Reviews written by registered user

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28 reviews in total 
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Exquisite Garbage, 19 August 2002

This movie is so well-done, so beautifully acted, so well-filmed, with such wonderful scenery, you can almost excuse the fact that everyone in the movie is nasty, shallow, and unsympathetic.

Watching this movie, you get the uncomfortable sensation of watching a beautifully groomed, pure-bred dog relieving itself on your shoes.

I saw this movie the day it opened, in the theatre. I hated it with a passion, it was depressing, claustrophobic, and LONG. Nevertheless, I felt drawn to it because it was so well-crafted. I'd reccomend it to any film-students anxious to learn their craft, but to no one else.

Se7en (1995)
Great Movie, Lousy Sound, 19 August 2002

This is an excellent, if sometimes disgusting, movie. It is intense, scary, and thought provoking. I even imagine that the dialogue is excellent. I say "imagine" because only about one in every three lines spoken in this movie are audible. When I went to see this movie in the theatre, I was on the edge of my seat, not just out of tension, because I was straining to hear what everyone was saying. I know they didn't have the volume turned down to low, because the soundtrack, and all other sounds in the movie were LOUD, its just all the actors sounded like they were mumbling. OK, maybe it was just the accoustics of the theatre. I rented it once on VHS, and there was the same problem -- you could barely hear anything that anyone said. OK, I had a lousy VCR, I thought it would be different when I got in on DVD. I watched it last weekend, and it was still the exact same problem. The sound editting on this movie is horrible, which is REALLY frustrating, because its an amazing movie. You'd think that someone else would have mentioned this to the producers by now, and they would have re-editted it for the DVD.

Still, if you have strong ears, and a strong stomach, this movie is well worth watching.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Total Disappointment, 8 August 2002

I usually remember movies for a very long time after I see them. I think its significant that I barely remember anything about this movie except that I didn't like it.

As interesting and exciting as the first Mission Impossible movie was, that was how dull and flat this movie was. It just seemed like they strung together a bunch of the bits that worked from the first movie and gave Tom Cruise's character long hair and called it a different movie.

There was a plot, I guess, I think, maybe. I remember it largely involved Tom Cruise being in Australia.

As appealing as the characters in the first movie were, that's how cold, and hard to relate to as they were in the second movie.

John Woo's style of film-making appeals to a certain type of person. I'm not entirely sure what type of person this is, but I don't know whether I'm anxious to meet any of them, because every movie of his I've seen has been cold, mean, and violent.

I think that the best way to sum up MI2 is this: Suppose you were good friends with someone. You liked their company, you shared the same sense of humor, and had the same moral value. Suppose several years went by and you didn't see him, then one day he turns up uninvited at your house. He acts like a total jerk, insults you, hits on your wife, and finally demands that you loan him money. That's how I felt about "Mission Impossible II"

Face/Off (1997)
20 out of 34 people found the following review useful:
Horrible, 7 August 2002

I rank this movie as one of the most awful things I have ever seen. Not only is it totally unbelievable, but the situations are so unpleasent, so cloying, so awful, that its more like a nightmare that just won't end. And when I say "won't end," I mean it. This movie drags on way past the comfort level. It keeps going from one improbable situation to another, linked by flashy chase scenes, until you're begging for some kind of resolution.

The acting of Nick Cage and John Travolta are just about what you would expect -- that is to say totally over-the-top. Chewing on the scenery is a polite term for what they do.

As for the talents of John Woo, well I've heard all about his "violence as opera" philosophy of film-making, but I just don't buy it. Every movie I've seen of his isn't scary, or exciting, or shocking -- its uncomfortable, like sitting on a sharp spike.

I saw this movie years ago in the theatre, but it still sticks with me -- I guess that should say something about its power, but years ago, I saw a dead deer sitting by the side of the road. It was rotting in the heat, its muscles had contracted, it smelled awful and it looked alot like a mummy -- that experience stuck with me too. Seeing "Face/Off" was alot like seeing that deer: unpleasent, nauseating, and unnecessary.

Heist (2001)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Mamet Doing Poor Imitation Of Mamet, 2 August 2002

I like Mamet's movies, I find them entertaining, and the dialogue rings true. For those of you unfamiliar with his work, David Mamet typically uses short, jerky, idiomatic sentences which bounce back and forth between characters, in order to simulate the way that people usually talk -- rent "Glengary Glenross" or "Wag The Dog" if you want examples of his writing style. While it might not always be true to life, it can be very entertaining, and I have to say that I enjoy it.

This style is SO overly done in "Heist" however, that it sounds like the studio brought in a ghost-writer to imitate (badly) the way that Mamet usually writes. It is so idiomatic that it reads like its in code. The characters don't talk to one another, they recite street-wise aphorisms, all of which are rich with double meaning. And, yes, I get it. That was the point, this is a movie about plans and counterplans, wheels with wheels, nothing is entirely as it seems. But come on! It would have been a relief to just hear one of the characters relax for half a minute, and tell one of the others what he really felt, and not just cleverly allude to it.

There is remarkably little violence in the movie, except at the end, where there is a big gun battle. I found myself beaking up laughing during the gun battle -- it was because there was so much clever subtext in the movie, I actually felt a degree of physical relief at seeing the characters do something forthright and direct.

This being said, though, its not a bad movie, though some people might find it hard to follow. Gene Hackman and Danny Devito give great performances, and the dialogue is entertaining.

Hannibal (2001)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A Butchering of the Novel, 2 August 2002

The novel, "Hannibal" was a truly brilliant book -- both terrifying and beautifully written, it actually gave the reader sympathy for Hannibal Lecter. The movie, however, had none of the beauty but all of the horror, depicting in loving detail all of the scenes of graphic violence, but including none of the back-story which gives such a well-rounded portrait of Hannibal.

About half the movie was remarkably faithful to the book, but then it began to stray, and the ending was discordant and bore no similarity whatsoever to the book. It was an ugly movie that transformed Hannibal from a stunning portrait of psychosis to nothing more than a horror-film villain. I regret going to see it.

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
A Sociological Study Ruined By Someone's Absinthe Nightmares (Spoilers if you care), 23 January 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

At the beginning of this minor classic by Walt Disney, we see a child with a freakishly large skull being lulled to sleep by its mother singing "Rockabye Baby". We are then drawn into the bizarre dreamworld of the hydroencephelitic little tyke. It begins with a parade of baby bottles, "potties", and pacifiers which, while they are unbelievably Freudian, still provide the viewer with an excellent idea of child rearing in the thirties.

The dream then takes a nasty turn as the child wanders into "Nasty Sharp Object Land" (I cannot recall what it was called in the film). There, scissors live in nests, hammers grow in bushes, watches hang from trees, and fountain pens form (and I hate to carp on this) an INCREDIBLY Freudian ink fountain.

Big head baby ignore the warning of the cheerful, 1930's chorus of women not to touch anything in Nasty Sharp Object Land and begins breaking watches with a hammer.

This causes the boogeymen to come and torment the baby in a sequence I can only describe as terrifying. However, it does seem to emphasize the Disney Corporation's motto "Do as we say, or the consequences will be severe."

Finally, the kindly old Sandman comes out of a bush and gives the baby some powder (let's call it sand) that makes him go to sleep. OK, let's ignore the metaphysical question of whether someone can go to sleep inside a dream. I think its interesting though how times have changes to such a degree, that in the 30s this scene seemed not only palatable but wholesome.

At any rate, this short subject was profoundly disturbing, and I'd be very interested to find out how many toddlers who saw it are now in therapy. The animation, however, was gorgeous, which made it worse, somehow.

4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Keep To Your Station (Spoilers), 23 January 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If there was any doubt as to Walt Disney's role as the benevolent dictator of American Popular Culture, "The Flying Mouse" dispels it.

In it, our protagonist, a mouse dressed in a hat and waistcoat, fantasizes about being a bird and learning to fly. Apparently this occurs in the far future, where mice have mastered the arts of construction and tailory, but have not yet developed the glider.

The mouse rescues the Blue Fairy (who had apparently abandonned Pinnochio and Gepetto) from a futuristic, hideously deformed spider with a badly soiled derby hat.

As a reward, the fairy grants the mouse the gift of wings. However, these aren't nice, pretty bird wings, they are nasty evil looking bat wings. The local birds look down their nose at him, and his brethren mice think he is evil. Instead of using his wings to fly away from the podunk town he lives in to someplace that is perhaps more urbane about these things, the mouse falls in with some bats, who are, of course, evil, and soon the flying mouse regrets his decision to wish for wings.

I won't reveal the ending here, but the message of the film that seems to shine through is: Mistrust new things. Don't aspire to dreams which are above your station. Change is bad. And buy your #$%*$ "Mulan" videos! Messages which shine through in Disney films to this very day, no matter how hard they try to sugar-coat them.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Slow But Reliable, 21 January 2002

On the downside, "Gosford Park" contains far too many characters to be able to conveniently keep track of them all. Since most of the "Guests" look fairly similar in eveningwear, and since most of the "Below Stairs" characters look similar in uniform, it is virtually impossible to keep track of all the seperate storylines going on. The best thing to do is simply "go with it."

Another downside to the movie, is that with the multitude of storylines, there is not a concrete resolution to more than about a handful of them.

Despite that, once you learn to stop thinking of this as a traditional murder mystery (which, despite the ads, it is not) its a pretty interesting, well acted, portrayal of the dinstinctions between the classes in 1930s England.

Of all the characters, though, Maggie Smith really steals the show, giving a much less restrained performance than in "Harry Potter" and reminding me of some of her earlier works ("Evil Under The Sun" in particular).

Its not a mystery, at least in the traditional sense, and while it is frustrating to keep track of all the characters, it is a good character study, and fairly entertaining, with an ending which I feel is worth the wait.

I give it three out of five stars.

Dogma (1999)
Over-rated, 13 December 2001

This is the only one of Kevin Smith's movies that I've seen. I found it to be very dialogue heavy. It went into many pointless digressions which didn't advance the plot in any meaningful way. Many of the plot twists were juvenile, and a lot of the story seemed to be thrown in for nothing more than shock value.

There were enough flashes of brilliance as far as characterization and story were concerned to make me understand why Kevin Smith has garnered the praise he has, however the story seemed disjointed enough for me to suspect that he could benefit from a good editor that could get him to stick to the point.

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