Reviews written by registered user
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39 reviews in total 
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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Very satisfying, 20 May 2005
10/10

First off, let me say that I would not take my ten year old nephew to this film, which is disturbing both visually and emotionally in places. I would say 12 or 13 would likely be fine, but the PG (parental guidance) part of PG-13 should be taken under advisement. The up-side of the disturbing images is that Lucas has finally shown a more realistic view of the consequences of war and violence, a complaint I've had with the cartoonish violence shown in the other films.

I was 13 in 1977 and read the novelisation of Star Wars before I got a chance to see the movie (it didn't come to the small town I lived in for a long time). When I finally saw the movie, I was somewhat disappointed that it didn't have the story detail that the book did. Yes, that early book referred to Palpatine and more. But the movie seemed too watered down, although I liked the realistic, lived-in look and the fun feel of the story. And what young teenager wouldn't want to identify with the nobody kid Luke Skywalker who goes on to do great things? Yet it WAS a bit simplistic and disappointing. "Sith" has a much more interesting, meatier plot.

"Sith" is the best of the six, in my opinion. It has the darkness of "Empire", x10, without the deficiencies such as that giant space slug, for example. I have to laugh whenever I hear "classic trilogy", particularly by young people not around for their initial release, in reference to episodes IV,V, and VI, as they weren't considered all that wonderful in their time. The original Star Wars was the butt of countless jokes (eg. on Cheers Sam and his vacuous date go to see Star Wars again, an indication of what lightweights they were intellectually), the second had a cheesy, awkward "romance" between the supposedly adult Han Solo and Princess Leia, plus the space slug, and the third had many problems (Jabba's Band? Ewoks? *Another* Death Star, Mr. Lucas?). But, you know, we still had fun at these movies because we overlooked their deficiencies. I think that people are forgetting that and judging the new series by some other standard. Come on people, just have fun! It's not literature.

Lucas has redrawn the character of Vader, in my eyes, from being a simplistic icon of evil to being a deeply tragic figure. The final minutes of the film reinforce that loss. It's a meaningful story.

I saw the film a second time and felt that it was virtually flawless, unlike my first viewing. I initially thought that the scene with Anakin being dubbed Darth Vader was weak, in terms of motivation for Anakin's switch to the dark side, but you have to think a bit about how the Emperor is manipulating him and cutting off his options for remaining loyal to the Jedi. It worked for me the second time. I thought Christiansen did come off well as a young man who was terrified of losing his wife, so he did his end of the job well. It was a difficult part handled very well.

I heard one young (7-ish) fellow behind me ask "where's Jar Jar?" part way through it, showing that the character did have some appeal, just not to teenagers. Jar Jar could have had a larger role, playing a more mature version of himself, but I doubt teenagers would have accepted it.

Oh, and I loved the "If you're not with me, you're my enemy" line, and Obi Wans's pithy response. Hmm, where have we heard that way of thinking before? Great job, Mr. Lucas, and thank you to all cast members for believable performances. The actors obviously dug deep for this one.

Dogma (1999)
9 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
disappointing effort, 1 May 2003
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*** SPOILER AHEAD ***

I'm not a religious person - an atheist, really - but I didn't think this movie had much merit. I kept waiting for some intelligent dialogue or a good story development, but it never happened.

Affleck and Damon did well with their bad boy personas in "Good Will Hunting", but they use it as a crutch here. But it's hard to be "street" when you've gone hollywood. I get the feeling this was pitched as a religious movie pitched as having a "street" angle. Sorry, guys, a layer of excremental language doesn't mean a good movie will sprout from the mess you've created. Being obnoxious has its context, but don't be boring at the same time or I'll really hate you for it, which I did by the end of this movie.

There's lots of interesting directions this movie could have explored in the character of the protagonist, being a descendant of Christ, but they never materialized. It was probably more marketable for it, particularly with the addition of the Jay and Silent Bob, but it was not very funny nor was it interesting.

Dogma (1999)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
disappointing effort, 1 May 2003
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*** SPOILER AHEAD ***

I'm not a religious person - an atheist, really - but I didn't think this movie had much merit. I kept waiting for some intelligent dialogue or a good story development, but it never happened.

Affleck and Damon did well with their bad boy personas in "Good Will Hunting", but they use it as a crutch here. But it's hard to be "street" when you've gone hollywood. I get the feeling this was pitched as a religious movie with a "street" angle. Sorry, guys, a layer of excremental language doesn't mean a good movie will sprout from the mess you've created. Being obnoxious has its context, but don't be boring at the same time or I'll really hate you for it, which I did by the end of this movie.

There's lots of interesting directions this movie could have explored in the character of the protagonist, being a descendant of Christ, but they never materialized. It was probably more marketable for it, particularly with the addition of the Jay and Silent Bob, but it was not very funny nor was it interesting.

7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Decent depiction of a real figure struggling with being a hero, 29 March 2003
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** This is a solid study of a historical figure (one of the GIs who raised the flag on Iwo Jima) and how he struggled to deal with the title of "hero" after the photo of the flag raising became a patriotic icon.

Curtis, as always, is superb. He was significantly older than Ira when he made the movie (the character of Ira was supposed to be a teenager, yet Curtis was 35), but Curtis is surprisingly youthful looking. Part of that is due to his ability to project youth through his acting, I think.

Notice the theme music: sure enough, it's by the same composer of the theme music for the TV show "Combat!", which debuted a year after this movie. The movie uses the same ascending five note refrain.

**** Spoiler ahead: ****

My disappointment is the ending, which misrepresents the reason that Ira died: he did not die after being disapointed after a tribal election. He died of exposure after a card game ... but that would have spoiled the otherwise Hollywood story, I suppose (at least, that was obviously the decision).

14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Gripping, moving, unusual, and haunting, 11 December 2002
10/10

A walking tour of WWI graveyards sounds like it might make for tedious TV, but not in the hands of Norm Christie. Christie is an historian and has a deep appreciation for these gravesites, and what happened to the soldiers that lie within them. He's created a series that brings the stories of the Canadian soldiers alive in an extremely personal way. The series combines archive footage, narration, actor's voices, still images, soldiers letters and Christie's on-camera descriptions of the battles and soldiers lives. He makes us understand the significance of the events that the soldiers found themselves in. This is an important historical record for all Canadians, and we owe a great debt to Christie for waking us up to the accomplishments and determination of our soldiers.

The tense background music strikes me as unique and haunting, and creates an air of suspense as Christie relates the stories in chronological order.

My great-great uncle, who died in the assault on Vimy Ridge, and great uncle, who survived Vimy but died at Ypres, are well-served by Christie's important effort. I intend to find their graves in France now that I've seen this series and read Christie's books (which match the episodes). You'll never look at a war memorial in the same way again after seeing this series.

5 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
I wound up rooting for the "other side", 13 July 2002
3/10

I don't think this movie had the effect on me that was intended: seeing American soldiers shooting wounded soldiers from the other side, and punching wounded prisoners in their wounds to torture them into making them talk made me root for the other side. It certainly made the US forces look anything like "the good guys". Was this supposed to be acceptable?

8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
worthwhile kid's-eye view of Beethoven, 23 June 2002
7/10

This movie was told from the point of view of a child, as the title implies, and I believe it largely succeeds for that audience. It's easy to see how a child would find this imposing man frightening - he bosses people around and gets away with it, he's loud, he's peculiar, and he's very angry. The journey for the boy is from fear to awe, and seeing that the Beethoven's pain and struggle had a purpose: it was not madness at all.

This is not a comprehensive portrayal of Beethoven, but shows younger viewers that people are not always what they appear, and are worth understanding. It also shows that great accomplishments sometimes have a high price associated with them.

I found this movie while channel surfing, and it held my attention partially because it made frequent use of Beethoven's wonderful music.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Pure silly fun, 16 June 2002
8/10

This is pure silliness at its best. If you plan to watch, bring your sense of silly. A native dance turns into a nightclub act; Lou the bus driver gets confused by the instructions "go ahead and back up"; and many other classic bits.

Bud and Lou obviously had a great time making this movie (Lou is hysterically funny). A smile never left my face during the last half of it, even though this a 60+ year old movie now. I'm sure it was popular escapist fun for Allied troops during WWII.

U-571 (2000)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Good performances, but the revisionism stinks, 9 June 2002
5/10

First off, let me say I thought the performances were good. I also liked all the darkly lit scenes, as I had a migraine while I watched this.

But while I do accept this somewhat as "fantasy", and acknowledge that they put a dedication at the end (after the Brits protested) that it was the British who captured the Enigma from a sub first, the revisionism that comes from Hollywood insults our intelligence. Ok, so the biggest movie market is the US, but I think this kind of revisionism is just money-grubbing, in my opinion.

Why am I so annoyed? I recall a recent comment from an American criticizing Canadian forces recently saying that "you've never entered a war without the US entering first". What?! (How about the first few years of WWI and the first couple of years of WWII?). It's because of that amazing level of ignorance that seems to keep rearing its head in the US that films like this bug the rest of the non-American world (as much as we love and support our American Allies in the current crisis).

great plot, extremely enjoyable and absorbing, 18 May 2002
10/10

Without revealing anything, I'd like to say that as a history buff who has read widely about the rise of Nazism (eg. "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" by Shirer, "The Gathering Storm" by Churchill) that I saw many parallels between the subterfuge that takes place by the Sith in this movie and the rise of Nazism (re. the acquisition of emergency powers). Clearly, some though went into the plot in this one, and I was extremely impressed at that depth of recognition about just how surprisingly dirty evil people can get. Good isn't necessarily smarter than evil.

I enjoyed everything about this movie. I think some of the critics are being far too hard on this movie, and look upon the original trilogy somewhat romantically. I well-remember seeing A New Hope back in 1977, and it didn't impress me as much as I had hoped (though I read Lucas' novelization first, and enjoyed that). The Empire Strikes Back was a fantastic movie, though I hated the scene with the space slug, and how they could walk around outside the ship unproducted - major gaffes in an otherwise good movie. Return of the Jedi was quite uneven - has everyone forgotten the Ewoks?

What everyone DID love unabashedly about the original trilogy at the time was the wonderful detail, and I had a friend who essentially became an artist because of it. Lucas put an effort into building a world. I think he knows that was one of its strengths, and the latest movie has an unbelievable amount of texture and detail that demands repeat viewings. Yes, the battles were frenetic and overwhelming in action, but shouldn't they be between Jedi and mechanicals?

Christensen was a big strength of this movie, and in fact he reminds me very much of a teenage relative in terms of his angst. It was a spot-on portrayal, as far as I was concerned. Yes, the love scenes were awkward and the dialogue was a bit formal and awkward ... but Lucas IS trying to portray a romance between (essentially) a teenage knight and a queen, and this IS Anakins first love, and he IS a disturbed character. It Anakin had lines that were completely polished I would have found it too unbelievable. Were we any smoother as teenagers in our first love?

Thanks, George, I can't wait until the next one.


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