Reviews written by registered user
|25 reviews in total|
Unabashedly crowd-pleasing (notwithstanding a bittersweet conclusion), this movie shows us definitively that Jennifer Aniston is more than just a haircut. Aniston demonstrates a deft comic timing that underscores her sincerity as well as her vulnerability. Like "Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss," this film deals honestly with the need for physical and emotional intimacy in relationships. Interestingly, it manages to show us something of each major character's emotional complexity without short-changing any. For a scene of exquisite, almost painful tenderness, one between Paul Rudd and Amo Gulinello ("You can read poetry to me any time") stands unequaled. Another scene between Aniston and Rudd is, to almost universal surprise, almost unbearably erotic. It might not turn off even your sister's straight boyfriend.
Danger, Will Robinson! Sure, it's ridiculous, but you do remember the television series, don't you? Did you honestly expect anything more? The important thing is that it's a hell of a lot of fun! Incredible special effects (the most digital effects scenes in a single film to date), an entertaining if not terribly deep plot, Gary Oldman seriously camping it up as Dr. Smith, and Matt LeBlanc looking buff in his flight suit.does it get any better? William Hurt and Mimi Rogers are dependable as always, and Dick Tufeld returns to provide the voice of the robot. "Lost In Space" is pure entertainment at its shameless and unrefined best.
I have to admit it: the posters made me gag. "Oceans rise.cities fall.hope survives"? Oh, please! Well, it's not "Armageddon," and it doesn't star anyone who looks remotely like Ben Affleck, but this is definitely the summer's thinking person's action flick. I was quoted over the summer in US magazine as saying, "If a man had directed ['Deep Impact,' which was directed by Mimi Leder], it would have been 'Die Hard' on a comet." Which, interestingly enough, is pretty much what "Armageddon" was. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with that kind of slam-bang fare; I certainly oohed and aahed over the destruction and the sheer spectacle of "Armageddon" (not to mention Ben in his T-shirt). What you'll never see in a Michael Bay movie, and what puts "Deep Impact" on the map for me, are performances with the subtlety of Robert Duvall's and Billy Bob Thornton's; brutal, heart-wrenching scenes like the final moment with Tea Leoni and her father on the beach; and rich character development that leaves you unable to ooh and aah over the destruction, because your connection with the characters leaves you horrified at the loss. "Deep Impact" is one of a rare breed.
Meryl Streep may be the greatest actor working today. Her chameleonic portrayals never fail to astonish; she seems actually to be the characters she brings to the screen. In "One True Thing," she gives life to a deceptively straightforward, profoundly complex woman doing her best to play the hand life has dealt to her. Surviving with cancer is no easy task, and not just surviving but actually continuing to live one's life is even harder--and this is precisely what Kate Gulden (Streep) means to do. Renee Zellweger ("Jerry Maguire") not only holds her own in this exalted company but shines as Streep's daughter, who learns to see in a new light her parents' lives as well as her own. Streep is a powerhouse and deservedly received an Oscar nomination for her work here; her "I'm only going to say this once" dialogue with Zellweger will leave you devastated. Zellweger, though, is the real revelation--her face conveys every emotion, every conflict as she begins to learn the many truths about her parents' strengths and weaknesses. Director Carl Franklin ("Devil in a Blue Dress") handles the extremely difficult story material with sureness and delicacy.
On the surface, a mathematical thriller with religious overtones.or is it a religious thriller with mathematical overtones? Or is it an analysis of the nature of sanity, a consideration of how we fit in and find a place in the world where we live? See it and decide for yourself. The black-and-white cinematography is somehow simultaneously both subtle and lurid. "Pi" defies description; it is imaginative, engrossing, and shocking, easily the most daring and outrageous film I've seen this year. Writer-director Darren Aronofsky deservedly won the Directing Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
This movie could have been subtitled, "Or, Wednesday Grows Up and Gets Serious." Sadly, Christina Ricci's gleeful, viciously amoral jezebel didn't earn her an Oscar nomination, and I will feel personally cheated, as I did when Meg Ryan wasn't nominated for "When a Man Loves a Woman" and when Kathy Bates was overlooked for "Dolores Claiborne." Ricci's Deedee Truitt warns you right up front that you won't like her, that she doesn't grow a heart of gold by the end of the movie, and she ain't kiddin', Jack. This movie gleefully overturns every social taboo, skewers every sacred cow, and is vastly entertaining in the process. Lisa Kudrow is a delight as the uncharacteristically centered (or is she?) sister of Ricci's brother's deceased boyfriend--did you get all that? "The Opposite of Sex" is a slice of life for the sociopathic set.
Peter Weir is one of the most interesting directors working today. His casting of Jim Carrey as the titular Truman may have raised some eyebrows, but then Weir has never been known for his conventionality. Weir has a way of drawing great (or at least greatish) performances out of his actors: Robin Williams in "Dead Poets Society," Rosie Perez in "Fearless." And Carrey has shown seeds of greatness before; rent "Doing Time on Maple Drive" (if you can find it) to see what I'm talking about. Truman's entire life, since the day of his birth, has been orchestrated on a giant television studio set, the only world Truman knows, and televised worldwide as "The Truman Show." Truman represents something impossibly difficult to find in our society today: an absolutely innocent person. This goes a long way to explain his public's fascination with him. Ed Harris brings a bizarre dignity and ethic to his portrayal of Christos, the god-like creator and director of "The Truman Show." This delicately beautiful film shows us the utter hypocrisy of our media and the herd-like docility with which we accept that very hypocrisy. Although it doesn't offer many answers, it asks a lot of the right questions.
Relationships are difficult and dangerous things. Two of my other favorite films this year ("Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss" and "The Object of My Affection") concern themselves with ongoing relationships. "Next Stop Wonderland" focuses its attention on that preliminary occurrence without which no relationship can exist, that moment of mystery venerated by E. M. Forster in his novel Howards End: the making of a connection between two people. Writer-director Brad Anderson demonstrates a clear understanding of connections (both good and bad) between people, as well as how they do and don't come about. Hope Davis is delicate and vulnerable as the jilted, insecure, lonely Erin, and Alan Gelfant is sincere and ruggedly attractive as Alan Monteiro, the man Fate may or may not have in mind for her. In Howards End, Forster tells us that things would be better between us poor human beings if we could "only connect." I won't spoil things by giving away its ending, but this delightful film allows the viewer to be consumed by the mystery of whether Erin and Alan will, or will not, ever connect.
Movies are at their best when actors are allowed to do what they do: act. Director Martin Brest isn't afraid to allow his principals (Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt, and Clare Forlani) to take their time making their characters real for us. And these characters are real--they not only live, they also breathe on the screen. In fact, Brest luxuriates in the story-telling process and allows us to revel in the glorious results. This is an exquisitely emotional film, delicate and beautiful, brutal and incisive. Although some reviews have criticized its length (approaching three hours) and pacing, the truth is that virtually every scene is vital. In fact, some sequences seem to move with somewhat less smoothness and subtlety than others, suggesting that, even at its current length, the film has been extensively edited for time. Hopkins is ferociously good; Pitt is enigmatic and engaging; Forlani is breathtaking, luminous, a revelation of deep and naked emotion. Inspired by "Death Takes a Holiday" (1934), "Meet Joe Black" is less concerned with what happens in the next life than with how to live fully and with integrity in this one.
Nobody saw it. Nobody liked it. I don't care--writer/director Alex Proyas ("The Crow") has given us of the most visually audacious and thought-provoking genre films in years. Fans of genre fiction, television, and film (for instance, "Blade Runner") will be familiar with the themes presented here: What is the nature of humanity? How do I know where I belong? Are my memories true? Is there some great conspiracy underlying everything I know? Am I the subject of some secret experiment? How do I know what is real? Who am I, really? Am I sane? How can I be sure of anything--or anyone? Who is in control? "Dark City" is unrelentingly demented, dark and vicious, disturbing in the extreme, and well worth seeing. In repeat viewings, I've come to realize that the acting is far more subtle and intense than I had at first realized. Kiefer Sutherland, William Hurt, Jennifer Connelly and Rufus Sewell are all in good form, and what at first might appear to be lack of depth in characterization is actually a finely realized "incompleteness" in the characters themselves. The special effects are first-rate, especially considering the relatively modest budget; the on-screen transformations of the city as it is "tuned" are wondrous to behold. A personal fascination of mine is movie trailers, and the trailer for this film (included on the DVD) is easily the best of 1998.
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