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Forever Hollywood (1999)
You can't get tired of these films
Like "Visions of Light," this documentary reminds people what is positive and wonderful about the moviemaking business. Yes, they do use footage from old movies that we've seen umpteen-thousand times, but it's still good stuff, especially on a pristine film print(none of this video nonsense). This is pretty much a film lover's delight. The casual observer may enjoy the old home movies of Hollywood and to hear their favorite stars reminisce of the old days. It's hard not to be biased about films like these(in fact, I think that's the point); for some people, myself included, movies have been, and remain to be, magical.
Three Kings (1999)
Admirable. Great movie.
This is one of the bravest movies I do believe I've ever seen. David O. Russell went for something deeper, more transcendant than anything he's, if not anyone has, ever done before. Bravo. Good, original, and inspiring work. It's about damn time.
The Haunting (1999)
I'm saddened that such great talent from all aspects of film production went into creating such a lackluster "blockbuster." With the exception of Jan De Bont(whose ONLY good movie is Speed), they had a stellar crew on this movie; why did it have to be so bad? Worse dialogue would be very hard to write. Worse hack directing would be even harder to do. I hope Liam Neeson, Jerry Goldsmith, and the other true talents trapped in this catastrophe can put this production behind them. Liam, I suppose, did the best he could with the "material" given him. Jerry Goldsmith, one of the pioneers of film scoring, turns in an overly elaborate and unoriginal score that completely lacks in subtlety. Please, lay off the "cheap" scares. I mean, I like them as much as the next guy, but why don't you try something original or, at least, a scare that actually stays with the audience after they leave the theater to cap off all the "cheaper" thrills(sudden loud noises, things jumping out, etc.)? Jan De Bont: stop making movies like this. You can do better. You're 1 for 4 right now, headed straight down. If they'd only try something different for a change... Kudos to Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez III; at least the Blair Witch Project was unlike any "scary" movie I've ever seen, even for those who didn't like it. I am annoyed and saddened that I paid money to see the Haunting; most people with at least half a brain should be too.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Inventive, creepy, and extremely entertaining
There's something to be said about a movie that is not afraid to keep the audience from seeing what would calm their fears. This film aims for much more than cheap thrills. The Blair Witch Project will stay with you for a long while after you exit the theater, which makes the movie one of the most original horror films in recent times. To be honest, the movie is not all that scary until, I believe, the last 20 minutes of the picture. I guarantee you I will never forget the horrific, yet unspectacular final images of this movie. I praise filmmakers like this. David Fincher did just that when he made both Seven and The Game. A real scare never really leaves you, especially when you never get to see that which torments you. At the very least, this film should be commended for its ability to tell a coherent story using the most basic of film and video equipment. The acting, almost completely improvised, is stellar; the three characters are at all times believable and sympathetic. The first hour or so of the film establishes Heather, Josh, and Mike very well via funny situations and moments to which the average person can relate, which sets you up for the inevitable nightmare that is the last reel of the movie. The story is so absorbing because it's, literally, a scary story you tell around the campfire. It's a brand new urban legend(sorry to reference such a terrible film) that will probably endure for quite a while. The use of handheld 8mm video and gritty 16mm film gives you a direct and literal perspective of the person holding the camera. You see what they see just as they see it. You are at the whim of the cameraman(or woman), unable to control what you are about to discover. I highly recommend the Blair Witch Project for anyone who, for a change, wants to be taken somewhere they haven't been in a long time: the darkest pits of their imagination.