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6 reviews in total 
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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Perfection - don't expect any Oscars tho--it is too good for that, 17 October 2013

A lesson in filmmaking excellence. When so many movies feel it necessary to lecture us about politics and/or the environment (Avatar), or try to Be Significant and Important (too many to mention, but can start with The Fifth Estate), what a blast of fresh air is Captain Phillips. What makes this film special is that everyone involved is primarily interested in telling a great, dramatic story and not with lecturing us on their own particular viewpoints. That said, there is plenty of rich subtext here about wealth, poverty, work, and other matters--this is not just empty action a la Michael Bay or even Blackhawk Down.

Director Greengrass has a gift for making us feel with his characters by dramatic action and gesture and not via empty dialogue. The 'villains' here are 3 dimensional--they have motives, fears and are not stupid. It is really nice to see black actors not being pandered to but rather represented as actual human beings with complex minds and emotions.

The true star of the movie is Tom Hanks, who I don't particularly like or dislike. But here, his acting is on another level. I do not know how he is able to convey multiple emotions with a single glance--fear, scheming and pity all at once. If you are not either in tears or on the border of tears at the end, then you may not be human.

Taste is taste and cannot be explained, but some critics find themselves in a quandary here. This movie does not exalt the military--it only presents the facts (perhaps dramatized of course). But we are so used to seeing the military demonized that many critics don't know how to react. The same is true of the Somali's here--again, we're used to seeing Africans being pandered to, to non-Africans vilified and blamed for all matter of things (slavery, imperialism, the high crime rate, you name it). Here, the Somali's are presented as they are--poverty stricken, desperate, and struggling. When we see their small boat up against a huge shipping freighter, this speaks volumes without saying a word. Of course what they do is wrong, but it is hard not to understand why they do it.

All that said, this movie works just as plain old action/drama. It belongs up there with films like Deliverance, Goodfellas, the Godfather- -movies with action, bite and substance. And Hanks delivers a performance that is really remarkable.

I suspect this movie will be ignored come Oscar time. Because while it will certainly be the best movie of the past 5 or next 5 years, it does not follow any particular political belief nor espouse anything at all. And for Hollywood, you'd better engage in Groupthink if you want an Oscar.

Mama (2013/I)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The Trailer was much better than the movie, 22 February 2013

This is not a good movie. How can an experienced, talented director show the villain/ghost/bad guy/girl so early in a movie? At that point, almost all suspense is lost. If we didn't know if the 2 girls were imagining things, or if maybe some other character was doubling as Mama. . . . if the plot had some uncertainty then the movie would have been far better. Instead, it is rather full of clichés, often makes no sense and is on the whole a big disappointment. The trailer was genuinely more frightening than the movie. You know a movie isn't good when you start looking for and counting the number of things that don't make sense (visiting dark cabins after 10pm rather than at 10am, etc), and I did that a lot. The only interesting thing is Jessica Chastain's face, which is oddly complex and bony.

Last Days (2005)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Awful, boring and pretentious--did I mention laughable?, 24 September 2006

Gus van Sant may well be the single most over-rated director in all of cinema. He is responsible for catastrophes such as this movie, the absolutely abysmal Psycho and the catatonic Gerry. But he has somehow got himself a little reputation of being 'independent' and 'creative' and sometimes would-be critics find that reputation intimidating. To give credit where credit is due, To Die For is a good flick. In case you want to make a movie about as 'good' as Last Days, dress a drug addict up like Kurt Cobain, load him up with heroin and booze, and then film him as he stumbles around and mumbles to himself for 90 minutes. Then you've got yourself another Last Days. Sheer genius, no? Utter garbage.

Brick (2005)
11 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
Very overrated, not to mention confusing, 24 September 2006

Tried this flick out after seeing a lot of good reviews on the DVD box. A mistake. As other IMDBers state, this is a detective movie that sounds a lot like the flix made from books by Chandler, Hammett, etc. It is then placed in a high school context, so you wind up having high school kids talking like Bogart in Maltese Falcon. This idea has possibilities, but this particular flick falls on its face. It may have made for a decent comedy, but this movie isn't funny at all. It's like watching a bad high school production of The Maltese Falcon. I suspect that the people who enjoyed it are high school age, or close, themselves. Nothing about it is believable, the acting is poor, and the plot very hard to follow. You also won't know what people are saying much of the time. I cant really explain its good reviews--it is actually an utter bore. I give it a rating of 2 only because it has some music from the Velvet Underground.

6 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Overrated, long-winded, lousy acting, melodramatic, 25 March 2006

Movies like this, which wear this own self-importance on their sleeve, are often mistaken for good. In fact, most of this movie seems like about 10 other movies, bits taken here and there as needed. In other words, it ain't original. If you want to see a far better version of a 'brother Western' see the great The Long Riders. The best thing in this flick are the flies and Emily Mortimer. Much of the rest of the acting is overdone, clichéd, and hammy (it is among John Hurt's worst) and that's the fault of the director. David Wenham is downright awful--I almost laughed out loud during his scenes. The jailguards are pure cliché (can't the writer come up with anything original with them?). The writing is at best mediocre but most of hte time is truly amateurish. The scenes among the brothers go on and on and are pointless, and there is no sense of their love for one another--and without that, there's no tension or 'core' to the movie. Guy Pearce is often good, but in this flick he is just an empty shadow of himself, with long hair, and looking angry a lot of the time. It isn't his fault--he is not given any material to work with, and the director is clearly out of his depth. The brothers look at the sun and moon a lot and gawk at it, saying clichés to one another. No one seems to quite know what they are doing or why, so there's a lot of standing around waiting for the ending. It is watchable and it is better than pure Hollywood blockbusters like Armageddon--but it isn't much better than that, and gets plenty tedious at times. Wait for the video and rent it only if you've really got nothing better to do. Better yet, rent The Long Riders, The Wild Bunch, or something genuinely good. This flick isn't.

Bleeder (1999)
18 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
Fantastic and real, 27 May 2004

A complete surprise. Had no idea what I was getting into. As fine as anything by Scorcese, with some similarities to Taxi Driver. An enormous breath of fresh air compared to the awful Hollywood machine. The scenes are real, intense, sometimes violent, always moving. Geniune. This film maker is the real thing. The acting is impeccable. I personally don't care much for symbolism, meta-cinema or the like, but instead prefer a real and dramatic experience. This movie provides all of the above--and that is a rare treat. Someone compared this to Kubrick--there is some of that but what is really different here is the emotion. Kubrick is always (or almost always) dry, sterile, unemotional, stiff. Bleeder is moving--it even at times has some of the emotionalism of a melodrama, but it always remains a drama.