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The War of the Roses (1989)
Married to the bitter end
A nice and partly funny movie, marriage and children, divorce and nasty settlement, a story who opens the way for marriage crisis of dimensions. Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas has played against each other before - like in "Romancing the stone" and the sequel "Jewel of the Nile", and it's hardly a coniciderence they came together for the third time, the couple made very chemistry on the big screen, everything seemed to fit them both.
The most funny thing related to this movie, is that Danny De Vito - here with a great performance, also is the man in the director's chair, also had good parts in those movie I mention, and as far as I know, is a good friend of Douglas privately.
Is it something we can learn from this plot? I chosen to let the question stand wide open, but it's not unimaginable that such bitterness and desperation in our real life have I read, and seen countless example of several divorces - but of course, here we got presented a drama like a black comedy, for that sake of the entertainment.
Maybe most of the movie's situations stroke better those who already had been through their divorces or two, and I'm not sure I will recommend this movie to anybody, it could end up with bad estrangement for the theme - a partly entertaining story of a marriage on the wrong track, but a pretty good movie to watch.
The Contract (2006)
What happen with this movie?
In the beginning of this movie it seemed to be an entertaining piece of work, exciting with strong characters involved, but after they had establish themselves in the wilderness, the quality of the story went into a foggy condition. The plot revealed itself as very simple, and the big point wasn't unmasked before the close end.
The actors wasn't at their best in the movie, but I thought young Jamie Anderson as John Cusack's troubled son could give me a surprise here, but when I came to the story, it was battle between the hunters and the hunted, the political issue almost disappeared.
Young Anderson's performance said it all when it came down to the experienced actors like Morgan Freeman, Cusack and Alice Krige, but I put most of the blame on the writers - I thought they lost their sight along the way, too obvious and too convenient.
But "The contract" is not really a bad movie, but I'd expected more from a good idea, director Beresford had all the skills to make a very good thriller, maybe his time is out? The writers had no experience, Katz died after finishing the movie, and Darrouzet had only his screen writing, this was his first movie there was some highlights to watch, but circumstanced like financial problems, gave Beresford no choice - without delivering a good enough script, he had to finish the production anyway.
Man on Fire (2004)
Fire and blood
This movie is a hardcore violent action movie, and it has some good points. The product delivered in the very center, a shining study of the character that Denzel Washington portrays. the disillusioned ex-CIA agent Creasy who experiences his personally nightmare, and becomes reborn as a killing machine. The character is lost in the bottle, but shows a faint spark of life behind empty, dark eyes - and then end up something like a angel of death, for justice. and all for the nine year old schoolgirl Pita, a daughter of rich and wealthy parents, Creasy has been assigned to as her bodyguard.
Director Tony Scott has earlier shown his talent for the film craft with the genre, and he didn't leave anything out this time either. Scott hit the mark on every single violent, bloody and explosive scene for all it was worth. Because the movie isn't exactly beautiful, Scott's characters are very close to describing racism when it comes to Mexico, and in some scenes, that were almost too much to swallow. As mentioned it's not a beautiful movie to watch, but entertaining? Definitively, Yes!I really did like it - there is no message in the bottle as far I could see, and it deserve my good points. A great action movie with two excellent actors - Washington and Dakota Fanning, and a pretty good plot.
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Love on high level
Something positive has happened to the grand master William Shakespeare, something exceptional, particularly in this unconventional fiction story. Shakespeare has been taken down from his high horse and placed among ordinary human being, and the result? He became hip among younger viewers like you and me.
The movie is a free interpretation about what young Shakespeare's life could have been like under the writing of history's most famous love story - and tragedy "Romeo and Juliet". The plot is fresh and stylish, and very alive, and this movie is voluptuous, and very entertaining.
The production has a top quality British cast - with a few American actors. Particularly excellent was Judi Dench as Queen Elisabeth, the experience of the film was intoxication to my eye, and it received thirteen Academy Awards. But of some reason Joseph Fiennes didn't get anything, I thought he dominated in the movie beside Judi Dench - as the late medieval version of "Prince". Gwyneth Paltrow got her Oscar, but personally I found her too weak in her role as the female lead - life is strange.
in any case, the movie was a great adventure on the big screen, a most unusual production that really grabbed my heart. Love stories easily too sentimental - or too pompous. this one is just great to watch.
Presumed Innocent (1990)
Pretty good drama in the courtroom
The movie starts with the voice of prosecutor Rusty Sabich (Harrison Ford) with a statement of the American legal system and his own position on it.. The story begins excellently with a nice presentation of Sabich both private and professionally, but the plot eventually gets him into a dangerous situation. The main sequences happen in the courtroom, the judge has to decide if the accused is guilty - or not. The movie lose some of its level of tension when the trail begins, every detail is gone through in too long, heavy and demanding scenes for me as a viewer. But I also have to mention that it presents dashes of good excitement. Here Raul Julia is the big star in this courtroom drama, he is very capable in this role. Overall, the pace is indeed too slow, but several camera angles got into my mind - and of course, very good acting from the people behind the main characters. Beside Raul Julia, Brian Dennehy and Bonnie Bedelia made great performances - just like the movie's center star Harrison Ford. I found this movie very good, but it's not perfect, there is something missing. And I became quite surprised when the murderer was exposed, even if I had some suspicions.
The Last Supper (1995)
Strange political effects
This movie is a raw satire about intolerance. It' s not really about political right or left wing views, but about people who fail to understand what freedom of speech really is. The main characters don' t think about their own limits - just the other people' s. This group of elite students conceived their own mission, a mission to get rid of everybody who they think have the wrong opinions about the society. As mention in the movie - i you travel back in time and met the young artist Adolf Hitler, knowing what he would do as a grown man, would you kill him to save millions of lives? I probably would, but to change history - what consequences would that make for the future? That' s the question I asked myself... This is the debut for director Stacy Title, the theme is controversial, and the product has a visual style that appeal to me. The actors are very good, Title and her staff have apparently picked the right cast, and everybody did an outstanding job - even the guest stars. Stacy Title haven' t done anything memorable later in her professional career - which makes me wonder why, for with this production, she hit the nail on the head.
Disappointment de luxe
I think this franchise has to end now, this is the question I asked myself after seeing this sequel from the original the year before. I guess this production was continued purely for the sake of the money, and the product didn't even camouflage it. Because this movie had nothing new and original to show for at all, it went in the same track as the first movie with pretty young teens hunted by a psychotic killer - something like "Friday 13th", "Halloween" - and even "Nightmare on Elm Street". The first movie in every series is always the best - so much more entertaining. And of course, all of them got an X numbers of sequels, most of them progressively bad ones - don' t do the same mistake, leave the money alone - because this sequel fell to the ground with a big bang. A movie with no new ideas, everything' s very predictable, and for me it became unbelievable boring. Well, there' s nothing too negative to say about the actors - Jennifer Love Hewitt did alright, here is also Brandy, more known as an RnB singer at that time, so there is some talent among this young actors. But as a horror movie it sucks, it' s like a long yawn, really. A bad movie with no excitement.
There's no doubt that writer Kevin Williamson has a talent for this genre. Although he he describes cruel murders much better then he describes characters, that can' t be contested. Williamson is not able to to unravel the story as well as he has done before - and after this movie. It started out well, but was taken down to earth too quickly, director Jim Gillespie it not too known to me, so I can' t really on his abilities. This seems to be the perfect movie for young people who love horror movies. It looks like this particular resipe has became a trend in the last years, just like in the 70s and the 80s. Pretty young people in a horror scenario of dimensions, a mad killer on the loose with his bloody hook. The movie is realtive creepy, and has several hard hitting surprise along the way. There may be too many stereotypes though, and the young cries vigor related to an extreme evil murderer wasn' t especially credible - nor original. But the plot and effects still kept it interesting and tense - so I couldn't expect more from a movie in this genre. Good horror, but the characters were disappointing.
The Fisher King (1991)
Strange - but good
Having a public influence is not always a good thing, so does the self centered radio DJ Jack experience when his on-air caller kills seven people, triggered by Jack's flippant comments. This was director Terry Gilliam's first movie made from someone else's script. Parry is played by Robin Williams, is still a classic character of Gilliam from his time with Monty Python - a figure combined with both fantasy and reality.
In Gilliam's first movie "Monty Python and the holy grail", the knights searched for the legendary cup. For Parry the grail was a symbolic item for the meaning of his own life, and in "The Fisher King" the destroyed Jack also had a grail to look for. Both Jack and Parry were victims in the same tragedy, and together they try to find a way back to society, their normal lives.
There is no real performance by the actors here, it may have been difficult to give life to these characters. But Robin Williams gave maximum to his weird role, and Jeff Bridges also did very well - but I fell for one particular scene with Michael Jeter which gave me a big laugh. However, the actor that gave this movie the classic comedy, was Mercedes Ruehl. Her scenes were very funny to watch - but in a dramatic way.
Gilliam's craft is very good, but his product lack courage and originality. The movie is also too long, and I thought it could be cut down at least 20 minutes. The plot took too many directions, but the product was highly praised, received four Academy Award nominations - and won an Oscar for Mercedes Ruehl. All in all it's a very good movie, I think it deserved an 8 star vote from me.
The Bone Collector (1999)
A novel became great on the big screen
I read the novel of Jeffrey Deaver about a year before this movie was released on the theatres, and I was really looking forward to see the film adaption. It was not a disappointment, it may seem like the movie followed the standard formula, but that's no drawback, it was something different about it anyway. I loved the movie immediately, and based on a novel, it did very well at the theatre too. Denzel Washington has for a long time been one of my favourite actors (Glory 1989), and his chemistry with Angelina Jolie came out very good. That developed in a positive way through the entire story, absolutely something good.
I found it very strange with all the negative response to this movie from professional critics, I thought it had good nerve and great excitement, and I was satisfied with its pace. I liked the concept, it had mixed elements of good drama and thriller - even scenes with a touch of horror, I really fell for this movie.
Of course there is some changes from the book - most noticeably that Rhymes' nurse was a man, Amelias last name was Sachs, Rhyme was an irish-American white male, and there was a sexual moment between Rhyme and Amelia, but this these details had no importance for the story, or for me as a viewer.
For me this movie provided great entertainment and excitement, it had several highlights that got all my attention, it had me on the edge of my seat - I had two thrilling hours!