Unfortunately I'm going to have to disagree with you; "American Sniper" was my pick for best film in 2014 followed by "Selma", "Whiplash", "Boyhood", "Locke" and "The Imitation Game". And that's saying a lot considering the strength of independent films last year. Regardless of one's stance on military operation this picture was an incredibly accurate portrayal of war and the emotional toll it has on a soldier’s personal life. I put “American Sniper” into the same category as “Apocalypse Now”, “Platoon” and “Saving Private Ryan”; structurally and narratively it’s that good and there is great chemistry between Eastwood and Bradley Cooper something that critics often fail to appreciate.
There's always a laughable facile quality to Mr. Brunson's scribbling, and here he certainly doesn't disappoint.
"its fudging of the facts never gets in the way of its sturdy liberal politics".
"a cowed U.S. media afraid of the right-wing hit machine"
Oh, and regarding "which naturally had to run in a non-U.S. paper" - Glenn Greenwald, also in The Guardian, on Obama's NSA, anyone?
Love the line George Kennedy says to an obnoxious brat who won't leave him alone, "Look kid why don't you go fuck a duck" in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot was hilarious to me.. His delivery was second to none.
Tom Whalen: Yes, my opinion of horror titles is "broadly contempuous [sic] and dismissive." That's why THIS VERY COLUMN includes a RAVE review for a horror film (BLACK SUNDAY). Insert eye roll here.
Why do you bother reviewing horror titles when you opinion of them is so broadly contempuous and dismissive?
Let's be honest Valerie Perrine was a heterosexual male guilty pleasure... She was all woman in an era where women were adored not these vapid stupid twit girls who are interchangeable and a dime a dozen on todays movie screen.
LENNY was a film I saw on VHS when I was 20 years old.. After reading your review which I agree with makes me realize this is another film hey could not make today or do it justice the way it would deserve... It would probably star Johnny Depp.
To Sir with Love is on of my favorite films.. 1967 I agree was a banner year for Sidney Poitier. He did three films back to back to back that today would be impossible to top.
Barbara Steele was so hot in her day.....
I really adored Love is Strange... Pork Chop Hill in spite of your very good review I feel is underrated. (Not by you) I felt it had a lot more depth that it was given credit for.
Magic in the Moonlight is Miscast, underwritten, and shot without any visual flair. Cute, but without any substance behind it.
I'm glad you used a still of Tom Baker.. He was my favorite Doctor and an immense actor if you ever saw Nicholas and Alexandra.
Having read the original screenplay by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, I can safely say that the original script didn't follow the same structure as the 1976 film. I will admit there were a few homages here and there, but it was a whole new take on the story. Before the film was delayed in January 2013, there was a lot of positive feedback from those who attended the first test screenings in December 2012. A number of people confirmed that the original cut was longer and a lot different than the theatrical cut. I remember watching a video on YouTube where two guys reviewed the film (without giving away spoilers) based on what they saw at the test screenings. They confirmed that the film was a lot different to Brian De Palma's film and was more closer to the Stephen King novel. I personally believe that the studios interfered with the editing of the film. The theatrical cut wasn't what Kimberly Peirce wanted to release in theatres. It's like they re-cut the film and gave us a remake of Brian De Palma's film. I knew it wasn't Kimberly's voice in the movie - it was the studios.
A friend of mine, who is a filmmaker, gave their two cents as to what might have happened...
The original cut was all ready to go in March, then the studios looked at the release date and thought they could make more money on "Carrie" during the Halloween season. So they demanded re-shoots and multiple re-edits to make it more Horror. It would explain why Lawrence D. Cohen (the writer of the 1976 film) was credited after the film was delayed - they re-shot a lot of scenes from the 1976 screenplay. The downside to the re-shoots and multiple re-edits is that a lot of scenes would have to be dropped or trimmed to fit the required running time by the studios. The shorter the film, the more viewing sessions the film has.
Based on fan speculation, test audience feedback, and certain confirmed details concerning the film - the deleted and/or extended scenes include:
-The original opening was a flashback of Carrie as a little girl spying through a fence on a female neighbor who is sunbathing. The young woman notices Carrie and starts to make conversation with her. Carrie tells her that she can see her "dirty pillows" and the neighbor explains to her that it is normal for women to develop breasts when they get older. That's when Margaret White appears and snatches up Carrie, screaming and yelling at the neighbor. She calls the young lady a whore, telling her to stay away from her child, and Carrie gets upset and begins to cry. Suddenly, it starts hailing. Pellets of ice come down on top of Carrie's home while Margaret runs into the house trying to console her daughter. The neighbor just stares in disbelief as the hail rains down on the White residence, and only the White residence.
-The White Commission [The film had integrated several courtroom scenes with witnesses giving testimonies of their experiences with Carrie White leading to the prom incident, essentially structuring the film as a series of flashbacks and recollections. The neighbor from the alternate opening scene is shown at first, now an adult woman, recounting her experience. There is also a scene featuring a TK Specialist discussing telekinesis and saying something to the effect of Carrie being one of many people who may be born with this genetic anomaly. It's been said that the White Commission scenes revealed too many prom survivors which the filmmaker's felt spoiled the climax]
-There was `found footage' that played a role in the film. That's why you see Freddy `Beak' Holt carrying his camera around and filming everything.
-There were scenes detailing more in depth character development.
-There were scenes involving school life, social media and bullying.
-There were scenes involving Facebook, the e-mail sent from Chris to Donna Kellogg. "So I'm out of prom and my [censored] father says he won't give them what they deserve."
-"Wipe that smile off your face." - Chris to Carrie at the pool.
-The locker room scene [Extended] - Chris turning the cell-phone toward herself and the mean girls.
-Chris and Tina kiss [Extended]
-Tommy and Sue's backseat sex scene [Extended]
-Billy's wild ride [The "blowjob scene" - similar to the 1976 version]
-An interaction between Chris and Carrie outside the dress shop.
-The confrontation between Sue and the mean girls
-Carrie levitates Margaret [Extended]
-Drive to the pig farm [Extended]
-After Tommy leaves the table to get some drinks, Carrie and Miss Desjardin have a friendly and meaningful conversation.
-Carrie and Tommy kiss.
-Billy kisses Chris.
-Margaret claws her way out of the closet and goes over to the sink where she retrieves a butcher knife and cuts herself.
-Sue tries to call Tommy from outside the school to warn him that something bad is about to happen. He rejects the call.
-The prom scene as a whole, which was said to be longer and more violent than the theatrical version.
-Tina on fire [Extended]
-A scene or shot which reveals George Dawson's and his girlfriend's fate.
-There were some really creepy stuff that was unfortunately cut during post-production, like some "dancing" dead students. My source is not completely certain about this detail or its placement within the film. But it was either in a deleted scene where Carrie snaps the limbs of prom-goers or during the electrocution scene which was supposed to be more graphic and longer. In the novel, it was described as a "crazy puppet dance".
-The scene of Carrie levitating outside of the burning school was actually re-shot. In the original version of that scene, Carrie was standing on the centre of the lawn, waiting for the remaining surviving students to come out of the burning school before killing them one by one with her telekinetic powers.
-After Carrie leaves the school, she begins to destroy part of the town by causing explosions and bringing down power lines as she follows Billy and Chris. You can see the first few seconds of the town destruction from the aerial view. If you look closely behind Carrie, you can see that several cars are in flames.
-When Sue is outside the school with Miss Desjardin, she sees Tommy's body being carried out on a stretcher. Miss Desjardin tells Sue that she's sorry and Sue walks away with determination to find Carrie.
-Margaret's original death scene - possibly similar to the book version which depicts a heart attack caused by Carrie's power.
-The multiple endings
1) The first ending is very similar to the ending of the 1976 film but without the final twist: Sue Snell actually gets killed when Carrie pulls her into the ground.
2) The second ending is an exact replica of the original film where Snell gets pulled into the ground by Carrie but wakes up in her bed to find it's just a dream.
3) The third ending is after Carrie saves Sue by pushing her out of the house, which collapses from the falling stones. There's a bird's eye view of the wreckage of what used to be Carrie's home before we get a quick CGI zoom through a pit of debris, to a close-up of a now bloodied Carrie snapping her eyes open.
4) The fourth ending is of Sue making a final speech to the court where she says the line heard in the teaser trailer about Carrie being just a girl, not a monster. This is spoken over scenes of Sue and her family visiting the cemetery. Sue goes to Carrie's grave, which shows the headstone tagged up and vandalized. She leaves her flowers and just walks away. Nothing scary, just a very somber closing shot of the headstone.
5) The fifth ending is after Carrie's house is destroyed by the falling stones, the movie flashes forward to several months later. We see Sue in the hospital surrounded by doctors and nurses, ready to give birth. They're trying to calm her down but Sue begins to struggle, saying she feels something is wrong. Suddenly, a very bloody hand (covered in afterbirth) erupts from between Sue's legs, reaching up and gripping her arm. She screams in terror and we see that she is having a nightmare, being held down by her parents while the camera pans over to a wall where we are shown a large crucifix hanging in her room.
6) The sixth ending is described as a "morning after voice over" by Sue Snell as we see the town coping with what happened.
7) The seventh ending shows the town the morning after Carrie's attack filled with news crews, reporters, and cops talking about the whole thing. What's bizarre about this scene is that Carrie's destruction of the city is being described as "a conspiracy." Apparently the town is "trying to cover up what really happened."
There is an online petition for a Director's Cut to be released, but, let's face it, the studios won't release one. The petition has gained over 6,000+ signatures (I think?), so I'm curious to see how that will turn out.
The Sting is a wonderful movie. It is unfortunate that they no longer make movies like this any more. It has great writing, great chemistry between the leading actors, a wonderful supporting cast, excellent direction and touch and one of the best musical scores of any movie in the last 50 years. And more twists and turns in the plot than 98% of movies made today. And one that the whole family can enjoy.
The Body Double blu was a limited release and it's already sold out.
"Lethal Weapon 2" was the best - and could have been a lot better, if not for Executive Meddling. And if it had been allowed to be released, we'd have been spared the abysmal 3 and 4 (which i never bothered to see after ejecting 3 halfway through..). (Can you guess what the suits made them change after focus group showings?)
I’m probably one of the few people that didn’t see The Amazing Spider Man when it was in theaters. I had that feeling that it was an unnecessary movie since there was an entire trilogy available. My husband is a comic fanatic and so he convinced me to add this film to our queue. I have to admit that even with mixed reviews I’m curious now to see if it really is worth watching. My co-worker swears that this one is the best out of all the Spidey movies. We’ll see how I feel after I’ve seen it. I do appreciate your recap of the special features since sometimes that interests me more than the actual film. I’m also really interested in Arthur Christmas since that is a film my kids haven’t seen yet. It sounds charming and funny. It may end up as part of our collection.
She certainly should have been nominated with her talent from many roles; it surprises me that it's taken this long for her to get a lead role to begin with. I saw "We Need to Talk about Kevin” last week on one of my business trips during a layover and was thrilled. All the performances were amazing, but John C. Reilly blew me away; he has been coming out of his element in dramatic roles beautifully. I find the entire idea of how tragedies have been dealt with in this country to be close to an American nightmare. Seeing a film that takes the alternative eye through Eva's standpoint is eloquent and breathtaking.
it was a fascinating movie and a super psychological thriller! I really loved Swinton's performance too! and yes, it's a pity that she wasn't nominated for Oscars.
I’m a huge Tilda Swinton fan; I can’t agree with you more because every film she chooses she rocks. After reading your review, I am sure this is not an exception. A nod probably does not even come close to doing her justice. I have not had my chance to see “We Need to Talk About Kevin”. I’m looking forward to seeing this unique film starring one of my favorite actresses.
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