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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, July 17, 2005 :::

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Why I saw it: I love the book and the original musical

What I think about it: Being mildly obsessed with the original Chocolate Factory movie (and the book, and the oompa loompas, and the soundtrack) and after seeing the embarrassing Tim Burton garbage called Big Fish, I was apprehensive, to put it mildly, and expecting to wretch uncontrollably throughout the course of this new adaptation, but it was surprisingly entertaining and funny. The character actors were spot on and I even preferred Johnny Depp's eccentric creepy outcast interpretation of Willy Wonka to Gene Wilder's dancing tophat version. The filmmakers made a couple unfortunate choices where the humor seemed more topical than timeless (Oompa Loompas in hairband spandex, for example), and the new ending seemed a little tacked on to me, but all in all it was impressively captivating. I did mourn the loss of Veruca Salt's solo song from the first movie, though. "Don't care how, I want it now," has been my mantra for decades.

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::: posted by dan at 11:08 PM :: #

Sunday, July 03, 2005 :::


Why I saw it: The word of mouth was very positivo.

What I think about it: Crash is a tableau of intersecting stories and parables with the main theme being that of racism and the exponential effect that is has on absolutely everyone. The details of the plot are generally pretty derivative, but the film still somehow manages to avoid cliches and defy your expectations at almost every turn. The best part of the movie is watching it unfold into a maze of encounters and interactions that all come together at the end in a significant and important way. Is it completely contrived and emotionally exploitive? Absolutely. No doubt about it. But it's so ingeniously scripted, efficiently directed, and skillfully acted that it transcends those potential pitfalls and becomes something that could easily be beneficial as required viewing for all Americans. Sorta like those tolerance videos they make you watch at school and at minimum wage job orientations. Only way more entertaining. So even though the subject matter is well-tread, to say the least (Racism is bad! Didn't you know?), it still comes off as an undeniably sincere and important reminder for audiences of all races. People get so desensitized to how their actions and blind assumptions affect other people and about how misanthropy and cynicism are contagious, that movies like this, although somewhat glib and manipulative, are almost a necessity to snap people out of their stupor. And to remind people that things aren't so black or white (no pun inteaded). Nothing is ever as clear cut as "good vs. evil". It's kinda sad that this particular story STILL needs to be told. I can see why some people may think this movie has nothing really new to say, but just because something has already been said a thousand times before, doesn't mean that it's not still important.

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::: posted by dan at 8:48 PM :: #

War of the Worlds

Why I saw it: Sometimes I like the big spectacle movies.

What I think about it: I hate Tom Cruise.

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::: posted by dan at 11:23 AM :: #


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