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gavin6942

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3924 reviews in total 
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The Indie Film To End All Indie Films, 30 January 2015
8/10

A quietly troubled young man (Zach Braff) returns home for his mother's funeral after being estranged from his family for a decade.

This film hit a generation hard and was in no small way responsible for popularizing indie music, with the Shins in particular. Soundtracks with Shins, the Bravery and more started floating around. Thanks, Zach Braff, you single-handedly changed the music industry.

Interestingly, this film features Jim Parsons before his big break. Not that his role is huge, but it is big enough that anyone watching today (2015) will recognize him as Sheldon (and probably not much else).

And this was back before Natalie Portman switched from fun films to critically acclaimed work. She does both very well.

Twin Peaks Continued... Sort Of, 30 January 2015
8/10

After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman (Laura Harring) amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful (Naomi Watts) search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.

So this is what would have happened to Audrey if "Twin Peaks" was allowed to continue? Odd. And how will that play into the return of "Twin Peaks" in 2016? It probably will not, but who knows? These worlds are clearly not far apart. Even Angelo Badalamenti's score is reminiscent of his "Peaks" work.

But then, Club Silencio is a return to "Blue Velvet" in a sense. Or even all the way back to the woman in the radiator in "Eraserhead". David Lynch may be odd, but he is consistent.

Beautiful Story, 30 January 2015
7/10

The factual story of Spaniard Ramon Sampedro (Javier Bardem), who fought a thirty-year campaign in favor of euthanasia and his own right to die. The film explores Ramón's relationships with two women: Julia, a lawyer suffering from Cadasil syndrome, who supports his cause, and Rosa, a local woman who wants to convince him that life is worth living.

The film is directed by Alejandro Amenábar, who had previously made "Open Your Eyes" and "The Others". This is clearly the most critically acclaimed of the three, but there is no denying that he was consistently releasing great films.

"The Sea Inside" won the 2004 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, the 2004 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, and 14 Goya Awards. Well deserved, and further pushing Javier Bardem into the role of international star.

The Interview (2014/II)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Forget That OakTree, 30 January 2015
7/10

Dave Skylark (James Franco) and producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the celebrity tabloid show "Skylark Tonight." When they land an interview with a surprise fan, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, they are recruited by the CIA to turn their trip to Pyongyang into an assassination mission.

Once upon a time, the great Judd Apatow had a show called "Freaks and Geeks". Sadly, it was overlooked in its day and only achieved a cult following later. But from that came the friendship of Franco and Rogen, which has made some great comedies. And this one.

Is it stupid? Yes. Is it childish? Yes. But is it funny? Actually, yes. Franco is so bizarre, he really nails this. He may be known for his odd, artistic stuff, but his comedy is genius in its own way.

But the question no one seems to be asking is, is this ethically okay? Apparently joking about murdering the leader of North Korea is okay. And yet, if another country (any country at all) made a film about assassinating a sitting president, would we not get up in arms? (Don't get me wrong. I'm all about free expression... just curious if we're allowing a double standard to slide in the name of patriotism.)

AIP In Space, 29 January 2015
6/10

One of only two survivors from a Martian expedition is so traumatized she (Naura Hayden) does not remember the circumstances of the trip.

The film stars Gerald Mohr and is directed by American International Pictures regular Ib Melchior. Melchior was only given 10 days and a budget of $200,000 to make the film. All things considered, he did alright.

The New York Times wrote, "The Angry Red Planet solemnly warns its audiences not to go to Mars. Stubborn patrons who ignore the advice will discover that the planet looks like a cardboard illustration from Flash Gordon and is inhabited by carnivorous plants, a giant amoeba and a species resembling a three-eyed green ant." Well said.

Great film? No. Fun film? Yes.

Going Through the Motions, 29 January 2015
6/10

Recorded in Spreckels Theater in San Diego, California, comedian Patton Oswalt returns for his 5th feature-length stand-up comedy special.

Did I enjoy this? Yes, I did. But the reason is because Oswalt has become such an icon that he can more or less stand in front of a camera and just exist for an hour and be worth watching. He is the kind of guy who can tell a good story.

Unfortunately, this only works if you already know him. If you do not, you will walk away from this and realize he never once told any jokes... he told a few stories about Las Vegas, but no jokes. He threw out some geek and nerd references, but no jokes. Where are the quotables from yesteryear like the "bowl of sadness"? Are those days gone?

Curt Siodmak Writes A Story..., 29 January 2015
6/10

A team of international scientists and engineers attempts to build a tunnel under the ocean.

The story was written by the amazing Curt Siodmak, based on the 1913 novel "Der Tunnel" by Bernhard Kellermann. Interestingly, "Der Tunnel" had already been filmed three times before, once as a German silent, "Der Tunnel" (1915), and then as two sound films "Der Tunnel" (German) and "Le Tunnel" (French), both released in 1933, and both directed by Curtis Bernhardt. The British version today remains the only one easily available.

Suggestions for such a structure actually go back to Michel Verne, son of Jules Verne, who wrote about it in 1888 in a story entitled "Un Express de l'avenir" (An Express of the Future). This story was published in English in Strand Magazine in 1895. As recently as the 1960s, the idea was again proposed, but then using vacuum tubes rather than more traditional modes of transport.

As for the film, it is worth seeing, if for no other reason than to get a feel for British science fiction in the 1930s. This approach seems much different than the boomin science fiction of the 1950s.

Impressive Effects For the 1950s, 29 January 2015
8/10

The film adaptation of the H.G. Wells story told on radio of the invasion of Earth by Martians.

So, you know, most of the backgrounds look like matte paintings, creating a set that is only about ten or twenty feet in depth. But that is unimportant. The colors, the impressive meteor and alien technology... few films -- maybe none -- were able to look so incredible in that era.

The story has been told multiple times, and most people are probably aware of the basics. But this version may be the best, far better than the Tom Cruise version fifty years later, and maybe even better than the original radio drama.

Cheese, 29 January 2015
5/10

In 1960, a military test pilot (Robert Clarke) is caught in a time warp that propels him to year 2024 where he finds a plague has sterilized the world's population.

A budding star, Darlene Tompkins, appears as the future's princess. The following year she appeared in "Blue Hawaii" with Elvis Presley. Unfortunately, her pursuit of acting was interrupted by the start of a family.

Much of the film is cheesy, and many of the sets are very simple, but it is worth noting that the makeup was created by Jack Pierce. Tompkins recalled that Pierce on set was "very, very serious, and so glad that he was working... He really loved it, he gave me the impression that this was the most important thing that there was, that this was so phenomenally important to him." Tompkins also recalled that, at least with her, Robert Clarke acted as director and Edgar Ulmer kept very much to himself. With many of her scenes involving a romance with Clarke, perhaps this direction should not be surprising.

What makes the plot interesting is that there is a Cold War theme, but oddly the plot specifies that the (upcoming) moon landing would end it. This is one of the few films that actually seems optimistic. Of course, this optimism is somewhat negated by the impending plague.

Sadly, the Netflix version is really choppy, as though they only had every other frame. Can we get a crisp, new version, perhaps with a Tom Weaver commentary?

In America (2002)
Alright, 28 January 2015
7/10

A family of Irish immigrants adjust to life on the mean streets of Hell's Kitchen while also grieving the death of a child.

The film was nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Original Screenplay for the Sheridans, Best Actress for Samantha Morton and Best Supporting Actor for Djimon Hounsou. Yet, the real reason to watch this is for the two sisters and how charming they are.

Ebert wrote, "In America is not unsentimental about its new arrivals (the movie has a warm heart and frankly wants to move us), but it is perceptive about the countless ways in which it is hard to be poor and a stranger in a new land." More than this, it shows an interesting cross-section of race and nationality. Not the great film it wants to make itself out to be, but still a rather light-hearted walk down the path of modern immigration (keeping it even lighter by having the immigrants speak English).


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