Capturing The Friedmans (2003)

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Capturing The Friedmans

Capturing The Friedmans

I had heard a lot about this movie when it first came out and always meant to watch it. However, knowing the subject matter would be heavy and disturbing, I had never gotten around to it. When it came on satellite we tuned in – and climbed aboard a roller coaster.

The film propels you through the story without a firm foothold on the outcome – is he a monster? are they all? were they railroaded by the system? At various points you believe all those things and none of them. And at the end you are still left to wonder because this film does exactly what a documentary should do; it gives you all of the facts, but none of the answers. Those conclusions you must draw on your own.

I give it a rare 5 of 5.

From Amazon:

“Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, and with over $3 million at the box office to date, Capturing The Friedmans is nothing short of the most riveting, provocative, and hotly debated films of the year. Despite their predilection for hamming it up in front of home-movie cameras, the Friedmans were a normal middle-class family living in the affluent New York suburb of Great Neck. One Thanksgiving, as the family gathers at home for a quiet holiday dinner, their front door explodes, splintered by a police battering ram. Officers rush into the house, accusing Arnold Friedman and his youngest son Jesse of hundreds of shocking crimes. The film follows their story from the public’s perspective and through unique real footage of the family in crisis, shot inside the Friedman house. As the police investigate, and the community reacts, the fabric of the family begins to disintegrate, revealing provocative questions about justice, family, and -ultimately – truth.”

Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 97%; Audience 86%

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

I had no real plans on seeing this new Pirates movie this year. I didn’t really like the first one that much. I’ll admit, it was good fun, but it just didn’t really do anything for me. It was a little long but kept the action.

The sequel, Dead Man’s Chest, was like a treasure map without directions. It jumped all over the place with no real idea of where it was going. The action sequences were drawn out and pointless. The dialog was weak at best.

I didn’t feel anything for the characters. They seemed dumb with no real feeling or attitude or depth. The acting was sub-par. I think Johnny Depp forgot how he played Jack Sparrow in the first movie as I saw parts of his Hunter Thompson character from Fear and Loathing.

Keira Knightly was just going through the motions. She turned into a better actress than what was portrayed on the screen. I don’t even get Orlando Bloom. What’s this guy’s deal? The kid just can’t act.

The only redeeming quality in this movie was Bill Nighy playing Davy Jones. He’s a great actor anyway and brought a little respectability to the role.

Dead Man’s Chest was extremely long. A good 45 minutes could have been cut out of it. I felt sorry the people sitting around me because I kept yawning and moving around in my seat. It was just really slow and boring.

It’d be best if you stayed away from this movie. Wait for something else to come out. Snakes on a Plane will drop on August 18.

Jack Sparrow

Burn The Floor (1999)

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Burn the Floor

Burn The Floor

This is exactly the kind of thing I should love; dancing, music, big production. Unfortunately, the dancing is mediocre, the music is tired, the productions are pointless.

The choreography was about on par with what you would find in a high school production, particularly one where they are intent on keeping all the students on stage the whole time.

The costuming was trying way too hard to be ‘hip’ – as if they figured making it edgy would make it artistic.

I can’t give this anything on the WOM Scale; my friends that like dancing and classical music would be turned of by the edginess, my friends who like edgy would not be interested in the dancing and music…..

Rotten Tomatoes: Critics N/A; Audience 78%

Derailed (2005)

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Yeah, yeah, yeah – I heard the bad reviews. I like Jennifer Aniston, though, and Clive Owen is usually good to watch (in more ways than one), so I gave it a try.

I tend to like my suspense movies to be, well, suspenseful. This one was so obvious I kept thinking I must be wrong; surely there must be a twist coming that I was not seeing, surely it couldn’t be as insipid as it seemed. Unfortunately, it was every bit as predictable as the alphabet, but not as nuanced.

It also suffers from Thelma & Louise syndrome – two people making bad decision after bad decision, spiraling down into a worsening situation, able to stop it at any point simply by going to the authorities, choosing to continue on their merry little doomed way. By the end you actually want them to get taken out of the gene pool (I was so glad to see Thelma & Louise die – they were just wasting oxygen and police resources).

However, it took my boyfriend to point out one of the big failings – I just couldn’t put my finger on it. He nailed it right away; you just don’t buy Clive Owen as such a wuss. 1 of 5 just because I know a couple of girls who will sit through it solely to look at him for an hour or so.

Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 20%; Audience 61%

Johnny Cash – American V: A Hundred Highways

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It was only a few weeks ago that I heard that Johnny Cash had a new album coming out. While listening to KEXP, DJ Kevin Cole described that soon after June Carter Cash died, Johnny hit the studio to record what would become his final album.

KEXP has been playing the album through out the last couple of weeks, but myspace has set up a page for Johnny which streams the entire album.

You notice is the pain in voice right away with the first song “Help Me.” I felt a small tear come to my eye. I knew he was hurting. The next song, though, is a message to everyone living in sin, but “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” is the best song on the album. Its hard-hitting and heavy. Cash is a messenger for God and this song proves it.

After listening to this entire album, I’ve decided that if it doesn’t win album of the year in every awards ceremony, I’ve given up on the music industry.

It should be noted that “On the 309” was the last song he both wrote and recorded. He knows the end is coming soon. Get on that train.

Johnny Cash

Stay (2005)

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For this one I am going to give you word for word the review I found on Amazon:

“Striking images abound in the twisty, surreal thriller Stay: Walruses rubbing up against the glass in an aquarium; a corridor painted neon green; entire crowds composed of twins and triplets; a piano being lifted several stories in the air. The plot is impossible to encapsulate: A psychiatrist named Sam (Ewan McGregor, Trainspotting) takes on a colleague’s patient, Henry (Ryan Gosling, The Notebook), who announces his intention to kill himself. As Sam pursues Henry, hoping to save him, the world around them begins to fracture and distort–until the movie’s conclusion, which may induce viewers to argue loudly about whether or not it makes sense. But Stay’s weakness isn’t whether it coheres, but its terrible dialogue. David Lynch movies (a clear influence) work in part because the dialogue is usually simple, even banal, and doesn’t compete with the rich chaos of the visual images and narrative turns. Stay’s dialogue, full of portents, interferes with an intriguingly corrupt (in the sense that digital information corrupts) storyline and eerily dislocated visuals; try watching it with the sound off. Also featuring Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive), with brief appearances by Janeane Garofalo (The Minus Man), Bob Hoskins (Mona Lisa), and other familiar faces.” —Bret Fetzer

Yep, that about sums it up ~ the movie was disjointed, the dialogue was dismal.

The twist ending was asburd. The plot may have been salvagable, with a different ending. The twist ending does present an interesting idea, however. Had it been explored by a more competent storyteller we may have been presented an intriguing film. This one just left me shaking my head at the time I wasted watching it.

But I give it 1 out of 5 anyway, because I have a couple of friends who like that sort of thing.

Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 26%; Audience 66%

spiderman 3 teaser

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Movie viewers this past weekend were treated to a teaser of one of the most anticipated movies of 2007.

The only words I can think of to describe it is “Holy god!”

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