Reviews written by registered user
ricknorwood

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33 reviews in total 
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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Gentlebeings--did you notice? The film is about bleepin' puppets!, 24 October 2004
10/10

I think it is absolutely great that people are flocking to see this film. Only in America could a film like this be made. I loved it. I laughed out loud. And I think the big final speech made a lot more sense than most big final speeches in serious films. There are a lot of clichés here that (I hope) nobody will dare write into a movie script ever again. But I am totally weirded out by the number of people posting here who seem take the film seriously. And then take obviously satirical comments about the film seriously. I love political discussions. Let a thousand poppies bloom. But where is your sense of humor?

Rick Norwood sfsite

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Flawed, but delightful., 26 July 2004
9/10

The Little Prince has gotten a bad rep, possibly because expectations were so high for a new Lerner and Lowe musical. Once you get past the beginning, it is absolutely delightful. But the heavy handed opening, with fish-eye camera lenses and a Message drummed into you that you already know and don't need to hear again, certainly puts viewers in a bad mood. Once The Little Prince arrives on earth, everything is magical. Songs like "The Little Prince" and "I Never Met a Rose" deserve to be standards. Gene Wilder as the fox is fabulous. And the tour de force performance of Bob Fosse as the snake is enough to make even devoted fans of All that Jazz sit up and take notice. If only it weren't too late to go back and reshoot the first fifteen minutes.

I, Robot (2004)
Hate the writer, love the movie., 17 July 2004

"I, Robot" is a lot better than you would think from the previews. The special effects are good, and the plot is not half bad. But the writing is awful, as one would expect from the writer of "Lost in Space" and "Batman & Robin". Why do people keep hiring this guy? The Hansel and Gretel thing is ridiculous, the whole parallel between prejudice against Blacks and prejudice against robots is like something out of a bad EC comic book, and the characterization is totally unbelievable and uninvolving. Needless to say, there is almost no relationship between the movie and the book. Why does Hollywood pay a lot of money for the rights to a classic novel, and then ignore all the things that made the novel a classic?

Rick Norwood sfsite

A Wrinkle in Time (2003) (TV)
19 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Read the book., 12 May 2004
4/10

The book is so good that at least the opening of this made-for-tv movie will move you, but then, as it diverges more and more from the book, taking out all the religion and love and mathematics and putting in cotton candy cliches, it becomes boring. Still, from comments I've heard, people who have not read the book tend to like it, and if it leads even on child to read A Wrinkle in Time, it will have served its purpose. The most embarrassing change is to make the Happy Medium a clone of Mary Poppins' Uncle Albert (I love to Laugh). Nothing is quite so squirm inducing as characters on the screen laughing hilariously at things that are totally unfunny.

24 out of 31 people found the following review useful:
the sublime and the ridiculous, 27 April 2004
7/10

Beautiful words, delightful music, great acting! What could ruin such a mix. The answer, the ego of Kenneth Branagh. He is much too old for the part of a young student. His direction is absurdly literal. For example: probably the best use of the song "Heaven, I'm in heaven..." is sung by Angel Islington in Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. Here the song is ruined by literally yanking the singers up on wires to a ceiling painted to resemble heaven. If a song mentions a hat, the director shows us a hat, and so on. The camera is always doing things that are distracting and annoying. The choreography is nothing but a string of literal quotes, from Busby Berkley to Fred Astaire to Gene Kelly to Bob Fosse. It never flows, just jerks from quote to quote. And while the older actors are superb, there does not seem to be an actor under 25 who can do Shakespeare...they all sound as if they are mouthing words that are not a part of their vocabulary. And the slapstick -- 'taint funny Magee. After all this, I still recommend watching the film. It is much kinder to the clowns than most productions of LLL. Branagh's great speech in praise of love is worth the price of admission. He acts sincerity so well it is almost enough to make us forget what he did to Emma Thompson. And the music is ... heaven.

7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
New Kino version infinitely superior to previous DVDs, 24 April 2004
8/10

There are very few silent films that I enjoy as much as a modern film. In fact, the only silent film that I would rate as a 10 is Buster Keaton's The General. But Douglas Fairbanks is certainly worth watching, if you have any real interest in film. He has so much charm, and moves so fluidly, that he captivates even when the special effects are, well, very 1920s. Fairbanks does not so much act as he dances the role. The costumes and sets, by William Cameron Menzies, are also spectacular. I have watched this movie in the earlier DVD version, and frankly it put me to sleep. First, a great deal of it was missing, and so the story was choppy and hard to follow. Second, the print quality was poor. But the new Kino Fairbanks collection is a miracle of film restoration. There is one section on this DVD that is poor quality, compared to the others. But since this is a section that I have never seen before, to see it at all is wonderful.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
New Kino version infinitely superior to previous DVDs, 24 April 2004
8/10

There are very few silent films that I enjoy as much as a modern film. In fact, the only silent film that I would rate as a 10 is Buster Keaton's The General. But Douglas Fairbanks is certainly worth watching, if you have any real interest in film. He has so much charm, and moves so fluidly, that he captivates even when the special effects are, well, very 1920s. Fairbanks does not so much act as he dances the role. The costumes and sets, by William Cameron Menzies, are also spectacular. I have watched this movie in the earlier DVD version, and frankly it put me to sleep. First, a great deal of it was missing, and so the story was choppy and hard to follow. Second, the print quality was poor. But the new Kino Fairbanks collection is a miracle of film restoration. There is one section on this DVD that is poor quality, compared to the others. But since this is a section that I have never seen before, to see it at all is wonderful.

11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Fifties nostalgia, 6 April 2004
8/10

While not nearly as good as Hal Foster's comic strip, this film is not nearly as bad as some reviewers would have you believe. James Mason makes a fine villain, and the action scenes are well directed by Hathaway. The biggest problem is that it is, after all, a fifties film, with all the good and bad points of the fifties. I am a big fan of the fifties, because it is the decade in which I started watching movies, but I am also aware that relatively low budgets and heavy handed censorship made even the best fifties films somewhat dubious -- e.g. A Streetcar Named Desire without any hint of homosexuality. Comparing Prince Valiant to most modern knights in armor films, I find it more fun than, say, Black Knight or Timeline.

1 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Silly democrats pretend terrorists are real., 30 March 2004
4/10

When this movie came out, the Republicans were laughing at Bill Clinton for taking terrorism seriously. The premise of the film is that Clinton invented Kosovo like terrorism to cover up news stories about his sex life. Now, thanks to Clark, we know that Republicans went on thinking terrorism was something Clinton made up right up until 9/11. The movie sure looks different now. Just evaluating the movie as a movie, it is too silly to be interesting as paranoid fantasy and too serious to be funny. It was just another propaganda effort to ridicule Bill Clinton for giving us eight years of peace, prosperity, and a balanced budget. It reminds me of a great line in Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver, about how the English liked to make fun of the Dutch for being free, honest, and hardworking.

Peter and the Wolf (1995) (TV)
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Fast forward through the live action parts., 23 December 2003
6/10

I've just watched this VHS, because I am a fan of anything by Chuck Jones. His contribution consists only of character design. The cat is good. The bird and grandpapa are very bad. The hunters, the wolf, and the duck are ok. The writer and the composer both think they can improve on Prokofiev. Why do Hollywood types who try to "improve" classics never wonder why the work is considered a classic (and they're not)? There is nothing really wrong with the live action parts. There are even a couple of nice touches in the first minute or so. But it is obvious that the live action is just to kill time and expand a less than thirty minute cartoon to fill out a "hour" time slot. The setting is changed from Russia to Switzerland, which seems pointless. Like the Disney version, they save Sonja from being eaten. This version doesn't even come close to the Disney version.


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