Well, here I am, Balcony Betty, back again for another month of my thoughts, opinions and sometimes general crankiness concerning movies. Newly released, moldy oldy or other remake, I just don’t care; they all receive the same treatment. So sit back and enjoy my views on these choices this month.
“King Kong” was somewhat disappointing to me. In my opinion, they wasted a lot of time, on a movie about a giant ape, fighting with dinosaurs and extremely large insects. Although some of the effects were done very well, others were sadly unrealistic. I think that the actors who played Jack and Anne were very believable in their rolls, but I found it hard to wrap my mind around funny guy Jack Black playing the serious Karl. All in all, I found myself waiting for the move to end, and as such I gave it 2 howls of pleasure .
For the ever present—well at least in my reviews—blood spilling movie, this month I chose a relatively oldy but goody. “The Bone Collector” came out in the year 2000 and starred Denzel Washington, a pre-Lara Croft Angelina Jolie, Queen Latifah and Ed O’Neil (of Married with Children fame). Washington plays a bed-ridden criminialist and Jolie is his against-her-will protégé. As they follow the clues to catch a serial killer, they must work against not only the killer’s timeline, but also Washington’s character’s self-termination timeline. Exciting and suspenseful, it was also an enjoyable movie, so I gave it 3 and a half howls of pleasure .
This past month I saw Cillian Murphy’s last movie, “Red Eye,” and I must say it was another good role for him. Murphy has proven, once again, that villainous characters are excellent for him; he definitely has no difficulty playing downright evil men. Most of this movie takes place during a “Red Eye” flight from Texas to Florida, and involves Murphy’s character, Jackson Rippner, trying to facilitate an assassination. I found it to be a very good movie with a little bit of everything, and as such, I gave it 4 and a half howls of pleasure .
The last movie I am reviewing was not well received in the box office when it opened in August. “The Cave” is a cross between sci-fi and horror (aren’t so many from those categories a little of both), with a smiggen of romantic tension added to the plot. In this movie, a team of cave divers and scientists set out to explore a cave and discover new species of animals that have evolved while locked away in the inner depths of an Romanian mountain range. After becoming trapped, the explorers must search for an alternate way out, and murder and blood-letting ensues. I found “The Cave” to be much more enjoyable than the paid critics did. I gave it 3 and a half howls and I wonder if there are plans for the sequel they leave an opening for.
This is Balcony Betty saying, until next time, please remember that just because something was good the first time around, doesn’t mean it will be better as a remake.
All right, this is Reaper Rick, and since there haven't been too many
decent movies released lately, I'm going to just go over some flicks
from my 'Top Ten Best Movies' ever list. A few of these I have reviewed
in the past, but some of the others either came out before I started
doing these reviews, or I just bypassed, somehow.
In case anyone is interested, I judge movies in several categories.
1) Plot/Story Line: Is this flick even worth watching? Is it a
grabber--something that is good enough to make me want to watch it over
and over again? Is the movie presented in a realistic way?
2) Characters: Are the characters believable in the story line? Do
they make or break the plot?
3) Visual: Is this movie pleasing to the eye--that is, does the
background (which includes costumes, scenery, as well as period
accouterments) do justice to the film?
4) Auditory: Does the musical score help or hurt this movie, and does
the dialog fit well with the characters and the time frame of the film?
5) Cinema photography: Is the film photographed well? Does the
perspective of the camera eye hurt or enhance what the audience sees?
I try to score each film with a five point system. Each of the above
categories gets a one to five point rating--a score of 25 is a sure
keeper (a Five Howler, for sure!), while anything below a score of 12 is
only a one time view.
With that in mind, here are some of what I consider the Top movies made
over the past few years, in the Action and Adventure category.
First off, I'm lumping the three movies in The Lord of the Rings trilogy
into one group, and calling all of them classics, and am putting them
right up there in my Top Ten.. I first read the four books (including,
"The Hobbit") in college, and was an instant fan. Peter Jackson did an
amazing, often unbelievable job of bringing the three books in this
trilogy to the screen, and finally, Hollywood acknowledged his genius by
awarding "The Return of the King" the acclaim all of these movies so
"Braveheart" starred Mel Gibson (who also directed this movie), as
William Wallace, a person who actually existed and was a determining
factor during the turbulent period of English and Scottish history, when
Scotland fought for its freedom from England. I would give this movie
Four and Half Howls of Pleasure , only because I felt the film makers took
a few too many liberties in adding the 'love' aspect to the story line.
But, other than that, it was an amazing representation of the times and
of the people of that period. Some critics complained it was too bloody,
but that was a 'bloody' time, when thousands of people died in brutal
fashion, for a mere ideal (the concept of Freedom) or simply because they
were ordered to do so by their king or their leaders. It was a tough,
brutal period, and was shown as such in this movie. All things taken
into consideration, I place "Braveheart" up there with my Top Ten movies
of all time. It also won Academy Awards for Best Picture of the year,
and for Best Director.
"Gladiator" starred Russell Crowe and once again, this was overall, an
amazingly produced movie--an immediate classic. I would also give this
movie Four and a Half Howls of Pleasure , missing out on Five Howls only
because I feel the addition of a love triangle between the main
characters muddled the plot line a bit too much. Otherwise, the
photography, scenic design (the restoration of the Coliseum was
magnificent) and battle scenes, were at times, breathtaking. Winning
Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Actor (Crowe), only help to add
this movie to my Top Ten list of all time.
I reviewed "King Arthur" (released in 2004) previously, and it missed
achieving Five Howls of Pleasure only because I felt it took too many
liberties with the characters (lumping possibly legendary characters in
with actual historical characters). But, I gave it high ratings for,
among other things, giving us the first accurate look at how the legend
of King Arthur may have originated, and for doing it extremely well. It
was a gutsy, realistic look at the time and the people who lived and
died, and thereby formed what we now know as the land of England. In the
(historic) Action and Adventure category, this movie claws its way up
into my Top Ten.
And finally (for this review, at least), I come back to the only movie I
have thus far given Five Howls of Pleasure to . "Hero" starred Jet Li and
comes closer to being a visual orgasmic feast than any other film I think
I have ever seen. Forgetting for the moment that it is in Chinese, with
English sub titles, the viewer is taken on a journey of sight and sound
that is unequaled in movie making history. It is breathtaking and
sublime, and at times nearly brought tears to these tired, old eyes. The
use of color and space to evoke emotion in this movie is done
masterfully, and I could watch it over and over again (which I have
done), without becoming bored or tired of watching the story unfold.
Without doubt, "Hero" is quite possibly the Number One film in my Top
Ten, all time best movies ever list.
I realize that not everyone will agree with my choices, but not all
viewers are looking for the same thing when they watch a movie. We all
seek different manner of enjoyment, pleasure and peace. I have mine,
just as you have yours. Mine are not necessarily better, they are simply
mine own. So be it.
Until next time--perhaps--this is Reaper Rick, saying, "All men die.
Not all men really live."