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I have 5 passions: classical music, books, movies, my cats and my family - not necessarily in that order. I won't pretend to have any deep or profound knowledge of film. I just love movies.
Link to My Favorite Movies:
So many movies, so little time.
Cats rule, dogs drool!
-Sassy in "Homeard Bound: The Incredible Journey
Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria.
-Dr. Peter Venkman in "Ghost Busters"
"I am proud of what I am!...I am...a librarian!"
-Evelyn in "The Mummy"
Since that time I have seen many TV series.
Twilight Zone is still the best.
Sherlock Holmes (2010)
I have seen quite a few low budget scifi/horror movies lately and about the highest rating I gave any of them was a 3, but this Sherlock Holmes was good, very good. I had never seen or heard of any of the actors, but they were all also very good, especially Watson who did a fine job. Holmes was as usual, quirky and arrogant, but then, that's how he is supposed to be. The sets and settings were very nice and most of the outdoor scenes were beautiful. But the best were the special effects: the monsters and the Rube Goldberg machines. My husband like the dragon best, but as a dinosaur fan, my favorite was the so called raptor. I say 'so called' because it did not look at all like a raptor, but it did look like a beautifully done miniature T-Rex. We both liked all of the Rube Goldberg machinery used by the master criminal. If you get a chance, watch this Sherlock Holmes. You'll probably like it like we did.
The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
I saw Little Shop of Horrors once on TV when I was in junior high and my girlfriend saw it also. For weeks we made giggling "Feed me! I'm hungry" jokes and we both thought of it as a really bad-funny horror film. I just saw it again and realized we were wrong. It was not a 'really bad-funny horror film; it was a really really good dark comedy. The fact that Corman made it in just 2 days for $27,000 only adds to my amazement as to how good it is. Every character was an eccentric gem, especially Jack Nicolson's masochistic dental patient, better even than Bill Murray's later portrayal of the same character - and that is saying a lot. I especially liked the two cops, Fink & Stoolie with Fink doing an excellent Joe Friday. If you like black comedy - and I do - please give the 1960 version of Little Shop of Horrors a look-see. If you find it even half as funny as I did, you won't be disappointed.
Dracula's Guest (2008)
'Bad' really doesn't do it justice
I have seen many movies that are bad: bad script, bad directing, bad special effects. But what I have never seen before is such bad acting. Where did they get these people? Surely, somewhere in world they could have found better actors. The cast from one of the senior plays from a local high school would have been infinitely better. Every line was 'signifcant' and melodramatic especially from the fat Dracula. (Who ever heard of a fat vampire?) Of course, it may have been the director and if it was, he should never be allowed on the set of any production for the rest of his life. But even if it was the director, the actors should be cast out of the Actors Guild for so shamelessly degrading their craft. 'Bad' cannot possibly cover the awfulness of this so called movie.
War of the Worlds (2005)
Not quite as bad as I had heard
When the Tom Cruise version came out there was also a lot of comments on this version on the Film General message board. Everyone who saw it seemed to agree that this was one of the worst movies ever made and some said the absolute worst.
It is not a good movies, but it is not as bad as the others said. The character of George was good: a nice man in a terrible situation and the acting was good. His kid was good and his wife was good, but they were minor characters.
That being said, the rest of the movie was pretty bad. There was too much walking: they walked and walked and didn't do much: dull. The minister Victor's rants about religion were pathetic and boring. I was rather glad when he was finally killed off. The crazy officer was trying to channel one of Gary Busey's crazy characters and failed. (No one can ever do crazy as well as Gary Busey.)
Then there was the rabies vaccine. I cannot imagine how anyone could think that a small injection of rabies vaccine could start an epidemic that would kill all the Martians.
And finally six legged bugs! The Martians were tripods and the tripods were the vehicles that carried the Martians. For me, the Martians have to be in tripods or it isn't War of the Worlds. For a movie that advertised itself as being an the most " accurate" War of the Worlds ever made, it was way off the mark as anyone knows who ever read the book.
So, it wasn't the worst movie ever made. For me that was Manos, the Hands of Fate. Manos was so bad it was funny. This movie was just dull and boring. So do not waste your time on this one. Watch the Tom Cruise version, or even better, watch the 1953 version with Gene Barry.
Wolves of Wall Street (2002)
How bad is this movie? Let me count the ways:
1. It is very very boring. Nothing really happens.
2. The "hero" isn't sympathetic or likable.
3. They dress in suits that would only be worn by pimps: some kind of shinny material. Yuck.
4. There is tons of testosterone fueled talk about them being predators and in a pack, but there isn't even one scene of a pack of werewolves.
5. There is no 'transformattion.' Some of the fun of a werewolf movies is watching the transformations.
6. There is no real werewolf action and it wasn't the least bit scary -just boring.
7. There is almost no plot.
8. And I still can't figure out the creepy scenes with the guys in their jocks licking on the two girls in the chairs (two guys per girl). That scene keeps reappearing and all they they do is lick???
9. They have absolutely none of the characteristics of real wolves who mate for life and center their world around raising puppies.
10. And did I say it was boring? This isn't a bad funny movie like Robot Monster (my personal favorite), just a bad boring movie. I gave it a 2 because I consider a 1 an accolade for bad funny movies and this movie doesn't deserve a 1.
PS I wish this program had a spell check. I am a really bad speller - so sorry.:~(
The Ten Commandments (2006)
I didn't expect much when I decided to watch this thing on TV, but thought it might be entertaining enough to pass an evening. I was wrong.
It has even more inaccurate and/or made up stuff than the 1956 version. I am not a church going person, but I have read the Bible and the story of the Exodus. At least most of the made up stuff in the 1956 version is just drama and doesn't seem to change the meaning of the story that I read in the Bible. This movie seems to reflect a theological meaning that is different from what is generally believed by modern Christians and Jews. There is so much more "drama" during the course of the Exodus itself. There is very little about Moses and God but a lot about soul searching and dark nights of the soul. I don't think Moses would have given The Ten Commandments as if he wrote them himself. If God had chosen this Moses, I don't think they would have made it. Moses whines and feels sorry for himself. He does not act like a man who has had God talk to him directly. I really do feel like Charlton Heston was probably closer to the real Moses than the Moses in this movie.
Besides my religious distaste for this movie, it is a bad movie. The acting poor and melodramatic. The sets and costumes are only a few steps above a play put on at church.
The 1956 movie was so much better. It had the grandeur and the reverence this new movie lacks. Don't waste your time on it. I gave it a 2. I only give a 1 to a movie so bad it is funny. This wasn't funny.
I am not familiar with the world of "short film." Most of what I have seen is obviously amateur. So I this is my first introduction into the world of serious shorts by a film maker who is obviously not an amateur.
First, the production values (as I call them)were very good. I have seen and even paid to see many movies that were far worse. The lighting, the camera work, the sound were all professional quality. The music was good, very good. I love Villalobos.
Artistically is a quite good. Jason Britt's acting was good conveying his inner pain without any outward histrionics. I especially liked the repetitive dialog interspersed with rambling ambiguous clues about what brought him to this "rope, hang" decision.
And I liked the ambiguous end. Will the voices in his head win or will the dog, representing life, be successful? That is for each of us to decide.
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
I fell asleep
I was so excited when I finally got Alice in Wonderland, I had been waiting forever - or so it seemed - on the library waiting list. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp doing Alice in Wonderland sounded so cool so perfect.
As soon as I got home, I popped it in. Well, it was pretty although some of the scenery looked like it came from The Nightmare before Christmas. And there was a lot of it, scenery I mean. Beyond that.....
I never read the books as a kid and I still haven't, but I suspect it has more substance than scenery. The action, such as it was, was minimal. Johnny Depp was just weird and not good weird, but just weird weird as the Mad Hatter. His make-up looked more out of a zombie movie than Alice. The Cheshire cat did not behave like a Cheshire cat - no disappearing a leaving just a smile. But I may be wrong because about this time, I had to fight to keep awake and I did doze off now and then. Somewhere toward the end, I did manage to wake up. It looked like there might be something developing between Alice and the Mad Hatter. In a flashback I had seen him before the red queen took over and he looked like Johnny Depp with weird hair. So I thought maybe when the white queen won he might return to being Johnny Depp and Alice might find him more attractive and interesting than the dork back home. But alas, no. He stayed a zombie and she went home, but at least she refused the dork. I told myself I would watch it again, but I couldn't. It was too boring. There are only two Tim Burton films that I didn't finish - not because they were bad, but because they bothered me in some way. Edward Sissorhands was just too sad. It was like a tragedy but without a tragic hero. Watching Edward was like watching someone torturing a puppy. Couldn't take it. The beloved Ed Wood was just too outré for me. I loved or really liked everything else, even Mars Attacks. But Alice was boring. I still can't believe that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp ruined a movie they were born to make. Go watch the Disney version. No kidding, it is better.
Shutter Island (2010)
Questions, questions and more questions
When I saw the trailers for this, I thought - Scorsese and DiCaprio - even their worst will probably be better than best by many others working today. It is far from their worst. It was mesmerizing and excellent and left me with many more questions than answers. It is not a "typical" Scorsese, but then if there really were a "typical" Scorsese, he wouldn't be the great director that he is.
It starts out in the film noir style turns into a twisting almost fractured plot that ends with far more questions than the in the beginning, Where is the missing/escaped patient, Rachel? In the end, it seems that Rachel is one of the lesser mysteries of Shutter Island. Where was the ferry and was it the only way on or off the island> Why couldn't Teddy and Chuck get any cooperation (or files) from the sinister Ben Kingsley and Max von Sydow. Teddy and Chuck were the powerful and feared G-Men of the time. Why didn't they seem to have any power and were obviously threatened? How could the missing/dead/lost Rachel be living in caves on such a small island? What are the scattered Nazi flash backs throughout the film?
As the plot goes on, Teddy's actions and the plot become more irrational and more fractured. Then it all comes to an ambiguous ending that left more questions than it answered. At least for me. I intend to see it at two or more times to knit all the raveled endings together into a comprehensible finale.
I do think there is a comprehensible finale. The questions make it more fascinating. DiCaprio is brilliant as Teddy and his performance is the best I have seen by him so far and that's saying a lot. It is an excellent movie that I would recommend to anyone who anyone who likes a good mystery mixed with a little Snake Pit and a lot of psychological terror. There are no monsters in this movie and there are no ghosts or ghoulies, but it is a horror movie nonetheless. Real horror is in the mind and not in the monsters or gore.
I think it is an excellent film. I rated it 9/10, but that may go higher after I see it a couple more times.
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Be strong and see true greatness
I don't know how to start this review and I am not sure what to say. I have written reviews on other great movies. My review for The Shawshank Redemption poured out as smooth as heavy cream. Million Dollar Baby is as good as The Shawshank Redemption which I have watched over and over again, and is, in my opinion, the best movies ever made.
But I will never be able to watch Million Dollar Baby over and over again. I may watch it once every 10 years are so to reaffirm it's brilliance, it's depth and it's gut wrenching impact. I am sure I have never seen before or since such an emotionally powerful film. I avoid reading about films before I see them. I don't want to taint my first impression. I had heard it was very good and how could I go wrong with Eastwood, Swank and Freerman.
As I watched it, I was thinking it was better than Rocky, better than many many movies I had seen. I was especially impressed with Eastwood and thought it was one of the best performance I had ever seen by him - maybe the best.
Then I got to what you might call Act III. Hillary Swant's performance was brilliant: a complete fulfillment of all her potential. Clint Eastwood's performance was transcendent. It was greater than any performance I had seen by any other actor in film or theater. It was emotionally devastating. His actions reflected the greatest act of love I had ever come across in film, theater or fiction. What sacrifice could you make for love - even threaten your immortal soul and destroy your mortal heart? It is greater than The Shawshank Redemption but so much harder to watch. Greek or Shakespearian tragedy has nothing to equal it. Maybe nothing ever will.