A Buncha Swords & A Bad Santa: My Fave Flix Of '03
2286 5 5.430. Daredevil (2003)
I know that alot of people panned this flick, but I found myself really liking it.
Now while I don't think it was the greatest superhero movie ever made (& watching Matt Damon's fighting scenes in the Bourne Identity series makes me think his look would've fit the Matt Murdock persona alot better that Affleck) but for me, it captured pretty well the feeling of the comicbook. Daredevil is a not a movie that I'll probably be recommending to any fellow comicbook aficiandos, but personally, I was very well entertained by it.
194 4.1 3.329. The Room (2003)
For me, The Room is the epitome of acting so SO bad, that it actually swings around to being not just good, but unforgettably classic.
It's a piece of cinematic crap-art that has been playing in theatres since it's initial release in 2003 and is still going. And the main reason for that is b'cuz it has developed a reputation as an audience-participating event.
It is now standard for movie-goers to quote or yell out responses to specific scenes,
or to even throw plastic spoons at the screen whenever a certain prop makes an appearance.
You will even spot a football being tossed back & forth from one side of the theatre to the other during certain intervals.
In other words,
it's the straight person's answer to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
And to be honest,
isn't it about time we got one?
2387 5.8 6.428. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
Just when you thought it was safe to look forward to the future.
Next thing you know, you have an unfeeling female automation stalking. Particularly, one who seems to possess a will to terminate you with a tenacity that's so relentless, you'd almost swear she was an ex-girlfriend or somethin' (...that is, a girlfriend who was impervious to restraining orders).
Personally, speaking I'm of the opinion that after a movie has been made by James Cameron, it's sequel should not be touched by any other director (with The Alien series providing as a good example).
In The Terminator "trilogy", while I believe that it's 3rd. installment didn't need to get made, it at least wasn't so bad that it completely ruined the franchise. As a stand alone sci-fi action flick, I thought it able to hold it's own. As part of the franchise, though it is nowhere near as good as the first two, & depending on one's mood during it's viewing (it can easily be regarded as forgettable), it's story at least manages to run alongside with the that of it's predecessors, without diminishing their impact of greatness in the sci-fi world. It's serves it's purpose to just be a period at the end of a really great statement.
Which, As Terminator: Salvation proved, is where the series should've ended for good.
1173 6.4 7.127. Old School (2003)
1450 7.1 7.326. Monster (2003)
I remember once hearing a movie-reviewer starting his critique of this film as "Monster is based on a true story of a woman gone sociopath."
And when I heard that sentence, I realized that, the truth is, from whatever knowledge I've been able to gather in my experiences in the dating world, most horror flicks can be said to be based on a true story.
When I recall the way some of my break-ups with previous girlsfriends went, hell, I could say that the Exorcist was based on a true story.
1341 6.8 7.425. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the Wo... (2003)
It seems like these days, if the theatres aren't full of a slew of GCI-infested blockbusters, then they're trying to cash in on a flock of usually over-top horrors and/or comedies. Or they're trying to promote their every-day down-to-earth dramas.
And even if a buncha these flicks turn out to be pretty good, I usually start to feel the urge for something outside the realm of what is currently considered the standard genres that seem to occupy the majority of today's silverscreens. As I said with Open Range, Master And Commander is one of those films that came into my life just when I really needed a good "period" movie shot into my system & deliver to my move-enjoying ass a brief respite from the same ol' same ol'.
1180 6.7 7.324. Matchstick Men (2003)
A con movie about a con-man getting conned.
Matchstick Men a decent movie that I thought had the potential to be a really great movie. Mostly because the father-daughter chemistry between Nicolaus Cage's & Alison Lohman's characters worked so well & on an emotional level, seemed to flow so naturally, that for me, it became a case of a relationship working too well. I hard time buying what eventually a happened to Nick's character to believe that he would've fell for what happened to him (I won't mention it to avoid a spoiler).
IMO, because of this, it made the jolt of the twist ending a bit too hard too swallow.
6855 7.6 8.123. Finding Nemo (2003)
As good as the story was in this Finding Nemo (and a it was a story I did like) the world of the undersea looked just so beautiful in this flick, that it felt like this Nemo's story could've used more of an extra punch, just to meet the same high level of quality in the graphics.
And if it's seems like I'm being picky with this film, it's only because I think that while it's a solid feel-good family-fare that was very good, it's one that had the potential to have been great.
3654 6.6 722. School of Rock (2003)
2248 6.6 6.921. The Italian Job (2003)
Mark Wahlberg leads a kind of an all-star cast (I say "kind of" because I don't know how much weight Seth Green and Mos Def bring to this flick in terms of star power....) in this modern version of a classic heist film.
In a nutshell I guess I would describe this movie remake as the thief-world's version of Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch racing around in custom made Mini Coopers in some really cool chase scenes. And when you think about it, how hard is it to make a movie with that kind of a description & yet not have it end up being boss?
you guessed it...
it's pretty frikkin' hard.
2130 6.5 6.320. Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)
I like this movie because it's alot like Once Upon A Time In America.
Except, instead of mobsters, it's abuncha good-looking people doing bad-ass things.
And instead of in America, it's Mexico.
Not to mention that the story's completely different & that the whole concept is a completely different genre.
126 7.2 7.619. Voices of a Distant Star (2003)
Love knows no bounds.
Even in the midst of an intergalactic war with a buncha Martians (in this case, they are particular type of Martian known as "Tarsians"),
this movie shows that as long as you've got a cell phone, a good distance carrier & a hell of alot patience,
long distance relationships can work.
And as most of us who've been stuck in a short distance relationship for awhile know,
sometimes, the idea of flyin' around in space in cool manga tech-gear & battling a buncha aliens, light years away from Earth, sounds alot like heaven.
203 5.9 6.718. Confidence (2003)
Not the greatest Con movie, but I'm a big fan of this genre & with a cast consisting of Dustin Hoffman, Ed Burns, the ever=so-beautiful Rachel Weisz, Andy Garcia, Luis Guzman & Paul Giamatti, plus a scam that kept it's characters on it's toes, it all adds up into a film that's still solid enough to warrant a place on my list.
5327 6.4 7.117. The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
482 5.2 5.816. Open Water (2003)
1569 6 6.815. Elf (2003)
214 6.4 714. The Cooler (2003)
2343 8.2 8.413. Oldboy (2003)
A hard-bitten, no-holds barred tale of revenge that bites hard & holds no bars. And while I know that sentence is doublely redundant, it seems to fit the situation as far the level of emotional ravishing that this story leads it's characters up to. Brutal it may be, it's a film that depicts it story in an operatic level & with a refreshing energy to give the film a distinct life that widely separates it from the standard vengeance theme of traditional Hollywood-fare. IMO, a great flick that is armed with a in-your-face type of plot twist & proves that the medium of the graphic novel & comicbook (of which this movie is based off) is a world full of potentially good cinema, if one is willing to shuffle passed the mainstream same old same old.
1119 6.8 7.312. The Animatrix (2003)
Many years earlier, I watched a movie called Heavy Metal. And though it lacked the technical & story skills required to make it something really worth mentioning, I did see in it a potential for an interesting anthology series whose rock'roll/sci-fi/animated integrated format was bound by neither PC rules or those that result from the kid-targeted genre.
Then came the Animatrix & showed us (well...me, at least) what that potential could look like.
7394 8.2 8.911. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Kin... (2003)
A movie about a famous fantasy novel series that I've never read. And even though, I felt a bit lost through out certain plot elements, there was enough in this thickly layered tale of wizards, faeries, hobbits & bug-eyed emo moppets to allow me to loosely fill in the blanks to make at least, an over-all blanketed sense out of the whole damn thing.
And even though this was a great series, for me, this series suffered from what I always thought the problem would be of trying to condense such a full & detailed storyline into three movies. The story left the alot areas for the viewer to fill in, certain ideas seem to almost come out of nowhere since there was almost no room to introduce them & there was quite a lack of hatable villians in these movies (Gollum seem to come closest in this trilogy). Now don't get me wrong, they're kick-ass looking villians & their concepts are great, but because so much is trying to be fit in the limited space of the running times, it doesn't feel to me like anyone one can really jump up & down when the good guys ultimately beat 'em.
However, all of that is still just a minor quibble. Seeing dragons & giant spiders come to life in the manner that they were always meant to, magic being blasted with the power to awe, & giant sword & sorcery war scenes with a sweeping & mythological epic quality that used to be incomprehensible for the cinema in earlier years make up for any sacrifice that was made in order to be able to fit all this stuff onto the silver screen.
Over-all, I was just really happy & satisfied that to finally see a series of the fantasy genre being adapted onto film with the respect & effort of the highest quality.
275 6.4 7.210. Shattered Glass (2003)
The "based-on-a-true-story" story of a journalist who, for the span of three years, made up stories for magazine hw worked for, all for the sake of his career.
After watching how his downfall came about in this film,
I've decided to come clean now & admit to all of you reading this That I also have been making up everything that I've posted on this site.
Everything I've written is all a sham.
There you go.
303 6.9 7.49. Open Range (2003)
Kevin Costner & Robert Duvall make a partnership that is the center of Open Range. Just a good solid cowboy flick that feels like a genuine modern update of the genre that has become an American classic.
I remember that when I went to go see Open Range, after watching so many films at the time, which while on average were pretty good, were still of the standard genres that seem to occupy the majority of screens in theatres these days,
So when a "period piece" like a good solid western comes into my life, it tends to feel like a good shot into my movie-viewing system,
278 7.3 7.78. In America (2002)
Is it possible to watch a tale of a family that struggles to make their dreams come true without it seeming too corny? Or to watch 'em suffer personal traumas that bind 'em with friends from completely different worlds that doesn't come off as formulaic? Or is it possible to watch a film where they try to come to terms with life's hard curveballs in a manner that will make you laugh & cry but without having to worry about embarrassingly getting a face bloated with the snotty tears of over-sentimentality?
In a word,
But only In America.
3063 7 7.77. The Last Samurai (2003)
503 7.3 7.66. Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (2003)
I had heard of Zatoichi, but never bothered looking up anything about this long-lasting character of the East. I stumbled on this DVD, & found myself enjoying it so much, that the end result was multiple viewings with no diminishment in enjoyment. The movie, just like the series of an earlier time, follows the latest adventure of a mystery traveler commonly referred to as the "blind masseuse", who in actuality is a gentle samurai warrior who's lone wolf journeys could've well been the inspiration of the Italian counter-part, "Man With No Name" of spaghetti western fame. Silent, noble & despite his blindness, the ability to see with more clarity, not just the world around him, but also the will & intentions contained within the hearts of all he encounters.
A great classic character of the Japanese tradition.
1095 6.2 7.15. Bad Santa (2003)
377 7.6 7.74. The Station Agent (2003)
3980 7.4 7.83. Lost in Translation (2003)
709 7.8 7.72. The Triplets of Belleville (2003)
Speaking as someone who has worked the majority of his life as an illustrator & cartoonist, I was surprised at how close this flick was to the specific style of drawing that got me interested in the field to begin with. Gritty yet beautifully rendered, cartoonishly exaggerated yet realistically animated. I could look at artwork like this all day.
Plus, even though it is a foreign film, it has no dialogue in it, at all. And therefore, no need for sub-titles. So if some bizarre accident occurs (heaven forbid, of course) whereby that part of your brain that's responsible for reading becomes inexplicably cancelled out, you'll still be able to watch & enjoy this flick.
6643 7.7 8.21. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
"Here comes the Bride,
all dressed in white,
dum dee dee da dum,
here comes the Bride...."
You wanna know just how bad-ass Beatrice Kiddo, the Bride really is?
At her wedding, not only does she show up looking like she's late into her trimester of pregnancy, but also at the same time, she has enough balls to wear a wedding dress that is white, the traditional color that is supposed to symbolize virginancy.
So then, the question arises,
how does one stop such an act of blatant aborition towards such an endeared long-standing nuptial tradition?
Try sending her a Bill.
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