wmelick

IMDb member since October 2002
    Lifetime Total
    5+
    IMDb Member
    17 years

Reviews

Movin' with Nancy
(1967)

Great 60's memorabilia
This is a vignette into "mainstream" 60's pop culture --- mid 60's really. It's a gem for what it is, even though it's contrived throughout and Nancy is obviously feigning emotion in many of the scenes. But it captures a part of 60's culture that is fading away these days. Mike Myers incorporated snapshots of this time into his Austin Powers films, but this is the real thing as it was --- unadulterated by later re-interpretation. There is an overarching sense of white-gloved grace combined with restraint and yet also fun --- which is hard to describe until you see this and can understand the feeling. That was the mid 60's. It was a time with the culture of the 50's still lingering, yet current times were changing significantly. It's definitely worth seeing to be able to experience the feeling of that period.

Now that this DVD is unavailable (unless you're a collector and want to pay $$$), you should keep any copies you can find for a reasonable price.

NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service
(2003)

Keeps getting better
This has become my favorite regular show on the main networks. The stories are good enough to keep me watching and the character interplay can be quite amusing at times. Gibbs is great...watching the others react to him makes me chuckle. Abby is perfectly believable, despite the goth overtones...she is strong, smart, yet still sexy and feminine. I think Pauley Perette was the ideal actress to cast. The writing seems to continue at an even keel...if nothing else getting better as more episodes are shown. I think the producers have a hit here. I go back each week. Definitely worth your time...even if it means taping or tivo'ing it (which I do)...something to look forward to when I can't make 8:00 on Tuesday.

NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service
(2003)

Keeps getting better
This has become my favorite regular show on the main networks. The stories are good enough to keep me watching and the character interplay can be quite amusing at times. Gibbs is great...watching the others react to him makes me chuckle. Abby is perfectly believable, despite the goth overtones...she is strong, smart, yet still sexy and feminine. I think Pauley Perette was the ideal actress to cast. The writing seems to continue at an even keel...if nothing else getting better as more episodes are shown. I think the producers have a hit here. I go back each week. Definitely worth your time...even if it means taping or tivo'ing it (which I do)...something to look forward to when I can't make 8:00 on Tuesday.

Hulk
(2003)

Deeper than anything I've seen in this genre
I think people looking for fluff or mindless action movies (ala X2) will be very disappointed with Hulk. I don't even consider it in the same league as most recent Marvel movies. Spiderman was very good, but was ultimately a light-hearted positive movie. This is every bit just as good, but entirely opposite in tone. Why is there an outcry against it (at least in several reviews)? As I see it, this film has been advertised to the wrong audience. It appears as though the studio marketing people suddenly pushed it as an action blockbuster when they realized Ang Lee had made a much more intellectual, darker take on the comic series than they thought he would have. They panicked and wanted to try the big-opening-weekend tactic to generate money. I read all the negative reviews and went into it without high hopes. But I was blown away. The effects shots, while mostly very well done, are the least important to me. Ang has made real human characters out if these roles. Truth is, Ang's Hulk is a psychological story about childhood trauma and dealing with parents and their control. The real subtext is children having to deal with the choices their parents made...when it inevitably shapes who they are as adults. It could have been told against a more mundane background, but the Hulk part of it just gives it a fun twist. The characters are forced into situations beyond their control, yet they have to to try and deal with it nonetheless. Bruce is emotionally distant due to a fractured childhood (a protective response)...Betty is obsessed with trying to emotionally "open up" such a guy, since she could never do that to her military father (and thus fix their relationship). The two lead characters (Bruce & Betty) love each other deeply, but events and psychological scars conspire against them...and ultimately separate them. This is a classic tragedy story. I think people aren't used to that and they have a very strong negative reaction. The expectation was for lighthearted, humorous summer fluff, but they got handed heavy Greek tragedy instead. No wonder the negative reviews. All I can say is that I will definitely be paying to see this film again while it's in the theaters. I expect a lot of people to "not get it." Those who do will hold this film in high regards. I agree that Ang Lee is one of the most talented directors of our time. Highly recommended if characters mean more to you than action.

Below
(2002)

Better by far than I expected
This is a solid little creepy film that will have staying power even when big budget horror films are long forgotten. I will definitely watch it again in the future. I went into it expecting it to be poorly done stupid horror (ala 13 Ghosts), but I was quite surprised at how it held up. The acting is good without being overdone; the characters don't become cliched. And the overall sense of isolation and fear is believable. The look of the film and the characters harkens back to the feeling of "Das Boot," but it's quite a different story (I'm not equating the two by far...Das Boot is a masterpiece...this is a very well done B-picture). And as others have mentioned, the small details are correct, which makes it all the more fun to watch. The compartments, controls and hatches are in the right places. As far as I can tell, they filmed this in a real WWII submarine...or a 100% correct set piece. I've been to the USS Pampanito museum (a real WWII Balao class sub here in San Francisco) several times and it's pretty much the spitting image of the sub in this film. They also took care to be fairly correct with protocol, i.e. who would be standing where and doing what in the compartment when an order was given. You should definitely check out the deleted scenes on the DVD too...they're actually quite good and I'm disappointed they were left out of the final cut. Too bad this film didn't get more PR...it's far better than your average "horror film" being made these days.

Band of Brothers
(2001)

You have to see this series
I remember growing up in my grandparents house and listening to the "war stories" my grandfather told about his WWII experiences in Europe. I just purchased this series on DVD and I wish he were still alive to see if this brings some justice to the story of those who were there. I can't watch these episodes without getting teary-eyed from the realization of what he must have gone through. All the pieces of places and events he mentioned came together for me as I watched this. His stories of the Battle of the Bulge and the coldest he'd ever been in his life just came to life on the screen. Perhaps the most touching and impacting part of this series is the prologue by the veterans who were actually there. It is very emotional to watch an 80-year-old man on the verge of tears remembering his friends who he watched die next to him...when he was an 18 year old kid. Of course all wars have this tragedy. But it's impacting nonetheless... especially since this is one of the few portrayals of the reality of combat in WWII without the whitewash found in so many Hollywood movies. I can't recommend Band of Brothers highly enough. In addition to "Saving Private Ryan," this is the simply the best portrayal of the G.I. experience in WWII that I have ever seen. Period. My advice is to make the time in your life to watch this series. If you have a parent, a grandparent or a relative who fought in Europe in WWII, then this will show you what they went through (OK sorry, there isn't coverage of the Italian/Sicilian campaign...this is northern Europe). I feel a new appreciation for my grandfather and what he did, even though he is now only a cherished memory.

Impostor
(2001)

Ending is worth the rest
While the story, characters and development there of is cliched and predictable, the ending is so good that it leaves you with a good feeling about the rest of the picture. As far as a 1950's sci-fi short story, this was a good adaptation. I think it should have gotten more recognition and positive reviews than it did. It probably could have made and excellent Twilight Zone one hour story. As a feature sci-fi film, it tends to fall into the pitfalls of dragged out cliche. But given how old Philip K. Dick's story is, I find that this is forgiveable. PDK wrote it before others copied him...before his style became something we've grown used to by copies ad nauseum. What I'm trying to say is that this is an original...one others have copied and copied...hence our reaction to it. Anyway, it's worth a look. The "new protected urban world" versus the "marginalized zone of refugees" is an idea repeated time and time again in sci-fi. Perhaps this PDK story is one of the beginnings of that juxtaposition. Like I said, worth seeing.

Bloody Sunday
(2002)

Powerful and realistic
I, as many others, grew up with the U2 song "Bloody Sunday" and knew vaguely it referred to some tragedy but never had a clear picture of what "Bloody Sunday" actually was. When I saw this film playing at a nearby theater, it grabbed my attention since I wanted to know more. I skimmed some reviews and it seemed pretty good. Now that I've seen it, all I can say is that this is an amazing and powerful snapshot of what happened on that day. It was quite a roller-coaster ride, tense the whole time as you know a horrific tragedy is about to unfold. The filmmaker shows us the characters up close and personal, from the Irish politicians trying to peacefully organize and resist the British, to the British soldiers who are sick of being shot at and dying here and there over time, without any chance at revenge. They are angry and hungry for blood. Most of the Irish people and their politicians try to embrace the ideals of MLK and Ghandi, but ultimately the few violent radicals amongst them bring an enormous, tragic and gut-wrenching response of force from the British. The faux-documentary style can at times be dizzying and disorienting, but this film looks and feels like it's made from 16mm shot in 1972. It really brings you there and gives a sharp edge of reality. The haunting image of a horribly shaken Irish leader, Ivan Cooper (played by James Nesbitt) as he staggers out while reading the names of the dead is one that won't leave you anytime soon. This film will also give you some understanding as to the anger of the IRA. Highly recommended to all, although it may be upsetting and confusing for young children. But everyone should know this history.

See all reviews