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one of the best films of modern times
For me, the greatness of films nearly always comes from the writing. This is simply one of the best. I am not Jewish, and this is, I suppose, a Jewish story. But far more than that, it is a human story. Every word, every gesture in the movie rings true. This is, without question, Levinson's greatest work. (Diner is mediocre, and Liberty Heights isn't anywhere close to great, but this movie is amazingly special.) The Thanksgiving scene is only one of numerous perfect ones. You must see this film. You will rarely be moved, or laugh, or think more.
Will be in the middle of the Oscar race, rightfully so
Musicals are special. They energize, inspire, and involve the audience in a way that normal movies do not. Chicago clearly does that. It isn't really the singing that is special here. It is the choreography--the way it is all put together and presented--that really stands out.
The best performance comes from Richard Gere, and his singing is nothing special, to say the least. But his performance in his singing scenes, from playing the brilliant lawyer puppet master to his rendition of "Razzle Dazzle 'em" is wonderful. I loved this movie. As a lawyer, I can even say that Flynn's view of the legal system is perhaps disappointing, but also true. You have to razzle dazzle 'em, plain and simple.
The "Cellophane Man" scene also stands out, and Zellwegger, while not nearly as sexy as Charlize Theron (who was supposed to play her part) is possibly a better actress. Catherine Zeta Jones throws everything into her role, like a true dancer/singer.
About Schmidt (2002)
Thank you. Thank you for making a thinking person's movie. Thank you, Jack, for being so stingy with your services, and only appearing in excellent films. Thank you for being willing to change and grow and show us different manifestations of ourselves. Thank you for moving us. We will miss you one day Jack, ever so dearly. Please give us more wonderful performances in the mean time.
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
This movie delivers powerful messages that stay with you. "Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing," for example. It feels sort of like a satisfying meal that you know is also good for you. It actually reminds me the most of "To Kill a Mockingbird," although it lacks some of that film's emotional immediacy. Lilian Gish's character reminds me of someone out of "Mockingbird," and the kids do, too. Plus, the depression-type era evokes similar feelings. The characters are well drawn, the story is tight, and the moral themes are strong. But just expect an excellent movie, not a fright-fest. Oh, and great music, too.
The Minus Man (1999)
a success--rare for its kind
Many movies lately seem to attempt to make serial killers at least partially sympathetic. (The Ugly, among others, comes to mind.)I usually find such a thought highly offensive, as do lots of people, I am sure. But here, because of great acting by Owen Wilson and his cast-mates, a haunting feel, and sufficiently complex writing with under-tones of compassion, the film makers succeeded in making me hope at least for the killer's redemption. This is a smart film, and I have the feeling I might need to see it again. It is not the greatest movie of all time, mind you, but I am glad I saw it.
On the Ropes (1999)
powerful, entertaining documentary
I got this documentary from my local library--the smaller selection allows movies that you normally wouldn't notice to stand out. Very powerful, very emotionally involving story of three aspiring boxers from Brooklyn and the trainer who loves them. I think Tyrene could really be a great boxer, and,***possible spoiler*** as a lawyer, I found her plight embarrassing. It inspired me to make a difference where I can, actually.***end of spoiler*** I also would like to keep my eye on George, who looks like a special fighter. Harry seemed to be a wonderful man, and his story was really my favorite. Nominated for an Academy Award, On the Ropes is better than almost anything else you could see. Truly.
This is an overlooked, intelligent, frightening thriller. It poses a sick, shrewd serial killer against a brilliant psychologist/writer/professor (Weaver) and an attractive team of cops. Weaver delivers an outstanding performance as the brilliant agorophobic (sp.?) who has been emotionally devastated by a prior run-in with a serial killer. Offers a clif's notes review of the century's major serial killers, constant tension, crisp writing and outstanding performances. In short, it is a very good, very scary movie, and you should see it it you haven't yet.
Personally, I also think Weaver looks fabulous. Brains and beauty and character. Nice combination.
Le pacte des loups (2001)
I was very excited to see this film, having read reviews that made it sound like a magnificent experience. It wasn't. It starts out promising, with a great fight scene, but it gets worse and worse and more boring as it goes. Beautiful women and a moderately interesting plot save it from being a bad film. But missing it aint missing much, despite what you may have read.
Boring film. Assumes that poor taste qualifies as art (and apparently duped most critics). As usual, it takes several minutes to get over Phoenix's scar and start noticing his decent--but never great--acting. (Why won't the guy take advantage of the countless plastic surgeons in his neighborhood?) If you want to waste your time, rent this film.
The Sweet Hereafter (1997)
I don't believe what I am reading
I really can't believe the percentage of reviewers here who did not like this film. Really? I wonder what they are looking for. This film is as beautiful and moving as a great poem, and a poem fittingly brings the house down in the film's climax. Things slowly and powerfully begin to reveal themselves, and I was drawn in more and more as the movie progressed. Sarah Polley was the perfect vision of young beauty and grace. Listening to her read to the children is an unforgettable screen moment. You come to love her more and more as the true nature of her life reveals itself.
I have never seen such beautiful cinematography. Holm's performance is magnificent. The whole cast is great, including Greenwood. The sound track, like the entire film, affected me deeply.
***Spoiler*** As a lawyer, I understood why Holm decided to stop pursuing the case. It was a decision influenced as much by emotion and human understanding as legal process. Lawyers act like human beings some times, and Holm certainly had some feelings. **end of spoiler**
This is Egoyan's best movie that I have seen, more complete than Exotica. It is a beautiful masterpiece, and once seen, will never be forgotten. It might even change your life.