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Bell Witch Haunting (2004)
Very entertaining true ghost story!
I have always loved ghost stories and have been fascinated with the Bell Witch for a long time, having read one of the books as a teenager. It is impossible to find a more amazing true ghost story. When I saw the great review in Haunted Times magazine, I was very excited to order the movie. I was not disappointed. You could tell immediately this was not a Hollywood film. The picture looks a little grainy in places and it seems a little dark in others. But this works for the film, because it gives it more of a realistic look in the dark candle scenes and makes it creepier. This, with some of the camera shots, makes it feel more at times like a documentary. It feels real, like you are watching a part of these peoples lives, and that drew me in. I thought for the most part the acting was very well done and the costumes and locations looked authentic. After watching the film, it rekindled my interest, so I checked out a book on the Bell Witch from the library. I was surprised how close the movie was to the original story. I especially liked the way they showed the different personalities of the spirit, showing it's kindness for Lucy, it's enjoyment for church, and it's sense of humor that is discussed so much it the book. If Hollywood had made this film, they would have made the ghost one note (just scary) and you would not have had such in-depth and realistic view of the haunting. But there is plenty of scary parts too! It is an amazing story and would be of great interest to anyone who enjoys the paranormal. The "Behind the Scenes" was very fascinating as well. This is as true and real as it gets!
Something's Gotta Give (2003)
Excellent Romantic Comedy
Get dramatically landlocked. I was happily trapped for the duration, glued to this tale and literally slapped with a light laugh a minute. Full speed "maximum-strength" Nicholson, he gets to run through all the gears. Cast as the character most love him as, ladies man extraordinaire. All the characters gel beautifully. Well written and acted, spawning thoroughly enjoyable entertainment. Characters who reveal themselves to the viewer in such a measured way we truly seem to understand a part of them. Then they are shaken up and mixed several different ways, so that their bold and unpredictable reactions, are both expected and unexpected. The special attribute this movie has above others like it, is it's ability to skirt complication. Equipped with the ability to lay on a very meaty dramatic interlude with light ingredients.
Anger Management (2003)
Funny and Entertaining
I've just seen Anger Management and I'm buzzing. I've read the comments and some reviews beforehand, and thankfully ignored them. There will probably always be criticism on Adam Sandler's movies, and many people hate them, but I can't help wondering what people are complaining about. Okay, his movies don't rank amongst personal favorites such as Fight Club or Requiem For A Dream, but they are entertaining, funny, reasonably original for feel-good-movies (except for the obvious boy gets girl scenario, but hey, even that can be nice from time to time (unless you're a cynic)), full of hilarious cameos and supporting roles, and you can see how much fun all the actors have in playing their roles and that they are having a great time doing these movies. And for me that's all I need if I want to have a good night out. Save the classics for when you're in the mood, and watch these movies once in a while so you don't get too serious about it all. And compare it to all the other comedy trash (romantic or teen) that come out every year and you'll see: in his genre Adam Sandler is in a league of his own. So for all the fans, don't miss out on this one, and for those out there that cannot appreciate it, too bad you don't understand it because you are the ones that are missing the point.
About Schmidt (2002)
Must be watched carefully.
This film must be watched very carefully. If you're not paying enough attention to it, you would miss it (some did). It's in the frames, the atmosphere, the tiny details, the situations, the acting, everything. But it's not that obvious, unless you enter that world. Simple story? Sure. Life is simple. So is great art. All in all, "About Schmidt" is a really great film. Bitter humor, all-pervading lie, the infinite sadness of loneliness and failure, sincere egoism, everyday dullness, desperate and quiet hope - this is life, and in a non-blatant, nor melodramatic manner. But you're going to weep (and smile) at the ending (I did!).
The Pledge (2001)
Saw this film on cable last night (only the last hr. or so) & it was extraordinary. Nicholson gives both a moving & harrowing performance as an old, hard-drinking, washed up police detective. Though his character is in the dregs, he still manages to compel our empathy. Not since "Ironweed" has he attempted a character so thoroughly seedy.
His relationship w. Robin WRight & Wright's daughter is affecting; and the plot developments around the child murderer stalking the daughter are riveting.
The film concludes in a downbeat way that only a director like Sean Penn would have been brave enough to attempt in this era of happy Hollywood endings. Though we as audience know that Nicholson was right in his suspicions of the murderer, none of the characters (including Nicholson's) realize this. At the end, everyone gives up on Nicholson, believes he is nuts; & he in turn reverts to a life of booze & unintelligible muttering. It is heartbreaking to watch. As you watch Wright flay Nicholson for letting her daughter be a lure for the murderer; and we watch Nicholson react w. sullen silence to the onslaught, we are twisted into paroxysms of sadness for him. You realize the moral complexity of the situation: in order to keep faith w. other parents who've lost children to this murderer, Nicholson has endangered the daughter of a woman he has come to love. And she in turn comes to hate him when she learns what he has done. This is a profound moral dilemma.
Penn has created a masterful film, proving yet again that he is one of our better directors. "The Pledge" is one of which he can rightly feel proud.
As Good as It Gets (1997)
Really Intelligent Movie
"As Good as It Gets" is one of those really intelligent movies. It's light-hearted without being too much to take, and it has its dose of "reality for a Friday night". Jack Nicholson the obsessive romance writer, Melvin Udall, who lives in an up-scale Manhattan apartment across the hall from a gay artist, Simon Bishop (Greg Kinnear) and his adorable dog, Verdell. Simon is beaten up by robbers, and Melvin, the pessimistic, bitter, complaining, obsessive-compulsive, and prejudicial shut-in, has Simon's dog forced on him, while Simon's still in the hospital. Melvin grows affectionate towards the dog, and the good in him begins to leak out. The story also centralizes around Carol Connelly (Helen Hunt), a waitress at Melvin's only restaurant and who has a chronically sick child, Spencer. The story continues with the three of them traveling together to Simon's parents' house in the south of Baltimore. Melvin almost wins Carol over, but blows it. They come back to New York after the trip with Simon feeling a new sense of hope in his life, as well as Carol. The movie doesn't end there, but I don't want to give away the ending. I will say this, however. Melvin really is a good man on the inside, despite all of his short comings and sardonic remarks. The story is about finding yourself and love in your adulthood, and coming to terms with it. The only grievance I had with the movie was that it kind of went on for too long, but it's definitely worth it.
Mars Attacks! (1996)
Fun and Funny!
A few of us like grade B horror and sci-fi movies that come on late at night, we're the crowd that watches Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Elvira. This is Tim Burton's audience which is small compared to the mega following of Star Wars and Titanic. No wonder Mars Attacks! bombed at the box office but not surprisingly it instantly became a TV cult classic. Burton is extremely talented (the beginning of Mars Attacks with its great special effects, editing, music and camera work is masterful film making) but he chooses not to make mainstream commercial movies (except for Batman where he knuckled under to Warner Brothers) and yet his films are just popular enough to continue his career.
Why do many people dislike Mars Attacks!? Along with Burton's love for old B horror and Sci-fi movies is his dislike for the lifestyle and taste of the mainstream public. Mars Attacks! on the surface is another Independence Day but underneath they are completely different movies. While Independence Day is wrapped in the flag and God Bless America, Mars Attacks! gives it the finger. Lots of characters are not shown in a favorable light in Mars Attacks! to put it mildly; the President, his First Lady and press secretary, military officers, scientists, TV reporters, businessmen, lawyers, red necks and patriots. Who are our heroes?; two teenagers that don't get along with their parents, an ex heavyweight champion, kids who like video games, a single mother, an air head New Age drunk, a senile grandmother who likes Slim Whitman music and Tom Jones. And this is where I crack up. I know it is wicked, but this crowd of misfits as our saviors is hilarious as we watch Las Vegas Casinos explode and hear a Mariachi band play the Star Spangled Banner.
Is there nothing sacred to Tim Burton? Only that weirdos rule (being one himself I guess this is natural). Every minute of this movie is filled with put downs both subtle and tacky and it is beautifully done. The film score has that right 50's cheesy organ sound but this eventually gives way to the songs of Slim Whitman who is indescribable, the only country western singer with a cult following.
Then there are the Martians. The computer graphics are excellent showing them having a jolly time toasting everyone with ray guns especially wiping out America. Oh yes, and they quack like ducks.
If you are still reading this, I figure what I've written doesn't make much sense to most of you. Well, I'll just say that I like off beat comedy and Mars Attacks! fits the bill.
The greatness of Wolf is that it dares to examine the bitter conflict between age and youth in modern society within the context of the classic werewolf story. The result is a creative, thought-provoking film with superb acting and fascinating characterization.
As a horror fan, I always appreciate seeing a genre film that boasts intelligence and does not scare its audience away with excessive violence. Some critics have complained that the same story could have been told with greater emotional impact had the werewolf action been excised, but I disagree. The physical transformations are symbolic of the psychological theme of the story - that our civilization has become so corrupt and inhuman that the only way to reclaim our souls is to return to nature.
Should of got more recognition.
Possibly Jack Nicholson was showing up nominated at to many award shows at this time and he was due for a put down.The movie seemed to be overlooked or not reviewed very well at the time of release. I thought his "Hoffa" was a memorable portrayal of a complex and contradictory personality. Having been around during Hoffa's reign as head of the Teamsters, as well as being a Teamster back then myself, Nicholson's portrayal was uncanny in it's grasp of Hoffa's style and personality. Nicholson seemed to get in Hoffa's skin for this role as George C. Scott did for Patton. As a matter of fact I think the analogy is accurate. Both Patton and Hoffa were controversial, larger the life characters with a lot of flaws and a lot of attributes. Both actors were highly skilled and balanced in their portrayals.
A Few Good Men (1992)
A Must See
I can't count the times over the years that I have watched A,Few Good Men ever since I first saw it in 1993 I said now here is a great movie. I must have been right because network TV and both basic and premium cable channels continue to give A,Few Good Men numerous showings. Rob Reiner did a great job directing along with superb writing from Aaron Sorkin was what made this movie so interesting that your eyes are glued from start to finish. The acting just blows me away to start you have a great performance from Tom Cruise maybe the best of his career. Cruise handles the role of Navy lawyer Daniel Kaffee great he shows his ability to work so well with others. I know with the way Cruise showed that Daniel Kaffee can roar away that is exactly the kind of defense lawyer that two Marines accused of murder needed. Tom Cruise was perfectly cast. I'm just getting warmed up on the talk about good acting Jack Nicholson was once again his brilliant direct to the point self again. I came to love Jack with his performance as The Joker in Batman and in The Shining but I must say his performance in A,Few Good Men as Colonel Nathan R. Jessup, commander of the U.S. Marine base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba showed once again just why Jack Nicholson as a actor is in a totally different league. That being a league of select legends and all-time greats. Jack suited the role of the hard and wise Colonel so well you love ever scene he had which was only four. I always remember this intense courtroom sequence starting with Cruise: "I want the truth". Nicholson: "You can't handle the truth". Many times that quote holds true to life the truth is hard but believe me always remember the truth conquers all and is the most important thing that matters when everything is said and done and A,Few Good Men proves that very point. This movie is now a classic so be sure that you either own a VHS copy or put a tape in the VCR to record when you have time because A,Few Good Men is always a must view.