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74 reviews in total 
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The BFG (2016)
3 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
So good I immediately went to see it again, 4 July 2016

This film is so rich in every department: visually, musically, in its excellent, charming, witty script, and the casting of actors who bring their best to the screen in their roles. For once a children's tale without the tiresome clichés that currently dominate kids' movies; a sometimes quiet and intimate film with sensitive, feeling characters who talk to each other in longish dialog scenes. This is a fable in an old fashioned mode, and yet is made from pure 21st century movie magic. As great as Mark Rylance is, and he is amazing, Penelope Wilton is unbelievably funny as a combination uptight, take charge and yet completely empathetic Queen. The whole breakfast scene, in fact the entire Royal Palace section, is one of the funniest things I've seen in ages. The film is doing poorly at the box office so catch it on the big screen before it's gone - it's absolutely gorgeous. And speaking of gorgeous, John Williams, collaborating with the some of the world's greatest musicians including Heather Clark on flute, has written a symphonic work that underscores just about every minute of the film. It's a masterpiece that ranks with the very best of what he has written for film in his long career.

6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Bummer. Pointless but pretty., 15 January 2016

Beautiful in a self-conscious way, but often tedious. Aside from occasional moments of elevated humanity, it's mostly an overlong, gruesome spectacle of cruelty, pain and anguish, which after a while becomes almost comic in the unrelenting and extreme nature of the main character's ordeals (and the implausibility of him surviving them). Aside from a moment when DiCaprio's character gains insight into the pointlessness of his behavior, this is an unexceptional survival and revenge story gussied up by how-did-they-do-that? cinematography, portentous music, and a performance that screams "Look what I went through to get my Oscar!" I didn't believe any of it for a minute.

129 out of 255 people found the following review useful:
The film equivalent of a coffee table book about Lili Elbe, 16 September 2015

First the good: Alicia Vikander gives an excellent performance in a poorly written role. The music, when it's not loudly substituting for a decent script, is often lovely. And the historical context is illuminating, especially the very real danger of institutionalization. Other than that, what a mass of prestige picture clichés, laughably symmetrical camera set-ups and gorgeous landscape cinematography. And poor Eddie Redmayne. Completely out of his depth in the central role. Obviously, no one knows how well Lili Elbe passed for a woman, but no one, and I mean absolutely no one, would mistake Redmayne's Lili for anything else but an awkward, clumsy male in a bad wig. Granted, that would make an interesting take on this story: someone who believes they look like a woman but who doesn't. But that's not what this film proposes. Quite the opposite, which is why the audience consistently laughed every time the film suggested that Elbe herself, or other characters believed in the success of the transformation. The script is so cliché ridden and repetitious that even an actor as fine as Matthias Schoenaerts can't liven it up. And for some reason he is made up to look like a sweaty cadaver. And again,I felt bad for Mr. Redmayne, that he didn't get the directorial help he needed in the role and a better script that left him more to say than the trite and predictable lines in this one.

58 out of 75 people found the following review useful:
Best film so far at the New York Film Festival, 8 October 2012

At the time of writing this review, Ginger and Rosa has a 4.8 rating!! I don't know who these voters are, but this is a very fine film: insightful, funny, and wise. The acting is across the board phenomenal. Cast spoke of long rehearsal period during Q&A and it shows. Every shot captures real life in all its expressive complexity. Elle Fanning, 13 playing 16, gives one of the greatest child performances I have ever seen - truly astonishing as well as touching, funny/sad, and beautiful. Great script, gorgeous cinematography and design, perfectly chosen period music. This is a must-see, and sure to be a break-out role for Fanning.

20 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
Great Film needs new English title!, 11 March 2012

This marvelous film is based on a Pagnol novel which I had never heard of. Maybe it's well-known in France and so the title is familiar to audiences there. But in the US "The Well Digger's Daughter" should keep people away from this film in droves. In fact, the film is an old fashioned fable set in the French countryside during the period of World War I. Even though the plot turns are seen coming a mile away, the film has such charm and simple feeling and wisdom, that there is enormous pleasure in watching the story unfold. Auteuil is perfect as the father, as is every other actor, especially Astrid Bergès-Frisbey as the daughter of the title and Nicolas Duvauchelle as her 'prince'. And the music by Andre Desplat is one of his best scores. The setting and the lives of the characters are so beautifully depicted, there is so much pleasure to be had in entering their world for two hours, that it seems a shame that American audiences will have to overcome their disinclination to see a movie about a well-digger and his daughter when there is this rich and deeply emotional story waiting for them in the cinema.

6 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
I left after a half hour as well, 22 September 2011

Agree with previous reviewer that this film was a poor choice for TIFF where usually the quality of the films is quite high. The absurdity of the set up was laughable: gorgeous surfer boy leaves monastery and returns to his favorite beach to ride the waves and commune to God. I wanted to ask: who maintained his highlights at the monastery? Apparently the cinematographer was unable to get many decent shots of him surfing, so we are left watching endless underwater shots of nothing, accompanied by the sound of gurgling water. The actors all looked like they were in a soap opera, with the usual anxious staring instead of dialog.

The Tempest (2010/I)
20 out of 56 people found the following review useful:
Lovely to look at, 2 October 2010

but impossible to understand. Saw this at the New York Film Festival tonight and must assume that the soundtrack was unfinished because I was able to understand about half of the dialog. It sounded like a mono mix, so maybe it was a temporary soundtrack or was projected incorrectly. The opening scene: completely unintelligible. Nearly every word spoken by Djimon Hisou: completely unintelligible. Hope they fix this because there is much to admire in the film: Helen Mirren's marvelous performance (most clearly spoken and reproduced), the great Ben Wishaw as Ariel, the beautiful music, magical settings, visual effects and the beautiful costumes.

5 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
It's not called "The Wrestler" for nothing, 25 December 2008

something that should have been obvious to me before going in. But the art-house cred that the film has gotten, the film festival screenings, the huzzahs from the critics, and Aronofsky's previous films made me think this would be much more than what it is: a fairly conventional, low-budget retooling of the same material that made "Requium For A Heavyweight" such a sensation in the 50's. Set in the world of professional wrestling, it hypes that 'sport' while at the same time bemoaning Rourke's character's fate, a typical commercial ploy these days in movies: condemning and exploiting at the same time, e.g., the poor, sad, lonely character played by Marissa Tomei, forced to do all that dirty dancing. Don't get me wrong: it's not a bad film, of its kind. And it could just as easily be sold as something for WWF fans. In fact it probably will be. But if it were, I certainly would have no interest in seeing it. So be warned: there's an awful lot of 'professional wrestling' in "The Wrestler". And what remains, minus the nudity and grisly violence, could have just as easily been a network television movie.

10 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
Sweet, sad little tale undermined by unimaginative film-making, 29 September 2008

The only reason this film holds any interest at all is because of Michelle Williams' excellent performance. But as a character study, a road movie, a girl-and-her-dog story, or a polemic about the unfairness of capitalism towards its underclass, it fails to create anything more than a very slight impression. The reason, IMO, is the utterly talentless film-making, particularly the amateurish and boring cinematography and editing. The script is little more than a series of sad encounters, and one couldn't expect much more from a story about a woman so emotionally shut down, but what one could expect was some kind of visual poetry.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Where are the subtitles to the song lyrics?, 4 July 2008

Just watched the DVD of this amazingly powerful film, very much in the style of classic Hollywood biopics. But am still scratching my head over the bizarre decision to skip the subtitling of the songs! I could see if her choice of songs, and the songs that composers chose to write for her, weren't so incredibly personal. But they are, and were included and placed in the film precisely because of the way they comment on her life. Leaving non-french-speaking viewers in the dark is a crime. As if the lyrics to her songs didn't matter. Even when the composer comes in at the end and plays her the song that convinces her to appear one last time and she cries out "That's my life!" we are left wishing we knew what she was talking about!

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