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All reviews - Movies (2) - DVDs (3)

The Silence of the Lambs review

Posted : 2 years, 1 month ago on 11 July 2015 05:16 (A review of The Silence of the Lambs)

Unlike a lot of viewers, I first saw The Silence of the Lambs at five years old. So, for me, The Silence of the Lambs is a childhood favorite. Some would say I had an unusual childhood, in this age where some people actually avoid R-rated movies like the plague. The fact that I saw Something Wild, which Jonathan Demme directed five years before The Silence of the Lambs, as well as the original Alien (alone at that), at the same age probably indicates that they were okay with me watching pretty much anything that wasn't rated X, though, honestly, I've never had any interest in that stuff. It was probably due to the fact that, like the movie's protagonist, I don't "spook easily," and many so-called "scary" movies, including this one, never scared me, but (many of them) definitely thrilled me. Granted, I'd seen Saving Private Ryan a few months before, which probably gave me a strong stomach. Well, enough about my wild, albeit fun, childhood. How does The Silence of the Lambs hold up all these years later? For me personally, The Silence of the Lambs is every bit as good as it was the first time I saw it at five years old.

On the off chance you don't already know the plot by now, Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a rookie FBI agent with a degree in psychology who is called from training by her boss Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) in the middle of a string of murders by a man nicknamed "Buffalo Bill" (Ted Levine) who skins his victims, all of whom happen to be women. Crawford tells her to interview the psychotic Dr. Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in prison, hoping he might have an answer of some kind. Lecter brushes her off. After Catherine Martin (Brooke Smith), the daughter of a senator is kidnapped, Lecter agrees to give Starling information about Buffalo Bill on the condition that she tell him personal information about herself.

If I had to pick the greatest Best Picture Oscar winner ever, it would most likely be The Silence of the Lambs. Well-acted, well-written, and well-directed, it's definitely my favorite.

Let's look at the acting to start. Jodie Foster, unsurprisingly, won a well-deserved Oscar for her performance as Starling. Foster plays Starling as a little scared yet strong at the same time, definitely not a coward as Julianne Moore later played the character in the movie Hannibal, and definitely not someone who would turn cannibal as Thomas Harris wrote the character as doing in the novel Hannibal. Movie or novel, in my honest opinion, the Clarice Starling depicted in Hannibal is an insult to what this Clarice Starling stands for. As we find out about what's been nagging Starling since childhood, Foster plays it especially well where another actress may have overdone it.
Anthony Hopkins, like Foster, won an Oscar for his performance as Lecter, and I speak for a lot of people, if not everybody, when I say it was also well-deserved. Hopkins plays Lecter as brilliant yet insane, making him one of the more interesting villains in movie history.
Scott Glenn plays Crawford very well for the time he's onscreen.
Ted Levine plays "Buffalo Bill" as straight up crazy, and does a very good job of making us hate him.
Brooke Smith is only supposed to play Catherine Martin as scared and she does - with dead-on accuracy.

Ted Tally won a well-deserved Oscar for his screenplay, adapted from Thomas Harris' novel of the same name. Tally doesn't feel the need to focus on violence and gore, which is one of the movie's strengths. Instead he focuses on the characters, and I'd be lying if I said he didn't flesh them out very, very, very, well.

Jonathan Demme also won an Oscar for his directing and he does a very good job of it.
The Silence of the Lambs is relentlessly thrilling and it holds me to my seat until the last frame every time I see it, all without relying on excessive gore.
I've already mentioned that The Silence of the Lambs doesn't scare me, so it may - or may not - scare you, depending on what you're afraid of. Admittedly, there are a few creepy things displayed onscreen so I can see why it would scare some viewers.
Either way, I can't recommend The Silence of the Lambs enough, and everybody should see it at least once.

The Silence of the Lambs is a childhood favorite of mine, and it holds up very, very well almost 25 years after its release. It's relentlessly thrilling, flawlessly acted, flawlessly written, flawlessly directed, and one of the few movies that actually deserved all the Oscars it won.


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"We just want you to find our little girl."

Posted : 2 years, 9 months ago on 26 October 2014 11:36 (A review of Poltergeist)

The Movie (5/5)

One of the big events of my childhood was seeing Poltergeist for the first time at 7 years old. I saw it on a 4:3 set on a very old DVD in my parents' bedroom, after my mom had recently come home from the hospital after surgery. One night, my dad came home from the library with some DVDs, and one of them was Poltergeist.
I popped it into the DVD player without hesitation as I'd wanted to see it since I was 5. I knew from the moment it started, Poltergeist was going to be a great movie, but little did I know it would become my favorite movie of all time, and I'd want to experience it again and again.
Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams star in this classic as Steve and Diane Freeling, who live with their three children, 16-year-old Dana (Dominique Dunne), 8-year-old Robbie (Oliver Robins), and 5-year-old Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke) in Cuesta Verde, CA, soon learn that their home is haunted, and also that the spirits talk to Carol Anne through their television. Everything seems normal at first. Dana gives construction workers the finger and talks on the phone later than she's supposed to, Robbie is a huge Star Wars fan, and Carol Anne feeds her goldfish an entire tube of food. One night, a tree tries to eat Robbie, but they quickly save him. When the ghosts kidnap Carol Anne through the closet, they are forced to fight the evil spirit that holds their daughter if they ever want to see her again.
Well-acted, well-written, and well-directed, with great special effects, Poltergeist is the greatest ghost story put on film.
Let's start with the acting. The performances are top-notch. The way lines are said, the facial expressions, body language, everything about the characters feels real. Craig T. Nelson plays Steve, a husband and father who's willing to do anything to save his family, so realistically, nothing about it feels fake. JoBeth Williams plays Diane, a distraught mother, so realistically, you'll believe what's happening on screen is hurting her. Heather O'Rourke gives the best performance by a 5-year-old ever. Zelda Rubinstein is also great. It doesn't even seem like they're acting. The special effects still hold up, because they still look real. The plot is still very original, because it's set in modern suburban America, and it's about a normal family that loves each other, rather than an abusive husband and father.
Poltergeist is so well-written that nobody has to die, nor does it have to be gory to keep us on the edge of our seats. Spielberg and Hooper keep it subtle by hardly showing the ghosts. Poltergeist features a great plot, great acting, great directing, and great writing. I can't recommend Poltergeist enough.
Poltergeist is a kid's movie, so it's not all that scary, though there are scenes that may scare you or creep you out, but you won't be scarred for life. In the end it really is a fun thrill ride. Poltergeist is a movie every kid must see by the time they're 8 years old. For some reason, I find myself trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, to hold back tears every time I see it.

Video (4.5/5)

Poltergeist is "here" on DVD with a new transfer that is head-and-shoulders above the 2000 release.
Sharpness is flawless. Shadow Detail is flawless. Grain is intact, but no longer blocks detail like the 2000 release. Video noise is not an issue.
Colors are well-saturated, skin tones are natural, and the cemetery scene loses the ugly orange tint of the 2000 release.
Film artifacts are rare, and you have to look very close to notice.

Audio (4.5/5)

Poltergeist features a top-notch Dolby Digital 5.1 track that's just about flawless.
Dialogue sounds clear, natural and discernible at all times. Audio is never out of sync. Jerry Goldsmith's score fills the surrounds flawlessly.
The surrounds are very active throughout the movie as we hear sounds we never noticed on the 2000 release. The subwoofer is very active.

Extras (2/5)

They Are Here: The Real World of Poltergeists (31:04)
An interesting documentary about real life ghosts split into two parts, Science of the Spirits (Part 1) (15:31) and Communing with the Dead (Part 2) (15:33).

Overall (4/5)

Poltergeist is my favorite movie of all time, it's a timeless classic, and it still holds up after over 30 years as its message is still relevant today. Poltergeist tells the story of a family nothing can tear apart. It's a classic good versus evil story, a story of perseverance in spite of your worst fears coming to light, and holding it together in spite of everything seeming to fall apart. When I watched Craig T. Nelson, I saw my dad on that screen, and I see him on that screen even more now. When I watched JoBeth Williams, I saw my mom on that screen, and I see her on that screen even more now. Your experience might not be exactly like this, but there's no denying that this movie is awesome. I know you're probably worried because of things you've read online about it being scary, gory, or boring, but don't be. The violence is never gory. The occasional cursing never gets too bad. Despite everything that happens, there's a sense of hope that stays the entire movie. Let your kids see it. They'll thank you.
It looks and sounds amazing, and although the extras are lacking, Poltergeist receives my Highest Recommendation!



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"We just want you to find our little girl."

Posted : 2 years, 9 months ago on 26 October 2014 11:30 (A review of Poltergeist (Blu-ray Book Packaging))

The Movie (5/5)

One of the big events of my childhood was seeing Poltergeist for the first time at 7 years old. I saw it on a 4:3 set on a very old DVD in my parents' bedroom, after my mom had recently come home from the hospital after surgery. One night, my dad came home from the library with some DVDs, and one of them was Poltergeist.
I popped it into the DVD player without hesitation as I'd wanted to see it since I was 5. I knew from the moment it started, Poltergeist was going to be a great movie, but little did I know it would become my favorite movie of all time, and I'd want to experience it again and again.
Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams star in this classic as Steve and Diane Freeling, who live with their three children, 16-year-old Dana (Dominique Dunne), 8-year-old Robbie (Oliver Robins), and 5-year-old Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke) in Cuesta Verde, CA, soon learn that their home is haunted, and also that the spirits talk to Carol Anne through their television. Everything seems normal at first. Dana gives construction workers the finger and talks on the phone later than she's supposed to, Robbie is a huge Star Wars fan, and Carol Anne feeds her goldfish an entire tube of food. One night, a tree tries to eat Robbie, but they quickly save him. When the ghosts kidnap Carol Anne through the closet, they are forced to fight the evil spirit that holds their daughter if they ever want to see her again.
Well-acted, well-written, and well-directed, with great special effects, Poltergeist is the greatest ghost story put on film.
Let's start with the acting. The performances are top-notch. The way lines are said, the facial expressions, body language, everything about the characters feels real. Craig T. Nelson plays Steve, a husband and father who's willing to do anything to save his family, so realistically, nothing about it feels fake. JoBeth Williams plays Diane, a distraught mother, so realistically, you'll believe what's happening on screen is hurting her. Heather O'Rourke gives the best performance by a 5-year-old ever. Zelda Rubinstein is also great. It doesn't even seem like they're acting. The special effects still hold up, because they still look real. The plot is still very original, because it's set in modern suburban America, and it's about a normal family that loves each other, rather than an abusive husband and father.
Poltergeist is so well-written that nobody has to die, nor does it have to be gory to keep us on the edge of our seats. Spielberg and Hooper keep it subtle by hardly showing the ghosts. Poltergeist features a great plot, great acting, great directing, and great writing. I can't recommend Poltergeist enough.
Poltergeist is a kid's movie, so it's not all that scary, though there are scenes that may scare you or creep you out, but you won't be scarred for life. In the end it really is a fun thrill ride. Poltergeist is a movie every kid must see by the time they're 8 years old. For some reason, I find myself trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, to hold back tears every time I see it.

Video (4.5/5)

Poltergeist is "here" on Blu-ray with a top-notch 1080p 2.35:1 transfer that is head-and-shoulders above the 2000 release.
Sharpness is flawless. Shadow Detail is flawless. Grain is intact, but no longer blocks detail like the 2000 release. Video noise is not an issue.
Colors are well-saturated, skin tones are natural, and the cemetery scene loses the ugly orange tint of the 2000 release.
Film artifacts are rare, and you have to look very close to notice.

Audio (5/5)

Poltergeist invades Blu-ray with a top-notch Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track that is flawless in every way.
Dialogue sounds clear, natural and discernible at all times. Audio is never out of sync. Jerry Goldsmith's score fills the surrounds flawlessly.
The surrounds are very active throughout the movie as we hear sounds we never noticed on the 2000 release. The subwoofer is very active.

Extras (4/5)

They Are Here: The Real World of Poltergeists (31:04)
An interesting documentary about real life ghosts split into two parts, Science of the Spirits (Part 1) (15:31) and Communing with the Dead (Part 2) (15:33).

DigiBook
A 38-page booklet with interesting facts about the movie, its production and its legacy.
Overall (4.5/5)

Poltergeist is my favorite movie of all time, it's a timeless classic, and it still holds up after over 30 years as its message is still relevant today. Poltergeist tells the story of a family nothing can tear apart. It's a classic good versus evil story, a story of perseverance in spite of your worst fears coming to light, and holding it together in spite of everything seeming to fall apart. When I watched Craig T. Nelson, I saw my dad on that screen, and I see him on that screen even more now. When I watched JoBeth Williams, I saw my mom on that screen, and I see her on that screen even more now. Your experience might not be exactly like this, but there's no denying that this movie is awesome. I know you're probably worried because of things you've read online about it being scary, gory, or boring, but don't be. The violence is never gory. The occasional cursing never gets too bad. Despite everything that happens, there's a sense of hope that stays the entire movie. Let your kids see it. They'll thank you.
It looks and sounds amazing. Warner has provided us with an excellent package. Poltergeist on Blu-ray receives my Highest Recommendation!


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"We just want you to find our little girl."

Posted : 2 years, 10 months ago on 26 October 2014 10:23 (A review of Poltergeist)

Movie

One of the big events of my childhood was seeing Poltergeist for the first time at 7 years old. I saw it on a 4:3 set on a very old DVD in my parents' bedroom, after my mom had recently come home from the hospital after surgery. One night, my dad came home from the library with some DVDs, and one of them was Poltergeist.
I popped it into the DVD player without hesitation as I'd wanted to see it since I was 5. I knew from the moment it started, Poltergeist was going to be a great movie, but little did I know it would become my favorite movie of all time, and I'd want to experience it again and again.
Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams star in this classic as Steve and Diane Freeling, who live with their three children, 16-year-old Dana (Dominique Dunne), 8-year-old Robbie (Oliver Robins), and 5-year-old Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke) in Cuesta Verde, CA, soon learn that their home is haunted, and also that the spirits talk to Carol Anne through their television. Everything seems normal at first. Dana gives construction workers the finger and talks on the phone later than she's supposed to, Robbie is a huge Star Wars fan, and Carol Anne feeds her goldfish an entire tube of food. One night, a tree tries to eat Robbie, but they quickly save him. When the ghosts kidnap Carol Anne through the closet, they are forced to fight the evil spirit that holds their daughter if they ever want to see her again.
Well-acted, well-written, and well-directed, with great special effects, Poltergeist is the greatest ghost story put on film.
Let's start with the acting. The performances are top-notch. The way lines are said, the facial expressions, body language, everything about the characters feels real.
Craig T. Nelson plays Steve, a husband and father who's willing to do anything to save his family, so realistically, nothing about it feels fake. JoBeth Williams plays Diane, a distraught mother, so realistically, you'll believe what's happening on screen is hurting her. Heather O'Rourke gives the best performance by a 5-year-old ever. Zelda Rubinstein is also great. It doesn't even seem like they're acting. The special effects still hold up, because they still look real. The plot is still very original, because it's set in modern suburban America, and it's about a normal family that loves each other, rather than an abusive husband and father.
Poltergeist is so well-written that nobody has to die, nor does it have to be gory to keep us on the edge of our seats. Spielberg and Hooper keep it subtle by hardly showing the ghosts. Poltergeist features a great plot, great acting, great directing, and great writing. I can't recommend Poltergeist enough.
Poltergeist is a kid's movie, so it's not all that scary, though there are scenes that may scare you or creep you out, but you won't be scarred for life. In the end it really is a fun thrill ride. Poltergeist is a movie every kid must see by the time they're 8 years old. For some reason, I find myself trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, to hold back tears every time I see it.

The movie earns a 5/5.

Video

Poltergeist is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and anamorphic. It should be noted that there's severe cropping on the left side when compared to the 25th Anniversary Edition DVD and Blu-ray.

Sharpness is pretty good except for the opening credits being slightly blurred, but readable. Grain is very present and sometimes blocks detail. Blacks are strong but don't really lose any shadow detail. It does occasionally look too dark.

The chair-stacking scene has an unnatural blue tint, and the cemetery scene has an unnatural orange tint. There are unnatural skin tones in some scenes, The "rescuing Carol Anne" scene has a black tint when it should have a blue tint, the "Carol Anne gets kidnapped" scene has an unnatural red tint. The colors are okay otherwise, but still.

I didn't find any MPEG artifacts. There is some aliasing, resulting in occasional interlacing. There are some film artifacts, but they're mostly kept under control, except for the "Carol Anne gets kidnapped" scene showing severe film damage at the top of the frame, and the "rescuing Carol Anne" scene showing some minor film damage at the top of the frame.

The video earns a 3.5/5.

Audio

Poltergeist sounds ever-so slightly better than it looks on DVD.

Poltergeist contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track.

Dialogue is clear and natural. Audio sync is perfect.

Jerry Goldsmith's score fills the surrounds very well for a stereo mix. a good example of this is when the Poltergeist theme plays over the closing credits at the end of the movie.

The surrounds are used to a pretty good level, but being a stereo mix, it's limited.

The subwoofer is used decently.

The audio earns a 4/5.

Extras

Just the theatrical trailer. It's a good trailer.

The features earn a 1/5.

Overall

Poltergeist is my favorite movie of all time, it is a timeless classic, and it still holds up after over 30 years as its message is still relevant today. Poltergeist tells the story of a family nothing can tear apart. It's a classic good versus evil story, a story of perseverance in spite of your worst fears coming to light, and holding it together in spite of everything seeming to fall apart. It's about never giving up hope. When I watched Craig T. Nelson, I saw my dad on that screen, and I see him on that screen even more now. When I watched JoBeth Williams, I saw my mom on that screen, and I see her on that screen even more now. Your experience might not be exactly like this, but there's no denying that this movie is awesome. I know you're probably worried because of things you've read online about it being scary, gory, or boring, but don't be. The violence is never gory. The occasional cursing never gets too bad. Despite everything that happens, there's a sense of hope that stays the entire movie. Let your kids see it. They'll thank you.
It looks good and sounds great, and extras are nearly nonexistent.

Overall, this release earns a 4/5.


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"We just want you to find our little girl."

Posted : 2 years, 10 months ago on 26 October 2014 09:11 (A review of Poltergeist)

One of the big events of my childhood was seeing Poltergeist for the first time at 7 years old. I saw it on a 4:3 set on a very old DVD in my parents' bedroom, after my mom had recently come home from the hospital after surgery. One night, my dad came home from the library with some DVDs, and one of them was Poltergeist. 
I popped it into the DVD player without hesitation as I'd wanted to see it since I was 5. I knew from the moment it started, Poltergeist was going to be a great movie, but little did I know it would become my favorite movie of all time, and I'd want to experience it again and again. 
Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams star in this classic as Steve and Diane Freeling, who live with their three children, 16-year-old Dana (Dominique Dunne), 8-year-old Robbie (Oliver Robins), and 5-year-old Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke) in Cuesta Verde, CA, soon learn that their home is haunted, and also that the spirits talk to Carol Anne through their television. Everything seems normal at first. Dana gives construction workers the finger and talks on the phone later than she's supposed to, Robbie is a huge Star Wars fan, and Carol Anne feeds her goldfish an entire tube of food. One night, a tree tries to eat Robbie, but they quickly save him. When the ghosts kidnap Carol Anne through the closet, they are forced to fight the evil spirit that holds their daughter if they ever want to see her again. 
Well-acted, well-written, and well-directed, with great special effects, Poltergeist is the greatest ghost story put on film. 
Let's start with the acting. The performances are top-notch. The way lines are said, the facial expressions, body language, everything about the characters feels real.
Craig T. Nelson plays Steve, a husband and father who's willing to do anything to save his family, so realistically, nothing about it feels fake. JoBeth Williams plays Diane, a distraught mother, so realistically, you'll believe what's happening on screen is hurting her. Heather O'Rourke gives the best performance by a 5-year-old ever. Zelda Rubinstein is also great. It doesn't even seem like they're acting. The special effects still hold up, because they still look real. The plot is still very original, because it's set in modern suburban America, and it's about a normal family that loves each other, rather than an abusive husband and father.
Poltergeist is so well-written that nobody has to die, nor does it have to be gory to keep us on the edge of our seats. Spielberg and Hooper keep it subtle by hardly showing the ghosts. Poltergeist features a great plot, great acting, great directing, and great writing. I can't recommend Poltergeist enough.
Poltergeist is a kid's movie, so it's not all that scary, though there are scenes that may scare you or creep you out, but you won't be scarred for life. In the end it really is a fun thrill ride. Poltergeist is a movie every kid must see by the time they're 8 years old. For some reason, I find myself trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, to hold back tears every time I see it. 
Poltergeist is my favorite movie of all time, it is a timeless classic, and it still holds up after over 30 years as its message is still relevant today. Poltergeist tells the story of a family nothing can tear apart. It's a classic good versus evil story, a story of perseverance in spite of your worst fears coming to light, and holding it together in spite of everything seeming to fall apart. It's about never giving up hope. When I watched Craig T. Nelson, I saw my dad on that screen, and I see him on that screen even more now. When I watched JoBeth Williams, I saw my mom on that screen, and I see her on that screen even more now. Your experience might not be exactly like this, but there's no denying that this movie is awesome. I know you're probably worried because of things you've read online about it being scary, gory, or boring, but don't be. The violence is never gory. The occasional cursing never gets too bad. Despite everything that happens, there's a sense of hope that stays the entire movie. Let your kids see it. They'll thank you.


0 comments, Reply to this entry



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