Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
American Sniper (2014)
Pretty good war movie
Pretty good to very good acting, nice unobtrusive direction, good photography of whatever Moroccan city doubled for Baghdad and Fallujah. The combat sequences are well-drafted and well-performed. Aside from the life of Chris Kyle, this is a pretty good, if not great war movie. Not being a super movie buff, I was unaware that this film was made by Clint Eastwood until the closing credits.
Some interesting criticism here and elsewhere. Eastwood is known for making movies with a patriotic edge. But it seems that many folks feel that this beyond the pale. Why is it that no American filmmaker should EVER make a movie that is pro-America, or pro-American military? Can not a single movie ever depict white people acting heroically, and non-white people behaving basely? Do these leftists think that this reflects reality? And even if they do, is no one allowed to have a differing opinion? That is one of the problems with the American Left; their extreme intolerance toward diversity of opinion.
I saw this movie in the early Eighties, and loved it. I was struck by the beauty of Meryl Streep. I read the book a few years later, and from what I remember, Sarah Woodruff whipsawed Charles Smithson at least one more full cycle of falling for her and being abandoned by her. The framing device of the movie being made is OK. It annoyed me back in the day, but I can see its effectiveness now. It is a way to make commentary on the Victorian times (and their hypocrisy), plus I suppose that it substitutes for that additional cycle of hurt. Great settings and photography of 1860's England. Excellent acting all around, and a good script, once you get past the modern-day scenes. Highly recommended.
The Boy Next Door (2015)
J-Lo gorgeous, Guzman blah
This movie was so predictable, and so obvious, that I knew a certain image from the very first scene would presage the denouement. And it did. The acting was mostly adequate, given the material. I had never heard of this Ryan Guzman, and will be surprised if I hear of him again. He was, well, adequate, but his was a role that an accomplished actor would sink his teeth into, and not relent until ALL of the scenery was masticated. Guzman was unable to be scary enough, creepy enough, or charming enough. Blah. Which brings me to Jennifer Lopez. I think she has become a pretty good actress, even though it is hard to tell in this one, due to the script. But I see that she has a producer credit. Can you not tell from a script that a film will be a dud? I'm actually asking. I do not know, having never read a script. The only real redeeming feature of this movie is the extreme beauty of Ms. Lopez. Wow. She is 45 now and is such eye candy. But she is the ONLY reason to see this film.
Valentine's Day (1998)
Not very good.
Not really a very good movie. It was apparently never intended for theatrical release, nor is it a made-for-cable film. So, keeping in mind that it is a direct-to-video release, it is still not very good. Mario Van Peebles is low-key, even when his character should be more expressive. Rae Dawn Chong looks nice but, but seems to be mailing it in. This may be the fault of the material rather than the actress, though. Zehra Leverman has the most extensive, and the most (relatively) interesting role, and actually does okay with it. I am unfamiliar with her, and she seems to have had a somewhat limited career. Sadly, the film's only real redeeming feature is one quick boob shot from Miss Chong, and several quite nice nude scenes from Ms. Leverman, which are worthwhile, if you are into that sort of thing.
A Perfect Murder (1998)
This film is said to be a re-make of Hitchcock's "Dial M for Murder". I don't know how I have gone all these years without seeing the original, but somehow I have. Therefore I can make no comparisons between them. Michael Douglas and Gwyneth Paltrow, as always, turned in excellent performances. Viggo Mortensen wasn't bad either. A shout-out to Sarita Choudhury as well. Nice photography of New York City and environs. There was even a certain modicum of suspense maintained almost throughout.
In short, I cannot quite put my finger on what this film's shortcomings are, but It was really just okay.
American History X (1998)
Left-wing racial propaganda
This film definitely has some things going for it. Good actors turning in good performances. High production values in general. Nice gritty locations. The writer or director should have found a better way to delineate the past and present scenes than the black and white photography. It was annoying.
But none of these things can mask the fact that this is left-wing racial propaganda. I'm sure these skinhead and white-supremacist persons and groups exist, but in my not-small number of years in America, I have never encountered any. I doubt that it is a problem of significant social magnitude. But, hey, what do I know? I'm just a drooling, evil, redneck white guy in flyover country.
Unless you are interested in the message being force-fed here, you should skip this one.
Peurile but amusing
I avoided seeing this film for years, because I assumed that it would be juvenile and stupid. Well, it is all that of course, but I admit that it got more chuckles from me than the average comedy. I have never seen the cartoon that Parker and Stone are famous for, but was at least aware of it. I presume that the humor is similar. There were a lot of star cameos throughout. Many are quite silly, but that is clearly what Zucker, the director, was going for. And for all of the comments about bad acting by Yasmine Bleeth and Jenny McCarthy, the nature of the material dictated that it look that way. The best part was in the beginning with the message about sports commercialism and monstrous egos leading to the end of big league sports. Not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
Practical Magic (1998)
Did not coalesce into a good movie
It's hard to put my finger on exactly what went wrong with this movie. Many critics said things like "it doesn't know what it wants to be" or "it is mixing genres". I don't really see anything wrong with mixing genres. It can make a film more original and less formulaic. It just seemed that most of the cast just lacked chemistry with one another. This is odd because these are very talented actors. Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock just didn't ring true in their roles as sisters. Neither did Aiden Quinn or Goran Visnjic. The real chemistry was with the older sisters, the crazy aunts, played very well by Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest. In spite of some good stuff, it did not coalesce into a good movie.
Under the Skin (2013)
Weird, weird, weird
Weird, weird, weird. That's not a complaint. I like movies that are different, and this one certainly is. The film seemed split into two acts. In the first, Scarlett Johansson's character (sometimes called Laura by reviewers, but I never heard her identified in any way) is on the prowl capturing solitary men for her weird trap, with the occasional help from a mysterious man (men?) on a motorcycle. In the second act, she seems to embark on a journey of self-discovery, having abandoned her previous quest. There are cuts to the man on the motorcycle who it seems like is searching for female. It was unclear to me if she were hiding from him, or merely indifferent to him. I probably missed something that might have made this clearer. If you like every question in a movie answered at the end, you may be disappointed. But I thought it was pretty good.
The Player (1992)
Grounded in the machinations of Hollywood
Among the comments I have read, it seems that people have strong opinions about this movie. They either love it or hate it. I thought that it was pretty good. It is a film with a separate plot, but grounded in the machinations of Hollywood. It seems to me that most of the cynicism expressed here has only gotten worse in the decades since. A film seems to need to be a sequel, a remake, or based on a comic book to get made these days. Anyway this movie's main character is played fairly well by the unlikeable, and vaguely creepy Tim Robbins. Nice job by Greta Scacchi, and also by Cynthia Stevenson, who I recall as playing a goody-goody character in a sitcom around that time, so her part was a nice departure. Again, it is a pretty good, albeit not great film.