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The Ying and Yang of Vulnerability and Power
Movie's finest avant guarde director, Lars von Tier weaves a three hour minimalist masterpiece of the ying and yang of vulnerability and power. The abuse of such power is intoxicating and addictive but the axis of the poles can swing in the other direction. A fantastic cast headed by Nicole Kidman, in her best performance, with shout outs to Stellen Skasgard, Patricia Clarkson, Ben Gazzara and John Hurt's narration. Thought provoking and discussion generating, Dogville is unlike any movie you've ever seen. Watch for the superb use of lighting that adds texture and ambiance to the scenes. A must for movie lovers especially if you enjoy an acting driven movie. Excellent.
In the Company of Women (2004)
Interesting and enlightening
I had seen almost all of the movies (High Art, Household Saints, Who Shot Andy Warhol, Dogfight, True Love, Little Man Tate, Home For the Holidays, Boys Don't Cry, etc.) that were discussed as land-breaking and for some I didn't realize that they were directed by women. They were just damn good movies. Isn't that the ultimate compliment?
All the films that I had seen have one thing in common, they seemed real. Not necessarily any circle that I would ever run in but a part of the world that the mainstream doesn't get exposed to but knows exists.
Well worth any movie lovers time if only to introduce them to some little seen films that were very well made and acted. I will be scouring the video stores for the ones I missed.
In the Company of Men (1997)
I didn't see the reason for all the excitement
I thought the movie was OK but not very plausible. Aaron Eckert was not very convincing at times and I can't believe Howard (Matt Malloy)or anyone with a high school maturity level would be seduced by the anti-everything Chad into doing something that was completely out of character. Howard was a successful business man who had risen above the BS to get where he was. He may have been inexperienced with women but Chad's peer pressure tactics wouldn't have taken 6 weeks to be resisted.
The best part of the movie was Stacy Edwards portrayal of Christine. She was near pitch-perfect in every scene as the deaf object of Chad and Howard's disingenuous affections.
Discovering a 19 year old Jewel was eye opening
Wow what a talent. She blew more seasoned performers off the stage! Jackson Browne was uncomfortable, Roger Daltry raspy, only Nathan Lane held his own. But it was Jewel's rendition of "Over The Rainbow" that made me a fan for life. Heck, I had to order her first CD "Pieces of You" from Borders because it wasn't nationally distributed yet. By the way it went on to sell 8 million copies. I once asked her if she ever sang "Over The Rainbow" in concert and she said she never learned to play it on the guitar. Her rendition is worth the whole show, a fresh take on one of the greatest songs of all time. While it is no substitute for the original Wizard of Oz, it is very enjoyable.
Like a religious experience
I was approximately 10 feet from the stage in Phoenix 5 weeks before this concert was filmed. Seeing it 16 months later brought back all the same emotions that ran through me that night. Wow! I had goose bumps from the opening number. My wife and I stood riveted in front of the television, overwhelmed by reliving the experience of a lifetime. This DVD captures how Bruce not only delivers a powerhouse performance mined from his enormous repetoire but wills the audience to give back and feeding off that energy to the brink of exhaustion. The force of "The Rising" is worth the price of the DVD alone and you get 2 1/2 hours beyond that! The Boss has no peers.
Donnie Darko (2001)
a poorly scripted jumbled mess
A good story and some decent acting is wasted on this tedious pseudo psychological thriller. The characters, except Donnie,were for the most part, underdeveloped. The high school classmates were painfully cliched spouting ridiculous lines. Their vulgarity and racial slurs were forced and out of place. This movie needed another pass at the script or a different edit to eliminate the unnecessary pablum. There was a good movie there somewhere but it did not make the screen.
Finding Nemo (2003)
If it weren't for the animation this would be a bomb!
The charmless aquatic remake of Bambie is nowhere near the previous Pixar productions (Monsters Inc. and the Toy Story movies) and completely void of humor. How appealing to children (or adults for that matter) is the following plot line: Mother and children die leaving father to raise a handicapped son alone against the dangerous (sea)world. Handicapped son get taken by evil human who is going to give him to his spoiled & irresponsible niece (think Sid in Toy Story) to which he will surely be dead in a matter of hours. Father and amnesic new friend fight off villain after villain to retrieve handicapped son from his impending demise.
Ridiculously overly suspenseful for a child below 10. Repetitive and unfunny for adults. What does that leave? A major disappointment. BOO!
Kate & Leopold (2001)
If it wasn't for Jackman, I would have turned this off.
Wow, what a disappointment. Unoriginal story, boring pace and very little chemistry among the stars, Ryan and Jackman. Hugh Jackman's performance was the only saving grace. His dashing delivery of well scripted lines saved this film from being one of the worst of the year. A weak romantic comedy.
The finest child performance in movie history
is given by 4 year-old Victoire Thivisol. Differences in how people deal with death and the role religion plays are brought into focus in this outstanding, thought provoking and unrelenting heartbreaking film. Death and religion are difficult enough concepts for adults but to thrust them upon a 4 year old child and watch her battle to understand why her mother is dead is captured beautifully and thoughtfully in Ponette. This is a must see.
Breaking Up (1997)
A sharp and witty film about the one that got away.
This extremely well written and acted movie is a little treasure that I discovered on the "not rented very much" section of the video store. It follows the relationship of two commitment phobic people who were madly in love with each other but are always looking for a reason not to be happy. Alternatingly absolutely hysterical and poignant, this movie is a must see for all who enjoy a well done realistic romantic comedy (as opposed to an unrealistic one such as Runaway Bride). Certainly not least, Salma Hayak is absolutely gorgeous, sexy, and funny and Russell Crowe shows why he will be a heavyweight in the industry for a long time. You will see why he was robbed of the Best Actor Oscar last year for the Insider after viewing. 9++ Enjoy.
The guy doesn't look much like Ricky but he's a better actor
This was a very interesting and well acted movie that focused on just how underrated Rick Nelson was in music history. He was a trail blazer for country rock in addition to being a TV star and teen idol. Many intriguing details were brought out about a kid who had everything but still threw it all away. Jamey Sheridan did a fine job as the overbearing, minimally talented Ozzie Nelson who rode Ricky's fame to his personal fortune. Kris Nelson (Rick's wife) came off as a talentless gold digger(which I don't doubt) who spent money to fill the void in her marriage. Overall this was a good movie, nearly the equal of the network TV effort "The Temptations" and I commend VH1 for producing another solid film in the wake of "Sweetwater".
Interesting and well told
I'm intrigued by VH1's foray into the movie business. So far they are 2 for 2 with "Sweetwater" and "Ricky Nelson-Original Teen Idol". Both were well acted and informative. I look forward to the next made for VH1 movie.
Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998)
Good story, fair script, fair acting
The most interesting thing about the movie was the insider's look at a tortured artist after his popularity is gone. Frankie Lymon was Michael Jackson (of the Jackson 5 vintage) before Michael Jackson. The film never really brought out the fact that Frankie was 13 when he hit it big with the Teenagers (probably because the director didn't think Larenz Tate could pull it off). 3 wives fighting over his estate, mercurial rise and fall, and dead at 25, there is a good story here. The movie however falls a little short. I recommend with slight reservation.
Sarandon great but maybe a wee bit too maudlin
Outstanding performances by Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts carry this film that doesn't miss any of the potential difficulties of a) incorporating a new companion into a household, b) the ex-spouse acceptance of such companion and c) dealing with a terminal illness. While I'm impressed that the film didn't gloss over these difficult issues, I thought it just missed being a great film by playing for tears instead of issues. I still enjoyed it but I thought "One True Thing" about another cancer victim was better.
A Rumor of War (1980)
One of the finest made for network TV movies ever made
Gripping war drama with a fine performance by Brad Davis. Ranks with many of the best of the Vietnam movie genre (Platoon, Go Tell The Spartans, Gardens of Stone, etc.). Could have easily been a theatrical release.
Notting Hill (1999)
Disarmingly charming and surprisingly funny
Similar in many ways to "Four Weddings and a Funeral" but, hey, I loved "Four Weddings..". Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts are perfectly cast and Rhys Ifans steals every scene he's in. A very fine romantic comedy.
The Mask of Zorro (1998)
Too slapstick for me.
A good sword fighting scene can have the same impact as a well choreographed dance sequence, beauty, athleticism, and grace. That's what I expected from Zorro but was disappointed. This movie fell well short in every category (script, story, acting and sword fighting!) but good looking actors.
Dance with Me (1998)
A pleasant surprise, not nearly as sappy as I'd anticipated.
The dance numbers were fun. Dancing has become a lost art in today's movies. This film made me want to re-watch some Astaire, Kelly, Caron movies again. The plot and acting are above average, but the cast is beautiful to watch. I'm glad I saw it. Grade 7.