Profile for K. Gordon > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by K. Gordon
Top Reviewer Ranking: 27
Helpful Votes: 411

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
K. Gordon
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
I'm So Excited [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
I'm So Excited [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Laya Martí
Price: CDN$ 30.97
21 used & new from CDN$ 25.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Uneven, but a lot of fun, Oct. 22 2014
Uneven, but a lot of fun, with some serious thoughts about politics, class and the economy of modern Spain nicely hidden in the mix of sex and absurdity.

This (very intentionally) harkens back to Almodovar’s anarchic, rough edged early sex farces like Pepi, Luci Bom, but now he's re-approached that kind of story with the technical mastery of a lifetime making ever more sophisticated films.

That cuts both ways. On one hand the gorgeous color-popping polished visuals, and high-level performances make this even more of a joy to watch. On the other hand, it’s very smoothness takes some of the bite out of Almodovor’s early punky biting the hand that fed him, pushing the limits of film in post-Franco Spain.

But forgetting all that serious mumbo-jumbo, this is fun sexual and political farce, 90% of which takes places on an airplane that may be doomed. Led by three very funny, very gay flight attendants determined to keep the upper-class passengers distracted from what’s really going on, using everything from musical numbers to mescaline (the economy class passengers have simply been drugged and put to sleep; a heavy handed but effective comment) – the flight gets wilder and wilder as those ruling class passengers reveal their secrets – sexual, social and personal - and their libidos. As do the flight crew.

Certainly not Almodovar’s best work, but often filthy, funny and smart. And if a good number of the jokes don’t quite hit, those that do, will sometimes make you laugh, while others will make you smile ruefully.

Breaking Bad: The Final Season [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
Breaking Bad: The Final Season [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Bryan Cranston
Price: CDN$ 26.98
3 used & new from CDN$ 26.98

5.0 out of 5 stars A great end to one of the greatest series, Oct. 17 2014
What can be said about this spectacular saga that hasn't been said before? One of the very
few series that competes with the best films in history for achievement in cinematic storytelling.
Like a great novel slowly unfolding, it's funny, heartbreaking, incredibly tense, deeply disturbing.

A nebbishy high-school science teacher finds he has lung cancer, so becomes a meth dealer to
make money for his family before his death. Often visually stunning, with a breathtaking
performance by Brian Cranston in the lead, and great work from all the supporting roles,
this portrait of a man's decent into hell couldn't be much better, and it just grows darker and
more disturbing each year.

In a way, thematically it recalls "The Godfather I and II" in how that epic charts Michael's journey
from innocence to darkness, along with the moral murkiness of the endless drive for money
and success - how we lose ourselves, so that succeeding and having ever more becomes an
end in itself for which we will pay any price, rather than a route to happiness, trapping us in a
game we can never win.

Kudos too, to creator Vince Gilligan to have the courage to end the show at just the right time
rather than string it out past where the story would bear. This last season brings together all
the shows themes and central characters and finds a way to end it all without ever selling
out the story or the ideas. This brief 8 episode season has some of the series very best episodes.
This is powerful, important and utterly enthralling stuff.

Breaking Bad: The Complete Series Limited Edition 2014 Barrel (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
Breaking Bad: The Complete Series Limited Edition 2014 Barrel (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
Price: CDN$ 119.99
9 used & new from CDN$ 89.09

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing series, a well put together collection., Oct. 17 2014
What can be said about this spectacular saga that hasn't been said before? One of the very few series that competes with
the best films in history for achievement in cinematic storytelling. Like a great novel slowly unfolding, it's funny, heartbreaking, incredibly tense, deeply disturbing.

A nebbishy high-school science teacher finds he has lung cancer, so becomes a meth dealer to make money for his family
before his death. Often visually stunning, with a breathtaking performance by Brian Cranston in the lead, and great work
from all the supporting roles,this portrait of a man's decent into hell couldn't be much better, and it just grows darker and
more disturbing each year.

In a way, thematically it recalls "The Godfather I and II" in how that epic charts Michael's journey from innocence to
darkness, along with the moral murkiness of the endless drive for money and success - how we lose ourselves, so
that succeeding and having ever more becomes an end in itself for which we will pay any price, rather than a route
to happiness, trapping us in a game we can never win.

Kudos too, to creator Vince Gilligan to have the courage to end the show at just the right time rather than string it
out past where the story would bear. It may take a few episodes to get into, but you owe it to yourself to try. This is
powerful, important and utterly enthralling stuff.

As for this special limited edition box-set, at the current price of $189 it's not the rip off many of these sets are. To buy
all 6 sets on blu-ray would cost nearly as much, and there are some cool extras and packaging here for fans of that
sort of thing. That said, to me, if you already have much of the series, the extras may not be so amazing as to warrant
a double dip.

NEW Scream (DVD)
NEW Scream (DVD)
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 16.40
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Inventive, scary and fun, if - for me - sometimes uneven, Oct. 15 2014
This review is from: NEW Scream (DVD) (DVD)
I've gone back and forth in my feelings about "Scream" both times I've seen it, almost 20 years ago when it opened, and just now There are times when its meta-parody- but–still-scary approach to teen slasher films works quite well, especially the ending which manages to be funny, scary, over the top, and socially witty all at the same time. Other times it's too self conscious to actually be scary, but not surprising enough in its humor to really be as much fun as it could be.

It's also a hard film to criticize, because the answer to almost every complaint (e.g. the actors playing high school kids all look like they're well into in their 20s) can always be 'but that's the whole point, it's always that way in these movies'. But one thing that does annoy me that isn't so easily shrugged off is that the cast seem to be in a number of different movies. Skeet Ulrich, for example, brings a surprising amount of realism and depth to his character, while Courtney Cox as an 'I'll do anything for a story' reporter plays a cartoon of a cartoon. This isn't of issue of 'good' versus 'bad' acting, but it does make figuring out just what the tone of the film is, more muddy than it needs to be.

Probably the best thing about 'Scream' is it knows when to BE best. The opening and closing 15 minutes are the two strongest sections of the film, so if the middle is a little all over the place and sometimes repetitive, and a little more obvious in it's humor, that's not what you walk away remembering.

Scream / Frissons (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
Scream / Frissons (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Neve Campbell
Price: CDN$ 8.99
10 used & new from CDN$ 6.46

4.0 out of 5 stars Inventive scary and fun, if - for me - somewhat uneven, Oct. 15 2014
I've gone back and forth in my feelings about "Scream" both times I've seen it, almost 20 years ago when it opened, and just now There are times when its meta-parody- but–still-scary approach to teen slasher films works quite well, especially the ending which manages to be funny, scary, over the top, and socially witty all at the same time. Other times it's too self conscious to actually be scary, but not surprising enough in its humor to really be as much fun as it could be.

It's also a hard film to criticize, because the answer to almost every complaint (e.g. the actors playing high school kids all look like they're well into in their 20s) can always be 'but that's the whole point, it's always that way in these movies'. But one thing that does annoy me that isn't so easily shrugged off is that the cast seem to be in a number of different movies. Skeet Ulrich, for example, brings a surprising amount of realism and depth to his character, while Courtney Cox as an 'I'll do anything for a story' reporter plays a cartoon of a cartoon. This isn't of issue of 'good' versus 'bad' acting, but it does make figuring out just what the tone of the film is, more muddy than it needs to be.

Probably the best thing about 'Scream' is it knows when to BE best. The opening and closing 15 minutes are the two strongest sections of the film, so if the middle is a little all over the place and sometimes repetitive, and a little more obvious in it's humor, that's not what you walk away remembering.

Cassandra's Dream [DVD] (2008)
Cassandra's Dream [DVD] (2008)
Offered by EntertainmentForLess
Price: CDN$ 9.99
29 used & new from CDN$ 3.89

4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated if flawed morality play by Woody Allen. Strong performances., Oct. 13 2014
This is the third time Allen has made a drama dealing with the moral insanity surrounding the possibility of murder. The first - "Crimes and Misdemeanors" - is one of his very greatest films. "Match Point" made only two years before "Cassandra's Dream"
was strong, if not as complex and gut-punching as "Crimes…". While critics liked this film by far the least of the three, I feel this
can certainly stand at least on equal footing with "Match Point".

I will concede that the conclusion is slightly underwhelming and feels rushed. But the strong performances by Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell (who arguably does his best work ever here) as brothers in various financial need -- whose rich uncle will bail out if they kill someone -- make the film upsetting (in the good way) and tense.

Indeed there are some terrific Hitchcockian moments in the film. Allen breaks with his normal style in interesting ways. Instead of only using source music, Philip Glass contributes a powerful and effective score. And the camera-work by Vilmos Zisgmond uses different kind of movement than I usually associate with Allen, including a sort of 'creeping camera' that helps to heighten the tension in a number of scenes.

Make no mistake, this is more moral drama than thriller, and those expecting a thriller's pace will be frustrated. But whatever its flaws,it's an intelligent, well acted attempt to come to grips with moral responsibility in a world where money rules all.

Tarzan (Special Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy]  (Bilingual)
Tarzan (Special Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Tony Goldwyn
Price: CDN$ 24.96
20 used & new from CDN$ 24.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, playful, and not without ideas, Oct. 13 2014
While not up to the level of sophistication of the best Pixar films, or even the very best of Disney, this has an admirable sense of humor, and an ability to be quite touching at times (if occasionally sappy). It also has some surprisingly dark and violent moments that might put it off limits to younger kids, who in other ways are its perfect audience.

This takes the basic Tarzan story and focuses mainly on Tarzan's need and ability to be accepted by the Gorilla clan he is adopted into, offering slightly obvious but always valuable lessons in accepting those who look or act different. It also has a spunky and even sexy Jane – an explorer who comes to Africa with her scientist father, and (of course) an evil guide looking to capture and enslave the apes. Jane's romance with Tarzan is funny, playful and sometimes moving.

The animation is energetic, kinetic and fun, Tarzan flying through the Jungle like a surfer of trees, and I found myself nicely
caught up in the story. Unlike some animated features, I actually wasn't sure exactly how things would work themselves out. I
also appreciated that Phil Collins' songs, which arguably tended to hit the nail a little too hard on the head, were few and far between. If they weren't great, they didn't really damage the film either.

It sounds like I'm damning this with faint praise, but the bottom line is I had a good time. I smiled, I chuckled, and I got choked up. When ANY film – animated or not - can do all three for me, I consider that a solid victory.

Scoop
Scoop
DVD ~ Scarlett Johansson
Offered by vidco
Price: CDN$ 12.95
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.71

4.0 out of 5 stars Another underrated, if imperfect, late Allen comedy, Oct. 13 2014
This review is from: Scoop (DVD)
Another Allen film that was generally dismissed by critics, but for me was worth seeing. Certainly it’s hard to argue that this is up there with Allen’s best work, but it still has a lot of funny bits, and Allen and Scarlett Johansson have a great on-screen rapport as a young aspiring journalist and a slightly pathetic aging magician who team up to try and solve a murder case.

The two Americans have to fake their way into the snooty upper-class world of London, to chase the young aristocrat who a ghostly Ian McShane (a great reporter who died, but got a tip crossing the river Styx, and came back to tell someone) has informed them committed a series of murders. Allen is very funny in these scenes as he tries to blend in with the lords and ladies, and Hugh Jackman does an excellent job as the suave, likable ‘is he or isn’t he’ object of their investigations, who, naturally Johannson falls for.

There are weaknesses; some logic problems with the mystery, and a pay-off that’s less than one might hope. But this does a nice job of capturing some of the feel of a witty 1930s comedy. While no masterpiece, if almost anyone else had made this film, it might well have gotten praise as an enjoyable, well made romantic comedy thriller. It just doesn’t quite stand up when compared to the heights Allen is capable of.

Creature From the Black Lagoon [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
Creature From the Black Lagoon [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Richard Carlson
Price: CDN$ 16.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Jack Arnold brings a certain poetry to this low budget 50s monster movie, Oct. 12 2014
While nowhere near as intelligent, thought-provoking and well made as Anderson's brilliant "Incredible Shrinking Man", this is still smarter and more complex than your average monster movie, especially of its era.

This creature is neither tragic hero, nor unstoppable villain. He's just a living being, a prehistoric half-man, half fish, behaving as his
evolution has conditioned him, attacking invaders to his Amazonian paradise, attracted to the female human.

The film is full of mind numbing exposition, mediocre acting, low production values and heavy handed staking out of its ethical
positions; the humanistic scientist that wants to study and understand the creature versus the base desires of the expedition's financier who wants to kill the thing and bring it back to the world as a trophy.

But there are sequence of power and even poetry, as the creature swims silently beneath the team's female scientist (and eye candy). There are moments her that Spielberg would echo in "Jaws" years later, but here the threat is more eerie and complex than terrifying. And watching the creature pathetically gasp for breath like a fish out of water is a sad and strong image (actually, a lot of the creature's movements, especially under water, are surprisingly convincing as something other than a man in a latex suit).

While not, for me, the classic some see it as, it's still a solid cut above the dumb Saturday afternoon entertainment that has lead to our forgetting most of its cinematic cousins, but keeping this creature alive.

Anything Else
Anything Else
DVD ~ Woody Allen
Offered by newtownvideo_ca
Price: CDN$ 3.66
25 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Far from perfect, but better than the rough treatment it received on release., Oct. 5 2014
This review is from: Anything Else (DVD)
Maybe I was too easy on this because the press was so bad that my expectations were low, but it didn't feel like the awful failure I was prepared for. While certainly not up with Allen's best work, and one of his few films I don't feel a need to see a second time, this still had intelligence, wit, good performances and the bittersweet tone about love and sex that Allen does as well as anyone in film history.

It was also interesting to see him finally accept his age, and play a supporting role as an often funny, but sometimes disturbingly crazy older mentor to a young man in love, instead of playing the romantic lead himself.

Yes, some of the jokes are ancient, and Jason Biggs and Christina Ricci, while both fine, don't have the chemistry of Allen and Keaton in "Annie Hall", which this seems to hearken back to. (I actually thought Ricci was excellent, and quite different from her usual screen persona).

But Allen still creates some rich characters, some fun, literate dialogue, and captures how confusing being young and in love with someone who is deeply messed up but sexy and adorable and smart can be. Many of us have been there.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20