Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
I say 'surprisingly' because the rating is so low, I didn't know what to expect.
But it's a delightful little caper movie, driven (as all good movies are) by the performers and a tight script by Robert Benton, not known for his enjoyable caper movies!
Jeff Bridges all but steals the film from a delightful Kim Basinger, and the two of them together set the screen on fire. They are surrounded by some of the best character actors working today, including Rip Torn. As I was watching this I thought how smart Robert Benton is for casting real actors, and having the comedy come out of their behaviour and talent, rather than casting 'wacky comedians' and reducing the story to little bits.
A lot of fun, and worth seeing.
Nacho Libre (2006)
I'm not sure it's as fun as the poster, but this was a fun movie.
After seeing Napoleon Dynamite, I didn't' know what to expect from this director on his second movie, but it's really kind of similar in an odd way.
The camera doesn't really move much. In fact, it looks like a film student could have made this movie. Except for the fact that a film student wouldn't have the guts NOT to move the camera!
Like Dynamite, the strength of this movie is the performances, in this case Jack Black, who makes the whole film work. You have to be a Jack Black fan though, my friend who isn't really didn't care much for the film. I was surprised to see it delving deeper than the hysterical poster and premise led me to believe. I love that they tried to have a little message hidden in there.
I won't go into the plot. I'll just say look at the poster, think about Jack Black, and check it out if either of those two get you going.
The Lather Effect (2006)
A lot of fun
I saw this on the last night of the LA Film Festival, and it was a treat.
The plot, such as it is, is about a group of friends getting together for 'one last party' at a house about to be sold, an '80's Rage', where they dress up like their favorite 80's icons, Madonna, Tom Cruise, etc. There's even a funny reference to 'that Gorbachov dude'.
But it's really about a lost past, missed opportunities, and cleaning out the cobwebs of old relationships. Sounds kind of heavy, but it's really really funny.
The cast is great, from the radiant Ione Skye (Say Anything) to straight laced Tate Donovan (The O.C.) to David Herman as the 'former child star', who just about steals every scene that he's in. But the 'jubilant engine' that kicks it into high gear is Eric Stoltz (Pulp Fiction), who I didn't' know even did comedy. He's hysterical, and every time he's on screen the film goes to a different, wackier place.
It has one of those soundtracks that make you want to go out and buy it. Which I tried to do at the Virgin Records outside the theater, but they didn't' have it yet. Every 80's hit song you can remember is somehow in this film, it's a little like BEING at the actual party!
In fact, the whole film is like being at a party. A lot of fun.
A lot of fun
I saw this at the LA Film Festival, and it's a funny peek at the lives of teachers, from a point of view you don't often see.
According to the festival literature, it was written and directed by actual former teachers, so as you can imagine there is a lot of inside stuff that we may not have seen before, that is both sad and funny.
The plot, such as it is, follows four new teachers at a high school in Texas during their first year, and all the trials and tribulations they encounter. I didn't recognize any of the cast, I think the kids may have been real students, but that didn't matter to me. Like 'The Office', it shows the ineptitude and struggle to make sense of ridiculous things, like school policy, and people desperate to win 'teacher of the year'. It's funny and heartfelt, and reminded me of a Christopher Guest film in that it felt ad-libbed more than scripted.
I ended up feeling great affection for these people, and thought the film was very good.
Ira & Abby (2006)
I saw this film at the LA film festival, and enjoyed it, even if it left me pretty much right away.
The plot is one we've seen before, almost a sitcom plot, outgoing girl meets nebbishy guy. It's kind of a cross between an older Woody Allen film and Darhma and Greg, but what makes it enjoyable is the cast.
The two leads are fine, but it's the supporting pros that steal the film with relish whenever they can. Robert Klein, Frances Conroy, Fred Willard all seem to be having a very fun time, and that translates right out into the audience.
I think it was shot on digital instead of film, which makes it kind of different to look at, but not unpleasant at all.
A fun date movie!
Annie Hall (1977)
Although the innovative style in which he told his story was not new- the flashbacks, walking into his past etc was all done twenty years earlier in Wild Strawberries- the film feels as though it's reinventing cinema in a simple and direct way.
The plot is basically boy gets girl, boy loses girl, etc. But the way Woody Allen tells this story, and the casting and chemistry that he concocted is just stellar. It's clear that Allen and Keaton are or were in love with each other, and they pop right off the screen. Every other role, from Colleen Dewhurst to Christopher Walken, is perfectly cast.
But the story itself, the simple way he deals with finding love, then losing it, will touch you. I don't think of this film so much as a comedy, although it's absolutely hilarious, as a film about loss with some laughs, and I appreciate it enough to watch it every few years, like an old friend.
If you've never seen this film, you're in for a wonderful evening.
The King of Comedy (1982)
Watch this, then rent Network.
To me, the two movies, from two different decades, perfectly sum up our lousy with celebrity culture, and the insidious pull that television has over most of us.
I won't go into the plot, it's all over this site. But the performances are stunning, DeNiro is perfect- you never know if he's serious, deranged, touched, or what. It's what I imagine a serial killer would be like, charming and odd and ultimately dangerous.
Sandra Bernard is terrific too, in just as creepy a way. Sometimes it's hard to watch her, but like driving by a car wreck, you can't NOT look.
But surprisingly (to me anyway) it's Jerry Lewis who holds the film together. I'd only thought of him as the wacky guy from the Dean Martin movies, but he's got weight and charm and a screen presence that dominated DeNiro. I've read that Johnny Carson was offered this movie, which would have been interesting- but Jerry Lewis is so solid and wonderful, it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role. He's the only sane person in an insane world, and therefore we take the ride of the movie through his eyes.
A terrific take on modern celebrity, the hazards of fame, and the regrets you can have just by being nice to a stranger. Scorcese scores big with this one!
So much fun!
Oh yes, this is the most fun you could have if you're a Dylan fan. It didn't really feel like a Scocese film to me, but that's neither here nor there- the music alone makes this a treat. The trip through Dylans life, and his funny and surprisingly humble and accurate thoughts on all he's been through make it the most compelling, less 'showy' documentary on a famous musician ever made.
The only thing I missed was that I didn't get any notion of what the man is like in private. Drugs? Marriage? Relationships? All hinted at, none explored or discussed.
Of course I realize I'm complaining about not knowing more about Bob Dylan, famous for keeping himself to himself . The myth he's created makes me want to know more about him- which keeps his myth alive! Wonderful. Watch it and then put on the albums, you'll have a great time.
This show has held my attention since the first season, it towers above the competition. In fact, it towers above most feature films. In fact, it towers above the Mission Impossible film that it's creator made! Here's why, imho. First and most important, they have an amazing cast. Matthew Fox is stellar, driving the show forward with the most difficult role, he has to observe, stay calm, and hold our interest. The girls are all lovely to look at, and they can act too! And the supporting players are all terrific. The music is compelling, it's filmed like a real film, and most importantly, the STORY is something we haven't seen before. Or haven't seen in a very long time. This is to me as good as The Sopranos, and proof that television can be good and worth watching. Especially on DVD where you don't have to sit through the lousy commercials.
All of Me (1984)
Most enjoyable silliness!
I laughed quite a lot during this film, and I think it's one of Steve Martins more inspired creations. This was made back in the 80's, before he got all serious minded, and it's divine.
The plot is described elsewhere, no need to go into it. But Lily Tomlin almost walks away with the film. She's warmer and lovelier than I think I've seen her in years, she and Martin definitely have a certain chemistry.
And the scene where Steve Martin walks down the street- that's all I'll give you, you have to see it- is priceless comedy.
This movie will make you laugh no matter what kind of mood you're in, it's wonderful.
All About Eve (1950)
There's a reason this is in the top 100 of most great film lists. The writing, directing, and acting all come together to form a near perfect movie.
And what it says about the theater world in New York is absolutely still true, yes- there ARE people like this still functioning and who are stars!
Bette Davis is the life force behind this film, stealing every scene she walks into. But George Saunders provides the perfect counterpoint for her energy, and you'll be surprised at the number of faces you recognize, waltzing in for a scene or two. Marilyn Monroe quite literally jumps off the screen, she's that beautiful.
A difficult, witty, urbane and thick movie, this one merits more than one watch.
At Close Range (1986)
This is such a well crafted film in so many ways, I urge you not to watch it alone. The writer has dipped into Greek mythology as well as modern newspaper tabloids, and come up with a frightening collection of kids and adults that you absolutely believe could exist down the street in a 'lesser' part of town.
I won't go into the plot, except to say that it's centered around kids need for love from their parents- and what they'll do to get it.
Chris Walken walks away with the film- every time he's on screen, it lights up and all sense of time stops. I'm not exaggerating! He's stunning.
The Penn brothers, Sean and Chris, do fine work as well. But I was most surprised by Chris Penn, he's open and sad and really quite a terrific actor.
I think this is James Foleys best film, and worth a rent.
An American in Paris (1951)
One of the best movie musicals ever made, and absolutely worth seeing (on a big screen, if you have one) with the whole family.
The plot- well, it's a musical. And yes, there are songs inserted that don't really do much except give us a chance to run and get some food. But the whole adds up to a magical evening that Hollywood just doesn't even attempt anymore, nor could they even if they had the Gershwin/Kelly/Minelli team together again.
There's never been a better version of 'I GOT RHYTHM' on film or stage, bar none. This number, Kelly with the school kids, will have you singing it for days on end.
And the ending has without a doubt the most stunning 16-minute ballet ever filmed, which Kelly and Caron dance beautifully.
A magical evening.
Visions of Light (1992)
Yes, it ignores most of Europe and the rest of the worlds contributions, but for what it is, it's just lovely.
It's an introduction to the art of cinematography in American movies, with clips and comments from the greats about American film from birth till 1990 or so, when it was made. Some of the cinematographers are humble and self-effacing, some clearly have large egos, but they all obviously love and care deeply about film and film making.
This is a terrific film to show your children, a behind the scenes that is informative rather than salacious or snarky.
I came to this as a big Mary Louise Parker fan, especially in her younger days, Naked in New York and Grand Canyon and Fried Green Tomatoes. I thought she acted- and looked- fresh and open and lovely and unspoiled by the Hollywood machinery.
So it's with regret that I say I'm finding this series disappointing on many levels. It's shocking simply to be shocking, and I'm not a prude by any means. It's also written about people whom I just don't care about at all, the kids and the adults are corrupt and uncaring and selfish. Normally I love that in a film or TV show, The Sopranos being a good example- but in WEEDS it seems that no one goes very deep, they're all self-satisfied smug upper middle class jerks.
The music is interesting, and it's certainly shot with style and panache, but ultimately it's a lot of style and very little substance. The actors are all doing their best, and Mary Louise Parker is pulling out all the stops with her twitches and eyes roaming the room, but it's just not holding my interest.
Starsky & Hutch (2004)
I was kind of looking forward to this, and I'm sad to say that it's not very funny.
Ben Stiller is once again Ben Stiller, and Owen Wilson has his usual red-eyed-I may have been smoking before they yelled action- delivery that can make some dumb lines kind of funny, but other than that there's not much there there.
Snoop Doggy is actually the scene stealer here. Vince Vaugn seems miscast.
I liked the car a lot, but as I was waiting for it to end I kept thinking that this is what they mean by the January/February movie doldrums.
I'd give it four stars.
In America (2002)
Just a lovely wonderful movie, soulful and deep and personal. I was so surprised to see this in a big movie theater, what are the studios thinking! Coming out with a good movie!??!
The parents are wonderful, particularly Samantha Morton, but it's really the two little girls who will break your heart and not give it back. They are absolutely amazing.
I was less enthused about the subplot with the african american haitian? artist, but I could see why it was needed in the film.
All in all a glorious movie. I give it 9 starts out of ten!
All That Jazz (1979)
One of the best musicals ever made, it's a love song to theater and hedonism and all things Fosse.
Roy Schieder does a fantastic job brings Fosse to life, making the charming womanizing cad unrepentant and lovable at the same time.
Jessica Lange as 'the angel of death' is all you'd want from a grim reaper, and more.
But the real standout is the vibrant editing and music- long before MTV coopted the fast and loose cutting styles that make it hard to focus, Fosse put it to good use- he doesn't just cut for shock value, he cuts WITH the music, creating images that go right into your inner rythm somehow.
I don't know how he did it, but every film student in the world should study this masterpiece.
Ten out of ten!
All in the Family (1971)
This is what television was made for, to shake up our society!
The creators and the actors all did wonderful amazing work on this show, it was always provocative and funny and daring and silly, I'll never forget some of the episodes.
In particular, the writers tackled all the hot button issues of the day, from Racism to rape, and they didn't treat it with cutesy kid gloves either- you cringed and laughed and cried.
Todays measly sitcoms- Friends, Will and Grace- while being occasionally funny, rarely hit the nerve of the nation at all. Whens the last time a sitcom was political? Murphy Brown?
This was a seminal show of my youth.
I wish they'd come out with them all on DVD, it's really worth it.
My Horrible Year! (2001)
Actually a wonderful movie!
I must say it was such a relief to see a movie about teenagers where the
actors are REALLY TEENAGERS! Allison Mack stars as 'Nik Faulkner',
you'll recognize her from 'Smallville', and she was only 18 when she
made this film, and it shows- in a good way. She looks 15 and even has a
little layer of baby fat that she's since shed for Smallville, but she's
ADORABLE. Even though it's a completely different genre, I liked this as
much as 'Smallville'; the side-characters of Babyface and Mouse are
realistic and funny and even kind of moving. The adults are good too but
they didn't really have much to do, as it's told from the kids point of
view. What's nice is that it's a film about loners and the gulf between
children and their parents, but there's no bitter irony or bad attitudes
present. These kids are deep and trying to become better people which is
something not seen in too many films for and about kids.
I loved it!
The Pledge (2001)
I suppose it's pointless to look to a movie to learn anything anymore,
especially one as brutal and pointless as The Pledge. This is not to say
that it's not well done- it's very well crafted (if a bit indulgent) and
filled with fantastic acting from the Love Boat of ensemble casts.
Nicholson gives one of his finest performances here, as does Robin
Wright. Redgrave and Rourke suprise as always, but I was a little
disappointed with Aaron Eckhart and Costas Mandylor, I felt they were
miscast (or cast because of their looks in a movie that clearly doesn't
CARE about looks). The story itself is Camus-esque, which I like up to a
certain point- but I felt the ending unresolved and kind of a let down.
This may be why the French love it so much, but I'd rather leave the
theater feeling like I've learned something more than "life is brutal
and random and sometimes nothing good comes of it". Tough going, but
Proof of Life (2000)
Not very good.
I saw this on an airplane today, and while I understand this isn't the
best way to view a film, it didn't really work for me. The plot is
fairly straight forward stuff, nothing surprising there- although there
did seem to be some missed opportunities, especially when you look at a
superb film like "Missing"- so much more could have been made of the
politics involved, which would have ratcheted up the tension a mite. The
acting was okay, but unlike the other reviewers here I thought the best
actor in it was David Morse. I believed every single thing he did, and
he had a lot of tough stuff to do. He's a very good actor. Russell Crowe
seemed to be acting tough, which he does fine, but I found nothing
special in it. The big disappointment for me was Meg Ryan. Shot as
though she was Barbra Streisand, as if through numerous filters, her
make up was perfect in every single scene. And her face- well, let's
just say she's looking more and more like Michelle Pfeiffer or Goldie
Hawn. Some may say that's not such a bad thing, and it isn't, but I
liked the Meg of old, she was far more expressive and free and alive.
Now she seems to want to be 'aging well' or something, and it's limiting
and dull. Of course, it doesn't help that she had such winning lines as
"Why are you doing this?" - the script is indeed weak. To say nothing of
the fact that she is the helpless and occasionally dangerously stupid
weak female of the piece, just waiting for big strong Russell to 'take
charge' (like a real man always does) and save the poor weepy female.
The movie starts out great, then fades into your average forgettable
Just Visiting (2001)
Rent the original.
Here's a surprise- when you remake a film, especially one from France,
most likely it will turn out to be worse than the original. This film is
no exception to that rule. Christina Applegate tries gamely to keep it
on it's feet, and does an admirable job, as does Jean Reno- but the film
falls flat. Perhaps because everyone is trying so very hard to BE FUNNY.
It's as if the director didn't trust the material, which is a shame,
because there's a decent kids story at the heart of this mess. Featuring
a shameless floozy performance by Bridget Wilson Sampras, and the chubby
pal who falls in love performance by Tara Reid, this movie has it's
moments, but unfortunately not enough of them.
And that can be good and bad. This is one of those 'best of!' tv shows that ends up skipping over a LOT of great films, and interviewing people- David Copperfield!?- who really aren't even in the film business. But, it does offer glimpses of Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood and some of those greats, so I guess it's got some credibility. I just got a little bored by it after a while.
I loved this piece. It's very simple and straightforward, no car chases here, just people talking to each other, and they talk so well! Hume Cronyn and James Earl Jones carry the show, and they do it with such grace and style that you almost wish it wouldn't end. Written by Horton Foote, this is one to seek out if you can find it. A deceptively simple family drama, that is actually suitable for the entire family. Very well done.