jbarnes-10

IMDb member since April 2005
    Lifetime Total
    25+
    IMDb Member
    14 years

Reviews

No Down Payment
(1957)

Good Period Piece
There is a lot of good in "No Down Payment". Excellent on location shots of southern California in the late 1950's showcases the flight to the suburban tract housing built for the white Truman middle class of that time. You will not see one minority in the entire movie, not even in the background.

While this backdrop is very interesting to watch, the actual story and social norms of that time, and in that place, are painful. The husbands in the film are all miserable. Stuck in jobs they hate and buried in debt. Their relationships are boring and restricted by the 1950's conformist norms of the time. In one scene a husband is scolded by his wife for washing his car on Sunday morning instead of going to church, ugh.

The women are no more happier. Each hopes that no one finds out how dysfunctional their families really are. They spend most their time and energy trying to be just like everyone else and their misery can be seen in their faces.

The performances are all very good except for Joanne Woodward who's southern accent and "trailer park background" just does not work for me. I think she could have played the role as a naive housewife married to a cad using her own voice much more effectively. It diminishes the performance and I just found her to be irritating.

Hats off to Tony Randall for playing a really unlikable character unlike I have ever seen him play, this was a step out for him and he does it well. This is worth watching but it does make me thankful that I'm not living in the prison of that time.

Stonewall
(2015)

The Shanghai Surprise Of 2015
I think the Little Rascals could have produced a better backyard play then the crew behind this god awful mess of a movie. First off, this movie is NOT the story of the actual Stonewall riots of 1969, that movie has yet to be made. If you think the trailer looked bad, wait to until you see the whole movie all 129 vomit inducing minutes of it.

The cast looks like extras from "Fame". In fact I kept expecting them to start dancing to Irene Cara as they threw rubber bricks at the cardboard set. The film is basically the telling of an all American blond boy (played by a brunette British guy with a triple process) leaving the horrible heartland of America after getting caught chomping on some beef-stick in the boys room. After being run out town on a rail, he takes that Greyhound bus to the big apple. (insert Midnight Cowboy theme here)

Once in NYC our protagonist, Danny, immediately finds himself in the East Village. Which for some reason looks like a cheap Warner Bros back-lot set, well anyway, there he meets the inhabitants of the Island of Misfit Toys. A place of cardboard one dimensional characters just itching for a song to sing and some windows to break. Throw in some shady mob characters straight out of "Whatever Happened to Roger Rabbit", horrible stock lines like "Gay Power!" and "I'm too angry to love anybody!" and well I think you get the picture.

The whole movie is basically about Danny and Danny getting laid, Danny being forced into prostitution, Danny leading the poor Black and Latino folk to stand up against the man! Danny Danny Danny! All this story is, is a fictional tale of some twink coming to the big city, being a whore with a heart of gold and the Stonewall Riots just happen to occur during this pivotal time in Danny's life. The title of the movie should have been "Danny portrait of a male prostitute" and shown on ABC at 4:30 in the afternoon. Except ABC has higher production standards.

Even after reading all of the harsh reviews I thought it could not be that bad, well it was worse, I only stayed until the end because I at least wanted to say I saw the whole thing and I had already lost $12.00. The worst movie and one of the biggest failures of a great opportunity to tell an important story. Hopefully this film will disappear quickly and never been seen or heard of again.

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth
(2011)

Excellent yet sad historical account
I watched this last night for the first time and afterwords I just wanted to find a government employee and slap them. I have always been of the opinion that the government has no business in the business of housing. The tragic story of Pruitt Igoe proves that our government at every level is unable to manage housing and needs to get out of it. This documentary focuses on actual residents of the projects who tell the most interesting stories of the years they spent living there. Many of their memories are happy ones of when the project was brand new and that the residents did appreciate the modern apartments they had. The problem was the completely stupid welfare policies, funding policies and many structural features of the buildings themselves. Had the government kept families together instead of ripping them apart and kept up on the maintenance and security budgets these apartments might still be there today providing much needed housing. The vintage file footage of the projects, especially the interiors was very cool and interesting. I came away with a much better understanding of what the issues were contributing to the failure of the projects. This is a must see for anyone interested in the history of public housing in America.

A Rage to Live
(1965)

Awesome 1960's Scandal Flick
Grace Caldwell is a child of privilege. Her family owns every business in town,she is beautiful,classy,smart and headstrong. She's also the town slut! Suzanne Pleshette gives a tour De force performance as Grace. The clean teen girl with the dirty little secret.

We first meet Grace as a pretty high school senior. All alone in her huge mansion after school, she emerges from the shower to find one of her older brother's friends watching her from the doorway. Watch this scene carefully, this guy is playing pocket pool like a champ as he watches her towel off! How did this get by the sensors? He forces himself on her, and after a bit of resistance, Grace gives in to her passions and she gets her first taste of forbidden fruit.

We next find Grace in the back seat of a car in her own driveway during her own Halloween party. Her mother is frantically looking for her. Once found, Grace emerges from the car,amazingly unruffled. She tells her shocked mother she "just needed some air" then she waltzes into the house as graceful as a queen. This girl has NO shame!

Next she's back with her brother's statutory rapist friend sneaking into his house while his parents are gone. Down in the cellar they go to the family room for some heavy petting, when surprise!the boy's mother IS home and she is Brett Somers! Brett plays the dog face shrew of a mother like a diva, screaming and yelling, calling Grace every name in the book!

Grace once again leaves the situation like Greta Garbo. Above it all and shocked that this ugly dog face of a woman would question her morals. Later, the boy then gets the crap slapped out of him by his father, after hearing about his rape of a minor.

That night Brett Somers calls Grace's mother and tells her the shocking story. You can see the pain and shame on Grace's mothers face. She confronts Grace, who of course denies the entire event with shocked indignation! "I won't stay in a house where I'm not believed" Grace screams as her mother helplessly looks on. After a more calm discussion the two make up but on her way back down stairs Grace's mother has "a spell" and falls to the floor.

The family doctor is called in and Grace's mother tells the doctor her daughter is a Nympho! The doctor tells Grace's brother Brock and Brock calls Grace into the Den for a little brotherly advise. "Mother thinks your a tramp!" he states while smoking a pipe and looking far too old to be a recent college graduate. "I need it" Grace painfully admits, "I need to feel wanted and loved". "That isn't love" her brother lovingly tells her. This scene is actually quite touching in its candor. You can tell her brother loves her and wants to help her.

That is all your going to get out of me, for the rest of the story you need to see it because it just gets better and trashier, actually quite shocking for a film in 1965!

Vicious
(2013)

Horrible Stereotyped Outdated Garbage
We struggled through the first episode shown here in the U.S., and all I can say is, I would rather watch a kitten get hit by a car.

The show is about four decades out of date. The cast chews the scenery like Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest, only it is not funny or entertaining in the least. It was stomach turning it was so bad.

These are not real characters but hyper-blown stereotypes that scream their way across the set,strutting about like peacocks. This show sets the image of gay men in the year 2014 back about forty years and we will not be watching any more of it. Hopefully it will die its much deserved death at the end of its Freshman season never to be seen again.

The Normal Heart
(2014)

Mark Ruffalo's tour De force
I saw the film Saturday night, it's still in my head and as I sit here writing this review. I feel a great sense of sadness for all those lost over all of these years, but what is most on my mind is Mark Ruffalo's tour De force performance as Ned Weeks.

Although a fictionalized character based on Larry Kramer, Mark made this part his own, while still keeping the aspects of Kramer's real persona. You could feel his performance, every mood of it (and believe me it runs through all of them). Mark's ability to transform into a gay man (at a time in gay history that was so scary and unimaginable) with such believability was amazing. I forgot I was watching Mark Ruffalo, his performance completely erased his own being.

There are many aspects of the film that critics are tearing into. Critics who were not even alive at the time opinion's on the subject are worthless in my view, but for those critics who have long ago left their pacifiers at home I can agree with some of the negatives.

The film showed only a segment of the gay population living in NYC at that time, primarily the rich A listers who were never political before AIDS and only became so when their own lives were in danger. The majority of gay men did not spend sex filled weekends on Fire island in expensive beach houses. They were working men of all races and incomes who because of their financial circumstances, lack of insurance etc died quickly and with little notice outside their friends and family, if they were lucky enough to have a family that accepted them (remember this was 1981 not 2014).

This film brought back a lot of sadness and regrets for me, I wanted to hug Ned Weeks and tell him that things do get better in the future. It's not often that a performance affects me, but Ruffalo's did, not because he was playing a fictionalized version of a real person, but because he was playing a little bit of a lot of different men, who at the time thought the promised land had finally arrived for gay men and only to see it turn into a Holocast right before their eyes.

I hope that Mark is nominated and wins an Emmy for his performance, because he deserves it.

Looking
(2014)

Horrible Cheap Rehash Of Queer As Folk But Worse
Looking has to be one of the worse shows HBO has EVER put on their network. The creators of this series must have spent about 10 minutes coming up with the plot and then handed over the script writing to some high school senior girls to hash out over lunch.

The three main characters are text book stereotypes obsesses with getting laid and having sex in public parks. The dialog is gut wrenchingly bad and juvenile. The characters prance around like teenage girls instead of 30 something grown men.

Once again the characters seem to have plenty of time for screwing and pay little attention to their actual jobs. Nobody is without a drink in their hand and their conversations consist of making fun of a slightly overweight guy, is there an open bar, and lets have a threesome at my place of employment (which appears to be some kind of woodworking shop) yeah you can afford to live in San Francisco working at a place like that no problem.

Once again a group of people who THINK they know about modern gay life and relationships knows only what they have seen in Falcon Porn Movies. The fact that the series is set in San Francisco once again shows the lack of creative energy to set a show about gay men someplace other than San Francisco or New York.

The characters are unlikeable stereotypes we saw 15 years ago on Queer As Folk, except now they all have iphones. A disappointing waste of viewing time, thank God we didn't have to pay to see it.

Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County
(2010)

Disturbing look at America's invisible children
I watched Homeless over the weekend and this is a hard film to review.

First, there are really two stories here. One, the needless suffering of the children and two the parents that got them into this mess.

Several families are featured in the film all living in the same run down, crime and drug filled, by the week motel. Located right across the street from Disneyland,in Anaheim CA,it's location is ironic. Bottom of the barrel on one side, Land of Enchantment on the other. By the end of the film it's pretty clear which kids have a fighting chance to escape this mess and which kids are probably going to be in jail by the time their 14.

Of the families featured, only two of them seemed like functioning family units. You see closeness and love and actual parenting going on. Despite the circumstances the kids seem happy and supportive of their siblings and they take their chores (like washing dishes and taking out the trash) very seriously.

The other parents are(to put it bluntly)losers who should never have had kids and should probably have their kids taken from them. One selfish mother insists on keep 4 dogs in the small filthy room with her and her three kids, this tells you just how important the kids are to her, if you don't have a dollar to your name, you get rid of the dogs. I just wanted to slap her in the face.

Both of her sons already show signs of aggressive, acting out behavior and she just dismisses it as nothing. In the end her oldest son breaks into another room at the motel and steals something leading to their eviction. The angry reaction of her younger son to this news pretty much sums up the life he is going to lead (the mother is also so obese that she could never get a better job then the $9.00 one she has).

The only bright spot these kids have is a special school for homeless kids. This part of the film does instill some hope that at least some of these kids might make it out of their current situations without to much harm and have better lives later on. All of the kids love their school and it is the one constant in their lives.

The filmmakers give us very little back-story on how these families ended up at the motel. But it is fair to assume that these were families already living on the edge financially and were working poor to begin with. There were no regular middle class suburban families featured as I don't think there were any at the motel. Most of the residents seemed like gang bangers and white trash, so for the half way normal families the place is a living hell.

Now almost four years later I would love to know what happened to some of the families and if they were able to get a home and get out of the motel.

The Conjuring
(2013)

Some Good Some Bad Just Average
After reading all the good reviews on IMDb, I watched The Conjuring last night on In-Demand and I unfortunately came way disappointed.

The movie has a rather cheap "made for TV" quality about it, which was oft putting to me. The film also seems "thin" to me in the character development. Ron Livingston (Office Space) seems to have nothing to do with this role except stand around and look confused. He has hardly any lines that are more than 5 or 6 words and he is absent for much of the film.

The children are so interchangeable that it was hard for me to keep track of who was who and who saw what blah blah blah. I think Liv Tyler was a bad choice in casting, she seemed 20 years older than Livingston and although the film takes place in 1971 she is costumed like its 1940, very weird. The Warrens are also played rather thin, although anyone familiar with haunted house stories know who they are. Their performances are good but not outstanding.

There are plenty of creepy moments in the film to be sure, but most are predictable and nothing we have not seen before. I never really felt scared or needed to leave the lights on while watching, this in comparison to the original Amityville Horror 1979, which still scares the crap out of me every time I watch it.

Wait until you cant rent it cheap, it's entertaining but hardly the horror masterpiece some are claiming it is.

Behind the Candelabra
(2013)

Amazing Cast Outstanding Performances Tragic Sad Portrayal
Michael Douglas has an Emmy award waiting for him for his outstanding portrayal of the late Liberace.

Douglas delivers a sincere and tragic portrait of a lonely and tormented gay celebrity, who at the time of the film (1970's 1980's) could not even consider coming out.

The transformation of Douglas into Liberace is amazing. I understand that the makeup took over 2 hours a day not counting wardrobe, lighting, etc, plus the fact he is just recovering from cancer,wow, talk about a master of your trade.

I was saddened by the story, I felt sorry for Liberace and I could understand how he could become such a tormented and at times cold blooded person. I don't think he actually knew how to love anyone because he didn't love himself, his entire existence was an act, a diamond and fur covered act.

I think the most telling part in the movie is when Liberace says after his mother's passing "Now I'm free". I know exactly what he meant by that and I think that is when he really "hit the town" if you know what I mean, he didn't have to worry about his mother finding out about him, although I'm sure she knew (how anyone could not, is just beyond me).

Damon's performance is good, but nothing spectacular although he does convincingly play a much younger man during the early parts of the story, its hard to believe that he is 42!.

This is a must see movie but it is not a fun movie. Yes there are a few laughs but in the end it is a tragic story of two lost and lonely men who for awhile found solace in one another but ended up destroying it. I'm sure HBO will have this on for awhile so catch it if you can.

Detropia
(2012)

Great visuals but retreads old ground we already know about
There is nothing new or surprising in Detropia and I was disappointed in that. The film is a hodgepodge of scenes jumping back and forth between a local bar owner, a useless union representative, an urban explorer and some artistic nomads.

The continued denial by the unions to accept current economic realities is now just tiring to watch and evokes irritation rather that pathos.

The jobs are not going to come back and pay is going to go down. This is the reality and the future and the unions don't want to accept that fact. In the end, they lose their jobs completely because they would not accept the realities of the current global economy and compromise on a new contract. Their strategy didn't work to well and now another group of people are unemployed.

The best part of the film is the bar owner, who despite the loss of his autoworker customers, is still chugging along bringing in his loyal neighborhood customers for some fantastic jazz and food. He is a very nice, educated and thoughtful man who the filmmakers should have followed around exclusively for a year and made the film about Detroit through his eyes, every scene with him is a highlight. I just wanted to reach out and give him and his wife a big hug. Not out of pity but to thank them for hanging in there and being such wonderful people.

The whole part about the Opera was out of place here (and just kinda weird). The only thing tying the Opera to Detroit is the fact the automakers financially support it (and probably always will). I doubt that any of the folks directly impacted by job losses and decaying neighborhoods attend the Opera and the Opera audience is probably 95% suburban whites who live outside the city limits.

I would rather have seen this time spent on the bar owner or on other residents faced with possible relocation and what their thoughts are about it. The one irate woman at the town hall accusing Mayor Bing of trying to enforce segregation in Detroit (how is that possible when it already is?) is certainly not the only opinion of residents stuck out in the middle of abandoned neighborhoods. I think most folks would welcome the opportunity to move into a better neighborhood filled with life and city services and public transportation, hospitals, schools etc. I would jump on that chance in a minute if I were in that situation.

I would have liked to have known more about the urban explorer, she was not flushed out well. I think it is so cool that she explores the abandoned areas and videos her adventures, I would love to do that! but I would like to have known what her purpose is for doing so. Is she working on a project of her own? I would like to have known some more back story on her.

Finally the young couple who picked Detroit because of its cheap rent and urban blight to work on their art. This is one part of the story that showed real promise for the cities future. Imagine if artists from all over the world came to Detroit and formed a massive art colony. This one population could produce massive positive change. I wish their story would have been flushed out further as well.

Detropia is worth watching, the visuals are fantastic and I wish it would have been about 4 hours long, I would have watched it all! I think the filmmakers tried to be too artsy with it instead of just giving us the story straight up. I hope to visit Detroit someday and see it for myself before all of the history is torn down. 7 out of 10

Psych
(2006)

I LOVE PSYCH but I think its getting close to the end
I love Psych, if nothing else is on, I put on one of the in-demand episodes from a past season and watch it again.

This season however, it seems like the energy level of the cast has changed. The episodes are not quite as funny to me. Perhaps because of the seriousness of Shawn and Jules relationship or the fact that the cat is out of the bag but It seems to me that James and Dule are ready to move on to new things.

The one thing that really concerns me is James Roday's health. He has put on so much weight in the last few years that he is almost unrecognizable from the Shawn of the first three and half seasons. I know he has some sort of open heart surgery at some point and I wonder if medications are causing him to gain weight.

James's physical comedy is one of the things I found most appealing about him and he does not do it as much anymore. He appears tired and somewhat bored with it all this season. I know that there is only going to be a short 8th season and that will probably be the end.

I hope James is OK I think he is so talented, funny and he was SO super cute in the early seasons.

The New Normal
(2012)

Plastic Stereotypes No Chemistry between Main Players
I can sum up the "New Normal" in one sentence, Dull and sanitized for straight people.

The two main characters are right out of central casting. Asexual, non-threatening actors playing upper class yuppie gays in LA. There is NO chemistry between the two men, no affection, no kissing, nothing. The two men almost look like brothers rather then partners. Their personalities are stereotypical gay and I was both bored and angry with the show before the first episode was over.

I never watched the show again until this past weekend after a friend told me the show was better, well the only good thing about this show is Nene Leakes, now that girl is funny! They should just throw out the whole mess and give Nene her own show as the overworked single mom trying to do her best. Her scenes are the only ones that have any life, humor or reality too them.

I doubt this show will be back for a second season, at least I hope it's not. Lets hope cable can come up with a real program about gay parents minus the 1970's stereotype gay men. Two big thumbs down.

The Big Cube
(1969)

This Movie is great!
I recently purchased "The Big Cube" which has finally been released on DVD. The Picture quality is fantastic, clear, crisp and looks like new. The sound quality is also much better than I expected. It is presented in it's original widescreen format and it's a joy to watch. The music is pretty good,the sets and cinematography are well done. You already know the premise from the other reviewers so I will comment solely on the movie as a whole.

This movie is not that bad. Lana looks great in her hip Travilla wardrobe and Karin Mossberg is not that bad of an actress. Mossberg was a very big fashion model in Europe in the late 1960's. Her accent is a bit off putting but she tries to give it her all. The supporting cast looks like they really had fun going to Mexico to make a movie. This is a total camp movie experience, but if you like "Beyond The Valley of The Dolls" you will love "The Big Cube"

Sullivan & Son
(2012)

First To Be Cancelled
How Sullivan and Son got out of the box and actually on the air is beyond me. With Shows like Modern Family, Raising Hope, The Big Bang Theory and The Middle (to name just a few)riding the wave these past few seasons, this low budget throw back is full of stereotypes, bad writing and no chemistry between the actors. Even the talents of Christine Ebersole (who I love) can't save the lame scripts. This show is just a bad rehash of Margaret Cho's "All American Girl" of 1994. It didn't last and Sullivan and Son won't either. The whole show feels like it was thrown together on the back of a wet napkin at a Hooter's. Every joke falls flat, the character of the mother is just a horrible Asian stereotype that is painful to watch. Ebersole seems to know she is already doomed and hopefully she is looking at other offers. The show breaks no new ground, and the assortment of one dimensional supporting characters reminds me of every failed sitcom I can't remember.

Haywire
(2011)

A very cool retro spy film
I really liked "Haywire" and Gina Carano is one tough cookie with an ax to grind. The film has a very independent feel about it, along with a very retro style. Carano is great in her role, totally believable and the girl does her own stunts! The story is a bit hard to follow so you do have to pay attention and have a normal adult attention span. If you are expecting "Fast and Furious" or some other schlock like that, this is not the movie for you. There are intense action scenes and slower parts where the story really unfolds. All of the male stars in this film are simply backdrop for Gina's kick ass, don't f**k with me fellows attitude. A very unique and intelligent story worth seeing.

The Boys in the Band
(1970)

Issues Still Hold True Today
I have to agree with another reviewer on here that this film is dated in its decor, music and clothes but the characters portrayed are alive and well in 2011 and living in every big city in the world.

I can think of several men that I know or have known who fit into one of the personalities represented in the film. We should not fool ourselves into thinking that the self loathing and self destructive behavior days are behind us, can we say crystal meth, G, K, X, Coke, Pot, Booze, sex addiction, internet addiction, porn addiction, infidelity.

These are all serious issues facing gay men today just as they did in 1970. Yes society has changed but gay men are still the number one target of the right wing. Much of the country outside major cities condemns gays and discriminates against us everyday. How many gay suicides have been in the national news lately? This powerful film is a must see for every gay man, it is a valuable lesson of our history and also a window into our present, there is still a lot of self hate out there and a lot more work for us to do to make things better.

Vacancy
(2007)

Awesome!
Finally a horror/thriller that is intelligent with smart people, no cliché's and style. I won't give away anything here but to say this is the best horror/thriller I have seen in years, original, plenty of twists and turns and it could really happen. I was on the edge of my seat through the whole thing. The hitckcockesque style is really cool and these killers are very scary. Not a gore picture but it is very brutal and violent. Watch the making of feature after you watch the movie you will be very surprised at how this movie was made. I know I will definitely watch this one again. I don't know why some people don't like Kate Beckinsale but I thought she was great. She is no stupid I'm going to fall down while he is chasing me kinda girl, this chick fights back and hard. Very kick ass.

The Strangers
(2008)

Simple changes could have made this great
I won't rehash the mound of bad reviews on "The Strangers" instead I will offer what I think would be great changes to the film that would have made it truly horrifying.

1. I have no complaints about the first half of the film, except I would have liked more dialog between Liv and Scott.

2. No running out for cigs. once they are at the house, they never leave.

3. No splitting up and no shotgun. The presence of the weapon made the characters seem silly. I think it would have been better with no gun and the entire section with best friend "Mike" I would not have done at all.

4. The ending. Once Liv and Scott know they will be killed the camera should have panned away, slowly moving backward through the house and out side the now ripped apart front door. You only hear what is going on, therefore your imagination can take you anyplace. In one continuous shot, the camera moves further and further away from the front of house until it is positioned across the main road, then we see cars driving by, so close to help but so far away.

5. The Mormon boys are OK and their chance meeting with the strangers, then I would not have shown the boys actually go in the house just standing at the front door, then the 911 call. Now this would leave us to wonder, what happened are they dead? did they torture them or kill them quickly the questions can stay with you a long time. Just some suggestions I think would have approved the final outcome.

I like the feel of the film and I thought the strangers were truly horrific, and the fact that their reason was "because you were home" is all the reason there needs to be. I think that the age of the viewer has a lot to do with the positive or negative review. Younger people want non stop MTV cutting and masses amount of gore, older people like the horror you don't see or see as much. I think this could have been the new Halloween had it been flushed out, previewed and re-cut.

6 for a good first effort.

Fat Girls
(2006)

Funny but flawed
I saw this last night in Fort Lauderdale. In general it was funny and I liked the characters especially Sabrina. The acting is good and the story line was OK except for the ending which left way to many strings dangling and we were like (what?) I wanted to know what happened to the characters and it was a strange ending that could have been done so much better.

The film did portray rule life really well and we laughed throughout. It has flaws that is for sure but for a first time film for Ash Christian I thought it was good. You might want to wait for the DVD on this one. But if you get a chance to see it give it a shot

Torch Song
(1953)

DVD release 2/12/2008
At last this gem of gem's will be on DVD with the debut of the Joan Crawford Collection Vol 2. One can only hope that this is released in its original widescreen format and has been remastered. The VHS print is a little worn and I can hardly wait to the see the extras.

This movie is so bad its a must see, this movie is Joan in color and on steroids as she bulldozes her way through the film. This is camp at camps best. Who else can order "Lobster Newberg and Coffee" for lunch at the studio cafeteria with a straight face other than Crawford... For die hard fans of Joan's more camp later years this one will keep you in stitches.

The Mistress of Spices
(2005)

I Loved it
I enjoyed this film almost as much as "Bride and Prejudice" The cinematography was fantastic and the story was very original and heartwarming. A great date movie and one you can watch with kids around. With all the schlock that is being put out now, this was a breath of fresh air.

The acting is excellent and the mix of humor and drama was even and well paced. No its not the best movie ever made but it's one of the best I've rented lately, enough so that I would watch it again.

The supporting cast, many of whom were in "Bride and Prejudice", were excellent and you care about them and their problems. A very nice escape from the sad world we live in today.

El laberinto del fauno
(2006)

Major disappointment
(MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) I only watched the first 25 minutes of this film. When the sadistic Captain kills the young man with the bottle, I was sick to my stomach. I found it so disturbing that I just didn't want to watch the rest of the film. The character development up to that time was non-existent as it was, and I was so disappointed that Del Toro could not come up with a more creative way to show the Captain's sadistic side without going into such shocking violence. There were many ways that this scene could have been played out that did not need to show the graphic and disturbing details. I would not recommend this film to anyone and it is not for children of any age. The "Fantasy World" marketing that this film has had is misleading. Be warned this is not for the faint of heart.

Strákarnir okkar
(2005)

Not So Good
I saw this last night at the Fort Lauderdale Intl Film Festival and I was disappointed. While the Cast (especially the lead) is quite stunning to look at, most of the film's only laughs come from the lead's drunken ex-wife. The print of the film we saw was blurry and could not be focused. It was very hard to keep up on reading the subtitles, they were very fast, much faster than normal. The story just didn't go much of anywhere and the ending was quite uneventful. The look of the film is of course very cold and gray, I assume this was filmed during the summer, I can only imagine how gray, cold and isolated it would look in winter. Lots of old lame gay jokes and of course the needless use of drag queens. (why does every gay movie have to have a drag queen lurking about somewhere). Wait for the DVD on this one, but don't expect much.

Shut Up & Sing
(2006)

Freedom of Speech & The Dixie Chicks Rock!
I just saw this film last night at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) This is one of the best, if not best, rock docs I have seen.

The three year journey that these three talented ladies have gone through is amazing. A stand up for yourself and your country movie if there ever was one. The production quality is A+ and I bought their new album today..the first one I ever did buy, just to say thank you to the chicks for standing their ground. The archival news footage and commentary from right wingers is too funny given what we all know now about the lies about Iraq and the dishonesty of the Bush administration. The theater was packed by the way and the audience erupted in applause several times during the film... I will be telling everyone about this film and I hope it gets into wide release. It needs to be seen.

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