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Rating History

Diner (1982)
9 months ago via Flixster

3/5 Stars. A decent film, if pretty empty of plot. The director admitted he structured it very much like a proto-Seinfeld, where the everyday stuff that goes on is the story in and of itself. That said, it doesn't flow nearly as well and just kind of plods along without much direction. It's meant to be a Guy Film, in that it's primarily about a group of young guys doing young guy stuff: fighting, arguing, chasing girls, driving fast cars, etc.

Ironically, I found the most compelling portion of the film to be the scenes involving Mickey Rourke (who is damn near unrecognizable to the modern eye) and Ellen Barkin, as well as the prelude featuring Daniel Stern (Marv from Home Alone, wut), which covered Barkin's character's failing marriage to Stern's and her subsequent comfort found in the arms of Rourke. Barkin's acting in these scenes was superb, I should note. Rourke had been the suave playboy up to this point in the film, and seduced Barkin into having sex with him so as to pay off a debt (long spoiler story), but just as he's about to get her to the apartment, he decides it's wrong. The film does a good job of building Rourke up as fairly unscrupulous, so this comes as a bit of a surprise. A couple of other scenes troll modern cinematic expectations well earlier on (the accident and the knife scenes), which I thought was interesting and meta.

One of the highlights of the movie is the authenticity. The cars are classic 1950s, and there is a large slate of songs played mostly via radio that are rather corny by today's standards, but were current then and add to the immersion.

Overall, worth a watch if you're into guy movies or period pieces set in the '50s.

An American Tail - Fievel Goes West
9 months ago via Flixster

4/5 Stars. Great kids movie. Definitely the superior compared with the original. The story is better, though the mice are still dumb as bricks and can't figure out something is a puppet or a trap. The comedy is actually genuinely funny, rather than For Kids Only crap like in the first movie. The music is actually good as well, much better than the drivel in the first movie. Dom DeLuise and John Cleese are great as always, and Cathy Cavadini is perfection in her singing.

Overall, one of the best kids movies I've seen. Up there with the 1980s Disney films, just under the 1990s ones. Definitely worth a watch. If you never saw the original, it's not an issue in any real way. Oh, and the critics hated this because it was a sequel. Not really any other explanation for the bad reviews.

Macbeth (2015)
9 months ago via Flixster

3/5 Stars.

Macbeth: the story of how women are trouble. Dude is told by some women that he will be king, his wife says kill the king to prove you're a man, dude winds up with his head chopped off. This is the origin of "bros before hoes."

Ultimately disappointing, though better than I expected in that it did use the actual Shakespeare dialogue rather than be a "dramatization", as the back of the box implied. That said, it was significantly abridged. My favorite line with Macbeth and the witches was entirely cut out. Too much of the film relies on special effects, and the revision of Lady Macbeth's death was anti-climactic. Macbeth's holdings consisting of a church and some tents also struck me as bizarre, though I guess somewhat plausible. One thing that struck me as odd was the need to insert sex into two scenes where, as I recall, there was none in the play. Though I guess modern audiences demand everything resemble Game of Thrones now.

Some positive things: Fassbender as Macbeth was decent, though his portrayal was much more on the "I'm Macbeth and I'm batshit insane" track than other depictions. Paddy Considine was perfection as Banquo and deserves way more work. Marion Cotillard was good as Lady Macbeth up till the point at which she starts to regret her actions; partly a problem with the abridged script, it comes pretty much out of nowhere.

Overall, a pale imitation of the masterpiece that is Roman Polanski's Macbeth. Though, that can be forgiven, as Polanski paid for his art by having his entire family murdered during filming. Tough act to follow. The starker horror, more medieval look, and faithfulness to the original play make Polanski's much the superior, though this one is worth a watch for comparison.

Anonymous (2011)
9 months ago via Flixster

4/5 Stars. Seen this once before, but still a great film. The critics and it seems a fair amount of the public whinged quite heavily over this. It is a film about the mystery of Shakespeare's lack of credibility as the greatest playwright of all-time, given his upbringing. The truth is, in the film, that the Earl of Oxford was the true author and wished to have his voice heard without causing himself to be executed. The plot thereafter is Shakespearean in itself, with intrigue, betrayal, envy, complex relationships, and so on. A number of the plays are briefly featured, and my soliloquy from Romeo & Juliet is therein, thankfully.

The director did a Tarantino and has some sequences out of chronological order, though not without at least giving you an on-screen text indication or obvious change in age. This seems to have bothered some people, who I assume are also frightened by anything resembling complexity. That aside, the ending is definitely not something you would see coming, which also proved a point of contention amongst the plebeians.

Overall, a great film and a fantastic watch if you combine it in sequence with "The Tudors" and the two Cate Blanchett "Elizabeth" movies. Fuck the haters.

The Secret of NIMH
9 months ago via Flixster

3.5/5 Stars. Decent kids movie. Mice have to save their home from the farmer's tractor by getting help from super-intelligent rats. The songs weren't awful like American Tail's, and the animation was pretty solid. There was actual blood and violent wounding/killing shown, which you would never see in a Disney film. The gem necklace is a cheap gimmick, but that's never a surprise with these films. The biggest problem was that the rats are super-intelligent, but somehow virtually every other creature is as well (Brisby can understand English even), completely negating whatever superpowers the rats supposedly have aside from knowing how to work a pulley system.

Overall, worth a watch since it was Bluth's first film post-Disney. You can see elements of Friar Tuck in Mr. Ages' face and some classic Disney facial contortions on behalf of the villain Jenner. No doubt a great film if you're an aspiring animator.