The Thin Red Line

The Thin Red LineMost reviews that you will read on this film will be how great, poetic, masterfully shot this film is. First let me say I did enjoy this film and I have chosen to watch it several times since it came out. I do however think that most of the over the top glorified reviews come from fans and people that believe that Terrence Malick is the be all end all of movie directors. Personally I think he is a bit over rated. This came out the same year Saving Private Ryan did, and I don’t think it comes close to being the film that Private Ryan is. Malick supporters will say I just don’t get it, or I’m not intellectual enough to understand him. I understand him, and get it, he is just a bit heavy handed with his directing and many times to artsy for his own good.

Really the one thing that annoyed me about Thin Red Line was the voice over. Soldiers in war don’t run around thinking in Shakespearean pros or poetic verses as if from a Robert Frost poem. My general opinion on voice overs in films are that if you need one, you are not doing a very good job. I think some of the thoughts and points could have been conveyed through acting and the film score. Most reviews say this film makes you think, to me with the voice over, Malick is trying to do your thinking for you by spelling out what he is trying to say.

This film does has an impressive cast. Sean Penn (Best Actor Milk and Mystic River), Adrian Brody (Best Actor The Pianist), George Clooney (Oceans 11, Burn After Reading), John Cusack (Runaway Jury, Must Love Dogs), Jim Caviezel (Passion of the Christ, Frequency), and probably the only performance worth bragging about come from Nick Nolte (Cape Fear).

In my opinion this is a good war film, but at times a bit too artsy for it’s own good. I am sure some will love it and think of it as a deeper war film than anything out there, just didn’t come across that way to me. This film is still worth watching, I just wouldn’t put it at the top of the “to watch” pile.

The Black Dahlia


Just like my last review, Burn After Reading, I was giving this film a second chance. I will say the result didn’t change much from what I thought of it in the theatre. Since it was directed by Brian De Palma (Mission Impossible), I expected so much more. The theatrical trailer for this movie was so misleading. The trailer really sells the Black Dahlia murder, and the film really doesn’t focus on that at all. The focus of the film seems to center around the two cops that were at the crime scene, Josh Hartnet (Pearl Harbor) and Aaron Eckart (Thank You for Smoking) and their relationship with Scarlett Johanson (The Other Boleyn Girl). Before any murder even takes place, the story seems to be more worried about creating a boxing rivalry between Eckhart and Hartnet.

As far as the cast, there are a lot of big names in this film and none of them seem to deliver. Josh Hartnet seems to look as disgusted during the film as I was watching the film…FOR A SECOND TIME! I even thought the saving grace for me might be Scarlett Johanson, just because she is in it (Just as Daniel Craig and Adrien Brody are my better half’s saving graces), but she seemed to just be in the frame reading lines. And then there is Hilary Swank (Best Actress Million Dollar Baby and Boys Don’t Cry), what was she thinking? She does ad some interest during the family dinner scene, but from nothing she did other than the fact that she took Hartnet over to her house for dinner where her mother and father seem to go a bit ballistic.

If this film had a title of ¬†Boxing Cops or LA Crime, I might have been more forgiving about this film going all over the place, in every direction except the way it should have gone. Being billed as a murder mystery, I was starving for information about the crime and details. The Black Dahlia¬†has so much creepiness about it, and is such a bizarre macabre murder, you don’t have to tell all of the side stories. The film was titled The Black Dahlia, and to see less than a story of the Black Dahlia murder is highly disappointing.