Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Just the Ticket (1999)
A little lost film
This film must have been the best-kept secret in movies, because I never heard of it before. It's a charming and well-acted little comedy romance, I don't know why it was brushed under the carpet. Andy Garcia is extremely funny and energetic in the lead role of Gary, he and Andie MacDowell have a good romantic chemistry, and some of the supporting characters are great. It's not a brilliant film, but it's certainly well worth watching, and I think Andy Garcia should be very proud of this amusing and very good film.
Next Stop Wonderland (1998)
A charming and entertaining "little" film
This low-budget film should be judged from a different level than a big-budget production, I suppose. Yes, it was similar in a way to 'Sliding Doors' and at times seemed like a poor man's Woody Allen. But, I enjoyed it. I liked Erin in spite of, or maybe because of, her quirks. I found Alan to be a very noble and charmingly flawed man. I liked that the film focused on the lives of the two main characters separate from each other. How they "almost meet" is reminiscent of 'Sliding Doors'. Erin's string of bad dates is a bit of a cliche, but well-done just the same. I enjoyed this movie, it has a lot to offer and is well worth seeing.
Sliding Doors (1998)
It makes you laugh, cry...and wonder
I truly enjoyed this sweet and unique film from Britain.It is a charming and thoughtful portrayal of a young woman named Helen (Gwyneth Paltrow)who is fired from her job, and finds parallel destiny in the doors of a subway train. It is a story of destiny, and how we can never truly escape what we are meant to do, even if we are going in completely opposite directions.
In one version, Helen misses the train, is mugged, goes home to her boyfriend Gerry (John Lynch) who has just finished an afternoon delight with his ex-girlfriend Lydia (Jeanne Tripplehorn). She then begins a series of menial jobs, unaware that her boyfriend is cheating on her. In the version where she makes the train, she meets the charming James (John Hannah) and returns home to find her boyfriend in the throes of passion with Lydia. She leaves him, moves in with her best friend, starts her own business, and begins a loving relationship with James. We see these two versions, and think we know which direction they are going...but it's destiny, after all, and nothing is quite that simple.
Gwyneth Paltrow is wonderful as usual, doing her British accent in between 'Emma' and "Viola". Her eyes become big as saucers when she is hurt, and she can express more emotion in a twitch of her face than many actresses can with their whole bodies. John Hannah is wonderful as James, the charming, kind, sweet man of most women's dreams, but still with his faults. I wish John Hannah, and this film for that matter, were more successful. I had never watched the film before, I had neglected to rent it many times, because I wasn't completely "aware" of the film. I regret not seeing it sooner. I cried my eyes out at the end, although I am a bit emotional. It is life seen from a different eye, and I highly recommend it.
Boys Don't Cry (1999)
Unflinchingly honest, disturbing, and heart-breaking
I was stunned by the simplicity and power of this fine film. It tells the true and tragic story of Teena Brandon/Brandon Teena, a woman living as a man in a small town in Nebraska. No matter what your personal opinions may be, this film does not preach. It tells the story in a matter-of-fact, honest and gritty way, but leaves you shaking your head in shock that such anger and hatred exists in these modern times, for someone who is "different" merely because of their sexual preference.
Relative newcomer Hilary Swank gives a heartfelt and courageous performance as Brandon. I say courageous not only because of the subject matter, but also because she is able to strip away her youthful, movie star glamour and become the character she plays. She is entirely convincing. Also, she shows a tremendous amount of guts for being able to get through the gut-wrenchingly violent rape scene. This was a brave choice, and a wise one.
Chloe Sevigny plays Lana, the girl Brandon loves. She is the only person who truly understands Brandon. Brandon finds himself in a world of drunken trailer trash and convicted felons. No one is free from guilt, but there is always the unspoken sin of being different. Hilary Swank and Chloe Sevigny play their tastefully erotic love scenes without seeming self-conscious. So many actors of their generation might be afraid to tackle these types of roles, but they do their jobs with aplomb.
The film was another that haunted me the day after seeing it. Kimberly Peirce manages to make a simple film about a very difficult subject, and she doesn't resort to Hollywood gloss or preachiness. It is a risky film, very difficult to watch in places, with several very violent and disturbing scenes. It is a story that needs to be told, and with the two Oscar-nominated performances from Ms. Swank and Ms. Sevigny, it succeeds.
Sexy, mysterious and off-beat
I really enjoy this quirky, sensual film, but even after several viewings, I am still a bit confused about the plot. It's not one of those bizarre films where you shake your head and say "what?", but rather one that keeps you going up and down different alleyways. Tommy Lee Jones is very sexy and perfectly cast as the rough and tumble private eye hired to get a man's dead wife off his trail. But, is the wife really dead? What is fantasy and what is reality? Virginia Madsen is drop dead gorgeous, no pun intended. She and Tommy Lee Jones have a very hot sexual chemistry between them. This is the only movie with the formidable Mr. Jones that I have seen him engaged in a passionate, nude love scene. This alone is worth renting the movie. It's not great, but it's very old-fashioned, gritty film noir, and extremely sexy, and definitely not predictable.
The Green Mile (1999)
Mystical, Haunting, Thought-Provoking
I was intensely moved by 'The Green Mile', which is as haunting as 'The Shawshank Redemption', yet far more mystical. It was not nearly as uplifting as 'Shawshank', it was very sad and violent in parts, but also had moments of humor. The acting is first-rate, particularly Michael Duncan as John Coffey, the Gentle Giant and healer on Death Row. The execution scenes are disturbing, and the film is very long. But, as with 'Shawshank', I felt haunted by the film long after I had left the theater. I see images of the film flash in my mind; I hear pieces of dialog. It's heart-breaking cinema, and even if critics are dismissing the film, Hanks and Company have nothing to be ashamed of. I highly recommend this film, but go with an open mind and open heart, and a vivid imagination and sense of hope. These are essential; without them, the message will be lost.
La reine Margot (1994)
A breathtakingly beautiful piece of cinema
Everything about this picture is beautiful, even the ugliness is beautiful...an oxymoron, but the only way I can describe it. This is a stunning tale of 16th century sex and violence, with a dirty realism, but still an overlay of beauty.
Isabelle Adjani is intense, beautiful, and sensuous as Margot, the highly sexed, intelligent and dutiful sister of the doomed King Charles IX of France. She is forced into a marriage of political and religious convenience by her bitterly ambitious mother, Catherine de Medici (Virna Lisi) to the repulsive Henri Navarre (sympathetically played by Daniel Auteuil). There is a tremendous amount going on, and Margot's incest with her brothers is more than hinted at.
The searingly sensual Vincent Perez plays La Mole, who eventually becomes Margot's doomed lover. Their first encounter is an acrobatic feat of anonymous sex in an alleyway that is breath-taking. Their later love scenes are intensely erotic. This film only becomes better on repeat viewings. I found I was able to grasp more on my second viewing. There is so much going on, so many twists and turns and shocks, and the film is also quite long. It never lags, and even Margot's grudging tolerance, if not love, for her husband, is believingly portrayed. Very highly recommended.
The Waterdance (1992)
Realistic story and tremendous ensemble acting
This film never received the attention it deserved, although this is one of the finest pieces of ensemble acting, and one of the most realistic stories I have seen on screen. Clearly filmed on a small budget in a real V.A. Hospital, the center of the story is Joel, very well-played by Eric Stoltz. Joel has been paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, and comes to the hospital to a ward with other men who have spinal injuries. Joel is in love with Anna, his married lover, played by Helen Hunt, who shows early signs of her later Academy-Award winning work.
Although the Joel-Anna relationship is the basic focus, there are many other well-developed characters in the ward. Wesley Snipes does a tremendous job as the angry Raymond. Even more impressive is William Forsythe as the bitter and racist Bloss. I think Forsythe's two best scenes are when he becomes frustrated and angry at the square dancers, and, later, when he feels empathy for a young Korean man who has been shot in a liquor store hold up. My favorite scene with Snipes is the in the roundtable discussion of post-injury sexual options.
The chemistry between Stoltz and Hunt is very strong, and they have two very intimate, but not gratuitous, sex scenes. The orgasm in the ward is both sexy and amusing. There is also another memorable scene where Joel and Bloss and the Korean boy take the specially-equipped van to the strip bar. It's truly a comedy of errors as they make their feeble attempts to get the van going to see the "naked ladies."
The story is made even more poignant by the fact that the director, Neal Jimenez, is paralyzed in real life. This is basically his story. This film is real, not glossy or flashy. To have the amount of talent in a film of such a small budget is amazing. I recommend this film to everyone I see, because it is one of those films that even improves on a second look. It's a shame that such a great piece of work gets overlooked, but through video, perhaps it can get the attention it so richly deserves.
Map of the Human Heart (1992)
A romantic tale of life-long love
I found this to be one of the most romantic movies I've ever seen. It tells the story of Avik, a young Eskimo boy who meets Walter Russell (Patrick Bergin) when Walter comes to map his village. Avik discovers he has Tuberculosis, and Walter takes the young boy to Montreal where he stays at a Catholic hospital. There he meets Albertine, a young girl of mixed French Canadian and Indian blood. They grow attached to each other, in spite of the meddling of one of the nuns, played by Jeanne Moreau. Eventually, Avik and Albertine are separated. Avik returns to his village, and becomes a man. He finds he is ostracized by his fellow tribe, because he has lived too long among the white people.
Avik as an adult is played by Jason Scott Lee. By this time, Canada is involved in World War II, and Avik joins the Air Force and flies on bombing raids. He is reunited with Albertine (Anne Parillaud) in London, who is also in the military. Unfortunately, so is Walter Russell. And it seems that he and Albertine have met and become romantically involved. Avik does not want to interfere in the relationship, because Walter saved his life.
This is a story of two people who are truly in love, but whom the fates keep apart. An old theme, but with a new twist. I found it heart breaking and romantic. I loved the period portrayed. And the love scene atop the blimp is quite something! This film isn't for everyone, but if you like a good romantic tear jerker, this is for you.
Europa Europa (1990)
Amazing but true tale of strength and the will to live
This story is made even more amazing since it is based on fact. The real Solomon Perel has quite a story to tell. I have also read the book, and the movie is a bit factually inaccurate, but it is still tremendously well-made.
Young Solly is played by a beautiful young actor named Marco Hoffschneider. His good looks and charm are part of what get him to convince the Gestapo that he is not a Jew, but an ethnic German. But Solly has much more getting him through this ordeal. His determination and strength of spirit, plus blinding will to live, and perhaps the youthful exuberance of being able to accomplish it, help him to pull off the charade. The young boy speaks several languages, and is able to use this skill to convince Nazi soldiers that he is not Jewish. The soldiers adopt him as a sort of "mascot." Solly is careful not to show his circumcised penis to anyone, including the German girl he falls in love with. Fate is also on his side, since several times when it seemed he might be found out, the hand of a higher power intervenes.
This is an engrossing film, sad and funny. Perhaps Solomon Perel is ashamed that he lived with the enemy to save his life, but, he is alive today to tell his story. The real Solomon Perel makes a brief appearance at the end.