Movies I did like
with some short comments. I take no responsibility for comments being
the same from day to day. These pages contain spoilers. Turn back now if you want!
Some things that will probably make me like a movie: smooth pacing
(not necessarily fast), well done special effects (that is, effects
that look like what they're supposed to be instead of effects),
maintaining self-consistency, getting technical details right, strong
characterization (even if it's a bad character), artful or technically
pretty cinematography, Sam Raimi, the Coen brothers, Terry Gilliam,
Ralph Fiennes, Johnny Depp, Bruce Campbell (Xena notwithstanding),
Famke Janssen, Gina Gershon.
- Princess Mononoke, Theater
Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! I have been waiting SOOOOO long for a big
budget non-musical, non-Disney animated movie. This is it. It's
>really< good. It's long - if you expect that it won't throw you. The
scenery is mesmerizing, the story is interesting, and those arrows
will really knock your head off.
- AntZ, DVD A Woody Allen movie for
kids. Yay! However silly it sounds, the final product can't help but
be far sillier than your expectations. The animation is breathtaking
in parts, and the casting is exceptional. I don't have too much to say
about this movie, but it's good eye candy and an interesting
story. The special edition supplements on the disc are worth the price
- The Matrix, Theater Yow! Go
see this one if you haven't. Really good sf is rare, and this is
it. The special effects are astoundingly good (and appropriate) and
the story holds together surprisingly well under analysis. The end has
some corny elements to it, but not enough to ruin the general feel of
the film. I particularly liked the explanation of tastes.
- Cube, DVD Yet another film that
looked good, passed in the theater, and bought on DVD for less than
two tickets. I enjoyed this movie quite a lot - it's the kind of
horror/scifi/suspense with a low budget I haven't seen since
Hellraiser. The cast is believable, but it's not really about the
cast, it's about the situation. See this movie, but don't watch the
trailer first. It gives you a lot of information it's better if you
don't have, in retrospect. The DVD quality is about standard, with a
couple of neato-factor supplements and deleted scenes. It's a short
little film, but a highly entertaining and engaging one.
- Out of Sight, DVD All I can
say is: nice. This movie has a similar feel to Get Shorty (not
surprising, since they're both based on Elmore Leonard books). It's
not spectacularly good, but >very< solid. I like George Clooney and Ving
Rhames, and they're both up to par in this film. Check back - I have
more to say about this movie.
- Lethal Weapon, DVD The
first fruits of the 800.com 3 for $1 sale, I was looking forward to
this one for a long time. It's one of my favorite action movies, but
also one that I've seen so many times that it's hard to justify
buying. However, I also realized when watching it that of all the
times I've seen it on video, it's never been in widescreen, and it
makes a huge difference. The movie's a classic - if you've never seen
it, just do. The DVD is high-medium quality, not outstanding, but no
obvious flaws, and no supplements.
- Armageddon, DVD Wow. Yet another
one skipped in the theater and picked up during the Amazon 50% off sale, and
I will say it was well worth it. I've heard a lot of comparisons between this
and Deep Impact, and everybody says one or the other is better for some reason
or another, but they are TOTALLY different films, the only real similarity
being that the main character is a big projectile hurtling towards Earth.
Deep Impact is an emotional drama. Armageddon is an action flick.
I've long been a fan of Jerry Bruckheimer (both his solo work and that with
the late Don Simpson), and even though his films are almost always silly and
testosterone-laced, they are also almost always fun, well paced, snappy, and
have amazing special-effects. This one is no exception. The meteor shower
raining over New York puts the sequences in Independence Day to shame. The
film is visually stunning and the music is good (even the thoroughly overplayed
Aerosmith song). It is also pleasantly long (2:30) and good enough to hold
interest through the entire thing. Overall, the DVD quality is high, though
the layer-switch hung on my player the first time through (I think that's
the fault of my player though, since when I went to just before the layer
switch and let it roll over, the pause was only a second). I'm a little annoyed
about the ad for the soundtrack included in the extras.
- Blade, DVD I first saw this one in the
theater, and picked it up recently on DVD, and I liked it better the second
time. This is a great action flick. It is, shall we say, flexible,
in plot, but it moves so well you don't really mind. The fight sequences are
some of the best I've seen in an American movie, and I'm glad to see that
Marvel has recovered from its early crappy movie days. Captain America and
The Punisher are gladly nowhere to be found. The special effects are above
par, with some small exceptions, and parts of the film are actually scary.
The disc is riddled with extra content, including a partly developed alternate
- Gone With The Wind, DVD Believe
it or not, in about 15 years of choosing my own movies, I'd never seen this
one. I was simply blown away. Everything about this movie pulses with life,
from the acting to the costumes to the brilliant colors of the film itself.
While I wouldn't want to watch it again anytime soon (at just under four hours,
it's an ordeal), I enjoyed it quite a lot. Yet more Simpsons references explained...
- Small Soldiers, DVD I picked up
the DVD on this one at the Amazon 50% sale after passing up the theater experience,
and as Phil Hartman's last appearance, I felt I had to at least give it a
shot. I was pleasantly surprised! The pacing was >very< good, the CGI effects
were indistinguishable from the animatronics, and the story was funny. I loved
that the "bad guys" were programmed to hide. The DVD itself is pretty, and
the layer switch is at a great point (in a dark room right before the light
is turned on), barely noticable.
- Dead Man, VHS This is a slow movie,
but not boring in the least. It's a wonderful example of what you can do with
black and white film. Johnny Depp is wildly underrated, and excellent in this.
Don't take any drugs before watching it.
- Bound, DVD This movie has some of the
most interesting cinematography I've ever seen, with at least two tableau
scenes that I will not forget for a long time. The money laundering is a great
image. It's also one of the most violent movies I've seen in a long time,
and so forceful and unashamed about it that it comes off well. It also has
possibly the best lesbian love scene I've ever come across. Overall, an intense
and slick production, well worth any investment of time or money you're likely
to make in seeing it, with the caveat that you'll either love it a lot or
hate it a lot.
- Pi, Theater Wow. I was literally falling
asleep before this movie started (took a little nap in the 15 minutes between
when we sat down and when the film began), and once it started, it swept me
up into its ride. While the movie did have some technical faults, it was beautifully
crafted, rife with symbolism, and just nutty enough to keep me laughing as
my brains tried to squirm out of my skull. This movie is an experiment in
conflict; it pervades every aspect of the film, from the stark black and white
scenes (there is very little grey and a lot of grain) to the techno soundtrack
to the constant thematic crossing between the spiritual and the technological.
Unlike many other recent independent directors, Aronofsky has no artistic
pretensions about low budgets - he just wants to make good movies, particularly
big budget sci fi - and used this as a stepping-stone to get noticed. It worked.
I'm listening, and I can't wait until someone gives this guy some serious
funding and an ILM team.
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