Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Good special effects and action, but suspend your disbelief
I must admit I am a sucker for doomsday type movies, so I eagerly awaited The Day After Tomorrow's arrival on DVD. The movie certainly delivered in terms of big special effects and action. The concept is a good one--that global warming finally causes catastrophic weather change. Unfortunately, attempts to "Hollywoodize" that concept resulted in a movie that is quite unbelievable from a variety of perspectives (physics being the most obvious). This makes it difficult to connect with the characters and really get pulled into their plight.
Overall, worth a rental if you like this kind of thing. Movies like Deep Impact and On The Beach do it much better though.
Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
Superb! Much better than My Big Fat Greek Wedding!
If you liked My Big Fat Greek Wedding, then you will _love_ Bend It Like Beckham. MBFGW was an excellent movie in its own right, but Bend It Like Beckham has so much more. Two excellent storylines are woven together seamlessly to make for a fast-paced feel-good film. The two lead actors (Nagra and Knightly) are great, as are all of the supporting characters. Brilliantly funny without being stupid, an excellent soundtrack, and great editing make for one of the best films of the year.
Eye of the Beholder (1999)
Judd fans only
This movie wasn't as bad as some of the other comments suggest. OK, so it isn't a masterpiece, but Ashley Judd does do a fairly good job in her role as Joanna. I also liked Ewan McGregor as The Eye.
Where this film falls very flat is in the writing. The whole movie seems to ramble on to an "ending" which isn't really. Might be worth a rental for die-hard Judd fans, but otherwise, I would avoid this one.
Enjoyable but far from excellent
I did like certain aspects of this film. Reese Witherspoon's portrayal of Tracy as the prude, haughty, personal success at all costs high school student was very well done. As well, Mr. McAllister is one of Matthew Broderick's best efforts in recent years. What I did not like was the unnecessary sexual innuendo inserted at various points in the film. It was almost as if the filmmakers were trying to turn an otherwise good story into one that would be liked by a T&A crowd. Big mistake!
American Beauty (1999)
A brilliant look at perception and happiness
I saw this film on video, after all of the hype, the Oscars, etc. Normally when a film receives so many accolades, I end up disappointed when I actually see it. With American Beauty, I was pleasantly surprised.
The portrayal of the characters by the actors is extremely good. I particularly liked Jane, the "ugly" girl who is really the most attractive. This theme of how perception affects ones happiness runs throughout the film. The quest for happiness by Lester and Carolyn (Kevin Spacey and Annette Benning) also involves dealing with the expectations and the perception of those around them.
Finally, the photography and the pacing of the film were very good. I found myself unable to turn away for the entire two hour duration of the film. As well, this movie doesn't appear to lose much when viewed on video vs. the big screen.
One of the best films I have seen in many years!
Lola rennt (1998)
A tremendous journey through "time"
First off, this film is refreshingly short. Seems that these days, Hollywood studios think that any movie running less than two and a half hours can't be a truly worthwhile experience. At less than 80 minutes, Lola Rennt proves that films don't have to be long to be brilliant.
There are many great things about this film. The pacing and music are excellent. You get the impression that things are always on the go and that time is of the essence. There isn't a dull moment. The director controls the rate at which time passes as if with a control knob, first slowing things down, then speeding them up, sometimes focusing on details, other times letting everything go by in a blur.
The message here seems to be one of fate controlling destiny: that tiny changes in events can have catastrophic or wonderful consequences down the road. This message is driven home by the eerie "flash forward" still sequences that happen when Lola bumps into a stranger during her run.
Overall, an excellent, fast-paced film, well worth a rental or a viewing at your local rep theater.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
A gritty look at the harsh reality of war
First off, I should preface my comments by saying that, although this was an excellent film, it isn't for everyone. The intense, graphic, "in your face" nature of the presentation will be too much for some viewers to handle.
The opening sequence is extremely well done. I was literally shaking after seeing the horror which faced those involved in the D-Day assault. The camera angles, combined with the gritty, high contrast filming, give the whole film a documentary feel. Unlike other war documentaries, Saving Private Ryan manages to pull the viewer deeply into the action.
My only negative comments relate to the underlying premise for the movie, which seems rather far-fetched. I also felt that in some cases the special effects exaggerated things a bit more than they should have. But those are minor faults, in an otherwise top rate film.
The Last Train (1999)
A good, post-apocalyptic drama
This six-part mini-series does a good job of describing the journey of a group of individuals that survive an apocalyptic event in modern-day Britain. The tone is dark and depressing, and the writer develops the hopelessness of the story quite well, particularly as the main characters come to realize the brutal reality of the situation that they find themselves in. The acting is reasonable, but is generally overshadowed by the story itself.
Certainly not an uplifting story, but recommended for fans of this sort of thing.
A Simple Plan (1998)
Plot twists kept me interested
At first the chain of events that Hank and Jacob Mitchell (Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton) find themselves in seems unlikely. Why would anyone do something so stupid I asked? However, as the film progresses you are drawn more and more into the mind set of the characters, as they try to erase one mistake by making another. Eventually things begin to appear more plausible, and that is the magic of this film.
This isn't Academy award material, but it is a fun movie to watch, and the ending provides several twists that I didn't expect. Definitely worth a rental.
Double Jeopardy (1999)
First-rate actors wasted on second-rate plot
First of all, I should state that I'm a big fan of Ashley Judd's work. Ever since Ruby in Paradise, Judd has demonstrated herself to being one of Hollywood's best, young actresses. Given that, I was drawn to seeing Double Jeopardy.
Unfortunately, the writing for this film just didn't stack up to Judd's ability. The thin plot is both routine and unlikely. I found myself unable to believe some of the key legal points on which the story depends, including the main one regarding "double jeopardy". The characters are underdeveloped and predictable. Tommy Lee Jones plays a similar, but less convincing role as he did in "The Fugitive" and "U.S. Marshals".
Do yourself a favour. If you want to see Judd in a thriller role, rent the much superior "Kiss the Girls".
Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
A neat look at how it all started
I didn't rent this movie expecting a theatrical masterpiece. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised. Noah Wyle's portrayal of Steve Jobs ascension to glory at Apple was well portrayed, if a bit over-dramatic. Makes you wonder if he was really like that.
Anthony Michael Hall plays Bill Gates as you would expect him: a passively shrewd, brilliant nerd. The movie is worth a rental, but only if you have an interest in the subject matter.
The Replacement Killers (1998)
Mira Sorvino needs a "Replacement Agent"
This movie has almost no plot, and so it relies on an almost endless series of shootouts to make up its hour and a half length. Don't get me wrong, I like a good action shooter film, but this just isn't one of them. The trailers for the film touted Academy Award winner Sorvino, but her acting contribution is non-existent. This one isn't even worth a rental.
Hal Hartley does it again
Much like Hartley's earlier works, "Trust" and "The Unbelievable Truth", "Amateur" is a quirky, offbeat film, that achieves success through its deadpan dialog and its quirky character portrayals. Martin Donovan (who also appears in Trust) plays Thomas, who, suffering from amnesia resulting from a fall at the start of the film, never discovers his own identity. His interactions with those who knew him (but won't necessarily admit it) provide the basis for the rest of the story.
Although I liked Trust somewhat more, Amateur is still a good film, and does provide a "gentle" introduction to Hartley's work.
The Passion of Darkly Noon (1995)
Save your money and stay away from this one!
This film starts out well enough: a young man (Darkly Noon, played by Brendan Fraser) stumbling through the forest collapses onto a dirt road and is found and taken to the home of Callie (Ashley Judd). As his mind clears, we find out that Darkly is a deeply disturbed individual, and that his keeper (Callie) is no less strange. Unfortunately, the remainder of the film doesn't capitalize on its interesting beginning. The acting by both Judd and Fraser is distinctly uninspired, and the plot entirely predictable. The use of blood and gore as an attempt to shock the viewer is overdone and unnecessary.
Brendan Fraser's association with this film is in line with his previous work (Encino Man, Airheads), but Judd's involvement is a disappointment following the excellent Ruby in Paradise.
Starship Troopers (1997)
An entertaining, albeit cliched, sci-fi war movie
Paul Verhoeven is a master of what I would describe as "shock gore sci-fi". Like his previous films "Total Recall" and "Robocop", "Starship Troopers" is not for the squeamish. Like Robocop, "Troopers" presents an exaggerated view of what the future holds for humankind. As long as you don't read too deeply into the "plot", this is an entertaining movie with excellent special effects. The acting is mediocre, but the fast pacing and nearly constant action keep you on the edge of your seat. Make sure you see this film on a big screen with a good sound system.
Not quite up to Hartley's usual
Although I'm a big fan of Hal Hartley's previous work (Trust, The Unbelievable Truth), I was a bit disappointed by Flirt. There are some clever elements to the film, including Hartley's always excellent dialog sequences. The repetition, providing different views on the same plot sequence, was well done. Overall, an above-average movie, particularly for Hartley followers.
A dry, witty look at teenage life on Long Island
Hal Hartley's "Trust", like his very similar film, "The Unbelievable Truth" stars Adrienne Shelley as a distraught teenager (Maria) trying to make sense of it all. Maria's dry wit and defeatist attitude are extremely entertaining. As with many of Hartley's films, the brilliance is found in the clever exchanges of dialog. These exchanges often involve people having a conversation with themselves, in the presence of someone else doing the same. The effect is very amusing to watch. The scenery and jangling score also add to the overall quality of the film.
Normal Life (1996)
A decent, modern "Bonnie and Clyde"
I must admit that seeing 90210's Luke Perry in Normal Life's leading role did not inspire me, but after watching this film I was pleasantly surprised. The foreshadowing scene at the very start of the film gives a sense of foreboding doom that pervades the rest of the story. Pam (Ashley Judd) is a woman torn between living on the edge and having a normal, storybook life. Chris (Luke Perry) longs for such a life, but also seems to be excited by Pam's wild side. He goes from cop to bank robber in a first successful, but then futile attempt to make things right, which only seems to excite Pam more. Eventually their luck runs out, and the inevitable ensues. The last 15 minutes of this film are the best part with some surprising twists right near the end.