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johelinedvd's reviews view profile

Find out what the Jennifer Connelly thing is all about  
on May 31, 2002 - 11:44 AM PDT
  of Waking the Dead (2000)
11 out of 14 members found this review helpful

Jennifer Connelly is the en vogue Hollywood starlet, coming off of a string of strong performances including, Requirem for a Dream, Pollack, and her Oscar winning performance in A Beautiful Mind (diehards will also know her from Labyrinth and that she will be featured in the upcoming Hulk.

In Waking..., Connelly is Crudup's lost love. Similar to how Sela Ward was able to convey the depth of Harrison Ford's love and loss in The Fugitive, Jennifer Connelly really makes you feel like you just lost your life's love when she is tragically "killed". You go through the same emotions that Crudup portrays on screen.

This is the type of performance and movie that will get you to see all the rest of Connelly's movies just to skip to her scenes.

Also, Billy Crudup's performance should also be applauded. He both anchors and carries the movie as the central character, and you not only feel his anguish, you also share it. (Similarly, you may start adding Crudup movies to your queque).
Fall in love again  
on May 31, 2002 - 9:04 AM PDT
  of Chungking Express (Criterion) (1994)
14 out of 15 members found this review helpful

This is one of those films that you just end up adoring. It's 2 stories in one movie, but it's the second story that I really liked. It features Faye Wong (apparently a Hong Kong pop star, ala Madonna, making her acting debut, but who can actually act) who takes up the cause to covertly help a lonely cop refind love. Faye Wong is completely adorable, and her schemes to nurse the cop back from heartbreak are both funny and touching (almost "i Love Lucy"-esque). This is the type of movie that Hollywood would hand over to Nora Ephron with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan with much different, and less genuine results.
Watch with your significant other, and if you don't have one, find one.
Not Saving Private Ryan  
on April 30, 2002 - 10:20 AM PDT
  of The Thin Red Line (Criterion) (1998)
14 out of 14 members found this review helpful

Sean Penn delivers another brilliant and subtle performance as a sergeant just trying to do his job. Jim Caviezel anchors strong supporting performances all around. Nick Nolte is exceptionally powerful as a colonel battling personal and professional demons while also leading the assault.
This movie is mainly driven by internal monologues, surprisingly heart-felt flashbacks, and soft conversations, much more than battle sequences or plot points. Given it's running time, if you expecting an all-out action-war movie, this could prove to be a very long experience.
(one complaint is that the star studded cast tends to be distracting at times, leading you to go, Hey that's WHAT'S HIS NAME?, too often and disrupting the flow.)
Tall, green, windswept grass, bending and swaying in a dance. Idyllic. Pastoral. A place you would very much like to spend your quiet moments of a lazy dream-filled vacation. Too bad there is a war going on. A lush, beautifully shot film that juxtaposes the horror of war against magnificent natural beauty. A hypnotic, contemplative film that constantly balances the heroism of the combatants with their near paralyzing fear. Silent breezy calm interrupted by the intense bombardment of artillery. Quiet reflections on home, love, and a more peaceful place in face of the roaring intensity of battle.
The film accomplishes an extraordinary feat by presenting these almost contradicting images to reveal the conflicts of war, and more importantly, the conflicts of the men caught in war, their personal fears, strengths, and faults, and also the conflicts amongst the men driving the war along. The film's greatest accomplishment is to humanize war, that is, presenting war, not as a sentimental, glamorized, or romantic event, but rather as a gritty reality of men pitted against men, and men battling against themselves, and showing the personal cost of heroism.
Kiss of Death: a public service announcement  
on April 24, 2002 - 3:06 PM PDT
  of Kiss of the Dragon (2001)
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful

Just plain bad. Going into this movie, all I wanted and expected was some good ole ass kicking by Jet Li. As it turns out, the action is just okay, and easily forgettable, nothing to get overly excited by (also worth noting, this is not a wire-fu flick). What sends it into the dumpster is the filler, which you expect to be bad, but just enough to get you from one fight scene to the next. What you get is Bridget Fonda as the misplaced American prostitute, with the heart of gold, trying to win back her daughter from the crooked French police agent. What makes it so bad is that either 1. Bridget Fonda trying way too hard to deliver a solid acting performnace as the American prostitute, with the heart of gold, trying to win back her daughter from the crooked French police agent or 2. Bridget Fonda trying way too hard to deliver a campy performance as the American prostitute, with the heart of gold, trying to win back her daughter from the crooked French police agent. No amount of quality martial arts action could give back my time for having to sit through Jet Li out acting Bridget Fonda. What you wanted was a stupid Jet Li movie; what you got was a bad Bridget Fonda film. If you want to see a bad Bridget Fonda movie, may I suggest Point of No Return.
Stone's Driving Miss Daisy  
on April 22, 2002 - 5:24 PM PDT
  of Nixon (1995)
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful

First, it would be good to stress that this is not Nixon, but Oliver Stone's Nixon, Stone's interpretation of the man. Just as Amadeus is not a historically accurate presentation of facts, neither is Nixon. It is more helpful to view Nixon as an Elizabethan tragedy, set on the stage of the silver screen, but with names and places with which we are more familiar.

When I first saw the theatrical release of Nixon, I thought it was Stone's best work to date. Anthony Hopkins and Joan Allen delivers incredibly powerful and intense performances (just the fact that you stop asking "Anthony Hopkins as NIXON?" is a testament to the magnitude of the performnace). Paul Sorvino, James Wood, Ed Harris, JT Walsh, etc. may be the best support cast of recent times.

After seeing the director's cut, there is no doubt in my mind that it is Stone's crowning achievement (i've even upgraded my rating of the film). There are key differences in the two versions. 1. The additional time. It is not so much that the director's cut contains a plethora of new scenes, but that many scenes have been expanded. This most noticably affects the timing, editing, and pacing of the film. In comparison, the original release was noticably rushed and pared down to keep the film theater friendly. The luxury of DVD allows for a more in depth and nuanced look into Nixon's psyche and relationships. Stone also eliminated several scenes that were no longer needed to establish plot point in lieu of the extended time. 2. The portrayal of Nixon is slightly different. Stone's Nixon is more of an enigma and less judgemental, focusing more on the experiences and demons that shaped this man, his interaction with his aids (and their impressions of Nixon), and his relationship with his family, thus making the events much more tragic. 3. The film also conveys a greater sense of how a third rate buglary helped undermine what could have potentially been a great presidency that steered America and the world into a new age. In fact, Nixon did alter the course of America and the world, but with many unintended effects of a train derailment.
Did anyone try on this movie? SO BAD, almost great  
on April 17, 2002 - 11:34 AM PDT
  of Wolf (1994)
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful

One of the worst movies that you ever have the misfortune of seeing. (I'll preface this by saying that I saw it on a road trip when we couldn't get tickets to the July 4th ball game and fireworks show at the newly opened Jacob's Fields and had to find shelter somewhere). Jack seemed to take this role for the cash and the chance to get it on with Pfeiffer. Jack obviously got no play, because his work here is from a very dull boy. Pfeiffer seemed more concern with trying to keep a dirty old man off of her than acting or her career. Nichols must have been wondering how far he must have fallen to go from the Graduate to this trash. Spader was caught in the crossfire, but no one is an innocent bystander here. The score is equally awful: Scales played faster/slower/louder/softer to match the on screen action.
It was so bad, capping off an equally disasterous road trip, that this movie started to get entertaining halfway through because it is so bad and it just gets worse. We couldn't stop laughing by the end, and we had no alcohol! If ever a bad movie came close to going through the black hole to become great. Too bad they didn't make it. Is there anything lower than a 1??
Under-Rated/Hidden GemDetective Flick  
on April 10, 2002 - 1:42 PM PDT
  of Zero Effect (1998)
7 out of 7 members found this review helpful

I remember the tv commericals when this came out, and they couldn't decide whether this was a detective movie, a comedy, a Peter Sellers sendup, etc. Part of the problem was that this movie doesn't pigeon hole itself easily into a nice, easy, clearly defined niche. The main reason: this is a smart, funny, romantic film, that is also a first rate detective/ blackmail thriller. How things are pieced together, and the lengths that Bill Pullman (who you think more as a movie star, ala ID4, than as an actor) delivers a terrific performance as a PI whos has to extend himself, both as a detective and personally to get to the bottom of things. Kim Dickens absolutely captures you, much like Karen Allen in Raiders. Fine supporting work by Ben Stiller and Ryan "Love Story" O'Neal. This really is a true hidden gem.
The Fargo Fable  
on March 19, 2002 - 9:35 AM PST
  of Fargo (1996)
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful

Fargois one of those movies that makes you cry laughing, makes you wince and shield your eyes, and sticks in your head for days making you wonder why it affected you so much. If you are a fan of the Coen brothers, then you are in for a treat. It is filled with your favorite Coen's players (including Frances McDormand and Steve Buscemi) and imbued with that distinctively Coen sensibility, humor, wit, and visual flare (think of a cross of Blood Simpleand Miller's Crossing). Fargois a wildly funny flick with quirky characters and incredibly nuanced performances (especially William H. Macy, in probably his finest role).
But if it were simply a black comedy (that, unlike many recent black comedies, is actually funny), it would easily fade from memory. Fargois more than a comedy, a farce, a crime capper, or an extraneous gore fest.
Fargois also a modern fable about desperate and pathetic lives; their pettiness, stupidity, and inconsiderateness; and the degree people will go to break out of their situation. This includes Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy), who has gotten himself into such a hole, he has to arrange the kidnapping of his own wife. Wade Gustafson (Harve Presnell) who can't extend himself to help his own son-in-law out, because it's not the best business choice. Carl (Steve Buscemi) who blows a chance at riches over a stupid car. In the end, Fargoillustrates that these people can never escape their plight(no matter how hard they try) because they can't escape from themselves and all their own flaws. It?s the concerted weaving of every scene and every performance to underscore this point that elevates Fargointo one of the great movies in recent history.

american pimp  
on March 13, 2002 - 9:01 AM PST
  of American Pimp (1999)
6 out of 7 members found this review helpful

At times, you'll get confused whether you are watching a documentary or *i'm gonna git you sucka* because at times, *American Pimp* can be just as funny.
This is a look at pimping from the pimps POV. What is disalarming, is how charismatic, eloquent, entertaining, and charming these individuals can be, constrasted against the means they employ to continuely exploit their ladies.
You see the workings of the pimp world, which they call the "game"; and with every game, there are rules, parameters, and sportman-like behavior, but at the heart of it all, is money, and whatever they can do make sure that their ladies show them the money.

High and Low  
on March 4, 2002 - 11:52 AM PST
  of High and Low (Criterion Collection) (1962)
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful

A brilliant crime film from one of the all time great directors. This is yet another Toshiro Mifune and Akira Kurosawa collaborations. Mifune, possibly most familiar to American audiences from the Shogunmini-series, probably has never been more dignified and honorable as a business man torn between helping save his chauffeurs son and the consequences of doing the right thing. Where most modern crime films would have sped through and ended in a car chase, High and Lowtakes it time to layer the intensity, unravel the kidnapping, and provide a behind the scene glimpse into the leg work the police do to solve a case. Kurosawa, better known for his period pieces, shows again what a master director can do with any genre.
In the Company of Men  
on March 4, 2002 - 11:36 AM PST
  of In the Company of Men (1997)
9 out of 10 members found this review helpful

A truly disturbing look into how sleazy and despicable men can be. More distressing is the fact that you can easily name co-workers, schoolmates, family, and even friends that are exactly like the characters in this film. And the most is the fact of how much you end up laughing throughout. A black comedy centering around a couple of joes trying to make up for all the ?wrongs? women have ever done to them by wooing and dumping an unexpecting soul. What comes through is not merely a hatred of woman, but the blackness of their hearts. Shot with incredibly limited funds (which necessitated use of volunteers, cast and crew sleeping at the directors house, an 11-14 day-ish shoot, etc.), by the end of shooting, they only had enough film stock for 1 take; it did deter from the film, but the actors nailed their part dead-on.
American History X  
on February 26, 2002 - 2:16 PM PST
  of American History X (1998)
6 out of 7 members found this review helpful

Edward Norton give a great performace as the reformed-skin head. His mannerism, voice, and eyes convey the sense that if you were in the same room with him, you would be in very dangerous situation, quite unexpected since his other roles have been more mild mannered characters (even Fight Club).
Edward Furlong should also be mentioned, because his performance really anchors this movie to convey the sense of misguided youth
After Dark  
on February 26, 2002 - 2:08 PM PST
  of After Dark, My Sweet (1990)
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful

I saw this years ago, but have good memories of it. Mood and atmospheric; makes you sweat (from both the weather and the romance).
Rachel Ward (best known for the Thorn Birdsmini-series) seems just right for the part as is Bruce Dern (whose plays a creep).

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