Reviews written by registered user
samkan

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256 reviews in total 
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0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Spoilsport Alert!, 18 March 2012
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is review #39 and the average vote is near "9". I'm neither an attention seeker nor depressed but PHOTOGRAPHING FAIRIES is not a great film. There are a lot of "ways" in which P-F may have entertained, been successful, etc., but to risk adopting a cliché or canned response, P-F doesn't click on any level. It fails to serve as a chronicle or historical note to the actual history of events (as several reviewers pointed out, the British fairy "craze" was an actual late 19th century phenomona) . Though I cannot over-fault P-F for not delving into events as did FAIRY TALE (It has the right to try and stand on its own) there's a scene where we pass several rooms wherein everyone's got a a crystal ball, is doing a seance, i.e., as if to say all of England is presently chasing fairies! Neither did I find P-F to be a particularly great love story, exploration of the Afterlife, or conflict of wills. We're to be convinced of the existence of fairies on very little support, as well as introduction of a "flower drug" as nothing more than a useful plot devise. Our hero's lost love angst is, arguably, to be taken for granted and, should you "buy" such, the role of his new sweetheart-in-waiting becomes a loose end. With all the hub-bub about "afterlife" and life-as-dream, the resolution we appear to be given is nothing of the sort but rather a "time travel" package; i.e., back to real life again instead of into another world. Abjectly wasted and totally without benefit to P-F is Ben Kingsley's lost-his-way preacher. Other than dying to serve the film's plot ending, I can easily envision cutting the preacher's entire role without affect to the rest of the story. The movie is beautifully filmed and the props are great, as is the acting (NOTE: supporting cast is particularly noteworthy). In the end though, PHOTOGRAPHING FAIRIES either is trying to do too much or, alternately, is not sure what it wants to do!

7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Cross-Culture Experience Not To Miss, 18 March 2012
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of those movies I felt obligated to go to because it got tons of great reviews by intellectual, artsy folks as well as the fact that it is foreign, to which some assign automatic merit. Sometimes I end up enjoying these movies and sometimes I feel like I'd have had a better time watching the Three Stooges for an hour and a half. Five to ten minutes into A SEPARATION I was hoping Moe, Larry and Curley would enter, stage right. Then a surprise plot twist occurs and I became hooked. My interest aside it wasn't until the drive home that I realized what a magnificent take on Iranian life had been packaged into this film . The viewer gets the present impact of Iran's late 70's Islamic Revolution from as unbiased a point-of-view as is possible. Consider; e.g., that I was able to walk out of the theater contemplating some beneficial aspects of a society guided, in part, by theocratic principles. Instead of envisioning faithful Iranian Muslims as fanatical zealots in robes and burkas I instead understand them as not much different as American churchgoers' e.g., from the Moral Majority to my Catholic heritage. I want to avoid the superficial observation, "canned" superlative of saying, "Golly gee, Iranians are just like me and you." But you know something, Iranians are just like me and you.

Safe House (2012)
7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Its 2012, And Movies Are Awful........., 3 March 2012
5/10

Let's go to the contemporary movie shelf and pick a canned plot (comes pre-packaged with theme). Looks like there's only three choices but...Hmmm, this looks like a good one, GENERIC ACTION No.2, instructs "Pair neophyte with hardened, wrongly accused pro and watch them bond. Slowly reveal authority, government, etc., as bad guy. Pad with traditional chase scenes, shoot-em-ups, etc. Script, dialog to "action" default mode. Cast with established box office draw and beefcake, minor love interest as proof of virility. Jerk camera about to defray costs. Sit back, rake in box office proceeds". Hey, let's go with this one.............

8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Don't Miss This One, 13 February 2012
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Time and time again, especially after having watched a series of duds, I think that good films are a thing of the past. Then I stumble on something like TDOAC and am reminded to never say die - there's still great stuff out there! Here's a movie with just three folks; i.e., not even an extra passerby or folks in the distance. Its taunt, exciting and without hardly a wasted word or second. The "twist", surprise, etc., is a true creativity and made so believable by the dialog and acting. Ah yes the acting! Each character fights for supremacy for our attention all the while fighting one another. It's like a triumvirate of deceit! Eddie Marsen seems to be saying, "Move over Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley, etc., the new Brit Bad Boy is here!". His "Vic" intimidated me from my Laptop! Don't miss this film!

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Watchable, Though Barely, 11 February 2012
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm too tired to think and be insightful, though I've had the energy to read some of the other reviews and I think most USERS got it right. There's enough nice scenery, things to try and figure out (though not that tough) and story here to keep one mildly entertained. Though if you're like me watching via streaming video and are pulled away at mid-point there is no guarantee the film will be finished later. I would bet the makers knew they were putting together a movie for the sake of making a movie, as opposed to being particularly inspired. WARNING: Kilmer has put on much weight. You'd think the makers would be smart enough to eliminate action, chase scenes, etc. Wrong. Val is seen too often outrunning fit men at a pace assuring last place at the local fundraising 5K race. Hey Val, the ambulance is right behind you and they've already closed the finish line reception.

The Double (2011/I)
6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Gives New Meaning To "Cliche", 11 February 2012
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It amazes me how valueless films like this get made. There is virtually no aspect of this movie that is not an overused, tired and hackneyed device that we have all seen a gazillion times. Grizzled vet reluctantly pulled out of retirement teamed with eager but green rookie who thinks he knows it all with initially awkward relationship giving way to appreciation and respect. Long thought dead nemesis with signature kill pattern again on the loose. Even small stuff like authorities at crime scene arguing over jurisdiction until heavy appear and flashes badge. Even little pieces of dialogue, short come-backs, etc., are pulled from the bin, cookie cutter, etc. Don't even bother.

"The Take" (2009)
7 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Uninspired, 25 January 2012
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After watching the RED RIDING trilogy I thought I'd invest some time in British crime serial dramas. THE TAKE turned out to be a total waste of time. The beginning is interesting enough, though the viewer feels suspicious he/she has seen such before (Indeed, the bad boy out of prison routine is a tired route that should be RE-tired.). THE TAKE immediately begins to dissolve. There are almost no new characters that we didn't meet in the first 15 minutes. The criminal events are few and a "heist" in the first episode is ill-introduced and poorly presented. A substantial portion of time, possibly a full third, is the pity-us-poor-women-in-a-man's-world which has no intrigue or interest whatsoever. Wedding and party scenes are padded with time and adorned with bad background music. The only item that MIGHT redeem is our lead character, who quickly proves psychotic though more obnoxious than interesting. Brian Cox cannot save the day. THE TAKE simply takes your precious time and squarely qualifies as junk.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Exceptionally Moving, 16 January 2012
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched this "cold"; i.e, never heard or read of it and can't even remember why I hit it's button on Netflix. Don't be misled into thinking the movie speaks only to the faithful: Although STMS is built around the protagonist's struggle with his relatively new faith and is subtitled throughout by proverbs, even nonbelievers will be impressed with the depiction of the lead character's inner struggle. The plot is simple, secondary and not really meant to capture intrigue or suspense. The ending offers neither surprise, excitement nor clear resolution. Even the nature of Walt's past and/or the other causes of his personal tumult are touched upon just enough to "give you the idea". Its the anguish, the struggle, the emotion boiling inside an average guy in an average town when normally average circumstances confront a critical circumstance. There's a scene when our subject is eating dinner with his pleasant, if plain and unassuming, new partner that is extraordinary for its ability to depict Walter's absolute inability to suffer the uninitiated, the dispassionate and the idle. This is not a "movie" to munch popcorn by. This is a "film" to savor.

2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A Grand Failure, 7 January 2012
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One admires Delpy for writing and directing and, given the fascinating historical material, it'd appear hard not to come out with something good. Alas, THE COUNTESS misses badly on every and all levels. Its a poor love story, historical account, morality tale, feminist doctrine, suspense work or anything else it might be. There are cringe-worthy embarrassing moments; e.g., when the Countess gets her first "taste" of blood, when her staff simply roll their eyes and abet the murder of young women, when the Countess' young love succumbs to bedding his monstrous arrest-warrant subject and -truly hard to sit through- when our heroine "redeems" herself of sadistic murders via a soul-searching and indicting soliloquy. I get the idea that the favorable COMMENTS here in IMDb are mostly females too attached to their gender identity to see the forest for the trees. It's no accident that this film found no concern willing to release it. PS: Hurt is a redeeming virtue and Delpy still manages to show she's a top rate actress. Bruhl was awful casting and both looks and acts like a "gee whiz" high school kid better seen on TV.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Hard Not To Like But..........., 24 December 2011
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I decided to watch this film because I'm familiar with the historical version, wherein the scout Meek led over 200 wagon and over 1000 pioneers on a disaster filled "short cut". That the maker of this film went with 3 wagons and 7 people indicates she, admirably, wants to talk about human nature, folly, etc., not shoot'em up adventure.

The first scenes of this movie immediately advise that patience is a prerequisite. The numerous panoramic shots throughout indeed are effective in conveying the arduousness, boredom and anxiety that the American pioneers experienced, and this aspect alone make MEEK'S CUTOFF noteworthy. But even more noteworthy is the depiction of what I believe is the maker's rather clear intent: To show how individual character and flaws influence the reasoning and decisions we make in everyday life. Our pioneers face the same obstacles in this movie. Their disparate reactions, varied in hopes, motivations and intent, provide an interesting contrast. This contrast is subtle and realistic ( as opposed to the heavy handedness of your average movie) and makes MEEK'S CUTOFF a success. But.........

I like to believe I'm a sophisticated film snob and can/will appreciate abrupt endings that might frustrate the "moron masses" (as Alfred Hitchcock referred to the movie-going public). I'm indeed ordinary stuff. Just far too abrupt an ending here. I can handle an ending that leaves us guessing at the pioneers' fate. I was/am unhappy with MEEK'S CUTOFF ending at a point when the characters's motivations and beliefs are unfinished works.


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