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12 reviews in total 
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The Institute (2013/I)
19 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Divine Nonchalance, 10 May 2013

An seemingly normal office building in San Francisco held a secret; a strange office for something called The Jejune Institute.

At first glance, The Jejune Institute appears to be a cult. But some of their claims seemed outlandish even by cult standards -- a machine that records your memories to a VHS tape? A method for talking to dolphins? Huh? Those looking for a strange adventure would visit The Jejune Institute, only to be presented with a trippy presentation, a scavenger hunt, etc.

Let me assure you that this film does document many real events. Yes, people really did visit a payphone and dance. Yes, there really was a protest at Union Square. Yes, the Jejune Institute was a real place in a real office building.

I can tell you all of this for certain because I participated in The Jejune Institute and the so-called "Games of Nonchalance" that are documented in this film. I suppose I can't review a film fairly as someone who is documented in it, even if only in the background. But the film is not the game.

Ultimately, with The Institute there's a moment during the film where you star to question whether what you're seeing is real, is part of the game, or is fictionalized for the purpose of the film. I'm sure that moment will be different for everyone.

Even as someone who played Games of Nonchalance in its entirety, I'm not sure I can decipher fact from fiction with 100% accuracy. Watching The Institute for the first time felt a lot like watching Exit Through The Gift Shop, where it's unclear how much of what the camera is feeding you is true and how much the director is winking and smiling.

There's no question in my mind that this was the right decision for telling the story of the Games of Nonchalance. An alternate reality game messes with your head; for a film to capture such a game, it must do the same.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Uneven story with, 8 February 2009

Like many indie films, Harrison Montgomery is comprised of hit-and-miss elements. The lighting is horrible in a lot of scenes, and the (few) special effects are distractingly poor.

The real problem with Harrison Montgomery is the story. The setup is slow and moves in jumps and starts. Right when the conflict starts, the film goes off on a series of tangents that are neither interesting nor particularly relevant to the plot. You could easily leave the theater for 30 minutes and come back without missing anything. The ending is a bit confused, though I found it fun (don't worry, I won't spoil it here.) As for good points, the casting was excellent. You rarely see performances this solid in any film, let alone an independent film. I was especially impressed by Octavio Gómez and Ron Roggé.

So in summary, Harrison Montgomery is a deeply flawed film with a lot of heart and not much else.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Heh-heh... FIRE! FIRE!, 25 January 2007

Animators Don Hertzfeldt and Mike Judge have put together a collection of animated shorts that easily rivals the quality of Spike and Mike.

This is their third Animation Show, and as usual Don Hertzfeldt's own contribution was among the biggest crowd pleasers. But don't expect anything as silly as his infamous "Rejected" this time around; his new film "Everything Will Be OK" is perhaps his darkest yet.

My personal favorites were "Rabbit" and "Overtime," though "Game Over" got the most applause in the theater. Speaking of which -- stop reading and go buy tickets! You have to see this in a theater for the full experience. There's nothing quite like watching these films in a room with a huge group of weirdo fanatics like yourself.

7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A dry wit and a silly story, 2 June 2004

Sam & Max is one of my favorite adventure games. Even though it's now quite old, and I was a young teen when I first played it, I still find the dry, sarcastic humor funny. It's perfectly in synch with my own sense of humor.

There are a few slow parts to Sam & Max, and parts of the game where the puzzles may be too aggravating to work out without resorting to a walkthrough. Don't think of it as cheating -- the real charm to this game is in its humor and silly storyline. For that reason I also recommend reading the comics the game was based on. I can't say I particularly enjoyed the short-lived TV show on FOX, but any diehard fan will watch it no matter what I say.

Although this game won't run on newer computers as-is, it's possible to play this game on Windows, Linux, Mac, PocketPC and even Dreamcast with an application called ScummVM. I highly recommend playing this game if you get the chance.

Edward II (1991)
11 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
Not worth watching, 22 April 2004

I should start off by mentioning that Edward II is a very strange movie. All the sets look the same, most of the actors aren't young and glamorous, and everyone speaks Elizabethan English even though it takes place in 1991.

There were times that I felt I just wasn't "getting" it. But after a while I realized I was getting it -- it's just that I wasn't offered very much to begin with.

This movie is so completely visually dull with its dirt floors and bare concrete walls (did I mention this takes place in 1991?) that I felt my eyes getting heavy. Would I have missed much if I had closed them? Well, a couple of softcore man-on-man sex scenes (did I mention that the actors aren't young and glamorous?) but other than that, looking at the inside of my eyelids wouldn't have been much less interesting.

Edward II's script is also quite lacking. I don't know if this is the case with the play (the only Marlowe play I've ever actually read is Dr. Faust) but in any case, I see no sense in making a movie from the script. I can't imagine someone reading the script and saying, "this looks good." The characters are all so coldly obsessed with whining about their own petty problems that there's no way someone could really care about them. Even their bratty children have their own agendas. Anytime someone was killed, I wasn't sure whether to be glad a character I hated was gone, or to be unhappy that another character I also hated had succeeded.

My only praise for this movie is the acting. Given what these actors had to work with, I think they made a good attempt. Unfortunately, this was not enough to make this particular movie worth watching.

6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Surprisingly good, 8 October 2003

A TV game show, for kids, based on an educational video game... and it's on PBS. It sounds like it could be used for torture. But actually, it was surprisingly good, even compared to other kids game shows at the time. You have to remember that Double Dare, Fun House, etc. were all the rage when they put this show on the air. Unlike those two, however, this one actually managed to be somewhat educational, and being on PBS it wasn't plagued by commercials.

I would personally have to say this show was one of the better older kid's programs on PBS at the time, right up there with Square One TV and Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Underworld (2003)
12 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
Bela Lugosi's Dead, 29 September 2003

Now don't get me wrong -- an epic battle between vampires and werewolves has a lot of potential for a cool movie. After all, werewolves are big, hairy monsters with claws, and vampires are effeminate pale-skinned people who wear stylish clothes and have a thirst for blood.

Unfortunately, when the vampires can't fly and cast visible reflections, and the werewolves' only superhuman ability involves running at highway speeds, one has to wonder -- what kind of vampires and werewolves ARE these?

But the movie quickly answers this question by reducing all the significance of the two creatures to molecular biology. Oh, you thought vampires were really the undead? Pfft.

At least the audience can empathise with the pain and suffering of the war-wounded by means of the painfully wooden acting, and the suffering caused by exposure to yet another Romeo and Juliet "forbidden love" story ripoff.

Bela Lugosi's dead... and so are cool monster movies.

Two worlds collide, 26 January 2003

This movie manages to make fun of both inane Hollywood cinema and insane independent cinema at the same time. The movie itself is quite obviously intended to be "awful" in the sense that every character is based on a stereotype with no character development whatsoever. If you like tacky, crazy movies, you should give this one a chance. Otherwise, it's probably not for you.

I feel that this movie could have been a bit faster paced at times, but overall managed to capture the spirit of some of the wacky elements of filmmaking and rebellion.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Movie that looks like a play, 30 September 1999

Though it bothers some people, I think the best part of this movie is how it occasionally looks like a stage play. Whenever two people are talking on the phone, for example, they are rather obviously standing right next to each other with a wall in between them. Also, the colors have a slightly washed out look that makes the movie look much older than it really is.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Math through sketch comedy, 4 August 1999

Cross "Sesame Street," math, and "Saturday Night Live" and what do you get? A weird show for pre-teens that teachers math concepts through sketch comedy and parodies. I remember everything from PacMan to Max Headroom being on this show. And who could forget the Mathnet series at the end of each show?

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