If, like me, you were a fan of the Highlander franchise, especially the TV Series, I strongly urge you to skip this film.
Not only does it completely and utterly destroy the franchise (really) but it's got to be, and I use this phrase lightly, "one of the worst films I've ever seen." I worked for 10 years in independent film production, on some of the worst Sci-fi and horror B films known to man and yet I find myself with nothing positive to say about Highlander: The Source except for the last 5 minutes.
The film has the feel of a horrible direct to video production that was shot entirely by an out of work music video director, the score is _even worse_.
There really are no redeeming qualities about this film.
TROY (2004) *** Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Brian Cox, Brendan Gleeson, Sean Bean
There are movies of epic proportion, and there are epics; this movie tries to be a movie of epic proportion based on Homers epic The Iliad. Sadly it fails.
Certainly its eye-catching, there's plenty to look at and lots going on, but when you cut through the glitz, when you look for the acting', TROY runs out of steam.
Peter O'Toole, though brave to take on such a role at his age, delivers a performance worthy of a television soap opera, not a massive budget `block-buster'. His performance alone damages the film almost beyond redemption. Not since Jeremy Irons, in his role as Profion in `Dungeons & Dragons (2000' has such over-acting been forced on a paying audience. Then there's Brian Cox, usually a quality actor in every role I've seen him in, yet the megalomaniacal delivery of his role as Agamemnon is even a bit too over-the-top for such a famous sociopath.
One of the questions I found myself asking, even after leaving the movie, was this `Can Orlando Bloom actually play a role other than Legolas? And if so, when is he going to start?
Kudos go out to Brendan Gleeson who gives a solid performance and demonstrates his versatility in yet another role. Sean Bean continues to demonstrate why he's in such high demand, but the real star of this movie is Eric Bana. Relatively unknown (at least in North America) prior to his role in `Hulk (2003)', Bana steals the show with his performance as Hector.
Brad Pitt, typically, is spot on with his performance, and should not be discounted as the Lead. His solid portrayal of the chaotic Achilles makes up, at least in part, for the shortcomings of others.
The fight choreography is spectacular, the score is breathtaking and the costuming and props are stunning. It's quite likely they'll get Oscar nods in these areas and stand a good chance at winning. Sadly, however, I'm sure the academy will consider O'Toole for a nomination just because he's been in the game so long. The prospect of that reviles me and if he were to actually win an academy award, where Ian McKellen failed to garner one for his role in `Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings (2001)', my faith in the entire voting process for the Oscars would collapse once and for all.
Of course I'm sure the film will take in massive box office receipts and won't disappoint many, but given the hype I was expecting a lot more. At least the DVD will allow you skip over the many, many skippable sections.
The only way you could get me to see this film again, in a non-matinee/cheap day setting, would be to sneak me into the theatre in a giant wooden horse.
One of the key elements to making a memorable film is knowing your demographic.
In the 1980's no film maker demonstrated this ability with greater savy than John Hughes. His films not only launched careers and packed in box office receipts; they also spoke to a generation and helped define a cadre of actors who, to this day, still dominate their profession.
In 2004, its hard to say exactly who to consider when awarding the title of heir-apparent. `The girl next door' director, Luke Greenfield, seems to have crafted a gem that's worth the price of admission. But this relative unknown, whose previous efforts included Rob Schneiders 2001 effort, `The Animal', is also working with a strong script and well cast talent.
One of the underlying themes of `The girl next door' deals with the idea of updating school teaching material, an interesting thought given that the film itself can be considered much in the same way. The cast comment on how `Someone should update these films', while viewing an outdated sex-ed movie from the 1950's. `The girl next door' is as updated, in comparison, as its counter parts, `The Breakfast Club', `Sixteen Candles' and `Weird Science'.
Young stars, Emile Hirsch (The Emperors Club, 2001) and Elisha Cuthbert (Old School, 2003) both give credible performances and may very well look back fondly one day on this film as a ground breaking performance in their respective careers. Timothy Olyphant (Rockstar, 2001, Dreamcatcher, 2003) is likewise, both easily hateable, yet roguishly charming (a la `Han Solo') in his role as Hirsch's tough ex-boyfriend/boss.
Crafted by individuals who obviously recognize that this generation accept sex and nudity without the hang-ups of the Hughes generation, `The girl next door' speaks expertly and with a cunning tone that, while it probably won't see any Oscars, may give Greenfield the first sleeper hit of the year.
Actually, unlike the last "reviewer", I thought it was a very well put together piece of Canadian cinema. The cast is well chosen, the stories all tie together in an explosive ending, overall its a sound piece of film.
Sure. They reloaded the Matrix... but it seems someone might have slipped some blanks in the chamber.
Part of the Appeal of The Matrix was that it was new, fresh and undone before. Everything looked amazing, the storyline was unique, the acting tight, character development was well done... Lets face it, its not the best selling DVD in history for nothing.
The Matrix Reloaded, however, lacks the newness and unique quality that the first film had. We're used to the camera filter now.. we're used to the fast paced action.. we're used to everything.. we're expecting it.. so when it happens, its not so much, "Wow" as, "Ah there it is."
The director seems to over indulge the "Matrix-Slow-Mo" effect button thru-out the film, sometimes in seemingly the strangest pointless places.
Agent Smith, aside from Hugo Weaving having a contract, seems almost un-needed in this film. If anything his character comes across as annoying and pointless and proves to be more irritating than anything else. He manages to go from Classic villain in the first film to over-used tired cliché in the sequel.
Then there's the twins.
You remember Star Wars: Episode 1, The Phantom Menace?
You remember a really cool looking Martial arts based character by the name of Darth Maul? Funky as hell, full of promise.. had 1 or 2 really cool scenes, then without really ever developing or explaining his character they just gack him from the film?
Its made doubly worse by the fact that there's *2* of them in this film.
So by the time Neo comes face to face with the Architect, the film story line is becoming slightly hard to follow.. its unclear as to whether he's duping Neo or whether he's speaking the Truth.. but the Entire City of Zion is destroyed, *completely off camera*. No epic battles, no panning shots of wreckage, just, "Yeah, everything's dead."
Don't get me wrong.. its pretty. Its a very pretty film. Hell, Neos costume alone kicks some serious ass and I'll probably go see the film again *just* because its playing in the Uptown Cinema 1 (IN THX Affliction :-P), because for some reason I didn't see it there the first time and I'm sure I must have missed *some* saving grace I missed.
The plot is very formulaic however. If you've _ever_ played any RPG game, you'll recognize it immediately. Neo is sent, get this, to retrieve the Keymaker. Then its minion fight, boss fight, minion fight, cut scene, minion fight, recover this item, return that item, cut scene, boss fight, roll credits.
I've heard nothing but good things about the Matrix video game that was released with a storyline that runs concurrent to the movie plot, and its script is 3 times longer than the film.
As for Ms. Pinkett Smith... her presence in the film reminds me very much of Storm from the First X-men film.
Overall I was disappointed by the film, the prettiness and neat stuff didn't really make up for the short comings of what was a hugely hyped yet somewhat disappointing film. Notwhere near as good as the first film, certainly not as good as the 2 Towers, but not quite as bad as Attack of the Clones.
In what is quite possibly Eugene Levys best acting performance ever, this mockumentary can best be described as a Folk music version of "This is Spinal tap". All of the familiar faces from Spinal tap and Best in show return for this highly entertaining piece. ****
But like every show I ever truly enjoy it vanished without warning too soon.
I think the problem that alot of people had with it was that it was ni-impossible, at least in Ontario, to predict when Global-TV was going to air the next episode. The time it was aired changed almost weekly and only a few diehard fans like myself took the time to track down the new airing time for said week. Even my video collection of episodes is missing 1 that I Just couldn't have predicted (they showed an episode on wednesday, then the episode that was due to air next week, thursday.. so almost everyone missed it.)
I'd love to see it return, but its highly unlikely. Especially since Heath Ledger has such a growing Movie career now.