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65 reviews in total 
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36 out of 38 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful film, very simple, sweet and moving., 11 September 2012

I marvel at how simple this movie is. It's a romance, but there's no villain, there's no kissing, there's no skin shown. Yet I was at the edge of my seat over whether the hero and the heroine would get together. The incidents have no fantasy, no action chase scenes, no amazing settings, just everyday life at a seaside town, a boarding house and a school. It reminds me of Ocean Waves, another Ghibli movie that I absolutely adore. In comparison, the average Hollywood romantic movie seems so loud and garish. The actors and actresses in typical Hollywood rom-coms are the cartoons, not these animated people I've grown to care about in the span of an hour and a half. What are comparable movies? In the Mood for Love, from Hong Kong, and Scorsese's The Age of Innocence. I'm in love again.

1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
I'm one of the naysayers, 9 October 2011

It took me 25 years to watch this film. I think in that time the movie has not aged well. Some of the stylish scenes seem embarrassing now. As for 'risky' acts, these seem tame compared to what European filmmakers (I believe Lyne is British) were doing in the sixties and seventies. There are attempts to make the story profound, but Lyne can't make a compelling narrative even with all his fast cutting and moody lighting (he's the granddaddy of all the ADD directors on MTV, like Michael Bay, etc). Tarkovsky can do it. He can make a compelling narrative with a minutes-long shot of one guy looking down a corridor full of rubbish. Lyne, unfortunately, can't.

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
May we have more please!, 4 June 2009

He's back! And the PG-13 doesn't stop him! Funny, enjoyable from a dumb turn-off-your-mind level, yet totally mesmerizing as a visual storyteller from start to finish, Sam Raimi plays with your heartstrings like Itzhak Perlman on LSD! Uplifting music it ain't, but you're being toyed by a maestro! The story isn't original, but then neither was Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ. What matters is the way Scorsese and Raimi (hey, that rhymes!) shoots and cuts, showing these dick-less sissies what it's like to be a brass balls director! (Kathryn Bigelow, you have a pair, and I mean that in a nice way!) Please, is there some kind of petition we can sign, DON'T bother with Spiderman 4, More! More! More! P.S. Lame box office even though the same public went in droves to see that emasculated THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT. It's a sure sign the end of the world is nigh! Am I making any sense? Never mind!

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Quite good Batman movie, 27 July 2008

This is a very good Batman movie. Now, there are things I liked about the older Batman movies with Tim Burton directing and Michael Keaton acting, especially the offbeat humor (emphasized during the second film since Daniel Waters, who I really love, wrote the script). I won't bother mention the next two except that they made me disinterested with the franchise, but Batman Begins under director Nolan and Christian Bale rekindled my interest in Batman. This sequel to Batman Begins has many good things about it, most prominent is the writing, the acting, the cinematography and the visual effects. Many other comments have gushed over these things so I will try not to repeat them here. Now, while the excitement is still fresh (I'm writing this in July, a few days after watching), everyone seems to think how towering the movie is over other movies (presently 9.5 in IMDb's ratings, replacing Shawshank at no. 1, which I don't think deserves that rating anyway, and the Godfather, which I think does.) I gave this movie a sober 8, which is pretty high for me (I'm not like other people who rate who would give this movie a 1 or 2 to "balance" the rating, I honestly think it deserves an 8.) Some problems I have with the film: while the themes are grand and some of the lines truly wonderful, I do wish they would show rather than say some of these lines. It seems to have the same problem as Brad Pitt's Jesse James (with the long title) movie, a tendency to say rather than show. Next, Nolan has the same problem as Burton. They are both bad action directors. I thought in Batman Begins the first time Batman drops among Falcone's thugs it was a blur of action and confusion, a good decision, to show how unprepared the criminals are against Batman. But apparently, that is how all of Batman's action scenes are shot. I remember reading that Nolan saw Michael Mann's Heat and was inspired by it. I think Nolan should take more notes on how Mann directs, because his Heat, his Last of the Mohicans, even his Miami Vice, had breathtaking action sequences that were crystal clear. Lastly, and this is a minor, minor point, I still can't get over how bad Bale looks in a Batman costume. I try to figure it out, but this combination of the actor's face and the Batsuit is truly awful. I sometimes wish we're back to Adam West (no, not that bad, I guess.) I think it's because when Bale speaks his upper lip twists a little and it gives the impression that the cowl is lopsided when it really isn't. And his cheeks look like Alvin Chipmunk with the Batsuit on (yet without it he has an incredibly lean face). In the end, I did like this film and its ambitions. I'm sorry I put up my reservations (which is why I gave it a mere 8) but all the praises have been more completely and imaginatively said everywhere else.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Quite good, up there with the first Shrek, 7 June 2008

Warning: I believe the movie is a bit scary for the very young, I think this movie should be rated PG or even PG 13. Shrek is a wonderful movie because it upends a lot of conventions, in fairy tales and in animated movies. The next few Shreks become weaker echoes of the first by doing the same movie over and over, and by existing to parody other movies without bothering to put in a meaty story to string the jokes. Kung Fu Panda is another movie that upends a lot of recent animated movie conventions that have become cliché. Firstly, it isn't anymore a joke a minute. Some care was used in telling the story. In a way, it breaks current convention by becoming a more old-fashioned movie, by taking its time with the story. And yet, there are many touches that are clear tributes to previous great Kung Fu movies, especially Jacky Chan movies. The movie is going to be rewarding even to adults, so they aren't going to mind bringing their kids to this movie. It helps that Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman strike such witty rapport with each other. If anything becomes pretty conventional or dull, I can depend on either actor to give it a nice reading. Not necessarily a funny reading, but at least a reading that's consistent with the character. Definitely worth getting on Blu-ray!

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Decent adaptation of the book, 7 June 2008

I read the books, all seven, roughly once a year since I first read them in the 90's, and I love the series. The first film was okay, at least it isn't as irredeemably bad as when Uwe Boll gets his hands on a video game franchise. It was decent, like the first Potter was decent. This one is much improved. The book has been changed, yes, and some purists in the reviews below and above me are complaining. Still, I believe that the most turgid movies are those slavishly insisting they remain faithful to the book, as if the movie is trying to be what it isn't--a book. The movies that deviate most from the book I usually find better especially if they try to tell the same story but in a way more suited to the demands of a visual (as opposed to the printed) medium. So here, the changes brings the action closer to the beginning. Well and good! Adamson is now more confident in making his action scenes, excellent! The young actors are growing more confident in portraying their roles, wonderful! I can't be unanimously ecstatic about the movie yet, Adamson (or whoever takes over) needs to dazzle me with some fancy storytelling (try Tarsem's The Fall, if you'd like to know what I'd find impressive). However, it deserved more success than it has achieved. It certainly is much better than the first movie.

Iron Man (2008)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Exemplary work, 12 May 2008

I'm probably getting old, but Speed Racer tired me and somewhere in the middle of Iron Man I found it a bit slow. Either that or I experience burnout from wallowing in the pre-release internet publicity of both movies. Some people are saying that this Iron Man is better than Batman Begins. Yes, in one aspect, I think Robert Downey is a better actor than Bale. They are both quite good, but I give more points to Downey for being self-deprecating and funnier, plus, his personal history outside the movie adds to the baggage (actual positive baggage!) he brings to this role. Very inspired acting, aside from the fact he's quite qualified to do the role anyway. I do prefer the basic story of Batman over Iron Man. A Batman story relies on atmospherics (hence the use of a bat, and the generally dark tone of most of movies and comics). He also uses a bit of deductive reasoning in combating crime. Tony Stark is an inventor, and his suit is a wonderful toy, but Iron Man's antagonists aren't that inspired (except maybe the Mandarin). The comic's best story arc are Stark battling his personal demons. I like the way Favreau makes his fanboy homages so integrated to the movie. Not being aware of them won't detract a whit from a newcomer's experience, but knowing about them will send a fanboy to nirvana. In any case, exemplary work. My rating of an 8 may seem too low for a positive review, but I'm a bit of a contrarian. To me, the best comic book movie was The Incredibles, and I'm in the minority holding that opinion.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Pretty good, 12 May 2008

To be fair I was quite tired when I saw this, so around the middle part I was dropping off a little. For a kid's flick it sure has a complicated plot (but maybe I can attribute that to my exhaustion). I didn't get a lot of things, like why Speed joined forces with Taejo & Racer X and the government guy. However, the pluses are it sure is a fantastic-looking film, all the races were exciting and the ending was especially gripping. I like the recurring theme about family and being true to your roots. Why did it fail? I can fault myself for watching when tired, but I think the movie might be too long (you equate length with weighty epics). Precisely why should it be two hours plus? Nevertheless, I do hope that history would validate the Wachowski's big-risk gamble a few years from now. One day, who knows? It didn't succeed now, but I see quite a lot of love letters among the user comments. Add my review to those, it's just that it isn't an unqualified rave.

Il Mare (2000)
I like it. Original and Derivative at the same time., 30 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In a nutshell, A girl falls in love with a guy who is two years in her past. Romance and Time Travel has been around for a long time. Back to the Future is a romance. So is Chris Marker's Le Jetee (and as a consequence, 12 Monkeys) and Somewhere in Time. There are many plot devices to separate lovers and one of the most cruel (hence most romantic) is using implacable Time. So the time travel device is no longer a De Lorean or playing mental tricks on oneself but rather it's now a mailbox. I think more interesting are some directing effects (when the camera swings around the mailbox and the lovers seem like they are in the same space), some good shots of the skies and the deliberate, anti-MTV pacing of the movie. Lake House, the remake, is actually decent. It's fairly restrained and the house in the remake is prettier. It is not, however, that revolutionary, and therefore suffers in comparison with this remake. Lake House works because of the story, which is virtually the same here. Also, putting in two big name stars is distracting from a simple, gossamer story. Therefore, I have fonder memories of this Korean original.

Sabrina (1954)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Captivated this child of the 80's, 19 April 2008

I saw this again just last week on Cinemax. It's in black and white (that never scared me off).

Made 12 years before I was born, I saw it when I was in college (late 80's) and I've loved it since. I like the 1995 remake with Harrison Ford, and my favorite line from the remake (Sabrina to Linus): They say you're the world's only living heart donor. I love that line, but while there isn't an equivalent of that zinger in the Bogart/Hepburn version, I do think this is the superior product. This has Audrey Hepburn (Ormond can't compare), and it has the comedic/surrealistic touches of Billy Wilder (yes, Pollack can do comedy. I thought Tootsie was funny under Pollack's direction, and maybe Pollack should stick to original scripts like that).

More than that, Sabrina is a product of the times. Compare the 1995 and the 1954 versions. There are lines in the 1954 version that can't be said in the 1995 version without people laughing at the wrong times. Are these more cynical times? Are there things we can't believe people doing now (like Linus's noble attitude in the end), making the remake seem anachronistic? I think that's the real problem with the remake. This 1954 version exists, and it sparkles and zips along faster than Ford's version. Ford's version doesn't distinguish itself enough. It's likable, there's that one line I really love, the actors are pretty, but it might as well be a Tom Hanks/ Meg Ryan vehicle, or (if remade yet again in the new millennium) a Matthew McConaughey/ Kate Hudson yawner.

Remakes have a tough time usually, but it IS possible to improve an original. I thought The Fly with Jeff Goldblum took the story in directions I'd never imagine (focused on the romance!). Howard Hawk's His Girl Friday improved on The Front Page by turning the reporter from a guy to a girl. Or at least, strike out in a different direction. When Howard Hawk's The Thing from Outer Space was remade into John Carpenter's The Thing, Carpenter stuck closer to the original short story and added groundbreaking makeup effects. When Howard Hawk's Scarface was redone by Brian DePalma into Pacino's Scarface, he turned Scarface into a Cuban immigrant, and set the whole thing in Miami. Everything's changed, we're reminded of many things about the original, but the remakes are creatures of their own mind.

So, I think I'll stick to this original, with the irreplaceable Audrey Hepburn.

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