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nicholas.rhodes

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390 reviews in total 
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For Sasha (1991)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Excellent music and photography - rather a shocker for me !, 18 March 2006
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Parisians Richard Berry and Sophie Marceau have left France and moved to live on an Israeli Kibbutz. One day, in early June 1967, three male friends from Paris turn up unexpectedly to visit them. Another girl, Myriam, also a member of the group and who had also loved Richard Berry in the past, has already committed suicide. One of the three male visitors, having felt unrequited love for Myriam, holds Sophie Marceau responsible for her death and intends to make a speech on the subject and drive the nail home on Sophie Marceau's birthday. Two of the other male visitors are vying for the love of Sophie Marceau, but in vain for her heart is in Richard Berry's hands. All this seems all so insignificant when, in 1967 the first explosions of the six day war hit the area.

I most of all loved this film's soundtrack, especially the magnificent SHELEG-AL-IRI ( Snow falls on my city ) by Naomi Schemer. The photography, sets and kibbutz atmosphere is very well rendered and these are the main strong points of the film. For someone who has never seen the Israeli countryside and heard Israeli music, it is quite an eye opener.

The viewer is lulled into a sense of tranquility and exoticism to such a point that when war strikes, he/she is completely taken by surprise, even though we know something is in the offing and military vehicles are never far away.

Most of the characters speak French, which seems completely out of place in a place like Israelwhere you would expect the characters to speak Hebrew or possibly a little English. This appears implausible and detracts from the believability of the film.

Nevertheless I have viewed the film about 4 times and like it a little more on each viewing. Apart from Marceau and Berry, the other actors were unknown to me. It should be stated that Arcady has a reputation for making films set in mediterranean countries such as Algeria.

I'm sorry to put a damper on things but would warn would-be viewers that the final scenes of the film are VERY distressing and I admit having to turn my face away from the TV on several occasions. People who do not like to see the damage done by war to human beings should avoid this film, if not they will be very upset by what they see. This contrasts markedly with the easy-going, lighthearted kibbutz atmosphere in the first half. There is notably an anguishing few minutes when the troops enter the city of Jerusalem and touch the Wailing Wall.

The film is now ( Sept 2007 ) available on a DVD in France with a reasonably good print copy, but unfortunately lacking in subtitles except when hebrew is spoken and French subtitles occur. The notable novelty in the DVD issue is a second disc which is none other than the WHOLE CD OF THE SOUNDTRACK. Yes, you heard correct ! If only DVD's included the soundtrack on cd more often !! All in all for 15 euros you can't complain.

Anyone interested in Israel, its countryside, kibbutzes and its music should find pleasure in this film, but as I said will probably find the final scenes distressing.

Final Justice (1998) (TV)
7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Like it more with each viewing !, 3 March 2006
8/10

I have always thoroughly enjoyed films, like "Star Chamber" or the Charles Bronson vigilante movies where people take the law into their own hands to redress the wrong done by a decaying and unfair justice system. In this particular film Annette O'Toole gives an extremely moving, emotional and lifelike performance of a young lady aggrieved by the brutal murder of her brother who cannot bear to see his murderer get off scot free due to the garbage and slander spilled before the court by the pompous and greedy Merle Hammond. Technically one may argue that she should not have taken Hammond prisoner but rather the judge himself who let the murderer off but this film implies that Hammond's defense was so powerful and persuasive that the judge had no other alternative ! That is a matter for debate but the fact is that Hammond was the chosen victim and it there is a real feel good factor in seeing him humiliated ! The film contains good storyline and also a memorable music score. The ending is extremely touching and laid back .... no gloating over victory ... just the feeling of "having done the necessary to be able to continue with her life". A very laudable piece of cinema which confirms Annette O'Toole as one of my favourite actresses, very human, very real and also very fragile at the same time !

Road Rage (1999) (TV)
Difficult to take sides, 1 March 2006
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A pretty good suspense film with some hairy moments although some of the events are hard to believe and the final crash is rather over-dramatic. To be quite frank, the lady Ellen ( Bleeth) brought this on herself with her bad driving at the beginning ( also, you'd have to be completely MAD to drive at the same time as holding a telephone receiver !!) so it's difficult to feel any real sympathy for her initially as she is just getting paid back for being so stupid to cut the other guy off. But obviously they guy is intent on making her pay for all his woes and this is where the film becomes more interesting and tense. But in a real-life situation I cannot see someone getting away with things in the way that Madden did. You feel that he was allowed this license uniquely to make the film tense and sensational, and it's true that to a certain extent it works. The other thing is, how could her step daughter be so dumb as to believe Madden when he presented himself as a recruiter from the University of California and to just leave with him on the faith that he said he had the OK from her stepmother ? The question I ask myself is : are human beings really that dumb and stupid ?

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Not bad but lacking in plot detail, 25 February 2006
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I do like Brian Dennehy as an actor but find that he usually fares better in "goodie" roles than "baddie" ones which is the case in this film. Religion over the years has often been misused by certain members of the human race to carry out acts of murder and cleansing. WHether the acts are good or bad all depends on how you yourself view religion - there is no hard and fast rule here ! This film starts out on the premise that killing in the name of religion is wrong and William Devane ( whom I adore as well ) sets out to track Ervil Le Baron all the way to Mexico, but the task seems more difficult than he at first imagined. I just personally have difficulty seeing Brian Dennehy in an evil role and therefore was not overly convinced by his performance ! When he says's he's had "visions", it just really is not very convincing !! The picture quality of the film is grainy and outdated, which is a bit of a shame. I would have preferred a bit more attention to detail and a more convincing lead role on the part of Dennehy. But the film certainly has good moments even though some of the performances appear unconvincing.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
What a fuss about nothing !, 25 February 2006
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was sorry to see my one of my much-loved favourite actresses, Melissa Gilbert, starring in trollop of this nature ! Apparently she is seeking to have a baby, goes to see a specialist on the advice of a friend, a specialist who promises artificial insemination. Well, the baby is born and our friend Gilbert is quite happy with her new son when suddenly there is some doubt raised about the identity of the sperm donor - indeed it may well be the Doctor Cecil Jacobson himself !! This all results in a lawsuit !! Sounds typically American to me this lawsuit business ! So what, who really cares one iota who the doner of the sperm is, the main thing is that Melissa Gilbert has her long desired child ! I cannot see where the harm done is and quite frankly consider this film to be pointless in whatever message it purports to deliver. I can only imagine that you have to have been born or brought up in the USA to sympathise with the protagonists !

The Perfect Wife (2001) (TV)
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Not for the faint-hearted !, 25 February 2006
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Globally this was a pretty good TV movie but certainly not to be recommended for those with a weak heart. The character of Liza is one of the most evil and scheming I have ever seen, and quite frankly, frightening. The only annoying thing was the apparent naivety of Robert who seemed quite oblivious to all those dying around him and not having a hint of suspicion that his new wife had something to do with it. That said, the methods of killing used by Liza are pretty twisted .... administering of lethal drugs, falsifying labels, anonymous phone calls. Quite frankly the only person I really liked in the story was his first wife Helen and Greta the maid. In some ways I thought that Robert was so stupid, short-sighted and naive that he deserved what was coming his way. The end could have taken place when he managed to get the car out of the garage and Helen arrived. The final scene seems to have been tacked on and was totally superfluous and risks leaving the spectator remembering the silly end to what was in fact quite a suspenseful film. Seriously though this is not for the faint hearted as there is a lot of nervous tension for the duration of the work !

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Relatively entertaining but lacking in credibility, 22 February 2006
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's difficult for me to give a totally accurate assessment of this film for the following reasons 1) I am totally subdued by the physical, oral and characterial beauty of Jaclyn Smith as the main character and 2) the film script would appear to be lacking in credibility. But I do enjoy films that illustrate the changes in peoples' character between two points in time, even if a change towards the negative causes me anguish ( I prefer a character that starts out bad and ends up good !! ) In this film then, much as I love Jaclyn Smith in the part of the main character, its just not believable ! Her husband-to-be shows us a sample of his violence BEFORE they even get married and she still goes ahead and marries him ??? No human being in their right mind would do that, and if they do, quite frankly they deserve all they get !! That is my main bone of contention, also Jaclyn Smith is portrayed in an angelic light throughout the film and her husband comes over as an evil bastard. As the film is based on what is supposed to be a true story ( if so, it's unknown here in Europe ), and in true life, nothing is all black or all white, I am tempted to believe that the husband was probably far less bad than was portrayed and that she was not a saint ! To what degree exactly I don't know as I don't have the evidence. The film makes for interesting watching, more so the first than the second half but as I say, I derived a lot of pleasure from the choice of actress for the main part !

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Runs out of steam after the first thirty-five minutes !, 22 February 2006
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The original Time Machine film of the 1960's was a classic and a memorable film with an emphasis on time travel and good period reconstitution. This "remake" if it can be thus termed does not give me the same impression ! The first thirty five minutes,i.e. the time our hero takes to actually reach the year 802701, are quite thrilling what with him trying to thwart the death of his fiancée, visit to a science museum in about the year 2030 and the awesome possibility of a broken-up moon wreaking havoc on earth. The main voyage through time, where our hero is unconscious in his machine and the modification of the earth's crust etc is well-done, special effects and soundtrack-wide ! So much for the good part but that only represents 35 minutes of the film. Once he has arrived at his final destination, things become frankly quite boring and soporific, and the whole set looks like some kind of prehistoric adventure film - you almost forget that it was a time-travel film in the first place and time travel doesn't even enter into the script. I was hoping that he would end up returning to his own time at the end of the film but there was not even that saving grace ! One feels that in this film, the time-travel aspect was just a starting-off point for a banal adventure film depicting conflict between two classes of people, the Eloi and the Morlocks whereas in the original film, these same creatures/beings were part of the film without necessarily dominating it to the same extent, and in the remake there is certainly a lot more unnecessary violence than in the original, presumably to satisfy todays audiences' thirst for this. In the year 802701, apart from English people are speaking another language. We are not told what this language is, and there are no subtitles during the passages where the people are speaking it - an INCREDIBLE oversight on the part of the film director as how is ANYONE supposed to understand. The introduction of Jeremy Irons as a super Morlock or whatever he's called is also superfluous and overblows the whole affair. I can understand the film pleasing a certain type of person who enjoys adventure films of the 21st century but I cannot see it over-pleasing true time-travel addicts as the final hour is little given over to that aspect. But I do have the film on DVD and usually watch those first thirty five minutes before turning it off or putting on something else. The passage of time throughout the initial voyage is impressive and reinforces my anguish at the fact that in the earth's history, our own passage as human beings on this planet for a tiny fraction of the total time the planet has been and will be in existence, is something VERY VERY difficult to accept !

3 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Tedious, uninteresting limited plot and definitely overrated, 16 January 2006
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I ordered the DVD of this on the sole knowledge that it was a time-travel film and imagining that it couldn't NOT be fun - and unfortunately came to regret my purchase on watching the said film although I actually watched the DVD three times in the hope that I could glean more interest the second and third time round. But no, my overall opinion did not change. This is for a number of reasons, firstly the dialogues are mostly unintelligible, they are very strong Scottish/Irish accents, there should be subtitles but there aren't any, so, basically, if you are not Scottish/Irish, you're up a gum tree. If English is not your mother tongue, you can forget the film completely ! Second thing is picture quality which is very amateur compared to similar type films made in Hollywood, thirdly, there is little interaction between the people from the 14th century and the people from the 20th - the fun about time-travel films is exactly the interaction which serves to construct a plot. Our band of miners, although "physically" in the 20th century, remain for the most part amongst themselves, and I would even query the logic of certain of their reactions faced with modern conveniences such as lorries and television sets.

Here we have people tunnelling through a mine in Cumbria and ending up in New Zealand. Even if they were very fit, it's just nonsense, there's also the boy who dreams it all in advance but we don't know why.

The worst failing of the film is it's almost perpetual dark and night. I intensely dislike films that take place all the time at night. Human beings are generally sleeping at night, whatever country they may be in so it doesn't make sense to make a film of this nature take place in the middle of the night - unless we are talking about a night watchman who's gone off on a time travel adventure - but this is not the case. So why make most of the sets in pitch dark, it's unnatural and you get the impression, rightly or wrongly that the film maker is trying to hide some inadequacies, whatever they may be.

Lastly I'm not into medieval dress and costume - I am a person of the 20th century and am open to time travel around 200 or 300 years but the 14th century is a little too far back for me ! The film is the antithesis of another time travel film which I equally detested called the 12 monkeys - that was too extreme in the other way, incomprehensible plot, too many special effects to the point of becoming boring. In this film, the plot is just not strong enough to engender emotion, and there is no romance, which is a big "minus" in time travel films.

As far as time travel goes, I'm more of a "Portrait-of-Jennie", Somewhere in time, For all time, cream-in-my-coffee person - I don't like the extremist ends of the scale, either too primitive (this film) or too overdone ( many others).

I cannot possible recommend this film to anyone seeking an exciting and coherent time travel adventure ....the only possible use would appear to be a cure for radical insomnia.

23 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
This really is is what being human is all about !, 8 January 2006
10/10

Unvrivalled in the history of cinema and having just watched it again for the umpteenth time, I thought a short review on IMDb was necessary. I have watched the film regularly for the last twenty years and never tire of its humour, its tenderness, its wit, its romance, its general actors' performance and the originality of its subject matter. Never have tears and laughs been so much intermingled in the same film..I was gushing tears in the scene where Deeds hands a poem which Babe reads in the fog on her doorstep ... a few minutes later Deeds goes running off home, tripping up over a dustbin in the process and I was howling with laughter ... likewise the long passage in the courtroom when Deeds finally decides to "speak up" has me in fits of laughter over its finesse and wit. The final scene, where Deeds comes back to the almost empty courtroom to "collect" Babe who had been sitting by herself there once again started off my waterworks as he picks her up and tenderly embraces her all over the place. Indeed that final "kiss" is one of the photos featured on France's 3rd TV channel's "Cinéma-Club" on most Sunday nights.

They are truly indeed a BEAUTIFUL couple in all senses of the world. I will not go through the story of the film again as this has been more than amply related by others but suffice it to say I have never seen any other film made with quite this calibre and actors' performance. Ineed this is the type of film that could only be made once ! Each character is extremely well developed and each actor/actress has exactly the physique of the character they play - an absolutely perfect match, one of those "one-off" films where everything combines to make for the spectator's perfect pleasure.

What a shame that in the twenty first century we cannot produce films of this calibre using story line, actors' performance and plot alone - to obtain thrills from present-day audiences, large quantities of excessive noise, flashing lights and especially computer-generated imagery are necessary .... all this at the expense of plot and of the humour and witty lines. But, with modern technology being a double-edged knife, we should nevertheless thank God for it's enabling us to henceforth be able to appreciate these "golden oldies" for years to come !


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