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Member's Reviews

Alien, a review by Dragonfire




Alien
In the first chapter of the terrifying Alien saga, the crew of the spaceship Nostromo answers a distress signal from a desolate planet, only to discover a deadly life form that breeds within human hosts. Now the crew members must fight not only for their own survival, but for the survival of all humankind.



This is the first time that I've watched this movie.  I've heard a little about it over the years, but I just never saw it for some reason.  I'm still not sure why.  I'd been thinking about getting it for a while when I finally picked it up.  I went into watching this not knowing any more about the plot than what was on the back of the case - though I did know about one thing that would happen.  I think that was the best way.  The movie is very well done and has held up incredibly well.  Most of the effects were created in a more practical way - puppets or someone in a rubber suit - and that works great for the movie.  It allows for the tension to slowly build and makes things creepier and scarier overall than if the creature had been shown right away.  The characters work well, though most of them aren't that developed.  Ash is creepy as hell right from the start, even before everything is known about him.  Ripley is a great character and one of the best female characters in movies.  She deals fairly well with the situation she ends up in, and doesn't cower in a corner and wait to be saved. 

The movie is wonderful and I'm glad I finally watched it.  Especially that I watched it before Prometheus.  I saw definite connections there...small, but they are there.  I would have missed all that if I hadn't watched this one.



I did get a longer review posted on Epinions if anyone wants to take a look.

Alien


(From Marie's Random Movie Viewing on June 17th, 2012)

Member's Reviews

The Tracey Fragments, a review by goodguy


   The Tracey Fragments (CA 2007)
Written by: Maureen Medved, based on her novel
Directed by: Bruce McDonald
Starring: Ellen Page
DVD: R1-US ThinkFilm/Image (July 2008)


Here is a link to a larger version of the beautiful poster.

Cover blurb: Oscar-nominated Ellen Page (Juno, Hard Candy) delivers an extraordinary performance as a feisty, independent-minded teenager with a unique view of the world. From cutting-edge director Bruce McDonald (Hard Core Logo, Roadkill), THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS tells the story of an outsider who uses fantasy to help her deal with a secret crush, loneliness and frustration. When her 7-year-old brother wanders away while under her care, she examines her life as she is propelled on a late-night journey through the city in a desperate attempt to find him.

There are many movies and even some TV shows that use split screen, but I know only two other movies  that employed this technique throughout their entire running length: Mike Figgis' Timecode (2000) and Hans Canosa's Conversations with Other Women (2005). Timecode divided the screen into four panels showing different actions, each in one single take, that meet at certain junction points. Conversations used two panels to show the same story (the meeting of two seemingly strangers) simultaneously from both viewpoints. Timecode was a boring and uninteresting affair, Conversations was a great movie that deserves its own review, if I find the time to do it. What both have in common is that their use of split screen is static and, in a way, conventional.

The Tracey Fragments brings the whole split screen experience to an entirely new level. Panels appear and disappear, change size, move around, loom over each other. Sometimes their are ten or more on the screen. The movie unfolds as a non-linear stream of consciousness, mixing reality and fantasy, jumping all over the place. That may sound confusing, but let's be real - yet another story about a troubled and frustrated teenager isn't that hard to follow. So, naturally, McDonald has been accused of camouflaging a simple and clichéd story with pretentious and artsy images. Way to miss the point. As Roger Ebert once so eloquently put it: "A movie is not about what it is about, it is about how it is about it."

And the "how" of The Tracey Fragments can only be called a revolutionary step in film making. Before TTF, split screen was merely used as a replacement for intercutting either different scenes or different viewpoints of a scene. TTF goes way beyond that simple montage concept. Consider Tracey running away from something and the borders of the panel closing in on here, the panel getting smaller and smaller and the remaining screen filled with black. Or as Tracey is about to leave somewhere, dozens of tiny panels with closing doors pop up all over the screen. There are numerous other techniques like time-lapse over multiple panels, repetition, shattered and rebuild panels, etc. It is important to note that all these techniques and concepts aren't abstract implementations, they are essential in creating an emotional resonance with the viewer. It is, in short, visual storytelling at its best.

All the daring innovation is anchored by (yet another) strong performance from Ellen Page. In fact, she is the reason I discovered the movie; I knew nothing about the director Bruce McDonald, although he seems to have some kind of semi cult status in Canada.

Last but not least, the movie has a great score by Broken Social Scene, including a cover version of Patti Smith' Horses.

Highly recommended, although I'm aware that it might not be everyone's cup of tea.


(From The Tracey Fragments on August 30th, 2008)

Member's TV Reviews

Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, a review by addicted2dvd


     Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis (1950/United States)
IMDb | Wikipedia

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis made their television debut on Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town in June 1948. They were, in many respects, the perfect comedy team. Martin's good looks and smooth baritone balanced Lewis' impishness and frantic comedy. They appeared for six seasons, on a rotating basis on the Colgate Comedy Hour,

WITH SPECIAL GUEST ROSEMARY CLOONEY
Mellow Dean sings, Zany Jerry clowns and Rosemary sings two of her all-time hits. In a hilarious skit, it’s Dean’s wedding day an Jerry is the private detective hired to protect the wedding gifts.

WITH SPECIAL GUEST BURT LANCASTER
In this program Dean and Jerry are joined by Burt Lancaster. Dean sings and Jerry clowns as only they can and Burt Lancaster is an escapee from an insane asylum.

Stars:
Dean Martin
Jerry Lewis
Burt Lancaster
Rosemary Clooney
The Skylarks
Sidney Sillman

Extras:
  • Scene Access
  • Production Notes


My Thoughts:
I felt like a little classic television so I decided to pop in one of my Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis Show DVDs. This show was also known as The Colgate Comedy Hour. And it definitely had some laughs in it. But it also has quite a bit of music in it as well. A little too much for my taste. But that is ok... because there is enough good comedy in it to still make it worth watching for me. Being on one of those public domain releases I really wasn't expecting much quality wise... but I was pleasantly surprised. There was a few problems here and there... but for the most part it was more then watchable.


My Rating:
Out of a Possible 5


(From Addicted2dvd's Random TV Series Watched on June 11th, 2011)