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Here are my top 20 favorite movies in no particular order:
The Year My Voice Broke
Fools Rush In
So I Married An Axe Murderer
The Cable Guy
Dumb and Dumber
There's Something About Mary
My Life Without Me
To Die For
The Breakfast Club
Szabadság, szerelem (2006)
An unhappy ending...
To those who are familiar with the end result of this true story, it is certainly not a happy ending. In 1956, Hungary was ruled by communism. Russian communism to be exact, and it was a few brave souls out of thousands, that gave up their lives for a dream - of freedom.
I am an American currently living in Hungary, and I felt very privelged last night, being able to see this film. There I sat in an auditorium, with a theater screen set up, and a projector as well; watching this film in a city of only 13,000, approximately one third of which sat all around me. I felt honored, and very happy to know that I was in this country, watching this film, amongst so many people who were celebrating an event that took place fifty years ago, here in this very country.
The film centers around a water polo team in the year 1956. It was in this year that people began to take up arms. They decided enough was enough. Communism had ruled for far too long by this point - but the tragedy was that it was to remain that way for a much, much longer time. At the end of the second world war, the Russians decided it was their turn to rule Hungary. They took it off the shoulders of the Germans, who had now lost, and Russia was the new Hitler. The star of the film is member of the Hungarian water polo team, and they become finalists in the Olympics that year. From the beginning of the film, until the end - we see the Revolution through the eyes of this young man. How he falls in love with a women, who is one of the leaders of the revolt, and finds himself fighting for his country alongside her.
Though it was a bit slow at times, and it was in Hungarian - it's a film, that in some ways you don't even really need to speak the language to understand. Although I'm semi-fluent in Hungarian, it was still very difficult for me to follow the dialogue. However, you can understand what's happening in the film, without a knowledge of what they're saying. A lot of explosions; fighting; guns; love scenes; and arguments - it's quite apparent most of the time what's going on.
I would say that acting wise -it's a Hungarian made movie. The actors are not the creme of the crop - but certainly better than your average Joe. The direction was brilliant, however. And I was quite amazed by the camera-work - and stage direction. Filmed on location in Budapest (and it's quite obvious), it gives those who have walked down some of the famous streets, and squares, chills down their backs, with the knowledge, that there were protesters and gun play in those places, all those years ago. Now, these streets and squares are famous tourist attractions.
Although I hate to give in to the self-pity most Hungarians carry around with them, I have to admit that the film does make you feel sorry for them as a people. First world war two, and then this. It was as though they were to never catch a break. Which might account for some of their cultural behaviors, even today. The communist mentality still seeping through. It is all apparent in the film, why they go about their ways, the way they do.
It is an interesting film, and a good historical reference. If anyone can find this with English subtitles (or subtitles for whatever language you speak), it might be good to see it, just so you know what actually happened in 1956, and how as much as the Hungarians fought for their freedom, life is not a movie- and the outcome was very realistic. They lost.
A final note. After the film, a lady who was in the car with me on my home, said something that I'll never forget. I mentioned that in the movie, I thought it was funny how someone got so excited, because they'd heard on the radio that the Americans were coming to save them. And, I said...I didn't think that was true, since I don't ever recall the Americans coming to the Hungarians aid. She said softly, and sadly, as though it were my fault, "No. You didn't come. You didn't come." A sad, yet memorable, historical and noteworthy event in world history. And, of course, in Hungarian history.
The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
There are few films out there that can really scare me, but this is definitely one of them, now.
You may find that the first thirty minutes of this film are quite; slow, boring or uneventful; but the moment the film picks up - it never stops. Truth be told, I had to turn it off twice to catch my breath. It was too much at times, and I seriously considered not finishing it, because it was so disturbing and realistic. That's not to say that I think there really are mutants living out in the New Mexico deserts, however the way that the first "scary scene" is filmed, it is terrifying, and well - horrific.
The setup is a family traveling to California, via the New Mexico plain terrain. They come across a random gas station to fill up their tank, and the attendant, a bit shifty, suggests that in order for their journey to go a bit more quickly, they should take a short cut. They take his advice, and end up running into some car trouble later down the road. Miles from civilization, their car is now broken and two of the men decide to split up and walk to the nearest town or rest stop for help. Three women, a teenage boy and a newborn baby stay behind. Nightfall comes, and so does the terror of the film, which does not cease until the credits roll.
It is without a doubt one of the best, and most disturbing horror movies I've ever seen. It leaves you feeling violated, uneasy and uncomfortable to sleep without the lights on.
I recommend it to those horror fanatics out there (like me), and those who can appreciate good cinema like this. It may leave a knot in your stomach, or a nawing at your brain - but if nothing else, it will totally scare you.
Rumor Has It... (2005)
There are few films anymore, that will make you laugh aloud, and still want you to watch it again at a later time...this is not one such film. Although it will make you laugh aloud, from time to time, it won't make you want to ever watch it again. A few funny lines, really can't save a bad movie. The writing by the way, isn't even all that good, and Jennifer Aniston and Mark Ruffalo have absolutely zero chemistry together, starting the film off as an engaged couple.
I found Jennifer Aniston to have been very badly miscast, and though she did present a few moments of comical and well timed lines, she really was drab in the film, and added nothing. Mark Ruffalo was perfect in his character, and I have to say that every film I see him in, I like him more and more. I think he's an awesome actor, that really doesn't not get nearly enough coverage in the media. But, maybe that's the way he likes it.
Kevin Costner was funny, and I think the best character in the whole film, aside from Mark Ruffalo's, was that of Shirley MaClaine's. She delivered her lines almost as well and right on as her facial expressions. She is a professional, that no one can mess with, and I have to say that I enjoyed the scenes with her the most. I think she should have been more of the movie (maybe more than Jennifer Aniston).
The film itself is a bit boring. And, come on...very unrealistic. The plot, is that Aniston's character figures out her family is the basis for the book, and later the movie, "The Graduate". That her grandmother (MaClaine) is Mrs. Robinson. And, that her mother, had an affair with Costner's character (Dustin Hoffman's character in 'The Graduate'), before Aniston's character was born. It's a bit confusing in writing, in the movie it makes more sense, though again it's not at all realistic, and sometimes you need a bit of realism to help you go along with a story as ridiculous as this one was.
There were some funny moments, and some great lines, but again, that can't be enough to carry a movie, of this sort. It had to have been funny the whole way through, which it just wasn't But, if you're in the mood for something silly, stupid and really pointless...then hear ya go. Also, be prepared that some of it might gross you out. Yeah. Kevin Costner and Jennifer Aniston, are just a few years apart in age. I'll let your imagination take hold.
Shall We Dance (2004)
Good, but not the original.
If you're looking for a film that you can zone out to, feel good about by the end of it, and really feel like you're dancing along with Richard Gere's character throughout the entirety of the movie, than this is the right place for you to be. A simple, light-hearted romantic (in the sense of whimsical) getaway from reality, that I'm sure more than a few hard-working Americans can relate to, who go to there nine to five jobs each and every day.
There a few problems with this film, however. First of all, Jennifer Lopez. She's good...but...let's consider this. If you've seen the original (which btw, was much better than this remake), you know that it was an Asian film, and so the girl that was casted was obviously Asian. To cast, the Latino, big-bootied J-Lo, is a bit of a stretch considering that their charisma is completely different. The other problem I found, was that although it's been a while since I've seen the original, as I recall it was more of a drama, rather than a comedy, and though this isn't hysterical every moment, the remake pokes fun at a lot of what the original movie's purpose was, and this is just more comical at times, than I think it should be.
All in all it's an enjoyable film, and I greatly enjoy Susane Surandon the most in the movie. I think her performance in the role as Richard Gere's wife, is achieved with brilliance, as so many of her roles are.
Again, if you're looking for something very light, this is your best bet. Enjoy it, though if you're trying to decide between this and the original, stick with the first, it's much better and more realistic.
Just Like Heaven (2005)
Not as good as I'd hoped, but it's a re-watch...
I will forever be in awe of Reese Witherspoon. She is an amazing talent, that deserves to win an academy award for just about everything she's ever been in. With that being said, I can't not watch a film that she's worked on. This film, was just one of the many.
Mark Ruffalo co-stars with the great Witherspoon, in this very light romantic dramety. It's a film with very few laughs, but a lot of emotion. Ruffalo seems to choose films that are meant more for the female audience, and it really does work in his favor. He is himself a great actor, and has a certain poise on screen. The chemistry between he and Witherspoon was there, yet I've seen more chemistry with other stars.
The film itself was okay. It wasn't Oscar worthy by any means, however it did have a unique charm that I've never seen in any movie before. It did hold a small resemblance to "Heart and Souls" with Robert Downey, Jr., although this was more of a personal film. It dealt more with both the characters on a personal level than the Downey, Jr. film did.
It's not at all the story I was expecting, and I will warn you that the title, and preview severely mislead you. I thought that the two characters had known each other from earlier on in the story, and since the title is, "Just Like HEAVEN", I made some assumptions, that I shouldn't have.
I won't spoil the story, least of all the ending, to anyone...but I will say that it's not at all what you think it is. Almost a completely different film. But, I think it's still good in it's own right. I would recommend it. And, the best part is, that it's a film that the whole family can watch. Another reason to love Witherspoon. She chooses excellent scripts, and does a terrific job in everything she makes.
Not the best film ever, but it's cute, and a good and entertaining watch.
Taking Lives (2004)
One of the best thrillers I've ever seen!
I just recently saw this film for the first time, and was completely blown away! I thought from the title (never having read anything about it, or even seeing a preview) that it was going to be some demonic weird, psycho movie. So, I never watched it. But, I finally gave it a chance. Man, was I wrong! It was an amazing movie, and I would gladly see it again anytime, even in the near future.
Angelino Jolie was good in her role, but the real prize in the whole piece, was Ethan Hawke. He is without a doubt an amazing character actor, and good looking to boot! His role in the film, is perfect, and does an outstanding job convincing not only Jolie of his situations, but the audience as well.
The movie certainly keeps you guessing, which is what I like, but once you think you've cracked the code...you're totally wrong! The movie just keeps getting more and more deep in confusion. But, in a good way.
There is a lot of gore and blood, so if you have a sensitive stomach, this might not be the best film for you. But, if you can get past those parts, you're in for a real treat. The whole movie is just a big crime, and you get to try and solve the missing pieces.
It's excellent, and I don't use that term lightly.
Give it a try...it won't let you down!
Irma la Douce (1963)
A classic, that won't soon die.
Classics. There are so many. And, 'Irma La Deuce' is just one of the many.
Shirley McClaine and Jack Lemon star in this warm-hearted, light romantic romp - dealing with a lot of issues that may have been a bit unorthodox for that time period - ultimately delivering one of the greatest films of all time.
A comedy that all generations can understand, relate to, and really appreciate for it's unique and authentic persona.
Lemon and McClaine both give outstanding performances, and will not soon be forgotten as two of the most talented actors in American cinema.
A film that everyone should see. 'Irma La Deuce' will bring a tear to your eye, a giggle to your lips, and a memory to your heart.
Love. It's not just a tennis term.
There are very few romantic comedies that make me feel as good, as this one does. I saw it for the first time when it first came out in the theater, back in 2004, and today was the third time I've seen it. Though I've seen it that many times, it never loses its charm or warmth, that I've always seen in it.
The thing about this movie, is that it's very professionally presented on screen. You see the career life, just as much if not more, than the romance part of these two characters' lives.
Kiresten Dunst was perfectly chosen for this part, and although, off the top of my head, I don't recall seeing Paul Bettany in any other films, I thought he did a terrific job playing his character, perhaps more so than Dunst.
The two really make you believe that they are tennis champions...and the film delivers there stardom and romance in a way that not only do you feel like you're apart of the relationship...but it also has an amazing way of making you feel like the fans and the audience watching them from a distance. It's brilliantly directed, perfectly casted, and excellently written.
It's funny, witty, light, cute, romantic and sweet. All the things that make up a terrific romance. And, this won't be the last time I see it, either.
Keep it in mind because I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
Come on...can we release an actually good comedy for a change?
What was this crap? It was so boring...and so bad. I can't believe I actually paid money to rent this. I thought since I'd heard such good things about the film, that I'd finally be in for a good romantic comedy. Wrong.
Catherine Zeta-Jones, may be beautiful...but can she act? So was she British or American in this one? I couldn't tell because of both the accents she had. OK. She's American...oh wait, I guess she's English. Oh no...she's American again. What the hell?! By the time I finally figured out which one she was, she changed it again.
And George Clooney. Well, let's just say that he should stick to directing, or playing more serious characters, rather than the silly one he tried to portray in this one.
Billy Bob Thornton was good...but come on? How hard is it for Billy Bob to do a southern accent? The movie itself was a disaster. It had a good idea...but on screen it totally lost its charm. The writing was good...however again, it lost a lot on screen. The directing could have been a lot better to be honest. I think that's partly why the film was so bad. It lost a lot of its charisma from the lack of inspiration given by the director. But, that's just a theory.
I personally wouldn't recommend it. It does have a few humorous parts. Although I can honestly say I don't remember laughing once. There are only two good scenes, the first of the two is the opening.
And, the only other positive thing I will say about the film, is that it does keep you guessing a little. There were two times, when the film actually surprised me. However, this doesn't make up for it being as bad as it was.
My Boss's Daughter (2003)
Terrible, terrible, terrible...with a happy ending.
For years I hesitated watching this movie. Now, I know why. It was even worse than I'd expected. Ashton Kutcher makes the worst movie mistake of his career, since 'Dude, Where's My Car?' Tara Reid co-stars as the girl of Ashton's dreams, who asks him to babysit her father (and his boss)'s pet owl for the weekend. The rules: 1. No shoes in the house. 2. No people in the house. 3. The boss' son stays out of the house. 4. Don't touch the furniture.
Well, you can pretty much guess by the end of the first twenty minutes, how the rest of the film is going to turn out.
You know, there are films like, "Meet The Parents", where bad things happen to someone, but it's entertaining to watch, and it's delivered in a way, that you can't wait to see what happens next. This, is not one of those films. You know right from the start that bad things are going to happen, and they're mostly stupid things that would never actually happen. It's an extremely frustrating movie to watch, and there were about three times when I nearly turned it off, because it was so bad. But, I paid the rental fee, and figured I had to watch it now.
Tara Reid was good, and I would like to see her in more films. Though, I'm not surprised if this had a hand in hurting her career.
The end result is a happy ending...but of course with the kind of film it is, you would expect nothing short of that.
Don't watch it. You'll sincerely regret it!
Failure to Launch (2006)
Quite disappointing, with only a few funny parts...
My friend saw this a few months before I did, and warned me that it wasn't very good. I decided to check it out for myself. She was right. It wasn't that funny.
I found myself roaring at only two scenes throughout the whole film. And the only parts that I did laugh along with, were only in the scenes with Zooey Deschanel. She was the real gem of the film, and quite frankly the only person in the film, who really played her part well. Although, I will say that I was impressed and quite pleased with Bradley Cooper's performance as well.
Sarah Jessica Parker is too old to be playing these roles. Maybe her character was the same age as she is in real life...she just came across on screen as not the right age. Matthew McConaughey, although usually a very good actor, I found at least his role, to be very numb, and not of much use. It was a very bland character, and although he certainly is a lot of eye candy, the role may have been better suited to a different actor.
The parts that were funny, were hysterical. But, be forewarned, there are some very, very stupid scenes, almost all including animals. It was very apparent that these scenes were meant to be funny...but they just weren't at all. They ended up being stupid and really of no use to the audience.
I have seen better films. The idea behind it was very funny, and it was a well directed film, however most of it, left me shaking my head, "no".
But, if you like light romantic comedies that are dumb, and really of no particular point...give it a try. It's mindless and quite light.
13 Going on 30 (2004)
An unforgettable romantic comedy...
When first seeing this film, you might be reminded of the classic '80s comedy, "Big" starring Tom Hanks. Though this film resembles the Hanks hit, it does carry a lot of it's own special trademarks and moments, that 'Big' didn't. You might even consider it, a female version of that movie.
All Jenna wants is to be 30. At 13, she finds herself awkward, gawky and not fitting in with the "cool crowd". Her best friend Matty, builds her a dream house and sprinkles magic dust all over it, so that her biggest wish can come true. And, it does. On the night of her 13th birthday, she wakes up the next morning...30.
The film, shows how one wish, can make a whole lot happen. How the things you thought you wanted, in the end maybe aren't what you wanted at all.
I fall in love with this movie every time I see it. I love the film, 'Big', yet in some ways this movie surpasses it in some ways. It's more emotional, more of a chick flick, and quite funny.
Entertaining, full of heart, and some outstanding acting by Jennifer Garner and especially Judy Greer, this film makes you crave for more! It's a perfect film, with absolutely nothing offensive, nothing stupid, and best of all, it's well written! I definitely recommend this film to all ages. Even under 13! :)
Surprise ending, however a nonsensical surprise ending.
I would be lying, if I said that this film, wasn't entertaining. Because, it was. However, it wasn't the best film I've seen in a while. It was really drawn out...and you think that you know the plot twist coming by the end of the film, where as you really don't.
Ashley Judd was excellently casted for this part, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her in this. Samuel L. Jackson was, as always, good. Although, I think anyone could have played Andy Garcia's part.
All in all it was an entertaining film, a good surprise ending, but I was really disappointed with it, personally. It really didn't make sense, and was kind of badly written, as for a reason why it was the way it was.
But, it's an interesting thriller, and again Judd is excellent in it.
The Company (2003)
A great one time watch
I was pleasantly surprised with this piece. It was not at all how I had expected it, and was remarkably taken aback, by how brilliantly executed the entire film really was.
Neve Campbell, though I'm not a fan, did not add as much to the film as one might expect. It's not focused primarily on her, though she is the star, which is why the film might actually work as well as it does. Some might find it slow, yet I found it to be just the right pace, with just enough romance behind it in the background, to keep you watching.
The greatest thing that the film offers, after the fact that it is brilliantly and beautifully filmed, is that it allows the audience to be involved in everything that's going on. It makes you feel as though you're apart of the group, or rather 'The Company'. It's an exceptionally good film, and while there are moments, that do tend to focus almost too much on the dancing sequences, that is after all what this film is all about. Dancing. And more to the point, ballet.
James Franco is cute as usual, and although his presence certainly doesn't go unnoticed, he as well as Campbell are mere puppets in the director's film, rather than making you actually feel like they're real characters. Although, I did sense a nice chemistry between the two of them, it still would have been better with more well known, and accomplished actors.
If you're not into ballet, this is not a film you are going to like or be excited about. Obviously don't watch it. Basically, it's about dancing, and the company that these people work for. Nothing more or less. If you're looking for a romance, go check out 'Sleepless in Seattle', because this is a dancing movie. The romance part is just on the side.
However, if you like realistic films, that make you feel apart of the characters' (in this case dancers') lives, then this is your film.
Very good, and pleasantly surprising. Though, it is just a one time watch.
The Crying Game (1992)
You're in for a surprise...maybe.
This film was at the most average. I don't know what all the hoo-ha was about. For years, I'd heard that this film holds this amazing plot twist, that will keep you astonished for months to come. What?
If you don't know what this film is about, you're in for a real treat. Or, disappointment, depending on how you feel about the subject. Most people know already what the big surprise ending is, as I did, but if you don't I won't ruin anything for you. Just be prepared, that when you do find out what the twist is, it's pretty graphic and in your face.
It's a film that I found distasteful, and really bad. It wasn't at all the type of film I thought it would be. I have to say I was overall quite disappointed with the film. It lacked quite a bit, and the first forty minutes of the movie, are unbelievably slow. Once you finally get to the point of the film, you're so numbed from the first almost hour, that it seems like the movie is hardly worth your time, by then.
I will say though, that Jaye Davidson was outstanding in his role, and was quite believable. And, I'd like to add that I'm quite surprised that he hasn't done more, since then, acting wise.
The film again, is quite slow, and not very well written. I felt the writers really strayed away from writing about the actual criminal activity that was going on, and focused more on the relationship between the two main characters. Which, frankly was pointless.
I wouldn't waste my time with this one if I were you. It's not at all what everyone makes out to be, and although it is a cult classic, not all cult classics are worth watching, or as good as people tend to think they are. 'Rocky Horror Picture Show'. That's all I'm saying.
But, for the time when it came out, and the acting in the film, it's better than most films probably could have been. I just didn't care for it.
Notting Hill (1999)
One of the most enjoyable romances ever
You'll find, that with most British comedies, there's a lot of wit, that they carry, which will be lost of most people. However, this is one of those unique little gems, that everyone can have the pleasure of enjoying and partaking in.
Although it's not my favorite Julia Roberts movie, it's my second favorite. 'Steel Magnolias' is a film, I will forever carry a special place in my heart, however, this comes as a close second. Hugh Grant gives a typical, gorgeous, and average performance, as an average Joe who falls in love with someone, not within his reach...but somehow is.
I would recommend this film to everyone and anyone. If you love light romantic comedies, than this is where you want to be..."Notting Hill". It's a fun, flirtatious little movie, that keeps you in store for laughs, tears (depending on how emotional you tend to get with films like these), and plenty of embarrassments. It's a great film that deserves all the credibility and recognition that it has already received...and then some.
Don't pass this film up. It's one of the greatest romances of all time, and will stay a favorite of mine for a long time to come. A keeper, and definitely an excellent 10!
Riding in Cars with Boys (2001)
A great way to learn about life.
It's a shame that this movie can't be shown in high schools, as an educational video. It would certainly serve a terrific purpose, of how one small mistake can change the rest of your life forever.
Beverly (Barrymore), at fifteen, falls in love with the quarterback of the football team. She decides one night at a party to show her love to him, by presenting him with a poem, she's written for him. Unfortunately, being as naive as she is, she presents it to him, in front of all of his friends, where she is then made fun of. Feeling sorry for herself, and very hurt, she runs upstairs to the bathroom, in the house where the party is taking place, crying. There, she meets the man she will soon fall for, and give herself to, for the very first time. However, this boy is not the boy she wants to marry, but is forced to, by her parents, because she is now pregnant. At fifteen, and married, she is now faced with a new life, and new responsibilities. The movie circles around this new life, and how she is able to overcome so much, with so very little. Her deadbeat husband, small and poor home, young child to raise, and at time hopeless future, all gang up on her, while she tries to overcome all of it. Her dreams are not unrealistic, but rather unreachable because of all the problems and mishaps that happen throughout the next fifteen years of her life.
It's poignant, sweet, funny and honest. There is not one person who will watch this, and not relate to at least one thing from the story. Although it may take place in the 1960s-80s, it's still very true to life, and understandable.
I would recommend it to anyone, and hope that everyone will see the power of a message this film holds. It's really an amazing true story, and there aren't many like this out there.
Not Spielberg's best piece.
While the first half of this movie is simply magnificent, and keeps your heart rate at all time high, by the end of the second half, you're ready for the film to be over. The last half of the film is slow, and boring. It really covers too much information, that we could have surmised on our own without having to be shown or told.
Spielberg always captivates audiences, and you might find that since this is also a film based on true events, it's very similar to 'Catch Me If You Can', which he filmed in 2002. Not that the stories are similar at all, but the way it's filmed, is in a lot of ways, almost exactly the same.
I was so impressed however, with the cinematography and how Spielberg was able to make it look like it was actually filmed in the 1970s.
If you don't know the story, you might get confused at times. I knew the story going into the film, and I was still confused. It's not the best Spielberg film for two reasons. That's one, and the other is that it's far too long. Like most of his films, he likes to take his time setting up the story before he gets into the actual movie, however, sometimes that's not always necessary. Sometimes, you can have a great film without going into a lot of detail. We're not reading a book here. This is a visual art form of story-telling, and so sometimes small details are not always necessary.
Eric Bana was excellent, and he resembled Christian Bale so much in this film, at times I thought it was the 'Batman' actor. All of the actors in the film were great, especially the team that's sent to assassinate the assassinators. A little bit of life's ironies are thrown into play, which also makes the film that much more realistic, as well as the times when you don't know exactly what's going to happen, to whom, or when.
There were times of pure tension, and other times of pure boredom. But, I think it works well for the most part, and I thoroughly enjoyed the film (at least the first half), and I would definitely recommend it to those who want to see what really happened in 1972-73. It's an amazing story. And, it just goes to show what people do to back their own.
Good, but could be better
From the opening scene, we know right away we're in for a film that's going to take us on an unbelievable ride. People being shot, people being chased, people being conned out of money, and people being greedy for it. It's all in the opening scene...so if all of that is in one scene, how exciting must the rest of the film be? Well, not as much as one might think.
The makers of this film left out one important element. Good acting, and good writing. Had the film had a better lead than Edward Burns, it might have had a little more edge, and more of an intensity to it. The same goes for Rachel Weisz. She was good...however, lacked a quiet a lot. The rest of the cast was good, although Dustin Hoffman, may have been miscast. Though I must admit, he was a little creepy, which I suspect, is how we're supposed to feel about his character.
The story itself is quite good, and as for the ending...it will blow you away with surprise. It's not at all what you think is going to happen...and that's what I love about good con movies.
It really wasn't slow, which is to this type of film's benefit. Had it been any slower, it would shortly lost it's audience, right from the get go.
From the very beginning, the audience is fooled, straight through the end, which is good...because not only does it keep you paying attention, but it also allows you to never be sure as to what's going on, and who we can trust.
It's interesting, clever, and although there's some weird sexual undertones in the film (with regards to Dustin Hoffman's character), if you can manage to stomach those parts and move past them, the rest of the film is worth a watch.
Don't expect anything like, "Matchstick Men", "Criminal", "Runaway Jury", or "The Real McCoy". It's not like any of those...but, if you like con films, check it out, because this does keep you guessing.
Warm and welcoming
You'll find that with most high school films, they exaggerate too much and scurry away from the reality of high school life. However, in 'Lucas', it's almost 100% true to the typical life of high school drama. All the elements are in play for a truly delightful and realistic depiction of one fourteen year old boy's experiences as a high school freshman.
While there are other characters in the film, who share equal amounts of screen time, and they too have their own stories, Lucas' are the most entertaining and most anticipated. Kerrie Green and Charlie Sheen co-star as Cory Haim (Lucas)'s friends, and Wynona Ryder makes her film as one of Lucas' friends, who secretly has a crush on him.
Although this is from the mid-1980's, it still has enough charm and realism, that is enjoyable for generations to come.
It's heartwarming, sad, funny, and thoroughly entertaining. It's one of the best teen films ever made, and you find another like it. It's a very unique piece, that will have people in love with it, for years and years to come.
Stolen Summer (2002)
A thoughtful, and poignant film
It's rare that a film like this comes along. Sometimes, they slip right by, and if you're lucky you get the chance to see them. This is one such film.
Even after four years of it's debut, I'd never seen the film, and only remembered seeing one preview for it, before it came out on video. I recently had the opportunity to see it, and wasn't hesitant to watch it, but I assumed it would be worse than I'd anticipated, given the summary I read on this website. I was completely, and pleasantly wrong.
This film touches you in so many ways, that it's hard to even find the words for how wonderful it really is. Throughout the whole movie, you are given opportunities of laughter, sadness and thought.
The film circles around a nine year old boy, growing up in the 1950s, in a Catholic home with nine other siblings. His sweet and sympathetic mother, and limited to a high school diploma father, raise him and his brothers and sisters, with the faith that the church encourages. After being bullied somewhat, by one of the nuns at his all boys Catholic school, he decides in order to make her like him more, he will try to convert someone to Catholicsism, before the summer ends.
He decides to make a free lemonade stand in front of a Jewish Synagauge, in order to tell people about Christ, and how they can get into heaven for "free". He befriends the Rabbi of the Synagauge (Pollak), and soon learns that his son has leukemia. From then on, he decides he will help convert the little boy, before he grows any sicker.
It's an amazing movie, that will leave you feeling good, and secure. It has it's moments of tears, but the majority of the film is laughter, and thoughtfulness.
I would recommend it to anyone and everyone, regardless of religion, or ethnicity, it's a film that everyone will enjoy, and I don't think anyone could honestly be offended by it. I loved it, and hope to see it again in the future.
Far from Home (1989)
Not bad for a 'B' movie
This is the kind of film, that from the very beginning, you can tell right away, not to expect much. However, it does surprise one. It has it's moments of being really terrible (one scene in particular, with the land lady of the trailer park), and other times, where it involves you in the story really well.
I almost turned it off not quite half-way through, because it was so bad, but after the first murder arises, the film picks up, and you start to suspect who the murderer might be. Although, I'm a movie buff, I hardly think it was such a surprise by the end of the film who the murderer ends up being. It's not the most well-written script, but like I said, it does get you involved in the story, and that's the whole point really.
Drew Barrymore, in one of her younger roles, plays a fourteen year old, who's on a road trip for the summer with her father. Her parents are divorced, and is looking forward to going home the next day, from which the film starts, to celebrate her fourteenth birthday with her mother. Unfortunately, they are stranded in the depths of the Nevada desert, without any gas for their car, and end up sheltering at a trailer park, run by a wicked woman, with two very strange children. One, is a dark and mysterious boy whom Barrymore's character grows interested in, however is warned by more than just her father to stay away from him.
The film may be too slow for some, but I thought it was alright. I was able to watch it all the way through, which is more than I can say for a lot of films. This, being the type that it is, really isn't all that bad, and if you're a big Drew Barrymore fan, you should check it out. I think you'll also find a different role for Anthony Rapp in this as well, who is really good.
If you're interested check it out, however don't spend a large amount of money buying or renting it. It's not worth it, for the quality of film it is.
American Beauty (1999)
By far and away a classic
There are few films that you will run across in your lifetime that match up to the genius, humor and real touching drama that this film has to offer. It's honest, poignant and real. At times funny, it still maintains a dark humor, that can be taken lightly or dramatically.
Mena Suvari, while in the beginning, you may not see the attraction to why she was chosen for the role of the "American Beauty", halfway into the film, you really begin to see why she was picked for the part. She is outstanding, as is everyone, especially Chris Cooper, in his portrayal of a ex-military soldier, sure of keeping his eighteen year old son in line.
While the film tackles a lot of issues that some might find, offensive or grosse, I find the movie to always be genuinely entertaining and thoughtful. It's an interesting film that will always keep you waiting for the next scene, surprise and line.
Annette Benning, rightly nominated for her role as the wife of a man who's gone completely numb from living with her for two decades, is at her very best in this movie. She is so convincing that there are times when it's hard to remember it's only a film that we're viewing. However, this being said, that almost all of the actors in this piece were phenomenal, the one person I think is almost out of place was Thora Birtch. Her role as the daughter of Kevin Spacey and Annette Benning, isn't as convincing as some of the other characters, and quite frankly could have been played better by another actress.
Allison Janney was remarkable as the wife of Chris Cooper, and it always disappoints me that she has such a small role in the film. She usually is casted in comedies, and is a hilarious comedianne, however, in this piece she plays an almost mental case, hardly ever talking and when she does it's done brilliantly.
The direction is outstanding, and the writing very precise. The music is perfect for the film, especially at dark moments, when the music gets deeper and more threatening. Those are the best parts of the film.
The costumes and set design were right on, and very applicable to the film and what it required.
It's honestly quite rare that I find a film I have no complaints about, and this is one of them. This film is a definite 10/10 simply because it's perfect. There is nothing in this film that I would change. I would highly recommend it. Baring in mind that it does contain a lot of subject matter and nudity that may not be appropriate for all ages.
But, check it out. It's a terrific movie, and an all time great classic, that everyone should see. It's no wonder it won best picture, because it really is just that.
Something to Talk About (1995)
Is it just me or is the tag line a little misleading?
There are some films that move you. There are some films that make you laugh. There are some films that make you cry. And then there are some films, that mislead you with the tagline, cover of the film and in some cases the preview. This is one such film. After waiting eleven years to finally see this movie, I wondered why I had anticipated it so much. What a let down this film was. I was expecting some cute, romantic comedy with Julia Roberts and Denis Quaid, who would argue, and make-up every other scene, and share equal screen time. Wow, was I wrong. No wonder Quaid's name came last on the credits at the beginning of the film. He's hardly worth mentioning.
The film is circled more or less on a horse ranch that Grace (Roberts) works on, which is owned by her rich father. She finds her husband (Quaid) one afternoon, cheating on her, and the whole movie is dedicated to her being angry with him, and refusing to forgive him for having cheated on her. However, the reason the tag lines and previews are misleading, is because the movie is more focused on the horse ranch, rather than on her personal situation.
I found the movie quite frankly boring, and really of not much interest. Kyra Sedgwick was excellent, and I think I liked her the most out of everyone in the film. I'm not a Robert Duvall fan, so don't ask me what I thought of him, I don't know why he gets casted for any parts, in any films. Gena Rowlands was good as usual...and well what can you say about the sexy and terrific Denis Quaid? He was his usual charming self, and how could you blame anyone for liking him? Julia Roberts, was certainly not at her best, but then better than her non-deserving Oscar award winning performance in "Erin Brockovich."
The movie was flat, and lacked so much that it had potential for.
I highly not recommend this film, and suggest you check something more along the lines of "Notting Hill" or "Pretty Woman" if you're looking for a good Roberts flick. And if it's Quaid you're interested in, go with, "Innerspace" or "In Good Company". You won't go wrong with any of those, however this one will let you down right from the beginning, and the end won't do you much good either. Because that was not you're typical ending to a film like this. Good luck with it...you're going to need it.
Mean Creek (2004)
A must see
This film is the kind of story that may not have you gasping for air every five minutes, but it's certainly the kind that will make you think. It's clever, and very honest. A subject that I think most people forget about once they've reached a certain age, "Mean Creek" is absolutely unforgettable, and leaves you with a bit of a shiver running down your spine, that you definitely need to feel for yourself.
Set in Oregon, and filmed on location, "Mean Creek" begins with the video taping of an overweight young boy in middle school playing basketball during recess. When another young boy (Culkin) picks the camera up just to merely look at it, the overweight kid, beats the small boy up. Because of this, the smaller kid's brother decides to play a prank on the fat kid, and the older brother's friends are in on it too. They all decide to invite the fat kid on a canoe trip with five of them, to make up with Culkin's character. Once out in the middle of nowhere, their plan is to play 'Truth or Dare' and have the fat kid strip naked, dive into the river, and then leave him there, so that he will be forced to walk home naked. What ends up happening is completely against their plans, and the end result is not even considered beforehand.
It's a good movie, with a good message, and an interesting story. It may not have you tense as I said before, but it will leave you with a feeling of satisfaction, from such a great film.
The directing was amazing, and more importantly I was quite impressed and surprised with Scott Mechlowicz, who played the leader of the group. You may have seen him as Scotty in "Euro Trip" back in 2004. However, this is a much different role for him, and really shows off just what a terrific and compelling actor he really is. I found him to outstanding, and hope to see him more films, that give him as much edge and range to work with.
All in all it was a great film, and I highly recommend it. The only thing I would caution, is that there is a great deal of foul language, and for some it may get to be too much at times. Other than that, though I definitely suggest checking it out. It's a very unique film.