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FF:QLD At The Movies - Reviews & Critical Musings

Discussion in 'Oceania Discussion Boards' started by casual-jedi, Aug 3, 2006.

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  1. casual-jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 6, 2002
    star 4
    I know I left a similar thread lying round here somewhere, but again, Goobs has gone the stinge with his shovel:p, and I couldn't be bothered digging anyways. Sooo... I propose we use this thread as a review depository of sorts, for films that don't really warrant their own threads. You know, small, lower key films unlike yer Pirates, or Superman-type blockbusters. Much like the one I saw last night...

    On a whim, I went to see The Lake House... starring Sandra Bullock, and Neo. Okay, you got me! It wasn't on a whim at all![face_blush] It just sounded better than admitting I went to see a 'chick-flick' by myself. But who am I kidding? I'm an absolute sucker for these type of movies... sorta thing that'd getta man like me shunned from teh bouncer's union... But enough of my ramble...

    The Lake House...
    [image=http://image.ohmynews.com/down/images/1/yamanin_298888_1%5B475914%5D.jpg]
    Firstly, the formalities outta the way... I rather enjoyed this film. It's premise has strong elements of fantasy, which, combined with a decent romantic story, is just up my alley. I akin the film to something of a hybrid between Kate & Leopold, Serendipity, and Sleepless In Seattle. The story revolves around a remarkable Lake House, or more specifically, it's enchanted mailbox... which, through a series of coincidental events, becomes a liason between two 'lonelyheart' thirty-something professionals.

    Sandra Bullock plays an emergency room Physician, and Keanu "Whoa!" Reeves plays a condominium Architect. At the heart of the story, as in any good romantic fare, is a well worn theme of longing. What gives this movie it's own twist, and ultimately, it's fantasy element, is that the two pen-pals-cum-would-be-lovers are separated through the expanse of space and time.

    Bullock writes her letters from the present time(2006), and Reeves, is replying to her from the same day, only 2 years in the past. Whilst it may sound a little convoluted, what comes from the clever twist is in essence, a touching chemistry. As the two protagonists narrate their letters back and forth. Bullock does as good a job as I've ever seen her do... and Keanu, well, he's Keanu... Okay so he's no Eric Roberts, but I ask you, WHO IS!

    The Lake House does not break new ground, as far as this genre goes. When is comes down to it, love is still love, and this film tugs on most of the familiar heart-strings. However, what sets this story apart, is it's fantasy twist, it's honest 'heart', and it's deeper messages to the audience(which of course, will vary for each individual). For me, this film dealt with the notion of finding something beautiful and true, and believing in it... even if it does come through a magic mailbox. My only real problem with The Lake House, is that the ending is perhaps a little 'Hollywood'... I'll leave it at that.

    A word of warning though, to those who do intend on seeing it... you will have to shift the ole grey matter out of neutral for a spell. As the film does inter-twine the two time-frames throughout... and discerning which part is when, can make keeping up with the story, mildly challenging. All in all, I'd rate The Lake House as a definate Budget Tuesday special... one to take your mum, or a significant other to.

    7/10.[face_peace]

    On a side note...
    The Lake House is based on a Korean feature titled, Sowarie...
    I'm definately keen to check it out, to see if anything's been lost in the translation.
  2. Magnus_Darcrider Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 24, 2005
    star 4
    The Korean original (which SBS has shown a couple of times in the last few years) was such a charming and endearing film that I thought it was pointless to remake it.

    But what do I know? Still, it's well worth checking out.

    You actually beat me to the punch here C-J, I wanted to start one of these threads myself. Mostly for DVD reviews, but here we are.

    So I shall review Beyond the Sea

    Released Stateside last year and only finally made it's way to arthouse cinemas like the Dendy at home, this film is a biopic of Bobby Darin.

    To the QFFers who are doing their best Statler & Waldorf impersonations and shouting out "Who the Hell is he?", he was a singer/songwriter/actor during the 1950s. The two songs of his you probably know best are "Splish Splash" and "Mack the Knife".

    So this film is his life and times, told from the perspective that Bobby Darin wishes to make a biopic about his life, and while he wants it to be truthful, he's not really sure how to go about it.

    Yes, it's an existential biopic, in the vein of The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. But it works beautifully.

    The main drive of the film is Bobby Darin trying to achieve so much in what little time he had; developing rheumatic fever as a child, his heart was damaged. Not expecting to survive to his 15th birthday, Darin threw himself into his music, with the intention of becoming bigger than Sinatra.

    Arguably, he didn't do it. But he had a wild ride and managed to make the big time.

    The big controversy with this film (and the reason it got mixed reviews) is that this is, on the face of it, a vanity piece. Kevin Spacey stars, directs, has a screenwriters credit and does all his own singing in this film. With another actor the accusation of vanity piece may have been true, but not here. This is a labour of love; Spacey's obviously enjoying himself while he's singing and dancing. I got the feeling he just wanted to make sure it was done right. The fact that he's too old to play Bobby Darin is also addressed humourously in the opening scenes.

    Katie Bosworth as Sandra Dee was excellent; the courtship was hilarious. If only it really had gone that way; with a 60s dance number. And make your own Lois Lane/Lex Luthor jokes during the course of this. Bob Hoskins and John Goodman also provide important backup roles, and they do a fantastic job.

    The other standout is the kid playing the young Bobby Darin. He was amazing. Hopefully he'll go far.

    This is woth checking out even if you're not a fan of Bobby Darin or 50s music. It's a well made film with actors all at the height of their powers putting in stellar performances. Unfortunately I doubt the Dendy will have this showing for much longer. Mores the pity really, but I'll close by saying I waited a year for this movie to be released and it was well worth it.

    Be seeing you,

    Magnus Darcrider
  3. casual-jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 6, 2002
    star 4
    I saw something about that Bobby Darin Biopic, a few seasons ago on Entertainment Tonight...
    I remember thinking at the time that Spacey was an odd choice for it.
    Good to hear he did a good job.
  4. CCD Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 2002
    star 4
    That was a remarkably succinct and accurate review, CJ :) I saw it myself last weekend (mainly for the psuedo-time travel theme :p) and found it almost wholly satisfying (I like Hollywood endings [face_mischief] ) except the 'twist' can be seen a mile off, and some of the time-communication consequences are laughable to us seasoned sci-fi viewers.

    7/10.


    It does make an odd but welcome change to see a movie without spaceships, superheros, dragons or pirates, doesn't it? [face_thinking] [face_peace]
  5. Fampa Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 3
    I do hope to get out and see The Lake House. However I feel I may be pushing something up hill to get significant other to go see it.
  6. BigBossNass1138 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2002
    star 5
    Hm, this Lake House thingy is sounding alright. I've got to be honest, I'm a bit of a sucker for this sort of thing, especially if there's an interesting element like time travel thrown in. What can I say, I'm a hopeless romantic and a sci-fi fan. :p
  7. Magnus_Darcrider Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 24, 2005
    star 4
    What can I say, I'm a hopeless romantic and a sci-fi fan.

    You should watch a little movie called Cypher then.

    Be seeing you,

    Magnus Darcrider
  8. casual-jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 6, 2002
    star 4
    Jeremy Northam was tops in Cypher... and of course Lucy WooOoooOoooo[face_love]...
    but I didn't think it was exactly romantic in the strictest sense.
  9. Magnus_Darcrider Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 24, 2005
    star 4
    but I didn't think it was exactly romantic in the strictest sense.

    No, not in the strictest sense, but all of the protaganist's actions were for his love. But that's the pay-off of the final scene.

    And there's always Code 46.

    Be seeing you,

    Magnus Darcrider
  10. -luigi- Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 26, 2002
    star 4
    I thought the end of Xypher was romantic but obviously with the mystery surrounding the central protagonists the rest of the film could not be.

    It is one of my favourite films though, saw it the weekend Casual, Neech and I went to that film festival on the Gold Coast. Got to see Cypher and Bubba Ho Tep, what a great weekend!. :D
  11. GoobaFish Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 15, 2002
    star 4
    I know this could be in the DVD thread, but I don't intend on buying the DVD, and I've only just seen this movie for the first time.
    Minority Report.
    7/10.

    Hired out on the $1 Tuesday, along with I, Robot (never seen it before either) and Dark City (good movie). Minority Report was good.


    The End.


    :p
    Okay then, the sci-fi element to it was great. The future tech was as well, mostly stuff I'd expect to have seen in Beyond 2000 or Beyond Tomorrow. Cruise was good, although to me it seemed more like he was just doing his job for an action movie, not much more. The ensemble cast were very good. I like that in sci-fi.

    As with most sci-fi movies, makes me want to read the book (that the movie is often nothing like!)
  12. BigBossNass1138 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2002
    star 5
    Actually, Minority Report's based on a short story rather than a full book. I haven't read it, so I don't know how similar it is. It's just the basic concept, I believe, not the whole fleshed-out conspiracy thing.

    I personally really like Minority Report. Great movie. I picked the DVD up second-hand only a few weeks after it came out, and hence got a great price on it.
  13. Magnus_Darcrider Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 24, 2005
    star 4
    Found it, after a bit of digging.

    I saw a film called Brick tonight. It is a fantastic hard-boiled noir film homage.

    Set in a high school.

    Our protaganist, Brendan, played by the kid from "Third Rock From The Sun" of all people, is trying to help out his ex-girlfriend from some trouble she's in. It all goes wrong, so he digs deeper.

    I knew I was going to love this film when one character refers to her "lapdog". It was reinforced by the scene in the Vice Principal's Office. Anything more than that would be spoiling it for you.

    If you love films like The Maltese Falcon, and Hell, even if you love intelligent, well acted films with great dialogue and fantastic characters, you want to check this one out.

    Be seeing you,

    Magnus Darcrider
  14. morgan-aleghieri Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2006
    star 4
    Sounds good.

    In fact, I'm almost certain that I've had it referred to me before [face_thinking]

    Might have to check it out.
  15. Magnus_Darcrider Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 24, 2005
    star 4
    This may not fit into this thread, but since it seems to not have been mentioned by anyone yet, thought I might as well bring it up.

    The Departed

    Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon & Jack Nicholson.

    Directed by Martin Scorsese.

    This is a remake of a classic Hong Kong action thriller called Infernal Affairs. I've never seen the original, but its been on my "To Watch" List for some time.

    I thought Scorsese hadn't directed anything for a while, but he did The Aviator two years ago. I mostly recall his documentary work these days, which is excellent. Still, he made his start in gritty crime dramas, and this is a return to form.

    This movie follows the careers of two Boston State troopers. One is a corrupt cop in the pocket of a local Irish Mob Boss. The other is a deep cover undercover cop in the same mobster's organisation. The two of them essentially duel, trying to uncover the rat in each other's camps. And that ratchets the tension up quite a bit, moreso given that the two don't meet face-to-face until quite near the end of the film.

    I already knew Matt Damon was a very good actor, but he's never played a villain before. He does so very well here. He's a likeable and dispicable character in equal measure.

    Surprisingly, thanks to this film, I'm going to take back pretty much everything bad I've said about Leonardo DiCaprio in the past. He is excellent in this role, and I think finally hit his stride as an actor. All it took was a few more years on his frame for me to take him seriously.

    Jack Nicholson just chews the scenery as the Irish Crime Boss. Nothing we haven't seen before, but that's not a bad thing.

    The supporting cast is excellent as well, with Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Vera Farmiga and Mark Wahlberg. Ol' Marky Mark shows us once again that he could Rule the Universe if he wanted to in this film.

    This is a great crime drama, but it does get very bloody by the end of it. Almost to the point that it looks like Scorsese let Quentin Tarantino sit in the Director's Chair for those scenes. Then again, the end of Taxi Driver was fairly bloody for its time, maybe he's just caught up to modern sensibilities.

    Highly recommended, but admittedly not to everybody's taste. That goes for the original as well.

    Be seeing you,

    Magnus Darcrider
  16. Kahlan72 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 27, 2000
    star 4
    Saw a review on the movie show about Suburban Mayhem, which looked really interesting. ON my list of odd ones to see. And Kahls, I too would like to see Boytown. Although I did like Bad Eggs. :)
  17. kahli Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2000
    star 5
    Damon was a bad guy in Dogma
  18. Magnus_Darcrider Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 24, 2005
    star 4
    So he did. But he wasn't deliberately evil, he was very conflicted. Not so in The Departed.
  19. Kahlan72 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 27, 2000
    star 4
    OMG there was no "be seeing you" at the end of this post!!!!!!! WOH
  20. Grieyls FanForce Chapter Rep

    Chapter Rep VIP
    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2000
    star 6
    Perhaps he died before he could finish his post? But then how did he click the post button? Hmmmmmm, what a quandry.
  21. casual-jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 6, 2002
    star 4
    That's easy... He lurched forward and landed on the mouse,
    causing it to click onto the Post Reply button.
    RIP the 'Be Seeing You'... Tis a sad day.
  22. Grieyls FanForce Chapter Rep

    Chapter Rep VIP
    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2000
    star 6
    These boards shall never be the same again... Now that I've painted them :D Now if I can only get that board with hinges, hmmmmmmmm.
  23. Magnus_Darcrider Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 24, 2005
    star 4
    Two movies for you today; Flags of Our Fathers and The Wrong Man.

    Flags of Our Fathers is a World War II film directed by Clint Eastwood and produced by Steven Spielberg, and concerns the story of this famous photograph, which was used as a rallying point to inspire the nation to buy more war bonds.

    The story mostly concerns three of the men in the photo who were actually still alive, and the PR tour they had to conduct, interdispersed with flashbacks to the actual fighting during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

    Now this film has a great cast, a well written script, superb direction, amazing cinenmatography, wonderful score, high production values and frankly the worst pacing I've ever seen in a film. Eastwood doesn't know if he's trying to make a war epic, a political documentary, or a retrospective piece on the history of the photograph, and trying to combine all three of these into the one film makes for a bit of a mess sadly. The narrative not only changes tone and voice during the course of the film, but the timeline is all over the place, constantly jumping back and forth. If Eastwood had cemented his narrative at the beginning, and kept the film somewhat more linear with some slight deviation, this would have been a brilliant film. As it stands, its merely okay. But what do I know? In any event, I'd recommend on waiting for the DVD release on this one.

    Some final points on this film; we rarely see the Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima. Eastwood utilises them almost like the boogey man, especially in the first battle scene, and it is very effective. Finally, a companion piece to this, Letters From Iwo Jima, told from the perspective of the Japanese soldiers there will be released in February 2007. This is the first time a director has made films back to back chronicling both sides of the conflict. Despite my disappointment with this film, I will be seeing Letters From Iwo Jima when it is released.

    And now, for something completely different; The Wrong Man.

    Originally titled Luck Number Slevin in the States, this isn't the light hearted crime flick the trailers said it was. A man in a wheelchair tells a distinterested younger man the tale of a fixed horserace 20 years earlier, and how a young man and his family were made example of by the Mob for trying to cash in on the fix.

    Cut to Slevin, a guy who's temporarily crashing at his friend Nick's apartment. He becomes mistaken for actually being Nick by two rival crime bosses. Seems Nick owed a lot of money to some very bad men, and Slevin now has to repay his friend's debts.

    This is witty, violent and sharp. Josh Hartnett is becoming a pretty good crime flick actor between this, his cameo in Sin City and the upcoming The Black Dahlia. Hopefully he'll stay on this trend, I could stand more films like this.

    While this film is trying to be in the same league as The Usual Suspects, its much more straightforward and if you know anything about these sorts of films, you can pick what's actually going on within the first 10 minutes.

    Still, highly recommended. If only for the explanation on what a "Kansas City Shuffle" is. I suspect that phrase is going to enter my vernacular.

    Be seeing you,

    Magnus Darcrider
  24. Grieyls FanForce Chapter Rep

    Chapter Rep VIP
    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2000
    star 6
  25. GoobaFish Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 15, 2002
    star 4
    Nay, that's the Ghost of MD's Sig.

    So MD, Wrong Guy is still worth seeing?
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