Reviews written by registered user
volpone13

6 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
This is What Animation is Supposed to Be!, 30 November 2004
10/10

I recently saw part of "The Prince of Egypt" on television, and it reminded me just what an outstanding film this truly is. Here is a movie that accomplishes everything a great movie is supposed to do, and does it incredibly well without the advantage of having a brand new story. Let's face it... EVERYONE knows the story of Exodus. So how did Dreamworks take one of the most well-known stories of Western civilization (a religious story, at that) and turn it into a hundred minute animated feature?

Beautifully.

The vocal talents of Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michele Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Stewart, Martin Short, Steve Martin, and Helen Mirrin are some of the finest vocal casting ever done. The performances are incredible. The writing makes the story accessible to everyone. There's plenty of humor to keep things light. There's grandeur on a scale that few movies have ever matched. Yet, in spite of all, the story remains about people. You care about these people before the movie's done, even Rameses the pharaoh.

The animation is equal to anything ever done, even though the movie was released six years ago. The special effects used are truly breathtaking in the way they're presented. You would never confuse this movie with any other version that's ever been done.

But of all the things that make this movie great, it's the music that turns it into something magical. The musical score is beautifully integrated with the story, expressive and evocative without ever drawing your attention away from the tale unfolding. And the songs are some of the best in any movie.

The incredibly beautiful "When You Believe", sung by Michelle Pfeiffer and Sally Dworsky (Sandra Bullock's vocal double) won the Oscar for Best Song. But if you can, get the DVD and listen to the same song presented in multi-language format under Special Features. It's the same song as before, but with each phrase presented in a different language from the international releases of the movie. Words can't describe it. Don't worry about understanding the lyrics... just listen. It's worth the price of the DVD alone. Correction: the two phrases sung by the Japanese vocalists ALONE are worth the price of the DVD.

The rest is gravy.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A Magnificent Movie That Ages Like Fine Wine, 24 November 2003
10/10

I'm glad that John Wayne got a chance to do "The Quiet Man" during his career. It proved to everyone that he could actually act without having a six-gun and a horse. (Okay, he still has the horse, but it's still not a Western.)

Set in an indistinct period in rural Ireland, this movie is what movie making is all about... it's entertaining, funny, moving, and it let's you experience something you would likely never see without the help of film.

John Wayne plays "Trooper" Thorne, a retired American prize-fighter come home to the "wee humble cottage" where he was born. He's returned to escape the memories of the tragic event which made him quit the ring, and Wayne does it better than ever. Maureen O'Hara is absolutely perfect in her portrayal of the Irish "spinster" sister of the town's squire. The supporting cast is priceless, and if you never get a chance to see Barry Fitzgerald in any other movie, watch him in this one... he's the epitome of everything you could hope for in a fine Irish character actor, and gets more mileage from one dram of blarney than a regiment of lesser actors.

I won't give away the story if you've been unfortunate enough to never see this absolute jewel of a film. For those who have seen it, you already understand. For those of you who have not, no words can tell you... you need to see it yourself. Just do it. Go out to the video rental and track down a copy in the Classics section. You'll never regret it.

This is without a doubt one of my favorite movies of all time... a gem... a jewel... a priceless piece of art.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Classic Comedy At Its Finest, 24 November 2003
10/10

This utterly delightful parody of the Robin Hood genre is one of the great comedy romps of all time. Danny Kaye turned in his finest performance as the inept wanna-be hero Hubert Hawkins, a carnival performer who takes the place of the wicked king's new jester. This completely winning film has several of the greatest comedy routines ever written, including "The Maladjusted Jester" and the infamous "Vessel with the Pestle" routine. Glynnis Johns, Basil Rathbone and a young Angela Lansbury round out the cast of one of the best, most notable gems of the comedy field. A great time to be had by all.

L.A. Story (1991)
35 out of 38 people found the following review useful:
Still a Classic Gem Twelve Years Later, 24 November 2003
10/10

Okay, I was raised in the LA area, so I appreciate "LA Story" more than many might, but it's still just an incredibly wonderful romantic comedy regardless of where you grew up. The script is fabulous, and the soundtrack featuring the music of Enya is the perfect counterpoint to this wonderfully wicked lampoon of Southern California culture.

The humor is much more intelligent than early Steve Martin features such as "The Jerk", but it isn't snobbish. It has wit, charm, and pure satirical funniness. Whether it's watching Martin roller-skate through a museum of Old Masters, seeing a restaurant full of jaded Californians casually ride out a minor earthquake as their tables gracefully vibrate across the room, or the absurdity of a freeway sign giving out cryptic personal messages that change the course of the principal character's lives, the movie simply works.

Steve Martin is at his best here, equal to his wonderful performance in "Roxanne". Victoria Tennant is the perfect choice as the off-beat, tuba-playing British journalist Martin's character falls for. Sarah Jessica Parker is absolutely priceless as SanDeE* (that's her spelling, not a typo), the young would-be spokesmodel/bimbette who "likes to point". Even Rick Moranis as the comedic Cockney grave digger is wonderful, despite his having one of the least believable accents since Dick van Dyck as the chimneysweep Bert in "Mary Poppins". Forget the comment about Moranis' accent... you'll enjoy him anyway.

Overall, this is one of my two favorite movies of all time, and considering how many I've enjoyed, that's saying volumes.

6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
A Bohemian Feast for the Senses, 24 November 2003
9/10

I honestly didn't expect to like "Moulin Rouge". What? Take a bunch of songs made popular by Madonna, Elton John, David Bowie, Sting, and Nat King Cole, and tie them up in a music video-style format? You've got to be kidding?

Nope.

I grew up during the era when "classic" musicals were still the big thing... "The Sound of Music", "The King and I", "The Music Man"... you know the type. Grand. Beautiful. Safe.

Baz Luhrman has managed to re-define what makes a musical. Using every trick in the modern cinematic arsenal, he's created something as grand and beautiful, but never "safe".

I didn't like it. I loved it. But then I love theatre. And this is as theatrical as you can get. It's big, brash, larger than life in every aspect, and it MOVES! There's enough energy in this production to power Sydney for a fortnight.

I can't begin to talk about the actors... everyone turns in a stellar performance. I already liked Kidman, McGregor, and Leguizamo from previous works, but Jim Broadbent as Zidler, the owner of the Moulin Rouge, and Richard Roxburgh as the delightfully dislikable Duke fit right in and made themselves right at home among my favorite performances. And watching the two of them sing "Like a Virgin" in a Busby Berkeley styled comedy number with a dozen waiters flitting around like a bunch of demented fruit-flies was hysterically funny. When just thinking back on the jokes still makes you laugh, that's good comedy.

Basically, the movie was nothing like what I expected... but then, it's not really like anything else, so how could I expect it? But I still liked it... a lot.

I doubt "Moulin Rouge" is for everybody, but then again neither is champagne. Me... I like the bubbles.

Simply great movie.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
This is What Animation is All About, 24 November 2003
10/10

Take cutting edge computer animation, add a stellar vocal cast, mix liberally with spectacular visual effects and a laugh-out-loud funny script, and you get something approaching "Finding Nemo". Trying to describe the movie would be as unsatisfactory as trying to describe what chocolate tastes like to a person who has never tasted it.

Pixar has created a movie that is aimed at all audiences, and finds the mark in each case. This is a rare movie that is well-suited to every age group (with the possible exception of the youngest children... there are some moments which might be a bit intense for toddlers). I admit I'm very glad I'm an adult so I could catch some of the jokes which might go over a younger audience's head, but that takes nothing away from this wonderful movie as a whole.

While the animation is utterly breathtaking, it's the vocal talents of Albert Brooks, Ellen Degeneres, and a host of other perfectly chosen performers who make this movie such a constant delight.

Seeing this in the theatre first and later on DVD, I actually appreciate this gem of a feature more than when I first saw it on the big screen. It works incredibly in a theatre, but the DVD features were perfectly suited to digital media.

Just one final note... I wish that Pixar had run the "Exploring the Reef" featurette as an epilog to the movie. It's a "mocumentary" starring Jean-Michel Cousteau (Jacque's son), and while it has a serious message, it's wonderfully funny and worth the price of the DVD set all by itself.