Reviews written by registered user

Page 1 of 8:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [Next]
77 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
From what I know, a reasonably complete rendition of events, 15 August 2005

I do not like this rank voting because so much can go into a film that to "average out" the features would possibly be unfair. For instance -- and very briefly -- I rated the new THE WAR OF THE WORLDS "spectacular" in recent conversation. But that would be about . . . it.

GLORY ENOUGH FOR ALL actually brought that lump in the throat at one point when I first saw it on MASTERPIECE THEATRE, when they finally knew they Had It. Cooke introduced the movie as a rare departure from British offerings, this Commonwealth, and frankly much more Canadian offerings should find their way to American television. GLORY ENOUGH is an excellent example.

(Sir) Frederick is shown with all his warts. The academic politics involving MacLeod was completely unknown to me, as was the amazing intersection with the famous Hughes family in the United States. I am fascinated with -- or a sucker for -- stories of human creativity, and biomedical research is as dramatic as anything we do. Throw in the elements of the young underdogs struggling with questions abandoned by better-equipped researchers, then the rivalries that can plague academic inquiry (they are personally no better than the rest of us), and you have a story of epic proportions.

Unlike the story of the Dion "quints," you will not see this on gringo prime time television. No use losing your audience with their remote changers during the brief exposition on endocrinology. Warning: there is no gun play or a car chase, and no smash-bang scene cuts. FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.

I second the motion but for different reasons, 24 October 2004

Yes, MOTORCYCLE DIARIES is a right good film (reserving judgment about "superb) but it is more than a "road movie" as fascinating as it is, filmed "on location(s)" most of which I have never visited. The film is a decent attempt to relate an important episode in the young lives of both Granado and Guevara destined for important historical roles.

A few years ago I read the new door-stopper of the latter's biography. All the incidents/ places were in it, although I cannot recall the night time incident in the Amazon. There were so many witnesses that it must be true. The book was also "shy" on Guevara's insecurity with the opposite sex while young, that part no doubt coming from the more wild Granado. A coupe of pretty amusing incidents were left out, one in particular about their accidentally voiding from a second storey window on a farmer's peach drying platform. They bloody well had to run for it!

In any case, this is a fine picture and not just for those consumed with the cult of "Che" or those of tender years who wonder about the man behind the famous revolutionary portrait. They were odd, crazy lads and those males of us far into middle age are bound to be a mite humbled by their adventures and big dreams.

2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Epilogue or is it reprise?, 23 October 2004

Well it seems THE NEW PEOPLE is back in another, more contemporary, guise. Not by that title, of course, but the young-and-telegenic-people-stranded-on-an-island series which just hit the airwaves is smack dab of that theme, but with to-day's twist: SURVIVOR with monsters.

I do not know the name of this programme which I certainly will never see, but instead of the social commentary ca. 1970 we get "reality t.v." plus PREDATOR or ALIEN. Instead of tabula raza for a speck of mankind (St. Thomas's UTOPIA?), we get sacrifice of the attractive to the evil gods, the Minotaur and all that.

Bring back the old series. I saw so few episodes maybe it will do me good.

Code 46 (2003)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A fine film with the usual "buts" . . ., 2 September 2004

I agree with the commentator in Sydney that CODE 46 needed "fleshing out," that it was heavy on the atmospheric, impressionistic.

It is bad manners and boring to go into a lot of detail or spoil others' viewing, but there are two and a half things I did not like:

a) At times the dialogue was so subtle, so sotto voce, that I was missing things. My hearing is probably not what it used to be or maybe the print was a tad muddy, but I was in a small house and listening carefully, and this understatement was tough to follow more than once.

b) As said in this site before, I am fed up with injecting skin, and at one point rather a lot of it, to keep Generation X awake in their seats. CODE 46 had three -- count 'em -- three heavy love scenes, about two too many. We know he loved his wife, already!

3) The climax was taken lock, stock, and barrel from a famous "California noir" film. Naturally my lips are sealed.

This film is worth seeing even if, as another commentator said, there is the overly heavy influence of BLADE RUNNER and GATTACA. For one thing, crime doesn't pay, especially if you are a small fish. Moreover, note the social implications/ abuse of new technologies, what an emerging global culture will look like (the espanol and francais being thrown around), and the inhuman gigantism which emerged in the twentieth and will be triumphant in the twenty-first century . . . until, one hopes, refinement settles in after that.

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Soft porn passing as historical fiction, 16 August 2004

I was quite taken in, the Spring of '68 in one of the epicentres of 1960s revolutionary consciousness -- Paris --(safer than Prague). THE DREAMERS was a "must see," even advertised in THE NEW YORK TIMES on line service as story headers.

A man of principle would have walked out. This is the "innocent abroad" who becomes involved in a menage a trois with French sophisticates. Lots of confused young people wondering what they are about showing a lot of skin where a story might have been. Oh, yes, the barracades: in the final scene and some location shooting at the beginning, so for a story set in an interesting time according to the come-on, it was a sandwich made backward.

I was very much alive in 1968. NO ONE wore white socks with dark shoes, and certainly not a young guy from San Diego. Unless you are young and want what passes for psychological study mixed with skin, give THE DREAMERS a miss.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
As a teen-ager it "blew me away" in the movie house . . ., 8 August 2004

and was just as gripping when re-released in 1988. The local P.B.S. station showed it a week ago, I think to thumb their noses at the "re-make" if that thing on steroids can be dignified with the name.

The cinematography was stunning, and the black-and-white gave the film a balefulness from which colour might have distracted. There are some small items which even my uneducated eye caught, however:

- Senator Iselin is rather too much the hapless buffoon, why in a moment. I found the depiction of the character so central to the "plot" hard to swallow. True, the director/ writers wanted to make Mrs Iselin a powerhouse, but it was not necessary to create a flaccid man to make her the puissant woman.

-Raymond was so wooden that he was at times unbelievable (note the fine head of hair rarely mussed), again no doubt to set off his dynamic mother. Almost by way of contradiction, Mr Harvey was a good choice. I recall in BUTTERFIELD 8 that when he tried to show emotion, Harvey always looked like he was going to split a gut, so this unpleasant version of a STAR TREK Vulcan was a role made for him.

- Does anyone REALLY think a woman who meets a border-line mental case in a train is going to give him her address and telephone number? (That said, it is one of the most charming scenes in CANDIDATE.)

Returning to Iselin. The novel was published in 1957, the same year Joseph P. "Tail-gunner Joe" McCarthy died. This story is a satire on McCarthyism! "Tail-gunner" was nothing like Iselin, rather as nasty as the Missus. The thesis turns right-wing paranoia -- a salient feature of American political culture -- on its head, to-wit: how to use American political culture against itself. A jab from the "right" is really a haymaker from the "left." The science fiction angle of post brain-washing manipulation is just the vehicle to make larger social commentary. Note how Americans bend over to make themselves vulnerable to a cynical element "within," a story especially for our times.

De-Lovely (2004)
Great (and more than a little sad)., 7 August 2004

Save for a very few facts about Cole Porter, and obviously his music, I knew nothing of the subject when tucking into DE LOVELY. For anyone of a musical bent this film is must-see, and the same goes for those interested in an important chapter of American culture.

Porter's music is everywhere in this series of flash-backs embedded in a phantasy, even adding some during the credits for extra measure. I noticed how many of the (mainly older) audience stayed for all of them. The personnel are tours de force, cinematography arresting. For a "portrait of an artist," DE LOVELY is a worthy and less dreary companion to POLLACK.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Alright, "upon rehearing" as in court decisions . . ., 19 July 2004

perhaps I was just a mite harsh. Part of my "problem" is there is SO much science fiction to-day as opposed to when I was young, well, one becomes stuffy.

Yes, it was spectacular as they tried for an epic. I was unaware there was a previous story which so many of you liked, and apparently RIDDICK was trying to "do it up brown." Yes, as a European commentator said, there was analogy to 20th century nihilistic totalitarianisms. I also assert there is nothing wrong with "escapism," in fact most of literature great and not so great is just that.

What I insist was hackneyed and tiresome were the cardboard characters and ginned up "action," the only way to keep Generation Y awake in their seats. There are not the most focused people, none yet beyond teen-agers, so movies must imitate their computer games to gain an audience.

Perhaps I should see the prior film. I will certainly not see the third of this series. The mountainous dude in black baggy pants with the comic book lines and the naked theft from Ridley Scott and the lithe, super-resourceful heroine . . . quite enough thanks.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Right good -- for a seventeen year old . . ., 18 July 2004

too bad I am in my fifties and had an afternoon matinee to tempt me. A previous commentator calls RIDDICK a "mediocre mess," but my own reaction differs, as in pure drivel. Of course, one might actually like non-stop "action" to use the euphemism for violence, running around like nuts, and "effects" phantasmagoria.

Allowing the difficulty of coming up with anything really new in s.f., this film has taken from DUNE, ALIEN (+ progeny), INDEPENDENCE DAY, STAR TREK's Borg, and name any Ah-nold movie. The lead is a monotonic hulk in black, cut in the torso to reveal all that upper body mass. The inevitable very liberated kick-'em-in-the-butt heroine has her long black tresses periodically over her face in the most sickening au courrant style -- not what one expects in a penal colony inmate, thanks.

I too was surprised to see the talented Frau Dench in RIDDICK, but must admit being suckered in when seeing the fine Canadian actor Colm Fiore on the bill. He has come a long, long way since playing Prime Minister Trudeau, but the money is a helluva lot better. His rendition of a cardboard evil imperator made me squirm -- for him.

The commentator, supra, expressed irritation with the ending and I concur, a tawdry come-on to a sequel I will not see.

Two notes of mild approbation, too bad wasted on this movie: a) An Islamic society shaped to memories of Earth is clever, a mite like Dune. b) The diurnal changes on the Mercury-like planet were fascinating, although more the coronal effects by its star than the geology/ meteorology of the surface, done for suspense. Look at Mercury. Even if he were closer to the Sun there would not be all that violent weathering with every turn of the planet, and if so, only for a few million years with the surface completely pulverised. One must admit, however, that such a world is new to science fiction, at least to my knowledge. These consideration do not soften my central thesis, however.

The Reckoning (2002/II)
0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Not bad, and do not be put off by a cliche title., 23 June 2004

I am a sucker for this kind of film, i.e. historical drama in some exotic place (for a North American). There is a lot going on:

The redemption of a fallen padre as exemplar of a Church in need of reformation, a hypothesis about the beginning of western drama -- after all, SOMEBODY had to come up with the idea -- and the strange paths that the human psyche can take when a man presides over society but also cut off from it. Mix this in with a Europe not recovered economically or psychologically from the after-shocks of the Black Death, possibly three, and you have an interesting situation. Then too, there is the mystery story . ...

The physical setting seems meticulously recreated insofar as I can judge as a non-mediaeval scholar. Certainly more than one good woman practised medicine without a license for the people a physician would not bother to see. A sharp-featured nobleman with a Pan's beard in red leather strikes one as much, but as a type specimen he is fascinating. Dafoe is wonderful. Even though a bit "Hollywood," as foretold by the angry dyer the final scene symbolises what is in store for the whole mediaeval order.

Page 1 of 8:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [Next]