Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Ok guys and girls .. time to update my blog .. and why was there a drought?? .. well ... there was supposed to be one 2 weeks ago .. but i forgot to save .. and lost like one of the longest movie review i had written ... ARGH ....

Well .. finally gotten over it so here i am gonna start again .... but i have watched so many movies since ... so i am gonna just do a quick 1 paragraph intro of each ... plus a percentage rating ....

1) Brazil (Director's Cut) 90%
Wildly imaginative. Though it will seem dated for today's audience, it's twist on the take of an alternate 1984 was brilliant and overflowing with creativity at every moment. The screenplay brims with an operatic feel, and its mix of joy and grim seem all so ironic and yet familiar at the same time. An Instant Classic.

2) Dark Water 75%
For what it does, it does so well. The movie is made all the more believeable with the main character's believable troubles. She's trying to win the custody of her daughter from a broken marriage, she's trying to find a job to boost her credibility, trying to find a nice apt, she's trying to make sure that she picks up her daughter from school everyday ... while trying to not have a nervous breakdown. So while having to deal with all these earthly troubles, she's being disturbed by some unearthly beings. Not a good situation to be in. Worthy of mention is the little girl's performance. She's good. The problem with many horror movies (esp Asian ones) is that they sometimes linger at the edge of reason and may even seem ridiculous at times. There were some moments like that in this movie too, but the credibility of the movie was enhanced by the realism of the characters - and thus made the whole story a bit more believable.

3) Ju-on 2 55%
Ok. This movie is ludicrous. The first movie could have worked because it was only 1 movie. After more than 10 deaths obviously related to the house (from part 1 -2), I find it strangely curious that the government, secret police, FBI, and paranormal experts are not swarming to the house to do their investigations ... or tear the damn thing down.

4) The Manchurian Candidate 75%
A good psychological thriller. This is a remake of an old flick of the same name, but updated for today's audience. The movie would have been just mediocre if not for Denzel Washington's performance. That said, I also felt the material was not very compelling, but the performances by the actors were commendable. The obvious references the screenplay tried to make to the current state of affairs in US are there, but I am not sure many people would be swayed by it's message - they've already been brainwashed.

5) Bourne Identity 82%
Ok, I obviously have some catching up to do with my movies. I didn't read the novel, and I always believe that movies should be judged upon independently from the books that they are based on. A book can convey so much more than a series of pictures can, for instance, many a times, you read about what a character is thinking about, but with movies, you'll need to find other ways of expressing it. Furthermore, to shrink 1000s of pages of information into a 2hr movie is not an easy task - there will be many things to re-write or edit and if a bookfan is not too understanding, he'll never be satisfied. Well, nuff of my talk about how movies and books shld each serve their own medium. This movie is entertaining, and convincing (I delayed watching this movie because I can't picture how Matt Damon could be an action hero) enough to win my vote. I don't know why but it conjured up the feeling I got when I was watching the TV old series of The Incredible Hulk, where the hero just keeps moving from one place to another, to avoid being caught, and never knowing when or how it will end. The pacing was great and the character's journey was exciting enough that you'll want to know what comes next. At least it's a somewhat happy ending.

6) Bourne Supremacy 80%
To resurrect a movie with a happy ending, you need to destroy the original happy ending. Though the beginning of the film felt somewhat forced, the rest of the journey more than made up for it. As we discover the complexity of the character's dark past, the movie grew more interesting as a result. The movie was well made and I am not gonna miss out on the 3rd episode should there ever be another.

7) Crash 86%
This is a movie I truly loved, yet i am reluctant to give it anymore than what I would give the movie that i was reminded of so much - Magnolia. For the record, I would rate Magnolia a 90%. For those who haven't watched this, please import it from Amazon. I have yet to see any Singaporean DVD shops carry it. Ok, back to Crash. It is a movie about a bunch of different people, somewhat connected, yet unrelated, having their lives affected by a series of miscommunication, misunderstanding, uncontrolled fits of anger and inconsiderate actions all resulting from stereotyping and racism. The dialogue written are brilliant and are so real you'll find them so eerily familiar. That's because we all suffer from the same flaws of the characters that is being represented on screen. We see them happen, sometimes we are the ones who make them happen, and the movie shows how simple it is to decide how you want to behave, yet the consequences often do not reflect directly. In a way, this a movie about retribution, though you may not see it directly from the result of your actions. But it is also about redemption and hope, but I guess they might not know that they are redeeming themselves even when their actions are.

8) Born on the Fourth of July 82%
Oliver Stone delivers, and Tom Cruise shine. This movie rocks. It is unflinchingly sarcastic to the powers who control the nation, and though this movie was made to reflect the Vietnam War, it sets people thinking about the arrogance of the current US administration with respect to the Iraq War. It was the war against communism then, and it is the war against terrorism now. But they both used "freedom" as an excuse to further their military purposes. Americans should be wary of extremists not just outside their country, but how their own government is using it to further their own goals. By the way, the character played by Tom Cruise is a real person.

9) Thirteen Days 80%
Another military movie. This is about the Cuban missile crisis. Another movie using history to send a message to the current Bush administration, on being prudent when it comes to military actions. Apparently, people in the white house do not watch too many movies.

10) The Island 70%
Ok ... reviews all over the place are blasting this movie to bits. I didn't feel it was too bad, and did find it rather entertaining. There were some typical Michael Bay moments which I hate (characters joking and talking cool when the situation was obviously not suitable for that, totally destroys credibility), but thankfully not as plentiful as his previous works (Pearl harbor and Armageddon). This time, most of the humor and its story does apply rather suitably so I will not harp too much on it. The setup was great. I sorta wish the trailer wouldn't give away everything, and I might have liked the movie even more if I didn't know that the "Island" was fake.

11) Fantastic Four 68%
This is an entertaining movie, if your sense of logic is thrown out the window. If there weren't the likes of X-men, Batman Begins and the excellent Spiderman movies, this movie wouldn't have been so badly rated. I guess the issue I have with this movie is, it felt like it came up short in so many areas that it ends up not "satisfying enough". Well, it performed admirably at the box office and so I think a sequel would probably be on its way. I just hope they give the characters a little bit more depth the next time round.

12) Home Run 78%
This movie I have resisted to watch as well because I loved the original Iranian movie that it was based on. Homerun was based on Children of Heaven, and the setup was also similar - a boy lost his sister's shoes, and then he goes for a marathon so that he can win a pair shoes for his sister. Homerun succeeds in areas where it nicely adapts the setup into a Singaporean context, and does it rather well. It uses conflicts between some of the kids to reflect the recent water squabbles between Singapore and Malaysia. Jack Neo's weaknesses however, were his tendency for sappiness and his inability to use subtleties to reflect his messages. His endings are usually too "unnatural" as well. This results in some rough edges in his film. This is his fifth (??) attempt at movie making and I sincerely wish that he improves in these areas of his writings for his future works for these are the same problems I see in his previous works too.

13) White Noise 50%
Ok ... too much holes ... too much time wasted. I feel sorry for the character's son, as well as the little boy who acted as the son. What's your purpose? When Keaton read the script, did he not wonder how people would be interested to see a man watch white noise on TV screens, scenes after scenes. If you did catch the film, please explain to me how he could get worked up watching those blank screens when there's nothing there? If you haven't caught it, please don't

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