Reviews written by registered user
|14 reviews in total|
I'll admit that a major pet-peeve is any movie being blatantly inaccurate when accuracy is readily available with a little decent research. Anonymous is so false in so many ways it would waste too much time to name them all. Sure, you can take certain liberties for the sake of a story arc, but the script is so over-the-top wrong it drives right into a ditch. And what's especially worrisome is that unsuspecting viewers might buy all this malarkey as truth. Shakespeare as illiterate? Are you kidding me? Queen Elizabeth, a long reigning and strong monarch, as a dupe to slimy obsequious advisers whose motives are totally obvious? Ridiculous. Well-known historic and literary figures like Jonson, Marlowe, and Shakespeare himself, played as petty sniveling punks? Really? Other historic figures distorted completely out of their true contexts? This movie bombed for good reasons.
This film looked mildly interesting on Netflix so we ordered it. The first serious problem? No sub-titles. Why, you ask, would someone need titles for an English-language movie? The accents, mate! I'd actually spent time in England and I could understand maybe 50% of the dialogue. The thick Northern English dialect was incomprehensible to my wife. This isn't the filmmaker's fault as much as a distributor releasing it on the cheap. But then again, as dreary as the film turned out to be I can't imagine it ever had much of an audience. The plot turns slowly around rail workers who had a nifty deal under British Rail, forced to adjust when the government got tired to subsidizing a state rail system and sold it off to private investors.
This cartoon-like mess reminds me of another failed LA crime movie from some years ago called Mulholland Falls, which involved "The Hat Squad." So maybe this is merely the dumb cribbing from the dumb. There have been plenty of good and great Los Angeles noir films, but this sure ain't one of them. And poor Nick Nolte! He was also in the aforementioned Mulholland Falls, so he's a two-time loser. Where to start at how bad Gangster Squad really is. For starters it makes a complete hash of real-life characters like Mickey Cohen. Anyone who knows the real history of Cohen's era also knows how inaccurately this film portrays it. If you want to see something that does this period right try Chinatown. I don't know what the director was going for here. Nothing is period accurate except some of the music.
I avoided this film in theaters. The trailers indicated I wouldn't see a Sherlock Holmes I'd know or like. And the DVD justified my fears. I didn't want to sit through "Sherlock Holmes---Superhero!" I wanted a plot that had at least some plausibility. It's hard to believe this was directed by an Englishman. It doesn't feel true to its period, or English society in general. I wanted a version of Victorian-Edwardian England I'd at least recognize. This concoction plays like Michael Bey mugging Arthur Conan Doyle. I will give Robert Downey Jr credit. He does bring some genuine panache to ole Sherlock. In fact, his performance makes it all bearable. The rest of a pretty good cast is wasted in a hyped-up video game version of Sherlock Holmes.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Where do I begin in describing my negative reactions to this misbegotten piece of alleged art. First of all, the inexplicable passivity of every female character had my wife screaming in our den. And I didn't blame her. Why the women in Disgrace passively tolerated the brutal indignities heaped on them is beyond both of us. We both found the underlying premise of Disgrace to be appalling. And here it is, believe it or not: white South Africans should accept a daughter being raped, her father being set on fire, and innocent dogs being slaughtered...all in the name of making up for apartheid! I'm sorry, this is insane. And no matter what the intentions were of the film's makers the vile and disgusting undertow of their creation is repulsive.
This kind of stuff from Woody Allen looked much better around 1977. Sadly, it's all worn very thin by 2009. There's not a sentiment or comic bit here we haven't seen many many times before; so much so that the message has grown both old and stale. Woody's cast makes a valiant effort to breathe some new life into all these retreads, but it just doesn't work. You might think this movie was original and hip...if you hadn't seen the thirty previous Woody Allen flicks. I'm frankly amazed that he can still get financing. Or maybe he's doing it himself now. How else are these sagging, sad vanity productions still hitting the screen?
I had hopes for this film, noting the good cast. What can I say? How did actors of this caliber read this script and actually agree to do it? Was it a case of take the money and run? Alarms always go off when I can start anticipating exactly what twists and turns the plot is going to take. Did the scriptwriters really think they were doing anything original? Or was this an exercise in total cynicism as they recycled every lame, tired piece of TV sitcom shtick I'd seen since 1958? Obnoxious, smart-ass kids who know more than dumb old dad, is one example. The cast deserved better material. It's embarrassing to watch actors strain to laugh at things that are supposed to be funny, but aren't. Save me from the mawkish, self-conscious "wisdom." I only hope they had the sense to laugh as they cashed their checks.
A very good cast was pretty much wasted in this lame attempt at comedy. With the big names involved I expected much better. The script was clichéd and unfunny, with utterly predicable situations that could only be played as farce. You can imagine the cast had a good time goofing around with this material. Unfortunately, the results don't justify the effort. I still can't believe that actors of this caliber read such a script and agreed to do it. How embarrassing. Everything that should have been uproarious came out limp. Such talent mugging their way through bad material was painful to watch in places. You would think that at least William H. Macy would have demanded better.
Parker Posey and a generally good cast struggle against an underdone script. You can sort of see what the writer and director intended, but it doesn't really come off. In spite of Parker's best efforts, and they are quite fine, this film meanders along on its surface. People suffer in affluent, superficial ways. There's lots of whining about alienation and loneliness. Yet no one has any observable problems that warrant their apparent dysfunction. It's hard to feel much affinity for the spoiled, self-indulgent female friends who complain about their fates in a somewhat muddled fashion. This is a story where character development is essential, but nothing of the sort arrives in time to redeem the unlikeable best friends whose personal travails should evoke interest and sympathy from the audience.
My wife and I saw this title at a video store. The cast looked good, full of recognizable names. It was pitched as a romantic comedy. We decided to give it a try. Big mistake. Perhaps this was a vanity production, but it certainly looked like an amateur hour. The film has a cheap quickie quality, which wouldn't be all that bad if it were any good. Be warned. This is a total stinker. We turned off the DVD a quarter of the way through. This thing is so bad it stunk up our house. Not funny. Not witty. Not enjoyable. Just bad and embarrassing for all involved. I can't imagine why anyone would have financed this thing, let alone actually released it! Pass this one up!
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