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|13 reviews in total|
Howl is a great poem; Howl is a weak movie. If you want to be talked at for 90 minutes, then maybe you'll find it edifying, but to be honest, I found that this film took some really interesting people, a really interesting moment and a really important poem and turned them into words, words, words. I would have liked the portions in which Ginsberg reads the poem at the Six Gallery because I think James Franco does a pretty good job of getting Ginsberg's voice and cadences down as well as his gestures and body language. Never been much of a fan of Franco, but he does a good job here of paying homage to Ginsberg. Still, I can't get past his pretty boy looks which don't work even for the young Ginsberg. Similarly, the crowd of beats at the poetry reading look like they just popped out of a frat party. They don't look "beat." The courtroom scenes were poor; I am a great admirer of David Strathairn, but he has very little to work with here while Jon Hamm does a fine imitation of a block of wood. Jeff Daniels is laughable as a caricature of academia. The interview sequences include a lot of good material, but there's too much of it to be absorbed and the whole thing comes across as very static. The animations provided a creative way to incorporate the poem, but they didn't really dazzle. Ginsberg was a very interesting man who deserves much better.
I can't say enough about this show. Don Adams was brilliant as Maxwell Smart, charming in his ineptitude, flawless in his comic timing. The gags were consistently hilarious. The bits of business like the shoe phone or the cone of silence were outrageous. And Barbara Feldon as agent 99 was deliciously sexy. The plots weren't the point really, the gags were, and the excellent comic characterizations. Check out Bernie Kopell pre Love Boat as KAOS agent Siegfried or Dick Gautier as Hymie. With Mel Brooks and Buck Henry at the helm, how could you go wrong. Maxwell Smart lives on in the pantheon of fictional cold war spies alongside James Bond, Harry Palmer and Derek Flint. Austin Powers has nothing on these cats.
This film features the quick witty dialogue of the best Broadway comedies with the poignant story of a non-conformist uncle and his precocious nephew. Jason Robards as Murray, the uncle who opts out of the working world for a life of imagination, is charming and witty. Barbara Harris is wonderful as psychologist Sandra Markowitz charmed by and smitten with Murray. Barry Gordon also hits all the right notes as the kid who is more mature than his guardian uncle, but who loves the childishness in him. Behind them is a marvellous ensemble including Martin Balsam, William Daniels and Gene Saks. But my views may be biased here because every time I see Barbara Harris, I fall in love with her all over again. Madly.
There is this notion out there that Bob Saget is actually a funny guy when not playing a TV dad or hawking home video footage. It's not true. Yeah, okay, it's a bit of a kick to imagine the dad from Full House doing blue humor, but beyond that, he has no comic instinct. The gags in this sad apology for a film are adolescent in the worst way. I can only assume that all the names involved in this disaster owe Saget something, or he has some dirt on them, because they can't possibly be serious about this one. It's a one-gag movie and a poor send-up of a film that was overly precious in the first place. The most farcical thing about this film is the fact that it was ever made in the first place.
Having seen the trailer for this film, I was moderately interested in how it would play out. Having seen the film, I am quite disappointed. Will Farrell is yet another SNL grad who, for my money, should stick to sketch comedy and films that mimic that short-attention-span genre, ie. Anchorman. I really liked the notion of a character discovering that his life is a fiction produced by someone else's imagination. I think there's a lot can be done with that. But this film didn't manage to do that much other than make it a cute comedy with a few clever lines. Maggie Gyllenhall is completely unbelievable as an anarchist; check out her apartment. Dustin Hoffman is on auto-pilot. Emma Thompson seems to have picked up Kenneth Branagh's taste for chewing scenery, and Queen Latifah looks completely bored. Poor acting, a half-baked (pun intended) script. Oh, by the way, it isn't Monty Python and the Holy Grail that you see on the television, it's the infamous Mr Creosote scene from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. I've never been a big fan of Charlie Kaufman, but this disaster puts his skillful handling of similar narratives into sharp relief.
You couldn't cast this film with actors and capture the true banality and raw pathos of small town politics as this documentary does. The director here does an excellent job of storytelling in recording the efforts of a rank outsider who runs on little other than chutzpah and sheer enthusiasm against an apparently justifiably despised incumbent mayor. The twists and turns of the campaign mirror the improbable feats of the local high school football team who go on their own miraculous underdog run. But the film's true value lies in its ability to show the nastiness that politics brings out in people and democracy's capacity for excitement and frustration. An excellent story, told in an unadorned fashion, well worth a look.
A mild-mannered middle-aged man who has lost his job as a mechanic struggles to make ends meet while living with his daughter's family. After he helps out a woman whose car has broken down, he receives as a gift a pedigree dog. Through a chance meeting, he winds up being drawn into the less than perfect world of dog shows and breeding. Villegas, the main character, seems an innocent in this world, and his trusting nature and desire to make a better life for himself make him the victim of an unscrupulous trainer. But it is his kindness and his affection for the dog that shine through all the adversity. The film's greatest attributes are the minimalist performances by the entire cast and the simple telling of the story. Heartwarming and human.
Two door-to-door meat salesmen, in a desperate attempt to save their miserable yet much-needed jobs, get caught in the middle of a poorly explained underworld war. Even though they ought to get out of the way, their need to make one last sale keeps them in harm's way. That about sums up the plot of this fairly dire film which really doesn't seem to know exactly what it wants to be. With Ray Romano and Kevin James in the lead roles, you'd expect a comedy, but the genuine laughs are few and far between here. Instead, it seems to want to be the kind of thing Elmore Leonard might have scripted, yet without the arch wit and quirky characters. We have no idea why the hit men want to kill Tony, or why Boris wants to bump off Goldbluth. We also don't know why Suzy is the way she is. Similarly, the back stories on the two main characters are thin as rice paper. Long story short, a bunch of ho-hum TV actors conned somebody into letting them make a movie and even quality film performers like Juliette Lewis and Jon Polito can't rescue this turkey. As for Burt Reynolds, there's no whore like an old whore.
Okay, I gave this one a chance, but it was a terrible, sophomoric attempt to cash in on Steve Martin's star power, a classic slapstick comedy series and World Cup fever. In Martin, Kevin Kline, Jean Reno and Emily Mortimer, the film had a great cast to work with, but the scenario was paper-thin, the jokes not funny and the sight gags forced. The football context was a cheap attempt to exploit enthusiasm for the World Cup; putting Clouseau in a smart car was a similar cheesy gesture pandering to contemporary interests. After seeing Shopgirl recently, I was primed for more of Steve Martin's brilliance. It's not nostalgia for the Peter Sellers films that has me angry here, but nostalgia for the Steve Martin who gave us All of Me, Roxanne and LA Story.
The English translation of this film's title conveys so much of what the film is about: Look at Me. The main character Lolita wants to be noticed by her father, a famous novelist and publisher, but he treats her with indifference. Yet Lolita herself similarly treats Sebastien with the same indifference while investing herself too heavily in a boyfriend who only dates her to meet her father. Indeed, Lolita's singing teacher, Sylvia, only takes significant notice of Lolita after discovering who her father is. The movie is really about an interconnected web of people who use others blindly. As in their earlier film "The Taste of Others," Jaoui and Bacri do an excellent job of capturing little snatches of everyday life and common human interactions, notably the little squabble in the car between Sylvia and her husband over her driving. Sensitive, funny and exceptionally perceptive (something its characters are clearly not).
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