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A Time to Kill (1996)
A poor adaptation of a great novel
Having read John Grisham's novel "A Time To Kill and having thoroughly enjoyed it, I was enthusiastically looking forward to viewing the movie adaptation of this movie. Perhaps I shouldn't have had high expectations because not only does it lack the depth and quality of the novel -which is perhaps understandable-but the choice of casting leads a lot to be wanted.
To give credit where its due, Matthew McConaughey is great as Jake Brigance (even though the character in the novel is much more jaded and multi-dimensional than the movie version). And Samuel L Jackson does a great job as Carl Lee Hailey. And Brenda Fricker and Kevin Spacey are both good
But somehow Ashley Judd, great actress though she is, is miscast for the role of Carla Brigance. Perhaps this is not entirely her fault because the character of Carla Brigance is not treated well in this movie and lacks the character development or the liveliness that characterizes her in the novel. And Sandra Bullock as Ellen Roark -what were they thinking? Bullock ultimately succeeds in transforming a very intelligent, genial and pleasant character into an obnoxious, shallow and vacuous character who left me cold and unsympathetic toward her -even during the climax of her character's role.
Gone is a lot of the witty dialogue and humorous banter that characterized the Grisham novel. Lucien's character, although good, doesn't have much of the appeal that is such a strength in the book and the same goes for Harry Rex Vonner. And the issues and perspectives are not really examined in the depth that they should be in the movie -even given that a movie adaptation of a book can't go into the same depth, this one is sadly lacking.
All in all I would advise people to read the novel and give the movie a miss.
13 Going on 30 (2004)
Excellent acting and a good script save what could be a clichéd and predictable plot
"13 Going On Thirty" is one of those movies that could have had the potential to be bad but instead proves to be of high quality due to the excellent acting and a wonderful and comprehensive script
It is true that we have seen several successive movies in which characters switch bodies or are fast forwarded to the future to discover what they have become. In fact this has been reflected as much in literature as it has been on the popular screen -as evidenced by Dickens's 'A Christmas Carol'. So it is exceedingly challenging for scriptwriters working on this kind of plot to come up with a unique script containing strong interaction between the characters, humor and a flowing dialogue that will sustain the viewer's interest in the movie which they can predict from start to finish. Yet '13 Going On 30' does just that and keeps the viewer entertained and engaged until the very end.
Jennifer Garner is excellently cast as Jenna Rink. The amount of spontaneity and depth that she gives to her character ensures that she presents a realistic portrayal of an individual who finds herself in the situation that Jenna Rink does. She conveys the character's naivety and idealism exceedingly well and even her facial expressions and hand movements give new meaning to the role of her character. She makes her character both appealing and attractive in a way that an actress of a lesser caliber would be unable to do.
Mark Ruffalo is also superb in his role as Matt. His acting also gives the portrayal of genuine warmth, kindness and friendship in his character and adds to the strength of this movie. He is also perfectly cast for his role. And the same goes for Judy Greer -who is absolutely outstanding and first class in both personalities she portrays in her role-and for everyone else down from Jenna's wonderfully sardonic and entertaining boss to even Jenna's secretary. And all those people who portrayed the younger versions of their characters are just unbelievably gifted in their acting abilities -I think you have to go back to the child actor in the Sixth Sense to find such wonderful child actors as the ones in this movie. I think this movie goes to show that there is a lot of up and coming talent in Hollywood and I look forward to seeing these actors in many future roles to come.
As mentioned previously, the scriptwriters have avoided the shortcomings of many romance or teen movies at the present time in shunning excessively clichéd and stereotypical dialogue and instead focusing on promoting the level of interaction and exchanges between the characters. They examine very closely some of the issues involved in changing age so rapidly -and the shortcomings as well as the advantages that it brings.
The nostalgia value in this movie is also great. The flashbacks to the '80s' and the wonderful music and hits of that decade took me back memory lane and reminded me of many fond memories.
I think this movie appeals to something in quite a lot of us -to change the past, to undo what has been done and to create a better future for ourselves and for those in our lives. I found this movie thoroughly entertaining, enjoyable and charming. 8/10
Connie and Carla (2004)
Much better than I expected .
As one who considered that `My Big Fat Greek Wedding' was overrated, I did not have high expectations for this movie entering into the cinema. I was therefore pleasantly surprised at how entertaining and enjoyable this movie was and the high quality acting of both the main characters and the supporting cast.
Nia Vardalos and Toni Collette are excellent in their roles as Connie and Carla. They give a wonderful dimension of depth and personality to their two characters and have the style, flair and enthusiasm for their roles that that makes them perfect for the roles that they portray. They are natural performers and this movie allows them to showcase their strong points.
They also benefit from having a strong supporting cast. The actors who portray the other drag queens in the film portray their respective roles very convincingly and with a style and flair that is essential to ensuring the success of their roles. The Mafia henchmen are also excellent in their roles and provide the sinister and yet entertaining element necessary for their characters to succeed
The script and plot flows naturally and the jokes and humor are for the most part hilarious and adds to the appeal of the movie. I agree with the criticisms of this movie that the characters are clichéd, the whole plot very predictable and the film very stereotypical of those in its genre. And yet the wonderful performances and acting of Collete and Vardalos, the talent of the supporting cast, the enjoyable and entertaining humour and even the serious parts of the movie are so engaging that it helps keep the viewer engrossed and entertained. This is a great movie to see if you want to relax and unwind and want some light hearted fun and entertainment
The Stepford Wives (2004)
Strong and capable performances save this film from being a wreck
This movie should have been a disaster. The character development was weak, the script was uninspiring, the jokes were clichéd and the whole sequence of events throughout the whole movie was exceedingly predictable. Even though I haven't read the novel, I'm quite sure that this movie was quite a weak and flawed adaptation of the story contained within the book. You can actually see from watching the movie that the original novel must have had a significant and intriguing depth and dimension that fails to be conveyed in the movie. And I'm quite sure the book had a much more intellectual focus than this movie did. If not for the excellent performances of the main players in the cast, I'm quite sure this movie would have been a flop
But it isn't. And the fact that it isn't can be attributed entirely to the excellent acting provided by Nicole Kidman, Glenn Close, Matthew Broderick and to some extent Bette Midler. They manage to give this movie some life, vitality and enthusiasm that is sadly missing from the whole script and plot of this movie.
Nicole Kidman is outstanding in her portrayal of Joanne Eberhard. She portrays the various dimensions of her character's personality with a radiance and a realistic quality that gives a depth that effectively brings her character to life even with the flaws and defects of her script. Glenn Close also gives a flawless and wonderful performance as Clare Wellington and perfects every aspect and dimension of her character through her facial expressions, her manner of speaking and her strong on-screen persona. Matthew Broderick also performs strongly in his role even though the aspects of his character and his adjustment to Stepford could have been explored much more extensively on the part of the scriptwriters. Midler also portrays her role excellently although she runs the risk of being typecast in the role of the characters that she has consistently played in various movies. And Roger Bart is absolutely priceless in his role as the `Stepford husband'
This film does suffer from some major flaws but, despite this, it is still relatively pleasant and enjoyable to view. It will never be a classic but is nevertheless harmless fun
Dirty Dancing (1987)
A wonderful, moving, touching and poignant classic
I viewed this movie for the first time last night and I enjoyed every aspect of it the dancing, the acting, the dialogue, the plot, the script and the whole atmosphere that this movie created. I would highly recommend it.
Jennifer Grey gives an absolutely wonderful and first class performance in her role as Frances (Baby) Houseman. She has a natural ability and flair for dancing and she is beautiful and enchanting on the dance floor. But what is wonderful about Baby is that she has such a wonderful depth and dimension to her character. This is not simply a movie about dancing but the scriptwriters have also given us a chance to see Baby deal with the various emotions and feelings that she is experiencing throughout the movie and to allow us an insight into how her interaction with others at the camp changes her life. Grey portrays her character with such realism and poignancy that you end up feeling deeply for Baby as she experiences all she does in this movie.
Patrick Swayze is magnificent in his role as Johnny and truly succeeds in making his character come alive. He gives his character a comprehensive personality, strong appeal and great depth. The chemistry between Swayze and Grey is enchanting and powerful and contributes significantly to the great success of this movie
Cynthia Rhodes is great in her role of Penny and her portrayal of the ordeal that she experiences is truly powerful and contributes a frightening dimension to the film. The other members of the supporting cast Jerry Orbach and the late Mark Cantor deserve a special mention here-also give wonderful and imaginative performances that gives this movie an additional dimension of high quality acting and believability that is wonderful to experience. The dancing is magnificent and first class on the part of all involved.
The script and interaction between all the major characters is intriguing and engages the viewer in a powerful fashion. The plot, although exceedingly predictable, is given more than enough life and vitality to make this movie successful.
Furthermore the wonderful selection of music contained in this movie creates a truly magical atmosphere and very nostalgic environment that enhances the quality and success of all the various scenes.
`Dirty Dancing' is a truly powerful, magnificent and very appealing movie that leaves you deeply touched and with a wonderful feeling in your heart and soul and an inspiration to dance. I highly recommend it
50 First Dates (2004)
While I would concede that I am generally not a fan of Adam Sandler movies, I nevertheless found `50 First Dates' to be a thoroughly enjoyable and heartwarming movie with an intriguing plot and excellent acting on the part of the main characters and quite a significant number of the supporting cast.
Adam Sandler provides an excellent portrayal of Henry Roth, somewhat of a playboy who has shunned commitment but finds his one true love, a woman with a very unique mental state of mind. Sandler gives his character a unique dimension of warmth, likeability and strength that ensures that he emerges as one of the strong points of the movie. With the help of an excellent script for his character, Sandler gives his character a dimension of warmth and humanity that is both heartwarming and thoroughly pleasant to watch
Drew Barrymore is also excellent in her portrayal of Lucy Whitmore a sweet and kind person with a medical condition that plays a significant role in the movie. Barrymore provides her character with a wonderful dimension of warmth, kindness and sweetness that allows you to truly empathize with her and the dilemma she experiences. Barrymore really allows the positive dimensions of her character to shine through and this also contributes significantly to the movie's success.
The script writers have done a wonderful job of examining and portraying Lucy's medical condition with sympathy and humour. They make you have a unique degree of empathy and warmth toward the characters while at the same time not transforming the movie into a series or sad affair. The portrayal of the plot comes across as unique and balanced.
There are some minor flaws in the movie, in my opinion. The character development of Lucy's brother is rather unfortunate and is one of the weak points of the movie it would probably have been better if he were provided with greater substance and depth and less clichéd and annoying dialogue. Also Rob Schneider's character was given too much air time and became rather annoying as time progressed. He should have been more of a background character than he was. I agree with what another reviewer on this site said about unnecessary over the top humour and accents it really would have been much better without all that and it does detract somewhat from the high quality of the movie
But these flaws do not undermine the heartwarming and beautiful plot of the movie, the wonderful acting and the flowing interaction between Sandler and Barrymore. I would highly recommend this movie just fast forward the `yuck' bits
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
I would not be able to recommend this movie highly enough .
This is a truly wonderful film from the 1980s that brings back fond memories for me and it just becomes even more wonderful every time that I view it. I would consider `Ferris Bueller's Day Off' to be one of the classic movies of the 1980s and probably one of the most profoundly entertaining, enjoyable, hilarious and poignant movies of all time. This movie has everything in it to make it a success a wonderful storyline, a strong script, a wonderfully talented array of highly qualified main actors and supporting cast and naturally flowing dialogue. If some of the producers of today could learn from movies of the 1980s, this world would be a much better place.
Matthew Broderick delivers high quality, first class and believable acting to his role as Ferris Bueller. Portraying Ferris Bueller seems to be a strong point for him and I would consider it as a defining moment in his acting career. He gives Bueller's character a lot of depth and personality that tends to be missing from the vast majority of movies. Alan Ruck and Mia Sara also provide wonderful portrayals of Ferris's friends Cameron and Sloane. Jeffrey Jones is priceless in his excellent portrayal of constantly beleaguered headmaster Ed Rooney and Jennifer Grey shines as Ferris's disgruntled sister Jeannie Bueller. Even the supporting cast such as Ferris's parents down to school attendant Florence Sparrow down to the garage mechanic who `looks after' the car-give wonderful performances that make the film even more wonderful than it already is.
The storyline is entertaining, enjoyable and gripping enough to keep you hanging on to the end. It's portrayal of youth, innocence and having a good time is truly a class act. The dialogue is witty, catchy and contains some priceless one liners that are still popular catchphrases today. It had me laughing hysterically even watching it for the tenth time. Everything down to the music and scenery works for this movie.
My advice would be to go and see it. You won't regret it and will come away with a warm, nostalgic, feel good and wonderful feeling. They don't make movies this good anymore
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
Painful to watch
While I usually enjoy romance comedies and would consider movies such as `Sleepless In Seattle' and `You've Got Mail' to be among the best movies that I have seen, I have noticed that they seem to have deteriorated recently in terms of both the acting and the storyline. `How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days' would probably have to rank as the worst movie in any genre that I have seen for a significant period of time.
For a good romance movie/comedy to succeed it needs a good script, a good storyline (which even if predictable still contains enough substance to keep the viewer engaged), chemistry between the main actors, a strong supporting cast and flowing dialogue. It also has to make you laugh and make you feel good. In some cases the presence of one of the above features is so strong that it cancels out the lack of the other characteristics and makes the movie a success regardless. The problem with `How to Lose A Guy In 10 Days' is that it lacks all of the above characteristics.
The storyline contained in this movie is not only exceedingly predictable but contains all the clichéd characters and twists that have been recycled time and time again in romance movies and novels. There is nothing new to keep the viewer engaged you can predict almost every minute of the movie as it unfolds. You can see the ending from the beginning and there are no surprises.
The script writing is equally bad. The character development is unrealistic and weak, the dialogue clichéd and stilted, the jokes very unfunny and needlessly crude and everything down to the costumes and scenery is out of place in the movie. The only thing going for this movie is the music and even then it is quite often much too high quality for such a weak film.
It is still possible that all this could have been offset by excellent acting by both the main players and the supporting cast. And I'll give Matthew McConaughey credit he does give a star performance and provides his character with a considerable amount of depth and believability despite the bad script and weak dialogue. The rest of acting, however, is of a poor quality (this most probably is not the fault of the actors but rather of the script) and makes the movie even more painful to watch. It's hard to feel any degree of sympathy or empathy for anyone in the movie which goes against the whole idea of these types of movies and quite frankly the acting and the characters in the movie were downright annoying and made me want to turn off within about ten seconds of beginning to watch the movie.
This is a poor attempt at a movie in this genre and is exceedingly boring, weak, predictable and lame. Out of a rating of 10, I would give it a -5 and it's only that high because Matthew McConaughey's acting rescues the film from being a total disaster and nightmare
A truly wonderful, chilling, compelling and high quality masterpiece
`Candyman' is a very frightening and yet intriguing and compelling movie that plays upon and cleverly manipulates old urban legends and myths of folklore and brings to life some of your worst nightmares and horrors. As far as scary movies go it falls into a category of its own in terms of its depth and excellence
One of the main strengths of this movie is that the script and the character performances are so powerful and credible that it doesn't feel the need to inject unnecessary horror/graphic/violent scenes into it to sensationalize it. Sure, there is an extensive amount of blood and gore in the movie but it nevertheless fits in with the plot and isn't added in just to give the film an unnecessary `horror' feel. The chilling and terrifying aspects of this movie come from the dialogue, the sequence of events and the emotions and personas revealed in the characters. The plot and the script is enough to leave you mesmerized throughout the whole movie and to remain on the edge of your seat with the anticipation of what is going to happen next. The producers and scriptwriters must receive top marks for the wonderful way in which they enriched the whole movie by relying on the script and the acting instead of adding cheap gimmicks into it to make it more frightening. In addition to that the lighting and the scenery around the whole movie makes it even more frightening
I have always thought Virginia Madsen to be a highly talented, qualified and excellent actress whose wonderful acting and gifted performances have been consistently overlooked when allocating movie roles. For me `Candyman' confirmed this thesis. Her portrayal of Helen Lyle is truly one of the most excellent portrayals of a character I have seen recently. She gives her character so much depth, dimension and genuine emotions. Tony Todd also emerges from this film as a very talented and wonderful actor. The amount of depth, dimension and persona that he gives to the character of the `Candyman' is amazing. Although the Candyman is in many ways a truly evil and frightening character, you also can't help but feel a great deal of sympathy for him at times and this too is a testament to Todd's acting. The supporting cast particularly Vanessa Williams and even the young kid who Helen interviews while in the neighbourhood-also deserve an honourable mention for giving their characters such a realistic edge.
I would recommend this movie it is chilling, frightening, intriguing, compelling, sad and wonderful all in one. One of the best movies I have ever seen in this genre
Trading Places (1983)
A very entertaining, thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended movie
`Trading Places' is one of the best movies and one of the best comedies that I have had the privilege of viewing and almost every aspect of this movie is done to the highest excellence and the highest quality. I have always considered that some of the most entertaining and enjoyable movies came out during the 1980s and `Trading Places' definitely falls within this category.
Everything is a success with this movie the high quality of acting from both the main actors and the supporting cast, the wonderful humour and engaging dialogue contained within the script, the development of the plot, the music selection provided for the various scenes and even the atmosphere and scenery contained in the movie. Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd are particularly outstanding in their various roles and keep the excellent performances up in their reversal of roles. Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche and Denham Elliot also provide their characters with a great amount of depth and dimension and make what would have already been a wonderful comedy success even more entertaining. The only very minor criticism is that Jamie Lee Curtis is meant to portray a prostitute in this movie. Jamie Lee Curtis is much too high quality of an actress for the role of a prostitute and I think if the emphasis had been on her character's profession it would have weakened her contribution to the movie. But thankfully the writers and producers recognized that she shouldn't be portrayed in a one-dimensional role and her truly wonderful and highly excellent acting abilities shone through during the whole movie.
The script flowed naturally and had an edge to it that made it both entertaining and intriguing. Even though the storyline and outcome was slightly predictable, the scriptwriters succeeded in keeping you interested and keeping you entertained as the sequence of events unfolded. The humour contained in the movie is genuinely entertaining and doesn't sound forced or strained in the same way that it does in some other movies. Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy make a thoroughly wonderful team and I hope they someday consider doing another movie together. I think the 1980s marked the high point of Eddie Murphy's career and this was one of the movies that cemented his reputation as a great comedian.
I couldn't recommend this movie highly enough. A truly great comedy masterpiece and classic.