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Fiona G.

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26 reviews in total 
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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
At least cut the last 30 minutes, 10 April 2002

What a neat premise this movie came up with at the beginning: show us what turns life can take if a machine becomes truly intelligent and able to bear emotions.

But then the movie almost immediately starts to stomp on its own feet. Our hero, David, the first of the new robot generation able to handle emotions, is apparently not the first. Otherwise his predecessors would not be able to fear death, develop cynism beyond their limited programming or forget their programming at all. Best example here the lovebot "Gigolo Joe," who tries to go undercover when he finds a dead woman in his apartment and later befriends David - all this goes far beyond "programmed reactions" as explained in the movie (why would the manufacturer program these into a lovebot at all?). Oh, and if you wonder how much thicker the plotline became due to "Gigolo Joe" imagine his role being deleted and try to think hard if he delivered anything useful.

(Ok, I will *not* argue about the question why David gets shortfused when he eats spinach but can fall into a pool and nothing happens or why with all the elaborate technology to mimic humans none of the bots blink.)

Then we see David getting left by his mother (or the person he was programmed to love) and his endless quest to find the "Blue Fairy" from "Pinocchio" who he thinks can make him a real boy and win him the love of his mother. Did I say endless? Yes, because all of us past age 8 know that this quest will be futile. You may feel sorry for David, but you will also feel like watching an accident happen and you can do nothing about it.

But then enter Mr. Spielberg. When you watch the last 30 minutes of the movie you will know what I mean. You can almost tell where Kubrick's notes ended for sure and where Spielberg took what he described as "his own intellectual freedom." At this point you will feel like watching "E.T." and "2001" at the same time - on an LSD trip. Spielberg tried so hard to reach the heights of Kubrick (and had Williams throw in some "2001"-like tunes for the final) it is almost pitiful how he ruins his own ambitions with his pink popcorn attitude to sooth the viewer. Spielberg just can't let us go without a pat on the shoulder and a reassuring "everything will be fine!"

How swell would everything have been, if the movie ended right there with David staring and begging and Teddy eternally sitting with him. Audiences would have left the theaters wondering "are we aware of what a responsibility we are getting ourselves into there?" I would have even forgotten about the above mentioned implausibility of the emotional reactions the earlier robots had, which most likely were delivered to pull us onto the sides of the robots.

Which brings me to the one character I liked the best and felt genuinely sorry for: patient, enduring and quiet Teddy.

Screamers (1995)
38 out of 47 people found the following review useful:
Good movie on a budget, 15 July 2000

Based on a Phillip K. Dick story (the writer of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," which was the background for "Blade Runner") this movie delivers, but suffers because of the apparently tight budget. Some scenes in here reminded me of the original "Star Trek" episodes, where the production crew had to become quite inventive to get effects on an almost non-existing budget.

So movies low on money have to rely on their scripts and on good actors, and "Screamers" has them both. The story and its subplots could serve for three movies and especially Peter Weller showed a superb performance here. Generally there are some weaknesses, but they can be forgiven, if you allow yourself to get into the story.

If you have enough of FX loaded movies that cover their thin plot with a multitude of explosions, then give it a try.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Illogic and constructed, 9 July 2000

Whew, with the hype that went around this movie, you got the feeling that you miss out on elemental cinematic history if you don't see it. Unfortunately, that's not true.

"The Sixth Sense" tries hard to be a good psycho-thriller and in fact the idea behind it was good. But as the script was written, someone must have had the idea to put the real big bang in there, something no viewer can guess to happen, the totally total of all story twists there ever were. But, bad luck, the grand idea has to fit into the rest of the script, so you have to modify it and make compromises.

And really, I was disappointed with the end. Not because of it, but because everything else was set up for it. I didn't guess the twist because it was so sneaky, but because it was completely implausible. To clarify that I will try hard not to give anything away, in case you didn't see "Sixth Sense" yet, so I will ask only one question, which you'll understand later: how do you get into someones apartment without ringing the doorbell or knocking? There are numerous more points like that but by stating them I would give away the surprise. It's too bad the whole film had to suffer just to get that in.

And then there are horror scenes, not too many, but I guess the writers figured that the movie had to give some more than the general idea and the last big bang. And again, they just serve the purpose and are badly integrated: young Cole, they boy who can see ghosts, later finds out that they want him to help them. I think even a ghost can anticipate that scaring someone to death isn't a good start for getting help.

Probably the best asset of the movie is Haley Joel Osment, who played "Cole." Marvelous what this young boy could do with his role. Bruce Willis stays a little unbelievable as a psychologist, but that could be the script as well. So far I yet have to encounter a psychologist who handles therapy that way.

Well, nice idea, nice movie, but nothing overly sensational. Horror movies greatly benefit from taking part in our world and incorporating the horror into it. But then they have to stay true to rules we all are familiar with and to those they need to set up to make us bite our nails. If "Sixth Sense" would have mastered both, I'd be yelling "great one!"

47 out of 89 people found the following review useful:
Self-medication, Mr. Spielberg?, 9 July 2000

This movie serves two purposes: a) glorify the American soldier from World War II and the American nation in general and b) help Mr. Spielberg overcome his own neurosis about being Jewish, a task he started with "Schindler's List." That probably makes him the envy of anyone who ever saw a psychologist: to get paid for spreading out your psyche instead of having to pay for it.

The first 20 minutes of this movie are amazing, indeed. Very well captured is the sheer horror of landing on a fortified beach; the disorientation, the killing etc. But after that, this movie drops on the level of "Armageddon": a mother has a number of sons, all of them died during the war, except one and the US military surely puts the life of half a dozen soldiers into peril to save that last one. Of course, that is completely logical.

The German soldiers, in the contrary, don't seem to have mothers or anyone who cares about them, they are ugly, lean-mean-killing machines, shouting incomprehensible things and should be killed wherever possible. They are also not just as scared as any other simple soldier on a battle field, they don't have any feelings at all.

So, what could have been a great movie, with all the money spent for and stars on it, playing in the same league as "All quiet on the Western Front" gets to be completely pathetic, unrealistic, super-patriotic and one-sided. Steven Spielberg once said that he often didn't feel he was a "real" American and was left-out because of him being Jewish and that the past of his family haunts him. It is ok to feel that way and I wish him he will finally get rid of both feelings. But on the other hand he also was left out of getting an "Oscar" until "Schindler's List." That was a well done movie, but on the long run it seems it didn't do Spielberg too good. Somewhere he must have come to the conclusion that doing movies about WWII helps him overcome his problems and making them patriotic will help him getting an Oscar.

If you are interested in a realistic look on war, watch "All quiet on the Western Front" or "Das Boot."

11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
The best depiction so far, 2 June 2000

It is beyond understanding why this show was canceled so quickly. The appearance and attitude William Conrad gave his Wolfe was just about perfect. He was the "seventh-of-a-ton" detective thousands of readers of the novels probably imagined. But not only Conrad was superb, the rest of the cast was as well, from George Voskovec's Fritz to Allan Miller's Inspector Cramer, with whose fits anyone could feel along.

Some edges of the characters were taken out, which is especially true for Archie Goodwin, and was most probably done to assure mass compatibility. Both Goodwin and Wolfe are described as chauvinists par excellence in the books. But besides that, there wasn't much more an avid fan of the novels could have asked for.

Very noteworthy is the great care about every little detail of the "old brownstone." That was marvelous work and the production crew should be applauded for that. Probably they had a number of Wolfe fans among them.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Politically correct nothingness, 21 April 2000

"The Green Mile" tries hard to be a nice movie, to steer your emotions, to feel along. Etc. Everybody who is nice simply is nice, character depth is secondary. What completely ridicules the entire thing is the influence of fantasy elements to enlighten the atmosphere. Not only is everybody nice, but heah, with some special abilities they are even nicer!

Technically the movie is of course well done. Camera, lights, everything is in the green. Unfortunately that doesn't make a good movie, when characters are simply created to fulfill general expectations. Although this simply seems to be a routine production to appeal to mass audiences, anyway, and of course it hits right on the target. That Hanks was in for a role here is understandable - his main aim nowaday seems to be building up his reputation with the Academy. For Duncan the decision was probably more difficult, he got to play the usual part of the black country guy. But a chance to get a role in a "made to please the academy" film is a hard thing to refuse, esp. when your co-star is Hanks and a name like Stephen King stands for the novel.

It is much more reccomendable to watch "Dead Man Walking" for a good look on the topic, but of course if you felt along with the characters in Cameron's "Titanic" this is your thing to go for.

7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
It couldn't be much worse, 21 April 2000

For anyone who read the book by Michael Ende, this movie is an insult, turning it into a kitschfest. All remarkable and poetic bits were left out, probably for the sake of mass compatibility. The "masses" should revolt for such bad judgment of them. For example, Ende described the force that lets pieces of the fantasy world disappear as something gentle and almost peaceful, to show that losing fantasy happens quietly and needs attention to be recognized. The movie lets it roar wild just as anyone might be depict it, who is being asked for something that lets an entire world disappear.

Technically the movie is alright by Hollywood standards. FX are nicely done, actor performances are just about average.

If you want to do yourself or in fact your children something good, go and get the book.

3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Fantastic mingle of plots, 20 April 2000

What was the "Crying Game" all about? It is hard to say, but one thing is for sure, it was put together in a genius fashion. The viewer is unsure where it all steers at and the famous revelation of Dil's secret is only one point in the story, although it puts a lot of pepper in. Sometimes you will find that certain male viewers tend to be disgusted by even a mention of that being possible, but it seems some of them were quite enchanted by the beautiful Dil until then.

In general, the cast is doing a very good job and make it easy to relate to the characters, what, in a story like that, is probably more difficult than it looks like. The script full of twists is very well written and the movie should be applauded for having the courage to kill one of the main actors right after the beginning (which is not to say, killing an actor early on always makes a great movie).

If you are open minded enough for watching an individual look on the Northern Ireland problem mingled with an unusual lovestory, this is a must-see!

Metro (1997)
14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Solid action movie, 16 April 2000

Perhaps the biggest problem in Eddie Murphy's career always was, that people expected him to be a fast talking guy whose mouth gets him in and out of trouble. As soon as he tried to escape that formula, viewers were in for a disappointment and found his movies below than average.

If you leave that behind, "Metro" is a solid action movie with a couple of remarkable stunt scenes. It's also very delightful to see that it tries to leave some of the usual "veteran cop gets rookie partner" routine behind and playfully mocks some standard suspense elements: you see a young girl in front of her opened bathroom mirror searching for something. The music swells. She starts to close it and what does the viewer expect? To see the face of the killer when the mirror closes. But nada. Those are really refreshing bits.

Murphy's performance is quite solid, the story is what to expect from an action movie and refreshed, as I said, by the bits above.

Boomerang (1992)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Good looks aren't everything, 16 April 2000

First of all, this movie has some nice visuals. Interieurs, light, even the clothes of the cast look like they were made for each other. The appeal is so perfect, it reminds you of a commercial, which unfortunately holds true to the rest of the film as well.

The actors so much try to look swell, sophisticated and suave that it seems they forgot they not only portray the clothes and fancy apartments, but actually characters that interact with each other. This keeps them flat and it is not easy to establish a relationship to them, which also lets most of the humoristic points of the story fail.

If you really are into watching movie-length commercials an evening with "9 1/2 weeks" might be more enjoyable.

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