Sleepy Hollow (1999)I didn't admit that I slept through parts of this movie. It was literally "Sleepy Hollow" for me. I was beginning a period of my life when I changed from loving movies — going out to the movies more than once a week — to near-complete indifference. I can barely force myself to go out to the movies 5 times a year, and I watch a movie on TV maybe once a month.
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
I hated this movie, 19 December 1999
I have in the past loved Tim Burton. I loved Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands, and even Mars Attacks. But I hate this movie. The costume drama scenes in the beginning were the sort of poorly done, stodgy things that used to plague historical drama 25 years ago. Then there were all the head-cutting scenes, which just left me cold, and that's the sort of thing that ought to mean something, I would think. Yes, there were some nice bare trees and foggy evenings and the horseman jumping out of the tree was a nice special effect, but on the whole the movie was just boring and pointless.
Dogma (1999)Ha ha. I like the way 0 out of 5 people find my review useful. On IMDB, "useful" tends to mean "liked it as much as I did."
0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
This movie is terrible!, 24 November 1999
Where are the positive reviews coming from? This movie is terrible! The acting was incredibly wooden, like an underrehearsed skit that went on for 2 hours intercut with idiotic scenes of carnage. How many times did 5 or 6 characters just sit around explaining elaborate supernatural rules to each other? That might have been funny if the script were well written and if Selma Hayek could act just a little, but it wasn't. And poor Ben Affleck, trying to act up a storm: was this supposed to be dramatic? It was just out of place and dumb. And Alanis Morrisette as God might have been funny if all the reviews hadn't revealed this plot point and if George Burns hadn't already milked the joke of an unlikely pop celebrity as God years ago. I was horribly bored at this movie and may have set a record for times I looked at my watch. Thinking a comedy should be about 90 minutes, I went nuts waiting for this ponderous two hours to end.
Being John Malkovich (1999)It's a bloggy question: Do you ever think I wish I could be inside someone else's body, so you could have sex with someone who doesn't find you physically attractive? Or have you ever wished someone you really like as a person could be inside the body of someone you find physically attractive so you would be able/willing to have sex with him/her?
Focus on Catherine Keener, 22 November 1999
Well, first of course this a very interesting and original film with lots of laughs and many memorable images. And Cameron Diaz allowed herself to look unrecognizable and homely as anything. Yay, Cameron! But let me focus on the wonderful Catherine Keener, whom I adore from "Living in Oblivion" (not to mention the Seinfeld where she paints Kramer's picture). I'm so glad she has a really popular movie to record her greatness for all posterity. The role is perfect for her: so many cutting remarks, said with a smile.
Back to the film. Interesting inquiry into sexuality: what if you love the personality but are not attracted to their body? That's the basic question, which perhaps the writer struggled with in his own life. If only I could be inside the body of someone sexually attractive (like John Malkovich!!), I could then have sex with all the people I find attractive. Actually, this may be where the story went downhill for some people and got quite dark. I can see many people had trouble with Cameron in a cage.... As well you should! If that weren't upsetting, then there'd be a problem....
Festen (1998)I used to suffer for things that people made me think were real art. Now, I protect myself. What am I missing? I blame "Festen."
3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
The Promised Profound Experience Didn't Happen to Me, 21 November 1999
I saw this movie at a university screening room after an elaborate intro by the movie's producer, who explained all about Dogma 95, which I was quite interested in and excited about. But the film seemed to be pretty much of an exercise in following their little rules, which results in a movie that left me longing for the artistry of real cinematography. The producer described the Dogmatists [as] wanting to strip away the pretensions of big expensive films, and that is something I appreciate. But I want to see the actors faces. Take a film like Crumb, really low budget, but you see everything. Celebration didn't seem to really care about its characters or story which I found incredibly trite and unbelievable. I was told I'd be profoundly moved and that people all over the world were really moved by this film, but I just did not believe in the story at all. It was quite a crude effort at writing a family story with a big secret, which reminded me a bit of Sam Shepard plays from the 70s. Big weird family with a horrible secret to be discovered. Or to go way back, Eugene O'Neill. But those family stories are so far better written than Celebration--it is just nothing as a story. And the wearing effect of the visual quality as the movie gets literally darker and grainier as it goes along reminded me of experiences I've had in bad theaters where I've had to complain about the lighting. I like the idea of stripping away pretense and making movie making possible without enlisting the approval of big companies, but I assume in the future it can be made to look better and that the writing will really count and the acting will be good. There was one fine actor in the movie, the father, who was in Bergman's Cries and Whispers, and I started thinking about Bergman, who had very beautiful cinematography: it's not something to be scorned.
American Beauty (1999)No one admits to liking this film anymore. You're supposed to hate it. Sorry. I loved it at the time, and I'm not going to censor this. The movie got overpraised, I guess — won a lot of awards — and there was backlash. Also, it had an embarrassingly badly done gay theme.
Every performance: perfect!, 24 October 1999
Well, it looks like nearly everyone truly loves this movie, and so do I.
A lot of movies that are artistic and admirable still don't really grip you all they way through, but this one did for me. When I saw it a second time, I still felt completely involved at every moment. There was always an image on screen worth looking at, even studying, for all the details of the composition: the composed squares of windows at night and camera viewfinder and so on. There was attention to this. Every performance was just perfect.
Annette Benning was hilarious and really perfect. So funny and moving even as she played the type of character who isn't usually sympathized with. You know it really does ruin the mood if the guy attempting to have sex with you is holding a beer bottle slantwise near the upholstery that you've struggled to buy and maintain. That's why Spacey sounds trite, as one commenter commented, when he rants to her about caring about things. Hey, remember that scene begins with him playing with his new toy and pleased at having bought a new car. You aren't supposed to actually buy his throwback to the sixties mentality: he's just discovered his inner teenager there. Enough has been said about Spacey.
I just want to identify the two actors I'd nominate for their supporting roles. First, Chris Cooper. The long wet closeup is a great sustained performance that feels completely real and unbearably painful. Just to think of it now gives me chills.
Second, Mena Suvari. She is absolutely perfect in this role, funny, moving. I didn't notice how great she was the first time I saw the movie, because she was such a type until toward the end, but the second time I noticed all the perfect detail in this performance. I also saw her in a TV interview: she looked nothing like the character in the movie.
Anyway, I would have said I'd like to see these four actors sweep the acting Oscars except that I'm still trying to deal with the immense awe inspired by Ving Rhames in Bringing Out the Dead.
Lolita (1962)This is the only review of an old film in the bunch. I just get a kick out of watching this movie. So rewatchable. I love it.
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
second only to "Dr. Strangelove", 7 August 1999
I saw this film when I was in college, and what I remember is walking home after the film, talking about it with my friends and suddenly bursting out crying and being unable to stop. What triggered this was the thought "he really loved her." I give credit to James Mason for that (James, sublime in the bathtub scene). These days, I watch the film again every few years, and though I've never gotten back that original reaction, I love it (with the exception of the business with the folding bed--it's just too tedious, however metaphorical). Peter Sellers ("right in the boxing glove") is constantly hilarious, the clown who drops in from time to time hardly dominates the movie as so many people say. Sue Lyon is also perfect in her role (too bad if she's older than in the book--the book has an entirely different tone). She is complex, not the innocent victim: what could be more boring than a film about an innocent victim? Shelley Winters (who is really quite attractive but willing to make herself ridiculous and gloriously annoying) could not be funnier. One of my favorite films of all time: second only to "Dr. Strangelove" among Kubrick's films. (PS. I hated "Eyes Wide Shut.")
I can see, reading my old reviews, how much I used to care about the actors. I was so interested in how they did their work. Today, I'm just not interested in actors. I don't want to look at them. They've gotten so fake. And it's not just all the plastic surgery. I wonder if I'm sorry I lost interest in movies. Maybe I'd like them if I didn't have other things I want to do with my time. And I'm so impatient. I can't commit 2 hours to sitting in the dark, in the grip of some director's sense of how much time to take telling me a story. I can't wait while an actor speaks slowly and pauses and grimaces to try to make me feel that the words of a script are actually being manufactured inside his cranium. I have thoughts of my own.