Reviews written by registered user

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11 reviews in total 
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Parapalos (2004)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Pin BORE!, 22 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Film students or "students of film" might be able to appreciate this movie but the majority I believe, would find it painfully boring to sit through. "Pin Boy" offers extremely limited appeal and will likely never see the light of day again, certainly, not in a commercial sense. Wouldn't hold my breath for the DVD release, either. Look, I've been attending the San Francisco International Film Festival for over a decade and check out anywhere from six to twelve films each year during its run. I'm not a film freak that takes in 150 movies in two weeks. I also know never to read the program before you see the movie because it usually reveals 80% of the plot. I only read the capsule synopsis which stated about Pin Boy: "In this poetically melancholy film, provincial Adrián gets a job setting up pins at the last manual bowling alley in Buenos Aires. Idiosyncratic coworkers fill his youthful mind with stories, philosophies and a world well beyond their cramped microcosm." It sounded quaint and interesting, so I took the bait, and the description turned out to be accurate. Also let it be known that I don't hold "action" as a prerequisite for viewing a film, but I do expect a tale of sorts. "Pin Boy" had enough story for a 10-minute short, not a full length feature.

With the exception of the aforementioned rooftop scene, I don't recall even one other exterior shot! If you're not going to serve up a visual feast, you'd better be saying something, not reading inconsequential letters from home, looking at childish sketches and listening to some 50-something pontificate on the meaning of life. Who on earth would give much credence to this guy's opinions? He's been stuck working for two decades as a pin setter in a bowling alley, for gosh sakes! The film was simply unwatchable.

I would have gotten more entertainment value from watching my dog lick his own balls for two hours. This was undoubtedly, one of the most boring films I have ever seen. Should have recognized the signals early as the opening scene features nothing more than a naked man sitting in a waiting room. The camera stays on this "event" for what seemed like five minutes. The filmmakers had their hearts in the right place but nothing really ever transpires in this film. We suffer through a veritable plethora of dime store psychology dispensed from a 20-year veteran pin boy and by the end, I was hoping that an errant bowling bowl would just hit him in the head to shut him up. Now, THAT would have made a great scene! I stayed to the end so I could be honest with the faithful readers of IMDb, but this was a complete waste of my time and hopefully, you will not make the same mistake of screening this sleep-inducer True story: while exiting the theater, I noticed a woman walking out with a cup from Starbucks. I quipped, "that must have come in handy"! She replied, "No, actually, it didn't. It is calming tea and I fell asleep three times"!

Dull and boring is simply NOT what "good cinema" is about.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Nice try but no (Cuban) cigar, 14 May 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am certain that the filmmaker's intention was to go home to Cuba, interview old friends, relatives, and anyone else she could find to document how much things have changed in her homeland in the last twenty years. She manages to find a few mildly entertaining characters who help to make her point but the problem with "The Sugar Curtain" is that we see the changes that have taken place in the past few decades but the viewer is left with the obvious question: "What CAUSED things to change"? The breakup of the Soviet Union is hinted at but did this have a direct impact on the Cuban economy? What about the U.S. embargo on all Cuban products? Many of us have had to resort to smuggling in order to obtain our prized Havana-made stogies! Has the U.S. travel ban to Cuba had a major impact? What about Castro? He is rarely referenced.

Unfortunately, none of these questions are answered. Instead of getting a satisfying documentary, we're left with a half-baked version of "You Can't Go Home Again"

7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
*****Highest recommendation*****, 18 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film took me by surprise. I make it a habit of finding out as little as possible about films before attending because trailers and reviews provide spoiler after spoiler. All I knew upon entering the theater is that it was a documentary about a long married couple and that IMDb readers gave it a 7.8, Rotten Tomatoes users ranked it at 7.9 and the critics averaged an amazing 8.2! If anything, they UNDERRATED this little gem.

Filmmaker Doug Block decided to record his parents "for posterity" and at the beginning of the film we are treated to the requisite interviews with his parents, outspoken mother Mina, and less than forthcoming dad, Mike. I immediately found this couple interesting and had no idea where the filmmaker (Mike & Mina's son Doug) was going to take us. As a matter of fact, I doubt that Doug himself knew where he was going with this!

Life takes unexpected twists and turns and this beautifully expressive film follows the journey. It is difficult to verbalize just how moved I was with this story and the unique way in which it was told. Absolutely riveting from beginning to end and it really is a must-see even if you aren't a fan of the documentary genre. This film will make you think of your own life and might even evoke memories that you thought were long forgotten. "51 Birch Street" is one of those rare filmgoing experiences that makes a deep impression and never leaves you. The best news of all is that HBO had a hand in the production so instead of playing to a limited art house audience, eventually, millions of people will have a chance to view this incredible piece of work. BRAVO!!!!!!!!

16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
It's 3am ..., 31 August 2006

I can't sleep, so I'm flipping the dial and see this dude that looks a lot like Byron Allen but the guy's head is shaved and the show is called "Entertainment". HUH?? Was I having a nightmare or was this dreck actually being broadcast?

The show's entire content is made up of promo interviews provided by the studios, along with movie trailers, bad comics, and music videos. Between the cheesy music, the obsolete graphics, Allen as host, his wife(?)as producer, and the aforementioned filler, what's the budget...about $47.26 an episode?

I somehow stumbled through the entire program and SWEAR that Allen said "Comin' up neeeeext" prior to every commercial break. Wasn't this guy a comedian at one point in his career? How about some original material, fella?? Anyway, if you want a belly laugh, stay with the show until the end credits and you will be rewarded with a can't miss REALLY bad edit as the music loop runs out. Maybe Byron does the sound editing as well to save a few more bucks??

This really IS syndicated programming at its worst. I'd prefer watching "Conversation with Fred Lewis" a 1980's infomercial for New Generation hair growth shampoo...

"Thief" (2006)
10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Brilliant!, 4 May 2006

Just how good is Andre Braugher? When you give this actor a meaty role, he never disappoints. He didn't have much to do in "Hack", his previous series that starred David Morse, but in "Homicide" and now in "Thief", he has created a character that fascinates.

"Thief" is the latest entry in a string of fine dramas that FX has brought to the small screen. It took the entire first episode to flesh out the characters and subplots but by the second installment, I couldn't wait to see what would happen next.

A grand supporting cast backs Braugher and after just six eps the season is already over. FX is one of the best cock teasers in the business. As "The Shield" was getting better than ever, its season ended its 13 episode run. Same with "Rescue Me". I want MORE, dammit!

They talk about the 50's being the "golden age of television" but with excellent fare like the aforementioned programs, along with "24" on Fox, HBO's "The Sopranos", "Deadwood", and "The Wire", I believe that we're experiencing a second "golden age". Even many of the Bruckenheimer procedurals are well-written, and "er" still finds moments of its former brilliance. Fox's "House" is a bit over the top, but it is witty and solid each week.

That brings us back to "Thief". The show has the big heist as its center point but is really more a character study of the people involved in the crime and all who are affected. This show could go in so many different directions in the future and I hope that FX has plans to bring it back. An excellent piece of work and all who are involved in putting it together should be very proud of their achievement.

Oldboy (2003)
161 out of 334 people found the following review useful:
Why do viewers feel compelled to overpraise extreme cinema?, 4 May 2006

Such is the case here with "Oldboy" as 64% of IMDb-ers rated this 9 or 10! Comparatively, the professional film critics weigh in with a 7.2 overall average, a full 1.1 points below the overpraisers here. I WILL concede that "Oldboy" is several steps up from "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance", Park's 2002 pointless gorefest that I also had the unfortunate displeasure of sitting through. At least, "Oldboy" had something that resembled a coherent plot, but this certainly isn't groundbreaking in any way. In the end, it felt like a two hour endurance test. There were no compelling performances, no memorable scenes, just a dark, forgettable film.

IMDb voters: you really need to get out of the house more and screen some other films. Think a bit before you give every film you like a "10". You do a disservice to yourself as well as the rest of us who vote here and look to this site for trusted information. Granted, "Oldboy" is better than most of the garbage that Hollywood cranks out, but it isn't even close to being a great film.


Lower City (2005)
23 out of 37 people found the following review useful:
"Lower" your expectations, 26 April 2006

Lower City has several problems, the primary being that the story is a tired retread. We've seen it all before..the financial desperation causing people to do anything to survive, and an old fashioned love triangle. Director Sergio Machado brings nothing fresh to these well-worn story threads. Another complaint is although the film was shot in Salvador Brazil, we barely see any of the CITY in Lower City. Most of the film takes place on a boat or within the interiors of clubs, hotel rooms, and apartments. Another major fault lies in the fact that there is little to like about the three main characters. The men practice misogyny, rob, steal, and enjoy watching a good cock fight in their down time. The woman is a career prostitute. I felt quite detached from these characters rather early in the film. The ending was one that most could clearly see coming up Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue).

What DID work was the sexual chemistry between the three leads. The love scenes were passionate and convincing. I only wish the rest of the film had the same energy.


89 out of 108 people found the following review useful:
Best new show on broadcast television since "24"!, 17 September 2005

I am NOT a sci-fi nut and only watched because a friend recommended it, but the two hour opener was simply MESMERIZING. The show has flavors of several hits of the past and present, including "X-Files" and "The 4400", but has a style all its own. It was well-written, brilliantly directed, and managed to blend suspense, drama, and humor extremely well. I was very pleased with the casting. Peter Dinklage steals the show as he did in "The Station Agent", you just can't take your eyes off of him. Brent Spiner (Star Trek Next Generation's "Data") and Charles S. Dutton ("Roc", "Rudy") are the big names in the fine supporting cast. Rob Benedict is wonderful as computer geek Lucas and Brian Van Holt has the SWAT/military hero role nailed.

Was not a fan of Carla Gugino before, but she plays the lead role Dr. Molly Caffrey to perfection. She somehow manages to pull off intelligent, self-assured, and vulnerable all at the same time. She is a striking woman but manages to be believable in this role. You don't feel as if they inserted the requisite starlet in the lead, she's THAT good.

This show works on so many levels that I would be shocked if CBS didn't have another hit on its hands. The music was effective without being intrusive. Even the digital imagery was interesting and I generally HATE computer generated only added to the overall texture. This show is similar to "24" in one way; you don't waste time questioning every single plot twist, (like the previous IMDb reviewer did) you just sit back and enjoy the ride.

7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Exquisite, 21 August 2005

"Dragon Town Story" is such a simple title but what lies beneath is a wonderful story about love and life. The film is filled with terrifically real performances, memorable music, and can best be described as sheer visual poetry. Sometimes, subtitles can be a bit distracting, especially if they come up so quick that you need an Evelyn Wood diploma to keep up with the dialogue, but this WASN'T the case here. I think that the subtitles might have actually enhanced the film for me.

The movie is in Cantonese, a language that I am not familiar with, yet even the sound of the words had a rich, lyrical quality to them. Maybe this added to the mystique...

Don't know if it was the lighting, make-up, directing expertise, or his lead actress' natural beauty, but director Fengliang Yang captured a moment in time as the silver screen has arguably never seen a more angelically beautiful face than that of Chien-lien Wu in this film. Those eyes...those lips!!! Any man with a pulse could not help but be infatuated with her stunning screen presence..

Mr.Yang has not directed another film since making this masterpiece. It is unbelievably SAD that "Dragon Town Story" has not found its way to video or DVD, especially since Chinese heavyweight director Zhang Yimou was the executive producer of the project.

I knew nothing about this film upon entering the theater so had no idea of what to expect. This made it only that much sweeter. Just soaked it all in, and was simply, I will provide NO plot outlines, NO specifics...PLEASE experience this movie as I did!

This film is only one of four that have ever merited a "10" in my book (80+films rated on IMDb with two id's plus thousands of films that I never bothered to cast official votes for) I feel incredibly fortunate to have experienced this magnificent piece of work at the 2005 San Francisco Asian Film Festival. I sincerely hope that one day, you will be afforded the same opportunity.

12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
A FABULOUS movie!!!!!!!, 17 August 2005

What an unexpected surprise when I took a chance on this wonderful little film from Hong Kong. I was anticipating another HK police/action procedural, but the story develops into much more than that.

Within the opening minutes, you come to realize that this film has a completely different tone and rhythm than most of the genre. It has the familiar mismatch pairing of the veteran male beat cop with the rookie female fresh out of the academy, but you can't help enjoying the relationship between these characters.

The script contains quite a bit of laughs but there is also plenty of heartfelt drama, a little social commentary, a bit of romance, even a few life lessons.

Somehow, it all works!

Eason Chan and pop princess Joey Yung deliver fine performances as the leads. Plenty of eye candy is on display as in addition to these two, director James Yuen has about six actresses playing different roles in the film, one more beautiful than the other. HK's own Francis Ng does a terrific turn as Shing, the "crazy" in the title.

Speaking of Yuen..he directed this, co-wrote it, and I can't wait to see his other work. Terrific, unique, breezy style. This film kept zipping along and you're never really sure just where it will go. Gorgeous cinematography! A real treat--this is why I love Asian cinema!

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