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It is too bad really that American film and television has gone to pot and has lost its artistic view. The good news is that British film and television tends to remain incredibly artistic. I watch more British television than I do American and I'm a seriously conservative American, too.
I do not have a favorite genre. I love all kinds of movies, though I will admit I don't much care for westerns and war films, but I do like action films. I will watch most anything, so long as it has some sort of artistic value and does not push off their politics to me. I hate preachy films and films that twist the truth. Don't even get me started on Michael Moore's slanderous propaganda!
Since I've brought it up, I should say that I cannot stand how Hollywood is so presumptive. They stupidly assume that their political opinions matter to me. If there is a movie which stirs political controversy, then I'll never EVER see it. Movies such as Brokeback Mountain, Milk and the like were only really made for political purposes (and personal gain; after all, they KNOW they will win an Oscar if it lands in Hollywood's political agenda) and thus are not truly art... in my opinion, which as far as I know, I still have a right to have.
Actors such as Tom Hanks, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, et al, are all stars I refuse to watch, even in movies that are not politically motivated. It is their attitudes I do not like, so I'll just skip them on the big screen (and the little one too) all together. I have to like an actor in order to watch them and enjoy it.
Other than all of that, anything is game.
There is one more thing. I have a very special affinity for Alfred Hitchcock. I'm by no means and expert, but I've seen most of his films over the years and cannot find much fault (if any) in all of them. There is always a new jewel to be found in his work. There is a reason that his films are taught in film school and there is a reason why Michael Moore's is not.
Evelyn Prentice (1934)
Tolerable film, but not the best of the Loy and Powell pairings.
I disagree with planktonrules's review for a variety of reasons. While it is true that this was obviously not a grand film, it is still worthy of a casual peek. After all, Loy and Powell fans will always appreciate seeing them together on the screen, even if it is not perfection.
The plot does sound interesting. John Prentice (William Powell) is an affluent lawyer who not only neglects his wife Evelyn (Myrna Loy) but has an affair with a client. In the mean time lonely Evelyn meets an apparently charming Lawrence Kennard who, unbeknownst to her, has only one motive: money.
Evelyn Prentice innocently corresponds with Mr. Kennard who uses the letters as leverage for his blackmail. While the letters are innocuous, the wording can be understood as either confirming an affair or only confirming a friendship. Naturally Mr. Kennard plans are to use them to confirm a non-existent affair.
When John wishes to reconcile with his wife, Evelyn notifies Mr. Kennard that their friendship is over. Infuriated, Mr. Kennard says he wants money in exchange for the letters; an amount that Evelyn cannot possibly pay. Grabbing a gun from an open drawer, Evelyn demands the letters. When he refuses, a gun shot is heard and Evelyn is seen leaving Mr. Kennard's apartment.
Guilt ridden after hearing that a woman has been accused of Kennard's murder, Evelyn asks her husband to take her case and even more twists are to come.
Unlike what planktonrules claims, it is entirely believable for that day in age. While overdone, perhaps, the plot is neat and does work.
I don't give it a terribly high grade, but I do feel that the acting was very well done, the plot was clear and the ending was satisfying. That makes it a sufficient film, deserving any time spent viewing it.
Valentine's Day (2010)
Cute, but overshadowed.
I'm not going to go into a long spiel about the movie, nor am I going to bore you with a synopsis that so many do instead of actually reviewing the movie.
Overall it was a really cute movie. I laughed, I cried. It moved quickly without speeding through, but also didn't drag. It's a great date movie and I like the fact that sex wasn't in your face even though it was a romantic movie.
That said, it is way too Hollywood for me. I don't mean too many stars because let us be fair, most of those were not real stars but just trendy attractive actors. In 10 years we'll see who is still around.
Instead I'm talking about the typical Hollywood in-your-face social issues parade. We've got homosexuality, inter-racial marriage, cultural diversity ... and the list goes on. Puh-leez! We want a great story, not someone's politically correct agenda here.
I'm not saying that I'm against all of that, I'm just against forcing it into a film where it doesn't fit properly. A story is like a jigsaw puzzle. You have to put the pieces together neatly. However this story seems to just throw it all together without making it sensible, like forcing the pieces in there when the fit isn't really right to begin with.
Nope. It's a cute film, but not a great one. Love Actually, even with it's "I hate America" speech, was done so much better. It had moments that were just amazing; the Colin Firth restaurant scene simply cannot be competed with.
All in all, I give it 5 of 10.
Rear Window for television?
I'm not going to give a synopsis because goodness knows you can find that anywhere.
As I watched this episode, I was struck by the familiarity I sensed without ever actually viewing it before. It was only a few minutes in before I realized why. This is basically a condensed televised version of Rear Window (though obviously not exact and with an interesting twist at the end, as Hitch is so infamous for). I am not disappointed by that at all but find it quite delightful instead. Rear Window is, by far, my most favored Alfred Hitchcock film. To see it used so cleverly here was an engaging surprise. It's also worth noting, perhaps, that Rear Window had premiered only eleven months before the first airing of this episode.
I also want to briefly touch on my disagreement with a couple of points that previous reviewer posted.
The first point is about there being evidential delusions. I think it's fairly clear, from the title alone, that there were no delusions here. That is what makes the final twist so amazing.
Secondly, to criticize an episode on the "believability" is to criticize classic film and television. Life was different back then, and everyone knows that. It's not even worth mentioning in my opinion, as the reviewer did. However I will say that no matter what era, the movement of a dead body is the hardest part of the crime. Watch TruTV's Forensic File's (think real life CSI) if you want to learn more about that. This episode clearly reinforces that well-known fact.
I thoroughly enjoyed this one as I do so many of Hitchcock's. The acting was superb, the plot interesting and the twist intense. It's worth the few minutes it takes to watch, I have no shadow of a doubt.
Yes, stupid pun intended.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Fairly good movie. 7 out of 10.
First off, this is a fairly good movie. I'm not going to say it's the best of 2008 by any means, as I can think of many others that are better, but it is a good movie. Most of the performances were great and the action was good. The problem I had with it was the length and the dark theme. My understanding however is that it's closer to the original theme of the comics, so I suppose that's the way it's supposed to be, but personally I don't care for that.
Speaking of the dark theme... if you have kids, this is probably not a movie you'd want them to see. It's a bit graphic and the whole beating up the dogs thing was a serious turn off. Not to mention Two Face's faceless side. It was just a bit much.
One thing I have to say is something that is a bit touchy. Prior to seeing this movie, I had read the reviews of how "amazing" Heath Ledger's performance was and I thought to myself that this was an insult to him. I mean everyone only begins to rave about his performance only after he dies and not before. I felt that they were only saying it because he did in fact die.
I'm happy to say that I was very wrong and believe me, I wouldn't say this if I didn't feel this way. Personally I think Heath was obviously not the least bit intelligent for dying the way he did. It's unfortunate that stupidity caused his death, as so many before him. I cannot possibly admire anyone like that and they never learn, do they? In any case, Ledger's performance was indeed amazing. He owned the movie and it's a shame that we'll not see him reprise the role. Oh well, life is hard and it's too bad some don't know how to keep it.
I do have another gripe too. I understand that in order to make things realistic, they have to make Wayne's voice disguised, but does Bale have to sound like he's gritting his teeth when he's speaking every single time Batman opens his mouth? Surely there was a better way of disguising his voice.
Finally, as I mentioned above the movie was just way too long. I found myself wishing that it would simply end, only to be disappointed that it was still going on like the Energizer Bunny.
Aside from those things, it was an okay movie. I can only give it a 7 out of 10, but I'm not a big super hero fan so that's probably why. My husband thinks it's a 10 so he should probably be writing a review. He says it's very true to the comics and is a great depiction. I'll just have to trust his word on that.
Cool concept for a film but fails through bad direction.
I'm not going to write a detailed synopsis of the film; you can get that anywhere online. This "comment" is to illustrate what I think about the movie, so you can better decide if you want to see it.
The idea is actually a good one and an alternative title such as, "A Day in a Café," really describes it better. I like that it's all based in one general location - similar to a play - and that it all occurs within a short time period of one day. It's just about in real time. I also like that almost everyone has a secret of some sort, that eventually comes out.
One thing this movie does, that I think is really creative (though isn't a new concept by any means), is it displays for us the mental picture one gets as a secret is uncovered. To understand this, imagine for a moment that your best male friend is wearing a dress and an old lady's hat. That mental image in your mind is the same image that we get to see through the character's eyes as they find out someone else's secret.
It's all slapstick comedy to the extreme, so it's all in fun. One reviewer here worried that all Americans would think all the English really act like that. That's the silliest notion in the world. Slapstick comedy is one of the oldest and best types of comedy and is familiar to us all.
Now for the not-so-great parts.
I have no problems with Americans portraying the English and vice versa, so long as its done well. Unfortunately for us though, it is not. Both Katherine Heigl and Mike Vogel need to stick to American roles. Imagine an American actor switching throughout the film between both a regional southern American dialect and one from the Bronx. Can you imagine such a horror? Well put that into British terms and this is what you get from Vogel. I never could figure out what region he was supposed to be from. There were even moments where he sounded Scottish! Heigl on the other hand lapsed between American and British, making her nationality questionable. Because of this, I kept expecting to find out that being an American schizophrenic was her secret. I'm not saying that their acting abilities were the problem, it was just their linguistic abilities.
I've also no problems with boisterous comedy either, but the comedy in this film was (for a lack of a better word) incongruent. The writing was fine and the jokes worked some of the time, but the timing was off or something. I don't believe that it was the actors or the writing at fault, but the director. Whatever it was, it made it very uneven.
I was telling my husband about it this morning. The interesting thing about this is that the movie came off funnier in my retelling of the story, then it actually was. My 19-year-old daughter entered the room to hear us laughing about the story. She asked what movie we were talking about and my husband promptly replied, "She's been laughing (very hard I might add), telling me about this movie that she supposedly didn't like for the past twenty-five minutes." Indeed!
To sum it up; if you know in advance that it's crass, off-beat, has bad timing and bad direction then you might actually enjoy it. Just keep in mind that it is loaded with errors and don't have a high expectation. Would I watch it again? Maybe, if nothing else is on. Would I buy it on DVD? Absolutely not.
The Howard the Duck of the New Millennium
Despite the overwhelming bad critical reviews, I thought I'd watch this movie. I'm not one to agree with what critics have to say, as I've enjoyed many a movie that they haven't. However they are on the mark with this one.
The first problem I have with this film is the casting. Just because Jolie lends a pretty face and is probably the only actor in the movie who played her part well, doesn't mean that she still fit into the part. The fact that she's only one year older than her on screen "son" is a major problem. She should have never made it to the screen as Olympias. On the other hand, she is the one person in the film that seemed to have any real passion on the screen. She did very well, though she was the wrong choice. As for the others, a blond Colin Farrell is just wrong in any film, a tired - and overly verbal - Anthony Hopkins is an incredible disappointment and Val Kilmer left no lasting impression at all.
Next we move on to the writing. The infinite, and so very dragging, dialog is just too much to try and sit through. Seconds began to tick by like minutes and minutes like hours. Most of the dialog throughout the film could have safely been edited out, without losing the direction the film was going. The extensive Braveheart-ish freedom speech, I'm sure, was a bore for those soldiers to have to sit through. Braveheart did it amazingly well and now everyone wants to do it. Unfortunately only Braveheart is capable of such a good thing.
The direction of the film (and I don't mean the point of it this time) was severely lacking. This is evidenced by the horrible casting, the writing and all other aspects of the film. Take the cinematography for example. This was a perfect opportunity to capture the incredible beauty of the spacious and exotic landscapes, in ways not ever seen before. Instead we are treated to photographic shots that I can do with my old 110 camera. The landscape subjects were good choices, but badly done.
Then there is the homosexuality that is badly portrayed. This subject is still in it's infancy on screen for many viewers, but it can and has been - done respectfully and tastefully. In this instance however, it fails on several points. To say that it was markedly pretentious and overly melodramatic is putting it lightly. Were I a homosexual, I would find it personally offensive.
As for it's historical value, that is not something I can determine easily. I'm no scholar of Alexander and his time period. For example I'm well aware of the frequency of homosexuality in ancient Greece, but I am curious as to how much conjecture this film presents to us when it comes to Alexander's feelings. I prefer films that stick to the facts and not films that try to appeal to today's political ideas. HBO's Rome is a good example of this.
There was one thing though, on this very point, that I was pleased about. I was delighted with the inclusion of the near mystical story of Bucephalus, Alexander's beloved horse. On the other hand, I was disappointed in the follow up of that story. We get to see how Bucephalus came to Alexander (probably the best scene in the film), we see him riding him throughout the film, then... nothing. A little display of affection between the two here and there was warranted, but unfortunately was not provided.
I also liked the costume designs. Again, I don't know how historically accurate they are, but the message was clear and well done. That is except for Val Kilmer's polyester sheepskin rug he wore over his clothing. Had it looked more like real fur, it would have been completely acceptable, but I had a hard time believing it was.
All in all, and I'm very sad to say this, but this movie was a real time waster. It could've been cut to about forty-five minutes and it would've done well. I wouldn't suggest you watch it, unless you are like me and are curious.
I give it one star for the idea of a film about Alexander, one star for Jolie's performance and one star for the beginning of the Bucephalus story. That's all I can give it, which is sad to be sure.
Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)
Great family fun!
***** USUAL WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS MAY BE INCLUDED *****
I must admit that I wasn't too keen on seeing this film. I understood that this had nothing to do with the original. This movie would have scored better had the titled been named something else entirely. After all, it is a different movie so why keep the title the same? I find that a bad decision. I believe the overall IMDb user ratings would be higher had the title been something else. As is it, viewers try to compare it to the original and naturally they scratch their heads over it.
However getting past that, I think it was really good. I'd see it again and plan on purchasing the DVD. As a family film I wasn't expecting top notch acting nor superb direction and/or cinematography. It's just a cute and funny film.
It yields many morals. I've seen some user comments here pointing out that some of the film contained adult like humor, but this is part of the moral of the story. This is driven home by the statement of the father of the brood who says that this is a G rated family and that's the end of it.
I found it quite funny. I really enjoyed the parody of many of today's parents who believe in raising only one or two children, with strict diets and all the typical fad parenting beliefs. It's nice to see that the value of not sweating the small stuff is still out there and that family should be number one before you worry about what everyone else thinks.
There are plenty of laughs throughout as well as many touching moments. Forrest Landis, who played little Mark, was just adorable and did an excellent job. He was the scene stealer of the film and it would seem that the majority of the film was centered around him. I found his portion the most touching and even a few tears made their way to the corners of my eyes. Outside of the parents, he was the star.
The simply gorgeous Tom Welling was a (quite happily) distracting element. I felt he was quite believable as the big 'angst-ing' brother and he does look VERY good in that white shirt of his.
Hillary Duff was her usual self in it. I'm not a Duff fan and feel that 97% of her acting borders on the line of whining and the tradition doesn't end here. However, given the fact that her older brother (Welling) is as handsome it would seem appropriate that the next in line child were just as attractive. Duff fills that bill. The one item I found distinctly incorrect is the repeated point of her taking the hand-me-downs from her older sister, Nora who is in her early twenties. Duff is dressed way too trendy to be wearing hand-me-downs. A less 'today's teen' wardrobe would've really been more appropriate for her.
Ashton Kutcher was quite funny as the anti-family boyfriend. Oddly, I knew he looked familiar but didn't recognize that this was Kutcher, probably because I'm no fan of his. I was certainly pleased though with his work here and would have to say that he too was the scene stealer next to Landis. His self loving character was just hysterical. I'm not sure another actor would've been as suitable as him.
Bonnie Hunt was as flawless as she always is. It's quite evident that age is catching up to her but I don't think that as a downfall at all. For this film, it's a plus. To raise twelve children is certainly a strain and while she plays a happy loving character, she looks tired and that is realism at it's finest. Off the set, I love Bonnie for not allowing Hollywood to make her feel that plastic surgery is inevitable for everyone.
Ditto for Steve Martin. I have to say that I didn't find him very believable as a football coach. He's not the coaching type. I blanched when I realized that's where this was going, but without revealing too much of the story, I had to raise my glass with how it was played out. My initial feeling of his being a coach was apparently right on target and is perhaps the reason why he was chosen for this character to begin with. In any case, Steve is just as funny as he nearly always is and I'm so glad he was in it.
The surprise appearance of the much weight reduced Wayne Knight (Seinfeld's Newman) was wonderful. He seems to carry this character of cynicism around with him wherever he goes and it didn't stop here.
Finally, the cute pets. I'm still scratching my head wondering why IMDb still refuses to credit animals. They still get paid and are considered actors. In any case, the dog reminded me of Chance, in Homeward Bound and played a good part as well. Many films have a family pet in the background, but most are ignored for the most part and are in very few scenes. Thankfully he isn't in this one. He's around the majority of the time and even has his own scenes as well.
The same goes for Beans the frog. Beans actually had a very important part and his acting was quite above the average frog standard. ;-)
All in all I took off one star for the title. Again, it should've carried a different one. I took off one and a half stars for leaving the story about Charlie and football unfinished, as well as the story of all the kids and their peer relationships unfinished. There was no tying up the loose ends regarding the changes these kids went through at school, away from home.
This leaves it with a 7.5 out of 10. The rest is just a good movie.
Two Weeks Notice (2002)
Could've been better
(Usual disclaimer) ***** CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS *****
I was greatly excited to see this film. I like Hugh Grant, despite his personal history, and Sandra Bullock is cute. However, this wasn't at all the film I anticipated. It was long and quite boring.
The politics I suppose was necessary for the story though could've been handled even better. Hollywood politics is sickening but I have to admit, while normally I would've been insulted, I took the comments better than had it come from someone like Sarandon who knows nothing about politics. So I suppose that's something.
The humor was vague at best. Wasn't this supposed to be a romantic comedy? Instead, the humorous lines were all but a few. In fact, *all* the humorous lines were provided in the trailer. Which brings me to another point. Most of the trailer contained scene flashes that didn't even exist in the actual film! Quite a few of the remaining scene flashes were completely reworked. Interestingly, these scenes weren't in the deleted scenes either... so where are they?
Grant outshined Bullock. The Kelson character didn't seem too believable. A true liberal, as they tried to portray her, would never have worked for Grant, even if a Community Center was in the deal.
All in all, I feel that the trailer was much better than the film. In fact, the trailer was pretty darn good! So my advice is to skip the film, watch the trailer and you've saved yourself a load of time.
Hopefully Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock will do better next round.
A Walk to Remember (2002)
9/10 stars - A great film to remember
***USUAL DISCLAIMER - MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS***
This film had more good than bad. First, the bad. The acting suffered somewhat. West did well but Moore could've been better. Her quiet distemper in the film perhaps hid this fact to other viewers which, in reality, is good. Hannah looked horrible, though Im no fan of hers, but my belief is that she was supposed to. If this is true, it was a full blown success. The glossing over of Dr. Carter's relationship with his son was a bad idea. More overall depth to the film could've been added, had it been explored a little further.
That said, now the good. It was a good moral story. The old Hollywood cliche that Christians are inherently evil was not a factor in this film lending it more truth in the real world. A message that the world should hear. The plot was held well. Many look at the film and feel that its main focus was a `delinquent' boy falls for a sweet dying girl. This is, IMHO, a misconception. It was so much more than that. Jamie's faith forced a change in Landon. A very positive life long change. It was more than the loss of his delinquency. It was the power of love, faith, forgiveness, and most important of all, peace. Peace within ourselves. The understanding that life isn't perfect. Bad things happen to good people but resentment keeps wounds fresh and in the end, the wounds will not heal.
Another tiresome Hollywood cliche, thankfully left out, was sex. The abstinence lent the film a freshness that few films can achieve.
Overall, it was a film I will not forget. I give it 9 stars out of 10. The -1 star is for the lack of direction in the acting.
Black Hawk Down (2001)
Best depiction of American Soldiers ever made!
**** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ****
Overall this is a great film. A lot of realness lends to it as well. My husband is an Army Gulf War vet. Not long after his return, there was talk of mobilizing to Somalia. I remember quite clearly my husband coming home saying to me, `I can't believe they might send us over there! When I took my oath I said, I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies' and I did *not* say for peace keeping missions or for the United Nations.' My husband was not alone, many of the GIs felt that way. As I watched the film, I never expected for this to be addressed. Hollywood, being what it is, took me by surprise this time. The hooahs had a very familiar, as well as welcome, ring to my ears. The military, and their families, have their own culture. Separate from the civilian world. Civilians are a me' world, where the military is a we' world. A good example is the camaraderie, which was portrayed very well. No one should ever be left behind. You are not only dying for your country, but dying for your fellow men. I'm glad to see a film that shows how selfless they really are, how hard it really is, and how divided they really feel. There was a point, in the movie, where a woman had to be shot. It was either her or them. Today's liberal society tries, in vain, to make it look as though war should be avoided simply because of the deaths of innocent civilians. Yet, this film is the real truth. There are times where there is simply no choice.
Yes, I'd say this is probably the most realistic film on American military forces ever made. I'll forgive the director for the actors who played American soldiers, that are clearly not American (Ewan McGregor, Orlando Bloom, etc.). We all know there are other films out today that discriminate against Americans and won't allow them to portray foreign characters. Well, that's the difference between America and those nations, isn't it?
The only thing wrong with the film, if you can say its wrong, is the ongoing gore throughout. I'm divided on the issue. The 9/11 tower jumpers taught us that some things are better left unseen. However, if you don't see it, will you ever really understand how bad it really was? If we don't really know, then it stands to reason we'll forget, and soon. The memory of the horribleness of it all will be forever etched on the mind. That's art imitating life.
I would've liked to have seen more on the rescues, to include that of Mike Durant. However, time constraints would perhaps have forced a lot of cutting and the scenes that made it to print were absolutely necessary.
I give it a 10/10. I can find no valid fault with the movie. The political correctness was, thankfully, left out. Had it been there, I'd drop my vote down.
To all who contributed to the film: Great job!