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10/10
the best film I've seen this year
24 October 1999
I drove sixty five miles one way to see this film and it

would have bargain at twice the distance. This film is

superbly written and acted and I see no flaws. The premise which is cojoined twins played by the Polish brothers, identical twins, is original and delivered with a poignancy that is rare. I spoke to a couple of people after the film who said they thought they would be uncomfortable with the subject and were for a couple of

minutes but then became totally involved and forgot. I

will not go into the storyline as this is a film you should enjoy as it unfolds, but I caution you to pay attention as there is alot to be appreciated in watching

the intimacy between these brothers as well as the dialogue, sometimes almost inaudible between the brothers. The film also offers analogies, puns, metaphors, and an interesting array of supporting characters. There is also alot of "hidden" humor so watch carefully. Although there is alot of sadness in the film, the overall feeling after was uplifting. This film was on my mind for days and I think it was the first thing I brought up in conversations. This is a MUST SEE for anyone that enjoys film that are not standard fare. I am

looking forward to adding it to my video collection. FOUR

STARS!!!!
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9/10
Another great English period piece
6 September 1999
It seems the English are invading.....our cinemas. Last year it was Shakespeare in Love and Elizabeth and this year it is An Ideal Husband and The Winslow Boy. I also liked Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels but that's another story. Why our fascination with the English? I have some theories but I guess I shouldn't get into that here. The Winslow Boy is a terrific film because of its simplicity. A father defending his son's and thereby his own honor. There are no gimmicks, violence, and stunts, and everything and everyone is what and who they appear to be. As a result this film is driven by strong characters and strong, terse dialogue. I also enjoyed the use of newspaper clippings and caricatures from the editorial page to guide us thru the movie. The use of a scripture which appears a couple times dealing with feast and famine was a great metaphor for the father and the family's prospects. The performances were spectacular, especially Jeremy Northam playing Sir Robert Morton....what a "stage" presence. Rebecca Pidgeon as Kate as the strong willed suffragette daughter in the family was good as well. I must also mention Nigel Hawthorne, the father on whom the struggle took its toll, performed strongly as usual. I would recommend this to all members of the family from the very young for whom it could teach value lessons to the very old for whom it may awaken some feelings of nostalgia for at times it feels like a film from the 40's. Oh by the way the final lines in the film are super. Make sure you are listening. Three and half stars!!!
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9/10
An ambitious story that delivers
6 September 1999
What can you say about a film that covers three centuries, people from all stations of society, and several European countries and Canada. Ambitious is a good start. This film was very well crafted and at about one hundred forty minutes was too short for me. The story follows a red violin, an inanimate object, although at times it seemed alive to me, thru three centuries and the influences good and ill that it has on its possessors. It does ever seem to be owned. Each of its possessors lives a life of passion and turmoil. The violin's birth is during turmoil and during its life it buried, shot, and almost burned. The writing which includes this parallel between the violin and its possessor , five somewhat independent segments that mell and converge in the final scenes, and a story told by tarot cards make for an extremely unique experience. Add to that the musical score, scenery, the varied languages and cultures and you have a great offering. The performances were all strong, but I thought Jason Flemyng as Lord Frederick Pope stood out. To say his character was eccentric and maybe a little over the top is justifiable but I'm sure that was intended. English nobility has always been known for its idiosyncrasies. The ending has incongruous feel with the remainder of the film but is satisfactory and I can not suggest a better one. Great entertainment! Three and a half stars!!!
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delightfully simple and at the same time complex
24 August 1999
Eyes Wide Shut is an amazing mixture of the simple and complex. Mr. Kubrick took as his premise the simple idea of marital infidelity. As we know, the actual act of infidelity need not be physical but can be emotional and can be done very simply but the repercussions are complex. This film has so much to offer that it should be seen twice to mine all its gems. So I will make only a few general observations. The cinematography was unusual providing almost a surreal feeling. At times it seemed as if it had been filmed in the '50's or 60's as there was not much color variation with an emphasis on the primaries. It also seemed unusual that although the film is about two and a half hours that each scene in Dr. Bill Hartford's odyssey seemed almost self-contained and not necessary to the other parts but important to the whole. The basic part of the soundtrack consisting of a one finger piano chord was highly effective as a mood setter. The sex scenes which got so much pre-release press were neither gratuitous or erotic but were cold and depersonalizing. One can only wonder why the need for computer generated images to cover what we're not sure to acquire the "R" rating for the North American version. One more movie of the summer of '99 to debate the MPAA rating system. To make more in depth comments I'll have to see this film again (which I will). Recommended. Three plus stars!!!
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8/10
a good story
23 August 1999
Tea With Mussolini is solid entertainment. It is not the great film so many had thought it would be, but with a true story, great casting and performances, and an interesting setting and time it is enjoyable. The whole cast particularly the Scorpioni, the older English women living in Florence, were fantastic. In particular Maggie Smith (Hester), the crusty, sharp tongued wife of the former ambassador, and Joan Plowright as Mary, the sweet but strong grandmotherly type who essentially adopts Luca were fantastic. Cher as Elsa, the brash, nouveau riche American, was well cast. The young men playing Luca as a child, Charlie Lucas, and a teenager, Baird Wallace, were terrific. Vittorio, Elsa's lover and villain, played by Paoli Seganti showed "presence" on film. All in all a good two entertainment. Three stars!!!
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8/10
simple but great
21 August 1999
Dreamlife Of Angels best exemplifies why I enjoy foreign films. It is not dependent on "star" power, computer generated images, overt violence, or scenes with fantastic stunts. What it has are characters which are richly developed, believable, showing emotions which are palpable and for whom we can care. What we find out here is simple is sometimes best. The plot is the life and death of a friendship. It is an interesting character study of two poor, young women. One is outgoing and carefree while the other has been abused is more withdrawn and insecure. The set is a small, very plain town in France which was filmed simply and often with hand held cameras. The performances by Elodie Bouchez (Isa) and Natacha Regnier (Marie) in the title characters were outstanding. Gregorie Colin (Chris) as the boyfriend, club owner, and heel was great as well. The film as also provides food for thought in its title especially considering the last few scenes. I'll let you make those conclusions. If you don't get to see this film in the theater, rent it. Caution: the film's rating is due to a rather explicit sex scene. Three plus stars!!!
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most interesting film of the year
17 August 1999
Eyes Wide Shut is an amazing mixture of the simple and the complex. Let me first say that I plan to see this film again as there is too much to absorb in one viewing. For that reason my observations will be basic. Mr. Kubrick took the simple premise of marital infidelity -- perceived or real -- and wove a complex story in which to see should not always be to believe. I thought the filming was unusual at times providing almost a surreal feeling. It also felt as if it was filmed in the late '50's or '60's with little color variation and an emphasis on primary colors. The film is well over two hours long but each scene in Dr. Bill Hartford's odyssey seemed almost free-standing not necessary to the other parts but only to the whole. The soundtrack consisting of a one finger piano chord was a highly effective mood setter. The sex scenes which got so much pre-release press were neither gratuitous or erotic but cold and depersonalizing. What is the difference between the North American and the European versions? Another film of summer of '99 to give cause for discussing MPAA ratings. None of the aforementioned comments should be read as negative and only add to my interest in the film. The lead performances by Mr. Cruise and Ms. Kidman were fantastic. As I've said I will see this film again. Recommended. Three plus stars!!!
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10/10
the best movie I've seen in sometime
9 August 1999
A Walk on the Moon was Tony Goldwyn's directorial debut,

and all I can say is MORE! This is an excellently constructed film. The script was written by Pamela Gray is

fantastic. If you like a film with characters who could easily be real in believable situations that you come to care about, then you will love this film. Set in upstate New York in the summer of '69 the movie focuses on the choices and the resulting consequences made by a young woman who feels trapped in her role as wife and mother. That setting with the Vietnam War, social unrest, Woodstock, and the manned moon landing is arguably one of the most interesting times of the 20th Century and woven seamlessly into the film. The soundtrack with songs from the era fits perfectly and is great. The casting and performances were flawless. After seeing the film, I can't imagine anyone else in the roles. This was the first time I had seen Liev Schreiber who plays Marty, the husband, and Viggo Mortensen, the carefree lover. Both were terrific. Tovah Feldshuh, the perceptive earthy mother-in-law, and Anna Paquin, the rebellious daughter, were perfectly cast as well. And Diana Lane as Pearl, the lead, plays her multifaceted role well. I believe this film to be worthy of Academy consideration. The category that comes to mind (and there are others) is best supporting actor for Liev Schreiber. This film is a must see for the baby boom generation. Four stars!!!!
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The Castle (1997)
7/10
a simple comedy
3 August 1999
The Castle is an enjoyable film. It is plain, one dimensional, and predictable, and, yes, funny. The characters can be described in the same manner. It has a couple of deeper themes like home and family, hence the title, and the average man vs. the big corporation, but all in all it was very lightweight. I think I wanted more substance but I guess that was not the intent. One thing that puzzles me is this film was rated "R". With the exception of a couple four letter words (unless I'm forgetting something) this film was very tame. Again something to think about when violence and some sexual situations can get a PG-13. If you accept The Castle for what it is, it is entertaining. Three stars!!!
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An Ideal Husband (I) (1999)
10/10
an interesting look at Victorian sensibilities
28 July 1999
As we prepare to enter the 21st Century, An Ideal Husband allows us to see the world, England in particular, as we enter the 20th Century, and who better to guide us than Oscar Wilde. The story is not unfamiliar --- politics, blackmail, love, and friendship. What is different however is how these are viewed thru the prism of the Victorian Era, the centerpiece of the film. The cast was superb from Jeremy Northam, Sir Robert Chiltern the title character, to Cate Blanchett, Lady Gertrud Chiltern his wife, to Minnie Driver, Mabel Chiltern his sister, to Rupert Everett, Lord Arthur Goring his friend, and Julianne Moore, Mrs. Cheveley. The minor characters of Lord Goring's father and butler were good as well. Although all were very good, Rupert Everett stole the show. His character is the one who connects all the others and does so with grace, charm, and wit. Which brings me to my final point, the film is filmed filled with witty dialogue and double-entendre a la Oscar Wilde. I went to see this movie twice. It was that good and appreciated it more the second time. I can not see how this movie could have been better. Four stars!!!
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American Pie (1999)
a well seasoned confection
27 July 1999
American Pie has all the ingredients of a good movie. First, the plot deals with young people in search of their first sexual experience. What could be more basic to the human condition? Second, although obviously fiction, the film has a feeling of reality capturing the awkwardness and anxiety of young people at this point in their lives. Third, it is well written and not always predictable as each young man employs his own strategy, and of course, in the real world things do not always go as planned. Fourth, the cast consists of very talented young actors playing characters which may remind the audience of people they may have known. Fifth, the film has its poignant moments. The final ingredient is this movie is hilarious. The film has one liners, sight gags, and situations that very funny. The audience, which ranged from teenagers to middle age, laughed almost constantly and out loud. CAUTION: This film is rated "R" for sexual situations and the use of alcohol by young people. If you are easily offended or sexual humor makes you uncomfortable, stay away. However, if you are not in the aforementioned, you may enjoy it. Three stars!!!
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9/10
an interesting study of a sibling relationship
27 July 1999
Hilary and Jackie is a film that can be appreciated on many levels. The performances of Ms. Griffith and Ms. Watson as the title characters were superb, but so were the actors that played the parents and husbands, and the two young actresses playing them as girls were terrific. All the people in the film were interesting. The film gives insight into the life of a musical genius with its rewards and triumphs as well as conflicts and sacrifices. There is also a psychological aspect at the heart of this film. From the beginning the two sisters have a bond, almost a symbiotic relationship, yet there is also intense competition. To make the presentation even more interesting the relationship is presented in two "acts", the first told from Hilary's perspective and the second from Jackie's. Whose is more real? Does it make a difference? The final scenes as MS is taking its toll on Jackie are gripping. Both actresses were deserving of their nominations. This was great entertainment! Three and half stars!!!
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9/10
A well-timed, thoughtful work
13 July 1999
South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut addresses many current social issues besides being uproariously funny. The vast majority of people in the audience each time I saw this film were laughing outloud. The film is -- to say the very least -- politically incorrect, crude, and irreverent of "traditional" values, and while poking fun at politics, religion, ethnic and social issues, it does not take itself too seriously either. The movie is inventively presented as a musical and has the feel of an old MGM film or Broadway show. The songs written mostly by Trey Parker were very well done and fit well. BUT what the movie does best is address the MPAA ratings issue and in a larger context the question of what is wrong with contemporary American society. By the way, I believe I read this movie had to cut to get an "R" rating. It presents the cultural war going on in America today. Is it values (allegedly decreasing) or violence (allegedly increasing) which is at the heart of our social problems? The movie addresses these issue subtly, all the while being hilarious. This is a well crafted movie that can be appreciated on more than one level. CAUTION: It deserves its rating and if you are easily offended avoid this film. Otherwise I highly recommend this film for its importance and entertainment value. Three and half stars!!!
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9/10
So much to offer
13 July 1999
The film, Comedian Harmonists, give us a different and evolving look at the effects of the racist policies of national socialism. It showed, better than I've seen, the slow, subtle changes in behavior and attitudes of both the oppressor and the oppressed --- the denial, then realization, that this could and is happening. This evolution made even more believable because this a true story about six very talented people, three of which who are Jewish, who form a musical group in 1927 in Berlin. As national socialism cements its hold on Germany, external pressure is brought on the group for containing Jewish members resulting in internal pressures within the group. The interpersonal relationships made for a compelling story. Add to this a great love story, good acting, fantastic musical score, and interesting people you come to care for, and you have a great movie. Since the film "finishes" in 1934, I particularly enjoyed the follow up at the end telling what happened to each of them. For a fascinating look at anecdotal history, I highly recommend that you see this film. Three and a half stars!!!
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9/10
an unusual mix
7 July 1999
Six Ways To Sunday is billed as a black comedy. That it is, but it is so much more. It is fraught with great characters, situations, and relationships. It is a psychological study that plumbs the depths of a mother/son relationship that effects or determines almost everything that happens in the movie --- good and bad. The relationship is, at the very least, fascinating, but it would be unfair to say more than that. The film tells the story of young man from a depressed area who gets into a life crime. At this point I would like to recognize Mr. Reedus' portrayal of Harry, the naive, gentle, and submissive but simultaneously worldly, aggressive, and violent young man was done deftly and beautifully. A review (Box Office Magazine, I believe) stated that he had the look of Leonardo DiCaprio and the charm of Ewan McGregor --- a dynamite combination that I believe to be true. He could be Hollywood's next big star. The film also sheds light on other human relationships involving love and hate, passion and coldness, and loyalty and betrayal. The film was written and directed by Adam Bernstein. Although there was one situation that I did not find believable which did not detract from the film, Six Ways To Sunday was compelling from beginning to end. A word of caution, the film is deserving of its "R" rating due to some extreme violence and exploring an incestuous relationship. If you do not get a chance to see this film in the theaters, it is well worth renting. Good entertainment. Three plus stars!!!
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Hideous Kinky (1998)
9/10
A well constructed and entertaining film.
28 June 1999
Hideous Kinky, named for the young girls favorite words, is set in Morocco -- particularly Marrakech -- in 1972. The story deals with a young flower child fleeing London with her two daughter because of a broken love relationship. Kate Winslet, as Julia, captures the mood of the era very well. She plays the role of the naive, self-absorbed young woman searching for spiritual enlightenment or as she says, "annihilation of self" convincingly. At these times an interesting role reversal takes place with the daughters acting as the parent. The daughters are played brilliantly by Bella Riza and Carrie Mullan and steal the show. A great performance was also given by Said Taghmaoui who plays a local acrobat, Julia's lover, the daughter's father figure, and somewhat mysterious and confused young man. Morocco with its marketplace scenes, people and customs, architecture, and desert give the film an omnipresent exotic feeling. A soundtrack that includes local traditional music and dissident rock music of the era (America and Jefferson Airplane are two I can remember) fit seamlessly. Good plot, interesting characters, great acting, fantastic setting, and well integrated soundtrack --- what more could you ask for? Recommended! Three plus stars!!!
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Tarzan (1999)
10/10
Great entertainment for everyone
23 June 1999
Tarzan is a near perfect film for the entire family. It has comedy, drama, a soundtrack that fits well with what happening on the screen, feelings and emotions, and it's fun. The animators outdid themselves. The background scenery was stunning and lifelike. The opening scenes were well written and emotionally satisfying (I think it unfair to be specific). The scene in which Tarzan morphs from a child to an adult was visually brilliant. The choice of Tony Goldwyn as Tarzan's voice was excellent. It had a warmth and vulnerability that brought a new dimension to the obvious physicality of the apeman. The other outstanding voice selection was Glenn Close who voiced Kala, Tarzan's ape mother. She brought real feelings of sensitivity and nurturing. There were times when my eyes got moist (yes I'm an old softy). At other times the action sequences had you feeling as if riding a roller coaster. Great! Probably the only weakness in the film was the obligatory villain and that subplot which neither added or took away from the film but just seemed tacked on. All in all, Tarzan is a great movie and should be seen on the big screen to be fully appreciated. Three and half stars!!!
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20 Dates (1998)
8/10
20 dates while also making a movie?
21 June 1999
20 Dates is a film with an interesting premise. Can a man find true love while also making a movie? Both are difficult but together aren't they impossible? Myles Berkowitz, writer, director, and lead in this quasi-documentary of a man who is trying to do both in conjunction with each other is both amusing and "real" (some of the film is obviously staged) in that you feel the angst, awkwardness, and rejection but also friendship, love, and connection. The film is a little uneven due to the real and staged, but the bottom line is that is funny and entertaining. Three stars!!!
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8/10
Machiavelli would be proud.
13 June 1999
Cruel Intentions, loosely based on Dangerous Liaisons, was written and directed by Roger Kumble but set in 1990's New York City with teenagers instead of adults in 18th century France. It is hard for me to believe that young people can be so cruel, calculating, callous, and smug, but the lead characters in great performances made me a believer. I had seen Playing By Heart recently, and Ryan Philippe stole the show. Same here! This young actor playing Sebastian shows great depth and versatility. He adds a dimension to the cold calculating young man in that there is a palpable vulnerability as well. I look forward to seeing more of his work. Good performances were also made by Ms. Gellar who plays Kathryn, the cold, calculating, seductive step sister, and Ms. Blair who plays Cecille, the immature and at times silly young woman who becomes their target for different reasons. Caution! The film is richly deserving of its R rating. Scenes depicting young people in sexual situations and dialogue that is rough (stark) are common, but do NOT seem contrived and gratuitous. This film is hard hitting. I might also add that the film presents some of these situations in a humorous way. Good entertainment. Three plus stars!!!
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10/10
Was it Jimmy Breslin who wrote the book, The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight? In this case change it to Gangs.
6 June 1999
Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels was written and directed brilliantly by Guy Ritchie. This shoot 'em farce about inept criminals was well crafted with interesting characters too numerous to mention. There is no "lead" character and arguably a dozen or so main characters. The dialogue was great, if at times a little hard to follow, with the lyrical Eastender cockney slang. The movie involves several groups of criminals and more plot twists than you can imagine. I really wish I could've seen this movie twice. There are many gems to be mined in this film and I know I didn't find them all. I will rent, and if possible buy, this video. I have never seen a film quite like this and am not sure there is one. One warning there is alot of violence in this film although most is done off camera and the audience only sees the results. It even makes the violence --- dare I say --- funny. Unique and great entertainment. Four Stars!!!!
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9/10
an epic saga begins
31 May 1999
Not being "into" Star Wars my comments may see elementary. The Phantom Menace has so much to offer I saw it twice and am considering going again. First it's a feast for the eyes with its tremendous special effects and fictional "beings". The film deals with all the elements of humanity --- history, science, psychology, philosophy, sociology, morality, and emotion. There is so much to absorb. George Lucas has woven an excellent tale with fascinating characters. My only criticism is Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor probably my two favorite actors seem underutilized. Although as I've said it's a feast for the eyes, the dialogue and acting done or needed from the leads was a bit underwhelming. I'm not so sure this wasn't Mr. Lucas' intent --- not to overshadow the storyline in any way. Regardless it was great entertainment. Three and a half stars!!!
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Hurlyburly (1998)
8/10
unlikeable, misogynistic, drug saturated characters
30 May 1999
Hurlyburly more than lives up to the definition. This film more than any I can remember portrays personal and group turmoil and confusion. I can understand how many would not "enjoy" this film. There is so little of a positive nature in it. That said, I do believe it to be a good film in many respects. The film was well written (Dave Rabe, playwright) and directed (Anthony Drazan). Between the two they produced a work with interesting characters and dialogue. If you don't like listening to A LOT of dialogue, you will not like this film. The casting was excellent. I am not a Sean Penn booster, but he was perfect and brilliant in the part of Eddie, the drug sotted lead. Kevin Spacey as the sarcastic, flip Mickey as his roommate was good as well. Chazz Palminteri as the violent, mentally slow Phil and Gary Shandling as the shallow, fast talking Artie round out the male leads. The female roles are all played brilliantly as well. Robin Wright Penn as Darlene, the unpredictable girlfriend of Eddie and Meg Ryan as Susie(?), the "easy" stripper were very good, but the best was Anna Paquin as Donna, the homeless young woman used as a sex object was so much more. Ms. Paquin was great and I look forward to seeing her in the future. It is difficult in the beginning to have any feelings for these characters, but by the end of the movie some empathy if not sympathy developed. The filmmakers do not expect us to like these intelligent talented (with exception of Phil) characters whose lives are mess of their own making, but some understanding not acceptance develops. One criticism might be that it is about ten minutes too long. It began to lose a little steam in the final scenes. This is not the type of film I usually "like", but I must say I did appreciate Hurlyburly. Three stars!!!
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9/10
why wasn't this movie in wide release?
23 May 1999
I saw Playing By Heart with a film group to which I belong. I can not imagine why it did not receive wider release. It has an imaginative, well written story and a great cast. The characters were interesting and well acted. If there is any fault with this film is that there too many good actors and characters for the little over two hours. I really wish the film had been three hours. Mr. Carroll has written (also directed) a story that intertwines and connects love and lover(s) in a most entertaining way. I would not want to say anything more about the premise than that. This film made me laugh out loud and also cry. The highlight of the film is the relationship between Joan (Angelina Jolie) and Keenan (Ryan Phillippe). These two are dynamite and look forward to seeing more of both. Mark (Jay Mohr), a young man dying from AIDS, and his mother, Mildred (Ellen Burstyn), were also excellent. The other were good as well. This you MUST see on video if you like romance and comedy. Three and a half stars!!!
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9/10
beautiful mix fantasy and real
22 May 1999
I have not read Midsummer Night's Dream since junior high school which is more years than I care to think about, but this film once again brought it to life. I know artistic license was taken with the setting and scenes not in the play were added, but Mr. Hoffman who (co)wrote and directed this film did a marvelous job at embellishing the story for film. The cinematography of both real world (Tuscany) and the fantasy were beautiful and add to that a powerful classical soundtrack. The ensemble cast includes many notable actors of which I will not mention all. I was particularly impressed with the young lovers of which I would've liked to have seen more. Especially good were the two young suitors, Dominic West (Lysander) and Christian Bale (Demetrius). They were both convincing in their love and hate. They delivered the difficult dialogue in both a natural ad passionate manner as well. Of the young women Calista Flockhart was very good as the confused and emotionally tortured Helena. Stanley Tucci defines the term "puck"ish with impish look, and the chemistry with the brooding Oberon, very well played by Rupert Everett is a highlight of the movie. I would also like to mention Sam Rockwell for his scene in the play within a play where he plays the woman, Thisbe. A small role but one that stands out. This 130 minutes flew by. Good entertainment. Three and a half stars!!!
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9/10
interesting, honest, real, well acted characters and situations
20 May 1999
Relax...It's Sex has all the elements of a good film. The first scenes grab you with their hilarity and contrast and the last with honest emotion that seems to summarize the intent of the film. What's between is very good as well. The film has believable characters in believable situations that show a wide range of emotions from to joy to sadness, from fear to liberation, from rage to empathy, as well as many others. It is also laugh outloud funny. I saw this film with the Pittsburgh Filmmakers and at times everyone was laughing. It is at other times very serious and deals with many serious issues as HIV/AIDS, love and relationships, violence and bigotry. Mr. Castlenetta (sp?), the writer and director, manages to bring his characters and situations both of which are widely varied into a story which has both passion and humor. I would mention that Jennifer Tilly (Tara), the mother hen of the group is excellent. Mitchell Anderson (Vincey), arguably the lead and title character is great as well. The remainder of the cast which includes some unknowns was good as well. I must mention also Paul Winfield's cameo as Auntie Mahalia was terrific. A word of caution that this film is unrated and includes gay, lesbian, and straight sexual situations. That said the story line and characters make for great entertainment. Three and a half stars!!!
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