ED WOOD (****1/2)-a great, great movie by great, great director, with great, great actors about a terrible, terrible filmmaker named Edward D. Wood Junior. You may remember Ed as being the man who wrote, directed, and produced such film classics as "Glen or Glenda" and "Plan Nine from Outer Space". He has been called the worst director of all time. "Ed Wood" is a quasi-documentary made by Tim Burton (one of my personal favorites) which chronicles a short period of Mr. Wood's life. The cast includes such talents as Johnny Depp, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bill Murray, and (most notably) Martain Landau in an unbelievablely convincing role as the late horror-film star Bela Lugosi. I don't know if he won any awards or anything for this performance, but he should have. It was fantastic. What I like best about this movie is that, although it's a comedy, and although it's about "the worst film director ever", it's still relativley touching and inspiring. Call me mushy, call me sappy, call me what you will, but I thought it was pretty neat the way he was so optomistic even in the face of so much failure. Sure, he made terrible movies. Sure, no one would give him any money. Sure, he dressed in women's clothing and his girlfriend left him and his best friend died. But he didn't let it get him down. He just kept on going, kept on making those bad movies. It was his passion, I guess, and there's something to be said for that. I'm not sure how accurate this film was in portraying the way Ed Wood and the various people in his life actually behaved, but it sure made a good film. I would definatley suggest it. It's especially neat (in the same way "Shadow of the Vampire" was if you had seen "Nosferatu") if you have seen "Plan Nine From Outer Space" or "Glen or Glenda". A lot of scences from "Ed Wood" include aspects of those movies, and it's really cool to say, "Wow, that was actually in Plan Nine!". That's what all the cool kids do. yeah. See this movie. My only complaint is that it was a bit long, I thought. And some other stuff that I can't remember right now. See it anyway.
8 WOMEN (****1/2)- 8 Women is perhaps the most enjoyable movie I have seen this year. It is rare that a film goes this far out of its way to simply be lighthearted and fun, and even more rare that it works this successfully. Even just the premise of 8 Women makes me smile: Itís a French musical that revolves around eight women trying to solve an Agatha Christy-style murder mystery. Now Iíll admit I had some reservations about going to see a musical, since Iím not usually a fan of such things (especially not on film), but I must say that my fears were laid to rest by the time the first song was only half way through. Itís an upbeat little ditty entitled ďPapa tíes plus dans lícoupĒÖ imagine a French-style surf song, sung by Virginie Ledoyen and Ludivine Sagnier (two of the most charming women on the entire continent of Europe, if you ask my opinion) involving goofy choreography and brightly colored sweaters. You gotta love it (and I do mean gotta!).
If the song and dance routines were the only good part about this movie it would still be worth going, but luckily 8 Women has a lot more to it. The characters are complex and realistic (I know this sounds weird since itís a musical, but just trust me), and the plot is certainly not as simple as it first appears. As more and more clues come to the limelight we realize that each of the women has something to hide, and will more than likely lie and cheat to protect themselves. Itís a movie thatís not afraid to let its characters evolve, which I liked, and itís a movie that doesnít underestimate the intelligence of its viewer while still staying light and enjoyable, which I liked even more. Itís been a long time since Iíve had this much fun going to the movies. Check it out.
EMPIRE RECORDS (**)- I suppose I have to give this movie some credit for having a good sound track, and Liv Tyler, but still... not my favorite. The acting was pretty bad, and so was the story. It tried too hard to be funny, and dramatic at the same time. If you liked The Breakfast Club, this movie should appeal to you. Otherwise, stay away.
EYES WIDE SHUT (**)-it is quite evident that this movie was made in the last dying months of Stanely Kubrick's life. To call the pace of the movie "slow" would be such an understatment I think I would have to cut out my own tounge as to keep me from ever making such a comment again. There is a minumum of at least 20 seconds between every line, as if the actors were either suffering from extreme fatigue, or on some kind of crazy drug, and for no apparent reason. I guess it's artsy, or something, but it just gets annoying. Also, preactically nothing at all happens in the movie. Tom Cruise goes to this crazy party where everyone dresses up and has sex, and then he wanders around this city for awhile. I don't mean to diss Stanley Kubrick, because the guy is an amazing director, but this movie sucked hose water. It's also really long, probably becase everyone talks so slowly. The best part is when Tom Cruise goes into this hotel and talks to this gay guy at the front desk. The gay guy is the same guy who played Boris in "Goldeneye" (the guy who always says, "I am invincible!") but you wouldn't know it at all to watch him in this movie. He's a really good actor. Anyway, I strongly suggest that you don't watch this movie. Get "A Clockwork Orange" instead, if you're a fan of Kubrick.