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Terribly miscast ....
5 August 2007
Wow. Talk about miscasting! Ralph Fiennes is a beautiful hunk of man, and Juliette Binoche is undeniably lovely, but neither of them should EVER attempt to play characters that are supposed to range in age from late teens to late thirties. They belong solidly at the far end of that spectrum, and watching them try to pretend to be anything but is utterly ridiculous. Witness the scene where the family is supposed to be studying their Bibles and Catherine and Heathcliff cannot stop giggling and teasing one another, or where Heathcliff whines that Catherine spends more days with the Lintons than she does with him. Ugh. Additionally, Binoche turns Catherine into a flighty, stupid girl, with none of the original heroine's wild spirit and hot temper. (Nor does Binoche even TRY to suppress her French accent.)

Good things: yes, the storyline stays close to the book, more so than I ever expected of a Hollywood adaption. Also, the sets are good, and the scenery is lush and haunting.

However, don't expect to drool over the costumes; they are nothing special, and for some mysterious reason, everyone's hair looks HORRIBLE. It seems the director thought the problem of Fiennes' ethnicity could be solved merely by plopping a greasy black wig on his head. Instead, you want to lob a shampoo bottle at him. And Binoche's looks like some terrible, unflattering '80s nightmare, and it all but destroys her sex appeal. (I'm sorry to waste so much time on something as shallow as everyone's hairstyle, but after a while of cringing at everything else that was bad, it was all I could focus on!)
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Sweet Revenge (2001)
Wake me when someone actually dies, dies, dies...
3 April 2006
I got this tape at one of those "VHS-is-extinct-so-please-take-these-off-our-hands" sales at my local Movie Gallery, and boy, is it ever obvious why. The back of the box promises a grisly revenge saga: "When bad girl Macy (Brigitte Bako) is double-crossed by her gangster boyfriend Frank (Richard Grieco), it's time for payback! Macy wants her share of their heist money, and God help anybody who gets in her way. Frank once left her for it's HIS turn to DIE! DIE! DIE!" And the cover shows Grieco framed by the fishnet-clad legs of (I assume) Bako, six-shooter gripped menacingly behind her. Sounds promising, in a guilty pleasure sort of way, no?

Unfortunately, it's all a LIE! LIE! LIE! I wasn't expecting greatness from a direct-to-video movie starring the dude from "21 Jump Street" and filmed in Saskatchewan. All I wanted was a little gratuitous violence, some cheesy dialogue, and a few car chases. Not a lot to ask for, right? Instead, we get endless scenes of 'shady-looking' people (i.e., guys in bad suits with greased-up hair and designer sunglasses) entering and exiting buildings, entering and exiting cars, and spouting off lots of vague dialogue about their 'business' and stuff they gotta 'take care of.' We're also treated to lots of shots of people supposedly mulling things over, usually while smoking. Wow. I don't think my heart can take all this action.

Somewhere in this mess is Bako, who has all of two facial expressions during the entire film, and completely fails at evoking sympathy for her suburban mom turned druggie / criminal character. (We're also supposed to believe she's jaw-droppingly hot, judging from all the male characters' reactions to her. Admittedly, I am a heterosexual female, but I can't imagine any red-blooded guy finding Miss Bako anything but somewhat attractive.) She also has a really low body count for a chick supposedly lusting for revenge; at one point she even lets Jump Street (Grieco, ex-boyfriend who left her for dead) go, while she has a gun trained on him! And she leaves both kneecaps intact! Another time, she RUNS AWAY rather than shoot some mob enforcer-type who just killed a friend of hers. Eh, guess they weren't that close...

So, we've got a movie that fails to deliver on the whole 'grisly-revenge-saga' front, plot holes galore (someone explain to me how Macy's 'leverage' was supposed to work realistically?), and...oh, God, no...the 'I have a kid who barely remembers me' plot thread! Noooooo! I can't STAND this plot thread! It's a totally fast food way of attempting to humanize a character, it's a lazy way out for the writers, and I can't stand kids in the first place, so I just can't forgive this movie. Nope, I have absolutely nothing good to say about "Die! Die! Die!"---well, Saskatchewan does look lovely...
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Ahh, the '80s...
19 November 2004
Man, I cannot believe so few people have seen this movie! I'm not saying it's an unsung classic that should have won Oscars or anything, but it was an awfully cute cartoon; in my humble opinion, one of the best to come out of the 1980's.

Introduction to the Littles: tiny beings who look mostly human, with the exception of their tufted tails and protruding incisors (I swear, they're a lot cuter-looking than they sound), and live in human homes. They secretly exchange goods for small services; for example, they may take food from a human's cupboard, and later "pay them back" by finding said human's lost car keys and leaving them in a place they are sure to look.

This movie is mostly about a Little brother and sister who are accidentally separated from their family, only to find out that their old home will be torn down in a matter of days. Their grandfather and dim-bulb cousin mount a rescue attempt, and they spend the rest of the movie trying to get back home and warn the oblivious parents before the bulldozers come. Along the way they have to avoid rats, humans, cats, and mousetraps, to name a few.

To fans of fairy tales involving brownies and elves, or even literature such as "Stuart Little" or "The Borrowers," this is nothing new or different. Still, it is a good, more modern reworking of this idea, and should be entertaining to most children with an imagination. The characters are never too cutesy or annoying, and the situations are exciting enough to keep one's interest. As a plus for parents, the bantering dialogue can be quite funny to both children and adults at times, without any of the snide flavorings that darken most cartoons today.
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