Reviews written by registered user

9 reviews in total 
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
OK but drifted toward being a dreaded Hollywood "LAFF RIOT"., 25 October 2012

The "Cedar Rapids" storyline was good enough to maintain interest, provided one ignored over-the-top performances and a tendency to drift towards being a dreaded Hollywood "LAFF RIOT".

Tim Lippe (played by Ed Helms) seemed miscast and was one of the worst offenders. With Sigourney Weaver as a prime example in "Snow Cake," many actors see being drunk, mad or under the influence of drugs as an excuse to depict all three types of behaviour, at the same time, and more of their own invention thrown - without restraint. In short, "anything goes". In this vein, Tim Lippe was able to wheel in predicably unrestrained impressions of being over-pious, tongue-tied, retarded, autistic, childlike, extraverted, introverted, chaste and sex-crazed as the whim took him.

Whilst I don't agree with reelgriff ( from California (above) that the script was actually "Lazy," I'd certainly agree with this criticism as regards over-use of bad language and the movie's various sub-plots.

The themes of over "religious" people being hypocrites, prostitutes having hearts of gold, paragons of virtue being led astray and supposedly comic characters getting "high" are totally "Lazy" and have been absolutely done to death in low-grade comedy.

All this is a pity because, with a little more sophistication, the movie was memorable and had quite a lot of potential.

Imitation (2007)
Seemed like a self-conscious student project, 21 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoiler? - I wish we could have identified a "Spoiler".

We watched this movie thinking it was another of the same name. Drawn-out photography can be very successful in the correct context but, in this case, it seemed more like padding.

We never came to terms with understanding Teresa as the main character and why Fenton (who was supposed to have "fallen in love with her") should have persisted with her and his esoteric quest to "find Angel" was beyond credibility -perhaps just very Montreal French - in a Mexican what's more???

This was just one of the more significant and annoyingly unexplained loose ends in the movie. Others included Fenton's job attendance, how he flitted from place to place when Teresa pinched his car, the identity and relationship of the two boys (helpers?) Angel picked up from school, the substance of Angel's "tent" consultations, his marital status and something Teresa flashed that looked like an ultrasound. Keeping an audience guessing is one thing but it has limits when there's no answers.

Whatever the conclusion of the movie was supposed to imply just left us saying, "There's one born every minute".

Snow Cake (2006)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Subtract one star, 31 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Snow Cake is a well-crafted story set convincingly in the winter landscape of Canada.

Potential loose ends in the story are adequately covered. These include how the central autistic character, Linda managed initially to become pregnant and how Alex comes to terms with past "demons". Such demons are essential to the story and are revived when a truck smashes into the side of his car, killing a young hitchhiker. (Having often driven both the right and left vehicles however, I'm still intrigued as to why Alex wouldn't have taken the main impact of the fatal accident.

That aside, in many ways the movie deserves the four stars' credit as shown on the DVD jacket.

Alan Rickman is excellent as Alex, Carrie-Anne plays an attractive version of Maggie and Vivienne is, perhaps mercifully, released early in the film with no indication of the actress' name on the DVD jacket - all according to plan.

Unfortunately, that leaves Sigourney Weaver's rendition of Linda.

Weaver obviously picks up a throwaway line in the script that describes Linda as "mad" and, from here, anything, and everything, goes. Weaver's portrayal of Linda as the autistic mother is inaccurate, indulgent and emotionally lazy.

Her co-star, English actor, Alan Rickman in "Something the Lord Made" for example, masterfully handles an American accent, arguably giving his central character greater deliberation and depth than may have been forthcoming from an American actor.

In "Snow Cake," Weaver conveniently assumes that Canadian and American accents are either indistinguishable, not worth differentiating, too difficult to try or even beneath her elevated fame.

Sadly, Weaver's portrayal subtracts at least one "star" from a good movie. Judging by this performance, she should stick to her Hollywood day job of bagging the United States and campaigning for the fall of the Bush Administration.

Wot! The Bush Administration's gone! Never mind, there's still Al Gore, more gore - and, of course, there's always global warming movies.

9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
One of the best, 14 April 2009

My wife and I loved this show. It certainly deserves a DVD release of the series. It was smart and witty, not only in dialogue but visually as well.

Even to a male the wardrobe variety of the main female lead was something to amuse and savor. Always she looked really good. Her quirky relationship with Mayo was something quite beyond cliché and held one's fascination by never being adequately explained.

Mayo's grammatical pedantry was brilliant in an age which no longer pays attention to such matters. Indeed, writers seem to go in the opposite direction just to follow the mob.

Shows of this quality are unfortunately very different and very rare. Please let's buy the DVDs.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Lots of fun, 23 February 2009

I'm not easily amused but this fun movie has a lot going for it.

The photography's great and the scenery is likewise. The cast is energetic and easy on the eye. Most of all, the story doesn't take itself too seriously.

There's some minor elements of clichéd expression but I can't recall anyone falling over and (more importantly) no one falls into the swimming pool as seemed likely at one stage.

The character playing 'Fisher' the motel manager's husband was memorable as much for his appearance and delivery as his lines. Watch for one of his soliloquies where Colin Firth could be mistaken for John Cleese

It's all good fun!

Blindness (2008)
2 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
The quintessence of unadulterated bilge, 22 February 2009

This movie was imposed on us by a visitor who'd read the book and was keen for us to rent the DVD.

I've probably watched thousands of movies but "Blindness" was, without equal, the most tediously flawed, revolting and pointless. At the conclusion of the DVD we just sat in embarrassed silence - no one was game to say a word.

Many years ago at high school one of our teachers described how some individuals will delve into the most foul of dunghills only to emerge with the largest maggot they can find and proudly proclaim their achievement to the world.

The teacher's maggot-infested dunghill metaphor applies not only to this film in itself (and to those who produced it) but it equally describes anyone who proclaims a special insight into its merits. Many commentators have detailed the reasons for their disgust. I agree with them all.

To the "enlightened few" who claim to have discovered "a insightful deep exploration," "a metaphor for human moral blindness", "a movie that deals with important social issues", "a film drenched in symbolism", "a brilliant movie", a "pseudo-intellectual metaphor", an "allegory", "an excellent look at the social structure of our society today - (code for "George Bush hiss! hiss!"), I recommend just that you wash your hands thoroughly before you touch your food.

My only reason for going along with giving this movie one star is that it wasn't produced in Australia - it would have been worse!

- To quote from the same high school teacher, this movie is "the quintessence of unadulterated bilge".

Coastlines (2002)
9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
An unexpected treat, 9 November 2008

This movie impressed way beyond my expectations. My wife left shortly after the beginning of the first viewing but stayed throughout on a second viewing and rated it as a very competently produced movie with deeper meanings which we were able to discuss at length.

Without its excellent script, direction and acting the story could have descended into the realm of a daytime dreary. For a casual viewer inured to daytime drearies, perhaps that's all they'd gain from "Coastlines" but, unfortunately, they'd be missing out on much more.

In Australia, we live directly above a superb beach and are quite familiar with the coastal atmosphere depicted in "Coastlines". In its US setting, however there was a freshness and many local differences which were brilliantly depicted and thoroughly enjoyable. One of the film's visual highlights was an aerial depiction of potentially intersecting car journeys between husband, Dave, and his wife, Ann. The tension of them possibly meeting was dramatically underscored by the loneliness of the chosen roads and the flat coastal scenery. The cars do not meet however and the camera moves up the show the vast hinterland. This sequence quintessentially underscored what was happening to the characters. It was one of many just brilliant parts of the film.

Typical of the film's authenticity was detail such as Dave's competent night-time manoeuvring of an outboard-powered boat as he reversed it from its moorings and even the screen on its depth sounder being alight. A lesser production would have the craft just ready to zoom into the night.

A previous reviewer takes issue with Victor Nunez "sound design choices". I'm not quite sure what this reviewer's referring to but, if its the film's background music, I couldn't disagree more. Normally, I enjoy only classical music, but in this film, the predominantly percussive music score faithfully echoes the drama of the dialog. All this is done at a virtually subconscious level. It's incredible Experiencing such powerful sound being kept so unobtrusive is worth a separate viewing of the film just to appreciate this achievement.

The film's acting was also first class. I'm not familiar with any of the actors but any director who avoided giving the part of Ann to the ubiquitous Meryl Streep, playing Meryl Streep, is a friend for life. Sarah Wynter playing Ann was brilliant, not only in the subtleties of her facial expression but in the small detail of gesture such as rubbing her fingers on a fat lady's shoulder as she ushered her through a medical centre or in responding to the children in the film, including her own. A previous reviewer observes that Ann's character "is at first heart warming but rapidly becomes disturbingly uncomfortable and tense, and oddly enough more so to the viewer than to the characters when the movie ends with a tentative resolve." This is an excellent description of the character's emotional spectrum. For me one of the most memorably tense exchanges was where she challenges her husband with her infidelity. He counter replies, "Is that it then?"

There are truly many layers of meaning to examine in this wonderful movie. A well-earned eight stars!

A previous reviewer believes the two other movies in Nunez "Panhandle Trilogy" are superior to "Coastlines". It is difficult to believe this but they're certainly well reviewed. We'll look forward very much to obtaining copies and watching them.

2 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
One awful movie, 1 March 2008

It's quite depressing that anyone should watch this typically Hollywood anti-American rubbish movie - let alone applaud it.

Its promoted values include:

Telling the boss to "shove" it. Defrauding the system. Role model fun virtues of smoking and flogging pot. The joys of becoming an irresponsible parasitic slob. All military types are closet "poofters" Successful partners typically cheat on their mates.

- and so it goes on.

God help America if Hollywood has its way.

One awful movie.

Peaches (2004)
1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Peaches and Corn, 19 December 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ignoring (if possible) the tediously gratuitous marijuana smoking (which seems to be mandatory in Australian government-funded films) the cast of this movie gives a reasonably credible performance. That's a far as it goes. The rest is simply awful. The plot's overburdened with "wow" symbolisms which are meant to look good on film but go nowhere. A gross example is the giant peach float, obviously left over from a town parade and donated by the local canning factory. It was just too tempting to waste what was hopefully a free, but nevertheless irrelevant, prop! The peach is given a cursory, unexplained wash-down at one stage but that's where it ends.

Similarly, the contrived "black spot" road sign where Steph's parents were killed, is intended to symbolize the eventual escape from her past, but her escape to what? She's had a pretty good deal where she was, especially considering her visual disability and the unending, loving patience and care of her understanding young female guardian.

The Guinness' prize for corny melodrama, however, goes to the characterization of Alan. Alan successfully aspires to the noble role of trade union shop steward but "rats" on his fellow workers by becoming a supervisor for a wicked multi-national - hiss! hiss! As a supervisor, Alan performs the boss' villainous dirty work. He implements redundancies until, surprise, surprise, the whole plant is closed and Alan himself is left as a pathetic, unemployed failure. No cliché-free zones here, mate! Not only this, but Alan also loses the seductive Steph from the most unlikely relationship you'd encounter. If you think the plot is melodramatic and didactic, don't ask about detail. What's the significance of the shaving cream on Steph's seductive leg? Why doesn't the hotel, where the couple makes love, eventually twig that someone's gaining illegal entry to one of its grandest bedrooms and, among other pandemoniums, the sheets are regularly soiled - quite spectacularly on one occasion. Summing this movie up in one word: Avoid, Avoid, Avoid.