Reviews written by registered user
A.N.

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86 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Intro scene describes the whole film., 23 October 2016
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Apparently the opening sequence showed an actual donkey being shot and it didn't get much better from there. I should have turned it off at that point, in hindsight.

The movie was relatively interesting when they were first checking into the hotel, but the deliberate monotone dialog wore thin in short order. Then came more gratuitous violence, but a sterile sort that really didn't register. Grimness and blandness were the main themes. The views of water and woods were good, though.

Once they escaped the first time it really lost my interest. I ended up fast-forwarding through it until the depressing final scene. Just didn't understand the point. Not once did I find it funny, and it never made much sense. Normal people are never that flat. If they'd made them at least seem to care about something it could have been redeemed.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Why was this panned? It's unique and worth seeing., 27 September 2016
7/10

Was there a major edit made for the U.S. release? I'd read that it started off good and the ending got convoluted, but the film was consistently well played throughout. Regardless of any changes, watching this taught me again that critics are fickle and you need to see something yourself. There can be a negative mob mentality if a film gets bad press early on, even if people don't really know why.

McConaughey's acting was subdued for his character and it fit the role. I won't give away the plot twists but I'd recommend this as much as any recent, well-received movie. The atmosphere was unique and low-key, and I couldn't find major faults, though I wasn't totally surprised by a certain driving scene.

Pandorum (2009)
Overpopulation madness as a plot device, once again, 11 September 2016
7/10

The acting and suspense were good, if not outstanding. The plot had a twist which set it above similar films with familiar pale, slimy creatures. The depiction of filth on the ship was squeamishly done and the female lead was appealing at any dirt level. The suspense wasn't of "Alien" caliber but the action stayed interesting throughout. It was worth the time.

But once again, I was struck by the Hollywood theme of Man crowding the Earth to death and using elaborate technologies to "fix" it at the 11th hour. I question whether the Earth could ever get as packed as 24 billion in 2153. Mass die-offs would probably prevent that but public apathy/inaction makes me wonder if we'd go to such lengths to keep people alive at the expense of nature. The current ruining of landscapes with "green" wind power and fracking is ominous. People seem to think we're supposed to grow forever and keep destroying nature, since that's all they've known. Does such a dim species deserve to survive?

I just wish Hollywood would make a film about the much simpler birth control solution vs. treating overpopulation as our inevitable destiny, even desirable. A few films have tried (e.g. "Z.P.G." or "Children of Men") but the plot usually involves someone rebelling against population- control, as if selfish acts are heroic. How about some true heroism in the pharmacy contraception aisle?

Earth Days (2009)
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Good, except for the energy-sprawl scene, 24 February 2016
7/10

This documentary was at its best with Paul Ehrlich and Dennis Meadows talking about overpopulation and exponential growth, which ought to be the main focus of environmental films; to discourage the view that technology will solve everything, even as the economy that produces it keeps trying to grow. A combination of more birth control and personal restraint is what could really save the Earth.

We see the usual panoply of talking heads who fought for nature, and I'm all for that, but when I saw an army of big wind turbines rising from the desert in an early scene, I was reminded that Man's "solutions" to environmental problems tend to cause more harm than good. Wind power (and solar mirror arrays) are increasingly industrializing landscapes and ocean views that other energy development wouldn't touch. They repeat the old mistake of tackling everything as a construction project to "create jobs and help the environment," but the latter never quite happens.

Allowing vast tracts of scenery and flying creatures to be destroyed for intermittent electricity is an environmental tragedy as bad as climate change. There is no easy way, if any, to eliminate fossil fuels from the economy, especially oil. All renewable energy infrastructure is built and transported with it one way or another.

I'm still waiting for a mainstream documentary that admits Man is mucking things up with so-called solutions.

15 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Realistically grim, with no gratuitous action scenes, 14 October 2015
8/10

This is exactly what I might feel like if I were homeless or just aimless, which I've been at times. The boredom and daily routines stripped down to basic necessities seemed very realistic. It stood out as the only "bum film" I've seen that didn't seem cliché-ridden.

Those who need constant hooks to stay entertained probably won't get it, but it does have its share of tense moments. There's also the mystery of how he reached that state, including an apparent scar that I originally thought belonged to Gere but may have been created for the film. Those who stick with it for awhile may get mesmerized by the slow, detailed story.

The film was apparently not widely publicized, hence the small number of reviews at the moment. A reviewer who glibly gave it one star skewed the overall rating here (come on, people). I highly recommend it for viewers with intellect, though it's about a guy who's lost some of his.

3 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Not much of a "climate change" statement, 29 March 2015
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched this in large part hoping it would emphasize climate change and other human failings, but it did so in only a vague way, and stressed the point that Man is an "explorer" more than a "caretaker."

I found it odd that they put a scientist named Mann on a frozen planet and had him fake data, which seemed like a jab at a famous climatologist pilloried by right-wingers. Are film-makers so cynical and profit-driven that they have to appease every element of society?

I found the plot-line ponderous in many scenes, with temporary confusion about who was on what ship as they scouted out the planets. The guy who aged 23 years while they mucked around in the water wasn't explained very well. Did he go into hibernation? Otherwise, how did he not deplete their food supply?

Other notable flaws were: Driving through a corn field to chase a drone with no fear of damaging the truck, let alone even seeing the drone with corn that high, and using a laptop to boot. Then he lets his daughter land the drone on her first try as if it's just a toy he was chasing. Too many cutesy Hollywood tactics. The blocky metal robots seemed fragile and impractical for getting around a physical environment. I guess the metal was impervious to damage somehow. They also pegged the Earth's population at 6 billion but it's well over 7 now. Unclear when all the action was going down.

The redeeming part of the film was its clever time travel aspect. All in all, I wasn't overly impressed but it kept me entertained. The concept could have been executed a lot better with the same basic storyline.

Factotum (2005)
FactoBUM, 9 January 2015
6/10

This would have been a lot better if the character was more likable and was actually a legit worker, as the unusual title word implies.

I can't respect someone who takes jobs then burns his employers by skipping out or breaking property. I understand periodic laziness and being against "the system," but if you take a job, at least do it well and earn your money! You can quit with a bit of dignity by giving notice. This guy was Johnny Paycheck on autopilot.

I also can't relate to people who sit around drinking and smoking all the time. It seems suicidal to risk one's health and I can't reconcile that with a supposedly inspired writer. The writer aspect was never emphasized enough and we didn't get inside his mind, except for profound-sounding quotes spoken at random with weak context. The book does a better job with mental imagery but I think Bukowski's shtick of being "direct" falls short on depth.

I started to read the book, got burned out on its jadedness, then watched the movie and found it even worse. A number of the raunchier book segments were deleted from the film.

At least this was easier to watch than the exceedingly grimy "Barfly" (1987) with an even more unlikable character.

Gone Girl (2014)
4 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Unlikeable characters but mostly entertaining, 15 December 2014
5/10

I watched this based on some "best movie of 2014!" comments but it wasn't the dark, brooding mystery I'd expected based on some previews. It had an almost campy feel in too many parts and went on at least 30 minutes too long.

I generally don't like plots driven by psycho characters because they're too easy to do, but this was a twist on the usual psycho kidnapper angle and I won't give that away.

The problem was that too much seemed improbable after a point, and it began to drag, but the narrative compelled me to keep watching. Decent movie but hardly great. And I wouldn't call the ending satisfying.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Entertaining but logically flawed, 2 November 2014
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is not a dull movie but when you really examine the plot it makes little sense.

What happened to all the people killed by radiation? They wouldn't just vanish. Evacuating everyone from a huge city like New York seems impractical. Where would they all travel to?

Why would a guy who's got experience with mines and power supplies not even think to try the tap water in an apartment vs. lugging water upstairs? People would automatically at least turn a spigot once.

Why are so many guns tossed away in temporary fits of disgust? In a future like that, people would horde guns for self defense against the dark forces. Or at least hunting, if any animals survived.

Last but not least, why would that same (black) guy, in proximity to an extremely shapely white woman, make race such an issue with almost nobody else around to care? Good grief, man, just go for it!

I found this film too tunnel-visioned to be realistic, given the circumstances of its setting. It forced a narrow, racial concern into a world where it no longer applied. But it's well made enough to be worth watching. The ambiguous ending is also interesting, though its practical implications are risqué.

Prophecy (1979)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Entertaining but mediocre. Ecological message was worthwhile., 27 October 2014
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film could have been much scarier and some segments hinted at its potential. But I didn't find myself bored. I'd say about 30% of the scenes (in isolation) were quite good but got tainted by weaker scenes throughout. The acting was average.

I liked the all-too-common message of corrupt polluters looking the other way, even though the outcome was exaggerated vs. real life. Methyl Mercury can cause deformities but probably not gigantic creatures. The bulbous Katahdin "bear" was possibly meant to be supernatural, though. It's predictable that a number of people disliked this movie because of its ecological tone, and I wish we could ship them to another planet to ruin in isolation.

I was inspired to write this review to point out one of the biggest flaws: If you see a mangled baby something-or-other (bear?) with sharp teeth and claws, you don't stuff it inside your jacket and care for it like a puppy! The woman found this out toward the end when it started gnawing on her neck, but that was oddly downplayed. I didn't understand the urgency of keeping it alive since the corpse would have sufficed, unless they thought the lumbermen might have taken it for a hoax.

Anyhow, this movie is worth watching but could have been more polished and realistic.


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