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Black Swan (2010)
10/10
..it's only a movie that makes you think..
23 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I truly don't understand why some of the reviewers hate this film so ! You never know if you are going to enjoy a movie - however weird or boring - it is 'til you've seen it. I fully intended to buy this title, to start replacing thousands of titles I gave-away or threw-out....wish I still had them all......

Although the sex-scenes in this film truly shocked me, it wasn't the first time I've been shocked before. As the movie unraveled and we saw how the childish-but-brilliant dancer "The Swan" (Natalie Portman) was maturing (through masturbation) was beginning to survive the fanatic dominance of her mother (Barbara Hershey), it should have prepared us for the not-so-unusual scene with "Lily" (Mila Kunis) - every ballet-themed film I've ever seen has had mucho sex-scenes, of all kinds....except for "The Red Shoes". I respect one's preference in sexual matters, but we DO need to be aware that our own preference isn't the only one. As many have written, there are lots of other strange goings-on in this movie, which make it the interesting film it is. I was not aware that director Darren Aronofsky is especially famous for his unusual plots - also unfamiliar with scriptor Marc Heyman; but, I don't go to see any particular film to see what its creators are presenting. I'm hoping to find a plot that isn't readily foreseeable, and will provide me with a different story.

The only disappointment with the untidy-and-quick method the ballet-company's lead dancer was disposed-of. No doubt, there was much more to this story than was presented in tne finished product.

Not to give-away too much of the plot, I will only say "The Red Shoes" also featured a brilliant ballerina determined to destroy herself than not be able to dance. I shall also let you know ballerina Margot Fonteyne added years to her career with the arrival into the company by a fabulous, Russian male-cancer (many years her junior). The method of self-destruction was different and more understandable than "The Black Swan" used, but any true artist does live for their art, whether they can adjust to catastrophic changes in their careers, or not.

I thoroughly enjoyed "The Black Swan" and got its message immediately. I look forward to many move viewings, because I always find something different in every viewing. Those folk who only like one kind of film certainly narrow-mindedly limit their enjoyment (and life's-knowledge) by not finding the true message of any film, no matter what genre it is. Bravo! for "The Black Swan".....
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The Town (2010)
5/10
..okay, but not great....
2 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I've been trying to think of what to write here - I wasn't thrilled and I didn't find much drama. FOR Ben Afleckt as director and actor, I guess he was pretty good.

Not being a Boston former resident, nor a huge fan of that city, I will say I didn't know that Charlestown was a city of many criminals. The car-chases were fairly well done, the costumes were appropriate and different, I guess the plot was good (so many people compared it to other movies), and know not one iota about "Charlestown". I DID work right across the street from Fenway Park (behind that big wall with the scoreboard on it(, but have never been in there.

SO, while the movie entertained me, I can't rave about the acting nor the story. Screamed at the "nun"-outfits.....gotta take for granted they were put-on in the autos - if they saw them on the street, ANYONE would know something was up or they were going to a drag-party.

I guess I'd watch it again (saw it on TV). but I don't think I'd pay to see it, nor buy the DVD. Maybe Aflleckt will have learned something from his work ??
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10/10
...one of the best films I've ever seen...
17 March 2011
...of course, the problem IS everyone has become a movie-critic...

For those people who thought "The Good Earth" was dull and not entertaining, I have nothing to say. They are entitled to their opinion, but they missed one of life's most important lesson's: Humility and loyalty.

I was fortunate to see this film when it was FIRST released - in 1939. It's wonderful story (Pearl S. Buck) written for film (Talbot Jennings) has stayed with me all through my long life. I saw it in a theater then; I found it in the "garbage bin" in Wal-Mart this year (2011) and bought it immediately....I had it in a huge collection I gave to a library in Los Angeles when I moved to Florida. The copy I have now was made from the original cut - there are black screens between big scenes. I don't remember that after all these years, but accept it was the way the early release looked. It doesn't bother me - it gives me more time to think of what I have just viewed and anxious to see what's next. To me, the story is so engrossing the length of the film doesn't even occur to me - I would have liked the ending to be longer, because "Olan, you are the earth" told the entire reason for the story of true love and devotion, to the extreme.....

I'm not even bothered by the question so many people asked of why Paul Muni ("Wang Lung") and Luise Rainer ("Olan") were cast instead-of Asians - I had never seen Ms. Rainer in any film, and have no idea why her Hollywood career faded. She was considered to be a great beauty. Paul Muni I've seen in other films, but he wasn't one of my favorites. Yes, I have always wondered how "Gone with the Wind" - beat it out of an award: actually, I thought "The Good Earth" was filmed in color. Now, I'm not even concerned about that - the STORY, the ultimate entirety of the film's huge scenes and huge cast dismisses any negative comment I could think of, or read.

Walter Connolly ("Uncle") and Charlie Grapewin ("Old Father") were perfectly cast and played their roles with great skill. All of the cast were consummate in their roles; director Sidney Franklin held a strong grip of the totality of the film and got it all right. As time progressed into a more modern era, the characters became more modern: except, "Olan" stayed the wonderful woman she was.

However - Ms. Rainer stole the entire movie. A good actress does not always need words to say. I feel the story of a peasant-farmer and his ex-slave wife, all of the troubles they encountered (and defeated), the entire cast presented an accurate portrayal of the story in those days - China. It is hard for me to visualize any re-make could be better, and feel any CGIs would be completely unnecessary. It is also hard for me to realize China's last emperor was alive when I went to Hawai'i in 1969......living a peasant-life, just as did "Wang Lung" and "Olan".

Anyone who views "The Good Earth" and doesn't readily understand that life is bigger than any of us, haven't really lived. It gets a 20 from me - I recommend it to every living soul.
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10/10
..a real winner...
9 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I'm caught again without knowing anything about this great film. I had no idea what it was about, but pleasantly surprised that it presents a documentary on a topic I knew/and/know very little about: women's boxing league. So many great reviews have been posted here, there is little else to write.

The entire film is done with perfection: the dark lighting of the gym makes the incidents that happens in it believable; it is the reflection of the misery most of the characters bring to it. I don't agree with some reviewers who say the story lagged and was incomplete: the script was gut-wrenching, because it lead one to believe "Maggie" )Hillary Swank) is going to win her life-long dream. "Frank" (Clint Eastwppd) has begun to believe he has won redemption for whatever he has done to cause all those letters to be returned. "Scrap-Iron" is content to live in a place where he began a journey to a lost title, but holds no bitterness against the man who could have done more for him to win his victory. "Maggie" is relentless, and successful, to have "Frank" manage and train her - the other characters are the types of people you'd expect to find in the gym. Bullies taunting a totally inept boy who also dreams of becoming a title-holder; "Scrap-Iron's" defense of him brings him complete peace with the realization he is in the right place. "Billie, the Blue Bear's" resentment (and realization she has met her match) brutally illegal attack on "Maggie" is completely unexpected (but believable), and provides the reason for "Frank" to do "the right thing" and move-on. "Scrap-Iron's" realization that he must keep the gym operating, for "Frank"s return, solved that whole problem, and brought viewers such relief that "Maggie" almost accomplished her dream - and left her misery in a hard-won peace.

Script, directing and casting couldn't have been better. Every actor/actress was brilliant. Although it brought me to a point to think about incidents of pain and happiness in my own life, it wasn't with more pain......that's just what happened. I would recommend this film to everyone, because it has a blueprint of what life is about. I'll watch it again......
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Rendition (2007)
10/10
....what an emotional film; like today in North Africa ?...
23 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Besides of never hearing of the film "Rendition", neither was I aware that "rendered" was torturing HUMANS to gain information. One cannot come away from viewing this film without trepidation and sadness in his/her heart, and foreboding there is no fixing the relationship between the western world and the Muslim nations

Although we may have HEARD about this kind of cruelty "rendering" causes, to actually view it is another shock....."the worried father" (Nial Yaigar) is the epitome of cruelty while so easily watching this kind of torture. So many of the reviewers adamantly say torture is visciously wrong: who could deny that statement? This film shows it graphically; who wouldn't admit to almost anything, being so horribly whipped and shocked? Who would even think (and admit) The U. S. official would so callously send an American (or anyone) off to the pits ?? Although I was devastated by this film, I loved it because I finally saw - with my own eyes - how we "water-boarded" and electrical-shocked another human being, just to say what the torturors wanted to hear ? I bought this DVD because the plot included Jake Gylenhaal and Myrel Streep, two of my favorite actors. I was not familiar with any of the other characters, but saw the intensity of their roles. I loved it.

So many other reviewers wrote such beautifully poetic pieces, I hesitate to even try to express my own reaction, except to say "this is unacceptable". Those who think torture - in any form - is acceptable are missing a part of what makes us human.

....and then I was reminded that my memory wasn't working well: I recalled all that brutality perpetrated by American troops in Iraq. I had known about the Iraesali "Mossod" for many years, at one time marveling at their bravery (brutality?).....I was reading an article in a doctor's office about the assassination of a "Hamas" official. At that point, I felt a deep depression.

For "Rendition", Gavin Hood directed a masterpiece - it should have won every "Oscar". How did he know so much about these repressive actions ? Maybe from Kelly Sane, who wrote the script ? I think Omar Metgunlay ("Anwar El-Ibrahim") portrayed the young Egyptian, who was whisked-away from his plane into the gruesome hell of pain, to (awful) perfection. I hate to even write it. Meryl Streep ("Corinne Whitman", the "senator's" aide) should have been personally present to witness such cruetly, before saying "put him on the plane". The "worried father" - who ordered and carried-out all the torture - evoked pity for his not knowing where his beloved daughter was, and hatred for his calm "carrying-out his job". I wasn't really certain they were the same person. "Isabella El-Ibrahim" (Reese Witherspoon) should have walked right-up to whomever was president of our country (when this stuff was happening to U. S. citizens being treated so cruelly) and demanded to know where her husband was, not to mention that The U.S. was doing the same thing. Jake Gylenhaal (CIA agent) waited far too long to rescue the victim.

I loved this movie, and pray it isn't a reflection of what's happening in North Africa today (2011). When this country realizes that folk in that part of the world DO NOT LOVE US, and they ARE sovereign nations, it would be much better-off to stay out of their countries, and bring all of our troops home. Each death should be etched on our souls

I recommend this film to all, except very young children, who - today - might not even flinch at its story. Bravo! to every character, no matter how small the role is. Because I own the DVD, you can be certain I'll watch in again - many times.
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7/10
..I was exhausted...
28 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I was unaware this film's original source was a play, and/or a book. I must admit, I took "Oprah's" advice to see the movie, so I went. Although I thought all of the actresses were stellar in their work, I just couldn't get past all the tears. I know many "colored" ladies, and am at a loss to think that ALL have been through hell. I know MANY "colored" men who are angels. AND - I resent having to say "colored", when I want to write "black". Nothing denigrating with that term.......

Not knowing any of the actresses except Whoppi and Janet Jackson, I can't comment on their performances, as compared-to others. So, I had no idea there was "poetry" being recited in the dialog. I'm aware that some Black women are mistreated; "Precious" depicted it so well, and am amazed that some reviewers reviled it. At least, it had a STORY you could easily follow. I'm all for "art," but I don't want to have to dig to find it. The whole of the film should be that ! I was completely traumatized by the children being thrown out of a window. That has nothing to do with "colored" women, it's just brutality.....that's in every race. Any woman from any race who has been so abused as this film displays should go right to Heaven and become angels, to give condolence to those who are receiving it. I know some violence is necessary to tell a complete tale; I just don't want EVERYONE to be involved in it.

Truly, I was exhausted by the time this film ended. I know nothing of Tyler Perry's work - I've only seen his "drag"-performance in TV commercials. Like other reviewers, I didn't find a great uplifting of his direction. I need to see this film again, apparently - and most likely will buy a DVD, so I can study it. After that has happened (and I find I understand it better and find compassion with its characters) I shall do a re-write of this.......
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6/10
....don't know exactly how to take this movie....
27 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
..."Dick Steel" wrote such an intelligent/unbiased review, it's hard to beat it - look for it.....By now, EVERYONE knows the story of this movie, so I shall only give my opinion (which are usually quite long, but this time quite short) - I really didn't understand this film while I was watching it: I had not heard anything about it, so was watching it by suggestion from another person, and had no idea what it was about. I must admit I coudn't tell one actor from the other....

....from reading a good many of the other reviews, I am convinced most of them were written by males......who else would be so disappointed, almost insulted that such a film had been released? I was rather shocked by the number of people who were insulted by a religious film - one reviewer reminded everyone that the big ones, some years ago (like "Ben Hur") were box-office hits. I think the reason for most of those who truly disliked this film were overly macho and truly know (or care) about any religious teachings....I respect their opinions.......read them to justify the making of this film.

From the first scene, it was apparent to me this was a post-armageaden film - the "coloring" of it was so ghastly. I could not grasp why "Eli" (Denzel Washington) was so violent.....I had no idea his mission in life was to protect ANY object; I, for one, don't mind being educated by other viewers about things in a movie, while I'm watching. I was not aware he was playing a blind character. I didn't realize there was no edible food (nor water) and people were busy eating one another; although it was apparent everyone was quite crazed and violent, I didn't know why. I thought the action-shots were very good, but didn't know the reason for their necessity. So, although I enjoyed the film, I didn't know it's real plot until I read many of these reviews. Unlike many, the twist at the end did not insult me, nor did I care where they found all the paper to print it - I also feel justified in disliking "Carnegie" (Gary Oldman) because he had such a craze to own "The Book", and was delighted he was shocked to discover it was written in braille.....Ha !!! I, too, was surprised that Alcatraz was the chosen place "Eli" had to reach, and didn't understand how he got there with a life-threatenting wound WITHOUT THE BOOK !!! I do believe that God works miracles to protect good people from harm, especially when they are doing His work. Re-publishing The Bible, I feel, would fall in that category. I DID understand the point of placing it between "The Quran" and "The Torah". Good place for it......

Actually, my only reason for writing this review is not to praise nor demean the film, but to assure whoever cares - I do NOT want to live in such a horrid world this film so eloquently displays. Let me be right under "the bomb" or "the hole in the sky" - to exist in such a dreadful world is not for me. However, I could watch it again.......
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Primal Fear (1996)
10/10
....wonderful film....
23 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I come late to posting this comment; I thought I already had.

Reading many of the comments already posted, I totally agree that Edward Norton ("Aaron/Roy") was the right actor to cast over so many who auditioned for the role, including the spectacular talent (at that time) of Matt Damon......not the same actor we've become accustomed to seeing in action-films. Norton was tremendous in this role and definitely should have won the award he was nominated for. For more of his skill in doing "stuttering" playing an afflicted character, see "The Score".....another great role.

Director Gregory Hoblit certainly kept his cast centered on the movie he directed. The script by Steven Shagan was without fault, providing good character-building for every role. I saw none of the "holes" some users saw - I thought (and think) the film wasted no time in telling the story. If you've read some of my other comments, you'll know I am "story"-oriented. Whether-or-not Mr. Hoblit directs another film as brilliant as "Primal Fear," I'll have to determine that when I see it.

I also fail to see how some commentors feel that Richard Gere ("Martin Vail") did not deliver what this role called-for: a narcissistic attorney, looking for every opportunity to advance his career. Doesn't everyone? I thought the tension between he and prosecutor "Janet Venable" (Laura Linley) was well developed and kept the tension of unknown twists right on target. Ms. Linley was stellar in this role. Her vulnerability in being dismissed if she didn't deliver a "win" in this case to crooked politician "Shaughnessy" (John Mahoney) also contributed to the intensity of the story. Their romantic relationship provided insight to one another's personality and reactions. Alfre Woodard ("Judge") was excellent, in that it provided an insight that even judges like a little tonic in their glasses. Her cool but strict demeanor in the courtroom was right-on. Frances McDormand ("Dr. Molly Arrington") left nothing to the imagination......she, like "Martin" felt "Aaron" was innocent, but her quick realization that he was about to undergo a total character-change during one of their sessions was a testament she was analyzing his statements with clarity. Anyone who didn't see her move toward the door wasn't paying attention. The scene between "Aaron" and "Martin" during "Roy's" appearance was riveting and revealing to "Martin" perhaps he had the wrong conviction in his belief his client was totally innocent.

All of the plot-twists intensified the story: the scene under the freeway, the murder of the gangster (which caused "Martin's" intention to expose "Shaughgnessy" as the crook he was); all of the "unnecessary" scenes were relevant. I did not find the "sex-scene" distasteful - hey, it happens !, even with Archbishops/Cardinals. The minute I heard "tape"" and "he wanted to get-off", the whole plot came-together for me.

I am at a loss why people find court-dramas not to be entertaining. I could find little to criticize about this film. That NO ONE gave-away the ending twist shows everyone was shocked and felt it would be wrong to deprive future viewers the privilege of experiencing it for themselves.

"Primal Fear" is a distinct lesson for ALL young people to understand there is danger in idolizing religious leaders. Have faith, indeed - comply without question, no. I think this is a film for the whole family to enjoy together. I own it and watch it often. Every film-library should include it - I give it a 20......
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10/10
..fabulous film by all concerned in its making..
28 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
...I thought I had already commented on "The Lion in Winter," but I don't find it. So, here we go again....

EVERYONE is right when they praise this movie and the fantastic acting by O'Toole, Hepburn, Hopkins, Castle, Terry, Merron; the direction was awesome, the score very riveting (which drew me to the film in the first place); lighting sensational, cinematography perfect, costuming very believable (not one of those movies where everyone parades-around in gorgeous outfits), sets extremely appropriate. I don't know how anyone could find fault with any part of it.

The opening scene, King Henry II watching his youngest son jesting and learning how to become a killer (he is a monster, anyway), explains exactly the kind of man Henry has always been - a lecher: if it moves, he's had sex with it. He tells his mistress (Merron) he has made love to "little boys"; she is his wife's adopted daughter, sister of King Philip of France (Eleanor) was married to their father, as the Queen of France, and raised them both, giving the French king no heirs). Eleanor was the rage of Europe and wherever she traveled, having owned most of France since she was a young woman; she isn't about to give it up to a king (her Engligh husband) who has been so adulterous (not to mention herself, also). If the king is so worried she will de-throne him, no wonder he has her locked-up in a prison/castle. With parents like these, how else can their children be (especially the sons) but wanting to get rid of the king so they can ascend the throne ? Almost every user who has posted a comment here writes eloquently, as the movie is written by James Goldman: Anthony Harley had a masterpiece to direct, as almost every user has written. They are all right: this film should have won every award for that year.

They are also correct that NONE of the plot's back-stabbing has been solved at the end of the movie. Eleanor is happy to get back on her barge and sail back to her prison; she knows that Henry's threat to go to the pope to have their marriage dissolved is a sham - she's already been through that with the King of France. Henry II isn't about to give-up his mistress and all the other miscreants in his sexual life. The sons haven't been given any hope they will ascend the throne, but know that "mummy" is in there plotting to make it "Richard" (Hopkins), because he's her favorite and she KNOWS that he is homosexual and had an affair with "Philip". Some users deny this - it's well-known. So, here's a set-up for the perfect sequel, rather-than making the same film over-and-over again. I suggest:

Eleanor of Aquitane lived well into her 80s - she out-lived Henry II and all their kids, and NEVER gave-up Aquitane. She was an international power, even with the papacy, so why not tell some of the outrageous incidents of her later life? which would give some other great actress (more-so than Hepburn?) the opportunity to complete this phenomenal woman's life-story. Whomever she may be, if they don't copy Hepburn's fire-and-ice performance, they're crazy. Streep could do it very easily.

"The Lion in Winter" is a real blockbuster - it has everything a classic film needs.......plain-ole, high-powered, brilliant acting. Who needs explosions and CGIs? If you are familiar with a little medieval history, that's to your advantage; if you ARE NOT, here's the opportunity to learn. "Lion" shows exactly how nasty, ambitious nobility was/is, and - in those years - didn't live in palaces like Versailles or Buckingham. It's a shame we can't rate it higher......
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10/10
...good enough for theaters...
8 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"The Judas Chalice" has many plot-twists: to see a detailed (and accurate) synopsis, click on that title on the title-page.

Jonathan Frakes has come-down from whatever trip he was on for "King Solomon's Mines" and directed a good film, scripted by Marco Schnabel. As Wyle produced "King" with these two guys, I guess they're going to be the team for future serials. I thought this movie was very good, but thought it lacked the "nerd" characteristic of the first two films. There is one scene with "Judson" (Bob Newhart) and "Charlene" (Jane Curtain) in which he relapses and jumps up-and-down to protest his being sent on another "trip".....he hasn't had any loving in a long time. He is told to "pretend you are a celibate monk," but "Noah" has taken to "Mom's" (Dukakis) idea of getting all he can. AND, he's horny. Oh, well - I guess Wyle wants to become a movie-star, as he was a star on "ER". In a dream-sequence, he sees a gorgeous lady beckoning him. He doesn't know how important that dream is till much later in the film.

I am from New Orleans (where the plot is set) and watched it mainly for that reason, plus wanting to see just what "the chalice" is all about. As it is widely believed it was made of the thirty pieces of silver given to Judas Iscarot, paid to betray Jesus, I was interested. I'm glad it caught me.....

One of the many scenes in "Chalice" provides the plot: high-echelon Russians are out to revive "Count Dracula", in order to put-together an army of vampires which can't be defeated, to return Russia to its greatness. My opinion is, that would be just a little insulting, causing Russia to dislike us more. The Russians DO find a mysteriously spooky crypt in Romania and transport it to New Orleans, which used to be a French colony. A factual priestess of Voodoo - Marie le Veux - IS buried in The St. Louis Cemetery, whose crypt is regularly worshiped by the occult.

"Flynn" (Noah Wyle) is sent to an auction to obtain (by hook-or-crook) a Ming vessel - which, through unintended dialog, he discovers he has bid a million lbs.....much more than the vessel is worth, EXCEPT it has something inside that is much more valuable. He drops the vessel to destroy it, and walks away with the artifact.

Another scene shows how "Simone" (who is the lady in his dream) has been attacked by Dracula (four hundred years ago) and is now a vampire. "Flynn" finds her in a nightclub which once was a church - the fabled "St. Louis Cathedral". I found that to be distasteful. Another scene shows "Prof. Lazlo" giving a lecture on the occult; he eventually is captured by the Russians. At any rate, all the Russians and Lazlo wind-up in New Orleans, just about the time that "Flynn" and "Simone" have a hot love-scene. Just after this jump in the hay, "Flynn" learns that "Simone" is a vampire, but has come through it without being attacked. She has a fridge full of blood, so she's not really into biting people, although we do see a scene with fangs, etc.

The famous French Quarter is shown supposedly during Mardi-Gras, the uninhibited celebration the day before Lent, but not nearly wild enough. All of the characters wind-up in a run-down house on the outskirts of the city (actually filmed in Louisiana), and it is revealed that "Lazlo" is the REAL Dracula, and gets possession of "the chalice", and wants to destroy everyone. He is not desirous of helping the Russians, because he's already a legend. Much fighting between "Lazlo" and "Simone" to protect "Flynn", who wanders outside of the house, looking for a spike to do-in Dracula. He does - and he and "Simone" are united, "Flynn" asking her to watch a sunrise. Well, you can guess that she sacrifices herself for her love of "Flynn". She melts in a flurry of lights.

I think I've told more of the plot of this movie than any other I've reviewed. I suppose it's because I'm from New Orleans, and have an interest in anything concerning Jesus. All that aside, I DID see (again) the townhouse I once lived-in on the corner of St. Louis and Dauphine Streets....never miss it when The Quarter is shown.

This most recent of "The Librarian" series is very professionally made and perhaps portends that more episodes are in the future. Hope so - it really is a very good movie, with everyone in the cast and crew producing an excellent, entertaining film. Cinematography is great - every scene is very convincing. This may be the last of the "nerd" - but, it's the beginning of a series that TV missed. Bravo !

I just wonder WHERE do they store all those "artifacts" when "the library" is changed ?......
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10/10
..everyone has said it already....kinda tacky.....
8 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
....hmmmmm....only a total of 24 comments, not the 10 pages for the first film. Understandable, because this serial really doesn't have much going for it, except Dukakis ("Mom") who wants her nerd son to get all the nookie he can get. All I can offer is that I got sucked-into this movie, because it was telecast (TNT) with the other two episodes. I was waiting for "The Chalice," because I thought it might be a kind-of "DaVinci Code" film. Wow! what do I know ???

The notion of there being a "King Solomon's Mines" is a good theme - after all, "The Queen of Sheba" traveled all the way to Jerusalem to partake of Solomon's wisdom. Remember that film?, and all the riches she took there? I guess the premise of "the mines" is where all her riches were hidden. I'm not sure just what author Marco Schnabel had in mind when he wrote the script (his family was famous for many decades for making pianos); whatever it was, he must have been high on cocaine or just needed the money that Wyle ("Flynn Carsen") was waving. I think director Johnathan Frakes directed the whole thing on the phone, from home. BTW, a much earlier version of "King Solomon's Mines" was a very serious film with Clark Gable (?) and a host of very big stars, and very well-done.

Like some other user who posted a comment here, I couldn't get it straight why the main characters were doing all that walking. By now, the whole world knows that Africa is full of Land-Rovers particularly suited for traveling that continent. What a shock to learn at the end of the film, the guide already knew where the mines were.....guess he needed the money, too. I, too, thought the scenes with the beautiful African natives were a little tacky, and wasn't the least bit awed by the female lead (whoever she was) wearing one of their ancestral outfits.

Although Noah Wyle's ("Flynn Carsen") acting was a bit more polished than in "The Spear," I liked him better in his nerdish, dumb role. At least it provoked laughter. I wasn't the least bit impressed with all the CGIs and explosions, except for their colors. Perhaps Wyle knew they would attract a much younger audience....

I don't really remember too much about this film. I might be persuaded to buy the whole set of "The Librarian" if it sold for about $30.00. Otherwise, I'll only watch it when TNT feels compelled to present its own films.

Bob Newhart ("Judson") and Jane Curtin ("Charlene") portrayed their roles well, but Curtain's drunk-scene was a bit much and out-of-character. I suppose the rest of the cast performed their roles well, but I was too bored to pay attention.

So, on to the next chapter.......hopefully with a story-line. Must admit this colorful film looks great on HD-TV. So, a 10.....
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10/10
..a camp, if only for the laughs..
8 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
First of all, "camp" is a word heavily used by gay people for centuries. I guess the rest of the world learned the meaning of the word in "Mommy Dearest." Second, I wasn't aware that a "metropolitan" library had under-ground rooms for protecting precious artifacts, because a "metro" library is for public use, huh? Third, there was a bridge in all three of the "Librarian" movies. I just saw "The Judas Chalice" - sure enough, one of the final scenes had a bridge (in the library) with sharks (?) swimming beneath it (salt-water?). Maybe a set-up for another movie ? Fourth, the whole thing was a "campy" mess, and I laughed my way through it, thinking I was looking at a dreadful travel-movie.

...but I liked it !....all those improbable (predictable) characteristics are what made the movie watchable...

I was extremely amused that this nerd still hadn't been laid, even being 30-something-years-old. WHAT ? "Mom" (La Dukakis) played her role superbly; did you see her in any of the "The Tales of the City", in which she played a sex change ? SHOULD ! Great series. I didn't know that Noah Wyle was a big star on "ER," because I was busy working for a living during those years. I thought he was well-cast, but kept waiting for him to show his torso: isn't that the norm for that kind of character? Well, he was fat.....pretty, but fat. When I decided the whole thing was a "camp," I didn't expect much and went for the laughs, intended or otherwise. The plot? Please ! User "abby-" said it right: there was no story.

I couldn't believe that thieves had somehow broken into a subterranean library with hidden entrances and guards at every door, and WHY didn't they steal the whole spear ? That's the "travelogue" part of the film - gorgeous cinematography (don't know who) of different parts of USA, apparently (low-budget). List me with all those who thought the CGIs were a bit much, especially when they hack their way through potted plants and suddenly come to the end of the jungle, with a tremendous waterfall off to the side, which made no noise as they approached. Huh? Good scene of the break-away bridge. "Incas" in South America, not Mayans......why was part of the spear in Tibet, then the plot jumps to Mongolia. I don't even remember where they were when it FINALLY got put together and "Flynn" got stabbed with the wrong end.

I got sucked-into this movie (on TNT.TV with commercials) because I thought "The Curse of The Judus Chalice" was coming-on. Maybe a religious-themed flick ? SURPRISE ! I had to sit-through all three of the films, in one sitting.

Bob Newhart was a "camp" - had no idea who Kelly Hu nor Sonya Walger were/are. Author Peter Winther and director David Titcher produced a disaster that kept me wanting more. SO, I guess that makes the whole mess worthwhile - at least, it wasn't one of those animated things they are showing to entertain our kids (and other not-so-bright folk) today. I don't agree it was all that "low-budget" - very sharp-looking, even though the acting left something to be desired, unless you're looking to have a good laugh - I did !!! I read all the "goofs", and realized I had seen them all - and kept right-on enjoying this spoof.
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10/10
.saw it twice, need to see it again..
11 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I've read 28-of-89 pages of comments posted here. I totally agree the book AND THE MOVIE are FICTIONAL. The film (directed by Ron Howard, scripted by Akiva Goldman) is very educationally entertaining, if you don't know too much about what the factual story is. Few users seem to know this; they did no research about the "facts" presented by author Dan Brown. One user wrote, "Dan Brown believes the documentation is fact; Ron Howard does not".

Dumb me, I had no idea "The Da Vinci Code" was causing such an uproar when the book was published (work-schedule). Therefore, IF I knew the book were being made into a film - and people all over the world were protesting it - I don't remember. I learned of it from a conversation I had with a fellow-worker.

I am a Christian and totally believe in the scriptures of The New Testament, and the holiness of Jesus. That is called "faith".

There is nothing to convince me otherwise. "Jesus of Nazareth" is my favorite movie of all time; it too, was not chronologically faithful to The New Testament. The difference between "Code" and "Nazareth" is, "Code" was filmed to be seen in a single viewing - "Nazareth" was a multi-series for British TV. Therefore, there was no concern about wasting time for character-development, nor re-arranging and discarding parts of the book's plot.

I feel Ron Howard should have made the movie much longer - in order to explain all the mysteries of the story presented through dialog - with an intermission to let the audience discuss what they had seen in the first half, so the second half would demand more attention and deep thought.

All of the actors/actresses were excellent in their roles, with the exception of diction; with the exception of "Silas" (Paul Bettany); "Sir Leigh Teabing" (Ian McKellan); and "Sister Sandrine" (Marie-Francoise Audollent), who were stellar in their roles. Although the actors who played the French police may be big stars, their elocution left something to be desired. That includes Tom Hanks ("Robert Langdon") and Audrey Tautou ("Sophie Neveu"). Movies depend upon dialog to tell the story, Ron Howard was just a bit careless not to be certain every word would be audible and understood.

"The Da Vinci Code" is a griping, fast-moving film, with the exception of character-development. People appeared instantaneously without any explanation of their importance to the story, yet we see archbishops playing pool. I found it ironic that "the last survivor (on Earth) of Jesus' bloodline" would be a police-woman, also one attempting to break the code.....also the grand-daughter of the curator of le Louvre.......he just happened to know the entire secret and the whereabouts of "The Holy Grail". How convenient. I also found it a stretch for "Sauniere" (Jean-Pierre Marielle) to painfully disfigure himself as he was dying, and to leave messages around his body to solve his murder and protect the resting-place of "The Grail". However, that made for great sleuthing for the rest of the cast, down to an archbishop of The Catholic Church.

A little research would have shown OPUS DEI ("God's Work") was not a secret faction of the church exclusively for bigwigs - it includes many ordinary people, all around the world, who are STILL radical with their self-flagellation, some of them even willing to be crucified to show their love of Jesus. They hear "take-up your cross and follow me" seriously. Paul Bettany's character exemplified that desire passionately, and his role made the entire movie meaningful.

None of the comments presented on IMDb.com mentioned that popes were not always religious people. "The Vatican" (the nation of "The Holy See") is a tiny, independent nation ruled autocratically by The Pope. He is not sent down from Heaven to be Jesus' vicar on Earth (Simon Peter), as some believe The Dali Lama is a divine being. The Pope is elected by other very ambitious, political archbishops. History certainly documents how they used the kings and queens of Europe to do their dirty work, to control the world....The Holy Roman Empire: the de Medicis, the Borgias? The Knights Exmplar were (and still may be) factual. In our present day, there is much debate whether Pope Pius XII connived with Hitler and Mussolini to save The Vatican, although he saved many Jews.

I truly enjoyed "The Da Vinci Code," and am anxious to view the DVD......a director's cut, I hope. Whether any of Da Vinci's paintings had hidden clues doesn't matter much to me. One user wrote, "Mona Lisa smiles because she knows The Holy Grail is missing and Jesus is still a bachelor." Another, "Fear men who can justify doing evil in God's name." Sounds like "Aringarosa" and "Silas" ? - does to me ! The action-scenes and the cathedrals in all those gorgeous places made-up for the few holes in the plot. I didn't find anything to laugh-at; this is a serious drama about a serious theory. As a Christian, I don't believe much of it. As for His marriage to Mary Magdalene, "google: 'The Bloodline of The Holy Grail'".

He was not divine ? Please......

I did far too much research on subjects of which I am familiar. I found "The Gospel of Mary" and read it. Now, I hope my next viewing of "Code" will be one for pure enjoyment and enrichment, WITHOUT commercials. I recommend this film for all, Christian or of any other religion. The theory that all religions have one god - Jesus and The Holy Spirit - is widely accepted. A couple of hours to lose oneself in a fascinating tale for the opportunity to further understand a topic about which one may not know too much, surely is not wasted time. I disagree with all of those who think this movie will not become a classic - it is, already. Bravo to all who had any part in its production.
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Deep Impact (1998)
10/10
..very plausible movie...
30 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Not having seen "Armageddan", I can't compare the two as most users did. I do not usually enjoy sci-fis, but "Deep Impact" is a very entertaining film, which I always look for. The development of characters was adequate, Michael Tolkin's script was good, the cinematography excellent in all scenes, and the score didn't intrude.

Of the comments I read, no one mentioned the edge-of-the-seat scene of the astronauts drilling in the comet. I didn't read one who remembered the space-ship slammed-into the comet, which caused it to break-up with the help of several atomic weapons. "Let's go home" was a major part of the film, as it showed the astronauts' families, and the acceptance of death by the ship's crew. Very touching.

All were excellent in their roles. Robert Duvall ("Capt. Fish") and Morgan Freeman ("Pres. Tom Beck") always do their jobs well. I'm not too familiar with Elijah Wood ("Leo Biederman"), but enjoyed his performance. Vannessa Redgrave ("Robin Lerner") added a touch of elegance; I was shocked to see how Max Schell ("Jason Lerner") has aged; he used to be one of the best-looking actors around, with such a small role - but, played well.

Tea Leoni ("Jenny Lerner") was o.k. in her role; what dazzle do you expect from a TV-anchor ? The special effects were just enough, not too exaggerated. I thought all of the extras were great - the scene when the smaller comet skims the ocean was very convincingly real-looking. Seems like not many folk realized they only had to get to higher ground to escape the tidal wave.

All-in-all, "Deep Impact" keep my interest and entertained me, too. that's all I ask from a movie. I don't think the dialog would keep this from being a "family" movie. Might buy the DVD...
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Iron Will (1994)
10/10
...a timeless thriller...
28 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
From Hayes' and Milicevics's story/script, director Charles Waid has given us a film that will be enjoyed for decades....one that should warm many hearts. Those who put this type of movie down most probably are the very ones who need to get its message the most: nice people in a good story, with a thrilling ending.....Disney, or not.

Mackenze Astin was wonderful as "Iron Will". The kind of young man he portrays is not seen too often, in modern-day USA. Didn't you expect to see him whip-out his cell-phone and call for help when he needed it? How can it matter if the story is actually true ? It's the message of determination and upholding good, human qualities that wins the heart. How inspiring to see a film which teaches us that teenagers should know they are necessary to keep a family going, not taking for granted they are owed everything, and are willing to make their own way.

Kevin Spacey ("Harry Kingsley") showed his skill at playing any role. His writing "from the heart" certainly helped inspire "Will's" determination to overcome all obstacles which stood in his way, no matter what - the reaction between racer and dogs was graphically detailed in this film. Amazing ! George Gerdes Guillarson ("Borg") as the evil opponent was skilfully played, showing there is always a war between honest participation and almost criminal behind-the-scene dealing in any competitive sport. All of the racers' roles were wonderfully played. Every role was cast to perfection.

Sappy or not, we need more films like "Iron Will." I rate it at "20" -
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Paris Trout (1991)
10/10
..took two viewings..
26 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"Paris Trout" certainly is not for everyone. I, like many users. really could hardly stomach it, but couldn't stop watching it. I did not know it was based-on a best-winning novel; I wondered how such big stars would appear in it. I can only judge by other users' comments that director Stephen Gyllenhaal stayed fairly close to the plot of the novel. If it's main character, "Paris Trout" (Dennis Hopper), were that demented, I doubt if I would have read the entire book. While the plot is so disgusting, I am aware that such evil people do exist. I've known some.

I agree with other users who question the relevancy of the girl-fox part of the plot; in my opinion, she had no need to worry about developing rabies, because she was murdered, to set-up the movie's intention to tell a tale about a very wicked human. I thought ALL of those actors-actresses who played "the Sayers" were stellar in their roles. Ed Harris ("Harry Seagraves") was perfect for his role; lack of character-development does not inform the viewer he was "Trout's" lawyer for all of his evil doings. Ditto, Dennis Hopper ("Paris Trout") was evil incarnate in his role....frightening how well he portrayed a man who knew no remorse. Barbara Hershey ("Hanna Trout") was superb; I kept wondering how she could allow herself to be abused for so long, but humans CAN be trapped in such a psychologic hell. Ray McKinnon ("Carl Bonner" ?) was very convincing how a person can be controlled.

Author and screen-writer Peter Dexter either has a vivid imagination, or did a great deal of research, to write such evilness. His development of his characters is close to ingenuity. Whatever medium "Paris Trout" was intended for, it certainly brilliantly portrays the worst in human life. Twice was enough - I don't think I would watch this movie again.
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10/10
..lovely scenery, not enough story..
21 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Few of the users who extol the gorgeous cinematography in "The Horse Whisperer" don't take into consideration that most of this type of film is shot in CANADA. If The US is still that beautiful, then I guess the folk in Montana have been doing something right to keep it so pristine, or the land is so valuable, condominium-builders just can't afford to gobble it up. Flying and driving to get there (as shown in the film), today, is almost out of the question. There is no time-frame to give viewers how long all this action took. Besides,You'd have to live on the land and provide everything life requires, as the "Bookers" did.....not many people are willing to do that, today. All that tranquility is the fruit of life, if we use it.

I was not familiar with the plot directed by Robert Redford. I was imagining some Indian character to do the "whispering;" I suppose the purpose was to show that ordinary people don't have that capability. Although I thought Redford ("Tom Booker") was excellent in his role, I was waiting for something to happen. That's not usual for me - I like long movies. However, I thought the "coolest" of directors and actors took just a trifle too long in that department. I wasn't convinced he was saying healing things to the horse ("Pilgrim"). I thought the horse was better than "the whisperer".

In other words, I thought it took too long for "Booker" to tell his client "he was trying to protect you", at the scene of the accident. It was apparent to me.

I liked "Booker's" family much better - down-to-earth people. "Annie MacLean" (Krist Scott Thomas) was very appropriate for the overly-sophisticated "editor"-role - "Robert MacLean" (Tom Neil) was excellent in his role.

I suppose I must watch this again, as advised by some other users. Now that I'm informed I'm not going to see magical things between horse and Indian, I may view it in a completely different light. At any rate, this IS a very good movie for a whole family to watch, together.
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10/10
..if Heaven looks like that, take me there..
19 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
As many users comment, this movie will become a classic, and deserves a much higher rating that a "10" can convey.

Director Vincent Ward (director) certainly was dedicated to directing Richard Matheson's and Ronald Bass' script. Who really knows what Heaven and Hell look like? However, these are fairly acceptable images to more people than I. The cinematography in "What Dreams May Come" is exquisite; the usage of brilliant blues, to me, gives the viewer hope. The score was certainly appropriate for whatever was happening on-screen. I always look at the credits to see how many "stunts" were used. This film has hundreds - the sheer number of behind-the-scenes crew is staggering. One wonders if that cost were ever recuperated.

Robin Williams ("Chris Nielsen") was stellar in his interpretation and gave an awe-inspiring performance. Every nuance was appropriate, from sadness to happiness. His portrayal of his character was beautiful and inspiring in that it showed he was willing to stay in Hell forever, just to be with his beloved wife. The scene of his telling her he wanted a divorce - and her reaction - was heartbreaking, and certainly provides their decision to be reborn.

Cuba Gooding, Jr ("Albert Lewis", "Josh Paddock") was wonderful in his role as angel-son. Gooding always is a marvel in the roles he chooses and certainly scored in this film. Annabella Sciorra ("Annie Nielsen") was superb; her eyes conveyed every emotion convincingly. Max von Sydow ("The Tracker") was frightening, but willing to show "Chris" the way to Hell. The sets in this episode were astounding, but dread through-out but also with touches of hope with a little blue. Rosalind Chao ("Leona") gave another stunning performance....one could see that she was "Marie Nielsen" (Jessia Brooks Nelson and felt "Chris'" heartbreak.

Although the film is long, the viewer is drawn-into it. As many have written, don't be afraid to become consumed by this movie. You have to witness and participate to really understand and enjoy it. I don't think I'd like to see the different ending presented on DVD - the film is perfect as I saw it. Bravo!-brava! to all, even the least contributor to this astounding movie. Everyone should watch it - once with someone to appreciate it with, then ALONE to really let your emotions flow.
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Mandingo (1975)
10/10
..over-all, pretty good..
14 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I read "Mandingo" when it first was published. I am a Southerner: I must comment that slavery was almost as prevalent in the northern parts of the USA as it was in the southern parts. After all, "The Mason-Dixon Line" isn't exactly in what we Southernerns call "The Deep South". So, the thing to keep in mind is - if you're not really well-educated about slavery in this country - that some of the states thought-of as having no slavery is simply myth. Even in the northern cities, people owned slaves.

Although some users say the book isn't nearly as sexually explicit as the movie is, I don't remember it that way, at all. In fact, the movie is truly "cleaned-up". In the book, the characters aren't much more than scoundrels; the movie attempts to show them as a rather untidy society. The novel makes it perfectly clear that the plantation is not much more than a shambles, purely for breeding; the characters are ALL over-sexed, even the old man ("Warren Maxwell"), James Mason's role.

A male, "Mandingo"-slave was very desirable in many ways, especially for the huge bundle of "meat" usually found in their pants. If their is any doubt that white-folk are more common to "rape" and pillage upon black-folk, then just read-up on what's gone on in Africa, among its cultures, for centuries. Darfur ring a bell? News-reports about soldiers breaking women's legs so they can't run away from rape ?

I am attempting to write a autobiography, and write at-length on this subject. Indeed, there were plantations such as "Falconhurst" (?), because humans are humans. HOWEVER, the majority of plantations with a large number of slaves knew their value - $10,000 per ? Indeed, there was always miscegenation on all plantations, because there is miscegenation in all of our cities: humans are humans.

That director Richard Fleischer chose to direct a lurid film depicting a inflamatory situation is admirable, but certainly can't be taken as "truth" for all plantations ALL OVER THE COUNTRY.

I agree with one user who wrote that Mason must have needed to pay the rent, when he chose this role. Same for almost everyone in the film. Jack Kirckland wrote filth, and that's what the movie needed to be. My opinion is that Perry King ("Hammond Maxwell") was very convincing in his role; as for his sexual-activity, he didn't know much better. All plantations had slaves with different "degrees" of blackness - after all, the "house-servants" were a more refined breed than those who worked the fields.

True, it WAS illegal to educate Blacks. Can you really believe that all slave-owners stuck to that law ? Bull ! The scenes in "Mandingo" which were supposed to have taken place in New Orleans could have been much wider in description. "Octaroons" - a very low degree of blackness - were present in every prominent family in that city, simply because they WERE beautiful, and usually accepted by the general society. As deplorable as the sexual activity is in the film, it's practiced in every country in the world, because humans are humans.

I don't know which version of the film I saw, but I thought it was too short.....not because I wanted to see more degradation: I wanted the characters to be fully developed. In the version I saw, I felt that whole scenes had been cut, and the whole story wasn't told.

You can find as much "documentation" The Deep South was a very genteel part of our country, just as you can find some plantations were hell-holes. You can't judge one by the other. Anyone who denies this isn't being realistic - enjoy the movie and leave it at that. I felt the cinematography could have been better, but I don't have any idea what "generation" of tape I was watching. Perhaps DVD is much clearer.

That's the way it is, Guys - truth is truth. Degradatiion IS a human-trait.........
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4/10
..huh?..
11 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I must have missed all these wonderful performances so many users write about. How many versions of this wonderful story do we have to see? Randall Wallace certainly didn't read the original book (which is considered to be a masterpiece) written by Dumas. I'm not certain if I can recognize which period of French history the film was supposed to depict. Only in the end did we hear "Louis IV"; that would have put it in the period just before "Marie Antoinette", who married Louis VI, right ? France had too many Louis; I don't recall ONE "Philippe" in French History. One user commented it was a good portrayal of "18th-century France", but it was set in 1662. AND, the location was at "Fontainbleau", not "Versailles", which "IV" built.

At any rate, I didn't hear one French dialect in the entire film. Malkovich (whichever "Three Muskateer" he played, and so many users raved about) sounded like the average man from Kansas. "Raoul" (Peter Sarsgaard) was rightfully deleted from the film at the beginning, killed in front of a part of some castle used again in another scene. I found the other cast-members just as wooden in their performances, and wondered why they were in the movie.

Earlier black-and-white films told this story much better: wasn't "The Count of Monte Cristo" one of the men in the mask? I was totally unimpressed with DiCaprio's acting here: another man from Kansas.

Yes, the cinematography was bright and the settings were appropriate. The "masked ball" (supposedly shot in the "Hall of Mirrors" at "Versailles) was beautifully choreographed and the costumes were almost as lavish as those worn in "Marie Antoinette" (black-and-white from the early '30s). BUT - none of the contrived action in this movie overly entertained me......very risqué action in some scenes. That's good, if it fulfilled its purpose to make one laugh. I didn't.

AND - if I heard correctly - the prison-guards where "The Man in the Iron Mask" was imprisoned were speaking Spanish, so he certainly wasn't in "The Bastille". Those who think Dumas would be pleased with this weak presentation of his novel certainly are mistaken: there was nothing authentically French in this film except the Palace of Fontainbleau (which was given "thanks" in the credits). If one is familiar with the lay-out of "Versailles", the King's rooms were at the center of it with the entire palace built around them, therefore his being called "The Sun King".

I guess "Mask" was intended for a younger audience, who had not seen the many versions of this story. I'm glad they enjoyed it, but - except to fill some idle hours - I saw nothing in it to rave about.

Sorry - I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.....
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10/10
..entertaining character-study..
11 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Director Taylor Hackford produced an excellent film from Stephen King's novel "Dolores Claiborne." One does not need to be familiar with the plot. The film presents an easily-understood format, the characters are fully developed and all of the cast were stellar in their performances.

Kathy Bates ("Dolores") was her usual best in that role. I'm not sure why people make such a comparison to "Misery" (I'm unfamiliar with that movie), or feel Ms. Bates was looking for something better to star in. For me, "Fried green Tomatoes" certainly gave her a great venue, again providing her with a chance to use all of her talents. "Claiborne" did the same, and she made good use of its doleful story. Jennifer Leigh-Scott (?) was excellent as the repressed, abused daughter upon whom "Dolores" lavished such love. Judy Parffit was a wonderful, cynical "ice-queen"; to me, there wasn't enough filmage to show how she got from "queen" to "nut". However, "Dolores" had to have some person to lavish her strong love upon without her daughter and an abusive husband.

Christopher Plummer (Det. John Mackey") certain shouldn't have to again prove his acting ability in any role. He was fabulous, although cold, for which the role called-for. "Jesus of Nazareth" should have convinced any viewer he has star-power. I'm unfamiliar with David Strathairn ("Joe St. George") - although I'm sure I've seen him in other roles - was perfect for that scoundrel. I'm not sure what role Eric Bogosian ("Peter") played, but the entire movie was gripping and convincing. I agree the difference in present-day cinematography and full-color, the "flash-back" action was extremely effective.

I also agree Ms. Bates was overlooked for Oscar considerations in this role. Perhaps the film's plot prevented it from being nominated for best picture. At any rate, this film will remain great entertainment for many years, as it's a tale of what happens in real life.

I had never heard of "Dolores Claiborne" - but I have watched it several times in a week, so it's a winner with me. I gave it a "10" for its clear telling of a story that happens to many people. Character-development and a good story is all a movie needs.
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Phone Booth (2002)
10/10
..things in small packages are very entertaining..
5 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"Phone Booth" kept me captive as much as it did Colin Farrell ("Stu Shephard"). No matter what other big stars held this movie up, Farrell was the right guy - I sincerely hope it makes a bundle, no matter how it is released. I saw a trailer SOMEPLACE, and knew that I'd enjoy......lucky me, a friend had it.

I guess some folk don't like Joel Schumacher's directing: I'm not overly acquainted with his style, but this film put him high on my enjoyment-list. A lot of today's generation may never have seen this type of phone-booth - wonder what happened to all of them when they went out of use ? What a revel they were ! Those tacky phones hanging on the wall are hardly worth the $.75 required to use them. Try to get someone to call you back, and you'll discover there are VERY FEW incoming calls.

Writer Larry Cohen has a very good imagination, and knows how to get it onto paper. How frustrating it must have been for him to see it sit on "the shelf", after the short time it took to get it onto film. But, no doubt he had already pocketed his money. Hope his residuals are huge.

Keifer Sutherland ("The Caller") certainly holds your attention, even when he goes-off into his sick childhood. His voice was riveting; I wish I had surround-sound now so I could listen to the effect. I've watched this film 3 times in a week.

Forest Whitaker ("Capt. Ramey") was perfect for his role - some users thought it took him a while to get-onto why "Stu" was trapped in the booth. Me, I think he caught-on right away, or else he'd had ordered his cops to shoot and that would have been the end of "Stu". The simple reason of this particular phone-booth was right in the middle of New York City is another anachronism......but, gave the hookers (and other creeps) the right place to make their money. This is kind of incident that old-timers in NYC just ignore and hope it doesn't involve them. N ONE mentioned the first object to be shot - the toys.....

Radha Mitchell ("Kelly Shepard") and Kate Holmes ("Pam") were excellent in their roles. That "Kelly" kept track of "Stu's" cell-phone calls is another example of how public everything is today, and reminds me of all the gimmickry in "Enemy of the State".

Farrell was superb in his role. Other users have commented he used every gimmick in his closet, and they are right. If he isn't a huge star, by now, there's something wrong. I can't think of any big star who could have portrayed the role better; a somewhat unknown actor for this kind of role is often refreshing and just what the producers needed. The location/sets were perfect for this genre; quick camera-works kept the plot screeching to the very end. You won't leave the TV for this film - it deserves a much bigger release. BUT, it's not always a mistake to release "direct to video". I give it a 20 -
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10/10
..exciting film..
4 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I add my vote to most comments posted here as this being an excellent film. It is hard to imagine that the silly kid Will Smith ("Robert Dean") played on TV to become the capable actor he has become on film. "Enemy of the State" certainly documents that.

I also agree that the film was made way before its time, and certainly cannot be "dated". It also documents how innocent people become embroiled in very complicated and dangerous situations, with having done nothing to cause it. "Big Brother" is all too relevant in this film, and one can imagine it's much worse now since "the Patriot Act" is in full-swing.

As all users mention, many actors-actresses cast at that time have become major stars. However, it IS the old-school guys who make the film believable......Gene Hackman (" Brill") and Jon Voight ("Reynolds") do stellar acting-jobs, with the help of countless smaller roles.

This is one "chase" and shoot-'em-up" film which did not bore me and I could truly relate to. I've watched it three times this week, so you can see that I enjoyed Tony Scott's directing and THE STORY David Marconi put on the screen. Regina King ("Rachel Banks") definitely added to the suspense of "Enemy of the State" - a good family film.

SO, Guys - be careful what you do in today's world - don't take it for granted that everything is rosy and safe. Bravo !
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Phenomenon (1996)
10/10
..a simply moving tale..
30 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"Phenomenon" is a tale for everyone.

Restricting work-schedule; not watching TV; not going to theaters - all of these left me unaware that John Travolta ("George Malley") was still making movies. I guess I just wasn't ready to accept that pretty-boy Travolta just didn't have the talent to make anything but the same genre of film that made him a star. Was I wrong !

This movie has definitely made me a BIG Travolta fan. I enjoyed "Blow Out", but didn't realize it was one of a chain of movies that Travolta was making. Now that I am aware of his range of acting-abilities - everything I've seen, so far, is so easily projected - I'll be on the look-out for all of his films.

Many other users have detailed the story this movie tells - thank heavens it has one ! "George" was simply "George" - when incidents happen to us that change our personna, other people also change the way they think of us. I'd feel the same way if one of my buddies started acting differently, and showed much more intelligence than I knew he possessed. Kyra Sedgewick ("Lace Pennamin") was unknown to me, so I had no way to judge her performance, but certainly enjoyed it. Again, simplicity, not a lot of unneeded drama. Forest Whitaker ("Nate Pope") was stellar in his portrayal of the few friends who could tell something unusual was happening to his buddy, as was Robert Duvall's ("Doc") portrayal. The entire cast was great - but, Travolta's simple deliverence of undramatic lines (and his brilliant smile and open face) make this movie the great entertainment, and uplifting message, it is.

Director Turtletaub got it all together to put scriptor Gerald DiPego's story on the screen. It is apparent that all who played in the movie enjoyed their work - all of us should have no reason not enjoy their efforts. As many users urge, this is a film for the entire family and certainly would make for a romantic evening with a loved-one.

Desereves more than a "10"........
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Unforgiven (1992)
10/10
..didn't impress me..
29 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
...maybe it was because I wasn't aware that "Unforgiven" was supposed to be Eastwood's swansong for westerns........does anyone care? Some folk seem to think it is the end of an era. If the script were flying-around Hollywood for so many years with no takers, maybe Eastwood just realized it would make money and give him a vehicle to say "no more". I'm not really an Eastwood fan, but remember "Play Misty" for me as one of the best movies he's done. Is that a western?

I guess David Webb Peoples was certainly happy his script had been taken-up by a major star to be filmed. I'm not really sure what the story is; I was confused at the beginning, before I knew it was supposed to be the end of westerns. I didn't know whether to laugh or just turn it off. I suppose - having been enlightened by others' comments - I'd have to agree that Eastwood ("Bill Munny") did a good job directing. BUT - wasn't it apparent that he would eventually return to his old "self" by the end of the movie. Didn't surprise ME. As for it being a classic, I'm still wondering - after watching it closely again - how that can be.

Gene Hackman as "Little Bill Daggert", I guess, did deserve his Oscar. The comparison of home-builder and sadistic sheriff was clearly made, and his acting was very good. His brutality toward Richard Harris ("English Bob") and Morgan Freeman ("Ned Logan") made me wonder if he were an elected sheriff, or was just a dictator. I'm still not sure if we were supposed to be familiar with "English Bob"; never heard of him, nor was I aware that he ALSO was out to collect the bounty. How in the world did the prostitutes rake-up $1000 in those days, in such an out-of-the-way town like "Big Whiskey"?

Jaimz Woolvert ("Schofield Kid") didn't impress me in any direction. I guess there had to be someone to tackle the job of killing the cowboys who cut-up the prostitute (whom "Munny" should have married, for a good twist in the plot). That "Ned" couldn't shoot anyone after all those years was a good twist, but his death was really unnecessary. BUT - there had to be SOME reason for "Munny" to make the final leap back into his former life.

"Beauchamp's" character wasn't important to me, although it did give Hackman a chance to emote. As for it being one of the greatest scenes ever filmed, who's kidding whom?

I'm glad so many people loved "Unforgiven" - it's just not my kind of film. I guess there WAS a story, but it took some real imagination to find it. I gave it a "10" because all of the actors-actresses played their roles convincingly, even if I didn't understand why. I am all for seeing another good western - there DOES seem to be a shortage of them, since all of the popular shoot-'em-up films have moved-on to the current genre - lots of action. If it's your cup of tea, enjoy.......

I certainly enjoyed the cinematography - beautiful scenes of the killers riding through fields of grain, even then?
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