camraman

IMDb member since July 2000
    Lifetime Total
    25+
    IMDb Member
    20 years

Reviews

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
(2004)

What's So Funny?
I rented this movie because of the commercial trailers and the suggestions of others but watching it was excruciating! The dialog was weak and Will and Christina had no chemistry with one another. There wasn't one scene or line that stayed with me. Okay, one scene where Christina's character beat up Will, but no lines were funny enough become repeatable in casual conversation. I think it's been grossly overrated and I honestly thought, after watching it, that I had rented the straight-to-video version, "Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie". I had to check IMDb to verify I had the original theatrical release.

I wouldn't and couldn't recommend this movie to anyone. Boring and unfunny.

Want to enjoy Will Ferrell at his best? See "Old School".

Land of Many Uses
(2002)

CUTE
I happened upon this movie looking for shorts to view and a web site recommended it. It's an entertaining short with good direction. I thought the acting was good but I wasn't satisfied with the ending. Overall, though, I give it 7/10.

The War Zone
(1999)

Another Winner!!!
Tim Roth has directed a masterpiece. With all the elements involved in making this movie, what made this movie stand out more was the atmosphere- literally. The days were forever rainy and overcast which helped add to dreary life lived and suffered by Jessie (Lara Belmont) and Tom (Freddie Cunliffe)- sister and brother.

Based on a novel by the writer of the screenplay, Alexander Stuart, it's built around a father (Ray Winstone) practicing incest with his daughter, Jessie; a mother (Tilda Swinson) who is totally blind to this behavior; and a son, Tom, who becomes suspicious of the father-daughter relationship.

There seems to be a correlation between the opening scene and the balance of the movie where the home that the family lives in is isolated (they moved from London to a rural area), much like the lives of Tom and Jessie. What helps glue the plot together is the reference to sexual activity, actual and implied at various levels- Mum and Dad gave birth to a daughter, Alice (Megan Thorpe); Tom whose puberty was growing into desire; and Jessie, who was having a sexual relationship with Nick (Colin Farrell). It shows how sexual relationships can be both healthy and unhealthy with the principle characters.

Tim Roth with Alexander Stuart were able to create an engrossing film. With the direction and writing, each scene was developed and played with thought provoking action. No scene was wasted and the acting of Freddie Cunliffe and Lara Belmont will leave you satisfied. The silence the actors spoke in this film many times spoke louder than the dialog they were given.

This is a must-see movie with dramatic filmmaking at its best.

10/10. Nothing less will do.

The Ring
(2002)

OVERBLOWN, OVERRATED HYPE
I just viewed The Ring at the local $2.00 theatre and I'm glad I didn't spend any extra money. Who said this movie was good?

This movie, starring Naomi Watts as Rachel, Martin Henderson as Noah and David Dorfman as Aidan has little suspense, horror or thrills. The movie begins with Katie (Amber Tamblyn), the neice of Rachel, and Becca (Rachael Bella) sharing information about a tape that, if watched, claims you will die within seven days. Surprisingly enough, the rumor is spreading amongst the high school crowd (courtesy of Becca and others).

Katie, along with three of her friends rendezvous at a cabin retreat and view a non-commercial VHS tape of mixed messages and images. From what I've gathered (unless I missed some crucial dialog), this rumor was amassed without anyone actually dying. How many VHS tapes of The Ring actually exist? If the Katie and her friends weren't the only viewers, when did other viewers die where a rumor (or facts) could be built? If the only available copy existed at the cabin retreat, how did Becca find out about it and share the rumor with Katie who actually saw the tape and, no doubt, received the phone call that vocalized her future demise? If symptons developed after viewing the tape, such as a bleeding nose, or a blurred face in a photograph, wouldn't Katie have noticed these things prior to her 7th day and shared the information with Becca? I could go on with the unanswered questions, but I need to redirect my energy.

Dreamworks, this is what I call good promoting. It's an overblown production that produces below average results.

Thrills, suspense and horror? Give me the first two Alien movies. In fact, Deep Rising was a better horror movie than The Ring and it's current rating is averaging a full 2 points less; and Deep Rising had clever humor where The Ring failed.

I hope they don't produce a sequel because this was garbage. In fact, please don't.

2 out of 10 because I did jump during the millipede scene. But, I'd jump even if the millipede scene was intermixed in a comedy because I don't like bugs.

If... Dog... Rabbit
(1999)

FEEL LIKE ROOTING FOR THE BAD GUY?
Feel like rooting for the bad guy? Then rent this movie. I loved it. As an independent it doesn't have the polish of the big budget movies, but all the qualities of a good movie it has. It brought all the essential elements of the plot together to a very interesting, tense and suspenseful end. And yes, I was rooting for the bad guy.

If...Dog...Rabbit is an interesting crime-drama about Johnnie Cooper (Matthew Modine, who also wrote and directed this movie) a convicted felon just released on parole. Parole Officer Gilmore (David Keith) has warned him (and continues through the early part of the film) to stay away from his criminally minded family. Though Johnnie has resolved in his mind to lead a clean life, his father (John Hurt) and brother (Kevin J. O'Conner) could care less. In their mind once-a-criminal-always-a-criminal. Johnnie received his prison sentence when his father and brother left him "holding the bag" from a botched robbery, so his relationship with his father is estranged. From this basic premise, a series of incidents leads Johnnie unwillingly then willingly into another crime caper.

I love the dialog. Some of it is absolutely hilarious:

Judy, "Why was your father choking you Johnnie?" Johnnie, "We were playing a little game. Seeing how long I could hold my breath."

I replayed the movie again with my headphones on and no video; I paid more attention to the details of the dialog and it's importance as the movie reached its climax.

It's not a 10 or a 9 and I'm torn between an 8 or a 7.

Thank God for independent movie makers and offering viewers such as myself a wider choice.

Okay. 8 out of 10.

Barbershop
(2002)

MORE THAN A $10.00 HAIRCUT
Thanks Ice Cube. You did a great job in creating and showcasing a part of African-American life that was true-to-life. There were so many diverse elements that all came together, they seem too many to mention. But all of the main characters had a measure of character development and an intimacy that you couldn't forget.

Even the minor characters played a big role, such as Lamar (J. David Shanks). Though introduced briefly very early in the movie, he played a major- but again brief- role near the end. Minor character- major input. The robbery of the convenience store: five characters interwoven all with lessons to learn- Craig (Ice Cube), Ricky Nash (Michael Ealy), Detective Williams (Tom Wright), Samir (Parvesh Cheena) and, of course, JD (Anthony Anderson). The timing in various scenes were impeccable. The following sequence: the radio voice of Chicago deejay Howard Magee, Billy's mother (?), Gabby (Jasmine Randle), Billy (Lahmard J. Tate) and JD was wonderfully choreographed.

I know some will say, "Hey, it was predictable. I knew beforehand the resolution of some, most, or all of the character's plights." And that may be true. But it's the manner in which each character was interwoven- how one touched another and yet criss-crossed each other that gave this movie special meaning. How each character had their strengths or weaknesses to overcome. Great stories being told by Mark Brown, Don D. Scott, Marshall Todd and with Tim Story's direction. Every major character was (and is) a character study.

Terence Blanchard does an admirable job supporting the scenes with his score.

And regarding the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks controversy, the writers qualified that diatribe very clearly as it progressed. Did people hear just want they wanted to hear?

Another important feature that I admire was the honesty, sometimes brutal, on other issues such as foreigners owning businesses in the African-American community or how dangerous it can be for anyone living in certain parts of the "ghetto" or how we (yes I'm African-American) help keep each other from prospering.

It wasn't until I started viewing "Barbershop" a second time (and dissecting it) where I saw additional insightful and valuable revelations. An example being Hustle Guy (DeRay Davis). (Dogs and Pampers?) Many times we see the local hustler as a comedic tool, hustling whatever he/she can get their hands on. But he's only trying to earn a living- void of a storefront for lack of investment capital. And we find out how valuable Hustle Guy is, also, before the movie ends. Minor character- major message.

If you haven't seen it, see it. If you've seen it, and just saw it for it's entertainment value, see it again for some valuable lessons.

Not only will it be in my movie collection, but it will be used as a teaching tool for my grandsons (and granddaughters if I'm blessed with any).

Believe it or not, to me, Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer's character) was the most unbelievable. Not that Eddie wasn't valuable, because he was. It was Cedric's interpretation of Eddie and the lack of age lines on his face that was a pure turn off for me. For those reasons, I wanted to remove 1 point. But because of the strength of the other characters and the story, I'm keeping it a 10.

The 7.1 rating as of this writing is an injustice to the quality and caliber of this production.

I give it a $10.00 haircut plus a $5.00 tip.

Great job Ice Cube to you and your production company, Cube Vision. Great job.

My First Mister
(2001)

SUPERB! TEN! TEN! TEN!
Leelee Sobieski puts on the best performance of the three movies I've seen her in. She's just superb. Albert Brooks was engaging also. Together, they create the great chemistry needed to propel this movie forward. The supporting cast, the screenplay and direction, the scenes, are all incredibly done. Why wasn't this movie a box office smash? If My Big Fat Greek Wedding grew on people, why didn't this? One of the best drama/comedies ever written.

This movie did a great job developing what would normally be an unlikely bond between: the spunkiness of youth with the set-in-my-ways old. But it was the excellence and creativeness of the script and the excellent direction that helped propel My First Mister into the superb column. Dan Decker, author of Anatomy of a Screenplay, has always insisted on a character driven story and each starring and major supporting role was given substance and character development. I know some people feel as though drawing emotion from the viewer is somewhat cliched, (as we watched the relationship between Leelee and Albert Brooks begin to weaken), but to me that's just one of the elements that's used to make great movies. Why can't the screenwriter create heart-wrenching scenes and not be written off as cliched or creating a sympathetic ploy? As far as I'm concerned, it helped carry the movie to a satisfying but emotional ending. Might I also add any deviation from drawing real-life emotion from Leelee's character, Jennifer, would have turned this movie into a farce. In real life you cannot build a relationship as touching as the one they had and walk away unmoved. My hat comes off in respect to Christine Lahti, the director, and to Jill Franklyn, the writer.

This is a must-see movie! Do not deprive yourself of the opportunity.

An equally engaging movie was Ghost World. In both movies you get to know the two main characters very well.

Enemy at the Gates
(2001)

EXCELLENT
I enjoyed every moment of this movie from the opening scene until the very end. The suspense and tension was great and the atmosphere of the war was forever present throughout the film. I felt like I was there as I shared the various locations with the snipers- feeling the cold; laying on the ground, rocks and stubble and waiting anxiously.

I also felt I've seen the best fully clothed love scene in my entire life.

This movie brought to mind the old Sam Peckinpah war thriller Cross of Iron where the Russians were pitted against the Germans.

In summary, another testament to the courage of the men, women and children that battle the invaders of their land and their willingness to die for what they believe in- the salvation of their country.

I gave this movie a ten because it deserves it.

Project Redlight
(2002)

FUNNY
An interesting parody on movie-making. I loved how they kept referencing the amount of money allocated for the low budget movie they were trying to produce. This movie seemed to parallel what they probably went through to make this low budget short. The same decisions must be made in big budget films as in small budget, but the small budget decisions seem frivolous in comparison. I think it is the frivolousness that helps propel this short to a nine out of ten rating from me. I'll admit, though, I wasn't impressed with the screenwriters reference and indifference to his wife and child's dilemma. But overall, an entertaining short.

The Legend of Bagger Vance
(2000)

EXCELLED IN EXCELLENCE
I was totally mesmerized with this movie from the beginning until the end. I delayed watching this movie for a long time thinking it was of little value and presumably extremely boring. Boy was I wrong. Robert Redford not only directed a masterpiece, I believe he got the most out of his actors- especially the primary ones. I was totally impressed with Will Smith's role. I was expecting a Step-Fetchit character (one of the reasons why I put off viewing the movie for so long) but the writer and director gave Smith's character substance. The Legend of Bagger Vance was worth watching and now I'm willing to add it to my video library. This movie definitely leaves you with a good feeling and though two hours long, I certainly didn't notice it.

I highly recommend it for all. It gets a 10/10.

Supernova
(2000)

ONE WORD
Trash!!! I wish that I could leave my comment with that one word but IMDB says I must have at least four lines. So, what was Angela Bassett, James Spader and Lou Diamond Phillips thinking? No let me rephrase the last sentence, they weren't thinking. The writer of this screenplay must have created this monstrosity on the set one scene at a time. Had they been able to read the script ahead of time, they would have been able to say, "No, thanks!"

Will someone explain to me what the nudity was for? And I love to see nude scenes. So when I have to question the purpose and would rather that they be left out, then a movie must be in pretty poor taste. This movie stunk worse than putrefied garbage. The directing was terrible therefore not complimenting the actors (and I'm a big Angela Bassett fan) and they all stunk.

I refuse to continue with my comments because I'm getting upset. IMDB will not allow a score of minus two so I must settle with 1/10. Don't even watch it if you're desperate to see a science fiction movie and it's the last one on the video store shelf. Do not, and I repeat, do not torture yourself. Rent a Barney video- by comparison, a much more entertaining video.

The Follow
(2001)

BMW Films Delivers Again
BMW Films currently has 5 offerings and all of them deliver. In comparison to the rest, this one is subdued in vehicular action. The plot, suspense and mystery still keep you holding on until the surprise ending. An uncredited Forest Whitaker does a fine job as the investigator. BMW Films has presented talented actors/actresses without billing them.

Cats & Dogs
(2001)

AN EXPENSIVE "B" MOVIE **spoiler**
What a waste of time- at least for an adult. I went to see this movie with a friend of mind. She thought it was very good. I thought it was stupid. There was not one redeeming scene throughout the entire movie. Oops, I take that back. When the dogs spotted a human coming and they all decided to act normal. Now THAT was funny. Otherwise, I didn't even like the special effects.

My rating: 2/10 because of the funny scene mentioned above.

Recommendation: Play with your own cats and dogs. They are more entertaining.

Teresa's Tattoo
(1994)

COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER
I happened upon this movie at a pay-per-view movie site. Seeing an opportunity to watch a movie without heading to the video store was very appealing. So, after reviewing 10 or 12 titles, I settled on Teresa's Tattoo partly because of the premise, partly because of actor Lou Diamond Phillips- The Big Hit, Stand and Deliver.

What was really interesting was seeing a number of popular actors in this movie that are uncredited as the top billers in the print ads- Joe Pantoliano, Teppi Hedren and more- executing a poorly directed script. This is probably a movie they would like to disassociate themselves.

The movie, as a whole, was poorly executed as an entertainment vehicle. The script lacked the comedic flow necessary to evoke substantial laughter from this viewer. There were a few funny moments (particularly the desk sergeant/police officer scene with Teresa/Gloria (Adrienne Shelley)), but most of the scenes fell flat.

Rating: 4/10

Disappearing Acts
(2000)

Three Words for This Movie: Ex-cel-lent
It's not often you can sit and watch a movie that deals with real life situations and the writer and director present the script to the viewer in a believable fashion. But this movie was well done and a well thought out script. Wesley and Sanaa played off each other's character well. The background songs for various scenes were "on the money." I even found myself shouting, "Don't do it!" to Frankie (Wesley) in the most critical moment during the hammer smashing scene. I know, it's just a movie. But I love it when the creators of a movie can get me and my emotions involved. It's then when I feel they've created an excellent movie.

I'm glad that the characters, Franklin and Zora (Sanaa) were allowed to be real. Both had dreams and desires. Both had obstacles to overcome. Trying to obtain those goals while maintaining a new relationship, we found, can be difficult.

It received a resounding 10 from me. I definitely recommend this movie.

The Pledge
(2001)

EXCELLENT MOVIE
I don't know where to start. Jack Nicholson, as usual, was great. So was everybody else. Great direction. Great scenery. Great silent parts. Excellent drama/suspense but all kept low key, like Nicholson's acting. The ending was the best I've seen in a l-o-o-o-n-g time. I'd recommend The Pledge to anyone that likes movies that allow you to think as you go. The director, to my surprise Sean Penn, mixed a lot of visuals and sounds of the area.

Everyone looks for honor, dedication, and integrity in an individual and Jack Nicholson as Detective Jerry Black delivers. It's interesting how the overall effect of his dedication distorts his perception, overtakes and then consumes him.

The supporting cast was perfect. The casting company and make-up department maintained that "local" look.

Don't miss this movie.

The Tao of Steve
(2000)

Very Good
Subtle humor. Good acting. Excellent stories within the story. What I liked most was the character of Donal Logue (Dex). He seemed so much like a down-to-earth friend-down-the-street buddy-you-grew-up-with type of guy. Good without being too preachy. I gave it 8/10.

Bamboozled
(2000)

Excellent Acting. Good Script. Heavy-Handed Message
Spike Lee did an excellent job in bringing out the natural acting ability of the actors in this movie. Jada Pinkett-Smith was exceptionally good and may have been her best performance yet, in my opinion (I haven't seen all of her movies yet). When "She's Gotta Have It" was released I became a Spike follower. When "Do the Right Thing" was released I became a big fan. I love the camera angles and editing of Spike Lee. But Spike, you lost me with the excessive, heavy-handed message you were trying to get across and I'm beginning to realize more about the importance of the viewer "seeing" the story instead of being "told" the story. I believe the message of the movie would have been more effective and the movie easier to watch with less. It's like offering someone chocolate but setting them down in a vat of it. Sorry Spike. Good story. Excellent acting, but too heavy-handed. I'll give you a six because of the acting, but I took away points because of the manner in which it was presented. Overkill, Spike. Overkill.

The Virgin Suicides
(1999)

NO EMOTIONAL TIES
The first death of the five daughters, Cecilia, didn't move me or touch me. The scene lacked any emotional substance. I firmly believe that the same emotions elicited in real life situations should be elicited from the viewer of a tragic movie scene. I feel the director/screenwriter lost an effective edge to involve me, the viewer, into his/their movie. When I watch a movie (since I'm not a professional movie critic), I look for the entertainment value first. How well does it entertain and involve me. It started slow and ended without truly moving me. I should have felt "something" for those poor girls. But I didn't. Beaches, Terms of Endearment, The Color Purple: I felt something for the principle characters- sympathy, pity, empathy, compassion.

The introduction of Josh Harnett's character, Trip Fontaine, gave the movie some movement.

James Woods' character falling asleep during Trip's visit with Lux certainly showed his involvement with his daughters. Not much influence and certainly indifferent. I thought that made a good statement.

The scene where the boys contacted the Lisbon daughters with romantic music was very touching. Otherwise, for me, it was just an average movie with none of the actors performing with any strength. I was expecting better.

I'm giving it a five and that's being generous. The overall average score at this writing was 7.3. I don't see it.

Black XXX-Mas
(1999)

Surreal In It's Implementation...
but not much substance. The opening scene was comedic, reflecting the attitude of many that God is a casual and passive observer of all activities here on earth- open for much debate with the religious right. The rest of the movie, for me, offered little else worth mentioning.

Boesman and Lena
(2000)

Mesmerizing but Heartbreaking
The acting in this movie was superb, but mixed with the truth about the condition of many Africans in South Africa made it heart wrenching. It was good that the writer isolated Boesman and Lena from others run from their homes, so we could share fully in their triumphs and defeats; the conflicts they shared as they grew together and apart. Worth seeing when you put the movie in it's proper context.

Anywhere But Here
(1999)

Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon. She made this movie for me. I've never appreciated her acting more than as I did in this movie. She really acted as though she were Adele August. I can appreciate actors and actresses who leave their individual persona and create a character who's truly believable.

Natalie Portman as Ann August helped create the ideal antagonist as their characters developed through the movie. The movie was about them so the other characters were peripheral.

I gave this movie an eight rating, but Susan received a ten from me because of her performance. As far as relationship movies go, Beaches and Terms of Endearment had a greater impact on me than this movie, but I highly recommend it.

The Ghost and the Darkness
(1996)

Roooaaar!!!
Don't be afraid. It's only me.

What really held this movie together was the suspense and thrilling lion hunting scenes. The tension level was high. I believe the cinematographer missed an opportunity to really showcase the beauty of the surrounding area as we know how beautiful the African continent is.

Michael Douglas as Remington was the actor in this movie that helped move it past the slow pace it had fallen into. The first 60 minutes were rather boring even though there were a couple of interesting stunts in the lion attack scenes. Beaumont (Tom Wilkinson), John Patterson's (Val Kilmer) boss, was a pompous but entertaining character throughout his scenes. I was disappointed with Henry Cele's brief appearance in the movie. I have always been impressed with his acting since his role in "Shaka Zulu". And John Kani (Samuel) was very endearing in his role as Samuel. Val Kilmer was okay but did not impress me with a strong screen presence needed in the lead role.

To be a railroad worker in 1898 Africa had to be an thankless job at best especially for those of African or Indian descent. No doubt the conditions were probably less than tolerable compounded with the camp's lack of safety.

Overall, if you enjoy a good drama, especially movies that represent a snippet of history, this is a movie to watch.

I give it a seven.

In the Company of Men
(1997)

**Spoiler included** Not as good as the reviews I read.
In the Company of Men. When you look at the picture on the cover of the video and combine it with the title of the movie, your imagination conjures up an image of powerful men in the corporate world with far reaching influence. And although this movie does deal with the power of the strong versus the weak, it does not carry the impact of those characteristics home to the viewer.

The overall script was weak in dialog (too much of it) and the production sets were not appealing or interesting. The camera angles and stage lighting lacked creativity. There was too much redundancy in Chad's (Aaron Eckhart) dialog although I can appreciate his role as a deceiver. When Chad admitted the truth to Christine (Stacy Edwards), that scene fell flat. It just didn't work. No real tension and not enough drama to make you feel Chad's pompous victory nor Christine's crushed emotions.

I could only give it a four. A BIG disappointment.

True Crime
(1995)

A Real Dud!
I try to be very objective when I view a low budget movie. I also apply a lower weight to independent and low budget productions versus the big budget productions. I expect near flawlessness from big budget productions and their studios. Therefore I apply tougher criteria to the major studio releases. But this movie was just a dud. Period. The premise was terrible. The main character, Mary Gordano (Alicia Silverstone), was unbelievable as a high school senior with an unquenchable desire to solve crimes. There was not enough depth in her character or her acting that pulled you into her world. Also, to make this movie more mysterious, the lighting in certain scenes did not set the mood, especially in the warehouse.

Once again another disappointing movie that I could only give three points to.

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