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9 reviews in total 
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Invincible (2006)
44 out of 51 people found the following review useful:
Good Story telling, brings back memories, 23 August 2006

I just came from and advanced screening tonight and it was an entertaining feel-good movie. The movie is based on a true "local guy makes good" story, and quite entertaining (although after searching online for Papale, it appears that they may have taken a bit of dramatic license with some of the details). The story telling and acting were good. I think Kinnear's presentation of Dick Vermeil (I remember seeing Vermeil on the local T.V. a lot back then) was outstanding. Mark Wahlberg gave a credible performance as a determined underdog here, he seems to be maturing as an actor, and from what I could tell was in good physical condition to play this role. Kirk Acevado and Mark Raspoli put in good supporting performances as (sometime) supportive friends and relatives. The movie is an O.K. family movie if you don't mind a bit of swearing and sports/football violence (tackles, blocks and those sorts of things).

I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, and can remember the atmosphere in my home town and, to a lesser extent, Philadelphia at that time. The decline of manufacturing, labor disputes and unemployment/hardship on workers and their families was well presented. My recollections of the Eagles were that the team was pretty weak and the fans being very vocal in their disappointment (this is a Philadelphia tradition for all their sports, it isn't just reserved for football). Among my favorite scenes is some neighborhood football that brought back some memories (although our games were a bit less brutal). There are a number of funny scenes in the movie and quick one-liners (which I won't spoil here).

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Good Character Development art and Music, plot is O.K., 4 January 2003

I liked this film, but I'm very partial to good character development. I especially liked the portrayal of Lilo (a traumatized orphan) and her big sister, Nani. If you may want to watch the movie with your child if they are young, since kids can be susceptible to fears of abandonment The other central figure, Stitch is comical and appears to be intelligent. The animation, choice of music and gags in the movie were also good. The plot was a little weak (especially the second half of the movie). I rated this 7 out of 10, I'll be looking for more work from Sanders and DeBlois (the writers). Perhaps if Disney could leave a few loose ends or avoid forcing every story to an almost predictable happy ending, then the real skill of these writers might shine through.

I Am Sam (2001)
Emotional Movie, good for Parents (Good Acting and Story), 15 September 2002

Many reviews here focus on whether you can suspend disbelief on Sean Penn's performance as a retarded/autistic man. Before going into that, I'll go out on a limb here and say that the mental defects were incidental to the plot, the real issue was how much love Sam (Penn's characte) has for his daughter, Lucy (played by Dakota Fanning). These performances are masterful, Penn really departs from his trouble maker persona in so many of his earlier movies and shows depth that I really didn't expect from him. This is a breakthrough movie for him, and shows a range far exceeding my expectations Dakota Fanning gives a remarkable performance (I want to see her in other roles). I'm not very familiar with the behaviors of mildly autistic/retarded people, but I did find the Sam character believable. I think part of the issue is the same phenomena as Forrest Gump, that is the genius of the actor comes through, so you have a "brilliant idiot" As the father of a young daughter, I could relate. Michelle Pfeiffer's character was O.K. but not really central to the plot (her acting was O.K. I guess, but not great). My wife found the intrusive nature of the way the social workers were portrayed compelling. Other review have compared this movie to Rain Man and Kramer vs. Kramer. I thought this movie was more powerful than Rain Man (which was also good) but I have not seek Kramer vs. Kramer so I cannot make that comparison.

I gave the story a 9/10, but if your not a parent or don't like emotional movies you might give it a lower rating.

Has its Good Stretches, but not Consistent, 9 August 2002

My daughter (age 3 at the time) insisted I get her this video at the store, and I caved in. I watched it with her and it has some good moments. I enjoyed the indulgent father letting his kid know that he is doing cool stuff (learning and building interesting things), as his mother scolds him for the havoc he creates when things go awry (and they do). However, the plot seems to lack continuity and there is a bit of "this is a story for kids" theme, that the best movies in the genre don't have. I've always secretly thought that "this is for kids" is code words for "its not good enough for adults but we've got to sell it".

Regarding the computer graphics (I've done a bit of computing myself), its O.K. (not quite Pixar level, but not bad). The songs in the sound track aren't too bad (although a lot of stuff is recent remakes, with the newer recording artists than people my age are likely to listen to).

So, its not a bad effort, but rather than ducking some hard issues and putting in some pandering stuff to try to appease the kids, it is better to let the kids deal with some hard issues. If you want character development, more interesting story line, then Shrek, Babe, and Toy Story are far better movies (these are classics). However, if you are watching a kid and want to relax a few hours and watch a diverting rental, you may get a few laughs, and my kid at least enjoys it a lot.

6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Nicely Done, The Transition to Joe Seems O.K., 4 May 2002

Blues Clues is quite popular with toddlers and preschoolers in the U.S. The show has a "host", more like a main character (originally Steve Burns, who was very good, now "Joe" Donovan Bratton) who introduces a scenario and leads the viewers through a sort of "scavenger hunt". The hunt is guided by hints from talking things in the house (e.g. slippery soap, tickety tock and the salt, pepper paprika family), with the targets of the search marked by the girl puppy, "Blue", using paw prints (hence Blue's Clues).

The secret to the show in my opinion is that it has a nice formula, and more importantly the host treats the audience in an engaging manner and are NOT condescending (I think a lot of shows talk down to kids and they can pick up on it). Steve retired from the show (they told the audience he was "Going to College") and his brother Joe was going to take over. Steve was especially good at dealing with the audience (many adults secretly enjoy the show, Steve is pretty good), but his recent replacement by Joe seems to have gone well and I think Joe may do well (although I still like Steve a bit better, Steve had more practice).

Shackleton (2002) (TV)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Story of One of the Toughest Men Ever, 14 April 2002

This is an true story and Epic Tale. I've been waiting for years for someone to step up and make a good movie about this. Surprisingly this movie was both extremely well done and made for TV. If this story had not been a matter of fact, it would seem unrealistic that anyone could have survived such hardships.

Branagh actually looks a bit like Shackleton (at least in the limited footage I saw). I cannot speak for entire historical accuracy, but we see a man of amazing courage and compassion for his crew (an earlier attempt at the Pole was aborted to avoid killing his men). As a researcher, I also found the grant getting exercises and search for support interesting.

I also enjoyed very much the portrayal of the crew, the supporting cast performed quite well. The special effects were also good. Many details from Shackleton's book were omitted (because he described things like hunger for starchy food). However, the show was in a two parts, and most of the heroic stuff happens in the second part.

So, I gave this a 9 out of 10 (well told classic story) with only minor deductions for some slowness in the first part.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Interesting But Simplistic, 24 March 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Bread and Roses was a good movie in some ways, and has some appeal in showing the sorts of barriers and prejudices Latinos face in the U.S. The acting in general was good, but I had some issues with the script writing. In particular, the pro labor stance taken here (noted by other's) was presented in a bit over-simplistic terms (particularly later in the film) and the organized labor response employed situational ethics. Furthermore, the bad guys in the film (except possibly the manager, Perez, masterfully played by George Lopez) were in general portrayed as simpletons, who could be rather easily outwitted. Maya's character almost reminded me of La India Maria (the character popularized by María Elena Velasco ) at points. I wish Rosa's character was more developed, the presented part was well handled (I don't wish to give spoilers here).

So I gave this film a 6 out of 10, as a well intentioned but somewhat weakly scripted story. The acting was generally good. The depiction of latino-anglo, black-latino and native born latinos-mexican born latinos was well portrayed.

Babe (1995)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Not Just for Kids!, 4 July 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I recommend this film for adults, but especially for parents of small children. I am very glad my daughter likes this as it allows me to escape some nearly intolerable children's programming. Amazingly my daughter has never tired of this (she has probably seen it more than 1000 times) and I've seen it several 100 times to be sure. Although she likes it more than me, I sometimes enjoy seeing it.

Babe is an adaptation of an extremely well written tale by Dick King-Smith (an ex-farmer and retired elementary school teacher) geared for children. The story shows a real depth of understanding interpersonal relationships and does NOT pander to the audience (children understand about death, murder, theft, prejudice and selfish behavior at a very early age). Finally the acting, special effects and presentation were sensitively done (and not intrusive).

Babe is a young pig who has a great desire to do the right thing. James Cromwell plays Arthur Hoggett, a farmer who has a profound quiet sense of dignity (although he can get confused, and relies on his wife and pig for occasional guidance). Babe overcomes prejudice by both treating the underclass of sheep with dignity, and by overcoming his own underclass status by assuming the duties of the upper class sheep dogs. Although I don't want to give spoilers, the I think the climax of this movie occurs BEFORE the end, when Hoggett reaffirms his love and respect for Babe.

36 out of 39 people found the following review useful:
Toe Curling Passion!, 26 June 2001

White palace has a great sexual dynamic, clearly Susan Sarandon's character (Nora Baker) is a sexually charged self confident woman who is at least 10 years or so older than James Spader's character (Max Baron). This movie shows how deep attraction and passion can change people's lives (perhaps for the better) and overcome class/personality and age differences.

The first and perhaps most noticeable aspect is one of the hottest and more believable seduction scenes in a movie, where Nora shows a raw animal passion for Max rarely shown in movies (and when it is is shown in an unfavorable light, e.g. Single White Female). Susan Sarandon pulls off this challenging scene with great passion AND dignity.

The May/December romance with the older lady is shown in a healthy light (not like say The Graduate).

But more important than the age dynamic, is the deep attraction between Nora and Max, which goes strongly across traditional cultural differences. Max is a compulsively organized widower, neat and decidedly upper-middle/upper class. Nora is more impulsive, living a less ordered existence and is lower/lower middle class. Max has conditional love for Nora, trying to change her (unintentionally acting judgemental?) by trying to help her out (e.g. buying her cleaning supplies as a "gift"). Nora teaches Max about life, and passion. This movie has a much more interesting love story than say "Pretty Woman".