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Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (2016)
Meh! No, not this one.
I love all the other Sherlock episodes, some more, some less, but this one is not one I will be watching again. It's silly, strained and trying way too hard. The weird make-up, the forced social message, none of it really worked at all. About the only part I liked about it somewhat was the retro look.
The way they tried to explain things at the end was put together in a rather slipshod and really just silly, unsavoury manner. The story did not hold together very well at all. And it certainly did nothing to link it to Moriarty.
Alas, it just wasn't at all enjoyable.
Die verlorene Zeit (2011)
Half of it is great!
Not sure how this movie got developed, but half of it is absolutely spectacular in story, locations, performances, the whole deal. That's the part of the story that deals with the past. The storyline here is well cast, beautifully acted, really nicely developed in every single area. It is an 8-9 star movie here.
However, and it's a BIG However, the modern-day segments of the story leave ever so much to be desired. The relationships between the characters are poorly developed, the acting is stilted, wooden. Actors throwing lines at one another like darts. The set is OK, but just OK. The storyline in the modern segments does not flow, doesn't even make sense sometimes. Like when the main character's daughter asks her a question and is given an absent-minded answer, to which she replies: "I don't believe it! You're lying to me!" There was no lying involved. There was barely an answer at all. Also, one of the main, most salient lines of the modern-day protagonist, which is repeated twice is really-really badly delivered. This robs it of all its depth and meaning.
All in all, I'm glad to have seen this movie for the good parts. And, because the good parts were so very good, I can only mourn how wonderful the whole movie could have been, had it been given the same treatment throughout. Were there two directors maybe???
What a waste of 97 minutes! Awkward movie with a very (!) weak plot and with good actors in a no-win situation. This movie tries way too hard to be prophetic and ironic at the same time and fails sensationally on both counts. When I watch a movie, I know I'm watching a good one, when the actors are natural and the story-line draws me in. When I see the actors as just actors, looking for their marks, woodenly reciting their lines and generally just not getting into the moment, I know that the movie is total crap. And it is. Such is the case with eXistenZ. The creators came up with a very lame and almost non-existent plot-line, injected a lot of gory-looking vivisections of poor mutated creatures into the middle, tacked on "surprise" ending of massively rigid proportions, much aimless coming and going throughout by all the characters with lots of insipid "fill" dialog, a few decent sexy shots of Jennifer Jason Leigh in unnaturally rigid profile positions that probably made her calves bind up, and Jude Law doing some routine wide-eyed who me scenes that only made one wonder how innocent this guy really could be...?
My husband says gaming people are probably the ones who like this movie. But, seriously, I can't see how anyone with a majority of intact brain cells could possibly find this laughable excuse for a story remotely entertaining, never mind riveting...
Like Crazy (2011)
Bored to tears
No rhyme, no reason, no story. Boring characters, boring plot (if you can call it that), a lot of boring angst that results in nothing constructive whatsoever. This is the most ridiculously shallow, aimless, non-sensical piece of fluff I've seen in a loooong time. We were fast forwarding through the yet another aimless rolling around in bed (no, don't worry, nothing that would remotely be a turn-on) scene, to leave me, don't leave me, come back to me, call me, text me - whatever! Have I mentioned that it is the most boring movie I have ever seen? It makes the endless snake fight scene in Bo Derek's Tarzan the Apeman movie seem like high adventure. Massive booooooo to this silly, pretentious bit of nothing at all. Yuck!
Deep Dark Secrets (1987)
The only deep dark secret is: who financed this really bad little movie???
This movie stars James Brolin as Michael Wakefield, an innkeeper with a deep, dark secret. Melody Anderson is his innocent, beautiful, child-like wife Julianne, who worships the ground he walks on until, one day, a stranger comes to call and Michael disappears and is thought to have died in a car accident. In her efforts to take over the management of the B&B, Julianne starts finding out a lot of nasty little and big things about Michael, who she thought she knew, but now must realize she did not know him at all.
The plot of this movie would be a mediocre not-so-bad one if the acting weren't so trite and generally horrendous. However, some movies are so bad they start slipping into the "kinda fun entertainment" category, simply by virtue of their flaws, which are fun to watch as you cringe and grit your teeth and wonder who in their right mind financed this disaster? This is definitely one of those movies.
So, if you enjoy wincing and can find pleasure in picking apart scene after scene of truly sad and bad acting, this movie is for you. I am sad to admit that I am one of those people. At least where this particular movie is concerned... So, I am understandably torn as to what rating to give it? 6-7 stars for unintentional entertainment, or 1 star for missing the mark intended by a few hundred miles? I have to add that I do like most of the sets in this otherwise truly painful little TV movie. It's a very pretty B&B and the grounds around it, and the colors and decorations are very nice. Ah yes, I am truly conflicted.
Hmmmm, I wonder if it will ever make it to DVD...? :)))
Birds of America (2008)
My New Favorite Movie this Year!
This is one of the best movies I've seen this year. Surprisingly so, because it is habitually rated just average on the various sites like Amazon and IMDb. People don't seem to understand the very deep and beautiful psychology of this movie, which ultimately culminates in discovering what and where a person's real freedom is. Not in a political way, but in a liberating, "life's journey" kind of way. This movie is beautifully written, which is a tricky matter when dealing with this level of intellectualism. It stops short of being preachy or over-written. It is perfect! The casting is excellent too. Each character has great depth (or shallowness) that is magnificently represented by the actors chosen for each role. The pacing is also very well done, as is the score and the camera work. All in all, when it was over, I was ready to start watching it all over again. I really actually wish the whole story would have stretched much longer. It was sheer delight.
A movie about recognizing the chains that bind you and the love that frees you.
The Thing About My Folks (2005)
Mediocre at best. Disappointing performances and story.
Meh. This will not go down in history as a memorable movie. At least not for me it won't. The only thing memorable about it would be Peter Falk's less than masterful overdoing of the Jewish father schtick. And I generally have quite a soft spot for Peter Falk...
The movie overall was OK, but just in the most general sense. The plot line started out interesting but fizzled badly in the end. No real strength to the whole story. Paul Reiser did not do his best work here either. I don't think any of the actors really meshed with each other. Instead of telling a story, they kept kind of acting "at" each other. There was a woodenness about the whole effect. Even the great Olympia Dukakis could not get into her character's groove. And you only saw her for about ten minutes at the very end. But it's the worst acting I've ever seen from her, ever. Which isn't saying much, I know, because she is otherwise a fabulous actress. Let's just say her acting in this probably embarrassed all her acting coaches. It was not good.
Elisabeth Perkins was pretty, as usual, but completely lacked character or depth. The few witty lines she was given somehow just didn't make the cut either. They all fell kind of flat. You somehow knew they were meant to be funny, but just couldn't see the actual funny part for yourself.
All in all, a pretty ho-hum little movie that I would never take the time to watch again.
My House in Umbria (2003)
Very mixed feelings
I have to give this movie a very mixed review. On the one had, the storyline, the script, the score and the acting are fairly reliably horrendous throughout. The storyline is weak, choppy, and drags on miserably. The characters are not very likable (to put it mildly...), and even the most gifted ones (Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall, Chris Cooper and Giancarlo Giannini) are effectively dragged down and their abilities trampled by the leaden script and the absolute lack of talent of some of the other actors. In particular, Bernard Furmann turns in a devastatingly feeble performance that makes you wonder if he's ever darkened the doorstep of an acting school.
However, on the other hand, the Italian scenery, that wonderful house, with its beautiful garden and setting, and the cinematography are beyond amazingly gorgeous - all of them. As such, I have now seen this movie at least half a dozen times in the past few months, trying to ignore the fallow storyline and the lame acting, and am quite determined to retire in that region of Italy and, preferably, in that very house.
Feet of Flames (1998)
Feet of Flames....?????
Of course, "Flatley" is already not exactly the ideal name for a dancer, but I think Michael is really pushing the irony envelope with this new title: "Feet of Flames"
One really can't resist recommending Desenex Foot Spray to the retiring (and clearly, ailing) Flatley.
I might add that, much like that cheering London crowd (per review below), I too am enthusiastic about this being his last live performance.
"Hinting that it may be his last live performance, Flatley is cheered on by an enthusiastic London crowd." ~ Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide
The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!!! (I warned you...)
MAJOR YAWN!!!! This is a waste of time, dumb, dumb, dumb movie. Normally, I love Adrien Brody. I don't know what he was thinking, doing this total piece of fluff with no redeeming characteristics whatsoever. Owen Wilson has never been one of my favorites and his participation in this piece of nothing has not improved his standing in my eyes.
The story is disjointed, the acting is spotty (what else could it be, given what they have to work with?). The comedy is strained, at best. There is an overwhelming fondness for the color yellow. The natives are badly (hardly?) portrayed. And the two actors who might have contributed something substantial (Angelica Huston and Bill Murray) had little more than cameos. I don't think Bill Murray ever uttered a word....
The New York Film Critics must have been paying off a heavy debt when they awarded this movie a Best Screenplay Award.
My husband was watching this movie with me and he took off to go to bed halfway through with no regrets.
Unless you like total nonsensical drivel that meanders every which way, I recommend you give this movie a pass. I would have, if I had known.
Too violent for young children, no continuum.
Not impressed with this movie at all. The storyline is basically a mish-mash of some of the old, successful Disney stories: Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and even Mary Poppins (the central park dance routine is very reminiscent of Julie Andrews, Dick van Dyke and the kids dancing in the park before they jump into one of the chalk pictures on the sidewalk), and anything else you are sharp enough to detect in there. That is not the problem. In fact, that is kind of fun. Revisiting bits and pieces of our old favorites...
Part of the problem lies more in the cutesy, gratuitous violence that runs rampant throughout the movie, especially the "funny" yet "cute" sadistic touches. I have never even liked it when filmmakers insert the highly overdone cat screaming or dog howling in pain in the background when someone inadvertently tosses something aside and it finds its mark. What is funny about hurting an animal? Well, in Enchanted, the torturing of animals is not accidental, it's deliberate and very disturbing, to say the least. Even though it's being done to a cartoon chipmunk, that somehow does not make it any less upsetting. If I were a parent, I would not want my child watching this kind of behavior, especially since it is being characterized as "funny" and "cute". It is neither, and children should not be taught that it is.
I very much recommend that parents take a look at this movie themselves first, before exposing their children to it. Do not judge this movie by the cover. It is definitely not suitable for small children. In fact, I wish I hadn't seen it myself.
Other than that, the other part of the problem is that the whole storyline is a big piece of disorganized fluff. There is no more basis for the romance that blooms between Robert and Giselle, than there is for the one between the Prince and Giselle. And Giselle runs around risking life and limb to go chasing after her Prince, only to be completely sidetracked, once they find one another, by her "feelings" for Robert, who has heretofore shown little else but irritation with her. And his irritation gets magically transformed into deep love for no tangible reason whatsoever.... Fairytale, indeed! Makes no sense at all.
I loved Amy Adams in 'The Wedding Date'. In fact, she's the reason I wanted to see this movie too. But, sadly, not impressed here. The acting is very mehhh... The storyline struggles - a lot. And the whole package is just not what I would expect from a movie of this caliber, with these actors. Too much trying too hard. Not enough real fun. No actual substance. Saccharin as can be. By the time it was all over Amy Adams' face must have really hurt from all that forced cheery smiling. I wonder how long it took to recover muscle control after the shoot?
Das Leben der Anderen (2006)
My #1 Favorite Movie So Far.
Oh.My.God.! This has got to be the BEST movie I have ever seen. The storyline is exquisite and flawless. The acting is beautiful and subtle, especially by Ulrich Muhe. It is full of real human touches centering on frailties and ego. The ending could not have been better crafted. The score was wonderful. Great to see the old East German streets and the sets seemed very authentic. The visuals and music really pull you right in. All in all, the movie left me thinking about it and feeling it for a long, long time later. It was dramatically riveting and emotionally wrenching and left me with goose bumps running up and down my spine, my throat closed up and my mind awhirl. You have *GOT* to see this movie!!!
What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? (2004)
Double check those negative reviews before you decide to go by them... + the Review
Do yourself a favor and check the number of previous reviews given by the negative reviewers. Most of them (by far) have only reviewed this movie. This, plus the fact that most (by far) of the first reviews were all very positive, makes the sudden and drastic shift to all negatives seem very highly suspicious. I suspect some religious and/or political groups feel very threatened by the message in this movie. Methinks they may have stacked the deck to put you off seeing it. Don't buy into their game and deprive yourself of this experience.
Having said that, here is my actual review: This is a thinking person's movie. More like a sort of documentary, really. If you don't like to challenge your brain to go to previously unexplored places and ideas, you won't like this movie. If you're expecting great acting, forget it. The score is negligible at best. But, if you like to go to "what if?" and "why?" and other obscure, adventurous, magical places in your mind, I think you will love this movie. It will exercise your mind, if you let it. A most interesting peek into Quantum Physics, Neurobiology, and Quantum Mechanics.
The main premise is to show you how you can (and do) control your outer universe from within. A little deeper than 'Everybody Loves Raymond', but also a bit more edifying, in the end... :)
My husband and I have enjoyed watching this movie several times over and will do so again. It keeps the 'AHA' fresh in the forefront of our minds.
Performance: A Doll's House (1992)
Excellent acting, must-see movie
Very well acted version of Ibsen's play. Carries one right along with it. Actors were well-chosen for their respective parts. Cannot imagine it being better rendered than this. Of course, the story is quite an interesting one, especially with its somewhat surprise ending. Recommend highly. Can't wait to see it again myself. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be on very often. Last time I saw it was around 1993-94.
The Dollmaker (1984)
Moving, well-acted, great story.
Very well-acted, well-cast, moving story of a poor backwoods family struggling to survive. All the acting is great, even the children's. Probably Jane Fonda's finest work to date. The story is deep and well-plotted too. One of my favorite movies of all time. Doesn't come around often enough.