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10.5: Apocalypse (2006)
Haven't seen it? DON'T BOTHER.
1. To call the acting sophomoric would be an insult to every sophomore out there. It's bad. Truly, unbelievably bad. Stilted. Forced. Wooden. (Dorothy Parker would revise her Hepburn comment here; many of the performers can't even run the gamut of emotions from A to B. As I've called some political commentators, "a one note symphony.") 2. I'm sure the reason for the in-out-in-out-up-down-left-right-left-right camera swings are to create a feeling of i*n*t*e*n*s*i*t*y and d*r*a*m*a. All they have done for me is create a feeling of m*o*t*i*o*n s*i*c*k*n*e*s*s. Once or twice might make for drama. Continual swings become tedious, at best. (I want the name of the lame brain that came up with this idiotic maneuver. I plan to send him or her a bill for my migraine meds.) 3. Since it's pathetically obvious that nobody on the writing staff took (let alone, passed) Basic Geology--could they have at *least* watched a half dozen National Geographic specials??? Willing suspension of disbelief is one thing; this is a whole different animal. ("Volcano" managed to keep people suckered in for a couple of hours--of course, it had the advantage of having a few people who could act.)
The best thing you can say about this waste of film is... it's a sequel that's just as good as the original from whence it sprang: LOUSY.
(And here we thought "Reunite Pangea!" was just a kicky t-shirt. Sheesh.)
Woman of Straw (1964)
Thank heavens for cable
Trying to find this film on video or DVD is beyond impossible. It's currently playing on FLIX (August/2002), and is certainly worth a look. Sir Sean Connery did a wonderful job of taking the cool sophistication that made his interpretation of James Bond the watermark for all others and turning it sideways, making Anthony Richmond a nephew you do *not* want to invite to the family reunion.
American Dreamer (1984)
A true "feel good" movie
I missed this movie when it first came out, but was lucky enough to have it recommended by a friend.
Everyone has a "down in the dumps" movie--when the boss is a jerk, the spouse is worse and the kids make you wish you had opted for a tank full of tropical fish instead of procreation, you pop in "your" movie and the world balances out. "American Dreamer"--which proves you *can be creative, you *can be inventive, and even being a little crazy is nice, too--will forever be my pick-me-up movie.
Definitely worth renting. (Come on, guys, when do we get a DVD version?!) Spring for the real butter on the popcorn for this one. Trust me, you'll be smiling at the end.
The Russia House (1990)
Music On The Mark
In years of listening to soundtracks, I have never been disappointed in a Jerry Goldsmith composition. It's almost frightening to realize his credits number over 250, he's *still* putting out 2-4 compositions a year, and they're *still* of a calibre so many composers shoot for...and miss. This gentleman has a never-ending supply, for which I am eternally grateful.
I literally wore out my first cassette tape from this film, and was on the way to wearing out the replacement when it was nicked. The third is on its last legs, too.
Beautiful music? Beyond that. I once described this heart-melting, soul-stirring, I-think-I'll-swoon music as "better than ---"
Ah, well, in case the editors are watching, I'm sure you can figure it out. (There's a chocolate cake recipe by the same name, if you need a hint.)
If the plot of the movie is too much to follow, as some people have noted (hey, after work, the complexities of a Mighty Mouse cartoon are often beyond me), my advice is to pop the soundtrack into the CD/cassette player and decompress. It's my absolute favourite wine and cheese music.
Then, when you're conscious the next day, tackle the plotline. It's worth a watch.
Medicine Man (1992)
It still plays well
Ten years down the pike:
Yes, Dr. Crane is still so irritating I want to ground her for a month and take away her phone privileges.
Yes, the movie generated some great family jokes. ("You wanted to pick his brains." "Not off the sidewalk!" was but one.)
Yes, the rainforest is still breathtaking. (At least there's some of it on film. :-/ )
Yes, Dr. Campbell is still every bureaucrat's worst migraine.
And, yes, just the opening bars alone of one of Jerry Goldsmith's greatest soundtracks makes me want to grab a pair of skates and hit the ice. If I ever *do learn to skate more than a wobbly line forward or back, it will be for the sheer joy of skating to the "Medicine Man" soundtrack.
And for those who watched the videotape version and screeched over the mangling of the opening credits...check out the widescreen DVD version. The opening credits were perfectly balanced--action on one side, credit on the other. Video release--full screen--demanded that it be done pan-and-scan, swooping left, right, left, right...pass the Dramamine. The DVD price is worth it for the widescreen aspect alone. From the credits to the end of the film, I can't recall any other movie so panned and scanned.
Back in my dark days of editing, there would come a story where words failed. We would look around the table, desperate to find something, some way to be positive about the manuscript before us. (This was in the dinosaur ages, long before American Idol and the attendant snarky comments.) Finally, someone would pipe up, "Great margins...!"
After the horribly disappointing "Phantom Menace," I approached "Clones" with the oft-heard-on-this-site feeling of, "It can't be worse..."
Well, at least it wasn't worse. Not much better, unfortunately.
The spfx were nice. (Great margins!) (With Lucasfilm handling the effects, could they be otherwise?)
The soundtrack was--er--back on track. (Sorry.) (The 'track for "Menace" was almost suffering from MPD. I still haven't purchased a copy, and doubt I will--a rare happening for me, when it comes to John Williams' work.)
Given that Anakin is supposed to be the be-all end-all Jedi, Obi-Wan is rather on the condescending and patronizing side with him. That would send him to the Dark Side, alone.
During the battle between Yoda and Count Dooku, a voice in the audience piped up, "Omigod, Yoda is a Cuisinart!" (No, it was not I. Honest.) Mr. Lucas...here was a serious, important scene...and the entire audience at the screening I attended was literally howling with laughter. Bad move.
Christopher Lee was a hidden delight. Always good, he didn't disappoint--even in this head-shaker. Let's hope that "Clones" and "Lord of the Rings" means he'll be back on the screen frequently.
I feel guilty for not liking "Clones." While part of me expected it to be as ho-hum as "Menace," part of me wanted to recapture the thrill of the first time I saw "A New Hope."
I guess it's true--you can't go home.