nifabs

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Reviews

Royal Pains
(2009)

Smart, Sassy and Funny
I expected to hate Royal Pains as most medical shows are too scripted but Royal Pains delivers.

It is a human but sweet look at rich doctors for the nouveau riche'

The show is educative but funny. It's character run an excellent gamut from Hank's dedicated but driven older brother through Divya's efficient P.A. who holds the others together as glue, Boris's ice- cool mogul/benefactor.. the supporting are excellent.

The only snag is Paulo Constanzo's Evan. Season 1 was okay, but he's evolved into a most annoying hypochondriac, who is immature, insensitive, selfish and loud! Understandably that's who/what the character is but seriously which one individual is that destructive?

I expect to see more depth as the show progresses.

Blue Bloods
(2010)

True To Type
This show is gritty but educational/insightful.

I agree with most reviews, it's interesting but the downers for me are Donnie Wahlberg and Will Estes.

Their characters are very disappointing; Wahlberg is a bully, a reprobate, a bad influence and a terrible role model even to his kids. His character says 'I'm a cop and I can do whatever I want, this is a cop's world'.

Estes, on the other hand, is simply lacklustre. He doesn't grow within his character, he doesn't do anything.

Moynahan grows on you and you appreciate and respect her for standing up to all the men, as well as standing up for herself. She shines.

Tom Selleck has aged gracefully and I like who he has become, and how he plays the commish. He brings maturity to his role.

All the supporting are equally solid, not outstanding or brilliant but solid.

The cop stories and scenarios are good and believable. They are not afraid to get their hands or reputations dirty. But this should stop being a Donnie Wahlberg show.

I Got the Hook Up
(1998)

The Jail Scene
The scene where his mum and dad went to bail Blue?? from jail.

She was sprinkling Holy water!!!.

She was cursing all the demons (in the form of prisoners)to disappear.

That scene almost killed me.

I actually laughed and ended up weeping.

When some of the prisoners heckled her, she shouted at them, "Your Mama, All your mamas".

That's one of my fave jail scenes of all time.

Get Back Satan.

Disappear Demons!!!!!!!!

To Kill a Mockingbird
(1962)

Simply Beautiful.
I wanted to be a lawyer after I saw this movie. Gregory Peck was astounding ;now that is acting, letting your face, body language, silences and actions speak the entire gamut.

I followed the stories here through three different generations, the older generation Atticus Finch's set; watching him try to be a good example to his children while integrating himself into their lives, teaching them values unconsciously while setting standards and boundaries for discipline is a delight to watch. Miss Crawford and the old lady who was dying and Jem had to visit her, these bring an extended family element.

The middle set : Boo Radley, whose eyes and vision is what follows the children round the neighbourhood ; living his dreams through them and bearing their heartaches as well.

And the children ; Scout Finch is a most poignant storyteller; she relates the most significant things with colour and life. When they find the wax dolls in trees, the importance they attach to it, the feeling that Boo is watching and when she gets to meet Boo, she isn't at all scared, it's been so long that the anticipation of meeting him turns into respect. We grow with Scout at Atticus' knee, with Calpurnia, with Aunt Alexandra, with Jem & Dill, and finally in that epiphany scene with Boo (when she walks him home), she ages and time stands still and even when she returns to the present, she has become an adult in many ways; love, honour, sacrifice and selflessness all hold new meaning for her. She was never going to see the world through a child's perspective again.

Boo was supposed to be scary, I'm thoroughly thrilled to know that it was a very young Robert Duvall.

The storyline is simple but gripping, racism & prejudice burn long and slow and it takes the honour and faith of men like Atticus Finch and the sheriff to diffuse this or deal with it. When Boo kills Jem's Attacker Tom Ewell, the sheriff fabricates a story to protect Boo's privacy and the fact that he acted in defence of the children. As Miss Crawford says "it's a sin to shoot a mockingbird as they sing all day and give us sweet music" there are two mockingbirds; Tom Robinson and Boo Radley who have done nothing but try to co-exist and bring peace to their little world.

The language belongs to the era; the settings are stark depicting the harshness, simplicity and "beauty" of those times. The themes of racism, superiority/inferiority complexes, sacrifice, respect, integrity and honour all resound strongly. It is a lesson in morals but a picture; a signpost for the future!!

To Kill A Mockingbird reverberates with hope, while there is injustice, there will be those who believe in justice. Racism may always exist but there also those who believe in free will and equal; opportunities. At times all it takes is the simple voice of a child to remind us who we are.!!

10/10

Hercules
(2005)

A Twist In The Tale..
I enjoyed this movie because it put a twist in the myth.

I did not understand why at first but the twist works within reason...

Hercules had "12 tasks or Labours" He borrowed Cerberus from Hades and returned the hound when he was done. His father (Zeus) took Amphitryon's form when he slept with Alcimene the departures are varied and complex but it all works...

I love the special effects. The Nemean Lion, the Golden Hind, the sacrifice of Alcimene, the love of Amphitryon for Hercules. The fact that the gods never show themselves, this all adds up. There is a new flavour.

Leelee Sobieski was a graceful Deianara because they cast against type. Your typical nymph would look like a bimbo but Leelee brings a simple charm to her role that's delightful to see.

Paul Telfer looked good and brought ruggedness and humility in equal doses to the name. Timothy Dalton surprised me with the first good role in ages, I actually enjoyed seeing him in all his scenes, He was GOOD. Elizabeth Perkins was arch as Alcimene and that role will never be the same again.

I thought Sean Astin was too close to SamWise in his portrayal but I think it will take a truly evil role or a total departure from character for us to see him as anyone else.

The special effects were good and convincing in some cases bar the Hydra. But everything else won me over.

I must be a sucker because I put aside my misgivings and watched this movie with an open mind; my only regret was I didn't see all 12 labours. It's not a mind-blowing epic, it's a small beautiful tale, simply to paint the human side of Hercules, he was a demi -god but did not achieve immortal status till he died.

Good Movie, A Must Own…

Gracie's Choice
(2004)

Brave Choice
Gracie had some tough choices to make in this movie, playing mom to 3 brothers and a sister are choices that any teenager should not have to make, once in a while you'd care for siblings under the supervision of your parents, you'd simply carry out the instructions.

Gracie had to make decisions for everyone, basically she put her life on hold, And as mentioned earlier, her boyfriend came across as stupid, one moment he's in love and admiring her strength and the next he's urging her to chuck it in and throw her lot with him and "his nouveau riche" family. It seemed stupid and trite and somewhere out, there's one stupid man who's lost the woman of his life.

Anne Heche's drugged out mom was over-stretched but drugs do things to people, I was glad that Gracie's influence held the kids together.

The scene where the boys had to decide who they'd live was heart-wrenching and actually brought tears to my eyes. Watching the youngest one, talk about his love for horses but wanting to sleep in his bed and wake up at home with Gracie totally melted me.

This is a story that touches the heart, my hat's off to the real Gracie.

You rock Sista, you really do.

Kristen Bell actually made the character believable, she was and is still Gracie for me.

SOUND SOLID MOVIE

Julia
(1968)

Kudos
This show has to be recognised as one of the milestones in Black TV, before Bill Cosby, before the smattering of Black shows on TV today, Diahann Carroll played a single mom raising a son all by herself.

She didn't play a rich bored housewife, or a Hollywood madam like in Dynasty. Diahann played a sensible working woman. Scatty, witty, repressed at times but a woman of our times. Characters like Julia are everyday people, they remind us of who we are,

I find Julia a powerful statement of the 70's with single working parents, this is a positive statement for women and Blacks all over, it's not all about flash,booty and bling!!! There is dignity in hard work, pity the show didn't last very long but it's important to note that she played the lead and there were hardly any race-related issues on the show. It was just normal "everyday people"

Also being filmed in Black and White dates it but gives it a classic feel.

SOUND!!! 7/10

Mr. & Mrs. Smith
(2005)

Summery
This movie was entertainment, light summer entertainment. There wasn't much of a story but the action sequences told stories of their own, 2 skilled, highly paid assassins working for rival organisations, accidentally cross while vying for the same target.

Unfortunately they happen to be husband and wife the Smiths who are in a sterile farcical marriage. They discover that they both lied to each other over a period of their six-year marriage and decide to end it, but while trying to take each other out (which they do brutally), they discover that their bosses want them dead or single i.e. "one must die" They both combine forces to take on the bosses and their minions and it's one explosive fest of bullets, wits, anger and mind-blowing explosions.

Pitt & Jolie pull enough chemistry on-screen to generate heat in this scorcher. The action keeps you on the edge of your seat or tuned in totally.

Good Summer Blockbuster

Fantastic Four
(2005)

Truly Fantastic
I didn't know what to expect when watching this movie,but it established the origins of the FF in a solid manner.

Never seen Gruffudd before but he delivered, Jessica Alba was sweet as a young Sue Storm, her invisibility trip thru the city totally won me (she's a seasoned actress having been around for a while), I loved the force fields and the strain she put herself through when Johnny went supernova. Chris Evans (new face for me) was funny as the Torch but he also came thru when he "FLAMED ON", Mike Chiklis was the last person I expected to play the Thing, but he was not only entertaining he inspired sympathy or empathy as the underdog. The Thing is quite lovable and it's interesting to see him come to terms with his xter. Alicia being cast against type was totally exceptional and a touch of cinematic genius, The action scenes are expansive, the storyline is simple and down to earth, these aren't superheroes who are afraid to test the waters, these people want to live and be seen as one of us.

The actors are young and leave room in their physical aspect for growth and consequently sequels.

The Fantastic Four was truly fantastic

Point of No Return
(1993)

Point Of No Return
There's comes a point when you can't go back.

Maggie had initially sold her body to drugs, then she had to sell her soul to the government and become an instrument for them. The chemistry between Byrne and Fonda is electric and the fact that there were no love scenes actually leaves you wanting more.

Fonda is devastating as druggie who wants to be left alone, luminuous as Maggie the made-over assassin then as repentant hit-woman, she strikes a soul-full chord. There is a heart and a point when every human becomes a machine, but she turned around and made her choice her way or no-way, It's interesting to note that Gabriel Byrne let her go because he somehow loved her and knew that he had to set her free or she would eventually turn on him.

Interesting support from Dermot Mulroney, Harvey Keitel, the late Anne Bancroft to name a few.

Sound, Solid but Gritty Movie..!!!

At First Sight
(1999)

Quite Simple But Touching!!!
It's so easy to take for granted every thing or privilege that we count as natural.

Kilmer plays a very convincing blind man who's learnt to rely fully on his senses. The scene where it's about to rain is beautiful, his perception is intuitive.

His smile speaks of acceptance of a fate that he's unable to change but is facing with it with dignity. Sorvino is an equal foil for him and paces him subtly.

This is a beautiful look at a world where we are imperfect and therein lies perfection.

At First Sight is simple and poignant and anyone who criticises it needs to look at themselves critically.

DEEP DEEP MOVIE

Body Count
(1998)

Good
I enjoyed this movie because it was unpredictable, Fiorentino was stupid and unconvincing but Rhames and Whittaker pulled talent and credibility out of their pockets like there was no tomorrow.

The supporting cast were okay even John Leguizamo was over the top, but the end was incredulous as Fiorentino kicked Rhames outta the car, typical of a hustler, a grifter, but her plan backfires when 100 yards down the road she is stopped by the cops who have the car on their radar and Rhames walking away finds the loot stashed in the jacket pocket.

He has the last laugh!! GOOD...

Saint Maybe
(1998)

Need To See To Understand...
I had to watch this movie again,

while I agree it may be thin in places, the overall plot made me want to see the end, I admired the dignity that Tom McCarthy displayed and I was pleased to see that there were good solid morals portrayed.

It took courage for Ian to sacrifice his youth (to atone for his mistake) and while he could have gone off the rails as someone suggested it was quite noble of him to draw strength from God and raise the kids like his own and never divulge the terrible secret of their mothers' past to them.

It is quite simply a nice but realistic movie, people are faced with choices like these everyday, most people actually chicken out!!!

Real Men & Women are those who do not need to shout to be heard but live with dignity and strength!!!

Mary & Tim
(1996)

Simple Heartwarming Movie!!!.
I admire the simple way love is played in this movie, Candy Bergen is a striking actress with wit, experience and talent, while Tom McCarthy(Saint Maybe)gives a fair turn as the "slow" young man who falls for her and gets her to fall in love with him.

Initially I dreaded the match because of Tim's doggedness but there is a vulnerability in him, a craving which needs fulfilment and this finds a likeness in Mary. Tim slowly wears down her resistance and it's touching to see him want to take care of her and look after her even if he knows quite clearly that she is older than him.

His father also recognises that there is a bond which is stronger than most people can comprehend which is why he wants Mary to be Tim's legal guardian.

Touching movie, which I have seen again and again and still would see!!! 7 out of 10.......

Gladiator
(2000)

WELL PUT TOGETHER
Rusell Crowe might shine in this masterpiece but it's not entirely down to him.

Gladiator surges along due to precise purposeful directing,powerful scripting, adept casting and a host of filmmaking factors. Russell simply shines because that's what he has to do.

All said his Maximus is one of the most, vibrant figures in film-making history along side Gables' "Rhett Butler", Yul Bryners'"The King Of Siam", Sidney Poitier's "Sir" in To Sir With Love and Morgan Freemans' "Red" in The Shawshank Redemption.

The trials and rise of Maximus and burning quest ultimately lead along a path to glory but his calm burning desire for vengeance sets aside from your pathological killer. He is a man wronged for no reason and the lives that were taken from must be repaid.

Gladiator rules 10/10

Nick of Time
(1995)

WHAT A RUSH!!!
I saw this movie in one whirlwind of an evening, and it seemed like 20 minutes to me.

The acting is top notch, the directing is above par, it's a wonder that this didn't attract much attention at the box office. But it's an attention grabber and has YOU on the edge(really!!!).

Johnny Depp is convincing as always in a role that he tailors to himself, Chris Walken is intimidating and you can't fault these two as they simply whirl thru the movie taking you with them or leaving you on the edge of your seat wishing they had.

A GOOD MOVIE.

7/10

Flatliners
(1990)

Flatline!
While I didn't understand this movie when I saw it, it was eerie and tense and looking back upon the performances, I think they were credible enough to stick in my mind for over 10 years.

Kevin Bacon teases a little girl and makes her life miserable, the demon of that girls' humiliated face comes to haunt him as she sings a spectral tune deep into his psyche turning the tables as well is the little boy that Kiefer Sutherland abused as a child and almost probably killed, guilt never fades, though buried under latter adult experiences Kiefer also has to suffer a harrowing pounding at the hands of the little boy who maims and almost kills HIM, Julia Roberts never forgave her father for being a heroin addict and committing suicide in front of her, this is the ghost she has to deal with, and lay to rest. The women that William Baldwin taped while having sex come back to smear his memory.

Oliver Platt is the one who stands by and suffers with them.

I found the theme actually more haunting than any other aspect of this movie and that has remained with me till date. Laying the past to rest isn't something which comes easy.

3/5

Men of Honor
(2000)

WORTHY WORK FROM 2 WORTHY ACTORS
While I think George Tillman did a great job directing this masterpiece of a true life story, credit has to be given to his two lead actors for an incredible job between the two of them.

De Niro & Gooding Jnr play out a powerful drama between them without any of them overshadowing the theme,the movie or themselves. I watched this movie with a knot in my throat as Carl Brashear came to life thru Cuba Gooding Jnr and struggled to make history and break racism and prejudice through sheer determination by becoming the first Black Diver in the Navy.

I also smiled as Chief Sunday's cynicism and knuckleheadedness was worn down by persistence and doggedness of character of another man.

It takes a truly great man to truly admire another man and go the length with him at the risk of his name, career and life and I would say Chief Sunday deserved an award(probably NAACP) himself for being such an inspiration to Brashear.

De Niro can almost do no wrong and Gooding is goody goody as Brashear, but the truth about Men Of Honor is that everything about it is a masterpiece, the directing, the scriptwriting, the casting, I mean only Charlize Theron would play supporting to the great De Niro and still sizzle in her own right, she did a great job as De Niro's boozy long suffering wife who decides to clean and tells him to clean up as well or ship out.

I left this movie eyes truly wet and with great respect for Mr Brashear for being a groundbreaker.

Men Of Honor is truly Honorable and Uplifting 5/5.

Monsters, Inc.
(2001)

A CRACKER!!!
The scene that split me in this movie was the one where, Boo slips out of the the bag and jumps on one monsters' back , he flips her off screaming and when she lands in front of other "Monsters", she shouts boo and "the supposed monsters" actually take to their heels.

I was laughing when I watched the video tape that I had to rewind time and time again.

Monsters Inc is actually cool and a good laugh as well.

It's a feel good and the li'l Boo actually added another touch to the whole scenery.

I'd love to see a 2 but if not it'll make for a classic anyday.

Die Another Day
(2002)

QUICK MOVING FLICK
Pierce almost rivals Sean as Bond in performance but while you had Sean carrying the movie alone on his own strength, Pierce has a couple of female sidekicks who provide foil, cool as they are,Bond is still BOND!!

What really kept me entranced throughout this movie were the action sequences and spectacular sets/scenery.

Jinx is just about okay and manages a slight Mata Hari without really being threatening but plays this into an offensive towards the end. Her last fights scenes were nothing to write home about as Rosamund Pike definitely has one over her. Madonna's cameo is impressive as she isn't too strongly in the picture.

Still Die Another Day takes it's place in the top ranking Bond movies.

Mobsters
(1991)

A WHITE BOYZ IN DA HOOD!!!
Some or most movies are made for entertainment so why do we carp about mediocrity, actors and realism etc. Documentaries tell the truth, movies entertain, get it!!

I thoroughly enjoyed this action packed flick which cut the story down to the essentials, what happened, how Lansky Luciano, Siegel and Costello started out as kids,(we don't have to grow with them), teens living on the edge and finally men of the world, they do most of this whilst in their youth so the young faces are actually related to the characters.

What we see is how they wisely refuse to let the system or "families" destroy them or hold them down. What starts out as friendship and becomes a powerful consortium.

They endure all the "guns and roses" whilst in their youth and Luciano who tries to do it with the family realises that his childhood buddies are his best bet after they save him from an assasination attempt.

Mobsters is a kind of boys flick which does what chick flicks do entertain, thrill and resounds with "BOY POWER"

SLATER,GRIECO,DEMPSEY & MANDYLOR all do a surprising turn which they have tried to match till date without success

Boyz n the Hood
(1991)

RAISES YOUR VIEW OF THA HOOD!!!
This movie has been slammed for doing a good job, the view it paints is a realistic one and people hate having to face a truth as harsh as this.

Singleton's directorial debut is laced with racism, deep brooding racism, that inhabits almost all his characters and this stems probably from personal experience but it's quite real onscreen.

Furious Styles is an unusual " on hands Black father" who imbues his only son with the strength and dignity of his kind. Weaning his kid away from the streets is difficult and is one seeming losing battle. But Tre comes in time to appreciate the values being passed on to him by his dad. As Furious tells Tre "I didn't raise you to lose you to the streets".

In contrast, we have Doughboy who lives on the streets by his own rules, not relating to his mother who obviously means him well, his brother Ricky who happens to be the "golden boy" and apple of Mama's eye, this is an entirely different tangent and he tries to draw Ricky into the seedier aspects of street life, Ricky keeps resisting but eventually becomes caught in the resultant violence of his brother's reputation.

Cuba Gooding Jnr as Tre fights again and again to escape the soft boy image cast on him by his doting dad and this almost destroys him.

Singleton's imagery is sharp, unflattering and healthy. His direction is swift, paced and unrelenting.

One of the most poignant scenes is toward the end when Doughboy hears Tre is going to college after Ricky's shooting, there is a kind of desolation in his face as if he knows he's lost the battle. The camera pans onto his face for a split second and holds briefly but it seems like forever and forever actually flashes through his face but then it's gone and he's back to being Doughboy who doesn't last much longer.

A Frightening Look At Street Life.

10/10

Coyote Ugly
(2000)

COOL!!!
A 90's musical/comedy/drama about music ends up being a love story.

When Vi Sanford heads up to New York, her dream is to make it big like so many before her. She has many demons to fight though,like the fear of the stage like her mother before her used to have,like growing away from her father and winning his respect. But she displays grit and wisdom in not selling out just to make it.

Along the way, she gets to work in the Coyote Ugly bar, and starts to learn a thing or two about the streets, the hype and the reality. Love, loss, growing up all drift through in naughty doses.

The scene where she's finally on stage and starts singing in the dark before the super trooper blazes on her is a huge climax. It just sweeps through you and makes the wait worth it.

Featuring a beautiful score and massive soundtrack. Coyote Ugly is anything but ugly.

First Time Felon
(1997)

A SMALL GEM OF A MOVIE!!!
A movie provides entertainment,FTF told a real story realistically. I missed the beginning credits so didn't know what it was about till I saw Epps and knew it couldn't be something ordinary.

First Time Felon doesn't rush along because its' story isn't one to be rushed, critics call it slow, I call it insightful.

The hood trying to give up his "hood" has a tough time because he's become a fencesitter in the eyes of all. He's not accepted by society for being honest about his conviction neither is he one of the boys because he's seen the end of that road and this is depicted harshly when Pookie is blown away right next to him, that could have been him and for a minute his own existence was in the balance.

Greg Yance's story is deeply moving in an "it could happen to you" kind of way and you get pulled in like one of the comments said, it holds you right through and I found myself rooting for Yance when he hit the streets again and again, his Mum's support was instrumental in keeping him going,I didn't find it mushy in the least.

Omar Epps is a multi talented actor who delivers every time. This is one of his finest performances till date.

A 7/10

Enemy of the State
(1998)

NERVE JANGLING
Total Hats Off To Will Smith for bringing those talents I suspected he had locked within to play in this gripping all action fest.

This is good as in "all time good", I aint even gonna start but Smith pits his screen smarts against those of screen veteran Gene Hackman and extra stupendous SPECIAL EFFECTS and he manages to retain screen presence.

The thrill for me is seeing him race madly down a tunnel/ subway/ underpass and flee his attacker using the same madcap antics, language and wits that make him a good comedian on the narrow.

This is a must see as Smith pulls out all stops to defeat the system and corruption, he succeeds after a manner but it always worth watching.

10/10

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