gala0008

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Reviews

United 93
(2006)

Reliving the terror... Remembering those lost...
I just got back from seeing this movie and I have to say it was much better than I expected it to be (and I entered with high hopes to begin with). Despite being made up of unknown and some first-time actors, the emotion and depth of the fear and desperation is captured perfectly. Be it in the airplane, control room, or military headquarters, every minute of the film is believable.

It begins as just a normal Tuesday, no different from the day week or month before. Passengers arrive to their plane and board, the only fears in their minds being of possible engine trouble. We then see the chaos on the ground as both twin towers are hit and two more suspected high-jacked planes are discovered. As the passengers slowly realize their fate, they begin that last fight for survival. Even though the conclusion of the movie is obvious, there were times when I found myself believing they could make it out of the plane alive (such as when they discovered a pilot amongst the passengers). The movie ends when the flight ends, followed by a few facts about delayed orders and intelligence.

A strange thing about the movie is that you begin to feel sympathy for everyone on the plane. It was heartbreaking watching the passengers call their loved ones for the last time, and one has to think what making a call like that to their own family would be like. The viewer even finds them self sympathizing with the terrorists at times. One of them seems to want to abort the mission at the beginning due to the loved one he is leaving behind. Most of the time, however the viewer finds them self wishing the most gruesome death imaginable upon them.

I have read the some of the bad reviews people posted on this site, as well as other websites/newspapers and I feel their concerns are unfounded. Some feel this movie is being made "too soon". I could not possibly agree any less with this opinion. It is not their place to decide when a movie like this should be made. Yes this is a delicate subject but there's only one group of people that have the right to determine when it's "okay" to make a movie such as this, and that role belongs to the family and loved ones of those lost. The families helped collaborate with the director and gave him the thumbs up to make the movie, and if that's the case no one can say that United 93 came out too soon. This movie was made to honor the lives lost, not exploit money from people who feel they have to watch this in order to feel patriotic.

Another issue I'd like to address is those that condemn this movie because of its inaccuracies. Sure we have no perfect way of knowing exactly what went on, but the director and writers did their best. Remember, this is NOT a documentary. It is a docudrama that relives the events as accurately as it can yet fills up the holes with what may be fiction.

This movie is very moving. At the end, an awed silence overtook the audience followed by applause. This reminds of us the patriotism we gained through 9/11 and lost through the recent years of pointless fighting with Iraq. Some may say I'm only giving this a movie a 10 because I don't wanna seem unpatriotic. They couldn't be further from the truth. I'm giving this movie a perfect score because it described the true story of heroism and the actions of ordinary who managed to prevent the loss of even more lives on that dark September day.

Scary Movie 4
(2006)

Scary and Funny
Okay, before I begin this review let me say that I've never seen any of the movies in the "Scary Movie" series (I've seen bits and pieces of 1 and 2). Similarly, I haven't seen any of the movies "Scary Movie 4" parodies, though I could tell what they were (Saw, Saw 2, The Village, The Grudge, Brokeback Mountain, Dawn of the Dead, The War of the Worlds, and possibly more). Whatever the case, I found this movie to be high entertaining.

Though never seeing the individual movies, I could see the problems the writers may have had on the other stories (such as Tom's lack of regard for his daughter) through the exaggerations used. Clever references to the real world are seen such as the alien tripod plays 80s music before switching to attack mode (ala the ipod), a ghost's illegible directions being translated into a Yahoo map, and where "gangstas" are vaporized, leaving a bunch of gold chains behind. I also liked the references to world events, from Tom Cruise's outburst of love on Opera, To Bush's inactivity during 911, to Mike Tyson's ear incident.

I really enjoyed how the stories flowed together, doing an effective job of making you laugh yet scaring you senseless at the same time (as well as bringing about the demise of Dr. Phil). The only reason it's not perfect is because the movie was fairly short. The conclusion was pretty rushed and everything was just resolved too easily. Nevertheless, this is a must see for horror movie fanatics, those who love the "Scary Movie" franchise, and lovers of comedy that isn't afraid to push the envelope.

V for Vendetta
(2005)

Too Great to Miss
Many great movies have opened as of late, and "V for Vendetta" probably tops them all. Showing us a world where (supposedly) George W. Bush has finally pushed the luck of the US military campaigns too far, Britain is the new super power of the world and a power-hungry Chancellor oppresses the people to make supposedly perfect society.

This movie was well done, with action sequences that keep your attention throughout. I will admit that things got a little too violent at times, though I've come to expect that from the movies of today. Some historic monuments/buildings are destroyed, though the freedom fighter V does it in resistance of the Totalitarian government without hurting the innocent.

Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving do excellent jobs as the heroes against the oppressors (as well as bringing actors from the Lord of the Rings and Star Wars trilogies together). I liked the charm of V had when explaining his situations and doing his work, though sadly his words were hard to understand at times. Portman was excellent at displaying perfect emotion in her scenes, be it sadness at V's death or joy that his dream of freedom has finally came true.

This movie may not be for everyone, but it's well worth looking into. It has action, drama, a hilarious section towards the middle, and plenty of clever situations. See it if you don't mind some blood and a few clichés.

Inside Man
(2006)

Keeps You on the Edge of Your Seat
Seeing the previews for "Inside Man" I knew it would be a thinking man's movie. Watching Dalton Russell hold up the bank, one is never entirely sure of the motive behind the robbery. Watching Detective Keith Frazier handle the situation leaves the viewer to think "What would I do in that situation?" Watching Arthur Case pine over his situation leaves one to wonder what his big secret is.

Many may claim the story is simple beyond explanation but I feel they're the people that don't wish to admit something so simple was concealed so cleverly. Granted questions were left unanswered, such as why Russell wanted to expose Arthur Case's secret or how he found out about it in the first place. But one must not overlook the fact that not all questions are answered in complicated situations like these. Case never learned why Russell was looking to blackmail him (other than the possibility of monetary gain) and maybe we weren't meant to either.

The only real problems I have with the movie is that Jodie Foster's character can get a little annoying at times (being a smart alack in most of her on screen time) and it was a little confusing at first when they kept jumping from the action to the post-heist interviews. Regardless of the flaws, however, this is still a movie well worth watching and gripping till the end. If you liked "Lucky Number SLevin" but felt there was too much blood and gore, this is the perfect movie for you.

Lucky Number Slevin
(2006)

Proof that 2006 is a Good Year for Movies
I just returned from seeing "Lucky Number SLevin" and I can honestly say that this puts to rest the fears I held that Hollywood was running out of movie ideas. Despite having one or two slow moments of pointless rambling (namely Leslie's introduction to Slevin) this is a fast paced movie with clever dialogue and plenty of realistic action. When people are shot it looks real, as blood flows from the wounds and is oftentimes black or a dark red you don't see in most movies.

Bruce Willis is good, as always, as the man who kills with style yet necessity. Morgan Freeman was a great villain and went all out in his performance. I don't have much experience of Lucy Lui's works, but she tried very hard and managed to pull out a decent performance here.

Now to those of you angry that this movie is a "cliché" of all other "avenging the death one's parents" movies, you have to look beyond the outer shell of SLeven. I'll admit that as I was watching this movie, I was reminded of the time I read "The Count of Monte Crsito". Though the plots are two totally different things, the avenging the ruining of one's life by killing innocent family members of the guilty party is a big role here. Sometimes the henchmen can be a bit overdone (as well as Slevin's lines), but at the same time it is pointed out by The Boss that the entire situation seems like a cliché.

Adding to this, SLeven goes even further beyond other movies. Though it is predictable that SLevin is the child mentioned in the story early on, the intricate details of the plan aren't known until much later on in the film. It's also interesting to see how everything falls into place, from Willis' part in the scheme to how Slevin gained the eye of The Rabbi and The Boss. A weak aspect of the movie, however, is the reason The Boss and The Rabbi became enemies in the first place.

In closing you should definitely see this movie if you don't mind thinking a little during a movie and can stand seeing blood and gore. This is an intense, funny, and clever experience, more than worth the ticket price. If you enjoy/enjoyed this film I also suggest seeing "Inside Man" as it offers an identical amount of cleaver plot twists without as much blood.

Big Trouble
(2002)

Entertaining, Yet not Funny
Tim Allen, in my opinion, is an awesome actor with a lot of talent. The only problem is that not all of his movies utilize his comic abilities to their fullest potential. Big Trouble was an entertaining movie that grabs you into the plot and gives you much to think about as the stories of each of the characters develop and intermingle. Even some of the slower moments manage to grab your attention due to the tense nature of some of the situations.

My only problem with this movie is that it's not funny. It is meant to be a comedy and it tries very hard at doing so but in all honesty I laughed only about six times. Part of the reason was that many of the funny parts take place in the previews and through watching them dozens of times they lost their appeal. But even then the humor just didn't click.

That's not to say that this is a bad film, however. The characters are well played and all of the different stories do a great job of supporting and building on each other. This is a must see for hardcore Tim Allen fans, but to see him at his funniest watch Home Improvement or Galaxy Quest.

Christmas with the Kranks
(2004)

Cute but not Tim Allen's Best Christmas Movie
Not all Christmas movies can be as good as "It's a Wonderful Life" or "Miracle on 34th Street", but "Christmas with the Kranks" sure puts forth an effort at greatness. On the plus side, Tim Allen, though no Jimmy Stewart, is terrific as the man who disagrees with everyone and Dan Akroyd excels as the neighbor who makes a big deal of nothing. I feel the story flowed pretty well, containing some pretty clever present day humor, such as the use of botox and the overdecorating of houses during Christmas time. I also found some of the more serious scenes to be very heartwarming and a nice change of pace from the constant goofy jokes.

On the negative, however, I must say that the story was a bit unimaginative/unbelievable. I highly doubt that an entire community would oust a family just for a refusal to take part in Christmas. In a sense, this is almost a show of distaste towards Hebrew families and their celebration Hanukkah. Similarly, I feel some scenes weren't necessary for the progression of the movie such as the little section with the thief.

Despite the shortcomings, however, this movie is definitely worth watching. Kids will love the humor and even adults can find entertainment in the over-exaggerating of simple situations. If you liked Tim Allen in "The Santa Clause", then "Christmas with the Kranks" will definitely be a great holiday film for the family.

Back to the Future... The Ride
(1991)

Great Fun for All
Back to the Future was a great movie series and the ride at Universal Studios is one of the best Orlando has to offer. It offers the rider a chance to take a ride in Doc Brown's famous Delorien time machine in pursuit of the not so intelligent Biff. I'll admit that the graphics on this aren't really that great but considering it was done in 1991, I feel like this ride was excellently done. To those who complain that this ride doesn't follow the guidelines of the movie series, think for a second. Any ride for any movie can do exactly the same stuff the movie does, but this ride actually goes beyond the silver screen. To those who claim that dinosaurs were in this only to cash in on the Jurrasic Park craze, don't forget that the movie didn't come out until two years after the ride did. The ride doesn't deserve a bad rap just for offering what the movie didn't. If you have never been on it, you must give it a spin.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
(2003)

Movie of the Year. Movie of the Century. Movie of the Ages...
I waited until i read the book Return of the King before I saw the movie. After watching the movie i read the book again and it made sense. Peter Jackson did a remarkable job in adapting J.R.R. Tolkien's book to film and making it understandable. The cinematography is superior to all other movies, the acting was much better than anyone would have expected, the story was intense, and it has plenty of light hearted moments to make you smile.

I feel this film deserved all 11 Academy Awards it got and it even deserved more, such as best lead actor for Elijah Woods and best supporting actor for Sean Astin or Andy Serkis (who wasn't considered because when he played Smeagol he technically wasn't on screen). I'm just surprised that the other Lord of the Rings movies didn't win as much.

Jackson went all out for this final installment, managing to convincingly make 300 warriors look like 3000 through the use of computer technology unlike George Lucas (no offense to him, but the battle scenes in the new Star Wars movies look really fake since most of the fighters, especially those in the foreground, are computer generated). WETA especially did a terrific job making every last aspect of this film look real, including the dead elephant in the background of the field battle.

I strongly hope that Peter Jackson returns to do The Hobbit. It would perfectly tie up the tale of Middle Earth and the Ring of Sauron. If you haven't seen this movie, see it!!!

Men in Black Alien Attack
(2000)

The Thrill of the Ride with the Fun of the Game
When I went to Univeral Studios (Orlando) and heard about this ride I was so happy. It combined Men In Black (an awesome movie), a fun ride, and an interactive game. It was much more fun than I could have ever imagined. I'll admit that Back to the Future is still my all time favorite ride at Univeral (not Islands of Adventure), but Men in Black Alien Attack offers the ability to effect the outcome of the ride and offers an awesome challenge. I must have ridden it over ten times (the park was not busy at all) and it never got boring. For those of you who love shooting video games, this takes you one step further and its even harder as you have to try and shoot while the ride movies and spins. My only suggestion: If you get motion sickness easily, then this ride is NOT for you... unless you take a Dramamine first, lol.

EuroTrip
(2004)

Fun Flick but not for the Family
Prior to watching this movie for the first time, my friends would not stop quoting this movie and telling me how great it was. Now that I've seen it I can see why they love it so much. I will admit that this film is extremely raunchy and even shows some images I didn't think were allowed in R-rated movies. Never-the-less the jokes are hilarious and the plot flows rather smoothly.

Some people probably hate this movie because of the way it portrays Europeans. To them I say LIGHTEN UP! It's a movie that's meant to be stereotypical. They stereotype with taste, however, using many of the common views and prejudices that the average American feels towards the inhabitants of the various countries.

All in all, the cast was well selected, the music was awesome, the situations were entertaining, and the locations were great. I highly suggest this movie to people that love to laugh an don't get easily offended.

Goldfinger
(1964)

Simply the Best
Sean Connery is beyond a shadow of a doubt the finest James Bond of the series and Goldfinger is (in my opinion and many others) the best Bond movie ever done. This being the third film of the series, Connery is more comfortable in the role as Bond and delivers his best performance yet.

I especially like Goldfinger because Bond spends almost half the film in captivity yet he still keeps it interesting. Unlike Moore who often relied on heavy shooting scenes (I realize there was a battle in this one but it wasn't that one scene that made the movie) and Pierce Brosnan who needs an explosion ever 5 minutes to keep the audience's attention, Connery uses his superior acting talents to produce better results.

The theme music was also among the best and I particularly enjoy all of Goldfinger's scenes due to the ironic humor and spoiled, yet evil, nature. But one of my favorite things about this movie is the villain Odd Job. He is by far one of my favorite bond villains (tied with Jaws) because of his quiet and deadly manner that still makes you laugh. And for those of you who haven't figured it out, he's the inspiration for the Austin Powers villain Random Task.

All in all if you haven't seen this movie and you're a fan of James Bond series you absolutely must see the film.

Moonraker
(1979)

Not the Best Bond Movie... Or even a decent one
Okay, I'm not the biggest fan of James Bond you'll find, but I've seen my share of them. Now, I was never crazy about Roger Moore to begin with but it wasn't just his performance that makes this one of my least favorite Bond films. The plot is weak and it seems like the main drive behind this film was to earn popularity (and money) in the same way Star Wars: A New Hope had done just two years earlier. The attempts at action are laughable and often times portray way more violence than is necessary. Granted the usual dry humor can be found through Bond's comments and "social" situations (which is why I gave it some credit) but everything just seems forced. It's almost like the producers felt obligated to make Moonraker to appease the fans who didn't want to wait a few extra years for them to come up with a good script. In my opinion they'd have done the fans a huge favor by forgoing this mistake.

The Dirty Dozen
(1967)

Great film from beginning to end
***CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!!!*** The Dirty dozen is a movie whose name I've often heard yet never had the pleasure of seeing. Lee Marvin did a superb job leading the cast in their tale of teamwork and heroism, and I feel the cast was well selected. Even better, unlike the war movies of today which focus entirely on the battles and killing, The Dirty Dozen spends well over half the film on character development and building the relationships between the cast. And when they finally do get to the fighting it isn't just repetitive waves of enemies that are unrealistically held off by twelve men. Instead it portrays the actual aspects of war where the good guys are human and die. Though only 3 of the group survived, the deaths of the men aren't in vain. Many of them would have died had they refused to take part in the mission, though by dying in battle they gave their lives for their country and earned back the honor they lost through their crimes. The only reason I don't give this a 10 out of 10 is that the story began lagging slightly towards the middle, prior to their part in the war games. But overall, this is one of the best films ever created.

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