Reviews

36 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Prometheus (I) (2012)
8/10
A Good Summer Popcorn Muncher
16 June 2012
As I don't watch television or read pop-culture magazines I only became aware of this film via mention on the BBC World Service. Ridley Scott on a prequel to Alien, eh? As long as it doesn't have the beaten to death theme of people being picked off, one by one I could probably sit through it. Professional review was something Luke-warm, which doesn't bother me, some reviewers are too long in their own cocoons, forgot their childhoods, whatever.

Out to see it this afternoon and went the extra yard for 3D, which did add a bit to the experience, as there's some nice scenes in there. The film moves along a pretty brisk clip, the only issue I have is what a load of cowboys anthropologists of the future are -- not spending any time at all to screen for biological problems, possibility of inhabitation, dangerous fauna, they charge right in. Well, that's par for the course I guess, otherwise I rather enjoyed seeing how things would develop and was quite happy there wasn't a lot of dwelling on one scene or other. The opening sequence certainly left a riddle. Also I see the prequel offers a new fork for it's own path of exploration. Neatly done.

All in all, a good film if you can detach yourself from reality or being too skeptical about things. Wouldn't mind watching again.
0 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Invictus (2009)
10/10
Inspirational and uplifting story
13 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Clint Eastwood can seemingly do no wrong as this is yet another masterpiece from the veteran actor and director. A strong cast, including Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon. Portrayed is the the conversion of a lackluster South Africa national rugby union team to 1995 Rugby World Cup winners and focus for a reborn South Africa.

The setting and music paints an image of a bitterly divided country being gently brought together. Echos of apartheid linger and Nelson Mandela artfully turns the Springboks from a symbol of white South Africa to the team of the nation. Music and stadium scenes are quite overwhelming, while scenes of the mostly white team touring the black townships and building bonds with the children of black South Africa are heartwarming to say the least.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Doubt (I) (2008)
7/10
Good acting, but not gripping Oscar worth? Hmm..
11 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I knew little about this film going in. The trailers were of course a jumble of scenes which gave some idea of what the film was about. While watching I had the feeling I was watching a play. I don't have that feeling very often. Typical Hollywood fare is highly predictable, littered with lame humour and the obligatory fireball explosions even where orange flame wouldn't be right. But this isn't the typical, this is a serious production on a serious subject, but still felt predictable in some unfathomable way.

Strong performances by Meryl Streep, Philip S. Hoffman and Amy Adams, but I felt the real standout was Viola Davis as Donald's mother. I'm feeling Hoffman is being overused as he has been in several films I have seen in the past two years so the illusion of him as a priest isn't quite working.

After seeing the film I was informed it was indeed adapted from a play. Hmm. So why in the adaptation doesn't it lose the feel? All in all it was an interesting film about a world, an Inner City Catholic School unlike that which I was raised in and was perhaps unintentionally informative. But not compelling enough to recommend to others or a film I'd see again.
1 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Milk (I) (2008)
10/10
A Page From History and a Civil Rights Story
8 December 2008
I'm a stranger to California. When I heard of the assassination of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk I had little idea what it meant, aside the tragedy of two lives stolen through murder.

The film tells as much a civil rights story as it does the personal story of Harvey Milk. Sean Penn gives such a convincing performance I'm frequently believing I'm watching Milk, but Penn isn't the only strong performance in this film, the entire cast is strong and I feel I'm watching history re-enacted in the place and time of events.

How faithful is Milk to actual history? That I cannot say, aside liberties must have been taken at various points because the dead are not here to tell how it was, but as a film underscoring a branch of civil rights it makes a convincing point. Particularly after the passing of California Proposition 8 and other anti-gay rights measures around the United States.
9 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
More Bond For Your Buck
16 November 2008
Yes, I did rate this a 10. I found Quantum of Solace to be an excellent continuation from Casino Royale with action, plot and good acting.

Quantum of Solace is not your father's James Bond, he's tough, resourceful and has his flaws, all the more to keep interest pegged. Daniel Craig is still a very convincing 007, Mathieu Amalric (brilliant in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) plays a ruthless and delightful part in the cast of villains, Olga Kurylenko a fantastic Bond Girl (almost scrubs the horrible Halle Berry part from memory.) There's a bit of travel, to locales not as romantic as in the old Bond films, this is a back to basics thriller, not all special assignments are to the beauty spots of the world. CIA and MI6 are painted in more shades of grey then before. It's murky business when politics, business and intelligence collide, isn't it? I'd see this one again, so much happening I swear I missed quite a bit. Good stuff. I also appreciate where there appear to be jumps in the story, with potential scenes left out - really, did I need to see some mundane stuff to stretch out the film and slow the pace down? Nope. I'm fine with it. A super popcorn flik if ever there was one.
6 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Appaloosa (2008)
7/10
Decent Early Effort from Ed Harris
26 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I liked much of the acting, the story, the pace and quite a lot of the sets, but the music had some odd and distracting choices. One scene shows an evening view of the marshall's office and some blues music is played, which seems extremely out of place (like the rock tune during the credits.) A strong cast and a believable setting, but some language sounds a bit too much like present day speech to be believable. Also, some sets looked too much like a visit to a museum, possibly a bit overdone on the realism in a few areas.

Ed Harris plays a contract for hire peacemaker who is skilled and has possesses a good bit of sense in regard to law and justice, but seems humanly lacking in worldliness. Viggo Mortensen plays a strong supporting character, all but overshadowing Harris' character. The good and the bad have sufficient shades of grey to remind me of the realistic series of Gunsmoke radio place. With a bit of tweaking this could have been Gunsmoke, to be honest.

An enjoyable popcorn muncher I wouldn't mind seeing again.
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
Mild Mild Waste
14 October 2008
The moment I heard Will Smith was cast for the roll of James West I began to have my doubts. Will Smith has proved to be a fine actor in some recent roles, but at the time of this film he was still The Fresh Prince and that image was hard to shake. It was also hard to reconcile as an agent in 19th century America. It was like the 1980's had somehow merged with the late 1800's and produced something mutant.

I found the humour, plot and acting uninteresting. It says something when you feel after 30 minutes you're money and time could have been spent elsewhere. The inside jokes and re-imagining did nothing to help matters. I'm in no hurry to see this again, though as a fan of the original television show I'd love to see someone take a more serious whack at this in a few years. More dramatic, darker, but with the occasional wit faithful to the TV show.
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
A Telling Documentary
20 July 2008
Sorry if you were looking for Wall-E or something else 'feel good', this is a documentary focusing on two young people at the center of change in China. The Three Gorges Dam, at the time of filming was beginning to flood areas where about 2 million people were being displaced, as we are told, for the good of the country, which appears a phrase parroted enough in the belief it will come true.

'Jerry' is a Have, while 'Cindy' is a 'have not.' Both seek employment on a cruise ship for western tourists. Little is told of Jerry's family, which is apparently better off than Cindy's, which the film focuses on. Cindy's family are poor farmers who are doing fairly well, but know everything will change when their home and fields will be flooded. The hardship of change is clear and Cindy works hard to help support her family. Jerry doesn't show the same work ethic, which leaves the viewer to draw their own conclusion of traditional vs. modern values.

Quite a lot of detail on modern China is available to the viewer, including frequent complaints of corruption. I was moved considerably by the contrasts and the snips of history, which show not all have prospered in modern China, though there is again parroted belief that anyone can succeed. It was also a bit surprising to see in China High School education is not a given for everyone.

I found this to be a very informative and well done documentary and highly recommend it to anyone wishing to see the changes and impact of this dubious national project.
12 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Iron Man (2008)
8/10
Finally, one gets it right
12 May 2008
Robert Downey Jr. was a perfect match for Tony Stark. Well cast and well played. Performances by Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow and Terrence Howard are also a marked step up from the pale fare of supporting actors. There is good delivery of dry humour and the acting doesn't feel in any way forced. Well done cast and director Jon Favreau! The film moves along well, the story is interesting without being inexplicable and ends with my interest piqued to see where this next goes. Hopefully Robert will be back.

Iron Man received very good reviews from people whose opinions I respected. Prior Super Hero/Comic Book crossovers to film had left me crossing them all off my theatre-going wish-list. Trailers before the film mean I will most likely be passing on the latest installments of Hulk and Batman and I was a bit worried I was in for a let down. I'll wait a week after opening on those titles. Hopefully we will never see another Spider-man 3.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
4/10
Uninteresting dysfunctional family tale
1 January 2008
Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm just not up for this sort of film. After about 30 minutes I began to regret coming in to see this show. I know many people whom this film could be a documentary about. There was nothing very gripping, details eluded me and I figured I must have missed a few things, because I found myself wondering where certain relationships or details were established.

It could also be be because I had the day before viewed a really good film, which was clever and fun to watch. This reminds me of the sort of soaps I watched while home from school on a sick day, but not quite as shallow. I'm in no hurry to watch this again. Maybe the writer is brilliant to some people, but I couldn't figure out how this was noteworthy enough to make a film of.
1 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
A Spectacular film
25 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Alright, I'm just in off the street and know zilch nada about this film or reviews. I've seen trailers/teasers for it and thought it looked promising.

Heck yes. One of the best films I've ever seen, and I've probably seen about as many as Mr. Ebert. I never saw or heard what he said until a moment ago in another post on this film. I think it makes Fight Club look like a soap commercial.

I love deep films with meandering plots, as long as there's a point to them and this one is that and chips. I have no problem giving this spectacular, often funny and very clever film 9 out of 10. It will be a cult classic, that can be counted upon.

So much good acting and a story the viewer must pay some attention to. Great settings and some real eye-candy at the end.
7 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Brilliant! The rest is details.
18 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
A gritty tale, not just of crime and people who will do anything for drugs and money, remember the title and how the film starts. Definitely not your typical Hollywood fare with predictable actions and outcome, it this didn't play out in real life somewhere at some time, you could easily imagine it could the story is so well written and the film so well acted.

Some may get the wrong impression, how such a film should end based upon their training by scores of films and feel let down by the ending. Again, recall the title, this isn't Pulp Fiction.

I highly recommend and would see again.
3 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
A film which should be on Prime Time television
17 September 2007
Summed up in this documentary film are the decisions and consequences of invading Iraq. It is presented in a factual and nonhumourous manner, without apparent axe to grind.

Iraq was invaded for what were certainly dubious reasons, which have each come to light and been discredited in turn since the invasion, including the Joseph Wilson/Valerie Plame affair. Eventually President George W. Bush would distance himself from the original WMD and terrorism claims used to justify invasion of this country and would be somewhere along the lines of it being a justifiable thing to depose a dictator who killed his own countrymen.

Present are interviews with people on the ground or deeply involved in Iraq from former administration people such as Richard Armitage to Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), United Nations, soldiers and Iraqi people. The tally is grim as each tells of of the arrogance, mismanagement or blind stupidity which contributes to the situation in Iraq.

As a student of World War II I was utterly flummoxed by the decision to route the Ba'athists from their jobs and to disband a military of 500,000 professional soldiers, leaving them no way to support their families. Following the tide of the allies across Germany, local police, politicians and government workers were largely left in place to maintain order and services so as not to encumber the allied effort. After victory was achieved came the search for and punishment of the guilty.

But in Iraq the failure to follow a successful lesson from the past led to looting (while marines without orders to prevent it, stood by) and destruction of the institutions the people of Iraq would need to depend upon. In two fell swoops L. Paul Bremmer declared over half a million Iraqis guilty and condemned them for being members of the Ba'athist Party or Saddam's military. How utterly blind and foolish this shows when the viewer can see compressed into the span of a film how missteps contributed to the worsening of conditions and the mounting cost of operations. Small wonder Iraqis despise Americans when the viewer sees a segment of film made by a contractor, shooting innocent Iraqis from the back of a truck with impunity.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld comes across as a glib conductor of public relations as things descend into chaos and the viewer will be left with the impression he was not merely inept, but a blithering idiot. I'm not convinced Rumsfeld was a fool, but clearly a lot of things were done wrong and it all smells like a Bay of Pigs mentality.

Everyone should see this and were it within my means I would sponsor its screening on prime time television so all people have the means to see the path of errors and the will to turn blind eyes which lead to this humanitarian disaster.

As of today, Iraq is a fractured nation of religious parties and warlords vying for power. Militias are large, well armed and ruthless. Pulling out will certainly mean a bloodbath, but remaining in Iraq will only hold off the inevitable. Pandoras box is truly emptied and there's very little hope left. Tragically a few intelligent decisions here and there which could have made the difference were not made. For want of a nail the kingdom was lost.
49 out of 56 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Transformers (2007)
9/10
That there's one Awesome flick
4 July 2007
I'd been psyched up a bit after hearing about this film for months, back into 2006 even. Leaked pictures and rumours piqued my interest and I hoped beyond hope it wouldn't be bogged down in some meaningless tale (a la Spider-Man 3) or be utterly preposterous (geared towards fans or kiddies only.) As it turned out the film has a couple human threads entwined in the tale of the Transformers. Some of it's cute, a good bit of humour and doesn't get bogged down in it. Some of it is silly, but it still works well as an action movie. Optimimus Prime (and the other autobots) are bit bit impatient and it's inspired comedy to watch these metal monsters creeping around and trying to hide.

The action sequences are fast, very fast. I have been informed I missed a couple details, not necessary to enjoying the film, but perhaps meaningful to the character of a certain Decepticon. The action moves along very well and when the final battle takes place it's fast and furious. Saturday morning cartoons were never like this. The Transformers were never like this and this, this is GREAT! For those looking to nitpick plot-holes or the re-imagining of your childhood, you may as well stay home and play with your Rockem-Sockem Robots, because this is going to be different. I didn't mind one bit as I was watching a spectacle which suited the big screen. I'll see this again and again. Fun and exciting, well executed.

To Mr. Bay and his team, well done lads! Well done!
0 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
A fine film, but keep your head
18 June 2007
For me the song La Vie En Rose was only known through the performance of Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, though I did see the trailer for this film and was quite intrigued enough to view it.

It is a powerful film, though at times I grew tired of the timeshifting, sometimes without warning (only deducing which period it is by the colour of the character.) Astoundingly missing is the period of WWII, where Edith assisted the french resistance. There is simply a jump from 1940 to 1947 with no explanation.

Cotillard gives a very strong and sympathetic performance which, as a prior commenter suggested, rivals all performances in other bio-pics. Though the characters around her are rather confusing. Just who is her husband anyway? If you knew her life story you would be wondering if the script became too complicated and key telling footage was left on the cutting room floor.

An interesting film for one new to Edith Piaf.
1 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
Third Time Not the Charm
28 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Of the three Shrek films, they appear to go from good to bad in their order of appearance. This was clearly the lamest, and hopefully last of the lot if the writing continues in this vein.

Plot was the tired "Oh, I'm not cut out for this, I'm not good enough, but I need to learn I really am the hard way." Gah! Right out of Saturday morning cartoons. Donkey is actually getting annoying too, at some point I was hoping he would go off on his own and take those ridiculous offspring which only a marketer could have dreamed up. (Exactly how do a donkey and a dragon, you know... ?) The morals of the story are rather ham-handed as an ogre and make the time seem to drag. Arthur's shallow highschool chums, good grief, could we try something original? Arthur has to believe in himself, too. Yawn.

The music, desperately missing Smashmouth, it was a grab-bag of old pop hits, including a ill-considered "Live and let die" which only brings to mind James Bond. I genuinely felt the original writing team left and someone was pulled in to tie it together to meet a production schedule. It should have been shelved until the producers could come up with something as good as the first or second films.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Avast! Good old fashion swashbuckling fun. Rated Arrrr!
28 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The only thing which really seems to slow Disney's PotC juggernaut is the love story. Swann and Turner just look too made-up and clean for all this grime, brine and sea life, which is such a stretch it seems to detract at times. I guess the love-interest must be there for mom's and dad's who are dragged into the cinema by the kids.

I've admired the versatile Bill Nighy's work in other films and he continues (with Geoffrey Rush) to be among the strongest actors, who project some menace and give the film some real meat, which is needed to balance so much silliness. These are supposed to be Pirates after all. I'm certain contemporary pirates consider this all high comedy as they board ships, take hostages, etc. Somewhere in the myth Disney has woven, we are probably forgetting what pirates were really about.

The tale is largely entertaining and a pretty good pace and thankfully no repeat of the tumbling through the jungle bits from PotC II.

Spoiler Warning! At the end, why the fleet turns away is completely a mystery. No character appears to challenge why they shouldn't be finishing off these scourges of the seven seas, they all just bugger off! Why? Oh, and wasn't that an Errol Flynn pose near the end by the new captain of the Flying Dutchman?
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Willow (1988)
7/10
A fair effort from Lucas, but nothing like the hype
8 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Perhaps many viewers of this film were not around or have forgotten the teasers for this film. After plugging through Star Wars episodes IV (A New Hope), V (The Empire Strikes Back) and VI (Return of the Jedi), George Lucas elected to take a break and do other projects. A few years after Return of the Jedi, filmgoers were teased by Lucas with something which would redefine films and the filmgoing experience. Needless to say, fans of Star Wars were practically writhing in joy and agony as this W*I*L*L*L*O*W thing was still over a year away.

It has been mentioned Willow advents some new techniques in film-making, combining state of the art digital effects, at least for 1986-1988 period. As for digital effects the two headed dragon looked no more convincing than the Rancor Beast from his last film or even King Kong from several decades before and the trolls crawling about look about the grade for poor television special effects. Lucas had done far better digital effects on the prior Star Wars films. From my visit to the theatre to see this film I recall feeling somewhat let-down, as many others including film critics of the day were. Lucas received no small amount of criticism after his sell failed to meet the expectations of the audience.

All in all, it's still an enjoyable film. The story appears to borrow from the early life of Moses, pursuit of the child the prophet spoke of, even to the point of it left in a reed basket; and Lord of the Rings, the theme of a diminutive person delivering the item which would bring down an evil sorcerer/ess.

Val Kilmer provides some comic relief, there's some spectacular vistas (though not apparent unless you are watching a very large screen), and lots of baddies and magic, plus the dragon (which comes across rather campy and dated by now), the action is pretty good and the story lightly entertaining.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
300 (2006)
5/10
Arty and cartoony, and just not enough of a story.
10 March 2007
First off let me state I never read the comic books, so whether 300 remains true to Frank Miller's vision I can't say. As to impressions throughout the film, it wasn't something one should expect historical accuracy as it's largely visual effect and setting with a lot of over the top comic rendering of characters. The good guys (assuming you side with the spartans) all look like they stepped out of Charles Atlas ads, have too much adrenaline and speak like they could bark out 'Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!' for a monster truck rally coming up on the weekend. The persians are depicted as decadent and monstrous, as if they just finished their last engagement at Jabba the Hutt's palace.

I found the return visits to Sparta, to see what was transpiring there while Leonidas and his hunky warriors took five, distracting. Sort of unnecessary 'Meanwhile back at the ranch...' goings on. What was going on was pretty farcical at best and distracting if you mostly just wanted to see more battle. The plot, that there was didn't gain much from whatever antics.

Battle scenes, well, gosh, I mean if we're going over the top, why isn't there more blood? When a limb or head gets lopped off, did the heart stop beating already? When there was any it looked like it came out of a squirt gun. Fighting with swords and spears is extremely bloody business and with all this testosterone running amok, why so little blood? It had a World Wrestling Ensemble sort of look and feel -- fighting but no serious injuries sustained -- like some were actually just rubber suits or sommat.

All in all, it may be comic fare, but I didn't think an epic historical battle of such significance was treated respectfully. So, is this back to comics being for juvenile minds or can we expect artistic representations of more world history to come?
12 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Holiday (2006)
7/10
Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Eli Wallach and some other people
11 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Eli Wallach give stellar performances and a tale of two women wishing to get away from the pain of failed relationships. Sadly, Cameron Diaz and Jack Black are out of their depth among such accomplished actors. Kate and Jude can be warm and human and utterly convincing, while Cameron and Jack often appear spare of character. That doesn't mean they totally miss out, as Jack does sparkle at times and Cameron is convincing as a successful business owner/producer, it's just a bit uneven. While following Cameron's character I kept wanting it to get back to what was happening elsewhere. Eli puts in a thoroughly charming performance, which had I a say in things, would warrant an Oscar nomination for supporting actor.

Other films this put me in mind of, which I'd recommend, are Love Actually and Crossing Delancey.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
4/10
Juvenile Humor
11 November 2006
When my brother and I were far younger we would make comedy tapes on our father's reel-to-reel deck. The comedies made us laugh, they were very funny to us, however they weren't something we wanted out parents to hear and if any one of them appeared today I would not be very happy about. Making gross jokes and fun of those who can do nothing about it should be done with care as it can hurt, those who are the butt of the joke and perhaps those who make the joke.

Initially I thought this would be a fun film, which would satire the government of Kazakhstan and some of its leaders. It has nothing to do with lampooning the government. Instead found a film that it was going far in belittling the people. It was effectively the same puerile humor my brother and I carried out, except there is a developing story in the film. It isn't much of a story and continues to pain the kazaks as a backward and idiotic people. I'm surprised this sort of thing sells and even ranks an 8.4 rating (as of this comment.) I rather wish I had my money and time back.
6 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Rich Special Effects, Sometimes Entertaining, Too Long
24 July 2006
Immediate reaction was I was wasting a beautiful afternoon watching a pirate movie which is only about half as entertaining as (recent DVD release) Yellowbeard.

Dead Man's Chest is yet another film turning to moments of crushing boredom as it drags through scenes which really answer the question "at what point does brilliant become passe?" The first Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Peral was pretty good. This I had high hopes for, but found myself suspecting Dead Man's Chest was going to become a marketing vehicle for a whole new theme park of pirate rides.

This isn't to say there aren't some good bits, I rather think Bill Nighy as Davy Jones delivers a delectable amount of menace, but Bill's an outstanding actor (see him in Love Actually or Girl in the Cafe.) The rest really fit into B movies in terms of credibility. Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow, however, is unconvincing as a pirate captain. He strikes me as a twenty-something in charge of a ship of 40 somethings. (Might this be a parallel to the way today's businesses are managed?) Perhaps Tim Curry could have reprised his Long John Silver from the Muppet caper.

All in all, the viewer should know by now that PotC is another in a series of films with the second and third installments largely done at the same time to form a serial. There will be the culmination (one hopes) of this buccaneering (without ever actually looting one Spanish galleon of a single piece of eight) featuring Keith Richards as somebody'd father in 2007. Cheers to the juniour pirates who enjoy this sort of thing. I think I'll pass next summer and see something else.
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Cars (2006)
8/10
Once again Pixar Exceeds Expectations
18 June 2006
With Pixar's long relationship with Disney I've been expecting the inevitable decline of things associated with the big corporation which takes fewer risks than it once did, aside from shutting their old animation studios and banking on half-baked in-house computer animation. Simply put, Disney is tired and only rehashes stereotypical characters to bank on old successes. Pixar has delighted us with new characters every time (including in the sequel to Toy Story, BTW there is a Toy Story 3 on the way) by mostly abandoning everything it already knew and starting with a totally new story and totally new characters. There was no letdown in this film. Wise of someone at Disney to keep Pixar in the fold. I dearly hope that same wise influence keeps Disney's script writers out of Pixar.

Regarding the film, it's a fairly predictable story, as becomes apparent as time goes on, which is the only reason it I didn't give it a 10. As for their telling of the story, well, as was said of James Bond, nobody does it better. Eye candy galore, stunning vistas, utterly charming, magnificently hilarious and wonderful nods to the legacy of the automobile.

Take a close look at those bugs flying around and be sure to stick around for the early credits. I'll have to get this one on DVD just to catch all the background and quick one-off in-jokes. I'm sure there was something about Emeryville in there, but it flashed by too fast.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Hoodwinked! (2005)
9/10
Rashomon meets James Bond in Grimm Setting
25 January 2006
The scene, a quaint cottage in a fairytale wood, where humans and anthropomorphic animals coexist. They all come together in Granny's cottage where the classic Little Red Riding Hood tale is about to wrap up, but not this time. The police arrive to investigate in a stereotypical ham-handed fashion, leaping to conclusions only to be pulled back by Nicky Flippers, a frog who doesn't leap to "obvious" conclusions.

Red, The Wolf, The Woodsman and Granny all have a story to tell, which coincide with a crime wave which has gripped the forest. As in Akira Kurosawa's classic of people relating an experience from their own perspective, the common thread becomes clear.

The story has an original enough feel to it, though some characters are stereotypical (used well here to establish some familiarity), it comes through lively and highly entertaining. At 80 minutes it doesn't dawdle and the finale was exciting.

There are "in" jokes and clever references to other works which should keep even adults amused. I was surrounded by children who were clearly enjoying it and heard adult laughter at many times during the film. I highly recommend this film if you're looking for entertainment for the whole family.
2 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Casanova (2005)
7/10
This Casanova was below expectations
8 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Beautiful settings can't save a fanciful, if clichéd story, and weak acting.

About what I would expect if Disney had issued a film about this character and his life. The story about legendary lover Giacomo Casanova (Heath Ledger) meeting his match in Francesca Bruni (Sienna Miller), with about as much to do with the period as A Knight's Tale (another film featuring Heath Ledger) did with the middle ages. Good for a few laughs, but hardly stellar.

Not something to see on the heels of Pride and Prejudice (2005) as the level of acting has more to do with comedy than drama, even the most dramatic moments are hard to take seriously in this romp around 18th century Venice.
1 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.