Saturday, August 18, 2007

Random Movie Reviews

So this past week I caught up a little on my movie-watching, renting my first three movies of the year. (Previously this year, I had seen two movies at friends' places and perhaps two in theaters. So I guess this means I've now seen about seven movies total this year. Oh, and I saw "Happy Feet" on the plane. So maybe it's eight.)

Anyway, I might not see as many movies as the average American, but when I do, I really try to enjoy them. I don't get my hopes too high. I just want some small amount of entertainment where all I have to do is sit back and take it all in. If the movie indeed turns out to be more than that, well, then that's just icing on the cake.

The three movies that I rented and watched over the past week were Pulp Fiction (1994), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), and Signs (2002). I hadn't seen any of these movies before, so despite their age, they were "new" to me.

I got Pulp Fiction because Ving Rhames has been in the news recently, and all the media reports kept referring to him as "the Pulp Fiction actor." I got Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon because I've heard good things about it; and I got Signs because it just seemed like it might be my type of movie.

So without further ado, here are my three random movies reviews:

Pulp Fiction - Toaster scene. 'Nuf said.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Have you seen this movie? Did you like it? Well, if you liked this movie, then please just skip to my Signs review.

Apparently Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (or as it's known in China, Wo hu cang long) won the Academy Award for "Best Foreign Film" of 2000. Now, this means one of two things: 1) The voting is rigged or 2) 2000 was a down year for foreign films.

First off, let's start on a positive. This movie was based on a novel by Du Lu Wang, which for all I know could be an excellent book. But I'm sorry, this movie was difficult for me to watch, mainly because I didn't connect with the characters and most of the action scenes looked corny to me (such as the many times characters were floating around awkwardly).

My biggest problem was with that Long chick (the one who steals the sword in the beginning and causes all sorts of mindless trouble throughout the movie). Seriously, this chick had major issues and about 20 minutes into the movie I was actively cheering for really bad stuff to happen to her. Toward the end when she used the Green Dragon sword to cut the older lady's arm (Yu Shu Lien) and then Li Mu Bai steps in and yells, "You are not worthy of that sword!" I thought, "Finally, he's going to decapitate her like the Highlander would." But no, they just float around the trees for a little bit and then when he gets his chance to show her who's boss, he goes back to wanting to train her again (even though she's burned every bridge 10 times by this point in the movie.)

And of course, this annoying ninja chick has a long lost lover from the desert named "Dark Cloud." Although, I think his name should have been "Clouded Judgment." He's a desert bandit capable of kidnapping and enslaving any chick he wants, but for some reason he insists on falling in love with this violent, indecisive, snobbish, back-stabbing daughter of a nobleman. At the end, the movie tries to make us believe that these two will live happily ever after in the desert. But come on, you just know she's going to change her mind not long after the credits roll. At the very least, there's no way "Dark Cloud" is going to be able to put up with her "thunder and lightning" for long.

Now, you might be curious as to why this movie is called Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? Well, me too. I would have called it Crouching Catfights, Hidden Plot.

Signs - Okay, so if I had seen this movie in the theater without knowing anything about it, I probably would have really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, that's not how I went into this movie. Instead, I've seen the trailers and teasers repeatedly, as well as having heard some things through the rumor mill. I went in kinda knowing what to expect, which kinda defeats the purpose of this type of movie.

That being said, I did think that it was a good movie. Some parts were scary, some were funny, and some were thought-provoking.

In closing, I thought Pulp Fiction worked well as a comedy for me; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon belongs on Mystery Science Theater 3000; and Signs was worth the $5 rental.

Oh, and speaking of rentals. It looks like I have a $1.99 rental at Blockbuster that's good for another week. Do you have any movie suggestions?


Robby said...

Home Alone 2. Trust me.

Greg said...

Hmm... well, I am going to NYC for the first time next month; and it probably would be a good movie for mindless entertainment. However, I'm not sure that it's one I would look forward to seeing. For the three movies I reviewed above, I was actually looking forward to all three of them.

The other thing I have to consider is that I probably will only see one or two more movies this year (maybe 3). Also, I'm not sure I'm in the mood for a comedy... what about sci-fi? It's been a long time since I saw a good sci-fi movie. (For example, I would count "Jurassic Park" as sci-fi because it takes a far-out scientific concept and brings it to life. I wouldn't consider "Star Wars" sci-fi because it doesn't really focus on a scientific concept... I'd consider Star Wars fantasy.) Using the same logic, I would consider "Deep Blue Sea" to be sci-fi... it was okay... I actually liked it better the second time.

Clauff said...

Hey Greg,

I'd do "Man on Fire" with Denzel...Good, gritty movie, kind of in the same vein as Training Day.


Greg said...

CLauff, I nearly rented "Training Day" instead of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." I'll put "Man of Fire" on my short list too.

BTW, Robby, if I do end up renting Home Alone 2 I won't be admitting it publicly. =)

Westy said...

You know what's funny, I didn't like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon either. But beware the reaction of someone who likes it. They act like they can't believe someone doesn't like that movie. It's classic.

I agree, Man on Fire is good. Training Day is very good. I would recommend Syriana.

Kristian Aloma said...

I kind of liked CTHD but, I saw it in the theatre with the subtitles - so I may have spent more time reading then actually watching...I also really like Jean Claud Van Damme movies - before he went soft.

Chairman said...

With regard to CTHD, I think that the story loses some meaning to those not from the culture. It didn't resonate as much with me, either. Depending on how you choose to look at it, there are some funny lesson takeaways, though. For example, Dark Cloud's story tells us how dumb people are when it comes to love. How many guys do you know are with women that they just shouldn't be, or vice versa? Regardless, it was visually stunning.

But Signs? Don't get me wrong. I love me some crop circles. But a movie where the most interesting thing is a few crop circles is bad. This was set up as an alien movie. We didn't see them for way too long, and when we did see them, they looked semi-retarded. Plus, they had to be autistic savants. Who can master intellstellar travel, but not realize that they find water to be toxic? They didn't realize that 70% of this planet was covered by water? The only cool thing about the movie? Crop circles.

Greg said...

RG, when I said I went into Signs "kinda knowing what to expect," I was referring to the crop circles. In fact, all the trailers/teasers I saw played up the crop circles but never showed the aliens. That told me either the aliens are never seen in the movie, or if they are, they're not exactly special effects marvels (otherwise they'd be shown in the trailers). Also, just to be clear, I would rate Deep Blue Sea above Signs.

Kristian, don't worry, you're in the majority. I went on and discovered that CTHD rated 97% positive.

Westy, I remember you blogged about Syriana. I'll see about watching it before the year is out. Looks like I'm leaning toward seeing Training Day next.

Thanks for your suggestions everybody.

Greg said...

I went to Blockbuster tonight. No copies of Training Day were in, so I ended up getting Man on Fire. I thought it was a good movie. I really enjoyed the first half of it. The second half reminded me of "Payback," just not as funny. As far as "first halves" of movies go, it was one of the best I've seen in a while.

I expected Denzel to bring his A-game (and he did), but I didn't realize Dakota would do so well. Fine performances by both of them in my opinion.

Man on Fire is definitely a movie I could watch a 2nd time.

Clauff said...


Glad you liked Man on Fire. I would agree that Syriana is a very good movie and as you probably know, has some political overtones in it. Definitely gets you thinking...