Tag Archives: Sigourney Weaver

David Fincher

Even though I’ve only seen four of his movies, I can confidently say David Fincher is one of the world’s best directors, and that he really likes working with Brad Pitt. He really can pull the viewer into not just the movie, but the lives of each of his characters. I can also confidently say that I really need to see The Social Network.

Alien 3: Sigourney Weaver is now getting stalked by the alien. I really couldn’t get into this mess, though there are far worse movies. This one can’t be pinned on Fincher at all, as he had almost no control of the movie and things were changed without his consent. His first movie, and thankfully the experience didn’t dissuade him from continuing his career.

Grade: D

The Game: Sean Penn tells his uptight brother Michael Douglas to get some testing done as part of a birthday gift he prepared for him. Unfortunately for Douglas, shortly after the testing his life begins to fall apart. Strangers come after him and he finds himself in a life-and-death psychological game to save his life. Great fun and really tense the first go-round. Sadly, the ending negates the entire film and it’s not near as enjoyable upon repeated viewings. It also doesn’t help that Douglas is simply not a good actor. He doesn’t ruin the movie, but he’s not really good with any emotion other than pissed.

Grade: B+

Se7en: Detectives Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman investigate a killer (Kevin Spacey) who is systematically disposing of people he feels are in gross violation of one of the seven deadly sins. Extremely well-acted and a knockout ending. I wish it had been a bit more suspenseful, but that’s just nitpicking.

Grade: A-

Fight Club: A burnt out office employee (Edward Norton) first turns to support groups to help with his depression. He meets a girl (Helena Bonham Carter) and things are beginning to look up.  Things take a turn when he teams up with an enthusiastic, care-free soap salesman (Brad Pitt) to develop fight clubs that help men vent their aggression. Brutal, visceral, and a complete mindfuck without being terribly manipulative. Simply brilliant.

Grade: A

Other David Fincher Movies You May Have Seen

The Social Network
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Panic Room
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

James Cameron

For Cameron’s expertise in atmosphere, research, and camerawork, he certainly lacks in characterization and storytelling. His weakness in that area was hidden in his early movies that focused almost solely on action, at which he’s a master. But with Titanic and (from what I’ve heard, Avatar), he really is in over his head.

True Lies: The first time I saw this I had a temperature of 104 and thought I was going to die. From strep throat, not the movie. There’s some good action here in the vein of Die Hard, and Jamie Lee Curtis is just about perfect. But Tom Arnold is pretty obnoxious and the scene with the horse lost me completely. I wish it had gone for either complete farce or complete seriousness.

Grade: D

Titanic: DiCaprio and Winslet are amazing actors but not even they could save one of the worst romantic plots I’ve seen. It’s a tragedy, since Cameron does a fantastic job with the actual ship and the actual people on the ship. He is able to evoke a decent amount of emotion with the stories of the crew and those in the lower classes. But the script for the added characters is a complete hatchet job. Billy Zane is so sneeringly evil you wonder why he wasn’t given a twirly mustache.

Grade: C

Aliens: I don’t like this as much as Ridley’s film as I prefer a more slowly building tension, but it’s still an example of a good action movie. Good acting and shot well.

Grade: B

The Terminator: The perfect role for Schwarzenegger, and good casting with Michael Biehn and Linda Hamilton. It’s nice to have a heroine who is strong but actually seems like an every day person. Good tension. I love the way Cameron keeps things dark and generally slower-paced for most of the movie. Special effects lack at times. I’m also crazy about the soundtrack.

Grade: A- 

Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Much like the sequel to Alien, T2 is less about suspense and more about action. When I saw this in 1991 I was blown away by the special effects and they still hold up every well to this day. In fact, “liquid metal,” instantly became a new thing in the vocabulary of most people I knew. Exceptional casting with Robert Patrick; he absolutely kills it as the villain and the movie isn’t the masterpiece it is without him. Eddie Furlong’s first acting experience, and despite some troubles with projecting, I think Cameron directs him well. I believe this kid and his emotional turmoil. And talk about a transformation for Linda Hamilton.

Grade: A+

Other James Cameron Movies You May Have Seen

The Abyss
Piranha Part Two: The Spawning

Ridley Scott

If there’s one hallmark of Ridley Scott is that you’ll be hard pressed to forget any of his movies. His ability to create atmosphere is one of the best in the business. He definitely knows how to raise the goosebumps. However, he seems to a bit lacking in character development, which I definitely crave more of as I get older. Can any of my readers enlighten me as to whether or not he’s improved upon this in the last ten years?

Blade Runner: This movie (based on Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”) may have my favorite cyper-punk dystopian vision of the future. To this day the movie is still breathtaking. Harrison Ford plays a blade runner, an enforcement agent tasked with finding and terminating replicants, man-made human slaves gone rogue. I love the ideas here, especially the Voight-Kampff tests designed to detect replicants by asking them benign questions. But oh boy does this movie have a lot of problems. Ford’s character is so callous and cold that I was actually rooting against him by the end. There’s a rape scene which is just brutal and completely out-of-nowhere. In fact, it’s too much like a Christopher Nolan movie in that it’s more or less devoid of emotion, which this story needs in spades. I watched the Director’s Cut, which apparently has a better ending and eschews some god-awful narration by Ford. I’m glad I watched the movie; it certainly made the computer game more enjoyable. But it’s current ranking at IMDb as the 126th best movie of all-time is kind of embarrassing.

Grade: C+

Hannibal: Very stylish follow-up to The Silence of the Lambs, which focuses more on Hannibal than detective Starling. Unfortunately, Foster bowed out and was replaced by Julianne Moore. I like Moore, but I don’t think she was the best choice for Starling and the lack of chemistry in this movie severely dampened the emotional impact the first movie had. That said, the atmosphere is fantastic, dark and horrifying. Anthony Hopkins is great once again.

Grade: B

Alien: Incredibly horrifying movie. Scott is a master of suspense here, creating a claustrophobic environment where the scares rely mostly on the unknown (and some great shooting). Sigourney Weaver is great. I really need to watch this again.

Grade: A-

Gladiator: Loosely based on the lives of Maximus and Commodus, Russel Crowe shines as the former, avenging the murder of his wife and death and engaging in Coliseum battles, trying to survive as a gladiator. Oliver Reed’s final movie. Joaquin Phoenix puts in a masterful performance as Commodus. We are supposed to hate his character and he makes it very, very easy. As is usual with Scott, the visuals are stunning. The story isn’t perfect and is just a teeny bit too manipulative for my tastes.

Grade: A-

Other Ridley Scott Movies You May Have Seen

American Gangster
Black Hawk Down
Kingdom of Heaven
Robin Hood (2010)
Body of Lies
Matchstick Men
Thelma & Louise
A Good Year
G.I. Jane
Black Rain
1492: Conquest of Paradise

Ivan Reitman

It looks like Ivan Reitman does mostly light throwaway comedies. Casting Schwarzenegger in the lead role three times makes it obvious he doesn’t take his movies too seriously. Looking at the list of movies I haven’t seen yet, I really have zero desire to see any of them.

Kindergarten Cop: Schwarzenegger is a cop who has to pretend to be a kindergarten teacher to find a drug dealer. The lame premise mostly leads to a lot of unintentional comedy as Arnold tries to be funny. A few laughs, and it’s eminently watchable, but far from good.

Grade: D+

Twins: There’s surprising chemistry between Schwarzenegger and Devito beyond the lame premise that these two are fraternal twins. Like the previous movie, some laughs, but nothing all that memorable.

Grade: C-

Ghostbusters: I can’t say I like this as much as most people, but it definitely has cultural significance and great nostalgia in addition to great acting. The scenes themselves are as inconsistent as any other Reitman movie, but the casting was perfect and these guys play off each other so well. But there’s only a few laughs in there for me.

Grade: C+

Dave: If you care at all about political accuracy this movie could easily annoy you as the satire that’s attempted is childish. However, Kevin Kline is great as a fish-out-of-water who must pretend to be the President while the real chief is in a coma. He’s a dead ringer for the real guy, but lo and behold he’s a lot more friendly and goofy than the guy he replaced. Perhaps the best part is that the first lady (Sigourney Weaver) is also not let it on that her husband has been replaced. Very likable cast.

Grade: B

Other Ivan Reitman Films You May Have Seen

No Strings Attached
My Super Ex-Girlfriend
Six Days Seven Nights
Father’s Day
Ghostbusters II
Legal Eagles