Reviews

732 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Spotlight (I) (2015)
9/10
If there were 90 of these bastards, people would know.
25 February 2016
It is no secret that I left the Church for many years after they failed to deal with the abuse scandal. Like the Globe personnel, I had no idea of the scope of the problem. I was just angry that those responsible had gotten away with it.

The Globe thought this story was worthwhile when they had uncovered 13 priests that abused children. When they discovered it was closer to 90, they were shocked. The eventual number in Boston was 186! This is not surprising when it is estimated that 50% of all priests are not celibate.

Mark Ruffalo was amazing in this film, and Rachel McAdams was superb. Neither will likely win awards in a year of fantastic performances, but there is a chance the film may steal an Oscar. It would be a great thing.

The film was very difficult for a Catholic to watch, but it was definitely worth it. Unlike the recent documentary, Mea Maxima Culpa, it focused on the Globe and the story, and not the abuse.
13 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Serving brains as Communion?
8 February 2016
I have to admit that when I read the book, it was the first Jane Austen I had ever read. I found it to be a fascinating mash-up. I was curious to see how it played on the big screen and was not totally disappointed in the effort.

I must confess that I watched the Kiera Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice to get some feel for the story on film. That was a mistake as all the characters in this film suffered in comparison. Lily James (Lady Rose from Downton Abbey) gave a valiant effort, but Knightly was far superior in the lead role.

I did not find the violence to be excessive, but the idea of brains as Communion was gross.
13 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Philomena (2013)
8/10
But I don't wanna hate people. I don't wanna be like you
24 September 2015
The abuses of the Church through the Magdalene Sisters is in the background of this exciting film that features Judy Dench as a mother searching for the son that was taken from here 50 years previously.

She is paired with Steve Coogan, a sacked journalist after a human interest story. They made a strange pair as they journeyed to America to find her son.

Prejudice and misunderstandings prevented the two from being reunited, but the story was fascinating and surprising.

I even enjoyed seeing Anna Maxwell Martin from Bletchley Circle. What a thrill.
14 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Rage (2014)
6/10
Greek tragedy
3 September 2015
In my effort to see as many films of last years as I can, I come across a typical revenge film that is indicative of a Euripides tragedy. Reason giving was to passion as the protagonist attempts to avenge the death of his daughter.

At the end, one thinks of Karma at work. The sins of the past being balanced in the future.

But is is those sins that cause me to think throughout this movie. I see an Irish Catholic boy in Paul (Nicolas Cage) who presumably confessed his sins and received absolution, and who then went on to perform great works to put that sinful life behind him.

But, I also see the stain of those sins remaining in his heart and soul. They never truly go away, and he reverts to his previous character and commits even greater sins as his passions consume him.

Passion overcomes reason and causes Paul to reject those who love him, and to hurt his friends as well as his enemies.

The sins of the father are visited upon the son, or in this case upon the daughter, played by Aubrey Peeples of Lake Mary, Florida, and a famed Sharknado actor.
14 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (2015 TV Movie)
4/10
Ann Coulter? Mark Cuban? The Hoff? Geez!
24 July 2015
OK, you don't expect much from these films, but at least they could get the President right. Tim Russ would have been better as the President than as a General. Ann Coulter as Vice-President? Come on, that is really science fiction.

I was forced to watch this as it was filmed in Orlando.

Sharks dropping on the Daytona 500; hat is a race I would watch.

The worst part of watching this movie is that it was on Syfy. Stupid tweets like "Best movie I have ever seen," and even worse commercials.

And the ending - ugh!

Please tell me that there won't be another.
15 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Matrix (1999)
9/10
...it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.
23 July 2015
I remember taking a class in social psychology many years ago. The Joy Luck Club figured prominently in the course. I like the idea of combining movies and theory.

I am now studying metaphysics, and any study of reality begins with René Descartes, the father of modern philosophy. Descartes began his intellectual odyssey with this question: How do we know that there is a reality outside our own minds? We each know that we have experiences, and we can be sure of these experiences; therefore, each of us can be sure that we exist. But how do we know that the internal experiences we have corresponds to objects outside our minds?

This is the whole theme of The Matrix. Watching this film is like studying metaphysics.
15 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Wild (I) (2014)
9/10
Finding your strength within
22 July 2015
Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern got well deserved Oscar nominations for their roles in this film. In fact, I cannot fathom how Witherspoon was denied a win.

I won't fall into the trap of comparing this film to the book. The book was the best one I read last year, and I thought it unfilmable. I was surprised at how well the film managed to capture the essential elements of the book.

The key was not the Pacific Coast Trail, but Cheryl Strayed's journey into self-discovery. The point where she fell to her knees in tears was the culmination of pain in her life, and the realization of her love for her mother.

This is definitely a film to watch more than once.
11 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Unbroken (I) (2014)
8/10
A good introduction to the book
10 July 2015
I never compare books and movies, but one thing the book has over the movie was the distinct unpreparedness we had for war. The planes were flying deathtraps, and the supplies were totally inadequate.

Angelina Jolie had to make decisions about what to include and exclude in a two-hour film, so we missed a lot of important information that was in the book. No matter, the film itself was well worth watching. Not a great film, but entertaining.

If you want to be shocked and angered at the aircraft manufacturers, the military that failed to supply the troops ( where have we heard that before?), and the absolute barbarity of the Japanese in their prison camps, buy the book.

Come to think about it, watching the film will help you appreciate the book so much more.
12 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Crossfire (1947)
7/10
He's been dead for a long time and didn't even know it.
19 June 2015
Ripped from the headlines. This film could easily been made after this week's mass shooting in South Carolina, but it comes from 1947, just after the war.

Nothing much has changed in the intervening 68 years. We still have haters walking the streets, and people are still murdered with a motive that comes from within the killer.

Robert Young (Marcus Welby and Father Knows Best) is a bit out of character as he police detective trying to solve a murder involving three soldiers. He does a great job of getting to the crux of the matter - hate.

Robert Mitchum is a Sergeant trying to help solve the crime, and Robert Ryan got a Supporting Actor nomination for his role as the murderer.

An excellent message wrapped up in a noir drama. As important today as it was in 1947.
11 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
...and all of a sudden, you know a whole damn lot about my business!
13 June 2015
I don't know how I missed this film for 40 years, but I corrected that mistake.

Not a blockbuster, with the only outstanding features being the cinematography and special effects, it is nevertheless a taut cold war thriller.

The interplay between Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine. Patrick McGoohan, and to a lesser extent, Jim Brown made this a film where you are constantly focused on who is the good guy, and who is the bad.

Long at 148 minutes, it never lags. There is a very good reason why Alistair MacLean novels make good pictures,
16 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Personally, Veda's convinced me that alligators have the right idea. They eat their young.
12 June 2015
Six shots fired and a man falls down dead. Shortly thereafter, we meet a desperate Mildred Pierce who walks along the streets of the night. After a policeman prevented her from jumping into the river, she ends up at a bar where an old acquaintance flirts uncontrollably. They go to her house on the beach, from Mildred suddenly quickly departs. It turns out that it was in this house that the man was shot and soon the police on the spot. During interrogation begins the story of what led up to that fateful night. Mildred tells how she differs from her husband, working upward as a business woman and how she is willing to do absolutely everything to their already spoiled daughter Veda.

Mildred Pierce literally sparkles. Director Michael Curtiz, probably best known for Casablanca, knows how to get the luxurious feel of a grand noir drama. Elegant small transitions, meticulous and dramatic lighting applications, all in classic Hollywood manner, where nothing is left to chance.

The dialog is fabulous. Mildred's right hand Ida is so cool, with the hatching of witty one-liners. Even the ever-swarming Wally Fay is constantly exciting to listen to.

The story in itself is exciting, where you always know roughly how it will end, but not why or what role some of the characters will play. The characters are the driving force. It's about Mildred's efforts to give their daughters the life she had wanted, although it also means she does not listen to what they really want. Then there is a former spouse who is living his new life in the periphery, the friend who is helpful, but not without being sure to reap the rewards of Mildred's success and even a new one that might not be what he appears to be.

Crawford got a well-deserved Oscar for this film.
11 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Detour (1945)
7/10
That's life. Whichever way you turn, Fate sticks out a foot to trip you.
12 June 2015
When the pianist Al Roberts gets tired of being miserable and missing his girlfriend who traveled across the country to seek her fortune in Hollywood, he decides to leave New York behind. He has no money to pay for the trip from one coast to the other, so he decides to hitchhike, something that proves to be his downfall. A man who picked him up dies during the journey and Al panics when he pessimistically expects to be accused of the death. He steals not only the man's car, but also his identity and stows away the corpse in a ditch. He then decides to pick up a hitchhiker named Vera, but he will soon regret it because she seems to know his dark secret and will not hesitate to take advantage of it.

The story feels more than a little strained on more than one occasion. It's hard not to fall in love the hopelessness that constitutes Detour. A low-budget thriller directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. Sure, it's an extremely simple B-movie, but it is packed full of interesting quotes, friendly cynicism, pitch black darkness and at least as much rain. It is insanely entertaining to see Vera and Al throw sharp barbs at each other while the tones are so miserable that they find it hard to laugh at them.

With a playing time of over 70 minutes says Detour goodbye long before it has time to start to feel tiring.
11 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
You're not a detective, you're a slot machine. You'd slit your own throat for 6 bits plus tax.
12 June 2015
Produced by the legendary RKO during the golden age of American film noir, Murder, My Sweet remains to this day one of the best adaptations of the adventures of Philip Marlowe.

The mythical antihero Raymond Chandler had a slew of excellent adaptations to the big screen including The Big Sleep by Howard Hawks and The Private by Robert Altman. Philip Marlowe has inspired dozens of imitators and one can still find his DNA in the chronic darkness of James Ellroy.

Everything is there: the smoky bars populated by exotic dancers, the femme fatale, the weary detective who is constantly beaten up after his hilarious escapades, etc. To this Dmytryk adds a few original touches straight out of German Expressionism.

Humphrey Bogart will overshadow him a few years later, but Dick Powell portrays a Philip Marlowe deeply funny, always ready to deliver a good line. A memorable performance, although the actor did not necessarily look the part. Powell is accompanied by excellent supporting characters, including two femmes fatales Claire Trevor and Anne Shirley. In the role "Moose" Malloy, Mike Mazurki intimidates while managing to remain touching. As for Otto Kruger, he plays a deliciously evil villain. Scripted by John Paxton, the film is somewhat watered down compared to the Chandler novel, he nevertheless manages to bring out the very substance without too many sacrifices.

Murder, My Sweet is a fine example of film noir.
13 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Your glasses are always dirty.
25 February 2015
One might think that this movie would be about esoteric theories that are beyond the capacity for most people.

You would be so wrong!

This was probably the best love story I have ever seen. I was on the edge of my seat watching Jane Hawking (Felicity Jones) as she did more and more amazing acts of love for Stephan Hawking (Eddie Redmayne). I cannot imagine anyone that fits the definition of love more than she did.

Redmayne was brilliant as Hawking.

Anthony McCarten took Jane Hawing's book and wrote a screenplay that was a thrill to watch.
17 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Keep your hands off my lobby boy!
4 February 2015
The Grand Hotel Budapest is a zany, colorful and fascinating journey through old postcard Europe, such as only Hollywood can think of. With his old, almost square picture format Wes Anderson pays tribute to recent days, but with the whole movie. In addition to his brilliant humor and endearing characters, this film captures gems with seemingly small details and meticulous compositions. For me, now one of the funniest and most original movies of 2014.

The style is unique. You will either like it or you won't. There is no middle ground here.

With too many great actors to mention, they all gave outstanding performance that will keep you enchanted.
11 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Mother always said you were greedy
2 November 2014
John Landis has directed a brilliant original screenplay by Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod.

Eddie Murphy is absolutely hilarious as a street hustler that was placed in the world of options trading by a couple of old farts who just like to bet with each other.

Of course on the opposite side, the real options trader, Dan Aykroyd, is dumped on the street.

Coming to save the day is Jamie Lee Curtis, who is funny and hot as a prostitute who feels sorry for Winthorpe (Ackroyd).

Denholm Elliott is positively lovable as the butler. Don Ameche and Ralph Bellemy play the betting Duke brothers.

SKIN-TASTIC Moment: In front of a mirror (and Dan Aykroyd) hooker- with-a-chest-of-gold Jamie Lee doffs her top and lets loose her magnificent money-markers in one of history's all-time hottest topless scenes.
12 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
What does it mean? What does it mean?
2 November 2014
How appropriate that I start holiday viewing with a film that bridges Halloween and Christmas.

Now, I am not a fan of animated films, but this isn't the usually animation you find in Disney films.

It is call stop-motion animation, and it looks very realistic.

Now, Jack Skellington from Halloweentown (voiced by Chris Sarandon and Danny Elfman (the singing), is really getting bored with Halloween - the same thing every year, and he goes walking in the forest and enters the door for Christmastown.

He gets excited about Christmas, and tries to institute it in Halloweentown. Unfortunately, he doesn't understand the concept and it turns out badly. They even kidnap Santa Claus (voiced by Edward Ivory).

And, can you believe they even wove a love story in here.

The film is full of interesting characters, of course, and some really good music. It is a visual feast.
10 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Brighton Rock (2010)
6/10
I was fond of him. poor old Fred.
26 October 2014
Sometimes it's a character you liked that attracts, like the role Philip Davis played in Midsomer Murders. Other times it's to see a great star like Helen Mirren.

Whatever the reason, it's always good to see a film based on a Graham Greene novel, like The Third Man, This Gun for Hire, The Quiet American, and many more.

A young Richard Attenborough played in this movie in the 40's, here is falls to Sam Riley (Control, Maleficent) to play the lead. He is capably assisted by Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion, Shadow Dancer), as the waitress he marries to keep her from testifying as a witness.

A good neo-noir with contributions from William Hurt and Nonso Anozie (The Grey, Game of Thrones).
11 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Murder on the Home Front (2013 TV Movie)
7/10
You have a devious streak, Miss Cooper. I like that in a woman.
26 October 2014
Patrick Kennedy would not be unfamiliar to most viewers. He can be see in Downton Abbey, Boardwalk Empire. Day of Atonement, War Horse, and Pirates of the Caribbean, to name a few.

Her he is a doctor in wartime London trying to school the police in forensic science as he attempts to determine cause and criminal in several murders.

There is a bit of Foyle's War here, but the focus is on Doctor Collins, not the police.

He is assisted by Molly Cooper (Tamzin Merchant), who I imagine is a stand in for the author Molly Lefebure, upon which the film is derived by her memoirs.

Of course, the government is not above protecting a killer to aid the war effort.
12 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Lots of eye candy
26 October 2014
Scandalous underage porn stars, especially if they boast the sultry succulence of infamous jail bait Traci Lords, do not simply fade into the smoggy California sunset once they reach 18 years of age.

They go mainstream, which accounts for the existence of Not of This Earth (1988). A remake of a 1957 Roger Corman sci-fi horror flick, this late 1980s version updates the original with a thoroughly- modern surplus of plump and quivering, comely female chest flesh.

Fans of the candy-striper fetish will be pleased to see tasty Traci parading around as a private nurse to a bloodthirsty alien.

Connoisseurs of red-blooded romance will be happy to note that the space freak feasts on a high-school hussy, three hookers and a strip-o-gram gal, most of whom fish out the floppers prior to falling prey.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
You mean to tell me that the ancestors are still alive?
23 October 2014
Amando de Ossorio was one of the great directors of Spanish horror, and this film, also known as Malenka, occurs when he was really hitting this stride.

There are reportedly three versions of this film, and this one is the best. It is a beautiful print, and we see Swedish star Anita Ekberg (La Dolce Vita, Boccaccio '70, Killer Nun) in all her beauty.

It is a campy film, so there is no nudity or blood here. Despite the buxom women throughout, it is harmless fun.

Sometimes a vampire movie is more than blood and nudity. Sometimes, it's just a great way to kill 75 minutes.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Blood Reunion (2012)
5/10
She's coming for revenge!
23 October 2014
There is no way of knowing where this was filmed, but am guessing from all the Texas connections to the director and some actors, it was done there.

It is not a terrible film, but the local flavor is certainly there, you know, using family and friends to do the film. It really seems that way.

April Hartman did a credible job in the lead as Janeth.

This not your typical vampire film. There is brief nudity, but no blood.

The end for Janeth's mom (Paula Marcenaro Solinger) was pretty lame.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Maniac (2012)
6/10
Frank, are you OK?
22 October 2014
Scalps? This guy collects scalps to paste on his dolls? What a weirdo!

Now, there was a 1980 flick of the same name, but don't confuse the two. This is not a remake. It stands on it's own

Frank (Elijah Wood) has mommy issues. Don't they all? He manages to suppress them for a while. Thai is, until he meets Anna (Nora Arnezeder), and he feels the old familiar stirrings,

The film is mostly shot from Frank's POV. I am not a fan of that, but it is not too distracting.

Very, very bloody.

My,o my, what an ending!
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Kill List (2011)
8/10
They are bad people. They should suffer.
22 October 2014
Two Iraq War veterans turn into dysfunctional hit-men in a blend of domestic soap, urban thriller, and Wicker Man–like horror.

The domestic drama is violent in the way that Jay (Neil Maskell) has not worked in eight months, and his wife (MyAnna Buring) is certainly getting tired of it. Their child is subjected to a constant barrage of screaming. Amid the shouting, there is a couple of things that don't fit, and give a clue that there is more to the film than we would expect.

When Jay teams up with Gal (Michael Smiley) to do some dirty work, Shel (Buring) seems to be all forgiving. So this switches to a crime drama? Not exactly. It's more violent than one would expect. A simple hit turns into a bloody mess, and, again, strange clues abound. Jay is deteriorating rapidly. The horror at the end may sicken many. For many, it will be unexpected, but I am told that is a feature of Ben Wheatley's films. The clues are there throughout the film.

It is true horror.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Black Sunday (1960)
8/10
You have no reason to fear the dead. They sleep very soundly.
21 October 2014
While this was not the first of Barbara Steele's films, it is the one that made her, thanks to the work of Mario Bava.

This was Bava's first feature film. He has done some shorts and documentaries, and has finished some films others started, but this was his from start to finish.

His career as a cinematographer served him well as he also did the cinematography on this film. It was that that really makes the film.

The music and sound effects also add immensely to the atmosphere.

A brilliant film.

Steele was fantastic.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.