Reviews

18 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
The Revolutionary (1995 Video)
4/10
Cheesy, cheesy, cheesy!
13 January 2007
This was undoubtedly the cheesiest movie of the life of Christ I have ever seen. Even Jeffrey Hunter's I was A Teenage Jesus; aka King of kings was better. I caught the tail end of this monstrosity while channel surfing. The budget must have been $10,000; the acting, except for Steel, was non-existent, and the screenplay could have been better written by a sixth-grader. I saw an interview with Steel, Paul Crouch and the director and his wife, who wrote the screenplay talking about the authentic beards, as if this was the major task to overcome in making this lousy movie. But what really bothered me the most were the Scriptures that were not included in the screenplay that would have made the movie better, and given it more clarity.
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4/10
Remember...no reason for this lousy plot.
3 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Remember, remember the fifth of November and no reason for this lousy plot..

I'll say one thing for this turkey...it made me want to read the graphic novel to find out what really transpired. When driving on a wet road you look out for pot holes. With this movie you can't avoid the plot holes.

I assume that if one accepts the movie's ending of the ending of the right-wing Christian dictatorship (what a crock that is...the last and only one was in Byzantium six centuries ago, and the thought of a "Christian dictatorship coming to England, much less than to the United States, is silly)that those left on the ground, removing their masks (I guess to start picking the new anti-totalitarian atheist government)would somehow escape the anarchy that would ensue, assuming that the falling of Parliament would have a different effect from the toppling of the Twin Towers. What would happen would be the military stepping in to restore "order." I mean these people aren't going to go into lines to form a new government ("All you people who want to be the new High Chancellor please line up here.") Even The Shadow had people who helped him catch the bad guy.

Our masked boy speaks in soft, sibilant tones to all he meets, and then dispatches them to the Hereafter bloodily, as with the the TV guy, or by lethal injection. And, while wanting to put the government out of our misery, doesn't mind some collateral damage along the way.

The USA, is portrayed as a leper colony (why?) and later we see video of civil war in the Heartland. So why did the British need a Baptist dictator? The scene is one not at all removed from England today, people watching the telly, having drinks together..we even see families glued to their TV sets, and one scene that looks like a retirement home..but do these people give an indication of dissatisfaction with their lives? The movie doesn't indicate this. No, V is on his own here and can only resort to a string of assassinations and two glorious bombings. We never are taken into Parliament to see if that body is still deliberating; and if it was closed down by the dictator, why bomb it, other than the Guy Fawkes thing?

It is obvious reading the comments from people who have read the novel that this movie and the book are not, to use a phrase...on the same page. It would not be beyond the realm of reason to have the masked populace show up and lynch V so they could go about their one passion, it seems, of watching dartboard contests in Huddersfield, and come and go as they please as long as they don't wander out after dark without their IDs.
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Mayday (2005 TV Movie)
4/10
Hurry up and end this, we're running out of time!
3 October 2005
This is a film that has the mark of an effort which runs as if it is a mini-series but suddenly realizes that, "Hey, our two-hour allotment is almost up, better end this thing quick." The first half of the film runs well, and engrosses the viewer, but there are too many threads left dangling and not enough time to tie them up neatly. What happens to the insurance people who want the plane to crash so that they can wiggle out of liability? What happens on Wake Island? Will the report go in about the errant missile? And wasn't the missile still intact when it hit the plane? How will they explain that? Too many holes and a movie that needed to run three hours at the least.
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2/10
More Liberal Kirtsch
2 September 2005
I hate movies that shove their "point of view" in your face without any subtlety at all. This offering is blatantly in this category. This piece of agitprop is so thinly disguised as a love story that only the most pseudo of intellectuals could take it seriously. Rachel Weisz, whose performance is outstanding, plays a younger anti-war protester to Ralph Feinnes' British diplomat. She disrupts a speech he is giving in defense of British involvement in Iraq. She is so charming as she interrupts his speech that he knows he must marry her and take her to Africa. The film unfolds backwards from her death. The focus of her march to death revolves around the evil pharmaceutical conglomerates who are pushing lethal drugs on hapless Africans. The drug companies have no choice but to put out a contract on her. As Justin sifts through the clues, he comes to the conclusion that he must carry on and finish her work. The film is visually stunning, but the constant moralizing detracts from this. A religious film, uttering the unbearably didactic nonsense that these two characters engage in would be rounded on quickly and firmly. There is no anti-American stone left that is not picked up by Director Meirelles and hurled into the ether. In one of the film's more unintentionally funny moments, Weisz demands to know why Britain thwarted the peaceful progress of the U.N. in Iraq. Feinnes should have come back with: How many UN resolutions did Saddam ignore? How about 47. And to hold up the UN as a bastion of reason and competence is ridiculous. The UN will not confront African dictators like Robert Mugabe who will steal and let die their own people. Feinnes has no comeback to any of Weisz's verbal harangues, making one wonder what his qualifications for his job really were. He later opines that big pharmaceuticals are the real "axis of evil." Au Contraire! The plot holes are numerous: Why doesn't Weisz send her incriminating evidence to The New York Times, CBS, CNN, who will jump on any anti-Bush wagon they can get on? While the film focuses on evil drug companies testing for TB and AIDS in countries with large portions of populations infected with these diseases,the truth is something else. Large progressive organizations have argued just the opposite, that large drug companies have not been testing drugs in these countries. Two years ago The Guardian published reports protesting the unfair treatment of African test subjects who are forced to wait until a drug is approved by their government before they continue taking it. The Guardian also complained that many of these people received a placebo instead of the trial drug after non-human tests showed the drug to be effective. So which is it? Are the drug companies evil for giving Third World patients developmental drugs, or for withholding them? Also offensive is the snide, but undeveloped theme that the problems in Africa are the US's fault, and give African dictatorships like Robert Mugabe a free ride. The slaughter of thousands of innocent Rwandans was not the fault of the US; relief workers extorting sex from children as young as four wasn't the fault of the US; Mugabe's blocking of aid and stealing from his people was not the fault of the US. See Hotel Rwanda for a more accurate picture of what happened and leave this turkey alone.
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Bataan (1943)
7/10
Good Postwar film
30 July 2005
This film is good for getting a picture of the feelings and actions taken in WWII. "Dirty Japs" was not a far-off-the-mark remark to make seeing what they did in Nanking, China, and to American POWs towards the end of the war with Japan. The new Benjamin Bratt film will delve into that and it will be interesting to see if "PC" shows its ugly head. Not to worry with this gritty action film with Robert Taylor, Loyd Nolan, and other tough second leads who made these movies so entertaining. Thomas Mitchell is a hopeless miscast as a Marine corporal. When the film was shot, TM was in his early fifties, and carrying around the remains of too many fine dining habits, but his performance was good nonetheless. Film is good as is without John Wayne.
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6/10
What was missing here? Oh, yeah, the reason for the Crusades.
16 May 2005
It is clear from this film that Ridley Scott has little use for, or understanding of, Christianity. This is why he populates his crusaders with agnosticism, at best, and outright atheism at worst. You can view this film a hundred times and never come away with a compelling reason for why men in Europe would risk their lives to go on a dangerous mission to free Christianity's most sacred sites from the infidel Saracen. The real-life Balian was a very devoutly religious man, unlike the confused former blacksmith we see in the film. The real Balian went to a town on the day of the Feast of Peter and Paul, to awake the archbishop to have a discussion about the lives of the two saints.

Raynald De Chatillon was indeed a very bad man, who was the pretext for Saladin's assault on Jerusalem, but Saladin was planning to divest the city anyway, and slaughter the entire populace,btw.. Being a very devout Muslim, he could not continue to allow Christian infidels to hold the city. Balian delivered the city to him because he had few men-at-arms to defend the city. Saladin did not allow the populace to just leave, but did allow them to redeem themselves. Balian defended the city, not for the sake of the people living in Jerusalem, but because of the presence of the holy sites sacred to Christians. The most sacred site in Jerusalem was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the place where Christ was crucified (viz. The Passion of the Christ). Saladin was not an honorable man, as the film depicts. He had defeated the Crusader army and then had the captured knights brought to him to be beheaded in front of him. He had the right under Koranic Law, to make the church on Golgotha a mosque. He did not do so, but did drive out the religious orders of the other churches in Jerusalem. He allowed a small coterie of priests to continue their duties at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. When he entered the city he enslaved most of the inhabitants who could not buy their freedom. Balian would also have known where the CHS was located and would not have had to ask. The reason for the crusades in the first place was because the Muslims, who controlled Jerusalem a century before, restricted access to the city and Bethlehem by Christian pilgrims. Most people are also unaware that during this period, the Muslims went on their own "crusades" attacking Christian churches and congregations throughout their territories in the middle east. The Crusades were a greatly belated attempt to protect Christians in the Levant and elsewhere in the region. Over 1300 Christian churches were destroyed thusly. Some things never change, it seems. Technically this was a superb film. It could have been a great film, if Ridley Scott hadn't put a modern spin to the real reason for the Crusades.
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10/10
The Gripping of My Passion
5 March 2004
Three things stand out in this movie for me. First, it was a masterpiece of "Biblical Proportions." I had heard others' experiences when they watched the movie. But three things piqued my fancy: Christ and his mother laughing over a table he had built; Malchus kneeling in total shock after his ear had been put back on by Christ [and then a one-second shot of him as the procession neared Golgatha, looking forlorn]; and the look Peter and Jesus shared as Peter denied Him for the third time. Christ and Mary...did Jesus laugh and joke with his family? Undoubtedly, yes. I was glad this scene was inserted as it showed His humanity and compassion. Malchus...what a vision this actor left us, as he knelt in shock over what Jesus had just done and felt his ear back on his head and the pain gone. It was all so real! And the scene, oh so brief, of him later ... the look of sorrow on his face said it all. What magnificent screenwriting and camera-work! And for me personally, the look of horror that overcame Peter as he saw his Lord, beaten and bleeding, look at him. Yes, I knew that look from personal experience. How many times have I denied Him, just as Peter did, through a word, or deed that I regretted...and stamped me as his enemy? That is the point in the movie that I "lost it." For the first time.
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10/10
Delightful Little Sleeper
8 September 2002
As I understand it, this film came out in May as a low-budget film, and then took off when the public had a chance to see it. I saw it on September 8 and had to go out of town to see it. The film would have been worth a trip to Mariposa! This is an absolutely sparkling gem of a movie! The dialog keeps you laughing constantly and you don't worry about bothering anyone else in the theatre because they are all laughing too. You fall in love with Toula's family and Toula herself as the movie progresses and you see the wonderful, whacky family attempting to welcome the non-Greek Miller into the family. The hilarious attempts by the fiance to pronounce Greek phrases his prospective brother-in-law, Angelo, gives him will have you on the floor. The scenes of interaction when the two families meet for the first time add to the growing charm of this little film, and I hope to see it garner some Oscars when the academy meets next.
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A Real Grabber!
16 March 2002
For X-File fans, watching their favorite show do a slow roll-over before sinking into the waves, this is a great replacement. The show has it all: intelligent script, great actors, outstanding plots. And you can then watch The Agency, another great show, after it. Watch one episode and you're hooked for life! You arrange your schedule so that Thursday nights are free from 9-11 PM so that you can just watch and enjoy one of the really great TV series of the last 20 years.
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A Timeless Classic
10 February 2002
Do I think this is the greatest movie ever made? No, but it is in the top five. The first half of the film is one of the most gripping of all time, but thereafter it drags on interminably. Had interest such as the first half been kept up for the second half, then I would say this is the greatest film ever made. Fleming never loses sight of the book. Mitchell's book is not a happy one, for the South or for the main characters. Ashley Wilkes may be a brave soldier, but he is a weak vacillating man, never able to completely break away from Scarlett; Rhett Butler, never able to win Scarlett's love until it is too late for both of them, becomes a fleshy topor in the end. Much like the South under Reconstruction as the Cavaliers give way to the carpetbaggers. Only after Melanie dies does Scarlett realize, as she sees Ashley for real, that she is free to love Rhett; as the South realizes it must adjust to a new paradigm. One of the most gripping scenes in all filmdom opens the door for the complete degradation of the south and its aristocratic cavaliers: The scene in the Atlanta rail yards with the hundreds of wounded and dying men set against the tattered Confederate battle standard..what a scene! Despite the dragging part of Confederate post partum agonies, this is a film that one can see over and over again, especially the war scenes and the destruction of the only true aristocratic civilization this country has ever known. I have always wondered just what Margaret Mitchell thought of all this up to the time she stepped in front of the automobile that took her life. A suicide? we'll never know. So we are left with the book and the magnum opus of this film which will never see a sequel that will do the original even close to justice.
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8/10
The Best of the Lot
8 February 2002
Technically, the Cameron film is better, but that is the only area that Night to Remember loses out to James Cameron. There is just as much time spent on the collision and sinking in NTR, and we see many of the stories of what went on in 1912 recreated here, even to the steward who drinks himself into a state of anti-freeze so that the 29-degree water doesn't affect him. We see the acts of bravery from the first-class passengers, that we don't see in Cameron's over-blown epic. And, this movie can be shown in elementary and Jr. high classrooms without having the silly, sappy sex and improbable romance. The film is further enhanced by having First Officer Lightholler [played by Kenneth Moore] as technical advisor [he was alive when the film was made]. When I want to see a film about the Titanic disaster I will watch this one or the Webb/Stanwyck film.
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8/10
Courage and Honor
8 February 2002
I first saw this movie when it came out and it has remained my favorite cavalry movie of all time. Yes, even more than the great ones John Ford produced, but not by much. In this story a detachment of cavalry is called upon to defend the plains and west from the Indians who have taken advantage of the Civil War to wreak havoc among the settlers, trappers, and gold seekers. This unit, however, has former prisoners from the CSA, who have been remanded from prison to serve in the west with the Yankee cavalry. If one knows anything about prison conditions in the north or south during the war, it is not difficult to see why many southern prisoners opted for service against the Indians. During World War II, the Germans got many Europeans and Russian prisoners to fight for them as the alternative in prison camps was tantamount to death. This story centers around a fort commanded by Jeff Chandler character, who tricks an Indian chief, killing, I believe his son or brother. The enraged chief attacks the fort with overwhelming force and only when Jeff Chandler goes out of the fort to trade his life for those left in the fort, does the attack stop with his sacrificial death. After a relief column arrives at the fort, do the survivors learn that the war is over and the south has lost. An interesting bit of history and true. Unfortunately there was another aspect to the Indian wars on the plains that has received short shrift, and that is the service rendered by the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry regiments: the Buffalo soldiers; the all-black army units who served faithfully and with honor for over twenty years, trying to subdue a people who wanted to live free for the benefit of a government that treated these soldiers as second class citizens. To my memory, only two films have been made about these Buffalo soldiers, and both 30 years apart. Yes, Two Flags West ably covers the part that southern prisoners played in the settling of the west, but it has taken too long to tell the story of the black soldiers who, often facing discrimination within the army itself, and trouble from white settlers, still carried out their duty. I hope that this fine film, Two Flags West, will come out in VHS soon.
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Pearl Harbor (2001)
Bora, Bora, Boringggggggggg
2 June 2001
This film deals with the sudden Japanese attack on a triangular love affair that wasted the first hour of film. After seeing the people watching the planes come in to Pearl, Cuba Gooding doing an excellent Dorie Miller, the Oklahoma slowly going bottom up and taking many brave sailors with her, and the bomb landing in the main stack of the Arizona, there's not much left of this yawner to contemplate. If you want to watch an exciting and historically accurate film about the attack on Pearl Harbor, then see Tora, Tora, Tora which has enough action in it that the attack sequences lasted almost as long as the actual attack did, December 7, 1941. The love interest is maudlin, and shallow and unnecessary. It took up absolutely too much of the film, but was simplistic enough to appeal to the mindless bubble-gum crowd (as their reviews so overtly suggest). It is too bad that the people who put this turkey together don't have the talent to do a film that goes over the heads of the 16-17 age group to adults. But then, maybe not enough adults go to the movies to make cerebral films profitable.
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7/10
Fine Bio, but.....
1 May 2001
This is a fine biopic of a worthy and honorable opponent serving a despicable cause. Unfortunately, there is not enough North Africa Campaign in the film to satisfy a war film buff. When I first saw it in the theater, it did whet my appetite to learn more about this horrendous and costly war. I have been interested in it since. The acting is first-rate, and, unlike Enemy at the Gate, the British and American accents don't detract from the film, the British accents at any rate. As others have noted in their reviews of this film, Rommel probably wasn't anti-semitic. He deliberately ignored Hitler's orders to round up Jews during the invasion of France. He also never forgave Hitler for abandoning the Afrika Korps to their fate in 1942, not to Hitler's less than energetic attempts to keep the DAK supplied.
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7/10
Brutality of War
19 March 2001
This film never stops to let one catch his breath! Except for the unnecessary love interest. The scenery, the multitude of actors, the combat are all magnificent. For those who are buffs of WW2, they will not be put off by the fact that the real Vassily Zaitsev looked more like Bob Hoskins than Jude Law, or the real killing of Major Koenig was done because Zaitsev was more clever in hunting down Koenig than Koenig was hunting down Zaitsev [Zaitsev's fatal shot was into a darkened area of a building that he correctly surmised was where Koenig had to be.] That notwithstanding, the film was a gripping account of a handful of people caught up in what was probably the most horrific battle in recorded history. Ed Harris was fantastic in his understated role as the war-weary Major Koenig, made more stark by his pulling down the train window shades on the trainload of shattered German soldiers across from him, and the irony that these battered men were the real lucky ones: they were leaving the hell-hole of Stalingrad. Bob Hoskins was brilliant as Nikita Kruschev and his energy carried the political suasion; the men who sent young men out into battle with the admonition that when the man in front of them was killed they were to pick up his rifle and carry on. I do not think that in this stage of the war, the Russians were quite as willing to send out cannon fodder (ten Russians for each German)as they were at the outset of Barbarossa in June of 1941. But the battle scenes and the Russians shooting their own retreating soldiers, brought back for me the state of affairs that faced the Russians in June 1941, and the rude welcome surviving POWS got when they returned to Mother Russia after the war. The scenes in Stalingrad were as real as it got 59 years ago. A fine film, despite a few problems. It affected my wife, who found it hard to sleep that night with the thought of the slaughter in a war that could have easily been prevented.
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1/10
Last Flim/Flam from Scorsese
10 February 2001
Christianity has spread from its humble origins in Palestine to become one of the world's great religions; spanning the globe and found everywhere, even in places like Saudi Arabia. But looking at the lousy dialogue of this film, and the pallid Christ that Willem DaFoe presents, it becomes evident that this "tempted" Christ could never be the foundation of Jerusalem Welcome Wagon, much less a religion that numbers over a hundred million adherents. No, this sorry film was merely Martin Scorsese getting even for imagined slights

inflicted on him by the church. He is better doing films like "Goodfellas" rather than religious films. The serious moviegoer is better served by such offerings as "The Gospel According to Matthew" and Zeffarelli's "Jesus of Nazareth" than this comic opera. Making good films about a religion or religious figure is hard enough, but this film, with its dreadful cast and woeful dialogue does not even come close to the pathetic "King of Kings". And the figure who is portrayed in religious films must convey the gravitas of a figure like Christ, and not the vacillating, uncertain and pathetic figure we see in this celluloid travesty.
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One of the All-Time Great Directors
10 February 2001
What would Eisenstein do today! His films still pack tremendous wallop even 65 years later. Yes, the baby carriage falling down the steps and the bullet in the eye still impact today, but the most telling image is the lock-step soldiers with rifles and bayonets at the ready, treading forcefully down the steps is an even greater image! Eisenstein's films are masterworks of double entendre for just as he silently condemns the czarist authorities, the irony that he portrays is that the communists are just as guilty. I believe that his films deliberately show this irony as his way of damning all authoritarian/totalitarian regimes, and he got away with this in the USSR by doing precisely this. The characters in his films are not first-rate actors, but the images and faces of these characters are startling in their realism. Watch the monk playing the organ in "Alexander Nevsky" and you'll see what I mean. What a face! And Eisenstein...what an artist of the first rank!
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Casablanca (1942)
10/10
Simplicity and Characterization
25 November 2000
This great film is a stunning example of what one can do with a simple story, atmosphere, and characters! Where are all these great character actors of the 30s and 40s when we need them. Why does it seem that only the British and Russians can use great characters that seem so real? Will there ever be another Dooley Wilson, or Claude Raines? And that jackal of all jackals Peter Lorre and Conrad Veidt? A tale told simply and with great performances by great and small is the one that will stand the test of time. And this film certainly does that!
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