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Film Prophet's Movie Reviews Page 7

 

The New World (2005)
Starring Colin Farrell, Q'Orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale

Film Prophet's Review...
During the seventeenth century America in Jamestown, European explorers collide with the Native American culture. The primary storyline is the relationship between explorer John Smith and young Indian princess Pocahontas. Smith and Pocahontas quickly form an intimate bond from smiling at each other, soon to be tested when Smith is not always there. John Smith was just part of a small number of ships that set sail from England. The film is very sensitive to historic content and there are not many relevant scenes of it. Instead of opening up details, it stays with the philosophical theme of man and nature, an uncommon theme in the majority of American films, not so for director Terrence Malick. Malick is an expert at showing the disparity between Earth's most natural possessions, such as grass, wind, water, trees, to the people who are determined to subsist with them. His visual skill keeps the viewers looking at the beauty and poetic features, but only for sometime. There is this one scene with the camera staring ahead onto the river moving on from a boat where the river is free and clear; only nature noises are heard. Then entering the forest, it begins to bring on a clatter, but not a big one as expected. As patient as a viewer can be, there is little lead into an interesting story to wait for. There is plenty of mindless wandering around forest and fields. There were too many scenes of conditional portrayals and not enough effects or prime character conflicts. Majority of the film is spent presenting people wrestling through tall weeds and swamps while the audience has no idea where anyone is going and heading. The other times are from a voiceover asking hypothetical questions stretching over the plot with this that begins more than once. The story is always secondary to the artistic discovery of two cultures. The Natives are shown rejoicing and dancing with their innocence and easiness. The Europeans are mostly advanced in weapons with guns during the journey of exploration. Timid by guns, the Natives try to equal their aggression, bar from the nameless, futile battles. They can't communicate to each other through language. However, the scenes where the English talk to each other ends up similar to the boring conversations and judgments to The Alamo and King Arthur. The history aspect is low with no substance or any great sort of growth such in How the West was Won. That also had culture, adjusting to new territories, and length in the picture, but it also elevated the story's pivotal moments, something that's few in this film.

Final Grade: C+/C

Junebug (2005)
Starring Embeth Davidtz, Amy Adams, Benjamin McKenzie, Alessandro Nivola

Film Prophet's Review...
The wife of a newlywed travels with her husband from Chicago to North Carolina to meet her new family in-laws, who her status is somewhat diverse from this middle class Southern fragile family. Her husband has tried to separate himself from the family and culture, and he barely spoke with them for three years and then he comes home. The movie represents Southern roots tying in religion, unhappiness, tides, and bondings. The movie is also reminiscent of the way the movie In America portrays a family through love, eccentricity, birth, anticipation, and sadness. Life is a sequence of happenings, introductions, and conflicts, and the viewer's observation on these people are from the first impressions. The film opens with an annoying clip of two men yodeling, which just isn't the most significant part of this culture. So that first impression there was bad, and then it was followed by random talking at an art auction that is very much ignored. The father is quite humble and works in the basement with wood that makes a tedious sound to listen to, almost as the sound of kissing on each side of the cheek. The simplicity aimed to be the strength of the story. Though, there were excessive shots of an empty and quiet surrounding, there is nothing charming about monotonous stereotypes. No one had the charm until Amy Adams arrives. They were uninteresting individuals in a cultural and societal jabber lacking in a complex thought. If it weren't for the mixing of Adams, there would be zero empathy almost. There is one huge heartbreaking moment though in the film, where Adams delivers a resentful quote, 'it was just all for nothing.' Adams, as a poignant pregnant country girl, had a funny delivery of some of her lines that weren't even comical if read plain, such as, 'you were not.' When questioned to any adult, 'do you have children,' it's almost a prized possession to have them just for conversation purposes between women. She's talkative, open, and optimistic, so diverse from her father and her husband who are limited in speech, an opposite representation of her, which is awesome because they're men. McKenzie a s the inarticulate high school dropout husband is not engrossed by the arrival of the newlyweds. When he was once asked, 'how was your day,' he yells, 'when's dinner.' Only conversations with Adams in it, about her, or with her presence around them, is where the movie excelled. However, this is only true in parts of the first half. During the middle, it appeared she is ready to expect the baby, but she is lost in the film, and reminded that her role is supporting like everyone else's. The film was overwhelmed with happiness then cheerless afterwards.

Final Grade: B-/C+

Match Point (2005)
Starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Emily Mortimer, Scarlett Johansson, Matthew Goode, Brian Cox

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by Woody Allen, a former tennis pro, Chris, Rhys-Meyers, is hired as a tennis instructor in London to teach a young man named Tom, Goode, whom Chris finds much in common with. From there, Chris begins dating Tom's sister Chloe, Mortimer, while developing an attraction affair towards Tom's fiancée, Nola, Johansson, a temptation in which Chris can't have. In a brilliant late career resurgence from Allen that doesn't have the slightest comedy, but the romance and indecision of characters is something he's came across in his usual modest themes of marriages and affairs... relationship topics with unintended delicate invidious. The tennis ball goes over the net back and forth and when it doesn't go over and drops, one loses, but there's someone that'll win. However, to who wins and gets lucky is yet to be determined until the final moment. Tom often offers Chris invites to his country home, dinner, films, or operas, as opera is the music in the background during the movie sometimes. Johansson as this seductive unstable love interest is remarkable looking nice in her white outfits. Her and Rhys-Meyers secretly find time to have clever and flirting conversations, exploring sexual motives. They complement on one another's appearance over socializing with guilty questions and alcoholic drinks during the first half of the film. Much of reviewing this film would be discussing excellent points in the story that's relevantly fundamental that follow a set of characters. What may seem like simple characters in the start are really everything in all its complexity. Allen directs it so leisurely handling situation developments of people who are unhappy inside of lust. He's a master in creating believable characters and situations. Particularly when Nola becomes anxious to see Chris time from time while he's away on business or family trips. Allen's great camera work would make almost any viewer think of someone initially during a scene of hearing instant words and then revealing it seconds later it isn't. The direction outthinks the audience. Chris' interesting excuses and improvising lines to cover mysterious phone calls is in a very stirring second half that was better than expected that could have sled to a bore, but there weren't any of those minutes. How Chris handles the unresolved situation is compelling, done smartly, by the direction, acting, pretty much everything involved. The film evokes nervous tension here for Chris and the screenplay is essential in all areas. The audience gets to watch Chris try to juggle it all safely and private, yet nothing is planned. It finishes with a very eccentric, surprising resolution that recalls suspenseful forties films with homicide. In fact there is even a twist in irony of a wedding band element related to the tennis ball representation. "She picked the wrong time to come up, some people just don't have any luck."

Final Grade: A/A-

Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Starring Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway, Randy Quaid, Linda Cardellini

Film Prophet's Review...
Director Ang Lee creates a moving movie experience with excellent performances from a very gifted young cast especially from Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal on their bravery in taking on challenging material and making their characters unavoidable between each other. Besides the beautiful blends of the sky and landscape together, the movie's most compelling art is the interesting depth to the storyline with the characters' early choices to young lives. About a half hour, Ennis, Ledger, and Jack, Gyllenhaal, get acquainted by their lonesome out on a summer ranch job by means of sheep cattle, roasting some beans, and whiskey drinking. The gripping film follows through Annie Proulx's short story of a couple, simple men after their one intimate summer eventually creating an immediate sense of closeness and discomfort that is compelled by their own misery and fears of sexual honesty. The earnest storytelling sympathizes despite any viewer's own sexual preferences. During the years after the one summer, both of them get married to women, probably just to meet society's expectations and to hide the truth. Ang Lee's direction towards these emotional circumstances exists in the foretell that love lasts a lifetime and it comes back, carrying a memorable quote, "I wish I knew how to quit you." The sad finish has big effect unconditionally, and keep note on a missing shirt. Lee directed all of it very well, and the terrific connections of the strings in the musical score went right like everything else to this attaching motion picture. The arrival of every character had some remark, including the older parent roles. Parts of the film were played with subtle humor, such as the thanksgiving dinner sequence with the television. However, the scene with the biggest impact was when two drunken men got in the way of Ennis and his wife during a fireworks display where Ennis confronts them. The force from this scene accompanied by the sound of the fireworks exploding was enormous. Two other great scenes was when Alma, Williams, as Ennis' wife, looks on from a screen door, and when Ennis recalls a story to Jack about a similar relationship with a tire iron ending. The audience will retrace the story's heavy scenarios that lead to one remarkable ending. Anna Faris' cameo role was quite exciting as the typical and delightful talkative Texan woman. All four from the starring cast bare it all. Michelle Williams' anxious wife character is just waiting for the truth, and the findings of a fishing pole was astonishing. She is vulnerable to the situation, and Michelle is super in her supporting role. There was no false movement from Ledger, and he was impressive. Jake was warm and he included an outstanding performance in a scene in the later half of the film towards Ledger. Their characters' adversity affects not only them, but the people closest to them, such as children and wives, and even the viewer's sobering eyes and caring intensity inside. The movie begins quiet much like Ennis. He is the main character and he is not the first one to talk or greet. True that men just don't talk that much, it's a sign of indecision by Ennis. He is later caught up with kids, a job, and a wife, so finding time with Jack Twist was hard to come by. The themes have separate interpretations on homosexuality being far from a criminal, and if one wants a change to his or her life, that person will have to take that risk. The story in this movie gives Ennis and Jack little consolation because they cannot truly accept their nature anywhere but at Brokeback because they fear at the time and place that they could be murdered if found. The Brokeback Mountain title means the world of their own out on the ranch. No females and no society pressures exist because it's the two of them by themselves with nothing wrong. As Emmylou Harris sings, 'Who cares where we go on this rutted old road in a world that may say that we're wrong.'

Final Grade: A

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
Starring Alec Guinness, Dennis Price, Valerie Hobson, Joan Greenwood

Film Prophet's Review...
Young British actor Alec Guinness plays multiple roles and showcases his versatility in an alleged comedy. Before his death sentence, Louis Mazzini, Guinness, decides to write his story in his cell to last after he is gone. During his story, when his mother died, her only wish was to be buried in the family plot, which was denied, making Louis mad. Louis decides to murder each member of the D'Ascoyne family one by one in order to obtain revenge and inheritance to become the Duke. Each of them are also played by Guinness. Eight different members of the clan are presented in different wardrobes with the same careless unconscious mind of Louis and his intentions. The speculation of the movie is its humorous take on murder planning and results. However, it relies on bleak satire and dry social wit. It's not a comedy that will have one laughing out loud, or laughing at all. Humor is quite rare because the film is sometimes uninteresting to acknowledge. The story was constantly expressed word by word in Guinness' voiceover narrative in a very slow paced film. It's the same thing all the time; unsurprising. There's no presence of stirring material and it's in a rather tiresome, old voice narration. The victim heirs don't get much attention until they're written off, but not really because no death is really memorable. The sound quality's reception is the weak part, as it hurts the film. The static chat is quick, but slow, with no sight of hilarity. The sound didn't come out too clear so the viewer would need really sharp ears to comprehend the story. It remains only heard through Guinness' narrative flashback in very long voiceovers to the next scene as a thought process of perspectives. The romance areas with women had very little significance and had no activity that stayed in the same setting mostly. There are scenes with Guinness just courting one of the two ladies with nothing humorous going on, as they settle for a fireplace talk. As one woman says that she married the dullest man in London, well, she's got something right.

Final Grade: C/C-

Run Lola Run (1998)
Starring Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup, Nina Petri, Armin Rohde

Film Prophet's Review...
Time is running out for Lola who has twenty minutes to come up with one hundred thousand within twenty minutes. Her boyfriend, who works for a local criminal, calls her in panic from a phone booth. He tells her the story of how he lost the payment bag on the subway, so she leaves her apartment on nearly an impossible mission. The ninety minute German suspense and action film is very original. By initial instincts on her feet, Lola is on the run because there is no time for cars... stop lights or signs would be in her way and she'd be speeding of course. On this continuous street adventure that begins the story, there's no inner thought process during her run, but the people and things she passes by makes a subtle difference to the plot later on. The best interaction between Lola and her boyfriend come during a flashback when they lay on bed before a red filter screen questioning and asking each other the existential questions to test love and recovery. During her run in present time, the camera is the main tool for a while. Her jogging is equivalent to the pace of the music, camera panning, and unexhausted tilt zooms. The camera does the stunt work with slow motion aerial shots, speedy camera pans, quick transitions and cuts, crane shots, animated segments, and split screens of urban Berlin with beating techno music like a fast rhythm video game... when one goes down in defeat, one has the option to reset. The script uses many hectic stipulations to proceed the adrenaline this film has. The storyline has stunning conclusions at the end of each cycle in the plot, along with interesting altercations. Through the consequences under time and pressure, there is a father affair, car crashes, gambling, robbing, high pitched screaming, and gun standpoints, all in different scenarios. The dazzling technical film is about how life consists of the decision one makes. There's a vast importance of time; a one second delay can push the wrong or right button. Everything placed in the story, vehicles, problems, person... anything, appears again, all the way down to the amount of time she has to get the money as a significant number executed for a special forthcoming. To recall the past and future, the film operates at flash photography of rapid pictures in sequential order of events in life. This proves how every little thing from beginning to end ultimately shapes one's future, and it's amazing to witness. Words, bumps, or surprises, the turning point is a reiterating multiple chance of accident that finishes with acutely the best outcome of fate and fortune.

Final Grade: B+/A-

American Pie: Band Camp (2005)
Starring Tad Hilgenbrink, Arielle Kebbel, Eugene Levy, Jason Earles, Tara Killian

Film Prophet's Review...
To learn to be considerate, Matt Stifler is forced to join band camp the summer before graduating high school as punishment to an incident. Matt Stifler, from the first minute, already tries to be obnoxious Steve Stifler, his older brother, way too hard... his brother must have been his role model. He acquires his humorous slang language, last name reputation, and crude attitude towards everything in life. He imitates his usual facial reactions, funny profanity one-liners, and immature behavior in public. This makes up the majority of the film's supreme effort for laughs. He's almost in every scene revolving around him. He fits in the primary character as the defiant one, opposed to Jim in the previous three as the sensual, casual one. Some original characters get slight mentions as to what they're occupied with... Jim's dad turns up in the movie. The story contains Matt constantly getting into trouble and playing tricks on each other. More people now than ever tolerate and discipline a Stifler because they know what's probable in a Stifler's behavior. There are some other interesting things to keep attention to, such as video spying, competitive rival school band, roommate, and former girlfriend as the band leader. It's somewhat useless storyline doesn't use the central characters in the previous three, so it's more of a new generation of a new young cast in a movie that's really just using the title of a trilogy of films to transpire sales. The traditional rock alternative music is present, but there's rarely any nudity, least amount in any American Pie title. The most attractive females don't receive any expansion... Tara Killian was underused. Those female camp counselors after a nice celebrated introduction don't ever do anything. In the first American Pie, at least four females had notable roles. There's more nudity from Stifler than anyone else. The acting for this teenage comedy was punctual and funny for the first quarter than anticipated until when Matt turns in reflection to actually join in with the band... the film turns to no comedy and just a plain little story of turmoil and forgiveness where nothing memorable happens except that instrumental tune the band plays for the last composition.

Final Grade: C/C-

Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
Starring Ziyi Zhang, Michelle Yeoh, Gong Li, Ken Watanabe

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by Rob Marshall, the technical achievements are marvelous, the chief feature of the film. Make-up, costume designs, art direction, and cinematography are noticed and envisioned by a lot of work and effort into it. A young girl, Ziyi, is removed from a remote fishing village whose life changes when she is sold away and separated from her maternal sister to learn the ways of the geisha, as more challenges await for her. From a conflict with her new jealous older sister who is a geisha and like an evil step-sister, Ziyi is taken as an understudy. Her transformation shows a young girl's rise from poverty to life in a society she didn't expect, which eventually takes a turn. A geisha is a woman schooled in the art of dance to be in conversation and companion for wealthy men. She is taught social mannerism, and remains shy and grounded. There's beautiful details in the background behind three talented Chinese Stars, Ziyi Zhang, Michelle Yeoh, and Gong Li, who speak English in a film taking place in Japan, though Watanabe is Japanese. There is not one poor moment of acting, even the thirty minute childhood sequence was proficient. Gong Li's portrayal as the step-sister is alluring and striking, while Ziyi continues to be fervent and absolute. The dialogue and acting certainly proceeded the story. Besides Watanabe's character, whose character's name is heard and spoken like The German when it's The Chairman, all the other male characters have perplexing intentions with Ziyi's character. Her new mother like character almost seems to have setup an arrangement to her story in the film that is bounded and restricted to outside matters, such when the war happens, there is little reference to the Japanese military. Though the empathy in every character is not always there, the motion picture was entertaining to watch and expresses it's beauty through outstanding acting and well-designed plot and scenery. It's pleasing to the eyes and ears. "To judge a geisha is a moving work of art."

Final Grade: B/B+

The Producers (2005)
Starring Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Uma Thurman, Will Ferrell, Roger Bart, Gary Beach, Jon Lovitz

Film Prophet's Review...
"Keep it gay, keep it gay, keep it gay..." Those lyrics were correct in that one song because the film truly kept this play 'gay' on screen. The dazzling fast-paced, subtle giddy manic zest of a movie is based on a Broadway play, also based on one itself. Two-time Tony Award winners Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick return to their celebrated roles as Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom, a theatrical producer on Broadway and a public accountant with a desire to be a producer. Leo becomes Max's new accountant and looks at his books and notices something, as Max sees it as a scheme, an accounting scam to make more money in a flop than a hit. If they raise more money than they need for a sure flop on Broadway, they would make two million. Somewhat confusing, they go search for the worst combination of all aspects to getting a play together: writer, director, and performers. Like Max convincing Leo into joining him, the viewers have to wait along knowing there's a talented cast ahead. Lane was terrific, as the Broadway story runs threw his character, as the two act as neurotic guys. Actually, all the characters are hysterical with plenty of frailties, such as Bloom and his little blue blanket or Ferrell's German character making sure everything has to honor right to his Fuhrer. Uma as the new Swedish secretary was somewhat rousing in her opening song, though she entered the play a little too late and didn't get a lot to speak. Ferrell's loud character as the writer talks to pigeons on a roof, as both the two got limited singing time... most of it was Broderick. There's a few gawky funny parts, but most of it is cheap humor. It's a cute and silly type of film musical... the grannies dance of elderly rich widows' humor was in all sorts of places. The strange voices and peculiar facial expressions by everyone earned the most laughter, which means a couple small giggles. The homosexual satire is a little too much for an average audience to handle those odd gestures and hoaxes. The same second-rate material uses the same lyrics, such as, you can do it, to motivate a person in the story when a difficulty suddenly occurs. Some songs could be shortened down and not many musical numbers were that bad... except for the first one that opened it which saw an over-joyed audience coming out of a theater happy and singing, where some of their mouths didn't match up with the song and melody. It's very noticeable since they strain these smiles that any viewer would look at and see they aren't persuading with the song. The ending in this film contains so much in a short amount of time that it really was a big finale.

Final Grade: C+

Munich (2005)
Starring Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Geoffrey Rush, Ciaran Hinds, Mathieu Amalric, Michael Lonsdale

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by Steven Spielberg, a Mossad agent, Bana, leads a secret Israeli squad assigned to assassinate eleven Palestinians believed in the killings of Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympics. It is the government's alleged response to operate the pursuit of terrorists in revenge, as Vengeance was the film's initial title. The movie opens straight to the kidnapping and hostility, soon to be carnage behind, while the world watches it on television. Bana as Avner, who has mighty cooking skills and a hero for a father, is quickly hired to be the leader of a diverse group of four other men, who are inexperienced at assassinating finely, but qualified to their certain areas, as they become unguided men. Receiving vast sums of money, they go along with the given eleven targets all across Europe, while a French outfit sells them their information. The story is away from politics because the men are on their own. They have no associations. There's lots of humor with Bana and Rush's character about not obeying orders because Avner doesn't exist. The outstanding screenplay grips the audience's concern for Bana, by his anxious looks and sympathetic, burdened character. The scene where he speaks to his baby child on the telephone was truly the film's most priceless moment. Terrorism leads to murders that means violence. The film is among the most crafted works with violence, and probably the best with nonchalant aggression. In almost every scene of violence comes with astonishing scenery and that chilling musical score. Through the entire film, the safety for the men is low at all times, especially in scenes of high moments of intensity after the next, not knowing what to expect. Also, there's some inventive ways of eliminating people a la The Godfather. The dark cinematography of a rainy nightmare is absolutely gorgeous to look at, but daunting at its surroundings within that happens, The one highlighting scene that pushed its buttons was in the middle of the film with the colossal bomb blast in the upper balcony, neighboring Avner's room and a couple's bedroom. It's a dazzling remaining set piece with realized effects when the camera brings the audience in. It is difficult to elude the narrative with a redemptive nature of storytelling, superb editing, and exceptional acting. Sometimes Spielberg tricks the audience into what's about to happen, manipulative like Marie-Josse Croze's character. Stating a moral argument towards negotiating as a message from an important piece of cinema, the film is more effective and absorbing than the typical hostile action film. The themes are written inside the script by quote, such as, Everybody works for someone, You are what we prayed for, and Home means everything.

Final Grade: A/A-

The Great Escape (1963)
Starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, James Coburn

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by John Sturges, the movie tells a true story on a POW prison break of Allied servicemen during the second World War at a German camp. The officers main duty is to be aware of tunnels and prevent any escapes and if any happen, the men must be captured. There's a vast variety of characters ranging from forgers, carpenters, tailors, and from all origins. They dig the escape tunnel leading to countless, unmemorable attempts at escape for the last hour by everyone to different areas. First, this is not a war movie. There is not one battle or strategy war design. Second, it was devoid of the slightest humor. There's some silly stunts they pull on the guards, as it's a stunt fest than a real epic tale. The Germans speak rather unclear about nothing, using the unappealing dialogue they are middling though. It begins with an arrival of a hundred or so prisoners at a tidy camp, but no one is unforgettable from the start because the faces all look alike despite their different clothing. They wore their own unique clothes, like leather jackets, but they still get lost in the dozens of other men who have the same attrition and state of mind, unlike in Cool Hand Luke with a central character and exciting activity. There's little action for two hours, then the other hour of the escapes are unremarkable, basically ignoring it. The movie is noted for having human courage under extreme conditions. That is false. The guards spend the movie staring into space while the prisoners with sweaty faces look around at each other to see if they can actually do something interesting for once. The guards aren't even mean as one may think, but the guys want to escape as they don't explain reasons what for. There is no female or family longings, and the female absence is costly to this story. The camp itself in the forests of Germany looked too neat. The guys were managing to survive easily and they weren't in trouble or agonized by the guards. The movies Holes and The Longest Yard was tougher on its residents. The German guards in the prison are shown to be very lenient. The guys could have just stayed in until the war was over too. The storytelling was worse than expected because it didn't really portray the horrors of battle, unlike the Judgment at Nuremberg did through words, and the struggle for survival since they weren't in horrific conditions to begin with. There is nothing great about this escape; there are no main group of characters to remember. They go nameless, escape, get shot, or be brought back to the cooler. It spent it's time trying to build up McQueen's brave character, but the film is not taken serious because of that music score from Hogan's Heroes. The escapes were invisible because they didn't happen for a couple hours. The story needed to follow certain people better for some emotional attachment. There is not much difference with this movie with Mash or The Grand Illusion; they are all unfunny, uninteresting, and not moving to care, as it's a massive unsatisfying disappointment.

Final Grade: C-/C

You Can't Take It with You (1938)
Starring Lionel Barrymore, Edward Arnold, James Stewart, Jean Arthur

Film Prophet's Review...
An impending marriage between Tony Kirby, Stewart, and Alice Sycamore, Arthur, mingle with her huge eccentric family and his rich normal family before complications arise due to her very irregular family, headed by her kind grandfather. Her family falls in love with him, but the relation breaks up during a dinner at her home. The film stars the future group of other Frank Capra directed works and this is the first one that Capra worked with James Stewart on. Stewart doesn't get a whole lot to act with, but he remains star quality for the first time he appears on scene. The first scene he is in he is left out of a conversation while it looks he isn't quite listening in to the older male colleagues of his father. This is how the audience experiences the movie most of the time; the viewer is left out when Stewart isn't in. His sheer screen presence is required for the film's dialogue to succeed, rather, the story carries on without a point. For the majority of the film, not a bit was with Stewart and none were scenes of pivotal moments or dramatic tension. The first fifteen minutes were somewhat dry and useless when it didn't open up a single storyline after introductions of too many family characters, with such lines as, this is so and so, please to meet you. It is flat all the way through because there is not one steady conflict. The adults often talk about this Depression era, but it results in no sympathy when a hardship occurs, such when the main storyline goes off topic to a courtroom and jail time sequence. The movie is less effective than expected, as there is a large extent of very soft interaction with a large amount of numerous characters who come in and out of the play to say, how do you do. Even the conversations between Stewart and Arthur aren't really engaging because half the time the viewer is still overcoming the inane spinning around dancing and playing music in the living room deal. The script was chaotic... the fireworks in the basement usually went unexplained to a new person who witnessed hearing them. A better movie of this kind made in the same year is Bringing Up Baby. Many of the supporting characters needed some momentous comedy, but it was the lightweight type that's passed away like the movie is forgotten for a best picture winner.

Final Grade: C

Safety Last! (1923)
Starring Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, Bill Strother, Noah Young, Westcott Clarke

Film Prophet's Review...
In the silent comedy, a young man goes to the big city to make his fortune in America, and the concluding climax witnesses him climbing up a skyscraper. The guy lies to his girl about how well he is doing at his job, and the girl comes to the city to surprise him. Harold Lloyd has a fitting role as a physical daring man in silly predicaments so that he can impress his girl. The awe-amazement skyscraper sequence was shot with fine camera compositions including views all around him. There isn't a whole lot of context, but when it's around, it makes the mood slightly better in the beginning. It starts with referring to a longing and how time was spent away while the story accomplishes an introduction with a simple storyline and a few small scenes in a relatively short film leading up to one daredevil antic. The sight gags at the time the film was made was inventive since there weren't practical special effects. The first gag of the jammed trolley starts the madcap confusion because people are in a hurry in the city, so goofs will happen for humor. The first half was not fully exciting, as it continued with small run-arounds instead of a story to keep one into it, but there's some great photography of the city. The film goes through one character, provided by the great Harold Lloyd, who doesn't get an involving introduction though. He's in and out of locations fast and quick. His girl isn't much impact for a while. She is in awe over gifts and letters full of deception she receives through the mail. However, once she arrives on scene to his working location for a surprise visit, the story turns around and the both of them together on screen make a second half worth seeing. That is the turning point of advancement, and the film stays in position while it sets around one building location. When the girl wants to see his general manager office that's not really his, it is one example of him covering up the truth factor that is played cleverly. The last forty or so minutes following a newspaper announcement circles a crowd around Lloyd while he climbs up a building for money after he learns the store wants a gimmick to attract more people.

Final Grade: B-/B

Talk to Her (2002)
Starring Javier Camara, Dario Grandinetti, Leonor Watling, Rosario Flores

Film Prophet's Review...
During the tragic and lackluster Spanish film, two men meet at a private clinic where one works as a nurse. The other one's girlfriend is a bullfighter who is in a coma. The nurse is also looking for another woman in a coma, who is a young ballet student. The relationships of men with their women form from chances and accidents. Every scene dealing with ballet dancing and bullfighting is boring. The subplot of bullfighting is treated as the film's mere Spanish reference. The vision of Spanish life from this motion picture is lousy and far from sensitivity. The lives of four characters go in all sorts of directions, dragging the film behind them. All of them go towards a destiny during the tame plot development with characters who are extremely unlikable, with pathetic acting and poor face expressions and uncharismatic features. The film is subjected to the pointless lives of every single character and how the camera captures them. The melodrama has too much mediocre lines; they complain and get frustrated about each other... the romance isn't even believable. 'I'm sleeping on a couch until I decide to buy a new bed - No, it was my fault.' There's little continuity in almost anything the story does and slacks interest in whatever the characters will do, and they don't commit to doing much anyways. They are all unattractive and boring individuals who are surreal. The male nurse's job visualizes disgusting treatments on unclothed victims and images a viewer won't expect to see in a movie. The male nurse is a sick person who should never have been one. The nurses rub them with alcohol, oil, or water for minutes and it's repellent to see... this is not entertainment, drama, or beauty; the art values is on human and an abundant amount on female nudity that's ugly and unnecessary, as it focuses an overbearing attention to it. The camera work and panning shots are pompous and too showy in the design. The scenery everywhere uses a vacant almost eerie setting of emptiness, unsettling, and grieving of woe, as that sums up the movie in general. Waiting for it to end after viewing the first minutes, it never once had an attempt to improve, and it persisted to be disturbing. The artistic conventions were just horrible... it pictures helpless, dying people on a bed every few minutes to remind the viewers of how dreadful and meaningless the movie is. Most of the film is a bore and absurd to even follow along the subtitles and look at the picture when it places a weird image there leaving a sickening taste leftover.

Final Grade: F/D

King Kong (2005)
Starring Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Kyle Chandler, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks

Film Prophet's Review...
Director Peter Jackson's precision does justice to the original story of the gigantic gorilla captured on a tropical island and brought to civilization, where he meets a tragic fate. Only certain remakes are acceptable and only if it is handled in the right hands... Jackson puts it on a larger scale. It's three hours, twice the length of the original, containing ultimate staggering theatrical experience of activity, holding the entertainment span. Jackson's respectful dedication to his favorite film uses the same time period of depression and need of money. The cars, clothing, and architecture with the visual effects were tremendous and it's gripping with extensive action scenes of survival, whereas the fourth Jurassic Park has already been beaten to it. King Kong is not visible for the first third of the movie, which holds the suspense of the title character's first appearance. An analysis of the plot: A greedy film entrepreneur, Black, has no more funding into his projects and a second-rate theater actress, Watts, sees her play close down. He finds the girl, travels to Skull Island along with a fuming ship crew, and they find wild strange habitants who live there. A giant ape takes the blonde away from the habitants and the filming and ship crew try to get her back as they get chased by dinosaurs. The filmmakers face a decision to leave while they can or return with something special. The actress knows that King can not leave his home island, but Black's character takes him off to showcase him to the world to get rich, but Kong breaks from his chains and goes wild, as he finds himself in the same area of intimidation. Not even America can offer Kong his liberty. What's peculiar is that the crew just took Kong back to Times Square over any of the existing or dead dinosaurs. They could have brought back a dead t-rex, but that would not have made a fresh live show. The cast is very likable... Jack Black makes his character so reprehensible and worthy of note, Adrian Brody was also outstanding as the screenwriter who falls in love with Watts... and Watts' perfect performance releases lung power and raw emotions as the film goes through her and elicits back on Kong. Ann Darrow's bravery and humor gives Kong real reason to care for her. The film goes into the character depth to the crew that includes extreme momentum starting on the ship voyage questioning a mysterious island. Vastly entertaining sequences continue with the arrival on the island to encounter disturbingly, freaky natives to the Brontosaurus stampede rush. The crew's helpless attacks from creatures and big spiders have odds against them and the film moves between protracted action scenes to Kong and Darrow having fun together with adventures. Kong is hypnotized by Darrow's beauty and saves her from a few Tyrannosauruses while she gets tossed around and takes a beating like everyone else. Kong notices Darrow's kind and genuine heroine and it turns into frustration and repression of violent matters. Kong runs by and stomps, bites, and drops people carelessly in order to sustain her as long as he can to seal the moment of time. The monstrous ape action continuously finds new horror sensibility and it serves the story well, as so does the dark sense of humor, as the film is beautiful yet sad. The action dazzles and surprises and this screenplay wrote a new page in the film textbook on how to technically put a spectacular showcase together in one stunning film.

Final Grade: A-

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)
Starring Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Tilda Swinton

Film Prophet's Review...
Based on the novel by CS Lewis, four London children are sent away to a country home for protection during the second World War. Lucy, the youngest of the four, goes through a magical wardrobe past coats that leads to a snowy world of Narnia. Of course, no one believes her right away. Narnia is ruled by an evil witch and to defeat her, they join forces with Aslan, the lion God of Narnia. The storyline is simple for some time in the beginning, and this is when the lousy acting from the kids arrives through the first twenty minutes or so. Selfish Edmund acts his role the best from them, and he is tricked by the white Witch into some candy. As so, the entire movie was one big tease. The camera closes up on the kids' big grins gawking while widening eyes when they see something new for the first time. Nobody was really likable; the witch's first appearance was engaging, however, due to predictability, evil will lose... even her vicious wolves were quite cool. The special effects and costume designs were okay, but didn't have much creativity as it can be compared to other fantasy war films with non-human characters that go towards clichés and facetious comments. Mainly, the film cheats when it uses piercing and thunderous music during almost every scene. It's accompanied by an overbearing musical score that grows every five minutes from a poignant happening to uplift and deeply connect viewers. Eliminate the music and the film is left with talking beasts and orc-looking creatures. The defining character moments after deaths is where the story bloats and becomes full of itself, especially where Peter thinks he is all great with a sword he gets. The sword fights were terribly shot in a few slow motion sequences where this untrained kid can defeat so many of these orc creatures. Tilda Swinton as the white Witch persisted an evil threat and she was the best element of the film. Her mystical powers freeze victims to death was a jolt. Liam Neeson's voice for the lion was astounding. The four kids without a clue run along two beavers unprepared to endure consequences for their troubles that are plunked on everyone around them. The depending on siblings anecdote makes a weak parable addressed within the first few minutes and it stretches out. There are some new biblical myths the audience is unfamiliar with that restore hope suddenly placed at times evil is on the brink of victory... it escapes mortality. It begins with a fictional London setting to fantasy beyond boards to a crusade battle with liberation to veracity.

Final Grade: C/C+

Syriana (2005)
Starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Christopher Plummer, Jeffrey Wright, Chris Cooper, Amanda Peet

Film Prophet's Review...
The political film intrigues several storylines weaved to illuminate the human consequences of the global oil industry. A CIA operative, Clooney, drenches to uncover the truth about his work, an oil broker, Damon, finds a new partnership with a Gulf prince, and a corporate lawyer, Wright, faces a dilemma about the merger of two big American oil companies. There's numerous failed policies in the Middle East floating around in the film that centers around Arabic operations in the oil industry. The times the story leans into the lives of the workers on the fields who get laid off, it shifts into a connectionless viewer involvement during their non-English dialogue. Peet's wife character to Damon was just there to add at least one female association into the story. Otherwise, it would be about a dozen of men across the world who loathe each other over diplomatic conversations that result in fury. She provides awkward family moments to show how concentrated Damon is into his private counseling firm. However, the movie regards to the oil industry and legal complications, not these small sub-stories. The business written material acts smart and then the direction bares at how it avoids emotions. Clooney was no where to be found or mentioned for a long time near the middle of the movie. One character leaves the plot that moves from various places around the globe where a viewer can truly not keep up with as it continues for the full length of the film. All characters are suspected without getting much sleep; they were too hard on themselves. They come and go with little introductions to what they do. There is no lead character because of this. Clooney's character tries to assassinate the Prince but his motivates are confused by the CIA's accusations, and this leads up to a final few minutes of an unacceptable ending. Two is the number of occasions Clooney and Damon were on screen together. Zero is the number of times they talked to each other. Their two separate stories join together and tersely concludes.

Final Grade: C+

Walk the Line (2005)
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick

Film Prophet's Review...
Johnny Cash overcame doors shut in his face and much more to become a singing legend while conflicting struggles of his downtrodden. He picked cotton early on with his family, sold door to door, and served in the Air Force. The story explores the early years of the music icon, an artist who rose above musical boundaries to move people around the country. Cash's life was rocked by the one woman who became the true love of his life, June Carter. Cash sang about factual material, received many fan letters and those prison ones were very touching, drank in a cool way, and ripped out an entire sink at a hotel. Joaquin Phoenix does a notch better than Jamie Foxx by actually singing the tunes in the film and he electrifies each note. Foxx just imitated Ray Charles' smiles and head bobs, and won an Oscar for it. Joaquin pulls this off fluently with sentiment striking emotion. This movie is a performers' film - it could have been awful in the wrong hands. This film is not a musical, as musicals sing dialogue to express its story. This is a biopic of real life portrayals of music artists and their lives. It is character-driven. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon each do first-rate work. They sing, they strum, and sizzle with charismatic and witty lines to entertain. Both the performers, and their true characters, formed an irresistible and charming bond. Their emotional connection transcends the movie while each of them go through transformations acquiring new altitudes. Being a huge fan of Reese and her ability to amaze with her films, this marks her finest and most sophisticated appeal from her performances. She is the backbone to the story and to Johnny Cash. She captures the struggle of a woman who alternately loves and fears for Johnny. The screen play, dialogue, makeup, costumes, and setting fit together in the structure and mesh with a steady surplus of comfortable, intense, funny, and drama scenes acted proficiently in the story that will surprise a lot of people, such as seeing Elvis, almost cloning the work of Cash, and touring with him on the same label crew. Directed by James Mangold, the storytelling moved really well, and so did the time continuum. It shows his troubling relationship with his father and his long battle to win the respect from him, and his first wife, Vivian, who was strict on house orders. The fact that he lost his brother at a young age played a big part in his life to come. The sound mixing was staggering to listen to. The music is just as affecting as Cash's life story that strings all the right chords. The singing was fantastic, the song, Ring of Fire, is etched in, while the songs Johnny and June collaborated on were just as magical as Joaquin and Reese, keeping the audience's attention generated during their romance.

Final Grade: A-

A History of Violence (2005)
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Ashton Holmes

Film Prophet's Review...
Based on the graphic novel, Viggo Mortensen portrays Tom Stall, a small diner owner in an Indiana town and a family man whose secret past comes back to haunt him. When two dangerous robbers come into the diner prepared to wreak havoc, Stall turns hero. Later in the week, a Philadelphia mobster, Harris, shows up at the diner claiming that Tom knows him, but convincingly Tom denies. His wife, teenage son, and young daughter are positioned into the danger of his memory lane. From the trailer, I didn't really buy into the performances and the cast, and thought it gave away a great amount of story. In the gritty modern environment, director David Cronenberg explored violence to an extent in which can be used in self-defense. Distinctively, he excels in most of the standards of filmmaking. The lighting, sound effects, and music score were the film's highlights, and the cinematography and screen play prevails. The still camera shots in the opening scene and angles following were fitting, and when there is no music, its authentic paced story is quietly unnerving. He controls the audience, possibly with strings, due to the tranquility and astonishes that blend with a moment for the viewers to think before the film shatters its revelations. The dialogue unifies the soaring events of violence and the film builds up momentum to sudden actions. Tom's quick moves are the action pieces, and when a character drops, it happens fast. The role of graphic violence can be seen else where, but it can not be put into place, that's how great he did this, like a Scorsese film. Everything is fasten, and it makes aged formulas from parts of universal plots new once more. Bello is the supportive, spicy wife and the feminine receptive to the discovery of her husband while responding in places of anxiety. Although, her coughing and vomit noises in the hospital visit were laughable. Again, even in that scene, the lighting was excellent. It goes into the context of a marriage, and there's a couple visual sex scenes. The scenes where the son faces a reoccurring ignorant bully is the tense area to the youth of the film. "In this family, we do not solve our problems by hitting people - No, in this family, we shoot them." Initially, the scene when the two robbers enter the bar was its most chilling part, until before the end during the climatic final spree is really special. William Hurt's small, but huge remarked role was magnificent during his twenty or so minutes of screen time. His delivery and execution is super enhancing the film. After saving people's lives, Tom's family gradually finds the truth of his human character. He is a friendly, subtle man in a simple story in a movie that runs around ninety minutes... the kind that any director could make. Cronenberg actively has nothing too original about the story and there is hardly any complexity. There's fantastic imagery, and it makes Miller's Crossing more terrible than it already is. Conventionally, his genius shines over how basic the film could have been and it aggravates that he did it so well.

Final Grade: B+/A-

Elizabethtown (2005)
Starring Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon, Judy Greer, Jessica Biel, Alec Baldwin

Film Prophet's Review...
Through the movie's music, Cameron Crowe's optimistic life flowing script has a plot that is unripe, goes backwards, and narrows down to a joyous disarray of scenes... it's an appetizer without the meal platter. Crowe uses pieces of music most people haven't heard that attempt to make the mediocre story better than it is. The voice of the film is really Tom Petty, the singer. After a bad billion dollar shoe product debut, industrial designer Drew Baylor, Bloom, learns about his father's sudden death. As the only son, he travels to his small hometown to attend his father's memorial. On the flight to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, he meets Claire, Dunst, a stewardess who helps him navigate the rough roads ahead. Drew, doesn't have a plan and talks more on a voiceover than to anyone... or by his cell phone. He is given many responsibilities as he handles work and family ordeals. Bloom, as a weaponless character no worse than in Kingdom of Heaven, has an agonizing expressionless face and gawks while Dunst is the happy radiant counterpart to not only him, but everyone else in the story. No one in this story is normal. Almost every character is worthless to the point of total exasperation. For example, when the family gets together for the first time in a long time following the father's death, it was very tedious, unfunny, and listless. Dunst, who I was just waiting for her to appear, came about cheery and over-delighted. She isn't given any credible lines, like the rest of the characters, and her repeating exit 60B quote was probably the worst moment for her on screen. The movie just doesn't work if there isn't some interesting or funny lines. The scenes where the mother learns chores she didn't do before and tap dances at the memorial are poor. Exhausting lackluster scenes where Bloom doesn't speak drains any energy anyone had right before this film. There are hundreds of ideas that show up for a jiffy and went no where with a slow pace. Not much was written to appreciate anything the movie offered. The film is empty besides the bodies on screen, as one's mind turns off. It was too light touch, using a tender relationship in quirky little moments without logical explanations. The music never really stopped and the performers didn't truly give valid efforts. They can not even overcome goofy senseless lines and an improper ending.

Final Grade: C-

Proof (2005)
Starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hope Davis

Film Prophet's Review...
The Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway play has a devoted daughter, Paltrow, dealing with the death of her father, Hopkins, a brilliant mathematician whose genius was crippled by a mental insanity. Her father's former student, Gyllenhaal, searches through her father's notebooks in order to discover a bit of his old past. Her estranged sister, Davis, shows up to help settle affairs. The quartet of a cast and long awaited release did not arrive with a likely push. The female side breaks through the script that begins lingering on a daughter-father conversation as if the father doesn't know much of her. The story is explained through staged conversations, and they were weak to attract. The screen play confuses itself and the characters get more baffled about the objective of the film. The stage production of this film is very theatrical, thus the adaptation does not go beyond the play. The writing was very jagged. Flashbacks to father scenes last for no more than ten seconds and the film flashes back and forth over a period of a few years to depict her father's decline and effects on her. At times, it isn't easy to distinguish what is reality or a memory. The film serves to blur as its limited narrative is stuck in the play's claustrophobic setting. It doesn't explain the two main concepts of her father; his mental capacity and his math proofs. The one time it does express a proof from his many books was on months and temperatures to formulate in everyday life. The madness and paranoia is really convoluted by Paltrow. She appears in almost every scene and makes her character as whiney and troubling as she can. She is full of remorse and largely confusion. The two sisters argue about what should be done, Gyllenhaal may not be too convincing as the studious type, same with Paltrow as a student on verge of graduating college, and Davis' character becomes unlikable fast. Although, the best acting part is when Paltrow goes up expectedly from pew to alter to talk truth about her father. Director John Madden didn't go a fair amount further than the blueprint of the stage play and so it drives over-acting points in a story that is dreary wiping out most cinematic qualities.

Final Grade: C/C+

Wrong Turn (2003)
Starring Desmond Harrington, Eliza Dushku, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jeremy Sisto, Lindy Booth

Film Prophet's Review...
Two vehicle accidents miles down the highway occurs for a carload of six young adults and one guy who find themselves stuck in the woods of West Virginia. Exclusive of knowing so, they are hunted down by cannibalistic mountain men who disfigure their victims with barbed wire, and chopping them to pieces. The worn out sub-genre, teen slasher, does not build its own legend, just as Jeepers Creepers and Cabin Fever, but it is the better of the three. All three seek to be different and tries to frighten off of bad managed run through sequences. The pathetic special effects are used to deliver it with performing shocks and gasps, as usual, and it's just not hip any longer. All three females, Dushku, Chriqui, and Booth, were welcoming to watch in the mindless film. The characters are gentle individuals trimly located in an area of neglect and desertion. They are forced to react from shady attacks and remain hush as the movie Deliverance did. The story that is tiny over the length of the movie has little advancements. It runs dry for a while until Dushku appears. The acting is lousy sometimes, though it is not easy to perform in these types of situations of horror. In moments, the script puts the characters in situations they don't know how to respond, such as the early car crash... you crashed my parent's car, you're paying for that, it was an accident. A couple smokes, then dies instantly. Everyone's behavior is inevitable, the camera angle vision off to the side obviously means the villain is preying, and no one has any bona fide lines. Most of the time, they say hello or calling out someone's first name when a person disappears. Apparently seven young adults didn't bring cell phones with them on a trip; at least put in the script that there's no reception in the forest. There's several aerial shots of the forest setting from the woods with many tall green trees. The watch tower was its most exciting feature and it was a really neat addition that helped out. The movie did improve from there slightly. The thin story is tolerable to watch, but with a small frown.

Final Grade: C-/C

Jarhead (2005)
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Evan Jones

Film Prophet's Review...
Anthony Swofford, a Marine sniper from the first Gulf War, walks through some aching issues reflected from a military enlistee standpoint. Swofford's memories come from a third-generation family member whose stint in boot camp turns to active duty in the Middle East. His staff Sergeant stresses a strong dedication to rifles, and his fellow Marines sustain themselves with sardonic humanity on blazing desert fields against an enemy they can't witness for a cause they don't fully comprehend. Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line examined nature with war on grass and in the forest; Sam Mendes demonstrates the troubling circumstances on an endless desert nixing much violence and keeping resentment. The plot converges on the disadvantage of being a Marine on ground while jets and planes above them get to work more effective and faster, and they can also sleep in their own beds at night. The comedy in the first half was really special. Several sexual references came at suitable altitudes of amusement... it is the funniest war film and it cripples M*A*S*H to pieces. They are never afraid to use profanity, that appears in almost every line in the first thirty minutes. The men hardly see combat, and in most war films, usually characters expand in war conflicts. The enemy isn't thoroughly in conduct and portrayed. However, Mendes uses them in other forms maintaining attention that aren't with a raid and deals with football, letters from girlfriends, amusing conversations, and treating water as beer. The movie in addition to its characters had one exciting buildup to ultimately slighter tenacities... the outstanding male cast uniformed expectations. Gyllenhaal, Sarsgaard, and Foxx manage to make their characters very likable. Jake had tons of remarkable scenes, Peter's ghostlike individual had many riveting moments, and there was even a time in the beginning I forgot that Jamie was a part of the movie. Everyone has an interesting story that is covered at appropriate times in the story. The language and situations, to the way they interact fixates the account of the life in the Marine Corps during Desert Storm. The Gulf War cinematography is gratifying and it begins with the funniest opening sequence to any war film. From there, it is a frustrating wait for war action. The emotional level does not reach the height of other great war films like Platoon, but it does place the viewer to a firsthand experience in the story. Its modern war time message is universal. Not every troop will see action... not every Marine will kill a man. Swofford and his pals where about intervals of clarity. They undergo a loss of purpose, then arrive with a war attitude, and co-op with each other in preparations as American soldier pawns. While it hints at excitement all the time, it tremendously leaves one with an empty reaction intended to be.

Final Grade: B+/A-