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Average attempt at an Orwellian theme
I'm sure this movie is aimed at people who don't read literary classics. If I had been asked to update "1984" but throw in a ridiculous 'feel-good' ending, this would be it.
For me, the main failings in the movie are endemic of many post-"Matrix" movies. Special effects and pseudo-martial arts do not compensate for a well-written script. This film fails where Orwell triumphs - in creating a believable lead character.
Maybe I'm just getting old and the target market is illiterate teenagers, but I really wanted to like this movie. I had hoped for some form of intellectual stimulation on a subject that could have been well developed. Sadly I came away with the feeling that it would have been done much better 20 years ago without all the technical wizardry and special effects.
Between the effects over-kill, and the script being fairly average to start with, I feel quite generous rating this movie at a 5 out of 10. I'm sure the teenage market will love it though!
Reasonable suspense movie
I felt the first half of this movie could have been injected with some more pace, but this didn't stop me from enjoying the story. Harrison Ford brings his insight for facial and verbal expressions and is perfect as the "American abroad" role. The pace does pick up more towards the end, and the result is a perfectly reasonable movie. It's by no means a blockbuster, but I found it to be slightly above average. Perhaps if the supporting cast had been stronger, an excellent plot could have been brought to life on the screen more effectively. I'd probably watch this one again if it was on television.
Sling Blade (1996)
I hate overused cliches, but this movie truly deserves the accolade "If you watch one movie this year......"
Billy Bob Thornton earns my greatest respect for his portrayal of Carl, a mentally retarded simpleton in redneck country. His moving performance is flawless, from his mannerisms to his voice and posture. His performance is truly on a par, at least, with Dustin Hoffman's Raymond in "Rain Man" Quite apart from his acting, he also wrote and directed this movie, which ranks in my top ten films of all time at present - A powerful touching drama which dares to combine themes of mental illness, homosexuality and instituationalised prejudice to produce an outstanding and emotionally charged work of art.
Every good movie needs a bad guy. Enter Dwight Yoakam, perfectly cast as Doyle, the unstable alcoholic - I certainly wouldn't like to spend too long in a room with his character unless my minders were present. Robert Duvall makes a brief, but quality performance as Carl's father.
How would I summarize this movie? That's simple.....
Watch it - you won't be disappointed.
City Slickers (1991)
"Stand By Me" meets "Groundhog Day"
Excellent. Funny, romantic, coming-of-middle-aged, must see.
I had some difficulty trying to categorize this movie. It is extremely funny most of the time, but has an underlying emotional element throughout the film which can send you to a reminiscent mood at times. The beauty of this film is that it explores an uncommon theme among movie makers - the bond between male friends which is just as strong as the female version, but not discussed as often.
Billy Crystal plays a typical bloke in that uneasy period between being "one of the lads" and being "old" i.e. coming up to his 40th birthday. We are drawn in to the lives of all the three main characters with the ups and downs of having lived it all, settled down, and remembered what our youth was like. To get an escape by going away with your old friends once a year to relive your youth - sorry ladies, but all us guys do it now and then - provides an excellent theme for this movie made better by the fact that most viewers will relate themselves to at least one character in the cast, from the lively funster who always has the bright ideas to the quiet lad who secretly looks forward to finding out what his mates have lined up for him this year. The fairer sex are not in any way left out of this character identification with characters from the middle-aged housewife through the feisty-but-dull teenager and back to to good ol' Old Dear - all smiles, reliable no matter what life throws at you.
Without giving too much of the story away, it's difficult to say any more, other than I voted this movie 8 out of 10 and if you do decide to watch it, feel free to complain to me if you don't enjoy it - I don't expect any complaints for this recommendation :-)
Loch Ness (1996)
Wishy Washy, Lovey Dovey wholesome family type stuff
This movie can be enjoyed as long as you are prepared to accept the plot for what it is - A far fetched romantic tale to well the tears in your eyes and make you think "Awww... isn't that sweet" The plot as far as the actual "Beastie of the Loch" is far-fetched enough without stretching the bounds or reality with the love story.
Being far-fetched does not, however, mean that this movie is not worth watching. I actually quite enjoyed it, and was able to watch along with a young family without having to cringe at foul language or blatant sex scenes. Take this movie for what it is - family entertainment. The kids will live the monster storyline and the special effects, the romantic among us will sniffle at the course of true love, and the others will probably find this to be a fairly average, fairly entertaining way to spend 90 minutes or so of your time.
Whispers in the Dark (1992)
Thinking man's thriller
I'm glad I stayed up to watch this one - I'd actually turned on the television to watch the previous movie that night and fortunately decided to keep on the same channel. I wasn't familiar with any of the cast before this movie, but the script was well written and the actors portrayed all the characters well.
This is definitely a movie where you have to keep your brain switched on to "thinking" mode to enjoy properly. Hardly surprising when almost all the characters are psychiatrists, detectives or patients on the therapists couch. The main theme of the movie is what happens when love is blind and you trust your instincts rather than the sober voices of friends around you. In a rather chilling twist, you are also made to consider just how much you should trust your friends who may have their own ulterior motives behind their apparent concern.
I along with, I imagine, most people watching this movie had the ending all figured out in my head - or so I thought until one of the best twists I can think of in a thriller - and was just waiting to see how and when they were going to prove me correct. I was, of course, completely wrong and a dramatic turn of events towards the end made this a thoroughly enjoyable movie which left me analysing the analysts long after the final credits had rolled. For those who enjoy this genre, I would highly recommend "Whispers In The Dark". I rated it at 8 out of 10 after one viewing, although I may have to watch again to decide if I should have rated it a 9. Definitely worth a night in.
Silence of The Lambs meets Se7en - and does it well
From the opening scene, Sigourney Weaver (Helen Hudson) gives a stunning performance as a criminal psychologist going on to battle with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Her character is excellently portrayed with all the mood swings, panic attacks and ups and downs of a person fighting depression. She is backed up with another excellent lead character courtesy of Holly Hunter (Detective M J Monahan) who proves that attractive young actresses really can play a serious part well if they have the talent - a talent Holly Hunter has no problems expressing.
The plot is well written and takes you on the roller-coaster race against time (well is IS a suspense movie after all) as the homicide department are desperately trying to catch a copycat serial killer before he emulates any more infamous murderers. Attention to detail is impressive in the producing of this movie and the lead actresses are backed up my and excellent supporting cast with Dermot Mulroney providing Hunter with the dashing detective sidekick Ruben Goetz. The viewer is drawn to start thinking along the same lines as the lead characters and twists in the plot ensure that you don't get it all right ahead of the storyline.
Highly recommended for a night in. Dim the lights and settle down for almost 2 hours of quality entertainment.
The Craft (1996)
Laugh, cry and shiver, this is entertainment
For an enjoyable night in, rent this movie about the strange foursome you find in every high school the world over. Takes a good look at how friendships are formed, and go wrong. Delves in to the danger of getting what you wish for and then wishing you hadn't. Moral of the story is to do as you would be done by, and keep looking over your shoulder to make sure your friends have the same philosophy.
The Babysitter (1995)
A poorly written movie clearly aimed at adolescents
This movie is to be loved or hated. Loved if you are an adolescent looking for an hour of bizarre sexual fantasy with no requirement for a true plot, hated if you were looking for what could have been a good plot dealing with the danger of obsession. From the beginning, it appears that Alicia Silverstone's role in the film is to be the object of desire for a variety of male characters, from a young child to a middle aged tragic character; and therefore to be filmed as often as possible wearing as little as possible in the "dream sequence" type fantasy scenes. None of the actors was really given a chance of a stunning performance given the poor script and lack of plot which could have easily been condensed into a fifteen minute "gap-filler" for late night, low budget Television - eliminating the drawn out and tiresome first twenty minutes or so. Throughout the remainder of the film, the viewer can find it not only difficult to distinguish the fantasy scenes from the real-time scenes - but also to distinguish one scene from another as there is little variaton in the last forty minutes of the movie, which appears to be on a continuous five minute loop to the casual observer. Unfortunate to have an "18" certificate in the UK for a movie that would appeal more to the 12-15 age group. One to avoid otherwise.
Texas, addio (1966)
Leave the Westerns to the pros, please Europe
What can you say about a film where the unbelievably poor dubbing was added almost thirty years after filming ? John Wayne, this is not ! Clearly produced by a studio not ordinarily used to the genre (or have the Spaniards been watching this for years rather than subtitle a real Western ?) Could probably have been better with American actors as the dubbed voices did not correlate with the facial expressions of the actors and emotion was often lacking in speech in this movie. Other than reservations with the acting and voice-overs, I found the plot to be rather drawn out, and the lack of scenery made me wonder if they could only afford one set which was re-painted for the other scenes. Might have been better if it was made in America, but probably more of a special interest movie to be viewed in the original language by people who perhaps have different tastes from the mainstream Western Genre