The first five minutes of Goldmember–the third installment in Mike Myers’ Austin Powers series–is hilarious. The star-studded opening is one that any movie fan should thoroughly enjoy. Unfortunately, it is all down hill from there. The television ads quote a critic as saying “more laughs in one minute than in most movies combined.” Maybe, but you still have to watch the other 97 minutes.
Once again, International Man of Mystery Austin Powers (Mike Myers) must save the planet from the latest world domination scheme cooked up by Dr. Evil (Myers). The plot is to recruit another evil mastermind from the 70s named Goldmember (Myers), who invented a tractor beam. The beam will be used to pull a flaming meteorite to Earth, melt the polar ice caps and flood the planet. As if that was not enough reason, Goldmember has also captured Austin’s swinging spy father Nigel (a perfectly cast Michael Caine).
I must admit there were a few times in this movie that I just could not help but laugh. For instance, there is a great scene in which Myers plays around with subtitles. Have you ever watched a movie with subtitles, when the white print subtitles disappeared over a white background? Myers uses this subtitle handicap to provide some good jokes. Every scene with Michael Caine is also enjoyable. The rest of the films few laughs, however, are placed sporadically throughout the movie. The rest are a just load of gross-out gags that are just that . . . gross.
Mike Myers is also getting a little too carried away with the extra characters he plays. I was convinced after the last film that the overweight Scotsman Fat Bastard should not have made it past the drawing board. His short (thankfully) appearance in this film is more damning proof. As for Goldmember, he does not really do much in the movie. It seems Myers just wanted another European culture (Dutch) in the movie to poke fun at.
Goldmember does have its share of laughs. Unfortunately you have to sit through all the disgusting humorless scenes to get to them. I give it a C-.
Ararat, the new film from Canadian director Atom Egoyan, has an important message. Unfortunately the message gets lost and the audience is left to figure out the plot’s puzzle.
The message in the film is about the 1915 genocide of the Armenian people by the Turks. For Egoyan, a man of Armenian descent, this is a subject that is very close to his heart. The gruesome images of the genocide are shown through the movie within a movie (appropriately called Ararat), being directed by Edward Saroyan (Charles Aznavour). In this movie an actor (played by Bruce Greenwood) is playing the American Doctor Clarence Ussher, who was a witness to the genocide, and recorded the events in his journal. It is this journal that both movies (Saroyan’s and Egoyan’s) are based. If you are confused already, hang on, it gets worse.
One of the women working on the film is Ani (Arsinee Khanjian), an Art History professor who specializes in the work of Armenian artist Arshile Gorky (Simon Abkarian). The film crew has turned one of their characters into Gorky, who was a survivor of the genocide and has hired Ani as a historical consultant. Whether or not Gorky actually participated in the events the way the character did is not important; “poetic license” we are told. Ani’s son is Raffi (David Alpay) who has been stopped by a Canadian customs officer named David (Christopher Plummer) because he believes the film cans Raffi is carrying contain drugs. Raffi says they are exposed film, but David is convinced he can get the truth out of him. Still confused, just wait.
It turns out that David’s son is lovers with an actor named Ali (Elias Koteas), who just so happens to be playing the evil Turkish officer Jevdet Bay in the movie. Ali is half Turkish, and he believes that the genocide never happened. This has led to an argument between him and Raffi, who is of Armenian descent. Raffi’s father was a freedom fighter killed trying to assassinate a Turkish diplomat.
As confusing as the movie is, there are still some brilliant scenes. The argument between Ali and Raffi is an important one. To convince Ali that the genocide occurred, Raffi tells him that Adolph Hitler, while planning his genocide of the Jews, asked his men “who remembers the extermination of the Armenians?” Whether or not Hitler actually said this is still up in the air, but it makes its point.
Another great scene has Ani, angry at the filmmakers, storming through the movie set while they are filming a crucial scene. Bruce Greenwood tells her about all the people in the scene and why they are so important to the story. “And who the hell are you,” he tells her. He gets his point across.
These are terrific scenes, but unfortunately, since it is so hard to follow the connections between these scenes, the movie remains just that, a collection of effective scenes.
The message is good and the acting is terrific, but the complicated storyline keeps Ararat from being the great movie it could have been. I can’t help but think how much better the movie within the movie probably is. I give it a B-.
The scariest movie ever made? Maybe, maybe not, but for my money it is definitely in the top 5. When you come right down to it, director Ridley Scott’s second film (following 1977’s The Duellists) is simply a haunted house movie set in space. Throughout his career, Scott has been very good at combining a couple of tried-and-true genres and, in effect, creating an entirely new genre in the process. Immediately following the horror and science-fiction mixture of Alien, Scott would make Blade Runner, a film that combines the science-fiction genre with film noir.
In recent years Scott has created a number of memorable, Oscar-winning films including Thelma & Louise, Black Hawk Down and Gladiator, but Alien is the movie that started it all and it can be easily argued that it remains his best. Sure the Alien series has certainly suffered some serious blows in the form of the dismal Alien 3 and the only slightly less drab Alien: Resurrection, but the original remains a classic. As does director James Cameron’s first sequel Aliens, which is worthy of a classic movie review of its own at some later date.
Alienopens slowly, with little happening for the film’s first 45 minutes. The crew of the mining spaceship Nostromo is awoken from their frozen slumber to learn that instead of returning home, the ship’s central computer (named “Mother”) has rerouted them to a mysterious planet. The crew—including Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt), science officer Ash (Ian Holm), deck officers Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), Kane (John Hurt), Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) and engineering officers Parker (Yaphet Kotto) and Brett (Harry Dean Stanton)—have been ordered to investigate a mysterious signal that has been emanating from the planet’s surface. Is it an SOS call or a warning? Perhaps they should have looked more into it before setting out to explore.
While exploring the source of the signal—a seemingly deserted spaceship whose commander seems to have become petrified to his command chair—Kane discovers a cargo holed filled with dozens and dozens of alien eggs. In one of cinema’s biggest “jumps” a slimy creature leaps out from one of the eggs and attaches itself onto the overly curious face of Kane. Kane is brought back onto the ship where the creature mysteriously detaches himself from Kane and dies. All is seemingly well when Kane awakens from his coma and the crew is set for one more dinner before returning to their frozen slumber for the ride home. The dinner scene would quickly become one of the most famous in Hollywood history.
What a shock it must have been in 1979 when Kane’s convulsions ended with that phallic looking creature popping out of his chest. One can imagine the shock being comparable to Janet Leigh’s fateful shower in Psycho.
The remainder of the film has a lot in common with modern horror flicks in which the heroes are killed off by the monster one-by-one. What makes Alien stand out from these other films is directly attributable to the film’s deliberately paced first half. The fact that nothing happened in the film for 45 minutes was a major concern for studio executives when the film was being made in 1978. Fortunately, Scott was able to convince them that it was the right way to go. Like Hitchcock before him, Scott knew that it was the suspense before the shock that keeps the audience in their seats, not the shock itself. He knew that if he could just pull his audience along for that first act that he would then have them exactly where he wanted them.
The movie is a perfect example of suspense starting small and building to a point where it is almost unbearable. As the ship awakens from its slumber at the beginning, the camera slowly and smoothly moves through the ship, Jerry Goldsmith’s ominous score sets a quiet tone and the lighting is stark, but simple. We, as an audience, are relaxed, but curious about where this movie is taking us. The stillness is disturbed in the middle of the film by the big “jumps” and by the end, the camera is frantically racing with the characters through the film’s claustrophobic corridors filled with CO2, flashing strobe lights and accompanied by ear-piercing alarms. At this point, we are on the edge of our seats ready to leap.
Although the film’s scares are generated mostly by its suspense, Scott also knew—as he comments in his DVD commentary—that cheap shocks were still a major part of the horror genre and Alien is not without its share. The alien reaching out at a half-naked Sigourney Weaver in the shuttle is just one such example.
Misdirection also plays a major part in the film’s scares and suspense. First of all, Scott plays with the order in which the deaths come and so we can never really be sure about who is going to be next. For example, today’s audiences certainly know that Sigourney Weaver will be the only one standing at movie’s end, but who in 1979 would have guessed? Weaver was an unknown actress that had appeared in only two major films before—a bit part in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall and the obscure Madman—and typical Hollywood logic of the time would argue that she would be the first to go.
Later in the film when Ripley retreats back to find the cat, it seems certain that she would be the next to die. Not only has she wandered off alone (usually the big tip-off), but the scene echoes back to the earlier death of Brett, who was also tracking down the cat.
The character who seemed the most obvious choice to be the hero was Dallas, not only because he is played by top-billed star Tom Skerritt, but because, well, he’s a man and women just don’t survive in movies like this. But Dallas was the third to go and in actuality the only two women in the movie were the last two standing (with the exception of the cat, who may have also been a female).
Alien opened a whole new acting world for Weaver. She earned her first Oscar nomination when she reprised the role of Ripley in 1986’s Aliens and to this day remains the immediate comparison for other actresses that headline action films, such as Angelina Jolie and Geena Davis. Over the years, Weaver has proved one of Hollywood’s most diverse actresses, equally at home in drama (Gorillas in the Mist; Copycat) and comedy (Ghostbusters; Working Girl).
Scott has said that he has always wanted to make another Alien film (the original is the only one he worked on) that goes back to the home planet of the alien species that the crashed ship belonged to; a species that was wiped out by the alien being it harvested as a weapon. Mr. Scott, I can’t wait.
Horror movies have never been my personal favorite genre, but when they are as brilliantly made as Alien, I just can’t resist. It is a classic, it gets an A+.
If a movie is funny, than it is a comedy. If a movie is romantic, than it is a love story. If it is both, well, than you have a romantic comedy. Although humorous at times, Alex & Emma ultimately fails to be both.
The story centers on a writer named Alex (Luke Wilson) who lost all his money gambling and if he doesn’t pay back some Cuban gangsters in thirty days, he will be killed. Unfortunately the only way for him to make the money is to finish his next book and, of course, he hasn’t written a word. Enter Emma (Kate Hudson), an attractive stenographer Alex hires to write down his thoughts (because his computer was destroyed as collateral).
As Alex’s thoughts slowly turn into a story (with a little help from Emma’s constant critiques), we also see the story unfold. It is the story of a man named Adam (Wilson again) who gets a job as a tutor for a socialite (Sophie Marceau) with whom he immediately falls in love with. To win her affection, he must compete with a man named John Shaw (David Paymer) a man who has something Adam doesn’t: money. As Alex and Emma continue to work together, a romance blooms and suddenly a new character enters the story, an American housekeeper named Anna (played by Hudson, of course).
I couldn’t help but notice that the previews for Alex & Emma made a special point that it was made by “the director of When Harry Met Sally.” Since Reiner (The Princess Bride; A Few Good Men) hasn’t had a hit in a while, it makes sense that the previews would want to build up it’s similarities to that landmark romantic comedy. Unfortunately, much of Harry Met Sally’s success was thanks to the fact that it introduced us to two characters with uniquely interesting personality traits that helped us to care about them. For Alex & Emma, they just seem to rehash the same character traits that made Harry and Sally so lovable: Emma is a picky eater and always reads the last page of a book first, whereas Alex starts feeling an illness come on whenever his writing hits a snag.
That’s not to say that Alex & Emma is a complete waste of a movie ticket. There were some good laughs and Wilson and Hudson are always fun to watch. But it is way to easy to see what is coming and I didn’t care enough about the characters to worry whether they will get together or not. I guess I just expected more from “the director of When Harry Met Sally.” I give it a C.
If XXX was James Bond meets the X-Games, than Agent Cody Banks is XXX meets Spy Kids. Cody Banks is a fun movie to a point—and will probably be enjoyed by its targeted audience—but it lacks the fun and creativeness that made the two Spy Kids movies so entertaining for all audiences.
The movie stars Frankie Muniz (TV’s “Malcolm in the Middle”) as a Seattle teenager named Cody Banks that has been trained as a junior agent by the CIA (“Doesn’t that seem a little creepy?” “We’re the CIA, that’s what we do.”). His first mission is to get close to Natalie Connors (Hilary Duff from “Lizzie McGuire”), whose scientist father has created tiny robots called “nanobots” that are capable of eating through anything. He plans to use the “nanobots” as a way of protecting the environment, but a maniacal madman named Brinkman (Ian McShane) and his henchman Francoise (The Mummy’s Arnold Vosloo) plan to use these tiny robots for, no surprise here, total world domination. Agent Banks may seem like the right guy for the job, but there is one problem: the CIA failed to teach the nervous Banks how to talk to women.
There is some exciting action in the film, such as a daring rescue at the beginning and an even more daring rescue at the end. Unfortunately, the entire middle of the film is pretty straightforward and it lacks the cleverness to keep our interest. I’m sure many younger teenagers would enjoy the chance to see two of their favorite television stars interact on the big screen, but meanwhile the rest of us are trying to figure out how a girl could be so impressed with a guy who just beat up half of her birthday party guests.
To the movie’s credit, it does make an attempt to appeal to older audience members and we would like to thank them very much for Angie Harmon. There are also some clever references to spy films like the James Bond series (“would the owner of a silver Aston Martin please report to your car, you are being towed”) and a few CIA in-jokes. The pumped up explosions and action at the end of the film might be pushing it a little far however.
I enjoyed Agent Cody Banks as far as it went, but it is not necessarily a film I would recommend to anyone above its targeted age group. I give it a C+.
This makes it two movies in a row I’ve seen in which the movie’s screenwriter is also the main character. However, while Adaptation was fresh and original, Antwone Fisher is a rehash of the formula that worked so well in 1998’s superior Good Will Hunting. Of course, with this movie being based on a true story, maybe Matt Damon and Ben Affleck had some inspiration for their Oscar-winning screenplay. However, I doubt any such connection exists. Despite the many similarities, Fisher still holds up as a touching drama.
Young Antwone Fisher (Derek Luke) never knew his parents. His father was murdered a few months before his mother gave birth to him in prison. He was moved to an orphanage until his mother could get out and claim him. When she didn’t claim him, he was placed in a foster home. After years of serious physical and sexual abuse at the hands of his foster family, Antwone finally managed to escape and join the Navy.
Antwone has never spoken to anyone about his abuse—except his childhood friend Jesse—and he has no intentions of telling the base Psychiatrist, Dr. Davenport (Denzel Washington) when he is sent in for evaluation. At first he tries to give the good doctor the silent treatment, until he can’t take it anymore and spills his guts.
The movie struggles to get through its first hour, probably because it is so familiar. Like Will Hunting, Antwone Fisher was an orphan, abused in foster homes, who has an attitude problem. Like Good Will Hunting’s Psychiatrist Sean Maguire, Dr. Davenport is in need of some help of his own. Through their sessions together, they will both come to some powerful revelations about themselves.
Their sessions start just like Will and Sean’s, with Antwone refusing to talk and Davenport patiently waiting him out until finally he cracks. When it rains, it pours, and Antwone is soon sharing every detail of his life you can imagine. These sessions lacked the interest of Hunting’s. While there were some wonderful moments, they lacked the big powerful speech such as the one Maguire delivered to Will on the park bench. It also seems that maybe more should have been revealed about Davenport, because it would have made his realization at the end more believable.
Antwone Fisher really gets moving in its final act, once Davenport finally convinces Antwone that it would be healthy for him to seek out his family. Making his directorial debut, Denzel Washington does an excellent job of making his search feel real and personal; and Derek Luke plays it just right. The speech he delivers to the mother that abandoned him is sweet, strong and right on target.
That speech is the highpoint for Luke, a relative newcomer, who delivers a terrific performance. Luke also has some other great speeches, such as one about what happened to his childhood fried and one involving a poem he wrote for Davenport.
While the first part of the movie is cliché and slow, the second half of the movie makes up for it by giving us some powerful heart-tugging moments. However, Washington probably should have chosen to end the movie a little earlier, because a final confrontation between Antwone and Dr. Davenport seems anticlimactic. I may have seen this story before, but I still enjoyed it. I give it a B.
I’m a big fan of Woody Allen, particularly his films of the mid-90s (Everyone Says I Love You; Deconstructing Harry) and late 70s (Annie Hall and Manhattan are true masterpieces). Unfortunately the new millennium has been rough going for Allen so far (did anyone see Hollywood Ending?). His latest film, Anything Else, is still far away from being one of his better films, but it is still a step in the right direction.
In the film Allen plays David Dobel, a full-time teacher and part-time comedy writer who finds a protégé in Jerry Falk (Jason Biggs). Falk is a writer who dreams of writing the great American novel, but so far is settling for writing jokes for nightclub acts found by his incompetent agent (Danny DeVito). Falk is currently having trouble with his live-in girlfriend Amanda (Christina Ricci), a struggling actress who is sexy and adorable as hell but emotionally all over the place. It seems clear that Falk would be better off without Amanda, but, as he tells his unhelpful shrink, he has a problem sleeping alone. Since his shrink seems to be getting him nowhere, Falk has to settle for relationship advice (usually in the form of old jokes) from the paranoid Dobel, who is probably—no, certainly—not the best source.
Over the past three years Allen has made a heist film (Small Time Crooks), a hypnosis/love story/heist film (The Curse of the Jade Scorpion) and a Hollywood satire (Hollywood Ending) and they were all big disappointments both critically and commercially. With Anything Else, Allen moves back into the more familiar territory of the neurotic love story dealing with the differences between the sexes. It is a descendant of Annie Hall (in moments when Biggs speaks directly to the audience, for instance), but a very distant one.
Anything Else is mildly entertaining and, as always, Allen has some great one-liners and relevant-for-the-times commentary. It is also interesting to watch Biggs, who often seems like a younger version of Allen with the way he fidgets and stutters. Strangely enough, it is only the scenes opposite Allen in which he seems relaxed. Ricci has never looked better on-screen (certainly not in The Addams Family) and does a good job handling the many, many neurosis Allen gave her character.
Anything Else is worth seeking out for fans of Allen, but not many others. Fans of previous Biggs comedies for instance (and I am thinking American Pie here) will probably be greatly disappointed. I give it a C+.
Darius McCrary is an American actor, rapper, singer, and producer. He is best known for his role as Eddie Winslow on the television series Family Matters, which aired on ABC and CBS from 1989 to 1998. Aside from his music career, McCrary is a well-known face in the media, having appeared in a number of movies and TV shows. The following is a brief biography of McCrary.
Before becoming an actor and producer, Darius McCrary began working as an on-screen comedian. He appeared in television shows and films, including “Big Shots” and the T.V. drama “Amen.” Though he had a strong base of acting experience from his early roles, he struggled to find a major role. Eventually, he landed a small role in several T.V. shows, including ‘Seinfeld’.
McCrary started his career on television in 1987. His first starring roles were in the comedy-adventure film Big Shots. Later, he was cast in the crime thriller Mississippi Burning, for which he won several awards, including the British Academy Film Awards and the Political Film Society Award. In addition to these, McCrary has starred in several movies, including the Christian drama Something to Sing About, and has appeared in films such as Kingdom Come, 15 Minutes, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Darius McCrary is an American actor, singer, and producer. He has been a part of many hit television shows and films. His father, Michael McCrary, founded FathersCare, a non-profit organization that offers practical help and acts as a legal network for fathers and children. CGEM Talent and his mother’s agency are his reps. He has a net worth of $17 million as of 2021.
As of December 2009, McCrary has been married to Juliette Vann, Karrine Steffans, and Tammy Brawner. The two women are parents of three. He has been married three times, and is the father of two children. At age 45, he is an actor, musician, and producer. In the 1970s, he was a child star, but now he is a successful television actor.
McCrary has appeared in several television shows and films. His first film, “Big Shots”, starred Shemar Moore, who played the character of Malcolm Winters, a gas station clerk. His role on Family Matters was played by Shemar Moore. He left the show in October 2011 to pursue a solo career. Afterwards, he appeared in an episode of I Get That A Lot on CBS. He was mistaken for Paris Hilton in the episode of the television show.
Darius McCrary’s parents are renowned gospel and jazz musicians. His father, Howard, is also an actor. He was born in Los Angeles, California, and is an American citizen. After a few years of studying at a college in Chicago, he moved to New York and joined the family. His mother is a former musician, and his father, a successful entertainer, is also a producer.
The Work of Darius McCrary
His work has been lauded for its innovative quality, as he has adapted many classic works to the screen. His renowned television shows include Family Matters, Freedom, and The Young and the Restless. His recent appearances in film include the role of James Brown in BET’s American Soul. He is also an executive producer of the UMC web series Monogamy, and he is a series regular in the show.
The work of Darius McCrary is not limited to film. He has also produced his own music and is an active activist for minority and African-American rights. His short films, interviews, and skits have made him one of the most sought-after talents in Hollywood. His latest project, “Darius,” is dedicated to the arts. He is committed to promoting excellence in all areas of his life and has a passion for bringing together diverse voices.
Darius McCrary began his career as an actor as a child, starring in “Big Shots” and appearing in numerous episodic TV shows. In 1988, he got his big break on Family Matters, and appeared in several episodes as a guest. In 1998, he starred in a short film called Freedom, and in the HBO series Don King: Only in America, he played the lead role of Bowie James.
Despite the numerous roles he has landed on television, Darius McCrary is best known for his appearance as Eddie Winslow on the hit ‘Family Matters’. He appeared in all seasons, and was later awarded a coveted role on the series. His net worth is estimated at $100k, but he prefers to live a modest life. A brief biography of McCrary’s career can be found here.
The work of Darius McCrary is extensive. The actor has appeared in many movies and TV series. He played Eddie Winslow on “American Soul” and in Lee Daniels’ “Star on Fox.” He has also starred as Otis Leecan in the 2007 remake of Transformers. Moreover, he is also an accomplished singer. His success in the acting industry is reflected in his efforts to stay humble.
His talent for acting is widely recognized. His performances in ‘Family Matters’ and ‘Fathers Care’ have won him awards in the past. His many roles in movies and TV shows are impressive, but his love for music and family is the most important part of his life. His dedication to his work has made him a devoted father. He also founded a non-profit organization that brings together many talented talents.
Darius McCrary started his career as a child actor. His best known role was as Eddie Winslow on the soap opera “Family Matters” from 1989 to 1998. His work also includes a wide range of other TV shows and movies. He co-produced the movies ‘Church’ and ‘Steppin’: The Maintenance Man. The work of Darius McCrary has been immensely successful in film, television, and stage.
The Net Worth of Darius McCrary
After his role in the hit television series Family Matters, Darius McCrary has gained fame for his starring role as Eddie Winslow. He has since ventured into other industries, including music. His songs have appeared on Apple Music and Spotify, and his music has been featured on his All About U album. However, his net worth is still unknown.
According to sources, Darius McCrary has a net worth of $17 million as of 2021. His father had a net wealth of $3 million. His multiple careers have also given him a huge amount of money, including acting. In 2012, he went broke and moved in with his family. His networth has risen and fallen over the years. As of March 2012, he was owed $16 million by the IRS.
Although McCrary has been an award-winning actor and singer, his financial health has been questionable at times. He was broke and owed money to investors. After he quit acting, he moved in with his parents. Despite his high-profile career, he has a poor financial history. In 2012, he had a net worth of $16 million. Despite these personal problems, he continues to work in his chosen field, resulting in a healthy net worth.
Originally from Walnut, California, Darius McCrary’s net worth is estimated at $50 thousand. Despite his varied career, the actor’s philanthropy has kept his family and friends very happy. His networth is growing, and his net worth is set to increase in the years to come. But before that, he had to struggle to make ends meet. Thankfully, he was able to land a big-time role in Family Matters.
Currently, Darius McCrary is in a state of bankruptcy. He owes the IRS around $90,000, and has been virtually bankrupt for several years. Despite his plight, his net worth has been steadily increasing over the past several years. In fact, his networth has more than doubled since he got back on his feet. The rapper’s debt has reached its lowest point ever, and he has been trying to pay it off.
Although his father has always encouraged him to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, his father has supported his efforts by encouraging him to pursue his passion for acting. The actor is also the father of three-year-old daughter, Zoey Zanai. As of 2021, Darius McCrary has a net worth of approximately $17 million. You can check out the details of his wealth by clicking on the links below
The actor Darius McCrary’s net worth is around $8.5 million. He has achieved great success in four different fields, including acting, singing, and producing. Moreover, he is an inspiration to young people in his hometown of Los Angeles. This has made him a highly sought-after personality in Hollywood. With a net wealth of more than $100 million, Darius McCrary has earned great success in his career.
It is safe to say that Mel Gibson’s new film, The Passion of the Christ, is one of, if not the most controversial film ever made. Therefore, let me get my feelings on the subject out of the way right off the bat. Personally, I believe we live in a free country; which means 1) Gibson has the right to express his religious beliefs and 2) if you don’t like it then you have a right not to buy a ticket. There, with that out of the way we can talk about the movie which I thought was excellent.
The film is not so much a story of Jesus Christ, but rather a visual documentation of his final twelve hours, from arrest to crucifixion. Occasionally the film does flashback to certain well-known events as the Last Supper, the Sermon on the Mount and the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, but these flashbacks are very brief, lasting about 30 seconds each. Gibson filmed the movie in Aramaic and Latin and originally planned not to feature subtitles, making the film a purely visual experience—unless you speak Aramaic and Latin. Although the decision was eventually made to include English subtitles, the movie remains a mostly visual experience and there are long segments that feature little or no dialogue at all.
As you most certainly have heard, the film is also one of the bloodiest ever made (some have questioned whether it should have been rated NC-17 instead of R), but that was part of Gibson’s intention. The director wanted to portray the death of Christ as realistically as possible and we would be fooling ourselves if we actually thought that there would be no blood when Jesus was nailed to the cross. Still, I did not find it as bloody as I expected. The 10-minute flogging scene and the crucifixion scene are two of the bloodiest scenes ever created, but outside of that it is not too horrible. However, I must admit to having been desensitized a little after seeing so many violent movies.
For those who do not know the story of Christ’s crucifixion, the film might be difficult to follow. The brief flashbacks give us a little background, but the film basically assumes most of its audience will know the story going in. Personally, I kept having flashbacks to my childhood, when the crucifixion of Christ was reenacted in Church on Sunday. Everything I remember from those reenactments was in the film: Peter’s triple denial, the crowd calling for the crucifixion, Pilate’s offer to release one prisoner and the crowd’s subsequent selection of a known murderer over Jesus, Jesus’ frequent collapses as he carried the cross up the mountain, Simon’s assistance, the woman offering him water, etc.
As a filmmaker Gibson has succeeded again. Thanks to the cinematography of Caleb Deschanel, The Passion of the Christ is a stunning film to look at despite its horrific images. I particularly enjoyed the final shot of the film, which was the perfect note for the film to end on. The performance of former Mt. Vernon resident Jim Caviezel as Jesus is powerful, effective and daring. Caviezel (Frequency, The Thin Red Line) actually took a beating for the film, suffering welts on his back and a dislocated soldier, and he carries to weight of Jesus’ sacrifice in his eyes.
As the audience filed out of the theater, most eyes were filled with tears. This is a very emotional film and—especially for those who are deeply religious—very personal. The most powerful moment for me came during the flogging scene, when the sight becomes too unbearable for Mary and Magdalene. Their tears caused a lump in my throat. The scene immediately following the flogging—in which Mary and Magdalene attempt to clean up the remaining puddles of mud—is equally powerful and for that matter, so is the entire film.
Out of curiosity I have perused other reviews of this film and found a wide variance in opinion from four stars to zero and A to F. It has been called both anti-Semitic and visionary. Personally, I thought it is certainly one of the best films of the year. I give it an A.
Few—if any—movie stars have burst onto the screen as strongly as Audrey Hepburn did in the 1953 romantic comedy classic Roman Holiday. Watching the film today, you might not realize that this was the actress’s first starring role, because she immediately establishes the adorable Audrey Hepburn persona that made her so lovable in movies like Sabrina, My Fair Lady and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This fact was not lost on Hollywood and Hepburn walked away with the Best Actress Oscar.
Hepburn plays a royal princess of an unnamed country who has grown bored with her day-to-day responsibilities. She escapes for a night on the town, but before she can get too far, a sedative her doctor gave her, causes her to fall asleep on a city wall. Just happening to be walking by is Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck), an American newspaperman who winds up taking her back to his apartment. It is not until the light of day that Joe realizes who she is. Smelling a story, he passes himself off as a fertilizer salesman and takes her on a sightseeing trip around Rome. Along for the ride is Joe’s cameraman friend Irving (Eddie Albert) to document the whole day with a small camera hidden in his cigarette lighter. But Joe starts thinking twice about his big story, when he starts to fall in love with the beautiful princess.
The movie was filmed entirely on location in Rome—very rare at that time—and the classic city is a character in every scene. However, the background does not interfere with the story; a story that has been often imitated, but never surpassed. Many critics have said that it is really a movie of moments. Moments such as when Hepburn tries to put her shoe back on inconspicuously during a reception line; moments like the scooter ride through the streets of Rome; and moments like the brawl on the docks. My favorite moment is the “Mouth of Truth” scene, which was improvised on the spot. Peck did not tell Hepburn what he was going to do and the fearful scream she delivers is not an act. The movie may be a collection of moments, but director William Wyler (The Best Years of Our Lives; Ben-Hur) ties them together flawlessly in a well-paced comedy that never loses momentum.
Hepburn shines. She brings out the innocent joy in her princess on the run and the actresses’ love of life really shines through. Not to be outdone is Gregory Peck, who matches Hepburn stride for stride in one of his few comedic performances. Peck—better known for his dramatic films—says on the included documentary that he knew if he was offered a comedy script that Cary Grant must have already turned it down. He was right. Green Acres star Eddie Albert is also fun to watch as the comic sidekick; a role that earned the actor an Oscar nomination.
Along with the retrospective documentary, the new DVD also includes a documentary on the film’s restoration and a featurette dedicated to legendary costume designer Edith Head.
To this day, Roman Holiday remains one of the most enjoyable romantic comedies ever made. I give it an A.