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michaelsjmurphy

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8 reviews in total 
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14 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
A problem film for those unfamiliar with the book, 16 January 2001
9/10

Kurt Vonnegut has had little luck with the translation of his vision to the wide screen. His style and subjects rarely lend themselves easily to linear film-making, and this adaptation of his best-known novel points up the problems inherent with that fact. A viewer who has never read the book will be hopelessly lost almost from the beginning, as the story line is told from the point of view of a man who has come "unstuck in time." This conceit (where the hero has no control over the order in which he experiences his life), while used to stunning effect in the book, can make for a very muddled FILM, and here sadly, the final product can't be excused for its fidelity to the spirit of the novel. Technically, this film has some high points. The cinematography and designs are excellent, capturing the desolation of Europe engaged in WWII and the isolation of the foot soldier fighting that war, as well as recreating the feel of a bygone time and place. The casting of this film is an eclectic mix, with Michael Sacks giving a convincing, if not memorable performance in the role of Billy Pilgrim. Sharon Gans is wonderful as his overweight and overwrought wife. Ron Liebman provides manic talent here as the hero's main antagonist, and Valerie Perrine demonstrates her lack of acting talent beautifully, ironically playing a talentless actress/centerfold model (and the object of Pilgrim's more prurient desires). Having seen this film on both the big and small screens, I can say that little is lost in the shrinkage.

Rating 6.5/10

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A film that works!!, 3 December 1999
10/10

I find it difficult to recommend a film more highly. Kubrick's vision of a world teetering on the brink of nuclear apocalypse is in every way a perfect film. It captures the essence of a time, and yet it is not at all dated. It is as funny a film as you will ever watch, but at the same time its message is deadly serious. The acting is uniformly brilliant, led by an incredible triple-threat performance by Peter Sellers. While his characterization of the good doctor is most often pointed at, in my mind it is Sellers' portrayal of President Muffley which shows his true genius. His flat, toneless, midwestern accent was a work of art, as was his ability to communicate through non-verbal cues. In addition, George C. Scott and Sterling Hayden were never better than they were here. But the special mention must go to Kubrick. He took a huge risk with this movie - and turned it into a cultural touchstone. In watching this film, one is struck by the lack of "jokes." Every image, from the "copulating" airplanes to the Nazi salute in the "war room," was intended as a means to further the irony inherent in a comedy about the destruction of civilization. I especially recommend this film to younger viewers, unfamiliar with the concept of "duck and cover" drills and back yard bomb shelters. In this film can be found a valuable history lesson, as well as an object lesson in the art of unified filmaking.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A Holiday Classic, 1 December 1999
8/10

There are few TV "holiday" shows which get me to reach for the TV guide to find out when they are airing. This is one of them. It's sweet, sentimental, honest, and true to the spirit of the season. Schultz wrote a fine script and the original score has come to emblemize the franchise. My rating of "8" (out of 10) is the highest that I allow for a TV program/short on a movie/video scale.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Fabulous, 29 November 1999
10/10

Some films must be seen on the big screen to be appreciated. THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY is a big film, maybe best left to big-screen viewing. Nevertheless, there is much to be said in a video rental. The characters might seem to be cardboard cutouts on the surface, but upon close inspection, the viewer sees amazing subtlety. The cinematography is every bit as good as anything produced out of Hollywood, and the Italian locations sure look a lot like the American southwest. Morricone's music may be the finest of the entire western genre. Leone's debt to Kurosawa is obvious here, but his inventive use of close-up and cut-away to build tension in this film may be unparalleled in the history of cinema.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Not to be missed!!, 29 November 1999
10/10

A visual masterpiece, this is among the most amazingly photographed films ever made. It's a thinking-person's movie- there are no easy answers. Kubrick demands that his audience see his world in shades of grays. It takes a long. long time before any dialogue is heard, and yet so much is communicated merely through the non-verbal cues captured by the lens and the music. The shot of the bone becoming the space shuttle is among the most awesome (and copied) editing jobs in film history, and the star-gate sequence may be the best use of special effects ever produced.

This film is best seen on the big screen in order to fully appreciate the way-ahead-of-its-time special effects and scope of the film.

Tomorrow (1972)
25 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
Nobody does it like Duvall, 29 November 1999
9/10

This movie predates some of Duvall's more critically acclaimed and popularly received turns, but in truth, this may be the finest acting job of his career. Duvall is this film, and he has made this kind of intense, honest character study his own (Tender Mercies, The Apostle, The Great Santini). The black and white cinematography is perfectly suited to the story and the acting. It works as a far more honest story-telling device than Spielberg's "Schindler's List." This is a must-see for Duvall fans and for fans of small, independent films as well.

Lunacy personified, 29 November 1999

For out and out laughter, this is the funniest film ever made. The lamest, deadest jokes and gags in this movie are funnier than anything that **** *******could imagine at his most lucidly comic moment. Hell, the OPENING CREDITS of this film were funnier than any ***** *****film ever made.

Furthermore, this movie cements Cleese's much-deserved reputation as the funniest man alive - from his remarkable Sir Lancelot, to his poignant portrayal of a Frenchman (of the movable castle), to his shimmering Black Knight (come back here!!), and his amazing Knights-who-say, "Nih," Cleese never speaks a line (or makes an appearance) which leaves the audience groaning or silent.

Chapman, Idle, Palin, Jones, and Gilliam all turn in vivid performances while playing multiple roles- but this is Cleese's baby. It's got his stamp all over it. 10/10

193 out of 219 people found the following review useful:
As Good as Movies Get, 29 November 1999
10/10

Movies can wield a strange power over those who sit in the darkened seats of a theatre. The truly great ones manipulate your perception of reality, suspend your disbelief, and ultimately either alter or affirm your view on life. NUOVO CINEMA PARADISO is just such a movie. It is the near-perfect melding of direction, acting, script, sound track, and cinematography. Phillipe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio give the kind of performances usually associated with much more recognizable actors. The supporting cast looks like they could all be full-blooded Sicilians. The location shots add depth and realism to the entire production. Ennio Morricone's music is simply the most appropriate and emotive I have ever had the pleasure to hear in a theatre. Tornatore's script and direction are a joy, a breath of fresh air.

I will not spoil this story by repeating it, nor will I give away the ending, although it matters not a whit. I could disclose fully everything in this movie, and in seeing it, all my words would evaporate. There is nothing like the experience of sitting through it, becoming engulfed by it, and in the end, being changed.