Giovanni Ribisi

The Other Sister

Year: 1998
Directed By: Garry Marshall
Written By: Alexandra Rose and Blair Richwood (story), Garry Marshall and Bob Brunner (story and screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a nice and heart warming movie. It’s not the type of movie I typically go for and truthfully it wouldn’t be in the collection if not for Amber. I don’t dislike it though. It’s funny at the right times, dramatic at the right times, and it tells a nice feel good story I appreciate when watching.

One of my favorite actresses of all time is Juliette Lewis. She was in many movies I specifically loved during the 90s and I always thought her performances were specifically impressive. I remember 2003 when I saw her in a really small role in Old School it occurred to me that she hadn’t been in anything in a while. I remember thinking she was really hot with the blonde hair, although it was never something I thought about her before. I also remember wondering why she was doing such a small bit part in this film that bore no significance. Now, eleven years later, I feel like I still haven’t seen her in anything significant in the longest time.

Looking back over her filmography it seems that this was one of her last big time roles. Not to sully the significance of the content of this film and by no mean any disrespect to the mentally handicapped, but when I think about this movie and Juliette Lewis’s career in the aftermath this is all I can think of:

Insensitive? Yes, but there just seems to be a correlating factor there. I love Juliette Lewis, she was Mallory Knox after all, but I miss her. As to her performance in this movie I think it was hot and cold. Sometimes I don’t like her portrayal but there are some scenes in which she really brings it. She was a fearless actress in her day, and if I’m not mistaken she has a really interesting life story too. I read about her years ago but haven’t reviewed that in a long time so I can’t remember any of it accurately.

Giovanni Ribisi’s career also seemed to turn south after his role in this movie. I have always liked Ribisi with the exception of his role on Friends, when he more or less played the same character we see in this movie. I think Ribisi plays the better part in this movie actually. I like what he does with the Daniel character. He is hilarious when it comes to sex and heartwarming when it comes to love.

Tom Skerritt plays a great part as the father in this movie and Diane Keaton is appropriately shrewd as the overbearing WASP mother. I remember it was weird for me the first time I saw Annie Hall because I had only known Keaton from this later stage in her career. At this point she generally played characters exactly like the one we see in this movie and after seeing some of her earlier work I had a completely different perspective of her.

This is a nice movie. It’s a feel good movie and if you are looking for a film that will offer you a pick me up you can’t go wrong with this one. This movie is easily worth your time and if you find yourself watching it you will enjoy it. It’s not a film I frequent or often find myself recommending but that doesn’t take anything away from it. It’s just not the type of film I typically watch.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I love this movie so much. My brother and I must have watched this film a million times growing up and I can still quote it word for word. We still can randomly spit out a quote when we are around each other and know exactly what movie we are talking about.

I think this movie is incredibly sweet. It shows that love is an emotion that transcends mental capacity. It completely pulls on your heart strings and makes you root for them to make it. Diane Keaton played a incredibly over bearing mother, and watching again as a mother, it terrifies me into not wanting to be like that. She is the character change through the move however and learns to accept that her daughter is who she is and isn’t going to change just because her mother wants her to. Another side note here before I move on to the poster, I have always been an incredibly strong gay ally. It’s more about equal rights for all and everyone should be treated equally and given the same benefits regardless of who they are who they love. This was one of the first films I remember seeing that involved a lesbian couple. I may not have understood at the time, but now I see how they were showing that struggle of a controlling mother trying to avoid the obvious fact that her daughter was gay. It’s an important issue that has been going on for a long time and I just wanted to put it out there, it’s important to accept and love your children as they are, whoever they are no matter what.

the-other-sister-movie-poster-1999-1020233096

See? Doesn’t this poster just melt your heart? No? Just me?

There is nothing very special about this poster, it just simply shows the two main characters engaging in a sweet pose. The typography is also nothing to special, and in fact probably could have been a little more playful with the “other.” Overall, the poster is ehh, but the movie is endearing and melts my heart every time.

NEXT MOVIE: The Outsiders (1983)

Cold Mountain

Year: 2003
Directed By: Anthony Minghella
Written By: Charles Frazier

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a great movie with fantastic performances and production value.  It tells a compelling story that takes place near the end of the Civil War. Despite my history background I have never been a Civil War buff and while I appreciate this movie it isn’t one that I love.  The movie begins with a very gripping battle scene that sets the tone for the film. I think the love story between Inman and Ada brings the movie down but the rest of the film is good enough to overcome that fault.  This movie is in our collection for one reason and one reason alone, Renee Zellweger‘s performance.  I felt Nicole Kidman was highly overrated at the time and really enjoyed seeing her get her ass handed to her by the ugly chick.  This is one of Zellweger’s finest roles and she earned her Oscar with spades.

This is our second movie in a row starring Jude Law and that is ironic given that neither of us really like him.  Anybody could have played his part in this film though, he does nothing to distinguish himself.  When I say that Kidman was shown up by Zellweger I mean exactly that.  Just when you are really sick of the Ada character Ruby shows up and pumps life into the dismal and depressing story.  Ray Winstone is great as the menacing lawman of Cold Mountain while all the men are away at war.  His albino henchman may be creepy but I want to point him out as Charlie Hunnan.  All the Sons of Anarchy fans need to check out what he was doing before he was Jax Tellar, he must had just lost in a tough decision over the casting of a vampire role. Again for the second movie in a row we get to see the beautiful and talented Natalie Portman in a small role. Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays a good part as a scandalous preacher in just one of many cameos in the film. Also lending their talents in small roles are Giovanni Ribisi, Brendan Gleeson, Ethan Suplee, Donald Sutherland, and even Jack White of the White Stripes in a rare acting role. These performances collectively make this movie worth your time because they are all great performers.

There is no and never has been a town called Cold Mountain in North Carolina, but there is a Cold Mountain here in our Appalachian mountains.  That doesn’t matter though, it doesn’t change the circumstances of the Civil War that the film covers. I am not a Civil War buff because it feels too cliché, being a southerner and all. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to learn from the conflict though and a need to understand the time period.  This movie is worth your time because it is a good movie.  I don’t think I have done it justice with this review but watch it for yourself and tell us what you think.

AMBER’S REVIEW

My favorite part of this entire film is Renee Zellweger. She is completely amazing in this film. She shows so much range and depth in this film that you almost forget who she really is. She won the Oscar with this film and I honestly feel like nobody earned it more that year. The whole story is really touching. Aside from the love story that is going on between Nicole Kidman and Jude Law, the story that means the most to me happens in Cold Mountain between Zellweger and Kidman. Kidman is a woman who has been pampered and taken care of her whole life, and when that all falls apart, in moves Zellweger to help her get her shit together. I love the dynamic that the two have together throughout the movie. They truly had amazing chemistry.

The war aspect for me is secondary throughout this film. It is important and what is going on in this small town is touching and affects everyone. There is something for everyone in this award-winning movie and I completely recommend it if you haven’t seen it before.

NEXT MOVIE: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Avatar

Year: 2009
Directed By: James Cameron
Written By: James Cameron

RYAN’S REVIEW

When this movie came out I saw it in the theater three times.  I thought it was one of the most awesome movies I had ever seen.  It was really something special, and the box office results reflect the fact that it was no ordinary movie.  I hailed James Cameron as a genius and still do because the fact is he might have saved the theater business from going under.  He created an experience that can’t be recreated at home.  His 3D, and I’m not talking about the crap being passed off as 3D now, but James Cameron 3D, Avatar 3D, will save the movie industry.  That is of course when people figure out what Cameron did different and learn to recreate it.  Until then let’s look forward to Avatar 2 because I have every hope that it will surpass it’s predecessor and blow us away all over again. For further opinions about James Cameron see our posts on The Abyss and Aliens. It’s difficult to describe watching Avatar in 3D because I didn’t write about the experience when it happened, but I remembered thinking I wish I could see every movie I loved just like that.  I felt like I was inside the movie, and it was amazing.

That being said, having just watched it I can see now that this movie doesn’t belong in our collection and I regret buying it when it came out.  We don’t own a 3D TV, and even if we did I don’t know how well the film actually transitions to the small screen in that format. The 3D effects made this movie truly amazing and an outstanding viewing experience, but without them it’s a different story.  It’s just a movie without those effects, and not a good one at that.  The story is practically a knock-off, the performances are weak, even by the A-list actors, and until the end the movie is more or less boring without the 3D.  Giovanni Ribisi is so cliché in this film he should be embarrassed, Stephen Lang is trying too hard to pass himself off as a badass, and Sigourney Weaver is just going through the motions.  The surprising actress is Michelle Rodriguez, who I usually hate but didn’t mind here.  Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana are both good,  but the effects that make their characters tend to overshadow their acting.

If you have watched this movie on a 3D TV then please let me know how it was, but if you don’t own one I’d advise you not to waste your time with this one.  If you saw it in the theater I trust you were pleased but that experience can’t be recreated at home with a normal TV.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I am really happy that I can say that I saw this film in 3D. It was an amazing experience and by far the coolest movie I have ever seen in the theater in 3D. It was the experience that was amazing. The movie itself was not. The story has been told before, and while I appreciate the effort put forth to make a statement about human kind, they story wasn’t original and I am not sure why Ryan bought this movie.

NEXT MOVIE: Back to the Future (1985)