater service.

The River (He liu)
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

[b]The River[/b] (Tsai-Ming Liang) - [b]7[/b]
like in [b]Safe[/b], the protoganist is driven to near insanity as he suffers a seemingly undiagnosable and, therefore, incurable anguish. Ming-Liang's film, shot in his characteristicly restrained style (long takes, camera rarely moving, a distance almost always kept between subject and lense), fits perfectly with the subject, cultural disaffection (which may or may not be the cause of Xiao-Kang's ailment, the same could be said about Julianne Moore's character in Haynes' film, the ambiguity is what makes this film and that film work as well as they do, IMHO). if looking for an example to backup this hypothesis, the clearest way would be to analyze how sex between characters is depicted in the film. first, there's the encounter between the lead and a girl he knew at some point earlier (how long it's been, and how close they were at one point, is never specified). they're in a hotel room, given to him for washing up purposes after volunteering to act as a stand-in for a corpse floating in a polluted river in a film the girl has a job in the production of. she has bodily urges, of the peeing kind, and requires that he make the room completely pitch black, as the doors to the facility are translucent and she doesn't want to be seen. cut immediately to them together, her (I want a matter-of-fact but still somewhat discreet word for this, but the best I can come up with is) riding someone she's unwilling to share that intimacy, the urinating, with. the rest of the sexual encounters in the film are either in anonymous bathhouses (the father in that case), or are prompted by a conditioning to porn, arousal having nothing to do with the other person in the room, but rather the squeals of a girl on the idiot box (this relating to the mother and her boyfriend).

[b]The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly[/b] (Sergio Leone, 1967) - [b]8[/b]
a note: I don't think I saw the director's cut, which is a bummer. the first two films in the series were claustrophobic. Leone would rarely pull away from the action, which made the space between was forces ill-defined, so it all that was clear was that both were always right up close, adding to it was that the vastness of the country often ignored, he was making noir-westerns. now, along with the [b]Yojimbo[/b] plot-lines, that atmosphere, which helped imbibe the film with a palpable level of suspense is gone, in favor of a more wide open, free ranging, almost [b]The Hidden Fortress[/b]-y buddy epic (the buddies, in this case, being The Good and The Ugly). kept from the first two films is just how uprighteously the protagonist often didn't act, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, from a moral aspect, all seem interchangeable. which is only heightened by the casting of Lee Van Cleef, one of the good guys in [b]For A Few Dollars More[/b], as The Bad.

I can't help but think that that block of text only works as the first paragraph of a response that absolutely requires a second, but laziness...

other movies I've liked (along with the first two films in the Man With No Name trilogy, which I think I made my fondness for rather obvious, but in case I didn't, here's my paranthesized comments):
[b]Versus[/b] (Ryuhei Kitamura)
[b]Late August, Early September[/b] (Olivier Assayas)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
12 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

[b]The River[/b] (Tsai-Ming Liang) - [b]7[/b]
like in [b]Safe[/b], the protoganist is driven to near insanity as he suffers a seemingly undiagnosable and, therefore, incurable anguish. Ming-Liang's film, shot in his characteristicly restrained style (long takes, camera rarely moving, a distance almost always kept between subject and lense), fits perfectly with the subject, cultural disaffection (which may or may not be the cause of Xiao-Kang's ailment, the same could be said about Julianne Moore's character in Haynes' film, the ambiguity is what makes this film and that film work as well as they do, IMHO). if looking for an example to backup this hypothesis, the clearest way would be to analyze how sex between characters is depicted in the film. first, there's the encounter between the lead and a girl he knew at some point earlier (how long it's been, and how close they were at one point, is never specified). they're in a hotel room, given to him for washing up purposes after volunteering to act as a stand-in for a corpse floating in a polluted river in a film the girl has a job in the production of. she has bodily urges, of the peeing kind, and requires that he make the room completely pitch black, as the doors to the facility are translucent and she doesn't want to be seen. cut immediately to them together, her (I want a matter-of-fact but still somewhat discreet word for this, but the best I can come up with is) riding someone she's unwilling to share that intimacy, the urinating, with. the rest of the sexual encounters in the film are either in anonymous bathhouses (the father in that case), or are prompted by a conditioning to porn, arousal having nothing to do with the other person in the room, but rather the squeals of a girl on the idiot box (this relating to the mother and her boyfriend).

[b]The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly[/b] (Sergio Leone, 1967) - [b]8[/b]
a note: I don't think I saw the director's cut, which is a bummer. the first two films in the series were claustrophobic. Leone would rarely pull away from the action, which made the space between was forces ill-defined, so it all that was clear was that both were always right up close, adding to it was that the vastness of the country often ignored, he was making noir-westerns. now, along with the [b]Yojimbo[/b] plot-lines, that atmosphere, which helped imbibe the film with a palpable level of suspense is gone, in favor of a more wide open, free ranging, almost [b]The Hidden Fortress[/b]-y buddy epic (the buddies, in this case, being The Good and The Ugly). kept from the first two films is just how uprighteously the protagonist often didn't act, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, from a moral aspect, all seem interchangeable. which is only heightened by the casting of Lee Van Cleef, one of the good guys in [b]For A Few Dollars More[/b], as The Bad.

I can't help but think that that block of text only works as the first paragraph of a response that absolutely requires a second, but laziness...

other movies I've liked (along with the first two films in the Man With No Name trilogy, which I think I made my fondness for rather obvious, but in case I didn't, here's my paranthesized comments):
[b]Versus[/b] (Ryuhei Kitamura)
[b]Late August, Early September[/b] (Olivier Assayas)

Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.
12 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

the film centers around Fred Leuchter, his rise -- starting as a concerned citizen who wanted to make sure that inmates were executed humainly -- to, as the continued title suggests, his subsequent fall after giving what could be construed as pro-Revisionist (he, near the end of the film, chooses not to label himself a pro-Revisionist) testimony as Ernst Zundel stood trial for writing and distributing documents alleging that the Holocaust didn't happen. that was an enormous sentence. what Fred Leuchter was doing testifying at this trial is a bone of contention for most of those interviewed, as he doesn't seem to have the qualifications or the general know how to do a convincing study of whether or not the remaining buildings left at Auschwitz were used for gassing Jews. he was picked because, apparently, he was the only specialist in gas extermination in North America, but in an earlier interview he raises doubt in his own abilities (and perhaps unknowingly, undermines his credibility later) by explaining that he became the expert in gas extermination because of his successes building gallows and lethal injection machines, but that technical competence with either domain really didn't guarantee qualification to work in the other field. his methods, which he videotaped, are called into question as being largely ineffective by the lone chemist asked, and his knowledge of the land around Auschwitz contradicted by a historian who has devoted his professional life to WWII-era, Jew extermination. the third act features interviews of people who were affected by Leuchter's testimony and report on his findings in Auschwitz: those who were converted by his, if I'm allowed to editorialize, lackluster evidence that the Holocaust never occured, and those on the other end who called him a hate monger, jumping, it would seem, to somewhat misinformed conclusions of the character of Leuchter (described by the representative for the newly convinced Revisionsist side as a "simpleton", which seems a far more accurate assessment). then we find out that his life is basically ruined, and there's the whole question of just how dearly the tenet of freedom of speech, and opinion, is held.

I'm done writing now, but before I click submit post, the portraiture through black and white slo-mo playback effect of Leuchter as he looks over his leftover electrocution equipment, making him look demonic -- someone who might just get off on killing -- was sort of a downer.

Errol Morris
1. [b]The Thin Blue Line[/b]
2. [b]The Fog Of War[/b]
3. [b]Fast, Cheap, & Out Of Control[/b]
[i]4.[/i] [i][b]Mr. Death[/b][/i]

The Passion of the Christ
12 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

I wanted to write this yesterday, I was all ready, I had just seen it and was pumped. okay, that's poor word choice right there. I wasn't pumped, but I [i]was[/i] ready to write something, and what I had in mind was to be the single strongest piece on the film yet. I haven't read any reviews, save the D'Angelo capsule, but I'm sure that what I had to say at that time, and however I was going to sort it all out into nice easily consumable prose, was going to knock the socks off movie-watchers worldwide. however, sadly, that wasn't to be, for last night I was completely unable to work Internet Explorer. we won't get into the how's and the why's right now, but know this, the internet and the people who encode their pages and links and what-have-you with nasty viruses and trojans suck major balls.

so, now, I don't have that same passion, that same fire I had last night. what was going to be a rage fueled second-rate response, is now about to be an indifferent, characterless (I kid here, obviously, how could [b]I[/b] write without strong voice? IMPOSSIBLE) booing. the first and most obvious criticism -- I should diverge for a second here, I just read the first sentence of Arrenbas's entry on The Passion, I stopped myself from reading more because I was afraid it might directly influence my own writing, I'd rather accidentally write the same thing as someone else than try, agonizingly, to write something new and original after finding a response similarly formulated to what I had in mind to write; this might be backwards thinking, but this diversion is already almost as long as the post, so I'll quit here rather than continue pontificating on [i]that[/i] subject -- is that the film simply doesn't work on it's own. in short, because all substantive comments have to be kept as short as possible so that room left for masturbatory eccentricity, if someone watched this movie without any previous knowledge of the works and wonders of Jesus H. Christ, they'd be quite lost. Melly Mel (and I have a feeling I've misspelled that, anyone with a goodly knowledge of old school hip hop please correct me) places us the night before Jesus's crucifixion, and just after the Last Supper, Judas is selling his man out, and we are witness to The Passion's first foray into "slow motion employed with pompous gravity" [D'Angelo] (that isn't a [i]direct[/i] direct quote, I took a couple of words out so it flowed better for my purposes) which leads to a personal, my own, observation, one worth mentioning as it's relevant to more than a few scenes in the picture: whenever Gibson wants to put across a point to the audience, he doesn't do it with exposition before the fact, which would be fine, it'd be great if he had enough faith in his audience's intelligence to expect that they might be able to put the pieces together and figure out for themselves what they should find [b]important[/b] to pay mind to, instead he pounds it over the skulls of the helpless moviegoer, like he's a French professor and we're all antagonizing patrons of Le Rectum, with elaborate slo-mo, or startling sound effects (the woosh as Jesus steps on the serpent, the smack when a kind looker-on attempts to give Jesus, beaten to a pulp edition, etc), or swelling musical cues. this is a truly graceless picture, and Gibson is entirely incapable of subtlety. I can't express now, properly, just how angry this made me, that my intelligence was being called into question like this, by an incompetent buffoon of a director, who seems to believe gore to be synonymous with profundity, as it has been over a day, but trust that I was a might bit pissy upon my departure from the cinemaplex.

more onto the feelings: I'm just unsure what I, as a nonbeliever, am supposed to take away from The Passion Of The Christ exactly. I'm witness to a man's horrible, and unjust, torture and execution, and while he's a human and certainly deserving of empathy, and he gets mine, I don't know what deeper meaning I'm to have been imparted with. this isn't a movie set in any world I'm familiar with in any intimacy, so it doesn't hold any value as a commentary of anything contemporary, all I'm left with is that sadists are bad, perhaps, but I think I may have already gotten that one. as a purely visceral experience, I suppose it might hold some value, particularly if I got off on graphic filmic representations of beatings and torture, but, quite frankly, I'm not so sure I do. no, I don't, and I don't know if I understand what it was that Mel Gibson was [i]trying[/i] to disclose. the effort to make the dramatic bombastic, Gibson [i]could[/i] have used it develop characters and themes, as fakey documentaries hold little-to-no cinematic value to me, at least Scorsese, when filming his own Christ tale, had a take on it (stupid idea, nevermind). yes, this one is certainly a head scratcher, and I'm afraid not necessarily worth the price in salve (I'm a hard scratcher) to continue doing so.

I'm done and unsatisfied with the final result.