nz man

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Reviews

The Most Fun You Can Have Dying
(2012)

I should have walked out!
This was the biggest film disappointment for me in a long time. I kept waiting and waiting for the film to get better, and I wanted to walk out - after all, I was the only one in the Wellington cinema and would not have bothered anyone by leaving. The cinematography and editing was acceptable, and like another reviewer here has commented, the various (European) cities were beautiful to see. Matt Whelan's acting was good, but at times Roxane Mesquida's acting came across as stilted and amateurish. It did indeed come across as pretentious, unrealistic, disharmonious and boring. The director and script writers must have been in a black mood to produce such a miserable story. Surely the high votes for this movie must be from those involved, and they will subsequently down vote this or any other negative review. All I can say is if you do choose to see this movie and find that you don't like it, then walk out!

Analyze That
(2002)

8 of us laughed lots and loved this film
In contrast to some of the comments below, 8 of us watching the DVD thought this film was great. We laughed and laughed - the script was brilliant. Those who saw the first film said they liked this one much better. The acting is superb and the jokes great.

I guess it depends what sort of a mood you are in when you start watching a movie like this. If you are critical and grumpy, then you probably won't like it, but if you are smilingly open and want a good time you'll probably find this film a treat. Maybe those from NYC or feel close to the Mafia are prone to trash this film?

In any case, this film is worth a try. If you are showing it to a group of friends, just rent a few others to use as backup if your friends don't warm to 'Analyze'. I had a selection of 7 DVDs for my friends to choose from.

Rocky
(1976)

Sly's DVD comments are 10/10. Rocky is STILL wonderful!!
Our video store had a special for getting 5 weekly movies. I hesitated a few times at choosing Rocky, thinking that it would be out of date and silly. How wrong I was - Rocky still ROCKS!!

Not only that, but my wife never saw Rocky and she actually loved it - this is surprising because she normally does not like this sort of film (boxing / violent). We were both taken with Sly's honest, humble and amusing comments about the film.

If you have not yet watched this on DVD, run out and get it. Note what Sly says about how he felt after the Director's Guild (or other director organization) saw Rocky - it was a HUGE let down, but then...!!

Autograph
(2004)

Captivating, Meaningful and Sincere
I put this film on late at night, telling my wife "This is a long film and we are very tired so let's just watch a bit to see if we want to watch all of it tomorrow." Within the first section we were captivated and watched all of it, staying up much later than normal.

The comments by Manu-13, below are correct. It is a beautiful film, smooth and appealing. Of course this is not the usual Hollywood flick, but anyone going to Film Festivals or who have an interest with life in India will find Autograph a delight. There is a definite sense of reality, especially with the village scenes which were obviously the real thing and not film sets. Seeing how the people live was colourful and fascinating.

My Tamil (a state/region in southern India) friends laughed when they told me Autograph is not actually a Bollywood film but a Tollywood film (T for Tamil, not B for Bombay). Well, it is the first Tamil film I have seen and compared to the usual Hindi movie, Autograph is different. For example, there is an absence of the singing dancers that appear all too frequently in Hindi films. By the way, Tamil is a separate language so most people from India would have to read subtitles to understand Autograph. For this reason, I was told that Autograph would not be distributed widely in India, probably not out of the Tamil region.

What captivates is the 'mystery' style, in the sense that from the start the viewer is engaged in guessing what is actually going to happen. Who is he going to marry? What happened to him/her to cause them to live they way they do? What is the relationship between those two?

The ending is done very sensitively. There is a scene where a photographer asks a person to smile, and he cannot quite manage the big smile required for the social setting; so much meaning can be seen on his face, in this one instance. Without creating a spoiler, I'll just say that there are very few films that treat human relationships with as much meaning and sensitivity as Autograph. This film is a real gem, far from the big Hollywood blockbusters but refreshingly so.

Wit
(2001)

An insult to hospital staff. Overall excellence, but...
My wife has had cancer three times. The last time was liver cancer and she was only given 4 months to live - that was 9 years ago. She endured chemotherapy, operations, etc. I myself am now recuperating from cancer treatment.

Our hospital experiences here in New Zealand and in England were the opposite to that shown in this film. Contacts with numerous cancer patients in the USA, Canada, Australia and elsewhere confirm that the nurses, doctors and other hospital staff (especially in the oncology field) are very sensitive, caring, thoughtful professionals.

But of course the negative portrayal of the hospital staff (save for the nurse towards the latter part of the film) is most likely deliberate, in that it is likely the cancer patient's PERCEPTION of how they are. And of course she is the cold intellectual, the dry academic without friends or family.

This film has won or has been nominated for 14 awards. It is indeed quality, especially Emma Thompson's acting and the music. If you have not seen it, be warned that it is not a light comedy but a serious look at the meaning of life and death, cancer suffering, academia, and more. There are layers within the story, making it an excellent film to discuss and debate afterwards.

One comment below states "I do not know which is more irritating the pretentiousness of this play or some of the codswallop..." Yes, the film can bring this to a viewer. Or not. It is a strong piece of art which will stir the viewer deeply within.

The Cat's Meow
(2001)

Great costumes and sets but a VERY thin story.
We waited and waited for something to happen in this film. Finally fast forwarding to the end brought some relief. The first 90% of the film is like a big costume party. While the period clothes and settings depicted the Roaring Twenties beautifully, and the acting was fine, there was far too much chit chat. The film could have been done in less than 30 minutes but to stretch it out so long was painful.

If you are into fine sets and costumes, or a fan of Joanna Lumley, or want a trip back to the Charleston era, then see this film. Otherwise, pass it up.

Waiting for Guffman
(1996)

Peculiar American humour, which we found awful.
This film will not suit everyone's sense of humour. My wife and I found it painfully moronic. I cannot help but wonder if the positive comments here are from the cast and crew of the film? Seriously, I was expecting more than forced corny jokes. As a comment below states, the film is like an amateur theatrical play or high school drama production in which the audience claps just because they are too embarassed to admit their boredom and aversion.

OK, surely some people in the States will connect with the humour. But for us it was one of the worst films we have viewed. If you rent this be sure to get another one as a back up.

Nurse Betty
(2000)

Outstanding Script, Superb Performances, Great Music, Casting, Editing
THIS FILM HAS RECEIVED 11 AWARD NOMINATIONS OR ACHIEVEMENTS. However, most of us including myself are not aware of this, so for over a year I chose to pass up this film. So many times at the local video stores, I picked up the VHS, then DVD, but put it back as the cover indicated a silly no brainer.

What a surprise! My wife and I were captivated from the start. Of course we are big fans of Morgan Freeman and Renee Zellwegger, but there were other admirable actors as well, such as Greg Kinnear. Their performances were superb. Zellwegger's facial expressions were just incredible, with an amazing range of emotional expression.

The script is intelligently crafted. The story has deeper meanings relating to fantasy, reality, dreams, acting, romance, believing in oneself, and more. It is all there if you THINK about it and are perceptive.

BUT there IS a problem with the film: people may not tune in to the black humour and much of the witty script may be lost on the general audience. Also, as noted below, there are a few scenes of bloody violence; this surprised me and may seem out of place if the black humour is forgotten. But this harshness can be ignored or at least fast-forwarded and not dwelt upon. As you will see from the mixed comments below, this flick is not everyone's cup of tea.

To us it was a cinematic gem. At a rental fee of less than a chocolate bar, it must be about the best value movie we have had. And to boot, it had a good-feeling ending.

Whale Rider
(2002)

Deeply moving, uplifting: a magnificent 10 out of 10.
Seldom has a film moved me so deeply, for so long. Like others in the theatre, my heart and spirit cried, sang and danced. It is difficult for me to add to the comments below, except to note that I whoever would find this sparkling gem over-rated or otherwise bad, well, they must be on another planet than the rest of us!

We have been on the East Coast, the film location. My wife and I found the scenes incredibly realistic. Of course what you see is not a movie set but the real thing: the village and most of the people were genuine. A comment below remarks about the wooden performance of one of the men, but for us it was ever so true. Right down to the peeling paint and ordinary clothes: this is how it is.

Peter Jackson, (Lord of the Rings director) is building a gigantic home not far from where we live. Here is a Kiwi who has brought incredible NZ riches to the rest of the world. Millions on the international movie scene applaud his greatness. But you know what? My wife said to me, upon leaving The Whale Rider theatre "This is far better than the Twin Towers and Lord of the Rings". I agreed. (OK, I must admit we are not fans of fantasy, but the Whale Rider connected with our inner essence in a way that Peter Jackson's film did not.)

A note to Keisha (who had the lead role): Please give us a performance at the Oscars & Golden Globes (etc.) like you did on stage in the movie. Reach for the stars - you will go there!

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India
(2001)

Incredible! A 'must-see'. From spirituality to sports, this gem has it!
What an amazing film! Although a loooong film (over 3½ hours), my wife and I were nevertheless captivated by the variety and suspense. If you have never seen a Hindi film before, or if you are not in tune with Indian culture, then my advice is to have patience while watching the first 30 minutes or so. This is certainly not Hollywood, but 100% Bollywood - at its best! Although I live in a country with cricket only second to rugby, I do not like cricket and never watch it - but I did in fact enjoy the cricket in this film - my wife included. Towards the end, there is a spiritual aspect of this film that brought tears to my eyes and radiance to my heart. Marvelous! There is not much more that I can add here (considering the many wonderful comments below) except to say that the romance and symbolism is a joy to see. Yes, there are some simplistic soap opera segments, but this is in fact a Bollywood film, so I embrace this difference and see it as wholesome and refreshingly moralistic.

You will feel energised and elevated by this film. See it and spread the word. A message to Bollywood: "More films like this - please!"

White Squall
(1996)

Good! Embrace the style and enjoy this gem of a 'sleeper'!
For at least 3 years I picked up this film at our local video store - and passed it up, groaning to myself that I was not interested in seeing a family style flick about a group of adolescents. Getting desperate to find a video one evening, I decided to take a chance. My wife and I really did enjoy this movie! Good solid acting, acceptable script, and an interesting story that happens to be true. If you are so addicted to the usual action or sex film, then maybe you will not like this film. But if you can appreciate good wholesome qualities, then this flick should be tried. The suspense is quite good - better than I expected, and the special effects are excellent.

The Time Machine
(2002)

We 4 hard critics actually liked this film! Great music, and more...
The four of us are in the 40 - 50 age range, and we are fairly tough what we like and do not like in films. It was Friday night and we wanted entertainment. We read the comments below - mostly, but not all negative - and decided to take a gamble. Arriving at the cinema, we were prepared for a bad movie but hoping for 'a good relaxing time'. Well, we *did* like this film! Not a top box office smash or even an 8 out of 10, but entertaining nevertheless. The MUSIC was superb. ACTING was fine. HISTORIC life portrayed in old Cambridge Massachusetts was realistic - even the snow and cold weather was real. The ROMANCE was acceptable. The STORY, while not closely following H G Well, was good enough. The SPECIAL EFFECTS were very good indeed. It is worth a gamble, to see this film. But go with a light heart and an acceptable frame of mind, and keep your expectations below that of a 10 out of 10 film.

Where the Money Is
(2000)

Newman is great but Linda Fiorentino also shines.
My wife and I enjoyed this film. Hey folks, it is a comedy so do not get hung up on the story not being plausible. As the comments below say, Paul Newman (even at 75 years!) is wonderful. Linda Fiorentino is no mega star like Newman but her performance is commendable, along with nice eye candy. There is much to like in this light comedy, and we also think that the old age folk had a ball taking part in this film!

Wrestling Ernest Hemingway
(1993)

Bravo!
Film drama at its best! Sensitive, humorous, and very meaningful. Super acting and script. The four main actors: Harris, Duvall, Bullock and MacLaine, deliver their characters flawlessly. Wonderful! Beneath the surface of retired life, there emerges a sad loneliness that must be nearly universal among senior citizens living alone. However, the ending gives genuine hope that lifts the spirit.

Le grand chemin
(1987)

Not to be missed!
What a delight! This sensitive drama is about as realistic as a film can be, and it enters your heart without being overly sentimental or harsh. See it with a caring, thoughtful, compassionate spirit, and prepare to settle in for film making at its best.

Angel Eyes
(2001)

A quality sensitive drama of relationships and romance.
We were surprised by how good this film was. 'J Lo' really shines with super acting, as does the lead man Jim Cavaziel (who also is in the film 'The Count of Monte Christo' - what a different role!). Although it starts out with some violence and action, it settles down to a serious drama with a decent story and nice script. Well worth watching if you like good drama and unless you crave for smash 'em up, sex flicks, or other dribble.

Jubilee
(2000)

Hate to rubbish a kiwi film, but...
This film is flaat - ughh. I could only watch 5 minutes of it. My wife soldiered on but lasted only 20 minutes. It is NOT junk. No, it is "OK" I guess, but when compared to every other film in the video shop, it simply sucks. A good idea, with some good actors and lots of fun intended, but something simply does not work - guess the director will have to cop it.

Glengarry Glen Ross
(1992)

Yes, it is a great movie, but...
Superb acting and script from a stellar cast. But 2 things: I agree with one of the comments below saying that it is like a movie of a stage play. The other criticism I have is that I hope when you watch this film you do not think all real estate agents do such nasty strong arm things as portrayed. I sold real estate for a year and almost all of our staff for nearly all of the time acted very responsibly and honestly; I know many other real estate people also are good honest people. Yes there are a few bad ones - like in any other business or job - but the nasty ones just do not get referrals.

Snatch
(2000)

Ughh!! Hated it, but can still see why...
Egad what awful junk this film was! Now don't take offense - I can see all of the positive comments below - but for those who do in fact like this film you must note that there are ALSO comments here like mine. And I generally do like British flicks and humour. If the blurb on the video cover and storyline appears fine with you and you like violent trashy quirky Brit fun, then give it a try. So anyhow, if you are thinking of renting this movie and showing it to your family gathering with aunt Mildred, you'd better think again because this rough gutter trash does not suit everyone!

The Body
(2001)

Why the great disparity of ratings here?
Usually I am quite critical of films, especially Hollywood action films in the line of "The Body". I DID like this one and think it is under-rated but look at the reviews here and you will see extremes of hating and liking this film. This is odd, and I wonder if it has to do with the religious background of those making comments? I have put off renting this film for over a year, due to the low IMDB rating, and was very surprised to find a good solid performance of Antonio Banderas as a priest, decent dialogue, nice eye candy and acting of Olivia Williams, and an intelligent (well, for such an action flick anyhow) thought-provoking story.

Memento
(2000)

Over-rated, disappointing, violent, but innovative and well-acted.
Number 9 of all movies? No way.

Or I suppose this indicates that the majority of viewers differ on an important quality that I assign to rating a film: the message, theme or spirit that is being portrayed. For "Memento", there was a sickening violent and psychotic nature that spoiled it for me.

This is the opposite of a feel-good, uplifting, beautiful film. Surely intelligent and unique, but I felt as if I walked through a sewer just to see a few gem stones by the light of a flickering butane lighter.

Fa yeung nin wah
(2000)

Should be: "In the mood to SLEEP" - laboriously slow!
Egad, this was a torturous ordeal, sitting through this boring flick. I literally fell asleep three times. It was part of our International Film Festival, and the art house crowd met in the adjacent funky cafe - the verdict for most of us was this film lacked energy, was exceedingly drawn-out - but we were surprised to find that one person actually liked it.

I generally love Chinese films, and am a well-seasoned international film viewer. But this film takes my prize for being the "one I wished I walked out of"!!! Save your money by avoiding this flick, unless you like constipated, bottled up emotions (the theme of the film).

The Tempest
(1998)

A simplistic made-for-TV flick aimed at the young crowd.
The dialogue and acting only meet soap-opera standards. This must have aired on TV during times when mainly teens and pre-teens were watching. While it is not a terrible film, the over-done special effects and trite style is certainly not for those expecting quality. Peter Fonda must have been paid a good amount for him to stoop to this low level, or maybe he did it with young viewers in mind.

While the costumes and editing are commendable, I am perplexed how Fonda was nominated for a Golden Globe for his acting. If you are sick in bed, or a dreamy young person then this film may be for you - otherwise do not waste your time.

The Crossing
(2000)

An excellent film that held my attention from the beginning.
Ever since I was a young school boy, I have seen the famous painting of General Washington crossing a river in a boat. Now I can appreciate just how significant this event is in the history of the USA. This film was a very pleasant surprise - one of the many 'sleepers' that never get much publicity (at least not here in NZ) but is in fact a quality film that is well worth watching.

The Crossing
(2000)

An excellent film that held my attention from the beginning.
Ever since I was a young school boy, I have seen the famous painting of General Washington crossing a river in a boat. Now I can appreciate just how significant this event is in the history of the USA. This film was a very pleasant surprise - one of the many 'sleepers' that never get much publicity (at least not here in NZ) but is in fact a quality film that is well worth watching.

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