Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Star Wars Episode III:Revenge of the Sith

Review by Michael Jaffe

Ok, finally. after waiting my entire life i have seen RotS and i have to say...SHIT! that was a good and a bad shit. the fighting scenes and the visual stylings of lucas have only gotten better as he has aged. so the plot everybody should have figured out over the course we know anakin must go to the dark side, but why did it happen like it did in the film? over the course of 20 minutes, we see anakin show devotion and love to padme, his wife, and then he kills 20 or so younglings at the order of the emperor who has recruited him. the change is provoked because anakin dreams padme dying during childberth and then the emperor or Darth Sidius plays off of this fear and promises that if anakin goes to the dark side, he can save her. but right after this is said anakin kills **** ***** and then cries about it. THEN he goes and kills the younglings and alot more people. this whole montage, an art lucas has refined to perfection almost, i sat there and just kept muttering "what the f*ck?" ok, so the plot had to go this way somehow. ok, the script, always one of lucas's weak points, did nothing to change that as the characters muttered cliche lines over and over again. the one scenes where the dialogue was exceptable was the scenes between the emperor and anakin, which it turns out were written by someone else. ok, the acting of most was fairly good, especially ewan mcgregor who now is playing alec guiness to perfection rather than obi-wan, which is great as obi wan IS alec guiness. natalie portman, recently nominated for an oscar for 'closer', turns in one of the worst performances i have ever witnessed muttering such lines as "hold me like you did on the lake on naboo when all we had was love" with the emotion of dead wood. albeit, the writing brought her down, but dear god, the sooner she got off the screen the happier i was because that usually meant more fighting. hayden christiansen is still one of the poorest actors in this series, and while he does sport a new hair cut, his childish, sulking ways to not. who would have expected 'the chosen one' to sulk his way to the dark side? ok, now the best part of this film far and above was the fights. with so many lightsaber battles including general greivous who ruled the 'clone wars' animated series, busts a move with his FOUR ARMS, each with a lightsaber. filthy, thats all that can describe it, filthy. so was the film good? it was no 'goodfellas' but the film was better visually than 'the aviator,' the film i though should have won best picture last year. so a 8/10 is merited on the back of general grievous and the comedy. ok, so "hold me like you did on the lake on naboo when all we had was love" wasnt suppsed to be a comedic line, but...

Monday, May 23, 2005

Layer Cake

This is one of those movies that is hard to classify. The plot is scattered all over the place, it revolves around one man, xxxx as his name is not given, played by Daniel Craig who is trying to retire from the cocaine business but before he does, he must find his boss's friends daughter who dissapeared. xxxx must also finish a massive drug deal with a loud mouth jackass named 'the duke.' later it is discovered that the duke stole these drugs so xxxx must also now compete with a serbian assassin sent to kill him because the people the duke stole from thought he was working for xxxx. this film was obviously adapted for the screen by the person who wrote the book because there was so much packed into this two hour affair that it was a blur of mayhem. the director, mathew vaughn in his first directing gig after producing the guy ritchie films 'snatch' and 'lock stock and two smoking barrells' shows the flash of his mate ritchie with numerous fancy transitions and camera affects but cant convey this story into a workable plot as it would likely work well as a six hour mini series on the BBC. the actors work well together, mr. craig's star is rising as he is funny and offbeat in his role as xxxx, the witty drug dealer. colm meany and george harris two UK film regulars team in many scenes to make people crack up at the ridiculusness of their scenes together. michael gambon appears extremely over tanned as the friend of xxxx's boss who has had his daughter kidnapped. he is his usual bizaar self as a business man who is so money driven, the fact that his daughter has been kidnapped seems minute compared to his desire to make a deal for the duke's drugs. in my opinion though, as a man, the beyond belief beauty of sienna miller is the best part of the movie as she is stripping in the bathroom, xxxx is kidnapped, a hysterical scene that is also one where i said 'NOOOOO!' to myself at missing an opportunity to see more of ms. miller. the movie also contains many bit roles being played by regulars in mr. ritchies movies including dexter fletcher who played soap in 'lock stock.' this film on a whole was difficult to take in all at once, which is why it didnt meet my expectations but the flash and skill of mr. vaugh and the out of place scenes where i found my self laughing hard out loud saved this film. one of the better films i have seen all year, up ther with star wars. (review coming soon!) overall, a 8.5/10

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Kicking & Screaming

By Michael Jaffe
Well, I think Will Ferrell cant not be funny. in a movie with a run of he mill plot, and stereotypical characters, Mr. Ferrell just acts as random as ever, except now he has Mike Ditka and Robert Duvall to back him up. Ditka actually competes with Ferrell as the best character in the flick uterring such classic lines as "new gameplan: Get the ball to the Italians!" based on the fact that no actual talent went into making this movie. the script is bland and the direction is nothing special from Jesse Dylan, director of 'American Wedding' obviously is highly skilled at letting his actors improv as the Stiff-meister apparently did in 'AW' and as Frank the Tank did in this little ditty. The story of a weak willed man who has a competetive father, the son then becomes coach of a competing youth league soccer team who start terrible but with the acquisition of two italians who work at the butcher shop, the team immeadeatly becomes incredible and the teams eventually meet in the championship. the kids in the movie are run of the mill, with the italians not speaking much english and their is the fat kid and the stupid jokster. the best kid though was Byun-Sun or "Bing Bong" as Ditka calls him. byun-sun's parents are two lesbians and the worlds smallest 9 yr. old just is funny for no apparent reason except that he is small and foreign. this film was absolutly nothing special, but the cast adlibbed it self to a decent kid friendly comedy.
7/10 and only because of Ditka, frank the tank (ferrell) and little bing bong

Monday, May 09, 2005


Review by Michael Jaffe

I was so extremely angry with Dimension Studio after they pushed my man LL Cool J's new flick back over a year in January 2004 until now. When the film was first set to be released I cleared a saurday to see it. When the film was pushed back, I went and saw a screening any way. How I did this is confidential, but I can tell you I enjoyedthis film more than any other Renny Harlin Film. It had good actors, a decent mystery plot and best of all, alot of real hokey but awesome deaths. Christian Slater gives one of his worst performances ever, and Val Kilmer mails it in, but LL is as cool as ever and Johnny Lee Miller shows why his career is on the rise putting his all into what could've been a dreadful flick. The director, Mr. Harlin has been responsible for some of the worst films of all time, and this could've been one of those flicks, but Wayne Kramer provides a solid, no where near very good, but one that allows the actors to do their things and allows Mr. Harlin to do one of the few things he knows how to do: kill people in creative ways. Wayne Kramer, who's other 'main stream' film was 'The Cooler,' which was a quirky, off-beat romantic comedy, so the versatility he displays is astonishing. This film in truth shocked the hell out of me. I sat and watched a film that was more like 'Deep Blue Sea,' another of Mr. Harlin's films I enjoyed, than 'Cut Throat Island' or 'Exorcist: Beginning' both films I classify as toxic waste that should never be viewed by any hunam being with a working brain. Overall, this is a popcorn flick for fans of violence and a sneaky mystery plot that doesn't require a ton of thinking 6.5/10


Review by Devin Sullivan

After penning Million Dollar Baby, Paul Haggis makes his directorial debut with CRASH. This is one of the most graceful flicks I've seen all year. The pacing, the performances, the writing are all very graceful, especially considering the material. Haggis tackles the issues of race, class, and American solitude through the lives of more than a dozen characters in the city of Las Angeles. Not only does he pull off the juggling act with his characters, but he weaves a political/racial message into the mix as well. Not once while watching the film did I find Haggis' message to be preachy or contrived either. The characters presented all had depth to them, and Haggis did not seem to resort to any stereo types. Even Matt Dillon's racist LAPD officer had empathetic sides to him, as he struggled to help his dying father. There are several outstanding, and Oscar worthy, performances in this film, including Don Cheadle's emotionally troubled detective taking care of his drug-addicted mother. However, I found that the best performances in this film came from the unknowns. Michael Pena (Million Dollar Baby, and United States of Leland) stood out most for me in this ensemble cast. Playing a Hispanic locksmith, Pena's character is probably the most sympathetic of the film, but is also key to one of its best sequences. Another of his better scenes involves him and his daughter, who has hid under her bed in fear of what sounds like a gun, and displays Pena's range as an actor. Another notable performance is newcomer's Chris "Ludacris" Bridges work as a young, car jacking, black man who feels that he is profiled by everyone around him. While some of the characters in CRASH carry more weight than others, the ensemble cast, and engaging story line make for one of the more impressive dramas that I have seen in a while. Haggis shows that despite his humble beginnings, (Co creator of Walker Texas Ranger) he has visual style and a real talent for story telling, not to mention balls. 8.5/10

Kingdom of Heaven

I have just seen "KoH' and I must say that I was suprised with how much I thouroughly enjoyed this little flick. Ok, I shouldn't say 'little' as it was one of the largest scale movies that I have ever seen. The film was in noway 'Gladiator' as it was in fact much, much better. The film was artfully done with actual dialogue and character development. Some people may dismiss it, but if you step back, you will see that Ridley Scott has made a political statement, the only 'bad guys' in religion are the extremists who wish to kill different sects, and also to make a massive war film that shows the downside of reaping massive glory from defeating another side. This film is the first film I have seen this year that truly looks like an Oscar contender. As for scrawny little Orlando Bloom, as an actor he actually holds up with giant film persona's Liam Neeson and Jeremy Irons. While Mr. Bloom doesn't quite look the part of a crusader, he tries his best and hits all of the right spots.
This film gets 8.5/10 for combining story with action, historical truth and a message that we all must make our own peace with God.

The Reviews