Reviews written by registered user

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16 reviews in total 
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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A love story between Roger and..., 5 July 2014

film, Chaz, journalism, Gene, Chicago and most of itself. I couldn't stop crying but most of the time they were tears of joy. Thank you Steve James for giving us all the chance to say goodbye and thank you Roger for instilling the love of cinema in me at a young age back in the late 70's and nurturing my views on humanity ever since. I truly miss you.

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther....And one fine morning--

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back carelessly into the past."

Malèna (2000)
49 out of 61 people found the following review useful:
It's allegory people..., 10 November 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Saw this in 2000 at a special Italian consulate screening in LA at which Tornatore spoke afterwards (and before a directors cut of Cinema Paradiso). After reading so many critical reviews I just wanted to note that Tornatore describes this film not as a "coming of age" picture (that in essence is what Paradiso is) but rather an allegory of Italy's foray into war and fascism as seen through the eyes of an innocent (in this case Tornatore himself). Malena represents all that Italy was and is to him, both beautiful, easily misled, and misunderstood, and the climatic scene in which she is beaten down is in essence what happened to the country post Mussolini and WWII. Watch it again with this concept in mind and your view of the film will dramatically alter.

8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Interesting premise and source material, underwhelming execution., 30 October 2002

Saw this for the first time recently at a International Jewish Film Festival screening at which both the director (the oft overrated and stylistically lacking Arthur Hiller...the Roger Donaldson of his generation) and star (Maximillian Schell) attended and spoke at. My expectations were high, but the film was quite a letdown. Hiller's direction was dull and generic and had the look and feel of a bad 70's television episode, while Schell brings new meaning to the term overacting (his Oscar nomination makes more sense in light of Al Pacino's Oscar win for his incessant mugging in "Scent of Woman").

The producer of the film mentioned that writer Robert Shaw (from which the source material came and a famous actor in his own right) asked to have his name taken off the film upon reading the screenplay (and then apparently asked to have it put back on later). Not having read his play, I found much of the dialogue awkward and stilted, although many of the statements and speeches in the film give an introspective view of not just the tragedy of the Holocaust, but also the logical if deluded mindset of those Germans that perpetrated such atrocities. Given the intriguing premise, it would have been interesting to see what the film would have been like in the hands of a better director and with the lead character played a bit more understated and nuanced (a great example would be Ian McKellan's brilliant performance in the otherwise flawed "Apt Pupil").

To be fair, the predominantly older Jewish audience I saw it with enjoyed it, although I would guess more out of obligation to the subject matter then to it's artistic merit. All in all, a fairly mediocre film for its' time with a over-the-top performance by Schell, neither of which have aged well. 5/10

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Not perfect, and obviously biased...but a must see nonetheless, 26 October 2002

Riveting filmmaking once again by Mr. Moore...granted it's unabashedly liberal in it's bias, 30 minutes too long and a bit all-over-the-map thematically, but it works.

I expected a anti-gun control movie in the manner of "Roger and Me" and while it does touch on that quite a bit and although either side of the gun control issue can be debated, "Columbine" does a better job on focusing on our rapidly declining culture of fear and violence, especially that espoused by the media (liberal as it may be). While Moore may argue for better gun control, he's not for abolishment, rather he asks us to look at ourselves and our country from a different perspective to see what's gone wrong...and while sometimes that perspective can be laugh-out-loud funny, more often than not it's both frightening and disturbing.

Kudos for making a film that exposes our weaknesses as a nation and as people...and makes you think about yourself and your place in our society...even if the answers aren't what we always want to hear. As for me I'm still trying to figure out how Moore got Charlton Heston to agree to let him interview's quite possibly the most embarrassing performance ever put to film (although Dick Clark doesn't fare much better in a brief cameo).

16 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful adaption of James Kirkwoods novel/play, 17 July 2002

Just saw a screening of this at Outfest. Despite it being based on one of my favorite novels (Kirkwood also wrote A Chorus Line) I was a bit disturbed to see 80's cheeseball actor Steve Guttenberg (he of Police Academy fame) as the director and star. Let me be the first to say I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was the film wonderful but Guttenberg's against type portrayal of a down-on-his luck actor who begins to doubt his heterosexuality in the face of tragedy managed to completely make me reevaluate his acting prowess. His hissy fit in the scene where he finds out his girlfriend is leaving him for another man is absolutely hilarious as are his comic interactions with his burglar/prisoner (Lombardo Boyar) which are both touching and funny. All in all a very good adaption of a very good of the better independent films of the year from Steve Guttenberg of all people...who would have thought it?

Howard Stern fans keep on the lookout for one-time Howard sidekick/E! Scandals host/NY Gossip Columnist AJ Benza in a over-the-top turn as a gay hairdresser who tries to rape Guttenberg...LOL... hilarious!

Exquisite film making on multiple levels, 23 August 1999

Given that other users have commented on the ending of this film let me make my own personal observation that even without the "finale" I would consider this a great piece of film making. Rare is the film that actually can inspire thought provoking chills days after viewing and even rarer one that also provides moments of legitimate emotional heartbreak and longing. I can't remember a film in which I have felt both the chill of true terror as well as the tears of sadness through the eyes of the protagonist. In fact, in some ways this film could even be classified as a great romance and the ending just becomes a wonderful conclusion to an already fascinating film. Highly recommended! 10/10

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Brilliant, daring piece of movie-making., 9 July 1999

With SOS Spike Lee both takes a major leap in film-making while at the same time he risks alienating his core audience. Interestingly, Lee disproves his own theory (that only directors with a particular ethnic makeup can make a film about their intrinsic culture) by perfectly encapsulating the Italian-American experience in NYC as well as providing a great take on the American punk scene. Although there are no "black" characters in the film, Lee utilizes to great extent Adrien Brody's wanna-be Brit punk outsider to symbolize the alienation, betrayal and lack of racial integration themes prevalent in his previous films. Brody and Leguizamo (as a local homeboy fruitlessly battling his inner demons) give stellar performances that capture both the characters and the times. Lee's depiction of 1977, Studio '54 meets CBGB's, the Yankees playing out a national soap opera, the heat, the grime, the racial tension and the rampage of Berkowitz, perfectly illustrates the era, and I for one thought the Jimmy Breslin narrated bookends worked well in the context of the film. As always with his best films, the pic is about 30 minutes too long, but never completely bogs down. Unfortunately the audience I saw it with apparently was expecting something else, since a number of them left during the film and the after-show buzz was extremely negative. The vibrancy of the work has left me hoping that Lee will follow-up with something even more daring as he clearly has the ability to become the next Robert Altman. Don't let the bad reviews fool you this is one of the best films of the year....9/10

The Matrix (1999)
Groundbreaking sci-fi film which is both visually mesmerizing and intellectually intriguing., 2 April 1999

I had high expectations for this film, given that the directors were responsible for 1996's great "Bound". For once, not only were my expectations met, but they were exceeded. The film actually improves on the stylistic ground set forth by last years "Dark City" and adds actual tension and excitement to a world filled with doubt and suspicion. The efx are unlike anything seen before and the fight scenes and shootouts are the closest thing Hollywood has ever come to the heyday of Woo and Hark. In addition, the plot is surprisingly complex and unpredictable (although the finale is somewhat disappointing).. Acting is sufficient for basically a visually driven film, with Keanu Reeves giving a much more credible performance than in the pitiful "Johnny Pneumonic". A must see 9/10.

Nothing deep but a nice diversion, 16 March 1999

After reading numerous scathing reviews, I went to this film expecting the worst and was pleasantly surprised. While it's by no means earth shattering is is a pleasant retrospective on relationships and cultural mores in the late 70's and early 80's. I've read criticism of the the films portrayal of the era, saying that it wasn't 80's enough. However, I disagree, the film is right on point with it's depiction of late 70's New Wave/punk culture as it segued into the 80's New Romantic/synth Pop. The style and music that most people identify with the 80's actually did not occur until around 1983. All in all a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours 7/10

A Driving Miss Daisy for the '90s., 3 February 1999

After reading some of the reviews, I expected to see an overtly gay themed allegory ala "Velvet Goldmine". As such, I was pleasantly surprised by the focus of the movie on Whale and Boone as complete personas and not just sexual stereotypes. McKellan gives a wonderful performance as Whale, but Fraser's role is actually more demanding, and he fills it convincingly. Redgraves performance, while technically perfect, seems somewhat out of place as does the tacked on ending. I felt the scene of Whale slowly submerging into the water was much more powerful and fitting. Nonetheless, a great film and a touching statement on the impact of war, class, sexuality, and status in our society. 9/10

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