8 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Solntse (2005)
awful, self absorbed, long winded
28 March 2010
this is an awful film; it could have been condensed into about 30 minutes. it was long, boring, and slow, with nothing interesting or compelling about it. there was bad acting on the part of everyone other than whoever played hirohito, especially whoever played macarthur and all the other Americans. furthermore, hirohito is such an unappealing personality--ugly, awkward, mouth spasms--that it was downright painful to watch two hours of him floundering about, accurate as the portrayal may be.

i believe this film is intended to be a deep meditation on power's end, but its flaws greatly outnumber its virtues. it failed to convey an interesting story or to entertain me in any way.
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White Cargo (1942)
a hedy experience
9 June 2008
I'm not sure where this film was supposedly set, although they mention Africa, but it looks like the Solomons or perhaps Catalina. As outrageous as the film appears, its filled with a lot of heavy cynical rhetoric, along with all sorts of imperialistic undertones. And, of course, Hedy in a bikini-sarong throughout. Tandalayo, tantalayo. And then there's inter-racial romance, well, if not, at least, and perhaps, even more important for those racist times,marriage. Considering that almost all films from that time, or since, were maudlin claptrap, this one has some bite at times, and some strong performances. The bottom line is that any film that has this much of Hedy can't be all bad.
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The Juggler (1953)
a heroic film
28 May 2008
Considering that Hollywood never really tackled the Holocaust until Schindler's List and that it only set one other prominent film (Exodus) in Israel, this remarkable movie is amazing on many levels. Douglass shows once again that he was as versatile as any actor, not merely as a juggler and stage-comedian, but also as a rugged but tortured individual on the run from his pursuers. The setting in post war Israel is wonderful, the supporting players all fine, and some of the scenes sublime (the dance sequence at the kibbutz, the couple's tender embrace, the juggling show, etc.). It is one of the few American films that mentions the terrors of the Holocaust in any direct manner, and one of the few that portrays contemporary Israel realistically. Although, as noted by some critics, it has its flaws, including the lack of a German accent by Kirk, it is still an incredible production on so many levels that it deserves to be seen by a greater audience, which may happen, since it was just screened by TCM this afternoon, where I was luck enough to see it.
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In Bruges (2008)
shoot the director
18 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Well, this film had some great actors and a wonderful setting. It also pointed towards some redemption. But alas, the director/producer/script writer decided to appease the American type audience by 1. using some extremely graphic and violent shots of people being murdered, again and again; 2. attempting to make murder and murderous types humorous; 3. and the list goes on. Its a bit of a combination of "The Third Man" with "Pulp Fiction", but without the cynicism of the former or the dance sequence of the latter. In other words, it had no redeeming qualities. Since there's only about three murders in Europe in a year, the chances of this happening are slim to ill. I know it is cool to have hit men be intelligent and sympathetic, but in real life such thugs are slimy psychopaths with the moral interests of a snail. The film also threw in a midget, and killed him off too just to make one last point, which was that the whole film was a contrived piece of garbage. It could have been good if they had eliminated Bruges, murder, hit men, etc., but hen, that would have forced the film makers to provide some depth, realism, and humanity. They should all be lined up themselves in retaliation for brutalizing the audience with this.
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one of the worst films of the year
24 January 2008
This film has two or three things going for it: a nice theme of people doing what they've always dreamed of doing before they die, and Jack Nicholson doing his thing. It also has some pretty scenery and a good sidekick to moan a bit at Jack. Other than that, the film is a formulaic Hollywood piece of garbage with a terrible script. Starting with Morgan Freeman's role, which we've seen many times before, this time so filled with saccharine and political correctness--he knows everything, his children are perfect, he's faithful (to a fault), but hes a frustrated mechanic who always wanted to be a history prof., etc. Freeman walks through the part with not much realism--just another paycheck as the token good Black man for the LA moguls' purposes. Nicholson is good at times, but his role as a corporate hospital wheeler dealer is not believable in the least. There is not one bit of dialog that rings true. If they could have shortened the hospital scenes considerably and had them really do some meaningful adventures with some real emotional depth, then the film could have been tolerable. As it is, it made me sick. The question is how could anyone like it? Go figure.
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One of the worst films of all time
29 December 2007
Al Pacino gives one of the most over the top godawful performances ever in this totally unbelievable courtroom drama that has not one scintilla of reality.The direction and script hammers home something until the audience is driven to drink. How Pacino could get involved in this mess is something to think about. Could it be that he has no sense of class, style, or acting ability? He has done some really good things, particular in his earlier career, but this overwrought performance started a down hill slide for the Pac Man that seemingly hasn't yet subsided. Maybe Pacino only has one kind of character in his arsenal, but one that should not have been released to scrutiny here.
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5 minutes
19 November 2007
Despite my interest in the subject matter and political persuasion, I walked out of this film after five minutes or so. I felt I was being subjected to such pure manipulation and heavy-handedness that it was almost abusive to my senses. There was nothing real about the film, starting with Tom Cruise playing Tom Cruise playing a Republican Harvard/West Point educated senator (yeah, sure) to some lame plot about Afghanistan. If they really wanted to make a serious film, it should have been about Iraq, about something actual, and portraying a real representative of the administration (say Cheney). Having college grads go to Afghanistan seems so unlikely as to be preposterous, especially for reasons that seemed far-fetched. Redford as a college prof. talking to some student was also inane. Only Streep seemed a bit real. Maybe the film got better but I doubt it.
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Way overrated
8 March 2007
Honestly, this isn't that great of a movie. It has two wildly disparate "acts"--the first concerning a hostage situation with the Irish Republican Army, and the second a sort of weird love story. The first act is somewhat interesting and well done, with a good performance from Forrest Whitaker (whom I generally dislike, except for in this movie and The Last King of Scotland). However, when it abruptly ends, the plot then drags on and on with a tedious love story, the only original element of which is its unconventional sexuality. The novelty wears off fast. This sort of otherwise boring movie might have been held together by tremendous performances from its leading cast, but the acting on the part of Stephen Rea and Jaye Davidson is sorely lacking, especially the latter. All in all, highly mediocre at best, receiving critical acclaim only because of how "different" and "new" it was.
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