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Vanishing on 7th Street (2010)
Tight little cast!
The comparison has been made: this movie is like The Mist! And, I agree.
I loved The Mist and I love this. The Mist was a significantly more expensive movie but the special effects were great and there was a lot of character interaction. This movie is very small but there are still great dynamics between the main characters.
One of the major differences in the story, though, is the relative lack of exposition. Didn't you want to know what the messages were about, whether these are real mysteries instead of pure fiction? I did. But, I didn't get a chance to write down the name of the thing allegedly leaving the message, and so haven't followed up on it yet.
The feeling I had watching the movie was that I was watching one of the writers of The Outer Limits' short stories put into a feature-length film. Sadly, the DVD I purchased didn't have more in the extras to help us out.
Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
Dustin Hoffman makes a literal splash!
I suspect that I am the only person who doesn't see this movie as a comedy at all, and that may be why it is the only Will Farrell movie I have actually enjoyed. I give the film an unskimping 10 out of 10 for being a brilliantly performed and captured tragedy that ends with hope.
Not only does the script and direction really allow Will Farrell to live up to Tom Hanks' praise, but it is perhaps the one motion picture where Dustin Hoffman makes a literal splash on camera!
Tenderness, kindness, desire to be good, and heroism made this viewing a one of a kind achievement that I am so glad I did not pass up.
Perhaps, this explains my choice of flicks within any genre.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
Very well done - but you have to look at it through the right lens
This was written, directed and acted as a teen-comic romp but I can't help thinking of Robin Williams complaint to a comedy club in, was it, Vancouver, BC? "I did the same act before Mork and you hated me!" Looking back, what did we have here? A stellar cast and crew! Joss Whedon writing, Donald Sutherland, Rutger Hauer, Paul Reubens (playing the dark side of Pee-Wee Herman), then teen-idol Luke Perry (doing an impressive James Dean, or does he always act that way), Hilary Swank, Thomas Jane, and some very special acting from David Arquette, and I believe it is Sasha Jensen, who played newbie vampires either euphorically, or invincibly ~ both being reasonable positions when you discover you now have unbelievable powers. Oh, and did you see Ben Affleck and Seth Green? They aren't credited but they're in there.
Stephen Root baffles me here because of a striking resemblance to Randy Quaid but his role as the completely socially-detached school principal was something I could see Quaid doing. Some reviewers are obviously ahead of me on that one.
If the movie isn't already a cult classic, it will be! It would be a mistake to view this film as a serious horror. It is a definite spin on the vampire genre, but neither corn-ball or excessively violent.. instead the movie plays it as a subtle comedy. The only truly hammy scene comes when Paul Reubens gets staked and then it was so deliberate I can't fault it but rather cherish it.
Very sharp cinematography. One clear homage to Lost Boys. Scenes that I will never forget simply because they could never happen in real life (thinking especially of "Benny").
Lastly, Kristy Swanson, definitely in fine athletic form, with some of her own cart-wheels and a clear transformation from valley-girl into someone who suddenly sees the big picture.
The Rapture (1991)
After reading so many good reviews, I purchased this film with great expectations. No marfulled is not a word. Nonsense seems to fit this otherwise alarming depiction of the writer/director's view of pre-tribulationists; christians who believe that they will be spared from the wrath God will pour out on the earth.
No, it is not the nudity or unabashed sex that ruined the movie. But, the idea that Christ's followers would be so uncaring as to allow one of their own to enter into a situation that would compromise their faith.
Yes, Mimi Rogers did put in a great performance. In fact, the whole cast. And it was interesting to see a younger Will Patton in a role. Still, no, I wouldn't recommend this movie to Christians or non-christians. I really do think Christians would be disappointed and certainly non-christians would be misled.
This movie suffers from a low budget.
It seems almost unfair to criticize other elements because with better production values many of the faults simply wouldn't exist. Think of the Mission Impossible TV series compared to even the oldest of Bond films made in that time period.
The truly substandard element in the production is the faster-than-light running. It is just fast-motion movie magic of a man jogging, not running. Jason Connery's 'acting' is fine. Lee Majors 'acting' is fine. But, to really enjoy this picture, you have to suspend a lot of disbelief. And, that isn't easily done.
There are weaknesses in the Python-Lightspeed story-line. Python: code-name for an industrial terrorist, who just happens to be a man turning into a snake (and this hearkens back to the movie Sssssss) might be stronger than Lightspeed but there are inconsistencies. In no way could he be as fast, even as a fully-developed reptile, which he isn't. And, if we were to follow that idea to its logical end, after he did expend the energy to move faster than men, he would need to stop for lengths of time to recharge his anaerobic reptilian muscles.
In some ways, Lightspeed (the movie), suffers from being live-action on a very limited budget. But, let's face it - animations just aren't as much fun, and animations take longer. This is a quick-and-dirty TV movie.
12 years later, I took the video out and watched it again, and would you believe it? Tim Burton's film-noir has become a classic! Not only do we see the batman stirring fear into the hearts of crooks, which was the costume's intent, but we have been left with a motion-picture score that Danny Elfman didn't match again until Spider-man.
Out of all the Batman films that came after, this one is still my personal favourite. Why? Because of the sophistication of Bruce Wayne's equipment compared to the time period. Because of the twist in character that allowed a wealthy industrial magnate to create a force that could only be called a superhero in a world where there were no superheroes.
And, we're treated to a menace in everyway the Batman's rival, when Jack Nicholson steps out as Joker; a psychopath who kills and disfigures for pleasure. All told, the cast, the story, the direction and the production make this truly movie entertainment. Watch it at night in a dark room. You won't be sorry.
I am amazed by all of the positive reviews for this B-Movie. So much so that I intend on viewing this again.
I suppose I should mention that I studied herpetology as a kid and am not afraid of reptiles - lizards are still my favourite animal. The Freak Show was a little unsettling but not equal to 'The Funhouse'. Strother Martin was a character actor whose disposition was always on the likable side, and Dirk Benedict later went on to be the original "Starbuck" on 'Battlestar Galactica' (I always thought they named the franchise after him).
The story is very simple. It might have made a fair short story. I won't repeat the plot because many other reviewers have covered it.
What amazes me about this picture is the nostalgic loyalty that is admitted by the many reviewers here. I see so many negative, and frankly unhelpful, reviews these days. My guess is that this movie defines the youth of the younger set of baby-boomers and that is quite a comment in itself.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
From Screen Rant..
For me, 3.5 out of 5 translates into 7 out of 10, and no, I can't agree with that — I'd have to give this beast a 5 out of 5. Actually, a 9 out of 10, losing 1 point because it was only incredibly entertaining and had a plot line that held together. But, getting that 10, is hard.
THERE WILL BE SPOILERS
but I want to say this first! The acting was picture-perfect. This reminds me of Richard Donner's post-production remark, in gist: "I guess Marlon Brando was worth the money." Perhaps I shouldn't put quotes around that, but that is what he meant. It pays to have talent and these people so earned. I agree, a half-naked Whiplash didn't seem believable — Favreau and Rourke MADE it believable. The burning underneath relationship between fickle Tony and over-burdened Potts was believable. I really didn't believe Scarlet could pull off Black Widow.. but, boy, oh boy, did she pull off Black Widow, leaving me wanting more. I so wish I could say that about the former Spider-Man series! And, then there is Sam Rockwell's smarmy Stark competition, Justin Hammer.. very well played, sir. Sam is going places. We first saw him as the sneak in Charlie's Angels playing the victim to be revealed as the espionage snake, I saw him help beat a drug-wasted art celebrity to near unconsciousness in Basquiat. He's clearly doing things, be it Moon or otherwise. Very nice interplay within the cast. And Cheadle came through for us as the seamless replacement. Lessening my concern over the Edward Norton / Mark Ruffalo affair. Director Favreau, Happy, Foggy Nelson, +1, when are you going to return to your role in Dare Devil, I miss you (and that cast)!
and then there is the tiny role of Nick Fury.. actually, I am disappointed with the one-eyed Jackson in this. Maybe he isn't being given enough room to role but Marvel should have went with the original image.. no sense of Nick's toughness here.. I really hope he changes this in the Nick Fury Movie, if that ever happens.
but blink and that is really a very small part. I loved the timing and the story here. IM2 supersedes 1!! And as I say this I know there are other opinions: the hard-ass action all the way folks won't agree. Fine. Look at the story: Iron Man's dad has a greater vision but his creative partner in the formulation of the ark reactor did too. In a sense, Iron Man is Howard Stark's creation but Whiplash was his partner's. There is the idea of connectivity and karma here: what goes around, comes around.. sins of the fathers kind of thing.. not developed enough to bring that solid 10 out of 10 but close. And Whiplash is brilliant and not dead at the end of the flick either. Captain America's unexplained shield. And, Thor's hammer. All on a time-line preceding The Incredible Hulk.
I also loved the idea that Tony was dying from essentially metal poisoning via the battery implant (the alcoholic gig just wasn't palatable), that SHIELD is aware of it, and that Tony has issues with his past relationship with his father. Nice writing there! Frankly, Batman TDK does not hold up to this cinema. The writing, the acting, the film-making is better here. I really hope this is not Marvel's highest peak but just the start of a sustained plateau. Film-making is getting smarter.
Simply Irresistible (1999)
I can't believe the ratings collected on this movie!
This is Sarah Michelle Gellar's best movie! Unpretentious, genuine young lady battling the reality of small business and about to see her whole world go down the kitchen drain when she is saved by wonder.
And that is what this story is about wonder.. and food.
For me the details are everything. The plot is simple and that is probably what disturbs a number of the reviewers.. but they admit it themselves.. and they can't put their finger on it. Here we finally have a story where everything suddenly goes right. And wouldn't you like that to happen to you at least once! The movie has name players but not A-listers. The story features a great deal to do with savouring the taste of food, and who would go to see a movie based on food? Yet.. there are few pictures I enjoy more than this one. I am not a SMG fan, but in this motion picture Sarah is absolutely perfectly cast. It is her 13 Going On 30 role!
Nearly a 10!!
Seabiscuit is already a classic. Sensitive film-making, interesting interplay of characters, action, humour, realism.. the things that would move a 7 to an 8.. but this movie is a 9. Why? History. There is a thesis in this picture: I learnt something interesting and thoughtful while watching and, while not suspenseful, I was kept glued right to the ending! Casting has an impressive collection of actors assembled as well -- This is, very possibly, Tobey Maguire's best picture as we see him both visually and emotionally as a very different person.
Jeff Bridges plays a very rounded character, one of the three most central protagonists.
And, Chris Cooper does a surprising turn as the third member in this mix.
Add to this, William H. Macy's believable broadcaster's persona, and a real speaking part for Spiderman's Elizabeth Banks! But the real treat is the interplay of narration and stills used throughout the film tying us into the history of the assembly-line, the Great Depression, American horse-racing and that era's social consciousness. Definitely worth seeing!!
Considering the release date and tech advances since..
I liked this movie. This was my first intro to Michael Jai White. I was very happy with what he brought to his role. Martin Sheen was better in this movie than in Apocalypse Now (and there is an AN reference in the movie)! And.. John Leguizamo is priceless! I liked him better here than as Sid's voice in Ice Age. Don't know how he did what he did in this.. must be a sweat-resistant gymnast! That said, this Todd McFarlane spawn is very 80's superhero schtick.. I mean, Batman, Superman, probably Judge Dred, -style over-the-top silliness with references to Star-Wars thrown in. Given what came before it, it is hard to be too critical. On the other hand, you can't compare it to The Crow, which had less special effects but a more serious perspective.
No, the movie doesn't break the 7-out-of-10 barrier. It's right in there with the majority.
Definitely Dennis Quaid's best performance!!
I loved the NY (Queens?) accents! As a Dennis Quaid fan, I have to say this is, as of 2010, his best performance. Entirely believable! I really felt for his character, even more than protagonist 'Little Chief's. I did not see Ladder 49 (2004) but of fire fighter movies (for the little that is in this picture) this was the best one.
What a thrill to see Dennis doing something great after everything else he did (that I've seen) post-Wyatt Earp's Doc Holliday. I hope he will be able to star in more movies like this one! That is for Dennis (who does happen to be a damn good jazz pianist and singer on the side)! As movies go, hey, this one actually made it past 7! That is saying a lot for my ratings where a vast number of visually-stimulating flicks end up. What brought Frequency to the next level was the very real father-son interactions (kudos also to Jim Caviezel who assisted in this). If that were all, seriously, it would be a masterpiece.
So what kept it from 9? The sci-fi time-alternating premise needed serious work. Not even slightly believable. For that I had to seriously suspend disbelief and it was work. The idea was great though.
The Quick and the Dead (1995)
Yes! It's Sam again!
Seeing this movie has caused me to review Sam Raimi's work, the style of the director, the personality that is left on the celluloid.. this is what I came up with Sam is a prankster. If it wasn't evident on the Spidey pics later on it's obvious here. Let's look at the evidence:
Gene Hackman is The bad guy.
Sharon Stone is a gun-slinger. The film actually revolves around Sharon's character - a hardened (well, kind of) vigilante bent on revenge. But I say "a" because the central characters all are.
Leo de Caprio is a smart-mouthed son-of-a-gun.. well that is basically Leo in all his movies but it is still funny here. I can see Sam's eyes twinkle just in the casting.
Russell Crowe.. former gun-slinger turned priest who just can't help himself.
The plot is about as believable as the Evil Dead. Invitations are sent out to the four winds to round-up all the gun-slingers for a winner takes all contest which allows for a contained experiment in craziness at least equal to any of Sam's other flicks. No attempt at authenticity. This is not really a western. Don't be fooled.
The sequences give Sam away: - man gets shot in the head, the back of his head's blown off. - another man gets shot in the eye and does a back-flip with his head as the pivot point. That same man, incidentally, has a clean bullet hole put through his chest and stands there debating whether to fire back with day-light showing through the hole before he takes the head shot. - one man boasts that bullets can not kill him and does an Evil Dead before expiring.
I'll give it to Sam though. This film Is entertaining and great eye-candy!
Dennis Quaid's Best Movie
One of the funniest movies Martin Short has made. This story is comic brilliance with priceless scenes between Short, Picardo and McCarthy. Loved McCarthy's scenes! I felt I owed people for complaining about Dennis moping around in recent pictures. This is why I say that. Of all Dennis' pictures, this is his best. This is the Quaid I like to see! No one can outdo that crazy smile when it's out there -- as it was with The Right Stuff and Great Balls of Fire.
The special effects are good, too, and necessary but the bungled super-spy industrial espionage and McCarthy's dog-bonded Goldfinger caricature really make this picture the Fantastic Voyage hoot that it was!
A Simple, Well-crafted Tale!
Everyone pretty much says they love Woody in this film.. Woody is picture-perfect here that is true but as focused as the story is on the title persona.. there is so much more.
This is a film about good guys and bad guys and the irony here is that while human abuse, prostitution, and low-living is the backdrop to this subtle morality spin, it is not glorifying violence. Instead, what the viewer is treated to is the best of humanity - people caring for people. Thank God it was an Indie film! With money comes pressure to go over the top and too many possibly great motion pictures have been ruined by that kind of frenetic pressure.
I liked all of the acting in Defendor; everyone is good! The best part is the piece is taken seriously: no stuporman, no clownish batman, well maybe a hint of a superman tune and a bat. "Guns are for cowards!" Nice little commentary on our world provided courtesy of Defendor's grandfather. Wait for it - it is delivered half-way through the movie.
The Wolfman (2010)
The Old becomes the New
Or does it? We have clearly crossed the line with this movie classic. I almost wonder whether seeing the upcoming Creature from the Black Lagoon remake will be worth it.. and the problem is not plot as much as it is story-telling technique. Now that we have truly good cgi, we can see the monster at its most fantastic but without suspense. I think the problem has to be time, movie-makers are stuck on the idea of keeping films short and as a result something has to suffer. Honestly, Sam Raimi makes better horror, showing less, or just glimpses and drawing out the suspense.
But enough of that, if you haven't already seen this movie, this is what to expect: a good cast, wonderful photography, great cgi and a story that leaves you wishing there was more exposition and introspection. Anthony Hopkins is absolutely great, I was very pleased with his performance. Benicio is not as memorial in this role as he was in Sin City as Jackie Boy, but then different character. The Lawrence Talbot character is a man supposedly haunted by a terrible past. Again, a missed chance - more exposition please! Movie-makers rethink your time limits!
One of the best Sci-Fis on film!
This film is simply one of those masterpieces that won't go away soon.
I had thought Supernova would not be surpassed -- I was wrong.
Good international array of characters, good actors. Chris Evans, whom I became first aware of with the first serious introduction of The Fantastic Four to film, plays a serious, driven crew member dedicated to delivering a payload to the sun for the salvation of mankind. Though, I really like Chris Evans' performances in general (noting I have only seen 4 to date), I enjoyed this different role. Add to this that he is not the main character, that is a good start.
This is an action picture with pathos: in this scenario, our sun is dying. Our best scientists, backed by what is left of our governments, are making a last ditch effort to revive our star. Our oceans appear to be freezing over (from the parting shot we are given in Sydney, Australia). A second and final vessel is now on its way to the sun with what is last of a payload we think might start up our sun again. Things, however, do not go as planned..
There is a mystique to the sun that haunts the human rescue missions. People are playing with fire as they face something that is greater than anything they have ever experienced before. Visions and nightmares are experienced by many if not all of the members. Then there is an error. Exposure of unprotected parts of the vessel to the sun's solar power almost ends our heroes' last chance. The captain is lost. Fuel is lost. The oxygen factory is lost. Then, the first original rescue mission, the first failure which has elicited this secondary response, is found and the two vessels are forced to dock. But, more goes wrong. And the crew is whiddled down to a few as it is accepted that the mission is now a suicide mission but with a homicidal ghost on board, a 3rd degree burn mad-man of unbelievable strength who has talked to God and thinks that he is the last Adam.
Everyone dies but the mission is a success. And, I am sitting there going 'wow.' Very well done. Considerably better than 2001: a space odyssey, which it seems to echo. If this is an art film, it is not to the point of losing its audience. This was my first experience viewing Cillian Murphy's work, and Director Danny Boyle's, amazingly. Michelle Yeo is terrific and very believable in her role here. As a story and film, this shines. But, oh, the pathos!
Bigger Than the Sky (2005)
It's all about the panache on the surface but Cyrano through out!
Okay, I was surprised, and surprised. This movie was a bargain basement DVD for me purchased together with a number of formerly unknown titles by moi.
I had zero expectations having only purchased the title based on curiosity of John Corbett's career having seen Joel Zwick's 'Big, Fat' and 'Elvis Has' movies - both of which had an Indies feel, and John Corbett was pretty much John Corbett. He seems to be good at anything and brings confidence to his role and a certain charm that his audience enjoys. The first surprise for me was that the actors and the characters fit the story seamlessly, the plot actually worked, the editing must have worked because I felt a constant flow to the plot from beginning to end. That was nice.
The second surprise was the storyline itself. I don't think this is a spoiler, I'm not going to reveal the plot here but rather the idea, which I liked very much: This story is driven by the word panache (you can look it up) and panache is symbolized and referred to at various points in the storyline - but the story is Cyrano. The cut-and-dried casual first-timer (Marcus) is actually Cyrano metaphorically. The characters played by John and Amy actually are Christian and Roxanne. But, we don't know this as we are introduced to seasoned actors in community theater. We see instead the acting process in brief play-by-plays from introduction to opening night. We are given a hint by the 'director' of this 'stage production' that the nose itself is only a metaphor for the social limits of the man, and finally, we see the courage of the man himself as he leaves his misunderstood cocoon to be a Peter Rucker that he really was inside, just as we are treated to Cyrano's death scene and implied metamorphosis. And, I think that was brilliant.
Full points for the cast, full points for the director, and full points for who ever developed that story!
Better than critics are giving it!
Well, no, it is definitely better than a B-movie. Viewing the movie, one can tell that there is enough money invested into it. This is not a cheap video or like the cheaper made-for-television variety -- at least by North American standards. If it happens to be so in Australia then I envy them.
Terrible actors? Not at all! Watch these names -- they are all up-and-comers! I watched this movie because I noticed that Jack Thompson was in it. Jack has been around for a long, long time. Thompson is a super-star in Australia and has been in pretty much everything decent that has come out of that country -- usually one of the high-lights. And, in Man-thing, the Marvel Comic adaptation that never saw the light of the movie theatres, Jack is definitely the heavy-weight here. I liked his performance. I liked his Southern US accent, his greed, his gravitas.
Interesting little international cast here, too. One from Split ENZ land, one from Taz, one from Italy. Lots from Oz. And, until I studied the credits, I believed these were Americans. And, let me tell you, I tend to be picky about poor accents and acting. You want poor accents? Watch Sean Connery in The Wind and the Lion, or Richard Gere in First Knight. Poor acting? Watch most of the James Bond movies. This one felt like what it was supposing to represent and that impressed me.
Some complained that the Man-thing was only in the end of the picture or that it was compromised by deeper characterizations of the Sheriff, the medicine-man, the teacher,etc. I enjoyed all of the characterizations and felt that this added to the movie. [ I agree that the soundtrack was well done and fitting and that the swamp scenes (which dominate this picture) were nicely shot. ] I suspect, however, that the critics were fan-boys of the comic and thus disturbed by the "monster's" smaller role in the larger storyline.
Sadly, this movie lacks the completeness of a beginning. We don't get a genesis here and are fed only the smallest of hints of where the Man-thing came from and that is sad.
Sequel? Well, I doubt that will happen with a direct-to-DVD, but to be honest, a re-make would probably lose some of the wonder captured in this pic. I recommend that you watch it -- if you are into Marvel lore and haven't read the comics. I am still stunned by Imogen Bailey's sexy introduction.
Another issue I have is with the storyline fed to us by IMDb if not the movie-makers. Man-thing isn't seen burning anyone (unless it is the fast-motion shaking). It does have bizarre eyes but if there is terror transferred in its stare we don't see that.
What the movie version does is impale its victims seemingly without reason and without intelligence. It is like a natural disaster. That is to say that, if it were real, it would just be better not to be there. It wouldn't matter how innocent you are.
I have re-rated this. And, I have to say it is truly an under-rated movie. People take exception to the somewhat wooden acting of the new, young sheriff. Looking back at it. New guy, trying to get a feel of the town. He did a great job.
O how art you fallen?
Actually, I was impressed by this remake of Jules Vernes classic story. Updated to current pop-science, the film-makers made the story something we could relate to today -- and that was a good thing, at least for me. I must confess that I am getting tired of retro films; given the choice Present beats Past and Future. Plus, now the graphics and film limitations are more expansive. It is possible to make the impossible believable.
I should confess that I like movies that tie up loose ends (Beetlejuice, for example). Journey has a good start, character development,reasonable conflicts, and then the wonder of CGI bluescreen -- maybe the only stretch being Brendan Fraser's character's ability to instantly identify a living creature he'd only seen fossil remains of (a little too Bond-y there). I got a kick out of the idea that there are "Vernians" out in the world that believe the literature to be fact and that the characters end up depending as much on the literature as their scientific knowledge to attain their survival and ultimate escape.
Speaking of CGI, I loved the plesiosaurs! Definitely a childhood dream come true for me. Good choice, people! Casting-wise, all good choices, but hey! Finally a role Brendan can truly own since he swung out of the trees as George Of The Jungle. Loved everybody in this.
The only negative, apart from the obvious 3D headaches in viewing, was the fact that this movie was built to be an action movie and so, pardon the pun, lacks the depth that would needed to garner a higher rating. But, hey, at least we get a good ride to Italy in the end.
Meet Joe Black (1998)
A Perfect Movie
And, here, we have a movie that I cannot get enough of. A movie that I use as a standard by which I measure all movies. I had thought that I had reviewed Meet Joe Black years ago but, upon recalling those I have, I find that I have been remiss. Just what makes a ten out of ten for this viewer? The answers follow.
Not necessarily a believable plot but believable characters. I thoroughly enjoyed Anthony Hopkins in this picture. This story was a story of such grand design that it must have been an eminent role for him to sink his teeth into... Faced with the certain limits of his mortality, a captain of industry is faced with a surreal proposition: be a guide to Death in life, and for so long as that engagement is useful the man, Bill Parish, shall live -- for Death has been watching him and has deemed him a suitable tutor. What would such a man think? How would he behave in the face of this? I believe this is Mr. Hopkins greatest role. Hannibal doesn't even touch it. And from Bill the camera swings onto other characters and other stars. Each fully believable in their respective roles. The beautiful Claire Forlani, and this, too, is her best role so far. Jeffrey Tambor, his best, from those movies I have seen him in. Memorable performances from Marcia Gay Harden, Lois-Kelly Miller, Jake Webber, and inspired moments from the title character, as played by Brad Pitt, especially as the guy from the coffee shop.
Beautiful pictures. This may be one of the themes of the story: that the meaning of life is to fill oneself up with beautiful pictures before leaving it, but the cinematography in this picture is truly breath-taking, especially in its conclusion.
Emotion. There is one requirement of a top-ten movie in my book and that is that it remains moving, that it causes the same emotions to stir, that it continues to raise feeling. This movie has achieved that for me. It is, in a word, Classic. Time and repeated viewing has left it unaltered. Bravo, Mr. Brest! My hat is off to you, sir, when will you direct another?
The subject of debate.. scores high
What brought me into this picture: Dennis Quaid.
What impressed me: the message.
What surprised me: Paul Dooley.
Who scored big: Pucci.
What bothered everyone: we could all guess the ending, sort of.
I have to say this, and I haven't seen every movie Dennis has made, but I keep hoping to see Dennis back in his "crazy as sh*t" jockey movies like The Right Stuff, and Inner Space. That was too long ago but I'm addicted to that and keep looking for it.
It completely fascinates me that there is this much discussion being blogged on this picture. Apparently, a lot of horror freaks were disappointed at the level of action/gore that wasn't. This really isn't scary, this is an "emo" movie -- but that's not a bad thing. I think it addresses a real issue. Sorry it freaked some of the more queasy among you. Yes, the story is unrealistic -- it couldn't have happened -- but let's be honest, okay, very little that we see on screen can and you didn't pay for reality you paid for something different.
One or two, I didn't read past the 3rd page of reviews, complained of "Christian message". Yeah, the movie-makers were very good at keeping true to the words of the bible and Paul Dooley did a very passable priest. Don't know why I don't give that actor more credit than I do, must be previous movies like Strange Brew.. I DO like how centered Dooley was in his role. I could see where Pucci's character could be focused on that message, and I liked how the priest could drive the nail in about love. This is a movie about love and priorities.. it's a movies for parents, not children, and not single people who are not thinking about being parents. I'm surprised no one by the end of the 3rd page of reviews got that: it's obvious the movie-makers did. And since comparisons with Se7en have been made, the latter being slightly more believable, the premise of that movie was crap. Religious nuts aren't that sophisticated. No, this is not a religious movie. Just a movie with a significant message.
The funny thing, to me (talking about movie-making), was that the first body was real but still managed to look like a mannequin (but, then, pictures of shark attack victims rarely look real to me). One reviewer thought it was fake. The movie was shot twice and still wasn't perfect like, say, Deliverance was. I can't put my finger on it, the movie possibly would have been more visceral on the big screen and with the presence of a large audience around the viewer.
Peter Stormare's character could have been developed more, including interaction with Zhang's character. I really don't understand why the outtakes were taken out. But, other than that, I can't say that there was not enough character development -- I do suspect, however, that a grumpy Dennis Quaid (and there are too many movies like this) tromping endlessly around does have somewhat of a nullifying effect. Needs more light, says this cook.
Journey from the Fall (2006)
Tragedy and hope in the real world
The title says more than we initially imagine. I have heard that Mel Gibson wants to make a movie about vikings, their brutality. There may be no need to look that far into the past when evil ripped apart a nation only 35 years ago.
There was a time when popular pressures were forcing an end to American participation in the Vietnam War. Flower children believed they were right. It was a massive political issue in the USA. The problem in Vietnam spawned many very successful motion pictures, mostly about American involvement and the difficulties of fighting conventional war against gorilla warfare tactics. This is a story about what happened to Vietnamese people after the American "support" left.
My hat is off to the film makers of this motion picture. This is a picture that defines the boundaries of what it is to be human. I am fortunate to have watched it. Hope floats.
Experiencing a new life..
Okay, it's a strange summary.. but maybe it sums up what a play originally was about. This movie takes us into the intimate world of an oldest daughter's coming of age in a transient single-parent family. We haven't all experienced this. If we have, this story would be pointless. The point is the differing experience, there is no value in merely reflecting viewers' own realities.
As for me, the drawing card was Winona Ryder. The surprise is the supporting cast: a very young Christine Ricci, wild Cher, horny Bob Hoskins, all make a wonderful compliment to Winona's portrayal of a young woman in the early American sixties.
The movie title is deceptive. I suspect the book would be a little clearer in explaining the meaning. It is Cher who dresses up as a mermaid, yet the characters of Winona and Christine who may be the "mermaids." The story, despite this, is a clearly directed and wholly engaging thought-provoker, and well worth your time in watching it.
The ending redeems a horrific tale!
I kid you not! This movie is not light viewing. It is intense and utterly horrifying to any who value human society. And we are only treated to a microcosm of it! Know that, if you watch until it becomes deeply disturbing, this movie will haunt you. I would guess that is the effect desired by the movie-makers. Together, we are introduced to very human, mostly mundane characters - one parasite. However, this is only pretext to what follows. From this point we are treated to sharp thinking individuals who even after blindness victimize people who are still unwilling to embrace the anarchy. Human greed and selfishness is the ultimate evil but it needed a trigger and global blindness of a sort that is unanticipated by the world is that trigger.
Mark Ruffalo again hits the believability mark along with co-star Julianne Moore. But there are others here, too! Lena Olin look-a-like, Alice Braga (whom we met recently in I Am Legend) plays a visceral role as a conflicted prostitute and, together with Danny Glover (as a kind-hearted, beaten loner), helps us colour a world that would otherwise be a neatly typed piece of paper fresh off the typewriter. Be prepared for Don McKellar (who wrote the screenplay) as the creepy thief, and Gael García Bernal as the King of Ward #3; the focal antagonists in this tale.
There are some other familiar faces in this story as well: Maury Chaykin, whom we have seen in older stories, Sandra Oh, and Dominic Monaghan and Adrien Brody in less substantial roles.
There are new faces with substantial roles here. Two in particular; Yusuke Iseya (Sukiyaki Western Django) and Yoshino Kimura (also of Sukiyaki Western Django), as the blind Japanese couple.
Be prepared for nudity at its least seductive. The director, Fernando Meirelles, is aiming for and attaining realism. Its hard to get cheap thrills out of this if that is your intention. This is a hard-hitting motion picture with no sense of humour. Personally, I'd rather watch a comic-based film than this but if you do watch it, make yourself watch it to the end credits. The ending will help your experience, like the final long stretch of a roller coaster settles your nerves. Think Deliverance, or something like it.