Day Twenty-Nine – More Films I’ve Been Watching

29 01 2010

First off, I’d like to thank the people who clicked the link and signed up to Criticker to become my Kumpels. I’d also like to thank Criticker for posting the link to my post on their Twitter. I’m a big fan of the site and I’m happy to do what little I can to spread the word.

Secondly, I have written a bunch of reviews for flick I’ve seen recently. Here they are:

Precious

It’s hard to say bad things about ‘Precious’ out of guilt, but I fail to understand what makes this film so beloved. The film stars a bunch of musicians turned actors who all seem to hold their own. The story heads into ‘Million Dollar Baby’ territory with it’s need to pile-on the melodrama, which gets annoying more than anything. The entire film, Precious is given a million escape routes and you know that she will have to take it. When she finally does, it’s more of a relief than a celebration.

Rating: 25 (1 Star)

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Why is it okay for Nicholas Cage to act like a lunatic in some movies and not in others? I think ‘Bad Lieutenant’ has the answer, but it’s not to its benefit. There’s not much going on in this flick. The characters are all pretty one-dimensional, even though their quirks try to mask it. At the end of the day, Cage’s Terrence is a cop who likes drugs – a lot. It’s not all bad. How he juggles everything to his favour keeps things a little interesting, but even with that, there isn’t much to like.

Rating: 45 (2 Stars)

Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?

‘Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?” did more damage to itself by its title than by anything having to do with the content of the picture. Of course he doesn’t find Osama Bin Laden. It should have been called “Understanding Osama”, but that probably wouldn’t have sold so well. The doc manages to do what its thesis promises, which is to find out more about the people who hate America and why. When it’s locked at in that regard, I think it’s a success, but it does get reality-showish in parts.

Rating: 70 (3.5 Stars)

Tomcats

For some reason, I like ‘Tomcats’ a lot more than it deserves. The story is unoriginal. The gags are mostly gross-out humor, most of which we’ve seen before. There’s nothing redeming about any of the characters, who are a bunch of chauvinistic pigs who risk everything to win a bet. It’s like ‘She’s All That’ without any of the heart. For some reason, I’m willing to buy into Jerry O’ Connell’s Michael. Everything he does is reprehensible, yet you like him anyway because he smiles it all off.

Rating: 50 (2.5 Stars)

Insomnia

Howard Hawks said a good movie needs “three great scenes and no bad ones”. I’ve always loved that quote, as cheesy as it is to reference, but ‘Insomnia’ fits that bill entirely. It hits every beat like it was written right out of a screenplay format book. By-the-numbers as it can be, the scenes between Will and Walter are incredible. The tension mounts each time they gaze at each other. The power juggles between them with each word they utter. Yet, when they are apart, it’s only a good movie.

Rating: 75 (3.5 Stars)

Witness

‘Witness’ does little to maintain the tension it builds so well in the beginning moments. The lingering threat of John’s impending doom doesn’t create nearly as much tension as being on the run should. John resists the Amish culture and they resist him, but it doesn’t do much to shed any light on the characters. Rachel seems like she might be enchanted by life in the city, but that could also be her lust for John. In the end, it becomes a predictable shootout with nothing learned or gained.

Rating: 45 (2 Stars)

Stripes

There’s a scene in the first 10 minutes where John’s girlfriend says she’s leaving him because he has no direction in life. For the same reasons, I just couldn’t get into ‘Stripes’. There’s an annoying smugness to it. There’s very little purpose or consequence to anything that happens. Russell has a permanent grin on his face that doesn’t add to the humor and John is arrogant and annoying. The first half had promise, but as they sing song after song, it goes from cute to irritating. Not fun.

Rating: 15 (1/2 Star)

Sixteen Candles

‘Sixteen Candles’ is the most ’80s of the Hughes movies I’ve seen. The story of the awkward outsider putting on a brave face is timeless, so you get past the odd fashion choices and out-dated technology. Though Jack’s relative ease in trading off his girlfriend for information on a new crush is crazy when put into perspective, yet it somehow makes all involved likeable and human by the end. The only thing I could do without is the sound effects. Gongs, flings and crashes make it too silly at times.

Rating: 80 (4 Stars)

Gattaca

‘Gattaca’ isn’t about genetic engineering, it’s about the American Dream. Like ‘Rocky’, Vincent is the underdog in everyone’s eyes. The big difference being Vincent was born an underdog. The tension on whether people will discover Vincent for all of his genetic faults and the stumbling blocks he hits on the way to his goal has you investing yourself in him as you would Rocky. ‘Gattaca’ is a story of determination and sacrifice masked as a sci-fi epic. It’s impossible not to be motivated by it.

Rating: 100 (5 Stars!)

Clearly I’ve had a bit of time on my hands lately.

If you haven’t signed up to be my Kumpel yet, do it below.

It’s fun – I promise. Even if you don’t want to write reviews, just rank films. It’ll probably bring up some memories of flicks you’ve forgotten.

Why is it okay for Nicholas Cage to act like a lunatic in some movies and not in others? I think ‘Bad Lieutenant’ has the answer, but it’s not to its benefit. There’s not much going on in this flick. The characters are all pretty one-dimensional, even though their quirks try to mask it. At the end of the day, Cage’s Terrence is a cop who likes drugs – a lot. It’s not all bad. How he juggles everything to his favour keeps things a little interesting, but even with that, there isn’t much to like.
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