Sunday, July 30, 2006

Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest

Review by Michael Jaffe

With such high expectations, it was going to be impossible for POTC:DMC to live up to them. What has happened is the jokes have gone a little stale and Jack’s a little meaner and a lot less light hearted as he was in the fist movie. If this wasn’t a sequel, it would probably look a lot better, but since the first movie was so good, the flaws are amplified and unfortunately ruined my experience. The story involves Jack trying to get a key to a chest to get Davy Jones’s heart so that jack won’t need to pay off his debt to Davy, which is his soul. The plot takes back seat to the hijinks and side stories of which there are many and just about everything works pretty well except the love story. Elizabeth falling for Jack was a little joke in the first movie, but it blossoms to an entire side story in DMC. I hated every moment that they were developing this plot because Jack’s a pirate and he isn’t supposed to love anything other than his ship and gold. And the other problem with this movie was how boring it got at parts. While a lot of the movie was go go go action bang bang stuff, there were too many scenes where I found myself yawning and the reason I because the dialogue lacked the crack of a whip sharpness of the first movie and came off as extremely forced in places. At least Johnny Depp was funny and drunk and excellent again in his role, even if some of his lines weren’t as great as before, he got enough shots off that I was kept laughing. Orlando Bloom is still likable and seemed more manly in this movie as opposed to a little fruity in the last one. I like the direction he’s going as an actor, even though he’s still too skinny to be a knight. The action scenes were cool and overall I had fun, but not as much fun as the first movie so now I’m really hoping the third movie is ass kickery. 7/10

Miami Vice

Review by Michael Jaffe

If you have ever seen or heard of the original MIAMI VICE TV show, then the movie is probably not for you. While the original show was all style and oozing with coolness, the movie is a dark, gritty, very talkative cop drama. That’s right, I said drama as there is maybe 3 action scenes in this movie, all of which appears in the trailer. It is shot in the same way Michael Mann shot COLLATERAL and HEAT except that those movies had a lot more to them and a lot more action sequences to move the story along. I really wanted to love this movie as I really like everyone involved and I really like the original show, but the final product is unfortunately no where near the potential sum of its parts. The two stars, Farrell and Foxx, are both quite good in their roles as both can stare at stuff with the staring bests. The dialogue seems realistic on one hand as the people in the movie are all business all the time, but on the other hand it seemed very static and fairly dull, which doesn’t help the barely visible plot. If a movie doesn’t have much of a plot, it should have other things that excel to make up for it, but the straight foreword story consists of Miami PD detectives Crockett and Tubbs going undercover in the Columbian drug cartel to try and find a leak into the FBI. So for over two hours, you see what its like to be a runner for a drug cartel and never find out who the mole is, but you do have a lot of love scenes. That was another thing that bothered me was the amount of scenes where Colin Farrell and Chinese goddess Gong Li (still really hot) engage in a) sex or b) conversations about their families. While it was nice to see some character development, Farrell’s character was undercover at the time so I was left wondering if his back story was real or his cover, so it didn’t really shed any light on his character at all. Li was quite good in her role as the middleman for the big Columbian drug dealer. And she apparently was his girl, which I didn’t figure out until someone said “she’s his woman” almost two thirds of the way through the movie. The plot had me trying to figure stuff out the whole way, and once important plot points were uncovered you had to ask “why does this matter?” Not saying that Michael Mann has lost his touch, but this film is definitely a down point in his illustrious career. He has perfected the pseudo-documentary look and feel of the film as he did in COLLATERAL and that works great in this film, but with such bland dialogue and a goofy plot, I wonder if all the distractions on set from Farrell’s drug problem to a shooting on set, effected the final product of the film. The cool and grit that seeps out of this movie save it from just being bad. 6/10

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