Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
I was distracted by the poor matte artwork for backdrops.
The noticeable production flaws marred this film from the start. Specifically; the artist's backgrounds mattes including the scenes of the cliffs with the cattle running toward them, and the large war ships docked at the wharf, and many other background mattes. The quality of the artwork was really unrealistic and distracted from the moment. I've seen better matte paintings in movies from the 1930's that looked more believable. The CGI effects were equally as amateurish. Those complaints aside, this was a juicy epic soap opera/harlequin romance wrapped in intrigue and dramatic history. I was entertained at least half of the time. Despite some moments of elegance and eloquence, after all is said, it was a somewhat cheesy movie. The Wizard of Oz/Over the Rainbow metaphor is proof enough of that. The overall feel was almost like that of an old Disney adventure movie. Again; it was entertaining, but I was bugged and surprised at the substandard production in parts. My only comment on the acting is that it was also imperfect; generally in step with the level of the production. I didn't groan enough not have enjoyed the story and appreciated the historic significance of the Stolen Generation as depicted.
My favorite episode
I love this episode because the subject was on-point to the gay theme of the show. This episode brings up the obligatory (but originally done) treatment of the issue of coming out to mom. AND, I LOVE Veronica Cartwright!! She is such a wonderful actress. She blends into the ensemble effortlessly playing Jack's mom who is unaware her son is gay.
In the episode she gleefully plays her character with a degree of flippancy as only to the mother of a flamer like Jack would. But, she doesn't give away any hint as to how she will react as the others plot to help Jack spill the news that her little boy is gay. She does the straight side of her character in equal measure to the slightly kooky mom and hits all of her lines with spot-on timing.
Rather than over analyze the theme of the episode, suffice for me to say this was simply one of the best written, most well-acted, and funniest. It was only second season and they were really on top of the game.
Megan Mellaly is at her best as Karen. In this episode she makes the most of her vodka martini props and uses her stage gestures for optimum effect after each line. Everything just really comes together well in this particular episode.
Less Than Zero (1987)
A Perfect Snapshot of 80's So. Cal.
I saw this film when it was first released in theaters. I lived this whole scene without acquiring a drug addiction. When I first saw the movie I was bored because it was kind of a wet blanket to those of us who were living that kind of lifestyle. I used to go to the circuit parties in Palm Springs. I went to the big clubs in LA. Studio One was THE hot place for many years. I went to my share of parties in Beverly Hills where coke was abundant. I never had to buy it. It was just everywhere. I went to one party where there was a mirror topped cocktail table with a pile of coke in the middle surrounded with razor blades and straws. It looked like someone had dumped a box of baking soda on the table.
Having just watched this movie again for the first time in 20 years, I can objectively assess this as being an amazingly precise snapshot of the times. The only aspect of the film that could have been a bit more fun style-wise is the music. Yet, it might have been a bit too brat packish if it turned into a pop soundtrack movie like "Sixteen Candles" or "Breakfast Club" or "Weird Science", etc. This story was not all about goofiness and teen angst. It was more adult and there really were a lot of people who got into trouble with coke and crystal in those days. They were easy to spot when you stood back. I also found it easy to stop myself from going too far by maintaining high awareness of my own situation. People into the fitness craze like me found it easier to resist going overboard because we always had our gym thing which required a clear head to keep it up. That whole scene really was mostly weekend partiers.
I enjoyed watching this movie and going back in time. The film has its continuity flaws but I just couldn't see them. I was seeing too many memories to notice. I remember a Spring Break in Palm Springs where I ran into Arnold Schwartzenager at a Robinson's Dept. Store on Palm Canyon Drive. I was trying on a pair of shorts in a men's department dressing room and when I stepped out of the stall to look in the mirror Arnold stepped out of the stall next to mine wearing the exact same shorts as me. He looked me up and down and grinned at me and said, "Dey look betta on you den day look on me." We both started laughing. I bought the shorts. Those were the days.
Often too ponderous and lacking in comedy
This movie was lifeless. There really wasn't any stimulating comedy. Intending to be thought-provoking and lightly humorous, it plays as plodding and dreary. I never thought I would live to say Benjamin Bratt was the only bright spot in a movie. But, he alone plays his brief character with a somewhat of a pulse and with some feeling.
The Special Features author and director interview reveals the creative vacuum behind this movie. As the two chatted with each other it sounded like two gentle old ladies chatting quietly at a funeral about life's pithy revelations. Ugh. I was groaning! No wonder this is such a dull, unfunny film.
The story telling was weak. The key components of a drama -conflict and resolution- simply came and went with hardly a peak or valley of emotion.
Pucci wore me out as the tryingly gawky son. I've seen more expressive zombies. Swinton held back. She could have teased the audience a bit more by convincing us that she really did have a thing for Bratt's character. D'Onofrio held his usual creepy demeanor as the father. We didn't get much motivation there either. Reeves did another drive-by acting stint even though his part clearly should have demonstrated some effort and enthusiasm as the son's so-called mentor/orthodontist. Not believable at all. They should have re-shot that with another actor.
They cast some big names in this. However, they weren't motivated. Again, you can clearly understand why this indie turned out poorly when you watch the discussion between director and writer. Neither shows much enthusiasm. It's all matter-of-fact and rather wistful mirth.
One of the Best films I've seen period...
This is a timeless, beautifully told story presented in a fairly new medium in its time. To me, for that period, it seems harsh to make comparisons based on relatively rapid evolving technology. It would be like comparing products made using a Timex-Sinclair computer to a Commodor 64 to a Mac to a PC. All of those evolved within 3 years of each other. It's about who has the deepest pockets with the better toys and when - within a short span of time.
This film held my attention throughout. The story had wonderful drama and surprising twists. I was delighted by the comedic scenes that came so unexpectedly and translated from the film so deftly. The actors all performed with talent and finesse. A great drama makes you laugh and cry as does this story.
I was rather impressed by the special effects. They were ambitious without exposing the "man behind the curtain" in the process.
You know what to expect going into watching older films. It's not so much about peeking under the hood as it is enjoying the ride.
What I enjoyed most in this film is that it drew me in easily. I immediately fell in love with the characters and I never got the feeling the whole thing was going to collapse like a cheap tent. I was too far into the story. The laughs came completely unexpectedly while adding another delicious layer to the play.
I recommend this film if you ever get the opportunity to see it.
Empire Falls (2005)
Enjoyable and richly done film...
This is about the film. I haven't read the book. So, my take is strictly to the point of commenting on the movie version of the story.
I enjoyed this film for the scenic locations and amazing cast artfully giving us the complex characters of the story.
If you have never been to New England, take it from a recent transplant from Southern California, it is all and more than you imagine or see in the movies. I lived in San Diego for the first 45 years of my life and moved to rural Massachusetts 4 years ago and plan to stay for the second half of my life. This film captures real locations that I have visited in my travels around New England. It's a different world on this side of the country. Not better. Not worse. What is most different is that the everyday landscape just pops out at you in endless contrasts. This film does an excellent job of capturing that.
The intricate stories in this movie develop carefully as details are revealed deftly in smooth transitions to flashbacks. The characters each hold a special interest and stake in the dynamics of life in a town overshadowed by a rich, vengeful widow (Joanne Woodward) wielding her will as she (you-would-think) supposedly struggles with her own guilt. This facet of her character is not easily given up by Joanne Woodward.
Woodward surprises in the unfortunate way she delivers her role in a rather formal style of acting that pre-dates most films made after 1960. She says her lines as if on stage and doesn't really play "in frame" to the camera. Her scenes seem oddly out of sync in the film.
The other actors are thoroughly convincing and imaginative in their portrayals. The motivations and demeanors are all clearly understood even with some of the deliciously portrayed complexities of the characters. The scenes with Ed Harris (as Miles Roby) and William Fichtner (playing Jimmy Minty) are masterfully acted to reveal numerous layers in each character's persona. There is so much more than just dialog going on in those scenes. I'ts absolutely convincing.
Helen Hunt (as frustrated and angry ex-wife, Janine Roby) is just a tiny bit off center in this role. She seems to be trying too hard and ends up all over the place from a crass broad with no humor to a painfully inept mother with no mother's instincts. Her shallow portrayal doesn't allow for much sympathy. Throughout, she just isn't believable. But, you go along because it's Helen Hunt.
The back story of the abandoned high school kid, John Voss, (compellingly acted by Lou Taylor Pucci) and the Roby's daughter (Danielle Panabaker) adds an unusual twist to the story. I can't give away details. But, I think the Voss character needed more attention in the film. We want to know more about him.
The production seems to unravel near the end when it wraps up rather abruptly with the epilogue. Anyone would think they should have taken it farther. It doesn't feel like there is closure even though you know what happens. It's not necessarily clear. Maybe the answer is in the book. Maybe something was edited out for time's sake.
The Special Features are okay. I enjoyed Paul Newman's comments on how much he enjoyed staying in the town where this was filmed in Maine. He mentioned staying in the town and making some new friends.
I'll bet he liked that little harbor side restaurant that was in a few scenes when going to and from Martha's Vineyard. The restaurant is actually in Hyannis on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I've been there 5 times. Great lobstah at that restaurant. The ferry landing to the Vineyard is just a short walk away.
I enjoyed this series quite a bit on many levels. There is not any one thing that sticks out. It is a high quality production all around. I will watch it again.
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
Wonderfully spun story and significant, historical, period classic
At age 50 and I've seen a lot of movies. I just got around to this one today (01/07). In ways, I'm glad I waited because of the perspective I have acquired over the years.
Seeing for the first time in 2008, aside from thoroughly enjoying the story, I was fascinated to pick up on some influences this film has had in other films over several decades. 30 years ago I wouldn't have seen these similarities.
The great hall at Brookfield school in this story greatly resembles those in subsequent films including the great hall at "Hogwarts" school in "Harry Potter". Also, verses in the Pink Floyd pop hit, "Brick in the Wall" sound like they were influenced by a song sung by the school boys in this story as they were let out of school for the summer. Also, in an early scene in the Alps, the music and scenery are remarkably similar to the opening montage in the film, "The Sound of Music". I don't know why, but those things just popped out at me as I was enjoying the movie.
This is a beautifully told story of a shy man's life, marriage, and career as a teacher/mentor at a post Victorian era boys school. The settings, the acting, the history are absolutely priceless. The film is so old fashioned and formal, it wrote the book on what would now be called, "cheesy". However, understanding it's place and time as I do, it isn't hard to appreciate the artful sentimentality. In fact it is a rare treat when it is done so well.
This is beautiful Greer Garson's first film. She turned down a role in a Marx Brothers film, "A Day at the Races", before taking this role. She didn't want to associate herself in that genre so early in her film career. She wisely waited for this role to be offered to make her bow.
Paul Henreid is perfect in this as a fellow teacher and friend of Mr. Chipping. Henreid is notable for numerous other classics including "Now Voyager" (Bette Davis) and "Casablanca". The entire cast is outstanding.
This story imparts a sense of hope and inspiration. It moves over a man's lifetime effortlessly. It has such beautiful imagery and nostalgia for an era I never knew.
The star here, Robert Donat, received the Best Actor Oscar over Clark Gable (Gone With the Wind). I'm embarrassed to admit I hadn't heard of Donat until I finally saw this film. I'm going to check out a few of his other films.
I highly recommend this film. I am planning to buy a copy for my collection. I could easily watch it again right now.
3:10 to Yuma (2007)
Not one of the great epic Westerns
This is a re-upholstered version of the original. It has great sets, authentic locations and props.
The makeup was overdone on most of the actors except Crowe. The costumes were "costumey". The official railroad representative looked like a strolling singer on Main Street in Disneyland.
There is plenty in the story and characters to hold interest. But, I didn't like the manner in which one key character was rather unceremoniously eliminated from the story at mid point. The scene truly demanded a bit more theater to it. It left a bit of a hole.
Also, one brutal scene involved burning a man alive. (I closed my eyes and covered my ears. I don't like recalling those scenes later.) With a little creativity they could have implied the violence and made that scene more memorable and less graphic. That scene is probably a reason for the 'R' rating. The rest of the "shoot-em-up" gore is pretty standard.
Fans will enjoy Crowe as a smug (underplayed),western outlaw.
Overall, the acting is very good (including the hero's son played by young actor Logan Lerman).
This film is nowhere near being in the same league as say, 'The Magnificent Seven', 'Legends of the Fall', 'Tombstone', 'Once Upon a Time in the West' etc. This film won't be counted with them.
Lastly remember, this is NOT FOR KIDS.
Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
Fantastic Over the Top Fun!
ONLY Bruce Willis can pull off this series of films. He is brilliant! He steadfastly keeps his character IN CHARACTER even when the the plot and stunts go crazy over the top. It's hilarious and totally hot cool at the same time. Anything is possible in these flicks. That's what makes them so much fun! Justin Long is fantastic in this too! He goes right along with the formula and plays his role like an expert. Same with Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Timothy Olyphant.
Yeah, there were a few editing goofs in some of the action scenes. But, you forget them as the movie keeps up the fast pace. They very expertly apply most of the special effects so there is very little to criticize. And, there are SO MANY great tricks, its a blast!
The pace of this film reminds me of Bourne Ultimatim the way it gets straight into the action and keeps moving throughout. This movie has a meaty, sinister plot line. But, it never gets too bogged down with that. It's all fun and games and lots of action. I can hardly wait for the next one.
Bad attempt at Teen Party film
This is a bad imitation of 70's and 80's teen party films. Ironically they used some great tunes from that era as background.
In one scene Bill Hader (as police officer) whacks the high school bully in head with baton and makes fun of the bullie's hairstyle saying, "Nice Mullet,(expletive)!". The bullie's (long, straight, pony tail) hair style was NOT a "mullet" (a style Rick Springfield and Lionel Richie made popularin the 80's).
Michael Cera, is expressionless, unsexy, can't sing, and lacks energy. How did he get the lead?! Jonah Hill played his role well as did Christopher Mintz-Plasse as the geeky friend. I hear he's like that in real life. This genre goes all the way back to "American Graffiti" and the "Porky's" series. This attempt falls flat because of some bad casting and several lame gags and story lines.
The whole inept-police-partners schtick is not very funny because Seth Rogan and Bill Hader don't have the physical comedy chops. The film doesn't hold up to an "American Pie" or a "rat pack" movie like "Wierd Science" or "Pretty in Pink" or "Fast Times at Ridgemont High". This has too much criminality and not enough funny.