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20 reviews in total 
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Copenhagen (2014)
Looks like it was written by a twenty-something with a fantasy, 24 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There is one redeeming feature in this movie - the beautiful city of Copenhagen which I hope to visit someday. Beyond that, we have a less- than convincing portrayal of a forbidden romance between Will, an American-born twenty- something and Effy, a Danish teenager, with the teenager pulling most of the strings. The ostensible reason for the film, which is the desire of of Will to meet his Danish grandfather for the first time, gets short shrift amid this contrived interplay between the two characters. Frankly, that story would have been more compelling. It was cutesy at some point, if that's your cup of tea.

Some misguided critics describe this as "coming of age" film. Who, exactly, is coming of age? One is an adult and the other is a child. Like many a young male adult, the writer seems to think it is okay to pursue a relationship with an underage teenage girl. There are potential clues as to her age, but Will manages to miss them, until it is convenient to discover them. He then offers a half-hearted resistance before engaging in an inappropriate nude scene (perhaps even sex) with her.

Labor Day (2013)
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Nothing rescues this movie (SPOILERS), 2 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a very bad movie. From the conception to the execution, it is a bad idea.

First, the conception. A divorced mother living with her pre-teen son accosts an escaped prisoner in the supermarket. Even the progress of that scene was too clumsy. The prisoner merely summons the boy, talks him into accompanying him. And, on the way, he steals a jacket and a baseball cap. We are not told whether there is anything in the boy's past that makes him susceptible to this kind of blatant manipulation. It seems to me that he could have simply walked back to his mother, or screamed. It was during the day. There were several shoppers. I presume the store has some security apparatus in place.

Then, the mother as the equally naive, but unwitting accomplice. Despite being within earshot of several shoppers, the mother then decides it is a good idea to let this stranger ride with them to their house. Whatever hesitation she had was so tepid, it was barely noticeable.

Then, the-I-can't-believe-they-are-trying-to-make-a-romantic-movie- out-of-this chain of events. Predictably, this hunky escaped murderer turns to be quite handy. He can fix cars, he can do things around the house. Heck, he even knows how to cook. At no time did anyone of the other two decide, "hmmm...this is not a good idea. We don't know this guy."

Things reach absurd levels of incredulity before the boy wises up, albeit prompted by a smart, but potty-mouthed girl of approximately the same age, and he contacts his estranged father who calls the police. Thereafter, the fugitive is arrested.

Oh, but they fall in love in the meantime. Don't tell me you didn't see that coming. And, at the end we learn that upon release, after spending more than a decade in jail, she was still waiting for him. Okay, whatever.

Why I hate this movie, apart from the rather pretentious plot and bad execution is the message: that a divorced woman with her young child should take in an escaped murderer in the off-chance that they might fall in love. It makes you shudder at the concept. Please, ladies, do not do this.

Geriatric vigilantes on patrol (SPOILERS), 19 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

And acting like wild cowboys despite their advancing age. A misguided yarn that merely shows how low Al Pacino and Christopher Walken have sunk. I don't think there was even a script. I think they ad-libbed it all. Not hard to do for seasoned actors. After a few minutes, you realize it's not a serious movie, so you just let it play in the background while doing housework.

Three old-timers who can no longer get it up without Viagra engage in juvenile antics, including stealing a car, engaging in a high-speed chase, visiting an escort service, and shooting up the place, while reminiscing about the past. The shooting only works because most of their targets stayed still enough for their arthritic fingers to slowly pull out their guns. Predictably, one of them croaks while at it.

It is billed as a comedy, but if you crack a smile, it's not because the movie is even remotely believable. It is because of the incredulity of it all. It will appeal to you if you are now on social security and once dreamed of being a hot-shot in your youth but the only action you got was playing cops and robbers in the backyard with your kid brother, and in adulthood, you spent your entire career as a mailman. Just remember it was all a dream.

1 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Behind the nudity is a really interesting story, 3 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


I am no movie expert, but after seeing so many "reviewers" dismiss this as porno, I felt the need to state my disagreement.

First, it is true there is a whole lot of nudity. Short of seeing an X-rated movie, it is not easy to understate the nudity. Some of it seemed gratuitous, but do not underestimate the power of imagery.

Second, it is not pornographic. Oh, no. You can tell when a movie is pornographic. As a red-blooded male were you aroused? If the answer is no, then it is not pornographic. At no time was I aroused.

Third, there is a really compelling back story. One more relevant and more engrossing than the naked bodies. I suspect that many a viewer could relate to one or more of the characters. And I suspect you were so caught up in the story, you had no time to be aroused.

There is some slyness in how the story is told. It is as if von Trier was toying with us. Read the reviews of actual experts and most of them could explain his intentions better than those of us on this board.

It is a very easy story to follow: an unusually sexually active female engages in reckless and wanton sex with any and everybody. In the process, she suffers all the emotions, including, but not limited to, anger, jealousy, humiliation, abuse and rejection that was bound to ensue. There is some redemption in the end, it seems. If you can see that, the movie has achieved its aim. By the way, the movie is titled "Nymphomaniac." Why should the subject-matter surprise anybody?

Night #1 (2011)
A fairly atypical romance movie that tugs at you in strange ways, 12 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saved this movie on my Netflix's list for so long, and I could never bring myself to view it because it's an indy and all, and with all indies, it's hit or miss. Then, for no reason, I turned it on and couldn't stop. Okay, the first 15 minutes were just steamy sex. Thereafter, the movie settled down to serious stuff.

This movie affected me in strange ways. I am much older than this couple, yet I marveled at their life experience. It is the helplessness and hopelessness and carelessness of youth. I was once their age, but I was never come close to doing any of the things they had done. My life was typical, almost too boring to bear.

This is a low-budget film, but very thoughtfully made and well-acted. A young man and a young man meet on a dance floor, and end up in his apartment to have sex the same night. After that transpires, the "now what?" is very revealing.

This is the story of two "lost" souls, both searching for a meaning, but living each day in a haze of drugs, sex and alcohol, yet finding hopelessness wherever they turn. Long after they should have known better, they continue to exist in this warp of self-destructive behavior. In the end, you are left with a feeling of emptiness for this couple, yet you think that it might all work out.

The ending doesn't really neatly tie up things. Good thing that it doesn't. They will continue to struggle, but it seems two lost souls found one another.

Better than it looks, 12 February 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


The plot of this movie is easy to summarize. A suicidal girl is taken hostage, but bonds with the assailant from whom she extracts a promise to kill her once they escape. If it was her plan to die anyway, what does it matter who does it? You would think you could write the rest of the story and the ending. You'd be wrong.

There are not so much plot twists as there are subtle shifts in direction. I like the little oddities. The fact that the thief is English. If this happened in New York, it wouldn't be surprising. But this takes place in Washington state. There is the other little oddity I noticed. They are so close to the Canadian border that, in one shot, you could see the Canada Mail postboxes.

Even though the ending is predictable, how they get there will, once again, surprise you.

Watch it. You'd be pleasantly surprised.

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
I wanted this movie to be 10 hours long, 17 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What a beauty! For once, I was so drawn to a movie that I never wanted it to end. If you are into fast-paced action with lots of vituperation, this is not for you. But if you like your movies to be profound, slow-paced, insightful, and thought-provoking, you will enjoy this movie. Also, it has none of the heartbreaks that you see in a movie like this.

Veronica is a newly-minted medical doctor, undergoing her residency. She shares her life with her aging father, on whom she dotes, the way he must have done for her when she was young. The beauty of the relationship between father and daughter alone is sufficient to love this movie.

She secures a psychiatry consultation in a public hospital, but she finds herself drawn to her patients, experiencing many of the same doubts, insecurities and existential malaise which plague her patients. Her love life also suffers to the same extent; she can't seem to find her footing.

Having drifted for a while, she finally catches a break which allows her to reset her life, her love and her family, and finally everything has meaning.

Casualties (1997)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Ignore the naysayers, 12 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am sorry, but this is a really good movie. If you buy into the assumption that the ending is predictable, it is because thrillers end in predictable ways. Nobody can claim they foresaw the twist with the "savior" becoming the hunter.


Annie was a runaway at 19 from an abusive home. She hitches up with Bill, who later, or always was, a cop. The problem is Bill is no less a psycho than her abusive upbringing. He controls what she does, and abuses her physically and mentally.

Enter Tommy, who had also enrolled in Annie's cooking class, and in whom Annie confides. He gently suggests that Annie kill her husband, Bill. Annie is reluctant at first, but is only happy to go along after a particularly bad episode of domestic violence. The murderer would be Tommy, all with the assurance that the hit would be painless and leave no trace. Tommy carries out the hit on Bill, who whether deliberately or accidentally, is able to fight back, leaving evidence that would implicate Annie.

What Annie does not know is that Bill was always a target for Tommy who is a professional hit-man hired (presumably) by a drug gang which was busted by Bill and two colleagues. Tommy had already killed one member of the gang-busting trio of cops. Bill was his second. The third cop, Clark is being looked at as a possible suspect, mostly because Annie had disappeared in the meantime, and his supervisors suspect that because Clark is close to Annie, they were lovers.

After killing Bill, Tommy lures Annie to his den with the assurance that this would be his last job, and he and Annie would flee to China. But Tommy scares Annie enough that she does her own snooping and realizes that she is in a deadly situation. While Tommy was planning to kill the Clark, Annie is able to alert him. Together, they finish off Tommy in a messy finale.

It is a well-acted movie. It is particularly violent and disturbing. It delivers the message concisely. Why it didn't garner more accolades is beyond me. Perhaps it is being rated by jaded people who have seen a lot of this kind of movies and are not impressed. Me? I was.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A parade of impossibly beautiful women, 11 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Netflix summary was promising. I stared at it on my queue for weeks before I took the plunge and watched it. I must say I was slightly disappointed.

More soap opera episode than substantive movie, this offering aims to tackle an important but taboo subject: homosexuality within two very conservative families, infused with a healthy dose of Middle East politics. As a vehicle for this critical message, it fails among the stunningly beautiful women (or people) and glitzy set. Both were a distraction. Even the help was made up of beautiful people.

There were also too many people and there was not enough character development to properly introduce you to each one. The actors weren't that good. None of them could summon the right emotion for the circumstances. They uttered their lines with the conviction of POWs.

As for the substance of the movie, it promised more than it delivered. We know that a wedding was called off because a bride later found out she was homosexual. We know that one of the women (which one???) later fell in love with another woman, only to end up with the first woman who introduced her to homosexuality. Nothing further is said about the second woman. If this sentence has you confused, you can see how I felt.

The only redeeming feature was the somewhat surprising outcome. Neither family freaked out.

Watch it for the eye candy.

Skyfall (2012)
4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
If the name James Bond wasn't attached, 2 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the fast-food equivalent of cinema. Just because this movie earned a billion dollars doesn't make it a good one, just as healthy quarterly statements don't prove that fast food is quality food. If this movie was called Skyfall with a generic actor, it wouldn't gross more than $30 million.

I have never been enthralled with Bond movies, because after reading all the Ian Fleming novels when I was a teenager, I always thought the movies were too far out with the gadgetry and superhuman abilities and all. Nonetheless, I watched some of them over the years because they were available.

A lot of things wrong with this movie have been catalogued, but I'll pile on for good measure:

1. Where is the suave, sophisticated Bond? You know, the guy who can order a drink with the best of them? Where is the tuxedo? In this movie, he was relegated to thuggery, like forcing his way into a moving train by basically yelling at the train operator. No sly, clever one-liners, this one.

2. Why "humanize" Bond by showing the place of his birth, and revealing the names and tombstone of his parents? Or showing him crying when M died? What does that accomplish, other than soupy, soap-opera stuff?

3. Why allow his parents' home to be destroyed? If he was human, wouldn't he want to save it to preserve the memories of his parents? What happens to Kincaid now that the house is gone?

4. Why show us that M needs to report a legislative panel? We assume that. We don't need to see her getting grilled.

5. What was the deal with resurrecting the Aston Martin and all the gadgets? It served no useful purpose. It seemed a contrived and desperate move to appeal to the past.

6. Why even make this film? Why not do a remake of the original Fleming novels? You know, a fresher, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" with new gadgets.

It might be time to stop making Bond movies (I know, I know, they'll never stop so long as the money keeps pouring in), but they clearly have run out of ideas. Pretty soon, computer-savvy kids will churn out this kind of movies anyway.

I watched this movie with my non-fluent-English-speaking wife. While she'd heard of the name, she has never seen a Bond movie. At least half a dozen times, she turned to me and rolled her eyes. Yet, we'd seen a few action movies which she liked. To me, her reaction said a lot.

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