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4/10
At least cut the last 30 minutes
10 April 2002
What a neat premise this movie came up with at the beginning: show us what turns life can take if a machine becomes truly intelligent and able to bear emotions.

But then the movie almost immediately starts to stomp on its own feet. Our hero, David, the first of the new robot generation able to handle emotions, is apparently not the first. Otherwise his predecessors would not be able to fear death, develop cynism beyond their limited programming or forget their programming at all. Best example here the lovebot "Gigolo Joe," who tries to go undercover when he finds a dead woman in his apartment and later befriends David - all this goes far beyond "programmed reactions" as explained in the movie (why would the manufacturer program these into a lovebot at all?). Oh, and if you wonder how much thicker the plotline became due to "Gigolo Joe" imagine his role being deleted and try to think hard if he delivered anything useful.

(Ok, I will *not* argue about the question why David gets shortfused when he eats spinach but can fall into a pool and nothing happens or why with all the elaborate technology to mimic humans none of the bots blink.)

Then we see David getting left by his mother (or the person he was programmed to love) and his endless quest to find the "Blue Fairy" from "Pinocchio" who he thinks can make him a real boy and win him the love of his mother. Did I say endless? Yes, because all of us past age 8 know that this quest will be futile. You may feel sorry for David, but you will also feel like watching an accident happen and you can do nothing about it.

But then enter Mr. Spielberg. When you watch the last 30 minutes of the movie you will know what I mean. You can almost tell where Kubrick's notes ended for sure and where Spielberg took what he described as "his own intellectual freedom." At this point you will feel like watching "E.T." and "2001" at the same time - on an LSD trip. Spielberg tried so hard to reach the heights of Kubrick (and had Williams throw in some "2001"-like tunes for the final) it is almost pitiful how he ruins his own ambitions with his pink popcorn attitude to sooth the viewer. Spielberg just can't let us go without a pat on the shoulder and a reassuring "everything will be fine!"

How swell would everything have been, if the movie ended right there with David staring and begging and Teddy eternally sitting with him. Audiences would have left the theaters wondering "are we aware of what a responsibility we are getting ourselves into there?" I would have even forgotten about the above mentioned implausibility of the emotional reactions the earlier robots had, which most likely were delivered to pull us onto the sides of the robots.

Which brings me to the one character I liked the best and felt genuinely sorry for: patient, enduring and quiet Teddy.
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Screamers (1995)
8/10
Good movie on a budget
15 July 2000
Based on a Phillip K. Dick story (the writer of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," which was the background for "Blade Runner") this movie delivers, but suffers because of the apparently tight budget. Some scenes in here reminded me of the original "Star Trek" episodes, where the production crew had to become quite inventive to get effects on an almost non-existing budget.

So movies low on money have to rely on their scripts and on good actors, and "Screamers" has them both. The story and its subplots could serve for three movies and especially Peter Weller showed a superb performance here. Generally there are some weaknesses, but they can be forgiven, if you allow yourself to get into the story.

If you have enough of FX loaded movies that cover their thin plot with a multitude of explosions, then give it a try.
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2/10
Illogic and constructed
9 July 2000
Whew, with the hype that went around this movie, you got the feeling that you miss out on elemental cinematic history if you don't see it. Unfortunately, that's not true.

"The Sixth Sense" tries hard to be a good psycho-thriller and in fact the idea behind it was good. But as the script was written, someone must have had the idea to put the real big bang in there, something no viewer can guess to happen, the totally total of all story twists there ever were. But, bad luck, the grand idea has to fit into the rest of the script, so you have to modify it and make compromises.

And really, I was disappointed with the end. Not because of it, but because everything else was set up for it. I didn't guess the twist because it was so sneaky, but because it was completely implausible. To clarify that I will try hard not to give anything away, in case you didn't see "Sixth Sense" yet, so I will ask only one question, which you'll understand later: how do you get into someones apartment without ringing the doorbell or knocking? There are numerous more points like that but by stating them I would give away the surprise. It's too bad the whole film had to suffer just to get that in.

And then there are horror scenes, not too many, but I guess the writers figured that the movie had to give some more than the general idea and the last big bang. And again, they just serve the purpose and are badly integrated: young Cole, they boy who can see ghosts, later finds out that they want him to help them. I think even a ghost can anticipate that scaring someone to death isn't a good start for getting help.

Probably the best asset of the movie is Haley Joel Osment, who played "Cole." Marvelous what this young boy could do with his role. Bruce Willis stays a little unbelievable as a psychologist, but that could be the script as well. So far I yet have to encounter a psychologist who handles therapy that way.

Well, nice idea, nice movie, but nothing overly sensational. Horror movies greatly benefit from taking part in our world and incorporating the horror into it. But then they have to stay true to rules we all are familiar with and to those they need to set up to make us bite our nails. If "Sixth Sense" would have mastered both, I'd be yelling "great one!"
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1/10
Self-medication, Mr. Spielberg?
9 July 2000
This movie serves two purposes: a) glorify the American soldier from World War II and the American nation in general and b) help Mr. Spielberg overcome his own neurosis about being Jewish, a task he started with "Schindler's List." That probably makes him the envy of anyone who ever saw a psychologist: to get paid for spreading out your psyche instead of having to pay for it.

The first 20 minutes of this movie are amazing, indeed. Very well captured is the sheer horror of landing on a fortified beach; the disorientation, the killing etc. But after that, this movie drops on the level of "Armageddon": a mother has a number of sons, all of them died during the war, except one and the US military surely puts the life of half a dozen soldiers into peril to save that last one. Of course, that is completely logical.

The German soldiers, in the contrary, don't seem to have mothers or anyone who cares about them, they are ugly, lean-mean-killing machines, shouting incomprehensible things and should be killed wherever possible. They are also not just as scared as any other simple soldier on a battle field, they don't have any feelings at all.

So, what could have been a great movie, with all the money spent for and stars on it, playing in the same league as "All quiet on the Western Front" gets to be completely pathetic, unrealistic, super-patriotic and one-sided. Steven Spielberg once said that he often didn't feel he was a "real" American and was left-out because of him being Jewish and that the past of his family haunts him. It is ok to feel that way and I wish him he will finally get rid of both feelings. But on the other hand he also was left out of getting an "Oscar" until "Schindler's List." That was a well done movie, but on the long run it seems it didn't do Spielberg too good. Somewhere he must have come to the conclusion that doing movies about WWII helps him overcome his problems and making them patriotic will help him getting an Oscar.

If you are interested in a realistic look on war, watch "All quiet on the Western Front" or "Das Boot."
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Nero Wolfe (1981)
The best depiction so far
2 June 2000
It is beyond understanding why this show was canceled so quickly. The appearance and attitude William Conrad gave his Wolfe was just about perfect. He was the "seventh-of-a-ton" detective thousands of readers of the novels probably imagined. But not only Conrad was superb, the rest of the cast was as well, from George Voskovec's Fritz to Allan Miller's Inspector Cramer, with whose fits anyone could feel along.

Some edges of the characters were taken out, which is especially true for Archie Goodwin, and was most probably done to assure mass compatibility. Both Goodwin and Wolfe are described as chauvinists par excellence in the books. But besides that, there wasn't much more an avid fan of the novels could have asked for.

Very noteworthy is the great care about every little detail of the "old brownstone." That was marvelous work and the production crew should be applauded for that. Probably they had a number of Wolfe fans among them.
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3/10
Politically correct nothingness
21 April 2000
"The Green Mile" tries hard to be a nice movie, to steer your emotions, to feel along. Etc. Everybody who is nice simply is nice, character depth is secondary. What completely ridicules the entire thing is the influence of fantasy elements to enlighten the atmosphere. Not only is everybody nice, but heah, with some special abilities they are even nicer!

Technically the movie is of course well done. Camera, lights, everything is in the green. Unfortunately that doesn't make a good movie, when characters are simply created to fulfill general expectations. Although this simply seems to be a routine production to appeal to mass audiences, anyway, and of course it hits right on the target. That Hanks was in for a role here is understandable - his main aim nowaday seems to be building up his reputation with the Academy. For Duncan the decision was probably more difficult, he got to play the usual part of the black country guy. But a chance to get a role in a "made to please the academy" film is a hard thing to refuse, esp. when your co-star is Hanks and a name like Stephen King stands for the novel.

It is much more reccomendable to watch "Dead Man Walking" for a good look on the topic, but of course if you felt along with the characters in Cameron's "Titanic" this is your thing to go for.
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2/10
It couldn't be much worse
21 April 2000
For anyone who read the book by Michael Ende, this movie is an insult, turning it into a kitschfest. All remarkable and poetic bits were left out, probably for the sake of mass compatibility. The "masses" should revolt for such bad judgment of them. For example, Ende described the force that lets pieces of the fantasy world disappear as something gentle and almost peaceful, to show that losing fantasy happens quietly and needs attention to be recognized. The movie lets it roar wild just as anyone might be depict it, who is being asked for something that lets an entire world disappear.

Technically the movie is alright by Hollywood standards. FX are nicely done, actor performances are just about average.

If you want to do yourself or in fact your children something good, go and get the book.
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7/10
Fantastic mingle of plots
20 April 2000
What was the "Crying Game" all about? It is hard to say, but one thing is for sure, it was put together in a genius fashion. The viewer is unsure where it all steers at and the famous revelation of Dil's secret is only one point in the story, although it puts a lot of pepper in. Sometimes you will find that certain male viewers tend to be disgusted by even a mention of that being possible, but it seems some of them were quite enchanted by the beautiful Dil until then.

In general, the cast is doing a very good job and make it easy to relate to the characters, what, in a story like that, is probably more difficult than it looks like. The script full of twists is very well written and the movie should be applauded for having the courage to kill one of the main actors right after the beginning (which is not to say, killing an actor early on always makes a great movie).

If you are open minded enough for watching an individual look on the Northern Ireland problem mingled with an unusual lovestory, this is a must-see!
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Metro (1997)
8/10
Solid action movie
16 April 2000
Perhaps the biggest problem in Eddie Murphy's career always was, that people expected him to be a fast talking guy whose mouth gets him in and out of trouble. As soon as he tried to escape that formula, viewers were in for a disappointment and found his movies below than average.

If you leave that behind, "Metro" is a solid action movie with a couple of remarkable stunt scenes. It's also very delightful to see that it tries to leave some of the usual "veteran cop gets rookie partner" routine behind and playfully mocks some standard suspense elements: you see a young girl in front of her opened bathroom mirror searching for something. The music swells. She starts to close it and what does the viewer expect? To see the face of the killer when the mirror closes. But nada. Those are really refreshing bits.

Murphy's performance is quite solid, the story is what to expect from an action movie and refreshed, as I said, by the bits above.
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Boomerang (1992)
6/10
Good looks aren't everything
16 April 2000
First of all, this movie has some nice visuals. Interieurs, light, even the clothes of the cast look like they were made for each other. The appeal is so perfect, it reminds you of a commercial, which unfortunately holds true to the rest of the film as well.

The actors so much try to look swell, sophisticated and suave that it seems they forgot they not only portray the clothes and fancy apartments, but actually characters that interact with each other. This keeps them flat and it is not easy to establish a relationship to them, which also lets most of the humoristic points of the story fail.

If you really are into watching movie-length commercials an evening with "9 1/2 weeks" might be more enjoyable.
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9/10
Quite moving
17 March 2000
"Before Sunrise" left me with the feeling of "I'd really like to know if they met again." And my personal pessimism of course says they didn't. Okay, just my own life experience. But on the other hand the ending leaves room for imagination, so pick your own choice.

The ending and actually the whole movie is unusual for an American made production and this courage should be honored. The actors were overall convincing, the camera staying realistic, not too much softtoning of a not so soft Vienna. I especially liked the look back in the morning on the places the two visited and the feeling of emptiness, at least for me, that now vibrated from them. Quite a fresh breeze after having watched kitsched romanticism in movies like "Titanic."
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Deep Impact (1998)
2/10
Flat, boring, predictable
16 January 2000
It is interesting to see that somehow the whole world only consists of the US and only the US is capable to handle the ultimate problem. The patriotic stick was swung at you in "Deep Impact" big time, much like in its rival "Armageddon." For example, the complete destruction on the other side of the Atlantic - England, France, Germany, etc. - is mentioned in a single sentence. The russian crew member on board of the shuttle doesn't even deserve to say good-bye to his family. Mainly he seemed to serve only lines to the rest of the cast. And the music score did its best as well to make you want to hold tight to a "Stars & Stripes."

It might, just might, be possible that instead of sending a bunch of twenty-something Americans up there to save the world, to use the time of one year until "deep impact" to gather specialists from around the world to handle the problem. This is not even to mention some of the highly illogical moments in the movie (how is it possible to outrace a wave of water which is moving at supersonic speed on a motorbike?).

So, what was positive about this movie? I mentioned the Russian protagonist as flat? Well, that doesn't make him much worse than the rest of the cast - although the actor here probably even didn't have a chance to show he can act. Most of the cast would do better by staying in sit-coms. Only Morgan Freeman and Maximilian Schell stood out in their performances. And, another plus for the movie, Freeman portrayed a black US president.

If you want a good disaster movie stay to the 70's "Earthquake" and the like.
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Armageddon (1998)
2/10
A physical and artistical joke
16 January 2000
If the American flag would have been on the payroll of this movie, it would have probably gotten more money than Bruce Willis himself; in every third scene or so it sure is to pop up. Oh yes, our American, down to earth boys are going to save the world, who else? The wipeout of a city like Paris is only good for a nice FX and that it might be useful to get help from the rest of the world never occurs to the NASA scientists. Well, if you've seen "Deep Impact" you know the drift.

Then let's talk about physics - the way it is treated in this movie would make Mr. Newton spin in his grave. Gravity on an asteroid the size of Texas? And apparently just as much as on earth, the way the protagonists moved? Well, to get that going the asteroid would have to have the weight of Earth on as much room as Texas has. The density would be so high that no matter if you used a 10000 watt drill or a toothpick to dig a hole the result would be the same.

But somehow the gravity also seemed to fade out on story-line convenience, when one of the landing vehicles is able to drift over a wide valley on the asteroid by a little thrust of its boosters. We are not even talking about "why" these vehicles were armed with heavy guns.

Now about the actors: Liv Tyler is a fine young woman, although not a fine young actress. Bruce Willis as her father is like Arnold Schwarzenegger as Ghandi. Overall the entire cast seemed to not really know what they actually should be portraying, so the fault might not be on the actors, but on the bad storyline.

If this movie would not pretend that it has to be taken serious, you could actually enjoy it - as a movie rental for a boring Saturday night. But if you are into patriotism go for it, anyway.
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7/10
A great idea for a movie by itself
16 January 2000
I am not sure how many of us can really appreciate the thought of how close we actually are to a "Truman Show."

In the Netherlands there are a number of people locked into a large apartment, which actually is a studio. The last one to remain in there receives a certain amount of money. The whole studio is full of tiny cameras, even in the bathrooms. To have at least a small amount of privacy, those people hung up a towel in the shower, at an angle where no camera can watch. This show is called "The Big Brother Show" - think about it.

Peter Weir did some fine directing here and even Carrey goes beyond what we know from him. The sarcasm in it all could have been taken even a notch further, but the overall outcome is still remarkable.

A definite not-to-be-missed movie!
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4/10
Could have been a good one
16 January 2000
The first 20 minutes of this movie are quite entertaining; Gibson portrays one of the usual paranoids believing that the entire government plans to overtake the freedom of the nation and is controlled by the UN already. As there are a number of very disturbed people who really are taking this for granted the movie could have served a great deal on giving us an insight on their lives.

But no, of course, Gibson *is* watched, he *is* being kidnapped by some government agency and so on. At that point the movie turns to complete boredom. We all can sense what will happen and the ending in itself screams "tested with 200 audiences" at you. Even if we leave logic aside and say, ok, he is watched, the story stays low-level; all of the most secure and highly secret agencies can be identified by usually driving black cars with government license plates to make identification even more convenient.

It is to say that Gibson did some good acting here; he probably saves the movie from complete catastrophe. Julia Roberts does what she usually does in her "serious" roles: she looks innocent and determined, others would say frigid and hysteric. Patrick "Captain Picard" Steward's talents are only used to a very limited degree. I wonder if he knew beforehand what he is getting himself into.

If you are into conspiracy movies, watch one of the Grisham adaptions or the like. If you go training in the woods already for the day the UN will invade "God's own country" then go ahead with this one. It will serve your paranoia well and will give a number of psychologists an income for years to come.
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The Matrix (1999)
8/10
All tricks, story not original
13 January 2000
Great FX, but the so much hyped about story has been adapted better in other movies. The main actor does what he usually does: portray his one facial expression. The first half of the movie is completely boring, the second half can't live up to the expectations.
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10/10
Fun and action
13 January 2000
The "Lethal Weapon" series is one of the few that still continues to be fresh after a fourth part. And they carry along something many other movies where a lot of things are blown up miss - action with a laugh and even a logical plot.
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The Lover (1992)
A very sensual movie
13 January 2000
L'Amant is a calm movie, which carries its plot slowly forward. A viewer should be patient for things to develop, but this time is well rewarded. For a prudish American viewer the simple idea of a young girl being in love with a grown up man might be too much by itself, which can be well compared to the lame US adaption of "Lolita." This is not even speaking of the erotic scenes, which as well make the movie what it is: very sensual erotic.

One of the earlier comments here stated the girl was portrayed too cold and too experienced. I suppose that viewer was never adored by the love of a young girl ;-)
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Excalibur (1981)
10/10
The best Arthurian movie out there
13 January 2000
In sight and sound this movie is perfect - the scene in which King Arthur and his knights ride out for the final battle, in shimmering armor, accompanied by Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, is very impressive.

The actors did a good job, esp. Williamson as Merlin made a fine portray of the wizard.

Having studied Arthurian legend for some time, I can say that "Excalibur" takes its plot from the most agreed on parts of the legend, esp. "La morte d'Artur." It can't stay true to them all, as some of them do tell things very differently.
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Tarantula (1955)
8/10
A good horror movie from the 50s
13 January 2000
When we take into consideration that the movie is 45 years old and had quite a limited budget, it is a good movie. The FX was outstanding back then, acting is average, but by the aim of this movie that shouldn't need as much consideration as if with others. After all, it's all about the spider.

Jack Arnold gave a bunch of later people food for thought on how a horror movie should be done.
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Rear Window (1954)
10/10
A great thriller
13 January 2000
Hitchcock clearly was a master with his tools. I would dare to say it is unlikely that many directors could do the same with the boundaries the script set - an apartment and a number of windows to be looked at. Who didn't feel along with the main actor and his boredom, staring at other peoples lives and the sudden thrill and danger he gets entangled in?
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Commercial as it can get
9 September 1999
Well, Mr. Lucas,

your very first "Star Wars" movie, meaning Episode IV, was a work of fantasy. Your current one is a work for money. I don't know if including a character only to make a movie more family suitable would have been in the intentions 20 years ago. But well, the direction you are steering at is clear since "Return of the Jedi."

Question is now: how far will the fans let you go before you destroy the myth of "Star Wars"? And one more question: could todays Lucas still do a movie like "American Graffiti"? Probably not without having one of the protagonists constantly dining at a "Burger King."

May the myth come back to you.
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Titanic (1997)
5/10
Bravo to the ship & farewell to the main actors
5 July 1999
This was clearly a carefully done Titanic movie when we only talk about the ship: almost all technical details of the Titanic were perfectly done, including the way she possibly sunk. I just wish Cameron wouldn't have given in to the studio and have a soap-like story wrapped around the ship, and even worse, have the two main characters in it played by two shallow actors, who were clearly beyond their skills. Or to say it differently: bad main actors in bad roles gave the movie a perfect teenie audience but had the actual main factor of the movie lost: the ship.
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10/10
A sad movie
5 July 1999
It's a shame to see how misperceived this movie was. It was not a glorification of fascism or brutality, it was a call against both and shows how tight the line is between patriotism and fascism. Perhaps some of you criticizing the movie so harshly should compare its storyline to the not-so-long-ago McCarthy era: the bad are always on the other side, they eat children and we are the best and the brightest, what we do is only for a good cause. Just think about how the alien was tortured at the end...
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9/10
Goofy, but hilariously funny.
5 July 1999
The movie gives the otherwise so deadly serious and almost always trying to be epic science-fiction genre a satirical face. And it still has a second thought beneath some of the fun - so someone really tried to give some underlying deeper meaning to it. You simply have to look closely.
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