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887 reviews in total 
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2 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
drama moves at ant speed, 18 June 2016

This show has an interesting premise, and after only one episode I can't really predict how well it will handle that premise, but I found the first episode too slow and soggy to continue.

It's hard to say what this series is. I've seen it described as comedy/drama/horror/satire, but that gives the impression of a lot more punch than this show has. There are moments that I suppose are mildly comedic, although not especially funny. It's got elements of a political drama, but not an involving one. Horror would suggest some element of suspense or chills, which were absent.

Satire would require some bite, but the series seems to want to be a political show without politics. We don't know what the budget fight is about, the two people who will clearly have sex eventually do some mild political sparring that carefully avoids any significant conflict, and the approach is very much the both-sides-are-recalcitrant trope that doesn't jibe with the current reality of the anti-compromise Tea Party situation of the real world. (The series actually makes the Republicans seem slightly more reasonable, since their senator is just a drunk who wants to cut a deal while the other side's senator is quite Machiavellian; was this produced by a Republican or just by someone bending over backwards to even things out? Weirdly, some here are saying the show is anti-Republican - one says it's anti-Trump even though all we see is snippets of Trump speeches on TV - but I would love to hear their explanation, which they don't give).

Fairly Interesting, 29 May 2016

I remember when there were people going to MOMA in droves to sit across from some artist I'd never heard of. I heard people say it was a very moving experience. It sounded nuts to me. So I was curious to see if I could get a sense of what it was all about from this movie.

I suppose I did, a little bit. The movie is made by people who want to be a bit artsy about it all, with jump shots and some shaky camera-work, but it does give you the basics. Marina is a long-time performance artist who specializes in feats of endurance, like running repeatedly into a wall or sitting naked on a bicycle seat for hours. She is very sincere, very determined, and seems to be someone who lives her art. There are scenes of her with her ex-partner/lover in which she is driving and cooking dinner which give you a glimpse into the mundane aspects of life that even those living for their art experience.

Most of the second half of the movie is devoted to her three months sitting staring at people who stare back. You see how physically grueling the experience is, you see how moved many people are, and you say how insane things got, with people camping out all night, desperate to get in early enough to spend some time having a famous artist stare at them.

The movie doesn't really recreate the experience. It's rather glossy at times, with a soundtrack that I'm sure creates a different experience than what I assume was simply the buzz of the crowd and the noise from any video projections nearby.

I'm amazed that some people here said they were moved by this movie. It's an interesting view of a performance artist, offering occasional mild insights from her friends and giving some understanding of her approach.

I'm also surprised that some people expected more of this movie, like a complete investigation of her career, or questions into how performance art fits into the art world. The movie is called The Artist is Present, and it's focused on that show, and that piece, and it's by someone who clearly buys into performance artist (I've always thought this sort of thing was interesting but kooky). It's exactly the sort of documentary I would expect someone who is intrigued by Marina would be inclined to make.

The movie absolutely did not make me wish I'd gone up to MOMA to stare at her, although it makes me feel, just a little, that maybe I should have gone up to see the recreations of her previous pieces and take a quick peek at her face-offs. But it's not something I'm losing sleep over.

"The Fall" (2013/I)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Serial killers creep me out, 26 May 2016

I'm not scoring this, and I'm not really writing this review for other people. Instead, this is in case years from now, after I've forgotten I gave this a try (I watch a lot of TV and sometimes forget I've seen things), I could look here and see why I didn't keep with the series.

The beginning episodes is slow moving but intense, because you are spending a lot of time with a woman who it is immediately made clear will soon be murdered by a serial killer.

While some people love serial killer stuff, I don't, and seeing this woman go through her life knowing she would be murdered and most probably tortured and raped just freaked me out. I just couldn't take it.

Now, I read a review that said that while the first ten minutes suggested the series would be disturbing, that ultimately it doesn't delve into that end of things. Perhaps that's true. I watched about a half an hour and that creepiness was still there by that point, and I stopped so I wouldn't risk seeing the woman's death.

I didn't really watch enough to have a strong feeling about how the show would turn out. It's slow-moving and has a chilly, antiseptic quality, but that could be good. But serial killers are just not something I can enjoy, so I'll pass.

0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Best movie in the series, 15 May 2016

Back in 1979, George Miller made his first feature film, a gritty little action picture, Mad Max, that was as mean-spirited as it was exciting. The movie was a hit, and was followed by an apocalyptic sequel called Road Warrior, which was also a hit but which underwhelmed me, and Beyond Thunderdome, which I didn't like any better.

And the game Mad Max: Fury Road, which beautifully combines the grit and excitement of the first movie with the big budget action that followed.

Max is broken down, haunted by the people he failed to save, concerned with nothing but survival.

But this isn't really his story. In a surprise move, Max become an unwilling part of another hero's story. Her name is Imperator Furiosa, and she is as tough and determined and heroic as Max ever was.

The movie's feminist vibe, with tough, gun-shooting chicks versus an army of bald, macho religious zealots consumed with war and honor, drove some "men's rights" people crazy, but it shouldn't. First off, Max is still a tough guy doing a lot of cool stuff, and second, the movie is about 5% feminism to 95% of the most intense, heart-thumping action full of explosions and destruction.

That 5% though, is what keeps the movie from being a hollow exercise in special effects like The Avengers. For all the action, this is a film with a vision, and a film about actions, consequences, bravery, redemption, hope, and all that good stuff.

I have a few issues with the plot. The final plan relies on one of many warring city states doing something basically suicidal, and the final moment is a standard hero cliché that feels false and unconvincing in the context of the movie. But overall, this is everything an action movie should be.

I know I should like this, but I just don't, 15 May 2016

I've heard that If... and O Lucky Man were two must-see classic movies, but I regret to say I couldn't connect with either. I saw If... years ago and don't remember anything about it beyond my disappointment, but I still gave O Lucky Man a chance.

A dark satire of England (as best I can tell), the movie follows the adventures of a likable and enthusiastic coffee salesman who meets a series of corrupt caricatures.

While the movie aims for sharp satire, there is something half-hearted about it all. The pace is sluggish and the movie seems to wander here and there with little purpose.

Some of it works. Malcolm MacDowell is quite good, and the movie perks up when Ralph Richardson is on screen. But I just couldn't keep interested.

About a third of the way through my Internet went out. Had that not happened, I would have kept watching in hopes that things picked up. But I am not at all inspired to continue.

I like satire, I like surrealism, I like the cast, and I love the songs by Alan Price (I have the album). But I don't like this movie.

Ant-Man (2015)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Dumb but reasonably entertaining, 9 May 2016

One of the problems with many superhero movies is there seems to be a philosophy from the producers that as long as you hit the clichés - evil mastermind, likable-but-flawed hero, a little conflict, a little comedy relief - then you don't need to worry about whether anything makes sense, or whether the characters are more than paper cutouts.

Ant-Man is a classic example of group-think, special-effects driven Hollywood entertainment. The villain does inexplicably horrible things - kill a guy for raising mild objections to his plan, experiment on cute lamps instead of mice (even though this would be prohibitively expensive) - and yet isn't played as a true sadist. A family conflict is exacerbated by senselessly not offering the perfectly reasonable explanation until late in the movie (an explanation refuted in a coda). The choice of a hero is weirdly arbitrary (considering the film's requirements, a gymnast would have been a better choice).

It's not as bad as 2002's Spider-man - the story and characters roughly make sense, at least - but everything is lazy and by-the-book.

The movie also has some rather unfortunate "comedy relief" in the form of a trio of borderline inept criminals. The weakness of the humor is surprising in a movie directed not by a director who has previously specialized in comedy; with the director and star, it's surprising how mildly comic this film is, although it does have its humorous moments, mainly involving the ants.

The special effects are decent. Not great, but perfectly serviceable.

The action is pretty good. Once again, not great, but there are some solid scenes and a nicely paced ending.

Neither the best nor the worst of the Marvel superhero films, Ant-Man is perfectly watchable. And that's about it.

Two hits and a miss, 6 May 2016

It's hard to give an overall rating to Todd Margaret because the third season is so vastly inferior to the first two. The first two would get a 9 rating, the third a 4, so I'll just give it a seven.

Those first two seasons were amazing and insane. The premise is simple; Todd Margaret is an idiot who does everything exactly wrong, and through a series of flukes is in the position to do the maximum amount of harm. There is something insanely delightful about the pure idiocy of Todd Margaret, who is both a terrible person and ultimately a well-meaning one. It was outrageous, imaginative television.

Then came the third season. Since the second season ended in a way that would make a third season seem impossible, that third season does a clever jumble of the first two, with a different, more competent and rather unpleasant Todd meeting the same characters in different roles.

Conceptually that's interesting, but the show fails to be funny. My girlfriend and I had eagerly watched the first two seasons, but she gave up on the third after one episode while I made it through two. Those two episodes are especially outrageous or funny, and the new Todd is not nearly as interesting as the old one.

From what I've read, the jumbling of the story gets increasingly interesting, but if it's not funny, it really doesn't matter. It's clear the show is building to something, but that doesn't matter if the episodes used to build towards that something are tedious and unlikable.

Weirdly, critics liked the third season as well as the first two. But they're 100% wrong. Todd Margaret is a two-season series, and the third season should be ignored entirely.

13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Funny, clever, and charming - perfect for fans of Lost in Austen, 4 May 2016

Claire, a huge fan of Korean dramas (I had no idea that was a thing, but apparently it is), is magically transported into her favorite Korean soap opera, where she is told that she has a new job; fixing the conventional dramatic path that has somehow gone off target. She is supposed to work from behind the scenes, creating situations for the leads to fall in love as they're supposed to, but things don't go quite the way they're supposed to.

Dramaworld is quite funny, although as the show digs deeper into its silly story the humor sometimes gets toned down in favor of plot or drama. But the story is intriguing, the drama has a light touch, and the comedy manages to both mock Korean conventions while making me eager to watch one of these shows for myself.

Liv Hewson, who plays Claire, is perfectly cast as the red-headed American nerd inexplicably accepted by the Korean principles. She manages to be both dorky and plain enough to seem like someone who would obsessively watch a TV show while being cute and quirky enough to be believable as someone who simply cannot avoid becoming a part of the story she is supposed to influence from the edges.

The series reminds me a lot of Lost in Austen, in which a Jane Austen fan is transported into one of her novels. If you like one of these, I highly recommend watching the other.

I highly recommend binge watching this; episodes are short and end on cliffhangers, so it's frustrating to just watch one. I wound up waiting a month so I could watch the last 4 episodes together.

Beautifully done from beginning to end. I just love this show so much.

6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Perfectly watchable, 3 May 2016

There's a lot of hate on IMDb for this series, but you know, it's not all that bad. It's a standard buddy cop series, a little dim-witted humor, a bit of banter, "special" moments, shooting and fighting. It's nothing you haven't seen a million times before, but at the same time, it's nothing haven't seen done much worse before.

I think the problem people have is they're comparing it with the movies. Obviously this movie's attempt at Jackie Chan-style fight scenes is going to be pretty disappointing, but they do try, and I've seen worse fights on TV. And quite honestly, I never totally connected to Chris Tucker and kind of like the TV guy better. And while the series is quite inferior to the first movie, and somewhat inferior to the third, it's really no worse than the second.

This is not to say that I play to keep watching. I saw 3 episodes, and they were all okay, and if there wasn't much else to watch on TV I would watch more, but truthfully, even among mindless TV series, you can do better than Rush Hour.

But it's fine.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A marvel of bad taste, 1 May 2016

I totally get hating this episode. It's one of these weird Raffi & Dirty Randy episodes, it's half animation, and it has little to do with the actual nature of the series.

And yet, I laughed a fair amount. It was just soooooo extreme. Death and grief are played for cheap laughs, and the non-animated parts continue the theme of people who are so awful and petty and selfish that no tragedy can keep them from their worst instincts.

The animated part is, certainly utterly ludicrous, and I really shouldn't like it, but the animation meant it could be even more over the top than usual, and all the crazy stuff with bees and corpses just amused me.

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