Reviews written by registered user

8 reviews in total 
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Blindness (2008)
1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Better Than Expected..., 21 June 2010

Trying to film a Jose Saramago novel is an ambitious thing and given the bad reviews here and elsewhere I was prepared for the worst...

Several comments have been made about being disturbed by the role of women in this movie. Actually I think it was a rather hopeful/naive/idealistic take. Yes, they had some traditional roles.... mother/caretaker/prostitute but if anything men should be a bit insulted they were mostly portrayed as being either cowardly, ineffectual, or brutal with a few exceptions. People have complained it was depressing... no kidding.... it was an plague/end of the world genre movie. People generally behave badly when resources are scarce and they feel threatened.

Yes the use of the "whiteout" got vaguely repetitive but I thought it was well filmed with touches of humanity and gentleness... the women in the shower scene.... the dog who still wants to be with humans.

It was probably harder to do a screenplay for this than "Children of Men" which was based on a novel with a more traditional narrative ( I have read both) and I liked both movies. I think Don McKellar is a very unappreciated talent.

3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Comedy with a cringe...., 21 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is in my mind the perfect companion to "No country...." It is a bleak statement about the complete and utter lack of intellect in American society nicely wrapped as a comedy and so pretty subversive. Every character in the movie with few exceptions is self obsessed, only vaguely aware of others, and determined to get their share. People strive in vain with vain motives.

One thing I did not quite get was that stylistically the film was rooted in the 1980's early 90's most of the cars looked about 15 years old, the hairstyles, decor, the phones and clothing looked rather dated. The Russian embassy was a concrete slab and the Russian characters all wore ill fitting suits typical of that era.

The one somewhat decent and rational person in the movie who appears not to greedy motives meets an untimely end while trying to be helpful. The one "winner" in the events who essentially wins by accident due as much to the ineptitude of others as his/her own efforts seems so typically embody the stupidity of desire and how that can ruin others around them.

All in all an interesting morality tale that falls on the side of amorality and chaos. I always like Cohen brothers' films even when they are sub-par since they are generally better than most of the crap movie goers are offered.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A Meditation, 16 June 2010

I rushed out to see this movie because there is one theater in my city that shows indy/foreign films and they usually stay for two seconds. I went in with high expectations and was not disappointed. This movie is really a kind of poetry for people who don't like artsy stuff. Quite easy to follow but also beautiful and compelling. I figured out most of the big twists before they happened but it still works as a crime movie but manages to hit a number of big themes: class/longing/loss/politics/despair/humor. Filmed beautifully others have mentioned the awesome pan of the soccer stadium and I liked the dreamy opening sequences as well and the lovely wide open shots of the the court house. Adult dialog that is witty and multi layered relationships that are built and explored.

I was the only person in the theater because it was during the day mid week and about a 150 degrees outside. Greatly contributed to my enjoyment although i have a friend who I am sure will like this so I will go back.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Yeah, Memphis IS That Hot, 23 July 2005

Decent film that accurately captures how the less than wealthy Memphians scramble, and plot to survive. Of course, most hustlers here think they can rap and most of them can't. I thought Djay was a pretty "nice guy" pimp and his women looked pretty good compared to most of the street hookers around here. Nice knock against folks in this town who make it and then forget where they are from. The store, the neighborhood, and the bar are all for real have a familiar look. The people who populate the film are also pretty realistic. My only beef was that you pretty much knew how it was going to play but at least Craig Brewer is trying to do the 70's tribute without the Tarentino vibe. I loved the beat up car with the nice rims you see that here all the time and yeah that white trash low rent look is all in here.

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Worth The Watch, 28 August 2010

When the Levees Broke is going to be viewed as one of the great documentaries so I was eager to watch this one. Unlike many people I have enjoyed Spike Lee's films over the years. I don't always agree with him but he is one of the few American directors today doing anything though provoking.

His segments on BP were really the strongest and most compelling. He probably could have done a two or three part film: one documenting police corruption in NOLA which was legendary prior to Katrina and one about the BP disaster which taught us that when a mega corp screws up we really are impotent. I think he over stretched on Haiti. That could have also been another documentary. Spike Lee is a man with a point of view but he lets his subjects speak for themselves and weirdly enough I found Micheal Brown less the villain than I would have thought. Of course he was self justifying. Wouldn't we all in his position.

Worth watching. Kudos to HBO for even slapping documentaries on during prime time.

12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Neglected Little Gem, 11 November 2005

This is a beautiful movie about an enterprising young man who survives various hardships during the depression. It has a bitter edge but isn't excessive and brings back tales of my grandmother's of how her family coped during the depression. My grandmother's parents were far more functional than the frail ill mother and the traveling salesman father who basically abandons his child to work out of state. I agree with other comments it hardly seems American because it is so deep without smashing the hammer down on our heads. Even though it is harsh I think it is suitable for older children if nothing more than an abject lesson about how real and difficult life really was. The irony is that America still exists to a lesser degree we just don't see it in the movies or on TV.

21 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
Creepy Dressed Up As Cute, 15 May 2009

Fascinating look at a very alien world, parents in NYC frantic trying to get their kids in the "right" nursery school. The film is light in tone, and a few of the parents actually seem like sane individuals with good intentions. A few of the parents really need therapy which they can apparently afford if they are willing to fork over that kind of money.

Although a few of the educators in the process stress that the process is over wrought, they clearly buy into it. I wonder if the kids all of whom are uniformly cute and charming will turn into unbearable brats washed in a steady bath of entitlement after a few years of going through the application process for kindergarten, then grade school and so on.

Good primer for the upper class folks who have yet to subject their child to this sort of insanity and eagerly await the opportunity. Also a good primer for those of us who have less than gigantic incomes, less than perfect though perfectly decent nice and smart kids, we can say hey we aren't as messed up as we thought.

Oleanna (1994)
2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
The Quagmire, 7 March 2005

I am pretty familiar with both Mamet's movies (not his plays) and his dialouge style. Many people find it to static and predictable but he at least has a particular style that is completely absent from most modern dramatic movies.

I found it hard to be sympathetic to either character and was interested in both of them. I met a lot of academics like the one characterized by Macy in grad school and that pretty much sealed it for me: I ran as fast as I could after that. I think things have become dramatically more charged on campuses since I went 15 years ago.

I wasn't overly sympathetic to the girl because she relied on dogma as much as he did which I suppose is Mamet's point. She managed to be both strident and weak and he managed to be both in complete denial and ultimately the more vulnerable one.

I say this about all Mamet's movies: at least it was semi-literate even if you don't agree with or like the movie. The says more about movies than it does about Mamet.