Reviews written by registered user
don_agu

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33 reviews in total 
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247 out of 406 people found the following review useful:
The Turning Point Of Woody Allen, 10 December 2005
10/10

A Noir with English accents. A modern, ancient tale with super stars of the future and a score of crackling vinyl original recordings of timeless arias. A sixtysomething filmmaker with the flair of an impertinent newcomer. A masterpiece. Engrossing, entertaining, elegant, wicked. The meeting between the splendorous Scarlett Johanssen and the breathtaking Jonathan Rhys-Meyers at the ping pong table is right out "A Place In The Sun" - Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift at the pool table - the feeling is James Cain and Patricia Highsmith but the result is unique, bold, enthralling. Allen's British dialogues are refreshingly startling and I don't intend to spoil the pleasure of its perverse surprises by hinting at any of them. Just let me say that if you love cinema, rush to see it.

162 out of 185 people found the following review useful:
The Smiling Game, 8 December 2005
10/10

There's never been a character like "Kitten" on the screen before or an actor like Cillian Murphy for that matter. What a feast of a film! What a joyful race through a desolate existence dressed in smiles and hope and gratefulness. Neil Jordan's introduce us to this extraordinary real life character with the magical slant of a fairy tale. A lesson for all seasons. A unique portrait of a victim that behaves like a hero. The idea of victim doesn't even enter the orbit of his reality. How beautiful! I hope this marvellous film find its way to a large audience. I want everyone to feel what I felt. I was enthralled by the positiveness at the heart of its message. And if all this wasn't enough. Liam Neeson! Giving the best performance of his career as the most human of the imperfect humans that populate the planet. Do yourself a favour, put aside preconceptions and run to have breakfast on Pluto.

Prime (2005)
45 out of 65 people found the following review useful:
Meryl, 20 November 2005
7/10

Meryl Streep is the closest actress we've got to the great old stars of yesteryear. Bette Davis comes to mind. Meryl was trim and sexy a couple of years a ago in "Adaptation" now in "Prime" she's a matronly Jewish mom filled with sense and sensibility. She is also very funny and the main reason to see this Jewish American farce. When she's on, we're on. I believed and enjoyed her predicament. I only wish the script, dealing with the relationship of Uma Thurman and Bryan Greenberg had been a bit smarter and more engaging. I bought that the sex was great and that Uma was discovering herself through this younger lover but their intimacy is clumsy and their dialogue very slight. It is as if the two Kauffman's of "Adaptation" were at work here and that the scenes involving Meryl were written by one and the scenes with the lovers by the other. The former ones however makes the evening a very pleasant one.

1101 out of 1410 people found the following review useful:
Ang Lee's Cowboys, 17 September 2005
10/10

What an extraordinary accomplishment! Ang Lee presents us with something we've known about but we've never seen. Profoundly honest, stunning to look at, superbly acted. I could go on with the superlatives because I feel lifted by the experience. You've all heard the ins and outs of the subject treated here. Well, forget it, the words used are used words and do not apply here. "Brokeback Mountain" introduce us to something utterly new, daring you and me to be indifferent. The film is about us, really. Love as an unexpected blow that makes you find and confront yourself. Jake Gylenhaal gives a performance that you'll never forget. Michelle Williams and Ann Hathaway are incredibly good but the film belongs to Heath Ledger. I'm not going to talk about revelations or Oscar buzz, I'm just going to let you know that what he does in this film is so courageously beautiful, so truthful and so transcendental that his Ennis del Mar is bound to become a point of reference not just for us but for generations to come.

Sin City (2005)
51 out of 100 people found the following review useful:
Something, but I don't know what., 11 August 2005
4/10

Yes, okay, computer generated images. A bold visual feast. I remember things here and there. Mickey Rourke, wow, welcome back. But I don't remember anything else really. I felt something but what I felt was a sense of dislocation. I was in a movie theatre, watching the latest from the guy who directed "El Mariachi" You know the guy with the hat. This is his movie. Everything can be a movie now more than ever. A few years back, watching the exodus from Bosnia on CNN, there were shots there that, I thought, were pure Kierostami, Kusturica, Menzel even William Wellman, Abel Gance, Stanley Kubrick. What made me think that was that there were compelling images that provoked something in me. An avalanche of conflicting emotions. Sin City made me feel absolutely nothing other than the afore mentioned sense of dislocation. Listen, it may just be me. I've been reading the other comments and lots of people seem to think i's a "totlly badass piece of brilliant cinematic prowess" so I just simply remove myself from the equation. Will look for my kind of cinematic thrill elsewhere. In my own selfish way I hope that this is just a fashion attracting a bunch of superb fashionable actors but the movies, cinema in general won't dwell on it. I hope we'll go back to movies, all kind of movies even comic book movies but with a soul.

75 out of 96 people found the following review useful:
John Guare's Children, 29 June 2005
9/10

A writer at the centre of one of the most elegant, entertaining, thoughtful and soulful tales to come out of Hollywood in a long, long time. John Guare's children are based , it seems, in real life people. How lucky for Guare to have found the great Fred Schepsi as their perfect foster father. Will Smith plays a man without identity, choosing one for himself, with such care, with such gusto that everyone remains enthralled, first of all us, the audience. Stockard Channing's Ouisa discovers a new side to her own self in front of our eyes. It is a performance of guts and beauty. Donald Sutherland's Flan is a first for the movies, we've never met a character like him on the screen. The scene in which he listens to Will Smith's Paul explain his thesis is a triumph. We see Flan falling in love. It is chillingly beautiful. Then, of course, the aforementioned Will Smith, he moves with a borrowed self confidence, like his character and it's impossible not to love him. He has the elegance of a Cary Grant and the charisma that we all now associate with Will Smith. I only regret that he didn't go for the kiss. That would have completed the shocking sum of all his parts. I love this film. I love John Guare for writing it. I love Schepsi (he's an old love of mine "Cry in Dark" "Plenty") The superb editing, the wonderful tangoish score and the work of the production and costume designers makes "Six Degrees of Separation" one of the most rewarding movie experiences. On this terrible summer of World at Wars, New Batmans and some other horrors, do yourself a favour. Rent the DVD and stay for dinner at home with the Kittredges.

64 out of 94 people found the following review useful:
What kind of fool am I?, 6 February 2005
7/10

Vivien Leigh sits opposite redneck Lee Marvin in the ship's upper deck restaurant, Marvin confesses to Leigh he never new what a Jew was until he was 15, "You were too busy lynching blacks" is her replay. I thought to mention it just to give you a hint of the sort of cruise ship we're travelling on. We sail through a sea that goes from the sublime to the ridiculous. Abby Mann is a master at drawing characters with long shadows and Kramer a master at capturing them. Think "Judgement at Neuremberg" Here you'll feel sea sick sometimes but the trip is worth taking. I mean. Vivien Leigh and Lee Marvin in a sad comedy of errors. Simone Signoret as a drug addicted countess and Oskar Werner her kindly, tragic, doctor, pusher. Highly charged, beautifully written moments. The lower decks for the down trodden is full of extras. George Segal and Elizabeth Ashley try both decks and and a deck all their own with melodramatic regularity. Jose Ferrer and Heinz Rhumman have one of my favourite exchanges. Ferrer, the German military tells Rhumman, the German Jew, that he should admit that the Jews are great part of the German problem. Rhumman calmly agrees and ads "true, but not only the Jews, also men who smoke the pipe are great part of the German problem" "Why men who smoke the pipe?" Shouts Ferrer. To what Rhumman replies "Why the Jews?" Michael Dunn addresses us directly, asking us to find ourselves among the passengers. Okay.

The Birds (1963)
155 out of 286 people found the following review useful:
Tippi Feathers With Mother, 5 February 2005
10/10

Seems silly to give a 10 to "The Birds" what can I give to "Notorius" then? Or "Rear Window"? A 20? It doesn't matter, a 10 shouldn't mean the best but one of the best. Best as in degrees of enjoyment, best as in time of enjoyment, 10 for the kind of enjoyment. "The Birds" is a ten for all of the above. Hitchcock's world varied consistently, it depended very much on his travelling companions. Writers first and foremost then composers. There is no music in "The Birds" so most of my questions are directed to the eclectic Evan Hunter who dissected Daphne de Maurier's original story and transformed it into something that not even Hitchcock had attempted before. A lyrically surreal horror soap opera kind of thing. It visits many of Hitchcock's obsession's of course, an icy blond and a castrating mother. Tippi Hedren follows a long line of Hitchcock blonds, from Madeline Carroll and Ingrid Bergman to Grace Kelly, Kim Novak, Janet Leigh, Eva Marie Saint and Doris Day as Jessica Tandy follows Madame Constantin, Jesse Royce Landis and Louise Latham not to mention Mrs. Bates. Evan Hunter was behind films like Richard Brooks's "Blackboard Jungle" and a semi forgotten gem Frank Perry's "Last Summer" As well as having Akira Kurosawa based his film noir "The Ransom" on one of his novels. Here, he follows Hitchcock's needs with religious reverence and at the same time comes out with something quite unique. I love the light weightiness of the heaviness. I've always loved the daringness of the pacing. The car trip to to Bodega Bay or the long shots of Jessica Tandy's truck driving away in horror from the farm. This movie is also a reminder to the filmmakers, depending in special effects, that effects tend to age a movie far too fast. The effects should be at the service of the characters and not the other way round. Rod Taylor, a charming, versatile matinée idol with a brain and the scrumptious Suzanne Pleshette ad to the many pleasures this 10 of a film will keep in store for generations to come.

Picnic (1955)
84 out of 108 people found the following review useful:
Moonglow and Rosalind Russell, 4 February 2005
7/10

William Inge had his finger on the pulse of small town America. He wasn't checking the heartbeats of its inhabitants but his own. I've just said that as if I knew all about it and I don't, but I sense it. I mean, "Splendor In The Grass", "The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs", "Come Back Little Sheeba" That's all the evidence we need to know that he was a male writer with a woman's heart. "Picnic" epitomises that theory. Director Joshua Logan and writer Daniel Taradash trusted Inge's world without questioning it. Everything flows with the irrational sanity of a woman's heart. William Holden was a bit too old for the part but who cares! He is William Holden, capable to provoke passions of Mediterranean intensity at any age. He seems a bit self conscious at times and that helps the character's foibles no end. Kim Novak is breathtaking. Susan Strasberg milks her tomboy with a longing for all its worth. Betty Field, Daisy Buchanan in the original "Great Gatsby", gives a masterful performance without uttering a word that may reveal what she's actually feeling, until the end of course. That scene in which she tries to stop her daughter from going away, is as much Field's as it is Inge's. Rosalind Russell didn't get the Oscar for her superb, time bomb disguised in a school teacher's dress, performance. Her craving for sex and romance and sex and marriage and sex is as bold as anything she had ever done and Rosalind Russell new how to be bold from "His Girl Friday" to "Auntie Mame". The Moonglow sequence has become a classic moment in pictures. Deservedly so. I would suggest, if you haven't done it yet, take a trip through William Inge's territory. Familiar faces, familiar landscapes, familiar feelings, all completely new.

33 out of 42 people found the following review useful:
John Schlesinger is innocent., 2 February 2005
7/10

There was here a phenomenal film but something got into its system and destroyed it. Not completely, whoever perpetrated the crime wasn't talented enough to go all the way and some beautiful pieces of evidence, showing the masterful hand of John Schlesinger, survived the massacre. The atmosphere of the first hour for starters. Isabella Rosellini's performance. Her best. Campbell Scott an actor incapable of being boring, not even when he plays bores. Trevor Howard before him was a master at that. The truth is that the reviews had been so bad that the only two reason I actually bough a ticket were 1. John Schlesinger, even a bad Schlesinger is bound to be better than a Ron Howard. 2.Hart Bochner, yep, after "Apartment Zero" I was desperate to see him again, in anything. Well he was hardly in it, at least not on this, obviously, mutilated, butchered version I saw. I did spend quite a few bucks in therapy to have my therapist say that my obsession with "Apartment Zero" was quite harmless, as a matter of fact he admitted to have seen the film three times but that he preferred Colin Firth in it. Fair enough. No, according to him my real problem was a huge monstrous woman. I must confess it disturbed me a little bit. But that night I had a dream. I dreamt that the film had been taken away from John Schlesinger by a huge monstrous woman. Go figure.


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