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Sam (XI) (2017)
4/10
Too easy to dump on, but not without some pleasant surprises.
19 March 2020
I saw this on Amazon Prime Movies, and while I'm glad I didn't pay to see this, I am glad it's getting some exposure. I can't think of one aspect of this film that hasn't been done better by earlier films. The exception is the female lead. Natalie Knepp takes what seems like an ambitious student film and gives it professional polish and a genuinely likable character. No easy feat considering the clunky cliches and cartoonish characters. I really don't want to savage this film. It was obviously a passion project for at least some of the folks involved. It's heart is in the right place, even if it does seem like am ambitious student film rom-com that tries but can't get out of its own way. I'm glad I saw it, because it put Ms Knepp on my radar. I haven't been this surprised and impressed by a performer since I first set eyes on Parker Posey in House of Lies. Sam introduced me to Natalie Knepp, whose resume needs to be much larger than it currently is. Still, what other titles I was able to track down confirm my positive first impression. Watch this film with low expectations. It's not as bad as some other reviews claim. It may not be original, or have witty dialog, clever situations and richly drawn characters, but it's not entirely without charms. Notably the fully committed performance and empathetic charisma of its lead. In the end, I'm glad I watched it.
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8/10
While our world changes with time, the human story still holds up
7 November 2019
I saw this on laserdisc ages ago, yet I still recall it fondly. It's successful mix of romantic cliches - the grating relationship between the naive 'country mouse' and the worldly 'city mouse'..... the inevitable unlikely bond... lots of standard romance parts. Still, set in the chosen timeframe - and over the chosen timespan - the story takes our protagonists on some journeys and trajectories that can really draw in the viewer. While the ending may be obvious before the opening credits roll, the journey there is what captivates the audience. A compelling story, well told, with superb performances from all involved. If you haven't seen this yet, and you're in the mood for a feel-good romance that is definitely NOT treacly, add this to your queue. It's very much of its time (the time it was made AND the timespan it portrays) yet the human story is pretty timeless.
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The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Consider Her Ways (1964)
Season 3, Episode 11
10/10
As disturbing as when I first saw it 'back in the day'. (oblique spoilers?)
20 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Some tales stick with you your whole life. I'd rate this with Twilight Zone's "To Serve Man" in how it affected me seeing it on TV as a child.

Definitely "adult" sci-fi. I only remembered the parts that most haunted me.... the concept that the race could be decimated by unintended consequences of someone trying to 'do good'... and that survivors would scrap the old evolutionary track and pick a new paradigm to model... DEEPLY rattled my 8 year old brain.

I would rate this a TV classic. Perhaps not for cinematography, music, or even acting or writing - though they are all far above TV norms. It's not any individual thing than rates this is a classic to me, but that the whole of it has lodged like a splinter in my psyche and while faded, the memories can still haunt me to this day. It really opened my mind to the concept of unintended consequences and the question "are you really as smart as you THINK you are?"

So glad this gave me nightmares as a child. :D
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9/10
If you're an Amy Sherman Palladino fan - this should be your cup of tea
18 May 2017
I will agree with the other review I read that mentioned the slow start... but I had no problem with that. A roller coaster slowly clanks to the top of the first peak, the aforementioned cup of tea starts as cold water. The build up makes the final payoff sweeter.

Even during the 'slow' start, the script drops little moments that foreshadow where it's going. If the first viewing surprises you, go back and watch it again and see all the plot seeds being planted from the very first scene. I have always been a fan of 'writers movies' a clever quip or sizzling dialog does more for me than breathtaking cinematography or jaw dropping CGI action sequences. I loved all those Benzedrine- fueled screwball 1940s comedies with Roz Russel, Kate Hepburn etc where the scripts were the size of phone books and if you sneezed you'd miss half a page of witty banter delivered at machine- gun speed. That's what I've always loved about Ms Palladino's creative work. She definitely has her own signature style, and it's quite evident in this pilot. There are a handful of 'imprints' that will get me to check out a work. Palladino - like Aaron Sorkin - has become a reliable brand. Love it or hate it, you have a good idea what you're going to get. Mrs Maisel is quite worthy of the Amy Sherman Palladino imprint. Even if you find the beginning a little slow, stay with it. It's setting everything up... the payoff is worth it. And best of all, in true pilot fashion, the payoff itself is just a hint and promise of the ride ahead. btw - some 'fact police' have pointed out anachronisms and glitches... none of them tarnished my enjoyment of the story. I'll make huge allowances for 'artistic license' if the art is worthy, and in the case of this pilot, it certainly is. (imo)
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Woman in Love (2011)
7/10
A sturdy comedy. Not groundbreaking, but enjoyable enough.
29 March 2017
Every review I read made the inevitable comparisons to Tootsie. Yes, they are both about actors posing as a woman because they need the work. There are other similarities in the story arc, but there are many touches that I found set this apart. The fun it pokes at "Hollywood" - the megalithic American film industry, is again, not groundbreaking, but quite funny. The actors getting a little too wrapped up in their roles is also amusing considering the roles they're playing. This is light comedy done quite competently. The story arc may not be terribly unique or memorable, but for this viewer, as a series of amusing moments rather than a satisfying whole, it's not a bad watch. Sorry if this review seems tepid. It may not be a great film, but it's a good film. I don't regret the time spent watching it. If expectations are modest, you may enjoy it too.
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Arrival (II) (2016)
9/10
Hollywood CAN make straight-up sci-fi!
20 November 2016
Most of the 'sci-fi' from big studios feels more like watching someone playing a video game, with maximum action per-frame. Not that there's anything wrong with that. To my mind, great sci-fi makes the viewer think about stuff they never considered. Or ponder mundane things in unimagined ways. I found Arrival immensely satisfying in the way my favorite sci-fi books did. Like Clarke's Childhood's End or Card's Ender series, the scope of the story continues to build - as do the repercussions. The story ends at a very different place ....or at least with the attentive viewer in a very different place than they were likely at when the movie began. I must say, the quiet yet unsettling way the film begins had me hooked from the start. I admit I had flashbacks to the chills I had on 9/11 when it finally hit me that 'everything has instantly changed in ways I couldn't imagine. What do I do now?' And I ended up going through the mundane motions trying to internally digest this profound and jarring paradigm shift. If you want an action flick like Independence Day or Armageddon, look elsewhere. If you want a film that stays with you and haunts you - like Children of Men... then maybe you'll like Arrival. Everyone in the cast and crew deserve every accolade and award they're nominated for. Above all, if this film isn't nominated for 'best adapted screenplay' there is no justice. I have not seen a film that lived up to my unrealistic anticipation in a long long time. Arrival is truly special and I hope becomes a classic of the sci-fi genre. It's too soon to tell, but I would not be surprised if it ends up at or near the top of most folks' top sci-fi films (or simply story) lists. Profound thanks to everyone who had a hand in making this haunting, eye- opening film.
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Tomorrowland (2015)
8/10
A paean to optimism
3 November 2015
I hope this isn't a spoiler, but this is a message movie. And the message is 'Pessimism is a self fulfilling prophecy. Don't give up'. Not a bad message. Yeah, the goofy naive optimism it celebrates is kind of anachronistic, still I'd root for the dreamer over the person with apocalyptic nightmares every time. It's a sweet film with a constructive message. If we don't at least try for a positive outcome, we condemn ourselves to failure. Brad Bird and company may not have crafted a Hollywood blockbuster, but they made a film they should be proud of. It's a fun film with an important message. It may never be another Citizen Kane or Casablanca, but I really enjoyed Tomorrowland and its message, and it instantly earned a place on my rather small list list of favorite films. Clearly, it's not for everyone, but I personally loved it. Check it out. You may too.
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9/10
An ensemble tour de force. An overlooked gem of a film.
9 February 2014
I first saw this on Showtime in the 1980s, and recently rediscovered it on Fox's "Movies" Network. This is a movie people tend to love or hate. I guess it depends on what you look for in a movie. To me, this obscure little film is a testament to storytelling and character over flash, spectacle and movie-making-by-committee (and focus group). In other words, it is the antithesis of a Hollywood blockbuster. The tiny ensemble is ideally cast. Each inhabits their role so completely - perhaps since their run in the stage presentation gave them so much time to "find" their characters,

I'm not generally a fan of filmed stage plays. (I hated Hitchcock's "Rope"). But the claustrophobia of the single set and the fact that all of the "action" takes place in the interaction and reminiscences of the characters turns what could be a shortcoming into a strength.

Each character has their moment. And while some seem ancillary to the story, each has a critical piece of the whole puzzle and makes the most of their role. Kathy Bates makes the most of every frame of screen time, Marta Heflin is radiantly understated as (arguably) the conscience of the story. And Mark Patton's performance as the echo of what was and what might have been is memorably poignant.

This is a showcase for actors, and each one makes the most of it, creating a melancholy tale that is greater than the sum of its parts. It is - no pun intended - a reflection on illusion, delusion, change & stagnation, and the lies we tell others - and ourselves.

Robert Altman's deft touch lets the characters and story shine through without drawing much attention to the filmmaking. The one conceit, the "mirror gag" seems more like a storytelling technique translated from the stage than a gimmicky piece of filmmaking.

I really like this film because it is not flashy. It is just solid storytelling. I think the fact that it is seldom seen, under-appreciated (imo) and, sadly, very difficult to find, only adds to its appeal.

This film is definitely not a "popcorn-movie". It demands patience and attention, and benefits from repeated viewings. But for folks who like indelible, complicated characters, compelling storytelling, and don't mind "modest" filmmaking, this movie could become a personal favorite.

If you can find it, go out of your way to watch it. You'll know within the first 20 minutes if it's your cup of tea. It just may become a personal favorite.

If this film ever becomes available on Blu-Ray or even DVD, I would snap it up in a heartbeat. To me, this is a shelf-worthy movie.
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8/10
I didn't enjoy watching the film, but can't stop thinking about it.
8 January 2014
I found the story depressing, no characters you really wanted to root for, and the evocation of the 1970s unsettlingly accurate. I remember it as a grim decade filled with sketchy people making bad choices.

That's why I had to grudgingly give American Hustle 8 Stars. They totally nailed it. It's not a feel good movie. It's has no central character to identify with and root for. Everyone is flawed, but compelling. Just like life. The performances were top notch, IMO. Especially Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence. They totally committed to their characters and made these deeply flawed, often unlikable people unforgettable. The film was like a multi-car pileup. You don't want to see it, but you just can't turn away, and it just keeps building.

I did not enjoy watching this film. Yet after it ended, I couldn't stop thinking about it. This movie deserves every award it garners. Great cast. Great story. Deftly told. I think all the uncredited cameos speaks to the quality of the material. So many people wanted to be a part of this. I can understand why. It may never be a blockbuster, but it's a great piece of storytelling and a memorable ensemble piece. 20 years from now this will still be a film worth watching. Everyone involved should be proud of what they made together. The more time passes since seeing it, the more impressed I am with it.
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Red Nights (2010)
5/10
Not for everyone, but memorable
19 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I don't believe I'm spoiling anything by saying the violence in this film is extremely graphic.

I'm very ambivalent about this film. It is very ambitious, and technically exquisite. The sound and visuals are stunning, and it is a rich dish for the senses. That said, there is a fair amount of extremely graphic violence, which, while I marveled at the technical skill of the filmmakers at creating these images, I found them quite over the top for my tastes. This is an individual taste issue. If you thought "Silence of the Lambs" had too much Hannibal & Clarise and not enough Buffalo Bill, then maybe you would enjoy Red Nights more.

I had no trouble following the plot, but I wonder if another rewrite or two may have smoothed the overall story a bit. In some ways, it seemed like rather disjointed scenes from a bigger story. The end of the film, seemed more like the end of a scene. I didn't get any sense of the story being wrapped up. It could have just as easily continued, yet did not have any kind of dangling end that hinted at a sequel. It just seemed that the filmmakers shot as much of the story as they wanted to and stopped.

Maybe I totally missed the point of the film. I found it a rich audiovisual experience, but never really got wrapped up in the narrative. That said, the cast is superb and completely inhabited their characters.

If you don't have an problem with the graphic violence, you may enjoy the cinematic experience of this film. It's likely you have not seen anything quite like it. But if you're looking for a captivating story line, you may go away somewhat restless.

I notice the film was shot - appropriately enough - with a RED camera. If not for the nature of some of the images, it would make an excellent technical demo.
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Surrogates (2009)
8/10
Better than I expected, but maybe TOO ambitious?
13 February 2011
I was pleasantly surprised by Surrogates, which seemed to flash in and out of theaters with little notice and tepid reviews. Maybe low expectations conditioned me to ignore any shortcomings in story or execution. The core conceit is familiar, and may have been completely overshadowed by James Cameron's Avatar. In the world of surrogates however, the "puppets" operate in the mundane world and are used by nearly anyone who wants one. The only exceptions referenced in the movie are religious/political extremists who vehemently refuse and self- segregate into human-only "reservations". The only other exception seems to be children - who aren't even seen in the film, except in an ominous TV ad implying that soon children too will be able to interact with the world in perfect safety through new lil' surrogates... This material is so rich with potential that sticking to the plot without detouring through any of the intriguing ramifications of this avatar-based society, is a real challenge. While the film is good, the material seems so ripe, it would probably have been more satisfying as a mini-series or anthology based in this world. Of course, budgets for a long-form medium might have made it just as unsatisfying for entirely different reasons.

I liked the film. It's fine as a sci-fi action thriller in the genres of Minority Report or I Robot. But I found myself more intrigued by the world they created as the set for this movie. Where anyone regardless of age, race, gender, or any other factor of who they were in "meatspace" could interact with the world as the physical presence they chose to be. And how what started as a tool of empowerment for those with disabilities became commercialized as candy for the id. And the many unforeseen consequences of that.

The premise is so much more than a narrative film could ever be. Given that, Surrogates does a good job at making a traditional action movie out of material that is almost too rich to mine.
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9/10
My kind of vampire film
29 October 2008
I must admit right off that I have a soft spot for vampires. When written well, they're poignant, tragic characters. Having - not necessarily voluntarily - given up their humanity for an eternity of youth and hunger... unable to be a part of, or maybe even remember being a part of the world of ordinary people. Let the right one in is first and foremost a relationship movie about the misfit preteen boy and the little undead girl he befriends. There is sweetness and sadness, suspense and gore - but only to the degree appropriate for realism, and the sort of macabre humor that can't help but occasionally happen under such surreal circumstances.

If you're looking for a Hollywood spectacle, go rent Interview with the Vampire or Coppola's Dracula. If you want characters as interesting and engaging as Anne Parrilaud & Anthony LaPaglia in "Innocent Blood", with a down-to-earth film making style reminiscent of George Romero's Martin, you just may like this movie & add it to your short list of great vampire films.
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Zerophilia (2005)
8/10
The after school special they'll never make :)
26 August 2008
Without dropping any spoilers - though if you're reading this you probably already know too much ;) - I'd sum the point of this movie as "before you can find your soul-mate, you have to truly know your own soul". It playfully & non judgmentally deals with gender roles, and desires. It's cute, at times contrived - but I'll cut them lots of slack, because this is an unusual plot and moving the story along sometimes takes some real contortions. The cast is all wonderful & likable - even those who could be deemed 'villains' have their own understandable logic. In a world of teenage comedies about finding sex, recreational substances, or adventures involving large amounts of toilet humour, this is anything but a mainstream movie. Still, for those who took the effort to seek it out, it's a worthwhile, and heartwarming watch. Does using the term "heartwarming" constitute a spoiler? ;)

See it at least twice. Once with fresh eyes, and again with wisdom.
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Transamerica (2005)
10/10
The Great American Road Movie - with some alternate routes
25 August 2008
There is a reason Felicity Huffman was nominated for an Academy Award. This is a career highlight opportunity for any actor & she made the most of it. People who think "this is a tranny movie. I don't do tranny movies" are cheating themselves. This is a classic road movie about two human beings brought together somewhat less than voluntarily, who bond through their experiences & misadventures. The entire cast is excellent. To get talent of this caliber for what's obviously a lo/no budget project says something about how compelling the story was to them. While the protagonist Bree is portrayed sympathetically, the movie is never patronizing OR exploitative. Bree is just another one of us, trying to find her way through life & muddling through the missteps, hopefully gaining some wisdom along the way. I don't want to talk much about Kevin Zeigers, because I don't want to let any spoilers slip. So I'll just say, he has a role with lots of layers, and again, seems like the only possible choice for the part. I can't imagine anyone in this film being cast differently, they all seem perfect for their characters. I hope other "great actresses" look at what Felicity Huffman did with this role & kick themselves for not fighting for this part themselves.

It's funny, tragic, scary & heartwarming. Like I said - The Great American Road Movie.

My only gripe is with the DVD packaging. I found the lenticular sleeve with the Bree/Felcity headshots tacky. But hey, you can throw away the box - but the movies a keeper!
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Idiocracy (2006)
5/10
Ayn Rand meets Ernest
11 May 2007
I enjoyed this movie, despite the lukewarm vote I gave it. It's a clever idea, and I think the rich potential of the concept was barely touched. Still it's an enjoyable movie whether you pay any attention to 'the message' or not. The cast was great and seemed to be enjoying themselves, I especially enjoyed Terry Crews as the President of America. It took me a long time to notice what a seriously funny guy he can be. This movie deserves to be more widely seen than it has been so far. Although the DVD is often hard to find, word of mouth will keep this movie steadily growing - like the mountain of trash that begins the DVD menu - and plays a critical role in the plot. (That may be a teaser, but it's no spoiler!) My advice: keep expectations low and you'll probably enjoy this movie. I heard so much about it before seeing it, I expected too much. It's not great, but it's ...um... well above average. ;) And it's as much fun to talk about afterward as it is to watch.
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3/10
Delightfully ludicrous little treasure
18 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is the movie Ed Wood SHOULD have made! :D Even among such 50s sci-fi gems as Mickey Rooney's Atomic Kid, this one has a special place. It's technically well done, despite it's charmingly low budget trappings and gut bustingly absurd dialog and plot points. The protagonist's family seem like the Cleavers after mucking around with the Krell mind-trainer from Forbidden Planet. Their 'intellectual' banter make the cast of Frasier seem like they stumbled in from an Ernest movie. Everything is wonderfully (and it seems, cluelessly) over the top. I guess this is how the writers thought REALLY smart people behaved. :) **SPOILER?** I don't want to ruin any of the absurdities of the "plot", but just to give an example of what makes this movie so special, when the boy asks about the deserted office where he finds the disassembled robot, his father just nonchalantly mentions a colleague who claimed to have built a time machine & brought the robot back from the future, then just disappeared one day. Since this earthshattering claim and apparent proof of the time machine's existence is tossed off with such disinterested casualness, one must assume this sort of thing is happening all the time at the braniac house where all the professors work on their science-genius stuff. A film like this could never be made again. I get the distinct impression that the filmmakers had no sense of irony or absurdity, and were just making a low budget kid's movie. This movie is a classic in it's own profoundly misguided way. Thank God for late night cable and the happy accident that brought this to my attention. If you ever like to have your own MST3K home theater experience, grab a few friends - or robots, and pop this gem in the player.
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9/10
It's technical limitations are overcome by it's content
24 July 2006
I thought I knew the whole story on GM's EV-1 & California's dalliance with proactive legislation and their Zero Emission Vehicle statute. Well, as much as someone from the other edge of the continent could. I was a bit surprised and delighted to learn their were elements of the story that I knew nothing about. ...until I saw this movie. I this movie biased? Well, from the title it's pretty clear they make a statement and should surprise no one that they spend the next 90min making their case. If your mind's already closed on this subject, don't waste your time and money. I found the case it makes compelling on both an intellectual and emotional level. They logically make their case, and they have many interviews with people who are deeply passionate about their cars. You occasionally see this, maybe in Tucker owners - who have too much in common with Saturn EV1 drivers. Of course THEY still have the objects of their devotion. OK, a quick gripe about the presentation. This movie should be great on DVD and probably would be very good on DLP projection, but the transfer from video to film left all sort of unavoidable visual and motion artifacts. The presentation I saw seemed to combine the shortcomings of both video & film. Still content trumps all, which is why I will recommend this movie to anyone with a curious - and open - mind. Thanks to everyone involved with this project. It was obviously a labor of love. I hope it's success encourages more projects like this.
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Roadracers (1994 TV Movie)
7/10
This sleeper needs DVD release
14 May 2005
A friend of mine saw this movie on Showtime & recommended it. I had the good fortune to rent - & later buy the laserdisc version which includes a Director's commentary track. The film's good, but RR's commentary makes it MUCH better. Hearing how he ended up getting this gig, what exactly he was given to work with and how he ended up with the film you're watching, is another great story for fans of the director or just film-making in general. On the comment track he alludes to lots of other material that he has from this project, like videos made during production, and makes an offhand comment to the effect that 'someday if this ever comes out on DVD....' Well, I for one would stand in line for a copy. If you enjoy the 10 minute film school features & other extras on RR's DVDs, you too should petition the powers that be to release RoadRacers on DVD - along with the original (&/or new) commentary track & extras.

It's am important step in Rodriguez' evolution from maverick indy to maverick big-league filmmaker. A DVD version would be a must-have for any fan.
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Meteor (1979)
2/10
The movie Ed Wood always wanted to make
26 February 2004
I just stumbled over this gem on a very independent TV station & I'm still stunned. This dreadful classic must have driven them from the theaters in the 70s... and, like any good cheese, it's only gotten more pungent with age. It's amazing how many d-movie cliches they managed to pack into one film. There are so many deliciously squirm inducing moments. Among my favorites are Brian Keith as the surly Russian (evil commie with the heart of gold)... Martin Landau as the rabidly paranoid AirForce general - an over the top community theater version of Geo C Scott's Gen Turgedson in Strangelove... I guess my favorite is the "star" - the giant mcnugget that's hurtling toward earth. ...And all the special effects that undoubtedly inspired a generation of kids with super-8 cameras to think "I can do better than that!" To anyone who loves truly terrible cinema - this is a must see.
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Paycheck (2003)
6/10
Not bad if you like "Dick Flicks"
25 December 2003
P.K. Dick's dark paranoia & hollywood's obsession for action movies with happy endings make for an interesting tension in any film treatment of this bleak geniuses' stories... but try as they might, no studio has managed to totally dumb-down a Dick story. While this would make a fine 60 min episode of a sci-fi anthology series like 'Outer Limits', the nearly 2-hr running time & unnecessary big-budget treatment, didn't slow down or dilute the storyline completely. I didn't find it nearly as lame as reviews led me to believe. Maybe it was the low expectations going in that made it seem better than expected, but it's a satisfactory Hollywood action movie. John Woo certainly serves up the chases, explosions & fight scenes. And while Uma Thurman's presence improves any film, when she gets to kick butt too, it's an extra pleasure. It may not be a future classic like Blade Runner, but I'd put it on a par with Minority Report. If you're in the mood for an action movie that can give you something to talk about afterwards, it's certainly worth the price of a matinee ticket.
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10/10
Makes Terry Gilliam look like Ken Burns!
31 October 1999
A friend once told me of an exotic menu item at a foreign restaurant which was simply listed as: "the item which cannot be described" That is the only way I can describe this film. The trailer intrigued me when I first saw it, but so many films fail to live up to the trailer - especially a trailer as surreally loopy as this. Yet somehow this movie manages to live up to it's tease! By now, you've probably heard lots of buzz about this movie. I will not even attempt to describe it, except to say that however jaded you may be - you have NEVER seen anything quite like this. Like it or hate it (though I can't see how), you will NOT be bored! I pity the writer & director having to top this in their next project!
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The Kids in the Hall (1988–2021)
Insanely inspired sketch comedy
1 August 1999
Too bad people have to constantly compare KITH to Monty Python's Flying Circus. Aside from the fact that they were both unlike anything else before or since, the all-male core cast filling most of both gender roles, the ability to come up with totally fresh & insanely novel sketch ideas, and the ability to show self-absorbed American audiences that humor transcends culture... these 2 comic troupes have absolutely nothing in common! It's not for everyone, but if you're tired of the same old McComedy that clogs your cable like kudzu, find KITH & fire up the VCR! If only the entire KITH series was available on video (better yet DVD), that's one subscription I'd call Time/Life for!
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Run Lola Run (1998)
8/10
What a wild ride!
11 July 1999
Throw Groundhog Day, & a few dozen Nike ads in a blender, add a pinch of Pulp Fiction & you barely begin to get the idea of Run Lola Run. It's tough to compare a film this startlingly unique to anything that's come before. It's sure to inspire many knock offs (and rip offs - especially in the world of advertising). If your idea of a great foreign film is something from Bergman or Merchant/Ivory, skip this film. If however, you enjoy Wong Kar Wai's dizzying visuals and storylines, you may want to check this out.
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The Matrix (1999)
Candy for the eyes - junkfood for the brain
11 April 1999
The Matrix looks great. And no one really goes to a Keanu Reeves movie (or a Van Damme or Segall film) for a thought provoking plot do they? The Matrix is pleasing eye candy, and should do well on video (where you can turn the sound down & just enjoy the images). As for the plot... don't settle for "Gibson-lite" when you can go to a bookstore and pick up Neuromancer & it's two "sequels". The Matrix may be better suited for Playstation than the cineplex, but it's fun to watch.
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Fallen Angels (1995)
7/10
An acquired taste
11 April 1999
I must admit, my only exposure to Wong Kar Wai's work (so far) is Chunking Express & Fallen Angels, often referred to as "bookends" by friends who are much more into his work. If you've seen one, you pretty much know if you'll like the other... though I'd recommend Chunking Express as the first of the 2 to see. It seems to me Fallen Angels is a bit more intense, so seeing it after CKE would turn the experience up, where seeing Fallen Angels first might make CKE seem a bit anticlimactic. I can't believe he shot on 35mm - the look is so gritty & saturated I thought it was shot on a variation of 16mm. This is NOT a criticism! The visual effect is a big part of the impact of this movie. I'm intrigued enough by what I've seen to seek out more of this director's work. He certainly has defined a very distinctive look & style to his films. Love 'em or hate 'em - he's very consistent, and has carved out a unique niche.
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