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117 reviews in total 
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The Little Prince…Meets the Little Girl: A French Children's Classic Gets a Makeover that Truly Works!, 29 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The expectations you have going into a film have a tremendous influence, as you no doubt have experienced, on your take away after viewing! Other than a couple general comments, only God knows their origin, that The Little Prince was really "worth it", I did not have much in the way of any well-defined expectations. Lucky Me! RESULT: A Nine Star experience!

Although my wife, Carmen, was the only person accompanying me, soon after initiating viewing, I imagined my granddaughter and daughter in the room, sharing the experience with us! My granddaughter, as is the case with most eight year old girls, loves anything involving a princess! If you have grandkids, you must watch this with them. If thousands of kilometers separate you…Use your imagination, as I did! Little Prince seems tailor made for Grandparents/Grandkids viewing… a la "UP" ?

There are a few comments that need to be made regarding Little Prince "purists"…But let's first focus on analyzing it. This 2015 French version has European Production written all over it…But in the best sense. It is artistic, tells a touching and delicate story, has a number of songs in French that manage to be uplifting and, yet, simultaneously haunting, and, perhaps most importantly, interweaves the Classic 1940's Original storyline with a cautionary helicopter parent tale that both compliments and underscores said original!

POSSIBLE SPOILER HERE: Obviously, one of the great ironies of this 2015 version is that the old man/pilot takes it upon himself to help the Little Girl learn just what it is to be a kid! At the heart of both story lines is that one of the most important things in life is keeping that spark of being a kid alive within us, even if we live to be 100! Earlier, I mentioned Little Prince purists…Well, whenever a movie brings a classic literary work to the screen, there are always viewers who want to see the original literary work brought to the screen with no changes, whatsoever, to dialogue or storyline! Forget that we are dealing with the now one century old, two different medium conundrum! Needless to say, many of them simply could not get past this point. Obviously, this was absolutely no problem at all for me! To the contrary, it seemed quite a plus!

IMDb Stats (Only 37 other reviews and 12,000 ratings votes) indicate that very few people have seen the film…Don't miss it! And make it a family affair! (However, kids under 7 year might find PRINCE a bit "Slow", or might not "Get It"!)

Any comments or questions, in English o en Español, are most welcome!


12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Being Invisible Is…..TIME OUT OF MIND!, 21 October 2015

What motivated me to see "TIME OUT"? Richard Gere appeared on "ELLEN" to promote the film a bit. Something he said kept ricocheting around in my brain. While walking the mean streets of New York, in character as George, a longtime homeless New Yorker, Gere said that of the many thousands of pedestrians who passed him by, only two actually stopped, approached him and asked…"Aren't you Richard Gere?" This highlights a very depressing truth about the plight of the homeless in the Number One economy on earth….They are totally invisible to all but a handful of us!

No "Rags to Riches" story here…No inspirational, "Getting My Life Back on Track" true story. As is the case with 99.9% of the homeless, whatever the life trajectory and the personal misfortune and/or issues that has led them into homelessness, as time passes, they find themselves ever more deeply entrenched in a grizzly abyss, from which the chance of escape seems constantly more remote….But, who cares, right? Judging from the paltry 11 IMDb user reviews, I'm tempted to answer…."Almost no one!". Of course, I have not verified this, but I would practically bet my life on the following: No other film starring Richard Gere listed on IMDb has fewer user reviews!!!

TIME OUT generally tends to be an extremely frustrating film to watch. Perhaps Director Oren Moverman (The Messenger-2009) wanted viewers to feel some of the frustration the homeless certainly must experience almost 24/7. Richard Gere's performance is the example of, "Less is More" par excellence! WOW! What a stunning low-key and understated performance! There are also some impressive cameos. Steve Buscemi, who, for most of his brief stint as a persistent building manager, is off-camera, made me acutely aware of just how distinctive Mr. Buscemi's voice is! Kyra Sedgwick is utterly unrecognizable (literally, since I became aware of her participation when reading the end credits!) as an ex-streetwalker turned bag lady. If her name did not appear on the cast list, I would not have shared this, considering it to be a minor spoiler!

Ben Vereen is commendable as Dixon, a troubled and lonely motor mouth. Director Moverman seems to have encouraged his actors to deliver straight up, as natural and true to life as possible performances, because that is pretty much what TIME OUT offers. Of course, with its 5.7 rating, I feel this movie is HIGHLY underrated! If you are looking for slice of life dramas that are definitely NOT over the top, give TIME OUT a little time!

14 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
Life Imitating Art or Art Imitating Life…Can Anyone Tell the Difference? …Does It Really Matter?, 21 October 2015

BIRDMAN just keeps coming at you, time and again, from every imaginable angle, until the end credits, about an hour and 50 minutes in. Is it just me .…or are many reviewers reluctant to state the obvious? Michael Keaton as a down on his luck Ex-Superhero, desperately trying to prove his relevance in 2015, to the entire world, to his rather distant family, but, probably most of all, to himself. Oh yeah, and he talks to himself in a rather smooth, but hoarse and gravelly BATMAN…I mean BIRDMAN, Superhero voice, his last on screen portrayal of which was in 1992! (Yes, in BOTH of them) So, just where do we draw the line as to what is fact and what is fiction?

That is one of many recurring themes dealt with in BIRDMAN. I think it is the central one in the film….Just where and when do we draw those critical dividing lines? Riggan Thompson is feeling the rapidly escalating pressure of a quickly approaching Broadway opening. It is a dilemma of his own device. His life is in shambles. He finds himself still pining for his ex, while attempting, rather ineptly and intermittently, to bond with his daughter. He has taken on overpowering debt to finance his Broadway play that, if successful, will provide him with the self-vindication he needs to put his life and career back on track. His problems seem insurmountable, or at least, he has convinced himself that they are!

The ensemble cast performance is deliciously superb. Zach Galifianakis as the steadfastly single-minded lawyer/best friend, who has to employ his myriad of abilities to hold the production together and keep it moving forward. Emma Stone, as Sam, the more often than not neglected as a child daughter, just out of Rehab, who seems to be on the road to stability in her life by serving as the reluctant gofer for her neophyte Broadway director/producer father. Naomi Watts, as Lesley, one of the play's stars, perhaps the star struck little girl trapped in the 30 something body of a struggling actor who is on the verge of her lifelong Broadway wish- fulfillment debut! Edward Norton delivers an Oscar-caliber performance as the obsessed Method actor who's only real moments are the ones he spends on stage. And of course, Michael Keaton, in the title role, projecting a gigantic on screen presence as a man possessed, obsessed, intensely flawed, human and, ultimately, somewhat skewed by his own inner demons! Makes you wonder…Exactly where does Michael Keaton end and Riggan Thompson begin?

I would be derelict in my reviewer duties were I not to mention the effective and original use of the continuous, one-take technique employed in making BIRDMAN…It lends an extreme presence, intensity and intimacy to the overall quality and tone of the film which is quite unique. I'm sure the implementation of this style presented director Alejandro González Iñárritu with a formidable series of challenges, which he dealt with flawlessly. Gonzalez has directed some previously highly recognized films, such as Amorres Perros, 21 Grams, Babel and Biutiful. This highly thought provoking film guarantees that we will be seeing more of his work in the future. 10 Stars...


Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!

7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
On the Edge of………….Groundhog Day?????, 22 April 2015

This Review is dedicated to my student and friend Sebastian Portilla…Who really likes this movie and specifically requested it!

As regards EDGE, sorry, but it is pretty much of an impossibility for me to sit down and write a completely unbiased review. In my case, this film will always be viewed through the lens of Groundhog Day, one of my all- time favorite movies, my favorite film to share with my English students and, most definitely, my #1 Romantic-Comedy of all time! But despite the fact that I have seen Groundhog Day, from beginning to end, at least 2 dozen times, this is supposed to be a review of EDGE, so let's turn our focus there:

It is easy to understand why so many IMDb-ers have awarded 9 or 10 stars to this "EDGY" Sci-Fi near classic, I suppose if it hadn't been for the reason so clearly spelled out above, I, undoubtedly, would have done the same…Still, EDGE possesses many standalone qualities that have motivated me to give it a well-deserved 8 Stars! FIRST: Here, Tom Cruise's character, Cage, is a die-hard desk jockey PR/Marketing mature-media- pretty-face type, who seems, at least initially, to have an anaphylactic shock reaction to any and all bellicose activities encoded in his DNA! I find this an extremely amusing tongue in cheek poke at himself in some of his earlier Mr. Invincible, Super Macho, Ethan Hunt and Jack Reacher type roles!

Another critical factor working in its favor: EDGE is anything BUT a "leave your brain at the door" mindless Action/Sci-Fi flick, unlike so many of your typical Hollywood "Action/Sci-Fi" counterparts! If your focus wanders, you could be asking yourself, "OOPS! What just happened!?!?" This film almost constantly challenges you to re-evaluate your opinions and the relevance of what has transpired on screen! But don't get me wrong, EDGE has enough mind-numbing action to satisfy even the most exigent of action movie junkies! At the same time, it also presents us with some rather inspired and original plot twists. (Don't worry, No Spoilers AHEAD!) Speaking of originality, perhaps this is the perfect moment to mention that despite that its driving force idea seems to be a blatant rip-off of Groundhog Day, at least EDGE manages to impart a good deal of fresh spin to the concept, so as to give it quite a life of its own.

From a technical standpoint, as is the case with most Hollywood big budget productions nowadays, Cinematography, sound, sound mixing, editing, effects, pretty much everything is extremely professionally done. Screenplay, three people with long names listed, is actually engrossing and quite engaging. For those of you who usually "PASS" on this genre, I would venture to say that quite a good number of you might find putting yourself on EDGE might be more than worth your while!


Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!

7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
From the Man Who Has a LOCK on SCHLOCK! Crab Monsters is One That The Defines the Sub-Genre!, 22 February 2015

Nine Years Old…That's how old I was when CRAB MONSTERS was released! When did I become a B Movie junkie? Probably from age 7 or 8, who knows, maybe even 6! When the conversation turns to those schlocky B movies of the 50's and 60's, this Roger Corman classic is one of the first that comes to mind! Corman is King! He really knows how to pack a lot of action into 62 minutes! Yes, this 1957 Classic is barely over one hour in length! With this in mind, no doubt, CRAB MONSTERS gives us on screen fun within its first couple minutes…

What is there to analyze about a classic Corman film? From the beginning, we all knew that the bad guys (In this case, the gigantic via radiation Crabs) would all get theirs in the end and the world would be safe…until the next Roger Corman film was released a couple months later!....Ah….Those were the days, right? Whatever your age bracket, you can get together with friends, some popcorn, snacks and some ….(?????) and have an hour of cinematic roller-coaster fun, from one of the most prolific names in Hollywood, who has been involved in about 500 FILMS…WOW!


Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
JOHNNY GOT.....SHORTCHANGED, Is the Appropriate Title for this 2008 Remake!, 20 February 2015

Please don't make the same mistake I did. To Wit: Because this was a Remake of the 1971 CLASSIC, recycling the original title, my curiosity was piqued. There is just one good thing that can be said about this pathetic remake….It's short! (Only about 74 minutes to the End Credits) You don't have to be a genius to imagine the process this movie went through to be produced. Actor Rowan Joseph wanted to add producer and director to his Resume. He recalled an outstanding, but relatively obscure, film he saw in his teens (only 10,500 votes on IMDb), that could be rebooted and tweaked down to keep production costs next to nothing (No INFO on IMDb, so I'm guessing 100K, or less). Seeing as how I could find no Box Office INFO, neither here or after a quick GOOGLE search, I'm assuming it didn't break any records! Well, JOHNNY (2008) did accomplish its initial goal…Congratulations Mr. Joseph! You now have the titles of Producer and Director on your IMDb Resume!

This film has been redone as a hallucination/dream(?) of a World War One paraplegic. The most important criteria for this decision, I'm sure, was budget driven. The 1971 Original continued to ricochet around my brain for years, honestly, until I saw it again, much later. One of the most powerful films I have ever seen and the very best anti-war theme ever put on screen. Can I understand a lot of people rating this 6, 7 or even 8 Stars if they did not see the original? Yes, because (2008) has completely ripped off a phenomenal original idea. That being admitted, it must be added that anyone who has seen the original would say the remake is but an extremely pale shadow of the original and would never give it more than 4/10 Stars! (My rating: 3).

In fairness to Mr. Joseph, perhaps his idea that the original was incredible and deserved a remake, I could understand and agree with. Maybe even his concept for the remake, as he envisioned it in his head, wasn't so bad…But he fell terribly short in the execution. Sorry…Rowan…Better luck next time!


Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The NEW CENTURIONS—An Unheralded Epic First in Cinema History!, 19 February 2015

This film, aside from its very special status mentioned above, is quite worthwhile and entertaining. It is an excellent George C. Scott vehicle, well-directed, well-scripted and well edited! Like other quality police dramas, it has several intertwined seamlessly integrated story lines, none of which is left unresolved, or most of which are left unresolved, when the end credits begin to roll…depending on your point of view! At times, on screen events resonant with such realism that it lends a dimension of docudrama to the overall production.

CENTURIONS clearly transmits the boring nature of most of the daily, moment to moment activities that permeates police work, while, at the same time, emphasizing that this aspect of the job must be tempered by a heightened awareness intrinsic to survival owing to the ever-present possible reality of life-threatening scenarios on a one second event horizon! These "Men In Black" would, undoubtedly, prefer to live in a world where all their on-the-job decision options were delineated by a simple Black or White distinction. The reality of the New Centurions is that they clearly come in every imaginable shade of gray! Scott's cynical, scarred, veteran, Kilvinski, nearing retirement, has constructed a reality where his quasi-legal technique of locking up street-walkers in his paddy wagon and driving them around all night to keep the streets "clean and decent" is a necessary evil with which he feels, at least, reasonably comfortable!

Keach's enthusiastic and idealistic rookie, Fehler, oozes frustration from every pore, as he perceives the lifeblood of his initial optimism being drained, drop by drop, by the cold, hard cement indifference of L.A.'s Mean Streets! Viewing, impotently, as both his marriage and his upbeat rookie positivism flounder in an ocean of problems, he finds consolation and support in the arms of a sensitive and empathetic nurse, played by Rosalind Cash.…Here is where I will reference the "Unheralded Epic First in Cinema History": I suppose that today, in 2015, in a perfect world, we are not supposed to notice or mention a good number of things because we must be "P.C.", right?

But CENTURIONS wasn't made in 2015…It was released in 1972! To the best of my recollection, in the early 70's, whenever we saw a bi-racial on screen couple, which was really not all that frequently to begin with, their racial difference was always a focal point of the relationship. Usually because of the problems they encountered because of this difference from friends, from relatives or parents, from those in authority or simply from others in society! How briskly refreshing that in CENTURIONS they were just a police officer and a nurse who cared very dearly for one another… Absolutely no mention whatsoever of their racial difference! Isn't that exactly the way it should be? The way it is now… (Well, almost, anyway!).

Hope to get some feedback from someone, anyone on this aspect of the movie…9 Stars! ENJOY!/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!

Satanás (2007)
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
There… But for the Grace of God!....., 14 February 2015

O.K…First...About the film: SATANAS is awesome! This has to be one of the 5 best Colombian films ever made! Well, Colombian-Slash-Mexican film, anyway…(As listed on IMDb!) In the leading role of "SATAN", is Mexican actor Damian Alcazar, who gives us an eerily haunting performance as a tormented Colombian who did two active tours of duty with the U.S. army in Vietnam. He is obviously suffering from PTSD…but he was mustered out of the military and left the U.S. long before anyone was officially diagnosed, or much less, received any treatment for this condition. Alcazar's Colombian accent is spot on!…So much so that if I had not known he was Mexican, I would have assumed he was Colombian! (If you speak Spanish, you'll undoubtedly notice!)

SATANAS, probably more than any other film I have ever seen in my life, really hit close to home…LITERALLY! Why do I say this? Well, this based on true events film, is about the massacre that occurred in the Pozzetto restaurant in Chapinero, Bogota, Colombia, on December 4th, 1986. To be precise, the restaurant is on the corner of the Carrera Septima (7th) and Calle 62.

My mother lived in an apartment not more than 2 blocks from the Pozzetto. It was, perhaps, my Mom's default setting restaurant! We have eaten there on numerous occasions, both before and after the horrendous 1986 deed! Yes, despite the gruesome massacre there, where 20 people were killed, the place is still open! It really occurs to me just how lucky my Mom, my wife and I were that we had not decided to eat there that fateful evening…..There….But for the grace of God….!!!

Throughout the entire film, you can really feel the mounting pressure Delgado (Alcazar's character) exerts on himself leading up to his total implosion. Teresa Gutierrez, who passed in 2010, was excellent as the rather overbearing, but concerned and clueless, mother, Blanca. Gutierrez is probably known to everyone in Colombia over 15, but is pretty much unknown outside of Colombia.

The Director, Andres Baiz, who hails from CALI, oís!...In his directorial debut…despite overseeing and putting together a truly outstanding Colombian film, has only gotten the directorial nod again on 2 occasions: La Cara Oculta (2011) and ROA (2013)! It is impossible for me to wrap my head around this situational anomaly! Does this penalizing directors for making excellent films only happen in Colombia? Two other examples come to mind…Francisco Norden, after directing Condores No Entierran Todos los Dias in 1984, was not given another shot for 21 years! And Felipe Aljure, who directed La Gente de la Universal in 1991, was denied another turn until 2005!

It seems the rest of the cast is Colombian and they do a fine job, perhaps with a couple exceptions. It is worth noting the cultural impact of this tragedy in Colombia. If you ask people here to name one example of a mass shooting where a deranged lone gunman walks into a public place and begins shooting total strangers randomly and indiscriminately, if the person can provide one example, and most people certainly can, "The Pozetto Massacre", will, undoubtedly, be it!

In the USA, it is rare that 3 months go by without a crime of this nature. Considering that Colombia, in general terms, is a country that definitely has much more violent crime than the U.S., I think it is no coincidence that practically the only random mass shooting, not rooted in some sort of mafia, guerrilla, paramilitary or personal vendetta, involves a Colombian with PTSD who served in Vietnam with the U.S. Military! This fact really needs to be looked at and analyzed extremely carefully!

SATANAS is a must see movie for many different people for a myriad of different reasons! 9 Stars! ENJOY!/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Should Have Been Titled "Wild Wild WORST"!, 12 February 2015

When you go to see a Will Smith movie, you expect it to be entertaining and fast-paced. A movie with Kevin Kline might have your expectations leaning more in the direction of cerebral, tight-knit & solid entertainment. If Salma Hayek is in it, well least you expect a flick with visual appeal ...1, 2, 3 STRIKES...Wild Wild West STRIKES OUT!

TALK ABOUT DROPPING THE BALL! Will Smith, whose laid-back, street-wise- cracking veneer, usually hides a well-focused on screen intensity that is both impossible to miss or dislike...seemed to be sauntering through the film, feeling embarrassingly like a walking anachronism, considering the "Old West" backdrop!

Kevin Kline, on the other hand, who usually brings a certain air of bravura to his oft-times eccentric characterizations, seemed to display a marked inability to take himself seriously when in drag, (Which, unfortunately, is during a good chunk of the film) lapsing into a pathetic sort self-parody, which, considering the script, may have been the only way he could stomach the role!

Salma Hayek, for whom no one is exactly holding their breath for her to win an Oscar as Best Actress, seemed OBSESSED with getting her lines out with as little accent as possible...Despite the fact that she was clearly cast as Mexican in this film...(As opposed to her bit part in The FACULTY!)

You could almost imagine "La Mejicanita" standing there, during shooting, with her Accent/Dialogue Coach, just out of camera range! Salma...concentrate MORE on your ACTING, next time, O.K.? As far as Barry Sonnenfled's Directing is concerned...well, here we could imagine him running around frantically, till the last minute, editing and re-editing, trying to decide exactly what it is he was trying to do with "WILD"....and of course, not even coming CLOSE to getting it right!

The ONLY reason I rated the movie 3 Stars (as opposed to 0 Stars!) is because of the scope & the novelty of the Special Effects. The idea of seeing all those well orchestrated, and at times visually stunning effects against an Old West backdrop was the only refreshing and original element in the film ...If you are not a die-hard Special Effects buff, I can think of absolutely no reason on earth why you would find anything at all worth seeing in this pathetic excuse for a Blockbuster film! 3*STARS*....ENJOY/DISFRUTELA?????

Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Excellent Character Study...Highly Effective But Not Pretentious or Preachy!, 12 February 2015

Events in your life can shape and change you...sometimes radically. Before my heart attack and triple bypass I rated this 8*. Now, it is a most resounding 10*! In "Whose Life" the life-altering event for sculptor Ken Harrison (Richard Dreyfuss in an outstanding performance) was a traffic accident that left him quadriplegic.

About 6 months after the fact, Harrison begins to to realize that not only his sculptures, but his perception of the world, its interpretation and his own self-image had been shaped through the use of his hands. Of course, his hands "died" on the day of the accident, and therefore, Harrison concludes, so did he.

The film focuses on both his day to day struggle to cope with his unbearable condition and his confrontation with the hospital administration, or at least with its decision-making chief medical officer, Dr. Emerson (John Cassavetes-turning in a fine performance), who is intent on keeping Harrison in the hospital and under its care, against his will, even if that means declaring Harrison incompetent.

Christine Lahti also has a supporting role. The film is highly effective but not pretentious or preachy in the least. 10*STARS*.....ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!

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