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Untamed Heart (1993)
For someone who is picky about romances, this one is by far the best of it's time..
When I was married, my then wife dragged me to see this movie on Valentines' Day weekend, when it first released. I agreed to go based on the fact that one of my favorite actresses appeared in it, Marisa Tomei. The most I'd seen of Christian Slater was in 'Robin Hood', and didn't care much for him in that.
What a change one movie can make for opinions on an actor.
I was engaged with this movie from frame one.
Cliff Eidelman's score is captivating and very moving in this movie, flowing along effortlessly with the film. Marisa Tomei is pure magic, and Rosie Perez is just right as the screechy best friend.
What surprised me most was Slater's performance. Here, he gives a very introspective and introverted performance, that, in my opinion, was worthy of an Oscar nod. The mannerisms with which he portrays Adam as the shy orphan who seems unsure of himself are dealt with great detail and care. He hasn't had a better performance before or since.
That doesn't overshadow Tomei's performance in this film. She is simply beautiful, no matter what part she is portraying. She has the Minnesotan accent down pat, and you believe you are in the Twin Cities while watching the film. I feel her performance in this movie was a step above "My Cousin Vinny". Too bad the Academy didn't agree.
And when Slater and Tomei occupy the frame together, it is, for a lack of a better term, absolute glory. The chemistry between these two actors on screen is so thick you couldn't cut it with a chainsaw.
The cinematography, by Jost Vacano, who also did movies like "Das Boot" and "Robocop", while not visually stunning, is very technical, with the use of pull-pans/push-pans and ground perspective shots. A very well-done film all the way around, from Bill's directing to Mia Goldman's seamless editing. Too bad some wiseacre reviewer gave the ending away in a review of the film before release and literally killed it's box office.
I own the DVD now, and I can offer one warning: Gentlemen, if you watch this movie with your wife/significant other, be prepared to offer up excuses like 'there is something in my eye', or 'it must be my allergies', if you're not comfortable admitting letting the waterworks go. The proclamations of affection between these two are so charming, yet not heavy handed. It's the kind of things you would have wish you'd said to that 'one that got away'.
My rating: 9 (no movie has ever gotten a 10 from me, but this one almost had me reconsidering)
As close to Hitchcock as this generation of directors will get
With the current generation of directors relying on mindless plots and CGI to the hilt to make a statement, it's really refreshing to see a director unafraid of risk-taking.
M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs" embodies everything that a movie-going experience should be about. The emotion that this director draws from his performers is incredible. He leaves you on the edge of your seat when it's all said and done.
I've read several negative reviews through these comments, and I can understand. For the last 25 years we've been blasted with cheap, thrill-a-minute, high-budget action flicks that are all flash and no substance; and as such, we've been seasoned to believe that a good movie MUST have some sort of resolution at the end of it. The bad guy must die, the good guy must get the girl, so on and so forth. But Night refuses to get bitten by that bug.
This is a psychological thriller, the kind that makes you want to gnaw on your fingernails for 105 minutes until you know the main characters are safe. The kind that makes you feel like even though you've only watched the movie for 45 minutes, you know the characters like they were your best friends..all the little quirks.
I heard a rumor in the beginning, Touchstone didn't want Mel Gibson cast as the lead in this movie, that they wanted Bruce Willis. While Bruce Willis is a superb actor, I just don't believe he has the range of emotion that Mel Gibson displays in this film. Very strong performances from Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin make this movie shine.
Whether or not this movie is about aliens is secondary; it's more about the triumph of the spirit over adversity. Shyamalan's choice of James Newton Howard to once again score one of his films proves to be a work of absolute genius, as his score sets the tone from the opening credits to the incredible climax of the film.
I'm sure Hitchcock and Hermann are smiling devilishly at the advent of this young, fresh director, and thinking quietly to themselves "The MacGuffin lives"....