Reviews written by registered user
|116 reviews in total|
Last night I watched the world premiere of this movie at the Santa
Barbara International Film Festival. While it made me chuckle several
times, it just didn't seem to be very cohesive. I tended to enjoy the
bits set in the modern day versus the silly caveman scenes. Though I am
a big fan of John Cleese, his scenes didn't do much for me in this
movie. One my favorite bits was Dan Marino explaining proper urinal
etiquette. I think that was one of problems, it was more just a
collection of bits than a complete movie. Some of the scenes were tied
together, but it didn't seem to flow very well. With a $17.50 ticket
price for this 72 minute film, I didn't feel I got my money's worth.
** (out of 4)
A solid sequel to my favorite superhero movie. While I have been
unimpressed with most of the recent superhero movies (The Punisher,
Hulk), the Spider-Man movies have continued to remain a step or two
ahead of the pack. While not staying 100% true to the original comics,
they don't stray too far. The production is top-notch and give us a
visual treat with out going too far beyond believability. Despite some
initial reservations, Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst have proved to be
quality choices for the roles of Spider-Man and Mary Jane. Along with a
solid supporting cast and good direction by Sam Raimi, the Spider-Man
movie franchise has set the bar for superhero movies in the 2000s. I'm
looking forward to the next installment. Unfortunately Spider-Man 3
isn't coming until 2007. Meanwhile, I remain hopeful for other quality
additions to the genre.
*** (out of 4)
My copy of this movie is truly silence with no musical score. Whenever
I watch a movie that is completely silent, initially I find it a little
hard. But when the film is well made, as this one is, it doesn't take
long to adjust and focus on the story as you are drawn into it. I feel
Hitchcock was a master of the silent film genre with his ability to
tell such a deep story with very few intertitles. Relying instead on
the expressions of the actors and written notes and signs in the movie,
without having to cut away to an intertitle, which allows the film to
flow more fluidly instead of constant cutting between the live action
and the title cards. Ivor Novello in the lead role of Roddy and in his
prior work with Hitchcock in The Lodger really impressed me with his
talent of conveying his feelings strictly through facial expressions
and acting without the use of sound. Hitch is also good at using subtle
exaggeration and focus on action to help take the place of the sound in
his silent films.
The story is that of a young man in school who is falsely accused of theft by a lady that he had danced with and he is willing to take the blame for a friend of his and is expelled from school. This leads to the downhill spiral of his life as leaves home after his father calls him a "LIAR!". Things get worse from there as ends up working as a gigolo in Paris, getting in fights, losing a large sum of money, and eventually hitting bottom.
In this film we really begin seeing a lot of Hitchcock's visual style that he is so famous for. He has some really good use of fades and graphic matches between scenes. Two of my favorite where the fading out on the pocket watch and into a large clock, and the other being the scene where he fades out on a photograph and then back in on the real person. I really enjoyed the symbolic shot of Roddy heading down the escalator, showing us that is in heading downhill in his life. And my favorite "Hitch" shot in this movie was the point-of-view shot when the lady was leaning back in her chair and it cuts to Roddy walking into the room and we see him upside down on the screen. I also thought Hitchcock did a great job of portraying Roddy's seasickness towards the end of the film. I really enjoy seeing Hitchcock's style developing in his early silent films, that will become so prominent in his later, more famous movies. I also really appreciate Hitch's working in comedic scenes into his serious movies. My favorite humorous scene in this movie is the peashooter scene early in the film.
Without giving too much away, I would have liked to see a more typical Hitchcock ending to this film.
*** (out of 4 stars)
This is a very entertaining comedy. The dialogue is lightning paced and
flows quickly from one character to the next without a break in between.
Cary Grant is excellent in his attempts to keep his ex-wife from re-marrying
and on the staff of the newspaper. Rosalind Russell plays the part of his
ex-wife well, matching his banter in kind. This movie is worthy of all the
praise it gets. One thing I realized while watching this film, a lot of the
classic comedies are founded on good witty dialogue. Unlike most of the
comedies made today which seem to be founded in silly site gags and bathroom
humor. Given a choice, give me the classics any day.
***1/2 (Out of 4)
The Lodger is universally considered the best of Hitchcock's silents. It's a
story that's loosely based on the Jack the Ripper killings in London. In
this movie the serial killer is known as The Avenger and is killing blondes,
which has the fair-haired girls of London worried. During this time a
mysterious man shows up looking for a room to rent from a family. This
lodger has some quirky habits of going out on foggy nights and has them
wondering who exactly this lodger that's living in their house really is.
This movie definitely showcases Hitchcock's early talent for the thriller
genre and he keeps you guessing throughout. I have read that Hitchcock
wanted a different ending, but that it was shot down my the movie
executives. I won't mention the endings to avoid spoiling the movie, but I
would have liked to see it Hitch's way. Unfortunately this was long before
the days of shooting alternate versions, so we just have to imagine how he
would have done it. It's amazing to me to watch Hitchcock's quality movies
from the 1920s-1970s. He truly deserves the title, The Master of Suspense.
He dedicated his life to the art of filmmaking and we get to reap the
*** (Out of 4)
A very enjoyable film starring Bing Crosby as a progressive Irish
priest who comes to St. Dominick's, a church that is struggling.
he's not very welcome by most, including old Father Fitzgibbon...but with
his charm and the song in his heart, he manages to slowly grow on the
as he finds subtle ways to solve everyone's problems. This is a
movie without being over-sappy.
*** (Out of 4)
Experience Thanksgiving with four different families (Jewish, Vietnamese,
Hispanic, African American) in a Los Angeles neighborhood. It has a lot of
the typical holiday family issues and few not so typical. I think
it's showing that even though the cultures are very different, the way
people react to the holidays is pretty universal. It has a nice blend of
humor mixed with the stress of holiday and makes for enjoyable feast. As a
side note, it has a reference to my alma mater, UCSB...which, to set the
record straight, does not have a business school.
*** (out of 4)
The Coen's brought us a fine addition to the gangster genre. Though it's not
100% your prototypical gangster movie, it's a fine fit with the Coen
brothers' touch added. The movie had a nice look and feel to it and I really
enjoyed watching the characters interact. In particular, I thought Gabriel
Byrne's performance was outstanding. His style gave the film a bit of a
noir-ish touch. If you're a fan of the genre or the Coen brothers, I think
you'll enjoy Miller's Crossing.
***1/2 (Out of 4)
With remakes, there's always going to be a comparison to the original. I
think I would have liked this movie a little more if I had not already seen
Tarkovsky's 1972 original. The first question with remakes I suppose should
be why? I can see the reason for this film being to bring a really good
sci-fi story to the younger generation that probably won't be seeing the
165min Russian original. I heard some comments that this movie was too slow
or too boring. Well, in that case, I'm sure they wouldn't have had the
patience for the original. I've also heard some sci-fi fans who really
appreciate Soderbergh's version...in those cases, I'd consider the idea of
doing the remake a success. I'm sure some of them would definitely
appreciate the original, but I'm sure a certain percentage wouldn't be
willing to sit through the same slow-paced story when the running time is
nearly twice as long in the original. Soderbergh did a fine job with this
movie and did fairly well at capturing the feeling of the original in a
quicker time. If that was his vision, then I think he succeeded. He didn't
really add anything new to this story. This movies is pretty much an exact,
but compacted, copy of the original Tarkovsky film. The actors were
adequate, but I didn't get the emotion, albeit subtle, that I got from the
Russian original. I personally feel the gratuitous shots of Clooney's butt
were unnecessary. In my opinion, Clooney's lead character may have been
better with a lesser known actor. He plays the role fairly well and it's one
of his more subtle performances to date, but you can't help but see certain
Clooneyisms come out from time to time, especially when he gets upset.
Though I feel Soderbergh did well to cast lesser knowns in the supporting
roles. All in all, it's a decent remake bringing a solid sci-fi story to
modern day fans of the genre, but I'd recommend the original to those who
can make it through the epic length Russian version of this story.
**1/2 (Out of 4)
I'd guess that most won't have the patience for Tarkovsky's epic length
Russian Sci-fi film. Besides being 165 minutes long, it's VERY slow paced. I
admit that early into this I wasn't sure I'd make it through and 10 years
ago I'm sure I wouldn't have. But if you have the patience for such a film,
you will be rewarded with a solid sci-fi film. It's main theme has been seen
in later films, but I'd venture to say none have covered it better. I
haven't seen Soderbergh's 2002 remake yet, so the comparison will have to
wait. I'm sure the 99 minute run time will appeal to the more modern
audience, but I'm sure it won't have the same feeling. The length and slow
pace of this earlier film was deliberate and I don't think that feeling
could be duplicated in a shorter movie.
*** (Out of 4)
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