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The Rum Diary (2011)
Locations and old cars for the filming?
Puerto Rico is my favorite place on the earth's surface, so of course I was going to see this film. To represent the San Juan of 1960, I guess the filmmakers had to choose their locales carefully so as not to include any modern changes in facades and skyline because I kept seeing the same streets over and over again. As for the undeveloped island used by the U.S. military that figures in the film's plot--sounds like Vieques, but looked more like Culebra. Does anyone know where those scenes were filmed? I also thought I saw Luquillo beach at one point--any filming there? Lastly, were the shots from Carnival on St. Thomas really filmed there? But most puzzling to me were all the vintage cars used in the film. They were in mint condition. How did they get those automobiles to the island? Were they already there? Or are they the junkers from Cuba, repainted?!Inquiring minds want to know.
What's Your Number? (2011)
Trailer was better
Some clever moments do not a full-length film make. Not sure why everything didn't jell, but it really seemed uneven in tone and a bit draggy. Unlike the preview, which was hysterical and propelled me into the movie theater. I should have known better after "House Bunny," but I remain a sucker for funny previews. Even when I know that they've culled all the best scenes to make one compact enticing package, I will check out a movie that seems to have promise. As for the best scene of the trailer--with the puppeteer from SNL and her response "I think we're all caught up"--I don't think I saw it in the actual film. Unless I dozed off. Did it appear in the film....or only in the preview?
Super 8 (2011)
Shows Why We Love Movies
This film will remind you why we love movies--it is entertaining from start to finish. It's suspenseful, scary, funny, and even heart-warming. The child actors are unbelievably good, particularly the star-crossed youngsters at the center of the group of friends making the Super 8 movie. Be sure to stay for the final credits so that you can see their movie at the end of the film. The sense of place and time achieved by the filmmakers is awesome--supposed to be Ohio; looked like southwestern Pennsylvania's old industrial areas to me; credits identified the locations as West Virginia--so yeah, right ballpark in the Old Rustbelt of the country. I also liked the fact that there were no "big stars" at the helm of this movie, though I know Kyle Chandler is a TV favorite--the casting added to the impact as the film was an ensemble effort, not, for example, a Tom Cruise vehicle. Also interesting was the use of African American actors in key supporting roles as both heroes (the science teacher) and villains (the military men). I was also pleased with the way information about the characters and their interrelationships wasn't spelled out for the viewer, but unfolded gradually over the course of the film. I'm not a fan of special effects and all the previews shown with this "action film" are not things I would see, but in this film, as in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," I'm a believer. In both cases, there is a genuine story at the heart, not just things blowing up. But when they do explode or catch fire or whatever, they're great!
See "Super 8" on the big screen as it is meant to be seen.
Against All Odds (1984)
Great song; terrible movie
How do I hate this movie: let me count the ways. Unsympathetic characters; silly plot; no suspense; terrible editing; LOTS of "filler" between key scenes; an Eighties time capsule with the ugly interior decor, big hair, and period clothing. Seeing Rachel Ward slipping in and out of the era's baggy clothing made me long for "Flashdance" instead of this tripe. As one of the other reviewers noted: 2 hours out of my life wasted.
Anything positive to say? Phil Collins' song is good; the car chase is pretty good; the Mayans were phenomenal architects. Chichen Itza and Tulum are the most interesting characters in the film. Lastly, a noir-ish film star from an earlier era, Jane Greer, playing Ward's mother, shows that she aged gracefully.
Everything Must Go (2010)
Can someone explain the ending?
I liked Will Ferrell so much in STRANGER THAN FICTION, which had one of the most interesting screenplays ever AND a very sweet and convincing love story at its core, so I thought I'd give this one a try. I also like Rebecca Hall, having "discovered" her in STARTER FOR 10. This movie was only so-so, but the performances were all good. The yard sale stuff was fun for anyone who likes antique malls and garage sales as was his tutelage of the young boy who helps him price and sell things. My question is about the ending--I didn't understand what Hall's character gave Ferrell and what the significance was. Can anyone enlighten me? Adding a SPOILER alert, of course, to your answer.
Again, as so many of the other reviewers have indicated, to describe particulars would detract from the movie-going experience for someone who has yet to see the film. I am surprised by the reviews whose writers feel that the movie was somehow a let-down from the trailer's promise. For me this movie was an intense experience and I would compare it to the way I felt after seeing the documentary GRIZZLY MAN. Not that the films are alike in any aspect other than the way their images haunt you. There IS horror and pathos in this story, monsters even, but the film is not MICHIGAN CHAINSAW MASSACRE. I saw CATFISH within a week of seeing THE SOCIAL NETWORK and the two complement each other, but, as others have noted, CATFISH is the film that is truly "shattering" in its impact.
Made for Each Other (1971)
Also a good LOVE STORY
I saw this as a half of a double feature on a double date in the 1970s. Three of the four of us preferred the other film ("Marriage of a Young Stockbroker"?), but I liked this one and went back to see it again. It IS a funny film, but also a believable love story with (understandably) good chemistry between the two leads. And no other reviewer has mentioned that Bologna was pretty hot back in the day if you like those Big types. It is borderline painful to watch Renee Taylor's various "acts" as she skates close to some sort of showbiz fame--sort of a proto-Bridget Jones--but you have to admire the candor of these two writers in filming this autobiographical material, warts and all.
Everybody's Fine (2009)
A LITTLE GEM, Euro-style
I wasn't planning on seeing this movie until I read some of the other IMDb reviews--then I reconsidered because one of the reviewers said it would be more meaningful to older folks with adult children. Glad I did. It's a little gem. It's more like a European film really, where nothing much happens (action-wise) but the characters are so well-drawn. Or, to put it another way, it's like reading a novel by Anne Tyler. I did think of ABOUT SCHMIDT during this movie--similar theme of a recent widower on a road-trip of self-discovery--but only to reflect on DeNiro's more subtle characterization. The movie is very well cast as a whole and all the acting, particularly from the child actors, is very natural and unaffected.
The Fall (2006)
Quite simply: A MASTERPIECE
This film immediately vaulted onto my "Top Ten" of all time, upon first viewing. Which means it joins the likes of "The Third Man" and "Citizen Kane." As many others have commented, it is visually stunning, with images you will never forget. But equally unforgettable are the performances--all of them. The interplay between Catinca Untaru and Lee Pace is extraordinary, created a genuine warmth and mutual appreciation on the screen. Her performance is probably the finest acting by a child that I have ever seen on film--right up there with Margaret O'Brien in "Meet Me in St. Louis" and Christian Bale in "Empire of the Sun." But Pace should be credited for the nuances of his performance and creating the atmosphere that facilitated their marvelous ease with each other. I do have one caution, though: PLEASE DON'T RENT THIS FILM OR BUY IT TO WATCH ON A TV. IT REALLY MUST BE SEEN ON A BIG SCREEN TO BE APPRECIATED. Just pester your local college or library or museum to screen it in a foreign film series.
Hamish Macbeth (1995)
NOT BASED ON THE BOOKS, really
If you separate this series from your expectations from the charming series of books, you may still enjoy the TV shows. Not very mysterious and not connected except by name to what MC Beaton has achieved. It is great to see Robert Carlyle, as always, and Shirley Henderson, who plays the neurotic friend of Bridget Jones, is quite appealing here as Isobel. And the scenery is stunning. Still, I must agree with the opinion of another writer on this site that it IS a bit of washed out imitation of MONARCH. Still superior to most of what shows up on American telly, though, and worth it for the locales and the quirky villagers.