Reviews written by registered user
|92 reviews in total|
This film is a philosopher's paradise. The two Gerrys (they have the
same name) walk, run and crawl about the screen like a pair of ants
lost in a shag carpet. G Van Sant, M Damon and C Affleck illuminate a
human's relative insignificance to the planet before exposing us to
where our significance may exist.
There's little dialogue and even less action in these 100 minutes. It is minimalistic the way My Dinner with Andre is. The desert scenery is sweeping and panoramic. Van Sant contrasts man to his environment. It is a moving/memorable if you take the inner journey the filmmakers intended. But, as I began, this is a thinking person's film - for those with the time and inclination to analyse its purpose. Its similar to a trip to the Museum of Art. Aficionados of Sponge Bob SquarePants and standard brain-dead Hollywood fare will do themselves a favor by selecting something else. If you tote this one home, however, watch it rested, well fed and carefully. There is good value in its 100 minutes.
There's poetry to its pace. The lost men ride the human spirit with the ups and downs of a single note's sine wave. As its vibrations wane, the sound fades - but you know its vibration forge on elsewhere in the grand scheme of life in the universe. As do the spirits of the beaten pair who never expected to get turned around - either from their car or the life they knew. And yet it happens. It could happen to any of us.
You'll pack an extra water bottle for your next hike! Bet on that. I enjoyed it. I recommend it. 8 out of 10.
Problems are hurled at the McKay family as if they were in a batting cage with an endless supply of quarters and no bat. This South Boston Irish-Catholic family deals with the rock bottom side of life they best way they know how. Baseball quietly emerges as a rallying dynamic for the seemingly-defeated male McKays in this coming of age story. It has a lot of heart, and there's a lot to like here. My criticism is that there's too much misfortune for one 95 minute story - as if every stereotype in play today had to be included. It moved me nevertheless. I recommend it. It seems to have gone directly to DVD but should have enjoyed a stint in the theater first.
Looking for an escapist movie free of political propaganda? See
Looking for a complicated thriller where seemingly disconnected plot lines neatly converge after two hours with brilliant acting by all, this is for you.
This may decomplicate the plot weave a smidge:
George Clooney plays a veteran CIA operative on the down-stroke of his career selling explosives and arms to Iran terrorists;
Energy analyst (Matt Damon) is recruited to advise Crown Prince Nasir (Alexander Siddig). Nasir, the wiser of two brothers vying to succeed the retiring Emir for his kingdom. Nasir wants to evict the wicked American Oil company so Communist Chinese oil enterprise can step in ( yipes!) for the ultimate good of his country.
There's this American Oil company (Connex) which is considering a merger with a much smaller oil company (Killen) that holds the exclusive Kazakhstan oil drilling rights.
Connex's lawyers send an attorney (Jeffrey Wright) to discover just how Killen "got" those rights before the SEC does. (The SEC, you see, has to approve the merger)
And then we have your Pakistani migrant oil workers suddenly confronting the realities of unemployment after the Chinese take over. They're recruited by a religious fanatic after yet another spell of idle poverty.
The film provides perspective on why and how things can get "confused" in this part of the world. Weirder still: that the Chinese and the religious zealots come off as the good guys as the evil US oil companies make prey out of Nasir, justifying corruption for their version of a greater good.
It's a well made film. But, man-o-man, for simpler entertainment, check out that Harry Potter and his Fire Goblet. For this one, wear your thinking cap and bring your paranoia defenses. 7 out of 10 . . . for the acting.
I walked away from The Constant Gardener wondering how drug companies
actually bench test their drugs. (The current Vioxx settlement
certainly inspired cynicism) This is a thriller for the thinking crowd
with sufficient chase scenes and action sequences to justify the
genre. It's paced slower then the average Grisham or Ludlum (Jason
Bourne) movies I've come to love. But if you're interested in the stark
realities of how medicines are tested in third world nations without
having to endure negative consequences, this is a film you will want to
see. It purports to reveal real-world events from Africa.
Pharmaceutical company corporate greed and compromised government ethics set the mood as Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz (on separate courses) do what they can to reveal the corruption spinning all around them. Fiennes is a British diplomat who understands what it takes to succeed in a compromising diplomatic position. Weisz refuses to give in. She's on a mission to reveal the truth - taking the political activist route - from the moment they meet. Fiennes is a love interest to the luscious Weisz, someone who offers an opportunity to cut the red tape and speed the truth about the mischief to which the drug company(s) are up to in Africa.
It's a brilliant movie showcasing how third world countries are (or can be) exploited. It deals with how a major pharmaceutical firm conducts harmful tests on ignorant, unsuspecting Kenyans. We see the other side of Africa the side unseen in the enticing Kenyan safari tourist posters.
This is a thriller that thrills both the mind as well as the spirit. It left me wondering, "how close to the truth did they actually come?"
Must Love Dogs I saw the sneak preview. If this doesn't become a sitcom
after wearing out the theater circuit, I'll be amazed.
The script is hysterical. The soundtrack is first rate. The characters (every one of them) click with one another on screen. I'd have to stretch to find something not to like. Maybe the hackneyed story line if I had to cite something; but who comes to a romantic comedy expecting breakthrough drama? The plot: Diane Lane (Sarah) is a recently divorced preschool teacher whose "hounded" by her family to get back in the dating game. Since she's not anxious for another heartbreak, her devoted sisters post an Internet ad in her name something along the lines of "Voluptuous sensuous - alluring and fun. DWF seeks special man to share star lit nights. Must love dogs" beneath her high school photo. The offers flood in - and the fun begins.
John Cusak and Dermot Mulroney are the two ends of Sarah's romantic triangle. Cusak builds boats and Mulroney is a PhD candidate. Let the neuroses begin! Stockard Channing Sarah's Dad's romantic interest at age 71 - is on the prowl as well in the background. After the three daughters predictably push back on Mom #2, Stockard becomes a fountain of romantic wisdom (after more husbands than she could remember) to keep the others on track.
Also, keep an eye on Jordana Spiro who plays the stereotypical ditsy-blond Cusack hangs with toward the end. She has Cameron Diaz-like screen presence which could spell "big future ahead". An enjoyable character to wrap up a delightful movie.
I guarantee you will like this perfect date film. 8 out of 10, for tickling the funny bone.
This movie tugged at my heartstrings delivering an unforgettable
portrayal of Afghan life. It's a 10 out of 10, poetically revealing
modern life in a city relegated to Neanderthal living conditions after
the Taliban was sent packing.
The Film's title is the title of an extraordinarily relevant poem, recited twice during the film.
Though a tough way to learn Farsi (it's subtitled - phew!) "At Five in the Afternoon" awakened me to the plight of the poor souls coping with the rubble and 19th century technology.
The film describes (teenaged) Noqreh's life as she attends school and struggles to discover her role in society now that "any" job is within her reach. She decides to become the country's President.
The zesalots may be gone ... but there's plenty of cranky, old, conservative men (her father among them) who long for the "good ole'days". The country's problems (among them: live buried mines, religious extremism, the absence of basic social commodities - water / education - after several wars) serve as the antagonist as Noqreh's father carts her and her extended family across the Afghan dustbowl in search of her brother, The film moves slowly and deliberately, but I guarantee you'll be paid for your time investment with a once in a lifetime education about Afghanistan.
I hope you find a copy or a showing, and allocate the 2 hours to let it wash over you and take hold.
You will love it! Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, and Tim Robbins are the
heart and soul characters that make it all work. H G Wells' famous tale
is converted into a "coming of age" film here, courtesy of Mr.
Specifically coming of age are Cruise's son Robbie (Justin Chatwin) and daughter Rachel (Dakota Fanning) (who delivers the best one liners in the film). Ray Ferrier (Cruise) seeks only to protect his family; son Robbie seeks only revenge, first against his Dad and vicariously next against the aliens. Eventually, Robbie joins the battle that his father knows we cannot win. Spielberg touches a modern nerve here in this doomsday scenario.
He delivers a "war" that immerses the audience's angst of natural disasters, terrorist attacks and the anarchy that would logically result when life loses its balance all delivered under dark, dreary skies. The film invests winning elements of Independence Day and Men in Black (without as much delightful repartee - regrettably). It's on par with both as an entertainment barometer.
Tim Robbins is brilliant (!) as the hospitable nemesis, Ogilvy. At one point, he declares: "This is not a war. This is an Extermination," with his flare for extracting all that is bleak and pessimistic from a situation. It's a great role filled by the perfect player.
This is vintage Spielberg, from its subtle humor to its child's-eye perspective. For example, as the city is being trashed by the aliens, the camera pans a "No Littering" sign. The initial attack yields dialog like " is it the terrorists again, Daddy?" And you learn that the average Dodge Caravan is every bit as durable as a Hummer when TriPod machinery is at the height of its vicious attack. No one captures a child's terror and reactions better than Spielberg's lens. He's the Master.
Cruise throws only one tantrum on screen involving an unwarranted peanut butter sandwich. Glib as this standalone scene is, it refreshed my memory of his Today Show antics opposite Matt Lauer on issue of "dealing with psychological imbalance, drug-free". I think he could have used a pill.
When the moment is right, like the story magician he is, Mr. Spielberg taps his magic wand and wraps up the fairy tale for the fantasy ride it has been a bit too unbelievably as you will see for yourself - which is why it earns an 8 instead of a 10. See it soon.
I've seen this film 5 or 6 times. It occurred to me on the last viewing
that it could be the ultimate Touched by an Angel Ben's time in Las
Vegas, that is. I believe author John O'Brien thought he was living
through a hallucination in the final throes of his diseased life.
The possibility rises out of several conspicuous dynamics in the film.
First, that Ben's life was invested developing Hollywood drama prior to being dismissed by his boss, who will clearly miss his talent and personality in the office, a talent singularly broken by the ravages of alcoholism. He is good at inventing and developing "story". If his occupation had been Investment Banking or Teaching, I'd feel differently. But John O'Brien bore him with a Hollywood mind. That lit the flame for me.
That Ben repeatedly calls Sera his angel during his demise - as he enjoys the best of - and endures the worst of - Las Vegas living. It is possible that all of it is a hallucination during the final pathetic act of his life. The invention of Sera makes his passing bearable, doable, a possible goal for him.
That Sera endures the college team horrors, discuses her relationship with the off-camera therapist to whom she confesses her soul-deep love for Ben ... even the problems with her pimp and landlord constitute deep back story in the mind of a man with a talent for such invention, desperate to flesh out the reasons why this angel will escort him to the next world. In my last analysis, she is an angel divined in his fertile mind to embody all of the good people and events in his life (the wealth flashback memories, e.g.). Sera has come to take him out while steeling the love in his heart. She sees him for what he is, because that's what responsible angels do.
This is a work with metaphor far beyond the veneer of the surface dialog. It's a film demanding to be viewed more than once. Or perhaps, I'm just going nuts, have lost it and I'm hallucinating in my own right.
Either way, enjoy. 10 out of 10.
It's about hope, surviving despair with integrity, and a "natural
talent" exercising his god given talent for boxing.
The acting is terrific by Crowe, Zellweger and Giamatti as expected.... But make room for Craig Bierko (Max Baer) and Paddy Considine (Braddock's pal: Mike Wilson), a Stephen Baldwin lookalike, who are spectacular in their supporting roles.
Wrapped in the Great Depression, the riches to rags story held my rapt attention for each of its 150 min run time. Ron Howard's direction and the editing perfectly delivers the story of J J Braddock and family without losing me once. In today's vernacular, it's all good.
Squeamish on boxing's impact on the human body? Look away. The film is too good to miss based on that alone.
This film is in "The Natural" (R Redford) class, with enough great one-liners that'll have devotees quoting them as they liberally do from the Godfather franchise. It's a magnificent rendering of Rocky, with the bonus of being true to boot. I loved it. 10 out of 10.
Hitchhiker is every bit the Tour de'Fun that "Men in Black" was 8 years
ago. Just when the human ego starts thinking it's really King of the
Universe, a film like Hitchhiker comes along to slap us back to
reality, to properly appreciate our relative relationship to the
universe. Few things put life into perspective like a great,
In the opening sequence, for example, protagonist Arthur Dent's biggest problem becomes dwarfed by the identical problem on a far grander scale. It is done with Monty Python's smart style. It's (literally at times) a roller coaster ride in the amusement park called life.
The meaning of life is explored, answered, questioned and confusing ... in that order, all in less than 2 hours. Great characters, voices, caricatures, all wrapped up in a plot that held my attention tenaciously. 100% fun.
Seriously: Don't take everything so seriously. Enjoy the ride, during the movie and afterward in the real world and see this film every time you lose sight of the grand scheme of things.
Thank you, Douglas Adams. Great book and great translation to the screen (... he exec produced it!) 8 out of 10
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