Tim Blake Nelson

Minority Report

Year: 2002
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Phillip K. Dick (short story), Scott Frank and Jon Cohen (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is the only movie about the future that I look at and think “that’s what it’s going to be like.”  I don’t know about psychic pre-cogs who can detect crime before it happens but everything else looks legit. The computer operation, eye scanners, personalized marketing, vehicle models, and so much else that we see in the background of the film I think will hold true in 2054.  It’s hard to say really but I think as that year approaches this film will look more like a vision of the future than say Back to the Future II’2015.  Where the hell are our hover board Robert Zemeckis? Aside from being an interesting vision of the future this movie is a fast paced thrill ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat till the end.  It offers some surprisingly outstanding performances from a director who simply makes hit after hit after hit.  In truth this movie is way down the totem pole for great films from Spielberg, but the man has made so many incredible movies it’s hard to get to the top.

Every time I get the opportunity to discuss Steven Spielberg I feel like I can’t say enough about how incredible he is.  This time around is no different.  The man has shown such growth as a filmmaker and he has never stopped getting better at what he does.  For this movie he rolled up his sleeves and did his research.  He didn’t just want to make any other vision of the future with this film but a more accurate picture of what the world would be like.  He met with specific people in a variety of fields and discussed with them where their business was going in the future. This is specifically why I think that in 40 years the world will look pretty close to what we see in this movie.  I just believe that much in Spielberg.  Not only was this film influenced by the information he gathered in his research but this film has over time influenced society itself.  It’s no secret that science fiction films have been influencing technological developments for decades now but this film specifically has been cited as an influence in new emerging technology today.  If you want specific examples feel free to read about it yourself on the film’s Wikipedia page.

Aside from the film’s vision of the future there is always one other specific thing that comes to mind when I think of this movie.  This too I credit Steven Spielberg for and his ability as a director, because otherwise I can’t figure out any other explanation for it.  What I’m talking about is the performance of Colin Farrell. I think he is incredible in this film, and I just can’t figure it out for the life of me.  How can the guy be so damn good in this movie and so widely suck in his career beyond this?  I’ve been seeing this guy in films for a long time now. I know him to specifically blow as an actor.  I have never been able to get over his God awful performance as Alexander back in 2004.  How is it that Oliver Stone, a director that made Charlie Sheen look great in the 80s, fail to get a good performance out of him when Spielberg did so great? It’s always puzzled me but at the same time only makes me appreciate Spielberg more. Somehow he has to be responsible because I sure as hell am not going to give credit to Farrell.  So, for the record, Colin Farrell blows but in this film he is awesome.

I don’t see the point in discussing Cruise.  He is in this film and he is doing his thing.  Probably just to spite haters like me he is a total professional all the way and turns in another killer performance to add to a killer career.  It’s peculiar that you can look at him in this movie and see no noticeable difference in his appearance 12 years later but I’ve discussed that before.  As a hater of this guy I have to admit that he really doesn’t have many flaws in his trade.  He is an outstanding actor and has made a significant career worth being proud of.  I like Max Von Sydow being the real bad guy once everything is figured out.  How did this surprise anyone?  When Emperor Ming it at the top of the hierarchy his hands are bound to be dirty. I like the short part played by Peter Stormare, always great to see him in anything.  Also in small roles Tim Blake Nelson and Neal McDonough add their talents to the cast.

This movie was based on a short story of the same name written by Phillip K. Dick.  I haven’t read it but I have read two Dick books recently and wanted to discuss him a bit.  Dick has been the influence behind a few science fiction films and is significant because one of them is considered one of the greatest of all time.  Blade Runner was based on a book by Dick called “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.” I read that book recently and found it very interesting.  He also wrote the story that inspired Total Recall, and its remake twenty years later.  Dick was an author far and away ahead of his time.  He wasn’t right about plenty of things but was clever enough to give visions of the future that left a clear impression on his readers.  I also recently read The Man in the High Castle” which has been talked about being adapted into a film since it came out.  The book is about an alternate reality in the United States in 1962 where everything was different because we lost the war to the Axis powers 20 years prior.  In the book the US is divided into three regions where the Japanese rule the Pacific States of America, the Nazis run the Eastern states, and there is a neutral zone in middle America loosely run by a coalition of the two. A fascinating and frightening book that I really enjoyed reading and would recommend to any person with interest in the topic.

Back to the topic at hand, this film is a great example of a great director and a great actor adding another notch to their belts.  They showed up for work and collaborated to create something awesome.  They both continue to make great films and have been doing so for as long as I have been alive, it’s nice to see them get together to do it.  It’s hard to believe that 12 years has passed since this film came out.  Spielberg has reached a point in his career where he can do anything he wants now.  He is in his later 60s now but he isn’t too old to blow us away with his talent and his career will continue to be interesting to follow.  Cruise on the other hand seems to be standing in some different realm where time stands still and we only see him by happenstance.  Any day now that man is going to become an old man and the world will be so weird then.  I imagine there are a lot of older people out there who look at Tom Cruise and just don’t accept the reality of their age.  They see him looking just like he always did and in their disillusion minds they have what Morpheus would call a “residual self image” of themselves still as lively as they were in the 80s.  That’s all part of why I don’t like Cruise; the guy is a hell of an actor but he is screwing with the small minds of people everywhere with his ability to defy time.

When it comes to science fiction films this one is as good as they get and that doesn’t belittle the genre but enriches it.  This movie is interesting and exciting.  It will draw you in with a fantastic vision of the future and keep you on the edge of your seat with action sequences that will have you biting your nails off. This one is easy to recommend because it is awesome.  This movie is worth your time to see it and if you get the opportunity you won’t be disappointed.

 

AMBER’S REVIEW

I always really like watching this movie. It’s an interesting take on how the future will run. It has been really impressive to watch this movie over the years, and to see how close we actually are to a lot of these technologies. Technology and science have always intrigued me. I also love that they did research of true future technologies and incorporated them into the film. I think that’s the best way to make a movie about the future. We can actually watch it evolve over time and see that some movie called it first.

mreport

Having said all of that above, you would think maybe the poster could also be a little advanced. But, no. It looks like that. How boring is this poster? Tom Cruise in an “action pose?” To me he looks a little more like he may have a stomach ache and is doubling over. I can’t even tell what is going on in the background. The typography is completely bored and had barely if any thought put into it. It also looks like they stretched it out across the top. I could be wrong, there might very well be an expanded version. I hate this poster. I can’t even fathom the idea of someone getting paid for crap like this.

NEXT MOVIE: Mississippi Burning

Movies By Request

O Brother, Where Art Thou

Year: 2001
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen
Written By: Homer (The Odyssey), Joel and Ethan Coen

RYAN’S REVIEW

More than anything this movie reminds me of my time at Action Video when I was 16. This movie was one of our hottest renters on a regular basis even long after it had been released on video.  I didn’t watch the movie then and apparently haven’t seen it ever before. The soundtrack from this movie was played relentlessly by my father when it came out and that probably had a lot to do with why I didn’t see it.  I had also yet to discover who the Coen brothers were at that point in my young movie watching life.

The Coen brothers are two of the best in the business and they are unique because they do it all, on all of their movies.  They write all their films themselves, then direct, produce, and edit all by themselves as well. They always create interesting characters and write really clever dialogue for them. This film is no different either; it is clever and extremely well written.  The Coen brothers took the classic epic poem “The Odyssey” by Homer and loosely rewrote the story to take place in the Deep South during the Great Depression. The movie stars George Clooney, who the Coens have had success with a few times.  I have never liked Clooney though; all I can ever see is the worst Batman of all time no matter what he is in.  He plays a good part in this film, but I detest him nonetheless.  John Turturro is another Coen regular and I think he is great in just about everything he does.  John Goodman, yet another Coen regular, has a fantastic role in the film and he is probably my favorite thing about the movie. Tim Blake Nelson was appropriately cast for his role in the film; the Coens have a gift for finding the right people.

This movie is immensely popular, in fact it is one of the more popular films made by two of my favorite directors.  I can completely see what people like about it too but I have just never liked this one and always have a hard time trying to watch it.  I detest country music to the point that I kind of go a little insane in my head every time I hear it, I loathe the sound of it.  It’s a personal issue I have that I can’t really explain.  While I know that the music in this movie isn’t country, it is country enough to set off one of my weirder and more insane tendencies. The number one song from this movie is a good song, I can admit that, but I just cringe every time I hear it and it has a knack for getting stuck in my head for days. Beyond that I don’t really like the coloring technique the Coens used or the time setting of the film.  Not to mention Clooney, despite all his witty lines in the film it is still Clooney. I can clearly see that this is a great film and I know why people like it so much.  I just have really weird reasons for never giving it a chance and those same reasons prove too much to get past for me while watching it.

Do not take my advice when it comes to this movie.  Give it a chance yourself and you will probably find that you feel completely different than me.  I have weird and unusual reasons for not liking this movie and even I recognize how ridiculous that is.  Every single person I know disagrees with me on this and thinks I’m crazy for not loving this movie. Based on that reality I’m going to suggest that while I may not like this movie, it is still more than likely worth your time.