Tyler's Reviews

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Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
The idea has been toying with me for the last few days about creating a reviews thread. I've decided to put this thought into action and start posting reviews on films.

So I will try to keep this up for as long as I can and share my thoughts and interpretations on films with others.

Page 1

Hannibal (2001)
Sexy Beast (2001)
The Social Network (2010)
Death To Smoochy (2002)
Superman (1978)
Schindler's List (1993)
Superman II (1980)
Superman III (1983)
Seven Samurai (1954)
Solaris (both versions)
Wolf Creek (2005)
Boogie Nights (1997)
Hulk (2003)

Page 2

Forrest Gump (1994)
Speed (1994)
Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003)
The X-Men Trilogy (2000-2006)
The Last Boyscout (1991)
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines (2003)

Page 3

The Bodyguard (1992)
Zodiac (2007)
Sunshine (2007)
Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001)
The Dark Knight (2008)
Cars 2 (2011)
Chinatown (1974)
Cape Fear (1991)
The Warriors (1979)
Blade Runner: The Director's Cut (1982)
The Godfather (1972)
War Of The Worlds (2006)

Page 4

The Godfather Part II (1974)
The Godfather Part III (1990)
Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990)
L.A Confidential (1997)
True Grit (2010)
The Prestige (2006)
The Backwoods (2007)
Memento (2000)
Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (1991)
Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2003)
Lucky Number Slevin (2006)

Page 5

Point Break (1991)
Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus (2010)
Empire Of The Sun (1987)
Don't Say A Word (2001)
Dr Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964)
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Magnolia (1999)
Sharktopus (2010)
The Rock (1996)
Basic Instinct (1992)
Out For Justice (1991)
Bloodsport (1988)
__________________
"George, this is a little too much for me. Escaped convicts, fugitive sex... I've got a cockfight to focus on."



Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Hannibal (2001)


I know, I know. Weird film to start with. Hannibal was the last film I watched and what prompted me to start this thread. It is to express my opinions on films and explain why I whether I like or dislike the films. Hannibal, in my opinion, is a well-made, entertaining thriller, that improves on it's source material and makes for a devilishly fun watch.

10 years after Silence Of The Lambs, Clarice Starling is a disgraced FBI agent who is put back on the case of Hannibal Lector, a serial killer/cannibal who escaped from prison 10 years ago. Clarice Starling begins to investigate Lector and Mason Verger, the only surviving Lector victim, who has his own agenda for Hannibal. Meanwhile, Lector is alive and living in Florence, Italy. He is living under the name of Dr. Fell, until a police officer begins to snoop around.

Ridley Scott took over the directorial reins for this sequel and, regardless of popular opinion, he does a fine job. He stages fine suspense sequences and has an excellent attention to detail. I'm not a fan of Scott at all, but he did good with this one. David Mamet provides the script, which is average and not up to scale with his previous efforts. However, he still wrote an enjoyable adaptation of the below average book.

The main problem that lies with Hannibal and it's mixed reception, is it's use of the routine horror sequel conventions. The death scenes are much more elaborate, there is way more violence and gore and it lacks the inventive feel of the first. Scott tries to push past this, but with a routine script and underwritten characters, this was destined to fail critically and commercially.

But I still enjoyed this film immensely, the Florence chapter in particular. It is a superb 30-40 minutes, with brilliant colour use, production design and music. It also has a very interesting and convincing character in Commandatore Pazzi, a man blinded by greed that he can not foresee obvious danger.

Hannibal is fun, violent and even unintentionally laughable. I loved every moment of it.




Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
I've always thought that the laughs were entirely intentional.
__________________
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
My IMDb page



Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Sexy Beast (2001)


A few months ago, I bought some really good dvds. Raging Bull, Citizen Kane & Glengarry GlenRoss, three very good films. Then there was Sexy Beast, a film that disappointed to say the least. The film was over to quick, there is no real climax and the characters are all underwritten, save for one. And that one is the film's saving grace. The one reason I gave the film a generous rating; Ben Kingsley.

The film is about British ex-con "Gal", who is living in Spain with his wife and frequently socialising with his two friends who also live there. His peaceful life is shattered when arch-thug Don Logan appears in his life and tries to persuade him for one last heist in London. Don Logan is a violent, psychotic hood, intent on making Gal return to London.

Ben Kingsley turns in a bravura performance as Don Logan. He is frightening, funny and deeply convincing as the wild nemesis of Gal. It might Kingsley's best role to date as he steals scenes and saves the film from oblivion. Ray Winstone is not as good as Gal, neither is Ian McShane as a London gangster. Their characters are, as I have said, underwritten and, in fact, the whole film is underwritten. It goes for 85 minutes and the pacing is extremely slow. It spends an hour on Kingsley asking Winstone to do the job and 20 minutes spent in London itself.

In conclusion, I didn't like the film very much, but I absolutely adore Kingsley's remarkable role.




Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
The Social Network (2010)


While it doesn't acheive greatness, The Social Network is a superbly crafted movie that tells the in-depth story of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and the man who changed the way of socialising.

David Fincher's directorial style has always served well, with the successful Se7en, the much-loved Fight Club & although I haven't seen it yet, his underrated Zodiac. This isn't his best film, but Fincher's direction is excellently underplayed, with dark visuals fitting together with what basically, a dark story. The story of Facebook is not a happy one, with betrayal and decpetion being major themes. Aaron Sorkin's screenplay is most deserving of the Academy Award. The film is dialogue driven and Aaron Sorkin's dialogue is witty, dramatic and enthralling, throughout the entire film.

The performances are excellent, with Jesse Eisenberg the clear standout. As Zuckerberg, Eisenberg is wonderfully intelligent, understated and wired. It might be the best performance of 2010. Justin Timberlake & Andrew Garfield are also very good, a charismatic Timberlake in particular. He definitely deserved a Best Supporting Actor nomination at this year's Oscars.

While not as entertaining, popular or cinema-changing as Se7en or Fight Club, The Social Network is a definite candidate for the best of 2010.

+



Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Death To Smoochy (2002)


Death To Smoochy is a painful experience. The only reason I felt the need to watch this movie is because my favourite actor and my favourite actress are both in it.

Rainbow Randolph is a kid-show host who is fired after being caught in illegal activities. Desperate to save face, the network hires Smoochy The Rhino, who becomes wildly popular, much to Randolph's extreme dismay.

The film does have some funny moments (cookie time), but the rest is an unfunny, badly acted and bizarre waste of time. Although Edward Norton and Catherine Keener share the screen, this is hardly their's or anyone's finest hour.



Superman: The Movie (1978)


Wonderful, light hearted entertainment, with a very good lead performance from Christopher Reeve and a particularly funny one from Gene Hackman. The story is of Kal-El, a young boy from the distant planet of Krypton who arrives on Earth after his home planet is destroyed. He is adopted and named Clark Kent and soon becomes a reporter at the Daily Planet in Metropolis. But at night, he takes to the skies as Superman.

I really enjoyed this film. It has great performances, a sense of humour and a terrific screenplay. It isn't the greatest superhero film of all time, but is still a fun film to watch.




Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Schindler's List (1993)

I didn't like Schindler the first time I saw it. I found it to be long and very depressing. But through repeated viewings, I began to respect Schindler as a very well-directed and well acted war film, full of confronting moments and excellent use of black and white.

For those who don't know, SL is the true story of Oskar Schindler, a war profiteer who saved 1,100 Jewish people during WW2. The story is adapted from Thomas Keneally's novel Schindler's Ark and is directed by Steven Spielberg. At this time, Spielberg was king of the blockbuster movies and struggling to be taken seriously. Desperate for Oscar recognition, Spielberg spent a decade trying to get Schindler made. He finally did in 1993, quickly after his last great blockbuster Jurassic Park. And what a job he did. Shot in striking black and white, Spielberg is unflinching in his portrayal of Nazies and the violence in the film. No scene is needless and every scene is engrossing. The "Liquidation of the Krakow Ghetto" sequence is almost as brutal as the opening of Saving Private Ryan. Spielberg knows exactly how to make a grown-up drama and this is his definitive masterpiece.

The music and editing are brilliant in this film. The score is hauntingly memorable. The cinematography and costume design are as good as any film I have ever seen.

The cast is impeccable. Liam Neeson is perfect as Oskar Schindler, effectively displaying emotion, charisma and elegance in one of the finest performances of 1993. Ben Kingsley is the subtle center of the film and creates one of the best performances of his magnificent career.

But then there is Ralph Fiennes. Over Leo and Tommy Lee, he should have definitely won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. He is monstrous and psychotically evil as the sadistic and depraved Amon Goeth, an SS officer who kills Jewish people because they are meaningless to him. He is suitably intense and is a very complex villian It is arguably Fiennes' best performance to date, topping his work in The English Patient & his turn as Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise.

This review has been mainly about the technical side, so what about the subject matter itself? It's a dark retelling of a dark chapter of history. But it is also a lesson in morality; not all Nazies are bad. In this case, Schindler's life begins to change after witnessing the undeserved suffering of human people at the hands of complete monsters.

Schindler's List doesn't make for easy viewing, but it one of the most engrossing and interesting true stories ever to be translated to a motion picture. The performances are great, the direction is immaculate and everything else is just superb. Highly recommended.




Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Superman II (1980)


A really entertaining sequel, with another wonderful performance from Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent/Superman and some great action sequences.

Three Kryptonian villians are accidentally released from their eternal prison and threaten to enslave Earth. Meanwhile, Superman tries to show Lois Lane his romantic side.

One of the best sequels to date, being both consistently entertaining and every bit as fun as the first. Very enjoyable.




Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Superman III (1983)


The weakest Superman by far, but still an entertaining mix of action and humour, it's biggest asset being Christopher Reeve's excellent and affectionate portrayal of Clark Kent/Superman. Richard Pryor also adds to the fun with a funny performance as a naive computer programer. It's cheesy, but fun cheesy.




Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Seven Samurai (1954)


A village decides to fight back against bandits by hiring masterless samurai to defend their poor village. Each samurai is different in their personality and make great impact on the occupants of the peasant village.

I've had this one on my shelf for a month now and before this viewing, I could never get past the first 20 minutes. Slow moving and not nearly as engrossing as the opening of Kurosawa's Ran. But as soon as Takashi Shimura appears on screen, the film kicks into gear. In my opinion of the film, Shimura adds a star. His performance as the honourable leader of the seven, Kambei Shimada is brilliant, switching between charismatic smiles and dramtic outbursts. But as much as I respect Shimura's performance, the stand out performance that captured mine and probably many others attention is that of Toshiro Mifune's as the hot-headed Kikuchiyo. His "This baby is me" outburst was one of the most powerful moments of the film.

While everyone praises the battle sequences in Ran as the best action scenes the legendary director has filmed, I was far more impressed with the ones in the finale of this masterpiece. They are very simple, yet very entertaining, with the characters putting their planned strategies into action. Thrilling stuff. Yet this film is not just an action epic. It also effectively switches tone between humour and drama, with Mifune generating most of the chuckles with his out-of-control behaviour.

Kurosawa should be praised for capturing an audience's attention and not letting go for 3 hours. He fuses comedy, thrills, emotion and genuine excitement into the ultimate action epic.




Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Solaris (1972/2002)


Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) is a unhappy, middle aged psychologist who called to a space station orbiting Solaris, a strange planet like object. Once there, Kelvin is puzzled by the strange behaviour of the crew and learning of a colleague's suicide. Soon, Kelvin is shocked to see Hari, his long dead wife, alive in the space station and emotionally needy.



After a LONG opening, in which Kelvin views a video of astronaut Berton declaring his experiences of Solaris, the film establishes it's story and main character and creates the beginning of the film experience. Tarkovsky's direction is tedious, to say the least, but still very captivating. Andrei fills the film with many "long" shots in which simple things, including a car-ride along a highway, into excruciatingly long sequences, that begin to become annoying, but are minor problems I have with the film. These "minor problems" have an upside for me, though, as they are beautifully shot, especially the opening scene with Kelvin walking through a forest full of colourful plants and interesting sounds. This film is a visual feast.



The film also has a very engrossing emotional factor, in the form of Kelvin and his late wife Hari's relationship. Solaris also has a very tense atmosphere, like a horror film, but with emotional horror. At the center of this film is an understated turn from Banionis as Kris Kelvin. He excellently portrays a cold and unhappy man, who finally reconnects with reality, albeit of an alternate form. It's a very strong performance.

All this and a superb ending creates Solaris, the equivalent of a cinematic masterpiece...

where it's remake is not.



I like a lot of Steven Soderbergh's work. But his version of Solaris left me completely cold. Because it is a cold film, with unlikeable characters, although Clooney's ace performance was the best thing about it. I didn't like the remake as much as the original, and I will not elaborate more on why I don't like the remake as much.

1972 Version
2002 Version +



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
I've seen the original multiple times but I think I like the remake better. I must believe it's warmer than the original, at least in human terms. I also don't think either is a masterpiece, but I'm a weirdo.



Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Wolf Creek (2005)


Three backpackers, travelling through Western Australia, encounter a sadistic larrikin who knows no mercy.

And that is the plot of one of the most darkest of dark comedies. After a sluggish beginning, the film comes alive, mainly due to an outstanding turn from John Jarratt and a disturbing atmosphere. Recommended, but not for everyone.

+



Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Boogie Nights (1997)

Boogie Nights is, in my opinion, PTAís best film yet. Iíve only seen three out of his filmography and while Magnolia and There Will Be Blood were riveting films, I liked Boogie Nights a whole lot more. For those who donít know what the film is about, the movie chronicles the pornography industry in the 70ís and 80ís. A new star, Dirk Diggler is recruited by director Jack Horner, because heís got ďsomething specialĒ.

What I find so remarkable about Boogie Nights is the amount of wonderfully developed characters. The cast and crew of a porno flick are conveyed as a ďfamilyĒ, with Horner the father, Diggler the son and leading lady Amber Waves the mother figure. Every other character has an interesting backstory, but I especially like William H. Macyís character, whose wife cheats on him with various men in various places, much to Billís embarrassment. Heís a subdued character and his appearances are brief, but still manage to be a very interesting figure in my eyes. But for me, every character is like that in Boogie Nights.

Other than the well conceived characters, the acting in this film is also outstanding. Many mention Burt Reynolds in his career best performance, and rightly so, but itís Mark Wahlberg who really captured my attention, in a role full of charisma and likeability, which Wahlberg hasnít achieved since. Every other performance in Boogie Nights is commendable, but I donít know what is so special about Julianne Mooreís performance. Itís good, but Marky Mark deserved the nomination more.

I liked Boogie Nights a lot more than I thought I would. Itís an extremely well written, well acted film thatís never boring over 2 and a half hours.




Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Hulk (2003)



Severely underrated. I think that title fits Hulk perfectly, a recent favourite of mine. Critically bashed on release, viewers were disappointed because it wasn't the Hulk they were expecting. They wanted brainless action. What they got was a thoughtful character study, populated with beautiful visuals and strong performances.

Hulk stars Eric Bana as, ironically, Bruce Banner, a scientist who is strangely effected by a radiation accident. It all has to do with father issues and the military, among other things. Banner becomes an aggressive green monster.

The first noteable element about Hulk is Ang Lee's direction. Comic book split screens aside, the slow pace and shots of plants maybe annoying to some, but I found it to be engrossing, as Lee takes his time telling a story and also tries to make visually awesome. I did say this was more of a character study than an action film, but there are some marvellously structured sequences involving Hulk fighting the military's power.

The CGI Hulk is at first, hard to accept, but later on, you're too engrossed with the story to notice. Besides, it's Hulk's alter ego who is more impressive. Eric Bana is perfect as Bruce Banner. The scenes with him puffing his cheeks and writhing around are very convincing. The supporting cast are uniformly excellent, especially Nick Nolte, as Banner's father. It's a very enjoyable camp performance from Nolte.

There is a lot to like about Hulk; it might be the most underrated film of 2003.

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