Darth Stujitzu's Reviews

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Sir Sean Connery's love-child
Miami Vice

2005 Directed by : Michael Mann

So the inevitable has happened, yet another remake from the lazy brain-dead studios of Hollywood.

There seems to be two Michael Manns, one of them makes great movies that have style and substance, the other makes over stylised, heavy on the montage craptacular turkeys.
Sadly Miami Vice fall into the later category, but at least Ali now has some company!!!!
So what's so wrong with Miami Vice? Well from the start the film is a mess, there is no character development at all, a ludicrous love story, and no real sense of any relationship between the two main characters that sugests either man would follow his partner into the gates of hell, and perhaps worst of all the script appears to have been written by a five year old.
There is as always with a Mann film nice shiny things to look at, fast cars, fast boats, fast planes and fast women, but ultimately this film is far more filler than killer.
The trailer makes the film look action packed, it's not, more the pity, because Mann knows how to make clever action pictures when he's on form, Last of the Mohicans, Heat and Collateral all prove this, but sadly Miami Vice lacks any real punch.
Apart from his constant use of montages to fill out his movies, the other trait of Mann that annoys me is his choice of shots, there were so many shots purposely shot out of focus and badly rack-focused that I began to believe I might need glasses half way through.
The main " human story " revolves around Colin Farrell and Gong Li's love story, which to me was not only totally unbelievable but also lacked any real conviction. Hard nosed drug kingpin's moll falls head over heals for rogue drug dealing undercover cop, Gong Li's stilted english isn't that bad because the script is so torrid!

Anyway, rant over, please can we have the Michael Mann that directed Manhunter, Last of the Mohicans, The Insider, Heat and Collateral back, and can we send the other one to MTV hell?

A dissapointment from Mann, a director who is more miss than hit these days!

Rating 1/5
Hey Pepe, would you say I have a plethora of presents?

Toga, toga, toga......

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbour?

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
Clerks 2

2005 Directed by : Kevin Smith

It's not often, no matter how bad the film is, that I walk out during.
Clerks 2 now joins the illustrious company of Romeo & Juliet, Fresh and Dante's Peak.

Clerks was a breath of fresh air when it was originally released, insightfull and funny, it proved to be the sleeper hit that justly gained Cult status. Ever since then, my personal feeling is that Kevin Smith has been on the slippery slide downwards. Apart from An evening with Kevin Smith I have not enjoyed any of his subsequent releases, he is a genuinely funny guy, but I really wonder which moron keeps giving his projects the greenlight?

Clerks 2 was painfull to watch, even the gorgeous Rosaria Dawson couldn't stop me from walking out of this craptacular mess, infantile, purile and far too obvious, I can't think of one redeeming feature this movie had to offer. Although I walked out after 40 mins of excruciating agony that made my eyes bleed and hate me for a couple of days, the sappy ending was so obvious that I bet I could nail it almost verbatim without having seen it.
Hey another Ben affleck cameo, hey another Mrs.Smith role, hey more Jay & Silent Bob........ please for the love of God spare us any more of this tripe!
Won't go and see any Kevin Smith films in the future, my patience wore thin a long time ago ( around Dogma I think ).

Totall cack, avoid if you have any intelligent sense of humour!

Rating -4/5 ( is Kevin Smith really Uwe Boll in disguise??? )

Thanks for 3 great reviews I may give a few a miss
Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
The three burials of Melquiades Estrada

2005 Directed by : Tommy Lee Jones

The directorial debut of Tommy Lee Jones follows the story of a young violent border patrolman who kills an innocent Mexican worker by mistake, and his subsequent kidnap and journey to lay his victim to rest in his homeland.

I've been looking forward to this film for some time, Tommy Lee Jones is an actor I greatly admire, so it was with genuine intrest that I sat down to view his directorial debut.
Although I enjoyed the film, I felt that the praise lavished on it by certain critics was slightly undeserved.
There is a lot to recommend, strong performances from Tommy Lee Jones and Barry Pepper as said border patrolman, a great story and script with some breathtaking cinematography.
My main complaints were that the film's direction was slightly disjointed, and certain random shots were used that added nothing to the film and just seemed out of place.
However as a first stab at directing, these are minor quibbles in what was for the most part an intresting and well made film.
There are certain scenes that are macabre and those of a sensitive nature probably wont enjoy, there is some graphic violence and some nudity as well, but for the most part it is a story of retribution and redemption.
A slow burn movie, big on performance that is worth persevering with.

Rating 3.5/5

28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Can't say I agree with Clerks II, but Burials is about right.
"A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."

Suspect's Reviews

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
The Ice Harvest

2005 Directed by : Harold Ramis

There's no such thing as the perfect crime. So begins the Ice Harvest, a film that centres round two men trying to pull off a major heist over the local mob.

This is a more adult themed comedy/thriller/film noir than we are used to by Ramis, but with John Cusak and Billy Bob Thornton on board it was always going to be watchable and intresting.
Cusak plays to his strengths as the slightly leftfield partner to Billy Bob Thorntons more devious and scheming would be criminal masterminds. The film on the whole was entertaining if a tad unremarkeable, my main gripe was the choice of Connie Nielsen as the femme fatale, for some reason I just didn't feel she was suited to the role, and the ending was a bit hashed and predictable.
Perhaps Ramis should stick to more mainstream comedy, as he appears to be a little bit out of his depth with the Ice Harvest.

Rating 2.5/5

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
16 Blocks

2006 Directed by : Richard Donner

The basic story surrounds Bruce Willis' burnt-out cop having to transport criminal Mos Def across 16 Blocks in New York to testify at court. The fly in the ointment is that Mos Def is to testify against crooked cops who are hellbent on taking him out and anybody who gets in their way.

So another buddy type movie from Donner, which to be honest is wearing thin as a genre, you've seen it all before, the two main protagonists don't like each other to start with, but through the course of the movie they bond to become life long friends, so far so formulaic, and unfortunately Donner does nothing to break that formula, instead we are left with a sad predictible chase movie that offers nothing new.
Mos Def's accent is so annoying that you wonder why the burnt out alcoholic cop doesn't put a bullet in him just to stop the incesant noise that comes out his mouth and give us a few seconds of peace. Willis has a wry smile on his face, it's the look of a well paid man easing himself through yet another turkey, knowing that the bare minimum will be required for his massive wage. David Morse is wasted as the main villan/bent cop, he's a decent actor on his day, but he rarely stretches himself through this ham fisted sham of a film.
A poor effort from the man that gave us Lethal Weapon, an easy pay day for all involved in this craptacular mess.

Rating 1/5

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
Love Liza

2002 Directed by : Todd Louiso

A bitter-sweet dark comedy that follows Philip Seymour Hoffman's spiral downwards into drug dependancy after his wife's suicide.
I'll keep this review short, Love Liza is a film based on Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance as said guilt riddled grieving husband and his addiction to buzzing gas as he tries to cope with the aftermath of his wife's suicide.
It's a slow burn and slightly depressing movie, but both Hoffman and Kathy Bates give great performances and it's worth watching for that alone, especially if like me, you're a massive long time fan of Hoffman.
There are a few moments of humour and joy sparsely dotted around this film, but on the whole you have to be in a certain frame of mind to watch it.

Not for everyone, but if you can bear the subject matters, this is a very worthwhile effort, deserving of your time.

Rating 3.5/5

Sir Sean Connery's love-child

1998 Directed by : Todd Solondz

Happiness follows the inter-conecting stories of three sisters living in New Jersey and the pursuit of happiness and stability.
This is a dark humoured, ironic story dealing with sibling rivalry and very adult themes, some of which might be too upsetting for most.
The film deals with a wide variety of themes, obviously happiness, and what happiness involves in respect to each of the sisters, and begs the question is true happiness really atainable?
There are some graphic scenes of a sexual nature, and there is a story involving paedophilia, which is suggested rather than shown, as well as crimes of passion.
Perhaps the two biggest ironies in the film, are that one of the sisters names is Joy, but she continually has an endless stream of bad luck and misfortune so at odds with her name, and at the end of the film, on contemplation, it appears that happiness is a facade that most of us put on but never really fully realise.

There are some decent performances in the film, Jane Adams as the hapless Joy, the ever watchable Philip Seymour Hoffman and especially Dylan Baker as said paedophile, a role that must have been difficult to portray.

A wry, ironic look at family life that was watchable, don't know if I can totally recommend it, again one of those movies that you have to be in the right frame of mind to watch.

Rating 2.5/5

Thanks Darthy, Have to agree with your rating of 16 blocks, i saw it at the movies with a friend who is a big Willis fan, even he was disappointed, we were both hoping that Bruce would put a bullet into his charge

Happiness doesn't sound to happy

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
The Crossing Guard

1995 Directed by : Sean Penn

Jack Nicholson plays a vengefull father intent on killing the man responsabile for his daughter's death upon his release from prison.

My main thought towards the Crossing Guard after viewing it was that the film should have, and could have been better. There is an all star cast, as well as Jack, there's Angelica Houston, David Morse, Robin Wright Penn and the Band's Robbie Robertson.
Don't get me wrong, there is a decent film on offer, but I was expecting a little more from the main protagonists.
Nicholson gave a better portrayal in the Pledge than is on offer here, and although I greatly admire David Morse as an actor, I didn't feel he was best suited to the part, in fact I would have prefered to have seen Sean Penn in the role.
The direction and pace of the film are fine, if unspectacular, but ultimately this was a nearly movie for me, it comes up just short of pushing the right buttons and delivering a more memorable film.

Rating 2.5/5

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
And now for pure indulgence on a cold wet Friday, I decided to watch two of my favourite movies of the last decade or so.
I could never pick a favourite film, or even a top five, but I do know that The Usual Suspects and Fight Club are two films that I think of often.
I also greatly admire both directors, and have followed their previous and subsequent work, so without further ado.......

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
The Usual Suspects

1995 Directed by : Bryan Singer

A police line up of notorious well known criminals sets in motion events, that will ultimately lead to the realisation that this was no coincidence and to the mysterious legendary underworld boss Keyser Soze.

It's been years since I last watched the Usual Suspects, and although I'm now in full possession of all the facts and the twist at the end, I almost felt the same sense of enjoyment and bewilderment as on my first viewing.
What struck me more on this viewing was the humour, especially the scene in the prison cell with all five men, I'd forgotten the witty banter and quick repartoire in that scene, and there were other little gems that I'd forgotten about liberally sprinkled throughout the movie.
I adore movies that leave me deep in thought after viewing them, and I remember vividly the half hour or so after my first viewing, trying to piece together all the facts and being totally oblivious to the bus journey home.
So, why do I love it so? Well, for starters, I love film noir and thrillers, and Singer weaves together a film that is taught and edgy that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout, as well as trying to second guess what's about to happen next.
The cast are all superb, and for some they have never really hit that level since, namely Stephen Baldwin, and Kevin Pollak. Chaz Polmnteri, Pete Postlethwaite and Gabriel Byrne are all fine actors, but for me, this is their most memorable film and performance, whilst Kevin Spacey and Benicio Del Toro continue to produce fine performances in almost everything they are in.
This is a real ensemble piece, and with Singers attention to detail and carefull editing as well as a cracking script, The Usual Suspects is rightly deserving of it's cult film status.

The extras on the DVD are well worth a look, the fact that most of the cast were dubious about the finished product gives Singer more kudos, and it was an insightful and enjoyable watch.

A modern day classic and iconic film.
Rating 4.99/5 ( no film's perfect!!! )

And like that, he was gone!

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
Fight Club

1999 Directed by : David Fincher.

A film about the banality of an insomniac's life and the extreme changes that occur in his life upon a chance meeting with the elusive and charasmatic Tyler Durden.

Ah, Fight Club, perhaps the first great film of the 21st century. A film that points out the futile pursuit of happiness through the purchase of desireable but non-essential products, and also makes though provoking social comment on today's modern man.

Fight Club is one of those films that seems to be universaly loved or loathed, it's also one of those films that people seem to be able to quote automatically, as well as have deep opinions on.
I've talked about Fight Club in various company, and many people often have their own take on the underlying social commentary and meaning in the film, as well as their own views on how relevant it is to todays modern society.
But let's not get too deep into the subliminal and hidden meanings.

Fight Club is another modern day classic in my mind, there is a lot in the film that I can relate to, and in Tyler Durden we have an instant icon.
I'm a huge fan of Norton and Pitt as actors, both have made some excellent and challenging films in between making standard Hollywood fluff to pay the bills.
Pitt is fantastic as Tyler, a great performance, and his many nuances crack me up every time I watch the film. Norton also gives a fantastic performance, especially as the straight man, a harder role to portray whilst Pitt seems to be given full reign to do whatever he pleases.
I'm not a big fan of Helena Bonham-Carter, but again she is perfect in the role of the oddball Marla, and gives a great performance.
Fincher is a fantastic director, one whom I greatly admire, and for anyone who has ever read Chuck Palahiuk's work will realise the difficult task he undertook to make the film of the book.
The continual sense of anarchy set against the protagonists vision of freedom is a difficult act to balance, but Fincher uses tons of dark humour and cool visuals to help achieve this, and it would have been easy for a lesser director to loose the plot and the audience.
Admittedly, some of the CGI used looks very unrealistic to the trained eye ( guess what I'm studying at film school at the mo! ), but it is used sparingly enough that it never becomes a major issue.

Well, in posting this review, I've already broken two major rules:
1. Never talk about Fight Club.
2. You never talk about Fight Club!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know this because Tyler knows this.

Cult film that I like so much, I even changed my avatar.
Rating 4.99/5

i'll never understand the fascination with this film...it's allright...but there are so many other,far more original films that would deserve the title "classic"...Fight Club is , in my mind, just another hollywood action/thriller type film...nothing we haven't seen before or shan't see again....

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
The Prestiege

2006 Directed by : Christopher Nolan

So, haven't done a review for a while, might be a bit rusty, but here goes.

The Prestiege follows the story of two magicians' quest for the ultimate illusion/trick, and their relentless pursuit of one- up- manship, no matter what the cost, personal or professional.
All the ingredients were here, a director whom I greatly admire, two talented actors in the lead roles, a strong supporting cast and a great story, and although I enjoyed the film, there seemed to be something missing.
I can't quite put my finger on it, Nolan is a master of tightly wound dark thrillers, he manages to make films that have many twists and turns still watchable, whilst having complex morale issues at the heart of the story, it's good, but it's not quite Memento or Insomnia.

My only small gripe is Christian Bale's cockney accent, it's the same as the one he used in Reign of Fire, it's woefull and comes across as put on, and unnatural. Apart from the dodgy accent, Bale is fine, but for me it's more Jackman's film, as his character is better fleshed out and appears to have more screen time. David Bowie's cameo is reasonable, again a slightly dodgy accent, Michael Caine is fine as is Scarlett Johansen, but ultimately the film relies on the chemistry between Bale and Jackman.

Perhaps I'll need to revisit the Prestiege again at a later date, I wasn't blown away by Insomnia on first viewing, but enjoyed it more on a second viewing, a good film that should please most film fans, and worthy of your hard earned cash.

Rating 3.5/5