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Reviews

Meet the Parents
(2000)

Awful, Awful
This film is an uneven mess. It is funny for about 10-15 minutes at the beginning, and for maybe 45 seconds (possibly two minutes) at the end. The rest of the film is a horrible monstrosity.

After the initial, fifteen minutes (I'll be generous), the film suddenly falls in love with its gross-out comedy. It began as a kinda strange, funny film about characters. There's unspoken tension between Stiller and DeNiro, and it was very funny. Then the film becomes a slapstick gross out mess of a film, and the jokes were seen miles away. The tragedy is that even when they're being set up we already know they will not be funny, so when they are finally delivered, we completely hate them.

At around the midpoint, you find the film too absurd to be taken seriously, and from there it only gets worse. The characters are so uneven and poorly written that you don't even really care what they say or do.

Things get more and more absurd and less and less funny as the film goes on and on (and on and on). Clueless Director Jay Roach clearly had a vision for this film, but it's a shame his crew didn't share the same vision. It's obvious that no one knew what the hell they were doing in this atrocity besides the director. And it's the irony of ironies that this happens to be one of the worst American directors working today.

This film is much, much worse than those Austin Powers films Roach directed, and I think that's saying quite a lot. In fact-

Wait, wait, what the hell am I doing writing this review? Why am I still typing? This film is awful-stay away! It doesn't even deserve my time in writing a decent review. If they didn't put that much effort into their film, why should I put that much effort into this?

Gladiator
(2000)

Hopefully this will bring about a change
Let's not kid ourselves, Gladiator is not Braveheart. Or Saving Private Ryan. Or any Kurasowa. It's a blockbuster, a summer film, a crowdpleaser. Usually films like that that put money before quality don't turn out to be very good. Gladiator SHOULD have been one of these films....a loud, pointless, 200 million dollar grossing flick, but strangely and surprisingly, it really isn't. The superb visuals and sets are topped only by the powerful acting from Crowe and the underappreciated Phoenix, as well as the skillful directing of still capable Scott.

Make sure you see Gladiator. Whether you're a summer blockbuster addict or one of those people who only see powerful, trenchant, great films, you should see Gladiator.

Let's hope that future summer action flicks turn out like Gladiator.

Mission to Mars
(2000)

deliriously cheesy
What can I say? Mission to Mars is a film with so much potential that gets thrown away. Some truly great scenes are overshadowed by a horribly tacky ending and generally tacking dialogue. I can see why the genius De Palma took the film, for in Mars he gets to do all the crazy things he always wanted to do. His films are great, but you can always tell he's most interested in the cinematography. In 0 gravity, he gets to do whatever he wants. The special effects start out wonderful and steadily deteriorate until the cheesy, tacky, and inferior ending. If anything, the poor film Mission to Mars gives a deeper and more fond respect of 2001.

Wonder Boys
(2000)

The actors give it their all in this meandering film
Wonder Boys starts out great. It's quirky, funny, everything a February film should be. Halfway through, you really start looking forward to 2000's slate of REAL movies. It's about this time, however, that you notice some developing flaws in the film. You soon discover how indecisive the film is. Katie Holmes's character talks about writers "not making choices", and I think that that same problem happens here. The film isn't really sure whether it wants to focus on the wisely toned-down relationship between Michael Douglas's Grady and Frances Mcdormand's Sarah or the hilariously strange relationship between Grady and Tobey Maguire's James Leer. This early established conflict of screen time continually hurts the film until it gets to the point in the third act where it nearly destroys the film. For a while, you are able to enjoy the amazing performances from the three prominent characters as well as a shockingly great performance from Robert Downey Jr., which, to quote a local movie reviewer which I usually hate says "it makes you want to give [Downey Jr.] a get out of jail free card."

minor spoilas

After a while, the film finally makes up its mind, but it's too late. The movie realizes it wants to focus on Sarah and Grady, but by this time Sarah is too under-developed for you to care. You've become quite interested in the adventures of Grady and James. So what results is a final third act where no one is really sure of what they want. Even the characters look indecisive, for the ending with Sarah is too perfect and the ending with James is, well....what ending with James? It's like he just kind of leaves. If director Hanson and writer Cloves had spent more time with Sarah and less with James, maybe we'd be less attached to him and we'd actually care what happened to Sarah. But we don't, and we leave the theater with an empty feeling in our stomachs.

The Whole Nine Yards
(2000)

worst film of the year so far
the whole nine yards is a bad movie. simple. people who have seen the movie, i want you to think about it. think about what happens in the movie and the lengths the characters go to to do what they do. it's hard to say this without spoiling it for others. but think. if you really look for the plot holes, you'll see how bad a movie this really was. half the things the characters did were pointless and unnecessary because they didn't think anything through. this movie just goes NOWHERE. it has no idea whether it wants to be quirky or slapstick or romantic and fails at everything. don't you think it's funny how bruce willis can go from pulp fiction to die hard three to twelve monkeys to armageddon last year to sixth sense to this? It's like Bruce purposely scouts on the best films he can find, and then immediately selects the worst scripts he can find. What gives?

Wing Commander
(1999)

Worst thing I have ever come into contact with
I have seen thousands upon thousands of movies. I live film. I breathe it. I read and revise unproduced scripts on the Internet everyday, and some of them can be downright awful. Well......

Wing Commander is the worst thing I ever to have been seen or written (that is, to say that there even WAS a script).

What can I say? I've seen Plan 9 From Outer Space, Future War, Baby Geniuses, and Pokemon: Mewto Strikes Back, and well, this is worst than all of them combined. Partially because, so much talent is wasted. There are so many talented actors in this film that get boggled down in a god-awful script and directing job. Stay away from this Cats in space.

The Beach
(2000)

Picks up
What starts out as a very good beginning slows down but nevertheless remains a satisfying first act. The movie takes a turn for the worst, however, with a very hollow and pointless second act, where nothing important, if anything at all, happens. But Danny Boyle and the Trainspotting crew are no fools. They don't let a film suck without doing something about it! The third act takes off and does its best to revive the sagging film, and you can't help but love Dicaprio's, uh, bonding time with nature. A very uneven film but all around an enjoyable two hours.

possible spoiler: My one gripe: the film suffers from the LA Confidential syndrome. There is a perfect semi-tragic and real place to end the film, but it was abandoned so the audience would not feel "isolated". We're not all conformists. We don't need to hear some Lilith Fair song about love and peace come on after a bunch of people got shot and killed. We don't need "happily ever after". We're big boys. I can understand that the filmmakers knew their target audience was young, so they wanted to have a nice ending with Leo smiling. Well I'm fifteen and I'm one of those people who saw Titanic 14 times with my girlfriend. I may be young, but I'm not stupid. I know when I'm being spoon-fed, and well, in a film that dives into the furthest depths of human insanity, I don't need to see Leo grinning over a crappy iMAC at an internet bar so we can all feel good about ourselves at the end of the day.

Natural Born Killers
(1994)

Has no idea what it wants to be
Originally scripted as a very effective satire by Tarantino, Stone seems to abandon this for....god only knows. The director's cut isn't any better, it's just 60 minutes of more pointless killing and death. Whereas Tarantino actually had a point, Stone seems to have lost his. I'm sure he either started out with one or there's some sort of one lost in that mess now, but a film too horrific to be funny, but too comic-like (i saw comic-like because it tries to be funny but fails) to serve any sort of dramatic purpose. I'm sure this is why Tarantion has publicly rejected and virtually disowned the film, while Stone is still fighting for a cause that he isn't sure of. But now, six years after this film's release, should it be held responsible for copycat crimes? This debate has gotten a lot of press over the past year, and I say yes. Why? Because it's a poorly made film. If this movie were a properly crafted satire, it would not inspire violence the way it did. If it were a properly crafted drama, after seeing this, no one could have the power to do any of those things. Natural Born Killers simply stands a bad movie. It's placed in the "Adventure" section of your local video store? Is Schindler's List? No, that violence served a purpose.

Ed Wood
(1994)

best comedy film ever
This is, by far, the funniest, wittiest, and most sly film ever made. It is genius, and no comedy will ever compare to it. Earlier this year I saw Election and was reminded of this film, for both comedies go beyond your typical comic cliches and make you laugh at things that normally wouldn't be very funny. I would go so far as to say that Ed Wood is the best movie of the 90's. I tend to resist when saying that however, because when I say that, my mind thinks of Schindler's List, which I also hold with much regard. I don't think either is better than the other. But I will go so far as to say that Ed Wood is the best black and white movie of the 90's. Oh, wait.....

Die Hard
(1988)

Surprisingly, the best screenplay of 1988
This film is surprisingly incredible. It is one of the best, if not the best, film of 1988. The script is filled with many clever things and amazing action scenes. It is, still today, the best action film ever. With movies like The Rock and Con Air and The General's Daughter (notice how many times nicolas cage appears in and simon west directs these awful films), you truly miss films like Die Hard.

The Talented Mr. Ripley
(1999)

Less of an ending than even Limbo
This movie is great. Well, half of it is anyway. It truly does start out like a great Hitchcock thriller, splitting the screen and separating the pieces, coloring things differently, showing us something we cannot understand and explaining it later. The movie even LOOKS like it was truly made in the 50's. The first half is great. Damon slowly changes into the strange Mr. Ripley, Law brings out the great Dickie Greenleaf, and Gwyneth Paltrow serves a purpose. Things go downhill after that, however. While superb for 1/2 and quite entertaining for 2/3, Ripley loses steam when it ceases to become plausible and [semi-spoiler] really finds no resolution to any of the conflicts it presents. Nothing is finished, and the ending, or lack thereof, resembles the complete disappointment of the similarly ended Limbo. With only two neat tricks I can remember in the latter part of the film including the spinning camera during Ripley's sleep and the replay of an entire scene during a separate one in voice-over, you'd be much better off leaving after the first hour and forty minutes of Ripley. At two and a half hours plus, you're actually doing what the filmmakers should have done in the first place.

Toy Story 2
(1999)

Quite Good, But Quite Light
This movie, however charming it may be, will always be second to the first Toy Story. Though I loved Toy Story 2 and I have not heard of one bad review concerning it, looking back now, I can't really picture it as clearly as other movies I had seen. I mere three hours after seeing the movie, I had trouble recalling the great dialogue or interesting situations. Sure, I could remember the important scenes and all the characters, but what does that matter? I remembered all the characters and scenes from Baby Geniuses, and that is most definitely, the worst movie of the past five years. I am quite perturbed that people would say that Toy Story 2 is better than its predecessor. Nothing will ever match the originality of the fairy tale that captivated adults and kids alike.

SIDENOTE: You know this reviewhas merit when I praise both Toy Story films, for I am the target audience not even considered when marketing Toy Story 2- the teenagers. It took a lot of struggling to drag my 15 and 16 year old friends to see this movie, but they know as well as I do that that was the best movie any of us had seen since, well, the first Toy Story.

What Dreams May Come
(1998)

The Most Clear Cut Love It Or Hate It Movie Of All Time
While scanning down the IMDb comment index for "What Dreams May Come", you see that many people cite this film as their favorite of all time. If you scroll down further, however, you see that just as many believe the film to be one of the worst ever made. I personally view "What Dreams May Come" as a trite, heavy handed piece of celluloid garbage, but I know that many people feel equally about one of my favorite films, the 1998 "Great Expectations" (i can't help it. the movie is just so addictive). Give this movie a chance. It will either be shortly or already is off the new release section at the local video store, so why not spend 2 bucks. At least you'll have a reaction after seeing it, and isn't that the most important thing when you think about it?

Being John Malkovich
(1999)

Tears down walls
This film breaks down any and all remaining barriers of film. Why? Not necessarily because it's a good movie, it's only average, but because it's so original. Ten years ago, this would have never been made. Five years ago, same thing. Today, though, in our ever-changing film world, if you want to make a portal into John Malkovich's brain, who's stopping you? This film enables a new era of creativity in cinema. Whatever you want to do, you can! And people will see it! 'Malkovich' is pulling in rave reviews and great box office for a small film such as itself. Get ready for many more to come.

Gekijô-ban poketto monsutâ - Myûtsû no gyakushû
(1998)

This Movie Sucks
I'm going to say this as nicely as possible so as not to hurt all the little childrens' feelings....THIS IS THE WORST MOVIE EVER. And I have seen Baby Geniuses. If that doesn't tell you something, nothing does. And what the hell are you people doing giving this movie "10" stars? At the time of this writing, less than 200 votes have been tallied and POKeMON already has 36! "10" votes! I must say, you people are losing respect every minute. What happened to all the film fans?

Bringing Out the Dead
(1999)

a total thrill...a 120 minute rush of adrenaline, surely one of the year's best
this movie is outstanding. it blows you away with it's originality and excitement. surprisingly though, this film is more of a comedy than anything else. yes, it's a very very dark comedy, but you often find yourself laughing at things you wouldn't normally laugh at, much like this year's unexpected satire riot Fight Club. i cut studying for a spanish test and ending up getting a 76% on it just so i could go see this movie. and you know what? it was worth it. rush and see Bringing Out The Dead...let it surprise you as well.

Fight Club
(1999)

My mind is still blows
The general complaint about Fight Club is how the plot twist, which to some was genius but to others pointless, lead to a banal ending. I disagree. Like Sixth Sense or The Usual Suspects, when a movie is so good or so excellent that anything else would be a let down, Fight Club uses a twist that really doesn't have to do much with the movie. Yes, it does put things into a new and limited perspective, but it is still a great surprise and a wonderful jolt for the audience. I found that the last scene of the movie could have been developed more realistically, and I am actually disappointed in Fincher for once for blowing the chance to make one of the most ironic endings in film history.

Fight Club is a 2 and a half hour comedy. You will find yourself laughing more at the satire of this film then for it's action subplot. Like The Matrix and Run Lola Run, Fight Club is a new breed of movie meant to blow your mind and trigger ALL your senses for as long as a movie can possibly do. To the cynical eye, The Matrix, Run Lola Run, and Fight Club all had their disappointing moments, but to the faithful filmgoer, Fight Club is a treat not soon forgotten.

Fight Club
(1999)

My mind is still blows
The general complaint about Fight Club is how the plot twist, which to some was genius but to others pointless, lead to a banal ending. I disagree. Like Sixth Sense or The Usual Suspects, when a movie is so good or so excellent that anything else would be a let down, Fight Club uses a twist that really doesn't have to do much with the movie. Yes, it does put things into a new and limited perspective, but it is still a great surprise and a wonderful jolt for the audience. I found that the last scene of the movie could have been developed more realistically, and I am actually disappointed in Fincher for once for blowing the chance to make one of the most ironic endings in film history.

Fight Club is a 2 and a half hour comedy. You will find yourself laughing more at the satire of this film then for it's action subplot. Like The Matrix and Run Lola Run, Fight Club is a new breed of movie meant to blow your mind and trigger ALL your senses for as long as a movie can possibly do. To the cynical eye, The Matrix, Run Lola Run, and Fight Club all had their disappointing moments, but to the faithful filmgoer, Fight Club is a treat not soon forgotten.

American Beauty
(1999)

Not Worth a 9.3
This is an expertly filmed, acted, and directed film, but the script is lacking. Why? Because the movie is a complex tale about a group of people living in suburbia. A simple setting is ideal for showing the deep underlyings of society, but we should care about the characters. All the characters in this movie are freaks. They're violent or mean, and you really don't care for any of them. You don't feel sympathy, and half the time you're afraid one of them is going to just flip out and kill everyone. The movie is too graphic for it's own good. The violence and non-stop sex related material are enough to get the point across without the excessive drug use as well. This movie has tremendous performances and the best filming you are likely to ever see, but don't expect a nice movie to see a Sunday afternoon. Instead, plan to see a disturbing and brutal look into the lives of a bunch of basically horrible people.

Drive Me Crazy
(1999)

Girl Gives Birth To Prom Date?
It's predictable, but what do you except? It's a simple tale with simple characters. Nothing to really offend anyone, but nothing to really rush out to the theaters to see. What do you really except from a movie based on a story called "How I Created My Perfect Prom Date"?

Eraserhead
(1977)

Basically, David Lynch is crazy
David Lynch isn't a genius, he's crazy. I'm not saying his films are bad or low quality, but they're not Citizen Kane. They're inspired works that are extremely creative, but not "genius". I found Eraserhead to be amusing and interesting, but certainly not the best film of all time like I have heard some say.

Random Hearts
(1999)

cliched and tired
Does Harrison Ford still think he's a heart-throb? He has the diamond stud and the short haircut, so I guess that must means he must be cool and young. The problem is, he's not young anymore. After watching him with Anne Heche in Six Days, Seven Nights, and now the lovely Kristin Scott Thomas in this movie, you feel as if Harrison should move on. There are more problems with Random Hearts than Harrison Ford, however. First of all, the movie takes itself too seriously. Instead of trying to be a good date movie for adults and mature teens, it tries to be both provocative and thrilling at the same time. The plot holes in this film are big enough to leap through, and you can't help but thinking that so many wonderful talents have been wasted on the film. It could have been much much better. This film isn't one that someone would hate, but it's really not one you could confess to liking too much either.

Three Kings
(1999)

Not really that good
With little REAL emotion or even very interesting lines, Three Kings basically hinges on it's graphic war scenes to pull the movie through. Originally touted as a comedy, after about half an hour, your smile fades and the jokes stop. It then focuses on the "story" for the rest of the time, abandoning whatever mood and atmosphere they had previously established. The thing about Three Kings is, there really is no story. Often contradicting and overly tripe, it treats the audience as children, not letting them have any opinions whatsoever. All we're left with is a visual style that we hope brings justice to the Gulf War. It has it's interesting parts, like a new cross-cutting way to show quick, rushed, battle scenes, and an interesting explanation of the bile buildup after one is shot.

Three Kings is a stylish film, if not substance driven, and certainly not the best Gulf War movie. Too many are forgetting the four star masterpiece Courage Under Fire with Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan that was released in 1995. That does more justice to the Gulf War than Three Kings does.

If you want to see a new breed of modern film making, check Three Kings out. But don't expect to see anything deep, and really don't expect a decent soundtrack.

The Game
(1997)

David Fincher is a GOD
I cannot say enough good things about this film or David Fincher's other masterpiece Se7en. What I find so appealing is how unconventional his film making is. It's never predictable and never obvious. Just when you think you've figured it out, he tells you that you're wrong. I know many of will never forgive Fincher after Alien 3, but the movie wasn't as bad as anyone says. It didn't live up to Aliens, but what could? Alien and Aliens are two of the best science fiction movies ever, anything else could barely compare. Also, Alien 3 started shooting without a script. Any good director knows you have to have a solid script before you start something like this, but Fincher had just entered the movie business from the land of music videos and took whatever job he could get. Wouldn't you? He then proceeded to turn Alien 3 into the film the nobody could stop talking about, with a finale that people still have a hard time believing. And that's what he's all about-endings.

The Game was a truly under appreciated masterpiece that got trampled, in part, because it got released in late August-early September and anyone in the movie business knows that release date is just hell. Right after the massive summer and right before the fall Oscar blitz, The Game got trampeled and too many people missed it. It's quite unfortunate, really. I suggest you go and rent it, and tell your friends about this. It deserves more appreciation than it received.

The Crying Game
(1992)

Nothing without the twist
You know what? I had just spent ten minutes writing a REALLY GOOD comment on this film before my computer crashed and I wasn't able to send it. Of course, being the lazy lazy man I am, I'm not gonna write it over again. Here are some of the main points.

*basically relies on twist. not much of a film without it.

*where the hell did all the money go? shot for 6 million but LOOKS like it was shot for 500 thousand.

*Twist comes out of nowhere. Unlike recent surprise ending movies, such as The Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects where you ask yourself "How did I miss that? It was SO obvious!", The Crying Game has a twist that really does leap out at you fromt the depths of movie uncertainty.

*If you don't know anything about this movie, especially the twist, go see it. The less you know, the better.

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