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Rating History

The Happening
The Happening (2008)
9 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

M. Night Shyamalan's latest attempt reeks of effort, but it's all put in the wrong place. It seems as though that almost all of his talent was put into use as the producer and getting a terrific cast and crew together, but the script and direction are god awful. The first three minutes or so are the only ones that really show Shyamalan's talent. The opening scene shows a few different cases where people are suddenly seeming inhuman and commit suicide. Scenes like this one are definitely the best in the film. They do bring a genuine sense of grief and fear to the audience.

The rest of the film is all about Wahlberg's travesty of a character progressively discovering what "the happening" actually is. It's plants. By now, it's no secret, but the fact remains, Shyamaln picked plants as villains. That's all anyone has to say. This concept seems like the director/producer/writer, saw a 'go green' commercial, and got an idea for what should've been a terrible B-Movie.

Halfway through the film, the viewer starts to hope for a twist, as is Shyamalan's normal style, but the twist never came. The entire plot is revealed about 40 minutes into the film. And that's if the viewer is trying their best to remain completely oblivious to all of the hints thrown, and just trying to enjoy it as a popcorn flick. It's not even good for that. The acting is decent, but that's due to the actors, not the direction. The script is terrible, and has horrible characters, mainly Wahlberg's lead. Anyone who is a fan of Shyamalan should basically give up on him. His career is nose-diving, and quickly.

Kung Fu Panda
Kung Fu Panda (2008)
9 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

This is definitely the most surprising film of the year. It was advertised very cheaply, trying to bank on Jack Black's goofy voice, and playing what else, but "Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting" as background music.

Black stars as the pudgy Po, a very likeable Panda, who works with his father, a duck, in a noodle shop. The film revolves around the panda who loves martial arts, who has been 'accidentally' chosen as the Dragon warrior, destined to bring peace to the valley, and stop the evil Tai Lan (masterfully voiced by Ian McShane). The great thing here is that it is such a simple story, which honestly borrows ideas from many kung fu flicks, the Matrix, and countless other movie cliches. But none of that matters. It is so incredibly well done, anyone can see past the simple yet pleasant story line.

The film never cheapens itself which cheap jokes or tricks, (very unlike its own trailer and the recent Horton Hears a Who) and keeps everything very joyful. The Characters are well thought out, and incredibly designed. There are no fart jokes, sexual innuendos to keep adults laughing, such as the shrek films, and it honestly feels like a chinese Kung fu flick.

The world seems so real. The audience really is drawn in to believing that it isn't Jack Black, but a talking kung-fu loving panda, chosen to bring peace to the world. If one didn't know any better, they could mistake this as a real Chinese family film, that had been brought over to the US, and dubbed. Even the end credits play subtle Asian melodies.

Overall, Kung Fu Panda is one of the best animated films to come out in a while, and is definitely at par with all of Pixar's terrific work. GO SEE IT!!

You Don't Mess With the Zohan
9 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Adam Sandler's latest attempt at immature goof humor, fails miserably. The cast is primarily made up of Middle-eastern actors, oppose to the gaggle of friends that Sandler usually throws in his films. Rob Schneider and Nick Swarsdon make appearances as a Palestinian cab driver and a squirmish young american who befriends Zohan. The "world's greatest Israeli Counter-terrorist Agent" fakes his own death after coming to the realization that capturing terrorist such as The Phantom, portrayed by John Turturro, is a waste of time, as the cycle is never-ending. The trailer and tagline themselves are disgraces to film alone, showing the true stupidity in the movie.

I can see that Sandler was trying to get back to his roots with his old school goofball comedy and characters, but none of it works here. It's almost like a SNL skit (probably a bad one) that goes on for way too long. It feels like Sandler and his writing buddies got together, got stoned and drunk, and wrote the entire script in one night. It was probably incredibly fun to write, but all of the fun ends there. It doesn't come out on the viewer's end.

This, is a bomb. I have almost lost complete respect for Sandler. If his next picture is nearly as bad as this wanna-be-offensive, yet morally engaging piece of garbage, I will never watch another Sandler film again.

Schindler's List
9 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Schindler's list is one of the most remarkable pieces of cinema ever created. It is an epic drama, but never loses its personal feel. Any audience member with a beating heart should be able to tell that Spielberg has poured his heart and soul into this nauseatingly intense film showing the inner depths of the human soul. Liam Neeson stars as Oskar Schindler, a role that he should have easily gotten the Academy Award for best actor for in 1993. But, due to the exploding stardom of Tom Hanks and his sorrowful AIDS drama Philadelphia, Neeson lost.

Everything in this film is 100% perfect. It is shot in black and white, only showing the red of a young jewish girl's coat, as Schindler sees her shortly before her death. You see the emotional depth of Schindler as he hires as many jewish workers as possible, to keep them out of death camps. Schindler's accountant and friend, Staern, helps him pick out hundreds of jews for his workshops. In this, he has to maintain the evil appearance of a Jew-hating Nazi, while still trying to save them. One of the best scenes is when Goeth (horrifically and amazingly portrayed by Ralph Fiennes) and other Nazi's are sitting and talking, in front of train cars loaded with imprisoned Jews, burning in the summer sun. Schindler gets up, and begins hosing them down, acting as though he is giving them false hope.

It is an incredibly daunting piece that stretches human emotion to its limits. Everything in the film doesn't lead up to the end of the war, where Schindler has to run away as a war criminal, leaving all those he saved behind. That is as touching of a scene as you'll ever see, but the real resolution comes afterwards, in full color, and present day. It is the jews that Schindler saved (hence, the name Schindler Jews), placing stones on top of his gravestone. It is one of the saddest scenes in the history of film, and will always remain, just that.