Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The Spectre of Hope (2002)
Ignores the real roots of poverty
I was really disappointed in this documentary. Everything from poverty to environmental degradation to mass migration is blamed on one thing and one thing only..."globalization." I find it impossible to believe that someone traveling in developing countries for 6 years would ignore the real root causes of some of the most serious problems facing the world, including disease, drought, corruption, conflict, and failed political systems. The majority of the photos depicted, while very powerful, most likely depict one or more of these realities.
What this documentary boils down to is little more than socialist propaganda. Instead of a thoughtful look at some of the root causes of poverty, what we are left with instead is propaganda material for the trendy 18-21 year old anti-globalization crowd. Certainly capitalism isn't perfect, and corporations need to be kept in check by public opinion, but if that is the case then let's get down to specifics and identify which companies are committing which acts of malice, single them out, and pressure them into change. This has been done before, and we've sweat shops closed and company products boycotted, and it's because we live in a free society that we can carry out such campaigns. So please let's carry on with some more productive investigation and response activity, instead of hanging out with the maladjusted youths and throwing rocks at WTO and World Bank officials.
Uncle Saddam (2000)
Lifestyles of the rich and psychopathic...
The subject matter avoids Saddam's rise to power, which was covered quite well by Frontline. The focus instead is on Saddam "the man", his family, his wealth, and his megalomania in general. The images of Saddam's palaces, museums and other shrines juxtapose chillingly with those of children in hospitals and Saddam's torture victims. We also see how Saddam has turned his presidency into a virtual monarchy, (rather than a Hitler-style dictatorship) complete with royal family intrigue as family members come into and lose -- sometimes painfully -- power and influence within the regime. The tongue in cheek narration gives this documentary a strange feel, more sarcastic than ironic, which I am not sure was the best way to present this material. Saddam will no doubt receive his wish and be remembered throughout history (alongside similar monsters like Nero, Pol Pot, Stalin, Catherine di Medici and others).
Well worth seeing...
Many of the reviews here have been positive. One possible reason is that, to actually sit down and write a comment about this picture you really have to think about it a bit. And this is not your average action or sci-fi flick...much more thought-provoking than the Road Warrior, Logan's Run or other acclaimed movies of the genre, Rollerball contains a lot more food for thought than I bargained for. That's not to say it blew me away, but I did find it interesting. For those just looking for some mindless action, go rent the Running Man. However, I think this movie will appeal to readers of Alduous Huxley and Ayn Rand as much as anyone else.
The classic conflict here is really man v. the gods. Bartholomew is like old Zeus on Mt. Olympus (his huge office tower), and Jonathan E and the other Rollerball players are his pawns. Not only does the game serve the bloodlust of a bored, lackadaisical public, it also quenches the idea of individuality; the tough, bloody sport of Rollerball is not a game where players are supposed to get better over time. Enter Jonathan E., star player for 10 years and getting stronger all the time. A bit of a worry to the corporate higher-ups that rule this world, a champion and symbol of individuality to the people. What dangerous ideas does Jonathan E. represent to this Brave New World?
This is a movie that can mean different things to different people, as the comments here suggest. Well-made (although not perfect). The scenes where he confronts Bartholomew and his women show that he is just an average man being swept along by greater forces. However, Caan's character is most watchable where he excels: the Rollerball arena.
The DVD is pretty weak except for the Director's commentary...no trailer?? I hope they re-release this one on DVD. I also hope the remake doesn't simply focus on the violence of the game. Some will say this movie is no longer relevant today...I heartily disagree, especially as far as corporate conglomerates using television media to stone the public. Just turn on MTV or the WWF to see what this is all about. Surely the dark side of globalization if ever there was one.
The Man in Black with a coffin full of trouble!
There is a lot of noise and attention surrounding this movie, including how violent and macabre it is...well, it definitely lives up to the hype. Spaghetti Western fans rank this film right up there with Leone's trilogy, and I can see why. It should be noted, however, that while this movie was violent by 1960s standards, it's pretty standard fare for today, so don't go into this expecting to be shocked. Also, the production values are low, they look even lower than the Leone movies, so don't go expecting pricy Hollywood sets and props. Finally, the English dubbing is just atrocious. So why is this movie still considered special? Simply consider it for its place in time, and remember that this was a couple years before the Wild Bunch and Bonnie and Clyde, and no doubt influenced those films to some degree. If you can take your action movies with a grain of salt and give this one a chance, you'll be surprised!
Django is the mysterious Civil War veteran, all decked out in a black trenchcoat who arrives at a Tex/Mex bordertown horseless, and dragging only a mysterious coffin through the mud. The town is alternately controlled by two warring gangs, one run by Major Jackson, a former Confederate soldier now commanding a cult of red-hooded Klan-like fanatics! Their goal seems to be to wipe out as many Mexicans as possible and grab all the money and gold they can. Their enemies, the Mexican gang, may not necessarily be racists but they are surely evil. Django, the dark stranger, walks right into the middle of this feud and the bullets start flying fast and furious!
Which side will he choose? Why does he refuse to shoot the evil Major Jackson the first time he has the chance? Why does he think he can take on a gang of 50 of Jackson's men single-handedly? And just what is inside that coffin of his???
The quintessential King Arthur movie!
This movie is absolutely tremendous. Held my attention the entire time. I have seen the others, from the 1950s Knights of the Round Table, to First Knight, even the recent Mists of Avalon, and this is the best of the bunch. Brutal at times, then again, the story takes place during the Dark Ages. Anthropologists don't know too much about the historical Arthur, except from early English and Welsh texts based on oral legends of a Celtic chieftain named Arthur, who lived around 600 AD, and who fought a famous battle.
This story delivers great performances, sets and battle scenes. In the scene in the beginning where Uther becomes king, as witnessed by Merlin, we can see the look of disgust and pity on his face as knights get their arms chopped off! Merlin has worked for years to arrange peace in the kingdom and the moment is at hand, the dawn of a new Golden Age...although it will be Arthur, not Uther, who ushers this in, and it lasts all too briefly. Merlin is played by Nicol Williamson in an outstanding performance! He is comic, wise, and very, very, deadly if you cross his path. The best on-screen Merlin I have ever seen. Arthur is the true hero whose all too human capacity for love gets the best of him and threatens to leave the kingdom in the clutches of the vile Mordred. Morgana, as played by Helen Mirren, is a stunning combination of beauty and evil. The other cast members round out this great film: Patrick Stewart, Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne. The sets are astounding, dark foreboding man-made castles contrasted against lush green forests reflecting a lost time when the forces of nature, not man, dominated the earth. See this film! Easily John Boorman's best picture to date.
The Mists of Avalon (2001)
Fans of the legend may be disappointed
I saw this 4-hour production in great anticipation since I have read many of the old Arthur texts and loved John Boorman's classic, Excalibur. However, this movie left a lot to be desired. It was kind of like the Lifetime Channel's version of the King Arthur story, complete with a sappy menage-a-trois with the handsome and clean cut Arthur and Lancelot getting it on with Gwynevere, which would probably constitute every woman's fantasy judging by the look of these two guys. I suppose if you want fantasy, this is it. Boorman's Excalibur was more graphic and the battle scenes appropriately barbaric. In that film the women characters, sadly enough, are reduced to what their social status was probably like during the Dark Ages, with the exception of Helen Mirren's Morgan le Fay. Another disappointment with this film is the central character of Merlin, who seems like he has been suitably whipped into his place by Vivian (the Lady of the Lake). He is reduced to a minor character in this production. The relationship in the books and Excalibur film between Merlin and Uther, and later, Merlin and Arthur, is the crux of the story (Nicol Williamson's Merlin in Excalibur is simply phenomenal). I suppose they were trying to develop a similar bond in this movie between Morgaine and Vivian, who in this tale are the two critical characters in the annals of the time. This actually could have worked with a grittier script, but for me the production was just a little too clean cut to represent life in the Dark Ages. Just my own opinion, I do hope others enjoyed this...I guess I'm too much of a purist to accept a cleaner, matriarchal re-telling of the story. However, I think I could have accepted it and perhaps enjoyed it considerably had it been a major European production effort, for example, without the limitations imposed by US censors.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001)
Give me a break!
Although this movie is not out in the States yet I was able to catch it on a trip to London. I'm sorry, but I just could not get past Nicholas Cage with that horrible Italian accent and phony "love of life" demeanor. Penelope Cruz was great, as was John Hurt. These two are in a class far above Nicholas Cage who seems to be limited to action movie and the occasional chick flick. However, I have to say that Christian Bale stole the show. Especially bearing in mind that the leads were all playing characters of a different nationality than their own, Christian Bale was the only one who came across as convincingly Greek. In fact, I didn't even realize it was him at first despite having seen him in Metroland other films. The film was hardly as gripping or well-performed as the English Patient, which I think it pretends to. Why couldn't they have had Greek and Italian actors in the lead parts, speaking in their own languages (with the translation in subtitles)?? This movie was a sad day for Nicholas Cage and a sad day for fans of international films if this is the kind of Hollywoodization we can expect in the future.
Decent movie, not terriffic
Nice to see another by director Tornatore. I loved Cinema Paradiso and while this movie wasn't bad, although it wasn't great. The few scenes where Monica Bellucci actually got to act, namely towards the end, were very well done (maybe some day her other movies like The Apartment will be released in the US). The stereotypical child beatings and constant family screaming were a little overdone and didn't really provide the comic relief they were meant to....I don't know what's up with MIRAMAX but I've certainly had it with them promoting each new "foreign" flick they come along with as the next Il Postino. See this movie instead of the inferior Chocolat or Captain Corelli's Mandolin.
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Great 50s style noir classic
What a breath of fresh air this movie was...for a change, we've got a Hollywood film that challenges the audience to keep up with it while delivering great suspense and great performances. I was reminded of the way the pieces finally came together towards the end of other classics in the genre like Chinatown, the Big Sleep and Kiss Me Deadly. Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce, two Aussies, show just what they can do when dealt a good script. Kevin Spacey and James Cromwell also rocked the house, my only complaint is the Kim Basinger's on-screen time was rather limited considering that she won the Oscar.
Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
Absolutely brilliant, years ahead of it's time
I was absolutely blown away by the time I finished watching this movie. I purchased the DVD which has both endings, and have since read up quite a bit on this...Kiss Me Deadly influenced an entire generation of avant garde European film directors, despite being largely ignored as a flashy "drive-in" movie here in the conservative United States of the time. This movie has made it into my all-time Top Ten list. A definite must-see, you will be shocked if you see it without reading any of the critical reviews. Essentially, what starts out as a typical Mike Hammer film noir turns into something very, very different by the end...
G:MT Greenwich Mean Time (1999)
I only hope this gets to video in the States.
Here is another example of how too often the real gems go by unnoticed...this film rocks! I was lucky enough to catch it on British Airways coming back from the UK and even in its edited form was quite moved. It's one of those films that holds you throughout, you really get dragged into the fast-paced, tense, sensual and moving dynamics of this young group of friends. But one of the real highlights is the sound track! Is this available in the UK? If not are bootlegs available?? (can someone please let me know?) The sound of the group was just amazing. One of my favorites from 1999. Definitely check it out if you can.
American History X (1998)
This film is a MUST see.
Absolutely astonishing..I've never seen a movie get inside the head of its protagonists the way this one does. It almost has a documentary feel to it, the way we observe Derek's development is so well portrayed - it's an odyssey of a journey. It reminds me, in some ways, of Oliver Stone's Talk Radio (another great film). Here is a guy with some real pain inside and is looking for an outlet. Well, he finds it with the help of Stacy Keach's character and it would have been interesting to see their initial encounter. This movie succeeds where lesser attempts (like Higher Learning) fail, probably because the film treats all of its characters, racists and non-racists alike as people (not an easy thing to do) and not just cardboard racial or social stereotypes. The dialogue is tremendous. I don't know why people here seem to have trouble with Derek's laundry co-worker, his dialogue is really so much more than simple jokes. Perhaps there are some flaws in this film, but it doesn't matter. You'd have to be dead inside not to be moved...
Perdita Durango (1997)
If you like bloodbaths...
I saw the unrated version of this film while I was in Spain and..whoa! It's like the culmination of a long string of violence-oriented road flicks (from Lynch, to Stone to Rodriguez) has culminated in this bizarre piece by de Iglesia. Despite the usual artistic defense of such movies, like claims that the real themes revolve around the source of violence, or the effects of violence, or whatever, it's really hard to accept the action in this film as anything but gratuitous. I can just imagine de Iglesia, Bardem and company cruising around Texas while making this film and having a great time while assuring each other the entire time of the artistic merits of the film. Bardem ,in his defense, is a great actor as is evident in Almodovar's Carne Tremula (Live Flesh). Here it looks like he's just screwing around playing as outrageous as he possibly can. I can't say I recommend this movie to anyone, except possibly horror film buffs, as the possession scenes with Bardem are quite disturbing. I was left with the feeling that the director was out to one-up Pulp Fiction (which he and the whole slew of current "shock-value" directors have completely misunderstood) and was thinking, erroneously, that he was making some sort of artistic statement in doing so.