Film Review: The Silence of the Lambs — 3 stars

http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi1140457753/

ONE WORD REVIEW: Not-What-It-Was!

SUMMARY: A rookie FBI agent must trust her instincts and a locked up psychopathic cannibal in order to prevent a another psychopath from killing again.

DETAILS: It’s hard to believe that an entire generation has grown up since The Silence of the Lambs was originally released. The story was so unbelievably frightening back in 1991… a cannibal named Hannibal Lecter that gets inside your mind and literally under your skin (Anthony Hopkins), a novice FBI agent who is uncertain about herself (Jodie Foster), and a plot involving suspense, the skinning of kidnapped humans, and a transsexual antagonist who lodges sphinx moths in the throats of his deceased victims. I remember seeing this film with my wife back in the 90’s. For years I could make the rat-like noise that Hopkins makes with his tongue repeatedly striking his teeth and it would freak my wife out and of course it would typically be proceeded by my best Hannibal Lecter impersonation, “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” Unfortunately, time has passed and the world is literally a different place than it was in 1991. Perhaps the film was so shocking at the time, but we have all been so continually shocked since, that the film’s shock-factor has lost it’s punch. Perhaps there has been so much talk of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transvestites in recent years, that the antagonist is not nearly as “out there” any longer. Perhaps it’s that there are several scenes where the suspension of disbelief is not enough to justify the actions of the characters (i.e. how our heroine finds the murderer, how Lecter knows where to call her at graduation, etc.). Or perhaps it’s just simply because I knew how it was going to turn out. Nominated for 7 Academy Awards and winner of 5 including Best Picture, Best Director (Jonathan Demme), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor (Hopkins), and Best Actress (Foster) this film is definitely worth watching… but it’s just not what it was back in 1991.

WATCH THE TRAILER
SCORE: 3 out of 5 stars
RELEASE: 1991
RATING: R
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress

Film Review: Antonia’s LIne — 3.5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Women!?

SUMMARY: Antonia returns to her small, Dutch community of quirky, wonderful characters where she leaves a legacy of love and laughter in the midst of life’s pains.

DETAILS: Winner of the 1995 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Antonia’s Line shows the connectedness of family and community and the lineage we leave behind. Following World War II, Antonia and her daughter return to the village of her birth. The cast of this film is filled with wonderfully, quirky characters who breathe much life into the first half of this film. As the film progresses we see that Antonia and her line do not really need men (other than for occasional sex). Antonia ages throughout the story and we eventually see her line develop. The film is rated R for a reason, but the fun, quirky characters make this a fun film to watch.

SCORE: 3.5 out of 5
RELEASE: 1995
RATING: R
FOREIGN

Film Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel — 4.5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Stylized

SUMMARY: A hotel concierge is accused of murdering one of his wealthiest guests in this highly-stylized, fun-filled comedy.

DETAILS: Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) is the loved and respected concierge of the Grand Budapest Hotel at the height of the hotel’s fame in the 1930’s. His guests all love him, especially the wealthy, old, blond woman whom he cares for, flatters, and often sleeps with. But when one of the wealthiest ends up murdered, the fingers are pointed at Gustav. He and his Lobby Boy, Zero (Anthony Quinonez) soon are on the run from the family and their hired hit man in a chase that takes them from a prison break to the highest slopes of Europe in this highly-stylized, artfully-directed, comedy that hopefully will find room on it’s shelf for an Oscar or two.

 

SCORE: 4.5 out of 5

RELEASE: 2014
RATING: R

Film Review: Lost In Translation — 1 star

ONE WORD REVIEW: Dull

SUMMARY: Two people you don’t really care about wander around their hotel in Japan for way too long.

DETAILS: Sophia Coppola, please give me my 101 minutes back! I haven’t seen a film with so little story in a long time. If you like watching people sing karaoke, ride elevators, and hang out in hotels in Japan with little-to-no character development this could be the film for you. It has to be the most disappointing Bill Murray movie ever made. Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is an aging movie star who is now making whiskey commercials in Tokyo. He meets Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) a twenty-something two years into her marriage who has no purpose other than to help waste 101 minutes of your life. They meet as residents of the same hotel and proceed to wander aimlessly around Tokyo… but mostly just around the hotel. This film was an extreme let down. I’d heard about it and wanted to see it for a decade. Ugh…

 

SCORE: 1 out of 5

RELEASE: 2003
RATING: R

Film Review: The Railway Man — 4 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Forgiveness

SUMMARY: A British prisoner of war is forced to help build the Thai-Burma Railway and is nearly tortured to death. Decades later he confronts his captor and extends the only gift that will set them both free… forgiveness.

DETAILS: Based on the true story of Eric Lomax (Colin Firth), a British Army Officer who is captured during World War II by the Japanese and forced to help contstruct the Thai-Burma Railway. The film cuts back and forth between 1980’s England where Lomax and his new wife (Nicole Kidman) struggle to overcome his horrific war memories and the POW environment of the 1940’s where he was tortured beyond imagination. Along the way he realizes there may only be two ways out of his pain – suicide or revenge, so he sets out to find the one who played a key role in his torture and enact his retribution. In the process he realizes that his captor has been tortured by the wartime memories as well and that perhaps there is a third option that may lead to freedom for both of their tortured souls… forgiveness.

 

SCORE: 4 out of 5

RELEASE: 2013
RATING: R

Karakter (Character) — 4.5 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Compelling

SUMMARY: A bastard child is strengthened by every opposing move his father makes

DETAILS: 1920’s Netherlands is the beautiful backdrop for this film about a boy who’s mother was impregnated by the town’s oppressive bailiff. The story begins with the death of the father on the day the son becomes a lawyer and the son his the last to see his father alive… a bloody visit where we don’t know all the details. The story then takes us back in time as we learn of the boy’s origins, his struggles to make a life for himself, his mother’s continual rejection of his father, and his father’s continual attempts to make life difficult for his own son… a conflict designed to build Character.

This film won the Academy Award for best foreign film of 1997.

SCORE: 4.5 out of 5
RELEASE: 1997

RATING: R
FOREIGN

Inglorious Basterds — 3 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Tarantinish

SUMMARY: Americans killing Nazi’s Tarantino-Style

DETAILS: A group of American soldiers work with freedom fighters to kill a bunch of “Nazi’s” and end the war. Bloody, Violent, Overdone… aka Tarantino-Style

SCORE: 3 out of 5

RELEASE: 2009
RATING: R

August: Osage County — 3.5 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Dysfunction

SUMMARY: A depressing look at a depressing family… which makes What’s Eating Gilbert Grape look like happy, fun-filled, roll-on-the-floor comedy.

DETAILS: Dysfunction does not adequately describe the family in this film. A star-studded cast with great performers tell the story of a family brought back together around the suicide of the father, but nothing is strong enough to keep these people together. By the end of the film everyone will have left and the crazy, prescription-addicted mom will be all that’s remains in Osage County Oklahoma.

SCORE: 3.5 out of 5

RELEASE: 2013
RATING: R

Cold Mountain — 4 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Sad
 SUMMARY: A beautiful and sad story of lovers held apart by the Civil War.
DETAILS: Sad… Jude Law and Nicole Kidman star in this beautifully filmed love story set in and around the context of the Civil War. A pure preachers daughter moves to Cold Mountain and catches the eye of a young laborer just as war breaks out between the States. He must go fight and she must stay behind and wait… and wait. It’s a story of women who need to be strong, of men who desire love more than war, and of the injustices that hunt them down. Their are strong anti-war themes and a couple scenes with strong sexuality in this powerful story.

SCORE: 4 out of 5

RELEASE: 2003
RATING: R

Truth or Consequences N.M. — 3.5 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Gripping!
SUMMARY: Kiefer Sutherland has created a gritty, updated, Bonnie & Clyde.
DETAILS: Gripping… the evolution of chaos becomes the theme as a team of drug crooks pay the consequences for one decision after another. It’s like watching a finely orchestrated, 90-minute train-wreck, as things go from bad to worse. Kiefer Sutherland plays second-fiddle in their gang with Vincent Gallo & Kim Dickens at the helm. The plot takes them from stealing drugs from a dealer and taking hostages in Utah, to a play-gone-wrong in Vegas, and finally to the consequences of their actions in the dessert of New Mexico. Embedded in the group is an unlikely hero that certainly makes the film more interesting than your average crime story. This movie is heavy on language and bullets but certainly an interesting and entertaining ride.

SCORE: 3.5 out of 5

RELEASE: 1997
RATING: R