Reviews written by registered user
momsroo

3 reviews in total 
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33 out of 40 people found the following review useful:
Compelling TV, 24 April 2010
9/10

Love him or hate him, agree or disagree with his stance on assisted suicide, Jack Kevorkian makes for good television. Detroit's "Dr. Death" is a polarizing force in medical ethics, a man who believes that a person's right to self-determination includes the right to decide when enough is enough.

Al Pacino is a dead-wringer for Kevorkian (pun intended), the son of Armenian immigrants who escaped the Turkish genocide. He passionately lives the edict that one must disobey laws one feels are immoral. For Kevorkian, that means helping the terminally ill end their suffering and die with dignity, at a time of their choosing, regardless of its cost to him.

HBO's docudrama shows Kevorkian at his best and worst, compassionate with those who ask for his help, acerbic to the point of viciousness with anyone he considers stupid. Kevorkian is not necessarily a nice man, but he is obdurate when it comes to his principles. We see him argue with prosecutors, walk out on court proceedings, lock horns with his attorney Geoffrey Fieger. Nothing sways him in his zeal for allowing individuals suffering from end-stage terminal illness to decide for themselves what—and when--it means to die with dignity.

The talented supporting cast includes big names like Susan Sarandon, Brenda Vaccaro, John Goodman, and Danny Huston, as well as a slew of less-known actors who portray Kevorkian's patients/victims with heartbreaking realism. Make no mistake, however; this is Pacino's show from start to finish. His physical resemblance to the real Kevorkian is uncanny. He rants, he rages, he cajoles, he sympathizes. He assists and he initiates. It is sometimes difficult to remember that we are watching a supremely talented actor and not the man he is portraying.

"You Don't Know Jack" clearly sides with Kevorkian's viewpoint. It does so, however without sensationalism, nor does it dismiss nor trivialize the opposing side. In other words, "You Don't Know Jack" does what television does best: It entertains while challenging viewers to engage in dialogue about a topic that truly matters.

Fragments (2008)
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Grounded, 19 February 2010
5/10

"Winged Creatures" wants very much to make A Statement about modern life: the interconnectedness of human beings, the devastation wrought by random shootings that have become an unfortunate cliché in American communities, and the shock waves that erupt from the epicenter of these violent acts. Fragmentation can be an effective storytelling device for this kind of drama, and "Winged Creatures" has some impressive predecessors. Despite the movie's imitative efforts, however, "Crash" it ain't.

"Creatures" follows the aftermath of an act of anonymous violence in an anonymous diner full of anonymous people in an anonymous working class neighborhood. Writer Roy Freirich and director Rowan Woods want to draw us in with Everyness of their characters: Clara, a young, single-mom waitress (Kate Beckinsdale); Charlie, a middle-aged man (Forest Whitaker) with more serious matters on his mind than trying to get Clara to do her job; Anne and Jimmy, two young friends (Dakota Fanning, Josh Hutcherson) who cower under a table when the shooting starts; Dr. Laraby, an emergency room physician (Guy Pearce) who decides to find out what it really means to play God.

All of this is familiar territory. Handled well, films of this nature engage us with recurring "A- ha!" moments and sparks of true insight into the human condition. Unfortunately, "Winged Creatures" never quite reaches those heights. The back stories are unimaginative and sometimes contradictory. Motivation for Pearce's doctor is hinted at, but never concretized, making his personal about-face downright baffling. Instead of graceful complexity, "Winged Creatures" settles for clunky symbolism that has all the depth of a coat of paint and the subtlety of a jackhammer.

I wanted—and tried—to like this movie. I enjoy films that ask me to follow a cat's-cradle maze of intertwining stories. I think that pop culture is uniquely qualified to help us forget about the banality of evil and reignite our tendency to care when bad things happen to good people. And the "Winged Creatures" cast, including Jeanne Tripplehorn, Embeth Davidtz, Jennifer Hudson, and Jackie Earle Haley in supporting roles, is talented and deserves material that showcases its diverse strengths. Despite my best efforts, however, I simply couldn't overlook the weaknesses in the script and direction. Ultimately, "Winged Creatures" never gets off the ground.

Jet Lag (2002)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Lightweight, airy, & charming, 11 September 2009
8/10

I caught this movie quite by accident one night while watching someone else's satellite TV. Had never heard of it, so I was able to view it with no preconceptions. I was completely charmed.

Jean Reno and Juliette Binoche have an effortless chemistry that's completely believable. Their two characters find themselves uneasily sharing a hotel room for one night, waiting for transportation snafus to be cleared up. Her Rose is a little ditsy but not offensively stupid, and his Felix is self-absorbed but not enough to make him unlikable.

The peeling away of defenses is a predictable plot device; but the dialog, along with the grace and skill of the leads, nonetheless kept me interested. It helps that they're so easy to watch: she's gorgeous with or without makeup, and he is far sexier than his less-than- classic-looks would have led me to believe. A bonus is the always-excellent Sergi Lopez in a small, typically sinister role.

Most of the French films I've seen have struck me as self-important and/or one-dimensional; I have no such objections to this one. I characterize Jet Lag as cotton-candy entertainment: utterly unsubstantial, yet fluffy and tasty enough to leave me wanting more.