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Casino (1995)
9/10
a Vegas that no longer exists. maybe.
20 February 2011
watching Casino for the 4th or 5th time now. it's like a clip out of the history file; the remnants of mob ownership of the famous casinos of Vegas (all of which have been now demolished for the new 'what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas'.

Sharon Stone truly impressed me with her Oscar nominated performance of the hustler that couldn't quit. it was in her blood. DeNiro on the other hand in my opinion should have earned a nomination as well as Sam Rothstein the casino owner. Quote: 'back home (east coast) they would have put me in jail, out here they give me awards'. a city awash in cash, proof of the adage 'a sucker is born every minute'.

I personally have never been to Vegas and have no intention of going. I have however been to Atlantic City and can understand how the glitter and jingle of the slots can be so mesmerizing, or more precisely saw just that happen numerous times. I never felt the tug, my suspicions confirmed one day at the local casino when I popped a token in a machine and lo, it came up 'bar' 'bar' 'off by one'. Confirmation that slots are PROGRAMMED to commit way more 'near misses' than statistical average would dictate. So I guess the 'hustle' has merely gone digital.

Very entertaining movie. Watch it before you go to the casino.
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6/10
it's been done before. twice.
4 July 2010
life paths crossing. the emotions, drama, pathos.

well it's been done twice before with 'Grand Canyon' and 'Crash'.

so what's new with this one? more gratuitous violence. the performances were passable, but the plot was too predictable. do I need to tick the 'spoiler' box now? also I didn't quite get the nicknames part. the stock broker up to his wazzo in gambling debt certainly wasn't happy. and if 'happy' was what he was looking for, does that mean the pop singer was looking for 'sorrow'? the sad truth is Hollyweird has run out of ideas. remake after remake, sequel after sequel.

how is this situation to be corrected? simple: billions in free cash from Washington and an announcement of a 'war on mediocrity' LOL !!!
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2012 (I) (2009)
2/10
truly gawdawful formulaic pap
10 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
the computer generated action crew sure got a workout with this one. problem is they displaced huge chunks of the plot line by the wayside.

how many 'outrace the falling debris' chases does it take for viewers to finally get the message? and it is very realistic *looking*; problem is the events depicted NEVER HAPPEN in real life. ever. (spoiler)for example, the part where the cruise ship is capsized by the tsunami? hellllooooo! tsunamis only heave up out of the water when they hit shallow shore line and the energy catches up with the wash. (kinda like sonic booms).

if you're looking for a deep philosophical question 'how does mankind handle an abrupt end of the earth' to be posed and answered, skip this waste of 2 hours. if you want 'here's an assignment CGA class, make a movie about end of the world; heavy on car chases and buckling crust' then this will satisfy your morbid tastes.
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Last Night (I) (1998)
8/10
typical quirky Canadian production
18 February 2010
where else ya gonna find a flic like this but the library? The acting ranged from 'what was that about' to spot on given the premise. Sandra Oh was very good throughout. The film is full of cameos with a mention of Canadian landmark Nathan Philips Square.

What finally brought the end isn't stated but clearly it was a supernova. Why it had to happen a precisely midnight is a goof in the storyline. But then, maybe all the clocks were adjusted to make the end symbolically happen at the end of the last day. Did anybody think of that? If you're looking for dazzling special effects (none of that), a lot of shooting and guns (only a bit of that) and gratuitous sex (none of that, the sex was well within keeping with the story) then better you rent a hollyweird piece of spam because this story is very entertaining in its own right.
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7/10
the quality I have come to expect from John Malkovich
13 February 2010
I have enjoyed every film by Malkovich I have seen and can now add this title to the list. In a way he mirrors the character in this one; very entertaining but not an A lister. Well so be it, Malkovich fills the gaps, 'takes up the slack' as it were with superb acting in a string of quirky roles. Note that once his career started with 'places in the heart' he has found work ever since.

In this film he mimics the real life career path of the Great Kreskin who I saw on television during the 80s. I do not know if Kreskin had a career bombing experience as depicted happening in the movie, but if he plays your town do yourself a treat and take it in. A very entertaining film, almost as much as actually seeing a mentalist's act. With a sudden twist and happy ending.
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Downfall (2004)
10/10
just when you think the WW II theme was exhausted
16 November 2009
this film gets a 12 out of 10 for realism. it neither glorifies the sacrifice or preaches about the terrible cost, but is a fact based fictionalized account of the last days of Hitler and the battle for Berlin. The acting was outstanding on all accounts.

It is reassuring to see the German people have fully come to terms with that ghastly and horrible anomaly in their history. You get an inside view of the insanity of Nazism, civilians being shot for 'desertion', Hitler going into raging fits because non-existent armies do not follow his orders.

Highly recommended film that is spellbinding and an outstanding production.
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8/10
all the elements of great science fiction
15 September 2009
movie watchers today for some reason go for special effects and explosions and razzle dazzle. followed by advertising budgets more than other films production. all of which can easily mask a rehashed same-old same-old with lots of technology. not so this story. the tension builds gradually at first, in an innocuous enough manner, and then the lead characters drops the bombshell. I look for realism in a story, even sci-fi like this. It is my opinion that the explanations and statements made by the characters are the kind of exchange that would happen in this situation. that he has only vague recollection of his becoming aware he was special, and historic events, and the fact it is impossible for him to ever 'catch up' to all the knowledge of the contemporary times. inevitably the film paints itself into a corner a little bit here and there, but it's called 'suspension of disbelief', considering the subject of the film. so if you can get past that you are in for a remarkable and unique and most entertaining story. the high marks on IMDb are well earned.
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Sweet Sixteen (I) (2002)
4/10
runs in the family
16 June 2009
a junkie mother in prison, a father who deals in heroin, and a 16 yr old who steals the heroin so he can sell it instead.

'gritty' say the reviews. and about as entertaining as a piece of gravel in your shoe.

I was hoping for a bit of comic relief, ie the 60s brand of Benny Hill type of bawdy humour or some political satire but none were forthcoming. just grime and crime from the title sequence to the closing credits.

thank gawd for free movies at the library, a measly dollar to rent this crud would be too much.

something has happened to British film makers, it started way back with kubrick's clockwork orange and has continued to deteriorate.

blech. the good news is this one cured me of curiosity then next time some low class shenanigans are portrayed. enough already. where can you get decent movie entertainment today? indie products somehow think the shock value adds value to their product. about as much as shock therapy.

I'm usually forgiving in my reviews but there is very little to praise in this hour and a half of faux reality. it might be reality for some 16 year olds in Britain but I have no interest if that's what they do with their day. how in blazes do people like this expect to MAKE SOMETHING of their lives? not by following the habits portrayed in this knock off.
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The Great Gatsby (2000 TV Movie)
5/10
its the 2000 version old sport !!
7 June 2009
I read the book finally, this production follows the book very closely, even some of what the characters say.

everything else was all wrong. the biggest casting error was Mira Sorvino as Daisy. Ms Sorvino's niche is the street wise and very beautiful leading lady; smart and witty and attractive. Daisy is the 1920's damsel-in-distress; an idle femme fatale socialite with daily concerns including whether enough windows are open. i.e. a bubblehead.

its always nice to see a period piece, albeit the early 20th century period with all the suits, gowns, vehicles to match; it adds to the mood of the story but has yet in all Hollywood history to suffice if the casting, storyline, script or combination isn't up to snuff. set decoration is only ever the cherry on top, nothing more.

the book is a fast read; read the book before making final judgement on any 'gatsby' versions. as far as the morality angle, the story continues to be very very timely: read the newspapers: milken, enron, worldcom, conrad black, etc etc; anyone who gets a LOT of money really really fast cheated. it has to do with basic physics or something; it can't be done.
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10/10
outstanding blend of film methods
23 May 2009
the more you know of cultural, economic, social conditions the more you will appreciate and richly enjoy this film.

India has fully embraced Western technology; it's one reason their economy is thriving despite the immense demands on their resources for thousands of years. And there are millions of Indians who speak English. where do you think all those 'customer support 800' calls wind up? this film is off the scale as far as realism and plausibility is concerned, a very tight story line, very fast paced with no loose ends.

there are more bollywood productions every year than Hollywood which has been in 'recycle' mode for a long time now, not much new from California. this film is pioneering quality and well worth watching.
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cold war paranoia strikes again.
1 May 2009
the stilted acting is reminiscent of those B grade gawdawful drive in sci fi things of the 50s and 60s but the message and story line of this is superb. "they aren't human and must be destroyed". ya right. so if you had the power to induce a shotgun bearing bumpkin to blow his own head off after aiming it at you and your friends, what would you do? I wish I had the power when I was a kid to turn the bullies on themselves. I would have killed them all without hesitation. but in the humaaaahn dominated world, violence aggression, weapons, force and power win the day every time. these kids are just using their collective gift to fend for themselves. the military is bent on wiping them out, their counterparts in other parts of the world are killed in their cribs, and a brat feels free to bounce a soccer ball off the girl's head. a TOTALLY unprovoked attack. maybe one day the instant reflex hostility will be a thing of the past. I say kill all the bullies whenever you have the chance. then go on living your life peacefully and with your own kind or whoever wishes to do likewise. it begins by killing the bullies and expunging the worst of humaaaahn nature from your environment. kill them all. anyone who commits an unprovoked and unwarranted attack deserves instant death. including the so-called 'good guys'.
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7/10
Murphy's Law to the max
11 April 2009
when I saw Lumet's name as director I knew I was in for a treat. Especially with Philip Seymour Hoffman in a starring role too.

wasn't disappointed and although it is a violent film, it should be made compulsory viewing for all the punks considering a career as a drug addled jewelry store heist operator.

excellent ensemble 'indie' type flavor to it, very harsh and graphic but all considered, realistic in the story line. read the newspapers about women who drown their kids and then go bale waling to the media.

this is a fast paced film, the time line stops, fast rewinds and resumes up to the point where the last time slice started and then fast rewinds even more, but curiously it all works.

Hoffman is still batting 1,000 on my scorecard with this one.
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10/10
an all time favorite of mine
1 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I have seen this movie once on television. when I was a kid. but it made such a strong impression I can vividly remember certain scenes in it like the space walk where the astronaut is shown in an X-ray image. well guess what folks, the hard vacuum of space is a real cooker with radiation and solar winds and ion bombardment form all directions !!!

do NOT whine about the hammy acting. if you do, feel free to pay close attention to the 'home movie' quality of various conversations with apollo, space shuttle and ISS crews. now THAT is really hammy stuff.

addendum: July 15 2009 (40th anniversary of you-know-what) let's see what they did get right in this film: - effects of weightlessness - nausea experienced by at least one of the astronauts - last minute crew change - crew of 4: actual apollo crew was 3 - launch pad gantry - technical challenges - motivation (cold war concerns) - last minute mission critical glitches (kinda like apollo 13) including:

the frozen antenna

the problem of excess weight on lunar launch - down time whilst the craft coasts to lunar orbit - very large booster with large amount of fuel -etc

the film MUST be commended for its pioneering accomplishment; left to a handful of writers and producers with scant in-depth knowledge of the engineering issues of space flight (hint: dwelling incessantly on that angle would be as exciting as waiting thru one of those interminably delayed early mercury or gemini launches).

the film requires some 'willing suspension of disbelief' especially this long after its release.

and for those who adamantly insist the numerous 'misses' from reality invalidate the entertainment value, feel free to tell us PRECISELY what space exploration adventures await in 2027. and how it is accomplished and by whom. otherwise clam up with your petty nitpicking.

my opinion on space flight? confined to lunar exploration. long term voyages, ie 2 years +/- to mars, and then another 2 years back again, AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN. the astronauts aren't going to be able to stand up after that long in weightlessness !!! honest !!! google the story of the Russian cosmonaut who spent a record time orbiting earth, which spanned to fall of the soviet union. when he finally got back onto earth, he couldn't stand up !!! also, long term space flight WILL subject the individuals to ghastly levels of exposure to harmful radiation and toxic environments. kinda like Marie Curie and her scientific work gave her cancer from years of exposure to radiation. see what I mean?

so for the foreseeable future, space exploration will be confined to the imagination and films like this.
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King Kong (1933)
10/10
gave me nightmares as a kid
28 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
and I couldn't wait to see it again after that first time in the early 60s when I saw it at a friend's house who had cable TV.

not surprising the whole story itself was inspired by a nightmare of one of the executives involved.

this movie earns top marks in numerous categories: story line, top B&W classic film feature and those special effects that if you engage in the Shakespearean 'willing suspension of disbelief' will scare the daylights out of you. it is also in that rare breed that inspired TWO remakes. the Jackson version also is superb because this one provides the necessary foundation.

a very tight hour and 40 minutes of terror and excitement. with lessons and morals thrown in. the press corps that disregards the danger they cause with the flood of flashbulbs, intent of 'getting the story' to the point they BECOME part of the story. and THAT is happening all the time now. and the line Carl Denholm gives about the 'chrome steel': nothing to worry about, yada yada ya. like the unsinkable Titanic not a worry in the world. oops !! it even has a very humorous line from the audience scene near the end; 'it's some kind of big gorilla', 'don't we have enough of those in New York' as the clumsy galoot steps all over the woman's feet getting to his seat. priceless.

Fay Wray was a real hottie in any era.

this is NOT a film for the modern spoiled attention deficit brat demanding to be entertained but utterly uninterested in doing their part. you have to see this version of King Kong at least once. it is readily available and well worth it.
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9/10
tarry jew !!
1 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
one of my favorite lines in Shakespeare.

i.e. *we're not finished with you by a long shot* so not only does Shylock not get his pound of flesh, or the 3,000 or the 6,000 or the 36,000 (each of the 6 parts were a ducat) ducats, in a matter of minutes he is ruined by having to forfeit all his possessions. and his daughter has long abandoned him already.

vengeance is a dish best served cold. but Shylock's attempt at revenge totally backfires.

I suspect this play was and is popular because it caters to the wish we have for justice. but the hard reality is the world is engulfed in injustice and most of it stands. a few big names get tossed in jail, sme gang punks lose their turf to the 'good guys' but in reality most of the time it's the other way around.

but not in this play. the long howls of racism and antisemitism forgets that it could well have been any other social outcast group that gets the comeuppance, it's just that the money lenders of the time were Jews and therefore the needs of the story line puts Shylock the Jew into the role of villain.

Merchant of Venice is my 3rd favorite work by Shakespeare, 1 and 2 being Hamlet and Macbeth. this production gives excellent treatment of the moral of the story. the scenes with the suitors alone is worth watching. also the awkwardness of the new husbands squirming and minimizing the fact they let the rings so easily slip away that they had sworn to keep forever. in real life, this trick is the thing that spouses coyly use to remind their better half that promises MUST mean something and not be made frivolously. there is far deeper significance to this play than just the comedy/dramatic aspect. it is about loyalty, commitment, and love.

well worth watching over and over.
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7/10
worth the wait
30 August 2008
a very long wait. 43 years to be exact.

this was the first Shakespeare play I studied in high school and I HATED it. all the mincing fairy dancing and twinkle toes. wretched stuff for a 14 year old eager to take on the growing challenges of life.

sigh.

when this one was released, I thought good grief, why couldn't they do *anything else*.

and then this year with nothing better to do I took in a free live performance at the university (it was a midsummer night) and they did such a good job that I finally rented this production and was blown away by it.

goes to show in the hands of decently professional and intelligent people it can bring out the best and be a true representation of the genius of Shakespeare.

I hope some day all those stiflingly boring and bitter high school teachers can be FORCED to sit through some of the better film versions of Shakespeare to see that it can be presented in such a way as to not WRECK the enjoyment and entertaining elements of Shakespeare's works.
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8/10
the original teenage angst film
13 August 2008
this project was the starting point for the careers of a lot of very popular actors including the Oscar winning Forest Whittaker.

the results show.

its is somewhat dated, with the references to Pat Benetar lookalikes, but I saw the same kind of stuff at that age.

numerous memorable lines came out of the movie and a lot of genuinely funny scenes. Some of these characters could easily been inspired by people I went to school with. or should I say 'sort of' went to high school since my 9-13 years consisted of 80% boredom 10 % ho hum and 10% 'awesome! totally awesome!!' I finally got around to renting the uncut version from the video store including the famous Phoebe Cates topless 5 seconds. She sure was a hottie in 1982.

sex drugs and rock and roll, all in a neat 97 minutes.
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9/10
a lesson in preparation
3 August 2008
and teamwork and always politics.

Scott is the typical stiff upper lip brit, soldiering on in the face of adversity. The problem is the adversity comes out of the British sense of entitlement and superiority. Time and again they refuse to face the fact they don't run everything and circumstance and chance is just going to tremble in the presence of royalty wot. hip hip fap.

So Amundson has to pull a fast one to get to the Antarctic, and his approach is to make hard decisions and difficult choices, like knowing full well ahead of time the sled dogs at some point are going to be a source of food for them and the remaining dogs.

When Scott feeds the exhausted horses (which shouldn't have been there in the first place) to the men and dogs, it's viewed in far more politically correct and image palatable manner. jolly good, well on with it then. the reason the courage and determination was necessary from the British expedition is because Scott refused to accept experience based input from his subordinates. before and during the expedition.

When things go wrong, he chalks it up to bad luck or the weather or the failure of others. Amundson doesn't even have to do that because his decisions avoided the impossible situations in the first place.

watch the dramatization and decide for yourself.
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4/10
"i got a bad feeling about this"
30 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
too bad if I throw cold water on your parade here folks, but this is the first 'copy & paste' movie I've ever seen. the problem is Messrs Spielberg and Lucas have run out of creative juice and at the same time have an large body of work, they have taken to copying storyline, action sequences and those all-too-familiar references to other works camouflaged in the move.

boring boring boring.

I saw the scene about the tunnel getting flooded in an old TV serial in the 50s for crying out loud.

boring boring boring.

how much did Sean Connery get for having his mug shot on the desk?

it ISN'T just another in some loosely based sequence, its the result of all-too accessible CGI and tapping into the recollections of the fan base.

well count me out.

It's a good thing I only paid 3 bucks to see this at the university community centre. good grief, I got more enjoyment out of the hot dog and soft drink.

Is there some sort of '3 strikes you're out' limit on Hollywood top echelon producers and directors? or do they get to foist this kind of crud because there's nothing else from any of those other creativity-bereft writers and directors and studio moguls?

think I'm exaggerating?

its got the 'ET' look, close encounters of the turd kind 'mother ship', large shifting rock structures triggered by some trivial action, repetition of the 'mindless zombie hoards', stereotype villainess, creepy crawlies galore (again with the CGI which is REALLY getting overused), and a whole lot more of the same old same old.

there is NOTHING in this film that hasn't been used elsewhere. a 2 hour copy & paste for your viewing.
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Bobby (I) (2006)
9/10
characters fictional but the event was too terribly real.
12 July 2008
Estevez's directorial debut is certainly worth the wait.

he has pulled a remarkable ensemble together, his ex, Demi Moore and his dad Martin Sheen among others. each actor very suited to their part.

the film contains some very poignant scenes, and the archival footage was excellent. not the grainy type of stuff that contrasts too much with the fictional parts, which has the effect of reminding one of the time lapse. instead it was spliced seamlessly into the action of the film, taking one back to that terrible day.

something wonderful could have happened with an RFK presidency, for one thing the imbroglio called Vietnam would not have continued for another 7 deadly years. the assassin ended many more lives than just Bobby Kennedy that day.

I remember it well, the TV news, the image of Bobby motionless on the kitchen floor with that expression of fear and shock and regret. 'get the gun, get the gun, get the gun, we don't want another oswald'.

1968 has to be one of the absolute worst for what could have been a revival and rebuilding in America. Robert Kennedy was the brains and tenacity behind the JFK term. John was the inspirational but inexperienced and ultimately ineffective leader, but Bobby could have leveraged his experience and intelligence into something worthy of the history pages 500 years from now.

and it all ended with a couple bullets from a cheap handgun at the hand of a bitter nutcase who doesn't even remember doing it.

my only question is what will happen first, Americans FINALLY getting over their infatuation with guns, or the end of their time at the forefront of human activity?
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Onegin (1999)
3/10
supposedly a drama, but
11 July 2008
actually a comedy.

the original title was 'a day late and a dollar short', after a Hollywood bigwig was rummaging thru the studio archives and stumbled on an old 3 stooges script and decided the modern treatment would be to come up with another in a string of feinnes pieces passed off as a costume drama.

the costumes were supposed to be clown costumes but since there was a glut of personnel and makeup artists doing stuff like 'sense and sensibility' it was decided to snazzy it up a bit.

so they came up with this square peg in a round hole approach and once again, shopped around for who would fit the bill re 'when yer hot yer hot, when yer not yer not' and the names feinnes and liv deary came up.

was this before or after those dreadful LOTR sequels of sequels where she hardly says anything? was this in her 'on the way up' or 'on the way down' phase of her film career? she was fairly good in 'inventing the abbots' but that's because she was at her peter principle level of highest competence. not so this vehicle. more like a vehicle hit by a train called reality of what you get with mediocre but much ballyhooed actors. aka 'hype hype hype' some sort of pep rally cry suitable for a high school football team. not suitable for a story that's been around this long.

at least we don't have to hold our breath waiting for yet another version in this century; anyone else who may have contemplated it in another life was surely convinced the odds were not good since ms tyler and mr feinnes showed just how bad the pooch can be screwed by not getting suitable actors.

you think I'm kidding about the day late and a dollar short theme? I counted at least 3 of them without trying: the dinner, the duel and the 'bitter sweet' (emphasis on bitter like the taste of stale beer) closing scene. I am so glad DVD player manufacturers perfected that feature you can speed up the playback and still hear the voice track at the original frequency, it just comes out in a rapid fire clipped manner. that cuts down the boredom until those blessed end credits envelope this symbol of the downfall of a frivolous life.

I'm talking about the lead actors careers, not the characters in the story.
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10/10
realism quotient right off the scale
9 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
thats right.

many nitpickers claim the film is not realistic; clearly they have no experience with the countless detours, ad hoc actions, revised plans, FUBAR situations and the like that is part and parcel in the ebb and flow of combat.

the business about Capt Miller's comment about 'the Germans having to change the barrel of their machine gun and this is the chance to attack' in the radar station scene is nitpicked by some based on their knowledge of German weaponry.

well big fcukin deal, like no soldier ever made a mistake assessing the enemy's armaments? the scene simply ADDS to the realism, not subtracts from it.

This is a benchmark war film which I have seen probably more than a dozen times. I have the D-Day commemorative version. Steven Spielberg really scooped the attention when it was released. And the opening scenes, good god, to have run through an unending hail of bullets and mortar shells, pinned down on a narrow strip of beach, nowhere to turn, death everywhere, what to do? feel free to view the documentary 'World at War' where they discuss the invasion in the episode 'Morning'. what happened, when the situation came to light with the commanders on board the battleships off shore that had escorted the troop carriers, after viewing with binoculars and hearing the radio reports, these commanders TOTALLY AGAINST STANDING ORDERS took it upon themselves to move in closer within range of the German batteries, and start dishing out some ordnance to the same German defenders in order to relieve the situation of the troops pinned down.

you got that? THEY PUT THEMSELVES IN HARM'S WAY TO HELP OUT THEIR COMRADES ON THE BEACH.

this is the whole story line of the film; self sacrifice towards a common goal. the details of which are merely that: 'filling in the canvas'.

I'm just glad these men did such a good job 60+ years ago that my generation didn't have to repeat it somewhere else.

as far as this being American 'propaganda', well feel free to write a script and produce your own work on the same topic. The fact is Omaha Beach, the 101st, bitching about Monty's hesitancy and numerous miscalculations are all part of the widely known history.

therefore the realism, which I look for, of this film (as opposed to actual specific historical events) is right off the scale. I don't care if its a sci-fi, comedy, western, or drama, I have to see continuous PLAUSIBILITY in what I'm spending my time and money on.

this film, SPR, has that in abundance.
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Don't Move (2004)
5/10
another variation on 'she liked being raped'
3 June 2008
other than a very beautiful face (which ain't quite so good looking as it once was) that gets her jobs in fashion magazines slathered with makeup, what qualities does Ms Cruz have to get her on the big screen so often? her multilingual ability? maybe thats it. doing films in 4 different languages would increase the number of scripts available.

maybe its those perky tits she likes to show off numerous times.

this film was a definite disappointment. Im glad the local library has a big selection because if I had rented this one I would demand a refund.

it jumps all over the place in location and date, full of surprises ie too much of an average thing, and is way too loaded with symbolism and lacks dialog which EXPLAINS wtf is going on in the film. gee, kinda like how is the viewer supposed to know what the message was in that scene/film if it lacks audio/visual CLUES ????? 'dont move' is said once in the film and has no bearing on the story, so what exactly is the story?
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Dust to Dust (1994)
1/10
ooooooh god what a truly awful piece of rubbish
5 February 2008
I really now wish there was a 'zero' in the vote box.

I thought that thing with ice T about the drunken Russian cosmonauts was bad but this thing plays out like a junior high school production where the audience consists of only relatives and resentful teen siblings.

really. that bad. the abnormal tad-too-fast and strictly monotone delivery, topped off with that touch-octave-higher style like they are struggling to remember their lines.

this thing doesn't even deserve to be turned into a cold drink coaster for fear someone will attempt to watch it.

I really really have to check IMDb in future when browsing the used DVDs at the pawn shop.
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Hamlet (1996)
Branagh really raised the bar with this version
3 February 2008
seen one you've seen them all, right? wrong! I still like the sombre Olivier version and Gibson did well, but this is in a class of its own.

I finally realized with this expanded production set 200 years closer to the present the full message that Shakespeare cleverly concealed with the more prominent aspect of Hamlet's quandary, and that is he, Hamlet, is driven to distraction by the awareness its the insidiousness of human nature that created the conditions that saw his father murdered.

looking at the play with this insight you can see numerous scenes where this notion is there in the background. and by changing the era, Branagh shows yet again the astonishing applicability of that truth. all you need is to read a newspaper, something 'included' in this production.

thank god for British stage actors raised on Shakespeare.

a very rewarding viewing.
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