dkncd's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Our Hospitality
12 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

"Sherlock Jr." is Buster Keaton's film about a movie theater employee who aspires to be a detective. Keaton handles his role well and the supporting cast is solid as well. The film has impressive cinematography, but a generic score.

The film has amusing moments: the very close shadowing of the villain by Keaton as a detective, Keaton walking through the safe door and Keaton taking cues from a film to guide his romantic actions. Some of the stunts were entertaining, particularly Keaton's escapes through a window and a stomach. The famous scene where Keaton enters a movie scene was cleverly made, but I found it only moderately entertaining.

However, I found most of the film's jokes basic and not very amusing. A lot of the stunt sequences, while well-shot, were overlong. While "Sherlock Jr." had some funny moments and is a meticulously constructed film, I was disappointed by how few times I was amused by it.

Anna Karenina
Anna Karenina (1935)
14 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

"Anna Karenina" is based on a novel by Leo Tolstoy. I have not read Tolstoy's novel, but it is apparent from the thickness of the novel and the length of this film that this adaptation is heavily abridged. The story is simple; Anna Karenina is married to Karenin but has an affair with Vronsky.

The film features impressive sets and costumes. There are depictions of upper-class Russian rituals such as drinking games, dancing and a stage production. These are for the most part well-done, although the stage production seemed drawn out.

Greta Garbo as Anna, Fredric March as Vronsky and Basil Rathbone as Karenin lead the cast. It is an impressive roster, and all of them give solid performances, especially Rathbone and Garbo, but the characters they played were not exceptionally interesting. Freddie Bartholomew is notable as Sergei, Anna's astute young scientist of a child that has some touching scenes with Garbo.

This film is watchable and has a number of decent scenes, but never gains much momentum beyond a basic love story. Sadly I didn't form any strong attachments to the characters such that I was even indifferent to Anna's final fate at the end of the story. I'm not sure how other adaptations of the novel compare, but this one is somewhat flat despite having three accomplished performers in the lead parts.

Les Miserables
14 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The first point that bears emphasis about the 1998 film adaptation of Victor Hugo's "Les Misérables" is that it is highly abridged. Even more abridged than abridged versions of the novel and even more abridged than the story used for the popular musical. Characters such as Éponine and Gavroche are absent from this adaptation. This will offend those looking for a closer adaptation of Hugo's novel, but it does not bother me that this film focuses on the story of Valjean, Javert, Fantine, Cosette and Marius. The basic story for those unfamiliar with it, takes place in 19th century France and follows a poor thief, Jean Valjean, who is relentlessly pursued by Inspector Javert, even after reforming his ways.

Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush are excellent as the reformed and generous ex-convict and his relentless pursuer. The rest of the performances are commendable as well, particularly from Uma Thurman as Fantine, Claire Danes as Cosette and Hans Matheson as Marius. Claire Danes, in addition to giving a solid performance, seems to fit well with the iconic image of Cosette that has come to represent musical productions of the story.

Visually this film is impressive as well with sweeping representations of Paris, Vigo and other locations and appropriate costumes. Basil Poledouris' score was also fitting for the story. The story, though abridged, still effectively gives us the touching tale of the plight of the poor in France, a reformed and ceaselessly generous convict, an overzealous inspector and those around them. I always enjoyed the clash of ideals and cat and mouse game between a reformed criminal and a man who clings to the ideal that no criminal can ever be reformed. This version of "Les Misérables" is recommended for those that are not uncomfortable with heavy abridgements to Hugo's classic novel.

Inherit the Wind
14 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

"Inherit the Wind" is the story of a teacher put on trial in a small American town for teaching a lesson based Darwin's "Origin of Species", which is against local law and thought to deny God's role as creator. The film is loosely based on the "Scopes Trial" of 1925. It is important to emphasize the phrase "loosely based", because numerous details of the film, including character names and histories, do not coincide with the details of the Scopes Trial.

Spencer Tracy excels at speechmaking as Henry Drummond, the lawyer defending the teacher. Fredric March has a more difficult role as the over-the-top fundamentalist folk hero against teaching evolution, Matthew Harrison Brady. March generally handles it well and delivers a number of memorable lines, but at times went too far for my liking in being crass and a buffoon. The rest of the cast is notable, particularly Gene Kelly as the derisive E. K. Hornbeck delivering sharp lines.

The story is set in the fictitious small town of "Heavenly" Hillsboro in Tennessee. Marches of the villagers through the town, their meeting were effective ways to emphasize the town as being fundamentalist, although the suggestion that they would hang the teacher seems unrealistic. I thought the side story of the the firebrand preacher that shuns his own daughter was well-made and not out of place. The best scenes of the film were those in the court room, especially the dialogue between Drummond and Brady concerning the Bible. There is only one part of this that seemed strange, where Brady suggests that sex is the "original sin". It seems doubtful that a character like Brady's would consider sex a sin, only non-marital sex. The issues raised by the film remain pertinent today considering that many still challenge the validity of teaching evolution despite consensus among scientists.

Cyrano de Bergerac
14 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

"Cyrano de Bergerac" is based on the play by Edmond Rostand about a swordsman and poet with a long nose who helps another man to win the woman he loves. The film's story is an abridged version of the play based on the famous English translation from Brian Hooker.

José Ferrer is excellent in the title role as Cyrano de Bergerac. He handles all aspects of the character well, from the sharp poetic dialogue to the reluctance in conveying his feelings to Roxane. The rest of the performances were respectable as well, though clearly the title role requires the most acting ability.

This film is criticized for its minimalist sets. Admittedly they never bothered me, but at times the film was excessively dark, especially during the combat scenes toward the end of the film.

The story is abridged, but for me the essential components of the story were there with clever verse of Hooker's translation and the tragedy and humor of Rostand's story. The swordplay scenes are believable, though not exceptional other than for Cyrano's ability to fight and compose poetry simultaneously. "Cyrano de Bergerac" is a solid adaptation of Rostand's play best known for a striking performance from José Ferrer.