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Cleveland in My Dreams (2005)
I just watched the "Cleveland In My Dreams" DVD and I loved it.
I just watched the short film on DVD called "Cleveland In My Dreams".
Wow! It was really, really cool.
It was adapted from Lawrence Block's classic short story "Cleveland In My Dreams". I'm very, very impressed with it. Terrific direction and crisp editing! A first time film by an obviously gifted director.
The two biggest flaws were minor: 1. The greenscreen scenes didn't work perfectly. 2. The acting was not as polished as it could have been.
I loved the integration of the music into the flow of the film one of my favorite directors, Michael Mann, is a favorite for the exact same reason - the deep integration of score with visuals.
Mark (the director) and his sister (the scriptwriter) translated a Lawrence Block tale to film and it works perfectly (unlike many other adaptations of Block's work). A feat unequaled and unrivaled. Well done!
If you get the DVD be sure to listen to the commentary track. I'd have liked to have seen the addition of English subtitles to the DVD but what extras you did have are really great! Loved the behind the scenes stuff too.
One other thing, after watching the bloopers during the credits stick around for a final easter egg (the punchline to a very funny joke told in the film).
Hey, Stop Stabbing Me! (2003)
It has no right to be good but it is.
HEY, STOP STABBING ME! has no right to be good, it has a no budget feel, its shot on videotape instead of film and uses an all amateur unpaid cast.... honestly this film sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. But not only have they managed not to suck its actually PRETTY DAMN GOOD MOVIE! This team has the chops to tackle hollywood films head-on and I'll bet you if it had something like half of the exposure of Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi it'd be doing as much business! Normally I'd point to the few weak spots (the fight sequence in the yard for example) but I won't even do that, this film pulls itself up by its own borrowed bootstraps and overcomes the mediocrity of most film and acomplishes the uberfilm dream it truly entertains. Congrats to all involved, see you on the flipside! ;-)
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)
A male Thelma And Louise!
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) isn't perfect, but it has a lot going for it. The pairing Eastwood and Bridges is great, these aren't the same kinds of actors, and yet their on-screen relationship works well. Supporting character actors George Kennedy and Geoffrey Lewis round out rest of the heisters, and Gary Busey makes an early appearance in a small role. Also of note is the striking Montana scenery, quite unseen on film, this movie does an admirable job showcasing it. What I'm really surprised about is how no one else seems to have noticed a couple of things about this film.
First: The title of this film, and its two main characters are an homage to a pair of famous 19th century highwaymen who called themselves respectively `Captain Thunderbolt' and `Captain Lightfoot'. This isn't the last time Hollywood film criminals would be named after real life bandits. In the film `The Way Of The Gun' the characters are called `Mr. Parker and Mr. Longbaugh' which of course were the real names of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid! Also of interest is the fact that Geoffrey Lewis appears in The Way Of The Gun!
Second: Those interested in a companion piece to this film might consider watching `Thelma and Louise' which mirrors the on-the-road relationship of this film very closely. Though the plot is different, the relationship with the landscape and the emphasis on two characters is strikingly similar. In short a good film, worth watching!
Ha-Pritza Hagdola (1970)
UNCOMMON VALOR meets RAID ON ENTEBBE!
EAGLES ATTACK AT DAWN is a watchable P.O.W. rescue movie, similar in many respects to UNCOMMON VALOR. I bought this video thinking it was yet another version of the true life story of Entebbe rescue mission. Instead I got a fictional account of something similar. A daring rescue on foreign soil by I.D.F. commandos. I love Israeli films, they are always low budget but are also always full of great energy. The villains and the heroes are all interesting to watch in this one, the locations are good, but the transfer I saw was pretty sad, washed out color generally grainy and muddy sound. Seeing as its not particularily outstanding in any area its unlikely to garner a fresh or remastered transfer to DVD. A couple of interesting points in its favor, the indoor gunfights are especially well staged and executed "first person shooter" PC game designers would do well to watch this film just for that. While watching I found myself thinking, "boy that's a great choke point scene, someone should do a map of this for Return To Castle Wolfenstein!". Also of note, this is an ENGLISH language production, so there are no badly translated subtitles to worry about. Kudos to the Golan/Globus team for this decent "B" title.
A very SPECIAL romantic comedy.
Too all those who didn't like this film, the best argument I can make for you is, `That's too bad, you've somehow lost your whimsy.'
Personally, I love little films that take you to interesting places, this one does it very well. "Pumpkin" fits in perfectly to a wonderful little genre of films like "Ghost World" and "My First Mister." If only every fifth film were as good and sweet as this little flawed gem... Oh, that'd be so wonderful.
While many aspects of the plot are wholly unoriginal, the film really works. While it is true, there are portions of the movie that aren't perfectly polished, I just didn't mind. I was worried the ending wasn't going to go where it should, and thankfully my fears didn't materialize. Seen in pieces, that is seeing each scene as individual and separate from the whole, this isn't a terrific film, but when the pieces go together, as with the movie experience, it definitely becomes more than the sum of it parts. A sweet fable, a silly comedy along with something to think about.
Christina Ricci and Hank Harris are a great screen couple. Sam Ball also deserves a round of applause for his performance! Bravo Sam! This film was so enjoyable, it reminded me of films like `Revenge Of The Nerds', `Election' and the terrific `Ray Bradbury's The Wonderful Ice-Cream Suit'. When you need a lift a good romantic comedy always does the trick, this one does the trick, and puts a little twist on the usual formula! If you enjoyed `Pumpkin' look for an obscure romantic comedy called `Paperback Romance', starring real life husband and wife team Gia Carides and Anthony LaPaglia. To all those `Pumkin' boosters out there, I love you'. To all the Pumpkin haters I say too bad your so sad.'
Here's hoping the producers release a SPECIAL EDITION with a commentary track!
High concept: PANIC ROOM meets DOUBLE JEOPARDY meets RANSOM
Charlize Theron was very mediocre in this film, this is a woman who's aiming at mediocrity and ably achieving her goals.
Courtney Love was pretty good, but she's already pigeonholed as a "Courtney Love type". Which is a shame because she's got a charisma that could play well in other roles.
Pruitt Taylor Vince, a great character actor, earned another paycheck doing his patented thing. Pruitt is well known for playing twitchy, nervous looking and disturbed characters. Luckily, twitchy, nervous looking and disturbed characters is something Hollywood needs a lot of. Pruitt would be great in a Cohen brothers film or playing opposite Brad Dourif, these guys seem to have the "twitchy weirdo" character market all to themselves.
Kevin Bacon, poor Kevin Bacon, he seems to be having a mirror image career of Denzel Washington. Kevin is playing bad guys all the time, Denzel is playing good guys all the time. But that's Hollywood for you, there are no "grey hat" characters to play. At least they are both earning a living. Back to Kevin Bacon, Kevin man, lissen you should broaden your horizons, record a book-on-tape, do some stage work, pick a role as a corporal in a war movie. Seriously.
The little girl, Dakota Fanning, is fine, for a child actor. Child actors are all that good, I'd be happier with adults dressed as children doing all the children's roles. In the olden days of theater, women's roles were always played by men. So why not adults playing children? Paging Gary Coleman.
Stuart Townsend, a newcomer is acceptable but nothing special. One thing's for sure he certainly didnt look old enough for this role! Also, have you ever noticed in movies how easy it is to have a beautiful house and never have to go to work? Nice house on the beach oh ya and ... HIS OWN FLOAT-PLANE! Ya right.
Am I the only one getting a little tired of this plot? "Mother defends child in danger". "Father is brave and rational, mother is panicky and unable to control herself." I saw PANIC ROOM, it was much better than TRAPPED, and the little girl with some pathology of the week is starting to get stale.
There was nothing original in this movie, the best part of it was the idea of turning the airplane's engine off in order to recieve a cell phone call. This was good, but you don't go into a dive when you turn your engine off if want to live, you slowly descend, riding the edge of a stall. The film UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD has a much better version of an engineless descent.
"Red Planet" as directed by Andrei Tarkovsky
There seems to be a whole subgenre of "disaster on Mars" films coming out over the last few years. The funny thing is, its a terrible collection of films to be rehashing. I've always been fascinated by Mars stories, this one doesnt fare any worse than most of the others "Red Planet (2000)", "Mission To Mars (2000)", "Ghosts of Mars (2001)", "Total Recall (1990)" all of interesting points but are not really about Mars! It appears that human beings have great difficulty telling stories about large inert planetoids in anything like a realistic manner. I've been wondering when we're going to see a story the actually is about Mars. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
On to "Stranded (2002)", it has: Terrible terrible terrible acting! Though it has a couple of decent actors, they are given poor dialogue. The worst actor of them all is the main character who also directed the film. She's as stiff as the desicated Martians lying around the set! The film has a deep slowness that makes you think of Tarkovsky's filmaking. The clunky dialogue hurts. The plot is so recycled its starting wear thin at the joints. Gee I wonder what we'll find! Oh look so there really are Martians after-all! Why cant somone film Ray Bradbury's short story "Dark They Were And Golden Eyed!" There is a twist, something not so blah boring. The ending is almost a complete failure, the only redeeming element is half baked and unoriginal. And yet... there are some minor redeeming elements, the mention of "Barsoom" is always a good sign, some of the scenes arent all that horrific, the orbiting spacecraft isnt bad. What a strange film!
City of Industry (1997)
A failed HEIST FILM classic.
This film had a lot going for it - Timothy Hutton, Harvey Keitel and Stephen Dorff all did admirable jobs with what they were given. There is a great dichotomy in the look of the film, the sunny California sky and the Industrial backdrops. The effect makes it look like Blade Runner in the daytime, Palm Springs and L.A. both look their grittiest. The music is very well done too.
One thing I find strange though is that none of the comments have mentioned that this is essentially a Richard Stark novel. Almost every novel starring Parker, Stark's master thief, has the plot of this film: A heist followed by revenge on one of the double-crossing heisters. Had the tough-minded aspect continued through to the end, had Roy Egan (our pseudo-Parker for this film) been more of a stone faced professional in private as well as public, had he thought of himself instead of the girl (Famke Jansen) and her welfare this would have been a Parker movie. Had Keitel been directed to act more like Robert Duvall in The Outfit and less like Mel Gibson in Payback we'd have a serious classic on our hands. What we have here is a failed classic. There are scenes that work by themselves. Just after the heist the heisters are pulling away in their getaway sedan. They stop art a stoplight and a half-dozen police cars approach them. The tension in that scene is terrific.
If you liked CITY OF INDUSTRY try these films:
HEAT directed by Michael Mann, starring Robert Deniro
THIEF directed by Michael Mann, starring James Cann
RESERVOIR DOGS directed by Quentin Tarantino
THE OUTFIT directed by John Flynn, starring Robert Duvall & Joe Don Baker
POINT BLANK directed by John Boorman, starring Lee Marvin
THE KILLING directed by Stanley Kubrick
A Soldier's Tale (1989)
Just behind the front lines.
Slow and low budget character piece. A SOLDIER'S TALE seems interested in the corruption moral norms in wartime. The indoor scenes are dark and grainy, the outdoor scenes are just grainy. No one in the film is likeable enough to care about. Even the war content is of limited interest to WWII aficionados.
A British sargeant named Saul (Gabriel Byrne) in recently liberated Normandy meets a French woman named Belle (Marianne Basler). Belle is in trouble, the French Resistance wants her for crimes against France. Saul wants her affections all she wants is his protection. But an American G.I. (Judge Reinhold) has similar plans for Belle. Through use of voice over and flashbacks we get Belle's backstory, which is again slow, ponderous and unimpressive.
Saul thinks nothing of taking sexual advantage of a lone and powerless woman. Rape vs. execution isnt much of a choice and yet its hard to muster up much sympathy for Belle. A disappointment.
Race to Space (2001)
Interesting premise, but deeply flawed execution.
I won't summarize the plot, others have already done that already, but I will make a few points and expose a few of the more obvious flaws.
I was hoping that Race To Space (2001) would be as good as The Dish (2000), which is also based on a true story of the space race (check it out if you can!). I was hoping that this film would dramatize the meaty subject of ex-Nazis working in the America's rocket program. Something that has had virtually no attention in film. Unfortunately it didn't.
Children and animals and rockets? No, it doesnt work. The mindset that brings together the first two for quick buck doesnt understand the latter. What happened to the live action kids movies? All they seem to know how to make is endless kids and animals films about animals who behave like spoiled brats and the kids who love them. Air Bud 1, 2 and 3 Free Willy 1, 2 and 3 M.V.P.: Most Valuable Primate 1, 2 and 3! How is a kid watching these films supposed to gain any insight into real animal behavior from all this stage production? It sickens me. It would be okay if they were actually entertaining, but they are all derivative crap. Race To Space is just lucky its not sequel bound like it forebearers (I hope).
Though James Woods was fine in this film, he is usually much better, his accent was very poorly done.
The meaningless subplot about a NASA supervisor (William Atherton) who is bribed by a rival rocket developer (?) into wilful sabotage of a Redstone rocket was not only ridiculous, it was sad. Is this ham fisted manipulation of the plot supposed to explain away all the other meandering plot threads???? If so, it didnt work. Sad. Poor William Atherton (you probably know him from his arrogant and abrasive TV reporter role in the Die Hard movies), he plays pompous and self-important characters so well he's become typecast in the worst way. I guess its a job, but he can't be still having fun playing the same character over and over again in film after film.
This film was ultimately a big disappointment, it takes way too many liberties with the facts to be legitimately use the "based on a true
story" tag. The only facts from NASA history that this film keeps are that:
1. German scientists/engineers were instrumental in the space race and
2. That a Chimpanzee was launched into space before a man was.
The true story of the first Chimpanzee in space may not have made as good a "Hollywood kids movie" in the tradition of (Free Willy), but it certainly would have been a better film. This is ably supported by the mini documentary entitled "Ham: America's First Space Hero" which is included on the DVD (amongst a surprising number of ineffectual extras). "Ham: America's First Space Hero" is the one bright spot in this otherwise shabby production.
I don't think that children actually enjoy or learn from schmaltzy unrealistic animals movies, let alone from "based on a true story" films that aren't! Perhaps I'm wrong, perhaps you will really enjoy it if you are 11 years old, I'm not, I didnt.