Reviews written by registered user
|62 reviews in total|
I rather enjoyed the first 45 minutes of "Beloved." Ludivine Sagnier,
one of my favorite actresses, plays a 1960s French woman who is
confused by love. I was still with the story as the years passed and
Sagnier matures into Catherine Deneuve, in a nifty bit of casting.
However as the story shifts to that of daughter Vera, it all becomes a
bit too morose for me. Vera for some reason becomes obsessed with a man
who cannot love her back. It's hard for us to see any reason for this
obsession. It simply appears the young woman is eager to destroy her
There are very strong echoes here of the Truffaut film "The Story of Adele H." Truffaut, however, was well aware he was filming the story of a woman's descent into madness and hell. In "Beloved," director Christophe Honoré takes a similar story but shoots it in a very different light. He seems to think there is something so very romantic about desperately loving someone who cannot possibly love you back.
Honoré throws in everything but the kitchen sink here, covering topics from Aids to 9/11. But, at around 2 hours and 20 minutes, it's all too much for such a morose topic. I probably should have turned it off after those first 45 minutes.
(I am reviewing the U.S. home version of this which is a bit over 2
hours...not the 184 minutes listed here. I am guessing the extra time
includes some of the extras.)
Let me start out by stating the obvious: If you are a fan of The Hollies you will not only wish to view this documentary, you will wish to add it to your DVD collection. It is a well made, revealing look into one of the very best of the British Invasion groups. There are extensive interviews with Allan Clarke, Graham Nash, Tony Hicks and Bobby Elliot and some wonderful behind the scenes looks at the group working together. In fact, the scene of them recording "On a Carousel" at Abbey Road Studios alone is worth the price of the DVD.
I was left, however, slightly disappointed with the film and I believe it's because it really shouldn't have had "1963-1975" in the title but rather only "1963-1968." That's because this documentary, like many other looks back at The Hollies, seems to want to end things with the departure of Nash in 1968. The post-Nash years here are given very short shrift.
It is quite meaningful to me that ten months after Nash left and was replaced by Terry Sylvester, The Hollies had their biggest hit with "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother." In fact, that song plus "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" and "The Air That I Breathe" are probably my three favorite Hollies songs. All came after Nash left. What exactly does that say?
Nash and Clarke were best friends from the age of six, and it's obvious in this documentary that Clarke was stung by the departure of Nash and never really warmed up to replacement Sylvester. Curiously and significantly, there is no interview with Sylvester in this documentary. Again, what exactly does that say?
Hopefully what it says is this: The ultimate documentary of The Hollies story from 1963 to 1968 has been made. But the window (so to speak) has been left open for the story from 1969 and beyond to yet be made.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Oh, my. Where to begin? Lacey Chabert is not only the star of this
movie but is listed as one of the executive producers as well. That
leads me to surmise that this film was intended, at least in part, to
showcase Lacey's talents and get Hollywood to view her as a serious
actress. If so, the effort backfires.
In order for this premise (stuck in the middle of a desert with very few provisions) to work at all the characters have to make some pretty stupid mistakes. And our characters do. Driving 80 miles into the desert without any sort of backup plan in case of car trouble is, in fact, beyond stupid. As the movie and the stupid decisions continue it becomes increasingly hard to either believe the story or feel any sympathy for the characters.
Thank God for Noelle (the lovely Lacey)! She is cast as a Captain Kirk here, keeping her cool while the others around her are losing theirs. But her hero status is all too clearly a plot device, again, to showcase her "talents." At one point Lacey performs emergency brain surgery using s screwdriver and a rock. I kid you not! She can do this, but she isn't smart enough to realize they should travel at night and stick to the road!
As a person who rarely laughs out loud even at things that are supposed to be funny, I actually found myself laughing out loud at some of the plot twists. (Did someone mention breast implants?) Of course, the movie also has to show us several "gross out" scenes for seemingly no other purpose than to get some junior high viewers to say "Oh! Gross!" Not only do we get to watch characters drink their own urine, we have to watch them take in every last drop. "Ewwww! Gross!"
Need I say more? This is a really bad movie with only one redeeming feature: The lovely Lacey Chabert who I have always liked in the past. "Thirst", however, is probably the biggest misstep in Lacey's career.
"Iron Man 2" suffers from an all too familiar problem these days.
Hollywood has become so good at giving us great special effects that
this is what they are content to do. Plot? Dialog? Bah! Who needs them!
We've got great special effects!
Take this as an example of the supposedly funny dialog in this movie: "Where are you going?" "New Mexico." "Land of enchantment." "So I'm told."
Whoa! Zip! Bam! Bing! Move over Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn! Honestly, was anyone really laughing at dialog that lame? The deeper problem isn't just that the dialog is bad, it's that the makers of the movie didn't care! Everything would be forgiven, they felt, because of the wonderful special effects.
I pray that Hollywood soon moves beyond our current "can you top this?" phase and returns to the basics of good film making: Plot, characters, dialog.
I suspect there are going to be two different reactions to "Lost and
Delirious." Some people (most likely teenaged girls) will look past the
many faults to find a theme that really resonates within themselves.
Others won't be able to move beyond those many problems and will find
the film shallow and manipulative. I'm afraid I belong to the latter
Problem one: Manipulative. At one point in the movie there is a minute long close-up of one of the characters (Pauline) crying while a sad song plays in the background. Five seconds wouldn't do I guess. That is about as manipulative as movie making gets. The movie isn't trying to tell you a story; it is trying to make you cry.
Problem two: Really bad plot holes. The movie is set at a girls boarding school and follows the lesbian affair of two of the students there. When the couple breaks up, one of the girls (again Pauline) rather quickly goes off the deep end. She starts exhibiting increasingly erratic and violent behavior. Nobody at the school does anything! The staff just stands around wringing their hands and thinking "Oh dear." Worst of all, as Pauline begins to stalk her former partner, nobody even thinks that it might be a good idea to move the girls out of the same dorm room! "Stalking" and "Violent" yet nobody seems to think separating the two girls might be a prudent idea! What is so ridiculous is that these were very easy plot holes to fix. Why not a 30 second scene of the staff moving Pauline to a different dorm room? No, no. Far better to have a minute long scene of Pauline crying.
I suppose if I were younger and had not already seen so many better made movies with a similar theme I might have had a different reaction to "Lost and Delirious." Hmmmm. Let me think. Yes, if I were a teenager I might have given the movie 3 stars instead of only 2.
This movie seems to be quite divisive. Some people love it while others
absolutely hate it. There is actually a pretty simple way to tell which
side of the coin you will find yourself on: Within the first 20 minutes
of this movie you will see the following:
1) A guy gets his testicles cut off by another guy who carries around a jar full of testicles.
2) A patient comes into a doctor's office with growths on his tongue. The doctor squeezes one and it pops like a zit spewing blood all around.
Now. If you are thinking to yourself "Cool! I want to see that!" then by all means give "Planet Terror" a watch. On the other hand, if you're saying to yourself "Um...no thank you" then take a pass.
I don't judge. Looking all the comments here on the IMDb, it appears that there is quite a market for this type of movie. As for me, I gave up after 30 minutes. Life is too short, you know?
Oh, okay. I will judge just once: Robert? Quentin? Is this really the sort of schlock you want to be remembered for?
"A Mighty Heart," about the tragic kidnapping of journalist Danny
Pearl, is a movie you want to like. You want to get caught up in the
story, feel the sadness and experience the outrage. Unfortunately, for
all the potential, the movie is curiously uninvolving and unemotional.
Other reviewers have claimed the reason for this is the style of the movie: Short takes jumping from scene to scene with so many flashbacks that it becomes difficult to follow. This is true, but I would like to point out an even more fundamental mistake Director Michael Winterbottom and his screenwriters made. They chose the wrong person to be the lead.
The movie focuses on Danny's wife, Mariane Pearl, which seems only natural since it's based on her book. Yet the character, played by Angelina Jolie, is given precious little to do here. She worries, paces, cries and occasionally gets mad and curses. But she doesn't do anything to drive the action forward.
This is Screen Writing 101, folks. The protagonist initiates the events in a movie. It is by his or her actions that the scenes of the movie unfold. He/She does not simply sit back and watch as other people propel the movie forward.
Therein lies the problem. Jolie was obviously cast in this movie as a showcase for her talents. ("Hey, let's get you another Oscar, Angelina!") But she doesn't have anything real to do! So instead we get a long scene of her wailing and slamming the walls.
It's all too bad because the potential for a great, Oscar-worthy, movie is here. In this case, however, a star struck Hollywood forgot about the story in favor of the actress.
While obviously made as a "B" feature in its day, "The Ring" is a
surprisingly good little flick deserving of far better than the
relatively low rating (a 5.6 as I write this) it is currently receiving
here on the IMDb.
"The Ring" starts off as a typical boxing "rags to riches" story. A young kid gets into a street fight just as a boxing manager happens to be passing by. Liking what he sees, the manager vows to turn the fiery youngster into a star.
Halfway through the film, however, the "rags to riches" storyline begins to turn and a much deeper side is revealed. More than a decade before the civil rights movement became a large issue in American society, "The Ring" tackled head-on topics such as stereotypes and racial discrimination.
The issues raised are still very relevant today, 56 years after this film was made. Are professional sports truly a way out for impoverished minorities? Or just an unobtainable illusion? And is becoming white the only way for minorities to become accepted into our society? (What could be whiter than a ring name of Tommy Kansas?) All this and a young Rita Moreno, too!...as the "girl next door" love interest.
"The Ring" is not a perfect 5 star film, but it was a movie truly ahead of its time. If you give it a try sometime I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Good news: Roberto Benigni is one of the most gifted comics in the
world today. Not so good news: His results on screen have been wildly
uneven. Watching "Life is Beautiful" and then "Pinochio" back to back
should give one proof of this claim.
Fortunately, "The Tiger and the Snow" is one of his better efforts and perfectly demonstrates what places Benigni above most all of his contemporaries. He is not just a buffoon; he has a heart.
"Life is Beautiful" was criticized by many as being unrealistic and I'm certain "The Tiger and the Snow" is receiving similar complaints. These critics miss the point. The situations Benigni puts himself into may be absurd, but the emotions are not. "Life" was about a father's love for his son and how he would do absolutely anything to protect that son. "Tiger" is about one man's love for one woman.
This is a selfless love which expects nothing in return. Whether she reciprocates or not is irrelevant. He loves her and will do absolutely anything for her, even follow her into a hell on Earth.
After watching "The Tiger and the Snow" I immediately logged onto the IMDb website to see what other Benigni movies I have missed somewhere along the way. I have come to the conclusion that any Benigni movie, even his less successful ones, are well worth seeing.
If you're keeping score...
"Here Comes Mr. Jordan" was remade in 1978 as "Heaven Can Wait" and again in 2001 as "Down to Earth." It inspired a sequel, the 1947 movie also entitled "Down to Earth" and that sequel itself as remade in 1980 as "Xanadu." Whew! Doubtless it has served as the inspiration for several other films and TV shows as well. For all that, however, the original remains the best. Sorry, Warren.
Oh, did I mention it was nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Robert Montgomery) and Best Supporting Actor (James Gleason)? It won two awards for its writing. Yes, it was pretty popular in its day.
The plot now may seem overly-familiar, but that's only because of all the shows that have been inspired by it since. Boxer Joe Pendleton is killed in a plane crash, but oops, not really. He was taken to Heaven too soon and now must somehow be returned to Earth in a different body to live out his days.
Snappy writing, fast paced direction and excellent acting combine to make this a very fun ride. There aren't a lot of belly laughs here, but you will likely find yourself smiling all the way through to the end. And then you might find yourself brushing away a tear at that ending. All in all it truly defines what people mean when they say "They don't make 'em like that anymore."
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