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Servo-11

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57 reviews in total 
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Braveheart (1995)
4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Overblown and overrated, 16 October 2001
2/10

I finally watched this movie after hearing about it for years and I really wish I'd spent my time watching something else. Braveheart ranks right up there with Titanic and Pearl Harbor as prime examples of what's wrong with Hollywood historical epics. They take a rich and complex history or event and dumb it down for the viewing public into a shallow tale of revenge, love and death. Emotions are over-the-top and characters are either good or bad. Strangely enough, considering its reputation among some people as being mindless entertainment drivel, I feel Gladiator is a much better film, despite all the sneers that Gladiator aped Braveheart. Gladiator took the elements that floundered in Braveheart and made it much more satisfying, visually and dramatically. Compare Maximus's quiet death, as he finally reaches his family on the other side, with Wallace's leatherlung scream of "FREEDOM!" delivered on the soaring wave of a pulse-pounding, throat-catching orchestral surge that you would find only in a Hollywood epic. I look at Braveheart as a supreme egotrip by a moderately talented actor. Mel Gibson needs a good director to keep him in line so he doesn't grandstand, and Emmerich succeeded to some degree in The Patriot. Throw in the shameful historical inaccuracies and the blatant gay-bashing (Mel has a few personal agendas) and you have a long film that bores and exasperates.

Still, I gave it 2/10 for the cinematography. The scenery is beautiful. Oh, and the gut-wrenching bellylaugh I got from Wallace's final word made the rest of the movie much more enjoyable. Too bad it didn't come earlier in the film.

If you want to see Braveheart summed up in about 5 minutes, watch the "Starvin' Marvin" episode of South Park. It's infinitely more satisfying.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Burton's best to date!, 8 October 2001
10/10

I've seen several Tim Burton films, but this one is by far my favorite. It's a good old ghost story with ample doses of comedy and thrills -- and a wonderful performance by Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane who comes to Sleepy Hollow to prove that the supernatural goings on have a basis in scientific fact. Depp is marvelous, as he is in all of the films he's done with Burton. The two of them bring out the best in each other and create cinema magic. The sets are eerie and atmospheric, filled with fog and mists that build tension and a feel for the late 18th century countryside. I really can't say enough about the set direction. I tip my hat to whoever did it. Christina Ricci provides more than adequate love interest and she looks lovely in her costumes. Christopher Walken looks like he had a marvelous time with his fake teeth, snarling at everyone like a maniac. All in all, the move is deliciously over-the-top, straight from the Puritanical rants of hellfire and brimstone, witchcraft and boogeymen that would drag good Christians down to their doom. A must see!

Engrossing plot, dialogue and characters make it zip by, 14 August 2001
10/10

I was kind of wary about watching this movie because I have seen a few of Michael Mann's other films and found them nonsensical (Mohicans) or just plain boring (Heat, except for the robbery scene). But this one really caught me up in the story and character development. Pacino gives yet another charismatic performance as Lowell Bergman as he fights to get his story aired on 60 Minutes. And what can possibly be said about Russell Crowe? The man defies being pigeonholed as an actor and his Jeffrey Wigand was a superb characterization, going from persecuted employee to defiant rebel who wonders if it was all worth it after he loses everything. He played a middle-aged man so well that he makes a paunch and white hair exceedingly attractive! :P The almost 3 hour running time just flies by and you see some of the best performances on film along the way!

All I can say is Ed Norton -- WOW!, 6 August 2001
9/10

I finally saw this movie yesterday after seeing The Score on Friday and telling myself, "You have to see more of this guy's movies!" I'd seen his performance in The People vs. Larry Flynt 2 years ago and came away with the decision that his performance was the saving grace in that film. However, I'd never gotten my butt around to seeing anything else with him. Well, that all changed with The Score. I watched Primal Fear because a friend of mine told me that it was excellent. Unfortunately, she told me the ending! Grrr... But it didn't interfere with me enjoying the film because I could focus all my attention on Norton's performance without having it distracted by getting wrapped up in the suspense and mystery. I was just blown away by it. That guy has loads of talent and right from the beginning! I can't believe that he didn't win the Oscar for it, though I shouldn't be surprised that the Academy looked him over. The scene where he transforms from Aaron to Roy and back to Aaron is a dynamite piece of acting -- something which all young actors should aspire to. I loved this movie so much that I hopped right onto ebay and put in a bid for a copy. Now, onto American History X, Fight Club and a binge of Nortonmania! :)

Memento (2000)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Easy to watch, hard to explain, 23 April 2001
10/10

Just like The Matrix, as I watched the movie, it made perfect sense. Then when I tried to explain it to someone who hadn't seen it, I confused them and myself as well! But that doesn't make the movie bad. It's rare to find a movie that you can't sum up in 50 words (sometimes 10) or less and make perfect sense. I really enjoyed the fact that you had to have your memory fine-tuned while watching it and even then, things slipped by that will require a second viewing, or a third...or a fourth...or a... I was riveted, and not only by Guy Pearce's edgy yet charming hero. All the performances were cohesive and a perfect complement to Pearce's obsessed Shelby. 10/10 and great arty-without-being-stiflingly-pretentious cinema (well worth the $7)

Gladiator (2000)
Great epic not dwarfed by the effects, 17 June 2000
10/10

I went into this movie expecting it to be nothing but guts and gore and lots of screaming. Boy, was I wrong! Yes, there was some of all those things, but what also came off the screen was an absorbing story of a man's determination to bring his life full circle -- make it complete by avenging those who had wronged him. The computer generated effects were far above those of TITANIC and the work done in the battle scenes was simply awe-inspiring. I had a few quibbles: the relationship between Drucilla and Maximus prior to the opening of the movie was not explained and the speed of the opening battle varied from slow to fast and it was hard to keep an eye on any one person. Very minor things! I spent $4.75 to see the movie and it was WELL WORTH IT! I think I've recovered from the belly flop that was TITANIC. I can now go to a theatre and spend my money with confidence. There ARE good movies out there!

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Great acting in dramatization of real life event, 28 April 2000

Jerome Lawrence made the timely decision to remove the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925 and place it in the middle of the Red Scare of the 1950s where a rabid mob of people convinced of their superiority tried to impose their beliefs on the rest of the country. Inherit the Wind still takes place in the 1920s and the issue is still evolution, but the extreme right-wing mania is undeniably a reflection of the paranoia and

bitter hate of the witch-hunters.

Tracy and March make sparks fly in a 15-minute scene where Drummond grills Brady and leaves nothing but a shuddering wreck of a once-great, but stubborn and narrow-minded man. Tracy expertly brings Darrow's banteringly sarcastic courtroom manner to the screen as he lays the trap for his adversary. Gene Kelly, in a surprising departure for him, plays sarcastic reporter, E.K. Hornbeck (in reality, H.L. Mencken) effectively.

8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Paul Muni can play comedy!, 12 April 2000
9/10

Having seen Paul Muni in so many dramas, I wondered if he could pull off comedy as well. I needn't have worried. Since he's teamed with Glenda Farrell, a master of the wisecrack, he gets solid support and the looks they exchange throughout the movie are priceless. One scene that I loved was when Glenda is pretending to be Nellie Nelson so that a woman will confide in her and she's bossing Muni around like he's her office boy.

The plot isn't that original. In fact, there are several versions on the same theme (star reporter demoted), but this one has the star material to give it an extra life. Ned Sparkes also adds to the fun.

24 out of 29 people found the following review useful:
A good Hollywood epic, 10 April 2000
10/10

I watched this movie with some curiosity. I wanted to see if 1) Paul Muni could play Chinese and 2) Luise Rainer deserved her Oscar. I came away from the film thinking YES! Having seen Muni in only one film where he was quite hammy, I expected the same type of performance here. I was happily proved wrong. Although some might criticize him as being too childlike and stereotypically simple in the Hollywood idea of Asians, I thought he was just right in the role. Keye Luke, if he'd been given the chance to play a lead role, might have played him in much the same manner.

I was particularly impressed by the camera work and the use of crowd scenes, especially during the sacking of the palace where O-Lan was once a slave. The graphic and grim atmosphere of the firing squad and the drought made this an epic quite unlike others of the same time where it was all glitz and glitter. I watched this film from beginning to end enthralled. I can't say the same for the "epics" of today.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Unlike most shoot-em-ups, 2 June 1999
8/10

Most Westerns, past and present, show a definite line between the good guys and the bad guys, but Bad Company blurs it a little. They're sympathetic in that they are forced to become outlaws in their desire to dodge the draft and make their own way in the world, yet each one has unlikeable traits as well.

In the end, the viewer is left to decide whether Jeff Bridges and Barry Brown's characters are admirable or not in the closing scene.


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