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The film is about a getaway driver and a heist that goes wrong, which gives you the inclination of a fast paced action packed flick. However, Drive couldn't be further from that. It's actually very slow in pace, car chases and high speed action are kept to a minimum(almost not at all) and it stops to take everything in. At a lesser degree I would praise it for it's better judgment, but its tone is just too subdued. Every scene is played out as minimal and quietly as possible. The lack of any acceleration to this film is burdensome.
Ryan Gosling's character in this film-who is nameless-takes 'the quiet type' to a whole new degree. I'm not sure if he has even 50 lines of dialouge in the whole film. He doesn't come across like the cool, retiscint types that actors like McQueen or Eastwood were known for, but only someone who is just refusing to speak. I don't think such a personality is natural to Gosling and his periods of silence are hollow and frustrating.
Drive took a road divergent from most action films and on the surface I condone it. But the tone and style is so muted it's practically silent.
True Crime (1999)
For Someone Else
Clint Eastwood is one of the greatest movie stars of all time and can carry a film well into his later years. Yet some of the roles he's taken seem to be written for a younger actor and definetly belong to one with less talent. And True Crime is one of those.
Entrapment is the sort of film you'll see when movies want to poke fun at themselves or when one is depicted on screen. It's far fetched and ridiculous.
Just Cause (1995)
Many praise Just Cause for it cleverness and plot twists. But good luck trying to get that far in this shabbily made film.
Heartbreak Ridge (1986)
Directionless Rotten Film
Heartbreak Ridge is one of the most directionless films I've ever seen. Eastwood plays a seasoned and gritty Marine Gunnery Sargeant who is put in charge of training a group of cretinous loafers. This is a very open ended premise the leaves the film to go anywhere and essentially, nowhere. The majority of its duration is spent meandering around the barracks as Eastwood disciplines his men or clashes heads with those around him. There are so many scenes that do nothing to further the picture and serve no purpose.
The last half hour or so of this film is spent on the invasion in Granada. The action feels like nothing more than a Hollywood set and the entire sequence just seems to be there just so it can say it has it. And perhaps to spice up a very dull film.
Clint Eastwood is the only likeable and plays the only remotely realistic character. Without him Heartbreak Ridge would be a complete disaster(which it already borders) and is certainly one of his weakest efforts both in front of and behind the camera.
Flawed But Entertaining
As many know, Airport is the film that started the genre and a brief string of disaster movies. The series of films that followed after it all possed many of the same traits: the all-star cast, behemoth problems and the soapiness. Because Airports main and most damaging flaw is how much it's like a soap opera. These melodramatic scenes are constant and throughout, and the viewer is forced to just cringe and wait for them to pass. The only problem being that it's more than a piece of the film-it's almost the whole picture. The only reason the film works at all is because of the quality of the cast. The most memorable being George Kennedy; who can take a role the size of a cup and fill it with a gallon of water.
Everything wrong with Airport is both clear and consistent. Yet despite all of its weak moments it's a fairly entertaining film if you can watch it without too scrutinizing an eye.
Grumpy Old Men (1993)
Humor Runs Cold
The simplest problem with Grumpy Old Men is that it isn't very funny. It mostly plays off of the animus between Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau's characters. Objectively it isn't executed very well, but if you don't happen to be a fan of Lemmon this film's problems only double.
Blood Work (2002)
Fairly Suspenseful Not Extremely Engaging
This film starts off decently and as it builds it heightens the suspense about a little after halfway it loses its footing and slides down considerably. Blood Work is a fairly intriguing mystery that doesn't flash its intentions. It keeps you wondering while dropping enough hints for an acute viewer to piece it all together.
At 71 Clint Eastwood is still a strong lead who can carry a film, but adding a romantic dimension to his character is gratuitous. And its intresting to see Jeff Daniel's in this role, though most parts of it are close to what he usually plays.
Blood Work is a mediocre mystery that carries some suspense, but it never seems able to be fully engaging.
Legion of Honor (2002)
Dull As The Desert
Deserter is about as rich a film as the desert featured in it. Its bland, dull and uninspiring. The most notable aspect about it is Tom Hardy who is wasted in a weak role and worse film.
The Avengers (1998)
I have never seen the TV show which this film is based on so I can only judge The Avengers as it's own entity. And it is a comical mess of a movie. I suppose it was meant to have a playful, charming style but its embarrassingly stupid. What Sean Connery saw in this beats me; I guess it was a tempting cheque.
The Dead Pool (1988)
Finally The Franchise Ended
This Dead Pool was the fourth sequel to Dirty Harry and at this point everything about the franchise had gone stale. It has all the tripes of the other films and which had grown very old and very little is original to it. So many scenes are ones you've seen before, only better. Perhaps one thing that is unique to it, is the car chase. Which in it's own silly way is one of the most entertaining of any film. However, besides this one amusing sequence there's not much to praise about this film. It's so poorly made that it's one of the only times you question Eastwood's talent as an actor(he only other instances are some of the other pictures he made with Buddy Van Horn). With that said, Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan is the only reason this film is watchable. And probably the reason why you might watch it. But The Dead Pool is a terrible movie and it's just as well that the franchise ended on it. Dirty Harry's a classic but all of its sequels are subpar and hardly worth watching.
I think everything that wasn't very good about Good Will Hunting is multiplied in this film by Gus Van Sant. Gerry is one of those films that takes dull story and thinks by some (nonexistent)artistry it can work.
Space Cowboys (2000)
The Cast Makes It Decent
This film draws together four old and iconic(to varying degrees) actors for sheer entertainment. It relies on a type of humor and style that is often annoying, but the charm of those like Eastwood, Jones and Sutherland overcomes that and makes it passable in this case.
The majority of this film takes place on the ground and is content with just the banter between them. However, the plot revolves around them going into space and that is technically the central piece of this film. But it spends so much time in one environment that you almost forget what it is supposed to be about and the actual mission comes across more as a disruption than a destination.
Even as one who doesn't care for astronomical movies, this film needed a little more space to balance out the cowboy.
Space Cowboys frankly isn't a good film, but the actors in it are. And it's a decent enough vehicle for them to sufficiently portray their charisma.
The Specialist (1994)
Truly Terrible Film
Sylvester Stallone is know stranger to bad movies. However, even considering all the subpar films he's appeared in throughout his career, The Specialist is one of his worst. I'm not sure where to begin with this film because its flawed in so many ways. All I can say is the director, the writer, the editor and much of the cast are all terrible. Even the efforts of old time greats like Rod Steiger and John Barry seem dismal in this picture.
Even if you're a Stallone fan and can overlook the flaws in many of his films, I find it difficult to imagine anyone being able to look past those of The Specialist.
Collateral Damage (2002)
After his wife and son become the collateral damage of a Colombian terrorist attack, a fireman sets out on a mission of revenge on those responsible.
Considering the darker elements of this film and how the main character is driven by grief and rage, this film has a very light tone to it. It doesn't seem to want to be anything more than a fun action romp that you watch half-connected. Although, regardless of its intentions you only can watch it with half your interest as it simply isn't very engaging. The more it progresses the further it falls and is only prevented from completley falling apart by the last twist. Because this film is so mundane and generic you don't expect it to be anything else and its dullness almost works for it. However, you can only carry that thought so far, because its hard to watch this film at the end and any positive aspect is greatly overshadowed.
Under Siege (1992)
I think its unanimously known that Under Siege is one of the many derivatives/knock-offs of Die Hard. Only in this case it's on the USS Missouri and with a cook.
The film tries to use everything at its disposal to prevent it from just being Steven creeping through a ship killing guys-but that's pretty much what it is. Any contortions to the plot are paper thin and don't succeed in really fleshing out this film. It essentially is a one track film that doesn't expand far off the logline. However, with some sturdy performances from Steven Seagal and Tommy Lee Jones and passable filmmaking, it's a watchable action flick.
The Shootist (1976)
Real Life Drama Accentuates The Film
An old and legendary gunfighter is diagnosed with cancer and must decide how he will spend his last days. The film was John Wayne's last and mirrors his life: both him and the character he plays in this film are icons in their respective world and dying of cancer. And of course, they both possess that larger than life personality and presence.
The Shootist spans over the last week of Books is life and mostly runs off of one theme-the death of a legend. Each scene almost always ends on that same note. It doesn't have much of a plot because it doesn't need one. Right from the beginning it's clear this a story with only one ending and it's more about the interim. And if you pull back a bit, the real motivation for this film is a farewell salute to John Wayne. Despite being a lower budget picture this film pooled numerous actors who had worked with Wayne in the past as well as Lauren Bacall and Jimmy Stewart.
I wouldn't describe it as great and at times it even feels like a cheap tv movie. However, The Shootist is a well contained and decent film that is eminently elevated by John Wayne.
First Man (2018)
Deft But Disorienting
The film opens with Armstrong flying a spaceplane which starts to ascend unintentionally. You could almost describe First Man like that. It goes for a certain style so strongly that it loses control and drifts further away then is necessary. Chazelle's direction is very minimalistic and subtle, which at times can be deft. But he touches so lightly that at times he fails to make contact at all. Leaving the film with a very claustrophobic and disjointed feel. Most of the scenes have a very constricted view to them and the film doesn't seem to stop and breathe till the very end with the landing. This picture won the Oscar for visual effects and understandably why. The moon landing sequence really conveys the serenity and awesomeness of being on the moon.
First Man is a film that focuses more on the individual scene than the whole picture. And while this works going one way it's so disorienting that it's not a film you'll be eager to rewatch.
Unimaginitive And Banal Film
I could probably count on one hand the number of scenes in this film that I didn't expect to see and weren't cliched. It's like someone made a film using scenes from other films and edited them all together. This generic feel is most evident when it tries to be emotional and moving; utilizing soft piano notes and slow movements to try and send home the message. Juxtaposed to that is the hectic, hand held style cinematography that does nothing but frustrate.
Very little of Anthropoid is actually unique to it. Most aspects of it are well trodden ground and it is a rather banal film.
The Crush (1993)
Formulaic But Decent
The most common and prominent criticism of this film is probably how formulaic and predictable it is. It's one that I and seemingly most others would assign to this film. It's so contrived that you feel as certain about knowing its direction as if you had seen it before.
However, while you may know how it will play out the actual execution is still adequately entertaining. Probably the main reason the film works is because it gets past its main obstacle-making a substantial villain of a 14 year old girl. Alicia Silverstone is thoroughly convincing as this psychotic character.
Many might utterly slam this film because of derivative style, which is a veracious critique. But does that necessarily mean this is a terrible film? I wouldn't say so. The Crush is a movie you've seen before just under a different name.
White Sands (1992)
A Mystery That's Intrigue Wears Off
A sheriff of a rural town finds a mans body in the middle of nowhere with a suitcase containing half a million in cash. He sets out find out who this man was and what happened to him. This film starts off fairly intriguingly as the audience is just as clueless about what is going on as Willem Dafoe's character. But as he dives deeper into the mystery, the film starts to fizzle out. After the initial roughly 30 minutes plot moves more laterally than forward. After White Sands gives you a taste of what it has in store, it's no longer that interesting. This middling intrigue is compounded with a lot of actions that don't make any sense logically.
Probably one of the few reasons this film is even watchable is Willem Dafoe. Who's an intresting enough actor to make up for a not so intresting film.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Eccentric And Amusing
A little girl and her dysfunctional family take a roadtrip to a children's beauty pageant in California that she's entered. The eccentric member consist of: a stressed out mother, a success possed father motivational speaker, a Nietzsche obsessed teen, a scholar who attempted suicide and a heroin snorting grandpa. As can be expected, their conflicting and odd personalities clash over the two day trip full of disasters.
The film moves swiftly from one sequence to the next while still sufficiently and humorously addressing everything.
Obviously the film is a comedy but it's also a commentary on the structures of life and the world. Through each character the film tries to point out some idiosyncrasy of everyday existence. Which is meant to amuse, but also to make us pause and question.
Little Miss Sunshine is an independent film and it definetly feels like one. Judging off of the style it's like watching a foreign film in English. This is prominent throughout but there are certain moments and shots which just aren't the kind you'll see in mainstream American comedies.
The Bone Collector (1999)
Neither Clever Nor Intriguing
The Silence Of The Lambs was about a rookie, female FBI agent who enlists the help of an intellectual serial killer to track another serial killer. The Bone Collector is about a young, female NYPD Officer who uses the help of a very intelligent but paralyzed detective to find a serial killer. It's safe to say The Bone Collector took a page out of Lambs' book. Probably the biggest difference between the two is that one is vastly inferior.
I will say this much, that the film certainly had its aspirations. It tried to be a mysterious and clever film that led you through a dark and twisty path. Only it didn't. It has no atmosphere or style and nothing it presents is that convincing. The film's most impactful moment is the reveal of the killer's identity. However, most intuitive viewers will probably find it fairly easy to guess who it is. Which isn't ideal for a shocking twist.
The Bone Collector is really a very flat film that doesn't manage to pull off a single aspect it suggests.
Slap Shot (1977)
Comedy That Just Isn't Funny
Paul Newman and George Roy Hill is a combination that has produced Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting...and Slap Shot. Sadly, the latter most is a far, far cry from the other two. To put it in the simplest phrasing, it's a comedy that just isn't funny. In that case, all your left with is a empty and rather stupid film.
A Force of One (1979)
Bad Even For Its Kind
Chuck Norris really isn't a bad actor but the movies he's chosen to be in are of a very low standard. But even considering the numerous B-grade films he's starred in this is a low point on his filmography. This production quality of this film is close to the bottom and I find it hard to imagine even the biggest Chuck fan to overlook all of A Force Of One's flaws.