J's Recent Reviews
I finally got down to watching the first two Hunger Games films after reading the novels and I must admit I came away surprised how well they were made. The first film in the series paints a realistic post-apocalyptic view of what the U.S./North America could turn into some day: a totalitarian dictatorship bent on hegemonic control, right down to deciding which children live and die (cough, cough, present-day China). If you're Chinese and you find this offensive, the truth hurts. Anyway, the only major knock I have on this film is Jennifer Lawrence looks more like a 30-year old than a 16-year old Katniss. However, I am sure finding a 16-year old actress with the acting talents of Lawrence was near impossible and my gripe is more petty and might rub people the wrong way as a petty complaint. But if you read my reviews you know I don't give a rat's ass what anyone thinks. Don't get me wrong. J-Law is the most talented young actress to come along in more than a decade and I have put great hope in her for the future that the art of acting is not dying with the present generation of young actors and actresses. At least not yet anyway. Lawrence's turn as Katniss is what carries this movie more than the special effects, story/script and supporting cast. Director Gary Ross does a superb job with great storytelling, action that was fun but not typical summer popcorn film over the top action, great special effects and most importantly, loyalty to the novels. Haymitch (played by the brilliant Woody Harrelson) was precisely how I envisioned and President Snow (delightfully played by Donald Sutherland) was dead on. Notice the Nazi/Roman correlations with the chariots and Nazi-esque propaganda machine. Julius Caesar and Josef Goebbels would've been proud. Does that offend you? If so, bite me. This is art, it's supposed to offend you or make you think. Great cinema and leaves you excited for the next installment.
I saw this once when I was a child. This was only the 2,000th movie Sandy Duncan and Dean Jones did for Disney so it's like all the others; slapstick, lame dialogue and an animal with some inexplicable superpower (in this case a duck laying the golden egg. I thought geese laid golden eggs?). Great for a family who have nothing better to do on a Saturday night or lazy Sunday afternoon dreading going back to work/school the next day.
J's Favorite Movies
The best movie ever made. Yeah, I know that's a pretty gigantic-assed statement based solely on some of the cinematic icons that have been made over the last 70 years, but this movie re-invented modern filmmaking. It changed how Hollywood operated financially and changed how we look at movies. George Lucas single-handedly brough sci-fi fantasy to real relevance by his tireless work for the creation of life-like special effects. His story was one-of-a-kind. Admit it, when you first saw this movie and saw that Star Destroyer fly across the screen after the opening message scrawl and then John Williams' music you got goosebumps. Every movie that has been filmed since the original Star Wars has paled in comparison to its scope, soundtrack, story and cultural significance. Get used to the idea of this being the best ever because I know I'm right, for once.
Sets the bar for cool, even if it's not entirely accurate of how real gangsters should behave. It's fantasy people! A film that's full of iconic scenes and lines. Case in point, the scene of the scuffle between Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) and Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) where Mr. White ends up pointing his gun down at Mr. Pink and Mr. Pink pointing his gun up at Mr. White flat on his back. I love this movie's dialogue so much that I will just play the movie like someone plays their stereo and just listen to the movie without really watching. And who can ever forget Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) cutting off that cop's ear while dancing to the song "Stuck in the Middle With You." The consummate guy film.