Posts Tagged ‘John Cusack’

Say Anything… – Minute Movie Review

Freitag, Oktober 8th, 2010


Lovable loser John Cusack decides to date high school valedictorian Ione Skye. Surprisingly, she actually agrees to this. What follows is a sweet story about first love, combined with some unnecessary dramatic elements and some clever dialogue. Young John Cusack is adorable and his character Lloyd Dobler might be the most sought-after guy in movie history. Written and directed by Cameron Crowe, the film showcases his raw talent for emotionally touching stories, without ever achieving greatness, for it is too mired in mediocrities.

Random Observations:

Say Anything… at the IMDb

Well, will you look at that. This really has been “80s teen comedy week”.

John Cusack’s sister is played by Joan Cusack, his real life sister. Sort of like Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal in Donnie Darko. Only much earlier.

Crowe already displayed his interest in music here. An interest that earlier and later culminated in Almost Famous, the somewhat biographical film about his experiences of working for Rolling Stone as a teenager.

Sixteen Candles – Minute Movie Review

Montag, Oktober 4th, 2010


A day before her sister’s wedding, Molly Ringwald’s entire family forgets her sixteenth birthday. And that is not the only trouble she has: the boy she likes doesn’t even know her and she has to fend of the advances of perennial geek Anthony Michael Hall. In short, not one of her better days, but things are definitely looking up in this classic teen comedy from classic teen comedy writer-director John Hughes, his début feature. He hasn’t quite gotten the grip on teen angst he later demonstrated with The Breakfast Club and the film is not nearly as outrageously funny as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but it’s a solid first effort that is definitely worth seeing if you’ve ever been a teenager and especially if you were a teenager in suburban America in the 1980s.

Random Observations:

Sixteen Candles at the IMDb

Both Hughes regulars were only fifteen when the film was made, actually fitting the age of their characters.

John Cusack has a small role in this film as another geek – not quite the role he’ll be remembered for.

His sister Joan Cusack is also in this film. And a Beth Ringwald – Molly’s older sister. John Hughes definitely made family films…

Dear God, was Long Duk Dong ever offensive. I always thought political correctness had arisen in the early 80s.

Being John Malkovich – Minute Movie Review

Dienstag, April 20th, 2010


Out-of-work puppeteer John Cusack is forced by wife Cameron Diaz to get a regular job, so he starts working in filing on floor 7½, where he discovers a portal that leads right into the head of John Malkovich. Together with love interest Catherine Keener he decides to exploit it for financial gain, but before long things get really strange. Perennial mind-fuck favourites Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman first teamed up for this film, creating a very amusing comedy about human identity that’s not nearly as profound as it thinks it is.

Random Observations:

Being John Malkovich at the IMDb

Best thing about the film? Catherine Keener, who is pretty much great in everything she does, but very rarely recognized for it. In this case, though, she at least got an Oscar nod out of it.

John Cusack with long hair, scruffy beard and glasses is barely recognisable.

The whole film suffered a lot towards the end, when it had to somehow resolve all plot lines while attempting to tell a coherent and sensible story.

Adaptation. – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, März 24th, 2010


Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is struggling to adapt a novel while dealing with the fact that his brother’s formulaic work is going along so well. Meanwhile, the author of the novel and the protagonist of the true story all have their own problems surrounding orchids. The film adds layers over layers until the plot ends up so far up its own arsehole that it looses all reason – intentionally, of course. The film plays with reality while trying to talk about passion, writing and love. It is often funny, but ultimately a little to pretentious in its own cleverness for my liking.

Random Observations:

Adaptation. at the IMDb

Yes, the film was written by Charlie Kaufman, together with his imaginary twin brother Donald. This is supposed to further add to the story’s mystique, but it just caused me to wonder about what was actually real. (Very little, as it turns out.)

Nicolas Cage plays both brothers, which makes this film an entry in THE EPIC SEARCH FOR NICOLAS CAGE’S LAST GOOD FILM! More here.

The film repeatedly references Being John Malkovich, which was also written by Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze. Regretfully, I still have not seen that film.

I like the wordplay in the title.

Adventskalender 18

Freitag, Dezember 18th, 2009

Click the link to open the eighteenth door. Klick auf den Link, um das achtzehnte Türchen zu öffnen.

(weiterlesen …)

Stand by Me – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, September 23rd, 2009


In the summer of 1959, four twelve-year-olds hear about the whereabouts of the body of a boy hit by a train. Deciding that they want to be the heroes who discover the body, they set out to bring the body back. Based on a Stephen King novella, the film is a nearly perfect character study of four boys on the brink of junior high and a changing point in their life. The drama is well played out and never overwritten, except possibly for the ending. But, as we learn on the way, even if the ending is bad, the story can still be good. And this story is worth seeing.

Random Observations:

Stand by Me at the IMDb

Directed by Rob Reiner, whose track record for the 1980s is beyond impressive and makes me wonder what could have been, had he kept making good films.

It’s interesting to see that it’s easy to recognize the adult actors Wil Wheaton and Corey Feldman as kids here, while River Phoenix looks completely different even from Running on Empty, which was made only two years later.

John Cusack has a small, but crucial role.

The film is also, naturally, a nice treatise on friendship.

Minute Movie Review – The Thin Red Line

Donnerstag, Mai 21st, 2009


Set during the battle for Guadalcanal in 1942, the film has little plot but focuses on single scenes to show that war is a very personal experience. It is a very odd film that takes the time for long, almost still, shots of natural beauty or animals as well as repeated flashbacks. Yet it feels also incredibly sloppily cut, with many scenes not allowed to fully play out and many unresolved issues. Add to that voice-over narration straight from a platitude-a-day calendar and all subtlety that the amazing cast introduces is lost.

Random Observations:

The Thin Red Line at

If you can trust the internet, the first cut was six hours long. That would certainly explain why so many scenes in the three hour cut seem unfinished and why top talent like George Clooney is on screen for less two minutes while Adrien Brody only has two lines and is seen in the background in a couple of scenes.

The film was released in 1998 and was only ever described as the “other WWII movie”. It may be a mess, but it is an extremely ambitious one and in many ways superior to Saving Private Ryan.

The film has many good ideas, but only uses very few of them. For example, the one guy who has a wife back home and who constantly thinks back to the times they spend together finally gets a letter from her telling him that she fell in love again and wants a divorce. Now this is largely predictable, yet it would still have made for a good chance to examine the nature of war-time relationships or whatever. But no, all we get is three minutes of the guy walking around looking sad (I’m being flip here, the scene is actually quite good), and after that, he acts exactly as he has before, but with a sad gleam in his eye.

The film in many ways is a great character study of different people during war. Combined with great performances from Nick Nolte, Elias Koteas, Sean Penn and the like, it could easily have been a great film. The combat scenes are also extremely well made and while they are not as gruesomely realistic as those of the other 1998 WWII movie, they nevertheless manage to give the viewer a sense of how hard it can be to take a single hill. It’s almost painful to think of the many great aspects of this film, because the overall result is not nearly as good.

Minute Movie Review – The Ice Harvest

Donnerstag, Januar 17th, 2008


The Ice Harvest tells the story of two men in Wichita, Kansas who work for the mob and decide to steal 2 million dollars from them – on Christmas Eve. They split to avoid suspicion, but Charlie, a lawyer, soon becomes nervous. And so in an ice storm, nothing goes according to plan. In many ways this is a classical film noir – quite surprisingly coming from renown comedy director Harold Ramis. And while every piece of the puzzle is there, they don’t really fit together.

Random Observations:

The Ice Harvest at

This is the last Christmas movie (in a very wide sense of the word) that I am going to watch for a long time…

The soundtrack of the movie is amazing. It consists mostly of popular Christmas songs, recorded in a much darker and somber tone.

John Cusack in the lead role as the mob lawyer is quite good, easily better than Billy Bob Thornton as his partner in crime. But real scene-stealers are Oliver Platt and Ned Bellamy.

Can somebody please explain to me what the hell is meant by “As Wichita falls, so falls Wichita Falls”? I know the cities, I understand the grammar, but I can’t make head or tails of the meaning.