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.: film --> 2002

2002 films

lord of the rings: the fellowship of the ring [ ***** ] one of the most intelligent screenplay adaptations I've ever seen. beautifully lavish visuals. I'll see it again, and possibly get it on dvd. almost perfect.

the royal tenenbaums [ ***** ] a perfect film. great script and unbelievable acting. inventive, sad, sweet, and hilarious with Dickensian characterizations. I'll see it again.

gosford park [ ****- ] not much of a mystery, but a perfect comedy of manners. poor editing renders at least one of the storylines incomprehensible, but this film is far superior to most films anyway. it's a real pleasure to see so many great actresses together; women really are the engine of this film. maggie smith is a special gem.

the man who wasn't there [ ****- ] stylish with wonderful performances, but not particularly affecting emotionally. recommended.

mulholland drive [ ****- ] has anyone understood this film while they're watching it? if I have it figured out (I believe the salon explanation is close, but not quite right), lynch has a profound understanding of the human heart. or maybe it's best understood as a TV pilot with an added ending. unsettling.

panic room [ *---- ] I haven't seen a bad movie in a long time. panic room is, alas, a bad film. after half an hour I knew it would be bad; after an hour I actually wanted to leave. despite some neat shots and short, suspenseful set pieces, this movie most resembles a predictable horror film where the monsters--rather than the victims--are stupid.

spider man [ ***** ] look, I'm a naif, I'm not a comic guy. but I loved this film. a good script that is true to its origins. I completely believed that these were high-school kids, and that peter parker was the geekiest kid in school, even after he became infected with his super-powers. no one has ever been more in love than peter parker is in this movie--in fact every aspect of tobey maguire's performance is touching and believable--and kirstin dunst isn't far behind.

star wars: attack of the clones [ **1/2-- ] strictly for the sets and costumes (which are 5-star--but sets and costumes do not a movie make). could they have picked a worse actor to play anakin skywalker? unfortunately, natalie portman is only marginally better. since the story centers around their love story, this is bad news. though the plot is a little byzantine and hard to follow, with a nuanced anakin, this film would have worked. as it was, it is a film of gorgeous visuals, interesting special effects, lots and lots of action scenes...and no emotional center whatever.

insomnia [ ****1/2 ] great script, great acting, great direction. another noir from the director of memento. highly recommended.

minority report [ ****- ] gritty and suspenseful, this is a classic suspense piece set the day after tomorrow. minority report succeeds at most of what it sets out to do. there is only one spielberg-esque scene, and it's almost not noticable. the ending is flat--disconnected from the main story arc, but that's the fault of the script, not the direction. visually brilliant--definitely worth seeing on a big screen. misnamed.

reign of fire [ **1/2-- ] a terrific premise translated poorly at the script level. with consistent dragon behavior and consistent human response, this film could have been solid entertainment. great effects, worth seeing on a big screen.

the bourne identity [ ****- ] good, solid suspense thriller. modest aims successfully realized. recommended.

signs [ ***-- ] dis-integrated. the human story mostly works, but the frame is little more than a device. don't think too hard about the aliens. good set pieces and nice humor. a promising step in Shyamalan's growth.

s1m0ne [ **--- ] instead of satire or commentary on our mediated world, niccol turned his premise into a pleasant piece of fluff. pacino, keener, and wood make a very nice, functional family--I'd like to see more of these onscreen.

my big fat greek wedding [ ****- ] predictable, warm, and funny. for me, it's the understated little moments that make this film.

baraka [ ***** ] I don't agree with commentary that claims this film is environmental. I think it is a meditation about the varieties of human experience, the meaning of human life, and our desire to connect with the infinite. beautiful, thought-provoking, moving. very highly recommended.

visions of light [ ***-- ] I guess I should have known this would be little more than a paean to cinematography. for some reason, I thought it might be more instructional, really showing how light works on film, so I was disappointed.

lawrence of arabia [ ***** ] war is madness, politics never change, and innocence alone is no match for the world.

spirited away [ ***1/2- ] odd, lovely film about a young girl overcoming her own fears that will probably scare the pants off younger/more timid children. highly imaginative, with animation that reminded me of maurice sendak. beautiful with a persistent melancholy. I can't quite figure out why it has been getting such high ratings.

harry potter and the chamber of secrets [ ***1/2- ] fun, fun, fun. a little awkward in trying to include everyone's favorite scenes, but definitely worth seeing if you love harry potter and his world.

star trek: nemesis [ ***-- ] I wish someone had paid more attention to the first 30 minutes of the film, but nevertheless there are some things in this film I haven't seen in any other star trek film, and I like it for that. nice closure for many of the characters. maybe not too satisfying to non-fans or extreme fans, but if you're a casual fan I think you'll enjoy the film.

lord of the rings: the two towers [ ****1/2 ] this is probably the hardest of the three films to pull off--it's the middle of the story, with no real beginning or end. but it's an outstanding rendition, with changes from the book that makes sense, and changes that don't make as much sense. aragorn is still dreamy.

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when I was young
2001 minreviews

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