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Rating History

The Untouchables
17 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Once Sean Connery gets popped, DeNiro gets less screen time and it's all downhill from there. Weird, tacky, and clearly outdated in every way.

Religulous
Religulous (2008)
22 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The issue that Bill Maher attacks in "Religulous"- the irrationality of religious belief and practice- has been examined in greater detail, deeper investment, and sharper wit by Maher's co-satirists than he can muster here. Spending far more time identifying the issue than discussing the implications, Maher's attempt to undermine the influence of religion in the modern world is less intelligent than it supposes to be. What follows is essentially a "half-Jewish, half-Catholic atheist" travelling around the world to sniff out and parade the stupidest members of the human race across the TV screen for our viewing pleasure. It's cheap comedy, which could be forgiven if it had anything new to say.

Exporting Raymond
24 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

To a hammer, everything looks like a nail, as they say. It shouldn't be held against Rosenthal when he went to Russia looking to oversee the creation of a TV show analogous to his own "Everybody Loves Raymond." After all, it was by their request that he did so in the first place. Expecting to encounter people with an identical sense of humor and an identical view on the family, however, is a recipe for disaster, and Rosenthal spends the majority of the movie beating his head against an equally annoyed wall. It's often annoying and occasionally shameful, but satisfyingly interspersed with laughter, much of which doesn't come cheap.

Beneath Rosenthal's single-minded task of converting Russians to American humor (and a single-minded effort by the Russians to get him to shut up), is a story of cultural conflict that is compelling simply for the fact that it is entirely real. By distant extension, it is easy to see the psychological basis for the long decades of the Cold War. And the dynamics of the wrestling match between an American and his Russian hosts is a fascinating one. Incredibly, they all become friends at the end.

Beneath the story- which depending on the viewer's interest will be either a waste of time or a perfect cross-section- there is a telling insight into a nation at odds with the modern era it struggles to embrace. And for all Rosenthal's tactlessness and contempt, his interaction with his driver, a kind man victimized by war, shows that he is a fine human being beneath it all.

Pleasantville
Pleasantville (1998)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The faith that "Pleasantville" perpetually invests in its own narrative and existential righteousness becomes not only exhausting but misplaced as it descends into singleminded rebellion and cheap social potshots. In those moments, it resembles a childish tantrum more than it does a meditative contemplation, and forgets that the uniformity it labours to overthrow is never an origin but a recurring phase in the endless cycle of the death and rebirth of civilizations.

However, insofar as "Pleasantville" is arresting (and it is often so), it serves as weighty dissection of the communal psyche and the human predestination for both truth and folly, fear and courage, rebellion and complacency. In its most memorable moments, it acts as a subtle but beautiful re-mystification of human life, which is so often demystified by the inevitable monotony inherent to stability. Often eloquent, consistently thoughtful, and in a few precious moments, prophetic, Pleasantville, despite the rather significant cracks in its own perfection (oh, the irony), demonstrates an understanding of art and inhabits that mystical realm with deserving.

Das Boot (The Boat)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

in "Das Boot," director Wolfgang Petersen approaches one of the most psychologically straining topics imaginable: submarine warfare in the apocalyptic days of World War II. Patience and meditation guide this hellish exploit throughout the complete spectrum of human emotion: terror, awe, hysteria, despair, euphoria, and irony.

This film is a masterpiece. It's a movie about men in incomprehensible intimacy with their God, the only God who matters: a boat, great and terrible as she is.