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xavrush89

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96 reviews in total 
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Zodiac (2007)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
A mixed bag of good and tedious scenes., 27 July 2007
6/10

If they wanted to give moviegoers a sense of how painstaking and tedious soving a serial killer case can be, they succeeded. I really felt for the detectives (and civilians) wanting so badly to catch the murderer. But as an audience member, I had to sit through a lot of banter back and forth involving methodology, code-cracking, and leg work.

Maybe that is why films based entirely on fiction are more thrilling, they don't have to go out of their way to do justice to the lives of real living people who worked so hard. I can understand them wanting to show these men's lives outside of the work, but this made for a very long viewing experience without enough suspense or fleshed-out drama to make it top notch.

One thing for which I must praise Fincher is that he kept the violence to a minimum, as this movie was more about the investigation than the crimes themselves, and rightfully so--hence the higher grade than I might normally give. Totally worth seeing, but not a "you've gotta see it" movie.

9 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Nice and lighthearted, but stay away from Jamaica., 8 October 2005
7/10

It's typical of IMDb to have mindless action films earn an average of 7 or better, but for some reason a light film like this suffers from anti-romance, anti-female-lead bias that permeates this site. It is an enjoyable film with good music and the usual good acting from Angela Bassett. There are some good comedic moments, and good dialogue among the female friends in the movie. If you put aside the baggage of what happened with McMillan's real life marriage, you should like it.

Now that I've gotten my review out of the way, I have to say the one thing that bothered me about the film is that it makes Jamaica look like a great place to visit--when in fact it is an island guilty of gross human rights violations, where gay people live in fear for their lives and sexism is de rigeur. I cannot get past that simple injustice even when watching a movie, especially this one where a woman who could afford to go anywhere in the world chooses to give her travel dollars to the place that deserves them the least!

9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
A cute, pleasant low-budget indie--nothing more, nothing less., 24 September 2005
7/10

This is a good story about a man whose friend bets him that he will find love with one of the next ten men he meets. I don't think it's such a bad thing that throughout the film I completely forgot that a bet was made, and just enjoyed watching Jason Stuart's reactions to the strange men. Some of the dates are really hokey (David Faustino's), and some of them are pretty realistic (like the rage-aholic, an exaggeration of a type that really exists).

The majority of the scenes were improvised, but I honestly didn't notice--I found out after, watching the DVD extras. I think the main reason I liked it was because I went into it not expecting much of a movie at all. While it is certainly apparent that this is low budget, it doesn't take much to tell a good story and keep me interested. I found myself rooting for this "late thirties average looking" guy. I'm glad I checked it out.

6 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Too predictable, but has a few good elements., 5 July 2005
5/10

If this TV-movie keeps you guessing, then it's obviously the very first one of its kind you have ever seen, or you are in the single digit ages. Those are the only two explanations. One question: On what planet does Dee Wallace pass as the mother of a 37-38 year-old Crystal Bernard?? It is even established in the story that her character is exactly 50, so even if we are to believe Brolin married her right out of high school, it would require some major airbrushing on Bernard.

This might not have been so bad if it wasn't so predictable, and the acting was okay. Dee Wallace has always been a very likable actor, but she doesn't have as big of a part as I would have liked. Several of the supporting actors are pretty good in their roles. This is a time filler and not much else. I'm sure the real people whose story is being told weren't involved in the production much, if at all.

Barcelona (1994)
3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
This film has not aged well at all., 14 May 2005
5/10

I saw this in the theatre when it came out and found it mildly amusing. But watching it at home recently was a dreary bore. To make matters worse, our political climate has rendered it completely obsolete. Much of the dialogue revolves around anti-American sentiment, which has only risen since the film's release. The Spaniards who seemed so harshly critical a decade ago seem to have had their stereotypes about the U.S. government validated.

The two main characters who are supposed to be defending the U.S.'s reputation once seemed somewhat witty, now they come across as whiny, self-absorbed fools. "Ted" launches into a monologue in defense of hamburgers--of all things--as if they were what America was all about. Burgers even make an appearance later in the film, reminding us as viewers how superficial these people are.

A couple of plot changes propelled the film into an unbelievable direction, and by the time the story wrapped up I had more than had my fill of these characters.

The only thing that was of marginal interest was Mira Sorvino before her Oscar win made her well-known. She actually does come across as Spanish. Her character's not very likable either, but at least she's portrayed well. The script is really what's at fault, and having not liked "The Last Days of Disco", I am beginning to wonder if maybe it's not a bad thing writer/director Whit Stillman stopped making films after the 'nineties ended.

4 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Good script, direction almost overcome a miscast hammy Heston., 28 April 2005
7/10

This film is much more stirring than "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," another racially charged drama that would come along four years later. And Yvette Mimieux is fare more captivating than the sugary Katharine Houghton from that film. The other actors all fare well in their performance, with one notable exception:

If the Razzie Award people ever gave an award for "Miscast the most times over the course of a career" it's Charlton Heston. There is way too much of an age difference between him and his supposed sister Yvette Mimieux, they should have made him play her uncle. (Although I can see how his name probably came up to play such an arrogant S.O.B.) Did he have it in his contract that in every one of his films he got to punch someone? His one-note performance sucks some of the juice out, but fortunately this is more of an ensemble piece.

This came on late at night, and I stayed up because I really wanted to find out what would happen. The story still resonates today. The themes are still around today: hypocrisy, prejudice, stereotypes, class, etc. But the thing that makes this just a good film and not a great one though is that unfortunate movie habit of the era: trying to tie everything up neatly at the end.

With all the dramatic events that had gone on prior to the conclusion, the last few scenes seem hurried, not fleshed-out enough. I might not recommend this film as much as the similarly-themed "Sayonara," but if you have the opportunity to watch it you will be intrigued. If you're not in the first ten minutes, then you'll know it's not for you.

Note to certain interested parties: There are several very hot-looking actors in this, both male and female!

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
S-l-o-w moving but worth watching., 9 April 2005
7/10

Maybe it was intentional for Robert Mandel to spend a good hour of the film with scene after scene of David Greene (Brendan Fraser) hiding his Jewish faith, so we would know what it feels like waiting for it to come out. But it sure felt l-o-n-g. We know from the start that his peers are going to find out, but we must wait and wait until someone finally lets it slip. Only THEN does all the confrontation seen in the previews unfold.

The movie does a good job showing how little remarks can make a difference. (Isn't it amazing how there are STILL people today using the word "jew" as a verb?) There's some good dialogue between Fraser and the cast members who play the character's who think they're well-meaning. This is the more interesting aspect of the film, as we already know how the evil classmates are going to react. This is probably a good film for younger viewers, given the school setting and the predictability. But it would have been better for them if it would have gotten down to the nitty-gritty sooner.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Unpleasant and Predictable. What bet did Gena Rowlands lose?, 6 April 2005
3/10

This thriller is formulaic all the way. After the fifteen minutes when you figure out "whodunit," you can decide for yourself if you want to find out how it unfolds. Lets just say Clarice Starling has no competition to worry about at the FBI. Angelina Jolie's bears more resemblance to a brunette version of Daphne from Scooby Doo than the pro originated by Jodie Foster--especially when giddily staring into the eyes of "homme fatale" Ethan Hawke. There are very few moments that you won't see coming until the end, and by then the surprise or two they saved hardly seem worth it.

I have to add a note about how utterly annoying Olivier Martinez is as Jolie's colleague. I blame director D.J. Caruso for allowing both he and Hawke to over-emote to the point of nausea, but Martinez especially shows an acting range somewhere at the Keanu Reeves level. He's blown whatever career spike he got from the movie, Unfaithful. Maybe Gena Rowlands saw Caruso's far better film, The Salton Sea, and that's why she agreed to take part in this mess. There is a love scene connected with the plot, but the way it is filmed is a turnoff, especially for the gals (or gay guys).

Angelina Jolie's acting is wasted on the script. I would say if someone had never seen a thriller before, maybe it might hold some suspense, but otherwise there's no reason to sit through it. It seems that every time Ms. Jolie shows some skin, it's in a bad movie, and never enough to save it.

4 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
All the quirkiness, none of the charm., 5 April 2005
4/10

This looked like the type of film I would enjoy, but I didn't. Frankly, it looks like it's trying too hard to exude quirky charm, and in no moment is this more evident than when we find Hurt's relatives alphabetizing their kitchen cupboards--a quirky cliché if there ever was one. (I distinctly remember this being touted on the video box as an example of how "funny" the film allegedly is.) Hurt's character comes off as a smug bore rather than a grieving parent who's shut down. I can understand why he chose to play Macon in such a manner, but it left me waiting for a part in the clouds that would never come. For a better take on this state of mind, see Juliette Binoche in Blue.

The fact that Geena Davis managed to breathe life into this at all is reason enough for her to have won the Academy Award, but Hurt's character doesn't deserve her. Her allergic-to-everything son is the only other interesting character in the film. I haven't read Anne Tyler's book, but it may have been a better idea to take these characters out of it and build a story for them alone.

For a much better tragicomic look at grief, may I suggest the wonderfully bittersweet 1990 film about grief, Men Don't Leave. In it, Jessica Lange and Arliss Howard exhibit more chemistry in their first meeting than Hurt and Davis do in this whole film.

57 out of 62 people found the following review useful:
A wonderful time warp., 26 March 2005
9/10

This film has not exactly remained fresh in the minds of film buffs, and it's a crying shame. Its witty screenplay adaptation should have netted Oscar nominations for the great screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond's adaptation, and Ingrid Bergman's flawless performance. It must have been an honor for Goldie Hawn at such a young age to work with Bergman, looking more than a decade younger than her 54 years--fifty four! When she's on the screen, it positively twinkles.

This is a film which may appear dated at first, but it actually made me wish I was around during the swingin' 'sixties. Hawn's fashions are as tacky as Bergman's are chic. (That's one minor flaw--isn't her character a little too soignée for a gal who still lives with her sister? But then again, would we have Ingrid any other way?) And who wouldn't want to hang out at a nightclub called The Slipped Disc?

The best compliments I can pay to this film is that it somehow made me nostalgic for a decade that I never saw, and that it left me wanting more. Speaking of wanting more, I wonder what ever became of sexy supporting actor Rick Lenz? (He resembles Griffin Dunne in this film.) This was his film debut, and I don't see any other major roles in his filmography. As for Goldie Hawn, she's done so much since then it's easy to not be impressed, but I can't imagine any other actor in the role, either.

Since the movie is based on a play, the line delivery may seem a bit stage-y, but it did not inhibit my enjoyment at all. In fact, I am amazed at how funny it still is after over thirty-five years. Because this film represents a bygone era, it has unjustly slipped from the consciousness of film buffs. It is more linked to the era films that came before it than the ones that followed. But don't let that stop you from savoring the delights it has to offer. Grade: A


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