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3264 reviews in total 
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0 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Well-done but where's the color?, 30 June 2014

Story of the rise (and fall) of the 60s group Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

I saw the play this was based on and hated it. The songs were great but the dramatics were obvious and (frankly) quite boring. The movie doesn't change the play at all--it's almost a word by word copy. However I did like the movie a lot. For some reason the cornball dramatics actually worked better on screen than on stage. Usually it's the opposite. Also (with one exception) all the acting was great--especially John Lloyd Young as Valli (which he won a Tony Award for back in 2006). However there are two glaring problems here. One is Christopher Walken. He plays a gangster here who helps the boys. He's TERRIBLE! He looks bad and he gives a lousy performance. The other is the color--or lack of it! For whatever reason director Clint Eastwood shot the film in muted color. Bad decision. This is a MUSICAL--not some gritty drama. The bad color really weakens the film and makes the actors look like ghosts. And what's with all the swearing? The play had next to no swearing at all. However when they're on stage singing all is forgiven. I give a 7. Stronger color might have boosted my rating.

Somewhat preachy and dated but still powerful, 22 June 2014

Magazine writer Philip Green (Gregory Peck) is hired to write a series on anti-Semitism. He decides to let everybody thinks he's Jewish and see what happens. He quickly finds out how strong bigotry and hatred against jews really is.

I've read back when this was made in the 1940s anti-Semitism was accepted and tolerated and this movie showed people how evil it was. I'm not Jewish but I've never had a problem with it and find it hard to believe people ever did. So this movie was an eye-opener for many people. Unfortunately it also comes across as obvious and sometimes overly preachy especially at the end when we get THREE speeches against it. Still it's not a bad movie at all and went on to win three Academy Awards including Best Picture.

Peck is good in his role and Dorothy McGuire was also OK as his girlfriend--but those two had no romantic spark between them. Their kisses came across as awkward and forced and I never believed they were in love. Celeste Holm is great in a supporting role and won an Oscar for it. Also John Garfield has a small but crucial role. Wonderful character actress Anne Revere is also in this. The script is sharp and intelligent and doesn't pull punches in its dialogue. It moves quickly too. Still, as a very liberal guy, I found it so obvious that it didn't really have a huge impact on me. I give it a 7.

Fun atmospheric horror film, 19 June 2014

This is a dubbed Italian horror film that takes place in 1884 France. Emily has just come home to the huge spooky family castle after finishing school. With her are her fiancé John Taylor and his sister Alice. At home she discovers her father has died and her brother is in charge with all new servants and a suspicious doctor. Then there are screams in the night, a disfigured monster roaming about and a family curse that threatens Emily.

It doesn't make a whole lot of sense but it works. This is they type of horror film they used to show late at night on local TV stations. There's no nudity, sex or swearing and very minor blood and no gore. It takes place in a beautiful and very eerie castle drenched with atmosphere. The black and white photography only helps and there are even a few dark and stormy nights thrown in! This isn't really scary but it is lots of fun. The kind of horror movie to watch late at night with the lights off and some popcorn handy. I give it a 7.

Great French short, 15 June 2014

During the Civil War a man is about to be hanged from Owl Creek bridge for attempted sabotage. When he is hung the rope breaks. He quickly escapes and begins his long trip home.

I knew the surprise ending before I saw it so the ending didn't hit as hard as it might have. Still it works. There's next to no dialogue (except for some dubbed in English lines)--only music and a short ballad (sung in English). The acting is good, the direction excellent and there's some beautiful black and white cinematography. This is based on a short story by Ambrose Bierce. It's also available as an episode from "The Twilight Zone" TV series--although slightly edited. This deservedly won an Academy Award for Best Short Short Subject, Live Action. Well worth catching.

Good drama/comedy--not really a gay movie, 14 June 2014

Omar (Gordon Warnecke) is a Pakistani boy living in London caring for his sick father. His father gets his uncle to get him a job. Omar starts by washing cars but ends up buying a falling apart launderette from his uncle. He also meets his ex Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis) a punk British kid. They refurbish the place and start having sex. But Johnny's friends HATE Pakistanis and the class differences between Omar and Johnny threaten to tear them apart.

This is often called a gay movie but I disagree. Yes there are two gay characters in it but their love story is just one of many elements. It deals mostly with the war between the British and Pakistani immigrants. The love story consists only of a few long and incredibly uncomfortable kisses. Both of the actors are str8 and (by all accounts) hated the kissing scenes. It comes through clearly on screen. That aside there lots of drama and comedy about Omar and his family and Johnny and his friends. This takes place in 1985 Britain and was originally shot for British TV so I didn't get all the cultural references and know very little about British life back then. Still I was able to pretty much follow it. The acting is very good by the supporting cast but the two leads don't really work. Warnecke is way too naïve to be believable and when he tries to act like he's tough it's laughable. Day-Lewis is VERY badly miscast as a punk. He was about 27 when he did this and looks older. He's a great actor NOW but back then had a lot to learn. Still this was an interesting comedy/drama about 1985 Britain.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Not a classic but not bad, 7 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Disney version of the fairy tale. Princess Aurora is born and cursed (for no real reason) by evil Maleficent to die on her 16th birthday. Three fairies--Flora, Fauna and Merryweather--lessen to curse to just make her sleep, not die. Aurora grows up protected by the three fairies and then meets tall, handsome Prince Phillip--on her 16th birthday. They immediately fall in love but the curse comes to pass. Phillip is set on awakening Aurora but he'll have to fight Maleficent to get her.

This took six YEARS and millions of dollars to make. It was also the first animated movie to be released in widescreen (called Technirama 70). However it was not a hit critically or commercially...and it's easy to see why. The story is vague with plot holes and continuity lapses galore. The palace scenes are incredibly annoying. The main characters move fluidly but all the background characters don't move an inch. They look like what they are--drawings. The characters are either annoying (the fairies), bland (Aurora and especially Phillip) or just evil for no reason (Maleficent). On the plus side most of the animation is great and takes full advantage of the wide screen (do NOT see this in a pan and scan version). A highlight is the final battle between Phillip and Maleficent. The songs are tuneful (if forgettable) and the score is just fantastic. Also Maleficent is a great Disney villainess.

So it is a very good Disney film but no classic.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Next to "The Avengers" (2012) this is the best superhero film ever!, 27 May 2014

This takes place in the future. All mutants have been enslaved along with humans who tried to help them. Only a small team of the X-Men remain. Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellan) have an idea to send Wolverine (High Jackman) back into the 1970s to stop a killing from happening and change the future. They send him back but can he change things in time?

Next to "The Final Stand" this is easily the best X-Men movie ever. I wasn't going to see it because I hated "X-Men: First Class" but (technically) this isn't a sequel to that. It ties into that movie but also works with the first three movies. There are plenty of action sequences that are exciting with flawless special effects. It's sometimes however a little TOO violent--one character gets beheaded and another is torn apart. That's going a little too far. Also we're introduced early to a bunch of the X-Men who I didn't recognize...and their names (or powers) are never explained. This was a problem in a few of the earlier movies too. And James McAvoy was back as a young Professor X...and is terrible. All that aside however I loved this. The acting was good and there are many cameos from previous X-Men (it was great seeing Storm and Colossus again). Stewart, McKellan and Jackman easily hold the film together with their wonderful acting and Michael Fassbender is clearly enjoying himself as Megento. So a great film--well worth seeing.

The Normal Heart (2014) (TV)
28 out of 36 people found the following review useful:
Depressing but essential viewing, 26 May 2014

Movie that details when AIDS hit in 1981...and the government did nothing to stop it (because it was killing just gay men). It has writer Ned Weeks (Mark Ruffalo) fighting a battle to get the news out and attacking the NYC government for doing nothing to stop it. He also falls in love with Felix Turner (Matt Bomer) a newspaper reporter. It follows him and his friends up to 1984 when the epidemic becomes too big to ignore.

I came out in 1981 and this movie captures EXACTLY what it was like. The anger, fear, hysteria and homophobia surrounding AIDS made life a living hell for gay men. This movie made me cry more than once because it bought back all the memories of friends dying...and no one seemed to care. Ruffalo is GREAT in the lead role. More than once he explodes and perfectly captures the anger and frustration gay men were feeling back then. Basically mostly the entire cast was great. Bomer was good as Felix, Julia Roberts was GREAT as a doctor who is handicapped and very frank and Taylor Kitsch was good as Bruce Niles. The only bad performance was by Jim Parsons. He tries a dramatic role and was terrible. Very wooden. Also the movie is a too long and the ending overly dramatic. Still this is essential viewing....especially for gay teens who have no idea what we went through. VERY depressing but it must be seen.

The Heat (2013/I)
Off-putting at first but it grows on you, 23 May 2014

By the book FBI agent Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is sent to Boston and paired with foul-mouthed Boston cop Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) to bring down a vicious drug lord.

I saw this because some friends said it was hilarious. At first I hated it. Bullock's character is dull and annoying but she's better than McCarthy. McCarthy is swearing virtually non-stop for the first 20 minutes. Some people may find non-stop swearing hysterically funny but I don't. She just came across as an obnoxious witch--and NO Boston police officer would get away with what she did! I was close to turning it off but when Bullock and McCarthy have to team up it did get better. The two of them play off each other well and I kept watching. It's just that McCarthy alone was WAY too much. Bullock softened her up. Then it started to get funny and I actually got involved with the characters and the plot. The drug plot line is actually kind of dull but that's a small part of the movie. Most of it is the two of them trying to work each other and bonding...and fighting. Also it was shot on location in Boston (my home town) and it's always great to see that in a movie. So I didn't like it at all but it slowly grew on me. Recommended...if you can handle a LOT of swearing.

Judas Kiss (2011/I)
Really torn over this one, 16 May 2014

Failed filmmaker Zachary Wells (Charlie David) returns to his alma mater to be a judge in a film competition. One of the competitors (Richard Harmon)shares his real name--Daniel Reyes--and has entered a film that carries the same name as the film Zach entered years ago! Then things get strange:)

This is one odd film. It mixes science fiction with drama, gay love (and sex) and redemption. It's hard to get a grip on at first (I considered turning it off more than once) but, if you stick with it, everything becomes clear at the end. It's well made and they use some interesting double images or lighting occasionally to push the sci-fi angle (but use it sparingly which is good). The acting varies. David is good and Sean Paul Lockhart (who once did gay porn as Brent Corrigan) is excellent. Harmon however is pretty bad and Tino Descamps (as Shane) is downright terrible. Still the story kept me watching. Also there's male nudity (back views only) and some passionate guy on guy kissing.

On one hand I do like it for its interesting plot and views. On the other hand it leaves too many questions unanswered at the end. So I can only give this a 5. Not terrible but it feels unfinished.

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