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The Raven (2006)
If only you were able to rate with negative stars. New rule: if you're going to make a movie based off an author's work, and put the name of that author in the title, ie: "Bram Stoker's Dracula", or "Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven" as this movie is called, then you should at least make an attempt to address the source material at some point.
This movie has nothing whatsoever to do with Edgar Allan Poe or his poem "The Raven." There are select passages read out of context in the film, but none of these have any meaning whatsoever to any of the characters or the plot; they just try to make it fit the convoluted serial killer plot.
This film truly is a disgrace to Edgar Allan Poe's genius. "The Raven" is a work that is only meant instill fear through the possibilities it raises of madness, desperation, and that there may be no heaven, afer life, being after this.
But that has not stopped them from making this piece of crap, of the older version with a young Jack Nicholson that I also recall having nothing to do with the poem; but, at least from what I remember of that at a young age one late night on cable, that one had a plot.
This does not. It also features some terrible acting, completely senseless plotting... I don't know why we finished watching this, but we did.
Total piece of crap. Don't waste your time.
Cold Mountain (2003)
This is why movies are made. Tops my list of 2003.
`Cold Mountain' may perhaps be the best picture of 2003. In a year of such feats as `The Station Agent' and `The Human Stain'. I think I am coming to realize, that the Civil War epic love story (sounds like it's been done before, doesn't it?) stands in a high place, maybe above those other first two.
You see, `Cold Mountain' is the type of movie that is rather hard to review, as there are aspects of the film and plot that one can't allude to without something being given away; with that I say, if you are an avid movie fan, and think you may want to see this film in any (even small) way, go see this art and experience it for yourself. Each performance in this movie fits into the larger puzzle in pieces, with supporting performers such as Natalie Portman or Donald Sutherland or Philip Seymour Hoffman playing their parts with a certain flawless, true and often brutal, beauty. And so it goes for the leads-each is simply spellbinding. I believe Nicole Kidman to be one of our time's greatest actors, and as Ada, one part of the epic (though unconventional) love story, gives a phenomenal performance; capturing an inexperienced character in love and life in the beginning pieces of the film, and taking that character on an amazing, harsh journey into real life and romance in the face of such terror, through the film's remainder. And Jude Law; I did not know he had this in him. I'd seen very good performances from him in `Road to Perdition' and even `The Talented Mr. Ripley', but as Ada's lover Inman, he blew me away. His accent, look, body language were all perfectly woven together in his character. As is also the case with Renee Zellwegger; of course, given the uneducated attitude one might attribute to a stereotypical `hillbilly' type of her character, it is not hard to see how some would think her performance strictly comic relief. But Ruby, her character, is so much more than all that. She's funny, she's honest, and she feels; she's human. A beauty character-in a beautiful ensemble.
On to the story, which has been called `uneven' by some, for reasons which include every thing to its only having one graphic strictly battle scene in the film's opening (one extremely powerful piece of cinema that effected me in a way I'm not sure I've been touched before) to Inman and Ada's relationship before the war being to brief, to the fact that Inman is a deserter, low-life, traitor of his cause. If you watch `Cold Mountain', and still think that, then I do not know what to tell you. Yes, it is about a deserter; a man who leaves the war he's fighting what is his life's love, for he yearns for life beyond the death of war and no longer wants to support anything such as the brutal ugliness of the Civil War. That is what the whole movie is about, love and life, and the pointlessness of fighting in the extreme ways of war. The story is about the people-not strictly the battle fought on the field, but of the ones fought in the soul-their love, their simplicity, their depth, their comic moments, their tragic moments; as the moments of their lives.
No other film this year has captured me into the state of emotional involvement, also. Though the film is something close to two and a half hours, to me it seemed nothing like the time. It did not seem short, but it was in no way `long'. It was a perfect piece of time during which I experienced some great, involving art. And while you have to see the film to understand the type of love story it is, I can tell you the love story had me entirely swept away (unlike Minghella's other major work "The English Patient". The final hour of the film had me, and then, I knew this was a feat of cinematic achievement regardless of the ending, and I let the film take me entirely.
The result was quite possibly one of the greatest movies I've ever seen.
I highly recommend you go see `Cold Mountain'. A standing ovation from me for director Anthony Minghella, leads Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, and Renee Zellwegger; and all those involved. Avery large, enthusiastic thumbs up.
The Hours (2002)
I saw "The Hours" almost two weeks ago, and now I am glad I finally have time to write about it. Fantastic film. Funny how some small brained critics for some rather large publications were scared by it. That aside, before I saw the film I thought I was going to be disappointed; I'd heard it was all about suicide, and from that I thought I had guessed the ending. Boy was I wrong, and boy was I glad; the film is not about suicide being the only way out sometimes-- "The Hours" is about life, as it should be lived. Brilliantly written, told, acted, and therefore done, "The Hours" is a true masterpiece.
When I left the show after seeing this, the first thing that occurred to me was how great each and every actor in this movie was; Nicole Kidman WAS for the two hours I watched the film Virginia Woolfe, Meryl Streep WAS a woman named Clarissa living in New York in the year 2000, Julianne Moore WAS 1950's depressed housewife Laura Brown, and even Ed Harris WAS his character of a dying writer. I have to admit, I was a bit concerned with Kidman's fake nose, but that did not cheapen her performance or the movie in any way; it added to its greatness. The way she walked, the way she talked, the way she was-- was all so brilliant; Nicole Kidman is simply amazing. And Meryl Streep, her scenes of the emotions her character goes through are so genuine that they are simply brilliant. And then you have Julianne Moore who was nothing less than perfect as a depressed housewife. And then you get to Ed Harris, who plays a character with such emotional scenes that are so intense; some of the speeches he gives about writing and life-- I think I have rarely identified with a character in a movie such as I did to him with those words. And aside from his speeches, he not only looks the part, he acts them out in a perfect way that's simply brilliant. Give the whole damn cast an award, IMO.
But, without the writing, of course, there would be no "Hours". The adapted script and the way that it is shot is nothing less than brilliant; the idea behind it, a story of three women living in different times but reading the same book, still amazes me in a perfect way. And the three stories are told so seamlessly; it's simply an experience you have to see for yourself.
I would end the review here, had I not have to mention the aspect of sexuality that has been brought up in reviews I've seen: such reviews dubbed this as one about three lesbian women. And to that I say: say wha? I see one character who's sexuality is clearly defined, one character who tries something to see how her life would be if it were differently and is disappointed, and one woman who is clearly not a lesbian (I saw the kiss she gave to a woman as a way of saying good bye). But that said, I'm sure others may interpret the film differently. Also, in no way do I see this film as saying homosexuality equals madness; of course, believe me, it can lead to depression, though a kind that is not the clinical kind, one that is brought on by society in general giving you the message you're wrong just about every day, but I do not, in any way, see this film as against homosexuality.
In conclusion, "The Hours" is a purely brilliant film that's not to be missed. While it may be too much for some people, I still give this a high recommendation; the writing, performances, and overall execution are divine in this movie that stands among the most deep and moving ever made. Brilliant. Four out of four stars.
Sweet, charming, funny, and nice.
Well, just got finished with this nice little movie I had never seen before and loved it. Great stroy, great actors, great look. As always, Johnny Depp has a great taste for roles, but it's Juliette Binoche who really carries this one. The story's rather simple, at first, and it's been said here a million times so I won't go into that. All I'll say is if you like good movies, and have taste :-), you'll like this one. I enjoyed it from beginning to end, most every second of it. I rented this on DVD, and I would soon love to buy it for my connection. And, just a word before closing to those who think it's anti-Catholic or whatever: did you watch the ending?
Wrapping up, Chocolat charmed me, made me laugh, and made me surprised I had hardly heard of the movie before. It's very well worth a see. Three out of four stars for me.
Terms of Endearment (1983)
I laughed! I cried! I laughed! And then I starting sobbing!
Exactly how in the world did I never see this movie before? I rented it on DVD the other night because I heard it was good, but I didn't expect it to be as good as it was. Incredible story, such powerful and passionate acting, it's just such a great film.
I don't think I need to say anything about the acting in it, if you've seen Terms of Endearment you know that Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, and Jack Nicholson bring their characters to a life rarely seen in movies. I just can't get over how great this movie was. The story is so good, it's so funny and at times among some of the saddest moments I've ever seen portrayed in the movies. I don't want to go any further for fear that I might spoil it for those who haven't seen this incredible story about life and love and laughter among family. Oh, and if you haven't seen one of the greatest movies ever made, go do so now.
Wrapping up, if you can't tell I loved Terms of Enderament. I guess I had always stayed away from it because it seemed like THE chick flick, but it's not. It's such a great story, great acting, everything of a great movie. 10 out of 10.
Red Dragon (2002)
Excellent film, also an excellent adaption of the book.
Well I finally saw Red Dragon, and having the book be one of the best I've ever read, I was wary of seeing it. I never really cared for Manhunter, but boy did I get a surprise with this version, a version that actually cared enough about the original work to call it by that name, obviously Red Dragon. I also thought that they would change it around to put more of everybody's favorite cannibal in, which they really didn't. So he's in the beginning more, but that was what basically happened in flashback in the book, they only drew it out more in the movie. And the other scenes with Hannibal that were added helped to cover all the ground they needed to do with the story, and they worked perfectly. Let me explain.
Who woulda thunk it that Ed Norton would be the perfect fit for Will Graham? I didn't, but he was. I think he's such an incredible actor, and he more than proves it here, bringing the character to a great and realistic life. Of course we need not say anything about Anthony Hopkins, who is more than the brillant fit for Hannibal Lector. But Ralph Fiennes as Dolarhyde? I thought that was a really bad choice-- I was proved wrong there again. He gives such a performance as the Tooth Fairy that I now believe he was perfect, and did perfect in, for the part. Emily Watson as Reba was also incredible, as was all the other supporters. The actual shots of the movie were incredible, and along with the rather brillaint script it worked perfectly. Of course some things were changed, but little things, and not much. And not a single changed thing took away from the original story, I am astounded at how good an adaption this turned out to be. (And I usually am very unforgiving with film versions of great books).
In conclusion, Red Dragon is a great film. Brilliant performances and an excellent adaption of a screenplay play out perfectly in this incredible film. Did the novel it's very deserved justice in my opinion. And the ending, the final part, of course it wasn't in the book, but that was incredible! Loved what they did there!
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
It's an okay movie, it does chop up the brillaint play though. Spoiler alert.
Let me start by saying that I know this version of A Streetcar Named Desire was made in the ultra-conservative 50's. The play is butchered up and fit onto film in a choppy way that's an insult to one of the greatest plays ever written, period. The aspects they take out and change make the story confusing and makes it now fit just write. The way they handled Blanche's first husband's death is probably the worst. In the play she had walked in on him and another man, but tried to act like it never happened. Then one night on the dance floor she blurted out to him that she saw what she was doing, she knew, etc, etc. Then he goes out and kills himself. But, in the movie, Blanche wakes up one night and hears him crying, and then on the dance floor she tells him he's weak and she doesn't love him. It just comes off so wrong in the movie.
Also, the change of the ending is just wrong. And it doesn't make sense. In the play, or the real story, Stella doesn't leave Stanley at the end. Cut to move and she does. But why? She has just had Blanche committed for saying she was sexually assaulted by Stanley (which she was), and are we supposed to think she leaves Stanley then for assaulting her? It just doesn't make sense, but the play's ending does, the real ending which is tragic and real.
But then again, the acting in this play had good potential. Damn good potential, if they had only remained true to the story, Viven Leigh would have been immaculately brillant, she would've given one of the all time best performances. But, she still does in here, but the changed story just kills the movie. Go the play if you want an incredibly good story.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Twisted, DARK, and very good.
I had no idea what this movie was about before watching it, had only heard it recommended, and was plesantly surprised. And it isn't without some flaws, but it's a pretty good film.
Jake Gyllenhaal is really good in this, bringing to life such a disturbed character. And, by the way, how can you not be totally creeped out by that freaky bunny that looks so much like a bug??? The rest of the acting is all pretty good, even from the people you so wouldn't expect it from, like Patrick Swayze and Drew Barrymore. The story's good also, it has some kinks that probably could've been worked out (like most of the ending which becomes kind of goofy until you realize what's going on, and then you're just like "oh." nothing big), but for the most part it works. The directing and overall execution is very well done too.
In conclusion, Donnie Darko is not a film for every, that's the kind of good it is. Great acting, good story, very good execution. Would recommend. 3 out of 5 stars. EDIT AFTER SEVERAL VIEWINGS: 5 out of 5 stars.
An extremly good & well done movie, I liked it!
I went to see Possession with some expectations, I haven't read the book but I'm a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow and the trailers and pre-reviews for this looked good, and I have to say I was very pleased. I think it's the last great movie of the summer (this there have been many, Unfaithful (wait, was that summer?), Road to Perdition, Signs, and now Possession), and I couldn't be happier. The actors (all of them) shine in this, the drama, the romance which is overwhelming but great, the occasional comedy all blend together with a good story that is told magnificently.
Gwyneth is, in my opinion, one of the best actresses out there today and she lived above and beyond the call of duty for my expectations in Possession. Aaron Eckhart, who I've never seen in anything before is good and has great chemistry with Gwyneth. The writing in this is very good, the way the story shifts works great also, the stories fit into each other perfectly and quite beautifully if I may add. The atmosphere and overall look of the film is also quite breathtaking, it's safe to say I loved this film.
In conclusion, Possession is a great film. Great acting, especially from Gwyneth Paltrow, the chemistry is great, the story's great, the way it looks is great, and the way it's told is great. Oh, and great romance too. If you're not the romantic type I would steer clear of this movie, but being that I am I loved it. Simply, you guessed it, great. 3 out of 4 stars.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Brilliant, number one in my book.
Having just watched The Sixth Sense and all the extras, I have one thing to say about my favorite movie. It's brilliant. Every second of the film has a point and keeps it's pace, a rarity in modern movie making. The masterpiece of film which is incredibly moving and monumental, and above all things, GOOD, is ultimate film perfection. M. Night Shyamalan is a story telling genius and this movie is NOT for die hard, spiritual side-less, skeptics of anything remotley beyond only what the eye can see. The story is one of the best and to top perfect direction and storytelling, every single actor can hold a scene incredibly.
Bruce Willis, who is a very good actor, when the scripts give him a chance (Story of Us) is the best he's ever been in here. And Haley Joel Osment is a very good actor, and not just a kid actor at that. I can't think of another one like him, who is an adult actor in a kid's body. Everyone in this movie holds up their scenes with brilliance, giving the audience a movie that I remember hooking me from the first scene. Each time I see this movie I see something new, from the 3 times I saw it at the show and the countless others I've seen it at home, larger than life goosebumps never fail to overcome me in the film's finally moments (tears come also, and throughout the very moving film. The film is just perfect, through and through, with an original (to whoever compared it to Ghost...? Ghost was incredibly corny). The scene with Haley Joel and Toni Colette in the car at the end, is one of the most moving ever to be filmed. There are simply not enough words of praise for this film, it's my favorite ever (sharing the spot with a select few). I love it, I love it, I love it. Oh, and the film is brilliantly scored also. Also, The Sixth Sense is not only about the twist ending, the film before that is more than enough to hold an entire one on, but the ending boosts the film up to perfection. I simply love this movie. It's the greatest. Infinite stars out of ten.