Letters to Hell - June 2000



  - Fanning
  - Better Writing Skills
  - Dare to Review
  - What Was Your Favorite Laugh Out-Loud Moment?
  - Painfully Punny
  - Eternally Grateful
  - Music By John Morris
  - Common Sense
  - Second-Rate Craftsmanship
  - I Didn't Even Try to Keep From Laughing
  - Unless You're a Chick #1
  - Unless You're a Chick #2
  - Fat Rosie O'Donnell
  - Talking to the Camera
  - At Least It Was Better Than Mary Reilly


[ From: Tish ]

> Hi.  I'd like to e-mail Brian Dehenney directly.  Can you help me?

[ No ]

Better Writing Skills

[ From: Bryan]

> I feel you should keep your real job and stop writing reviews 
> while you have a chance.  Your local community college has 
> classes dedicated to better writing skills.

[ Thanks for feeling me ]

Dare To Review

[ From: David ]

> I find it funny that you would dare to review a movie even after 
> you walked out of it.  I have a review site and I've only done 
> such a thing once-- a really obscure and bad film from Canada, 

[ To quote my newest tag line, think of it as "cinematic taste test-
  ing" ]

What Was Your Favorite Laugh Out-Loud Moment?

[ From: Glenn in Edmonton, AB ]

> Hard to say.  What got me was that the Psyclods kept sending sur-
> veillance aircraft over where the humans were supposed to be min-
> ing gold to make sure they were working... and never noticed that 
> the aircraft they had was missing?

[ Heh ]

Painfully Punny

[ From: Bonnie in Mebane ]

> > Heck, the movie isn't even boring-enough to induce a nap.  It's 
> > just there.  Large, loud, and, for at least one viewer, utterly 
> > under-appealing.
> So you were not en-raptor-ed?  It was pterodactyl?  The plot di-
> plod-ocused?  You were ready to leave in a trice-roptops?  Did you 
> go steg-osarus, or did you take a date?

[ Had ass-teroids afterward, too. ]

Eternally Grateful

[ From: Chris ]

> I am a student at in Warrington, England.  I'm currently in my 
> first year of Film Studies at Advanced Level.  As part of my exam 
> coursework I have to produce an in-depth study of Oliver Stone's 
> NATURAL BORN KILLERS.  After seeing a couple of your reviews on 
> the net, I have come to the conclusion that you have written quite 
> a bit about film.  Could you could send me any reviews, informa-
> tion, or web site addresses that could help me in my study.  I 
> would be eternally grateful.

[ Two to recommend: http://us.imdb.com and http://www.mrqe.com ]

Music By John Morris

[ From: Flau Blucher in Bilbao ]

> I'm a Spanish fan of Mel Brooks and I'm very interested in the 
> soundtrack from YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN.  Here in Spain is very dif-
> ficult to find.  Could you help me?  How and where could I find
> it?  Thank you very much in advance

[ From: Tim in Australia ]

> I was having a look around your site, and I figured you might know 
> if there was a release of all the music from Mel Brook's HISTORY 
> OF THE WORLD, PART I.  Any clues?

[ The former should be available at any online music store, such as 
  http://www.cdnow.com.  The latter, which includes dialogue, "The
  Inquisition," and the "Jews In Space" theme song, has been out-of-
  print for years ]

Common Sense

[ From: Dawn ]

> > First we see snow falling on cedars, then the green green grass 
> > of  home, and then a desert.  Jeez, how 'bout title cards to 
> > help us out?
> >
> How about simple common sense?  That wasn't snow falling, dink.  
> It was ash from the forest burning.

[ From: Dave ]

> Hey, at least he *finished* the movie.

[ Heh ]

Second Rate Craftsmanship

[ From: Matt at Columbia University ]

> > A poor sound recording garbles the first half-hour (or more) of 
> > dialogue.  
> >
> Thanks for this.  I thought it might have been the theater I was 
> at, but perhaps it's the fault of the mixing/recording.  Things 
> like that, along with the ham-fisted editing, bothered me more 
> than anything else. I couldn't get over the general second-rate 
> craftsmanship put into it. 

[ From: Todd ]

> > I couldn't get over the general second-rate craftsmanship put 
> > into it. 
> >
> I can't get over the number of armchair directors who have the
> audacity to speak any ill of the editing, cinematography, sound,
> etc.  All the technical production values in this movie, as in 
> all Ridley Scott films, were first rate.  There simply isn't a 
> technically bad frame on the platter.  Now, say whatever you want 
> about story, etc. 

[ I will ]

I Didn't Even Try to Keep From Laughing

[ From: James in North Carolina ]

> > ...the greatest challenge for the MI2 viewer is not to giggle.  
> > Don't laugh during the love scene when Cruise says, straight-
> > faced to Thandie, "Damn you're beautiful."  Go with the flow 
> > with the incredulous cliff-hanging opening, as well as with the 
> > MATRIX-style kung-fu flips that you know full well were accom-
> > plished with wires, mattes, or stunt doubles.  
> >
> I didn't even try to keep from laughing.  Don't think anyone else 
> in the theater thought it was funny, but everything you mention, 
> plus the "two motorcycles pass each other at high speed, then one 
> turns around and immediately has caught up to the other" were too 
> silly to take seriously.  The kung-fu flips didn't even make 
> sense-- just using whatever technology you have, I guess.  Thanks 
> for letting me know what to expect before I got there.

[ My pleasure ]

Unless You're A Chick #1

[ From: Regina at Columbia University ]

> > Though neither syrupy nor stunning in its execution, the film 
> > falters as the major melodramatic events-- baby-napping, torna-
> > do, etc.--  eventually fall into a predictable pattern.  And 
> > by that point, even Portman's luminescent presence isn't enough 
> > to keep things compelling.  That is, unless you're a chick.
> >  
> I think it's worth pointing out that both screenwriters and direc-
> tor are men.

[ I think so too ]

Unless You're A Chick #2

[ From: Bart ]

> > Though neither syrupy nor stunning in its execution, the film 
> > falters as the major melodramatic events-- baby-napping, torna-
> > do, etc.--  eventually fall into a predictable pattern.  And 
> > by that point, even Portman's luminescent presence isn't enough 
> > to keep things compelling.  That is, unless you're a chick.
> >
> This is quite possible the lowest point you've reached in your 
> history as a "film critic."  And that is saying a lot.  I don't 
> know why I even waste my time reading your reviews any more.

[ From: Will ]

> You're not the only one.  He's been in my killfile for months now.  
> Give a monkey an Internet connection... etc. 

[ From: Matt ]
> Sheesh.  Tough crowd.  I look forward to Mike's weekly ramblings.  
> Not that he needs defending, really.

[ Please pass the bananas ]

Fat Rosie O'Donnell

[ From: Dawn ]

> > ...an all-new cast that fleshes out the familiar roles even bet-
> > ter than John Goodman, Rick Moranis, Elizabeth Perkins, and fat 
> > Rosie O'Donnell did.
> >
> Let me get this straight.  You actually want people to listen to 
> your opinion, yet you lead off with descriptions like "fat Rosie
> O'Donnell"?  So much for my caring what you think about the movie.

[ From: Mike ]
> More appropriate would have been to have written "fat John Good-
> man, short Rick Moranis, right-handed Elizabeth Perkins."

[ From: Tuttle ]

> Well Betty always had a good body, at least until Rosie O'Donnell 
> played her.

[ Wilma was hotter ]

Talking to the Camera

[ From: Someone at AOL ]

> Since your review was posted some time ago, someone has probably 
> already notified you about your confusion with the Shue sequences 
> when she is talking to the camera.  Remember she is with Ben when 
> he expires.  Therefore, she must report the death to the author-
> ities.
> So, it seems she is talking to the cops-- maybe a detective or cop 
> psychoanalyst who could be taping the interviews-- about this man 
> who walked into her life, if only for a moment, gave her an uncon-
> ditional love she had never received before, won her over on a 
> genuinely romantic level, and then died, leaving her with the re-
> sponsibility-- something that goes hand-in-hand with living in re-
> ality, which Ben couldn't deal with--of cleaning up his selfish 
> final act.
> By the way, the rest of the content in your review was good, if 
> rather general. If I enlightened you the slightest bit, then I 
> thank you for reading my blurb.  If you are bothered by my nit-
> picking, my deepest apologies are offered.  They are just my in-
> significant, futile observations.  But may I suggest you take 
> my response to your review as a compliment-- that I would take the 
> time to contact you about it means you touched a nerve and that's 
> always a good thing.

[ http://www.nonvirtual.com/hell/1995/leaving.html is the review in 
  question ]

At Least It Was Better Than Mary Reilly

[ From: Ryan ]

> I disagree with most of what you're saying.  You miss out on sev-
> eral points, some subtle and some obvious, that Kenneth Branagh 
> makes in this beautiful adaptation.  First of all, the "'circling' 
> camera technique" that you seem to so confused about.  It's an ex-
> ample of the director's genius that such a minor motion can dis-
> play the fevered state Dr. Frankenstein is in.  The motion is de-
> signed to show the audience his point of view, as a dizzied and 
> confused scientist so devoted to see if he can, that he never 
> stopped to ask if he should.  This is the underlining point of the 
> book, which Branagh focuses on.  It is a serious story and Branagh 
> tries to pull the audience through Frankenstein's mind as the e-
> vent's unfold.  This is why there is no humor.  Frankenstein saw 
> this as a serious event, his family was dying, and he had just re-
> leased upon the world a blight such as none had ever seen.  By 
> making those comical references to past versions of the book, it 
> would no longer make the movie MARY SHELLY'S FRANKENSTEIN, but ra-
> ther MEL BROOK'S YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. Branagh wasn't making an ac-
> tion film or a comedy.  He was doing what he does best, making a 
> book on the big screen.  
> His direction fills the mind with amazing imagery, leading to the 
> grotesque moments that help develop the ideas of the shear hide-
> ousness of the creature.  Branagh illustrates the book, instead of 
> making a new plot loosely based on the book.  The immense imagery 
> that you mention is very lingering in the mind-- such as Eliza-
> beth's death or the monster's scared body-- but what you fail to 
> appreciate are those small moments where the more-beautiful-less-
> grotesque imagery from the book is brilliantly transcribed to 
> film.  Branagh portrayed the madness and remorse of Frankenstein 
> very well.  De Niro certainly showed the depths of rage and the 
> immense compassion that the monster can have.  The others, Cleese, 
> Holm, Carter, etc., have small roles, but in the book it they're 
> small roles as well.  In conclusion, Branagh is able to keep to 
> the main focus of the book, and is able to brilliant illustrate 
> the imagery that Shelly unleashes in the mind, making the movie 
> one, if not the, best adaptation of "A Modern Prometheus."  Better 
> known as  "Frankenstein."

[ http://www.moviehell.com/1994/mary.frankenstein.html is the other 
  review in question.  

  Good night everybody! ]

Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros