Reviews written by registered user
MRavenwood

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88 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
20 Years Later, It's Still Just Fine, 9 March 2015
7/10

I'm not going to lie and say I didn't enjoy this film. It's faults I found forgivable. I saw it when it first came out and liked it, and I still like it. I have read the original Scarlett Letter by Hawthorne and liked it too. I believe this film serves two useful (perhaps unintended) purposes. One: it's hopeless as a "cheat" for kids who try to do a report on the book and watch this instead. Two: It will perhaps make teens more interested in reading the book - something I was usually not interested in in high school. The most frustrating aspect of the film for me is that it exactly contradicts Puritan teachings when it tries to damn Hester for saying she speaks to God. The whole point of Puritanism was to remove clergy and government from between Believers and God. It would have been more outrageous for her to say something like, "All believers in Jesus Christ are saved from this sinful world." Puritans believed a select few would go to Heaven, even of their own flock.

Great costumes, cinematography, lighting, and locations.

Utterly Depressing Story, 8 March 2015
4/10

I am partial to stories that teach something or reveal something to me as a life lesson. No one in this story learns any lessons. They all pointlessly reject offers of help and solution until it is too late. Not only is it not uplifting or bittersweet, even, it's hard to follow! All you can realize is how unhappy, ungrateful, stupid, and hate-filled everyone is. The most sympathetic character is the Agent, Townsend (played by the riveting Michael Kitchen) who is tasked with upholding unjust laws and has no means of protecting himself or the tenants he tries to do some good for. Apparently, this is based on some facts from the family history of the McGann family who star in this production. An unrewarding viewing experience. Lots of tears, threats, and hand wringing.

Black Sea (2014)
29 out of 50 people found the following review useful:
Lacks punch and overall credibility, 15 February 2015
5/10

It's a guy movie, but most guys will laugh at the technical problems, I think. This film puts a short pile of lesser-known actors on the submarine equivalent of the storied Star Wars ship Millennium Falcon and tries to make us believe that adults who've ever seen a submarine movie would be willing to get on such a vessel. The plot is simple, but tediously executed - essentially fulfilling fears voiced in warnings from early scenes. Also, the Russians have more subs than any other country. This film assumes that surface ships are the only ones sharing the water with this crew. Military types will just be irritated by this film - actual submariners, I suspect, will find it eye-rollingly silly.

69 out of 133 people found the following review useful:
Eff-word laced, fist festival for British 10-year-old Boys., 14 February 2015
2/10

You cannot convince me they are not paying people to give this terrible film high ratings on the internet. People gave it 10s??? It is unwatchable. I don't worry about foul language for the most part, but a lot of eff-words in a movie clearly targeted at 10-12 year-old boys is a bit much. It was just plain retarded from the get-go and the performances from the actors was not even remotely up to snuff. And I love Michael Caine, Mark Strong, and Colin Firth - I figured, "How can you go wrong?" I truly can't figure out who the audience is for this. Garbage. Total waste of $11 bucks. Wouldn't have even watched it free on the internet.

Phantom (2013/I)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Very Well Acted - Not Perfectly Written, 13 January 2015
6/10

I'm no historian. I've never been to Russia or seen the crew of a 1968 Russian Navy sub. But I remember the 80s and I'd say within the first 10 minutes of this film you had a content veracity problem. An early scene shows a hasty church wedding. A naval officer who knew about a religious wedding and didn't report it might subsequently find himself in conversations with KGB at minimum, I'd have thought. Add that to a very casual communication style on the sub and several naval crew being unshaven? Hard for me to believe. Despite all of that though, I loved the acting. A choice was made to dispense with any Russian accents, which may hurt the story cred, but not the acting itself. Ed Harris has a challenge playing a captain with a past who has been demoted to his old sub, a diesel - not a nuke for a special assignment. He manages an admirable job of maintaining a haunted, nothing-left-to-lose demeanor in his role opposite David Duchovny, who should have been in shorter hair for this role. Duchovny plays cool emotion well, but missed some opportunities for more dimension to the ruthless edge his GRU character requires. William Fichtner's loyal and pained performance is my favorite of them all, however.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Drive-In Mash Up of Rosemary's Baby and Portrait of Dorian Gray, 4 January 2015
3/10

Cultural context matters here. You need to know that the Church of Satan was created in 1966, the film "Rosemary's Baby" was made in '68, and what the whole point of drive-in movies is, to start. Second: familiarize yourself with "Portrait of Dorian Gray" and "Painting" movies such as Rebecca, Ghost and Mrs. Muir, et al. This film tries to be a swinging, drive-in version of all of those, and on a budget that wouldn't pay for the first reel of "Vertigo". So why is it crappy? The acting is mostly fine, but notice how the worst performances come from ladies willing to go topless? The manic "3rd Witch" Kitty who channels Cat Woman throughout has an AWFUL seduction (?) scene that poor Selleck has to slog through which pretty much destroys the picture. Overall, an enjoyable way to see that Tom Selleck's skills were solidly in place before Magnum. Full marks for VERY low-budget, but clean visual effects.

Flight (2012/I)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Happy to see the Issue Adressed, but this is not a Classic, 29 January 2013
5/10

Sure, pilots have big egos - and when it comes to portraying a bad-boy with over-blown self confidence, Denzel Washington always seems to fit the bill. The drawback is, that when it comes to realism this film can't hold a candle to Lost Weekend - a very believable tale of an alcoholic who decides to turn over a new leaf when he meets a woman worth quitting for, only to prove to himself a hopelessly addicted alcoholic who CAN'T quit. "Flight" shows the can't-quit stuggle, but never shows an ounce of the self-loathing that alcoholics feel when they fail at serious areas of performance. The ending is a farce and totally unconvincing, although it's dramatic. I would have preferred Chris Cooper or Ed Harris in this leading role and made the character FAR more emotionally unstable in order to make the "redemptive" ending work. I did not find the ending believable in any way. So. GOOD movie? Yes... brilliant or classic? Not so much.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Sad that More Pacific Veterans Were not Alive to See Their Story Told, 11 September 2012
8/10

I admit this series is not perfect as entertainment. Frankly it's more of an experience. The project is very violent and has a lot of language in it and very few happy moments. However, I appreciated the emphasis on the hellish aspects of fighting in this theater and de-emphasizing the story of the bomb that ended the entire war. The camera work very much places you in the scene with the men in combat, and it generates a fatigue on the audience. I must say, by the time the story gets to Okinawa, you are very tired of the pattern of mud, rain, exhaustion, and putrid filth. Contrast the uninhabited islands and total lack of sympathizers of the Pacific War with the European theater where the occupied peoples under the Nazis and Fascists were glad to see American troops and gave them shelter and food in a few instances. God bless the men who fought the Japanese Imperial Army. Our enemy were absolutely going to take it all the way to the last man standing. My grandfather served in the Navy in the Phillipines in this conflict.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
So Much Potential for Story - Thrown Away, 5 September 2012
6/10

Part of the Film Noir genre is the romance angle with a powerful female lead. This neo-noir fails on that point offering a watered down, trifling character portrayed by a non-threatening Lee Remick, whose eyes the director seems obsessed with capturing long expressionless shots of. Sinatra's acting is fine, but the film technique... I can't explain how it makes him seem uncool, and the character of Leland is extremely cool and wildly open-minded for the time. Trouble is, they go very far out of their way to make him seem at once overly modern, and decidedly anchored in his values. Doesn't work. I didn't care for the camera work at all. A brilliant performance by Tony Musante as the basket-case ex-lover of the murdered gay man in the opening sequence is dminished by not properly photographing it. Great story and plot. Very sadly executed in a "message over story" way.

Black Swan (2010)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
I Thought It Would Be Depressing, but It's Not, 4 September 2012
7/10

I avoided this at the box office first-run. I just watched it (9/2012) on HBO. It is is very well made. The main reason I am writing this review is not only to let people know that it's interesting and moves along well. It's nothing like I thought it would be. More importantly, I have seen the film characterized in a number of ways in other reviews or summaries. There seems to be a consistent pattern of declarative statements being made about characters in the film in areas where the movie is ambiguous. One of the reasons I LIKE the film is because you can't be sure where reality ends and Nina's drug/pressure-induced imaginings begin. Mila Kunis's character of Lily is key in this area of uncertainty I am describing, but certainly not the only one. The thematic touchstone of people encouraging Nina to "Lose(her)self" sets the stage for this psychotic metamorphosis.


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