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RobertKS

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7 reviews in total 
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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A Valentine to Cleveland, and a time capsule of the East Side, 20 February 2011
6/10

I saw this film at the Cleveland Cinematheque tonight at the first major screening in over 40 years and with what the director said was the largest audience ever to view the film. The beautiful, recently completed digital restoration was presented from a Blu-ray disc with digital projection (a rarity for the Cinematheque). For anyone who grew up in Cleveland, and especially in the late 1960s, this film will be a nostalgic treat. Its superb photography memorializes in time-capsule fashion some wonderful locations on Cleveland's East Side, most notably Severance Hall (the main characters are Cleveland Orchestra musicians), University Circle, Hessler Road, Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, and Bratenahl.

In terms of theme, the film deals with race and class relations in Cleveland, not thickly enough to be polemic but too thinly to be striking or thought-provoking. The story is not strong; there is nothing that we would consider today a typical story "structure"; the movie has no stars, no action sequences, no real suspense or element of danger. For these reasons, it is understandable why the film never received a wide release, despite the fact that it was carefully and loving crafted. It is an art film and a very artfully done one at that, and will appeal to music lovers (its title refers to the technique of bowing two strings at once on a stringed instrument to create harmony, as in the Bach cello pieces that texture the film's score) and photography lovers, as well as native Clevelanders. RKS

Sideways (2004)
1 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Model script that does not improve on prior art, 27 December 2004
6/10

Moderately amusing (but never intriguing) dialog, by-the-book story development, and characters that are more or less stereotyped are assisted by the talents of the actors, but what does this movie have to say that wasn't already said--and couched in funnier terms--by Swingers (1996) or, in the case of the Armenian wedding sequence, My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)? The movie allows the actors to recite platitudes needlessly, when looks or touches might do, but leaves unenunciated the poignant and requisite challenges to its protagonists' vanities, confrontations that would result in unmaskings more hilarious and more profound than the pseudoconclusion relied upon instead. Do either of the main characters ever "get it" in the end? Or are they doomed to be forever falsely motivated and thus repeat the mistakes--false promises of satisfaction, imaginatively exalted--that lead to their states of permanent simmering anguish? Perhaps that's for the sequel, which will come for writer/director Payne, but unfortunately not with these characters, who are genuinely lovable, faulted though they be.

Dogville (2003)
Dictum ad factum, 22 May 2003
9/10

An audacious art film that pulls you into its reality from the first image forward, Dogville's America-bashing (if it is really there at all) is veiled until the end credits. What will be taken to be a criticism of America is in actuality an explication of two sides of a coin: human acceptance and human cruelty, as polar opposites as a sublime truth and meretricious lie.

Sure to win the Palme d'Or.

4 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
All "enemies of freedom" are eradicated!, 21 January 2002
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An intelligent summation of Cold War era mutually assured destruction policy, up until the conclusion: it's a gasser! All Russians and Chinese are obliterated from the face of the Earth! Saw this one at the 27th Annual CWRU Science Fiction Marathon, January 2002.

Hollow Man (2000)
Big-budget, small-scope Invisible Man update, 25 July 2000
2/10

Verhoeven's digital-era entry into the Invisible Man genre doesn't borrow enough from the 1933 horror classic starring Claude Rains and a gorgeous young Gloria Stuart (from H.G. Wells' novel and directed by James Whale). Hollow Man's computer generated visual effects are pervasive and expectedly state-of-the-art, but the eye candy can't rescue a script that quickly devolves into a typical "lock-a-bunch-of-people-in-a-room-and-wait-and-see-who-gets-killed-and-who-s urvives" horror film. The genre was overdone and out of gas a decade ago (witness the barrage of mediocre Michael Crichton films in the 90s), so why did the Amsterdam-born auteur resort to such mundane storytelling when he managed to make Total Recall and Basic Instinct into such clever classics?

The first half of Hollow Man is largely setup and cool CGI. In the middle of the film we get to see a brief bit of cool Invisible Man voyeurism action. But the final half-hour is all slasher homicide, explosions, and badguy-comes-back-from-the-dead-for-one-last-scare tripe. Potential wasted--we never really get to see Kevin Bacon go out into the world (the film is claustrophobically confined to an underground medical research lab) and wreak all the cool invisible man havoc that these movies should be all about! (Also, bad science abounds! ECG readings with no electrode leads? Come on!) Rent the 1933 original for equally amazing special effects (for their time) and better camp but without the bad aftertaste.

Cl.One (2005)
2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
An inspiration to independent digital filmmakers, 28 May 2000

OK, so I haven't seen the full film--has it even been exhibited yet?--but Jason Tomaric showed me his trailer at the Digital Cinema Expo in January 2000. Fantastic, highly creative. Despite its low budget, what I saw of this film looked like a million bucks--or at least like a well-produced episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It used the standard desktop effects packages and prosumer gear to achieve an epic post-apocalyptic fantasy backdrop for a personal story. Send me some e-mail, Jason, when it hits screens, big or small.

6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Anyone might guess at what it all means!, 16 February 2000
1/10

I saw this film in my CTCS 469 Film & Television Style Analysis class (a whole course on Lucas's work) in Spring 2000 at the University of Southern California. What a bizarre little movie. Somehow I doubt Lucas is in love with this film either. It seems to me like any of the lazy CTPR 290 stinkbombs of abstraction produced by current students here, and not at all like his innovative and stylish student films Freheit, Herbie, Look at Life, or The Emperor. (THX-1138:4EB Electronic Labyrinth doesn't get an honorable mention; it was a mere exercise in shooting in color without lighting. "It doesn't mean anything," Lucas is quoted as saying.)

All the best, if you happen to see this one somewhere. Like at USC.