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|14 reviews in total|
I was surprised to discover that except for the Dicken's Christmas Carol ending, this movie is actually a traditional horror flick with training wheels for elementary school kids. Johnny Depp does a delightfully maladjusted mad scientist act, supported by an entire tribe of eager Igors. As in any Spam in a Cabin flick - the victims are picked off, one by one. A special acknowledgement should go to the person or persons who did the amazing hand knit blankets, scarves and sweaters featured in the scenes with the grandparents. If you enjoyed the art direction in this one, you might enjoy the 5,000 Fingers of Professor T.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This resulted in four well-deserved Academy Awards in 2002: Best Picture for Brian Grazer and the people at Imagine Entertainment, Ron Howard for his direction, Jennifer Connelly for her supporting role, and Akive Goldsman for his script adapted from Sylvia Nasar's biography. It is a beautiful and touching movie, uplifting and full of a lot of things that Hollywood does very well. Russell Crowe is believable as the arrogant yet vulnerable mathematician John Nash who fell into paranoid schizophrenia while an undergraduate at Princeton University. A philandering and selfish man who is paradoxically almost as lovable as Albert Einstein, Nash can also be humble and exhibit a wry, self-effacing sense of humor. To me he is a great hero, not because of his work in Game Theory for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics, but because he is one of the very few people ever to conquer, as it were, schizophrenia. In the outstanding documentary from The American Experience PBS series, "A Brilliant Madness" (2002) Nash explains how he did it: he just stopped listening to the voices. The voices that the paranoid schizophrenic hears are inside his head and they are amazingly persuasive; the delusions are as compelling as monstrous personages come to life, vivid, demanding, in many ways more "real" than the reality we normally experience. So it really was heroic of John Nash to come to grips with his delusions and to mentally shove them aside. The vast majority of paranoid schizophrenics can never do that. Yet the movie merely resembles his life and his singular experience. Goldsman's script and Howard's direction take the life of John Nash and distill the essence of his triumph while brushing aside many of the unpleasant and non-heroic details. I don't object to this because this movie is clearly aimed at the widest possible audience, and I appreciate the wisdom of that approach. But for those of you interested in a more comprehensive and objective picture of the man I can recommend both the documentary mentioned above and Nasar's biography. I especially found it valuable to view the one-hour documentary because to actually see the man and to hear him speak allowed me to better appreciate the fine performance by Russell Crowe. I found Jennifer Connelly absolutely mesmerizing as Alicia (not to mention gorgeous). Ed Harris was a hardcore graphic nightmare as the unrelenting Parcher while Paul Bettany was intriguing and clever as Nash's nonexistent buddy. Howard's direction not only got excellent work from everybody, but he was able to bring the pathos and exhilaration of Nash's life to the audience in a very satisfying way emotionally. If you can watch this without shedding a tear or two you may want to check your synaptic connections. Incidentally the makeup work on Crowe and Connelly to allow us the illusion of the passing years was outstanding (and got an Oscar nomination). The key to the movie and to Howard's vision is the way that the real world and the Nash's delusional world are meshed. It's clear he wanted to compel the audience to share the paranoid schizophrenic experience. While not a paranoid schizophrenic myself I have known people who are, and I have had similar, limited experiences myself under certain, shall we say, circumstances. The sheer terror that can sometimes be felt came through in the car chase scene (yes, Howard managed to get one in) while Nash's obsessive energy was revealed on the walls of the rooms that he had completely covered with pages from magazines that he had frantically searched looking for secret Soviet codes. Some quibbles: while undergraduates loved beer then as they do now, they did not in 1946 go out for pizza, and if they had they would have called it "pizza pie." There were no pizza parlors and no pizza at the market. If you went to an Italian restaurant you had spaghetti or ravioli, and the pizza that was served was mostly bread with a thin topping of cheese and sauce, nothing like the great thin platters we have today. New Zealander Russell Crowe's West Virginia accent faded in some scenes only to return strong in another. Incidentally he is not to be confused with Cameron Crowe, who wrote the script for Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) and directed such films as Jerry Maguire (1996) and Almost Famous (2000). Russell Crowe has starred in a number of excellent movies including Proof (1991), LA Confidential (1997), The Insider (1999), etc. Also, no mention in the movie is made of Nash's homosexual experiences nor of his running away to Europe or his desire to renounce his US citizenship. I understand that Howard decided to leave out the homosexual angle because associating homosexuality with schizophrenia would open a can of worms that would detract from the theme of the movie. Also left out was Nash's other paternity with a woman he never married. Nash is not a saint, but he is a hero, and this beautiful movie is a fine tribute to him and his accomplishments.
...where the whole world is going to be destroyed and only some obscure nobody in the middle of nowhere could possibly save us! Oh, it is? Okay. The science fiction part of this left a lot to be desired. Being the closet geek that I am, I have to honestly say, I was completely disappointed with the science fiction part of it. The technical details, the reasons they wanted THIS man instead of someone trained for space duties... I just find that my suspension of disbelief fails me here, and I simply found myself saying, "Yeah, right." However, that being said, the humor of the story is great. It's subtle, not in your face, and Willis, as always, has some excellent sarcastic zingers done in such a subtle way, that the laughter just sneaks up on you. Comedy is a nice twist for him. In the end, I honestly have to say that I was not expecting what happened. I figured, "Oh, this is going to be sad, the kid is going to die, and Willis's character will learn a lesson, and him and his daughter will be so close...blah blah blah - blech!" When that WASN'T what happened, I must honestly say, I was both pleasantly surprised, and I cried. Yes, me, the woman who very rarely ever cries at any movie, cried at the way this one ended. When he called him his son, I just lost it. So while the science fiction part of it left something to be desired, the sub plot here, or in some people's minds, the actual plot, really makes this movie a tear jerker worth watching.
Between some of Lucas's questionable dialogue, not to mention the Geonosis C-3PO parts, and Portman's wooden performance, AOTC came way too close to being a disaster. I'm not sure what possessed George to hold back on showing Anakin as the powerful Jedi he was supposed to be but it was a bad decision. Anakin's duel with Dooku should've been better in content & directing. But again, there's few movies I'd rather watch than SW because of the good stuff. Even though I still question the wisdom of killing off Maul in TPM, I love Dooku. He's the ultimate precise, smug second fiddle. And can you get a better henchman than Jango Fett? I loved the mystery surrounding him & Kamino as well as Geonosis. I get chills every time I watch the first appearance of the future Stormtroopers. Anakin's first encounter with the Dark Side seemed very natural. It was nice to hear the 'Imperial March' theme twice too. It was also a welcome scene to see Yoda go Jedi Master on somebody.
My only major beef I had with this movie was the way it was marketed. Thanks to the trailers and previews to the film, we knew that Chuck Noland would in fact be rescued from the island. However, even with that said, the previews didn't really spoil the movie. Though it would have made the message(s) that much more powerful if they didn't give that much of it away. Tom Hanks is Chuck Noland; A FedEx efficiency engineer who flies around the world at a moments notice to troubleshoot whatever problems the company is having at any given place. Helen Hunt plays his loving girlfriend / fiancé, Kelly, who is very understanding of Chuck Noland's plight. One day, just before Christmas, Chuck is called away to Malaysia. This is when Chuck Noland's life takes a sudden and dramatic turn as his plane (most realistically) crashes into the ocean. As the only survivor, he washes up on shore of a small, isolated island in the south Pacific. This is a film that really forces the viewer to relate to the main character. On the surface, Chuck is not a guy most people would relate to; He has a high paying job which he actually seems to enjoy on some level, and a girlfriend he is completely in love with. His life is as good as it can get up until the tragic plane crash. Now his life is turned upside down as he struggles to find the basic needs of survival. There are no cuts to the rescue efforts, no "meanwhile, back in Memphis" scenes. It's all Chuck on the island for the second act of the film. There are four basic needs of survival. Most people know about the first three: Food, Water and Shelter. Chuck realizes that companionship is really the fourth need, which he finds in the form of a vollyball he calls "Wilson". The acquisition of food, water and shelter are all epic struggles for Chuck Noland as we see him try to break open coconuts with rocks and make fire to cook crabs. We suffer with him as he does his own dental work. This goes on for four years... Finally, one day a piece of metal (from the plane?) washes up on the island and it gives Chuck an idea of how to escape. He builds a raft out of Coconut trees and uses the piece of metal as a sail to escape from the island. He spends several days out on the ocean hoping to be rescued. Along the way, he losses his only friend of the last four years, Wilson, in a strange but very emotional scene. Shortly thereafter, on the brink of death from dehydration, he is rescued. In any other movie, this would be the happy ending. But this is not any other movie. Chuck finds that Kelly has moved on with her life. And now he must find a way to move on with his. When he first arrived on the island, he only needed to find ways to physically survive, but now rescued, he needed to find ways how to emotionally survive in a world that moved on without him. The final scene, just before the credits roll, reveals the most powerful moral I have ever seen in a movie. This is a film that proves that no matter how much suffering, pain, or tragedy that someone may go through, their life will always be worth living. And it does so without invoking religion or astrology or any other kind of pseudoscience. This is a moral and spiritual film that all people can relate to in some way or another.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
My opinion of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade could be deemed slightly biased. It is the first film I ever saw in theaters and it's also the first movie I purchased on video. I even own the same, worn-down, beat-up copy (and look upon it even more fondly than the widescreen edition, for sentimental reasons, of course). I think it's fair to say it's this movie that cemented my love of cinema, the high regard I hold for great escapism, which is sorely lacking from today's cinema; movies that should be fun now drag or bludgeon themselves with relentless awful scripts or MTV-style direction that turns relatively simple scenes into chaotic blurs. The Last Crusade may only be thirteen years old, but I think I can safely say they don't make them like they used to. The film stars, of course, Harrison Ford as Indy Jones, the archaeologist/adventurer who's on yet another quest, this time to find his father, who'd been searching for the Holy Grail. Said Dad is played by none other than Sean Connery, whose highly charismatic performance is quick to place this film above the others in the trilogy. The rest of the film focuses on this ongoing journey between father and son (eventually joined along by Sallah and Marcus Brody), complete with amazing action and stunt sequences, clever humor, and nasty (but fun) surprises. The script, by Jeffrey Boam, takes a few cues from Raiders of the Lost Ark, but actually improves upon that story by adding more characterization, particularly with origin of Indy himself. And as a whole, the story is more engrossing because there are more fun clues offered toward the location of the Holy Grail and, thus, more engaging little discoveries (love the "X marks the spot" scene). I'm quite certain, like with Raiders, the plot has a few holes, but they're fairly hard to notice, and I've seen the movie quite a few times, but maybe it's just my enjoyment of the film clouding that up, which I suppose speaks volumes in favor of Spielberg's direction and the performances. Given that action and adventure is the series' selling point, you can expect the thrills and wondrous delight of discovery delivered in spades. The action scenes are terrific (and matched well with John Williams' rousing, memorable score), the best being an excellent ten-minute setpiece on board (and in) a Nazi tank in a sensational chase sequence across the desert. The climax, complete with frightening booby traps, is a suspenseful venture into the unknown, which is the pinnacle adventure movies aspire to. Harrison Ford once again slides effortlessly into the role of Jones, delivering another first-rate turn. To some, the performance is a joke; to most, it's acting at its finest. But I think most everyone would agree nobody else could have fit the part half as well as Ford. It's his rapport with Connery that strikes that spark that separates this from 99% of the genre. They craft an uncannily touching, funny, and genuine bond unlike any duo in film history. You could call it a buddy picture, I suppose, but unlike any you've ever seen before. The Last Crusade is a knockout thrill ride, and I seriously doubt any action/adventure will ever surpass it.
Now there are some serious fans of Robin Williams that will give some biased answers but I will look at the good and the bad both. First this film was not to seem extremely realistic but funny with good morales being taught. The plot is about divorce and how children cope through an event. Now as a film for entertainment it is very good because of the comedic side (that's if you like comedy). As a film just to waste time on and do nothing it's not the film for you because there is lots of morale taught here and role modeling. As a film to help children I would say it is very good for Child psychology because Divorce for children is very difficult for them to understand and this film is good role modeling about the feelings children have. Let's look at the Pro's and Con's Pro's (Goods) 1. It is a movie with lots of good morales taught. 2. Is movie that raises hope for children 3. Comedy is done very well with much satire on the old idea of cross dressing. 4. The Actors are very good and experienced so their skill is brought into the film Con's (Bad) 1. There are a few slip ups on the camera but if you haven't watched it time and time again you won't notice it. 2. Somewhat demonizes the female or single mother. But this depends on point of view. Single mothers are just as good as single fathers Now this depends on your own personal point of view. Overall if you want a good comedy with some emotions and morals thrown in then this is a very fulfilling movie. If you want only comedy and no meaning and no lessons to be learned then this may not satisfy you. Personally this is a very good comedy and would be considered a family movie. I give it 5 stars but again this depends on what you want.
Mixing Science Fiction with comedy is a risky proposition, unless the film in question is a sendup of Sci-Fi films (I still can't decide if "Mars Attacks" was worth the matinée price I paid to see it almost a decade ago). "Men in Black", however, is a near perfect blend of Science Fiction and comedy. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are two of the most watchable actors out there, and the pairing of the two in this film is ingenious. The supporting cast,from Linda Fiorentino to Tony Shaloub, is top notch. The special effects, from the dragonfly flight during the opening credits to the spaceship crash near the finale are excellent. The writing is also much more clever than one might expect from a Sci-Fi picture - the film has to be viewed several times to catch all the barbs and asides Smith and Lee throw at each other. All in all, one of the most entertaining Sci-Fi films to come along in quite a while.
The acting is very good. The primary and secondary actors performed
their roles really good. Everybody is believable - not usual for a
vampire movie. The editing and sets were not great, but the story is
what draws you in. The plot is fascinating, a multi-layered story. The
film alternates between scenes from the present and about one week
prior. Some may find that unnerving, but it is very well written.
I recommend this film for anyone who likes mysteries or intelligent horror stories. I give it 7 stars and not 8 or 9 cause you see that it is very low budget and the first 10 minutes or so is slow and you really don't know what is happening. But when it picks up - it pulls you through with a big bang!
This movie is amazing! While being funny and entertaining, it is also profoundly deep and eye-opening. I will watch it again and again. Bruce is a guy who is unhappy with his life. He has a job and a life, but it isn't what he thinks it will take to bring him happiness. Bruce is bitter, unsatisfied, and resentful that his life isn't the way he envisions it should be. As a result of this state of mind, Bruce ends up losing his job and blaming God for everything that he thinks is wrong with his life. God comes to Bruce and grants him Godly powers. Bruce uses these powers to get everything he has always wanted. His life is finally exactly what he envisioned it would take to make him happy.....with one exception. In the process of gaining everything, he loses the one person who truly loved him. As the movie unfolds, Bruce learns that the real change that needed to occur in his life was not the circumstances, but his perception of what was truly there. This movie was inspirational and deep. If you really pay attention, it forces you to look at your life with a deeply humbling respect for the fact that a lot of the time we are so much more blessed than we recognize. As my wife says, "Since when does anybody know what it takes to make them happy?" and my humble addition, "May we not lose ourselves and those who matter while we try to find out."
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