Movie News

Moriarty Rumbles! CLUB DREAD! And My Ten Favorite Films Of 2003!!

Published at: Feb. 4, 2004, 8:04 a.m. CST by staff

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

Me and my timetables.

Here we are in February already, and I’m just now putting up my second regular column for the year. I was fooling myself saying I’d do this and the DVD column both on a weekly basis. In trying to prepare them both, I ended up getting neither one finished on time. I think it’s more likely I’ll alternate them once I get settled in for the year, since it takes me about a full week to put either one together. One thing that’ll help is if I cut down on the extraneous chatter and get right to it. First up, there’s a movie I’ve been wanting to see for quite a while...

CLUB DREAD

It’s been three years since I saw SUPER TROOPERS at its first Sundance screening. I spent a good part of the next day with the guys that make up Broken Lizard. When they finalized their deal to sell the film to Fox Searchlight that afternoon, it was big news for them, that life-changing moment that so many filmmakers go to Sundance in search of. The celebration lasted long into the night, and I walked away with an impression of each of them as normal, unaffected writer/performers who just wanted to make good comedies. They were modest, pleased with the reactions to that first midnight screening. One thing we talked about was what they wanted to do next. Jay Chandrasekhar seemed enthusiastic when he told me, “We want to make a slasher movie.”

And now, three years later, they have.

Broken Lizard’s CLUB DREAD isn’t a postmodern spin on the genre like SCREAM, and it’s not a spoof made up of overt references to other movies like SCARY MOVIE. Instead, it’s a genuine slasher film that happens to hav ea sly, occasionally silly sense of humor. The film isn’t built around high-concept set pieces. Instead, it’s character humor, an attitude towards everything that distinguishes the film’s comic voice.

Jay’s a very good comedy director who reminds me of early Ivan Reitman, back when he was making effortlessly funny films like MEATBALLS and STRIPES and GHOSTBUSTERS. He’s been working on shows like UNDECLARED and ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT in addition to directing the Broken Lizard films, and he’s just got a gift for setting up a comic reality and giving all of his actors the right support to let them be their funniest. There’s something really generous about the way Broken Lizard writes good material for everyone in their films and not just for their own characters. Bill Paxton, Brittany Daniel, Jordan Ladd, and Samm Levine are all given plenty to do in CLUB DREAD, and their comic sensibilities mesh perfectly with those of the boys.

For those of you who haven’t seen SUPERTROOPERS, Broken Lizard is a group of five guys who write and star in films together. One of them, Jay, is the director. The others are Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske. What impresses me about them is the way they play a completely different dynamic in this film than they did in SUPERTROOPERS. Most comedy teams give the same sorts of roles to certain people each time. Graham Chapman, for example, was always the lead in the Python films. He was Brian. He was King Arthur. There was just something so stiff and pompous about him that it was fun to make him the central figure and then unleash the lunacy of the rest of Python upon him. In CLUB DREAD, everyone plays against the roles that they had in SUPERTROOPERS. For example, Jay was smooth personified as Thorny in TROOPERS, but he’s sort of a douche as Putman, a vaguely slimy and possibly malicious tennis pro, in DREAD. Heffernan deserves cult god status for his work as Rod Farva in TROOPERS, and he’s great but almost unrecognizable here as Lars, the island’s new masseuse. Lemme, Soter, and Stolhanske all get to misbehave the most in this film, and they look like they’re having a blast as they earn the film its R-rating with all the sex and the drugs and the general mayhem.

CLUB DREAD all takes place on a small Central American island where Coconut Pete (Paxton), a Jimmy Buffet clone still milking a few minor hits from the ‘70s, has set up a resort where people come to party themselves stupid in the tradition of his songs.

One by one, though, the staff of the resort starts turning up dead, violently murdered. Are the terrifying campfire stories true? Is there a maniac loose? Everyone ends up a suspect, and there are a lot of really entertaining red herrings. It’s not a complicated film, and it’s not pretending to be anything besides a slasher film. It’s charm comes from the confidence and the enthusiasm of the cast, and from the way it plays by the genre rules without being smug and self-satisfied about it.

TROOPERS really caught on when it hit home video and cable. People took a chance on it, and a lot of people fell in love with it. I have a feeling CLUB DREAD’s going to be the same thing all over again. No offense to the hard-working people at Fox Searchlight, but I think they missed the mark with those lousy trailers that are in theaters right now. They’re too broad, and they oversell certain moments that work much better in context. The new official site for the film is live, and it’s pretty good, especially the blog that the Broken Lizard guys are all keeping there. I wish the MPAA wouldn’t censor them on the site, but rest assured... the movie delivers on the genre’s two essentials: titties and gore. Eli Roth is going to be megapissed when he sees Jordan Ladd drop her top in this when she wouldn’t do the same for CABIN FEVER, and SWEET VALLEY HIGH fans (most of whom are 30 year old guys who are going to pretend they don’t know what show I’m talking about) are going to enjoy Brittany Daniel and her hardbody in all its glory.

Overall, CLUB DREAD is a very funny movie, and the more fond you are of the genre, the more you’ll appreciate the delicate balance that Broken Lizard has pulled off with this, their third feature.

Can’t wait to see what’s next.

MY TEN FAVORITE FILMS OF 2003

If you ask me, 2003 delivered some wonderful films, movies that felt to me like instant classics, movies I know I’ll return to for years to come. The ones that made it into my top ten list this year were the ones that felt effortless, like stories I’ve known my whole life.

Let’s count them down in reverse order, starting with...

10. OLD BOY

I love to disagree with Harry, especially when he adopts a movie or a particular filmmaker as his pet cause. But in the case of Chan-Wook Park, he’s right. SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE was tough, uncompromising, a stunning reversal from the much more Hollywood-ready aesthetic of JOINT SECURITY AREA. Neither of these two films, though, prepared me for OLD BOY, a raw and wrenching revenge story that oozes malice from the very first scene. A drunken businessman is arrested and detained, and he’s not released until a friend of his shows up to bail him out. They stop at a pay phone in the rain, and in one distracted, confusing moment, the businessman disappears.

What follows is one of the craziest, most surreal interpretations of being held captive since Patrick McGoohan’s THE PRISONER. The businessman, Daesoo (Minsik Choi), is held for 15 years, and by the end of it, it doesn’t matter what his name was. He calls himself “Monster” to mark the fact that he is no longer who he was. He isn’t punished by his captivity; he’s destroyed by it. He is systematically devastated, every level of his identity stripped away from him. It’s a tour-de-force performance by Minsik Choi, maybe the single most agonizing performance in any film all year. When he’s finally unleashed on the world, he’s like a one-man plague, devoid of any sense of restraint, on a mission that is more instinctual than deliberate.

There’s no way to really discuss the film any further without ruining it. Like many of the best of the recent Korean films, this movie works on many levels simultaneously. As a revenge story, it’s both substantive and affecting. As an examination of the schizophrenic spirit of Korean itself, it’s uncompromising and blatantly political. And as a surreal horror film, it is every inch the masterpiece that BLUE VELVET is. This is the kind of film that will stick to you long after you’ve seen it, and it establishes Park once and for all as one of the world’s most interesting working filmmakers.

9. PETER PAN

Wow. What happened?

Actually, I take that back. I know a lot of what happened. This was a difficult film for a lot of the people involved, and for a number of different reasons. By the time it came out, Universal’s limp, indifferent marketing campaign had sent the signal loud and clear: the film was a dud. It had to be.

But... it’s not. Not remotely.

Egos aside, how does a studio look at a film like this and not recognize that they’re part of something special? I was pretty wild about the script when I originally reviewed it, but nothing PJ Hogan has every directed would indicate that he was the right guy to make the defining live-action version of JM Barrie’s classic tale. And even if I don’t think Hogan’s film is perfect, it is memorable, beautiful, and vigorously imagined. His Neverland is a dreamscape made real, the weather serving as a barometer of the emotional mood of Peter Pan himself. His London is lovely and romantic and warmly detailed. There’s a definite appeal to both places, and when Wendy struggles to figure out where she belongs, her quandary seems believable.

As far as the people who freaked out about the film’s subtext are concerned, they’re idiots. The subtext is the whole point, and it’s always been part of the material. If you try to judge this film against Disney’s neutered cartoon, you’re doing the story a disservice. This is, and has always been, about the transition between childhood and adolescence, and the perils of holding onto childhood too long. Rachel Hurd-Wood is positively luminous as Wendy, the casting discovery of the year, and the movie really works because she holds it together. Jeremy Sumpter is the film’s biggest stumbling block, uneven in many scenes. He’s not bad, and there are numerous moments where it’s perfectly clear why he was chosen for the role. Thankfully, Jason Isaacs is more than good as Captain Hook; he redefines the character. I thought it would be impossible to surpass Disney’s Hook, the single best thing about their film. Isaacs did it, though. There’s a seedy aging rock star quality to the way he plays it, preening but lethal, and as the film progresses, he reveals some real depth to the character.

In terms of design and cinematography and composition, this is the most visually arresting fantasy film since George Miller’s equally misunderstood BABE: PIG IN THE CITY, but this isn’t just a case of style over substance. This is a film that will reward repeat viewings and thematic deconstruction, dense and smart and sincere. It’s just a shame it didn’t have the right support in terms of the way it was released. Here’s hoping people discover the film on video, and that it has a long and healthy shelf life.

8. FINDING NEMO

It’s simple, really. If you’re a Disney stockholder, you have no choice but to fire Michael Eisner. The man is an anchor, dragging the studio down. He is obviously a very, very selfish and petty person to let any personal issues stand in the way of successfully renegotiating Disney’s contract with Pixar.

After all, if FINDING NEMO represents the state-of-the-art for the company, then they are arguably the most consistently brilliant story department in commercial filmmaking today. What’s impressive is how deep the talent roster at the studio goes. Every person in Pixar in every department contributes something to the almost hallucinatory images they create or the always-wonderful characterizations or the great set pieces that make each film so exciting. Andrew Stanton really stepped up as the director of this one, and he manages to work real magic with his two leads. Albert Brooks has been one of my favorite funnymen since the first time I saw REAL LIFE in the early ‘80s, but it’s crazy how one of his best performances comes when he is voicing an animated fish. Ellen DeGeneres is note-perfect as Dory, spacy but eternally optimistic. It’s a lovely comic duet that packs a surprising emotional punch. There are a few moments in the film that successfully tug at the heartstrings, but there’s one particular edit near the end, a simple silent flashback to Nemo as an egg, that took my breath away. The real secret to Pixar’s enduring appeal is something that a cretin like Eisner will never understand, the sophistication of their craft and their respect for their audience.

7. LOST IN TRANSLATION

So much praise has been heaped on this film that there’s a chance people won’t be able to see it fresh. It’ll be overhyped, no matter what. That’s a shame, too, since Sofia Coppola’s second feature is a lyrical little haiku about feeling adrift in your own life and finding someone or something to hold onto, even if only for a moment. Coppola’s got a gift for creating moments that feel spontaneous, casually staged, but which speak volumes about her characters. She’s a completely natural filmmaker, and between this and THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, it’s clear that she has a strong voice that has to be encouraged. I’ve heard people get hung up while discussing this film, trying to match characters and situations in the film to people in Coppola’s real life based on gossip, but worrying about the real-life connections is missing half the fun. I’ve been on record as a big Bill Murray fan for as long as I’ve been at AICN, and seeing him in a film like this is like ten Christmases rolled up in one. He strolls through the film with a sort of majestic cool, so when he drops his defenses and shows us the man behind the movie star, it’s piercing. Scarlett Johansson does what many more experienced actors have failed to do in the past: she stands toe-to-toe with Bill without blinking. She’s so open, so honest, that Bill seems to want to do nothing more than protect her. This film’s sense of sweet reminds me of Linklater’s superlative BEFORE SUNRISE. This film isn’t wafer-thin or inconsequential, as its harshest detractors suggest. It’s fragile, delicate, and that’s what makes it so precious.

6. LES TRIPLETTES DE BELLEVILLE

A marvelous reminder of the purest communicative power of cinema, this French-Canadian animated film is eccentric, exaggerated, and even grotesque at times. It’s never anything less than engrossing, though. Every inch of the frame is packed with something compelling. Every scene is loaded with jokes, some subtle, some broad. And the thing that makes it great is the way it plays almost entirely without a dependence on dialogue. My parents were in town, and my wife and I took them to see it along with my mother-in-law who speaks almost no English.

And in the end, everyone was able to enjoy it equally, a testament to the wonderful comic storytelling rhythms of Sylvain Chomet, the film’s writer-director. His story is strange and simple. A little boy lives with his grandmother and his dog. He harbors a secret fascination with competitive bike racing, and when his grandmother finds out, she starts training him. He grows up to be sleek, like a greyhound, with monstrous calves that are the result of his seemingly endless bike riding. He enters his first Tour De France, only to vanish before reaching the finish line. The surreal caper that spins out from this set-up involves frogs, gangsters, rented watercraft, ocean liners, gambling, and three mysterious singers who used to be famous, and it almost defines description. It’s a celebration of just how potent the pliant reality of animation can be when everything comes together. There’s a distinctly French sense of humor, keeping firmly in the tradition of Jaques Tati, and Americans are portrayed as fat on an almost-impossible scale, but only the most rabid of Franco-phobes will be able to resist this oddball charmer.

5. IRREVERSIBLE

Gaspar Noe is a monster. There’s something very, very wrong with him, and his deservedly controversial meditation on the way chaos tears down even the most beautiful things in the world is unforgettable. When I first saw it at the Egyptian, it was one of the single most miserable experiences I’ve had in a theater all year. That’s because Noe played a nasty trick on his audiences by laying down an audio track consisting of a sub-sonic noise used by riot police to make crowds sick. It’s brutal, and almost feels like a cheat since the raw force of Noe’s imagery will give you a stomachache without any additional help.

Told in reverse chronological order, this is the story of a young couple in love whose lives are ruined when she is attacked and raped, sending him on a stumbling, rage-fuelled grab for revenge. The film starts at the darkest, ugliest moment as Vincent Cassel and his friend, played with real wit by Albert Dupontel, finally confront the man they think is the rapist deep inside a gay S&M club called The Rectum. What Noe does in that first sequence is shocking no matter how inured you think you are to violence on film.

You can’t discuss the film without giving special praise to Monica Bellucci for her work. The rape scene is harrowing and horrible and graphic, and she takes it farther than I can imagine most big-name actresses would be willing to go. In the end, though, it’s not the shock moments that make the film great. I think it really comes to life in the second half when we see just what it is that has been lost because of these events. The film ends on such a deliriously beautiful note that it’s hard to believe we could be watching the same film at all. This film, like the next one on the list, is not for everyone, but for those who are brave enough, it will linger.

4. IN MY SKIN

Writer/director/actor Marina de Van has pulled off something altogether original with this searing, ugly, unblinking fable about the ways in which we hurt ourselves. She gives the year’s best female performance, no doubt about it, and she’s pretty much the whole film. I went crazy for this when I saw it in Montreal, and people had extreme reactions to it. One guy passed out in the theater. Two girls threw up in the lobby after staggering out during one particularly intense scene. Oddly, it’s not an overtly gory film. There’s a little bit of blood and flesh, but it doesn’t wallow in it. Instead, there’s an emotional intensity to this one woman’s downward spiral that will tie you in knots. The film is actually quite beautiful, sleekly photographed and designed. When the fabric of reality begins to unravel, de Van expertly charts every step of her deterioration. The result is one of the most important and individual horror films in recent memory. Like David Cronenberg, de Van understands that horror is both personal and political, and she balances both expertly. Even though it’s nowhere near as graphic, this film packs a more direct visceral punch than IRREVERSIBLE, and it ultimately hurts more because of the sudden, bleak ending. You can’t go into this film expecting easy answers or easy imagery, but for those who are willing to watch, IN MY SKIN will leave a scar.

3. KILL BILL, VOL. I

This was my favorite piece of candy all year long, a film that shouldn’t matter at all but somehow does. I saw this five times in the theater, and it was because I was compelled to keep going back, dragging other people to check it out each time. I got such a chemical rush out of this “duck press of exploitation cinema” that I almost feel like I should apologize.

Almost.

I’ve heard many of the criticisms of the film, and all I can say to anyone who didn’t enjoy it as much as I did is your loss, my gain. Maybe it helps that I have fond memories of going to grindhouse all-night shows in a pre-Giuliani New York City or that I’ve been to several of Quentin Tarantino’s own Austin festivals or that I love crazy cult movies on a nearly-primal level. Whatever the reason, this movie just wrapped itself around my pleasure center and won’t let go. I get a buzz from watching it, and I’d argue that anyone who thinks KILL BILL is a betrayal of Quentin’s early promise never really understood his talent to begin with. Tarantino told me just before he started filming that one of his goals in making this film was so he could learn how to stage and shoot action sequences. Mission accomplished. The House Of Blue Leaves is a spectacularly orchestrated bit of mayhem that I enjoyed more with successive viewings. If there is any letdown with the film, it’s the fact that these fascinating characters are gone as soon as we get to know them. Uma Thurman’s never been given this sort of role, and Quentin deserves credit for seeing something in her that no one else ever has. The same is true for Sonny Chiba, who exudes a warmth here that I never knew he was capable of. Overall, KILL BILL may be the least important film on this whole list, but it also might be the most purely enjoyable.

2. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING

What can I say about Peter Jackson’s triumphant epic that I haven’t said already? What praise can I offer up and heap on it that I haven’t already in earlier articles?

I suppose I can go on the record thanking the people of New Zealand, the unsung heroes of this production. Tax subsidies and other financial incentives effectively turned every citizen of the country into an investor on the film, something they seem to have willingly shouldered. I’m not sure any other country on Earth would have done the same, and the end result should be a source of enormous national pride.

I can also offer thanks and congratulations to the hundreds and hundreds of artists and craftsmen whose work went underappreciated but which made all the difference. The scale of the entire endeavor is part of what makes it all so overwhelming, and that’s only possible because of all the people who poured their hearts and souls into the project. When people are truly inspired by something they’re working on, it shows in the final product.

The reason the film came in second on this year’s list instead of first is because I’m still not convinced the theatrical cut works completely. This was the first of the three films where I felt like major chunks of story or characterization were compromised by the theatrical running time. In particular, I feel like the Denethor storyline just didn’t work. Still, so much of the film is so great that it’s impossible for one or two fumbled subplots to knock the film too far down the list. The middle of the film is like virtual reality, engrossing and emotional, and stands as one of the most transporting sequences in all of fantasy cinema. I wrote at length about why I like the film’s multiple endings, but in particular, it’s everything involving Sam Gamgee that seals the deal for me. Sean Astin may have gotten screwed by the Academy this year, but in the long run, he’s created a characterization that will be one of the most revered of the genre, just one of the many great performances in this, the grand conclusion to one of cinema’s great adventures.

1. CITY OF GOD

No film surprised me more in 2003. No other film felt so complete, so richly packed with life, overflowing with great characters and dozens of storylines all told with just the right attention to detail. No other film brought a corner of the world to more persuasive life for me.

CITY OF GOD is an explosion, a carnival, a movie with all the textural density of a great novel. It is a major accomplishment for filmmakers Katia Lund and Fernando Meirelles, and I’m curious to see if they can pull off another miracle of this magnitude. If so, then they have got to be placed on anyone’s short list of world cinema’s most exciting new voices. When MEDIUM COOL was released, it still felt transgressive to blur the line between documentary and fiction, but in the thirty years since, the line seems to have dissolved altogether. Movies routinely either pretend to be documentaries for comic or dramatic effect, or they lift the visual language of the documentary, using the hand-held feel to make their stories feel more “real.” THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT led the fake documentary genre down a creative dead end, and in recent years, filmmakers have gotten much more facile at combining the various bits of film grammar in interesting new ways. What Lund and Meirelles have done so beautifully here is craft something that is obviously an expertly woven narrative, but one that uses real events and real people as characters in an effort to anchor the story in reality. The film is shot on the real locations using non-actors, many of who probably have some sort of connection to the real events, either through family or friend.

The result is intoxicating, a story about life on the fringe that has all the propulsive drunk-on-movies energy of GOODFELLAS or BOOGIE NIGHTS. I remember just about a year ago, when I saw the film in a tiny screening room at the Miramax building in Los Angeles. There’s a party scene midway through where music’s playing and everyone’s dancing and, for a brief moment, everyone’s genuinely happy. The mood doesn’t even last the whole party, but for a few fleeting moments, these are the luckiest people in the greatest place on Earth. For a few moments, the City of God is Heaven, indeed, and Lund and Meirelles give us all the wings to reach it.

I applaud Miramax for keeping the film in release for a full year so far, and I’m sure they’ll expand to more theaters to capitalize on the Academy’s largesse. I just wish they hadn’t postponed the upcoming DVD release. I may be annoyed, but it’s a shrewd decision. I know I’ve got no choice now but to go back and see it on the bigscreen again. It’s been too long and I’m impatient to slip back into this world with these characters.

And on that note, I’m going to wrap up this morning’s column so I can put up some other stories and also get to work on the DVD Shelf that’s almost ready to post. If you want to know what films I did or did not see in 2003 for consideration for my list, or if you’d like to read the runners-up, just follow the links and check it out.

Otherwise, I’ll catch you soon. Until then...

"Moriarty" out.





Readers Talkback

comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • Feb. 4, 2004, 8:17 a.m. CST

    Fart Master

    by Quintus_Arrius

    I can feel your joy... Very emphatic indeed! Hail Arrius

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 8:19 a.m. CST

    Mori, I love ya, but...

    by Aragorn II

    could you please stop letting your mouth write checks your typing fingers can't cash.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 8:34 a.m. CST

    Great list, Moriarty... hope CITY OF GOD comes to Alabama soon!

    by Roguewriter

    And you're dead on the money with RETURN OF THE KING. Loved it beyond the telling of it, but it was the first film of the trilogy where I thought the editing was a disappointing betrayal of the story's needs, and the characters'. Denethor's storyline didn't bother me too much, but Faramir got cheated completely, as did Eowyn in the end. Plus, here's something profoundly BAD about the movie: we see the Eagles attack and wipe out the Flying Nazgul -- something that did NOT happen in the books (the wraiths simply plunged to Earth and died). If the Eagles could take on Sauron's most fearsome airborne warriors, why didn't they simply send in a phalanx at the start, bearing Frodo and the Ring and sparing all of Middle Earth its most ghastly period of bloodshed?!?!?!?! A wee glitch, but one that bugged the crap out of me the way 40,000 other minor changes appear to have bugged some ardent Tolkienphiles. Anyway, thanks for the list -- suffice to say we're a bit behind the times down here in Bama, but all those are going to the top of the Netflix list! ;)

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 8:37 a.m. CST

    the fall of Mory

    by pevenscrwn

    he used to be one of the strong points to this place. unfortunately his head has swelled and his perspective has gone to shit, along with the stuff he puts up here now. i think it started with the gushing Daredevil review. the beginning of the end of Mory's credibility. the more time goes by the less in touch he has become with "the people" as his ego has grown by leaps and bounds, to the point now where he stoops to putting up some pics of his dvd racks, as if we give a shit. gee, maybe he could show us pictures of his matchbox collection too so we can all say, "oohhh, aaahhh". it is friggin February and he just now submits a top ten of 3003 list??? what happened to the one column a week promise? yep, he is assimilating to being a part of the movie industry; say what you think will make you look good, make all sorts of promises, but don't worry abuot actually backing them up. just another self-obsessed bullshitter with glory and $signs in his eyes.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 8:40 a.m. CST

    Roguewriter, the eagles don't kill the Nazgul, they just keep th

    by minderbinder

    And they certainly do show up in the books, definitely sort of a cop-out on Tolkien's part.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 8:54 a.m. CST

    City of God DVD

    by FoolWithATool

    This is already released in Ireland and Britan. Whats the crack with that? Qual film though. Definately deserves to get an oscar or two.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 9:18 a.m. CST

    Fantastic list Mori

    by Sheeld

    Haven't seen In My Skin yet, but this was one of the better lists of the year, as was to be expected of you. Any best of 2003 list excluding either City of God or Irreversible is immediately made irrelevant. Surprised not to see any documentaries on it this year, e.g. Etre et Avoir or Capturing the Friedmans. Still, great list.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 9:22 a.m. CST

    Finding Nemo...

    by Dru

    Yay! Someone had the right eyes to put this on a top 10 list; kudos Mori! I haven't seen "Les Triplettes..." so I don't know what to say. Oh yeah, props for "Kill Bill" as well; you were spot on in regard to the naysayers (their friggin' loss.) Bring on "Club Dread" baby! It's gonna be a great summer! Out.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 9:38 a.m. CST

    about the eagles

    by riouxda

    In LOTR, if the eagles would have tried to bring Frodo in Mordor, they would have been killed instantly by the thousands of orcs who were waiting there. The goal here was to bring them all out of Mordor to free a passage for Frodo and Sam. Otherwise, they would have been seen and killed instantly. The fight going on at the gate of Mordor was done so that the eye of Sauron would be looking outside of his own territory. It all makes sense...

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 10:29 a.m. CST

    Club Dread Baby!!!!

    by Nice Marmot

    Can't wait!!!! I still can't believe how bad the trailer for Super Troopers was & that I ended up ever checking it out on video. But I did & to my surprise, I loved it! It's my newest guilty pleasure. Now there's an equally shitty trailer out for Club Dread but because of S.T. I'm checking C.D. out in theaters.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 10:30 a.m. CST

    What happened to my "first" post?

    by Fart_Master_Flex

    It was here....but now it is gone. Surely it cannot be because I dropped an F-bomb in the post?

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 10:34 a.m. CST

    First posts often get deleted.

    by minderbinder

    So quit yer whining.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 10:43 a.m. CST

    The Eagles

    by Spangler

    The Eagles can only help out a little, they are servants of the major diety. The last time God intervened to save the world more than half the landmass was destroyed (everything west of the Shire, end of the 1st age, The Silmarillion). That is why minor dieties such as Gandolf were only allowed to return in the form of old men - so as to limit their influence and power. The choices of the peoples of middle earth are what must ultimatly decide the fate of them all.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 10:54 a.m. CST

    City of God video release pushed back

    by Edstephens

    City of God was supposed to come out on video sometime in the mext two or three weeks, but we've just recieved word that it will now be delayed, possibly until June... GREAT FILM though

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 11:07 a.m. CST

    No American Splendor?

    by Lance Rock

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 11:26 a.m. CST

    the whole subsonic sound thing......

    by JackLint

    probably isnt true. Somebody asked Ebert what the deal was with that... Q. In an interview with Salon.com, "Irreversible" director Gaspar Noe mentioned that the scene in the gay nightclub included a sound track that consisted of "27 Hz of infrasound--a low frequency sound which the police use to quell riots." Did you notice such an effect when you watched that segment? What are your thoughts on the practicality of putting such a difficult sound in the movie? Gautham Thomas, Berkeley, Calif. A. Noe told Salon's Jean Tang: "...we added 27 Hz of infrasound...You can't hear it, but it makes you shake. In a good theater with a subwoofer, you may be more scared by the sound than by what's happening on the screen. A lot of people can take the images but not the sound. Those reactions are physical." I asked an expert about this. David Bondelevich is lecturer on cinema sound at the University of Southern California. He tells me: "I haven't seen the film, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. Infrasonic sound is below the normally audible frequency range, which would be below 20 Hz. There has been research showing that 12 Hz can make you nauseated if played at very high levels. Based on this theory, police are investigating the possibility of creating weapons similar to the ones used in "Minority Report." (Fringe elements insist they are already in use.) However, theatrical sound systems are not capable of accurately reproducing sound at infrasonic frequencies, so it sounds like propaganda to me. Remember 'Sensurround?' It had a similar theory. Their press releases claimed 'people were sent screaming from the theater' and made sick in their seats, even though all it produced was make a normal rumbling sound. It was just a well-designed marketing ploy."

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 11:47 a.m. CST

    2003

    by Dickie Greenleaf

    I've read numerous year-end best-of lists from a range of critics and commentators, and I'm still at a loss as to explain why so many seem to think 2003 was a strong year. True, the best of the year, which is always a subjective observation anyway, are as good as the best of any other year, but there was not a great deal to get very excited about around and beyond those few, unlike, say, 2002 which offered in comparison an embarassment of riches. As such, it may be worth pointing out that neither IRREVERSIBLE or CITY OF GOD were in fact 2003 releases; they belonged to the previous year. Anyway, my picks for the year's best, if anybody's interested, are as follows. 1/ THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING A somewhat inevitable choice, but no less deserving because of it. A truly great film that will only get better with age. 2/ COLD MOUNTAIN It's ironic that the year the Academy finally realises that it isn't in anyway contractually beholden to the annual Miramax hype attack that the studio's marquee release was actually worthy of all the nominations it could have earned. Anthony Minghella's exquisite Civil War epic is a mature, thoughtful meditation on love and war that made for one of the most complete and satisfying film-going experiences of the year. Where the film may have failed to grip widespread audiences to the degree expected is, I think, down to the fact that the characters remain out of easy reach for an audience that is typically used to figures with whom they can readily empathise. Some have criticised the film for being cold, but this only demonstrates the shortsighted nature of too many viewers whose patience is unaccustomed to being execised in theaters. These are simply characters for whom happiness has to be hard-earned. If you don't know what I'm getting at, then consider this; I whole-heartedly agree with those who applaud the extended final act of RETURN OF THE KING as elevating the film onto a more provocative emotional plain, where living in the aftermath of great tragedy can be a deeply painful and, in some cases, unbearable cross to bear. Minghella sets COLD MOUNTAIN in its entirety on such a plain, only here there's no great, cathartic triumph to come before, and no promise of peace to look forward to. The struggles of these characters, realised by the finest ensemble performance of the year, may seem smaller but they are no less compelling. In fact, there are moments here that are as moving as offered by any other film; Ada(Nicole Kidman)'s frustration at her inability to survive productively on her own, Inman(Jude Law)'s anguished realisation that he hardly even knows Ada, though she be his only reason to make it home alive, Sera(Natalie Portman)'s desperate tears of loneliness sleeping alongside Inman having taken him in during a storm, Ruby(Renee Zelwegger)'s final acceptance of her wayward father (Brendan Gleeson)...Whilst everybody is rightly celebrating Peter Jackson's achievement with his LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, Minghella should also be congratulated for completing another trilogy of sorts, if one looks upon THE ENGLISH PATIENT, THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY and COLD MOUNTAIN as being linked as they are by theme and style. 3/ MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD Simply a brilliant piece of work that excels as both a fascinating evocation of a lost time and way of life, and as a first-rate entertainment. If only all studios would give directors like Peter Weir $100+ millon to go off and make their blockbusters for them, the multiplex would be a far better place to spend time in. Here is proof positive that great spectacle can be successfully married with thoughtful intimacy and searing intelligence. I would dearly love to see Peter Weir, Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany team back up to produce a long-running series out of Patrick O'Brien's books, for they, and a team of peerless craftsmen, have made a film that truly is instantly classic. 4/ MYSTIC RIVER Without fail, every year, a collective opinion takes form on this website against a single film that virtually everybody else recognises as being great. Last year, it was GANGS OF NEW YORK and MINORITY REPORT. This year, its MYSTIC RIVER. This is Eastwood's best film after UNFORGIVEN. Provocative, emotional, haunting. The kind of caring, meticulous filmmaking that is seen all too rarely. Its an easy cliche, and one I've used repeatedly myself time after time, to compare movies of this nature on the few occasions we now see them to films made in the 70s, but there's a reason for that, and that is that the 70s were the last time that films of such a naturalistic, disquieting tone were routinely produced. In an age of derivative wire-fu and superheroes, when a film like MYSTIC RIVER arrives now, it feels unexpected. It feels special. And it certainly is. 5/ LOST IN TRANSLATION I loved this film, though I believe its more of an aquired taste than most of its admirers would care to admit. There have always been certain movies that audiences flock in droves to much to the exasperation of disbelieving critics, and movies that critics love that audiences can't qute see what the fascination is about. LOST may be one of those. I saw it with a sell-out crowd and everybody seemed to dig it, but I know there are those who were left cold by the film. This is a mood piece, in every sense. The story unfolds at its own pace, not one dictated by conventional narrative demands. Its natural, its free, its invigorating. But whether you experience it as such will depend as largely on your own mood. This is an unusual film because I think it can play as both indelibly profound and extremely lightweight. But Sofia is a real talent, there's no doubt about that. And without wishing to hark back to the whole 70s thing again, it feels good to have a Coppola film to be excited about. I think that these five films are the only ones worthy of being described as truly special, and whilst I celebrate and champion these pieces of work, and sure, there were others that I also really liked - KILL BILL Vol I., SEABISCUIT, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN - but is it so unreasonable to expect more besides. Maybe it's just because its award season and everybody's in a bit of a self-congratulatory mood, but let's not kid ourselves; 2003 was not a vintage year and we must demand more.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 11:53 a.m. CST

    I liked City of God, but it's not better than ROTK

    by Halloween68

    City of God deserves to be high up there. It's an excellent film. But it's not on the same planet as Return of the King. I see your points, Mori, about the theatrical release missing material. But, two things... You have to see The Two Towers extended cut in order to appreciate Denethor's character. And, two, you like me are finding we are missing bits of the story because we know there are bits of the story missing. I've read the book, I've read the filming news. We know there will be an extended feature. We're looking for places to thickin' up the story. In a way, Peter Jackson has spoiled the public. Over the past 2 years, we've been given a longer, better production come November. We're to the point that we know the extended version is coming. So we're not settling for less. After talking to several people who have never read the book or seen any of the extended editions, I found that none of them looked for the scenes that I missed...the scenes that I knew were there. Again, I see your points, Moriarity. But Peter Jackson is going out of his way to produce a version of the film for people who "can" sit 4 hrs and 10 minutes in a theatre or on a sofa watching a movie. DVD releases don't get Academy Award nominees for Best Picture/Best Director. The work is there now and will be there even more in November. I don't think we should hold it against him because we know there will be an extended cut. Also, I totally agree with your take on the ending of the picture. There are no multiple endings to the film. The story comes full circle. In the end, it's Sam's adventure. To have it end any other way would be a betrayel to the books.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 11:56 a.m. CST

    Hold up...did you just say Jordan AND Brittany show the goods??

    by CranialLeak

    'Cause if Brittany "shows her hardbody in all its glory", I'm gonna cream. Oh, and CITY OF GOD is definitely in my top three favorite films of last year. If you haven't seen it, you are doing yourself a great disservice.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 12:01 p.m. CST

    Undeclared

    by walnutr113

    What a great funny show that was! Anyone else remember if fondly? Any rerun or DVD news?

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 12:03 p.m. CST

    I have to admit, Club Dread website has a pretty good blog..

    by howardroark

    http://www.clubdread.com - i'm there if only because of Brittany Daniel.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 2:33 p.m. CST

    THANK YOU FOR PRAISING PETER PAN!!!!

    by HardcoreRocker

    I loved this movie, and it's the best version that's been done thus far. People on my website thought I was crazy for putting it in my top 10, but now I'm not alone! Thank you Moriarty, for confirming that I am not insane! My Top 10 list and Peter Pan review at www.rockithardcore.com

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 2:59 p.m. CST

    I didn't even recognize Jordan Ladd from the ad on the side sinc

    by Declan_Swartz

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 3:16 p.m. CST

    CITY OF GOD! CITY OF GOD! CITY OF GOD!

    by Manaqua

    Nice one Mori. I'm loving the attention this film is getting recently. For my money this is EASILY the best film i've seen on a big screen in years. YEARS. This film is alive in a way i forgot a film could be. For me it was a rare experience. A rare treat to see a film so full of life and danger. I honestly could go on and on. COG is fucking brilliant. M

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 3:18 p.m. CST

    Roguewriter and Spangler

    by Halloween68

    You are both correct...sort of. The Eagles don't fight the Nazgul in the book, or at least not right off. In the book, you get the feeling that the Eagles are hesitant to fly into mordor because of the power of Sauron and the Nazgul. It's not their fight so they stay out of it. "Gandalf", Elrond, or anyone else for that matter do not control the Eagles. They have their own kingdom and their own ruler. (For insight, read The Hobbit, or the Silmarillion) They do what they want to do. In the end, much like the Elves, they decide to send help in the only way that they feel will be beneficial. They help Gandalf retrieve the Ringbearer and his companion. PS. The only reason that they help Gandalf escape from the tower of Saruman is that they owe him a favor. This is not explained in the movies. The reason I think they are introduced near the finale of the War of the Ring in the movie is to lend dramatic tension. To give the allies help from above, to further distract Sauron from the Ringbearer. PS.PS., Spangler, "Gandalf" is not a "deity". He is a spirit. If you were to compare him to something within our own theology or belief system, he is more like a guardian angel, or angels on earth. All the wizards (or Istari) of middle earth were maiar spirits (see the Silmarillion). There were 5 of them. They were sent to unite and counsel the peoples of middle earth against the enemy. If you wanted to label them deity like, that's okay I guess. I guess you could call them demi-gods. They're like lesser Valar. The Valar themselves, specifically, the Ainur (the holy ones), were the real gods of Middle Earth. There really wasn't one God, unless you count the creator, Eru (or Illuvatar). Although, I guess the Ainur are Eru's thoughts, so if you want to get picky, you could say Eru is the one true God. However, even though Tolkien was a devout Catholic, I've always likened the theology of Middle Earth to the ancient mythologies of Europe. Each Valar seemed to govern something and had his or her own following among the denizens of Arda (Middle Earth). In any event, Spangler...you are absolutely correct in saying that Gandalf was not allowed to interfere too much. The Eagles chose not to interfere, although, I think there was something in their lore involving Manwe (one of the Ainur) and concerning Eagle involvement in the battles over Middle Earth. Sorry to ramble. Cheers.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 3:23 p.m. CST

    Supertroopers made me laugh syrup out of my nose.

    by FluffyUnbound

    And Jordan Ladd is super, super, super hot. Petite chicks are where it is at. Moriarty may be totally planting this review, but I don't care. These guys deserve to get my $8.50, since I saw 'Troopers for free. I will check it out.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 4:12 p.m. CST

    Nemo...

    by Snow Is Fun

    Glad that Finding Nemo made the top 10. That was probably my favorite of the year. It's one of those movies that I can watch over and over and simply never get sick of. And I, too, remember Undeclared. It was fantasic.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 4:19 p.m. CST

    About Peter Pan

    by Zeldas

    I'm at the movies, and this woman is walking out of Peter Pan with some kids, and she was talking to this other lady that was with her. They were basically talking shit about the movie, but their main complaint was this, "My God. That movie. Why did they have to make the mermaids bad? Everyone knows that mermaids are good!" The other lady was like, "yeah I know. Why did they have to do that?" I wanted to walk up to them and slap them each with a glove as challenge to a duel. People are stupid.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 4:34 p.m. CST

    A few other films worthy of mention

    by Trader Groucho

    Great list Moriarty, but 2003 was more worthy of top 20 lists than top 10s. Some other films that could easily stand on the list: Girl with a Pearl Earring, Pirates of the Caribbean, Master & Commander, Down with Love, X2, In America, The Station Agent, Seabiscuit, Better Luck Tomorrow, Whale Rider, Elf, School of Rock, Love Actually, Bend it like Beckham, A Mighty Wind, Dirty Pretty Things, Thirteen.... all that without even starting to touch the documentaries. It was simply a great year for film. And I didn't even mention movies I didn't think so much of that other people loved. We should be so lucky in 2004.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 4:37 p.m. CST

    Manohla Dargis, the Commie Lesbo critic for the LOS ANGELES TIME

    by Charles Grady

    Strange, considering Manohla usually likes dark and violent films. Her reasoning for her CITY OF GOD walkout was something like, that it was pure exploitation with no redeeming social value, and it gave her a headache. Couldn't disagree with her more. As for Mori's list, ISN'T THIS LIST PRETTY SUSPECT considering the pretty HUGE number of films Drew DIDN'T see last year? I appreciate that he's upfront about it, and that he was genuinely busy. But a Top 10 List isn't very authoritative if you didn't see DOZENS of even the year's most acclaimed films. He may or may not end up liking them in the long run anyway, but the fact that he didn't get a chance to even SEE American Splendor, Elephant, 21 Grams, etc., makes it pretty hard to put any faith in Moriarty as a legit critic, and therefore his list has just slightly more validitythan that of some 12-yr-old fanboy in TalkBack who lists Pirates, Matrix, X2, and T3 as his Best of the Year, simply because those were the only films he even attended during the calendar year.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 4:57 p.m. CST

    And for the probably two people reading this thread who are from

    by Charles Grady

    What is UP with LA's three preeminent film critics? Here we are in the movie capital of the world, and our one major newspaper - LA TIMES - has the three worst film critics imaginable. First is the aforementioned Dargis, technically a good writer and sometimes pleasantly contrarian, but way too enamored of her own style, and of her faux-Bohemian socio-political agendas. Then comes OLD MAN KENNETH TURAN, THE worst film critic in America with the exception of Michael Medved, which is apt since they're equally conservative, old-school, easily offended old fuddy-duddys who must have A-B-C connect-the-dots classical narratives instead of any original filmmaking. Turan will go out of his way to be a full-on prick about anything new and innovative, then overpraise something like A CIVIL ACTION or THE MISSING because it's rote and straightforward enough for his aging sensibilites. This fucker has written pieces damning the societal influence of KILL BILL, and in a masterstroke even his fans couldn't abide, once did an embarrassing piece writing off our entire current generation of filmmakers -- Wes/PT Anderson, Fincher, Aaronofsky, David O. Russell, etc. -- for not being true to the tenets of classical storytelling. Then comes the sad case of Kevin Thomas, the old man who was once the Times' chief critic, but who's now reduced to only being assigned the latest teen romance, which strangely he always likes (um, positive reviews for SHE'S ALL THAT, JAWBREAKER, DOWN TO YOU, anyone?) or the latest gay hustler indie film, which appears to be his preferred genre.....Lest anyone think I was too harsh on Mori in my previous post slamming his non-attendance at many of last year's movies, let me say his style and humor is heads above that of the TOXIC THREE OF LA FILM CRITICSM, and I've ranted here to show that McWeeny would be a welcome addition to LA's film critic circle. Not likely to happen, since he wants to MAKE, not REVIEW, films, but considering the laughing stock that is L.A. film criticism, he does us proud......Anyway like I said, I'm sure about two people reading this know what the fuck I'm talking about, but for those in LA, hope you've enjoyed.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 6:04 p.m. CST

    lmfao....

    by MisterGrimloch

    i'm sorry, but anytime i read any of these internet hacks posting a "top ten" list, i can't help but chuckle. like any of it means a fucking thing. its just too ludicrous for me to even contemplate.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 6:49 p.m. CST

    FINDING NEMO???????????

    by speed

    what is it with this flick? i was so disappointed with this sugarfest ultra PC KIDS movie. and it's not even a good kids movie. their is no humour in it. the story is wafer thin and the morals pound us down. and a fish with a gimpy fin? come on! even disney doesn't crawl that low. can't you see through it all? pixar is better than the master manipulator- speilberg. it stunned me because their mantra seems to be: story! story! story! yet there was no story. sure it looked amazing and the seagulls were fun, but thats it. pixar need to take a look at a few simpsons episodes to get a grip on how to balance humour with morals.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 6:53 p.m. CST

    Whoa, whoa whoa... WIFE?!

    by GenericGeek

    When did this happen, and why wasn't there a TalkBack about it? Kidding aside, congrats, dude. Wait... it's not Harry, right?

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 7:25 p.m. CST

    I'll believe that when me poop turns purple and smells of rainbo

    by user id indeed!

    You boys like MEXICO?!?!

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 8:52 p.m. CST

    guyinthebackrow...A) What spelling errors?...and B)...

    by Charles Grady

    Not sure if you're asking from the vantage point of someone who reads Dargis or not, but her socio-political ideology and sexual preference play a huge part in her writings, so mentioning it seems like fair game, though I'll concede "Commie Lesbo" seems pretty rough, even though I intended it ironically, as my problems with Manohla aren't regarding her sexual preference, but rather her tiresome PERSONA which relies too heavily on her political leanings and seeming sexual tastes. In short, she writes like an aging Bohemian grad student, which you might know if you're familiar with her work. Hence using the term as a knowing shorthand for a type (Bohemian, intelligentsia, etc.) rather than as a way of singling out a sexual preference. Anyway, more than a few L.A. film geeks refer to Manohla in such a manner, not out of any homophobia, but rather because that's the persona she affects for her writing.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 10:41 p.m. CST

    Lost In Translation is too low on his list.

    by Flexfill

    This is clearly one of the major triumphs of 2003. It's on DVD now, but you can still catch it at the Arclight in Hollywood. I suggest seeing it in the theater if it's your first time. Ms. Coppola has arrived, indeed.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 11:57 p.m. CST

    To Charles Grady...

    by AllmightyTallest

    Although I do not live in L.A.(Ohio), I agree with you on the basis of one of the male critics (I think it was Thomas) gave good reviews to "Valentine", and "American Outlaws" (both released by Warner Brothers).

  • Feb. 5, 2004, 12:39 a.m. CST

    Uh, with the excpetion of supertroopers the movies on that list

    by watashiwadare

    ,

  • Feb. 5, 2004, 2:47 a.m. CST

    Okay, City of God...

    by John Anderton

    It's nice that it's #1 on your list and all... but what the fuck is it ABOUT????

  • Feb. 5, 2004, 3:31 a.m. CST

    City of God is a 2002 Film

    by chien_sale

    But since 2003 was not the great year that 2002 was for film, right now no doubt that City Of God is the best of all the films nominated at the Oscars. In no particular order my favorites of 2003(but not necesserelly the bests of 2003) were Kill Bill, Hulk, The Good Thief, Lost in Translation, X2, Open Range, Triplettes de Belleville, The Hunted, Once Upon a time in Mexico, Max.

  • Feb. 5, 2004, 4:12 a.m. CST

    Why do Harry and Mori keep ignoring Big Fish??

    by darthflagg

    I thought you guys were Burton fans. Here's his best movie in years, and there's no reviews, no mention on the best of the year lists, nothing. What gives?

  • Feb. 5, 2004, 6:46 a.m. CST

    My Top Ten of 1990

    by Lethal Waffle

    I believe it's difficult to make a top ten for 2003... it's too close and who knows what we will think in 5 years from now of Finding Nemo for instance ? (Toy Story 2 for example totally burried the first episode...)... so I decided to offer you my very top ten list for 1990: 1. Dances with Wolves - I think it will stay a classic for a long time... the music of John Barry, the story... I love that film (especially the long version) 2. Edward Scissorhands - haven't seen Big Fish yet, but this one is definitely my favorite Tim Burton movie... it's a classic Christmas story... so beautifully shot (and again music here plays a big part) 3. Goodfellas - one of Marty's best... when Robert De Niro was still a serious actor, when Joes Pesci was not irritating and when Ray Liotta was the next big thing... Again: classic ! 4. Internal Affairs (Mike Figgis, Richard Gere)... an underrated thriller... Richard Gere is excellent here... Andy Garcia too (he was also the next big thing)... Excellent ! 5. The Hunt for Red October - the only really good Jack Ryan movie; although it's Sean Connery's film, Alec Baldwin was great. And John McTiernan proved he was (is ?) one of the best director around. 6. Total Recall - pure fun... when Arnold was not scared too much about his image... it's already looking old so will not stand too well the years 7. Pump up the Volume - a great "high school" film... I saw it when I was in high school, so maybe it's a generation thing... very cool 8. Arachnophobia - just because I hate spiders and I got nightmares for 3 days after seeing it... 9. Flatliners / Jacob's Ladder / Ghost... the first two because of the atmosphere (watch Jacob's Ladder again, it's really creepy... Flatliners a lot less but it has its moments)... Ghost is too cheesy, and now it definitely looks old (I got the DVD and it was so disapointing to see it again)... yet at that time, it was one of the year's event 10. Die Hard 2; Robocop 2; Predator 2... sequels that are all below the original, but still are quite fun (and violent too... the body counts is higher than in the originals

  • Feb. 5, 2004, 7:44 a.m. CST

    Thanks Mori

    by Heleno

    I agree with all those I have been lucky enough to see. And I also felt with Return of the King, that it suffered more from the cuts than the others. That might be because in some ways Return was my favourite part of the book, and partly cause I am a girl and really missed the Houses of Healing scenes, as well as Saruman and the heart-wrenching crossing of Mordor by Sam and Frodo.

  • Feb. 5, 2004, 11:47 a.m. CST

    Thanks Moriarty - Peter Pan truly is a new classic.

    by nottoo

    A great film and one that will be remebered long after its theatrical release is done. Couldn't agree more about the dreadful and lackluster marketing, its as if the folks at UIP didn't even bother to see the film....too sad.

  • Feb. 5, 2004, 2:12 p.m. CST

    Disowning Sweet Valley High?

    by MyGlockYourMouth

    I only saw two episodes of Sweet Valley High as it ended its run in syndication at a town I used to live in, but holy bejesus, those two episodes made me a lifetime Brittany Daniels fan. Compare this lady to Sara Foster from Bounce and you tell me which would more quickly thaw out a frozen caveman's dick. Excellent list M Man, especially the top 3. You forgot 28 days later however.

  • Yeah EvilDead- what's your beef? Man, you bitchers crack me up at your remarks... heh heh heh Supertroopers was hilarious! You probably didn't even see it, if all you're comparing it to is Police Academy. Uh- that's what everyone thought BEFORE they saw the move. :)

  • Feb. 5, 2004, 3:07 p.m. CST

    First time post: Peter Pan WAS amazing.

    by BruceWayne111

    Moriarty . you continue to be one of the best things about this site . .and I have been coing here since 1997 . .just not posting.************************************Anyway, I am still so confused why Peter Pan slipped underneathe so many people's radar . .next to ROTK, Kill Bill, X2, SpellBound . .etc (you know, everyone's usual list) this move was amazing, and I saw it twice. It really treats the characters like the icons they are . .and the dialogue is always fresh and clever. For example . . ..when Peter asks the children if he wants him to teach them to fly, one of them responds, "You offend reason, sir . ." After Peter magically levitates above the bed, the boy smiles in suprise and states, "And I shall offend it with you!"*********I know bad example . .but this movie was always so alive and the dialogue was the type that you would like to memorize. Hell, read Mori's script review and that will give you a better idea. That's all . .BruceWayne

  • Feb. 5, 2004, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Manohla's ok

    by Homer Sexual

    I live in LA, read all the typical mags and the Times, remember when she was writing for the Weekly. And I had no idea that she was communist or lesbian. In fact, it seems odd that a communist would write for the Times. In any case, although I often disagree with her, I am always happy to see her byline because her reviews are always interesting. Turan is perfect for the "Academy" crowd, since he likes solid, safe films. He is kind of dull, but not terrible. Kevin Thomas is a trip. His review actually sent me to see "Session 9," a real gem I would never have seen otherwise, but he also sent me to "Carrie 2," which was, um, putrid. He does like a lot of questionable movies.

  • Feb. 5, 2004, 4:51 p.m. CST

    Aint-it-cool-clickthroughs.com

    by BTWR

    hahaha... what a freakin' sellout. Make your damn links to IMDb and not to amazon. Personally, I have bought 2 items from the stories, but I purposely click out to amazon.com first on my own (not link) so that this site gets didly...

  • Feb. 5, 2004, 7:35 p.m. CST

    super troopers

    by malcarne

    hate to burst the self-aggrandizement bubble, BUT... Super Troopers was a reeking, slagheap of bowl-mud. this "groop", this supposed comedic troupe...isn't fit to lick any number of previous cabal's scrotes ala groundlings or The State, etc. Super Troopers sucked so hard in so many ways it was hard to keep anything down for weeks afterward these pissants oughta piss-off into crap WB sitcom purgatory instead of mythologizing themselves AS IF there was an IOTA of talent involved feh

  • Feb. 5, 2004, 7:37 p.m. CST

    the politically correct term for Manohla Dargis is "BoHoMo"

    by Kenshiro_Kane

    as in Bohemian Homosexual... learn it, know it, use it... it's the new "metrosexual"... okay, now i'm gonna throw up. Word.

  • Feb. 5, 2004, 8:46 p.m. CST

    Manohla Dargis is a parody of herself

    by Bruno Diaz

    Sometimes it's hard to believe someone as pretentious and utterly enamored with their own bullshit as Manohla Dargis exists. Her reviews are masturbatory and useless. Half the time you never know whether she liked the movie or not. And I'm sorry, but that is the reviewer's job - Is the movie good? It's embarassing to read even a small part of her reviews. Makes me wish I never went to college.

  • Feb. 5, 2004, 9:29 p.m. CST

    Maybe I'll see supertroopers again - everyone raves about it...

    by TheGinger Twit

  • Feb. 5, 2004, 10:09 p.m. CST

    Disney sucks, but you already knew that

    by chasfkane

    http://www.mrpicassohead.com/canvas.html?id=958e439

  • Feb. 6, 2004, 1:39 a.m. CST

    GadZookss - Mystic River???

    by Trader Groucho

    Maybe he wasn't threatened by Mystic River. Maybe he was annoyed by it, like me. Clint gives us ONE BRIEF SCENE with Sean bonding with his daughter. Or rather, not bonding, as he half-ignores her as she says good-bye (later we learn she intended to take off with her BF for LV). Then, when Sean comes out to see the body he goes into major league HYSTRIONICS. Clint gives us ZERO buildup to this. We're not invested in the daughter, we're not invested in Sean's relationship with the daughter. When she dies, his reaction comes off as WAY OVER THE TOP. WAY WAY WAY. And Clint knows better. He deserved the accolades for Unforgiven. He deserved more than he got for White Hunter Black Heart. His place in film history is quite secure, thank you. This film, however, is not his best work. In a year when there are just so many great films, films that drill a hole into your brain and nest there, Mystic River just doesn't cut the mustard.

  • Feb. 6, 2004, 6 a.m. CST

    Fuck Monica Bellucci.

    by Peco

    Fuck her up her stupid arse.* *Like that dude in Irreversible.

  • Feb. 6, 2004, 9 a.m. CST

    City of God 2 discs Dvd

    by Viniciuso

    http://www.submarino.com.br/dvds_productdetails.asp?Query=ProductPage&ProdTypeId=6&ProdId=210909&ST=SE Something around U$13,00

  • A bunch of mutants running around in a small town with flashy powers, with not a bit of character development. I guess X3 will have more undeveloped characters (mutants) running around, that's right, the director of this movie just likes adding more and more characters, but not much else. It's just not worth it. You know this to be true.

  • Feb. 6, 2004, 1:29 p.m. CST

    Passion of the Christ LA screening

    by Bruno Diaz

    Does anyone have any information on an LA area screening of the Passion of the Christ? If so, please email me. I'm a journalist, and I really need the info.

  • Feb. 6, 2004, 2:16 p.m. CST

    I might be banned or investigated by Ashcroft for saying this bu

    by MyGlockYourMouth

    Take the inferior bush out and put a shaved superior one in.

  • Feb. 6, 2004, 2:33 p.m. CST

    One of my favourite FOTR reviews!

    by Skeletor500

    ONE OF THE WORST MOVIES I HAVE EVER SEEN. "Well, for a start, it's not fair to call it a movie because it's not. It's a book visualised and put on screen. It drags, crawls and stretches out at such a slow pace you can actually feel every page turning. It's monotonously slow. But the total lack of pacing is the least of Peter Jackson

  • Feb. 6, 2004, 4:53 p.m. CST

    Well you know that old saying Skeletor, ...

    by Pontsing Barset

    ... about opinions being like assholes? ...Yup, that's the one. You didn't perchance write this drivel yourself did you? If so: Yeah I know, you're right and everyone else is wrong. *** Have a nice misfit life now won't you?

  • Feb. 6, 2004, 5:24 p.m. CST

    Skeletor: After wading through 1/3 of the quicksand that is your

    by MyGlockYourMouth

    But as to your superior taste in movies, familiarity with the LOTR books or your knowledge of anything to do with cinema or the movie you are commenting on, I think your pretty fucking clueless. I wish your post could be encapsuled as a sleeping aide.

  • Feb. 6, 2004, 5:58 p.m. CST

    That review is pretty hilarious, it's so bad. Where did you fin

    by minderbinder

  • Feb. 7, 2004, 5:18 a.m. CST

    Not my choices

    by comicmojo

    I just watched the DVD of Lost in Crap. And that is what it is crap. Give me Meatballs, or Groundhogs Day. Bill M as best actor. Give me the drugs that you are taking. Lost in Trans sucks big time. As for Finding Nemo. I love Pixars movies so far, but this one didn't do anything for me. I guess that I don't know what I am talking about, everyone else raves about these movies.

  • Feb. 7, 2004, 9:45 a.m. CST

    About Time that City of God get it's due on this Site! And Skelt

    by Whocaresanyway?

    Harry and his Staff sleeped for a whole Year on this amazing Film. All the Magazines here in Europe selected this as there No.1 Movie of the Year and Harry only noticed it when it finally came on DVD as a "pwesent" to his House? I'm very happy about the Oscar-Nomination for best Director. I thought "Well, maybe it will get the Directornomination since the Directors often have cool off-beat Choices like "Being John Malkovic" in 1999 but naa... that would be to cool to be true" And there it is. ROTK is still my Choice for Movie of the Year but CoG is in the same Class so I don't think that you can argue that Return of the King is "on a different Planet" like Halloween 68 wrote in his Post. I think what he meant to say was that he and the Rest of the demented Lotr-Ultrafanatics live on another Planet which has nothing do to with our Reallity. In his Universe it's only possible to be a really great Movie if the Movie is set in Middle-Earth. A bigger epic Scale doesn't mean that it is automatically "on another Planet" than City of God. Well my Top Ten for 2003 would go like this: 1. Return of the King 2. City of God. 3. Finding Nemo 4. Lost in Translation 5. In America 6. X2 7. Kill Bill 8. The last Samurai 9. Master and Commander 10.Millenium Actress Runners-Up: Good bye Lenin, the good Thief, Hero, Hulk and Stuck on you. I still could not see Big Fish and Cold Mountain.... Most dissapointing End: a Tie between Matchstick Men and Intolerable Cruelty, both Movies would have been among my Favourites if they didn't derail their Characters in the last 10 Minutes ( In the Case of Matchstick Men it was also a very predictable Twist) worst Movies I have seen this Year: Bad Boys 2, Star Trek 10, Charlies Angels 2. Well, I normally stay away from bad Movies in the Theatre so there was't that much to complain. Matrix Revolution was only slightly better than these Movies and overall the biggest Dssapointment of the Year....And this Review in the Post by Skeleton 500 was indeed hilariously bad. Every Sentence in this Review reads as an desperate attempt to wrote the reverse of what 95% of the Critics said and 99% of the Audience. The Fact that Skeletor 500 didn't even bother to explain which Reviewer wrote this Tripe can only mean that he wrote this stuff himself. Well, it took him only 2 Years to come up with this fake Review. A Fotr-Review in 2003? He must be a busy Guy who first have to post his insightfull Articles on other Websites before he found the Time to give us all a Lesson about a Movie from 2001 in a Talkback about the Year 2003.

  • Feb. 7, 2004, 10:31 a.m. CST

    It seems Mr.Skeletor500 is to be counted among the most of minor

    by Tinuviel70

    But of course, his cut and paste is not really a review as it is a bashing just for the sake of being considered cool contrarian. Having opinion is one thing but to state falsehoods is quite another. Now thanks to Moriarity, I must see City of God.

  • Feb. 7, 2004, 11:08 a.m. CST

    Moriarty... I bet in 25 years time we'll all love 'Open Range' a

    by workshed

    ...it's a shame you prefer the fast-burn fuse over the slow one. Whilst 'Open Range' did have some flaws ('Button' I could do without) it's shootout climax was the highlight of 2003 cinema for me. Peckinpah would have been proud. More Western's please Mr.Costner.

  • Feb. 7, 2004, 11:55 a.m. CST

    hello

    by Bourne GreyElf

    saw the butterfly effect, thought it was really good.

  • Feb. 7, 2004, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Mori, thanks for listing CITY OF GOD!

    by FD Resurrected

    That's a masterpiece of pure aesthetics and visceral experience. A rare film so drunk in its enthusiastic energy to experience in the theatrical screening, indeed. I had to see it twice within a week despite the arthouse theater and my home 45 miles apart. Insanely unexpected the film got nominated for four Oscars. I also saw Irreversible and liked it - a bizarre moviegoing experience, though I wouldn't recommend it to anyone but trustworthy friends with the iron stomach. I haven't seen most of the films on the list (pity I might never see Korean films on video, damn local video shops), though I did see Lost in Translation (good but damn boring at times), Finding Nemo (good but endlessly talkactive and hyperactive) and ROTK (good but poor flow and annoying pacing). I'll check out Peter Pan - could hardly believe that film might be too dark and unconventional a la Babe Pig in the City which I absolutely loved. I love dark children's films that piss off Teletubbies-addicted parents. I HATE the pretentious movie critics in LA - Manohla Dargis in particular. Thanks for being a sane voice as a LA critic in the land of dildo-up-the-ass critics who think they're hot stuff.

  • Feb. 7, 2004, 10:33 p.m. CST

    LA Times

    by mersault

    Manohla Dargis doesn't write movie reviews, she write film criticism. Her style of establishing social context and making more critical observations than pro/con statements proves much more effective in aiding the discriminating viewer chose his or her own movies to see. And Kenneth Turan is NOT the worst film critic in America. Harry Kowles is.

  • Feb. 8, 2004, 4:10 a.m. CST

    I read Club Dread during development. Everyone thought it was ga

    by phasmatrope

    I used to intern at Fox when they were producing Club Dread, and had the chance to read it. At the time, I hadn't yet watched Super Troopers, but my awareness of it made me curious to check this out and see what the big deal with these so-called Broken Lizard guys. Man, what a waste of time. It was pure garbage, and I have no idea what inspired them to write it. It's certainly not scary enough to function as a slasher film, or funny enough to operate as a comedy. Granted, tone is hard to convey on the page, but it just failed on both counts. Every character was so one-dimensional and obnoxious I didn't care if they all died. There were no good one-liners or really funny or inspired sequences of note, except maybe the Pac-Man one. This sentiment was shared by several of the powers-that-be at my company, who boldly stated that they had no idea what the Lizard guys were thinking either and could see this film as being the one that kils their fledging careers. Which is a shame, since even though, when I finally did see Super Troopers, it certainly wasn't my favorite comedy, it was still pretty funny, with some inspired moments of mischievious lunacy. No such luck here. Alas, even despite their gut reaction, Fox continued to produce it presuming that because Super Troopers found an audience, this one would too. Oh, what an encouraging statement about all the Development Execs who really care more about filling seats than trying to give us our money's worth. What an encouraging statement about the mindset that allows filmmakers and "talent" to produce mediocre/bad projects (that normally wouldn't get their day in court) simply because they're temporarily considered "hot" and bankable. I hate Hollywood...

  • Feb. 8, 2004, 4:09 p.m. CST

    Erm, actually, for anyone who is following the LOTR Eagles thre

    by Skyway Moaters

    Gawahir's ("The Eagles of Manwe"), folk DO 'engage' the Winged Nazgul above the Morannon in battle before the gates of Mordor. Paraphrased:"...there camee [names of Eagles] stooping upon the Nazgul from the upper airs..." The Nazgul however, promptly turn tail and ride hell bent for leather toward Mt. Doom; not out of fear of the Eagles, but because Sauron at that precise instant becomes aware of Frodo when he puts on the Ring in Sammath Naur, forgets everything else, and dispatches his swiftest servants to retrieve his Precioussss...

  • Feb. 8, 2004, 6:56 p.m. CST

    MORIARTY IS WORTHLESS

    by drudgejr

    a

  • Feb. 8, 2004, 8:35 p.m. CST

    Moriarity is so damn self-serving

    by Silver Shamrock

    look at my dvd collection, click on my amazon links, read my best of 2003 list over one month too late... Hey buddy, how about serving us up some cool movie news for a change? think you can do that, big guy? I know it will never be as cool as you and your stunning lifestyle that we all envy, but goddamn it, humor us.

  • Feb. 9, 2004, 4:04 p.m. CST

    Old Boy

    by CurryIce

    Oh man i WANT to see Old Boy in the cinema but as every Korean movie i don't think that this movie is going to be released in US or in any other country...:-(

  • Feb. 9, 2004, 4:15 p.m. CST

    the eagles were so close

    by perryfarrell

    motherfuckers. three years in a row. god damn it.

  • Feb. 9, 2004, 7:21 p.m. CST

    Look at it this way, PerryFarrell

    by FluffyUnbound

    The Eagles would have lost to the Patriots anyway.

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz