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kenjha

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1512 reviews in total 
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Breezy (1973)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Stars Shine, 21 July 2013
7/10

A teen-aged hippie and a middle-aged businessman become romantically involved. Focusing on the hippie culture, this film is very much a product of its time. However outdated its values may be, it still manages to be a worthwhile watch thanks to terrific performances by the leads. Holden was in his early 50s when this was filmed but looked much older, thanks to years of boozing, making the age difference between him and Lenz even more pronounced. Holden is solid as a real estate agent. Lenz, in her first big role after a bit part in "American Graffiti," is perfectly cast as the naive hippie. The two stars have great chemistry. This is probably the oddest entry in Eastwood's directorial ledger.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Breezy Comedy, 21 July 2013
8/10

A rich man pursues a young woman although her boyfriend works for him. This breezy film is an apt vehicle for the comedic talents of the incomparable Lombard, who plays the woman in a love triangle involving Foster and Romero. The role of the rich fellow seems tailor-made for Clark Gable, but Foster, who was better known for playing tough guys, does pretty well as a poor man's Gable. Beecher is a delight as Lombard's wise-cracking mother. Although only one is credited, apparently a number of writers were involved, including Preston Sturges. However, the film does not suffer from too many cooks in the kitchen, as the pacing is rapid and the dialog is witty. Lang provides the smooth direction.

Sensual and Atmospheric, 21 July 2013
7/10

The story of a Mexican family is recounted, spanning decades. This is an interesting fable that manages to turn cooking into a sensual experience. It is helped by beautiful cinematography and a fine score. The acting is generally good, with Cavazos giving a standout performance as a young woman who is controlled by a domineering mother. Unfortunately, the latter is portrayed as so one-dimensionally evil that she makes Cinderalla's stepmother seem like a candidate for Mother of the Year. The story moves in fits and starts, lingering too long on some scenes but then abruptly skipping ahead by a decade. Director Arau is known mainly as an actor, but he does a fine job of creating an evocative atmosphere.

4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Repulsively Ridiculous, 20 July 2013
6/10

In a dystopian future, the government picks youngsters to engage in a fight to death. The premise of the film and the source novel is repulsively ridiculous. Not only are kids forced to brutally fight each other, but the event is televised for the pleasure of the masses. Seriously? What kind of society gets its entertainment by watching children kill each other? What point is being made here? If one looks past the silly and disturbing premise, however, it is an entertaining action film for the most part. Lawrence is OK as the surly heroine, but all the characters are strictly one-dimensional. Tucci hams it up as the TV host of the games, unable to contain his glee over the violence, likely reflecting the view of the filmmakers.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Pretentious and Manipulative, 20 July 2013
5/10

A math genius works as a janitor at MIT, unable to overcome his difficult upbringing. The premise of this film is ludicrous. It really requires suspension of belief to buy that Damon, who never attended college, has become a genius by reading books. The pretentious and manipulative script by Damon and Afleck really reaches: not only can he do complex math problems, but he can hold his own with anyone when discussing politics, philosophy, economics, literature, and history. We are supposed to root for Damon, but he's such an arrogant jerk that one roots for someone to punch him out. Williams is fine as a psychologist, but it's a role he has played a number of times. Driver does well as Damon's needy girlfriend.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Autumnal Charlie, 20 July 2013
7/10

An unemployed man supports his family by marrying and murdering rich women for their money. Chaplin made only a handful of films after the silent era and this one followed "The Great Dictator" after a seven-year gap, a period over which the great comedian seems to have lost his gift for laughs. Perhaps this was just the result of Chaplin in his autumnal years wanting to do something more substantial, but he seems unsure of whether he's doing comedy or drama. This is the first film in which Chaplin speaks English, but he hardly says anything that is funny. After a slow start, this turns out to be a decent film but it seems the premise had potential for much more humor than is mined here.

The Return (2003)
2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Are We There Yet?, 20 July 2013
3/10

A man returns to his family after a 12-year absence and tries to connect with his two sons. It gets off to a somewhat intriguing start as the return is shrouded in mystery. Although the pacing is deliberate, the early scenes between the father and the sons are fairly well done, with tension mounting in their relationships. As the three make their way through the wilderness, one expects a journey of enlightenment and resolution of conflicts. Instead one has to keep asking, "Are we there yet?" The film starts to drag and becomes frustrating to watch, going on much too long. The acting is not bad, especially by the two youngsters, and the cinematography is nice. Unfortunately, it's a case of all dressed up and nowhere to go.

Terrific Thriller, 6 July 2013
9/10

Upon meeting a tennis pro, a fan proposes to murder the former's pesky wife in exchange for the pro killing the fan's father. Walker, who died at 32 a couple of months after the film was released, is chilling as a charming psychopath. Although he is now best remembered for this role, the performance was unexpected at the time in light of the genial characters he had played previously. Like Walker, Granger also has the role of his career and he acquits himself quite well as the weak tennis pro. Hitchcock masterfully builds up the suspense, leading to a frenetic finale that unfortunately is marred somewhat by a ridiculous scene on a merry-go- round. However, such lapses can be overlooked in an otherwise terrific thriller.

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Muddled Drama, 6 July 2013
6/10

A man unwittingly becomes involved in a murder plan while employed by a rich man. It starts with a ridiculous scene where Welles saves Hayworth from thugs. It then bogs down into a dreary talk-fest, perking up only about a third of the way through when the murder plot comes into play. However, the script is so muddled and lacking in focus that it is hard to become invested in the story. Welles doesn't help matters with his terrible Irish brogue, which is difficult to understand. Furthermore, he delivers his lines in a monotone, as if he were comatose. Welles's direction is not as bad as his screenplay and acting, but it's nothing special. Hayworth, looking beautiful, divorced Welles shortly after the film was released. Can't blame her.

Shoeshine (1946)
0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Not Realism, 21 June 2013
5/10

A couple of street kids become involved with some unsavory characters and end up in a prison for juvenile delinquents. De Sica was a leader of the Italian neo-realism movement, and this is celebrated as the earliest of his masterpieces. Unfortunately, it is not in the same class as "Bicycle Thieves" and "Umberto D." It is ironic that this is (or was) regarded as realistic because it has some embarrassingly melodramatic scenes. While the two kid actors are pretty good, the adults are all portrayed as ruthless, one-dimensional villains, showing little regard for the troubled youth. Perhaps De Sica did this on purpose to expose the conditions at such places in Italy, but it doesn't make for good drama.


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