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richwgriffin-227-176635

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58 reviews in total 
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Her (2013)
3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
a brilliant movie with the best performance by an actor this year, 27 December 2013
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I loved this movie. I'm puzzled as to why Joaquin Phoenix isn't winning every single Best Actor prize that's out there. His performance is amazing, phenomenal, one-of-a-kind, brilliant - the best best of his entire career! This is a film about loneliness, social isolation, the invasive negative qualities of corporate capitalist technology, relationships, sex, fantasy, instant gratification, the messiness of love, breakups, friendships, desires...it's all there.

The screenplay is Jonze's best. His direction is his best. I loved every moment of this movie - the editing, camera work, music, sound, and the fascinating choices of clothing for his character, which made him dorky yet interesting.

I have a tradition of going to a movie every Christmas morning and this was the one for 2013. It started off the day on a high note! Scarlett Johansson deserves an Oscar nomination (she's been ruled ineligible due to her work being voice only) - she gives a FULLY realized performance! A+!!!!

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
I love EVERYTHING about this movie! (:, 22 December 2013
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First of all, why isn't this film better known? I discovered it by accident on DVD and what a total delight it is! (: Every single aspect of the filmmaking works! The camera work, sets, costumes, editing, (witty) script, performances (esp. Louise Bourgoin, who should be a major major movie star!), direction (I don't always like Luc Besson, but he's brilliant here), great special effects, the best use of animation with live action I have ever seen. I love every single thing about this movie! I love that it is 1:47; some of these types of films are too long but this movie is just the right length. I absolutely implore you to watch the film in FRENCH, and not in English - it's a totally different experience and it only works in its' native language. (Simply go to the setup and switch to French).

French actors get a chance to do something completely different and without exception everyone delivers! I was captivated every single moment of this movie! It's a must-see! And why isn't Louise Bourgoin a better known French actress? She's a total delight!

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
a wonderful French comedy/Drama (:, 21 December 2013
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I had a big smile on my face during the end credits because I thoroughly enjoyed this French movie from 2012! Yes, it's essentially a stage play, almost the entire film is set in the upper-middle class Parisian living room of the couple who have invited another couple and a single friend over for dinner. The dialogue is exceptional, the acting is superb (it's my understanding they performed this as a play with the same cast in Paris before making the film; this is why they seem so cohesive).

Two of the cast members were known to me: Charles Berling and Patrick Bruel. Three of the cast members were new to me: Cesar winners Valerie Benguigui and Guillaume de Toncquedonc; and Judith El Zein (as Anna, Vincent's wife, who is very late arriving at the party, so she can reveal that they aren't really naming the baby Adolphe/Adolf, but rather Henri). Francoise Fabian has the small role of Vincent and the wife's (Babu) mother.

I didn't like the film version of Carnage at all, and this film resembles it very closely. This one is MUCH better.

I was surprised the film didn't feel static. It moved right along without any sagging. It's almost all talk but interesting talk. I would be interested in other plays by Matthieu Delaporte, who co-directed and co-wrote the screenplay.

I love French cinema. It's a cinema of actors and dialogue more than cinematography. Films often look similar but feel different.

The one suspenseful moment is that I thought Claude was going to declare his love for Babu. We are misled into thinking it's Anna he's having an affair with, but it's actually Francoise, the mother! Nice touch! Especially since everyone, including the audience, thinks he's gay! (:

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Superb phenomenal brilliant wonderful movie! (:, 15 December 2013
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A+! Wish I could give it more than a 10! Let's start with Emma Thompson's tour-de-force comedy performance as Mrs. Travers. I think this is the best work she has done since "Howard's End", and she has been wonderful in so many movies and television projects since then; she hits every right note! I hope the Academy has the good sense to nominate her for Best Actress (Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson and one other actress TBD, as far as I'm concerned).

Colin Farrell is brilliant as Travers Goff, Helen's (Pamela's) alcoholic father, who works at a bank in the Australian outback. The Australian scenes were strange to me at first, but grew on me, and made sense by the end of the picture just fine. The camera work is absolutely astounding! The little girl is terrific, and so is everyone else in the flashback scenes. The costumes, sets, writing...everything is brilliant! Tom Hanks is terrific in a supporting performance as Walt Disney. He doesn't sound or look all that much like the real Walt but he is still quite good. His long speech at the end works effectively.

Paul Giammatti plays Ralph, Mrs. Travers Hollywood driver during her stay there working on the screenplay with the Disney team. He was quite touching. He's an actor I don't usually like but I like his work here.

The use of the music from Mary Poppins, the actual scenes from the movie, the film editing...everything works! (: John Lee Hancock deserves an Oscar nomination as Best Director - doubt he will get one, since he isn't well known, but he deserves one for the fluidity of the scenes, the meshing of the different components, and the fact that the film is a drama and yet has a comedic masterpiece of acting at it's center.

I loved everything about this movie! A+!!!!

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Mark Stevens and Lucille Ball are wonderful in this fascinating noir!, 17 September 2013
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Why didn't Mark Stevens become a bigger star? He is charismatic, a good actor, sturdy, and interesting. He had a few good roles and then faded away. Even the billing went against him: why is he fourth billed, when he is the lead in the movie? Lucy is terrific in her best dramatic role of her career. Romantic, solid, moral, believable - she's wonderful.

Love the contrast between the two New Yorks: the seamy side of lower-class lives and the beautiful wealthy New York that Webb and Kreuger inhabit.

Joe MacDonald is the real star of the movie: his camera-work, combined with superb editing, makes this movie visually appealing and exciting throughout.

Sorry to read that Lucy had a bad experience with Henry Hathaway, the director of the movie ): His bullying didn't hamper her excellent performance.

I particularly love the 1945-1953 black and white movies at Twentieth Century-Fox - they moved out of the studio but unlike later the films were still in gorgeous black and white. It was a big mistake starting in 1967 to make almost all movies in realistic color ): This movie is definitely worth seeking out.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
a wonderful french rock musical (:, 15 September 2013
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is an excellent rock musical with a twist: the rock group is French! Marc-Andre Grondin and Arthur Dupont excel in the lead roles - 2 best friends who have unexplored jealousy and deeper unexplored secrets each is keeping from the other.

The music is terrific and I don't even really like rock n' roll all that much! The editing and sound of the music sequences is excellent, and I especially like the scenes in the studio and the creating of the music.

Each and every character is differentiated and interesting. The camera work is stellar and all aspects of film-making add richly to the finished film.

What I like most about this movie is the complexity of each of the characters and the intelligence of the characters. If this was an American film, the dialogue would be "dumbed down".

The women are the film are fascinating, particularly the female record producer and her relationship with the drummer in the group.

I am grateful for TV5MONDE for airing this movie! (:

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Echoes of A Streetcar Named Desire, 8 September 2013
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I kept thinking about Blanche Dubois and Streetcar during this superb Woody Allen drama. Jasmine (jeanette) = Blanche; Ginger = Stella; Derek = Mitch; Chili = Stanley (sort of)... This is a superb film about mental illness, money vs. not having money, class, self deception, complex sister relationships...

Cate Blanchett should definitely get an Oscar nomination for her work as the unlikable (but I wound up caring about her, which is the sign of an extraordinary performance) mentally ill once-wealthy now poor very delusional woman at the center of the drama. Sally Hawkins should be nominated for Supporting Actress. Interestingly, they are Australian and English actresses playing American roles (perfect accents). American actresses could have played these roles but these actresses are great too.

Surprises: Andrew Dice Clay (Augie) can act! The film is set mostly in San Francisco! Bobby Cannavale can act a very scary character - I liked how we are kept ambivalent about his character - should we like him? dislike him? be afraid of him? Take Ginger's point of view, or Jasmine's? Did anyone else notice how she starts to climb out of her mental illness when she gets involved with Peter Sarsgaard's Derek - the more she gets her life back, the more she's o.k. This fascinated me.

I felt so badly for her when the dentist took advantage of her in the office; this film was truly scary. Why didn't she press charges? I think this is just about perfect; Woody Allen's direction is superb. The film moves fluidly between the present and the past and maintains strong interest.

This movie is definitely worth seeing! (:

These films are always "inaccurate" but the MUSIC is fantastic!, 15 August 2013
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I loved this movie. Yes, it's "inaccurate" - from all accounts Benny Goodman was a horrible man to work for and with, difficult, and conflicted - but this film IS accurate - musically! (: And what music! Big band swing at it's brashest and most beguiling! I also wish Barry Truex, who played the teenaged BG, had made more movies - he's marvelous! He is completely convincing as someone secure in his musical knowledge and know-how.

Yes, it is bothersome that they don't do enough with period detail - 50's clothing and feel instead of 20's and 30's (the film ends with the 1938 Carnegie Hall concert; he was more interesting AFTER that concert!) It's also a HUGE pleasure to hear Martha Tilton sing too!

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
The Brady Bunch meets The Parent Trap, 3 July 2013
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

a warm wonderful witty cross between The Brady Bunch (she has two boys, he has two girls) and The Parent Trap (fun at summer camp). Everyone in this film is hilarious: likable funny kids, Virginia Field as Phyllis, who assumes she's engaged to Van Heflin, Richard Denning very funny as a fitness nut, Patricia Neal poignant as the boys' mother, and especially, in a comic gem of a performance, Van Heflin - he is a marvelous comedic actor, taking pratfalls, and getting in to one scrape after another. This is a Universal film, and is surprisingly directed by melodrama specialist Douglas Sirk (one of his rare comedies). The film is great to look at, totally enjoyable, has a wonderful early 50's look and attitude - oddly, it reminds me of my own childhood in the 1970's, so I guess things hadn't changed all that much in 20-25 years! A completely enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half. Thank you, Turner Classic Movies, for showing it. Just wonderful! (:

5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
One of the most achingly beautiful movies EVER! (:, 1 June 2013
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What can I say? I love love love this perfect movie! Superb direction (I want to see more of her movies!), beautifully written, excellent camera work, editing, sound, extraordinary use of varied music, locations, casting - the acting is the best ensemble acting I've seen a very very long time! Emmanuelle Devos (Orith Silberg) is the best known, and she is her usual superb self, Areen Omari is a revelation as the arab mother, Khalifa Natour and Pascal Elbe play the "politicized" fathers with an aching poignancy, Mahmud Shalaby plays what could be a caricatured "villain" as a complex young man capable of growth, and the two leads: Jules Sitruk (Joseph Silberg) and especially Mehdi Dehbi (Yacine Al-Bezaaz; I want to see him in more movies!) play such complex characters with warmth, intelligence, bravery, and brilliance.

This movie gets an A+. It's the best movie I have seen in 2013 (it was released in 2011 in France; this is the first I have ever heard of it now in 2013).

the "making of" featurette is fascinating. It made me appreciate the movie even more.

I urge anyone and everyone to see this one of a kind extraordinary humane complex intelligent moving and exceptional motion picture!!!! (:


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