The Gnat: Fly on the Wall Reviews

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Lost in never never land
We will have to see how many I can get up here in a short period of time. But I figured that I should start reviewing some movies that I have seen before I get into the swing of work.

Superbad

This I thought was a great film. I don't know how they did it, but they managed to make an extremely crass and vulgar film feel like it had a heart. With the amount of sex jokes and swearing in the film, it seems like a film that one should leave from feeling dirty, but it one leaves with more of a content but slightly sad feel to it.

This film is a "touching" story about two friends who are trying to have one last stand in high school. Jonah Hill and Micheal Cera play these two friends whose personalities clash as they both attempt to attain the same goal. Their story is intertwined with the character of Foggle, a hapless idiot who somehow is more then that.

Micheal Cera and Jonah Hill do a great job with the interplay between their two characters. They play off of each other amazingly and not just for the lines that a humorous, but also for the heart felt lines.

Foggle does an amazing job providing the majority of the extremely funny humor. The two cops and him have many good and awkward conversations about all different aspects of life, and they have many crazy times together.

The one knock that I have heard, and that I have to agree with, sort of, is that the female characters aren't strongly developed as the male characters. However, I feel like this isn't a terrible thing as that would have possibly added too many characters that they try and develop into meaningful characters and if they didn't develop the male characters as well, it would have been much worse. One of the great things about the girls, thought, is that all three main girls in the film have the same color hair. Don't know what to read into that, but I found it interesting.

Grade Overall: A

Acting: A+
Story: A
Visuals/Sound: B
__________________
"As I was walking up the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today,
I wish, I wish he'd go away."
-From Identity



Lost in never never land
Finding Neverland

I might be slightly biased in my opinion of this film, but I would say that this is one of the best recent films that has been put out. The main criticism that I have heard about this film is how Barrie "cheats" on his wife, but I tend to find that view of the film extremely misguided as to what is actually happening in this film.

Just a brief synopsis of what is going on in this film, this film is about J.M. Barrie the author of Peter Pan, and his creation of that story. That is the very broad general gist of what is going on in this film.

His creating Peter Pan, however, is really just a cover up for the main point of the film, and really the main point of his creating Peter Pan, the idea of imagination. This film drifts between reality and what is seen through the eyes of Barrie and the four Davies boys.

The idea of imagination is played with in the idea of childlike imagination and how that disappears when one grows up. Do to unfortunate circumstances the Davies boys have had to grow up faster then they should, and in some ways Barrie never has grown up.

I tend to find this film almost inspirational to those people are in areas where creativity is needed. It allows the viewer to become a child again with the Davies boys, and shows through Barrie how creativity and imagination are not something that has to be given up as the "artist" grows older and matures.

Grade Overall: A+

Acting: B+
Story: A
Visuals/Sound: A-



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Primer

This is the nerds sci-fi movie, if there ever was one. It delves into the implications of time travel at a whole deeper level and ends up in one fairly confusing mess.

Primer is a low budget film done without any known actors, but it works out very well both visually and in the acting. There are some parts where it looks lower budget, but for the most part it is good. One thing that I do like about this fact, the fact it is low budget, is that they don't have this grand highly polished time machine. The time machines basically look like they were thrown together with supplies that could be found out of a hardware store.

This notion gives the film a whole lot more natural, real feel to it. I think that this is what makes the film good with its low budget, amongst other things. This sci-fi type of story is set in the present, in reality, and isn't this amazing romp across the universe like so many sci-fi films are, and with the budget they couldn't have made it like that.

This is a film that I highly recommend to those people who enjoy a thinking film. Yes, there is a little action at a couple of points, but by that point in time if you aren't willing to think through the film, you are going to be so lost that it doesn't matter.

Overall Grade: A

Acting: B
Story: A+
Visual/Audio: B



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Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Now, while this is one of my favorite films, like Primer and Finding Neverland, I do freely admit that this film isn't a classic film that people will remember for ever.

What is great about this film though is that it is purely entertainment. This film is basically a sci-fi film from the 40's or 50's made in the 2000's. The robots and ideas in the film are absurd, but it is one of those films that when you want to be entertained it is good to see, just grab a bowl of popcorn and watch it.

Another interesting thing about this film is that it was one of the originals where it was done totally in CGI. The actors were blue screened and then stylized to give it the older feel. And all of the props, robots, everything, was CGI.

This film was made during Jude Law's run of 1000 films, or so it seemed, but he does a good job in this film. It isn't an overly amazing performance by anyone in the cast, but the performances fit the style of the film.

The one thing that I must stress about this film, for those who want to watch it, is that this film, while CGI and containing robots is about as realistic and fantastic to watch as the era that it is based on. So don't expect to see anything like the new Star Wars films, or CGI like in the movie 300, but this film does have its own aspects that sets it apart in its different style.

Overall Grade: B+

Acting: B-
Story: B
Visual/Audio: A-



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Love Actually

I think this is the only romantic comedy ever that I have heard of more guys liking then girls. This might have to do with a couple of body double scenes that girls find a little bit more uncomfortable then guys, but I can't say for sure.

What makes this film good is the intertwining of story lines, while very unbelievable that all the characters would be connected like they are, it make the story much more interesting. And it works very well as they don't try and force the stories together, but instead let them work their way slowly to the point where everything becomes intertwined. Another thing that they do with the multiple story lines is that when the intertwine, they still remain a separate story line, they don't call become one larger story line.

This film is basically known for its cast. The vast majority of well known British actors and actresses are in the film, and this makes it entertaining to watch as the various actors and actresses portray their characters. There aren't any characters that really are done amazingly well, but all of the performances are solid, and with the number of "lead" characters, that is very important to making this a good film.

For those who haven't seen it, this film falls into a similar category as Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, this isn't a great film, it won't be remembered as changing the way film makers thought, but it is a very well constructed film that is very entertaining to watch. Also, this film, if it had been more widely watched would have had several quotes out of it.

Overall Grade: A-

Acting: B
Story: B+
Visual/Audio: B-



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Serenity

This is one of those larger scale sci-fi movies that puts a lot of money into its ships and complex space battles. Unlike some of this area of the genre, it actually does have a lot of character development.

Serenity is based off of a short lived, and now cult classic, television show that was on Fox called Firefly. The idea with the show that earth has been abandonned because it couldn't support human life anymore and various planets, not ever specified as to where, have been used for in habitation. There is a central government agency that controls everything and everyone. The crew of Serenity are a group of outcasts or rebels.

The TV show is based around Serenity trying to flee the government because of one of the passengers that they have on their ship was broken out of a government facility. I won't go any further then that because the movie is made in such a way that it does stand alone from the TV show, but having seen the show does help with the understanding of the characters.

Like I said, what makes this film strong is the development of the characters, and the interplay between the characters. One nice thing about this being from a TV show is that you can tell right away that the actors and actresses are extremely comfortable with eachother, therefore it is less like acting and more natural in what they do and how they interact with eachother.

Another nice thing about this film is how it delves into this idea of goverment's controlling their people, which has been a popular idea in literature and films for a long time, but Serenity does a good job with this idea, especially with the primary bad guy. The primary "bad guy" is not as you would expect, more a philosophical man then a crazed killing machine, or so it seems.

If you have watched the TV show at all, then this is a must see. It is true to the TV show and the characters in the TV, and really shakes things up interestingly in the movie. I would highly recommend it to those people who enjoy a well done film as well. Like some of the others that I have reviewed, it isn't a film that is going to change the way that stories or visuals are looked at, but it blends all the elements together extremely well.

Overall Grade: A

Acting: B+
Story: A-
Visuals/Audio: B

When you watch it, make sure that after the fact you watch the outtakes, this film has outtakes that blow away any other outtakes, ever.



Lost in never never land
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

This is one of several films that has come out recently that has done a wonderful job in the area of satire. It is a film directed by Shane Black, who screen wrote the Lethal Weapon movies, that makes fun of this type of film.

This film does a wonderful job weaving through a bunch of obvious, intentionally, plot twists, like a movie in its genre. But this film brings in more sarcastic humor and wit then typically found in these films, hence being a satire.

What works really nicely in this film is Robert Downy Jr.'s voice over and narration. Much of the comedy comes from how unscripted this sounds and how it meanders at times through the story and he goes off on tangents.

This is one of a few films where both Downy Jr. and Kilmer do extremely good jobs playing their roles. Downy Jr. does a wonderful job of acting fairly clueless, and Kilmer does a great job playing a detective, I won't comment more on Kilmer's role, but if you don't know more about it, it is pretty funny.

Kilmer also does a little narration at the end, which ends up the movie and sums it very nicely, and humorously.

This movie is a popcorn flick, like many others that I have reviewed. It doesn't provide much more then a lot of great humor and action.

Overall Grade: A-

Acting: A-
Story: B
Visual/Audio: B-



Lost in never never land
Thanks for the props.

Spiderman Three

I have mixed feelings about this film, I felt like there were some serious flaws with it, but it was a Spiderman film, therefore I feel like I should like it. Overall, I felt like it was an entertaining film, but that the attempts at depth in the film weren't scripted well.

First thing I will address is everyones favorite walking down the street and dance scene. I had less of a problem with those scenes then most people did for the reason that they were meant to make a person feel akward, and I don't think that anyone is going to deny that those were about the most akward scenes to watch, ever. So, while it isn't a scene that I like, I can't complain about it was much, because I feel like it did what it was supposed to.

This film's biggest problem I felt was its pacing. There were three separate story lines in the film, and they didn't flow together like they should have. Each story line was started and brought up to a point, and instead of continuing those story lines while the other ones were brought up to speed, the story line was dropped. It wasn't until they had brought up all three story lines and developed them by themselves that they attempted to bring them together. This didn't work at all in the film.

What did work in the film though was the action, when you can do a a lot with CGI, it helps out a lot. I also feel like the Harry and Peter story line was well constructed on its own, and that they probably could have made two films, one with Venom and one with Harry and the Sandman and done just as good a job.

Overall, this film is again a popcorn flick. It didn't do anything that the first one did in defining the genre of superhero movies, and it didn't build upon that genre like the second one did.

Overall Grade: B-

Acting: B
Story: C-
Visual/Audio: B+

Spiderman Two

I figure that I might as well do all the Spiderman movies right now. This is my personal favorite of the Spiderman movies as I feel like it develops a lot for the third movie as well as develops the characters in the movie more-so then the first one did.

In particular this film develops the akward relationship that is occuring between Harry and Peter. There is the obvious hate for Spiderman, and it is difficult for Peter for two reasons, one he takes pictures of Spiderman and two because he is Spiderman and Harry cannot know.

This film also plays on Peter's life in a realistic way, or as realistic as can be expected from a superhero, in it deals not with some super natural force changing Peter, e.g. the blacksuit, but it deals with his struggles in life figuring out who exactly he is. He is looking to balance his life between being that superhero and being a real person. And he struggles with letting just the superhero aspect of his life take over, which drives him away from the people that he cares about.

Also in this film I felt there was the strongest bad guy. In the third one, the bad guys weren't developed enough, and in the first one, I feel like they really wanted to stress a typical Spiderman villain. Doc Ock was an interesting bad guy in that at no point in time was there the feeling that he was purely evil, but often the feeling that he was strongly misguided in his motivations.

Overall Grade: A-

Acting: B
Story: A-
Visual/Audio: B+

Spiderman

This is the film that it has been the longest since I have seen it, so my review is going to be a little rough around the edges.

The big thing with this movie is that it was clearly made for the comic book and cartoon fans, sticking closely to the plot lines and back story that were developed in both of those. Even the bad guy is one of the most often appearing bad guys in the comic book or cartoon show.

What this film did was create a superhero film that followed closely to the line of the comic book and cartoon, but it also added that sense of realism. In a typical comic book or cartoon the superhero(es) never kill off a bad character and his/her henchmen, they just beat them up and leave them to the police. Spiderman did kill off the Green Goblin in the cartoon, but most of the over villains survived. I think that by killing off the villain they started off the franchise by making it realistic by having the villain get killed and then by having Peter's uncle get killed in real time.

What I mean by "in real time" is that in the comic book and cartoon, they only mention it or show it in flashbacks, there wasn't an episode where Peter watched his uncle die, without the flashback.

Overall, I feel like this film did a lot for the superhero genre. I feel like it was one of the first in this era of film that helped set a base for what superhero films could be. I feel like films like Batman Begins, Fantastic Four, Hulk, etc. have taken from this base and developed their own feel, but Spiderman helped determine how the genre was going to be.

Overall Grade: B+/A-

Acting: B
Story: B
Visual/Audio: A-



Lost in never never land
Havoc

I found this film to be fairly interesting. The subject matter, rich kids and gangs and rich kids wanting to be a gang, isn't something that really excites me all that much, but this film did a good job of portraying it.

What I liked about this film was the fact that they were willing to clearly show the lines between the rich kids and the slums so to speak. It did a very good job of showing that there wasn't a crossover between the slums and the rich neighborhoods. The poor people weren't allowed into the gated communtities.

I thought for the most part that it did a good job of portraying how the rich kids were willing to get close to acting like a gang, they were willing to push the envelope because they thought it was cool. But they were living in a very fake "gang" world and they had no real idea as to what that world was like.

When the two main character, played by Bijou Philips and Anne Hathaway, go into the slums they want to feel like the fit in, but when they put themselves to the test, neither of them is willing to go through with it. And because of that they also showed the difference between the two worlds by what Bijou Philips character can say without having to have any substantiating evidence.

Overall, this is an interesting film to watch. I would say that it did cop out some on its attempt to create depth by having some of it filmed as a documentary that one of the kids is working on in the film. But it was interesting.

Overall Grade: B

Acting: B+
Story: B+
Visual/Audio: B-



Lost in never never land
The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Now, this is a cult classic film if there ever was one. I haven't been to one of the showings of the film, but I was to it as a play, and that was extremely crazy.

Just for a little back ground, this is a rock/jazz musical created in England in the '70's. It is a very interesting and weird film that doesn't have to make sense to be great.

What makes the film great is the absurdity of the characters, there is Rocky, who is just clueless, there is Dr. Frankenfurter, who is crazy for, well, love, and then there are Janet and Brad, who are clueless as to what they have gotten themselves into.

The interplay between the characters is amazing in this film and is the interplay with the audience that has now occurred. There are many sites on-line dedicated to this film and what to shout out during this film.

This film as a whole is about sexuality and, I guess, a sexual revolution with seemingly androginous beings. Mix this up with some songs and everyone being scantily clad, and you get the general idea of the movie. However, you have to see the movie to get the full appreciation for what is going on in this film.

Overall, this is a film that film people should watch once, along with Evil Dead and Flash Gordon, as it is one of those cult classic films that is going to survive through a lot of generations while not being a great film.

Overall Grade: A

Acting: B
Story: B+
Visual/Audio: A-



Lost in never never land
Alone in the Dark

I thought I would mix it up a little and stray from films that I like.

Now, this film is arguably one of the worst films ever created. It is based off of a computer, early '90's game I would guess, and is a terrible movie.

The basic premise isn't all that different from many "horror/monster" flicks, but this one is just done extremely poorly. The first hint that it might not be a good film is the fact that the big name in the film is Tara Reid, so acting basically goes out of the window right there.

So the big problem with this film is the lack of actual acting talent and the lack of a good story. The story is tossed together around the action sequences, and the action sequences are rarely anything that is all that impressive.

There was one interesting action scene to watch where some branch of the military is fighting the monsters in a large dark warehouse, type area. It is lit with the muzzle flashes, it has a real video game feel to it, without being really cheesy.

However, that is basically the only redeeming quality, and even that scene is sort of thrown in there. It comes right after the "sex scene" between the two main characters, and there isn't much up to that point in time that would lead one into that scene.

Overall this film is incredibly cheesy, poorly scripted, and poorly acted. I would not recommend this film to anyone, ever. It was a waste of time to watch it. Even the one redeeming scene isn't what you would call a great scene. If you want to watch the type of movie that I mentioned in the first sentence of the paragraph, you could do better with something like Crank, which I will eventually review.

Overall Grade: F

Acting: F
Story: F
Visual/Audio: C+



Lost in never never land
The Virgin Suicides

I'm not going to do my normal review of the film, because I have a 15 page paper that I wrote on this film that I think will work just fine to explain what I find it extremely interesting. The second paper, not entitles Virgin Suicides take a look at all of Coppola's work and how as a female director this idea of the male gaze is played out.

The one reason that I like it that isn't covered in the paper is how depressing it is, but enough on that, onto the grades.

Overall Grade: A

Acting: B
Story: A+
Visual/Audio: B+

I highly recommend that people read the book this was based off of, and that you take a look at the paper, because it isn't really a pure review of the film, it looks at it predominantly through the feminist film criticism theories and the idea of the male gaze.
Attached Files
File Type: doc Virgin Suicides.doc (54.0 KB, 1007 views)
File Type: doc The Male Gaze and Sofia Coppola Films.doc (38.0 KB, 778 views)



Lost in never never land
Stargate

Now, let me admit, I am a big fan of basically all sci-fi, so I have watched the show that spun off from this movie and the show that has spun off of that.

What I find particularly interesting about this film is the indepth use of mythology. I'm tend to find films that deal with mythology, or "gods", to be very interesting. And Stargate does this very well intertwining mythology into reality.

Now before that turns some people off, let me say that in this case there is a difference between mythology and the supernatural. Yeah, it is a sci-fi film, which means that a lot of things will seem supernatural about it, but there isn't some "god" character who zaps people with lightening.

So with this mythology in the film, they manage to blend it nicely so that the mythology plays up against the action sequences to make more then a purely action/sci-fi film. There is definitely some space flight, even though less then a typica sci-fi film, and there are battles, but they also look into culture and religion in the film.

What is impressive from the film to the show is how the actors for the show, while different from the film, were capable of picking up the manerisms of the characters. Which is a good thing, because several of the characters definitely had distinct ways that they acted throughout the film, and for the hardcore fans of the show and the film, it would have been very obvious. So, in the film, basically iwhat I am trying to say, the characters are unique characters. There are some stereotypes played off of, but for the most part the main characters do have their own mannerisms that make them interesting, even if some things are stereotyped.

Overall Grade: B+

Acting: B
Story: B+
Visual/Audio: B



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Hot Fuzz

This is one of the few films that I find absolutely hilarious, a comedy film has be a combination of smart humor and slapstick prat falls in order for me to like it. And Hot Fuzz has an amazing blend of this.

Hot Fuzz is the second film of Edgar Wright that is a satire. He does a brilliant job making fun of the buddy cop type of movie, Bad Boyz, etc. He does it by poking fun at how little of what would be considered "real" police work, such as the paper work or even the simple mug shots are shown in the typical cop movie. And he also saterizes it by copying so many of the action sequences that show up in films like this.

I would say that Hot Fuzz is funnier then his previous work. I'm not sure if it rivals Shaun of the Dead in its ability to parody a zombie movie, but Hot Fuzz has more jokes that are running through it.

The common complaint about this film is that the first half to two thirds are boring and not much happens there, and I have even heard of people making the mistake of turning it off about half way through. However, the beginning does a great job in the less strait forward, more parody humor that most people miss on. And it also does an amazing job of setting up the last 30 to 45 minutes of the film.

If you haven't seen this film, don't think as you watch it that you are bored by the first half and will skip ahead, without the first half, the second half, while funny isn't as great.

Overall Grade: A

Acting: B
Story: A+
Visual/Audio: B+



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Flash Gordon

The movie that I refering to is the 1980's Flash Gordon that has become a cult classic and has the music of Queen in it, just to specify which one I am talking about.

This film is a huge cult classic film. There isn't tons about this film that makes it all that great, but is a fun cheesy comic book adaptation. Also, the music of Queen definitely improves the film.

It really shouldn't be good enough to refer to it as a popcorn flick, but it is one of those films that you can turn your brain off for, watch cheesy looking 80's effects and just enjoy.

I think that one of the things that has really helped this film stick around, including a DVD rerelease only a couple of weeks ago, is that it is a comic book that the baby boomers identify with really well. So that is where a lot of the original interest for this film woudl come from.

However, I know that in the college age generation there is still strong interest in this film as well. It pops up on college movie nights, probably for the reason of being a movie that you can turn your brain off for.

Along with baby boomers, this has to be recognized as one of the first modern comic book movies. Flash Gordon came out two years after the original Superman movie did. So I think that these movies need to be considered some of the early modern comic book movies, which is another reason that Flash Gordon is a movie that should stick around and deserves to stick around.

Overall in this film the acting isn't that great, the lines are extremely cheesy, and the story line is only above average, not amazing. But wide character variety, and the fact that the lines are fittingly cheesy make this a good movie.

Overall Grade: B+

Acting: B-
Story: B-
Visual/Audio: B+



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Primer

This is the nerds sci-fi movie, if there ever was one. It delves into the implications of time travel at a whole deeper level and ends up in one fairly confusing mess.

Primer is a low budget film done without any known actors, but it works out very well both visually and in the acting. There are some parts where it looks lower budget, but for the most part it is good. One thing that I do like about this fact, the fact it is low budget, is that they don't have this grand highly polished time machine. The time machines basically look like they were thrown together with supplies that could be found out of a hardware store.

This notion gives the film a whole lot more natural, real feel to it. I think that this is what makes the film good with its low budget, amongst other things. This sci-fi type of story is set in the present, in reality, and isn't this amazing romp across the universe like so many sci-fi films are, and with the budget they couldn't have made it like that.

This is a film that I highly recommend to those people who enjoy a thinking film. Yes, there is a little action at a couple of points, but by that point in time if you aren't willing to think through the film, you are going to be so lost that it doesn't matter.

Overall Grade: A

Acting: B
Story: A+
Visual/Audio: B
I think you're being too generous with the audio/visual portion of the film.
__________________
"A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."

Suspect's Reviews



Lost in never never land
I might be. I would say that the reason that I have it that high is because I did appreciate the style in which it was shot. It wasn't the highest quality visuals, but I felt like the visuals were of a level where they went with the style of the film.

If they had tried to use grand majestic shots with the story line of the film, it just wouldn't have worked. So, while they weren't the greatest visual, they were the right visual.



The Virgin Suicides

I'm not going to do my normal review of the film, because I have a 15 page paper that I wrote on this film that I think will work just fine to explain what I find it extremely interesting. The second paper, not entitles Virgin Suicides take a look at all of Coppola's work and how as a female director this idea of the male gaze is played out.

The one reason that I like it that isn't covered in the paper is how depressing it is, but enough on that, onto the grades.

Overall Grade: A

Acting: B
Story: A+
Visual/Audio: B+

I highly recommend that people read the book this was based off of, and that you take a look at the paper, because it isn't really a pure review of the film, it looks at it predominantly through the feminist film criticism theories and the idea of the male gaze.
I loved that film. Absolutely incredible... Marie Antoinette is Sofia Coppola's only flop so far, in my opinion.
__________________
I was recently in an independent comedy-drama about post-high school indecision. It's called Generation Why.

See the trailer here:




Lost in never never land
Coppola actually did a film before The Virgin Suicides, that I guess was terrible. I agree, Marie Antoinette definitely wasn't as good as her other work. It was beautiful to watch, but the story wasn't near what The Virgin Suicides or Lost In Translation's stories were.