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I watch movies. On DVD, at the theater, via cable TV. Sometimes I want people to know what I think about the movies I watch, regardless of whether or not they care. I promise I will make my reviews short, but I won't be ashamed to throw around cliches like "beautiful cinematography" and "post-modern irony," so be warned.

Saturday, July 31, 2004 :::

The Village

Why I saw it: because I like Shyamalan's style and mood, even if his plotting usually is pretty weak.

What I think about it: I don't know what the critics are bitching about on this one. The main enjoyment derived from this type of movie is from knowing absolutely nothing about it going in, and having it all revealed to you by a skilled filmmaker who knows style, mood, good scares, and misdirection. The less you know the better. The more you know before hand, the more pointless the movie would become to watch. Even though I saw a lot of it coming, this movie had me fooled some of the time. And when all was said and done, I thought the premise was intriguing, if not as resonant as Shyamalan's earlier movies. But it was a fun puzzle to figure out while I watched it, and his talent behind the camera can't be refuted, so what more do you want out of a summer movie? I'm particularly angry with Ebert's review of this movie, which is spoiler central. He didn't like the movie, so he apparently feels no regret in ruining it for everyone else. Regardless, I enjoyed myself enough.

Don't learn more about it, the less you know, the better. Seriously. Don't even read a plot synopsis.

::: posted by dan at 1:04 AM :: #

Monday, July 26, 2004 :::

The Bourne Supremacy

Why I saw it: Because I liked the first one alright.

What I think about it: Second verse, same as the first. This movie has the exact same plot, story, and characters as the first film. It even has the same scenery and the same car chase. It's not a bad movie by any means, but I guess I really don't see a point in making the same movie twice. Plus, The Bourne Identity seemed a little more focused and the direction had a little more style, thanks to the underrated Doug Liman (who made both Swingers and Go a few years back). This new movie has lots of jiggly hand-held camera work and Joan Allen, but that's about it. The smelly homeless man sitting in front of us was apparently unimpressed, enough so to turn all the way around and shout "This movie sucks!" and then sprint out of the theater, but I wouldn't go that far. It was ok.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 12:16 AM :: #

Monday, July 12, 2004 :::


Why I saw it: looked funny.

What I think about it: Not the funniest movie I've ever seen, or the most clever, and some of it was downright embarassingly bad, but a good chunk of it was the type of over-the-top go-for-broke idiocy that can really turn a comedy into a cult classic. Better than Dodgeball, fer sure, and it had more genuine laugh-out-loud moments than most comedies these days, but it really didn't have a focus or a story, which at times made it teeter dangerously close to Saturday Night Live skit territory (only without the Jimmy Fallon, thank god). Will Ferrell is perfect, and Steve Carrell gets some good laughs with his deadpan readings of phrases like "I stabbed someone in the heart with a trident," or "I love carpet." And then there's other good lines like "It smells like a dirty diaper filled with Indian food." I guess you had to be there, but anyway, trust me, it's funny. If it weren't for the lame bear/dog climax or the lack of any discernable plot, it would definitely be a four-star comedy. And if it had focused more on 70's sexism while still parodying the moustached machismo generation, then it might have been elevated to a five-star historical social satire. As it is, it's just a funny three-star comedy.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 2:14 PM :: #

Monday, July 05, 2004 :::

Fahrenheit 9/11

Why I saw it: I appreciate Bowling for Columbine and I don't appreciate Bush.

What I think about it: Michael Moore may come off as a pompous windbag with a penchant for overdramatizing and an almost embarrassingly histrionic approach at "documenting" reality, but you can't deny that he has a gift when it comes to getting his point across. The movie is fast-paced and fascinating, words you rarely use to describe a documentary, and it's important viewing material for both sides of the political fence. No, I don't buy all of it, but even if you put aside all the controversial theories he proposes about Bush and his ties to the Bin Laden family or the mind-boggling images of Bush immobilized for minutes on end after first hearing of the 9/11 attacks, you're still left with an overwhelming and not-so-vague impression that rampant and obvious cronyism has been the hallmark of the Bush administration, and that they run the country not like a democracy or a republic, but rather like a corrupt corporation, with the ultimate goal of earning the biggest profits while disregarding any sense of ethical responsiblity whatsoever. Worse, it comes across as if the administration, and the president in particular, are pretty much oblivious to anything beyond their own interests or the advancement of their inner circle. Sure, the film is biased, slanted, exaggerated and overdramatized to a fault, but it doesn't really bring up any new points or raise any new issues that can be refuted. It simply collects them all together into one mesmerizing document. And besides, if you weren't already having feelings that the current administration might not be trustworthy – or that they might not actually have the best interests of the worldwide community in mind – before this movie even came out, then you haven't been paying attention.

I do, however, think that Moore could've been a little more honest about the brutality of pre-war Iraq, and he also could've shown patriotic and proud soldiers in addition to the disenfranchised ones he interviewed, just to be more balanced and less propagandistic. Not that any of that would've changed my opinion of the war, but he should play fair after all.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 11:14 PM :: #


Why I saw it: the preview looked good.

What I think about it: This is a funny, well-observed, and all-too sappy story about a girl at a Christian highschool who is forced to start thinking for herself and to question her faith, or whatever. It's entertaining for sure, but it's not as biting of a satire as it tends to think it is, especially toward the end where the feel-good factor is off the meter. Everything wraps up all picture-perfect and everyone learns a good lesson or two. But that doesn't make it bad, it just lessens the impact and dulls what could have been a daringly controversial subject. But oh well, they can't all be ground-breaking, and at least I laughed out-loud many times over.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 10:59 AM :: #


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