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Public Enemies (2009)
Lazy, loud, and underdeveloped
The first sequence promises that the film will be something new, smart and exciting and thereafter never meets that expectation. This film is wrought with platitudes, lazy writing, confusing action, and worst of all no real insight into the cat and mouse play and mentality of Melvin Pervis and John Dillinger. Furthermore, the most interesting aspects of the story, the camaraderie of the criminals and their careful planning before each heist, is almost entirely ignored. The film settles to force a trite love story down our throats while all of the characters are conveyed solely through what they say about themselves. Basically, the film is lacking what is called "conversation" which is poorly replaced by monologues and proclamations.
Another significant disappointment is that this film introduces few new things to the mythology of John Dillinger. There was a film in the 80s I believe called "Dillinger" which was an hour shorter and conveyed all of the relevant events of "Public Enemies". The only real difference between the two is that in the former a fabricated love story is absent and replaced by convincing acting and character depth. There is no sense in "Public Enemies" that John Dillinger is confronting the disorder of the Depression, no sense that he represents a departure from the status quo of the times, and no sense that any of it really matters in a meaningful way. The FBI exist because of John Dillinger, Hoover achieved the power he did because of John Dillinger, the nation found him to be a hero, none of which had anything to do with a girlfriend who gets slapped around for harboring fugitives and lying to investigators about a thief and a murderer.
One final point, John Dillinger kills not a single person in this movie for reasons I can only assume relate to inspiring false-pity. While this film could have given depth and insight into an almost folk-hero, it resigns itself to forced-love, loud and confusing action, and, as Michael Mann always provides, poor cutting and silly camera usage.
Skip and wait for DVD
Although I am not a regular proponent of serial television shows, the eclectic, in-depth storyline and character development in Dexter are far beyond what I expected from Showtime or any network other than HBO. Dexter is a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer protected by his occupation as well as the lessons derived from his father's teachings. By having a resounding premise of catching a notorious serial killer while trying to conceal his own identity, Dexter enters each week with a new sociological dilemma as well as a new criminal to dispatch. What is best about Dexter is his own personal facade of trying to be normal. While other characters in the show are obviously dysfunctional, the audience are privileged to see the flaws of Dexter while people within his own world cannot. Darkly humorous, well-paced, and morbidly addictive Dexter is the best show of 2006, without a doubt.
The Illusionist (2006)
I watched this movie tonight and I have nothing but legitimate concern for the 70% of people who voted this movie better than an 8. It was awful. Absolutely terrible. Don't go see it, nothing is explained, its just "uni"-faceted writing with absolutely no evident substance. Despite the incredible misuse of the iris shot this movie constantly uses to give it the feeling of a solid period piece, and the horrid camera usage and editing, what this movie lacks that never made up for those gross errors, is character development, feasible story line, historical relevance, and most of all a convincing script. Why is it in Vienna? Why do they all have crappy British accents? Why does none of the magic make sense? All legitimate questions that should be considered before this is voted a "10". There are scenes that are laughable solely because of the constant use of generic plot summary and convoluted dialog ("Oh I loved you and now we're finally together" "But do you really want to give up everything and be with me?" "Yes" "okay") And worst of all none of it makes sense. It's not some sort of intelligent whodunit film where you're perpetually pondering what happened, it's a movie that is obvious in its exploits and drags through the development to get to the stupid point. If something didn't make sense or lacked cogency there was an allusion to the fact that Eisenhiem was simply a magician and thats what they do. I mean a machine that makes an orange plant that grows oranges? Transparent people that can look directly at others but do not exist in the public beyond the show? This movie seemed to flaunt it flaws simply because it was confident that the audience would somehow be subdued by the premise of a magician in a mystical period of time. And another thing missing: dialog. there are like 50 sentences outside narration in the entire movie. Thats called a crutch people and its what separates movies from bedtime stories. Boo this movie and the ignorant complacent people that somehow found it "illusive" and engaging. And if Eisenhiem really could do all that incredible stuff why didn't he create an illusion and kill the prince with one of his phantom children that have voices and talk and movement, that makes more sense than setting him up to kill himself after the poison in the drink he likes to frequent causes him to conveniently pass out outside the view of the one guard protecting the Prince of the biggest empire in Europe. This movie sucked major balls, and just because its the end of the summer and most of the movies are crap anyway this was one of the few I almost have walked out on in my life. Basic summary: Guy loves girl, guy isn't allowed to love girl, guy leaves gets powers that are never explained, guy comes back and gets girl, guy goes on tangent to screw over a petty one dimensional prick, guy gets away, all the while some police inspector that is blatantly established in modern law and ethics has a moral reformation for some reason. The Pretige is going to blow this movie out of the water and we'll all wonder what the hell movies like this and Magnolia are doing in the top thousand films on IMDb.,