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Pro Jury

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267 reviews in total 
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Planet Raptor (2007) (TV)
So goofy, it is watchable, 27 June 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This review contain spoilers.

This is one of the most watchable movies currently sneaking around the free channels of Roku TV.

So much fun, where to start?... There is the concept: dinosaurs and castles! Please move along "cowboys vs. aliens" please step to the side "snakes on a plane" etc.

Also, the costume of the lead female character looks like it was designed by Mel Brooks for a spoof movie. I was kinda expecting her chest might have the power to hypnotize the eyes of excited raptors.

On one hand, the language is pretty much family friendly. Easy on the ears. But on the other, the blood-spurting head bite-offs are not family friendly.

PLANET RAPTOR would be better if it was one notch smarter. The characters do not barricade the doorways and use the stone castle, hight & second floor rooms to their advantage.

Last, because the movie borrows from the tech of STAR TREK, it would have added to the fun if the writers played with some aspect of the ST universe.

Poor story, low realism, vivid visuals, 17 June 2015
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This review contains spoilers.

This movie is being played many times per week on GET and, unfortunately, it is too difficult to miss.

In the beginning of the film, the Romans light a line of fire in a location that hinders their ability to repel. After this, we do not see two forces attack and battle, but see only one force at a time appear to attack an unseen enemy.

In the middle of the film, 5 barbarians capture the 100+ strong armed "Amazon" Roman coed army without a fight or struggle. It plays out like a fantasy based upon a lunatic ramblings. If the entire Amazon Army has no interest to engage only 5 armed enemy and 1 unarmed, what is the point of their existence? We also see an uppity Roman women throw off her sandals to show her rebel-minded willingness to have foot-blisters, but within seconds of doing so, she climbs aboard a carry bed and slave men lift her up and take her where she wants to go.

Add all this to seeing women with 1960's modern hair styles and clean shaven soldiers and barbarian men, and viewers are very much on the lookout to find more silliness (and maybe hoping for a laugh track?) rather than watching this as a real movie.

The final product is ultimately a waste of film.

Khalifah (2011)
Middle of the road drama, 21 February 2015
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This contains spoilers.

The word khalifah means leader. This word is not used as a person's name in devout Islamic regions. Here in this movie, Khalifah is the name of a very attractive unmarried 20-year-old girl in Jakarta Indonesia. After World War Two, Indonesia has been a casual Islamic nation under the rule of powerful dictatorships. With the fall of its last dictator, the door was opened to freer elections, as well as a push in some segments of Indonesia towards more fanatical religion.

So here we watch as our beautiful Khalifah takes a journey from the milder Islam of Indonesia, to a more strict devout strain that a small portion of Indonesians follow.

Her story has some poetic elements... we see that Khalifah is a classic model-like beauty, so very easy on the eye, but her move towards stricter Islam makes her start to cover up her nice attractive face.

Beautiful Khalifah works in a beauty parlor, of all places. A beauty parlor is founded on human motivations that are in direct opposite of strict religious modesty.

Khalifah's move away from mild mainstream Indonesian Islam comes about because her mother was sick and died, and her father is in debt, and with not enough family income, she agrees to marry a high income successful business man who will support her entire family. Khalifah is told little more than he is very good with Islamic text.

There is a marriage. The husband is kind to Khalifah. The husband gives some money (not a great amount) to support Khalifah's family. The husband asks her to dress in full coverings to hide all of her beauty, and she does.

Instead of exploring the poetry of this set-up, the movie KHALIFAH explores the social aspects of putting Khalifah out into the world dressed as a bad "terrorist" looking person. Last month she was oogled by all, now this month she is hated by all... but the Khalifah inside has not changed.

There problems with the plot. Khalifah's father, although poor, is a respected mosque leader and is nice to her and seemingly close to her, but Khalifah never goes to him for help about her husband's double life. Khalifah's father was the one responsible for finding the man who he wanted to be her husband, so why not show him each piece of evidence of the double life?

The biggest problem with this film is the lack of phones. Flor more than a decade now, Indonesia is a land filled with poor people who barely have electricity, but still every family member over six-years-old has their own cell phone. But in the movie KHALIFAH, the successful high income business man does not have an assistant with a smart phone, does not have an assistant with a regular cell phone, and does not even have an office at all to take messages.

Worse, the businessman himself does not have a smart phone, he does not have a regular cell phone, and he does not even have a simple house phone to take messages.

The movie KHALIFAH takes place in a strange alternative phone-free universe!

Last at the end, with the same small income, how and why would Khalifah and her father try to operate two separate households? Little income with 2 houses for which to pay rent puts them in a worse place than at the start of the film when they had the same little income and only one house to pay rent on.

As a dry straight drama, KHALIFAH needs a more realistic story.

11 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
Mix of good and bad, 19 February 2014
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What is good: casting, production values, complexity and a fairly good balance or mix of action, drama, comedy and romance.

Compared to the recent Arthur, Merlin and Pillars series, Game of Thrones is extremely well cast. There are no major blunders with actors picked to play lead characters. This is an accomplishment.

I also like that it has the Fire&Ice opening credits lending it a timeless TV vibe.

And most of all about GAME, I really love watching the young Shakira actress who plays the queen/mother of the dragons. Her every body movement is consistently slow. There is a sexy slow motion grace with her hip-popping Shakira "Suerte" outfit sometimes worn, sometimes not worn... 100% slow-dreamy pleasure. Beyond good.

But there are problems (going by TV / leaving books aside). We see no build-up or justification for Ned Stark to ever want to actually be a temporary regent. OK, yes, he might be willing to do it out of kindness, friendship or whatever, but nothing is ever shown to ever tell us that he was so blindingly dumb or blindingly power-hungry or blindingly anything to ever want to risk wasting his time to be a temporary regent, let alone push to do it, let alone risk life or limb to do it... let alone risking his defenseless children to do it.

"Our old dead King wanted me to be Regent for a while, but if you all are fine, I will return to Winterfell and stay busy minding the north for you. Any problems, write."

This would be a win-win. This would be easiest. This would carry the least risk. Ned Stark had no motivation to do what was unpleasant, to do what was hard, to do what was risky, once his King friend was dead and gone.

When in prison helpless and powerless, a childless neuter had to remind Ned that he has children in danger. The respected Ned Stark - forgetting he is a father. Forgetting he has children to protect. Not realistic.

Another problem is the most evil players in GAME are invincible. Year after year, the great bad guys cannot be removed from "the game". Real fighting kills the great good guys, but never the great bad guys. Magic kills the great good guys, but never the great bad guys. Invincible bad guys ultimately make a story gloomy and pointless.

Another problem is neutral parties, when given a choice between joining a brutal dishonest ruthless untrustworthy power-mad king, or joining a king with honor seeking justice rather than power -- the neutral parties will always join the dangerous untrustworthy king. This is reckless and unrealistic.

Another problem is the greatest, most complex, most sweeping deception seen in the entire series was carried out by a loony old man with no right hand seen to conduct small things, let alone great secret things. No team running anything. The old man keeps his sons at a distance. He openly treats them with no respect. His sons show no like for him. His daughters are even more worthless.

This weak old man could see his wife easily killed with no bother, all the while, he is surrounded by his adult children who hate him? The feeble old man is at the mercy of his close kin, so how could he not expect them to punish him for not caring to protect one of them? Not realistic. He dares eat a meal after what he did?

Leaving aside the old man's unhappy nest, what about the army of the good King? Why is the army of the good King loyal enough to win mighty battles, yet not loyal enough to seek any revenge when the feeble old man somehow manages to kill the good King?

GAME has too many 80YO men making babies and having hard interactions with young ladies. This is olden times long before the invention of serious ED drugs?

And although the Shakira queen is a pleasure to look at, year after year she says some really dumb things. "If X, I will die. If X, I will kill you. After I am dead? I think."

I don't care much for the magic and supernaturalism. GAME would be better without it. But even more distracting is the use of modern language. Lots of modern slang language is used in GAME, excused as being the common tongue. But as soon as the modern slang erupts, the illusion to olden times completely disappears. Much effort and costly production values have gone into the illusion of being in ancient times, it seems a shame to ruin it all every 13mins for no good reason. The illusion is more powerful, for example, when the young Stark girl speaks with Jaqur. It is weakest when the dwarf and/or the Hound start speaking slang.

The final weakness is with general realism. GAME is far too modern with its social treatment of butch lesbians and dwarfs. It also lacks realism by having far too much happen at night. Visit a primitive location on earth today where electricity is rare, just as modern birth control is rare, and see how life begins at morning light. With no fridge or freezers, see how fresh food comes from the swarms of chickens walking everywhere all of the time. Rich people have many chickens running around. Poor people have not so many. But clearly, chickens and roosters rule the sounds of morning. Along with a sea of chickens, every young women has an infant, a 1+2+3YO and so on. A simple village is brimming with toddlers and infants. If chickens and babies are not seen everywhere, they are heard everywhere.

Having many small animals & toddlers make a production difficult, but these simple realistic sounds are not heard. GAME looks like an old place, but it doesn't sound like an old primitive place. GAME has many problems.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
This is a drama series, not a comedy -- sort of, 18 November 2013
6/10

This contains spoilers.

This TV series is a basic Japanese TV drama. Basic is a very good word to use to review it. But first...

This TV series is known by a few names: Hakuba no Oujisama, Hakuba no Ohjisama, and The Right Time for Pure Love.

Although it is listed on this web site a comedy mini-series, it is meant to be a drama. However, specially from a Western point of view, every episode of The Right Time for Pure Love provides for lots of unintentional laughs.

All of the main characters _almost_ interact with each other. What? Well, what we see are 40 minute episodes of many actors constantly looking away from each other. Everyone's eyes are focused at empty space about three feet, and a little to the right, in front of themselves as they talk, as they listen, and as they do most everything.

This is a little hard to describe, but the actors are not seen LOOKING AWAY, they are fixed statues right from the start of every conversation. It is like an alternative Star Trek world where shyness has run amok.

The few moments when the actors actually look at something or someone, are captured and repeatedly replayed to viewers as either memories or highlights.

There are some amazing emotional heartwarming Japanese dramas. There are some hip fun romantic Japanese dramas. This one is none of the above.

One other odd thing to note is the lead character is as chronically neurotic as Woody Allen, however she also has the shyness of Mr. Bean. This may be interesting to a clinical psychologist, but it is not that interesting for TV viewers.

The Right Time for Pure Love is harmless, but not great TV viewing.

Vanaja (2006)
0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
An interesting mixture that goes nowhere, 3 November 2013
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This does contain many spoilers.

VANAJA starts our with interesting promise, but it soon turns muddy and ends without telling a believable story.

At first, VANAJA appears to be a nice coming-of-age story similar to SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA but with a more zippy pace mixed into an Indian classical dance movie. However, it turns away from the higher arts, and seems to want to be a matter-of-fact sex movie, then it twice tries to be a revenge movie, then it wants to be a family bonding drama, then it tries to be a movie of personal self-redemption, and then it ends as a friendship movie ignoring all of the many, many swings and motivations we have all just witnessed!

There is too much unbelievable weirdness. Anyone spending years in a northern US college is not going to come home from the airport not wearing shoes. A fully mature red-blooded guy living among our many fully developed curvy and fun point-seven hip ratio college girls is simply not going to notice a 12-year-old unattractive stick figure with a face for radio. India is famous for parents actively pushing potential mates upon their children, so where in the movie are any attractive fully developed young females? There are none.

And about the mailman who also very much wants this 12-year-old looking girl, why would he want her so much after she had a baby? After having someone else's baby? Are there not high school girls to chase or something? What kind of village is this?

Another problem is no none in the movie displays a kind heart except for Lacchi -- whose story is never followed. She is the only attractive personality we ever meet, but this is not her story.

Everyone else in this movie is dark and unattractive and lacks charm. OK, you may say, so this is a gritty dark movie. Well no, because none of the worst players are consistently bad. They do hurtful things with no realistic motivation. They do not even pretend to be kind for an evil purpose. They act randomly as if suffering with split personalities.

Also, there is talk of 600,000 Indian dollars going to the poor father. This plan appears to be a done deal, but we never see any hint of how this 600,000 might have changed his life. We never see the money at all, but we do see the other side of the plan in full detail. The 600,000 just disappears forever with no explanation.

Last, Vanaja does not hold and treat her baby with motherly closeness. Her neck does not grow thick as happens with pregnancy. She is such a stick figure, and the father of her baby is such a strapping male in his prime, the story makes no sense.

Kiri (1986)
"Angel" of the Philippines, 25 July 2013
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The revenge flick is a solid movie staple. KIRI (or better known in the USA as FATAL BEAUTY) borrows elements from Hong Kong action, which borrowed from earlier black exploitation movies in the USA, and adds the classic revenge story plot. Or, to put it all into fewer words, Lampel Cojuangco's FATAL BEAUTY is the Philippine version of Donna Wilkes' ANGEL.

Like DEATH WISH, FATAL BEAUTY contains some extreme grit making it for adult eyes only. The acting is serious. The direction is less distracting than other Philippine movies of the period.

Here, Lampel shoots up the bad guys and cleans up the mean streets after seeing too many loved ones around her lost to the brutal city.

The side-streets of Manila are seen as they exist, except that the night shots in FATAL BEAUTY contain no lurkers, but in real life every nook and cranny of Manila are brimming with awake people at all hours.

Also, the real life air pollution of Manila is minimized in FATEL BEAUTY.

Other than the above, FATAL BEAUTY is a good introduction to Manila grime and is a solid example of shot-on-film 1980's Philippine movie making.

As distributed in the USA, the Tagalog is over-dubbed in English with no subtitles. The screen format is 4:3 with mono sound.

To an American audience, KIRI/FATAL BEAUTY rates a 6.5 score for its true grit and rare glimpse into non-tourist Manila.

I would rather watch rough FATAL BEAUTY than the super slick Hollywood movie MAMMOTH (2009) any night of the week.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Interesting, topical, but lacks bite and accuracy, 25 May 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This review does contain spoilers.

In "America's Book of Secrets" episode "Presidential Cover Ups" May 17, 2013 (Season 2, Episode 7) the producers appear to be uninformed about the subject matter, although the visiting experts do better.

Take, for example, the narrator making the statement that 16 year old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was killed in the same instant as his father. Same airstrike. Same location. Same time.

This report in the "Presidential Cover Ups" episode of the "America's Book of Secrets" series is factually incorrect.

Factually, the father, Anwar Al-Awlaki, was assassinated without due process far from any battlefield on September 30, 2011, in northern Yemen's al-Jawf province.

While the 16 year old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was assassinated without due process far from any battlefield on October 14, 2011, along with a bunch of other teenagers while eating at a restaurant, in southern Yemen's Shabwa province.

Shabwa province and al-Jawf province do not touch each other. Shabwa province and al-Jawf province are so far apart that each cannot be seen from the other.

Abdulrahman Awlaki, had not seen his father, Anwar Al-Awlaki, since May of 2009 -- a time spanning more than 2 years.

How can the "America's Book of Secrets" episode "Presidential Cover Ups" claim that father and son, Anwar Al-Awlaki and Abdulrahman Awlaki, were killed in the same airstrike and same instant and same location when actually they had been assassinated weeks apart in time, by different missiles, under different orders, more than 100 miles apart geographically, with different sets of companions (one was with adults, while the other was surrounded by children), having not even seen each other for years?

A commander-in-chief harming a child for the (unproven) sins of the father violates the Magna Carta, common law, the U.S. Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, the War Crimes Act, and international law. In my opinion, the producers of "America's Book of Secrets" episode "Presidential Cover Ups" are not brave enough to call a sitting president a war criminal.

However, the guest experts interviewed in "America's Book of Secrets" appear to be more informed and make watching this series worthwhile.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Rarely seen masterpiece, 16 April 2013
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*** This review contains many spoilers. ***

The best, most fun, movie experience I had in over 10 years.

IRON WARRIOR wipes away the silly cartoonish AVATAR, THE 300, LORD OF THE RINGS, and new-fangled non-classic STAR WARS, etc, and restores the dream that once was honest-to-goodness real life fantasy.

The only downside with IRON WARRIOR is the realization that this type of movie could _NEVER_ be made in today's fake digital CG world.

IRON WARRIOR is a fantasy movie filled to frame edge with crisp realism. Forget artificial studio reproductions of the great outdoors -- IRON WARRIOR is filmed in the real outdoors of Malta. Forget cartoon girls and cartoon boys -- IRON WARRIOR lets viewers enjoy the real flesh of nice looking actors.

The movie contains many wide-angle views of open skies and blue seas. It is a wonder how these shots are not filled with jet trails and pleasure boats. Still, the picturesque sky and ocean are just the beginning of what IRON WARRIOR has to offer.

IRON WARRIOR is very easy to watch. The good guys are young and beautiful. The bad guys are old and ugly. The lead male hero is a striking figure with a face that must have inspired decades of Japanese anime artists.

The young females are all running around in a time before bras. The female costumes outdo any I can recall. Even better than the ST: TOS female costumes.

Once the viewer comes to understand the implications presented by the female costumes, apt attention and an erect edge-of-seat position will follow right up until the ending credits.

The costumes help make IRON WARRIOR stacked with great adult visual appeal. Visually stunning to be sure.

IRON WARRIOR has Borg. It has swords. It has D-sized excitement.

Just when you might think it could not be any better, there is slow-motion bouncing and slow-motion hero running.

Then again, just when it could not be any better, IRON WARRIOR has swimming.

And then close to the very end of the film, just when surely it could not get any better, the actors start talking and BAM! -- we viewers discover that IRON WARRIOR actually has a plot! IRON WARRIOR is the coolest most fun movie to watch -- specially when compared to the fake cartoons of today's childish "epics." Make sure to catch the Director's Cut Extended Version of IRON WARRIOR. Highly recommended.

1 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Serious Hollywood film versus real life Bradley Manning Video, 2 March 2013
7/10

This contains spoilers.

A centerpiece of 5 DAYS OF WAR is that authentic video footage of a clear and brutal war crime is powerful evidence able to make change -- in and of itself.

In 5 DAYS OF WAR, the conflict involves some Georgians and the Russians with roots in old Soviet politics. Whatever blatant and harsh oppression is at the center of the complaint, it is distant to American film audiences. Other people living in far away lands may, or may not, have a tradition to respect the rules of war.

This is all to say that 5 DAYS OF WAR is deeply flawed because it is not grounded in reality. In real life, American film audiences are more closely familiar with American traditions. George Washington commanding a very humanitarian "rules of war" code placing virtue with the Americans, in sharp contrast with the poor ethics of the British military. The good guys (we Americans) act good. We act good. We are good. It gave Americans deep pride to be American.

The flaw in 5 DAYS OF WAR is most obvious today as we all know of the Bradley Manning "brutal bloodlust video" released to the media and general public showing U.S. military gleeful war crimes on civilian targets. Authentic video footage that changed... nothing. It changed nothing because in the real world of today, the side that tortures and murders with robot drones is good, and the side that uses bare hands to farm green beans and onions is bad. Today, in the real world, we all share the ideas our leaders tell us.

Life is easier now the happily cowed media and we regular people because none us ever need to think for ourselves; we have a leader who will do all of the thinking for us. This is real life. 5 DAYS OF WAR has too much fantasy.


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