Gideon58's Reviews

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250 guys walking down the road, just like that?
i've really come to enjoy a number of folks' reviews here and when i see one I've missed, I go a-meandering.

If I remember, I basically repped ones I've seen and there were so many that i perused, I'd have to go back to see what ones I haven't seen and that caught my attention.
If i do, i will DEFINITELY let ya know and thank you for taking the time to write them

i've really come to enjoy a number of folks' reviews here and when i see one I've missed, I go a-meandering.

If I remember, I basically repped ones I've seen and there were so many that i perused, I'd have to go back to see what ones I haven't seen and that caught my attention.
If i do, i will DEFINITELY let ya know and thank you for taking the time to write them
Writing them was fun...thank you for taking the time to read them.

I have to return some videotapes.
The Sandlot is such a great movie. Ive seen it close to 15 times, a childhood classic. Nice review!

The Wolf of Wall Street is Martin Scorsese's overblown, outrageously over-the-top, ridiculously overlong fact-based drama that suffers from over-indulgent direction, unappealing characters, plot holes you can drive a truck through and something I expect in a story that is fact-based: some semblance of originality.

This 2013 film chronicles the rise and fall of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a failed Wall Street stockbroker who after losing his job on Wall Street, moves to a small storefront firm that deals in the sale of penny stocks and is so successful there, he starts his own company where the employees find time to make millions while having sex and snorting cocaine in the bathroom. The man makes so much money that he doesn't know what to do with i t, but eventually spends 22 months in jail for fraud.

Terence Winter's screenplay, adapted from Belfort's book, is constructed in a haphazard fashion with some unusual choices of story focus. One scene Belfort is seen at his first day at the penny stock firm making his first $2000 commission and minutes later, he is seen making motivational speeches in front of a massive group of employees, including most of the staff of the penny stock firm. The detective (Kyle Chandler) assigned to bring Belfort down is not even seen until almost halfway through the film. Ironically, the screenplay also makes the characters seem a lot more intelligent than they really are. In his first face to face with the detective, Belfort actually tries to bribe the man...seriously?

The film found me flashing back to other more superior films throughout with its scene structure...Casino, Goodfellas, Scarface, and American Gangster all come to mind while viewing here...the same underlying themes regarding money, sex, power and how they trump everything else dominate this film as well, but it all has a "been there done that" quality. One thing the film does effectively is showcase the consequences of Belfort's behavior...I thought the idea of him being arrested while he was filming an infomerical was genius, though, like American Gangster, his sentence reduction because he turned in the rest of his staff just didn't ring true.

Leonardo DiCaprio works very hard in the title role, doing his best to keep a truly despicable character appealing to the viewer. The role is an actor's dream, but the character is such a mess it's hard to invest in the performance. His behavior when his wife (Margot Robbie) finally asks for a divorce was the nail in the coffin for any appeal the character might have. Jonah Hill actually received an Oscar nomination for his performance as Belfort's #2 guy, though I don't know why. There is a stylish supporting turn by Rob Reiner as Belfort's father that I really enjoyed.

If you're just looking for a lot of gratuitous sex and drug use, have your fill here, but if you're looking for a fact-based drama with substance? Be very afraid...a huge disappointment from the master Martin Scorsese.

The Sandlot is such a great movie. Ive seen it close to 15 times, a childhood classic. Nice review!
Thanks Cole, I was doing a favorite sports movie countdown and another poster said I should watch it before completing my list. I did and put it at # 15 on my list.

The Wolf of Wall Street is a
for me. Absolutely love it.

Anyway, I'm not sure why you were "looking for a fact based drama" when it was very clear from the previews that movie is a comedy.

2008's Rachel Getting Married is a quietly intense drama that looks at the effects of addiction not only on the addict, but how it affects family members and friends as well.

This is the story of Kym (Anne Hathaway), who has been clean for nine months and has been given a pass from rehab to attend her sister Rachel's wedding. What we see upon Kym's return home is a seamless look at Kym trying to find her place back into the family she partied her way out of and a family that wants to welcome her back into the fold yet doesn't want her to be the center of everyone's attention either as wedding preparations reveal some shifting in where the focus should really be.

This film will definitely tap into feelings for anyone dealing with addiction or with family members dealing with it. It's sad watching Kym return home to a house of strangers and the tension that Kym causes with a wedding toast at the rehearsal that becomes all about her is so thick you can cut it with a knife. There's a horrific scene with Kym where she tries to blame her mother for her past. On the flip side, we learn from Kym's sister Rachel (Rosemarie Dewitt) that their father (Bill Erwin) has defended Kym through all her mistakes and putting the rest of his family in second. What's interesting here is that we're unsure as to the degree of truth in this, but we can understand either way. Kym's return home ignites some deep-rooted resentments that Rachel and other family have been burying while Kym has been partying.

Jonathan Demme's direction has an almost voyeuristic feel to it, almost in the form of a documentary chronicling a troubled family planning a wedding but theres so much more going on. Jenny Lumet's rich and surprise-filled screenplay allows Demme's directorial reins to be loosened allowing the story to take center stage, as it should.

Anne Hathaway invests in this sometimes unsympathetic character and makes her ring true and received a Best Actress nomination for her performance. Rosemarie Dewitt also registers as her sister. Bill Erwin is heartbreaking as their dad and I have to give a special shout out to Debra Winger (who looks sensational) as the girls' mother, who apparently was out of the picture during a lot of their formative years.

This is a well-acted and well-written drama that will tug at a few heartstrings if caught in the right mood. Addicts/alcoholics and their families will have a head start here.

Joel and Ethan Cohen have established themselves as filmmakers uninterested in doing the standard cinematic thing, which has resulted in middling results, some critical acclaim, a cult status among buffs, and an Oscar for Best Picture for No Country for Old Men, but their most popular film was a 1998 gem called The Big Lebowski.

This loopy comic adventure stars Jeff Bridges as Jeff Lebowski, who refers to himself as "The Dude" who is visited by some thugs who stick his head in the toilet and pee on his rug threatening him about money owed to a gangster but it is revealed that the money is really owed by someone else named Jeff Lebowski and when The Dude decides to visit the guy to pay for his rug, this is the linchpin for a bizarre comic adventure that defies description.

The Coen Brothers have constructed a bizarre screenplay centered around a group of characters that are either really unlikable or have no redeeming qualities and a story that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, but for some reason we don't care. The Dude drinks white russians and goes shopping in his bathrobe and pays for a quart of milk by check, but that's OK. The Dude's best friends and bowling team buddies are a militant gun nut named Walter (John Goodman) and a nerdy but sweet guy named Donny (Steve Buscemi) who have the best intentions where the dude is concerned but sometimes their actions don't always belie that. The real Lebowski (David Huddleston) is no prize either and neither is his tight-assed assistant (Phillip Seymour Hoffman).

Thrown into the mix are the real Lebowski's child bride (Tara Reid) and his daughter (Julianne Moore, who seems to be channeling Katharine Hepburn with this performance) who are part of an elaborate kidnapping scheme that the Dude gets involved in.

Jeff Bridges appears to be having the time of his life playing the Dude, making a completely reprehensible character totally likable and John Goodman is kinetic as his outrageous BFF Walter. Buscemi is actually wasted playing the closest to a regular human being he has ever played but Hoffman garners major laughs as the tightly wound assistant. The film is full of outrageous images, including an outrageous nightmare hallucination framed around a classic 60's tune and Sam Elliott is a perfect narrator. Don't try to figure it out, just sit back and enjoy.

Ohhhh, no you didn't just give 8/10 for The Big Lebowski.........

You were doing fine.... I liked Rachel Getting Married and I can understand the low score for The Wolf of Wall Street......

But THIS...... !

I approve your rating of The Big Lebowski.

Your Wolf of Wall Street rating however...
I know there's a lot of love on these boards for The Wolf of Wall Street...the film even received Oscar nominations, but I just didn't like it and I'm not going to pretend I did to please other posters here.

Ohhhh, no you didn't just give 8/10 for The Big Lebowski.........

You were doing fine.... I liked Rachel Getting Married and I can understand the low score for The Wolf of Wall Street......

But THIS...... !
Don't get me wrong...I'm pretty sure The Big Lebowski is an acquired taste and not for everyone, but I really enjoyed it...the fact that Jeff Bridges is one of my favorite actors probably had a lot to do with it and he seems to be really enjoying himself in this movie, something I don't see in all performances and it can definitely enhance a performance. There were things in the film that didn't make sense and there really isn't a likable character in the whole movie, but they are believable for the most part.

I know there's a lot of love on these boards for The Wolf of Wall Street...the film even received Oscar nominations, but I just didn't like it and I'm not going to pretend I did to please other posters here.
Don't mind my over the top reaction to the lack of love for WoWS. Love what ya love.

Tom Hanks served as co-producer, co-screenwriter, director and star of Larry Crowne, a watchable 2011 comedy that could have been something very special about a timely subject, but instead provides quick fixes and easy laughs.

50-ish Larry Crowne has just lost his job, allegedly because he never went to college, who decides to go to college part-time after being unable to find a job and finds himself almost immediately involved with two very different women: Talia (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is a beautiful and exuberant student who is a member of a motor scooter gang (yes, I meant scooter) and Mercedes Tainot (Julia Roberts) is Larry's really unhappy speech professor, who seems to be as unhappy with her work as she is with her husband (Bryan Cranston).

Hanks and Nia Vardolos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) have constructed a screenplay that makes our star look good, but is just a little unrealistic. Larry arrives in a college setting and is accepted unconditionally almost immediately and, while in college, is offered a part-time job as cook that just happens to work out perfectly with his college schedule. We want things to work out for Larry, but for a 50-ish male without a college degree, bouncing back from losing a long time job just wouldn't be this easy. Similar issues were more realistically addressed in About Schmidt.

Hanks still has the power to carry a film and works well with Roberts, though it's hard to get on board with her character, which is kind of all over the place. Hanks makes some offbeat choices in his supporting cast, some of which work and some don't...Bryan Cranston channels Jack Lemmon in his performance as Roberts' porn-surfing husband, but I never really bought Cedric the Entertainer and Taraji P. Henson as Larry's neighbors and Pam Grier's role as Roberts' co-worker/BBF is thankless. On the other hand, Wilmer Valderrama is a lot of fun as Talia's hot-headed boyfriend and, as expected, there's a cameo from Hanks' real-life wife, Rita Wilson.

I don't know if it was the fact that Hanks tried doing too much here, but I think the film provides too many easy answers to a timely problem. I can see why the film didn't do well at the box office as it deals with subject matter that is irrelevant to the all-important 18-34 demographic, but it does have star power.

The creative vision of Steven Spielberg and the proven directorial hand of Richard Donner make the 1985 comic adventure The Goonies seem a lot better than it really is. The film centers on a group of kids' search for a treasure in hopes of saving the foreclosure of two of the boys' home, who find their quest complicated by a trio of comic villains, who also happen to be family.

Spielberg and Donner have taken what is basically a children's bedtime story or campfire ghost story and elevated it to epic proportions, giving the story a grandiosity that I'm not really sure it deserves. Spielberg and Chris Columbus' screenplay is overly intricate, offering perhaps a bit too much detail, resulting in the film's over length and multiple endings which are hard to endure because the story works so hard at making us love these characters that we know there's only way for the story to end and the journey to said ending shouldn't have been as long as it was.

Director Richard Donner, a proven master of directing a proper action sequence since 1978's Superman: The Motion Picture mounts action sequences that compensate for the over indulgent story. He gets grand assists in the area of art direction, set direction, and cinematography, which are all first rate, but this is to be expected of any film where Steven Spielberg is present on the set.

The young cast of future stars is competent, with standout work from Sean Astin and Corey Feldman and I loved Anne Ramsey, Robert Davi, and Joe Pantoliano as the comic version of Ma Barker and her boys. The film is overlong and has slow moments along the way, but Spielberg and Donner's love for the project is on the screen and the film is definitely worth a glance to fantasy and action fans. Spielberg fans will definitely have a head start.

Tim Burton's 2010 mounting of Alice in Wonderland is a visually arresting and offbeat re-thinking of Lewis Carroll's classic fairly tale, but more than anything else, a superb technical achievement that combines all the elements of great filmmaking but still comes up short as a great film.

Linda Woolverton's screenplay finds our heroine 13 years after her first trip down the rabbit hole. A child of wealth and privilege, a 19-year old Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is about to be married when a glimpse of the white rabbit easily distracts her to the point where she ends up falling down the hole again. It is then revealed that Alice's return to Wonderland is no accident...she has been brought back to Wonderland to help end the Red Queen's reign of terror.

Tim Burton worked very hard at bringing his unique vision to this classic tale and has employed the finest cinematic technicians in the business to bring this tale to such exuberant life. The film is beautiful to look features extraordinary art direction/set direction, and cinematography. The fairy tale characters are brought to life in various forms. some are actors in intricate costumes and makeup and some are computer generated and the scary part is that sometimes it's actually hard to tell which is which. There is so much to look at here and so much to take in that you almost don't notice that what you're watching is basically a rehash of the fairy tale and not a continuation. Alice's constant references to what is happening to her as being a dream don't really help. There are technical achievements here that must be applauded. There's a surreal moment where Alice approaches the Red Queen's castle and she appears to initially be jumping from rock to rock but they aren't rocks, they are human heads, victims of the Red Queen.

The actual actors in the cast are all first rate, especially Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter and Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen and there's also a surprisingly effective performance from Crispin Glover as the Knave of Hearts . There's some great voice work for some Wonderland characters too, especially Stephen Fry as the Chesire Cat, Alan Rickman as the Blue Caterpillar, and Timothy Spall as a dog named Bayard.

Colleen Atwood's superb costumes are the frosting on the cake in this rehash of a classic fairy tale that pretends to be more original than it really is.

In the tradition of Christmas movies like It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and A Christmas Story comes a Christmas movie that is absolutely NOTHING like any of those movies.

The 1994 comedy The Ref is an outrageously over the top comedy about a cat burglar (Denis Leary) who holds a deeply unhappy married couple named Lloyd and Caroline (Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis) hostage in their home on Christmas Eve, but his plan becomes complicated when his way out of town is delayed and he learns that the rest of the couple's dysfunctional family is enroute to the house as well.

The screenplay by Richard LaGravenese based on a story by Marie Weiss is rich with razor sharp dialogue that provides major laughs and serves the characters well, despite a few unexplained plot holes, but the best thing about the story is that Leary's character is not just the smartest character in the story, he is an educated guy, who happens to be a cat burglar...I love when he notices an important painting on the wall of the couple's home and gets upset when the wife not only summarily dismisses it, but offers it to him. When we see Lloyd and Caroline's massive dysfunction, it's clear that Leary's character is going to be a major factor in their fence-mending, but we don't see the character's individual intelligence coming at all and it' such a refreshing surprise.

Director Ted Demme has pulled first rate performances from his cast...Leary beautifully underplays a role that easily could have been a cartoon caricature, but is vividly real and very funny. Spacey and Davis are well-oiled machine and mention should also be made of Glynis Johns, Christina Baranski, Richard Bright, Adam LeFevre, and Raymond J. Berry in supporting roles. The holiday movie for those who hate holiday movies.

Woody Allen takes another excursion into Bergman territory with 1988's Another Woman, a riveting character study that fascinates due to unconventional story presentation and brilliant performances.

Gena Rowlands, in a performance that rivals A Woman Under the Influence, plays Marian, a college professor who has just turned 50 and has taken a sabbatical from her job to write a book, who we learn has spent her entire life shielding emotions and keeping people in her life at arm's length. Marian begins to take stock of her life when, through an acoustical snafu, she is able to listen to a psychiatrist next door and finds herself drawn to the plight of a pregnant patient (Mia Farrow) whose current troubles are revealed to have parallels to Marian's life.

It is fascinating watching Marian's life revealed out of sequence as we see the influence she has had on people in her life without even realizing it, especially the reveal of a desire to have a child that was never realized. Ironically, the most fully realized relationship Marian seems to have is with a stepdaughter (Martha Plimpton). We watch as Marian's long ago affair with a writer (Gene Hackman) inspired a character in his latest book and as a childhood friend (Sandy Dennis, in an explosive performance) reveals her long buried resentment of Marian. And amidst her judgment of others, we learn that Marian's seemingly solid marriage to Ken (Ian Holm) isn't all it seem to be either.

Woody has constructed an uncompromising screenplay that is merciless on its heroine with flashes of fantasy and his direction is bold and evocative, producing some scenes of unbearable tension, the arrival of Ken's ex (Betty Buckley) at his engagement party defines awkward. As always with Woody's films, music is a key factor and this time it is comprised mostly of some really beautiful piano music that perfectly frames the story. Woody has crafted an emotional and economical character study that haunts during the closing credits.