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Siskel and Ebert review "True Lies" - Siskel and Ebert are STUPID

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Siskel and Ebert review "True Lies" - Siskel and Ebert are STUPID

Old 12-23-08, 04:41 PM
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It's not high art, it's just a really funny movie with great action set pieces. One of my favorites. Probably my favorite Arnie film. The first two Terminators are great too, but this one was just so much fun. Clearly Siskel and Ebert didn't appreciate the Jamie Lee Curtis storyline (not sure how they didn't but, eh, who cares). Even still Ebert gave it a thumbs up. If he had a written review for this movie that would probably be more interesting to discuss than this short piece.

Hopefully it will get some special features when it finally comes out on Blu Ray (not to mention finally being in 16:9).
Old 12-23-08, 04:43 PM
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There are better movie reviews to get on Ebert's case about:

Like his panning of DePalma's THE UNTOUCHABLES, or his praise for Burt Reynolds' COP AND A HALF.

But paraphrasing what many have already have said, Ebert has forgotten more about film than most of us will ever know. He is, quite simply, our greatest living film critic.
Old 12-23-08, 04:56 PM
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I dunno, I agree with them. The middle part with JLC is deadly dull, boring, stupid, and feels out of place with the rest of the movie. I have always thought that, and always will. It killed the movie for me.
Old 12-23-08, 05:27 PM
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Sniff sniff. Haven't seen a classy action movie like True Lies in a long time.

James Cameron is the man. I love how his movie just need to 'show' what's happening. And what's happening is so awesome that there's not need for any big camera or editing tricks. It's like, 'here, just get in there and shoot what's going on'.

Anyways, I think the original poster is over-reaching. Trying to seperate an 'action comedy' from an 'action movie with comic relief'. Really?

I will miss Ebert. All the best on any sort of recovery. Reading his reviews, blogs, etc. is a Friday staple for me.
Old 12-23-08, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt View Post
There are better movie reviews to get on Ebert's case about:

Like his panning of DePalma's THE UNTOUCHABLES, or his praise for Burt Reynolds' COP AND A HALF.

But paraphrasing what many have already have said, Ebert has forgotten more about film than most of us will ever know. He is, quite simply, our greatest living film critic.
Yeah he has his misses, quite a few of them. He has revisited several and changed his mind through the years also, he wasn't 'above' that sort of thing; admitting he was wrong and the like..

Another example is he was one of the brainless morons who liked 'Tombstone' over 'Wyatt Earp'.

But I agree he is both the best, and my favorite, critic.
Old 12-23-08, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Blade View Post
If he had a written review for this movie that would probably be more interesting to discuss than this short piece.
Here:

True Lies
Release Date: 1994
Ebert Rating: ***

By Roger Ebert Jul 15, 1994

There is a sequence near the end of "True Lies" in which Arnold Schwarzenegger
Spoiler:
is piloting a Harrier vertical-takeoff fighter plane, which hovers near a Miami high-rise while his teenage daughter clings precariously to the cockpit cover and a villain dangles by his gunbelt from one of the wingmounted missiles. Arnold arms the missile and fires it, terrorist attached, straight through the high-rise, and it shoots down a helicopter carrying other terrorists. This takes place, I might add, shortly after a nuclear bomb has vaporized one of the Florida keys.
(I can't believe Ebert started his review giving away the ending of the film.)

It's stuff like that we go to Arnold Schwarzenegger movies for, and "True Lies" has a lot of it: Laugh-out-loud moments when the violence is so cartoonish we don't take it seriously, and yet are amazed at its inventiveness and audacity. Schwarzenegger has found himself in a lot of unlikely situations in his action-packed career, and "True Lies" seems determined to raise the ante - to go over the top with outlandish and extravagant special effects scenes.

Consider, for example, a chase sequence near the beginning of the movie, in which a bad guy on a motorcycle is chased by Arnold, on a horse, through a hotel lobby. Most movies would be content with that. Not "True Lies," which continues the chase on high-rise elevators and ends up on the hotel roof, with Arnold urging the horse to attempt a free fall into a swimming pool.

The plot is, of course, little more than a clothesline upon which to hang such set pieces. It involves Schwarzenegger as Harry, an ace U.S. spy, who has been married for 15 years to a sweet-tempered wife named Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis), who thinks he is a computer salesman. (He works for something called the Omega Force, which describes itself in its seal as "The Last Line of Defense.") How he has successfully managed this deception is one of the many questions the film does not pause to answer.

As the film opens, Schwarzenegger and his partner Gib (Tom Arnold) are involved in a James Bondian attempt to infiltrate a rich arms dealer's black tie party in a Swiss chateau. To say security is tight would be an understatement; the guards have machine guns and attack dogs. At the party, Schwarzenegger meets the beautiful Juno Skinner (Tia Carrere, looking much more elegant than in "Wayne's World") and tangos with her before accomplishing his mission and surviving a bloody getaway. (Schwarzenegger's tangoing ability is reflected by the decision to film most of the dance as head-and-shoulders shots.) Cut back to Washington, D.C., and Schwarzenegger's life of uneventful domestic tranquillity (his wife thinks he was out of town at a sales convention). But then, when it appears the dealer has sold four atomic weapons to a terrorist gang, it's up to Schwarzenegger and the surprisingly engaging Tom Arnold to stop them.

In between the action packed first and third acts, however, is a curious second act in which Schwarzenegger becomes convinced that his wife is fooling around with a car salesman (Bill Paxton).

This leads to an elaborate charade in a hotel room, where, for reasons that are much too complicated to summarize here, Jamie Lee Curtis impersonates a hooker and Schwarzenegger impersonates her client. (We are supposed to believe she doesn't recognize her husband because he has a light behind him.) Curtis earns some laughs here, doing a quasi-striptease. The physical humor is effective, and she's charmingly sexy and klutzy.

But the whole scene smells fishy. If you take a step back from the movie and really think about the trick the spy is playing on his wife, it's cruel and not funny. And it sidetracks the plot. The movie is 135 minutes long, and at 120, without some of the hotel room escapade, it would be a lot better.

The director, James Cameron, is a master of action (he worked with Schwarzenegger on "Terminator 2"), and when he's doing his thing, no one does it better. That includes the third act of the movie, in which a breathless Miami newscaster reports on a high-rise terrorist drama, and barely has time to squeeze in the information that an A-bomb has just blown up one of the Keys.

Cameron is credited with the screenplay (which is "based on" a French screenplay by three others), and keeps a nice undertone of humor going. When we're learning about one of the evil terrorists, for example, here's the exchange: "They call him the Sand Spider." "Why?" "Probably because it sounds scary." One nice surprise is Tom Arnold, who has a major role - the equal of Curtis' - and fills it nicely. He has an everyman quality about him, and an ability to deliver an irreverent aside, which make him a good foil for Schwarzenegger. And when he gives advice on divorce and marriage, which he does frequently, he sounds as if he speaks from experience.

"True Lies" doesn't rank as high as "Terminator 2" and "Total Recall" among Schwarzenegger's action epics for a couple of reasons: The unconvincing interlude where the hero suspects adultery, and the perfunctory nature of the plot. Both earlier titles had tighter, more absorbing stories. But on the basis of stunts, special effects and pure action, it delivers sensationally.

Last edited by Mr. Salty; 12-23-08 at 05:49 PM.
Old 12-23-08, 05:47 PM
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3 stars is a favorable review. Parcher is acting like the film was panned.
Old 12-23-08, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt View Post
But paraphrasing what many have already have said, Ebert has forgotten more about film than most of us will ever know. He is, quite simply, our greatest living film critic.
Who do you think are the top five greatest living film critics?
Old 12-23-08, 06:48 PM
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WTF is Ebert talking about!!!


QUOTE: "Cameron... and keeps a nice undertone of humor going."

Undertone...?

Undertone?!?!!

It's blatant! It's intentional, it's in every scene of the damned movie. There practically isn't one scene that doesn't contain obvious comedy. Undertone my ass. Ebert is outright simply wrong. There is no undertone, there is an overtone. How can any thinkin man say it is an undertone? It's in every scene of the movie.

seriously, the comedy is there from the beginning to the end with basically not a single scene without/being serious. I can think of maybe a few very short moments that aren't connected to comedy. That's it. Everything else is humoristic. All the action scenes, all the dialogue, everything. Go ahead, challenge it, prove that Ebert was right. Find a scene that doesn't contain/isn't directly related to comedy elements.
EVERY action scene is funny.
EVERY moment of dialogue with his partner is funny.
All the scenes with Simon are funny.
The terrorists are made into jokes.
The stripping scene contains comedy.
Every scene with Arnold in his home house contains comedy.
Arnold on horseback = comedy.
Everything!

On these grounds - and these grounds alone - I have no problem calling Ebert a FOOL, be he living, dead or somewhere in between. This review is horrible, and it baffles me that any intelligent person could say "undertone".

Ebert is a fool and it is very poor of him not to give True Lies the review it deserves. Be it 20 years ago, or 20 minutes ago.

Last edited by Parcher; 12-23-08 at 06:50 PM.
Old 12-23-08, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Parcher View Post
This review is horrible, and it baffles me that any intelligent person could say "undertone".

Ebert is a fool and it is very poor of him not to give True Lies the review it deserves. Be it 20 years ago, or 20 minutes ago.
It could be argued that an intelligent person wouldn't care what a reviewer says about a funny movie.
Old 12-23-08, 08:34 PM
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Wow, I don't see why you care so much what someone else thought of the movie, even though he ultimately gave it a favorable review.
Old 12-23-08, 08:44 PM
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I don't think you quite understand what the term "undertone" means (specifically, you seem to be getting caught on the "under" part of the word). Saying a movie has an "undertone of humor" doesn't mean that the humor is unintentional, understated, or not a main element; it means that humor is underlying factor of the movie and informs the film's entire tone. In fact, Ebert's saying the exact thing you're complaining that he isn't - that the entire film is imbued with humor and is comedic.

Also, the term "overtone" means "an ulterior, usually implicit meaning or quality". Saying the film True Lies has an "overtone" of humor (as you did in your post) is actually completely the opposite of what you're trying the say. You're the one using incorrect words for the movie, not Ebert.

Last edited by sb5; 12-23-08 at 08:57 PM.
Old 12-23-08, 09:04 PM
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this thread is hilarious.
Old 12-23-08, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by sb5 View Post
I don't think you quite understand what the term "undertone" means ...
"Watch out for the under toad!"--The World According to Garp
Old 12-23-08, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Parcher View Post
WTF is Ebert talking about!!!


QUOTE: "Cameron... and keeps a nice undertone of humor going."

Undertone...?

Undertone?!?!!

It's blatant! It's intentional, it's in every scene of the damned movie. There practically isn't one scene that doesn't contain obvious comedy. Undertone my ass. Ebert is outright simply wrong. There is no undertone, there is an overtone. How can any thinkin man say it is an undertone? It's in every scene of the movie.

seriously, the comedy is there from the beginning to the end with basically not a single scene without/being serious. I can think of maybe a few very short moments that aren't connected to comedy. That's it. Everything else is humoristic. All the action scenes, all the dialogue, everything. Go ahead, challenge it, prove that Ebert was right. Find a scene that doesn't contain/isn't directly related to comedy elements.
EVERY action scene is funny.
EVERY moment of dialogue with his partner is funny.
All the scenes with Simon are funny.
The terrorists are made into jokes.
The stripping scene contains comedy.
Every scene with Arnold in his home house contains comedy.
Arnold on horseback = comedy.
Everything!

On these grounds - and these grounds alone - I have no problem calling Ebert a FOOL, be he living, dead or somewhere in between. This review is horrible, and it baffles me that any intelligent person could say "undertone".

Ebert is a fool and it is very poor of him not to give True Lies the review it deserves. Be it 20 years ago, or 20 minutes ago.
This has to be a joke, right? Why would someone get so worked up by what a movie reviewer said over 15 years ago? Dude, move on and get a life.
Old 12-23-08, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Double_Oh_7 View Post
This has to be a joke, right? Why would someone get so worked up by what a movie reviewer said over 15 years ago? Dude, move on and get a life.
I've seen people get worked up over what Pauline Kael said about Star Wars too.
Old 12-23-08, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Double_Oh_7 View Post
This has to be a joke, right? Why would someone get so worked up by what a movie reviewer said over 15 years ago? Dude, move on and get a life.
Especially when the review is, by and large, positive.
Old 12-23-08, 11:33 PM
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The part with Bill Paxton was awesome!
Old 12-24-08, 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Parcher View Post
To no one's surprise there are very few posts here that actually address the issue.

I watched True Lies the other day, and still today - as many years ago - find it a very enjoyable action comedy.I enjoyed getting it refreshed in my memory, and so went to check youtube if there was anything interesting on it,

I think it is utterly idiotic to say the movie has "comedy relief" since - I believe - that implies it's an action movie with comedy elements. It's not. It's an action comedy! There is so much comedy in this movie. There isn't ONE serious scene in this movie that doesn't contain some element or tone of comedy. Every action scene has some ridiculous element, funny punch lines, goofy action moves, etc.

As a reviewer I wouldn't bring down a movie just because I personally didn't like it that much when I can see it was still a well made movie that ""objectively"" contains a bunch of good elements and structures. Personally I think True Lies is WAY more than well made, and I think Cameron is one of the finest mainstream moviemakers and one of the biggest names in films ever

If you didn't like the Simon-Helen romance part then you didn't like True Lies, because that WAS the movie,along with the terrorists aspect.
It's no surprise the first thing Ebert mentions is the "action". Really it should be the action as well as the comedy.

Frankly I am sick of people - be it 20, 10 or 2 years or 2 days ago who direct unwarranted criticism towards movies they themselves could NEVER piece together. No chance in hell Siskel or Ebert are/were as visionary as Cameron, no chance they could ever make a movie as good as True Lies, and I think their review should recognize this. Yes it's their job to review, but review it fairly. They certainly missed the point on this one.

Whether they are living or dead doesn't change they missed the point, and you know comedy is a very individual thing in the sense that not everyone has the same taste and people are going to find different things funny. If you didn't like joke #1 in True Lies you probably didn't like joke #2, 3 or 4.
Frankly, i think it's utterly idiotic of anyone to dismiss a critics review because said critic didn't actually make 14 academy award winning movies themselves. I am sick of people, be it 20, 10, or 2 years or 2 days ago who say critics don't have the right to criticize something because they couldn't personally make a better movie. It's the most ridiculously idiotic bit of logic you see on message boards discussing film.
Old 12-24-08, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by brizz View Post
Frankly, i think it's utterly idiotic of anyone to dismiss a critics review because said critic didn't actually make 14 academy award winning movies themselves. I am sick of people, be it 20, 10, or 2 years or 2 days ago who say critics don't have the right to criticize something because they couldn't personally make a better movie. It's the most ridiculously idiotic bit of logic you see on message boards discussing film.
You're just saying that because you couldn't make a better movie.
Old 12-24-08, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Maxflier View Post
If I watch Citizen Kane tomorrow would I not be allowed to complain about it if I don't like it since it came out so long ago?
You could complain about it, but you'd be wrong.
Old 12-24-08, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by DonnachaOne View Post
No, it's not. You should watch the film before making such an assumption.
Yes, it is. What film did you watch?

For me, I could care less about the movie or the review but I do stop to watch it if it pops-up while channel surfing.
Old 12-24-08, 11:35 PM
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Was there even a DVD Talk in 1994? This should be on the History Channel forum.
Old 12-24-08, 11:56 PM
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I guess I don't understand what is to be gained from this thread. Either we agree with the OP or basically we're stupid or something. Can't people see films in different ways? Just because Siskel and Ebert didn't see the film the way you did doesn't make them wrong; it just shows that film is a subjective medium. Personally, I don't think a film like Ace Ventura or Waterboy is a comedy. I don't find them funny at all, but obviously a lot of people do. Does that make me wrong or the people who like those movies? Why does anyone have to be wrong or stupid?

But the fact that Ebert was largely positive about the film makes this thread even more odd. Sometimes people see movies differently than you will, even major critics, but that is part of what makes film special.
Old 12-25-08, 01:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mcfly View Post
It's not nice to call one dead person and one almost dead person stupid, since I'm sure Ebert's opinion on a film is 10,000 times more valid than any opinion you have.
True on all counts.

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