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Why is this forgotten?
I remember this series well. It was broadcast on Dutch television (as on British television as I gather from their: I love the 70's TV-series). It's about a sort of Robin Hood-like character called Lin Chung and his band of merry men and women. It had I recall beautiful fight-scenes and a very good plot. If you loved "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" try to get a hold of this somehow.
Throw away those "make your relationship work" books and watch this!
Apart from being extremely funny this is one of the best dissections I have ever seen of relationships between men,women and their friends. The humour ranges from insightful through vitriolic to lame innuendo without ever being less than sophisticated. Very good cast, very good scripts. And on a very subjective note Sarah Alexander is one of the most stunning women I have ever had the fortune to ogle.
Engaging frolics in Transubstantianism
Silent Bob and Jay are back once again for another lighthearted comedy. Nothing here really to upset anyone and that's what I wasn't surprised about. I was surprised that people thought there would be. If you look at all films Silent Bob made, there isn't a single one among them that could even remotely be called confrontational to anything. They all have a lightly ironic tone which is mainly aimed against the characters themselves, seldom to the subject matter at hand which in most cases is very little matter to begin with. They provide a backdrop for a lot of funny dialogue which can be outrageous sometimes (as Amy's revelation in Chasing Amy) but always gets downplayed in terms of effect.
What bugged me a bit here was that Kevin inserted some New-age aforisms on religion which were not funny and usually a cliche. You get the feeling he put them in to take the sting out of supposedly blasphemous scriptpoints but there's really no sting anyway so it could have done without them.
Plotwise the film is a bit messy because there are too many characters to follow here (which is problematic because there's no sub-plot) you kind of lose track and most characters don't get fleshed out as they should have. But all in all this is a film that has many very funny scenes and thank god (or Alanis in this case) for Jay. He becomes the pivotal character in this film, not because he plays an important part in the plot, but because he always provides a delicious touch of moronic genius to scenes which tend to become too heavy-handed or sentimental (especially the final scene).
Don't think you will get an insight into religion here, what you will get is a very funny film which doesn't take itself or anything to seriously with very good performances from Ben Affleck (never seen him better), Alan Rickman (never seen him bad in anything) and especially Linda Fiorentino (never see enough of her).
Loving but not insightful
This is a documentary portrait of actor Warren Oates. Oates is a bit of an unsung hero, never a real star but lauded as one of the best character actors ever. He has some cultstatus for the films he did with Sam Peckinpah (notably "The Wild Bunch" and "Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia") and another maverick director Monte Hellman (The Shooting, Two-lane Backtop). But is probably best remembered for John Milius' "Dilinger" or maybe as the drill-sergeant in Ivan Reitman's "Stripes". Problem with this documentary is it's anecdotal style. You never really get an idea of what kind of person Oates really was. In the beginning of the film he is characterized as someone who kept himself to himself and that picture doesn't change. His relationships to people (especially Peckinpah) is hinted at but never in-depth. At the end of the film suddenly two children pop up who were never mentioned before and it is never clear where when and how he met his (second?) last wife who is featured but never tells us much. As for the fellow artists who appear, Robert Culp only rants against Peckinpah, Hellman only talks about his own films and some professor only talks about the mythological Oates (whom he obviously never met). If the aim was to center on Oates' acting, it falters there too because it doesn't show the versatility he is lauded for. It is lovingly made but you get the feeling the director either didn't get to talk to everyone he wanted, or had to bring in a short film and had to cut everything that went to deep. Or it could just be that there wasn't much to tell about an actor who never made a fuss of himself and is he up there with Peckinpah drinking in that big Cantina in the sky and wondering what the hell the fuss is all about.
Don't think this is Nouvelle Violence
The problem with this beautiful movie (as with much of Peckinpah's work) is that it gets misunderstood by people who want to see an action piece with lots of slo-mo deaths. There is always something brooding under the surface in Peckinpah films, in this film it bubbles and froths over the rim of the cooking pot. This is Peckinpah's most blatant allegorical film, (on a par with his "Strawdogs" another film which gets misunderstood a lot)i'm not going into that, see what you make of it yourself. This movie is stuffed with symbolism and melancholia, it is not a Reservoir Dogs or True Romance. People who attempt to view it with that in mind will be severely disappointed as the pacing is almost elegaic and the violence never humoristic or surreal. Nothing to downplay the films I mention (I like Reservoir Dogs a lot) but they are entirely different from this film.
Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
See it (in the longest version possible) or never comment on any film again. This is filmmaking in it's most brilliant form. Well worth the 4 hour sitting. I cannot think of anything bad to say about this film.
The Matrix (1999)
Philosophy, the Nintendo way.
This film is easily the most overrated flick of 1999. Okay, it looks stunning and the effects are unbelievably good but the plot and it's sensitivities are on a par with any indistinguishable installment of Star Trek(whatever series). This would not be so bad if this film was purported to be a good action movie (which it is) but it also seems to think it is a valuable and deep statement about the human condition (it is not) and even that would not be so bad if a lot of people didn't think it was. The movie exploits a few fears people share in today's society. Fear of technology (the machines have taken over) Fear of annihilation (the world is a wasteland, physical or emotional) and plain Fear of being Boring (just a cog in the machine, unimaginative,... et al). Just as any average Joe or Joe-ette can for a few hours imagine him or herself to be an invincible starship captain or a bigbreasted, ponytailed woman searching for hidden treasures so the Matrix gives us a picture of how we would like to be, not a simple man or woman trying to get by but someone who can rock even reality itself. Meanwhile all the fans of this film come out of the movie theatre seemingly feeling enlightened in some kind of way and then go home to play the videogame and then go to sleep to be on time for their job the next day. This is simply an escapist film with a waferthin veneer of depth and almost cynically so. In short I have nothing against the film itself but I do object to the fact that it claims to be more than an sci-fi action film. If you think this is a deep film throw away your gamepad and go read a book (preferably not one of the .... for dummies kind).
First off to get that out of the way, this film is widely inaccurate in historical terms. The events that take place in this film span about 30 years in history but you get the feeling all this happens in a year. Let alone the fact that some of the events and allegiances of characters are plain fabricated in order to tell a story. Here lies the biggest problem in this film. Changing history is not a problem, but coming up with a muddled storyline in the consequence is. The film is beautifully shot and acted but you get the feeling this was supposed to be a 3 hour movie which got killed in the editing room. Characters are never properly introduced and so come off one-dimensional up to and including miss Blanchett herself who has a real presence and is obviously a talented actress but never gets room (as the rest of the cast) to actually act. It's like the actors started a war against the cameraman and lost. The film therefore looks like a collection of beautifully framed pictures looking for a story to tell. If you don't have any interest in or knowledge of the period, I don't see how you can make heads or tails of it. A lot of the relations between characters are only implied or hinted at so some actions the characters take seem bewildering. Lots of cameos (Fanny Ardant as Marie de Guise is wonderful but what she actually wants is unclear as with her cross-dressing nephew de Duke of Anjou) The ending is preposterous and then you suddenly see why everything in this film is as it is. It is all to drive home a point so lame the writer should be burnt at the stake like the peasants at the start of the film. This film therefore leaves a one-dimensional aftertaste, like you have been reading a pamphlet for 2 hours which is very unsatisfying.