Tag Archive: movie reviews


Black Hawk Down

A well-made war movie.  The camera work intrigued me in a good way, but it took a while to get used to it.  A sort of “Ahhh yeah” moment dawned on me when I saw Ridley Scott was the director; I should’ve known.  I felt almost like I was walking on egg shells, as the director did a good job of placing the viewer in an actual war where bullets fly at random, everyone screams orders over chaos, and things never go as smoothly as one intended. I speak about war, but acknowledge that I’ve never been in one; when I talk about war or combat, I try to keep a respectable distance and honest silence about a lot of aspects.

Out of the few war movies i have seen, this one made me cry.  The scene where that one soldier was telling Josh Hartnet to tell his parents that he fought hard.  I know it was so cliché of war movies, but the acting was really sincere. I flinched a lot, especially when they were trying to retrieve that one artery out of that one soldier’s pelvis and the guy blacked out.  Phew.  There were a lot of scenes when the camera would be portraying some soliders in a very vulnerable position, and the background noise would soften, and I’d tense up a lot.  I’d say any director who can manipulate a camera so as to invoke such physical reactions, is doing a good job.

So many famous faces!  Wow!  Josh Hartnett, Tom Sizemore, Ewan McGregor, Eric Bana, Sam Shepard, Jason Isaacs… very cool.

I was annoyed by Eric Bana’s final little monologue about people not understanding his explanation of “why” he fights; I guess because I don’t personally know any military personal, and I would love for them to please explain WHY they fight someone else’s war.  I understand and greatly respect the brave men & women who work night and day to protect our country, but in a lot of instances of needless or seeminly stupid battles, I would love to know why people would sign up for that.

Definitely recommend it; if you’re like me and are not a big fan of war movies, don’t worry- this is a good one.

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A Few Good Men

Wowie.  VERY good movie.  Jack Nicholson, as always, delivers a strong, dramatic performance.  And, I don’t care what people say about Tom Cruise- that man can ACT, and damn it, I got shivers watching his end scene with Jack Nicholson.

I don’t know what it is about movies with court room jargon (or maybe it’s just ANY kind of jargon), but my head was swimming half the time trying to remember names and military acronyms.  The music made me laugh, in that it just kind of stormed into the scene reminding the audience they were supposed to feel a certain emotion.  I suppose every soundtrack functions in the same way, but this one felt it was pushing me to feel happy or worried in specific points.  I think a lot of soundtracks from movies from the 70s-90s did this.  Nowadays, the background music either creeps into the scene like a fine mist, or there is none, so that the viewer can make up his or her own mind what to feel.

Everyone did a very good job, even the ones with minor roles, such as Kiefer Sutherland and Wolfgang Bodison (Dawson).

The end scene was definitely the most memorable and firey part, with that notorious line of Nicholson.  I also loved when Bodison delivered his short speech to Cruise about the “UNIT, CORPS, GOD, COUNTRY!!!!!”

This movie is definitely going on my list of favorites.

Monster’s Ball

This movie reminded me a lot of “Y Tu Mamá También”, in that after it was over, I thought to myself, “why did i just watch this slice-of-life movie?”  From the very beginning, I could feel the tension and almost see the heavy cloud of all the characters’ emotions.  The music augmented the movie very nicely, and P. Diddy’s performance was pretty good.  I felt so bad for the little black kid, largely because I was like that as a child.  Only in my case, i was adding milk to my ice cream and being yelled at from my Japanese father in a very thick accent.  Nice to see all us chubbies share the same kind of history.  Hehe.  I find it weird, now on retrospect, that the hit-and-run killer of the boy was never solved…hmm.

I wasn’t entirely convinced Halle Berry deserved an Oscar, as at times it seemed she was simply “acting”; however, she did do a decent job.  I kept thinking that Peter Boyle (Thorton’s racist father) could’ve been a more aggressive character, as I think that would’ve made things more heated. I was extremely dissapointed to see Heath leave us so early in the film, as seeing him act in any movie is always a delight.

Besides having the talented Heath Ledger with his Southern accent, this movie had a touch of BrokeBack Mountain to it, in that there were a lot of silences and heavy but meaningful moments shared between pretty much all the characters.

“You must have a lot of love for him”

“No, I don’t.  But he’s my father, so that’s that.”

That’s a topic you don’t see touched very often in movies- taking care of your parents even when they’re bitter and a strain on your social life.

Definitely worth a watch; I really want to discuss this movie with others to get their viewpoints on the movie’s message and just how they interpreted the movie overall.  The ending tied things up, and yet it didn’t; you were squirming when Berry found out about Thorton’s deeper connection to her life, and her subtle expression in the end gave you just a spray or hint of happy ending.

The Usual Suspects

A let-down.  Like I have to do with all the movies I am watching while on student exchange, I watch them free online and usually have to watch sections of the movies, or scour the web for a decent quality version.  With The Usual Suspects, I was tempted each time I finished watching a section of the movie, to do something else- check my email, hang the laundry, watch another movie from my list… my head was swimming from all the legal jargon and run-arounds with characters and different names.  My head was equally dizzy after watching movies with a lot of profession-specific language, such as The Bourne Identity series, but I enjoyed the movies regardless because it had an interesting and flowing story.  Not that The Usual Suspects didn’t have an interesting or flowing storyline, but it wasn’t interesting enough to keep me attentive and intrigued throughout the whole film.

The ending was the best part, but it was a bit less surprising, as I had already seen Scary Movie (the part at the end where Cindy drops the coffee mug) and others had informed me that ending was making fun of The Usual Suspects one.  But when Kevin Spacey was crying at the end, I was like, “come ON, Kevin!  You’re a better actor than that!  I can’t even see any tears!”  It just looked like “acting”, and I’m used to a better performance from Spacey.

Another thing I liked was Benicio Del Toro’s character, Fred Fenster’s funny accent.  It reminded me of how the Chileans down here talk.

I think the best word/expression to sum up my feelings about this movie: meh.

The Boondock Saints

Woah!  This movie came out in 1999???  How could I miss this?  I really enjoyed this movie.  Quentin Tarentino’s non-linear influence can be seen in this movie for sure, but like one commentator said on the IDMB website about the movie, “Boondock Saints puts the pieces on the table, letting you try to put them together, but then will continue handing you pieces until the picture becomes clearer.”

I loved Willem Dafoe’s character in this movie.  When he started listening to opera music while inspecting the crime scene, I got an instant flashback to Luc Besson’s Léon, when Gary Oldman’s character listened to Mozart in his head while raiding that one house.  The parts where Dafoe’s character was in the scenes, describing how the action went down, gave a hint of Film Noir, and it looked cool as well.

The ending was interesting; I felt like there was a hole left at the end, which I think was what the director wanted.  All those interviews with everyday people about their opinions about the Saints, made me wonder if those interviews were taken from a real-life situation, as they actually looked genuine.  However, I wasn’t able to find any mention of this on the IMDB website, so I am taking it that they were just good actors.

What started out as a wonderful tale with excellent cinematography, ended with inward questions regarding vigilantes.  If this were to happen in real life, would i condone or support these people?  I don’t know. For the most part, I feel like cheering them on, but the only tricky part I see, would be that fuzy line between good and evil.  Who are they to decide who is evil or not?  And upon which laws are they judging people?  The 10 commandments?  Aren’t they committing muder?  The fact that this movie provoked this internal debate, makes it a great movie.  Any movie that leaves you with a heavy feeling, internal debate, or long-lasting thoughts, is a well-done film.

Loved hearing the Irish accent throughout the movie, as I have tons of Irish pride.  🙂

“Why don’t ya get me a cup of coffee?”

“Cafe latte”

“Twist of lemon”

“Sweet-n-low”

LOL!  I love it!  I loved the banter that went on from Dafoe’s character at that arrogant cop.  Wish they would’ve done one more before the end.

One question i still have: how did the Saints learn how to speak so many languages??  My major is in Foreign Languages, and I was really excited when they broke out all those languages in the interrogation room at the beginning.

This one is definitely going on my Favorite Movies list.  And in case you were curious: “The word “fuck” and its derivatives are used a total of 246 times.” (taken from IMDB website).

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Movie poster

What can I say about this movie?  Like a lot of the movies on this list, I feel like if I say anything bad about it, some ungodly force or a barrage of fans (nerdy ones, in this case) will pound me to the ground.  While this movie can most probably be claimed as a Classic by a lot of people, I found it to be very long and i found myself looking at my watch a lot.  I watched it with two big fans of the movie, and 3/4 of the way through, I was very tempted to ask if we could turn it off and watch Scrub episodes instead.  While I’m normally a big fan of British humour, this wasn’t that at all; a lot of very weird, random, and choppy scenes thrown together with high-pitched cronie voices.

While my friends and countless other fans assure me that it’s quotation-rich, I can only remember one that made me laugh:

“That must be the king.”

“How can you tell?”

“He’s not covered in shit.”

As I’ve seen with people quoting other parts of the movie, it’s not really funny unless other people have seen it as well.  But, I suppose you could say the same thing with every other movie, unless it has Samuel L. Jackson in it; that mothaf***er is hilarious!  “YES I HOPE THEY DIE!  AND I HOPE THEY BURN IN HELL!”

My recommendation to those who haven’t seen it: you’re not missing out on much.  What you hear fans quote, are pretty much the only juicey parts of the film.

Full Metal Jacket

Definitely a must-see.  I don’t usually like war movies, and there were a few war sequences where I found myself looking at my watch, but overall this was a very well-made movie.  It had a stale, sterile feel to it, as it had virtually no narrator (aside from the short blurbs of the main character), which actually worked to ground the movie in subjectivity.  Amidst the pro-war, kill-all-the-chinks, once-a-marine-always-a-marine rants and screams from the boot camp general and other military characters, you had the main character with this juxtaposed peace sign pin on his “Born to Kill”  marked helmet, the sympathetic view of the dying female Vietnamese sniper, and lack of war-glorifying screen shots.

It was great to FINALLY see that one famous scene with the Vietnamese hooker, which one hears on a regular basis when the words “asian” and “horny” come up in conversation.

“Me so hooooooorrrny!!!  Me love you long time!”

Ok, I had to do it.

It was also hot to see Vincet D’Onofrio (Private Pyle) in his skivies…though, not as hot when he shot his brains out.