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Servo-11

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57 reviews in total 
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Sharpe's Regiment (1996) (TV)
30 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
Among my favorites of the series, 7 April 2003
10/10

This is one of the best episodes of a brilliant series of films. It's a brief departure from the usual battle hackenslash of the other films and instead shows another side to Sharpe's personality, including his terrible intuition when it comes to the pathetic and deceptively fragile Jane.

But Sharpe isn't the main highlight of this installment. For me, the head attraction is Harper, played by the impressive and easy-on-the-eyes Daragh O'Malley. His revenge on a brutal sargeant with the simple words, "God Save Ireland" is a moment to be cherished and rewatched over and over. Just delicious.

There are few TV movies that I simply adore, and the Sharpe series is right at the top. It was a grand discovery.

32 out of 36 people found the following review useful:
A great melodrama, 30 April 2003
10/10

Yes, the plot is a bit cliche but the performances certainly make up for it! Garbo, only in the early years of her career, gives an incredibly smoldering performance as the unredeemable temptress Felicitas, who snags the hapless Leo (John Gilbert) into a web of sex and lies. Look at that sly smile as she's trying on her widow's weeds -- very effective. John Gilbert, the heir of Valentino's mantle, proves that he surpassed the master lover with a believable portrayal of a man who realizes that he's way over his head but can't help himself. He does indulge in a bit of histrionics, but is very restrained compared to other silent lovers of the era. Only his performances in "The Big Parade" and "Downstairs" better this one. As Felicitas' second husband, Lars Hanson has the looks and talent to hold his own on the screen with his two incredibly dynamic co-stars. He amazed me opposite Lillian Gish in "The Wind" and "The Scarlet Letter" and it's a shame that he made so few movies in Hollywood before returning to Sweden.

Clarence Brown keeps the narrative flowing with a healthy balance of humor, drama, romance and action. MGM's stock company of character actors (William Orlamond, Polly Moran, George Fawcett and Eugenie Besserer) make an appearance and provide excellent supporting players to the three stars.

I found the Carl Davis score to be absolutely perfect for the images up on the screen, and the music when Garbo and Gilbert dance and two necking sessions reflect the raw passion. It's just stunning and I can't come up with enough words to describe it. After Buster Keaton's entire body of work, this movie ranks as my #2 favorite, tied with The Wind.

10/10

Escape (1940)
29 out of 33 people found the following review useful:
Suspense-laden melodrama, 22 October 2001
10/10

As a Norma Shearer fan, I looked for this movie for years and finally found it on TCM (hail the great god, Ted Turner!). First of all, I was surprised to find a movie made so early in the years of WW2 that actually brought up the topic of concentration camps, and the reason why Robert Taylor's mother is to be executed (she helped Jewish refugees leave for America -- "Jew" is never mentioned, but it is obvious). The performances are top-notch, and it was nice to see Nazimova toning down her usual grande dame-isness. I've never been a Robert Taylor fan, but this movie has one of his best performances as he alternately bucks authority in the good old American way and puts up with the Nazi-Gestapo badgering. Norma Shearer is fine, even though her role is small, and her scenes with Conrad Veidt (playing her Nazi suitor) are very effective. You can see her democratic side gradually gaining strength against Veidt's facism as she sees more and more of Taylor and his own dilemma makes her question her present beliefs. It's a must-see.

43 out of 61 people found the following review useful:
Not that bad, actually, 26 November 2001
6/10

I was expecting something really awful, but once I got about 15 minutes into the movie, I decided that the only way to enjoy it was to forget that it was "based on" a famous novel and just enjoy the movie for what it was. And I found myself very entertained.

I was impressed with Gary Oldman's performance. It's nice to see him portray someone who isn't a psychotic ham and he did admirably well. Demi Moore suprised me with her acting and apart from a few stilted scenes and discomfort with the dialogue, I think she pulled it off pretty well. I found myself caring about her character and her relationship with Dimmesdale. Perhaps the bathing scene was a little too gratuitous -- c'mon, Demi, do you need to show it all? -- but it was only a few minutes out of 135.

I wish that Pearl could have been given more screen time and character development and the woman who did her voiceover throughout the story left much to be desired. As did Robert Duvall's performance. I didn't much like his acting in this movie at all.

The supporting cast was excellent: Joan Plowright, Edward Hardwicke, and others. The locations and set design were exquisite and the costumes were gorgeous.

Overall, I thought it was a very good way to spend a couple hours. You see some early colonial atmosphere, something which is almost extinct in movies nowadays, and adequate and sometimes inspired acting. Just don't expect to see Hawthorne's novel on the screen. If you want to see the unhappy ending in all its self-mutilating glory, see Lillian Gish's silent version that is sometimes aired on Turner Classic Movies. 6/10

27 out of 33 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.

27 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
Coherent adaptation of the epic poem, 7 November 2001
8/10

Having been forced to read The Odyssey several times throughout school in clunky and stale translations, it was very refreshing to see the story brought to life like an action movie. I don't want to sound shallow by emphasizing that aspect of the epic because I do understand and appreciate the subtler nuances and motifs of Homer's poem. However, to take it out of the classroom and turn it into a popcorn movie does not do it injustice. In fact, it gave me a better appreciation of the story and a shot in the arm to give the print version another try. Which I did. And I really enjoyed it this time. Probably the fact that I didn't have an essay assignment breathing down my neck on my last reading helped immeasurably.

Anywho, I think Armand Assante was an inspired choice for Ulysses and the supporting cast was very well-chosen too, especially Greta Scacchi and Nicholas Clay. The Scylla/Charibdis and Hydra segments were the most thrilling. Perhaps the FX weren't always top-notch, but this is TV, folks. It definitely had a storybook feel to it with the bright colors and understandable dialogue. Now, if they will only make a TV miniseries of The Iliad......

The Pagan (1929)
17 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Entertaining fare, 17 May 1999
10/10

I love this movie! I've seen it about four times, and every time I see it, Ramon Novarro gets cuter and cuter. He portrays the lazy and carefree islander to perfection, and Renee Adoree's performance is as heartbreaking as that in THE BIG PARADE. As a big fan of Donald Crisp, and used to his roles as kindly father figures, the lech he portrays in this film is a bit jarring, but he does an admirable job, considering he was really a big-hearted marshmallow. One of the greatest films in the twilight of the silent era.

14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Often hilarious look at an atypical gay love life, 17 May 2002
8/10

OK, I don't kid myself that this is the typical gay love life but since when are straight romances in real life as they are on the screen? This movie is well-balanced with comedy and drama and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was a riot to see Hugo Weaving play a sex-obsessed gay real estate salesman who uses his clients' houses for his trysts with the flaming Darren (Tom Hollander). And having seen him in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert only the day before, he is probably one of the most secure-in-their-masculinity actors around. :) Anyway, the plot flowed smoothly and the male-bonding scenes were a hoot. Thumbs up! 8/10

Vendetta (1999) (TV)
13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Really enjoyed it, 12 May 2003
9/10

Although it has one of the more depressing endings ever filmed (and I normally don't like that kind of thing), I was unable to stop watching it. The story, no doubt simplified for the screen, was engaging and has me interested in seeking out Gambino's book to get the broader picture as well as the facts. :) Christopher Walken's accent was a tad iffy, but he wasn't the main attraction of the film. The collection of players were extremely well-balanced so that everyone had a chance to do their stuff and be memorable and they were! Darragh O'Malley as the Irish investigator was a pleasure to see after the days of Sharpe's Rifles and Joaquim de Almeida likewise captured interest with his diginified performance. Bruce Davison and Edward Herrmann as the warring attornies were also solid and interesting. I completely enjoyed this film.

9/10

The Boat (1921)
7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
One of Keaton's best shorts, 22 May 1999

While I love everything Keaton did, I particularly like his short comedies the best. They're packed full of gags and it's always an endless laugh riot from beginning to end. The Boat is one of my favorites, along with The Scarecrow and One Week. Keaton's brusque treatment of his children in this short speaks to my heart since I'm not very fond of children, either. The gag where he measures the temperature of the water before jumping in to save his kid from drowning is priceless and I never cease to laugh. This short is also an early example of Keaton's ability to take one prop and base a whole story around it, a la The General. Sybil Seeley is also excellent as his patient wife and her performances in Keaton's other shorts are equally delightful.


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