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|19 reviews in total|
From many of the negative reviews and the tone expressed in them, it is evident that this masterpiece of cinema is meant for a more highly educated, sophisticated audience and not for the Avengers/Transformers crowd. To the experienced cinemaphile, The Tree of Life may be one of the most magnificent films ever produced and one that will certainly live on in memory and history. The imagery, use of music, and spiritual message of this unique motion picture will overwhelm and stun the individual viewer willing to drop defenses and embrace the incredible experience provided by Terence Mallick. Many will be frustrated that the film is not linear and lacks the explosions and car chases that satisfy the masses every weekend. For the literate, intellectual individual it true Cinema in its purest form and brilliantly done. The Tree of Life will be embraced and cherished for all time by those who understand that film is more than eye candy escapism and can achieve artistic heights beyond the reach of the juvenile mindset of the average movie goer. It is a tragedy that films of this kind are so rare and this sort of cinema experience is denied those of us who crave it because of the taste of those who exist in a cultural wasteland of reality shows and video games. These people may bring their money to the theatre in large quantities but they leave with empty souls and review films here, expressing a dullness and witless comprehension of real cinema art.
Spanish director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego has brought a film of such profound beauty and depth to the screen that to categorize it as science fiction is to do a disservice to he as a director and the ingenious script by Brian Miller. Working with a limited budget, the gifted Lopez-Gallego makes superb use of what is available to him to create a excellent recreation of an Apollo moon lander which is essential to creating an atmosphere of realism and incredible suspense for him to work within. He also puts a largely unknown American cast through their paces as they deliver unforgettably moving performances in roles that veteran actors would die to play. Ultimately, it is Warren Christie who will be remembered forever as the American astronaut with the most to lose and who must bear the greatest existential burden outlined by the story. Those who came together as artists have produced a film that has the courage to confront difficult questions regarding life and death, truth and lies, and duty and conscience. There is really no other film to compare this unique work to because it is so stunningly original in both concept and execution. Some of the scenes involving the astronauts' bitter confrontation with the truth and the unknown force that threatens them are so intense are unlike anything ever filmed before. Low-budget, independent films seldom garner the attention and awards they deserve, even when Harvey Weinstein has placed his personal imprimatur upon them, so the Academy will most likely pay this work little mention at all. However, director Lopez-Gallego, screenwriter Brian Miller, and actors Warren Christie and Ryan Robbins are names we will be hearing a great deal of indeed in the future. Under other circumstances, there would certainly be nominations for the director, screenplay, and Christie for a performance that sets the screen afire with emotion and leaves audiences sobbing. The technical work done in expression of the hypnotic script is on a par with some of the outstanding special effects houses in America. It is a mystery why there is such a low rating here and the absence of mainstream reviewers' high praise. Once all involved with this motion picture ultimately achieve the recognition they deserve, you can be sure that Apollo 18 will be reappraised by those who have dismissed it and it will go on to become a famous piece of artistic brilliance that initially heralded the arrival of director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego to the English language format and Brian Miller to the ranks of the truly legendary writers of truly fine scripts. There is little doubt that Warren Christie will become a household name when he is reevaluated on the basis of his acting here. Most importantly, do not deny yourself the honor and enjoyment you will experience when you view what is an overlooked masterpiece that has somehow been sadly overlooked. You will not soon forget it and the haunting questions and images it will leave you with.
No one who has watched even a single episode of this program can ever forget what they have seen. That is the sort of visceral effect it has on viewers. This show will forever stand as a tribute to the artistic vision of Mr. Norris and it is his guidance that so profoundly directs all aspects of production. Stunning in execution and production design, there has seldom been a more beautifully produced drama presented on the small screen. However, it is the character development and existential depth expressed through one of the most superb casts ever assembled that is truly memorable. These are actors who have perfected their craft and none is more excellent in his role than Norris himself as Walker. He has created a magnificent icon in Walker and virtually carries each episode through his electrifying performances. Norris brings heart and subtle strength to a characterization that could easily slip into parody but never does. What could well be a cardboard stick figure is given flesh and blood feelings and a certain angst that is unique because of Norris. He has brought to the screen a character of three dimensional realism and there is a touch of the Method that shows through and makes for some powerful performances indeed. Walker, Texas Ranger deserves more recognition for its contribution to culture and the tremendous talent of Mr. Chuck Norris. I only regret that I came to the series late and missed the initial excitement with which viewers anticipated each episode's first run. While I can not share in that, I feel fortunate to discover this program in repeat presentations that are timeless as well as truly superb in the strictest sense of the word.
I have loved film all my life and my appreciation of motion pictures as an art form has been a very important part of who I am. I have also always been liberal and open minded in my approach to that art form, seldom seeing in a film nothing of value. However, I left the theater after experiencing The Hangover, Part II, with something within myself profoundly changed. It was as if I had personally witnessed a crime against humanity, a savage act against basic human decency that was not simply depicted in the film but was the very film itself. Unlike the funny fluff of The Hangover, the empty headed nonsense that caused chuckles galore in theaters across the world, Part II is a dark and sinister expression of pure nihilism that assaults the essence of the soul. There are no words to describe how I was affected as I stumbled alone into the night at the conclusion of what was a violation of every fiber of my being. Those responsible for this motion picture not only lack even a small shred of morality, they actively conspired to record images that can never be forgotten once inflicted upon the innocent viewer. No one in their right mind would seek out the indescribable suffering endured by those who have survived The Hangover, Part II, even the most jaded masochist. Perhaps a truly sick mind, the sort that imagined this film and managed to corrupt mankind with what they produced, would find their sociopathic nature enriched by seeing it. To those who even slightly embrace the concept of their personal humanity and have no desire to have violence done to their very being, let this review be a warning. What is suggested to be a comedic follow-up to The Hangover is nothing of the kind. In reality, it is something so terrible that audience members will be haunted by what they have seen for the rest of the lives, if they still wish to continue living after their experience of The Hangover, Part II. I only wish I had read a review by one of this films hapless victims prior to subjecting myself to the repugnant power of such a vicious monstrosity.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I like Woody Allen movies sometimes and thought Take the Money and Run hilarious. This movie is not nearly as funny. In fact it isn't funny so much as confusing. I had no idea who the people were that Owen Wilson was meeting were except maybe for Hemingway, who was a writer and who wrote The Old Man and the Sea, among other books. I don't know a lot about painting and I guess some of these people were painters. It was strange that so many Americans were just driving around Paris in the middle of the night for no reason. Why were they in Paris anyway? Never explained. I couldn't figure out why Owen Wilson would get in a car full of these people, although he seemed to know them all for another unexplained reason. That was pretty unbelievable. He just happened to recognize all of them but I never heard of them if their famous. It didn't make sense and I guess the time travel thing was all in his head. Owen Wilson is pretty funny in most movies, like Night at the Museum and Marley and Me but he just was boring in this movie. I think a lot of that has to do with Woody Allen. He didn't give his actors anything funny to say or do. He just expects us all to know who these people are and if we don't he tries to make us feel dumb. Well, like I said, I don't follow painting and so I didn't get a lot of the jokes because of that. I laughed twice during the whole movie which isn't good. I go to movies a lot and am a pretty big film buff but this just went way over my head and most people won't understand as much as I did unless they are college teachers or trivia experts.
Emily Watson, one of the great actors of our time, gives a superb performance as Janet Leach that may well be the finest work she has ever done. She is nothing less than hypnotic here as she lays bare the soul of a vulnerable woman who is involved in an experience she is completely unprepared for. While the portrait of Leach is profound and an incredible achievement, Watson doesn't get in our faces with her ACTING because she is almost invisible as she disappears into the character. What a truly memorable, stunning performance this is. The entire cast is excellent, as are all elements of the production, including writing and direction. However, it is Emily Watson who elevates this film to an artistic level of depth and realism that makes it totally riveting. There is no attempt by Watson to draw attention to herself and "steal" the film. "Gosford Park" is another example of how she shines in an ensemble piece and it naturally becomes her showcase. Her style is not flashy enough and far too superbly subtle to win Oscars. There isn't the teeth gnashing PERFORMANCE style of a Charlize Theron in "Monster", the sort of Halle Berry one-shot fluke that brings home the gold. Watson is an artist in the truest sense and it's her work alone that is her reward. In this film, what she does is so extraordinary, even for her, that perhaps the praise of critics will this time cause award committees and voters to take note of an actor they have too long overlooked because she never yells "look at me!" At any rate, reward yourself by watching an excellent film with an outstanding actress at her best, as usual.
This is the most unpleasant, empty film ever made. Stomach turning in its imagery and disgusting in its execution, this lost a fortune at the box office and the director should have been sued by those who were in the audiences that had to suffer through the part they endured before walking out. Haunting in the worst way possible, the film will leave the viewer with nightmares from which they may never recover. No other motion picture in the history of cinema has left me feeling so ill and overwhelmed by nausea. From concept to the end credits, I sat there too stunned to move. I felt paralyzed by a sickening hopelessness that was being burned into my very soul as the film unreeled to its miserable end. As it flickered upon the screen, I found myself muttering repeatedly, "why...why? In the name of humanity...why?" It seemed as if I had been subjected to the cruelest episode of self-indulgent masochism ever aimed at an audience for the amusement of a sadistic director. I will never forget this motion picture. Nor will I ever forgive anyone involved in its production. As I staggered from the theater and into the light of day, I collapsed on a bus bench next to a planter full of petunias. I grabbed a handful of blossoms and held them to my face as tears streamed down my cheeks. I was glad to be alive, to be free of that awful film, and electrically charged with the realization that the director is someone who I need never be punished by again. In truth, I had done nothing to deserve what I had just gone through. I am a good person and no one can ever do that to me again!
This is a fine film and well crafted, with all the elements of a thriller in place. Anthony Hopkins does a good job of recreating his role as Lector and Ed Norton is adequate in his part as the FBI agent. However, as usual in films that feature her, Emily Watson overshadows all the other actors with a performance that is nothing less than superb. With her stunning eyes she is the perfect choice to play a woman who has spectacularly beautiful eyes but is sadly blind. Few other actors in the history of motion pictures have captured so excellently a blind person while always wide-eyed and without the aid of something like sunglasses. Watson should have been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for what she adds to this film, although in reality she is almost the star. Emily Watson is the most gifted actor of our time and her body of work reflects challenging triumphs in roles that have resulted in two Oscar nominations. She has devoted much time to her family and has not been used in as many films as one can be sure she has been begged to be part of. It is amazing that she seems almost ageless and has she progresses into her 40's she has lost none of her simple beauty and rapid undercurrent of extreme sexuality. She is not beautiful in the Hollywood clichéd sense of the word. This is a real woman who is beautiful in the sense that viewers of her films can not take their eyes of her in any scene in which she appears. She has a electromagnetic sexuality that is overwhelming and entices audiences to surrender themselves to her completely. This is a woman with a unique talent that is unsurpassed by any other female working in film today. Each of her films is truly a gift of herself and unforgettable for simply her presence in them. She is capable of taking each film and making it her own to do with as she wishes, just as she has in a very personal way with this reviewer. It with eager anticipation that each piece of her work is awaited. Even in fluff such as the Waterhorse, her scenes with Ben Chaplin and the explosive chemistry of repressed passion she brought to them is what is memorable. Only she could elevate an Adam Sandler movie like Punch Drunk Love to the level of high art. Red Dragon will be remembered by most people for what she brought to it and who she is. Emily Watson once again gives a performance that is an astonishing achievement and an unforgettable gift to audiences. It is unique talent to make every single member of an audience feel as if an actor has reached from the screen and touched each of their individual hearts with her essence as a human being. This, simply put, is Emily Watson, actor and woman. I deduct one star from my rating for the director not taking more advantage of having the greatest actress of our time at his disposal!
Emily Watson is magnificent as usual in this film and typically makes it her own with her very presence. Not beautiful in the clichéd, typical Hollywood way, Watson sets the screen on fire with her fiery passion and electric sexuality. When she is in a scene, one finds it impossible to take their eyes off of her. Her eyes are captivating and those uniquely seductive lips fascinate. She is a superb actor and her art is aided dramatically by her sexual power. The viewer is overwhelmed by that sexual intensity whenever she appears. No other actress in the history of film has communicated fantasies of unrestrained passion by simply standing before the camera lens. In fact, the camera is hers to do with as she wishes, just as every man watching this film is. No, she is not fashion model beautiful. This is a real woman, a woman who as she progresses through her 40's is just reaching the epitome of her seductive magnetism now. Emily Watson is this film and it is all her. One star must be subtracted because other actors interfere too often with Watson and are really unnecessary to the pure enjoyment of Watson's fantastic performance and unwavering passion.
I came very close to walking out of this incredible mess when I saw it during its original release. The story is not only ridiculous, it is nauseating. The dialog is stiff and unnatural and the plot is from another universe where people might possibly behave like they do in this opus. I squirmed through every single second and stayed only out of respect for the director and it was raining hard outside the theater. There is not one likable character in this film and not one of them seems to be sane. An atrocious script and a sad failure for Arthur Penn. From the grosses recorded here, I seem only one of a handful of people to suffer through this in a theater and even after nearly 30 years I recall the pain as if it were only yesterday and want to return to that box office and demand my money back! How anyone could enjoy this junk is beyond me. It doesn't even qualify as a film that is unpleasant but offers a growth experience and reflects some aspect of the human condition. After all these years, I needed so much to get this off my chest and express my utter outrage and contempt for a movie so bad that whenever I hear it mentioned I am overcome by nausea.
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