Movie reviews - 2004-07-08

  • 2004-07-08
This week:
- Blueberry
- Spider-man 2
- Deep Blue


As a young man, Mike Blueberry (Vincent Cassel), witnesses his first love being killed by villain Wally Blount (Michael Madsen), and it torments him in his dreams until he one day again stands face to face with Blount. This spiritual western is based on a series of French graphic novels and directed by Jan Kounen who made the brutal heist flick "Dobermann." It's a good-looking movie with dozens of mountain and desert aerial shots, but it's more about style than substance. The narrative is ineffectual and the Blueberry-character uninspiring, which is unfortunate since his inner emotional and spiritual journey is the center of the movie. Things go all haywire with spiritual gobbledygook and hallucinatory images at the end of the movie, but no matter - the audience stopped caring long before that. **
Julie Vinten

Wow. In every way possible, "Blueberry" certainly must qualify as one of the strangest movies ever made. This exotic, eye-popping film is "freely inspired" by Jean Michel Charlier and Jean Giraud's classic Franco-Belgian comic books. Every topic imaginable is explored with graphic computer-generated passion: the meaning of life and death, love and hate, forgiveness and vengeance, the physical and the spiritual. It's wonderful how the majestic and stunning cinematography by Tetsuo Nagata integrates so perfectly with the storytelling. The 40-year-old Dutch-born director, Jan Kounen ("Dobermann"), has conjured up a completely unique perspective for a convoluted tale about cowboys and Indians. You may not be ready for it, but you really don't want to miss the finest psychedelic trip ever depicted on celluloid. ****
Laimons Juris G

Spider-man 2

This time around, director Sam Raimi has made an altogether funnier, deeper and more confident piece of work than the first Spider-Man movie. Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) starts to feel that being a superhero is such a heavy burden that he decides he doesn't want to be Spider-Man anymore. The story is well-crafted and the depiction of the characters is amazingly honest and profound - something rather uncommon for the genre. The special effects aren't as mind-blowing as the hype would have us believe, but it's true that they have improved since the first movie. The same goes for the action - it's great, but just needs that extra something. "Spider-Man 2" is not a flawless film, but it's a much more gratifying experience than the first movie. ***
Julie Vinten

Yes, it's absolutely true; "Spider-Man 2" is everything a comic-book movie should be. Peter Parker, also known as Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire), is having an identity crisis. It seems the poor guy just can't handle living two lives at the same time. Our lunk of a hero can't make webs, nor can he climb those walls, the way he used to do. On top of that, he is losing the love of his life, Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), to another guy. Nothing is going his way. Oozing sincerity, the likable Maguire charms you with his accomplished acting skills. A generous supply of humor, as well as the sweet sentiment required in this genre, creates the hard glue that keeps the action on track. You'll remember this flick for its heart. ****
Laimons Juris G

Deep Blue

This deep-sea documentary consists of a collection of highlights from the BAFTA-winning BBC documentary series "The Blue Planet." It gives a good impression of the wondrous variety of life in the oceans of the world, but also of the brutality of nature. "Deep Blue" is a beautifully and expertly filmed documentary though it doesn't show much that we haven't seen before on the Discovery Channel. It relies almost entirely on images (preferably in slow-motion) combined with a majestic musical score performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. This is enchanting at first, but after a while it becomes rather repetitive and dull. However, it's highly recommended to nature and ocean-documentary lovers who will likely enjoy seeing these skillfully filmed images on a big cinema screen. **
Julie Vinten

It's a fact that there have been more people out in space than the lucky few who have visited the depths of the unexplored oceans. Here's your chance to be one of the latter. There are only a few things not to like about this awesome documentary. From the outset, the narration by Michael Gambon is a bit of an irritation and at times quite bothersome. However, the breathtaking cinematography compensates by being innervating, fresh and downright fascinating. Directors Andy Byatt and Alastair Fothergill culled the best ocean views from BBC's "The Blue Planet" TV series, which they produced. In a mere 90 minutes you'll quickly discover your humble place in the great food-chain of life. Funny, but it never dawned on this reviewer that whales devour seals. ****
Laimons Juris G