Reviews written by registered user
|10 reviews in total|
This well-written and well-directed study of the pot growers culture of western Humboldt County, California is informed by a sympathetic and knowledgeable viewpoint. Marijuana use is not demonized, nor is it particularly glamorized. To me, the high points of the film are the performances of the seasoned character-acting pros, Frances Conroy and Brad Dourif. They perfectly capture both the charm and the near insanity of intelligent people who've dropped out of a mass culture driven by greed and selfishness, while yet retaining their own egoistic needs. The film could have been excellent, but it's marred by a couple of casting mistakes. Chris Messina is an excellent and appealing actor, but he is so New York that it's simply impossible for me to see him as a native-born resident of Humboldt County. Still, his skill is such that he almost pulls it off. Jeremy Strong is another matter. I'm sure he can be quite good when properly cast, but in this part he is so utterly affect-less and unappealing that I just can't evoke any empathy for or interest in him. That's not a usually good quality in the protagonist of a film, to say the least. He would certainly be great playing someone on the autism spectrum, though.
I'm a married heterosexual man with two children, and I don't see how any human being with a heart could see this film and still think that there is something wrong or unnatural about same-sex marriage. Tom and Mark are beautiful and charming as individuals, but the depth and truth of their love so transcends the idea that marriage has anything to do with the sex of the partners that only someone with a heart and mind cemented closed could fail to recognize it. I saw this film when it first came out, and I've seen it twice seen. Though I wept each time, with each viewing I felt more joy as well. This film is one of the reasons my wife and I have taken our kids to the pride parade every year. We want them to know without a doubt that whatever their sexual orientation turns out to be we will always love them just as much. No God worth a second's thought could keep Tom and Mark out of heaven. They will live in people's hearts far longer than the prejudices of our age will.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a slickly-produced movingly-scored well-acted piece of sappy
sentimental crap. Avoiding any real consideration of the fundamental
issues in these kinds of pareidolic manifestations (if you look that
word up you'll find that it refers to the ability of human beings to
see patterns in random phenomena, you know, like the images you can see
in clouds), this movie instead goes for the easy cheap shot. It's real
blood, it's unexplainable, it must be a miracle. Everyone is healed,
and the guy gets the girl (and her cute kid) to boot. There was
actually a good idea for a movie hiding in there somewhere, a movie
that explored the psychological dimensions of spiritual experience
while avoiding simplistic and unrealistic "Hollywood" endings. But no,
that is not this movie. If you have a critical thinking bone in your
body, avoid this film.
(a footnote: when I was twelve my parents had the shower in the kids' bathroom re-tiled. I discovered that right at my height was a tile which had a pattern where you could very clearly see the face and head of Albert Einstein. I was so taken by this that I showed it to a number of people, and they could see it too. These were machine-made tiles with a swirling random pattern. The makers of this movie might have concluded that this said something about the sanctity of a great scientist. What it did for me was cultivate an awareness of and an interest in the phenomenon of pareidolia.)
I've seen this film more than a dozen times, it's one of my very
favorites, but not for the same reasons as most of the other reviewers
here at IMDb. Since childhood I have found this film absolutely
hilarious. It's simply the most over-the-top, overblown spectacular
from a director who's famous for his spectaculars. The cast of
well-known and mostly accomplished actors were given full rein to ham
it up to their hearts' content, and boy did some of them do just that.
Anne Baxter is a particular standout as Nefretiri, overdoing both her
early adoration of "Moses! Moses! Moses!" and her later villainous
desire for revenge when he declines her love in favor of his God.
Heston runs her a close second, no scenery is ever safe from this man's
teeth, and he really sinks his teeth into this role of a lifetime. I
especially love the way that his deepening religious inspiration is
indicated primarily by the ponderousness of his voice and the length
and whiteness of his beard. Edward G. Robinson also deserves honorable
mention as the Hebrew "trusty" collaborating with the Egyptian
oppressors. Even as great an actor as Yul Brynner is hysterical when
having to deal with such an egregious script ("So let it be written",
so let it be bad). Cecil B. DeMille provides his own ridiculous
narration, filled with pseudo-Biblical language, and things that sound
like quotes but in fact aren't.
The only thing that bothers me about this film is not the film itself, but the reaction of much of the American audience. They think this thing is an accurate reflection of the Biblical story of Moses and the Exodus. It's not at all, adding in tons of Hollywood romance and action that isn't there, and leaving out plenty of narrative that is there. Of course, that isn't really a problem historically because there's not a shred of archaeological evidence that Moses ever existed or the Exodus ever took place. But don't try to tell that to the American public; they aren't interested in facts, just mythology, and that's what one gets here in spades. Highly recommended to those with the wit to appreciate great camp.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you are a big fan of "El Club Dumas", the novel on which this film is somewhat based, you will probably be very disappointed by it. In the book, there are two simultaneous plots going on, one dealing with the Nine Gates book and Boris Balkan's desire to obtain what one might call a "working" copy, and the other dealing with an autograph chapter apparently from the lost manuscript of Alexander Dumas' "The Three Musketeers". The protagonist of the book spends much of his time trying to figure out how the two plots are intertwined and, in fact, thinks he has it figured out at various times, but in the end we discover that the plots were indeed separate and unrelated all along. Though this is an ingenious and potentially powerful literary device, for me at least, it didn't work very well and left me quite disappointed with the ending (which is unusual for a Perez Reverte novel, the others that I've read had very strong endings, though this one is still worth the time as his writing is always gripping and thought-provoking). Polanski made the decision when he made this movie to eliminate the Dumas plot line and make the story entirely about the Nine Gates book. That involved considerable rewriting and changes of events and characters. So someone who is expecting a faithful rendition of the novel will be quite annoyed. However, I think Polanski made the right choice because the ending of the film is far stronger and more satisfying than the book. The only thing he could have done better would have been to make a film of Perez Reverte's "The Nautical Chart" or "The Flanders Panel" instead!
While visiting family with my four year old daughter we found a video of "Gordy" and put it on for her. She loves movies, but after about a half-hour she turned to me and said "I don't like this pig movie". She loves "Babe". It's nice to know she has some taste. The only thing remotely good about this film is Kristy Young, the little girl C&W singer, and the trained piglet seemed like a pretty good swimmer. In the half-hour we watched, the animals never looked like they were talking, the plot was completely uninvolving, and the acting was mediocre at best. One nice thing was finding out the reason that Tom Lester (Eb from "Green Acres") never got anywhere with his career. He's a one-note performer. At least Eb had some decent writers. Now my daughter is happily watching "The Aristocats".
I love Spencer Tracy in a lot of other films, but his maudlin sub-plot, as a detective under-appreciated at home and at work, is the only thing wrong with this hilarious film. I saw it as a kid during its first run at Hollywood's Cinerama Dome, and I've seen it many times since. It's difficult to pick a favorite bit, Phil Silvers conning Don Knotts into thinking he's a secret agent, Jonathan Winters demolishing a gas station, Ethel Merman taking her loud-mouth persona over the top, they're all great! But I have to give the nod to Dick Shawn as a mentally-challenged beach bum who goes crazy when he thinks someone's messing with his Momma. All this, and the DVD has a bunch of entertaining interviews with cast members and cameos (e.g., Jerry Lewis). You've got to see it if you love physical humor.
Reminiscent of some of the best Eastern European comedies, this absurdist Finnish look at the foibles of both Communist and capitalist attempts at reality is not going to change your life, but it is an enjoyable way to spend 79 minutes. A rousing oompah band from a small Eastern European village travel to America to find their fortune. They all have hairdos like Buddy Holly on acid and wear the pointiest-toed shoes you've ever seen. In New York City they buy an old Cadillac and get a gig to play a wedding in Mexico. On the trip there they also travel through rock, blues, country, and mariachi, and meet people almost as strange as themselves. Most memorable moment: Igor, the village idiot, catching up to the band out in the middle of the Texas countryside, carrying a very large fish.
It has "the Woman no Man can resist" and "Woof Blugle Jig". All the rest is just frosting on a deliciously silly cake. I love W.C. Fields, but even if you are relieved to know that he does not dominate this film you can be assured that Lyda Roberti, Jack Oakie and Ben Turpin are more than capable of carrying out what is a very funny farce on the Olympics.
The artistry of this movie is astonishing in virtually every aspect of its filmmaking. What makes that all the more remarkable is that the footage was all shot by the assistant director in Turkey then taken to Switzerland for Yilmaz Güney (a brilliant writer/director who had to leave Turkey to escape persecution and imprisonment, mostly because of his empathy for the plight of the Kurdish people under Turkish rule) to edit and dub. The cinematography is colorful, rich and varied. The musical sound track is beautiful and well-integrated. The various subplots seem to echo and build on each other. Somehow, while making the grim realities of modern Turkey all too evident, this film also left me with a feeling of the indomitability of those who struggle for freedom.