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animala

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15 reviews in total 
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5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
This is a Keeper. I am a Speed fan from childhood 1980s reruns and I LOVED it, 11 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was doubtful that i could like a live action version of my favorite cartoon. I had a Speed Racer lunchbox, Racer X mug, and Racer X's picture in my wallet since I was 16 years old.

Don't let the naysayers dissuade you from bringing kids to see an amazing film achievement. It has a wholesome storyline, and when cars crash the drivers are encapsulated in a a special fireproof spongy thing or a parachute--no death.

The story incorporates many of the major points of the original cartoon and manages to build a pretty decent story about the Racer family against corporate corrupt America. I even liked what they did about Racer X and Rex Racer--they tricked me and I don;t want to spoil how they handled it, but I was surprised pleasantly. To be honest there were no loose ends and another nice thing was that Trixie and Moms had a bit of chutzpah and weren't such weak women--a bit improvement on the cartoon.

There was just as much cheesy-ness as the cartoon so that was pretty funny and I felt the movie was cast perfectly--right down to using many of the staff from V for Vendetta. The villains were way over the top--making them fabulous and very funny caricatures.

The W brothers did a GREAT job and the little boys and girls were on the edge of their seats the entire time.

And if you are a big kid, and a gearhead, you will Love this movie. It is a car or motorcyclist's dream.

Far better than any of the prequels for Star Wars and less ponderous than Narnia--this is a great kid's film.

Absolutely brilliant...you really never know where your relatives are from until you are tested!, 11 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was a great series--great scientifically and great "sociology".

A number of prominent African Americans undergo historical research, genealogy research, recollections and DNA testing to understand the origins of each's own family. With slavery disrupting all social bonds and separation of the young from their parents, many peoples experiencing slavery and servitude in their past genuinely don't know "where I am from".

The DNA testing is very extensive--not the usual $99 special that testing companies offer. In this PBS special they do maternal and paternal line tracing, and also population features--and EXPLAINED everything. This was really very cool without the silly horror music and making science seem tricky just to give it "mystery", so everything was very straightforward.

Highly recommended--best science documentary since the COSMOS seriously.

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
"What deity is it that would inflict such an illness on an innocent girl?", 8 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love British TV having spent many years enjoying it on European satellite, and this must be one of the best, if not the best miniseries I have ever seen. I would say only the 1995 Beeb Pride and Prejudice comes close to keeping the top spot.

It is a hard toss up for which is my favorite Dickens book, and perhaps this miniseries proves that Bleak House is the champion of the Most Adaptable book, in that many of the characters are very relatable to today's average person. This book could have been written today with the battle worldwide among: those who Have, those who Have Not, and those who want to make sure the Have Nots never attain any ability to change their status.

I don;t want to spoil the story but I will give a brief synopsis:

Dickens starts with the Chancery Court-- Court costs and lawyers' fees have exhausted all the inheritance money in the case called Jarndyce and Jarndyce. The case has gone on for many years and is "so complicated that no man alive knows what it means." Many people lose their money & thus lives who are involved in this case. Soon Lady Dedlock and the sinister lawyer of her husband (Sir Leicester)Mr. Tulkinghorn are introduced (brilliantly played by Charles Dance. One. scary. dude.) We are also introduced to the world of the Idle rich. Lady Dedlock is a possible beneficiary of the Jarndyce and Jarndyce suit. Lady Dedlock, seems very vacant and a bit self-important but very guarded. It is thus shocking when she faints when she sees the handwriting of a legal document. Of course Tulkington observes it and prepares henceforth to discover how Lady Dedlock should recognize the script of a legal documents scribe. Other main characters: Esther Summerson, alone and friendless is raised by a cranky Miss Barbary who blames Esther for Esther's Mother's death. After Miss Barbary's death Esther is in boarding school then later is expect to repay her schooling costs by being the Help in Bleak House, Mr. Jarndyce's (a fairly nice Mr Jarndyce and he did pay for her schooling) household. Mr Jarndyce also adopts two wards, Ada Clare and non-related Richard, both who have an interest in the J & J case if it is ever resolved.

In typical Dickens style no one person can commit any action in the past or present which doesn;t have resounding effects on many people's futures, and also in typical fashion, there is a mystery which if revealed will cause social chaos and personal upheaval.

Smallpox and other illnesses are rife in society, especially among the friendless overcrowded poor in the cities. While on missions of mercy and helping the poor, Esther contracts smallpox, and the aftermath of how she is treated brings home the hypocrisy of the society they live in. But her illness spurs a person keeping a secret to reveal things that may cause exposure--and many are circling around the strange mystery of the origins of the law writer, Lady dedlock, Esther.

There are some love-to-hate-em villains in this like Smallweed (funny and repulsive), Krook (he is) and Mr Tulkinghorne who is not funny and very much a villain.

When I first got the series I thought I would watch one or two a night, but I basically canceled my life and viewed it within a 24 hr period--basically like a book you can't put down, I didn't stop.

It is worth it, and it is worth noting that the votes for the miniseries herein garnered fewer than 10 votes below the rating of 8 which is pretty phenomenal.

It is a phenomenal series--at first the direction appears a bit unorthodox for a Victorian novel, but it soon settles in as natural.

Hats off to everyone--Gillian Anderson did herself proud, something I never expected.

The quote in the summary line above summarizes Dickens' view that God and his mismanaging adult humans of Means have much to answer for in how they inflict suffering on the young, weak and poor.

Haven (2004/I)
4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
This is an excellent & authentic story...what's with the unfair low rating? Go see it before it leaves theaters, 23 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I cannot understand the thrashing that critics gave this film...did we see the same movie?

This movie is a personal story of the dark underside of an island paradise that is known to most of the world as a tax shelter for the rich who fly in and out, and some who fly in and stay to ruin the lives of people who really can;t afford to (or want to) leave their beautiful homeland. Not all island dwellers are saints, I don't mean to imply same, but you can see that even the homegrown Pimpsters are made in Our image (Americans, British culture) in how they carry out their criminal activity. Like many Caribbean places, there are fair and darker people, not the kind of segregation one would see in a major US city, and everyone regardless of income level, is pretty dependent on tourists for economic survival. I will try to describe it with mild spoilers and not much specifics which would really spoil things.

So we have several stories interleaved. We really start "off" the island in a sense--with the activities of money-launderers or crooks--it's unclear, but they are white suits anyway. We find out more about them at first than we do where they are headed and where they do their business, Cayman islands. They are so cool, all richesse, simply because they are not yet "caught" by the balls for their activities.

Also stories of several folk on the island. A boy (Shy) whose father was beaten up & died, and his withdrawn existence, and his love for a girl (Andrea) who is the daughter of the man who he works for. SHy's love and life get messed up from family disapproval. The lovers kept apart create some personal transformations of several people that are highly negative and fateful and have a shocking conclusion.

And I wasn;t sure how I felt about the criminals in the beginning who seem like they were getting away with ruination of other people...they may not have, and I won;t say more.

There are some great friendships, great love, and great bewilderment in a place that, because of its other-worldly beauty, some people seem to live more recklessly than they can in reality.

Good movie, see it, and the last third makes sense wonderfully, for all of the stories of intertwined people so be patient.

Kitano's wonderful movie DOLLS was woefully misunderstood when it came out. I have a feeling that it will take awhile for this film to get seen, which is an awful shame, but Frank E. Flowers like Kitano, should not let ignorance get in the way of an original story. So it is Sept 23rd, and you must get out to see it before it disappears and you won't be sorry. Frank e Flowers has a good future and I hope he doesn't get sucked into the Hollywood mill.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Amy Sedaris is brilliant, movie pretty good but not for the sensitive!, 9 July 2006
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The movie is a prequel but also re-imagining of some of the scenarios of the TV series. Anyone who wants exactly the TV series or a "normal" comedy will be disappointed.

Amy Sedaris is the funniest broad since Gilda Radner. She can do amazing things with her face and eyes and voice. The opening sequence in the prison is iconic--what a montage.

The rest of the film is very funny with some repetitive gags slightly wearing, but it really is an extended TV show re-constructed for a little variety. Mr Noblet is now a science teacher and some of the cast are different, but it did not deter from enjoying the movie for me.

The humor is anti-PC, the reworked soul song about Jerri is hilarious, the drug and sex references non-stop, the suburban roasting is nonstop.

The crowd I was with was very happy & I think this was a intellectual dumb comedy with some very funny sight gags.

27 out of 29 people found the following review useful:
age is just a number & this isn't Lolita, 29 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Fredric March (JERRY) gives a most complete older man performance rarely seen in a movie— you see what a man thinks about himself, inside and out, and that's a very underused accomplishment since men aren't supposed to show their "feelings" in this society. He is a successful businessman and widower, somewhere in his 50s. Kim Novak (BETTY) is a beautiful but insecure/troubled personal-life young woman working in his company, fairly low on the totem pole. Despite mental blocks thrown in front of them by society (read that stupid interfering relatives mostly) there is some connection that is palpable between the two, and they feel the need to speak to each other and be in each others' presence.

While Betty at the beginning is "needy" and she is in a bit of trouble-on-the-run kind of which I can relate to (any woman can who has been in any sort of 'bad' relationship). Her family is not very supportive of her. Jerry is on the run too…or on the slide, I should say. He feels his age in every mental and physical way, which makes him feel useless in both his professional and family life. It doesn't help that he treated kind of like an imbecile by his family. So really, when Betty and Jerry meet, they are stripped down to their basic selves because they are both in need of escape and more importantly someone who understands them. So for me, it is not hard to see why they got together—each filled the other's need for understanding and acceptance. Additionally—each liked the other and was attracted.

So where's the conflict? It's just about everyone else. In the film, no one likes the age difference, and there are some hints about "class" social standing as well. FUnny how some viewers also bring their views on age differences in relationships in that some saw the Jerry- Betty relationship as "odd" or "obscene" or "inappropriate". And certainly this was not anything like Lolita! Come on. Lolita was a prepubescent teen so no comparison.

I think this movie more than any shows the damage well meaning friends and relatives can do when they are not putting the loved one's happiness FIRST, but are thinking about "what will people think" first. Who cares what people think--this is what ultimately helped the couple.

At any rate the many supporting roles don;t all blend into one, there are so many well crafted characters--probably since the movie was a pretty close version of Paddy Chayefsky's play, and he pays attention to character detail. The stand outs are Martin Balsam, Lee Grant, Joan Copeland.

It's been a few years since I've seen it. When I couldn;t find the video easily, I bought the book(play) for less than a dollar and re-lived it that way. The movie was almost better than the book.

I think Frederic march really should have been showered with acting awards for this dramatic introspective role.

A New Leaf (1971)
9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
That's what Love is, isn't it? A NEW LEAF, 21 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are very few movies that can accurately depict love, and even fewer comedies still, that can show that depth of feeling without irony or silliness. This has long been a movie very close to my heart.

I think this is Walter Matthau's best movie for showing his range, and Elaine May has always been an underrated actress and writer...and director. It was her movie.

Walter Matthau is a self-centered, ruthless, snobbish, wealthy bachelor whose only talent appears to be spending money on such outdated frivolities as reflected by his "manservent" and conscience, Harold (at least I think that's his name!).

One day, his accountant attempts to explain to him how really and truly broke he is. This is a hilarious scene, with Henry flatly refusing to believe broke means ZERO money. None. Undeterred, Henry has no visions of joining the real world. he simply must get money to continue his Royal lifestyle. This is 1971 but Henry lives in the middle ages, and it is clear he is not getting-down with the more natural lifestyle, and social progress. After much soul searching (and help from his manservant) Henry decides he must do things the old-fashioned way and Marry the money. It a last ditch effort to bail himself temporarily he borrows money from a detested scornful uncle who commits extortion over breakfast, all the while nearly choking to death on the food he gorges upon while Henry writhes in a chair and begs.

And so a series of Very funny scenes pass with countless wealthy spinsters, divorcees and widows, all of whom cause Henry to be repulsed (they are hilariously awful...and desperate!). One day he encounters Henrietta Lowell at another socialites tea party. After finding out Henrietta is loaded and has no family, rescues her multiple faux pas with the hostess. And so the whirlwind courtship begins. Henrietta is hopeless in the critical eyes of Henry graham--she is badly myopic, clumsy, has no concept of time or money, does nothing to improve her appearance...she's a botanist. And worse still--she has no taste in fine alcohol. Henry waxes on about fine wine, then she asks Henry if he's ever tasted "Mogen-David extra-heavy malaga wine with soda water and lime juice?"--an absolute laugh out loud moment. whoever heard of Ripple being so important to the wealthy socialites. Elaine May delivers every line so perfectly dead-pan, it is hard not to imagine her as Henrietta in real life.

Henry proposes, while kneeling on broken glass, and so their marriage begins. Henry takes over, gets rid of the corrupt "servants" (a young Doris Roberts is hilarious as the corrupt head housekeeper fleecing Henrietta blind). Henry plots to kill Henrietta so he can have all the money for himself.

But something funny happens along the way to the perfect murder. Henry really falls into place as the new King of the mansion. He is a good organizer, gets things repaired, and the staff that are allowed to stay actually start working. He also starts to care about Henrietta even though loudly protesting the otherwise out of her earshot (he doesn't manage to kill her on Honeymoon and only half-heartedly tried). Henrietta is clearly head over heels in love with Henry and thinks of nothing but him, she even asks him to teach so they can work together and one day she completely surprises him--she names a new leaf after him--a fern. He is so shocked, so touched. He will be famous, forever, immortalized as the species Grahami. He wears the leaf around his neck.

They go on a camping trip, where he finally had long planned to do her in.

I can't tell the final scenes, but they are gripping, death defying, and full of romance. Henrietta even manages to look pretty as she is pulled out of a river.

In a backhand way she tells him she knows that he didn't "plan" for things to happen the way they did, but she gently begs him to stick with her.

Matthau's transformation must be one of the most humorous "I changed for the love of a good woman" stories on record.

Please issue on DVD. Buy the VHS. This movie is beautiful. And it has some of the funniest dialog EVER written.

17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
just loved this show when I was young, 9 June 2006

when i was a kid, i would get on my jammies, brush my teeth, then get a blanket to wrap around myself so no one in the family would see when I got creeped out.

I LOVED this show. And I loved that Vincent Price was on it.

Why don;t we have more artistic literary thinking shows like this?

It was fabulous!

ANd Gorey's artwork, as always, was wonderful (just wished the "screaming lady" would've put a little steam on the scream in the cartoon...I didn't believe she was in peril!).

If you can see any episodes and you enjoy mystery and good literature, it is worth seeing, definitely.

9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
There are worse things than exile...uh...no there isn't! Beware gamblers & arsonists, 15 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well I was concerned that this movie would be a bloodbath or a sexploitation film, but it wasn;t. what I saw was an epic that despite some slight melodrama, was very well done and yes, in the face of sadness was very beautiful.

The island we come upon in the opening scene is rugged and clearly in the middle of nowhere. The first scene is a bit terrifying as individuals are loaded into basket-like round cages and rolled of a cliff to crash upon the rocks and sea below.

Exiles are sent to this island then left to fend for themselves entirely over the years which shows an odd sort of faudal/bartering society set up in the wilderness. Wilderness it is with some primitive food propagation and fishing but the least famine or contagion wipes out many.

The main focus is Toyogiku, an exile (for arson) courtesan who looks in her 30s-early 40s, and is very beautiful and charming. She gets by (food and shelter) by trading her sexual skills which are thematically present in the movie at times but never gratuitous. She also gets by, by being a tattletale. This makes her feel bad but she is trying to obtain a pardon. Like most others she is desperate to get off the island, which for most seems worse than death, yet they continue to live. Despite the apparent chaos--it isn;t.

She meets Kisaboru who is different and does not want to use her for any trade. They become secret husband and wife and plot to escape. This island is live Devil's Island, and much reference is made of same.

There are corrupt officials and other small intrusions into this trapped society, but most of the stories of the main characters and the wonderful supporting characters are very touching and tragic. It isn;t a weepfest. there are some sobering pictures of good friendships, and some sobering realities of the destruction inflicted by the weather and the pounding sea.

The balance of the village societies are upset by newcomers in a good way (Kisaboru) and in a bad way (Kachu). rather than a tragedy, it is a good survival of the fittest story, and most positively, tenacious dreamers.

I thought it was a great movie even though there is one point near the beginning when an older man dies and in the ending sequence where I felt things went on at length.

The supporting characters really make the movie. And the island and sea itself is a formidable opponent to all these minor criminals punished by being forced to live in an outdoor chess match.

Imagine getting 30 years exile for gambling.

Also***If people don't go see foreign films when they blow into town, then we won't get them in future. There were only eight people in this showing that I went to, a disgrace really.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
romances lovely...and the food magnificent, 10 November 2005

Eat drink man woman is one of the nicest romance movies I have ever seen. The three sisters, all so different and all so unique trying to deal with their hen-like culinary Papa was no less than a delight.

I think this is my favorite movie by Ang Lee for several reasons—one being the "different" direction for each sister and the father. Each was alike a separately constructed movie—the best being the father's own story, and the goofy but endearing "religious" sister, the eldest who I think is called Jia-Jen. Jia-Jen's story is almost directed like a documentary of a mysterious country in the midst of dictatorship! Just perfect for her personality and the way she is living. She is remote and repressed and clings to Christianity, even shunning her sisters at times. At school she is an ice maiden—which is not lost on her students, and the boy's coach who is respectfully sweet to her despite her coldness towards him. One day at school..she gets an anonymous love note and more follow. While there is some hope there for the withdrawn Jia-Jen, she also can't really handle the fact that she has no control over it. One day she finds out the truth and is left crying in her classroom. The coach tries to comfort her and she explodes maybe for the first time in a good way and the coach doesn't have much choice in the matter.

The nicest and most poignant story was Chef Chu himself—but I won't describe that as it was the best surprise of the movie.


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