Reviews written by registered user
|26 reviews in total|
This is a nicely done action suspense film that depicts a CIA scenario involving hypothetical events in North Korea. Having read prior reviews and seeing an overall rating of 8.2 on this site before I viewed it, though, I was somewhat disappointed. There is some cool gadgetry and many good suspenseful scenes and it's certainly watchable and entertaining, and it does give some appreciation for what is at stake and the personal risks taken on by operatives. However, many of the bad guy characters and non-CIA government officials come off as self-mocking cardboard cutouts, and several of the scenes just don't hold up. Nice performances by Tom Berenger and Ron Silver and good location work. Overall, worth seeing but has some flaws.
This is not a great film or even a good film, you won't get that here. However, it's definitely worth a look on a slow night if better options aren't available. It's a standard "guy with a troubled past tries to make good and outwit the bad guys so he can build a life with his beautiful ex" B movie plot. There's a gratuitous sex scene thrown in with Tracy Tweed, though I personally was far more taken with Daphne Ashbrook. It's fun to see Adam Ant play the role of a hood who's not very bright. Dennis Hopper was okay as usual, though his role as "generic rich menacing criminal" didn't give him much to work with. Michael Pare contributes his customary second-tier action star charm.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I taped this off one of the cable channels (listed as "Beyond Redemption") during the wee hours and finally watched it about a week later. Thus, I did not have the ending ruined by the tape box, though it mattered little as the plot points were heavily telegraphed and it didn't take much effort to guess the likely outcome. I found aspects of it interesting, such as the detective's relationship with his troubled brother, his coping with his daughter's illness, and particularly his uncertainty regarding whether he could muster any faith in life. However, I didn't find the major red herring convincing, and the minor red herrings were too implausible to divert, so I was left mainly reflecting on the motivations of the main character which was a rather deadpan character. Overall, I give it a 5 out of 10, and would only recommend it to those who catch it on a slow night or those who are die hard fans of Andrew McCarthy or "detective chasing serial killer" flicks. Having a church as one of the crime scenes (quite early in the film, this is not a spoiler) may also be seen by some as disturing or inappropriate.
Watching this made me feel like I was a twelve year old who had fallen asleep after a lazy afternoon of reading comic books and had a really cool dream about a gorgeous swashbuckling heroine. The atmospheric photography and transitions and Yancy Butler's eyes slowly became intoxicating. The plot won't hold up to scrutiny and this obviously isn't Academy Award material, but I didn't mind. I wasn't expecting Shakespeare and this was a fun way to spend 90 minutes.
This isn't your standard spy film with lots of gunplay, outrageous villains, and explosions. It's a more realistic or credible portrayal of how a single character copes with trying to get information in a dangerous environment. The characters and dialog are well-written and most roles are nicely acted. I found it an interesting and pleasant change of pace from the usual spy film, sort of in the realm of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (but not quite as good).
I found this film very compelling and interesting. It draws the viewer in with its ambience, music, and stunning black and white photography. The plot machinations are secondary and less interesting I think. The film is also loaded with great performances, including an interesting part for Tom Waits. Well worth checking out.
I had no idea what I was in for when a couple of friends showed up with a tape of this about ten years ago. Within five to ten minutes we were all glued to the screen with fascination and awe. The editing, photography, and use of a terrific score are all nothing short of brilliant. Having only seen it once all those years ago, I still vividly remember many of the scenes and images. I suppose for some this film will lose its appeal in the light of similar experimental collages in film and even music video. But this one is perfect in my opinion. For some reason, this came up in conversation with one of those friends who brought the tape over, and ever since we've discussed it I can't wait to track it down and see it again. I would love to see this on the big screen.
There are moments of drama and irony in this film, but mostly it's a very well-written and well-acted comedy that is at times hilarious for the ease with which it captures icons and styles from other films while at the same time twisting and mocking them. There is some very cool, matter of fact dialog that brings home the idea of all jobs and actions creating their own reality around them and becoming mundane, no matter how unusual or dangerous the work. While making the viewer laugh, it also brings home the pain and horror the hit men create, especially when they don't behave professionally or fail to follow their own code of distorted ethics.
I found this film very interesting and worthwhile. Rather than the usual black and white good versus evil portrayals of serial killers you usually see, punctuated with red herrings, close calls, and action, this film takes a different approach. It's a leisurely-paced matter of fact presentation of the serial killer's thoughts and actions. It avoids the usual cliches and portrays the killer in a way that is probably more realistic than in other films. Namely, he's a polite, observant sociopath who can read other's motivations very well rather than an obvious lunatic who is frothing at the mouth. The matter of fact presentation makes it all the more involving and worthwhile in my opinion, and Owen Wilson gives a very good performance. Recommended.
Magnolia is a very interesting film laced with great performances. Unfortunately, it is also laced with overly embellished emotional scenes in which the characters directly tell the audience what the point of the scene rather than letting them figure it out on their own. Most scenes go about 2-3 minutes too long, with the final minutes immense overkill. Anderson has some good ideas but apparently he thinks little of the audience's intelligence and feels compelled to hammer every point home. The two infamous controversial scenes are great examples--overkill. We can easily understand the points about synchronicity and unpredictable interconnectedness without them. Though I enjoyed the film and was highly involved and even moved by many scenes, this film would have been much more effective with about 40 minutes edited out in a way that would preserve some subtlety. I felt like the director was standing behind me smacking me with a frying pan every 5 minutes and saying "Do you get it? Huh? Do you get it?" Well, yes, Mr. Anderson I got it a long time ago and don't need you to spoonfeed everything to me, thank you very much! Still well worth watching. I give it a 7 out of 10 overall. Too bad, it could have and should have been a 9.
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