The book was written by a 16 year old but the film was far more juvenile
Why are so many adaptations of reasonable books so badly done? Is it that the scriptwriters and directors want to remove themselves so much from the source material that they feel the need to stuff it up altogether. Frankly nothing saves this film... it gravitates between being unbelievably slow and sentimental to fights scenes that are so fast and badly directed that it is impossible to tell what the hell is going on. Did they run out of money and decide not to hire a focus puller?
The acting by all concerned is woeful but they are really not helped by the trite and simplistic dialogue given to them. The dialogue in the book wasn't anywhere near this bad so why didn't they just use some of that?
Rachel Weiss as the voice of Sapphira got the shortest straw with most of her dialogue being stupid, repetitive or downright pointless. They could have cut the whole dragon talking thing and no real information would have been lost.
Overall it was so badly done that I am sure it is something that all concerned will drop from their resumes very soon.
This was such a disappointment and I really wasn't expecting much.
The basic problem is that the director (who not surprisingly also was involved in the script) doesn't seem to care about anything more than superficiality. The whole thing is about as interesting as the little plastic merchandising this film seems to have been made in order to flog, rather than as a film to be enjoyed by audiences.
The story made very little sense with nothing explained and great gaping inconsistencies created because the director seemed determined to have a cast of 23 year olds in all the main parts.
The result is that Lois Lane would have had to be 16 years old when she joined the daily planet, 18 when she had her child and still managed to hold down a very prestigious job at a major newspaper. OK OK it's not supposed to be completely realistic but COME ON! If the whole premise is that Superman has been gone for five years then surely something could have actually happened in that time?
Lois wins a Pulitzer prize for a fluff piece titled "Why the world doesn't need Superman" and although we never actually hear her argument for this award winning insight... the fact is that it quite obvious that the world is getting along quite well. When Superman does get back he gets his curl in a knot protecting the world from bank robbers (apparently there are no major civil wars, starving millions, AiDS epidemic or weapons of mass destruction in the world of Superman so again you gotta wonder why the world ever needed him in the first place and certainly no one would have noticed his absence.)
Added to the impossibly young age of Lois is the fact that she also looks like a gust of wind would knock her down... where oh where are the feisty strong looking women who had a bit of upper body strength??? Karen Allen where are you? (Yes I know I think she's in an insane asylum too but can you blame her the way real women are treated in Hollywood.)
Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor had very little to do and again believability just wasn't there. we were meant to believe he got to serve only 5 years on a double life sentence because superman didn't turn up to a court date???? Plus his dastardly plan made absolutely no sense... sure he can build a land mass out of crystals but it's hardly fertile ground... people would be as well off living in the north pole or the Simpson desert.
I could go on and on about the stupidity and pointlessness of the story and problems with every single scene... but basically it's simply another example of Hollywood ignoring story for special effects and creating a blockbuster of a failure.
Tom Hanks is still a crummy actor but here he somehow pulled it off
Honestly I hate Tom Hanks, I think he is probably the most over rated actor of this generation. I also think Steven Spielberg is a good technical director who often needs someone to tell him when a story has actually played out and not to add an unnecessary 15 minutes to it... But somehow this film resisted the fatal flaws of it's two creative heavyweights (Probably because of the script which was charming and didn't allow too much faffing about from Hanks or a (overly) sentimental ending to be wrung out by Spielberg.) Overall created a lovely little gem that I am sorry i resisted seeing for so long.
The main reason it works is because it is such a simple premise told in a really simple way. It wasn't the best film I have ever seen, but a nice surprise.
This was a really satisfying story with great performances from the actors, even Eric Roberts who usually annoys me.
The basic story is that a band of outlaws heading for Mexico get waylaid in a town called refuge where no pone carries a gun and everyone welcomes them with open arms. But like the rattlesnakes they are, instead of accepting and appreciating this hospitality the outlaws decide to take the town for all it's worth not realising exactly what kind of place they have ridden into.
This film is exactly the type of thing you get when an interesting premise is properly executed. A real treat that I only found by accident on late night TV!
For a video nasty this was surprisingly watchable. The choice to examine the obsession with evil in the 2nd act of the film gave it a depth that few horror/thrillers in the low budget genre ever truly achieve.
The basic plot is that a movie director is drugged and kidnapped by a pair of crazy cannibalistic sisters while he is on a snowmobiling holiday. Although he escapes, his brush with this evil leaves him obsessing with understanding what would make these women, particularly the dominant sister, Vanessa, become so twisted and warped.
His investigation leads him to find Vanessa's daughter, Clara, a struggling actress with an abusive teenage son.
The film doesn't revert to pointless gore but instead gives a thoughtful exploration of the quality of evil, beautifully examining the seeds of a serial killer and examining the idea of nature or nurture motivations. For the discerning viewer who doesn't just want a basic horror shocker, this film delivers some interesting ideas despite a few production and script flaws which can be attributed to small budget rather than small talents.
This movie is more than just bad, it's offensive. The quite obvious weaknesses in the script such as appalling exposition sequences - she's swimming through water and this recounts memories of being in a swimming pool when she's 10?? c'mon! - and the complete lack of any actual character development makes this film poor cinematic ally. But what makes it worse is the constant racist and sexist references throughout the film.
It's more than just the gratuitous bum shots of our "heroine", that's hardly new even if it is irritating. Where Elektra takes this further is in the fact that the female characters are never pitted against white dominant males.
The only "enemies" Electra has to contend with are portrayed as people who in western (American) society are sidelined and have no real power - Other women, children and most disturbingly Asian males who are inscrutably evil. Didn't we move away from this in the 1930's??? The only white dominant males are all more powerful both physically and mentally than our heroine, and all portrayed as good rather than evil. The only exception is the character of Tattoo who is white young male but characterised as some kind of feral weirdo with dreadlocks - not really threatening the status quo is it.
The most talented master of an "asian style" spiritual martial arts is White older English male who easily overcomes her in every fight. Again racist and sexist.
Why in a film about a female heroine do we spend the entire film being reminded just how powerless woman - and other cultures really are.
Men shouldn't be allowed to write this stuff! (okay there are some great male writers who write fantastic female characters - Joss Whedon for example... but this film was so appalling I take the opportunity to generalise!)
SPOILER This film has an interesting story and a nice feel but it just takes too long to get going. Things are too obvious early on and the "death" of Celia - given away in the plot outline on this site, is hopefully more of a mystery during the film.
The first act drags terribly and could have done with a bit more pepper and less lingering shots. The heart of the story is Celia and at first she gets such little and such unsympathetic focus that it is difficult to feel much for her at all.
Paul, the prodigal son, gets too much emphasis in the first act and frankly his story is not that interesting until Celia enters it.
Once she gets involved though the movie gets into a much better rhythm, her interview with Paul being the beginning of the real core of the film as well as providing some much needed lightening to the overly serious plot.
It is clearly a male view of women though as the female characters are very lightly drawn, seen only through the eyes of the males who are perceiving them. Even Celia who gets more depth than the others, comes across as little more than a interesting enigma. Her mother fares far worse as she is vilified in the script. Miranda Otto's character does nothing much at all and the suicidal mother of the boys childhood is transparently a plot function.
That said there are some excellent moments in the film and over all I quite liked it, I just feel that with so many writer/director based pieces someone was needed to truly develop this script before it was shot.
Charlie Kauffman has made weird metaphysical angst popular, but this canadian gem makes it hilarious.
Like most weird films the less said about plot the better but let's set the scene, two friends Anthony and Dave have been together since childhood, they can't cope with the world and eventually this means they no longer have to. But that is where even more problems begin.
I loved this film, it made me smile long after the final credits and that is a rare experience with so many mass produced pieces of "nothing" out there.
I saw both this film and it's predecessor the charming "Miranda" in one sitting late at night and have to say I found both delightful. But the second in the series was a little bit more fun.
I don't know if the censorship was loosened between the two films but in Mad About Men , Miranda's character is far more suggestive and the jokes and sexual banter is far more risky (though nothing compared to today's standards.)
As with the 1st film, this one really shines when we see the women reacting to Miranda's siren ways and of course Margaret Rutherford as the natty nurse Carrie is splendid as always.
Mermaids make great movies, there should be more of them!
"They call Television a medium because nothing is ever well done" _ Groucho Marx
Many like to write off the tele-movie as being a simplistic, often badly written and poorly produced piece of videotape and, honestly, often they are right.
However in the case of MURDER AT DEVIL'S GLEN the television medium really rises above itself to present a far above average character study with excellent performances from TV actors Noseworthy and Schroeder, teamed with an intelligent and interesting script.
The set up is somewhat predictable - 4 college boys involved in the death of a young woman decide to cover it up and eight years later are forced to deal with their actions.
But the script takes it somewhere else and the psychological depths are expertly plumbed here.
With the possible exception of THE IDIOTS, every film I have seen by Trier has been pushing a really disturbing female stereotype.
The women are universally portrayed as Martyrs whose self sacrifice is the only option available to them. But their martyrdom is never for themselves but always for a male who directly or indirectly benefits from their stupidity and self sacrifice.
In Breaking the Waves and Dancer In The Dark both main female characters allow themselves to be tortured and killed in order to benefit the men in their lives (BTW her husband and DITD Selma's son.)The fact that both sacrifices are completely illogical is ignored. In fact in Breaking The Waves the rape and murder of the main female (Bess) is actually shown to have had the beneficial effect of letting her husband walk again after a terrible accident.
in Dogville it seems like Trier has realized this and is willing to look at it. In Dogville he seriously questions these portrayals of self sacrifice, of forgiveness and looks to see where they come from.
The final conversation between Grace and her father illustrates this idea beautifully and finally the female archetype, which is essentially what Trier is writing about rather than the female character, acknowledges that these tendencies which society has tried to push upon her and which has given her a false sense of place, security and most importantly superiority, is self deception and leads to her enslavement.
But don't be fooled. Von Trier has not turned over a new leaf...
Grace is ill used by the townspeople, made to be a sex as well as labour slave and yes Von Trier finally allows her to toss away her martyrdom and enact revenge on the townsfolk who have used her so badly... but.. why... is it for her own empowerment? No. In order to do this Grace becomes the one thing she was running from in the first place - the pawn of her father. She sacrifices herself to him as surely as Bess and Selma sacrificed themselves to their male family members.
So the message has been refined not changes - women should find the power to fight against the slavery brought by society but not that by the men in their immediate lives.
In BTW and DITD both Selma and Bess also stood up to the cruel bigoted and corrupt men in their society - Bess the church, Selma her landlord whom she killed. But like Grace, once placed in a position where they were asked to surrender to their family they did so willingly.
Lars Von Trier is a good technical filmmaker, the form is always interesting, whether using "dogma" or Brechtian styles. But h e uses the form to gain comment and the appalling content and theme is often completely ignored. He's a master manipulator but probably not a very nice human being. she doesn't just offer herself up as a sacrifice.
What was going through the heads of the people who okayed and paid for this mess of a movie? Dee Scheider, who wrote the screenplay and appears as the sadistic Captain Howdy, clearly didn't have enough people saying "no" and the film shows this.
The story and subject are somewhat intriguing, the idea of a man stalking children on the internet and then torturing those who answer his party invitations could have reaped much more psychologically disturbing fare. But the film doesn't explore anything here. There is no insight into the characters, why would the girl answer such an invitation? Why is Captain Howdy acting as he does? The hackneyed old cliche of him being "mentally ill" is just to convienent.
The second half of the film where Capt. Howdy has the opportuinity to rehabilitate and come back into the community could have twisted the story into an interesting new direction where we actually cared about this twisted character. Instead it just reverts back to stereotype. His slip back into his usual practices is so expected that we wonder why we are even watching at this point.
The ideas of subculture, of pain as ritual and the ideals and ideology of the "Modern Primitives" could be explored in a deeper, richer way with an interesting storyline and characters that have depth.
This is just a wasted opportunity with a few shock moments.
this film is a brilliant commentary on war in general and the war in Yugoslavia in particular. No other film has managed to portray the pointlessness of the hatred within this country so well.
No Man's Land focuses on the situation where sworn enemies are forced to work together to insure their own survival. But the film goes much further, no participant in this conflict, not the Serbs, not the croatians, not the UN, not the peacekeepers or the diplomats are spared from the accusing finger this film manages to point.
Even if you don't normally see foreign films, see this one, it's powerful, funny, heartbreaking and above all timely.
Men don't seem to like this movie much, well actually they don't seem to get it. I saw it with a male friend and he really didn't understand why the female characters reacted the way they did.
Why was Meg Ryan's character so cautious yet clearly drawn to the police detective - after all if a female likes a guy in a film she just likes him right? They sleep together and nothing deeper than that is ever portrayed.
Thankfully in this movie that is wrong. This film is one of a very few which actually gets some reality into the constant and conflicting emotions of women who may be drawn to a man, but also fear him.
Set up around a murder case, there is an air of threat in every scene of this film. Women as victim is a clear symbol here of the constant images and onscreen portrayals women are forced to sit through time after time, to see their gender murdered, mutilated, raped or menaced often for nothing more than a plot device.
The fear and longing that this creates in the average female is beautifully rendered in this film, where women, treated like sex toys, like garbage, like meat, have to somehow navigate their way through suspicion, concern and even violence, hoping only to come out the other end unscathed and perhaps loved.
It's a harrowing film to watch. To see the female psyche unadorned up on screen, vunerable and haunting, but ultimately searching for a male they can trust.
It is interesting to me that men don't get this, they don't understand the pulpable tension when the detect ive takes the protagonist out into the woods. SHe's jumpy, but it's more than that - he is unaware of how he is scaring her. It's a power play he is so used to playing that he doesn't even notice it.
When they sit at the bar he tells her he will be anything she wants him to be, she wants him to be trustworthy but she can't trust him because his lips do not speak the truth, after he tells he won't hurt her, he abandons her to the night and a would be rapist/mugger.
As a psychological thriller it is up there with the best. The acting is excellent, with surprisingly good performances from both Meg Ryan and Jennifer Jason Leigh, both of whom manage to leave their stock Hollywood personas thanks to skillful direction by Campion.
ignore the fact that the murder mystery in the film makes little sense, it is there only as a metaphor and a reflection of the role of victim in which women seem to be constantly cast.
First let me say I usually love Stephen King's books. I have read all of them, but over the last few years the books are getting worse than the movies - this is a big problem.
Dreamcatcher's storyline makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The plotholes are monsterous ***SPOILERS***
The 2nd in charge in the army hapily takes a man out of a bone fide quarantine because he is convinced that this man (Henry) can read his mind. When you consider the fact that this same lieutentant was present when the aliens tried to converse with the army through telepathic abilities, and also when they changed from nice looking cute aliens to something out of, well out of ALIEN, then him immediately trusting anyone else with this ability is rather unlikely.
The final scene when Duddits turns into an ALIEN makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Why he was dying of Cancer, why he was retarded and most importantly why, if he was a kick arse alien, did he allow some boys to beat him up when younger, is just a few of the problems here.
That said this did have some good bits compared to the equally baffling book on which it was based.
It summed up the 1st half of the story, using a clarity and concise use of images that would have served the book well.
The tension generated in the first reel was quite good, only when we got to the coming of the army did the film completely lose it's way.
At least we were spared the rather revolting and unnecessary detail given in the book for the first half.
All in all a huge disappointment but one to be expected from all of those who have found that Mr King's horror just is not what it used to be.
The first Matrix was excellent. It took an interesting philosophical concept and rendered it into a film which was interesting and entertaining.
In this sequel the whole philosophical aspect just loses itself in it's own existentialism. Ending up in a classic case of style over content we see too many scenes of pure CGI that are all about 10 minutes too long.
It just screams out that the film makers are doing nothing more than stretching out the thin idea to create a trilogy (all the cool film series are trilogies don't you know?)
The Matrix was kind of a Sophie's World for cinema (a nice introduction to basic philosophical ideas) but one film does it unless you actually know something about this stuff and these film makers obviously don't.
It's a shame that the 1st film is so sullied by this piece of money grubbing rubbish.
I just watched this for the third time and it still manages to impress.
A great script, strong characters and a very powerful underlying message makes this so much more than your usual 2 dimensional comic book adaptations.
The fact that the good and evil characters are so blurred is the key to the success of this film (and it's sequels. Special effects don't rule this film, they simply allow the characters to really perform.
Hopefully the producers will recognise the reasons for this films success and not lose the darkness in endless sequels based on big stars and silliness (Batman anyone?)
I thought this film was lovely. A real story beautifully rendered. The screenwriter hit a good balance between the comedy and the sentimentality of the story, refusing to just send up these women. The overall effect of the film is heart warming without ever getting to tear jerking.
Helen Mirren displays good comic timing which she has had little option to use previously and while the other women were also excellent in their performances it was Julie Walters quietly grieving wife which really gave this film it's edge.
Choosing not to focus on her character was a risky choice for the screenwriter, but it works well, allowing her to be real and experience that true quietness that is such a fundamental aspect of grieving, and allow the character of Chris to really push the film's action and narrative.
Overall a beautiful gentle film that deserves high praise.
A disappointment wrapped in an enigma, clothed in a mystery
This film has been raved about throughout Australia as a truly great piece of Australian Cinema. It is not.
There is nothing going on here - it is slow and pointless and ultimately nothing more than a shadow which might once have offered promise of something satisfying.
For two hours you are forced to watch nothing happen, then something does happen and I thought - wow okay this is going to finally go into a really interesting direction. We are going to see something interesting happen now. But we don't.
Instead we see an hour of people sitting around looking sad.
We never get into the minds of any of the people in this film. Every character is so closed to the audience that it feels like watching people pass by while sitting on a bench. They may well have interesting thoughts and stories but we never get to see them.
Toni Collette tries hard here - but she never gets a chance to truly show who her character is. The writer (also responsible for another homage to nothingness - Road to Nhill) has again made the mistake of thinking that just watching people is enough to create story. It isn't. Cinema is not about watching, it is about experiencing and we never get to experience anything here.
Ultimately th is film is a beautiful looking but basically vacant vessel which tries to hide it's lack of depth by trying to look enigmatic. Many viewers may fall for this, but for anyone who wants something a bit deeper look elsewhere.
New Zealand has lately been offering some fantastic screen experiences and proving that it is more that just that place where Lord Of The Rings was made.
Perfect Strangers is another memorable achievement from this country.
Although many may find the story bizarre, it is in fact an interesting pyschological portrait of the current "mating game" that singles all over the world have to deal with. Just who are you taking home? Can the person in our mind's ever really be real?
This film travels some interesting roads examining this theme. And best of all it is impossible to know where it will go next.
For those who like predictable stories Perfect Strangers is not for you. But if you are interested in going somewhere very different in your cinematic Journey you shouldn't miss this.
The critics have described IN THIS WORLD as important and groundbreaking. IT may possibly be both, but unfortunately it is not actually a great film.
The plot centres around a young Afghan boy who accompanies his older cousin as his uncle organises to smuggle them to London. We follow these boys through several countries and see how they travel and how the mechanics of people smuggling works.
What we don't see is any real insight into the reasons behind the smuggling, nor any insight into the emotions of our protagonist (or any of the other refugees we meet along the way.)
Instead we see scene after scene of trucks travelling down roads and boats sailing in waters when what we should be seeing is how these refugees are feeling and reacting to their predictament. Why they were initally motivated to take this route? Did they know the risks? Who, indeed, are these people - i know as little about them at the end as I did in the beginning.
A great deal of time passes in the film, but there is no sense of movement here. It seems strangely static and devoid of any real feeling.
Ultimately it expects prior knowledge from the viewer. Only those who know a gret deal about the people smuggling operations, or the risks for refugees or indeed why this form of people trafficking is necessary, will understand most of this film. I have worked for Amnesty International and so understood the general references, but I spent a great deal of time after the film explaining certain aspects to my friends - ie hwy did they have to travel that route, why was the ship passage so dangerous. What killed the people who got killed.
It also suffers from trying to be both a documentary and a fiction film, falling somewhere slightly to the middle of both. The documentary aspect removes us from the main character who left me fairly cold. I didn't really care about him all that much because I never really sensed he was in any real jeopardy. We don't see life in the refugee camps. We don't see him emotionally reacting to any of the huge events unfolding around and to him.
The tragic element in the film occurs in such a bewildering way that it is unclear exactly what happened unil we are moved out of the scene, and the protagonist barely registers the tragedy at all. So again impact is lost.
It is good to see refugees being portrayed onscreen, but this film felt more like a imitation of third world cinema (one which didn't know the people it represented very well) than groundbreaking new British film making. The clunky voice over providing statistics added to the idea that this was a fairly broad look at an issue rather than an intimate and therefore empathetic portrait of a refugee.
It gains points cause it's heart was in the right place, but it loses them for not placing that heart anywhere in the film.
I am a huge fan of Quentin Tarrantino. I loved Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and even found a place in my heart for his hit and miss Jackie Brown, but KILL BILL Vol 1 was a total disappointment.
Where Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs never shied away from violence and blood, both films contained a hidden cheekiness and clever sense of humour that created a black comedy even when bullets were flying.
Kill Bill attempts this but somewhere along the way Tarrantino has lost his sense of humour.
The violence was over the top and an obvious homage to kung fu killer flicks. But this one just missed the mark. Uma Thurman's BRIDE did a terrific job of convincing us that her character could well be a force to be reckoned with. But the over the top aspect of the film really negated rather than added to the actual strength of her character, making her seem more cartoonish than courageous.
The hospital rape aspects were quite disgusting. I wonder why every time there is a strong female protagonist in the film she has to be raped at some point? Clearly Tarrantino was trying to shed his mysoginist reputation by having a large female cast here, but he has fallen into the same old stereotypes male film makers always make - the women have to be beautiful, have to be raped/beaten or somehow defeated by a male in the story, have to lose a child or protect a child to account for their strength and finally have to be ultimately controlled by a male (Bill in this case.)
Added to this was the Volume 1 aspect. The current trend to create serial movies is annoying at best. But when a movie such as this one wastes so much time having fight scenes rather than moving the narrative along, it really becomes frustrating. Kill Bill VOL 1 could have been told in an hour and we could have seen the conclusion of the film in one sitting. Instead a cheap marketing ploy was used and then time filled with senseless violence.
It's a cheat and despite some memorable scenes and great female performances, Kill Bill failed to ultimately impress.