Reviews written by registered user
Pursewarden

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15 reviews in total 
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Magnificent, 29 August 2005
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Avondale dogs is a little jewel. A coming-of-age story about a little white boy in love with his Maori neighbor kid. His mother is dying, he's worried, does childlike mischiefs and dreams about a crashed pie truck. Nicholas' short is full of sensitivity, he achieves in a few minutes to translate the whimsical quality of childhood, the terrible burden of life uncertainties, and the magic found on the most common activities. By a strange coincidence, every time the boy does something "bad", like shooting the neighbor's pigeons, his mother gets worst. This imbues guilt in a very subtle manner, there's a quiet desperation behind the boy's eyes. Damien Lay is an extraordinary actor, able to portrait fragility mixed with a complex and indelible innocence. A very beautiful and moving film.

The Model (1994)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Clever, 29 August 2005
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Jonathan Brogh short, takes on a very old man that decides to start painting again. He hires a nude model. The whole point of the short is a clever reflection of the tin line between art and prejudice. After a while, the model suspects she's with a dirty old man and demands to see his work. He refuses, is not finished. The model is furious, he apologizes, is a very old, sad man, didn't knew he had forgotten how to paint. She leaves taking the money. The last shot is the opposite from that very long joke THE BELLE NOISEUSE, as in some of the best shorts, an unexpected note that rewrites everything behind. A good example of New Zeland's film.

14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Brilliant, 22 October 2004
9/10

This is probably the first Mexican urban thriller that doesn't fall into goofyness or folkloric gags to keep the audience in. The director doesn't go for joking himself out of horrible situations, they stand as serious as a political execution. Its a hard movie, with a terrible subject and a wonderful realization. OK, its portrait of Mexico fits more a decade ago, but that's not a problem in a narrative full of corruption, souless souls, great dialogues, creepy characters and horrible situations. The political game hasn't been shown as fully since the wonderful HEROD'S LAW. One of the movie's asset is the way the narrative focuses in many characters, jumping from one site to the other to build up suspense. The whole English setting could have been easily a cheapy, instead the production work it carefully to provide it with something all recent Mexican urban thrillers lack: verosimilitude. If the worst problems this movie has are in some production values, the acting and the screenplay are worth it. Even if Jesus Ochoa plays the same role he does so well, this portrait is probably his finest (just compare to the shallow cardboard he played in MAN ON FIRE), he is creepy and somehow likable. When a "first world" citizen looks for refuge in his own country's embassy just to get a "huy mam, come back tomorrow at eight" from a night watchman, you get a glimpse at the director's good eye for the reality touch. One of Mexico's best of this year.

Forget the twist, 17 September 2004
8/10

The big problem of M. Night Shyamalan movies is that he created this twist ending trademark. If by all means any movie that spots "surprise ending" will end up spoiling it since everyone in the audience is going to be expecting something, the game enters an endless and stupid fight of egos. The director trying to show how smart he is pulling up surprises, and the audience anticipating anyhow. Thus most movie reviews of THE VILLAGE speak about the not so surprising ending, the disappointing surprise, etc. Well if the movie was JUST the surprise, it would, certainly, be a waste with a better place as a Twilight Show chapter. But THE VILLAGE is much more than a twist ending. If you enter the theater understanding you are probably not going to be surprised and let the burden of surprise out of the movie, then you have a very good suspenseful, and enjoyable, drama with a few minor scares. One played wonderfully by the cast (except maybe Brody, going over the top), and with a very subtly direction by Shyamalan. If there is a future for this director, he should forget the success of the SIXTH SENSE and try to focus into storytelling, something he does better than four fifths of today's directors.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Dumb mishmash, 6 May 2004
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Stephen Sommers latest is an attempt to profit in the line previously taken by "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" but, of course, with a twist. (I may mention a couple of **spoilers** but this movie is spoiled on origin).

Van Helsing (the mythical vampire killer of Bram Stoker´s Dracula) is sort of an immortal slayer searching for monsters (in the first minutes he does Mr. Hyde) to kill with weaponry a la James Bond for the nineteen century. He is cleverly sidekicked with a comic-relief frail to feed him with clever weapons for every season).

He meets Beckingsale, a sort of Rumanian warrior part of a clan fighting Dracula for centuries (which V.H. is sent to help to avoid 9 generations of her family skipping Heaven-as dumb as it sounds). Full of CGI and a plot so contrived that keeps the audience laughing where it attempts to thrill, this idiotic mishmash is a definite must avoid for anyone with enough braincells to read the title.

Dracula and his women have caves full of "eggs" (suspiciously looking like ALIEN cocoons) and are looking for the way for them to live, so they all can dominate the earth (it's never clear why they just don't simply bite a few thousand peasants to populate the region with vampires), and they somehow understand that by using Dr.Frankenstein's machine with a werewolf they can canalize electricity into the ugly cocoons to spawn a few thousand little green demons (that look like suspiciously like the gargoiles from the Hunchback of Notre Dame). The mummy was bad, but was popcorn-watchable-if-you-don't-have-anything-else-to-do, he has gone beyond: this is his worst yet, but we must wonder if his next: Van Helsing II: the mummy of the Louvre, won't go further down.

Jane Doe (2001) (TV)
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Disaster Movie, 2 April 2004
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What happened with this movie? It starts pretty good (minding is a B-series tv production). Very a-la 24, Jack Bauerish. Then when you get to the half, even if you were trying to still believe its contrivances, the storyline becomes so incredibly stupid and fragmented you start thinking you must have dozed off at some point and missed something.

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

They plan a scam, goes fine, and then suddenly the bad guy henchman jumps at them out of nowhere. We're never told how he got there (is there a scene missing? talk about deus es machina!). Well from there on, cheap blackmail, contrived plot, ridiculous high-tec computer company reliying on 3 1/2 inch disks,the clichés are a dozen a minute and more plot holes than anything you've seen recently on the small screen.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Entertaining but Predictable, 8 December 2003
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To begin lets say that the title is a little deceptive, it leads you to believe it's going to be a kind of CSI movie, but really is the kind of mob face to face movie that would have worked better under the pen of David Mamet (Heist) or even the Cohens (Miller's Crossing).

Acting is good (it should since there's not much action in the movie), but the main problem would be that you can see the ending comming since almost the beginning (SPOILER* Since you see the old man paying two hundred dollars to the painters).

Not withstanding, the movie unfolds gracefully (good rythm, good dialogues), maybe boring for some that don't like characters under stress studies.

A solid 6.

6 out of 34 people found the following review useful:
Awfully Stupid, 13 November 2003
1/10

The anecdote of Saramago's novel may be novel in his hands, but that is because of his prose, his talent or his Nobel status. The adaptation origin of this movie is terrible. First is full of technical errors, continuity to start. Second problem is the dialogue. Every time Luppi speaks is to mouth a sentence. For a moment it seems Sluizer has a problem understanding Spanish, specially since all the actors lines are spoken in a stiff robotic manner. The mass chaos images are the saddest note. When the crowd is supposedly driven by panic, to catch a few extras laughing doesn't help the trick. The contrived plot is the last item This one I suffered until the end: the peninsula as a middle step between America and Europe may sound good in a high-school essay, but as the chore of the plot is a very poor excuse. I expected more from the director of The Vanishing (I should have remembered that he directed Crimetime too).

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A scary deadtrap, 8 November 2003
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

**BEWARE SOME SPOILERS AHEAD**

When I read other user comments about this movie, I keep wondering if they didn't understand what the movie was about. Five guys enter a Big Brother sort of internet-game to live in a house for six months, under the premise that if anyone leaves everybody else looses.

The director chooses to spare the whole six months so we get into the house when there´s only a week left to go. For a few minutes it seems we are watching a Blair Witch Project spin-off but then something becomes very clear. The "company" controlling the game starts manipulating the players to loose.

At the end you get to understand all was a snuff reality internet show. Please be serious, it is not a madman-in-the-fraternity-house kind of a slasher film. There's no madness, just profit seeking. So we end up in a Big Brother kind of Blair witch meets 8mm kind of film.

Technically there is a lot of great stuff. The use of infrareds is creepy. The use of sound works pretty good too. The camera work is basically resembling what you can get from the angles of the wall cameras.

If you get to see this movie on DVD, don´t forget to watch it listening to the "company comment audio track". It will shed some light for all of you that think it is a slasher film. Other great stuff on the DVD: The casting of the five guys for the game (not the actors, the characters). There you can see how good this young actors are.

Finally I have to recognize is a very decent (and effective) work (with a few plot holes: how does this guy connect to internet? really? How does this other guy flip-out? When was he recruited?). Anyway, a very good, creepy and scary film (the better reason to watch it is that, you don't seek for intellectual or artsy satisfaction in a movie like this).

K (1997)
15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Extraordinary Thriller, 8 September 2003
10/10

This French movie starts as a classic mystery. A young police detective watches his friend and chess mentor murdering a strange man. From this moment, this fast paced thriller takes us from France to Germany, from war secrets to deep stolen art trading, from Nazi hunting to the war of the gulf. The movie has a very interesting and provocative (almost seductive) screenplay, written by the director and other colleagues including famous writer Semprun. Consider yourself warned, you should keep paying attention, if you forget this is not a Hollywood film, with every explanation said twice for the sake of the distracted and the popcorn go-getter. If you miss something you will feel utterly lost, but don't worry it is worth the reward. Is a very engaging story and will keep you guessing until the end, thanks to its fast paced editing. The only weakness will be the awful theme song on the end credits. While you listen to it, you will feel like listening an old James Bond Theme sang by a Russian cover party singer. Terrible. But don't worry since it is played over the end credits you can always Fast Forward or mute your TV.


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