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Like serialized beach reading from Teen Beat magazine...
I settled in for something akin to 'The Tudors' (SHO). Within 15 mins I found myself immersed in a fraudulent historical world. A bevy of teen beauty queens with flawless skin and strangely modish dress surround a brunette Mary (brunette?). Contempo rockish music pipes & drums out loudly (reminiscent of the canceled Starz series 'Camelot') as 17th century British history begins to feel . Then it hits me! Check the production company! This can't be BBC. It wasn't... CBS Television Studios. Truly horrid. Before it was 33% done, I switched off episode 1,(which was trimmed to a 42 minute hour to accommodate American commercial breaks). Don't waste your time if you actually expect historical drama, which unbelievably, is how it's misidentified.
A laugh a minute...
This movie was incredibly bad. It was literally an insufferably amateurish attempt at lurid, psycho-sexploitation cinema. For 1976, it was so anachronistic that it had the feel of a 50s B-movie. It featured Ben Johnson in a wooden role and the character of a local bumbling deputy, who was supposed to be comic relief, but his buffoonery was inserted so awkwardly that it simply added more pitiful misery to the town's overall effort. A truly horrible film...yet somehow, like a train wreck, I couldn't seem to stop watching as I prepared for the next ridiculous encounter with an inept, helpless screaming prom queen. Afterthought: where were all the guns? Texarkana...and no one had a gun until 4/5ths of the film was done?
The Phoenix Rises (2012)
Only A Sense of Duty Compels Me...
Only a sense of duty compels me to waste more time on this review. A few others have written comments so well expressed and so on-the- money that I must include some quotable lines:
~Viktor Vedmak (realvedmak) from Canada~ "Whoever made this should either stop making movies or stop doing drugs." "This entire movie is basically extended torture scene." "It really would not surprise me if somebody prone to seizures got one from attempt to watch this crap."
~Robo E from Australia~ "The Acting - OMG, Really what were they thinking. My speak n tell could do a better job."
~mike-ryan455 from United States~ "Amazingly boring mixed with nerve jangling audio!" "You think I am making this up? I wish I were. This one hurt my eyes and my brain. It even hurt my ears with amazingly clanging, jangling noise they called music."
Thanks guys. Your comments not only gave me insight but validation of my own post-viewing impression---(as well as a good laugh-out- loud.) Here's what can add:
1. The screenplay had language, which was meant to support a plot involving hi-tech climate warfare, ominous networks & computer chips, was so awful & sleep-inducing, it sounded like it was transcribed from technical conference meetings at a plumbers' convention---but with substitutions of computer hardware lingo to give it some authenticity.
2. The audio was was an experience worse than the American surge in Iraq--- from the Iraqi side. Also, as the climate attack got underway, loud noises like static discharges, but pumped up in volume, would unrelentingly pop & hiss. Re: Video effects=> Every 2-3 minutes, I'm guessing because of the electromagnetic nature of the attack, the video would be disrupted with electrical interference across the screen like a loud static smear... (this silly audio/video effect was obviously added in post-production editing) It hurt both my eyes, my ears and my sci-fi quality standards.
#3. To sum it up, like the others said, the acting was non-existent. The screenplay was wooden like a used parts manual. But, the female lead Catalina Soto-Aguilar, a newcomer to me, was lovely eye candy... (now you know why I watched it to the end.) So thanks for all the humorous LMAO comments. It seems we agree.
Best Pop-Science CGI Dino Tale Ever
In the style of Walking With Dinosaurs, et al, Dinotasia presents a credible CGI depicted speculation of how dinosaur habitation on earth might have played out. Having some experience in the subject, I delighted in the sound paleontology and the accurate prehistory depicted. Some license was taken to infuse a little anthropomorphic appeal into the tale and, consequently, it was like I had a front row seat on a beautifully animated diorama of the age. Starting from the late Permian, it spans the Triassic and Jurassic and on through the early & late Cretaceous periods. Vignettes though they were, I was transfixed by the mini-stories of various dinosaur characters, followed as they struggled to hunt, reproduce, adapt and survive. I found myself even cheering-on several protagonist Tyrannosaurus Rexes, heroes until the end of the late Cretaceous at 65 Ma.
Was it entertainment? Sure. I always have liked Werner Herzog, who narrated the film, though sparsely. Most of it required no narrative but his thick German accent was not distracting to my accustomed ear when it emerged from the soundtrack music...which was terrific too. I recommend it wholeheartedly for pretty much any age group.
Super 8 (2011)
Better Second Time around
This got better on the second viewing. Gotta feeling it may keep improving. Although on its surface a sci-fi film, it has warm, satisfying character development reminiscent of "Stand By Me". Elle Fanning turns in a performance with remarkable depth. It has a clever role-within-role device in the movie when, acting in an amateur video shot by her peers, she delivers in an amateur acting role within her role of "Alice" that surprises everyone with its unexpected skill. I was equally encouraged by her talent.
The story is plausible and full... the characters are fleshed out nicely...it has just enough quirky balance between sci-fi creature feature and coming-of- age story to deliver the goods. Spielberg is involved somehow...not sure how...but it shows.
I am solidly in the minority here. This film was tediously self-indulgent. I fought sleep. I wondered through most of it why the principle actors signed on to do it. Perhaps it's just one of those films that had wonderful potential on paper. Maybe after the final cut from the editors and director, the story and dialogue just got in the way of some private pretentious vision of the filmmaker. It had all the potential to be a great film. IMHO the director's art house cinema muse got in the way. Is this enough lines of text to pan this turkey? No? OK. How about now? Still not enough? Unbelievable! IMDb is guilty of the same sin this movie is---compulsory long-windedness.
Texas Killing Fields (2011)
I call it "marlonizing" after Brando...
Texas Killing Fields grabbed me by the cojones and held on, in spite of its flaws and frequently frustrating failure, as another reviewer said, "to connect the dots" of the story line. As a consequence, I was busy trying to make sense of all the dangling plot-ganglia. I even was wondering if it was valid to critique Worthington's incomprehensible generic southern accent---maybe it was just me. I couldn't understand half of what Worthington was saying. He elided his lines so horribly. (My daughter and I call it "marlonizing" after Brando.) As a movie lover and proactive cinema consumer, one of my pet peeves is actors who mumble through their lines, thinking they're method acting ...and yet the net result is a mangling of intelligibility for the audience. To offer you a summary... I found this gritty film both exciting and repelling...noir-ish... stylized... and having set the film values bar high, well worth the effort. Kudos to Magic City's Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Chloë Grace Moretz on terrific performances.
Higher Ground (2011)
A cathartic, ambiguous denouement...a passport to higher ground
Higher Ground is a story about an honest search for faith in a fearful, posturing world. It is an unpretentious film. It is also Vera Farmiga's directorial debut and it showcases her signature style. She displays astonishing depths, carrying roles with integrity and intelligence. I've always noted that she has an atypical screen glamor that grows in its unfurling. In fact, it's a special beauty but it fits a needed niche. If you have ever walked the path of faith, honestly questing, be prepared for a cathartic, ambiguous denouement that may take you to higher ground. I enthusiastically recommend this soft, sad but lovely journey by cinema.
Silent Tongue (1993)
Shakespeare On The Great Plains
To call this quirky, brooding film a western is a failure of imagination since it is nothing less than a classical tragedy, a sort of Hamlet set in the American west circa 1875. "Silent Tongue" is a Sam Sheppard film with a stout cast and ambitious themes. It is helped toward that end by the venerable talents of Alan Bates as a drunken Irish thespian and snake oil salesman (what a great archetype) along with Richard Harris as the desperate father of a young man lost in madness from grieving the death of his Indian wife. It does not hurt that the screenplay's characters sometimes speak with the cadence and tone of formal 17th Century English mixed with a touch of cowboy colloquy. It helps even more that there are murderous ghosts and allusions to suicide. After about 30 minutes of trying to get a peg to hang my movie genre hat on, I was left with a question. "WTF is going on here?" That is why eventually I gave up and accepted it for what it was--a Shakespearian western. Aside from that, its a slow stroll with lots of dramatic flourishes and an unexpected touch of Grand Guignol. Dermott Mulroney and River Phoenix are evident in support. Native American actress Sheila Tousey is absolutely terrific. Watch it but in the right mood.
Blade Runner (1982)
Blade Runner: Theatrical Cut
This gorgeous Ridley Scott original is a science fiction tone poem with an introductory taste of the visual mastery soon to come out of this fine arts trained filmmaker's POV. I don't think that I have ever seen a more authentic work of art on film. He ushered in a new genre of science fiction film noir with this film as well as with 'Alien', both characterized by a new formulation of visual atmospherics that was dubbed "psychoytronic". Blade Runner: Theatrical Cut; 1982.
Xtra: Ridley On History I have liked Ridley Scott since Blade Runner and I remember him saying that he liked to "reimagine" history wherever there were gaps in the historic record or in the story myth (as in the case with Robin Hood). He did it admirably in 'Kingdom of Heaven', in '1492: Conquest of Paradise' and most notably in 'Gladiator'. Ridley likes history but he's not timid about filling in gaps on the storyboard with his own imagination. I don't mind and I especially liked Robin Hood because of it.