Tag Archives: Gus Van Sant

Psycho (1998) Review

Time: 105 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates
Anne Heche as Marion Crane
Julianne Moore as Lila Crane
Viggo Mortensen as Sam Loomis
William H. Macy as Milton Arbogast
Director: Gus van Sant

Marion Crane (Anne Heche) steals a lot of cash from a man whom her boss is in business with. On the way to see her boyfriend (Viggo Mortensen), she stops off by an old motel, run by the odd Norman Bates (Vince Vaughn). She is murdered in the shower. Her sister (Julianne Moore), boyfriend, and a private investigator (William H. Macy) try to find out where she is, while we learn more about Norman Bates.

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Remakes of movies generally are a bad idea, remakes of classics are often a terrible idea. There really was no reason to remake Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, it was such an iconic film that changed film forever. With that said, when it comes to remakes, if they can find a way to make some change to make it stand out from the original, it could be something. I think one of the worst sins for a remake to do is to stay too close to the original, so that there was no point for said remake to happen in the first place. Gus van Sant’s Psycho did something worse however, it wasn’t just too close to the original, it was literally a shot by shot remake. Aside from some two good performances, this remake really has nothing to offer that the original didn’t already have.

This movie literally a shot by shot remake by Psycho. If you’ve seen the original, there’s nothing interesting you’ll find here. The only difference is that its done much more poorly. Honestly there’s really nothing to say about the writing, the structure and scene order is the same, the dialogue is the same, the characters are the same, it does absolutely nothing new with the material. Even a different portrayal on some of the characters would’ve been somewhat interesting but nothing like that is present.

Vince Vaughn despite most of his performances, is a talented actor and I respect him for going against type but he really didn’t work here as Norman Bates. While he certainly pulls off being crazy, there is no subtlety to his performance at all and just becomes laughable, especially when compared to Anthony Perkins’s performance in the original. Anne Heche plays Marion Crane and she’s not that great, to be fair to her all the direction she’s given is to pretty much just act like Janet Leigh in the original Psycho, so I don’t blame her or really anyone who acted in this movie. The best part about this movie is Julianne Moore and Viggo Mortensen, they were actually quite good in their roles, maybe even slightly better than the actors in the original. Other performances from actors like William H. Macy were fine but really nothing special.

Gus van Sant is a talented director but none of his talents shown in his other films are apparent here. Again, the entire film is just a recreation of the original movie and there’s nothing that great. It feels like a bunch of film students tried to recreate the original movie in colour instead of an established director. The original had some degree of tension, there is no tension whatsoever here. The recreations of some sequences like the shower killing sequence can be absolutely laughable at times because of how poorly done they were. The shower scene was particularly weird because during it, it was cutting to random things like clouds. Another thing worth noting is that this movie is in colour, this really took away from the tension. Ironically for the major issue of the movie being the lack of new creative decisions, the distinct changes from the original actually works against the remake.

There’s really no point in watching the remake of Psycho. The original is much better and the remake is pretty much just the original, just done poorly. Sometimes there can be some unintentional comedy with how poorly the recreations can be, and Viggo Mortensen and Julianne Moore were actually quite good in their roles (maybe even slightly better than the original) but that’s it. I guess if you’re curious enough check it out but you should watch the superior original film first, then again I don’t exactly know why you would want to watch the remake afterwards.

Good Will Hunting (1997)

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Good Will Hunting

Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Will Hunting
Robin Williams as Sean Maguire
Ben Affleck as Chuckie Sullivan
Minnie Driver as Skylar
Stellan Skarsgård as Gerald Lambeau
Director: Gus Van Sant

Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is a genius who works at a college in Boston. He’s discovered by Fields Medal winning Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard) who eventually tries to get Will to turn his life around with the help of Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), as Will begins to realize that there’s more to himself then he thinks there is.

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Good Will Hunting has had a lot of attention and got a lot of good reviews but I never expected the level of greatness I was going to experience walking into this movie. Good Will Hunting succeeds as a coming to age story, a comedy, a drama and overall, it is very compelling and a wonder to behold. It is amazing from start to finish and is a film that really sticks with you afterwards. It is one of those films that are essential to watch at least once in your lifetime.

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The writing from both Ben Affleck and Matt Damon is truly flawless and well made; they must really understand the human psyche because all the characters feel very real and believable; in fact for me, this movie has the most believable characters I have seen in a movie so far. There are times in the movie that are really funny but there are also a lot of real drama moments that really catches people off guard. The drama in this movie is as well done as the comedy is and both tones are well used for the moments. The sadness also really hits hard, even I managed to feel the weight of the emotions and I’m not usually someone who feels emotion from a movie; Good Will Hunting also has many deep, personal messages that really got through to me. There is never a dull minute in this 126 minute long movie. The film is always interesting and that has a lot to do with the characters which are so perfectly acted.

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It goes without saying that this movie has great acting. Matt Damon plays probably the most complex character of his career here and he does such a great job becoming everything that his character is. Robin Williams is also fantastic here; he is usually known for being a comedic actor but here, he gives such a touching performance. Matt Damon and Robin Williams overall gave the best performances of their careers here and they play off each other really well; you can really see the connection between these two characters. Other actors like Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver and Stellan Skarsgard are also great in their roles and they all get their chances to shine in the film. Like I said previously, these characters are so believable and credit has to go to all of the actors in this movie who managed to do that. There isn’t a single performance that wasn’t good and they really takes the film deeper than it would have with different actors.

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The setting of Boston is well portrayed here. The cinematography here is good, though it’s not really the main focus of the movie; it’s the story and script, however even so, these simple shots used in the film somehow are quite effective. The score by Danny Elfman is great too – it really sets the mood.

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This movie should be seen by everyone as soon as possible if they haven’t seen it already; from start to finish, it takes the viewers on a captivating journey that never ceases to amaze me. With its brilliant acting, great writing and big emotional drama, it is a film that I will remember for years to come. Emotionally rich and fantastic, it is one of my favourite movies of all time and has made quite an impact on me.

R.I.P Robin Williams
July 21 1951 – August 11 2014