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frog (6/19)



  1. In his defense, a few movies with good performances by Williams: The Night Listener (2006), The Final Cut (2004), One Hour Photo (2002). I am not saying these are necessarily great films, only that his acting in them is noteworthy. I've also enjoy his minor roles in other dramas. Without a doubt, his manic comedy shtick lost its dazzle a long time ago. But the same holds true for Steve Martin, Jim Carrey, and Jack Black (if you're looking for the real kiss of death). In my opinion, DeNiro is inept in the comedies he's been relegated to.
  2. Film critics loved Mullholland Dr. and it received a number of awards, but I think Lynch's Lost Highway (1997) is superior. It is almost like tagging along on a disturbing dream. Great cast, with Robert Blake as Mystery Man.
  3. Skyline directed by Colin Strause & Greg Strause. Written by Joshua Cordes & Liam O'Donnell. I went to this movie not expecting very much, but I still went away deeply disappointed. The Brothers Strause are respected visual effects wizards recognized for their work on big-budget films and music videos. In this case, they financed the movie on their own without studio backing, and it really shows. It bummed me to pay full ticket price for something that comes across as a mostly lackadaisical practice shot (for the writers and most of the actors as well). It is set almost entirely in an apartment complex, and hopes of escaping the claustrophobia only lead as far as the rooftop or the garage. However, if you're starved for fakey-looking fireball explosions, you'll get your fill. I consider 2/10 a generous rating for this drivel (that's out of respect for actors Donald Faison and David Zayas trying hard). I couldn't recommend it even when comes out as a DVD rental, which will be very soon, no doubt. Incidentally, the Brothers Strause also directed Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, still another sequel RyanTurtle can add to the cluster. I haven't seen that film, and after the Skyline experience, I don't intend to.
  4. Here's one from the intervening years: The Prestige (2006) Directed by Christopher Nolan. Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan & Christopher Nolan from the novel by Christopher Priest. Starring Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine. With Scarlett Johansson and David Bowie. This story about rival magicians was released about the same time as The Illusionist, another twisted magician story. In fact, I saw them both in the same week. The Prestige is much trickier, and, by my tastes, superior. It has shown up on TV, but don't think about watching it that way. It ought to be viewed without commercial interuption to be at all intelligible.
  5. The last few minutes of Carrie (1976).
  6. Not by a long shot! It's not bad, but it can't touch that classic.
  7. Public Enemies is unexpectedly ordinary. Writer/Director Michael Mann's story is missing focus and passion. You can usually count on Johnny Depp to bring something special to a character, but his John Dillinger is uninspired. Christian Bale is only a touch more interesting as G-Man Melvin Purvis. The Dillinger/Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard) romance starts out interesting, but, in the end, doesn't ring true. There are plenty of very good supporting actors (Billy Cruddup as J. Edgar Hoover, Giovanni Ribisi as Alvin Karpis, etc.), but they are just pasted into an assortment of events, historically accurate, apocryphal or completely invented. The movie employs lots of poetic license, except there's no real poetry. 7/10
  8. Coronet Blue was running through my brain today. It is probably way too obscure for the younger people here, but this short-lived show it was avant-garde and addictive in its day.
  9. Film critics loved Mullholland Dr. and it received a number of awards, but I think Lost Highway (1997) is David Lynch's real masterpiece. Have you seen that one?
  10. See MacGuffin (Wiki). And more in this article.
  11. Eagle Eye , the new one starring Shia LaBeouf. A film most deserving of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment. It travels way beyond the boundaries of what could charitably be called "farfetched". Swiping bits and pieces from the likes of 2001, Enemy of the State,The Fugitive,The Manchurian Candidate, Minority Report, Live Free or Die Hard, and Colossus: The Forbin Project, WarGames and Maximum Overdrive, the preposterous is heaped on the illogical. Send your mind on vacation. Surprisingly, there is considerable entertainment value in this movie's laughability. You just might be tempted to add to Eagle Eye's outright "who cares" absurdity, and toss a little riducule at the screen. 6/10
  12. You can rate any movies you've seen, and Netflix will make suggestions to you based on your preferences. The more movies you rate, the better that gets. They've got just about everything available on DVD, but what they display is only a small part of it. I will sometimes visit a video store without renting to just make a long list of potential choices, then read customer reviews on the Netflix site.
  13. Montagues and Capulets from Sergei Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet (1935-36)
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