A Knight's Tale - I was looking forward to seeing this movie for a number of reasons, the most prominent being I like history and the medieval ages in particular. Its too bad that A Knight's Tale was so sorely lacking in nearly every area. The acting was decent, but there were no standouts at all. The premise is so implausible to anyone with any knowledge of medieval times that I found it very hard to enjoy the story. Including Chaucer in the plot was a little much. The soundtrack, while excellenet in its own right, simply does not fit this type of film. The 80s music with the medieval fights was very out of place. On the bright side, the aesthetic aspects were all excellent. The costumes, especially the armor were great and the sets were believable. Also, the jousting scenes were entertaining. Overall, I wouldn't recomend the movie to any, but the most dedicated movie viewers. 4/10.
Added May 17, 2001.
Almost Famous - I had never heard of
this really great movie until it won Best Comedy or Musical at the Golden
Globes. First of all, I must mention the soundtrack. This film
features so many great songs that its impossible to name them all.
If anything, see the movie for the music. In this semi auto-biographical
film, a boy experiences a classic "coming of age" experience by following
a musical group of the 70s. Despite the commonality of the theme,
it never seems forced and as you watch William's experience you believe
in them and in his actions. The acting in the film is wonderful,
with narry a poor performance to be seen. Especially noteworth is
Kate Hudson's performance as Penny Lane (why wasn't this song in the movie?).
If you want a couple of good laughs while watching a truly fulfilling movie,
pick this one up. 8/10.
Blade Runner - Easily one of the best
science fiction films ever made, Blade Runner is a true treat. The
film follows a detective, Deckard, attempting to find and kill rogue replicants
in a dark, dismal future vision. Despite the age of the film, it is still
visually outstanding. Not just in special effects, but in lighting as well.
In an attempt to make the move seem like classic film noir, dark shadows
and plenty of smoke are both used to create an amazing amount of atmosphere.
The only problem with the film is that it seems to move a tad too fast.
Deckard moves from replicant to replicant with ease, killing them as he
goes. The only challenge he seems to face is found in with the final replicant,
the leader. Overall, however, the movie is a blast to watch and it comes
highly recomended, especially the DVD director's cut version. 9/10.
Castle of Cagliostro - This is a really
fine movie. Made in the '70s, the film is still visually impressive. The
characters are detailed and smooth and the DVD really enhances the visuals.
Same goes with sound. Now, going into the movie, I had never seen a Lupin
III show or movie before, so I didn't really know what to expect. I was
not dissapointed however,. The plot is fast, fun, and full of really great
moments. I especially like the car chase scene after Lupin enters Cagliostro.
Great stuff here guys. The humor is also really great; this isn't a standard
action anime. Its full of jokes that are never corney. The big problem
with the film is that you don't really get to know many of the characters.
I didn't even know Jigen's name until half-way through the movie. Overall,
this is a great film. I recomend it to all anime fans. 8/10.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - This
is the first "Kung-Fu" movie I have ever seen and I was not dissapointed
in the least. Many consider Kung Fu films to simply be about mindless
fun, but this is certainly an exception to the rule. This is a movie
with heart; you truly feel for the characters and understand them.
The acting is excellent with no glaring missteps and the fight scenes are
jaw dropping. One could watch them over and over and never get bored.
There are only two problems with the movie. One is minor - A flashback
scene that is rather out of place and little too long. With repeated
viewings of the movie, however, it seems more appropriate than at first.
The second problem is the ending. I won't give it away, but I was
dissapointed how it left the audience hanging. You cannot go wrong
with this movie. Note: After repeated viewings I have decided
to raise the rating of this film. The faults reviewed above seem
less and less faulty as you rewatch this film. I, without doubt,
think it deserves the new rating. 10/10.
Dogma - This is one of the funniest
movies I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. The movie recieved a lot
of negative press from the Christian Coalition due to its "offensive themes,"
but I truly fail to see where they are coming from. Dogma is extremely
pro-faith and pro-God. What it doesn't support is blind faith in something
you know nothing about. It teaches a good lesson through the constant
barrage of humor. Like other Kevin Smith's movies, Dogma's strength
lies in the language and conversations; you'll die laughing from what these
characters will say. There isn't much more I can say about the movie other
than if you haven't seen it, do so now. 9/10.
Macross Plus - This is what all anime
should be like. Its high-drama mixed in with just enough action to make
this one of the best anime flicks I have ever seen. Macross Plus is a 4
episode OVA available as 4 video cassettes or 2 DVDs. I highly recomend
the DVDs as you get both the dubbed and subbed versions of the series.
The series follows the exploits of 3 reuinited friends, explores their
past, and eventually reveals their secrets. The movie grabs you from the
beginning and never lets go. The animation is top notch, and you can easily
see why it is compared to Top Gun so often; the arial scenes are nothing
short of breath taking. The music is a central theme to the series and
is appropriately excellent throughout. Lastly, the dubbed version of the
series is fairly good. While I do prefer the subtitled version, you will
not lose anything if you can only find the dubbed one. If you like anime
at all, then you absolutely must get this OVA. 10/10.
Moulin Rouge - Wow. I had been
waiting for this film for several months and it turned out to be everything
I expected and more. Critics complain about the incredibly fast pace
and the rapid transitions, but they simply increased the original style
of the film. No complaints with the pacing. Also, this is a
musical; one that is just as good as the classics. Surpringly, both
Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman have excellent voices and the soundtrack
is second to none. The original arrangements of familiar songs is
both refreshing and humorous. The plotline, while a cliche setup
(forbidden love), has such an original presentation that it never seems
cliche. The various twists and turns keep it fresh as well.
Above all, the sets must be mentioned. The scenes are simply breathtaking;
it has to be seen to be believed. Please, go see this movie with
an open mind and you will find one of the most enjoyable and refrshing
experiences in a long while. 10/10.
The Patriot - The Patriot is
Mel Gibson's latest British killing film. It follows the story of an unwilling
participant in the American Revolution. His family members are slowly being
killed by the war and he is out for vengence. Overall, this is more a fun
movie to watch than an emotional movie, like Braveheart. It's full of action,
blood, and decapitations; definatly not for the weak of stomach. The acting
overall is very good, without anything so glaring that I find need to even
report it. The music is excellent and truly captures the essence of the
Revolutionary War. From the marching pipe and drum songs, to the high powered
marches, music is a wonder to behold. The only thing I question about the
film, is the historical accuracy. The British are portrayed here as brutal
monsters, and I wonder how much is true and how much simply is a wrongful
portrayal of important events. A last complaint is the predictability of
the film. You almost always know who will get married, who will die, and
how someone may die. While not as glaring as in Mission Impossible 2, the
predictability takes some of the fun out of an otherwise excellent film.
Pearl Harbor - Going into this film,
I knew that hoping for another Saving Private Ryan was asking too
much; I was hoping for something a little better than Titanic
however. What I got wasomething in between. A critic wrote
that the film is one third a love story, one third the attack on Pearl
Harbor, and another third on the Doolittle Raid. This assessment
is for the most part correct. Unfortunately, the love story is cliche
upon cliche and simply detracts from what the film should have been about:
Pearl Harbor. This is the brightest part of the entire movie.
The battle is quite simply incredible. No other word can describe
it. However, the historical innacurracies grated on my nerves.
First, FDR did not flaunt his disability, he hid it. Second, no pilot
is going to fight, give blood, and then help rescue trapped soldiers; its
a physical impossibility. Thirdly, the Doolittle Raid was presented
as the turnning point of the Pacific Theatre; it wasn't. That was
Midway. For a budding historian, I couldn't help but get annoyed
at these flaws. However, if you don't mind sitting through an hour
and a half of a mindless love triangle in order to see the glory of a wonderfully
executed, if in some ways inaccurate, depiction of our nation's entry
into WWII, then please see this movie. 6/10.
Scary Movie - This was a horrible dissapointment.
At first the prospect of a comedy mocking the latest "horror" films would
seem to be a dream come true for those of us sick of the standard conventions
so often used in the genre. Instead we recieve a disgusting, often-times
insulting excuse for a movie. While occasionally humorous, the jokes nearly
always border on the grotesque and are vomit inducing. Furthermore, many
of the films attempts at comedy do not verge on the humorous; the director
seems content at simply throwing the obvious at you and hoping it will
extract a laugh. No thinking here. The only really good thing about the
movie is that it is short and only takes up one hour and twenty minutes
of your life. See at your own risk. 3/10.
What Lies Beneath - This was a pleasant
surprise. Not really a horror flick, nor a thriller, this movie features
some great surprises (both through plot and horror gimmicks) and a surprisingly
fresh plot. I'm not going to give a synopsis since I'll probably end up
giving something away, but lets just say that the climax is a deviation
from a standard Harrison Ford movie. A great sense of suspense is kept
throughout the movie, which keeps it very entertaining. The only real problem
is that some standard horror conventions, such as a large secluded house
and events happening through a mirror, are rather over used. In all, however,
the movie is a good way to spend your movie money. 6.5/10.
X-Men - As a former fan of the comic
series, I had been waiting for a movie based on the X-Men properties for
many years. Unfortunately the quality of the comic deteriorated to the
point that I refused to buy the books and gave up hope for a quality movie.
Luckily, I decided to give the film a try and ended up extremely pleased.
The film uses some of the more well known characters from the book such
as Wolverine, Magneto, and Cyclops as well as some cameo appearances for
the true X-Men fan (I'm not going to tell). Amazingly, the movie manages
to keep the feel of the older books; the good vs evil struggle is still
there with all the gray area that was ever present. Magneto is a good man
turned bad by the events around him; he is not a pure evil entity. The
acting is well done, but unfortunately nearly all the characters become
over shadowed by Wolverine, the true star of the entire film. He plays
the role to a hilt; he's gruff, unsociable, a loner, but he always seems
to do the correct thing. The other characters, while played well (especially
Magneto), recieve such little screen time that you wonder why they were
even put in the film; this is what takes my rating down. The battle scenes
put other super hero movies to shame. This is how it should be done. This
film comes very recomended. 7/10.