Gene Hackman

Superman II

Year: 1980
Directed By: Richard Lester
Written By: Mario Puzo, David Newman, and Leslie Newman. Joel Shuster and Jerry Siegel (characters created by)

RYAN’S REVIEW

Now this is a Superman I can at least get into a little more. There are real bad guys for Superman to fight this time around. Not to take anything away from Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor in the first film but he isn’t necessarily going to come to fisticuffs with Superman is he? In this movie we have the villains initially set up with the first film. It’s a sequel so tied into the first film that it recounts it during the credits. I like that because in the future, should I ever watch these movies again, I can just skip the first film and catch the recap here.

I am an interested spectator in the conflict that was the Cold War. Let me just say I like seeing this movie where it’s firmly at rest. That’s obvious from Zod’s crony carrying both the U.S. and Russian flag after they crash the party on the moon.

Did I say this was a Superman film I could get into more? I’m not so sure anymore. I added these movies to the collection about 15 years ago, rescued them in fact from a shelf where they would only collect dust. I originally had all four of the Superman films but eventually ditched the last two because I straight up didn’t like them. Having watched these two first movies now I find myself wondering what it was I saw in them.

I hate the scenario where a super hero quits being the super hero and or loses his powers. The whole world is falling to it’s knees in the face of a trio of Kryptonians and Superman is ditching his powers to get in bed with a woman like a horny boy going through puberty. Rash decision much Superman? I like that the first thing he does afterwards is try to pick a fight with a trucker. It backs up my prior argument that Superman is a chump because with out his powers anyone can pretty much beat him up. It was all a waste as Superman runs right back to his fortress of solitude to get his powers back. So Superman is like a horny teenager who will do anything to get some but then realizes he made a huge mistake.

I think Terrance Stamp is great as General Zod. The villains are about the coolest part of this movie. Ursa is a cool villain with the taste of blood in her mouth. She feels all these powers and really gets off on them. I specifically like how she collects badges and pins them on her uniform. She is the scariest of the three because she is the most unpredictable. Zod carries himself like the badass but he is more patient and reserved than Ursa. The muscle is Non who apparently doesn’t have the ability to talk, or think very much for that matter. He may be the muscle of the trio but he’s the weakest of the bunch.

These guys are at their best when they are destroying towns and taking over the White House. Once the fighting with Superman begins it’s pretty lame and disappointing. In fact the scene actually put me to sleep and I only caught bits and pieces of the rest of the film. I remember that Superman tricks them in the end to depower them with red rays from the Kryptonian sun. Weak, I don’t think I missed anything nodding off in this one and I don’t think I’ll be diving back into it again.

I really don’t think I like Christopher Reeve as Superman and I really can’t stand him as the bumbling buffoon Clark Kent. Bruce Wayne would never try to pass himself off as an idiot or fool to keep people guessing #Batmanisbetter. I know it’s a horrible thing to say because Christopher Reeve was a real life hero but I just don’t think he was very good. He looks the part in the whole Superman get up but I don’t think he has the acting skills to blow anybody away.

This movie is not better than the first film and if I’m being honest I don’t really think the first film was that great. It was a terrific achievement and it set the bar for plenty to come but I just don’t care for it. I think Terrance Stamp and Gene Hackman carry this movie as far as it will go. Hackman has the benefit of playing the part this time around without Ned Beatty hanging around as an over the top idiot.

I can’t say with a straight face that these movies aren’t worth your time. I think they need to be seen as an important part of film history but I don’t think they are all that likable. I think they served to carve the path that would branch out into a network of films that have followed. The genre has grown to greater proportions now and I don’t think that these movies stand the test of time.

I don’t own the third or fourth sequels in this series and I don’t own the attempt to start a new series with Superman Returns. I have strong feelings about that one that I have written about before. It lured Bryan Singer away from the much cooler X-Men franchise for a crappy version of a lame superhero. I do think Man of Steel was a really cool movie. I think it was much better than people give it credit for. It’s hard to make a good Superman movie because Superman sucks, but I think Man of Steel did a very good job at it. I liked Henry Cavill’s performance in Batman vs. Superman as well. I thought that movie kind of sucked but not because of the performances of Cavill and Affleck.

So this is it, I’m not seeking out the other Superman movies and I won’t be writing about him again. I did my time riding a sinking ship when I did the entire Star Trek franchise. If you’re a big Superman fan I apologize. Feel free to present your arguments and I’ll entertain the discussion. I guess I’m just more of a Batman guy, to the extent that I’m a DC guy at all. I’m interested in it and I think it’s got some great stuff out there but in my heart I’ll always be a Marvel fan.

Check out the first film and watch this one because they directly tie together. Do it because you should. There is plenty to appreciate if not like in these two movies. I think I have sufficiently rambled on about this movie long enough. If anybody out there wants to make a case for the third or fourth film in this series by all means let me know.

NEXT MOVIE: Suspect Zero (2004)

Superman

Year: 1978
Directed By: Richard Donner
Written By: Mario Puzo (story). Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, and Robert Benton, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (creators)

RYAN’S REVIEW

I have never really been a big Superman fan but I have deep respect for this movie. It’s been almost forty years since this film came out and it still manages to be influential in an industry that can’t stop pumping out comic book films. This is a legendary movie and the real first comic book movie blockbuster.

The only time I really like Superman when I’m reading a comic is when he’s getting his ass kicked by Batman. Yes they fight frequently and the Caped Crusader always manages to best the impervious pure of heart hero. I’ll get to why Batman always wins in a minute but I’ll start by explaining why I don’t like Superman. He’s too super powered for his own good. He’s an all powerful superhero and that’s totally lame. He has all the damn powers, it’s too greedy. In this movie he even reverses the rotation of the Earth and travels back in time. I’m willing to look aside from the mere fact that the whole thing doesn’t even make sense in the movie (he reverses time but the earthquake still stops?). It’s still just too much.

What makes a hero badass is the fact that he overcomes obstacles, odds, and weaknesses. Superman doesn’t overcome anything, he overwhelms every thing with his sheer power. As long as the sun rises in the morning Superman is going to be just fine and win the day. Even with Doomsday there is no doubt, and certainly none in this movie as he wrangles cat burglers and cats. I know, I know there is some thing about heroes saving cats from trees but Superman doing it is merely a waste of his (and our) time. It’s no accident that Lex Luthor is his main bad guy. He’s just a man but that doesn’t matter because anybody can beat Superman, so long as you outsmart him.

Batman vs. Superman

Now I’d like to talk about this at some length. Let’s first discuss the two:

You have:

A) Batman-Just a man but an intelligent and skilled man. He’s a fighter who knows many different forms of combat. He’s a tactician who plans ahead and knows his enemy. He has the equipment for any problem that arises, even once breaking out the “Shark Repellent Bat Spray.” He is a man who overcomes the odds, a hero in the truest sense.

B) Superman-An alien from the planet Krypton. On Krypton everyone is the same but the sun is red. Put one of them on Earth with its yellow sun and the power of a God is granted. On Earth Superman has super speed, strength, stamina, motherfucking everything. Oh and he also has the power of flight, laser vision, frost breath, X-ray vision, and apparently according to this film the power of time travel. There is a catch though. A rock from his homeland makes him vulnerable, albeit completely vulnerable. Also rays from his native red sun render him average. There is also a villain that somehow holds the surviving people of Krypton hostage and uses it as leverage against him, but that’s beside the point and not in this movie.

Now you put these two together and things should be pretty simple. The super powered alien pummels the costumed human into dust but it never works out that way. Being the badass he actually is Batman is always prepared and he figures out a way to level the playing field. Be it Kryptonite or somehow utilizing the rays of a red sun he depowers Superman. Without his powers Superman is nothing but a guy who doesn’t know how to defend himself. He becomes chump change for Batman, who doesn’t just beat him but beats the shit out of him.

I remember it being a hot topic of debate when Batman VS. Superman came out a couple of years ago. How could Batman ever fight Superman? I’ll admit once as an outsider in the comic world I would have been perplexed as well and agreed with the naysayers. Now I know better though and I always ask them name the vulnerabilities of both. Batman may be just a man, but nobody would ever accuse him of being vulnerable. While Superman falls to his knees in the presence of a green rock. Of course the gazillionaire Bruce Wayne/Batman has Kryptonite. The man literally has all the resources imaginable at his fingertips. Oh the Kryptonite didn’t quite do the trick? Here are some red sun rays for you. Not enough? Here are some of the most super powered weapons available to man to hit you with. That didn’t do anything but weaken him? Batman is more than willing to roll up his sleeves and duke it out with a guy who knows nothing of fighting because he relies solely on the power that’s been taken away.

To sum it up, Batman=badass, Superman=chump. I haven’t even touched their alter egos either. Clark Kent makes it a practice to appear as lame as possible so nobody looks past the glasses. Great disguise Superman. Bruce Wayne on the other hand may be just as cool if not cooler than Batman. He’s super rich, super powerful, and he is just as likely to beat you up as Batman is. While Superman is bumbling around trying to get the attention of Lois Lane Batman is chillin in a hot tub somewhere surrounded by gorgeous ladies, and he only does that for appearances. Clark Kent may kick a football pretty far when no one is looking but Bruce Wayne is the cool guy that drove off with all the cheerleaders.

Getting back to the point… 

I don’t love this movie but I respect it. I think it was quite an accomplishment in 1978. It’s written by one of my favorite authors, Mario Puzo, though the experience might not have been great for him. I know nothing about the experience he actually had during the making of this film but if any of his other books are to be taken into account he did not have the highest regard for Hollywood. Still, he wrote a story that was great for the time and groundbreaking in its material. I love how the sequel was set up from the get go with Zod and his cronies being imprisoned in the phantom zone. You know they will eventually get out of it and Superman will have to deal with them.

They don’t get out in this movie and I think that is the problem with the film. Or at least why it doesn’t hold up. Yeah this movie introduced a wider audience to a character and blew them away with special effects. In hindsight though this movie is lacking in excitement. Superman has no foe to fight with. Yeah there’s Lex Luthor outsmarting him at every turn but you don’t want to see a superhero fighting nature i.e. time or earthquakes. You want to see the hero fighting someone who is an equal match, or the counter opposite. In this movie Superman is saving cats for crying out loud. There’s also that bizarre man scaling the side of the building, which is an awful lot of trouble to go through for a robbery. A superhero always needs someone to fight, cats are for the firemen with their ladders and cat burglers are for the cops. Let those heroes do that work and let the superhero fight the supernatural bad guy threatening the world.

I for one think Henry Cavill is a terrific Superman, and I like him in the role. That being said, he will never be the real Superman. That’ll always be Christopher Reeve, just as Michael Keaton will always be Batman, for my generation at least. Reeve wasn’t the most incredible actor but he was an incredible man. The tragic accident that he suffered was really unfortunate. He didn’t give up though and remained an inspiration to people both in a similar situation and outside of it. While Superman may be a lame hero, Christopher Reeve was a true hero in real life. May he rest in peace.

I think special mention goes to Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor. I fear I have seen the last movie Gene Hackman will ever act in and that hurts my heart a little. I don’t think this was a particularly good movie but if I had to sound off what I liked about it I’d start with Gene Hackman. I am a big fan of him as both an actor and a person. Several years ago I heard a story about him being in a fist fight, the man was 70 years or more and fist fighting someone! That’s a real badass and I will get more into him as an actor when we reach Unforgiven in the collection.

I don’t know that special mention is really deserving but if you didn’t notice Marlon Brando is in this movie as Jor-El. He wouldn’t want you to miss that, but truthfully the presence of the Godfather is a big deal. Yet Brando caused such a problem on set and in the aftermath of the film’s success that he was cut entirely from the sequel. On set he was reading his lines off the diaper of baby Superman because he refused to learn them. After the film proved to be a success at the box office he sued for royalties. He ended up making an awful lot of money for a short part and even received first billing for what basically amounts to a cameo.

There is little more than “look what he can do!” in this movie and it’s not enough for me. Maybe it’s as simple as I’m not impressed with what the character can do. This was a big hit when it came out but Superman has regularly failed to be a success as some of the other famous film heroes have. He doesn’t rake in the money quite like Batman, Spiderman, or now Wonder Woman. This was the most successful effort as it was the first of four films and a financial success at the box office.

There was a time when I thought this movie should hold a place in the collection. I still think it deserves a place in the collection but I don’t know that it’s getting a ride in the DVD player again. I respect this movie and like some things about it but overall it is not for me. I think this movie is worth your time because it deserves your time, but I don’t think it is worth anymore of my time.

NEXT MOVIE: Superman II (1980)

The Royal Tenenbaums

Year: 2001
Directed By: Wes Anderson
Written By: Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson

RYAN’S REVIEW

This one takes me back to a long time ago when life was so much simpler. A time when a good time was a an hour down the road at my brother’s apartment and life’s greatest concern was getting school work done on time. It was at my brother’s apartment where I first saw this film and I fell in love with it immediately. I was in college myself at the time and this movie just spoke to me at that time and place in life.

I think Wes Anderson is an awesome filmmaker with a very unique style that sets him apart. I am a bigger fan of the movie he followed this one up with, The Life Aquatic, but this was a great movie in and of itself. This movie tells an interesting story about a family that used to be a big deal but tragedy befell them all as time moved on. They are all estranged until they find themselves being drawn together for the first time in almost 20 years. Their conflicting and contrasting personalities make for a great black comedy.

The cast of this movie is quite remarkable. I don’t know the whole back story behind the connection between Wes Anderson and the Wilson brothers. I know they went to college together and have a friendship beyond their careers but there is certainly more to the story than that. He must be a quite likable director because many actors and actresses continue to work with him regularly. Some even go out of their way for him actually. I read that during the shooting of this movie some of the other actors like Anjelica Huston and Bill Murray would specifically work to shield Anderson from Gene Hackman who notoriously can be difficult to work with. I read that Murray would actually show up on set during his days off just for this purpose.

Whether he was hard to work with or not I have always been a big fan of Hackman and like him in this movie specifically. He is perfect as Royal Tenenbaum and I think it was a role that capped off a great career. It hurts my heart to consider that after more than a decade of not acting we have definitely seen the last of him. At 86 years old he is still with us though, and hopefully enjoying his retirement. The last time I heard anything about Hackman he had been in a road rage incident in which he beat up somebody giving him guff, and that was only a few years ago. The man, even in his 80’s, is too badass for the general public to cross. I could be wrong about the story I’m remembering but I like it the way I remember it.

Beyond Hackman the cast is nothing short of fantastic. It’s always fun to see Ben Stiller and the Wilson brothers together but I think specific props go to Gwyneth Paltrow who played such an interesting character in this one. I think the role that Bill Murray plays is his weakest of all the roles he has played in Wes Anderson films. Murray is great as always but his character is just underused and not his best. I think Danny Glover is fantastic as Herny Sherman. While still very active as an actor Glover just doesn’t get the roles he used to and that’s a shame.

I don’t feel like I’ve said enough about this movie but this movie is all Wes Anderson and I have written my thoughts on him before. For more insight into my thoughts on the director see some of our reviews of his other films. We have reviewed The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limitedand Moonrise KingdomWe also have The Grand Budapest Hotel in the collection but it was a late addition we have yet to get around to reviewing.

So in the spirit of not being redundant I’m going to close out this review simply by letting you know that this movie is worth your time. If you are a fan of Wes Anderson then you should have already seen it but if you aren’t then you should check it out and see what you’ve been missing.

I am sure there is plenty of backstory to this movie that is interesting and note worthy. Unfortunately I have never taken the time to read about it. Anybody who does know more about the Anderson/Wilson relationship and how it transitions into the movie feel free to leave a comment and enlighten us.

NEXT MOVIE: The Rules of Attraction (2002)

 

 

The Poseidon Adventure

Year: 1972
Directed By: Irwan Allen and Ronald Neame
Written By: Paul Gallico (novel), Stirling Silliphant and Wendell Mayes (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This was a new addition to the blog from a couple of months ago. I had never seen it before sitting down to review it for the first time. I picked it up specifically because I was familiar with it as a classic and wanted to see a more youthful Gene Hackman. In that I succeeded but despite the notoriety the film has maintained over time I was not enamored with it.

I am a big Gene Hackman fan but haven’t seen enough of his career prior to what he has achieved in my own lifetime. For as long as I can remember Gene Hackman has been old. Much like other famous and prolific actors of advanced age like Anthony Hopkins or Sean Connery I had never known any other version than the one I grew up with. Having recently taken the time to start appreciating what the younger Clint Eastwood accomplished, Hackman was another actor I wanted to see earlier in his career. I bought this movie after being prompted by Amazon but there are others I need to see too. The French Connection is one that specifically comes to mind because I have never seen it. Outside of Bonnie and Clyde, the only movie I had seen from Hackman’s younger career was Superman.

I’ll be honest I didn’t really love this movie. It’s a good movie but it didn’t pull me in quite the way I expected having heard so much about it over the years. I thought Hackman’s performance made it worth seeing and I understand how the role advanced his career. He was quick thinking, in control, and in the end he got to be the martyred hero. The movie had very compelling scenes throughout but Hackman’s heroic death at the end was one of the best.

I didn’t love this movie but I appreciate it. The movie ended on a very gripping note as the few survivors from the group found that they were the only survivors on the ship. As the camera pans out over the turned over cruise ship the reality sets in and it’s haunting. This must have been an incredibly shocking ending in 1972. Not only did the hero die but the tragedy proves be as dire as it could have been in the final moments. I think I would have liked this movie a lot more had I been around when it actually came out. Plenty of movies made long before I was born still captivate and marvel me in ways that nothing else can. This one didn’t do that though and I can’t put my finger on why. I’m gonna blame it on a generational thing having grown up overexposed to this type of tragedy and action.

I have never seen the remake of this film and don’t intend to. I have written many times about my distaste for remakes and I think the idea of remaking this movie was just as poor as all the other remake ideas. When there is nothing to improve on a film there is no reason to tarnish the original with a subpar version. If anybody reading this has seen the remake make your case for it if it actually was worth seeing. I cannot imagine such an argument will be presented, the remake has an incredibly low rank on IMDB. The original on the other hand is worth seeing and if you get an opportunity to see it your time won’t be wasted.

NEXT MOVIE: Predator (1987)

Mississippi Burning

Year: 1988
Directed By: Alan Parker
Written By: Chris Gerolmo

RYAN’S REVIEW

The best movies are the ones that teach us something.  The ones that get into our core and change the very fiber of our being for the rest of time. This movie did that for me. It taught me an invaluable lesson about racism that I will never forget. The message this movie sends is one that has been preached by many films but it is one I only needed once. It has soured my opinion some to other movies along the same lines but I hope each and every one of them did for others what this one did for me.  The world was an uglier place in 1964. It’s an unfortunate reality that the world is still that ugly 50 years later, but I hope with every lesson a film like this delivers that we will be that much closer to what the world can be.

There is plenty of ugliness in this world but I think racism would just about give anything a run for its money at being the worst.  To have hate in your heart for another person based on nothing more than their skin color is despicable.  To judge a person you do not know for preconceived notions that are unfounded is awful.  Worst of all is being so blinded by hate that you physically and emotionally hurt other people to perpetuate some ridiculous idea created by hateful and evil people.  It just blows, in every way possible.  Nothing makes me sicker than to see this ugliness in the world.  I do not judge people for what they were raised to believe but I believe we should all try to be better.  When you settle for the norm or go on with a mentality you know to be wrong you aren’t being better but simply bringing us all down by being worse. The world will never change unless we change ourselves but we can’t do it alone.  It’s a sad reality that as long as ignorance is still prevalent in our society that we will have to endure unnecessary hatred and judgment.

I mentioned that this movie has soured me on others along the same lines and I’d like to clarify that statement.  I just don’t like seeing racism, and I prefer not to see it because I find it ugly.  It’s no different than seeing rape or adultery in a movie.  Some things will just turn me off of a film because I don’t care to see it.  With racism I have learned my lesson about it and I don’t care to pile on by choosing to watch more of the ugliness.  I hope they never stop being made because each and every one has the opportunity to teach someone and that’s great.  I just don’t need that lesson anymore and choose to avoid seeing those films for the most part.  This movie is enough for me but I still find this one hard to watch again.  It’s a great movie all around but I don’t think it is fun to watch.  The Klansmen make me sick to my stomach and though it is awesome to see them get what is coming to them the damage they had already done can’t go unnoticed.  I wish this world hadn’t been this way and wasn’t so similar today in various ways but it’s an unfortunate reality we have to live with.  It’s incredibly difficult to change someone’s opinion about anything once they have set their mind to it.  I am thankful for the people out there who want to fight the battle but personally I think you are just fighting.  It’s like the war on drugs, it’s unwinnable.  You can no more make someone feel a way they don’t than you can stop them from doing something they want to do.  You can preach and punish all you want but at the end of the day haters are gonna hate and hopheads are gonna get high.

I think with this movie that the lesson I have learned from it is more important than the movie itself.  It’s a very good film that is based on real events.  There are the Hollywood elements added in as they are in all movies based on true stories but the messages the film sends are clear and authentic. Gene Hackman is incredible and should have won the Oscar but lost to Dustin Hoffman for Rainman. Frances McDormand is great in everything she does and I’m a big fan of Willem Dafoe.  I think all the KKK members were perfectly cast, R. Lee Ermey and Michael Rooker fit in accordingly.  There is also a young Eddie Winslow in the movie playing an inspiring part.  That is all I want to say about the film itself though.  I think it is a terrific film and I appreciate what it taught me but I believe what it taught me was more important than the film itself.

This movie is worth your time.  If you watch this movie and don’t feel sympathy in your heart there is something wrong with you.  There is a valuable lesson to be had from this movie and if you manage to not get it you need to see more.  If you can’t feel how awful the content of this movie is then you need to open your mind and see it again.  We can all be better as people and as individuals.  This is one of the movies that taught me to be a better person and a stronger individual.  I hope you watch it and get as much out of it as I do.  We can’t change the world but we can change ourselves and we can raise children to be smarter than our parents were and we are.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie is incredibly moving. A movie that makes you want to stand up for something, too. It is a really hard movie to watch. If you are a black person or a white person, it’s hard to watch. There is a huge lesson to be learned about this movie, about people and natural born rights. I wasn’t alive during this time and I am so thankful for that, because my whole motto in life is “Live and Let Live.” I don’t understand why people had and have hatred for other people for no reason at all. It burdens my heart. This movie tells an amazing story and it is worth watching for sure.

mississippi_burning

I am really impressed with this poster. I don’t think it effectively draws in curiosity or anything, but I do think it is really well designed. I am always a fan of a grid design. I think the colors are simple and well suited for this movie. You have two big names and they are evident and at the top and it also gives you an idea of what the characters look like in the film. For this poster to be done in 1988 is also impressive, I feel like it is a little ahead of its time. Another note here. I feel like the simplicity of this poster alludes to the seriousness of its nature.

NEXT MOVIE: Money Talks (1997)

Heist

Year: 2001
Directed By: David Mamet
Written By: David Mamet

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a movie of great one liners with clever and witty dialogue all throughout the movie. It’s a movie that will keep you guessing with many twists and turns. Its cast is made up of mainly older actors who prove that they still had plenty to offer. I think the most important thing about this movie is that it is cool; its coolness factor makes it significant if nothing else does.

This was written and directed by David Mamet who has been involved with some really great TV shows.  Specifically The Unit and one of my all-time favorite shows The ShieldI always think films that are written and directed by the same person have a special quality to them and that is there in this one.  Mamet wrote a really interesting story and he found some quality people to bring it to life.  I am a big fan of Gene Hackman and I think with this movie he proved that in 2001 he still had it.  As it is put in the movie “he’s so cool that when he goes to sleep the sheep count him.” This wasn’t the only great performance Hackman turned in at the plus 70 age range, but it is one of the last films he made.  Hackman was a great actor and I really miss seeing him in movies.  I have never been a big fan of Delroy Lindo but he isn’t a bad actor and does well in this movie. I think Danny Devito is great as the dangerous fence.  I am not a fan of what he has done on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia so I like a movie like this one that reminds me what he is capable of. I am a fan of It’s Always Sunny, but not the part that DeVito plays as Frank.  Frank has progressively gotten weirder and grosser to the point that his character as a whole only brings the show down now.

In the supporting roles of this film I really like Sam Rockwell.  I have always been a fan of his and I was really looking forward to what else he had to offer around the time this movie came out.  I don’t know why but for whatever reason his career seemed to move in reverse as the 2000’s progressed.  I am not really that familiar with Rebecca Pidgeon beyond this movie but I don’t know that I have to be.  She is a real badass as Hackman’s girlfriend/wife/whatever and the one that really keeps you guessing the whole time.  I don’t really like how her character panned out but I thought she was sexy in the role and fit well with the cast.

This is a movie that I found impressive the first time I saw it and I still enjoy it.  It doesn’t garner enough of my enthusiasm now having just reviewed a different but similar film in Heat.  Heat is an entirely different film altogether but they are both about criminals pulling heists so the similarity is there.  I think this movie has too much that just works out too perfectly for the characters involved but that is the main flaw.  There is also some poor audio with background music playing over dialogue but I think that is simply the work from a less seasoned director in Mamet.  I do think Mamet did a good job otherwise though and he wrote a great story.  This is a cool movie and I think it is worth your time if you have an opportunity to see it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I actually really like this movie. It’s a little long, but it’s worth the time. I am a big fan of Gene Hackman, so I could watch it for that reason alone.

I really like the design for this movie. It is set up in a grid-like structure that was pretty popular around the time that it came out. I also like the use of typography in the top right corner. The last names have hierarchy over the first names of the big names of the movie. (haha) The only thing I find really inconsistent with it is that Hackman’s face looks posed and purposeful, while the other faces are scenes from the movie. I feel like they should have either gone with all faces, or all scenes. Other than that, I like this one.

NEXT MOVIE: Hellboy (2004)

Enemy of the State

Year: 1998
Directed By: Tony Scott
Written By: David Marconi

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie came out during my first year in high school. What’s funny is that by the time I graduated four years later it had all but become a reality. The Patriot Act had been passed and the government had the capabilities that are portrayed as too dangerous in this film. This movie was made right before our society changed so drastically.  This was made during a time when the internet was still young, cell phones were young, and the biggest problem the nation faced was the fact that the President was getting blow jobs on the side. The world was so different then and you can see that in this film.  They use strange devices like video cassettes, pagers, and VCRs.  I always enjoy movies like this that remind me of when the world was different, in a way that many of the younger generations will never understand.

The government agencies portrayed in this film are totally fictional but they still bear a representation of what certain agencies became after 9/11.  Some of the technologies used in this film have become big time players in the new society we live in such as facial recognition technology and satellite surveillance.  This movie made for a frightening scenario in 1998 but the realities of it in today’s world aren’t that severe. It doesn’t affect the day to day lives of normal people and most of what we see in this movie is just Hollywood stuff.  One interesting thing I just noticed in the movie is that Jon Voight’s character was born on 9/11/40.  Strange coincidences like that often pop up in films, as I mentioned in our Demolition Man review.

I have never been a fan of Ridley Scott‘s little brother, Tony Scott.  He is the weaker director of the two brothers and I have never liked his coloring technique or his choppy way of piecing sequences together.  I’ll admit that he has made several decent movies though and I have liked many of them, such as this one. Will Smith is, and always has been, one of the coolest guys in the business.  I haven’t always been his biggest fan but I can’t deny his talent.  He had swagger long before it became the thing people talked about.   In this film he plays the part well and I have always remembered it as one of his better movies.  It’s one that I bring up if I need to give someone an example of how good he really is.  Gene Hackman fit his part well and this was another great addition to a long and distinguished career from Hackman.  Jon Voight also naturally fits the role that he plays in this film. Tom Sizemore is another one perfectly cast in his part as a criminal with a big time shoot out ending. The casting department just hit a home run all around by putting together a great supporting cast featuring Seth Green, Jack Black, Barry Pepper, Jamie Kennedy, Gabriel Byrne, Regina King, Jason Lee, Lisa Bonet, and the sons of James Caan and Gary Busey.

This movie is a non-stop thrill ride that really keeps the excitement coming.  It has a great cast, a good story, a lot of action, and a very climactic ending.  I have written many times about how much action films meant in my household growing up. This one was held in high regard all around, and still is by me today.  This movie runs a bit long at two hours and twelve minutes but it is definitely worth that time to see it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Every time we review a Will Smith movie, I am going to link this video. Watch it.
Jay as Will Smith
For some reason, I got really sucked into this movie last night. We did have a babysitter, so maybe that had something to do with it, but I really found the movie to be really entertaining. I have seen it before, but it had been a really long time, so it was fun to follow along and trying to remember what happens and how. This movie is a fun ride, and Will Smith is always a fun guy to watch. I don’t think that he cries in this movie. Maybe he does, but Ryan has this running joke about how Will Smith cries in every movie he is in. He can make a tear appear at the drop of a hat.

I really like this movie. If you haven’t seen it, it is worth watching. It will keep you entertained and wondering if the government is really like that. Listening to everyone’s conversations. It’s all a little creepy if you ask me.

NEXT MOVIE: Enter the Dragon (1973)