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14 reviews in total 
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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
omg, 15 February 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was really trite. Everyone acted like adolescent teenagers. There was a denouement in the middle where Kate points out that she has been acting absurd which is great because I would've strangled her myself at that point otherwise. Everything was extremely improbable and they were extremely un-self-aware. The awkward shyness alone was so difficult to watch. Had they been more intelligent they would have gotten to grips with it two months in. There were some great lines of dialogue that saved the movie ("You can come to the office and help with commodities arbitrage." (later) "Do you care about her? I don't like to see her upset." "Well I suggest you invest in blindfolds.") Moira Kelly was luminous and beautiful. She was like the second coming of Audrey Hepburn in this movie. At the end: DID THEY WIN THE MEDAL OR NOT? did she throw over her fiancé FOR NOTHING? or does it not matter because it's LOVE? (worst timing of love declaration ever)? the whole thing just got pushed OVER THE TOP with the ending first kiss.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Wow!, 14 November 2011

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Wow, I really liked this movie! At times it seems not very plotty (two guys move in together and fight tons) and simplistic and a setup for a hugely boring time, but I couldn't stop laughing. It's gutbustingly funny--you have to concentrate, because the dialogue is quite fast, unexpected, grumpy, a bit slapstick, a bit witty.

It's definitely classic screwball, almost predictably so at some points. At one point, two ladies sob on Lemmon's shoulder as he regales them with sad tales and you can already tale that Mathau is going to come out any minute and give a bit of a hard time. Still, everyone is pitch perfect. Sometimes, the most dreary situations turn into something hilarious -- I love the group of friends who desperately try to prevent Lemmon's character from suiciding (harassing him outside the bathroom, accidentally slamming him into a door when they break into his bedroom, etc.)

It's also great to see scenes of 68 New York. So different, yet so much the same.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Heavyhanded, 8 November 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The potential was there--the actors were great (esp Macguire as nerd and a young, fat Reese Witherspoon and the puppyish Daniels), the 50s atmosphere seemed to set everything up for nostalgia and irony, and the premise of 90s children bringing color and passion in a 50s television show seemed like a great story. Unfortunately, the heavyhanded message detracted from the experience. The worst signs were the over-dramatic courtroom monologue adding nothing particularly original ("what's different is inside us"), the extremely heavy racial and religious allegory (girlfriend offering an apple? things that are off-limits to "colored" people? mccarthy-era fahrenheit 451-style book burning??), the overplayed color metaphor (the first few times were great, having it last to the end of the story dragged). It begins to seem a bit dumb and heavy...

and its message is ridiculously left-leaning. A housewife, and some high school kids, find passion after sex (and masturbation, after which a tree goes up in the obvious flames), with no regard to teenage pregnancy, stds, etc. A bored schoolgirl finds passion after reading D. H. Lawrence. Leaving one's husband and starting extramarital affairs is given a thumbs up (and never resolved afterward.) Someone paints a housewife nude on a wall and the attack on it is made out to be some kind of anti-art, anti-passion mccarthyism crusade. In the end, the hero exhorts the audience to find their true feelings and passions, including anger. The town turns colorful. Boring, and biased, and an obvious, heavyhanded story.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Cheesy but beautiful, 29 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a really beautiful, sensitive, and romantic period movie. I like the surprising feistiness of Victoria, and the way the film fights against the subdued role of women in the Victorian age. There are some odd moments-- would Albert and Victoria's first meeting really be so honest, complaining about how they both felt controlled like chess pieces, with so much at stake? _while moving chess pieces_?! It felt cheesy at times then, but it does set up the central conflict of the film.

The period pieces and drama are just really, really beautiful. Art/Costume is A+++, best I've ever seen in a period movie. There are little details like arranging sparkling wineglasses in order and focusing out. I kept trying to remember the color patterns of the gowns; they were so stylish. It's so inspiring. It's surprisingly historically accurate: they have a play on a that famous drawing where Victoria is told that she is queen, while still in her nightgown, with the councillors bowing down before her, which I thought was surprisingly sensitive. One reviewer says, "I doubt if (the king) would have gone so far as to bawl abuse at (his sister in law) during a state banquet". It's funny enough but the true story was that he did publicly yell at Victoria's mother while proclaiming his intention to 'carry on' until his lovely niece turned 18, so I loved to see that scene on film-- it's crazy to believe it actually happened. The music here is very classical and appropriate to the period, but you have to like Liszt and Schubert.

I liked the characters more than I should've; it's romanticizing a harsher time. Albert's tutors upbraid him for not knowing Victoria's tastes, haha. He plays his part with subtlety, expressionless and reserved. Emily Blunt is so good in this role where you can see her frustrations, her anger, her happiness under a reserved demeanor.

An unnecessarily dramatic ending, but I guess there does have to be romance in this movie to carry it along, since not much else is doing so. It's a little predictable and cliché--even as they were getting in the carriage I was thinking (knowing a bit about Victorian history) 'oh, they're probably going to shoot her now to make this a dramatic ending and tie up this movie nicely.' Sigh. There's no real intrigue, and plot points aren't carried out to the end (at one point, protesters storm at the palace gates, and Victoria shuts her eyes and rolls over in bed until the problem goes away.) I wish we were shown the intriguing romance with a story of how Victoria conquered the scheming at court in her first few years as queen; this movie is so mellow that it can only give us the romance.

Black Swan (2010)
5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Over-dramatic and cliché, 28 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The cliché aspect of this: this is so diatomic--the first half is the director yelling at the dancer to go from "virginal white" to unleash the "passionate black swan" which is... really not what I thought Swan Lake is about, but just seems to be made up and stretched to add a dramatic plot. The script is totally lacking--the mother has the worst, most cliché lines--"I gave up my life for you! Sweet girl!" and the director continues to pound the black-vs-white metaphor. Sexual harassment for advancement and the vengeful aging star also put in appearances here.

It also seems pushing credibility: Portman seems to have an agonized, needy, nervous expression on her face during the entire film, complete with ragged uneven breathing, which is OK in a person-loses-her-mind film but ballet is famous for valuing athleticism & lightness of expression and no one so obviously nervous and unhinged would be let a lead role. For example, in the rehearsal scene where you can see everyone casually and elegantly doing a straightforward degage/fondu combination, Portman looks so nervous the audience expects she's going to bolt or break down at any second, straining credulity that this would go unnoticed by anyone else or that she would be picked for the lead. In many dance scenes [27:20], she performs with a furrow in her brow--is she psychologically tortured or is she confused and trying to remember how to do the combination? In one scene, there's a head shot of her looking nervous and not spotting, paired with a full body shot of her (presumably body double) confidently doing perfect passe turns, which is pretty physically impossible.

The sensuality and club scenes were sexy and made a darker transformation, but again, it's hard to believe that ~suddenly everything is OK. I thought the sex added to the plot as much as the groping and come-ons did--people seem to be extra defensive for some reason. I liked the feathers growing out of skin as a kind of horrifying, shocking moment. I love the way Lily and Nina work together; Nina was not very sympathetic, but Lily was just so full of life and a bit sarcastic; I thought their relationship was great. I did think it was tasteless that Lily had a tattoo of black wings. 1) Can you be any more obvious 2) It seems pretty dumb and career-ending for a ballerina to get a tattoo there. But anyhow.

The way scratches kept coming up were really chilling and it became a bit of a horror movie at the end that did shock me.

Finally, it passed over ballet as a dance form and made it into a cliché: overworked dancer trying to strive for emotion and compete with other catty dancers. There's shockingly few dance scenes here--I'd say 50-75% of them are closeups of Portman's face and a camera wheeling around her shoulders and upper body, which is not dancing. Ballet has gorgeous lines and this movie doesn't really show any of it, which would be disappointing for dancers. It also doesn't accurately portray Swan Lake. More of a dramatic horror movie showing one deranged woman, rather than anything to do with the artistic endeavors of ballet.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Very slow paced, 27 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really didn't like this movie very much. We only got the barest sense of Chanel's style and how she grew into becoming a celebrity designer--instead, it felt like 30% of movies were shots of Balsan's degenerate castle lifestyle and Tatou being stony and sulky, before she met Boy Capel and it segued into a rather predictable love story that's very, very slow. There are endless shots of people's over the top hats and dresses.

It doesn't much discuss Chanel's career, instead weaving it around a love story that wraps around the feminist constructions of those days, and the roles of women.

Megamind (2010)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Great, 27 October 2011

I love this movie. It's funny, it's sweet, it's dramatic, it's clever and it has great pacing. The soundtrack is old school and classic. It does suffer from bad marketing (being released in the same year as Despicable Me, another superhero movie) but it's ten times lighter on its feet, and more clever--with the kind of SNL gags that I think Tina Fey had a hand in writing. It also has a real ~heart with its hapless hero. Some of the gags (an unshaven Music Man) really point to some great scriptwriting and animation, with inside jokes for parents that abound. I love the cute sidekick Minion, which is a v adorable and smart fish. And the invisible car effects and the deranged superhero-turned-villain mixes the lines of motivations and human nature and gives us a fun plot to hold on to. Great movie.

Ghost (1990)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Cheesy, 27 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a lovely story that's so, so cheesy. You have to watch it to see how much cheese is totally emanating from... well, everywhere. I like the accompanying plot twists and the villains are pretty villainous yet somewhat white-collar-gone-mad, which is a v. scary combination. At the same time, I felt like Moore took so long to believe her husband was a ghost despite all the details the psychic told her that a lot of the plot hinges on her being, well, idiotic? And what was going on with the kiss with the villain (where it's not romantic if she doesn't smack him and scream at him to get out, instead agreeing to have dinner with him?) Other plot holes include where Swayze takes over Goldberg's body and then begins to caress Moore, and I was so confused--almost illogical. During the entire romantic scene, I was wondering what it must really look like... Goldberg's character herself is really annoying, especially when Swayze has to coach her through a bank move--it was idiotic (again), and the plot hinged on it.

This has really nothing to do with ghosts or the eternal or anything mysterious (there are scenes of demons from hell that are pretty ridiculous and over the top); it's just your standard love story... except they can never be together again. I love the performance by the subway guy, who is v, v, passionate. If this is about true love that lasts eternally, though, it's kind of depressing. I thought the special effects were kind of nice for the 1990s (of course super over the top in 2011). In general, a very standard, CHEESY movie that is helped by the strong side plot of crime and avenged death that drives the love story.

Surprisingly good, 27 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Wow, I was surprised to like this movie so much--a movie without much much dramatic romance (thugh the romantic scenes are pretty titillating), or action, or mystery, or thrilling scenes like typically Hollywood. Doesn't feel like it was made with only a $1m budget. The filming is really beautiful and dreamy and artful, and it makes you think --about what an education really means and what you can learn in books about how you can unlock potential within yourself, about how to view the world, about the best ways to learn, about what sophistication really means, and about all the falsehoods and hypocrisies within people both in children and adults. One of the strongest lines in the film was about how in life you're not able to take shortcuts--even though you think you can. So it has a rather inspiring message, and I think Carey Mulligan is fantastic in the role--she's low key but luminous, and plays the part very convincingly. David is a fantastic and cold.

This movie fell a bit flat for me in its morality play -- the 60s were so different, and the period pieces in the film are great. There is one scene where Jenny goes to a backyard and meets her conman's wife, who looks at her very pityingly, and calls out to her when she turns away. I felt like that scene might have been cheesy and overplayed. But in general, what a beautiful film--and it ended too soon.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Old-fashioned and a bit scandalous at once, 24 October 2011

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This is supposed to be a screwball comedy, but it was so dramatic it kept me on edge almost the entire time--will she go back to her husband? Is he going to make it back in time? What about everyone else who helped them on this crazy journey? Is she going to say 'I do?' wow! It's old-fashioned in the way women are depicted (colbert spends a lot of her time sobbing and freaking out, while clark gable plays the unmoved, exasperated, in control, wise-cracking, eye-rolling man), the way people talk, and the way 'trashy' relationships and hitchhiking is depicted ('see? i told you they were a nice couple!' still cracks me up.) Yet at the same time, it was surprisingly racy. Apparently a moral code was passed a year after this was released, so we see scenes like unmarried people sleeping in the same room, almost-kissing, cuddling, and one v. shapely leg exhibited during the famous hitchhiking scene. It's great. It's a very beautiful movie; the hay scene with lighting in particular reminds me of Casablanca, and Colbert looks beautiful and very sleek in all scenes; it's like the Inception of the 1930s.

The ending is satisfying, and it's a feel good movie--there's no real villains here, and you get a sense that everyone's just an upright, decent person who wants you to win, even if they fired you a week prior, etc. Great lines, great chemistry-- a v. enjoyable movie.

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