drchazan

IMDb member since October 2001
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The Wolf of Wall Street
(2013)

Like watching a train wreck
I watched it but I felt sick to my stomach the whole time. Not only did Di Caprio scowl throughout the whole film (like he does in almost all of his movies these days), but the excess was just too much and way over the top. While I'm sure that things like this do actually happen with these greedy wall street types all the time, it just wasn't pleasant to watch. I think what made me most disappointed with this film is that there wasn't even one character that was in the least bit sympathetic that you could hold onto as a sole light in the darkness. Surely there are a few good guys out there who aren't scumbags out to steal every nickel from anyone dumb enough to buy into their promises of riches. Surely the ones cheated out of their money have some recourse. It just paints the most hopeless picture of capitalism at its very worst with absolutely no possibility of any hope that they might become human beings one day.

The Congress
(2013)

Amazing and Horrifying
I'm not sure I understood this film, but it is at once the most amazing and horrifying film I've ever seen.

The idea that we could end up in a world where we are drugged into "freedom" of a life without care, living in our own imaginations, while are bodies are hardly more than zombies is what I found horrifying. The realization of this through the mixture of animation and live action is what was amazing.

Mind you, I did find Harvey Keitel sounded a bit stilted - as if he was uncomfortable in the part. However, there was one scene with him, however, that made all his stiffness forgivable, when he talks to Robin while she's being scanned. Just perfect!

From what I can see, people aren't terribly happy that only the essence of the book has made it to the screen, but that's nothing new - and those who are cult fans of Stanislaw Lem's dystopian novel "The Futurological Congress" would never be happy with any film version. Not having that disadvantage, I think makes it easier to look at this film subjectively. And while the story isn't terribly unique - a tale of rebellion by one person who is looking for something that the new world they're living in can't give them - there is a twist to the classic ending.

This won't win any awards, simply because its probably far to avant-garde to be judged alongside any other films. That's Ari Folman for you! Did I like it? I'm not sure. For the artistry, it certainly deserves high ratings. As for the story, the concept is a scary one, making it something you won't easily forget, that's absolutely certain. I'm just a touch wary that the realization was just a touch too restrained in spots, but when he takes off, you'll just want to take flight with him. I only wish he did so more consistently throughout the film.

I hope others here see it, because I'd like to know if I'm totally off base or not in my humble assessment.

The Producers
(2005)

Cringe-worthy Remake
I cannot believe that people are calling this genius. This is the most cringe worthy remake I've ever seen. Both Lane and Broderick are trying to imitate the original film actors (Mostel and Wilder, respectively) and do a lousy job of it. Of course, how could anyone match their genius? Had they tried to do the parts their own way, this movie might have had a chance, but instead, they took the easy (and bad) way out. And while Broderick could have been wonderful had he done his own wimpy geek character, I'm not sure Lane could have pulled it off at all. He doesn't know how to do sneaky while being overbearing, which is essential to this part. He's a bit too blustery and nerdy for this part altogether.

If you get a chance to see the original film, you'll never want to see this one again - and that's a promise!

Nobody Loves a Fat Woman
(1911)

Little is known about this film
After researching this film I read on one site that the story here is that the character Jack Darcy has been informed his great uncle wants to give him $50,000, but there is a catch - in order to get the money, he will have to wed Blossum within a year. Blossum is his uncle's friend's daughter. This doesn't seem to be such a horrible thing, until he meets Blossum and finds out she is obese. During the waiting period, he meets a young slim girl and falls for her, deciding not to take his uncle's money and wed the thin girl he's fallen in love with. When the uncle sees he's willing to forgo the money and defend his true love, he gives him the money anyway. The looser here is Blossum who cannot find a husband due to her weight.

The above information is paraphrased from the paper "NOBODY LOVES A FAT WOMAN: Portrayals of Female Obesity in Early American Cinema" by Joseph Kerr

Landslide
(2005)

Even worse special effects
If I may be so bold as to add to heatherbennett from Canada's review, regarding the acting, I thought I should warn people about the special effects here.

The special effects on this movie looked so fake that I was sure this movie was a minimum of 30 years old. I was incredulous when I saw that it was done in 2004. This is 21st century special effects? Oy Vey! Nothing looked real, no one reacted realistically, and what really got me was that some of the areas nearest to the landslide didn't even feel the ground shaking, but others who were supposed to be farther away looked like they were put into a blender! Of course, this was hardly the worst part. I'm trying to figure out how two kids on bicycles could (almost) out race the landslide when a bunch of cars didn't have a chance in hell. Or how is it that the dust clouds look painted on? Oh, yeah, I guess they were painted on.

Then there's the bit where the dirt pushes one house over by 90 degrees but the couple inside are holding onto their furniture for dear life. Yes, their furniture! Why? Because it was attached to the floors! Now, if these people thought enough of the dangers of where they were living to nail their furniture down so strong that even a landslide wouldn't budge it, don't you think they might have decided AGAINST living there? But the best bit is how the lady gets out of her car after its been hit by the landslide and - oh, thank heavens - her cell phone is only two feet away from her, lying safely, right on top of all the dirt and is just a little bit dusty. I didn't know that cell phones could float on dirt. And apparently her son's disk-man has the same dirt-floating ability, since otherwise her husband wouldn't have been able to find him under the slide. How lucky and convenient.

No, there are NO spoilers in this comment - I'm only talking about what happens in the first 15 minutes of this movie. And since it isn't worth anyone watching any further, I think I'll stop here.

Don't bother - this movie is AWFUL!

Ha-Lahaka
(1978)

Timeless
This is one of the best Israeli films ever made. While it may never have had any international fame, it is still loved in Israel and never seems to grow old. The songs are almost all beautiful and truly well produced. Also, the story of an entertainment troupe and the "behind the scenes" of their dynamics is something that's relevant to anyone in the entertainment business (or any business, for that matter) who has to work with a team that doesn't have a static group of members. Mind you, not all of the acting is totally spot on, but that only detracts a tiny bit from the movie. If you ever get a chance to see this movie, don't miss it!

Nisuim Fiktiveem
(1988)

Poignant Fiction
Probably Shlomo Bar-Aba's most fascinating roles, this is the story of Eldad Nathan, a teacher in Jerusalem, who decides to leave Israel but changes his mind just before getting on the plane. He arrives disguised at a cheap hotel in Tel Aviv where he meets Judy, the receptionist, who decides he's an Israeli who was living in the USA but has returned home. They begin a relationship and he promises her that he will marry her fictitiously so she can get a 'green card'. In another disguise, he is picked up one morning by a truck that takes Arab workers from the territories and he naturally mixes among them as a deaf-mute to not give himself away. A private investigator hired by his wife looks for him, Judy and the hotel's Arab room cleaner are puzzled by his daily disappearances and his Palestinian friends invite him to their homes in their refugee camp.

Bar-Aba goes from strength to strength here, using his excellent skills to blend in to each situation he's in. The metaphor of a fictional marriage is used intelligently throughout the film - his real marriage is hardly ideal, the marriage he offers to Judy is totally unreal, his relationships with the Arab workers is based in a lie, and basically, he is married to a life filled with disguise, that eventually must all come to a head.

A very worthwhile movie.

Rain Without Thunder
(1992)

Scary because it could come true
I think that most of the people who don't like this movie don't know a little bit of the background regarding one reference - Margaret Atwood's book (and movie) The Handmaid's Tale. Notice that Linda Hunt's character is from the Atwood society. Without that reference, I'm not sure everyone can understand the full weight of this film.

Moreover, I think anyone who wants to really know if this film has a basis in reality should just look at what's happening (slowly, but apparently surely) in the USA regarding abortion laws today. Yes, this could happen in the USA and that makes it the most scary movie I've ever seen.

A must-see for anyone who is interested in abortion issues (although pro-lifers will certainly call it bunk).

The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella
(1976)

For the Chamber(lain) pot!
This is the absolute worst Cinderella version ever made. The songs are sappy and unmemorable, the choreography tasteless - for instance there's a scene where Chamberlain dances on the coffins of his ancestors! What WERE they thinking?

There's nothing unique or special about this in any way. Moreover Chamberlain can't sing or dance, so why did they cast him in the part? One would think that because of his looks, he'd make a good Prince Charming - and yes, he is charming, but that's where this ends. There are so many versions of this story out there that this one becomes totally forgettable, and I wouldn't even have written this review if I hadn't been suckered into seeing it in a theater back when it came out in 1979. There's a couple of hours of my life I'll never get back!

Sorry, but if you want a good version, watch any of them, but not this one. Disney's old one is still the best, if you ask me. There's also a Hallmark production from a totally different angle, called "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister" which is marvelous with Stockard Channing.

The Comeback
(2005)

How Unfortunate
While I'm glad that Lisa Kudrow isn't playing a ditz in exactly the same cadre as her part in Friends, I'm afraid that this part doesn't show off her talent at all. She's just uncomfortable, nervous and, frankly, sad. The take-off on reality TV doesn't work well and they keep trying to make it seem funny that everyone is annoyed with Valarie's camera crew. The joke didn't work in the first place, so why keep it up. Also, how the writers dislike Valarie makes them look like creeps - which is what they were looking for, obviously - but that Valarie (so far as I've seen) hasn't even burped the wrong way in their direction makes her look even more pathetic. Finally, the idea that Valarie only got the part because of a deal with the reality company that whomever got the part as Aunt Cassie would have to do the reality show as well, and Valarie was the only actress who agreed to do the reality show, is even sadder, not to mention unbelievable. Especially since the disdain and distaste for the reality show is shown as so strong. I mean, really! If no one wanted that reality deal, then why did it go through to begin with?

The idea of a spoof on a reality show could have been much better done. They should have taken an example from the Brits who have made some hysterical mock-documentaries. Sorry, but The Comeback shouldn't have come on to begin with.

Anastasia
(1997)

Anesthesia Required
When this movie came out, my kids made me take them to see it. Knowing the story before hand, I was wary of going in the first place. I mean, really! Why take such a tragic and controversial story and turn it into a light-hearted film? For this same reason, I have refused to go see many of the more recent Disney animated films. Little did I know that I was going to see an animated film that made even the worst of Disney's animated "classics" look flawless.

Perhaps the biggest problem with this movie is that it isn't a Disney movie at all. No, this one was made by 20th Century Fox, by the famous ex-Disney team of Don Bluth and Gary Goldman. Unfortunately, without the heavy-weight comfort of Disney Studios to guide them, they ended up with a fumbling bit of work that has only the voice of Meg Ryan in the title role to give it any class whatsoever.

We all know the story. A girl, who may be the only living heir to the Russian royal family after the revolution, tries to find out if she really is just that. Many versions of this story have been filmed in live action. Some better than others, but all point up the tragic mystery of the roots of an orphan. This film gives a happy ending where there is none. Granted, lots of the more recent Disney films have done the same. I believe that children should know that some stories don't have happy endings - or at least ones that have semi-happy endings, with a bittersweet after taste. One good example of this is Disney's "Jungle Book" where, although the child returns to live with humans, the animals who cared for him lose a friend.

The difference here is that at least the Disney films have at least a few tolerable songs - some even memorable ones. Pocahontas is a good example of this. A truly tragic story, that at least had one excellent song to promote it. This film hasn't even that small claim to fame. So, my next "thumb down" goes to the score of this film. And I use that term lightly, since the music is one junk yard of forgetful tunes with overly sweet lyrics.

The animation reminded me of early Disney films. Two dimensional characters on a background that tries to be three dimensional, but fails to make the grade. At least even the early Disney animators could make beautiful backgrounds for their films. You would have thought that animators would have learned by 1997 to give a bit more even look to these films. Disney has tried and, to some extent, succeeded. Not so here. So, where some animated films have a visual beauty to assist them, this one is lacking again.

Finally, when one looks for a film to take their kids to, they want something that is entertaining but with at least some sort of a message. I still haven't figured out what kind of message this film sent my kids, and I certainly wasn't entertained.

In sum, I wouldn't recommend this movie for either adults or children. There is nothing to recommend it. The story is badly distorted, the music doesn't grab your ears, the animation is third rate and it neither entertains nor teaches us anything. If you have to see this film - make sure you're brain dead first, and then, only take your youngest kids. They'll never know the difference. Or will they?

The Last Man on Planet Earth
(1999)

Not so far fetched anymore
The idea of this film was that WWIII started in Afghanistan and their use of biological weapons forced their enemy allies (US, in particular) to develop a counter-biological weapon which went haywire and wiped out all but a handful of the male species on the planet. Today, in October of 2001, we know this isn't such a far fetched premise for a story line anymore. Sad, isn't it?

The film is interesting to think about because of recent events, but nothing spectacular or special - an average TV movie.

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