Submit Your
Comedy
List
The deadline for the Top Comedies of All Time list is coming up! Submit your ballot now, or read about it here

The Gnat: Fly on the Wall Reviews

→ in
Tools    





Lost in never never land
The Pink Panther

This is the original Pink Panther film that I am reviewing at this point in time, not the new Steve Martin version that came out. Even though you can expect a review for that version at some point in time.

I must that I enjoyed this film a lot, as I enjoy all of the Pink Panther films. Blake Edwards does a great job of creating these absurd movies with a lot of physical/stupid humor in them. However, he keeps things moving much better then most stupid humor films which only rely on the jokes of stupid humor in them. The Pink Panther films do rely on a subtle humor of reoccuring jokes, and the humor of the absurd in them.

Another thing that makes this film better then a typical stupid humor film is the acting ability of Peter Sellers. He does an extremely good job playing this over the top character. His accent and mannerisms are what make this character lovable yet hilarious.

This film itself wasn't one of the best Pink Panther films, in my opinion, with A Shot in the Dark being the best Pink Panther film, but it is the original and it does have the pink panther diamond in it. What works well in this film is the blundering not only of Clouseau, but many other people in the film. This adds to the humor in the film, but at points it could dwell more on Clouseau and his humor, but it does show up a lot in the film.

Overall Grade: B+

Acting: B+
Story: B
Audio/Visual: 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



I love all the Pink Panther Movies
__________________
Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.
Buddha



Lost in never never land
Remember the Titans

Typically I am not a fan of the teenage/highschool sports dramas. I couldn't stand Coach Carter and I haven't even bothered to try watching some. But I sort of like Remember the Titans It has a good heartwarming story to it, and it deals with more then the typical teen in trouble and the team is in trouble issues that these movies often touch on.

The issue that it deals with is racism, which I think adds more depth to the film. Not for the racism that is occuring, but unlike many films, this one shows how things can bring people together, and normally I am a person who likes downer movies. However, I feel like in the area of racism there have been enough downer movies, and this one it is nice to see unity and community at the end of the film.

The acting in this film is pretty solid. Denzell Washington and Will Patton do a good job in their roles. While these roles do seem somewhat cliche, it is sort of interesting to note that it is based on fact and I guess tha tmeans that people can seem cliche when you look at them only at certain times. I always find it interesting when a movie is based on a true story and they tell about where people are now, or what they did later on in their life. For some reason that adds even more of a sense of reality.

Overall this is a good film. It is touching at some points, and it has some fun football action in it (probably another reason I like it better then most in this sub-genre is because it is about football, but then again I wasn't a fan of Varsity Blues and I couldn't even make it through Friday Night Lights). The acting is good enough and the story carries itself.

Overall Grade: B

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

Note: The one thing though that will forever disturb me about this film is the fact that Hayden Panettiere is in it. It is awkward to think that someone who I find attractive now, is a little kid in that film.



Lost in never never land
Casino Royale

This, I thought, was probably the best Bond film that I have seen, and while I don't believe that I've quite seen all of them, I have seen the vast majority, I thought that this one did many things better then most.

One of the big things is that made this film good, in my opinion, was how Daniel Craig played Bond. He had some of the sauve-ness of Bond that is seen with Pierce Brosnan, but he was a much harder and tougher person then any of the previous Bonds had been. This makes sense in the line of chronology as this is when he first became a 007.

The other actors and actresses in the film did a good job as well. I appreciated Eva Green in the role of the Bond Girl in the film, and I thought that she did a good job acting for it. And while they did mess with some of the other traditional characters in the film, the changes that they made, I felt, didn't ruin those characters.

As for the story, I felt like it was a very typica Bond film story. There were a few points where it was a little slower and notably less absurd then some of hte previous Bond films, but for the msot part it was like a Bond film was supposed to be.

The action sequences in the film were very good, in that they flowed into the story and weren't ever so over the top that they took focus off the story. And I think that is very important that they are somewhat realistic, granted it was a Bond film and they rarely are realistic in Bond films, but for the tougher, grittier image that they were trying to show in this Bond film, the realism of the action was more important.

Overall this was a solid and enjoyable film. I would say that I am more likely to watch this Bond film again as compared to the others, which while I found them entertaining, didn't have the same style of story to make it interesting.

Overall Grade: B+

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



Lost in never never land
The Phantom of the Opera

I was a big fan of this film, which isn't generally the case for musicals. There are a few musicals I like, Singing in the Rain is one I can think of off the top of my head, but generally I find them somewhat entertaining, but nothing all that great.

However, this one was very good. The first thing that I think of is the music in the film. What is very impressive about the music is that only one of the actors/actresses had someone sing for her, and the rest of the cast did their own singing, and it was very good.

Along with that first thing is that fact that the acting wasn't terrible. To often in musicals, especially live plays, you see the actors/actresses who are great at singing, but really can't act. In this film that didn't seem to be the case.

Another big thing that caught me up in this film is the visuals. It is a very beautiful film to watch. The colors are very rich throughout the whole film, and because of that it is interesting to watch.

I really don't have much that I can say was wrong with this film. The acting performances weren't extremely strong, but as compared to many musicals it was very solid.

Overall, this isn't going to be that popular movie in general because of the fact it is a musical. However, this one is better then most, if not all, in my opinion, and most people should be able to appreciate it for the beauty and the singing in the film.

Overall Grade: A

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



Lost in never never land
Why are you reviewing ancient mainstream films?
Well, not everyone has seen every mainstream film for one reason. Secondly, while art house films are generally better, they aren't what makes the film industry, so some focus on the main stream film and what makes certain mainstream films more entertaining or better then others is important to note.



Lost in never never land
Mirrormask

This film and story comes from the mind of Neil Gaiman, which is a great and very interesting mind. The story focuses around the imaginary world that Helena Campbell creates and her interaction with it, whether in reality or fantasy. Neil Gaiman does a great job of creating this fanciful story that is very entertaining as well as filled with subtle bits of humor that, while the story is generally a childrens story, makes the story interesting to adults.

The biggest thing, then, that the film has going for it is the story. Like I said, Gaiman crafts it in such a way that while the story might seem childish, there is subject matter and humor that would go un-noticed by children. Gaiman works this theme of masks throughout the whole film. It is interesting as each character hides their true nature behind their masks, and it really is difficult for them to expand beyond the nature of the mask.

The other big thing that makes this film interesting is the visuals in the film. The world of fantasy that is created is much more based on the actual visuals in reality that Helena creates for her world of fantasy, so it isn't the typical epic wide open spaces with extremely vibrant colors. However, the style that is used is very interesting and equally as beautiful, albeit beautiful in a different way, to watch then a typical fantasy setting.

The acting in the film isn't extremely strong. Stephanie Leonidas does a good job in the film with her acting, giving one of the stronger performances in the film, as Helena, but none of the performances are extremely amazing, but most very solid.

Overall, I feel like this is a film that some people won't get and won't enjoy just because of the style of the film and the childish story of the film. However, there is another level which Gaiman adds to the story, and it is a very entertaining film and one that I personally enjoy a lot and can watch over and over.

Overall Grade: A-

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



Lost in never never land
The Station Agent

This is a fun, touching film, which isn't typically something I like in films. Generally I prefer the darker, sadder films and while this film does have that in it, a fair amount at points, it does end up generally with a better feeling.

What makes this a good film is the diversity of the characters, which in this case means how unique the various characters are, especially the three main characters. Peter Dinklage does a good job playing his role as well as Patricia Clarckson and Bobby Cannavale. But Peter Dinklage definitely does the best job, as his role is more demanding then the other two, I would say.

The story itself is also very interesting. It moves slowly and is dominated by character development, but the issues that the characters face and have to deal with make this an interesting story. The slow pacing could be seen by some as a problem with this film, but I feel like it adds depth to the film by allowing the characters to be looked at much more deeply.

Overall, there isn't really much I can fault this film for. The characters are very interesting and definitely drive this film. Even the side characters have interesting personalities and work on creating and shaping the main characters into what they are at the end of the film.

Overall Grade: A-

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



Lost in never never land
The Thirteenth Floor

What is interesting about this film is the subject matter which deals along similar lines of the Matrix with what is reality. However, I feel like it focuses only on this issue, while the Matrix branches off into other areas as well. This film does a good job showing how this fake reality works, and it is interesting with the level that they take this idea of fake reality to.

The ideas in the film are definitely the strong point, the acting in the film is average at best, and the science in the film (this is very much a sci-fi/futuristic film) is shaky at best. However, since the idea in the film is the most important thing to the film, it doesn't hurt the film much to have shaky science, even the the acting would be nicer if it was better.

Story wise, this film was above average in its story. This film does a great job of combining multiple realities and multiple eras/cultures throughout the film. So the story itself flows together quite nicely. And other then the shaky science it doesn't leave itself with really any plot holes (and the shaky siceicne I can live with as techinically it is unknown if that science is possible, but right now it would be considered highly improbable).

Overall, this is a film that falls somewhere between a popcorn film and a really good thinking film. It is kind of like ExiStenz in that it combines the two elements of enjoyment and thought very well and you don't have to think too hard about it if you don't want to, but if you choose think while watching the film, there is something to think about.

Overall Grade: B+

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



Lost in never never land
It's been a while since I've done one of these, but life is busy and sucks that way at some points in time.

Transformers

Yeah, I know, I should have probably seen it before last night being that I like comic book films, generally, but I didn't see it in theaters, so I have an excuse.

My initial thoughts on this is that it is only a so-so adaptation of the comic book/cartoon of it. There are some parts, such as parts with Optimus Prime, that are great to watch, and other parts that are very cliche, but that comes with the genre, in that it wouldn't be a comic book/cartoon film if it wasn't cliche/corny at points in time.

I'm not that big a fan of Shia LaBouf in general, but I thought that he did a pretty good job in this film. It seemed to be a role that fit his personality well. Megan Fox on the other hand was very nice to look at, but was bad in her role. Other then that the acting was pretty solid, nothing great, but the Sector 7 guy was poor as well.

Overall, visually it wasn't that bad. The Autobots and the Decepticons were portrayed well, and fun to watch. They did a good job of intertwining them with the live action that was going on in the film.

The story, itself, was pretty good, some interesting back story, nothing spectacular in the story, but in a movie like this the story is secondary to the action, generally. So this film does a decent job of balancing the two.

Overall Grade: B

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



Lost in never never land
The Invisible

I liked this more then I was expecting to. When I saw the trailer before it came out, I was hoping that the film would be good, but then it got rocked by reviews, so my expectations were lowered greatly for it. But when it came out on DVD and I could watch it cheaply, I knew that I had to, so I watched it. And I was very pleasently surprised by it.

The film seemed to often be very high handed. Just the attitude eminating from the film was that it was a film that was full of itself, and this was more then just the characters, who for the most part were full of themselves, but also in the way it was shot. However, because the characters were full of themselves, it made the high handedness of the movie correct for the film and it didn't detract as much as it typically would in a film that is full of itself.

The premise for the film was an interesting premise and I thought played out well in this film. The story, like most teenager based films, had its cliche moments and lines, but the characters in this film were enough to drive it past those points. The story is based off of a Swedish (I'm 95% sure it was Swedish) book and the idea/story has actually been made previously into a Swedish film. But the basis of the story hadn't been done in American cinema, and not having seen the Swedish film before, it was a pretty original idea, and portrayel of the idea.

But what really made this film were the characters. Yeah, they were full of themselves, but I think in some ways that is generally closer to reality simply for the area that they were living in, where there was a very varying demographic from the upper class to the lower class and how both of those classes looked at the other. The main character in the film, I would argue, isn't the most important, or the best character (or in reality the main character) in the film. Justin Chatwin does a good job of playing the "main character" in the film, but his role is really over shadowed by Margarita Levieva's performance in her role. Her character develops much more throughout the film, where as Chatwin's is generally more stagnent, and even though their is assumed change at the end, it doesn't feel like there is tons of notable change in his character. However, Levieva's character changes notably in her perception of how things are and who she is.

My biggest knock on this film is the use of music in the film. There are several scenes where the acting/dialogue and general feel of the scene are going to be enough to convey the emotion, however, the music is brought up to such a level that it is the dominant feature, or near the dominant feature in the scene for conveying the emotion, and it really becomes somewhat cliche at those points in time. However, this doesn't happen often enough to detract tons from the movie.

Also, this film has a "pseudo-Hollywood ending". It does somethings right, but this is generally only after it screws up in its ending by making it somewhat of a "Hollywood ending". Also, the final scene in the film is pretty "Hollywood", but it is simple enough that it doesn't detract too much from the previous work of the film.

Overall this is a film that has its faults, but it overcomes most of them with the story and the characters in the film. I have a feeling that it is a film that some will like a lot and that some won't like simply because some of the faults that I feel it overcomes, or work in the film, others will see as severally detracting from the film.

Overall Grade: B+

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



Lost in never never land
The Simpson's Movie

I watched it for the first time last night, and I was somewhat disappointed by it. As a big fan of the show, I was hoping that they could sustain the level of wit and humor throughout the whole thing, however, there were notable drop offs throughout the script.

What it did a good job of was in its satire about the government making fun of how so often people who often work for the government and then get their companies the contracts for government jobs. Also, having Arnold as the Presidentator was pretty funny.

The parts that dragged from time to time were those with the Simpson family themselves. Too often the conversations between Marge and Homer were boring to listen to, and didn't feel like they flowed into the story as well as the rest of the film.

I guess that my biggest gripe against it is that I didn't end up laughing at all the jokes that I was supposed to laugh at. That made it much less enjoyable because the lulls were longer then they should have been in a Simpson's film or TV episode.

Overall this film still hads its moments, but it was not as good as I was expecting it to be. What also didn't help was the fact that I had heard a few details of this film prior to seeing it, so when I thought about it, some of the things were predictable.

Overall Grade: B-

Acting (Voice): B+
Story: C+
Audio/Visual: B-



Lost in never never land
Black Sheep (2006)

I do realize that there have been a couple of films by the name of Black Sheep but the one I am referring to is the new movie from New Zealand. The basic premise of the film, for those who don't know, is that a man who had a traumatic experience with sheep returns to the family farm and ends up having to fend off zombie sheep.

In overall quality, such as acting, storyline, dialog, etc. this film is lacking. The only thing that really stands out as being all that great are the visuals in the film as all of the special effects were done by WETA, which as you all know does very good work.

But what makes this film good is how absurd it is, and how wonderfully hilariously entertaining this film is. It is on the level of Army of Darkness in that it is intentionally trying to be a wonderfully bad film, and it pulls it off so wonderfully. The over-the-top gore, and the absurd dialog throughout the film make it really really funny to watch. Through my viewing of it, I was laughing a lot of the time.

This is a decently low budget film that had the vast majority of its budget go into the special effects, but while the actors and actresses aren't that good in this film, they play it well enough so that they aren't unbearable to watch, and having a stronger performance from any of them would ruin the feel that the movie has.

Overall this is a wonderful horredy filled with everything expected from a good horredy: gore, romance, genetically mutated sheep, etc. This is a film that people will either love or hate, and because of its not to serious style and portrayal, it is not a film that anyone will ever critically acclaim for anything more then being a good horredy.

Overall Grade: B+

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