Reviews written by registered user

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33 reviews in total 
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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Not nearly as good as the Mel Brooks version, 21 February 2017

The tag line suggests this movie was made because the Soviet Union "couldn't stand the unauthentic version." They should have quit while they were ahead. The Mel Brooks version is light, funny, upbeat and short--compared to this monstrosity that takes almost 3 hours to view. It is true, Brooks changed the ending while this version is true to the Ilf and Petrov version, but that only improves the story. This is a plodding, un-funny, self-conscious and dreary movie, most of which should have been left on the cutting-room floor--in other words, a typical product of what passed for art in the Soviet Union. Worth seeing only so you can appreciate how much better the American Version is.

Incidentally, there is also a Cuban version of the story, set in post-Castro Cuba, which is also totally unwatchable.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A feast for Beatles fans and maybe also for those who aren't, 28 October 2007

I'm not a fan of Julie Taymor (I hated Titus) so I was a bit leery about going to see this movie. Still, as a Beatles fan, I decided I should see it on the big screen. I went with my 19-year-old son, and we both enjoyed it very much. The film is a visual and auditory feast--sort of like a long music video--yet connected by a linear plot and sub-plots. For those of us who came of age during the 'Nam era, this brought back some vivid memories. But it's the music--a continuous parade of Beatles hits--that is the real treat. Somehow the plot, the (sometimes surrealistic) imagery and the music blend together for a sensual tour de force. Don't miss this movie while it's still playing in theaters; it just won't be the same on a small screen.

2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Still incomprehensible after all these years, 30 December 2001

Saw it again after 20+ years, and I still don't get it. Some good scenes, mostly involving Robert Duvall, but if Martin Sheen were any more laid back he'd fall asleep. As for Brando, it's The Godfather meets Moby Dick--and overblown, incomprehensible performance, much like the movie itself. If you want to see a movie about 'Nam, Full Metal Jacket is a much better bet.

180 out of 309 people found the following review useful:
Electrifying from beginning to end, 25 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was convinced Atlas Shrugged could not be put on film, but this movie proved me wrong. It has a contemporary look and feel, while retaining the Art Deco elegance of Rand's novel. The acting is superb, particularly Taylor Schilling as Dagny Taggart and Grant Bowler as Hank Rearden. Bowler manages to cram more meaning into a half-cocked eyebrow than most actors in a dozen lines of dialogue, and Shilling captures the sleek, cold elegance of Dagny, while giving just a hint of the passion simmering beneath the surface. Indeed, all the performances are impeccable.

This is a beautiful movie to watch, with sets, locations and costumes that are both gorgeous and convincing. The run of the John Galt Line is thrilling, and when it crossed the bridge made of Rearden Metal, I wanted to stand up and cheer.

Director Paul Johansson (who also plays John Galt) obviously knew exactly what he wanted to put on the screen, and manged to do it. He is faithful to Rand's story, and in particular to the philosophical message that is at the heart of the work, while maintaining the excitement of the plot.

During her lifetime, Rand did not allow the novel to be made into a film, perhaps for fear that the movie would not be faithful to the book. It's too bad that she didn't live to see this movie because, I believe, she would be surprised and pleased by how well it captures the essence of her work. This is clearly a labor of love that will help make Rand's ideas accessible to many who have not yet read her work. And it's exciting and rewarding for those of us who have been Rand fans for many years. Can't wait for Parts 2 and 3.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Bad, bad, very bad boys, 9 August 2003

It's hard to explain just how awful this movie is: Silly, slow-moving, boring plot; leaden dialogue; lack of personal chemistry among the characters; feeble and failed attempts at humor; and longer than eternity. The light repartee between Smith and Lawrence that made the original such fun has been replaced with something resembling the carping of an old married couple. Smith does his best with the material handed him and still has occasional flashes of charm, but Lawrence has sunk entirely into the persona of a spinster aunt. This is not just a movie where you have to suspend disbelief; you have to disconnect your mind entirely. The people behind me were engaged in a long conversation for entire the second half of the movie--something that always annoys me terribly, but in this case I didn't complain because I really couldn't blame them--and their conversation was more interesting than the movie anyway. All the mayhem and blood and crashing vehicles and spectacular special effects--which I generally enjoy--could not save this movie from sliding into a sinkhole of triviality and ennui.

Cabaret (1972)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Probably the Best Movie Ever Made, 3 January 2002

This incredible movie tells the story of Germany's slide towards Nazi rule in the late 1920s or early 30s. The world of pre-WWII Berlin is seen through the distorted mirror of the Kit Kat Night Club. While technically a musical, the movie does not use the contrivance of having people stop in the middle of a scene and burst out in song and dance. Rather, the songs and danges are integrated into the plot either by being performed on the Cabaret stage or in some other natural manner--including the bone-chilling Tomorrow Belongs to Me. Unlike most movies of the time (including the vastly overrated Godfather), director Bob Fosse does not keep the action entirely linear; rather event A will happen in scene 1, you then have scene 2 dealing with an unrelated issue, then the consequence of event A will be played out in scene 3. This lets the viewer draw his own connections, rather than having everything spoon-fed by the moviemaker. While the Godfather un-deservedly got Best Picture for 1973, it got a total of only 3 Oscars, while Cabaret got 8 (including Best Director)--making it the movie to have gotten the most Oscars without also getting Best Picture. It surely should have--in 1973 or just about any other year.

*Much* better than the original, 29 March 2004

For all the hype it gets from its small but devoted cadre of fans, the original Dawn of the Dead is really, really cheesy. A mall with a gun shop and tons of ammo in it? A few zombies that move slow as molasses in winter? A helicopter that can take them outta there whenever it gets too dangerous? Where's the terror in that? Most of the movie is spent playing around in the shopping mall.

Not so with the current version. The zombies here are mean and *fast*--and there are zillions of them. The terror and despair are real--as is the drama. Everything is precisely calculated and has its reason. Characters change as they live under the strain of balancing compassion with survival. Unlike the cardboard cutouts in the earlier version, these are real people confronted with an unimaginable horror. Some respond better than others, but both the action and the character development make sense and ring true. Even the music is far superior to the original. This is a masterpiece that has borrowed little more than the title from the original--and a good thing too.

From Hell (2001)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Slow, confusing, overdone, silly, 21 October 2001

Johnny Depp struggles his way through the silly plot and slow script. Heather Graham looks lost. Way over-directed. Could profitably have been cut by three quarters of an hour. This film isn't worth the bother.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Frank Langella IS Nixon, 26 December 2008

Frank Langella delivers a stunning performance. For those of us who remember Richard Nixon as President, he comes to life on the screen. The face, the stoop, the mannerisms--they're all there. This is not an actor playing a role; it is as if Nixon himself is on screen. And it's not a wholly unsympathetic portrayal. Nixon does not come off as a monster or as deranged, more as someone to be pitied than despised.

The other performances, including Michael Sheen's, are very solid, but Langella has done something truly extraordinary by removing the impression of an actor playing a part. I'll be very surprised if he doesn't earn an Oscar nomination, or even and Oscar as best actor for this performance. Langella has certainly come a long ways from his excellent performance in the underrated 1970 Mel Brooks film, The Twelve Chairs.

Forst/Nixon as a whole is riveting. Given that it's a fairly simple story with a known ending, this is quite an achievement. You don't have to be a Watergate junkie to enjoy this film; even a passing familiarity with those momentous events in our history is sufficient. Not a moment of the 122-minute running time is wasted--or dull.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
There's nothing here to like, 5 September 2004

It's been a long time since I've seriously thought about walking out in the middle of a movie, but with this film I can mighty close. Instead, I dozed off for a while. There is nothing interesting, novel, imaginative or deep about this movie. It tries very, very hard to be lovable, but succeeds only in being annoying. The plot, such as it is, seems like it was made up by a bunch of college kids sitting around stoned, and the dialogue sounds like it was written on the back of an envelope. Zach Braff looks like he's on a heavy dose of Quaaludes for the entire movie, and pretty much everyone else looks like they forgot to take their Prozac. Worst of all, there was nothing funny about this movie--it's mostly sappy and boring. I thought I had seen the worst movie of the year last week when I saw "Exorcist: The Beginning" but I found myself longing to be back watching that movie, which at least had some interesting special effects. Miss this movie at all costs.

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