By Chris Campo
You know what's beautiful? Just how close we are to the release of the first proper Alien film in 20 years, Alien: Covenant (Jack's review up next week). The last proper Alien film was, unfortunately, Alien: Resurrection. If I am being completely honest with you, I don't remember ever finishing this film beginning to end before watching it for this review. I definitely have tried, but I guess I was too weirded out by it to ever make it to the end, and that's exactly what Alien: Resurrection is in one word. Weird. I'm absolutely dumbfounded, not that the movie was made, but that it was made like this.
Alien: Resurrection begins 200 years after Ellen Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) death in Alien 3. Judging from the title you may be able to guess that someway and somehow, Ripley is resurrected. Except she's not... she's cloned? Who even cares. The reason Ripley is back is because a few shady scientists want the Alien Queen that was inside of her when she died to breed an army of Xenomorphs. But because they're Xenomorphs, they escape their captivity and run amok the spaceship. It's now up to Ripley and a new small crew, with the likes of Ron Pearlman and Winona Ryder, to outsmart and destroy the aliens before the ship reaches Earth.
Whoa! This movie is dumb. It's so dumb and weird that it's hard to believe it was green lit to be made and released. Sure, Alien 3 was bad, but at least it felt like it was in the same universe. This movie feels like some random sci-fi script found lying around that the studio decided to make as a straight to blu-ray release, but no, this is canon in the Alien Saga! Even more crazy is that this film is written by Joss Whedon, the man known best for writing and directing the first two Avengers movies. Even the director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, went on to direct the five-time Oscar nominated film, Amelie, just five years later!
This movie is so bad. I hate it. Sure, it has Xenomorphs, which is never a bad thing, but they're so dumb in this movie. Well, not they're dumb, I guess they're quite smart in context of the story, but the way in which they're used is dumb. First off, the idea of breeding them for a weapon is cliche and predictable, especially after they break out of containment, only to never be shown working as a team or anything, so really, what was the point. They also swim in this movie, which was very weird to see. Somehow, this film managed to turned one of the most frightening creatures ever put to film into a laughing stock.
There are plenty of laughs to be had during this film, because nearly every single scene has some over the top or ridiculously cheesy line or moment. I'm not kidding. There is not one legitimately cool idea in this entire film, outside of a single shot where we see a line of bodies used as hosts for the Xenomorphs. That's literally it. The film so goofy at times it feels like intentional self-parody. Just for example, there's a scene where an alien uses it's second mouth to press a button, and I laughed hysterically. But it's not self-parody, because the tone is so serious and the actors seem to be trying, even though every performance, including Weaver's Ripley, is awful.
The last 10 minutes of this movie is pure lunacy. There's a scene where someone who has an alien inside of him suddenly becomes invincible, surviving dozens of gunshots and grabbing someone's head, putting it to his chest and letting the alien burst through not only his chest, but the other person's head. It's one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen in a movie, and it's not even the most ridiculous thing in the finale of this film. It's here where we are introduced to a new type of alien called the Newborn, and it is the most ugly and ridiculous thing I have ever witnessed. I can't believe this is what they landed on for it's design. It looks like a scrotum covered in chewed gum! It's hideous! It's supposed to be scary, but you're too busy laughing at it to pay attention to the film.
Alien Resurrection feels as if a child watched Alien one day and decided to write his own version of the film in magic marker. It is, quite literally, one of the most baffling films I have ever seen. If I can say one thing about it, it's that I was never not entertained, mostly because I couldn't stop laughing. How this film received a better reception than Alien 3, I'll never understand. It has got to be one of the worst big budgeted films I have seen in my entire life.
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By Chris Campo
Oh boy, where do I start with Alien 3? I guess I should tell you that Ridley Scott's Alien is my second favourite film of all time. It's literally a perfect film and I adore it with every fibre of my body. The sequel, Aliens, is just as good to some, and I love it, but it's nowhere near the first in my opinion. Still, there were two great films in the Alien franchise, until 1992 with David Fincher's Alien 3. The franchise has had some ups and downs since then, and in just a few weeks, audiences will be treated to the next chapter, Alien: Covenant. To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to review the alien films that are not yet up on DCM! So, let's get started.
Alien 3 finds Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) as the only survivor of an escape pod, as seen in Aliens, landing on a distant prison planet, Fiorina 161. Aboard the pod, other than the corpses of fan favorites Newt and Hicks, is an egg of the Xenomorph, the terrifying, titular alien. Ripley is trapped with a bunch of rapists and murderers, forced to work together to fend off the Xenomorph, now with a body based off that of a very unfortunate dog, rather than a human. While there are no weapons on this prison planet, Ripley's got a secret, and this secret may just be her way of avoiding certain death... She's pregnant with an alien queen.
It's safe to say that this film is a mess, although it's one of the more interesting train wrecks in cinema history, from a production standpoint. The film had a hard time getting off the ground. Fox had literally no idea what to do with the film. All the behind the scenes stuff is extremely interesting, if you have a minute or two, I'd recommend researching just how much hell this film went through to get made. They even went so far as releasing a trailer promoting an entirely different movie, teasing that the film would take place on Earth, which it most certainly does not. This is also the directing debut of David Fincher, an amazing director, one of my favorites actually, but this film was so plagued with issues that he has essentially disowned the film and downright refuses to talk about it.
This is not a production review, however, this is a movie review. I want to focus on talking about the actual final product we got, because, believe it or not... I don't hate Alien 3. I don't necessarily like it and it's not at all a "good movie," but I don't absolutely despise it. Alien 3 is more of a sequel to Alien than Aliens was, in the sense that it takes on a similar tone and style, unlike the 1986 action extravaganza. No, I don't like Alien 3 more than Aliens, I'm not a lunatic, I just have to appreciate the fact that it attempts to go back to it's roots. It's nowhere near as scary, memorable or meticulous as the original, but I'd much rather have this than some of the Alien films that followed.
Sigourney Weaver is a national treasure and it's almost impossible for her to turn in a bad performance. She was nominated for an Oscar for Aliens, so she takes the character of Ripley very seriously, and Ripley herself is among the few highlights in the film. It's classic character that's hard to ruin (until Alien Resurrection, but we'll talk more on that during that review). Another highlight is the gore. I like it. This film features some very cool deaths and gore effects, which is a small detail but one I still appreciate. Whenever the alien is brought to life with practical effects, it's damn stunning. The scene where the alien comes face to face with Ripley is one of the only genuinely chilling scenes in the film, although I'm also a big fan of the ending, which would have been a nice cap on the series had it stayed a trilogy.
That leads me to the rest of the alien's screen time, where it's fully rendered in awful, distracting CGI. I get that it's an older film, but all of the CGI scenes could easily have been accomplished with clever practical effects. The main issue of the film though is just how awful and forgettable the script is. It's quite boring, to be honest. I would be straight up lying to you if I were to say I remember one character from this movie other than Ripley, and I watched the damn thing less than 5 hours ago. The script's main issue lies with how lifeless the central plot is. I like the opening, despite them killing off two great characters, and I like the ending, but everything in-between is dull, and you only really look forward to the next death.
I don't blame David Fincher for this film. Like I said, the studio had no idea what they were doing with this damn thing. I also don't blame him for denouncing it, sweeping it under the rug and practically ignoring the fact that he ever touched the property. This isn't the best looking film, but Fincher did craft some cool looking shots. There's some neat camera work too, which you can tell is a precursor to some of the incredible directing he'd come to do later in his career. It's obviously not the best directed film ever, but under the circumstances, it's incredible that Fincher cobbled together something actually watchable. I'm very grateful he bounced back from this and is doing his own thing, even though he just signed on to direct World War Z 2, which I still can't believe isn't a joke.
Yes, Alien 3 is a mess. No, it's not a good film, but I don't hate it. It's hard to hate a film with Xenomorphs. It's not impossible, but it's hard. David Fincher was given a brittle, broken skeleton of a script and made something that is watchable and has it's moments. I honestly had a little trouble settling on a final score for this movie, and although, like I said, I don't hate this film, it isn't good enough for anything over 2 stars.
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THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS
Believe it or not, but we are now 6 weeks out from witnessing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Yep, it's nearly time to return to the galaxy far, far away, and I couldn't be more excited. To celebrate, I will be reviewing one Star Wars movie a week, starting with The Phantom Menace..... obviously. So, get your laser beams ready and your lightsabers out because it's time to reminisce about the biggest disappointment in cinema history.
16 years after the release of Return of the Jedi, George Lucas decided to tell the origin story of the original trilogy's primary antagonist, Darth Vader. The Phantom Menace begins this tale, focussing in on Jedi knight, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewen McGregor). While protecting Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) from the evil trade federation, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan encounter a young boy living on the desert planet of Tatooine. His name? Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd). Qui-Gon believes that he can bring balance to the force, eventually helping the Jedi to overcome the Sith. One of the Sith they need to overcome is Darth Maul (Ray Park), a Dathomirian (don't even ask) with a double bladed lightsaber who's been assigned to hunt them all down.
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, as previously mentioned, was the first time in 16 years that audiences got to return to their galaxy. There was obviously a lot of hype around it, similar to the hype surrounding this year's The Force Awakens (although I would argue that the hype right now is a little bit bigger). While I wasn't around to experience this hype, it's safe to say I'm experiencing a similar feeling right now. I've seen photos of people lining up around the block to see this movie, nobody able to contain themselves. After all, it's freaking Star Wars! It's going to be great! Or so audiences thought.
The Phantom Menace starts out promisingly. We see Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan invading a trade federation ship, and of course a fight ensures. It's exciting stuff, and it's even got a bit of humour, something the original trilogy was full of. Then this scene ends, and everything goes downhill from there. It quickly stops being something along the lines of the original trilogy and becomes something else entirely. It becomes..... political. Politics in Star Wars? Yeah, no. This is called Star Wars, not Star Politics.
It takes a lot more than just familiar faces to bring back the magic of the original trilogy, yet all this film provides us with are familiar faces, and hardly any of them followed continuity. Sure, we know that Obi-Wan trained Anakin, so that's not really out of continuity. But do you know what is? The fact that Obi-Wan wasn't trained by Yoda. And the fact that C3P0 was built by Anakin. And I don't even remember how R2D2 fits into this whole thing, but I'm going to guess it's just as non-sensical as everything else. To be fair, George Lucas did attempt to explain these continuity errors in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, but just like everything else in the prequels, it just makes no sense.
Let's talk about Anakin Skywalker for a second, okay? Anakin Skywalker, obviously, is the person who eventually becomes Darth Vader, and so this trilogy is supposed to showcase his transformation to the dark side. Unfortunately, the character we get is not worthy of the name Anakin Skywalker. He doesn't deserve it. He's a whiny brat of a kid who plays no part in anything. He's not relevant to this film at all, although to be fair, not much is. At least the Anakin we get in The Phantom Menace is slightly more bearable than the one we get in Attack of the Clones, but more about that next week.
Anakin isn't just some random kid they run into. No, he's a podracer. A podracer who Qui-Gon straight up uses to earn some extra cash. But what's a podrace, you ask? A podrace is essentially the Star Wars equivalent of a car race, or something along those lines. So, of course, we get a sequence in which Anakin participates in a podrace, and just like actual car races, the podrace is boring as hell. It's 95% computer generated, and the computer generated images aren't even admirable. They're slack, and it doesn't really help when the scene on screen is far from exciting.
The inclusion of the podrace scene allows for Lucas to start foreshadowing the eventual romance between Padmé (AKA Queen Amidala) and Anakin. In case their romance doesn't end up being creepy enough, watching a nine year old kid flirt with someone who appears to be twice his age is far from flattering. Their dialogue is atrocious, as is Lucas' entire script for that matter, and the romance just comes out of nowhere. They try to play it off as cute since he is, after all, just a little kid, but it's really not. It's just awkward to watch, and it really taints the legend of Darth Vader.
One of the best things about the Phantom Menace, aside from the perfect casting of Ewen McGregor (who ends up being devastatingly underused in this first movie), is Darth Maul. He's a man of few words, but he's a complete badass. Wielding an insane and unique lightsaber, Maul's presence should've made a big impact on this trilogy. He should've been the Darth Vader of the prequels, but instead, this film doesn't really know what it's trying to be, the result of that is very little screen time for one of this film's only redeeming qualities.
He does, however, provide one of the coolest and most exciting lightsaber battles in the entire prequel trilogy. In the film's finale, while a bunch of CGI action is taking place elsewhere, we get to witness the insanity that is Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan vs Darth Maul. It's a lengthy battle where the stakes are felt, and these stakes are proven to be quite the risk when old Qui-Gon bites the dust. While Liam Neeson is a tremendous actor, I actually like the fact that his character is killed off. Not only is he underdeveloped, but it goes to show just how skilled and relentless Maul is, and it gives Obi-Wan a cause to fight for.
Taking place simultaneously to this three way battle is a CGI clusterfuck of a battle involving droids and gungans, and I'm not even sure if the grass was real or if that was CGI as well. I don't think it really matters. It's a prolonged and overstretched battle where nothing interesting ever takes place. It's lifeless animated characters shooting at other lifeless animated characters. There's no stakes and no central character to follow, and I don't even want to get started on Jar Jar Binks. He's one of the most annoying characters to ever hit the silver screen and I'm going to stop talking about him before all the anger inside of me starts to boil and steam is released out of my ears.
If you thought one lifeless CGI battle was more than enough, you haven't seen anything yet. Also taking place at the same time as these battles, young Anakin has somehow managed to fly a ship up into space and yes, he's managing to out-pilot all the professional pilots. How? I don't know. Why? Don't even ask. What was George Lucas thinking when he wrote this? I don't think he was. There was no logic or sense put into anything, and the sequence has me staring at my TV in confusion every single time I see it, and I've unfortunately seen this film more times that I'd like to.
All I've been talking about for the last few paragraphs are the battles in this film, and I feel as though that's giving off the wrong impression for those who have not seen the film. This film is not action heavy. In fact, it's not really until the finale that we get any sort of action. Sure, there's a couple of moments here and there, but nothing lasts for more than a minute or two and nothing is all that memorable. Even the more memorable battles are still forgettable, and that's a really disappointing aspect about this movie. Do you remember how cool that Luke and Darth Vader fight was in the original trilogy? Same. Too bad nothing in this movie comes close to being as cool as that does.
Filling up the runtime is a bunch of sitting around and talking. Prefer your talking to take place while people walk? Good. You get that too. Or maybe you prefer people to sit in awkward silences because this film has that as well. It really does have it all.... except the requirements of a good movie. It's a whole bunch of mumbo jumbo and I will admit, I do tune out from time to time. Most of the performances are stale and the dialogue can be awfully cringe worthy at times. Not even Samuel L Jackson can provide this film with the energy and excitement that a Star Wars film needs.
To sum up, Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace is one of the biggest disappointments in cinema history, and this is mostly thanks to George Lucas' atrocious screenplay, full of uninteresting characters delivering cringe worthy lines in entirely CGI environments.
Magnolia is a three hour long movie set over a period of twenty-four hours. It tells the interconnected stories of Frank T.J. Mackey (Tom Cruise), a man who gives talks about how to get any woman you want, Jimmy Gator (Phillip Baker Hall), a dying quiz show host, Claudia Wilson Gator (Melora Walters), a drug addict, Stanley (Jeremy Blackman), a kid genius, Donnie Smith (William H. Macy), a man in need of money, Jim Kurring (John C. Reilly), a police officer, and lastly, Linda (Julianne Moore) and her dying husband, Earl (Jason Robards).
Magnolia is a one of a kind movie experience. I have never experienced a film like this before in my life and I doubt that I ever will again. It's a unique and wondrous movie that's really, truly unlike any other movie out there. It weaves several different individual stories flawlessly together, managing to give each of them a certain layer of depth, humour and emotion, and sometimes, all three of those at once. While the stories work well on their own, when cut together, they manage to work even better.
It's almost a standard for Paul Thomas Anderson films to be well acted. In fact, it is a standard. Anderson always manages to amaze, getting the best out of his actors. With Magnolia, these actors may just give their best performances to date. Yep, all of them. Magnolia is really just that kind of movie, and saying that makes me happy. But taking the spotlight is Julianne Moore, who, although needed much more screen time than she got, is utterly fantastic and so unlike her usual self. She's not crazy, but she's not in control either, and it's a performance that just shoots off of the screen.
Magnolia is a film that's all over the place, yet it never manages to become a mess. There's so many different stories being told, and although that resulted in a rather lengthy runtime, it's a film that's ultimately worthwhile. Part character case-study, part tale of coincidence, Magnolia just keeps on giving for it's entire runtime. It's a fascinating movie with equally fascinating themes, and of course, it ends on the most fascinating note possible.
This ending, and I won't spoil it, is arguably the greatest thing about the film. It's ambitious, unexpected and utterly amazing. While at first it comes across as ridiculous, as it keeps on going, it keeps on giving, and the more thought given to it, the better it gets. It's seemingly unrealistic, yet it's something that's actually happened before, and on more than one occasion too. It's a perfect ending to an almost extraordinary film.
While I would argue that Magnolia is one of Paul Thomas Anderson's weaker films, rather than his best film as many have called it, it is still quite an extraordinary film. If this is to be one of his weakest films, or at least in my opinion, then that really says something about Anderson as a filmmaker. Maybe it will improve over multiple viewings, just like The Master did. Who knows? I guess I'll have to come back, watch it again and let you all know, but for now, it is what it is and what it is is very good.
To sum up, Magnolia may be a little too long and needed a bit more of Julianne Moore, but it's a one of a kind movie experience with some career defining performances and an ending that's utterly perfect.
I honestly can't tell you how long I've been waiting to do a review of this. Maybe I can, actually. Yeah, let's try explain how long I've been waiting. Initially, when this was coming back to cinemas for a limited run in 2013, I was going to give it a review. I didn't, thankfully, and so I later decided that I will wait until closer to the release of Jurassic World, just to give that film a bit of hype. Well, Jurassic World is still a few months away, but I got impatient. So here it is at last, my review of Jurassic Park! But before I can delve into my thoughts, I must describe the plot, just in case you're the only person on this planet that hasn't seen the movie. Well, let's see. Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neil) and his partner in crime, Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) are invited on a preview tour of an upcoming amusement park known as Jurassic Park. Then, well, bad things happen, dinosaurs are on the loose and cinematic history is made. I really don't see the point in going in depth with that plot.
Jurassic Park is undeniably one of the greatest achievements of cinema known to man (and woman. Because once the dinosaurs eat man, women take over the earth), and I don't say that lightly. This film is truly something, as I am sure nearly all of you are aware of. Back in 1993, nothing like this had ever been seen before, although when I think about it, nothing like this was ever made again. It's not only a film that's rather personal to me, taking me back to my many rewatches as a child, but it's a film that now, many years later, I can always find something new to enjoy after my dozens upon dozens of rewatches.
There's just so much to enjoy about this film, both terrifying and otherwise. Slow isn't really the word I'd use to describe this film. It's not slow. I wouldn't, however, describe it as rather fast either, if that makes any sense whatsoever. It's a two hour long film with the first hour dedicated to showing the wonder and amazement this park has to offer, although not without discussing its problems either. Sure, the characters are stunned upon getting their first glimpse of the dinosaurs, but after letting it soak in and hearing snippets of what's to come, the scientist in them arises and hesitance shows, providing us with one of the greatest lines ever put on film. "Life will find a way."
And life does find a way once we go further into the park. A storm hits, shutting down all the electric fences. It's at this point that the film effortlessly transcends from wonder to terror, resulting in a heck of a lot more dinosaurs, screaming, quotes and a t-rex. Yep, they have a t-rex. This second half is where the film changes gears and my goosebumps begin to appear. Having seen this film more times than I can count, it always stuns me how frightening it is. To this day, Jurassic Park still scares me, and that's something I am not ashamed to admit.
Deciding to focus in on multiple leads, rather than just one, works as a stroke of genius, allowing every character to develop and allowing more screen time for the Goldblum, because who doesn't love a good Goldblum every now and again? There isn't a main character in this film that I didn't care for. Or at least, a character we're supposed to root for. Sure, there's Wayne Knight's Deccis Nedry, but we're not suppose to care for him. I'm talking about the leads here. The Goldblums, the Derns, the Grants, etc. The ones we're with from the start and the ones we want to be there with for the end.
The screenplay, co-written by David Koepp and Michael Crichton, is all sorts of perfect. It's a screenplay with plenty of heart, humour and thrills, even if it does deviate from the source material. Translated onto film, this screenplay manages to work on so many more levels than it could've unfortunately been, special thanks given to the score and that little known filmmaker, Steven Spielberg, who truly understands how to make a film that'll be remembered fifty years down the track.
But of course, the main reason everybody comes back to this film time and time again is because of those things called dinosaurs. You know, the prehistoric creatures with a taste for flesh. Well, as I'm sure you can imagine, the dinosaurs showcased in this film managed to kickstart the careers of many palaeontologists. They are absolutely spectacular, creating a sense of awe and wonder. Made almost entirely with practical effects, the dinosaurs are treated with a sense of realism, adding to the various emotions felt during each scene. Jurassic Park is, dare I say, a truly perfect film.
To sum up, Jurassic Park is one of the greatest cinematic achievements of all time, full of suspense, wonder, awe and amazement, all sprinkled with Spielberg's classic direction and a score that's all sorts of amazing. It truly is a film of no flaws.
Where do I begin with Home Alone? Hmmm. The plot? Yes, I may as well just start with the plot. Home Alone is a classic holiday movie about a young boy, Kevin (Macaulay Culkin), who's sick and tired of his loud, obnoxious and rather rude family. He wants nothing more than for them to simply disappear. That is until they do. Well, sort of. As it turns out, his family left for a holiday without him, completely unintentional of course. Jesus, they're not THAT mean. Kevin, who isn't sure of why he's home alone, decides to make the most of his time. That is until two burglars, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), try to break into Kevin's house, forcing Kevin to stand up and defend it.
Now, I enjoyed Home Alone a lot when I was a young kid. I thought it was a very entertaining movie, but of course, every kid did when they were young. I even have the DVDs of the first three films in the series, which is why I decided to put this film on for the first time in many many many years. Unfortunately, I enjoyed Home Alone a lot more when I was younger, which is something I'm really sad to say. It fails to hold up, both in terms of comedy and quality, although I'm sure my old DVD has something to do with the second part.
There are undoubtably some very fun scenes in Home Alone, mostly thanks to the clever booby traps made by Kevin, but there's just not enough humour to get me through the film's runtime. Seeing Kevin unleash hell on these burglars is a lot of fun, even if there's no possible way that Kevin could actually come up with plans that genius. Not even I could come up with plans that smart. But most of the other humour just didn't work out too well. It's unfunny and rather awkward to watch, and on occasion, even cringe worthy. Sorry.
When you think about it, Home Alone is really just a PG version of Saw. I presume this has been said before, but hey, I'm willing to taking credit for it because I'm just that sorta guy. Home Alone gets its laughs off people being assaulted and tormented by ingenious traps. Saw does the same thing, except it gets its laughs unintentionally. So yeah, for years now we've been showing our children a Saw movie and not even realising it. Good work humanity.
The cast try, but unfortunately, they fail. I love Joe Pesci as an actor, he stars in my favourite film of all time after all, and in Home Alone, he's easily the best thing about this movie, even though he's still not that great. His performance is fun, although most of the performances in this film are, but his character just exists and is here for a laugh. We don't really know anything about him besides he's clumsy and bad. None of the characters in this film have any real depth, as a matter of fact. Who knows? Maybe I'm just overthinking a movie for children. Or maybe I'm not and maybe this film really just isn't good.
To sum up, Home Alone is a Christmas classic that really shouldn't be a classic. There are some really fun moments to be found, but not enough to fill the runtime. The cast try, but not even Joe Pesci can save them from this rather dull, PG version of a Saw movie.
2 1/2 Stars
Boogie Nights is director Paul Thomas Anderson's second film, and arguably one of his best. It tells the story of Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg), a young man who dropped out of high school so he could have more time to work. That's when he's approached by a man named Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds), a porn director who's interesting in hiring Eddie. He accepts and is soon taken to the set of his first film. From here on out, the film follows his rise and fall as a porn star through the 70s and 80s, and it does so in the most entertaining way possible.
Films about porn can be difficult. From the very few I've seen, and I mean very very few, they seem to be a rather mixed bunch. There are some great ones, such as Zack and Miri Make A Porno, and then there are some not so great ones, like Lovelace. While I enjoy Lovelace for what it is, I can completely understand why it received so much negativity. With these porn films, there's always a restriction on how graphic or explicit they can be, and that's just one of the many problems that arises when dealing with such topics. With Boogie Nights, however, there's no holding back, and because of this, as well as many other things, it's a damn awesome movie.
Taking us on this journey is a very young Marky Mark. I like Wahlberg as an actor. Sure, he's not the most reliable actor when it comes to the film's quality, but no matter how shitty his films get, and trust me when I say they can get pretty shitty, he always brings a much needed charisma and personality to the screen. In Boogie Nights, he suits the part just fine, playing a character that's trying to hide how broken he really is.
Marky Mark is great and all, although the entire cast are too, but it's Phillip Seymour Hoffman who steals the show. I had no idea he was even in this film and so when he graced us with his presence, I gave off a cheer. The moment this character comes on screen you know it's not your typical Hoffman performance, and that's probably because it's not. He steals every scene he's in, even if he doesn't speak a word. His presence is just that notable, and it damn well should be as he gives one of the most odd performances he's ever given.
I have never taken drugs in my life, nor do I intend to, but if I had to guess what a drug addiction would feel like, I think it's safe to say that watching Boogie Nights comes close. For the first hour and a half, Boogie Nights is one hell of a time. It's a deliberately showy movie, but not done so in a pretentious way. Think Scorsese-like showy. It's a riot, never slowing or relaxing, making every moment entertaining. Then a certain event happens and things start to hit the fan. The next hour is a spiralling downhill slope for these characters, and while it's not as fun, it's just as exciting to watch.
To sum up, Boogie Nights is a hilarious, non-stop riot with some absolutely outstanding performances for the first hour and a half and then a more serous, yet just as entertaining journey for the next hour.
4 1/2 Stars
Se7en follows the story of two homicide detectives, a rookie named Mills and a veteran on his final case named Somerset. The two are both put on a rather unique homicide case that at first seems like a one off, but it soon occurs to them that the serial killer is using the seven deadly sins to kill his victims; Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Envy, Wrath, Pride, Lust. Now the two have to find the killer before he gets through all seven sins.
Se7en is full of twists and turns that blew me away. The film doesn't feature a twist and turn in every scene, but there are a few scattered throughout the film. This is especially towards the end. There was not a single twist in this film that I saw coming. Every one of the twists was unpredictable and most of them were shocking. My jaw was dropped many times in the film as I was literally shocked at what occurred on screen.
Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman give sensation performances in the lead roles. Se7en features some of their prime performances despite not being recognised for it when it was first released. These two gave outstanding performances, but there was another performance that I loved just as much and that is by the villain. I won't name the actor who plays him as it will ruin the surprise, but I'll tell you they did a damn good job. They did a sinister job too.
I love how David Fincher portrays the murders depicted in the film. I am not saying that the film isn't gruesome, it's far from being not gruesome. I'm saying that I enjoyed how David Fincher wouldn't show the actual murders for the most part, but instead he showed the aftermath of them all and revealed what actually happened in this situation through the dialogue between the characters. It was a very intelligent move on his behalf.
The ending of the film is one of the most unpredictable and satisfying endings of all time. The final act of the film was absolutely unpredictable and shocking. The final act features a couple of twists, the final one being the most shocking. This ending is the perfect way the end off the film and ties together all the seven deadly sins. Don't worry that is far from being a spoiler.
To sum up Se7en is an intense, gruesome, gripping thriller full of twists and turns that got my jaw to drop. The murder's aren't depicted too violently, but the outcomes are, the direction is great and the performances are even better.
American Beauty is the story of a depressed middle aged man named Lester Burnham, who is married and has a teenage daughter. Whilst attending his daughter's cheerleading routine at half time in a basketball match he lays his eyes upon her friend, Angela. A girl known for her sexual lifestyle. While this is going on Lester's daughter begins a relationship with their new and slightly odd homophobic neighbours. This plot is a really basic way to put the movie, it's much more then what I've said.
American Beauty is a near perfect film. The film was absolutely superb and is one of my all time favourite movies. The acting is superb, the film is well directed, well written and absolutely hilarious when it's not extremely dramatic. American Beauty is a must see masterpiece of cinema that's full of romance, comedy and drama. I've seen very few movies that are as great as this film or better.
The acting in the film is absolutely superb. Essentially every one in this film gives an amazing performance that deserves some sort of recognition. Kevin Spacey gives a hilariously believable performance that captures the actual lives of people in similar situations. This is probably his best performance I've ever seen. A lot of the supporting cast do just as amazing in the film too. They help create a greater sense of realism in the film which is one of the reasons I love this film even more.
Sam Mendes directs this film sensationally. I loved Mendes when he directed last year's Skyfall, but I love him even more here. He takes this sensational screenplay by Allan Ball and makes it into an even greater film that I will happily watch any day of the week. Mendes beautifully captures the on going life of a suburban town, but adds a bit more of a mystery and a bit of suspense to it which all adds up to make an amazing film.
American Beauty is absolutely hilarious at times. I've been praising how realistic this film is and I shall be praising that fact even more in this paragraph. There is humour in real life situations and occasionally in reality the situations people get into can be really funny when thought about. In American Beauty they capture theses moments and put them together to make one of my all time favourite comedies and one of the funniest films I've ever seen. It blends comedy with drama just perfectly.
The last 20 minutes of this film were amazing. The climax of the film is where a lot of suspense begins to kick in as well as some neat twists which I won't spoil, but they actually surprised me as well as made me laugh. Towards the very end of the film I was literally on the edge of my seat awaiting how everything was going to turn out because we basically presume what's going to happen based on the opening monologue.
To sum up American Beauty is a near perfect film. It's full out outstanding acting, realistic humour and situations, it's well directed, well written and the climax of the film had me on the edge of my seat. The film is a true masterpiece.