Welcome to FilmProphet.com
> Online Since August 2003!

Film Prophet's Movie Reviews Page 12

 

Jules et Jim (1962)
Starring Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, Henri Serre, Vanna Urbino, Boris Bassiak

Film Prophet's Review...
Director François Truffaut demonstrates how to be as vague as possible while getting away with it, sort of. This is due to the vacillation and unreasonable logic of whim decisions through a friendship and bond between two males and a mutual affection for an unpredictable woman named Catherine, Moreau. Jules, Werner, and Jim, Serre, meet in Paris and become fast friends. They form an effortless friendship surrounding the eccentric Catherine right away spanning for a couple of decades starting before the First World War. The black and white French romance shows how each three in every scene together adapt to no matter where they are to suit the continual idyllic relationship as long as they can. They choose an easy route of pleasure that may not lead into a happy coming as consequences may happen. The movie commences with an over the top cheerful and blissful beginning of a mood. Strangers become friends too fast and they meet right away cheerfully in a rush. They don’t rationalize anything and meander around carefree on their free time which happens all the time in the first half. All intentions during this time are irrational as they just happen with no reasoning. Although the film’s title has the two lead men in it, the dominant character is the female lead, Catherine. Catherine's affairs are indistinct and the ambiguity towards Jules and Jim continues. Their sensibilities and actions are so random that when they come out of a play, they sound so educated and intellectual on their feet, which is just so odd and out of place. The indecision of the three don't plan and mind about the forthcomings. Truffaut’s style to capture the expression of impulsive decisions is by the camera techniques, like panning shots that never end as backdrops of scenes keep changing as the characters move along easily. Truffaut also uses the narration to illustrate the tale. The omniscient voiceover narration is too expedited to comprehend, as this film is adapted from an old novel. He tells the story through a narrator instead of meaningful events. The narration even speaks once, ‘Jim had asked,’ and adds nonsense things to complicate things in attempt to explain anything but what follows is vague scenes that last a couple minutes. Sometimes Catherine narrates when she is in the scene but not fully pictured. The camera hardly stays still on one object as it pans, splits screens, and zooms around and the scenes are moving along rapidly. The representation of war scenes is embarrassing, random, and inscrutable. The first half goes quick for the characters and everyone so that the nothing standouts. Every scene is spent showing the three in playful vistas, like a beach or bike riding in the fields, with little worries and grief, except of marriage. Let's not forget the outstanding performances by the three who go so flawlessly without a time to truly notice in the film because they keep up the lighthearted manners continuously with breeze before they are interrupted by groundless short outbursts, the jumping into a river. However, the characters are quite unlikable so the film doesn’t draw total affection to them for the audience. There is not one interesting thing about Catherine and her bewildering actions. Catherine suddenly has a daughter after the first act when they fill their vacant lives with literature explanations and war rekindling when the movie slows down when they settle and get closer with devotion to Catherine. They mature through the years slowly leading to tragedy, sharing their doubts like, ‘Catherine has no use of me anymore.’ They get into relationships, change, and laugh about it all for no reason. They discuss her lifestyle and how they fit in her presence and try to weigh each other's love to Catherine. The once exuberance in the gleam first half turns into a gloomy state of worrying where they stand.

Final Grade: B/B-

The Simpsons Movie (2007)
Voices by Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Harry Shearer, Hank Azaria, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith

Film Prophet's Review...
Arguably as the most successful animated sitcom created, the franchise is finally put to big screen after nearly twenty booming consecutive seasons on television and many years of wondering if there will even be a motion picture to follow. The new seasons leading up to this film have been very bland, silly, and static as the franchise has fallen in terms of popularity and significant meaning to keep watching it. Happily and with pleasure to announce, this is a movie that will make the earliest and all fans proud. Despite the whole several years too late to have a movie misconception, one fallacy before entering the movie was that there’re too many of the franchise’s hundreds of secondary characters lined up to play a role that they could fall as unfunny short appearances like cameos. Nevertheless, the movie follows The Simpsons as a family in this family comedy, particularly starting after the midpoint. To those other Springfield residents, they all fit in fantastically well to support the comedy pieces, especially Ralph from the opening to end - ‘I like men now,’ Moe, and Grandpa - ‘I'm part of the mob.’ Ned Flanders has a lot time in the beginning, and so does a pig. All characters are presented in character as they would on television, like Lisa coming in defense to the global warming issue. The movie parodies a lot quickly and teases environmentalism and the government. As prototypical for the cartoon series and seen throughout Homer’s career, the animation allows the characters to take tons of pain and hits by animated objects, such as the itchy and scratchy opening, from anywhere and anytime for impractical humor that can’t be acted in live action without harm to a body. This film certainly has joy at its part in doing so, but a huge leap to the film’s laughter was words forming hilarious short phrases on screen somewhere on something. It’s visually effective with comedy where speech or actions don’t even need to happen, like just looking at a movie poster saying ‘diaper genie’ works. There’re clues and puns on words signifying suggestions to laugh at. It also makes a few jokes about how the audience is now watching a movie and not just any primetime episode. The franchise pokes fun at itself on the big screen and it’s rewarding almost like watching three classic episodes in a row for the first time. ‘I can't believe we’re paying for something we get on TV for free.’ At some points, there are laughs in joy till tears like old times. There’s plenty of mocking one another in erratic play. Almost every few seconds in the first half hour, there is a joke on the screen or a gag somewhere to startle abrupt laughter. The slapstick and violence are clever on the lowest and highest of intellectual levels. ‘Knowing things is overrated.’ The story reflects back to the timeless episodes of the dysfunctional family where Homer carelessly and mistakenly is on the verge of destroying Springfield sometimes. Among all of Homer’s frolics in the movie, one scene that comes to mind is when Homer tries to barricade the house front door and imitates a chainsaw by using his voice in attempt to keep people away. There are no ideas that overcomplicate the story, as the closest thing coming to it is maybe Maggie’s sandbox gulfing trick. The voices are so fitting and appropriate where no one has to go, ‘that isn’t the voice of that character.’ The colors in the animation are shining and bright like in recent episodes where the shadows are in formation. The experience of seeing the franchise on the big picture with a live audience is incredible. Fans laugh at the stuff they would have home at the show. The movie pulls out a new level of some obnoxious funny material suited for the franchise on the big picture and there’s an abundance of jokes to harvest several screenings.

Final Grade: A-/B+

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007)
Starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Jessica Biel, Dan Aykroyd, Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi

Film Prophet's Review...
The movie expresses two male heterosexual firefighters, Sandler and James, who pretense as a homosexual married couple in order to qualify for their department's domestic partner insurance benefits. The two fake and imitate characteristics and traits to match the style of such a couple. Evidently, their behavior must adjust to others as the government sends an inspector, Buscemi, to make sure they are an actual couple. ‘He went through our trash; he said it's not gay enough.’ As they ploy together to act gay, jokes are released from anywhere in about every scene. Almost every scene was contained by comedy confines by the writing alone along with James and Sander's skills. When each scene begins, it is expected that it'll carry forward. Sandler has plenty of humorous one-liners to say within situations early on. ‘Balls and wieners all the way.’ Sandler's entourage of females and James falling from a ladder and then Sandler arriving at his place when after a guy from the pension department is inside are a hoot. It works fine as a plain comedy, but there are so many small gags that are funny at the moment that are forgotten later when a typical courtroom hearing pulls through about acceptance and tolerance near the end. The movie plays the homosexuality card for laughs in a parade of flamboyant antics by backing away and also confronting it between two straight guys. There’s the phobia and the slight sexual humor. They act the acting of strong affection for each other when they have to pretend. The examples of this in the movie when they have to pretend are very comical and they're the high points after they sign the papers so most of the review would have to point out scenarios that involve the awkward bonded chemistry but that would ruin anyone's first time view of the movie. To keep it brief and to topic, the conversation in the Canadian taxi cab is hilarious, just like the uw-ey scene at the diner table, the postman's puns on mail delivery, and the shower scene. There are also too many cameos and decent supporting acts that add to the flippant approach of the depiction of gay life that sink and should rise to the bulk, like James' tap dancing son, the Jessica Biel temptation part, and Ving Rhames’ character. Other than the gags of faking it all through the movie to a jesting scale, it follows through somewhat in domestic partnership rights succinctly. It’s really an enjoyable and lighthearted situational humor film by arranging stereotypes and discrimination towards an overload of gay incidences in context of the film.

Final Grade: C+/B-

Transformers (2007)
Starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Jon Voight, Tyrese Gibson, Rachael Taylor

Film Prophet's Review...
In the first sensational live action Transformers film, the Deceptions are hunting on Earth for the Allspark, a cube which would grant power over mechanical forms by providing energy. Sam Witwicky, LaBeouf, is informed he has the location of it on his ancestor’s eyeglasses. He is protected by his first car he buys, which happens to be the Autobot Bumblebee. The Autobots come looking for the glasses, while various invasions occur. An Air Force base in Qatar is also attacked. It's a prime summer blockbuster, however, optimal for an exhibition of humans in disturbance action more to the eye than the Transformers’ own encounters. The title of the movie is Transformers, so it should have more Transformers fighting each other than humans defending themselves ominously. Humans in the sense of danger against Deceptions, who have a wretched small amount of time, is not fully acceptable. There are plenty of animated episodes where humans don’t even appear, even the ones located on Earth, because they don’t have to and as Megatron would agree with this – they are insignificant creatures and organisms. Note in the Starring part above this review that they are all performers who play humans in the Transformers’ battle on Earth. Director Michael Bay focuses too much on the human characters and reduces the real stars to side characters, but then again, too much on the Transformers would end up being tagged as a kids’ movie. There are more robots versus human attacks than robot versus robot attacks. More interactions between the bots are necessary and conversations alone without humans around too. It’s more of a human perspective from the military and Sam. The movie bears little resemblance to the animated movie over twenty years ago by furthering or modifying the franchise. Most generation one animated episodes involved the Decepticons devising a reprehensible plot right away to steal energon cubes, defeating the Autobots, or taking over the planet Earth, only to be thwarted by the Autobots. The movie is top-heavy with a long account of humans and exposition to show the humans before the Transformers. Humans play potential victims released in mayhem upon who treat the situation like an alien invasion. They have no chance against gigantic metal robot creatures and it’s unfortunate because the direction stresses these hostile circumstances towards them. After a decent thirty minutes or so, only one Deception and one Autobot appear to unknown identity of name or side for about an hour. There’s one part where the Autobots are hiding around a house, all in silly play however. There’s plenty of silly humor all around. For instance, Bumblebee’s songs the car’s music tuner selects to play to help Sam to gain Mikaela Banes, Fox. Megan Fox as the leading lady is a dark hair female stunner in this picture. The cast is fine for the human roles so that none are really on the elite caliber list which makes the robots the true stars of the film, supposedly. Shia shines with his exuberant yells and acute edginess as Spike who is in the movie more than anyone else. ‘Are you on drugs.’ Peter Cullen reprises his voice role for Optimus. Hugo Weaving is Megatron’s voice instead of Frank Welker. It is notable that Michael Bay is behind the production of this film and his trademarks show with hollow surroundings, loud and blaring sound, wild cameras, and advertisements such from camaro, porsche, ebay, and burger king, all with his signature of fast editing and jumbling action. There are a ton of humans so that makes the Transformers’ scenes too short. Each Transformer has a slightly new robot design and color too in attempt to satisfy the long-term fans of the series to the golden screen. They have lips and flashy eyes too. The animated times to move all those digital parts when transforming are amazing. This movie is excellent at providing yet another reason to fully hate all cops, so go Autobots. Cops and aggressive law officers actually had more evil time than the Deceptions in the first half. Specifically, the agent acted by John Turturro had more grown evil personality than any Deception in this picture. The movie is something like a one-hundred forty five million dollar budget film of CGI effects and stunt work. It’s is not going to make all the fans and everyone content though. It is fantastic and pleasant to the eye and even Spielberg is backing it. To pinpoint the action from the movie, it is in the final, and only complete Autobot versus Deception match near the end. It begins at the Hoover Dam and concludes in Los Angeles. This entire Autobot versus Deception combat rests in the final long action sequence of debris on the streets of a city. The entertaining parts during this are when the robots actually speak to each other, which was infrequent, but mainly with one-liners like, ‘You failed me yet again Starscream’… instead of the Autobots blocking the Deceptions’ attacks on humans in their way on the congested streets in the loud obliteration of chaos. Some of the battles on the streets had so much in it with rapid fires coming from everywhere with everyone and everything getting damaged that it’s not always easy to pick out who is what bot as they look alike. Whereas, the original cartoons were so fast with its combat scenes between bots that it was like it was for kids with attention deficiency disorder. Besides Optimus Prime, full close-ups of the Transformers are hard to come by in the film. There are lots of explosions to compensate the lack of all this. Nevertheless director Michael Bay can deliver action where it counts.

Final Grade: B

Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
Starring Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant, Maggie Q, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Cliff Curtis

Film Prophet's Review...
‘All you got to do is pick up a kid down at Jersey and drive him down to DC, how hard can that be, huh.’ It's all about the action and that is all of it. The longest action scene is this one entire movie. As soon as the action starts, it is just about a two hour non-stop action sequence that’s very staggering. The story centers on a cyber-attack on a national computer infrastructure around the Independence Day holiday that begins to shut the country down step by step. Just by that line, it may seem juvenile. However, it develops ten minutes after the opening credits with action-depth and tricks past the pre-notion of it. Then, it leads to the action of concern of safety by Bruce Willis as John McClane who has an unlikely partner as a computer hacker. Justin Long is a comedy relief sidekick who is dragged along since the opening act since McClane is always and still is outnumbered and working with fewer weapons. ‘Did you see that – I saw it, I did it.’ Willis reclaims his action role as John McClane as the macho and relentless force. To his character arc, he now has a grown adolescent daughter, meaning a liability, as time has elapsed since the last film was released when his communication with his estranged and divorced wife he was always hesitant to call. McClane involved in a juvenile stunt is really a terrorist threat and might just be the ultimate spectacle of that deal. Don’t let the PG-13 rating fool anyone. The others were R-rated, as this has less profanity but the same amount of violence if not more. It is as violent as its predecessors with its pyrotechnics blasting on free will causing carnage and destruction. The Die Hard formula is with this movie and it is still probably the ultimate strict action series. It’s spectacular like the third one as McClane runs all around the city and areas. McClane takes his share of bumps, bruises, and sinister laughs of outsmarting the others. He is the man who never dies. Where this film gets creative is where it belongs, and that is solely the action. It all around explodes with action and it barely lets up as that's what this movie is stoked about. It pumps viewing adrenaline with startling schemes and incidences. For example, one early on by programming traffic lights in villainous ways to demolish certain things or people. Timothy Olyphant is an excellent performer in this role, as too for Maggie Q in hers. ‘Please John, I'm trying to have a conversation.’ It appears they have unclear motives, who they are, or how they are doing it, but it’s all cleared up during the film. The main villain, acted by Olyphant, and his hackers toy and fool around with McClane and others with conniving techniques in a battle of ploys and traps. The helicopter versus cop car chase on the streets, evading off an attack from an F-16 while driving a truck, and the encounters by computer hacking duels scenes are unique action devices. Just check out the traveling tunnel gone out of control. The first half’s action initiator was all controlled by computer hacking so the freedom of what to do is extraordinary. It’s a mass array of disarray and it’s not all shoot and run. The action is boundless, unlimited, and unpredictable. There are a bunch of last second rescues escaping death with far-out action scenes that are riveting to watch and never sure where it'll go or end up. The movie is epic as a modern full-fledged action film can get. It has its combination of explosions and humor and defeats any ordinary amateur blockbuster that comes close. The spectacle matches up quite well with the predecessors and this forth is a treasure to keep in the Die Hard series collection.

Final Grade: B+/A-

Sicko (2007)
Starring Michael Moore

Film Prophet's Review...
The expected arrangement of the movie is to open the audience's view of American healthcare in new and different ways they haven't imagined or thought of before. To brace Michael Moore’s opening statement that there are about fifty million Americans with no health insurance, he provides an interpretation mainly towards free universal healthcare found in other countries. Numerous long interviews where the participants talk for an extensive amount indicate troubles and burdens in expense that sum up the film’s opening act. They're there to address the health care problems and support Moore’s assertions as he narrates over the film rather kindly. He matches those with his belief that is best for the consumers. He asserts that American healthcare companies’ main objective is to maximize profits by minimizing care to patients and with healthcare directors who save the company money than saving the lives of people. People are denied care in troublesome situations. Personal pasts are testified and failed lawsuits are spoken. People without health coverage speak in gloom and sadness of tragic illness. In simple terms, it suspects overblown by the weeping around bankrupt families who can't afford the help of co-pays, but the film soon matures. It does center on the frustration of people in despair and out of hope in America as the footage has no room for any happy tones during the opening American parts. Moore cracks a joke ‘and if you're not getting any sleep take pharmaceuticals’ as the closest it’ll be of lightness. Moore is not seen in the film himself or even speaking next to the camera during these parts. He is visible till about fifty minutes within to have conversations with people, starting in Canada with the Canadian system, as he does with and almost similar to Bowling for Columbine in regards to weapons, violence, and safety, and even with Britain’s relatively free system about the National Health Service. Moore makes an argument in which social services like the fire department and libraries are free, then why not healthcare. His direction is calm but not tedious and keeps the attention throughout with montages of engaging news clips that provide short and quick specifics. Compared to his previous two big pictures, this one has a less political influence with political issues aside. It moves without a huge sign of political influence among diverse parties, despite the Hilary Clinton as first lady healthcare contributions segment, as the focus remains on the denial from American health maintenance organizations and insurance companies than the government sometimes. Moore mostly narrates and puts the sole focus on the most glaring gloomy individuals of health problems and their stories. The example of Bluecross rejecting certain people's applications based on the body mass index seems unbelievable, but it provides evidence and a leeway from again, the people. Various other forms from letters to voicemails are all in regard to denial of healthcare also. The point is that health insurance is not always a sure thing to earn, even in the worse of conditions. Some parts explore the eligibility especially to the ones that are certain to get it, and not something like plastic surgery, but tumors and cancers. ‘We don't consider that life threatening’ so then what exactly are extreme cases since the ones Moore shows are not approved… the movie covers the central issues, but never opening why these companies denied care than just stating to save money. Therefore, this part is simplistic and less forceful. Some may say it is all documented healthcare advice by a heavy man himself transferring the anger to the audience. Though, it’s most affecting during these American story scenes when it narrows down on the intimate struggles of people financially ruined by healthcare costs and misshapenness. Moore's voice simply drifts the belief to every story after another composed and not opinionated based on the transition of stories and sympathy to the individuals' affecting misfortunes. The ‘I want to know why my husband wasn't given the chance to live’ story is quite heartrending and memorable out of the pile. The film does lose some steam when it goes into Britain for a lengthy time saying that Europeans live longer than the average American as it stops the depressing stories in the center of the film. Moore is visually more involved in these European and cross-border manners however too. As he asks, ‘what are your other big expenses,’ the guy replies, ‘holidays.’ Though, the heart of the film returns when it shifts back to America for the final segments beginning with the ground zero volunteers and the Cuba trip and visit. There are bunch of hypothetical questions like ‘who are we’ and ‘is there a reason why our government and media want us to hate the French, are they worried we might like the French.’ In conclusion from the movie, it shows there are more happy people in Europe than in the states with healthcare because it is free of use in other countries. It’s not about individual, but as a community.

Final Grade: B

Ratatouille (2007)
Voices by Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Janeane Garofalo, Ian Holm, Brad Garrett, Peter O'Toole, Will Arnett

Film Prophet's Review...
The Pixar chefs have done it again with another tasteful picture. This is an enriching CGI animation to see from the masses and replications of the banal ones with penguins and sequels. There’s an abundant amount of warm-hearted fun and joy and way more than from the simple gags or stock characters commonly presented in others. It’s a dazzling and bright animation that has all the crisp moving ingredients that are essential and so exquisite. From Disney’s Pixar productions, Remy is a rat who has a tremendous sense for scrumptious food and risks his life in an expensive French restaurant to become a chef. He has higher ambitions than most rats and can read. Yet, this is a tough dream for a rat since the irony here is that kitchens fear rats. The opportunity arises when a young garbage boy for the restaurant, who despite his lack of cooking abilities, discovers and partners with the young Remy. It’s up to the two of them to avoid the true attention of the groundless head chef, the other cooks, old famous food critics, Remy's rat family, and much more all in France. Rats and French cooks might not exactly be the thing to get kids or parents excited, like toys, but the warmth and sharp artistic enthusiasm during the film are striking. It’s so striking that audiences will grasp the rush of Remy in his situations and obstacles of not being found in the kitchen as the boy tries to take care and protect the rat in ways that he can't been seen from others while still helping him cook. Remy has to be one of Pixar’s finest characters. He is expressive and offers an incredible voice. Early on, it begins with a running away sequence in a cabin from a granny shooting with a rifle. Director Brad Bird visualizes colorful bursts so that viewers of all ages can enjoy the movie, especially in a family environment. The inventions and creations in the plotline have a brisk pace to it keeping a strong involvement to the film as it is supposed to be. It is actually inspiring and edifying to cook to excellence after seeing the etiquette display in the restaurant's gourmet kitchen. The voices, the computer animation, the stirring sounds, the appropriate music scores, and the delicious cuisines are all flawless. Plus, there are no musical numbers either to fill up for tiresome scenes. The movie manages to stay away from pop jokes and cliché fairy tales and sticks to the actions and reality of the situations to the movie. The vivid story has enough to fill up a big appetite for more than just a rat with its kid humor and clever, delightful account that offers a number of funny moments and personalities. It places the audience in the shoes, or well, in the perspective of talking rats and their lives with one in particular with gifted high senses. As his father says, ‘Now shut up and eat your garbage.’ There’s a flow to it overall and it’s not jammed as the hilarity spots are at pleasant moments. Natural laughter occurs, such when the stubborn chef runs out of kitchen to a calm dining room in to stop a dish being served. Remy trains the boy as the rat does not communicate to him verbally but through nods and signs. The persistent universal message from the movie is that ‘anyone can cook’ complemented by minor themes such as telling the truth and not stealing. Views can be now altered to see the same things in the kitchen from both a rat and human perspective. The involvement to the film is unstoppable as it’s thoroughly engaging to the animation. For example, when the chase of the head chef and the rat in the clear daylight of Paris' riverside happens is pinnacle. Its’ downright a human versus rat story with the rat stereotype in front of it as Remy goes on a journey of succeeding just like this movie.

Final Grade: A-/A

1408 (2007)
Starring John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack

Film Prophet's Review...
The movie tells the tale from Stephen King’s short story of a vulnerable horror author, Cusack, skeptic of paranormal occurrences who encounters real terror when he checks into room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel. John Cusack, who goes overlooked sometimes as a high mid-list actor, carries this movie with his versatility and sensitivity as he appears in about every scene. It beats his other horror movie titled Identity that has a similar conflict of being stranded at a wild hotel except here it's restricted to one room and he’s alone. There's no illogical timeline or too many characters either and it opens for the author at night as it is too rainy and late to drive further so he visits a hotel as this is what he’s been doing to try to disprove his cynicism of apparitions and ghouls. It begins like a short story and gets straight to renting out a room, not the exact one of room 1408 that night, and introducing the main and almost the only character in the film. The movie pressures its terror to frighten the audience right around the center of the film with a lot of little ghostly visuals and sounds rather than shoddy violence and gore like in Hostel and Saw. It’s more mature than the level of teenage terror and fear. Noises, flashes, false hallucinations, and a bottle of Bourbon all add up to the film’s frightening emphasis. A fictional horror novel writer finally finds his genuine paranormal event to endure at none other than a hotel room to his insisting fulfillment. ‘Nothing would make me happier than experience a paranormal event.’ Without the spooks, he'd have nothing to do but walk around the room and hang out. Most of the movie focuses on Cusack alone in the room with the incidents he’s trapped with. On the movie poster, Samuel L. Jackson's shares the poster with half of his face with Cusack 's half face as if he shares half of the screen title with him which isn't correct. There's an upward sense of dread after a lecture for almost twenty minutes as the plot's setup act by Samuel L. Jackson trying to convince him not to stay in the room. The room is awaited for after seeing photos of gore and records of deaths, but the room is what appears to be an ordinary lavish dull room. Verbal communication is made up for as the author narrates what he sees and witnesses to an audio recording device. The room eventually gets outrageous with little random moments that go awkward but effective from the acting alone by Cusack rather than it looking just silly. The scares are okay and steady and none that are gross or gratuitous. The movie goes wild and open to anything when it gets going after forty minutes from televisions to faucets to spirits to ghosts jumping out windows to cracking pavements to the paintings altering. Although, some of the scares aren’t rewarding because it’s known they're coming and short-lived in the same environment to the same man so there’s never really a sense of true death to him. Sometimes it suspects as a formulaic and predictable tale because of its recycled horror elements as King tends to reuse his ideas and it’s probably why it seems all familiar. Often, a decent horror storyline setup is faltered by an unsatisfying finish and result, though this movie delivers an amazing final minute so that it clarifies suspicions. The bizarre and out of the blue final twenty minutes reminds the audience that the plot is too free and floppy that there really is none at all because it's so unrestricted that anything, yes anything, can happen as Cusack as the author realizes that he and the movie have lost all control.

Final Grade: B-/B

Ocean's Thirteen (2007)
Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Al Pacino, Ellen Barkin, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle

Film Prophet's Review...
The usual group effort with a bag of tricks and schemes to heist at casinos loses the slick slyness in substitute for listless babbles and tiresome arrangements. The main posse of guys returns to the show. They play, once again, literally shrewd thieves who are rooted on by the audience to steal off the richer, evil casino guy. Some dress in sharp disguises and outfits going incognito and they do it so flawlessly with expertise. However, much of the above stands out in the first two films and not here. The cunning craft and innovation in planning a heist was charmingly present in the first and through some parts of the second. That's what people liked about those couple films because it was all new with the sophisticated humor too, which this one is lackluster of. There’s still the sneaky ways of conning others, like with Pacino's character. Pacino’s character is opening a new Las Vegas casino using land and money swindled from entrepreneur Reuben Tishkoff, Elliott Gould, so Ocean’s group gets revenge and jumbles up his opening night operations. The movie brings back the same starring cast that led the previous two. The male cast has the familiar chemistry especially between Pitt and Clooney who were so well in the second and keeps it for the third, for some parts. They’ve worked twice before and they seem so comfortable around each other. Somehow, though, for three entire movies all the guys’ personal interactions have yet to be full-grown as they’re just too casual. They look tired and their character are still bleak, where the bank heist movie, The Lookout, earlier in the year beats this in lots of ways. The synopsis of the story begins with bickering about estate property that is flat. The dialogue is chunky to follow along constantly except with it's short and fun instead of rambling on for mindlessness minutes to discuss hotels, diamonds, and banks to bypass the legality of it all with a bunch of 'how' lines. It sums up as a dreary and knotty male chatter like a rambling mess. The recruits to join the group to help out make for lazy scenes and they play very minor roles while the music attempts at giving the film a needed energy when it's very plain and uninteresting until everyone gets together after sorting through extreme measures so the film is ready and set. Though, the setup is all over the place in a clutter. It reaches lengths of tedium before the diversions and it takes over half of the film to set up the heist. The Cheadle diversion to Pacino in his office when a monitor behind Pacino shows the guys’ face photos remodeling as they’re being hacking is probably the most amusing scene. The amount of action remains at minimal and not just for explosions or gunfire because there’s none of that, but the casino heist is saved for about the last twenty minutes. Director Steven Soderbergh didn’t arrange the film to fully produce peril or suspense in the characters or even genuine goofy humor. It's dull for the most part with no excitement or crafty funny material… just frustrations for everyone until the actual heist, but not measuring up to the previous two movies. If this was the first movie of the series, there would be no series of sequels after it.

Final Grade: C

Knocked Up (2007)
Starring Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill

Film Prophet's Review...
The contemporary success of comedy writer and director Judd Apatow explores the youth transition to adulthood with comedy incidences placed in the background of the undecided pregnant situation. Bawdy attitudes of the typical male behavior in defining free spirited adolescence in a comedy movie begins the movie for Rogen and his male friends, but moves further onwards in mounting original comedy without ending like an unfunny cliché going beyond typical expectations. Paul Rudd coming out with a cake to sing happy birthday or the message Seth Rogen leaves to a doctor’s voice mail are precious. Ben Stone, Rogen, a slacker who spends his days getting high and tracking nudity in films for a new website with his buddies, receives word eight weeks later after a one night stand that Alison Scott, Heigl, is pregnant with his unborn baby. Consequences problematically revolve around a pregnant woman acting fairly rational as the movie clearly shows the two are both at faults as expressed during various aftermath segments. There are some gratuitous censored sex scenes, so it does center on an incident that is somewhat shown on screen. The sad thing about this is that a wide audience of probably single mothers connects with this incidence. There isn’t much complaining as one would expect from the female side as Heigl assures her character isn’t going to sink too far in the hole of dejection. She plays her role with such decency and can even give disgusted looks well. Heigl’s affection in her role shines and shows sweetness, vigor, and vulnerability in the times of nervousness where she and Rogen share the comedy well. Ryan Seacrest's early cameo self-satire is amusing and truthful after his segment on E! News… which is amusing like a later part of a scene stealer in Leslie Mann who rants on a judgmental bouncer at a club’s entrance. Ben looks to the baby books for advice to help relieve rash and sudden decision making, as those books are part of some funny one-liners. Alison lives with her sister and her sister’s husband who have two very young daughters as Alison works in the Hollywood industry. Ben and Alison are not quite living parallel lives as one is on a rise in a Hollywood career. Since the movie takes place in Hollywood, it points out some people just care about the unimportant, superficial stuff in the Los Angeles society like portrayal of body image. In the early opening, the movie passes around crude and lowbrow male humor in hefty conversations that even the daughters pick up on it all. The flimsy humor is distasteful, somewhat unfunny, between the same genders of friends. ‘Oh another beer joke.’ Noticeably, it takes the Internet as the main source of pop culture and spins it to the film’s advance like ‘google it’ or ‘we should put this on youtube.’ Then, after a short while, the movie widens with some sense and improves with a balance between raunchy and romantic material. The comedy is steady but not out of control laughter. Still, the grace of the development of the relationship moves past the dirt to charming splendor. Everything plays out towards an important function in the film. It progressively evolves on the comedy by developing the unplanned pregnancy relationship past the insolent beginning to sweet, joyful, and candid sparks. The acting was fine but the writing could have improved with more visual gags than plain short jokes on the big picture screen of modern mainstream comedy. It’s like the story came from an old sitcom story episode, but the story carried out its smart script with examples of sharp, funny, and awkward conversations that lead to distressing and disagreeable banters when the loud music in the club is off. Many scenes poise the film of its comedy status, such as the perverted male house friends, ‘it's another day at the office,’ when Alison visits them for the first time and they are watching their films for the website. “They got the top ten group shower scenes… why didn't you think of this!” Ben’s first conversation at the breakfast table with the two daughters, ‘he's trying, he's making an effort’ continues to try to define himself within the confines of the situation. He’s a gentle and friendly Ben to be more responsible. The movie’s cross value of traditional relationships and parental duties moves with amiability and not lectures from others. Even at a restaurant table, the chemistry of Rogen and Rudd succeeds just like this movie succeeds from Apatow’s earlier gimmick in the virgin movie by miles as this is more satisfying and less offensive by far. The movie’s attention on Ben and Alison's affection for each other lifts the romance and the comedy blends. The heartfelt growing pains are as warm as it could get in the pre-parenthood environment of practices and shows that flawed, profane relationships can have a tender romance.

Final Grade: B+

Rumble Fish (1983)
Starring Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, Nicolas Cage, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne

Film Prophet's Review...
At a small Oklahoma urban town, an adolescent street fighter, Dillon, looks up to his older brother, Rourke, dubbed the motorcycle boy, who returns to town in the fading days of gang warfare. This movie is forgotten when mentioning movies directed by Francis Ford Coppola or from anyone featured from this fresh immense cast. The on the rise young cast gives frantic yet calm and collective performances. Dillon almost sounds and acts like a young Stallone with a rigid suave and probably has his finest lead here. Cage plays a role under Dillon which is abnormal to watch as Dillon leads each scene. Diane Lane provides the attractiveness and Chris Penn has a part of the gang. The movie is gleaming and stylized in an atmospheric black and white picture towards a cogent effect. It brings a retrospect time period with its wardrobe like tank tops, leather, jeans, and even the local shops, diners, and pool halls matches the fifties era, but it is supposedly could be in the eighties as well in a setting lapse. Technically, it has extensive use of shadows and flowing camera angles for expression in the ambiance with smoke in the air showing a clear homage to avant-garde cinema. There’s an abundant amount of lucid images, such as dark, young, and appealing vignettes to astound the audience with its cinematography and emotion more than anything else. Adultery behaviors, such as sexuality and alcohol, are all too soon for their age perhaps, but this is similar to how they react to their identity crisis, again all too soon. Only one real vacant lot fight happens where friends circle around a terrific duel brawl. The movie then takes a turn after the opening gang exposition and the fight when the movie was full of adolescent youth. Similar to a theme to S.E. Hinton's other novel The Outsiders, it’s about not wasting time and making choices, whether right or wrong, as the moral. Gangs don't live that long and people adjust to the future without ending in incomprehensible situations. So the violence and fighting narrows down to virtually none in the center of the film after the first fight when the brother arrives, as he focus then shifts on the brother relationship. The Motorcycle Boy was a notorious gang leader, as he plays an enigmatic figure in the movie, and his younger brother, Rusty James, is living up to his brother's reputation leading a dying gang in an industrial town. Even though Dillon's performance as Rusty is the basis to the story, parts are narrated to an extent by The Motorcycle Boy. Their mother has left them, their father constantly drinks, and their relationships are somewhat sour. The movie has an amount of violence and swearing, but most of the time, it’s about amends. Rourke is at ease giving a very relaxing tone and notch down while the other roles are reduced significantly in the later acts. Tranquil talks shape to the attitude of the composed and liberated brother. He communicates softly about family matters around the town with Rusty as they stroll around and muster at night. He really is the adult figure in the film since true parents aren’t around and the neighborhood cop hates the guys. Rusty is not so about the brains as his concerns are with fighting to solve situations. In a truthful statement, he says, ‘the only reason I’m going to this school is because my friends are here.’ The side from grace kicks in representing a metaphor to the film's title. Comparing guys and fish in a tank, they fight, sometimes to the death, when put together in confined spaces. The only bright colors in the film are these pet fish in the movie that signifies freedom.

Final Grade: B/B+

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)
Starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush, Naomie Harris, Bill Nighy

Film Prophet's Review...
In the third pirate adventure, Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann, and Captain Barbossa sail off while navigating treachery and betrayal. Their first mission is to restore the life of Jack Sparrow who was last seen being swallowed by the Kraken as he is trapped in Davy Jones’ locker, which a long sand island. Onwards from that, the picture almost reaches three hours of running time of characters trying to explain the storyline and their personal motives to each other. Others manage a crew of pirates together to fight off the British… then there is a heart beating in a chest box and the ninth of eight keys or something. This third movie is in a similar thread of the previous sequel, but slightly better. Like the second, the plot in third is too long-winded to follow. The first was exceptional in this area because it was easy to understand and not convoluting itself while still being simple with fun comedy means. The characters make it harder as it’s not simple all the time since there are moments of secrecy for others to decipher or interpret. Though, each scene captures the audience's attention span with the incredible amount of detail from everything in the picture from the costumes to the ships to the icy landscapes making it easier to sit back and enjoy the rope swinging and cannon firing when they happen and disregard the futile plotline. It's a whirlpool that engulfs full of charades, deception, and imaginary substance with a disrupted and meandering plotline of no meaning. The action in this is less occurring than the previous ones, but the battles here are on a grander scale of effects and stunts. There's only really one sword fight that sticks to mind, and that duel comes near the end on top of a ship. Hans Zimmer's score is of course outstanding. The concentration on the story shambles and jumbles up like it is making up the narrative as it goes along. Once again like in the second, there’s betrayal, declaring loyalties, accords, and manipulations to fill up the talk with periods of legend and treachery chat. They foil plans where the movie is so wide open that the allegiances don’t come to a surprise because they’re all paired with each other in one form of manner sometime in the film. It’s so off the wall especially as soon as the Sparrow hallucinated clones appear. The architect of this screen writing is really for a wild and unbelievable fantasy and nothing else. Besides grossing out the audience with CGI creatures and weird small things, the movie adds more humanity to Davy Jones and Will Turner's father past their hideous visual representations. Will and Elizabeth's sporadic love arc also continues. There’s similar squid face distractions on screen and some new tricks like stone crawlers sailing a ship on sand. Barbossa has been overlooked in the franchise and enlivens this movie. ‘…lost in places that can't be found.’ Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa steals the show with his character and as an actor. The humor of the main actors, Depp and Bloom, wasn't matched in the first and Barbossa takes over. The slight and subtle humor is quite remarkable like the impressive ship action and artwork. One can learn the traits of a pirate, like dishonesty, selfishness, and they can hold their breath for a really long time under water. However, it’s all incomparable to the charm and fun buccaneer adventure in the original.

Final Grade: B-/B

Fort Apache (1948)
Starring Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Shirley Temple, Ward Bond, John Agar

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by John Ford, an Arizona cavalry captain, Wayne, sees his new veteran stubborn colonel, Fonda, lead his solider troops into an Indian massacre. Set in the rugged west, the black and white picture is crystal clear and shot beautifully pioneering old horse carriages, uniforms, landscape, and lifestyle presenting authentic scenery of its production quality. It is at first a men driven story nevertheless still showing the women side on the frontier very often. The colonel is a widower who brings his young daughter with him named Philadelphia, Temple, and a son of sergeant major, who is a new solider, woos her. Each personality with social characterizations is different when pronouncing dialogue and it’s not all in the same tone which is great to distinguish. The women are shown like darlings. The young female role by Shirley Temple fits right in nicely as she is not under or overbearing. They bring delightful and calm moments with light music on. Fonda yields the most screen time and he’s an accomplished actor to balance out Wayne’s charisma so Wayne isn't required to do too much. Usually when Wayne’s role is lessen, the pictures are greater and his role is more significant and anticipated. Fonda is the first to appear then Wayne about ten minutes later. The chemistry between the two show that they act like pros when acting together on screen. Fonda is straight on as the stubborn and upright colonel ordering for traditional regulations. He is not truly happy to arrive and work at his new outpost after he was transferred when losing his Civil War rank as general. He’s tremendously arrogant with military form and to destroy the Apache chief. He cares much for his daughter's safety though when the young solider spends gentle time with her. Wayne is subservient and second in role. The movie is slightly over two hours, and the best parts are not of the action but the exchange of following orders, giving orders to subordinates, and reporting at posts. The cavalry lines are on the spot sounding believable especially when Fonda typically enforces his high standards. Its sharp wit on discipline to absorb the intellect depicts charming slight composure. The writing is clever during the first half when the officers clash over commands and formal rules. ‘What, no debate this time, Captain.’ Learning how to shoot a rifle, training to ride on horses, and whiskey tasting at a tavern shop are all parts of several stops before the fighting scenes. The Native Americans involved in the battles later don't appear until much later in the film and when they do, the film goes downward. After half of the movie, it leisurely slows down with derivative pieces trite to the superb first half that took its time to get to the main story before the Indian fighting. It then starts introducing them as Shirley Temple's role is reduced. The written drollness is more outstanding than the tiresome ending Indian battles.

Final Grade: B

Lost Highway (1997)
Starring Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Robert Loggia, Balthazar Getty, Robert Blake

Film Prophet's Review...
Anonymous and obtuse videotapes portend a jazz musician and his girlfriend on an astray. Directed by David Lynch, irregular imagery and pacing solidify throughout the whole course of the movie and opens in a very mute fashion. Lines, mostly spoken soft, are less often than vacant pauses and long dark frames of transitions in the movie of weightless content. It’s pictured in a dark saturated tendency full of shadows and no words. Jazz music is the mere sound produced from the saxophonist himself at a nightclub. The most noise comes from telephone rings during the scenes where they just walk slowly in murky hallways. The characters are very lethargic individuals who are always in gloomy and unhappy surreal appearances due to Lynch's unconventional photography. The opening long act is left with two characters to rest around in dark room areas in their home because their minds are troubling them to do anything else. These parts are similar to the subsequent because all the others like to bare skin for each other. It visually degrades females in sultriest ways and they’re reduced to skin without a significant role to anything really just like everyone else. The performers don't look like they know what they're doing as they try to look somber just like the dismal movie. The over the top gangster performance is full of haughtiness and the rest of the second act is dull and apathetic disconnected to the crowd. This premise right here plainly never illustrates - Set in a location warily like Los Angeles, a jazz musician tortured by the perception that his wife is having an affair finds himself accused of her murder later. In a parallel story, a young mechanic is drawn by a temptress who is cheating on her gangster boyfriend. These two tales are linked that both women may be the same woman. The videotapes are of their house or what occurs inside it and they are unexplainably uneven. It’s so bizarre that even a cameo by Richard Pryor was seen. Unsettling visual moments and an empty mental life fill up on the direction trying to tell the audience of exactly what's happening. Lynch lets the audience experience it from the main characters of a blank mind, which results in no viewing satisfaction. At times, they move their mouths but no resounding words are heard. Mute the whole movie and it’s expounded with viewers’ own thoughts which are mostly likely planning on turning up the volume. Then, when they do speak, it's tedious to even tune in because there's stirring clear dilemma to care about. They chat about uninteresting things quietly and they show no life, as the dialogue is embarrassing. It really is all an empty facade and not a cinematic experience at all to its amorphous structure. It’s pretentious and pointless where in the end there is no such reward to watching it all where viewers have to draw their own conclusions but they’re too bored and neglected to care to. The movie is awfully slow, using dull colored lighting, and unhurried with a terse opening storyline. Just like a ride down a desolate highway, it’s dim and never endless. It’s monotonous for a family or friends’ film as there’s no excitement or a linear story to start up the audience. The atrocious storytelling goes without entertaining, educating, or scaring and it acts like a brick. Lynch’s work here is different to the American norm but similar to his rest.

Final Grade: D/F

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
Starring Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone, Herbert Mundin, Eddie Quillan, Dudley Digges

Film Prophet's Review...
On a two year voyage from eighteenth century England, the crew’s mission is to transport breadfruit from Tahiti to the West Indies as an inexpensive food source for plantation of slave laborers. Capriciously, the men are flogged and mistreated by the ship’s cruel Captain Bligh, Laughton. Mr. Christian, Gable, and his shipmates later overthrow the captain after numerous deaths and set him adrift. Even though Midshipman Byam, Tone, takes no part in the mutiny, he must face an English court and defend himself against charges that he supported Christian. Winner of best Oscar picture, it’s an adventure production for its time. Gable arrives early in the movie with his trademark smirk without his mustache and sports a sailor’s pony-tail. His presence is felt through his approach to others and delivery of words with charisma. He’s barely the only actor with it. The British law allowed unwilling men to be pressed into sea service and the Bounty's crew is pushed by its sadistic captain. With that premise, there should be plenty of reprimanding actions. There’s only one ship and the enemy is aboard. ‘I expect you to carry out whatever orders I give, whenever I give them.’ The captain starts off whipping men with a short rope, but there's just lots of dialogue that's said on the ship voyage, more so than cruelty. In fact, the rainstorm does more damage to the crew and the ship throughout the main initial voyage. The wind and sea abuses the crew and the ship in more parts throughout the whole movie than the captain does really. The lines are quite fast and the responding lines are rapid which allows short natural time for a person to think. The narrative of the movie is quite literate and dialectic as there’s much prattling incessantly. The boat is in stuffiness of male sailors. The attentive instances for the audience are when characters raise their voices and when the captain orders someone after a mess-up or clutter on board. The supporting male performances all blend in and they're given scenes without the two main leads playing a role in them. It looked like stage acting sometimes when they would express words and wit very subtlety where modern audiences won't catch all of it. The film was taped on an actual ocean so the actors are transferring their trained work on the stage and studios to a real environment which is a reason why this film was such a spectacle on a saga scale then. There are plenty of small conversations on the ship that are not important to the story or to hear besides the agitation. The actors exaggerate a bit to reach a notch of dramatics since there aren't powerful effects or pounding music all the time to the show. Then, there are times where they climb up the sail’s ropes to fix the sails as they make their voyage proper. Other times are with tedious chores and dialogue that become forgettable and ignored where it’s stressed and apparent more than actions. The small incidences of brutality were not enough punishment as expected. The deaths are short and go almost unnoticed and low-key. The conflict between Gable and Laughton is obviously the main clash of the film and isn’t really resolved near the end. Causalities are unsympathetic and submissive. It’s over two long hours though it seems like half of the movie the crew is on the island of Tahiti giddying with its women in a surplus amount of time. The voyage is demanding but when they finally arrive in Tahiti, they go bare skin and shirtless roaming around the small island like it is paradise in very gratuitous scenes as they scroll along adding no viciousness at all because the scenes are too kind and mundane away from the panic of the captain. Scenes are unfussy and not busy in the center of a ship-wreck middle. Byam who plays as the voice of reason shines later near the end with pride.

Final Grade: B-/C+

American Psycho (2000)
Starring Christian Bale, Chloë Sevigny, Samantha Mathis, Jared Leto, Willem Dafoe, Josh Lucas

Film Prophet's Review...
Based on a novel comes this black comedy and social satire of the corporate eighties. A young male Harvard graduate Patrick Bateman, Bale, works as a commodities broker in New York City and looks just like everyone else in his crowd. When asked by his fiancée, played by Reese Witherspoon, ‘why don't you quit your job,’ he responds solemnly, ‘because I want to fit in.’ Sadistically and ironically, it's what he is against, which are compromised lifestyles. He is an epitome of controlling the faceless in an amoral society. He’s a regular man living alone in an apartment in the city. There are no horror undertones visually yet and it plays more like a mesh of several genres not one in particular that breaks through the most. Though, it's a portrayl of the center modern man in society and the frivolous rich social stature. Besides a few deaths, the horror is also in Bateman’s monologues expressing his frantic and indestructible attitudes of the skeptics on his mind. Yet they’re narrow and wide open to possibilities of his dissolute actions throughout his demeanor in the story. It’s clear however there is ambiguity on his mind. The movie opens to delicate desserts served to the wealthy at a diner. The red stuff was not blood but of fruit and sauce which are implications of false perceptions, such as later in the movie when Bateman asks a woman to leave because he might hurt her when she think it's not physically and he perhaps does. From his first scene, the hilarity in Bale’s smug and grin on his face articulates his brash yet kind charisma, which Bale certainly has enough of for Bateman early in his career to fill in this main role. Bale’s miraculous, carefully planned performance on every level and every scene has a straight man approach to the role of his uncaring smug moods. He has the biggest role and all others are equal underneath his weight all acting wonderfully. His lines from this grand script are magnificent and he’s affirmative on them especially with the dark humor unintended to really be funny. ‘Sabrina, don't just stare at it, eat it.’ He jokes around in a conceited and vulgar way, firmly in a resolute manner. In today’s society and instead of its eighties culture and attitude, people can’t really get away with a line like, ‘if you don't shut your mouth, I will kill you’ in a heated argument. He often plays the returning some video tapes as an excuse to leave places and utters on pop vocal songs and their lyrics. The movie in parts has a young vibe with all its dimmed pop songs, fancy attires, and cocktail parties. His acquaintances are gullible and superficial where all they care about is what they spent money on and not other human beings. They discuss dinner reservations most of the time, like at Four Seasons restaurant or River Café, and nitpick on their tastes on their vice president business cards they purchase. ‘Listen what about dinner.’ No one really cares about anyone so there is no ordeal, but just have a simple time. Bateman eventually destroys the lives of these conventional people including several prostitutes. The deaths are short and shocking yet they're too easy for him to commit. When he carries out a dead body in a bag, one of his acquaintances asks, ‘Oh, where did you get that overnight bag,’ which is another example of people caring about things and objects that cost money and not people or the intangibles like danger or death. ‘Can you keep it down; I'm trying to do drugs.’ However, he undergoes workout and tanning regimes on his fit body which is quite sardonic seeing he could be empty himself. The superb direction brings a regular pace with solid camera cuts to the film's sequences with interesting mild-scenes. Capturing the emptiness of white men finding success with money, it’s a satire of morals and values of the working young upper-class in the city, coined as yuppies then.

Final Grade: A-/A

Rio Grande (1950)
Starring John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Ben Johnson, Claude Jarman Jr., J. Carrol Naish

Film Prophet's Review...
A southern cavalry commanding officer, Wayne, in charge of an outpost on the Rio Grande encounters his estranged son trooper who comes under his command. They have not seen each other in fifteen years. The mother of his son, O'Hara, also comes to visit and she wants him out of there. Noticeably from that premise, there is no actual storyline. Lots of soldiers in uniforms riding horses on dusty plains carrying flags after horns are blown initiate the western’s opening. However, this happens again and again on several occasions in the movie. The western conventionalisms, such as setting, pace, characters, and moods, are all very plain and ordinary. Collaborating the romance and western genres, the black and white film directed by John Ford is not an ideal archetype from his collection of western directed films. This one is missing a brisk spark that other Ford and Wayne films have and it’s not an advisable choice to start in the collection. Wayne's characters usually look and even act alike in Ford's other western films. He has a moustache for this role and he’s an officer when usually he is an outside citizen or loner. He has passion to his commanding position as officer and not yet for his affection to his son. He has lots of ascendancy than usual. Ford suggests the theme of a father and officer’s roles, with the focus of the movie on the relationship between him and his son, wife, and subordinates. The tension of disconnect and detachment between the trooper son is hardly there because the son acts more like a trooper first than a son in general. ‘You said the word, solider, that's enough for me.’ Since Wayne is in charge of training new young men recruits, there’s a few training sequences with young men but they are more amused by fistfights and song singing. The movie is early scented of the story-arch in Red River, but here the two individuals growing on their own don’t go toward an insufferable ongoing conflict like an impressive cattle drive. The actor in this son role is unoccupied of stamina Clift had also. Later in the movie, Wayne develops fervor for his wife, the only woman in the film really. This is ironic because he tells his son from the start to not get involved with a female yet there weren't any to be found in the movie at the point so far. The wife moments limp in dialogue, like at the time a group of men sing for them, which is the first of many, or when they're eating a meal together. The romance is all quite unremarkable and preventable relating to the main western story, if any. The other characters don't engage the audience and none are quirky like in other films. There is no constant enemy, like the Indians, on opposite sides or opponents to foe with. When there is an opponent of the Indians, the action between them is just shooting on horses. The action is monotonously forced. There are arid scenes off the story. For example, there’re plenty of moments where regimental male singers just sing slowly together because they don't have anything else to do. Those songs are avoidable since they’re basically singing out of boredom. A conflict hasn't risen past the futile offspring drama, just lots of mediocre grief really. Instead, it's left with more useless forlorn scenes without adding any other cultural or family values. This film has no real villains or values so therefore, no real western drama.

Final Grade: C

Hot Fuzz (2007)
Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine

Film Prophet's Review...
In the British action and comedy film, Sergeant Nicholas Angel, Pegg, a top London cop is relocated to a dull country rural village. He arrives in the small town and immediately begins applying the law. He soon pairs up with a buddy cop who is dissimilar to him in a cliché to other contemporary buddy cop movies, most notably Bad Boys II and Point Break. The first third-quarters of the film fail at the hilarity notch and the last quarter of violence and armed weapons parodies surpasses. Though the British comedy is not really universal or international, it doesn't translate to American humor well. The comedy runs through the audience's mind without exiting from the mouth of laughing noise inconspicuously. Punchline jokes are too quick to catch or just too plain to constantly pay attention to. Part of this is due to the film’s fast editing resulting in condensed lines and minor visuals in a small time frame. Especially in the opening overlong ninety minutes of the film, useless five to ten second scenes of quick movements that aren't really scenes at all occur. They are film bits cut too sudden with close-ups, such as to opening doors, serving alcoholic drinks at pubs, or hanging up shirts, to keep its prompt pace up. It exaggerates the conventions of other action movies with fast cuts, which is the film's action in general to watch how fast the zany cuts go. Pegg is okay as the rigid and unbending police officer in a slipshod town. The townsfolk who appear around him don't live up past their rapid introduction. They are childish and they would look like children just by the sound of their dialogue and when they pronounce their lines from their adult bodies. The people he encounters in the town are all minor, dim-witted people underneath his role when ironically they have the knowledge and ascendancy in their areas of expertise like a doctor or priest but none to his superiority. His partner is a chatty and blundering hefty guy as both are opposites of each other in appearance and personality, though the friendship grows in gawky scenes. As a cop and the central character in a primary comedy film, the cop’s sense of humor is dry while nearly every other person responds to him with hasty quips. Their comical absurdities are unfunny, the type of manners where they act in the unison sometimes, while he holds his professionalism overrun with various locals. It’s filled with too many bore antics and the film’s obvious ones weren't too clear. A nonexistent plotline is tiresome early on and looks like Wicker Man often. Until the murder angle, the movie goes without a plot to follow. The editing is too fast and the storyline is too pointlessly slow. The action scenes until the grand finale are thin and short of trying to catch someone in a chase. “Accident implies there's nobody to blame.” When the murdering angle enters, the genre of the film becomes a hybrid of too many marbles at once. The gore was very over the top, but the film improves slightly when it drops all humor and tunes into the complex murder part of the story where Pegg is against the community odds during the third chaotic act where the audience has enough to share his frustration. Overall, the film is very noisy and loud in sound. Sounds are always going on from nearly anything in the setting, such as sirens, or from the background music at such an energetic rate. The manic cuts and music stretches out with a tired story. It’s not interesting until things start getting outrageous. Startlingly after the movie exhausts its momentum, the storyline thickens and improves when Nicholas Angel seizes control and raises the bar from the faltering commencement. The final act is outlandish and action-filled with gun slaughter where the parodies of buddy cop movies are coherent and entertaining when it’s about the action first then the comedy with absurd mayhem.

Final Grade: C+/C

Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace

Film Prophet's Review...
In continuing the adventures, Harry Osborn holds a grudge to destroy Spider-Man in his father’s commanding wishes. Flint Marko, a fugitive with a damaged family tie, becomes Sandman. Meanwhile, Peter again tries to balance his relationship with Mary Jane and another female, Gwen Stacy, along with all the other showdowns on the horizon. Heroics and villains attempt at rescuing the spectacle from redundant preceding ingredients. The movie cheats and retrieves a lot from the first two and plays them over again in different visual ways. Routinely, Parker’s costume is torn apart several times from the pounding against walls and walls that fall and shatter. The production cycle might just be the only aspect greater than in the first two movies. The action in the photography is a step up in the special effects department with innovate zooms and angles during the sequences to heighten the discharges. Late new developments happen in terms of villainous positions. Nevertheless, the new Goblin played by James Franco is still the character other than the title role with superhuman powers that yields the most attention in the story still. This third one in the series fills in the storyline holes and reworks them from the previous movies into this movie. As it opens, it carries the steam of what was left with previous feuds. This, like almost the rest of the drive in the movie, forms vengeances from deaths and all of which appears familiar. Bonds go kaput and they’re very unstable and shaky. There are plenty of super gushy breaks between Peter and nearly anyone from the main cast in a given time frame that’s appropriate but foreseeable. The Mary Jane love triangle with Peter and Harry is also regurgitated in bits from the past and Peter has his typically troubles in professing his love to Mary Jane again, but in a higher format. However, there are a lot of moments in for hilarity, even the line where Flint Marko says to Parker, ‘I don't want to hurt you. Leave now.’ Insert the French host waiter and Peter strutting for about ten consecutive minutes gives the movie a different kind of attitude. It is not the attitude of violence or enticing stunts, but the aura and suave of Peter Parker occasionally near the center of the film. It’s the aggression from an inexplicable black crawling parasite that goes without explanation, much like the ordeal and origins of Sandman during his regeneration. The new villains are Sandman and Venom, where the Venom stuff is awkwardly introduced. Usual themes open up at the end and the ending action scene in that unfinished tower of a building is congested and tacky. As this time for the themes it’s about choices, replacements, and fixing with its movie purpose of remaining a blockbuster entertaining popcorn film... though it's all expensive looking, but ironically cheap and convoluted. Compared to its predecessors in the series, this third one finishes in third place.

Final Grade: C+

Disturbia (2007)
Starring Shia LaBeouf, Aaron Yoo, Sarah Roemer, Carrie-Anne Moss, David Morse, Jose Pablo Cantillo

Film Prophet's Review...
The movie revolves around a troubled high school student who is still grieving over his father's death, as he's sentenced by the court to house arrest for three months and monitored by an electronic ankle bracelet that signals the police. If he leaves his home estate boundaries, the police will pay him an unfriendly visit. This creates a plight and a dilemma after a while when he notices from his bedroom window that his neighbor appears to be a serial killer. He’s stationed in a predicament caused by several losses including stability and it becomes more than a self conflict. Distractions of attractions from windows for a teen in an isolated neighborhood home turn into vulnerabilities, inklings, and trespassing. One thing for sure is that neighbors ought to shut their curtains at night. Shia LaBeouf as the secluded individual is as charismatic and explosive as can be in the role of a teen placed under house arrest. He eventually believes to witness an account of murders while spying on his suspicious neighbor. Hold that thought because it hinders for later on in the movie. The premise is similar to Rear Window but in a junior version as an unofficial interpretation for teens who don’t watch older movies. Shia is quite multipurpose in this role. He’ll have his humorous face reactions from comical undertones in the dialogue and sights and then have a maddening part of anxiety. He has seamless chemistry with anyone on screen with him or just plainly when it's just him alone in the house. ‘It's a lot harder than it looks on the Internet.’ That ending with his beloved father is heartrending and saddening in the beginning. After his character is under house arrest, he finds ways to entertain himself by taking up responsibilities, or not, and to entertain the audience so the introvert is not in total boredom. He does enough in the first half to keep the viewer's mind from forgetting that there is a murderer subplot later to be distinguished. He has several playful tools at spare to play with and these electronic gadgets, like cameras and cell phones, come to story use. ‘Ok just relax, that's sixty gigs of my life.’ Jose Pablo Cantillo is superb as the cop who looks to humiliate him at first when Shia is trapped in troubles. There are times when Shia is in those troubles when he uses his inquisitive imagination and affability that lets the audience use imagination as well picturing in his situation. Most of the second act consists of adolescent observations with binoculars like a spy from suburban teenagers sleuthing around, but it’s very tolerable to watch every minute of it. The movie sets up to be believable to an extent, especially with its setting in a regular suburban neighborhood. It grasps the audience the way any capably made movie does with a balance of frights, mystery, romance and comedy on an even steadiness. The movie is light and carefree and then taunts at hostility adequately. Morse brings the sinister angle to his villain vibe real well to add the startling factor in. He is substantially interesting as the role develops to a convincing threat. Slim stimulation amounts tying in the entire main cast and it elevates the pulls and tugs when the movie is curious in building tension. In general, the movie is very slightly above mediocre and it foils adequately.

Final Grade: B/B-

Grindhouse (2007)
Starring Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodríguez, Kurt Russell, Marley Shelton, Josh Brolin, Rosario Dawson

Film Prophet's Review...
The recipe to advocate a raunchy film ignites a moody and stark homage to old-age exploitation movies that combines two feature-length segments into one double-bill designed to replicate the grind house theatergoing experience several decades prior to. In the first directed by Robert Rodriguez titled Planet Terror, a rustic Texan small-town hospital and sheriffs' department have to deal with an outbreak of murderous, infected people in an ultra-violent mayhem. In the second directed by Quentin Tarantino titled Death Proof, an aging sleazy and lunatic stuntman driver, Russell, wrecks women with his car. In between the two films will be an intermission by previews of fake coming attractions. It is two movies and two directors for the price of one, but that also equivalents to one long violent, fierce film for approximately three hours. It’s basically two ridiculous exploitative films blending a horror and action experience that highlight a genre most people don't know about or forgot. It’s where bad movies, drugs, violence, and sex were rampant in trashy settings, but it’s a vintage in a futile, though very ingenious and fantastic way. If either two movies were shown separately, neither would have been the same, especially the shoddy Death Proof. Neither movie can be taken seriously because of their tacky and cheap tastes, but the eye-catching stunts and attractions are graphic and inappropriate revulsions in somewhat illicit settings and scenery that are inventive. Special effects consist of far-fetched explosions, trauma, and crashes with excessive violence for nostalgic entertainment in both exploitation features. The picture looks worn out and grainy for that lower class effect that’s not main-stream. In the slasher film, it begins with mindless conflicts and lines but soon after a while, they steadily improve hysterically one after another. “I’m gonna get my dick wet - she's got one leg - easier access.’ ‘You find a use for every useless talent you have.’ The survival after thirty minutes heats up. The gore became very original and creative and worth getting exciting about. Some incredible, original moments are the stirring and magnificent ride out on the road full of zombies and the helicopter attacking on ground. Even the parts like the missing reel segments are crafty. Freddy Rodríguez, the male lead in Planet Terror, definitely has the stamina for his character to match McGowan’s. Callous guys and alluring babes are insensitive and ruthless pending on horrific deaths. Ferociously torment, distress, and gore moments are the ones to catch in the film and those are the ones people usually try to refrain from watching ordinarily. Infections spread and people struggle with body parts. Limbs and attachments are wobbly and the environment is in a wild and extreme chaos with no control. Exceedingly, there’s an amount of times where people slash zombies and zombies massacre people. Plenty of it reaches the quota of satisfying the number of zombie slashing scenes. Through all the gross viral diseases, obscene language, offensive images, cannibal and sick tone, massive ugly red colors, and blood trails, it’s outrageous and fluid for what it contains. The music score, sounds, and photography are effective and all that is needed to construct an exploitation visual piece. As for Death Proof, there’s a turning point in the middle of it where a new set of women soon fall prey to Russell's wreck. Nothing precious happens besides the car bumps and chases and it takes a while before the motor gets going. There’s no threatening outside influence for a long time in relation to Planet Terror. Characters are concerned about ordering shots at a bar in an awfully and considerably slowed down content lowering the amount of exploitations compared to what rush it had before. It’s mainly immobile constant chatter of the girls at the bar that comes across flat. The best part of the movie is a minute before it ends when they throw fists wildly. Both directors’ efforts in creating stirring fresh ideas are visually done well. Lines especially in Death Proof are mindless where girls converse in cars and bars at a slower, less action pace. One can say those girl parts were for the female audience since the first half was a total man film. It’s superb when lines don't fill up the movies for consecutive minutes.

Final Grade: B+/B

The Lookout (2007)
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode, Isla Fisher, Bruce McGill

Film Prophet's Review...
“I'll say it again… you better write it down this time; whoever has the money, has the power.” The first scene features a high school hockey star with his friends who are soon to be disabled in a car accident after a brisk youthful carefree car night ride. Four years later, he admits to his mundane low self-esteem day to day life, but eventually he joins a group of criminals who plan to rob a small town bank where he works at as a janitor. Scott Frank’s directional debut spawns ample atmosphere to boost the building opposition efforts leading up to the final third act where it all lets eclectic. It’s daring and bold and the movie goes by the main character’s slow transition from his past scars. Joseph Gordon-Levitt leads the cast of solid acting performances and it starts at the helm with him who frankly appears in all the scenes. It's his character’s story and it’s a character study that’s slipping into the heist in which the movie markets it towards. Suffering from brain damage and living with his blind roommate friend played by Jeff Daniels, he is later pressured to help a new group of pals with their adultery ways with a robbery. It queries a wrong crowd versus a solitude living though dependent on others. Before the heist begins, there’s plenty of development. The characters go first in this film before tossing them in a tiny bank vault on a winter's night. It focuses on the social consciousness daunted by a head trauma memory lapsing to the old accident and people reminding him of it. There is no sight of a planned premise of a heist until much later in the movie, but how it connects this story in the beginning of memory loss and deals with its shortcomings is precise. Through these scenes, the acting, sharp dialogue, and the silences carries and pushes the movie through with expression. It opens up the state of mind and subsequent troubling experiences and saves the heist. The scenes blend into his experiences daily including not remembering people in the past, so he carries around a little notepad. That notepad is integral in several later moments, but a note taking instance earlier at a bar is humorous. The first conversation between Jeff Daniels and Isla Fisher is as well. Yet, it still deals with a large amount of their characters than the premise. As it steadily heads near the brink, the story constructs a young man who is unable to let go of his past because of the uncertainties in his future. Out of desperations, he begins speculating the people in his life. He is told by this new group of pals that he will have the central position as the lookout at the small bank of security loopholes. Matthew Goode is excellent as the head of this group who can instantly change from charismatic to cold. Here, it thickens and enriches as the movie proceeds towards the small heist on a snowy night. The pressure mounts grippingly, especially with a deputy doughnut cop in play. The action is sparse like in The Punisher and A History of Violence, but when it's there, it's in profundity. The audience of the movie comes to sympathize with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s vulnerable role after he strikes up tentative decisions after dilemmas.

Final Grade: B+/B

Blades of Glory (2007)
Starring Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Jenna Fischer, Craig T. Nelson, William Fichtner

Film Prophet's Review...
A frivolous comedy out of two male figure skaters competing is the premise. As expected, that's what it really is. There’s comic foil during very small bickers and quip tantrums. The story surrounds itself in professional ice skating that follows two former rivals featuring Will Ferrell and Jon Heder, who were recently suspended and stripped of their gold medals from the Winter Games from the men's singles Olympics figure skating, to team up to compete in the pairs category. In the world today, male skaters aren’t necessarily icons of masculinity. Unexpected, it seasons to be far away from being vigorous early on and it’s uninteresting. It saves it for the final dozen or so minutes, and thus losing a constant attention to all the dialogue and the story in the middle. Although it's not at all slapstick, some of the lines are quirky between Heder and Ferrell, but hardly occurring much. When they are suspended, there's not a care towards what happens, despite some overreacting. It just lingers any pleasantry moments and the guys turn into sloth, unfunny characters. Awkward fans who try to be faintly outrageous for small laughs appear during this time. A substantial portion of the movie has to do with complete failure with the male skaters and inadvertently, it falls to that concept for quite an extended length too soon until near the end. The captive situation near the end seems compulsory but it's the only attentive escapade in the movie, which includes a humorous chase on ice skates outside of the ice rink. Ferrell and Heder train as a pair under a coach reminiscent from the movie Dodgeball. These sequences, at the low point of the movie, attempt at puerile gags and try to meet the ration of decorative sex jokes. The villains of the movie are a heterosexual brother and sister pair and their younger sister is enslaved to their duties. The movie does for figure skating what Ferrell did for auto racing in Talladega Nights by meshing two separate fan bases from the performers and the sport in a satire with pride. Many parts of the movie are satirized and every ice skating performance in the movie is superficial and clearly fake. People are naïve and buy into the tranquil music along with the calm, mindless audience at attendance. This movie is terrific at ripening the gullibility of it all with harsh, unkind managers, medals ceremony, and overbearing parents. The skating performances of routines and moves don't deal with the true flexibility. Mannerisms and physical gestures are part of the uncomfortable sight gags when the newly form pair skate together in crude choreography and positions. Ferrell and Heder are fine at the emphasis of the immature physical and verbal material. It's a body language and motion comedy in flippant forms where if the music was turned off and the setting wasn't an ice skating rink, it would just be one person dancing in a wide open space. The movie sets up quite fast in the beginning where the action occurs, at the ice rink. Throughout the whole movie, the television side-commentary is perky. For example, ‘oh boy look at them, they are really having fun with this’ in an overexciting tone as the movie has fun with their lines. However, too much of the commentary makes it almost like a bad documentary because the writing and storyline is awfully exhausted. It’s like a fluffy filling with a slim taste. As one of the fading ice skaters says, ‘I'm going to have to get a real job.’

Final Grade: C/C+

TMNT (2007)
Voices by James Arnold Taylor, Nolan North, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Chris Evans, Ziyi Zhang, Patrick Stewart

Film Prophet's Review...
As an avid fan of the recent animated series, the movies, the original animated series, and plenty of merchandise, it was a return to the fundamentals of amusement watching this feature in the modern and standard CGI technique. The new animated series that started exactly four years prior to the release date of this movie is more violent and grim along with the comic books than anything the nineties decade delivered, though the turtles were still a major part of pop culture then. An impulse is urged to distinguish how the franchise has been reinvented in virtually two decades carrying a steady nostalgic wave including an identical edge in the recent series. Director Kevin Munroe clearly complements what has gone on before in the franchise in regards to early cartoons, movies, and the newer animated television series, with likes of Karai, Leo's faulting leadership, and the new sewer home, leading up to this project. The Turtles’ bandanas, weapons, attitudes, and personalities are kept intact. There are no live action dotted turtle costumes with mouths out of sync like in the third one in ancient Japan. The heart of the turtles setting is back in Manhattan. They are more discreet, but still their goofy selves. However, most of the original fans of the franchise are still attached to the early cartoon series and still want to see some of those characters in a movie to fill in voids. Still, none of the four movies have featured Krang or the Technodrome, based from the original cartoon series, but too bad, make way for Max Winters and some immortal stone warriors from primeval times. At least this movie has Karai introduced, who is featured in the latest and superior cartoon series, carrying on the legacy of her deceased master, The Shredder, and leading the Foot Clan. April O'Neil is not a reporter and looks years younger as an antique dealer. She wasn’t recognizable at first in this movie, and she also suddenly developed ninja fighting skills though she previously never had any real desire in any previous series. The story is more on the sci-fi side than usual since animations nowadays can certainly expand certain production areas of stories. The movie opens in South America after an ancient myth background tale that happened centuries ago as Laurence Fishburne narrates. So, it doesn’t begin with the Turtles or an enlivening team effort sequence like in the first two live action films. Monster medieval giant stone warriors that almost look like the ones from the old Dimension X portal take their place and the Turtles are launched individually in separate persona threads. The Turtles are grown apart and divided after their defeat of Shredder. The criminal level for them to fight as a group isn't there anymore. Soon, a group of ancient creatures threatens to take over the world and the turtles’ family attempts to reunite to save the world. Thirteen monsters escaped from a time warp and the turtles need to send them back home and out of Manhattan. The main subplot of movie revolves around Leonardo’s quest to become a better leader for his family in order to reunite the Turtles’ family and this is what fleshes out to be the storyline that gets the most attention. Splinter, the Yoda like master and mentor who is quick, small, old age, and soft-spoken, is the grumbling and pensive rat who has some humorous material in this film. He is the one who hints at the theme and resolution for the turtles, which is teamwork. In many occurrences, Ralph exits the family with a temper and heads on rooftops with Casey Jones at nights. The brother rivalry in the middle of the movie with Leo appears as the main story than the enemies really, especially Max Winters’ light influence. Ralph has taken on a solo vigilante as the Night Watcher, a motorcycle crime stopping character that the turtles don’t know about. This gimmick actually has more screen time than any present evil. A chunk of the movie focuses on Leonardo and Raphael, like a character driven story. The evil is not too menacing or threatening as the opening elucidation once promised with ancient monster antagonists. Somewhat all of the police and detective involvement is astray, except for the sirens that are overheard as a signal for the turtles and company to disappear before they show up. The sunshine and daylight was very absent, as the story took place mostly during the night time. Along with the lighting, there weren’t many bright colors; dark sewers and underground layers, and racing and jumping on top of buildings brings somewhat of a darker tone to comics instead of a childlike cartoon display. The various surfaces, textures, and effects to the overall look of Manhattan city are dusky and worn. The rooftop rounds in the city are nicely represented. A duel in the rain looks particularly astounding. The music scores cover almost every momentous scene that’s revitalizing and meditative. Also, no songs, so no ninja rap. The most accurate voice was probably Michelangelo’s. There is a warm sentiment between the brothers at times, and the comedy balance is superb with jokes played off past affairs. Once the small action scenes arrive, the movie is fluid as the camera flows simultaneously where the action moves. For example, the foot clan battle in a city park with those attractive, atmospheric trees in the background. Yet, the movie has too short of a final battle that leaves viewers salivating for more. The movie is a satisfying experience for an hour and a half, but it’s no complete and full TMNT masterpiece.

Final Grade: B/B-

In the Mood for Love (2000)
Starring Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Ping Lam Siu, Rebecca Pan

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by Kar Wai Wong, the Chinese movie is set in sixties Hong Kong mainly in a compact apartment dwelling surrounding a married man and a married woman. Chow, Leung, is a newspaper editor who moves into a rugged building with his wife. At approximately the same time, Su Li-zhen, Cheung, a beautiful secretary and her executive husband move in right next door. With their spouses absent and away often, Chow and Li-zhen spend most of their time together secretly as friends until they realize soon that their spouses are having an affair. These spouses are faceless characters, with vacant screen time, to indicate the distance from not only to their spouses, but to the audience watching. The spouses are rarely shown and they are unseen. Under minor distress, they are weak to do anything about it but glance with small gestures and eat noodles. Nothing intimately happens between them, though they are in each other’s comfort and relief. They are, however, aware and conscious of their behavior and its repercussions, if any, to not to be like their unfaithful spouses. Chow and Li-zhen cross paths in the rigid, small halls of their building and don’t speak to each other for a couple dozen minutes. Camera techniques have close zooms in jammed areas and low camera angles are many of which start at the lower waist, especially at Cheung, and pan upwards then zooms out to give the impression scenes are recurring. Same settings, images, and violin music selection are used and almost every scene has a black dissolve into the next. The scope of the film is covered in photography, the acting, and the evocative music. The art interiors of the film are a study of physical appearance, body, and dress that is radiant to the camera. For example, the silky shirts, hair, and dress skirts, as the costumes and colors do say something about the characters. Office workplaces, rugged apartments, and the old Hong Kong backstreets feature the sad, gloomy, and sincerely lonely lives of the characters. Soft ballads are played out during slow motion montages that match with the polite and passive pair. The tale is at minimal and authentic, but the dashes of the two characters are there to expand and advance the tale than the melancholy plot itself. Kar Wai creates sincere characters out of negligible substance and the acting was done fairly well, despite the plain bleak material. The opening consists of brief scenes of what appear useless. It was quickly dissatisfying by its dim approach because it had no plot, energy, or motivation. Their desk jobs were like space fillers as the movie runs at about an hour and a half. Separation is the source of the tale at the interactions between Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung. Little between them ignites, just like the film. The two talk over noodles and about marriage incessantly. They are frail, sensible, and despairing human beings, listless and lethargic like the indolent movie… the communication is bleak and slight in the last thirty minutes. The movie is rationally draining and droning as it’s an expression of a delicate unrequited twosome.

Final Grade: B-

Zodiac (2007)
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Edwards, Chloë Sevigny, Donal Logue

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by David Fincher, the story centers on the men who sought Zodiac, the infamous serial killer who troubled San Francisco for over a dozen years. Beginning in the late sixties, Zodiac taunted the police department with ciphers and letters written to the San Francisco Chronicle and other newspapers. Soon they grew to the case, and a cartoonist and former boy scout was fascinated with the unsolved crimes. Two books about Zodiac are by this Robert Graysmith, Gyllenhaal, and he was fancily obsessed and involved with the malfunctions in guesses and assumptions continuously. ‘There's more than one way to lose your life to a killer’ is an accurate, enticing tagline, though the movie underplays to a never-ending dose of drabness. There are no cheerful moments. Coded ciphers and phony fingerprints were all the police had for evidence as the candidates for the identity of Zodiac were through accusations, poor evidence, coincidences, and handwriting. While the indecisive killer was at large, the police investigated in offices by digging through papers and tossing around names and assuming facts that led no where. Their lives were gradually preoccupied by the unsolvable mystery surrounding the Zodiac killer and they became tired and exhausted as much as the movie becomes. The movie does relate to tidbits of paranoia, for instance Graysmith’s family in the movie, but none of it is action. There’s a madman on the loose and all he does is have a few early scenes to murder. Thankfully, Fincher does not lead this project into horror territory, or dealing with the victims’ close ones after homicides. There’s briefly any background information on the scope of the soon to be victims and the killer, so the movie is revolving around the alluring traces and puzzles that the police find out. The first note appears in writing ten minutes within, so not too soon or late. There is an immense supporting cast dealing with miscellaneous apathy phone calls and such, but the voice of opinion that matters to audience is the author of the future books portrayed by Gyllenhaal. He decodes symbols and reads books from libraries, but like the police, it is all in unfinished ordeals that last a long time. The movie draws the time and dates in with subtitles showing the elapse of hours later or even years. The police looked frustrated with thought, swapped with scenes of the Zodiac quietly harassing victims followed by abrupt severe painful results; notably is the film’s most cringing and realistic scene by lake early on. With the grim subject matter, the men respond to the pressures of the investigation and manhunt. Their theories go no where but to fill up film space and conversations as this film’s length is close to three hours. It goes dreary and unexciting like their jobs are. Dread rolls on, and there isn’t much seeking drama like in All the President's Men. It is the exact opposite of anything that the director was capable from achieving in Se7en and The Game. Men examine and discuss writing styles and try to figure out scenarios and it’s dreadful on any action. It’s an uninteresting piece showing the devotion of the men’s lives to track down Zodiac wasting a lot of time, as this is where the tagline works. However, an absence of chases, stunts, a musical score, and effects including a serial killer with a minimum amount of scenes because he has no pattern and has never truly been identified is quite numbing. Restless and tedious scenes form unmemorable parts that fade away and tune out. A couple scenes are occasionally gripping, but since there is no real conclusion, the end result is one of those long descriptions to read on the screen. Like the tagline, men lost their lives in time due to the disruption and vagueness of guessing names and it was a drag for everyone.

Final Grade: C+

300 (2007)
Starring Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham, Vincent Regan

Film Prophet's Review...
Sly sequences, fantastic attires, illustrious backdrops, and masculine warriors all give this spectacle a demonstrating notch but only towards its super stylish graphical art display. The story tells of the three-hundred elite Spartan warriors in Greece led by their bold King Leonidas, who thwart the charge of Xerxes and his massive Persian army at the battle of Thermopylae. King Leonidas and his men attempt to defend a mountain pass for the ancient Greek states against Persia's attack at Thermopylae. The movie’s ancient Greek empire story is also based on a graphic comic book by Frank Miller. Sparta faced a much greater force and it was outnumbered by an army of soldiers. Not just soldiers, but deformed figures, elephants, and animated creatures used in the battles to add a digital glow on a fantasy scale. Inexplicable, fictitious animals to mankind existence appear in this middle earth like story. Taken to a high appealing stride, bluescreen techniques duplicated the background imagery from the comic book with human performers. Most, if not all, of them were men. The one female, the wife and queen, made of the most blandest and unmoving parts, sadly. From this movie’s perspective, it shows a Greece nation and civilization as brutes, monsters, and full of strange creatures plus one pressured, dragged female, all inaccurately. The men of beasts urge of rage, but the movie isn't necessarily capable of excelling in a hefty conversion unless some males raise their voices in urgencies and impatience. Words like Sparta, Persia, slaves, and madness float around often as the lines were badly written. Most of what they said were short blustering speeches in loud haughty tones. Standard battlefield scenes where numerous extras combat, slay, and fall in flesh become slowly repetitive. The sparse action is so cluttered and fast and one can't tell who is defeating who which is ideal to depict the restless confusion and jammed space to operate in. However, there is one big fighting scene in the first hour and not enough attention drawn into anything else to grab a consistent pull. Blood splats, swords and spears swish, and men fight in a merciless kind, reworked in a slow-motion and accelerated cycle to watch. As the narrator speaks, ‘they shout and curse, stabbing wildly.’ Audiences have seen it all before somewhere else. For a few comparisons, it is a mismatch to the sharp fighting in Kill Bill, the creative and groundbreaking style in Sin City, or the entertainment found in the superior similar setting in Troy. Monstrous villains were present, but not enough evil was granted. Leaders were there, but not enough strategic pinpoints or plans were there. Glorious skies and fires, tireless marches, spears, small swords, and heavy shields plus enormous odds were stacked against Sparta soon. The delivery of the story is conveyed by this, but it is rather tedious in presentation of an anecdote. The movie is more of a fluid hyper-reality sight in visual terms in many dimensions than a yarn being expressed. The story is told through a somber voiceover narrator about heroism and his explanation of the prologue and the rest of the movie all the way to the end, culminating at the start of the Battle of Plateae one year later, incessantly.

Final Grade: C+

The Number 23 (2007)
Starring Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, Logan Lerman, Danny Huston

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by Joel Schumacher, the movie follows a man who is obsessed with a book titled The Number 23 his wife purchases and becomes convinced that the book is based on his own life. It is baffling to see how a person can get so scared when the mind plays tricks and when there is probably nothing there to begin with. In this movie, there is nothing paranormal to be worried about… there are no spirits or ghouls, and not even Jim Carrey style of alluding jokes worth a laugh. Where it all exists is in the insipid vision and obsession of the main character through his skeptic voiceover reading narration and winded back storytelling devices. While it is predictable to know the answer when Carrey begins to formulate, there are some rapid fast additions of math to the number 23 where the audience can’t catch up. Numbers, mostly as ages and dates, formulate to the number 23 before the audience has time to think of a numeric addition or get to the one going on. These numbers come from Carrey’s everyday objects or routines from memory that sum up to exactly the number 23. It eventually drives him into some madness that makes him believe the book is really about him, but it forgets important things like the plot. The movie surrounds him in the appearance of the number and looking for the number everywhere. The thing one can walk away with from this movie is to know how interesting the number 23 can be. It pounds with numbers but solves no mysterious equation. There are 23 letters in the phrase, ‘numb displeasure but so what…’ Hang on, that’s a miscalculation. Just as unsuccessful that is, it’s the same towards developing the theory of the number into a gripping level of entertainment that all incidents are directly connected to the number 23. Instead, the movie is a slow and futile outing that goes nowhere of effect and uncovers little of the title. It underachieves to come up with anything to dazzle with the end result of the same number. Add up the digits minus a few numbers and works out, sort of. The audience soon forgets them after just hearing them since they are so useless and lose interest in caring. Early empty character rationales don't add any drive to the already anemic story of uninteresting nonsense unless it deals with the movie's title. He is so obsessed in attempt to be ludicrously fixated, so one can assume he has no hobbies or anything else to do than to engulf into the relations of the book to his lifeline, that floppy childhood and dream sequences are equivalent to a fiasco. This causes for perplexing time of settings where certain scenes in relation with the book occur towards his memory, fantasy, or dreams losing the audience's attention somewhere before the third of the movie. When he begins to read a chapter from the book, it usually accounts for another tedious interval of blandness. Coming down to the congested end, there aren’t any true psychological or mystical acts in which the number applies to later in the movie. Along with his wife and son, they try to find out the real meaning on a small chase, and there are some redeeming agendas near the end such as in the grave or with the anonymous killer, but it resolves in an incomprehensible, yet plain fashion. Anyone can catch the humdrum resolving point a mile ahead, which harks back in similar chucks to the dreadful Secret Window. Nowadays these are common and subsequently mundane and derivative. Falling short of its trailers, the number 23 is no special than just the number and the movie is reduced to far lesser.

Final Grade: C/C-