25 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
12 Angry Men (1957)
Methaphors in Film...
17 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
To begin with, let me state for the record that I think this is the finest film of the 1950's and one of the best films of all times. Only the fact that so many other people share my opinion has prevented me from writing a glowing review on this site, as there were already so many to choose from.

However, I saw the film again last night on Turner Classic Movies (and stayed up until well after midnight to watch it, trading sleep for artistic sustenance) and I was struck be something that seemed so obvious, yet had always eluded me in past viewings. I was struck by the use of metaphor in the film. I guess that I had never seen it quite that way before as I was content to watch a simple, yet exciting play unfold. But last night was a revelation. The three metaphors that most jumped out at me are as follows: 1) The lighting. In order to simulate the growing darkness of the storm out the window, the lighting was slowly turned down through the film until it became obvious that the lights in the room would have to be turned on. When Juror-1 turns the lights on, the whole room changes. As the darkness had crept in, the room had become more and more hostile. Yet, when the light came on, most of the characters' attitudes change to more genial manor. The lights comes on after Juror-8 has made most of his points and it seems the light is the symbolic turning of the Jury.

2) The cinematography. The direct deliberately changed his lenses in the camera through the shoot to make the walls of the Jury Room seem to close in on the Jurors. This is a nice physiological trick, but it seemed to me to be more. Notice how, the closer they get to a hung jury, the closer they come to Juror's #-3, -4, and -10 simply declaring themselves hung, the closer the walls get. But in the final scene in the room, when they are all leaving, the camera lens reverts back to the proportions used at the beginning of the film. The room is big and airy again. I like the symbolism of of the room, representing the weight of the defendant's life, closing in on them.

3) (My favorite) The Rain. Prior to the storm starting, all of the Jurors have voted the way they do at the end except for #'s 3,4 & 10, all of whom are carrying "baggage" of their own. #-4 is a man possessed of intellect and sees himself as above the other's mentally. #-10 has years of racism blinding him. And #-3 has the memory of his failed relationship with his son. Then it begins raining, hard. Juror-10 has his great scene and simply self-destructs, in the process letting go of his racism, at least for the moment. Juror-4 undergoes the "eyeglasses" scene and lets go of his self-assumed intellectual superiority. And Juror-3 (Lee J. Cobb is the MAN!) launches into that most famous scene, finally letting go of his anger toward his own son. As soon as they release their own personal demons, the truth become evident to them, the rain, as it were, having washed their souls clean. No sooner is it has #-3 completed his transformation then it stops raining...and the sun begin to peak through the darkness. This is GENIUS film making! In the end, maybe that is way I love this film so much: each time I watch it, there is something new to find. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
May (2002)
'May' by Lucky McKee
14 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I'll make this short and sweet. I don't get freaked out over movies. I never flinched when the killer jumps out of the closet and I never cover my eyes when the monster bursts out of the guy's chest. Blood does not scare me. Psychos do not scare me. Ghosts do not scare me. Little children crawling on glass...yeah, that got me. There is something strange and wonderful and terrible about this movie. Maybe it is the slow build to the inescapable conclusion. Or maybe the brilliant portrayal of May by Angela Bettis. Maybe it IS the blood that comes in copious amounts (once it actually starts coming) or the very dark humor of the film or the way the script has May becoming almost cooler than cool in the end. Whatever it is, this is quite simply the freakiest movie I have ever sat through. "Disturbing" does not convey the level of anxiety and excitement and, yes, lust and affection that I had for Ms. Bettis' May by the third reel. I cant' really explain just IS freaky. This movie is headed to the top of two great film genres: Cult and Psycho Horrer. For the love of all that is grisly and macabre, rent this film!!!
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Possibly the Best Film of 2004
11 March 2005
'Million Dollar Baby'? Fantastic. 'The Aviator'? Amazing. 'Sideways'? A triumph. But the film of the year? How about 'The Incredibles'? I know a lot of people will question the sanity of a man who says such things, but consider for a moment the merits of my case. The 'Best Picture' accolade (whenever presented, by whichever group) recognizes the highest achievements in film making and in all the individual endeavors that make up a film. On this basis, I call 'The Incredibles' the best film of the year. The animation was superb, on par or better than any FX done in any other film in 2004. The acting, especially Holly Hunter's Elasti-Girl, was amazing (and yes voice-over is still considered acting). The script was as inventive and fresh as anything since 'Pulp Fiction' stunned the nation a decade ago. And the soundtrack is one of the finest musical achievements I have ever witnessed, hearkening back to the great big, brassy sounds of the 1960's spy and action adventure films. This film pays tribute the comic book genre without playing down to the crowd and it moves with a pace that actually asks you to pay attention and stay alert, a rare thing in today's cinema.

'The Incredibles' DID win the Best Animated Feature Oscar, and rightly so, but it seems to this reviewer that, despite not being eligible for the Best Picture category, 'The Incredibles' was the Best Picture period. This is truly a masterful accomplishment or artistry and I hope that many generations to come will recognize it for what it is and cherish it as I do.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Take it from me...
9 February 2005
I am a white male who used to live in the Bay Area of California, in the middle of the largest population of Asians in the country. I was married to a Chinese woman and eat almost every dinner with her family. I learned the lanquage. I have traveled to China with my wife and her family. I was even "adopted" into the Community and made to be "Chinese". So you can take it from me when I say this: This is absolutely the most beautiful, heartrending, tragic and glorious film ever made about my family. I am honored to be counted among them and this film pays tribute to all that is great and not-so-great about this wonderful community. I applaud Amy Tan and I encourage all of you to see this film.
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A good film...
2 February 2005
The Prince of Egypt is a good attempt to bring the story of the Exodus to the screen in a fresh new way. The animation is quite good and many of the songs are enjoyable, if not quite up the level we have come to expect from the Big Dogs over at Disney. But then, this is not a Disney film, so there you go. Despite some rather pedestrian dialog and a few minor plot alterations, this film succeeds well enough to get a favorable review and multiple-viewings. If you are looking for a fun film that has some real heart and some great sequences, this is your movie, despite some reviews here-in that claim the film has done great injustices to the story. In particular, the review contributed by Emma (Angelfalls916) has missed the point of this movie. As with all films, the first desired effect is to entertain. And as entertainment, this movie is great. Sure there are nit-pickers out there who will look for the flaws, but all movies have mistakes. Just ignore them and enjoy the show. But if you are going to pick out the mistakes, then at least get them right. Emma states that she didn't like the scene depicting Ramses being thrown out of the sea. OK, but it is not as though anyone can say what really happened back there, right? Many Christians believe that Ramses died in the Red Sea, yet most historians and biblical scholars believe that the Ramses of the Exodus story is, in fact, Ramses the Second, who's mummy has been touring the world for the past few years, so he couldn't have died in the Red Sea. And for that matter, it wasn't the Red Sea, either. The Hebrews crossed the Reed Sea. And what about the mistaken translation of God's name (Ehyah-Asher-Ehyeh) as "I am that I am" when a more correct translation is "I will be what I will be". No one is complaining about those mistake. And before you go and blame Disney for making the mistake that have so upset you, Emma, I would like to remind you that this is NOT a Disney picture. As a person of Jewish heritage, I am more than pleased with the result of the film-maker's efforts, despite the film's flaws. I sincerely hope that you can look at this picture and see the entertaining and well-made product and not just a few mistakes.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Well Made Film, Poor History Lesson
10 September 2004
I have just watched Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of the Christ' and I must admit that was deeply moved by the film. After hearing so many friends (almost all of whom are Christian) relate how powerful and emotionally deep the film was I was eager to see it. And upon viewing it I am impressed greatly with the already-proven talents of Mr. Gibson as a film maker. His previous Directoring and/or Producing endevours are, without exclusion, fine films. I was pleased to see so steady a hand at the wheel of so large a project as this. Emotionally, Mr. Gibson plays all the right cards at all the right moments. The few islands of calm in this violent sea are too few to comfort the viewer and the violence is too violent to ignore. Some have called the film manipulative of people's emotions and I agree, but not in a negative way. After all, aren't all films manipulating our emotions in one way or another? 'The Passion' simply does it better and longer than most. So bravo to Mr. Gibson's talents as a film maker.

Now then, having praised this film's finer attributes, and in full expectation that what comes next will net me much heated and hate-fill ire from the general viewing public, I must also comment of the failings of this film. I understand that Mr. Gibson has made a film that is in keeping with his beliefs regarding events that transpired nearly 2000-years ago and that he tried as hard as he could to remain "true" to his source material, the Catholic renditions of the Gospels of the New Testament. And in this he has succeeded. But where he (and this film) have failed is in the acertion that his source material was and is historically accurate. In making this claim, Mr. Gibson has ignored what most historians and academics believe really happened at the trial of Jesus (assuming, of course, that believes that a man named Jesus ever lived; for the record, I do). It is widely believed in historic and academic circles that the Jews had little or nothing to do with the Conviction and Crucifiction of Jesus. In support of this, one can sight the fact that the Jews had laws against using Crucifiction as a means of execution, citing that it broke the Hebrew Law (halacha) against torture.

Also, the writings one finds in the Historical Record regarding Pontius Pilot do not support the acertion that he was basically a good guy who was trying to quell a Jewish uprising by killing Jesus at the Jews request. At the time of Jesus' death, the Romans had more than enough Military Man-Power to crush any uprising that may have insued should Pilot have Pardoned Jesus, as many religious leaders say he wanted to. Also to be considered is the fact that Pilot was widely regarded within the Roman Empire as the most blood-thirsty and cruel Govenor in the whole of the Empire. Surely, a man who despised the Jews and new he could destroy them would feel no compulsion to aid them in their alleged internal bickering. If he had wanted to Pardon Jesus, history suggests that he would have. More likely, Jesus claim of being the Messiah is what got him killed. At the time, the word Messiah meant less "Spiritual Leader" as it does now and more "Millitary Leader / Revolutionary / Liberator". When Pilot heard that this Jesus fellow was calling himself the Messiah, he most likely thought of a military opponent who he needed to crushed. Which is what he did. Remember, Pilot was so Blood-Thristy that only a few short years after Jesus' death, Rome recalled him from post and reassigned him to simple duties in the capital city...because he killed over four-thousand Jews in a rage. Does this sound like the kind-hearted would-be protector of Jesus?

The story told in the Passion is one that has been re-written and changed many time over history, with each incarnation looking more favorably on the Romans and less favorably on the Jews. History supports this quite easily. But none of this found it's way into the film. Of course, how could it? How could anyone make a movie about the passion that actually acknowledged that the story we all grew up with was basically a P.R. move by the church?

Again, this is Mr. Gibson's view of the events surrounding the death of Jesus. He and other's of his faith have the right (and my support in that right) to make this film. But to claim that this is the way it happened while flying in the face of what history actually tells us is not artistic licence or good film is propaganda on the worst level. This is a brilliant film, superbly made and expertly polished. But it is not what actually happened. Enjoy the film as art. And if it changes you for the better then bully for you and for Mr. Gibson. But do not sit down to watch this fine film thinking for even a moment that it is portraying Truth. Faith, perhaps, but not Truth.
3 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Boxing Helena (1993)
A Review of the Reviews...
28 August 2004
After reading several User Comments for this film, I felt like I just had to write a review, but not for the film, which is quite good in its own way. I agree with one of the reviewers here the states (quite correctly) that this is more a character study of a man effected by an incestuous relationship with his mother and his inability to deal with her death. All else is just representative of this issue for him. No, I felt the need to write a review of the REVIEWS posted here-in.

Now, I don't mean to get off on a rant here, but not every movie has to have Ben Afflect as it's star. Not every movie needs to look like a Hollywood production. Sometimes, "hammy" acting is used on purpose to denote a certain mood or pathos (look that word up, boys and girls). And not every movie is telling the REAL story on the surface. Now, I know that this may be a really difficult thing to accept, but sometimes a movie comes along the requires you to THINK FOR YOURSELVES instead of having every point and detail spoon fed to you. When you encounter these films, you have a choie: engage your brain and try to see what is really being said, there-be getting more from the film than you would from your standard Hollywood flick, or you can walk away without taxing you little brain. Either way is good. But if you coose the latter, than PLEASE spare us your purial reviews. If you can't sit through the whole film, then don't bother wasting your time on a review which no-one will take seriously.

See, the ending of a film is often the most important part. In 'Boxing Helena' for instance, the last 5-minutes change the entire perspective of the film and suddenly so many things become clear. But if you the person who posted a review on this webpage stating that you turned this film off after forty-minutes, you wouldn't know that...right? So why are you writing a review of a film which, in effect, you have not even seen? Come on, people; this isn't rocket science. It is art. Enter at your own risk. Or just keep walking with your mouth shut.
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Day Reagan Was Shot (2001 TV Movie)
Tonight on Fox News; When Reviewers Go Bad!!!
28 July 2004
After having seen this film on Showtime the other day, I was interested in seeing what the other Users of had to say about it. And I have to admit, after reading all of the reviews here-in, I still don't know what they thought about the film. I know what they think of Reagan, Haige, Bush Sr, the "Hollywood Left", The "Hawkish Right", Oliver Stone, even Bill Clinton. But I don't really know anything about what people thought of the movie. This is because NOBODY FREEKIN' REVIEWED THE MOVIE! Everyone seems so intent on protecting and/or attacking one political view or another that everyone seems to have forgotten that this is a FREEKING MOVIE, People, not REAL LIFE. The events portrayed in the film are based on actual events, which means that this is NOT a documentary. If you don't like the way this film portrayed Reagan or Nancy or Haige or Cap or Bush, then here is the solution you are looking for; don't watch it. Simple, right? Likewise if you think this is a factual indictment of the Reagan Administration and/or the Republican Party, then I beg you to stop getting your news from Jon Stewart. Don't like Clinton? Then don't vote for him. Don't like the Republicans? Then don't vote for them. Frankly, I don't care. If I wanted to hear a political discussion, I would engage in one on one of the millions of political websites on the web. I am a very political person, but I can also understand the difference between a movie and real life. If you can not, then perhaps you should not be posting film reviews.

And for the record, some technical errors/goofs aside, I thought that this was a taunt, well acted, enjoyable DRAMA about a day that almost changed the course of American History. It is DEFINITELY better than the 4-plus stars that have been afforded it. Check it out; just remember that is a movie, not a historical documentary. We CAN remember that, can't we?
10 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
a GREAT example of satiracle film-making...
21 July 2004
First things first: 'Psycho Beach Party' is funny, fresh, light-hearted and completely likable. It is a rare film that can walk the tight-rope between mocking a particular film genre (in this case, the "Beach Blanket" movies of the fifties and sixties) while still showing great affection for said genre. 'Psycho Beach Party' does it wonderfully. Using an obviously skewed view of these pleasant if vapid films, 'PBP' covers us in satirical humor and warmth, a tricky combination to pull off. If you have ever sat through a film in which a surf board was the star, check this one out...great fun.

Now, second: In response to Brian Bagnall's review from Canada, this film is NOT gay propoganda (just because the writer/director is gay does not make this a gay film). Gays do NOT have to have blonde hair (one of the only two agy characters has black hair...must have missed that one, huh, Brian?). The film does NOT portray the era as demeaning to women (the women in this film are some of the most empowered I have seen in a long time). And if you can not suspend your disbelief for long enough to watch our young heroine escape from a man twice her size, you probably should not be watching a film with the word "psycho", "beach", and "party" in the title. This film looks foundly back on a time that was simpler, both in the movies and reality. Anyone who gets anything other than a Genre Spoof from this was not paying attention.

Put simply, people; 'Psycho Beach Party' is Fabu!
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Surfing is the Source...
14 June 2004
To be blunt, Dana Brown has done the Surfing world a MAJOR favour with his new documentary, "Step into Liquid". This is one of the most beautiful and compelling films I have ever seen. I have spent years surfing up and down the USA's West Coast, from Washington to So. California and even down into Baja and I was STUNNED with this film. Since moving to Texas, I have not been riding alot of waves (as you might expect), but this movie made me feel like I was home. One problem, though (and one problem only) -- I grew up in Sothern California surfing at Moonlight, Torry Pines Dell Mar, Huntington, Big Sur, etc and, Dana, let me tell you...ALL of us 'real surfers' called each other 'Dude' all the time...still do, actually. So thanks for the killer ride, Dana, and I'll see you out there...Dude!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.