Melrosemiss

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Reviews

Taken
(2017)

Exceptional.
Origin story of Brian Mills, played admirably by Clive Standen. At times, his height, stance and demeanor reminded me of a younger Loam Neeson. I enjoyed this tremendously and wish it had continued beyond two seasons. Every episode held my interest and had me wanting the next one. Casting was done well. It was nice having a story line that explained who Brian Mills was and why.

Copperhead
(2013)

Poignant and heart-wrenching
This is one of the most exquisitely beautiful, yet heart-wrenching films I have ever seen. I watched it initially because of Francois Arnaud as I had just finished The Borgias. The scenery is magnificent. Sadly, the sentiments within the village seem to mimic the happenings in the US these days - what happens when one group seems to think it has the right to suppress the thoughts and speech of another. To paraphrase a comment in the movie - There is the war you read about in the newspaper, and then there is the real war.

It centers on a small, upstate NY town at the early stages of the Civil War. I believe the director is the same as with Gettysburg and Gods and Generals, but it is not part of the trilogy. That said, if the Civil War interests you, it is a must see.

Vikingdom
(2013)

Fun way to spend a a few hours.
Props for creating Norway in a tropical climate. Is this equal to The Last Kingdom? Definitely not but if you love fantasy and Viking lore, there are worse ways to spend a few hours. It was nice to see Dominic Purcell in a role in which he has hair.

The Waltons: The Yearning
(1978)
Episode 11, Season 7

Very sweet episode about young love and lost love.
Barlowralph has already given a wonderful summary of the episode. I am just wondering if anyone knows what song Jason was playing on the piano when Elizabeth danced with her father. Thanks.

Tarzan in Manhattan
(1989)

Fun 2 hours
I will admit I watched it to see JM-V but it was fun for a few hours. Some in other reviews feel Joe Lara was the best Tarzan ever as he portrayed him in 20+ Tarzan movies. I remain astounded by how much he reminds me of Nicolas Cage. I don't think he does a bad job at all, for the kind of movie it is. I will not set out to find the other 19 but I did learn he has become a country singer and has a very nice voice. Check his website or YouTube. So, it was fun for few hours not to have to try to keep plots and characters in mind but just laugh. He is not bad as Tarzan but my favorite remains the Disney animated one, or Alexander Skarsgard! If you enjoy Tarzan movies, this should be fun for you.

Hawaii Five-0: Ka 'i'o
(2019)
Episode 7, Season 10

One of the best episodes ever!
Kudos to all for this poignant episode, and the magnificent music at the time of a hard moment for Steve - Monasterium. Best version on YouTube called Gortoz A Ran by Denez Prigent and Lisa Gerrard, although the version in the show was by Giulio Franceschelli. I sure hope there is a season 11. To sum this up, Doris has gone rogue. Any more would give it away. If you are a fan of the show, be sure to see this one.

Renegade
(1992)

Great show, but
I really enjoyed this series but absolutely hated Cannell's inserting himself into a part. I almost stopped watching because of him. I agree with one reviewer's thoughts that is a retelling of The Lone Ranger, many years later. I can truly see that. I had never seen Lorenzo Lamas in anything except Falcon Crest before starting in on Renegade. I watched from beginning to end, and am starting over again now. I am probably a lot older than most of the reviewers but I watch a lot of different things and I found this enjoyable enough to stay with it through all 5 seasons. I would have liked a more "definite" ending but it looked like it was headed in the right way in the last episode. Not every show has to be a masterpiece. If you enjoy the actors and the concept of a series, then it is worth your time.

Breakfast on Pluto
(2005)

Cillian at his absolute perfect
I cannot imagine anyone else handling this role as well as Cillian. Most commenters first mention his recognizing he is a transvestite, preferring to live as a girl/woman. I am an adoptee so what hit me immediately was Kitten's quest for her mother. It touched me in a way perhaps only an adoptee can feel. I was fortunate in my adopted family and consider them my parents but ever in my mind from a young age was "Who made me, why am I the way I am, why did she not want/keep me". I connected immediately and started crying early. I recommended this movie to a very practical friend and her comment was "Never recommend a movie to me again". I was sad for her that she could not realize the beauty and heartbreak of the film, nor the extreme talent of Cillian.

Patrick realizes "he" prefers to be and act as a "she" and is tossed out of his foster home after his foster mother discovers him in her dress on returning from church. He is then on his own, fully able to be, act and dress as the young woman, Kitten. His journey broke my heart and I vacillated from being angry with his birth mother, grateful to the parish priest (Liam Neeson) for his caring, or angry with those on the journey who took advantage of Kitten. This was the second of Cillian's movies I had ever seen, with the first being The Wind that Shakes the Barley. I was mesmerized by how he becomes his part and I have been an ardent admirer ever since. It makes me sad when someone cannot appreciate his genius. I do remember thinking at the end how sad it was that a slim young actor looked better in a dress than I did at that stage of my life.

Absolutely brilliant performance that had me invested from the first in Kitten's journey. It seemed so real that I even went to my computer to see if it was based on a true story. That is Cillian's genius. Well worth the watching.

Disco Pigs
(2001)

Still shaking my head but powerful
I like timelord-3s comments, which pretty much sum up what I would have said. However, as someone who is now a senior citizen, I was extremely grateful for the subtitles and wish all movies came with them. I have seen Disco Pigs twice now. The first time, I basically dismissed it as one of Cillian's early ventures before he fully developed his craft. How wrong I was to think so. He is masterful, especially when one considers the language between the two. Runt is definitely more able to relate to the ever-intruding world but Pig is not. Runt is his whole world and he does not manage well without her. After my second viewing, it reminds me a bit of the shy and innocent couple in Mozart and the Whale, if one of them had gone mad. I must have forgotten the ending because on second viewing, I was crying at the tragic choice Pig made, as if some clarity had grasped him for a moment over the severity of things he had done.

This is a heart-breaking film and I am so grateful I gave it a second viewing. I had never seen the actress who played Runt before, but Cillian was familiar to me from The Wind that Shakes the Barley (brilliant) and of course, Peaky Blinders. He is one of the most versatile and amazing actors I have ever seen. I felt that way after seeing The Wind that Shakes the Barley for the first time and my second viewing of Disco Pigs has just brought me to the full extent of his genius, no matter the role. He seems to choose works that really grab you and make you think, and he succeeds. My only regret is that I am unlikely to ever be able to see him perform this role live as I live in the US.

If you do not like it on one viewing, but like him, come back later and give it another chance. Well worth it. I came away with questions as to the "why" of the way they are. Are they on the Autism spectrum, or have they just been so close for so long that they need no one else? Definitely an art-type film that may not appeal on first viewing, not even for devoted Cillian fans.

In the Heart of the Sea
(2015)

Enjoyable but curious about something.
Brendandevere has written an excellent review and I can add nothing to it. I like that Chris Hemsworth is expanding his roles, although he can play Thor any day in my book. My favorite role of his is in Rush. So, my questions about this movie are: Why assign the brilliant and superb Cillian Murphy to such a small role, and then why make his hair that awful color? Unnecessary. If you enjoy him in Peaky Blinders, watch him in The Wind that Shakes the Barley as well as Anthropoid.

Patch Adams
(1998)

One of my favorites
For me, this movie showed Robin Williams' brilliance and I have watched it many, many times. Having been married to a med student in the 1960s, when doctors were held in high reverence, I can relate to how the medical community would have reacted to someone excessively happy. After I saw the movie, I was in touch with Dr. Adams and would gladly have gone to work at his planned Gesundheit hospital and clinic, without pay. What he tried to do was amazing. The medical community just was not ready for him or his ideas. Knowing how Robin struggled mentally, I wonder if he accepted this role to show us a glimpse of his struggles? Brilliant work. I find I still do not like Bob Gunton in anything, after his part in this. Isn't it funny how a good actor playing an evil or unkind individual can sour us for seeing that actor in anything else? I loved the woman who bathed in noodles!

Triumph of the Spirit
(1989)

One of Dafoe's best performances
Others have reviewed the movie very well with those who have praised it. I was very taken with Willem Dafoe's performance and to me, this may be his best role. Superb acting, tragic story. I was reminded of the movie when watching Clive Owen and Lothaire Bluteau in Bent, another view of the tragedies perpetrated by the Nazis against anyone not "pure".

Kull the Conqueror
(1997)

If you are a fan of the genre, fun movie
I have never seen the Conan movies and do not intend to, but I like Kevin Sorbo so watch him in a lot of different genre movies. While this movie is not award-worthy, it is a fun 90 minutes. I knew how tall Kevin was but had to look up Griffith's height as in some scenes he looks shorter than Kevin (but is actually 2" taller - watch his looming presence in John Carpenter's Vampires). I may just need to watch GB in Attila -again- now. I do feel Kevin got pigeon-holed after Hercules which is a shame because he does handle other roles very well.

Seoul 1945
(2006)

Wonderful series showing what happens to everyday people in the midst of civil war
A local public television station (MIND TV) aired this, and several Korean "soaps" years ago. While I enjoyed the "soaps", Seoul 1945 had a profound effect on me. I missed the first third bit it was not hard to understand how family and friends were affected when they were on opposite sides of the conflict - no matter how close they once may have been, lives were scarred forever. I would buy this series in a heartbeat if it were not so expensive. It covers the period from the end of Japanese occupation until the country is split into North and South. Another excellent one involving the same era is Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War. The Korean War was over before I was born and my uncle, who had been in the Air Force, did not speak of his time in Korea. Even during my school years, we did not learn much about the Korean conflict - perhaps because most of us had relatives who had been there. Not the usual war movie, but one which shows the effect of war on people who once were very close but divided by the conflict. Tragic but beautiful.

Black Beauty
(1994)

My favorite film version.
Please note that the first video for this film, the one with the blond boy on the horse, seems to be from the 1971 version.

Maze
(2017)

Glad to get to see this
Not being involved, I cannot comment on what truly went on in Long Kesh but were escape my plan, I doubt I would have stirred up trouble to bring attention to myself. I will admit that it is a little plodding, but I doubt establishing the plan was a quick thing. The republican prisoners seemed to be trying to get along with some of the prison officials and actually had more trouble from the Ulstermen in the facility, in the same block, who wanted to don orange suspenders and bang things while parading through the republican section. That is a move just asking for trouble and they got it - the republicans stayed and the Ulstermen were moved out. Once they got civilian clothes and the family visits they desired, they seemed to be model prisoners while quietly making arrangements for escape. This does not have the action and drama of "In the Name of the Father" but well worth seeing. BTW, I have heard the Region 1 DVD will not be made available in the US, but if you have the Comcast X1 platform, it is available for rent or purchase. I believe it became available on 6/25. A different and slower pace, with names not as well known as Bobby Sands and some of the other hunger strikers, but a worthy view anyway.

At Play in the Fields of the Lord
(1991)

I am 15 minutes in and not sure I can continue.
I decided to watch this because of Aidan Quinn and Tom Berenger. I am appalled at the casting of Aidan Quinn and Kathy Bates as a married couple. He is 11 years her junior and it does not work. I am also disgusted with the Catholic-bashing by many of the characters, mainly those of Mrs. Quarried and Mr. Huben. I also do not understand pairing John Lithgow and Daryl Hannah as a couple. I do not know if I can make it through three more hours of this.

Black '47
(2018)

Please do not refer to this as English history
This movie depicts just one atrocity committed against the Irish people in a very long occupation. It was atmospherically bleak, as is the material on which it is based. I have known of this horror my entire life and still shudder at the coldness of the British as they blamed the famine on laziness of the Irish, and calmly went about exporting 98% of what the Irish grew - leaving them only the potato. I cannot fault the acting or the story but I would have rather seen an irish actor in the lead. If you care about injustices against a people, you need to see this - just as you need to see "Bitter Harvest" about Stalin's genocide against the Ukrainians. Any movie that leaves you wanting to flesh out the history had done its job.

Bitter Harvest
(2017)

Must see!
It must be very difficult for any film to convey historical facts within its allotted budget and run time. However, even considering a Hollywood spin on tragic history, if the movie makes you think, makes you want to know more about a tragedy previously unknown to you, then it has done its job. I am of an age that the Holodomor was not taught when I was in school. (Nor was the Irish famine/genocide, sadly). After recent surgeries, I had the gift of home care from an agency of mostly former Ukrainian citizens who have come to the US for new beginnings. Knowing them made me want to know their history. How does any population survive such horror - and want to make a new life? Somehow, they do. Just as Braveheart and Rob Roy led me to explore the history behind them, so had this been an introduction to learning about what happened but was not taught in school. Beautifully done.

For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada
(2012)

Beautiful movie about an almost unknown subject
Beautiful, informative reviews have already been written but as a Catholic, I am so very grateful that the character/priest represented by Peter O'Toole (Father Christobal Jara in real life - I apologize that I cannot remember his full name) - has been declared a martyr for his faith and has been canonized as a Saint. What a blessed man. I am on my second watching of this very powerful movie. I have truly never understood why governments fear the faith of the people. Is it fear, or does it come down to greed and power? I think the latter. If you are a person of faith, you must see this. If you are without a particular belief, maybe you need to see it to understand how a strong faith can work against intolerance. If you liked this movie, please tell others about it. Too important to be missed.

The Wind that Shakes the Barley
(2006)

Beautifully powerful
I have already written a review but want to possibly clear up a "technicality" mentioned by another reviewer. It was stated that Damien said he was leaving for work in a hospital at week's end. The reviewer felt that a farmer would work 7 days a week and not consider a week's end. It is my feeling that the main characters are Catholic and they most certainly would acknowledge a week's end with Mass on Sunday. Just my thoughts on one small part of the movie. Three movies stand out in my mind as making this Irish-American aware of exactly what went on in Ireland. The first is a documentary about the assassination of Michael Collins ans was called "The Shadow of Beal na Blath". The second movie was this one - "The Wind that Shakes the Barley". The third is Liam Neeson's "Michael Collins". There is no unknowing for me. The struggle has not ended, sadly. Not so long as Britain remains in control of any part of Ireland - a stolen country. Damien is asked his name, after he has joined the fight. His reply still rings in my heart: "I am a member of the Irish Republican Army. I demand to be treated as a political prisoner...I'm a Democrat. In the last election, Sinn Fein won 73 seats out of a possible 105. Our mandate's for an Irish Republic completely separate from Great Britain... Your government, which suppresses our parliament, which suppresses our paper, your presence here is a crime, a foreign occupation. You tell me what I'm supposed to do, as a Democrat? Turn the cheek for another 700 years? Get out of my country. Get out of my country." Powerful movie, acting, premise and what a fire it left in me!

Leaving Las Vegas
(1995)

Wonderful performances by Cage and Shue
I would have to say this may be the most depressing movie I have ever seen, followed quickly by Long Day's Journey into Night and Sophie's Choice. However, the performances cannot be faulted in any way. If it did not wear me down so emotionally, there would not have been a 15 year hiatus from the last time I saw it. I am grateful that we have come to acknowledge that alcoholism is a disease. Cage looks like death warmed over so be ready for that. If you are a Nicolas Cage fan (and I do appreciate his genius), this is a must see. Maybe not the best movie to watch after watching Taking Chance and the Angel Flight video, but worth your time.

The Newton Boys
(1998)

Boring!
This may, without a doubt, be the most boring movie I have ever seen.

Attila
(2001)

GB is superb
Wonderful telling of an old story

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, especially knowing what motivated Attila to the choices he made. Once again, Mr. Butler has awed me with a wonderful performance. He manages to portray well the Hun well known to history without having to have the personal visage of a Mongolian warrior. A truly gifted actor can portray a personage without being overly fitted with prostheses. (The best example of this is a portrayal of the Elephant Man by body positioning only, by Philip Anglim who played Dane in The Thorn Birds). Gerard has managed to bring to life all that we have learned about Attila. The only character I found really annoying was the one played by Powers Booth. I just cannot like that man in any role. If you are a GB fan, you should enjoy this. If you want to see what we learned in school brought to life and given a little back story, this also should serve to do that. I never score movies on their technical excellence or lack thereof, but on how much the characters were brought to life for me, and how much I enjoyed the movie. I would have given this a 10 but for smarmy Powers Booth and ever annoying Tim Curry, and the fact that I am still a bit stunned by Gerard's role as Beowulf (Beowulf and Grendel, 2005) which I watched right before attempting this review. I rate GB's performance a 10, but the mini-series, an 8. I have now seem GB in just about every role and while I do not always like the movie or his character, I always think he gives his all, to every performance. If you have never been a fan of Dracula movies, give GB a chance as Dracula in Wes Craven's Dracula 2000. Great performance by GB and one of the best premises ever for the origins of Dracula (whether or not accurate).

Beowulf & Grendel
(2005)

What a wonderful telling of an epic saga
I have read reviews in which this is panned as not being true to the original epic saga. I have always felt that who we are as individuals determines how a book, a poem, a saga, a movie or even life affects us and our evaluation of each. Callmomrad has written the best review of this movie that I have seen. I learned about Beowulf over 50 years ago and have watched many movies based on the tale. While I am definitely in the "Gerard Butler can pretty much do anything well" camp, his range in this movie is amazing. He is not terribly happy with being known as a hero and his encounters with Grendel have him asking deep questions about why the character is the way he is - to what is he reacting? Gerry brings his whole heart and soul, and acting chops, to this. The scenery is amazing - moody and dark. I know it was not filmed in Denmark but in Iceland - a move which suits the entire atmosphere. While Stellan Skarsgard was good in his role, he rather reminded me of his character in "King Arthur". Every actor was good, but GB was superb. After this movie, I truly want to read the original saga again. Give it a chance, without judging it against the epic tale for exact details. Beautifully done.

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