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5 reviews in total 
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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
VERY well done (IMHO), 14 December 2013

I read the book way back when, but the details are now a bit fuzzy. I suppose that helps, because I'm not in a position to be disappointed by everything that's not filmed "exactly like it was in the book" or is left out/added to the story. On the other hand, I did remember enough of the story that I wasn't going to be confused by the course of events or any "big surprises", so that could be a potential detractor in one sense.

Admittedly, I also had my qualms about seeing the movie to further line the pockets of an author who reportedly has some very homophobic traits (unknown to me at the time I read all of the books in the series).

All that aside, I decided in the end that I just had to see the movie, and I most certainly was NOT disappointed. I am not an expert reviewer, but I am very particular (some would say downright picky) about the movies I see, and often disappointed by movies others rave about.

In this case, I thought the movie's pace was absolutely appropriate, the narration/exposition was not rushed or super-condensed, the concentration on the preparation of the children also absolutely fitting (given the importance and the role this played in the book) and interesting, the effects subtle enough to not be "in your face" the whole time and yet fantastic enough on occasion to nearly give me vertigo (I was smiling like a kid on a roller coaster).

What's more, my significant other, who has not read the book and was fairly unaware of the storyline, went with me to see the movie, and he also felt the movie was very well done. We sometimes make comments to each other during movies (as couples are wont to do), and I think this was the "quietest" we've been at the movies in a long time. He understood everything going on (contrary to some of the reviews that we read later) and I daresay he found it quite fascinating.

I do NOT share the opinion of some of the reviews I've skimmed through elsewhere that this was some kind of "tween" movie, that it was dumbed down, that it was "too much information packed into too little time (that lasted too long)", that anything about it was flat or boring or incomprehensible, or that the acting or directing was lacking in any way.

As a matter of fact, I was quite positively surprised that the writer(s) and director were able to make such good use of the time allotted to tell what is at its heart a deeply nuanced story and at the same time make it so interesting on so many levels.

To my mind, this was one of the most successful book adaptations I've ever seen (but I do reserve the right to take my opinion down a notch or two if/when I re-read the book and refresh my memory in re the details ;-) ).

Hancock (2008)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Great movie for what it is, 26 January 2009

I thought about seeing this movie when it first came out in theaters, but I had my doubts. First of all, it's maintained a relatively hum-drum rating on IMDb since that time (not that I count that as a top factor, but it is a warning sign).

Secondly, I am not a fan of "superhero" movies. I've always wanted to like the movies based on comic book heroes, but it's just not me, and I gave up several years back. The Incredibles was probably the only superhero movie I really enjoyed, apart from the great web-swinging scenes in the first Spiderman movie.

Thirdly, I couldn't really tell from the few trailers I managed to see if it might actually be funny - and if not, what was it supposed to be? I think the answer to this question is what leads me to give the rating I'm giving.

I didn't know what to expect from Hancock, and so when the opportunity finally arose, I just watched it.

And I really enjoyed it. Hancock is part thigh-slapping comedy, part action movie, part melodrama, part romance, part absurdly dry observation, with generous slabs of comic book thrown in between.

As one person pointed out, the plot was somewhat predictable in places, and yet we were still left guessing just enough - do you think it will happen this way or that way? And every time there was a new development, it caused us to think back to what we had seen 10 minutes before to ask ourselves if we had really seen it coming.

We laughed, we grinned (wryly), we "ewwwww"ed, and we said "awwwww". We didn't take the movie too seriously - it didn't take itself too seriously. And I think that's the main point. It tells a story, it makes it fun, adds pretty cool special effects, adds elements from a lot of different genres, and winds everything up nicely in the end.

I am a reluctant fan of Will Smith. I didn't really know who he was as his fortunes were rising, and (being an avid rap-hater), I didn't really care. But despite myself, I am almost always impressed. I haven't seen all his movies, but his performances rarely if ever fail to leave me nodding in approval. I wouldn't exactly say this part was a dramatic stretch for him, but he was nicely cast, as were the other two leads.

This is not the greatest movie since sliced bread, it is a nice, fun way to pass the time. Normally I would give it maybe 7 or 8 stars, but because I think it's gotten such a bad rap, I'm giving it a 9 for balance.

Sideways (2004)
2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Can't Believe the Hype - No Way!, 24 April 2005

I just can't believe this movie rated an 8 out of 10 by viewers. I don't have the time to read all the comments and find those few who agree with my opinion (as do some, judging by some message board comments), but this movie was simply not enjoyable at all.

There are some people who seem to be saying "if you don't like this movie, you don't like good films." I find that type of comment not only naive but rather insulting.

I realize my own personal tastes are not often those of the public at large; I have seen and sought out many foreign films, tend to avoid Hollywood blockbusters with big stars and bigger explosions, often enjoy movies that are hard to classify in one particular genre, and very often prefer less well-known actors following through on plots that have interesting complications, that make obscure references, that make you think a little, and/or whose characters land in bizarre situations, forcing you to laugh despite yourself.

All of which, one would think, would amply prepare me for Sideways.

But I can honestly say, I was in a room of 5 people of varying ages, tastes, and even sobriety levels, and not one of us enjoyed this movie.

The characters were admirably pitiable, the situations nearly painful to watch, the development nearly non-existent, and every time we thought something would or should actually emerge in the plot - we were disappointed.

We felt like something was supposed to happen, indeed, should have been right around the corner if we would only wait one more minute for it... but it just never did.

Great, so if you like wine, you've finally got a movie that sufficiently praises the "intellectual" aspects of this Bacchanalian pastime.

Other than that, this movie was not a comedy - we almost never laughed - and it hardly seemed to qualify as a drama, since almost nothing of any import happened and left us completely unsympathetic with the characters.

The most we felt at the end of this movie was slight disgust for the one womanizing character, and faint pity for the "anti-hero". Even these vague emotions were tempered by our complete disinterest, generated by this movie's inability to actually go anywhere.

Sorry to buck the trend, but I could not recommend this movie to anyone.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Surprise Treat, 10 May 2004

I'm a pretty big fan of the Python guys, but I have to admit I haven't managed to see everything, and have not always liked everything I've seen. But when this movie came on tv as a complete surprise, it turned into a suprrise treat for me. I can't comment on the original dialog since I had to settle for a German dubbing (the infamous "synchronization"), which may have actually ameliorated the movie, but I laughed consistently, even at slapstick moments where I wouldn't have thought that I would have laughed. All in all I enjoyed myself thoroughly, despite the fact that poor Bernie Kopell seemed doomed to play a character utterly reminiscent of his role as Siegfried in the eternally ridiculous (and sometimes hilarious) Get Smart. In the end, good must triumph, but getting there can be funny as well as fun. I thought it was well worth the trip.

24 out of 41 people found the following review useful:
Must-see for suspense-thriller fans, 22 October 2003

I have to say, I've seen some very contradicting reviews of this film, so even though I have to give it "two thumbs up", obviously there are others with exactly the opposite opinion.

I've heard comparisons to "The Sixth Sense" and "The Exorcist", and my first comment is that I believe this film stands alone. I didn't see those other movies because I had no desire to, and although I've seen bits and pieces of them since, doing so changed nothing for me. Neither their trailers nor pieces of them impressed me, or intrigued my need for a real mystery.

Ever since the first time I saw a "making of" for "The Gathering", however, it sparked my interest.

And I believe, without comparing it to any other film, this movie comes through.

In the opening, it begins like a "classic horror", because there is "tragedy" (read that: blood). When Christina Ricci's character, Cassie, comes on the scene, there is the mystery of Who She Is - she doesn't know, no one knows. Although the character didn't really seem to have much depth, at least in the beginning, I didn't see that as as major drawback. How can someone with amnesia be deep?

Then the rest of the story unfolds: the uncovering of a major historical find with religious connections and sinister spiritual overtones. The appearance of people that Cassie believes may be following her or are at least Up To No Good, the visions that she has - all gruesome or violent, the child who won't speak but who seems to share her visions and growing panic, the church's establishment of what seems to be verifiable supernatural occurences throughout history related to the historical find and the people that Cassie sees. And the always-nagging question - Who Is She? and What Is About To Happen?

Maybe I am more naive than those cynical folks who didn't enjoy this movie. I don't go to classic horrors where blood is spilled everywhere, but I have seen almost every "devil" or "church" or "witch" movie I can get my hands on (without mass murdering, that is), as well as quite a few in the "thriller" genre.

And I would say that the suspense I felt while watching this movie was well-established. I tried to guess Who She Was, and I tried to guess What Would Happen Next, but for at least 2/3 of the movie this just wasn't possible for me.

For me, the "surprise" ending really was a surprise, although it unfortunately wasn't really the ending. I think the only drawback for me was that after the "surprise" was revealed, the movie went on to become more obvious, and the last scene seemed by then rather superfluous. Having said that, this didn't negate my overall enjoyment.

So I say, if you like "psycho-thrillers" (or whatever this genre is actually called), this is a movie for you. If you want rich character development and everything discussed and examined about the profoundness of being human and dealing with life-altering decisions, you need to pick a different movie.