Figtree

IMDb member since September 1999
    Lifetime Total
    25+
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    1+
    IMDb Member
    20 years

Reviews

Party Girl
(1995)

Clashing worlds
I loved this movie, and I am one of the older people who is not supposed to enjoy it, or so it seems. No, this movie is not deep -- who cares? These kinds of movies never are. But strangely, there is a message in it. It's that we each have the potential to be whatever we want to be.

Parker Posey is great in this movie. I've always thought that she bears some resemblance facially to Katharine Hepburn. So, it's great to see that both Hepburn and Posey made movies about librarians (Hepburn's is The Desk Set). All librarians, especially those with a sense of humor, should see Party Girl.

I gave this movie an 8. It is not by any means a great film by cinematic standards, although there are some nice shots in it. But it is incredibly charming and entertaining.

Aleksandr Nevskiy
(1938)

Excellent film
This film is one of the classics of cinema history. It was not made to please modern audiences, so some people nowadays may think it is creaky or stilted. I found it to be absorbing throughout. Cherkassov has exactly the right presence to play Alexander Nevskyi, just as he did when he played Ivan Groznyi (Ivan the Terrible) several years later. The music was beautiful.

My one complaint was the poor soundtrack that was quite garbled. Although I only know a little Russian, it would have been nice to be able to pick out more words rather than having to rely almost 100% on the subtitles. I was watching this on an old videotape from the library, though. Perhaps by now a DVD version exists on which the sound has been enhanced. I would like to know whether the actors were using archaic Russian or even Old Church Slavonic when they were speaking. The subtitles were strangely worded, and it's hard for me to tell whether this was to reflect an older manner of speaking, or whether the subtitles were just somewhat poorly done.

King Richard the Second
(1978)

Memory did not deceive
I saw this on TV when it was originally broadcast back in 1978. All of these years I've remembered Derek Jacobi's performance. I just saw the DVD version, and he is just as brilliant as I remembered. There are nuances to the performance that I didn't notice when I first saw it at a lot younger age. Several of the BBC productions of Shakespeare plays were excellent; this is one of the very best.

I also enjoyed Charles Gray and Wendy Hiller as the Duke and Duchess of York. They are almost comic characters in some ways, yet not quite. Both actors do very well in their roles.

Shakespeare plays are so timeless that this doesn't seem dated at all. I'm very glad that I saw King Richard II again.

Lady Be Good
(1941)

Too long to be good
Red Skelton was the best reason to watch this film. I laughed at his antics several times. I was unfamiliar with Virginia O'Brien. Her deadpan delivery also made me laugh. The unfortunate thing is, I couldn't tell whether she intended to be funny, or whether that is the way she is all the time. Otherwise, the plot was stale, and the film was just much, much too long. It is less than two hours long, but felt more like three.

Several of the songs were really good, but there isn't enough plot to sustain my interest through most of the film. I'm giving this movie 6 stars, but that is generous, because generally I just really like very old movies.

Lakeboat
(2000)

Not washed up
I think you probably have to be a huge David Mamet fan to really love this film. I'm not a huge fan, although I also don't hate his works. As for this film, I liked it but didn't love it. The entire film was a character study, and I thought was well done -- mostly. With this cast, I don't think it could go wrong. Robert Forster was fantastic. Some of the humor fell flat for me. Still, I thought it was worth seeing. My grandfather used to work in large ships on the Great Lakes. That's mostly why I rented this film. Although I suspect that his own experiences were not much like this film, it was interesting to me to think that some of them may have been a little bit similar.

The House of Mirth
(2000)

Watchable, if somewhat stilted
Although I didn't dislike this film entirely, it was somewhat disappointing. I have not read the novel, but have read other novels by Edith Wharton. Her novels create a certain atmosphere of early 20th century high-society New York. It seemed that this film was trying to create that same atmosphere, but was not entirely successful. The costumes and sets looked accurate, but I was disappointed in both Gillian Anderson and Eric Stoltz. Anderson seemed stiff and not quite comfortable in the role... this surprised me because I had previously heard compliments on her performance in this film. Eric Stoltz seemed immature and a bit too soft for the part he was playing. However, some of the other actors were very good. Laura Linney was great as Lily Bart's friend-turned-enemy. I liked Dan Aykroyd's performance, too, and Anthony LaPaglia was particularly good as the somewhat kind, somewhat unsympathetic Mr. Rosedale.

Despite some reservations about the acting, I managed to enjoy this film, and tears came to my eyes at the end. It's not the most upbeat of films... but, from other comments on IMDb I see that it is faithful to the novel.

Les yeux sans visage
(1960)

Before its time?
I recently saw this as part of an audience. The film was projected via a poor-quality print at the Alliance Francaise in Chicago. I liked some of the visual effects and shots, despite the quality of the copy we were viewing. There was one scene where I had to close my eyes, and was glad I did. In the rest of the audience there was some nervous laughter at first, and then several people said "Ewww!"

I can see why some consider it a classic. It was ahead of its time in the suspense and gore departments. However, I didn't think that overall it fit the definition of a classic. One of the qualities should be that it can sustain multiple viewings. I came away from the show never wanting to see the film again.

Strangely, I have just heard that a few nights ago there was a similar theme covered in a real-life setting on Dateline.

All the Pretty Horses
(2000)

Pacing problems
I agree with a recent comment that the pacing was wrong in this film. It would have benefited from an epic length, more plot development, and less superficiality. It is a beautiful film, but empty. I did not care at all about the characters and their lives. It seemed to have no point. But, it doesn't seem like a waste of time to have watched it. I found myself picking up reading material while it was on, going out of the room without stopping the film, etc.

Sayat Nova
(1969)

Impressionistic, surrealistic
Experiencing this film would have been a lot more relevant back in the late 1960s, when so many things were psychedelic and so many minds were altered by drugs. People thought that their visions had some sort of deep importance, but many of these people were not able to communicate the importance to others... That's what this film reminded me of. There are some really interesting shots and set scenes, but overall the meaning was inscrutable. Perhaps if I were familiar with the poet Sayat Nova the meaning of the film would have been clearer. I'm glad I saw the film because experiments are interesting, but overall the message was obscured, and so it will probably not stay in my mind for long.

Duets
(2000)

Mildly entertaining
I found this film mildly entertaining. Braugher was great, and the rest of the cast were enjoyable to watch. Being unfamiliar with the world of karaoke, I didn't realize that it was so popular. This is no great film, but it's not bad. It has fun, quirky characters, and I grew to care about some of them.

Dancing at Lughnasa
(1998)

Nice way to spend some time
This is a pretty film visually, and some of the acting was good. Although I have not seen the play on which it was based, it seemed to me that this would be better as a play than a film. My favorite films are those that make me think, or evoke strong emotions. This one did neither. It did have a nice aesthetic content, visually. And, Meryl Streep gave one of her usual masterful performances. But, I didn't care about any of the characters, except the little boy. The film just left me cold, and it didn't seem memorable.

Dark Blue
(2002)

Yes, he is a guilty pleasure
I just saw this movie and liked it, although it was not ground-breaking in any way. Kurt Russell really carried this film. The latest issue (Sept. 5, 2003) of Entertainment Weekly has a Guilty Pleasures section. One of their staffers listed "The Selected Works of Kurt Russell" as one of her Guilty Pleasures. She doesn't mention this film, and focuses more on how hot he looks in some of his films. But, I agree he's still a guilty pleasure at the age he now is. He always brings intensity and interest to every movie he makes... he has probably never played the main role in a truly great film, but is very interesting to watch. Ving Rhames also brought some needed credibility to this film, but Kurt definitely is the center of it.

Remember the Titans
(2000)

Fine but predictable
This is a fine but predictable film. It does have some inspirational moments, and some of the acting is excellent. But overall, it's formulaic, with a contrived sentimental feel. It's a nice way to spend some time on a slow afternoon.

Sleepy Hollow
(1999)

Memorable
I saw this film three years ago when it was in theaters. It is excellent and memorable. I still remember some of the nuances of Johnny Depp's performance, even after all of this time. I liked the way he grimaced at things like the sight of blood, which was ironic since he was a policeman who investigated homicides. That little touch made me laugh at the time, and injected a slight tongue-in-cheek effect to the whole film.

Also, Christopher Walken is wonderfully ghoulish as the Headless Horseman. This is worth seeing, if you like films of this genre.

From Hell
(2001)

Laughable
I watched this on video with a good friend. I was expecting a good film, based on some reviews I had read. Unfortunately, we both thought it was terrible. It turned into a laugh fest as we started making fun of it, and continued to do that all the way through. Some of the accents were pathetically bad. The acting and the script were both terrible. We really laughed at some of the bad lines in this film.

We both have been big fans of Johnny Depp. Recently he seems to have been cruising through most of his films, getting by on his looks and attitude without really acting. In this film he tried to do that, but it didn't work. His performance was very very disappointing in this film. If you want to see him in a much better "period" horror film, rent Sleepy Hollow. That one was not perfect, but was much better than From Hell was.

Camille Claudel
(1988)

Beautiful cinematography
This film is very beautiful to watch. The composition and colors of the shots are both exquisite. The scenes of Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin together are very powerful. Adjani and Depardieu have some chemistry together, and it shows.

Although Adjani does a good job of acting, I thought that this movie did drag in places. I had rented it, and started glancing at a magazine after about an hour or so -- not a good sign! Still, it has a lot going for it with the good acting and beautiful shots. It is worth seeing for those who love art history as well. It is about 2.5 hours long, not extremely long as films go.

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
(1958)

Incredible animation
Somehow I missed seeing this classic film before now. It is absolutely gorgeous. The color is beautiful, and the animation compares well with anything we're seeing today (taking the changes in technology into account, that is). Although all of the animation was fantastic, the snake woman actually scared me the most...possibly because it looked a bit less realistic than the Cyclops, the Roc, and the skeleton. The miniaturization of the princess was also well done.

The Age of Innocence
(1934)

A bit stiff
The acting in this film was of the old school: corny and stiff. Irene Dunne is luminous, and comes off the best even though she has some very unnatural lines to say. Still, her ability to convey emotion comes through.

Old movie buffs will find at least some redeeming qualities in this film through observation of cinematic technique of the 1930s. Otherwise, it is not really that worthwhile.

Sea of Love
(1989)

Quintessential Pacino and Barkin
I loved this movie. It was suspenseful and kept my interest throughout. Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin were perfect in their roles. Both were playing characters of a type that they had played before -- so perhaps not too original. But the film was well made and carried the viewer along. Although some of it was obvious, I for one had not guessed the ending.

Overall, this movie interested me much more than did a top-20 box office film I saw this past weekend at the theater (which shall remain anonymous here). Pacino played his role very well; his performance harkened back to his prime in the 1970s when he could be absolutely riveting on screen. Ellen Barkin in this film is playing the sexy kind of role that she played all during the 1980s. She is very good in this one. John Goodman was also very good as the police partner of Pacino. His sort of light easy attitude (even when he was very serious) played very well against Pacino's dark and brooding persona.

La grande illusion
(1937)

One of the best ever
So many people have commented so eloquently on this film that there is not much more for me to add. I've now seen it four times during the last 15 years or so. It is remarkable each time, because during each viewing there is some new little subtlety of the messages and the layers of the film that I notice. This time, I also noticed that this film has been heavily imitated by many classic (and not so classic) films during the years. If you want to see one of the ultimate sources for prisoner of war films, see this one. That is definitely not the only reason to see it, though.

Usually I resist making lists of favorites -- but will make an exception and say that Le Grande Illusion is one of the top three films I've ever seen.

What Lies Beneath
(2000)

A suspenseful film
This was an entertaining film that really did have some suspense for me. I thought Michelle Pfeiffer was extremely good, and her acting, facial expressions, etc. contributed a lot to the suspense.

Unlike some others who have commented here, I was not able to guess some of the plot twists. I didn't completely see the end coming. I thought the imagery of water, used throughout, was very effective. The film was beautifully photographed.

There were a few things that didn't work for me, though. These usually were due to a certain lack of attention to details. For example, why in one scene did Michelle Pfeiffer's character try to look through the fence to find out if her neighbors were home when she had such a great view from her bedroom window (and some binoculars)? I also didn't know why the person who was missing was originally called a girl when she was actually 24 years old. I also wondered how many computers were in their home and where they were located. There were other (minor) false notes, but these are the only ones that come to mind right now.

Klute
(1971)

Refreshing
It's been a while since I've watched one of the classic films from the early '70s. I had never seen Klute before. Jane Fonda gave an incredibly good performance in this film. Since she hasn't acted in a while, it's easy to forget what a good actress she can be. Donald Sutherland was also excellent, but Jane was the center of the film--

Films from the '70s can seem very dated now, and this one is no exception. There is a tension running through the film that has a very '70s feel to it. Don't know the source of the tension-- but the relationship between Fonda's and Sutherland's characters was the heart of the film. Did anybody really care what the solution to the mystery was?

Wo hu cang long
(2000)

Worth seeing, but...not everybody's cup of tea
I left this film feeling disappointed. It is not a bad film by any means, but it does not live up to the media hype, in my opinion. I adore Asian films, and also love fantasy films. This was both, but somehow was not very satisfying.

It seems that the biggest disappointment was the loosely constructed story that left lots of things unexplained. Well, that has happened with other good films. Somehow it didn't work in this one.

The heroine of the story, Jen, was not a very heroic figure. Usually she came across as a spoiled brat. This would have been o.k. for a while if it were possible to tell WHY she had this huge chip on her shoulder. A point was made that she was rebelling against the traditional woman's role in her culture. That concept could have carried her story in a much stronger way if it had been explored in depth. But it wasn't...

Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh did some awsome acting in this film. I also loved the special effects and the fight scenes.

If you want to see a good Chinese film, see Farewell, My Concubine; Raise the Red Lantern; or any other film directed by Chen Kaige or Zhang Yimou. A great (animated) Asian fantasy film is Princess Mononoke.

The English Patient
(1996)

A great film, but better on big screen
The English Patient has been one of my favorite films since it came out back in 1996. I saw it twice while it was still in the theaters, and didn't watch it again until about a month ago on video. I still loved it this time, but the intensity of seeing it the first couple of times was no longer there. It is such a visually stunning film of large scope that it really needs the big screen to bring that out.

Despite some comments here that this film seemed overly long, it didn't seem that way to me. It is romantic, and is devastatingly beautiful. The acting is believable and quite intense. It isn't recommended for those who are looking for a pleasantly light film to while away the afternoon or evening.

The Meanest Gal in Town
(1934)

Good comedic performances, has historical value (pre Hays Code)
This little film has a lot going for it. There's James Gleason, funny and sympathetic as a sort of "tough guy" barber who wants to win the girl. There's Pert Kelton playing the cute and sexy actress turned manicurist. There's El Brendel (I had never seen him before), playing the naive Scandinavian barber named Chris Peterson. He is a lot more canny than he appears. Finally there is ZaSu Pitts, wonderful as the long-suffering owner of a dress shop. She is actually much more naive about business than Peterson is. My only complaint is that I wish Pitts had gotten a better role. She is playing a weak character who is more pathetic than funny. But, she did what she could with the part.

I was surprised to see in the full cast list that John Carradine is in this film. I didn't notice him, and must have walked out of the room during his scene.

Overall, this is a good movie that is worth seeing for the pre-Hays Code innuendos and some sparkling comic performances.

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