Reviews written by registered user
|8 reviews in total|
This is a film from Canada that proves our neighbors to the north can be just as preachy as our very own Hollywood. Basically, Jeffrey is an annoying little snot, raised in India and sent to Canada after the death of his father. Jeffrey moves in with his aunt, who is presented as a free spirit but basically comes across as a flake. Evil developers want the aunt's house so Jeffrey leads a nonviolent protest and basically brings enlightenment to the world. Or at least Canada. Jeffrey is played by Ryan Reynolds, an actor who projects such an air of sainthood that most viewers will probably want to beat the living Hell out of him.
Improv is one of those wonderful acting tools that, in recent times, has
grown to become painfully overrated and overused. While occasionally, a
Robert De Niro or Harvey Keitel might be able to pull it off, improvisation
is a tricky thing to make compelling and in the wrong hands, it can be
painfully pretentious, dull, and trite. Parallel Lives is a film that was
improved by the wrong hands.
Basically, the plot deals with a bunch of people gathering for a fraternity/sorority reunion. Secrets come out, subplot converge, and Treat Williams ends up getting murdered. Jack Klugman shows up as a senile Senator, Mira Sorvino gets to look sexy as hustler Ben Gazzara's blonde girlfriend, and Dudley Moore floats around as some bizarre fantasy creature. Oh, and Jim Belushi's there for some reason. Technically, he's the focus of the film's plot. Too bad that plot vanishes under a heap of acting exercises.
Apparently, director Linda Yellen specializes in making improvised films -- all featuring her all-star gallery of friends attempting to impress us with how witty and insightful they are. This film has an amazingly diverse cast
-- famous non-stars and has-beens continually wander through, creating the impression that the film was shot in a West Hollywood Unemployment agency. Along with those already mentioned, the film features everyone from Liza to Levar Burton to Ally Sheedy to Robert Wagner to a bunch of other actors no sane person would currently pay money to see. Imagine that, folks, 20 or so unimportant actors getting together to make one unimportant movie.
Its a pity that with such a huge cast, nobody apparently had anything to say.
Oh, what pain the delusions of NBC programmers have let loose upon the airwaves! With an unearned tip of the hat to Austen and Chekhov, Three Sisters deals with the weekly adventures of boring Steven who marries even more boring Bess and, as part of the package, ends up literally living with her obnoxious sisters -- caustic Nora and flighty Annie. In an attempt to make this show something more than a shallow midseason replacement, each show is blandly narrated by Steven. As his narration seems to consist mostly of self-centered whining and tritely predictable insights, watching this show soon becomes the equivalent of getting cornered by a really boring drunk at the neighborhood bar.
The director of this film, Bill Condon, later won a measure of acclaim for directing Gods and Monsters. His talent is already evident in this work which takes a familiar story and makes it work through wonderful gothic atmosphere and wonderful performances from Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judith Ivey, and especially Eric Stoltz. A nice combination of B-movie conventions with A-movie talent.
Strangely enough, for a film written and directed by women, this film seems to really hate the female gender. Mel Gibson gets the ability to hear the thoughts of women. It turns out that most women are apparently shallow and stupid. Anyway, Mel Gibson gives a very good, comedic performance that is done in by an awful script and terrible direction. As his love interest, Helen Hunt defines the term shrew. As an added bonus, this film features a commercial for Nike that'll make you long for the days when it was socially acceptable to wander about bare-footed.
I know there are a lot of people who have probably been touched by this evil little film. Well, all I can say to that is -- WAKE UP! Actually, I could say a lot more but I won't. This pseudo-religious film is typical of the self-righteous malarkey that Hollywood spews out in an attempt to change a world it has no understanding of. This is one of those films filled with overstated performances, condescending portraits of "common" people, and probably one of the most manipulative, sickest uplifting endings of all time. If you truly want to pay it forward, tell three people not to see this sham of a film and encourage them to tell three more.
When I first saw this movie about ten years ago, I was blown away by it. On subsequent viewings, its flaws have become more apparent -- most of the characters are flatly written, a few of the minor roles are poorly played. However, the film still remains a worthy effort. Whereas most political films only pay lip service to ideological concerns, Power Play actually attempts to examine both what it means to live in a totalitarian regime and how easily the best intentions can be subverted. The film has a fine lead performance from David Hemmings. While he at first seems to be flamboyantly overacting, Peter O'Toole eventually reveals the chilling truth behind his character's manner. Lastly, Donald Pleasence plays the head of the Secret Police but, as opposed to later performances, doesn't descend into camp and is a frightfully Himmleresque figure. The scenes where he tortures a young woman are disturbing and, thankfully, played for outrage than for exploitation. Powerplay features a downbeat ending but in the end, its the only honest way the film could end. Check it out if you get a chance.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I expected to be disappointed in the Blair Witch Project because there was no way any film could live up to the hype this project has received. I saw it last night and was pleasantly surprised. No, this isn't the greatest horror film ever made but it wasn't terrible. MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD While the actual night attacks weren't so much scary as just confusing, the finale in the shack was truly nerve-wracking. The house itself was a brilliant example of shooting in the exact right location. The acting was okay but the improvised nature of the performances had definite drawbacks -- for instance, the two guys tended to switch personalities from scene to scene. While it was obvious that Heather was "acting", it actually worked as evidence of her character's desire for everything to be a movie. The story behind the film is more interesting than the film itself but on the whole, the Blair Witch Project is neither the disaster nor the masterpiece that everyone else seems to be making it out to be. I doubt that directors will ever do anything else of note but they have nothing to be ashamed of with this project. As for the most frightening movie ever made (or at least the most frightening that I've ever seen), I'd have to go with the Shining. Its the only horror film I've ever seen where just thinking about some of the images can still make me jumpy.