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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
A spectacular release of a spectacular movie
The movie is a classic and is the penultimate version especially with James Mason as Nemo and in spite of it's hokey parts. But what amazed me most it the video quality. The DVD version is thankfully not "modified to fit your (lo fi) screen." Nor is it 1.37 : 1 as IMDb states. Instead the aspect ratio is 2.55:1 which is probably equivalent to "Cinemascope." Viewed on your wide screen HDTV the width will have severe letter-boxing!
I chose to use some zoom to get almost 16x9 sizing. And although this is not a blue ray disk, using a blue ray player the picture quality compared favorably with HD movies. The vivid color and sharpness make watching it after seeing the VHS tape is like seeing a whole new movie.
The Conscientious Objector (2004)
Steven Spielberg should make a movie from this story
The real life story of Desmond Doss is so compelling it should be seen by a larger audience. Unfortunately a documentary will never enjoy the popularity of a movie.
Only Spielberg could do it justice. Perhaps he will read this. I can only repeat what other reviewers have said.
I am not a Christian, I am not even religious, but I cannot fathom how so much luck could have been with any man. I actually consider it surreal. It makes me wonder !!!
Yes, I agree, everyone should see this movie, which is why I say Spielberg should make it into a drama and it should be given to schools - to churches and distributed freely.
It is too good a story to leave as a somewhat obscure documentary.
La vita è bella (1997)
Far less than I expected
In spite of its "message" about the human spirit I did not feel this movie worked. I'm sorry to rebuff those who thought it was great including my favorite movie critic but I don't think the "message" in a movie make it rise above its trappings. If it doesn't look real to me it fails as a movie no matter how lofty it's message.
I didn't like it and here is why: This movie tries to be a lot of things it is not. At first it felt like Fellini crazy Italians! But it is not.
Then it tries to be Phillie de Broca in "King of Hearts." But it is not.
And don't forget "Captain Corelli's Mandolin." which is about Italians during the war but takes place in Greece and is apparently a true story.
High ratings for all of the above but alas not "Life is Beautiful." It's a sad story but the whole thing feels like a stage set which it is. Especially the prison camp which is too small and clean to be what it represents.
If you want to see a dark comedy about Nazis watch "King of Hearts" again. At least it is funny.
Or, if you want to get the message watch "Captain Corelli's Mandolin." After all, this is not a stage play; it is cinema, in a world where "Avatar" will win Academy Awards this year.
This movie also has all the hallmarks of a soap opera.
Who dies and who lives and why "and guess who shows up at the end" is one for the classic soaps.
3:10 to Yuma (2007)
Totally put off by bad screenplay and Russel Crowe's failure to be a convincing cowboy
Impressions of 3:10 To Yuma (2007)
I know I saw a Russel Crowe movie. I am not sure saw a Western.
At no time did Mr. Crowe make me believe he was a western cowboy.
His accent was not at all suitable for the role and so to me he was Russel Crowe - the perfect captain in "Captain And Commander."
Also the plot was confused by many "oopses." The whole movie is an OOPS.
The screenplay was replete with errors and preposterous scenes. Like gut shot men back on their horse the same day, and, well, not to give it away, but the really preposterous ending. The whole plot/sreenplay has little credibility if you think about how much shooting there is, who gets shot and who does not and when and why.
Only ++s are for cinematography and sound quality.
Maybe Mr. Crowe, one of my favorite current actors just wanted to be in an American "Western" like he saw Unforgiven and said "I gotta do one of those."
Or more likely the offer to play Ben Wade in this old classic remake was too lucrative to turn down.
I have no idea why Crowe made this movie.
The Yakuza (1974)
A truly great movie that is totally missing from the ranks of classics it deserves to be in
I agree with "henri sauvage" in his well written comment. (Read it.) I own an older VHS copy and just saw it again on HDTV. No matter how many times I see it - it evokes the same moving emotions for me. This is a beautiful and powerful movie in spite of much violence.
While terribly bloody, this movie is in no way gory. The combination of passion, tenderness & love with the violence which is a completely necessary part of the movie (Yakuza = Japanese Mafia) makes this one of the most moving and powerful movies I know of.
The performances of Robert Mitchum and Ken Takakura (not to mention the beautiful Keiko Kishi) are outstanding especially Mitchum and Takakura.
The cinematography is beautiful and the directing wonderful. Also of note is the very effective use of both Japanese and English in a completely plausible way.
10 all the way.
BTW: If you want to see it it is now available from Netflix
The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944)
I agree with "chisum" from Hartlepool England - An enjoyable show
The movie is quite dated and a bit silly - on the other hand it is based on a true story as shown in the movie, and is well done - if not somewhat camp, certainly by current movie standards.
My biggest problem with it was the treatment of the lack of realistic emotion in a movie that contains so much tragedy.
The end is not particularly surprising. This is a Hollywood movie from the forties.
Again it falls into the category of "camp."
I agree with "chisim,"
The performances were very good particularly Gary Cooper.
My namesake is the star.
For once Leslie Howard is the star of the movie.
Unlike the producers of the DVD want you to think, Bogart is actually a supporting actor. But look at the cover - photo and cast lineup. You would think it is a Bogart movie. Frankly, that is why I bought it.
Actually this movie is a Leslie Howard movie with Blondel as co-star. Bogart plays a secondary role and is a supporting actor.
I was thinking of the only other Bogart / Howard movie I know of, Petrified Forest. So finally I find a bona-fide Leslie Howard movie.
Of course I was biased but I loved it. My mother probably did too. She named me Leslie Howard (Spaiser).
P.S. This picture was released 3 years before I was born.
Vertical Reality (1994)
A Skier's Dream
This movie on is a very specific topic - downhill skiing. The movie is about skiers and is for skiers. If you haven't skied you still might enjoy this film, but if you are a skier you should love it.
Just how some of the shots were obtained is a mystery to me. Also the extent skiers go to is something I find it hard to believe. Some of the scenes are hard to believe. All this is captured beautifully and put together in an entertaining and even humorous way.
Warren Miller is a genius in presenting this material. From Vermont to Mt. Fuji you will laugh, be amazed, and finally agree with him - that life is what you make of it.
I particularly liked the end about some kids in India - about which I cannot tell - since it would be a spoiler! A marvelous commentary both on the joy of the sport and the idea that fun is what you can make in life - if you just try.
The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980)
Hilarious and whacky comedy it says a lot.
A hilarious and whacky comedy it says a lot. This movie is a cult classic and belongs with "Harold and Maude" and "King of Hearts" in this category.
In its own crazy way it tells us all kinds of things about people, simple and complicated, the way life might be, and, indeed, the way it is. Clearly Jamie Uys is a genius, to put such disparate material together in such a complex crazy plot, and have it all make sense.
People looking for technical accuracy will not like this movie. It is not at all realistic in that sense. And while the movie is largely a series of clichés - it works.
For example in the scene where (the clumsy) Steyn takes off to the schoolhouse to try to apologize to Ms. Thompson and (bring back her shoes) - His companion gives him this advice:
"... You gotta smile, man, and tell her she looks good"
Steyn: How come suddenly you're an expert on women?
Companion: I got 7 wives - how many you got?
Steyn: So what have you done with your 7 wives?
Companion: I know how to marry them; nobody knows how to live with them
Steyn: So why did you marry them?
Companion: Shee Shee! Someday I have to tell you the facts of life"
AND . . . the biggest cliché in the movie: "I don't want to talk about it."
"The Gods Must be Crazy" is a sweet, charming and hilarious movie it took me 20 years to get to see it, and am I glad I did. This is one I will add to my collection of the movies already mentioned.
A very good movie - in spite of its grand spectacle style
Gladiator is 2 1/2 hours long and I watched it in two parts. I agree completely with "gregatory" (another reviewer - see that review) in most respects.
Russel Crowe is clearly one of the greatest actors alive today. His role here is nothing short of that. Also the description of the almost impossibly gory battle scene in the beginning (as well as the gladiator scenes later), could be trivial blood and gore performances. But they are not. It is clear how brutal these things were, but the craft the the producers use to portray them makes them sensible and tolerable. What we see is the horror of war - even before anybody had a gun or cannon or bomb.
Frankly, I was put off by the performance of Joaquin Phoenix as Commodus. He played a despicable and weak, palsied man so well it seemed his acting was equally bad. It annoyed me and I almost panned the movie for that. But I believe that was a personal bias. Apparently the role was just that - awful, the man was awful, that is.
The second part (for me) fit together with the plot and was quite credible. Still the movie lacked something to make it absolutely great. It was also somewhat predictable - not an ingenious plot.
So I rate it as very very good (8 points) but not great. As I mentioned though, Russel Crowe is great. I think, like Clint Eastwood, he is typecasting himself. His role and performance does remind me of Capt. Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander.
He is definitely the Commander.