Reviews written by registered user

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154 reviews in total 
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Classic films should be remade now and then, if for no other reason than to remind us of what true literature is all about., 25 June 2012

Classic films should be remade now and then, if for no other reason than to remind us of what true literature is all about. The Painted Veil is one of those incredibly compelling films which deals directly with the human condition, specifically under conditions which warrant reaction. Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, and Liev Schreiber create an ensemble fitting of a Maugham novel, and their performances are flawless.

Flawless as well is the cinematography and photography in this wonderful adaptation of the novel. Filmed entirely in China, the scenery is breathtaking and lends to the authenticity of the film. This also enhances the "illusion of the first time" which is so critical in any film, since the novel is set in China. A huge cast of extras is included.

The Painted Veil is a film which may not be suitable for the entire family (Rated PG-13 for some scenes of sexuality, partial nudity, disturbing images and brief drug content), but I don't believe it will offend older children, and I know it will entertain anyone who likes a well-acted film.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
A landmark film in cinematography, 22 June 2012

Unfortunately, this film did not do well in the theaters. Which is a shame, because being an excellent film with superb graphics, it is also the forerunner of everything that has followed in Compter Generated Images (CGI).

Sky Captain was filmed entirely in blue screen. None of the sets existed except it the mind of the people doing the graphics. Which meant the actors had no frame of reference when they were performing. Oh, of course there were tape marks on the floor, but nothing to react to, nothing to walk around, nothing but a blank room with platforms where necessary to go up and down. Which means the actors had to envision the room as it might be and then respond without the aid of visual cues. Now, I don't know about you, but I would call that acting above and beyond the normal requirements. And the best part is, they all do it extremely well.

As to plot, considering the setting of the film, the plot is exactly as it should be. If this had been made in the 1950's, this film would have been a "Cliffhanger", like Commando Cody or Flash Gordon used to be, a tool to get parents to drop their kids off at the local theater for Saturday morning matinées while they did their grocery shopping or other chores. I remember doing that while my mom was off grocery shopping, and my brother and I would sit for two or three hours watching cartoons and a couple of those films.

Still, there isn't a lot of action by comparison to what we expect from films these days, and the technology in the film is 'old school', so perhaps the current generation of film goers just didn't get it. I recommend the film as a great way to spend ninety six minutes when the kiddies are looking to see what the old world used to be like. Rated PG, collectible for us Sci Fi types. Enjoy.

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Plot? Who says a comedy needs a plot?, 12 June 2012

Plot? Who says a comedy needs a plot? Apparently no one ever told Andy Stock or Rick Stemson, but that doesn't seem to matter much. The Goods is an absolutely hilarious look at the irreverent business of selling used cars that hasn't been addressed this well since "Cadillac Man" or "Used Cars".

They picked the perfect cast for this side splitter. Jeremy Piven is one of those guys who can pull off the two-dimensional character with finesse. His portrayal of Don Ready is the perfect lead for this cast of unlikely car salesmen trying to save the failing dealership. Ving Rhames plays his role with audacity, as do both Kathryn Hahn and David Koechner, all three exceptional comedians in their own right.

Seeing Alan Thicke and James Brolin in the film, along with Wendie Mallck, reminds us that older actors may not take the stage often, but when they do, they know their stuff. While their roles are brief, they are exceptional and add the right amount of balance to the film.

All in all, while I don't see this film walking away with any Oscars, it is an entertaining adult comedy with some great lines and a few scenes so ridiculous they are priceless. The kiddies need to be in bed or out playing in the yard though. Rated a serious R of language and nudity. Oh, don't forget to keep your eyes peeled for a cameo by the ever hot Gina Gershon.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
In case you are not aware of it, this makes Phillip K. Dick officially one of the most influential storytellers in the last 50 years., 10 June 2012

In case you are not aware of it, this makes Phillip K. Dick officially one of the most influential storytellers in the last 50 years. His books have inspired such Sci Fi classics as Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, and now, the Adjustment Bureau. At least 19 films and television episodes have been created from his works.

The story is an interesting take on the notion there is a God in the universe who is carefully directing the actions and happenings on the planet. Here, of course, the element of 'faith' is removed and instead the Chairman makes plans and has the Adjustment Bureau to make sure the plans are kept on track. These 'agents' merely interfere when they need to, making suggestions that set actions in place. Theology is not in the plan, just a pattern to prevent mankind from becoming extinct by their own hand.

This is a different type of Sci Fi film, and it would take an actor with the flexibility of Matt Damon to play David Norris. His confident yet humble portrayal of the politician is riveting and interesting throughout. Emily Blunt portrays the blossoming ballerina with verve and appeal, sort of a cross between the focused artist and the determined woman who puts her career ahead of herself. Anthony Mackie and John Slattery work well as the adjustment agents sent to sidetrack Norris from reaching Elise.

Overall, the film moves well, offers some interesting twists, and allows us the interesting perspective of predestination without the burden of deity. Rated PG-13 for language, some sexuality, and a few brief scenes of violence, I personally can't think of a single scene that would be too intense for a ten year old. Collectible is a little early to say, but certainly a film you will want to see again.

5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Okay, without a doubt this is one of my favorite romantic comedies., 7 June 2012

Okay, without a doubt this is one of my favorite romantic comedies. Michael Douglas comes off as Presidential, Annette Benning is spectacular, Martin Sheen is exceptional, and the supporting cast is marvelous. And this is all directed by Rob Reiner, the 2nd generation actor writer director who understands every aspect of film making and is not afraid to let loose with all the knowledge, power and presence required to make a first class film.

Of particular note are David Paymer, Michael J. Fox, and Anna Deavere Smith, all three exceptional character actors whose contributions add so much to the texture and tone of the film. Paymer is the perfect foil to Fox, and Anna balances them perfectly, giving a unity to the staff presence in the film.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of the film is the incorporation of 'normal' events in the White House during the romance. We are not excluded or merely "clued in", but we participate in all the activities of the President, which makes the film more realistic and visceral. The flow of the film is exceptional, since there are no explosions or other violence to distract us, and the cinematography is amazing. The sets are perfect. Rated PG-13 for a scene of sexual innuendo and a few uses of profanity, this film is far from offensive in its delivery, its demeanor, or its presentation. A classic which will enhance any collection.

Out of Reach (2004) (V)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Steven Seagal is perhaps the King of the B films, but he is also a cause driven individual who likes to make films that center around real problems., 5 June 2012

Steven Seagal is perhaps the King of the B films, but he is also a cause driven individual who likes to make films that center around real problems. Renowned for his ability as a martial artist and his "I don't take any $h!@ from anyone." attitude, Seagal's films have unfortunately become formulaic and predictable.

Seagal plays the former agent who has become disenchanted with the agency (Which agency? Does it really matter?) Naturally, he is in the wilderness, this time on a wildlife preserve, and is sponsoring an orphaned girl in Poland. While there are some moments of emotion, most of the time Steven plays the role with a lack of luster and motivation, like he is tired of making the same film for the 100th time.

Matt Schulze is the one actor in the cast who stands out. His portrayal of Faisal, the operator of the human trafficking ring, is one dimensional, but its the right dimension. If you're going to be a bad guy, be a really bad guy. Nick Brimble's brief appearance is good, but Nick comes off as the man behind the scenes and his threat to Faisal lacks the true tone of contempt anyone would show for a man in that business.

Overall, the film is slow to the point of boredom, predictable as a clock, and just plain poorly done. Rated R for violence, language, and a few scenes in an upscale brothel. If you happen to see this one on the shelf at your local video store, I'd let it collect dust, unless you are a big fan of Seagal, and even then I would take a moment and think about it.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A couple of years back, I was looking through a copy of Maxim magazine and I found a list of 20 films saved by having Christopher Walken in them., 4 June 2012

A couple of years back, I was looking through a copy of Maxim magazine and I found a list of 20 films saved by having Christopher Walken in them. As you have probably guessed, Suicide Kings was among the 20, actually, I believe it was number 3.

This was Peter O'Fallon's premiere film for the big screen (he has since made only one other, although he continues to direct numerous television series), and there are a lot of things that might have gone a little better. The dialog is weak in spots, the premise of a "made guy" going off with a bunch of preppy kids is a little off the wall, and the overall feel of the film drags from time to time. But that doesn't mean it is a total failure.

As a matter of fact, just the opposite. Needless to say Walken and Leary come off exceptionally well, and the remainder of the cast is believable. Johnny Galecki comes off as Johnny Galecki, which is to say his dialog and acting are better suited to his current role in Big Bang Theory than to the big screen. Jay Mohr, well, I never have like Mohr, so I can tell you his character is passable, but he never quite rises to the level needed for his part. Henry Thomas and Sean Patrick Flannery both give good performances, and are really the two character who draw your interest. Jeremy Sisto as the medical student tending to Walken is more than adequate to the role, and you can see the young actor's ability flourishing into the actor he has become.

As to the film itself, the plot, once you get past the implausible part, is good and moves pretty well, although there is a lot of exposition that seems pointless until you get to the very end. By then, unfortunately, you lose interest, unless you are a die hard Walken fan (guilty as charged).

Since I have the DVD (yes, I pulled it out of the bargain bin at WalMart), I've watched the alternative endings and listened to O'Fallon's comments, and the one that struck me the most was his comparison of the final scene of the film to one in The Usual Suspects. Hmmm. Not even close, Pete.

Rated R for violence, language, torture, and some nudity, this film is one you might want to rent just to see why television directors who are really good at their jobs should stick to television. Definitely a

19 out of 36 people found the following review useful:
Formula for a great movie? Tim Burton+Johnny Depp+Helena Bonham Carter+Michelle Pfeiffer = Terrific movie., 3 June 2012

Now, I grant you, I was not an avid viewer of the adventures of Barnabas Collins in the 60's, although apparently every girl in my high school was. But I doubt that melodramatic soap had much relation to the film I saw, other than the names of the characters and the ever present scene of the waves crashing upon rocks on the New England shoreline.

Small matter. The film I watched was funny, spooky in a predictable sort of way, and the story was fresh. Depp once again creates a strange and unusual persona as Barnabas Collins, at once both the vicious, blood thirsty vampire and the refined gentleman of the 16th century. There are so many elements combined, the jeweled necklace reminiscent of Bela Lugosi's Dracula, the darkened eyes, the long claws of the Nosferatu, and Depp's uncanny ability to pull all these elements together to give us a comedic and enjoyable character we cannot help but like. Michelle Pfeiffer was an excellent choice as the current head of the family, a sturdy, refined and resilient woman determined to hold her head up despite the fallen state of the once powerful Collins family. Eva Green as Angelique is marvelous in her role as the evil yet business savvy woman whose only goal in life is the continuing destruction of the Collins family and reputation. The children, played perfectly by Chloe Grace Moretz and Gulliver McGrath, present the internal conflicts of the Collins, Carolyn who comes off as a very typical teenager, and David, who speaks frequently with his dead mother. Bella Heathcote, who portrays both Victoria in the present and Josette in the past, is also an excellent actress, and gives us just enough weird to balance the prim and proper appearance she first presents.

Of particular note is Helena Bonham Carter and her role as the doctor. The blatant comic relief she provides once again demonstrates her ability and depth as an actress, and one can easily see why Burton and Depp apparently enjoy working with this talented lady.

Overall, the film grabs your attention and keeps it throughout. The dialog is entertaining to the extreme, and the photography and cinematography is exceptional, as one would expect of anything from Mr. Burton.

Rated PG-13 due to the language and violence, as well as several references to sexual situations, I think this film will add nicely to any collector of the trio's work. I have one on order as soon as they are released.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Johnny Depp as your average Joe C.P.A.?, 1 June 2012

Johnny Depp as your average Joe C.P.A.? Naw, say it isn't so. Isn't this the guy who rose to fame with strange robotic blades for fingers, with an eye-patch and catchy phrases, with a reputation for playing the strange and unusual? Well, the role may not be strange or unusual, but the movie certainly is. For one thing, it is extremely rare for a 90 minute movie to actually happen in 90 minutes. But Nick of Time is about the occurrences in Gene Watson's life over a span of 90 minutes.

Christopher Walken shines as the SOB cop/assassin who manipulates Depp's character, and Roma Maffia excels as his partner. I think the most interesting aspect of this film is combining two powerful character actors (Depp and Walken) across from each other.

The action is fast and non-stop, and the tension builds throughout the film. When Depp finally finds help in the form of Charles S. Dutton, a shoe shine man in the lobby of the Bonaventure, the help comes in the strangest way.

Rated R for violence and language, this is a interesting, breakneck paced film that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

Inspired by Death Takes A Holiday, a classic stage play..., 31 May 2012

Inspired by Death Takes A Holiday, a classic stage play that many of my generation read as teens for either English or Drama class in high school, this film marks, for me, the coming of age of Brad Pitt as an actor with depth. I know some people will point to A River Runs Through It, or even Seven Years In Tibet as the films where Brad showed true ability, but Death Takes a Holiday is a pivotal film where he has to reach into the unknown and his past to portray a "stranger in a strange land." and he does it with a remarkable freshness and style. As an amateur actor, I know the importance of any production is to give the audience the illusion of the first time. Brad does that beautifully in this film.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that he is surrounded by an incredible cast, lead by the incomparable Anthony Hopkins. Jake Webber demonstrates his range as well, as do both Marcia Gay Harden and Jeffrey Tambor. Somewhere beyond perfect is Claire Forlani's portrayal of Susan Parrish, the younger daughter and medical resident who is attracted to Pitt's character, first in his portrayal of the young attorney freshly arrived in the big city, and then as Death personified in Joe Black.

The plot is straightforward, the photography exceptional (try filming a sex scene without revealing any body parts that shouldn't be seen), and the sets are exquisite examples of architecture. While certainly not an action film, the film moves forward briskly, without needless exposition or character development beyond what is needed. Rated PG-13, thanks to that incredible photography, this is a film for contemplation and reflection, and offers no religious allegories to good or evil. I own a copy, and I think it will be regarded as collectible.

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