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filmwatcher2002

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7 reviews in total 
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Thoughtful little film well worth seeing, 7 October 2012
9/10

I had no preconceptions about Sunshine Cleaning - I decided to watch in on a whim on TV, based on the strength of the cast and its quirky plot description. I remain convinced that is the best way to see any film. Sunshine Cleaning is the kind of film I like best - an original plot, it made me think, and made me care about what happened to the obviously less-than-perfect main characters.

Once you get over the premise that anyone who looks as good as these two actresses and isn't a drug addict or drunk would be toiling away desperately in loser jobs in their late 20s, you can enjoy the interesting script, which follows two sisters in their stumbling efforts to start a business cleaning up after crimes and bio-hazards. The men are the ones to really watch in this film: the dad, played with the perfect combination of resignation, world weariness and indefatigable optimism by Alan Arkin; Winston, the one-armed cleaning supply store owner, beautifully and subtlety played by an actor I've never seen before, but will certainly watch for now, Clifton Collins Jr.; and little son Oscar, beautifully portrayed by a young actor named Jason Spevack. Kids in movies are either great or annoying, and this young man is a natural.

This film is full of touching small moments that add up to a whole. It doesn't hit you over the head with an overly dramatic plot or life-changing events - well, there is a fire scene that is sort of cathartic, but that's it - but it leaves the viewer to draw his or her own conclusions.

Characters are flawed - the "good" sister is having an affair with a married cop; the "bad" sister shows touching concern for the crime victims and their hidden lives and loved ones; the ne'er-do-well dad is ultimately shown to be just another struggling parent who would do anything for his kids, his entire life - but this is something the viewer can relate to. It's a quiet film, and one best viewed without expectations. Just enjoy it as it unfolds and don't expect anything grand or preachy. I watched it with my husband and teenage daughter, and we all agreed it was worthwhile.

5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Funny, original and every girl's dream come true!, 19 January 2009
10/10

I caught this in the U.S. on Ovation (DVR-ing it to skip the gazillion adverts), and was charmed by its funny and original premise: a modern single London girl who loves P&P - and who is far more attracted to Darcy than to her somewhat loutish boyfriend - finds herself dumped smack into the novel's first chapter, courtesy of Elizabeth Bennett herself, who has provided a door into Regency England through Amanda's shower wall.

What lover of P&P hasn't secretly yearned to be a part of its world, at least once? The contrast between Amanda's preconceptions of the book's characters and their flesh and blood counterparts was the funniest aspect of this series - the fish-out-of-water premise, while amusing, could only go so far (the best line in that vein is Amanda explaining her modern clothing: "This is my otter hunting kit.") Amanda's interaction with the characters she thinks she knows so well proves continually surprising, both to her and us. Her modern sensibility and outspokenness causes not a few problems as the plot line becomes severely altered from Austen's original.

Amanda slowly comes to realize that perhaps following Austen's familiar destiny is not the only possibility open to her in this strange yet familiar landscape. And her gradual realization of her surprising fate is a joy to watch unfold.

Have no preconceptions about this series, except to enjoy it as a very good time. It's not drippy or gooey like obsessive fan-fiction, and even manages to weave in the modern female obsession with Colin Firth's Darcy (complete with homage to the wet shirt scene!) with an affectionate wink.

Can't wait to see the U.S. DVD in the spring!

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Touching and hilarious portrait of an obsessed fan, 11 July 2008
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is an overlooked gem - much better than the American remake.

Colin Firth's Paul really hasn't a clue as to how stunted he is emotionally, due to his obsession with his favorite football club, Arsenal. Sarah, the uptight teacher who sort of conveniently falls into his life (if she hadn't been teaching in the class next to his, he probably would have remained alone) is aghast to discover the depth of his attachment to Arsenal (the Arsenal boxers that Paul blithely sports give her the first clue).

I love the scene where Paul is trying to convince her of his newfound maturity, but only succeeds in lighting his dinner napkin on fire. Firth's portrayal is quietly brilliant and hilarious. And as a baseball fan who wears rally caps and refuses to move her spot on the couch when her team is winning a big game, I found so much to relate to. I've been there with Paul in the depths of despair and the heights of delirium. Luckily I married a baseball fan too!

I bought this movie on DVD after renting it, and love to watch it once or twice a year. Undeniably and proudly English, it entertained this American to no end.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Charming and disarming, 25 January 2008
9/10

I know this film was panned rather severely when it came out, and I did not go to see it. I was curious though, and watched it on cable recently. I had no expectations and was pleasantly surprised and charmed. I loved the premise, the cast, the scenery and the cinematography. I thought Russell Crowe got it down perfectly - I spent several years working for a British investment bank, and in the early scenes he really captures the charismatic arrogance of that industry's most successful workaholics. The film also reminded me of the absolute seductiveness of the south of France, an area I was lucky enough to visit many years ago.

A Good Year makes its point about the importance of love and keeping your integrity without being heavy handed. Although there are many silly and comedic moments, the funniest are the ones that ring true, such as how the men, after their macho tennis match, are both doubled over at the net, coughing their unfit brains out.

One person commented that people seem to fall in love much too quickly in this film. But that is a lot like real life - who doesn't remember feeling an earth shift when they met their life partner? When Max is publicly upbraided by the gorgeous restaurant owner for his dangerously oblivious ways, he is absolutely bowled over. He knows he has met his match - a beautiful woman who is strong enough to not be impressed by him. He is a goner from that moment on.

The high caliber of acting in A Good Year - combined with a charming script and gorgeous cinematography is what made this film memorable for me. Crowe and Cotillard are such completely natural actors. They both inhabit their roles in such a graceful way. They make their characters appealing and interesting, in roles that could easily have been two dimensional and ridiculous. You want these two to get together and be happy, but you also know that half the fun will be watching how they do it.

I've learned not to trust the critics too much. They often overlook films I love, and praise to the heavens ones that leave me cold. BTW, my husband liked his one too. We're now both thinking a trip to Provence would make a terrific second honeymoon....

5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Could have been a great 1 hour TV show..., 15 June 2006
1/10

I looked forward to seeing this movie when it came out, since I was a huge SNL fan. When my boyfriend and I went to see it, the people coming out of the early show were yelling, "Don't waste your money!" But of course we had to find out for ourselves.

While there were a few funny bits (Laser Bra 2000, Root Boy Slim), most of it felt like it could have been severely edited down to an amusing 1 hour show. It was pretty bad.

When the opera singer came on, many people got up and walked out. This made me laugh, because I realized that O'Donoghue was just pressing people's buttons on purpose with this movie. Or else he was just insane. Whatever - you don't need to waste your time watching it, it's that bad.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Everyone I know loves it; critics hated it, 16 February 2006
9/10

Once in a while a little film comes along that gets panned by critics and instantly disappears into the dust. Then it pops up on TV and becomes a favorite with a lot of viewers.

I managed to not even notice the 2000 release of The Replacements - it came and went that quickly. But I did catch it on cable recently and found that while it does follow the usual clichés of sports/comedy movies - inspirational coach, washed up player becomes the hero, romantic sub-plot - it has some very very funny moments, and overall, is an extremely enjoyable film. I've talked to other people who have all said, "Oh yeah, I loved that movie, really funny." I won't rehash plot and details - there's too many other reviews that have done that already. What makes this movie fun to watch are the truly goofy, off the wall scenes that you don't find in other sports movies - loved the jailhouse line dancing scene - the memorable characters and their interaction with each other, and the bone crunching game sequences. The comic characters don't seem cartooney, like they did in Major League. They play off each other and seem like slightly broader versions of real people. The out-of-shape chain-smoking Scotsman with the kicking leg of steel, the sumo wrestler, the ex-con, the cop with anger issues, the butterfingered comedian - they are goofy and hilarious, but at the same time completely believable.

Keanu Reeves' stoic face and delivery works to great effect here - he is a guy who has repressed a lot of fear and humiliation, but responds to the looseness and friendship of his teammates. Gene Hackman, who of course is always great, plays it perfectly. He has the clichéd role of the inspirational coach, but he always has a twinkle in his eye, like he appreciates both the absurdity of his job and the issues that have kept all his players from achieving success in the past.

This is a very fun film that - surprisingly - actually delves into some deeper issues. What keeps us from becoming successful if we have all the tools? How do we regain will to succeed, inner drive and belief in ourselves once we have lost it? What makes a team a team? It is to this film's credit that these underlying themes don't keep it from being entertaining and laugh out loud funny at times.

If you know and love football, you will enjoy this movie.

15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Flawed, but enjoyable, 31 July 2005
7/10

John Cusack and Diane Lane, two of the most interesting actors working today, make this somewhat predictable romantic comedy work. They flesh out characters from a pretty weak script, and make you want to know those characters better.

This film is not rocket science, but if you expect to enjoy a bit of romantic fluff, you will not be disappointed. The only frustrating thing is knowing how much more both of these fine actors is capable of. Given a strong script and inventive director, can you imagine what a great film they could make together?

For this viewer, the weakest part of the script was the two-dimensional nature of some the supporting characters. For example, why would a sensitive, romantic boat builder like Jake have a strip-club-loving sleazy lawyer friend as his only male pal? And while the long suffering younger brother character is amusing and well acted, his wife is non-existent. Also, why would the father become a Lothario upon the death of his wife? If he was really a great guy, wouldn't he continue to act that way?

Also, the script never seems sure whether it wants Diane Lane's character to be comical or touching. The montage showing her entering computer dating with a gusto seemed forced - it aimed for a Bridget Jones type breeziness, but missed - and the singalong to the Partridge Family theme song scene was downright embarrassing. Thankfully Cusack was not subjected to that scene!

All in all, a good one to see if you love the leads, but don't expect belly laughs. It might leave you a little wistful for a romantic comedy as fresh as "Say Anything".... (sigh)