Cephyran

IMDb member since January 2003
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Reviews

Watchmen
(2009)

A visually stunning narrative that captures the novel almost page-for-page with passionate respect
I read the graphic novel before seeing the film. In turn I went into the film knowing what I was about to see - a living embodiment of the story with an ending I already knew. In doing so I immediately found myself asking these questions upon the start and ultimately the entire way through the film: Will the narrative of the film respect the narrative my mind constructed as I read the novel? Will the shots structurally reflect the same visual craftsmanship of the novel in it's move from page to screen? To answer this, we have to grasp that the way your mind reads a book and watches a movie are two vastly different faculties. With a book - in this case, the graphic novel - your mind constructs the voices, the tone, the choreography and the pacing as a response to the static visual narrative. In films it's all done for you. Ultimately, I found myself able to recall the novel page for page as each scene progressed. Very little of the narrative is rearranged, and those elements that have been shuffled are structured in a way so as to make the character development happen smoothly for an audience that has not read the book. I think the cleanest and simplest way I can describe it is that everything necessary to the telling of this story has been included and everything unnecessary has been left out without damaging the final product. As far as capturing the true visual of the novel, I think the film was completely successful. It is one of those works where the novel itself would have been literally used as the story-boarding. Speaking strictly from the perspective of a comic book fan, one of our greatest desires in film adaptations is seeing how successfully the cast matches the look and feel of the characters. This is also near-flawless. If there is one difference it is in the women, but this is to be expected because from my experience women in comics are never drawn realistically - figures are too toned, too elongated, faces are sharper, and they almost always are overtly sexualized. Obviously, the genre demands it. And the film manages to capture that, the combination of grace, sexuality and strength in a real body and real costumes. Rorshach comes out exactly as I picture him in the novel - a gruff, Punisher-like force of violent vengeance, willing to go right to the edge to prove the ends never justify the means. The back story of his mask is not explained in the film, and it is one of those elements I would argue is it's own compelling detail in the novel, but is peripherally unnecessary in the film translation.

I don't believe you have to read the novel prior to seeing the film. Nothing structurally critical in the novel is lost on-screen. The establishing of the political climate and the superhero generations is done perfectly fine. What you get from the novel is the understanding of the minor details - characters you see momentarily in the film whose lives are fleshed out in subtle asides throughout the novel. The characters of the young man reading the comic by the news vendor, the vendor himself, the heroine Silhouette, and so forth - to the unknowing audience these are inconsequential elements resolved in a manner that balances their introduction; to the book-first audience, it's almost a little feeling of satisfaction, knowing more than what's shown, as if the character was played by a close friend, allowing you to lean over and say, "See that police-man? That's my cousin." Most importantly, what you take from the novel is knowing how it ends. This is one area of the narrative that was modified for the film. To have taken the ending exactly as it was written creates two problems. First, the literal ending would require greater extrapolation into all of those minor characters and side stories (the majority of which are in true essence erased from the film's script), thus creating a longer movie. Secondly, the literal ending I believe would have been an imbalance in the narrative - in the greater context of the film it would be asking too much for the suspension of the audience's disbelief.

I have to address the common observation of "You have to read the book to appreciate the film." What they're really saying is you have to know the details to appreciate the details left in and left out. I say appreciation must take two paths here: If you watch the movie first, you're likely to choose to appreciate the film simply for the cinematic art it is, and rank it next to others of the genre; if you read the book first you're more likely to appreciate it as an adaptation of a rich layered story, and draw the lines of comparison between the page and the screen. Taking these two perspectives I present my opinion. As a film, it is visually stunning, fairly well acted, and long in the same fashion that Dark Knight was long - you weren't watching the clock, you were watching the movie. As an adaptation, I feel it succeeded. I feel the filmmakers did everything in their power to respect the material at its core and it is successful for their doing so. Ultimately the biggest question is one nobody can answer due to the uncertainty paradox - does reading the book first in any way diminish the impact of the movie more-so than the inverse of this query? I can't answer this. No one can. What I can tell you is you need to make your own decision on the matter. Do not listen to the critics, just go see it and make up your own mind.

The Dark Knight
(2008)

A Dark Riveting Epic that will stand the test of time
For those of us who are the die-hard Batman fans, we all watched the first and thought, "Well, here's hoping they move forward with an even better sequel." I bet most of us were expecting a Spider-Man 2, and instead we got an Empire Strikes Back.

Pure cinematic excellence. If anyone ever doubted Nolan's talent before, they better be believers now. I'm aware credit doesn't fall solely to him, but a strong director can mean a strong movie. The decision to shoot a lot of the film in Imax cameras gives it such a vast, impressive feel, particularly the first scene. You knew after those first six minutes that the movie was only going to get better.

The acting was nothing short of superb. Christian Bale is Batman. He owns the role. He's brought together everything about both sides of the personality that the previous franchise couldn't entirely grasp. Bale has Kilmer and Clooney's clean-cut good looks and honest smile that make him flawless as Bruce Wayne, and at the same time he can cast an unnerving cold darkness that Michael Keaton brought so well to Batman.

Michael Caine is one of those guys who wasn't really in the scope of us younger fans before, but he has been a top-notch actor for decades and now it is my generation that has a chance to see the subtle beauty of his talent, ever the vigilant butler with a wise word to aid Bruce in the darkest hours.

In my mind Maggie Gyllenhaal creates a conundrum. What she poignantly brings to the film is acting talent, able to instantly make us forget about Holmes' performance in the first. And yet Holmes is much more attractive than Gyllenhaal, purely for the youthfulness of her looks. In the end I'm thankful they found someone new for the role, someone who actually made you care about Rachel Dawes as a person and not just as a pretty face.

And Heath Ledger - what can I say about him that hasn't already been said? A dark, twisted, disquieting, edgy performance and flawless from start to finish. the character was so well fleshed-out, I never even saw Ledger in that face. There was only the Joker.

The musical score always plays a big part for me, and this franchise has two of the best at the wheel of the orchestra. James Newton Howard combining forces with Hans Zimmer is one of best decisions Hollywood will ever make. The soundtrack is dark and moody where it needs to be, and grandiose and swelling when the action kicks up. Just listening to the music by itself feels like watching the movie.

Even if you know nothing about Batman and his universe you will enjoy this movie. The story is an addictive journey, one that will keep you in your seat the entire way through. It's very much like Casino Royale - a long movie but you won't know where the time went, because virtually every minute has kept your attention squarely fixed on the screen. There is one word to describe a film of this caliber - epic. It deserves nothing less than a permanent seat in the Top 10 of all time. Now only one problem exists for the filmmakers - how do they go uphill from this?

Belladonna: Fetish Fanatic 4
(2006)

Energetic, rough lesbianism guaranteed to deliver
For those adult film enthusiasts who prefer the lesbian niche, this film is guaranteed to deliver. Belladonna is a woman who has made a very distinct mark in this industry. She takes her performance to a new level entirely, bringing to life a lot of the rougher, almost violent fetishes that can make adult film both taboo and exciting. The true excellence in this film can be found in two key scenes. The first is her performance with Katsumi. Together they are gonzo come to life. Their unbridled energy for actions most women might find alarming is nothing short of amazing. The second is her scene with Sasha Grey. In a unique fashion the scene is presented in a different edit. By doing so we get to see the relationship between the two women 'off-stage' as it were, before getting into the actual performance. this scene stands to tell the conservative blinded critics that woman who star in adult film do not think they are being degraded or just used as sex toys. These women enjoy their performances, Belladonna especially. They bring a talent for the sexually bizarre and combine it with their own passion for sexual activity that translates into effective and successful pornography. In terms of the production, the camera work is steady and when there is music, it's used sparingly. These are the signs of a studio that knows what irritates the audience - overused music, rapid angle-changing shots - and has learned how to eliminate that from their product. Ultimately, the final word is that Belladonna is the woman to watch.

AVPR: Aliens vs Predator - Requiem
(2007)

Respects the material better, but still a flimsy flick...
Being a fan of the original mutual franchises, I had been anticipating this film as a worthy successor to the first, believing from the r-rated trailer online that it would do the canon the deserved honesty. And while it doesn't make as many blatant mistakes as the first, this film has its share of problems. The human characters are almost entirely superficial. The male lead seems to juggle back and forth between a pair of brothers, basically inconsistent enough between scenes of one lonely predator faring a thousand times better against the aliens than those inexperienced student predators from the first film. The entirety of the human cast serves as an anchor for some emotional attachment, failing because none are fleshed out thoroughly enough for you to really care about before they're killed in some gratuitous fashion. Where canon honesty is concerned, there were certainly less, if any, of the seemingly deliberate mistakes presented in the first. Amongst a handful of plot holes, I found myself responding better to this film than the first thanks to the score. The music borrows themes from both Horner's Alien scores and Silvestri's Predator scores, utilizing them to satisfactory effect. I did find the alien themes few and far between, while the telltale jungle drums of the Predator seemed a tad over-used. The special effects were fine, basically the same as the first film, with some minor differences. The volume of CG aliens, when not seen through the perspective of the predator, is drastically reduced, helping preserve the sense of realism. And now to the gore. My impression is that the filmmakers decided that since the first film had been wimped down to a PG-13, they would respect the fans who grew up with the originals, and inject some blood splatter. The big problem is that it plays too much like Starship Troopers - gore for the sake of gore. In the original Alien films, people are grabbed and vanish, with no dramatic splash of blood. Here, there's always focus on the blood, clearly an effort to redeem the franchise after the first AVP. There is certainly no lack of homages either. It's pretty clear that the army tank-top clad Reiko Aylesworth drenched in rain is intended to resemble a sweaty, grimy Ripley; one of the male supporting cast is named Dallas, and towards the end one of the two male lead switchers says "get to the chopper!" All I can say to this end is that they were far more subtle than the slap-you-with-it homages of the first - Bishops pen trick and so on. Overall, I'd rate this one a little better than the first, which was no hard task. It's still basically a popcorn movie, a typical shut-off-your-brain flick that will keep the fans of this crossover sated until a really effective one comes along.

Sex Spell
(2000)

Pretty standard adult entertainment...
I was introduced to this title when I ended up recording the wrong channel on satellite TV. Needless to say, I didn't immediately tape over it. We're talking about pornography here, and the biased response the moment you hear this is, "Well I know why you watched it." But speaking from a strictly cinematographic analysis, it's really no different from any other run-of-the-mill adult film. This one has the obligatory 'attempted plot', an overarching story about all these different people seduced by some mysterious sexually charging curse on a sculpture. There are a lot of repetitive sweeping camera shots, which doesn't really work for this type of film. And in most of the 'hot and heavy' scenes, the frame-rate is slowed down to give everything a softer, more sexy feel. Frankly, this didn't really work. It just served to reinforce my opinion that these movies are far longer then they truly need to be. Star power even seems to be a helper in adult films. I'm not about to pretend to be a porn connoisseur; I however am becoming fairly familiar with a number of faces in this industry, and I can say that if you, as an adult film fan, are more piqued in interest by actresses who are well endowed, Briana Banks is one of the better. They're not natural, of course, but they're not exorbitant. Anyhow, to me this was just another patchwork porn, pretty tame considering what's out there.

Ghost Rider
(2007)

Cage's Weakest to date...
I'm a Nicolas Cage fan. I've liked every film of his that I've seen, and suffice to say this one is possibly his weakest. He has a certain charisma that saves his movies from being total train-wrecks, but even here it's an iffy save. His portrayal of the character is decent, although I did find a lot of the dialogue, particularly whenever they would start the whole "is this my destiny' style monologues, very tedious and cliché. And this was certainly not Eva Mendes' best movie, although you think the director wanted it to be considering the ridiculous number of nice-and-close shots of her. Her character existed entirely to be a reactionary person to Cage's lead, which gives her almost no depth and masks what skill Mendes has behind the 'ooh, save the pretty girl' device. Cinematographically, it wasn't bad. I didn't see as many painful homages to other Marvel movies as we saw in Daredevil, although I might need a second look to confirm that. The effects seemed fine to me, although personally the skull CG didn't seem quite to par with the fire effects. All in all, it's a good 'turn off your brain' popcorn movie, but it's certainly not going in my top 10.

Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation
(2004)

Special Effects the only redeeming quality...
Everyone was telling me I shouldn't bother seeing this movie. They said it was so incredibly bad that I shouldn't even waste the time, let alone money. Well I saw it, and I think they were exaggerating. But only slightly. Yes, it is incredibly weak. The cinematography was the first clue. Everything had that feeling of being a home-video style digital video. The second big annoyance was the acting. When it was dialogue between people, it was so wooden, and the only people who you can tell have actual talent didn't get nearly enough screen time. When it was action between the people and the bugs, it got really annoying how you'd barely see both in frame at the same time. Half the time it was just showing them shooting past the camera, and assuming they were accomplishing something. The plot twist was interesting, if a little unoriginal. And the ending...well, the ending felt like they decided to throw that on at the last minute. It was really tacky. The only thing I had any respect for here was the special effects. There is a particular reason they were the best aspect of this film - Phil Tippett, a special effects guy, was the director. The Digital effects felt comparably as good as those in the first, and the real effects - the gore and slime stuff - was better than what I've seen in recent gore movies.

But overall, yeah, this is pretty dumb. I do agree with many of my friends - if you're going to see it at all, wait until it's on TV for free.

Face/Off
(1997)

Action and Character Depth make it great...
I hadn't watched this movie in almost 7 years, so I figured it was about time I see it again. I considerably enjoyed it. Travolta and Cage are two of the more charismatic actors out there, and having them play off each other in this fashion makes for a darn good movie. The opportunity for the actors to play both personalities helps you really get into each character's life and discover what drives him and where his flaws lie. As far as the cinematography is concerned, I felt it was up-to-par, nothing spectacular, but certainly not a below-average effort for the kind of films John Woo has given us in the past. This is also the kind of movie where you have all these other great supporting actors. At the time, they weren't A-List celebs, but now that you've seen them in other projects (Thomas Jane, Dominique Swain, Colm Feore) you suddenly have that moment of recognition - "Hey, its that guy, from that other movie! I totally forgot he was in this!" As for Nic Cage, it was totally his movie. Travolta is cool, no doubt, but this was way more a Nic Cage movie. I don't know what it is, but I can honestly say I've liked every one of his movies I've seen. Overall, I'd say great movie, excellent acting, and awesome action. Its the perfect Friday night popcorn movie.

Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
(1997)

Spirited, a comparable sequel...
Comparing this to the theatrical original, I have to say I am pleasantly satisfied. Enchanted Christmas builds itself as a strong point in the story, emphasizing a time during the passage of the first film where the household tried to rekindle the Christmas spirit that was so long lost.

Pretty much all of the original voice cast is back, which is a nice thing for a Disney movie. The artwork is neat and colorful. The writers did a good job inserting this keystone into the continuity of the first. Personally, my favorite element was Forte, the organ. The computer animation blended in nicely with the darker environment established whenever the scene included him. If it had been a bright, colorful scene, he may have looked somewhat bulky against the traditional cell animation. Also, I admire Tim Curry, the voice actor of Forte. He's a cool guy, prone to playing villains or someone otherwise so inclined to be a bit creepy. But that's his strength, and he does well with it.

Overall, I liked it. It's a good movie for the kids, and a good movie for the Christmas spirit.

Beauty and the Beast
(1991)

Beautiful, a classic Disney masterpiece...
I like Disney movies. Either they're a fanciful adaptation of a fairy tale, or if not, they are visually exciting. Beauty and the Beast is by far one of Disney's best. It's an adorable story with romance, comedy, and a little slapstick action. The characters are really well developed, particularly Belle, the Beast and the many implements of the house that play significant roles. They also provide the humor. The clock Cogsworth and the Candlestick Lumiere have a dynamic friendship with a brotherly knack for irritating each other.

The motherly teapot, voiced by Angela Lansbury, is the calm, steady minded member of the house, and more often than not she can sets things straight.

This really is a magical, beautiful film, almost more a work of art. I think it deserved it's best picture nomination.

Bean
(1997)

Cute, but doesn't have the magic...
If you've watched the Mr Bean show, you know Rowan Atkinson has talent. He's got the comedic styling and character details to make him a lovable goofball. The movie version is cute, but it doesn't have the impact of the show. Atkinson puts his heart into it, and it definitely shows. It just sometimes seemed too silly, even for Mr Bean. This movie is definitely more directed at the children to enjoy the show, and it will entertain them. Adults who enjoy the show will probably find a chuckle or two. Its mostly juvenile humor, and they're the ones who'd really appreciate it. From a technical standpoint, it's perfectly fine in cinematography, acting, and composition. I'd recommend this movie for a family with preteen kids. It's just the thing for a lazy Saturday night.

The Beach
(2000)

An average movie at best...
I really don't know what to say about this movie. I mean, I watched it with as much attention as possible. It just seemed like one of those movies you can forget about within days. Leo DiCaprio has some skill, and his performance in this movie is about on par with his Titanic role. He's not my favorite actor, but I don't judge actors by favoritism. I think I basically watched this movie because at the time, I was interested in finding out more about Virginie Ledoyen, the french actress who stars in this movie alongside DiCaprio and the rest of a relatively no-name cast.

There were some action-like scenes, but nothing to really make a fuss about. Overall, I'd call this an average movie - not a stunner, but not a bomb.

Battlefield Earth
(2000)

Doesn't stand out as great Sci-Fi...
I'm a science fiction fan, and I give everything a chance. Battlefield Earth has its moments, and it's a neat, arsty movie. Just because it got kicked in the teeth by a bunch of asinine critics doesn't mean its a bad movie. However, it doesn't stand out to me as a majesty of great film making.

I watched it, and enjoyed it as much as I could. Honestly, I felt it was pretty flat, with not as much action as I would have liked. The acting was satisfactory, and John Travolta usually creates a character I can enjoy watching. But, for some undefinable reason, his skills didn't come through in this movie. You can tell he put effort into the movie, but I didn't get the same feeling from him as I did with characters like Howard Saint from the Punisher.

Overall, I'd say this movie has merit, but it's really weak as far as selling itself. I'd put it on par with something like Wing Commander.

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
(2000)

Batman for a new generation...
A lot of the Batman cartoon versions are better than the live versions, and Return of the Joker is one of them. Set in the Batman Beyond universe (between twenty and thirty years later from when Bruce was in his prime), this movie introduces a young boy named Terry who is given the honor of becoming a Batman for a new generation. At the same time, the Joker, who was long thought dead, resurfaces and causes no end of trouble for our heroes.

I've also had the chance to watch a big chunk of the series, and it's always neat when a video release like this is a continuous piece of the series. The voice acting is well done, the story is compelling and dynamic, and the physical limitations of the real world are easily evaded with the animation medium. This makes Batman a lot more agile, swift, and sneaky then he ever could be in the movies. Anybody who's followed the show has probably seen this, but if you haven't, it's definitely worth a watch.

Batman Forever
(1995)

Satisfactory at best...
I find this movie interesting mostly because I was the right age to appreciate it when I first saw it. Now, being eight years older, I can look back and analyze it for what it is.

Batman Forever has a few strong points. First of all, Jim Carrey was born to play the Riddler. His style and sense of humor is a perfect fit for the Riddler's antics. And Tommy Lee Jones, while being a touch too old, does a decent Job with the bipolar Two-Face.

Val Kilmer steps into the batshoes this time, and while his performance wasn't horrible, he just doesn't have that presence that Michael Keaton possessed when in costume. Val Kilmer is a good actor - it just wasn't a great role for him. He's too much of a Bruce Wayne, and not enough of a Batman.

Nicole Kidman is attractive and compelling, and her character makes use of both these qualities. But her involvement in the story is shallow at best.

Chris O'Donnell, while not a bad actor, is certainly not a good actor. Aside from the fact that Robin is supposed to be under eighteen, which O'Donnell is obviously not, he's really useless overall to the story, and he doesn't have the charisma that some of the youthful actors today have - mainly because he's lacking in youth. I'm particularly glad he wasn't chosen to be Spider-Man, to be honest.

Overall, I'd say the movie could have been better, but at the same time, it wasn't that bad. There are certainly worse movies out there.

Batman Returns
(1992)

The better of the sequels...
Batman Returns is a cool movie. It takes the magic from the first one and keeps it rolling. Of course, it can't fully match the effectiveness of the first one in sheer exhilaration, but its does okay. We return to Gotham City where we discover two new foes on Batman's roster - A short rotund villain called the Penguin, with political aspirations, and Catwoman, a lithe, agile woman with her own agenda.

This movie succeeds for several reasons. First, it's Tim Burton directing again, and he knew how to make a good Batman movie. Second, Micheal Keaton reprises his role as the billionaire/Dark Knight with the same energy and dedication. Third, Danny DeVito in the role that everyone will remember him for, since he fills those shoes quite perfectly. And fourth, Michelle Pfeiffer in skin-tight black leather. I think we've got the attention of the entire male demographic narrowed down exactly.

A new addition to the cast is the indelible Christopher Walken. Here is a man who can take any role and make it his own. He's a remarkable actor, with a hidden charm that you can almost sense even in his villainous roles.

Batman Returns is a worthy successor to the first installment, and quite honestly, the best of the sequels, both in spirit and loyalty to the characters. I definitely recommend you see this movie.

Batman
(1989)

Keaton + Nicholson = one awesome movie...
Batman is, without a doubt, the best superhero out there. Why? He's a dark character. Tim Burton is an artist, and he knew exactly how to bring the Dark Knight to the screen. This movie is really just amazing. It was my first favorite comic book movie. Michael Keaton is also a big reason this movie is so successful. He has a unique quality to each performance that makes him such a chameleon, a really effective, believable character. He is by far one of my favorite actors, and I'm not just saying that because he's Batman. A lot of his other work is really amazing stuff.

Jack Nicholson - one of the best multi-generational actors in Hollywood today. His performance as the Joker - brilliant. His skill - unquestionable. Nicholson is one of those guys you can't not like, even if his character is a despicable villain. He radiates subversive charisma, something not a lot of today's younger, fresher actors are capable of.

Danny Elfman is bar none the best composer of highly emotional music. He has a way of building the magic of the character into the score, and Batman is no exception. Just listen to the main theme - the growing crescendo, the defining character moments, the stings and the driving dynamics of the orchestra. It's all quite astounding.

Batman is the penultimate comic movie, and even without the exorbitant special effects of today's comic movies, it establishes a wonderful, inspiring majesty that keeps the magic alive. I highly recommend this movie to everyone who admires the genre.

Batman & Robin
(1997)

Weak and silly, not in spirit at all...
Okay, Shumacher, Phone Booth was awesome, but you're always going to have this nasty blister on your conscience. Batman and Robin is definitely the weakest film of this saga. Not only that, but the magic that was Batman is completely destroyed in this film - the BatVisa? Come on! He's supposed to be the Dark Knight, a near-mythical presence in the Gotham underworld. Instead they have him making appearances at public events. This is also the silliest of the four. Due to its bright flashy environments, and some of the more ridiculous bat-gadgets, it feels exactly a Saturday morning cartoon translated too literally to the big screen. A filmmaker has to know better than that. Arnold Schwarzenegger...oh, there's a criticism waiting to happen. I bet good money that this would be the movie he most regrets making. Mr Freeze, due to access to technology, is potentially one of the more capable villains in the Batman roster, but he comes off so cartoonish in this movie. I have to say I certainly wasn't impressed. But this is one of those paradox movies - You want to watch it because sometimes it's fun to watch a movie that is really bad. It's just how our minds work.

Bandits
(2001)

An intelligent Willis movie...
I thought this movie was really nifty when I first saw it. I doubt it will stand out in the annals of cinematography, but it's a decent film.

Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett are three unique people, thrown together by Willis and Thornton's bank robbing career. And even though it's not a flashy, exploding car movie, it is still really strong. First, the story is great, and every essential character is woven intricately into the plot. The movie basically develops through dialogue, so it may seem boring, but it all serves a purpose. The second strong point is the characters. Willis isn't the deepest guy, but his character has his own nuances that show in his behavior. Thornton is the real shining star here - he quite effectively pulls off an incredibly neurotic hypochondriac. The interaction of the characters is the main power behind the movie. I recommend this movie, not necessarily to Willis fans who expect big fiery flashes, but to the people who appreciate a movie with intelligence. There's probably more worthwhile story here than in every other Willis action film combined.

Bambi Meets Godzilla
(1969)

Bizarre, but funny....
Wow. Never before have I seen such an instantly funny, and yet so very very disturbed movie. Not to mention that it's barely even five minutes long. The animation is a little choppy, which can be excused due to it's age. But it gets its message across in less time than it takes to make a cup of coffee, which is quite a feat for a movie. And I know its kind of bizarre, but that seems to be the very point. After all, its Bambi meets Godzilla. The options for that cross-over aren't exactly wide open. I showed this to friends in a cinematography class, and we were all quite entertained. If you can find it, I recommend you watch it, enjoy it, and circulate among your friends.

Bambi
(1942)

A great classic...
Bambi is a good movie. Not only is it effective in occupying the kids for an hour, but it has an emotional impact that still resonates with people of any age. The characters are all fun to watch, and it is very easy to sympathize with every one of them. That is where Disney has the real power - emotional impact. The music, the color, and the writing is modeled in such a way that you know you'll have a tear in your eye after watching certain scenes.

Of the early Disney movies (pre-1960), this is probably my favorite. It's really cute, effective, and a proud landmark of the classic animation. It's more reputable than the recent cookie cutter movies that can be cranked of the computers every four months. If you have children, they will enjoy this movie. You will too.

Bad Boys II
(2003)

Not a thinking man's movie...
I haven't seen the precursor to this movie, but I get the feeling I don't have to to know that this one is your average popcorn flick.

Will Smith is a half-decent actor, and a lot better in comedy roles than anything else, so it almost worked having an action story with the occasional comedic relief. However, it's mostly flash and bang. The special effects are satisfactory and the cinematography is respectable, but the plot is really shallow. I could have cared less about what was going on most of the time. This movie is not a thinker, that much is clear. It's meant to entertain the part of your brain that likes explosions and watching people get shot for two hours. I'd put it on par with a movie like XXX.

Back to the Future Part III
(1990)

Weaker, but a worthy conclusion to the trilogy...
Okay, let me just say - Part 3 is not quite as good as the first, nor the second, really. But it has it's strong points. We are reunited with Marty, who discovers that Doc has ended up in the 19th century. The movie unfolds as they race to repair time as best they can without screwing it up any more than they already have.

Part 3 is also fun on the grounds that it brings together the two cinematic styles that can be most appealing to young children - science fiction and westerns. I know I thought it was really cool the first time I saw it. Now that I can take a step back and look at it from a technical point of view, it's still not bad. Granted, the script and directing are definitely weaker than the first two films, but this one is basically a necessary installment because, much like the disputed Matrix films, part 2 and 3 both are smaller divisions of a greater unified storyline. the acting is basically just as good as in the first two. If anything drags it down, it is that the western styling can start to feel tedious to someone who isn't really into that type of movie. Still, despite it's various weaknesses, it is a satisfactory conclusion to the trilogy, and you can't watch part 2 without part 3.

Back to the Future Part II
(1989)

An actually good sequel...
Being a big fan of the original, I was quite happy with this sequel. The intrigue of time travel into the future is one of the biggest allures for science fiction, and Part 2 makes it look very clean and fun. Granted, there are some major plot holes that result from the "cause and effect" paradox of time travel, but for the sake of entertainment, we have to push that away. Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd are fun the second time around, with the continuum of time at stake this time. After journeying into the future, they discover they have to go back and fix the past again - the 1955 that they'd already visited. The movie is fun, fancy, and it keeps you hooked to the end. I don't know what problem the critics had with this one; I liked it, because it took the spirit of the first one, and transformed it into a dynamic story, enjoyable action scenes, and respectable dialogue. Not to mention the special effects were very well done for the time-frame of the film. If you liked the first one, you will like the sequel. Don't listen to the naysayers; you have to experience it for yourself.

Back to the Future
(1985)

I guarantee you will like this movie...
I really like this movie. I mean, I really like this movie. I probably first saw it when I was about ten, and it was the coolest thing I'd seen. The concept of time travel is always intriguing, and Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd seem to have an unbeatable 'student and mentor' chemistry on screen. The story is very well-constructed, too. Marty (Fox) is asked to join doc Brown (Lloyd) for a test run of his new time machine, and through an unfortunate series of complications, Marty ends up in the year 1955. To top things off, he may have accidentally set history in a new direction - one that results with him never being born.

Not only is the movie fun to watch and well-written, but it just has the atmosphere. A lot of the good movies have it. Its almost a state of mind where you really get into the movie; you can feel the characters going through their conflicts, and you break through that barrier that says "This is fiction."

Back to the Future is definitely in my top favorite 25 movies ever, and I adamantly recommend this to fans of the genre, the cast...really, a fan of anything will like it, just because it has so much.

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