Tag Archives: 1999 movies

The Matrix (1999) Retrospective Review

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The Matrix

Time: 136 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Keanu Reeves as Neo
Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus
Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity
Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith
Joe Pantoliano as Cypher
Director: Lilly Wachowski and Lana Wachowski

Thomas A. Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is a man living two lives. By day he is an average computer programmer and by night a hacker known as Neo. Neo has always questioned his reality, but the truth is far beyond his imagination. Nero finds himself targeted by the police when he is contacted by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), a legendary computer hacker branded a terrorist by the government. As a rebel against the machines, Neo must confront the agents: super powerful computer programs devoted to stopping Neo and the entire human rebellion.

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The Matrix is one of the most iconic movies of all time. Its impact is absolutely massive to say the least, influencing so many other films, it just came out of nowhere at the time. I remember that I liked it when I first watched it, however with every viewing I liked it less. I know that the fourth Matrix is in the process of made, so I knew I had to come back to re-watching the original trilogy. Having rewatched The Matrix more recently, I can say that it’s still pretty good, even if I’m not exactly a big fan of it.

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I’m writing this review with the assumption that you’ve actually seen The Matrix. If you haven’t seen it, basically just go and watch it as soon as possible. It’s not just influential on a filmmaking level, but also on a story level. 1999 was especially a big year for films about identity, with the likes of Fight Club, American Beauty and Being John Malkovich, and that certainly extended to The Matrix. There are many philosophical ideas and themes and it has been analysed to death, so I won’t get into it here. There are some parts of it which I find a bit silly (like some of the overt religious metaphors which are just a little too obvious) but they don’t take me out of the experience too much. The first half is introducing to the real world, with lead character Thomas Anderson AKA Neo being our eyes as he learns about everything. I can’t say this with certainty, but I’m pretty sure that it did the best job possible at introducing these things to the audience, however there’s no doubt that not everyone will understand the concepts of the movie. I will say that watching it again, it does sort of drag, especially knowing where the story is leading (on top of Neo just not being a particularly interesting character and we are stuck with him for the entirety of the movie). The second half and particularly the third act is where it ramps up the action and it becomes entertaining. There are some really dumb moments in that second half, but I was fine with most of it.

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Keanu Reeves before 1999 been known as an actor for roles in movies like Speed, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Point Break. However, it was his role of Neo that launched his career even further. I’m a big fan of Keanu Reeves, but to put it bluntly, his here performance is bland, and even people who like the movie usually agree on that. Now some have made the argument that it was done so that the audience can picture themselves in his role. I can get that idea, but it doesn’t change him being a particularly uninteresting character to watch. Carrie Anne Moss as her character of Trinity was also sort of bland, mainly with her line deliveries. I know that she can act better from other things that she’s been in, but here she’s almost as bland as Keanu was, and I’m not exactly sure why. Even the other characters in the movie came across as more human than those two. The romance between the two is absolutely laughable. I don’t recall it being much better in the sequels, but at least they interacted with each other more. There are hints throughout the first movie that Trinity likes Neo and he sort of likes her back (I think at least, I didn’t pick that up from Keanu’s performance), but aside from the scene where they first meet up, they don’t interact all that much until the third act. At the end, basically after Neo dies after being shot multiple times by Agent Smith, Trinity in a way saves him basically with “the power of love”. It’s a silly scene in itself, but the lack of an actual believable romance makes it all the more worse. Laurence Fishburne is great as Morpheus, he does have a lot of moments where it gives a lot of philosophical word dumps, but he delivers them quite well. Hugo Weaving is iconic as Agent Smith, and it’s all to do with his performance. There’s nothing really much to say about the rest of the cast. Joe Pantaliano is the obvious betrayer, and the other members of the crew on the ship aren’t memorable and disposable, and you don’t really get to know them at all.

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The Wachowski Sisters did a really good job directing this. There are some truly revolutionary sequences that inspired so many other films and imitators, its immense level of influence cannot be overstated. People have made fun of the green tint when it comes to the scenes that take place The Matrix, but it does add some uniqueness to them. Not all the effects hold up, but it doesn’t affect the viewing experience too much, most of it is fine, and no doubt was fantastic for its time. You can tell often that it was the 90s with the use of the slow mo, and some of the music choices. The action is fantastic, endlessly entertaining, and the stuntwork is great.

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The Matrix has its issues, not all of the story and characters worked for me, and I had some problems throughout. However, it is entertaining at many points, well made and directed despite some dated elements, and I appreciate it quite a bit, especially the impact it had made. It’s not a movie that I’m exactly wanting to return back to often, but it is absolutely essential viewing.

Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (1999) Retrospective Review

Time: 133 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] contains low level violence
Cast:
Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn
Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Natalie Portman as Queen Padmé Amidala
Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker
Ian McDiarmid as Senator Palpatine/Darth Sidious
Ahmed Best as Jar Jar Binks
Anthony Daniels as the voice of C-3PO
Kenny Baker as R2-D2
Pernilla August as Shmi Skywalker
Frank Oz as the voice of Yoda
Director: George Lucas

Two Jedi Knights (Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor) set out to search for someone who can bring peace to the Force. Their search ends when they come across a young, gifted boy. But the Sith returns to stake claim to the Force.

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With The Rise of Skywalker coming in December, I decided to revisit the Star Wars movies in timeline order. When I was younger I used to watch The Phantom Menace over and over again and I liked it a lot back then. Upon revisiting the movies in the lead up to The Force Awakens however, I found it to be the worst in the series. I had a feeling that with people talking about it, as well as really noticing the fandom’s constant hatred, I decided to take a different look at it. After my rewatch I can confirm that I definitely don’t dislike it, but I don’t think it’s particularly good either. However it’s not without some decent parts (or at least it had potential).

As this is a retrospective review it’s only fitting that this movie is talking about spoilers. So obviously don’t read this or the other Star Wars retrospective reviews if you haven’t watched the movies already. The writing of The Phantom Menace is a very mixed bag, while some of the ideas are fine enough, most of the executions weren’t handled well. The story goes in and out of being interesting, more often than not however I wasn’t very engaged. A lot of the dialogue is very formal, stiff and unnatural for most of the characters. In the case of the Jedi, it works, but I’m not so sure why every other character acts like that too. Not to mention so much of the dialogue is really bland and even cheesy. Not to say that the original Star Wars trilogy was like that (a little more than a lot of Star Wars fans would like to admit), but the prequel trilogy is even more so. One thing I consistently liked about this movie and the prequels was the introduction of new worlds, as well as it expanding upon the lore and the universe. The first act starts off fine enough, but it has its issues. The Gungan parts were handled a little weirdly. Though to be fair most of it comes from the fact that Jar Jar Binks is meant to be our insight to the Gungans, and we don’t really learn a whole lot from him about them (more on that later).

There’s quite a large portion of the movie dedicated to the main characters on Tatooine, which takes up much of the second act. I’ve always found it unnecessary to re-introduce this planet, for all the new worlds that were introduced (and those were greatly appreciated), we didn’t need to come back to Tatooine. It seems like it was done to connect Anakin to Luke from the original Star Wars, but they really didn’t need to do that. It’s a bit of a nitpick but I also really didn’t see much of a point introducing C-3PO in this way as one of Anakin’s creations. He doesn’t really do anything, it’s random more than anything and feels thrown in. On the whole, this whole segment on this planet is surrounding Anakin, but he doesn’t really become the main focus point of the plot. The podracing scene is praised quite a lot from some people. While it certainly establishes Anakin’s skills as a pilot, I personally just think it’s okay, I guess it’s directed fine enough. It just never did anything for me. The Coruscant section was something I didn’t really like before watching this movie more recently. While I still have some issues with it, it does expand the Star Wars universe with something that the original trilogy didn’t have, politics and a political system. Sure it’s not particularly exciting but at least they actually tried something different, so I can’t complain too much (just a little bit). It doesn’t vibe well with the rest of the movie and it really slows to a snail’s pace, and they really could’ve handled the political talk to make it a little more engaging and less bland. The highlight of this segment was how it showed Palpatine’s rise in political power, that’s something the prequel trilogy did well over the entire prequel trilogy. In this segment we also get to see the Jedi Council, and much of how the Jedi act feels purposeful, they’re meant to be a little monotone and all that, and so I was fine with that in the grand scheme of things. I would’ve liked to have seen Jedi more involved in this movie but given the number of issues The Phantom Menace has, that’s hardly a problem even having. A much despised aspect about this movie was the introduction of midichlorians for the force. I do agree that it’s not needed, even if it was made with good intentions to expand the lore. Personally I just ignore this aspect of the plot, it doesn’t matter to me or the movie really. I don’t even recall the other prequels mentioning them.

The third act is quite good and my favourite section of the whole movie. There are multiple battles and I liked most of it, but the whole Gungan vs battle droids was not so great, though to be fair it’s mainly because a large portion of it was just showing Jar Jar’s comedy unfortunately. The rest of that battle would’ve been fine otherwise. Then there’s the ships trying to destroy the Trade Federation station and involving Anakin in the third act, but I’ll get to that later. The parts where Padme is leading an attack was pretty decent. The best part of this segment is of course the fight with Qui Gon and Obi Wan against Darth Maul. For as much as some Star Wars fans complain about some of the dance like choreography in the prequels (and there’s a truth in that), the choreography in this scene is pretty much perfect. It’s entertaining and it really works, I can’t really think of many complaints about this fight. Although this third act is the best part of the movie, it still has its own share of problems. There are 4 battles going on at once, and it can be a little much, not to mention you don’t really care much about any of them, so you’re basically just watching them because they’re entertaining.

The movie doesn’t particularly do a good job at establishing a singular main character or a focus. Not that they can’t focus on multiple main characters or anything, but it definitely would’ve helped to have at least one major character that you could latch onto, but there’s none to be found here. It’s not Qui Gon, we don’t get to learn about him much, nor is it Obi Wan, we spend even less time with him. Padme’s not really the focus of the story, and it’s a whole third of the way into the movie before you even see Anakin. There’s really no emotional connection to be had with any of the characters, at least in this movie. Thankfully despite some problems, the next two movies focussed on the main characters a little more. Most of the characters feels very stiff, but some of the actors break out of their shell at points. Liam Neeson is believable enough as a Jedi, and Ewan McGregor even from just this movie has vibes of a much younger Obi Wan Kenobi. McGregor also worked a lot better due to the fact that he had two additional movies to develop and showcase his character. In that respect, I do feel like Liam Neeson should’ve been the main character, because we didn’t really learn much about him outside of some brief snippets, and then he just dies at the end. Natalie Portman is also victim to the bland monotone acting that much of the cast has fallen to, the direction really doesn’t take advantage of her great talent sadly. However she is trying, and I do actually like the character quite a bit and she does actually get to do things in this movie. I do find it a little weird that the Jedi couldn’t somehow figure out that she had a decoy, given that they have the force and all that, but that might just be a nitpick.

Jake Lloyd plays the young Anakin Skywalker in this movie. In a previous review I might’ve been a little too critical of him. Honestly the problems I have are not to do with the performance. Ignoring the fact that he’s meant to be a younger Anakin/Darth Vader, Lloyd plays the rest of the role as well as possible given the material. His last scenes with Anakin’s mother I actually thought were well acted. However there are some problems with the character. He’s brought in as a side character a third of the way through, he’s shown to be significant as potentially the one destined to bring balance to the force, there’s parts about him being very powerful with the force and him being a great pilot but that’s it. He almost feels tacked on like a subplot then rather a significant driving part of the movie. Considering that the reason the prequels exist was to show the transition from Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader, it was a little weird that in the first movie they didn’t even put him in one of the leading roles. It doesn’t help that towards the end he ends up blowing up the Trade Federation station at the end by accident instead of purposefully. They already established him as a great pilot with podracing back on Tatooine. Even if they were to have him get stuck in the ship flying towards the station, everything he does after the autopilot is switched off is one Jar Jar moment after the other, where he accidentally manages to save the day, and it would’ve been the perfect moment to prove how capable he is. As for the idea of him being just created by the force, I don’t mind that. Jar Jar Binks is… not really all that bad. George Lucas seemed to find him to be hilarious since he’s placed in so many of the scenes, but unfortunately there’s really nothing that he does that’s genuinely funny. I lost how many times Jar Jar would say “How wude!”, to absolutely no laughs whatsoever. I don’t like him and he’s still slightly annoying but not insufferable, I’ve seen countless worse comic relief characters in other movies. If anything the most disappointing part of him is that they don’t really do anything with him as a character. He’s essentially meant to be our insight into the Gungans, but they do basically nothing with that, nor do they give him any form of character outside of being clumsy. Even if you wanted to make him a slapstick character for 80% of the time, a little bit of character would be nice. He’s distracting more than anything, but hardly among the worst parts of the movie.

The Trade Federation villains like Nute Gunray I’ve always found to be rather uninspired and underwhelming. I’m not expecting every Star Wars movie villain to be at the level of Darth Vader or anything, but I’d like to feel more about them than just “what was the point of them?”. They are after all aside from Darth Maul at the end the ultimate antagonists of the entire movie. I’ve always found the battle droids to be rather unimpressive as physical enemies to the main characters. As much as the Stormtroopers are made fun of because of their terrible aim, they had their moments. Aside from having some large droids, I don’t remember them being particularly threatening at any point in these movies outside of the very large scale battle scenes later on. Ian McDiarmid always delivers as Palpatine/The Emperor, The Phantom Menace establishes him very well in this time period and he absolutely nails all of his scenes. Pretty much everything involving The Emperor in the prequel trilogy was great. We also have Ray Park as Darth Maul who everyone likes, even people who hate The Phantom Menace still highly praised him. He became so popular in fact that he was resurrected in spin off Star Wars stories and media, and even cameoed in Solo. I do wish he was in the movie more and we don’t get any sort of idea of his personality or character and he doesn’t get many lines, but what we get from him is great. He’s got a great and dangerous presence about him, and he’s shown to be quite the adversary in the third act.

George Lucas’s direction is a bit of a mixed bag. With the prequel trilogy, Lucas put an even higher emphasis on CGI, unfortunately the CGI hasn’t really held up all that well. Some moments are okay, some aren’t so much. Most of the practical effects and sets are good, there was actually a lot more practical effects used in this movie than I remember there being. The only parts which distract are the Trade Federation aliens, they just look so lifeless from their blinking to the lip movement. And since we are talking about CGI and aliens, we should probably address Yoda, even if he’s a very small part of the movie. Initially The Phantom Menace had Yoda done through puppeteering, and that sounds good on paper, but something must’ve gone wrong because he looked freakish and creepy. In the updated versions of this movie they replaced him with a CGI Yoda like with what they’ve now done with episodes 2 and 3, and honestly I think it’s better than what it was before. With that said, something seems really off about it, the animation really doesn’t fit the voice at all and it can look quite out of place. CGI not always being great aside, generally the action in The Phantom Menace is filmed well. John Williams’s score across the first 6 movies have remained iconic, no matter how much the prequels are hated. Tracks like Duel of the Fates stick out at as some of the most standout songs from the franchise.

The Phantom Menace is still a mixed bag, but I guess at least I like it more than the last time I saw it. I think there’s a lot here to like, I like some of the expansions of the Star Wars lore and worlds, even if not all of it works I appreciate the efforts. There are also some parts like the third act that I legitimately think are good. However, there are just so many missteps and mistakes made here that really hold the movie back from being as good as it could’ve been. I’m not mad at the movie at all, just disappointed, and I’m unlikely to revisit it that much. Still the worst Star Wars movie, but more average than actually bad.

Bringing Out the Dead (1999) Review

Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Frank Pierce
Patricia Arquette as Mary Burke
John Goodman as Larry
Ving Rhames as Marcus
Tom Sizemore as Tom Wolls
Marc Anthony as Noel
Cliff Curtis as Cy Coates
Director: Martin Scorsese

Frank (Nicolas Cage), a mentally strained and overworked paramedic from Manhattan, tries to maintain his sanity as he tends to various emergencies and hallucinates about all the people whose lives he could not save.

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I watched Bringing Out the Dead some years ago for the first time. I remembered it involving paramedics, Nicolas Cage and it was directed by Martin Scorsese, and I recall liking it. Of course, with The Irishman coming out, it was only appropriate that I check it out again, I wanted to be sure of what I thought about it. Watching it again, I not only consider this to be one of his most underrated movies, it could be among his best films as well.

Paul Schrader wrote Bringing Out the Dead, with this being the last collaboration between him and Scorsese. With that fact, there are comparisons with this movie to Taxi Driver, and indeed this movie is a bit of a companion piece, following a troubled protagonist who narrates the story. It really conveys the strain that someone has in the line of work as an EMT. It also doesn’t have much of structure and mostly focuses on the main character as a character study, I can get that a bunch of people would find it to stretch on for too long with not much happening. However I was both riveted and entertained throughout. One of the biggest surprises on this repeat viewing was the dark comedy, I don’t remember this movie being as funny as it was, and it’s definitely intentional and works with the very off kilter and strange tone throughout. Nonetheless it is effectively off putting and exhausting at times, just as the main character feels over the course of the plot. Whenever something really horrific and graphic happens, you really feel it. Despite it possibly being one of Scorsese’s darkest movies, it’s also strangely one of his most empathetic.

Nicolas Cage gives one of his best and underrated performances as lead character Frank Pierce. This movie surrounds this character, and he absolutely delivers and convinces in his role. So much of it is in the eyes, every time you look at him, he just looks tired, burnt out and exhausted, on the edge of sanity. Frank is haunted by the people that he’s failed to save, and partway into the movie he realises that his job is less about saving lives, and more about bearing witness to their deaths. He occasionally slips into some crazy moments that Cage is known for, but it actually really worked for the character. Having seen him here, I can’t see anyone else in this role. He’s definitely the star of the show but the supporting performances shouldn’t be overlooked, especially considering the number of memorable characters that Pierce encounters. Frank’s partners are played by John Goodman, Ving Rhames and Tom Sizemore, and they share great chemistry with Cage. Rhames is particularly a scene stealer and is hilarious. Other performers like Patricia Arquette and Cliff Curtis also do solid work in their roles. Scorsese himself also provides his voice for the dispatcher and he really fitted the role.

Martin Scorsese directs this and it’s no surprise that he does some great work here. Like with Taxi Driver it’s set in a very dark and grimy city, however here it feels even more unsettling and haunting. He does a good job at getting you in the head of Cage’s character. Robert Richardson’s cinematography is stunning, there’s a desaturated dull look to it that works oddly perfectly for the movie, the use of colour was quite effective. The soundtrack was great, with a solid lineup of songs that accompany the film perfectly.

Bringing Out the Dead is haunting, disturbing, darkly comedic, and all around fantastic, one of Martin Scorsese’s most underrated movies. Scorsese directs this with just the right amount of style, the character’s journey was a journey I liked being on, and the acting is great from everyone, especially from Nicolas Cage who does some outstanding work here. Definitely not one to miss.

Toy Story 2 (1999) Review

Time: 92 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Joan Cusack as Jessie
Kelsey Grammer as Prospector
Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head
Jim Varney as Slinky Dog
Wallace Shawn as Rex
John Ratzenberger as Hamm
Annie Potts as Bo Peep
Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head
Wayne Knight as Al McWhiggin
John Morris as Andy
Laurie Metcalf as Andy’s Mom
Director: John Lasseter

When Woody is stolen by a toy collector, Buzz and his friends set out on a rescue mission to save Woody before becomes a museum toy property with his roundup gang Jessie, Prospector, and Bullseye.

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Toy Story was such a surprise hit when it released, no one knew that it was going to be as successful as it was. With Toy Story 2 being a follow up to an animated classic, it seemed like it would never even reach the level of the original. Yet against all odds, it managed to top it successfully on pretty much every front, it’s bigger and better.

It would be hard to match what the original movie did, but Toy Story 2 manages to still be a Toy Story movie, while doing some different things and keeping things fresh. Once again, they’ve managed to make an animated movie that adult audiences can like and appreciate (both in terms of story and humour), while still making it very much accessible and entertaining for children. This time it’s about Woody coming to terms with his mortality. Pretty much everything from the story, to the characters, humour and more are back here, and even improved on. And yes, it is more funny and entertaining than the first movie, I haven’t seen the 4th movie but I feel comfortable in saying it’s the most memorable entry of the series. It feels larger scale, with a few exceptions, almost every scene in Toy Story took place between Andy’s house and Sid’s house. This time there are more locations that the characters visit, and they get very creative with the scenarios and set pieces. The rest of Andy’s toys didn’t get a lot of screentime in the first movie outside of the first and third acts, but they are present here throughout. The story on the whole is still straightforward and easy to follow, but it feels like the scope has been expanded just a little bit, it feels like much more is going on. Toy Story 2 is a little longer than the first movie at about an hour and 30 minutes long but the pacing is just as good.

The familiar voice cast return and as usual really deliver. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen once again do solid jobs as the characters of Woody and Buzz. The familiar characters of Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), Slinky (Jim Varney), Rex (Wallace Shawn), Hamm (John Ratzenberger) and more return. As I said previously, with the exception of Bo Peep (Annie Potts) and Mrs. Potato Head (Estelle Harris), most of Andy’s main toys get a good amount of screentime throughout. We also have the additions of Jessie (Joan Cusack), Bullseye and Prospector (Kelsey Grammar), who add quite a lot to this movie (and the first 2 would of course return to the other Toy Story sequels).

The animation has very clearly improved within 4 years, and you can tell that the moment you first see a dog in the movie. It doesn’t look great but it’s much better looking than the dog in the first Toy Story. All the toys look good, with none of them looking off at any point. Same goes for the human characters, when they are close up to the screen they actually don’t look freakishly lifeless unlike the first movie.

Toy Story 2 is an improvement over the first movie, and it’s especially impressive considering that it actually encountered production problems (and was originally envisioned to be a direct to video sequel). Needless to say, if you liked the first movie even a little bit, you’ll definitely like the sequel. It’s truly a Toy Story movie while improving and expanding on everything in just about every way.

End of Days (1999) Review

Time: 97 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Violence
Cast:
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Jericho Cane
Robin Tunney as Christine York
Gabriel Byrne as Satan’s host/The Nameless Banker
Kevin Pollak as Bobby Chicago
Rod Steiger as Father Kovak
Director: Jerry Jameson

On December 28th, 1999, the citizens of New York City are getting ready for the turn of the millennium. However, the Devil (Gabriel Byrne) decides to crash the party by coming to the city, inhabiting a man’s body, and searching for his chosen bride, a 20-year-old woman named Christine York (Robin Tunney). If he bears her child between 11:00 PM and midnight on New Year’s Eve, the world will end, and the only hope lies within an atheist ex-cop named Jericho Cane (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who no longer believes in God because of the murder of his wife and daughter.

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When you hear the premise “Arnold Schwarzenegger vs the devil himself” its easy to get hyped. By the late 90s, Schwarzenegger was a huge star. So it seems only natural that he would eventually be pitted against the devil. Unfortunately End of Days doesn’t quite live up to its potential. It is entertaining however and as long as you have an idea what sort of movie you’re getting into, it should be fine.

I think the main problem with End of Days is that it’s neither completely ridiculously over the top or serious, nor is it a mix that works. On the whole, End of Days takes the story seriously but it does have its fair share of ridiculous moments, some of them unintentional. There are certain aspects which are meant to be taken seriously but are kind of silly. For example, there’s a moment where a priest says that when you flip 666 it becomes 999 and since the film is set in 1999, that means that’s the year that the devil returns, which is a really big stretch. On the whole though, the story was acceptable enough, it’s goofy at times and I wouldn’t exactly call it good, but for a simple supernatural action flick it’s fine enough.

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the clichéd alcoholic cop with a tragic past, nothing really special about his character. Schwarzenegger always does his best with the material that he’s given and this is no exception, he does a pretty good job at the action and even some of the scenes that require a little more emotion. Gabriel Byrne is playing the devil and to his credit, Byrne seems to be having a great time playing him. I’m glad that he’s clearly enjoying this role because otherwise there would be nothing to offer with this character. The devil here isn’t a cliched take over the world devil but for the most part he doesn’t feel powerful and he’s not very interesting either. A lot of the time it feels like the Devil isn’t that threatening, he’d get incredibly injured and than just re-appear totally normal, he’s more the T-1000 than the actual Devil. Other supporting actors like Robin Tunney and Kevin Pollak are fine, they aren’t bad but they aren’t anything special either. It doesn’t help that they have no characters to work with.

Some of the action is entertaining but at times there are action sequences that have way too many cuts. Also some of the CGI is really dated and doesn’t hold up from like 30 years ago, so whenever big visual effects moments happen, it looks bad (however that could just end up being more entertaining in a guilty pleasure way). The direction overall isn’t anything that good but its competent enough that the movie can be enjoyable.

End of Days is by no means a good movie but it is very entertaining. I wish it committed to either being a dark and violent supernatural action film or being a purely cheesy and ridiculous Schwarzenegger vs the devil film. We really don’t get neither and instead we get a mildly entertaining flick. If you love over the top Arnold Schwarzenegger action flicks, give this a go. It’s a guilty pleasure for me and I had a fun time with it, even if it’s not one of Schwarzenegger’s best or even most entertaining flicks.

American Pie (1999) Review

Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Offensive Language and Sex Scenes
Cast:
Jason Biggs as James “Jim” Levenstein
Chris Klein as Chris “Oz” Ostreicher
Thomas Ian Nicholas as Kevin Myers
Eddie Kaye Thomas as Paul Finch
Mena Suvari as Heather Gardner
Tara Reid as Victoria “Vicky” Lathum
Seann William Scott as Steven “Steve” Stifler
Eugene Levy as Noah Levenstein
Director: Paul Weitz, Chris Weitz

A riotous and raunchy exploration of the most eagerly anticipated — and most humiliating — rite of adulthood, known as losing one’s virginity. In this hilarious lesson in life, love and libido, a group of friends, fed up with their well-deserved reputations as sexual no-hitters, decide to take action.

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American Pie is a classic 90s comedy movie, which a lot of people love. It was a big thing at its time. Unfortunately, I have to say that I don’t like this movie at all. Aside from one character, I found nothing funny about this movie. Adding to the lack of actual funny jokes is the fact that I just couldn’t care about anything in the movie, watching American Pie just ended up being a frustrating chore, with barely anything enjoyable. American Pie is one of the most frustrating ‘comedies’ I’ve seen so far.

So why do I dislike this movie so much? Well the main reason is that quite simply, despite this movie being a comedy, I didn’t find anything funny. As I said earlier, there is one character I found funny (which I’ll go into later). Any scene without this particular character however, I found at best unfunny and at worst, completely cringe, obnoxious and forced. It often relies on quite a lot of gross out humour, while it didn’t particularly bother me, it really didn’t leave an impact on me in any way. The humour just came across as forced. On top of that, I couldn’t really like or care about the characters, so not only do I find this movie completely unfunny, I don’t even like (most of) the characters. To make matters worse, near the end of the film, the film tries to actually have a message/moral but minutes after they deliver the moral of the story, they ended up messing it up and contradicting their own message. All I will say is that Superbad delivered on that message a lot better.

There was only one character I liked throughout the entire film and that’s Jim’s (Jason Biggs) father, played by Eugene Levy. He is just so awkward and the way he acted, his personality, the way he reacted to every situation, I genuinely found him very hilarious. Unfortunately, he’s not a main character, which is a shame because I disliked pretty much everyone else in the movie. Everyone was basically a stereotype, none of them were funny, likable, or entertaining at all. I couldn’t even care about any of them on a deeper level. None of them are particularly memorable either, their personalities are so similar that they all sort of blend together. So aside from the father character, there was nothing good at all about the characters in this movie.

There are many beloved movies that I don’t really like but I don’t usually dislike them, at worse I don’t like them but they don’t frustrate or irritate me. American Pie is an exception. I found it obnoxious and unfunny, any scene without this one character really didn’t hit for me. So I didn’t find the movie funny, and I couldn’t care on any level for these characters of the story. Not to mention they somehow manage to contradict their own message. With all of that there’s not really much to like about American Pie. I can’t really say whether you’ll like it or not as people have their own tastes and preferences, especially when it comes to comedy. So there might be a chance that you’ll like the movie. But I’ll just repeat a point I said previous, for what American Pie was going for, Superbad did it a lot better. American Pie’s only plus is one funny supporting character, aside from that it is completely unfunny and irritating.

Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (1999) Review

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Star Wars Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace

Time: 136 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Low Level Violence
Cast:
Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn
Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Natalie Portman as Queen Padmé Amidala
Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker
Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
Kenny Baker as R2-D2
Pernilla August as Shmi Skywalker
Frank Oz as Yoda
Director George Lucas

When the evil Trade Federation plots to take over the peaceful planet of Naboo, Jedi warrior Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) embark on an adventure to save the planet. With them on their journey is the young Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman), Gungan outcast Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best), and the powerful Captain Panaka (Hugh Quarshie), who will travel to the faraway planets of Tatooine and Coruscant in an attempt to save their world from Darth Sidious (Ian McDiarmid), leader of the Trade Federation, and Darth Maul (Ray Park), the strongest Dark Lord of the Sith to ever wield a lightsabre.

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Over a decade after Return of the Jedi, George Lucas returned to the Star Wars series. Everything seemed to be going well, especially with a cast consisting of great actors like Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor. Despite this, The Phantom Menace fails to be a good Star Wars movie or a good movie on its own. A review can’t capture all the flaws in this film, it can really only be done through an analysis (I might do one) but I’ll do my best to mention its main flaws just as a movie.

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One of the biggest flaws of the prequels is that the story is so complicated and confusing. The original trilogy had a pretty straight forward plot, but when it comes to exposition, particularly on Coruscant, it becomes really hard to follow. The film also has some pretty uninteresting moments, particularly on Tatooine and Coruscant, and the film slows down tremendously and becomes really boring. Also notable is the dialogue, which is so stiff and wooden, both in its writing and its delivery and everyone ends up sounding the same.

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There are a lot of great actors in this movie with but they are wasted, because of the poor direction and writing, they come across as rather wooden but they shouldn’t be blamed for their performances. This goes especially in the case of Jake Lloyd as young Anakin Skywalker, which would result in a bad performance, even with a different actor. I know that I’m not the only one who says that Jar Jar Binks is the worst character in the entire Star Wars universe. Lucas seemed to have found him funny because he tried putting him in as many scenes as possible and it made the whole film experience worse. Darth Maul is probably the best character in the film, probably because he has the least amount of dialogue as well as his double sided lightsabre but he was incredibly underused, only becoming a threat in 2 scenes, one of them being only 30 seconds long.

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One of the most noticeable aspects of the prequels is the overuse of CGI. Sometimes it looks fine but at other moments it looks extremely fake, especially with the battle droids. The action scenes are done decently enough but as said before, they rely on CGI too much. I will say though that the lightsabre fight near the end of the movie is one of the best in the franchise. The soundtrack by John Williams is good as always, particularly the theme used for the aforementioned end lightsabre fight.

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The Phantom Menace is for me the worst Star Wars movie, I’ll have to watch Attack of the Clones in order to be sure of this but it’s hard to imagine that film being worse. The worst part about this movie is that it didn’t need to be made, it doesn’t actually need to be watched in order to understand Attack of the Clones. As much as it pains me to do this, I think that most of the blame has to go to George Lucas, and no matter how The Force Awakens turns out, it will definitely be better than this film.

Fight Club (1999)

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Fight Club

Time: 139 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence and offensive language
Cast:
Edward Norton as The Narrator
Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden
Helena Bonham Carter as Marla Singer
Meat Loaf as Robert ‘Bob’ Paulson
Jared Leto as Angel Face
Director: David Fincher

An insomniac office worker (Edward Norton) forms an underground fight club with Tyler Durden, a soap manufacturer. This fight club grows bigger over time, as does its scope. It eventually starts growing bigger than he could ever think it would. This film is based on the novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk.

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Despite the title, Fight Club isn’t just a movie about people fighting. Fight Club isn’t a movie like you’ve ever seen before; it’s a psychological journey and presents social commentary about many things such as consumerist culture. It’s also a movie that somehow can still be relevant today. With outstanding performances and many meanings behind it, Fight Club is definitely one of Fincher’s best films and has continually held up for 15 years.

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It is best watching this movie with as little background information as possible because it’s best experiencing it without knowing much about the plot. Don’t even watch the trailer; just watch it as soon as possible. As for the messages to be taken away by the viewer; there are many different opinions I’ve heard from different people. Whatever the ‘true’ meaning of this movie is however; is completely left up to the viewer and that can lead to interesting discussions with other people who watched it. As for the comparison to the book, in my opinion the movie manages to take the story from the book into many places that it never originally went. The ending of the movie is brilliant and the last shot of the movie is beautiful. Actually, the second to last shot of the movie is good also.

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The characters are really interesting and well played by the actors. Edward Norton plays our unnamed main character and narrator throughout this story as we follow him through these crazy events. Another shining point is Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden, this is one of the best performances that have been put on screen. He is entertaining to watch but also has a philosophy which makes this movie unique and mostly defines this movie. This performance is Brad Pitt’s best and no other actor could have given a better job than him portraying this character. He is definitely one of the most memorable parts of this movie. Helena Bonham Singer plays a character called Marla Singer who becomes a key character in the story and she is also played very well.

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One of the best things about David Fincher is his ability to make a movie look incredible. The style of the film is really engrossing and eye catching, especially when there are scenes narrated by Norton. I also really like the intro animation which really gets the audience ready for the movie. I’ve noticed that all of David Fincher’s movies’ intro animations are always good. I also love the soundtrack by The Dust Brothers which fits in so well with the movie. Also, without spoiling anything, the last song in the movie is absolutely perfect for the ending and makes it even better.

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This movie is very memorable; even months after watching it for the first time I was still thinking about it. This film has a lot of re-watchability and has many hidden gems in the movie that viewers might not get the first time watching and there are many meanings to be interpreted. Fight Club is a movie to see as soon as possible, even to just have an opinion on it. This movie is one of, if not David Fincher’s best work that he’s ever done, I’ve so far liked everything that he’s done. Whether your interpretations of it are, Fight Club is a brilliantly acted, visually stunning masterpiece that you will never forget. It is one of my all time favourite movies.

The Matrix (1999) Review

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The Matrix

Time: 136 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Keanu Reeves as Neo
Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus
Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity
Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith
Joe Pantoliano as Cypher
Director: Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski

In the year of 1999, Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is living two lives; by day a computer programmer and by night a computer hacker under the alias of Neo. He is contacted by Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne), a legendary computer hacker who gives Neo the truth of the real world. The real world is a wasteland where most of humanity is imprisoned within an artificial reality known as the Matrix. Neo joins Morpheus in the struggle to overthrow the Matrix.

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The Matrix is a film that was absolutely revolutionary when it came out. The world created by the Wachowskis is nothing like anyone has seen before and of course the action scenes are some of the best ever created. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I won’t spoil too much of it but you really need to check it out as soon as possible. The Matrix is a classic that hasn’t grown old in 15 years, and it looks like it never will.

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First of all the world and philosophy of the Matrix is well crafted. Learning about the Matrix can get a bit complicated and may take more than one viewing to get it all because of how complex it is and how many concepts it has. The idea of the world not being quite what it seems has been made many times before but not in this way. The first time I watched it, I didn’t pick up on the metaphors the movie had because I didn’t think it would have any, I just thought it was an action science fiction movie. I watched an video analysis of Fight Club and it had comparisons to the Matrix, particularly the society aspect. With a new perspective I re-watched The Matrix it and I noticed the hidden metaphors that I didn’t see before. This film has many different types of moments, those explaining the world and its philosophy and those being action scenes and both are done really well. One problem I have with this movie is the ending; it was a bit abrupt and could’ve been a bit longer. It wasn’t bad, but I felt that after all the events prior to the ending, the film could’ve afforded to slow down a bit its in concluding.

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The roles were played well by Keanu Reeves, Carrie Anne Moss, Lawrence Fishburne and the rest of the cast. Hugo Weaving is a stand out performance as Agent Smith, a programme who guards the Matrix. Weaving really plays him as a force to be reckoned with and he is a joy to watch. One of the only flaws I have with this movie is that despite the fact that I can remember them in many scenes, by the end I still don’t feel like I really got to know them that well, however that can be forgiven as the universe of this movie isn’t like most other sci-fi movies.

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One thing that is in all of the Matrix movies is the green tint look. There are a lot of times where the movie has quite a green filter in it, mostly when characters are in the Matrix. The film also uses slow-mo very well and it really adds to the action scenes. It wouldn’t be right to talk about the Matrix without talking about the special effects. It is really cool seeing people doing things that they wouldn’t do normally like jump long distances and perhaps most famously – bullet dodging. The camera tricks used for shooting the bullet dodging scenes is also one of the revolutionary things about this movie. The soundtrack composed by Don Davis really adds something to the scenes.

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One of the most original and well executed science fiction films of all time, The Matrix deserves to be seen at least once in your lifetime. A complex and interesting world, combined with well filmed action scenes makes it an all time classic that will be remembered for all the years to come.