Reviews written by registered user
gonzofilms

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19 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
All people who do bad things will pay in the end., 12 February 2006
8/10

Indeed this well-made film, handcrafted in Mexico, is a wonderfully interwoven tale of acts and consequences. Whether you want to believe in it or not, Alejandro Gonzalez is hell bent to make you see that bad karma is alive and well in society today.

This story, which involves three different stories, are all ingeniously connected with one another. And without giving any spoilers, it is important to know that karma is present in all three tales. If you do something bad in your life, you will pay dearly down the road in one way or another.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and not just because the director and I share the same name, but because it was powerful, colorful, and the acting was superb. Above all that the screenplay was one of the best I've seen in a long while.

If Love is for the Dogs (as the title suggests), then this critics' tail is wagging for more movies like this. Highly recommendable.

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
It just keeps getting better, 12 February 2006
9/10

I must admit that when I realized I had to sit through 3 and 1/2 hours of subtitles, I was a bit taken aback. Nevertheless, the investment was well worth the time. The story, so involving, the characters, so well defined, and the emotions and energy, so refreshing, that the movie flows gracefully. You forget that you are reading subtitles, you forget the the movie is 50 years old. You forget that it is in black and white. Subtly, but assuredly, the viewer has become a villager, nervous and anxious for what comes next.

I don't know if this movie is my 5th favorite of all time (where this movie ranked at the time of my review), however it is extremely powerful, unique, moving and memorable of movies that rarely cross the fine line between excellence, and unbelieavable.

I heartily recommend this movie. Make a lot of popcorn.

Tangiers (1985)
4 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
I'd rather spend two hours in the sewer...., 17 June 2005
1/10

First of all, you never see the city of Tangiers. They used the name as a bait because during its peak, Tangier was mysterious and exotic. There's nothing mysterious and exotic about this movie. The acting is AWFUL. The dialogue is moronic. And all the scenes took place in a two by four. The back of the box claims that the picture shown was live on location in Morocco. Bulls***!!! This picture was closer to Dublin than Tangier. Ronnie Cox looked as if he was wearing a bad rug. And nothing like the tag line on the back of the VHS tape...."Try a drop of blackmail.....Garnish with beautiful women....Sprinkly liberally with murder.....Stir well till all fizzes with excitement...." Apparently, the person who wrote this must have been living off the royalties of this movie, because he was starving! And as for the beautiful women? Phyllis Diller (before makeup) could have run away with 1st prize.

5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Lame Actually, 10 May 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Warning: Reading this contains Spoilers. Watch it, and you will go bad too.

I decided to put this together when I was at my most tired? Why? To further avenge the waste of time I committed by watching this garbage. "Gee, don't be so shy. Tell us what you really think?" Really?

1.This movie was hyped yet it is the most saccharin-laden piece of trash I have ever seen in Romantic film making. I would have gotten more out of a rerun of "Love American Style"

2.The crescendo of the shlocky film score is enough to send a person into diabetic into shock, a comatose person into death.

3. The acting was not very inspirational, but then again the screenplay was written by someone who really knows very little about love.

4. The subplots were atrociously unrealistic. Is this supposed to be a love movie, or a sarcastic view as to what the director thought love was?

5. The English motif just did not cut it.

6. The little boy talking about love, and then escaping the security guards and actually gaining ground between himself and them...Are we supposed to believe this nonsense?

7. Too much music! How insecure was the director to think that the a love scene without music would not hold up? Maybe he knew something that we did not...That the movie smells of rotten garbage and tomatoes.

8. Except for Laura Linney, the actors were all wasted in this Recycled, Robotic, Romantic Revulsion.

9. While watching this movie I did not have bad gas, but I wish I did. It might have taken my mind off of the torture I was sitting through. Hey! Wait a second! Maybe this could be used as a form of corporal punishment. Force to speak up about criminal activities of be forced to watch this movie.

10.I want my money back.

This was by far, the feel bad movie of the year. I've actually gone out of my way to see romance movies, and some of them did not disappoint, but this is not a romance. It isn't even a movie. It is a lame british television commercial in which every character is a caricature and is beyond redemption. As well as the writing is.

Grade: F

25th Hour (2002)
A decent introspective in the life of a man just 'busted'., 9 May 2004

What is up with Edward Norton? Is it he or his agent responsible for picking out interesting movies?

Ed Norton plays the role of an Irish, New York City street raised kid, who made his life a glamorous one through not so glamorous ways. Great life, fabulous loving girlfriend, and extremely popular around his circle of friends, one doesn't know what he does for a living until the government is tipped off about his illegal activities. He now has one day to think about his life, about what went wrong, and how he is going to handle the last 24 hours as a free man. Monty, after all, is going away for seven long years.

While his 24 hours tick off the clock, there are several sides to the story that needed to be told. His friends played by the talented Barry Pepper, and the ever versatile Phillip Seymour Hoffman, speak amongst themselves regarding about the finality of the consequences that have befallen Monty. As they try to grip with the unthinkable issues, we also see Monty himself trying to cope with the failure of his life and the realization that he was too greedy. Most memorable, and by far away the best scene of the entire movie was his soliloquy to a bathroom mirror, for which I call, `F&*$ You' speech in which he blames virtually every sex, race and religion for his misdoings. Of course, and in the end, he comes to the realization that his bad judgement, and not the society which has cast him out, is the cause of his problem. The dialogue for these 5 minutes alone should have gotten this movie considerable mention for a screenplay nomination alone.

Regret.

That's the main sentiment that you get Monty is feeling. And it is done very well done. The movie moves along at a slow pace, but keeps you interested the whole way through. Unfortunately there are times in which Spike Lee, takes us on a dead end, such as Jacob's weakness for a 17 year old student, which is really a plot that goes nowhere and has absolutely no relevance to the story at all.

There are several references and cinematographic shots of the aftermath of Sept. 11. in this film. The movie was filmed shortly after the tragedy, however there is more than just a message of homage here. In the opening scene you see the skyline of New York with two beams of light, most likely to show that America is not beyond being bloodied. A fitting parallel when you consider that Monty all but had assumed a `bullet-proof' lifestyle right up till the moment the DEA agent said how uncomfortable his couch felt….

This movie may not be a great movie, but it is an interesting watch. Spike Lee has not done anything terribly well in awhile, but this movie was enjoyable, and will keep you thinking about it for awhile after it is finished.

Grade: B-

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
The "buzz" is out...This movie is no chop job., 5 May 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE by "Tired-face".

WARNING: Meat SPOILERS (There are movie SPOILERS in this review --- Aren't I just ROTTEN?)

Tonight I decided to watch a movie that I thought no one would dare remake. Regardless of genre, when a movie shines, it is usually a wise decision to never to try and remake it. I watched Tim Burton's remake of Planet of The Apes, and it was horrible compared to the "Get your stinking paws off me'--Heston classic. About the only repeat worse than that was the indigestion I amassed from watching it. I later remembered watching Gus Van Zant's remake of Psycho and thought to myself, why bother doing a shot for shot remake.Again, I was left scratching my head, or picking my brain....but not literally like Ray Liotta did in Cannibal. ... Now I am hearing that Superman is in the stages of being remade. Ugh.

With few exceptions, like with remake of Cape Fear, remake of classics usually fall far short of their expected hype.

About a year ago, and while watching my TV, I stumbled across the trailer for the new `Chainsaw' movie ( "b-r-r-r" "b-r-r-r" - chainsaw sound effect), it made me hope that it was done by the Brits. The thought of the British having "Leather-face" to be played instead by some character named `Sir Loin' thrilled the juvenile side of me to no end. But that is enough of my silliness.

("b-r-r-r" "b-r-r-r")

Anyway, I started hearing people actually talk about the remake of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre..'Incredible', `Better than expected`, and other more juicy and savory remarks that were rather refreshing and surprising were being udder-ed....e-r-r.I mean uttered.

The final vote to swing me into action came from a friend of mine who also thought the movie was pretty well done, and she did see the original too.

So I decided to rent this movie. ("b-r-r-r" "b-r-r-r"). First thing I thought was noticeably good was Sweet Home Alabama by Skynyrd. Funny enough, it would be the last song you would hear. After that the madness began..

And no, it wasn't that I was trying to cook hamburgers while talking on a cell phone that was plugged into a wall this evening. But enough of me already..I am such a `ham'.

I knew I was in for a treat when the camera showed the shocked expressions of the teens that picked up a hitchhiker.. through the back of the gaping hole of the hitchhikers head, where her brains had once been, until she shot herself.

M-m-m-m-m.Nothing like the sizzle of hamburgers cooking on my George Foreman grill..("b-r-r-r" "b-r-r-r")... but I digest."e-r-r"..digress.

Anyway, the movie kicks into high gear from there. The young adults are stupid, and make all the wrong moves. But otherwise, no movie right? The meat of the meat & potatoes here is the insane-o-in-the-brain-o family led by R Lee Ermey. In my opinion, everyone at the quiet and tranquil surroundings of the 'windmill' earns an FDA Quality Seal & Top Round marks, even with their less than meaty dialogue.

The movie had a lot of scary hooks in it, and I mean that quite literally. ("b-r-r-r-r","b-r-r-r-r").

`Leather-face' shows himself at precisely the right moments, which is when you don't expect him too. I must have said the S word about 5 times. Not bad.....The hamburgers that I am eating, that is..No just joking again.Well, not really. (Raymond "b-r-r-r b-r-r-r")

Going back to the acting for a second, R Lee Emrey stole the show as he was the master chef's gravy to the insanity. The Emeril Lagasse to the Commander's Palace. I knew we were all in for trouble when he shows up in his squad car, gets out and stews ... e-r-r.."spews" out something red from his mouth. His role as the supposed `Sheriff' was perfect, and reminded me of his even better role in `Full Metal Jacket' as the unrelenting, unforgiving fowl.e-rr..foul mouthed drill sergeant. He's as sharp as a knife in this movie, and is very cleaver..e-r-r-r.I meant to say `clever', in his approach. ("Queue-Com-B-r-r-r B-r-r-r")

While the only not-too-clad libido-filled scene takes place at the very beginning, there was no doubt deliberate intent on behalf of the director to show Jessica Biel's breasts by introducing a lot of rain in the last 30 minutes. I guess the director must have thought she was a fine piece of meat. And make no bones about it, she did appear very tender to me too. (meow meow...hey wait a tooth-picking second! that's not a chainsaw sound!)

However, Jennifer Veal....e-r-r..I mean "Biel"'s acting was a little tough and gamey, as she definitely needs further seasonings..e-r-r-.. I mean 'sessions' with her acting instructor. And there must have been at least 3 or 4 times in which she could have gained control of that damned chainsaw! For the love of God, or even for just an Omaha Steak, would you please pick up the chainsaw??!!!!

The film editing was excellent, as all of the right cuts were made in the carving..e-r-r.I mean `cutting' room floor.

In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed this tasty and satisfying meal of a movie. And if there is a moral to the story, it is this: If you are stupid, and you are driving through Texas, don't stop. And if you do stop, because you are hungry, do not ask for a vegetarian menu. They will KNOW you are NOT on their side of beef. And if you have a beef with management, you may want to marinade.e-r-r..seranade them after dinner with a tune from Lynyrd Skynyrd, but this time the song from them should be `That Smell'. And finally, if you see a crooked sheriff laying face down in the middle of the road, and the back of his shirt has a recent branding of the word `Goodyear', please take off and don't come back. Don't come back now, y'hear????

By the way, my hamburgers were delicious.

Grade: A- (95% lean)

Big Fish (2003)
A Big Tall Movie...., 1 May 2004

`They say when you meet the love of your life. Time stops. And that's true.' – Ed Bloom.

What a great screenplay adaptation by John August! I don't know who he is, but this is the beautification of a simple, yet endearing story between a dying father, Albert Finney, and his son, Billy Crudup, who is dying for the truth. It deals with the age old question of what reality is and makes you believe that if you tell a tall tale often enough, it will still be a tall tale, but you will be always immortalized for it.

This is an excellent movie for parents, especially dads, to see with their kids. Given our society, it is especially warm and unusually rare to see the portrayal of a father in a such a loving and even innocent way.

I loved the role of Ed Bloom. There is an Ed Bloom in all of us. We all dream like Ed, and sometimes we'll even tell a tall tale or two like him, to make life more entertaining. More important than the obvious is what the movie gracefully whispers in your ear: Judge a person by his character more than by what he is saying. In this case Ed Bloom's character was that of a fine man. He may have embellished, or just plain lied on some of his `stories', but he was a father who loved and cherished his wife and saw to it that his son was always entertained.

In the beginning of the film, you the audience will scoff at the stories which Tim Burton injects to us ala Forrest Gump. Like his son, we were all cynics. Yet, I guarantee that you wont be able to wait to see what happens next. His fascinating stories drew me in, and made his character all the more loveable. After awhile, one could care less about the stories, as you do about the man who is telling them. His positive strength, the key factor here. Even if he did not always choose the right path, his heart and conviction were always in the right place, as he always professed this to those he loved.

To me, the most heartwarming subplot of all, was Ed's recounting of his quest for Sandra. Sandra was his love-at-first-site, one that he would never give up on (hooray). A love that would have him do whatever it took, regardless of the insurmountable odds . Regardless of whether you believed all of the details regarding his quest for Sandra or not, there are some of us who really have a `Sandra' in their lives, and would do the same or more if the opportunity presented itself.

`I just saw the woman I'm going to marry. I know it. But I lost her. I'm going to spend every day of the rest of my life looking for her. That, or die alone.' – Ed Bloom

After everything that Ed goes through, including coming face to face with the `all-american' jerk that was engaged to Sandra, what a great sub-ending we witness when he finally wins her heart and hand in marriage. Score a big win for the underdog! That is what life should be about, and the powerful message of this alone I think overshadows the son's struggle to learn the truth about his Dad. Sandra, by the way, is played by Jessica Lange. She does a wonderful job portraying the loving, stable force in Ed's life. We should all be so lucky to have someone like a Sandra in our lives. In fact, it makes you think that all of the crazy things that he did to win her over, were very well justified. Therefore, another positive and subtle message: If you want someone or something bad enough, you will do whatever it takes.

The young Ed Bloom is played Ewan McGregor. He does a fine job, even though I kept expecting him to pull a light saber at any given moment…lol

The movie's end is predictable, but still powerful. The audience will mature as his son does at the emotionally charged ending. Get some hankies ready, once we finally see the passing of the torch. This happens when his son relents, and make a big tall tale of his own to satisfy his father's final request.

In the end, the movie brilliantly establishes the fact that in life, character has nothing to do about what kind of truth in stories that a person is telling, but what kind of truth in a person does his or her stories tell….

Grade: A

Timeline (2003)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
What A Waste Of Time....Line, 24 April 2004

Timeline

When movies are good, there is much to be said. Otherwise, expect movies to be reviewed like this:

The movie centers around a rescue team intent on going back in time to rescue Professor Johnston (played by Billy Connolly). The movie drags on and on. The movie is boring. "I'm beginning to find this rather tiresome" as uttered by the character that plays Lord Oliver, couldn't be more right. If there is one thing to be learned about this movie that is of any value, is that the viewer is left wishing for a time travel machine of their own....to go back to the time when they were entering the video store to rent such a poorly made film. The screenplay should have been a screenwhine, as the dialogue is one dimensional, cliched, and recycled from several other bad films of its kind.

There was a lot of hype when it was originally released, probably due to the marquis star power of director Richard Donner. But make no mistake about it; this is no Superman, but more like Superdud. Not one of his better decisions for sure

Billy Donnelly's scottish accent was the best part of the movie, simply because this is his true voice, he did not have to act. Unfortunately, none of the other characters could act either.

Other than the fact that I saw this movie in a wide letterbox edition, there was little that separated this from some cheap sunday afternoon warrior princess styled movie on the WB.

Towards the end of the movie, actress Frances O'Connor is stuck in a tunnel. In agony she tells the Professor's son...."Maybe we missed something....Maybe we made a wrong turn...."

My thoughts exactly.

Grade: D-

Thirteen (2003)
0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
In Your Face....At Thirteen, 23 April 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

REVISED:

WARNING SPOILERS!!

At first glance, Thirteen looks awkward and confusing enough to want to make you want to turn the other way and run. Yet, stick around. Don't run. This isn't your own teenager we are talking about, but just a movie. Or is it?

Maybe it's a two dimensional visual that is only a representation of what so many parents dread in real life. Many of these parents will not see the warning signs, some may even refuse to acknowledge it. But as a movie goes, you the voyeur, get to garner the courage to see a dysfunctional family in action, as if watching a train wreck.

Thirteen is a intelligent screenplay, that does not offer up the premise in its dialogue, but rather in the underlying result. It accomplishes these through its messages that are two-fold to both parents and to teenagers. Both in different ways, but obvious nonetheless. To the teens that watch this movie, a sense of "fitting in" takes place. They can identify with the teen characters and realize, that "Hey, I'm not the only one who feels neglected, or angered, or just plain not understood". For parents, the message is even deeper in that children may wind up doing whatever they feel they need to do, unless you are "in their face" but done so in the right way.

Another message that this movie conveys is that no matter how bad things may get, ultimately most everyone will live to tell about it later on, as it reminds us of our own strife as we grew up. And there lies the beauty behind the biggest message of all in this movie.

Acknowledgement.

With it, the awkwardness of it all suddenly comes into focus, the harsh madness a plausible reality. Even the thought that these girls could not possibly be doing what they were doing at 13, well, that becomes commonplace as well. Even the cinematography becomes tolerable....a nicely done visual representation of emotional turbulence. Subtle AND effective.

What is not subtle was the acting, which was stylishly raw, and exactly the way it needed to be done. The story draws you in beautifully until you are in that kitchen watching Holly Hunter rip up floor tile, in the bedroom with Evan as a stranger's dog has just peed the bed, or in the living room as a brother and sister go to war. Everything is upfront , crude, and all too real.

Formidable performances by all. Young and coming stars feature Evan Rachel Wood, who plays the role of the straight-A-suddenly-turned-corrupt-daughter of Holly Hunter, and that of her supposed best friend, Evie, played by Nikki Reed ( who also crafted this decent if not wonderful screenplay ).

Holly Hunter, playing the role of a woman wrestling with her own low self-esteem issues, and mother of her troubled daughter, is in way over her head. Holly's moving performance can be highlighted by the washed out complexion and physical etchings of pain that she has craftfully created for us to appreciate. Her sense of powerlessness as a parent of a troubled teen, comes through aggravatingly clear.

Even the actor who played the minor role as Melanie Freeland's ex-husband manages to exactly deliver the message of how parents who are socially accepted among their peers, who seem to have it all together, are actually worse sometimes than those parents played by Holly Hunter. In this scenario, Mr. Freeman's bad parenting is displayed in the form of being too wrapped up with his own career to provide even the basic of emotional necessities for his daughter. At best he plays favorites, by depending on his son to determine what is wrong with his daughter. In the end, it looks as if his cell phone is his child. The movie also hints that despite the father's conceptualized stability when compared to the rest of the adult characters, that he may well be the possible core in the malignancy of his daughters' strife.

The nicely done cautionary tale is not without its uneven moments, and clearly this indie, like all indies, lack a big Hollywood budget. Additionally, the Evan Rachel Wood & Nikki Reed come through more like the 16 & 15 year olds that they are and not 13. But it was a enjoyable film, and one would probably be hard pressed to find a finer dramatic directorial performance by Catherine Hardwicke at last year's Sundance Festival.

Parents, be warned, there are harsh displays of unacceptable behavior but overall I would be hard pressed not to recommend both parents and their teenaged kids alike to watch this movie together, and maybe even discuss it when it is over. Especially if you suspect your child is alienating themselves from your family, and you cant seem to put your finger as to why.

Grade: B

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Overkill Bill, 16 April 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Warning: Spoilers!

Kill Bill plays out like a music video of violence, that for one, should not be taken seriously. The gore, which ramps up to its climatic ending with Lucy Liu, has all the makings of a black humor. And unlike 'Reservoir Dogs' which was a movie about pure arrogance and brutality, Tarantino wants you to laugh over the unreality of the violence which is unabashedly over the top. Endless subplots of rising to the top by exacting revenge on the bottom feeders fits the motif of your everyday revenge movie. He charaterizes his victims' deaths in almost comic-book fashion. When blood is shown, and plenty of it is displayed, it unnaturally flows out of the victim's bodies like office sprinkler systems. Again, symbolic of a black humor.

The acting in my mind was subpar, but only due to the lack of dialogue. In one aspect, the lack of conversation keeps the movie's theme pure to its form. In another, it reduces the movie to little more than mere visuals. The barefooted all-girl Japanese band was interesting, however the music was bad, almost to the insanely bad.

When a director gets notariaty, it is common for critics to compare all continuing work to whatever was his or her best film. For Quentin, this is unfair because his 2nd film, Pulp Fiction, may be one of the best films of the last 10 years. Unfortunately, Kill Bill, falls very short of his true gem.

If there are any redeeming qualities to this film, it would have to be the wonderful camera perspectives Quentin creates. The split screen cinematography, the japanese anime (although a little bit on the long side), and the satirical representation of the samurai by having the martial arts injected with 70's music, a la "CHIPs" is interesting and unique. The final fight scenes, especially the one where the some 200 plus 3-piece suited Samurai take on Uma, is a deliberate attempt by Quentin to get you to say, "Oh S**t, this is unbelievable!" Well, I must admit, even though it struck me as a copycat of the Matrix battle between Neo and the army of Mr. Smith's, I did enjoy the absurd battle.

It is in the absurdities that Mr. Tarantino excels at his craft. And yet, Tarantino's devotion to the "shock and schlock" has started to unfold a familiar pattern. Has he become predicatble in his unpredictability? Perhaps. Eventually, he will have to change this formula, because otherwise he will have to outdo himself after every film within his thus far, limited genre, and that's usually a recipe for directorial disaster. However, for now Tarantino seems to have a good command of the box office.

The movie delivers on the mindless action that the title would suggest. So, if you are a Tarantino fan, you will not be disappointed. But if you are a fan of a good movie, or a fan of diversity, you will be somewhat disappointed, for Tarantino fails (though just barely) on both marks.

Grade: C+


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