Reviews

28 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Blindness (2008)
8/10
Delivers
25 March 2009
I perhaps can understand why many haven't liked the film - particularly if this has been adapted from a novel. But I read about this film and it interested me in the sense that the origins of this concept can be traced back to Greek literature. So I went along expecting almost anything - I came away from this having understood what the film is saying and I really believe that this is the trick to enjoying the film on an artistic level. It bellies the disaster of the invasion of Iraq, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and most particularly - 9/11. But that is only my perception, perhaps everyone reads something different from this heavily subtext-ed film. For me it delivers beautifully.

It's stark, brutal, honest and clear - but one must view with an open mind and take it's message into consideration. I gave it eight out of ten. Not a great film but definitely a very good one. Well done to the film-makers.
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10/10
Beautiful
13 February 2006
Though I watched this without the benefit of subtitles and I don't speak a word of French, this is one of the most beautiful films that I've seen. It's difficult to believe that the French or Canadian's didn't embrace this bold and imaginative film.

The colors, the music, the dance and the characters are brilliantly brought to the screen by Carole Laure and I gave it 10/10. Danielle Hubbard, Jean Marc Barr, Clara Furey and Mireille Thibault are perfectly cast.

Enchanting, provocative, enthralling. Hard to find, but if you get the chance, watch it. Remember, I can't speak French, but I love it and I believe you'll enjoy it.
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8/10
I liked it!
30 November 2005
Sadly this film has been trashed over and over. But Bette Davis actually saves this movie from being totally forgotten. It was our last opportunity to see her act before her passing in Oct 1989. She doesn't look anywhere near as bad as she thought she did; in the scene where she meets her new step-grandson, she looks very effective in her white ensemble.

It has it's funny moments, Bette is both dry and witty in her principal scenes and I'd love to see it out on DVD. I gave it 8 out of 10. No problems with the production design nor direction. Cohen made a courageous attempt to put together a quick fix storyline after Bette Davis walked out after one week's filming and I salute him for giving Bette a final opportunity to appear on screen. She's wonderful in her too few scenes. A complete riot. If only it could have been completed, this would have been quite a comedy.

Thanks to the cast and crew for working on this film after the difficulties. If they hadn't, we'd never have seen the scene's Bette did film.

I liked it!
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My First Love (1988 TV Movie)
6/10
Restrained Bea Arthur offering gives this film dimension.
3 October 2002
Well worth a look for Bea Arthur fans, it's unlikely to win her any new ones. However I found Miss Arthur's overall performance to give the plot a depth that would have been lost otherwise. Filmed specifically for TV, it does come across as hurried and poorly developed and this is where it spoils. Also Joan Van Ark's "Claire" is little more than irritating.

Nicely dealing with a late-in-life love affair, the two main characters (Jean and Sam) rekindle their feelings with one another yet they both have obstacle's of their own to deal with first. Jean must put to rest her widowhood and Sam must set himself free from his fear of ageing and/or death. There are some comical moments that keep this alive and some of the supporting actors offer some interesting banter.

However it's saving grace is a rare appearance on film of Miss Bea Arthur, something to keep and cherish, offering us a subtle and restrained performance that gives this the depth that it needs. Miss Arthur is always going to be an American "First Love" and I recommend that this will keep you entertained.
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El Medina (1999)
8/10
Exceptional Viewing
1 October 2002
Shown in Australia as "The City", this exceptional film is an excellently written story.

The main character "Ali" (Bassem Samra),is a young accountancy graduate with a passion for acting. He leaves Egypt for France in the hope he might find an acting career and a better life. But his dreams infuriate his father who wants him to move to Saudi Arabia and become rich. In France Ali meets Roschdy, who helps him find work, accommodation and gets him a fake ID. But his life becomes a constant battle in more ways than one as he struggles to hide his real identity.

Though this was apparently filmed on 35mm film, it does come across at different times as though it was filmed on someone's home video and so you do get the feeling you are watching an amateur production. However there is some excellent acting from Samra who captures the essence of the role and his supporting cast offer strong back-up.

Well worth the time to watch, I share the loneliness of "Ali" in his time in France as a foreigner in a unwelcoming country.

A well rounded story where our hero finds his true self in end. Excellent viewing.
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9/10
A Golden Tribute
25 July 2002
I will attempt to be as impartial as possible in my review, but right from the outset, I do believe that the flaw in this magnificently presented ‘tribute' is not in the actresses (as most commentary' seem to be intent – particularly on Davis), but in the film itself.

Libby (Davis) provides with gusto a controlled, deep and thoughtful portrayal of ageing that has soured with time. Hating being dependent on anyone, she has to rely heavily on her sister Sarah (Gish) because of her physical limitations and her near blindness. She provides the backbone to this gentle fable and without her strength we would have little to learn from. Her solo scene in her bedroom with her late husbands clip of hair, is touching and heart-warming. Here she is photographed superbly and you come away from this shot reassured that there is timeless and unconditional love still around us in the world somewhere. If there is one fault in her overall performance, it is her first scene, where appearing to almost glow in the dark like a ghostly image, wanting to convey to us her blindness, she relies heavily upon her trademark hand and eye movement, for which she is renowned for instead of allowing us to observe more gently the introduction of Libby Strong.

Gish stands out as truly magnificent. Her denial of an `Oscar' nomination for Best Actress is a sad fact, for if ever she earned it in the last twenty or so years, this was the one. Her expressions and reactions to her fellow characters are without blemish. We feel for `Sarah' and are delighted when she gets her picture window. Not solely for the ‘picture window' but more for the fact that `Libby' shows her first sign in possibly many years of not giving in to death. Gish also carries her solo scene effortlessly when celebrating alone, her beloved husband Philip's memory on their 46th Wedding Anniversary. It's beautiful and elegant.

Sothern, Carey Jr. and Price add substantial weight to their respective supporting performances and they also give us a little uplift when the ‘spirits' almost seemed to be weighing down with age. Sothern, though, appears too young for the storyline though in fact she wasn't. Price is grand. His ‘sponge' is likeable and meticulously interpreted; though I was always glad when his part had finished, I wanted back to the ladies. Carey Jr. could have hung around a bit longer. He was a delight in his too few scenes. He gave it a charge. Davis and Carey Jr. where a good match – I must say!!

The fault as far as I'm concerned lay in the storyline and the static photography with the conversation pieces. We didn't need the real estate scene and we could have had more in depth conversation between Sarah and Libby alone. The hand held photograph viewer scene was the perfect opportunity for a journey into the realm of their respected lives – the sad moment and the happier moment. Again it escaped us on the shoreline when seated on an upturned dinghy. A breath of fresh air, from the almost claustrophobic feel of being confined to and around Sarah's home, beautiful though it was – this was cinema after all.

Then there is the cinematography. Heavily reliant upon editing, the camera didn't seem to have any interest in following the cast nor the story. It broke off as if bored to show us ‘Sothern' picking a berry from a bowl, then upon approval, taking it to share with the others. The entrance back inside the house after their walk to the edge (Gish and Sothern), broke off from Davis hanging her coat to seating herself, when I feel that we could have had more interest for the viewer if we could have done that in a single take. Some POV shots from the arm of the Libby's armchair or her pondering over the ocean when recalling the November chill in her bones (remembering her late husbands passing) to see the scene as she could only feel it and not seen it, could all have been handled better – much better. These are only two of the faults as I have seen them.

Anderson deserves much credit for allowing this opportunity see the light of day in such a ‘commercial' day and age. And also some of his handling is gentle and sensitive. However it is obvious that he holds a long held passion for `Lillian Gish' in her hey day and this somewhat overshadows the whole project – a deserved as it may be. When you consider the wealth of talent dabbling in their shallow pool of opportunity, you can't help but wish that they had made more of their Whale of an opportunity and given us something deeper for the Whales of August to dive away into.

Still…. it's a golden tribute to America's greatest. Thank you Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, Sothern, Carey Jr. and Price. It's well worth the 88 minutes of watching time, just to see you on the screen where you always belonged.
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Naked (1993)
5/10
Can't Take This Film Seriously
13 June 2002
It is great one moment and then slacking the next. This film only delivers in the moments that the girls are sharing/chatting.

The only good thing that I can say about this film is that it offers a tiny glimpse of Leigh's later greatness with Secrets and Lies and Career Girls. Far more interesting and consistent in story. I feel guilty that I am one of the few that don't like this, but I hope that I don't have to sit through it again.....ever !!
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Nil by Mouth (1997)
10/10
Best British Film I've Ever Watched
19 May 2002
If you're going to see this film, prepare yourself for a smack in the mouth. Sheer brilliant camera techniques, realistic dialogue and the monumentally commanding presence of the actors; And that's all the actors, not just the main ones. This is one of the few films I've ever given 10 out of 10 for. Burke and Winstone wowed me from the start. It's a must see. Watch for more by this Director - Gary Oldman.
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10/10
Brilliance
12 May 2002
This film has to be the most underrated films ever made. It hosts some of the best performances to date of the likes of Ustinov, Lansbury and Mia Farrow and brilliant characterisations from Maggie Smith, Bette Davis and Jane Birkin. To be honest they all gave this film their best. The locations are magnificent, the costumes stunning and the intrigue is masterfully worked on. Simply the best "Christie" film of them all. I was a Bette Davis fan before the film and when I saw it upon release I was introduced to so many other performers that I have this film to thank for that. 10 out of 10 !!!
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The Claim (2000)
3/10
Disappointing clunker.
5 May 2002
Peter Mullan is good in most things that he's involved with. I'm definitely a fan, he's a damn good actor. Plus I enjoy Kinski and Thomas Hardy storylines and the slant on this was interesting. Beautiful scenery and some fine camera work. But overall this was a clunker. The actress "Sarah Polley" was just simply awful. She spoilt it so much for and irritated me that I wanted to turn it off. Why do actors/actresses get parts based soley on their good looks. Perhaps she is good in something else, but this movie really did hang very much on liking this young lady and she lost a good opportunity with this part. Pity. I'd like to see this novel made again but this time, base it back in Wessex where it belongs. Nice try.
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1/10
Great idea...wasted.
30 January 2002
Great story and some fine photography, but who was the casting agent??? King Kong??

Put Madonna and Everett together into a movie and what a bomb. It might have salvaged this embarrassment if either of them could act !! Everett is plain pathetic and bares no resemblance to a father than my cat does. Watch the scene where he's reunited with Sam and laugh along with me at his abysmal rumblings. There was about as much warmth in that acting as there is in my cat's dinner bowl!!

With a pathetic attempt by Madonna at showing frustration and worry and fear in 'custodial' type scene's just couldn't convince me that she knew where she was supposed to be. When she's got her hand up to her eyes in those courtroom scene's and in the car at the end, she is probably trying desperately to read her next lines/movements off the palm of her hand.

That this aging 'pop' star who has succeeded in getting acting roles is a mockery of a democratic nation and proves it's not what you know but who you know.

The role could have gone to a 'real' actress makes this film just obscene. Warble your heart out Madonna and let the real actors have the work. You surely dont need it. Everett, get some acting lessons. How on earth did you get to where you are now? Are all Producers able to be bought?
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7/10
A tantalising glimpse..
15 January 2002
This doco is the most interesting of 'making of' doco's that I've seen yet. However on the downside we don't get into too much depth as has been stated previously when a bit more probing into the making of a Von Trier film would have been invaluable to someone like myself that is keen on learning the ropes in the independent film making industry. I would love to have seen more of Von Trier in action as a Director rather than as a clown. Also Barr, Deneuve and Bjork at work. We have some remarkable talent in this one film (Dancer) and I can only view this doco as a wasted opportunity. What about some focus on Bjork writing her music and/or rehearsing in the studio? Von Trier directing and Deneuve discussing her role with her director? There is a million things we could have had but didn't. Very tantalising doco that doesn't deliver, but intriguing nevertheless. I view it as worth seeing and gave it a high score, but I was still disappointed. There could have been more.
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5/10
Some redeeming qualities
19 November 2001
I would like to say that this film is the most serious case of miscasting that I've ever watched. The redeeming points for the entire production would be the special effects, Courtney Cox and Christian Slater.

Kevin Costner is in the wrong film, Kurt Russell struggles to make anything of his part - cliched as it is anyway - because he's no actor to begin with. The dialogue is stilted and the acting lousy most of the way around except for Cox and Slater.

It is cliched ridden and pointless and I'm astounded to read here at IMDB that this dribble cost $63 million to make ????????

I basically saw this film because I'm a major Kevin Costner fan, and it did hold my interest so I gave it a 6 out of 10. But when it comes down to the crunch...don't buy it, don't rent it as a new release. Wait long enough and it'll be in the weekly section for $1.00 a week. No kidding.
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Way Down East (1920)
8/10
Gish brings it home
12 October 2001
Lillian Gish and fellow co-stars really bring home this great drama. It's interesting and exciting and wonderful to watch. Surely a legend of the 20th Century, Mr Griffith outdid himself with this successful film and Gish can only be praised for a great performance. Her pain and despair can be felt in the scene's where she realises she's been 'betrayed' and she nurses her child while he slips from this world. It's acting at it's finest for no words were necessary, it's all in 'the look'. Certainly 10 out of 10, but if I were to make one comment about this film in the negative, it would be it's length. Perhaps 15 to 20 minutes too long. Otherwise it's majestic.
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6/10
Lost something in the Steal
22 September 2001
A pity that Barbra Streisand couldn't have taken the role of Frenchie that she was offered, but even that couldn't have made this one of Woody's best. Good fun all the way, but only provided a couple of chuckles. Woody seems to have lost some of his 'spontaneity' and perhaps could do with a year off to recapture some of that sparkle that has made him the World Wide Wonder that he is. I was looking forward to this film and I'm in anticipation of "Scorpion" too, but can't help but feel a little disappointed.
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2/10
Overblown non-event
21 September 2001
This was the biggest disappointment since the rehash of Planet Of The Apes. I love the child actor Haley Joel Osment and he does a great job in a lethargic un-exciting overblown non-event. I had high hopes for this film after seeing that Speilberg was involved and the shorts made it look like something it wasn't. It comes across so amateur and it's way too long. I wanted to sleep through it but I wasn't tired enough. I'm not suprised that this hasn't made back it's production costs, it just doesn't hit the mark. Talk about "Artificial Intelligence", this doesn't have much intelligence at all. Miss it big time. Costner got flack unlimited for Waterworld, so should the makers of this bomb.
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8/10
Touching Film in Full Bloom
7 September 2001
Beautifully executed drama that rouses the soul. Excellently potrayed film of lonely men in a small village in Spain. I congratulate Luis Tossar for his acting and the rest of the cast are excellent also. The echoing silent atmosphere touched my soul of the loneliness and desperation of these characters. A film I could watch and watch again.
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4/10
Disjointed Affair
18 July 2001
Visually beautiful with pretty characterisations and some fine acting particularly from Julie Walters. But I had more interest in the love triangle of the serf's that I did of the aristrocracy. It really doesn't come together, but could have been quite a compelling drama if the story had peaked and resolved itself a little more poignantly. I wouldn't spend the two hours of viewing time to sit through this again because it seem's to have been directed by someone with the emotions of granite. Pity because it's so pretty and romantic in a visual sense. Too few scene's from Ms Walters. The character portrayed by Ms Dunst (Zinaida) irritated the hell out of me. Pity I had to wait until the end for her exit !!!!!!!
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Brazen Hussies (1996 TV Movie)
3/10
A disappointment
16 July 2001
Considering that Julie Walters was in this disappointment, it just doesn't gel. Sorry Julie, I thought it played flat and unfunny. Julie Walters can make a slipper appear a stilleto, but in this one it just doesn't get to the ball whatever. It promises alot and the 'boys' are a nice added bonus, but I wanted to take Maureen Hardcastle by the neck and throttle her for being such a mug. I didn't sympathise with her character at all and most of the dialogue is unfunny. The 'fantasy' scene's irritate but the costuming is excellent. Direction falls flat but the Production values are all great. Give it a miss except for another chance at watching Julie. She's a damn good actress but should have steered clear.
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The Mexican (2001)
1/10
How to bore me in one two hour film
2 May 2001
This was just awful. Boring, badly acted and terrible story. Suprised that Pitt, Roberts and not to mention the brilliant Gene Hackman got involved in this dribble. Avoid at all costs. A waste of an afternoon and certainly a waste of my money. Badly filmed too. Came across like an amateur's first home movie. Bad move by Julia Roberts...don't do it again Julia.
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A Cooler Climate (1999 TV Movie)
5/10
Stunning Performances
27 October 2000
What a treat to see Sally Field and Judy Davis appear together in a film that offered them roles to sink their acting teeth into. However they hold the tired old Formulae together in a film dealing with situations in such a way that we can safetly say, "we've seen it all before". But still worth a view just to catch the grande dames in action. It's a cross between "Murphy's Romance" meets "Men Don't Leave". But I still scored it a 9 because of the acting. Love Sally, love Judy.
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2/10
Lacking
27 October 2000
The writers decided to do completely without character development in the name of selling a screenplay with a decent plot. Don't waste your time on a movie like this one. Such a pity to see Tommy Lee Jones in this dribble.
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3/10
Close To Home and Close to Us
18 October 2000
Excellent all rounder, Bruce pulling all the punches. Michelle in good form, but tended to feel annoyance rather than sympathy towards her character. I'm glad I saw this film and touched me, but I feel sorry for Bruce being lumbered with that nagging for the rest of his life. Too damn close to home though.
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The Big Blue (1988)
9/10
Enchanting
16 September 2000
A captivating film that appears almost magical. Fine performance by Jean-Marc Barr that is too easily overlooked. His sensitive portrayal captures one's heart and mind and locks you in for the duration. Well backed up by Arquette and Reno with perhaps too much taken out for the US release. Watch and enjoy and allow yourself to be taken on a magical journey into and through a mans heart and soul. Congratulations to all involved. This one is a modern day classic.
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Random Hearts (1999)
1/10
A low point?
23 June 2000
I can't profess to having seen all of Sydney Pollacks directing ventures, but surely this had to be a low point. This also has to be said of the two principals, Kristin Scott-Thomas and Harrison Ford, both of whom I usually enjoy. I was so tempted to walk out and scream at Ford's "Dutch"..oh for god sake get over it. This surely has to be the most boring film of 1999. Pollack, whatever possessed you to get involved? Ford, I'm sure you were as keen as I would be to appear opposite "Scott-Thomas, but in this? One out of ten points simply for the use of soft focus. They made Ford appear ten years younger !!! and he surely needs it these days.
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