Reviews written by registered user
noleander

9 reviews in total 
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WALL·E (2008)
5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Nice kids movie, but not _that_ great, 15 July 2008
6/10

I feel compelled to write a review to balance out some of the hyperbole on these messages.

This is a fine children's movie: humorous, with a good morality message. The animation is outstanding, at least as good as The Incredibles or Nemo.

However, it is not a classic picture for most adults, for several reasons: The plot focuses mostly on robots, which makes it hard for many to really get engaged. The humans in the movie are portrayed as clichéd caricatures, so extreme that it distracted me (where are the "normal" people ... no population is _that_ homogeneous?). The plot is very predictable and simplistic: a genuine classic movie would have a genuinely creative and interesting ending. The movie contains several "car chase" scenes that are very Hollywood heart-rate-increase boilerplate. The tear-jerking scenes are a dime a dozen.

In summary: the movie has outstanding animation, and is a great kids tale, but this movie doesn't rank up there with 2001 or even "The Incredibles".

2 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Great music but offensive storyline, 5 March 2007
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love musicals, and the music in My Fair Lady contains some of my favorite tunes.

But I just watched it again now in 2007 (perhaps my fifth watching) and the relationship between Higgins and Eliza was just downright sickening.

Standards are changing, for the better. And what was acceptable in 1960 is not so today. Perhaps it is that I now have my own daughter, and I'm thinking about what sort of husband she may choose? By the end of the movie, we are all rooting for Eliza. We want Higgins to get his comeuppance. We want him to be redeemed, to be improved, to see the light.

But the last line of the movie doesn't meet our expectations: It is offensive and hurtful.

Bottom line: The music is great, but the movie would be 100% better if the ending had Higgins making a sacrifice.

Cars (2006)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Disappointing compared to Incredibles or Nemo, 4 December 2006
5/10

I'm a big fan of Pixar: I've loved all their movies up until Cars. But I find it a huge disappointment.

After watching Cars, I watched Finding Nemo and The Incredibles to confirm that it was markedly inferior, and I was astonished at the lack of inventiveness or creativity in Cars.

Cars reminds me most of the mediocre animated movie Robots: Simple animation (no hair, no muscles, no clothing), simple settings, simple story.

What is new in Cars? What is unique? The settings were ho-hum, the characters stereotyped and boring.

Granted, my view might be tainted by the whole NASCAR milieu: it reeks of rednecks and racism, but ignoring that, the animation and story are still mediocre.

Compare with the Incredibles: Several individual _scenes_ in the Incredibles are superior to the entire Cars movie. Consider the scenes in E's house; or the "getting in shape" montage; or the glaring-fluorescent workplace of Insuricare. These scenes from The Incredibles are unique, inspiring, humorous, jaw-dropping. The same could be said for several scenes from Finding Nemo.

But Cars? Hmmm ... what scene is special? Maybe the neon-lighting ceremony at nightfall? But that is it.

I get the feeling that J. Lasseter had a personal affection for the subject matter, and hoped his enthusiasm would carry the story. But I think many of us did not grow up with his love of cars (perhaps we are younger?).

Lasseter, of course, deserves tremendous credit for Pixar's success: he had a hand in every prior Pixar movie. But was that the problem? Did no one at Pixar have the courage to tell him "look, this story is lame, and the animation is ho-hum"?

Robin Hood (1973)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Fine movie: great music!, 15 October 2006
7/10

This is a fine animated Disney flick: in the same era as The Aritocats and The Jungle Book (both of which also have Phil Harris voicing a key character) and of similar quality.

The quality of the animation is average for the era; but the storyline is above average: lots of good humor, based on the timeless story.

But I want to draw attention to the Roger Miller songs: "oo-de-lally" and "not in Nottingham": both are fantastic tunes, but never seem to have gained the same fame as famous tunes from other animated movies. Roger Miller, of course, is most famous for his mega-hit "King of the Road".

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Original, creative, funny, 30 December 2005
9/10

This is one of the most creative, funny movies I have ever seen.

It is not for everyone: I think it appeals most to those with droll or ironic senses of humor. There are lots of insider jokes about movie-making, and many of the costumes and sets are deliberately amateurish.

Someone expecting a "normal" movie with flawless production standards and a logical plot will be confused or disappointed. Or both :-) This movie has all sorts of elements that challenge the viewer that is paying attention: the animation, the jokes, the parodies of Jacques Cousteau.

And the music is far above average.

Almost every minute of the film has some tidbit that is clever, interesting, or amusing. I cant say more, because I don't want to put in any spoilers.

Make sure you pay attention!!

Thumbelina (1994)
10 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
Horrible movie with disturbing message, 4 May 2005
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The animation is mundane, the songs are forgettable. What else could be wrong? A lot.

The scariest thing about this movie is the way Thumbelina reacts when she is kidnapped. Twice. Each time, she seems to enjoy being captive, and sings and dances with her captors. Weird. Disturbing. What kind of message does this send to children in the audience?

The first time, the toad mother kidnaps Th. and takes her home to be forcibly married to the toad mother's ugly son. Kidnapping. Rape. Arranged marriage. What does Th do under the circumstances? Fight? Cry for help? Struggle? Argue? Nope. She starts singing and dancing with a smile on her face.

Second time: Evil Mr. Beetle kidnaps Th (what is with this plot: Cant a female protagonist get along by herself?) and takes her to a dance. Again, instead of fighting for her freedom, Th. breaks into a cheerful song-and-dance routine. Oh, and her dress falls off so she has to dance in her underclothes.

These are disturbing messages for young kids.

Avoid this movie. It has nothing going for it.

0 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Worst animation ever, 1 November 2004

Just rented this movie for my daughter.

Horrible animation quality. Sure, it is unfair to compare this 1982 movie to post-2000 Pixar productions, but The Last Unicorn is bad even when compared to 1940's Disney animated movies.

And the voices. Okay, Mia Farrow is alright. But Alan Arkin has the most annoying monotone I've ever heard. He must be related to the producers. When I thought it could not get any worse, then comes Jeff Bridges with an even worse monotone.

And the most wretched part of all: Mia Farrow singing. Ahhhhgggg!!! Off-key; warbly; made me want to die. Why didn't they just hire pro singers for the songs, like every other movie does?

DVD quality: horrible. Filled with threads, hairs, and many, many vertical scratches. Apparently they could not find a good quality print from which to create the DVD.

I'm sure the novel that the movie was based on is a fine novel, but they sure failed when translating to the movie medium.

32 out of 40 people found the following review useful:
Funny, inspiring, offbeat, creative, 28 May 2003

An outstanding movie in nearly every regard. Filmed in Australia on a tight budget, this movie succeeds in the one area that counts most: it _entertains_ the viewer.

A parody of "underdog makes good" movies, Strictly Ballroom is set in the competitive world of ballroom dancing. The movie educates (about ballroom dancing), amuses (especially with the bumbling bad guys), and uplifts (with the take-home message about following your dreams).

The show is stolen by Paul Mercurio, starring as the protagonist male dancer. His acting and dancing are superb.

A bit corny, a bit burlesque, but lots of fun! What more could you want?

Our Town (2003) (TV)
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Solid production, timeless story, 24 May 2003
7/10

A solid production of this chestnut. Nothing radical or edgy, but for a play like this, who wants edgy? The storyline accounts for 90% of the plays value, so the acting and production values shouldn't be over-analyzed.

This is one of my all-time favorite plays, and I found this production more than satisfactory.

There are only three other versions of "Our Town" available on VHS/DVD, and all have drawbacks (the 1940 version is fuzzy, the 1989 version is overpriced, and the 1977 version is ho-hum). Given the dearth of copies available on VHS or DVD, this new version is a welcome addition to "Our Town" fans.

Paul Newmann gives a _great_ performance as the narrator, and the rest of the cast is fine, too. I would have cast younger actors for Emily and George.

This is a filmed version of the stage play, on stage. There is no audience, and the camera work is fantastic: this was produced by Exxon/Mobile for Masterpiece Theater, and they spared no expense.

I highly recommend it!