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Totally loved it
I actually grew up with Star Wars, starting with the first one (IV) in high school. I had heard the Force Awakens has basically the same plot as IV, and thought I'd find it average. Turns out I loved it! I was amazed. The thing that gets you really involved in any fictional movie or TV show or book is the characters and the relationships among them, and that part was excellent. I had no idea Adam Driver is the bad guy, and was thrilled to see him when he took off his mask – he's such an unusual actor, and it looks like he's going to have a great career. What a leap, from Girls to Star Wars. Rey was quite good, and Finn I guess was the comic relief. Han did fine, and Chewy was just the same as 37 years ago – I guess that's easier when you're covered with fur. Leia (sp?) was okay but too low key – none of her old fire, and she didn't talk or sound like herself. The dialogue was very good, and often funny in just the same way the original Star Wars was funny. The droid was adorable.
The visuals were mostly excellent, except that the TIE fighters looked like little toys to me. I supposed they ARE little toys, but they LOOKED like little toys. Something was missing there to make them look real. I do wish Kylo had kept his mask on more. He was menacing and scary until he took it off, but if he'd put it back on and kept it on it would have been fine. When he had it removed for most of the rest of the movie he started to seem like a regular guy, especially when an 80 pound girl was kicking his a**. I'm hoping he was just thrown off by the aforesaid girl and will get more consistently menacing as the movies continue.
But all in all, I loved the movie so much I didn't even care that it was mostly the same plot as IV. Didn't care! Want to see it again! It's already 9000 times better than the first and second prequel.
intelligent, fair, and hilarious
Loved John Oliver on Community and love him on this show. He's intelligent and sarcastic, and somehow manages to make topics that are completely horrific (e.g., the U.S. government's actions) not thoroughly depressing. I love how he will make fun of ANY political party; so many shows just spend their time panning Republicans, losing half the country as a result. Oliver must be a libertarian, because he very fairly simply makes fun of anyone who is doing something stupid, regardless of political affiliation. This is something that cannot be said of the unbearable John Stewart, or SNL, for example, but can be said of the awesome Lewis Black as well.
I also like his way of poking fun at the U.S. - it's not condescending or rude, it's just good humored teasing. The segment in which he shows the globe with countries marked as Not the U.S. is priceless.
Oliver's topics are well chosen, and his take on them is unique. I greatly hope HBO will continue this show as it's the best comedy late night hosted whatever genre you call this currently on TV.
funny and different
The reviews of this show are really cracking me up. It's a show about some people at a bar for one night, but the reviewers seem to be expecting Chekhov-level depth, and depth, and character. Are you kidding? What do these reviewers act like at a bar? People go to drink and have fun and maybe hookup or maybe meet someone. These reviewers must be such total buzz kills.
I like this show. I think it's really funny, and it makes me laugh out loud. I loved the episode with the Hawaiian guys. The guy who plays Bruce is hilarious and I'd go see him do standup. The bitchy girl is somewhat intriguing. The dialog is unexpected and unusual. I find the show different. It doesn't take itself seriously, and it suggests that the viewer not take all this love crap seriously. It shows women what guys are really like at a bar, and that is a super helpful lesson for any woman who thinks she's going to meet the love of her life at one. (Disclaimer: Well, I did meet my husband at a bar. But that's unusual.) I could do without the English guy and the girl with the voice of a two-year old.
I hope it gets renewed.
more bad than good, but A+s for Tim and Thorin
I mostly gave this movie the rating I did because Tim from The Office (British version) was GREAT, and Thorin was hot (and so were a few other less important dwarfs). And I always love Gollum. Other than that, there was not much to recommend this movie. Negatives:
- 3 hours to get only halfway through. - Lots of made up situations and people who were not in the book. Usual writer arrogance in thinking they can improve on authors like Tolkien. - Bilbo transformed from a very clever guy who got the dwarfs out of scrapes using his brain to a guy who charges a huge monster to save Thorin. - A scene with Cate Blanchett posing and talking so slowly she sounds like she's on mega doses of Xanax. The pompousness was off the charts. And basically she was saying to Gandalf, how ya doing? and he was saying, eh, I'm old, and so are you, but still you look pretty good. The worse thing with this director is how SERIOUSLY he takes the whole hobbit thing. Lighten up, guy. - Totally made up bad guy. - Overlong scene of the dwarfs coming to Bilbo's house in the beginning, and overlong exposition of Thorin fighting with the made up bad guy. - Overlong scenes of one frantic thing happening after another. My husband said he felt like he was watching Speed. - People falling down huge crevices in sheer rock and barely even picking up a bruise. No broken bones. No death. Ridiculous. - The ring falling onto Bilbo's finger from the air above. I could throw a ring in the air 9000 times and it would never once fall around any of my fingers. - Incredibly long - 3 hours and we're only HALFWAY THROUGH? Compare these bad things to the extreme positives of (1) Tim from The Office and (2) hotness of Thorin and a few subsidiary dwarfs, and you'll be surprised my rating was a 6. But those two things were good enough alone to merit that rating.
Anna Karenina (2012)
horrible from beginning to end
I was praying for Anna to throw herself under the train. That's how untragic this tragedy was.
Why do I keep watching movies with Keira Knightley? She gets to play some of the most amazing female parts ever in classic literature, and she plays them all the same way: feisty, 20th century b**ch. Lizzy in Pride and Prejudice - charming, funny - Keira plays her as a b**ch. Anna Karenina - insecure, weak, selfish - Keira plays her as a b**ch. There was some movie about a duchess that I could only bear a few minutes of, but it seemed to be the same - Keira plays her as a b**ch. And that huge jaw of her! And the evil looking eyes! And the scrunchy smile! It's all so distracting. She's such an odd looking person. It sounds insane to say a movie with Christopher Reeves was any good, but I saw Anna Karenina with him and Jacqueline Bisset and liked it so much more. Or at least I liked Jacqueline Bisset so much more. She played AK in such a vulnerable way, rather than the hard enamel surface you always get with Keira.
The directing of this movie as a play was just horrendous. It was so distracting and removed any possibility of feeling any emotion toward the play or characters (if Keira and Vronsky's foppish mophead hadn't already done that). And the twisting of the story to make Anna BRAVE - one of the characters really said that - are you kidding? A woman who cheats on her husband, gives up her son for her lover, becomes so insecure that she drives him crazy, throws herself under a train - what was the brave part? She was totally selfish, and totally amoral. I find nothing to admire in Anna Karenina, the book, but she was SOMEWHAT tragic. The way this movie has her, and Keira plays her, she's just an intolerable, in your face, well, I've already given the epithet a few times.
how many times have I seen this plot
Things that are bad about this movie:
- It's a complete ripoff of Blind Horizon. Which probably no one has seen by me. That wasn't a good movie either. But the plot was IDENTICAL: "Frank loses his memory after being shot in small desert town in Texas. As he tries to retrace his steps and figure out his true identity, Frank believes he may be part of a plot to assassinate the president."
- A random chick who happens to make the acquaintance of the star kills several people for him. And she doesn't miss a beat. Is she also a hit person?
- The acting of Liam, Helen of Troy, and the fake wife. Even Aidan Quinn!
- Liam's fight with Aidan at the end. The movie acts like it's some big tense scene - who cares if two guys who barely know each other fight?
When I found out who Liam really was I was instantly angry that I wasted time on this movie. Totally predictable, and done done done. So many great books out there - please Hollywood, do something new!
NOT Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Oh my. Again I ask, why do Hollywood writer have the hubris to think they can improve on the classics? I suppose this awful movie is CLOSER to Mary Shelley's book than usual, but the changes just completely ruin it.
One huge problem is Elizabeth. In the book she is a minor character, and passive, and quiet. I guess because Elizabeth is played by the ubiquitous Helena Bonham Carter, the writers felt that they had to turn her into a fiesty independent woman who takes on a role nearly equal to Victor's. It's not a good change. The very worst part is what Victor does with her at the end - this most assuredly was NOT in the book, and it's just gratuitously disgusting. Since the movie is billed specifically as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, enormous changes in plot are just massively irritating.
Another huge and ruinous change is that in the movie, Victor actually accepts responsibility and feels remorse for what he has done. One of the main contributors to the extreme pathos of the book is that Victor does NOT accept responsibility, and he does NOT feel remorse, in any noticeable way. He hates the creature. He has no sympathy for it. In the movie, Victor is given a good reason for not making the monster's companion. In the book, Victor creates the companion for the monster, then rips her apart in front of the monster, because he feels the monster is evil - which of course he would not have been, had Victor not abandoned him from the beginning. I guess the idiot Hollywood writers felt Victor needed to be humanized, but they were wrong. In the book, the true monster IS Victor. In the movie, there is no monster. There's just a guy who made an unfortunate mistake.
The casting of Robert DeNiro was terrible. It would have been better to use someone unknown. DeNiro just isn't good at this role; he just doesn't fit. Also you're aware the whole time that it IS DeNiro, which is distracting.
All in all, just a really awful movie. If you want to know Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, you'll have to read the book. Bring tissues, as you will be much more moved than you could ever be by this silly flick.
sort of average, predictable, and badly in need of editing
Well, I have to agree with this site, which came up when I was searching for Inception: "Inception' wins informal poll as most overrated movie of 2010." I just don't get it. This is what I saw (fortunately for only $4.99 on On Demand):
- Great special effects, but mostly in the beginning of the movie.
- An interesting psychological plot about manipulating a guy's mind.
- An incredibly long middle sequence where one guy is moving around unconscious bodies, interspersed with equally incredibly boring scenes of shooting and fighting on a mountain - why in the world was all that necessary? Without the hour or more spent on this totally unnecessary footage, it would be have been a much better movie. We almost killed ourselves when they showed the first shot of the van and it had JUST started falling. I guess the director took the idea of 5 minutes real time/1 hour dream time painfully literally.
- A plot with a guy and his wife that is (SPOILER ALERT) totally predictable if you saw Shutter Island or Memento, or took Psych 101.
- A cast that acted reasonably well, but whose characters I didn't care at all about.
So I don't get why it's so popular. I think I would have liked it a lot more if it had been ruthlessly edited down to an hour and a half, and if the wife plot had been something different for a change. I'm getting tired of that one.
I know I'll get a lot of screaming comments from fans who don't believe anyone should have a different opinion than they do, but I'd like to see anyone justify that long middle sequence.
The House of Mirth (2000)
Such a great book, such a horrible movie. This one is bad on the scale of the badness of the Keira Knightly in the latest Pride and Prejudice, and for the same reason - terrible casting. Gillian Anderson plays Lily exactly wrong in every way. Lily is a very light, self-contained character. Anderson plays her in this very heavy, overly enunciated, slow-speaking way that irritates me with every sentence. Why does she TALK like that? Every sentence takes twice as long as it should. And the heavy sobbing and yelling at the end - good Lord! Did she even READ the book? Lily would never have done that. Lily was like a butterfly; Anderson is like an elephant.
Lawrence Seldon was similarly miscast; I would never have picked Eric Stoltz. Not that Seldon was a somewhat deep character - Stoltz has nothing to him. He's a total lightweight. And Dan Ackroyd! Where did HE come from? The aunt - another one who talks in this totally unnatural, stilted way. Ugh, I barely sat through it the first time in the theater, and just now on free cable I couldn't stand more than five minutes. Read the book. It's light years better than this mess. I don't know who cast this movie, but s/he should be fired.
Bus Stop (1956)
Marilyn's best movie
I love this movie. The plot is kind of Taming of the Shrew, with Kate as a cowboy and Petruchio as a saloon singer, although "Kate" does the chasing and the taming is more of an uncalculated group effort. Like the best movies, it makes you laugh but develops into a story that is both deep and complex.
This movie shows Marilyn's incredible acting skills in a way her more popular movies definitely don't. She's hilarious and adorable in the beginning, when Bo is pursuing her and she's trying to get away. At the end, she's completely convincing as she talks about her (back then) promiscuous past and how she feels Bo is better off without her because of it. Throughout, she shows that complete vulnerability that at times is uncomfortable to watch - it's like she has no barriers around her personality. Even in the funny parts, she seems like she could be squashed by the merest touch. No actress before or since has compared in this area.
Don Murray is underrated in this movie. He plays an insensitive bulldozer who pursues Marilyn like she's one of the calves on his ranch, and a man who can be both tender and gentle, and is completely convincing in both roles. He's really obnoxious in the first role, but that's the whole point. Possibly he could have toned it down a LITTLE, but all in all, he does a great job. The chemistry between him and Marilyn is great - especially at the end, you totally believe they just can't keep away from each other.
The rest of the cast is fine, with the bus depot operator Grace standing out - very funny woman. All in all, a great movie, and one that shows how much Marilyn was wasted in roles that only let her play an airheaded sexpot.
the horror, the horror
Why in the world do people keep making movies that they SAY are of Jane Austen's novels? This might be the worst one I've ever seen, although it's hard to beat the horribleness of Keira Knightley's Pride and Prejudice. This Persuasion was a mess. The characters flew in and out at lightning speed - there was no sense of their personalities at all. The focus was so intently on Anne's face and her running around that there was little time left over for actual plot. The writers moved scenes around and, even worse, CHANGED scenes - why are writers so arrogant that they think they can improve on Jane Austen? Have THEY been read through several centuries? Wentworth was a block of wood, with none of the charm he has in the book. Mary's stuttering speech was annoying. The older sister was supposed to be handsome, but was a hag. The scenes were choppy and many were ridiculous - Anne set her nephew's broken collarbone?! She races around Bath after a man? That would NEVER have happened in that time period. Two unmarried people kiss on a public street? I could go on and on about the things that made this movie bad. Why don't they just write a whole new movie and not try to glom onto Austen's popularity by pretending it's based on her book? Did they even READ the book, or just a Cliff's notes for it? The only good thing in the entire movie was Anthony Head having fun (although a bit over the top) as the narcissistic dad; he always plays a good guy, so it was nice to see him in this different role. Otherwise, basically, another horror show in the pantheon of horrible movies "based on" Jane Austen books. The only ones worth seeing are Emma Thompson's Sense and Sensibility and Ciarin Hinds' Persuasion. The rest are an abomination.
The Hitcher (1986)
classic and unique horror movie
I never get tired of this movie. Rutger Hauer is somehow gorgeous, creepy, sexy, and even at times sympathetic - he's one of very few actors who can portray a villain with so many layers. Howell was great as Jim, the young, innocent "victim" of sorts. \ I interpret this movie differently than other reviewers. To me, John Ryder is a human, a serial killer whose whole life is killing, who is compelled to keep killing, but who at the same time is tired of killing and wants to die. As with most serial killers, he does not kill himself, and he does not turn himself in. He hunts for someone who will do it for me, as he says explicitly when he first meets Jim. "What do you want?" Jim asks. "I want you to stop me," Ryder replies. Later in the movie he says that he's tired. These are revealing statements. This is not a supernatural bogeyman, which is one of the best things about this movie - he's no boring, relentless, emotionless, one-dimensional robot like Jason, or Mike Myers. I think Ryder chooses Jim because Jim shows a spark in their first encounter - he doesn't allow Ryder to kill him; instead he shoves him out of the car, yelling "I don't want to die!" Rutger senses that Jim has hidden strength, and pushes him and practically TRAINS him until finally Jim reaches the point where he can do what is necessary and kill Ryder. Ryder is almost like Lancelot, tired of always winning, and searching for the worthy adversary who can beat him in a fight to the death.
I don't believe Jim kills Ryder out of revenge; he kills him because he knows by the end that he's the only one who can do it, partially because Ryder WANTS him to do it. After Jim shoved Ryder out of the car, Ryder had opportunity after opportunity to kill Jim, but he doesn't (although he kills pretty much everyone else). Even at the end he shoots at the car, moving slowly enough so that Jim can start the car and run him over. He needs Jim alive for another purpose, and in the end Jim achieves that purpose. I haven't encountered this theme in any other movie, and in that way it's unique, and fascinating.
Mulholland Drive meets Jacob's Ladder
I was amazed to read that anyone thought this movie was original. It was exactly like Mulholland Drive and Jacob's Ladder! Maybe it would have been a good movie if I'd never seen those movies, but they exist, and the director surely must saw them, or he could not have copied them so closely. He even used Naomi Watts, who was the star of Mulholland Drive. I'm astonished that she was willing to be in this very obvious ripoff. I found Mulholland Drive much more original, and I didn't know what was happening in that movie until the very end, while in this movie it was clear what was going on within a very short period of time. The director should be ashamed of making such a blatant ripoff.
captures the spirit of the legend, with awesome music
This is one of my favorite movies. At first it seems sort of weird, with the actors speaking in weird, choppy ways, and parts of scenes that seem almost like Monty Python and the Holy Grail (e.g., an arm cut off and blood spurting), and Merlin seems particularly odd. And of course the details vary from whichever book you might be familiar with, as those books vary from each other. But as the movie goes on, I found that it perfectly captured the SPIRIT of the story, which in my opinion is far more important than retelling the story word for word or fact by fact - movies that do that always seem so dry and flat. Nigel Terry was excellent as Arthur; in the early scenes he managed to look and sound like a dolt, and to grow from there into a self-possessed king. Nicol Williamson was great as Merlin; making him seem odd turned out to be the right thing to do, since he's a magician. I didn't particularly like the actors who played Guenevere and Lancelot, but maybe that's because those two characters are so unlikable, as the cheaters who betray their king and help bring about his downfall. I was happy to see Gabriel Byrne and Patrick Stewart. But the thing that really makes this movie for me is the amazing soundtrack. Boorman choose his classical music perfectly, and the special recordings are better than any I've heard. Siegfried's Funeral March is also one of my favorites, and thank you Norman Del Mar for toning down those damn bells! My only complaint about the movie is that it moves right from the creation of Camelot to the downfall, without showing even a tiny bit of the knights doing good - saving maidens in distress, righting wrongs - that were the main point of the legends. If you didn't know the story, it might be pretty difficult to see why the downfall was so tragic.
Galaxy Quest (1999)
hilarious on every viewing
I love this movie. Every time I watch it, it's as funny as the first time. The casting was perfect - every single person was great, although that kid with the shaky voice who sounds like he's about to burst out crying is always annoying to listen to. The absolute best actor was Sam Rockwell as Guy; he was so hilariously Cheesy. The bad guy had a great costume, very scary. Sigourney did a great comedy turn, which was a nice change. Tim Allen was great, Alan Rickman was great (as always), and I liked the guy who played Laredo. Probably you have to have been an original Star Trek fan to REALLY get it and find it maximally funny, but it's funny enough to stand on its own without that background. I can't even think of anything negative to say, it's that good.
Hide and Seek (2005)
kind of sick, and sick of crazy psychologists
I was fairly interested in this movie until the end, although I just didn't like De Niro in it - it's just not his style, and I didn't think it worked. Sometimes when someone is so famous it just interferes with the mood of a movie; you're thinking the whole time, that's Robert De Niro. The kid was great, although most of the time she sounded EXACTLY like the kid in The Ring - short sentences, toneless voice, etc. If I'd closed my eyes I wouldn't have been able to tell them apart. But the part I really didn't like was the ending, because it just seemed sick. First the kid's mom dies, and the dad is the killer, and now he's going to kill her? I definitely didn't suspect it was him with a split personality, so I guess that was good. But it just felt like this kid was being emotionally tortured. And MUST every psychologist in movies be insane? What does Hollywood have against psychologists? I thought all the stars WENT to psychologists. Was the last good psychologist in Ordinary People about 9000 years ago? And the ending - the picture with the kid having two heads - come on. How predictable. Nearly every horror movie seems to end with, it's not over! Do something new!
The Chumscrubber (2005)
funny, tragic, different
I really liked this movie. It was unusual, and the casting and acting were good. The movie captured the wide gulf between adults and children very well. I see a lot of shows on TV where the parents are concerned and mentally healthy and wonderfully helpful and caring with their children, but in my experience that's pretty rare. This movie was much closer to what I see - parents that are self-involved and very out of touch with their children's lives, and what their children are doing or dealing with. The actor who played Dean was perfect in that role, as was the kid who played Billy. I liked the scary touch when Billy's dad called him out of the room and you didn't know what he was doing to him. The weaselly kid who studied and kidnapped and almost committed murder was hilarious. I didn't like the kid who played Dean's brother - too creepy and annoying. All of the parents were good, and I was glad to see Trinity come out of the Matrix and play a non-sci fi role - she's pretty talented, and too many sci-fi actors/actresses get typecast into that genre. The only thing that really detracted from the movie was the weird storyline of the mayor and the dolphin - what the heck was THAT all about? it seemed disassociated from the rest of the movie, and added absolutely nothing (except boredom). I don't know how Ralph Fiennes agreed to play that role. Other than that, a really good movie for people who are tired of the same old retreaded Hollywood tripe.
This movie really surprised me. I just happened to turn to it on cable when searching for something different (will Stars Wars be on cable forever?), and stayed because I really like James Spader. And here he is in his perfect role - tormented. I couldn't help being reminded of his role in Sex, Lies, and Videotape, but that was fine, it's what he excels at.
Turns out this is quite a love story. The Secretary of the title, named Lee, played well by Maggie Gyllenhaal (sp?), is an unstable young woman who still lives with her parents and cuts herself to express her pain. She starts working for Spader and they begin what I guess would in the simplest terms be called a sado-masochistic relationship, but nothing too scary or brutal and somehow very sweet. Lee blossoms like one of Spader's orchids, while Spader is conflicted by actions he calls "disgusting." His character was especially interesting - compassionate, controlling, fearful, strong - very layered, like a real human being. The only thing I didn't like was wondering whether previous secretaries had had a similar relationship with him, which was slightly implied? I hoped they had quit/been fired simply because he was difficult to work for. I wanted to think his relationship with Lee was completely unique.
The resolution of the conflict was all it should have been. I was mesmerized and charmed by this movie, which stands out as really and truly different, and highly welcome in this time of Hollywood formula and tired redoes.
silly, and ease up on the abs
As a fan of Gerard Butler, it pains me to say this movie was pretty silly. And derivative! Where do I start. The various weird creatures came from Lord of the Rings (and brought Faramir along with them). Gladiator - the lighting, the stop action, some of the music, and the scene in the wheat field at the end. I WAS happy to see Achilles' right hand man with the cool eyes from Troy repeat his role here as Leonidas' right hand man, but there's no missing that the scene where he gets killed is almost exactly like the scene in Excalibur where Arthur and Mordred kill each other.
As a chick, I thought I would love the amazing male bodies, but all those identical six packs and perfect legs marching along actually made me feel more like laughing. I guess the weird creatures and the political scenes were necessary to provide relief from what could have been a monotonous three days of killing, but the former were silly and the latter were boring. I was appalled when Leonidas' feisty wife instantly prostituted herself to get an army for her husband! Surely she would have known that would be the last thing he would want? Can we ever have a woman in a movie without lowering her to stripping or prostitution? I did love that thing Xerxes rode around in, and I liked his combination of feminine face with huge male body and amplified voice. But even the riding thing made me think of the god in Ghost Busters.
Other irritations: The too-long St. Crispin's Day speech at the end. The politician's slow clap, which made me want to kill myself. Somebody pass a law against the more-than-clichéd slow clap! Leonidas' wife actually saying "freedom isn't free" - modern speech is so joltingly anachronistic in movies based on history. And removing the whole context of the battle so that it became a hopeless fight against tyranny rather than the actual highly successful resistance that enabled the Greeks to actually defeat the Persians - why???! The success of the battle against overwhelmingly odds was the most awesome part of it, and the reason it has never been forgotten.
In the end, the only good thing was Gerard Butler, his sexiness and intensity, and his Scottish accent that reminds me of my lifelong crush, Sean Connery. I think I'd watch Butler in anything. Even this.
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Best Jane Austen movie of all time
Emma Thompson is an amazing women. Perhaps because she isn't a writer, she was able to take a Jane Austen novel, catch both the spirit and the dialog, and let it speak for itself. Unlike Hollywood 'writers,' she as able to see and appreciate a work of art, and transform it into a truly awesome movie. There was not one distortion of Austen's work in the entire movie; with most Austen movies, I cringe the entire time. The characters were perfectly cast, the costumes were perfect, and the directing was masterful. The entire movie remained true to Austen and her time - there were none of those jolting "updates" to this century that so many other Austen adapters seem to feel so compelled to make. Thompson perhaps seemed a bit old for her part, but still she played it perfectly. Hugh Grant added a bit more charm to Edward's character than is present in the book, but to good effect, and in a few scenes (like the one where he goes to visit Eleanor and runs into Lucy as well) he is downright hilarious. Hugh Laurie was not able to play Mr. Palmer with the right attitude to make him as funny as he is in the book, but that is a very minor complaint. One small disappointment was the omission of Willoughby's confession to Eleanor at the end of the book. Aside from these very very small problems, the movie is one of my favorites, and no other adaptation of an Austen novel comes anywhere close (and I begin to think, ever will). I really can't say enough good about it. Even the music was incredible. I was sad to see Thompson deferring to Keira Knightley at some awards show. Based on her performance in the recent horror P&P, Knightley isn't fit to dust Thompson's boots.
Pride and Prejudice (1995)
Is it just impossible to play Elizabeth?
I once read a quote from a Jane Austen devotee who was talking about making movies of Austen's novels; she said, "Don't." For the most part, I must agree - Emma Thompson's S&S (excellent) and Persuasion (decent) are the only exceptions. This miniseries only supports the devotee's statement. While I did somewhat like Colin Firth in this role (at least I could see SOME reason for attraction), I could not BEAR the woman who played Elizabeth. Elizabeth is one of the most charming women in literature; she is playful, high-spirited, and hilarious. The woman who played her in this miniseries (I don't even care to look up her name) was completely flat. I don't think I saw a single emotion out of her. Who in the world could possibly have chosen her for this part? Did the person even read the book? If you can't get the right Elizabeth, please please PLEASE, just stop there! Don't make the movie! The only thing worth mentioning is that the beautiful Jane, as usual, was unattractive, and the mother - good lord! she is difficult to take in the book, but in the movie she is intolerable, and dominates every scene she is in in the worst possible way. All in all, another enormous disappointment. I only gave it two stars because it was slightly better than the more recent abomination with Keira Knightley and her jutting chin.
Mansfield Park (1999)
This movie should have been titled "inspired by the title of jane austen's book mansfield park." Beyond the name of the book, and the names of the characters, the movie bore almost no resemblance. Fanny is transformed from the unpleasant insipid and boring character in the book to a thoroughly obnoxious, totally modern, and very rude woman who would have been ejected from that century before she caused a break in the space/time continuum. Disgustingly, Mr. Bertram (the father) was changed from a decent thought unpleasant man to one who raped and beat slaves on a plantation! The "writers" clearly felt the need to jazz up and otherwise admittedly somewhat dull story with a twisted sexual theme. I guess they felt the need to make some sort of point about slavery. fine, but what does that have to do with Jane Austen? Just write a movie about slavery and leave poor Jane alone, or leave her to those of us her love her. It's painful to see the ongoing pillaging and distortion of her amazing body of work. There should be a law against this type of movie.
Pride & Prejudice (2005)
as bad as most adaptations of Jane Austen novels
Most adaptations of Jane Austen novels are horrible, with the exception of Emma Thompson's awesome Sense and Sensibility, which perfectly captured the spirit of the book and most of the dialog, and of the fairly recent Persuasion, which also did a decent job. This version of P&P is as awful as the previous few (including the horrific version with Lawrence Olivier). The main characters were done terribly. For some reason, no actress can seem to understand that Elizabeth is PLAYFUL and TEASING; Keira Knightley, like others, turned her into a bitchy smart ass. I also found that puppet-like jaw of hers highly distracting throughout the movie. Darcy seemed more depressed than full of pride and confidence - he was lifeless (although I did enjoy the scene near the end of him walking toward Elizabeth across the fields). Bingley in the book is a fun-loving, genuine, happy-natured person; in the movie he is an unattractive and laughable half wit. Jane is supposed to be beautiful - I have yet to see a version of P&P where the actress portraying her is. Mr. Bennett has none of the sharp wit from the book and is mostly a marshmallow, and the Bennett marriage has been converted to basically happy. The enjoyable Mr. Collins was played too heavily and without humor. Like the recent horrible movie about Mansfield Park, this version of P&P has been moved forward in time - there is simply no way that young women of that time would have been subjected to the naked statues in Darcy's house and the racy paintings in Lady DeBourgh's. Completely ridiculous, and certainly not part of the book. I can never understand how Hollywood writers have the hubris to rewrite absolute classics like P&P. Do they truly think they can IMPROVE on Jane Austen? I wish Emma Thompson would write more adaptations of Austen's other novels, including this one. She alone seems to have a feel for the spirit of the books. I would be surprised to hear that most of the people involved in the film even read Pride and Prejudice.