Movie reviews by 7doJ10


									                             Movie reviews
Most of us love to go to the movies — but if there are many movies in town to
choose from, the choice can be difficult. Movie reviewers like to help with that

Movie reviews are written, not to tell you what to see, but to help you decide
whether or not you would like to see a certain film. Movie critics offer their
opinions on the qualities of a particular movie. Sometimes their reviews are
positive and other times they are negative. Different reviewers may have very
different opinions about the same movie. What one movie reviewer finds
entertaining, another may find disappointing.

Besides offering their opinions, movie critics also tell a little about the story line to
catch our interest and perhaps encourage us to venture to the theatres to see the
movies for themselves.

Most reviews include certain kinds of information and organize that information in
similar ways. Knowing what to expect can help you get the facts you need and
understand the writer's opinions.

Here's what you can expect in a typical movie review.

                 Title and     The title of the review and the deck (a
                   deck        sentence in special print above the
                               review) suggest the reviewer’s opinion
                               — whether he or she thinks the movie
                               is worth seeing or not.

                  Where        At the top of the review, is the name
                               the movie and the places where it can
                               be seen.

              Introduction Here the reviewer tells us why he or
                           she thinks the movie is good or not.
                           There is also often a brief summary of
                           what the movie is about, the story line
                           and what kind of movie it is —
                           adventure, horror, romance, for

                  Actors'      This part gives a short description of
                  Roles        the main characters and names the
                               actors who play the parts. Reviews
                               refer to roles the actors have played in
                               other movies.

                Story line     In this part you find out more about the
                               story line and also where and when
                               the movie takes place and what the
                               setting or mood is. There may be more
                               information about the roles as the
                               reviewer talks about the story line.

               Conclusion      The reviewer may conclude with an
                               interesting or thought-provoking
                               question or statement to tempt you to
                               see the movie for yourself. Our local
                               reviewer sometimes makes a link with
                               a local situation or social attitude.

Here are some excerpts from K. Rudeen's review of The Insider.

No smoking without fire
REVIEW:Heavyweight performances drive this promising Oscar
The Insider In English at EGV, UA, UMG,
Siam Square, Cineplex and World Trade Centre

Director Michael Mann and actors Al Pacino and Russell Crowe combine their
eclectic talents to make The Insider a powerful suspense drama, a film serious
viewers can't afford to miss as the Oscar hopefuls queue up for local screening.
Superficially, the film shows how traditional investigative journalism exposes the
shameless lies of greedy businessmen; but at its heart it tells the story of two
men's struggle against the mighty forces of the capitalist establishment.

Pacino plays Lowell Bergman, a 60 Minutes producer who persuades Jeffrey
Wigand (Crowe), a former executive of a giant tobacco company, to blow the
whistle on his former employer's alleged malpractices concerning public health.
Bergman finally convinces Wigand to talk, only to find out that his network, CBS,
has decided to kill the controversial scoop for fear of ensuing legal troubles. This
forces Bergman to go behind his bosses' backs in his crusade to pressure CBS
into airing the interview; while Wigand, his sole ally, is left to face the devastating
consequences of his disclosures.
More impressive, however, is the Australian-born Russell Crowe. He's perfect for
the role of the man who knows too much. Wigand, gagged by the confidentiality
agreement he signed with the company, is miserably weighed down by all the
secrets he's not supposed to divulge; he speaks in a near whisper, eyes lowered,
as if the most crucial parts of his speech get blocked in his throat.
Christopher Plummer plays another key character, Mike Wallace, a veteran
correspondent of 60 Minutes and close friend to Bergman.

The Insider is based on the Vanity Fair article The Man Who Knew Too Much,
and the film presents a fairly accurate report of this true account which finally led
to the $246 billion lawsuits between 49 states and the US tobacco industry. But
truth isn't what most concerns us: The movie is engaging, fact-packed, fast-
paced, and, in a way, inspires us with mixed feelings of anger and surprise at
how little we know about the ethical standpoints of these billionaires.
At the centre of the film are the performances of Pacino and Crowe. Bergman is
a seasoned newsman who upholds the liberal ideology of a free press ("Are you
a newsman or a businessman?," he barks at a CBS executive); and Pacino
simply does what he always does best: slick, ranting, incisive, with a deadpan
sense of humour. These are the kind of characters films tend to glamourise.
More impressive, however, is the Australian-born Russell Crowe. He's perfect for
the role of the man who knows too much. Wigand, gagged by the confidentiality
agreement he signed with the company, is miserably weighed down by all the
secrets he's not supposed to divulge; he speaks in a near whisper, eyes lowered,
as if the most crucial parts of his speech get blocked in his throat.
But despite all the complications, The Insider is simple to follow. Unlike other
investigative hits, for example All The President's Men, which tells the story of
how two Washington Post reporters uncovered the Watergate scandal, The
Insider doesn't drown us in an ocean of information. The strategy is clear: This
film focuses on the characters, not the process.
And, alas, that only makes me wish to see characters like Bergman and Wigand
in this country — not the self-proclaimed heroes, but people who're at least
interested in telling the truth about the cigarettes we smoke, the water we drink,
the chickens we eat. If we're talking exposés, there are plenty of stories to
expose in this complacent, mai pen rai Thailand.

Sharing feelings
Kong stresses that in writing a movie review, he is simply expressing his own
opinions about the film. That is why he writes his reviews in the first person (i.e.,
he uses the word "I"). He says his purpose is simply to share his impressions of a
movie with his readers. "For example," he says, "if a movie is supposed to be
funny and it’s not funny, I try to explain why it fails to do what it is supposed to

He generally starts thinking about writing his review only after he sees the movie.
"I try not to think about my feelings while I’m there," he says. "I just let myself go
with the experience, then think later."

Kong admits to having somewhat of a formula for writing his reviews. "I begin
with my general impression of the movie," he explains. Then, he says, he deals
with typical elements of a movie review such as the plot, the characters, the
actors, and comparisons with other similar movies.
Kong says there are two general approaches to movie reviews. The first deals
with the subject itself and what it tells us about society. The other is the
"cinematic approach" which focuses on the techniques of movie making e.g., the
filming techniques, the acting, the directing, etc. "I try to balance the two
approaches," he says.

But writing a good review is much more than simply mixing impressions with
facts. It has to be interesting and entertaining at the same time. This often means
developing a catchy, attention grabbing, theme. For example, here is how Kong
began a recent reviews on the movie Inspector Gadget:

Inspector Gadget is a comedy with creaks, loose screws and broken springs.
Worse, it has no heart, no human touch in its entire length.

A gadget, of course, is a small device or machine, and Kong is clearly comparing
the movie to a gadget – one which doesn’t work. In other words, in Kong’s
opinion, the movie is a failure.

Does Kong ever worry about being so outspoken and critical? "No," he says.
"When you watch movies, you know right away when something is not good, that
it is a hoax and it cannot fulfil what it is supposed to do." In such a case, the
reviewer should be honest and tell his readers about the movie’s failings.



         The ugly American
    REVIEW:   Poignant drama is a slap in the face.            heavyweight
                        K. Rudeen                              contenders
                                                               made movie,
                                                               not the
                                                               product of
                                                               one of the big
        In his fantasies, Lester sees Angela                   motive
        festooned in rose petals.                              a reason for
American Beauty                                                doing
In English at EGV, UA, UMG, Siam Square,                       decadence
Cineplex and World Trade Centre                                a low
Why would a Thai want to see a movie called American           standard of
Beauty?                                                        deformity
Apparently, because it's a front-runner in this year's Oscar   a chance
for best picture; its two leading stars, Kevin Spacey and      from the
Annette Bening, are also heavyweight contenders to             usual shape
grab the statuettes for best actor and actress. Plus this:     appearance;
American Beauty is an indie project, and some local film       ugliness
intellectuals have rushed to announce that the movie is a         raving
masterpiece.                                                      praising
American Beauty is a genus of rose favourite in American          to cause
homes; its use in the film is entirely symbolic.                  sensitive
Interpretations vary on the motive of the title American          difficult to talk
Beauty — mine read it as a satire. And if you ask me, the         about
reason we should spend 100 baht to sit in the theatre is          numbed
                                                                  having no
not to see the beauty, but the ugliness, the decadence,           feeling
and the psychological deformity of the characters. I see          nadir
the point why Western critics have been raving about it:          the lowest
American Beauty is so American. This is an example of             point; having
how a supposedly universal medium like a movie can                no hope
inspire different perceptions. I watched this movie as a          easily upset;
Thai watching a foreign film. I get the story, but I'm afraid I   overly
didn't get the sociological details that would deepen my          emotional
understanding and appreciation. I know that the Kevin             resurrected
Spacey character has a problem, but is it the same                brought back
                                                                  to life
problem as a middle-age man in my neighbourhood? Are              infatuation
we that Americanised?                                             a strong,
Don't get this wrong: As a movie — as an experience —             usually
American Beauty is strangely affecting. The film is witty         unrealistic,
and hilarious, yet sublimely interlaced with an air of tragic     love
poignancy. And from sexual standards, it's pushing the            just entering
envelope. Masturbation, paedophilia, voyeurism, adultery,         adult age
teen sex, repressed homosexuality — writer-director Sam           nuts
Mendes treats these sensitive issues with a kind of               crazy
numbed insensitivity that sometimes makes us laugh, but           dependent
most of the time makes us aware.                                  another
The story of a broken-down middle-class suburban family
isn't new, but it's the characterisation and the writing of
Alan Ball that lift this one above the others. I believe,
generally speaking, that many American men could
identify with the frustration of Lester Burnham, a
salesman who's reaching the nadir of existence. "I've
already been dead," he narrates at the opening, "the high
point of my life is when I jerk off in the bathroom every
Lester has a wife, Carolyn (Bening), a hysterical real
estate agent with whom he has stopped having sex since
time immemorial, and a teenage daughter named Jane,
played by Thora Birch. One day at a school sports event,
Lester meets Angela, Jane's friend, and suddenly he's
resurrected from his living death as he feels the jolt of an
all-out infatuation for this pubescent blonde. While this
narrative is executed with a comical helplessness, the
darker corner begins to lurk as another family moves into
a house next door — a colonel, his nuts wife, and their
darkly handsome son, Ricky, who soon supplies pot to
Lester and develops an intriguing sexual affair with Jane.
None of these characters are normal; they're all twisted in
their own way. One of the best scenes is when Ricky, with
an indescribable glimmer in his eyes, shows Jane his
videotape of a crumpled plastic bag; and when they meet
again she candidly implores him to kill her father.
Projecting the movie as a satire, Mendes carefully works
his way to a heightened, powerful drama of the last 20
minutes that can leave you cold.
I think American Beauty will get the Oscar, but that
shouldn't be the sole reason for you to want to see the
movie. It's just interesting to see the other side of America
— not the White House, not the NYSE, not Yellowstone.
After the Clinton-Lewinsky saga, this Lester-Angela
version helps to offer more insights to the social
conditions of this country — the country on which we're
so mentally dependent, the country we're so concerned
with its definitions of the ugliness and beauty.


                     American Beauty
**** (R)
American Beauty is a comedy because we laugh at the
absurdity of the hero's problems. And a tragedy because
we can identify with his failure – not the specific details,
but the general outline.
The movie is about a man who fears growing older, losing
the hope of true love and not being respected by those
who know him best. If you never experience those
feelings, take out a classified ad. People want to take
lessons from you.
Lester Burnham, the hero of American Beauty, is played
by Kevin Spacey as a man who is unloved by his
daughter, ignored by his wife and unnecessary at work.
"I'll be dead in a year," he tells us in almost the first words
of the movie. "In a way, I'm dead already." The movie is
the story of his rebellion.
Everything changes for Lester the night he is dragged
along by his wife to see their daughter perform as a
cheerleader. There … he sees his angel: Angela (Mena
Suvari), his daughter's high-school classmate. Is it wrong
for a man in his 40s to lust after a teenage girl? Any
honest man understands what a complicated question
this is. Wrong morally, certainly, and legally. But as every
woman knows, men are born with wiring that goes directly
from their eyes to their genitals, bypassing the higher
centres of thought. They can disapprove of their thoughts,
but they cannot stop themselves from having them.
American Beauty is about yearning after youth, respect,
power and, of course, beauty. The moment a man stops
dreaming is the moment he petrifies inside
At the end, somehow, improbably, the film snatches
victory from the jaws of defeat for Lester, its hero. Not
the kind of victory you'd get in a feel-good movie, but the
kind where you prove something important, if only to
American Beauty is not as dark or twisted as Happiness,
last year's attempt to shine a light under the rock of
American society. It's more about sadness and loneliness
than about cruelty or inhumanity. Nobody is really bad in
this movie, just shaped by society in such a way they
can't be themselves, or feel joy.

To top