Reviews written by registered user

Send an IMDb private message to this author or view their message board profile.

7 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

9 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
Just an OK movie, with some very good things, 21 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Being a big fan of the books may have colored my opinion of this movie, but here it is.

I thought it was an OK movie. I am not sure I would watch it a second time, but eventually I will, because I want to own the full set of the HG movies on DVD. This was only a set up for part 2, and that's how the book is written. The movie did a good job of consolidating several scenes from the book, and adding some details that Katniss doesn't know in the book (action scenes- blowing up the peacekeepers, etc. were good). The best consolidation brought Effie in the movie much earlier than I expected. She simply replaced Katniss's prep team, and that was a masterful job of writing.

Some (including me) had felt that it was unnecessary to make Mockingjay into two movies, but making just one movie would have sacrificed a lot of useful information. So I don't have a problem with it now. Part 1 is just a set up to part 2, which I expect to be much better, just as the book is. The visuals were great. It ended at the most obvious point, but I would have liked them to carry the movie way past it. It would have allowed them to put more detail into part 2. Now they have to cover too much in part 2, so I don't know what will be sacrificed in it. I didn't have a major problem with where it ended because it was well done. I would say the beginning and the end were both well done. The middle part was not always good.

Couple of scenes bothered me a lot because those were big deviations from the book, and completely unnecessary, and IMO bordering on silly. They could have dropped those and instead spent more time on a couple of other scenes to make them more meaningful. The conversation between Katniss and Finick was kind of cut short in the movie. These two have formed a special bond since the quarter quell and the film makers could have used it better. Instead they wasted film on those added scenes.

The deviations were both introduced to show how 'great' Katniss is, while in the book she has a more objective opinion of herself, and I prefer that approach to what the movies show- making her superhuman.

The first scene that I disliked is when Katniss goes looking for her sister, while bombing is taking place. In the book her sister is late, but Katniss stays inside and asks the guards to keep the door open. It was ridiculous to show them outside during the bombing.

The second one is much worse. While a team is out to rescue the victors from the capital, Katniss asks to be put in contact with President Snow on the screen, and they have a conversation. She offers to trade places with Peeta. There is no such a thing in the book, and that added scene was totally unnecessary. The rescue operation was shown well, but it could have been shorter.

About acting - Jennifer Lawrence was very good, and she was the only one that had some good material to work with. Others didn't have much to work with. Julianne Moore's President Coin came across as too nice- could be a flaw in the screenplay. Philip Seymour Hoffman is/was such a great actor! His Plutarch Heavensby shows his true colors in this. He is a slime ball who doesn't care about people, but wants to use them in his propos. He does it with a smile on this face. I don't think many actors could have dug that deep into this character.

In the pictures published earlier, I had seen President Snow flanked by Peeta and Johanna, all wearing white. That scene never takes place in the movie. Apparently it was edited out. In any case there was no such scene in the book, but I would have been OK if they had shown what was being done to Johanna and Peeta. The movie doesn't even show Johanna till almost the end (that is actually consistent with the book, which is written from Katniss's perspective).

On the positive side, the movie keeps moving fast, despite the boring material and it is well edited, with a few exceptions. Visuals are excellent. I liked it that they brought the 'hanging tree' song in it- I didn't expect them to. Now I expect to see it in part 2.

Overall I would give it a 'B' grade. Here I gave it 7/10 because some things were handled very well (consolidating some scenes, and using Effie in place of Katniss's prep team). It is worth seeing once, but not more.

Side Effects (2013/I)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Very interesting, edge of your seat thriller- a psychological one, 18 February 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I won't say much about this movie because I don't want to spoil it in the least, even though I have checked the spoiler box, just in case I do let out a secret.

The story is well told, and is full of twists and turns. Young, beautiful and depressed Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) and her psychiatrist Dr. Banks (Jude Law) (Dr. Banks)are the central characters, and both absolutely delivered. I am particularly impressed with Jude Law, who is totally in his character. Could be one of his best performances. Not so impressed with Catherine Zeta Jones who played Emily's former psychiatrist. She is simply not credible as a 'Dr.' Too flirtatious. The rest of the cast is fine. Channing Tatum is good as the loving husband. I have not been Soderberg's fan in the past, but after watching this movie, I really hope this is not his last one. I want to see more.

I recommend that you read as little as possible about this movie before you see it. I happened to read a review in a magazine and it spoiled a little bit for me, but it did not do a big damage, because that's how the movie starts.

10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Absolutely brilliant!, 25 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this movie about 10 days ago and I am still thinking about it. The more I think, the more I see in it. This is a complex, layered film about human nature, and it takes place in Iran. There is no good vs evil here. Everyone has some good and some bad in him/her. The wife (Simin)who wants to move abroad with her daughter, while ignoring her father in law with Alzheimers, the husband (Nader)who loves his family so much that he cannot tell the whole truth in a court of law, a maid (Razieh)who is too afraid to tell her husband she is working for a family.

There are so many shades of gray in this movie, and despite the seriousness of the subject, it never become melodramatic. I felt sympathy for all the characters- even Hojjat the hot tempered husband of the maid. The 11 year old girl Termeh is caught in the middle of it all, and she sees the lie more easily than the adults. The maid's little daughter is very cute.

The acting is top notch by everyone; the screenplay is one of the best. The characters are not only vivid but very realistic. The direction is very good. So why did I give it 9 and not 10? It's a personal preference that I like to see a real end to a story. After putting us through the roller coaster for 2 hours I wanted to know which parent the daughter decided to live with. The fact that we did not get an answer seemed like a cop out to me. OTOH I have my own theory about who she will choose. Some people like generating discussion like that after a movie ends.

I have not seen the other foreign films nominated for the Oscar this year, so I can't say if this is the best movie in that category, but I have to say it's one of the best and one of the most interesting movie I have seen in the last few years.

If you don't see it, you will miss something very special.

The Artist (2011/I)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Very creative, a truly 'artistic' movie, 22 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was initially reluctant to see this movie because it is in Black & White and is silent, but I could not resist seeing it because it received such high acclaim from so many. I finally saw it, and was not disappointed, but my expectations had reached sky high, so the movie came up just a little short. I may have to see it again, minus the expectations to truly appreciate it.

I will not go into the story, since it has been told already. The B&W cinematography is absolutely brilliant. The sets are excellent, and the whole atmosphere really captures the era. They could have made it in color, with dialogs, and it could have been a very good film, but not an extraordinary one. It took great creativity and skills to make this a success. It also took great courage to make it in this format, in today's technology driven movie market.

The acting was top notch by the main characters and the little dog was adorable. There was humor and sadness. I could not help feeling nervous for the actor who had lost everything and was in such despair as to try to kill himself. 'The artist' and 'Hugo' both deal with the old era of movie making, and the old actors having to deal with a fall from grace. What a great coincidence that they both came out in the same year! Ironically Hugo used today's technology (3D) and 'The artist' went all the way back to the 1920's. They were both excellent in their own way, which tells us that a movie can be excellent regardless of what technology (or lack of) is used to make it. The most important thing is the story and how it is told.

Jean Dujardin and Berenice are brilliant in their roles that require them to use their faces and bodies, without the help of dialogs, to portray the characters. That is so hard to do! The music is wonderful and without it, the movie might not have been successful. The final dance number is outstanding. This movie has so many subtleties and details that I may have missed some, so I will have to see it again.

The artist is definitely worth seeing. I am not convinced it is the best movie of this year, but it is one of the best, and most certainly the bravest one.

4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Touching. Starts slow but picks up and reaches emotional highs, 20 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was not sure at first this movie was going to work, but it picked up after may be 20 minutes, and became very interesting, ultimately reaching some great heights. I was totally absorbed in it. I did not care if it was realistic or not. This is not a documentary, and least of all on 9/11. It is just a story told on the silver screen.

'Extremely loud and incredibly close' is a story of a boy who suddenly lost his father and is grieving, without realizing that others are grieving too, because he is too young to understand. He finds his own way of working through the grief. Thomas Horn as the 9 year old totally carries the movie- great talent. Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock attracted me to this movie, and they did well in their roles, as did Max Von Sydow, as the surprising and at times a bit scary renter, but the movie belonged to young Thomas Horn. He kept me glued to the chair. Viola Davis was a nice surprise; I did not know she had a small role in this movie. Alexander Desplat continues to amaze me with his scores; it is excellent,like his work in other movies.

The 9/11 connection is not necessary for the story, but it does give it more intensity, born out of familiarity, because we know about the national shock and grief. I did not feel that 9/11 was exploited in any way.

This is certainly an emotional movie, and those who dislike emotions may find it melodramatic, but there are some that don't mind shedding some tears in a movie because it touched their hearts. I prefer drama/family to sci-fi effects, stunts, fights and non-stop action, so I enjoyed the movie, once it got on track. I felt deeply touched toward the end when there was some kind of resolution about the key- the one thing the story revolves around. The rest of the audience in the theater seemed to be totally in it, with occasional laughter, and some tears.

ELAIC has its flaws. It needed to be shorter by about 10 minutes. It seemed to drag in parts. The first part definitely needed to get on track faster, and it may have lost some audience because it did not. Usually I don't care for the back and forth flashback format, but it works in some movies and I thought it worked well in this one. I have not read the novel, but I would have preferred a shorter title for the movie. The very long title did not make a whole lot of sense to me. That is a minor point however.

Overall, I came out feeling that it was a very touching movie, but it is not for everyone, as the mixed reviews indicate.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Quietly horrifying, but definitely worth seeing, 2 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is an amazing movie. I recently watched it on DVD. While it was in theatres, I don't even recall hearing about it, which is a pity.

It indirectly addresses the issue of the ethics of scientific research, but it is not preachy. It tells the story of three children who appear to be just normal children at a boarding school in England, who grow up to become young adults. Slowly we learn the truth behind their existence and the life that is planned for them. It is shocking and heart breaking at the same time. The acting is first rate by the three main characters Carey Mulligan (Kathy H.), Andrew Garfield (Tommy D.) and Keira Knightly (Ruth). The supporting cast is very good. The children who play the younger versions of the characters have also done well, particularly the girl who plays young Kathy.

The movie takes place in an alternate universe. It starts by telling us about a scientific breakthrough, which would improve human life expectancy, and then we hear words like Carer, people making donations, etc. Those make sense as a little of the truth is revealed as the movie progresses. We see their lives through the eyes of Kathy, the narrator. We experience their joys and sorrows, their helplessness and sometimes their anger about their fate, their desire to do something about it, and finally acceptance.

I developed a strong dislike for Miss Emily, the principal (I think) of the school, but she too was a pawn in the hands of those who created this cloning farm, to prolong the life expectancy of some humans. I did not see the movie as sci-fi. It's more like the story of humanity- the suffering due to old age, the fear of death. The clones also have the same fears, they too feel emotions. They too want to spend more time with their loved ones, but they cannot because they are trapped in their situations. It indirectly addresses the fear of old age and diseases, the fear of death which all humans- clones or not- face. In the end Kathy says - (paraphrasing) everyone "completes" which is a word used for the ending of life of a clone in the movie.

The music is hauntingly beautiful, and English countryside is photographed wonderfully. Both add to the impact of the movie.

This movie made me sad and disturbed for a few days after watching it. It's tragic and it made me think about scientific breakthroughs in a different light. The credit must go to the writer Kazuo Ishigura of the book, and to those who made this movie. I just wish it had been more successful at the box office.

If you like thought provoking movies, this movie could be for you, but be prepared to feel many emotions even after the movie ends.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A remarkable movie and a pleasant surprise, 26 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie was not at the top of my 'to see' list but when I saw it got many nods from critics, I decided to go see it. I expected to see 'too much George Clooney', and yes, there he was in nearly every scene, but he portrayed the character so well! The elder daughter (played by Woodley) nearly stole the show with her acting.

The movie starts with a woman enjoying a boat ride, and the next thing is she is in a coma, with her husband (Clooney) narrating the story. From that point on, we learn more about the family, the inheritance, the daughters he must bring up, and dealing with the secret revealed by his elder daughter about her mother, which is devastating. Clooney has done a marvelous job of showing all the mixed emotions- anger, rage, pain, sadness, confusion, helplessness, and the underlying love in subtle ways. The director has done a splendid job of mixing humor with the underlying tragedy that is at the base of the movie. The Hawaiian scenes are gorgeous, as expected. This is a movie about the challenges of life- we all have different ones- and some people, like Matt King (Clooney) find a way to overcome them. The changes in the daughters are remarkable too, as the movie goes along. There are many touching scenes but they never become melodramatic. The movie unfolds at a leisurely pace, and it quietly ends in a family room.

This is not a movie if you are seeking sci-fi/special effects type entertainment (and I do enjoy those too), but if you want something about everyday characters and life, and want to laugh while some serious material, this may be the movie for you. I must admit that it was way beyond my expectations- I never expected it to be this good-, and I am glad that I did not read the story before seeing it.

I was totally engrossed in the movie from beginning to end and I came out feeling totally satisfied that I saw an excellent movie.