Reviews written by registered user

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31 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Special episode, special thanks, 21 February 2009

This will forever be my favourite episode of this now departed show. The producers, director, cast and crew were great in the way they handled the real life situation that occurred during filming of the rescue scene of Teddy. I am forever grateful for their compassion during those hours.

I am particularly appreciative that the director approved the change in the script that allowed the Teddy character's wife's name to match the tattoo on my husband's chest. To the rest of the viewing audience this was just another episode but to me and my husband it was a love note.

A lot of comments were made about the more technical aspects of the cast. True, they could have maybe paid a bit more attention to detail in some of the more technical scenes but the real story was about the people. This was a show that had promise and I think it was just starting to really come into it's own. I wish it had been given a bit more time.

Space Buddies (2009) (V)
15 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
Cute, fun kiddie fare, 21 February 2009

Space Buddies is just plain cute and fun. Parents with younger children don't have a lot to choose from these days and the lack of swearing, sexual and drug references make it a perfect choice for the little ones to watch anytime Mom or Dad need a break.

As in all of the Air Bud and Air Buddies franchise films, there are lessons to be learned. Lessons about cooperation, teamwork, friendship and tolerance, responsibility and following rules. Despite all of that the movie is not preachy, the puppies are cute and personable and every child is sure to have a favourite. I especially appreciate that they did not use adults speaking in baby-talk as the voices of the puppies but have child actors doing the voices.

I recommend this movie to parents & grandparents of small children and babysitters everywhere.

Melanie (1982)
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Sweet, heartwarming, feel good movie, 21 February 2009

My husband surprised me recently with the DVD - I had seen a mention of the movie when Burton Cummings had come to town to do a concert but unfortunately it was sold out anyway... I issued a challenge to my hubby to find the DVD and within an hour he had located and ordered it! Don Johnson does a great job as the hard-ass redneck husband who's fed up with his illiterate wife, Glynnis O'Connor, who plays a very strong and determined woman with just the right amount of vulnerability to make Paul Sorvino and Burton Cummings's characters want to protect her and fall in love with her.

Burton's acting was spot on, he's so charming and entertaining and his performance was effortless and natural. His singing is an especially great treat but I must confess that I did have to pause, rewind and re-watch that one particular scene a few times over. Thank goodness the sheet music was big enough!

3 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
A story ruined without reason, 21 February 2009

This movie at a running time of 92 minutes was about 62 minutes too long. The storyline in itself was good but the problems are in the story telling. The viewer did not need to be beaten about the head with the repetition of Molly Parker's expressionless face 'seducing' the travelers finding their way to this apparently dead-end town and Batesish motel. We sorta got the idea by the time Jay Brazeau shows up looking for a room and 'company'. It would have been ever so much better to make it a short film and get to the point. I had already figured out the twist in the storyline long before the audience was supposed to get it and spent the next hour bored out of my mind. I actually took a break from the movie to clean my oven just to make it more bearable!

The second detail that disturbs me was mentioned in another user comment and I agree. Why was this Canadian film made with Canadian funding, starring Canadian actors and shot in a Canadian location set in a fictitious town Americanized? Why could it not have remained a fully Canadian film?

I'm not sure why this particular group of women are so fascinated with the idea of placing their lead female in roles of such depraved degradation - I seriously question their intentions.

Capote (2005)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
CAPOTE is a movie of conflicts and contrasts, 17 November 2005

The opening shot shows the sober silence of a Midwest Sunday morning. The quiet idyllic countryside with the stand of trees on the horizon as the divider between properties in contrast to the brashness of the city with the row of wrought iron railings dividing the brownstones. The unhurried pace, soft palette and rounded corners of country life in contrast to the city life with it's hard edges and sharp corners. A visually stunning way to begin a film about a man who sets out to write a book about the power of destruction that an act of violence can have upon a small Midwestern town where things like this just don't happen. A visually subtle way to begin a movie that ultimately reveals the conflicts and contrasts between our past and present worlds.

As a writer, Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) was a keen observer of people and found ways of getting people to tell him things they probably never would have, or should have. Of Laura Kinney (Allie Mickelson) he observed that she would be now and forever looked at and thought of differently, Truman had always been looked at and thought of as 'different' and so in his feeble attempt at compassion, he tells her of his experience of being 'different' to help put her at ease. You see the girl process this and she goes off to get Nancy Clutter's diary as we see Nelle Harper Lee (Catherine Keener) look at Truman with a mixture of amazement and disapproval. We see him locate the most vulnerable spot of his subject and then pick at it like a scab until the wound begins to ooze the material he needs for his book. Truman made no apologies and Philip Seymour Hoffman's Truman doesn't either. He knows who he is and he is fully aware that he is lacking in sincerity yet there is no guilt or apologies offered because he's not trying to make you think he is anything other than what he is, unabashedly and shamelessly self-serving.

The film doesn't spend a lot of time on Truman's relationship with Jack Dunphy (Bruce Greenwood) but it spends enough time to let you know that this was mostly a give and take partnership - Truman would take whatever Jack was willing to give. There was some genuine affection between them early in the story but we see how Truman's experience with Perry Smith (Clifton Collins, Jr.) and Richard Hickock (Mark Pellegrino) takes a toll on that relationship and on Truman himself. The deeper his involvement with Smith the more withdrawn he becomes with Jack. We witness Truman's destruction and devolution throughout the process of writing this book that initially he thought would make him but essentially destroyed him. His drunken self-indulgence and insecurities show during the scene of the premiere of "To Kill A Mockingbird" written by his friend, confidant, and research assistant, Nelle Harper Lee. There were a lot of elements to the real story that the film's running time just did not allow to be fully developed or discovered; I would be interested to see follow-up movies, not really sequels, that take a closer look at some of these elements, such as, what happened to Jack Dunphy and Nelle Harper Lee? And what about that other death row prisoner, Lowell Lee Andrews (C. Ernst Harth) who brought home the cold hard truth that Smith and Hickock were next in line for the hangman's noose, what was his story? I know the history of the Midwest is rich with stories similar to this and I think Bennett Miller and crew have the eye and sense it would take to make these stories come to life in as richly textured a way as they did with CAPOTE.

This is a good story and among it's strengths is the superior acting, photography, costuming and set decoration. It is all so well done that at times I wasn't sure if I was seeing the actors or the real people. The town felt as though it had been shocked into a state of suspended time and never moved on, it was eerie in that sense. There was real commitment within the production and it shows.

I have seen this movie twice and both times the theatre was sold out and the audience was captivated and silent from the beginning of the movie all the way through the credits - now that is the mark of a well told story!

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
The Muppets ain't what they used to be, 5 October 2005

I was anticipating the release of the Muppet version of Wizard of Oz. I had heard that this version would be more closely identified with the Frank L. Baum book rather than the more familiar Judy Garland version so I was prepared for a 'different' story, but I was not prepared for what I saw and heard.

The Good: The Muppets were all there, the voices a little different but for all intents and purposes the personalities are still the same, I still miss Jim Henson's personal touch and flavour though. The quick-witted phrase turnings were enjoyable and the sight gags made me chuckle but for the better experience please see the DVD version with the 'edited for television' scenes added back.

The Bad & The Ugly: References to the worst parts of society, the 'Girls Gone Wild' elements, scantily clad Ashanti in clothes that were too small and unflattering. What was with the various 'Wizard' apparitions, particularly a dominatrix - how does that fit into a family film? The Muppets have always been a little edgy, part of their appeal is the ability to entertain the kiddies on one level while giving the parents enough to keep their attention too and not cause embarrassment. I enjoyed the movie overall, there are plenty of the familiar good parts of the Muppets we all know and love but parents, be prepared to do some 'splaining about some of the comments, actions and visuals presented to young children, this is not the Sesame Street version of Kermit and friends.

9 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
The History Of Violence or How to be a psychotic mass-murder/rapist and not get arrested., 3 October 2005

Why does a director choose to put ridiculously lame, poorly scripted, poorly acted, non-plot advancing throw-away scenes in a movie? In The History Of Violence, every single scene populated by the wife and children of the main character, Tom Stall, are throw-aways. Take them completely out of the story and it doesn't change a single thing. Tom Stall has no redeeming qualities, if he did then the script was horrendously weak in revealing them to the audience, perhaps the forced, uncomfortable and lame 'small talk' moment in the diner just before Ed Harris and friends arrive was supposed to fill in that blank? There was no palpable relationship between Tom and Edie Stall nor was there a single moment that would have made me believe that Edie was the mother and Tom the father of Jack and Sara. There were no solid indications that Edie, Jack and Sara provided Tom with any motivation to maintaining his invented personality, thank goodness the script made sure that we were told who each character was in every scene. (sarcasm intended) What exactly was the purpose and intent behind this movie? Were we to be shocked by the way violence so easily invaded this nice little town full of nice little people? We weren't. Were we to be disturbed at the aftermath of the violence? We weren't. Were we to be shocked that behind closed doors Tom and Edie were violent with each other and apparently keeping a 'kinky little secret'? We weren't. The whole 'role playing cheerleader costume bit' was completely unnecessary and very badly done. Vigo Mortenson looked as turned on by Maria Bello as I am by the lint in my dryer. The rape scene on the stairs was just bad.

Cronenberg is seriously in need of fine-tuning his handle on the art of character development. His characters are flat, the dialogue improbable, contrived and beyond ridiculous. Sadly there just isn't enough substance in any of Cronenberg's movies to make it worth my while to spend a lot of time thinking and writing about them individually but as a whole it makes for an interesting psychological profile study.

My final thought on The History of Violence (and most of Cronenberg's movies) is this: What was the point of that? Are we all just indulging Cronenberg's exhibitionistic style of mental masturbation? Too often I feel like I just slipped a quarter in a slot for the peep show and it should have ended 30 minutes earlier than it did. I just wish that Cronenberg would give his audience something to latch on to and become involved with, instead, Cronenberg's audiences are largely just waiting for the movie to end.

48 out of 95 people found the following review useful:
If the kids laugh, it's funny., 24 January 2005

Are We There Yet? is exactly what it was meant to be, a film for the family. It has moments of comedy as well as moments of sincere heart-string tugs. It's a movie about a guy who has dedicated himself to himself. He is one of those guys who is all about the "blingage". He figures if he can dazzle the ladies with flash then he doesn't have to worry about getting tangled up in love. It's also a movie about a woman divorced from a husband who has quite thoroughly moved on with his life and the kids left behind that she is trying to protect. It's also about the kids who really want their life back like it used to be and haven't quite understood what has happened. Finally, it's a movie about how these people who have so little in common with each other come together and learn to understand, like and appreciate each other for who they are. The whole movie is a metaphor with some very impossible but very funny moments representing the struggles people go through to find the inner beauty in each other.

It is unfortunate that jaded movie critics are paid to go to early morning screenings in a room full of jaded movie critics to watch a family comedy and then deem it a "bad movie". I prefer to listen to the voices of the REAL movie critics, the people who paid their hard-earned money to go see the movie. If they laugh, it's funny. I've been to two sold-out screenings of this movie in theatres full of parents with small children, groups of young and older teenagers and groups of adults. At both screenings there was much laughter and even applause at the end. One of the best parts, is when you hear a small voice point out the obvious to the other people in the darkened theatre, that the kids are responsible for the results of their behavior. Congratulations to that child's parents for successful instruction in Right vs. Wrong.

I have also read some other user comments and critic's comments that accuse this movie of being a racial stereotype. I seriously doubt that Ice Cube would produce and star in a movie that he felt was racist and I feel confident that all of the actors in this movie were treated fairly regardless of race and/or gender. It's not so much a racial stereotype as it is a personality stereotype - Nick Persons is a 'playa', formerly known as a 'ladies man', and he looks, dresses and acts the part, as have the ladies men of every generation. The divorced mother with two kids, well, I bet there's one in your neighborhood. One truck driver is of the older, hard-core family values type with a southern accent played by an actor from the southern United States and another is a gung-ho Canadian out to help someone in need, played to hilarious perfection by a Canadian. Stereotypes? Maybe, so what? I have also read some incredibly cruel comments by people directed at the child actors. If their performance as the confused and desperate 'demon spawn' made you feel so strongly that you must write paragraph after paragraph saying so, then I guess that makes them pretty good at their job doesn't it? It also makes the ugly comments you've made about the actors pretty wrong and disgusting.

Finally, parents are not being dragged to this movie by their children. They willingly drive them, buy the tickets for them, and then they sit down and watch and laugh with them. It's not the #1 opening movie for nothing. There are plenty of topics for later discussion contained in this film and parents can use those opportunities as they see fit. Some parents may be reluctant to take their kids to see this movie because of Ice Cube's reputation as a 'gangsta rapper'. Well folks, I'm glad to say that there is none of that in this film. He's a dad with kids ranging in age from 4 to 18 and he made this movie so that when his little children ask or are asked what their daddy does for a living they have something they can show their friends. Good on ya Cube!

6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Film-making magic and artistry, 17 October 2004

There are plenty enough reviews that summarize the plot and give the synopsis of the story but they rarely ever tell you about the movie itself and why you might like to see it. So, if you want to know what the movie is about read the plot outline, read some of the other reviews or read the back of the DVD box. If you want to know why I think this movie is really good, read on.

One of the things I like best about La Cucaracha is that nothing is revealed too soon. Like an intricately folded napkin in a fancy restaurant, the characters slowly unfold their secrets allowing glances at their true selves and in so doing, completely undo their original appearance. It is not until the very end that you know who anyone really is. Eric Roberts gives one of the most engaging performances and plays one of the most likable characters I've seen from him. He gives subtle urgency a whole new meaning. Don't be surprised if you find yourself leaning forward in your seat, your forehead furrowed as you listen to Walter coming clean with his true identity. You may even find yourself rethinking all those assumptions you've made about the people you've met in your past and the things you've done or have yet to do. The rest of the cast is spot on as well. Their characters are all dealing with the deep emotional impact and ramifactions of their own deeds and you feel their pain, you see it etched on their faces. Aspiring filmmakers can learn a lot from this one. The camera work and lighting are so precise that they work as unseen hands in helping the characters reveal themselves to us and each other. Audiences who just like watching a good movie with a good story and interesting characters will love it too. This movie shows the real magic and artistry of film-making.

James McManus wrote a really tight story with just enough humour to keep you from being drawn too deeply in the dark depression that is Walter's life. Jack Perez has once again proven his ability to pull an enormous and beautiful rabbit out of a very small hat. For a real treat and one of the best commentary tracks ever made, buy or rent the DVD.

17 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
An edgy, fast-paced movie, 2 April 2004

I wasn't really sure what to expect from this movie. I couldn't figure out why it was released in theatres in other countries but not in North America, didn't make sense. And after watching it, I'm even more puzzled, I mean this is a really good movie, edgy and fast-paced. Drew Daywalt and Dave Schneider did a great job with this. Seann William Scott (Ben McGewen) made a complete departure from his Stifler character of the American Pie movies, and that is what being an actor is all about. Timm Sharp (Rikki Simms) was really good playing the guy on the edge of a complete and total breakdown. The thieving trio of Patrick Breen (Jeffrey Jay), John B. Crye (Jake Nealson) and Suzy Nakamura (Betty Shin) were believably on the verge of killing each other in the process of helping their friend Ben make this final score.

Lou Diamond Phillips (Gregory) with his shocking white hair was at his intensely malicious best here. He played it completely straight and hard. I have recently seen Lone Hero which he literally finished filming just days before beginning work on his scenes in Stark Raving Mad and the transformation was a double shock from long black hair to short white. Anyway, Gregory is a mob boss intent on collecting a debt left behind by Ben's deceased brother, Kevin. Ben is equally intent on paying off this debt and being done with the likes of Gregory. He enlists the help of his best friend Rikki and the larcenous trinity of Betty, Jake and Jeffrey to pull off a daring bank vault robbery. The bank happens to share a wall with a nightclub providing the opportunity of the perfect cover for the job. Ben works it out with the club's owner, played by Adam Arkin, to hold a rave but the owner is having second thoughts about it and becomes a potential obstacle to Ben's success. Another obstacle comes in the guise of the DJ played by Jody Racicot. The DJ who was originally hired couldn't make it so this guy shows up with his records and an attitude. Obstacle number three is, of course, a girl, played by Monet Mazur as Vanessa, neither the actress nor the character added anything to the story.

All is going according to plan, albeit slowly and not without an assortment of problems small and large when Ben notices the noise in the club is decreasing, this is a bad thing as the bank vault alarm will go off if the vibrations from the noise drop below a certain level. Ben goes out to check with his doorman Dirk, played by Canadian character actor, C. Ernst Harth who seems to be appearing in just about everything these days. Dirk informs his boss that there are a lot of kids trying to pass off fake ids to get in, conveniently there's one suspicious young lady right there who insists that the id is not fake, she just changed her hair colour and proceeds to lift her dress to prove her point. C. Ernst gives one of the best visual reactions I've ever seen.

The snappy dialogue, driving backbeat, and a talented cast equal a very watchable and enjoyable movie and the commentary track on the DVD is hilarious. I give it a solid 9/10.

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