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43 reviews in total 
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45 out of 88 people found the following review useful:
Gratuitous Violence Does Not A Religious Experience Make, 4 April 2004

OK, here are the major problems with this movie:

1) "pornographic levels" of gratuitous violence, so you are just numb from being inundated with graphic images. My best analogy would be if Mel Gibson filmed the horrible killing in Iraq in minute detail, say from shooting, firing up the cars, dragging bodies through the streets, tie bodies up on bridges while kids dance around. All in Technicolor close-ups and slow-motion. Or it would be like a 3-hour long watching the Hindenburg disaster in 1938 up close & personal.

It basically reduces the Christian religious experience to "wow, Jesus had it nasty, he went through all that for you" whilst ignoring the horrible human (and religious history) all around the world of people dying & killing in horrible & disgusting & nasty (even nastier than what Jesus went through) for "what they believed in." If it were, say, a "slasher film" being released like this (i.e. this level of detail etc) it would be banned worldwide or at least get an "X" rating.

2) The use of the "Satan" character and the "demon-baby" effects are absurd and are at the level of 20-year old horror flicks, in addition to making things absurdly simplistic. Similar to the absurd scene of the "bad unrepentent criminal" on the cross who happens to have ravens pluck out his eyes for his "blasphemy."

3) It just doesn't "scan" --- so we are to believe God loves everything & everyone fully --- but the worst humans in the film aren't as bad as this psychotic evil and petty "God" who causes this mess in the first place! I mean, how can Judas & Pontius Pilate or Caiaphus be really that bad if they are just pawns in the game of an omnipotent God?

It's like calling disgust watching "Faces of Death" as a "religious experience." For all of those raving about how great this is I wish they'd go and watch something that has a "religious experience" and can hopefully make them think such as Ingmar Berman's "Seventh Seal."

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Tells It Like It Is, Which May Be Hard To Handle, 24 March 2003

As an American living in the UK, I waited until I moved out to see this movie. I actually think it handles the gun hysteria & violence fairly. The media & advertising does give a culture of "consumerism through fear" which I always read about (e.g. "Manufacturing Consent" etc) but never realized until I moved out of the US. And Moore shows the NRA as it is, a group that moved from encouraging guns via sportsmanship (e.g. target shooting contests etc) to a quasi-fascist ultra-right political movement. The zeal with which they have "meetings" (which are Republican political rallies basically) right in the communities after there's a tragic shooting (school shooting) is disgusting.

And Charlton "Moses" Heston's refusal to acknowledge let alone apologize for being insensitive to a community in mourning just reinforces the point. But the movie certainly doesn't blame it on the availability of guns alone. The NRA-Freeper-zeal (probably the ones who voted this movie with the lowest rating possible) is really overdone once again for these types that have a single knee-jerk reaction whenever they feel their "right to bear arms" is threatened. I think it's more based around the culture of fear & death in America, not to mention the hypocrisies of the war machine (i.e. you can have Lockheed making enormous missiles to kill millions in suburban Colorado but the press turns the school shootings into a media circus).

People Are Panning This, But Gushing Over Lord of the Rings?, 29 December 2002

Now wait a minute, I love Tolkien and think the LOTR are great, but I'm shocked that "Two Towers" is now ranked #10 on IMDB with a 9.0 rating and Gangs of New York is way down off the list at a (currently) 7.8 rating. I thought Scorcese did an excellent job and although I am no fan of Leo, he wasn't all that bad. Of course Daniel Day Lewis was great and the supporting actors were excellent.

It was nice for once to see a historical movie of epic proportions that wasn't just a jingoistic postcard and showed America in all the nasty xenophobic and blood & guts glory. And it allows you to draw parallels with current events and our own little xenophobia and political crimes of today, which is what good history should do no matter what Henry Ford said. Perhaps there was a bit too much gratuitous violence but then again can you really sugar-coat a Civil War battle or a lynch mob or just the mob in general? Everybody was a villain in the film, just as often in real life there are no real heros to look up to. Leo's character "Amsterdam" was every bit as bloodthirsty as Lewis' Bill Cutting; if not worse since at least Bill fights in hand-to-hand combat while Leo prefers to sneak up through the ranks and presumably pull an "inside job."

It's just too bad that so many people just looking for the latest "shock & grab" miss some of the bigger themes of the movie; yet they presumably find all sorts of "meaningful" things in "Eight Mile" and LOTR.

A Christmas Carol (1999) (TV)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Has Some Good Spots, Kind of Overrated Here, 24 December 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I like Patrick Stewart but thought his performance was a bit stilted. There are some very good effects & scenes (spoilers follow) -- I thought the Marley/spirits wandering over the earth trying (and failing) to help the downtrodden was well done; as well as when the Ghost of Christmas Present took Scrooge around the world & coast to see people celebrating Christmas in jail, lighthouse, a rollicking ship, a Victorian-era steel mill (complete with Christmas & Scrooge on top of a big slag heap). It felt a little more "Dickensian" than more recent adaptations but some of the forced acting made me cringe (I thought Stewart at the end going "mad" in celebration was absurd).

2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
What's all the hubbub?, 26 June 2002

This is one of the worst films I've ever seen. The acting is atrocious except perhaps for Billy Bob's son & father. Halle is a joke. It's an embarassment for a real-actor Denzel Washington to get an award the same night in that "history making moment." Basically she screams a lot and shows her boobs. And for a real laugh check her out trying to act like an actual southern struggling black woman in the drunk/first-time-with-Billy-Boy scene. And Billy Bob isn't much better. The sex-scenes are gratuitous and not even hot (even with Halle's body or the hooker). I can only assume Hollywood was on crack for even considering awards for this movie.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Good Movie, But Perhaps Overrated?, 17 January 2002

I took a long time to rent this movie; and I had always heard it was a classic. The first I knew about it was the beautiful music, theme by Stanley Myers (I had the guitar sheet music). So I was expecting a classic film.

Well it is a good film but I thought there were a lot of holes in it. The "Russian roulette" theme gets pretty old (from POW jungle horror to Saigon gambling room) and unbelievable. Stephen breaks his leg falling from a helicopter; and when you see him back in the USA he's a double amputee refusing to leave the VA hospital? Nick becomes a brainwashed Russian roulette player/gambler exactly how? And he inexplicably survives this dangerous career for years until Michael finally gets there as the US is leaving Saigon in '75?

Considering the pains the director took to show us the background of this Russian-American steeltown PA community I kind of thought it was odd to leave out so much. And the relationship between Meryl Streep/DeNiro/Walken was so facile that the love triangle in "Pearl Harbor" seemed more plausible.

I don't mean to be too critical, it was good entertainment (I give it 8 of 10). But there are better films about Vietnam, such as Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket."

Limelight (1952)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Very good, but missed opportunities, 12 April 2001

I really liked this film, and I thought Chaplin & Claire Bloom gave great performances. I really wish that Charles could have made more use of Buster Keaton however. It seems like a great opportunity to unite two comic geniuses was missed in their scene together. It was akin to reuniting the Beatles in 1979 just to have them play one short song.

X-Men (2000)
Good fun 8 of 10, 8 April 2001

It's a pretty good fun movie especially if you're into that sci-fi comic book stuff. It gets a little "hokey" in spots but nowhere near as far as something like "Starship Troopers" (which may just be trying to be "campy" on purpose). The acting from Ian McKellen & Patrick Stewart is very good; the rest are OK. Special effects & audio (on the DVD at least) make this a good rental or buy to test out your system.

Bedazzled (2000)
Pretty good sequel/update to the original, 6 April 2001

I'm a big fan of the original Peter Cook/Dudley Moore "Bedazzled" but unlike many of the naysayers here I didn't think Ramis' version was that bad. I give it an 8 and the original a 10. It was entertaining; and a pretty good update of the original for modern times. These are really timeless themes anyway; but if this movie got people to check out the original or even other stuff by Cook & Dudley then more power to Ramis, Hurley, and Fraser. I thought Fraser did a pretty good job and Hurley was excellent. I hope she continues to get other comedy roles that let her do more stuff than just look hot and be a sidekick for Austin Powers.

Chaplin (1992)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A much better film than you can tell from the IMDB reviews, 14 March 2001

I'm pretty surprised this film gets a 6.8 rating while historical dreck like "Titanic" is at 7.2. "Chaplin" is a very good film. If Attenborough put in the entire Chaplin autobiography; I imagine the nay-sayers here would then complain about the length of the movie. It's a very well balanced film. The only flaw is the continual connections of Chaplin's first love with all of his wives until his final "perfect" wife Oona (as she's played by the same actress as his first love). But Attenborough's direction is excellent, as is Downey's acting.

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