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34 reviews in total 
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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Could've been 60 minutes shorter, 10 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Obviously, Tarantino has entered the sacred realm of Writer-Directors We Dare Not Edit. A decent film made very good by the presence of Christoph Waltz - as evidenced by the fact that it dragged after he left the scene.

In short, it could've been a lot shorter. Tarantino's schtick is getting a bit old - his paeans to spaghetti westerns, B movies in general and comic-book blood-splattering in particular. Despite all this, he manages to entertain which, I suppose, is all he's after. Not a bad thing when you're in the mood for mindless, well-crafted fun.

Let's give Jamie, Leonardo and Samuel their due, also. They clearly had a good time and clearly got into the mood.

Bring lots of candy, lots of popcorn and don't worry when you take your bathroom break - you won't miss any subtle plot twists. On second thought, take a break after Waltz waltzes out. You don't want to miss a minute of his performance.

9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Yet another take on this film, 1 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As usual with the Coen brothers, the reviews are all over the place - from "I hated it" to "It's a work of genius". (I happen to subscribe to the latter). And, as usual with them, the interpretations are all over the place, though many reviewers seem to focus on the Coens' view of life as nasty, brutish and short.

But because the Coens are able to weave so many meanings into their films, I think I ought to point out a thread that I've not seen anyone discuss. Specifically, one could make the argument that every single awful thing that befalls Larry Gopnik - with exception of the final irrevocable disasters - could have been prevented. Go right down the line: giving an "F" to a student because he understood only the stories and not the math (like Einstein...); watching a neighbor take more and more of his yard from him; a son and daughter living in another world from him; a brother who refuses to move out of the house; a wife who leaves him for a "serious man" - in all of these trials and tribulations, Larry Gopnik could've taken control. Taken in this light, the opening Yiddish folk tale can easily be interpreted as showing the correct way to deal with evil: stab it in the heart, push it out of the house and then get on with life.

What then to say about the two final - and irrevocable - verdicts, one for Larry and one for his son? While they work as typical Coen over-the-top finales, they also represent what Anton Chigurh represented in "No country...": the occasional, truly arbitrary, visitation of evil or death.

The Messenger (2009/I)
66 out of 92 people found the following review useful:
NOT a war movie; NOT a movie about an ethical dilemma, 25 October 2009

I was fortunate enough to see this at the recent NY Drama Critics showcase, where both the director (Mr. Moverman) and a co-star (Woody Harrelson) participated in after-show Q&A. First of all, the film is superb - but the summaries I've seen so far do not do justice to what the movie is really about. Sure there are ethical dilemmas, sure there are soldiers who have returned from Iraq. But the great strength of this film is its focus on individual human beings and their reaction to humans' most important concerns: life, death and love. Oren Moverman - accomplishing this so beautifully, accurately and subtly in a small-budget film - is to be congratulated. Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster and Samantha Morton are all magically on the same wavelength in their performances. And the writing (by Camon and Moverman) acknowledges the fact that reasonably intelligent people might be watching... people who don't need every little detail spelled out. Oh yes - I should mention that there's a lot of humor interspersed throughout. The result of all this? The people you meet in this film will stay with you for a very long time - and you'll be glad for that.

Doubt (2008/I)
6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
'Twould have been perfect, had Shanley the good sense to let someone else direct., 23 January 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I know my hero Roger Ebert is in the tank for this film, but there are problems. First, this is a nicely written, wonderfully acted movie. Alas, it looks like Mr. Shanley felt that the film version needed more oomph than the stage version. I say this because we get crooked camera angles, a lot of those super slow zooms and dramatic last lines before the cut to a new scene (Sample: when one of the employees at the school shows how the new cat caught a mouse and says triumphantly, "See? It takes a cat!" Sister Aloysius says - almost twirling her mustache - "It certainly does." I mean, good grief, the employee's comment was already heavy-handed enough: we got it... we GOT it).

Ebert is sure right in saying that Viola Davis is wonderful and is the heart of the movie. Aside from the fact that Ms. Davis does a great job, I think the secret lies also in the fact that hers are emotions that we almost embrace, knowing them to be real - unlike the rest of the characters, whose feelings and motives we doubt.

All in all, a good movie that could've been great.

Stripped of all subtlety, alas., 13 August 2007

As has been pointed out, this is the shortest movie - made, paradoxically, from the longest book. I'm not sure who's responsible for this, but we can only hope that the DVD version restores the subtlety that Rowling wrote into the story. For example: in the book, as Harry tries to deal with being cut off from Dumbledore, Ron is dealing with a lack of support from Harry. It is a nice parallel plot, one that Rupert Grint would have handled nicely, given a chance to do so. But instead of luxuriating in the human-interest sub-plots, we are rushed through what amounts to an action flick. This is horribly frustrating and a mis-read of this series' viewing public. Surely the producers know that we'll sit through a longer movie (as many of us did with the Lord of the Rings trilogy) if the film is true to the book, yet sustainable as a visual experience.

Alas and alack, Yates has been booked to direct the next one, as well. We can only hope he has developed a higher opinion of his audience by the time filming begins.

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Yes indeed: this needs to be on DVD, 24 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

James Mason's last film. Trivia question: what were Mason's last words on film? Answer: "Time to sleep". I agree with the reviewer who laments the fact that this movie is still not on DVD. What a wonderful cast and how perfectly they work together. This is a beautifully subdued, melancholy film, in the style of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy". Even Alan Bates - who I like so much, despite his sometimes overly-energetic performances - stays within the mood set by director Lindsay-Hogg. And Mason is, as always, so in control. To the undoubtedly warring parties who are contesting licensing fees, PLEASE settle your dispute and give this to us on DVD.

4 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
A suspense of extraordinary intelligence and compassion, 31 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Not absolutely sure if there is a spoiler herein, but to be safe, please be warned, since this film is, on one level, a mystery drama. One the many wonderful aspects of this film is watching Justin (Fiennes) grow from a detached, kind-hearted, naif to a sad, wise person of the world. And in true LeCarre style, no one is what they seem to be, which adds to the suspense element. The director is also responsible for the remarkable and very hard-hitting "City of God". Now this film comes along and it makes me want to know more about him. He certainly is able to deliver a powerful social message along with a great story. Not many can do that without sounding like they're preaching. I don't want to reveal too much, so I urge you simply to walk into the theater and let this film catch you up in its frenetic, urgent and beautiful style.

Ten stars.

7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
The funniest TV show ever aired, 28 May 2005

It's so good to find others talking about this amazing show. My wife and I were just reminiscing about those old shows (and crying about the tape that we accidentally recorded over, years ago) and wondering if they're available on DVD.

I remember the night I came across it on TV. I started watching it and was laughing so hard I couldn't make it over to the VHS to start taping it. I could only tell my wife about it the next morning. (No, she didn't move out). The next time it was on, we taped it and played it more times for more people than the poor oxide on the tape could stand. The reaction was always the same: "When is this on?" Our answer ("It's not on anymore") always astounded our guests.

I hope that someone, somehow, gets this back into the public domain.

Sin City (2005)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Joins "The Matrix" (parts 2 and 3) in being one of those over-rated flicks, 10 May 2005

This could've been a great one. The look and feel of the film - though over-hyped (everyone jumped on the "what an incredible look!" bandwagon) - was dark and nihilistic, the acting was reasonable, (except for Mickey Rourke - who was _terrific_) and the plot line was quite inventive.


I'm no prude (loving films from Midnight Cowboy to Pulp Fiction), but what have we become when we need that kind of violence and sex to make an impact? Are we really at the point where we say, "If we CAN depict it, then we MUST depict it"? Looking around the theater, one could see all the young white males after whose dollars, we are continually told, the entertainment world lusts. Only some of those males had girl friends or wives loyal enough to accompany them. And what were those loyal women treated to? Some pretty unnecessary and demeaning images.

"But that's Sin City!" you say. Yeah, well... Polanski's Chinatown had its own perverse monster, but we weren't treated to those kinds of images.

It's still a mark of genius to scare us senseless without simply showing us the horror. Sin City is no work of genius.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Not the BBC radio play - but not awful, either, 10 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I suppose the best compliment that one can give this film is to say that they did about as well as anyone could in bringing the BBC radio play to the screen. Compared to the dreadful TV production, this was quite a relief. (By now, most people know that the books came _after_ the radio play). I think it was Ebert who remarked that in doing a movie like this, it's a tight walk in targeting both those who are intimately familiar with the original on the one hand - and those new to this weird and wonderful story on the other. The film team accomplished that tight walk pretty well. I especially appreciate the fact that they didn't slavishly adhere to the original. You have to throw fresh meat to us ravenous fans. Apparently the late Douglas Adams knew that, as well. Some of the screenplay was his.

Pretty much everyone in the movie did a solid job. I especially liked (and was terrifically surprised at) the job that Mos Def did. Ford Prefect sometimes got just a tad annoying in the radio series, but Def is - while he was exasperating to Arthur - thoroughly likable: just the companion one would want while traipsing around the universe.

*** Spoiler Alert *** The biggest of my admittedly minor disappointments was the ending. In the radio play, we leave the characters back at the beginning of earth's history with Arthur Dent saying, "Oh well...". In the movie, the writers/director/producer must have us see that - wait, no! - the Earth was not, in fact, destroyed. Everything is fixed up again. Very un-British. "Oh well..."

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