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Patch Adams (1998)
An excellent film
A person living affectively, making the most out of life, most have certainly enjoyed this film to the very last minute.
Just when all of us thought Robin Williams could not surprise us once more with another outstanding performance he does it again.
The dramatic highlights do not reach the heights of an "Awakenings" (1990) but they are proper for the character he is incarnating: wonderfully adapted from real life to a theatrical setting in which the quality of the actors can be fully appreciated.
Many critics miss in their detailed yet meaningless analysis that every motion picture based on real lives and events is not made to please them or any other person in particular: On the contrary, it is usually a representation of facts recreated in a manner that they can be understood and enjoyed by a majority of people in the world. It is also interesting to see how some of these selfish little minds post their negative analysis in these freelance forums: Once more my question to them is: Why bother if you have nothing good to say? I personally would not waste a single minute: Simply ignore the bad ones and post comments on those I feel enthusiastic about.
Anyway, I enjoyed every minute of this movie - I give it a 10 to the cast, the crew, the musical score, the Director and yes... To Patch Adams who is right now working in the hospital he dreamed of.
A trip through Kurosawa's life and times
Dreams is a great, colorful masterpiece, worth watching and understanding. The first thing, most essential basic notion you must have is that Dreams is precisely about that: DREAMS.
Dreams do not have any specific meaning, order, logic or message in most cases, although many of us wished they had. We sleep one third of our lives and something goes on all the time in a certain region of our brain while we do. Needless to say, the influence of the social environment, the religion, moral customs and mores of the times and the place in which we live do leak into those "trash registers" of the brain and produce an "orderly disorder" when our brain processes and "projects" the dreams on our unconscious, sleeping eyes.
Having said this, I cannot really understand how many inspired or pretentiously savvy critics dared to write negative comments on this movie because of lack of sufficient message, psychological or social meaning. That showed a total lack of understanding of what the Director wanted. The strength of Dreams is in the force of its Plastic Beauty; in the representation of the unconscious desires and anxieties that, without any specific logic or order at all, come out of Kurosawa's mind. He remembers these as the most remarkable dreams he was able to recall throughout all the stages of his life.
Kurosawa's purpose is to give these "Dreams" the full color and beauty of Art, bringing them out of the shadows and into Life. He does this in a way such that he shows his total control and mastery of the camera as a way of communicating this illogical neurosis, this desensitized sensibility that is contained in a dream. It is only casual that sometimes a logical message can be concluded out of one of the episodes: some kind of warning or political concern. But this is purely coincidental: We must not forget that dreams are concocted out of the daily experience of the conscious mind, which is responsible for accumulating these anxieties that are later concocted into dreams.
Summarily, this is an out-of-the-ordinary movie. I would certainly consider one of the great Masterpieces of the seventh Art, and give a postume kudos to the (sadly) late Director for his skillful work.
After Hours (1985)
Fun and grotesque
What a wonderfully grotesque, completely insane, and however ironic and fun film. Scorcese made a masterpiece out of this movie. Griffin Dunne really seemed to be the anxious shy guy in search of a date role and finds a date with A Really Bad and Fateful night instead, and I loved Rosanna Arquette being the neurotic cute just-out-of-a-boyfriend-fight counterpart. The first time you see this serious black comedy you gotta break up in laughter several times. A No Miss and a must to own.
An extraordinary film. What can I really say that hasn't been said already. It's just wonderful - The cast, the set, the Direction, the music, the screen play adaptation. Everything is just excellent. It's a big "must" to see and own for everybody, not just music and good cinema lovers.
Titanic is as Colossal as its name suggests
Rating this movie as a 10 may not possibly do total and complete justice to the superb effort it represents. After all, what's in a rating - Just a little meaningless number. Behind those comfortably assigned numbers there are countless hours of hard work, sleeplesness and the well co-ordinated effort of the numerous men and women who made it possible.
I was certainly impressed not only by the Special Effects but the lyrical value (rare in the trash land of movies surrounding us nowadays) of the picture, and I am actually very surprised and a bit disgusted that somebody has been able to write a totally senseless negative comment on this super A plus film, walking over ideas, Art and lives: those of the people who worked to make it more than just another "Titanic" movie.
No points of reference can be offered since the star cast is quite fresh and this version is certainly superior to the other "Titanic" found on this century's filmography.
The Petrified Forest (1936)
Brilliant script, above average actors
Superb melodrama with absolutely fantastic cast. With Howard, Davis and Bogart under the expert Direction of Archie Mayo the Sherwood play shines for ever in the history of the cinema. This is as good as it gets in the mid-30's awards. I even like the Colorized version- find the sound is much better. I recommend the laserdisc version of course. For Leslie Howard fans, may I suggest The Scarlet Pimpernel as a must on your collection next to this one.
The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934)
The true Pimpernel on the screen
There is no question that a day will come in which yet another version of the eternal "Pimpernel" tale will emerge. No matter how brilliant the new cast, set and the Special Effects may be, this future pretender will not be able to beat the feeling of authenticity that the original stock provides. I have watched it several times: every time it looks as charming as the first. I recommend it not only for Classic Cinema lovers but for anyone trying to discover (or re-discover) one.
The Paper Chase (1973)
The original pilot movie of the TV series
It's funny but I recalled having seen a few episodes of the TV series that ensued much, much later and never saw the original until a few years ago on cable TV. This is it; the original has Timothy Bottoms as the main protagonist whereas the series keeps John Houseman as the Professor but changes the student cast (as far as I know). I think John Houseman does an outstanding job as Kingsfield. It seems tailored to his style for some reason. Rest of the cast do a good job at portraying their stereotypes; anybody who's been to college know that they exist. Overall, a pleasurably enjoyable movie: the drama is well communicated to the audience, you smile, feel the pressure of these young men's lives. Keep one for the library.
The Great Escape (1963)
One of the all-time favorites
Really interesting and fun to watch from beginning to end: Keeps you locked to that chair which is a rare quality in slightly longer than usual movies. Excellent direction and acting from A to Z. I have owned this movie for 10 years and still go back and watch it every once in while. Of course I would do that with "any" McQueen movie but this is his best with a top multi-star cast. For Escape movies fans I can't recommend really anything like this one, especially in a war setting; perhaps the sole exception could be the Grand Illusion, the French classic from the 30's in quite a different setting. There are plenty of other "escape" movies in a civil setting, though (involving jail escapes). For McQueen fans I'd recommend any of his movies: he managed to get always fun and interesting roles that fit his character completely: Thomas Crown Affair, Cincinnati Kid, Papillon (talk 'bout a Escape movie!), The Getaway (with Ali Mc Graw- great fun- a must to see).
Best Lolita ever
An excellent film that has Kubrik's name stamped all over it.
We see how the skillful Director is able to translate and adapt the book to reach a bigger audience and become a timeless Classic.
Rather than worry about truly reflecting the book on the silver screen, Kubrik changes and experiments with the screenplay to obtain a refreshing, intellectual and fun version of the boring Nabokov's novel.
The Master of Directors shows also great skill in his precise direction of the well selected star cast.Who would challenge that Sellers is precisely the hyperactive, witty character who could undoubtedly seduct a young teen. Could there be a better fit to Lolita's mother than Shelley Winters, who conveys so well the impression of being the desperate, lonely widow?
Even James Mason IS the perfect sexually repressed, intellectual pervert, who tries to hide so well his persistent, hypocritical thoughts and desires behind that mask of academic honorability.
In conclusion, this is not a replacement for the book. It is also true that to bring the book to life a boring multi-part mini-series would be necessary. This is, however, a better screenplay than the one we saw on the 1997 version.
Good but the original is unbeaten
While the new adaptation of Lolita is an excellent piece of work deserving attention and viewing, and both the actors, director and crew did a good job at keeping us interested from beginning to end, I think (and again, this is just a subjective appreciation like all the others) that the original is the one I would keep in my movie library.
I can give numerous reasons while that is my choice. First, it is unrealistic to expect that a movie will stick to the original book in a one hundred percent faithful manner. There are obvious time constrictions that rule out a lot of the intangible thought processes involved in savoring a book that are seldom depicted in crude reality on a screen. This is not to say that there are not superb adaptations from masterpieces made by BBC television that are almost quite as good as reading the book. But that is a rare quality in one-time movies. In order to truly adapt a book it is much better to go through the mini-series formula.
Second, I find the new version lingers too much on the nitty-gritty and less on the background and the development of the characters and the relationships. I find this is totally unnecessary to understand the plot and the consequences.
Third, the final scene excessively long and detailed (when Humbert kills Quilty). The Kubrik adaptation still holds my highest regards for being subtle, yet revealing, and gives the scenes that "The good if brief twice as good" feeling.
Fourth, I liked better the character portrayal of Shelley Winters, James Mason and Peter Sellers than (with all due respect) the one of Melanie Griffith, Jeremy Irons and Frank Langella. This is not to say that these fine actors and actresses have made an award-winning job at some other movie or movies or could do it in the future.
Summarily, I keep my Excellent (9/10) vote on the 1962 version, and give this one an 8. I think this is a just vote, but keep in mind that always beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Even when I am a relatively young viewer, I find the excessive realism of the post-1970 cinema sometimes a bit distressing, and increasingly encounter the 1930-1970 movies to have a much more adequate perspective and treatment of the subjects than the new movies have.
Without any doubt, one of the best and most inspiring dramatic movies based on a real event ever made. The interpretation is outstanding, the direction is great and the script just brilliant. Well made adaptation. Robert De Niro and Robin Williams make an award-winning job: These are some remarkable performances to remember as the 'creme de la creme' of the century.
12 Angry Men (1957)
A must in my library
Sydney Lumet does an excellent job conducting the dramatic load of "Twelve Angry Men", and the actors are all up to the job: Excellent movie with great content: It does a good job at conveying the conflict that arises when men are unable to separate prejudice and their personal experience from impartial judgement which is required to grasp the concept of reasonable doubt.