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A River Runs Through It (1992)
Great Scenery, Excellent Acting, But Slow, Very Slow.
Great acting from Craig Sheffer, Tom Skerritt and especially Brad Pitt who portrays the role of the brother who is outgoing, loves life and enjoys it to the fullest as nobody else can in my opinion.
The movie, though, sometimes appears to drag on for no apparent purpose. It is very slow and although I gave it a 7 for a first viewing, I would never want to sit through it again.
As an example of what I mean, how does Jessie's brother fit in? and what is the purpose of including this part of the story in the movie? Beautiful scenery, no doubt about that. Worth a watch if you haven't seen it yet.
Shall We Dance (2004)
Nice "family" movie
I really enjoyed the movie. I thought it could have been better by eliminating a couple of scenes, but it is totally fun to watch and there was lots of nice music as well.
Jennifer is a great dancer and a very sexy lady. I never really thought her acting was the best ever, but in this movie she did well. In addition, her role centred on her dancing not dialogue.
Susan Sarandon is a great actress as usual, and the role fits her well and Richard Gere is actually very funny and his character is absolutely likable. Stanley Tucci is hilarious as Link and I am not sure how many scenes he appears in, but they were quite a few.
The movie is a total success as a remake of the Japanese Shall we dansu? I believe it was well translated into the North American culture without imposing any foreign cultural traits which the American viewer would not understand.
I only gave it a 7 because of what I mentioned about the unnecessary scenes (I will not specify so that they are not spoilers).
Finally, I think the movie is clean enough for an enjoyable afternoon with the entire family. I am very surprised with the US PG-13 rating. In Canada it is more appropriately rated as PG
. Well there is I believe one F word (coincidently, in one of the scenes that I didn't like).
Shrek 2 (2004)
Possibly the funniest most fun filled animated movie ever made.
I really did not like the original that much; I thought it was about 20 minutes too long and a bit disgusting for the intended audience. But the sequel was brilliant, very funny and just a pure pleasure to watch.
The DVD (Canadian version if it is different) was also well made and had a number of decent extra features. Even the starting menu is funny and a good introduction to the laughter that follows.
The songs chosen for the different scenes matched the purpose and the flow of the scene and tremendously enhanced the viewer's experience. And the animation was very realistic.
Well done DreamWorks.
Note: do not turn the DVD off as the credits start rolling. Wait for an appearance of one of the characters from the original movie.
Quite engaging, I agree, but....
The current user rating on IMDb for this "above average" movie is 8.1. This is higher than some of my favorite movies of all time, and IMO, higher than what it deserves.
The story is quite interesting and the viewer's perspective on the celebration shifts very rapidly as the son starts toasting his dad. It definitely captures your attention and does not let go till the last minute.
I was not very familiar with the Dogme concept till I saw this movie. To tell you the truth, initially I thought my DVD had a problem. The lighting was horrible and the camera movement very jerky and could actually make you sick. Thanks to IMDb I learned that this is due to the rules of Dogme. I don't know, maybe I prefer not to watch another Dogme movie then (already seen Italian For Beginners). I truly believe the movie would have been much better if proper filming equipment was used.
The acting was above average as well, and the characters were well defined. I am not sure what era did the movie mean to capture (thought it was modern 1990's), But my concern with character identification, was showing a large crowd as all racists. With, not a single person, objecting to the very insulting song. In fact, it shows quite clearly, that everyone participated enthusiastically.
13 Going on 30 (2004)
The type of story for this movie is one that I would usually avoid at all cost. It is usually childish, expected and not funny.
It was quite surprising though to prove me wrong in so many aspects with 13 going on 30. For starters, it managed to make me laugh out loud in few scenes... Perhaps because I have a 13 year old daughter who was watching the movie with me.
Jennifer Garner was very successful, in my opinion, in acting the innocence and confusion of the 13 year old in her new body. Even Mark Ruffalo was excellent in his simple depiction of the character of Matt. For those who compared this movie with BIG, I have to say 13 going on 30 was much more enjoyable and faster paced.
The only part that really ruined the movie for me is that they, predictably, went back to be a 13 year old and correct her mistake. I was hoping they don't do that. I was optimistic when I heard her mother's speech about how she learned from her mistakes and would never regret a mistake... etc. A better ending, and more original, in my view would be that she continues to live her thirties building on what she learn.
Tipping the Velvet (2002)
Very Sweet... Very Sexy
This wonderful 3 part BBC production is one of the sweetest love stories that I have seen in a while. The actresses display a very high level of talent, especially Rachael Stirling as Nan Astley. She is funny, seductive and cute. The love making scenes and the close up kisses are very erotic regardless of one's sexual preference.
The characters are well defined and very believable. I guess this is a by-product of a good adaptation from a well written novel.
A truly remarkable well paced drama that picks up speed quickly after a couple of boring (but necessary) scenes in the beginning.
My vote: 9/10
What not to like about this movie?
I just loved every aspect of this movie... The acting by both Victoria Abril and Antonio Banderas is superb. Even the sister delivers a very convincing performance. The director, Pedro Almodóvar, is the same one who brought us masterpieces like "Talk to her" and "All about my mother". Although you wouldn't figure it out from the plot lines of the three movies, "Tie me up, Tie me down" is much lighter and less involved than the other two.
The pace (as with all Almodóvar's movies) is just the right one, not too fast or slow. I did not like the character of the director in the movie and did not like his acting that much... Probably the only weak couple of scenes are those depicting his infatuation with Marina.
The ending may seem predictable and lame, but I liked it . It is one of those feel good endings.
Although there is a hot sexy scene in this movie, I question the NC-17 US rating for that scene. I saw so many R-rated movies that were much more explicit... My point is; if you get this movie thinking it was one of those European soft porn flicks, you will be disappointed.
My vote: 9/10.
El Callejón de los Milagros (1995)
Excellent Mexican remake of an excellent Egyptian Movie
Written by a Nobel Prize winner (Naguib Mahfouz for his life work, including this story). Midaq Alley is a remake of the 1963 movie listed on IMDb as: Zouqâq al-Midaqq (1963)...aka Alley of the Pestle (1963) (International: English title) Which was itself an excellent movie.
VERY MINOR SPOILERS GOING FORWARD:
The characters in both movie stick closely to the story, the Mexican version benefits from freedom of expression in many shots while the Egyptian version had to hint behaviours (homosexuality for example) to avoid censors scissors.
It amazes me how a story about characters in Cairo in the 40's could fit so closely in Mexico city half a world away.... tells you something about the similarities in human nature and behaviours...
Very minor details had to be changed to suite historical facts. As an example, when the two boys run away to collaborate with the occupying British forces in the Egyptian film, they try to cross the border illegally to the US in the Mexican version. Both give the same effect as socially unacceptable behaviours within their perspective societies.
All actors put convincing performances and beautiful Salma Hayek dazzles as usual.
El tagrubah el danemarkiyyah (2003)
It may be useful to explain my frame of mind when I saw this movie.... I finished setting up my home theatre about two months ago... and watched over 60 top world movies... Masterpieces such as Amores Perros, Fargo, The Pianist, The Red Violin, Mullholand Dr. etc
you get the point. Then my wife says let's watch an Egyptian Comedy and we get this movie.... The difference is absolutely shocking. I did manage to complete 75% of the movie, and there were some funny parts which made me laugh, but overall it was horrible. No storyline, exaggerated acting, stereotyping of Egyptians and making fun of other cultures were just few of the points that made watching this thing unbearable... This is unfortunate, because I respect Adel Imam for some of his other cinema & theatre work. I also respect him as a person who stood firm on his political and social views.
An elegant movie that makes you think.
This movie has been criticized for being too slow following the kids around. For me, I can truly say that this was essential to get someone like me to remember and sympathize with the characters. You see, last time I even visited a high school was more than 22 years ago.
If you know the topic of the movie beforehand (or even if you don't) you would notice how the director is perfectly building up to the big occurrence.... The big moment if you like.... Few scenes are repeated from different angles representing the different perspectives of each student.... You follow the character from behind most of the time... You see what they see... In doing so, you are put in their shoes... As if you are being dared to answer how you would've reacted differently.
Just an elegant movie that makes you think. Warnings though, if you are looking for an action packed flick... miss this one... Go rent Kill Bill.
Otherwise, I would recommend to everyone else.