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I just keep watching this movie!
I have to tell you. I really enjoyed this movie when I first saw it. So, I bought it and have watched it about 4 times since. I just watched it again tonight. This is unusual for me. I may buy a film but never actually watch it. Crazy right? But I think a lot of people do the same thing.
Many people have never even heard of the movie and its only 6 years old. I think it is a travesty more people don't know about it. It is one of those films where everything works. Great cast,action, surprises, and twists (comedy even). It just works and it is a lot of fun to watch.
I dare you not to enjoy this movie.
The Ultimate Gift (2006)
Interesting and Life Changing
Okay, my title sounds a little extravagant. Even though this film doesn't sparkle with a huge budget and sexy highly paid stars, it is a story that hits home. A storyline that Hollywood seems to skip in favor of big budget action or graphic horror films. I felt inspired and moved by the story... AND I am a guy! So many are quick to judge films if they are not up to a certain level. I honestly did not expect much from this film but walked away impressed; continually thinking of the events and the character revelations throughout the film. I have even encouraged friends to see it. I am disappointed it did not receive a better advertising/marketing campaign. When I urge those to seek it out, they have never heard of the film. It also was released on a limited number of screens. My advice to Fox Faith is to get the word out. Start a grassroots campaign and let people know that these films exist. There is an audience out there! Many avoid cinema because they have been disappointed so many times. This is a film that actually moves the heart with a positive life changing message, instead of big-budgeted shallow films that are filled with CGI but devoid of hope... I challenge anyone to remember such films.
Echoes of Innocence (2005)
Powerful Message in a Little Film
What I found amazing in this first effort from director/writer Nathan Todd Simms, is that this small budgeted film packs a powerful punch. It is a brave and creative story. I don't think I have ever seen a film that took on such a controversial subject and told a story that was so engaging and imaginative. When I say controversial, I mean to say most filmmakers shy away from the sexual subject most teens struggle with. Many filmmakers take the traditional route we have all grown tired of seeing on the screen. This is a fresh approach. No, it is not a perfect film, there are some glitches but the messages and extraordinary overall presentation make it an incredible project that succeeds on many levels. It doesn't just speak to the physical struggle within us but the spiritual forces that pull at us. I was impressed with the talent in ECHOES. In addition, the visual composition of the film is colorful and magical. Sometimes lingering a bit too long on a subject, yet it is full of color and grace. ECHOES challenges the viewer to see deeper, to feel deeper... don't attend this film expecting traditional storytelling. It is a unique combination of light and dark. It doesn't hide the dark yet it also offers a hope most films just don't seem to provide. I challenge the viewer to see beyond what is on the screen and see the true power of this little film. I predict most "religious" Christians will have some issues while the cynic will scoff at its approach, but in the end, it is a pioneering work that will hopefully open the door for more.
Where's The Magic?
It is not in this film! It is a jumbled mess of a movie. I was very disappointed after having high hopes Decent actors, a fresh revisit to an icon TV series, successful writer/director and an interesting (at first glance) twist to the original story. However, it all falls apart. Nicole should be the perfect Samantha. I have always said, from the beginning and before it was announced she would play this role, that she bears an uncanny resemblance to Elizabeth Montgomery. The roster is of the highest pedigree of actors and funny men, but they are wasted. How can such a promising movie fall apart into a sad embarrassing heap? I think the problem is first the two sister writing team who was afraid to re-tell the simple original story. They came up with an unbelievably ludicrous premise. Characters from the original show are thrown into wherever possible so they make an appearance. Even Nicole looks dazed when she pulls Aunt Clara out of her fireplace... does she even know her own aunt? What doesn't work is throwing these characters around in an attempt to resemble the original series. The characters possess their same names from the series but some are in the "real world" while others are playing the characters on a sitcom (a show shooting within the show). The filmmakers (shame on you Nora and Penny you should know better) also constantly throw in clips from the TV show and the "real" Samantha is somehow twitching her nose from the great beyond. This is one train wreck that makes a lot of noise getting to a disastrously empty end. There are moments that give an audience hope, but alas 'moments' does not a film make. Uncle Arthur, who is played by a surprisingly forced Steve Carell (you can see the sheer terror in his eyes), even pops in shoveling a heap of coal into this doomed train engine of a movie. Who is he? Yes, he is a character from the TV show but why is he talking to Will Ferrell? Oh yeah, nothing makes since in this movie and we are trying really hard to make a movie that resembles the original without really looking like the original... YEP! Makes sense to me!
Sweet Hideaway (2003)
Fun Premise Is Sweet
"Sweet Hideaway" may not succeed overall in its approach. However, several moments in the film are hilarious. The talent gathered for the effort are amazing, taking average material and making it interesting. New talent Chip Joslin, Benjamin Dane, Marco Rodriguez, Dane Hereford shine in their performances. "Sweet Hideaway" is far from a perfect comedy, but it succeeds on several levels. The added cast of Rickey Smiley, Anthony Johnson and Natalie Desselle propel the film and veteran Burton Gilliam adds an over-the-top element that actually helps ground the story. Newcomer Parisa Fakhri is also very endearing. "Hideaway" provides a start to several talented actors and is a guilty pleasure to watch. It is a film that promises to offend on every level but is not mean-spirited in its delivery.