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My thoughts on American Beauty.

This isn't a review, more of a discussion about the film American Beauty.

This is a highly praised film, it won Best Picture in 1999. 

I'm glad its very satirical - with comedic moments - because if this was a straight drama this film wouldn't work. There are a lot of ludicrous elements to the story.

One of the weakest parts I think is the subplot about the neighbour with the video camera. Its too improbable that you wouldn't tell him to just go away if he was filming you and I don't think the relationship with the daughter rings true at all. I don't see what the connection is. Those parts really weigh the film done in its attempts to be philosophical and deep. 

My other complaint about the film is that it as a comedy I think it doesn't condemn Lesters behaviour at all. What he was doing with his daughters friend was borderline pedophilia and yet instead of being outraged at this behaviour - particularly a scene late in the film - it amounts to a catharsis really - nothingness.  

It was interesting what they were trying to saying: someone can project love onto another person without having to be physical and see what they are really like at their most valunerable state. 

Annette Bening is a strange character in this - I know  she was nominated for the Oscar but I thought some moments like where she starts screaming when she cannot sell the house was a bit over the top to be honest.

Having said this however, the film is very funny in parts. The Mr. Smiley scene at the drive through is a real gem. And I think one of the films greatest assests is Kevin Spacey who has great timing and delivery. And its a very brave film to come out of Steven Spielbergs production company Dreamworks. Spielberg a very pro-American director, allowing a film like this criticise the falsity of the American Dream.

I watched the film on VHS - lol, thats the only copy I have of it - so maybe some of the scenes at the cinema would have been more intense. But as it stands, its a good film, an interesting one about seeing things for what they are, but its not always successful. 

3.5/5. 

If you agree/disagree let me know. 

BL - Just having my say!

Stand Against Racism on Gamespot

First things first, I hate Censorship. I don't understand why adults are restricted in what they can view and treated like small children. This comes at a time when FEAR 2 has been temporarily banned here in Australia.

However, what I hate reading more than that - because FEAR 2 will eventually be released here - is horribly, unnecessary, naive, racist comments about my country that emerge everytime an article like this is released. Some of the remarks, like calling Australia a dirt ball of a country, are disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.

I would now like to call upon Moderators to permanently ban or at the least submit a 30 day suspension for those who are making remarks like that. A point loss is not a sufficient punishment in my opinion. And if anyone else feels the same please sign here. We don't need thugs like this on our site! Stand with me members of Gamespot against this evil we have inherited! 

I want to show the people of Gamespot that their site doesn't belong to the criminals and the corrupt. I can do that as Biggest_Loser - As a symbol....

 

Film Review: American Teen.

 

In the American town of Warsaw, director Nanette Burstein filmed the lives of several teenage students for ten months. We meet Megan the spoilt and popular girl, Jake the nerd who wants a girlfriend, Colin the sports jock, Hannah the outcast and Mitch the heartthrob. The pressure placed on these students by their school and their parents is both real and shocking, but it is also the way that their social lives defines who they are that is also engaging and true.

This revealing documentary provides a poignant examination of growing up that everyone will be able to relate to. All of the characters in the film are the clichés we have seen in many other fictional American films, but the authenticity of the documentary and the insights provided by Burstein, provides each of these people with sympathy and heart. While they are deeply flawed and some are quite nasty, it is difficult to entirely dislike them. Megan is highly immature, spoilt and nasty to her friends. Yet the pressure applied by her parents to be accepted into a decent college, as well as the suicide of her disabled sister, allows us to see someone who is flawed for a reason, and it is this earnestly throughout much of the film that provides it with its emotional core.

The access Burstein had to so much of their lives is highly intrusive and there are moments throughout the film that are difficult to watch, such as the breakup of Hannah's long term relationship. This is a particular painful moment in the film as the way Hannah speaks about herself is juxtaposed with a brief animated sequence to represent her degraded personal image. Perhaps it would have been more poignant without the animation and just shown her speaking, but regardless, there are a few moments like this that are very emotional and that you do not really want to experience because you can see them approaching.

Parents also form an integral part of the film, despite the rather negative light they are portrayed in. Many of the parents are seen as either controlling or pressurising of their children, particularly in sports. Colin – the star of the basketball team – is held almost solely responsible for the team's success and failings. His only way to get into college is through a basketball scholarship and there are moments of tension throughout his games where you are just hoping he will succeed. His dad is an Elvis impersonator and you know that Colin would to accomplish more with his life.

The geek's awkwardness and social inability provide several cringe worthy moments during the film, though Burstein's direction never judges him. We see him for who he is and he is certainly one of the more spiraling characters, who's lack of confidence and self pity is at times is difficult to watch, but in a sweet way provides the film with some humour too. He imagines himself inside video games meeting his girlfriend and slaying his enemies from high school. All of these kids are hoping for something better in their lives and Burstein has no shame in identifying that they want something more than what Warsaw provides.

Cynics may view American Teen as a cliché in itself since we have seen many of these elements throughout several fictional high school films, like American Pie and Juno. Yet it remains impossible to ignore the documentary's authenticity and – despite being set in an American town – the universal appeal of these people that many teenagers and their parents will resonate with and recognise. I found its insights to be emotional and moving.

4.5/5.

Poetry (One Poem)

Feel:

Outside of you.

Inside of me

Cold and frozen to the caverns of ice and dew.

I don't want to be alone.

But I walk through there.

Walk through the darkest corner of this sky.

Pull up the covers and shut out the night.

Crawl up next to you.

Watch you sleeping when you're a million miles away.

Watch you sleep when you're two itches to toes.

See you when the sun comes up.

Watch you fade away in closing eyes of today.



Numb:

Feel your laugh

Breakdown the ice.

Bring my shadow

Into your reach.

I'll burn to see them with you.

Short. Sharp.

The longest blister of pain.

Pull me out of the fire

And out of the ice.

I'm numb for you.

See it in my eyes.

Stare for hours. One that cannot break.

You know how I feel.



Fingertips:

Time to let go. To say goodbye another night.

The moments you hold on. Grace me in your arms.

But hold on longer this time. Moments are always.

That's always there for you. Always a time for you.

Always a time to wish you were here.

Wish you part of this night

But you're this puzzle I walk through.

The one to solve. The one to move and shuffle through.

The one to never solve. The one to keep thinking over.

Always.

My review of The Witcher: Enhanced Edition

Well my friends, I completed the Witcher Enhanced Edition. I spent about 30 something hours on the campaign. Just think of all the other stuff I could have done in that time:

1. Got a GF

2. Bought a bagel

3. Got a GF.

4. Broken up with said GF.

5. Cooked some fried chicken. One of my friends makes the best fried chicken!!

So check out the new review and keep watching the sky!!

Witcher Enhanced Edition Review.

BL: Boll Loyalist?!

Day by day he becomes more and more like his nemesis...

Why so serious? 

He's a film critic becoming like Uwe Boll! Wtf do you think?!? 

But seriously folks, I've drafted the script to a game adaptation. You have to guess what it is - this excludes those that already read some of it. 

Next: I would like to hear what other games people would like to see turned into a movie and reasons etc. Don't just say "Secret Service: Ultimate Sacrifice" for no reason. 

Have Fun. Happy Gaming. 

- BL (Chancellor, Script Writer, Boll Basher).

 

Max Payne Movie Review

Max Payne.

Adapted from one of the most loved PC Games in video game history, Max Payne centers on the title homicide detective (Mark Wahlberg) who's wife and baby were murdered three years ago. When the sister of deadly mercenary Mona Sax is killed, along with Max's former partner, he suspects that there might be links between the cases. His investigation takes him through the gritty, drug fueled underworld of New York to solve the case with the help of Mona (Mila Kunis), his boss BB (Beau Bridges) and an Internal Affairs officer Jim Bravura (Ludacris).

It will break the heart of Max Payne fans to learn that this derivative action film has separated itself significantly from the sty*e and enjoyment of its video game equivalent. Rumours that Mark Wahlberg refused to play the game are evident from his detachment from the iconic character. Max Payne has always embodied the characteristics of the hardboiled detective. In the games he remains cynical, tough, tenacious and a highly disturbed figure. Walberg, with his expressions limited to frowning, his lack of narration and snappy pulp dialogue, fails to capture the essence of Max Payne. Inconsistencies, such as panicking and almost crying, seem highly out of character. While Mila Kunis as Mona Sax fails to strike a balance between deadly and desire that a femme fatale should have. Without these Noir elements the heart of the game is definitely missing. Other major characters are either non-existent or have been changed entirely. Jim Bravura was a fat, middle aged, white man in the game. Being played by rapper Ludacris here is a laughable decision for those familiar with the games.

Not only is it highly distracting to see how much of the plot of the game has been changed, but also disappointing that it lacks any emotional impact or mystery. Those who have played the game will be familiar with the twists, and those who haven't won't care enough because of the poor performances. Moore's failure to excite the action sequences too – of which there are only a few and limited bullet-time (slow motion) effects – is another letdown. Visually there are some striking exterior shots of snow-covered New York, which look highly reminiscent of the game's graphic novel. Yet seeing these and other locations from the game makes you smile and remember how much better off you are playing the game rather than watching this rubbish.

1/5.

Body of Lies - Film Review

Body of Lies.

Directed by: Ridley Scott.

During the Iraq War, a CIA informant Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) gathers intelligence for his boss back in the United States, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe), a family man who is far away from the assignments as possible. Ferris, who can speak Arabic and is a resilient agent, befriends a Jordanian secret serviceman, (Mark Strong), who works with him to infiltrate terrorist organizations, using Muslims in Iraq as pawns to gather information. He also meets a nurse (Golshifteh Farahani), with whom he forms a restrained relationship with.

Body of Lies, adapted from David Ignatius's novel of the same name, is a slick action film, with high production values. It was shot in Morocco and has a detailed and authentic look to it. Parts of the dialogue are spoken in Arabic too and Scott, as you would expect, handles the action sequences very well with both energy and intensity. Yet it is a shame the narrative feels convoluted in parts and lacks a clear focus until its final act though. Audiences are also likely to be divided by the representation of the characters too, some of which verge towards caricatures: Russell Crowe, while looking the part of the overweight American family man is serviceable, there just isn't much for his character to do and it is highly doubtful that CIA men confer while at their children's soccer games. It feels like a very cynically written role, too obvious a jab at the bureaucrats of America. Chris Cooper might have been a more suitable choice for the role.

Mark Strong as well seems like a very obvious representation of the dangerous but smooth talking, Arab businessman. While the terrorists' are not given any particular representation apart from being radical and violent extremists. Fortunately Australian Vince Colosimo looks very suitable to his small role, and the film really belongs to DiCaprio who is competent in his delivery.

After films such as In the Valley of Ellah and Syriana, Body of Lies is not a particularly fresh film about espionage and conflict in the Middle East and its narrative does not flow as well as one would like. The politics of the film remain questionable too, particularly being filmed and produced by a British director, but fans of Scott and DiCaprio are likely to enjoy the action anyway and shouldn't be too disappointed.

3/5.

Wall-E Film Review

Wall-E

Directed By: Andrew Stanton


In the future, Earth has been abandoned by humanity and transformed into a smog covered wasteland. A robot with the brand Wall-E on his body, operates to compress the planet's trash by himself. His functions are mechanical, but his personality is like that of a small child, amusing himself with various pieces of junk he finds while working. After a spacecraft lands on Earth, Wall-E finds a companion in Eve, a fiery female robot who has been sent to search Earth as well. Wall-E is highly entranced by her.


The opening shots of Wall-E, with the quiet filming of a desolated planet Earth, present a film that is more considerate and serious about the environment than one would anticipate. There is a strong subtext throughout the film about the way in which technology has formed an entirely dominant control over humanities life and brought about the demise of planet Earth. Yet at its heart though, Wall-E remains a charming and clever cartoon, mainly because of its title character. Resisting the conventional and often dull use of celebrity voices, Pixar and Disney have instead employed more traditional techniques of characterisation to bring the robot Wall-E to life.


Just as older cartoons like The Sorcerers Apprentice used facial animations to convey emotion in their characters, Wall-E too is cleverly presented as innocent, imaginative and fragile through the tender look of his robotic eyes, or the trembling of his metal body when in danger. His fascination with junk too gives him a sense of innocence and naivety that is both enjoyable and funny to watch. He is a likeable and refreshing protagonist, one that children will certainly resonate with.


The second half of the film takes a surprising turn, particularly in accentuating its themes and questions of humanities use of technology. Though thankfully it never becomes too serious or overbearing in presenting these ideas. Despite being a more action packed half than the first though, the pace of the film does seem to lumber and drag slightly towards the end. Regardless, there is still an important and timely message to consider about the treatment of the Earth, humanities responsibility and our overly dependent use of technology. Wall-E is beautifully animated too, and a scene of both he and Eve drifting through space together, is one of the most endearing and sweet moments of animated cinema in years. This is a wholly charming film.