Reviews written by registered user
newday98074

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35 reviews in total 
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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
That's Hollywood-again, 27 November 2008
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Any number of Hollywood presentations stretch their plots to allow scenes that add thrills and give the actors a chance to "emote". CA takes this to another level, creating a universe where people do things for no particular reason except to keep the engine chugging along, pulling its strange cargo toward a requisite splashy finale. Along the way the movie becomes much like a creature that has passed through the transformation pods in "The Fly". You can kind of tell what was intended but the actual result is anything but pretty. Accompanying these oddities is the absolute stupidity required of the characters. At one point the lead, accused of one murder, discovers potential exculpatory evidence which he shares with an insurance investigator. This could save the insurance company 1.6 million dollars. The logical thing to do, of course, would be for the investigator, with the help of the police, to check this out saving the insurance company their money and eliminating the murder charge for the lead. But does the investigator follow it up? Well, that would be expecting these people to have high level thinking. High level in this case means what any reasonable person might think about. Since the characters in CA tend to have the thinking processes of turnips the lead follows up himself, resulting in yet another murder on his hands. However that does allow the requisite finale which is completed with the panache of a 5th grade play. The acting is fine, but plot holes and poor direction particularly of action sequences ruined the film.

5 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
What is this?, 11 November 2008
2/10

Wanda Nevada is a pubescent fantasy movie using circa 1979 ideas of what constitutes illicit romance for 13 year old girls. Script, pacing, and direction are uniformly awful. Action sequences defy belief. Characters speak with the simplified diction one usually finds in films aimed at the under 10 set, but also includes multiple sexual references involving Shields' character as well as graphic deaths.

The movie wants to be a comedy on some level but is never funny, an adventure picture but plot and action are insipid, and a children's movie but introduces pedophilia and child rape as real possibilities. It also wants to be a buddy picture, a coming of age picture, a ghost movie, an Indian spiritual movie, a travelogue, and a western. The overall affect is of massive stupidity with a nasty twist. Wanda Nevada is a complete waste of time unless you want to see a good many terrific shots of the Grand Canyon. That it manages to do just fine.

So so, 27 August 2008
7/10

Somewhere in the 6.5 to 7 range. Neither female lead seemed to fit their parts. Hunt either chose or was directed into a flat performance, I suppose to simulate a woman with toughness, but her actions and reactions often seemed brittle and unreal. Johansson is simply miscast and that's not her fault. The story/editing broke her performance into pieces so that an understanding of who her character was never happened. I never felt I understood her or a cared about her. The witticisms are funny but are delivered seemingly out of the body of the movie, like one-liners that had nothing to do with the rest of it. The film is pretty, costumes fit, most performance are fine, but as a whole the movie didn't work for me.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Haven't read the book, 1 August 2008
9/10

A really good book cannot be entirely simulated adequately on screen. There is too much going on underneath, too many subplots, too much conversation and description to undertake in two hours. Choices made by production folk determine which direction the film will go, generally accenting one plot line of or other and allowing the rest to fall to the wayside. HOD does a fine job with the route it takes, darkly stating the consequences of empty lives which rely on artifice for sustenance. These creatures were not creating their lives so much as feeding their idea of existence without exploration. The result is tragedy but the tragedy was already in existence. The actions of the trapped subjects simply began to reflect their emptiness. This doesn't make for a happy movie but it is instructive if one chooses to see the lessons. And as art, the acting, direction and cinematography are quite fine.

Beautiful, 31 July 2008
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Dark, top notch art film with a first rate cast and script. Any great art has levels and you can go about as deeply as you want into "The Sweet Hereafter". Everyone in the film is living by their fingernails, hanging on the edge of falling into the cold water. The attorney, Holm, threatens to expose the facts behind that fragility, but ends up being trapped in his own limbo of expectations. Every moment in the movie has an undercurrent. We know what we are seeing is not simple life, there is a story behind it. That is tough to maintain for the length of a film but TSH manages it nicely. This is a film of people trapped by their expectations, limited vision and spiritual bankruptcy as much as tragedy. The tragedy is an onset, but lives were already ruined. How they were is something to see.

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Largely well done, 30 July 2008
7/10

On the plus side the acting is very fine throughout. Scenes are nicely set up and the cinematography is generally excellent. The plot is interesting, characters well drawn, and the script reasonably intelligent. Ledger is as advertised, consistently in charge of his role and the film when on screen. He is a very fine physical actor as well as convincing in closeups. He didn't have a false note throughout, a tough achievement when playing essentially a one note character who is off the wall. Negatives: the film could be improved with 1/2 hour of excess trimmed. Some plot contrivances didn't work to forward the action, especially in the second half where plot and action dragged because scenes just wouldn't end. There is too much of stylized crashes and explosions, to the point where they lose any effect. And the plot twist is so far outside reason it just doesn't work, especially with the ridiculous CGI display. However with all that the movie is probably worth seeing, if you like blockbusters and their attendant frailties.

7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Camp, 29 July 2008
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Fourth rate movies all have the usual suspects. Implausible actor reactions, bad continuity, draggy editing, vacuous scripts and in the case of Anaconda 3, laughable CGI effects. Poor acting is often also a feature of such films but actors can be victims of lousy direction, editing and scripts that make them look like patchwork mannequins. There's plenty of that in Anaconda 3, but only Hasselhoff is genuinely ridiculous. His well publicized personal demons appear to have removed any likability he once evidenced. He now just makes you wince. The female lead had an impossible role so her sins must be forgiven till she has a chance to show herself in something better. As an example of her plight Rhys-Davies, a man who we know can act, became a screaming buffoon instead of the more subtle, well rounded character he expresses in other roles. Let's leave it at no one in this production was done any favor by the raw material they had to work with. Which brings us to the monster. The snake blended as smoothly to the real world as a tarantula on a wedding cake. A man in a rubber suit would have been more believable and a good deal more enjoyable. As in so many movies the monster attacked everyone with vigor except one certain cast member who was allowed to escape-twice-unharmed despite being trapped and at its mercy. Not that there isn't humor. For example all the characters fire machine guns at the snake except Hasselhoff, who inexplicably carries a bolt action rifle that would have seemed ancient in 1936. People continue to follow the snake with apparent confidence in its destruction despite dwindling numbers and no effect by their weapons. Hasselhoff, given a cell phone, drums his fingers on it like playing a Beethoven sonata, but the call goes through. There are plenty of laughs and they are the only reason to visit Anaconda 3.

Sin City (2005)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A failure to communicate, 23 July 2008
2/10

I admit I didn't get through it. Stylized violence, like any art, has its place, and murder, blood, and ugliness can be instructive. The implied beating of the prostitute in the original "Cape Fear", coupled with her subsequent terror peeled a layer off the persona of Robert Mitchum's character, for example. But to take violence and accompanying stupidity to the lengths in Sin City, with no perspective or reason made me feel uncomfortably like a visitor to the Coliseum in Hadrian's day. The issue is entitlement. One is shown depravity without a sense that this is not what mankind can or should be. Like a video game there is no moral compass. It is "okay" because it isn't real. But we live our reality and to the point one excludes understanding and perspective one can become trapped by that lack of understanding. One can live in a personal ghetto that doesn't allow for much reasoning. I hated Sin City not because it is bad art but it is horrific example. I don't think that is something we need at present.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Lots of high points, 21 July 2008
7/10

I wrestled with the rating because there is much to dislike about Immortal Beloved. However there is also much to like, among which are Beethoven's music, the plot twist which I felt worked well, and set design. The highs are very high. Oldham may not have nailed the great composer but he is a reasonable representation and the director's method of presenting his affliction is poignant.

To the negative the film is a bit clunky, continuity seems just a bit off, and some scenes could have been omitted or edited to speed things up. Beloved is not a character study as everyone is pretty much a caricature. It is a mystery and as such works pretty well even though the basic plot might have been written to the lives of less formidable personages without changing the real story. Beethoven's involvement provided additional depth and interest but no more sense of tragedy, and ham handed direction/editing watered down the impact even then.

That said, I'm glad I saw it and would recommend to anyone who doesn't mind considerable artistic license being taken with the life of Ludwig Van.

The Krays (1990)
6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Doesn't arrive, 14 January 2008
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

How "The Krays" fails would take a book, and that tome would example the way nearly every sincere effort at reproducing real live people on film comes to a bad end. First, the real Krays apparently had script approval based on comments in IMDb. Mark Twain said it, everyone's autobiography puts forth it's author as hero. The Krays is no different. Two hard-boiled gangster-killers are shown largely through their mother's eyes, as youths led astray, and their evil deeds were committed against equally foul creatures, therefore weren't really crimes but efforts at achieving equilibrium. The "suffering woman" viewpoint portrayed throughout, mirrored by not one single admirable male, operated as negation to the entire society. Therefore crimes weren't really crimes, they were strikes against the apathetic construct of British life. The Spandau Ballet boys were singers, not actors, so they can't really be blamed for their acting failings. But they did fail in scene after scene to strike any tone of true commiseration with their characters, and with that the movie lost any hope of success. Billie Whitelaw's powerful and supreme statement of motherhood only served to contrast the weakness of their efforts. She was wonderful, though, I remember her performance in a long ago TV movie, where she played a whore opposite Jack Palance in Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde. She was good in that, if quite a bit younger. To sum up, this isn't a good movie, it might be interesting to those who know something about the Krays, and Whitelaw is worth seeing for her performance. Other than that, it is a pass.


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