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Bottle Shock (2008)
Bottle Shock is a great date movie for those over thirty.
19 August 2008
Bottle Shock was a delightful film and a glimpse into the world of wine, which I knew little about. It was also a pleasant visit to the 70s with the clothes, cars and period interests. It was beautifully shot and deftly directed with a nice lean script full of wonderful moments and anecdotes. The pictures moves lightly along as we follow to two main stories, two groups of people at a nexus in their lives – an English wine connoisseur (Alan Rickman) and an American wine grower (Bill Pullman and his family.) Both factions are stalled in their lives on different continents. And both are in need of a change that would make a difference. So it's their coming together that truly makes this film delight and magical. All the cast are wonderful, particularly Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman and Chris Pine. Bottle Shock is a great date movie for those over thirty.
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Despiser (2003 Video)
An imaginative and cool fantasy!
10 August 2004
DESPISER is a wild little film. Made for almost nothing, I found it refreshing and innovative for its budget. I could easily have seen this as a main stream Hollywood flick with some star power and money behind it -- an imaginative and cool fantasy. It's certainly better than most of the shot on video features that liter the shelves of rental stores.

There is undeniably a lot to enjoy in Despiser. It's an ambitious project … Given its budget, it achieves much… I'd like to see what Phil Cook could do with some Hollywood resources or even some decent indie financial backing. If you like a fantasy adventure that's not cynical, has a lot of action and an fairly original storyline, check it out. If your in it just for T&A and blood and an gore, it won't be your cup of tea.
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Thunderbirds (2004)
Thunderbirds was a blast!
10 August 2004
I had real trepidations about this picture but wound up enjoying it quite a bit. Although `I' enjoyed it, I wonder who green-lighted this project since it lacks the cynicism of most contemporary films today. THUNDERBIRDS was a wholesome, exciting light hearted adventure. Hopefully it will do well on home video. I loved the bright art direction and audacious technology. Tracy Island was brilliant in its 60's retro, hip, `the way the future was' kind of way .The effects were well executed with a combination of CG recreations of the ships in tandem with miniatures. `Old school' meets `new school' effects. The designs for the Thunderbirds were updated well and kept all of their original design charms but with added believability. Frakes did a competent job directing. There's a brief wonderful moment where you can actually see strings on one of the character's hands. I thought I was seeing things but had this confirmed by a friend -- nice touch. Ben Kingsley does a fine job actually conveying a bit of empathy for a two dimensional character. Why was Gerry Anderson not credited anywhere?
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Helen of Troy (2003– )
Intriguing Story
12 January 2004
It's not often that viewers are treated to a made-for-TV miniseries that is done with as much care as Helen of Troy. From the pastel colors of the ancient city to the Greek fleet, there is much to feast your eyes on. But that's not all, the story is rivetting and excellently acted. If you didn't understand how nations could go to war over Helen, you will now. And Rufus Sewell brings Agamemnon to life as a real person whose flaws are deadly. The sacrifice of Iphigenia is breath-taking. You will understand the motivation behind such a seemingly barbarious act. We all know the Trojan horse seals the victory for the Greeks, but we've never been treated to such images of it before. There are many details which demonstrate that the writer was truly gifted - there wasn't a dry stretch in the old story. Excellently acted, gorgeously filmed, intriguing story.
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Warrior Queen (2003)
Inspiring Tribute
12 January 2004
I loved Alex Kingston (of ER and numerous British period pieces) as the fierce, yet human Queen Boudica (also spelled Boadicea)! She was believably tough, yet believably naive in her struggles with the overwhelming forces of Rome. The whole plot boils down to a clash of two cultures: one ancient and decentralized and one a "modern" empire which butchers with ruthless efficiency. An inspiring tribute to the human spirit!
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Attila (2001)
Utterly Riveting
12 January 2004
`Attila" the film is a biopic of that great Hun who was not only the uniter of his people but a conqueror of world-class dimension if by "world" we mean Eurasia/Asia Minor. He was uncouth, bloody, savage, unaccustomed to the usual rules of brigade-oriented warfare; yet he was also a shrewd tactician who cared deeply about the welfare of his people, genuinely believed his conquered subjects were better off under him, and therefore strived to rule with justice. The adult Attila is played by Gerard Butler, who is quite good at capturing Attila's warlike side and his more cerebral, introspective side. As Attila goes from becoming a mere chieftan to the ruler of an empire, his challenges go from providing his people mere sustenance to outthinking those clever Romans and outfighting those vicious Visigoths. Along the way he encounters his share of personal triumphs and tragedies and Butler plays this meaty role with relish. There isn't a false note among the supporting cast, most of whom will be unknown to American audiences, but look for Tim Curry as a Byzantine politician in, well, Byzantium. The production standards for this epic are of cinematic quality, and if not for its relatively long length this piece could easily have played in American movie houses. Just because it was commissioned by the USA Network, don't assume there were any movie-of-the-week shortcuts taken in locations, casting, writing or direction, all of which are first-rate. "Attila" has an old-fashioned feel for what an historical epic should be, and I mean that as a compliment. I found this movie utterly riveting. I do not assume it represents the full truth, for movie epics of this type are usually written to set up historical coincidences that did not exist in fact. The plot line is so strong that the film should really be seen straight through in one evening.
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Despiser (2003 Video)
I got it and I liked DESPISER!
16 May 2003
DESPISER is different--different in the way MOULIN ROUGE or TRON are stylized in their own unique looks. It's an arty genre film that rises above the ghetto of most direct to video horror releases. First impression, based on the cover art, you think it's a creature film. But it's much more-it's a dark imaginative fantasy. For a low budget video-flick, I found it refreshing, ambitious and original in its hyper-stylized look and computer generated imagery. The film is presented in broad strokes, exaggerated and operatic in audacity. The colors are brilliant; the action exaggerated; the pace brisk; the acting competent; the premise and sense of quest intriguing. Based on some the other comments I've read on the IMDB, perhaps it's just not cynical enough to appeal to today's jaded audience weened on hundred million pieces of entertainment. For me it had something to say that was presented in a unique way. It had a soul. I got it and I liked DESPISER.
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