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20 reviews in total 
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La cucina (2007)
15 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
Just not worth the effort, 4 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this film at the Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF) in January. It focuses on 3 relationships in one apartment complex. After a terrible result creating lasagna, a pregnant wife seeks advice, comfort, food in Rachel Hunter's apartment. Rachel cooks while chatting with the pregnant woman about cooking and relationships.


If Rachel's character has so much wisdom about relationships and her perfect "partner", why is her partner cheating on her at a movie set and standing her up for dinner? Also, what army is she cooking for?


Another neighbor is hosting a romantic supper with her lover/boyfriend. The movie covers their conversations and food preparations of the evening.


The inane conversation between the "younger woman/older man" is so tired. I was confused that the man seemed to argue for marriage and against it in the same conversation.


Throw in some odd moments, like a man dressed as a super-hero in the courtyard or a neighbor practicing his guitar, presumably to handle the scene transitions for us and you have the mess that makes up the bulk of this film.

The kitchens are stylish, some of the actors quite competent, but the film lacks the great profundity or depth it desires.

After the film was over, the writer stood to polite applause and questions. She conveyed the idea that she felt the kitchen is central to a home and where many poignant conversations take place. She also said that some of the situations were patterned after people she knew. If people she knows speak like these characters, she needs to find more interesting people.

Perhaps I am most disappointed when Rachel Hunter (in no way an actress) gave the strongest performance. If you are completely bored and have to clean out your sock drawer, this movie would be great in the background!

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
When disappointment turns to admiration, 17 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was fascinated by the maturity level of these people - that they could disagree strongly, nearly fight with each other and yet keep their calm and poise. I was struck by the honesty of these people, with each other and with the camera. I was struck by how odd, yet interesting, that a lesbian would want a "gay men" scene and a "straight" scene - seemed like the reasoning of a person who is not so selfish as to want to exclude the rest of the "collective".


The next night, we watched the DVD extras and I was angry when they revealed that it was scripted, not quite real. I completely understood the couple that called them "fakers" on the street. At first, I felt that way, as well. I think I was hurt that all of the stripped down feelings they had as a reasonable group were a sham. But, as I listened to their explanations of what they had done and I chatted with my husband about it, I began to really admire what these people created.

Using Geores Braque's definition, "art is meant to disturb". What they created is art. It disturbed me. I suppose that the base reason I am most disquieted about the film is that only someone viewing the extras can be sure it was a fictional piece. Many people, like me, will leave the film thinking it was all factual. With the age of DVDs, perhaps it is a moot point since most people watch the extras, but there are still bound to be those who took it at face value and still believe it was "real" - so I am still a bit miffed about that, but not much.

************END OF SPOILERS********************************

I hope that people will actually give this movie a chance to work it's magic. The spell it casts is worthwhile. There is genius in this work!

The Laundromat (1985) (TV)
4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Saw this years ago on HBO, 11 September 2006

Although my memory of this is a bit sketchy on details, I remember really liking this. I am 90% certain I saw it on HBO. I loved Carol and probably watched it because of her. What I remember most is Amy Madigan. I had not seen her before this and there was something about her look that made me remember her when I later began seeing her in lots of movies, most notably "Places in the Heart".

Without giving away a spoiler, I will say that I remember a twist ending - although I was rather young, so I wonder if it would be a surprise these days.

Upon looking at the writer, Marsha Norman, I see that she also wrote something I loved, "'Night Mother". I saw that again in the past few years and it held up for me, so perhaps "The Laundromat" would as well. Wish more people would see this and comment on it. Since I haven't seen it in years, it would be unfair to rate it. My inclination would be at least a 7 out of 10 since it stuck with me all these years as worthwhile.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
For once, the critics are right - DON"T BOTHER!, 26 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I adore Terry's visionary works of the past. There are moments, mere moments in this dreck when I can see flashes of him, yet somehow this turd can't represent him as a director. I should state that I am not fond of Matt Damon as an actor, yet this movie is so terrible, I forgot how much I loathe him.

There is no spoiler that anyone could ever conceive that would spoil this film. I've been greatly disappointed today, even going in with lukewarm to low expectations. I know that his past films have often garnered odd reactions, people not "getting" his movies, but this one stinks.

Last summer, I felt that the box office had sunk to an all-time low with "Van Helsing". For that crud, there was too much CGI to destroy any storyline. Sadly, "Grimm" makes "Van Helsing" look like an Academy Award winner.

Runtime suggests that this is nearly two hours of my life that I wasted today, not to mention money and brain cells.

During the end of the film, I felt ill. Talking it over with my husband, we agreed it was not illness, it was bad cinema.

I suspect that in a day or two, I will rethink my vote of 3/10 and wish I had gone lower, but for now, 3 stars seems fair for this drivel.

My advice, if someone you know asks you to see this movie and your other choice is to play softball with overripe grapefruits that will squeeze torturous acid in your eyes when you hit them, wear sunglasses and "swing away"!

Tomie (1999)
7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Skip this one! Possible spoilers..., 4 June 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie had promise. The DVD cover is creepy. The music as the film begins is full of potential to scare us.

We follow the man "growing" Tomie with great interest and every scene with her as she grows fills us with hope - never seeing her face, just her hair, long, black hair.

Tsukiko has memory loss, friends she doesn't like, a cheating boyfriend, and nothing else. We are given tastes of her memory loss when the detective speaks to her therapist of her past. Her father dying, but not as a result of a car accident is hinted, but not dealt with. The detective suggests that Tomie has appeared for a long time, over and over in history. This gives hope to the movie. It gives us some back story, but never comes to fruition.

The movie just drags on and on and on. The real horror of the movie is that I sat there, through the whole dull, non-plot, waiting for something to happen, something to scare me, something to make me see a point to making this movie.

I came away empty. There is no reason for this film.

Watching the extras, I learned that the author of the comic was afraid of women and wanted that to come across. I also learned that the director cared about mood. Obviously plot was not needed here, but I also don't think mood was ever created. What little we were given did not live up to expectations.

If you want Japanese horror, try a Miike film!

If you want a suggestion for time better spent, watch some paint dry!

Just don't say you weren't warned...

A generous 2/10

4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Horror needs a new category, 18 November 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

We poorly label films with a basic genre, like comedy, horror, drama. This film makes a good case for a new category - like disturbing. That is the best description on this movie - disturbing. I felt disturbed from the beginning and my level of comfort never remained the same. There are some remarkable moments in the film - such as the spare use of color, but when you see red, it intensifies the movie. After listening to the director discuss the thought behind the script, I feel he did his best to portray the evil that interested him. This movie is not for the faint of heart or easily offended. See at your own risk. If you find this film to be entertainment, you need to be locked away!


I can't decide if the hanging nude boy upset me the most in the film or the idea that children had to play these roles and had to know, as the director acknowledges, the sick sexual things being done to them. This is one uncomfortable film from start to finish.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Nothin' but a Hound Dog, 28 February 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie sucks on so many levels, I can't even begin to divulge the plot problems. Since I don't like Kevin Costner to begin with, I didn't expect much and got even less.

For a change, Courtney wasn't the worst on screen. She, as her other "Friends" need to get it straight that they need to ride that show until it dies because none of them can act and not one of them is film-worthy, as their careers keep showing.


The best reason to see the movie is for Kevin's body to be riddled with bullets in his over-the-top death scene. Ice-T, who's performance was fine, yet not really much to work with, does give a fascinating scene as he twists from the ceiling spraying the cops with bullets, taking out many before they finally kill him.

This movie had great potential - robbing a casino during an International Elvis convention, dressed as Elvis. Too bad the rest of the movie wasn't worthy of that premise.

The violence and gore is so over the top that it desensitizes the viewer in 5 minutes. Action Fantasy can be done well, check out some of Chow Yun Fat's Hong Kong flicks, even Jet Li, but please leave this bomb alone!

The Cell (2000)
Generously gave it a 7 of 10..., 29 August 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I would love to write a glowing report about the story, the actors, the writing. Instead, I can say the plot has too many flaws to rank this a must-see film. We have seen this story before, done much better. The performances were flat. The only real performance might be Vincent D'Onofrio, but even he couldn't save the film.

Jennifer proves once and for all that her a** is hers and not surgically altered. Many people will see it for that few seconds at her refrigerator.

The film has been described as a cross between Matrix and Silence of the Lambs. That might be said, although I heard fellow movie-goers saying a few other films bred into the screenplay. Fact is, if you are looking for Silence or Matrix, go and rent them, because this falls short of the mark.

After my negative comments, let's look at why I was generous enough to give rehashed plot and characters a 7 out of 10. The visual imagery is simply stunning, beyond compare. What the plot and actors lack, the sets more than make up for. This is a film made for the big screen! See it in the theater. DVD isn't even quality enough for this. Experience it in the theater at least once.

Check your brain at the door and just enjoy the colors, bright, dark, emotional. The cinematography is the real film, not the shoddy story along with it.

Spoilers!!!! Warning, do not read if you do not want to know more...

Shoddy detective work by the FBI is simply disappointing. The whole film pins the detective work on a woman entering a serial killer's mind to find a woman we barely care about. She is never given much of a soul to make us care if they find her alive or not. What agent would see a strange piece of machinery, which is obviously part of the mutilation chamber in the killer's home and no one is working on checking that angle until said detective "goes into" the killer's mind to save the well experienced child psychologist from remaining trapped. Then, like a revelation, he sees the symbol from the machinery in the killer's mind and connects it to the real world, calls his people to find the manufacturer. In the 30 plus hours they had to crack into the killer's brain, the FBI still hadn't finished setting up a grid in the killer's tiny home and no one had bothered to examine the cellar, where they found the incriminating video. Instead, the FBI had focused on the messy, tiny attic for the grid.

The little boy - his father is wealthy and the boy is found on a seal island in a coma. Why tell us any of that? Why introduce his parents for 2 minutes and introduce a possible bad relationship between the kid's father and Lopez, then never examine either thing?

I feel that Singh has a brilliant career ahead of him if only he can find a more polished screenwriter than Protosevitch, who also might have a career if he puts his own thoughts on his own stories rather than churning out bad imitations of other original screenplays.

We already know Lopez has a glorious career ahead of her. Between modeling, acting, and singing, we will be seeing her for years. She needs to be more careful about script control. This character could have been more interesting, but again that falls on a poor writer. At least she isn't acting with snakes anymore.

Vin D'Onofrio needs more vehicles to show his talents. Certainly, when the bio of Stephen King is made, he should get the role!

Vince Vaughn has potential, but also needs to screen his roles more in the future, selecting the best vehicle to display his acting ability.

Jake Weber, as usual, plays it low-key, barely noticeable by most movie-goers. Good character actor.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
6/10, 8 August 2000

This film has a quiet beauty and some very wonderful performances. However, the poetry of the movie is too disjointed for my personal taste. I understand the ideas the director is going for, but I felt the movie lacked enough charm to pull it off. The dialogue has moments of reality, yet often tries too hard for truth, missing the mark. This is a very artistic effort, not meant for the average movie-goer. With a bit more practice and polish, the director could one day be quite great. He needs to stop imitating others and find his own voice.

I was torn between admiring it's gentility and screaming to have the monotony end! That is real life, isn't it? Sometimes moments last too long and others pass too quickly.

It is a film for film lovers, yet needs a tighter reining by the editor/director.

U-571 (2000)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
See the director's cut of Das Boot!, 25 April 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There is nothing tragically wrong or flawed with this film. The actors do a fine job in their roles, as such. But, like other Hollywood films, it is loud, full of shaking camera shots, and more of a coaster ride than a film. There are a few quiet and well done scenes, but I strongly feel that I would have been lost if I had not already seen the director's cut of "Das Boot" in January. That film sets up the sheer terror of war in a submarine. It is long, grueling, and incredibly well done. U-571, like many Hollywood blockbuster films is for the masses, sort of a watered down version of Wolfgang's masterpiece.

I do think this is a gutsier film than many that Hollywood gives us. I don't feel it is a spoiler to say that some stars do die, this is not the "everyone will survive and be a hero" film. But, the explosions and shaking cameras overwhelm the experience, not enough time spent in character development. These are basic, cardboard characters, we've seen many of them before, and we are sure to see many again. I gave it 6/10.

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