Reviews written by registered user

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55 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Shining moment for Del Toro, 5 August 2011

Now, I must warn you that this isn't your typical scare fest of a movie. Del Toro tends to pull the most out of his actors, pushing them to give the best performance and with Backbone he succeeds. Geniusly, he uses the location of the orphanage (in the middle of nowhere) as a means to create feelings of isolation, helplessness and, believe it or not, even claustrophobia. The movie is methodical in building the plot, allowing the tension to simmer and boil as it slowly gnaws away at us, the viewers. Guillermo del Toro directs with patience, employing the use of effective atmosphere rather than overwhelming us with CGI. His ghost story is a subplot, designed to further the real meaning of the movie but never does it truly take a backseat. Instead, the story lines all become a richly woven tapestry where one loose thread would unravel the next, all being necessary to create the image as a whole. Del Toro allows us moments throughout the film to contemplate and to make the allegorical comparisons between art and reality. And it is here that the movie becomes so much more than simply a ghost story. It almost becomes a narrative on life, greed, passion, war...and the overall, sometimes explosive effects these things can have on people, but more so on our children.

While I wouldn't recommend this movie to those of you who only enjoy slasher films, hack n stacks or supreme gore fests, I must say that for any fan of the horror genre this is a must see. Del Toro sufficiently uses the most basic elements to create a sense of haunting and dread, though perhaps not fear itself. These feelings linger long after the credits roll and the movie is complete. The best type of film to compare this to is perhaps The Others or Session 9, although neither of those are quite accurate. If you get the chance, see it!

Dym (2007)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Stylistic, intriguing short film, 7 November 2010

Smoke is an excellent title for this little gem of a surrealistic short film. What blurs the images between reality and perception is the smokescreen of the mind and such is what I garnered from "Dym". The beautiful and haunting imagery may seem nonsensical, but upon further examination there is depth and meaning in this short film. Far too many 'surreal' films are nothing short of ridiculous imagery meant to look clever without ever conveying meaning, but such is not the case for "Dym". There is cohesiveness and coherency and it's obvious each scene is meant to have understanding beyond that of what first meets the eye. There is no dialogue, but the acting is fantastic...much is said through the expressions of the face and particularly the eyes. There is a professional quality to the film that lends itself to remind the viewer of something Lynch or even Kubrick would have made, and I consider that a high compliment and no easy feat.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Emotional Roller Coaster..., 11 October 2010

What begins as a quest to learn more about filmmaker Kurt Kuennes murdered friend, Andrew Bagby, ends up becoming a tribute to Andrew's parents David and Kate. This is a poignant and gut-wrenching story of love, loss, betrayal, and the will to endure. Im finding it difficult to accurately describe the emotional roller coaster this film takes you through; and while its a sad and difficult journey for David and Kate Bagby there is a profound sense of endurance and perseverance that is nothing short of inspirational. Its difficult not to laugh, cry, and get angry right along with the Bagbys throughout this film and by the end you almost feel as if you know the people involved. This is a heart-wrenching and emotional film that is definitely not for the lighthearted.

Heat (1995)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A Must See, 11 October 2010

In the saturated genre of Action/Thrillers, Heat finds a way to stand tall above the masses, maintaining originality and an overwhelming sense of tension even despite moments of predictability. Michael Mann brilliantly utilizes both veteran actors (Pacino as Vincent Hanna, DeNiro as Neil McCauley), playing them with and against each other to the ultimate confrontation neither can avoid. There is an underlying depth to the film as the actions are incidental, its the characters that matter. While the defining line between good guy/bad guy is drawn it is equally blurred as your empathy lies with both men, understanding they're one and the same, each capable of being on the other side. Black and white hardly exists here, but rather those murky shades of gray that calls to question what matters most, what truly defines us: the motivation or the actions, the man himself or his job? Truly a magnificent cinematic feast.

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Poetry, pure poetry, 11 October 2010

The Thin Red Line is poetry on film: a beautiful, bitter, harrowing, thought-provoking contemplation of life, love, death, pain, loss and fear. Without playing too much to one side or the other, the film depicts each viewpoint as if it's of the utmost importance and the line between enemies is slowly blurred by common human emotion.

The quiet, almost hypnotic voice overs lull the viewer into a sense of calm that is in stark contrast to the violent struggles of war splayed out across the screen. The beauty in every shot only further illustrates the tragedies that play across the landscapes. There's no typical war movie here. Instead, it's a hauntingly philosophical look at the effects of war on all involved...from the soldiers in the field, to the hardened commander, the 'enemy' and those left behind at home.

Re-cycle (2006)
5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Don't be fooled into thinking it's a typical Asian horror film..., 5 August 2010

Gwai wik starts out like most standard Asian horror films, particularly with the expectation that we're about to see yet another long haired female ghost. However, the film soon takes a dramatic turn towards the surreal. What starts out as typical soon twists into anything but, creating something of a love child between Pan's Labyrinth and Ringu. Gwai wik is hauntingly beautiful in its twisted landscapes and strange zombie-like creatures, pulling the viewer into a surreal dream-like and sometimes nightmarish world.

The film covers territory regarding things we throw away, delving quite a bit into social commentary. This isn't meant to preach but rather shows the internal struggle a person feels when trying to do what they believe is right...and may not end up being so years later. It's a beautiful tale of love, loss, redemption and inner struggle. The biggest flaw is its hokey 'twist' ending that tries too hard to bring the film back around on itself. Nevertheless, it's an experience and a film I am happy to have seen.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Not great, but OK for a rainy, boring Sunday, 12 March 2005

Admittedly, if I had seen this movie in the theatre, I'd have been more than just a little upset over having spent my hard-earned money and would have probably demanded every cent back. However, since I was fortunate enough to catch this movie on a dull, early Sunday morning (or late-late Saturday night...take your pick) my defenses were down and I was able to enjoy it for what it was: a mindless venture into plot less laughs. While this wasn't the funniest movie I've ever seen, it certainly wasn't the worst and I can honestly say that I enjoyed watching it.

I don't particularly care for Amanda Peet and find her acting to be a, but that was simply a minor irritation. Bruce Willis was refreshingly funny stepping outside of his typical action roles. Matthew Perry is a bit dry but his use of physical humor did pull some laughs from me.

All in all, The Whole Ten Yards was watchable. It's not great, it's not fantastic, but it's certainly watchable.

Peter Pan (2003)
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Rather Enchanting...An Unexpected Gem, 31 May 2004

I had put off seeing this newest version of Peter Pan after sitting through countless horrid renditions of the magical fairy tale and not wanting to endure another. But, my kids really wanted to see this one (and honestly, my curiosity was piqued) so I was convinced. And glad I was!

While I agree with some of the comments that director Hogan doesn't spend nearly enough time fully exploring Neverland, he does create a beautiful realization from book to movie of the famed faraway fairytale land. It simply would have been wonderful for Hogan to have allowed the viewers more time to explore Neverland and the rich wonders it holds. Another downpoint was Jeremy Sumpter's accent (or lack thereof depending on where you're from). I do believe his mannerisms and characteristics were fabulously portrayed for Peter Pan, but his American accent made him sound more like Huck Finn than our beloved Peter Pan. In my opinion, this was his only real fault.

With the 'negative' aside, let's move on to the positive, for there truly was much more of that in this film. Jeremy Sumpter's performance as Pan was, overall, fantastic. Aside from the accent, he portrayed Pan with all the boyishness and bravado that one would expect. He giggles at the right moments, is brave at the right moments while exhibiting just the right amount of uncertainty, for he is, afterall, only a boy. Not only were his actions on target, but the voice inflections and facial expressions were as well; and along with that, Sumpter conveyed necessary emotions with his eyes that is difficult even for the most seasoned of actors.

The true star of the movie, however, is Rachel Hurd-Wood whom I think Barrie could have modeled Wendy after had she been around when he wrote Peter Pan. Rachel Hurd-Wood is absolutely fantabulous as Wendy. Through every step she has you believing she is Wendy, born to tell fantastic stories, fight pirates, and to love Peter. Quite simply, she was made for this role.

The movie itself is a great mixture of what it should be: love, romance, fear, bravery, happiness, sadness, hope, and most of all a remembrance of youth. This isn't the Disney "happy time" Peter Pan, but one that has it's darker, more sinister it should, and yet keeps it just a step away from the line so as to remain a film that the whole family can enjoy.

I highly recommend this movie to young and old anyone who enjoys fantasy, fairy tales, family movies and the like. A very fantastic re-telling of a wonderful story. 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Special Effects Movie...nothing more, nothing less, 30 May 2004

It rather cracks me up to see all the negative comments written about this movie regarding the ridiculous, predictable, and completely unbelievable plot. I have to ask myself two questions: 1. did people not realize this before going to see the movie? and 2. did they not realize the only reason anyone would really go see this would be to see the 20 tornadoes overtake LA or the Statue of Liberty be engulfed in a tidal wave? Honestly.

Roger Ebert normally pans about every nonsensical, mindless dribble ever made yet gave this movie 3 out of 4 stars. Was I surprised? Not really. The man knows his stuff and realizes that this movie isn't meant to be about a solid plot, but a big-budget special-effects driven summer blockbuster popcorn movie. Period.

As for me, I was quite pleased with the movie, really. Was the plot ridiculous? Oh absolutely! Ed Wood could probably have come up with some better dialog and scene structures in some instances, but I'll tell ya, the special effects were dazzling. And, let's face it, that's really what we're here for, paying our hard-earned money to see Mother Nature stick it to the people once and for all. And, well, she delivers. Now, if only Emmerich could have done this without all that pesky plot stuff gettin in the way...

Dicaprio shines..., 16 January 2004

I'm not a huge fan of "pretty boy" types (much like Leonardo Dicaprio) because often times they tend to rely ONLY upon their "good looks" to get them through a movie. Such is not the case with Dicaprio, however, and he proves it in this movie (along with one other performance...What's Eating Gilbert Grape...stupid movie, but fantabulous acting on his part).

I won't go into the synapsis, since most know it already, I'm sure. The movie itself is a pretty interesting view into the world of drugs and their ultimate impact on a young person's life. Do not be fooled, though, by any mention of this being the story of Jim Carroll's life or even a factual account of his Basketball Diaries. Sure, there are some similarities, but overall, the director took a lot of artistic liberties with this movie. Regardless, The Basketball Diaries is still a realistic representation of "street kids" and drug use.

The movie can be boring at times, but Dicaprio draws you in nevertheless and inspires you to keep watching. Overall, I believe it's worth it. There are a few especially incredible scenes that are well worth the time in watching the movie. One of which includes the friends basketball-in-the-rain game after the loss of a friend.

Most likely, had a less charismatic and talented actor taken on the role of Jim Carroll, The Basketball Diaries wouldn't have been nearly as entertaining as it was. Thanks to Dicaprio and his ability to fully become his character, the movie has some very redeeming moments. Overall, 3 out of 5 stars.

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