Customer Reviews


136 Reviews
5 star:
 (47)
4 star:
 (47)
3 star:
 (17)
2 star:
 (11)
1 star:
 (14)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising and Impressive! (4.5 stars)
From all of the bad reviews this movie has been getting, I was expecting a pretty lousy movie. I really didn't think it was going to be that good, but I wanted to see it nonetheless because I love Al Pacino. I feel that no matter how bad a movie can be, as long as Al is in it I will be able to enjoy it on some level. To my surprise, "Simone" was extremely good and is a...
Published on February 13, 2003 by Michael Crane

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An intelligible and funny commentary on Hollywood.
Summary:
Viktor Taransky (Al Pacino) is a movie director who hasn't had much recent success. The movie begins with the star of his current film, Nicola Anders (Winona Ryder), walking off of the film when it is nearly complete. This ruins Viktor's career and his ex-wife, Elaine Christian (Catherine Keener), who is also his boss, fires him. As he is leaving the...
Published on March 31, 2003


‹ Previous | 1 214 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising and Impressive! (4.5 stars), February 13, 2003
By 
Michael Crane (Orland Park, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Simone (DVD)
From all of the bad reviews this movie has been getting, I was expecting a pretty lousy movie. I really didn't think it was going to be that good, but I wanted to see it nonetheless because I love Al Pacino. I feel that no matter how bad a movie can be, as long as Al is in it I will be able to enjoy it on some level. To my surprise, "Simone" was extremely good and is a lot better than what I was led to believe.
Viktor Taransky is in deep trouble when his leading actress decides to walk and not do the movie he is currently filming. The studio isn't very pleased with him and is willing to fire him due to what has just transpired. Taransky wants to make films, but hates the fact that HE ends up working for the actors when they should be working for him. Then he is presented with a gift: a simulated superstar who never leaves the computer screen. Taransky has a new actress and can control her every thought and movement. Pretty soon the whole world falls in love with the digitalized woman, Simone; unaware that it is all a big hoax. But alas, what goes up must come down at some point and things quickly get out of control when it seems like the world is doing nothing but worshipping the fake superstar.
I was VERY surprised by this movie! Created by the same man behind "The Truman Show," Andrew Niccol has given us a very clever satire on superstardom and just how far fame can go. It pokes fun at the fact that we are always quick to worship some kind of icon and that we can go to ridiculous lengths. The movie was highly entertaining and amazingly funny. Al Pacino is excellent, as always. Your eyes never leave the screen when he's on camera, and he can really by funny when he wants to without having to put in too much effort. Catherine Keener is also great in her role and really knows how to play the part. The rest of the cast was also very good as well. The movie was very well written and directed.
The DVD has a few neat features to offer. The picture quality is really crystal clear and the sound is great. (You even have the choice of watching it in DTS). The features on the DVD that are included are deleted scenes, two documentaries, a teaser trailer and the original theatrical trailer. While more features would've been nice, the ones that are on here are just fine. (You also get the choice of either watching the widescreen or fullscreen version of the film.)
"Simone" is a very creative and entertaining film that really surprised me from start to finish. I really was surprised with how much I liked it. This might not have been the best movie to go to a theatre to see, but it is a great one to watch at home. Filled with great comedy and a clever story, this is a wonderful film that you can watch over and over again. If you're in the mood for a creative comedy, or a really good Al Pacino flick, "Simone" could be the one for you to see. I am glad I gave it a chance.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pacino makes good rebound from insomnia, October 14, 2002
Al Pacino seemed very much back in his element in this right watchable flick, after his last movie had him lumbering around interminably, unable to sleep in the land of the midnight Sun. This time he plays a down-on-luck movie director whose career suddenly takes off spectacularly after he inherits a remarkable computer-animation device, called SIMULATION ONE. It can create on-screen images that viewers can't tell from real performers. With it he creates a "perfect" virtual "actress", whom he names "S1MONE", as a contraction of the device's name. Simone becomes such an overnight sensation of an "actress" that her creator is mobbed by fans and press vying for a glimpse of her. To explain why she never appears in person, he must start advancing a scenario that paints Simone to be the ultimate recluse. Doting fans still love her, and she soon wins two Oscars, which she accepts by remote video. Many seem to have trashed this movie. Maybe it offends some for being politically incorrect -- it's about an entity being entirely manipulated by a man, and that entity convincingly appears to the public to be a woman. Maybe that's too close for comfort for the PC crowd. Or maybe it's the more tangible threat posed by the likes of Simone, to eliminate the need for real flesh-and-blood actresses. But would the same not follow for actors as well? Anyhow, the plot thickens as Pacino's character finds he can pull Simone's cyberstrings and manipulate her into a cinematic sensation and a gold mine, but her burgeoning fame offscreen becomes more than he can deal with. He resolves he must end the illusion one way or another. I won't give away any more of what follows, but I for one do recommend it as a cinematic romp well worth the ride.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart and funny, one of my favorite films, January 11, 2006
This review is from: Simone (DVD)
This is a very smart, funny, and observant film about Hollywood, the media in general, and the public, and how they manipulate each other. Al Pacino plays Viktor Taransky, a film director who has made some good films in the past, but has a difficult time dealing with the childish whims of spoiled stars. When his current leading lady Nichola Anders (Winona Ryder) walks off the set, the studio pulls the plug on his latest project, and Viktor finds himself suddenly struggling to keep his career alive, He receives a computer program from a fan which allows him to create a virtual actress, who he names Sim One, or Simone, who he then digitally inserts into all the scenes which Nichola had formerly occupied, and finishes his film. The film (titled "Sunrise, Sunset") opens to astonishing reviews, and everyone wants to know about this new starlet. Viktor is concerned about maintaining the illusion that Simone is an actual person, so much of the rest of the movie is devoted to providing necessary media exposure for Simone, while concealing the fact that she doesn't really exist outside of a computer. Viktor cleverly arranges for remote interviews on popular talk shows, even a "live" (actually holographic) concert appearance. One very funny sequence involves arranging for Simone to be seen driving in freeway traffic, and conversing with Viktors ex-wife Elaine, who is driving in an adjacent car. In another scene, Viktor simulates spending an evening with Simone in a posh hotel, knowing that papparazzi are outside waiting for any glimpse of her. He thus cleverly links himself to Simone even more closely in the media spotlight, and enhances his own fame. Simones second film ("Eternity Forever") only increases the adoration which the public and the media hold for her. A funny inside joke takes place at the awards ceremony following the second film, where the three actresses who were nominated besides Simone all have computer names (Claris Apple, Lisa Packard, and Lotus Corel). A similar joke was to be included in the credits for "Sunrise, Sunset", which unfortunately, was cut from the theatrical release, but is included in the special features of the DVD. As the credits roll, everyone connected with the film other than Simone has the name of a computer or software company. There is also a very humorous sub-plot in which suspicious journalists from a newsmagazine called "The Echo" stalk Viktor in an attempt to uncover the truth about Simone. Certain that Viktor is hiding something, their efforts are marred by one of them liking Simone just a little bit TOO much. Although they collect a lot of "evidence", they overlook the obvious conclusion.

As the deception continues, Viktors lies about Simone begin to take on a life of their own. Gradually, Viktor begins to exhibit signs of schizophrenia, as he provides the voice (suitably modulated by computer) for Simone, and he begins having two-sided conversations with Simone. Eventually, "her" personality begins to diverge from his, and demonstrates the beginnings of independence. Viktor tries to tell the truth to his ex-wife, Elaine (with whom he hopes to reconcile), but when he tells her that he made Simone, she replies "No Viktor, she made you". At this point, Viktor decides it is time to end Simones career, and he makes a film intended to ruin her in the public eye ("I Am Pig"). His plan backfires and the audiences view the film as an emotially moviing work of the highest calibre. He sabotages her appearance on another talk show, making her look something like Courtney Love and having her say controversial, intentionally unpopular things (such as "God created furry animals to be worn"), but nothing he does can make the public dislike Simone. In desperation, Viktor announces that she has died, and subsequently finds himself charged with her murder.

Attempts to clear his name meet with failure, and only the intervention of his computer-savvy daughter save Viktor from certain conviction and likely execution, given Simones popularity.

Al Pacino plays Viktor as an experienced, and perhaps somewhat weary, but brilliant master of his craft. In his mind, the director and the studio makes the star by providing them a means of expression in film. But he feels that stars mock their directors and studios, and so he seizes the opportunity to use someone like Simone to create his masterpieces. Rachel Roberts is absolutely luminous as Simone, and I hope to see her in other films. She is simply amazing. Very high marks also to Evan Rachel Wood, who played Viktors daughter Lainey, smart, cute, and emotionally mature beyond her years. Winona Ryder is great as Nichola Anders, the spoiled star who walks off the set, but returns later to read for a part as a supporting character in a movie with Simone. She does get a chance to show a small sample of her genuine acting ability, and it is impressive.

The film pokes good natured fun at Hollywood and the media, and also makes some good points about the manner in which some stars become almost gods, worshipped by millions of fans, and how people are inclined to make very favorable assumptions about those who they adore.

This was a VERY funny film, full of sly irony, well-written and well-acted, which deserved to do better at the theatres. That it didn't do better is probably because most of the humor is more of a subtle, intellectual sort, and I suspect many of the jokes went over the heads of much of the audience, i.e. many probably just didn't "get" the joke mentioned above involving the names of the other actresses at the awards ceremony. This is not a "National Lampoon" sort of film at all.

Rather, "Simone" is as nearly a perfect comedy as I can recall ever seeing. The only improvement I can think of would have been to leave in some of the deleted scenes (however, I suppose the decision was made to prevent the film from being too long, as it is nearly two hours AFTER being cut. The DVD includes almost 20 deleted scenes, so it would have been a very long film had they not been cut). In addition to the deleted scenes, the special features also includes two trailers, and two documentaries on the making of "Simone", including interviews with Rachel Roberts, and others connected with the film. I am very pleased to have this DVD. Its a keeper.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy and reality walk hand in hand in S1M0NE., June 16, 2003
By 
This review is from: Simone (DVD)
S1M0NE is directed by New Zealander Andrew Niccol (GATTACA, writer of TRUMAN SHOW) and stars Al Pacino. Pacino plays film director Victor Taransky who has a falling out with an egotistical and talentless actress Nicola Anders (Winona Ryder), which results in Taransky being dumped by his production company. To add insult to injury Victor's ex-wife works there and must break the news to him.
But luckily for Victor, a guardian angel appears in the guise of Hank Aleno, a computer geek who lost his right eye to a tumor (The result of too much time sitting close to a computer). Aleno enlists Victor to help breathe life into his project. Unfortunately Hank dies but leaves Victor a gift in his will: S1M0NE (an acronym for Simulation One, played by the very real newcomer Rachel Roberts): History's first artificial, manufactured movie star with all the prerequisites a director dreams of: Talent, beauty and no ego. Described as having "The voice of a young Jane Fonda, the body of Sophia Loren, the grace of Grace Kelly and the face of Audrey Hepburn combined with an angel". When S1M0NE's debut film SUNRISE, SUNSET is released it becomes an instant hit and rises Taransky's career from the doldrums overnight. The only problem is that nobody knows this brilliant new screen sensation is a fake. So Victor must work twice as hard hiding the truth from Hollywood, the paparazzi and the public. As Pacino says in the movie: "It's easier to make 100,000 believe than just 1".
Soon S1M0NE is catapulted almost overnight to the status of the World's #1 Movie Star, endorsing her own cologne, recording CDs and even having a yacht christened after her- but journos soon start latching on to the charade. To make matters worse Taransky's ex-wife thinks he's having an affair and the world thinks he's controlling S1M0NE against her will. Taransky decides the only way to escape is to destroy S1M0NE's reputation: but these efforts only serve to add to her celebrity. How will Victor get away with this?
S1M0NE is far superior to THE TRUMAN SHOW, and although it takes a while to get going, once it does S1M0NE is a very good movie. Film buffs will especially enjoy it, with its clever concept and all round good performances. Director Niccol also scores a few brownie points for not making this drown in whimsy like TRUMAN did.
DVD extras include an "All Access Pass" to trailers, deleted/alternate scenes and two featurettes, "Cyber Stardom" and "Simulating Simone".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tinseltown pokes fun at its own Make-Believe, September 17, 2002
So, what does a third-tier, struggling director do when his temperamental female lead quits the picture because her trailer isn't the biggest on the studio lot, and then gets fired by the studio boss who also happens to be his ex-wife?. Reminisce, certainly, about Hollywood's Golden Age when the studios literally owned the stars in their stables and the almighty directors didn't have to put up with such horse doody. At least, that what Viktor Taransky (Al Pacino) does in SIMONE, and then some.
As luck would have it, Taransky is bequeathed a miracle piece of high tech software, Simulation One, by its genius inventor, recently dead of an ocular tumor caused by too long and too close attention to his computer display. Using it, Taransky secretly generates his virtual and 100% controllable star, SIMONE. Unleashed on unsuspecting film audiences via a series of kitschy films, Viktor's creation takes on a life of "her" own. She's adored by millions, and indestructible. SIMONE becomes the tail that wags Viktor's dog.
Unfortunately, a lot is askew with this film. Pacino acts his heart out, but perhaps comedy isn't his forte. Catherine Keener as his ex, Elaine, is totally unbelievable as the studio head, who, even though she admits having slept and groveled her way to the top, surely can't be so dense as not to realize something about her studio's biggest star is amiss. Lainey (Evan Rachel Wood), the couple's daughter, is cute and well-adjusted almost to the point of nausea. And the simple mechanics of the legerdemain by which Taransky presents SIMONE to the world stretches credulity. I mean, assuming Viktor didn't install that hologram generator on top of the L.A. Coliseum all by himself, wouldn't those who did be just a little suspicious? And what computer accepts five and a quarter inch floppy disks anymore for chrissakes? However, the character of the sleazy tabloid publisher hot on Simone's trail is droll in an icky sort of way. More importantly, the film is redeemed by its pointed commentary on the nature of the Make-Belive which Hollywood creates and which the fans cling to beyond all reason. Are we so starved for heroes that we can be hopelessly bedazzled by whatever pretty fantasy package is presented to us, no matter the depth of the illusion? (Yes, well, politicians do it all the time, don't they?) The irony is that technology will soon likely be able to create a cinematic SIMONE in "real life", and then we shall see.
Oh, and who's the actress who plays SIMONE? According to the end credits, which maintain the fiction, SIMONE appears as herself. A few minutes of diligent searching on the Web will provide her identity, and then you'll have the answer for the trivia question posed around the office water cooler. I'll never tell.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I'm The Death Of Real" ~ "When In Doubt, Do It The Taransky Way", December 28, 2005
This review is from: Simone (DVD)
Entertaining and thought provoking venture into cyberspace and a possible future in which holographic reality and the physical world as we know it may eventually intersect.

Viktor Taransky (Al Pacino) a washed up, recently unemployed motion picture director discovers the perfect actress to resurrect his career from a soon to be deceased computer expert named Hank Aleno (Elias Koteas). This perfect actress is Simone (Rachel Roberts), a computer generated holographic image controlled by Taransky. What director could ask for anything more?

'Simone' takes a much needed slap at the all-pervasive media exposure that so dominates our culture and challenges us to look beyond the facade and illusory nature of the entertainment industry and learn to discern.

Refuse to submit to the lemming effect and the destructive nature of modern day hero worship. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bold and Thought-Provoking, February 2, 2003
By 
Donna Reynolds (Syracuse, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Simone (DVD)
This was a bold film. It spoke to the seemingly insatiable appetite of the American public for pop icons as well as the tendency for artists to be demanding prima-donnas. We are all under the microscope in this one.
Al Pacino is excellent as a director, frustrated in his attempts to convert his vision to the screen. The opening scenes with Wynona Ryder as a demanding starlet can't be too far from the truth. Pacino creates a beautiful, computer generated actress who captivates the public, leading to mass-hysteria.
Rachel Roberts as Simone is incredible and believable. I found myself wondering if in fact she was real at all. The premise is so credible and the acting so perfect that the viewer easily buys into the technology.
The plot is fairly predictable at times which detracts from my overall rating. But the story is one that stayed with me after the movie was over. How far away are we from this level of technology? We are already using computer-generated people in film. Imagine the possiblilties.
This movie certainly did not receive the recognition is deserved and I predict that it will find a niche with the rental crowd. Well worth a viewing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated, April 28, 2003
By 
Amazon Customer "bigbadaboom" (New York, New York United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Simone (DVD)
I had stayed away from this movie based on the lukewarm reviews it had on release. However I watched this last night on cable and have to say that I think this movie is very underrated. First of all, it's a very funny movie - the comedy ranges from the witty (the Hank Aleno eye puns) to the slapstick (Pacino's lipstick scene) to other genuine laugh out loud moments.
Those viewing it on face value and without an appreciation of subtext, may not see much in this film. However it has a great deal to say about religion, Hollywoods shallowness, the public's need for heroes and what the increasing photorealism of computer graphics might mean for the future. How much we can really trust our eyes in the coming digital world?
Simone has a great script and great performances, so if you appreciate Niccol's previous work (Gattaca, Truman Show), check this film out. It's worth your while.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much Better Than I Thought, August 11, 2003
By 
T. A. Wauldron "iamtoddicus" (Magalia, Ca United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Simone (DVD)
The current reviews do this film great justice. This IS a nice movie, with a lot more depth than one would have imagined for the premise. I really thought Hollywood might screw up a great idea. They usually do.
Read the other reviews for praise. Mine is just to throw in a few extras. Kudos for the portrayal of the media masses swarming like sharks to ferret out the private life of a new celebrity actress, who exists only in a digital reality.
Pacino - superb as the down-trodden producer. Looks younger at the beginning of the film, and as Simone (his computer generated protege played by Rachel Roberts), wins the film world, his appearence ages as the stress of maintaining the facade takes its toll. There is a poignant moment in the film, when Pacino is creating Simone's voice in a taped interview. In that moment, he makes you realize he loves his creation, and at the same time, becomes aware of his own underlying Hollywood narcissism as Simone is as an extention of his own personality and creativity.
Wynnona Ryder surprised the hell out of me with a great 60 second performance. When she comes back to audition for a part as the sister of Simone in a future film, she makes Pacino realize that he has lost his human touch, in creating a digital starlette.
As to the Hollywood stereotypes; There is the logical father/daughter connection. The Hollywood CEO wife who re-identifies with her washed out husband/producer. There is the empotional rediscovery beteween said wife and producer.
But in all, it is Pacino who is the focus of the film (I would have thought Simone would have dominated, and thank you for letting Pacino's angst control the pace...).
A DVD well worth renting and watching several times. Comedic, yet deeper than the the other reviewers recognise, I give Pacino credit for being able to lift a good script into a very very nice film.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good movie, quite original, November 15, 2005
By 
This review is from: Simone (DVD)
Good movie, interesting plot. Great acting by Al, as usual.

It's fun to read some amazon's reviews, such as the one below by Mr. Leo Williams (DRATER A THAW <--read from R to L) who missed the whole point of the movie but still takes time to write a review that made me laugh out loudly. Thank you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 214 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Simone
Simone by Andrew Niccol (DVD - 2003)
$9.98 $3.95
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.