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El espíritu de la colmena (1973)
Best foreign film from Spain EVER?
I appreciate a good foreign film as well as the next critic, but aside from the great acting performances by the two sisters, and the lovely cinematography, there is little here to maintain one's interest. I kept waiting for something to happen, other than the director's symbolism, and alas, nothing did. I'm sure there are messages here and there that I apparently missed, but I sure as hell cannot fathom where they might be.
I even speak Spanish, and it didn't help in trying to "get" this film. I was duped by the 7.8 rating on this site, and the push in the paper to be "sure to watch this film".
I can't honestly advise anyone to waste the hour or so it takes to watch this film, so I won't.
Judy Garland-Judy Davis-take your pick
Once in a great while, a bio-pic really gets it right. This is one of those "whiles". Not only was Judy Garland a legend, alive or dead, asking an actress to take on this all-encompassing role, is truly a reach. Whoever found Judy Davis, a consummate actress in her own right, should be given a separate trophy for casting.
The multi-faceted career of the great Garland would be tough enough to imagine as an actress, but to go out an DO what Davis did to this characterization, almost defies the word, "talent". She IS Judy Garland, in every scene throughout the film.
She shows you the person inside the "star", and the studio-created nova that had audiences screaming for more and more. She strove to give them that, and she paid for it dearly, with personal anguish and a reliance on drugs that eventually killed her. She became the "property" of the public and while in her earlier years, she enjoyed that acclaim, it ate her up later in her movie life.
If you knew ANYTHING at all about Judy Garland, you MUST watch this tour-de-force by the amazing Judy Davis. As I pointed out in the heading, in this film, they are one and the same.
The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001)
Are you kidding me??
This is the only picture I have ever seen that is NOT as good as "Planet 9", the ridiculous film flop from Ed Wood. I suppose some moron was trying for a "spoof", but what he got was a film that should have all of it's copies destroyed.
I have to add a few more comments here, because they told me that I didn't have enough lines for my comments. so....
Forget it! Skip it! Mail a copy to an enemy! Burn the tape! Make your misbehaving kids watch it for punishment. Warning: This black & white travesty make make you start smoking again!
Save yourself from these aliens...please...get away...get VERY FAR away from this movie.
Lost in Translation (2003)
Lost is right!! I need a translator.
Once again Hollywood rears it's ugly publicity-seeking head and tells us that we will LOVE this "Comedy". The best part about this film was the Japanese scenery. It was actually BORING, and I consider myself a very erudite film critic. For some magical, mystical reason, this movie actually was nominated as "best film". Wow!
I know this opinion is going to get lost among the thousands who have voted this vehicle an 8.0 on the 10 scale, but I don't care. If I can save one movie-goer from being bored for almost two hours, it will be well worth it.
The ONLY reason to invest your time in this mess, is to see if you can find an honestly 'funny' scene'. Good luck, or as we say in Japan, "Bullsheet".
Full Frontal (2002)
For this I rented the DVD??
I read just a little about this movie on the DVD jacket. That was full of baloney. Sonderberg? Supposedly, a "genius" as a director. Well, he lost my vote only a few minutes in, but with the star-power of the lineup and the promise of Digital Dolby Surround, I decided to let it run a little. Boy am I glad I waited, because I was treated to a nap in my big leather chair...a luxury not usually afforded me. By the way, this thing needed Dobly sound like I need the flu. ALL THEY DO IS TALK!
This thing is SO boring, I don't think even the participants liked it. He has a lot of connections apparently, so he was able to attract some "names" for this farce. There are some people in this mess that I KNOW are embarrassed now that it's out for home viewing. It's no wonder at all that it didn't do well with it's run in the theaters.
Please look up some of my other reviews, so you know you are not reading the ramblings of an ignorant viewer who just happened not to like a specific film. I am simply trying to save you some of your precious time by touting you off this thing...unless you too, need a nap.
This guy directed "Traffic". Go figure.
Rat Race (2001)
One of these words is correct..."Rat"
In an obvious attempt to parody a great film ( "It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world"), this inane compilation of nonsense is saved only by it's short length. Any longer, and my TV set might not have survived.
The producers made an attempt to collect some "names" for these ditzy roles, but they all fall flat on their silly faces. What a disaster, trying to watch an Oscar winner (Cuba Gooding Jr.) attempt to salvage a role that requires an idiot's mentality. I am certain he is very sorry he accepted this fluff.
So, why did I watch this you ask? Just so I could warn the rest of you. If you are past the age of thirty, don't go near this thing. In fact, if you are an elderly person ( past fifty) DEFINITELY skip this waste of time. Oh yes, they wasted another Oscar winner too, asking Kathy Bates to deliver a scene as a roadside peddler that even Whoopi Goldberg couldn't save.
It's pretty clear that a lot of "favors" were repaid by these stars agreeing to jeopardize their careers with an acceptance to be in this film.
One last thought. Who are all you morons that voted this thing a 6.6 on a scale of 10 ???
I left after the two leading half-wits went to the Klaus Barbie museum. You should leave LONG before then.
In the Bedroom (2001)
Another highly hyped and mediocre film.
I'd like to state that I am considered by many to be an above-average movie critic. I begin each film with no premise of disappointment,but rather an open mind that says, "Show me what you're worth". <p>
I did that with this film as well, and was sadly disappointed. To begin with, it takes FOREVER to even establish any "suspense", and despite the fact that I am a Sissy Spacek fan, even she couldn't carry this corpse. <p>
When something finally happens ( and it's clearly predictable), it is a combination of scenes that rattle around endlessly, and leave you with an "are they kidding??" overview. <p>
As with many movies of late, people in charge of these things have difficulty in ending films.This one is no exception. The ending mystified me. <p>
You'll probably watch it because of the multiple (5) nominations, one oddly for Best Picture, and you can make up your own mind, but if you have time constraints, and have to choose between I.T.B. and "Coal Miner's Daughter", select C.M.D.
Monster's Ball (2001)
The "Monster" part is at least descriptive!
As usual, the hype and ballyhoo of Hollywood cons us into watching pictures we would normally do without. I got taken in by Berry's Academy Award, and wanted to see a performance that would show me why she was selected. <p>
Well, let me tell you why she was selected. It had nothing to do with a major performance in a motion picture. She got the award because years ago the academy nominated Dorothy Dandridge for a great role in "Carmen Jones". Guess who won the award that year? Grace Kelly, for "The Country Girl", a movie in which she did a lot of standing around while delivering no emotion whatsoever. They weren't ready to give the top prize to a black actress. <p>
The very same thing happened with John Wayne, when they realized his star power, they gave him the award for "True Grit", hardly a "moving" performance. It was just that he was "due". That's what happened here. There was a lot of pressure to honor a black actress. Halle clearly did not deliver one of the strongest female roles of the past year by a long shot.<p>
When you watch this mess, and you will, see if you can spot "greatness" in any sense of the word. In some scenes, she is downright ridiculous in her line delivery.<p>
I never thought I'd see the day that Billy Bob was the best part of any motion picture, but there it is. Let's hope you really enjoy your movie snack when you watch this one.
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Only if you have 2 1/2 hours to waste.
There was so much hype on this film when it was made, I simply had to see what the fuss was about. Let me first tell you, that I am a qualified movie critic, and the first time around with this picture,I really wasn't sure what I had seen. I gave it another shot, alone, and with an open mind. I am now wondering what else I could have done with my time.
For some reason, Hollywood seems to want to canonize David Lynch. If it were up to me, I would ostracize, not canonize. All his films go off on weird tangents, but this one is way out there. I cannot understand how it has received an 8.1 rating ( out of a possible ten), from THOUSANDS of viewers.
Good manners keeps me from the words I would like to apply here...suffice to say, that unless you are crazy about Lynch's work, forget this melange of twelve movies in one.
This is NOT one of those movies you remember for "quality"
When I first saw the lineup of actors in this film, I was thinking, "How bad can it be"? Well, I found out. It wanders all over the place and wastes some "major" talent who all fell by the wayside trying to react to the writer-director's desires. It has never been made clearer that a director makes the movie, and not the actors, than in this uneven waste of time.
With the lone exception of the treatment Nick Nolte receives at the hand of a tramp at his dinner table, I would remember very little.
Just "trust me" ( I hate that line, but...) when I tell you that you have better things to do. If you are a BIG fan of Emily Watson, than go ahead, but other than that, there is no reason to bother with this mindless drivel. I have critiqued a few other movies and been complimented on my synopsis, so you can rely on this recommendation.
It looks to me like our director was "calling in" some favors.
Nurse Betty (2000)
Betty the nurse, needs a nurse of her own.
Someone finally found the right role for Renee. As a totally involved soap opera watcher, our Betty finds herself doing a "Dorothy", vis a vis, "The Wizard of Oz", in seeking out the actor who portrays her beloved doctor on the TV.
During all this, interestingly confusing plot, she wanders around in a dreamlike trance almost to the point of distraction. However, this damn movie sneaks up on you, and regardless of your gender, you find yourself pulling for Betty to get it all straightened out.
Morgan Freeman is his always reliable self, turning in a split-conscience performance. He's a crook, but he has a big heart. The sad thing associated with Morgan is the stupid casting of Chris Rock as his loudmouth assistant. Rock has no business being in this film, and as I was enjoying the story as it unfolded, his presence ruined the film for me. I was tempted to turn the sound off while he was on screen, because he absolutely distracted from the plot lines. If you watch this film, just pay attention to his line delivery. It's terrible, and he is about as believable as Ronald McDonald. Someone should have investigated the casting company that selected him. The fact that he is an African-American is of no consequence, he's just BAD. You'll see what I mean.
In spite of him, this film IS worth watching. It's a nice original twist on an old story, and Renee Z. does a good job. The rest of the cast (not C.R.) does a commendable turn. I always like whatever Greg Kinnear does anyway.
I am a senior male, and have seen thousands of movies. I suggest you give this a "go", and just try to ignore the acting attempt by you know who.
The Virgin Suicides (1999)
This one will catch you off-guard
I wasn't exactly sure what to expect here, having some previous knowledge of the plot. It seemed to me that it would be some monstrous mistake by a first time screenwriter/director, trying to explain how five young sisters met their demise. I am here to tell you that I was totally wrong.
I consider myself, a good movie critic. I am a senior citizen, male, and always looking for an interesting film. This one is more than that. it is an intricately woven tale of five young girls who appear perfectly normal on the surface, but beneath this calm-appearing exterior, beats a heart of a drastically different nature.
Sofia Coppola is the master behind this work. You will see at once, that it is poignantly directed. It is both haunting and eerie, yet filled with blissful moments. Even though it starts a little slow, you will find yourself drawn right into the story. It comes across as being totally believable, even with the odd premise it stands for.
Throw in a fine job by Kathleen Turner, and even better job by James Woods, and a unique performance by Kirsten Dunst, and you've got more than enough reasons to watch this excellent film. there are even a few cameo roles by people you will recognize, thrown in. I seriously doubt that you will easily forget this strange, yet pleasing movie story. It's as if it actually happened.
Here and there, one of the boys does a narration to keep the flow going and it works perfectly. If you were thinking of taking a chance on a cinema experience, by all means, watch "The Virgin Suicides". Even the title works. Trust me.
We have all faced some of the same problems.
I really had little idea as to what this was going to be, but being a fan of Kenneth Branagh's work, and hearing that is was a bit comedic, I gave it a shot. From the very first minutes of the movie, you know that you are in for "something special". As always, his timing when delivering a humorous line and his adroit methods of playing off a co-star, are in full force here. Robin Wright does an excellent job as his usually ignored wife, and the remainder of the cast, as you will see, was well directed.
The "real" standout in this film is the dialogue. The writing is superb...so much so, that I am going to watch it again, to pick up the lines I missed while I was either laughing or savoring an exquisite film moment.
He is totally in charge of the role given him here and really does hate the neighbor's dog ( as you would too), but the dog is only a segment of what is a bigger picture of a man fighting his personal torments, and all the while, doing it with a smile.
Why there wasn't more publicity about this film is beyond me. If it is to become a "cult" classic, then so be it, but it will definitely become some kind of classic. I have written other comments on this site for movies, and consider myself an "excellent" judge of what entertains and what does not, no matter who is in it, and I heartily recommend that you get a glass of your favorite whatever, and sit back and watch a great movie unfold. I would suggest that you are older than thirty to REALLY have fun with this vehicle.
Oh yes, let the credits role after the movie ends....in a few moments there is a scene that you WILL need to see. It's just one...but it's important. Get the popcorn and turn it on. You can thank me later.
The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
Fore! Watch out for flying golf balls.
I was expecting much more from a Robert Redford film, and I have had some decent screen moments from Matt Damon, but this film never got anywhere. Firstly, you are asked to believe that a former WW I soldier, who now spends his time getting drunk and playing poker, is one of the best golfers to ever come out of Georgia.
Thanks to a nosy kid, a woman who inherited her father's debt-ridden golf course, manages to stage a match for $10,000, (Keep in mind that she was stone broke) winner take all, with the improbable matchup of Walter Hagan and Bobby Jones, two of the greatest to ever play the game. To represent the "honah" of Savannah, she calls upon our local drunk and former golfer, as well as her former boyfriend (same guy), with the improbable name of Rannulph Junuh. Quite honestly, I enjoyed the name of this character better than the film.
Well, here we go. The match is arranged for two days of 36 holes each, yet when the they finish the first 18 holes, it's dark, yet they show the next 18 holes taking place in brilliant sunshine. If you like, and/or play golf, you'll find all sorts of things incorrect in this story. If you don't play, I doubt you'll like this melange at all.
Now let's come to "Bagger" himself. Here comes Will Smith, who is so miscast, it must have even made him laugh. He attempts to portray this "Is he an angel or isn't he?" character. I can't believe that Redford's direction allowed Smith to give this almost "silly" portrayal of a down and out caddy, who knows everything there is to know about golf. Even Charlene Theron, couldn't convince me of her role.
When you consider parting with two hours and seven minutes of your precious time, check and see if it's raining. Anyone knows you shouldn't play golf in the rain (or the dark either). I guess no one told Redford that.
In golf a "bogey" is a bad score. I give this film, a triple-bogey. That's three OVER par.
Me, Myself & Irene (2000)
It's time for Hollyweird to stop getting "Carey-ed" away.
This was another highly touted Jim Carey vehicle that failed to live up to it's ballyhoo. You can spot bits of the old Carey talent here and there, but overall, this film just gets more ridiculous by the moment. I kept watching, hoping for some kind of cine-miracle, but alas, it was not forthcoming.
Add to this the fact that someone in authority connected with this film, believes that Renee Zellweger is a "talented" actress. Bah! Take a close look at her in the two person scenes with Jim, and you'll see either the 55th take, where the Director couldn't take it anymore,or a truly bad job of acting and direction. In spots, she is actually "terrible", as in not believable at all.
I gave the film every chance, but there's little acting substance here, even given the premise that Carey's character is a split-personality type, which would lend itself to zany actions...all well and good,but there is still the "acting" to contend with, and there was precious little of that in this movie.
If you're a "total" Carey freak, then go for it, otherwise use your time to some better advantage, like reading the National Inquirer.
You're a Big Boy Now (1966)
It's 1966, but you won't mind. This'll take you back.
What we have here is an early F.F.C. effort (he also wrote most of the screenplay).You can see the genius that is later to come.
Here's a confused, virginal young man, constantly picked on by his over-bearing parents, trying to find his way in the world of New York City. Bernard is his name and just watch what he does with initials he spots.
The gal that wants him he doesn't want, and the gal that he wants doesn't want him. Got it straight? No wonder this is turning into a "cult" film.
The acting is first rate in a lot of places. Geraldine Page is always great and Rip Torn can handle most roles. Julie Harris was "perfect" as Mrs. Thing (honest, that's her name). Speaking of names, the part played by Lisa Hartman is Barbara Darling, a would-be actress who dances in a go-go club at night.
Watching Bernard weave his way through conniving co-workers and the strange behavior of Miz Darling, is worth the price of admission.
I always wonder who writes these critiques for IMDB, and should I trust them? For that reason,I'd like you all to know that I am a male senior citizen, but this movie made me feel 18 again. You'll find yourself running into similar things that happened to you in your youthful pursuits.
You could do a lot worse taking a chance on a movie.
A Millionaire for Christy (1951)
Even in 2001 a 1951 movie works just fine
Sometimes going back for a fun-filled romp in one of those old situation-comedies, is just the tonic for an otherwise uneventful day. This film is one of those "feel-good" movies that used to abound back in the early Fifties. Fred MacMurray has always been adept at handling light comedy, and Eleanor Parker shows a humorous side that a lot of you will be impressed by. The plot is zany, but it's a "good" craziness that permeates this film. I found myself giggling aloud at some of the passages, and even tried to teach the couple how to speak Spanish. (You'll see what I mean when you watch the movie).
It's in black and white, but it's so entertaining, you won't miss the splash of color. It also introduces and old love standard, which is not featured, but playing in the background in a lot of the scenes. The song is, "I don't stand a ghost of a chance with you".
Get comfortable...click the remote, and travel back to when "real" people had "real" fun.....oh yes, there IS a love story here as well.
The Big Kahuna (1999)
A feast for dialogue lovers
I was expecting a comedy of a different nature. This is best described as a "black" comedy, and amazingly, with only three main characters, this movie REALLY works. The writing and the dialogue is so good, you can't even glance away from the actor's faces. Kevin Spacey is again at his "off-kilter" best. The interplay with longtime co-worker Danny DeVito is excellent, and the third character makes his presence known strongly, especially near the end. If you have ever worked in "sales", this is a "must-see". I can see where this was not a "commercial" success, but it certainly is a "critical" success. I have watched thousands of movies and this is one of those "rare" times, I am eager to state, that I will watch this film again and soon...just in case I missed anything.
Oh yes, about the ending. There is a special moment when YOU have to figure out if they got the account or not. The movie doesn't tell you...or does it??
Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
You'll have to be a BIG Nicolas Cage fan.
It is apparent that even Martin Scorcese can't ride a winner every time. This film presents one of the strangest premises I have seen in recent times.
We have an ambulance driver who hates everything and everybody. We are shown the "behind the scenes" realism of what their lives are like. I thought that with Cage and John Goodman and Tom Sizemore, I could find something to like, but even if I did find a snippet here and there, along comes Patricia Arquette to screw things up. I have often wondered how she gets so many "plum" roles, and the only thing I can assume here is that her "ex", ( former real life husband,Cage), got her the part.
She is absolutely terrible in this role, and the only asset she ever had in other films,namely her breasts, was totally ignored by Mr.
Scorcese. He even had Ving Rhames involved, who almost saved the film by himself,but that was too much to ask for.
Bottom line? Just trust me. I am close to being a professional movie critic after all these years, and unless you are a stone Nick Cage fan, save the two hours this will take to prove me right.
Immortal Beloved (1994)
The music and the madness, brilliantly mixed.
You don't have to be a classical music lover to really appreciate this film, but if you are, then this is like a fine dessert after a sumptuous dinner. Gary Oldman is completely believable as the moody and misunderstood composer, Beethovan.
This film deals with the one "true" love of his life, although you are not quite sure who she is. Using flashbacks and a narrator, the movie takes you along deftly, in the attempt to determine just who it was that Beethoven left his worldly goods to, ignoring family as he did so.
Whether the supposition at the film's end at finding the rightful heir is correct, no one knows to this day, but it could have happened this way.
Certainly the man's music is well represented, and clearly adds luster to an already brilliant story presentation. I found myself hinging on every word at various intervals of the film.
Part fact...part fiction, it is assuredly well worth your time. The acting is first rate, especially Gary Oldman in the lead role.
Suspense is an "over-used" word sometimes.
The only reason I checked this film out was to see the "early" Kim Bassinger. That, and the fact that my TV guide said it was a "gripping suspense", and it was three-star rated. The rating must have come from the man who wrote this drivel because the only suspense in this movie was whether I would finish it or not. Robert Culp turns in what has to be the "disaster" of his career as a cop who is not even close to being believeable. At one point, EVERYBODY is a suspect, including a frail old woman. If you want to deliberately set out to watch a badly written, badly directed, badly acted movie...then go for it. It may make you appreciate fine films by comparison. I wish I had that hour and thirty six minutes back.
A movie that gives the term "sleeper", a new meaning.
Boy..what a surprise this flick is. If you are very young or old fashioned, forget it, but if you can handle doses of poverty, abuse,drinking,gambling,dancing girls,sex,travel,mistrust,lesbianism,homosexuality...well....you get the picture (no pun intended). This remarkable film hits a lot of spaces that you and I have travelled in. While the story line is fairly common, it is so well done, that this movie grabs you without you even realizing it at first. Park Overall is the recognizable star here and does her usual good turn, but this movie is "STOLEN" by a phenomenal (and believable) performance by actress Veronica Cartwright (whom I have never heard of) in the role of Dottie Delgado, a Las Vegas showgirl (of sorts), who was a high school classmate of the star (Park). She is mesmerizing in a role that calls for an honesty all it's own. You'll see what I mean when the movie moves on to Las Vegas. It is worth watching this film if only for the Delgado role, but it has it's own icing on the cake in the end, when Ms Overall bring a jolt of "pay-back" to her wandering husband ( a "Trailer trash" jerk). Go for it, and I feel that you'll wind up agreeing with me. For the record, I have an "excellent" ability to spot "enteraining" movies.
Mystery Men (1999)
As long as you have some time to kill.....
This is really a "stupid" movie, BUT....the list of actors is impressive, so it's worth taking a look to see how "stupid" they can be. Some of these folks have been in very "serious" roles, but not today.
It'll work if you ever got locked in your room with nothing but comic books to read.
Better than you might think
What makes this one different from the "cop" drama you are used to running into, is the stellar and believable performances by two principals, Lapaglia and Liotta. I actually felt empathy for them as the story unfolded. I am a severe critic of this genre, but I was surprised as this kept my interest. The other characters are basically required fluff, but it doesn't matter. I think you will find, as I did, that the two men brought you right into their personal "living rooms" as it were. For an hour and 45 mins., this will remind you that every now and then, they CAN make a decent "cop" drama.
Sour Grapes (1998)
Oh what could have been
The plot for this film is excellent. Two great buddies...together forever, get separated by greed as a result of one of them hitting a big jackpot using the other's coins. He'll share the winnings right? Wrong...greed takes over and then it turns into a series of trite and predictable scenes which are not helped by the usually inept "acting" of Steven Webber. So much could have transpired here, just by allowing the viewer to vicariously place himself into the situation. Sadly, we cannot feel sorry for Webber, who found a career in the constantly available "Wings" on TV. I have watched him in a few other efforts (read: "The Shining") where he also failed to convince. Maybe someday, another filmmaker will do this picture the way it should be done. A convincing lead is the place to start. If you liked "Wings" forgive me, and go for it.