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This film sticks with me
I saw Dominion about three weeks ago and I'm still thinking about it. It's not the greatest movie ever made but it still was quite good despite its flaws (such as the lousy special effects).
Does Satan influence humans to do evil? Yes, at least in the movie he does. He plays on anger and fear. He posses the young deformed native man but in a way he possess everyone and uses their anger, fear, and guilt against them. This is what made the film intriguing.
I also loved the idea of the church being built over a pagan site to keep the evil at bay. Churches have been built over pagan sites maybe not for that reason but that made the film quite interesting as well.
As Roger Ebert put it the "film takes evil seriously." You don't get that too often in horror films and in most American films. The film is not a jump at and scare you thriller it's scary in an intellectual way and that does not happen too often in films.
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Intense and Powerful Work of Art
Well, I saw it and it's intense and powerful. I'll be honest, I am a
practicing Catholic, so I buy into the belief that Jesus is the Savior
of the World, Died for my sins, is God Incarnate, etc. It is a
beautifully made film. Some of the stuff with Satan does not work.
There are some historical inaccuracies but the film is a work of art
and not a documentary. Jim Caviezel who I loved in "The Thin Red
Line" (which is my favorite film of all time) made a great Jesus. He
is probably my favorite Jesus on film, though I loved Robert Powell
in "Jesus of Nazareth" (it's been so long since I've seen "The
Greatest Story Ever Told" that I can't remember what Max Von
Sydow's performance was like but I'm sure it was good). Is this
what Jesus really went through? Probably close to it. From a
Catholic point of view I like how the film showed that Grace exists
in a sinful and brutal world. I think the brutality was appropriate for
the film (though I would not show it to little kids). I think it is good
for people to know what Jesus went through no matter what they
believe about him. If he had not gone through what he went
through then there would be no Christianity. Some people would
say that is good, but there would have been no Francis of Assisi,
Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dietrich Bonhoffner, John
XXIII, or Oscar Romero. These people are all lights that shine in
darkness in which the darkness will never put out. (That's from
John Chapter 1). There would also be no great works of art like
Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel or some of the world's greatest
music the like Ave Maria (though that is about Jesus' mother) or
Amazing Grace. Probably the strongest point of the film is that it shows that
Jesus was a real person with a real personality. The flashback
scenes work really well. I would not have minded a few more
flashbacks actually. It showed that he loved everyone even though
there was a lot of hatred for him. As for anti-Semitism, I did not think it was. The Romans were
the real brutes. Caiphas and the other Temple priests were not
shown in a positive but they were not in the Gospels either. There
were Jews in the priesthood that did not like the way Jesus was
being treated and the same with the crowd some were bloodthirsty
and some were against it. One must remember that most people
living at that time were ignorant and illiterate. The priests told
them what to do. It would have been easy for Caiphas to entice the
crowds (assuming that is what really happened). Also there is
one scene where one of the Roman guards mocks Simon of
Cyrene because he's a Jew. The other thing that was really good is that it felt as though it
were real. It showed to the chaos of the whole Passion, basically.
Except for a few hoaky scenes involving Satan, the film is superb. 9/10.
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Lots of fun
Just saw this movie again for Halloween. It's a great little
Halloween movie. It's lots and lots of fun. There is a couple of
holes in the plot if one scrutinizes it too much. Johnny Depp is
superb as usual. Christian Ricci was good, too. Christopher Lee
showed up in brief cameo but at least he showed up. The actor
who plays the headless horseman with a head is the perfect actor
for the part. Visually it is absolutely beautiful. I loved the set
design and cinematography. It is gory and not everyone will like
that. The headless horseman does decapitate people, after all.
Highly recommended. One of Burton's best.
Bruce Almighty (2003)
A lot of people on this site don't seem to like this film. I thought it
was really funny. Granted it was no masterpiece (though one
person on this sight thought it was) I really enjoyed it. A lot of
people did not like the serious aspects of the film. I thought that
worked well, too. It really would be hard being God for a week if
one got the chance. Also I loved Morgan Freeman as God, his
portrayal is not to far from the God I believe in. The parting of the
Red Soup really got me laughing. So did when Bruce had to deal
with prayers. 9/10.
Black Robe (1991)
This film which I just saw is extremely powerful. I, myself am a
Catholic so I found this film of special interest since it is about a
Jesuit Priest. The priest is a brave but flawed man. The theology
of the time was also extremely flawed. Especially the reasons for
converting people. But the film is all about the ending. SPOILER
ALERT: When the Native Americans tell the priest baptize them
because he loves them and not because baptizes them for their
conversion or because they believe it is a magical ritual that would
cure them. This almost moved me to tears. This is what
conversion and baptism should be about.
Just couldn't resist the ending
I've always been a fan of Dracula and vampires, but I am no expert on Vlad the Impaler. I would be surprised if this as "true" or historical as the title suggests, but nonetheless it was a fun movie. The ending was cheesy but I probably would have ended it the same way if I made it, I just would not be able to resist.
Russkiy kovcheg (2002)
This movie is very good, in my opinion. I actually saw it the day my
friendship with someone I had been really good friends was
ending. I went and saw this film and it took my mind off of the bad
stuff going on in my life at that moment. It was absolutely beautiful.
Some of the art in that film was breathtaking. That humankind with
all of its flaws is still able to create such beautiful works of art, both
the film and the art in the film, gave me hope then when I saw it
and still gives me hope now.
Nirgendwo in Afrika (2001)
I went to see this film one Saturday night back in May, without knowing much about it, just the basic plotline and the fact it had won the foreign film Academy Award. I'm glad I went because I absolutely loved it. It is one of the few films I can say that I really did not want to end because I was enjoying it so much.
Paths of Glory (1957)
Very good film and ahead of it's time
This Stanley Kubrick masterpiece still holds up well nearly forty five
years after it was released. Because it was made in 1957 there
are some dated elements, but it still a very powerful, sad, and
searing indictment against the insanity of war. It was not the first American film that was an anti-war film but it
was probably the first in a long time. Of course it was about a
terrible incident that happened in the French Army during World
War I. Americans weren't ready for a movie that might critique the
United State's army. The French were the "good guys" in WWI but
in this movie it shows a terrible general who not only tries to kill his
own men because they cannot fight like he wants them too, but
has three innocent men executed for cowardice as punishment for
not winning an unwinnable battle. It reminded me of a spoiled kid
who couldn't get his way so he lashes out on the other kids that
are weaker than him. Same mentality. Kirk Douglas gave a very good performance, as a man, soldier,
and lawyer who sees the injustice and cannot say much, but tries
his best to save these innocent men. When he tells the one
general "You can go to hell before I apologize to you or anyone
else!" it means a lot. Of course back in the 50's they did not use
that language as much so it meant a lot. The battle scenes were quite good for the 50's. I especially
liked the mise on scen in the general's mansion. Incidentally the young German singing at the end is Christiane
Kubrick, Stanley's third and final wife. I guess he found the right
woman, they were married in 57 or 58 and stayed married until his
sudden death in March 99, four months before "Eyes Wide Shut"
Killer's Kiss (1955)
Acting is terrible but filmmaking is great
I saw this film quite a few years ago in a film appreciation class I
took. I am a Kubrick fan so I was interested in seeing it. The
acting is pretty bad in this film, but Kubrick was pretty much
producing this independently (in the mid-50's when that was not
done too often) and probably could not get very good actors. The
filmmaking was great. There were great tracking shots, wonderful
use of mise on scen, great long shots and close ups. In fact a lot
of sequences were similar to sequences in many of Kubrick's
famous films. Kubrick fans should see this movie at least once.
Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)
Johnny Depp stole the show
First of all I haven't seen El Mariachi or Desperado, but this was a fun film for me. Though I would have liked Salma Hayek to be in more of it.
Spoiler: Johnny Depp stole the show, not that Antonio Bandreas wasn't good, but Depp was the best. I just thought it was great how he loses his eyes and still uses it to his advantage. It was one darkest funniest moments I have had in a while in a movie. He is one of the greatest bad asses in action in cinema.
Good going for Depp, I still need to see him in Pirates.
Despite its flaws its a lot of fun
I'll let everyone know right off the bat that I'm a big "Star Wars" fan. I have seen the original trilogy many times and plan to see it many more times. I also played with all the toys when I was a kid, I even had a C-3PO case to keep them all in. The big problems which have been stated countless times are the dialogue and the romance. George Lucas needs someone who can write good dialogue to co-write the screenplay with him for episode 3. The romance was weak though it was not as bad as I expected it to be from what I was told. Still the Anakin's line about the sand being course has to be one of the most unromantic lines ever and also one of the worst lines in movie history.
On the positive side the story was interesting. The action sequences were great, especially Yoda (everyone was cheering!). The characters were all interesting, too. And, of course John Williams' music was great. In enjoyed Christopher Lee as the bad guy (he always makes good bad guys). He just turned 80 so I hope he stays alive for Episode 3. Fortunately all of "Lord of the Rings" has been filmed so if he was to croak tomorrow it wouldn't affect that but it would "Star Wars."
I give this film a 7/10. And I can't wait for Episode 3.
The Thin Red Line (1998)
My favorite film of all time
For me, this film was great. It did not just deal with war but with suffering and the meaning of life. This film actually gave me a sense of peace after watching it. This film is a war film but much more than that it is a film that challenges people to think about life in ways that they may never have before. The cinematography was beautiful, the performance, especially by Jim Caviezel were superb, and the battle scenes were harrowing and extremely well done. I was glad Terrence Malick decided to make this film (since he had not done a film since 1978's "Days of Heaven"). It's a masterpiece.
Funny movie from Jean Shepherd
The late Jean Shepherd who wrote "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash", which "A Christmas Story" was based on wrote and narrated this funny little movie based on his short story of the same name. It deals with the same family from "A Christmas Story" though with different actors and their family vacation when Ralph(ie) is 14 and all the crazy things that happen before and during their long drive to their favorite vacation spot. If you like "A Christmas Story" you'll probably like this movie too. It's quite funny in a low key sort of way.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
I love "Raiders"
I've seen this movie about 30 times and I still love it! My brother and I use to watch it almost every weekend when we got it on video tape when I was a kid. I could probably tell you what is going on in the film with my eyes closed and the sound on. I plan to see it at least another 30 times in my life.
The Haunting (1963)
The Scariest Movie I've Seen
If you want to see a good intellegent scary movie see this one. It is my favorite horror movie of all time. The acting, especially by Julie Harris and directing are great. This film leaves the scary parts up to your imagination which makes it even scarier.
My favorite Hitchcock film
Two reasons why this is my favorite Hitchcock film. One because it has Ingrid Bergman, one of my favorite actresses of all time. Two because it has the most suspenseful ending of any of his films ("The Birds" being the second most suspenseful ending).
Other reasons to see it. The story is great. The romance between her and Cary Grant is excellent too.
Before Sunrise (1995)
Has the best line in any film ever made
I'm not the biggest fan of romances but this is a good one. The reason is because the dialogue is realistic and the acting by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy is very good. The things that they talk about are the type of things that I like to talk about. I still love the line that he uses to convince her to spend the day with him in Vienna. If you haven't seen the film it is worthwhile just to hear this line. I've even used it myself, though it didn't quite work as well as it did in the movie. Oh, well at least I got to use it.
Conte d'été (1996)
Not everyone will agree with my above comment but I thought this film was very entertaining. This is the third Eric Rohmer film I have seen (the others being "Summer" and "Claire's Knee") and I thought those were quite entertaining, too. The one thing I like about Rohmer is it feels like he just took a camera and filmed real people. That might not be everyone's taste but I enjoy it.
Full of Life (1956)
Sweet little film
I was sick with the stomach flu one night and I turned on AMC around 3 in the morning not knowing what was on and I discovered this film. I had never heard of it before and I am a big film buff. I was pleasantly surprised. It is a nice sweet little gem of a film about family. It has some real tender moments and some quietly funny moments. It deals with a man, his wife, and his father. His father is originally from Italy and does not like his son's American ways. Which of course drives the son crazy. His wife is pregnant and he is concerned about that. His father wants to help him prepare to be a father, which has its good points and bad points. It shows, quite well, I think, the bonds and the love of family. If it is ever on I highly recommend it. It also has the best title for the story.
Columbo: Agenda for Murder (1990)
Very good Columbo
This is one of the best Columbos. The reason for this is the cat and mouse games Columbo and the bad guy, Patrick McGoohan (who won an Emmy for this one, I believe), use against each other. Also the way Columbo catches him is really funny. I always enjoy Columbo but I enjoy it even more when McGoohan shows up. (For those of you who don't know McGoohan watch the old British tv show "The Prisoner" or more recently watch him as Edward I in "Braveheart.")
McGoohan makes the man he murders looks like he committed suicide. No one knew that McGoohan was showing up excpet for the man he murders. Lt. Columbo is still able to figure out that he did it. To give away more would be wrong, so I won't do that.
The dialogue between Columbo and McGoohan is some of the most entertaining out of all the Columbos that I've seen. McGoohan really thinks he is going to get away with it but he's up against Columbo and we know how that will work out.
Homicide: Life on the Street (1993)
Best show I've seen
This is the best show ever. It even beats "The West Wing" which I think is superb. I wish they would show the reruns on some other channel than Court TV at 1AM.
Audrey Braugher delivered one of the greatest and intense performances on TV or anywhere else for that matter as Detective Francis Xavier "Frank" Pembleton. The supporting cast, which included Kyle Secor, Clark Johnson, Yaphet Kotto, and Callie Thorne (to name a few) were also great. Tom Fontana is one of the best TV writers ever. "Three Men and Adena" is one of the most intense and compelling episodes I've seen. This series has had more famous guest stars on it than any other show, except "The Simpsons." They included Robin Williams, Lili Tomlin, James Earl Jones, Steve Buscemi, Vincent D'Onofrio, and David Morse among others.
Braugher and Fontana won Emmys. The show also received The Humanitas Prize and The Peabody (which has only gone to two other drama series, "St. Elsewhere" and "The West Wing").
The Father Clements Story (1987)
Good made for TV film
This is a good made for tv film about a real life African American priest (played by Louise Gosset, Jr.)that marches to his own toon. He has a tendency to drive the archbishop of his diocese (played by the late Carroll O'Connor). He really drives the bishop up the wall when he adopts an orphaned teenager ("The Cosby Shows's" Malcolm-Jamal Warner). He does this because he wants to get orphans off the street (many wind up in gangs) and cannot get people in his parish to do it until he does it. His biggest challenge is to keep his adopted son out of the gangs. This is a worthwhile movie to watch.
Good film if you remember it is fiction
This film was out when I was 12. I didn't see it until I was 25. My parents, being devout Catholics, thought it was evil though they never saw it. One of priest in my parish came and talked to my 7th Grade class when the film was out. He had not seen the film but had read the book and seemed to have liked it.
I am still a devout Catholic and I think that this is a good film. There are a few flaws in it artistically. Especially in the John the Baptist sequence, it seemed like it was something out of Woodstock (which incidentally Scorsese worked on the documentary of that famous concert) than 1st Century Israel. There is some confusion with Jesus's relationship to Mary Magdalen if you haven't read the book.
The one thing that I really liked about this film is that it explores mystery of the Incarnation. The Incarnation is God became man in the person of Jesus Christ. What was it like to be both God and man? It is something that we will never truly understand. Was it tough on Jesus? I would imagine so. (I am assuming, of course, that the Incarnation was and is a reality.) Did he know from when he was a small child or was it more gradual? I would assume the latter. So does the film.
This film is a moving and powerful film. I did not find it blasphemous. One reason I didn't is because it is a fictitious portrayal of Jesus's life. This is not exactly how it happened. Neither are the gospels for that matter but they are probably closer than the Jesus Seminar People would like to think.
As for people saying the film was made by atheists it was not. Scorsese was raised a Catholic and still believes in Jesus. The film is not athiestic at all because Jesus is God and man in the film. People say that Jesus sins in the film, that is debatable.
(Spoiler) Jesus is not sinning when he comes down off the cross and marries Mary Magdalen, it is a temptation. He rejects it and excepts his death on the cross, which is the most beautiful part of the film. Building crosses for the Romans I had some problems with but I had to remember it is fiction. (Plus, he was a carpenter and someone had to do it not that the real historical Jesus of Nazareth ever actually did that.)
Fundamentalists don't like this film but I have a lot of problems with fundamentalists whether they be Catholic or Protestant. I think that they are causing a deep wound in Christianity. I think that they forget about the love that Jesus has for all humanity and think that it is just them he loves. I think they are cancer to Christianity. And their mentality isn't too far from the mentality of Islamic fundamentalists (note my emphasis is on fundamentalists and not Islamic). See this film.
Unrelentingly Grim and Powerful
This film is unrelentingly graphic and grim. Grimmer than "Requiem for a Dream" and "Black Hawk Down." Far superior to "The Day After."
Even though it is so grim it is a film that everyone should see once, unless they just can't stomach it. All government leaders should see this, unless they are some sort of psychotic dictatorship. It shows what most likely would happen if a nuclear holocaust would happen. If you survived the blast and the fallout your life would be hell on earth. It would actually be better to die. The semi-documentary approach makes it especially powerful. The people seem like real people that you are watching. Which gives it much more of an impact. What is especially horrifying and also fascinating is it shows life 10-15 years after the nuclear attack and it has not gotten any better.
Any idiot who thinks we should a nuke a country should see this film it may change his or her ideas. (There were a few people who thought we should nuke Afghanistan after Sept. 11.) I give the film a 10/10.