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bronty

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
For surfing fanatics only, 12 July 2013
5/10

I have to admit up front that I just don't 'get' surfing. I never have and never will. Then again, I don't 'get' most thrill-seeking sports (or sports in general). Despite this, however, I went into "Storm Surfers 3D" with great enthusiasm, if only because I expected some spectacular cinematography, and in that respect I was not disappointed. What WAS disappointing, though, is that despite some often-stunning cinematography, the film overall is, dare I say it, dull. I neither liked it or hated it but its effect was not unlike a lesser IMAX feature: pleasant enough but not particularly engaging and immediately dismissed from one's mind. Perhaps because I'm not a fan of surfing, I didn't necessarily feel drawn into the drama and excitement one is supposed to feel during the scenes of waves being ridden. However, what WAS exciting, even exhilarating, are those moments when the camera perfectly captures the balletic rise and fall of waves, or inside a curl. These are visually stunning, neither because of nor despite the surfing aspect. The film focuses on two internationally-renowned Australian surfers, Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones; of the two, Tom Carroll is the most interesting, not least of all because he remains an incredibly attractive human being. You can easily relate to him and his outlook on life, and his demeanor is that of an everyday guy. Clarke- Jones, on the other hand, is not entirely likable, at least to me; he alludes early on to being 'a kid', though he's easily in his 50's by now, and maintains the belief that he's akin to a 'rock star'. Quickly tiresome is his endless reliance on calling his partner Tom 'a girl' for being concerned with such mundane matters as overall health and how his actions might directly affect his wife and three daughters, particularly as someone who is no longer a young boy. Clarke-Jones comes across as one of those guys who is endlessly amused by himself, with nary an ounce of depth or life beyond the waves. For those who are interested in seeing this, however, by all means if you are an surfing enthusiast, you are likely to enjoy it; be warned that though it's entirely suitable for children, if the two little kids (5-7 years old) I saw at my screening are any indication, they were bored and restless early on. Older kids (10+) might find it enthralling. If, however, you can take surfing or leave it, it's best to leave it: this movie won't change your mind.

"The Lair" (2007)
12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Ho-hum...watch "True Blood" instead, 24 October 2009
2/10

What IS it about low-budget gay entertainment??? It may be true that real talent doesn't always come cheap but surely - SURELY - there must be SOME actors out there, willing to "play gay" (whether they ARE gay or not), who have actual honest-to-goodness talent. Unfortunately, none of those actors are involved with "The Lair", a vampires-are-among-us series created for a gay audience. Utilizing the same nudity and sexually-charged situations that made "Queer As Folk" such a big hit, "The Lair" may initially draw in viewers simply because of that; what KEPT "QAF" popular, though, was its storytelling AND the fact that the performances were solid, creating characters you could actually care about or want to continue seeing. Not so with "The Lair", which truly values style over substance: most of the men presented here were chosen strictly for their looks. The summary of the show is that a newspaper reporter is investigating a series of strange deaths of unidentified men dumped in various spots; his investigation leads him to a gay sex club called (of course) The Lair, which is really owned and operated by vampires. (This is in no way a spoiler as this is clearly spelled out in the first few minutes of the first episode.) Naturally, this means the viewer is offered lots of men in soft-core situations. For those who aren't too demanding, the show may provide some entertainment. But I personally find this show's soft-core aspect dull and lifeless; everyone is young, trim, muscular, blah blah blah. It's all just so cookie-cutter! Don't get me wrong: I like looking at men as much as the next person but...I happen to like variety. All shapes, colors, and sizes. Apparently, though, only young white men of a particular style inhabit the world of vampires and "The Lair". I give it a rating of two only for the flesh shown, though even that hardly salvages it. That the show is directed by Fred Olen Ray doesn't help; he's directed countless exploitation flicks, made cheaply and poorly, for a seriously undemanding audience. Until now, his canon seems to have been created primarily for straight men (lots of T-and-A). This ranks (and I do mean "rank") right down there with them all! The show is boring, lifeless, rather UNsexy. The acting runs the gamut from wooden to melodramatic; the writing is simple-minded and seems to be there only to get from one sex scene to the next. It also seems to have been created under the guise that gay people are so starved for gay-themed entertainment that they'll watch anything put before them. Watch this show if you must but I say if you're going to watch guys going out it, why not just get some real porn and have at it?

5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Sadly, never given much of a chance, 4 May 2007
7/10

While this was hardly ever going to be a classic sitcom, it had potential to be a GOOD one; unfortunately, CBS - in its infinite wisdom - ignored that potential and canceled it after little more than a month. Critics were brutal in their reviews, and ratings weren't exactly strong, to say the least. That said, it WAS a decent show, helped immeasurably by the chemistry of its leads, Faye Dunaway and Robert Urich. Poor Dunaway: she, above all else, received the brunt of the show's vicious criticisms, and while it's true she was a bit unsure of herself as a comedienne - this WAS her first attempt at comedy in quite some time - I think she did well, considering. Certainly, a number of other sitcom stars were hardly "comedy gold" when THEIR shows began: Candace Bergen, Roseanne Barr, Brett Butler, just to name a few. Bergen, in particular, was downright STIFF when her show began but found her own pace, her own rhythm, and I do truly believe that if CBS had given Dunaway - and this show - half a chance, she, too, would have proved herself to be just as funny.

Date Movie (2006)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Why, Alyson, why?, 8 February 2007
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'd heard all the bad press when it came out. But tonight, while surfing the TV, HBO played it and, well, I decided to see for myself just how bad it really was. Why not, right? There was a chance I could like it. "Kung Pow: Enter the Fist" seemed to bring out the worst in everyone, but I thought it was a hoot. Lightning could strike twice...Right? You can't blame a boy for hoping. Sadly, everything you've heard is true: this isn't just BAD - they haven't even come up with words to describe just HOW BAD this movie is! I love parody movies, even if they HAVE been done to death. Some of the "Scary Movie" series was laugh-out-loud hilarious. Mel Brooks, of course, had it down to a science (though, thankfully, he stopped after that lead brick, "Dracula: Dead and Loving It"). The makers of this film have apparently watched every parody ever made...and promptly forgot everything that made the great ones great, while simultaneously remembering everything the lousy ones did wrong. The ONLY thing "right" they did was in hiring Alyson Hannigan as their star; like Anna Faris in "Scary Movie", she has a winsome style, a real charm, not unlike a young Goldie Hawn, complete with spot-on knack for physical comedy. With a proper director and good, tight script, I'd bet money she'd be a bigger star today. She has that potential. Wait. I lied. They did one other thing very right: also hiring Jennifer Coolidge, here channeling Barbra Streisand as the 'Roz' character from "Meet the Fockers", and she is, as usual, a real scene-stealer. In fact, while they have nothing in common physically, she, Alyson Hannigan, and Anna Faris (who is NOT in this movie) DO share that same quality Lucille Ball had: that willingness to make a fool of herself on camera for the sake of a good laugh. Alas, I'd like to say that despite this quality, poor Alyson is given nothing - oh, and I do mean NOTHING - to work with here; I can't remember a single laugh, though she tries manfully to make it work, despite itself. Beyond her, and Coolidge, the rest of the cast is pitiful. Yes, even the ubiquitous Fred Willard is substandard, and THAT is saying something about the state of this movie! Adam Campbell, as Alyson's love interest, displays near-zero comedy abilities, a trait shared by one Sophie Monk (as the supposedly-hot love rival of Hannigan). Worse still is the appearance of a man who can bring ANY film down with one fell swoop: Eddie Griffin. HOW does this man maintain a career as a "comedian"? Like Jerry Lewis at his very late-60's worst, he's truly convinced of his own "greatness". Uh...yeah. Right. He's as laugh-free here, as ever. The film makers further scrape the bottom of that barrel by tossing in, at the last moment, Carmen Electra, who, just like Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy before her, seem to believe they're funny just because they're buxom, and ready and able to disrobe in half a heartbeat. But I digress from what TRULY makes this movie one of THE very worst ever made - and I don't make that assessment lightly: as a lover of bad-bad movies, I've seen hundreds, maybe even thousands - the (ahem) "jokes". I will do my best to offer up a partial list of the films parodied within its 80-or-so minutes: "Bridget Jones' Diary", "Napoleon Dynamite", "Hitch", "Kill Bill", "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", "Meet the Parents/Fockers", "Dodgeball", "When Harry Met Sally", "Mr & Mrs Smith", "Say Anything", the latest "King Kong", "Lord of the Rings", "Legally Blonde", "Sweet Home Alabama". Yes, there are more, and no, I'm sure I didn't get all the references. But think about it: how many of those movies listed is SO iconic that it is RIPE for making fun of? Yes, a few MAY be big enough but...well, so bereft are the writers, director, and producers that they even stoop to copying off the very scene from "When Harry Met Sally" that you'd expect them to. And it goes on. And On. And ON. AND ON. Adding insult to injury, some of those films are just TOO OLD to be referenced successfully! I swear, it's like they went through a movie-review book, opened a page, stuck a pin in, and mocked whatever flick they landed on! One user here said it's as if they copied scenes whole, note for note, and, unfortunately, that's right on the button. But simply replaying scenes, note for note, but with a funny face, or tossing it in without any reason, or throwing in potty humor, doesn't make it funny. These guys wouldn't know "funny" if it bit them. Seems they also made the current, "Epic Movie", the previews of which look like a walking, talking DISASTER. If Uwe Boll can be ripped a new one for HIS craptastic masterpieces, these doofuses SURELY must be next! To be avoided at ALL costs.

Hideaway (1995)
2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
God-awful, 3 January 2007
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

***Spoilers may be contained within*** According to this movie's "trivia" section, the book's author, Dean R Koontz, was sorely disappointed in the movie adaptation and asked that his name be removed. He had every right to be peeved. I saw this in theatres when it was released and was soundly disappointed, too. The previews seemed kind of interesting but I have to admit I'm a Christine Lahti fan, even though her role in this is strictly "the wife". The story is that of a man, played by Jeff Goldblum, who, following a near-death experience, finds he is psychically linked with a serial killer, played by Jeremy Sisto, who decides to go after Goldblum's daughter (Alicia Silverstone). A cat-and-mouse thriller with sci-fi overtones. I've never read the Koontz book on which this is based. Goodness knows it can't be any worse. As lead, Goldblum is OK, I guess, though he's given this basic performance before. Lahti, unfortunately, is wasted in a part that could be played by just about ANY actress; it's a step up from "and how was YOUR day, dear?" but not much. Silverstone, charming in "Clueless", here is little more than an irritant, nearly making one rather root for the killer, but she can often be irritating in films, so I can't say if it's the fault of the part as written or the actress. As said villain, Jeremy Sisto has obviously watched every other psycho-on-the-loose movie and decided to "juice it up" a bit: he rolls his eyes, leers, laughs "maniacally", tries to seem intimidating by staring through lowered eyes. Every trick in the book is trotted out in his performance and for naught: he's about as terrifying as a computer geek. Sisto can, in other performances, be hammy, and he's no less so here: one nearly expects to see him studded with cloves and pineapple slices. Oh, it's not TOTALLY his fault, since the pedestrian script practically BEGS for overacting; I suppose if he DIDN'T chew the scenery, it might actually be less entertaining than it already IS. Beyond its psychic-link tricks, the film, in its less-than-chilling climax, throws in, seemingly out of nowhere, the twist that this is almost literally a battle between (of course) good and evil. This is revealed with a scene when Goldblum and Sisto are finally staring one another down, and a shot of red flames are visible in Sisto's eye; suddenly, in response, we see a flash of white-blue light in Goldblum's eye. A moment later, flames shoot and rise from Sisto's body, forming a fireball above him; blue-white rays of light pour forth from a kneeling Goldblum, forming a vaguely female form above him. The combination of film-school "special" effects (if they look cheesy on the SMALL screen, you can't IMAGINE how bad they were in the theatre!), this last-minute twist, and the inability to stretch one's suspension of disbelief any longer, is fatal. I heard several voices in the audience yell out, in unison, "Oh, COME ON!" From some of the reviews listed here, this movie has a fair number of supporters. I can only wonder just what version of this movie they saw.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A million other films in one - all of them redone badly. VERY badly., 1 November 2006
1/10

I like horror films. Always have. But, sadly, the genre seems to have taken a powder over the past 10 years or so, particularly the last 5, I'd say, and this "film" is a perfect example: by now, one expects lackluster direction, lousy acting, and derivative storytelling but this one hits an all-time low, for it's a million other movies you've already seen, thrown into a blender, and left to stew in the sun to spoil even further. Worse still, for those fans of the "Halloween" installments, except for the opening sequence featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, this film bears little real relation to any other film in the series. The recycled ideas provided here as "entertainment" are nearly endless: teens being stalked by a killer? Too many other movies to count but let's start with "Scream" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer", to name a couple. Teens staying in a haunted house over night? Saw that in "House On Haunted Hill", "The Haunting", "Night of the Demons", you name it. Stupid people doing stupid things that cause their own deaths, or aid in it? Or horny teens getting whacked for doing what comes naturally? How 'bout "Friday the 13th"? Helpless, screaming, white heroine who can't do anything without a man around to save her? In this girl-power age, we don't see that much anymore but just about every older flick has it. A group investigating weird happenings while capturing it all on video? "Blair Witch Project" all over again. And, just like "Blair Witch", this is an unmitigated disaster all around. There isn't a single scare or moment of tension throughout, "helped" neither by a director who'd be hard-pressed to successfully direct a grammar-school play, let alone a big-budget film, nor a cast of unknowns who greatly deserve to stay that way. They're awful. Not one of them has any screen presence, or creates a character worth caring about (though of course there aren't any characters written, just stock figures from any other horror film). The only "names" of note - besides Curtis, who has little more than a Drew-Barrymore-in-"Scream" cameo - are model/"actress"/talk show hostess Tyra Banks and rap "artist"/"actor" Busta Rhymes, and when Banks and Rhymes are your biggest names, boy, are you in trouble! Imagine the producers talking this one over: "Okay...the last installment had Michaael Myers killed in a very satisfying wrap-up of the series. How can we bring him back AND upset everyone who loved the films? Maybe we can kill off Jamie Lee Curtis! Yeah! But who to replace her with...? Hmmm... I know! Busta Rhymes! When I think of horror-movie legends, I think of Jamie Lee Curtis and Busta Rhymes. And maybe we can get one of those Victoria Secrets models? Any one of 'em will do. Let's get one who THINKS she can act but really CAN'T so we can kill HER off, too!" Banks IS a bad actress (not Cindy-Crawford-in-"Fair Game" bad but close) and disappears, thankfully, about halfway through. Unfortunately, that means we're stuck with Mr Rhymes, whose idea of acting is screwing up his mouth and face in attempt to come off as 'street', with some out-of-nowhere Jackie Chan moves thrown in for the "big" finale. (Yes, you read right: Busta - taking himself seriously - breaks into pseudo-ninja action, complete with the vocal sounds you'd expect. He's so impressed with himself, and it's all so ridiculous, that you've just gotta laugh out loud.) Oh, and did I mention that for a physically huge and powerful, unstoppable killing machine, Michael Myers has the lithe grace and body control of a dancer because AT NO POINT IN TIME does his hulking presence on the steps or floorboards of a decades-old house create ANY noise whatsoever? I wasn't sure if I should be scared for the characters or impressed with the carpentry. Goodness knows the carpentry would be the ONLY THING to be impressed with. Everything else in this flop is pure cash-cow desperation.

13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
A shame, 3 September 2006
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Poor Sean Young. Once upon a time she was an actress with such a bright future, poised, seemingly, for great stardom. She even had a quality that recalled some of the glamour and allure of the 40's and 50's. Put to good use in such films as "Blade Runner" and "No Way Out", there seemed nearly no end in sight. And then her "difficult" personality got in the way and Oliver Stone fired her from "Wall Street", in which she was to have a major part; then her alleged relationship with former co-star James Woods, and subsequent "Fatal Attraction"-style antics against him, in addition to her amusingly disturbing all-out efforts to snag the role of 'Catwoman' in the first sequel to "Batman", seemed to have a snowball effect, effectively curtailing her trajectory and reducing her to such projects as "Dr Jekyll and Ms Hyde" and numerous direct-to-cable/video duds. While "A Kiss Before Dying" has a much better pedigree than "Dr Jekyll and Ms Hyde" ever could, thanks in part to being based on a solid, little Ira Levin book and blessed with at least two respected actors (Diane Ladd and Max Von Sydow), it, too, is a near-total failure, and Sean Young is, sadly, a major factor as to 'why'. With a strong director and viable material, she has proved to be a good actor and oddly charismatic, even when the film didn't warrant it (see "Blade Runner"). She was never a GREAT actress, mind you, but had an unmistakable appeal. Here, however, even that appeal seems gone, for nothing can disguise her sleepwalking performance in a dual role as twins, one of whom is murdered (her death scene is brutal), the other of whom decides to investigate the death, never believing it was the suicide it was assumed to be. Soon after her investigation begins, she meets the man who, unbeknownst to her, murdered her sister. This man is played by Matt Dillon, who is supposed to be charming, seductive, secretive, elusive, and ruthless. While one can easily imagine an actor as physically pretty as Robert Wagner - he wasn't just 'handsome', he was 'pretty', let's face it - Matt Dillon is simply wrong, in every manner, for this part. Totally miscast, he is neither particularly charming nor seductive, and seemingly unable to register the ruthlessness and danger the part calls for. His thick, New York accent is also a distraction, at least in this role. That he and Young have absolutely no chemistry doesn't help matters any, making yet another major quibble a minor one: both seem a bit too old. In supporting roles, as Dillon's mother and Young's father, Diane Ladd and Max Von Sydow provide much-needed class to the potboiler/neo-noir proceedings, though Ladd comes off more successfully; Von Sydow is utterly wasted. ANY actor could have done his role - why choose someone SO spectacularly talented for such a thankless part? As for the screenplay, though based on the book, it seems to be stuffed with every cliché from every modern-day thriller, right down to the routine and predictable climax (apparently reshot after test audiences didn't approve) and the pointless, if limited, sex scenes, which might titillate some (thanks to mild nudity) but do nothing to further the plot or add to the tension. The direction, too, is at fault: since everything here is something you've seen before (and in much better films), and nearly each moment is telegraphed well in advance, there are practically zero chills or thrills to be had. Strong actors may have been able to smooth over these problems, but again, the film is done no service by its leads, particularly Young, who is plain AWFUL. It surely stands with Demi Moore in "The Scarlet Letter" and Elizabeth Berkley in "Showgirls" as being one of THE worst performances in a major motion picture - and, perhaps, even WORSE because Young is playing TWO parts. She rightfully won her 2 Razzies (for Worst Actress and Supporting Actress). But, as said, Dillon's not too much better. A little bit but not much. HIS line readings, at least, don't suggest a coma. Unfortunately, for the audience, a coma might just be preferable to sitting through this lot.

Gloria (1999)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Unworthy remake; worth a laugh (or two or three or...), 2 July 2006
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The original "Gloria", a 1980 John Cassavettes film starring his wife Gena Rowlands, was an instant classic; be it his direction, the acting (particularly that of Rowlands, who so deserved her Oscar nomination for her performance as the titular character), the gritty look of the film, the authentic New York City locations in all their pre-Guiliani glory, or the screenplay, the film worked on just about every level. This remake, however, stands in pale (VERY pale) contrast in virtually any aspect one can think of. When the film opens, Gloria (Sharon Stone), a gangster's moll, is released from prison and returns to the home/hangout of her lover, Kevin (Jeremy Northam). By the time she arrives, she meets a young Latin boy, Nicky (Jean-Luke Figueroa), whose family Gloria's lover has had killed. Seems the young boy's father worked for this gangster and not only "knew too much" but was about to tell all. Having believed her lover's story that there would be money set aside for her while she cooled her heels in prison, Gloria soon finds out there is nothing, so, enraged and knowing the boy's worth, she kidnaps him at gun point and off they go, on the run from the mob. Poor Sharon Stone: trying SO HARD to match Gena Rowlands but constantly tripped up by a "Noo Yawk" accent that's often downright funny. Still, it's so apparent she's trying so hard that, throughout, you can't help but feel for her, a feat helped by the fact that she is obviously the only cast member who tries to create a character, though as written it's still the "hooker with a heart of gold" type, which is NOT the case with the 1980 film. In the original, Gloria is indeed a former gun moll, kind of ballsy but classy, never really hard-edged; here, as written, she's little more than a cheap, hard floozy. Jeremy Northam, a talented British actor, is slumming here, complete with laughable accent that rivals Sharon Stone's. As the boy Stone goes on the run with, and with whom she is supposed to bond with, Jean-Luke Figueroa isn't necessarily untalented, and in a better-made movie he might even be good; however, be it the dialogue or direction, he makes very little impact, a fact not helped by the lack of ANY chemistry between he and Stone. Bonnie Bedelia (as Stone's sister) and George C Scott (looking very ill, as a Mafioso head) are featured in small supporting roles but are essentially wasted. Sharp-eyed movie lovers will also notice the ubiquitous Mike Starr as a 'heavy' (he's the one who hangs on to the car Stone is driving); like character actor Dan Hedaya, Starr seemed to inhabit just about every film Hollywood made in the 90's, though here, Starr's part is strictly dramatic and not his usual comedic one. Behind it all is Sidney Lumet, a once-talented director who has helmed a few masterpieces in his time; however, whatever muses guided him towards those masterpieces has, in the last decade or two, abandoned him, for here he is again, delivering yet another celluloid stillborn. Not since 1982's "The Verdict", with Paul Newman, has he given the world a solid success. He isn't helped any by a screenplay that manages to ape the original while making absurd "updates" and taking liberties that cleanly toss out such things as believability and common sense. For instance, at the end, Gloria meets with the Mafioso head and asks that she be absolved of any wrongdoing AND to have the kid. He agrees. And off they go, into the wild blue yonder. In the original, Gloria has to shoot her way out to keep this young boy alive. One doesn't have to be particularly wise to mob life to understand that a Mafia capo isn't exactly going to let someone with that much knowledge just walk away. I absolutely adore the original film; I think it's exciting, moving, thrilling storytelling. If you feel the same way, avoid this picture at all costs. I happen to like Sharon Stone; I think in some ways she IS underrated as an actress, though one wishes she'd choose pictures that didn't suck. If you like her, you may enjoy her performance, if not the film. She tries, perhaps too hard. But like so many remakes, this one's a bust in every respect. Stick with John Cassevettes' original and understand why they shouldn't have even bothered with this new one.

15 out of 31 people found the following review useful:
Nothing new here...just more vulgar, 21 June 2006
2/10

Another user of this site has taken my original review to task for my presumption that, because it's on HBO, it should be as groundbreaking as, say, "The Sopranos" or "Sex in the City". He suggested that this show was never meant to be in that class. Pardon me but last time I checked the channel's motto was STILL "It's not TV. It's HBO." "Lucky Louie" is the first HBO show to use a live audience. That this show is on THE premium cable channel, home to such breakthrough programming as "The Sopranos" and "Sex in the City", should have meant it, too, was a breakthrough. Alas, the whole affair is little more than "The King of Queens" with fouler language and more ribald situations. One could also add it's pretty much similar to any sitcom out there now that features the out-of-shape, blue-collar guy with the attractive, slimmer, usually-loud-mouthed wife: he's irresponsible and insensitive, while she is loud, obnoxious, and demanding. Creator/star Louis CK, presumably a well-known comedian (usually the creators of this type of show) seems content to mine the same comedy ore Kevin James has for a number of years now with "The King of Queens". In fact, the wholesale aping of "King..." goes as far not only as stealing the goofy, man-child friend but the wife, here portrayed by one Pamela Adlon, who seems to have studied every movement and line reading of Kevin James's screen partner Leah Remini. While on the one hand it might be initially 'refreshing' or more 'realistic' to have a blue-collar couple use language in situations you'll never, ever find on network sitcoms, all the vulgar language in the world can't make funny - or original! - scenes totally lacking in direction or with actors who already think they're hilarious. Not a single performer on this show is as funny as he or she believes themselves to be, and right there the comedy is squashed. Worse still is this live studio audience, whose reactions are as instantly annoying as those on many an earlier, usually urban-set, sitcom: every kiss, every leer, and every hint of sexuality, garners waves of hootin' and hollerin', as if they were all a bunch of horny teens seeing something "naughty" for the very first time. There may be the occasional giggle that sneaks through, and I suppose HBO must be given credit for trying something new and different (now that "Carnivale", "Deadwood", and that Lisa Kudrow show have all tanked); it's a shame that the show they're trying it with doesn't live up to their standards - or that of its audience.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
GREAT info but a so-so show, 3 June 2006
6/10

The Animal Planet's "Backyard Habitat" is a welcome wealth of invaluable information regarding the animals, insects, and plants used to attract them. A make-over show, its hosts visit a family and amend their backyard so that it can officially be regarded as a (what else?) Backyard Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. Hosted by Molly Pesce, who is listed as "a TV personality", and David Mizejewski, a member of the NWF, each episode concerns the couple's, or family's, desire to attract a certain type of insect and/or animals to their yard or garden. This is where the hosts come in, offering their ideas, tips, warnings, etc., on just how to do this. The information provided on the flora and fauna is absolutely fascinating and will provide much opportunity for viewers to jump-start their own attempts at creating a welcoming garden atmosphere. HOWEVER...amongst this fascinating information one must endure its female host, Molly Pesce, whose raspy voice, rapid-fire speech, pushy demeanor, and grating forced laughs, will have some viewers (like us) ready to hit the fast-forward button on the TiVo! She completely overpowers her baby-faced co-host, David Mizejewski, who is much more laidback and a bit soft-spoken; however, just like Molly, he speaks far too quickly. It's almost as if they have a fire to get to sometimes! This is probably as much to do with where they come from as it does with trying to jam-pack as much information as possible within its half-hour time frame. (And, while I can make no certain declarations as to his sexuality, as gay men it's refreshing to see "our own" seemingly represented on-screen, though at no time is there anything overt about him; it's one of those "if it looks like a duck..." things.) It's hard to tell, really, if there's chemistry between he and Pesce, for EVERY SINGLE MOMENT is scripted to death! Unlike, say, BBC's "Ground Force", there isn't a trace of spontaneity, right down to the reactions and questions from those whom our hosts visit (this is especially where Molly's forced laughs come roaring in, and they stick out like that proverbial sore thumb). Also, to be quite frank, Pesce comes off not just pushy but often downright LAZY: we have yet to see the woman do ANYTHING other than work her jaws! Adding insult to injury is a rather disturbing but undeniable feeling of sexism working within the show: when it comes time to do the digging, planting, etc., Molly and the females will go off and chitchat with plant or animal experts while David and the adult male are left to do the grunt work. Why, exactly, is that? Just as bothersome is that the families they visit don't really need much help in their gardens, save for a few plants and a proper breeding house; other than this, this show's hosts, especially Molly, haven't much to do, making Molly seem even LAZIER than she already does! Even more so than Molly Pesce's abrasiveness, laziness, and the show's inherent sexism, is that the producers center SOLELY on people who won't soon be in line for their government cheese; when you're working with, say, a former astronaut who has what appears to be ACRES of land AND a sizable body of water, it's hard to get too excited about these "amazing" changes its hosts have supposedly worked. My suggestions for the producers? Find some people who ACTUALLY NEED THE HELP (i.e., those of us in the world not blessed with a half-million dollar home), can the incessant scripted banter (and, if the hosts can't handle it, get different hosts), which leads me to...get rid of Molly Pesce, this so-called "TV personality". She's an irritant, almost enough to make us turn the channel. Appreciate the show for all that you can learn; grit your teeth through much of the rest.


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