Movies.


What follows are some mini movie reviews. See The Internet Movie Database for some great movie info.

"Serious" Movies
These movies are ones that I appreciate for artistic style, plot, beauty, whatever, so I keep my brain on while watching.
The Abyss * * * * *

Yes, the movie moves slowly. But for some reason this movie really struck a chord in me. A nuclear submarine goes down and a team of underwater drilling rig operators are sent in to assist the navy in investigating the accident. Probably the best James Cameron movie when all elements (acting, presentation, effects) are evaluated.

Baraka * * * *

Beautiful movie with no plot, no actors, and no dialogue. Great reflection on the state of the world.

Being There * * * * *

Inventive comedy starring the perfectly cast Peter Sellers as a simple gardener who everyone regards to be more than he really is. This brilliant film is a witty piece of social commentary and satire.

Brainstorm * * * *

Interesting science fiction movie starring Louise Fletcher and Christopher Walken, which ponders the possibility of recording a person's experiences and having someone else play them back and reliving those experiences perfectly. I thought the portrayals of genius scientists were especially well done.

Clear and Present Danger * * * *

Excellent action movie starring Harrison Ford that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Fargo * * * *

An amazing movie about a series of murders in a very ordinary part of the world. This was done by the Coen brothers, who also produced The Big Lebowski (see below under "worst movies I have ever seen"). The dialogue, characters and acting really make this movie because it is all so much like real life.

Forrest Gump * * *

Journey through three decades of American history through the eyes of a "below average" man.

In the Line of Fire * * *

Well-done action movie starring Clint Eastwood.

Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources * * * * *

My favorite two movies of all time. Manon is the sequel to Jean. Incredibly well acted and filmed French movies set in a beautiful farming village with a deep and riveting storyline. Movies don't get any better than this.

My Dinner with Andre * * *

An entire movie made from a conversation between two people eating dinner.

North by Northwest * * * *

Brilliant work by Alfred Hitchcock with a great score by Bernard Hermann. This movie didn't rate as high as Psycho, but it was excellent through and through.

On Golden Pond * * * *

A classic movie with a great performance by Henry Fonda.

Pi * * * *

A brilliant examination of the obsession of a genius as he risks his physical and mental health to discover mathematical truth. Is it worth it ?

Pleasantville * * * *

I'll let Derek McGann's review do the talking here:

A lot of the criticism of this film seems to come from people who have not thought through the messages that it conveys. It is easy to say what this film is not. It is not an attack on fifties morality, it is not a critique of television, it is not a nihilistic call to arms. Instead it is a film about nostalgia. How often do you hear people harp back to the good old days, the way society was before it got corrupted. What this film does is take a snapshot view of the present world; full of social hardship, environmental problems, AIDS and broken homes and then presents an imagined view of what the world used to be like;solid nuclear families, permanently sunny weather, innocent teens. This is what many people do when they become nostalgic. They only see the bad aspects of the world as it is and only remember the good parts of the world as it was. What the director then proceeds to do is show us why the world is not like that anymore, if it ever was. The most important thing that the two main characters bring with them to their new world is knowledge. Knowledge of their own sexuality, knowledge of the outside world, knowledge of the arts, knowledge of gender issues. It is this knowledge that changes Pleasantville's world and is presented as a parallel of the changes brought about in America from the fifties to the present day. What the director is careful to avoid, even though he has been accused of doing just this, is to suggest that all the things that knowledge brings about are good. We have already seen the problems inherent in the real world that they have left and they bring many new problems into the world, broken families, polarized communities and violence. It is no coincidence that Bud is the first person to use violence in pleasantville and show it's power to the rest of the world. The acquisition of forbidden knowledge is obviously going to bring comparisons with the story of genesis and Adam and Eve's expulsion from Eden. A fact that the director acknowledges with some subtle references but does not make his primary concern. All in all this is a film that works on many levels. The main message of the film seems to be that changes to society are inevitable given mans quest for new knowledge but that such changes are preferable to living in a state of ignorant bliss. You may disagree with this idea but you must admire the subtle and thoughtful way that he has put this idea across and for his courage in making a big budget special effects movie that can be both thought provoking and entertaining.

Psycho * * * * *

My favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie (though I haven't seen all of them yet).

The Piano * * * *

A great character study of a movie with a riveting score.

Run Lola Run * * * * *

Lively examination of how the thousands of important and trivial decisions we all make daily affect the people and world around us. In this stylishly edited and cleverly directed German film (Lola Rennt), Lola (Franka Potente, in a great performance) has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 Deutchmarks, or her incompetent boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) will surely be killed by a vicious gangster. Some neato elements of this movie are: Lola, dominates each scene with her bright red hair, is really the "knight in shining armor" in a nice reversal of roles, and the fact that some philosophy is accessibly packaged, MTV-style, for anyone to digest.

Schindler's List * * * * *

Although not without flaws, this movie was so well acted and filmed, that you forget you are watching a film and become trapped in the picture's reality.

The Secret Garden * * *

Wonderful tale of children living in a vast, cold estate discovering a secret garden.

The Shawshank Redemption * * * *

Incredible tale of a friendship that grows between two men as they spend a long time together in a prison.

Sling Blade * * * *

A perfect antidote to the usual $100 million hollywood blockbuster/ $15 million for the lead actor/the rest spent on special effects and marketing/test audience choose the ending movies we are constantly barraged with. Brilliant writing combine with well-acted characters to create a memorable film about a mentally retarded man who returns to a small town after being institutionalized for 25 years.

2001: A Space Odyssee * * * * *

This movie is extremely boring if you don't read the book first, because it really doesn't make much sense. After reading the book, seeing the movie is an incredible experience.

"Silly" Movies
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective * * *

Funny Jim Carrey vehicle with some great one liners.

Back to the Future * * * *

Time travel, comedy, adventure, romance all wrapped up in one movie.

Beetlejuice * * *

A goofy ghost movie with the great "parlor trick" scene. Great soundtrack.

The Blues Brothers * * * * *

Easily one of the funniest movies of all time. Its got style, not to mention the world record for the most cars destroyed in a movie.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb * * * * *

This is one of the movies that made Stanley Kubrick such a legendary director. A black comedy starring Peter Sellers (who plays 3 main roles) with some really great dialogue.

Ghostbusters * * * *

"He slimed me!" Paranormal scientists battle the supernatural in New York.

Harold & Maude * * * *

Unconventional and very funny love story/black comedy about a young man and an old woman.

Innerspace * * * *

Comedy version of Fantastic Voyage.

The Matrix * * * *

Slick, violent Sci-Fi thriller with jaw-dropping special effects. This movie is so intense it took me 2 days to fully relax after seeing it. Another nice feature was the racially diverse cast in non-stereotypical roles. There are some massive plotholes in the movie but those are easy to ignore as the action pulls you in. Some of the best characters (the agents) in the movie aren't even human ...

Monty Python and the Holy Grail , Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, Life of Brian * * * *

If you like British comedy, you *have* to see these classics by the Monty Python gang.

Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! * * * *

I laughed so hard during this movie that I actually fell out of my seat in the movie theater. Follow the incompetent Frank Drebin as he stumbles through gag after gag.

The Pink Panther Strikes Again * * * *

My favorite of the Pink Panther movies, with a Doomsday machine, a great fight scene with Cato and, of course, inspector Clouseau.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles * * * *

A comedy that's funny *and* has John Candy in it.

The Princess Bride * * * *

Wonderfully fantastical bedtime story of love and adventure.

The Return of the Living Dead * * * *

Hilareous spoof on the original Night of the Living Dead

Ruthless People * * * *

A man comes home to murder his wife, and finds out she's been kidnapped. Hilarity ensues.

Sleeper * * * *

Silly Woody Allen movie where a health food store owner is frozen for 200 years and wakes up in an Orwellian Big Brother society. "Your government is evil! It's worse than California!"

Spaceballs * * *

Mel Brooks parody of Star Wars, Star Trek, and other Sci-Fi franchises. The "Ludicrous speed" scene makes the movie great.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan * * * *

My favorite Star Trek movie.

Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi * * * * *

The ultimate space opera.

Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day * * * * *

Great movies with not only ground-breaking special effects but excellent stories.

Terminator 3 * * *

Terminator 3 was a good movie but still a disappointment: the car chases were amazing, the T-X robot was neat, the fights were excellent, but two of the magic ingredients, James Cameron and Linda Hamilton were missing. The movie wasn't a bad movie, but it was missing the elements that made 1 and 2 excellent. I did buy the DVD just to watch some of those chases again and again, wow.

Total Recall * * * *

Violent, special effects-laden movie based loosely on a Philip K. Dick short story, with Ahnuld!

Toy Story * * * *

The world's first completely computer animated movie. Excellent.

Trading Places * * * *

My favorite Eddie Murphy movie of all time. A modern spin on the classic prince & pauper rags-to-riches story.

Tremors * * * *

Funny and climactic movie about a small town terrorized by underground creatures.

Tron * * * * *

Classic movie about a hacker who is literally sucked into the world of the computer. Brilliant synergy between computer graphics and movie footage. Along with Star Trek II, best effects in the 80s.

National Lampoon's Vacation * * *

One of the best movies starring Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold in a cross-country trip with his family in search of the utopia known as Hawaii, er, Wally World.

Young Frankenstein * * * * *

Satire on the Frankenstein genre of movies. This is Mel Brooks at his all-time best.

Great "B" Movies
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension * * *

Hilareous cult movie. John Lithgow steals the show as Doctor Emilio Lizardo/ Lord John Whorfin. FAQ . Script.

Big Trouble in Little China * * *

Another great B movie. Lots of martial arts fighting and bizarre evil characters.

Phantasm II * * *

The Tall Man is a cool villain, plus nifty flying death orbs, a cool duel with chainsaws, and a nice and low budget.

Bad Movies That I Like (and am not afraid to admit that I like)
The Lawnmover Man * * *

Perhaps the fact that I saw this movie around the time I was taking a computer graphics class in college was the reason I liked it.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space * * *

This movie is so silly it's entertaining. Killer Klowns from outer space invade a small town armed with popcorn guns and start committing standard grade-B movie atrocities.

The Last Action Hero * * *

I saw this movie at a budget theater, for $1.50, after I had read 5 negative reviews about it. Needless to say, my expectations were quite low. I was expecting just to see a blank screen for 2 hours. It had some entertaining scenes, such as the "To be or not to be" scene, and the ridiculous car chase scenes. And of course, it had Ahnuld!

Robocop 2 * * *

I like this movie because it has in it one of the longest and most ridiculous fight scenes between two almost totally indestructibe robots of any movie. Plus, the robocop 2 robot is so neat-looking (with the synchronized hi-beam search lights and all).

Waterworld * * *

So I finally saw the "biggest flop of all time", and I didn't think this was a bad movie at all. Sure, the plot was pretty hokey, and the acting wasn't exactly terrific, and the dialogue was pretty abysmal, but if you look at it as Mad Max on water, the movie is fun to watch,the sets are extensive, and the whole world the movie renders is pretty well realized. The action scenes are very well done, plus the Mariner's boat is pretty neat.

"Quentin Tarantinosque" Movies
These type of movies kind of deserve their own category.
Killing Zoe * * *

Bank robbery by world's most incomponent drug-addict criminals. Lots of senseless violence.

Pulp Fiction * * * *

Gangsters, guns, foot massages, and plenty of interesting dialogue and situations. And violence and drugs, of course.

Reservoir Dogs * * * *

The first Tarantino bank robbery movie. Oodles of blood.

True Romance * * * *

Until Natural Born Killers, the most violent movie I had seen. Lots of room damage, cool music.

The worst movies I've ever seen
Here are the worst movies I've ever seen. Now, this only includes movies that I was unfortunate enough to see in the theater, for whatever reasons. Movies like Home Alone and The Bikini Car Wash Company aren't listed because I would never voluntarily see them, and I can smell stinkeroos or dumb kiddie flicks like that from a mile away.
The Big Lebowski *

I unfortunately got a ride to this movie, so I couldn't leave the theater. A true mess of a movie, I was wishing for the end of it all the way through.

Destiny Turns of the Radio *

I don't even remember why I saw this movie, all I remember is that it was really dull.

Fortress *

This movie was incredibly cliched and just really, really bad.

Godzilla *

This movie was BAD. The effects were good but practically lifted from Jurassic Park, the acting was AWFUL, there was so much product placement I thought I was in a Kodak commercial, and the attempts at humor made me CRINGE.


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Wednesday, 04-May-2011 23:36:33 PDT