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Entertaining but confusing
I enjoyed this musical, and I now understand that it is the film version of an old Broadway musical based on the career of Diana Ross and the Supremes. Now that I know that, it's obvious that Deena Jones is based on Ross and Curtis Taylor is Berry Gordy, and Rainbow Records is Motown Records. But my main reason for seeing this was to check out Eddie Murphy's first Oscar-nominated performance.
However, knowing a little bit about Motown, I'm confused about some things. Why would they have Curtis prohibit "message songs?" Some of Motown's biggest successes were highly socially conscious albums by Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. One of Wonder's earliest hits in the sixties was a cover of Dylan's "Blowin' In the Wind." It seems that the writers really needed a villain and picked Curtis. It just seems unfair to Berry Gordy. It places the deterioration of the Supremes completely on Gordy's lap, and Ross comes off completely clean.
I'm also puzzled as to who Murphy's character is supposed to be. At first I thought it might be Little Richard or Wilson Pickett. Then, later on, he's singing a message song and wearing the same hat Marvin Gaye wore on the cover of What's Going On. Then he becomes James Brown. Murphy did do a great job. Both he and Hudson deserve their nominations. The music and presentation are very good. The story? Not so much, but that's like a lot of musicals.
This may be the most beautiful and moving portrayal of love I've ever seen in a movie. All the actors are excellent and I can't imagine the film being more perfectly cast. It takes a special film to restore one's faith in love these days, but this is one of them.
Jim Carrey: Unnatural Act (1991)
The best stand-up comedy I have ever seen
I haven't seen this since it first aired. Jim Carrey was still the white guy from In Living Color, and I thought he was funny so I tuned in. It turned out that In Living Color only allowed a small glimpse into his talent. I have never laughed harder at a stand-up comedy routine before or since. Whenever I find myself frustrated with a Jim Carrey movie, I only have to think back to this TV special to remind myself of the wealth of his talent. I only wish this was available on video.
Cast Away (2000)
Too much Memphis
If they had started the story in the plane, with all the courier packages (which company did Chuck Noland work for again?) that would have been fine. Noland could look at the watch his girlfriend gave him, but then something goes wrong and the plane goes down.
***SPOILER AHEAD*** From this moment on the movie could play out exactly as it did until the moment the ship passes by his raft. Why couldn't the movie end there and simply be about what drove this guy to survive for four years? It's the meat of the movie, and it's wonderful. By hiring a big star like Helen Hunt, Zemeckis and company forced themselves to supply her with a big role, and a satisfactory ending became an impossibility.
Those who say things like "the animation was pretty bad by today's standards," have to realize that the animation on this show, and all of Marvel's 60s shows, was awful even then. Disney, Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbera were all producing far superior work decades before this Spider-Man series. Everytime I see an episode, I try to figure out how they could have done it with less effort, and I can't. The fact that they used the same backgrounds from Rocket Robin Hood, another awful show, just shows open contempt for their audience. The only good thing about the show was the theme song.
The TV show from the 80s is far superior.
Amazon Women on the Moon (1987)
A feel-good, light-headed pleasure
This is not a great film by any means, but there are some really hilarious, unforgettable sketches in this movie. There's the Playboy bunny who goes grocery shopping naked, goes to church naked and everyone else acts like its normal. The Amazon Women on the Moon sketch is a scream. David Alan Grier is fantastic as the man without soul. There's the Siskel and Ebert-style critique of a man's life. There's also Andrew Dice Clay's finest moment (not like he's had any others) as he screams from a TV set at someone watching his girlfriend's porn video. A very silly movie, but with lots of great moments.
I've never really been that wild about this Terry kid, or this new costume. He seems to rely more on his Iron Man-like costume than his intellect and deductive skills, as the original Batman did. Having said that, my favourite part of Return of the Joker was when Barbara Gordon flashed back and remembered the last time Batman fought the Joker. That is an absolutely marvelous scene. You feel the concern and horror thunder through Batman as he's confronted with the atrocities Robin has endured, as well as his hatred and fury towards the Joker. The people in Warner Brothers animation have thankfully returned to drawing the Joker with the detail they had when Batman the Animated Series started. And as much as I don't really like him, Terry's climactic fight with the Joker is definitely worth checking out. As a previous comment said, it's a pleasant surprise.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Perfect family film
I saw this movie for the first time when I was 11. I saw it again when I was 14. I'm now 28 and have recently seen it a third time, and my eyes began tearing up on two different occasions. It's amazing that a movie about a boy and an alien can trigger such emotions. A beautiful film.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Drugs are bad? Tell me more...
Darren Aronofsky deserves kudos for his ability to create such a jolting movie, and Ellen Burstyn has given the year's most heartbreaking performance. But I have never, ever had a harder time watching a film, and have never felt so bombarded by such disturbing images in my life. After I left the theatre, I felt like I had been through a war, and I was at a loss to figure out what I was supposed to get out of it other than, "Drugs are bad." That's something most of us realize, and for those that don't, I don't think Aronofsky's sledgehammer is going to do the trick. Aronofsky has one of the bleakest visions of any director working today, and if his next project is indeed Batman, I'm worried. He's loaded with talent, but I would like to see him inject a dose of humanity for the first time into his next film.
Near Dark (1987)
I expected this to be a lot scarier. Apart from Bill Paxton's talk of tearing people's faces off, this wasn't really that unsettling. Entertainment Weekly rated this among the top 25 scariest movies of all time. It's a solid film, but how it can be placed alongside Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Shining and The Omen is beyond me.
Murphy gives 2000's best performance by a male actor so far
I've always liked Eddie Murphy, but I did expect more from the first Nutty Professor movie. Freed from the burden of living up to the 1963 film, Murphy built on the strengths of his original Nutty Professor movie. He gave another sensitive portrayal of Sherman Klump. We got to spend way more time with the family and he toned down Buddy Love's presence in this sequel, giving us no more Buddy than we needed. His acting ability has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years, to the point where his performances are superior to the movies they're in. That was the case with the first Nutty Professor and Metro. I thought his best work was in Bowfinger, but now I'm routing for him to get an Oscar nomination. I was stunned by his sensitive portrayal of Mama and Papa Klump and his handling of their marital problems. His performance likely won't be given the respect it deserves because of the crude humour involving hamster droppings and bodily functions, but I would like to see Eddie Murphy's achievement in this film properly acknowledged.
A gem that deserves more attention
Anyone who imagined Alex Winter to be as dull-witted as Excellent Adventure's Bill (or Keanu Reeves for that matter) is in for a surprise. His writing and direction in Fever is intricate and carefully put together. He has created a film that is incredibly haunting and disturbing, and this is his directing debut. Henry Thomas' performance is perfect. His acting is just subtle enough to indicate the danger of his character toppling over the edge. Winter and Thomas show that well-developed talent can always outlast time.
Superman III (1983)
Reeve's crowning moment. Too bad it's not a good movie.
The drastic drop in quality after the first two Superman films is a real shame. As a kid, I enjoyed the Superman films even more than the Star Wars movies, and about a year ago I took the time to view all four movies once again.
Superman III is still a bad film, but that scene where Clark Kent battles the evil Superman is unforgettable! If anyone needs convincing that Christopher Reeve is a great actor, the only proof that is needed is that scene. Unfortunately it is surrounded on both sides by a lame film. If this scene were edited out and released as a short film, I'd rate it a 10. Superman's brutalization of Clark is incredibly frightening, but the way Clark gains more and more strength after every blow is incredibly inspiring and heroic. If you've never seen Superman III, it's worth checking out simply for this scene. Reeve has never been better.
Batman & Robin (1997)
We need more people to give this movie a vote of 1
If this were a just world, this movie would certainly be in IMDb's bottom 100. As I write this, Batman and Robin has a user rating of 3.4/10. That is too high. This is unquestionably one of the most misbegotten movies ever produced. I don't know how promising film series like Superman and Batman just ended up crashing and burning by the third or fourth film. Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman should be run out of the business. I know tons of people who would have given their lives to write an infinitely better script for no money. There is no excuse for this movie's existence.
British or American, it's the heroism that matters
Would U-571 be a better movie if it had British officers stopping the Enigma signal? Sure, and maybe for the sake of accuracy it should have. Perhaps there is a certain amount of American arrogance at work here, having these officers portrayed as American, but, at the risk of upsetting a lot of veterans, I don't think it matters in the long run who did what. I think what matters in the end is that it was done at all.
Say what you will, but anyone who has watched U-571 has to admit it's a balanced film. The German characters in the film are every bit as human, flawed and virtuous as the Americans. The film respects both sides of the conflict equally.
Speaking as a Canadian, I have to be honest about my feelings about our past war efforts. All Canadian students are taught about Canada's great victory at Vimy Ridge in World War I. It can not be denied that that was an important victory in the war and that incredible heroism was involved on the part of the soldiers. If Hollywood made a movie about the battle of Vimy Ridge and replaced the Canadian soldiers with Americans, I admit it would probably upset me, but only because I'm Canadian. My nationality would prevent me from looking at the situation objectively. Nowadays it seems odd trying to find trying to extract some source of national pride among the horrors of an old war.
If people think the United States is arrogant for portraying British officers as American, the arrogance displayed as the British remind everybody, "Don't forget. We did that," also has to be acknowledged. The fact is, somebody had to do it. These men did it and they are heroes. Their nationality doesn't define their heroic act, and neither does it matter if they are portrayed by Matthew McConaughey or Ewan MacGregor. As time passes by, wars become more and more meaningless, and it's not as if they were loaded with meaning in the first place.
The best film adaption of Shakespeare ever
The only other film adaption of Shakespeare that comes close to this is Roman Polanski's 1971 version of Macbeth. Like that film, Titus is violent, bloody and incredibly vivid. Julie Taymor has gone a step further and given the film a totally original setting and visual interpretation, allowing modern movie goers to relate to the story a little more easily. This film was robbed at Oscar time when it lost the costume design award, and I have no idea why it wasn't nominated for art direction. Alan Cumming should have at least been nominated for Best Supporting Actor. This film is unforgettable.
An utter disaster
This is easily the worst film Robert De Niro has ever been involved in. What is he doing here? Rocky, Bullwinkle and the narrator are kind of fun, but unfortunately there is always a flesh and blood human being around and each one of them is absolutely horrible. The absurd dialogue spoken by Jay Ward's characters just does not work when spoken by an actual human being, in which case it just comes off as stupid. Maybe instead of matching up Rocky and Bullwinkle with human beings, they should be pulled out of reruns and be given new animated shorts to appear in. In fact I would welcome a general return of animated shorts to run before feature presentations. I don't know why it doesn't happen anymore.
Me, Myself & Irene (2000)
Now that I've seen the movie, what was it about again?
There were some funny parts here. The thing with the cow was hilarious, but over all this was a disappointment. Jim Carrey's split personality thing was just a less funny version of his performance in The Mask. Renee Zellwegger might as well have not been there. I doubt anybody in the audience cared about the story at all. Who exactly was this Dickie guy and what was he after? I hope success hasn't spoiled the Farrelly Brothers.
One of the most frightening films I've ever seen
Films like Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Psycho are kind of scary, but this movie (along with Schindler's List) scared me more than any other film has before. At a very young age, growing up in a Christian household, I was confronted with the barbaric image of the crucifixion. It has always horrified me. The last section of the movie, starting with the crucifixion, had me bouncing all around my apartment in absolute terror. The movie had the courage to make me reevaluate all my most basic religious beliefs, and I found that terrifying. By the time the film ended, my heart was racing and I was surprised at how my faith in Jesus was strengthened.
The controversy surrounding this film is truly sad, not only because the Church chose not to check and see if their criticisms were valid, but also because the Greek Orthodox Church was the most vocal, and this film was based on a novel by Greece's greatest contemporary writer Nikos Kazantsakis. He's the same writer championed by his countrymen for Zorba the Greek, a book and film that boldly questions many of his country's antiquated and paternalistic customs.
Definitely see this movie. This, like Martin Scorcese's other output between Raging Bull and Goodfellas (King of Comedy and After Hours) has been cruelly overlooked. This is definitely one of his most courageous and greatest movies.
I can't believe I own a copy of this
This is easily the stupidest movie in my collection, but Pamela Anderson is at the peak of her seductive powers in this film. It's worth seeing for her, and also if you want to give the fast forward and rewind functions on your VCR a workout. I'm not exactly sure what the film is about, but I don't really care either. She will never be this sexy again.
Michael Jackson: Thriller (1983)
It's ONE of the best music videos ever made
For those who remember this video's initial impact, it will never be forgotten, and a viewing of Thriller is all that's needed to feel twelve years old again. But, while it's a great video, it's not perfect, even though it seemed like it at the time. When this video first came out, nobody had ever seen anything like it before. Now the music video medium has grown by leaps and bounds, and a fresh viewing of Thriller will reveal its faults. Why was it necessary to deconstruct the song? When Michael Jackson is walking beside the girl after they leave the movie theatre, he sings all the verses of the song, skipping the choruses. After he becomes a zombie, when it comes time for him to sing again, his zombie makeup inexplicably disappears, and he sings the chorus again, and again, and again, as if to make up for its previous absence. This may have been the first time a song had ever been deconstruct to fit the visuals in a music video, but it certainly wasn't the last time. It has continued to be a problem in the age of MTV. The best videos, like Jackson's Billie Jean and Beat It, have used visuals to serve the music, not the other way around. Still, Thriller is great fun, and an absolute must on Halloween.
The most disturbing film
While this film is definitely not for everyone, I think it's great that it's found an audience. This also contains one of Phillip Seymour Hoffman's greatest performances. Watch it, but know what you're getting into.
Mixed Nuts (1994)
The most disappointing movie ever
I remember going into the theatre ready to once again be delighted by Steve Martin's madcap humour, but also to be moved by Nora Ephron's writing and direction. Until then I had only known her for the excellent When Harry Met Sally and the kind of charming Sleepless in Seattle. Throw in Adam Sandler (who I only knew from Saturday Night Live) and Garry Shandling, and I think I had every right to expect a good movie.
After the cute opening credits, which prompted a few laughs, I became shocked at how not funny this movie was. Sandler managed a couple more laughs with that funny "Chanakuh Song" singing voice of his, but I don't think I've ever seen so little come from such a large assembly of talent. A complete mess. Never see this movie.
Batman Returns (1992)
Just one villain next time, please
If people are scratching their heads trying to figure out what exactly went wrong with this franchise, the answer is right here. It is a mistake to cram more than one villain into a movie. The Penguin has always been a fine villain for Batman, but in this movie next to the dangerously sexy Catwoman, he comes off as simply boring. Catwoman should have been the only villain in Batman returns, just like the Joker was the only villain in the first movie. It wasn't bad enough that a great villain like Two Face ended up getting the short end of the stick to the Riddler in Batman Forever, but we had to fit in another hero in Robin. By the time we upped the ante to three villains and three heros in idiotically titled Batman and Robin, it had simply gotten ridiculous.
So, if anybody out there reading this is even thinking about making a superhero movie, remember this. One hero and one villain. That's all one film can handle, and that's all you need.
The most overrated show in history
This is, in my opinion, the most overrated show in history. For a short while in the mid-90s I even considered it one of the best shows on the air. After awhile though, it just became exhausting. All these people ever did is pore over every single trivial detail in their mundane lives. It's interesting to gaze at your navel for a short while but after a while it's unhealthy. I couldn't bear to watch it anymore, because it seemed like the same thing every week. There was no longer anything bringing me back every week. You can't get me to sit still for a rerun.
I blame the current sorry state of sitcoms on Seinfeld's influence. It seems that Seinfeld proved that a show doesn't have to be about anything in particular, which probably explains why in 2000 I can only think of two live-action sitcoms worth tuning into (Friends and Becker).