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Boys Don't Cry

American white trailer trash at their best
Don't see this film if you don't want to see some graphic detail of how a woman pretends to be a man but has to secretly dealing with her own femininity. The love scenes are fascinating, did the real character do that and get away with it?

Hilary Swank's performance was outstanding. But what a screwed up character the real person must have been, what a shame. However, I couldn't help but think all the way through the film as I watched Brandon mess up more and more due to inaction, or the wrong action, what an ugly woman Hilary must be to be able to pull off this role so convincingly. Acting aside, she really looked like a boy. There was only a few places where her voice went up into clearly female registers. I wondered how it was possible she got away with it for so long.

The most interesting character, however, is not Brandon. It's Lana. The small town beauty who wants to get out of town and falls in love with Brandon the boy. But when she finds out that Brandson is Brandon the girl, nothing changes. And I can't see how that can be as she is clearly not a lesbian!

The supporting cast is wonderful. They act the roles of the dull and ignorant to perfection and the final scenes leave you in disgust with man's inhumanity to others.


End of Days

Satan foiled, but only temporarily!
I had the preconception of "Arnie beats Satan, give me a break!" But the story works, although there's lots of holes as you might expect in an action film. View this film with no expectations except being entertained by the acting, effects, and of course Arnie's one-liners, and you will be entertained. Go to see this film expecting something deeper, a tight story, a good simulation, then you'll be severely disappointed.

And, by the way, Arnie doesn't kill Satan - he only delays him for 1,000 years. That may seem a lot to you, but to an immortal I expect its just a hiccup.

Gabriel Byrne is excellent in this film, which I gave 8/10


A wonderful satirical look at religious beliefs
Excellent story, excellent acting, and very funny. I loved the opening scenes where Loki talks a Nun out of being one as he points out all the problems with her faith!

Christ was black, the 13th apostle was left out of the scriptures because he was black (played by Chris Rock who leaves his "legend in his own mind attitude" for this performance), God is a woman both vengeful, silly, omnipotent, but not forgiving (played by Alanis Morrisette who is no beauty), the angel of death (Matt Damon) who get fed up with doing God's work and quit, all religions have got it wrong, an archbishop who acts like a used car salesman (George Carlin was a good choice for this role) and the ridiculous premise that God must abide by the church's doctrine (which is the foundation of the story in this film).

Alan Rickman, as usual, is excellent although his role is small.

Don't see this film if you have no sense of humor or are very religious as it will probably offend you.

By the way, Jesus did have brothers and sisters. The brothers are named in the bible, but the sisters are not.


Fresh Horses

the agonies of growing up and thinking you're in love
This is an excellent film. The acting is wonderful by all the principals and the story is very believable.

This would be a good film for a high school discussion group as it contains many themes: marrying too young, mixing of social classes, infatuation instead of love, etc.

If you like either Andrew McCarthy or Molly Ringwald then see this film as they shine.


Joan of Arc

A sound criticism of the church
I gave this 8/10 despite its problems

This film is not historically correct and the facts have been altered to support the film's thesis. Simply put: Joan was motivated by revenge and was mildly insane - perhaps schizophrenic. She was not very intelligent, just full of anger - her objective was to see the dauphin crowned king and drive the English away, at any cost

The church both condemns her and then canonize her - what hypocrisy!

The war scenes are horrific, but probably nowhere near as bad as the truth really was. I was horrified by the killing and mutilation; but from the point of view of the people that were there. Humans are truly despicable in what they can and do do to each other.

Joan annoyed me. There is little depth to the character. Notice also that her hair changes from blonde to brown half way through the film?

Dustin Hoffman, as always, was excellent. Especially when he makes fun of Joan find the sword!

I wish I has seen this on the big screen. I would also love to know what was cut out from the International version. If anybody has seen the DVD and the video please let me know the difference in the two films.

The Insider

greed and corruption everywhere
This film scored 9/10.

Well acted, well directed, and based on fact. The film shows human nature at its worst. What would you do for money? That's what motivates many of the people behind the events that surround Jeffrey Wigand.

I also wonder about his wife. She is portrayed as a selfish woman only interested in the status of her life. A small role, but well done. Was she really like that? So why did he stay with her?

I wonder how factual the scenes about Mike Wallace (6o minutes host) were We see him give in to the cover up, but when one of his TV editorials is edited down he loses it and again supports the struggle to get the truth out.

Similarly, the TV station looks bad trying to cover up in the cause of money.

It's a shame that we, as the human race, have such little integrity.

Jakob the Liar

Something missing here
I gave this 8/10

Well acted, great scenes, great sets, excellent supporting characters (especially Misha), very believable behaviors, everybody is starving, the Germans are brutally bad people (mostly) and Robin Williams is wonderful.

But there's something wrong somewhere, and I can't put my finger on it. The film was too light. This topic was very dark and gloomy. But somehow it came over as light entertainment!


Brilliant film. A must-see
Well acted, well directed and very thought provoking.

The film shows the horrors of a drug-ruled life. The worst being the death of the baby through starvation while everybody was tripping on heroin. And what do they do when they discover th body? Get high again!

The swearing is bad but maybe true to life of the scum that this film depicts, especially the nasty Begbie who lives to hurt others. It's a pity he never gets what is coming to him.

Renton (Ewan McGregor) is a strange character. First hooked on heroin, then gets clean, then gets hooked again (by choice) then gets clean in a horrid enforced drying out as he's locked up at home be his parents (how they put up with him is amazing).

Other memorable scenes are the swim through the toilet (see it, then you'll understand) which made me want to vomit at the start. The schoolgirl, showing how what you see is not what you get, sometimes.


Zulu Dawn

So many good actors, how can it be bad?
What an excellent depiction of the blundering that can be made by pompous generals - it's a wonder England held the empire for so long!

If you watch this on video the editing is less than perfect - the subtitles get lost so you can't read them properly.

If you want a good night of it, rent this one and then watch Zulu. The second film shows what happens at the second battle that occurred very shortly after the massacre in Zulu Dawn.

Peter O' Toole is magnificent and the commanding officer that doesn't know how to fight the Zulu and won't take advice from those that do. The scene where the QuarterMaster is making the runners line up for ammunition in the thick of the fight made my skin crawl.

Imagine being armed with a single shot rifle that has to be loaded each time, being short on ammo, and seeing thousands of angry spear throwing Zulu's charging at you. Great film - 8/10

True Colors

what politics is all about
How do politicians become so corrupt? This film explores one pathway: ambitious young man willing to bend the law, take opportunities (or make them) as they come, sacrifice friendship, invent the facts to suit the occasion etc.

This time, however, we have the pleasure of seeing some accountability - too bad it doesn't happen more often.

Well acted, well directed. I gave it 8.

Random Hearts

The scriptwriters should be flogged
The film is not boring, but slow in some places. The acting is great. The sub-plot of the how the two dead people met etc. is fascinating, but its never properly explored. The Congresswoman's character is severely flawed, unless she is just a user. The policeman's character seems very shallow - a combination of script and directing?

There's a great line when congresswoman says to her election committee something like "We've got a big problem, I'm not sure if I can lie anymore".


The film ends exceptionally poorly and based on what we saw earlier, completely illogically.

Double Jeopardy

Storyline is full of holes, not a good film
Ashley Judd is excellent, Tommy Lee Jones is Mediocre, and the rest of the cast OK. The storyline kills this film - its just NOT believable at most levels.

Individual scenes are mostly well done. This is only worth 6/10


The end of the film left me feeling, so what now?
The acting is great, the visual effects are fabulous. But the story is uncertain of what it is trying to achieve. The logic is twisted too.

In summary, priest steals scroll that contains teachings of Jesus written in Jesus's own tongue, Aramaic - WRONG. Jesus spoke Hebrew and all scrolls of that time where written in Hebrew. He finds the teachings are contrary to the Church's teachings. He dies and spirit comes back to manifest itself in an aethiest and causes "stigmata" in her. Why? Seemingly to get the attention of the Vatican so the message can be seen by all. Well, we don't know if that ever happens as the film ends much too soon.

The also film shows the Vatican as ruthless politicians who will stop of nothing (including murder) to silence the messenger, but this plot line is secondary to what happens to the girl.

Other problems - it rains too much in Pittsburg, we don't know why the scientist became a priest, we don't know what happened to the Vatican priest that committed attempted murder.

This film would make a great first part of a trilogy.

Mission to Mars

A wonderful SF film with great visuals
Despite a few technical flaws in science and behaviour(which I will leave for you to ponder) and the confusing beginning, the film was excellent. A definite must-see for SF fans.

Its true that there's not a lot new in this film. The story borrows heavily from fiction (previous SF stories by Arthur C. Clarke) and fact (the face on Mars). But the way its put together really makes you feel like you're there. I gave it a 9.

Iron Will

so cold, you feel some of it.
We rented this film because Kevin Spacey is in it. When it came on, my daughter (12 yrs old) exclaimed "Oh no, not another cheap Disney film!" My wife also made noises of discontent and I was wondering why Kevin was in it and if I'd made a terrible mistake.

Well, it was good. True it had some bad Disney unrealistic heart-jerking story in it, especially at the end. The bad guys were really Disney evil, but the rest of the film worked.

Kevin Spacey gives his best at whatever role he tackles, and this is no exception. The sledding scenes are very good and it is really cold - you can feel it, and so can the actors judging by the breath.

The film get a few tears out and we decided that, although we never would have rented it if we knew it was a Disney film, we liked it. We give it 8.

That Night

A film about growing up that was very well done
The film follows a brief period in the lives of two girls, one about 10 and the other about 17, and how they influence each other.

The acting is excellent and the script captures the period well. I hope that parenting has improved today from what is sown in the film.

On a top-level the film is about both breaking out and striving for independence.

Only You

well acted and a funny treatment of a serious issue
I like Andrew McCarthy, and he was excellent in this film. There's a lot of good laughs in the film although beneath the comedy is some very real-life tragic situations.

It's too bad that the selfish beautiful airhead (Kelly Preston)has to be blonde. Aren't they stereotyped enough already? Similarly, the predatory males are latin-blood.

Helen Hunt is excellent. The definitive scene where she falls in love is very well done, but with too much emphasis on the maternal.

Despite the ending being silly, I gave this a 7.

Glengarry Glen Ross

Never again will a salesman set foot inside my house
I loved the film, and gave it 9. My wife hated it and gave it a 4. So rarely are we divergent, although we both agree that the acting was outstanding!

The actors bring the characters to life and you'll hate most of them, and feel really sorry for some others. Jack Lemmon's performance soars high in this film.

The film adaption of the play works this time ( I find that it rarely does) and shows how far people in commission sales will go to make a deal. The lies are incredible.

The double cross concerning the robbery, and the poor man trying to cancel his deal(see the film and you'll understand), are other examples of this.

Finally, if swearing bothers you then you'd better not see this film. It gets really bad in some places.


Fantastic acting does not save this film
The acting is amazing and the screwed up characters are excellently portrayed. Unfortunately, the quality of acting and directing does not save this film. The script is convoluted, the actors mouth the nonsense fed to them by the script writer, and not much makes a lot of sense as they engage in philosophical conversations for much of the film.

The film started strongly, but then went round and round in circles, going nowhere. Pity.

If you're looking for a good laugh, then film is NOT for you.

If you're looking for suspense, then film is NOT for you.

If you're looking for action, then film is NOT for you.

Year of the Gun

Suspenseful with a plot that twists like a wild cat.
The acting is solid and the film well directed except in one place: The photojournalist survives a hail of machine gun bullets by hiding behind a car while taking picture of a bank robbery. Normally this would be OK, except the parts of the car she is hiding behind are the windows!

The story is tight and very believable as it is set to the historical background of the capture and killing of Aldo Moro (Italy). The sequence of events is built on a series of coincidental events that demonstrate how you cannot trust anybody if you really want to keep a secret. The film also proves the saying ` if you play with fire you will get burned'.

Filmed on location in Italy, the street scenes and interiors add the authenticity of the film.

Secondarily, the film also explores the sexual weapon that women sometime use to achieve their own ends, and the unfaithfulness of men that succumb to it so easily. I gave this a 9.

Stir of Echoes

A good film despite the enormous holes in the script
A suspenseful and scary film, but the holes in the script left me dissatisfied at the film's conclusion.

In a nutshell a man she a ghost after being hypnotized. His son also has this ability and both now know it. The ghost wants her body found as it is buried in the house where the family now lives. The man is driven to dig for the body, but instead of the ghost logically informing him, or his son, where the body is, he randomly digs up the garden, then the basement before finally finding the body.

The wife, who is caring and supportive of her husband, becomes uncharacteristically confrontational. Her character was not consistent. Although well acted in each phase. Kevin Bacon's performance was also very good.

The story also throws in a red herring of another `sensitive' person (the policeman) who seems to offer to help, but nothing comes of it. Why the wife didn't take him home to talk to the husband is a mystery.

Finally, there is the second shot in the basement. This leads us to believe that somebody has committed suicide. Instead, this man appears at the end of the film saving the family. No logic here.

Pitch Black

Could have been great if the script had followed its own logic
This is a film that is well acted, mostly well directed, has great effects, high suspense and could have been great. Its fails by not following its own logical premises.

The creatures of the night are both scared and hurt by light. Unfortunately, the scriptwriters grossly vary the amount of light to suit the story. It would not have been difficult to write the story to follow the logic. Too bad, the film is severely hurt by this failure.

The direction falls down in reminding Van Disel that his eyes are supposed to be light sensitive. This results in him wearing his eye protection in a chaotic fashion.

Despite this failings, we enjoyed the film and give it 8.

Where Eagles Dare

the multiple plot twists keep you guessing right 'til the end
Richard Burton gives an excellent performance, as always. Clint Eastwood looks really young and confused a contrast to his later screen performances. His character was either stupid or the script made a serious mistake early in the film when he should have noticed the Major's lie about the code book.

The film is somewhat dated, but is still exciting and fast moving. The intermission is a curiosity of the times as it was very long at the time of release (2.5 hrs).

I saw this film when it was first released and also just recently. Perhaps being older I can see the flaws in the story that I did not notice the first time. Notably, everybody jumps into freezing water, does not suffer, and miraculously dries off in the next few scenes.

The Astronaut's Wife

The end of the world, slowly
Reminiscent of Rosemary's Baby, but still good.

The major technical flaw is the incursion of the alien signal into the two astronauts. Its not well explained and the little explanation there is, makes little sense.

The wife's character also seems inconsistent in several places. Women know their husbands VERY well and small behavior changes are obvious to them. Yet when she is offered evidence of what might have happened she is afraid, not curious, and shuns the meeting. Naturally this changes as the story unfolds.

Her attempt to kill her husband is set up like a suicide attempt (to fool us, the audience), but badly backfires on her and the aliens triumph - for a change.

Brokedown Palace

Clare danes, magnificent again
The acting is magnificent by all concerned. This surprised me as I expected Bill Pullman to pull (no pun intended) the film down. But he portrays the slightly sleazy lawyer with a conscience extremely well.

The story is on two levels: one, what happens to drug smugglers (or their duped mules) in Thailand, and two, how bad friends can get you in really serious trouble. Commenting on the first storyline, one never really knows whether the two girls were actually duped or if one of them did it intentionally. I must watch the film a second time to try to figure this out.

Reading the credits, you will see that the film was not made in Thailand. Not surprising as it is very uncomplimentary about the corruption in the police force and the crude justice system. If this is true, then boycott the country and vacation somewhere else.

The Americans fare little better as the US embassy staff are depicted as totally uncaring.

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