Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Falls short of the mark
Had it not been for my interest in the protagonists of this movie (Natalie Wood, James Dean, and Sal Mineo), and their collective charisma, I wouldn't have lasted more than twenty minutes into it. I found it poorly written and misdirected. ***SPOILER ALERT*** for instance, when Judy lost her boyfriend in an accident, she bounces back much too quickly to be realistic. ***END SPOILER ALERT*** Sal Mineo certainly proved his acting mettle by managing to come across as being more than a mere caricature. Unfortunately, James Dean and Natalie Wood were not as lucky, instead falling victim to the director's melodramatic vision. And what's with the title? If ever there was a movie with an ill-fitting title, this is it. I was disappointed, but I suppose that if I had to do it over again, I would still watch it; after all it is considered an American classic. I gave it a six out of ten, though.
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
The film's depiction of violence is extreme, but Jesus' crucifixion was likewise an extreme act of inhumanity. I was disturbed by what I saw, but remain thankful I was allowed to get beyond the romantic, glossed-over depiction of the crucified Christ. What happened to Him was brutal beyond description, and this film spares no possible details.
I gave this film a 9 since it wasn't perfect, but last night when I was falling asleep, all I could see was Christ's bloody face. All I could think of was the sacrifice He made for humanity, a humanity which hasn't always appreciated His selfless love. If I were to factor in how my faith has been strengthened, I would give this cinematic tour de force a perfect score.
In closing, I must add I hold nothing against my Jewish neighbors. Nobody should. And if you are tempted to, please remember you yourself are part of the cause Jesus died on the cross. We all share the blame because we have all sinned and fallen short of the grace of God. Only through Jesus have we been saved.
The Yearling (1946)
Gregory Peck's acting was excellent, as one would expect, and the cinematography quite stunning even when playing directly into some melodramatic "moment." But, the rest of the film was overacted and hard to watch, for me anyway. I tried to like it, but had to fast-forward through the last thirty minutes or so. I feel I wasted a couple of good hours. Had it not been for Gregory Peck, I wouldn't have lasted fifteen minutes. 4/10.
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Poor Miss Daisy; she's insufferable at times, and very set in her ways. One day, though, she has to face life when she has an automobile accident and her son makes her realize it's not practical for her to drive anymore. There is a lot of adjusting coming her way, and she's not happy.
In comes Hoke, her new chauffeur, a likable and charming man, but one whom Miss Daisy doesn't like very much. To accept Hoke, you see, she has to accept her own limitations, and she's not ready to do that. But Hoke good-naturedly takes all Miss Daisy dishes out and isn't much bothered by her occasional insolence. The end result? Watch this great film and find out. The storyline is very good, and the acting exceptional.
Stalag 17 (1953)
Strange, but lots and lots of fun
I just finished watching this amusing movie for the second time in a week, and found it just as enjoyable as the first time. Although the characters are basically caricatures, this classic film provides us with some solid entertainment. Robert Strauss as Animal is extremely amusing to watch; so is William Pearson as Marko the Mailman (At Ease). And to top it all off, the Nazis are portrayed throughout as nothing more than inept and goofy so no guilty pleasure is assumed by the viewer. Stalag 17 is one of the best comedies I've ever seen.
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Beautiful thriller -- no kidding!
This was a good movie, but I was expecting quite the thriller. Instead I found it disturbing enough, but completely overwhelmed by art direction and set design. The lighting, the ambiance, and everything else the two aforementioned departments were involved in creating, were nothing short of a slice of Americana worth preserving for future generations, as has already been done.
And the movie itself? As someone mentioned at an earlier date on this board, it is very uneven. The first half and second half seem only awkwardly linked. Yet, the entire production is worth watching although it's a bit slow in parts, and doesn't maintain the tempo of a good thriller. In closing, you have to see it for yourself; this film depicting the battle between good and evil is much too different from others of the same genre, and thus difficult to label.
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Very good thriller with killer message
Since I saw it on its release, Fatal attraction has been the film others of the same genre must measure up to, on my list. It is amazingly true to life. I know since I had a girlfriend turn psycho on me when I was twenty-one, and some of the disturbing scenes in the film -- although not the most disturbing -- seem to have been lifted directly from that very dark period in my life.
After watching this movie again, I came away with the certainty that it is one which loses more than most in its translation to the small screen. It is still a classic in my view, though, since it is not only terrifying in its portrayal of both mental illness and violation of privacy, but also a great illustration of how sexual indiscretion can, and often does, backfire. I recommend it for adults, especially those with a wandering eye.
Ed Wood (1994)
This movie is interesting and well-made, a fun romp through the less than professional Hollywood lots of the day. Johnny Depp is great as director Ed Wood who comes across as a really nice guy, but devoid of the strength of character or vision needed to be a good director. The subplot is also interesting and even sad since it illustrates how the once-famous Bela Lugosi ended up in the obscurity and poverty all Hollywood stars must surely have nightmares about. Tim Burton's directing is very good, and the end product is quite satisfying.
Taxi Driver (1976)
Hellish and disturbing, but excellent
I don't care much for violence or vulgarity, and this film certainly has its share of both; but, in depicting a man whose downward mental spiral takes him to the proverbial gutters of New York City, these elements are difficult to avoid. Although it is definitely not for those who are easily offended by crude language or mature subject matter, the story presents a realistic view of, not only madness, but, grave depravity.
Robert De Niro's portrayal of the crazed Travis Bickle is mesmerizing. Rarely have I seen a performance this good by any actor. He is simply brilliant, as is the score that accompanies him throughout the movie.
The Producers (1967)
Amusing and fun
Some of the scenes in this movie are outrageous. Zero Mostel is so hilarious, I'm surprised he wasn't a bigger star in his days. Also very good was Dick Shawn, the hippie Hitler; and, of course, Gene Wilder as the unsuspecting accountant-turned-crook. If you like cornball comedy, especially the Mel Brooks type, this one is definitely for you.
A lesson in mediocrity
A film like this, with the right production team, could have been another Moonstruck, although certainly of a lesser caliber. Instead, we get a lot of overlapping scenes falling together at will. What this movie needed was some magic dust from the very beginning, and the radiance only that magic could have brought to it.
When all is said and done, we have been through the disappointment of watching what could have been a much better movie falter. Some of the serious failings include unnecessary nudity in a movie that could have easily been popular with a younger crowd who were kept away by its rating. How the producers failed to see the potential this had as a family film is beyond my understanding. I imagine they lost a lot of money by misjudging their audience. But even if all of the above had been handled better or differently, the direction, along with the bleak settings and uninspired lighting would still weigh the film down.
I am rarely as disappointed as when I see what could have been a good project succumb to mediocrity, and this movie is so immersed in it that even the actors do not escape its pall. My suggestion? Don't rent it; wait until it comes on TV.
Utomlennye solntsem (1994)
Accurate portrayal of totalitarianism
Having lived in a Communist country as a child, this movie was not easy for me to watch. The presence of the ruling party is everywhere in this story. It's in the hearts of some, the minds of others; even casting its shadow on the innocence of childhood. It is in the air as people communicate in measured tones.
Nikita Mikhalkov, and his daughter, Nadezhda, turn in great performances, as does Oleg Menshikov as Mitya. For comic relief, Vladimir Ilyin's portrayal of a very amusing Kirik is impressive. Art direction, score, and cinematography round out a good production.
Iedereen beroemd! (2000)
This movie starts out with a certain amount of promise; but, in my view, begins to lose it when the protagonist kidnaps the good Samaritan who comes to his aid when his car breaks down. That this well-meaning stranger begins to fix his car while he is away making a phone call is implausible enough, but that she is one of the few people in the country who can help him put his family's life back on track is the type of coincidence beginning writers are warned against using in their stories.
I found this movie average at best. Art direction could have been much better, as could have been cinematography. The acting was good, and so was Eva van der Gucht's singing.
Trois couleurs: Blanc (1994)
Three Comments: White
***May contain unintended spoilers***
He travels by suitcase since he doesn't have money or a passport. A meek and gentle man, he can take on mafiosi types and beat them at their game. Without the benefit of smooth transition, he becomes a slick-haired, well-dressed tycoon; and, although the police is interested in his whereabouts at one point, he has the nerve to walk into a jail house.
Although this movie is not boring, and is a must-see if you want to understand completely the trilogy's conclusion, it leaves you with more questions than answers. For instance, why is so much of the French flag's white represented by dirty Polish snow? Because the authors of this piece are Polish? And, if such is the case, why do they make Poland look so unappealing?
The movie absolutely lost me in the scene - thankfully at the end-- where Karol sees a woman in a window, framed in white, and when he looks at her through his binoculars, she is standing against a red background.
Trois couleurs: Rouge (1994)
Three comments: Red
Red was the most interesting of the Colors trilogy. Whereas I had problems with Blue and White, Red is engaging and doesn't come across as contrived as the other two. It doesn't need great music or stunning portrayals of color to support it, although both are present. The plot and sub-plot fit together beautifully. The conclusion is quite fascinating, especially for those who have seen the entire trilogy.
Not as in awe of the direction as others, I again commend the choice of actors. Irene Jacob possesses a very natural grace. She portrays her character extremely well. Directed to speak in an almost breathless tone, she doesn't miss a beat.
Only one question, although I realize that Geneva is very French: why was Red filmed there and not, for instance, in Lyon? The choice of locales still baffles me since I truly believe the trilogy would have been much more interesting had it been filmed entirely in France. Makes sense, doesn't it, since it is all a depiction of the French flag's meaning?
Trois couleurs: Bleu (1993)
Three comments: Blue
Julie mourns the death of her husband, but had she already lost him when he died in the accident? Had he, in turn, already lost her? In exercising the freedom to do as they pleased in life, had they misused their liberty, thereby becoming each other's prisoner? Was Julie only mourning the death of her husband and daughter, or was her grief further aggravated by the knowledge that she had failed as a wife and mother?
Juliette Binoche is asked to do something in this film which is, in and of itself, a great challenge for any performer: she is directed to portray an uninteresting character, a woman who is so grieved and burdened by her past that she is barely able to keep the movie afloat. That she succeeds in doing so illustrates the tremendous talent she possesses, although she is undoubtedly assisted by the ingenious use of editing, which combines brilliant displays of the colors blue and green, and music that transcends the screen and reaches the viewer's soul.
Lola rennt (1998)
Exhilarating and just plain fun
The movie has its flaws. Although Lola is always running, she never breaks a sweat or is as out of breath as most people would be. In another scene, she's outside on the sidewalk talking to her boyfriend who is inside a store, but they speak to each other in the regular tone of two people who don't have a plate of glass separating them. Oh yes, and Lola also falls down a flight of stairs but resumes her mad dash after a few limps.
My advise, should you care for it? Suspend all expectations, and hop on the roller coaster for a fun-filled ride. This is a very different movie, and quite excellent in its execution. See firsthand how Lola can make strange things happen whenever she screams her head off. Watch her turn into a cartoon character and back into herself. Enjoy the madness. And all of this is accompanied by flawless techno music that doesn't let you go until the credits stop rolling, in reverse order, I noticed.
I gave this film a 9/10, and can't wait to see it again. By the way, I'm forty-seven years old, so it's not just for kids.
A woman, who is traveling with her young son in search of a better life, meets a soldier on a train and has a sexual encounter with him. Afterward, they move in together, and she thinks she has found security and love. It doesn't take long, though, for the soldier to start showing a darker side. First, he becomes harsh in his treatment of the boy, and then unleashes his volatile personality on her.
Eventually, the woman must make a decision: does she stay with this stranger, although she knows he is corrupting her child and challenging her authority, or does she leave him and return to the uncertainties she was facing when she met him?
This film, a multi-layered portrayal of victimization, effectively illustrates how harsh reality can be, and how fragile our dreams. It's not for everyone. It contains sexuality which lacks sensitivity. It contains graphic nudity. But, it depicts life as some unfortunate people know it, and depicts it well indeed. I rated it 9/10.
By the way, Misha Philipchuk, who portrays the little boy, is a fantastic actor. As the movie tagline claims, he will indeed steal your heart.
Plays out like an intriguing documentary
Starts out a bit slowly; but, if you stick around, you'll likely become spellbound by the story's unfolding. This film made me wonder just how many situations like this -- however minor -- occur in our world on a regular basis. This certainly is a film with a message; yet, no one tries to hide the fact, as is evident at the very beginning where you might think you are reading a disclaimer. Good work!
Pleasantly surprised here -- more than I expected
I usually don't care much for movies as old as this one, since, to me, most of the earlier talkies look just as choppy and mechanical as the silent movies which preceded them. But, this film was very well made and stands the test of time well. Peter Lorre seems to overact a bit, but he may have been directed to do so, or was only practicing the style most actors employed back in those transitional days.
La famiglia (1987)
Most of the main characters in this movie are played by more than one actor since the story depicts a family during a period of nearly eighty years. All transitions from one actor to the next are smooth; except for that between the actors who portrayed Carlo, the protagonist. Andrea Occhipinti portrays a handsome and quite charismatic young Carlo, and after a period of about fifteen years in the movie, Vittorio Gassman (35 years older than Mr. Occhipinti) begins to play Carlo. Mr. Gassman looks very little like Mr. Occhipinti, and the miscasting damaged the film which otherwise would have been better than what I gave it, 7/10.
Tirez sur le pianiste (1960)
***Slight spoiler alert***
To me, the ending didn't match the film well. I suppose I was expecting a feel-good conclusion once I started enjoying the story's light and amusing pace. However, the movie wasn't bad, and Charles Aznavour was really good as Charlie.
Finding Forrester (2000)
Interesting but lacking
This movie will be of interest to most writers. Being one, I found two or three gems in the dialogue that made me want to turn off the VCR and get to work on my current short story. Here exactly, though, is where the thought of whether I liked the movie enough or not presented itself. Would I have watched it in its entirety were I not interested in the inspiration I might miss if I turned it off? It wasn't a bad film, so maybe I would have; but the doubt remains.
Very good movie
His mother ignores him. His father denies him and makes life unbearable for him. Yet, Jacob Katadreuffe courageously faces whatever hurdles are placed in his path. The odds are certainly stacked solidly against him. Will he win, or will the abuse eventually take its toll and destroy his life? This is the question that permeates the movie.
Very good story with solid performances, and a great score. Fedja Van Huet is almost hypnotizing in his performance, presenting us with a balanced portrayal of almost childish vulnerability and sheer determination.
Recipe lacked key ingredient
This film lacked something I couldn't put my finger on at first: charisma on the part of the leading actress. This inevitably translated to lack of chemistry when she shared the screen with her leading man. Even the romantic scenes came across as being merely the actors at play. It could very well have been the director who miscalculated what he needed from the actors. I just don't know.
But could it have been the screenplay? Just exactly who was the chef in love with? He seemed more enamored of his culinary skills and restaurant, and ultimately of himself and his youthful exploits, than of anybody or anything else. He never convinced me he was in love with the princess.
I was disappointed in this movie. But, don't forget it was nominated for an Oscar, so judge for yourself.