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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #300 on: October 04, 2017, 12:21:13 PM »


Cloverfield (2008), directed by Matt Reeves

I have been told for nine years that I needed to watch this movie, but in typical fashion I never bothered to do it. I wish I could explain why I never bothered to do so with so many of these films, but I just can't. It's inexplicable and there's really no excuse for ignoring what other people are telling me I should do. It makes me kind of an asshole now that I really think about it. Anyway, I wasn't expecting some aspects of this. While people do recommend things to me, they are kind enough to not spoil anything. I did not expect a found footage film. I am not automatically against watching something that features a different cinematic technique, but I am very cautious. Nothing I've reviewed in this thread would apply to this degree, though. So, as soon as I noticed that, I was interested in seeing what the big deal about this movie was.

Immediately it is shown that this video had been acquired by the Department of Defense. Such a thing piqued my interest immediately. I did not pay attention to all of the words on screen, which turned out to be for the best. The first segment is filmed by Rob (Michael Stahl-David), who is sleeping with Beth (Odette Yustman). He wants to take her to Coney Island. After that, the tape cuts to the preparation of a party. It turns out that they were taping over Rob and Beth's video. Jason (Mike Vogel) is Rob's brother, and his girlfriend Lily (Jessica Lucas) wants him to tape video of a surprise party for Rob, who got promoted to a workplace in Japan. Jason just doesn't want to do this job, he wants to enjoy the part. So, the job gets passed on to Hud (TJ Miller), one of Rob's best friends. Hud has his own intentions in filming this video, as it appears he has a crush on Marlena (Lizzy Caplan). Doesn't everyone have a crush on Lizzy Caplan? This aspect makes Hud an endearing narrator. Many minutes into the party, an earthquake hits, and shortly after that we are introduced to...THE MONSTER.

The events of the party are meaningful to get the audience to care about the characters. In fact this is one of the best examples of a monster movie that jumps from this to the next sequences. There is no exposition regarding the monster and it's for the best. I don't want to hear it. I want everyone involved to not know what this shit is about. Doing that leads to the suspense actually meaning something as the viewer has no concept of what the monster is going to do. The story is fortunately concise, and I appreciated not knowing where the monster came from. I expect it will be detailed in God Particle, the next entry in this series. Maybe it won't be. I'm sure people are really anxious to know ten years later. I am not, because it hasn't been ten years for me.

Due to that, and due to knowing there are other films planned, my view on the matter is skewed compared to those who watched Cloverfield upon its release. My view on a lot of things is different. I am not as interested in where the monster came from as I am knowing how they used the special effects on a $25 million budget. I am also interested in how they pulled off doing this via hand-held camera. It's great, actually. I'm sure a lot of people had a major problem with it or couldn't handle it. That was not a problem for me. I found the shaky camera more interesting than if this film had been shot traditionally. Doing so allowed them to present a story that felt like the viewer was there. Good stuff. The design of the creatures, as well as the way they were shown, was quite a great decision.

Oddly, this film is unbelievably short. I counted this out at being 73 minutes. I'm glad this wasn't padded out, but that's quite short. The monster portion ran for 53 minutes, so that was like watching an episode of television. I'm sure a lot of people were mad about what happened in that. The obvious thing that comes to mind as being triggering for some would be the destruction of Manhattan. People were still all up in their feelings seven years after 9/11, and they still are to some extent, so such a reaction isn't surprising on any level. There are some things in this film that were silly, namely Hud's obsession with documenting the event. It's also strange to watch a movie with no music, but that's not a complaint. The only thing I found offensively dumb was the idea that someone could run after having rebar pulled out of their chest. Considering the amount of things in this film, that speaks pretty well for the production and what it brought to the table.

8/10

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #301 on: October 05, 2017, 06:11:04 PM »


The Sting (1973), directed by George Roy Hill

I had intended to watch a bad movie after the last two, but my internet messed up last night and I couldn't watch anything. So instead, on Thursday night I watched The Sting. I didn't know what to make of this before I turned it on other than that I knew this was considered a classic by some and had extremely positive reviews. After watching two great movies, I prefer to be let down rather than continue the run. Instead I think I will have to let myself down tomorrow. This definitely didn't do it, or come anywhere near doing so in fact. I expected that, though.

It's 1936 in Illinois, and the film starts with a guy making some kind of illegal delivery to Chicago. He leaves the shop, and outside there's a black man on the ground after being stabbed. The robber has a suitcase thrown at him and loses the man's wallet, so the money is subsequently given back to the man. The man says he was also making an illegal delivery, and the initial guy offers to do it himself. He does that, steals the money and winds up in a cab, but it turns out the black man and his partner made the switch and have made off with all the money. Sounds complicated, right? This movie is massively complicated and you can't miss a single scene or word in it.

It turns out that our thieves are named Luther (Robert Earl Jones) and Hooker (Robert Redford), and they've stolen a lot of money from a man named Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw). Lonnegan is a crook, and he's a violent one. The idea that someone would steal from him grinds his gears. So, Lonnegan decides to put it a hit out on Luther and Hooker. Hooker is confronted by a cop named Snyder (Charles Durning), and Snyder wants his cut, but Hooker's already lost almost all of his money gambling. Snyder also tells Hooker that Lonnegan knows what happened. So, Hooker being the grifter and all, he pays Snyder in counterfeit bills. Hooker then goes to Luther's house to tell him what they've done, and Luther has been pushed off a balcony. Obviously, Hooker needs to leave town, and he's in search of somebody Luther told him about. Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) is someone who knows how to do the big con, and with what's been done to Luther, it's time to pull the big con on Mr. Lonnegan.

I said this movie was complicated, but I meant that like a compliment. There's no downtime at all, so I had to power straight through this without pausing or doing anything else. As more and more of the con is revealed to the viewer, the more entertaining this movie gets. This is an excellent case of building up to something better and better. I thought the card game was going to be the peak, but in fact that was nowhere near it. The hits kept on coming. Considering how young we are relative to how old this movie is, I would be surprised if most people here have seen this. It's impossible for me to reveal more of the plot because it's so complicated, but I have no desire to spoil this for anyone else either. So this will be fairly brief. If you're interested in a good con man story, there may not be a better one than this.

There are a lot of good side characters, but the standout is Kid Twist (Harold Gould), the guy who appeared to be in charge of setting a large portion of this up. I would say this was a case of better story than performances. I mean, a story like this is not often seen. Not to take anything away from the actors as they were all good, but that's not what I'll remember from this. It's the directing in combination with the way this story was pieced together. It is hard to maintain intrigue the way it happened here. It is also borderline impossible to keep this plot on the rails. That's what happened, though. I probably should have watched this the first time it was recommended to me. 44 years later, this hasn't diminished in quality at all, and holds up very well.

9/10

Offline cobainwasmurdered

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #302 on: October 05, 2017, 10:44:35 PM »
Love that movie and all newman/Redford movies

Offline Kahran Ramsus

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #303 on: October 06, 2017, 01:28:05 PM »
Yes, I love The Sting too.

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #304 on: October 06, 2017, 06:11:51 PM »


Warcraft (2016), directed by Duncan Jones

I didn't realize that I was going to go this crazy and type this much over the course of 40 minutes. Wow. That was never my intention. This more than anything else is my Jingus-like opus.

When I said that I was trying to watch something to level the playing field a little bit, this was the movie I was talking about. I think this is an impossible film to make for a host of reasons, the most obvious one being that fanboys would get upset regardless of how the film turned out. I used to play World of Warcraft fairly seriously. When I look back on those days, I think it was a gigantic waste of my time. I can't believe how many hours I've wasted playing a stupid game like this one. Naturally I do have my own biases in favor of this movie, because I know the story and all that stuff. Or at least, I know what the story is supposed to be. With this being a film it is inevitable that there would be tons of changes to the story, so I decided I didn't care if there were. There were a ton of other problems with this film, though.

I will do my best in order to describe the events in a way that anyone who knows nothing about this game series should be able to understand them. Gul'dan (Daniel Wu) is an orc warlock from a world that is said to be dying. He wields magic that is referred to as fel magic, which seems to be pretty effective at killing anyone. Gul'dan wants to open a portal to Azeroth, where humans live. He has enslaved some blue people in order to do so, and their deaths are required in order for the orcs to travel. A half-orc named Garona (Paula Patton) has been tasked with translating languages for the duration of this adventuring. Durotan (Toby Kebbell) is a chieftain of the Frostwolves, and he is determined to bring his newborn and wife with him. He does, and his newborn nearly dies during birth once the orcs reach Azeroth. Gul'dan saves the newborn with fel magic, and then we see the title screen.

Sorry for spoiling the first five minutes or so, but this is not exactly how I would have introduced a new film series to the world. Upon the orcs arrival, naturally humans have a problem with this as the orcs are killing people, capturing them, and taking their land. A mage named Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer) is investigating some of the victims the orcs have killed, and is busted doing so by Anduin (Travis Fimmel), a military commander in charge of keeping Stormwind Kingdom safe. There is also a king, his name is Llane (Dominic Cooper), and he does kingly things. Last and certainly not least, there's Medivh (Ben Foster), a mysterious guardian of the world who seems to be quite the sorcerer.

In reading these last two paragraphs, the problem with this film is plainly obvious to me. There are too many characters who do too many things that need to be explained in short order. The entry barrier for this series is massively high. If it was necessary to make this movie, I think I would have chopped a few of the characters out. At the very least, that's one of the things they could have done. I wouldn't have made this film at all, though. Anyone can see that there is far too much exposition required for a genre that needs to be more simple than this. Peter Jackson expertly executed his attempts at doing so. Why didn't that happen here? Well, for one, people don't have the patience to sit through a three hour Warcraft movie. I sure as hell wouldn't. Secondly, people are inherently against the subject material because of its reputation. Despite the problems, the movie is watchable.

I am not capable of describing how it was watchable without writing about more of the problems with it, so unless you want to read a very long paragraph or two of negatives you can skip straight past this part. Due to the incredible amount of special effects in this film, there are a lot of set pieces that really get the shit end of the stick. All of the tangible props and settings look extremely cheap, there's no other way to phrase it. It is often given as a compliment by people when a movie is able to blend the fake with reality. In this case there is no compliment to be given. I found it completely absurd. I could genuinely not tell if the entire movie was shot with a green screen. There may not have been anything tangible in the background of any scene for all I know. There are a ton of things about what I'm describing that are very bad, because there were necessities for practical settings that I'm not sure even existed. Enough of the scenes in this movie took place outside that I should have felt some sort of reality. I didn't, though. Unfortunately, there are also a few special effects scenes that get the shaft and could not possibly look worse. The background in Ironforge at the beginning is an obvious candidate.

There are also good actors in this movie, all of whom are completely diminished through an annoying lack of focus on their characters. There are no main characters in this film, which is another way of saying that almost everyone in this film is a lead character. Other than Fimmel, who is really good in Vikings, none of the other human characters are terribly engaging. Ben Foster's character wasn't really human, if you're wondering. He's good in basically anything, but he's given no time to work with and his portrayal is backwards. The film did not address his or Gul'dan's motivations. The comparison between this and Hell or High Water, both released in the same year, is quite mindblowing. It's also apparent that due to the massive special effects budget, this cast (just like tangible backgrounds) was put together on the cheap. Warcraft was filmed in 2014, and nobody here had the clout to demand a big paycheck. This is a typical studio franchise attempt that failed.

It's not all bad, though. I mean, I've said a lot, but there were things about this film that I found endearing. For starters, the right characters were given just slightly more time than the others. Durotan is the obvious one. The motion capture and effects for the orcs is the real standout here. To make those characters look lifelike is very difficult, but they were the most intereresting part of the movie by some distance. It's not all that surprising that's the case when orcs and humans are given equal time in a movie. After all, humans are what's on my screen and what I have to look at all the time. The battle scenes are also always interesting, even though all of the visual problems I listed remained in the back of my mind throughout. Upon review, this is such a small amount of positives that I probably shouldn't have even posted this section.

Ultimately, I am convinced that this film was impossible to make. The budget required to do these scenes properly would make this an unbelievably expensive film. Due to the nature of the world established in the games, in order to have a realistic looking movie, the locations required would be completely off the charts. It doesn't make fiscal sense. I also don't understand how Duncan Jones went from making good movies like Moon and Source Code to something like this. Warcraft reeks of massive studio interference, as this could have been a much better story presented in a different way. For example, I think chopping most of the human scenes out would have made for a more intriguing and focused film. I don't make those decisions, though. Telling a story with a ridiculous premise is very hard to do, so while I didn't like this, I couldn't outright hate it. That's probably because of prior attachment to the subject material. By all objective standards this was a bad movie, but I do appreciate the effort of taking on a project like this regardless of the results. The problem is, the characters are all wrong and none of them are fun. I also think there is a possibility that I have turned into a grouch and detest modern, enormous cast and gaudy special effects Hollywood blockbusters. With the current state of Hollywood being what it is, it is not even worth making a CGI-fest unless they put $250 million into the movie. The standard for special effects is ridiculously high now. 

If they make another one of these I'll watch it, but I really don't want them to. The costume for Paula Patton's character was so bad I wanted to save those comments for last. I find it incredible to believe that in 2017 when they used special effects to create a host of other characters, that they would do such a bad job creating that one. Her character looked like something out of a 1960's Star Trek episode, and the piece used for her mouth made it almost impossible to understand anything she said. Fix the voice up in post-production or something, don't do that. That was brutal.

4/10

Offline cobainwasmurdered

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #305 on: October 07, 2017, 09:19:08 AM »
Man that's a fucking review. We can give it it's own article!

I thought the orcs were kinda cool but i agree with pretty much everything said. I think I gave it a slightly better rating than you did because I'm a fantasy fanboy so I'll go incredibly easy.

I've never watched read or played anything WOW related so I was totally fresh eyed on this and had to rely on my high-fantasy instincts. Luckily WOW is just a mishmash of every fantasy trope in existence so it wasn't that hard to follow for me but it was still a total mess.

They should have kept the focus on the orc army and not tried to introduce all the other elements. A movie where you spend the whole time on the "bad guys" would have been much more interesting.

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #306 on: October 09, 2017, 04:24:08 AM »


The Bank Job (2008), directed by Roger Donaldson

Jason Statham in a serious movie that I don't have to watch a whole series of films to catch? I'm there. This is or was a rarity, and it shouldn't surprise anyone that I enjoy bank robbery films of any kind. I mean, I've reviewed a fair few of them here and seen some others that I will eventually revisit, but that'll all happen in due time. This particular one was also interesting because it has been alleged that this story is true. Certainly some of it is as a few of those characters portrayed certainly exist. There is no way to be sure how much of it is real, though. So I'll throw that completely to the side when writing about this.

This film is supposed to be focused on the Baker Street Robbery, which was a very big deal in 1971. Some people rented a store next door to the bank, and they tunneled into a vault to steal some goods from the vault. The story presented here is as such. A man named Michael X (Peter de Jersey) has pictures of Princess Margaret in compromising positions. Michael X is a black militant who the British authorities are trying to get rid of and have put in prison. Martine (Saffron Burrows) is a woman who has been busted smuggling drugs. In the aftermath of that, she has made a deal with an agent named Tim (Richard Lintern), who wants her to steal these photographs from a safety deposit box. Martine knows some criminals, because of course she does. She approaches Terry (Jason Statham), who has some struggles with money and could use the proceeds of this. Terry puts together a team, all of whom have an equal part in the story, but not the robbery. Some of them are not criminals. Dave (Daniel Mays) is a porn actor who made films for Lew Vogel (David Suchet), a man who keeps things in the bank. Eddie (Michael Jibson) is the lookout, Bambas (Alki David) is the tunneling expert, Kevin (Stephen Campbell Moore) is attached to the aforementioned Martine in some way, and Guy (James Faulkner) is a front man for the store who has a posh accent.

That's quite the mouthful to explain, but this film is quite complicated and I only really got into half of it. See, Tim has hedged his bets and has made sure that nobody except Martine is aware of his involvement. It is not made clear that Martine knows exactly what's in the deposit box she has been tasked to retrieve. On top of that, Tim has used an agent to infiltrate Michael X's group to see if he has copies of the pictures, or worse. Then there's Vogel, who keeps thing in the bank that he can't get out. There's also a madam, who does the same thing as leverage in case she ever gets busted. See, that's how these things really work. If you're doing shit with powerful people, it's in your best interest to do things this way. Such a film requires a gigantic cast, which presents issues that impact on how good a film can actually be.

I really did like this, and I could talk about it for a long time, but the movie is limited by the fact it is so plot driven. It is not possible for any of the actors to really tear into their scenes, and given the cast it is clear to see why that would be the case. I am quite confused that a director with very little quality in their resume would be able to juggle this plot as well as it was done. I'm not saying it was perfect, that definitely isn't the case. The film has some issues with pace and cliched characters. I mean, if you've watched this...it's easy to point out which ones feel like cliches. There is nothing to differentiate them from the general cliche.

With all that being said, it is surprising that I would like a movie with these limitations, but the plot is so good. I don't know which parts of this are true or not and don't really care, but the story made for a very entertaining movie. The specifics of how the crew broke into the vault were great to watch, and I actually felt tense over it, which is hard to get me to do. Not only that, but the aftermath engendered the same feelings. That's difficult for any movie to pull off. While to movie initially gives off the feeling that the movie revolves around Michael X, that's not what it is, but his involvement in the movie is also pretty good. Ultimately, I just liked this movie regardless of whatever flaws it had. More people should watch it.

7.5/10

Offline Kahran Ramsus

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #307 on: October 09, 2017, 06:56:28 AM »
Saw The Bank Job in theaters back in 2008, and really enjoyed.

With Warcraft, I think the mistake was going too big in scale.  If they were going to make a film, they should have focused on a smaller story within the larger Warcraft universe.  Something like the fall of Arthas might have worked as it is pretty straightforward and features a reasonable number of characters.

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #308 on: October 09, 2017, 06:13:59 PM »


Rampart (2011), directed by Oren Moverman

Did you ever want to see Woody Harrelson play a corrupt cop? If so, this is for you. Rampart was a little bit controversial upon release, and I have some small explanations regarding that. There was an incident on Reddit where Harrelson was supposed to answer questions from members of the forum. He or whomever answered the questions did not understand the concept of the format, and everything asked to him was either not answered or answered in a way that promoted the film. Obviously, Reddit being Reddit, people were quite upset about this incident and brigaded the IMDB page or anywhere else there were ratings for this film and destroyed them. There was also the matter of some posters being circulated that showed Woody's character committing police brutality. Nobody went to go see the film either, but given the subject matter that's an inevitability. This and many other films put a company out of business because of that lack of financial viability.

The Rampart scandal was a big deal in Los Angeles, but I don't know if the rest of the country cared or was made aware of what happened. The Rampart Division covered a lot of gang infested areas in Los Angeles, and this movie is set in the late 90's when this scandal happened. It was found that the gang division was incredibly corrupt. There were many instances of this, and they were spread across the spectrum of ways in which you could imagine that cops can be corrupt. There is an article below that you can read if you'd like to know more. It is very long.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2001/05/21/bad-cops

Back to the movie. So, this is a fictionalized version of one cop's problems as they would relate to the Rampart Division. Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson) is a total asshole. When you think pig, this guy would be exactly the one. While training a new officer, he fucks some guy up by putting him through a window. He just doesn't give a shit about anything related to constitutional rights. Oddly, he has daughters who two women who are sisters, played by Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon. They are similar characters to the point of not needing to differentiate them. His daughter Helen (Brie Larson) doesn't seem to have the best handle on this situation, seeing as her sister is also...her cousin. It's pretty weird. Anyway, Brown gets in a car accident and roughs a suspect up, which is a problem seeing as the LAPD is already destroyed with scandals. The assistant DA (Steve Buscemi) is out to have his badge, and with good reason obviously. Brown has a mentor of sorts in Hart (Ned Beatty), a man who seems to know exactly what Brown should do. His captain Joan (Sigourney Weaver) is basically held captive with regards to having his badge, and on top of all this he's having an affair with a lawyer named Linda (Robin Wright). I left the worst part out.

Maybe it's wrong to say I left the worst part out, because the worst part is Dave Brown. Dave Brown is an irredeemable asshole. This is a strange movie in that sense. You shouldn't really feel sorry for him at all, and Harrelson's performance is great in ensuring that's the case. We all know Woody can play an asshole, he's done that so many times before. He's perfect for this role. That's the problem with this movie, actually. While I would call this a good film, it is absolutely without joy. It is actually a little difficult to watch because of that. There's really not anything that could make me feel sorry for him, but it's not like there's anything wrong with structuring a film that way. It's just a weird thing to watch sometimes.

It's funny that I'd watch this so shortly after viewing The Bank Job, because I couldn't possibly think of two more different films. The previous film is completely driven by its plot, the characters are not entirely meaningful, except for a scene with Jason Statham and Keeley Hawes, the woman who plays his wife. In this case the film is exclusively about the characters. Some of the interpersonal relationships are more important than others. Obviously, there's Dave Brown's relationship with his two former wives. How does that work exactly? You should watch it if you want to know. His relationship with his two daughters, specifically Helen, is what takes precedence here. Helen is the older daughter, who seems to understand what it is that her father has gotten himself into.

Some of the lines in this film are cliched, with the usual cop "I'm not a racist, I hate everyone" spiel, but for whatever reason I didn't seem to mind that in this case. There are some scenes in this movie that are totally bizarre and impossible to describe. There's one when Brown is on drugs that made no sense to me whatsoever. I couldn't understand it, and it grossed me out a little, but it was also a good piece of filmmaking. I would have liked to see a few of the characters involved a little more than they were, but this is a solid film with a great performance. I am glad that this wasn't a docudrama as I could have really done without that. Instead we got to see why police officers would be driven to do the things that some corrupt officers do. At least that's what I saw. It appears that many people did not. Certainly everyone can see that this is a character case of somebody spiraling into madness, with no way out of it.

7/10

Offline The Thread Killer

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #309 on: October 10, 2017, 05:35:19 AM »
Wasn't the TV series "The Shield' basically based on the Rampart scandal?  That's why I never bothered with this movie.  I already watched The Shield, and it ruled. I didn't see the need to re-visit the story but with Woody replacing Michael Chiklis.

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #310 on: October 10, 2017, 05:35:56 AM »
I think so, but I have no idea as I haven't watched it. I need to get Hulu.

Also, this movie is only tangentially about the scandal, and is more focused on his relationships with other people that have been affected by his misdeeds.

Offline The Thread Killer

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #311 on: October 10, 2017, 05:45:11 AM »
Dude, you should definitely watch The Shield.

I really enjoy your movie reviews, by the way.  Keep up the good work.

Offline Zetterberg is Go

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #312 on: October 10, 2017, 06:53:41 AM »
The Shield was originally going to be called Rampart I believe.

And yes, watch the Shield. Gets overlooked often in the golden era of TV rankings but still the best and most satisfying finale I've seen.

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #313 on: October 12, 2017, 04:06:41 AM »
I spoiled quite a bit, so if you care, don't read.



Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), directed by Roland Emmerich

Once you've seen one Emmerich movie, it feels like you've seen them all, and that's certainly the case at it applies to this film. Independence Day was the only film of his that I've liked, so I was hoping that a sequel would bring something interesting to the table. It turns out there's no reason to hope for anything when it comes to some filmmakers. I understand that some people were clamoring for a sequel to this movie, but I don't really know why. The material is very dated in comparison to sci-fi that has been released in the last ten years. Considering the hands this film would be in, I see no reason to be excited about it whatsoever. I also find it incredible that it took five people to write this screenplay. One of them decided to write themselves into a scene where they shoot up a bunch of aliens. Sounds great!

It's nearly impossible to describe this movie, because there are too many characters and too many twists that lead to action pieces taking ages to conclude. The world here has alien technology as a result of the victory twenty years prior to the events of this film. They have used the technology to advance society and fend off any other potential invasion. The problem is that the aliens are COMING BACK and BIGGER THAN EVER. Nothing I would have written down here could be remotely surprising. I would like to move on.

When I say that there are too many characters, I genuinely can't believe how many of them there were. Nobody really stands out bar two of them, those of Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum. Those weren't the only holdovers from the first film, but pretty damn close. This film is a major disaster as a result of that. There are lots of new characters introduced, but none of the actors portraying them had any charisma whatsoever. I would prefer to talk about two of them. Liam Hemsworth and Jessie Usher play hotshot fighter pilots, and they're both terrible in every single way. It takes a lot for me to outright say somebody sucks. These two sucked. Their job was to try to carry an aspect of this film the way Will Smith did, and they completely failed. It was an impossible ask of them anyway. One problem with Hollywood at the moment is that their system has been engineered to prevent younger actors from being as big a star as Will Smith. Of course, these two don't have the talent Will Smith had. I'm sure there are a lot of other aspiring actors who aren't given the avenue to enter this field unconventionally. It definitely shows. As in nearly all things, star power is abnormal and doesn't make sense, and it isn't something that can be manufactured.

There were a lot of other new characters, but very few of them are worth mentioning. Sela Ward does a good turn as a Hillary Clinton ripoff, but that's about it. The script is horrendous, and there are good actors like Brent Spiner and Judd Hirsch given lines that were almost impossible to believe. The thing about this film that bothered me the absolute most was the blatant sequel baiting. I couldn't believe it. I think the vast majority of the last 40 minutes were sequel bait. There was so much talk about a certain plot device and what would happen after this was done. I think part of the problem is that I just don't like movies with big casts, even though this was even bigger than any cast I can recall.

That's not to say everything here was bad, even though most of the things that were good didn't make sense. The alien queen turning into Godzilla is one of those things. It was a good idea executed well, regardless of the things surrounding it that weren't. It was also interesting the way the alien ship tore apart Asia and wound up in London three seconds later. Good special effects in that scene for sure, but the logic of that is inexplicable. Most of the special effects were very good, specifically those on the moon.

The thing is, the logic in every Emmerich movie is inexplicable, and the viewer is tasked with enjoying his movies regardless of that. To some extent they are enjoyable, but that's because of good casting. In this case, his project wasn't very enjoyable at all. There are a lot of things in this movie that were really stupid and I didn't have time to mention them all, so I apologize for that. The world has largely moved on from brainless popcorn fare and is looking for different things in sci-fi movies. Interstellar is a good example of that and so is Inception. Personally, I am very glad this is the case.

4.5/10

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #314 on: October 12, 2017, 05:31:51 AM »
Brent spinner was so fucking hilarious just hamming it up in that piece of shit

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« Reply #315 on: October 12, 2017, 01:43:45 PM »


Twelve Monkeys (1995), directed by Terry Gilliam

For whatever reason, I have not watched anything Gilliam has done, bar about 20 minutes of Time Bandits. That 20 minutes was enough to know exactly what I was getting into when I turned on this movie. This was quite bizarre, and it's impossible to talk about the movie without spoiling it to some extent, so after this paragraph you shouldn't read if you don't want the whole thing blown for you. The cinematography in this movie was really disorienting at first, but I mean that in a good way. As with all other strange cinematography, it's something I inevitably get used to. A lot of people feel differently about films like that, which I understand, but that's not me. Weird is good. This won't be the only Gilliam film I watch this month either.

In 1996 there was a virus released that nearly completely wiped out the human population. A group called the Army of the Twelve Monkeys was alleged to be responsible. James Cole (Bruce Willis) is a violent prisoner who is tasked with going back in time. Why go back in time? The scientists who seem to run humanity in 2035 need him to locate the virus in order for them to send a scientist to study it. Unfortunately, Cole winds up in 1990 instead of the intended 1996, and seeing as he's unprepared to deal with the world of either of those times, he winds up in a mental institution. In that mental institution, he encounters some interesting people. The most important appears to be Jeffrey (Brad Pitt), a full blown lunatic who claims to have a father (Christopher Plummer) who can do all kinds of things to control the world. There's also a doctor named Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe) who is nice to him, although disbelieving of his story. Willis and Stowe both put in good, scrambled performances.

I was suckered into thinking that the entire film was going to be set in the mental institution, but it wasn't. It wasn't anything that I could possibly have conceived. There are a few consistencies throughout the film that were surprisingly upheld. The talk that they couldn't change the past was true. They couldn't change it. The dream Cole had throughout the movie could not be changed either. The overacting presented in the film is spectacular. There's a ton of it, and that's the point of the whole thing, reality has been warped.  Is the dream altered each time he has the dream? I honestly don't know, but I think that it was. Maybe I'm wrong. There's constant references to time travel and monkeys though, that's for certain. Why? You'd have to ask the filmmaker.

This movie definitely isn't for everyone, and the overacting is probably one of the reasons why. Brad Pitt's role in doing so is something I'll probably always remember. His goofy eye in combination with his mannerisms is just a step above what Pitt usually does in roles like these. Unfortunately, this is a very hard film to describe and talk about because of how strange it was. The constant time travel was good at keeping me off balance, but I'm sure some people think it was stupid. Fuck some people, how about that? The film is not easy to understand, but people need to get over that shit.

The set design is something that I have mixed feelings about. I enjoyed the portions set in the future, but I feel like there was something more to the setting that we needed to know. The production design reminded me of Star Trek in some ways. Special effects being what they were in the 90's renders a lot of these movies borderline unwatchable. The imaginations weren't in tune with the capabilities of the time. In this case, it wasn't so bad as the sets were practical although very bulky. I am shocked that this film remained on budget and was completed in three months. That seems like it was an impossible task, so it's an achievement to have pulled it off.

With the exception of Pitt's scenes, unfortunately this is largely a joyless film. I think this is my only criticism, and obviously the ending of Twelve Monkeys is extremely dark. I was not expecting this to end with everything happening the same as it did in the first place. Unfortunately, I think this is a terrible review if I'm being honest. Sometimes when a film does a good mindfucking on me, it's impossible to unpack. This is one of those movies. After watching a shitty sci-fi movie last night, it was good that I flipped the script and watched a good one.

8/10

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #316 on: October 12, 2017, 05:37:25 PM »


Bernie (2011), directed by Richard Linklater

Unbeknownst to myself until the film's conclusion, Bernie is based on a true story. This doesn't have much of an impact on my feelings regarding the film, and it shouldn't on anyone else's. Nobody should know of the events portrayed here, so this is my favorite kind of true story. To say that this film was an accurate portrayal of Southern life would be a ridiculous understatement. The format of this movie is bizarre to great extent. I cannot recall many other stories that are told in this style. Throughout the movie, the film is interspersed with documentary style interludes wherein townspeople would tell the camera about the gossip they'd heard. Some of the townspeople were actors, others were not. This gives the picture an authentic feeling that other films wish that they had.

Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) is a mortician who has come to Carthage, Texas. By the standards of California, it is fair to say that Bernie would be considered a weird motherfucker. In the South, that makes him a nice guy. Especially in 1996. Us coastal people are the weird motherfuckers. Bernie has assimilated seamlessly into the Carthage community, because after all, he's doing funerals for everyone that people know. Along comes Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), who Bernie meets when her husband dies. Bernie knows the town very well, so naturally he knows that Marjorie has a LOT of money. Despite how nice of a man Bernie seems to be, he foists himself on Marjorie and eventually they become friends. Or companions? Or sexual partners? There's no way to know for sure, but the portrayal in this film indicated that they were not. Bernie seems to be a closeted homosexual, which is referred to throughout the movie in strange ways. At some point in the telling of this story, inserted into the town chatter is one curious inclusion, that of District Attorney Danny Buck (Matthew McConaughey). Want to know why? NAH.

This movie is a very dark comedy, and it takes talent to make something like this as amusing as it was. I laughed a lot, because what I was seeing on my screen was too ridiculous to believe. That it actually happened is some crazy shit for me to comprehend. This movie could not possibly be more different than Dazed and Confused, which is something I like to see from a filmmaker. Telling a variation of stories is something many are incapable of doing. This could have been told another way, but it would be boring. There are no cheap laughs here, anything that people laugh at has to be earned. It is never explicitly stated that this is a comedy movie and there are no jokes told in the whole thing. The balancing act here is something.

The performances of all three listed cast members were great, but the clear standout is Jack Black. In modeling himself after Paul Bearer, he pulled something off which I didn't think he could do. I've never seen him as anything other than Jack Black, regardless of which character he played. That wasn't the case here, I saw his character. I still don't think I like him, but maybe I'm wrong about this guy. Over time I'll surely find out. I was also shocked that Shirley MacLaine was in this movie, and I didn't know what to make of it at first. Any concern was clearly unfounded.

Spoiler: show

If there are any criticisms about the movie, it is that obviously the film whitewashes what Bernie did. He shot a woman in the back four times. I felt a little bit guilty laughing at some of the stuff I laughed at once I found out that this actually happened. He shot a defenseless old woman, and I do not like the idea that this film made people think that the case needed to be revisited. The things that came up in resentencing seemed to be irrelevant to the case. If you want to read about it, go right ahead. The fact is that Bernie made a confession that he killed Marjorie and nothing should change that.


Other than the things above, I have no problems with the film. The subject material is such that it's going to be impossible for me to really love a movie like this one, because after all, it's a comedy about what I posted in the spoiler tags. I also think that the film could have used one of the other characters a bit more than it did. Instead, at the film's culmination, they were a big nothing. Don't know who should have been cast in that spot, though. Didn't happen anyway. This was a good watch, very funny, and even though I'm not giving this a mega score, I recommend it.

7.5

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #317 on: October 13, 2017, 05:40:25 PM »


2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), directed by John Singleton

2 Fast 2 Furious is unquestionably a terrible movie. So, why would I watch it again? That's a really good question that I can't answer. I figure that if I'm going to review a series that seems to mean something (sorry Harry Potter), I'm going to start from the beginning and won't skip anything. This could not possibly be more different than the movies I've watched the rest of this week. I cannot think of a worse big budget movie that I could have chosen to watch. Nothing here makes sense at all, even though there are a few good scenes. You know what's really bad? I know this movie is terrible and I still like it.

Brian (Paul Walker) has relocated to Miami, and he gets busted after a street race. He has warrants, so the FBI and US Customs are going to put him to use doing what he does best. His job is to take down Carter Verone (Cole Hauser), a drug dealer from Argentina who has no character development whatsoever. He may take the cake as most meaningless villain I have seen in a movie. Brian finds that the agent the government wants him to partner up with doesn't know anything about cars, so he needs to get his buddy from Barstow, Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson). Roman has problems with Brian, but that isn't too much of a problem in the end. What is a problem is that Brian wants an undercover agent named Monica (Eva Mendes), who Verone has decided to make his girlfriend. Plus, Roman decides to shoot at following aggents.

This movie could not possibly be more goofy, and the plot really sucks. There are countless problems with this movie, which couldn't scream early 00's more if it tried to. This material is super dated. Everything is out of fashion, including the cars, which are for the most part totally ridiculous. We all know that though, or we should. Everyone should have watched this by now. This is material that could not have been good regardless of who was hired to give their oversight. Singleton could not have done anything to make this better, but he did things to make it worse. The actors talking to themselves while street racing is something that should not have happened. It was totally ridiculous, but this was one of the things I liked about the movie. It's so dumb that it's hard to believe somebody filmed it.

That's not even close to the worst of the bad things. As mentioned, Carter Verone is a nothing villain. The part is not well acted and he doesn't have good material anyway. If the best a villain can bring to the table is the guy using a rat, a bucket, and a blowtorch to torture somebody...that's just weak. His henchmen aren't any good either. They're caricatures of bumbling henchmen. The worst ones are two guys that Brian and Roman win cars from. I'm glad they didn't get more speaking time.

The thing is, anything with James Remar in it winds up being so bad it's good. There are minimal exceptions to this. If a production needs a good actor to be in their shit, JAMES FUCKIN REMAR is their guy. I feel a little bad for him. I don't know who decided to make this movie without Vin Diesel, but it's insane. Tyrese did a reasonable job replacing him even though he showed no acting ability, but it was a big miss for the production. There was no saving this anyway.

I'm pretty sure everyone can figure out which scenes were good, so there's no reason to continue blathering on. The plot still doesn't make sense, so besides those scenes and Tyrese and Paul Walker acting goofy, this wasn't good. I still liked it. I used to hate this movie, too. Maybe it's good that I watched it again, but probably not. It'll probably be a while before I continue with the series. I could go get them all from the library and pound through them one after the other, but I'd probably get bored and that isn't very fun. For the next few weeks I probably won't be watching many movies this bad. I think this was the last one on my list for this month.

4/10

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #318 on: October 14, 2017, 02:05:35 AM »
My pockets ain't empty, cuz!
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It gets insane, and really speaks to how dumded down we are

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« Reply #319 on: October 14, 2017, 02:24:08 AM »
It also doesn't hurt that it was still the New Hollywood era, which remains the best period of mainstream cinema.

I'm curious to hear you expand on this.

still waiting bro

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #320 on: October 14, 2017, 02:53:53 AM »
It also doesn't hurt that it was still the New Hollywood era, which remains the best period of mainstream cinema.

I'm curious to hear you expand on this.

still waiting bro
Do I really need to, though? Box offices were down so studios took a risk and gave directors greater authority over their films, allowing them to take greater risks with material and style, resulting in a wave of classics like The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Star Wars, Alien, and Blazing Saddles (among MANY others). It's the Attitude Era of Hollywood, bro.
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« Reply #321 on: October 15, 2017, 06:14:45 PM »


I Am Legend (2007), directed by Francis Lawrence

I have no idea why I'm telling you guys this, but 2007 was a really shitty year for me. That's around the time I stopped paying attention to movie releases, and I withdrew from the world for the most part for around two years. The whole thing is not something I look back on fondly in any way. I have long snapped the fuck out of this and do not have any of these problems anymore. So, it's fitting that I tell this story after watching a movie where society no longer exists. This is a strange film that will be difficult for me to sum up my feelings upon. Unfortunately, the special effects were dated by the time I finally decided to give this a view.

In 2009, there's supposed to be a cure for cancer. The problem is that it did not work, and there is a virus that only 1% of the human population is immune to. After three years, the story follows Robert Neville (Will Smith), a man who lives in New York City and is fixated upon finding a cure. Neville has a dog, and that dog is his only company. During the day, Neville hunts for meat, experiments on rats, and forages for supplies. A boring life to be sure. At night, he hunkers down in his house, which has been fortified to extreme extents. He also watches recorded television and DVD's in order to supplement any entertainment needs. The infected people remaining are really no longer people at all. They don't talk, but they can communicate, it appears. They are also very violent and looking for food. Neville believes that he is the only living person remaining, and his attempt to develop a cure appears to be to forcibly trap infected individuals and cure them himself. I don't know what his plan really is.

This film is entirely different than the novel which it is based upon, which has been a problem for some, but not for me. I do not care. The novel is a bit dated, and it's about vampires. The problem for some people is that the ending is not remotely faithful to the source material. I can see why that is a problem, given that the third act is mostly a pile of crap. For as good as the first and second are, and they really were, I am not sure how it could all go down this way. The ending is hackneyed trash that I cannot even remotely accept. A filmmaker's natural instinct to wrap up a film like this with a positive mention is not the best thing in the world. I would rather encounter something thought provoking. I would also like to know how a cure for cancer could turn into this in the first place.

There are plenty of positives in I Am Legend, though. The biggest one is Neville's relationship with his dog. That made for very enjoyable viewing in the first two acts. I am a dog person, and we've had a few close calls over the years. I thought that, at least in terms of what a person in this situation would do with their dog, that it was very accurate. The relationship was also necessary in order to prevent dead air. Will Smith's performance was good too. Due to the aforementioned dead air, there are a few moments early in the film that border on frightening. These things were compelling enough to carry the film to a point, and I was perfectly ready to give out a high rating until the events of the last thirty minutes.

The last thirty minutes are the spectre that hangs over this film, I cannot get over it. The things that happen are really stupid. The religious fundamentalism is really stupid and unnecessary. It just is. I was also a bit struck at how Neville's entire life didn't fall apart after his wife and child died, but the dog going made him depressed enough to start attempting to get himself killed. I just, I don't know. The effects for the infected weren't that good either, but this was also ten years ago. Now it would be far different. Still, as a movie about a man and his dog, this is alright.

6.5/10

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« Reply #322 on: October 15, 2017, 11:05:10 PM »
The switch from having the creatures be maddened versions of Neville's neighbors and that bullshit ending ruin Smith's performance, which is one of his best. The other changes weren't faithful (the dog in the novella is a stray that Neville tries to bond with, and there's a great part where Neville theorizes that religious symbols only affect those of their followers to build off vampire lore), but the movie kept much of the spirit intact except for those two things.
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« Reply #323 on: October 16, 2017, 10:56:47 AM »


Capote (2005), directed by Bennett Miller

Capote is a film that I admittedly didn't have any interest in prior to watching it, which presented a problem when it took a very long time for this movie to hook me in any way. The subject matter is admittedly not what I expected. I was expecting this to be a murder mystery of some sort. That was not the case. There are not many movies that were further way from my expectations than this one. So, it's an interesting movie to see in that respect. In another respect, it's strange to see a movie about writing a book where the main character is so thoroughly dislikable. This makes for an interesting contrast.

Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is an extremely famous novelist, and the year is 1959. He has heard about a crime in Kansas, where four people were murdered at their farm. Nobody knows why. Capote intends to write an article about the effects of the murder, and invites Harper Lee (Catherine Keener) along with him to help out. Through Capote's own fame and the help of Harper Lee, he's able to access facts of the case nobody else is privy to. Once the murder suspects are arrested, Capote becomes obsessed with interviewing one of them, Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.). Capote's relationship with Smith is strange, and it sets the tone for the rest of the film.

I don't think anyone cares if I spoil or not, but this film follows the events of Capote writing In Cold Blood. Capote's job is effectively to humanize the murderers in some way, or else nobody's going to buy the book. People need to know about them, after all. The thing is, in the process of humanizing them, the film paints a picture of Capote that is less flattering than that of the murderers. I haven't read the book, so I don't know if that's what actually happens in the book. I would rather watch this movie than read the whole thing about it. My unsubstantiated belief is that Capote sacrificed his morals to write a book, then he betrayed people after making promises to them.

This film isn't that good, and I hate to say that about any film where somebody puts on as good a performance as a lead character as Philip Seymour Hoffman had here. It's just not, though. Like I said, it took quite some time for the film to maintain my interest. It was probably around the time when Alvin (Chris Cooper) showed Capote the photographs related to the crime. That was some distance in, and in addition to that, I just couldn't be hooked by the subject matter. Maybe I'm just a rube, but I don't think that's it. Spotlight hooked me easily. So did The Ghost Writer. The latter was specifically about writing a book. I suppose they're entirely different, though. This wasn't a thriller in any way, Capote was just spiraling in hopes that this would end.

I can't lie, I was also hoping this would end. For at least the last thirty minutes. This is one of the first times I've outright shit on a movie that critics seemed to enjoy, but I did not. At all. Still, I can recognize the performance and rate the movie accordingly. I couldn't believe that Philip Seymour Hoffman could adapt himself like that. Knew he was a great actor, and everyone should know that, but this was a massive contrast to his other performances.

6/10

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« Reply #324 on: Today at 10:27:15 AM »


Minority Report (2002), directed by Steven Spielberg

It has been a long time since I brought up a film being ambitious. This film was incredibly such. I watched around twenty minutes of this a few years ago, and I found it interesting, but if I remember right, I had to go to bed. The concepts here are very interesting, but I found myself more interested in the style of the movie than the concepts. Of course, with this being a Spielberg movie, there is one particular recurring theme that rears its head in a strange way. I'm talking about broken families. Of course, you should know that. Spielberg is obsessed with maintaining this thematic concept. In this case, it isn't as corny as in others, so I found it much more acceptable.

The plot here is so ridiculously ambitious it is impossible to describe properly, but I will try my best. It's the future, and in Washington DC they have a police unit that uses people who can see the future in order to arrest people for murder prior to the act is committed. The prisoners are then placed in a virtual reality where they can't hurt anyone. The federal government is considering using this program, which was conceived by Lamar Burgess (Max von Sydow). His top cop is John Anderton (Tom Cruise), a man whose son was kidnapped prior to the invent of this program. Because the federal government wants to use this program, they've brought in Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell), an agent who needs to give the whole thing a good look over. How could this go federal with such short time frames between the vision and action? Who knows. How would only three people be able to see the future of the entire nation? I haven't figured that out either. This system is also intended to be infallible.

That and one more thing are the only real flaws I had with this picture, which given such a complicated plot speaks well for it. It also didn't make sense that Anderton was able to use his eyes to access facilities when he was a fugitive. I am surprised this thing in particular was never addressed. Those are not the most minor things, which will be reflected in my overall score, but that's not so bad. These things are overwritten by the story being as interesting as it was. Due to how long this film was, I am surprised that it made any money at all. I know, it's Spielberg and all that, but again, the plot is complicated and difficult for some people to understand. Some of the special effects haven't aged that well, but others were predictive of our current time period.

There are lots of good conversations in Minority Report, the best being one between Witwer and Anderton regarding the practicality of this system. Is it right to arrest people before they do something wrong? The obvious answer is that it is not. This manifests itself throughout the film. There are plenty of good scenes here as well, which is no surprise given the format. A few others fall flat, particularly a scene where Anderton jumps from car to car. On the other hand, Anderton and Agatha dodging officers at the mall was really well executed. My favorite is the scene where Anderton has his eyes replaced, coupled with the fallout of officers deciding to search the building. The cinematography for that scene was incredible and felt like some kind of trick, but it was actually a set. Had to be expensive.

This was surprisingly good science-fiction, because throughout the whole film I was left thinking about the concepts placed on screen. Still thinking about them even though I watched this last night. I really need to watch Blade Runner, though. I have seen stills from Blade Runner that present its vision of the future as much darker than this one. The shots here were bleached to present a lightened image, which was bizarre. I believe this is the first time I have encountered playing with the image in this fashion since starting these reviews.

There were a few things I hadn't yet mentioned, so it appears that I need to continue. The opening scene establishing what the movie is actually about is one of Spielberg's best. There was the potential for overload in presenting these concepts, but the scene was balanced in a way that did not do so. It is also interesting that filmmakers are consistently correct in assuming people will accept the erosion of their rights in exchange for reductions in crime. I mean, we've done it so much in our history, but I am surprised that films predict these things before they happen to that extent. The pre-cognitives were basically enslaved. Do you think our society would accept enslaving people in order to eliminate murder? Prior to the last eight years, I think so. Not so sure anymore. Regardless, this film presents some interesting questions, but with my review coming 15 years after the fact, I'm not sure anyone cares.

8/10

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Re: In Which I Review Movies
« Reply #325 on: Today at 02:37:42 PM »
The switch from having the creatures be maddened versions of Neville's neighbors and that bullshit ending ruin Smith's performance, which is one of his best. The other changes weren't faithful (the dog in the novella is a stray that Neville tries to bond with, and there's a great part where Neville theorizes that religious symbols only affect those of their followers to build off vampire lore), but the movie kept much of the spirit intact except for those two things.

Also, no Ben Courtman.

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