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11 reviews in total 
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8 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
Great Performances but a Ridiculous End, 24 April 2016

The cast for this program is excellent and the story begins with promise. The affair presented made it easy to sympathize with the wife, a fairly common theme, but there was also some additional mystery surrounding how the affair began. For me the real interest began when a number of scenes allowed husband's character to explain (to the audience) how this all happened, giving him dimension and humanity. However, by the third episode the story line meandered and the devolved into a demonstration and of what most women fantasize about doing to an unfaithful husband. And when the other mysteries surrounding the affair were revealed, it was not worth the wait. As the series continued all dimension given to the husband was taken away and he was returned to the status of a one-dimensional villain in need of punishment. The final scene (epilogue) was an indulgent endorsement of the selfish and vindictive actions undertaken by the wife to destroy her husband and anyone within 1000 yards of him, including their son. The ridiculous scene occurs in the serene town- square where the wife sits sipping on a coffee, empowered and smug, while the meek husband passes by flashing a pathetic apologetic smile, apparently accepting of his fate, as he dutifully fades into the abyss.

Life of Pi (2012)
2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Visually stunning, beautiful movie, 1 December 2012

I will be brief. I have now read the book and seen the movie. The movie, seen in 3D, was incredible. It is the most beautiful movie I have seen visually. It is often compared to Avatar, but Avatar had no connection to reality and does not have the depth. It was pure fantasy, even James Cameron would agree. While both films, in my view, are the gold-standard for the use 3D technology, the visuals in Life of Pi are more artistic, real and stirring. The director is to be commended, the boat sequence is shot like an organic memory.

The performances are brilliant with exception. But I believe the director struggled with the ending and how to shoot it, as the book does not translate well to film in this single pivotal area. In the end Ang Lee has the young Pi give an account to the investigators which makes sense, but i would have the older Pi, narrator (Irrfan Khan), give the account simply because I found him to be the more impactful performer. Also the account, as delivered by Pi, removes all doubt for the viewer as to what happened on the boat, whereas the book leaves room for interpretation which I preferred.

It is a brilliant movie, beautifully shot, and well acted. See it in the theatre, and pay the extra cash for 3D.

ParaNorman (2012)
26 out of 38 people found the following review useful:
Excellent Animated Movie with Depth, 3 September 2012

Without spending too much time discussing the plot, this movie is essentially a film about a misfit kid who ultimately must save the town that has misunderstood and mistreated him for most of his life. Yes, Norman sees dead people. However, everyone is aware of Norman's claim of this power and they either ridicule him (other kids) or are ashamed of his seemingly wild claim and erratic behaviour. Of course Norman's extra-sensory powers will soon be required to rid the town of a curse. The resulting events make for a great story and film.

There are several themes in this film that were well developed and ultimately resolved to my satisfaction. The animation is incredible, and I loved the creative camera shots that the director(s) chose in many scenes: much more advanced than the usual animated film.

I took 2 children to see this movie, a 6-year old girl and a (near) 4 boy. The kids loved the comedic zombie scenes in particular and were laughing out loud for much of it. They were frightened in other parts but in a functional thematic way, not to the point of nightmares. However I did note that some of the deeper themes went right over the kids' heads, and while they weren't too bothered by this fact, I advise that children over 8 might enjoy the film more fully.

The climax of the film is beautifully animated, and very poignant. On the whole a great film. I would state only that the humour surrounding the zombies was hilarious for adults and children alike, and I would have included more of it. Certainly this film is worth the admission. I saw it in 3D, it wasn't mind-blowing 3D but it certainly gave the film more texture.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Very intelligent film, 21 July 2008

The movie was awesome, there is nothing else to say. The film has been rated and discussed at nauseum so I will be brief & specific in my comments.

The Joker character was darker & better than any previous rendering. I what I like specifically was the lack of history. In previous comics (and in Tim Burton's film) there was an eternal connection between Batman & the Joker, as Batman had inadvertently created the Joker. This was a great theme that called Batman to question the consequences of his actions. The bottom line - if you want to clean house you have to get your hands dirty.

This film offers a more philosophical perspective. The Joker has no history - he is an entity. He is chaos incarnate. The Joker is the ultimate result of crime - chaos and violence for its own sake.

To discuss the Joker's personal history and to ponder how he became this monster would lessen his power on-screen. It was a brilliant stroke by the writer to avoid that trap. Further, the Joker himself taunts his victims (& the audience) with several false accounts of his creation. I love it, because the "why" is irrelevant, it is the "what" that is important. What he is now, what he represents.

This angle at the Joker relied heavily on a brilliant performance, and Ledger delivered. I admit to being predisposed to liking this film, but I went in expecting to be disappointed in Ledger's performance. Simply, I had heard too much and felt this praise had more to due with his death than his work. I was wrong - he will win the Supporting Actor Oscar posthumously, it won't even be close.

You will not see a better film this year.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Worth a look, but lacking in areas., 25 December 2007

I gave this film a 7 out of 10, to me this means it is entertaining, well-made, worth admission, but lacking in areas. Here are the positives: the acting was excellent, the set was brilliant, the story idea was compelling. The negatives: there isn't enough development of the storyline and all of the characters, the film ends too quickly, and the product placement is WAY to obvious and distracting. Everyone knows the basic story line I assume, Will Smith is the lone human left in NY following man-made disaster involving a cancer treatment. The setting allows for awesome sets and sparks your imagination - which it did with ease. The main character is tough, brilliant and organized, which makes it believable that he's still alive and thriving. The zombies are scary and suitable villains for Will Smith to battle, but that's where the story development ends. The film introduces a whole bunch of interesting mental health issues with Will Smith's character (to be expected after 3 years of solitude), but then abandons these thoughts. When two new humans appear, I was interested about their story, which was only discussed in 60 seconds over breakfast. And then, suddenly, God is introduced as a theme...then the movie ends. And all the way through I was slapped in the face with advertising (a staple of Will Smith films) in particular lots of Ford Motor Company sponsorship here. Anyways, a good film but it needed more.

5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Not bad, but not memorable..., 19 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I usually enjoy post-war science fiction films of this genre. I also loved the concept of no human babies being born and the resulting strain on society. Finally, I think Clive Owen is great and he delivers a solid performance in this film. But in the end I think the film was only slightly above average. The biggest problem for me was the terrorists. I did not understand their cause or their tactics. It simply made no sense to me. Immigration & state powers are contemporary issues of which the viewer has an understanding, but I don't see the jump from our contemporary immigration protests to acts of murder & terrorism. I just couldn't get behind that notion. I also didn't see the benefit of the terrorists killing their own leader over a disagreement. Usually in such cases the terrorist group will simply splinter - just look at our contemporary terrorists groups for such examples. It also wasn't clear to me what Clive Owen's character supported as an activist in his past nor were his ex-wife's goals clear to me. Basically I think the film would have been great if it were a bit longer and the story more fleshed out. Perhaps there was simply too much editing here. This film had a makings of a great story, a great cast, it was well shot but it simply missed the mark.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Great story, well acted, close to Unforgiven, 19 October 2007

If you enjoyed Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven", then you will love this film. The cast is brilliant and the on screen chemistry is obvious. While one is better off following directors rather than actors, I find myself seeing every movie that Bale and Crowe star in, and I'm rarely disappointed. I won't bother summarizing the plot. The film has all of the necessary elements of a true Western: a dangerous and outwardly heartless gunslinger, a truly heartless land owner, and decent family man (protagonist) who's adherence to a strict and honorable moral code is constantly tested and often ridiculed in the harsh frontier. The movie takes these basic elements and peals them back. The actors are able to give the characters depth without becoming cliché. The action is well performed and well shot. You will not be disappointed.

Mr. Brooks (2007)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Not bad, but needed more work., 3 June 2007

The story was very interesting and unique. That kept me interested for sure. Also, I thought Costner and Hurt were great, as noted by others I thought Hurt was brilliant at times.

The problems - they attempted to cover WAY too much material. At one point there were five separate story lines - there was the main story line of Mr. Brooks and hist struggles, there was Mr. Brooks' daughter and her issues, there was the other escaped killer, there was the detective (Demi Moore) and her on going divorce & work trouble, and there was the photographer who was blackmailing Mr. Brooks. There was simply too much going on here. When watching I thought to myself, there is simply too much going on here to properly resolve every issue. I expected a weak, inter-connected solution and that's exactly what was delivered. I found that disappointing.

I also was unconvinced with Demi Moore. I think she did an adequate job in her role, but why use her? Even if Moore had turned in her best performance, she can be nothing more than a distraction. I could never be convinced that she was a cop, she was simply Demi Moore playing a cop. This was huge casting error in my opinion. I don't' seen Moore as a ticket box draw in this role, so what's the point?

Also, I thought the interaction between Moore and her supervisor & partner was absolutely terrible. There was no chemistry here and in particular the dialog was horrendous. I found myself laughing out loud with several of the exchanges. And, finally, the shoot-out scene was completely ridiculous and unnecessary.

This film simply needed more test screenings. The central story and characters were very interesting and compelling, and well played. However, the story needed to be simplified, and some roles were poorly cast.

I did enjoy the movie overall and I was definitely entertained, but this one can wait until rental.

Scoop (2006)
3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
A waste of actors and time, 5 January 2007

I think that one's perception of this film depends mainly on the viewer's opinion of Woody Allen's films and his comedy. I have only seen a handful of his films, & I don't have a strong opinion either way. I would say that generally his movies are not brilliant or particularly funny, but they are generally well made, clever and identifiable. All that said, I think this movie was terrible. I am a big fan of the two lead actors, and I found their performances were wooden and unconvincing. Simply put, they were obviously acting. Woody Allen, as usual, played himself. Only in a "daring" change (I'm being sarcastic here) the film was set in London, not New York. However, Allen plays the same tired old neurotic befuddled wimp who makes social commentary and observations throughout the film. He was generally not funny, and actually more of a distraction from the predictable story. Somehow the audience is supposed to accept that Allen's character and Scarlet Johansen's character have formed a bizarre alliance in solving a mystery. It was absurd and uncomfortable. In the end it would appear that Allen simply used the beautiful Johansen and handsome Jackman as props in a situational stand-up comedy routine. It is tired and simply bad. The poor performances by Jackman and Johansen I blame entirely on Allen as it the film was directed by him and clearly bears his mark - it would seem he boxed in these actors and smothered any instincts they possessed. In the end it looks like a poor, cheap amateur off-Broadway play. Give this a miss.

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Good for a laugh, 24 June 2006

If you're a fan of Jack Black, and Tenacious D, you'll enjoy this one. The movie follows a standard plot line, Nacho is basically a Mexican male version of Cinderella, who has dreams of glory in the squared circle. The rest of the story is fairly predictable, but that isn't really the point now is it? The point is that Jack Black is hilarious and his Nacho character is both funny and enduring. I found myself rooting for him and laughing the whole movie, and not just at the staged jokes and the scenes displayed on the trailer. I also liked that a musical scene was incorporated, any Tenacious D (Jack Black's comedy rock band) will appreciate and enjoy this scene. I would say that the movie is worth the ticket price, but I think the cash is better spent buying the DVD, because films like this are funnier the more you watch them.

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