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Let Me In (2010/I)
6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Let Me In - Beautiful, Engrossing, Painfully Human, 25 January 2011

Back in 1992, I believe it was, "The Last of the Mohicans" starring Daniel Day-Lewis was released to a blockbuster reception by the public. It was exciting, well acted and beautiful. However, it was not a trans-literation (word for word) of the source novel by James Fenimore Cooper - far from it. Like many films that have novels as their story origin, you must endeavor to take the film on its own merits and not bemoan that what you loved in the book was not on the screen as you hoped. You can love both, one, or neither, but don't hate the one for being unlike the other.

This is the problem many early critical reviewers of "Let Me In" seemed to fall into. They had loved the original Swedish book and film ("Let the Right One In"), but didn't like this American version because the tone and focus is slightly different. (An example would be Reeves' decision to make nearly all characters in the film outside the primaries into archetypes, not only simplifying the narrative, but also re-enforcing Owen's isolation - a brilliant choice.) Many critics said things like it's "a needless remake" or "not as faithful as the original" or some such. The damaging thing is that Matt Reeves' beautiful film was not taken on its own terms and therefore was not given a chance by some of the very audience it was made for.

"Let Me In" is beautiful, haunting, disturbing, painfully human and engrossing. The pace is deliberate, but spot-on. This was not made for the slasher film crowd. This is a movie that dares you to think what would life be like for a vampire and those around them. It works as a morality tale about, effectively, a serial killer. It also is the story about adolescence and the horrible pain of that age and the joy of finding a kindred spirit.

What is disturbing is the questions that arise from the relationships in the film. Who needs who, for what reasons, and where does the line between 'love' and 'need' end and the other begin?

The two leads in this film are stunning. No other word will suffice for their performances. They are brilliant and carry the film with their facial expressions. Moretz and Smit-McPhee deserve high praise for their work. Utterly amazing. (Compliments to the secondary players, Jenkins and Koteas, for excellent work as well.)

One final thought, a great film is enhanced by a great musical score. Like "Mohicans", the music in "Let Me In" soars and makes this film an indispensable one.

See "Let Me In" for all the right reasons. If you are a lover of film, this is a can't miss.

best representation of manipulative parent i have seen, 4 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It is a very clear memory to me seeing this special with my one parent back when it aired. Having both been in the house with an emotionally abusive person, it really struck a chord with us as we were consistently nodding our heads in agreement with the presentation of Beth Howland's character.

That said, it has been 22 years since i have seen this and I would wager that the writing is probably cliché and some of the acting weak. However, it really rang true at the time and that is thanks to Beth Howland and the writers. Whatever they might have gotten wrong in this, they hit the nail on the head when it comes to the mother's emotional manipulation.

*Spoiler* The only gripe I remember having at the time was the quick wrap-up happy ending. In that kind of domestic situation, the perpetrator does not suddenly see the error of their ways, repent and then all is well. They are invested in their self-delusion and the need to always be right. They must never admit they could be wrong or the entire facade breaks down. However, this is how it is resolved in this special and everyone is okay now that mommy said she was sorry. The girl seems to have no emotional scars after years of torment and belittling - a ridiculous resolution considering the accuracy of the circumstance.

Anyway, that gripe aside, it is the most accurate portrayal of that kind of abusive parent I have seen. And as over-the-top as Beth Howland's character might seem (i.e. "no one would behave in that way"), it is no exaggeration that that is how it can be. Trust me on this one.

17 out of 113 people found the following review useful:
Very Watchable Comedy - much better than expected and lots of fun!, 28 July 2007

"Who's Your Caddy?" is fun, surprisingly friendly in tone, and ENTERTAINING.

Let me make clear: the plot is threadbare, character motivation is sketchy and you get the feeling that the film was put together in a 'Hey, that part's funny - let's put that in!' manner. However, anyone too harshly critical of this movie is not enjoying it on its intended merits.

The acting from the players is actually pretty good and the pacing clips along so you are never bored watching it. Some films you wish you could fast forward to the end so you could leave the theatre. I find this with many films rated above 6 stars. But "Caddy", though never intended to be 'serious' comedy, is a lot of fun and a pleasant diversion. It is much, much better than should be rightfully expected from one of its genre.

There are vulgarities, but not uncomfortably so. (However, I would not at all take children.)

The racial theme I took more as an indictment on class differences, and it was not nearly as one-sided as you might expect.

There are quite a few laugh-out-loud moments - even more than are in the trailer. The cast is surprisingly good, especially Jeffrey Jones at his smarmy best.

In short, the rating "Caddy" is getting from many users I do not personally understand because I consider a movie that keeps me entertained and is pleasant to watch a winner. Do I think it a great movie? - no one would. But is it unpretentious fun? - absolutely. Give "Caddy" a chance - you should be pleasantly surprised at its quick pace, its genial tone and its fun laughs.

Cat People (1942)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Love, Frustration, Jealousy & Revenge - A Terrific 'Grown-Up' Thriller, 9 October 2006

'Cat People' is justifiably a classic. Though it does not get the modern press of the Universal horror films of the same era, it clearly holds its own and indeed succeeds as a thriller for grown-ups.

What makes 'Cat People' good is that you care about the title character (well played by Simone Simon) and her anguish as she struggles between her love for a man (Kent Smith) and the curse which she believes she is under.

The story builds from a common 'young love' theme, to relationship struggles, to outright jealousy and maybe revenge. If you allow the build-up through the early 'talky' section, the pay off is very much worth it. A satisfying wrinkle to the film, as well, is the audience's ambiguity as to whether Ms. Simon is crazy or, indeed, a potential feline killer.

This film is not sensationalistic, but frightening. There are some classic scenes which are very intense because we are skillfully placed in the 'shoes' of the characters. 'Cat People' scares you because it takes ordinary situations and makes you feel the sudden vulnerability of the characters within them.

As for weaknesses, Kent Smith is not bad, but a bit wooden, and there are some 'stagey' elements as are common to films of the era. Overall, though, the tone of the film is surprisingly fresh and the strengths do far outweigh the few weaknesses.

The images you take away from 'Cat People' will most likely stick with you and demand a repeat viewing. Enjoy!