Reviews written by registered user
vcravens

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12 reviews in total 
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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Holly Go, lightly here, 27 July 2004

I've always loved this movie. It is so not completely true to the book.

If Capote had had his way, Marilyn would have done Holly as an

outright hooker and Paul would have been openly gay. Be a good

remake to do it that way, actually.

Whatever. It's a much sweeter movie for those edges being

blurred, and the sub-text obscured. It's a moment in time, so it

really does seem to capture something about the transition from

late fifties to early sixties, from small-town striving to big-city life,

from hidden sexuality to more openness. But I don't know that, I'm

too young.

My favorite parts are actually the Buddy Ebsen scenes, and

whenever Holly talks about her brother Fred. They're very corny, but

they are sort of the glue that makes the film work. Besides all the

small bits - "giving the cat a name, " the shop-lifting scene, the

party scene. Those are all good story-telling.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
What's not to like?, 22 November 2003

There's a reason this movie has staying power, maybe because

its meaning has shifted from whatever it was meant to be in 1964.

It's a great movie for thoughtful and creative kids, which is to say all

of them. Its surrealist, with the heightened sense of absurdity seen

with Ed Wood films, or early John Waters... just with content that is

kid-safe and kid-friendly.

Little kids watch holiday classics like "Wonderful Life," or "Miracle

on 34th," which are great, but they are targeted to adults. SCCM

seems also less condescending to the kid intellect than major

studio holiday releases - imagination has much to do with being

ridiculous and silly, and its there in the DIY sets and play-acting

aspect, the music and bad make-up and props. Kids can't imitate

cgi effects or elaborate scenes, but they can run around and

pretend to be martians or what-not.

Porky's (1982)
32 out of 53 people found the following review useful:
made me laugh, 6 September 2003

I saw it in middle school, thought it super-cool, and most of my

college friends had fond memories to share of sneaking in to see

it. The subject would come up over a game of quarters or

something.

Porky's isn't brilliant and maybe deserves a lot of socio-critical

dissection, but I just thought it was funny at the time. I don't know it

deserves film-critic attack - wasn't it low-budget and lucky to get

some mainstream distribution?

Anyway, my memories of Porky's made American Pie a lot more

funnier, too. The two would be a good movie night double feature.

Selena (1997)
south texas weighing in, 26 May 2002

I notice hardly any real fans of Selena or folks from South Texas

weighed in on these reviews. I saw her perform in person, when

she was just getting famous among Tejanos, and was living in

Mexico when she died. I didn't follow her career very closely, but I

read enough and enjoyed her music from the moment I heard it.

I can testify about the affect Selena had on her true fans in Mexico y

los estados unidos - the movie captures that, which is the point A.

Point B is being honest about how she achieved this, and the

roles that various family members played, and the movie fleshes

out the relationships well.

IMO, if that doesn't make it a great movie, it says more about the

cultural baggage of the viewer than anything else. It may not be

Academy Award stuff, but its a terrific movie and well worth seeing.

And Jennifer Lopez rocks, almost as well as Rebecca...

From Hell (2001)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Good, not great., 18 May 2002

I like this movie, but it missed an awful lot of marks. The cinematography and setting are just dark enough to remain acceptable, but not nearly dark enough for the story. The actors are all pretty good, with the exception of Coltrane and Holme who're terrific. Heather Graham had to act against the dewy-fresh and scrubbed-clean way they costumed her and set her lighting and camera angles, and both she and Depp had to deal with someone telling them to affect ridiculous, not to mention, uneven accents and speech patterns.

I don't think the Hughes Bros. were nearly brave or thoughtful enough to take on this project. They took very few risks and missed most of the visual and story characteristics that made the novel great. They ended up turning a very intellectual work into something more of an entertainment, and on the entertainment level, I thought the movie works. Just don't think too hard when you watch it, or expect anything approximating the novel. If that's the underlying message - that the Victorian era ushered in the age of entertainment over intellectual substance - then they came a bit close to making some sort of point.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
It's funny, and it informed Mad Max..., 17 April 2002

I don't seem to be reading much into this movie, compared to some. It's snarky, sarcastic, and the dog does pretty much act better than Don Johnson... or anyone else, including Jason Robards. With less make-up too. And yes, my sci-fi geek self likes it, and recognizes Mad Max as progeny. Like Mel Gibson had any better chops back in the day... Two paws up. Otherwise, I'd fall over.... seriously, this movie does have a statement (sociopolitico, whatever) and makes it well enough, Harlan Ellison aside from the argument, and recalling that it got released in 1975. Just because it doesn't hold up so well under content/FX dissection is no reason to diss it entirely. It's a cool little cult flik, well worth the rental, and fun to talk about

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Great movie, 16 March 2002

I've always loved this movie, and I think its a great bridge from the immediate post-WWII era to today, which might be why Baz Lurhmann quoted it so heavily in Moulin Rouge. The song, Nature Boy, pretty well opens and closes the movie and provides some of the most heavily sampled bits in the soundtrack, not to mention the signature line about "to love and be loved in return," is a direct lift from the song and, depending on viewpoint, the theme of the movie itself.

Plus there's the marvelous absinthe bit where Ewan McGregor's hair turns green, and everyone gets to see the Green Fairy. If that didn't trump Speilberg's blue fairy in Artificial Intelligence, I don't know what would.

I don't know that the cinematography is all that terrific, even given its age, and the whole thing is clearly meant to play on emotion, its quite melodramatic. But its a movie that lends itself to all sorts of interpretations, which is why I still like seeing it and recommending it to people. I've shown it to high-school classes, and they had all sorts of thoughts and impressions. I doubt anyone involved intended this movie to serve solely as a cold-war parable, I think they were shooting for something more open to interpretation, and to create a movie that would live and breathe, beyond its time-frame.

Anyway, I think its a terrific movie, and has everything to recommend it. Except production values and animatronic gee-gaws:)

7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Wings was a story, this a poem, 20 September 2001

To enjoy this movie, view it as a poem. It relies on the language of the heart and asks its viewers to see it as it truly is, through the same myopic eyes to try and understand a dream. There is the duality of existence we all face, mirrored through the experience of an angel who falls to earth, who falls precisely because he can no longer contain himself within the restrictions of his identity. The central metaphor of this movie is about the passion, truth and love we are all promised, should we choose to live life as we were meant. There are the difficulties of trying to live out our singular purpose, the disappointments of relation, the trials of being part of something greater than self. In all these, there is also the beauty inherent, and ultimate understanding. The triumph of beautiful release, when we realise that all that has gone before is both behind us and a part of what we are, and the relief of becoming an individual, and understanding and embracing aspirations gained and lost.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
YES!, 8 September 2001

I LOVE this movie. Sometimes I get nostalgic for it - on occasion, I actually cry. Because I no longer have a copy, I played it so many times, the tape just wore itself out. My first viewing stands next to a weekend-long John Waters marathon as cherished memory of being punked into the magical world of what gets termed as "cult."

The sights, sounds and actions are too just impossible to put into words, wildly creative, yet the whole thing is actually put together pretty tight, considering the clearly low budget and that you imagine the Elfmans were just like bribing their pals to show up and do stuff. The soundtrack, obviously, is the most fabuloso thing about it, but it works on lots of levels. If you have a copy, try playing it on MUTE and see what you think. If you've only seen it with recreational aids, you should try seeing it straight.

Come the revolution, this should be required viewing for all nine-year-olds and/or aspiring filmmakers. It's that good.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Beautiful, 8 September 2001

I thought this movie was terrific, but I think it is very difficult to find a true notion of what it is - everyone seems to have a different take, and that in itself sets this film apart from most of Spielberg's work, which I love, but find pretty transparent. It's clear that all the contact with Kubrick and his family paid off, and I loved all the nods to Kubrick classics.

I saw this movie as a fairy tale or myth requiring suspension of disbelief. From the earliest, individuals and cultures have developed mythologies and archetypes to help understand the changes in technology and society. We're no different today, except that we have more variety in story-telling methods, and can look to more advanced technics, industries and theory for source material.

What I find interesting is how people bring highly personalized back-stories to what they believe the story means, and here's some of mine, going backward. I thought that David's story was of the journey to his becoming an individual self. For me, he became "real" at the end. In the Third Act, he achieved a healthy, loving separation from his "mother" and acceptance of his disturbing origins.The referencing to dreams is symbolic of David achieving a sub-conscious, which implies his conscious mind. The Second Act relationship between David and Gigolo Joe ties into viewing the story this way - Joe is what David likely would have become as a young adult, and David represents both the childhood and potential full maturity that Joe is locked out from. So the two are driven to one another, and they each gain from the relationship. The first act is way Freudian - on second viewing, it creeped me out much more than the violence of the Flesh Fair. I wanted to cheer when David got out of the house, it seems he stood a much better chance in the real world, no matter how cruel that world was.

I followed up the movie with reading a quality translation of the original Pinocchio. I hated the story as a kid, and it can be read as a negative morality tale, designed to instill fear of authority, and overly complicit behavior. This movie did great at lifting elements from this tale, turning them on their head, and weaving them into a complicated story that is ultimately uplifting.


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