Reviews written by registered user

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12 reviews in total 
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Serenity (2005)
2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Unfamiliar with the franchise, but wow..., 23 June 2006

..this piece of work is a piece of work. A magnificent one. Not the sci-fi fan I once was, but this really made me yearn for more of that childhood feel-good nostalgia. It suitably taps into the wonderment and imagination that makes us all want to experience adventure on a grand scale.

Whedon does a superb job at pacing a witty, leader-to-trailer blast into the outer limits. The acting is deft, backed up by playful banter and sharp-toothed jabs. The visuals are believable, grounded with familiar textures, realistic camera "movements" and rough edges, sans cheesy "futuristic" production design and campy starship wardrobe.

A tight, highly-entertaining triumph that has rightfully earned itself a hallmark spot in the sci-fi hall of fame and Whedon a director's chair in the otherworld pantheon.

Jarhead (2005)
3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Hollow and devoid of life., 13 November 2005

I felt absolutely nothing for these characters. Their lives weren't interesting. There was no real human drama. Perhaps Mendes wanted it to feel cold and sterile. If so, he succeeded. I kept waiting to get wrapped up in these characters the way I did with those in American Beauty, but that moment never came. Maybe I went in expecting a sure thing. I thought Mendes was golden, but he is now brass to me. I was thoroughly disappointed from beginning to end.

Was there a story there? If so, I missed it. A group of severely average people without any complexity at all with a hard-on to kill people. I didn't even feel like I gained an understanding of that war or what it felt like to be there, other than a few well-done visual moments.

I don't know what all the hype is about. 7.5 IMDb rating? People are way too generous here. I got a higher entertainment/enlightenment factor from renting The Amityville Horror remake the night before.

1311 out of 1887 people found the following review useful:
Lucas Redeemed!, 8 May 2005

When I asked the reviewer sitting next to me to sum up Revenge of the Sith, he simply said "great!" That seemed to basically be the consensus of virtually everyone in attendance at an advance press screening of the final chapter in the Star Wars saga.

There was an exuberant mood leaving the theater, as if everyone was in collective agreement that Lucas had finally done it. That he had gone out on top, with a stunning, rock-solid coup de grace. And from all the feedback I've heard from that screening, my sense of that collective mood was right.

There are no real spoilers in ROTS. Everyone basically knows what happens in Episode 4: A New Hope. We all know Anakin becomes Vader. We know Obi Wan lives and we know Luke and Leia are born. What we don't know is how Lucas weaves those story lines into the large, six-part opus and better yet, why?

No, it's not a perfect movie. There are those moments that make us cringe. Bad dialog and High School drama class acting make for a few awkward moments where you can hear audible moans and giggles in the audience, but we have come to expect this from modern Star Wars films. The upside is that these moments are rare in Episode III.

OK, get ready. Take a deep breath. No Jar Jar! Yes, you read that right. You can let out that deep breath now.

Fortunately, we have one savior to rely on for stellar acting. Mr. Ian McDiarmid as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. McDiarmid brings the elegance of an Alec Guiness back to the franchise in a knockout performance that leaves the audience riveted and exhausted. He is the lifeblood of the film.

As someone who saw the original 30 times in it's first month of release at the age of 13, I currently consider myself a Star Wars moderate. I don't have volumes of SW merchandise, nor can I debate whether or not carbonite contains enough oxygen to make it float. All I know is that magical feeling Star Wars gave me in the original 1977 release and that I'm happy to say, after a disappointing pair of prequels, has been finally restored and reinvigorated.

Here's to Mr. Lucas for giving us all something spectacular to remember for our entire lives that embodies the whole point of going to the movies in the first place, to escape and lose ourselves in another world.

The Hamburg Cell (2004) (TV)
8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Matter of fact, documentary-style., 19 January 2005

I like the fact that this film is non-Hollywood in it's delivery. It's unglamorous, but still quite sophisticated in capturing the monochromatic lives of the terrorists-to-be. It presents a concise timeline of events in a pointed and deliberate manner. It doesn't pretend to be absolute or correct, and it knows it's an estimation of how things might have went down.

Inevitably, Hollywood will roll out its own 9/11 films and they will be glossy and full of big budget bloat, but this humble effort will remain as testament to the idea that a simple film can be as compelling and inviting to interpretation without the need for dramatic flair and elaborate crane rigs.

35 out of 41 people found the following review useful:
I was there!, 4 December 2004

I was fortunate enough to be an extra in this movie when I was about 13 during the roller rink scenes. My junior high school drama class was invited to participate. It was a fantastic experience.

Gary Busey, Charles Martin Smith and Don Stroud played the music live, all day! As a musician, I can appreciate the tireless work and dedication these guys put in to their roles. They must have played those songs 20 times. It's very difficult to maintain consistency and energy under those conditions. This is visible during a cut to a close-up on "That'll Be the Day," but fortunately the unsuspecting public probably wouldn't have picked it up.

Skating around all day, getting the day off from school and being transported back in time was a incredible thrill. I also had my first "date" on film. I had to walk a girl up to the ticket booth. Woo hoo! Even with an out-of-date haircut and hot lights melting the vaseline in my hair, it was still worth it. Fun stuff.

The movie is top notch and is highly satisfying as a whole. Busey delivers his best role ever and the supporting cast is superb. I'm glad to have participated in a great film of the day. To think I could have been in Corvette Summer or something. Not.

A funny ironic ending to this is that years later I was in a video store in Malibu looking at the movie the week it was released on video. Gary Busey walked in and stood right next to me. I showed him the cover and babbled on how great he was and how I was an extra and whatnot. Pretty weird, but very cool, for what it's worth.

32 out of 63 people found the following review useful:
Worst film ever made. Period., 25 May 2004

This is the most vulgar display of ego-gratification ever filmed. A man whose body of work encompasses blood and violence continues his righteous path to drench us in his lust for gore and mutilated flesh. He succeeds. I was sick to my stomach.

Would Christ want us to watch this dribble? Want this to represent him? After all of the love he shared, his teachings, his healings, this is the big "message?" If so, God spare us all.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Imagine if Kubrick directed Close Encounters, 25 May 2004

This is precisely why Spielberg was perfect for A.I.

Why people hate on this movie is a mystery to me. It works on every level. The story is flawless, the acting superb and the visuals are stunning. It is fantasy, people! Science Fiction! Yeah, so was 2001 and yes, it's not on par with 2001, but it isn't meant to be. It's not that type of film. It's an adventure, one that fills the mind and whisks you away, which is Spielberg's forte and is precisely why Kubrick's ultimate vision was to have Spielberg direct it! And yes, it is plenty deep and moving on a level Kubrick could achieve sans the bleak tone. The stark, cold Kubrickian universe just wouldn't play right for the warm human element this story requires. Only Spielberg's wunderkind vision could give A.I. the radiant glow it needed to thrive and blossom. A masterwork.

After Schindler and Close Encounters, this is Spielberg's next best.

23 out of 44 people found the following review useful:
Worst film ever made. Made me physically sick., 28 February 2004

Should have been called The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre. How people find this disgusting dribble moving is a testament to the desensitization of the movie-going public. Perfectly fitting that The Lethal Road Warrior himself could one sentence from the Bible into a 2 hour bloodfest. It's no surprise that the man who obviously adores violence would put out such trash.

The film made me sick to my stomach and I nearly passed out. Six hours later I am still sick. This comes from someone who had little problem with Faces of Death and Gangs of NY. This film revels in excessive non-stop brutality, Deschanel-izing the violent death of man that offered so much more that is entirely neglected.

I was hoping to be inspired, not revolted. I was hoping to learn a little more about the man and perhaps see a film that chronicled his later years, not one long, drawn-out bloodbath.

I have lost all the small amount of respect for Gibson I had.

Gracefully disturbing and beautifully strange., 17 September 2002

Disney's presentation of Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" is simply amazing. It's a shining masterwork, surpassing in both substance and style Miyazaki's own

"Princess Mononoke" and Katsuhiro Ôtomo's highly revered epic "Akira".

The story is thoughtful, humorous and ultimately very strange, but remains

lighthearted enough in moments to recover from the grotesque and bizarre.

The animation is bold and fluid, gracefully blending in with the lush, painterly- like backgrounds and rich soft-focus foreground objects. The voice-overs and

English translation were carefully handled and high regard was obviously taken to the original Japanese version and the director's unique vision, not obscuring the gentle subtleties and harsh visuals with Disney's usual formulaic approach. Someone in the upper echelon of the Animation building's hallowed halls

managed to tune out the executive static interference.

This is escape of the truly surreal kind. There are moments so original and

shocking that you are lifted straight out of any grain of reality you might have had left sitting in the back of your consciousness. If hallucinogens aren't your thing, then this will surely provide the closest experience attainable while

retaining clear thought. Well, sort of.

Not sure how well the American market will take to Disney's noble attempt to

introduce the Miyazaki form to the American public, but those who see it will be left with a lasting impression not soon forgotten. Disney doesn't appear to have much of an economic incentive, but their marketing department must be on to

some sort of strategy to enable such a remarkable effort. In an era of

accounting paranoia, it's a miracle this film has seen the light of day on

American shores. But this viewer is glad it has.

3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
A few good minutes., 8 May 2002

The atypical gritty Guy Ritchie British school of modern film class has reared a muddled mess of a movie. With a grandiose, meaning of life premise, the somewhat shallow and undefined plot leaves little room for depth of any real substance. Between the drawn-out stylistic vignettes and the over-abundance of effects, the film falls flat on it's fashionable face. A lower rating would have been in order had it not been for some humorous and entertaining moments, where levity and brevity are welcome friends and make the almost unbearable bearable. Overall, it's a mildly entertaining bit of mindless madness with a side order of "seize the day." Not worth a trip to the theater, but might do in a pinch at your local video store.

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