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Convicts 4 (1962)
See it for the actors
Given the actors in this movie, you would expect something memorable or at least above average. The actors do a great job with a sub-par script. The movie drags, which would make sense for a prison flick, if it dragged with a purpose; instead it just seems to drag for its own sake without any thought given to the use of time in the movie to make a point about prison life. I can't think of a movie with such a capable cast, heck memorable cast that was so mediocre. The actors made the movie, a lesser cast would have given us a mess of a movie. Too bad the direction and script are so poor, this movie could have really been something. Watch closely, there is a major actor every few minutes; a star that carried their own movies later. The movie also suffers from the score, when its not sappy it is jazz. Either way, the score does not support the movie very well, and ofttimes makes the movie even worse. The score seems like a collection of tunes that someone liked, it sure was not made to support the movie. I don't know what the director and producer were thinking when they made this movie, maybe there was no director and they just slapped something together after shooting a bunch of scenes. See it once just to see so many memorable actors in a single movie. But once is plenty. It seems like the director was trying to take the Plan 9 From Outer Space worst movie ever award; but this goal was thwarted by the cast. Good performances, lousy film.
Just the story of Noah
Seems to me they just took the story of Noah out of the Bible and added modern technology to it. Failed civilization. Warnings that are not believed. Selection of survivors. Water over the tops of mountains. Ark. All that is missing is the rain, the waters of the deep sure did open up. Actually, the Bible is a lot better. The CGI here is OK, direction is marginal, music is weak. Be sure to avoid the music at the end, it is just trash. How they ever decided to include that song is way beyond me. The movie's dramatic moments are predictable and weak. Some actions by characters are just stupid. There are massive plot holes; why, for instance, would rich people be able to buy a seat in the ark when money will be useless? Why did people stay behind for no apparent reason? The movie sure makes the point of the necessity for God sealing the doors of the ark, and not humans. All in all, a waste of time. Your time would be better spent reading the Bible and the story of Noah and not seeing this tripe.
A Tale of Two Cities (1935)
See the movie
This is a movie you must see. Period. If you don't see it, you will be the less for it. If you have seen it, see it again.
You will appreciate freedom, justice, liberty, and sacrifice as you have never appreciated them before.
Colman is unbeaten in his role as Carton. Madame DeFarge is both a woman of abounding evil and deep tragedy, the true fruits of injustice and inequality. And Miss Pross, would that we all were so brave. The whole plot reveals the need for justice and equality in life, and the horrible price that is always paid when they are suppressed for too long. There always comes a point where even the people with the best of intentions are swept away by the anger.
A great movie, one of the 10 best.
I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter books, in them Rowling crafted a complete, complex, consistent magical world that readily captures the readers imagination and pulls the reader into her imaginative world and Harry's adventures. In the books, action proceeds logically (according to the rules of her magical world) and the characters are fully developed and fascinating.
ON THE OTHER HAND, the movies are gibberish. The movies seem to move from one CGI event to the next, with no rhyme or reason for the progression. The nuance is lost. Characters are underdeveloped. The movies are a travesty. Just a few examples (SPOILER) - how in the heck do Dumbledore and Harry get from the rock into the cave? How do they get back from the cave? WHy is Hogwarts empty when the DeathEaters show up, but suddenly full after Dumbledore dies? Why the choir all of a sudden? Why no funeral ceremony?
Would anyone have seen this movie if the books had not been written. No. Would this movie even have been made without the book? No. Does this movie stand alone as a story? No. Can you understand this movie without reading the book? No.
I can't help but think that this movie was made only so that they could someday make a better version of the movie. Don't bother with the movie, read the book.
Sex and the City 2 (2010)
Save yourself, save your time
Not many movies achieve this level of awfulness. This movie should never have been made, the production money would have been better spent on anything else. I like most movies at some level and rarely walk out on a movie. I am so thankful that I did not pay to purchase a theater ticket to see this atrocious mess. As a rental, I my money loss was small; unfortunately the time lost can never be regained. I kept hoping for something redeeming, something worthwhile, something that would provide a bit of worth. But nothing ever appeared. Its just a vacuous waste. I can't even imagine what the producers were thinking, let alone the director. I have seen movies almost this bad, but fortunately not often. There really is nothing I have to say in a positive way about this movie, even the ending is depressing; it just points out the futility and emptiness of living a self-centered life. Avoid this movie.
The King of Kings (1927)
You can't help but love this movie, for the story, the acting, the effects, the drama, the Biblical quotes. It all comes together so well to tell the story, and does it much better than the Jeffrey Hunter version (which I nevertheless like). In many silent movies, the actors seem to over play their roles to convey the message, but in this movie they are spot on; how could a person over play a scene when he/she first sees a person walking, talking, eating who had been killed three days ago before their very eyes. These actors act in a way that mirrors how normal people would behave when witnessing the miracles and actions reported in the Bible. They are convincing. Make no mistake, this movie is a Christian story; it takes the story of Jesus literally and portrays it. No doubts, no cut-aways, no shadows; its the story of Jesus as told in the Bible put in film. Warner is great in his role, he really does a great job of portraying a believable, accurate Jesus that is majestic, moving, noble, loving, generous, and forgiving as well as Godly. A remarkable performance that seems to have been forgotten merely because it is a silent movie. The music fits the action very well, and the text inserts do not detract from telling the story. I wish they would show this movie more often, I think it would develop a following as it is a truly remarkable movie that takes on the impossible task of portraying the life of Christ as told in the Bible, without gimmicks and without ducking the hard questions, like the Resurrection, and very nearly accomplishes the task. The whole cast is to be lauded for their performances, and of course DeMille does a magnificent job as director, I can hardly wait to see the movie again.
Cast Away (2000)
Sometimes a movie comes along that communicates on a level deeper and more meaningful than words or emotion can possibly express. This movie is one such movie. Its not merely a man vs nature, man vs himself, or man vs fate movie; its a monologue about life and its meaning. The things that are important, the things that steal away the times we should cherish, how little control we really have over our own lives, and hope. And, oddly enough, hope in the face of hopelessness is the one thing we can control, not all of the other things in life. Unless you have been alone, truly alone, this movie may not touch you at first, put after several watchings it will. And if you have been alone, you will understand Chuck's struggle almost from the first. Oddly, it has a lot of action, but all the action is in Chuck's mind and the struggles he must face at the start of the movie, while on the island, and when he returns. A classic that will, I think and hope, stand the test of time. Mr Hanks does a magnificent job, and conveys the turmoil and struggles of his character in a magnificent and understated way. He is the everyman of our time, and this movie once again demonstrates his vast reservoir of talent.
Charlie Wilson's War (2007)
The movie presents a biased, untruthful portrayal of the events and decisions surrounding US support for the Afghan rebels in the 1980s. Its even lousy fiction. Others led the way to support the rebels, Wilson only became involved when it was expedient. This movie is a grave injustice to the people who actually risked much to aid the rebels. The film seems more like a propaganda work intended to convince the viewer that Democrats are strong on national defense policy and that even the most liberal of Democrats will be a strong leader in the war on terror. While Wilson did play a role, it was much smaller than that presented in the film. It is a shame that people will see this movie and think that it presents some version of the truth regarding support for the rebels. The humor was juvenile. The acting could have been better. Even granted literary license to stretch the truth, the movie goes way too far in its distortion of the events and times. I did not enjoy the film.
The Searchers (1956)
The songs and the title tell the story
Potential spoiler as this discusses the overall themes in the movie.
One of the greatest westerns of all time, and certainly one of the best movies to provide us with a look into the soul of a man shattered by a lost love, a lost war, and loneliness. The continued refrain "Lorena" tells of the lost love, probably Ethan's brother's wife and how he is haunted by it. The continued Conferedate war tune refrain tells us how he is haunted by the loss of the civil War. And the loneliness, given away by the songs sung at the beginning and end of the movie.
There are many searchers, not just the Duke, though he is the main one. He is searching for peace. Martin is searching for Debbie and Laurie's love. Laurie is searching for love too, and hopes it will be from Martin. The Jorgensens are searching for a future. The Indians, for respect and their land and freedom. In the end, its the Duke and the Indians, symbolizing the old west, that are left to search on, not realizing their time has past.
A great movie, great cast, great cinematography, great performances. The Duke should have won an Oscar for this one, as should have the movie.