Review Warm Up

Before I get started as a book reviewer, I thought I might toss out some of my thoughts on recent books, movies and cds I have been privy to.

Let's start with movies, it's been a while, so I have a few to cover.

Themerchantofvenice_releaseposter All the way back to Merchant of Venice. I saw this movie with great expectations, as the previews had somewhat lead me to believe that this would be an epic version of one of my favorite, and one of Shakespeare's most controversial plays. I was, however, sorely disappointed. I'll give the good news first: Joseph Fienes, Jeremy Irons, and the woman who played Portia were amazing. Al Pacino was alright--slightly stiff and sometimes spastic, but not bad for him in Shakespeare.  The worst part of the whole thing was the director's choice of costume, or shall I say lack thereof, in portraying certain sections of Venice. {Oh, and they hardly showed the city itself...very upsetting.} There were basically semi-nude women in many of the critical and deep parts. And it was gratuitous. There was no need for it, nor do I recall the play calling for that depiction. So there was a gargantuan distraction during Shylock's famous soliloquy. I was really angered by this, actually.  All this to say, I absolutely do not recommend this movie. It was a complete waste of my time and money. I don't understand those who set out to make Shakespeare remakes and muck them up this badly.

Findingneverland_releaseposterFinding Neverland. If you haven't seen this, you absolutely must rush out right this minute and buy it. Don't rent. Buy. It was that phenomenal. I have not been so moved by a movie since The Passion. But I expected to be moved by Passion; I didn't have any expectations of such a reaction toward this movie. To start, Johnny Depp is brilliant, as usual. He brings such raw emotion and character to life in this film, as does Kate Winslett. The script is amazing, the story will make any grown man cry, the cinematography was stunning and the British children have once again reaffirmed my suspicion that they are entirely superior to American children. The boys, specifically Peter, deserved Oscars. They were wonderful, the film was wonderful, and I would consider it one of my top 10 favorites of all time.

Theringtwo_earlyposter_2The Ring Two. Not much needs to be said about this sequel, other than, it's a
sequel. It was okay. If you really liked the first one, you'll be disappointed. It's very cliche as far as horror films go. There was a great deal of the "Boo!" type of scenes, intended only to make you jump. The suspense was there at the beginning, totally gone in the middle, and the story actually went somewhere at the very end, just in time for the credits. The first movie spent a great deal of time telling a story; this movie did not, even though I think the story with her mom could have been greatly developed. I suppose it also didn't help that there was a woman making strange snoring/snorting sounds in the row ahead of us at every critical moment. That became very funny and quite destructive to the scare factor. But I'm not sure the damage wasn't already done. Oh well. Not a complete waste because I had free tickets. It's a toss up as far as recommending it. I'd say, if you really want to, go for it.


Hostage. Now, here is a terrifying movie. Let me first say that what this movie intends, it accomplishes. It must have been the attempt of the director/writer/producers to show what happens when bored, young hicks go bad tied in with what happens to a family when dad is a crooked accountant. I did not expect to see Satan on screen, but I did. One of the initial kidnappers, I say initial because there's an entirely separate group of terrorist/kidnappers later, becomes Charles Manson meets Marilyn Manson. His character was completely gratuitous, in my opinion. This was an over the top write, and I really didn't care for it one bit. They were trying too hard. Secondly, the plot really needed a little bit of help. Every scene was tight and built upon the suspense of the last, however, it just went places that are really never likely to exist. I mean, come on, one group of soul-less thugs breaks into rich, white girl's house to steal daddy's Escalade, ends up torching the place and terrifying everyone, meanwhile another completely different group of terrorists kidnap another family, threaten to destroy planet earth basically and did I mention remain faceless the entire movie? Once you leave the theater, which I actually did twice because I couldn't handle the violence toward children, you'll think, "What? Who the heck were those other guys, what the heck was the dad, what the heck happened and man does Bruce Willis' daughter look just like him and Demi!?" If you are an adrenaline junky, go see this. If you are a parent or responsible in any part for the well-being of children, avoid this at all cost. This movie will terrify you far more than Ransom. I do not recommend it in that case. I personally hated this film, but I know that's partially because of what I do, so I'm not going to say it's horrible. It just was for me. If you don't believe me, just read the reviews. They were extremely articulate in their dislike, and often verry funny, too. Don't take my word on it; look those up.


HitchHitch. I loved this movie. I heard reviewers call this predictable and lacking in chemistry. But I loved it. Will Smith and Eva Mendes are hilarious, oh, and who could forget Kevin James? Kevin was awesome. I have always loved him, but he is just so funny and endearing in this film. The script is good and the moral is better. I highly recommend this film. I don't want to say too much because I just think you should see it without me tipping you off to anything.

I think that's a long enough post for now. Let me know if you agree, disagree, found this helpful, unhelpful, too little too late...whateva! I want to know your thoughts. Thanks for hearing mine out.

So much for books and cds. I'll get to those later rather than running the risk of tormenting you with more.

Posted by Portia at April 21, 2005 08:49 AM

Finding Neverland was brilliant - one of my top 3 favorite movies!

Posted by: Melissa at April 21, 2005 03:09 PM

Thanks for commenting Mel! As you now know, I lovvvved that movie.

Posted by: Emily at April 22, 2005 09:16 AM

I loooved reading your reviews, they're great! I hope you contine with them as I'm always in search of a good rental. Now I can't wait to see Finding Neverland!

Posted by: Shauntaye at April 22, 2005 11:57 AM

Great reviews. Finding Neverland was one of my recent favorites as well, and our family got a large charge out of both "Big Fish" and "Second Hand Lions" last year.

There's another movie that was in theaters briefly last year and is now out on DVD (I think). It's "Luther," an absolutely first rate movie both in terms of production values and quality (starring Joseph Fiennes, Alfred Molina, Bruno Ganz and Sir Peter Ustinov) and in the story-telling, which holds up whether you are religious or not (or Lutheran or not). I think you'll like it, Emily, and it would be good for people to hear what you have to say.

Posted by: Night Writer at April 24, 2005 08:26 PM