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67 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
We're cheated by the poor homages to supposed 'classic influences.', 15 December 2011

Nope, didn't do it for me.

I read a number of reviews about character development, great director homages, etc. and just didn't see them. Yes, the town and the costumes were great, but a number of good actors are here (it has a great cast) and they just didn't get enough good material to work with. Also, too many character clichés - the pragmatic preacher, the sheriff bucking the overlord, the overlord's boneheaded son, the 'stranger' who is a reformed bad guy AFTER a bump on the head, the climax inside the alien spaceship - to make this more than two hours of mildly escapist entertainment. One reviewer wrote that this would have made a great STRAIGHT western, and I agree.

Despite the attractive scenery and outdoor photography, viewers are probably better off with the original material or other classics such as UNFORGIVEN, THE SEARCHERS or HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER. '3' out of '10.'

Bad Santa (2003)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
WAY overpraised film..., 13 July 2004

Frankly, this could have been a great movie. And, while I appreciate the creative use of profanity, it went from a barely sketched opening plot to unbelievable. The highlight of this film is the unrelenting profanity, and that's about it. Although there are several very funny moments, it's hard to highly rate a film that is basically variations of the word f*ck, 'midget' jokes, and crude sexual references. The scene where Bernie Mac gulps down the stool softener while talking to John Ritter was funny, though.

Anyway, this is a 2 out of 10. It could have been much better without being sappy.

9 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
This film is a fraud..., 4 June 2001

"American Beauty" is excessively praised as a great piece of American film, when in reality it isn't even good enough to be a decent rip-off of better films. Unfortunately, many viewers have fallen for it. ("Moonspinner55" and "tubist38" have good reviews. Note that one person who initially praised the film reviewed it again a year later and said, "What was I thinking?") Mendes wastes some excellent actors in these meatball scenes (for example, Spacey throwing the asparagus...who couldn't do that well?) A lot of this film is some snappy one-liners or clever scenes strung together with...nothing. Everything that happens is almost laughably predictable. And the crucial scene, where an empty plastic bag blowing in the wind is supposed to impart some deep meaning on the true nature of existence in the phenomenal world? Right. Finally, I must comment on Annette Bening, who is one of the better actresses working today being cast in the role of a cartoon...what a waste.

This film is a "1," and should in fact have a turkey symbol next to it. "American Beauty" is the perfect symbol of the decline of the serious American film. "Ordinary People," "Out of the Blue," and "The Sweet Hereafter" are much better films.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
"Rosemary's Baby" makes "Contact"..., 6 May 2000

This film owes a great debt to both of the films mentioned above. The review by Brian Orndorf hits many of the main issues, and he's right when he notes that viewers are left wondering, "Why wasn't this a better film?"

Anyway, it is beautifully shot, has an interesting premise, a startling conclusion, but not a lot else. Mostly, though, it has Joe Morton, one of America's best character actors. He is excellent here (as usual), and his work with John Sayles means he always brings something extra to all of his characters. (My favorite line of his was, "ALWAYS have a backup.") And there is one excellent scene, about 20 minutes before the conclusion, that makes for one of the best space shots ever.

Anyway, "coulda shoulda woulda" been better. A "4."

Nice effort all around..., 4 April 2000

A moving, bittersweet film from David Lynch. Richard Farnsworth and Sissy Spacek are terrific in this emotional comedy/drama that portrays the situation I believe everyone faces later in life: How to deal with the past, recent and distant, and how to make amends.

I can't say enough about Farnsworth in this role. His facial expressions and tone convey almost as much as his words, and he nicely balances the comedic and dramatic aspects of the narrative, particularly when he embarks on his trip. The scene where he has a beer with a new friend about his age is particularly moving, as the stories and memories they share have been in the news the past few years but never discussed in this fashion.

Of note also are the scenes near the film's conclusion, when he visits with some very kind people while waiting for repairs. Without going into detail, I found them to be an almost melancholy commentary on our society, as we realize that there aren't many neighborhoods or people who are like this anymore. The film's final scene is very well done, as the veteran actors "show their stuff."

All in, a memorable viewing experience that is recommended. An "8."

2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
9 years later, laughably bad..., 12 February 2000

I can't believe I liked this on its original release. I found the film quite dated (crack is the drug of choice), poorly written and edited, and unfortunately poorly acted. Among my issues are: Ice-T as a guy named Scotty Appleton? Why didn't Mario ever tie his tie? Is there one more Mafia stereotype they could have included? Was an editor present, or did they just open the shutter and shoot? And finally, Chris Rock gets the award for worst cold turkey (later recidivist) performance ever (for a character named "Pookie"). He was bad. Redemption is present, however, in Wesley Snipes' performance (his career unfortunately seems to have followed the Treat Williams model), the music, and the design and filming of the crack "warehouse/factory."

A "3." See "Do the Right Thing" or "Boyz N the Hood" instead.

N.B. Judd Nelson's appearance here brings to mind one of the great questions of the 80s: "What the hell did Andrew Ridgely do in Wham?" Judd is in this film because...?

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
An unheralded gem..., 12 February 2000

"Blood and Wine" is a very pleasant surprise. The reviews by "J-Crew" and "Robert Ruplenas" are dead on. This film is well-acted, as Nicholson nicely underplays his role here. All of the characters are complex and behave as one might expect in real life (i.e. no one is truly good or, for the most part, truly evil), the scenery is great (yes, including Jennifer Lopez), and the tried and true cliches are kept at a minimum. There are a few issues with the heist and the ultimate confrontation between the principals, but overall this is the best work from Rafelson since "Mountains of the Moon."

A "7." Highly recommended...

3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Bombast, James Bombast..., 18 January 2000

Overblown, disconnected, times even boring. Brosnan has "the look" and, apparently, the backing to be the best Bond in quite a while. Too bad there's nothing else to help him out. This film made little sense, the acting was mailed in (although the lead villain, Renard, was much ado about nothing), and the gadgets and chase/action scenes are almost lifeless. Sadly, Brosnan does not come off well here, either. Frankly, what the series needs is a return to fundamentals - strong plot, few gadgets, BELIEVABLE women (Denise Richards is extremely attractive, but her acting...UGH!), and a sense of the struggles (Bond's internal one and those of the other central characters and their respective "organizations") that Fleming wrote into the novels. I've seen every Bond film except the last Roger Moore effort (I just couldn't take it anymore), and the producers need to really think about where they're going. They've got a good Bond, cash, technical advancements that are mind-boggling, plenty of girls if they need them...this product should be MUCH better. Also, please can the comedy, and put more dramatic punch into the plot.

I'd rate this a "1." Rent "From Russia With Love" or "Dr. No." They're cheaper and more enjoyable.

N.B. I generally enjoy Michael Apted films. This was a BIG disappointment from him.

Very funny imitates art imitating life?, 17 January 2000

This is a funny take-off on many subjects: conventions, TV, fans and fandom, having a "career", and many others. The humor is pointed but not cruel, and the major points of the film are wrapped around a TV episode of "Galaxy Quest." Tim Allen seems much nicer than the original as the somewhat clueless William Shatner character (apparently many of the original Star Trek regulars intensely dislike ol' Captain Scene-Chewer), and Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver get their licks in as the Nimoy/rest-of-the-lesser-cast members struggling against the "Captain's" domineering, boorish success. The film is notable in that it restricts gore and profanity enough so that a broad audience can be included, although younger kids may not get all the references. And, despite the many jokes at their expense, the fans who keep this industry alive with letters and conventions and dollars get their moment to shine. On another note, the most interesting character I saw was the evil Sarris, who is in fact highly intelligent yet quite malefic, seeking to destroy the nice aliens (who don't understand deceit or the "historical documents" despite incredible technological advancement)simply because they are...nice and simple and without artifice. Interesting.

Anyway, it's fun and worth a couple of hours, even if only to see what level of SF fan you are. A "7."

1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Avoid at all costs..., 17 January 2000

Apparently a "direct to video" release, only those in absolute desperation at the local Blockbuster will rent this (count me in this group). Expect to experience almost immediate regret (less than one minute after the credits end). These is one redeeming scene in this film, and it lasts less than 2 minutes. The rest of the film incorporates every major action/loner/rogue hero film cliche imaginable.

A definite "1." Avoid at all costs.

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