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Both Zeitgesit Addendum and Moving Forward explore topics relevant to every individual; money, government, health, the planets limited resources and how we live our lives. Throughout these 2 films "the system" is discussed at length, the negative aspects (which are many) exposed and possible alternatives suggested and explored. If nothing else, by the end of both or either documentary the viewer will understand that rather than "THE system" it is but "A" system and there are other healthier, leaner, smarter, cleaner, more resourceful and more ethical ways we can inhabit, survive and prosper on Earth as human beings.
Whether drastic or subtle, I think that anyone who watches either of these films will change the way they do something in their day to day life. That is a bold statement to make, but I think that these films are that powerful. You can see these films as dangerous Propaganda or our dirty laundry finally being aired in public; but that is down to the individual.
As films, I don't feel that either is polished or edited very well. There are many places where a leading thinker in his field will be speaking at length on a topic that could have been cut down - it is left in a kind of semi-lecture format. I can see viewers becoming bored or nodding off perhaps. Both films take a long time to get to the juicy content and appear rather amateurish at times.
Although, both of these films feel like "bargain basement" documentaries it is in the content where both excel. Rather than giving me "food for thought" these films have changed my life more than perhaps anything else I have ever watched (with the obvious exception of the News). Having impact of this level cannot be ignored. Out of the 2 films I would recommend Addendum over Moving Forward as I feel it covers more ground, is a little less boring and is better documentary all round.
This 2003 film is Nick Broomfield's (Director) second Documentary on the American serial killer; Aileen Wuornos. The story begins around the time of Aileen's final death penalty appeal (that Broomfield testifies in).
I think that the film paints a clear picture that if Aileen would have lived a different life and had different experiences then the prostitution, the murders and the whole situation would never have occurred. As it is, her story is a tragic one, with equally tragic consequences.
Although the film is sound technically and does allow the viewer into areas that they (perhaps) could not go with other filmmakers, the documentary does "flit-about" and (at times) struggles to flow. It is called "Aileen: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer" and although her life was covered, I expected to have a lot more background information. The history of events leading up to the present are touched on very lightly and not covered in any great depth. I found myself getting confused between Father and Grandfather, and Mother and Grandmother. Although confusing in parts I did find it a very engaging film. It held my attention throughout and left me wanting to know more.
I must stress that certain attitudes and procedures seem a little inappropriate in the American penal system (which the film highlights). For example; whether the prisoner is of sound mind enough to be executed. Also, that in this situation, all of the assessors found Aileen mentally competent and of sound mind. At the same time the audience watch and listen while she talks about mind control and pressure in her head (while guards seen in the background try not to giggle). For anyone watching the documentary, you feel that her mental state has been on a clear and steady decline over the period we have been following her - yet she is seen as perfectly sane. I agree with Nick on this one, it does make you wonder what someone has to do to fail one of the mental health tests.
All things considered I think this is a good, thought provoking documentary. The source is a great and worthy subject but I feel it could have been delivered in a clearer, deeper presentation.
Cropsey is an interesting documentary that bridges the gaps between fact and urban legend, and horror and documentary. The story begins with the creepy legend of Cropsey and moves forward to explore how, on Staten Island, there actually was a "Boogey Man" (Andre Rand). He terrorized the local community by kidnapping young disabled children before murdering them. Or did he?
I wouldn't say that this is the most technically advanced documentary that I have ever seen, but it flows well, is intelligent, well researched and achieves the level of disturbance that it strives for. It is an entertaining watch but falls short of being great due to its lack of anything concrete. In its defence, the things required to access the complete truth were sadly unobtainable for the filmmakers. I find it ironic that the true story behind an urban legend is actually a mystery.
If you like documentaries and fancy something a bit different (if a little grizzly) you could do far worse than Cropsey.
Dr. Andrew Bagby was shot dead by his ex-girlfriend. This documentary was made by Kurt Kuenne (one of Andrew's best friends) to document what happened next and to honour his friends life.
This documentary is made with a very shaky and amateurish style. It is also (understandably) a very biased account. To a certain extent both of these can be forgiven due to the passion shown throughout. Coming back to it being a biased account, I feel that you could argue this as the film doesn't look at Zachary's mother's mental imbalance too much, why she acted the way she did or the series of events from her perspective. I think this is largely due to Kurt being involved in the situation as well as Directing a film about it.
For me I feel that the government and the legal system were the real "monsters" here. If the mental health team were proactive, Andrew may still be alive. If the situation was concluded after Andrew's death then the situation would not have continued. This only goes to further highlight the achievements of Andrew's Mother and Father after the event - two truly incredible people.
All things considered, I think Dear Zachary is a very good documentary. It has as many twists and turns as any Hollywood thriller and is as disjointed as Kurt's emotions surely must have been. Many of the topics covered stayed with me for days after watching the film. All the things you may have read online about this film are true; it is extremely sad and moving. But I found it rewarding, thought provoking and inspirational too.
Lincoln Rhyme (Denzel Washington) was an expert detective prior to an accident which left him quadriplegic. There is a serial killer on the loose and the police department turn to him. He enlists the help of Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie) and the unlikely duo set out to track down the killer.
The year is 1999, we are before Saw (2004) but after Seven (1995). This movie does share a lot with these two films but is not as good as either. In certain ways the story is similar to that of Silence of the Lambs as well (rookie cop, female, helped along the way but a restricted man of high intellect) but again The Bone Collector is a country mile away from being as good as Silence of the Lambs.
I feel the main reason that The Bone Collector falls short of these other big names within the same genre is that it feels a lot lighter and weaker in comparison. With the story it has and the topics that are covered throughout this film The Bone Collector really should have delivered a much heavier punch than it does. There seems to be little sense of urgency or fear of impending doom.
This movie does manage to bring together quite an impressive cast, you have; Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie, Michael Rooker, Luis Guzman, Leland Orser (another link to Seven) and Ed O'Neil to name but a few. I don't feel that any of the actors were bad, they all gave decent convincing performances. If pressed I would have to say Queen Latifah presented her character the best. She never over-played the part, just subtle gestures and doing what was necessary.
I think that The Bone Collector is a good example of satisfactory Thriller. It's not a bad film, it does its job, but is short of being great due to its lack of clout and shallow delivery. It lacks the wallop necessary to stir you from your set.
Terri Flores (Jennifer Lopez) is a Director. She has come to the Amazon with the rest of her film crew to make a documentary on a long forgotten native tribe. The crew are on their journey down the river when they come across Paul Serone (Jon Voight). He appears to be stranded and they take him on board. But rather than a local fisherman he is actually a snake hunter on the trail of the world's largest snake. He takes over the boat and keeps the crew hostage in an attempt to capture and sell the reptile.
Luis Llosa (Director) has produced a whole string of bad movies set in the Amazon, with the exception of The Specialist ... which is set in Miami. So if you know anything of Llosa you will probably be able to predict what's in store with Anaconda.
Many people would label Anaconda as a Horror movie, or perhaps an Action/ Adventure movie. Personally, I think it's more of a disaster movie. Everything from the red writing at the beginning to the credits at the end is a complete disaster. The film is full of bad special effects, worse acting, poor film making, terrible continuity, awful clichés and is less factually correct than Bigfoot's birth certificate.
As far as the actors go I feel that Ice Cube was by far the best on screen. Everyone else was embarrassingly painful to watch especially Jennifer Lopez who can barely deliver a line. I think this was noted early on and any line edited down to just a few words, such as; "OK", "Come on", "Are you OK", etc. Her acting is far scarier than any snake in this film.
Believe it or not Jon Voight was once a highly respected actor, I have no idea why he even signed on to do this role. For whatever reason, half the film is taken up by him pulling various faces.
I giggled throughout Anaconda at just how bad it was. I think that if the project was approached more light-heartedly and the film delivered in a more comedic fashion that the film would deliver much better. That fact that it is approached from a straight-faced, serious angle is a major downfall.
You could see Anaconda as a film that plays homage to other Horror "creature features" of the 70's and 80's, but this is a bad tribute band given too high a budget. Given that they had $45,000,000 at their disposal I have no idea what they spent that kind of money on.
Although Anaconda is a terrible film it was a great investment for anyone financially linked with it. It grossed a total of over $136,000,000 at the box office and coined 3 sequels. In short it was a huge success, noting that it made three times the amount it took to make. Sometimes bad movies can lead to a windfall in the industry called show-business, of which Anaconda is a shining example.
Tony Manero (John Travolta) is a young Italian American living with his parents in Brooklyn, New York City. The audience follow his daily life from working in a hardware store, to blowing his hard earned cash on a Saturday night at the 2001 Odyssey disco club. There he is "king of the dance floor" and this is what he lives for.
When asked about Saturday Night Fever, images of John Travolta dancing in a white suit, above a lit up dance floor but beneath a shining disco ball, whilst the Bee Gees play are immediately conjured in your minds-eye. But beneath the illuminated surface imagery lies a much darker and dirtier movie altogether. Throughout the 118 minutes that the movie is on screen many negative topics are covered, touched upon or glanced over, including; drugs, all manner seedy sexual acts, jealousy, abortion, unrequited love, possession, lack of trust, gangs, brawling, brutal honesty, loss of faith, bad parenting, low self-worth and suicide/ accidental death. It's not really the best choice of movie to watch with the younger members of your family. Shakespeare is known for having a dark side to his storylines but I don't remember anything he produced to cover so many depraved and morally corrupt issues in one sitting.
As much as Saturday Night Fever is about dancing at the discotheque, it is a study of negative and destructive emotions. It's quite a person centred movie and the audience watch as people are challenged and struggle with their own problems and are affected by the problems of others.
Travolta gives perhaps his best screen performance to date. His acting is believable and he steps into the role of an Italian- American form New York with ease (probably because he is an Italian American from New York). Many of the best lines from the movie were unscripted but reactions that Travolta took in character, such as the "Ya know, I work on my hair a long time and you hit it" sequence at the dinner table.
On another note, it's very much a dance movie, so let's talk about the dancing. To coin a popular phrase John Travolta certainly "throws some shapes." His skill in this particular movie is legendary. For me the one continuous shot of him dancing, where he takes over the dance floor, is mesmerising - I can't take my eyes off him. That's saying a lot for a man who has little to no interest in moving let alone dancing. What's more special about this movie is that we get to know Tony and then Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney) as individuals before they come together to dance in the training room. From the first awkward date/ coffee together we get to know that the two characters aren't far apart on a basic level, but that their outlooks and flaws are very different. Stephanie is trying very hard to "better" herself - she wants to break away from her roots. Tony is more at ease with who he is and where he comes from and is acceptant of that. They are 2 very different people, who have 2 very different lifestyles and dance styles. When they come together for the first time they seem to create something new and different. She dominates the conversation when they speak, but Tony tells her to let him lead when they dance. In this regard it is quite sexual, not that it's an overly sexy scene, but it does mirror the act of sex through a different media.
Although Travolta missed out on many awards including the BAFTA's, Academy Award's and Golden Globe's, he did receive a nomination from all of these and won the award for best actor from the National Board of Review.
Saturday Night Fever was a huge commercial success. The film significantly helped to raise the popularity of disco music around the world and made John Travolta a star. Before he rose to such heights he was Carrie's Boyfriend and after he would play Danny Zuko in Grease and Bud in Urban Cowboy. By this point he was more than a house-hold name and an international superstar. After this he didn't play another "big" role for about 20 years when Quentin Tarantino resurected his career in 1994 with Pulp Fiction. In my opinion this was no favour but a great selection to play the part of Vincent Vaga due to the roles Travolta had played in the early part of his career and the years that followed Saturday Night Fever.
Many actors could have played the role of Tony Manero, but no-one could have produced the character the way Travolta did. Whether you like the movie or not, there is no doubt that Saturday Night Fever is an iconic movie and I find it hard to believe that it would have had the status that it has today with anyone else in that role.
I don't think that you can discuss the success of Saturday Night Fever without mentioning the soundtrack. As well as being one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time, the soundtracks single was used to promote the movie before it was released and the film popularised the entire album after its release. This was the first time cross media marketing had been used in this fashion.
For me Saturday Night Fever is very much a Zeitgeist. It does depict a specific time and place, but also a culture and a mentality. As Tony says "f*** the future", they live for the now, work all week to finance Saturday night and the events leading up to that major event. An event where getting ready to go out isn't preparation but a ritual, what we now call clubbing is the religion and the club itself is the church.
For whatever the film is or isn't, it has certainly left a lasting impression. It has been parodied from 1977 (the year of its release) on Saturday Night Live right through to an episode of Glee (TV series) entitled Saturday Night Glee-ver which aired in 2012. I must admit one of my favourites is Sesame Street Fever. In 2010, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically and aesthetically significant", I can see why.
This movie is a continuation of the popular TV series of the same name. Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) is a writer living in New York. She is moving into a new apartment and becomes engaged to be married. Things start to go wrong for her when one of her closest friends lets out a few choice words to Carrie's fiancé. Although she lets out these remarks in frustration to her own relationship things begin to ripple.
Sex and the City has been a huge success, women of all ages had been glued to their TV sets for 10 years before the movie finally arrived. For me (a man who hasn't watched one episode) the movie feels less like a movie, and more like what I would image one long episode of the series to be.
When the movie finished, I felt like (to borrow one of Simon's favourite phrases) nothing happened. On reflection I guess quite a lot had happened; various hurdles and speed bumps in at least 5 relationships. The girls went to therapy, organised a wedding, fell pregnant and even crossed international borders. But for me I guess all the events that occurred seemed to be mentioned in passing and a little in the background. What was occupying the foreground was Vivian Westwood, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, Prada and so on and so on. You could argue that this is the essence of the mood and what Sex and the City is all about. But for me I'm following a story, presented in words and images, and expect that to stand out further than the wardrobe.
Talking of Wardrobes, what the hell happened in the new apartment? When they came to view the apartment it was a broom closet. Carrie is unhappy and Big says he will fix it for her. Fix it for her? What did he do, buy the apartment next door too? The space created is amazing! He must be skilled in magic and illusion as well as carpentry. What a man, no wonder why she wants to marry him.
Another part that didn't seem to fit for me was the constant talk of being old. Not just old, but too old. But clearly not too old for heavy pounding R & B to play through half the movie.
I found that with Sex and the City the acting isn't bad, nor is the filming, nor anything else for that matter. Although having said that nothing is great either. The film is lukewarm, flimsy and left me appropriately unaffected. I think this is because the movie takes no chances and constantly plays it safe.
When a series produces a movie I would expect a one off extravaganza and not a 2 and a half hour episode. The movie wasn't made to break new ground but simply as a crowd pleaser. But having played it so safe, lacking in content and delivering little impact I wonder if it manages to achieve that.
The 1990's were a great decade for Disney. They churned out a string of popular, traditionally animated movies that had children and adults alike flocking to the cinema like never before. Movies like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tarzan, Hercules, The Hunchback of Notre Dame to name but a few.
For my money The Lion King is the pick of the bunch or the pick of the pride if you will. The Animation was groundbreaking, the songs were catchy (Elton John's imput was top-notch), the humour was for adults too and the vocal cast was astounding. You have; James Earl Jones, Matthew Boderick, Jeremy Irons, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg and the list goes on. The "choices for voices" were spot on and delivered very effectively.
Although the setting is somewhat different, the story itself is nothing new from Disney. The tried and tested formula, used from Snow White right through to modern movies today was the same. Becoming seperated from one's family, rediscovering the meaning of family and finding ones own identity through regaining family. But the formula works and audiences connect with it. Besides, each time Disney attempt to break or bend the rules the movie tends to be pretty lame i.e. Home on the Range ~ case closed.
There are so many memorable moments in The Lion King. From the opening sunrise "NNAAAAAA SSOOOPENNYAA TUMA LEEKI MA LAAD", to the Gopher who pops up and reports to Zazu "News from the under ground", to the stampede, to can you feel the love tonight, to everything that Timon and Pumbaa say. My personal favourite part is Scars song, be prepared.
I love The Lion King. It is as much a part of my childhood as the sweet smell of a new pencilcase or the rough feel of a new school jumper. I have enjoyed it at the cinema, been ill with it at home (on VHS) and will no doubt introduce my own children to it some day. I feel thst it sends out great messages to children such as; your past may be painful but you must face it and learn from it to move forwards and also the mini-lesson on the circle of life. It's not just me that feels this way either, walk into any Disney store and you will see a lot of Lion King merchandise on sale (for high prices) all year round and the movie is still being re-released at cinemas (now in 3D) and on DVD (now on Blue ray or diamond edition).
Maybe my opinion is biased? Biased because i love animals, biased because I love animation and biased because I love great movies. In all seriousness this is both Disney and animation at its best.
P.S. The SNES game was great too!
Re-Animator is a film about a medical student (Herbert West) and his obsession to bring dead people back to life - Re-Animation.
Lets face it, this film is as bad as they come. A ridiculous script, a silly amount of gore, poor special effects and bad acting. It's a complete farce; a Sci-Fi/ Horror Circus. But I find it so entertaining! It's bad, real bad, but I guess that and all of the above is why I like it. It's just so far fetched, so ridiculous that it's fun and entertaining. I chuckle inside every time Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) speaks.
The title sequence is quite different. Colourful, Da Vinci-esque images of the brain and human anatomy dance on screen as the credits roll and a slightly tweaked version of the theme from Hitchcock's Psycho pumps out through your speakers. If you listen to one and then the other you will notice just how similar they are. With a movie as renowned as Psycho, using such a well known piece of music was no accident. I don't know why this is used. Maybe because it's so good? For whatever reason it was used, I find it interesting that Hitch chose to make Psycho in Black and White because he felt it would be too graphic in colour. Quite a contrast to the excessive and graphic amounts used throughout Re-Animator.
For me it kind of sums up a whole sub-genre of 80's, gore-fest, Horror. I guess the difference with Re-Animator is that it is aware that it is outrageous and tries to continually push that barrier further and further. In that regard it's a dark comedy in the same ilk as The Evil Dead.
It is a bad movie and I have given it a fitting score, but I do find Re-Animator lots of fun and bags of entertainment every time I watch it. It's definately a guilty pleasure for me.
For me The Lawnmower Man is a modern-day retelling of the classic Frankenstein story. A Scientist is attempting to reach new ground for the interest of science and the good of mankind. In the process he creates a monster who runs amuck and he is left wishing he'd left well alone, although totally fascinated with the results at the same time.
Dr. Lawrence Angelo (Pierce Brosnan) is one such scientist. He is employed by Cybertech to work with chimpanzees to increase their mental capacity and to train them in war tactics via the use of virtual reality and drugs. He disagrees where his research is leading and leaves the company. Unable to let his research go he begins experimenting again, this time with a human subject. He chooses a local Lawnmower Man who is a little simple and attempts to increase his intellect with dire consequences.
The main talking point with The Lawnmower Man is the special effects. It says on the front of the DVD that I watched something along the lines of; stunning visuals, better than Terminator 2. This is simply not the case, but the graphics were ground-breaking at the time. Not because they were that advanced, but because these were the first virtual reality graphics in a movie. The Lawnmower Man is the first movie to cover this topic (as far as I am aware). Audiences seem to be divided on whether they are very good or not. I feel that they could have been a lot better if the technology was used in a better way. In the hands of a different director perhaps. I can't image what Stanley Kubrick could have done with this movie. For example, the scene of the lawnmower man running over Jakes Brain and the scene where Father Francis McKeen is set on fire.
I feel that Jeff Fahey (who played Jobe) gave a good performance. I don't think he did anything that amazing but he delivered the role well. Since Lawnmower man he has gone on the do many other roles, one of my favourites is as J.T. in Planet Terror. He has become quite the cult icon nowadays.
I'm afraid the same can't be said for Pierce Brosnan, oh dear Pierce ... oh dear. In the early 90's big things were in the pipeline for Mr. Brosnan, but unfortunately The Lawnmower Man wasn't one of them.
Having said all this I do enjoy watching The Lawnmower Man. It's one of those films where you can just "switch your brain off". You can sit back, relax and be mildly entertained by this weird yet satisfying story, and they don't get much weirder than this. Having cyber sex, becoming joined together in the form of a butterfly before turning into a monster and firing red spit at your partner. I wouldn't recommend The Lawnmower Man, but if you enjoy weird SCI-FI thrillers then feel free to give it as go.
Coming back to what I was saying at the start, as with Frankenstein, The Lawnmower Man is a movie with a message too. That some things are better left alone than meddled with, and that Technological advancement can be dangerous..."Lawnmower Man's in your head now Jake".
In this early David Cronenburg movie a "Scanner" is the nickname given to a small group of people born with certain psychological and E.S.P. abilities. Scanners are often troubled individuals who struggle in society due to their inability to control their powers. Psychopharmacist Dr. Paul Ruth (Patrick Mcgoohan) stumbles across Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack). He is one such Scanner; struggling, untrained, unguided and (more importantly for Dr. Ruth) undiscovered.
Dr. Ruth informs Stephen of who and what he is, offers him some direction, a little training and sends him to seek out others like him with the goal of destroying Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside). Revok is the most powerful known scanner and regarded as an evil, psychopathic killer and all round nasty man.
I really do love this movie. There are 2 main reasons why I like it so much; Patrick McGoohan and Michael Ironside. Either of these two could be giving a lecture on light bulbs and I would be gripped. At times they can both be accused of over-acting in Scanners, but it just adds to the intensity for me. I think because I enjoy their performances so much I sometimes overlook the negative points about this movie.
The story is an interesting one but at times I feel it is taken a little too far. Like when Stephen retrieves information from a computer via telephone for example. Using telepathy or mind control is one thing but stopping at a public telephone to "plug in" to a nearby computer and download information mentally is crossing the lines of believability. The staff protecting the computer become aware of what is going on and agree to disable the computers manually. In doing so the room explodes and presumably energy and heat travels along the phone line melting the handset Stephen is holding. Luckily he is wearing gloves and just puts the receiver down. Other parts of the film that fit into this ilk include being scanned by an unborn baby and summoning fire from your hands.
These unbelievable moments along with the (at times) clearly low budget special effects and poor acting by the actors in smaller roles does discredit the film a lot. I feel that many effects were reasonable to very good for 1981, but when someone is thrown across a room and they are obviously jumping it does turn the scene into a bit of a farce. Talking of acting, Steven Lack does in deed lack the ability to act at all in this film. I know he is playing a social misfit, an outcast that has only just experienced clarity but still he doesn't convey much at all throughout this film. He simply can't deliver lines at all.
The soundtrack to Scanners is quite weird. There is this strange, deep, vibrating noise whenever someone is being scanned. I like these moments in the film and find them fun. Although I do think that they are there as a solution to a problem though. I mean, you can't actually film someone being "scanned" as you cannot see thoughts. So Cronenburg has tried to show it audibly. That coupled with a little noise bleed does the trick and the audience can follow what is happening.
When you watch the film you may be aware of a lot head imagery. From Revok's attempt to let people out of his head, to head sculptures, to having a conversation inside one great big head. This does tie in nicely with the films psychological content. Less thought was put into the more exciting action sequences. Many happen without any build up, seem to be immediately happening and over too quick. With greater build up I feel many of these scenes would have had greater impact on the viewer. Similar can be said about the ending which seems to happen too quick. We have the mental showdown and that's it. I think that it should have been concluded a little better as leaving the film this way can leave the audience cold and dissatisfied.
I said above that I love this movie, and I do. I enjoy watching Scanners more than any other film we have reviewed so far. It's a really, really cool film. But I think that if you take McGoohan and Ironside out of the picture Scanners would be an awful movie. I think it's because of them that it carries the cult status that it does today. Scanners is a lot of fun and where else would you see a person's head explode? I would recommend it to people who enjoy psychological thrillers and its essential viewing for Ironside and McGoohan fans. Although it's not the best made film you'll ever see and looks cheap from the offset.
Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) is a genetically inferior man. In order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel he assumes the identity of Jerome "Eugene" Morrow (Jude Law) who is genetically superior.
I like Gattaca and think that it's a very good movie. Andrew Niccol does a great job (Writer/ Director) and I feel that he has presented a very intriguing and thought provoking film. In the age of cloning and genetic modification one does wonder how long it will be before scenes from this film become a reality; simply handing in a blood sample at a job interview. To quote a few lines from Jurassic Park; "scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn't stop to think if they should." "What you call discovery, I call the rape of the natural world."
Although Gattaca is a very different film, it does convey a very similar message and poses some important questions. Is genetically modifying children right? How much should be left to chance? How big a part does fate play in people's lives compared to what we were born with? In the fight between modified and unmodified, is it always the strongest that survives?
The acting is pretty solid throughout and on the whole the cast are all believable. I am not the biggest Jude Law fan, but for me he gives the standout performance here. He does seem to be the most interesting character whenever he is on screen. I particularly like the scene where he is stopped by the police for an identity check.
Since its release in 1997 it hasn't received any major recognition. I feel that it has been under-rated and pretty much forgotten about. I have asked many people their opinion of Gattaca and for most it's un-heard of. Unfortunately it seems that this film has fallen "through the net". I think that, that is a shame as it's quite a catch (pardon the pun). I would recommend this movie to anyone and would suggest that you won't be disappointed.
I think that Gattaca is good entertainment, it doesn't go on for too long, doesn't flood your brain with technical mumbo jumbo and definitely gives you food for thought. It won't have you on the edge of your seat biting your finger nails, nor will it have you dozing off. But it is a good, solid, decent movie about a timely topic.
I usually start my reviews with a very brief synopsis of the story. I don't know if I can do this with 2001. We start off at the dawn of man and there are chimps. They fight, a black monolith seems to appear from somewhere and leads to the next evolutionary level for the chimps in their ascension to man; using bones as weapons. There is then a cut scene from the bone to a space ship. Quite an intriguing one really; from a flying bone thrown by ape to a flying ship launched by man.
After this there are a lot of pretty shots that wear thin very quickly. We then discover that there is a similar monolith on the moon - buried for 40,000,000 years. There is a cover up and when the Astronauts go to look at the discovery it lets out a loud noise. Then we go to the next part of the film where we meet HAL. The story surrounding HAL is pretty much the only story in the film and covers maybe 15% of the movie itself. HAL is a super computer that doesn't make mistakes and it appears that he has indeed made one. After this concludes we are in the final part of the film which makes very little sense to me. It seems that Dave has perhaps been reborn? I do not pretend to understand 2001: A Space Odyssey and the most confusing part is the final chapter. It seems more like a psychedelic "trip" than a conclusion to the story.
Kubrick has done some great work with 2001. The movie looks brilliant; the ships, planets and life in space all look and feel flawless. The ships turn in space as classical music plays and the movie appears to become a space ballet. But the film is 2 hours and 20 minutes long. The story with HAL is perhaps 30 minutes of the movie. The audience sit through almost 2 hours of landscape, ships looking good in space, people walking round in zero gravity, drinking food and psychedelic colours. All of which have little or no dialogue and have little or no point to them.
As a pretty picture to hang on your wall 2001 is great. But to watch as a movie it falls short to me. Lots and lots of style over substance.
Many, many critics have given 2001 top billing, but I struggle to see why. Yes, the effects are amazing and yes having spaceships appear to dance to music is different and creative, lots of the shots used are very, very clever and so on. But who cares about any of this if there is no story. I have put the DVD into my machine or bought a ticket to the cinema to see a film. A film with characters and dialogue. A beginning, middle and an end. A film with a point. 2001 has little or none of these.
For me 2001 is more like a piece of art than a movie. It's a series of pretty pictures played in sequence. For effects and creativity 2001 is great, but for a movie it doesn't really qualify as it has no story. I am giving 2001 one star for the effects and one star for HAL.
The ship C57D travels to Altair IV to check up on the colony based there. Nothing has been heard from them in some time. As the crew approach they are "warned off" by Dr. Morbious. He tells Commander J. J. Adams (Leslie Nielsen) that all is fine and that there is no need to land or look any further. The Commander dismisses this, lands anyway and we find out why Morbious was so reluctant to "roll out the red carpet".
Forbidden Planet is a classic Sci-Fi movie and one of the best of the 1950's. No small feat considering it is contending with such classics as; The Day The Earth Stood Still, The War of the Worlds, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Incredible Shrinking Man, This Island Earth, Them!, It Came From Outer Space, Invaders From Mars and Destination Moon. Personally I've always thought The Blob was pretty good too.
It boasts lavish sets, great special effects, a cool robot, sex appeal and many light hearted moments. It has and continues to influence Sci-Fi movies to this day. Be it C3PO in Star Wars or following blips on a radar made by a seemingly invisible enemy in Alien. Not bad given the fact that it would be another 13 years before man actually landed on the Moon. Considering this and the year it was made, the audience must have been overcome with a sense of wonder when it was originally screened.
I think that Morbious' daughter Alta (Anne Francis) offers not only sex appeal but a light hearted, romantic love interest that breaks up the main story and adds an intriguing sub-plot.
And how can you review Forbidden Planet without mentioning Robbie the Robot. Robbie is fun, entertaining and very memorable. His likeness has been seen in many other movies since; from Gremlins, to Lost in Space to The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
For all the Sci-Fi wonder and massive achievements of the Krell, I found it quite insightful that, even in this setting, it was the dangers of the human unconscious mind that was the real enemy. Mr. Freud, you should be proud.
I really do enjoy Forbidden Planet. It should be included in any top Sci-Fi list. Its lots of fun, very cool (if a little kitsch) and offers the audience a great deal over the 98 minutes that it runs for. Thank God there hasn't been a remake, long may that continue.
A 12 year old boy (David Freeman) goes missing and returns 8 years later. He has not aged in this time and is unaware of his disappearance. Scientists, Doctors and his family are all equally baffled over this strange phenomenon. All are at a loose end until NASA come on the scene. NASA are very interested in David following their discovery of a UFO; which seems to have a lot in common with the young boy. The fun really begins when the 2 are reunited.
The Flight of the Navigator is an 80's classic, Sci-Fi, family film. The story is easy to follow, light-hearted and very easy going. This is a great movie to watch when you are tired, ill or just don't want to use your brain too much.
Flight of the Navigator is a very enjoyable watch. I had fun revisiting it this week and loved this film as child. It was one of my most watched "taped off the TV" VHS tapes.
I think the special effects are quite good for the time, I like the pun in the opening credits, the music is pretty good throughout and I find Joey Cramer's performance as David very good indeed. I think it's a shame his movie career began to fade away rapidly after this point.
Randal Kleiser (Director) did a decent job with this film. I think it's one of his greater achievements. He also had success and praise with Grease, The Blue Lagoon and White Fang.
As a movie it achieves everything that it sets out to do; to entertain a family audience. I feel that it can stand comfortably amongst many other solid, light hearted, family movies of this time, such as; Batteries not Included, Honey, I shrunk the Kids, The Never Ending Story, Big, The Karate Kid, Short Circuit, Gremlins, Cocoon, etc.
I think that, that category is where Flight of the Navigator belongs. To set it's sights on anything higher would be, in my opinion, "punching above it's weight". I don't think that it can be regarded as one of the really great or top family movies of the 80's. There's too much competition with movies such as; Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark and ET. Mr. Spielburg was really firing with both barrels at this time.
Comparisons aside, The Flight of the Navigator remains an enjoyable family movie that entertains children and adults alike. I think it was probably my favorite movie when I was about 8, and continued to be so until the release of Independence day. But what did I know, I also liked Teen Wolf, Mac and Me and Harry and the Hendersons.
Wow, wow, wow! Before I start the review, what the hell happened with VINCENT!? To me he looks like something Blue Peter "made earlier". Please remember, that this is no small budget production. This is a Blockbuster, made by Disney in 1979. All 6 of the above films were made for a total of around $37,750,000 and The Black Hole cost $20,000,000 ON IT'S OWN!
Moving on, The Black Hole is a Disney Sci-Fi family movie set in space. We enter the film as a ship and crew come close to a large black hole. They discover a ship nearby that seems desolate and stop to repair their ship and to investigate the situation further.
The opening title sequence is pretty impressive. The music is haunting and the early CGI is great. Unfortunately its all down hill from here. Any shots of space or outside the ship are convincing but inside is a very different story. I am sure cereal boxes and paper mache were involved. It makes Barberella look like an elaborate visual feast.
It is a very different outing than what we have come to expect from Disney. It was their first movie rated PG. It's darker and more brutal than you would imagine. Especially when Maximillian, the over protective robot, turns Anthony Perkins into a human kebab. And what the hell is Anthony Perkins doing in this film anyway? From the most notorious Motel in the world, to the biggest toilet in the Galaxy! Also, most Disney movies are easy to understand, are full of colorful characters and pay attention to every small detail. The Black Hole is not easy to understand, all the characters are dull and bland and seems to defy all known laws of science and physics. With the story that's on offer, you would expect quite a dramatic adventure. But the film seems to stubbornly try to be as unexciting and outright boring as it can.
In its defense, the opening sequence, the soundtrack and the cinematography through out are creative, inventive and enjoyable. But the story, script, characters, acting and internal special effects are weak and painfully bad.
The story itself reminds me a little of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Discovery of a ship, eccentric captain, extensive knowledge, not wanting to leave, large devastating phenomenon outside, Captain Nemo wants to go down with the ship, etc. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is also a Disney movie; a much, much better Disney movie.
Disney have shown over many decades that when they get it right, they really get it right. Our joint top movie The Lion King is testament to this. But when they get it wrong, they really get it wrong ... The Black Hole is testament to that.
Into the wild is the story of Christopher McCandless and his rejection of money, possessions, family and friends to pursue a life of isolation, travel and freedom into the wild.
The story is an interesting one. I find it insightful and inspiring. I myself have wanted to something very similar on many occasions, just "down tools" and take to the road. The amazing places that McCandless visits are highlighted by the stunning cinematography, thanks to Éric Gautier.
From around the middle of the film the audience start to realize that McCandless is quite selfish and he is as much running away from his previous life as he is running towards his new one. I myself began to lose interest in the character a little at this point. I found it so ironic that he left in search of happiness in isolation away from all people, but finds that "happiness is only real when shared". He finds out a great deal about forgiveness and relationships with people, but needed to spend 2 months in isolated Alaska and kill a Moose in order to find this out.
This revelation is very much at the end of the film and it seems to take a rather long time to get to this point. Although exciting and fresh the story gets old quickly and just goes on and on. It also starts to jump backwards and forwards in time which can get pretty confusing.
The film is carried along by Emile Hish (Milk, Speed Racer, The Girl Next Door) who plays his part well and was a good choice for this role. Jenna Malone (The Ruins, Suckerpunch) and Kristen Stewart (pre-Twilight saga) are both convincing in their roles and feel that they are both stars of the future with bigger and better things ahead of them.
It was also nice to see Hal Holbrook (who played Ron Franz) I know he was pretty good in Water For Elephants, which was released 4 years after Into The Wild, but I can't remember the last time I saw him in a film before this. Wall Street? The Fog? Either way, I enjoyed his part in the film and found Mr. Franz to be the most touching character of all. (If you are interested in Hal Holbrook he has about 4 projects lined up for release over the next 12 months, Lincoln to mention just 1, so watch this space).
In conclusion; the story was intriguing and moving in places, the Cinematography was beautiful, the acting wasn't bad either but it was too long, became boring in places and its easy to dislike the main character. All things considered I think it was pretty average overall.
Man On The Moon is a comedy/drama about the life and unconventional comedy of Andy Kaufman. The audience follow Andy's life from his early childhood to his death from lung cancer. The movie sets the tone of the film early on and completely changes from around the half way mark - in line with the discovery of his disease. In the end, it's not the film you thought it was going to be. At least for the members of the audience who were previously unaware of Andy Kaufman.
I feel that the film is quite honest. Probably due to most of the cast knowing Andy personally. Not only that, but for the most part playing themselves in the film. The whole cast of Taxi play themselves with the exception of Danny DeVito who cannot as he is already producing the film and playing George Shapiro (one of the main parts). Jerry Lawler plays himself, David Letterman plays himself etc etc. This makes the movie not only personal but warm, heartfelt and one that is told by those who loved him most.
Although honest, the one main difference between the film and real life events is that the audience are in on the joke. Were they ever with Kaufman?
Andy Kaufman is played superbly by Jim Carrey. Carrey hit the big time with Ace Ventura: Pet Detective in 1994 and had a string of hit movies with his own unique style of "rubber faced" humour. In 1998 he played his first serious role in The Truman Show which showed audiences that he could "play it straight" too.
Man On The Moon was released the following year and was the second release in which he left his comic hat at home.
He delivers the role very well and is convincing as Kaufman. I feel that other actors could have played the part but it would have changed the feel of the movie completely and for my money wouldn't have been as good as Carrey was.
The part of Kaufman's close friend and writer Bob Zmuda was played by Paul Giamatti. He also gives a stand out performance and I feel that he worked very well along Carrey. For Giamatti this is about his 20th film and came at around the time he started receiving wider recognition. I'm really looking forward to seeing him work alongside Fassbender in the up and coming Twelve Years a Slave.
As a standalone comedy or drama Man On The Moon fails to deliver. However, like Kaufman it fails to fit into the usual constraints.
All things considered I feel that it is a great movie. I look at Man On The Moon with affection and joy, I find it entertaining and it hasn't lost its appeal over the many times I have watched it.
I consider the critics were harsh and that Man On The Moon is largely underrated. It is generally criticised for poor acting, a flawed story and a weak wishy-washy presentation that makes no statement, nor does it answer any questions. I totally disagree with all of these comments and feel as though I watched a different film altogether. Granted, certain parts appear a little unpolished but it's a great film overall. I would recommend it to anyone.