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10 reviews in total 
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11 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
From the kids point, 16 August 2006

After reading the reviews, it became obvious that everyone intellectualized this work. How utterly boring. Oh how about the good ol' days and there was nothing like it. Of all the comments no one expressed any emotion to this work or any other.

I grew up just after the end of the steam age and this cinematic gem along with Dan'l Boone graced the Saturday afternoon matinées. This was an annual movie that made the rounds and filled the seats with gabbing, yapping, farting, giggling, snot monsters like myself or was-self. And it was a movie theatre filler at the time. Almost as big as the Wizard of Oz.

IMDb insists that every critique contains something about the plot. Problem is was that it was rather a template. Here goes. Randolph Scott (cowboy/hero)gathers friends and goes defeats those evil people. Hooray!

All of us kids figured out that plot before we plunked our quarter down to watch it. That was just about the plot line of every Scott, John Wayne, Roy Rogers film ever made. If you take the time to go back and review each and every movie - just don't ask for surprises.

One must remember the context of the times. There was no or little TV. None for kids. There was school. There was the great outdoors. There were toy guns. No Cyber time. And the steam age had just collapsed. But movies such as this provided the entertainment and filled the imaginations of young whippersnappers. Even the girls got into it.

This movie was the entertainment. And it is just as mindless as anything produced today. It had a purpose originally of being propaganda. But quickly came to be kids movies.

Our fathers had experienced the real thing. And it wouldn't be until Sam Peckinpah a decade later who finally lavished the red splashes of imitation blood in realistic and copious quantities. Not until his directorship did anyone die slowly, with great pain and miserably. Until Peckinpah war and gun fights were a rather bloodless affair. Thanks Sam.

To see a movie had little or no blood, the adults didn't mind. They wouldn't have tolerated it I think. No guts spraying the shattering plant life. So this movie had all of the glory and none of the gory. Gung Ho was suitable for kids then.

You will see that I assigned a four to this rating. Why would I do that? Well. It is a terrible movie. No matter how I love it. I do love this movie because it brought back one of the happier moments of my childhood. But it is not all that good of a movie in quality terms. Basically Gung Ho transitted to become a romance novel for children.

Should people watch it. Of course. I am not saying to stay away. Realistically however. The plot is simple. The characters shallow? they are shoals. You can love a bad movie.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Terrible result for what should have been a powerful movie., 4 August 2006

Freedomland circled cliché. Outstanding performances by all the leading cast were spoiled. Too often the viewer blames this facet on miscasting. Many ably written comments here in this forum relate to that aspect.

Lorenzo Council backs into a quagmire of twisting emotions. A streetwise detective he takes the hunt for the missing child and exposes the tragedy of racial bias.

The plot, certainly a formula generated by a movie industry recently hammered by the sustained lack of creativity still should have worked. The only reason. The single reason this movie made it as far as they did was the exceptionally talented actors they managed to assemble.

Every single actor carried his or her role to the limit of their ability. Sam Jackson certainly played his role ably. Julianne Moore moved her character through the hollow twists of a woman, impaired by mental illness, who lost a dear child.

Edie Falco's portrayal of "Karen Collucci" proved exceptional. Her scene with Moore's "Brenda Martin" must be one of the most powerful scenes ever played on a cinema screen. Yet it is wasted.

Blame assigns to the producers some poor editing and ultimately the director, who squandered such a wonderful script and spectacular performances. Someday someone will cut all the race riot scenes with the violence of one or more riots save one and one only riot scene.

Every time the plot started to move the director brought in or conducted the flow through a race riot. Patendly obvious is that the director did not understand the point of the script. The riot scenes did not help the flow of the plot and should have been cut. Save only one, any one, that's all. Yes it was necessary to show the communities at war but one good scene would have sufficed.

That would have allowed the relationship between Felicia {Aunjanue Ellis} and Billy {Anthony MacKie} to play more into the movie. Amazingly that was a key relationship in the quest to find the lost child. It dangled every ten minutes in the movie but it wasn't dealt with. The director completely missed the necessity of involving that relationship to a far greater degree. This was a Hitchcock type movie requiring subtlety not Sam Peckinpah.

If you don't believe me, you video hounds should take apart the movie and remove most of the racial riot littered throughout the movie. Save one or two reducing them to the essential. Then be mindful of some loss of continuity but you will instantly see a far better, a far more powerful movie than this version.

If any movie deserved to be redone this is it. It just has to be re-edited for improvements.

Hidalgo (2004)
3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
The Longest Ride is not always the one on the screen., 29 July 2005

Uggh! Tell about a story of endurance. On the Greyhound bus coming from Canada's far north into the friendly morass of Toronto, for entertainment they show movies. And yes, this long trip was no different. And the movie they showed was Hidalgo.

Aside. Hard hanging irony that the only long distance transcontinental Canadian bus line would show a picture about long hard endurance riding. (eg. Vancouver - Toronto - 72 hours). Never mind. Just one of those quirks of life. Back to the movie.

The story is of course a story about a long endurance rider played by Liam Neeson clone Viggo Mortenson. Now this is not a bad thing to be a clone of an excellent actor like Neeson, it means one is still talented. The acting style feels the same though.

Unfortunately Disney claimed that this was a true story. 1800 mile races and 3000 miles are a little hard to believe. Due diligence in commentary structuring dictated that research into the real Frank Hopkins be done.

Buffalo Bill's Wild West show was one of the most photographed events of that time. In the case of Frank Hopkins, The Long Rider's Guild web site stated in a long list of "Hopkins deceptions", that the truth is that Hopkins was a laborer digging the Philadelphia subway and, "...there is not even a documented photograph of Frank Hopkins in the saddle!"

Not news. Okay, so Disney deals with fantasy all the time, so the movie isn't based on true fact as they boasted. Not a strange turn of events for a Hollywood movie to be total horse chips. Fortunately, I am a big fan of cinematography so this mitigated the complete disappointment in lost opportunity for a very good movie. Hopkin's legend derived from an ability to pass fantastic fiction as fact. Disney should have gone to the source on this one. Legions of mediums abound in tinsel town. No excuse not to do a séance.

Hopkins agility with the true facts would have assisted the movie plot line. Lacking good consultations the movie, Hidalgo, wanders into a long formula parade of predictable plot lines and clichés. Few surprises sprout.

Hasn't Shariff stopped playing the same cliché character movie after movie? From a directorial standpoint this likely is one of the largest failures in the movie. Shariff can be one of the most powerful actors on any screen, but here his characterization fails the litmus test for reality. The potential passion of a racing fanatic gets tripped up when it would have contributed to the plot. The religious aspect of Islam and Bedouin is poorly represented. Despite the recent events these are warm, effervescent people who treat guests intelligently, kindly, lavishly and with forgiveness.

Again this is fantasy which serves the plot line little. Had the Bedouin been portrayed correctly as they really are, this would have shifted the plot line to a true believable level. It would have been a better movie.

Would I watch the movie again? Yes, knowing that there are worse movies, given little choice I'd watch. The exception to that choice, ... just not on a bus.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A Beginning, A Middle, Well what about, 4 September 2004

To supply more than what has already been stated would be simple repetition. The cinematography and scene direction superb.

The battle scenes were really well done. Russell Crowe brought a good sense of what Lucky Jack Aubrey was. He really tried. To Crowe's credit, he really does that well.

Albeit after working on the water, Crowe's version would come across as a bit of a milquetoast.

Yet at the end of the day, I still feel someone else could have been cast in the role. If one doesn't think so, then compare Jürgen Prochnow's portrayal of Capt.-Lt. Henrich Lehmann-Willenbrock in Das Boot. Then sit back and compare the two movies.

Master and Commander also suffered from plot disjointness which made no naval sense. Any good French privateer wanting real prizes, would be heading for Madasgar, or the Seychelles. Even Tahiti made no real sense in naval terms.

Knocking off whalers at the Galapagos with your top ship of the line makes absolutely no strategic sense to begin with. Suppose these whalers shipped out of Portsmouth, well it would make more sense to stick the bow on station outside Portsmouth. Further the Galapagos is one fifth of the earth's circumference away from the Horn. Heck of a journey for a ship of that period.

There was nothing there for a top ship of the line. A schooner could have done the same thing against whalers more efficiently. And any admiral would have given such orders.

And there are tons of places to lay in wait such as the Falklands if your into whaling, Jamaica or Trinidad if your into money. Or off the coast of North America in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

So I didn't buy the premise of the movie. Further at the end, it sucked. I cannot believe for a minute that a Captain, any Captain, would break escort when two ships having undergone pitched battle. So the ending dropped the ball so to speak.

22 out of 65 people found the following review useful:
Would have been a good movie but..., 11 April 2004

Everyone knows the tale of the Last Mohicans. The plot didn't change from the novel.

For the most part you see I enjoyed the movie except... well not to put a fine point on it... you see.

Background. I am an old bushwhacker. Grew up in the deep woods of Canada's northern forests since I stood the height of a squirrel's knees. The woods look like the one's in the footage. Camped out. Hunted the normal thing. Just like the guys in the movie. So you know that is much like me... So I know you see...

Well don't know how to say it, but every single scene I sort of burst out laughing. Its ignorant I know... But you see.

No bugs. Hey a close up Daniel Day Lewis, no bites. How does he do that? Clean as a whistle. Everyone else in the movie. No bites.

No bugs couldn't get over it. And no see-ums. If you ran around the forest all day you see bugs .... everywhere, all the time from dawn to dusk. No forest on this planet, has no bugs like that. Bugs are part of the forest.

This took the believability out of it pronto. In this movie not a mite, a tick, a skitter, a beetle, a spider, a spider's web, or a fly... the little black fly where ever you go...

You move in the woods you sweat and breath heavy. You would have bugs and mosquitoes swirling around your beady skull just aiming to land on your juicy skin to grind their mandibles into the skin. In the closeups you would see the little bugs swirling in the back light resting on the face. In this movie. Great cinematography, ... but no bugs.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Good Cinematography, the abyss plot line, 26 December 2003

Why us? To affirm the worst fear, my days of being a Star Trek fan are over. It is such a contempt for the fan that they served such a watery formula plot line as this? "Nemesis"is not for the Picard, it is the nemesis of Roddenberry's creative talent. The Nemesis is that the idea of Star Trek has now only become a cash cow for that firm.

Paramount as the producer made sure the cinematography and effects were excellent even though the technology was somehow dated. The essence of a good movie is in its visual impression. In Nemesis they did get that part right, but then don't they always get everything right in the Star Trek franchise.

It was the plot line that was so formula, so limp that begs the question why was this movie produced at all? Predictable, right from the start. ...Clone takes over empire. Clone meets prototype who is also adversary. Clone blows it.

Fifteen words. The plot line deserves the terrible writing abyss.

Compare this plot line with some of the best of Star Trek TNG. "Unification" is one two part television production that is par excellent, simply entertaining and definitely worth watching. That is one plot line that should have been made into a movie and deserved to be a movie. Usually one wants a spin movie that is on par if not better than the television plots. Such a waste of acting talent to support the thin membrane of this storyline. "Nemesis" was its own nemesis.

18 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Real war, real emotion, real people, really good movie, 16 December 2003

This movie is beyond criticism. Within its celluloid record there clambers cold history. The tanks are real. The planes are real. The people are real. This was a contemporary war movie to the actual war, without the layers of myth laquered by years of failing memory.

Unlike recent high budget over-the-top productions and the copious blood spattering within, this little epic tends to mute the violence into the pathos of the moment of death. That being the death of heroes. And the emphasis appears to hinge on the suddenness, the randomness, and the tragedy of men dying hard. It is a stark memorial to the courage and sacrifice of the World War II soldier.

Amazingly, and very much in contrast to most other war films of the period which demonized the enemy, this film provides a neutral texture to the foe. Here the German soldiers are but shadows on the cave wall. The stray Italian soldiers appear as comic sidekicks in the maelstrom of a nation at peril from two sides. The enemy appears to escape the moral condemnation that other films embraced. This is war and this is what it is by those who fought it.

The film describes the landings of an infantry platoon on the Salerno beaches in Italy. All of a sudden they are left leaderless as two of the senior officers meets a soldier's fate. The beach scene remains a descriptive detail of what a soldiers paradox in modern warfare was. They bring the war but they do not know where it is, where they are, whether the war will visit them, or what lies in front of them. Without the need for special effects the director garnishes the film with the fog of war skillfully.

A startling moment is when the third ranking leader, a noncom sargeant succumbs to panic and shell shock. It is perhaps the kindest treatment of the condition ever presented cinematically during that period. The rest of the platoon appears to be supportive to the fallen insane sargeant. But the war goes on. They move on.

Rallied by a solid sargeant the platoon moves onto its objectives, a bridge and a farmhouse at a cost. The objectives are difficult and the angst of leadership and follower play the scene well. And unlike most war movies where heroism goes beyond definition, these heroes are all very much afraid.

The film has a solid core of young actors of the period. Dana Andrews, a very young Lloyd Bridges appear to anchor the cast. The black and white format suits this tiny epic. The cinematography, stunts are solid and consistently well done. It is a darkish film very much worth seeing.

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Liquidity problem lots of assets and no cash., 13 October 2003

All those rain scenes. Whow. Liquid everywhere except on the balance sheet of this movie.

An asset. The always amazing talent of Kevin Spacey carried this inconsistent sloppy movie. In many ways, the ease with which he delivers character reminds one very much of the late Henry Fonda.

Winslet's performance is not up to par, more likely this could be an error of direction. She appears to be too emotional to provide a credible image of any journalist in that category.

Following close behind was the supporting cast which leads me to believe that the problems with the entire movie longs for better direction from Alan Parker. Normally Parker should be better than this. One cannot expect to hit one out of the park everytime, in this one he gets first on an error.

Laura Linney's portrayal of Constance was the only other acting light. She played well against Spacey's portrayal of David Gale. A troubled activist with leukemia would be a tough character to play in a movie with a better plot line. It is difficult but she meets the character with a good performance.

The plot was translucent and predictable despite the valiant attempt at an ending twist. The moral of the whole play is pounded into the viewer all the time from the beginning leading to the movies greatest liabilities. At least Mother Goose morality poems waited to the latter stanzas to drive home the moral point. It is an ancient dramatic device that would have worked but the writers forgot all about it. No cash.

The jailhouse guards and whole environment were too cliche. Don't ask me how I know but it is not like that. Guards are not all tight butted humourless automatons.

It could have been better considering the talent. On the other hand, it is worth a video rental for those rainy evenings but keep the expectations low.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Waiting, 17 May 2003

I watched this with a good friend of mine. The acting and the characters were sound. The cast is loaded with proven talent. But these do not make up for pedestrian script writing.

The whole movie became cliché loaded upon common cliché in an endless pause of predictable moments and plot setups. Not a single surprise to define the work. In my buddies words, "Has anything happened yet?".

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
See history in Black and White, 11 May 2003

A wonderful movie from a historical perspective. Not all old movies could be called classics from the plotline/dramatic perspective. The Leathernecks Have Landed will never be considered a classic.

What it is; - is a record of attitudes and viewpoints of America between the World Wars of the last century. It shows to that time period's sensibilities and the colonial arrogance of gunboat diplomacy as European and outside powers dominated the remnants of the ancient Chinese Empire.

It displays somewhat ambivalently without judgement to the contest between the old order, the Kuomintang, the Chinese Communists with the interference from the outside nations. It shows the culture of the seaport Shanghai.

It is worth seeing this movie as a record of what the American world view was in 1936. Sometimes a movie like this reminds us to the full measure of just how far politically we have come in this modern world, and to those moments that we have not.