Reviews written by registered user

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24 reviews in total 
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Junebug (2005)
7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Smart-ass sophisticates meet dumb hicks, 24 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Basically, the situation is that of a sophisticated, big-city couple that go for a visit to the man's unsophisticated, rural family. The first part of the film held my interest; during the second part, I just wished that the director would get on with it, already.

The principal character, Ashley, is a twit-brain, and her husband, a sullen redneck. One reviewer found the climactic scene, between Ashley and her brother-in-law in the hospital, one of the greatest tings ever put on film. I found it an interminable bore.

Oh, yes, this is one of those films in which almost everybody smokes. Could the tobacco industry have contributed to this production?

Kontroll (2003)
8 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
Another cult masterpiece, I guess, 15 January 2006

Apparently the Budapest subway system makes sure that people pay their fares by employing groups of young men who roam the trains, checking to see if riders have bought tickets (which, evidently, many do not).

At the beginning of the film, we meet a group of these "controllers" who go about doing just that, in a rather abrasive and vulgar fashion. There are a few funny moments, such as the subway motorman who fixes his cab up like a shrine, with religious pictures, candles, beaded curtains, etc.

But the problem seems to be that nothing very much happens, except for bits of gratuitous violence, at least for the first hour, after which I shut the thing off. If I ever visit Budapest, I think I will stick to surface transit.

5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Who is Steve Zissou?, 27 November 2005

The title would make you think that'Steve Zissou is an instantly recognizable fictional character, like Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot. I'm sure that is what the authors would like, but he is not. Steve Zissou turns out to be the loud-mouthed head of a bumbling group of undersea explorers.

What mild amusement there is in this situation fades long before it is over despite some nice bits of animation. However, so many people seem to have liked this that you end up thinking that perhaps you are just a Philistine, and really should be looking for "deep meanings" as the film grinds on. Nonetheless, I found myself wondering, between yawns, just why two excellent actresses like Anjelica Huston and Cate Blanchett decided to appear in this piece of junk.

Fortunately, we had recorded the film on our PVR, and could just erase it afterward. Otherwise, I would resent having spent anything to watch it.

Zatoichi (2003)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Sushi western, 7 August 2005

This film is set in what I believe is 16th century Japan - the whole country seems to be ruled by a series of clans (people are evidently free to slice each other up, without any interference by a superior legal authority), and most fighting is still done with swords and knives, although firearms are just being introduced, as seen in a scene where one character produces a pistol. As was the case in other films I have seen with a similar setting (notably "Gate of Hell"), it is quite visually appealing).

Nonetheless, this film is basically an old-fashioned Western, with the invincible good guy showing up to rid the town of bad guys who have taken it over. This being done, the villagers announce that it's time for the "festival", which leads to the silliest and most irrelevant finale I have ever seen in a film.

5 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Talk, talk, talk, 2 July 2005

No I did not find this film sexy, nor did it lead me to any great psychological or philosophical insights. It was what we used to say about unsatisfactory dates when I was an adolescent, "NATO" - No Action, Talk Only. I just kept twitching, wishing the bloody thing would END already. It was just a lot of endless blither, and, as such, effectively numbed any concern I might have had for the characters, rather than cause any empathy with them.

One additional problem I had with the print I saw was that the voices and lip motions were poorly synchronized - almost as if it had been badly dubbed into Franch from another language, which, considering that all the principal actors were born in France, probably was not the case. Perhaps other prints were better.

Niystill, as one critic said about O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh" "It boreth, me snoreth, me thinketh it stinketh.".

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Less to this than meets the eye, 22 February 2002

The basic idea of this film, someone who is born on a ship and never leaves it during his entire life seems interesting. However, the film, to me at least turned out to be a crashing bore, through which I fidgeted, fell asleep once, and turned on the display several times on the DVD player to see how much time was left.

The main character, the ship's pianist (just where he learned to play the piano, as well as how he got whatever education he had while never leaving the ship is unexplained) is evidently quite adept at jazz and cocktail music - viewers fond of these musical styles will have a lot to hold their attention through most of the film. As for me, the heavy-handed dialog, "meaningful" pauses and "deep meanings" made this one of the worst films I have ever seen. The replica of a World War I vintage ocean liner was very good, however.

One point, the initial timing of 160 minutes as contrasted with the actual time of 125 minutes, and the fact that the notes on the DVD box caution parents that the film shows a woman's breasts, while I did not see any, leads me to believe that the film was cut. Normally, this sort of censorship irritates me, but, in the case, I can just be grateful.

6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Enjoyable and believable story in a Canadian setting, 28 October 2001

This is an amusing and believable story about three young couples who are not particularly well suited to each other. They all discover this, but one couple has to get married to find this out. The film is set in Vancouver, which, for once, is not dressed up to be some American city. It was nice to see Canadian references, such as Canada Council grants and the Cambie Street Bridge. The film is very funny in a low keyed, unhysterical, thoroughly Canadian way.

11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Interesting, with a few minor flaws, 26 August 2001

This film has a most unusual setting, the Chassidic community of Antwerp, Belgium. The protagonist is a young Jewish (but non-observant) woman, who gets a job taking care of the children of a Chassidic family, and has a humanising effect on all, of them, including the imposing and forbidding father, albeit with an unfortunate side effect.

The film's title refers to a sub-plot, in which the protagonist's father digs holes in various spots around Antwerp, seeking for some trunks of personal effects he buried while fleeing from the Nazis.

After the film was over, I realized a few flaws in the plot (Unlike one of your other reviewers, I did not find the nude swimming scene unpleasant at all. It serves nicely to contrast the protagonist's lack of inhibition with the sexual prudery of the Chassidim.). For one thing, the concierge of the building in which the Chassidic family lives is an anti-Semite, who constantly harasses the family. He denies them access to the elevator, blocks the stairs and even injures one of the children. Yet nobody thinks of complaining the the building's owner about him.

Also, the name of the protagonist is Chaya. Yet it never occurs to her best friend, until it comes up in conversation, that she might be Jewish.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A better tune than I had expected, 26 August 2001

This is a real "old-fashioned" love story. However, it has an unusual and interesting background, being set on one of the Greek islands during first the Italian, and the German occupation during World War II.

There has been some criticism of the fact that some of the events relating to Italy's departure from the Axis are not presented accurately. But the basic fact remains the same; the Germans occupied the areas held by the Italians at the time of their departure. This is, after all, entertainment, and not a treatise on Italy's role in World War II.

As well, the variety of accents in the film, from Penelope Cruz's Spanish accent to the vaguely Italian one of Nicholas Cage, has been criticized. However, unless one is prepared, where one is making films with a non English-speaking setting, to use just native speakers as actors (in this case, Greek, Italian and German) with subtitles for all, there is no good solution for the problem. The results here are as good as can be expected, and a lot better than I have seen elsewhere.

The whole thing makes me wonder to what extent I should trust reviewers. A few weeks ago, having read glowing reports, I went to see "Sexy Beast", and loathed it. As far as I was concerned, it was just the largely incomprehensible rantings of a sociopath, and more incomprehensible talk from his unpleasant associates. I went to see this film having read that I should be prepared to dislike it, instead, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Sexy Beast (2000)
Blah, blah, blah., 15 July 2001

We went to see this film today, based on what seemed to be virtually unanimously good reviews by various critics. Boy, were we disappointed! The theatre has a policy of giving refunds to anyone who wants to leave within the first half hour. We should have taken them up on it.

This film presents us with a group of assorted British gangster types, with a few female companions, endlessly talking to each other, very loudly and fast, generally in menacing tones, a bit like a Pinter play without the talent. They are not funny, they are not interesting, in fact, they are hardly comprehensible (at least to my North American ears), due to their thick lower-class British accents, abetted perhaps by the theatre's sound system. In short, one of the most irritating films I have recently seen.

The thing is just about an hour and a half in length, short by present day standards. This is one of its few virtues.

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