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Jim Brown: All American (2002)
usual Spike Lee, good start but a mess of a finish
Spike Lee needs to ease back and take his time. He is not Woody Allen and cannot make a decent film every year.
The same problems that plague Jungle Fever, Get on the Bus and Bamboozled torpedo Jim Brown: All American.
What starts out as a completely engaging portrait of one of the most amazing and awe-inspiring athletes to ever walk on a field quickly loses steam halfway through when Spike looks into Brown's domestic abuse problems and family relations. Looking to investigate them only to vindicate Brown, Spike shows he's only interested in showing how fantastic Brown is and deflecting any criticism.
In one segment, Brown explains an incident in which he reportedly threw a woman over a balcony, which he denies. The woman involved, found 30 years later, explains what happened, saying she was trying to get away from Brown, who was beating her. Instead of asking Brown, oh I don't know, what's up with that, Spike just lets Brown get away with being portrayed as another black man hassled by the White establishment.
While Brown faced tremendous challenges because of white America's intransigence and racism, he wasn't perfect but Spike doesn't seem interested in allowing for a balanced take.
If it wasn't for the loads of great anecdotes about Brown, provided by teammates, coaches, friends and Brown himself, and the insane footage of Brown mauling defenses as a running back, the documentary would find itself in deep trouble, weighed down by too much extraneous footage and too many long-winded explanations by Brown of his lack of parenting.
Le petit soldat (1963)
Godard is at his best when he playfully messes with social and filmmaking conventions, combining his whimsical nature with his vibrant social commentary.
The little soldier does not do that. He plays it serious here and it's a shame, because Godard can't do that. He can't create suspense; it's antithetical to his nature. Even a scene that is supposed to elicit emotion from the audience, presumably, like the torture sequence, goes on and on so slowly and at such a rambling pace, you eventually feel nothing, if that hasn't happened much earlier.
What could have been a great statement on the corruption of both sides of thought, left and right, and the lack of ideals in modern politics just becomes a tedious, overbearing, overlong mess.
Godard lovers, like all the commentators on this page, will defend Godard to the death even when he retches up something as awful as this. Don't listen to them. There's a reason this movie is impossible to find; no one wants to see it.
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
think overrated garbage: forrest gump, titanic, gladiator
You can like this movie all you want. Feel free. Express your love however you like.
But I must beg to differ.
This is about style and no substance. This is about showering us with visuals and edits to hide, well, the sorry-ass state of the film. This is about schlock comedy bits that are too lame to be used in a 'Friends' skit. This is about having a villain so cliched and lame and obvious and cartoonish, a satire of his character in the movie would have absolutely nothing to expound upon. This is about being as obvious, as ostentatious as, well, ironically, a strip club.
This isn't about art. This is about shaking big fake tits in your face.
But if you like that. Please. Feel free.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Atrocious 'American Beauty' for 80s kids
Sometimes the buzz is wrong. Really goddamned wrong. So wrong you walk out of the theater in disbelief that the movie ever got made in the first place.
Cloaking itself in some social satire against the easiest targets possible, the movie shifts clumsily in tone from horror to teen comedy to family drama. Pop culture references from the '80s--the smurfs, hungry hungry hippos, etc.--pepper the film, largely out of an attempt to capture the decade through products rather than through a compelling or sensical plot.
The end makes little to no sense and is made worse by a severely inept soundtrack decision. Executive producer Drew Barrymore has a small role as a rebellious teacher at the high school. This is about as fitting as anthony hopkins as jabba the hut. You'll laugh a couple times, cringe a helluva lot and taste bile at the schlock end.
Fun, crazy yakuza flick
Outlaw Killer or as it says in the film, Street Mobster, is a bloody violent look into a totally self-destructive renegade street punk that can't ever seem to back down from a fight, no matter how suicidal. Truly a hilarious, incredibly charismatic character. So funny.
The film follows him as he talks about his youth, his incarceraton and picks up with him creating a new gang. Parts are a bit too melodramatic, especially at the end, but the characters are well-crafted and the action sequences are frenetic and fun.
A unique view of yakuza and street punk life in Japan in the early '70s from crazy-guy Fukasaku, the man behind Tora! Tora! Tora! and the fantastic Battle Royale.
Terminal USA (1993)
Suburban asian-american family, insane.
Seen at the microcinefest film festival in 1997, this film gave us much to chortle about. An anything but ordinary asian-american family, with a drug dealer screw-up for one son, a nerdy one with a fetish for skinheads in leather for another, a whore cheerleader for a daughter, an ailing grandfather and psychotic parents. Hilarity ensues. A an extremely fun ride that blows away commercial garbage with its sarcastic wit, charm and schizophrenic craziness.