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Grace & Glorie (1998)
Since this was a made for television film I wasn't expecting much out of this, but boy was I in for a surprise. What a sweet and tender story about the heartbreak of growing old and dying and of learning to forgive yourself. The cast all around is fantastic, in particular Gena Rowlands and Diane Lane. They both do outstanding jobs and the scenes in the apple orchard just brought tears to my eyes. Several other supporting performances in particular Emmy Rossum in one of her first roles. Ms. Rossum has always impressed me with her maturity beyond her years in the way she approaches the roles she takes on and this one is no disappointment. This film is a real gem they should definitely show this on the Hallmark Channel more often.
Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)
Best of all of ALW's musicals.
This was Andrew Lloyd Webber's first and best musical that he ever made. It has fantastic singing and acting, especially from the actors who played Jesus, Judas and Pilate. Norman Jewison is a genius for creating this work of art. I loved that he decided to set this movie in the desert where it most likely happened. The songs in this movie are intoxicating. You just want to listen to them over and over. I love this movie mostly because it gave me such a different perspective on Judas. I had always thought of him as the quote unquote 'bad guy' in the life of Jesus. But now I see that he was a tortured man with a choice that he really had no choice in making. All in all this movie is one of the most brilliant musicals to ever be brought to the big screen. Two big thumbs up!
Doesn't live up to all the hype
I am a big fan of movie musicals. I've seen quite a few of them. And the past few years have been like a dream come true for me with all these musicals like POTO, Chicago, Rent, The Producers being made into films. Now after all the hype surrounding this film I was brimming with anticipation to see Dreamgirls. But I was somewhat disappointed. Yes it was a good film, but definitely not deserving of the Golden Globe for best motion picture Musical or Comedy. That deserved to go to Thank You for Smoking. And I definitely don't think that Jennifer Hudson deserved her Golden Globe. Her singing was up to par, but her acting. Her acting was soap opera worthy. She looked like she was having a seizure during the much hyped 'And I am Telling You I'm Not Going'. Beyonce, on the other hand, I had low expectations for. She's always been mediocre, but she surprised me and did very well with this role, especially in the song 'Listen'. The best part of the movie was Eddie Murphy. He was amazing. Fantastic actor and singer. Now he did deserved his Golden Globe. The directing was so and so. Bill Condon didn't seem to know what story lines to keep so he decided to keep them all but not elaborate on them. All in all it wasn't a bad film, it just could've been better.
Poseidon - Imagine without the dialogue
This movie wasn't horrible, as some other people have stated, in my opinion it's a little better than mediocre. If you ignore the clichéd dialogue and let yourself get caught up in the action and intensity of the scenes then it's a much better film. As Kurt Russell said about Wofgang Peterson's other film Troy, I bet if you watch this film with the dialogue, not the music, off it would be a completely different film. The acting in this film was terrific except for Jimmy Bennet and Jacinda Barret. Maybe if they had been given more dialogue, I would've liked them better, but what lines they were given were delivered...not so good. I felt that the best actors in the whole film were Emmy Rossum and Josh Lucas. They really made me feel for their characters and I wanted them to survive this horrific ordeal. The special effects were the best I've seen in any film. The capsize was amazing to see on the big screen. My stomach tensed up the whole time. I know that there were quite a few scenes cut out before the final release and I hope when Poseidon is released on DVD it will have a directors cut. Maybe then I would empathize with all of the characters.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Silence of the Lambs is one of those few flicks that, like wine, seems to get better and better with age. I fist saw this film my 7th grade year of school and I fell in love with the characters.
Dr. Hannibal Lector(Anthony Hopkins in well deserved Acadamy Award winning role) is the evil, yet somehow attractive, cannibal. Clarice Starling(Jodie Foster, equally as stunning as her counterpart) is the innocent young FBI trainee who has to somehow get information out of Lector to save a young woman from the grips of the antagonist of this film, the incredibly creepy Buffalo Bill. I won't give away anymore of the plot but it's a thrilling and riveting ride the whole way. Everything in this movie seems to be perfect. The lighting, editing, all the cast: all perfect. The score to this film was terrific, and added such tension to the scenes. Definitely a 10/10 stars movie.
Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
I liked it.
I read a lot of the review on here saying that this was a pretty bad movie but I have to disagree. I thought is was beautifully filmed and had a great storyline. But then again, many of the complaints were from people who had read the book and I haven't read the book yet. I thought that the actresses were terrific, especially Zhy Zhang(sp?) and the women who played her mentor and her enemy were awesome as well. The scenery and costumes were all beautiful and the music, be still my heart, was absolutely gorgeous. I bought the score as soon as possible after seeing the movie. I did have a few problems with the movie though. I thought that the movie should have had subtitles because some of the women seemed to be having trouble speaking in English and it was hard to understand what they were saying. Also the movie dragged a little at the beginning, they could have cut out a few of the scenes. But other than that I thought it was a beautiful movie with awesome acting.
Songcatcher is a film that shows the side of the mountain people that has been unknown for years. It's kind of like an indie, female version of Oh Brother Where Art Thou, but with a feminist touch and more and better music. The film is very enjoyable with some exceptional acting particularly in the case of Janet McTeer, Aidan Quinn and Emmy Rossum and features some lovely and moving renditions of classic ballads. Maggie Greenwald (The Ballad of Little Jo, for which she wrote and directed) is also both the director and writer of Songcatcher and she has done a fabulous job. The film's focus is on musicologist Lily Penleric (Janet McTeer) in the early 1900s who has just been passed over for a permanent teaching position for the second time. She becomes embittered and decides to leave the school and go to the mountains to visit her sister (Jane Adams) at her school in the mountains of North Carolina. There she learns, to her delight, that many of the old Irish/Scottish ballads have been preserved in their original form, after hearing them sung by her sister's warden Deladis Slocumb (the always delightful Emmy Rossum). After hearing Deladis sing these ballads Lily becomes obsessed with collecting and publishing the songs. With the help of Deladis and her boyfriend Fate Honeycutt (don't you just love these names) Lily goes around the mountain collecting songs. One of her first stops is at incorrigible Viney Butler (Pat Carroll). While she's there Lily meets Viney's grandson Tom Bledsoe (a nearly unrecognizable Aidan Quinn).
The two clash at first but they eventually become, no surprise, romantically involved. Along the way we also meet Lily's antagonist Earl Giddens (David Patrick Kelly) who's has been 'educated' down the mountain and wants to turn the mountain in a coal mine. While collecting the songs, Lily slowly begins to crack from her shell and she learns to love the people of the mountain. The photography in the film is spectacular. It's vibrant and bright with some terrific shots of the wizardly Carolina Mountains. Maggie Greenwald brings the beauty of the mountains out with long-range shots at sunset. As I stated earlier the acting in this film is superb so there are no complaints from me. Lily Penleric was played perfectly by Janet McTeer who seems to be able to convey so much emotion through her eyes. Tom Bledsoe was such a different character than I had ever seen Aidan Quinn play before and it was quite refreshing. He was great as a grumbling, dirty yet somehow attractive mountain man. And Emmy Rossum, in her feature film debut, gives a stunning performance as the angelic voiced ward.
The music in the film is probably it's best asset. Greenwald had actual singers and musicians play the musical parts. Iris Dement and Taj Mahal were just two of the musicians in this film and they added an authenticity to the film. All the songs in this movie were amazing and as soon as I saw this film I went out and bought the soundtrack. The only problems I had with the film are that the plot sometimes seemed a little forced, a little contrived and that there were too many subplots. There were probably in total about seven or eight different plot lines weaved in and out throughout the film. In some films this might work but Greenwald doesn't quite pull it off. The lesbian subplot was not needed at all. It actually took away from the authenticity of the film and didn't seem to fit in with the time period, which was the late Victorian era. Overall I would definitely recommend this movie, especially to those that really enjoyed movies like Oh Brother Where Art Thou. This film captivates the beauty of the Carolina Mountains and shows what the music of the mountains is really like.
"Your music is like the air you breathe" Lily Penleric, Songcatcher
King Kong (2005)
Bad! Bad! Bad!
I kind of had pretty good expectations for King Kong. I thought, naively, that since Peter Jackson had directed it I would absolutely love this movie. I was terribly mistaken. This movie was probably the worst movie I have seen all year. I thought that right was reserved for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigalow but I was wrong. This movie had so many things about that I didn't like. For instance, the plot line was completely far-fetched and stupid. A young girl starts to have feelings for a giant gorilla and tries to save him from the modern-day world. EWWWWWWWW. Just the thought of their even being an inkling of a romantic relationship between an animal and a human is disgusting. Half their relationship was him groaning at her and her screaming back.
And the CGI effects in this movie were awful. The dinosaurs and King Kong himself looked extraordinarily fake. Jurassic Park had better special effects than this movie.
This movie also could have had about, say I don't know, AN HOUR, at the very least cut out from this movie. There was absolutely no need for the dinosaur stampede, the bug fight, the dinosaur fight with Kong.
About the only thing I did like in this move was the male actors, Adrien Brody and Colin Hanks, I both felt that they did an exceptionally good job with the roles they were given.
The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000)
It was pretty good
I must admit that after reading all of the reviews to be horrified by JLH presentation as Audrey Hepburn. But I was somewhat surprised. I didn't think that she was the best actress available, I think Emmy Rossum should have played Audrey the entire movie, but JLH does an alright job. She doesn't do the perfect accent, but then I don't think that any actress could do the accent perfectly.
I never knew of the horrible things that happened to Audrey during her life and this movie made me cry, especially during Emmy's scenes. I have such respect for Audrey Hepburn now. The work she did made such a difference and it's sad that she is gone now.
The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
A Fantastic movie
I found this movie to be very enjoyable. The singing, especially Emmy Rossum's, is fantastic. The direction and settings were beautiful and the music moving. This is my favorite musical of all time and it lived up to my expectations. I've seen it four times in theaters and bought the soundtrack. Patrick Wilson and Gerard Buttler were great as the two lovers fighting over Christine's love. All the actors in this movie did a terrific job acting and singing. I enjoyed Miranda Richardson tremendously. This the second movie i had seen Emmy Rossum sing in. The first was her feature film debut, Songcatcher. She has such a range of different singing, it's amazing. She is a phenomenal talent.