Reviews written by registered user
|18 reviews in total|
OK, first allow me to echo the continued praise of Denzel Washington. Great performance as Hurricane Carter...intense, focused, can't take your eyes off him. A sure Oscar nomination. Unfortunately, there's not much to rave about here aside from Denzel. Every other actor, with the possible exception of Lezra, seems somewhat lost, as if they wandered into the wrong movie. Particularly, the strange trio of Canadians "determined" to free Carter, who blandly wander through the movie in search of a purpose. Although their amateur detective work (performed with all the passion of someone calling for dinner reservations) leads to Carter's release, you keep hoping they'll pack up and return to Canada. And why does that one guy sound British? Dan Hedaya, portraying the racist cop with a vendetta against Carter, delivers the most banal dialogue in recent memory. Considering he imprisons an innocent man for 20 years, this role deserves more than stereotypical "bad guy" talk. His role is too one-dimensional to inspire any significant hate or fear; he seems more like a pesky roach you want to crush beneath the heel of your shoe. The film also failed to take good advantage of Bob Dylan's fantastic song "Hurricane." Sure, it crops up here and there during the story, but at fairly arbitrary and anticlimactic moments. Don't get me wrong, "The Hurricane" packs quite a punch (no pun intended), and nobody should miss Denzel's performance. But it's a very good movie that, like Carter, missed its chance at greatness.
During much of 'In the Company of Men', I grimaced and fought the urge to
look away. But I kept watching; the film, much like its central character
Chad, tortures and punishes you but keeps luring you back for more.
Chad is a modern, corporate Iago: deceitful, manipulative, cruel, and charming. Watching him interact with Christine, and knowing his intentions, will make you squeamish. His motives? Anyone's guess. During the film's opening sequence, he sickly rationalizes his eventual deception of Christine by expressing a desire for vengeance against a former girlfriend. As the story unfolds, however, you realize (slowly at first, then with shocking clarity) that Chad simply enjoys making innocent victims suffer. I recommend this film with trepidation. Not pleasant viewing (it will surely dampen any social situation), but should leave you thinking. Probably best seen alone (or in the company of men).
Plenty of movies start of with a flash and then proceed to slack off and
miss the target. Zero Effect presents a riveting opening scene and
incredibly sustains that level of style and suspense throughout the film. An
amazing accomplishment from such a young director (Jake Kasden).
Ben Stiller and Bill Pullman do quite well, but some more seasoned stars (picture Tom Cruise in the Stiller role and tell me that wouldn't work) could have elevated this very good film to greatness. I say this with the utmost respect; quite simply, Kasden's story deserves the best.
Really looking forward to future Kasden films. He exhibits great maturity, refraining from superfluous violence and patiently unfolding his masterful plot piece by piece. He also has a great ear for dialogue (for some reason, I particularly enjoyed Stiller's "just a bunch of guys" speech). Even his choices of music seem absurdly correct, as a Johnny Cash-esque song mentioning an "interventionist God" perfectly bookends the film's one (artfully chaste) sex scene. Fans of "Chinatown," "Blood Simple," or "The Usual Suspects," see Zero Effect and meet Jake Kasden.
While this movie's finest moments could be described, with slight exaggeration, as amusing, its weaker moments are dull, confusing, contrived, and arbitrary. Expected a comedy, so the slow and meandering beginning threw me off. The middle portion of the film succeeds somewhat, in that is derives a few chuckles and keeps you watching to see what happens. The ending, however, completely disappoints: distant (and hard to believe) familial connections emerge between major characters, and Glenn Close's fate seems overly tragic within the relaxed, droll environment of the movie. These elements just aren't handled well, and don't particularly add anything to the story, although you get the feeling they're supposed to. This brings me to the performances. Charles S. Dutton has a much larger role than he deserves...he plays a lifelong resident of a small southern town, but looks like he just walked out of a department store in Fresno and was handed a fishing rod. And he has very limited charisma here, too. As for Glenn Close, she's pretty good, but I'm simply tired of her disturbed, pretentious characters and her histrionics. The bright spots here are Julianne Moore and Chris O'Donnell, but unfortunately their roles are somewhat superfluous and not central to the plot. COOKIE'S FORTUNE is good for a few mild laughs, and the chance to see Lyle Lovett onscreen (however briefly), but little else.
TWO GIRLS AND A GUY doesn't waste any time making its points, and therefore results in an entertaining, if somewhat shallow, 90 minutes of sharp dialogue and intrigue. In the wrong hands, this film could have easily digressed into a tiresome succession of arguments or a psuedo-intellectual piece of pornography, but director James Toback handles the material simply and straightforwardly. The real star of the production, however, is Robert Downey Jr, who delivers a loose, inspired performance that captures the absurdity and hidden demons of his character. BLAKE ALLEN isn't likeable or even admirable, but he's got a certain charm. And you can't help but sympathize with him at the film's somber conclusion....
Considering this movie's content (2 women kill a man, then spend the rest of
the story driving through the South on a spree of robbery, assault, boozing,
and adultery), I enjoyed it considerably. Filled with great performances,
right down to the smallest roles, and a lively script.
I liked the fact that the secret about Louise's past in Texas was never revealed. She was asked several times for the truth, but never relented, whereas in most movies I would expect some sort of teary confessional. Better to leave it up to the imagination. Plus, her unwillingness to even speak of her past made the pain of it more genuine. Good movie, I didn't particularly admire Thelma or Louise, but they were fun to follow around.
Wow, this movie is quite a piece of work. Viewers get an incredible sense of the world and the lifestyle of the characters: their workplace, their bar, their hunting trip, their small town, their wedding celebrations. I was impressed that the movie took the time to establish such a feeling -- at times the first hour is boring, but it helps deepen the eventual impact of the film. The russian roulette scene is, of course, one of the most gripping I've ever seen, Robert De Niro is at his best. Actually he's at his best throughout this movie -- after returning from the war, his quiet, subtle, understated performance is just perfect. At many points this film is difficult to watch -- in fact, I doubt I've seen a film containing so many awkward moments. But life is awkward, and "The Deer Hunter" feels like real life. And I love the version of "God Bless America" at the end.
This movie is absolutely charming. A trip to Italy enlivens marriages, and brings love and enlightenment to all. Filled with subtle humor, well-crafted dialogue, and beautiful scenery. On the surface, this may seem like a movie for women, but I had no problem appreciating it. See it!
A solid directing effort from Eastwood. Not a particularly original film, but professionally executed and certainly entertaining. Most importantly, my intelligence never felt insulted. A very satisfying film. Plus, the girl who dies in the car accident early on was really attractive, I wish we'd seen a little more of her.
An excellent depiction of the 1960's civil rights struggle. Tackles a very serious issue but remarkably never seems preachy. Gene Hackman is, as usual, perfect. And while his role of the vigilante FBI man occasionally gets a bit farfetched, you cheer for him all the way. A taut, absorbing, and worthwhile film.
|Page 1 of 2:|| |