Reviews written by registered user
MicheBel

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43 reviews in total 
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4 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
One of the Best Shows on TV, 29 June 2009
8/10

Clear eyes, full hearts can't lose.

That is the motto of this amazing show, which has, at its core pure heart and doing the right thing in the face of difficult circumstances.

Leads Kyle Chandler (Early Edition) and Connie Britton bring a sincerity to their every move and action. They strive to do the right thing in every situation, and lead with courage and integrity. Sometimes in Dillon, Texas, that is very difficult.

Even the younger members of the cast have a quality of heart to their performances that is rarely seen on network TV.

I adore every episode of Friday Night Lights, even though I'm not really much for stuff about football, or small Texas towns or shows about teens. Friday Night Lights has warmth and generosity of spirit that should be sought out by discriminating viewers.

Episode II overcomes the Fiasco of Episode I, 16 May 2002
10/10

The applause began immediately, as soon as the familiar green letters crawled up the screen.

Then Keanu Reeves did a back flip, and you could see his cool new haircut. Oh wait...that was the "Matrix Reloaded" preview. (Very cool indeed. Great anticipation for that film, safe to say.)

No, we were here to see "Episode II: Attack of the Clones". First showing in Los Angeles, 2002. No applause when seeing the familiar yellow letters crawling across its screen. In fact, more like mass tension. The audience still having the revulsion in its bones of how robbed we had been with the debacle that was "Episode I". Memories of Jar Jar danced in our heads. And so, we waited, not wanting to give in, not wanting to love this one.

When I sit down to a Star Wars movie, I want to be swept away, as I was that first time in 1977. I want to feel the magic. I want to just shudder with awe. Well, I am happy to report, that happened with "Episode II."

Fresh from its wounds at having lost the visual effects Oscar to the upstart "Matrix" the last time, ILM took NO chances this time. Thank you, Photoshop master John Knoll. (Indeed they were given a reprieve with Aaliyah's death, and the resulting delay until 2003 of "Matrix Reloaded".) From the first moment until the last, it is chock full of amazing visual effects. In fact, the only frames which didn't work for me were the ones with Jar Jar's face in them.

Tending toward the "Blade Runner" look this time, it was a science fiction film we could care about, at least visually. Not only new worlds to explore, and old ones which looked suspiciously like Italy and Tunisia, but whole new effects. Groundbreaking sound effects too. Some truly amazing stuff here.

Oh yeah, the story. Hm. Well, it was better than the pathetic mess that was "Episode I," though not quite as heart-wrenching as the "originals". Jar Jar wasn't as jarring, and Yoda kicked some major ass (provoking laughter; with him, not at him). There was some nonsense about the beginning of the Clone War, which I'm going to have to return to understand. There was a love story, and the beginnings of Anakin/Darth Vader's hatreds. Not really such a big deal when we concurrently have Willow turning to the Dark Side on "Buffy." (MUCH more scary.)

Lucas seemed to have cribbed from many elements of current culture. Watching "Episode II", I could see the effects on this movie of: "The Matrix," "Gladiator," and even "Buffy." But the good news here is that he seems to have listened to his detractors from the last fiasco. No pod race. Less Jar Jar, less stereotypical voices, less noticeably wooden acting, some actual real feeling even. God bless Natalie Portman. What a wonderful Queen/Senator/girlfriend she is.

All in all, it won me over. So, I'm here to report that "Episode II" is worth seeing. But so too, is "Spiderman." The difference, I believe, was noted by audience members afterward. Which one are you going to see again? "Episode II" wins, sabers down.

--Michelle Belaskie

The Matrix (1999)
The Matrix Has You, 2 June 2000
10/10

I can't remember the last movie that I saw in the theatre seven times. I just couldn't get enough of The Matrix. Still can't (I just caught it again on cable). It's got everything: cool sci-fi techo storyline, a love story, lots of slam-bang action scenes, great martial arts, wonderful actors, visuals to die for, fabulous Chicago brothers who directed...In short, everything you could ask for in a movie.

But the best thing, for me, is how spiritual the movie really is. I'll never forget sitting in a huge packed theatre, with the entire audience SILENT, struggling to get the concepts being thrown at them between high kicks. There is a reason why this movie kicked Phantom Menace's butt at the Academy Awards this year. And it's not just because of the amazing visuals. It's because the STORY of The Matrix was everything we used to go to Star Wars for: the good guys winning, the connection with the Force, it's all there, and in a very 90s/new millennium way.

God, I just LOVED this movie! See it, if you haven't already.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Here's What I'm Grateful For:, 29 December 1999
8/10

I'm grateful that even though Big Daddy made gazillions, there are also people out there who think that sexy romances like End of the Affair also have an audience. I'm grateful that Neil Jordan knows how to adapt a script, and film it lushly. I'm grateful Julianne Moore does more than just Boogie Nights and Cookie's Fortune (though she was wonderful in both)--in End of the Affair, she is luminous. I'm grateful for Sandy Powell's fantastic costumes, that I enjoy in picture after picture. I'm grateful that there are actors like Stephen Rea who can play both sexy terrorists (Crying Game) and sad sack husbands with no sex appeal (End of the Affair). I'm grateful that there are people like Neil Jordan, who believe in magic and the power of love, even if most reviewers don't understand it. But most of all, I am grateful that Ralph Fiennes stole back the Sexiest Fiennes Brother crown from Joseph. Not that Joseph wasn't fabulous in Shakespeare in Love, but it's wonderful to know again the Ralph we fell in love with in The English Patient. Why see The End of the Affair? For all of the above reasons, but most of all, because Ralph Fiennes presents us with some very sexy love scenes, some very passionate kisses, and BOY! is it great to see that on screen again.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Best John Irving Movie Adaptation Ever, 9 December 1999
8/10

Not surprising, since John Irving did it himself. I'm biased, since I loved the book so much, but it has all the poetry and beauty of the book. I cried in the same places. Tobey Maguire is the perfect Homer Wells. The casting, overall, is perfect. I was so glad to see the wondrous Paul Rudd playing something other than a gay man too. I'm devastated that one of the choices Irving made was to drop the character of Melony (she was my favorite), but I suppose you can't have everything.

As a movie, there were a few too many extreme close-ups for me, but overall, it flowed beautifully. And I know it's going to get a lot of flack for being this "abortion movie" (as the book did for tackling the subject), but the movie, if anything puts the whole subject in relief. Like "Dead Man Walking" did with capital punishment, this movie shows that there are no easy answers to the whole abortion question. But every once in awhile, under the right circumstances, you just gotta...break the rules.

One of the best movies of the year.

Truth Has Many Masters, 9 December 1999
9/10

Sometimes I wonder how this movie got made at all. "The Insider" is easily the best movie about journalism since "All the President's Men." And many of the forces at play here: big tobacco, network conglomerates, corporate lawyers, are still very much in evidence in the media/political landscape of today. One has to wonder how many other Jeffrey Wiegands are at this moment, slipping through those cracks. It's a gripping, compelling story.

Russell Crowe is amazing as Wiegand (write down Best Actor nominee right now). Not only does he look like him, but all traces of his heavy Australian accent are gone. Al Pacino shows us yet another shade in his multi-faceted repertoire, and is fascinating to watch. Director Michael Mann gives us his usual interesting tableau: visually arresting shots, quick cuts. Some may complain of its length, but I was riveted to the end.

Another Best Picture nominee, for sure.

37 out of 43 people found the following review useful:
INSIGHT! INSIGHT!, 24 August 1999
9/10

I love this movie. Although some people may classify it as "dated," the concepts that it deals with are worth exploring today. How honest are we to one another? How often do we actually look at people? And what is love?

From its opening shots (tooling up PCH in a cool car) to its closing ones (people really looking at each other), it's a true work of art. The beginning truly captures the free and concept-expanding atmosphere that is the Esalen Institute, which itself has not changed much since then. Screen goddess Natalie Wood, in one of her best roles, inhabits the honesty and sexual freedom that is Carol. Robert Culp is a strong counterpart to her as Bob. The more repressed couple, Eliott Gould and Dyan Cannon, are perfect.

Along the way, they explore the boundaries of sexuality, monogamy and friendship, and realize that some lines are better left uncrossed. To me, it puts a very fine point on what was going on in the 60s, and where exactly we went wrong.

SEE THIS FILM. It'll give you insight. Promise.

"Felicity" (1998)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Bring back Todd Mulcahey!, 24 August 1999

I love Felicity. It's hard to say what is my most favorite thing about this show...other than Scott Foley's lips...um...anyway... cough what was I saying? Oh yes, I loved the first season. My favorite episodes had to be the stalker shows. Todd Mulcahey was a great character! Bring him BACK! And the minor characters are also great: the crazy roomie Meghan, Sean! Sean's the best. I love that they are willing to have people on here that are not TV-perfect. Sean is just like any other regular guy. His broken second date ep was heartbreaking. I love him. But back to the main show...aside from the stalker eps, I liked every ep that JJ Abrams wrote. I felt let down that they made such a big deal of Felicity's virginity, and then when she lost it, it was hardly even dealt with (from that aspect). Elena is a great character, and a great friend. Julie, to be honest, bugs the crap out of me. More Scott Foley, most of all. More Macintosh stuff. And hey guys, they could use another program besides Photoshop! Not everything is done in Photoshop! And if the guy is a font designer, he'd be working in Illustrator too (at least), not in Photoshop. I think someone should get an iBook this season! ;-That's all.

Will's Got the Vibe, 10 August 1999
5/10

Although the bulk of the movie is a journey into the lives of "Robert" and "Mark" (no relation to writers Robert Meyer Burnett and Mark A. Altman, OF COURSE), the highlight for me, the moment that will live forever in my mind is the sight of William Shatner rapping. Not only rapping, no Warren Beatty-wannabe rapping this, but rapping the story of Julius Caesar. For that alone, you must plunk down your 8 bucks.

But there's more: the wondrous Eric McCormack who does a spot-on Mark Altman impression and an amazing monologue which opens the film, the luminous Rafer Weigel (Chicago's own)...heck all of the actors are pretty darn good. The editing is first-rate. The sets are visually fascinating.

The only possible downside is that it is deeply steeped in Star Trek lore, which detracts a bit if you don't know the references.

Personally, I look forward to whatever this creative team has up their sleeve next.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A True 90s Movie, 13 April 1999
5/10

Although this is obviously a first feature, which draws heavily from our Tarantino times, there are nonetheless some stylish moments. Snatches of dialogue really sparkle, and the ending is a genuine surprise: pleasantly so. I also really enjoyed the fact that the main bad guy is a stylish blond.

The acting is pretty decent, especially by the two leads, though some characters seemed too conscious that they are indeed on camera.

For my taste, there is too much brutal violence, though thankfully, it's mostly off-camera. There is one ugly speech bashing women pretty bad (cringe-worthy). But the biggest problem I had with this was the Johnny Cash stuff. I'm sorry, but Johnny Cash is an American icon...and I just refuse to believe what was said in this movie about him. I even refuse to repeat it. You're just gonna have to go and judge for yourself.


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