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Film Prophet's Movie Reviews Page 3

 

Traffic (2000)
Starring Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Benicio Del Toro, Don Cheadle, Erika Christensen

Film Prophet's Review...
An enormous, tremendous casting decision as Film Prophet was invested in their characters during the clever psychosomatic undertones. The whole cast is among the best and deepest of all-time who were allowed to develop down to the supporting cast with likes of Dennis Quaid, Miguel Ferrer, James Brolin, Albert Finney, Topher Grace, Salma Hayek, Benjamin Bratt, and Luis Guzman. Nothing short of brilliantly direction by Steven Soderberg with depth and mildly suspended with music and outstanding sound effects as Film Prophet was expressively motivated. Written superbly to the screen, the plot has several stories of dealers, abusers, narcotics officers, and the law enforcement who pursue each other under the American government. There are three comprehensive subplots from political to family components between the cross-section of the drug trade. The story infiltrates aspects of its society's war of drugs that remains terrific and conspicuous. Dealt with temptations of money and power, a Mexican man resists them, but he is caught in a web of corruption that leads to an untenable situation. Back in the states, an Ohio State Supreme Court Justice is named the new anti-drug czar by the president. Collecting information, the uncompromising Justice prepares to supervise the country's task force and partner them with Mexico's. Third, in San Diego, two undercover DEA agents work overtime to bust a midlevel drug trafficker who gets paid off when their new prisoner cuts a deal to testify against a wealthy drug dealer. The dealer is arrested, shocking his pregnant wife. She and her son are quickly threatened by her husband's associates and tailed by the DEA agents resulting in gun violence and explosions. She vows to keep her children safe and to get her husband out of jail. Fine details and profundity in the script and if read, it may be puzzling, but on screen, it's golden. The point is that there will always be problems with drugs with an economically high demand on them as there is no cure for abuser's addiction that will not go away and not everyone will be clean from them. In an impossible duty the Justice had, played by Douglas, he aimed to limit drug usage as he struggles to keep his adolescent daughter who experiments with drugs on the straight and narrow path. The film is opened on a bright, peach color that shifts to a dark blue all done by the cinematographer representing the change of language, nation, and drug-based scenes. The rate of the timing was seamless like the camera angles as there were a gathering of strong, intense, heavy, and chilling cinematic moments.

Final Grade: A

Spanglish (2004)
Starring Adam Sandler, Tea Leoni, Paz Vega, Cloris Leachman, Shelbie Bruce, Sarah Steele

Film Prophet's Review...
In a discovery of cultural values, two different cultures are combined as the story sees how far they are apart. Foremost, the family in America is coming apart in complexity as the wife at the home, Leoni, hires a native Mexican woman Flor, Vega, who speaks little English from Mexico to be the housekeeper for the family. Her golden child daughter briskly narrates it as her father left her mother as she is the only person there for her and keeps a close eye on her as they enter America for her job. Of all of the horrifying pitfalls she worried about in this new American culture, Flor never thought of being the peril of a truly embraced American family. That's all for the plot including a few segments here and there dealing with enduring parenting struggles on how to be a fine parent and a difficulty of understanding each other's foreign language. Given that, the movie puts the viewer at the level of the English speaker who can't understand the Flor at first glimpse, and vice-versa. All of the female performances were evenly exposed as splendid as can be in a James L. Brooks directed film from Tea Leoni to the two separate daughters in their first ever movie. Brooks adds a variety of attributes to his characters that don't necessarily blend in with each other. Leoni's character is a hurried, cautious woman who is not mad as she says she is energetic. She's enthusiastic, but panicky about minor things. Her daughter is a bit similar as she is afraid to look too big in clothes she refuses to try on. Much needed masculinity to the film is provided by Adam Sandler in a lesser-comedy role than usual. He is a chef anxious about his food critics and surprised of Flor's entrance into his home. The relationship with Vega and Sandler came off nicely on screen as Sandler was warm and sensitive. Nevertheless, the major initiative is parenthood and sharing without interfering in this soft, gentle family drama.

Final Grade: B-/C+

Meet the Fockers (2004)
Starring Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner

Film Prophet's Review...
The sequel to Meet the Parents adjusts to the additions of Hoffman and Streisand as Stiller's parents in the story. Prior to the wedding of Greg, Stiller, and Pam, Polo, their two families will meet for the first time on one weekend. Greg Focker and Pam Byrnes think everything was just fine when Greg won over Pam's parents, played by De Niro and Danner, until it's time for her parents to meet Greg's parents, the Fockers. The hyper-relaxed Fockers who are Hoffman as a retired lawyer who and who had the most stirring, funny performance and Streisand as a sexual therapist, and the securely wound Byneses are unjust from the opening. The first few minutes reminded me of all the characters and attributes such as the male nursing profession and Greg's Gaylord Focker name. He is still nervous and panic with signs of worrying of impressing Pam's parents and hopes everything goes just right, but he gets stuck in irrational situations that mortify him. De Niro lacks trust in his Circle of Trust with others and still speaks in outlandish metaphors. The ideas of matter from Meet the Parents follow over to this movie on behalf of occurrences like when something embarrassing of Greg's past is revealed or when some new information is told, it could possibly tear Greg and Pam apart. The script added a baby nephew who De Niro is trying to raise flawlessly and a pet dog that humps anything that moves... literally. There are plenty of female breasts and sexual positions... I can think of four scenes at the moment where this logic is used. At present are too many sexually-oriented jokes as if almost everything submitted to had something to do with sexual characteristics in all-purpose. The camera then does a close-up shot of the little nephew who can't speak yet, but has terrific sight and comprehension of what's going on. Uncomfortable parents may be at unease at letting their children watch this due to all the horny conflicts displayed. It matches the same quality of laughter as it's precursor... perhaps a little less.

Final Grade: B-/B

The Killing (1956)
Starring Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gay, Vince Edwards, Jay C. Flippen, Joe Sawyer

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by Stanley Kubrick, a robbery at a horse rack track occurs organized by a man who got out of prison after five years and he needs cash. All the guys he gets are criminals with jobs and they confront their wives in apartments about leaving to meet with them not without asking confirmation and permission first. They devise and execute an accurate, complex racetrack robbery, but inner tensions and fate works against them. The direction by Kubrick doesn't fall under his elite films, but nevertheless, he uses a number of key essentials. Some scenes are in synchronic flashbacks with a narrating voice to tell us the occasion and time. The first few scenes initiate suspicion off wandering looks as he strives on balancing his effects into beauty while observing the camera panning across some lit interior rooms. The suspense in the movie didn't come from the story; rather the blasting percussion music as if something big will happen hyping the upcoming scene. Film Prophet put in the interest, but got little out of it until the end. The guys made distractions and they work in their plans, but there are other distractions in the movie itself. The main problem is with the one on one conversations with the wives in their apartments. It's very pointless and doesn't put any buildup on what to expect. All the actresses didn't have commanding voices to take me into the conversation and the facial expressions the men have from what the wife says are non-expressing off the uninteresting talk. For example, "Why did you come over there... It was for the reason you said... Don't put words in my mouth... Will you always love me?" The effortless acting was as thick as a tire and the tough fast talk didn't help. Quit the nonsense Kubrick and begin the plot already... no excitement and too much unnecessary dialogue that made most of it ineffective. As the story moves forward, they begin to steal the gambler's money at the track during the race using some techniques with a mask and hiding a shotgun in a narrow box of flowers. The music starts up again with narration after plans are executed, but disappointingly goes back to more wife talk. They worry, but with faith, as it adds a painful romantic element to watch. The movie finishes with a superb ending that got me surprised with the shot of a briefcase mistakenly opening and the exact final frame in the movie that would have made me fast forward the whole movie to the end. If the beginning got rid of most of the wife talk and was much more like the last half hour, it would have been a different outcome.

Final Grade: C+/B-

Ikiru (1952)
Starring Takashi Shimura, Shinichi Himori, Haruo Tanaka, Minoru Chiaki, Miki Odagiri, Yunosuke Ito

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by Akira Kurosawa, life is short during grief, humanity, and grace for a melancholy civil servant who learns that he has terminal stomach cancer and realizes he has nothing to show for his unsatisfying life so it is pointless to improve one's self for the future if none exist. Committed to his job, he doesn't take time off at his bureaucrat position and absorbs the news of cancer in a nervous stressful way. Though, keeping a quiet behavior about his illness to others, he comes in contact with his son and his son's wife who don't have a great relationship with him. The guy is upset and scared while suffering as it shows a deep personal conviction. The story is compelling and told in a varied perspective, though the narration comes from the central character. Film Prophet did something by turning off the entire sound to mute on most of the movie's segments and read the subtitles and watch the actions. Since I can't interpret Japanese and the context is below, I can still get a perfect idea of what is going on. Some other times I peaked at the sound to get a sense of the background music and the tone of voices. This was to test's Akira's masterful work. Without the sound, I had to put more into the movie and focus harder on the story and characters. Akira is defined through his respected movies. His films generally fall in the same grade range because of the consistency of not having a bad film. He knows how to fill up space on the screen with extras or set designs in the background to draw our eyes closer on the significance in front. He uses fluid camera work with some great shots and pans such where there's a dislocation with the guy's father in flashback on a train with him on as it is moving in an endless fashion separating the two, which means little to him now. The guy is gentle, but with anxiety of death. Vulnerable characters need protection and the woman he meets impacts excitement and enthusiasm with importance in many ways. There is a lot to learn, but the movie drags in pace a bit and the dialogue at times leaves the viewer out of the movie for a while. There are contractual moments of depression and the principles fall apart past the middle under the shift of co-worker's interest of his cancer and the viewer loses its sympathy as the person once had before and ends it as a special moment expressing life at peace.

Final Grade: B

Super Troopers (2001)
Starring Jay Chandrasekhar, Erik Stolhanske, Kevin Heffernan, Marisa Coughlan, Steve Lemme, Brian Cox

Film Prophet's Review...
Long yawns, stunted laughs. It's between the local state police office against the smart-aleck highway patrol who like to have fun on the roads with goofy communications and chases. The state decides to cut back on expenditure and because of this, the highway patrolmen are going to lose their jobs unless they give the state a fine reason to keep them. To do so, they compete for action farce to keep their jobs against the local cops. The movie doesn't get enough attention because of the limited theater play in the past and a cast that has no recognizable names probably because smart top performers realize the roles aren't appropriate. Actually, the cast isn't really staring, but just appearing. It's a quaint comedy that's difficult to please; not much of a plot to it other than what's mentioned. In fact, there is no plot. What the movie does accomplish was absolutely nothing at all. Film Prophet honesty doesn't care for their pranks or what possess those cops to fool around. It's absurd. The movie would be more suitable for an audience who isn't sober at the moment so they can laugh cheaply at some uproarious, but moderate to most, scenes. The locals tend to beat the patrol to operations such as drug smuggling and a murder, which starts the mess. There is a lot of animal abuse, random fights break out of no where with terrible choreography. The troopers had wacky routines which include hosing men down, acting abusive for no reason... not to mention the acting was tiresome saying the evident obvious facts which end up being predictable. It is concentrated on those individuals who laugh too much at their own actions and the viewer won't comprehend why zilch is funny, but they can only guess they are always stoned. My knowledge was disintegrating while watching this film... a bunch of morons in a non-existing story without characterization. Even the serious parts are boring as I was anticipating the next gag, although, it comes down in exhaust during its pointless humor.

Final Grade: D

Birth (2004)
Starring Nicole Kidman, Cameron Bright, Danny Huston, Lauren Bacall, Anne Heche

Film Prophet's Review...
The movie tells the story of a thirty-five year old woman, Kidman, into whose life comes infatuated by a ten year old boy, Bright, who claims to be her dead husband. A bold movie that creates an eerie feeling of mourning, unpleasantly excited, and second wishes during its primary focal point on its controversial crash of a near affair between a woman and a boy. The director kept focusing the idea of Nicole struggling with the idea that the boy is her dead husband, but it never stops. She is about to get married to another man, but the boy tells her not to marry him, which results in a long delay of film space. Still grieving, she can not let go of her dead husband, even after ten years have gone by and this makes her family way upset. Through the balance of delicacy and wondering, the importance of dialogue wasn't present. Kidman hardly spoke normally as she sounded like she was whispering through the whole film, just like Bright. Nevertheless, Kidman was the only sparkle in the mess. The screen write could have set this story up much better because there were plenty of dull scenes. The art direction was so miserable. Disaster begins at the start with low scenery looks of basically nothing by means of slow, zoomed out captures of a quiet setting. The camera work and editing were just awful... pathetic. Moments didn't last or dawn on me since the story wasn't properly established with any committing power or attention or a reason to care, except for the times Bright calmly talks to her relatives for proof he is him where he shows his clear memory. It is too hard to digest, especially the last twenty minutes. A guideline is that in order for a person to like something, he or she must understand the something first. The ending was weird, inadequate, and puzzling that tries to bring us closer to the characters, but not really as it looks ambiguous. Film Prophet's expertise on how to make a great film decreased while watching this terrible quality film.

Final Grade: D/C-

Closer (2004)
Starring Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen

Film Prophet's Review...
Director Mike Nichols treats the film on a problematic subject of romantic affairs that factors in with sexual relationships. Take in a coarsening subject and presuming it to maturity, there are two mixed couples. They all get closer and the movie gets closer to successfully setting up the film. The cast above are the only four who basically had lines; I'd say at least ninety-five percent of the film. Damien Rice's great song, The Blower's Daughter, matches somewhat with an intriguing look into the lives of four sexually charged people. They make daily conversations seem interesting with their not so important lives. However, when they are combined into one plot, it's different because with only one of the characters, this movie wouldn't evolve the same. It starts out with a low key tone on movement from the beginning scene in a bad music video like Hoobastank's The Reason. Then, it goes right under way with the discussions of the two most important characters who set up the rest played by Law and Portman. Law is a novelist and he starts with a little fun on the Internet pretending to be some sex-crazed woman in a chat room. He also has this thing about people smoking because its how his mother died so he tests the person he meets if he or she smokes and yet he pulls one out a number of times and starts smoking. Portman is a stripper under a different spotlight than usual hidden behind a true identity. Attraction seems so easy for Law, as they get acquainted rather quickly soon judging each other after they meet Roberts and Owen's characters. Roberts is a professional photographer whose photos are displayed for artistic viewing pleasure. Owen is a dermatologist and was on the opposite end in the chat room with Law and uses graphical language and the viewers would think its a porno. However, it was most graphic by its language. Seeming desperate for sex, each one of them has a relationship with each other, totaling to six scenarios... viewers can see where this is heading into... consequences emerge from failing affairs and lies to true commitment. When time changes in the film, books are published as if the movie was a book itself written by Law as the movie is synchronized with it while characters get married, and partners change. The erotic pairs goes through grace plagued by dishonesty with a quartet going through sex and lies to betrayal in a dramatic template. Themes are told across the film from smoking and strangers to respecting fish and having forgiveness. Commanding and witty, they were obsessed to know every little detail of what happened when they cheated. None really stole a steal as they equally acted opposite each other. Surprisingly, Clive Owen had the most engaging performance because most everything he said was so humorous, especially his talk in a private room with Portman, and it's all based off his sexual perception and asking so many perverted questions. Film Prophet sees a deserving supporting Oscar nod. Strangely, the movie seldom resorts to any physical violence or visual sex.

Final Grade: B/B+

Ocean's Twelve (2004)
Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Julia Roberts

Film Prophet's Review...
Stylish... the movie had lots of its unique style and then some. The guys have settled in their lives until they go outing Europe in style to pay off mob boss Andy Garcia, former Casino owner who was robbed in a neat fashion before, by a certain deadline. They didn't just want to say no to him. They're too cool to say no so they head to Europe to steal close to a hundred million dollars in three locations in Rome, Berlin, and London. This movie contains stories of many characters, mixed in a situation with parallel relationships that were fun. It's exciting because the police are not logic to capture the guys until they are found and ordered to do so from Catherine's character as she plays a European detective whose ex is Pitt's character and not even Ocean's members can digest that. The first movie had the cast to pull if off, which made it cooler than movies with a plot alike it. This one, the cast remained as strong as it once was and brought in Catherine and some others as well. I mention style because their dress was prosperous and affluent. Catherine's wardrobe always altered by scene into something stunning and Pitt's clothes were impressive as usual. Besides the dress, the movie grasped attention with its pounding classical, riveting musical score. The plot was elapsing time showing before what happened after the event occurs to make the pace of the movie fallback on what the viewer once saw, but then was explained better and if the guys knew all long. The movie tricks its viewers with this. The guys do research before they steal and it's as swift as the dialogue, but it's blown in the end by unknown rivals. Part of the plan kept changing by minute. It doesn't give much away as some the viewers would expect to see what happened last time where they had a major casino bust, but it denies that to jokes and greed with little parts with staggers like a surprise celebrity appearance still kept a secret so far counter flicking with Robert's alter-ego in the film. The movie does overload with a lot of information and characters, though, it still sets out the importance that they are thieves as the main cast. Matt Damon had the most comedy relief by his character and wants to do more than last time. For example, he sits around a table in a restaurant and tries to speak in silly metaphors because it seems he's forced to impressive a person, which received the best laugh. Film Prophet consents with the cinematography of the film and notices the use of the camera as when there was an object in a way of what the viewers can't see in the picture, it blinds them. There are also a few scenes such in the hotel room where there is a significant amount of golden sunlight color flashing its silhouette in gloom. The story seals the film with a stamp of closing enjoyment by mostly... the entire cast.

Final Grade: A-/B+

Alexander (2004)
Starring Colin Farrell, Jared Leto, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Anthony Hopkins, Rosario Dawson

Film Prophet's Review...
Alexander, Farrell, becomes the King of Macedonia and leads his Greek legions against the giant Persian Empire. After defeating the Persians, he keeps going across the known world venturing further than any Westerner had ever gone before. From a strong-willed young boy to a grown young man and no matter how much power he acquires, he still is nagged on by his mother, Jolie, whose age apparently looks around the same ballpark, by speeches and concerns about him being so great with expectations of risking all. Except, the movie isn't that great considering the experienced talented cast it has. Val Kilmer didn't look recognized as himself. Hopkins was there as a narrator years after Alexander's period with long speeches about him as he once knew him to soften up the movie and strengthen it with calm words. The initial weakness was Colin Farrell in the title role in a Oliver Stone film, who is taking over Ben Affleck's reputation somewhat. There were some tense arguments where the dialogue was above likely, particularly the father and son conflict with power of men, which brought on chilling emotions aroused by the music. For the most part, they weren't all like that. As great as he was, his story in a movie did not hold attention for nearly every scene. The time length of three hours meant there was more to discuss, but it was too long and needed to cut down the extended boredom and some talks that were useless. Oliver Stone is exclusive and known for striving hard for excellence. He did a lot of little things to make a wonderful cinematic display such as Alexander's battle plans, which were overly addressed to understand. Historical films need accuracy and the people who portray them and picturing a black woman as Alexander's wife gives viewers a high doubt. Stone literally used a bird's eye view from the sky of war battlegrounds. He doesn't fall to the ugliness during war and Stone shows post-war scenes only he can do. Through all the archery and fencing, there was a miraculous scene in a battle where Alexander on his horse collides with an elephant in a slowed down frame. A great figure in history is led to madness of control as he controlled his own men and his emotions are fed off Farrell as a leader in an intense tragedy and he is the subject of the story. His men idolized him in a world taken over by war opened to civilization. A bit forceful on the lines by Farrell, but his character was strong-willed adapted by personalities like his parents that shaped his conduct into a conqueror and there is nothing better to do in a world like so. "To live a long life, there would be no glory."

Final Grade: B/B-

The Princess Bride (1987)
Starring Cary Elwes, Robin Wright Penn, Mandy Patinkin, Andre the Giant, Wallace Shawn, Chris Sarandon

Film Prophet's Review...
Not all fantasy-romance stories are nearly complete, but this one is on target of completion. Aided by its charming dry wit, the movie is artsy, colorful, funny, and bright as it is suitable for everyone. Forced to marry a prince as his bride, Buttercup, Wright, has suspicious reasons that let her believe she will be rescued by a legit prince, once known as Farm Boy originally, who was once lost in her life many years ago. Westley, Elwes, and Buttercup turn into an innocent lovely couple against evil configuration. The movie opens with Fred Savage playing an Atari baseball game in his bed as he is sick and his grandfather visits him with a book to read as the grandfather narrates the main plot of the movie. All of the elements he narrates to his grandson from the book are like a tale that we hear as children and the first few minutes grab attention like magic. The movie is complete as a fantasy film can get from fencing to evil princes to giants, Andre the Giant that is, to chases, escapes, true love, swamps, torture, revenge, trust, and relationships among all. A tremendous built up plot that doesn't let anyone down. Some eye catching action moments and the pace is flawless... it's a pleasing spectacle that is joyful and cleverly off beam at smart times. An excellent balance of character development across a fairly wide array of characters. An amazing cast for each role in their best roles of their career and they have in no way been better after this movie. The supporting cast is very memorable here. The three men who kidnap Buttercup in the beginning of the film are Andre the Giant, Mandy Patinkin, and Wallace Shawn who are all charming. Each of them have highlight scenes after another. For example, Wallace Shawn shines in the amount of time he has with his classic word, inconceivable. The time where he meets the masked man in black who challenges him towards a option of picking one of the two cups with one of them with poison in them too. "Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line." "Yes, you're very smart, shutup," said by the grandfather during Savage's interruption remark. All of this and the writing is ignored and it's so well on an exceptional, quality page that goes through the limits, rules, and exceptions taking the incredulity toll.

Final Grade: A-/A

Duck Soup (1933)
Starring Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont, Louis Calhern

Film Prophet's Review...
The four Marx brothers are probably the funniest relatives in a movie series as they put together an insanely political satirical movie with comedic wit in their most popular film. Country Freedonia is in a financial disaster and a wealthy lady, Dumont, donates money to them only if a new leader is selected, which is so as Firefly, Groucho, comes to power to prevent revolution in an elegant society. The dictator of their rival country, Sylvania, puts two spies on Firefly to find out their plans for war on them, but the spies are goofy and funny as well as Firefly. Groucho has a relaxing, clever performance with some free-style pun song singing... the type where everyone knows the words to the chorus. Directors like Mel Brooks drew their influence off here. Firefly doesn't seem to care much and tries people's patience and he spends his time doing foolish acts, but his words are so precisely shrewd enough to get by. A downside is that a majority of the comedy acts are just silly for today's appease that don't produce laughter like it did when the movie was released because comedy has changed during generations. The people who hear his comments don't let out a giggle, yet, the writing still matches the objective's aim of audience of a satire on politics as the brothers deflate the whole idea of it. Some of the provocative class jokes were thought out to leave conclusions open... the kind of witty challenging dialogue with question marks at the end. There are also a few strange characters in the film and they say comments from outer field. The best scene in the movie is when the sound is entirely muted while Firefly looks at a mirror image of himself as someone else is doing the exact same action as him. Sort of a setback as Film Prophet was expecting some more fascinating scenes, nevertheless it has many grief-related comedy and the best parts are the on-screen visual acts that create a foundation of humor forever.

Final Grade: B/B+

The General (1927)
Starring Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Richard Allen, Glen Cavender, Jim Farley

Film Prophet's Review...
A rousing ol' comic adventure set in the Civil War. It is basically a story of a train engineer named Johnny Gray, Keaton, who has two loves in his life which are his train and his girl. However, after being rejected from enlisting in the Southern army and consequently not being able to marry his sweetheart, he goes on his own in a beautifully constructed movie based on a Union's spy capture of a train in Confederate turf. He was denied his enlisting because he's a valuable, but very clumsy train engineer. When his train and girl are both kidnapped by Northern spies, he leads himself behind enemy lines to save them both. It's a silent movie, but a great one as a matter of fact. The music does a superb job forgetting that it's even silent. For that, the direction was magnificent in establishing attention to the adventures Johnny meets and camera views with its engaging composed music behind it all. It took me into the time and saturating me there. Johnny, even as a train engineer, has a struggling relationship with technology and machinery, but shines as he becomes one with his beloved locomotive and wrestles with a pernickety cannon that threatens to blow his engine off the tracks. He continues to inspire awe with every scene he is in. Marion Mack as his sweetheart Annabelle provided a captivating role as the predominate female in the movie. Known for its fine setting and train sequences, the story spends its time on a train that was stolen and Johnny tries to get it back with Annabelle trapped on it with the aftermath results. The movement of the plot was a success. The movie showcased inventive thrills and suspense with stops and twists on tracks to slow down or go in a different direction, as there is no modern comparison like this one.

Final Grade: A-/B+

Finding Neverland (2004)
Starring Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Freddie Highmore, Julie Christie, Dustin Hoffman, Radha Mitchell

Film Prophet's Review...
A famous play writer and author of Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie, Depp, is missing something in his plays after poor reviews and discovers fresh life to adapt to his plays. Rediscovering his sense of childlike innocence in reality, his surroundings have affected his work. The acting by Depp was kind and gentle, and his character was sensitive and mature and awakens his inner-child spirit for the role. People enjoyed going to plays at nights, which were the trend of entertainment a century ago and Barrie has the best of them written out already, but they are not quite figured out yet. Although, he remains calm every time and Barrie is never excited. The movie isn't a typical costumer drama as the movie is telling a story about events that don't need breakdowns every few scenes. The screen write reminds us the man who created Peter Pan, as the play of Peter Pan is truly about a family he meets in a fictional way. Freddie Highmore is the heart of the movie at a young age and he started to keep me observed. Freddie is the boy named Peter who inspired new ideas for a Peter Pan play. Barrie got to know four children who have no fathers. Drawing his time with the kids, he writes a story about children who don't want to grow up who have pillow fights and such and everything Barrie observes is transformed to imagination. However, the mother of the boys, Winslet, is going down with a severe sickness. Barrie's wild, creative imagination strikes on any point in time on any location such as writing in a park. It's all based on his experiences, which leads him to write the children's classic. It is also difficult to put his fantasy world in a place on stage that isn't expensive, so he makes some adjustments. The movie did well without having strong turning points and not falling to boredom easily and keeping the plot steady and consistent with a constant level tone. Hoffman needed some more segments and his role could have got more time because the time he was on were interesting and a change of pace as the movie was missing an affectionate piece or two before the end. High expectations were set for theaters plays from the common old lawyers and doctors audience as Barrie adds aerial scenes in his plays and a child crowd while expanding minds and taking production into a genius cornerstone of literature works with a tear jerking moment near the end that raised the quality of the film.

Final Grade: B/B+

The Polar Express (2004)
Voices by Tom Hanks, Nona M. Gaye, Eddie Deezen, Peter Scolari

Film Prophet's Review...
The movie is based on a beloved children's book with Tom Hanks as the voice and face of many, including the conductor of the crew. The music caught my attention from the start and brought that gentle Christmas feeling where Christmas is a wonderful time and builds a sensational warm feeling. The story is about a journey of one little boy thrown into a dream adventure on a magic train to the North Pole and sets a thrill ride for the audience. The train ride with a dozen of kids in their pajamas have minuscule adventures and problems every second on the train before reaching the North Pole on time. The one boy's belief changed when he was unsure about Santa existing, but seeing is believing sets the tone as the movie is stuck on the pace of the boy and brings pondering moments if what he is seeing is true. The visual effects were done at such a great detail that the actors can be placed in a virtual setting. The possibilities seemed endless when director Robert Zemeckis decided to do the entire movie in computer graphics and stop motion. There was no Grinch that stole Christmas, instead explored youth in general as the story was easy to follow. It was definitely meant to aim at children's fantasies into realism and present giggles to some. Spiritual themes of patience, speed, trust, timing, and belief educates children to learn basic lessons within the magical Christmas story. Believing in the spirit of Christmas with an apparent feeling that people don't want to lose where the excitement once started at a young age and experience it no more when they get old was observed. There's a point in our young lives where Santa Claus exists and the story puts a wonderful, great end to a Christmas movie.

Final Grade: B

The 400 Blows (1959)
Starring Jean-Pierre Leaud, Claire Maurier, Albert Remy, Guy Decomble, Patrick Auffay

Film Prophet's Review...
A founding masterpiece, yet a simple French feature portrait of a boy who turns to petty crime at home with rough times. Jean Pierre Leaud is Antoine Doinel, a fourteen year old boy, who delivers an incredible child performance that aims for confidence. Fear of being sent to a reform school and against common doings, he explores freedom from suspension also, which leads to consequences from stealing and adultery acts with his best pal. The story has a childhood retrospective about a realistic character who is never too simplistic to be totally likable and not a bully or spoiled brat either with a necessary tone. The poignant music relaxes the viewer as if little is happening, but deprivation endures the viewer. The eyes tell the story here because the acting narrates the story itself. Living an ordinary life dealing with supper, morning alarms, parents, homework, and friends, Antonie sits through boring literature lessons by his teacher who teaches The Hare and his kids just don't want to learn and it's hard for a teacher to teach unwilling students so the teacher gets their attention in a caustic way. It makes the audience probe correct useful punishment for an obedience child that is not too harsh. Antonie wants to live his own life away from school and parents and finds joy somewhere else. What results is shocking observations and proceedings while skipping customary activities. "As long as we feed you, you do as your told." His parents try to persuade him to do well in school without getting into trouble. Adjusting to expectations by the child from his parents and peers changes direction that measures and defines life's childhood hardships that are ordinary with an insightful look at how the movie adapts over the time span. For instance, he is caught lying for sympathy to get out of trouble sometimes because of his decisions he makes at his age. "Oh, I lie now and then, I suppose. If I told them the truth, they wouldn't believe me anyway. So, I prefer to lie."

Final Grade: B+/B

Saw (2004)
Starring Leigh Whannell, Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Monica Potter, Ken Leung

Film Prophet's Review...
An ineffective gruesome nightmare that doesn't go away too easily, but it's not worth the torment. An unrevealed serial killer plays a mortality game with people with a psychological observation on the look of life. Two men trapped in a room opens the story and the film itself is trapped in this segment for at least the majority of the film while they hang out because their ankles are chained to a pole. They attempt to work together while being taunted by a mysterious voice. Faced with impossible choices, each victim in the killer's plot struggles to win back their life. The antiquated setting and the colorless screen used were a bit bland including the shaky camera with zooming in after another shot. Film Prophet can't stand moments where people want to tell the characters to do or not to do a certain action... they can't hear them. The acting provided was banal and the times were Elwes screams are chilling, but way over-done because he could pass out anytime alone on his acting. The writing design was thought out, but wasn't performed and executed well. The movie basically uses little dialogue and when its in use, it is weak and relies on the suspense and horror, which wasn't engaged to its fullest potential. This horror film doesn't pick up the speed until the final quarter that teases tension and emotions. The serial killer appears as reticent and tells a victim he wants to play a game and if the victim gets through it, he says congratulations, you are still alive. Well obviously. There is no bad, domination that the viewer can ever feel from the killer during the film. The killer goes by the nick name Jigsaw and the ending is also a jigsaw where pieces scrambled are shown rapidly from various places in the film to end it that attempts to resolve the story and applies a gasp, pause, contemplation, and a grumble.

Final Grade: C

The Incredibles (2004)
Voices by Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Jason Lee, Spencer Fox, Sarah Vowell, Samuel L. Jackson

Film Prophet's Review...
An action-packed animated story with distinctive characters where the Incredibles have unique individual superhero powers like elasticity, speed, or invisibility. Mr. Incredible is the main character who has the most standard power as being over-whelming strong as to lifting gigantic trucks with ease. The character's introduction popped up randomly in the beginning sequence with Mr. Incredible coming to the rescue in various spots, but that idea fell flat down when Mr. Incredible marries Elastigirl. Fifteen years later, the movie shows them relocated to a new home and are claimed retired from their superhero identities. Mr. Incredible is trying to lay back in a family life as a husband and a father to three kids and works as an insurance salesman pushed by his boss and not enjoying it and he is not motivated as he once was in the past. Wanting to get back into action, he gets his chance when a mysterious communication device summons him to a remote island for a secret assignment. The villain is portrayed as monstrous because he is self-made with his additional powerful technological gadgets. The slightly, yet unremembered, composed music earns the audience's interest into the action. High reputation Pixar gave creator Brad Bird to provide a computer-generated plot in which could provide a very pleasant future ahead with creating ingenious characters. The shadowy design animation was visually stirring as it always is with CGI without too much fine detail in the background or in the faces, but some films can really mess the art up. The story had believable emotions such when Mr. Incredible is listening to a top-secret, only listened once, message and interferences happen of his wife calling him for dinner or when he is leaving one morning and his wife thinks he is going to his job, but isn't. Even with animated characters, that's how great animated films affect the audience the most, besides the entertaining excitement. The movie brought my imagination creatively if I had superpowers like them how cool it would be too. The plot was close to a James Bond film where people come to a rescue except in this movie, the writing was very creative in a way where animation can expand reality borders of what physical, real acting can't do and means of destruction. Many anecdote phrases and lines, in particular, the ones said by Jackson's character, who puts energy into him as he freezes items. The third quarter of the film was totally astounding pumping adrenaline with attention remaining and could not get any better. More so, a couple funny remarks from the film, "We're dead... we're dead," in panic said by Dash and the best line comes near the end with the little boy on his tricycle saying a line that sums the animated movie up.

Final Grade: A-

Ray (2004)
Starring Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Regina King, Clifton Powell, Harry J. Lennix

Film Prophet's Review...
"Hey Ray Robinson, let me here you play... That might cost ya." Ray Charles Robinson led a life as a blink black man who sang his soul and the people who first felt sorry for his blindness since age seven or disgusted with the color of his skin began to fall in love with his talent and blues as soon as he erupted from his auditions to stardom and his legend starting in bars to a band to greed from his close pals. Jamie Foxx is the title role and his talented ability matches Ray's talented gift. Foxx was poised and showed control of every tiny movement with the head and body language and overall, he was very impressive underlining a highlight of the film. Autobiographies aren't for the movie precisely. Rather, it hammers with information visually, but not too much. It's about a life one leads that's precious and beloved while it carries a sensation. In the this musical biography on the late Ray Charles, Foxx adds his soul into the role as Ray add his soul in his music. It's easier to get a great lead performance from an individual than to pull a great movie together. The movie establishes the direction well enough for audiences to anticipate more on-screen music playing from Ray in front of a crowd. However, some of the parts lacked energy because the spots with the music was more fun. Nevertheless, it is almost impossible not to fall in Ray's music, especially when it's blasting through the speakers, which is just one part of the music as it's soundtrack and the rest doesn't add up to an amusing total. Kelly Washington comes in rather mid-section and refreshes the movie back together until the role becomes sour and sometimes falls as an exemplary supportive wife. Thankfully, all the energy is in the man himself as the movie tries to fit all it can about him in almost three hours. One disappointment the movie sounded off every Ray hit except for America the Beautiful. The movie slows down at points during his childhood segments as Ray re-visits past memories through his thought process with a single mother. The most frightening part of the movie is for Ray himself of not seeing and what could be there unexpectedly and the people who take advantage of him as a blind person by cheating on him with money, but Ray is smart and quick to the beat. Ray took chances no one thought that can be done, mainly combining rhythm and blues with gospel. Ultimately, the legend of Ray Charles got a movie all about him that he can see for himself beyond our land.

Final Grade: B-

I Heart Huckabees (2004)
Starring Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Mark Wahlberg, Lily Tomlin, Dustin Hoffman, Namoi Watts

Film Prophet's Review...
The movie is a zany philosophical comedy, unlike the usual comedies, about uneasy love with wild, creatively performances. Jason Schwartzman, the odd person out from the eye popping cast list, is Albert and finds himself as the center of the story while experiencing an alarming series of coincidences and the meaning of which he escapes in forms of allusions and believes he is living a meaningless life. He gets help from two detectives, Hoffman and Tomlin, to examine his life, relationships, and his conflict with Brad, Law, an executive at Huckabees, a popular chain of mass-merchandise superstores. They spy around and get in Brad's life with his relationship with his spokes model girlfriend, Watts. Albert pairs up with a firefighter, Wahlberg, to take matters in their own hands under the guidance of another detective. The screenplay makes awkward moments that aren't exclusive. For instance, there are a few images that were revolting and one of them was a disturbing image of Jude Law with woman's breasts. The plot wasn't thrown out there descriptive enough to follow a whole set of characters within the first dozen of minutes and is victimized as an example to lose a viewer's interest, which yielded yawns every five minutes or so. Badly, the first half did not accomplish a strong significance on the exposition. There was a bunch of cut scenes after another where the previous one was forgotten. This is a performance movie, not much of one, so here's a short breakdown on some of those performances. Schwartman's image did not hold my attention... his voice was bland, and his lines were just there regarding nothing except uttering his life conflicts with others around him. He suffers a mid-life crisis in a human drama way with tedious conversations and cheerfully teasing through some talks in a complicated way so the viewer can't understand. Though, much was said about what reality is and how the universe is cruel to people. Wahlberg had his spots and catch moments. A much blonder Jude Law held well, but the best part of the movie, as expected, was a smaller, supporting role in the film by Naomi Watts, who looked great and delivered her role exceptional. The movie ought to not rely so much on a couple weak performances, but it couldn't just show plenty of Watts, the highlight in a comedy role who was spectacularly energized. Her role came around in between her and Law's character. "We're private about our seven minutes in heaven." "It's quantity not quality." A large amount of the second half is on Law's character winding career breakdowns. The movie doesn't have much depth as it is meant to be and defines the penetration on absurd standards.

Final Grade: C/C+

Office Space (1999)
Starring Ron Livingston, Gary Cole, David Herman, Ajay Naidu, Jennifer Aniston, Stephen Root

Film Prophet's Review...
"You know I can't figure out how is it that all these stupid Neanderthal mafia guys can be so good at crime, and smart guys like us can suck so badly at it." Peter Gibbons, Livingston, is a software engineer in a white collar job down and despondent with his life and the job position at work until he meets a doctor and decides not to go to work at the same time his company is laying people off. He launches a goal of doing nothing because his job isn't motivating him. Peter has two great friends within the company who might be terminated as they are concerned and worried so they design a virus account plan to get back at the evil company. The film starts showing the commute alone in a car in traffic as Film Prophet laughed hard over the first part of speech where Michael Bolton, Herman, no relation, in a car raps to his gangsta rap song, which was just the start of a continuation of hilarious little spots that the comical genius of Mike Judge has intelligently written for the screen. Under demands in a hellish constructed atmosphere that most people picture a cubicle environment like this, the office is full of those cubicles and fear of their role in their organization might not be important anymore while their boss, Cole, who is a terrible listener, tempers the people up, and problems in the staff occur such as downsizing and job security. The boss hands out orders when they least expect it and the person just can't say no to them because that isn't nice, but what isn't nice is handing out orders people can't refuse. "Yea... if you can just do that from now on, that would be great." The irritating boss is in everyone's face and the workers hope he won't come across to engage in a conversation. It's bad enough the workers are in tight spaces with little air to breathe in their cubicles and sometimes they have to move to a new desk, which Milton Waddams, Root, isn't happy about. The film consists of truthful displays such when nobody asks a question after the boss asks if there are any questions because it might be embarrassing when there are a lot of people around, or lying to consultants for what they want to hear. "We always like to avoid confrontations as much as possible." The acting was really well done on a toned down comical level where the dialogue was nothing but spectacular. "You can't just walk up to a waitress and ask her out." Jennifer Aniston was superb in her supporting role as a waitress and doesn't like her job either, and the lunch scene with Peter was definitely memorable. "Most people don't like their jobs, but you go out there and find something that makes you happy." So many great lines delivered by every character, but it's a must watch to hear it first, including the paper jams in the printer sequences leading to a final conclusion of it. Arguably the funniest cult movie ever put together in all aspects of film making dimensions.

Final Grade: A/A+

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Starring Cary Grant, Raymond Massey, Priscilla Lane, Josephine Hull, Jean Adair, Peter Lorre

Film Prophet's Review...
A wacky, enjoyable Halloween night tale in Brooklyn of eccentric travesty that drew the norm of comical originality. A popular theater critic, Grant, learns his two elderly aunts, Hull and Adair, serve poisoned elderberry wine to lonely gentlemen callers and bury the dead bodies in their cellar. However, that's just the start for the critic. The story begins when the critic and his newly wed wife, Lane, arrive just before they go to their honeymoon to Niagara Falls. It starts from a joyful bliss to a busy, restless night of various characters, who each get a chance in the spotlight, and happenings that makes a fun, interesting plot. It is a comedy with crime and suspense and silly, face reaction stares that are comical in ways. The critic arrives surprised, making sure his wife won't find out what they do, as the aunts initiate smiles with high pitch tones and truthfully admits their insane faults as if the faults aren't insane at all. Most every character has an irritating quality that adds an uniquely setback and whether it's Theodore, acted by John Alexander, who thinks he is 'Teddy Roosevelt' and runs up the stairs yelling the classic 'charge!' line or the voices of the aunts, they have plenty of super-egos. First of all, it was odd that two aunts, other known as old sisters, live together in a single house and something just has to go awkward. The direction by Frank Capra created a fear of being lonely and getting old with no family for the first quarter of the film. The audience then finds out the insanity runs in the family, with the critic in the middle of it all, when an unexplainable arrival of a lost brother, Massey, and a small doctor, Lorre, enter the house. The best performance in the movie is done by Raymond Massey, who plays a murderer and looks like Boris Karloff, and the doctor is his unusual associate. The writing is also clever, particularly the spot where a cop narrates his written play to the critic and gives the brother an idea of a murder plot behind the critic's back without knowing what's going on until it hits him. The audience never sees any dead bodies or most of the cellar too. Film Prophet imagines it was in fact from a Broadway production, since it's entirely situated on one set and can be adapted to a great school play. The outside background was fake and painted, but this movie can get away with that easily because it's black and white and the focus was on the character's troubles. A funny message is that people shouldn't visit members of their family they haven't seen in years on Halloween night, especially right before a honeymoon.

Final Grade: B+

Shark Tale (2004)
Voices by Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Jack Black, Renee Zellweger, Martin Scorsese, Angelina Jolie

Film Prophet's Review...
A popular culture joke packed movie, as most of today's kids must be so battered with low-key iconic characters in the mainstream media that aren't exciting, but with child imagination, anything is possible. This movie can take either side... it tries to create a frightening atmosphere of sharks in a Manhattan-style underwater world that can also be funny too. The movie assembles a look of a life under water just like human life, so the movie is an apparent fantasy and built to explore off CGI because it's doubtful there's electricity running and news broadcasting under water. Now that computer generated animation films are established and well-known, there comes several movies that happen in an era past when it became new and once discovered and this one like the next of the bunch falls in that. Characterization is a big part of the story seeing as it rides off the stereotypes. Each character has an unique voice and personality that match their alter egos and adds a different flavor so the viewer can pick which of them they most liked. Film Prophet personally liked Scorsese's character as Oscar's new manager the most to respond from the previous statement. Anyways, Jack Black is a nerdy vegetarian son of De Niro's mafia character and tries to build him tough like his brother into eating shrimps. The best part of the movie is the pairing between De Niro and Scorsese's characters because it's fun to see those two work on-screen together finally even if its done by voices and animated figures since Scorsese has directed many films with him in it. I like Will Smith, but not this character as Oscar in particular. He starts up as a hip guy who wears long chains and doesn't want to be a nobody and dreams of a better life than his father once had. He wants to be rich, but he hates work scrubbing tongues, and is the central character set in the world of little saltwater fish. The plot comes about when the son of the shark boss of a fish crime family is killed, and Oscar on scene of the crime says he killed the shark since that's how it looks to him and two others to make him look big back at home and popular among his saltwater fish community, given the nickname Sharkslayer, attracting those to construct a fake image to him. This doesn't go over too smooth with De Niro or Zellweger's character, Oscar's best friend. Zellweger is so great and gifted that she can even make a CGI character so moving as if she is really acting for an Oscar, and that word can be used twice because Will Smith's character's real name is in fact Oscar, it's clever... you had me at hello quote evokes memories. From the soundtrack, the best song was I Can't Help Myself from The Four Tops because it wasn't done in the past year just to aim for the soundtrack and it's a song to remember. Unexpectedly, the exciting story surprised me at points because of its sub-plot climaxes. Short, fun, tons of laughs, and to the point.

Final Grade: B-

In the Line of Fire (1993)
Starring Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo, Dylan McDermott, Gary Cole

Film Prophet's Review...
An assassin, Malkovich, swindles with an aging White House Secret Service agent haunted for thirty years by his failure of defending JFK from his death in Dallas and makes sure it won't happen again to another president in a Wolfgang Petersen spectacle. The characterization is straightforward. Agent Frank Horrigan, Eastwood, is out of shape and caught up undercover previously and his young partner, McDermott, is his close friend while the protectors don't have protection. Through the whole beginning, all that went through my mind was average, not bad, not great either... somewhat conventional. The assassin calls the agent first about killing the president during his election campaign season and meaning it, not knowing if he is playing with him, but either outcome, it's an endangerment to be take serious, especially for Horrigan. There are times where he returns to call him often that results in too many numerous failed phone traces and mistaken people and knocked down doors. Expecting a move that doesn't happen, Horrigan's current career is fiddled and fooled. There were plenty of close-up shots on Malkovich's eyes and mouth as it just ruined the story for a bit distracting the viewer from what was being said. Get the camera out of his face, much similar to Eastwood always getting in Russo's face trying to flirt with her despite the age difference, which is alright though since she was the only female involvement, but unneeded really. The conflict was questioning if Horrigan can do all he can do to save the president's life, even if it costs his own. Nicely done on the writing, simply well-made, with the wooden gun and such, but nothing too special to make it a great top candidate in its genre. The movie held Film Prophet tense and still at moments, while moving away from Russo's useless character, as the hardcore suspense nearly saves and refreshes the plot in a better direction.

Final Grade: B-/B

Das Boot (1981)
Starring Jurgen Prochnow, Herbert Gronemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Bernd Tauber, Hubertus Bengsch

Film Prophet's Review...
Danger below and above the level of water, all alone in the ship with each other and stuck with the people on board, no where to go but the few steps they have in space, have various encounters of other ships and they so desperate need fresh air to breathe. It was about life in a submarine during harsh conditions of war. The captain and crew of a World War II German U-boat follow incredible orders in director Wolfgang Petersen's first smash popular success in a German movie who knows how to use space under claustrophobic circumstances. Of course, the crew gets drunk during a farewell party at night just before they leave, showing their personality side. The audience later discovers more of who is who for each character on the boat, merely dragging the movie's upsurge down that can be completely ignored and still come away with an understanding of the movie. The crew always needed to be alert, safe, cautious, attentive, and accurate in a fast manner in such tight spaces and obviously, this part of the duty was difficult and not fun; in fact, nothing was fun for them sincerely... making the movie less fun at all. Their target was to reach the maximum of two hundred and sixty meters down below under water on tank level, afraid of going deeper and deeper each attempt as the camera shows them sweaty, quiet, and anxious. They didn't know what happened above them externally such as their homeland or planes. They were waiting for orders feeling they were not wanted or having a big impact, but once that big impact hits them, it hits them with corollary, including the strong finish of the movie. Technical aspects such as the many fire disasters were a neat watch. Yet, the movie needed more excitement and drama and to cut down on long scenes. There are parts that go from calm and quiet to confessing scenes of emotional breakdowns to wild water disasters, repeating back and forth, but Petersen made it close to reality as possible because that's how life was on the ship for this group of men, gritty and filthy.

Final Grade: B-

The Third Man (1949)
Starring Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard, Orson Welles, Erich Ponto

Film Prophet's Review...
A splendid achievement in the film noir era in this grand thriller with its pleasing cast directed by Carol Reed. The shifting point of view camera angles worked in favor, including the shots in depth of the sewer chases. It focuses on the social corruption shattered by the city behind political lines filled with spies and refugees, but Orson Welles and his appearance later in the film stands out. A popular pulp novelist, Cotten, goes to post-war Vienna and probes death of a shady friend. He arrives at Vienna to get a job his friend offers; instead he receives a shock to attend his funeral. "Is that what you say to people after death, Goodness, that's awkward?" There has to be a hesitant and sympathetic beautiful woman, Valli, involved relating to the plot, one of the central characters, or is about to interact with it. She does all three, as well as a big part of a sub-plot when she is caught by the police with a forged Russian passport as Cotten's character sticks by her. For the majority of the film, the dialogue never falls apart and the suspicious trend of facial expressions keeps the audience attached. Searching for a criminal act if any, while the detective, Howard, on the case first stumbled a rival with Cotten's character, the people he asks are those who know he is getting too close to find some clandestine out. The viewer can't tell which character is telling him the truth while he is asking for details and the mood dissolves into what he listens and comprehends about. Near the seventy minute mark, the story tips down due to an odd twist and doesn't go back to the excitement it had before until the final long shot. There isn't a whole lot to watch it a second time, but the first time was plausible enough.

Final Grade: A-/B+

The Bicycle Thief (1948)
Starring Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Gino Saltamerenda, Elena Altieri

Film Prophet's Review...
Director Vittorio De Sica displays exceptional neorealist work on an Italian potent drama creating a significant demand for one man to get his bicycle back. The movie sets during the devastating post-war depression, where many people are out of jobs, and the film witnesses everyday life on the streets in Rome as poetic realism is achieved. Men being in labor was rare, and one of the only ways of making a pay and living. Receiving any job was considered appreciated, so the main character finally gets one to hang up posters and his wife and little son hear the news and they are happy, but the job requires a bicycle, which he must buy. The title makes it known what will eventually occur, stirring up adrenaline... it must have been the poignant musical score too. On his first day delivering cinema posters, a street thief steals his bicycle and rides away with it; the viewer right then feels affected almost as much as the man. Too poor to buy another, he and his son go on the streets to search for his bike and the thief. The movie delivers background themes behind the plot about a meaning of life and just how far a man will go over the edge to reach his goal without associating with slander. Think about it, a bike then is almost like a computer now, there's just so many. Every bike all looks the same to the audience, but not to the man on the search. "Listen, a man who has been robbed has the right to look." The sharp, striking truth is that the police can literally do nothing about a stolen bike, except enforce a complaint. Many ways of this film is relatable, imagining the viewer can be either father or son in the situation. Not being a specific of a bicycle perhaps, but maybe some item someone cherishes and longs for that is in a form of lyrical remedial gift of love. The camera views were well done with no shaky close-ups people see in current day films and every performance was moving. One scene that sticks out is the church service scene where people after are entitled to soup and the man during the prayer service in a crowd inside the church tries to ask an old man who might have a connection with the thief about him. The mounting relationship of the father and son steals the last half of the movie. For instance, the restaurant scene where the father offers his son wine and says, "We can do anything we want, because we're both men," except they really can't because they don't have the kind of money wealthy people do, such when the boy gets jealous of what another boy of his age is eating. The ending is priceless and remarkable.

Final Grade: A

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)
Starring Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Gambon, Angelina Jolie

Film Prophet's Review...
The movie tries to take CGI art work to the next level, where humans and computers co-exist in the same screen and the human performers get to act with a blue screen backdrop. People acting in a non-visible, computer generated atmosphere isn't all that easy, as Film Prophet noticed Paltrow's facial expressions looked a bit dry. The memorable CGI art work are the massive metallic monsters in far away palaces, including the start of the movie. Scientists around the world have mysteriously disappeared and report Polly Perkins, Paltrow, along with aviator Sky Captain, Law, are on the investigation after the city receives an attack from giant robots marching through the city. Risking their lives as they travel to a few exotic places, they attempt to stop the evil mastermind behind the plot to destroy the Earth, while the person eliminated scientist doctors before hand not clearly explaining why. A gothic New York City is its setting with its lighting and shadows like it was from Batman, but it isn't close. The characters are dressed as if it were the 1930s, but the setting differs with the future outlook of the movie. Angelina Jolie does a cameo as an eye-patched captain, for no more than a few scenes... the trailer pointed out she starred in it, which is a fault. Paltrow's performance as a reporter wearies down every time she appears and pouts through the whole movie, as Law remains consistent, but nothing too great. Though, it's hard to act with nothing in front of their faces. It's director Kerry Conran's debut film that attempts to tackle excitement and entertainment in a tiresome manner that does not reach a peak level. There are series of superimposed scenes of colorless techniques of just dark blue, white, and black one after another that were overdone. It seems the world depends on these two characters of Polly and Sky Captain himself without much of a supporting cast present, not to mention the human characters made up just about half of the entire cast. Not a great job for a children science-fiction fantasy story and movie... unknown heroes in high-budget movies aren't frequently sensations.

Final Grade: C

Metropolis (1927)
Starring Alfred Abel, Brigitte Helm, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Gustav Frohlich, Theodor Loos

Film Prophet's Review...
An achievement directed by Fritz Lang in this German silent feature, the dictator of a working industry dreads that his workers might strike any time soon when knowing a robot is invented that can run the factory alone. The hierarchy is in control and the dictator plays the leader figure making the big decisions, nevertheless, fears a massive group of his employers going on a strike since there have been hints and clues lying around. The group consists of male factory workers in an industry underground working in lines of steady production that begins the movie. Their heads are down in sort of ashamed with no signs of happiness as sluggish, dark creatures with little personality given to them and seem to be tired of slaving for measly pay. The dictator urges them not to rebel and to wait patiently for the arrival of a mediator, who turns out to be a woman who the workers listen to. The son of the dictator of Metropolis, discovers how things are run in the city and a woman, Helm, shows him the concept of underground working environment. Helm is a key character and the cornerstone of the film. Her character is the mediator and had this knowledge of a high tower that men built and everything was peaceful and all the working men would listen to her because she's beautiful. The conflict starts as an inventor, who made a human-like robot machine efficient enough to run the factory alone without a need for workers, could be a solution for the dictator's problem. The inventor kidnaps the mediator to make his robot look similar to her so that the working class will follow what she commands of violent acts. Among a first true appreciated art form in a picture... the lighting is noticeable on certain spots of the pictured mugged by a steamy gaseous atmosphere. The set was frightening and looked spectacular. Silent movies concentrate on the every move of the characters including facial expressions that triggers and helps understands the situation to the audience by their gestures and moods. The most memorable thing from this film are the haunting dark faded shots of pausing looks of concern. It's a German film that represents a future American system of capitalism with its top elite governor and the working class in a city. The working people are symbolized as slaves, while they are also the protagonists who built the glorious pyramid of Metropolis almost resembling an arena. The only weakness was its slow extent per scene, which expanded a silent film. It lost the excitement level it had within the first hour and gets extensive, but the themes still hold about violence and peace and props to Fritz Lang for creating an inspiring science fiction film that lasts forever.

Final Grade: A-

Vanity Fair (2004)
Starring Reese Witherspoon, Gabriel Byrne, Jim Broadbent, Romola Garai, Eileen Atkins

Film Prophet's Review...
Losing its Oscar hype fast, the movie is a leap to a literary story that had a chance to be clever, but it wasn't. The movie was close to being a bigger disappointment than The Village for the year, hoping Reese Witherspoon would rise to the top of her career with this film, but it was poorly advertised. She is climbing the ladder of success portraying crafty females. Her role in this movie was an ambitious character as a prototype for modern feminism in a setting of London in early nineteenth century. In a costume dress drama with an irritating composed musical score, south-borne and raised Becky Sharp, Witherspoon, is a mere social climber jumbling the supporting characters. She begins to find out love and living off men isn't enough for success as money is necessary too. In a gloomy side of London, she's unschooled and not nearly striving enough in a movie about social structure, where the caste system has little insight. Apparently, the movie assumes the audience would know something about class ranks in London, but because most of the audience doesn't, it's unclear and boring. After an hour, I wanted the movie to end, mostly because I was tired of hearing that pathetic never-ending music score. At times, I wanted to walk up and leave, which I did, and come back to the film, and it would be the same jumbo. The story was the weak link. Overall, it felt like there was too much going on in the story that added pointless scenes which were given the longer duration of the screen time. The pace of the story moved way too slow and it could have cut down a lot of the scenes to make the movie more convincing. The artistic views were weak also and it was just a bunch of the same resemblance through the murky set in the entire movie. The story, dialogue, and the supporting characters certainly did not help Reese out, as it was Reese who had the light shine on her. Every scene without her wasn't as appealing with her. Many would expect a funny bend performance by Reese, but it really didn't happen in this one. Partly, the blame is on the screenplay for not recognizing she's a versatile actress. There was nothing present to keep Film Prophet's attention, with the exception of Reese, but even her performance was middling. Sorry for Reese because Film Prophet is a big fan of hers.

Final Grade: D/C-

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Starring Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, Owen Davis Jr., William Bakewell, Arnold Lucy, Russell Gleason

Film Prophet's Review...
A young German soldier, Ayres, faces the mechanized horrors of World War I in an early best Oscar motion picture. It examines a generation of men going through an adventure of war of what it is really like for the soldiers, rather than in most modern war films where history is messed up and the characters are usually overstated due to its stereotype placement. This movie is among the best American anti-war films that is accurate about everyday reality. Director Lewis Milestone opens the movie with a scene of a crowd bidding farewell to a group of soldiers marching down the street with dignity in harmony. The movie then transfers to a scene of schoolboys in a classroom, inspired by their professor's speech to fight for their country, where the camera zooms in on a young man's face and daydreams of what it would be like and how their parents would react to them in a uniform if they joined. After a hyping speech is said, the young men agree to stick together as they all leave the classroom... the camera then gets one last still shot of an empty room as if they left their youth and home behind them, a world they will never see again. The film follows the soldier's lives step by step in an overview and not detailing one incident and aspect of it, beginning with an introduction of an arrogant sergeant who comes in their bunk room and addresses them to forget everything they knew. There's a scene where the soldiers are so fed up with him that they design a tease during the night to blindly beat him, showing their hate and human compassion of self-esteem. The screenplay was immensely written filled with numerous memorable quotes. "I shouldn't be here at all. I don't feel offended." "It's dirty and painful, when it comes to dying for your country, it's better not to die at all." "It's easier to say go out and die than to do it." Brilliantly constructed film for the year when silent films where beginning to transform to talkies. "They tell me that some people in this world take a bath every week." The film unveils the development of sound effects as the movie drills this sound of gun shots and bombs dropping on the ground so broadly during the trench and war moments. One of the scenes features an isolated soldier whose eyes were ripped by barbed wire and the viewer can feel his painful emotions as he cries out loud that he is blind, where his buddies only can watch from their batteground post in shock. When the soldiers are in the bottom of the trenches overhearing battle sounds outside, they get aggravated that all they can do is sit there and wait and stay hungry while fighting off the rats inside. In the best footage of the movie, when it came to a battle where the French stormed to their trench, the Germans begin shooting as one uses a machinery style gun where an excellent camera view shifts continuously horizontal in the view from the trenches while it shows the opponents falling down from the bullets down the line as the camera moves. Also, there's a chilling part where the lead character watches a French man die in his pit, when he realizes he is just like him, while he repeatedly says 'forgive me' even though he is dead, which evokes memories of his courage and sorrowfulness buried within the soul.

Final Grade: A-/B+

The English Patient (1996)
Starring Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Colin Firth, Naveen Andrews

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by Anthony Minghella and winner of best picture, it's one of those casts built for an Academy award fitting film. A Hungarian, Fiennes, regards fling with a British newlywed, Thomas, which leads to tragedy in World War II North Africa. In the strange story that's not ordinary war-like, the horrific effects of love and life near the brink of war of a man without a present face is dying in his bed and is being treated by a caring woman, Binoche. The man, who struggles to survive, breathe, move, and talk, of course has a fascinating past. The movie plunges on what happened to this person and how he got where he is in bed, as it is presented by flashback memories. It begins with a focus on aftermath of war, and the movie does not show one single battle or anything similar to that, of the injured, wounded, and confused men who don't remember much, with a nurse and patients section. The man was a pilot who had companions and one of those companions just got married, as his wife draws a willing interest of affairs to him. Symbolist, pilots can't observe everything in the air while the film's antagonists are the sneaky Germans who had a strategy of leaving mines in the ground, thus creating a division of air and ground. The setting mostly takes place in deserts, where the man meets a newlywed who believes her marriage is a fake. She spends her attention and communicates towards the man more than her own husband, Firth. There are some sub-stories involved in the movie with Dafoe's dynamic character and Binoche and Andrews in current time connecting each other's stories. Still nonetheless, the centerpiece is devoted to the affection for the pilot without a face in current time and a woman, but various incidents get in there way to remain content and lead to painful love creating emotions from the viewers. There isn't exactly a strong plot, but the dialogue itself is written well and paced enough to desire concentration to the film. The movie examines the man's accounts during the war time, which was sort of a depressing tale while the entire movie is sad and disheartening. There are rare happy moments because war repercussions aren't beautiful or happy, even if the war is almost over.

Final Grade: B-/C+

The 39 Steps (1935)
Starring Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Lucie Mannheim, Godfrey Tearle, Peggy Ashcroft, John Laurie

Film Prophet's Review...
In the serious thriller that director Alfred Hitchcock made in England before he went to Hollywood, after witnessing a murder at a London music hall, Richard Hannay, Donat, is approached by a mysterious woman who claims she committed the murder in order to foil foreign spies who plan to smuggle valuable military secrets out of the country. When the woman is killed, Hannay is mistakenly accused and framed, as he goes on a murder plot trail while being wanted by the police and a couple secret agents. Along the way, he bolts on to a nonchalant, but reluctant blonde, Carroll, gets stuck in a political campaign speech, and together they attempt to figure out the meaning of the mysterious woman's last words and given on a map of 'the Thirty-Nine Steps.' Hitchcock's first hit recipe contains the usual likes of an average and ordinary man who is framed by circumstantial evidence and plunged against his own will into an odd situation that he doesn't understand. It was something new for audiences to see this kind of structure since Hitchcock was not a recognizable name yet. The modern story has fine movement where he likes to build up a fear of some sort such as guns, heights, claustrophobic in tight spaces, crowds, and then the quiet moments of being alone with just one stranger across. There's an excellent scene where the viewer can't hear anything, but it can be made out what is being discussed in dead silence where a man looks in from a window outside of two people talking inside... scenes like those are winners. Some other great features of the film are the common fading techniques, the first person camera view, the suspicion upon looks, and extended background noises of a phone ringing or sheep baaing. As for the performances, some performers had textbook said lines and as for others, there is a bunch of memorable supporting work done. Sometimes it is hard to follow the dialogue, which hurt the final grade, for the first thirty minutes because the accent is used too quickly and the viewer would just want to cry out loud for them to speak up clearly. The film keeps it's mystery hidden until the final few minutes where it's revealed, but until then, the audience knows as much as the protagonist. This is where Hitchcock does a stellar job maintaining the suspense and pace without revealing the final secret.

Final Grade: B

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
Starring Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Sienna Guillory, Mike Epps, Sandrine Holt, Jared Harris

Film Prophet's Review...
Resident Evil in 2002 left an abrupt, sudden ending that had viewers salivating on what Alice will do next. The original was a terrific watch and after seeing the end of it, Film Prophet would definitely welcome a sequel in the future, and that sequel is out. The sequel begins where the first film left off, with Alice, Jovovich, stuck in a zombie area, affected by a virus leak, of the deadly Raccoon City. She has been subjected to a biogenetic experimentation separated from her friend by the vast Umbrella Corporation and she has become genetically altered into a superior breed with super human senses and agilities. These skills are unique and are put to the test when others try to remain alive when she meets a group of humans to co-op. Apocalypse is a unsuccessful video game made into an incoherent movie that has less frightening CGI creatures and sounds than the original. This movie puts more science features in than suspense, where the first movie dominated at. With a horror video game sequel title, there is not enough horror, intensity, or excitement in the movie. What the movie delivers is a bunch of poor edited fast, sped up clips like in Thirteen Ghosts with close up shots that last for a couple seconds where the director doesn't use the time sufficiently. Sometimes it's a little hard to see what's going on where the viewer can't see much of the action, which certainly is a problem. For example, take the first ten to twenty minutes of zombie murders and there isn't enough time to catch any of the details of what's happening in the scene with a lousy camera acquiring method because it's cut to a next clip rapidly. At sequences, it's too loud and then it's too quiet and then loud as it is never at a medium level of sound. Most of the dialogue is irrelevant to the first too. The supporting cast wasn't as appealing as the first without the presence of Michelle Rodriguez. The casting director threw in a female, Guillory, who looked too similar to Mila's character, but Guillory could not act or say a decent one-liner. Mike Epps plays a comedy relief character and one of his lines are, "You should have told me you got bit mutherf*cker; I'm hanging with you and sh*t." The viewer feels little sympathy for them because the viewer does not get time to adapt to the character's sentiment. There aren't many occurrences where the characters get a break to talk, rest, or make a plan. The direction doesn't try to make sense on any level whatsoever. The final ended as if everyone was gone and she was the only one left with the town all messed up vacantly. The movie treats the vacant section with more zombies and people, including a whole elementary school full of kids. Alice comes in as a hero and expert who comes across knowing what to do with ease and confidence like a Laura Croft or Ellen Ripley. An awesome, bizarre final fifteen minutes.

Final Grade: C

Paths of Glory (1957)
Starring Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Richard Anderson, Joe Turkel

Film Prophet's Review...
The story during World War I between Germany and France is about a French Colonel responsible for thousands of soldiers and won't let them down. The war in the movie defines how the twentieth century evolves in an anti-war movie that still holds relevance today, presenting in a black and white feature from Stanley Kubrick's early collection where he began his prime run. A tremendous recognizable opening theme song by Gerald Fried... influential directed war movie, where the camera movement is creative of backing up when a character approaches. Through the battlefields of sounds and fog, the movie never pictures the German enemy except sitting and hearing the result of their machinery. Colonel Dax, Douglas, is a commander of a battle-worn troop of the French army. He speaks to two spiteful generals before he enters the trenches on how to handle the war. Conversations between the generals and colonel about tasks and plans that's best for the men arise. Both of these superiors need support and they are the ones designing the orders revealing a fine line between officers and soldiers with an uncertain amount of trust. The first half of the movie, the point of strategies, attacks, and casualties, is projected behind the walls underground below barbed wire of the French trenches where Germany is prepared to use their artillery against the French inside their trenches. These men juggle the concept of having patience, being separate in a group, and crawling past barbed wires, where the second half changes tone and three of the Colonel's men are sent to a court trail for retreating a hopeless attack on ground without given orders leaving others to die with a devastating outcome to the three after the trail. The movie does not display any comedy elements and grasps reality by means of wasteful madness of warfare mainly in the trenches exposing the historical realities of World War I that the men experience all the way to the final plausible scene in a bar where a young German girl sings in front of the French troops. Kubrick achieves an artistic development as the movie remains widespread and everlasting having a long impact for an infinite time, which generally makes all his work special.

Final Grade: A-/B+

Amelie (2001)
Starring Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Serge Merlin, Clotilde Mollet, Maurice Benichou

Film Prophet's Review...
The French movie embarks with a narration of a very peculiar family with strange tastes from the birth of Amelie, Tautou. Amelie lived an unusual childhood growing up as a single child wanting a brother or sister where her father was a doctor and her mother died coming out of a cathedral. When both her parents died, she lives alone and stumbles upon a tiny box in her apartment with things inside of it. Looking for the owner of it in France, she searches to return the personal treasure of memories, while counteracting with her fellow co-workers at a coffee shop and several other fascinating people where she helps mankind over herself. This film takes normal movie making skills and puts them in a new context without a clear-cut genre, but the movie exists in the world inside-out. Known for captivating the French atmosphere with an appealing story, the movie exposes artistic themes and vision in the first hour. An unique direction and cinematography using close up zooms of facial expressions and capturing the sadly dread moments during various incidents... almost similar to the eerie art direction of Requiem with a Dream. A different way of photography where there are gross graphic disturbing images to bear with for a couple seconds after another and having the sense another will come up shortly that gives most people that sick aching feeling in the stomach and mouth. Visually, it's pretty much startling, especially the blend of colors it uses in the background to the items and clothes being displayed. The sounds are rare to other films of grasping and sorting out to the next scenic image. Disturbances of cracking knuckles, pealing skin, screaming, orgasms, and poking those bubbles on that wrapper are just some of the unusual acts found. One clip that stuck out best was the complement of the rain sound beating onto the river when Amelie stands in the center of a short walking bridge over it where her and her mother used to go. The story-telling is remarkable because each character has some strange hobby or likes which makes not only the Amelie character different, but the entire movie's inspection. It is fun to hear and watch frustrating French acting too. The story slows down towards the middle with no plot that relies more on body and facial expressions than on actual dialog after when she discovers a picture album of torn photos. She eventually finds the owner, who turns out to be her soul mate from childhood, and starts a cat and mouse game with him, mainly because she is too scared to make direct contact with him as strangers. As a secret admirer without approaching him, she cowardly leaves clues to where he might meet or see her next and again.

Final Grade: B+/B

Blow (2001)
Starring Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ray Liotta, Ethan Suplee, Paul Reubens, Jordi Molla

Film Prophet's Review...
Based on a true story, George Jung, moves to California with Tuna, Suplee, as a roommate in a stoner movie selling and buying pot for a profit. Their first scheme was using beautiful ladies who work as stewardesses to transport the drugs for their market. George and Tuna spend their time getting wasted and sitting around during their young adulthood, until the trip where George goes to jail for the first time and breaks the relation with his group. From choosing an independent drug business over college or anything else his parents rather preferred, George finds out it's not that easy being a drug dealer as he makes his way up on the top of the ladder, but once he is on top, there is no where to go but down. Problems begin to escalate as his own mother turns on him, his wife, Cruz, transforms to a greedy addiction, and George becomes an aging parent of a daughter, where he faces the consequences. "It was the greatest feeling I ever had, followed abruptly by the worst feeling I ever had." Great casting... Liotta was a highlight as George's father as he was superb in a supporting role. Cruz came into the movie way too late, although, Depp's performance was strong enough to pull the movie together at the final hour. The movie opens in a culture of slavery growing marijuana with a rock edged beat. A very common plot related to past films... a second-rate rendition of Scorsese's Goodfellas and Casino where it begins with a regular childhood starting of a tumbling parent marriage for a brief time with a voiceover narration and then focuses on a troubling adult man's life who hits the high and the low on illegal actions losing control during a thirty year time span. The man tries to improve during the end when he realizes his family is most important over his greed for money. A bit sluggish paced stuck on the same concern of raising money and the dialogue is practically entertaining at most parts. For example, the part where George talks to prison mates about drugs and evolution into cocaine was not very interesting. Even though the movie had substance and depth, not much was going on other than the above unless a deeper interpretation can be issued. America's laws are too strict making illegal drugs in a free land. An anti-drug message is the matter as I felt the heart-trending ending and that's what's essential.

Final Grade: B-/C+

Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Starring Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Nick Frost, Dylan Moran, Lucy Davis, Nicola Cunningham

Film Prophet's Review...
In a British parody of Dawn of the Dead, Shaun, Pegg, seems he is living no ambition or goal in his life. He works at a television store where his staff doesn't take him seriously as a provisional boss. His girlfriend, Ashfield, wants to get out and have excitement, but Shaun is lazy and spends most of his spare time at a local pub or playing video games with his unemployed loser roommate, Frost, who is dumbfound and reckless at driving. All on the same day, his girlfriend breaks up with him because she's tired of spending their time at the pub. On the same trail from the previous day, he wakes up the next morning to go to work as the scenery looks out of place. He notices strange actions by humans and plans to go to the pub with his friend, mom, and his ex-girlfriend with her two roommates hoping everything will pass by. Film Prophet finds it peculiar the movie should be designated as a nightmare since everyone but himself and his friends weren't zombies in his area when the day starts. The movie didn't have many direct references on the original and the British humor only crops up for about thirty minutes before it got violent, banal, and monotonous. The title lures the viewer into a parody zombie and horror movie even though that's not all of it. It isn't a plain spoof of Dawn of the Dead. Rather, it's more of a British romantic comedy with additional zombie slashing in action. There is nothing subtle in this unbalanced movie. In essence, it starts out weary with no humor and a bit weak exposition opening too early. It is nearly entertaining until the zombies show. It is fun to see where Shaun's group is headed when the zombies are outside, but the intended humor isn't there most of the time given that grotesque moments overshadows any kind of humor or inside jokes presented. The dialogue was extremely poor written and had to use the British f-bomb almost a couple dozen times in a couple minutes during a scenario. A notable thing is that it does capture the annoyance of cellular phones. The screen write could have had Shaun's lazy friend to actually fire the shotgun, he thought of in the pub when the zombies were breaking in, in a cool attempt of using his video game expertise to access the shotgun, as I was waiting for that and it didn't happen, very disappointed. When the group gets into the Winchester pub, it starts to drag petty in places. Weakly, rash suspense and choreography in the final twenty minutes of the film. The last segments of the movie were about unrealistic, pity-filled situations in excessive emotional fervor. I was not fond of any of the performances. Pegg simply can not act in any dramatic moment where he routes to a bunch of weeping sissy-fits. The writer shouldn't have resorted to putting the pressure on his acting. The ending was resolved in many different little pieces that were too fast. In similar movies, the same sort of sensibility occurs, but continuing it in terms of the characters is getting slightly stale and the gimmick is wearing down where nothing comes as a shock any longer.

Final Grade: C/C+

The Insider (1999)
Starring Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, Christopher Plummer, Diane Venora, Stephen Tobolowsky

Film Prophet's Review...
Producer Lowell Bergman, Pacino, of CBS struggles to get a testimony from Jeffrey Wigand, Crowe, on 60 Minutes without being sued. Bergman's quest is to get Wigand, a recently fired tobacco company scientist, to come on the show and give up the information on his former employers about a nicotine drug that has bad effects on the human body. He was fired for having poor communication skills, so then he teaches a chemistry class in High School to support his family for the time being. Trusting Bergman, Wigand agrees to go on camera for a Mike Wallace interview and risks arrest for contempt of court. The movie is about the news studio at risk for airing the segment. It's a study of distortion with psychological, larceny, and public tricks. Michael Mann has never been a tremendous director in his movies and his movies typically contain sporadic boring scenes that can be eliminated, but he decides to include them. He throws a misdirecting scenario and aims at something else that's at little surprise and poor suspense. The casting is a little off... instead of getting a veteran actor like James Garner, they picked Crowe who had to get gray hair. Pacino is too bland for his role and his voice in moments isn't always clear. Both of them have tiresome expressions and the rest of the cast doesn't polish the film for one moment. The Wigand family leaves no effects at all on anything relating to the movie. His wife, Venora, and two daughters never say much of anything and appear as mutes. There is a scene during some investigating angle where agents take their whole computer away because some death threat message appeared on the monitor. Film Prophet's most dislikable actor and the director in the same movie turns out to be expectably slow and jaded. The movie isn't thrilling... Film Prophet is glad it got shut down at the Academy Awards, here are the nominations and here are no awards. Mann is a director known for his long, drawn-out scenes. He has an ability to command a movie at two and a half hours about a simple true story that could be explained better if it were shorter. It could use an hour of trimming, though Mann produces more yawns than awes. He's just terrible at developing personal relationships within the story and attaching them to the audience. He needs a lesson in using individual happenings. The characters wander around making any known plot less important including little entertaining spots with hinges on something not happening. The audience is waiting for something to occur, but fails at exciting them where nothing occurs. When something finally happens, it is all a matter of the same thing and it's between Pacino and Crowe all the time who need space. "Where do you work? C'mon and tell me, we have nothing more significant to discuss, Crowe, other than our lame lives this below average screen write gives our characters to expand Michael Mann's film. Well, you know, you're making money for your family," and the response Crowe utters would be something onerous. The story basically goes back and forth between the airing issue, questioning certain things without solving a thing. The pain Film Prophet suffers from this movie the most was attempting to follow the long-drawn out story where the plot can just be referenced in subtext alone, except Michael Mann thought it would be great to watch the true story on screen, and he was off beam since nothing special was riveting on that screen to the appealing eye. There is absolutely no uplifting music score or any sort of musical soundtrack during the film, which led to tediousness and walking away from the movie for five to ten minutes without missing a thing. Film Prophet knows most of the readers who thought they liked this movie are probably reading this and saying, "Film Prophet, you probably didn't understand it, right?" Well, I did understand it and there was nothing to it. The dialogue is tacky and for example, every time Crowe's character would talk to any news executive, who were all a bunch of cowards by the way, it would mention telling the truth from lies and Pacino's character would come in over-yelling and arguing about the same thing a dozen of times again solving nothing. Throughout the whole movie, the grade for the movie kept decreasing until the grade could not get any lower.

Final Grade: F

Jerry Maguire (1996)
Starring Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jonathan Lipnicki, Jay Mohr, Bonnie Hunt

Film Prophet's Review...
Jerry Maguire, Cruise, is a football agent suffering a mid-life crisis balancing his faults who is popular in his work field and has many responsibilities. He has a busy life until he starts failing to satisfy his football clients enough and had a dozen or so girlfriends in the past. One day when he comes to work, he gets an appreciation from his peers, but his boss, Mohr, is less keen. He tells Maguire he is fired and leaves a shocking look on Jerry. Steamed up, he gets in contact on the telephone in his office with one football wide receiver, Gooding Jr., who popularizes the 'Show me the money' quote. That scene was about a desperate phone call attempt to keep his client which was great and hilarious. Before Maguire leaves, he vows to make it on his own. He's up and positive making a scene, but has no clue what to do next as his secretary, Zellweger, named Dorothy, walks out with him. She is a single mother raising a child boy who lives with her sister, Hunt. The movie shows predictable images of other couples in love in front of Maguire and Dorothy's eyes. Maguire establishes a cute connection with her boy, Lipnicki, and it's unforgettable. He also manages to pick up a high projected player, O'Connell, for the upcoming football draft, but doesn't succeed. Without getting paid, he still has one client who turns out to be a great friend, but his Cardinals team is unwilling to show them the money for a new contract to re-sign him. "The key to this business is personal relationships." A movie for the football sports fan plus an additional love story which makes it even more lovable. There is a scene where Jerry overhears a morning conversation between Dorothy and her sister when he wakes up where Dorothy admits her affectionate feelings about Jerry to her sister, is priceless. The concluding quote towards the finish of 'you complete me' is reminiscing a sign-language couple they saw when they walked out of their jobs. Cameron Crowe's presentation of his story is imaginative displaying classic nineties romantic story telling through the highs and lows and in the end, the story is relieved of all the entertainment and tension the characters and the audience confront. Well-directed, edited, and captured on picture as he brings his characters to life. An enormous cast of too many familiar faces including Kelly Preston, Jerry O'Connell, Donal Logue, Regina King, and a whole bunch of NFL cameos portraying a blend of American characters. A dynamite, exhilarating triple threat performance on top that expands over the course of the story. Tom Cruise is a wonderful choice to play Jerry, who has the charisma, energy, and look. As his pro football player and client, Gooding Jr. sticks by him and insists that he will 'show me the money' still. Gooding was well-deserving on his supporting Oscar who was powerful in some great scenes. Renee's performance was adorable and I was astonished. She was compassionate, radiant, and charming at the same time. I couldn't blink an eye without missing her endearing presence. She controls her Dorothy character who has beyond value looks when she sees Maguire, with a caring, gentle approach that expresses her deepest feelings and thoughts very well. Through all the reporting, conferences, contracts, media, and family Maguire faces, he finds himself battling two lives between his agent career and his girl. The last twenty minutes was basically a tearjerker and Film Prophet admits he had watery eyes near the end the of the Monday Night Football game and Gooding's television interview at the end. All explorations in identity development is solved through this film and it's what really matters in life... statement against greed and selfishness that has swarmed professional sports over-ridding the loyal loving heart.

Final Grade: A-/B+

Hero (2004)
Starring Jet Li, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Donnie Yen, Maggie Cheung, Daoming Chen, Ziyi Zhang

Film Prophet's Review...
In a secluded war torn land, a callous emperor is rising to power with massive arrowhead armies and to control everything, he will stop at nothing. A bold warrior, Jet Li, goes on a mission of revenge, against the emperor, for the massacre of his people. He has no name so people call him Nameless and if he gets the job done, he will be rewarded with gold and such. Nameless orates in flashback mode to the emperor and shapes the story of how he beat three assassins. There is a concealed division within the characters of master of the sword and archery techniques, which splits the sides of the land. Nameless and a couple other characters have the miraculous ability of using a sword that not many others possess of and archery will not break down their culture. They have a belief towards a calligraphy system of exquisiteness in their favor never failing. Jet Li gives a great recognizable face in the main cast. Film Prophet realizes the movie was released two years ago in China, but the year in use will be America's release in the theaters. A stunning creation that keeps the audience intact through its exciting visuals and beautifully viewed cinematography... an appealing choreographed martial arts combat film with its movement, camera angles, and spectacular stunt leaps in the air makes it appear like China's The Matrix in an approach. Director Yimou Zhang's themes are apparent and the film is visually striking, although, it does lack a strong committed story with plot holes of how they got their enormous training skills along with perplexing character re-entrances from the flashbacks. The fact that its visuals are impressive ignores the story and focuses more on the art, which is presently creative. Almost every fight scene, convincing with hardly showing any gore or blood, changes some kind of scheme or color of nature from the color changes of forest green to rainy brown and schemes as the falling of the leaves to thousands of archery arrows in one direction, all supporting the film. The movie is measured to be an exemplary of marital arts and intertwining impeccably.

Final Grade: B/B+

Good Will Hunting (1997)
Starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Minnie Driver, Ben Affleck, Stellan Skarsgard

Film Prophet's Review...
Genius director Gus Van Sant generates a poetic film of numbers, formulas, loyalty, and choices. He takes measurements of the main cast and perfectly displays the descriptions of their lives in a beautiful way to draw the audience's interest to them. A therapist, a college mathematician, and a working-class vie for a soul of a janitor with a very high IQ. Will Hunting, Damon, is a college janitor who is smart and troubled by peers afraid to show his knowledge and to enter the world so he runs away when he sees the mathematician when he solves his formula no student can solve. When Will is arrested for an assault, the mathematician takes him in under his own supervision and lets Will see an old college classmate of his, Williams, who is a therapist, for an hour once a week. They communicate about worthy things and teach each other a thing or two during their course. There's an old rival between the therapist and the math professor who discovers Will's gift, involving in some kind of intellectual jealousy and discovery, where the therapist is as parallel to Will and makes the therapy sessions more believable, while distancing the selfish cerebral with the professor. Will is young and should be a student, but he works as a janitor in a college. He develops a relationship with a college girl where he must make choices and also makes up first person stories to exaggerate and to get attention twisting lies because the truth holds doubts if revealed. The jobs offered to Will are as a winning lottery ticket and any high job is handed to him on a plate, but he turns them down. Will seems to be self educated from history, to law, to organic chemistry, and math, while it's hard to believe he hangs with friends who drink and commit crime, but there's a strong message about why they are all friends. There is more to life than just a mind as Will is an uncertain young man like his friends. An intelligent, great character speaking of wisdom and virtually points out college is for losers and degrees are unoriginal and it's a waste of money. He doesn't need college and he will still be smarter than the average graduate. Not only did Damon and Affleck grace the screen for a key paramount time where not many people disliked Affleck yet, they wrote the impressive screenplay and won an Oscar for their work. Affleck in the movie portrays a tough guy and best friend to Will and works as an construction worker. Robin Williams and his performance in this movie is worth watching itself, who picked up a supporting Oscar. Damon was also nominated for best actor and deserved it. He grabs his character terrifically and was way above stellar and an acting Oscar in his future looks convincing. The best scene in the movie is the argument confession between Damon and Driver in Driver's college room at night demonstrating Damon is way above par at acting. Film Prophet did feel somewhat poignant towards the end uplifting with its inspiring, deep finish through a changing and adapting world of faltering and loneliness.

Final Grade: A-

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin

Film Prophet's Review...
King Arthur searches for knights to recruit to his Knights of the Round Table as they begin on a quest for the holy grail going on a tale of his knights. They go on a trail to find this holy grail as they were spoken by god from the sky to do so. There is a division of the goofy and the average and this movie presents the goofy. The first action of being goofy on screen started at the beginning of phony notes of the opening credits then the first and really only fight in the movie is between Arthur and a mysterious knight who wouldn't speak where the knight kept fighting without any arms as Arthur would slice away at other body parts of his. Monty Python understood how to be funny sticking to their qualities, playing multiple roles, repeating things in a different prospective, and carrying on moments and conversations longer to show how dumbfound the characters were, which added to the silly acts and those acts didn't make any sense. The movie was similar to a stage act in theaters and to what Mel Brooks does with his movies. It's completely bizarre like no other film, but not exactly. Obviously a sign of a low-budget, the characters would imagine things that aren't on the screen, but the audience can tell what is missing such as the horses they tend to ride on that weren't there. Very simple and easy movie making, but it's clever and thoughtful at the same time dealing with comical remarks. All they did was put on some ragged costumes while running around in dresses using witty British accents, build an England atmosphere overflowing with manufactured fog, and managing weird video editing. The problem with the movie is that it's centered around a specific type of comedy that was once introduced a quarter of a century ago and refocused on, one that only a select few people can find humorous. Its lame humor sometimes is dry that just isn't funny anymore for modern standards and the movie without the comical acts would be incredibly more slowly than it is and besides the fact it still has a hostile story telling method. The dialogue was pretty boring and the word of Knights was reoccurring that went no where. Nevertheless, it's by the guys of Monty Python and it's a groundbreaking movie that open minds to new sorts of comedy.

Final Grade: C/C+

Terms of Endearment (1983)
Starring Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Jeff Daniels, Danny DeVito, John Lithgow

Film Prophet's Review...
Shirley MacLaine earned the Academy award for best actress as Aurora Greenway, an aging mother, who teams up with Jack Nicholson, who took home the supporting male Oscar as the movie also won the year's best picture. The movie dominated the year for Oscars... the movie is a melo-drama of personal relationships where they work through their difficulties over time as it is among the top sensational situation plotted films. Based on a novel by Larry McMurtry that examines the changes over several years between a mother, Aurora Greenway, and a daughter, Emma. Nicholson for his amount of time was brilliant and hilarious. His character is a savvy, aging astronaut who is the next door neighbor of the Greenway residents in a male supporting role because the role was so meaningful even if he usually starts. DeVito put his face in there as a funny, minor character who is a usual friend and admirer of Aurora. Debra Winger is Emma Greenway who starts as a teen sissy fit who gets married and grows older with a few kids. She has a unique deep cranky voice to her role when she is first on screen, but seems to develop into a more mature voice imaging the fact that she is a mother too. Her father died before the movie began as she starts off mad at her mother for not coming to her own wedding because she hates her husband, Jeff Daniels, who works in a college English department. "Why should I be happy of being a grandmother?" For the first time, Emma moves away from her mother to raise her own family in a house with her husband and kids. Problems and arguments arise with her husband and finds herself through hard times raising her own children low on money and making adjustments going through stages of being paranoid as the years go by. Back at home, her mother and the next door neighbor ultimately get in familiarity from all these years as he brings a different, new side to her enjoying life as it is. Although, the sense of growing old and illness hits both the daughter and the mother as a fear. Some laughs here and there balancing the familial tragedy situations. The music composed is probably one of the memorable things from the film, which sounds a piano cheerful score through happy times of circumspect. Everyone has a feminine side... the plot appeals to the heightened emotions on the audience, which would normally draw a feminine crowd, but director and writer James L. Brooks pulled it off. The dialogue was well-written by Brooks and it's one of the better screen writes in recent reviewed films. It was a big impact emotional film in this year that put melodramas on the recognizable map for the coming.

Final Grade: B/B-

Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Starring Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue

Film Prophet's Review...
An unhurried romantic tale where life was once pleasant as then it heads into depression. Ben Sanderson, Cage, is a struggling movie actor trying get a role who is down on money and fired as the time he mostly spent on was drinking at a bar and verbally harassing women since he was drunk. He decides to go to Las Vegas and drink himself to death. Ben abuses the use of alcohol every time he shines on screen as he burns memories of pictures of his wife and kid who left him. He is a despondent, but a great relevant character who pays his way around with the cash he has left after selling his commodities, and meets a prostitute's acquaintance. Ben just wants to talk to her, Shue, before he falls asleep with her in bed. He calls her Sera spelled that way. There is no moral judgment between the two, they respect each other's lives and leave it at that. The movie is scored by a saxophone theme as if it was in a jazz club, even though it was lazy and quite uninspired at times. Well-directed by Mike Figgis with some powerful scenes within the last thirty minutes containing one with rowdy guys attempting to get their virgin friend with Sera. Believable acting, as Cage earned an Oscar for his role. The setting usually takes place at night affiliating two characters where one drinks and drives and the other is a prostitute. Shue plays a steamy Las Vegas prostitute who once had an aggressive, but dejected owner. She delivers a captivating, fine fondness to her character and mixing well with the drunk Ben. They concurrently share feelings with each other as the viewer wonders if it is real and how long will the positive or negative love last. Quite frankly, the rest of the cast doesn't matter. There are minor characters in and out, but don't show up again. There is no need for a supporting cast of friends because Ben and Sera have found each other. Cage and Shue carry the entire movie effectively. An anti-alcoholic movie dealing with hardships, sadness, paranoia, and death.

Final Grade: B/B-

Saved! (2004)
Starring Jena Malone, Mandy Moore, Macaulay Culkin, Eva Amurri, Patrick Fugit, Chad Faust

Film Prophet's Review...
A dark comedy and a religious based film about adolescent development regulating in the lives of teenagers in a Baptist high school, where the students find themselves clueless and want to have faith in Jesus. From their senior year in high school after their summer, they go through times of Christ and holidays such as Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine's Day ending up at their senior prom, nevertheless forgetting about Jesus and the students synchronizing. The school is more of a bible camp than it is a true Baptist school, an obsessed one in that matter. Film Prophet seriously doesn't think schools like this exist. Their beliefs are clearly important to them influencing their morals. An amateurish, original movie targeted at the youth of the Christian culture facing such issues as sex after marriage and being sexually tamed. Malone is the central character as Mary, a reborn Christian attempting to accept Jesus in her life. She narrates her story starting two weeks before summer when she finds out her boyfriend admits he is gay. She ends up dealing with her boyfriend, who thinks he is a homosexual Christian. After bumping her head under water and having an hallucination, she decides Jesus wants her to cure him by having sex with him. She has this notion of Jesus directing her approaches and restoring her emotions. Malone holds down her sweet, innocent role pretty successfully. Film Prophet feels she is an upcoming star heading into fame as she gets older. The appealing young man cast look younger than their actual age in the film. The performances itself is a reason why this film brings a desire to the movie. "I know what you're looking at Mary and Jesus does too." Moore has a well-acted performance, who shows her talents enormously at a certain level. Yea, Mandy Moore can sing and it's done tremendously under appreciated. The characters were affectionate for at least half of the film. One of Mary's friends challenges their social morals and another is the leader of the group, Moore. Everything is going her way doing everything a Christian can do by the book. Although, she is closed and locked around Jesus and every value of him and stays inside the borders. She gets frustrated living an example under Jesus as her classmates aren't showing dues to her as her former friends turn against her. The movie tends to lose focus on the same issue where it lags in the middle and lacks a great conclusion. It's not one plot, rather, it's just the teenagers dealing with various issues. They make uncertain choices between conformity and non-conformity. The school is defining and obsessing what the bible says, but they forget about society standards that is one thing. The theme is through offering virginity to save a Christian, who are told to save themselves for that special moment, is ironic in all aspects ceasing a challenging finish.

Final Grade: B-/C+

Dirty Harry (1971)
Starring Clint Eastwood, Andrew Robinson, Harry Guardino, Reni Santoni, John Verson, John Larch

Film Prophet's Review...
"I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement... I've kinda lost track myself. Being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question... do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?" Clint Eastwood embodied a character that seems he always acts as. He is inspector 'Dirty' Harry Callahan, an Eastwood well-respected character without Western values adjusting towards it, similar to Cooper's character in High Noon. He got his nickname Dirty from not playing any favorites, he hates everybody. The cool detective doesn't need to say anything to be trendy... the style of his clothes and music drum theme says it all. In San Francisco, a spy using binoculars and a rifle is a sniper invading privacy. The victims he rapes and kills are mostly free-willed hippies and young children. He kidnaps a girl as Harry must find him and her without killing the killer, while the killer asks for bounty as Harry goes on a chase in the beginning. It's up to Eastwood to put an end to this, and comes across a couple other homicide assignments, but he is more concerned with catching the killer. A cop with little regards to the law ignores the chief all he can before his wits gets him into trouble. The movie has a typical '70s method of direction since they all feel poised identically. The picture quality in the '70s are always second-rate to modern films and even films before its time using black and white. Color movies were getting into their prime in the early '70s, but they definitely needed to use some enhanced lighting. The movie transcends into moments of action on the ground and on top of building shooting across, and small talks about who the police are going after against the law, where the killer's rights are innocent until proven guilty. "When then the law is crazy." The school bus scene was the most exciting part. The psycho child molester who plays dirty frames Harry, but Harry plays dirty back.

Final Grade: B/B-

Braveheart (1995)
Starring Mel Gibson, Catherine McCormack, Brendan Gleeson, Tommy Flanagan, Sophie Marceau

Film Prophet's Review...
Continuing the pits of the best Oscar motion pictures, and hopefully finalizing it with this review, William Wallace, Gibson, is a commoner during the thirteenth century and unites his Scottish people against England. A basic concept story of British men in skirts fighting for freedom, who didn't wear any underpants as shown from the mooning scene. In this medieval warfare time, the brief historical context explains a cruel king of England claiming Scotland and the Scotland nobles fighting for power against the English thus opening the film. Throughout the movie, the musical score is composed by Scottish pipes and gives an Irish tune to it. There's a couple minor love stories, which weren't strong enough, who cares, but there has to be one for the convention of creating some romantic interest in a drama film so it doesn't come across too queer. William Wallace was a gratifying story, but the rest was just there... director Mel felt the movie needed more humdrum scenes. Poorly choreographed battle scenes in the movie of men running around killing each other in a muggy, dark green colored environment all the time, though, not everything can be Peter Jackson vision, but this stuff isn't' even near it. The Scottish troops were usually out-numbered in the gruesome and violent battles that showed plenty enough gore. Actually, the innocent victims involved are the horses getting stakes through their bodies not knowing what is going to happen... poor creatures. Yea, and it's three hours of the same material and message. Through some burdensome moments and just the opposite, death and violence, the movie begins with young William as a kid facing saddening results of seeing dead bodies including his own father. However, I didn't feel the affection for the characters. The direction didn't slightly tried at that, beginning with some boring exposition that didn't adjust right. It most likely needed a better screen write, that will do. Once more, it did win best picture, but get into the plot already. There's only two familiar faces in the entire cast who are Gibson and Brian Cox. Gibson's memorable long hair and half blue painted face remains a representation of the movie. He had a notion of freedom and that's all he ever said in his speeches referring to that term. They died for what they believe in. "You come to fight as freemen... what would you do without freedom?" William can't get an adequate amount of freedom so he wants more, but it fires back upon him in England for stretch out humiliation, thus expanding the movie another hour. People love these heroes and it is them who live on in memories. It's always about sorrowfulness and revenge in these before time films... the sneaky device used to make the movie better. It's not among the best revenge-battle films, but it's a considerably decent one.

Final Grade: C/C+

Gladiator (2000)
Starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielson, Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou, Richard Harris

Film Prophet's Review...
In time of imperialism, the Roman empire expands its power over the rule of Caesars. There were high rates of death during this time as when a Roman general named Maximus. Crowe, from Spain is betrayed and his wife and son is murdered led by a prince Commodus Caesar, Phoenix, Maximus is a prisoner who sought to be dead and comes forth for his revenge at Rome as the best gladiator. Many people know Film Prophet has hate for his movie. This is Film Prophet's most disliked act of them all with Russell Crowe, who delivered nothing but a textbook performance, even though it earned him an Oscar due to meager competition. The academy must have been bribed to give this movie the best Oscar picture too. The voice and accent used by all the characters were too quaint. I wasn't a fan of the supporting cast either. It tries to be all things to the audience, but the movie fails at almost every turn, until the final end. It was emotionally tame, thematically exaggerated, and structurally jumbled. There wasn't even a spec of humor and usually some dramas have some sort of comical relief of visuals or remarks. The makeup and costume design are two of the most over-rated features in the film. Phoenix does not look like Phoenix... it appears he has added weight or that makeup disrupted his facial texture, and those fur coats were too vexing. The scenery was mediocre... it wasn't eye-popping that would leave the viewer in awe. The lighting was terrible as it was too dark in majority of the scenes with that darkish-blue tint. Even the battle scenes were tiresome and unorganized. Film Prophet has seen way better directed battles than this, except for the gladiator battles, which is why Film Prophet will give props to this movie so it isn't going to fail. After the first big battle in the opening of the movie, nothing happens for a long, long time. Film Prophet faced too many frequent dull scenes that could have been eliminated. The movie was an over-hyped film by Ridley Scott. Scott is known for creating dawdling, monotonous scenes that the viewer just doesn't want to heed to and it's where the viewer would get up and take a bathroom break. The music score was at least uplifting and established to keep me in tuned between some bad scenes. Hardly any emotional impact is present besides the adventures Maximus takes. The various talks between Commodus and Lucilla has to be the worst conversations ever. Poorly integrated written dialogue put me through insidious consisting of face to face talks about courage and being merciful all the time. It's a commonly revengeful film where a man is accused and everyone is against him for his death until he wins them over with his charm and talents. It reminds me of the elements used in Spartacus, Ben-Hur, and The Count of Monte Cristo. Djimon Hounsou gives the best performance in the film. He is the first person who meets Maximus as a slave who became an underdog fighter not showing his skills too early until the time comes. For entertainment reasons, Ancient Rome loved bloody fights in the coliseum. "Have you seen anything like that before? I didn't know men can build such things." This is where Maximus was in front of many people with his fellow prisoners in the fierce gladiatorial battles to show off some skills with his sword and shield. He gave hope to all the slaves and has a dream that men will be free of corrupt rule. The only great parts about the movie were the bloody, violent battles of war with great visual effects... the intense one on one battle with tigers on chains at the sides that ends with chants of 'Maximus' over their leader Commodus and the stingy cowardly acts of fighting by Commodus. The movie is not America's cinema at its best... in fact, it's not even close.

Final Grade: C-

Apocalypse Now (1979)
Starring Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Frederic Forrest, Sam Bottoms, Albert Hall, Dennis Hopper

Film Prophet's Review...
Captain Benjamin Willard, Sheen, who gives an excellent performance, waits around for a mission to start in a bedroom as he gets frustrated and nervous. When a couple of soldiers arrive to his bedroom, he is faced with shocking news given the order to terminate a colonel, Brando, who has unacceptable conduct and is still commanding troops in Vietnam. He's an American officer who is aging past his time. Willard leads a platoon of a soldiers on boat without them knowing exactly where they are going. Willard is willing to take risks, but most importantly, he wonders what he will find and what to do when he meets the colonel. A well-known cast whose acting is superb as an ensemble that also includes Harrison Ford, Laurence Fishburne, and Robert Duvall in somewhat fine roles. The movie is greatly written and the performances and camera perfectly match its writing. Hopper is a photojournalist and all the attention is to him when he speaks. Credit is given to director Francis Ford Coppola too, who creates a metaphoric movie that is fascinating, yet has a devastating atmosphere. The cinematography of the field and sky were attaching to the eye. It's the most accurate Vietnam war setting film. from the arrival on land with absolute loudness that is so realistic without flaw of various men and the media there to film. Outstanding composed music tune featuring a freaky, stimulating score that sounds as if it comes from a old horror movie, when something is up with the mission. It would fade out then back in to show a different set. The shooting effects and persona engagement is highly involved and there are times to give the viewer a chance to breathe and a chance to be concerned. There is a scene where Willard finds out there are soldiers without a commanding officer and where a soldier has fears of a tiger leading to momentary insanity. "Never get out of the boat." The playmate entertainment scene was a great piece of work... a whole bunch of rowdy men in seats and three models just off a helicopter dancing around on stage by the water drove the men to wild reactions like they haven't seen a woman in years. Most everything is done right to make a Vietnam war film. The sounds, fades, music, camera views, voices, lighting, images all pulsate in a haunting funky vibe. Through gaseous napalm bombs, smoking cigarettes doesn't kill... war kills. There is a sense of lack of direction and wisdom in the world. "I used to think if I died in an evil place, my soul wouldn't make it to heaven." Willard reveals facts from letters and photos through difficult situations on the boat to the audience by narration of the colonel who was accused of murder by the army. The suspense of wait to see the colonel's physical presence was very effective. He's an old scary figure in the movie. "We train young men to drop fire on people, but their commanders won't allow them to write f*ck on their airplanes because it's obscene."

Final Grade: A/A+

City of God (2002)
Starring Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Phellipe Haagensen, Douglas Silva, Seu Jorge

Film Prophet's Review...
In a violent neighborhood, two boys grow up and go in different directions with their lives. One becomes a ruthless gangster and the other wants to live up his dream by being a professional photographer. They both have power as one shoots with guns and the other shoots with a camera with his chance to become a big photographer at the end of an intriguing. The story is about youth life of being a gangster, where they are not in school. It seems every teenage got around with a use of a gun and guns were the symbol to show they have strength and vast superior over people who don't. Those people are helpless without guns, but the cops try to come in time from time to prevent any violent occurrence. The controllable cops make the gang's life even worse and effect their love ones too. "The place was full of cops. The robbers run away." When Rocket, the photographer's, gang brother dies, he once told him that he is smart and the only way to escape the ghetto is by going to college. Rocket narrates the story, who grows up with a group of friends without being in a gang, but still have hideouts. There weren't jobs available so they steal to get money even if their parents don't want them to take money that's not theirs and work for it. Lots of people were homeless and set on the ghetto in Rio De Janeiro, but came there for a paradise devoid of electricity. These gang members had no fear of dying at a very young age and it makes the viewer have second thoughts if these are really kids doing all this. There are incidents where they act like adults such as driving a car without a license and being too young for love and sex. The movie is not an English-American film, but Film Prophet still has notable respect for the Portuguese film. The first act of violence the movie pictures is where the main gang goes and robs a rich Caucasian motel when they are having sex at night so they are powerless against the kids with guns. That scene becomes a memorable one along with the flashing lights in the club scene later in the film when they become teenagers. Film Prophet can see why this got a surprising Oscar nod for screenplay last year. Film Prophet was so impressed and affirms that everyone will be. It's similar to a Portuguese version of American History X with imagery of Goodfellas. Based on a true story and it's perfectly shot, especially the scene where a gang member named Hairy was shot once and could not make it in time to a car on the move with his girl inside it so Hairy runs from the cops as they shoot at him and the view shifts from the girl's view blinding us of the houses in the way building dramatic effects. The screenplay is consistently profound with always some circumstances. Life routes on a course after the first robbery and separates them, but they are still gangsters. The youngest of them was thought to be dead, but he wasn't. He wants to rule the City of God. His name is Ze, where Firmino gave a lifting performance to his character, as he grew up to be the most dangerous gangster at age eighteen. Ze grows up with the coolest gangster, Benny, to the top, but Ze is overly obsessed with control. Ze wants Redneck, head of another gang, to die. There are a whole bunch of other characters like Knockout Ned in the movie where they enter the story at a great correct time so the audience won't forget them. They each have a history behind them to why they decided to take up being a gangster. They are kids in the '60s to teens in the '70s, not living under their parents anymore, so they buy clothes and food with money from cocaine deals. In the '70s, the setting is the same, but there are two rival gangs fighting for control led by the violent Ze and other by Redneck. It's a deep plot including a new age of a gang called the Shorties, who are little kids just robbing bakeries all the time and don't understand the rules of being a gangster. They are the gang of coming since Ze set the influence on them and the cycle starts all over so Ze can't take it and violently abuses the little kids who end up crying. Watching children killing other children and innocent victims is somewhat disgraceful, but it's directed to have an emotional affect on the audience. The childhood gangsters' reality and historical life was so rationally portrayed and all the events happen in a chain reaction that will keep one watching to see what would happen next. Extremely well written filled with top-notch intense drama developing step after step and never failing one bit. The shots are in sequence with the camera moving instead of one still shot, but throughout the plot, everything connects where the plot reveals an answer to a contemplate scrutiny. It sets tremendous pace and it's always engaging. A shocking, brilliant chilling twist in the 'beginning of an end' final sequence that will leave anybody with goose bumps.

Final Grade: A