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House of D (2004)
If you asked me to write down a list of movie cliches some things on my list would include: the wise black sage the white people listen to, the kid with no father and troubled mother, a nostalgic look back at school (prep schools especially), and the mentally retarded person who is actually very wise. All of these old cliches were found in HOUSE OF D, and they lessened my enjoyment of it a great deal. I was able to see the first New York showing of David Duchovny's HOUSE OF D at the Tribeca Film Festival. I was weary of the film because it is Duchovny's first feature and he can run hot and cold as an actor. However after hearing a bit about the plot and knowing Robin Williams was in it I did have high expectations. The never ending barge of cliches, the unbelievablility of several of the events, and the equally cliched and unintelligent performance by Tea Leoni seriously hurt my enjoyment of the film. The story is told by an Tommy, an American artist (Duchovny) who has lived in Paris for the last 15 years, and for the first time is revealing his past to his wife. Until the last ten minutes, we flashback to Tommy's childhood in Greenwich Village, New York. Tommy (now played by the pleasing Anton Yelchin of HEARTS IN ATLANTIS) attends a prep school in the Villiage, works part time for as a meat delivery boy with his fourty year old best friend, the mentally slow Pappass (Williams), and lives with his chain-smoking mother (Leoni). The House of D, of the title, is the Women's House of Detention, a towering building Tommy and Pappass frequently bury their money by. Receiving little advice at home, Tommy listens to the advice of "Lady" (a fine, Erykah Badu), a prisoner there who Tommy cannot evern see. Lady gives Tommy advice on everything including dancing and how to woo a girl he likes. Pappass however doesn't like the fact Tommy has a girlfriends, and sets out to win Tommy back, a decision that bring forth an overly horrific chain of events that include robbery and death. Although he seems annoying at first, Yelchin grows on you, and eventually creates a believeable, likeable youth, who's world varies from fairy tale to horror story. Williams is playing a type of man-child, a role he could play in his sleep. Surprisingly, Williams is quite reserved and stays away from other style Dustin Hoffman in RAIN MAN and Sean Penn in I AM SAM used. At first glance Pappass could seem like a normal 40 year old, he just doesn't function as quickly as most. Although I was very happy with his choices, Williams did not seem to be having much fun with the picture, his character seemed almost too easy to play. The film also featured Frank Langella as the Reverend in charge of the school. Although he was rather funny, Duchovny made the character totally unbelievable and underwritten. Willie Garson, Stephen Spinella, and Orlando Jones all turned in small roles that seemed too small for names and talents of their size. Finally some of the events seemed unlikely, like the first sequence in which Duchovny has an afternoon bike ride in which he seemingly bike rides past the Eifel Tower, Nortre Dame, and several other French landmarks that are no where near each other. The New York setting can also switch from the Village to the upper East side in a mattter of moments. Hopefull David constructs a better script next time and is a little more exact with his direction. The story of a prisoner providing advice and bonding with someone on the outside is very clever, unfortunetly the way it was told recycled so much old material. Rating: ** (out of ****)
HOUSE OF D written & directed by David Duchovny with Anton Yelcin, Robin Williams, Tea Leoni, David Duchovny, Erykah Badu, Frank Langella, and Orlando Jones Photography by Michael Chapman Music by Geoff Zanelli Music Supervised by Hans Zimmer
Best Screenplay ever!
One of the landmark Hollywood films. It started a whole new wave of directing and writing. Probably the best screenplay of all time, people find themselves quoting it without even knowing it. The film about a love that was never meant to be between Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman). Besides the two leads their are also good performances by Peter Lorre, Paul Heinreid, Dooley Wilson, Conrad Veit, and Claude Rains in the performance of a lifetime as the corrupt police chief of Casablanca. The film is dark and beautiful. The wonderful action blends beautifully with the lovely performances. Not many scenes can top the foggy scene on the airstrip at the film's climax. I don't think it's the (AFI) second best film of all time (Gone With The Wind, Psycho, Godfather, and Citizen Kane are better)but it still a must see!
Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999)
Being eaten alive is more fun than watching this!
Only Ed Wood's "Glen or Glenda" is worse than this. This is bad, very bad. Anyone who thinks this is good has something wrong with them or is Kevin Williams (or both). The movie is laughable in some places and just plain bad elewhere. The three teen leads are all terrible and Hellen Mirren isn't good either. The film takes an entirely unrealistic, improbable circumstance and tries to make a movie about. With all the evil things Mrs. Tingle has done why hasn't she been fired, or killed before these boobs kidnap her. (SPOILER) after all that happens, after they kidnap her, almost kill her, and make real idiots of themselves. "The Exorcist" scene is the WORST SCENE OF ALL TIME. 0 stars out of 10
A complete, well acted adaption of "Othello"
I am very glad "O" finally made it to theaters. After about tweleve release dates and a two year delay "O" was worth it. "O" the modern adaption of Shakespeare's Othello transformed the characters into rich snobs in a boarding school. Odin James(Othello) is the star of the basketball team who has brought fame to the school. Odin is also the only African-American at the school. This fits the play because Othello was the only Moore in Venice who brought it great fame. Odin was wonderfully plaid in a subtle performance by Mekhi Phifer. Josh Hartnett gives an incredible performance as Hugo(Iago) Odin's good "friend" who tries to bring him down. Harnett's Hugo was chilling and satanic he seemed best almost when he didn't speak but you can see it all through the eyes. Julia Stiles, in her third modern Shakespeare film,is (Desdimona) is Odin's white love interest. The story revolves around Hugo's envy towards Odin because Hugo's father, the basketball coach(Martin Sheen) seems to pay more attention to Odin than Hugo (In the play Iago has no motivation but that would make him to evil). Hugo plays to drive Odin and Desi apart by making it appear she is cheating on him. The film is incredibly realistic, especially the dialogue. The film is never improbable and the climax is incredibly intense. The three leads as well as Rain Phoniex as Hugo's confused girlfriend. The direction(Tim Blake Nelson) and the cinematography are wonderful. One of the few worthwhile films of the summer of 2001. Great for any Shakespeare fans or fans of tense drama.
Quite possibly the greatest film of all time!
"Psycho" stands alone in the realm of horror and thriller movies. It is one of the few that delivers to fear and feeling into the misbegotten souls of it's characters. Director Alfred Hitchcock delivers superb direction and forces you to put your trust in "Psycho"'s many seedy characters. Anthony Perkins delivers the performance of a lifetime as Norman Bates, the poor pawn of his 'mother'. The film, brilliantly shot in B&W, has become a staple in any movie lover's eye. The entire story revolves around the theft of 400,000 by one Marion Crane(Janet Leigh). This theft entangles her sister(Vera Miles), her lover(John Gavin), a private eye(Martin Balsam), a sheriff(John McIntire), and a lonely hotel manager(Perkins). "Psycho" is capable of being rewatched over and over again with little secrets hidden through out. Each character holds some secret: Marion stole some money, Gavin is seeing her on the side, Marion's coworker took tranquilers on her wedding night, her boss has alcohol in the office, client holds undeclared money from the IRS, and Norman has the biggest sequel of all. "Psycho" also contains the greatest score of all time which contains only strings which was wonderfully composed by the late Bernard Hermann as well as the best directed scene of all time, the infamous shower scene. I believe "Psycho" is the greatest film of all time. I give it a 10/10.
Gone with the Wind (1939)
The ultimate piece of cinema
GWTW is possibly the greatest film of all time. It neatly blends acting, script and beautiful art direction into a stunning film. Not many movies can hold your attention for four hours and this can. Vivien Leigh deliveres a powerhouse performance which is quite possibly the greatest of all time. She never loses her momentum despite the fact she is on screen in almost every scene. Together with Clark Gabel, Leslie Howard, and Hattie McDaniel she creates the ultimate Hollywood picture. GWTW is revolutinary also in it's brilliant use of color and art direction as well as landmark special effects. I give Gone With the Wind a 10 out of 10 and should be higher on both the AFI's list and IMDb's.