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Liberty Stand Still (2002)

Liberty Stand Still (2002)


Linda Fiorentino
Wesley Snipes

Directed by Karl Skogland

I recalled seeing Liberty Stand Still when I was much younger and I just felt it was a Phone Booth style ripoff, but instead of a Phone Booth, this time we had a hot dog stand.
The movie was not that great and I can see why many did not like it and because of the bad reviews it never made it to the theaters. It was a direct-to-video release that just lacked the needed jolt of thrill to make it worth seeing more than once.

What was majorly missing in this movie is that energetic charisma in the acting of the leads. It was like they were just comfortable having a gun pointed at them. What you will expect from someone who has a sniper rifle pointed at her and has been shut at more than once from hence rifle is not what this movie gives you.
Liberty (played by Linda Fiorentino) was fine with a rifle pointed at her and was too calm and confident. Joe (Wesley Snipes) was just annoying a character and boring a voice to be fun. His motive may have been more grounded, but the movie tried too much to be believable and failed to be enjoyable. What was lacking is the simplicity of Phone Booth.

Liberty was a gun sales person in an arranged marriage and with a nice boyfriend on the side. She is not that proud of her life as you will get to see when the movie continues to grow, but she has made peace with it.
She and her husband run a company that makes guns and they do not care whose hands the guns fall to as long as the person is willing to pay.

Joe lost his daughter to one of these guns and he wants revenge and not just revenge he wanted the world to see the danger of guns. His style of getting this done is to hold Liberty hostage and make her make his statement for him to the American public. Problem is, this movie didn’t seem to want to take the time to make that statement/argument believable. The movie was more interested in getting us sucked into the lives of the characters which at the point of viewing was very boring. The writer failed to understand what a movie twist is supposed to do.

Twists are supposed to make you go wow!!! If you are like me watching the movie with the power of skipping back, you want to skip back and see the way things were being added up to this point. If you are in the cinema, loose ends in your memory get tired up.

The twist in this movie was so pathetic and the delivery lacked enthusiasm, that even if you missed it, it not in anyway affected the movie’s outcome.

I cannot in good faith say go take a swing at Liberty Stand Still, because I rather leave the movie in the memory of movies I have seen way back when.

Phone Booth (2002)

Phone Booth (2002)


Colin Firth
Kiefer Sutherland
Forest Whitaker

Directed by Joel Schumacher

Phone Booth was one of those movies – brief, straight to the point and it has this tingly feeling that entraps you to keep you excited as you watch. As the events unfold, you ask yourself, “who will not answer a ringing phone?”
It was here I first got to see Colin Firth perform before I got the grace of seeing him on Minority Report (2002). He had my attention with the acting performance he gave in this here movie and the voice of Kiefer Sutherland is something you can never mistake anywhere.

The movie was a critical and commercial success, which when you see the movie you get to ask yourself why shouldn’t it? The movie is great, exciting and just comes at you from every possible angle.

The movie plot is about a man named Stu (Colin Firth) who is a publicist and makes it in the world by spinning lies here and there. He strings people along and makes sure in the end he is the one who gets ahead. His lies caught up with him when he made a call on a phone booth and instead of walking away, he heard the phone ring at the booth and picked it up.
On the other side of the call was a man who had all the information he needed on Stu. He knew who he was, the lies he told and his wife Kelly and his little on the side Pam.

Stu, was uneasy and wanted to get off the phone and move on, but this voice seems to have enough information to keep Stu uncomfortable but seated (standing).
The voice warned, “Stu, if you hang up, I will kill you.”

This threat was further cemented by the death of man who was trying to get Stu off the booth by force and was killed by the voice on the phone via a sniper rifle.

The cops showed up and still this movie had enough juice to keep on going as this man tells Stu he is a killer vigilante. He only goes after the people who lie and steal from others and he informs Stu of the others which Stu heard in the news were killed by a sniper.

This movie was shot in ten days, grossing $97 million worldwide, against a production budget of $13 million.
Acting on point, voice acting by Kiefer Sutherland was not just scary it was captivating and I employ you to go see this movie again if you have already. There is so much fun to be had seeing all the things that happened in this movie go down once more.

S1m0ne (2002)

S1m0ne (2002)


Al Pacino
Catherine Keener
Evan Rachel Wood
Rachel Roberts

Directed by Andrew Niccol

S1m0ne is my guilty pleasure movie that just makes me smile every time I get to see it. Al Pacino in a comedic role where he plays a character who is at the edge of losing his career and seeing an end to his movie production dream.
The movie’s power is in the drama. The movie packs the punch in the area of drama and the comedy is subtle and delivers the needed the smile when you need it. Regardless of the lack in box-office return which could have made this movie produce a sequel, I still believe this is a movie that is not getting the recognition it needed.

Focusing on a fictional breakthrough in CGI. It is set in the present time where a software developer made a powerful breakthrough. He developed a computer program which creates a CGI lady whose features are so perfect that you will mistake her for the real thing.
He took the features and characteristics of the best actress and singers and merged them to make the best face, physical features and personality. He gave this masterpiece to his favorite movie producer Viktor Taransky (Al Pacino) and that is what this movie is about.

We get to see Viktor go through the challenge of losing his leading lady in a movie that he is working on and he used this CGI to make a lady he called Simone and used her for the film. His production and acting since the CGI needs motion capture made the movie spectacular and Simone an overnight star.
Here is where the movie takes a life of its own, and Al Pacino gave a performance that can only be appreciated when you see this movie.

Seeing the world getting pulled apart by the idolatry of a woman who lives a secret life and has an all so beautiful face. Then the ability to get so engrossed in your work and lose yourself into a world of your own are the tales the movie spins and it spins it very well.

The movie is written, directed and produced by Andrew Niccol who is the real life spouse of the lady causing the chaos in this movie, Simone played by Rachel Roberts. This is her first movie role and for me she gave a great performance.
Even though the movie was tagged as lacking the punch and a believable plot, for me the movie had everything needed to be fun to watch enough drama to be captivating to see it through to the end.

The Kid Who Would Be King (2019)

The Kid Who Would Be King (2019)


Louis Ashbourne Serkis
Tom Taylor
Rebecca Ferguson
Patrick Stewart

Directed by Joe Cornish

Here is a movie I enjoyed, I think it is fun to watch, loved the adventure, the twist of a tale and the way the children are used to deliver something like a retell of King Arthur’s story.
The Kid Who Would Be King is a King Arthur tale in the modern times. Or more like Morgana did not die, came back to get revenge on England and she was stopped by some children, led by a twelve-year-old. The movie is set to be a box office bomb and I’m not surprised, all you have to do is see the movie and you too will feel the movie has been an over invested venture.

It fits a small screen delivery best (a TV Movie you catch on Disney Channel or Nickelodeon) because of the way the casts interacts with the fantasy world. These were children taking on creatures of the underworld in sword fights (after five minutes of training, mind you) and taking down Morgana when she had turned to a fiery fire creature.
All this is far fetched for anyone to take the movie seriously, but if you have children within the ages of six – twelve they will like this movie and you will not be bored while you sit beside them and watch.

We all know the tale of King Arthur, he stopped Morgana and her cohorts with his Knights and then the world was safe for a while. Centuries later Morgana is starting to get stronger and although Arthur defeated her back then, she was not killed.

Merlin is aware that she will be coming back some centuries later so he too prepared himself to be back at that time. So when this twelve-year-old was being chased by bullies and he fell and found himself in a brought down building with a sword in a stone, he pulled it out.
He took the sword home and he then met Merlin who told him he has to form a group of Knights to stop the raging doom ahead.

In the end I enjoyed the ride and I believe many would, here is a safe movie to go watch with the family. The CGI is average at best and the acting by the children led cast is good. The story needed a little work to come to par with the other movies it was competing with during its release, but the movie is well package for the small screen. I believe it will do well there and recoup enough from DVD sales, to reduced the expected loss from the box office.

Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Alita: Battle Angel (2019)


Rosa Salazar
Christoph Waltz
Jennifer Connelly
Mahershala Ali

Directed by Robert Rodriguez

My my Alita Battle Angel is captivating, interesting and very inviting a tale since the story is not new to me, but can be very difficult to follow for someone who hasn’t come across the story before.
The movie’s advantage is the action sequences. They come direct at you and many times you are left sitting in awe and cheering for the lead Alita to kick some ass. The movie’s special effects is a no hold backing masterpiece.
You will enjoy how each cyborg or android character in this future is handing its existence, how they move and how they battle. The visual meal this movie delivers is not something you can get anywhere and I advise you go get a taste after you read the below down side.

The movie’s downside is in the tale, it felt like three tales squashed together:
Tale 1: Alita is brought back to life by Ido and has to discover herself and learn to be her own person. Also, Hugo introduces her to the competitive sport of Motorball,
Tale 2: Alita and the bounty hunters (or Hunter-Warrior as they are called in this world). Who is Vector and Nova?
Tale 3: Alita becomes a player in Motorball and everyone is after her.

What makes this tale very good is the way the directing put things together, which is a slow unravel of a story that leaves you wanting more the moment the final curtain drops. Robert Rodriguez (who did the Mexico Trilogy: El Mariachi, Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico) is the man on the directing chair of the below plot.

In the future (year 2563) we are brought to the aftermath of a catastrophic war known as "The Fall." The war has turned Earth into a devastating place to be and many places are just junkyards.
A man while scouting the junkyard metropolis of Iron City, discovers a disembodied female cyborg with a fully intact human brain. His name is Dr. Dyson Ido and he is a cyborg scientist. He rebuilds the cyborg, who doesn’t have any recollections of her past, and names her "Alita" after his deceased daughter (in the manga it is after his cat).

Alita is magnificent and Ido took the time to teach her things about life. She makes friends with a young man named Hugo and starts to discover herself and the world she inhabits. Soon a key to more self discovery was handed to her when she followed Ido out.
Ido is a Hunter-Warrior, and when his life was in danger, she came to his rescue. She fought back the people after them and became a mark for the man who is running everything, Nova.

He wanted her body, and was willing to do anything to get it. While Alita is getting to know who she was as her memory is coming back to her slowly. Soon she discovers she is meant to go after Nova and stop him.

The movie is a visual masterpiece and I do hope it scales through in the box office because I will like to see the sequels penned down for this movie tale.

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)


John Hurt
Richard Burton
Suzanna Hamilton

Directed by Michael Radford

Nineteen Eighty-Four (or 1984) which awesomely was released in 1984. Is a British dystopian science fiction film, which Michael Radford wrote the screenplay and directed. It is based upon George Orwell's novel of the same name.
Before we dive into the movie plot I very much will like to appreciate the way Michael Radford adapted this movie. It is very clear after you have read the book to spot the differences and maybe not very much appreciate the way the two rebels were caught. But Radford penned it together well none the less. The conspiracy that led to the two leads being apprehended for their thought crime, is more deeper in the book than here in this movie.

The movie made a lot of grounds in the depiction of Orwell's world. The relationship shared between Smith (John Hurt) and Julia (Suzanna Hamilton) was well depicted and as we watch Smith dive into his diary writing down the doubts of the system, you are left to wonder how your system could be holding you captive.

Set in the future in the year 1984 (the book was written in 1949, and Orwell at that time was bathing a concept of a world divided into regions), the world has been divided into regions. This division led to each region going after another for dominance.
At that point most of the world population have become victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and heavy propaganda.

In order to keep the current region to which this movie is set Oceania in place, the history of the world as we know it is being re-written. The whole Oceania is under totalitarianism regime. The whole Oceania is under under constant surveillance of the Thought Police. The capital of Oceania is London, where Winston Smith works in a small office cubicle at the Ministry of Truth. His job is to rewrite history in accordance with the dictates of the Party and its supreme leader, Big Brother.

Smith’s job allowed him to see what is going on everywhere and he started to have doubts. Writing his thoughts in his diary. He noticed the attention on him from a female named Julia. Love relationships are not allowed in Oceania and somehow these two began a secret relationship in a place where they believed they could not be seen.

If you have read the book, you are already aware of how things went down, but if you have not? I advise you go see this movie to see how things unraveled.

The book introduced the term Big Brother (which has now been a big show). It also introduced the conspiracy of thought crime, Room 101 and 2 + 2 = 5. The movie opens your mind on how the world as we see it can actually be redefined. The book is very deep and I advise you give it a read.
I have not seen any other adaptation of this book, but I can assume adapting this book can be very hard and I applaud Michael Radford for his attempt.

Dogma (1999)

Dogma (1999)


Ben Affleck
Matt Damon
Linda Fiorentino

Directed by Kevin Smith

Dogma is a comedic religious movie that takes blasphemy by the tail and spins it as much as it can. The whole idea of this movie will make any religious person sick, but the concept and some of the ideas placed into the making of this movie is worth cheering.

Kevin Smith to me has not been one of the best film makers out there, in fact he would not fall into the list of my average film makers. He has found a way to make movies with the littlest of effort I might say, and for that I appreciate some of his work and loath the rest.
Dogma, for its part has a great cast all joined together to make this movie memorable. The other sad part about this movie is the way the comedy will just fail at some point. The movie has an uneven flow which is very apparent. The acting on the other hand by the cast can be said to be done by some highly committed crew.

The story is about two fallen angels who decided that they were fed up with life on Earth. The reason they are on earth is same to the reason Lucifer was casted out, the rebelled. Unlike Lucifer who took the rebellion to mean to go up against God and overthrow him, here their case is disobedience. These angels are Bartleby (Ben Affleck) and Loki (Matt Damon) eternally banished from heaven to Wisconsin for insubordination.
Both have been on the Earth for more than a millennium when they get a message, which gave them an idea of how to get back into heaven.

The biggest challenge to these angel’s plan is that by getting back into heaven they undo what God has already done. Now God is infallible, so undoing what he has done will make the entire existence non-existence. But these angels do not care, all they want is to get back into heaven.

God’s presence is unknown and therefore not on hand to stop these two from rendering existence, inexistence. In order to stop them Metatron (a seraph / the voice of God played by Alan Rickman) went to meet Bethany and told her she has the job to save the universe. Her only aid are a prophet pair of Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob(Kevin Smith).
To join their quest, they have Rufus (Chris Rock) the thirteenth Apostle and Serendipity a muse (Salma Hayek).

They must stop these angels while Azrael (Jason Lee) is against their quest. The movie has a lot of funny twist and turns which by saying them will turn this review to a spoiler. If you like crazy fantasy ideas about religion and blasphemy is not a turn off to you, this is a movie to see.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)


Jason Mewes
Kevin Smith

Directed by Kevin Smith

It has always been a thrill to see the duo of Jay and Silent Bob in the films that Kevin Smith does and have their presence administered in small doses. When the idea of having them helm their own full length film was tossed and Kevin Smith went ahead to deliver such a film I didn’t know what to expect.
I was worried that there could be something like too much Jay. Hey, Silent Bob’s presence can be overlooked because of the main idea of his persona, mostly silent through out his appearances.

In the end the movie was not half bad. I enjoyed seeing the fools (as their characters are made to be) being loose to the world without a chain on their neck to contain their foolishness. The movie can come out as harsh with the way Jay just goes about cursing and being so not in tune with how to behave. But the presence of a significant other who made him at some point consider not using some words was cool. Then the movie has an almost endless array of actors pulling off cameo appearances here and there, or playing a character themselves.

The movie is fun, as the movie does not take itself serious in any way. If you decide to throw punches at the idea of a stupid plot, it can be said that, “this was the whole point of the movie.”

The movie starts with us seeing how the duo met and we see how Jay got his foul mouth. The duo were doing what they do best hanging out and selling weed, when their day was interrupted, with a news of a movie being made.
It so happens that Miramax bought the right to a movie and they were informed that the movie to be made was that of Bluntman and Chronic. Bluntman and Chronic are a pair of characters created after them and in their likeness, the movie was being made and they were being left out of the financial benefit. They decided to go see the man behind the comic to ask for their financial cut. He informed them that he too was not getting any money from the movie as he had sold off his right to the characters to his partner. He led them to the internet where they saw a whole list of people dissing the characters Bluntman and Chronic. The duo took this personal even though they were told not to and decided to go to Hollywood and stop the movie production.

Their journey led them to a state wild chase for being terrorist. They got involved in a diamond heist (unknowingly) and just getting lost in Hollywood.
Well Kevin Smith is planning a return of this two characters and I cannot imagine what they would be up to next.