Here, let me put this to a vote.
This guy has sent this same First Post like 30 times. I didn’t approve it the first time because, dude, there is not one true thing in there. It is 100% bullshit, every last word. But then he keeps on trying. Is there merit to letting one through? I mean, it’s not even a fun post to refute. You just have to say “No, that’s a lie” after every sentence until you’re done. Maybe with a single “how the hell are you using ‘intellectual’ as a slur” somewhere in there. Possibly tie it all up with asking him to read an actual book or visit a museum.
Really, releasing it on my comments just means he’s going to get laughed at a whole bunch. I’m not sure if it’s worth it, but I can be convinced. Maybe I need a different perspective, is all.
Don’t post it, this guy is either trolling or a complete imbecile.
Is this real life? yikes…
This photo was snapped attached to a classroom bulletin board at UCF. One of the many “I wish I’d thought of that” moments.
Here’s an idea Disney can have for free: A Han/Lando buddy caper movie set a few years before Episode 4, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Donald Glover. No galaxy-shaking quests or lightsaber battles, just two scoundrels stealing shit and running from Hutts and Stormtroopers. Incorporate their first encounter with Chewbacca, and the movie ends with them barely escaping alive and Lando saying, “Fuck this dangerous shit. I’m going to go work for my uncle who runs a gas mine on Bespin.”
Directed by David Lynch
Written by David Lynch
Starring: Justin Theroux, Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring, Ann Miller, Robert Forster
Rated R for violence, language, and some strong sexuality.
Mulholland Drive is a sexy film noir set in modern day Los Angeles.
Betty is an aspiring actress just arrived in Los Angeles to apartment sit for her Aunt Ruth. When she arrives at her Aunt’s home however, she discovers an amnesiac woman calling herself Rita hiding out from a danger she isn’t sure of with a purse full of cash and a strange blue key. Naïve to the big city life and unable to resist the mystery behind Rita, Betty resolves to help her as best she can. Adam Kesher is a director on top of the Hollywood game who has to recast the lead role in his next big project, but when told by a couple mobsters that he must cast an unknown actress they’ve handpicked, he refuses and lands in a world of trouble. On top of this, his wife has thrown him out of his own home to be with the pool guy, and the studio has shut down his picture as punishment. With no where to go and everything lost, will Kesher fold to studio pressures? Unable to remember anything, will Rita and Betty figure out just where the money came from and what the key is to?
Writer/director David Lynch has crafted the best mystery in the last 20 years, possibly more, with this film. From its opening scene of a horrific car accident that leaves one character with amnesia to the final act, where things start unraveling to show that everything was not what it seemed, the man is able to keep his viewers on the edges of their seats, always thinking they have things figured out, but getting thrown for a loop at the last second. As with all great film noirs, at the center of the mystery is a romance to drive it forward, but unlike most, this one is between the two female leads. The romance goes unspoken for the majority of the film, until the end of the second act, when it is finally realized by the characters. The final act itself is a dizzying whirlwind of revelations, none of which are conclusions that would have been jumped to normally. Lynch really commanded this film from start to finish, and turned out a perfect product.
The acting in the film was perfect. Each actor brought so much emotion to their character, and added a touch of their own style to them, they all felt real. When watching it now, the only immediately recognizable face is Naomi Watts, but upon release, all principle actors were unknowns. Theroux is perfect as Adam, whose arrogance gives him this incredible sense of self-worth. Everything he does makes the viewer not like him, with the exception to his reaction to finding his wife cheating on him with the pool guy, which is so ridiculous, it actually borders on the real. The two stars of the show however are the female leads, Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring. Watts’ performance of the naïve young girl just trying to make her own spot in the city of dreams is spot on. Harring’s as the amnesiac woman who is just trying to find her life is hauntingly real. The viewer can see the confusion and heartache in her eyes as the plot thickens, and she’s left with more questions as to who she really is than answers. Also perfect is the tension between the two characters that drives their unrealized passion for each other. You can see from their first meeting that the two of them have these feelings that are confusing for the both of them, yet they let that drive their friendship and motivate their actions from the start. When their love is finally realized, it feels organic, not like some cheap way to get a few extra bucks at the box office, and arguably is more real than a lot of male-female relationships seen on the big screen. In the third act of the film, where everything is turned on its head, these performances are all still fantastic, and, despite a couple 180 degree turns from the characters, still play out as natural.
Again, music is not something I typically comment on, but the music in the film accentuates the mood perfectly. From the opening credits sequence to the haunting score to the inclusion of two classic 60’s pop songs, everything feels in place and a part of the story. Angelo Badalamenti’s score is perfect for the setting and style of film. It has a very jazzy feel, while still keeping a suspenseful tone to the film. The most stunning piece in the film though is Latin artist Rebkah Del Rio’s a capella rendition of “Llorando”, a Spanish version of the Roy Orbison classic “Crying.” The song is actually performed as part of a sequence in the film by Del Rio, and it is without a doubt the most powerful scene in the entire show. It is at the hinge of the second and third acts of the film, and is a perfect song to capture the feelings between Betty and Rita, as well as the perfect lead in to the revelatory final act.
This film has a strange effect on the viewer. It is one of few that from scene one draws you in and won’t let go, even after the credits have finished rolling. Even that final act, which has been mentioned somewhat excessively in this review, in all of it’s insanity, the audience clutches on for dear life, wanting- no- needing to see how it all ends. What makes this worth watching is that it showcases what makes film great- story, characters, the ability to remove yourself from this world and be totally immersed in another, if even just for a couple hours.
Author’s Note: A few months back, while talking with some friends about the weirdest movies we’d ever seen, David Lynch films seemed to consistently be mentioned. As an aside, I mentioned that I’d never seen a Lynch film before. Now, I wouldn’t say my friends ostracized me, but they were shocked to say the least. They know I have a penchant for odd and weird movies, and suspected that Lynch was right up my alley, and suggested a number on his resumé for me to check out
That leads me to about a week ago, when I bought this movie. It’s no secret among my friends that I take risks when buying DVDs and will frequently purchase movies that I have never seen before, but do so just because I’ve wanted to see it for some time, or because I’ve heard good things about the movie. That was the case here. While browsing through a local video store that is closing its doors, I came across the last copy of Mulholland Dr. the store had on its shelves. I picked it up, remembering that it was one of the many my friends had suggested to me months before, and decided “why not?”
The first time I watched this movie, was when I wrote this review. I initially wasn’t going to write the review, I was just going to watch the movie this once, then write the review upon a later viewing. However, the film had such a profound affect on me that I felt compelled to write about it. I was literally spellbound the entire time, and I couldn’t take my attention from it. Before I put the DVD in, I poured myself a glass of water, and I was so captivated that during the film, I never once took a drink, it would’ve distracted me from what was happening onscreen.
What I did have to restrain from while writing this was revealing anything in that pesky third act. I wasn’t kidding when I said it was a whirlwind. So much stuff is happening at such a pace that I since have rewatched just those last 30-45 minutes a few times. It isn’t confusing so much as it is ambiguous, and it deserves an article all it’s own, marked with a spoiler warning of course.
One Hundred and One Dalmatians
Directed by Clyde Geronimi and Hamilton Luske
Written by Bill Peet
Based on “The Hundred and One Dalmatians” by Dodie Smith
Starring: Rod Taylor, Cate Bauer, Betty Lou Gerson, Ben Wright, Lisa Davis, Martha Wentworth, Frederick Worlock, J. Pat O’Malley, Bill Lee
One Hundred and One Dalmatians is Disney’s sixteenth animated classic, and an adaptation of the children’s book “The Hundred and One Dalmatians” by Dodie Smith.
Pongo is a dalmatian living a bachelor’s life in London with his “pet” Roger, a musician. However, Pongo is tired of single living, and decides to find he and Roger mates. While looking out the window, he spies several dog-human pairs for he and Roger, all failures, until he spots another dalmatian and her owner. He coaxes Roger into taking him for a walk in the park, where the two meet Perdita, the dalmatian, and her “pet” Anita. After Pongo causes a mishap, the two pairs fall in love and get married. Later, it is revealed that Perdita is pregnant with puppies, and that Anita’s college friend, Cruella De Vil, whom none of the family really likes at all, wants to purchase them. When the puppies are delivered, and Roger tells Cruella she can’t have the puppies, she storms off swearing to have the puppies one way or another. After several weeks have gone by, two theives hired by Cruella break into Roger and Anita’s apartment and steal the puppies while they’re out for an evening walk with Pongo and Perdita. Now, it is up to Pongo and Perdita to save their puppies, before Cruella can make them, and even more puppies she has stolen, into a fur coat.
One Hundred and One Dalmatians was the first animated feature to use the xeroxing technique to create the entire movie. This technique, which involves drawing the frames on a sheet of paper, then copying them directly to the film cell, saved time and money for the animators, and also changed the way the animation looked entirely. Animated movies went from a more rounded, flowing look, to one that was more hard-edged and linear. This style worked very well for this film, since, in another first for Disney, it was set in contemporary London instead of a fairy-tale world. It also made the human characters look more realistic considering it is a cartoon, and allowed for the films villain, Cruella De Vil to look more menacing. Another change from the typical Disney style was the choice to have very few songs incorporated into the story, despite one of the main characters being a musician. This actually works very well, as the story flows a lot smoother, and doesn’t break up the pace of the movie. The story is great for children and adults alike, both keeping it simple enough for a child’s attention to be held while keeping the adults entertained.
The movie isn’t considered a classic for no reason. It has a story that can be enjoyed by all. The characters, both man and animal, are very human. The couple tunes that do appear are incredibly catchy. Most of all though, the villain is scary in a realistic way. All of these things make the movie worth watching.
30 Days of Night
Directed by David Slade
Written by Steve Niles and Stuart Beattie and Brian Nelson
Based on “30 Days of Night” by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster, Mark Boone Junior
Rated R for strong horror violence and language.
A horrific tale of isolation in the most desolate of landscapes, 30 Days of Night is based off the comic of the same name written by Steve Niles and illustrated by Ben Templesmith.
Barrow, the northernmost town in Alaska, is preparing for the annual 30 days of night, a time when the sun sets for a full month. At the same time, Sheriff Eben Oleson is investigating a string of vandalism events and the murder of a whole pack of dogs belonging to a town resident. When Eben happens across a stranger in the town diner making trouble, he immediately suspects the man and takes him into custody with the help of his estranged wife Stella. While interrogating him back at the police station, the power goes out. Eben tells Stella to watch over the stranger and protect his younger brother, Jake, and grandmother, Helen, while he goes to the power station to see what caused the town wide power outage. When he arrives, he finds that someone has killed the plant manager and impaled his head on a spike. Eben rushes back to town and tells everyone to get back to their homes or the town diner and not to leave. Back at the station, he finds the stranger trying to strangle Jake, so he shoots the stranger and handcuffs him to the bars of his cell, demanding to know who else is in town doing these things. Not giving anything up, Eben and Stella leave to start sweeping the town for whoever is causing the havoc, but turn around soon after when they encounter a man that sprinted to catch up with their car and jumped on the roof. Back in town, they hear Helen over the CB radio screaming, and arrive at the station to find blood everywhere, Helen and Jake gone, and the stranger still alive and cuffed to his cell, still unwilling to give up information. They leave the stranger and head for the diner, where they find Jake holed up with several other survivors. They come to the conclusion that the town has become overrun with vampires, as impossible as it seems. The only thing left to do is find a safe hideout and wait out the 30 days.
David Slade is still a relative newbie in the movie business, this only being his second film, but his direction is as masterful as a seasoned veteran. He makes the film look dark and gritty, as cold as the Alaskan winter it takes place in. You can feel the characters’ despair as the days progress and the night gets colder. You can see the pain they feel as they sit around, helpless as they hear their friends and neighbors, screaming as they’re devoured by an unbeatable force. I also think he made a wise decision in casting every part with people that aren’t exactly household names, but are recognizable faces.
The writing in this film is great all around. From the character interaction, to their development, and the action, it is great start to finish. It probably was a great help that one of the writers was the same man who wrote the comic the film was based on, so he knew which way he wanted the film to go. While the lines aren’t exactly quotable, they have power and meaning, and never sound silly or ridiculous.
The acting is also top-notch from all players. Josh Hartnett and Melissa George play very well off each other as the estranged couple that got stuck in this impossibly terrifying situation and are trying to deal with it the best they can, all the while rediscovering their love for each other. Mark Boone Junior has a small but great role, becoming the unlikely hero at the end of the film’s second act. But the two power players here are the always great Danny Huston and Ben Foster. Foster’s Stranger is so odd, so creepy, that the viewer can’t help but be scared of him, though he really doesn’t do anything that menacing. Danny Huston as Marlow, the leader of the vampires, really shines through his blacked out contacts and false teeth, making Marlow one of the best movie villains in the last few years. He commands the screen when he is on it, and it’s easy to see why he leads the vampires. In fact, all of the vampire performers did excellent an excellent job, and would scare the pants off of Van Helsing (not Hugh Jackman) himself.
Slade did for vampires with this film what Danny Boyle did for zombies with 28 Days Later. This movie is hands down one of the best put out in 2007, and without a doubt one of the best horror films of the last decade. The direction, performances, and writing all go sync together early on and never miss a beat. The human element is ever present as the movie scares you, makes you feel for the characters, and keeps you wishing for their survival throughout, and that’s what makes this film worth watching.
28 Days Later
Directed by Danny Boyle
Written by Alex Garland
Starring: Cillian Murphey, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Megan Burns, Brendan Gleeson
Rated R for strong violence and gore, language, and nudity.
A genre redefining horror film that made the zombie scary again.
When a deadly virus is unleashed on London, the population of the city and surrounding areas is sent into disarray. Picking up 28 days after the initial outbreak, Jim awakens in a hospital completely unaware of the events of the last 28 days. He finds he was locked in his room with the key slid under the door on his side for when he should awaken. Once out of the room, he finds the hospital empty, and furthermore, all of London deserted. While roaming around London, he happens across a church where he finds what looks like a mass suicide to have taken place. When he shouts to see if anyone is there, two of the bodies suddenly turn, and a third can be heard running up a staircase. After assaulting a mad priest, Jim flees from the church, with a dozens of crazed people chasing him. He is rescued by Selena and Mark, who fend of the horde by drawing them into a gas station rigged with explosives and setting it off. They then take refuge in a convenience store where they explain to Jim that a blood born virus swept through all of the United Kingdom, but before anything could be done, it was too late and the virus had spread to Paris, New York, and other major cities. Not convinced of what is happening around him, Jim demands to go see his parents, so Mark and Selena oblige and follow him there. When they arrive, Jim discovers they’ve taken their own life rather than succumb to the infection. After being attacked in the night and losing Mark, Selena and Jim make their way back to London where they find Hannah and Frank holed up in a flat. Frank then reveals that their supplies are dwindling, but plays Jim and Selena a recorded message, supposedly from an Army outfit outside Manchester. With some convincing, Jim and Selena join Frank and Hannah on the road to Manchester, and hopefully salvation.
What makes a great horror film is not the blood, guts, and gore. It is the human element that lies within the story. It is the subtle parallels seen in the actions on screen to everyday life. Danny Boyle and Alex Garland achieve this feat perfectly with 28 Days Later. Boyle’s direction is at its best here, showing just how desperate people can get when all hope is literally lost. The emotions he evicts from his actors are those seen in life only when the most devastating losses occur, and it feels real. The choice to shoot on digital film was also a positive, especially in the scenes showcasing deserted London, as it gives a documentary feel, like the audience is watching from a closed circuit television set. It makes the viewer feel like they are right there in the action, making them want to intervene in some way, as impossible as it is.
Garland’s script is so dense and layered with character development and political allegory that it takes a month to digest. While watching, one can’t help but see the similarities between post-outbreak London and post-9/11 New York. He couldn’t have known it while writing, but Garland created something that all Americans could relate to. The characters he created were ones seen in real life. Jim represents the everyman who is sheltered and content with life until tragedy strikes. Selena is the strong, silent warrior, never letting her feelings show lest they betray her. Frank and Hannah are the ever-hopeful, never letting the worst of times get them down, always looking to a brighter tomorrow. Garland develops these characters perfectly, and the audience can’t help but care for them.
Something else that really sets this film up for success is John Murphy’s score. The music really guides you through this movie, and it intensifies all the feelings of the characters, really driving home just how they’re feeling. Each piece functions as a catalyst or inhibitor to the scene, driving the story forward or slowing it down as needed, making the audience feel as if they are right where they should be at that time.
As mentioned before, Boyle drives his actors perfectly in this film. He did well in selecting actors who are, for the most part, not household names, and barely recognizable faces. Cillian Murphy brings Jim to life fantastically, making him that everyman that the audience can relate to. Naomie Harris makes Selena fearsome and loving at the same time, a combination that has no right together. Brendan Gleeson and Megan Burns work so well off each other, that it feels like they really are a father/daughter pair. The performance that really kicks the door in though is Christopher Eccleston as Major Henry West. His calmness in the face of such horrifying times is stellar, and when his true intentions are revealed, and that calmness remains, it is chilling.
When a horror film can find that perfect balance between the real and the imagined, that it blends the line seamlessly and has the viewer enthralled and believing in everything on screen, it has done its job. 28 Days Later does that and more, making it not just a great horror film, but a great film all around. It is one of the best of the decade, and possibly of the last twenty years. Whether it is the parallels to politics, the realism of the characters, or just the sheer scariness of the zombies, this film has loads of things that make it worth watching.
3 Ninjas Kick Back
Directed by Charles T. Kanganis
Written by Mark Saltzman
Based on a screenplay by Sang-ok Shin
Starring: Victor Wong, Max Elliot Slade, Sean Fox, Evan Bonifant, Caroline Junko King, Dustin Nguyen, Sab Shimono, Alan McRae, Margarita Franco
Rated PG for martial arts action and some mild language.
3 Ninjas Kick Back is a sequel to the 1992 movie 3 Ninjas.
Rocky, Colt, and Tum Tum to their grandfather’s a year later and are told that they get to go on a trip to Japan and accompany their grandfather to the Ninja Tournament, where he is to pass on an ancient dagger he won in the same tournament fifty years prior. However, the boys are growing apart from each other and their adolescence is getting the best of them. After a fight at the championship little league game postpones the game, the boys decide to cancel their trip to Japan to play their game. However, when the boys thwart a robbery attempt to steal the dagger, they are forced to go to Japan and help their grandfather.
Unlike the first film, this movie is quite a groaner when looked back on today. It is full of sight gags and lacks that element of realism that made it’s predecessor lovable. The decision to replace the actors that played Rocky and Tum Tum also worked against this movie, as the chemistry between the three siblings was gone, and it felt flat. While the first film worried about it’s core story first and foremost, this one just want to get all laughs without any real payoff. About the only thing this movie does have going for it is it’s story, even though it is clearly part of the background. Also, the inclusion of the fourth ninja, a young Japanese girl named Miyo, worked fairly well for the dynamic.
Unless you didn’t like the attention paid to the story of the first film, and were just looking for more laughs, then this is the inferior of the two movies. Aside from Miyo, and just wanting to see the continuing adventures of the 3 Ninjas, there isn’t much that makes this flick worth watching.
Directed by Jon Turteltaub
Story by Kenny Kim
Screenplay by Edward Emanuel
Starring: Victor Wong, Michael Treanor, Max Elliot Slade, Chad Power, Rand Kingsley, Alan McRae, Margarita Franco, Kate Sargeant
Rated PG for violence.
A fun, family film that caters mostly to kids, but can still be enjoyed by all.
3 Ninjas follows Rocky, Colt, and Tum Tum Douglas, young children whose grandfather, Mori has taught them the ways of the ninja. However, the boys’ father, Sam, an FBI agent, doesn’t like his father in-law teaching his sons martial arts. Making matters worse, his current case is to catch a crime boss named Snyder, who was once a business partner of Mori. When Sam almost captures Snyder, Snyder decides to pay his old friend a visit. Snyder issues an ultimatum: get Sam off his case or your family will pay. To ensure his own success, Snyder hires three thugs to kidnap the boys.
This being a kid’s film, it’s really hard to go wrong with much. The action is good, the pace is enough to hold the attention of a kid, and the dialog is something that kid’s can laugh at and repeat without getting in trouble from their parents. The kids’ interaction with each other is really natural, but when it comes to their performances with the adults, it feels forced. The dialog isn’t that terrible either, as most kid’s movies tend to be filled with groan-worthy lines, the only stuff that’s really dated in this film are the three surfer-dude kidnappers that are trying to be the evil versions of Bill & Ted.
All in all, the movie is a fun trip back to childhood, and doesn’t conjure the thought “Really? I liked this when I was younger?” For the most part, it holds up, and the lines are still as fun to say right along with the movie. The nostalgia of being a kid is what makes this movie worth watching.
Page 1 of 2