Movie Reviews (551-600)
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Dares to show that kids have psychological issues and anger problems that only a good psychologist can help. It is a demanding film that tries to go a little deeper in a darker place than what is usual for a family movie and it can be hard to root for a kid that is angry and unlikable at the start of the film. A great detailed looking monsters and interesting universe help.
It is a "Home Alone" clone film where a kid is replaced with a baby. The story and humor is one-note and the acting is on auto-pilot.
Good old-fashioned adventure with monsters to kill and beauties to save. Greek gods that have internal affairs and quarrels are always fun to watch and there are some cool action set-pieces, but it doesn't break any new ground. The characters are one-note and boring and final battle is an anti-climax. The need for a happy ending is annoying too as it changes the entire Greek myth. Actors also don't put any heart in their performances.
A film that tell how fragile the line between genius and insanity really is. Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly are great together as a married couple and I love the support from favorite(s) Ed Harris and Christopher Plummer. But, isn't it a tiny bit overrated? While I love Jennifer Connelly didn't she just get the prize here because the Academy Award Comitee was afraid of giving it to her for her tour-de-force gutsy "Requiem of a Dream" the year before? It is also annoying (as usual) in Hollywood bio-pics that many of the more "unpolitical correct" moments from John Nash's life has been removed. The "old" makeup doesn't feel too good at the end either.
One of the first terrorists-hijack-something movies and it is also one of the more realistic films in it's genre. It has a good premise and the getaway plan is pretty reasonable. Walter Matthau is solid in a "tougher" role for him. It is better than it's glossier remake even if some tension is lost when the film use supporting actors that are most known for their comedic timing and it doesn't help there are scenes with a laughable unlikable mayor.
I like the car universe and it is understandable that one decided to do something different for the second entry BUT it takes too much time focusing on Meter, the dumbest and most annoying of the car characters. It also lacks the charm and wit of the original and removes plot for a idiotic spy story. The first true bad movie from Pixar. It seems more suited as a TV special on Disney Channel.
Good animal characters ruined by the need of including humans and a predictable baby story. The squirrel character with it's obsession of collecting nuts is a masterstroke though and worthy the best Looney Tunes shorts.
The squirrel steals the show again, but not sure I like the new character additions that much. Another predictable plot as the creators couldn't let the mammoth be alone could they?
The Ups: Dinosaurs are cool and their children are cute, but these films still go for a underwhelming story. The squirrel is still the funniest slap-stick character that steals the show, but sadly the sabretooth tiger is underused this time.
Manage to show the battle of Pearl Harbor from two sides - the American losing one and the Japanese winning side - and even more shockingly let Japanese directors tell their story and the Americans tell theirs. It is a good unique movie with impressive war footage and it feels that one has tried to make an authentic film about the WW2 incident that forced the U.S. into war with Japan.
As a family saga this is a highly engrossing one especially due to the character details and excellent ensemble. It is also a 100% realistic story, especially since it's semi-autobiographical on Ingmar Bergman's behalf. The film has also one of the best priest villains that has ever been on screen that last a long disturbing image on my mind. BUT, the longer TV miniseries version that this film was edited from is the true way to really embrace it. Still, it is a superior film.
A colorful and big-budgeted musical with the charming Audrey Hepburn as the street tramp that becomes a lady. Excellent decoration, costumes and sets. Ruined only buy the fact that several of the actors could not sing and were dubbed which sadly is a bit obvious when one look at it closely.
Rolf Lassgård doing his usual routine cop role that he did so marvelously at the same time on TV with his Kurt Wallander productions, but it is Lennart Jähkel who steals the show as his brother. Sadly, the story doesn't really surprise and the villains are of the obvious redneck type.
Compared to a lot of other comedies this one holds itself remarkably well and has become funnier after it's release (and the fact that WW2 ended with the allies winning). It is full of wit and great satirical dialogue and takes many surprising twists. Sadly, Carole Lombard's final film who is fantastic here.
War movie that tell about the women on the Bosnian side in the Yugoslavia Civil War and how they were affected by one of the worst genocides in European history. A emotionally dark, bleak and devastating film that do everything to thrust a dagger deep into your heart so that you can be affected by it. War is gruesome especially for civilians and first-time Angelina Jolie surprises by trying to tackle such dark subjects as her directorial debut even if she is clearly one-sided in her views as it do hail the Muslim victims on the Bosnian side, but not the civilians who died on the other sides in the Yugoslav war as it would have helped the film by showing at least one sympathetic Bosnian Serb since many in this gruesome conflict had either a Serb mother or father but still got killed by "pure" Serbians. A hard film to sit through with so much darkness and death (and then one has to think that here it lasted for 4 years while this only lasts two hours). A film not for everyone but gets across that "war is hell" clearly.
Touches upon some hard taboo issues like child murder and how violent deaths destroy other people. Saoirse Ronan is excellent as the murdered girl who tell her story and Stanley Tucci steals the show as an unrecognizable disgusting serial killer. The ending doesn't wrap everything up neatly and give it a satisfactory Hollywood ending where the villain gets to be ripped apart and sent to Hell or give characters a "happy" resolve and the sick pedophilia undertone that the killer keeps a dead girl in a safe for "sentimental" reasons is a mind picture that is pretty hard to swallow making this a very sick PG-13 movie to be quite honest and a very daring production by Peter Jackson after crowdpleasers like "The Lord of the Rings" and "King Kong" that is very much a Hollywood art movie than anything else I have seen.
It was the first film that showed a bigger ranger to Leonardo diCaprio's acting to me and not only as a teenage idol even if he took this role of a womanizing young king who killed people to get into young girls' beds. It is one of the better Musketeer movies out there because it tells about the seldom filmed final entry in the book series. Jeremy Irons, Gabriel Byrne and John Malkovich are perfectly cast here and I love the costumes. I found Gerard Depardieu to be pretty pathetic as Porthos, who seem only to be here as a comic relief because he is French (and sadly the only one with the correct nationality to the character that is portrayed). Also feels like there is something that was cut in post-production as there are a few supporting characters that feel very underused.
Enormous production where every dollar is on the screen - Cleopatra's entrance into Rome, her extravagant costumes and boat on the Nile are memorable moments. It is almost hard not to envision any other actress playing Cleopatra other than Elizabeth Taylor it is almost as if she is the pure reincarnation of her even if the details are historically inaccurate.
There was an episode of "Seinfeld" where Elaine complained about how boring it all was - and I have to agree on that opinion. It is slowly paced and predictable. It wants to be a David Lean epic but lacks the grandiose story and I also thought it is boring - in places. It is a pretty package with nice nature, great cinematography and a solid cast though.
Fact is always stranger than fiction as this film is one of those strange films based upon a true story and is very downbeat. Jeremy Irons does one of his most memorable and disturbing roles as two twins. David Cronenberg deliver another unique but hard to love film.
A glorious black and white where Jean Rollin explore themes and locations that would be revisited in almost every single film he made afterwards. I like the first part of the film with a interesting but violent story and is essential viewing for fans of the director. The second part is clearly just added on at a later time. As all of the director's films the script is so improvised that it is impossible to have a coherent structure throughout it and most of the dialogue should have been deleted as the film is better as a silent feature.
You get two classic movie era bombshells in the same film. A film full of charm and classic moments, but the swimming pool scene is tacky and Marilyn Monroe overshadows Russell a lot even if I adore brunette women before blondes. Embrace this movie for the time capsule that it really is.
Old-fashioned science fiction fantasy story that still works and has universal appeal based upon Edgar Rice Burroughs' fun story about a man transported to Mars. Good family entertainment, but The Martian Monster Dog didn't help the film as it is too childish and fake-looking. It also over-complicates the plot at the beginning with two false starts. The ending (as in the book) is too open-ended for it's own good.
The most faithful of all adaptations of the doomed love story. Olivia Hussey make a lasting impression as young Juliet on my psyche and the film has an authentic feel as it was filmed in the streets of Italian Verona and uses costumes and simplistic Middle Age music from the time this story is portrayed. May also be the best Shakespeare adaptation on film that I know of.
Retelling and modernizing of the classic Shakespeare story for a generation that lack concentration power but at least it manage to show that the classic story will last forever even when it is fast edited and colorful to look at as a music-video. Claire Danes and Leonard diCaprio look great together though but the film is extremly flawed at times.
A simple, yet timeless "evil shark" attacks people on the beach movie - a modern monster movie version of "Moby Dick" but with a shark instead of a white whale. The film started Spielberg's career as the major man of box office films and it was a deserved success helped by it's excellent casting of it's three male leads and John Williams delivering a epic soundtrack.
The Ups: Peter Cushing is the villain playing a cold-hearted religious fanatic who burns young women who are gorgeously cleavage-clothed. Above average acting help, but Mary Collison is weak character as a god-fearing nice girl, fittingly named Maria. It is not remotely close to J. Sheridan LeFaun's Karmilla that it supposedly is based on, but is nearer in style to De Sade's "Justine & Juliette". Lacks the trashiness of it's other European counterparts that were made at the same time as it was a wasted opportunity not seeing the twins do a little incestuous stuff together.
The Ups: Perfect cast in the usual unique and colorful Wes Anderson universe that centers on dialogue heavy script. Is the true swansong / retirement piece of Gene Hackman who I miss enormously on film. Alec Baldwin also show everyone what a pleasant voice he has as a narrator. A modern comedy classic.
One of the glossiest thrash movies ever made with a lot of flashing boobies. Hilarious dialogue and shockingly unerotic but it blinds us with insane costumes a trashy Gina Gershon who treats everyone as dirt. Kyle MacLachlan looks really like sleaze on legs and killed his career for a decade. It is one of the most fascinating failures in film history, but actually I enjoyed myself through the entire film except for it's "happy ending" that ends with a rape (a Verhoeven trademark!) of the main character's best friend.
The Ups: Andrew Divoff and Jeffrey Combs play brothers - yeah! A fun mention of all the zombie events in Pittsburgh over the years, but that is also all that is fun with the film as the script lacks any excitement and consist mostly of talking heads. There is even a Zombie Sarah Palin here, ha ha ha! I found it unwatchable to say a nice thing about it.
Great gritty style as Mel Gibson deliver one of his best and most darkest role as a revenge-hungry man. Cool supporting cast add to the fun, but I hated the unnecessary voice-over. The ending feel forced and unrealistically happy.
This movie is the version the director wanted us to see. It still has the same great setup and structure but is a lot more depressing and realistic in it's payoff. This is the interesting alternate take without the Hollywood need for explosions and perfect endings - and the dog is really killed. It also lacks the satisfying killing of bad guys and Kris Kristofferson is gone replaced by an off-screen villainess with the voice of Sally Kellerman. A film much more open to interpretation at the end, but still great as hell.
Kidnap thriller that take some acceptable twists - but the highlight is the scene when Mel Gibson for the first time (but not the last!) turn the tables on the bad guys. Gary Sinise does a good job with what is a thankless and standard bad guy role. The problem with this film is that it never feels like the kid is in danger - it could be that it is lousy acting by Nick Nolte's son or that the movie is afraid to go the final grueling steps - but it is early apparent that the villains are afraid to be brutal or even bad to the child and are typically stupid and stereotypical (one is a mastermind, a woman is involved due to love and mistreatment, one is a computer expert, one a low-time ruthless crock and his idiot brother). The script is also not more special than that it could have been a TV-movie of the week and Rene Russo is useless in a supporting role as worried mother except for having a scene where she breaks down. Boring music too. A movie that I'm not rekeen to visit again down memory lane.
Peter O'Toole in a tour-d-force role as film director steals this film that is filled with good stunts and a clever script. Has leading man Steve Railsback ever really shown a better talent than he did with this one? Or for that matter director Richard Rush? This movie practically was impossible to top for him. I liked this film enormously.
Still the best "Invisible Man" production that has ever been made. A lot of good dialogue throughout the movie. Great effects that were copied numerous times until computer arrived and even if his presence consist mostly of his voice, Claude Rains has a magnetic presence that few others have had in a debut role - his evil laugh is priceless.
The Ups: Film technically is the Spanish version of "Dracula" filmed at the same time as the Hollywood version and on the same sets superior to the American one. It has better photography, is sexier, has greater detail and give the scenes better time to grow, but when the Spanish actor is terrible and not even reach Bela Lugosi to his knees this movie will never get the same praise as it's other counterpart.
Design, sets and costumes are superior to the other "Snow White" production of the same year and Lily Collins is closer to the classic Disney look of the fairy tale that we all love, but when it doesn't break any new ground except putting a monster into the mix and having fun with the apple myth it is hard to really get blown by it. It is also a very heavily studio bound film and the effects look more fake than it should. None of the actors really get to play any emotions or really act with the material either and since the film was directed by an Indian we get a obvious Bollywood music number at the end.
An indescribably sexy fetish icon star called Bulle Ogier appear in this serious drama about S&M without ever going too over-the-top or getting too kinky or sick, even if there are some squeamish moments like the slaughter of a horse and a man getting his penis pierced. A very young Gerard Depardieu deliever a performance that show us he was a very good actor once.
Eccentric weird characters, Witty dialouge, it's atmosphere and Karloff giving the monster a tragedy and sadness unparalleled in other Frankenstein films is the highlight of this classic Universal monster movie. Only the comedic housemaid ruins the film.
The best biopic homage of a obscure yet unique grade Z-film director that has ever been made. Johnny Depp does one of his most hilarious roles here, but it is Martin Landau that steals the show channeling the dead ghost of Bela Lugosi so he can do one final great performance that will make even the most cynic person a fan of the actor and sad he never got the respect he deserved when he lived. I love the fantastic recreations of movie scenes that seems to have been harvested out of pure love. Dramatic has Tim Burton seldom been better. I also love that it has been shot in black and white respecting the fact that the Ed Wood films was shot like that so many years ago. Great ensemble, even the terrible Sarah Jessica Parker is acceptable here playing a terrible actress. A favorite film.
It is the ultimate movie about a misfit trying to fit in a artificial society that I have seen and one of the crown achievements in Tim Burton's career. Johnny Depp started from this point on as a master of weird and off-beat roles. The scenes with Vincent Price as his father scientist always make a lump into my throat and give me a tear in the corner of my eyes and Winona Ryder has never been more sexy than with blonde hair here. I love this film and it should be perfect for any lover of classic monster movies too.
A Memorable monster movie mostly due to the creature itself that has a great costume and the lovely Julie Adams in a one-piece white swimming suit. Jack Arnold put some great jungle noises and dark foggy atmosphere to hide it's studio locale that works pretty good, but the film drowns me in underwater sequences that become boring after a while.
Intriguing drama about drug trafficking and every subplot is engaging and tell about people involved in drugs and it's flow into the U.S. Excellent production values and good photography help and the ensemble is to die for, but the film deserves to be even longer as many of the subplots needs more running time in order to give the story a better depth and I felt the film only scratched the surface. A longer running time would also give the ensemble more moments to shine, but at least it makes me wanna see the miniseries it is built on.
Biker movie with a gritty realism seriously lacking in Paul Verhoeven's American films. There is a direct approach to subjects that is pretty taboo and has a "in your face" approach to sex scenes. It also has a hard to watch gay rape sequence.
A playful, happy and colorful mood over the entire production that makes me happy too as this is one charming film. It melts away my harder layers. Gorgeous dance choreography especially the surreal number with beautiful femme fatale, Cyd Charisse is fantastic to behold and there is a lot of funny in-jokes that are golden for those with big interest in film history and the transition from silent to sound film. Top notch costumes and sets too.
Thriller drama based upon one of Stephen King's best stories. Ian McKellen is excellent as an old Nazi, who is forced to awaken up his demons when a young student wants to learn everything about his war crimes. It touches on themes that usually are tucked safely away by the film industry, but the potential of the film falls apart by a weak ending.
Jerry Bruckheimer action movie with a lot of those things we expect and love from a blockbuster brain-dead shoot 'em upper: slow-motion action, big explosions, star-filled ensemble and some solid action. It revitalized Nicolas Cage's career as a thinking-man's action hero in a time when people were feed up by big muscles and huge guns. But it is hard to like the scenes with Steve Buscemi who play a pedophile criminal but "deserve" to be free and live to the end since he is so charming and comedic in his scenes.
A quiet, very European science fiction drama-art movie that manage to be both very unique and extremely risky with it's subject matter as it raises some important fascinating questions about clone ethics and possible incestuous behavior. Eva Green is as always highly watchable in a role that few women would dare tackle and the movie is directed in a way that it feels honest and realistic.
I like the original concept about an advanced surrealistic prison movie. It manage to be an intelligent film and has some logic to it's extreme death traps, but some pigheaded whining characters ruin the film and the paranoia element become a little annoying as the film is a lot better when it let the characters co-operate to try get out of the cubic maze. The ending may also disappoint some people as it doesn't show us anything from the world outside the cube.
Anthology movie that tell three Edgar Allan Poe movies that are directed by legendary directors. One of them has Jane Fonda in her prime showing her body in different revealing costumes and another has a scene with Birgitte Bardot getting whipped while the third has Terence Stamp driving dead drunk through the streets of Rome. It is a gorgeously shot film but the Frederico Fellini segment has the most bizarre characters and is the most visual of the three. But I like them all actually. Since it is European it also doesn't shy away from it's source material. One of the better anthology movies that I know of.
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