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"Lucas reminds us that he IS a filmmaker"

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 15 September 2009 03:56 (A review of Star Wars - Episode III, Revenge of the Sith)

by Dane Youssef


It's all over. The saga is complete. Lucas has come full-circle and so has the universe and it's inhabitants.


After "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones," Lucas had been accused to selling out on his creation and one of the greatest serial-movies of all time.


He had lost the way. Lost his voice. He had become the worst thing an artist can be... a businessman. With all the technology and control in the world... he had become lazy.


Unmotivated.


Even unimaginative.


Being branded just another "businessman" is the worst thing that can happen to an artist.


At times, the movie feels unnatural and at times, I would call this one of the best thing Lucas has ever done.


But this is truly a movie not to be missed.


Ever since I was a little boy, when I first saw Darth Vader, I asked myself, "Is he supposed to be a robot? An alien? Why does he wear that strange suit? It's probably just to make him look scary." For those who've all wondered the same, Episode III answers that and a lot of others. And you will never look at "Star Wars" the same way again.


George Lucas seems to be trying to make amends for his later and lesser films, and I for one, think he succeeds wholly here.


Lucas totally the gamut totally here and shows the world (just like he did in THX 1138 and American Graffiti) that he is a force to reckoned with, even feared. The force is not merely with him, he is controlling it here.


Of course, throughout his whole career and even now, poor Georgie boy has never been able to write so much as a line of realistic dialouge.


But I forgive him. Don't we all? When it comes to the creative writing process, there are two schools of thought and different ways to go: Those who conjure up great, thrilling worlds (like Mr. Roald Dahl) and those who capture the sparkiling art of conversation (Kevin Smith).


The two just don't ordinarily mesh together very well. They just mix like oil and vomit. And Lucas is a dreamer, so we can understand him wanting to do it his way.


I don't like to give things away in movies, but really, what's to give away? EVERYONE who has seen "Star Wars" and anyone who's seen any of the first three released chapters knows EVERYTHING COMING.


We know that Anikan will convert to the dark side and become Darth Vader. We know that the traitor in the midst is Chancellor Palpatine, who will become the Emperor. And that Padme will bore Luke and Leia. Even in Episode IV, Darth Vader tells us how a showdown between him and Obi-Wan turns out.


But to see how it all came to be is just plain shocking and even a little disturbing. There is such cruelty and sadness in this chapter. Haven't we all grown up laughing and smiling and looking to "Star Wars" for fun and upbeat cheer? "Star Wars" has always stood for escapist fantasy.


His movies are about visual worlds and dreams, not sparkling, chatty conversation. Lucas pretty much does it all here, so he exposes all his talents and faults clearly. But he is truly a dreamer. Perhaps Lucas wanted to do it all so he could see (and the whole world could as well) just how good he truly is and what good he's at.


I truly believe that if Lucas wasn't a filmmaker, Lucas would be that older guy sitting around the campfire telling stories. Old, long forgotten legends of ancient lore and spinning some new ones. Lucas is a dreamer, a homage-payer in his movies.


The battles are so amazing, we can forgive everything Lucas has done wrong in his career so far.


He creates beautiful galaxies and worlds, especially the planet Mustafar. Another moment comes in a showdown between one of the great Jedi masters and the great Sith masters.


Perhaps one of the problems was Lucas has all but done away completely with sets. All of his movies since 1999 are filmed in front of green-screens (or are they called "green-rooms"? I forget).


You can finally see why Lucas has abandoned real sets and muppets and locations in favor on green-screens. Finally, after all this time... you've never seen a movie like this! The first-class FX are all seamless. I know that this is all a movie... all actors, sets and props... but Lucas made me forget.


Christensen and Portman feel more natural here than they did in "Clones." Probably because their lines here are only half as awkward. And the movie doesn't gloss too much over cheap "romance" scenes. Lucas and his team have NEVER excelled there.


Well actually, the dynasty between Han and Leia was worth it's weight in gold. Han and Leia. Hell, Luke and Yoda. But Lucas attempts to handle all of the production of this one (and the earlier two) himself.


Some artists are talented and blessed enough to be able to just go into a movie and single-handedly make a masterpiece. Some artists do their best as soloists. (Orson Welles, Edward Burns, Woody Allen, Albert Brooks, etc).


Others just... need a helping hand.


When Padme' tells Anikan she is pregnant from what they've been doing together (see "Episode II." Or rather DON'T), Anikan seems like this'll get in the way of his becoming a true Jedi knight.


Lucas has problems directing dramatic scenes and even more writing them. As for love scenes, Good Lord, he sure as hell can't write them. But a moment where Padme' expresses her pain at where Anikan is headed and we see his reaction....


The ending is so sad, so heartbreaking. We have to remember that this is only Episode III of VI.


The average American household (or any other country in the world) has Episodes IV-VI waiting for them at home. After Episode III, IV would be good to wash away this downbeat feeling.


"Star Wars" has always been a hallmark of childhood fantasy, but in this entry, everyone does a lot of growing-up. You'd think all this reality and contemporary sadness would ruin the memory of "Star Wars."


But no. It doesn't ruin "Star Wars." As a matter of fact, it deepens it.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by every "Star Wars" fan.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by every movie fan.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by everyone.


Why are you even still reading this? See it NOW.


--For A Boy Named Anikan, Dane Youssef



danessf@yahoo.com

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"Lucas reminds us that he IS a filmmaker"

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 15 September 2009 03:56 (A review of Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (Darth Vader variant sleeve) 2 disc edition )

by Dane Youssef


It's all over. The saga is complete. Lucas has come full-circle and so has the universe and it's inhabitants.


After "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones," Lucas had been accused to selling out on his creation and one of the greatest serial-movies of all time.


He had lost the way. Lost his voice. He had become the worst thing an artist can be... a businessman. With all the technology and control in the world... he had become lazy. Unmotivated. Even unimaginative.


Being branded just another "businessman" is the worst thing that can happen to an artist.


At times, the movie feels unnatural and at times, I would call this one of the best thing Lucas has ever done.


But this is truly a movie not to be missed.


Ever since I was a little boy, when I first saw Darth Vader, I asked myself, "Is he supposed to be a robot? An alien? Why does he wear that strange suit? It's probably just to make him look scary." For those who've all wondered the same, Episode III answers that and a lot of others. And you will never look at "Star Wars" the same way again.


George Lucas seems to be trying to make amends for his later and lesser films, and I for one, think he succeeds wholly here.


Lucas totally the gamut totally here and shows the world (just like he did in THX 1138 and American Graffiti) that he is a force to reckoned with, even feared. The force is not merely with him, he is controlling it here.


Of course, throughout his whole career and even now, poor Georgie boy has never been able to write so much as a line of realistic dialouge.


But I forgive him. Don't we all? When it comes to the creative writing process, there are two schools of thought and different ways to go.


those who conjure up great, thrilling worlds (like Mr. Roald Dahl) and those who capture the sparkiling art of conversation (Kevin Smith).


The two just don't ordinarily mesh together very well. They just mix like oil and vomit. And Lucas is a dreamer, so we can understand him wanting to do it his way.


I don't like to give things away in movies, but really, what's to give away? EVERYONE who has seen "Star Wars" and anyone who's seen any of the first three released chapters knows EVERYTHING COMING.


We know that Anikan will convert to the dark side and become Darth Vader. We know that the traitor in the midst is Chancellor Palpatine, who will become the Emperor. And that Padme will bore Luke and Leia. Even in Episode IV, Darth Vader tells us how a showdown between him and Obi-Wan turns out.


But to see how it all came to be is just plain shocking and even a little disturbing. There is such cruelty and sadness in this chapter. Haven't we all grown up laughing and smiling and looking to "Star Wars" for fun and upbeat cheer? "Star Wars" has always stood for escapist fantasy.


His movies are about visual worlds and dreams, not sparkling, chatty conversation. Lucas pretty much does it all here, so he exposes all his talents and faults clearly. But he is truly a dreamer. Perhaps Lucas wanted to do it all so he could see (and the whole world could as well) just how good he truly is and what good he's at.


I truly believe that if Lucas wasn't a filmmaker, Lucas would be that older guy sitting around the campfire telling stories. Old, long forgotten legends of ancient lore and spinning some new ones. Lucas is a dreamer, a homage-payer in his movies.


The battles are so amazing, we can forgive everything Lucas has done wrong in his career so far.


He creates beautiful galaxies and worlds, especially the planet Mustafar. Another moment comes in a showdown between one of the great Jedi masters and the great Sith masters.


Perhaps one of the problems was Lucas has all but done away completely with sets. All of his movies since 1999 are filmed in front of green-screens (or are they called "green-rooms"? I forget).


You can finally see why Lucas has abandoned real sets and muppets and locations in favor on green-screens. Finally, after all this time... you've never seen a movie like this! The first-class FX are all seamless. I know that this is all a movie... all actors, sets and props... but Lucas made me forget.


Christensen and Portman feel more natural here than they did in "Clones." Probably because their lines here are only half as awkward. And the movie doesn't gloss too much over cheap "romance" scenes. Lucas and his team have NEVER excelled there.


Well actually, the dynasty between Han and Leia was worth it's weight in gold. Han and Leia. Hell, Luke and Yoda. But Lucas attempts to handle all of the production of this one (and the earlier two) himself.


Some artists are talented and blessed enough to be able to just go into a movie and single-handedly make a masterpiece. Some artists do their best as soloists. (Orson Welles, Edward Burns, Woody Allen, Albert Brooks, etc).


Others just... need a helping hand.


When Padme' tells Anikan she is pregnant from what they've been doing together (see "Episode II." Or rather DON'T), Anikan seems like this'll get in the way of his becoming a true Jedi knight.


Lucas has problems directing dramatic scenes and even more writing them. As for love scenes, Good Lord, he sure as hell can't write them. But a moment where Padme' expresses her pain at where Anikan is headed and we see his reaction....


The ending is so sad, so heartbreaking. We have to remember that this is only Episode III of VI.


The average American household (or any other country in the world) has Episodes IV-VI waiting for them at home. After Episode III, IV would be good to wash away this downbeat feeling.


"Star Wars" has always been a hallmark of childhood fantasy, but in this entry, everyone does a lot of growing-up. You'd think all this reality and contemporary sadness would ruin the memory of "Star Wars."


But no. It doesn't ruin "Star Wars." As a matter of fact, it deepens it.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by every "Star Wars" fan.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by every movie fan.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by everyone.


Why are you even still reading this? See it NOW.


--For A Boy Named Anikan, Dane Youssef




danessf@yahoo.com

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"Lucas reminds us that he IS a filmmaker"

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 15 September 2009 03:55 (A review of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith)

by Dane Youssef


It's all over. The saga is complete. Lucas has come full-circle and so has the universe and it's inhabitants.


After "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones," Lucas had been accused to selling out on his creation and one of the greatest serial-movies of all time.


He had lost the way. Lost his voice. He had become the worst thing an artist can be... a businessman. With all the technology and control in the world... he had become lazy. Unmotivated. Even unimaginative.


Being branded just another "businessman" is the worst thing that can happen to an artist.


At times, the movie feels unnatural and at times, I would call this one of the best thing Lucas has ever done.


But this is truly a movie not to be missed.


Ever since I was a little boy, when I first saw Darth Vader, I asked myself, "Is he supposed to be a robot? An alien? Why does he wear that strange suit? It's probably just to make him look scary." For those who've all wondered the same, Episode III answers that and a lot of others. And you will never look at "Star Wars" the same way again.


George Lucas seems to be trying to make amends for his later and lesser films, and I for one, think he succeeds wholly here.


Lucas totally the gamut totally here and shows the world (just like he did in THX 1138 and American Graffiti) that he is a force to reckoned with, even feared. The force is not merely with him, he is controlling it here.


Of course, throughout his whole career and even now, poor Georgie boy has never been able to write so much as a line of realistic dialouge.


But I forgive him. Don't we all? When it comes to the creative writing process, there are two schools of thought and different ways to go.


those who conjure up great, thrilling worlds (like Mr. Roald Dahl) and those who capture the sparkiling art of conversation (Kevin Smith).


The two just don't ordinarily mesh together very well. They just mix like oil and vomit. And Lucas is a dreamer, so we can understand him wanting to do it his way.


I don't like to give things away in movies, but really, what's to give away? EVERYONE who has seen "Star Wars" and anyone who's seen any of the first three released chapters knows EVERYTHING COMING.


We know that Anikan will convert to the dark side and become Darth Vader. We know that the traitor in the midst is Chancellor Palpatine, who will become the Emperor. And that Padme will bore Luke and Leia. Even in Episode IV, Darth Vader tells us how a showdown between him and Obi-Wan turns out.


But to see how it all came to be is just plain shocking and even a little disturbing. There is such cruelty and sadness in this chapter. Haven't we all grown up laughing and smiling and looking to "Star Wars" for fun and upbeat cheer? "Star Wars" has always stood for escapist fantasy.


His movies are about visual worlds and dreams, not sparkling, chatty conversation. Lucas pretty much does it all here, so he exposes all his talents and faults clearly. But he is truly a dreamer. Perhaps Lucas wanted to do it all so he could see (and the whole world could as well) just how good he truly is and what good he's at.


I truly believe that if Lucas wasn't a filmmaker, Lucas would be that older guy sitting around the campfire telling stories. Old, long forgotten legends of ancient lore and spinning some new ones. Lucas is a dreamer, a homage-payer in his movies.


The battles are so amazing, we can forgive everything Lucas has done wrong in his career so far.


He creates beautiful galaxies and worlds, especially the planet Mustafar. Another moment comes in a showdown between one of the great Jedi masters and the great Sith masters.


Perhaps one of the problems was Lucas has all but done away completely with sets. All of his movies since 1999 are filmed in front of green-screens (or are they called "green-rooms"? I forget).


You can finally see why Lucas has abandoned real sets and muppets and locations in favor on green-screens. Finally, after all this time... you've never seen a movie like this! The first-class FX are all seamless. I know that this is all a movie... all actors, sets and special FX. But there are times when we're supposed to forget that.


Christensen and Portman feel more natural here than they did in "Clones." Probably because their lines here are only half as awkward. And the movie doesn't gloss too much over cheap "romance" scenes. Lucas and his team have NEVER excelled there.


Well actually, the dynasty between Han and Leia was worth it's weight in gold. Han and Leia. Hell, Luke and Yoda. But Lucas attempts to handle all of the production of this one (and the earlier two) himself.


Some artists are talented and blessed enough to be able to just go into a movie and single-handedly make a masterpiece. Some artists do their best as soloists. (Orson Welles, Edward Burns, Woody Allen, Albert Brooks, etc).


Others just... need a helping hand.


When Padme' tells Anikan she is pregnant from what they've been doing together (see "Episode II." Or rather DON'T), Anikan seems like this'll get in the way of his becoming a true Jedi knight.


Lucas has problems directing dramatic scenes and even more writing them. As for love scenes, Good Lord, he sure as hell can't write them. But a moment where Padme' expresses her pain at where Anikan is headed and we see his reaction....


The ending is so sad, so heartbreaking. We have to remember that this is only Episode III of VI.


The average American household (or any other country in the world) has Episodes IV-VI waiting for them at home. After Episode III, IV would be good to wash away this downbeat feeling.


"Star Wars" has always been a hallmark of childhood fantasy, but in this entry, everyone does a lot of growing-up. You'd think all this reality and contemporary sadness would ruin the memory of "Star Wars."


But no. It doesn't ruin "Star Wars." As a matter of fact, it deepens it.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by every "Star Wars" fan.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by every movie fan.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by everyone.


Why are you even still reading this? See it NOW.


--For A Boy Named Anikan, Dane Youssef



danessf@yahoo.com

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"Lucas reminds us that he IS a filmmaker"

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 15 September 2009 03:54 (A review of Star Wars - Episode III, Revenge of the Sith (Widescreen Edition))

by Dane Youssef


It's all over. The saga is complete. Lucas has come full-circle and so has the universe and it's inhabitants.


After "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones," Lucas had been accused to selling out on his creation and one of the greatest serial-movies of all time.


He had lost the way. Lost his voice. He had become the worst thing an artist can be... a businessman. With all the technology and control in the world... he had become lazy. Unmotivated. Even unimaginative.


Being branded just another "businessman" is the worst thing that can happen to an artist.


At times, the movie feels unnatural and at times, I would call this one of the best thing Lucas has ever done.


But this is truly a movie not to be missed.


Ever since I was a little boy, when I first saw Darth Vader, I asked myself, "Is he supposed to be a robot? An alien? Why does he wear that strange suit? It's probably just to make him look scary." For those who've all wondered the same, Episode III answers that and a lot of others. And you will never look at "Star Wars" the same way again.


George Lucas seems to be trying to make amends for his later and lesser films, and I for one, think he succeeds wholly here.


Lucas totally the gamut totally here and shows the world (just like he did in THX 1138 and American Graffiti) that he is a force to reckoned with, even feared. The force is not merely with him, he is controlling it here.


Of course, throughout his whole career and even now, poor Georgie boy has never been able to write so much as a line of realistic dialouge.


But I forgive him. Don't we all? When it comes to the creative writing process, there are two schools of thought and different ways to go.


those who conjure up great, thrilling worlds (like Mr. Roald Dahl) and those who capture the sparkiling art of conversation (Kevin Smith).


The two just don't ordinarily mesh together very well. They just mix like oil and vomit. And Lucas is a dreamer, so we can understand him wanting to do it his way.


I don't like to give things away in movies, but really, what's to give away? EVERYONE who has seen "Star Wars" and anyone who's seen any of the first three released chapters knows EVERYTHING COMING.


We know that Anikan will convert to the dark side and become Darth Vader. We know that the traitor in the midst is Chancellor Palpatine, who will become the Emperor. And that Padme will bore Luke and Leia. Even in Episode IV, Darth Vader tells us how a showdown between him and Obi-Wan turns out.


But to see how it all came to be is just plain shocking and even a little disturbing. There is such cruelty and sadness in this chapter. Haven't we all grown up laughing and smiling and looking to "Star Wars" for fun and upbeat cheer? "Star Wars" has always stood for escapist fantasy.


His movies are about visual worlds and dreams, not sparkling, chatty conversation. Lucas pretty much does it all here, so he exposes all his talents and faults clearly. But he is truly a dreamer. Perhaps Lucas wanted to do it all so he could see (and the whole world could as well) just how good he truly is and what good he's at.


I truly believe that if Lucas wasn't a filmmaker, Lucas would be that older guy sitting around the campfire telling stories. Old, long forgotten legends of ancient lore and spinning some new ones. Lucas is a dreamer, a homage-payer in his movies.


The battles are so amazing, we can forgive everything Lucas has done wrong in his career so far.


He creates beautiful galaxies and worlds, especially the planet Mustafar. Another moment comes in a showdown between one of the great Jedi masters and the great Sith masters.


Perhaps one of the problems was Lucas has all but done away completely with sets. All of his movies since 1999 are filmed in front of green-screens (or are they called "green-rooms"? I forget).


You can finally see why Lucas has abandoned real sets and muppets and locations in favor on green-screens. Finally, after all this time... you've never seen a movie like this! The first-class FX are all seamless. I know that this is all a movie... all actors, sets and props... but Lucas made me forget.


Christensen and Portman feel more natural here than they did in "Clones." Probably because their lines here are only half as awkward. And the movie doesn't gloss too much over cheap "romance" scenes. Lucas and his team have NEVER excelled there.


Well actually, the dynasty between Han and Leia was worth it's weight in gold. Han and Leia. Hell, Luke and Yoda. But Lucas attempts to handle all of the production of this one (and the earlier two) himself.


Some artists are talented and blessed enough to be able to just go into a movie and single-handedly make a masterpiece. Some artists do their best as soloists. (Orson Welles, Edward Burns, Woody Allen, Albert Brooks, etc).


Others just... need a helping hand.


When Padme' tells Anikan she is pregnant from what they've been doing together (see "Episode II." Or rather DON'T), Anikan seems like this'll get in the way of his becoming a true Jedi knight.


Lucas has problems directing dramatic scenes and even more writing them. As for love scenes, Good Lord, he sure as hell can't write them. But a moment where Padme' expresses her pain at where Anikan is headed and we see his reaction....


The ending is so sad, so heartbreaking. We have to remember that this is only Episode III of VI.


The average American household (or any other country in the world) has Episodes IV-VI waiting for them at home. After Episode III, IV would be good to wash away this downbeat feeling.


"Star Wars" has always been a hallmark of childhood fantasy, but in this entry, everyone does a lot of growing-up. You'd think all this reality and contemporary sadness would ruin the memory of "Star Wars."


But no. It doesn't ruin "Star Wars." As a matter of fact, it deepens it.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by every "Star Wars" fan.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by every movie fan.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by everyone.


Why are you even still reading this? See it NOW.


--For A Boy Named Anikan, Dane Youssef



danessf@yahoo.com

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"Lucas reminds us that he IS a filmmaker"

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 15 September 2009 03:53 (A review of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (Widescreen Edition))

by Dane Youssef


It's all over. The saga is complete. Lucas has come full-circle and so has the universe and it's inhabitants.


After "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones," Lucas had been accused to selling out on his creation and one of the greatest serial-movies of all time.


He had lost the way. Lost his voice. He had become the worst thing an artist can be... a businessman. With all the technology and control in the world... he had become lazy. Unmotivated. Even unimaginative.


Being branded just another "businessman" is the worst thing that can happen to an artist.


At times, the movie feels unnatural and at times, I would call this one of the best thing Lucas has ever done.


But this is truly a movie not to be missed.


Ever since I was a little boy, when I first saw Darth Vader, I asked myself, "Is he supposed to be a robot? An alien? Why does he wear that strange suit? It's probably just to make him look scary." For those who've all wondered the same, Episode III answers that and a lot of others. And you will never look at "Star Wars" the same way again.


George Lucas seems to be trying to make amends for his later and lesser films, and I for one, think he succeeds wholly here.


Lucas totally the gamut totally here and shows the world (just like he did in THX 1138 and American Graffiti) that he is a force to reckoned with, even feared. The force is not merely with him, he is controlling it here.


Of course, throughout his whole career and even now, poor Georgie boy has never been able to write so much as a line of realistic dialouge.


But I forgive him. Don't we all? When it comes to the creative writing process, there are two schools of thought and different ways to go.


those who conjure up great, thrilling worlds (like Mr. Roald Dahl) and those who capture the sparkiling art of conversation (Kevin Smith).


The two just don't ordinarily mesh together very well. They just mix like oil and vomit. And Lucas is a dreamer, so we can understand him wanting to do it his way.


I don't like to give things away in movies, but really, what's to give away? EVERYONE who has seen "Star Wars" and anyone who's seen any of the first three released chapters knows EVERYTHING COMING.


We know that Anikan will convert to the dark side and become Darth Vader. We know that the traitor in the midst is Chancellor Palpatine, who will become the Emperor. And that Padme will bore Luke and Leia. Even in Episode IV, Darth Vader tells us how a showdown between him and Obi-Wan turns out.


But to see how it all came to be is just plain shocking and even a little disturbing. There is such cruelty and sadness in this chapter. Haven't we all grown up laughing and smiling and looking to "Star Wars" for fun and upbeat cheer? "Star Wars" has always stood for escapist fantasy.


His movies are about visual worlds and dreams, not sparkling, chatty conversation. Lucas pretty much does it all here, so he exposes all his talents and faults clearly. But he is truly a dreamer. Perhaps Lucas wanted to do it all so he could see (and the whole world could as well) just how good he truly is and what good he's at.


I truly believe that if Lucas wasn't a filmmaker, Lucas would be that older guy sitting around the campfire telling stories. Old, long forgotten legends of ancient lore and spinning some new ones. Lucas is a dreamer, a homage-payer in his movies.


The battles are so amazing, we can forgive everything Lucas has done wrong in his career so far.


He creates beautiful galaxies and worlds, especially the planet Mustafar. Another moment comes in a showdown between one of the great Jedi masters and the great Sith masters.


Perhaps one of the problems was Lucas has all but done away completely with sets. All of his movies since 1999 are filmed in front of green-screens (or are they called "green-rooms"? I forget).


You can finally see why Lucas has abandoned real sets and muppets and locations in favor on green-screens. Finally, after all this time... you've never seen a movie like this! The first-class FX are all seamless. I know that this is all a movie... all actors, sets and props... but Lucas made me forget.


Christensen and Portman feel more natural here than they did in "Clones." Probably because their lines here are only half as awkward. And the movie doesn't gloss too much over cheap "romance" scenes. Lucas and his team have NEVER excelled there.


Well actually, the dynasty between Han and Leia was worth it's weight in gold. Han and Leia. Hell, Luke and Yoda. But Lucas attempts to handle all of the production of this one (and the earlier two) himself.


Some artists are talented and blessed enough to be able to just go into a movie and single-handedly make a masterpiece. Some artists do their best as soloists. (Orson Welles, Edward Burns, Woody Allen, Albert Brooks, etc).


Others just... need a helping hand.


When Padme' tells Anikan she is pregnant from what they've been doing together (see "Episode II." Or rather DON'T), Anikan seems like this'll get in the way of his becoming a true Jedi knight.


Lucas has problems directing dramatic scenes and even more writing them. As for love scenes, Good Lord, he sure as hell can't write them. But a moment where Padme' expresses her pain at where Anikan is headed and we see his reaction....


The ending is so sad, so heartbreaking. We have to remember that this is only Episode III of VI.


The average American household (or any other country in the world) has Episodes IV-VI waiting for them at home. After Episode III, IV would be good to wash away this downbeat feeling.


"Star Wars" has always been a hallmark of childhood fantasy, but in this entry, everyone does a lot of growing-up. You'd think all this reality and contemporary sadness would ruin the memory of "Star Wars."


But no. It doesn't ruin "Star Wars." As a matter of fact, it deepens it.

This is a movie that needs to be seen by every "Star Wars" fan.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by every movie fan.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by everyone.


Why are you even still reading this? See it NOW.


--For A Boy Named Anikan, Dane Youssef



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"Lucas reminds us that he IS a filmmaker"

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 15 September 2009 03:53 (A review of Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (Widescreen Bilingual Edition))

by Dane Youssef


It's all over. The saga is complete. Lucas has come full-circle and so has the universe and it's inhabitants.


After "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones," Lucas had been accused to selling out on his creation and one of the greatest serial-movies of all time.


He had lost the way. Lost his voice. He had become the worst thing an artist can be... a businessman. With all the technology and control in the world... he had become lazy. Unmotivated. Even unimaginative.


Being branded just another "businessman" is the worst thing that can happen to an artist.


At times, the movie feels unnatural and at times, I would call this one of the best thing Lucas has ever done.


But this is truly a movie not to be missed.


Ever since I was a little boy, when I first saw Darth Vader, I asked myself, "Is he supposed to be a robot? An alien? Why does he wear that strange suit? It's probably just to make him look scary." For those who've all wondered the same, Episode III answers that and a lot of others. And you will never look at "Star Wars" the same way again.


George Lucas seems to be trying to make amends for his later and lesser films, and I for one, think he succeeds wholly here.


Lucas totally the gamut totally here and shows the world (just like he did in THX 1138 and American Graffiti) that he is a force to reckoned with, even feared. The force is not merely with him, he is controlling it here.


Of course, throughout his whole career and even now, poor Georgie boy has never been able to write so much as a line of realistic dialouge.


But I forgive him. Don't we all? When it comes to the creative writing process, there are two schools of thought and different ways to go.


There are those who conjure up great, thrilling worlds (like Mr. Roald Dahl) and those who capture the sparkiling art of conversation (Kevin Smith).


The two just don't ordinarily mesh together very well. They just mix like oil and vomit. And Lucas is a dreamer, so we can understand him wanting to do it his way.


I don't like to give things away in movies, but really, what's to give away? EVERYONE who has seen "Star Wars" and anyone who's seen any of the first three released chapters knows EVERYTHING COMING.


We know that Anikan will convert to the dark side and become Darth Vader. We know that the traitor in the midst is Chancellor Palpatine, who will become the Emperor. And that Padme will bore Luke and Leia. Even in Episode IV, Darth Vader tells us how a showdown between him and Obi-Wan turns out.


But to see how it all came to be is just plain shocking and even a little disturbing. There is such cruelty and sadness in this chapter. Haven't we all grown up laughing and smiling and looking to "Star Wars" for fun and upbeat cheer? "Star Wars" has always stood for escapist fantasy.


His movies are about visual worlds and dreams, not sparkling, chatty conversation. Lucas pretty much does it all here, so he exposes all his talents and faults clearly. But he is truly a dreamer. Perhaps Lucas wanted to do it all so he could see (and the whole world could as well) just how good he truly is and what good he's at.


I truly believe that if Lucas wasn't a filmmaker, Lucas would be that older guy sitting around the campfire telling stories. Old, long forgotten legends of ancient lore and spinning some new ones. Lucas is a dreamer, a homage-payer in his movies.


The battles are so amazing, we can forgive everything Lucas has done wrong in his career so far.


He creates beautiful galaxies and worlds, especially the planet Mustafar. Another moment comes in a showdown between one of the great Jedi masters and the great Sith masters.


Perhaps one of the problems was Lucas has all but done away completely with sets. All of his movies since 1999 are filmed in front of green-screens (or are they called "green-rooms"? I forget).


You can finally see why Lucas has abandoned real sets and muppets and locations in favor on green-screens. Finally, after all this time... you've never seen a movie like this! The first-class FX are all seamless. I know that this is all a movie... all actors, sets and props... but Lucas made me forget.


Christensen and Portman feel more natural here than they did in "Clones." Probably because their lines here are only half as awkward. And the movie doesn't gloss too much over cheap "romance" scenes. Lucas and his team have NEVER excelled there.


Well actually, the dynasty between Han and Leia was worth it's weight in gold. Han and Leia. Hell, Luke and Yoda. But Lucas attempts to handle all of the production of this one (and the earlier two) himself.


Some artists are talented and blessed enough to be able to just go into a movie and single-handedly make a masterpiece. Some artists do their best as soloists. (Orson Welles, Edward Burns, Woody Allen, Albert Brooks, etc). Others just... need a helping hand.


When Padme' tells Anikan she is pregnant from what they've been doing together (see "Episode II." Or rather DON'T), Anikan seems like this'll get in the way of his becoming a true Jedi knight.


Lucas has problems directing dramatic scenes and even more writing them. As for love scenes, Good Lord, he sure as hell can't write them. But a moment where Padme' expresses her pain at where Anikan is headed and we see his reaction....


The ending is so sad, so heartbreaking. We have to remember that this is only Episode III of VI.


The average American household (or any other country in the world) has Episodes IV-VI waiting for them at home. After Episode III, IV would be good to wash away this downbeat feeling.


"Star Wars" has always been a hallmark of childhood fantasy, but in this entry, everyone does a lot of growing-up. You'd think all this reality and contemporary sadness would ruin the memory of "Star Wars."


But no. It doesn't ruin "Star Wars." As a matter of fact, it deepens it.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by every "Star Wars" fan.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by every movie fan.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by everyone.


Why are you even still reading this? See it NOW.


-For A Boy Named Anikan, Dane Youssef




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"Lucas reminds us that he IS a filmmaker"

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 15 September 2009 03:52 (A review of Star Wars - Episode III, Revenge of the Sith (Full Screen Edition))

by Dane Youssef


It's all over. The saga is complete. Lucas has come full-circle and so has the universe and it's inhabitants.


After "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones," Lucas had been accused to selling out on his creation and one of the greatest serial-movies of all time.


He had lost the way. Lost his voice. He had become the worst thing an artist can be... a businessman. With all the technology and control in the world... he had become lazy. Unmotivated. Even unimaginative.


Being branded just another "businessman" is the worst thing that can happen to an artist.


At times, the movie feels unnatural and at times, I would call this one of the best thing Lucas has ever done.


But this is truly a movie not to be missed.


Ever since I was a little boy, when I first saw Darth Vader, I asked myself, "Is he supposed to be a robot? An alien? Why does he wear that strange suit? It's probably just to make him look scary." For those who've all wondered the same, Episode III answers that and a lot of others. And you will never look at "Star Wars" the same way again.


George Lucas seems to be trying to make amends for his later and lesser films, and I for one, think he succeeds wholly here.


Lucas totally the gamut totally here and shows the world (just like he did in THX 1138 and American Graffiti) that he is a force to reckoned with, even feared. The force is not merely with him, he is controlling it here.


Of course, throughout his whole career and even now, poor Georgie boy has never been able to write so much as a line of realistic dialouge.


But I forgive him. Don't we all? When it comes to the creative writing process, there are two schools of thought and different ways to go.


those who conjure up great, thrilling worlds (like Mr. Roald Dahl) and those who capture the sparkiling art of conversation (Kevin Smith).


The two just don't ordinarily mesh together very well. They just mix like oil and vomit. And Lucas is a dreamer, so we can understand him wanting to do it his way.


I don't like to give things away in movies, but really, what's to give away? EVERYONE who has seen "Star Wars" and anyone who's seen any of the first three released chapters knows EVERYTHING COMING.


We know that Anikan will convert to the dark side and become Darth Vader. We know that the traitor in the midst is Chancellor Palpatine, who will become the Emperor. And that Padme will bore Luke and Leia. Even in Episode IV, Darth Vader tells us how a showdown between him and Obi-Wan turns out.


But to see how it all came to be is just plain shocking and even a little disturbing. There is such cruelty and sadness in this chapter. Haven't we all grown up laughing and smiling and looking to "Star Wars" for fun and upbeat cheer? "Star Wars" has always stood for escapist fantasy.


His movies are about visual worlds and dreams, not sparkling, chatty conversation. Lucas pretty much does it all here, so he exposes all his talents and faults clearly. But he is truly a dreamer. Perhaps Lucas wanted to do it all so he could see (and the whole world could as well) just how good he truly is and what good he's at.


I truly believe that if Lucas wasn't a filmmaker, Lucas would be that older guy sitting around the campfire telling stories. Old, long forgotten legends of ancient lore and spinning some new ones. Lucas is a dreamer, a homage-payer in his movies.


The battles are so amazing, we can forgive everything Lucas has done wrong in his career so far.


He creates beautiful galaxies and worlds, especially the planet Mustafar. Another moment comes in a showdown between one of the great Jedi masters and the great Sith masters.


Perhaps one of the problems was Lucas has all but done away completely with sets. All of his movies since 1999 are filmed in front of green-screens (or are they called "green-rooms"? I forget).


You can finally see why Lucas has abandoned real sets and muppets and locations in favor on green-screens. Finally, after all this time... you've never seen a movie like this! The first-class FX are all seamless. I know that this is all a movie... all actors, sets and props... but Lucas made me forget.


Christensen and Portman feel more natural here than they did in "Clones." Probably because their lines here are only half as awkward. And the movie doesn't gloss too much over cheap "romance" scenes. Lucas and his team have NEVER excelled there.


Well actually, the dynasty between Han and Leia was worth it's weight in gold. Han and Leia. Hell, Luke and Yoda. But Lucas attempts to handle all of the production of this one (and the earlier two) himself.


Some artists are talented and blessed enough to be able to just go into a movie and single-handedly make a masterpiece. Some artists do their best as soloists. (Orson Welles, Edward Burns, Woody Allen, Albert Brooks, etc). Others just... need a helping hand.


When Padme tells Anikan she is pregnant from what they've been doing together (see "Episode II." Or rather DON'T), Anikan seems like this'll get in the way of his becoming a true Jedi knight.


Lucas has problems directing dramatic scenes and even more writing them. As for love scenes, Good Lord, he sure as hell can't write them. But a moment where Padme' expresses her pain at where Anikan is headed and we see his reaction....


The ending is so sad, so heartbreaking. We have to remember that this is only Episode III of VI.


The average American household (or any other country in the world) has Episodes IV-VI waiting for them at home. After Episode III, IV would be good to wash away this downbeat feeling.


"Star Wars" has always been a hallmark of childhood fantasy, but in this entry, everyone does a lot of growing-up. You'd think all this reality and contemporary sadness would ruin the memory of "Star Wars."


But no. It doesn't ruin "Star Wars." As a matter of fact, it deepens it.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by every "Star Wars" fan.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by every movie fan.


This is a movie that needs to be seen by everyone.


Why are you even still reading this? See it NOW.


--For A Boy Named Anikan, Dane Youssef



danessf@yahoo.com

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"Lucas reminds us that he IS a filmmaker"

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 15 September 2009 03:51 (A review of Star Wars Episode III : Revenge of the Sith (2 Disc Edition) )

by Dane Youssef


It's all over. The saga is complete. Lucas has come full-circle and so has the universe and it's inhabitants.

After "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones," Lucas had been accused to selling out on his creation and one of the greatest serial-movies of all time.

He had lost the way. Lost his voice. He had become the worst thing an artist can be... a businessman. With all the technology and control in the world... he had become lazy.

Unmotivated.

Even unimaginative.

Being branded just another "businessman" is the worst thing that can happen to an artist.

At times, the movie feels unnatural and at times, I would call this one of the best thing Lucas has ever done.

But this is truly a movie not to be missed.

Ever since I was a little boy, when I first saw Darth Vader, I asked myself, "Is he supposed to be a robot? An alien? Why does he wear that strange suit? It's probably just to make him look scary." For those who've all wondered the same, Episode III answers that and a lot of others. And you will never look at "Star Wars" the same way again.

George Lucas seems to be trying to make amends for his later and lesser films, and I for one, think he succeeds wholly here.

Lucas totally the gamut totally here and shows the world (just like he did in THX 1138 and American Graffiti) that he is a force to reckoned with, even feared. The force is not merely with him, he is controlling it here.

Of course, throughout his whole career and even now, poor Georgie boy has never been able to write so much as a line of realistic dialouge.

But I forgive him. Don't we all? When it comes to the creative writing process, there are two schools of thought and different ways to go.

those who conjure up great, thrilling worlds (like Mr. Roald Dahl) and those who capture the sparkiling art of conversation (Kevin Smith).

The two just don't ordinarily mesh together very well. They just mix like oil and vomit. And Lucas is a dreamer, so we can understand him wanting to do it his way.

I don't like to give things away in movies, but really, what's to give away? EVERYONE who has seen "Star Wars" and anyone who's seen any of the first three released chapters knows EVERYTHING COMING.

We know that Anikan will convert to the dark side and become Darth Vader. We know that the traitor in the midst is Chancellor Palpatine, who will become the Emperor. And that Padme will bore Luke and Leia. Even in Episode IV, Darth Vader tells us how a showdown between him and Obi-Wan turns out.

But to see how it all came to be is just plain shocking and even a little disturbing. There is such cruelty and sadness in this chapter. Haven't we all grown up laughing and smiling and looking to "Star Wars" for fun and upbeat cheer? "Star Wars" has always stood for escapist fantasy.

His movies are about visual worlds and dreams, not sparkling, chatty conversation. Lucas pretty much does it all here, so he exposes all his talents and faults clearly. But he is truly a dreamer. Perhaps Lucas wanted to do it all so he could see (and the whole world could as well) just how good he truly is and what good he's at.

I truly believe that if Lucas wasn't a filmmaker, Lucas would be that older guy sitting around the campfire telling stories. Old, long forgotten legends of ancient lore and spinning some new ones. Lucas is a dreamer, a homage-payer in his movies.

The battles are so amazing, we can forgive everything Lucas has done wrong in his career so far.

He creates beautiful galaxies and worlds, especially the planet Mustafar. Another moment comes in a showdown between one of the great Jedi masters and the great Sith masters.

Perhaps one of the problems was Lucas has all but done away completely with sets. All of his movies since 1999 are filmed in front of green-screens (or are they called "green-rooms"? I forget).

You can finally see why Lucas has abandoned real sets and muppets and locations in favor on green-screens. Finally, after all this time... you've never seen a movie like this! The first-class FX are all seamless. I know that this is all a movie... all actors, sets and props... but Lucas made me forget.

Christensen and Portman feel more natural here than they did in "Clones." Probably because their lines here are only half as awkward. And the movie doesn't gloss too much over cheap "romance" scenes. Lucas and his team have NEVER excelled there.

Well actually, the dynasty between Han and Leia was worth it's weight in gold. Han and Leia. Hell, Luke and Yoda. But Lucas attempts to handle all of the production of this one (and the earlier two) himself.

Some artists are talented and blessed enough to be able to just go into a movie and single-handedly make a masterpiece. Some artists do their best as soloists. (Orson Welles, Edward Burns, Woody Allen, Albert Brooks, etc).

Others just... need a helping hand.

When Padme' tells Anikan she is pregnant from what they've been doing together (see "Episode II." Or rather DON'T), Anikan seems like this'll get in the way of his becoming a true Jedi knight.

Lucas has problems directing dramatic scenes and even more writing them. As for love scenes, Good Lord, he sure as hell can't write them. But a moment where Padme' expresses her pain at where Anikan is headed and we see his reaction....

The ending is so sad, so heartbreaking. We have to remember that this is only Episode III of VI.

The average American household (or any other country in the world) has Episodes IV-VI waiting for them at home. After Episode III, IV would be good to wash away this downbeat feeling.

"Star Wars" has always been a hallmark of childhood fantasy, but in this entry, everyone does a lot of growing-up. You'd think all this reality and contemporary sadness would ruin the memory of "Star Wars."

But no. It doesn't ruin "Star Wars." As a matter of fact, it deepens it.

This is a movie that needs to be seen by every "Star Wars" fan.

This is a movie that needs to be seen by every movie fan.

This is a movie that needs to be seen by everyone.

Why are you even still reading this? See it NOW.


by Dane Youssef


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"Lucas reminds us that he IS a filmmaker"

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 15 September 2009 03:48 (A review of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith)

by Dane Youssef


It's all over. The saga is complete. Lucas has come full-circle and so has the universe and it's inhabitants.

After "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones," Lucas had been accused to selling out on his creation and one of the greatest serial-movies of all time.

He had lost the way. Lost his voice. He had become the worst thing an artist can be... a businessman. With all the technology and control in the world... he had become lazy.

Unmotivated.

Even unimaginative.

Being branded just another "businessman" is the worst thing that can happen to an artist.

At times, the movie feels unnatural and at times, I would call this one of the best thing Lucas has ever done.

But this is truly a movie not to be missed.

Ever since I was a little boy, when I first saw Darth Vader, I asked myself, "Is he supposed to be a robot? An alien? Why does he wear that strange suit? It's probably just to make him look scary." For those who've all wondered the same, Episode III answers that and a lot of others. And you will never look at "Star Wars" the same way again.

George Lucas seems to be trying to make amends for his later and lesser films, and I for one, think he succeeds wholly here.

Lucas totally the gamut totally here and shows the world (just like he did in THX 1138 and American Graffiti) that he is a force to reckoned with, even feared. The force is not merely with him, he is controlling it here.

Of course, throughout his whole career and even now, poor Georgie boy has never been able to write so much as a line of realistic dialouge.

But I forgive him. Don't we all? When it comes to the creative writing process, there are two schools of thought and different ways to go.

those who conjure up great, thrilling worlds (like Mr. Roald Dahl) and those who capture the sparkiling art of conversation (Kevin Smith).

The two just don't ordinarily mesh together very well. They just mix like oil and vomit. And Lucas is a dreamer, so we can understand him wanting to do it his way.

I don't like to give things away in movies, but really, what's to give away? EVERYONE who has seen "Star Wars" and anyone who's seen any of the first three released chapters knows EVERYTHING COMING.

We know that Anikan will convert to the dark side and become Darth Vader. We know that the traitor in the midst is Chancellor Palpatine, who will become the Emperor. And that Padme will bore Luke and Leia. Even in Episode IV, Darth Vader tells us how a showdown between him and Obi-Wan turns out.

But to see how it all came to be is just plain shocking and even a little disturbing. There is such cruelty and sadness in this chapter. Haven't we all grown up laughing and smiling and looking to "Star Wars" for fun and upbeat cheer? "Star Wars" has always stood for escapist fantasy.

His movies are about visual worlds and dreams, not sparkling, chatty conversation. Lucas pretty much does it all here, so he exposes all his talents and faults clearly. But he is truly a dreamer. Perhaps Lucas wanted to do it all so he could see (and the whole world could as well) just how good he truly is and what good he's at.

I truly believe that if Lucas wasn't a filmmaker, Lucas would be that older guy sitting around the campfire telling stories. Old, long forgotten legends of ancient lore and spinning some new ones. Lucas is a dreamer, a homage-payer in his movies.

The battles are so amazing, we can forgive everything Lucas has done wrong in his career so far.

He creates beautiful galaxies and worlds, especially the planet Mustafar. Another moment comes in a showdown between one of the great Jedi masters and the great Sith masters.

Perhaps one of the problems was Lucas has all but done away completely with sets. All of his movies since 1999 are filmed in front of green-screens (or are they called "green-rooms"? I forget).

You can finally see why Lucas has abandoned real sets and muppets and locations in favor on green-screens. Finally, after all this time... you've never seen a movie like this! The first-class FX are all seamless. I know that this is all a movie... all actors, sets and props... but Lucas made me forget.

Christensen and Portman feel more natural here than they did in "Clones." Probably because their lines here are only half as awkward. And the movie doesn't gloss too much over cheap "romance" scenes. Lucas and his team have NEVER excelled there.

Well actually, the dynasty between Han and Leia was worth it's weight in gold. Han and Leia. Hell, Luke and Yoda. But Lucas attempts to handle all of the production of this one (and the earlier two) himself.

Some artists are talented and blessed enough to be able to just go into a movie and single-handedly make a masterpiece. Some artists do their best as soloists. (Orson Welles, Edward Burns, Woody Allen, Albert Brooks, etc).

Others just... need a helping hand.

When Padme' tells Anikan she is pregnant from what they've been doing together (see "Episode II." Or rather DON'T), Anikan seems like this'll get in the way of his becoming a true Jedi knight.

Lucas has problems directing dramatic scenes and even more writing them. As for love scenes, Good Lord, he sure as hell can't write them. But a moment where Padme' expresses her pain at where Anikan is headed and we see his reaction....

The ending is so sad, so heartbreaking. We have to remember that this is only Episode III of VI.

The average American household (or any other country in the world) has Episodes IV-VI waiting for them at home. After Episode III, IV would be good to wash away this downbeat feeling.

"Star Wars" has always been a hallmark of childhood fantasy, but in this entry, everyone does a lot of growing-up. You'd think all this reality and contemporary sadness would ruin the memory of "Star Wars."

But no. It doesn't ruin "Star Wars." As a matter of fact, it deepens it.

This is a movie that needs to be seen by every "Star Wars" fan.

This is a movie that needs to be seen by every movie fan.

This is a movie that needs to be seen by everyone.

Why are you even still reading this? See it NOW.


by Dane Youssef


danessf@yahoo.com

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"DISAPOINTING, BUT STILL MOVING LOVE LETTER"

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 11 September 2009 05:05 (A review of Bobby [2006])

by Dane Youssef


Emilio Esztevez's "Bobby" celebrates not only one of the greatest political icons to die before his time, before he had the opportunity to live up to even a fraction of his potential, but a seven-year effort to get it on the big screen.


Esztevez is not as renown in the business as his father and brother are. Nor does he have such a sparkling track-record. Let's be honest. Most of the man's movies (paticularly those made after "The Mighty Ducks") borderline on unwatchable. But hey, what about "Rated X"? I heard good things. Somewhere. I don't remember where exactly...


But just because a man has a few "Battlefield Earth" and "Catwoman"-like stinkers on his resume doesn't mean he's totally incapable of putting out anything at all decent. I know we love to skewer a star when they're down. But let's give a poor guy an even shake...


Because of Estevez's experience in the biz, as well as his family's, "Bobby" is chock-full of big-name walk-ons. Yes, it's good to be able to employ the best and biggest names in the business, but I don't know if it nessicarily works here. There are so many familiar faces that pop up like a Jack-In-The-Box and then disapear just as quickly, that it's kind of distracting.


They're all not on camera long enough so that we see the characters, not actors playing a role. We keep getting the feeling that all we're looking at is super-star after supers-star just here to do some temp work, have fun, do a favor and pay respect to a great political icon.


There are so many storylines buzzing in and out in such a condensed amount of time that so many of them feel under-developed (and even pointless at times).


There are some really intriguing ones, yes, but there's also too much that just feels like filler. They're not around longe enough to make us really think or care about them.


There is no accomplished actor in the plum role of Robert Kennedy (a wise desicion on Esztevez' part)--Kennedy appears as himself in archive footage; newsreels and voice-overs. There is an enourmously talented and renown cast for "Bobby," but no real head-liner.


This is an ensemble vehicle, in the tradition of the late Robert Altman's films. Like every ensemble vehicle, the star is the subject matter--RFK himself.


The lives he touched, the inpact he made, many of the goings-on during the time... that appears here. But too briefly. Like an extra that just blends into a massive crowd or a beige wall. Where are they? You want them to stand out, you want more.


As for it's much-touted heavy-hitter cast: Joshua Jackson (who worked with Esztevez in "The Mighty Ducks" films) isn't really given much of anything to do as as Kennedy's campaign manager.


Christian Slater is one of the best working actors out there today, but any schmuck standing in line at "Hot Dog On A Stick" could have done as good a job as he's allowed to do there. Hey, maybe some of that trademark reptillian-like demeanor of his might have helped. He's a racist, but he's as interesting as plain white-bread. Heather Graham is equally ineffective (has she ever given a really great perfomance?)


Ashton Kutcher thankfully sheds his tired "Kelso" scthick as a spiritual drug dealer who introduces to LSD. He wears glasses, has long mop-like hair and a scruffy beard. This is good. We're looking at the character, not Kutcher. Lately, Kutcher has been trying to evolve past the dim-witted prett-boy roles in stupid throw-away rom-comedies. He seems to be in very serious danger of becoming just another flavor-of-the-month like so, so many, many other before him (and after him). With roles in movies like "The Butterfly Effect" and now "Bobby," there may be hope for him after all.

William H. Macy and Starone Stone are some of the best out there. Here they play a married couple who have a rather ugly secret, but the whole thing is under-written. Esztevez' should have kept working on this. It's a nice sub-plot, but their story is thinner than two-ply toilet paper. And we want more.

Lawrence Fishburne almost steals the movie as a veteran cook who works at the Ambassador. He has a deep philiosophical mind and some theories on the way the world is... and how to survive in it. How to make it yours. He sounds so insightful, like an older, seasoned veteran not miles away from Kennedy himself. He talks about how anger is toxic and his admiration and love for Dr. King and how it hurt when King was gunned down.


Legendary Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins appears as the elderly doorman who won't just flat-out retire because the boredom and feeling of uselessness gets to him. His role is pretty unremarkable, although he brings the same grace and dignity he does to pretty much any role he's in. It's nice to see him away from his "Hannibal Lecter" repitore. And "Bobby" is a vast improvement over Ron Howard's putrid steaming green Christmas diarrea log, "The Grinch."


Director Esztevez and Demi Moore appear together as a couple for the first time in Esztevez' nearly unwatchable "Wisdom," which contained none of what was promised. Or anything else worth seeing. They have some worthwhile moments as a showbusiness couple, especially Moore is what's some of the better work she's done in a while. And it's one of the few sub-plots that work.


The only true stand-outs here are Lawrence Fishburne, Sharon Stone, Martin Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. Everyone else seems is just coasting. Because they're all just distinguished veterans, we want them to make an enourmous impact. The kind where the scene and line becomes a legendary moment and is quoted ad nauseum. But each shot just shows big-name marquee headers doing what just about anyone could have done. Maybe the fact that all these big names are dropped will draw them in.


I do applaud Esztevez for not just hiring some celebrity impressionist to play Bobby--like De Vito did for his "Hoffa." No two-bit actor can ever forge the man. So Kennedy actually appears at himself technically the whole time throughout (except of a few scenes where Bobby's right there with the actors, but we never get a good look, of course. That feels... respectful.


But does it work? The most crippling flaw in "Bobby" is that because of the contemporary faces and their underdevloped characters and underwritten scenes, we're never convinced we're back there during that fatal day. And when RFK walks through the door, onto the stage... we're never really convinced that he's in that room at this moment. RFK and the little people never seem to exist within the same time and reality.


Throughout the whole film, I was aware that they were just using old footage of Bob and the entire cast--er, members of the Ambassador were cheering facing a camera crew.


There are some moments that alone make Bobby worth seeing: A scene where a deception is going on and is revealed--we see the victim's tears and pain, a converstaion that takes place in a kitchen that really stays with you, two suited buttoned-down campaign volunteers who volunteer to embrace something more have than Kennedy, the reporter dying to see the senator in the flesh. All storylines that could have really packed a wallop if they're were written a little more. Was Esztevez on a schedule?


But there are a few too many which are just limp which leave you feeling Esztevez should have pumped them up or simply scrapped them altogether. Maybe leaving them in the bottom drawer and hauling them out the next time he wants to make a movie. As it is, this proudly stands as the best film Esztevez has come out with in over a decade. And it is a sometimes really touching tribute to a man who deseves it. For whatever reason you want to check it out, watch it, afterwards light a candle for Good ol' Bob.


In the end, what truly makes this a movie to see is the passion. The passion that Esztevez has for Bobby and has had ever since dear Emilio actually came in contact with him when he was but five years old.


"Bobby"'s finale (yes, that is the correct phrase) comes to no surprise, but what is so astonishing is how much such an act can still touch us as if we are actually there and then. It helps give the film more of an impact than everything leading up to it did.


What matters really is not when or how Kennedy left, but that he was there. Now that he's gone, it's sad how much it says about us how much we need him now...


NOTE: This review is dedicated in loving memory for Robert Francis Kennedy, the man who at the time was America's last chance after his brother and Dr. King went the same way. Despite this film's shortcomings, I still believe it succeeds as the ultimate swan song FOR BOBBY... FOR RFK... FOR ONE LAST CHANCE... FOR THIS COUNTRY...


--For Bobby and Country, Dane Youssef




danessf@yahoo.com

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