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Hello, it's Quantum Leap all over again. People need to come up with something original. I mean, just reading the tag line will tell you that it's a rip-off. Yes, there is the Time Traveler's Wife thing too, but seriously, it's Quantum Leap, which in my opinion is a much better show. There is the fact that yes, he's not a scientist and it's not too high tech, but the time travel thing worked well for previous shows like Quantum Leap because of the sci-fi element. They just tried to twist it around by making some of his "missions" end on a less positive note. Although, NBC did cancel it prematurely, it may have been better if they had given it a chance. But, given the similarities to previous works, I am glad NBC made the decision. Ugh, watch Quantum Leap, skip this one. You won't regret it.
Angels and Insects (1995)
One of the Worst Films....Ever
I had to watch this film for a class about Mid-Victorian Britain...with my professors and my class...and I was shocked at the story; Not just how awful the acting was, but that the script was actually bought and given a green light for production. The costumes were stylized and the design was nominated for an Oscar...how that was possible, I don't even know. The only thing redeemable about the film is Kristen Scott Thomas. Mark Rylance and Patsy Kensit give two of the worst performances I have ever seen in my entire life. Rylance's pitch and tone of voice never changes and Kensit was overly dramatic to the point of being comical. I would only see this movie if you want to laugh. But even at that, you're going to be wasting money...even energy by renting this movie. Stay away...
Hollywoodland Offers a Mixed Bag
The new drama Hollywoodland delves into the mysterious death of the actor who portrayed TVs "Superman" during the 1950s.With a cast that includes Ben Affleck, Adrian Brody, Diane Lane, Bob Hoskins and Robin Tunney, the film is a mixed bag of performances and technical glitches. The performances left something to be desired. Ben Affleck portrays Reeves and gives a performance that seems as if he watched too many James Stewart and Carey Grant movies for research. Affleck has his strong moments which give some validity to the role; such as a scene where he has to stop a little boy from trying to shoot him because the boy believes that Reeves really is Superman. Despite the glimmers of hope for his performance, Affleck comes up short. However, the weakest performance comes from one of best actresses of the past twenty yearsDiane Lane. She is over the top and unbelievable as Toni Mannix, the much older lover of George Reeves. Mannix, who was married to MGM studio manager Eddie Mannix (portrayed by Bob Hoskins), had been suspected in connection with Reeves' death. Diane Lane has done better work than this film; as she was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Unfaithful. By pairing Affleck and Lane together, the two performances appear as if they were trying to emulate "Old-Hollywood" stars of the 40s and 50s. It didn't work. Despite the presence of weak performances, actors such as Adrian Brody, Robin Tunney and Bob Hoskins save the film from going up in smoke. Brody gave the most interesting performance as private investigator Louis Simo. As Simo, Brody grapples with balancing trying to prove that Reeves' death was a murder and his private life. One of the most interesting dynamics is the one that Simo has with his young son who is desperately trying to deal with Reeves' death. Adrian Brody, who won an Oscar for his performance in The Pianist, give Simo a depth and range that is worthy of praise (and maybe another Oscar). Robin Tunney (TVs Prison Break) portrays Leonore Lemmon, George Reeves' fiancé. Her performance adds to the film's overall tension and shows her range as a dramatic actress. Well-known character actor Bob Hoskins portrays Eddie Mannix. Although his appearance in the film is short compared to the others in the ensemble, Hoskins does one of the most impressive American accents by a British actor ever. He also adds balance to Diane Lane's character and performance which helps the film succeed. Aside from the performances are the technical glitches made by the filmmakers. The film flashes from the present to the past and replays the night of Reeves' death numerous times. The lighting of the flashbacks varies from stark to inviting, it was effective. Although the editing is cohesive and adds to the overall effect of the film, it is its technical glitches that make it weak. The most distracting thing became seeing the boom microphone in several shots throughout the film. It occurred so much that I was sitting there waiting for it to appear. After the last few years of biopics of Ray Charles, Truman Capote and Johnny Cash, Hollywoodland puts a different spin on a traditional concept. It is entertaining, but is weighed down by a few weak performances and technical mistakes. Maybe seeing Superman Returns and The Black Dahlia back-to-back would be a good substitute for this film.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Let the SUNSHINE In
The Hoovers: combine an honest mother, a father whose career is on the fritz, a silent Nietzsche-obsessed brother, a drug-addicted grandfather, a suicidal uncle and a girl who just wants her moment to "Shine" and you get one of the most dysfunctional families on earth. The new comedy, Little Miss Sunshine, tells the story of a family who drives from New Mexico to California in hopes that their 7-year old daughter, Olive (Abigail Breslin, Signs) can win the "Little Miss Sunshine" pageant. With an ensemble cast that includes Greg Kinnear (As Good as It Gets), Toni Collete (The Sixth Sense), and Steve Carrell (TV's The Office) one would expect a movie that produces "I laughed so hard, I cried" reactions. Yet, this is one of the best movies to use intelligent humor to attract and hook its audience. Perhaps it was expecting to see Steve Carrell be as outrageously funny as he was in such blockbusters as The 40-Year Old Virgin and Anchorman that was a downer. It is Carrell however, whose performance is serious and subtly funny at the same time. Carrell plays Frank, Olive's gay, suicidal, Proust scholar uncle who needs constant supervision. It was awkward and fascinating to watch Carrell play a serious character. While his performance is worthy of all the praise it has been given thus far, it is not the performance that drew much attention
at least from the audience I viewed it with. Paul Dano, a relative newcomer, seems to overshadow his costars. Dano plays Dwayne, Olive's teenage brother who has taken a vow of silence until he is admitted into the Air Force Academy. I should have guessed from the moment I saw Dwayne's mural of Nietzsche and "I hate everyone" scribbled on his notepad, that his cynical view of the world would be the most interesting. It is his observations during the film that provide some of the most comedic moments such as his various facial expressions and witty remarks on his notepad to his odd-ball family. There is another uncredited character in the film that provides some of the best laughsthe family's VW bus. Starting in New Mexico, the audience follows this bright yellow bus 700 miles west to California with several mishaps along the way. A key moment in the film occurs when the stick-shift breaks leaving only two functioning gears. The family is then forced to push the bus to get it rolling and do some clever stunt-work by jumping in after it gains some momentum. This visual gives the film one of its many themesto chase your dream. Finally, it is when the Hoover family, sans grandfather, reaches the pageant when the film becomes the most heartbreaking. With visuals that seem to be taken from documentaries about kiddie pageants, such as a mother spray-tanning her daughter and a over-the-top host, Olive seems to be out of her element. Wanting to spare his daughter the embarrassment of performing, Richard (Kinnear) tries to convince his wife Sheryl (Collette) to pull Olive from the competition. That comes only after Richard pleads with a pageant official to let Olive compete when they arrive just five minutes late for registration. Sheryl tells her husband "Why can't we let Olive just be Olive?" The film's message is perhaps wrapped up in that simple quote
to just let people be who they are without trying to fit them into a mold. Little Miss Sunshine is hopeful and heartbreakingly funny with a talented cast that is worth seeing on the big screen. This film has been called "too real" by some, but it is its realism that gives it humor. Go see this film, it's worth it.
The Ron Clark Story (2006)
Wonderful Story and a Great Change for Matthew Perry
"The Ron Clark Story" chronicles a teacher's journey with his sixth grade class in Harlem. When one firsts thinks of who should play the title character of "Ron Clark" anyone but Matthew Perry (a.k.a. Chandler Bing from "Friends") comes to mind. However, Perry's performance is one of the best things about the teleflick. It becomes easy to distance one's perceptions of him from "Friends" when the story gets going and you end up really seeing the versatility that Matthew Perry possesses. Equally stunning, are the performances given by the young actors who make up his sixth grade class. It is really a breath of fresh air to see child actors who can really act all in one movie. As a whole, this "Johnson & Johnson: Spotlight Presentation" is definitely one that should be in the spotlight and seen for it's tender story and great performances.
Searching for Debra Winger (2002)
Honest opinions about the industry
"Searching for Debra Winger" is a fabulous documentary featuring some of the most compelling women in the industry ranging in age from their 30s to 60s. Rosanna Arquette's film is a candid look at the pressures that women face in the entertainment business and in life in general. For younger actresses, it is a great look at how the industry has affected the lives of many of the personalities featured in the movie. I would recommend this film for simply pleasure, as well as a guide as to how the industry views women from a woman's prospective. With an array of actresses from Catherine O'Hara and Holly Hunter to Sharon Stone and Diane Lane, this film is a must-see.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
One of the most poignant movies ever made
"Brokeback Mountain" follows the lives of Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar throughout their lives after meeting one summer while working as sheep herders on Brokeback Mountain. It is a beautiful love story that speaks to everyone no matter what their sexual orientation or beliefs. It is something we all go through as human beings.The cast is formed perfectly with subtle performances and transformations throughout the picture. The aging process between the two main characters and their female counterparts is amazing down to their voices and looks. I would definitely recommend this film to everyone. It angers and saddens me that so much criticism has been made towards such a beautiful story and wonderful film directed by Ang Lee. Definitely go see this movie.
Powerful Documentary Geared Towards MTV Generation Speaks Volumes
This powerful documentary details various experiences of Jewish youth during the Holocaust. Through the intense photo montages and fill clips, MTV does an excellent job of bringing new stories to today's MTV generation. The diaries and letters of those killed in the holocaust are poignant and heart-wrenching. The amount of detail that was documented was amazing, considering the ages of most of the victims.
Narrated by by many of today's hottest young stars such as Elijah Wood, Amber Tamblyn, Ryan Gosling, Kate Hudson, Oliver Hudson and Joaquin Pheonix to name a few, it brings one of the most important events in history to life from perspectives that are often ignored...that of the youth who lived through it. Like Anne Frank, these young people wrote eloquently about the events of their lives in the ghettos, concentration camps and even escapes. This documentary should be seen by anyone who wants to learn more about our world's history.
The Company (2003)
A Unique Look at a Beautiful Art Form
I can honestly say that this is one of my favorite movies of all time. Under the direction of Robert Altman, The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago along with writer/producer and star Neve Campbell, bring vibrance and life to the screen. The camera work is very unrestricted simply because of the fact that the movie deals with real dancers, so there is nothing to hide technically in terms of doubling feet because an actor who had no dance experience would have to be doubled. The dances have color, light and a life of their own. Altman is great at using the spaces and situations to create an "organic" feel to the piece. The audience can see things that dancers see and hear point shoes on the stage. It's amazing. Even if one isn't "into ballet" they should still see this film for a solid story and wonderful dance numbers that will leave you wanting to sign up for a dance class.
I am only giving this 3 undeserving stars because the visuals were pretty good. However, Jodie Foster, who is one of my favorite actresses, made a horrible choice with this movie. I am not saying that it's her fault the movie is horrible because it's not. Frankly, the script is the problem. There are so many plot-holes that leave the audience confused from the start. Granted, it's a thriller and confusion is inevitable, but there are too many unanswered questions even by the end of the movie. The dialogue is repetitive and predictable.
Jodie Foster as a grieving widow and paranoid mother seems to have very little depth. I usually love the movies that Jodie Foster makes, however, this performance has no levels. She seems to be freaking out from the beginning of the movie. There seems to be no change in emotional levels leading up to Julia's disappearance.
The actions and reactions in this movie are predictable and it is certainly not worth the 8-10 dollars spent on the ticket. The only thing redeemable about this film are the special effects and the beauty of the sets. How Ebert & Roper gave this two thumbs up is very perplexing. It's thriller yes, but it seems to be "Panic Room" on a plane. Thumbs down for me.