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scholara2

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22 reviews in total 
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Watchmen (2009)
1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Boring and pointless....., 8 September 2009
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't usually write comments, and mine are probably going to be buried deep within the bowels of this site, but I just HAD to write this, just to get the anger of wasting 2 hrs 40 mins on nothing.

I knew I was in trouble when as the movie was playing, I was thinking of little chores to do. It didn't capture my attention.

Unlike 300, this movie lacked charisma, stunning visuals (300's was eerily surrealistic) a coherent plot, and characters you care about.

The story begins when one of the "superheros", the Comedian is killed.

Some superhero, the guy is a rapist, he also shoots down in cold blood another pregnant woman carrying his child....and in the midst of all this and other mindless violence, we're treated to the philosophical ramblings of a big blue genie, who, starts out wearing a thong, and then goes down to nothing; stark naked! The point of this escapes me. Since I haven't read the comic, I don't know whether this is the way the character is. At any rate, if titillation was the goal, then give equal time and have Carla Gugino go in the buff.

Am I supposed to take the guy seriously??? Oddly, Dr. Manhattan (the blue guy), reminded me a lot of Data from Start Trek TNG in his facial expressions and voice.

Anyway, I really don't know what the filmmakers were shooting for with this. Plus...it's waayy toooo long. It was painful to sit thru. Several times I thought to turn it off, but then I though there might be some cool ending or something I might miss out on, and since I did get it, why not sit thru it? Now, I'm angry I did. Total waste. As for those who loved this movie, I don't know...

The most unforgivable thing to me is the total boredom.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Kind of like Pursuit of Happiness......., 11 April 2007
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is very similar to Will Smith's, only has a New Age feel. Same plot of how a person is made homeless, and then struggles to regain his dignity.

I found the parts where he takes dictation from God to be very enlightening, and that's why I give this movie 8*'s.

The story itself leaves large holes as to the character's life, and it would've been better from a continuity standpoint (for those who haven't read the book, like me) to give more background.

From a storytelling continuity standpoint, I felt Pursuit of Happiness was better, though a minor quibble, I felt it dwelt too much on the character's low points, and then only made a passing reference at the end, to his rising from the ashes.

But, back to Conversations. For example, the narration alludes to Neal's problems with women, but what are they (ie. sexual infidelity?)? They must be pretty deep, for him to be turned away after a debilitating accident. We see him visit his old home, only to see his name on the mailbox and nothing else.

He suffers from a broken neck, yet midpoint in the movie he takes his neck brace off. His homelessness healed his broken neck??? And lastly, he loses his part time job as a DJ, but yet can continue living in what seems like a nice house, while taking dictation from God for what seems like a long time. How is that? Anyway, there are these inconsistencies, but his conversations are what really make the movie.

I can see how traditional fundamentalists, be they Christians, Jews, or Muslims, might find the bits and pieces of the conversation unbelievable (or heresy), as has been already expressed here, but if you can get away from orthodox theology and open your mind, you might learn something, or at least cause you to rethink your perspective.

The movie at least made me curious to read the book.

Nicholas' Gift (1998) (TV)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
They will build monuments in your honor.....A superb movie NOT to be missed, 6 January 2007
10/10

This is an excellent movie. I caught it quite by accident when it came on one late night. Not knowing anything about it beforehand, I was soon drawn in. I just saw it again on TV just now.

I'm surprised it only has a rating of 6.9 (???). Maybe too light on the violence and action for some people's tastes.

It could've easily been awash with sentimentality; the subject matter certainly lends itself to it, but I thought the director and writers hit exactly the right balance.

Also, very well acted by both Bates and Curtis, and the child actor who portrayed Nicholas was so likable. You are emotionally drawn into the family's joy, ordeal and subsequent altruism.

Words can't express the beauty and tragedy of this movie.

And the score...so simple and yet so very expressive, and imparts hope in the sadness.

You'd have to have a heart of stone not to cry thru some of the parts.

Every aspect of this film comes together like a fine swiss clock.

I would think that this movie is a fitting memorial to Nicholas and his family, and how their sacrifice transformed an entire nation.

Alan Bates was such an undervalued actor in his lifetime. Though I haven't seen very many of his films, I've enjoyed the ones I have. A fine, fine character actor.

And Jamie Lee Curtis, she's come a long way from the slasher movies, and the fluff sexpot/comedy pieces of the 70's and 80's.

And finally, Hallie as little sister was adorable.

I'd liked to have seen a piece of film of the actual family. That would've capped the ending beautifully. I assume the photo on the gravestone was the real Nicholas.

Inspirational. The Green family are all heroes, and they embody the best of the human spirit even under the most difficult circumstances.

Nicholas Green, they'll build monuments in your name!

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The true story behind Moby Dick that lends credence to the saying that "fact is stranger than fiction",, 1 January 2007
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I recorded this when it first aired on NBC, and still have it. I just watched it again, which prompted me to this site, only to find no comments, so I'll put in my two cents.

I thought it was an excellent and fascinating narrative of the events that inspired Melville to write "Moby Dick", in the same manner that the true life story of Alexander Selkirk was the inspiration to Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe".

Melville met some of the survivors of that ill fated whaling expedition, including Pollard and Chase. Chase had already published his telling of the events, much to the displeasure of his community.

The narrative doesn't speak highly of Chase, and it's fair to say that he comes across as the "villain", though really everyone shares responsibility in the folly, including the larger Nantucket Quaker community.

The special is much like a PBS, Ken Burns type documentary, so if you like those, then this'll be up your alley. Only thing, I don't know if it's commercially available.

The story shows how religious fervor, xenophobia, ignorance, and arrogance, can all culminate in a tragedy, a lesson I suppose is still relevant today.

It also shows what happens when man is stripped of his technological advantage, and is left to deal with the elements on his own.

Finally, it shows how the survivors faired after the ordeal, and their "assimilation" back into their religious community.

As any student of whaling history knows, the Nantucket Quakers viewed it as a mission from heaven to indiscriminately slaughter sperm whales, which was an easy enough justification because the whales were living oil reserves of their day, very lucrative.

Oil derived from these whales drove the machinery and the lamps of those times, and made Nantucket rich. Whaling was also seen as a passage to manhood; almost a prerequisite if a young man wanted to find a wife in that community.

On the other hand, the film doesn't shirk from the ugliness of whaling, the stench and decay of the factory ships turning the blubber and meat into oil, and the utter brutality of the kill.

I frankly was rooting for the sperm whales, and had very little sympathy for the whalers. This isn't a stretch, since I've always been against whaling.

Even so, I can't see how anyone wouldn't be moved by the pain and bloody death throes of a whale stabbed by harpoons. It's just too bad that this sort of thing, of the hunted turning the tables on the hunter, didn't happen too often.

The whalers, because of the character flaws already mentioned, plunged themselves into the heart of darkness. They could've easily shortened their ordeal at any moment, but instead continued to make bad decisions, time after time.

Look at "Revenge of the Whale" as a mix of Alexander Selkirk and the Donner party.

So, if you're interested in learning about the real life events and people that inspired a classic work of literature, or just like stories of human drama and ordeal, mixed with adventure on the high seas, then this gem will be well worth your time.

28 out of 40 people found the following review useful:
Pretty decent movie..., 29 September 2006
8/10

I liked this movie. It did what it set out to do, to entertain, though post 911, the premise is especially scary (how poignant to see the WTC in the New York skyline).

I was drawn into the plot, and didn't care about any inconsistencies or holes. Everything came across as plausible.

As for the comment made ccthemovieman-1 about the unlikelihood of someone of Nicole Kidman's looks being in a position like that, well, all I can say is that he should take a look at some of the female analysts and spies (ie. Valerie Plame) that work not only in the US government, but also others like Israel.

Make no mistake, many of them are as beautiful as they are intelligent.

And I give kudos to the filmmakers for resisting the one formulaic turn, and that is making it into a romance flick where the male/female protagonists first dislike each other and then fall into each others arms by the end of the movie.

So, for all those who say this movie is predictable, here's one predictable and clichéd turn it didn't take. It concentrated on the action and suspense, and only hinted in the very end at the possibility of a romance.

It was interesting to see, that even though Dr. Kelly was Devoe's boss, the actual dynamics were in reverse, with her following Devoe's lead for most of the time, and listening to lectures from him about her inexperience.

I guess the movie's producers thought it was too much for someone like Clooney to constantly take orders from a woman. A formulaic turn, I suppose.

Clooney and Kidman acquitted themselves well in their roles, as did Marcel Iures who portrayed the terrorist. He came across as human, and a truly tragic, sympathetic, though misguided, figure, imo.

The train hijack sequence was awesome.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Guinevere reminiscent of real life Queen Boudicca...., 20 September 2006
6/10

I saw the extended director's cut, and I can say the fight sequences are pretty realistic.

Someone criticized how ragtag and crude the Britons were, esp Merlin. But, having read and seen documentaries about the natives of Britain during those times, I can say this is a pretty good portrayal.

As for Guinevere being a warrior, her portrayal reminded me of a real life warrior queen, Boudicca, who united the various tribes in Britain for the last revolt against the Romans.

She was a tough cookie. After her daughters and herself were raped and beaten by the Romans, she came back with vengeance and showed no mercy. In all, she killed about 70,000 Romans.

In their final historic battle, although they vastly outnumbered the Roman legion sent to subdue them, they nevertheless fell prey to superior Roman military tactics.

Boudicca was never heard from again, rumored to have either been among the slaughtered, or committed suicide.

So, from this perspective, the movie did a fairly accurate job in portraying the pagan tribes in Britain.

HOWEVER, I can't help but compare it to Gladiator, since some who were involved in the creation of that movie were also involved in this.

No doubt, the creators were aiming to make an epic as rousing as Gladiator. They certainly had the right subject matter in King Arthur.

But in this effort it fell far, far short. It just didn't have the same emotional depth and resonance. It lacked that magical something that was in Gladiator. Hans Zimmer's score for this movie wasn't anything like that for Gladiator, and all the actors here lacked the depth and conviction of those in the other.

The characters here simple weren't as likable/detestable as those in Gladiator. I didn't find myself drawn in as much.

Maybe it's unfair to draw a comparison between the two movies. Taken on its own terms (at least the director's cut), the movie isn't bad, and the military fight sequences are certainly comparable to Gladiator, though there are several plot holes, not to mention narration by a character who's dead by film's end.

At any rate, this is as far from the classic Arthur and the movie Exaclibur as you can get, and you can debate the historic accuracy I guess, but King Arthur is a legend anyway.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful movie....., 8 September 2006
9/10

I found this to be an uplifting movie and not at all tragic.

It's about a man who has life happen to him while he's making other plans.

Richard Dreyfuss shows again what a gifted character actor he is. From "What about Bob?" to "Mr.Holland's Opus", we see his incredible range from drama to comedy. He is one of the great character actors of his generation.

Dreyfuss really puts his heart into this performance, like when he sings to Cole. You can see the sweat on his brow, and although he's no John Lennon, I thought his singing was pretty good.

Also, in this age of techno wizadry, you can't always trust what you see on the screen, but it looked to me like he was actually playing the piano, in which case, another facet of this talented man.

His character agonizes over a potentital relationship with a beautiful and talented student in a midlife crisis, but at the end makes the right decision.

And the ending, it was so moving that even the cast had tears in their eyes, and I somehow don't think that was fake.

The timeline of events from the 60's to the 90's was also excellent.

Overall, a beautiful movie, and everyone put in a great performance. I thought it had the right balance, without getting overly sentimental and sugar coated, and evoked a feeling of the times with the music and settings.

I take this movie out and watch it every once in a while.

Cast Away (2000)
7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Simply wonderful!!, 21 August 2006
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a marvelous, heartwarming, engaging movie that features the genius of Tom Hanks. The film was neither too long or boring; it was just right. It might have been boring if it'd been anyone other than Hanks, but as usual, he melts into his role and delivers a riveting performance.

Kudos to Zemeckis also in capturing Hanks' ordeal on the island, from his weight loss to his desolation. This is one of the best "Robinson Crusoe" type adaptations I've seen.

And Hanks' journey back to civilization was so interesting and moving. He superbly played the part of the person who's struggling to find his place after being out of touch for five years! The scenes are so touching, especially his reunion with Hunt.

I was almost convinced this was based on an actual account, so much so I was looking to see the trailers at the end of the movie, saying "Based on the real life account of..."

Tom Hanks is one of the best character actors of his generation, right alongside of Robert Duvall, Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, and Russell Crowe.

As an aside, this is the only movie I've seen that's been a showcase of a corporate logo from beginning to end (and not a bad association, I might add), to which I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't produced by FedEx. ;-)

If you're looking for something more than the shallow and contrived dramatics of the reality series Survivor, or a movie without the standard pyrotechnics or other adrenalin boosting gimmicks, then this film will be well worth your time.

It's a human interest story, pure and simple.

I was so drawn in that when the movie ended, I really wanted to see what happens to Chuck in the new phase of his life, after meeting his next potential love interest at the very end of the film.

I guess that's left up to the imagination. Happily ever after. :-)

Enjoy a superb tour de force performance by Hanks.

Sleepers (1996)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A very good movie...., 15 August 2006
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a solid, entertaining movie that was overlooked at the box office.

It's a story about a group of boys just being boys, that is until they make a fatal mistake that changes their lives forever.

Everyone did an excellent job of acting. DeNiro, as usual, puts in a great performance as a caring priest. And what a stroke of genius not to cast him in the role of the mobster. Hoffman does a great job as the defense attorney. His low key manner adds to his effectiveness in the court.

Brad Pitt does a very good job as the assistant DA who ends up playing a game of legal ping pong against himself in the courtroom.

Vittorio Gassman was my favorite as the godfather.

Bacon does a good job as the low life prison guard. He seems to have made a career out of playing weirdos, psychos, and people on the fringe.

But, like I said, everyone did a great job. The child actors also were very convincing and believable. There was none of the overacting usually present with kids.

The story, whether true to life or not, was very good and riveting. Even if it isn't true, it did a good job of depicting what probably happens in detention centers all across the country, sadly.

There was only one quibble I have with the plot. Instead of Bacon's character being shot in the restaurant, I think it would've been better if they'd waited until he left, and then ambushed him outside, and perhaps give him some of the punishment he gave them.

I think this would've added to the realism...and it was strange that no one called up the bartender as a witness, since he probably saw the whole thing.

Anyway, minor quibble to an otherwise good story.

The Rookie (2002)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful movie...., 13 August 2006
9/10

I first saw this movie 3 years ago, and it was introduced by then Disney chief Eisner and the real Jim Morris.

About a month ago, it came back on TV, and this time I taped it. Since then I must've watched it at least three times.

This is a wonderful, inspirational, feel good movie that is intelligently written and believably acted by everyone concerned. It resists going for every sentimental trick in the book, as well as all of the other clichés.

It is refreshing to see a movie where the kids aren't jerks and have a whole slew of behavioral issues, and the jocks aren't portrayed as testosterone driven muscleheads.

These are just normal people who have dreams like you and I.

In my opinion, Hollywood as gone the other extreme to what they term "gritty realism", making movies where everyone curses, and has problems with aggression.

This movie is about a man who has a dream, and is encouraged by friends and family to pursue that dream. The people in Big Lake TX seem so personable that I want to move there.

As I said b4, the film doesn't try to go overboard with sentimentality. Dennis Quaid, as usual, never disappoints. I've watched him from the late 70's, and he is so underrated.

But this movie has excellent performances from EVERYONE concerned, and kudos to the writers.

A gem in the movie is near the end when Jim is practicing in the dugout before the big game, and his wife calls out to him from the stands. He rushes over and reaches out to his family. The look on the faces of the three other pitchers sitting on the bench in the dugout is priceless.

If you're looking for a change of pace, then pick this movie up.


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