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Could have been better if the chemistry was plausible, 10 January 2003

I'll not summarize the plot, since others have already done so... but I can summarize the mood of the movie as volatile to say the least! This movie had some truly funny moments, but was also inundated with some very serious hostility that may have been truthful with new couples from the get go but made the whole tone much darker.

Being the guy, I just couldn't resonate with Kutcher's character because he was just too much of a jerk. My fiance is as sweet and adoring as Murphy's character, but we were in agreement that she'd never put up with the kind of fighting the movie incurs. Somehow they end up apologizing for things to each other, but throughout the film the only one I see making err is him.

Again it's a movie where some crazy guy is managed and endured by his loving lady, but I just didn't get it. A young couple in love has much more respect and patience with each other, rather than such rampant argument and absurdity. Maybe I'm putting too realistic a spin on it, but this comes from experience. If Tom had anywhere near the sense of humor that Sarah did in the film, then it might have worked and the tone would have stayed lighter. The scenes where they were being cuddly were great, but diminished by the darker bickering. 6/10

Solaris (2002)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Amazing, I fear many won't understand it, 27 November 2002

I can't believe I'm saying this, but the birth of the existential romance genre has finally arrived. I only finished this about an hour ago, and I guarantee I'll have even more questions tomorrow than I have running through my head a mile a minute currently.

Before anything, I have to mention that this movie is best seen with another person. Be it a romantic interest or what have you, find someone to see this movie with who enjoys discussion of consciousness and the soul. You'll enjoy it much more afterwards having talked to someone, and will probably sleep better ;)

I'm not going to go into details about why I liked the acting, but I've always liked George Clooney from the roles he played such as Daniel Ocean or Doug on ER and I enjoy Natascha McElhone for her roles in movies such as Truman Show and Ronin. Suffice to say they were both excellent in their parts, and generated a genuine on-screen romance as the slightly cynical, but emotionally restrained couple that couldn't bear to tell the other how much they really needed each other. It was not only interesting to watch, but plausible and at times heart-wrenching.

What amazed me about the movie were the things you just couldn't predict. I can honestly say that the script was not the kind you'd be able to expect certain dialog from. Clooney's character, while grieving and emotionally distressed, asks the truly scientific questions a philosopher would pose in spite of his inability to cope with the reappearance of his deceased wife. McElhone's character acquiring her own consciousness also throws you off the course you thought you were taking with the movie. The execution of the film is magnificent, and I honestly never had any idea what to expect at any time during the film.

The movie will not register with MANY MANY people and while this bothers me greatly (at our lack of understanding on the societal scale) it's a disappointment that the philosophical nature of love might go unregarded. The ambience of this movie was a mix of psychological horror and a the kind of deep, solidly spiritual love that can't be measured. Only a handful of people were in the theatre with me at the time and from what they were saying to me it seemed that the majority of them were expecting something that they didn't see.

BOTTOM LINE - If you're looking for a date flick, this may not be it. Then again if you're a die-hard science fiction fan you may not enjoy this either. If you're in a committed relationship revolved around a true bond to your partner and you like to talk about things BESIDES other people and events then this movie just might strike a chord with you. I'll be falling asleep with my soulmate tonight, looking into her eyes and wondering just why she loves me like she does because of this movie. 9.5 / 10

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Catchy indeed, especially the dialogue, 2 September 2002

Cruising through Atom Films the one day I came across this. It was great! Good camera work especially, and I love that Mako has a part because there's a presence to him you can't mistake. Of course the main attractor was easily Pat Morita, who reprised his role of Arnold with a little more sophistication but just as much absurdity. Wish there'd be another!

"Ohara" (1987)
22 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
A good series, overlooked in a world of Hillstreet Blues, 2 September 2002

I remember watching this when I was about 8 years old back in the day, and I actually still have some episodes I return to from time to time. It was similar to the NYPD Blue / New York Undercover style shows but came before them. I believe because it followed Hillstreet in a time that cop dramas weren't big it didn't make a lasting impression. I doubt we'll be able to find it anywhere, but it was a neat show at the time.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
21 minutes is inadequate, this show rules, 7 April 2002

I didn't want to like Family Guy at first, assuming its inferiority to other animated Fox sitcoms, which will remain nameless. The concept of a talking baby and dog just seemed outright lame to me. As often as I'm wrong about everything else in life, I was hugely mistaken with Family Guy. The show offers fresh snappy material with each new episode, though I'm disappointed with the recurring episodes recently. Characters are unique and hiliarious, and while we haven't all that much depth to them yet we are only in the third season.

The main selling point of this show to me is their allusions and flashbacks. Like watching Dennis Miller, the show has witty references that send me into hysterics and appropriately zany humor for those of us that just want to laugh at something stupid. The blend is impecable. Scenes like the ghosts comforting Pac Man upon his split from Ms. Pac Man and Peter attacking the chicken that gave him an expired coupon are only a few prime examples. With each reference to something in their past that impacted them later on they cover it by removing us from the scene and throwing us somewhere completely different. It's truly refreshing, and only achievable in an animated sitcom.

True this show can cross the line with classification-specific jokes, such as potentially religious and racist pieces. But if you're paying attention you see the satire in it and how it often makes the joke in defense of the minority in a way that's still hilarious. A show that can mix in political commentary that evokes a gutteral laugh outta me deserves a round of applause. I PRAY this show stays on TV, cause once Frasier's out there won't be anything else worth watching on TV. I'm not going to settle for Blind Date or Cheaters folks, I need something I can WATCH not just stare at in disgust.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Marvelous, Caviezel strikes again, 3 February 2002

I went to this movie with high expecations. As this novel is my all-time favorite literary work, I was ready to be objectively critical of it despite my adoration of James Caviezel's work. It was glorious, from set depiction to character evolution and dynamics. The movie begins with our hero's naive persona, his love waiting patiently for them to marry, his prospects ever blooming. Soon he is deprived of all he holds dear and stricken to a cursed existence until he can exact revenge, which in no movie tasted sweeter for me than in this.

Since the Thin Red Line, I've known Caviezel is grade A acting material. It was so refreshing to see him take top-billing for this movie, considering what little credit was given him for Angel Eyes. The woman playing Mercedes, Dagmara Dominczyk was simply enchanting and I hope there is more of her to come in the future. Guy Pearce brings the same knack for character immersion that you saw in L.A. Confidential and Ravenous.

The transformation of Dantes personality was one of the best I've ever seen on screen. 13 years of isolation is more difficult than one can imagine, especially when you've lost everything at the hands of those who've framed you. Caviezel begins as a starry-eyed youth and evolves into a marvelously brilliant and devious "gentleman", who begins to question his resolve for revenge when his love comes back into his life. The book portrayed his hate so well that I found myself wanting nothing but the worst for those that betrayed him, and longed for the calculated revenge he would exact. I found this same vengeance-thirsty taste re-emerging with this movie, but I never expected to find the component of compassion Mercedes would bring back into the picture. I loved this book as a youth, but being married now I fully understand how love can impact a man's resolve, no matter how hateful he is consumed.

For the sake of a classic tale of romanctic conflict that will wisk you away to a previous era, see this movie soon. If you've read the book you'll encounter the joy all over. If you've never read it, you'll enjoy it all the same for its superlative acting, fluent plotline, and most of all its ability to evoke emotion from its audience. A definite for my DVD collection when it hits the shelves: 10/10 .

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Abysmal. I hated the girlfriends especially., 12 November 2001

I hate movies where they try to splice in semi-whitty dialog to compensate for a bad plot. And what a waste of Jake Busey! By the end of the movie there was no clear protagonist anymore and I guess I wanted Breckin to just kill all three of them or something and then go on with his life. So what happens? They melt the place down and he drives off into the darkness leaving his three formers accomplices by the side of the road... oh how metaphoric. I'm not looking for Oscar caliber in this movie, I'm not even looking for something any better than the degenerate Freeway. But man oh man, I hated the blonde chick's character. Kudos to Tanya for making me hate her character so badly... If it's on HBO and you can't sleep cause you had coffee too late, watch this out of the corner of your eye while eating something and catching up on the news in the world. Otherwise don't bother.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
No matter your racial issues... see this movie, 3 August 2001

Stellar. I was shocked at the end of the movie. After such a reformation, how can one adapt to such a tragedy when you've come so far in your crusade for racial tolerance? I don't care what people say. This wasn't a "change of heart" for a racist caucasian. This was a testament to the racist component in all of us. I came to college your typical white-collared Irish-Scottish-Swedish what have you, and having lived with a Jamaican for a year it changed my life. And that's what this movie is about. How over a short period of time a true understanding of another person's race can enhance you forever. Edward Norton is outstanding as ever. We were astounded by his presence in Primal Fear, entertained by his performance in Rounders and Fight Club, but I was intrigued and compelled to tolerance and compassion by his performance in American History X. The hatred of so many is fueled by passion with little justification. We live in a country where a small incident involving two racial factions becomes an all-out hate fest. How people can so immediately draw that dividing line over something non-cosmic between two parties whom we've never known. And we can take a side instantaneously. The transition of Edward Norton in this movie was plausible and realistic. You CAN change a person in three years. It's only so true, as evident in the movie, how backstabbing an all-white organization can be. This could be said of any organization so homogenous. When one member defects he is an invalid and despised. How amazing it is in the movie how tolerant the black population is of him when he forsakes his hateful methods. How amazing is this movie at showing the pure contempt and miraculous epiphany. How defeating when everything Norton's character has strived for with his family is crushed the moment things start to turn around for him. See this movie. It will stun you, if you've ever wanted to eradicate that last racist component in you.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Not Shawshank, but still fabulous, 14 March 2000

I came into this movie with extremely high expectations. Having seen Shawshank at least 30 times, it IS my absolute favorite movie, I anticipated another masterpiece from Darabont and I was pleased to see such a marvelous piece. So it was three hours. There have been other masterpieces of this length, like Braveheart and Gettysburg. And unlike others, this movie takes its entire length and makes the most out of every scene and every minute. Also taking into consideration that a Stephen King novel is no short piece of work, I'm impressed they were able to consolidate the book into 3 hours anyway.

What makes the movie are these. First the cast is superlative. We start with Tom Hanks, who in my opinion earned his Oscar in THIS film not Private Ryan. His sidekick as it were is David Morse, who we know from his extremely different roles in The Rock and The Long Kiss Goodnight. Cromwell was excellent, as well as Sinise, and Michael Clarke Duncan takes a huge turn from his normal tough-guy and bouncer routines to play the sympathetic John Coffey. What I liked best was to see Barry Pepper and Sam Rockwell who've taken a drastic turn from their normal roles to play something entirely different. Pepper and Hanks were in Ryan together if you remember, but I last remembered him from Enemy of the State. Rockwell was in Box of Moonlight, and he goes from a happy go lucky slacker in a coonskin hat to a crazy psychopath whose past is darker than we first think. This mix of top-billers, lesser-knowns and indies makes for an excellent batch of a cast that carries the film perfectly.

Second of all, the music made it for me. Thomas Newman writes the score, as he did for Shawshank. The man knows how to capture mood so perfectly. His quiet and remorseful piano in Shawshank built the sympathy for Dufresne that Darabont and Stephen King intended. I particularly liked his xylophone like arrangement for the mouse in the movie. I can't put a finger to which melody I liked best, but my emotions have always been dictated by the music and this score had me bawling.

Thirdly, a solidly constructed atmosphere for the movie. The depressed time of the period already adds a certain tone, but the dusty bright daylight of the outside world contrasted to the clean and unchanging condition of the Green Mile really demonstrate the isolation.

And last of all the storyline is magnificent. There are so many small allusions to catch. I can't even really describe it, but there is so much to catch and ponder afterwards so I won't even bother trying to explain it all.

I'm still partial to Shawshank, but this movie was a close second for me. I don't recommend the weak of stomach see it. But if you can bare the gore of Seven and want to see a quality film, I can't think of anything I'd rather recommend.

A fine piece of work, but rather misunderstood., 27 August 1999

I've heard some people talk about the lack of continuity in this movie, the lack of time top billed actors had on-screen, and the incoherence of the movie. These were the three key components of the movie.

Since when was WWII supposed to follow like a script? The war was a winner-take-all escapade in which many a man went in with no real sense of direction or understanding to get the job done. In TRL we can't expect things to follow one after another, because that's not how it was. Seeing this you should expect plot gaps, things left not understood, and many questions becaue to this day that's still how it is.

This movie was set to bring out the high quality acting potential that resided in indie film stars. I can't remember the last movie I saw Elias Koteas in besides Crash. It was a nice change of pace to see very little of the headliners and more of the small actors taking the scene. Sean Penn was a crucial part to the cast however. We needed fairly unfamiliar people to present the monologues so we couldn't affiliate them with any other part than that of the soldier's they were playing. One couldn't look at Travolta in the jungle and not see him even just a little doing disco. The movie took unfamiliars and gave them a part.

Lastly, the film's monologues were incoherent for a reason. While there were scholarly types drafter into the war, the majority of those who fought in WWII and tend to fight in many wars, aren't necessarily the most educated. The movie's primary characters were of great diversity, some well spoken and the others having trouble collecting their thoughts. This only added to the realism of the movie. We hear the thoughts of a man who can't always speak like the poet we wish to hear, he just speaks what's on his mind. We don't always speak like Walt Whitman to ourselves, so why should we expect a man in the heat of battle scared out of his wits to do the same?

Bottom line for me is that this movie was superior. I found Ryan to be a quality film as well, but too Spielbergy and too focused. TRL doesn't centralize on a small group of characters, but covers a broad range of people and gives us insight into both sides of the war both Allied and Japanese. A definite keeper along with Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, and Apocolypse now.