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

movies

Oops, went for too long again. I don't remember some of these too well now.
  • LA Confidential
  • Impromptu
  • Requiem for a Dream
  • Fatal Attraction
  • Good Will Hunting
  • The Piano
  • Darkman
  • The Limey
  • Gattaca
  • This Is My Father
  • Run Silent Run Deep


LA Confidential

The story of two policemen investigating a gangland-style slaying at a diner. Good acting by all three male leads (Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, and I forget the third), but a bit cheesy plot, as I recall. On a scale of 1-5, 3.

Impromptu

The story of George Sands and her affair with Frederic Chopin. The lead actress did a great job as George; Hugh Grant (pre-Four Weddings) was ok, but didn't quite work for me. The story was fairly silly. This movie built around some of the real historical social circles and relationships; the previous movie built around some actual events in LA at that time. I always appreciate that touch, when it doesn't make the plot weaker. 3 out of 5.

Requiem for a Dream

A mom, her son, and her son's two friends experience a descent into hell via addiction. Very stylish, but bah. The director comments that he hates when people compare it to MTV, because MTV is vacuous, whereas this is stylish with a purpose. And, ok. It has a purpose: to show that addiction is bad. Well, yeah. Surprise. It also attempts to show an analogy to coffee addiction and especially TV addiction. But the analogy is barely there--it's really ONLY made by the flashy "hip-hop" editting. (And the supposed parallel descents into hell didn't really work for me, because, regardless of Ellen Burstyn's acting, I didn't believe in the sequence of events happening to her character.) Moreover, the addictiveness of pop culture is something that's been pointed out many times. Also, the director made really poor choices where he changed the script--which makes me fear seeing the movie he directed & wrote.

Example 1. He changed what TV programs the mother watched from soaps and game shows to a dumb infomercial featuring a character he had written years before. Why was this a good idea? We don't get a real sense of TV addiction, since this is the only program we see her watch. There's weird ambiguity to her getting to be on TV--the caller says it's a "game show", and they are never more specific, but the character in her head clearly fantasizes about being on the infomercial instead.

Example 2. He added these settings and bits that are evocative TO HIM of growing up--the cliche girl at the end of the pier vision, and the bit where they're chatting on the rocks about the present he'll give his mother. It's not that interesting a place to be--compare to e.g. Kevin Smith's commentary about how the break-up fight in Chasing Amy was originally set in a kitchen, and then he changed it to a hockey game to make it more interesting.

Then again, it had the chick from Labyrinth in it. 3 out of 5.

Fatal Attraction

I'd never seen this so I figured I should see it as part of my basic film literacy. 2 out of 5.

Good Will Hunting

Math whiz sees therapist in search of emotional catharsis. For a while, I was trying to figure out why I couldn't buy Ben Affleck as a blue collar guy (especially seeing as how he actually HAD done that kind of work, with Matt Damon, back in the day), but I was ok with believing in Matt Damon. I eventually decided it was because Ben Affleck is not a very good actor; I felt similarly about the pair in Dogma. (I thought he was good in Chasing Amy, though, hmm.) Anyway, the crux of this movie, other than the big written-to-be-oscar-moment-monologs, was how Robin Williams' character finally breaks through to Matt Damon... and I didn't buy it. I would have liked to buy it, but it just seemed far too simple to me. Maybe it's even realistic, but it just didn't seem or feel that way. 3 out of 5.

The Piano

Mute woman shares piano and sex with husband's neighbor. Bah. If she can tell us, the audience, that the piano is her only voice, why can't she tell her new husband that? Because then there wouldn't be a movie. And why did the kid switch sides for no apparent reason? Because it was necessary for the plot to happen, was the only reason I saw. Academy-Award-winning-screenplay my ass. 3 out of 5.

Darkman

Scientist burned in accident seeks revenge on his would-be killers. After seeing Spider-Man, I wanted to see this Sam Raimi superhero flick to see if a lot of the stuff I didn't like in S-M was attributable to Sam Raimi. And, hey, I was right. But it still works ok, for what it is. Stupid ending sequence. 3 out of 5.

The Limey

I will the Hello ending and beginning the together cut randomly. I didn't mind the showing-the-person-who-wasn't-talking and the jump-cutting editting, but the show the exact same conversation taking place in two entirely different locations, cutting back and forth between them, just announced 'Hello, I am a movie'. Soderbergh says on the commentary track that's what he was trying to achieve, so 5 out of 5 for meeting your objectives, but 3 out of 5 for making a movie I want to watch.

Gattaca

In a world where everyone is born carefully genetically altered to be free from disease or other drawbacks, an ordinary man tries to overcome discrimination and a murder investigation to achieve personal satisfaction. Oh yeah, another one of those movies. Well-written (e.g. the bit with losing the contacts, and the consequences); smaller in scope than I was expecting, and I'm sorry, but the final swimming scene is totally stupid and redundant, and I never got any sense of the justification for Jude Law's actions, especially the last one in the movie. Uma Thurman sure is strange-looking. 4 out of 5.

This Is My Father

Go Irish people. I'm not sure why the framing story is there, except that the non-framed story is a tragedy, and they wanted more of a feel-good ending. Which totally didn't work for me; I just wanted it to end at the tragedy; Caan's final monolog was pure cheese, the resolution of the boy was obvious and I'm not sure what the message was. All four main characters (Caan, the nephew, Fiona, Kieron) were fatherless; Caan finds some closure with respect to his; the nephew finds a girl and thus magically resolves his unhappiness with lacking a father; Fiona never has a father figure; Kieron's foster-father turns on him and makes him unhappy. Also, some plot-engine stuff was fairly obvious here--the conspiracy of the script to have Kieron misunderstand and despair was far too obvious--e.g. the foster parents' actions didn't seem plausible, in terms of not even asking Kieron or the widow what was going on--which is unfortunate when they are the crucial plot point for how things turn out. Also, oh, who cares. 3 out of 5 for the acting.

Run Silent Run Deep

Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster star in a movie about a submarine that spends about 15 seconds running silent and not particularly that deep. But I figured I'd check it out and see. 3 out of 5 shading lower.
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