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Laura (1944)
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
great film -- too bad about the DVD commentaries, 5 January 2007

What an excellent film. I love noir, and Laura rings nary a false note. I just viewed the 2005 DVD and the video is very sharp.

Please do go and get the disc (definitely worth it), but a word of warning about the extras: Sorry to drop the P-bomb, but Jeanine Basinger's (and, to a lesser extent, Rudy Behlmer's) commentary is beyond-the-pail pedantic. How wonderful that Maestro Basinger has benefited from having the Gene Tierney archives at Wesleyan U., but sophisticated viewers of 2007 do *not* need to have enormous blocks read to them in the commentary feature; have rudimentary film language terminology defined and hemmed/hawed about for long stretches; have the commentator list every film that each actor participated in. Can you say "filler"? Perhaps one aside of Tierney's letters here or there would be useful, but the shopping lists are endless. Please studios, monitor the commentaries that are done on these great films! I do not need to have an academic explain to me at great length what the purpose of a flashback is, etc., etc. And--wow!--I had no idea that the painting of Laura was actually a doctored photo (explained ad nauseam in every corner).

Here's hoping the Leave Her to Heaven disc is spared such treatment in the extras.

14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
interesting try but overrated, 12 November 2006

Saw this film last night--while it was a mostly enjoyable couple of hours, I really feel that it's overrated. For starters, the whole way through I felt like I was watching the distilled cinematic version of a novel, and I had no idea about the source material going in. Jennifer Connelly is fantastic and should've been given more screen time in the final cut (not sure why--or did she?--agree to be second banana to Kate Winslet). I think the two leads are miscast . . . Patrick Wilson does not ring true as the self-doubting ex-jock (the whole skateboarding metaphor is a joke, particularly later on). His performance is okay, but I'm just not buying him in the role. Way too pretty, and I agree with what others have said: that it's highly unlikely two beautiful, privileged spouses would be at such different places in their lives so early in their marriage. Same goes for Winslet--too pretty and smart (the film suggests she's an ABD lit. academic) to be married to such a top-drawer weenie, plus I found her US accent this time out was a little too distracting/patrician for the suburban role.

There's no nuance in the secondary characters--I found Noah Emmerich's performance to be annoying/uninteresting . . . he was just kind of like a wet pair of diapers that won't go away, and if he's one of the "little children," that's not nearly enough to hold my interest. Similarly, the suburban moms are presented in a totally ridiculous way: let's see, we've got a Witches of Eastwick-lite blond mom, a red-haired mom, and a black-haired mom all sitting together on the park bench (you see, they have to sit together 'cause they're all essentially the same stock character). But Winslet is different, 'cause, like, she's on the other bench. Just too cartoony for me, and again later in the book club segment blond mom is presented as a one-note drone. Not to say those moms don't exist, but I really don't see the point here other than to hit the "stupid" viewer over the head. This is a pretty easy target for the filmmaker/screenwriter. Other than in Jackie Earle Haley's character, where's the complexity? The best movies have character actors who offer layered performances.

The dragnet cop–sounding narrator also didn't really work for me. A little too droll by half. And I must say that I'm growing very weary of the show-ending-intercut-montage-sequence-with-voice-over device that every drama on TV currently exploits to the hilt, and now apparently filmmakers feel the need to use. Please, directors, avoid the bravura montage sequence . . . I'm begging you! Magnolia really created a monster with that.

See the movie and decide for yourself. I'm not sorry I saw it—I was just expecting more. Love that Connelly, though. I think I'd probably watch her reciting the phone book.

9 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
zero stars--JLH makes Patricia Arquette look like Frances Conroy, 25 September 2005

J-Love is one inept actor--good thing she's the executive producer. The former Audrey Hepburn would do well to return to her stillborn recording career. I'm not sure how some other people leaving comments about this show can be so positive. Ghost Whisperer (oh the connotations in the title . . . I can just hear marketing and publicity: "If there's no tie-in there's no buy-in.") is network dreck of the highest order. It plays like it's trying to rip off several TV shows and movies all at once. The directing, lighting, make-up, CGI, and oh my the writing are all atrocious, but they take a back seat to JLH's school-play level of acting. She is both wooden and giggly . . . quite often at the same time (no small achievement). The clichés are endless. "I see dead people. I'm kinda sorta tortured by this, hee hee. Now give me a thousand ridiculous close-ups." Riveting!