Dark Souls and Hollow Hearts A Lunch Community for all that is Film Noir http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts <![CDATA[Dark City (1998 film) Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]>
Thanks to the extremely hokey acting (Kiefer Sutherland's Peter Lorre impressions alone will make anyone cry tears of blood), bland characters, totally non-scary villains, silly plot devices, and liberal ripping off of elements from movies like Akira, Total Recall, Metropolis, Batman (the 1989 movie), and The Addams Family, I was nearly bored to the point of falling asleep when I watched this. The unintentially funny scenes with the "Strangers" (the bad guys who look like bad Uncle Fester clones) kept me from passing out.

Here's a movie that thanks to the totally false and misguided praise by irrelevant film critic Roger Ebert, has gotten an undeserved status as a "lost classic."

I'm not joking, I'd rather watch Battlefield Earth instead of Dark City because at least BE has a hilarious RiffTrax commentary to go with it.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Dark_City_1998_film_-13-1626209-231279.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Dark_City_1998_film_-13-1626209-231279.html Sat, 29 Dec 2012 01:50:15 +0000
<![CDATA[ What if I told you...The Matrix is great?]]>
What would you do if you were in the place of hacker Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) - popularly known by his in-movie online alias of "Neo" - in that you woke up one morning to cryptic messages on your computer monitor referencing this thing that you are indifferent to known only as the matrix? If you were Anderson, you would keep following the white rabbit, and you would then meet a fellow female hacker named Trinity (Carry Anne-Moss) who tells you of an acquaintance of hers named Morpheus. You don't know who Morpheus is, you don't know why you need him, and all you know is that you do. He calls you the next day while you are at work and tries to prevent you from getting arrested by a trio of Agents, although ultimately fails.

You wake up the next morning after having been arrested by the agents, one of which is the particularly demeaning Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving, absolutely INCREDIBLE), and also after having being literally bugged (with a device that transforms into something that resembles a literal bug). You decide that it might be in your best interest to contact this Orpheus again and meet with him. When you do, at his place, he offers you a choice of two pills; one red, one blue. You choose the red, since the blue will only make you forget that the meeting ever happened. You follow him. You are knocked out, presumably by the effects of the pill. You awaken in an oval-like vessel filled with liquid, in a world that you'd never hope to know.

Orpheus (Laurence Fishburne) explains that you are now in the future. He can't tell you what year because he's lost track himself (closer to 2199, he says). In the future, mankind is at war with very powerful machines that harvest the bioelectrical energy that human beings give off. The humans are kept controlled within an alternate universe - the matrix - which is where you has lived all your life, therefore rendering it a mere lie. Humans are basically converted to batteries. A fascinating concept. You are told that you are The One, meaning that you are the only One who can crack the code of the matrix and restore balance to both worlds.

Alright, done talking in first person. "The Matrix" is an absolutely stunning vision of the future presented in two separate planes of existence from writing and directing duo Andy and Larry (now Lana) Wachowski. It's a damn good mind-fuck of a movie, constantly switching out between the two realities; and I loved it for that. The future is a visual work of art; a compelling world tinted seedy green - dark and visionary. It's also home to some of the most badass, straight-up fantastic action sequences ever choreographed (the cinematographer is Bill Pope). It is pure cinema; memorable, influential, but also intelligent and ambitious.

I do not normally like Keanu Reeves. He doesn't appeal to me as an actor who can play characters of significant depth; although he pretty much proved me wrong here. His character inspires sympathy and understanding; and his relationship with Trinity gives the film a significant portion of its more emotional edge, since I think a good sci-fi/futuristic feature truly needs that to exist on its own. The world is one thing and its inhabitants are another. At the core, I think the film is very human; asking many existential and philosophical questions which imply that its creators are more intelligent than a lot of action filmmakers. But then again, this is more than an action film. Yes, it has the unforgettable lobby action set pieces, some truly epic slow-motion, and a whole lot of bullets; but the film is kinetic and frenetic without being stupid. It devotes a lot of its third act to the action, but by then we're one hundred percent invested. The breakneck pacing is not a flaw; it's an attribute, and a very positive one.

Perhaps what blew me away the most about "The Matrix" was where it drew its influence from. It's hard to categorize the film as the Wachowski brothers were clearly inspired by many things: including anime, science fiction literature (and just literature in general; there are many references to Lewis Carroll and his "Alice in Wonderland" works), action cinema, and even (spaghetti) westerns. If you put all of those things together with more philosophical idealism, you get this film. I'm afraid I can't do it much justice. The most I can do for it is advertise the damn thing to all those who appreciate good, mind-bending cinema. You won't see this one and its impact coming from a mile away like you will most films of its kind. It influenced a new generation of action filmmaking and still holds up today. There is no spoon, there are no rip-offs; only "The Matrix".]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Matrix-546-1013184-228360-What_if_I_told_you_The_Matrix_is_great_.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Matrix-546-1013184-228360-What_if_I_told_you_The_Matrix_is_great_.html Sun, 16 Sep 2012 18:08:20 +0000
<![CDATA[ One of the greatest lies of cinema history. 19%]]>
PLOT

The plot is that in a not-too-distant future, a software technician by day and computer hacker by night named Tom Anderson (day identity)/Neo (night identity) (Keanu Reeves) is tracked down by two mysterious people named Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) and soon finds himself learning that the world he's known is all a lie and he's the one “destined to free the human race.”

CHARACTERS

The characters in this movie are pretty dull. Aside from all the people still “plugged” into the Matrix, even the people that are “freed” don't seem to have much emotion or personality. Because of this, it's pretty hard to care what happens to them.

LACK OF ORIGINALITY

Again, I don't mind a lack of originality as long as the final product is well-done and has enough unique nuances to have it stand up on its own. Much like how the horrendous Dark City is an extremely uninspired cocktail of elements taken from Akira, Total Recall, Metropolis, and The Addams Family, The Matrix is an extremely uninspired cocktail of elements taken from Ghost in the Shell, Total Recall, and various Hong Kong action films. In other words, it's like the Wachowski brothers just ripped off a bunch of other peoples' works so they didn't have to create anything on their own.

Examples of this intense derivative nature is that with Ghost in the Shell, it's like the style of opening credits animations were lifted right out of GITS, and even towards the end of the film, there's a shoot-out between Neo and one of the Agents by an bunch of Asian-styled street-side markets that's very reminiscent to the one in GITS.

When Tom/Neo goes through all the trouble to evade the Matrix Agents in his workplace, it feels way too much like Doug Quaid's escape from Cohaagan's henchmen near the beginning of Total Recall (Dark City would be another movie to rip off this TR element).

I can keep going on here, but I think you get the picture.

HOKEY ACTING

The only actors I though were putting any effort in his roles or were at least entertaining were Lawrence Fishburne and Joe Pantoliano. It seems like everyone else either acted stiffly or was over-acting. Reeves is the most guilty of this, because so much of the time he's on the screen without any charisma or worse, when he's trying to be more dramatic, he comes off like William Shatner. Joe Pantoliano as Cypher at least had some eagerness on screen and cracked the only somewhat amusing line in the whole movie, which was “Better strap in, Dorothy, because Kansas, is going bye-bye!!” Carrie-Anne Moss felt really flat when she was on screen, and most of the others are guilty of this.

LACK OF INTELLIGENT CONTENT

Despite all the movie's attempts at coming off as an intelligent movie that will leave you thinking long after the movie is over, they're more like window dressings to cover up the fact that there isn't much beneath the surface of overstaged fights and tacky “bullet time” gun fights. First, there's the rather silly choice to give the protagonists names like Neo, Trinity, Morpheus, Cypher, and the naming of Morpheus's ship the Nebuchadnezzar. To me, they come off as loose references to ancient Greek mythology and Biblical locations that add up to nothing else other than for the sake of having them in order to make the movie look “culturally-developed.” Second, the references to Alice in Wonderland and Baudrillard's Simulacra and Simulation don't add up to anything that will make you think when the movie is over. It seems like the movie uses exposition about everything that happens and with any “spiritual” mumbo jumbo so that you don't have to mentally work for the film. Overall, given how hokey-feeling and convoluted the movie feels, it's nearly impossible to take seriously.

SOUNDTRACK

Don Davis's score for the Matrix is okay, nothing terrible, but nothing special. However, I must deeply scorn the Wachowski brothers's choice to add in such banal 90's music from the likes of Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, the Deftones, Rob Zombie, and Rage Against the Machine. They should have been much more adventurous and tried to get to use music from underground bands like Godflesh and Front Line Assembly (these bands create far more daunting music that's far more appropriate for cyberpunk media).

BORING ACTION SCENES

Now you're probably asking “Can you at least acknowledge that the action scenes are cool?” Well, I'd like to be merciful in this area, but not even the action scenes make this movie entertaining. The “bullet time” effects have been heavily-lauded and imitated since the Matrix's release, but despite the fact that I know why this effect exists in the Matrix, it just looks too silly and just feels more like a way for the special effects teams to show off their skills than to create any riveting visuals. Also, despite the fact that some protagonists face some grave, believable danger in the film, I honestly didn't feel much tension during these scenes because of how bland the characters are.

FINAL WORD

The Matrix is merely a jejune, bloodless sci-fi/action film that fails at both being thought-provoking or entertaining. If you want sci-fi and sci-fi/action films that are either thought-provoking or entertaining (both with some), check out these much superior films.

 

Alien
Aliens
Blade Runner
Akira
Ghost in the Shell
The Terminator
Robocop
Total Recall
Paprika
Predator
Solaris (1972 Tarkovski film, not the 2002 remake with George Clooney)
Stalker
2001: A Space Odyssey
THX-1138

Leave this derivative, poisonous pap on the store shelves.

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Matrix-546-1013184-224145-One_of_the_greatest_lies_of_cinema_history_19_.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Matrix-546-1013184-224145-One_of_the_greatest_lies_of_cinema_history_19_.html Thu, 17 May 2012 02:10:30 +0000
<![CDATA[ Starts out very strong and ends very flat.]]>
The plot is somewhat basic; Vince (Sam Riley) and his family have hit hard times with money. His father is in the hospital for a reason that is never disclosed (a textbook MacGuffin) and needs various operations to get him back on his feet. Since the family has exhausted all their options, Vince ends up taking extreme measures to aid his family. Using the ruse of paraphrasing, Vince blindly uses someone else's identity believing it will bring him some quick money. However, Vince finds himself being player number "13" in an underground gambling circuit in a round robin style game of Russian roulette.

There a couple of subplots in this movie, one involving Mickey Rourke and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, another involving Ray Winstone and Jason Statham. I found these subplots, well acted and very, very engaging. Alexander Skarsgård known by most as Eric on the show "True Blood" gives a strong performance in a supporting role. As I noted prior, the acting in this movie is excellent. I knew Sam Riley played Ian Curtis in "Control". I haven't seen that movie yet, which is odd because I am fond of Joy Division. Nevertheless, Sam Riley played a good protagonist and I look forward to see him in other films. As for Jason Statham, I have always had mixed feelings about him as an actor. In some movies I roll my eyes and at other I enjoy his work. I would have to say he gave a strong performance in this film. In addition, he doesn't throw a single punch, which is different for him. Rourke and Winstone were solid as always and even good old 50 Cent provided a good performance.

The problem I had with this film was the last half an hour. The pace became a jumbled mess, appearing as too many things needed to be addressed before the 90 minute mark came. For instance, there was an unneeded side story with the police attempting to find this underground circuit. As for the final scene, without spoiling it, there was an excellent irony to the denouement. Yet I also felt like, "I sat through 90 minutes for this".

This movie is a remake of a French film; I haven't seen the original so I cannot make any comparisons. Nor am I aware if this film has been honest to the source material. I believe if the last half an hour could be reworked and subplots either expanded or eliminated, this could have been an amazing film. I believe the film could even have the same ending, if the former and latter issues could be addressed.

In the end this film is interesting, different, and at times very intense and has really good acting. I would recommend giving this movie a go, there are definitely worse movies a person could watch. I for one am interested to see the original.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/d/UserReview-13_2010_movie_-546-1689118-221006-Starts_out_very_strong_and_ends_very_flat_.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/d/UserReview-13_2010_movie_-546-1689118-221006-Starts_out_very_strong_and_ends_very_flat_.html Thu, 9 Feb 2012 21:17:18 +0000
<![CDATA[ Wonderful qualities that sink....just like a brick]]>  
The 2005 film “Brick” would be considered a “neo-noir” film, mainly being a modern film noir omitting the “black and white” and some of the day old norms of the 1940s and 1950s. The plot revolves around Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a high school student who is trying to solve the disappearance/murder of his estranged girlfriend Emily.  Brendan jumps down an interesting “rabbit hole” and uncovers many layers in his quest to resolve this conundrum. The grapples or “layers” Brendan tackles consist, but are not limited to, drug dealers, police, murder, fights and the proverbial femme fatal.
 
These all seem like prolific standards for a noir film, yet I found this film to be rather lacking in cohesiveness and believability. The movie is about high school students, not one single scene involves a classroom.  In addition, these high school students in many ways act more like adults.  Another odd aspect about these “high school” students is their dialect is a hybrid of adolescent jargon and an anachronistic tongue of an era long gone. I do appreciate the ode to classic noir by having our “anti-hero” calling a girl; excuse me dame “angel” but it seems odd to have a high school student doing this.  To piggy back this notion; there is a scene where “The Pin”, a drug czar played by Lukas Haas, is having a meeting with his peers while his mother is serving snacks and drinks.  Perhaps this is black comedy but I found it totally preposterous.
 
Another problem area with this film is the opening scene. Technically, the framing and cinematography are breathtaking, as is the score.  Brendan is standing in front of a storm drain looking at Emily, who appears to be dead.  Then the scene cuts stating “two days prior”, I had the assumption that the opening of the film would also serve as the climax.  Sadly we the viewers are brought back to the storm drain scene within twenty minutes of the motion picture.  A perfect story set up ruined for the next ninety minutes seem bloated and expedited at the same time.
 
Furthermore, there were way too many characters in this movie and the cant and code names made it difficult at times to keep up with the story. Perhaps I felt this way because a vast majority of the dialogue was mumbled in this movie. Once the climax came and we the viewers figure out “who was behind it all” I felt somewhat let down.  It was as if the ending was too standard for a film noir.
 
On a positive note, the acting was very good. Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a really fine job as our anti-hero; with the material he was given, as did Nora Zehetner.  The mood was also very stark and bare, great for a film noir.  The lighting and cinematography was also on point.  As for the score, well let’s just say I purchased it as soon as the end credits were rolling.   The problem with this movie was the direction of the story.  The story was not bad but the execution was very lazy and lacked focus, which translated to a very elongated viewing. I personally feel that if the high school angle was omitted and/or reworked, the story became a bit more simplified and the ending wasn’t quite so trite this film could have been the standard all neo-noirs should live up to.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Brick_2005_movie_-546-1017142-220952-Wonderful_qualities_that_sink_just_like_a_brick.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Brick_2005_movie_-546-1017142-220952-Wonderful_qualities_that_sink_just_like_a_brick.html Wed, 8 Feb 2012 16:33:23 +0000
<![CDATA[ Fight Club: Post-Modern Castration Paranoia]]> NOTE: This was formatted for my blog, so just in case you plan to waste your time reading(as in the pictures and spacing won't be correctly placed) , follow the link :http://rantsofadegenerate.blogspot.com/


"I am Jack's Raging Bile Duct."
Post-Modern Castration Paranoia
 

 
INTRODUCTION:
The 1999 film Fight Club is about..? Well what is Fight Club, here I am sitting on my sofa expecting a 2 hour blood fest of men beating one another within an inch of their life, yet I am served a cold, sardonic pitch upon ‘us’ - the consumer. Years ago, David Fincher served this oddity of a film to the mainstream audiences – ironically our beloved consumers and the impression left was not of the common film; controversy had spread for the films exploitation of filming style, often unconventional narrative structure and most importantly, the films ‘violent’ themes. Perhaps the most self-destructive effect Fight Club caused upon itself was the surprise audiences were given, not because of the films dark undertone, but the lack of violence and predictable plot; audiences were exposed to a film countering their original predictions with an insulting film, criticising the audience for their own admission. Now as time goes by, Fight Club reaches cult status, not necessarily just for its rich subtext, but its kickass approach which makes this film, for the lack of a better word, cool. We’re given a cool experiences which has created what many believe to be a guilty pleasure in filmmaking, garnishing the award for "50 Best Guy Movies of All Time”, perhaps the magazine itself doesn’t realize the misogynistic themes, insulting men’s lack of masculinity of the modern age often because of women and the removal of their endowments. Fight Club’s multiple subplots and themes, ask the viewer to see pass the surface, dealing with consumerism, emasculation and anarchy.  So let’s fall into the rabbit hole, which is Fight Club.

 
SYNOPSIS:

We begin with our protagonist, nameless – often referred to as Jack. Jack suffers insomnia from his modern lifestyle. The lifestyle he lives gives him very little reward for his boredom of an office job, requiring he endanger the lives of thousands (maybe millions) of people’s lives. Unhappy with his life in an office and buried in the IKEA catalogues; he searches for medical help, only to be denied help and mocked by a mocking doctor. Searching for a cure, Jack finds liberty in support groups for people with diseases. When he discovers crying at these groups results in his loss of insomnia, he becomes addicted because people “really listen”.

 
  Soon the introduction of a fellow female liar makes him seek other outlets of his suppressed emotions.  After meeting a ‘single-serving-friend’ on an airplane – Tyler Durden, a man who is the complete opposite of himself, strong, cynical and outspoken - Jack returns to find his condo has caught fire, as well as all of his possessions. From here, Jack moves in with Tyler, creating a Fight Club, for middle-aged men to express their oppressed masculinity.  Soon though, their ‘support group’ spirals out of control into an anarchist group – Project Mayhem. The group then spread anarchy throughout the cities of America, becoming a powerfully organised terrorist group. It is here when Jack confronts Tyler, discovering that Tyler is himself. Tyler was an alter ego created, so Jack could cope with his fears and depression. From here, he attempts to stop Project Mayhem, but only failing, resulting in the destruction of America’s credit companies.

 
NARRATOR/JACK/TYLER:





So who is our humble narrator? Edward Norton plays what is only credited as ‘Narrator’. There has been large deliberation on what his actual name is, although some conclusions can be drawn in the novel (1), the film is a lot more complex in our protagonist’s identity. In addition, the mere existence of Tyler is a complex one, for it is questionable how many things occur throughout the film. First of all, the name of the Narrator is a debatable one. Never is the name revealed in the film or book, only speculation can be made upon it. Our protagonist is a living MacGuffin, to clear the air; Jack is not his real name. Jack is a way for the Narrator to describe himself. The only other possible known name is Tyler Durden. At one point it can be confirmed his name is Tyler, when he calls Marla asking her what his name was, she answers Tyler Durden. However, just because she knew him as Tyler does not mean that he had not created this identity by himself, and later grew it into an alter ego. Jack had used many fake names at his support groups, Cornelius for testicular cancer, perhaps Tyler is for Fight Club. In fact, numerous times throughout the film it is specifically said that he is not Tyler, but simply becoming what he had created. Tyler is an improved vision of himself, as he continues he becomes that vision.

 
“I am free in all the ways that you are not. People do it every day: they talk to themselves; they see themselves, as they'd like to be. Nevertheless, they don't have the courage you have, to just run with it. Naturally, you're still wrestling with it a bit, so sometimes, you're still you. Other times, you imagine yourself watching me. Little by little, you're just letting yourself become...Tyler Durden."

 
Such examples illustrate the slow transformation into another identity. The transformation itself is a long process taking “Jack” over a year to complete. Jack does not suffer insomnia contrary to his belief, but narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is the constant fatigue he suffers from his ‘insomnia’. However, Jack never has insomnia, instead he spends his nights as Tyler – working night jobs at the Pressman Hotel and as a projectionist, and most importantly making soap. All of ‘Tyler’s activities’ takes place while Jack is supposedly not asleep. “What about narcolepsy? I nod off, I wake up in strange places, I have no idea how I got there.” It is shortly after this when Tyler Durden begins to become an image, slowly integrating into Jack’s mind with short flashes leading up to their meeting. (4)  
 










Tyler’s lack of existence is obvious throughout the film (although these clues are not obvious until multiple viewings). There is a clever use of Pitt’s character throughout, some examples are:
 
One: When Jack and Tyler both go onto the bus, Jack only pays a fare for himself. As well as that, when a man walks past, bumping both Jack and Tyler, the man only apologises to Jack.
 
Two: Often Tyler will speak for Jack, and Jack will repeat himself, without the third party noticing Tyler. During the hospital scene, Tyler tells Jack exactly what to say, and Jack repeats himself. Furthermore, while at the Paper St. Residence Marla and Jack speak, but Jack is disrupted by the sounds of construction in the basement, which Marla cannot hear. Again, in this scene he is told what to say to the third party – Marla. 
 
Three: Jack attempts to call Tyler with no answer. Although, Tyler shortly calls him at the same pay phone he just tried to contact him. Tyler says he never answers his phone and he used ’69 to call him back. However, later the Paper St. Residence is revealed to have only rotary phones, which would not be capable of redialling, therefore, Jack had imagined the entire phone call. Later when Jack and Tyler finish drinking at the bar and go home, Jack asks where his car is, Tyler then replies, “What car?” It is then questionable how Tyler managed to get to a bar from such an isolated area – Paper St. 
 
Four: When Tyler finishes having sex with Marla, he opens the door to Jack who was ‘passing by’ and talks with him. Once Jack leaves Marla asks who he was talking to, since there was only two people in the house, this meant Tyler must have been talking to himself, or Jack was talking to himself.
 
Five: When Tyler (who is driving) purposely crashes the car, while recovering Tyler pulls Jack out of the driver’s seat, implying Jack had been driving the whole time.      
 
CASTRATION:
According to David Fincher, "We're designed to be hunters and we're in a society of shopping. There's nothing to kill anymore, there's nothing to fight, nothing to overcome, nothing to explore. In that societal emasculation this everyman is created."
 
Feminism is not a detrimental on society (although the film may say otherwise). Feminism in the latest decades has been highly successful in ‘Western Societies’ (I have a personal dislike for this phrase). It has lead to the equilibrium of sexes. Since feminism, many other minorities and groups of social change have arisen, debatably shaping the world into a better place. However, Fight Club’s message is not necessarily that all this is a bad revolution, but it is being done to the point of reversing the problem, this time suppressing men; or alternatively, Fight Club mat very well show that equilibrium is an impossible feet. Of course at the present woman are not as powerful as men in previous ancient societies, but the beginning of this process is leaving men more damaged than ever before. The emasculation of men in society is not only taking the previous tasks that were once theirs, but also taking away the primal instinct of superiority. (2)
 
It can be easily seen that males are made to be a superior sex. Males generally are physically superior and evidentially more inventive – although it’s debatable whether women were given the opportunity to make inventive and creative contributions to our societies. Perhaps the most powerful theme throughout Fight Club is not the irregularity of men assimilating to an equal level with women, but whether it’s possible. In almost all (if not all) societies of past and present have seen men superior. The ‘hunter-gather’ lifestyle saw men the most important and physically powerful sex. What Fight Club asks is whether it is possible to ever fully lose this instinct of ‘hunter-gather’, whether it is possible for men to ever truly become equal – or if woman will abuse their latest increase in power. If men were one day capable of removing the shackles of primal instinct, at what cost would it be? Will assimilation conclude in ultimate depression and self-loathing?            
 
It would be pure denial to say Fight Club is not a misogynistic film. The film screams of fear for the future of the male sex, predominantly at the latest ill attempt to reach equilibrium among the sexes – feminism. The fear manages to effectively mask any other theme of the film, by using hidden subtext, or obvious signs. Jack’s condo and ‘IKEA lifestyle’ is the essential emasculation of our protagonist, quibbling over the fine details which would only gain attention of women in the pre-60’s. 
 
"Like everyone else, I had become a slave to the IKEA nesting instinct. If I saw something like clever coffee table in the shape of a yin and yang, I had to have it. I would flip through catalogues and wonder, "What kind of dining set defines me as a person?" We used to read pornography. Now it was the Horchow Collection. I had it all. Even the glass dishes with tiny bubbles and imperfections, proof they were crafted by the honest, simple, hard-working indigenous peoples of wherever."
 
Our nameless protagonist (referred as his own third-person description of him - Jack) is not the quintessential heroic, rustic man known to a previous lifestyle. In the eye’s of Tyler Durden, Jack is whinging little man, engrossed in the superficial world of consumerism and emasculation. Self-described Jack falls into the ‘nesting instinct’, miserable in the conventions of modern society’s plan – equality. Jack is the model citizen, living to empty his wallet and die, "On a long enough timeline, the survival
rate for everyone drops to zero." At times Jack is shown wanting to be a women. Ever so sarcastically, we are given the obvious hints, "I want bowel cancer!"
 
The crippling disease is demonstrated in Jack’s zombie-like state of self-loathing lethargy. Jack’s miserable attitude is caused mainly by his work, often requiring him to rest on a lovely airplane seat. Physically Jack deteriorates with his inactive lifestyle, and the crippling insomnia. As an insomniac, he searches for the miniscule excitement that is his impulse spending, rewarded with almost no sleep. With no excitement or rest, Jack’s life becomes a slow debilitating death, not only physically, but also to his morale’s. Despite all his problems, he is not a wreck of a person, but a perfect person, "I am Jack's complete lack of surprise". Jack’s lack of existence leaves him as a boring person. Perhaps one of the many reasons for this film’s unpopularity too many is their narrator is a soulless bore spewing words of self-pity. Jack is non-existent to the point of having no name, credited only as ‘Narrator’. It is for these reasons why Jack has Tyler, to support himself and bring out his own primal instinct of masculinity and impulse. For another alternative, Jack escaped his miserable state in various support groups. During the support groups, he was able to release his built up sadness and cry. Although his reliance on these support groups was a gapping weakness, it freed him mentally.
 
Of course, Jack’s temporary enlightenment is put to an end, and you guessed it by a woman. As soon as Jack begun to escape his entrapment of consumerism and gain some of his primal manhood, a woman goes for a kick in the balls and throws him back into the even more pathetic state he originated. In this early stage of the film, there are two major allegories,
 
Our macho primeval. One: The main support group shown throughout the film is the support for testicular cancer. Here Jack meets Bob, "Bob, Bob had bitch tits." This is our introduction to the support group and semi-important character, Bob (Meatloaf). Already in the line above, our Jack uses a womanly insult ‘bitch’ to describe his now womanly assets – large male boobs. Upon that, Robert ‘Bob’ Pulson has a very soft, high-pitched voice, resembling a woman’s. He also has a very kind nature about himself and no balls; Bob is the trigger for Jack to cry. Much like the rest of the film’s metaphorical motifs, Bob is the example of a man hitting rock bottom. He had previously been a body builder, a profession that screams machismo, yet due to the modern use of steroids, becomes the womanly figure he is now. It is at this point, where the small manliness retained is destroyed by a womanly figure, causing Jack to cry and lose his composed self. The rest of the group is no better of an influence, for none of them have their testicles anymore. We hear a story of man, brought to crying because of his ex-wife. The support group itself is a pool of fear of women, and the slow transition to becoming one. Jack’s reliance on groups of this general nature of weakness reflects his own emotional stability. For Jack to free himself of the constant pressure of his ideal modern life, he must further degrade himself, asking for help he does not even need, "And then... something happened. I let go. Lost in oblivion - dark and silent and complete. I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom."
 
Two: Marla Singer, our one and only real female character. "If I did have a tumour, I would name it Marla. Marla, the little scratch on the roof of your mouth that would heal if only you would stop tonguing it, but you can't." Marla’s entrance into the support groups (and introduction to the film) results in the ultimate hatred of our humbly broken narrator. Marla is represented as a pest, infecting Jack’s Zen with her mutual lies and constant smoking. Marla lives in poverty dresses darkly and is portrayed as an antagonist. Although she is no out spoken feminist (the enemy), she is the essentially the final straw of Jack’s sanity (or insanity?) leading to the creation of Tyler Durden.
 
To conclude, Fight Club’s message is not of hatred towards the female sex, but fear for the ‘Westernised’ males. Through capitalism and social revolutions, attempting totally equality has changed the primal role of a male. Our film suggests that this is perhaps impossible to ever achieve in a healthy manner. The broken Jack manifests his emotions until he reaches insanity – or potential enlightenment – forcing himself to create what he wishes he could be. This idol he creates himself is a force of inspirations, resurrections and jealousy, which extends to not only Jack, but also huge groups of men wanting to break free of their modern lifestyle, "Our generation has had no Great Depression, no Great War. Our war is spiritual. Our depression is our lives."  Fight Club is ultimately, what Tyler Durden is fighting for, the freedom of men, destructions of corporations and business, and the revival of the ‘hunter-gather’ customs.
 
CONSUMERISM, ANARCHY AND SOAP:
According to Austrian neurologist, Sigmund Freud, the human psyche contains three main driving forces for our actions and desires. (5) Although rather complex, in short these three are what drives us to carry out what we desire - the Id, Ego and Superego. In Freud’s theory, we are all born with an id. The id is responsible for our basic desires, essential for infancy. Freud believes the id is responsible for our pleasure. To summarise, the id will want what is required at the specific moment, caring for no variables of the certain situation. When an infant is thirsty, the id wants water, thereby resulting in the newborn crying, regardless of whether water can be provided or the situation is appropriate for crying. The id can be describe as selfish as it cares not for anything else then satisfying its current desire. Therefore, the baby wanting water will cry until water is provided, the newborn doesn’t care for time, or if its parents are preoccupied or unable to satisfy the newborn, it will still demand water despite impracticality.
Our (and Jack's ) Psyche.
Freud believes that as a child further develops (age of 3) the ego will develop. The ego, theoretically takes into account the practicality of the id’s desire. The ego understands and analyses variables. The ego ultimately satisfies the id’s desires while taking into account other desires and the fallout its own.  
 
At the age of five, it is said we develop the final drive, the superego. The superego develops as societal customs and restraints influence the child. The superego is the moralistic aspect of a person, taking into account normative of society.  On whole, the id is responsible for our most primitive desires, taking in no consideration of potential hazards or impracticability. The ego controls the id with reason, and associates the superego, surpassing just logic to cultural preferences. The id is the aggressive and sexual desires, controlled only by modern civilisation’s customs, Freud stated:
 
 "Men are not gentle creatures, who want to be loved, who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked; they are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness. As a result, their neighbor is for them not only a potential helper or sexual object, but also someone who tempts them to satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him."
 
Jack’s creation of Tyler and ‘change’ into him is explainable by the extreme differences in the superego. Jack had been raised in beliefs positive to consumerism. As the Freud theory surfaced, it was used by business to exploit the id’s desire, replacing id’s original desires (aggression and sexual) with the product being sold. Jack’s altered id was responsible for his desire to fill his void will products, “What kind of dining set defines me as a person?” With the id effectively buried under the control of advertisers, his environment easily influences the superego. Jack’s superego, or ideology leads him to believe his current life of depression and boredom is the typical ladder to stardom and wealth. The path he takes is what he is raised to attempt, fuelling consumerism. Tyler is the polar opposite to Jack; Tyler’s superego is the same as his id’s desires. Tyler’s superego is as primitive as the id, being our desires without the account of potential hazard or fallout. Therefore, Tyler’s ideology is pure to his ancestors design in thought, like in Freud’s statement; Tyler’s desires are violent and sexual. However, Tyler himself does not directly circum to primitive thinking without thought; Tyler develops a divine plan to do what he believes is correct and essential for the survival of civilisation, which is to restore our original ids – by returning to the dark ages. Of course, Jack’s superego and suppressed id does not agree with Tyler’s pure ideology, resulting in the creation of an alter ego – ego being the balance between the id and superego, with the conflicting beliefs and loss of balance, another ego must be created to support the psychological stress.
 
Fight Club’s intention was for the viewer to realise the change of nature and ‘controlled’ ids in our post-modern society. After the turn of World War Two, the “middle children of history” were bombarded with latest societal trend: 
 
“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. we've all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.”
   
Aggressive tactics.  Tyler’s philosophy is the alter ego of Jack, conflicting with his original ego. His rebellion stems from his id, defying the damage that has been done to him by society’s fast-paced consumerism. Tyler’s desire is to return to ‘the beginning’. This involves anarchism to counter modern technologies. Tyler’s specific policy on government is never revealed. Capitalism is the opposition of Tyler. Capitalism is responsible for the surge of business and freedom to own and sell assets, resulting in the growth of consumerism. In this case, Marxism is the obvious approach as a direct retaliation to Capitalism, highly influenced by the Cold War. Tyler does use some Marxism for the sense of equality, but in the very same time includes Fascism and Anarchy. "You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else." Here Tyler’s words stay true to the sense of Marxism of ‘equality’ of all, but in at the very same time uses Fascist techniques to gain control. Through series of brainwashing and intense conditioning, Tyler exploits the men’s weaknesses to gain full control. Fight Club and Project Mayhem are strictly for men only. Remembering the insecurities of post-modern men, Tyler offers the outlet for desperate men, thereby exploiting their desires – Tyler does this by appealing to their suppressed ids. Furthermore, although Marxism and Fascism is used for control and some ideology, anarchy is the ultimate tool of execution. Project Mayhem gains influences by committing acts of vandalism, often seeming random and for the sake of ‘slowing progress’. However, beyond mere execution using anarchy, Tyler’s final wish on society could quite possibly be Anarchism – returning to the dark ages. In Tyler’s vision he speaks of roaming through ruins of cities, hunting wild animals are all signs of the vision of our now obsolete primeval lifestyles (in most parts of the world).  
 
The infamous pink soap, like many other aspects of the film, is a symbol itself. Throughout Fight Club, pink soap is often just ‘around’. The soap proves that not a single frame was wasted in this film, but everything shown has some level of subtext. The soap happens to be one of the most important motifs. When asked what he does for a living, Tyler identifies himself as a soap manufacturer, ignoring his other jobs as a projectionist and waiter at the prestigious Pressman Hotel. Soaps significance plays a crucial role, as Tyler states soap is, the foundation of civilization”. First, soap is used for the productions of nitro-glycerine, resulting in the explosives used for Tyler’s ultimate plan; with this comes to explosives used to destroy Jack’s apartment, which symbolises the beginning of Jack’s new life, “the first soap was made from the ashes of heroes”. Therefore, soap as Tyler describes is the root and foundation of society, and especially in this case, the actions leading to Jack’s anarchist regime: purification, cleanliness and enlightenment. Furthermore, soap is also a drive for their plans. In order to make soap, the two (one) must steal fat from a liposuction clinic; thus, kick starting the chain of vandalism and anarchy. The ‘soap’ is made into either explosives; or the fat created into soap for “selling rich women their own fat asses”. Beyond the sense of purifying the negative effects of post-modern society, in the department store its shown as higher class. Tyler and Jack selling women their ‘own fat asses’ shows a contempt for the higher class, placing Jack in a lower level. Therefore, soap is seen as form of purification and drive for Project Mayhem and differences in people by financial classes.
 
OUR FINAL MESSAGE:
Upon our final scene, we are given a message. 3 minutes. This is it. Here we are at the beginning. Ground zero. Would you like to say a few words to mark the occasion?” (soon followed by the humorous remark, ‘flashback humour’.) It is this part of the movie, where it asks something of the viewer. The ‘ground zero’ remark brings up the thought of a beginning, asking men to understand the message and take action. Whether Fight Club intended for direct copycats on the film’s Project mayhem, or just for awareness to their consumerist lifestyle, we are asked to take some action.   
 
Fight Club’s overruling message has unfortunately been heard upon deaf ears. Its status as a Cult Film insists that only a select group truly understand what the film attempted to voice. It’s unfortunate that many have accepted Fight Club’s oddity as entertainment. Entertainment value of the film is quite powerful; although too many let the title itself discourage, many assume it’s a simple film about violence. And to be fair, Fight Club without its deep subtext is a whole bunch of seemingly random, far-fetched events, and this is how many see the film. Howard Hampton comments:
 
“. . . Fight Club generated no noticeably baleful side effects whatsoever. Are left-wing critics and right-wing politicians the only ones left who believe in the potency of "transgression"? What is the world coming to when a movie featuring charismatic performers revealing in anti-social behaviour and a host of semi-subliminal advertisements for the joys of chaos can't incite a single unbalanced loner to commit a kamikaze act of homage?”
 
Overall, Fight Club beckons many questions and ideology without ever fully creating awareness beyond a selective group. Fight Club takes on many challenging issues, expressing the fear post-modern society will have upon men. Although the film may not be anti-feminist, it does question whether it will be possible for men to ever adjust as society expects them. Through Capitalism, Consumerism and equilibrium we are denying our id’s desires to be met. Is it possible to deny our primeval drives and essentially evolve, or will our modernisation result in the deterioration of our sanity due to abnormal stress? Fight Club’s answer to this problem is to return to a simpler time, a time where primeval instinct ruled supreme. This may be our only options to retain not only our species sanity and survival, but the preservation of our future.      

 

 References 
(1)I have not read Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, this writing is solely directed to the film; otherwise it may become a comparison. Therefore, any conclusions drawn are from the film only, even though it may contradict information in the novella.
(2)Any beliefs throughout the film may not be of my own thoughts and beliefs, although I will be writing what the film believes creating a biased style, I may at times put in my own opinions.
(3)Jack is not the real name of the protagonist; it is just a fake name replacing ‘Narrator’ (as it is credited). This originates from use of the phrase by the character himself, which he found in old medical books, “I am Jack’s cold sweat”.
(4) [Pictures of Tyler Durden]
(5) [Picture of Sigmund Freud’s chart]

 

 
http://www.eeggs.com/items/3312.html
http://www.jademyst.com/essays/11.html
http://www.thefilmjournal.com/issue8/fightclub.html
http://whitewolf.htmlplanet.com/quotes.html
http://ezinearticles.com/?Fight-Club,-Consumer-Psychology,-and-Redemption&id=905360
http://allpsych.com/psychology101/ego.html
http://www.oppapers.com/essays/Symbolism-Movie-Fight-Club/67951

 
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http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Fight_Club_1999_movie_-546-1004484-216605-Fight_Club_Post_Modern_Castration_Paranoia.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Fight_Club_1999_movie_-546-1004484-216605-Fight_Club_Post_Modern_Castration_Paranoia.html Sun, 25 Dec 2011 15:23:32 +0000
<![CDATA[ This Movie Was Better Than I Thought (Warning Possible Spoilers)]]>
The police and paramedics take the man away and before Vince leaves he goes back for the man's envelope. The envelope has instructions to go to the UPS Office to pick up a package. He goes and signs for it showing his ID (this is important because the police that were watching the gentleman later go to the UPS office and learn that Vince signed for the package).

The package has instructions that sends Vince on a train trip. He is able to shake the police tail and gets picked up by the actor who plays Eric in True Blood. He flashes the number 13 that was included in the package and Eric thinks Vince is in fact Harrison and takes Vince to a secluded place and later to an out of the way mansion.

In that mansion are a bunch of rich guys gambling millions on a Russian Roullette tournament that Vince has unfortunately gotten himself involved in. The other men involved are all desperate souls that need money badly. Each round of the tournament creates a great deal of tension.

The movie was compelling and teaches the lesson that it is sometimes better not to get involved. As Vince learns the hard way that once he stole Harrison's letter he got himself a whole lot more than he bargained for.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/d/UserReview-13_2010_movie_-546-1689118-216566-This_Movie_Was_Better_Than_I_Thought_Warning.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/d/UserReview-13_2010_movie_-546-1689118-216566-This_Movie_Was_Better_Than_I_Thought_Warning.html Fri, 23 Dec 2011 03:12:09 +0000
<![CDATA[ STILL LOVE IT]]>

PET SEMATARY

I am a huge Stephen King fan and it is no secret, form his books to his films I like them all. That includes both versions of this story and I also think this is one of the best King film adaptations. This has been a favorite of mine ever since it was first released, ah the good old days. The cast is great and the over all look and feel of the film is wonderful. I usually watch this at least once a year, although it has been a while since I have seen part two. And yes it is spelled wrong in the title because that is how the kids spelt it in the story.

The Creed family has just moved into a house in Maine and lives across from a new neighbor named Jud. Jud befriends the new family and tells them of a local pet cemetery where that the kids created for lost pets [obviously]. Things are going well until the kid's cat named Winston Churchill or Church gets run over by a truck. So Louis Creed [the father] takes the cat to the cemetery and buries Church there. The cat returns but is much more a demon than a loving companion pet.

Not to long after that Louis's son is killed the same way the cat was. Not to long after that Louis does what he did with the cat, buries him in that pet cemetery. He does this in the hopes that the child will come back. Come back he does as he behaves just like the cat, he is back to kill. What will the family do and how will they deal with this, well check out the flick or read the book.

Director Mary Lambert did a great job with this film in my opinion. It moves at the perfect pace for this type of film, never to fast or slow. Of course she had Mr. King himself as the screen writer so that probably helped out a lot. Still the atmosphere and dread in this film is what gets me every time. It feels like a classic horror film from start to finish. The mood of the film is great as are the performances; every thing about this film is great to me.

Fred Gwynne is excellent here and could very well be the show stealer, his performance and character here is so legendary. His character here has appeared on various "South Park" episodes, classic every time. David Midkiff is good here as well as the father tortured by his son's death. His wife is played by Denise Crosby and she as well is another all star player here. The kids are great here as well which goes to show what kind of a cast they had here.

I know some people don't love this film and that is fine. Me, myself, and I though have always loved this flick. I need to rewatch the second film again but that will be for a later date. The special edition has a great commentary track from the director as well as some great behind the scenes features and such. So I say check this out if you have yet to, and even if you have pick up the special edition.

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http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/d/UserReview-Pet_Sematary_Special_Colletor_s_Editon-546-1785677-216050-STILL_LOVE_IT.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/d/UserReview-Pet_Sematary_Special_Colletor_s_Editon-546-1785677-216050-STILL_LOVE_IT.html Sun, 4 Dec 2011 23:30:11 +0000
<![CDATA[Watchmen (2009 film) Quick Tip by KingreX32]]>
See i never read the graphic novel so I went into the theater (opening day might I add) expecting a classic Superhero movie, (Spiderman, Batman, Superman, you know) Watchmen was very different though. It was alot more serious and mature than I was expecting so obviously I came out of the theater hating this flick. I realize now though that most of the people who said they liked this movie read the graphic novel so they picked up on things I didn't. That's why i have yet to review this movie i don't wanna seem biased.

I'm posting this Quick tip now though because for some reason Ive gained a renewed interest in this movie can i kinda wanna see it again. So fingers crossed I can find it somewhere.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Watchmen_2009_film_-13-1357287-215760.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Watchmen_2009_film_-13-1357287-215760.html Sat, 26 Nov 2011 16:27:54 +0000
<![CDATA[ Never Assume a Dead Man's Identity]]> Star Rating:


There are scenes in 13 that successfully elicit a terrifying visceral thrill. There can be no other reaction to a plot that centers on underground Russian roulette and numerous shots that consist of imprisoned men holding guns to each other’s heads. I’ve never fired or even held a gun in my life, and yet the movies have made me aware of that moment just before the trigger is pulled – that solitary, agonizingly tense moment when time seems to stop and absolutely nothing else in the world exists apart from you and your target. What will happen next? Only one way to find out. This movie has that kind of nail-biting suspense. There’s no purpose to the game; these dueling men are forced into participating and have no quarrel with each other. It exists solely for the amusement of the fabulously wealthy, who apparently have nothing better to do.
 
Adapted by director Gela Babluani from his own 2005 French film 13 Tzameti (unseen by me), 13 is gritty, downbeat, and profoundly disturbing. It’s not all that compelling, in part because it makes an overstated and unoriginal point, but mostly because many of the situations the characters find themselves in are highly implausible. I wonder, though, if that’s a natural side effect of stories with allegorical subtexts; certain societal messages, I believe, can only be heard and understood within the context of a heightened reality. As long as we’re engaged, it may not matter how far-fetched a movie turns out to be. I admit, though, I didn’t come to this realization until about three-quarters of the way through. Prior to that moment, I was caught up in making pointless observations about how certain scenes were not physically or dramatically possible.

                                              
                                                
It tells the story of a young Ohio electrician named Vince Ferro (Sam Riley), whose family is desperately in need of money. The biggest financial drain is his father, who lies in a hospital bed bandaged and immobile after a horrible accident nearly killed him. While doing wiring work at his clients’ home, Vince overhears a vague conversation between the husband and wife, in which talk of a good paying job comes up. As an added incentive, Vince notices an envelope in the husband’s hand. In a rather convenient twist of fate, the husband dies overdosing on heroine, allowing Vince to steal the envelope and take his place. He has absolutely no idea what he’s in for, but when large sums of money are at stake, there’s almost no telling the risks some people will take.
 
The envelope contains both a set of instructions and a cell phone. After boarding a train to Pennsylvania and checking into a hotel, a mysterious stranger calls Vince on the cell phone with further instructions. He then meets a driver (Alexander Skarsgård) who takes him to one of those reliable mansions in the middle of the woods. You know the kind of place I’m talking about; it’s a cold, secluded estate made of bricks and sculpted masonry, where eccentric millionaires regularly convene to indulge in their twisted pastimes. Despite fessing up to taking a dead man’s identity, Vince is assigned the number thirteen and forced to take part in the aforementioned roulette games, where his life will be betted on along with the lives of other “contestants.” These include an American smuggled out of a Mexican prison (Mickey Rourke) and a newly released mental patient (Ray Winstone), whose bettor is his very own brother (Jason Statham).

                                               
                                                 
The emcee (Michael Shannon) shouts out instructions to the “players” as if a blood vessel in his head were about to burst. This deeply unpleasant character, whose intensity betrays a curious sense of focus, initially comes off as a grating one-note typecast but is soon revealed as the film’s emotional precursor; the way he speaks and moves gives the viewer insight as to how the rest of the movie will go. As he miraculously makes his way through the rounds – and I should point out that each round sees an additional bullet put into the gun barrel – Vince will make the understandable transition from frightened to a state of manic desperation. He knows that other men have his life in their hands, and vice versa.
 
Although highly devastating, the ending effectively forces us to think beyond the scope of what we see onscreen. Everyone is a victim in this movie, even those we might consider villains – and for a couple of characters, that distinction is separated by a very fine line. The conclusion is inescapable, if a little too obvious: Absolutely no one wins in the frantic pursuit of money. Is it at all a coincidence that Vince is assigned a number many consider unlucky? I can’t say that I came away from 13 with a better understanding of human nature, although I can say that I was intrigued all throughout, and that it did what it set out to do and gave me a good thrill. It also kept me guessing, although not about the plot so much as the tone. Action is fairly predictable in most movies, but sometimes there’s no way of knowing how a character is feeling at any given moment.

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http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/d/UserReview-13_2010_movie_-546-1689118-214736-Never_Assume_a_Dead_Man_s_Identity.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/d/UserReview-13_2010_movie_-546-1689118-214736-Never_Assume_a_Dead_Man_s_Identity.html Sat, 29 Oct 2011 06:10:42 +0000
<![CDATA[ It's dark alright, but that's about it. 3%]]> I heard about this movie several years back and it looked pretty interesting and I was fairly impressed by the large amounts of positive reviews it got, and luckily for me, I found the whole movie on YouTube, so I didn't even have to invest one dollar at the local Family Video. I finally found the time to watch it about a month ago and boy was this a deplorable flick.

STORY

The story for Dark City is that John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) finds himself in a bathtub with a murdered prostitute, and gets a phone call from Dr. Daniel P. Schreber (Kiefer Sutherland) claiming he can help him find his identity, all the while Emma Murdoch (Jennifer Connelley) claiming to be John's wife along with detective Frank Bumstead (William Hurt) and a bunch of pale bald people called the “Strangers” chasing John down.

CHARACTERS

One of the things that really does Dark City in is that the characters are really shallow and uninteresting. I didn't care about a single one of them as the movie went along since they were all nothing but ultra-conventional plot devices. John is the typical semi-geeky antihero, his supposed wife is the initially shady character that you know will switch to the protagonist's side towards the end, and the same can be said for Frank. Of course, the Strangers are typical stock villains with little background, and whatever background is given to them is done only through tacky exposition. The Strangers were laughably pathetic since they're not intimidating whatsoever, they look like a goofy cross between Pinhead from the Hellraiser movies and Uncle Fester from The Addams Family, and best of all, they gather in a large mass and chatter their teeth. The occasional bursts of unintentional laughter kept me from falling asleep.

BAD ACTING

No one really seems to put any effort into their roles in this turkey. The most notable culprits for hamming things up are Sutherland and Hurt, with the former doing a really bad Peter Lorre impersonation throughout the film, and the latter acting as stale and emotionless as possible (Hurt would commit another serious offense in 1998 with that other sci-fi abomination Lost in Space). The others aren't any better and aren't worth my reviewing effort.

LACK OF ORIGINALITY

I'm not against movies being derivative so long as they can overcome their lack of originality by contributing something worthwhile and memorable to the plate (such as Event Horizon). However, with Dark City, you get nothing that you haven't seen before (and done much better in previous films). The city where this movie takes place looks like it was taken right out of Terry Gilliam's Brazil and Fritz Lang's Metropolis complete with Gothic skyscrapers and with everything being part of the “retro-future” gimmick (including attire, with many people wearing fedora hats). The whole angle of John trying to find his identity was done MUCH BETTER in the Paul Verhoeven masterpiece Total Recall, along with the whole “alternate reality/what's real and what's not” theme being done much better in TR. Director Alex Proyas even takes elements from Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira. The Strangers do this thing every midnight called “tuning,” which is where they swap the memories and lives of the inhabitants and use their powers to physically change the environment, complete with the skyscrapers building themselves (taken from the ending of the Akira manga). Also, with the overly tacky deus ex machina plot resolver in the form of a needle that gives John the same psychic power as the Strangers, it makes John's character resemble Tetsuo Shima from Akira. Fans have defended these acts of Proyas being derivative and claimed it's “homage” to said works. I don't mind homage, but it's all to clear that Proyas fed off other works just so he didn't have to create anything on his own.

STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE

If you haven't caught on already, Alex Proyas thinks that you can coast through a movie with nice-looking production sets while having nothing else worthwhile. Granted, the sets for this movie do look pretty impressive, but as stated before, they can't substitute bland characters or ultra-conventional plotting. The supposedly “dark” element isn't even that intimidating since it's just constantly dark out, there's no layers of griminess in the setting to unnerve the audience. Everything, visually speaking, looks too shiny and polished for a movie that's supposed to be “dark.” I bet that when Proyas was creating Dark City, he was speaking to himself “Yeah!! I'm gonna make a retro-future setting where all the technology is set in the 1920's and everyone's wearing vintage clothing!! It's gonna be so cool because many people are gonna think it's different!!” It's all to clear that Proyas ripped off the “retro-future” setting from Brazil and Metropolis just for the sake of being different from the typical sci-fi aesthetics during the 90's.

UNDERSERVED PRAISE

For reasons I can't comprehend, droves of people are calling this one of the best movies ever. Roger Ebert even chose Dark City as his pick for the best movie of 1998 (and this is another reason why I'm rapidily loosing respect for Ebert, but that's another kettle of fish). Can't you see the clear derivative nature of the film and how shallow the plot and characters are? I guess I'm thinking too hard about that since trying to find logic and reason in this area is all for naught.

FINAL WORD

Don't believe the hype on this one. This is NOT the cult retro-future sci-fi masterpiece that people are claiming it to be. You're better off watching Mission of Darkness (if you're 18+), which is one of the most poorly made (story and production-wise) and all around downright terrible anime porn titles in existence. I guarantee that it'll be much more entertaining than Dark City will be.

Don't fall for this shallow copy and just go for Brazil and Metropolis if you want proper retro-future sci-fi.
 

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http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Dark_City_1998_film_-546-1626209-210019-It_s_dark_alright_but_that_s_about_it_3_.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Dark_City_1998_film_-546-1626209-210019-It_s_dark_alright_but_that_s_about_it_3_.html Fri, 8 Jul 2011 01:24:35 +0000
<![CDATA[ A stupid movie pretending to be smart. 25%]]>
STORY

"Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the best there is at extraction: stealing valuable secrets inside the subconscious during the mind's vulnerable dream state. His skill has made him a coveted player in industrial espionage but also has made him a fugitive and cost him dearly. Now he may get a second chance if he can do the impossible: inception, planting an idea rather than stealing one. If they succeed, Cobb and his team could pull off the perfect crime. But no planning or expertise can prepare them for a dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy only Cobb could have seen coming."

-Taken from product description (too lazy to summarize plot myself).

CHARACTERS

What's a movie, regardless of how thought-out the plotting is without any interesting or properly fleshed-out characters? Unfortunately, Nolan overlooked properly developing characters or even giving them anything interesting or charming to their personalities so that we could latch on to them as the movie went along. With the exception of Cobb, the characters are either mere plot devices or exposition magnets. The biggest exposition magnet by far is Ariadne played by the miscast Ellen Page. She spoon feeds every little detail to the audience, not letting us think for ourselves. Some of the worst offenses are with the scenes with Ariadne telling Cobb after a flashback or dream "You have some dark stuff buried in you." You really think so? Whatever happened to "show, don't tell?" Cobb's inner demons revolving around his dead wife, Mal, had some potential, but I wasn't emotionally moved at any point in the film since Nolan was too focused on the architecture of the dreamworld and the little "ticks" going on with it rather than actual character development. Supporting characters like Saito and Arthur were very dull since like everyone else, were just plot devices.

EXPOSITION, EXPOSITION! RUSH IT OUT A-S-A-P!

For a movie acting like it's intelligent, it sure talks down to the audience. As stated before, nothing is left to the imagination. Much superior dream-related films like Total Recall (1990) and Paprika (2006) establish their own rules about dreams and create dreamworlds that require one or two little bits of exposition and after that, you fully understand their workings and can enjoy the rest of the films without further explanation. However, the dreamworld in Inception was way over-developed since there's too much to the structure as to where it requires constant explanation. This is a clear case of too much complexity killing a potentially good idea. Some might defend the heavy dialogue, stating that the explanations give people a full understanding of the universe Nolan created. However, it doesn't work with me because when I watch a movie, I care about character development and exploration of certain ideas, I could care less about every tiny detail in a certain universe since I only want enough information as to where I can follow it.

LACK OF ORIGINALITY

Lots of people are hailing this as very creative and original. I can't disagree more with this notion because this feels like a stale copy of Paprika. Paprika focused on psychotherapists diving into the dreams of their patients to understand the subconscious better and to get information important to them (such as the theft of their technological breakthrough, the DC Mini). Inception focuses on people diving into peoples' dreams so they can steal or plant ideas. While Paprika had better visuals and characters to go with its dreamworlds, Inception opts for very conventional imagery and bland characters, thinking that the "amazing" multi-layered dreamworld is enough to hold the movie together.

TOO MUCH CONVENTIONALITY

For a movie focusing on dreams, Nolan's take on dreams was terribly vanilla. I don't know about the rest of you, but while my dreams can relate to parts of me that are entirely personal, they're largely nonsensical, unpredictable, and depending on who you talk to, disturbing. The lack of predictability in someone's mind renders the idea of a "dream architect" successfully creating a dreamworld in someone's head as a pretty silly one. Having Paris fold in on itself and having rotating mirrors on the streets wasn't too imaginative, and that's the only "surreal" imagery you get in this dream-themed film, everything else looks very conventional.

PRETENDING TO BE "SMART"

It looks like Nolan made some quick searches on Wikipedia to shoe-horn in some "smart" ideas into the film. The best example of this would be when Arthur explains to Ariadne the concept of the Penrose Stairs and explains how it's an infinite loop, and how it's that concept that's used to confuse inception victims, then the camera moves down to show that it's a regular staircase. Wow, wasn't that genius?!! The other part that pretends to be "smart" is the plotting. Again, Total Recall and Paprika successfully merged fantasy and reality and really twisted the audience's minds questioning what's happening is real or not. With Inception, however, it's quite easy to follow the dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams because they're neatly separated from each other, you just have to keep track of them (I guess Nolan thinks we're too stupid to do that). The last quarter or so of the movie gets extra convoluted with quick cuts between the multi-layered dreams and Cobb facing Mal in others. I guess this was supposed to make the movie puzzle-like and give the audience something to solve.

SOUNDTRACK

Nolan depends on Hans Zimmer to deliver an overblown score for an overblown movie. Since Nolan forgot to properly develop characters and give them any legitimate tension, he depends on Zimmer to fill nearly ever second of the movie with music to drive home how we're supposed to feel in certain scenes. Look, music can be a great element in enhancing the emotion in certain scenes, but when you're depending entirely on it to drive home certain scenes, that's just unprofessional.

FINAL WORD

At the end of the day, Inception is just another "style over substance" over-priced summer cash-in (much like Nolan's previous movie, The Dark Knight), but unlike most others of its ilk, it really hurts itself by pretending to look like a thinking-man's film. At least the recent Transformers movies are honest with being loud special effects vehicles and the fans will agree with that notion. I'll give Inception some more points than that blue abomination Avatar since it felt a little more ambitious than that blue liberal propaganda piece, but it's still quite a wretched picture. If you want some great and truly thought-provoking sci-fi, go read the Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick and go watch Paprika (2006), Total Recall (1990), Solaris (1972), and Stalker (1979).

The day that people stop looking at Nolan's movies through rose-colored glasses can't come sooner.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-209812-A_stupid_movie_pretending_to_be_smart_25_.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-209812-A_stupid_movie_pretending_to_be_smart_25_.html Mon, 4 Jul 2011 23:11:24 +0000
<![CDATA[ The emotionally charged end.]]>
It's been a long three nights. In this time, I watched a "Godfather" film per night. I was blown away by "The Godfather" and astounded by "The Godfather: Part II", which as I mentioned in my review, is inferior to the first, but still, in my opinion, a very good piece of film. Perhaps I should say the same for the concluding chapter of this epic trilogy. It is often considered the worst film of the three. Some even think it's a bad movie all-together. But in a world where there are mediocre and even bad film trilogies, I am pretty forgiving.

"The Godfather: Part III" is a film that all devote fans of the first two "Godfather" films will want to see. If you're hooked, then you need to reel it all in and finish the trilogy. I don't know what to say about the grand finale. It doesn't exactly go out with a bang, it's not as good as the first two installments, and it's not amongst the best films that Francis Ford Coppola has directed. It left me with different emotions, and maybe that is the film's fatal flaw.

Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) is regretting the things he did in "Part II". He killed many, and he is grieving over that fact. He even goes as far as to consult religious authorities on the matter. What can I say: the man is a killer, and I sympathize for his need for redemption. Since the second installment in this trilogy, Michael has grown older, and so have his children. And now we get to meet them as their older, wiser, more important selves; particularly Mary (Sofia Coppola, daughter of Francis Ford Coppola). Mary takes a liking to Vincent (Andy Garcia), the son of Sonny, if you remember the bastard (he was portrayed wonderfully by the always delightful James Caan).

Vincent has the kind of loyalty and spirit required to impress a man such as Michael. Our pal Mike agrees to take Vince "under his wing", as a possible successor. However, one thing I should mention is one of the story's conflicts: a man named Altobello, a Don. He feels mistreated and cheated at one moment in the film, and this feeling leads to the desire to murder Michael. Let's just say that this creates a lot of opportunities for the plot, most of which are used wisely.

The film has the kind of ending that begs for an emotional response. For those who loved both "The Godfather" and "The Godfather: Part II", a tear might just be shed. But for me, the ending is a hit-or-a-miss. I felt something, but it wasn't personal emotions that would provoke the waterworks. It was a sad ending, and my love for the Michael character is almost as undying as my love for any movie character portrayed so well, but I don't know...I didn't feel what I wanted to feel.

The film is directed well by Coppola to the point where it's still quite good. I enjoyed the film, and it paces itself differently than the other films. Coming out nearly fifteen years after "Part II", the audience may have been the sole cause for the change in pace. However, Coppola knows what people want to see out of these films; and he really does deliver. The acting is still quite good, except for the extremely decent Sofia Coppola, who isn't bad, but serves as a problem. I wouldn't call her "mis-cast", as others would, but I wouldn't defend her either.

The film looks and feels good, or at least good enough to impress me. At the end of the day, "The Godfather: Part III" contains impressive and mighty fine directorial work, backed up by strong editing, great cinematography, and solid ambitions. I liked the film, it was entertaining and absorbing enough to keep my interest for most of those 170 minutes, but I just wish I could have felt more when it finished. However, I suppose nothing can compare to what the first film did for me. That is great cinema, and "Part III" is merely "good cinema", which is enough for most people, and enough for me. I'm in a good mood as I write this review, because I know that I have just finished a fascinating trilogy. When you've run out of things to praise, you must turn to realization, and "Part III" benefits greatly from my ability to understand, appreciate, and realize film.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Godfather_Part_III-546-1019192-209239-The_emotionally_charged_end_.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Godfather_Part_III-546-1019192-209239-The_emotionally_charged_end_.html Thu, 23 Jun 2011 18:18:46 +0000
<![CDATA[ The satisfactory second child.]]>

I think what makes Francis Ford Coppola's "Godfather" films so intriguing is the fact that the mobsters portrayed within the film's story are not beaten down merely by business and deals. They are often brought down by temptation, love, violence, power, and admiration. These needs make the mafia characters more human than they probably need to be. I like these characters a lot; several of them are "classic gangster figures". Yet they all have personalities, histories, motives, and talented actors filling in whatever blanks may be left.

"The Godfather: Part II" is a good film because it does not leave the characters behind. If you remember, Marlon Brando's character, Don Vito Corleone, died in the conclusion of the first film. In my review for "The Godfather", I clearly stated that the film would not have been the same without the actor. So with Brando out of the picture, where does that leave "Part II"?

I guess I worried too much when I was preparing to watch "The Godfather: Part II". Some claim it is one of the best sequels ever made, and in ways, they are not kidding. While I do not consider it a great film, and while it's no "Godfather", "Part II" has its pleasures; one of them being Coppola's sly ability to extend the length and still come up with a worthwhile story.

Leaving off from the first film, Michael (Al Pacino) has taken the throne as the new "Don", or godfather, of the Corleone family; after the death of Do Vito, the previous Godfather of the family. This time, there's a twist that makes the story slightly more accessible to more adventurous audiences; two parallel story-lines. One focuses on Michael's reign as the head of the crime family, while one serves as a flash-back of much insight into the past of Don Vito. We see Vito as a child, threatened to be executed in the presence of his mother. We learn that she should be dead, but he evaded death and escaped his way into the open world. And it is at this moment that the great man begins his fantastic life.

Even if half the story is focused on the rise of a young Vito (Robert De Niro), I still feel that this story is fixated much more on Michael. The film begins with yet another party, much like in the first film, except that this time, it's the First Communion of Michael's son Anthony. The party is at a lake, and much like Vito in the first film, Michael cannot attend most of the party because of the arrival of business issues and the like. And this is just the beginning of the film.

Of course, most of the film is dedicated to Michael striking up deals with people who try to play him like a card in a deck; thus cheating him. Then there's all this typical stuff about revenge, talk about philosophy, politics, emotions, and whatever you'd primarily expect from a film in the epic "Godfather" trilogy. While, like I said, this sequel is longer than the first film (by twenty minutes, to be precise), it's not a whole lot less interesting. "The Godfather: Part II" is a very good film; flawlessly crafted and smartly written, and Coppola's direction has never been better. Al Pacino's performance is unforgettable, De Niro turns in another good one, and Robert Duvall returns as Tom Hagen, and he's as entertaining as you remember him being, that is, if you found him entertaining to begin with. I was very entertained by this sequel, and it lives up to most of the hype that I happened upon initially. But for me, it lacks the same requirements when it comes to an emotional investment, then say, "The Godfather". But that's why I said it "no Godfather"; because it's not.

If you liked "The Godfather", then you will definitely enjoy "The Godfather: Part II". It's a very good sequel; one of the most faithful and satisfactory I've seen. For me, nothing could have compared to the feel and glamour of the original "Godfather", so I was not expecting a film of the exact equivalent. It is slightly inferior, I must confess, but the same visual look is still here, the same acting talents are still here, and so are we; so there must be a certain charm to these characters, in this scenario, that we ultimately surrender to. I might as well have sold my soul. Bring on "Part III".]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Godfather_Part_II-546-1024530-209238-The_satisfactory_second_child_.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Godfather_Part_II-546-1024530-209238-The_satisfactory_second_child_.html Thu, 23 Jun 2011 18:17:39 +0000
<![CDATA[ The fated first-born.]]>
The most overrated word is most definitely "overrated". Recently, I've heard the word been used in the most peculiar of situations; one of them being to describe the world-renowned cinematic classic, "The Godfather". Cinephiles of all ages are always attacking "classics" because they go in with some pretty large expectations. And when they don't get the "best movie of all time", they start making up reasons why the movie might be "bad". See...I don't like that, and I'll never do it. I review films based on my personal enjoyment and/or admiration for the movie, as well as the effort that was put into every key aspect. If a movie has a brilliant script, then it will entertain me no matter what. A good movie is a good movie. And "The Godfather" is most definitely one.

There were good and even great gangster films before this one. Francis Ford Coppola, the director and co-writer behind this fine production, simply put the icing on the cake by making an undeniably historical one. Love it or hate it, "The Godfather" definitely did something for cinema. Heck, when people think "crime/gangster/mob cinema", they instantly think of this very film. That is because "The Godfather" is memorable for many, forgettable for others, and boring-as-hell for those without attention spans or the intelligence required to enjoy it.

I enjoy a good mobster flick. I like stories involving the types of people involved. "The Godfather" probably inspired half of the mob flicks that I like, and one show which I love. "The Godfather" is not only superb entertainment, but also superb screen-writing. This is purely based on opinion, but one cannot deny facts. And here's a fact for you: "The Godfather" is a well-made cinematic landmark.

The film opens on the wedding reception of Don Vito Corleone's (Marlon Brando) daughter. There is much discussion about business, favors, and Hollywood during the reception, and then life goes on. However, there is something I must tell you: the Don heads the greatest Mafia family in New York City area. The Don's son, Michael (Al Pacino) has ambition to become the head of the crime family after his father passes, as does the possibly even more ambitious Sonny (James Cann). The film follows the downfall and possibly re-birth of the Corleone family, as the Don grows weak after being shot.

As can be expected, his son and Sonny attempt to get revenge on the shooters. The now bed-ridden Don is getting old, and the new "godfather", or if you prefer to use the term I have been using, "don", must be chosen. In twists of drug involvements, Vegas trips, and casinos; "The Godfather" tells its story with efficiency and masterful observation.

I understand that my analysis of the story may not be perfect. That's not entirely as I see it, although that's as much info as I'm willing to give. The story is not special because it unfolds within a three hour film; it is special because it is the story of "The Godfather". Adapted very well from the novel of the same name, the film attempts to show an emotional and soft side to the gangsters, as no film had done such a thing at the time. The film was legendary and critically acclaimed for many reasons, and the approach it took to mobsters and criminals within "families" was one of them.

Brando owns this movie. I have a feeling that without him, it just wouldn't have been "The Godfather". Marlon Brando is the kind of actor who can make a film good just by showing his presence. He's such a talented man, and this is one of his most memorable roles, among others. The supporting cast is as entertaining as it needs to be, much like the film. So everything works out fine.

Coppola establishes a pretty nice look for his movie. The cinematography is flawless and often times, the shots are memorable. We see some pretty wild and creative sights that even give us insight. Coppola has the directorial skills necessary to take something harrowing/bold, and make it into something perhaps more...interesting. "The Godfather" is a perfect example of American movie-making, a perfect example of what Francis Ford Coppola is capable of, and a perfect example of how to balance good dialogue, a good screen-play, a good director, and a good cast to make a film that shall impress anyone willing to accept it for what it is. I wouldn't suggest watching the film with expectations, for who knows: if you do that, you may end up like those poor, unlucky saps that just couldn't enjoy the film. They think it's a snooze-fest; I think it's an intellectually stimulating and intoxicating vision. It's a long crime epic, but for every moment of those three hours, I was hooked. And it takes a very good movie to do that. "The Godfather" is perhaps more than a very good movie. And it deserves every bit of that praise.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Godfather-546-1010975-209237-The_fated_first_born_.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Godfather-546-1010975-209237-The_fated_first_born_.html Thu, 23 Jun 2011 18:16:08 +0000
<![CDATA[ Snooze Button]]>
As a pair of thieves who pilfer ideas for their corporate employers, DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt use portable technology to enter the dreams of their targets. This form of theft requires skills in the disciplines of psychology, architecture, chemistry, strategy and small-scale combat; as a result, their colorful collaborators are selected from a variety of professions. When a devious CEO (Ken Watanabe) hires them to implant a notion that will inspire the heir (Cillian Murphy) of a terminally ill corporate rival to disband his father's empire, they accept - not only for payment, but for the benefit of Watanabe's influence, with which he can easily dispel the criminal charges that prevent DiCaprio's master thought filcher from returning to his home and reuniting with his children. The complications of this task are compounded by the presence of projections - figures generated by the subconscious who defend the Super-ego by attacking intruders.

Though inherently cerebral, this could scarcely be more spectacular or suspenseful in execution. Nolan's characters explore dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams, and with the aid of his mainstay DP Wally Pfister (whose pristine photography imparts some momentous ambiance to even the most mundane locations), he grants each of these subconscious worlds its own distinctive visual character. As usual, both plot and characterization are equally essential elements of Nolan's story, which is motivated as much by underlying cognitive experience as by crashes and explosions; indeed, the former are often the cause of the latter! Because he's never satisfied with mere implication when defining the mechanics of any given phenomenon, perhaps half of Nolan's dialogue is expository, and only seems credible when voiced in the context of training, preparation and procedure. The abundance of visual metaphors that illustrated motive and technique alike in his extraordinary adaptation of The Prestige are here lessened to a few essential cues, and the earlier film's more complex non-linear narrative is eschewed in favor of a succession of simultaneous, tiered sequences deftly edited by Lee Smith, another of Nolan's regular collaborators. Hans Zimmer's score is a shade above mediocre, reminiscent of those that he composed for Nolan's Batman features. This music affords a palpable momentum to the proceedings, especially the intriguing preparatory formulations, but it's easy to wonder if a score as thoughtful as the story and its imagery could have been created by Nolan's inspired former composer, David Julyan.

DiCaprio is entirely convincing in the lead, never too emotive though always intensely involved. That would be an understatement for Gordon-Levitt and Watanabe, both of whom cleverly toe the line between steely cool and outright frigidity. Watanabe's presence and style here are comparable to Ken Ogata's in his prime; he exudes a restrained yet imperious confidence. Nolan directs Ellen Page as he did Scarlett Johansson, downplaying her limitations as an actress. She isn't granted the opportunity to revert to the snotty, vapid posturing that she's become habitually accustomed to, but she's nothing more than adequate. Were she just a few years younger, Alison Lohman - who's everything that Page is hyped as and isn't - could surely have imbued the same role with more poise and charm. Lohman's cuddly Drag Me to Hell co-star Dileep Rao is serviceably personable as the chemist of DiCaprio's crew. Both Rao and Tom Hardy, their dream-state impersonator, generate enough wry humor to offset the film's frequently morose tone. Now starting to resemble fellow Irishman Gabriel Byrne, Cillian Murphy is suitably chilly as the team's mark, though memorably affectional in a crucial, cathartic moment. Like Rutger Hauer and Eric Roberts before him, screen veteran Tom Berenger is put to impressive use by Nolan as both Murphy's godfather and the impersonation thereof by Hardy's character. Marion Cotillard fares far better than Page, totally plausible in a fervent role that could very easily have descended into shrill, annoying melodrama. Now a fixture in Nolan's pictures, Michael Caine is unfortunately relegated to a bit part.

Sharing both the same name and occupation of Alex Haw's prickly expert burglar from Nolan's first feature, Following, DiCaprio's otherwise entirely different character couldn't have less in common with him. This is just as well, as their very different methods are only a means to penetrate far more substantial themes in both films. Despite the maudlin sentiment too often uncovered at the heart of Nolan's well-crafted stories, it's great to see anything this challenging in a major American motion picture nowadays. Perfectly paced and extraordinary in its scope, there's wonder and invention here that's becoming too scarce in the medium. It closes on the sort of ambiguous note that Nolan's so fond of, denoting a vital dichotomy of possibility. It's a shame that this isn't a whit more subtle, substituting much more suggestion for exposition...but then, he does want to keep his audience.

There's not much to say for either the DVD or Blu-ray editions of this movie except that they're both of excellent quality. Naturally, the picture of the Blu-ray is far finer, containing fewer of the perceptible compression artifacts and none of the occasional posterization seen on the DVD. To this reviewer's ears, the sound mix of both discs is identical, but I'm not an audiophile. Good subtitles in English, French and Spanish are accessible, as are dubbed alternate soundtracks in Quebecois French and Spanish. Similar to those of the Prestige DVD, four short successive featurettes document the development of Nolan's vision for the film, the creation and calculated flooding of the Japanese castle set and the construction of an Escheresque stairway to nowhere and a street-bound freight train. At least as much assiduous effort was invested in the production of Inception as in its script.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-208988-Snooze_Button.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-208988-Snooze_Button.html Sat, 18 Jun 2011 09:31:33 +0000
<![CDATA[ ENGLISH!!]]>
If there's anyone to take pop culture and flip it to a whole other side, it's Quentin Tarantino. In a world of darkness and unoriginality in the film industry, Tarantino is there to remind us of what cinema is all about; and he does this just about every time he makes a movie. He has made great films, although "Pulp Fiction", a film which is almost unanimously known as a masterpiece, is his best. And it's also one of the best films I have seen as of now, or as of ever.

It's so hard to review this film. It's epic to impossible ends; intoxicating and violent to extremes, but alas, I'm going to try my best. So here you go with that.

If you remember the acclaimed indie hit "Reservoir Dogs", which was also directed by Tarantino, then you'll remember the non-linear story-telling that was involved. And you'll also remember that it was more admirable than it was annoying; which made it a pretty badass movie. But of course, if you have not seen "Pulp Fiction", then you haven't seen anything yet.

So there you have it; a non-linear plot. The film is divided into about three separate stories. The first one involves two hitmen, Vince Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson), as they head on their way to retrieve a briefcase from a man named Bret. While having executed many men upon leaving, we also learn that Vince must look after his boss's wife (Uma Thurman) while he is out of town. He takes her to dinner, enters a dance concert with her, and saves her life in a needle-injection scene so famous that you can almost quote it without seeing it once.

The second story involves a down-on-his-luck boxer named Butch (Bruce Willis), who makes a deal with his boss, Marsellus (Ving Rhames), who is also the boss of Vince and Jules, to lose his next match for a damn good amount of money. However, Butch instead wins the match, and plans to flee before his boss can catch up to him. However, this does not go as planned, since Butch goes from a motel to collect his watch (which his father had passed down to him), and discovers Vince in his bathroom, and shoots him to death. What happens next, I cannot say; it is violent, savage, and interesting. I just wouldn't want to spoil it.

And finally, we have the final part of the story, which shifts focus from Butch back to Vince and Jules; both taking refuge at a friend named Jimmie's (Quentin Tarantino) house. They hide out there because they Vince had accidentally shot a man in the face, in the car, and realizing that time is limited, they must find a way to get the blood off of the seats, as well as the corpse out of the vehicle. They get help from Winston Wolf (Harvey Keital) for this.

In the end, each story comes together to form one with a meaning; with a purpose; with unending complexity. And in the end, I realized that I couldn't love "Pulp Fiction" any more. There I say it; you cannot have good cinema without mentioning "Pulp Fiction". Of course, that may be my opinion and my opinion alone, but I don't suppose that many will disagree when I say that "Pulp Fiction" is, well, intoxicating. That is what it is, and with all due respect, it achieves all that it can; and maybe even more. In my life-time, I shall watch this many times over; obtaining something new from each viewing, and anticipating, cherishing each moment along the way.

Tarantino does not tell stories like most people do. He tells them through dialogue, through violence, through action, and through his ability to truly "wow" the audience. I've thoroughly enjoyed everything I've seen out of this filmmaker, and he is truly a talented man who knows what he's doing behind the camera. The casting for this film is flawless; Travolta is eccentric, Jackson is a genuine badass, Willis is just bald and awesome, and Thurman is both sexy and mysterious. I could go on-and-on with this, but I shall not, because nobody has all the time in the world. Even if "Pulp Fiction" deserves every moment that I've got.

I loved the stylization of the film, among other things. From the opening credits to the ending ones, the film feels good and looks good. It's real stylish, sure, but it also has the substance that most films fail to have. It's a darkly humorous piece of cinematic art; complete with a great soundtrack, admittedly intense violence, and its share of solidly funny moments. When you can both laugh and cringe at a film, you know it is something special, but "Pulp Fiction" has something that few movies do, and there shall never be another like it. But that is, without a doubt, what I love about some of my favorite films; their personalities, their resonance, and their wit. "Pulp Fiction" has every one of those things and more. That alone should seal the recommendation.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Pulp_Fiction-546-1010810-208053-ENGLISH_.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Pulp_Fiction-546-1010810-208053-ENGLISH_.html Tue, 31 May 2011 00:37:28 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Clockwork Universe]]>
Dark City operates under what is kind of this same concept. There's a group of people who live under the ground. When the clock strikes, they put everyone to sleep, go out, and adjust their entire world. When the people wake up, everything is totally normal to them, nothing has changed in their eyes. They go about their daily lives without a care in the world. Day in and day out, they're living in the here and now, concerned only with the present goings-on in their own lives, only delving into their memories for whatever fond remembrances they can dig out for conversational purposes.

All, that is, except John Murdoch. John is our main character, and one day he randomly wakes up in a hotel he can't remember ever walking into. There are six hookers who are dead (why does it always have to be hookers?) and he's the primary suspect. He has no idea who he is, what happened, or anything about the series of events that led to him waking up from a nap naked in a bathtub. What he does know is that someone named Dr. Schreber absolutely must get in touch with him yesterday, and he is inexplicably drawn toward a place called Shell Beach, where he remembers growing up. And he has a feeling he isn't going to like what he learns.

Dark City haunts us with a mix of science fiction, classic film noir, and an existential search for meaning which, to say the least, is gutsy as hell. The movie, in fact, does not have a single day scene until the final shot. The clothing styles look like something out of one of Humphrey Bogart's early movies. The cityscape is grimy and gritty, with tightly packed traffic and rickety elevated trains darting passengers to and fro, brick walls at the end of every dark alley, and flickering neon signs. Every bad guy wears a trench coat, Dr. Schreber's true intentions and loyalties are always in question, and Detective Bumstead, who pursues John to bring him to justice over the hookers who have been killed, is clad in a fedora. John's wife is a lounge singer who apparently went out and had an affair, and according to the backstory, John left their house in a rage over it. Underground, enormous crowds of people mentally push twisty new buildings into the city above. Doors appear out of nowhere in solid surfaces. This nameless city appears to have a comic book influence straight out of Gotham.

The trail of dead hookers of course immediately puts him into the eye of Detective Bumstead, a no-nonsense private eye who gives you the feeling that he's waiting for a dame with great gams to stroll into his office. Bumstead pursues John constantly, but eventually John takes a stand against him by offering a simple challenge which totally floors Bumstead. Bumstead is actually intrigued by John's idea, and eventually he forgets about the dead hookers altogether.

Soon, John learns that he has mental powers. For the most part he seems a little afraid of what he can do with them, but he also finds them helpful in escaping and fighting The Strangers, mysterious beings who are the ones doing the time stopping and reality altering. As he moves along, he begins piecing together his past and learns something very disturbing. I don't want to spoil too much, so I won't reveal this twist, but it forces John to eventually stop asking questions about not just himself but the very world he lives in upon coming to a few nasty realizations which apparently he's been the only one thinking about. John is so distraught by his slow fitting of the pieces that he even forgets he's mad at his wife.

People of course believe John is losing his mind, John has a lot of other people tell his he's right on the money, and he doesn't know which of the people walking up to him and introducing themselves out of the blue he should trust. In true Philip K. Dick fashion, the entire concept of the fabric of reality is torn asunder and reshaped. The moment John stands in horror in front of the ultimate answer is in fact such a knockout that the final battle of Dark City, which comes a few minutes afterward, feels somewhat anticlimactic - and that's some trick, considering the obvious effort put into it.

John feels like a real character. When the movie begins, he's alone and confused, and as he goes on, he gives off the sense that he doesn't particularly want to learn the answer to this mystery. He descends into distrust and paranoia, and by the end he is clearly only pursuing the universal truth to get a sense of closure on what he started. You get the sense while watching Dark City that John, were he in the famous red pill/blue pill situation from The Matrix, would have taken the red pill and been the one later asking himself why he didn't take the blue pill. But he also wants to know something about his newfound powers because they just suddenly appeared out of nowhere, and he doesn't know anything about them, how dangerous they are, whether they're good or evil or whether they'll turn him evil.

There's a lot of talk about collective power and the freedom of the individual in Dark City, but it just felt a little bit out of place. The Strangers talk and are talked about as being in need of souls so they can feel and think like the humans they're chasing. I don't see where individual rights run hand in hand with souls, and all the talk about the whole concept brought a sliver of high-handed Messiah fantasy to what is otherwise a very pure, hard science fiction story.

A common complaint about movies is that there's so little original material on the table these days. The set designs are great visionary achievements, but when you get caught up in a story as intense, challenging, and haunting as the story of Dark City, it's hard to notice the visuals. With so many movies relying purely on the strength of their special effects to draw box office these days, a compliment like that can really stand out. In that respect, Dark City stands among the real imaginative special effects movies - Inception, The Orphanage, or Pan's Labyrinth. If you're a science fiction nut who hasn't seen it yet, you don't know what you're missing.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Dark_City_1998_film_-546-1626209-207458-A_Clockwork_Universe.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Dark_City_1998_film_-546-1626209-207458-A_Clockwork_Universe.html Tue, 17 May 2011 00:46:08 +0000
<![CDATA[The Matrix Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Matrix-13-1013184-207020.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Matrix-13-1013184-207020.html Fri, 6 May 2011 04:21:34 +0000 <![CDATA[ A classic worth multiple viewings]]> Sunset Boulevard is set in Hollywood during the 50s. Joe Gillis (William Holden) is a screenwriter, not one that is very well known, and is loaded with debts. He plans to return to his hometown and get away from his life, but while driving one day he meets up with people he did not want to see. Joe tries to escape and gets a flat tire, then parking in a seemingly empty garage. Little did he know that it belonged to the once acclaimed actress of silent films, Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson). Norma's career has basically been finished, and she lives alone in her mansion with only her butler, Max Von Mayerling (Erich von Stroheim) to keep her company. But once she meets up with Joe, and finds out that he is a screenwriter, she gets an idea. Norma asks Joe to read the screenplay she has been writing, and then to edit it. Since Joe is out of money and luck, he takes the offer and lives with her, but this turns out to be a not so good decision.


Wow, what an unbelievable film! Being such a big fan of movies, I am quite ashamed and embarrassed to say that I had not seen this film until now. Sunset Boulevard is fairly predictable, but it is made in such a way that it works today just as it did many years ago in 1950. The two main characters, Norma Desmond and Joe Gillis, are about as unforgettable as a character can be. As frightening as Norma Desmond was, I honestly cannot imagine what people were thinking when this came out. I mean, seriously? If "The Blob" was considered a horror film in 1958, then this must have been quite the ride for an audience of that time.


I often hear people say that Christopher Nolan's consistency as a director is equaled by none. And a name usually follows like Martin Scorsese, or Steven Spielberg. Even though that is an obviously ridiculous statement, any one who says it is no doubt not familiar with the works of Billy Wilder, or Fritz Lang for that matter. But that is another topic and another discussion. Billy Wilder is really a name people do not mention enough when talking about the best directors of all time. He truly had that vision of how to actually make a brilliant film. I know it is hard to compare older directors to newer ones, but Billy Wilder deserves to be on any best director list. His writing and direction are so perfect here, it really makes me mad to know that he did not win best director back when this came out. I was clearly not born in 1950, but if I had of been it would be a frustrating year between me and my relationship with The Academy.


The cast is absolutely incredible. Gloria Swanson takes the lead playing the crazy Norma Desmond, and how did she not win best actress? Another thing that I cannot understand. If I am even somewhat frightened by her portrayal of the character, after over 60 years, you know that it is excellent acting. She is scary, and all around amazing in playing such a disturbed character, because of her lack of fame. William Holden is not an actor that I know a whole lot about, but everytime I watch him in a film I really like his performance. Sunset Boulevard was no exception. This is actually most likely my favorite of his performances, though he was brilliant in Network. And the supporting actors were great as well. Erich von Stroheim was fantastic as the butler, and Nancy Olson was also very good. All around the acting was very good.


Overall, Sunset Boulevard is a film that will always be loved by me. It is brilliant in its approach to the real world of Hollywood. Billy Wilder has constructed an unforgettable film here, with both his writing and direction, backed up by great performances. Sunset Boulevard is the true definiton of a film masterpiece, that should be seen by any movie lover.

5/5



 

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http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Sunset_Boulevard_movie_-546-1525220-206027-A_classic_worth_multiple_viewings.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Sunset_Boulevard_movie_-546-1525220-206027-A_classic_worth_multiple_viewings.html Sun, 17 Apr 2011 18:27:38 +0000
<![CDATA[ Amy Ryan shines and there are some fine piece parts...but there also are a lot of "acting" moments.]]> Gone Baby Gone drops more F-bombs than dogs in a public park drop pooch poop. That's only part of the problem with this movie, which contains within a lot of wrapping a clever, complicated mystery. Scattered throughout the movie also are what seem to be endless "acting" moments for every featured actor, a style of self-aware directing that spills over onto some of the actors' performances, plus enough social sermonizing to keep even Sean Penn happy.
 
Some of my impatience with this movie is because the mystery depends on so much well-planned sleight of hand that it raised my expectations for a solid, complicated mystery drama. The structure and presentation of the drama is well managed by director and writer Ben Affleck. So is any number of individual scenes (when the acting doesn't get impassioned). And Amy Ryan as the cokehead mother simply walks away with the acting honors. She does this by making us believe she's what she's acting as, something a number of the other actors, in my opinion, don't quite pull off. Casey Affleck is just fine as the young private investigator who at first believes what he sees and then begins to figure things out.

Ed Harris, on the other hand, and made up to look for some reason like Patrick McGoohan on Columbo, chews the scenery as if he were breaking in a new set of false teeth. Morgan Freeman plays yet another variation on his wise, humanistic, aging gentleman. Freeman needs to find a role where he can kick an aged auntie to death or humiliate a young pair of lovers. Somewhere along the way he has misplaced his real ability to be vicious. Just watch him as Fast Black in Street Smart.
 
As the story develops there are more and more twists. At first, and putting aside the feeling of the movie being too sincere for its own good, this led to a lot of tricky fun. By the time we reached the conclusion and all became clear, all also became stretched out with a series of mini-dramas that seemed to have difficulty finding a way to stop.
 
Even Gone Baby Gone's basic argument -- isn't saving a child from almost certain degradation worth bending the rules, even if really bad scumbags pay a price -- is compromised by the naivety implicit in the question. Do we really want to live in a world where the police get to play God and make those decisions? Or maybe we should let the police play God only when it comes to little kids. Or only when it comes to little kids but no more often than once a month. Is there an answer to this apparently weighty question? The movie implies that there isn't. Come on. Sure there is.
 
There's quite a bit to enjoy in Gone Baby Gone, just not enough, in my opinion, to make a fully professional, satisfying story. But I'll give it this: The movie isn't mediocre and it isn't dull.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Gone_Baby_Gone-546-1024406-205956-Amy_Ryan_shines_and_there_are_some_fine_piece.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Gone_Baby_Gone-546-1024406-205956-Amy_Ryan_shines_and_there_are_some_fine_piece.html Sat, 16 Apr 2011 00:16:40 +0000
<![CDATA[ Shutter Island... a far cry from the hype]]> rabbit hole?  What would you do if you started hearing voices that weren't really there? How would you react if you saw something standing before you that you knew all too well could not and/or does not exist?  Psychological thrills toy with your senses and allow your mind to fall down some of the deepest, darkest holes that exist without any real affect.  Some times they are wildly successful, and other times they become a joke all on their own.  When done properly I find that they are quite possibly the most terrifying genre in film-making.

The skills and talents of Martin Scorsese did not shine as bright as I had hoped with a film whose release date has repeatedly been pushed over the past few months.  Shutter Island felt like a story that had been pulled over and forced to take a sobriety test and could not manage to walk a straight line with one foot in front of the other.  It couldn't figure out what it wanted to do.  Without giving away too much of the story it is very hard for me to say much about the film, but having not read the book the film is based off I can only say that I feel as though the wonderful Marty has let us down.

Shutter Island is a short cry from the majority of psychological thrillers made today.  Telling stories that toy with our minds, making us see and believe things that are not there or just plain do not exist.  By the time they story evolved into something interesting I had a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach that I had seen this film once before.  Once the voice in my head started speaking to me I could not get them to shut up and I quickly became distracted by the familiar voices in the film and trying to identify them rather than just watching the story unfold.  After watching Mark Ruffalo play characters in so many romantic comedies, I felt like it was a bit of a stretch of the imagination to watch him play Chuck Aule.  Ben Kingsley pulled off his role as believable as any other previous role.  Leo was good, but with an opening scene where he's on a ship in the "open sea" I felt like I was watching a a visit to the glory days of Titanic, however once his face is revealed we know "that" Leo is long gone.  This mature Leo is fun to watch on the screen, but after his last film with Scorsese I had much higher hopes for the film.

Shutter Island is an entertaining ride through the mind.  There were some tricks that played out extremely well and others that fell short of their intended goal.  I felt a bit like a cat who was given a catnip toy on a string, but once I pulled the toy free and figured out what was happening I lost interest.  My main complaint with the film was the ending that left me disappointed due to how predictable and obvious it became almost at the halfway point.  I give the film a 3 out of 5.  For the amount of time spent waiting for the final release I feel the hype was more than the film delivered.  But be your own judge.  Maybe the suspense and thrill is just perfect.  For me, I wanted a little more.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Shutter_Island_movie_-546-1435226-204637-Shutter_Island_a_far_cry_from_the_hype.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Shutter_Island_movie_-546-1435226-204637-Shutter_Island_a_far_cry_from_the_hype.html Fri, 25 Mar 2011 19:28:45 +0000
<![CDATA[ Down the rabbit hole]]>
To most people the movie seems to be all about the question of reality. Are you really awake, or still in a dream, stuff like that. Philip K. Dick built a whole career out of it and is still cited as the master of questioning the reality of reality, which all the paranoia that comes with it. Personally, I never found this avenue of inquiry very interesting. What does it matter whether reality is real or not. If the reality-layer I'm living on is a place I like, something where I can be happy, I don't give a damn. And that's why I didn't dislike the ending of the movie as much, despite it being so stereotypical. I didn't felt like it really mattered whether Cobb had woken up or not, since he managed to find a place that gave him happiness.

Something similar happened to Fischer, the alleged victim of the whole inception operation. The whole plan to plant the idea of him breaking up his own heritage ended with him entering his own subconscious (unknowingly) and planting the seed of the idea himself. Pretty clever plotting, but what really sold the scene was that Fischer ended up being much happier than if he would have tried to live in the shadow of his dad forever. Humans create pretty complex self-deception all the time to remain sane. For me, this isn't about false or truth, about dream or reality, but about what ideas we allow to shape our fate. Questioning reality beyond any doubt is a fools quest, sometimes you have to accept to live with the uncertainty.

Okay, in the end I did thought the movie was much more clever than I was initially expecting. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it. I wouldn't be the only one.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-203092-Down_the_rabbit_hole.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-203092-Down_the_rabbit_hole.html Fri, 4 Mar 2011 22:10:48 +0000
<![CDATA[ A contradiction but it works: Deadpan noir with teenagers, led by the excellent Joseph Gordon-Levitt]]>  
Brick, an independent movie written and directed by Rian Johnson, is part stunt, part style and part energetic riff on gumshoe movies. Movie references are dropped like names but with more subtlety. It takes place in and around an affluent, sunny Southern California high school populated by the usual prom queens, rockers, vamps, brains, thugs and drug dealers. This is a Thirties gangster movie with all the clichés, played straight but with almost everyone a teen. You have to keep asking yourself, is this just a parody? Well, not exactly. It's...it's...it's part stunt, part style and part energetic riff on gumshoe movies. Rian Johnson, who graduated from USC's School of Cinema-Television in 1996, knows what he's doing. The tough acting is deadpan; the dialogue is quick, clever and loaded with jargon; things are said so quickly you'd better keep track of context.
 
What could have been just another tiresome melodrama of teen angst turns into a sort-of-serious crackpot tribute to old gangster movies. It works so well not just because Johnson is unusually gifted and slightly off the wall, but because of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays the tough-talking, resourceful and relentless Brendan Frye. He may be a teen, but Brendan also is Sam Spade, George Raft, the Continental Op, you name it. This particular homage covers a lot of Thirties ground. It all starts when Brendan, a classic high school loner, finds his former girl friend he still has feelings for is in trouble. She calls him and pleads for help. The next thing, she's killed running from Brendan and into a dark drainage pipe. Brendan's smart but not one for school rules or social niceties. He starts asking around and gets beaten up. He is determined to find out why Emily was killed and do justice to those responsible. His only ally is The Brain, a super nerd and friend who knows a lot and sometimes can link unexpected dots. Soon we meet Laura, a high school femme fatale who can afford excellent manicures; Kara, a drama queen who seems to have no heart and a fondness for manipulation; Dode, a high school greaser with a shiny pompadour who dresses in black and says, gee, I loved her, too; and Tug, a blonde muscle boy who combines the build and the temperament of an enthusiastic steroid aficionado. Tug's rages should be avoided. Brendan doesn't. Lurking behind Brendan's search for the "why" of Emily's death is The Pin (Lukas Haas), a young man about 26 who wears a black cape and uses a cane. He admires the hobbit books. The Pin knows heroin pays a lot better than a community college Associate of Arts degree. The Pin has a basement office with cheap paneling and a mom who obliviously serves homemade cookies and apple juice to Brendan just after Tug, on The Pin's order, does a number on Brendan's face. Mom is a friendly sort without a clue to her son's activities. Her cookies look really good. I think they were raisin oatmeal.
 
When Brendan figures things out and forces a violent, nasty, clever showdown, a lot of bad guys pay the price, with a betrayal Brendan will never forgive. For Brendan? Well, Emily will always have a place in his heart.
 
Joseph Gordon-Levitt manages all this with complete assurance. He never winks at the audience. Those who saw him in The Lookout (2007) know just how fine and authentic an actor he is. As part of the generation now closing in on Pitt, DiCaprio and the like, Gordon-Levitt, if he isn't seduced by Hollywood's obsession with action heroes and the associated fame and cash, should find himself with a great reputation as an actor.
 
Brick is odd, clever, fast and coherent. Sure, it's something of a stunt. If you don't mind sometimes smiling along with your favorite movie genre, you'll probably like it. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a bang-up job.
 
Brendon may wear glasses but he never carries a gat.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Brick_2005_movie_-546-1017142-202018-A_contradiction_but_it_works_Deadpan_noir_with.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Brick_2005_movie_-546-1017142-202018-A_contradiction_but_it_works_Deadpan_noir_with.html Mon, 21 Feb 2011 22:02:02 +0000
<![CDATA[ This movie may change the way you look at dreams again.]]> Inception is a movie directed by the talented and genius director Christophor Nolan. The film deals with this concept called "Inception" the ability to go into another persons dreams and steal ideas (or even learn something about them).Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb an Extractor who is very good at what he does (besideds the fact that he breaks his own rules) after failing a job he finds another but this one is tricky as he is supposed to plant an idea in someones mind instead of steal one. Trust me its easier said than done.

Now i pride myself on trying to figure out a movie before it even starts, but Inception is a triky tricky one(I had better luck with Shutterisland). Like the Matrix to get this movie you have to watch it multiple times as one watch isnt good enough. That being said Inception is an amazing movie I loved the story (mainly cause it was trippy and hard to figure out........I like that) the pacing was moderate but a little on the fast side, and the acting was top notch. Leonardo DiCaprio as always plays a very convincing character and so did Ellen Page as the quick learning new kid on the block. 
  
But you didnt need to read this short review to figure all that out. You and I both know Christopher Nolan like Martin Scorsese is an awesome director who hasnt made a bad film yet. You know that his movies are always awesome and always very well done. You know the actors are great and you know they always give an awesome performance. So as I always say if you havent seen this movie yet go out an watch it. Especially for those of you who are tired to the same old same old. Inception is a trippy thriller and you will not be disapointed.

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http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-201800-This_movie_may_change_the_way_you_look_at_dreams.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-201800-This_movie_may_change_the_way_you_look_at_dreams.html Sun, 20 Feb 2011 13:05:31 +0000
<![CDATA[ Inception]]> Inception is a rare breed of movie. Firstly, it came out in July and thus can classify as a summer blockbuster, and secondly, it does not insult the intelligence of the audience and actually takes a few brain cells to keep up with it. It's incredibly well-acted, it has an original story in a time when they are becoming harder and harder to come by, and it's a movie that will definitely be apperciated come awards time. It will probably win more awards for its technical accomplishments, and that is definitely well-deserved, but the acting deserves some praise too because this is probably one of the most well-acted movies of the year.

First I'll talk about the acting. I adore the cast of this movie and every single performance in it was great. However, the only person that has a serious shot of being nominated is Leo and with actors like Colin Firth and James Franco in his category he doesn't have a shot at winning. The rest of the Inception team performed well too, especially Marion Cotillard (who kind of serves as our antagonist) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I loved Joseph Gordon-Levittin this movie, but unfortunately he's probably not going to get much love from the Academy. Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, and all the rest of the actors were wonderful as well and deserve praise even though they are probably not going to get much of it.

A lot of movies tend to ruin their good stories and great elements by adding in romance to please mainstream moviegoers. Thankfully, Inception is not one of those movies. The closest thing we get to romance in the movie is Leo's relationship with his dead wife and that one meaningless kiss between Gordon-Levitt and Page that drove all the teenage girls in the theatre crazy (granted, there was a big group of them in the theatre but they didn't prevent me from enjoying the movie). Nothing much else to say about the lack of romance, so I'll move on.

This is my second viewing of Inception and upon seeing it for a second time, some elements of the plot made more sense. For instance, I didn't understand limbo becoming your reality until I saw it for a second time, and I just picked up on tons more things that I didn't pick up when I saw this in the theatre. Another thing one should know about this movie is that you have to give it your full undivided attention or you run the risk of falling behind. I'm not going to explain the plot so as not to give away any spoilers, but some may find it hard to follow, so I direct you back to my first comment about undivided attention.

Okay, so next I'll say the obvious. The visuals and general technical work are stunning and deserve to be praised and awarded, especially by the academy. The matrix effects have now been perfected and Inception is fine proof that visuals don't have to trump story or character development. I can guarantee that Inception will get nominated for technical awards, although probably not for the acting even though it deserves it. I don't really have anything to say so I'll wrap this up.

Inception truly is a wonderful movie, one of my all time favourites. TIt has an intelligent original story, creative characterization, awesome special effects, and it was my personal favourite movie of 2010. All of that is sure to pay off come awards time and rightfully so. If you haven't seen this movie, I will tell you that it is a great one worthy of multiple viewings and deserves to be on my favourites of all time list. Probably one of the best films I've seen in a while.

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http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-199645-Inception.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-199645-Inception.html Sat, 22 Jan 2011 01:09:08 +0000
<![CDATA[ A bullet for a life]]>  
What is amazing is the array of emotions that one could go through watching such a display of brutality (you don’t really need lots of blood or kicks or hammering to do that). In this movie whereby each rounds the “contestants” in the Russian Roulette game that these rich and speculative men play, it is amounting to a date with fate and destiny. The rule of the game is simple enough. Point the gun to the other person in a circle, like a child game, shoot at the next person in the head as soon as the light-bulb lights up! And so it goes on until the only survivor is left in the ring. It is brutal, primal and it dulls the senses as each round goes.


 
The kid aka # 13 got into the game not out of his own will but out of his own greediness (quick way to get rich not knowing what it entails!). And it was also stupid of him to think he could walk away with the money scot-free. No, the police didn’t get him, someone else who lost in the game got to him instead. That was after he mailed his winnings back to his mom; he’s not an idiot afterall. Still, ironically, he won the $1.86 million or so in exchange of his life.  Is it worth it? I don’t think so. But some other guys may think otherwise. In the first place, why does such game exist to begin with?
 

One can’t help but also ask the question, why does anyone invest in such film? I’ve no idea who the actors are, nor the director. However, they might be names you know. It also makes me questions why money and energy are wasted on such movie. Seems like there are a lot of trash out there these days despite the high prices movie-goers are being charged! Ok, granted, some of these movies which I don’t fancy might take in big winnings, I don’t know. Perhaps that’s why I don’t go to the movies anymore!
 
Do you think this is the trend or do you think it’s just me? I wonder…]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/d/UserReview-13_2010_movie_-546-1689118-199494-A_bullet_for_a_life.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/d/UserReview-13_2010_movie_-546-1689118-199494-A_bullet_for_a_life.html Tue, 18 Jan 2011 09:40:53 +0000
<![CDATA[ Shutter Island - 2010]]> Pros: DiCaprio and Scorsese, a great duo

Cons: none for me

The Bottom Line:
"Lord, this bitter earth
Yes, can be so cold
Today you're young
Too soon, you're ol"
~Dinah Washington

The Movie:
Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule are U. S. Marshalls, traveling to Shutter Island, off the Boston coast, to find an escapee.  Shutter Island houses the criminally insane, those that weren't able to remain in your standard prison.  It is a desolate place, almost Alcatraz like in its surroundings, and the Marshalls are hard pressed to figure out how someone could escape from a locked cell in the middle of the night without anyone seeing her.

Soon after their arrival, Teddy begins to have suspicions about not only the disappearance of the patient but also the conduct of the prison and authorities there as well.  We watch a series of flashbacks throughout the movie, telling of his prior life; both the interactions with his wife and his time in the military when he was part of the division that freed prisoners in a concentration camp.

His wife, Delores, appears regularly in the movie to warn him, taunt him and tease him.  When these flash backs happen he has a frantic, almost irritating, demeanor that makes you wonder what is really going on with him.

He also portends to have another agenda, looking for the inmate that was responsible for the fire that killed his wife a few years back.  As the storm rages outside, a different storm rages inside ... a lot of it in the minds of the patients and Marshalls.

Shutter Island carries an R rating for language, nudity, disturbing violent content.  It was nominated for 8 awards, winning two.

The Cast:
Leonardo DiCaprio plays the part of Teddy Daniels.  His gaunt, quirky appearance adds to the part he is playing.  Mark Ruffalo played his sidekick, Chuck.  With a laid-back demeanor, he offset DiCaprio's more irritating mannerisms.

Doctors were played by Ben Kingsley and Max Von Sydow, both of which really need no further information.  Their respective roles were delivered with their usual dedication and directness.

Smaller supporting roles went to Jackie Earl Haley, Patricia Clarkson, Ted Levine, Elias Koteas, and Michelle Williams.

This film was directed by Martin Scorsese with a tightness  and fludity you have come to expect.  Writing was done by Laeta Kalogridis from the novel by Dennis Lahane.   Of course it has a twist ending but not meant to shock you, simply explain the story further.  Scorsese built to this slowly and most had figured it out long before it was delivered.  I can't say I was overjoyed with the ending but it fit within the movie.

One thing I really liked was the way they played DiCaprio against Ruffalo with both parts being overlaid by the violence of the storm building int he movie.  Ruffalo appears almost placid, calm, unfazed, while DiCaprio seems to grow ever more out of control, much like Mother Nature herself.  Overall an impressive film.

thanks,
Susi

this is an entry into the January Lean-n-Mean contest.

Recommended:
Yes]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Shutter_Island_movie_-546-1435226-199195-Shutter_Island_2010.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Shutter_Island_movie_-546-1435226-199195-Shutter_Island_2010.html Tue, 11 Jan 2011 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Classic Cult Classic.]]> **** out of ****

Is it fair to call a film "great" purely based on directorial perfection? Is it really right to consider a cult film a "classic"? I questioned each and every one of these things while watching Joel and Ethan Coen's massive cult masterpiece "The Big Lebowski", and when the credits rolled, the brothers had answered all of my questions. But it took more than one sit-down to realize just why people so closely follow The Dude's story. I will admit that when I first saw this film, I didn't love it as much as I do now. However, I have since read many books and taken note of many things, all of which accumulate to my current admiration. There's something strangely deep about this Coen Brothers joint, and I think a lot of it resides in the fact that nearly everything in "The Big Lebowski" means something. It matters not of how big or small that "thing" happens to be; whether it is indirect symbolism through an unnaturally tough night at bowling, or maybe a very direct example of symbolic filmmaking through a lecture courtesy of Sam Elliot. I think what matters is how the Coen Brothers take it-whatever it is-and where they choose to place it. Because of this, I find it somewhat essential to pay close attention to "The Big Lebowski"; for it is a film which needs to not only be seen, but also understood. I will admit that the cult status can be a bit misleading; since many cult classics before have proved to be disappointments. The beauty is that unlike most movies of its type, "The Big Lebowski" is a cult film which doesn't build itself around hilarious clichés, cheesiness, camp, or the essential hatred or film critics. Instead, it's pretty intelligent and is a true knee-slapper when it comes to crafty comedy. It's also well acted and well directed, as well as beautifully shot and lovingly conceived. You can choose to view "The Big Lebowski" as nothing more than simple, forgettable movie; or on the contrary, you can choose to see it as nothing more. I don't particularly dislike those who can't see what's so great about "The Big Lebowski", since cult films aren't exactly made to appeal to everyone's liking. However, it's still a good laugh and maybe even more. Just look at the cult behind it. Only then will you see just how big this film got over time. It's a wonder how such an intentionally little film can become big over time. And just so you know: it's not going to happen often. Perhaps this is the last big cult classic. Who cares? It exists, it's wonderful, and it's the kind of punchy film that I simply have to love. Whether you seek a laugh, insight, or a strangely philosophical undertone, "Lebowski" offers each and every one of them. Maybe that is why it's such a respectable piece of work.

The Dude (real name: Jeffrey Lebowski) is a lazy man. He hasn't done much with his life, although he has his certain joints; one of them being his passion for bowling. He has his friends, and he has one heck of a heart. He just doesn't know it yet. So what happens when one night, this particularly lazy man's favorite rug is urinated upon by an angry, Asian-American thug looking for a man of an identical last name? He consults the real Lebowski, that's what! Upon meeting the "Big Lebowski", who is a wheel-chair bound millionaire, The Dude is dragged into his world. When Mr. Lebowski's wife goes missing (possibly due to a kidnapping), the man sends the Dude (accompanied by his long-time bowling partner/friend Walter Sobchak) on a quest to make things right with her possible captors (through a money exchange, no doubt). When Walter and The Dude decide to keep the money and send everyone on their way, things get bad really fast. In a twisted turn of events, Dude's car is stolen, a 15 year-old boy gets rich, The Dude learns of Mr. Lebowski's trophy wife's shady past, and so on and so forth. What you get out of the experience is a good example of how to cleverly place plot devices in an attempt to be funny, but bring out a whole lot more as well. "The Big Lebowski" is a treasure, perhaps, because of its characters. Is it really possible to NOT like The Dude? The same goes for his partner-in-crime Walter. Is it possible to dislike him as well? I really don't see how anyone could not get a good laugh out of "Lebowski". It tells a story of at least some meaning, and has an undeniably hilarious charm going on throughout. Every single character is as quirky and well-thought out as Coen Brothers characters should be. Long story short: I loved watching "The Big Lebowski". It's a lot of fun, and probably one of the craftiest comedies ever made. Seldom do "comedy films" exist for anything more than the intended "laugh". This Coen Brothers offering seems to live for far more than comedic thrills, and delivers just about everything that a great movie should. It's one heck of a time.

You know that you love Jeff Bridges. You can sure as hell deny it, but deep down inside, somewhere in your shady little mind, you admire the guy. It's hard to like Bridges without knowing his character in this film. The Dude is a character whom Jeff Bridges tackles perfectly; a flamboyant slacker with a pretty big heart. Bridges makes the character lazy, hilarious, yet likable and sympathetic. There's more than comedic brilliance to be found in this performance; there's also plenty of complex mastery (in other subjects, of course). John Goodman also gets the show going as Walter; the ex-Vietnam veteran who has a short temper, a sharp tongue, and an appetite which often seeks new thrills and many of life's other surprises. This is clear throughout the film, as he seems to serve as a sort of "spice"; thus he can make the funny situation even funnier. Another key actor is Steve Buscemi, who shines only because he serves as a somewhat complex little character; a non-adventurous human being who, at the first breath of true thrills, alas looses himself to life's intensity. Jullianne Moore also gives an interesting performance as Maud Lebowski; Mr. Lebowski's intelligent and cunning daughter. I could go on-and-on about these actors and their characters, although unless I'm bound to write a novel, I see no point. Cameos include David Thewlis, John Turturro, Philip Seymour Hoffman (who is not to be missed), and Jon Polito. Sam Elliot also stars as "The Stranger"; a character who provides an almost soothing sense of narration for the film when it needs it. Thank god for his existence!

The Coen Brothers can dazzle on many levels. One thing that they can succeed in is providing interesting visuals. Their cinematography is mostly just down-right brilliant; while their dream sequences often highlight the comical realms of surrealism. "The Big Lebowski", for all it's got, is a typical day with the Coens. The film's visual style is a true winner, with typically awesome camera angles/shots and even more interesting dream segments. I particularly liked the "Gutterballs" dream, which felt like a homage to the many visual masterpieces of cinema. But that wasn't the only indication in which the filmmakers expressed their love for films; there were many more moments as well. Perhaps "The Big Lebowski" references classic noirs, or maybe even spoofs them. What I also loved about the film's style was its soundtrack, which is one of the main reasons to why it's such a hit. The music of "The Big Lebowski" is magnificent not because it MEANS anything; but rather because it simply fits in perfectly with whatever may be going on. It's also very unique and diverse; sporting music of the likes of Bob Dylan and even The Gypsy Kings. I liked this, just as I liked everything else about "Lebowski". Like I said, the film is a treasure. It's not just another cult film which will soon be dragged into the gutter along with countless others. It's a big film and it will stay big, and you know what: I'm damn happy about that. For all Coen Brothers fans; this is another wonderful edition to the family.

This is one of the Coen Brothers' best films; thoughtful, consistently hilarious, and even complex. It's a comedy like no other, one that is visually whimsical and ominously endearing. The characters are well-built and suitably quirky, yet there is something sort of intriguing about the film. There's something more to it...seemingly. There's something beyond the humor; beyond the countless amount of quotes. It's a good film for all its obvious attributes, but a great one for all its secrets. I think that to really get the film, you have to read a lot about it or perhaps discover what lies beneath for yourself. For the love of cult films, just see the darned thing. It matters not of whether you think it's mere cult snuff or masterpiece; all that seems to really matter is your own opinion. I'd like to talk this film over with some people, since everything from the production to the art involved proves thought-provoking. Few comedies have done this. Most just try to make us laugh like mindless men, which we are not. "The Big Lebowski" understands what film lovers are; it knows what we have been wanting for so long. Thus it takes it upon itself to deliver the cinematic goods. For beauty, complexity, hilarity, and even sincerity, try The Dude's joint. It's a legendary film; something I will remember for ages to come. I am working at being a huge fan of the film, and perhaps someday I will attend the ever-so-famous "Lebowski-Fest". I'm getting there. Perhaps we all are. Because we are Achievers. And we are the men for our time and place. Sometimes there's a man. Sometimes there's a man. For this film, it was not one man, but thousands and millions of men. That's how much it took to make "The Big Lebowski" the success that it is today. Needless to say, it all paid off. Now I can just sit here and enjoy this film as Walter would with his cup of Coffee. Far out, man. Far out.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Big_Lebowski-546-1694378-199058-A_Classic_Cult_Classic_.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Big_Lebowski-546-1694378-199058-A_Classic_Cult_Classic_.html Mon, 10 Jan 2011 23:20:43 +0000
<![CDATA[ There's nothing quite like it! A Paradox!]]> Inception is one such movie. It keeps the audience in suspense and guessing, anxious to KNOW what is ahead.
 
Dreaming is something that I had always been enchanted with all my life. It is through dreams that I see God the first time in my life! Yes, I’ve been fascinated by the reality of my dreams and the world we perceived as real. Inception is a world of possibilities, just like our dream world and sleeps each night, a place where we escape to for whatever reasons! I’m already engrossed the first 20 mins of the movie, which is normally not the case when I’m watching a movie in the comfort of my living room. There are plenty of distractions around me, that is.
 
Of course, I’ve never seen or walk in a world upside down in my personal dreams. But I have had been a bird, a Victorian lady wearing huge petticoat and also living & breathing under the sea! So, this is one movie which may not make sense and yet in the dream world, it makes plenty of “sense”. I must say I’ve even dreamt of the day the world is coming to its end, “living” in the reality & seeing with my own eyes what hell is! It certainly is one hell of a dream!



 
Inception is entertainment at its best. It doesn’t have to make so much sense that it becomes totally a bore. There is nothing quite like it! In fact, it is probably Leonardo at his best! Titanic was a bore, Inception is a challenge! A challenge to go beyond one’s own reasoning and to appreciate the intricacies of the mind. Yes, for someone who majored in Psychology, this is a highly interesting movie! A movie that challenges one’s understanding, logical thinking and reality of this world.  A film that explores the underlying human subconscious and questions about how that subconscious affects our motivations, behaviors and actions of life. It is possibly the very film (at least for me) that explores the different levels of our subconscious mind through dreams. Highly intelligent although it might not have been an accurate portrayal & effective way of explaining it. However, since it is merely a film (not education), it will therefore suffice. For a movie, it is quite an ambitious attempt!
 
Oh, as a warning, do not try to engineer your dreams. Dreams are best left alone and follow its natural courses.  Scientists sometimes try too hard before they are ready, imho.

As for Hollywood, I don’t need a film to be real, but I need it to be interesting and entertaining. This one fits the bill brilliantly! Great job!
 ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-198511-There_s_nothing_quite_like_it_A_Paradox_.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-198511-There_s_nothing_quite_like_it_A_Paradox_.html Tue, 4 Jan 2011 14:33:47 +0000
<![CDATA[ Film of the Year]]> Christopher Nolan, being relatively unknown until he rebooted the Batman franchise, has managed to produce the best film of 2010 and possibly one of the best films of the decade. He manages to take fantasy concepts and bring them into the real world, no matter how crazy they may seem. Batman is one of his projects that he wanted to remove from the comic book fantasy and bring it into the real world to the point the viewer would be thinking "so this is really possible". Although it may seem crazy, Inception is one of those movies. Although using technology and ideas that don't yet exist in reality, it uses concepts such as Lucid dreaming and dream incubation and places them in reality. Although it may seem crazy, I think that one day we will develop such an understanding of dreams and the unconscious mind that things such ideas as depicted in the film will be possible.

Although being a genius of film making, he's also excellent in confusing the hell out of the viewer, and if you aren't paying attention for the entire runtime, you will find yourself to be absolutely lost. The story centres around dream thieves, Dominick (Leo DiCaprio) and Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Well they're not actual dream thieves, more secret thieves. They dream together and break into the unconscious minds of other sleepy people in the hope of discovering some deep and dark secrets about them. They're approached by Saito (Ken Watanabe) who offers Dominick the freedom to return home to the US (where he's wanted for murder of his wife) if he can perform Inception, the act of planting ideas in the mind of another person through their dreams. The victim of said Inception is Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), the son of a wealthy business man who is about to inherit a massive corporate empire. In order to carry the inception, Dominick and Arthur employ the services of the dream architect, Ariadne (Ellen Page), identity forger, Eames (Tom Hardy) and the sedative guy, Yusuf (Dileep Rao).

If the story didn't sound complicated enough, it goes even deeper into the ideas and concepts of dreams that will really knock you if you aren't paying attention from the start. Involving numerous levels of dreams, you become lost in what is exactly the reality. This is a beautifully crafted film that blends stunning special effects with spectacular acting, dialogue and action. Some scenes are just bizarre but wonderfully put together, such as the scene showing Paris being folded on itself. One particular standout moment, however, is the anti-gravity fight sequence involving Joseph Gordon-Levitt, one of those amazing, but criminally underrated actors. This is a visually mind-blowing scene which becomes a centrepiece of the entire film.

This is a genius venture by Nolan and seals his legendary status. He is a true cinematic master and this is just an example of the wondrous stories he can bring to the big screen. Everyone must own this film, because without it, you're better off dead.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-198436-Film_of_the_Year.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-198436-Film_of_the_Year.html Mon, 3 Jan 2011 01:13:55 +0000
<![CDATA[Inception Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> This was a really good film and worthy of the praise it got but I feel like it fell just short of classic status. Maybe because the characters were not as developed as much as the plot was or something but it felt kinda incomplete. I don't know maybe I am crazy, you tell me. However feel about the film I am sure everyone can agree that it is at the very least worth a rental right.]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-13-1436938-198363.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-13-1436938-198363.html Sun, 2 Jan 2011 08:57:01 +0000 <![CDATA[ REALLY GOOD FILM]]> A man in a suit with a gun in his right hand is flanked by five other individuals in the middle of a street which, behind them, is folded upwards. Leonardo DiCaprio's name and those of other cast members are shown above the words "YOUR MIND IS THE SCENE OF THE CRIME". The title of the film "INCEPTION", film credits, and theatrical and IMAX release dates are shown at the bottom.

INCEPTION

There was a lot of hype surrounding this movie when it was released and all I would hear from people was "you have see this flick". I skipped going to see it in theaters because most of the time I am let down when something is overly hyped. So like I do with a lot I waited until the DVD release to finally catch this film. I must say that I am glad I waited and let the hype factor die down because I did enjoy this movie. I also will say that if I had been paying attention and realized Cillian Murphy was in this I may have went and seen it on the big screen.

If you have yet to see this I can assure you that what you have heard is true, you do have to follow what is going on the whole time [kinda]. Well at least at first but once you know the rules the film is playing by it becomes easier to guess what is coming. The film starts out with our Dream robbers inside the mind of a man who will become one of the center parts of this story. When we learn that you can be in a dream inside a dream things start to heat up. But once out the question is asked "can you plant an idea in some one's mind like you can steal info from them". This question is pressed by the man they just tried to steal from and he offers the thieves a job. So the plan starts to be laid out as a team is assembled to do what most think is impossible.

Written and directed wonderfully by Christopher Nolan this movie combines elements of other films and styles to create a very intriguing world. The effects and twists of the story keep you interested the entire time, and it is a long film. Take for example the building of the dream, when you see what "the human mind" can come up with and all the things it can add to these worlds are amazing. Visually this film is near flawless but there are other factors that bring it down. Such as when you figure out the film, you figure it out, sure the twists are there but you can kinda guess what is coming.

And while the film takes a while it does and some great actors keeping things going, one of my favorites Cillian Murphy is the mark in this movie. Of course lead Leonardo DiCaprio does a good job here as does Ken Watanabe who is actually a favorite in the film as he did a great job. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as well was great as Leo's number one guy, Marion Cotillard was excellent as Leo's wife in this movie, Ellen Page as the dream weaver, Tom Hardy was another wonderful addition to the film, Tom Berenger, Michael Caine, Dileep Rao all did great jobs as well. Add in a wonderful soundtrack and you a very good film.

This was a really good film and worthy of the praise it got but I feel like it fell just short of classic status. Maybe because the characters were not as developed as much as the plot was or something but it felt kinda incomplete. I don't know maybe I am crazy, you tell me. However feel about the film I am sure everyone can agree that it is at the very least worth a rental right.

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-198362-REALLY_GOOD_FILM.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-198362-REALLY_GOOD_FILM.html Sun, 2 Jan 2011 08:55:35 +0000
<![CDATA[ Ghosts and demons]]> http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Shutter_Island_movie_-546-1435226-196015-Ghosts_and_demons.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Shutter_Island_movie_-546-1435226-196015-Ghosts_and_demons.html Fri, 10 Dec 2010 20:05:14 +0000 <![CDATA[ Stylized, Ambitious, Powerful]]>

Going into Inception was kind of a gamble for me as my friends and colleagues apparently know me better than I thought.  I’ve been hearing this is the “one to check out” since the day it arrived in theaters this past summer and while my friends have once again proven spot-on with their understanding of the kind of fiction I enjoy, it is always worrisome when so much hype comes my way.  I have to make a very conscious effort not to get swept up in it, as that is the sure-fire way to become disappointed with any project (however ambitious).

That said I was able to suppress my tendency to become the ultimate Inception fan boy until its home-disc release then quickly snatched up the Blu-ray with reservations on picking up a Leo DeCaprio T-shirt and matching coffee mug.  To cut the chase, I enjoyed this film quite a bit but perhaps not quite to the levels my buddies assumed I would and the reason for this stems from the fact that some of its finest conceptual moments have been done before in various mediums.  However, we’ll get to all that.  For now, let us get to the nuts and bolts of the picture.

Inception tells the tale of Dom Cobb (Leonardo DeCaprio), an Extractor (a man who enters people’s dreams to gather information).  With a team of dream-experts consisting of Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Ariadne (Ellen Page), Eames (Tom Hardy), and Yusuf (Dileep Rao), Cobb is hired by Saito (Ken Watanabe) to implant an idea (a unproven process called Inception) into the brain of Robert Fischer Jr. (Cillian Murphy).

If this sounds a bit muddled to you, then perhaps steering very clear of this picture will be your best bet.  For all of its intricate explanations, Inception is a venerable swirl of intense sequences that demands multiple viewings if any coherency is to be established.

I liken the initial viewing experience to the first time I went though the original Matrix (another Warner Brothers piece with similar themes): The line between reality and the construct is quite hazy and the laws separating them aren’t quite clearly understood despite plenty of exposition attempting to force-feed them to you.

I suppose in the interest of the average viewer’s sanity, Christopher Nolan was forced to integrate a technique that I personally am not too fond of here in that when the situation demands it, suddenly the rules established earlier on are said not to apply “in this situation”, hence upping the level of danger to the characters involved.  Again though, given the complexity of the material here, it is far more forgivable than if used in a more-linear piece.

And speaking of linearity, I will continue to summarize the plot without giving away any real spoilers.  Cobb could well be the ultimate mind thief except for one minor annoyance: The appearance of Mal (Marion Cotillard) who tends to turn up in Cobb’s dreams and jobs, botching them out of spite.  Additionally we learn that Cobb is a proud daddy in the real world and that motivation to be reunited with his kids is the catalyst for his agreeing to such a risky assignment.

In fact, so delicate is the act of incepting a persuasive motivation that it demands Cobb and company to enter into a dream within a dream within a dream! Each depth of the subconscious mind said to be far riskier, more unstable, and (what I found to be coolest of all) operating in its own relative speed.

The film is pretty stunning, visually, right from the onset with undeniable attention paid in the merging of gritty, moody dialog sequences with larger-than-life mind-bending effects.  Direction is spectacular here as well with camera moves and angles that dazzle continually.  Hans Zimmer’s score is spot-on as well.  Truly from a technical standpoint, the piece is a stunner.

The 2.5-hour runtime happens quickly and efficiently thanks to roller coaster pacing and a bit of disconnected editing work.

In all, if having gotten this far in my review and aren’t sure exactly how I feel about the piece, that’s a pretty accurate observation.  Parts of this one are brilliant but unlike 1998’s The Matrix or the 2005 novel Human Interface (both of which present some very similar mind-bending concepts), portions of Inception (especially the twist at the end) leave a flavor of forced existentialism.  There is potential for greatness here in every single moment of the picture but appreciation for it all takes time to settle in much in the same way one doesn’t guzzle a bottle of fine wine.

I suppose in conclusion the goal of science fiction cinema is to entertain and there is little doubt that Inception delivers in this regard.  It is certainly thought provoking, unique and technically impeccable.  I will conclude this review with a quote from the film that best describes the experience as a whole:  Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize how things are actually strange.”

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-195913-Stylized_Ambitious_Powerful.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-195913-Stylized_Ambitious_Powerful.html Thu, 9 Dec 2010 06:13:11 +0000
<![CDATA[Dick Tracy Versus Cueball Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Great and fun flick from the classic Film Noir Era, the second of four in the Dick Tracy R.K.O. series. Over acting all the way to good acting this flick has it all, plus a fun bad guy.]]> http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/d/UserReview-Dick_Tracy_Versus_Cueball-546-1665385-193791.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/d/UserReview-Dick_Tracy_Versus_Cueball-546-1665385-193791.html Tue, 16 Nov 2010 21:57:16 +0000 <![CDATA[ FUN DICK TRACY MOVIE FROM THE FILM NOIR GLORY DAYS]]>

DICK TRACY VERSUS CUEBALL

 

Film Noir was a very popular style back in the day that produced some of the most entertaining films ever released. Nowadays you get the Neo-Noir films but during the hey days of Noir films like this were released. How can any one who is a film lover not know about the Classic Dick Tracy films from R.K.O. Pictures, let alone the comic strip. This film came out right in the middle of the golden years of Noir, 1946. Depending on your taste you may not like this but I thought it was one of the most entertaining films to come out of the this period.

 

A man named Cueball who was just released from prison is hired to steal some diamonds from a man on board a ship. Once there he kills the man and makes his way to those who hired him to do so. But it turns out he is a very non trusting individual as he thinks everyone is out to use him. So he hides along with the diamonds until he thinks he is getting paid what he deserves. But there is a very famous detective out to figure out this murder and is not far behind him and his co conspirators from the start.

 

This the second Dick Tracy film from R.K.O. has a lot to offer in form of entertainment, it has all the classic styling of a fun B Noir movie. From the classic detective drama story to the hamming it up acting to the down right great style this has it all. Directed by Gordon M. Douglas this fun little flick is just over an hour so the pace moves along at a wonderful pace yet never seems rushed. The style of the black & white film is great along with the performances, including Morgan Conway as Dick Tracy. I have heard people say that his acting here was wooden but I think that made him more fun to be honest, watch and see for your self. Dick Wessel was perfect as Cueball here and seemed goofy at times but wonderfully evil at others. Anne Jeffreys as Tess Trueheart was good as was Lyle Latell as Tracy’s partner Pat Patton. Still I think it was Ian Keith as Vitamin Flintheart that stole the show here as the owner of a bar Cueball hides out at. You can tell she had a great time hamming it up here.

 

When you think of Film Noir it is hard to not include this classic character, whether you liked the films or not Tracy is legend. I thought this was a fun B film that came out during the height of the Noir days. I have more that I will be reviewing and putting out there, in fact I should have started with the first R.K.O. Dick Tracy film and did them in order. Oh Well.


Dick Tracy vs. Cueball

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http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/d/UserReview-Dick_Tracy_Versus_Cueball-546-1665385-193584-FUN_DICK_TRACY_MOVIE_FROM_THE_FILM_NOIR_GLORY_DAYS.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/d/UserReview-Dick_Tracy_Versus_Cueball-546-1665385-193584-FUN_DICK_TRACY_MOVIE_FROM_THE_FILM_NOIR_GLORY_DAYS.html Fri, 12 Nov 2010 08:43:05 +0000
<![CDATA[ Thriller fans rejoice]]> http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Shutter_Island_movie_-546-1435226-192725-Thriller_fans_rejoice.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Shutter_Island_movie_-546-1435226-192725-Thriller_fans_rejoice.html Wed, 27 Oct 2010 20:43:48 +0000 <![CDATA[ "In the mysty mooonlight"]]>
The story progresses to current day when Jimmy Markham is preparing for his middle daughter's first communion. His eldest daughter, Katie, is the apple of his eye and unbeknown to Jimmy, she is preparing to elope. The night prior to her elopement she is out with two girlfriends celebrating. 

The next thing that the viewer sees is her car in the street and we learn that two boys are calling in that there is blood all over.

The story then centers on Jimmy Markham's pain and rage as he learns that Katie has been murdered.

Sean Devine has become a State Police officer and he is investigating.  He sees that Katie has been shot and is trying to investigate who may have shot her and getting info on the bullet.

Dave Boyle is acting funny and comes home covered with blood on the night when Katie was killed.
Was he the killer or did he, as he claims, beat up a man who tried to rob him?

The movie followed the book well and the directing by Clint Eastwood was superb.

Critics agree,  Sean Penn won the Oscar for best actor
                          Tim Robbins won the Oscar for best supporting actor. 
                           Marcia Gay Harden was nominated for best supporting actress
                           Clint Eastwood was nominated for best director
                           Mystic River was nominated for the Oscar for best movie.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Mystic_River_2003_-546-1610287-187736-_In_the_mysty_mooonlight_.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Mystic_River_2003_-546-1610287-187736-_In_the_mysty_mooonlight_.html Wed, 13 Oct 2010 00:39:12 +0000
<![CDATA[Inception Quick Tip by SheilaDeeth]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-13-1436938-182528.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-13-1436938-182528.html Sat, 9 Oct 2010 01:22:14 +0000 <![CDATA[ Adapting the Watchmen, what is the point?]]>


More importantly, if this film accomplishes nothing else, it has made me question the point of adaptation in general.  I can't claim to completely understand it, but the yearning to see stories from various other media adapted into film is incredible for me.   As a pre-teen I couldn't think of anything more exciting than seeing the Lord of the Rings made into films.   As a comic collector I burned to see my favorite franchises turned into major motion pictures, and it's a feeling that's hard to shake to this day, especially in the wake of the Watchmen adaptation.  But when I stop and truly think about what adaptation requires, and what it ultimately offers, I have to wonder just how pointless it is.  What is the point of making a film like the Watchmen when I can read the comics the way they were intended to be taken in?  Is it to capture new readers of the comic, to hold up the greatness that a lot of us believe the Watchmen holds and force it on an audience that would only take a chance on it in the film medium?   Is it supposed to outshine the original?  As someone who has already experienced the story in its original form I have to say that no matter how spot on the film was, it would only ever be something that can come close to the original, but never supersede it.  The original, for what it is, has little in the way of flaws, and doesn’t need to be told any other way.  It can only ever be a much quicker way to experience the story, something that is antithetical to the original work.  If I wanted to get somebody to experience the story, I'd just give them the book.  At the end of the day, the Watchmen is a specific story that works as it was created and any adaptation would just pale in comparison.  It isn't something like Spiderman, which is an icon, a concept of a character that can be used to tell any number of stories.  For someone who is not intimately versed in super hero comics to catch the film, well I think they'd be missing the point of the story anyway.

When I walked out of screening with my wife, my first reaction was that the movie was all muffin top and no actual muffin, but let me back up a second.  All the beats were there in terms of story points, and visually the movie is stunning.  I had the same reaction that a lot of comic fans seem to be having with the flick in that it's amazing to see the characters from the comic leap to the screen picture perfect.  Again, even this reaction is because of the baggage I'm carrying from watching super hero movies for the last 30 years.  Up until the mid 90s it was very rare that a comic book character could be visually translated onto the screen with such faithfulness to the source material.  The Christopher Reeve Superman was good, but only about half right.  The Michael Keaton Batman, though special in his own right, was a bit off from the caped crusader in the comics.  When you get right down to it, the foam rubber Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from the first live action film were some of the very first truly amazing visual translations of characters from comic to screen.  Over the past decade this has been a focus that filmmakers seem to increasingly nail on a consistent basis, and for a group of characters like the Watchmen to make the transition almost wholly intact, is incredible, if only because the source material isn’t ripe for adaptation.  For a movie studio to put as much time and money into the translation without the benefit of a huge merchandising machine in place in this day in age is wild.

It's the visual culmination of years of trying to perfect the balance between pleasing the fans, logistics of production, and advances in technology.  The thing is that 30 years of super hero films have trained the audience that anything better than horrible is just fine with us.  So a picture perfect visual adaptation of the Watchmen isn't an aspect that the film can really rest its laurels on.   The other celebrated aspect to the film is the fact that it managed to keep enough of the tone and content to garner an R rating.  The original comics are unrelentingly "adult" in content; in particular when compared to the rest of the output from the publisher (DC comics) at the time it was published.   When you get right down to it, super hero comics are aimed at a young audience, and that was one of the conventions that the Watchmen sought to challenge.  The hurdle the movie is attempting to leap across is the fact that most films these days are specifically molded to appease the sensibilities of the largest possible audience, which is why most "adult" fare is targeted to a PG-13 crowd.  Show just enough to appease those with darker sensibilities, and hold back just enough so that the content is suitable for most teenagers, and bang, that mystically profitable age range is targeted.  Unfortunately, most uncompromised stories don't fit very easily into any sort of age specific category.  Life in general just doesn't fit into predetermined boxes all that well.  So the fact that the Watchmen is rated R, and a deservedly hard R, could be viewed as another accomplishment on the path to an uncompromised adaptation.  Again, though, a laurel not to be rested upon.   Side-stepping the mediocrity of the film industry, as admirable as it is, shouldn't be celebrated, it should be expected.  Even if it were, the violence and adult content in the Watchmen comics are not a selling point.  I think I'd have to philosophically side with Sam Peckinpah on this one and admit that these characteristics of the original comics are an abhorrent necessity in conveying the story.   It's not cool to watch Rorschach chain a child murderer to a hot water heater in a building he just set afire, giving him a hacksaw as a means to disfigure himself with the possibility of an uncertain escape.   It's not cool to watch as an inmate's throat is cut with a box cutter in order to get him out of the way of cell bars that need to be acetylene torched.   It's not cool watching a woman brutalized and half raped for character development; it's necessary to tell the story that Alan Moore set out to write, and it's there to disgust the reader.

So what's left?  Story, acting, tone (not just of the R rated variety, but in terms of overall plot and world), and execution (in terms of direction), this is where the film starts to fall apart for me.  It's been awhile since I've read the original comics, and after walking out of the screening I felt like a lot was left out, though I couldn't put my finger on exactly what.  I know of the fan gripes, that the Black Freighter comic-within-a-comic story was excised for the theatrical cut (to be released on DVD as a cartoon later this month, along with the possibility of be re-cut into the expanded edition of the Watchmen film on DVD), that the Newsstand and the relationship been the proprietor and the kid who reads the comic was left unexplored, the dropping of the prison psychiatrist's back story, and probably the most popular gripe, the alteration of the final sequence in the film and dropping of the giant squid Macguffin.  Those aspects didn’t bother me as I'm much more concerned with the core story, not all the little details.   I mean when you get right down to it, it would simply be impossible to include all the plot threads and details, there just isn't enough time to incorporate it all.   No, an adaptation from a long format to a short calls for cuts to be made, fat, no matter how interesting, to be trimmed for the core story to come through.  So does it?  I have to say yes.  All the "important" stuff is there, the dynamic between Rorschach and the rest of the Watchmen (and the rest of the world for that matter), Dr. Manhattan's abandonment and eventual rediscovery of humanity, the dissection and exploration of super heroes as saviors or gods, the futility of doing things the right way, and an expose on the dark depths to which humanity can find itself when it loses its way on the path to righteousness and moral right.  All of the landmark elements from the comic series are represented, yet the film still seems (at least to me) to lose its own way in the midst of adaptation.

There are a couple themes that seem to have been partially dropped, and an aspect to the original story that can't translate verbatim and possibly could have been redirected but wasn't.   First off, I don’t think the overall tone of the story was kept intact in the translation.  Reading the original comics isn't a fun beautiful experience on the whole.  I believe that many of the characters are drawn (both literally and stylistically) to be so ugly that it's hard to follow their stories without disgust.  In fact I think it's really hard to pick a character that as a reader you can truly get behind so that the focus isn't placed on watching that one character interact within the world created, but instead for the reader to be forced to watch all aspects of the world not unlike the social conditioning of Malcom Macdowell's character in A Clockwork Orange.  If there is a hero in the book it's the bond between Dan's Night Owl II and Rorschach.  Aspects of both characters are admirable, but neither is strong enough to carry the role of a hero for the story.  Back to the point, the world of the Watchmen is ugly and dark, it isn't polished, and when it appears to be it's just a thin veneer covering something rusty and broken.  Zach Synder made a conscious effort to adapt the material in such a way that this gritty ugliness is polished and beautiful to watch.  Scenes are set to overbearing music cues that are at once both too perfect and too pop for the good of the story.  The soundtrack is full of hit songs and memorable anthems and don't speak to the world of the film at all except in the most obvious and coincidental ways.  The one section in which this really worked for me was the opening credit sequence after the brutal murder of the Comedian, which is a couple minute montage set to Bob Dylan's The Times They are a-changin' (illustrating the formation and ultimate failure of the Minutemen super hero team, and their impact on society.)   It's heavy handed, but it works.

Unfortunately, there are too many sequences that follow during the next hour or so that keep up this absurd music video-like quality to the film so that the world of the Watchmen isn't given a chance to breath on its own.  It's suffocating, and in the end the obvious tone to the music is what informs the tone of the scene, not really what's playing out before your eyes.  At its most inhibiting, the music can completely tear you out of the film you're watching and put the viewer in the mindset of other films.  The flash back sequence of a 70 foot tall Dr. Manhattan obliterating Vietcong troops set to Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries is such an obvious reference to Apocalypse Now that it borders on pretentious ("You'all like crazy overblown scenes from films about the war in Vietnam?  Well here's a crazy overblown scene about the war in Vietnam, set to the music from that original example!")

The cinematography itself is also so pretty and picture perfect that it does nothing but damage the tone of the story being told.  Everything is so rich and colorful, every movement of the characters is so choreographed and precise that it's a wonder to behold, awe inspiring really.  But honestly, I don't think this is what we're supposed to be feeling while watching the film or reading the story.  I think the blame doesn't necessarily fall with the director so much as the source material which is being adapted.   If there is an obvious downfall of the comic book medium it's in the limitations with which the storytellers and artists have to tell a story.  The medium emulates life, but it's forced to take snapshots of movement and moments, and begs the reader to read between the panels.  Comic pages end up looking like a collection of all the most perfect moments imaginable in a story, but by nature it almost has to be (where film doesn't.)  Also, during the 80s (in particular) mainstream comics were still on the precipice of achieving a more realistic coloring style and were still shackled by the garish color conventions that printing had to offer at the time.  Where the film takes these cues and relishes in them, is when I believe it becomes a misinterpretation of the limitations of the medium.  It has to be very difficult as an artist to keep yourself from picking the absolutely perfect moments to draw in a comic.  Aesthetically specking this is process an artist normally goes through to make interesting and pleasing artwork.   To a degree this can translate to film in general, but it's only one choice of many to convey particular moods and tone.   For whatever beauty there is in the grittiness and violence in the original Watchmen comic, in the picture perfect snapshots of moments and it's vividly colored world, I think it has to be weighed against how unsettling it was when taken in context of practically every other super hero comic being published at the time.  This beautifully rendered chaos becomes ugly in this comparison.

As for the path not taken with the adaptation (that I alluded to above), another key factor of the original comics are their deconstruction of the super hero mythos within comics in general.  This deconstruction just doesn't translate well to film because there are too many factors to take into consideration for an audience not steeped in comic history, and it's too meta (for lack of a better term.)  It won't work for people who aren't steeped in these conventions because the concepts aren't novel to the history of cinema (which obviously wasn't a concern of Moore when writing the comic.)  Cinephiles and the majority of film goers have been inundated with truly realistic depictions of flawed heroism and the dangers of getting behind anti heroes,a nd honestly I don't think that audience distinguishes all that much between a character's chosen occupation.  Flawed cop or caped crusader, it's all the same to most people.  I believe there was a chance to redirect this deconstruction at a more clearly defined target, the super hero film as a genre in particular.  Sure, the content of this deconstruction would deviate some from the Watchmen source material, but the heart and soul of one of that source material's original aims would be kept intact.  I truly think that as a piece of "important" literature, the Watchmen's interpretation of the super hero ladden world is one if it's crowing acheivements. 

Getting back to the misplaced tone of the film, there are distinct choices to portray certain aspects to the story in a much more grandiose manner that mar the tone.  There is little super heroic fighting in the original comics for instance, and when Synder adapted the material he chose to heighten these moments, turning them into exactly what the original comics were intending to deconstruct and downplay.   Watching Silk Spectre II and Night Owl make an assault on a street gang or a maximum security prison is like watching all of the horribly unrealistic action that is common to films such as the Matrix, X-Men, and Ghost Rider (not to mention that the methodology and consequences of the violence is increased.)  These non-super powered characters are doing truly unrealistic and super powered things like punching through concrete, and throwing people clear across rooms.  Watching Rorschach scale the side of a building evokes the feeling one gets when watching Spiderman do the same thing, and that is a terrible misinterpretation of what the Watchmen is all about.

I will say that incongruous to my feelings on the adaptation above, I loved the change in the ending of the film.  Whereas the giant-squid-alien Macguffins that are used as a doomsday device/deterrent in the original comics are a terribly interesting way of bringing the final outcome of the story to fruition, I am completely blown away by the poetry Snyder managed to squeeze out of the new destructive device.  Having Ozymandias trick Dr. Manhattan into building devices that would emulate his powers of atom level disintegration under the guise of generating a free source of energy is genius.  When the "bombs" go off vaporizing many major cities in the world, both putting into play Ozymandias' ultimate goal of world peace through banding together against a common foe, and framing Manhattan for this destruction in the process (by using his power's signature and instrumenting a portion of his loss in humanity and eventual exile from Earth), Snyder effectivly turns Jon Osterman into God, the ultimate deterrent for war.  Synder taking such a stab at Christianity is so much in the vein of what Moore was doing with the original Watchmen comics that it almost makes up for the fast and loose way he handled the build up to the reveal of the story, almost.

I also have to say that again, adaptation issues aside, a good majority of the characters do translate well to screen.  Jackie Earl Haley as Rorschach is amazing (though a tad too emotional when compared to his monotone print counterpart), more so when not wearing the mask.  Patrick wilson's Night Owl manages to capture the essence of the original character, at some times more convincingly than int he comics.  Some don't fare so well though, particularly Malin Åkerman as Laurie Jupiter.  Her portrayal of the character is too strong and confident, she's played as a sex bomb and doesn't seem to be the same broken down dependent character from the original comics.

All in all I still just have to wonder what the point of the whole experience was.


 

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http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Watchmen_2009_film_-546-1357287-166347-Adapting_the_Watchmen_what_is_the_point_.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Watchmen_2009_film_-546-1357287-166347-Adapting_the_Watchmen_what_is_the_point_.html Sat, 25 Sep 2010 23:30:20 +0000
<![CDATA[ Nolan Sets the New Standard for Science Fiction with an Unforgettable Classic]]> Alfred Hitchcock redefined horror and suspense with Rear Window, The Birds, and Psycho. Judd Apatow and Todd Phillips crafted the comedy classics that have defined our generation like Knocked Up, The Hangover, and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Now, Christopher Nolan has broke ground with not only some of the finest storytelling I’ve seen in years, but also discovering a new frontier of film-making when it comes to the world of dreams. The film is set in a world of “dream espionage”, where a mysterious figure known as Mr. Cobb leads his team of individuals who are also quite mysterious on their biggest mission yet. On behalf of a suspicious superior Mr. Saito, Mr. Cobb and his crew must perform “inception”, placing a thought instead of the more common stealing of thoughts, in the mind of a rival businessman to convince him to not take his father’s place in his company. In the wake of the Bale/Jackman pairing in The Prestige and the Bale/Eckhart/Ledger/Oldman team-up in the phenomenon of 2008′s The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan’s cast for Inception may be his best pairing yet. Ellen Page, Cobb’s Architect/Dream Builder in Training is relatively new to the action genre, but Page perfectly fits as a believable character that often is explaining the deep mythology to the audience in a subtle way. Tom Hardy is one of the coolest characters on the roster  thanks to the guy’s sleek screen presence and smooth talking, and Marion Cotilliard is effectively creepy in her role I can’t help but keep my lips sealed about. Ken Watanabe, playing the villain in the film Mr. Saito, has that classic Bond villain ooze to him. Cilian Murphy, who did some considerably good work as the Batman Begins villain Scarecrow, is a little cramped in his role and doesn’t get to do too much, and even good old Sir Michael Caine shows up to give his respects. The top prize however goes to the team up that was Joseph Gordon Levitt and Leonardo Dicaprio. Levitt serves as the mind thief in training sidekick of sorts who scopes missions out, and proves his acting potential with a few charming and at the same time kick-butt moments sprinkled through the film. He plays so well as an apprentice to Leonardo Dicaprio’s character, in a performance that matches his gut wrenching role in this year’s Shutter Island. Dicaprio perfectly plays a smooth-talking, emotionally wrenched know it all leader who can be just as Bond-esque and action-heavy as he is a memorable mentor to Page’s character, and can even at times be far too experienced with the rules of the game. Just like  we had all hoped, one of Inception’s greatest strengths is its visual power Nolan pours into it. The film’s use of special effects when they help the story and build the world are spectacular (the building folding/cafe-exploding training scene is just as cool as you first thought), and every chance Nolan gets to take us to the dream world it’s an amazing trip, literally. Nolan as a literal take on the state of dreaming unlike other directors’ more fantastical interpretation like Michel Gondry’s spectacular dream film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and while it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, each world had a distinct feel to it, especially towards the end. Given the context and “rules” of the film’s universe, the smaller more real feeling of the dreams makes its own sense, and even works in it’s own way in that it can trick your mind so that it’s NOT obvious when a character is dreaming and something can go completely haywire, keeping you on the edge of your seat because you literally don’t know what could happen next. Whenever I think Nolan, I think of his policy of “practical when possible”, and once again in the shadow of the stunning truck flip in TDK the audience reaps the benefits of Nolan’s determination. Nolan creates a multitude of practical effects for action scenes in the film and they inspire a true sense of awe. Nolan has improved his sense of action since the Batman franchise and gets a better sense of shooting chases (including one gorgeously shot chase in Africa), gunfire, and the distinct personality of every bullet fired, but that’s only the beginning of it.



Towards the end of the film, no spoilers to be mentioned, Nolan crafts a brilliant car chase, an unforgettable slow motion shot, and an unimaginably wide landscape for a huge scale wintry battle.  These shots and so many others not only further cement Nolan’s appreciation for action cinematography but also helps cement the case that practical is always better, so take that James Cameron. Christopher Nolan shot an entire Everest-style-shootout for real, and there’s not a single real tree in Avatar. There’s one much talked about scene involving Joseph Gordon Levitt’s character in a zero gravity hallway fight that’s being plastered on every trailer and TV spot and for good reason. It’s not just possibly Nolan’s best action piece, but it’s an action setup and execution that couldn’t be any better and stands as an all-time favorite of mine. Nolan also goes out of the way to shoot his film across the world. Even though most directors would opt out for a CGI backdrop to create an illusion of France, Nolan gives his film that old school feel by taking his characters to Tokyo, Africa, London, Paris, and Los Angeles. Nolan had the cajones to fly his team to China in TDK for a 5 minute scene that primarily took place indoors, and the same can be said for Inception, with a similar scene that doesn’t last near as long, but it sure as heck still looks great. If it comes to shooting a  two minute scene that takes place on a helicopter landing pad in Tokyo or if it means building a rotating hallway so that your actors and stunt doubles can really experience the changing gravity, real always beats fake, and Inception’s many stunts and visual flourishes will leave your mind both amazed and simultaneously puzzled as to how it happened, and that is the magic of film. Hans Zimmer composes the impeccable score for the film, and it perfectly accompanies the film’s most frenetic chase with quick guitar riffs, to following gargantuan moments of action with loud, bombastic beats and to the most sultry of piano keys to accentuate the many dramatic moments where these characters become real again, it’s something you have to hear to believe.

The score perfectly accompanies the visual world he creates and the tremendous story he tells. Maybe it’s because we didn’t know how the film was going to turn out, maybe it’s because we didn’t know what was going to happen in the film, maybe it’s because it’s something we’ve never seen before, or maybe because it’s knee-deep in a mythology so well thought out by Nolan himself, but Inception from a storytelling point of view is a dream come true. Nolan tops himself in a way he hasn’t before solely by the world he creates. Gotham’s Gotham, but I’m not even sure Inception takes place in modern times. It’s not Los Angeles or Paris, it’s Inception-world. The world Nolan most definitely hand crafts and sculpts is full of a deep sense of rules (What happens when you dream within a dream? What happens when you die in a dream?) that will take multiple viewings to really get. Too many times the world comes second, but with Nolan his world is as interesting as the characters.



As I said earlier, Nolan’s characters in the film are some of his best, and the journey that they take in the film is, just as Nolan himself had stated as his “biggest challenge yet”, one of epic proportions. You really do feel like this truly is “their biggest mission yet”, and as the film goes on and on and character’s layers get peeled back, the stakes get higher and higher. By the end of the film you feel like everything’s on the line, there are certain story elements that have been revealed that definitely broaden your idea of the world, eventually culminating in a final climax that feels just as it should. The. Final. Showdown. One aspect some may have a problem with is Nolan’s pacing of the film. The halfway point sorta feels obvious as there’s a shift in tone, the first half of the film feeling sorta like a training montage and the second half being the execution of that training, however it wasn’t something I had a problem with, as it gave the film a really sleek Oceans Eleven/James Bond vibe, an aspect that I came to love about the movie. Everything from the movie, whether it’s the gunplay, the sharp dressed men (cue music), the attractiveness but at the same time the independence the women have, or the sharp dialogue between the characters all reaching for that “one last heist” it all feels like a Bond movie that got mixed with Eternal Sunshine. Personally, that’s someone I never knew I would have loved. It’s also sort of worth mentioning that, a lot like Nolan’s other films (I felt the same thing in the boat scene in TDK), once the film is pulling in for that third and final act Nolan’s feet start to drag on the floor when it comes to him telling his story but starting to wrap it up.



Much like a lot of Nolan’s other works the first and second acts are brilliant, in the “third act curse” you may doubt for a brief ten minutes or so, but then that genius kicks back in and your left speechless (See The Prestige’s last 5 minutes to get what I’m saying) by the time the credits roll, which may be his genius point all along. Another thing that could be nagged about comes in the form of the character arcs. Leonardo Dicaprio has a really touching conflict with his own past that the film spends quite a bit of time on, and the whole story’s arc kinda centers around that considering he’s the main character. It all pays off and it cements an amazing character arc for Mr. Cobb, but the other characters aren’t so fleshed out. I had no trouble remembering distinct characteristics of Ariadne, Arthur, Mal, and Eames, but they don’t get close to the attention they deserve. In the film’s defense though, we should be grateful for the development we had considering the mythology was as well structured and perfectly executed as it was. Throughout the whole film Nolan’s guiding hand is really evident. Nolan writes his characters in a certain way, he builds their conflicts in a beautifully dramatic light so that once characters finally confront eachother it feels real. All the while he injects his own humor, his own dark but exuberantly cool style, and the moment where you can sense the story stepping back before a radical action scene to say “Now watch this…”

As I’m finally starting to close here, Inception is a film. It’s a film that you must see. It’s a film that’s already received critical and commercial success (at this moment it’s already made its budget back, thankfully proving the American audience isn’t brain dead). it’s a film that intelligently and boldly discovers a new frontier of the science fiction genre. It is possible to get lost in the film’s complex world, however compared to his other films, it’s a breeze. As long as you follow the first 30 minutes it’s basically spelled out for  you. Inception is a film that breaks ground, it’s something none of us have ever seen before, it’s awe-inspiring, heart-breaking, mind-melting, it’s just a miracle of a film. I could recommend it based on the action, the visuals, the performances, the score, heck even on the hallway fight scene alone. It’s a wonder this film exists, and it’s truly astonishing that it lives up to the potential it laid out. So go now, take the adventure with Cobb and his team, and as I stated earlier in this review, let’s take a step back before something truly amazing happens, and “now watch this…”

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http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-166289-Nolan_Sets_the_New_Standard_for_Science_Fiction.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-166289-Nolan_Sets_the_New_Standard_for_Science_Fiction.html Sat, 25 Sep 2010 16:48:05 +0000
<![CDATA[ Who knew being an architect could be so dangerous]]>  
This film is about an architect named Walter Woods (Rob Lowe) who is traveling from Seattle to Los Angeles for month in order to design a home for an “off the cuff” client (Jim Belushi). Walter did have reservations about leaving for a month.  His pregnant wife Linda (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson) is still very much traumatized by her abusive ex-husband.  This promotes nightmares and paranoid thoughts for Linda.  This doesn’t please Walter, but he has to work. On his way to LA, Walter has a run in with a crazy truck driver who runs Walter off the road.  This results in Walter taking down the trucker’s number and reporting him.
 
Since Walter will be on a month long job he is going to need a place to stay.  This leads him to an apartment house ran by William (played caustically and dourly by Dean Stockwell).  The only other residents at this apartment house are an aspiring comedian who is from Germany and a sultry call girl.
 
From the moment Walter reaches LA he is plagued with torment.  Somebody has it out for Walter and begins to terrorize him.  Some of the insidious factors Walter falls victim to are rats in his bed, a broken toe and his designs being destroyed (just watch the scene).  Walter is confused and isn’t sure who is out to get him.  He believes it is the trucker he ran into.  Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn’t….
 
Some other reviewers in this forum were a bit harsh on this movie.  I must agree that the movie has a bit of a “direct to video” feel to it.  In contrast, I have seen some pretty damn good movies that were DTV.  The pace of the movie isn’t slow, but it allows some tension to gradually grow until a very interesting zenith.  I felt the acting was very good.  Rob Lowe, Jim Belushi, Dean Stockwell and Richard Moll (in a cameo) all gave great performances. 
 
I also believe that the apartment house and music are paramount in this film.  The apartment house has a 1940s vibe with its structure and deep red walls.  This color emulates doom and claustrophobia.  The music is a score that is subtle but allows luminosity to each scene perfectly.
 
This movie might not fit everyone’s tastes.  I found it to be a good thriller that utilizes music, lighting, characters and circumstances to drive its unveiling.  In many aspects this movie has a film noir quality to it.  Nowadays many movie viewers tend to be more prone to explosions, tons of special effects, CGI and actors whose selling points are their looks, not their performances.  I find this film gets better with each viewing, I truly believe movies like this aren’t really being created anymore and that is a shame.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Living_in_Peril-546-1599646-144780-Who_knew_being_an_architect_could_be_so_dangerous.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Living_in_Peril-546-1599646-144780-Who_knew_being_an_architect_could_be_so_dangerous.html Tue, 31 Aug 2010 18:40:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Pulp Fiction Quick Tip by vampire_eyez]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Pulp_Fiction-13-1010810-119142.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Pulp_Fiction-13-1010810-119142.html Fri, 20 Aug 2010 20:37:18 +0000 <![CDATA[ "An Elegant Solution for Keeping Track of Reality"]]> http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-115198-_An_Elegant_Solution_for_Keeping_Track_of_Reality_.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-115198-_An_Elegant_Solution_for_Keeping_Track_of_Reality_.html Thu, 19 Aug 2010 04:44:40 +0000 <![CDATA[Inception Quick Tip by supune]]> I thought it was a good movie. Not as good as #Memento or the first #Matrix. But an entertaining movie that almost was too long. It does make  you think a bit about what it means. You'll have to concentrate to get all the little symbolisms like what the totems might mean. I thought the stunts sequences were too long-- like they had too much of a budget to work with. This was a decent mind fuck movie

Warning: Plot spoiler ahead.

... It was a let down when it seems that Cobb never woke up and knowing everything was a dream just lowered the stakes in all those fake chase scenes... I agree with @jrjohnson's Vanilla Sky reference. I kind of liked both movies not so much for the plot but for the message that comes out from trying to follow a complicated movie. What Inception hit with me the most was that it was about how we sometimes get too caught up with 'living the dream' aka working too much and file other aspects of our lives way towards the back of our minds but when we meet people through our work how there is experience to be gained from getting to know someone through the work that they do and even if those relationships might be shallow, they can make life meaningful or change life's meaning which is important when life gets mundane. I read a good review about how this movie is just a movie about making a movie not a profound statement about our minds... Cobb is the director, Saito the financier, the chemist the techincal lead, the guy that fights people in restaurants and hotel lobbies and halls is the producer, the new girl is the screen writer, and Fisher is either the audience or the actors or both... and oh yeah the wife that commits suicide are the relationships that end when the film maker spends too much time trying to make a overly complicated movie :-)]]>
http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-13-1436938-107820.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-13-1436938-107820.html Sat, 14 Aug 2010 15:02:55 +0000
<![CDATA[Inception Quick Tip by gwenbasil]]> http://www.lunch.com/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-1436938-106443.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-1436938-106443.html Thu, 12 Aug 2010 06:42:22 +0000 <![CDATA[Pulp Fiction Quick Tip by MNeulander]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Pulp_Fiction-13-1010810-106375.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Pulp_Fiction-13-1010810-106375.html Thu, 12 Aug 2010 01:06:49 +0000 <![CDATA[ The right thing]]>
A little girl disappears from her run down Boston neighborhood, where Patrick Kenzie grew up and, now in his thirties, has never left. He and girlfriend Angie Gennaro live and work together, and life is good. When this pair of private investigators are asked to find the missing child, they reluctantly agree. But things don't go as hoped. And when Patrick finally uncovers the truth, he faces a moral dilemma that may affect everything he cares about.

Gone Baby Gone is based upon a gripping story, but the film somehow lacks the tension that the book itself sustains. The performance of Casey Affleck is too low key, and Michelle Monaghan as Angie has too little to do. Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman, and Amy Ryan are more convincing. Settings, dialog, gritty atmosphere, and cinematography are all well done, and while GBG misses being great, its twists and a surprise ending make it well worth watching. (Heavy doses of profanity in parts.)]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Gone_Baby_Gone-546-1024406-106065-The_right_thing.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Gone_Baby_Gone-546-1024406-106065-The_right_thing.html Wed, 11 Aug 2010 16:39:28 +0000
<![CDATA[ Extremely Thought Provoking Film!]]>
Throughout the film he has a goal of getting back to the United States to see his two children.  This may be impossible because he is somewhat responsible for the death of his wife (Mal).  He makes a deal with a powerful businessman (Saito) that if he can plant an idea for another businessman (Fisher) to break up his company, Saito will ensure that Cobb can pass through customs without a second look.

Cobb uses a team to accomplish this mission including Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Arthur) and Ellen Page (Ariadne).  Ariadne has exceptional talent and learns to see and architect dreams rapidly.   The team needs to bring Fisher through three levels of a dream to put the idea in his mind that his company needs to be broken up.

The movie goes on to explain that at each deeper level of dreaming time can pass very slowly (as much as decades in the lowest level) because the brain is so powerful, while very little time passes in the real world.  Cobb and his Mal had experienced and entire lifetime within a dream.  Mal seems to constantly be in Cobb's dreams and always wants to destroy the fabric of the dream.  Cobb carries a small top that he uses to let him know whether her is the dreamer or he has been brought into a dream created by Mal.

I highly enjoyed this film and found it so thought provoking.  The acting was first-rate and Ellen Page is developing into one of the top actresses around.  The film is very complicated and requires several viewings to really understand everything.  For that reason I didn't give it a full five stars.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-101078-Extremely_Thought_Provoking_Film_.html http://www.lunch.com/Hollow_hearts/reviews/movie/UserReview-Inception-546-1436938-101078-Extremely_Thought_Provoking_Film_.html Mon, 9 Aug 2010 13:53:08 +0000