Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Mr. Robot (2015)
Pathetic derivative drivel
I'm a tech. Spent my whole career writing code in a dozen different computer languages. Worked as a one man bomb squad defusing worms & viruses for major Wall St. institutions. Writing algorithms was like a form of poetry for me. I love Silicon Valley. Think it's brilliant. Often I'll freeze the screen to savor the logic diagrams the guys have on their whiteboards.
If SV is post-grad, Mr. Robot barely makes 3rd grade. The writing is shallow & predicable. The performances are amateurish & devoid of all intelligence & humor. Why are the majority of the main characters portrayed as teenage pseudo-hipsters? Probably because that's MR's target audience.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Gangs of New York updated...
There was a real opportunity here to make a powerful statement as well as a highly entertaining film but it got completely thrown out by the director & author of the screenplay. Instead of a stinging indictment and/or satire of Americann greed & lust we get an over- the-top presentation of sex & drugs as male pre-pubescent fantasy. Everything the average 13 year-old imagines his future to be. Not surprising given that the director Martin Scorsese gives the majority of his films the same blockbuster treatment: everything short of singing & tap dancing. The only other director using a similar approach is Baz Luhrman. Interesting that Dicaprio starred in this movie & Gatsby in the same year, highly miscast in both. Casting him is understandable: he's likable & cute & popular with the mainstream movie-going public. Here he basically replicates his performance in Catch Me If You Can. I don't say he's a bad actor, just wrong for the part. Here he reminds me of Bob Hope in something like Monsieur Beaucaire: likable but clueless as to what makes the character he's playing tick. Years ago there was a TV series called Profit in which Adrian Pasdar perfectly depicted a similar character. Ah well, gotta go for the biggest-paying demographic, I guess.
Enough Said (2013)
Elaine & Tony meet kewt...
I was really looking forward to this film, mainly because I really liked director Holofcener's previous efforts, Walking & Talking & Please Give. However this to me came off as a trite, predictable sitcom episode guest-starring Dreyfus & Gandalfino doing their usual shticks. Hahaha.
Particularly irritating are Dreyfus's constant mugging & over-acting to every situation in every scene in order,I guess, to please to her fams. Gandolfino mostly shrugs his way through his part, looking bored & maybe even a little embarrassed & never upstaging his co- star but never being very funny, either.
This is like a contemporary vesion of those awful Bob Hope comedies they cranked out in the 60s & 70s when the star was far too old for his parts but his routines were still bankable with an ever-gullible public.
Poor Raymond Carver
Still hard to believe this film received an Academy Award for best script. It looks more to have been written by 4 very green high school students inexperienced in life or the art of writing. They seem to have spent a lot of their time sitting around calling up favorite movie tropes & clichés. These somehow got misinterpreted as Magic Realism by a gullible press assisted along no doubt by a prominent product placement of Borges' Labyrinth in Ed Norton's hand in one of many stagy scenes.
Also in evidence as teenage over-enthusiasm is an excessive amount of misogyny. The women in this film come off as conniving, manipulative, neurotic & self-obsessed in the extreme with Emma Stone as the new Martha Plimpton. I wonder if Lindsay Duncan was aware before signing on of the grotesquely abusive & wholly gratuitous verbal intro her character received in the bar scene. The male characters fare somewhat better only because their humiliation comes in having to appear semi-nude, easily laughed off in macho culture.
Actually I think what Inarittu & his band have pulled off is to deliberately make a shallow pretentious pseudo-Indy film satirizing their counterparts of the north to which a major part of Jollywood elite have bought in whole hog.
Dom Hemingway (2013)
Flat, stagy, overacted & underwritten...
Flat, stagy, overacted & underwritten, this thing plays out for the most part as a junior high school attempt at imitating Guy Ritchie. I mostly agree with the reviewer who said he expected Guy Ritchie & got Will Ferrell, except that Will Ferrell does manage to be funny which I don't think Jude Law succeeds at at all. There was really no plot to speak of, just a very tired & very old cliché about some stolen money but the whole sequence of events unrolls so choppily & the Dom Hemingway character is so overwrought & unsympathetic, you wind up rooting for the wrong people (or no one - just for the bloody film to end already).
Nothing redeeming in this thing. Saw it all better in Sexy Beast & that was no great shakes either but at least Kingsley can be truly menacing, not just pathetic like an overweight Jude Law.
Another lame derivative movie...
This film starts out with a lot of promise: the first fantasy sequence on the subway platform, tied in with the eHarmony bit (this movie sure has a lot of blatant product placements) was great, as were Stiller & Wiig's initial performances. But then the hammer falls with the overcooked overacted cliché scenes of office down-sizing, followed by some vague ill-defined vision quest after the nebulous Sean Penn character (a heroic photographer?) mixed in with nonsense about skateboarding (pandering to a very specific demographic I guess) & some kind of non-ending.
Biggest problem was the film-makers lost focus early on vis-a-vis what was fantasy & what was reality which is what The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is really about.
This made me think of a Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan movie that had the same theme but was a thousand times better: Joe versus the Volcano.
Very big disappointment
Let me say right off I'm a huge fan of dystopian sci-fi films, especially Blade Runner & Brazil & Code 46. In addition, Host & Mother, directed previously by Joon Bong-Ho, are two of my favorite films of recent years. I was really looking forward seeing this movie, even going so far as to paying full price for the Amazon Prime Instant Video.
That said, how to start cataloging the letdowns. First, the story, which is as linear as the train it takes place on. Some people claim the movie is a parable which I'd be more than ready to embrace if it were even remotely true, but in truth the story line is a simplistic, almost juvenile treatise on the evils of the powerful vs. the weak, predicable as to both plot & characters. None of the characters really stand out as much more than 2-dimensional cartoon characters, which might have worked if the film were animated, but the acting, especially among English- speaking ones, is stilted & forced. After viewing Host (2 of whose leads appear in this, again as father & daughter) & Mother, as well as other Asian films, I've pretty much concluded that English-speaking actors, particularly American ones, do not fare well in over-the-top films like this, apparently being unable to convey the powerful facial expressions of their emotionally less-restrained Asian counterparts & compensating with overly theatrical readings of their lines. John Hurt is the exception: he's lucky to have that finely engraved face, but drones on wearily as he has in most films since Alien. Tilda Swinton is funny but looks & acts like she's in a totally different movie, maybe Monty Python knockoff.
One major character named Gilliam & several vaguely retro futuristic sets suggest this is a minor homage to Terry Gilliam's Brazil. But in that case maybe it should have been called Bengladesh.
The Leftovers (2014)
2 episodes in, this show's already worse than the last episodes of Lost
Lots has been written about Leftovers' creator Lindelof worrying that his work would always be compared to the awful ending episodes of Lost. Well, this show's already far worse than the last episodes of Lost. For starters, the whole concept is very tired & has been done far better, as already mentioned in these comments (The 4400 for starters). Nevertheless the idea might have worked if it were handled with some originality, but that's the whole problem: it's not, it's just a collection of old S-F tropes (disappearing people, crazy cult, feral pets, ordinary citizens under severe duress) w/o substance.
The acting isn't bad, given what the actors have to work with, but the plot is overly choppy & predictable. It's as though this mess came out of the same kitchen as Under The Dome.
Spike Jonze/Adam Spiegel sets up easy-to-knock-down situations, taking pot shots at generic targets which have no bulls-eyes at their center, just great big easy-to-hit circles. Yes, it's true people are having others write their intimate missives - so what, they were doing it in the 19th century - what's new? Yes, people seem to spend more time talking into machines than with each other. Wasn't that the complaint about A.G. Bell's new contraption? Isn't that "other people" they're talking to on the other end?
In the end SJ/AS is a techno-sentamentalist, decrying the medium because he can't find the message. This is a paean for the generation that looooooves to Kvetch. Any 3 minutes of Silicon Valley is orders of magnitude superior to this uninspired pulp.
To live a life w/o hope or humor, creativity or imagination is deeply disturbing, but to depict such a life in a film which is itself (deliberately or not) devoid of hope, humor, creativity or imagination is inexcusable. And to applaud such a work as worthy of esteem & major awards is to pander to the worst aspects of our Hollywood-spawned culture's self-referential obsession.
Low Winter Sun (2013)
Everyone's a loser, especially the viewer...
I mean the show, not the so-called story. I haven't seen the original Brit version of this series so I can't compare the 2 but just knowing the original was far shorter puts me in favor of that one.
I can't think of any aspect of this LWS worth praising except the cinematography and how could you go wrong with ruined Detroit? But the casting was atrocious & the acting (where there was any) consequently all over the map. The white hoods looked like college students, the black hoods looked like central casting.
Mark Strong seemed to be so wrapped up in holding in his Brit inflections that everything else got withheld as well. I found myself longing for some Victor Mature or Robert Mitchum grimacing & hamming. Those guys could have played Agnew in their sleep. Lennie James, OTOH, seemed to be auditioning for a modern version of The Tempest. Interesting but distracting.
What else? The plot was choppy & predictable & highly dissatisfying. Odd that AMC should have run this after Breaking Bad. Maybe they should have called it Breaking Worse.