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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.

Sunday, September 19, 2004 :::

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Why I saw it: It had a good trailer.

What I think about it: Honestly, this is a two-star movie, but the visuals and style alone deserve a bonus star. I was bored and indifferent throughout a lot of the movie, but the creator/director definitely succeeded in doing what he set out to do: make a 50's style throwback popcorn sci-fi adventure movie for the whole family. It's just too bad that concept barely holds my attention anymore. Worst of all is Gwenyth Paltrow, an actress I have no particular feelings for whatsoever. She's the weakest link in this film. A blackhole on the screen. A vapid shell of a character with no personality and little emotional depth. To say that she phoned-in this performace is to give her too much credit. Some people might think she was trying to play a certain character, but it's so shabbily underplayed that there can be no excuse for it. She seriously stinks. Just wait until she shares screentime with Angelina Jolie, who you may not like as an actress, but you can't deny that she has screen presence. The difference is palpable. You can't stop watching Jolie, while every time Gwenyth is on the screen you just hope for a giant robot foot to end your misery. The picture picks up toward the end, though, and has a satisfying climax with a smirky last line. And the style and mood stay consistent throughout. It's definitely an impressive achievement, just not a very exciting one. Two star movie. Bonus star for the visuals.

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::: posted by dan at 11:42 AM :: #

Thursday, September 02, 2004 :::

Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut

Why I saw it: Why wouldn't I see it?

What I think about it: Donnie Darko is amazing for various reasons. Its soundtrack. Its dialogue. Its genre-busting bravado. Its sense of humor. Its bold originality. Its absurdity. Sparkle Motion. Frank. Cherita. Best of all, it doesn't solve the puzzle for you. The pieces are all there, but putting them all together requires a little loose interpretation by the viewer. It brazenly mixes a million divergent ideas, concepts, and genres together and yet somehow comes out more cohesive and distinctive than you could ever imagine possible. Plus, first-time director Richard Kelly's ability to sustain such a powerful and consistent mood during the entire movie is more than a little impressive, not to mention totally hypnotizing. The new director's cut adds a lot more than you expect, answers some prodding questions, and then dares to ask even more unaswerable questions and open up even more intriguing possibilities. I missed this movie in the theaters first time around, like almost everyone else, but finally seeing it on the big screen was a worthwhile experience. Southland Tales can't come fast enough.

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::: posted by dan at 3:13 PM :: #


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