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All Is Lost [Blu-ray]
All Is Lost [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Robert Redford
Offered by Expedited Warehouse
Price: $9.92
41 used & new from $2.49

5.0 out of 5 stars All is Great in All is Lost, January 23, 2016
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This review is from: All Is Lost [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
When you watch many movies over time you tend to enjoy a movie that is unique; something uncommon that stands out from other movies. This movie has no backstory. It also has no dialogue because there is only one character, Robert Redford, as "Our Man'. He has little to say throughout his fight for survival against the uncontrollable natural world in which he finds himself trapped.

Silence and desperation are powerful elements in a movie. The silence allows-no,compels-your imagination to fill in the blanks of the protagonist's thoughts and emotions. Without dialogue an actor conveys desperation and a full range of emotion through visual expression, and Robert Redford does it masterfully.

It is fascinating to watch the intensity that Redford brings to the role as he faces the relentless adversity that nature visits upon him. Whether it is a leaking vessel, a devastating storm, or lack of food, the tenacity of Our Man is fascinating to watch. You will be awed along with Redford as he faces the vastness of the sea and the plight in which he finds himself. This is a movie well worth viewing. It takes patience to allow the movie to develop but your patience will be rewarded as you are drawn into his predicament.You will find yourself not only trying to figure out his inner thoughts about each challenge, but also simultaneously attempting to solve the problems yourself. Prepare to immerse yourself in your own thoughts in an attempt to survive.


The Fourth Angel
The Fourth Angel
DVD ~ Jeremy Irons
Price: $6.59
71 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Revenge of the Fourth Horseman, February 2, 2014
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This review is from: The Fourth Angel (DVD)
Jeremy Irons is journalist Jack Elgin. His wife and two daughters are killed during a failed airline hijack attempt on the way to India. The plane is diverted as part of the hijacking plot to Cyprus. The hijackers demand and get $50 million. They are Serbian mobsters. Left a widower, with only his very young son, Elgin is tortured by the guilt and loss of the rest of his family.

He is encouraged, off the record, by CIA operative, Davidson (Jason Priestley) to track the hijackers down. With the help of an ex-terrorism analyst, Charlotte Rampling, he finds and kills three of them. Forrest Whitaker arrives as an FBI agent assigned to recover the money. He and Priestley are almost straight men for what is definitely a star vehicle for Jeremy Irons.

If you like Jeremy Irons you will like this movie. The script and plot are weak, but his performance is, as usual, unique and nearly flawless. Unlike Liam Neeson in "Taken", Irons' character is not a skilled operative. His portrayal as an unskilled, but determined, avenger is well-played. It is what makes this movie interesting He is the type of bravura performer who can convey feeling and emotion with a look, a glance, a short phrase. That is very fortunate for the viewer since the script is pretty weak.

The backstory throughout the movie is whether the hijacking was motivated by politics or money. That answer to that question provides the twist necessary to make the film acceptable. But make no mistake. Without Jeremy Irons' performance the viewer probably would not care.


The Thin Man
The Thin Man
DVD
Price: $2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Standard Setting Film, October 26, 2013
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This review is from: The Thin Man (Amazon Video)
This film, released right after the end of Prohibition, set the standard of the suave, hip glamor detective of the 1930's. William Powell and Myrna Loy, as Nick and Nora Charles, are a wealthy pair of newlyweds from California are visiting Nick's old haunts from his days as a private detective in new York City. William Powell with the requisite dark hair and mustache for a leading man at the time "tipsies" his way through his martini-ridden role with aplomb. Myrna Loy's Nora is exquisitely beautiful, successful, wealthy and perfectly cast as a Zelda Fitzgerald-like spoiled playgirl.

The disappearance of a young Maureen O'Hara's scientist father is the catalyst for the action. Nora pushes Nick to get involved in the case in order to see him work and as a way to keep their holiday party going. Suspects are numerous and colorful. Caesar Romero appears in one of his first roles as a polygamous gigolo. There is a greedy ex-wife, an unfaithful mistress, a stool pigeon, and plenty of red herrings thrown in for good measure.

No kidding, the movie climaxes with one of the original dinner table revelations of the killer, so wonderfully mined by many comics since. Based on a Dashiel Hammett novel the movie still works almost 80 years after its release. It is well worth the price and is the first of a series of "Thin Man" movies that were released from 1934 through 1947. A lot of fun and worth seeing if only for the table scene and the terrible pun on the train at the end of the movie.


Dirty Pretty Things
Dirty Pretty Things
DVD ~ Chiwetel Ejiofor
Offered by The Thunder Cats
Price: $9.79
86 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Before "12 Years a Slave", May 23, 2012
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This review is from: Dirty Pretty Things (DVD)
This is an example of a very good movie that was not promoted properly. This look at the underbelly of modern London is fascinating. In "Dirty Pretty Things" the viewer is taken beneath the usual staid and proper face of the city to its dirty tenements and nasty underworld. And we're not invited into a lower-class colorful Cockney world.

Instead, we are shown into a world teeming with immigrants, legal and illegal, from all over the world, trying to survive in a brutal world without mercy for the defenseless. It is a world filled with sweatshops you would expect to see in a third world country, prostitutes, and predators of every stripe.The legal immigrant is Senay, a Turkish Muslim played by the lovely Audrey Tautou. She displays the wide range of her acting talent in a role quite different fron the whimsical pixie she portayed in "Amelie". She is a housekeeper in the aptly named Baltic Hotel.

Her counterpart is Okwe, an illegal immigrant from Nigeria, a former doctor who is now a taxi driver and night desk clerk at the same hotel where Senay works and is allowed to sleep on her couch when she is not there. I don't know where they found Chitwetel Ejiofor, but he has star potential. He actually steals this movie in my opinion, even with an outstanding performance by Tautou.

The two of them are thrown together by happenstance. Each is preyed upon by the type of vultures that haunt a large city's underbelly. Senay is sexually exploited by a sweatshop owner. Okwe is exploited by Sneaky Juan the kind of underworld denizen always working an angle at some vulnerable immigrant's expense. He co-opts Okwe into using his medical skill for an outrageously immoral scheme in exchange for fake passports for Okwe and Senay. After their experience in the London underworld these two immigrants want to emigrate.

The satisfying irony of how Okwe obtains the passports from Sneaky Juan, and then turns the tables on him, is worth the price of admission itself. It involves a very clever plot twist. The movie has a bittersweet ending but that is hardly a negative for this gem. Very nicely done and well worth seeing. With wider distribution this could have been a foreign film winner.


David Copperfield
David Copperfield
DVD ~ Freddie Bartholomew
Offered by arastash
Price: $32.99
28 used & new from $4.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Film Classic, May 20, 2012
This review is from: David Copperfield (DVD)
This is a film classic on a large scale. You may expect that when George Cukor is the director. and the producer is David O. Selznick of "Gone with the Wind" fame. This was a time when the Hollywood studios controlled the actors and built up a vast stable of talent. MGM studio enlisted some of its best for this movie.

The movie made Freddie Bartholomew a huge child film star. W.C. Fields is cast perfectly as Mr. Micawber, the deadbeat with a heart of gold whose opportunity for success is always just around the corner. Basil Rathbone does his usual great acting as Davy's cruel father-in-law, Mr. Murdstone. Lionel Barrymore is solid as the plain and beneficent old salt, Daniel Peggotty. The supporting cast is also full of some of the greatest character actors in film. Also included is a very young and beautiful Maureen O' Sullivan as Davy's wife, Dora.

Most who read this review know the story of Charles Dickens's greatest novel and do not need a retelling here. What they will be happy to know is how well the movie follows the novel, unlike so many other movies that do not. Full of colorful characters, sharply drawn good and bad, and grand in its scale, parents and children can enjoy this youthful and innocent story of its time. Not only is the novel a period piece of its time. David Copperfield, the movie, is one of its time as well. This movie is well worth seeing, at any age, almost seventy years after its making, whether you have read the novel or not.


Till Human Voices Wake Us
Till Human Voices Wake Us
DVD ~ Guy Pearce
Offered by Flix4U
Price: $17.49
35 used & new from $0.85

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Till Human Voices Wake Us Up And Tell Us The Movie Is Over, May 19, 2012
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This review is from: Till Human Voices Wake Us (DVD)
Guy Pearce is a psychologist (Dr. Sam Franks) who returns to Australia from his teaching position in London for his father's funeral. He returns reluctantly because of a tragic memory associated with the place where he grew up. He meets Helena Bonham Carter on a train traveling home for the funeral. She disappears from the train and Pearce doesn't see her again until he saves her from a suicide attempt. Her name is Ruby and to go further with the significance of the name would be to reveal the movie's secret.

Ruby does and says a number of things that remind Franks of a very painful part of his past. The problem with this is that the time spent in flashbacks limits the amount of screen time for Pearce and Bonham Carter. This movie is overloaded with flashbacks to a fault. I'm not sure how Guy Pearce and Bonham Carter received top billing except that they provide the box office star power to draw an audience.

Most of the acting and screen time is taken by two youthful actors used in the flashbacks. Lindley Joyner plays young Sam Frank and Margot Knight plays Silvy Lewis, his youthful love interest. They spend most of their time on a bicycle playing word association games and creating other memories that come back to haunt Pearce after his return home. I did not purchase this movie to see them. I bought it to see Pearce and Bonham Carter, both very accomplished actors.

The flashbacks are much too numerous to maintain the pace of the movie and so even though it only runs 101 minutes, it seems to go on and on. The lack of screen time for the stars and the slow pace of the movie make for a less than enjoyable movie experience. The secret revealed at the end is not surprising and the resolution of the problem it poses is not effective. I can't recommend this one.


Violette
Violette
DVD ~ Isabelle Huppert
14 used & new from $14.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reality Stranger Than Fiction, May 13, 2012
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This review is from: Violette (DVD)
Based upon a true story, an impoverished young girl, Violette Noziere (Isabelle Huppert), lives in a suffocating little flat in Paris with her parents. She habitually sneaks out of her home to engage in sexually promiscuous behavior. She has loving parents. Her father and mother are sweet, affectionate, simple people. Her father, Baptiste, played by Jean Carmet is a retired railroad engineer. His greatest joy is simply playing cards with his wife, Germaine(played by Stephane Audran), with Violette in attendance.

Unknown to her parents, at the ripe age of 18, Violette keeps a room in another part of Paris for liaisons with young men as a prostitute. Violette gets syphilis from an unknown client. She discovers from a medical student that the disease can be inherited and is able to convince her parents that it has happened in her case. Her parents never consult the doctor who made the diagnosis. This would be incredible except that this movie is based upon a true story and they obviously prefer their daughter's version of the truth more than finding out for themselves.

Violette eventually falls desperately in love with a young man she meets in a bar named Jean Dabin (Jean-Francois Garreaud). Her "love" for this handsome yet unambitious young man finally unleashes the psychopathy which she has manifested with smaller bad acts earlier in the movie. It leads her to use her earnings as a prostitute to buy him suits, watches, and has her aspire to marry him. She even steals her father's ring to give it to him as a present. Dabin takes all of the bounty Violette provides him but remains totally emotionally uninvolved, leaving for the countryside.

While Dabin is gone Violette resolves that the only way to have him is to kill her parents and steal their savings. Violette uses packets of medicine supposedly prescribed by the doctor to treat the family's non-existent disease. In fact she is poisoning the parents. She engages in a grisly sociopathic feast after her attempted killing of her parents. Throughout the movie director Claude Chabrol uses flashbacks to create a purposeful confusion as to what is true and what is false in Violette's later version of events when she is arrested and tried for the murder of her father and the attempted murder of her mother. The murder set off a true hysteria in France as the country tried to cope with a case of unfeeling and unprecedented parricide in 1933.

Huppert was only twenty-five when she made this movie. Director Claude Chabrol dressed her in black dress, hat and coat in the best tradition of the femme fatale. But it did not take a lot of creative genius to do it. Her dress duplicates the dress of the real Violette you will find in the news of that day. This was the first of a number of films upon which Chabrol and Huppert collaborated. You can see the brilliance of one of France's greatest actresses in the making in this early film. It is chilling because it is real. A true Edgar Allen Poe horror story you will enjoy.


Innocents with Dirty Hands
Innocents with Dirty Hands
DVD ~ Romy Schneider
Price: $11.99
27 used & new from $6.27

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Chabrol's Best, May 12, 2012
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This review is from: Innocents with Dirty Hands (DVD)
This is a mystery of first-rate caliber by Claude Chabrol. There are always unfortunate references to Hitchcock whenever Chabrol is mentioned. Those references show a lack of understanding between mystery and suspense. Chabrol is bound to suffer by comparison to the master of suspense. His work, however, is a very good body of work in the mystery-thriller genre. "Innocents with Dirty Hands" is one of his best.

Rod Steiger gives a great performance as Louis Wormser, a retired and wealthy man living with his beautiful trophy wife in Saint Tropez. The gorgeous, statuesque, and elegant Romy Schneider (Julie) is a perfect counterpart to Steiger's role as an inadequate (in a number of ways) husband. Her plot with a young lover, Jeff, to kill her husband sets off a myriad of permutations in the twists and turns of this excellent movie. Loyalty, love, greed, lust, and shifting loyalties all reveal themselves in each of the main characters at different times.

The viewer will also enjoy the bravura turn of Jean Rochefort as Julie's lawyer. Yes, Schneider does appear beautifully nude in the opening scene and it is unfortunate that that has been disclosed by other reviewers. It takes part of the 'mystery" out of the mystery. It also deprives the viewer who appreciates a striking opening scene of a real treat. The opening scene to any movie is very important in setting the tone and to a movie's plot development. The scene with Julie, Jeff, and the kite is a masterful opening to a movie well worth seeing.


Summer
Summer
DVD ~ Marie Rivière
19 used & new from $13.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Poor Little Delphine, May 11, 2012
This review is from: Summer (DVD)
Delphine, played by the appealing Marie Riviere, is a Parisian secretary with four weeks of summer vacation and nowhere to go once a girlfriend cancels on her. She spends the next few weeks alone, even while in the company of others. She is not a misanthrope but she is unable to relate to those around her and her emotional vulnerability makes her very appealing. The viewer will root for her.

After a series of social disappointments,caused by her strongly held but eccentric views about life, from vegetarianism to men, she nears the end of her vacation. Rejecting the promiscuity of a young Swedish acquaintance she meets on a beach Delphine holds out for her idea (ideal) of love. The film ends on a promising note as she watches the last green ray of the sun in Bayonne (Normandy, New Jersey) with a young man she meets at the Biarritz train ststion.

It is true as another reviewer mentioned that this film is greatly improvised. The problem is that it is not improvised very well and the fact that it is a film poorly transferred to a DVD format gives it an amatuerish feel. This is not in the same league with "My Night at Maud's" or "Chloe in the Afternoon". It's OK, but below Rohmer's standards.


Malice
Malice
DVD ~ Alec Baldwin
Offered by Shop With Mom, LLC
Price: $38.90
47 used & new from $4.35

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Run of the Mill, May 7, 2012
This review is from: Malice (DVD)
This movie is a bland pastiche of the mystery genre and not much more. The fact that is a genre movie does not necessarily mean that the movie is trite or bad. The test of a genre movie is not its formula but how well the formula is executed. That depends on the writing, acting, and directing. This movie falls short on all counts, most especially the writing and plot development, which generate the poor acting performances.

"Malice" provides an underwhelming turn by Nicole Kidman as a far less brilliant schemer than portrayed by Kathleen Turner in "Body Heat". A weeny performance by Bill Pullman (Nicole's husband, Andy) greatly diminishes the movie's possibilities. Alec Baldwin plays a masterful surgeon with a "God Complex." OK. But he plays it like a psycho rather than a sociopath. All combine to make the viewer think, "I've seen all of this done better before." And you have. The poor writing and plot development contribute greatly to the poor performances.

The movie opens with a rape of a young college student by a serial killer who has botched the job and an emergency room scene establishing that Alec Baldwin, as Dr. Jed Hill, is brilliant. He saves the young woman's life with a creative and risky medical move. No one knows why he is working at the local hospital since he is much too sophisticated to be there. It is needed, though, as an essential part of the plot. Nicole Kidman is an elementary education teacher at the local school. Husband Andy is an administrator at the local college who, as soon as he meets Baldwin immediately develops a man-crush for him. They attended high school together and Andy seems to never have gotten over the experience.

Pullman's characterization as a self-described "mild-mannered" man is outstandingly bad. He manages to make himself, as a victim, more contemptuous than empathetic. His mild-mannered performance comes off as more wimpy than mild. Toward the end of the movie the viewer is presented with a histrionic, unintentionally funny, fall from a twenty foot high balcony stairway ala "The War of the Roses". They then get up as though they had just walked down the stairs. All limbs unbruised or broken. The scene has Kidman manhandling Andy which by this time in the movie is credible since Andy has shown himself to be such a week-kneed naif.

The action takes place in the Boston area. Only Bebe Neuwirth, as a detective trying to solve the serial killings, and Anne Bancroft, as Nicole's alcoholic mother, bother to adopt a Boston accent. Everyone else sounds like they are imports from the Midwest. The one innovation in the movie is using serial killing as a peculiarly poor red herring subplot rather than as the main topic of the movie. Not a great idea. Amusingly, there is a serial killer loose on a college campus and Bebe Neuwirth complains that she doesn't have enough manpower. No credible explanation is given or even attempted to explain why no other police departments or state authorities are called in to help find the killer.

One interesting sidebar is the appearance of Gwyneth Paltrow. At the age of twenty-one she apprentices in this movie as student fodder for the serial killer. She gives a brief but credible performance. Little did we know back in 1993 what a huge star she would become. I am not saying to pass on this movie. Just don't expect much merely because Nicole Kidman and Alec Baldwin are doing star turns.


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