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pettyfog

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65 reviews in total 
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Great for Streaming *Small Spoilers* about annoying character, 10 September 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Thing about streaming videos from Netflix and Amazon is you get hooked. Bad thing is that the characters' incongruities get amplified and so does the recycle of plot devices.

This happens all the time in long series, but some deal better than others. An example of good handling is Last Tango in Halifax. The human foibles are logical and understandable.

But 'Monarch..' is beginning to grate about the beginning of season five. The unrequited love gambit has hit every character in the group. Now that is stretching it, but the worst and most grating character has become 'Duncan'... the one character in the series who never seems to grow or learn anything from his bumbling fails.

Sooner or later you're thinking he's stuck on stupid. A graduate of the Short Bus who MIGHT be able to graduate to driving it. This isn't the fault of the actor of course. It's the fault of the writers taking the easy way out.

Still worth the watch for as long as you can take a key character who is a cardboard cutout.

6 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Sets a new standard for American TV, 18 May 2011
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

AMC continues their quest for out of the ordinary fare and really scores with this program. Too real, too gritty, too illuminative of human faults and foibles.

I hate it.

I watched Mad Men and got hooked. The portrayal of real life highly competitive business and the effects on the characters was riveting.

I didn't like Breaking Bad at first but eventually got interested even though the main plot is hardly grounded in reality. Dead or Jailed after a couple weeks would be far more likely.. but hey, there were still facets of the plot that showed sparks of humanity and likability in the characters.

I saw none of that in the first three episodes of the Killing, so.. I quit.

Someone said it was a mix of Twin Peaks and 24 and I cant argue much with that. With the grit of the Da Vinci Inquest and City Hall thrown in. In other words it LOOKS like Vancouver production values.

And it's certainly true there's no ridiculous quick-solve CSI crap in it either. In fact it's the opposite, this is going to be drawn out so that the obligated viewer -the spouse or SO of a fan- will feel like he's been subjected to the Rack.

Will definitely appeal to those who admire Nietzsche and nihilist artistic expression. Which I don't.

There's a market for this genre but it's not me who likes to enjoy what I watch for some reason. Seriously... there was no one in the three episodes I thought would be interesting to know. Let alone would like to be around. Certainly NOT the heroine detective. And that is the departure from reality. If that character was on Law and Order, she'd be dragged off duty and assigned 5 days a week with the departmental psychologist.

My rating of it is on artistic value alone. If I was to give an overall rating it would be 3.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
It's Complicated is Complicated, 10 May 2010
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't like obvious, pandering Chick-Flicks. In fact I hate them. This isn't a 'Chick-Flick' unless your definition almost solely depends on the plot's perceived point of view.

This film is a masterpiece of social commentary because the writing and the characters allow the human relationships to develop far deeper than included in the screenplay, once you start to wonder about the real people.

In the opening scenes, I found myself wondering about the casting as much as thinking about the plot set-up.

Streep I understand. Someone has to play the role, and Diane Keaton's now a stereotypical caricature in this element.

Baldwin.. WHY? He's far from simpatico in almost every movie he's been in, exceptions being Hunt for Red October, Great Balls of Fire {he made Jimmy Swaggart human tho you have to dig it out of the script bias} and of course, Beetle Juice.

John Krasinski.. Why? Though he's getting the recognition he deserves, he plays the prospective son-in-law in what shouldn't be more than a sub-plot.

Steve Martin.. he's done small but key parts before and it seemed apparent that this would be another of those. But there's others that are more pleasing to the integration of what this movie SEEMED to be.

The answers became apparent later on.

The main characters, Streep, Baldwin and by extension Martin are ALL successful by almost any measure. Except one. That being their marital past. The scenario is that the last of the brood is about to strike out on his own, bringing the parents together and raising the question in their, especially Streep's, mind.. Where Do I go From Here!

Baldwin sees his family and wonders why he left them for a 'trophy wife' who brings the baggage of raising yet another brood. He realizes he really doesn't want to go through that again, because he doesn't relate to kids at all until they are full adults. And that's part of the plot throughout. - It's important to understand that 'Pedro' is portrayed how he's seen by the main characters, not how he really is. The kid couldn't possibly be that bratty because the glimpses we see of Agness portray a reasonably well-adjusted woman, not a self-centered narcissist. So the REAL motivator for Jake is he wishes he hadn't taken the easy way out and he doesn't want to go through all that again.

Streep's Jane is set on the need to attain the accouterments of personal success that everyone wants in Life's middle stage: A huge personal workshop to indulge her passion, which to her is an over-indulging kitchen, and a nest with a view fitting her self-image.

Martin is portrayed as Streep's counterpoint. He also was left alone and wonders what he did wrong, and spent years until he realized he did nothing wrong, Stuff Happens. He's a 'nerd' because he sees himself and his vocation as one and the same, yet he obviously is successful by understanding others' wants and needs. It just took him a long time to realize that from his personal life, and that is also key to the end of the film. -This is NO cameo or small part!

John Krasinski.. ah, deeper into the movie he becomes a key plot element because he's the indicator for family loyalty. He has a connection with the well being of the family even though he's not officially a part of it yet. And that shows that, whatever the characters' personal peccadilloes, the kids grew up as far from dysfunctional as you can get.

For the shallow, there's the obvious fun stuff.

Ewww: We have to see Baldwin nude. Ahhh: We Don't have to see Streep nude

Ewww: Old peepul have sex, and freaking THINK about having sex. Ahhhh: We don't care about young peeps having sex. In fact, according to this movie, they may not even have sex at all. - That's a delicious plot twist, isn't it!

Hahhaaaa: Old Peepul smoke dope. From the most potent joint ever made by man! Huh? Well, whatta we know about grass. The reaction's purely personal, and situation dependent. Jane takes her first hit in thirty years and immediately goes into stoner mode BECAUSE she's so nervous about her date with Adam. Hahhaaa! Turned 'Something's gotta Give' on its head. Nothing REALLY wrong with Jake, just over-excited. Take that Jack, you weenie!

There's even more little 'Easter Eggs': Martin and Streep sitting in a Swing. My kid says 'Hey! Look at that.. obviously they threw that swing up at the last minute.' Later it seems possible that the swing itself is a 'fun bit' when you see the 2 end of swing Views, vs the 2 cam views from 'Inside the Swing'. There's lots more but it would take forever and we have to see the thing several times to dig 'em out. Even the scene from the staked out 'addition' is well done and shows exactly the right elevations, though it seems stupid and wrong at first.

Summary: This is a deliciously deep romantic comedy that should be enjoyed by anyone who bothers to actually get involved. Nancy Meyers is a cinematic genius if for nothing else than her particular viewpoint and the ability to express it at so many levels, including attention to detail.

I give this film.. again FILM, not Movie!... 8.5. I just happened to see it on 'Mother's Day' and it was perfect for that.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
My Head is exploding.., 27 January 2010
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

... when I read some of the reviews of this movie.

The bottom line for some seems to be "I was promised a Romantic Comedy and this isn't a Romantic Comedy"

First address that: >>>>YES IT IS. Picture a Romantic comedy made by the Coen Bros.<<<<

Even the casting is parody-farcical. Maybe some would have got the plot if Geraldo Rivera was cast instead of Thomas Hayden Church. But wouldn't that have been a little obvious? And did you catch Bullock's makeup and wardrobe? THAT is also part of the plot.

What other semi-serious actress has the guts to do that?

Just because a movie has no obvious punch-lines doesn't mean it fails. And by the way, Bullock plays an 'Obsessive Compulsive' not an Autistic!

FREAKING THINK about it, people! Recall the scene where the deaf kids emerged from the woods .. to see a carnival across a verdant meadow and the kids all start running across the field. I yelled 'Sinkhole'. I truly believe the makers wanted me to see that coming. And why were they walking through the woods to get there, anyway!

Here's the thing.. if you understand Coen Brothers style humor, and understand that Bullock does not take herself all that seriously, you'll like this.

Android Apocalypse (2006) (TV)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Go back to sleep or click to LMN, 23 January 2010
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Read the other reviews. They were optimistic. From the same channel that brings you ECW rasslin and Ghost Hunters finding weird stuff going on in creepy places, we get this crap.

Add 'Enemy Mine' to the plot sources.

I would guess 90% of the budget was spent on the flying robot bugs. In the apocalyptic future, the vehicles of choice are Jeep Wranglers and Studio prop trucks. And computers will be Acer Laptops. The GOOD thing is that we were spared the ubiquitous huge slow turning fan blades. Perhaps they were already rented.

As I write this, SKyFIE is showing a Tales from the Crypt episode. For those who think the actors in A-A did okay.. they should compare to the nobodies in 'Tales' The GOOD thing is that in ten years high school kids will be able to make better, more believable, action adventures.. or as good, anyway. Because we all played those roles before we were ten.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Could have been SO much better.. and still can, 4 April 2009
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Whoever did the CGI for this movie gets a '10' but there's too much of it and too much of it's gratuitous. Effectively the idea seemed to be to beat the effects from the original.

Whoever wrote and directed it gets a '2'. The cutting director gets a 3

This movie is no more than storyboard outline strung together haphazardly.

The scenario/plot is good but it's too convoluted and suggestive of writing by committee where no one took charge and said: "Look, THIS is the track we're taking" and enforced it.

As for the poor acting, I think you can blame it on that as well. Others have remarked on how Kennedy has done so much better, and you can look at the character of Natalie Tieger on Monk to see what Traylor Howard can do with decent writing and directing. The bottom line is those principals KNEW they were making a stinkbomb.

MOST of the things wrong with it could be resolved with a re-cut. Cut out the end of the car-chase, for example. And while I love the 'Michigan J Frog' references, too much time is spent on it and the point could be made with less exposure.

I wouldn't say I'd watch it again even if it were re-cut, though.

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
And now it turns out..., 27 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

That this film was apparently partially funded, $400,000, by Saddam's Oil-for-Food vouchers, via a terror linked operative in the US.

Google 'al hanooti' 'ritter' I harbor doubts about Ritter in the first place. The smell of 'Judas' occurs to me every time I read anything he says or writes, since the contradictory expressions from earlier in his career.

Let's face it.. sanctions especially LONG-Term ones Don't work and encourage exactly what we found in Iraq. Looking back at the evidence compiled suggests we should have gone all the way into Baghdad the first time.

Some will always believe propaganda, especially if it fits overall political views, and Ritter did his bit.

Lost Behind Bars (2008) (TV)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Oh.. Save me!, 29 March 2007
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's an amazing effort by cast and crew.

The story was a first time effort; Good -if hackneyed- plot, awful execution. The screenplay was a first time effort. Passable dialogue, awful everything else! There was a third writer collaborating but he obviously asked to be uncredited. I've never written anything for public perusal and I wouldn't want people thinking I wrote the scenario either.

It's really too bad. For a chick channel production, the thing wasn't bad, especially the acting was competent, in fact saved it from being turned off. But the pointers were so obvious that the heroine looked like an idiot for not running straight to the state Attorney General after a couple days looking at the facts.

But that would have ruined the story wouldn't it. The second problem was the heroine continuing to go alone into what were perilous situations when it was obvious the killer was a psychopath and didn't seem to care whether or not he was caught.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A neverending cinematic nightmare, 20 December 2006
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Others have sought out something nice to say about this piece of crap.. and most settle on the cinematography, and I have to agree if there's ANYTHING that redeems the film, that would have to be it.

Or maybe if you rated the actors on their ability to emote gibberish without breaking into laughter, then you'd have to give them credit for that... Otherwise the thing is exactly like a dreamstate entered into after eating bad shellfish... or maybe a bad acid trip.

The soundtrack, derivative of 15 or 20 other peyote mystic-westerns.. so don't give me 'it's amazing'!

Otherwise, just like any other variation on a kids' good-guy/bad-guy 'fighting' game... over and over and over and over. Which is probably why you'll only see it broadcast on the sci-fi channel, or gathering dust on the cheap rent video section.

But you know... if all the shot footage was intact and given to a new editing director, I bet he could make something watchable out of it. It would probably be a lot shorter

14 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
Only contains what we should already know.., 5 November 2006
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

.... but many don't.

When a religion is hijacked by the most extreme and radical elements within it, elements which use the writings of the religion's Holy Book to justify their actions, what do we call it? When those extreme elements call for the conversion and subjugation of unbelievers by force or threats of force and death... what do we call it? When they impose religious law on believer and unbeliever alike, what do we call it? If this was medieval Europe, we might call it an "Inquisition", if this was the Western Hemisphere in the 15 and 1600's we might call it 'Conquista'.

All those were bloody repressive movements, carried out by a "True Religion" with the goal of 'Bringing Light and Justice to the World'.

This documentary may be overly preachy and ingrained with propagandistic effects but, if the core of it is true... that a very small number of the members threaten the same civilization that overcame those earlier atrocities... and that those OTHERS within it, dare not protest on fear of meeting the same fate as unbelievers, then I cannot see how there CAN be another side of the issue.

memri.org has been documenting the tide of radical Islam in the middle east for years, carrying preachers' public pronouncements advocating death to unbelievers and the subjugation of western world, then WHAT IS the moderate voice of Islam? And where are those Muslims who stand against radicalism? There are a few out there and they are very brave because, sooner or later, they have a contract put on their heads. No... it doesn't matter WHAT the artistic value of the production is, it's the truth that counts and the truth is in the fatwa's put out by those who are defended by the left and by Islam's self proclaimed spokesmen.

And THAT is what the film is about... not its production values.. or some metric of 'Fairness'. The fatwa's and preachers' sermons mean what they say or they don't.


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