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Found 2 results

  1. I'll admit it, Joe: "Roadhouse" (1989) is a guilty pleasure of mine. This was right around Patrick Swayze's prime, and as much derision as "Ghost gets from serious moviegoers, it was released just a year after "Roadhouse," and with a beautiful Demi Moore (I had forgotten how pretty she was), a surprisingly important role by Whoopi Goldberg, and Tony Goldwyn's perfect rendition of a slime-maggot, this annoyingly cloying rom-com had four strong parts. Even the murderer, Willie Lopez (Rick Aviles) was very well-played - this was a solid ensemble: I can see people being wildly irritated by the film, but does anyone have problems with its cast? Yes, I saw "Ghost" last night. I had just seen "Django Unchained" for some "mindless escapism" from a stressful week, and it was about as relaxing as visiting the U.S. Holocaust Museum - I needed escapism from my escapism. I didn't honestly think I'd watch more than ten minutes of the film, but I just kept watching, and before I knew it, I was well into it - I'd seen it once before in full, in the theater when it came out, so it had been over twenty-five years. With "Dirty Dancing" in 1987, "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993), "Pretty Woman" (1990), "When Harry Met Sally" (1989), "Groundhog Day" (1993), and numerous others, "Ghost" was dead-center in the tenderloin years of the saccharine rom-com (please forgive me for using that term, which is nearly as cloying as the movies are). The late 1980's and early 1990's had some major investment in these films, and they were immensely popular - for no good reason, I will add; meh, they're mindless entertainment, and sometimes you just need that, you know? There's very little point in rehashing the plot, or commenting on much of anything. I had completely forgotten what a major role Whoopi Goldberg played (and didn't realize she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress). The demons are legitimately scary if you aren't ready for them - I had forgotten how disturbing they were. And I thought the acting was really good, pretty much all the way around - Patrick Swayze's look of sympathy when Carl died was incredibly convincing, for example, and he sustained it, completely setting aside what a first-class *jerk* the guy was, and knowing full well that he had an eternity of suffering ahead of him. You know what? Laugh at me if you will, but I think this movie is sweet. I don't love it, but I like it. That probably ratchets me down a few notches as a "film critic," but I'm not a film critic, so that's okay. Now, as to it's insane popularity, well, I guess I can see how it can appeal to the masses - in fact, sure I can. But for anyone to think this is more than "sweet," "well-acted," and "touching" would be a little bit much for me - those adjectives are about as much as I can muster, and if someone were to dismiss it entirely - in much the same way that theater critics dismissed "Cats," I could perfectly well understand. I might even say, "Ditto." I feel no need to watch this again anytime soon, but I have no regrets seeing it a second time. Thumbs up. Three stars. A solid "B"." A perfect date movie with a feel-good ending. It was my "mindless escapism," and it served its purpose - mock me if you wish, I will understand. And I think the "Get Off My Train!" scene with Vincent Schiavelli was excellent. *** SPOILER *** Why do I feel like I just wrote a positive review of Graffiato?
  2. "Particle Fever" is perfect for people who have heard of the Large Hadron Collider and the Higgs Boson Particle, but don't know why they're important, or have any idea about the mathematics behind them. Its target audience is "intelligent laymen," and the documentary is not condescending (well, maybe in parts, but in general, no). You will walk away from this 100-minute film with a conversational understanding of both the collider and the boson, and will get to live through the same thrill the scientists lived through while "confirming its existence." It really is quite an exciting ride. Along the way, you'll meet people who seem like you and me, but are, in reality, some of the top scientists in their fields - the type of people who get nominated for Nobel Prizes, and at no time will you be bored. It is said that hiring Walter Murch to be the film's editor really made it stand apart from generic documentaries - he brought just enough of Hollywood into it that it's suspenseful. This should be shown in every high school in the country, so students can have a basic understanding of these important concepts. You won't regret investing the time watching it. SPOILER ALERT One of the most poignant moments of the film is seing Peter Higgs (of the Higgs Boson) tearing up as it looks like his particle - which he theorized in 1964 (fifty years ago!) being all-but confirmed in a second, independent measurement. Higgs won the Nobel Prize for Science later in 2013 for this confirmation. It should be mentioned, however, that there are criticisms of the Standard Model, and here is one particularly hostile put-down of the model by gadfly-crank, Alexander Unzicker. I do not know enough theoretical physics to voice an opinion on whether this man is just an angry quack, or if he makes some valid points (I suspect it's a little of both - the Standard Model and some of its offshoots is ridiculous in its complexity, and it *does* seem like physicists these days are designing experiments around theories, instead of vice-versa).
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