Reviews written by registered user
|15 reviews in total|
Sigh. Where's "My Cousin Vinny" when Marisa Tomei needs it? Now, THAT'S
a decent movie. But "The Lincoln Lawyer"? Puleeze. I'm being generous
with "four stars" here.
For Matthew McConaughey fans, such low ratings is heresy, but please. Why ruin a decent novel? If we have to put up with Matthew's fake southern drawl ONE MORE TIME, give us a break! The movie actually glosses over the author's use of the Lincoln (plays a larger role in the book) and the reader doesn't have to put up with Matthew who seems to know one role: Matthew McConaughey. So that prejudice aside, the movie depends upon the "brilliance" of Lawyer Haller's courtroom manner (as well as his law practice "practices") which, to perhaps the uninitiated, seems "brilliant' (may I recommend the Perry Mason shows for those who do? Or "My Cousin Vinny"?). On film, author Connolly's plot now seems less-than-original and this film uses about every stereotype in "courtroom drama" shows. Enough, Mr. McC. Just stick to posing shirtless for the supermarket mags. That seems to be what you're best at.
When this film was released on VHS worldwide, the voices had been dubbed in English; since then, I've only found subtitled in English versions. That said, the dubbed version, for those of us not fluent in French, was absolutely excellent--hats off to the producers of such an entertaining film. We find our "heroes" all embroiled in all kinds of shenanigans, but mainly: they're in trouble with the Mob. Terrifically funny and clever, it backs off the social statement that La Cage I went to great pains to present. Cage II seems to have set social significance aside, for the most part, and then panders to the "funny bone" to get laughs, albeit good ones. Both I and II were (are) trailblazers in the gay movement around the world (well, perhaps not so much in Uganda, Nigeria, or Kenya or in some Mid-Eastern countries, alas). Cage III is something else.
While this is a welcomed continuation of a good (excellent) Tom Selleck
series (I don't care for "Blue Bloods"), I was a bit disappointed in
"Innocents Lost." For one, it clearly,clearly plays to Selleck's vanity
as he lays (not so cleverly) the decided foundation for the next
episode. While that is good, this one was too incomplete for my liking.
Second, the pacing of "Innocents Lost" seemed to be out in the
netherworld--slow at times, possibly to make sure that the full two
hours time slot was completed yet not forgetting to set the stage for
the next episode, when? In six months' time? A year? New viewers could
easily have been baffled by the "inside" story, events and characters
based upon previous episodes (which really isn't fair to new viewers,
that is, if new viewers were wanted). Character development lagged
(we've a new police chief and we know we don't like him and we know
that he's bound to be "gone" in another episode, but, please, don't
tease us to the extent that it did. And, Jesse, forget about your
ex-wife. Pul-eeze. Enough whining. Move on. Please.
All this said, though, I didn't regret watching "Innocents Lost"--but was quite let down by its "incompleteness."
"Ruby in the Smoke" really has lots of potential. It certainly has set the stage for future episodes. It's a Victorian suspense story (with excellent settings and scenery)based upon the original novel. PBS does its usual good job of making this one available. Alas, it has some serious shortcomings, especially for American audiences. Understanding the fast-paced "English" dialect was quite difficult, thus taking away from not only the plot and story line, but adding some confusion as well. Perhaps it's just fine for our friends in England, but the fact that I could not understand all the dialog was a disappointment. In addition. the characters just didn't come across as fully developed; Sally oftentimes was the weepy whiny Victorian woman and at other times, leaping into the 20th century with some of her "liberations." Greater interaction between the "good" characters would enhance the story (and hold viewers' interest more). Mrs. Holland comes across truly as the wicked woman she is and is perhaps the most convincing of the entire cast. Still, there are possibilities here and I, for one, am hoping to see this story developed into a more convincing series.
Intriguing? Fast paced? Exciting? Time-well-spent-while-watching? Pul-eeze. Dreadful is more like it. Usually the British know how to put on a show, especially set in Oxford. But "The Oxford Murders," mathematically speaking, is a problem unto itself. Young Elijah Wood should STICK with the hobbits and trolls of Tolkein (who DID spend real time in Oxford) for his wooden performance, snd with his terribly fakish American accent, it was too much. And WHAT was the great actor John Hurt doing in this film? Paying some bills? The only redeeming grace of this film (if I may call it that) is that it was set in Oxford.
"Sherlock" takes many liberties with Conan Doyle's original works--and characters. But what a refreshing "re-visit" with the king of all detectives (and detective mysteries). Now in the 21st century, Holmes and Watson continue as a formidable pair, but tasteful to the times. The clever, very clever, fast-paced dialog (and repartee between the two) accentuate Holmes' genius. Fortunately, the creators of this new series (one hopes it will continue beyond these first three episodes) don't depend upon a lot of computerized, glamorized gadgetry, relying mainly on Holmes' brilliant deductive methods (in keeping with the original, of course). This series probably will not appeal to the Doyle "purists," but for the progressive thinkers, this will do. For one, the relationship between the two principles is more poignant. Dr. Watson (who has enough of his own baggage to carry) isn't the sycophant that the Jeremy Brett's Watson was--he's much more his own man, but the devotion is clearly there. Two, the series doesn't rely upon strong language, gratuitous sex scenes, or stomach turning violence to carry it along, although they're all there, just not stated. The chemistry between the two is perhaps one of the strengths of the episode as well. And lastly I found the suspense created in this series is much greater--sometimes much more subtle--than previous Sherlock Holmes films. In this version, the stories are original, but they still possess that Doylian touch! Let's hope for more: let the chase begin!
Not Inspector Morse. But nearly. The "Inspector Lewis" series continues
at a strong pace. The duo of Kevin Whateley and Laurence Fox as the two
detectives of the Thames Valley Police in Oxford is a winning
combination. Like the Morse series, the producers/directors of the
films go for the cerebral, the literary, the intellectual communities
(no poor folks here!), but all this adds a certain class to the art (or
science) of murder. In this episode, the writers drew heavily from both
religious and mythological sources. Set in/around/about Oxford
University doesn't hurt either (although one begins to wonder if there
is any one to be left alive in the city after this series finishes!).
In this episode, too, the "Is Hathaway Gay" question comes to the front and the issue is handled well (you have to see the episode to know the answer!). The relationship between the two policemen and within their police ensemble makes the series move along with continuity, excitement, and curiosity. We've only seen the first couple of seasons, but apparently there are plenty yet to be aired. It's a good series and it seems no one does a police procedural with the air and the class that the Brits do! Rule Britannia!
The "Inspector Lewis" series is an excellent "spin off" of the
Inspector Morse episode. Based upon the characters created by Colin
Dexter, the producers of this series, taking up after the inimitable
Morse died, literarily and literally, this is a welcomed "next step" in
British police procedural filmed mysteries (no one does it better).
The Morse episodes were always filled with a certain amount of class, certainly of the intellectual variety, and the Lewis series keeps the same motif. In "And the Moonbeams Kissed the Sea," the mystery (murder) involves, once again, the Oxford University academics, this time concerning some long lost letters by the Romantic Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley ("and the other members of the band" as Hathaway quips). What better (more academic) setting could one ask for than Oxford U, with scenes from the Bodelian Library. The plot line is complicated, but not impossible, and viewers are quickly caught up in the story. Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox are excellent as the detectives from the Thames Valley Police in the entire series and cameo performances by some of the top British actors (who seem to vie for a role!)add to the excitement, the entertainment, and the overall excellence. The periodic quips (comic relief) are well paced and well done. "Lewis" continues to work hard to stay up with the Morse episodes and so far, they get an A for their work.
Oh my. "A cult classic," I'm told. Oh my. Where does one begin? The acting? The directing? The screenplay? The cinematography? Basically, this looks like a film out of Film 101. Unconvincing, not funny (when it's supposed to be), unrealistic (when it's supposed to be), melodramatic (who WROTE these scenes?). It is easy to see Brad Pitt and gang (and Pitt probably belonged in this version anyway--sigh. What's with the bogus Hollywood accents of Southern folks!) But in this version, verisimilitude is out the window (does ANYBODY believe this is "France, about 50 miles from Switzerland? Pul-eeze. It's a Sergio Leone setting for a World War II "scene"! One could go on and on. Back to the "cult classic" label--always identified by the "literary" and "intellectual" crowd--like they do with the book "Finnegans Wake"! ONe can see where Bo Svenson's career didn't leap forward after this film and can anyone identify anyone else, save Ian Bannon, with another dreadful British "version" of American lingo. But I won't keep beating a dead horse. My time would have been better spent trying to read "Finnegan's Wake"!
Interesting, this at least the third filmed version of Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express." Clearly,the director (and Suchet himself) sought to distance themselves from the two earlier versions--for after all, the original source was the same. In this version, great effort to make it more socially significant (a term Christie rarely considered)--beginning with the stoning of a woman for adultery in a Muslim country without benefit of "Western" justice by jury. This justice theme is carried out, in the extremes, of course, in the main course of the film: it is a question that confronts Poirot (as always, brilliantly played by David Suchet); a man is murdered on the post Istanbul Express. The perpetrators claim "just cause," and in the book and certainly in the earlier films, this "frontier justice" seems to be upheld. Here, though, a more philosophic Poirot wages a larger debate. When is taking the law into one's own hands justified. That said, this film departs from Christie's intent, clearly. In so doing,however, it makes the film more viable in terms of "meaningfulness." Suchet stars, as usual, and the cameos (so many characters in so little time!)are run of the mill. Still, worth watching. The Brits do a great job, on just about anything serious they film.
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