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House of Sand and Fog (2003)
True to the book... with its difficulties
First, let me say that I was pleasantly surprised to see that the movie really followed the book (apart from some elements of little significance here and there) and that every scene I imagined while I was turning the pages of the book came to reality in the film.
But if you have read the book, you know that each chapter is alternatively narrated at the first person by one of the 2 main characters (General Behrani and Kathy Nicolo), which means that probably half of the book focuses on the characters' thoughts, without the support of explanatory dialogs... This psychological aspect was unfortunately a bit lost in the film, as the movie director did not choose to go with some kind of voice-off to help understand the protagonists' logic and only relied on the actors' performances to translate all the process that went through their minds...
Personally, I think Ben Kingsley did a terrific job rendering the attitude of a general who had to flee his country and adapt to a new life and culture as well as the duties he felt compelled to fill as the head of the household. The role of his wife, played by Shohreh Aghdashloo, was equally of exceptional quality, showing all the importance of hospitality and the role of the woman in the Middle-Eastern culture. On the other hand, I was disappointed by the performances of Jennifer Connelly and Ron Eldard. From the very first scene to the last one, I could not feel her character. She's always too well groomed, too fresh, too well rested. Her performance does not have the depth required to show the downward spiral depicted in the book. As for Ron Eldard, the evolution of his own character is not very clear either. His range of emotions here seemed a bit limited.
In conclusion, I would like to say that the book really filled me with rage and passion for the characters, while the film was less intense.
Both the book and the movie didn't provide any translation of the terms and sentences used in Persian (Farsi), which might have helped us to better understand the characters.
Great concept - good gadgets - poor acting
I have to say that I was attracted to this series because a) it seemed like a good sci-fi series focusing on time-travel b) the high ratings given on IMDb.
The first episode started with a nicely designed future society, an interesting political plot and some intriguing gadgets from the future...
Unfortunately I was completely turned off by the poor acting of the two main characters: Rachel Nichols is a very pretty face coming from the modeling world but she can barely convey any emotion - she looks like a cosmetic paper ad 95% of the time. The same goes for Victor Webster. Another pretty face with a nice smile but no personality or range of acting...
The only thing that is really motivating me to try to get over the bad acting (and some poor sappy lines) is the actual plot and mysterious turns of events... let's hope the appeal is strong enough to help me pass the 5th episode.
It is very difficult for me to understand the aim of this movie : it is not a comedy because it is rarely funny, it is not an intellectual movie because it lacks the depth to be taken at the second degree, and it is not a drama because one can hardly feel sorry for the characters... In addition to that, the characters, the dialogs and the situations are so exaggerated and painfully artificial that it is impossible to adhere to the story... All the male characters have only one thing in mind : women and sex. And all women are merely sexual objects (the main character, the neighbor, the prostitutes, etc. - they even depicted the boss as a lesbian character) whose final role is to be a mother... Ridiculous and misogynous...
Tastes like a 35 million dollar piece of Swiss cheese
So you know how Swiss cheese is full of holes?? That is exactly what you will be tasting if you are going to watch this movie.
We basically with comments above (poor acting except Ford and Oldman, below standard story plot, empty dialogs, etc...). We just wanted to point out how so many parts in the movie lack logic and basic common sense. For example:
Example 1: Adam gets completely drunk and wakes up freshly groomed with his hair are perfectly combed, and no hangover whatsoever the next morning. Really??
Example 2: If there are cameras in his Adam's dad's house, how come Wyatt did not see that the FBI came to the house and heard the conversation?
Example 3: He's in bed sleeping and while Emma goes take a shower, he quickly gets up to steal Emma's files from her computer... And he has the time to put on pants?? When the plan is to run back into bed for when she comes out of the shower?
Example 4: Towards the end, after Adam steals Emma's phone and fingerprint to rob Eikon Occura, how did Emma get into his apartment? He sure didn't give his keys away....
Example 5: how in the world did he have Goddard's sports car as a "rental" after his whole ordeal with the FBI? Did he have money to throw away when he still had to pay for his dad's hospital bills? Or did those fly away just like the logic of this movie...
The biggest question is: why on earth would Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman decide to join the cast? Money, money or money?
The second biggest question is: what man walks around with one hand in his pocket? Does he think this is Project Runway?