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deacon_blues-1

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14 reviews in total 
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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Should be nominated for a BP Oscar!, 28 January 2007

This film is exquisitely conceived and executed. I went to it fearing disappointment because of all the superlatives I'd heard applied to it beforehand, but it knocked me over! Visually and as great storytelling, del Toro has really done it! What a wonderful adventure on so many levels, full of charm, horror, deep sadness, tragedy, and abundant life! The Captain is both hatefully evil and fascinating at once. The little girl is heartrending in her courage, imagination, discernment of character, and persistence in doing what her heart knows is right, regardless of what Pan or her stepfather tells her. Surely, if "Life is beautiful" can take an American academy award nomination for best picture, this film is equally deserving, both for its craftsmanship and its gift of hope and courage in the face of the general brutality of the human condition, rather than merely being recognized in the "foreign" category. I won't burden you at length with my frustrations over the academy's tendencies lately (that is, its snobbishly unfair backlash that has besotted it ever since the 3 years it was forced to "endure" the onslaught of Peter Jackson and his unfashionably epic Tolkien films!) but this is just another symptom of what's wrong with the academy lately. Very few really deserving films actually get recognized anymore, unless they have a strong left-wing, morally ambiguous or iconoclastic bias. Alas!

I loved this movie....as a movie!, 27 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First, let me say that I have not read the Victor Hugo novel, but plan to soon. I have however, seen the musical live and the 1978 Richard Jordan/Anthony Perkins version. Although I liked much about the 1978 version, I prefer this 1998 version. It is only slightly better acted, but much better as a film in its cinematography, pace, editing, sets, and most importantly its illustration of the contrast between law vs. grace from a Christian standpoint. The two mains (Neeson and Rush) are especially powerful in their roles. I don't mind the romantic interest between Valjean and Fantine, since it makes his relationship to Cossette more understandable and less suspect of other motives, if you will. The major flaw I see in the film is the ending between Javert and Valjean. There is no way it is consistent with the Valjean character to allow Javert to cast himself into the Seine without Valjean jumping in after Javert to save him. That ending really bugs me, I must confess. I have no idea why they had to do it that way, except so that Javert could have his final speech, telling us all why he is what he is and why he must kill himself. He should have waited until Jean was gone before his suicide, knowing that Jean would otherwise rescue him. Otherwise, this is a fine and moving film, all bias aside. It stands alone as a top-notch effort that works on its own merit as a film and a great piece of storytelling. Even the ending can be explained if you see Valjean as simply feeling that enough is enough, and that it is about time Javert ended his own tortured existence. Although I just can't see Valjean giving up hope on anyone after his soul had been bought for God, as it were.

6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A good adaptation of the Kellerman Novel, 17 October 2006
7/10

Very nicely done for a TV movie. It's a real shame that there aren't more Alex/Milo movie adaptations. God knows we have enough King/Critchton/Grisham/Clancy adaptations to last a lifetime. Danson and Masur are very genuine and accurate in their portrayals of the dynamic dick/shrink duo. Good pathos at the end scene. Direction is rather typical Movie of the Week fair, but it follows the investigation progress and plot twists very lucidly and at a good pace. Supporting cast is rather mediocre, but well suited to the genre. I have rarely seen Danson this serious in a role, and was very surprised at how good he is. Masur is very much Milo, both capture the bantering dialog that is the duo's hallmark. I bought a cheap VHS copy of this on Amazon, and was glad I did. Too bad it's not on DVD. If you like the Alex Delaware mysteries by Jonathan Kellerman, you'll enjoy this!

3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Bad news, good news, 20 August 2006
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"The bad news: If you watch this film, you will be asked to endure 90 minutes of 6 shallow, rude, self-centered, bratty, terminally talkative women doing stupid things and running around hysterically in a cave with a lot of blind, wingless bat-like humanoids attacking them. The good news: All but one of these annoying characters are lost miles down in the cave, presumably eaten by the aforementioned cave dwellers, and the sole survivor goes insane from the experience; so at least there's a happy ending! When will directors and writers learn that horror movie characters must project depth and elicit sympathy? (i.e. Lt. Ripley?) If you don't care about the people involved, you won't care whether they all die in the dark or not. All mindless, self-centered, crude, shallow characters should be buried in a cave! This film is a sad comment on where the horror genre has been going lately. So many producers and directors merely assume that the audience will all be Jason/Freddy fans and proceed to pander to that base element. My advice? Just back away slowly from the ticket booth and go rent "Skeleton Key" on DVD."

9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
This is the best analysis of the Dan Brown novel I have come across., 4 April 2006
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Finally, a Davinci Code expose' that is not afraid to tell the truth without pulling any punches. Cuts through all the disinformation, ignorance, irrationalism, and downright foolishness of the details that make up the travesty that passes for historical and art scholarship in the novel. Gives a fair and balanced (although unashamedly Christian) approach to the whole topic. This is what you want if you are looking for a critique that cuts through all the pseudo-scientific fertilizer that has been liberally spread about centuries-old secret societies, grand and subtle cover-ups, irrelevant bloodline hoaxes, and the adnauseum emphasis on the divine feminine and goddess worship. Lots of nice information about the real Mary Magdalene, the real Jesus Christ, the real Priory of Sion, the real Knights Templar, the elevation of women in society by Christianity, and a really nice bit about the real Rosslyn Chapel. But you won't like it if you are overly fond of clinging to Dan Brown's delusions of fabricated paranoid conspiracies. You'll just need to let those go and face the solid facts of honest historical scholarship and expert art analysis. You don't need to find the Truth, you just need to face the Truth; it's not hidden or secret, it's been out there for thousands of years, unashamed for the whole world to learn and verify to its heart's content. The paranoid dreams of a shallowly written, poorly researched, viciously anti-Christian novelist don't change anything. Enjoy!

16 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
One of the most beautifully filmed pieces ever!, 7 October 2005
10/10

Heartrendingly beautiful scenes of too-golden wheat fields. Also shattering in its disturbing imagery and subject matter. Solidly acted by all concerned. This film really needs to be on DVD! Hey! Get it done already! It's a crime to have to watch this on inferior VHS media. The world of childhood encounters the horrifying adult world in a series of inexplicable tragedies and horrendous crimes. Emotionally charged for anyone who remembers what it's like to be a child peering into the Pandora's's box of mature reality with all it's terrifying dangers, from which children are normally sheltered. Here the worlds collide with devastating impact; and yet, as the tag line states, it's all quite natural and must be taken in stride in order to encounter life in a meaningful way. Yes, children, life is full of lunacy, failure, cruelty, persecution, suicides, murderers, death and decay. Welcome to our life. The ultimate answer to the Simple Plan song, the fact is that, Yes we all know what it's like, because we all have to live it; your experience is not some uniquely tragic exception, it's just the universal, horrifying reality. Thank God that most of the time we don't have to face it, and life is good. But, to take a poignant line from Grand Canyon, "If you live long enough, some awful bad (stuff's) gonna happen to ya."

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
I loved it!, 4 September 2005
10/10

Too bad most of the locations are under water by now, or at least have been recently, but this movie is one of the most interesting and well-crafted supernatural suspense thrillers in a long time! Intriguing, suspenseful, creepy, shocking in it's conclusion; you name it, it scores on all levels. Kate Hudson does so well as a thoroughly sympathetic character. You really are effectively drawn into her intriguing situation and her desire to help. Gena Rowlands is very accomplished as usual. The atmosphere of creepiness that is created, especially in daylight, without resorting to darkness or stormy weather, is an accomplishment in itself, and very well done. The ending is very chilling, and well written; as is the entire script. The icing on the cake is just the charming experience of watching Hudson at her alluring best in many scenes. She truly is easy on the eyes! Not, perhaps as completely beautiful as her mom, but she has an attraction all her own. See it! Have fun being intrigued, confused, charmed, and most of all, chilled to the bone!

Westender (2003)
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A beautifully done film., 13 August 2005
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My only problem with Brock Morse's "Westender" is that it whets my appetite without satisfying it. But this obviously is intentional. The film is well crafted, fascinating in its struggle to tell a story mainly through visual means, and true to the director's intent. It is up to the viewer to draw personal meaning from much of what is placed on screen, but the tools used here are very compelling indeed. Let's hope that someone with the economic clout necessary will fund the continuation of this saga, so we can get the back-story straight, as well as the future of the main character. I loved especially the choices of subjects for this film. Each is a perfect fit, visually. There is something consistently visceral about the appeal of not only the lush scenery that forms the backdrop of this little Indy epic, but also the actors themselves. Stadel is a perfect fit, of course, but so is Rob Simonson as Glim (bigtime kudos on the heart-wrenchingly gorgeous musical score by him too!), very reminiscent of Kevin O'Conner. Darlene Dadras as Sarin was also a compelling fit Asbrey's worthy gypsy distraction. Kari Gjone is down-right haunting as Asbrey's lost lady love; I got the feeling that it would definitely be worth turning into a shiftless drunk over the loss any woman so beautiful! The wolf-dog is such a perfect symbol for the spirit of knighthood that pursues Asbrey as he flees from his true calling.

What can I say but, "Hey, Brock! Let's see more! Real soon!

Dark Water (2005)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Yeah, OK. Sad, but not scary., 9 August 2005
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was a nice investigation of a child's longing to be loved, and a mother's willingness to sacrifice everything for her child, but it was not really scary. I fault the distributors for the way the trailers are edited to give the impression that this is a gooey horror flick, when really it's all character and atmosphere. This story had a lot more going for it than the trailers let on, but those who went to be scared will be disappointed. Once again, the marketing dept interferes to the detriment of a nice little story about people coping with stress and tragedy, with a supernatural element. Good performances by Jennifer Connelly, John Reilly, and Pete Postlethwaite (disturbingly menacing). Tim Roth's character is very interesting, but goes nowhere, story-wise. It would have been nice to some development between his and Connelly's characters. The ending pretty much precludes that, but a little more would have made the final result that much more poignant.

Worth seeing, but not to be scared.

Crash (2004/I)
0 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A great film, relatively small flaws, 5 August 2005
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First of all, if this is an accurate depiction of life in LA, the movie compellingly makes me glad I don't live there! Fantastic directing, acting, writing, film editing, and storytelling! Don Cheadle is really becoming an acting juggernaut! One of Bullock's better jobs of acting too. The tension in quite a few scenes is nearly unbearable. A few flaws detracted from the over all experience for me, however. The opening premise does not seem to ring true. Although LA is different from some other big cities, in that direct contact between people is much more limited, the net effect in terms of hostility and crime is not all that different than New York or Chicago. The problem is more with big cities in general than with LA air conditioning and cars in particular. The other problem was with the Persian storeowner's irrational treatment of the Latino locksmith. He seems to speak English well enough in all the other scenes to be able to understand what the locksmith is telling him, but he acts as if he doesn't know the difference between a broken lock and a broken door. He showed no appreciation for the work the locksmith did at no charge. I also don't know what he expected to get from holding up the locksmith later, unless he though he was responsible for the robbery of his store. None of this was made very clear, although this storyline's crucial scene itself was an absolute corker, no doubt! A must see for 2005!


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