Show Entries

Which Movie Critics Do You Agree With?
Entered on: June 11, 2007 12:39 PM by Ross

This is an ingenious idea:  rate a bunch of movies, compare your ratings to some existing critics, and see who you're most compatible with.  Here's my results:

Your Compability With:

  • Rotten Tomatoes : 87%
  • Roger Ebert : 83%
  • Peter Travers : 82%
  • James Berardinelli : 82%
Take it for yourself.

NEWS 417 - 86 Comments
From: Radmobile Entered on: June 11, 2007 1:55 PM
I wanted to take the quiz but I realized I haven't seen half the movies on the list.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: June 11, 2007 2:30 PM
  • Rotten Tomatoes : 87%
  • James Berardinelli : 84%
  • Peter Travers : 80%
  • Roger Ebert : 79%

From: Ross Entered on: June 11, 2007 3:59 PM
After reading this it seems it is of dubious value.
From: BigFatty Entered on: June 11, 2007 4:03 PM
  • Rotten Tomatoes : 86%
  • James Berardinelli : 86%
  • Roger Ebert : 83%
  • Peter Travers : 81%

It is a good idea, pretty fun really, but I won't go past that.  The Market Researcher in me (gotta let him out!) throws up all sorts of flags on this study.  But of course it is just for fun.  It should be an ongoing comparison to have any real value.  Going back to what you think you rated a movie is not the greatest.... well at least for me.

I think Swerb and Ross had a good debate on criticisms, and Swerb raised and excellent point if I remember correctly.  Your feelings for the movie can be largely influenced by the kind of mood you are in beforehand.  Plus, we all know the effect of over-hype, or creating high expectations for a movie.

When you consider the small number of movies we are asked to rate for comparision, you could say there is really no differance when you consider the margin of error.  But Jacks differance between Rotten Tomatoes and Ebert was interesting enough.  Jack are you more likely to disagree with the Fat One?  Does he give stars too??  Or just the Thumbs??

Now I am wondering how they are figuring out the scores.  There are many ways to look at it to compile a score.  Ok, enough already.... I feel like a wet blanket.  Looks like there are traces of nerd in me as well. 

From: Ross Entered on: June 11, 2007 8:19 PM

Ebert definitely does give stars.  As for the way they do the scoring, read the link I gave above.  It's apparently not terribly accurate.  

Your point about the ratings needing to be given at the same time is a very good one I hadn't thought of.  The critics don't have the benefit of hindsight like we do when we take the quiz.   

Still, I do think the idea is a great one and you could definitely make it more useful if you took it beyond internet-poll-novelty.  Really wouldn't be that hard to do if you were really inclined.  Get on it, Market Researcher Boy!

From: The Bone Entered on: June 12, 2007 12:49 AM
Has anyone seen The Fountain. I just watched it thanks to Netflix. I have to say, wtf did I just watch? Cool visuals and very artsy fartsy but totally bizarre. In general, I poop on it.

From: Jackzilla Entered on: June 12, 2007 7:31 AM
Want to watch something totally different but really good?  Ang & I just watched Pan's Labyrinth for the second time.  Sweet movie!
From: Ross Entered on: June 12, 2007 8:07 AM

I was very much looking forward to the Fountain, because I liked Pi so much, also from Darren Aronofsky.  And Swerb liked it... but I got it a couple months back... watched about 15 minutes, and switched it off.  Haven't looked back.  

Pan's Labyrinth is sweet, though, I agree. 

From: BigFatty Entered on: June 12, 2007 9:24 AM

I got Pan from Jack a few weeks ago, but I am going to move it up in watchng priority now.

I do agree with you Ross that the Critic-comparison is interesting and fun.... and you are right, it would be fairly interesting to do (I already figured out a calculation to make it a good comparison).  But wouldn't it be another rotten tomatoes? I am not sure what all Tomatoes offers, but I would see this site letting people writing and posting their own reviews, having people rate other's reviews, blog, etc.....  but I can't imagine this stuff is not all ready out there in many different sites.  The critic meter is somthing you would have to update after every movie to see how you rate against the other cirtics.  Thats a good thing, having you come back to the site after every movie.   You are the man to decide if it is worth doing - you got all the mad-skillz.

I did notice on my short stop at Rotten, was they have a lot of professional reviewers on there.  How come, or why not Swerb? 

If Jeanne Aufmuth
Palo Alto Weekly

is on there, I would think the GR Press would rank a little higher than a WEEKLY!

Swerb - get on it.  You should be national BABY! 

From: The Bone Entered on: June 12, 2007 10:56 AM
Pan's is next in my Netflix queue. I'm looking forward to it.

From: Creeko Entered on: June 12, 2007 12:47 PM
Seen Pan's. What's cool for me is that I could actually enjoy it in it's original version w/o sub-titles. Very good, well worth watching.
From: The Bone Entered on: June 12, 2007 11:26 PM
Eurotrash Heiss rubbing it in that he's bilingual.
From: Creeko Entered on: June 13, 2007 1:33 AM
Touché mon ami. Voules vous manger monger mi gran salchichón?
From: Radmobile Entered on: June 14, 2007 12:32 PM
I went to see "Knocked Up" last night with Boots & McLarin F1 (Fatty's nickname for my roommate Lerin). As Swerb told me it was hilarious. It has almost the entire cast of Freaks and Geeks on it, and a couple from Undeclared. Zills needs to go see it since he's watching Undeclared these days.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: June 18, 2007 12:20 PM

I give Knocked Up the full thumbs!  Ang & I had a date night with the Roche-ingtons and saw it Saturday.  We all loved it!  I liked it better than 40 Year Old Virgin myself.  Freaks & Geeks fans like myself will get a kick out of seeing a lot of those actors in it too. 

From: Ross Entered on: June 18, 2007 12:43 PM
I'm still waiting for the chance to go see it...with so many ringing endorsements, it sounds like a sure thing.
From: BigFatty Entered on: June 18, 2007 12:57 PM
What about Roche??  He said he was full crying at 40-year-old.  Did he like it as much?  Its gotta be coming here soon.  Shit, I just saw Spidey-3 on the small screen..... I am WAY behind...
From: Jackzilla Entered on: June 18, 2007 1:31 PM
Fats - Roche liked it but said he liked Virgin better.  Admittedly, Virgin didn't blow my socks off like it seemed to most people.  I liked it, but thought Knocked Up was better.
From: Ross Entered on: June 22, 2007 9:32 AM
It's too bad Swerb is on vacation - I can only imagine how his review of Evan Almighty would have gone (I assume that's why Swerb didn't do the review?).  Even Jefchak trashed it - I personally rather liked the FlickFilosopher's review as she gets into the absurdity of how taking your faith literally in a story like this shows just how absurd it is.  Sounds like a real turd of Fantastic Four style proportions.
From: Radmobile Entered on: June 22, 2007 10:22 AM

I typically like Steve Carell but I'm hesitant on this one.  What's the premise?  He becomes Noah and there a huge cleansing flood that kills most of the earth?  Sounds like a good premise for a comedy.  Undecided  I'm sure that's not how it plays out in the film but it sounds lacking.  I'll be saving my money for Transformers.

From: Ross Entered on: June 22, 2007 11:47 AM
Stankformers?  Michael Bay has never made a good movie (though The Island was close).  I have to admit that my childhood memories make me curious about it, but I don't think I want to pay money to see it.  Still, I have to admit watching them transform in the previews is pretty fargin cool.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: June 22, 2007 12:56 PM

I'm holdin' out for Go-Bots: The Motion Picture.

Actually, I'm in for Transformers.  Maybe all the guys can go, Rad (I think Ang is out on this one too).

From: Radmobile Entered on: June 22, 2007 1:19 PM
I must admit I liked the first Bad Boys, and the Island.  I even enjoyed Armageddon for the most part.  I'm not sure what people object to so much with Michael Bay's work.  Pearl Harbor sucked, and Bad Boys II was pretty lame (I seem to remember that one ending with Cuba being invaded), but I can't discredit him for a couple bad movies.  And I've seen nothing from the previews of Transformers to make me expect turdiness.  Fuck the Bone.  I'm gonna see it, and I'm gonna pay the price of admission!
From: Ross Entered on: June 22, 2007 1:38 PM

Dude, Bad Boys II is quite possibly the worst movie ever put to film (though I tend to harass Serba and say that it's The Specialist since he convinced me I should watch it because it was "so bad it's funny" - it wasn't).  Having seen BBII in its entirety alone should make you want to claw your eyes out and rip your ears off.  You are now 20 IQ points dumber than before you watched it, just wanted you to know (I only lost a couple points as I turned it off after 15 minutes, then spent the next 24 hours vomiting and scrubbing myself raw in the shower).  

Armageddon was also rubbish, though not nearly as bad, with lots of empty-feeling melodrama.  Don't get me started on that stupid spikey asteroid.  Pearl Harbor was even worse on the melodrama front, though.  Wikipedia has a couple blurbs of typical criticism of him that I find pretty accurate.  

From: Ross Entered on: June 22, 2007 1:49 PM

But as for movies to look forward to, how about this?

 [ The Man With The Hat is Back ]

From: Jackzilla Entered on: June 22, 2007 1:56 PM

Too bad Joel Schumacher isn't directing.  Who's this Spielberg hack?  Wink

I know they've been working on a new Indy videogame too that looks pretty sweet!  I loved the old Xbox one! 

From: Radmobile Entered on: June 22, 2007 2:09 PM

I can't decide if I"m looking forward to seeing Dr. Jones again, or dreading it.  I love the originals but so much time has passed.  Can they really start it up again?  18 yrs later?  Should they?  Who am I kidding, there's no doubt it'll be way better than Transformers. 

Oh and Pearl Harbor was full shit.  Wonder and I fell alsleep in the theater on that one.  Armageddon could've done without the melodrama, but the spikey asteroid didn't bother me.  I wish I'd had the sense to shut off Bad Boys II as quickly as you did.  Further reflection on the first Bad Boys reminds me that my approval was owed mostly to Tea Leoni (whom I had a bit of a crush on at the time, especially with the brunette dye job).

From: Jackzilla Entered on: June 22, 2007 2:26 PM

We've had a Pearl Harbor DVD box set that we borrowed from someone (Angie's Brother?  Sister?  A friend?  Who remembers anymore!), but we've never watched it.  And the proper owner has never asked for it back.  So there you go.  I guess I'll leave it on the shelf.

Somehow I've "missed out" on both BB movies.  Isn't Martin Lawrence in those things?  Uh... hello! I'd more likely watch it if it was Joey Lawrence!  Woah!

From: Eric Entered on: June 22, 2007 2:44 PM


You had to know your badmouthing of Armageddon and Michael Bay would bring me out.

OK, So Bad Boys and Armageddon, and maybe The Island (I've not seen at and am suprised by Ross's satisfaction level) are all he's got

The one good thing about Pearl Harbor, the trailer was amazing.   The movie, not so much.  I guess the composer (Hans Zimmer) should get as much credit for the trailer as Bay though.

Alright, Bay does suck mostly, but I still like Armageddon. 

Just don't rip on Jerry. 

From: Creeko Entered on: June 22, 2007 4:59 PM

So I decided to watch this movie called Hot Fuzz curious by the fact that it has been DL'd by so many people. After seeing that it was certified fresh by RT I was pretty excited to get a taste of such a highly regarded British comedy.

 Has anyone else seen it? I thought it was mostly meh, although it had one or two amusing moments. Surely all the hype was from British critics tired of watching American shite like BB2 so this by comparison must have seemed stellar to them.

 Not necessarily a crap fest but  meh sums it up pretty well

Fatty would probably like it though, he's become quite a connaiseur of British humor.

From: Ross Entered on: June 22, 2007 10:40 PM

Fatty actually watched Hot Fuzz over at my place when he was here a few weeks ago.  He liked it but thought the ending was ridiculous.  My assessment as well.  Barring the ending, it was on-par with Shaun of the Dead, IMO.

Eric:  Bay sucks, you (grudgingly) know it, and also Bruckheimer  is a hack.  The two go together like peanut butter and chocolate (covered in crap, of course).  As always, there are exceptions, mostly stemming from their early days before they were completely corrupted by the pressures of Hollywood to suck mightily.  Bruckheimer had Top Gun, and Bay had The Rock, which, while not a great movie, was good enough for me to watch more than once.  

From: Eric Entered on: June 22, 2007 10:57 PM

I think the better argument is that Jerry always sucked, but his buddy Don had skillz.

Flashdance, Beverly Hills Cop, Top Gun, Top Gun II (AKA Days of Thunder), Bad Boys, Crimson Tide, Dangerous Minds, The Rock.  Take a look at his full list, I only skipped like 3 movies.  Not all brilliant movies, but as a producer, he pretty reliably delivered.

Note that The Rock and Bad Boys were joint ventures with Michael Bay.  I think they are all with Jerry. 

Then Don did a little too much coke, and now Jerry is running wild.



From: Ross Entered on: June 23, 2007 8:51 AM
That's a reasonable argument.  Of course, if Don Simpson hadn't partied so hard, I can only assume he'd be dragged down into the shitter along with Bruckheimer.  One can only speculate, though...
From: Ross Entered on: June 23, 2007 10:07 AM

9 Reasons Transformers will suck.  

#1: Michael Bay. 

From: The Bone Entered on: June 23, 2007 11:23 PM

I pooop on transformers the movie. Cartoon is badass though.


From: BigFatty Entered on: June 24, 2007 3:55 AM

The Transformers was just out of my age-group's interest when it came out - thank goodness!  I can't believe they are making a movie about it.  It sounds like a real turd.  What's next, movies about He-man and Thudercatz?? Oh............ oh no they're not!  WTF!!!!!  Who are these idiots with all this money to make shit.  Why don't movie investors give money to people with GOOD movie ideas?  Maybe I could get a three picture deal about this big turd I'm about to leave in the toilet.  I'll throw some Wacky Eyes (TM) on it and create a story of it waiting around in the bowl for another turd to love.  The problem is people keep trying to flush him to poop in a clean bowl.  If that happens, he is history.  So, he tries to convince people to poop on top of him.  But, as you can imagine, this scares people off.  Until......... he befriends a young lad with IBD, who is facinated by this big, solid turd.  The young man rescues the turd from certain flushing and goes on a quest to make the turd - a perfect turd to love....  (Product placement for Ex lax, Pepto-bismo, FiberOne, etc)

Pure Evil Genius.

Where is my paycheck BITCHES! 

PS - While I was lucky enough to just miss watching the Transformers, He-man, Thundercatz, etc.  It came at a price - A heavy dose of the Smurfs.  I consider those the 'Dark Years' of cartoons - pretty much all of the 1980s. 

From: BigFatty Entered on: June 24, 2007 4:05 AM

Comment on Bone's movie clip...... I'm a little confused.  After your 'Opening Move', is this the next step in the Bone repertoire?   What is step 3 then?

Opening Move - Lick the spice

Step 2 - Hit it from the back until you puke

Step 3 - ??????  Enquiring minds NEED to know Master Ninja! 


From: The Bone Entered on: June 24, 2007 10:52 AM

They already made a Masters of the Universe movie. I think Dolph Lungren was He-Man if I'm not mistaken.

I'm still working on step 3. I'll keep you updated. 

From: Swerb Entered on: June 25, 2007 11:25 PM

First: Michael Bay sucks. As a director, he essentially throws money at the screen so we can watch it explode. I have managed to avoid Armageddon but caught some of Bad Boys II recently and thought it was one of those pieces of shit on the street who beg for change. He has yet to do a good movie, so my prediction for Transformers is that it will be an idiotic, explosive CGI-fest. 

As for Hot Fuzz: You're not getting the joke if you think the ending was too much. It totally apes every cliche of action movies - to the extreme!!! This shit just got real! And I watched Shaun of the Dead after seeing Hot Fuzz, and no comparison - Hot Fuzz is better, consistently funny the whole way. Plus, Ross, if you and Fatty watched that semi-sub-par version you downloaded, I don't think it does the movie justice. Get off yer damn couch and go to the theater to see it, and I think the experience will be better. I've learned that a crappy presentation can color one's enjoyment of a movie.

Also, sorry to break it to you...

From: Ross Entered on: June 26, 2007 8:44 AM

By the Power of Greyskull, Swerb, you might be right.  I'll definitely give it a third chance with a better copy.  But don't confuse not getting the joke with not thinking it was all that funny, especially compared to the entire movie leading up to that ending.  My problem with the ending was it just went on for far too long.  You can say that's the joke, but fine, okay, not a great joke.  The point still would have been amply clear if it had gone on 1/3 as long.  I don't see the presentation really changing my mind about that too much.  But like I said, I might try it sometime.

Anyway, I finally saw Knocked Up last night.  Very good stuff.  I'd say it was nearly on par with 40 Year Old Virgin but not quite there.  Obviously very similar in almost every respect, and that's a good thing.   What's funny is that everyone kept talking about "the crowing scene," and I reserved judgment but I knew it wouldn't be as bad as the real shit I've seen lately in birthing classes and whatnot, and I was right - that scene was tasty by comparison.  

From: Swerb Entered on: June 27, 2007 11:27 AM

My only question for you, Ross, is: Are you reading your baby books? And don't forget the dip tet!!!

Back to the ending of Hot Fuzz: Come on! The sunglasses? The ridiculously gratuitous gunplay? The TOOTHPICK? It fucking killed me! Maybe it goes on too long, but the point is, it wants to cram in/satirize/pay homage to all the action-movie cliches it can. How many crappo action movies have you seen where the ending is absurdly, violently anticlimactic? The ground-level shot of the helicopter flying overhead... I mean, Christ, the bad guy even gets impaled (reminding me of my favorite shitty-ass action movie ever, Cobra)!

My point: You're nucking futs if you think Hot Fuzz is merely "meh." Maybe humor is subjective, but this is the funniest movie I've seen all year.

From: Radmobile Entered on: June 27, 2007 12:35 PM
"Have you ever shot your gun up in the air and said "AAAARGGHHHHH!!!!" like Keanu in Point Break?" I'm in full agreement with Swerb on this. I even liked the end better than the rest of the movie because it was so silly and over the top.
From: Creeko Entered on: June 27, 2007 1:10 PM

Perhaps I souldn't have fallen asleep. It would seem that that ending might have changed my opinion. I still give it a 2/3rds meh and a 1/3rd zzzzzzzzzzzz.

 It may require a second viewing when I'm not in such a stupor.

From: Ross Entered on: June 28, 2007 4:20 AM

I didn't think Hot Fuzz was "meh", I thought it was quite good, actually.  I loved Shaun of the Dead, and I thought it was roughly on par with it.  

And yes, I have been reading the baby books - sort of.  I go in spurts - besides, I'm getting this info from all angles - friends at work, emails from websites every week, birthing classes - it's impossible to avoid information even if I wanted to.   

From: Swerb Entered on: June 28, 2007 7:38 AM
Here's my unsolicited advice: Don't leave the baby in his car seat in the middle of the road when you're in the midst of a string of bank robberies then howl and pound the dashboard like John Goodman when you realize you forgot him. Beyond that, you're on your own.
From: Ross Entered on: June 28, 2007 9:19 AM
Well, that might be tough not to do, because I howl and pound on the dashboard and car ceiling on a routine basis.  So all it takes is one minor misstep by way of leaving a filled seat in the road, be it due to a bank robbery or any other reason...
From: BigFatty Entered on: June 29, 2007 2:07 PM

My comments on Hot Fuzz ran into Internet Fornication and did not get posted.  I was too lazy to re-write them because of my typing retardation.

Basically, I said what Ross said.  The movie was decent until the end.  That 80s style cop shoot out was too much, too long.  It was easily 20 minutes.  And yes, I got the joke.... it was supposed to be like that, very satirical..... but hey, I got the joke after 1 minute.... after 5 minutes it was funny Family guy style (the chicken fight is on episode 3) just inching past the still funny point - then it got plain stupid and boring.  Cut the last 15 minutes of the movie and it is great.  Where was the editing!

Watch it in the theater????  No thanks - there still will be 20 minutes of a 80s cop movie shoot out.  Seen it a thousand times.......  seeing a funny version doesn't make it more inticing.  Unless the movie ticket includes a free blowjob during the scene..... I'M OUT! 

From: Ross Entered on: July 1, 2007 2:26 PM

Swerb, I knew you were going to shit on Die Hard, and for that, I am going to have to shit on you.  While of course not being on par with the original, I think it's fair to say it's better than numbers 2 and 3.  I knew that the over-the-top action would grate on you, and certainly the completely ludicrous computer hacking grated on me, but dammit, can't we just overlook some of that and enjoy a summer action flick?  For a movie in this genre, I would say this is the best that's come out in some time - I had a lot of fun watching it.  I'm sure you can chalk some of that up to nostalgia for the original but I think even without that I would have enjoyed it.

I thought the stunts were fantastic, even if overplayed, which is kind of the point nowadays.  I also enjoyed the Casino Royale-style parkour of the one impossible-to-kill bad guy. 

I think you were quite a bit too harsh.

From: Radmobile Entered on: July 2, 2007 3:02 PM
Well, the Lowell crew is gonna check out Transformers tonight. Opinions will be posted later. I still want to see Die Hard at some point though. The orginal is one of my favorite 80's action flicks. I have a feeling I'm gonna cringe at the cheesiness of the jet scene from the previews.
From: Radmobile Entered on: July 3, 2007 8:59 AM
I liked it, I must admit.  Aside from some of the fight scenes where you couldn't tell which robots were fighting, it was all done pretty well.  And the aptly named Megan Fox in the female lead role......good lord!  I was only mildly familiar with the cartoon series so I couldn't be offended by any injustices to the source material.  It's not going to win any awards, but if you want to see giant fighting robots it's full sweet.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 3, 2007 9:15 AM

I know it's a little early to make such bold declarations -- I should re-watch the movie and mull over it's subtle nuances -- But I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it:  Best Hasbro Movie Ever!  

From: NickNick Entered on: July 3, 2007 9:48 AM
Transformers was thouroughly enjoyable. The little ten year old inside was euphoric Full boner for the movie. The adult in me was pleasantly suprised.... and slightly disturbed by the ten year old's boner.
From: Ross Entered on: July 3, 2007 10:05 AM
Every review I've heard (including Swerbs?  What???) was favorable.  I think I'm going to succumb to peer pressure and take in a viewing this week!
From: BigFatty Entered on: July 3, 2007 12:55 PM

I'd rather sit in a hot apartment in Budapest and wait for my window insert so I can hook up my air conditioning.  Wait, I am doing that already.


From: NickNick Entered on: July 3, 2007 1:04 PM

Shameless plug.  You all should go visit my comicspace page and marvel at what a magnificent artist I am.

From: Ross Entered on: July 3, 2007 5:46 PM

What, what is comicspace?  Some kind of myspace ripoff for comic book nerds?

From: Swerb Entered on: July 3, 2007 8:03 PM

Pardon me while I get defensive. 

Hmm... what is this argument Ross put forth on an earlier discussion thread...

Suspension of disbelief does not entail throwing all critical thought out the window. 

Yes, this was Ross' commentary on the movie "Signs," which I enjoyed just because it was pretty scary and, yes, I disregarded many, many plot holes and ended up being entertained. So pardon me while I take the "Die Hard" shit you shat on me and throw it back in your face. 

Also I also didn't overly praise "Transformers" - I gave it a middling review because, if I may quote myself,

The action sequences are noisy and chaotic, all the clanking and crashing and smashing and blasting creating a smorgasbord of (admittedly impressive) computer-animated visual junk bordering on complete nonsense.

Now, one could argue the same point for "Die Hard" - that it's well-made, lowbrow action junk. But at least "Transformers" is honestly funny, and it's not something I've seen before many times.

Needless to say, I'd rather see this again than take in another viewing of "Live Free or Stank Hard." The biggest problem I have with "Die Hard" is that it makes John McClane totally fucking indestructible, even more so than in 2 or 3. (3, by the way, is mostly crap. I re-watched it recently and ended up reading a magazine during it, which is one step away from turning it off. And I have a lot of positive nostalgia for the first movie - just re-watched it, and still really enjoyed it.) Considering the charm of the original character this movie has in it, it could be called Generic Action Movie. As soon as he drove that SUV through a fucking building without breaking a single cable that Justin Long needed to continue hacking away at the computer and ended up hanging the truck over an elevator shaft so it could eventually fall down it and explode the bad guy, I was outta there. 

Plus, the script was complete garbage. I don't expect deep subtext about the human condition, but geez, shitty dialogue about Creedence Clearwater Revival? "I ran out of bullets"? "See it? I did it!"? Lame. Kevin Smith was awful in his cameo. Timothy Olyphant was kind of disappointing. Did Maggie Q even have any lines? 

As for suspense, you know the hero's going to survive in any movie like this, and there's a bit of "how's he gonna get out of this scrape" tension here, but after being bombarded with scene after scene of absurd stunts and exploding bullshit, regardless of how technically proficient the filmmaking was, I was ready to check out. So there are my critical thoughts for you...

From: Swerb Entered on: July 3, 2007 8:23 PM

And by the way, truncating the "Yippee ki yay" line? Come on: TOTALLY FUCKING WEAK.

From: Ross Entered on: July 3, 2007 9:48 PM

Somehow I didn't even anticipate throwing my Signs diatribe back at me, though in retrospect I obviously should have.

I can appreciate most of your criticisms.  I guess where I'm coming from is that I don't totally expect an action movie to do anything well other than have impressive stunts and blow stuff up real good.  The difference with Signs in my opinion is that while Signs broke its own rules, Die Hard never really has any.  Cheap, but seems true to me.  Obviously they can do things to stink it up but now that you're making me really articulate it, by my own line of reasoning, what would be the difference between Live Free or Die Hard, and say, Bad Boys II?  I guess this does bear some examination.

Bad Boys, on top of having an even worse script than Die Hard 4, has a certain quotient of stupidity that I can't exactly put my finger on.  I suppose it's a grey area.  Maybe if I was "hipper" and appreciated rather than abhorred Martin Lawrence's googly eyes and wild gesticulations I wouldn't feel that way. 

I do think that this latest Die Hard was quite a bit inferior to the original, because on top of its nifty action sequences, the original has an almost-believable story, and a human protagonist.  When McClane has to run on broken glass, you can feel his painful dcision to do so, and you can really feel the pain with him afterward when he drags himself into the bathroom leaving a thick trail of blood.  Whereas, in this one, you're right, Willis is a superhero.  So it loses major points for that.  But dammit, compared to nearly every action movie I've seen in years, this still seemed less dumb. Is that an indictment against the genre?  Most certainly.  But if I can still claim to enjoy the action genre, however dubious that might be, this one is near the top of the recent pile.  

From: NickNick Entered on: July 5, 2007 2:14 PM
Ross said:

What, what is comicspace?  Some kind of myspace ripoff for comic book nerds?

Basically.  There's a lot of crap on it but there are also a lot of good artists and writers.  A lot of the professionals have pages on it as well.

From: The Bone Entered on: July 5, 2007 11:19 PM
NickNick said:
Ross said:

What, what is comicspace? Some kind of myspace ripoff for comic book nerds?

Basically. There's a lot of crap on it but there are also a lot of good artists and writers. A lot of the professionals have pages on it as well.
Dude, a lot of professionals don't get laid either. 
From: NickNick Entered on: July 6, 2007 3:47 PM
The Bone said:
NickNick said:
Ross said:

What, what is comicspace? Some kind of myspace ripoff for comic book nerds?

Basically. There's a lot of crap on it but there are also a lot of good artists and writers. A lot of the professionals have pages on it as well.
Dude, a lot of professionals don't get laid either. 
Very, very true.  But they're getting paid more than I am, I bet.

From: Ross Entered on: July 7, 2007 1:11 PM

Okay, so I saw Transformers yesterday.  It was Bay's best movie since The Rock.  I agree with the Flick Filosopher when she says that this was a movie that Michael Bay was born to direct, since it contains nothing of substance and exists only to have robots smashing the shit out of each other.  And I also always enjoy it when the Bad Astonomer reviews a new sci fi movie and nitpicks the hell out of the science.

Anyway, it was good popcorny fun.  It's full of annoying unrealistic shit, just like with Die Hard, but I was able to turn my brain off and watch it as a 13 year old might.  Though I have to say that by far, the most unrealistic thing about the movie (and yes, I'm counting the very idea of alien robots that transform themselves into GM products and shoot missles from their asses) is that the smartest of the computer hackers recruited by the government was a superhot Australian chick.   I've said this before and been accused of misogyny, but I stand by my claim: our society simply makes it too difficult for a really hot female to get really good at anything besides being hot.  We prize female beauty so much that that's all we can really tolerate them doing: smiling for the camera.  And if the girl really is driven enough to want to pursue something of substance, the males in the field will give her a pass because she's hot, whether she wants them to or not.  I've seen this too many times to be convinced otherwise.  If you're never challenged, you simply can't improve, and certainly not to the level of best-in-field.  Thus really hot chicks never attain competency at anything real.  

Okay, one more digression on hotness (yes I'm aware of the irony here as I begin to fawn): the other chick, the supposed-teenage hottie: wow.   Was she impossibly gorgeous or what?  Is that where the special effects budget went, into producing her?  

Speaking of the FX budget, I'm convinced that this movie must have cost the entire US GDP to create, the effects were so amazing.  Seriously, the fact that it cost about half of what Spidey 3 cost blows my mind.  For all the deserved shit that we throw Michael Bay's way, I am in awe of how good it looked, so kudos to him for pulling it off (even if it meant that every other shot had some product placement in it, yeesh).  Don't get me wrong, by the end of it all, I was quite sick (almost literally) of seeing sweeping worm's-eye shots of tumbling robots narrowly missing fleeing pedestrians, but there were several shots that made me sit up and take notice.   But of course, as I would expect from Bay, he did eventually wear out his welcome with the overabundance of nonsensical action.  But it wasn't as bad as I feared.  

I also thought that the LeBeouf kid was pretty good, so he shouldn't stink up Indy 4. 

Overall, I have to give the movie a reluctant thumbs up. 

From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 16, 2007 7:40 AM

Saw Hot Fuzz last night.  Or least, started to.  Ang and I both watched it for 30 minutes, didn't laugh, got bored and turned it off.  To think we could have re-watched a random episode of The Office and laughed our asses off.  Oh well!

Strange, as we liked Shaun of the Dead.

We're still taking our time watching Planet Earth (just watched the jungle episode): Great stuff! 

From: NickNick Entered on: July 16, 2007 7:20 AM
Damn.  I was looking forward to Hot Fuzz.  Maybe with the crappy review here, it might view better than I expect.  That's the fun thing with movies.  The more people say it sucks, the more potential to enjoy it.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 28, 2007 6:43 PM
Wow!  Sweet avatar NickNick!  HA HA HA!!!
From: Swerb Entered on: August 1, 2007 6:29 PM
So, I saw The Bourne Ultimatum last night, and it's super-sweet! The best in the series, I think. Ross will blast a full-bore load of creamy wigglers when he sees the badass hand-to-hand combat in this one. I'm still not 100% behind Paul Greengrass' hyper-jiggle style, but that fight scene - part of an absolutely brilliant, lengthy motorcycle/footrace chase sequence that makes me want to see the movie again - fucking sold me. Unlike the Die Hard series, the Bourne flicks get better with each sequel. I give it the thumbs!
From: Ross Entered on: August 1, 2007 6:38 PM

I'm so glad you said that, Swerb.  I couldn't help but get my hopes up for the fight scene you describe as it's all over the trailers and does look swee.  But Greengrass's last attempt at a fight in the Bourne Supremacy was too jerky for me to endorse.  So I'm happy if this one is better. 

And yeah, Heather and I are really looking forward to this one.  Probably the last movie we'll see in the theaters for quite some time... 

From: Ross Entered on: August 2, 2007 12:56 PM

I can't believe my eyes.  Reading the Village Voice's review, I'm certain I've never heard them praise anything anywhere near this level before:

Bravura doesn't begin to describe Greengrass's skill in mounting these complex sequences, the second of which maximizes the chaotic topography of the medina in Tangier with the third wreaking magnificent havoc on the streets of Manhattan. This is, simply put, some of the most accomplished filmmaking being done anywhere for any purpose.

 Though James Berardinelli's review does recount my fears:

Looking back on The Bourne Identity, it's easy to be impressed by the clarity with which Doug Liman directed the action sequences. Greengrass, on the other hand, prefers fast cuts and an unsteady camera. Even during static shots (such as a simple conversation with close-ups), it's as if the cameraman has Parkinson's. Things aren't as bad here as in 28 Weeks Later, but there are brief instances when the inability to figure out what's going on diminishes the effectiveness of the action.




From: Swerb Entered on: August 3, 2007 10:55 PM

I actually thought Greengrass has toned it down a notch - the choppy editing/cinematography wasn't as bad in Ultimatum as it was in Supremacy, which was my major criticism last time. All the jiggleing is a bit annoying during the simple stuff, but it really works during the action sequences. But I'm telling you, the hand-to-hand fight is BADASS, one of the best ever. I wanted to pump my fist after I saw it. I literally laughed with glee (a couple times, actually). And the bit that's in the trailer, with Bourne jumping into a window all Spider-Man-style, is fucking killer. Better than anything in the Spider-Man movies, actually.

Greengrass was amazing with United 93, and I think some of that has rubbed off on Ultimatum - I mean, it's like you're right fucking there when the shit's going down. Dammit, I'm talking myself into seeing it again!

Plus, it makes Live Free or Die Hard look like the dumbo shite it is... 

From: Ross Entered on: August 4, 2007 9:24 AM

Saw Bern Ultermerterm last night.

Fucking fantastic.

Everyone is saying it's the best of the Bournes, and that's because it obviously is.  The fight in the apartment - all the movies have this formula, don't they? - is so brutal, same as you Swerb, the whole audience was gleeful watching it.  I don't fully agree that the jerkiness of the camera "really works" - it overwhelms at times and makes it difficult if not impossible to fully understand every part of the fight.  You can argue that this is intentional - I've had this argument countless times before - but I will never like that style of filmmaking, intentional or not.  Anyway, it's true, it was toned down from the previous installment, and it probably is the best of the Bourne fights - certainly the longest and harshest.  But Doug Liman, who started that style in these films, did it best - he shook the camera some, but didn't overwhelm (you can watch the original fight here) I'll quote what I wrote on Daniel Keys Moran's Blog about it last night - he liked it too:

I agree about the fight scene in Ultimatum - it will go down as one of the best ever. Actually, the apartment fight in Identity has long been a favorite of mine as well - the only edge it has over this one is coherence - the camera gets a bit too shaky to full comprehend the entire fight in Ultimatum. But I loved the sheer brutality of this one. I can't tell you how many times I've said while watching a fight "keep attacking! He's still moving!" Neither Bourne nor his opponent need any such advice - they fight until one isn't moving anymore. I also like - mild spoiler - that it ends realistically - not with a neck snap, but with a choke, the way a fight between extremely lethal people probably would.

I also liked that they didn't fuck with the music - the original score from the movie had some really great music and they reused it wholesale for different purposes but it worked really well.  

Overall, best movie of the summer.  But Swerb, don't try to bait me with that shit about "better than anything in the Spider-Man movies" - them's fighting words. 

From: Swerb Entered on: August 9, 2007 2:11 PM

Fighting words? Of course they are!

Truth be told, Spidey and Bourne Ultimatum is an apples-and-oranges argument... I just prefer Bourne because it's so immediate. You feel like you're there with Bourne as he jumps through the window and wallops the snot out of that guy. Now, Spider-Man is sweet, but it's hard not to be detached from the action because it's mostly CGI. Bourne is just more... tactile.

This isn't an argument against Spider-Man movies as much as it is against an over-reliance on CGI. And sure, Greengrass probably used CGI (everybody does) but it isn't as obvious. The fact that the action was staged with real locations and actors just immediately lends it the realism that tweaks the ol' thrill center of the brain. I admit that CGI can be awe-inspiring (Lord of the Rings, Spidey 2, I'm sure there are others), but it's been a long time since I had goosebumps like Ultimatum gave me. 

But "best movie of the summer"? Don't bait me with that shit! You obviously haven't seen "Sunshine" ... which, yes, has lots of CGI...

From: Ross Entered on: August 9, 2007 4:15 PM

I'm pretty sure Greengrass didn't use CGI, and I know he didn't use it in the scene you're talking about because I've seen behind-the-scenes shots of the cameraman following Damon off the edge of that building.  Which definitely makes it super sweet.

But: believe me or don't, but when I watch Spider-Man, I am able to switch off the part of me that analyzes whether it's a stuntman or a computer, and watch Spidey do his thing.  And I've got to tell you, if you can do that, you'll see that Spider-Man makes Bourne look like Pee Wee Herman.  It's like when they said with the original Superman movie, "You'll believe a man can fly."  Well, I didn't - but I kind of do when I watch Spidey do his thing.  And because of that, he beats Bourne handily, because the movies have the power to ever-so-briefly trick me into believing it's real, and it's glorious in a way that nothing that purports to be "realistic" could ever be.

Furthermore, it's not fair to say Spider-Man has an "over reliance" on CGI - the kinds of things I'm talking about having him do - swing through the canyons of Manhattan, flip between chunks of falling debris, etc - can't be done any other way.  So as far as I'm concerned, it's exactly the right amount of reliance on CGI.  As you said, apples and oranges, but you still seem to be trying to compare two things that aren't comparable.  Bourne does things that humans can (barely) do, and Spider-Man is fantastic because he does thing that a human could never do.  

I've never even heard of Sunshine.  But it sounds good.  I'll definitely keep an eye out for it. 

From: Ross Entered on: August 12, 2007 10:56 AM
Article in today's Chicago Tribune about Paul Greengrass' shaky camera style.  Kind of interesting.  
From: Ross Entered on: August 15, 2007 1:27 AM
By the way, I just watched Sunshine, and Swerb, you're right(ish) - it's pretty freaking good.  I need to re-watch it.  Dunno if I really liked it better than Bourne but it's sort of apples/oranges.  And who would have thought that Johnny Storm wouldn't stink up any movie he's in?
From: NickNick Entered on: August 16, 2007 7:53 AM
So.... it's not going to be as bad as "The Core"  Sounds like pretty much the same premise, but with the Sun instead of Earth's core.  I'll possibly rent it if it's getting this many thumbs up.
From: NickNick Entered on: August 16, 2007 1:35 PM
Because I can't figure out how to write a new comment instead of commenting on an existing trail, I'm going to place my rant here. I apologize if I offend, but if I do... then pull your head out of your ass! Go ahead and read this little article and then tell me I'm wrong. I wonder if this ass of a writer even took the time to read any of the Harry Potter books. He claims that Harry Potter has no connection with spirituality and that The Lord of Rings and C.S Lewis were these great works that glorified God. Was he around at the time??? Did he miss that both of these other great works caused quite a bit of contraversy as well. SHUT UP!! It's a god damned book of fiction and not a guide as to how to live your life, as some other books out there perport themselves to be. Anyway, here's the article. Joanne Rowling has three fancy houses and more money than the Queen, but she still doesn't have a middle name: the K. is just an empty invention, added for effect when she published her first book. Starting with that first letter, she has orchestrated a sustained dramatic crescendo unlike anything literature has ever seen. By selling 325 million books in 66 languages, she has almost single-handedly made the case that the novel can still be a global mass medium. With the fifth Harry Potter movie opening on July 11 and the seventh and last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, coming at midnight on July 21, the crescendo has reached a grand climax. Rowling's work is so familiar that we've forgotten how radical it really is. Look at her literary forebears. In The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien fused his ardent Catholicism with a deep, nostalgic love for the unspoiled English landscape. C.S. Lewis was a devout Anglican whose Chronicles of Narnia forms an extended argument for Christian faith. Now look at Rowling's books. What's missing? If you want to know who dies in Harry Potter, the answer is easy: God. Harry Potter lives in a world free of any religion or spirituality of any kind. He lives surrounded by ghosts but has no one to pray to, even if he were so inclined, which he isn't. Rowling has more in common with celebrity atheists like Christopher Hitchens than she has with Tolkien and Lewis. What does Harry have instead of God? Rowling's answer, at once glib and profound, is that Harry's power comes from love. This charming notion represents a cultural sea change. In the new millennium, magic comes not from God or nature or anything grander or more mystical than a mere human emotion. In choosing Rowling as the reigning dreamer of our era, we have chosen a writer who dreams of a secular, bureaucratized, all-too-human sorcery, in which psychology and technology have superseded the sacred. When the end comes, where will it leave Harry? He'll face tougher choices than his fantasy ancestors did. Frodo was last seen skipping town with the elves. Lewis sent the Pevensie kids to the paradise of Aslan's Land. It's unlikely that such a comfortable retirement awaits Harry in the Deathly Hallows.
From: Ross Entered on: August 17, 2007 9:29 AM
Where did you find this gibberish, NickNick?  Sounds like something the GR Press would publish! :)

From: Ross Entered on: August 17, 2007 9:39 AM
By the way NickNick, I granted you access to add new news entries.  You couldn't figure it out before because you didn't have permission! :)

From: NickNick Entered on: August 17, 2007 10:05 AM
Ross said:
Where did you find this gibberish, NickNick?  Sounds like something the GR Press would publish! :)

It was from Time magazine.  I can't remember exactly how I found it but if you search google as "god dies in Harry Potter," it's the first link it brings you to.
From: Radmobile Entered on: August 20, 2007 9:14 AM
Jack, Angie, Annie, and myself went to see "Superbad" last night. First of all, the Lowell theater is sweet! $3 a ticket before 6pm, no college ID necessary. The movie was pretty entertaining. It wasn't quite "Knocked Up" but for what it was, I enjoyed it. It was fun seeing George Michael from Arrested Development in a new role. It wasn't that different of a role for him but he plays that awkward role well. The strange thing about the movie was that some of the scenes were far more realistic than other movies' portrayals of high school life and yet other scenes were completely unrealistic. As always, it was fun trying to point out everyone from former Apatow productions. All in all, I'd have to give it thumbs.
From: Ross Entered on: August 20, 2007 10:05 AM
That was one that we wanted to get to - but as it happened, it came out the same did Logan did.  How did they manage to swing bringing a tiny baby in there?  Were you seated near the door in case the baby started crying?  I would love to figure out how you guys pulled it off but I don't think we'll be taking Logan to any movies anytime soon.
From: Radmobile Entered on: August 20, 2007 10:10 AM
Well, it helps that the movie theater is less than a 5 minute drive away from their house. The whole Joe Bem (sp?) family came over to watch the baby though.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: August 20, 2007 10:52 AM

Bert - Not only have I still not changed a diaper, but we also went to the movies!  My neglect of "parental responsibilities" knows no bounds!

I concur with Rad on Superbad -- funny but not as good as Knocked Up (which I loved).  The best scene?  Seth explains why he feels awkward around a particular girl: Seems when he was younger he drew a LOT of dick pictures and got caught by her.  Cue the montage of dick drawings with sweet music... hilarious!  And stick around til the end of the movie, as they show more at the closing credits.  Also: sweet funk music on the soundtrack, including an original tune with Bootsy Collins!  Thumbs!

From: NickNick Entered on: August 20, 2007 11:19 AM

Jack, I'm beginning to loathe you and you parental luck.  At least Ang got to go see it with you.  That makes it a little better than leaving her at home barefoot and in the kitchen while you go out to the movies.

You bastards and your movie going.

From: Ross Entered on: August 20, 2007 11:37 AM
I actually saw the dick drawing scene online - very funny stuff.  I love how he explains that it's an affliction that happens to like 3-4% of the population.

[Log In to Add Comment]

a division of

© 2003 Ross Johnson
RSS Feed