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Le violon rouge (1998)
It is a wonderful film due to its originality and excellent cinematography. The soundtrack as well deserves mention. We follow the history of a famous musical instrument through many centuries as it influences lives in many ways. This journey is very rewarding for the viewer as we get swept up in the passion and intensity that surrounded this violin from its creation. Also I appreciated the unhesitating use of subtitles as we travel through many foriegn lands and foreign tongues. A must see.
Mystery Men (1999)
I usually do not like comedies made by the typical hollywood studios, however this one was pleasantly surprising. (Of course entering with lowered expectations often helps.) I am a big fan of Janeane Garafolo, and she delivered well in this one. William H. Macy was great as usual and Wes Studi put in a funny appearance as well. I found myself laughing out loud with the rest of the audience as we visited the underground superhero scene with the second (maybe third or fourth) rate heroes. Silly me, I didn't even know that there _was_ an underground superhero scene in most large cities with major superheroes. From the great premise (due to Dark Horse Comics) this film is well executed and had me laughing for quite a while afterwards. Anyway, as far as hollywood comedies go, this is one of the best I have seen in a long time, approaching, though not quite reaching, the zany feel delivered by the early Zucker bros. films.
An excellent mathematical sci-fi thriller.
I am generally wary of movie portrayals of scientists and people who are supposedly scientific geniuses. It seems that most movie-makers are not scientifically inclined and never manage to do a convincing job. Pi, however, is a very interesting movie and Sean Gullette does a reaonably good job of portraying a genius on the edge of insanity. My fears that this would be another typical bad science movie were quelled very quickly, never to return again. Of course, they didn't get all the details down pat, but most of it was believable (or close) and some of it was correct. Comments on science aside though, I think this was one of the more interesting, and certainly one of the most original, movies I have seen this year.There are provocative metaphors hidden (well, not very deeply) throughout the movie (esp. the bugs), and the subject is so completely novel that it is really worth seeing. In conclusion I would say that if you think a movie about number theory would be boring, in regard to this movie you would be wrong. If, like me, you think a movie about number theory would be exciting but probably done badly, then you will have to accept that this movie is not really about number theory, but about a number theorist. As far as the execution goes though, you needn't worry about it, it is a pleasant relief from the usual.
The Day of the Jackal (1973)
One of the finest thrillers of all time.
This movie is a wonderful example of how suspenseful movies can be. It is the epitome of the spy thriller, today's moviemakers could learn a lot from its wondrous sense of drama and adventure. Rather than rely on special effects or flashiness or even tricky plot twists, it relies on a solid plot and superb acting. Most of all though, this movie has the thrilling look and feel that it needs to carry you along for a wonderful ride.
The Remains of the Day (1993)
A heart-wrenching tale.
It is certainly a wonderful period piece in the Merchant-Ivory tradition that includes the great Room With a View and Howard's End. However if you think Remains of the Day is limited to beautiful costumes and English accents, you are sorely mistaken. This movie is a fine example of what happens when a group of talented actors/actresses/directors/writers/etc. get together to make a movie. The scenes knock you over with their splendor, the story tears at your heart, and the acting is invisible, only the two tremendous characters of Mr. Stevens and Miss Kenton appear to us, we do not even know that they go by any other name.