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Northern Borders (2013)
The budget on this movie was pretty small as an independent film. What saves it is the great actors. The acting was terrific; I gave this movie a seven because of the acting. Most of the sets were fine and the costumes were realistic also. But it struggled with production value, pacing, editing, and how some of the scenes ended and began. That's were a seasoned editor, screenwriter, and director would have helped. There were several rough spots because the screenplay was clearly clunky. A better screenplay would have produced better scene opportunities. Sometimes the dialogue didn't make sense - like when the grandson asks, "What name did she call you before she died?" No one asks that kind of thing. Not even a 1950's kid. The information was not necessary. Some of the scenes were awkward with no lead-in and ended with the viewer wondering why the scene was included since it didn't push the story along nor really show character development. Examples include the teacher being locked in an outhouse for an extended period of time, Austin Sr. talking to the cow-stealing landlord, or the saddle bag being open. A savvy editor and director knows which scenes are irrelevant and gets rid of them. That being said, Bruce Dern, Geneviève Bujold, and Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick were wonderful to watch.
Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
I've been studying screen writing by tearing apart screenplays while watching the movies. This is a terrific screenplay. It is almost too intricate at times because if you miss some of the dialogue you might miss part of the story. The only weakness it had was that I knew something was up with the Slevin character not being who he said he was because some of the dialogue wasn't logical (he wasn't behaving like someone who was terrified for his life). But that could be overlooked due to the great sets, acting, tempo, twists, and humor. Writing serious scenes with humorous dialogue is an art and I hope we see more movie scripts from Jason Smilovic.
The Goonies (1985)
Where's my aspirin? After watching this I have a headache.
I must be one of the only people in the world who dislike this movie. Granted, I did not see it as a kid. As an adult, I found it obnoxious beyond belief mostly because of all the constant chatter and screaming. "Ahhhhhh" throughout the movie made me spend a lot of time fast forwarding. The stereotyping was beyond annoying; this is the kind of movie that gives kids permission to think its OK to be annoying and behave like dodos. Yes, I know it was a spoof, but it was still too moronic and sophomoric for my tastes.
The script jumped around and didn't make sense in many places. And tell me why anyone would believe they were building a golf course in the hills of Astoria Oregon. The main house sits on a hill unsuitable for a golf course. We must have had a lot more tolerance for bad scripts in the 80's. I've seen a variety of 80's movies which had awful scripts and were nominated for Oscars.
The Spiderwick Chronicals are 100% better. In fact, I can't think of a worse kid's movie than this one.
Bernard and the Genie (1991)
Terrible Movie w/ Phony Reviews
This is one of the worst movies I've seen in very long time. I watch 5 movies or more each week and this is truly dreadful. The film quality is very grainy, camera work is lousy, editing is so bad I couldn't follow it in some places, script is horrendous, acting is over-the-top stupid, story is marginal at best...
It's just plain awful. Were people paid to give this movie 9's and 10's in review? There can be no other explanation. Either that, or everyone saw this as a kid before they developed any taste what-so-ever.
I feel bad because I asked my local library to purchase a copy based on IMDb's comments. Now I might have to forget to return it so no one else gets tricked into watching it. Please stop the site abuse from phony reviews!!
Children of Men (2006)
We saw this movie tonight. Interesting concept. Definitely a chase movie. Good acting, great sets.
I think in 2027 civilization is going to be more worried about the inevitable fall out from global warming.
And sadly, the "war-torn" set reminded me of Iraq.
Unfortunately, I never particularly cared about any of the characters. It had good production value, but I'm sort of ambivalent about it. Maybe the younger crowd felt more passionate about this, I wasn't drawn it and always felt that I was "watching a movie". "Oh, it's cool how they moved the camera", "I don't believe that she would behave that way...", etc.
Across the Universe (2007)
Better than the Beatles
One of the best movies you'll never see! I don't much care for the Beatles or their music. But LOVED this movie. If you like theater, history, and unique ideas and experiences, you'll love this movie. It's going to be a cult classic. Plus, it modernized the songs and I found myself humming them days after I saw the movie.
And who knew Evan Rachel Woods could sing?? All of the songs in the movie are sung live. The only songs re-dubbed in a studio are a few that were sung on the street and there was too much background noise. Did I already say that I think these songs are better than the originals...? Unfortunately the movie jumped rapidly out of first run theaters into second runs because the studio gave it zippo support. But, YOU MUST SEE THIS ON THE BIG SCREEN. PLEASE, do yourself that favor and go and see it if it's playing in art houses or on the big white wall at your local park during the summer.
BTW - Julie Taymor, the director, also made Titus and Frida, two more really excellent movies worth seeing. She was the brain behind the Broadway version of The Lion King.
Everything's Gone Green (2006)
The appreciation comes from your own life experiences
This movie was remarkably funny and the actors are generally excellent. This falls into one of those "20-something angst movies" (Old Joy, etc). It's the universal theme of trying to figure out: 1) where you are now, 2) where you want to be, and 3) how to get there.
The editing was inspired and I loved much of the dialog. Not everything was perfect, some of the scenes could have been shot from a better angle, etc., but overall, it was pretty good.
The main thing I most liked about it was that it wasn't "consistent"; it oscillated between funny, sad, poignant, ridiculous, ironic and silly. It moved slow sometimes, then fast, sort of backwards, sideways and forward (two steps back, three steps forward). The whale scene was shot in a stylized, dreamy sort of way and if you've ever lived through a strange moment in your own life where time seems to not quite be real -- well, that's this scene.
There's a lot of "indie" elements and by American standards, it's not a big budget flick; it also (refreshingly) doesn't treat the viewer like a moron as so many American movies do.
It was messy and mundane. Lots of ludicrous moments; just like life and that's what made it interesting. If you've experienced working in a cubical city, known people who've fasted on the "Master Cleanse" diet, dealt with obsessively self-absorbed people, or seen the light at the end of the tunnel only to realize that the ethics may not be so good to get you there you'll enjoy this movie.
The Painted Veil (2006)
What an excellent movie - really exceptional. Norton and Watts are so believable and the supporting cast are amazing as well. Sets, scenery, music, and costumes are dead on. Character development and evolution make these characters well rounded and memorable.
The story is so realistic that it makes one wonder if it isn't based in fact rather than fiction, and the feelings of the time (hatred for imperialistic foreigners) is documented accurately. The only negative thing I can say is that there was a point when editing needed to be tighter because the movie dragged a bit in defining Kitty's boredom and isolation. The audience got the message much earlier. But this was only a brief irritation because the movie was so fascinating.
The movie does deviate from the novel in that the ending has changed somewhat, but few people have probably read this novel and most won't even notice. It's a longer than average movie and will probably play better in Europe than America. But for the thinking crowd, it's an absolute must see.
I loved this. It wasn't hokey or dated. The acting was amazing and the story haunting. It made me realize how much I love John Wayne and how mesmerizing he really was. Don't ask him to kiss on screen (because he could never really do that), but damn, the camera loved that man and his charisma! I kept thinking about this story for days after I had watched it-- generally life gets in the way and prevents such meditative thought-- but this movie overcame that.
The story is crafted in such a way, that suddenly all the pieces come together at the very end, literally a minute or so before the movie ended. There's so much subtle psychology revealed at the end of this movie. Life, missed opportunities, what people do to get by...
I start thinking about these characters and wondered what their lives would have really been like for the past 20-30 years if they had been really people. And I'm embarrassed to admit that I cried and cried at the end of this movie, it was that powerful -- everyone should see this movie and it should be staple in all university cinema courses (and maybe psychology classes as well).