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50 out of 70 people found the following review useful:
Edith Piaf lived an incredible life. This movie is not it., 4 September 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Edith Piaf was a member of the French Resistance during World War II. She launched the career of actor Yves Montand, she starred in a blockbuster play written by Jean Cocteau. She was such a hit in the US that she appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show eight times and at Carnegie Hall twice. She singlehandedly saved the famous Paris Olympia concert hall from bankruptcy, and it's still open today.

None of these items are mentioned in La Vie en Rose, however, which chooses instead to present an onslaught of ham-fisted melodramas, many of which are severely embellished from her life (her lover died in a plane crash on his way to a boxing match, not on his way to a clandestine meeting with her), and some of which are made up whole-cloth (she never grew up in the circus). La Vie en Rose jumps haphazardly through Piaf's life, from childhood to adulthood to the end of her life, back and forth with no rhyme or reason, and at every point in her life she is surrounded by friends and hangers-on for whom no context is given, and often not even names are given, although they're depicted as being important and influential figures in her life. Aside from a brief montage of records and newspaper clippings, no mention is made in the movie to Piaf's monumental success, and all the audience is given is a litany of her tragedies, which are significantly dulled by a lack of high points and happy moments to contrast them with.

Two other nagging points on top of what I've already mentioned; first of all, Piaf is never shown smoking in the movie, despite the fact that she was a chain smoker and it significantly changed her voice later in her career. Second, although Marion Cotillard does look quite a bit like Edith Piaf (albeit about two feet taller than Piaf's 4'8"), her acting is just not up to the challenge; she portrays an older Piaf as a senile, uncharismatic shell of a person, and portrays Piaf in her 20s as a goofy, over-the-top caricature strongly reminiscent of Nicole Sullivan's "Antonia" character from MadTV.

Edith Piaf's life was full of so many ups and downs and triumphs over hardship that a movie of it could practically write itself, and some day a truly wonderful and inspiring movie will be made of her life. La Vie en Rose, however, was certainly not it.

3 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
this is everything that's wrong with Hollywood, 17 July 2007

This is a two hour movie about a screenwriter having trouble writing a screenplay, and if that wasn't masturbatory enough, the screenwriter spends most of the movie masturbating.

I understand that writers sometimes have to write things like this, and I'm sure it was cathartic (Kaufman went on to write the wonderful "Eternal Sunshine" afterwards), but when this script was finished it should've gone in a drawer, never to be seen again, and I can't imagine what compelled Spike Jonze to actually make a movie out of it.

I was expecting the same sort of zany, surreal comedy as "Eternal Sunshine" or "Being John Malkovich", and was sorely disappointed. There is no comedy. There is no surreality. There isn't even much of a plot. There's just two hours of sulking, and a total waste of a lot of great actors. My wife and I both left the movie feeling nervous, nauseous, and miserable.

Avoid at all costs!!

15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
A horror movie that makes sense?? Madness!, 27 August 2006

Head Trauma is about a man who suffers a head trauma while cleaning out his grandmother's condemned house, which results in bizarre nightmares that begin to bleed over into the waking world.

Very well-written, well-directed, and ties things up perfectly at the end. It has some thematic elements similar to the recent invasion of Japanese horror movies (in particular, a mysterious girl with black hair whose back is always to the protagonist/camera), but whereas those have all been disappointing and seem to have just latched onto a scary image without making any effort to justify it, in Head Trauma every strange and scary image actually fits into the story, and it all makes sense in the end.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
WTF? no b00bies??, 20 September 2004

I'm absolutely amazed and horrified at the number of reviewers and commenters who went to see this expecting "Charlie's Angels 4" or the next James Bond movie. To make things perfectly clear, this is not a "tits and ass and gore summer blockbuster extravaganza", as should be obvious to anyone who's seen the trailers. There are no throw-away "let off some steam, Bennett" one-liners, there are no Nazis, "evil Ay-rabs", or other cop-out "bad guys" for the heroes to mow down with heavy machine-guns, and there is no sex scene. Oh, and there is no criticism of the Bush administration, symbolic or otherwise, which for some bizarre reason seems to be a requirement of every movie to come out this year (see the majority of reviews of "The Village").

What it IS is a wonderful, "super-pulp" pastiche of early-20th-century paragons, from movies like "Lost Horizon", "Metropolis", "Things to Come", and "King Kong", to comic books, Gernsback futurism, and dime novels. The plot and the execution are both tastefully "retro", with a few good modern touches like the inclusion of two strong, independent female lead characters. Great pacing, great acting, great action, and absolutely beautiful from start to finish. For comparison, my two favorite movies for the last 15 years have been "Blade Runner" and "The Big Sleep", and I think "Sky Captain" may have toppled them both.

If you're in the mood for mindless T&A and gore, then this movie is not going to deliver. But if you're looking for a pure, wholesome, pulp adventure on par with "Indiana Jones", "The Phantom", "The Shadow", and the original three "Star Wars" movies, devoid of moral dilemma and preachy overtones, you will be extremely happy with "Sky Captain".

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Clerks better, but later, 18 February 2004

If you saw "Clerks", and wanted a movie with the same plot, the same pacing, the same characters, and slightly better jokes, then what you actually want is "Collecting Rooftops". There are two bored twenty-somethings sitting behind a counter (this time in a movie theater instead of a convenience/video store). One of them's a misogynist, and one of them's not. There's a strange "silent" character who does a lot of goofy stuff (albeit, thankfully, WITHOUT a "Jay" sidekick). There's a montage of stupid customers. There's a psycho girlfriend. There are a gazillion Star Wars references, and some time spent being manly on the roof. There's a "Chasing Amy"-style love story thrown in for good measure. Sounding familiar? To the fairly bland (and shamelessly borrowed) plot of "Clerks", however, the makers of "Collecting Rooftops" have added their own unique blend of herbs and spices: a third friend named Max who has the two best original scenes, one in which he simultaneously barks commands at the girl he's having sex with and the Nintendo game he's playing, and another in which he plays Godzilla in his living room; a choreographed lip-sync by the macho leads to "Leader of the Pack"; and minor improvements to everything carried over from "the original".

If "Collecting Rooftops" had come before "Clerks", then Billy Garberina would be the one making multi-million-dollar movies of his in-jokes and amateur theology, and Kevin Smith would still be ringing up Slim Jims. On the other hand, without "Clerks" to inspire it, "Collecting Rooftops" would've undoubtedly never have been made at all.