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When Ladies Meet (1941)
The Greer Garson show
Simple story, but some of the acting is marvelous, especially Greer Garson, who literally steals the movie. It was almost embarrassing to watch Joan Crawford try to act next to her. The difference of talent between the two women is unmistakable---Garson is leagues ahead.
Robert Taylor was also excellent, playing the mischievous suitor, comically bent on winning Joan Crawford's Mary Howard. I had previously only seen him melodrama, so watching him play a comedic role was very refreshing.
The story is a bit slow, but it picks up when Crawford and Garson meet towards the end of the picture. The dialog there is smart and thought provoking, and the talent of Garson really shines through.
Not a great movie, but worth a rental to catch some good acting from two of the studio era's greatest stars.
Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)
Let it marinade
For the first time in quite a while, a movie has made me think long after the credits.
For some reason, the film left me feeling a bit odd. It wasn't the subject matter, because I've been around the gay/lesbian community so much that same-sex relationships don't even make me blink. No, it was the way the movie was wrapped up during the third act.
My feeling is that the movie ended the way the writers wanted it to end, not the way the movie should have ended based on the logical progression of the first and second acts. While the current ending is seemingly true to the characters, it's slammed into so quickly that it nearly ruins the film. We spend 80 minutes watching Jessica finally open up, and actually accept her relationship with Helen. We come to a point where they just seemed so right together. After all the weirdness between them, Jessica and Helen are finally good to go, right?
Unfortunately, no. The film goes into a quick "happy life montage", and kills their relationship off shortly thereafter. We spend 80 minutes getting to a point where Helen and Jessica finally make it over a number of hurdles, only to have everything yanked down in a few two minute scenes?
Had the movie planned for this collapse, it could have led to a more satisfying ending. Taking a seemingly nice relationship and hammering it down with a bunch of "three month later" cuts, cheapens the effect of the movie. It becomes especially cheap when problems they had earlier in the film, but managed to get over, suddenly make their way back in the last ten minutes.
I may seem hyper-critical, but it's only because I loved the first two-thirds of the film so much. It was a breath of fresh air that I'm not used to getting in a movie theater. I was so in love with everything, only to have it pulled out from under me by a swift, little rhyme-or-reason conclusion.
My only other gripe would have to be the character of Josh. He had the potential to be a major part of the film, but it seems that in order to keep the focus on Jessica and Helen, he had to be relegated to the sideline. It's too bad, because I think Scott Cohen is one heck of an actor, and he brought a real sense of humor to a potentially melodramatic role.
Anyway, despite my negative comments, see the film. Make up your own mind about the conclusion. This is a very original movie, and definitely worth your time.
Quincy M.E. (1976)
"PEOPLE'S LIVES ARE AT STAKE HERE!!"
This is the king of formula shows. Every single episode goes down the same way:
Quincy has just gotten off of a particularly grueling case.
The boss brings in a new body that Quincy "just has to look at".
Sam, his ever faithful assistant, is just about to leave for the night before Quincy calls him back. "I need you to stay and figure this one out."
They show the 'late-night working montage', which always consists of Sam running spectral analysis tests while Quincy pokes at the body.
The montage ends, and Sam says "I don't like the looks of this Quince".
Quincy then insults Sam about the quality of his coffee.
Quincy puts on his detective hat, and interviews witnesses.
Quincy will come against opposition to him solving the case, and he will yell at that person. In fact, he will have been yelling for most of the episode, but now the yelling is of a righteous nature.
Quincy will confront his main adversary and scream, "PEOPLE'S LIVES ARE AT STAKE HERE!!"
Quincy's boss, who was against all meddling from the start, eventually comes around.
Quincy solves the case, then explains everything over breakfast/lunch/dinner with his pals.
Someone at the table tells a throw-away joke, usually at Quincy's expense, leaving everyone in stitches.
Eat your heart out, Jordan Cavanaugh
One of the WORST movies, EVER!
Apparently I missed something watching this flick. Perhaps entertainment? Plausibility? Humour? Thrills? Enjoyment?
Face/Off is in my top ten of all-time worst movies, and here's why:
The Acting: Hammy, overdone. Nick Cage looks plain idiotic in the prison scenes. John Revolta goes overboard...again.
The Script: More holes than a block of fine aged Swiss. "I'm Castor Troy!!" is perhaps the most ridiculous line muttered on celluloid.
The Director: John Woo hasn't had an original idea since "The Killer". If I see the overused two-gun-slow-motion-rolling-and-jumping stuff anymore, I'm going to scream.
That Face Touching Thing: Waaaaay overused. I have never seen a family so occupied with running their hands over other people's faces. Yeah, I get the whole 'face' thread in the movie....stop ramming it down my throat.
Ugh...I could go on and on, but what's the point? If you appreciated even decent cinema, steer clear of this clunker.
You've Got Mail (1998)
It's insanely predictable, overly sugary, and highly implausible, but darn it, You've Got Mail sure is a well made flick.
The movie is designed to be pure confection. It's pretty simplistic--the characters aren't very deep, but they're played well by the cast. Believe me, you won't be doing much thinking throughout the ninety-plus minutes of the film.
Basically, this is a movie you watch to get that cozy feeling all over. It's like a warm fuzzy blanket. If you want to feel a romantic charge, give this movie a chance. If you want gripping cinema, you're not going to get it here. This is a well crafted romantic comedy, plain and simple.
Anyway, give this film a try. True, it works best in date situations, but watching it alone can be a hope-fueling endeavor. Just make sure you brush your teeth after viewing...
American History X (1998)
most of the reviews of this movie have been overwhelmingly positive, but i really can't see why. i think this movie misses the mark in many areas.
i think my main problem with the movie is the script. a potentially explosive subject has been rendered boring and lifeless. how could this have happened? instead of learning about the characters through action, we learn about them through monologue after monologue of racist diatribe. going into this movie, we already KNOW the character's views on race. we don't need wasted minutes of edward norton going on and on about the decay of america. if more time had been spent on the skinhead's actions, and the reactions of the family, this could have been a powerful movie.
i also had a problem with the movie's cinematography, and editing. the slow motion was waaaaay over done, and kind of stripped the movie of its realism. i also found the black and white of the flashbacks to be out of place, but perhaps that was a stylization that the director found appropriate. i know i'm nitpicking, but i also found the color of the movie a tad jarring. the film makers seem to have borrowed the color palette of jerry maguire, or similarly bright movie. i thought the hues were a little too far on the "cheerful, happy" side for such a dark picture.
another problem i had was with the ending. i will not give it away, but it kind of left me hanging. i know the point of the movie was that there are no easy solutions, but the conclusion left me wholly unsatisfied. i actually found it kind of senseless, but i guess racism itself is senseless, so maybe the ending does fit.
positively, edward norton gives a fabulous performance as derek, and edward furlong is equally as impressive. i actually had no problems with any of the actors...they each did fine jobs.
however, this movie just didn't cut it for me. i think a lot of people have been duped by the movie's premise, and assume the film must be good simply because it tackles racism. if you want to see a movie that really hits home on the subject, rent the very chilling "romper stomper".
all said, i still recommend viewing this if only to see edward norton's superb performance. if you want a hard hitting movie on race relations in america, look elsewhere.
Ys: Book 1&2 (1990)
The first time I popped Ys Book I & II into my Turbo Duo, I knew I was in for the greatest videogame experience of my life.
I had never played a CD-ROM game before, so I was completely amazed when I heard an actual narrator (Alan Oppenheimer) telling me the story of a hopeless world oppressed by evil forces. The complete awe I felt watching the introduction never once dimmed as I made my way through the adventure.
The story may sound like countless others you've heard in you life, but Ys tells it with so much quality. A young man, Adol Christin, must gather the books of Ys in order to bring down the megalomaniac, Dark Fact (beautifully voiced by veteran cartoon man, Michael Bell). Once he recovers the books, Adol is then transported to the land of Ys where he must face the most powerful and frightening of foes - Boss Darm.
Without giving the entire story away, I must say that Ys presents one of the most sweeping adventures of all time; this includes movies, books and radio. I was absolutely mesmerized as I made my way through this enormous quest, never once wanting to put the controller down. When I finally beat the game, I was left speechless. The ending was moving and uplifting all at once. The game beautifully wrapped everything the player experienced throughout the adventure into an unforgettable denouement.
I can't begin to say how much this game moved me. It developed the characters into people you cared about, it swept you through a land filled with challenge and excitement, and at the end, it made you beg on your hands and knees for more. This is by far the greatest game I have ever played, and I can safely say that no game since has touched me the way this one has. The music and voice acting are second to none, and although the graphics appear dated, they still retain much of their charm to this day. If you love RPGs, videogames, or love epic tales, then by any means necessary, dig up a Turbo Grafx CD player and this disc. You will never look at videogames the same way again.