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The Polar Express (2004)
The Book Was Better
I don't care much about the film technical qualities - some people like them, some don't. My problem with this movie is the story. It stinks. I understand that they had to expand the story, but they did that very badly. They practically destroyed the beauty and magic of the original story.
Addition of Billy made it a story of entitled children. Poor, lonely kids can't expect anything even from Santa.
Hero Girl was just a reminder of that non-white males just have to work harder and be self-reliant to succeed, they cannot expect any help from others.
Because of Billy and Hero, the conductor seems like an a-hole.
Even Santa looks like a giant jerk.
And on top of it all, the movie says that if children don't believe in Santa, they get a magical train trip to North Pole. So, when children don't believe in Santa, and see this movie and DON'T get a magical train trip to North Pole, it's just further evidence of that the whole story is humbug and stories and just a huge big lie.
It was unfair. It was nasty. It was making injustice obvious and acceptable. Of course the white rich boy would get the first gift of Christmas, EVEN WHEN HE WASN'T REALLY THE MC FROM THE BOOK.
So. no. The only way for a person to think this is a great movie and wonderful and promotes Christmas, is if one is a white, entitled person.
Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
Boring waste of time
Whose story is this supposed to be?
The only interesting people were miss McCraw who being treated like crap, and then she wanders off and we'll never hear of her again.
The orphans Albert and Sara. Nothing is told about them much either.
Millie and Tom. And they too are just bystanders.
To someone's story. Mlle de Poitiers? She has an engagement ring, so - Nah. We will never know who she was engaged to, or what ever happened with her.
Why is she in charge at the picnic? Why isn't she punished in any way for losing the girls? I suppose it's because she's SO BEAUTIFUL. That's the only reason for womenfolks to exist. At least in this movie.
Except the headmistress. She is there just to be mean. Because power does that to women. And then she becomes a drunk and kills herself. Possibly.
Too many people with not much to say. Is this Michael's story? Or Sgt. Bumpher's story? I don't know. I don't think Peter Weir knows.
Nothing is ever solved. There's too much ESP in this movie. "I just know I won't be coming back." "I just know I have to go there". People seem to have no other reason to do what they do except that they "know".
I hate the "knowing"... the girls are meaninglessly wandering about being airy fairy, talking about love and stuff and things that sound meaningful with a breathy airy light voice.
The music is horrible. It's like watching these "you'll never believe these mystical unsolved bla bla bla" videos on YouTube. This one is just 100 minutes in stead of 10 minutes.
The clothes... Why is everyone wearing white except the only two women with anything in their head? And then the church clothes... *sigh* Why?
Make-up - what's with all these bruises and scratches? Where did he get that cut on his head?
The set... was obviously a set. It didn't look like it was an actual room.
What's with the butt scene? How was that in any way necessary?
And the girls hopping over the brook? There was no need for the fat girl to put her foot into water, but, sure, she did, and the other three, slim, "beautiful" girls, just hopped over like gaselles. Except that Saint Miranda the Angel had to lift her skirt to show off her legs, even though she never needed to lift her skirt. *sigh*
And the practically only fat girl wasn't only fat, she was lazy, whiny, stupid and ridiculous and gets slapped. That slap scene also... All the girls are on Iris, and this amazing, wonderful Mademoiselle goes find the fat girl to slap her.
Cinematography... er... I don't even care. The story is so fragmented, nonsensical, stupid and boring, I really don't care if it even has any technical value.
I give it 2 only because I've seen worse movies, but I don't recommend this to anyone for any reason. I'm sure there are hundreds of movies that are better use of time for any reason anyone could have for seeing this movie. Well, except if one has decided to see all Peter Weir movies. Poor you.
20 minutes ad
I was pretty disappointed and one might think one shouldn't have expected much of an obvious marketing ploy, but I did. Because I believe in Christmas and Santa and magic.
I love the idea of how naming the little toy it becomes magic and can fly (or teleport).
I like the way Santa was depicted.
Too much time was used in how the elf was shipped to the house compared to how much time was used to the main point of the movie. Now, I like that part of the movie, but they could have skipped the poetry part and snowball fight and hospital scene etc. etc. and used that time to actually work on how Chippey actually managed to make Taylor get the Christmas spirit back.
It would have been nice if they had actually placed the elf somewhere where it wasn't so obvious the parents could have placed him. After all, he was supposed to be able to fly. It felt like "let's not make it hard on parents". So "I tried!" feels so whiny and defeatist. Tried what? He did NOTHING that couldn't be explained by parents moving a doll around. It wasn't even demanding elf-on-the-shelf-ing! I mean, sitting on a shelf/tree/mantelpiece/table - Chippey gives up too quickly and easily and gets too depressed. And then Santa tells him that he can't make anyone believe, so it was a wild goose hunt from the beginning. All this "you are so brave" and "it won't be easy" talk is really just crap. What is so brave and hard in "just being there"? *sigh* I know, I know, it's just an ad and kids love cartoons, and don't care about such little details, but - I'm not a kid. Also, the guilt tripping going on is horrible! The idea "if you touch it, it loses its magic and becomes just a plastic doll" just causes a lot of troubles. He "killed" the elf, he spoiled the Christmas, Christmas is going to be horrible and it's all his fault! Now, merry Christmas, why aren't you happy? "Mom! Dad! Taylor hit Chippey!" Siblings squealing on each other. Kids touching the elf without parents' knowing, and it continues moving around. What does that tell the kids? That it was just a piece of plastic all along. What about inventing some sort of magical ritual to re-magicize the elf again? What if they had made Taylor do this ritual? And then, like, have the elf sitting on his nightstand in the morning with a thank you letter especially written to him from Santa or something? I mean... sure, not everyone can write with swirly letters, ink on parchment, but wouldn't that be worth it? There's bound to be a school with art teacher somewhere nearby, and she/he could certainly script a letter from Santa if that's too hard for the parents. Totally achievable and would be a lot harder to explain. Then he would feel really good about himself and get back his belief in magic etc. Now it was just... *sigh* Apparently the boy believed more than Santa gave him credit for, and what does that tell about Santa? Nothing I want my kids to think. Then the song lyrics... "Christmas is a time for forgiveness That is why we all believe in Christmas" What? Christmas is not and has never been "a time for forgiveness". It's the time of joy and peace and happiness and merriment and enjoying time with your loved ones and sharing and caring and the song began all right, but then came that part of "forgiveness". What is there to forgive here? That Taylor doesn't believe and breaks the rule of no touching? Oh, swell! Let's pile guilt on the 9yo! Nothing makes better Christmas memories than guilt! "Extravaganzalorious"? *sigh* "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" went down so well, let's do it again. As if.
BTW, "Doodle is cool"? Doodle? X-D Yeah, name your elf Doodle.
The Way We Were (1973)
Not a love story
I suppose it happens between 1936 (the beginning of the Spanish war) and 1947 (Hollywood 10) when she was pregnant, and then the last scene, which supposedly happens a couple of years after their divorce, so, about 1950? No dates are given, and it's impossible to date it by the clothes (by which one would say it all happens 1973) or any other details.
So... this is supposedly a "great love story", and several times it is pointed out how Katie "never gives up":
Hubbell: "You never give up, do you?" Katie: "Only when I'm absolutely forced to."
Yet they marriage didn't last 3 years. We really don't know when they got married, but they met again 1945 and started their relationship there, and she got pregnant 1947, and they got divorced when the baby was born. She basically hated everything about him, his friends, things he found interesting, what he wanted with his life. She claimed to be supportive, but all she wanted to support him to do was what SHE wanted him to do. The only thing she compromised was to move to Hollywood with him, but she claimed to be ready to give up everything just to have him in her life... and he said she didn't need to. After all, he fell in love with Katie from College. He loved her. And she continued with everything she thought was important, even protested against the McCarthy crap. But she... she was like a starstruck bitch who just wanted to have everything her way and whined when she didn't get it. I really dislike her. And a romantic movie when you dislike the heroine? Not good. She had it all and was a spoiled bitch so she threw it all away. It wasn't even that she lost it, she threw it away. He loved her as she was, but she didn't love him as he was, and he didn't change fast enough.
The "touching" end scene... nothing touching about that. Not one tear was dropped during watching of this movie. The most touching scene was the night after she picked him up from the bar. "Hubbell, it's Katie. You did know it was Katie".
The movie is slow and boring... Uh. Two hours of pain. I suppose it has filmographic good sides, I mean, the music is amazing, the filming is nice... acting is good, I suppose... costuming is crap, editing is crap, script is... well. I suppose it's not that bad, because it is believable, but I hate her and it's not a love story, so...
Frankly, the only reason to see this movie is for Robert Redford and he has done dozens of better movies. Just see "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "The Sting".
I wanted to like this. I wanted to believe. I just don't.
I have been reading the reviews when I needed to take a pause of the show, and I started with the best reviews... I wanted to see if others might have some pointers that help me give it a chance. I have said "never judge a TV series by the pilot", but with this one I have difficulties following my own rules...
For some reason, most positive reviews seem to be reactions to negative reviews and not the show. One commonly occurring whine in the positive reviews is "this is not MacGyver, get over it!"
Exactly. If you don't want to use the original character, then invent a new name, and run with the idea. It could have been the adventures of O'Connor and friends, who were inspired to study at MIT because they were watching MacGyver as kids.
A lot of people have been saying that this is more a spy series than MacGyver.
This MacGyver needs a handler, a gunman (who's there to clean up MacGyver's mess? MacGyver doesn't leave a mess behind, he's the one who cleans up other's mess!) and a "cover", who is practically the only black person in the show. (Riley is also black, but she's very light, so it's not obvious.) I don't know if I got it right, but he's sort of comic relief here. He seems to be a bit dumb and less "manly" than MacGyver... and it gives a sort of Aryan taste to the whole crap. All these big, handsome, white spies and their little, stupid, black "friend". They TRY to make the guys real friends, but it just looks so fake it's painful to watch. It's not the actors' fault, I don't think anyone of them is in any way racist or thinks one is less than the other, I blame the manuscript writer. It just isn't fluid and natural. Also, this guy seems to be working as a fry cook, and he's wearing the work clothes all the time... I don't know if they live in the back of a diner or something, but that's very weird, I think. I seriously hope I'm wrong, because what I think shouldn't even be possible 2016.
I was really hoping that they had taken the character and concept and just adapted it to the 21st century. Kept him the calm, silent guy with big heart, curiosity and intelligence, know-how and handy fingers, going to dangerous places and keeping America safe without making much noise. Unless absolutely necessary :-D There has been a lot happening since 1991, and I thought this concept had a lot of potential. Unfortunately the creators decided to go to another direction. Might be a good series, but it's not MacGyver.
So, I'll get over it and move on. Life is too short to waste on watching stupid series.
The Three Musketeers (2011)
I was looking forward to this movie.
I was looking forward to this movie.
The actors are great... or should be. The idea is wonderful. Steampunk Baroque! YAY! ALl my favorites in one movie, wonderful! They had all the ingredients to make a great movie. I could even have forgiven the fixing something that wasn't broke. (If you love THE story of three musketeers, DON'T WATCH THIS MOVIE. It doesn't follow the book. Much.)
SO I blame the script writer. The dialogue is weak, the characterization is bad, people's motivations are incomprehensible, the script writer took multidimensional characters and made paperdolls of them.
The costumes are horrible. So horrible that I find it hard to not get distracted from the story. Why does the king look like the king of SPAIN? Why does the cardinal wear an armor? And what's with that... robe of his? I mean, the costumer took the one and only horribly misleading painting ever by Henri Motte to base his costumes on!
And why would the Duke of Buckingham kiss the French Cardinal's ring? HE WASN'T EVEN CATHOLIC!
When Milady faints in one second and the next starts show fighting, I gave up.
In the original story Milady was intelligent and sharp and quick, and could manipulate anyone. Richelieu might have been the villain, but he was wise. He too was sharp and intelligent, but he was wise. He didn't want power to have power, he wanted power because of France, AND THE THING IS THAT HE WAS THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO France.
I was really waiting for a treat with Christoph Waltz as Richelieu, and I knew Milla Jovovich's Milady would have some fighting scenes, YAY! I love feisty girls like that! But... starting with one scheme and change to another the next second and... no. It doesn't work that way! YOU MADE HER HOTHEADED AND STUPID. And no amount of chess is enough to convey how intelligent she is. Stupid! The manuscript writer is stupid! STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!!
So, no! No forgiveness for you for changing the story!
The only reason why this movie gets 2 and not 1 is that the actors are great and the idea is great. Horses are great too. And some of the fighting scenes and things are OK too. It COULD have been good.
Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997)
Revolutionary when it came out 1997
This Snow White is from 1997. It is fascinating... because one doesn't really know if the stepmother, Claudia, played by Sigourney Weaver, is a witch or just mad.
The first time I saw it, I was seriously scared, and to my surprise, they managed to scare me this time too :-D If I remember correctly, this movie was received with delight as a true Grimmesque retelling and as something seriously different from the cutie-pie Disney versions. There is a point when one isn't quite sure if anyone survives...
This is yet another Snow White where I like the Evil Queen/Stepmother most. Claudia was the most faceted personality, and her motivation was made very clear. As she was treated by both her stupid husband and his bratty daughter, I wish she had managed to bring her son back to life. Now, that would be an interesting story It doesn't harm that the queen is played by Sigourney Weaver. I just adore her. I can't decide if she is beautiful or not because she can be the most beautiful woman just as well as quite ugly. Her Old Woman is wonderful, and reminds me of the Old Hag from Disney's Snow White. So she chats, giving the harmless idea, one can imagine the old hag as a young woman and the whole time I KNOW it's Sigourney! But, she's so good I forget her, and see the old woman as a young girl, playing around with boys, being witty and cute
I felt sorry for Sam Neill for having such a horrible role to play :-D I think half of his lines were (groaning). The actual lines were rather stupid.
As Snow White's love interests, we see both David Conrad as doctor Gutenberg, and Gill Bellows, as Will, and outlaw. I know David from Ghost whisperer, where he plays Melinda's husband, and Gill from Ally McBeal. Good looking fellows.
18-years-old Monica Keena plays Snow White, and does a good job in portraying a bratty teenager. And I have to give her that she plays well a scared young woman too.
The manuscript isn't very good. There's things happening in the movie that are there for the effect, but are not explained satisfactory, like the wolves in the opening scene and the zombie maid? Or is she just imagination? Or what? Also the dialogue is rather stupid. But it was revolutionary 1997. :-D
Happily N'Ever After 2 (2009)
Better than I, still not good.
I forgot I hated Happily N'Ever After I.
I forgot I hated the stupid creatures, Mambo and Munk.
I forgot how bad the animation is. (Compared to other contemporary animations. Barbie is better... and that's much said.)
But I'm glad I did, because "Another Bite @ the Apple" was better than the first one.
In this, Snow White is a spoiled, vain, egocentric brat. She lost her good and kind mother when she was just a kid, and now her life is all party, fun and looks. Her father decides she needs a woman's touch, so he decides to remarry. There is this ugly girl who was told that the Queen was loved by everyone because she was beautiful, so she tried to be as beautiful as the queen had been. The Magic Mirror makes her that. She looks exactly like the Queen, and the King wants to marry her.
Snow White isn't happy about it, and mopes, so Lady Vain gets an enchanted apple from the Mirror. She gets Snow White to eat the apple. The apple doesn't kill her, it makes her share her innermost thoughts. This Snow White has something nasty to say about everyone living in the town, and Lady Vain lets everyone know what Snow White thinks about them, and they get angry and Snow White flees from the town. (Remember, the apple didn't twist her mind, she really, truly thought that way.)
She finds her way to the Seven Dwarfs, who remember well the Queen, and because of her they decide to teach Snow White a lesson, and they manage to make her change her shallow ways to being as good and kind as her mother had been. So she goes back to the town just in time to interrupt the wedding, and her father decides he doesn't need to marry anymore, now that Snow White has changed. Lady Vain gets ballistic and uses the mirror as a weapon.
Earlier Snow White had met "Sir Peter", an orphan who grew up in one of Queen's orphanages, and who adores the Queen, and doesn't much appreciate Snow White. Now, that Snow White has changed her ways, Peter notices that he likes her after all. When Lady Vain starts shooting magic around, he jumps in to rescue Snow White, and is knocked out of the way. (and he stays knocked out!) Her father joins the battle but he is old, and is just about to fall, when Snow White joins him and steadies his hand. Together - even Mommy Queen gets to be part of the family union, as they use her picture to guide the magic flare - they break the mirror and Lady Vain is ugly again. They are just about to hang her, when Snow White interferes and tells her outer beauty is not worth much, it's only inner beauty that matters, and the dwarfs agree to teach her the same lesson they taught Snow White. Happy End.
Now, it wasn't anything one will regret missing... it's more the other way around. One might regret seeing it... Especially if one paid to see it.
It has a nice message - helping others is what makes you beautiful, not clothes and make-up and hairdo.
Also, the villain, even though she tried to kill Snow White, is not evil, just misguided, and there's hope for her.
Animation, as said, was pretty bad.
The king is a poor version of the king in Disney's Sleeping Beauty, and he wears Burger King crown...
The wedding is accompanied with Wagner's wedding march, the bride is wearing a white dress, and the priest reads the Christian wedding ceremony... I suppose people wouldn't know otherwise that it's a question of a wedding. And even though the prince... er... Sir Peter, the orphan, I meant, had to fetch Snow White to the wedding, and found her in the middle of the forest fixing Humpty Dumpty, and then they galloped back to the castle and had to get over hurdles to get to the church in time, Humpty Dumpty, and everyone else was in the church already... just in time to witness in favor of Snow White, when Lady Vain claimed she hadn't changed.
But if you can ignore such small details, it's not a bad movie. It's not good either.