not a beautiful or unique snowflake (nothings) wrote,
not a beautiful or unique snowflake
nothings

june movie log part 2

  • Lethal Weapons: 0 (re-view)
  • Benny and Joon: 0
  • U Turn: -2
  • The Killing Fields: 2
and the non-June bonus:
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: 1

Ratings on a scale of -4 to 4, positive = recommend.

Lethal Weapon

Mel Gibson is a suicidal cop and Danny Glover is his new partner, and not happy about it. Genre-defining at the time it came out, Lethal Weapon also established Shane Black as one of the biggest screenwriters ever. In hindsight, the movie seems awfully dopey, with european villains (and frivolous cutaways to them just to show how wicked Gary Busey's character is), dumb plotting, and the most ludicrous final showdown, as Gibson and Busey fight in a grude-match smackdown as numerous other officers look on, rather than arresting Busey. (And because he's gotta die, once he loses, of course Busey's character grabs a policeman's gun despite there being no possible way he could get out of it alive.) As Ebert wrote about it at the time, "All of the elements of this movie have been seen many times before--the chases, the explosions, the hostage negotiations--but this movie illustrates a favorite belief of mine, which is that the subject of a movie is much less important than its style." Hope you liked Matrix Reloaded, Bob. Rating: 0

Benny and Joon

Aidin Quinn's sister is schizophrenic; Johnny Depp quietly emulates Buster Keaton. This is a fairly simple love story that tries to be about the romance between Johnny Depp's unconventional character and Mary Stuart Masterson's mentally ill one. Unfortunately, that means there's just a lot of "cute"ness going on between them, and not much substance. The story is mostly told from Aidin Quinn's character's POV, and in many ways it's his story; the relationship between brother and sister provides the only real conflict in the story, and Quinn gets the lion's share of the scenes, so if there's any real protagonist, it seems to be him. He even gets his own romantic interest subplot, with Julianne Moore. Unfortunately, nothing really adds up. He gets to be the bad guy in a big confrontation with his sister, and then he gets to stand around thinking in a railroad yard, eventually changing his mind and going back to being a nice guy. Uh.. ok. Still, Depp is as watchable as ever, even if his best bits are (I assume) ripped off from famous silent dead white men. Rating: 0

U-Turn

Directed by Oliver Stone! With a star-studded cast: Sean Penn, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte, Billy Bob Thornton. How wrong can you go? Very, very wrong. I can't even remember why it sucked. I mean, the plot was predictable; the character's actions were sometimes unrealistic. But my recollection is that I just hated every inch of it. Sure, Billy Bob Thornton was entertaining, but really, most of the actors did a decent job with what they had. It just all seemed pretty stupid. Yes, ok obviously it was too long ago and I don't remember anything concreate, so, next. Rating: -2

The Killing Fields

Journalist arrives in Cambodia during the Vietnam war to cover the spill-over fighting there, and his life becomes entangled with that of his native Cambodian assistant/translator. A pretty compelling subject, at least for those of us who never really quite comprehended what Pol Pot got up to. (Yeah, I understood the massacres, but I had never picked up on the part where, as the BBC puts it, "tried to turn Cambodia back to the middle ages". Here's something a documentary could never do, since nobody could make a documentary of that time period.) The problem is that the rest of the movie that wraps the horror show, while well-acted, isn't anywhere near as interesting. Oh, it's interesting enough, but not like the later parts. It's even a little too repetitive: the boys get captured, then get free, then get captured, then get free, then get captured holed-up at the French Embassy. If the Khmer-Rouge-in-power segment was the only thing in the movie, maybe it would be 4-ish, but as is, it's just a Rating: 2

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Swash buckling. Pirate monkeys who'd be ROBOT pirate monkeys if they'd actually been in the original attraction. Curses. Johnny Depp. Orlando Bloom. Johnny Depp! Look, you can't go into this movie expecting much. I certainly didn't. Given Depp's history of movie choices, perhaps I should have expected more; instead I was more thinking, ok, Depp has gone over to the dark side. Instead, it's pretty much the case that everything is true: the movie is still kind of a dumb cliche swoopy action movie, but at the same time, Depp's performance is just amazing, if you like weirdness. It's as if Depp takes very seriously taking himself not very seriously. I can't imagine any other actor from this era who could have done anything like what Depp does--not because doing the actions themselves are so hard, but because Depp seems to be about the only one in Hollywood who's willing to do stuff like this. (If I try to picture someone like Jim Carrey doing it, I see him being all 'wink wink, look how wacky I'm being'. Depp does a convincing job of portraying a character who is really a total freakazoid.) So if you're a big Depp fan like me, then yay. Otherwise, umm, well, yay pirates. Yay lots of boats sailing that don't appear to be special effects. Yay well-done effects for the curse. Yay nice plot and character touches here and there. Boo the cartoony seesaw bouncing effect in an otherwise non-cartoony action sequence (and really, non-cartoony movie, for the most part). Rating: 1


(After reading Adam Cadre's much more insightful reviews, I'm not sure why I bother.)

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