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Movie Reviews[edit]

National Treasure
Rating: Pretty good.
Review: While the premise of a treasure map in the Declaration of Independance sounds like a hokey premise, the characters feel the exact same thing. The plot is driven by the characters trying to prove the idea to themelves. While you might expect a good hour to be wasted on discovering there's a treasure to be found, instead the premise is immediately given, as we already know it from the previews and know what to expect. The plot rolls along quickly from there, with one suspenseful monent after the next, much like Conspiracy Theory or Enemy of the State, only this time it's a little more believable. Granted, there are several moments where suspension of disbelief is necessary, but within the realm of treasure hunter movies it all works without being too over the top. Despite the action and suspense, it's surprisingly family friendly, with no swearing or real violence.

There were some areas I questioned. The explanation of the Knights Templar seemed to make them out as a flawless, noble organization, when they were probably seen as a rebellious sect at the time. Knight is simply a title, and I doubt they used full armor and swords to fit our common view of a knight. The coincidences and "just happened to be" moments are also quite a stretch in believability, but are needed to carry the plot forward. If I planned to give someone a coin dipped in luminescent material in hopes that a few days later I could see their fingerprints on a keyboard somewhere in the building she worked at, and she just happened to pay this coin no attention at all, then my daring James Bond moment would be over. Then there's the Freemason clues left behind, which require the discoverer to follow exactly. One missed step, such as not even finding the lone pipe that happened to be left in a ship somewhere in the North Pole, would leave the entire plan for naught. What if the original captain lost the pipe or had it stolen? What if the ship wasn't so fortunate to be buried in a mere two feet of snow? As much as I appreciate meticulous planning and labyrinthian clues that I expect only the most clever to follow, I know that most people don't. They miss a step, or someone accidentally finds a clue and messes with it, or over the course of time it gets demolished by a construction company. So no, I don't believe one clue could simply lead to another. There would have to be a network of criss-crossing clues with a high level of redundant information and finger pointing. But never mind.

The Ladykillers
Rating: Awful. But multi-layered.
Review: The movie title and cover pic are misleading. One would expect a movie called "The Ladykillers" to be either about a group of men who go from house to house in order to charm multiple women out of their money, or a group of immoral men who kill women. Since Tom Hanks is in it, you'd expect it to be the former concept. It's actually somewhere inbetween.

Perhaps the words "Dark Comedy" should be placed on the box somewhere. I know it's not the most subtle approach, and it undermines the intelligence of the public to state the movie's genre so blatantly, but really, it's not that obvious at first glance what type of movie this is. But say you are in a particularly cynical mood and decide to watch it. You have Tom Hanks, who plays the part of "unlikeable pretentious mastermind who tries to sound intelligent and charming without biting his own tongue," and he plays it well enough, except for the heavy southern accent he forces on to every last word, which occasionally gets tongue tied with his normal Tom Hanks voice. Next, you have the group. Members of a group always need to be unique in order to show their independant personalities, and this exactly what happens, on a jarring yet delightfully quirky level. Since this is the deep south, you'd expect this to be a period piece set fifty years ago, until enough modern day references make it clear that this is at least the 90's, and times haven't changed. So you have the conflicting moods of southern comfort and modern bluntness, which would both work as seperate movies each focusing on those seperate moods. Instead, you have something like Snatch meets Random Southern Chick or Family Flick, which is again, jarring. This is the constant theme, strength, and flaw of this movie. It, like its villanous characters, are unlikeable yet awkwardly interesting. What I enjoyed more was looking back on the challenge these characters faced, which was nothing more than an old religious lady and her house. There was no real antagonist to these characters, but there was a definite "Man vs idea" challenge that is rarely seen in modern movies, which I found refreshing.