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Absolutely Awesome !!!
Ricky Gervais is a comic genius. He's totally relaxed and confidence is has delivery and as a writer, he and his partner are brilliant. The British ability to mix clever word-play and physical humor without being overbearing. I'm an actor who started as an extra and he has hit the nail right on the head. The only thing that's missing is the 'retired' extra. The man or woman who is over 65 who has nothing to do but sit around and knit or read trashy novels when they are not asking the cast and crew annoying questions. I have not seen "The Office" so I can't make the comparison that everyone else is making but I hope that HBO continue this series. The cameos are brilliant. With guest stars like Samuel L. Jackson and Kate Winslet, this series cannot hit a wrong note.
Good Morning... and Goodbye! (1967)
A Wonderful Childhood Memory
I saw this movie at the tender age of ten. My best friend's parents wanted to go to the drive-in but they couldn't get a sitter, so Lonnie and I went along. I told my mom that I was going to the movies with the Hughes family and she say "Okay". She asked me what movie I was going to see and I said that I didn't know. That was the end of the conversation. Needless to say, at breakfast the next morning, when mom asked me what I saw, I made up the most elaborate lie that I could. Thank God for the Hughes family and all other COOL adult that let kids do what they aren't suppose to. I have seen all of Mr. Meyers' film since then and I am a fan. Sitting in the backseat with Lonnie, sipping pop and eating popcorn while I watched a parade of voluptuous woman and geeky, hillbilly males go at it tag-team style over a background of bad 70's waa-waa guitar solos prepared me for likes of Andy Warhol, John Waters and David Lynch later on in life. I recommend this film for anyone who likes unapologetic. artsy trash.
Lady in Cement (1968)
Young Filmmakers could learn from this Film
It's unfortunate that the genre of Privae Eye/Caper films is dead. Comtempary flicks of this ilk are vapid and weak compared to this flick and the reason is that the new stuff lacks in "coolness". Sinatra is 'cool'. Dan Blocker, Raquel Welch and Lainie Kazan are real actors not tabloid/celebrates making movies between their appearances on awards shows and Saturday Night Live. The dialog is hip and snappy. Their is no political correctness to be found. There is only the hardcore, survival instincts of people living on the underside of society. The set designs are intense in its detail and the world that is created by this filmmaker is believable despite its garishness. The array of different personalities have not be seen since Gordon Parks' Shaft and the rest of the Black Exploitation films. The person that has come close in recent history has been David Mamet (Heist, House of Games) and the adaptation of James McElroy's novel.
Pretty Things (2005)
Awesome Documentary marred by Filmmaker's Agenda
Filmmaker Liz Goldwyn has done a fantastic job in helping to tell the stories of these interesting women of the Burlesque art form. Unfortunately the film is marred by the Ms. Goldwyn interjection of her own personal pseudo-feminist agenda. The high points of the film are diverse stories told by an array of very different personalities such as Zorita and Lois De Fee. The low points are when the Ms. Goldwyn decides to let us in on her own personal triumphs and failures as a female in search of confidence and personal expression. As a personality, Liz Goldwyn is no match for these older seasoned women who have lead "real" lives as opposed to the life of an unfulfilled person who is on the outside looking in. The finale drags the whole movie down. If Ms. Goldwyn was attempting to contrast the personalities of these hard-scrabble broads with her own whining, self-indulgent, psycho-babbling self she sure did succeed. If I could cut out the parts where Liz Goldwyn talks I would. The result would be an awesome documentary about smart, confident women who survived in a harsh world by using their instincts instead wallowing in academic, navel-gazing.
One of the Greatest Movies ever Made !
I saw this movie as a triple feature with Eraserhead and Freaks. I was fourteen years old. I saw the poster for Eraserhead in the theater window and thought that the haircut was real cool, so I bought a ticket and went in. Six hours later I emerged from the theater in a daze that was way more intense than any drugs I've ever taken. Rocky Horror is actually a very old fashioned musical. That's why its survived for so long. That is why millions of people know all the words to all of the songs. At the age of fourteen, i found the cross-dressing to be shocking and kind of scary. But in the context of the story it was so believable. This movie is very similar to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Facory in that the director create a 'complete' world. Everything is plausible and anything is possible. This film is not self-indulgent like Warhol's Frankenstein. This film welcomes the audience into its world and takes them on a journey like Alice down the Rabbit Hole or Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road. This film changed the way that I saw movies. I put this film in the same category as Greaser's Palace, Fearless Frank and much of David Lynch's work.
A Good Idea Badly Executed
There have been many movies made from comic books lately. Some good (Road to Perdition, Spiderman, The Hulk and some of the Batman flicks). Some bad (Daredevil and some of the Batman flicks). Where these movies succeed is in there simplicity and straightforwardness in its storytelling. Where they fail is found in their excess. Catwoman is a failure because they took a good actor(Benjiman Bratt, Alex Borstein, Frances Conroy) and paired them with gorgeous but lukewarm talent like Halle Berry and Sharon Stone. Couple these casting faults with an overuse of CGI tricks, gaudy set design and cutesy music video moments and you have this movie. The plot line put forth by Ms. Conroy's character should have been the focus of the movie instead of putting so emphasis on the damned costume and the overbearing soundtrack and violence. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed watching Ms. Berry and Ms. Stone having their cat-fight but I think that the audience is smart enough to have had a little "story" thrown their way. It's a crying shame that so much money and time was wasted for so little return.
Garden State (2004)
Great writing, directing and acting!
This film is great in its scope of subjects that it touches upon. This film is very similar to Harold and Maude, Ice Storm and Six Feet Under(among others) in its treatment of so-called "bad" or "dark" themes like death, suicide, accidents and insanity. Its also funny which keeps it from being totally morbid. Zach Braff is a young genius in his ability to write and direct a film that assembles such a great story that has so many moments of mystery and revelation to it. The sense of place(home), location(New Jersey) as well as the use of an awesome soundtrack. The emotions of these characters are honest and raw. It is a film for this current generation like The Big Chill, The Breakfast Club and Less Than Zero were for past generations. The cast is superb. Natalie Portman shows that she is the best actor in her age group. Peter Sargaard shows that he is perfect in roles allow him to be engaging and frightening simultaneously (see Shattered Glass). Anne Dowd is good in the supporting role of the bizarre head of a bizarre family. And Ian Holm is brilliant as usual. This film stands out in sharp contrast to any film made in the last few years. I highly recommend watching this movie, renting it and owning the DVD.
Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
Perfect "Outsiders'" Film
Jared and Jerushka Hess have created a film that is in the traditional of all films about outsiders. This film joins Edward Scissorhands, Freaks and Geeks, Eraserhead, Raising Arizona and a host of others in its ability to draw the audience into a world that is unique and complete. The characters' personalities are painted in broad brush strokes but I bought into them hook, line and sinker because the actors went all at their tasks with 100% commitment. Tina Majorino was a pleasure to watch in her role as Deb. It's wonderful to see that this actress has grown out of her earlier film roles playing opposite performing seals. Jon Heder in the lead role is hysterical as the mouth-breathing, bad dressing, moist-at-the corners-of-the-mouth loser. You got to love this guy because he tries so hard to rise above his hostile surrounding. Jon Gries is downright diabolical as the smarmy uncle. Haylie Duff did surprisingly well as the queen bitch, Summer. The vastness of the landscape, the dull primary colors of the hallway lockers, the slick wood paneling of the basement were depicted with such detail that I could feel the falseness and desperation of the 70's. The actress named Shondrella was a pleasant surprise as well as the guy plays Pedro in that they added racial diversity to an otherwise white world. Good job done by all involved.
I Love Medium !
Medium is a great show. The story-line is intriguing. I'm surprised that it's taken so long for the networks to produce a series about police psychics. It's unique, it's "real" and the casting and writing is excellent. Jake Weber as the long- suffering husband and Patricia Arquette as the woman torn between career and family are perfect together as a couple whose marriage is not perfect. Their relationship with their kids is also "real" in that they have "conflicts" with their children instead of "issues" (like so many other family shows). I think that Ms. Arquette has the same appeal as actresses like Lili Taylor, Joan Cusack and Martha Plimpton in the sense that their attractiveness is not so much about their physical appearance but their sense of self. They are confidence and sincere. Patricia does what all good actors do. She draws us into the world that the writers have created and makes us want to follows her on her journey. Mr. Sandoval's character needs to be developed more. The relationship is very similar to the two lead characters in Patricia Cornwell's novels. I hope the writer continue to create interesting plot-lines. This show and its supernatural premise has so much potential because of its otherworldliness.
Unconditional Love (2002)
Funny, Touching and Totally Bizarre
My wife and I were channel surfing and came across stop at this film when we saw Kathy Bates' face. We are big fans of hers. As the film progressed we were pleasantly surprised at the ability of screenwriters P.J. Hogan and Jocelyn Moorhouse to weave an intricate tale that was both meaningful and a bit silly. Leave it to a couple of Australians to make a movie that addresses love, gay issues and singing without being preachy or stupid. Meredith Eaton was fabulous. I had never seen her before but I will seek out her other films. If you liked the film Little Voice, you'll love this one. The celebrity cameos were hilarious. There were moments that were absolutely surreal but did not distract from the message of the story which is tolerance for people who are different. This is destined to be a cult classic. I can actually imagine seeing this in a theater where the audience reacts to it in the same way that they react to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.