First off, totally sad that this film didn't turn into the entertaining franchise it was hoped to become. The only highlight from that fact is that "Sahara" is something of a modern gem that delivers in every viewing. The more you see this film, the better you will appreciate the fine visual details and subtle screenplay. The cast is outstanding from stars to supporting actors and while the story may be more packaged that some would prefer, remember that this is molded in the "adventurer" tradition. "Sahara" packs a punch that is missing from all "Indiana Jones" sequels and is far better than other more "serious" adventure flicks for its comedic balance and superior, humane story line. This is proof that movie good guys can live every moment without anger like the lesser shoot-em-up films. Four stars for adventure, romance, friendship and action!
Saw this one on SyFy; the only clue that this film wasn't one of their house movies was the appearance of more money spent (somewhere around $20 million, I now see). It's not easy to make a GOOD shark flick but people keep trying. The Aussies know more about sharks than the Americans, but both will settle for garbage sometimes. The story is not challenging, and the pace is just so slow. The actors also seemed to be waiting for their turn to speak at times, so it was better when things picked up a bit. If a film can make you feel stupid for viewing it, this is in that category. I'm not sure why the Chinese audience reportedly poured millions into seeing this, but that could be due to their TV choices being tepid documentaries, government news or 1960's style variety shows. Compared to that, I'd recommend "Bait" but for no other reasons.
"The Message" (Feng Sheng) is a tremendously engrossing and entertaining thriller, seemingly right out of the 1940's film genre. The film delivers highest quality in production, set design, direction, soundtrack, screenplay, and most notably the incredible cast of actors. I viewed it while in China and was very impressed; just like its jigsaw puzzle of a story, the film's components fit tightly as well. "The Message" is a film for adults but contains a story that all should know for the sacrifice and heroism of those portrayed so well. This is a real victory for Chinese cinema, as the film outdistances all Hollywood productions I have viewed this year.
This is a very good film. It's not a religious film but rather more appropriately labeled a story about having faith in yourself and other people. The cast is excellent and the production has a handmade feel. Just when the story appears to be headed for typical movie themes such as illness or divorce, it surprises by finding the creative razor's edge between those lines. It's not a spoiler to say that "Henry Poole..." serves to remind you that everyone has suffered some kind of loss and seeks renewal in ourselves and each other.
There should always be room for films that seek to entertain without vulgar stupidity. In a summer filled with awful, profane vanity projects by well-known comedians, "Henry Poole is Here" is a thoughtful, often funny, always genuine alternative for anyone who is tired of this summer's overflow supply of stoner jokes or groin references.
I started watching "Can't be Heaven" just to see what Ralph Macchio looks like these days, and was gradually hooked into this latter-day "Wonder Years" story line. This film is a refreshing escape from the typical hard-pounding hip hop garbage that dominates teen-theme films today. Ralph Macchio offers a fine, understated performance while Diane Ladd brings realism and feeling to a role often wrought by overacted stereotype. By the end of the film, it feels all right to believe that Danny (Bryan Burke) can burn on the sax like jazz legend Red Holloway, who provides the smooth Chicago sound. Jazz fans will notice that Macchio's character, Hubbie, is also a jazz man from the "Windy City". "Can't be Heaven" is truly a sweet surprise, stocked with a surprisingly familiar cast. Pick up some goodies from your local Italian bakery and settle in for some smiles and tears, all worth the effort.
This film is outstanding, if not a cinematic work of excellence. The level of camp it displays works well with the oddly exotic Israeli background it was filmed upon. Many stories are offered about how Bruce Lee and James Coburn struggled to move this project forward, and how David Carradine capitalized on his fame in the TV series "Kung Fu" to pick up the story rights, but the work also honors what Lee felt was the essence of the martial arts. This film is mistakenly classified as a "martial arts" film, and subsequently knocked for Carradine's friend and co-star Jeff Cooper's lack of grace and skills in both fighting and acting. "Circle of Iron" also has its flaws in direction and incidental music but shines in its eccentricity, cast, zen precepts, and Cord's awakening that "there is no meaning in life except the meaning that man gives his life by the unfolding of his powers".