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JamieClay

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35 reviews in total 
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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Surprisingly disappointed, 1 January 2015
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Having enjoyed the "Rise" film, I was looking forward to seeing this sequel, even saved it to watch on New Year's eve - end the year with a bang so to speak. Little did I expect it to be such a bomb. At least for us, which is why we were so surprised. We had heard nothing but good things about this film and were sorry we missed it in the theaters. (We rarely go to theaters anymore)

**Nothing but spoilers**

The main tension of this film surrounds the surviving humans living in a decaying San Francisco wanting access to a long abandoned hydroelectric power facility in Marin (Ape) County. OK, for the sake of argument let's say there is such a thing; the humans are in San Francisco. Somehow this abandoned plant is still tapped into the power grid and can direct that power only to S.F.?

Keep in mind that S.F. and the peninsula are a couple of Meccas for Solar Energy use. In 10 years has Solar power become nonviable? In another plot motivation - they need the power to call the outside world for help with their survival. They have running cars, there are no doubt generators that still function in hospitals or motor homes and such, why would they need the main power grid to run a radio? Plus it's been 10 years and NOW they want to contact 'the outside world'? (Obvious setup for the next film)

Now here we have the desperate and electricity-ignorant humans crossing over to Marin (Ape) county (that has a wealth of solar powered homes that actually feed into the grid) to 'discover' a colony of smart apes is blocking their way to the abandoned power facility. The Apes warn them to stay away but ignorant 'power hungry' humans come anyway – war ensues. This is one of the main reasons it fell flat for us. The story was SO weak the only reason to watch the film comes down to seeing the amazing visual effects – and that's the reason I gave this 4 stars, the Ape work is outstanding.

Other technical nits to pick (what the heck)

1) How was it apes are such good shots when they first pick up the guns? And how is it the guns seem to have an inexhaustible supply of ammunition?

2) Why have the remaining humans congregated in unplugged S.F.? Marin (Ape) County (or Napa or Sonoma counties) would have made more sense as there are farms and beautiful solar powered homes and facilities.

3) Why did the survivors build the gated fortress? (if they didn't know of the mean apes) Was that to defend against bad humans? If so where are they?

4) How did the human survivors go 10 years and not know about the rising Ape population?

5) How quickly do ape populations grow? Man there were a lot of them.

6) (super nitpicking) The poster for the film is for the most part unrelated to the story. The apes are not in Oakland, the bay bridge (for all we know) is still intact.

I really hope for the next film they manage to write a stronger story but I certainly won't waste my time seeing it in the theater.

2 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Almost dumped the series because of this episode., 10 June 2014
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Half of this slow moving episode is Piper being moved around by big mean menacing men to a mysterious 'destination unknown' where she eventually is thrown into an odd 'coed' prison world where she knows no one and not ONE person of authority will tell her why she is there.

WTF? If this is how the penal system works? No wonder it fails us. In all my years of watching law shows, I've never seen this sort of treatment of a prisoner (short of a POW film.)

Oh, to further pad the 'mystery half' of the episode we get a bunch of flashbacks to little Piper in her formative years, learning about how relevant the truth can be in the real world. Back story can often help define a character and this was OK story wise but because they wove it into the 'mystery move' segment, we didn't care.

*****SPOILERS******

SO, we were about to stop watching altogether when suddenly a dandelion blooms in the turd pile - Alex is also at this prison and somehow knows why. In all this time 'clueless in Chicago' hasn't been able to contact her lawyer or get ANY official information as to what's going on but the script allows for Alex to 'be found' by Piper, so she can dish the details.

I guess Alex came in on a different bus, flight, bus, (and ho' inspection)? Also, what federal prosecutor would let TWO witness for the same trial be held where they could exchange notes about the case?

Feh - at least with the mystery out of the way, the rest of the episode becomes a little more likable but only marginally with the icing on the cake being Alex (seemingly) betraying Piper. Yay.

I have to ask, in what prison system to they have Men and Women prisoners in the 'gen pop'- apparently this is normal somewhere? Can a prisoner really be transferred like this without notice and without being able to contact their lawyer? I can't imagine the writers made this up without some research.

If you cut 15 or twenty minutes of the 'misogynous mystery move' from the first half, the episode would have been more entertaining (for us).

If that mystery segment is real, raw and accurate then that's new ground for a prison show, it certainly could have been delivered to an uninitiated audience better.

This first episode kept us from binge viewing more. We're hoping next batch of episodes is better crafted.

6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Fun show until Ep 7 - 'the Gift', 20 February 2010
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

We started watching the show and for the first seven episodes it was a lot of fun, enjoyed the hell out of it.

I liked the premise that the flash forwards were all the result of the people having seen them. A reverse butterfly effect, individualized.

It was fascinating to see things come together on the path to the flash forward visions. I figured that the day of reckoning would reveal many surprises as to what was really happening in the small visions. Sort of how the show Damages is often played out.

Then came "The Gift" episode – ironic name if you ask me because I felt that episode took away what made the series compelling to watch.

In 'The Gift' episode Mark killed himself, making his vision and all flash forward visions are no longer worthy of trusting. It broke the foundation of what made the show compelling. It also felt like a cheap cop-out to make it easier to write.

Now, all bets are off. None of the flash forwards have to occur because each individual is free to change the outcome. The ticking time bomb was defused.

Now I guess Mark could come back from the dead and resumes his duties for the FBI (at this point why not?) but obviously that doesn't happen or it would have been noted on the board somewhere, right?

Yes, time travel stories are beyond difficult to get right – this one ALMOST had it (for me) but fumbled.

At this point – I'll watch the remaining episodes out of investment and curiosity.

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Worth watching if you study film., 16 November 2008
2/10

I may revisit this comment later, but probably not.

I would only recommend watching this film if you're a film student and want to learn how not to craft an entertaining thriller.

I'm sure a lot of the story that would have made this a real thriller is still in Shyamalan's head - it didn't make it to the screen.

And I'm REALLY surprised with the (poor) quality of the dialog, casting and direction. Ironically the recent parody of Wahlberg on SNL made this film more amusing to watch, especially when he talked to the plastic plant.

I'm sure the MST3k/RiffTrax kids are looking at this film for their purposes. (it would be worth watching again in that venue)

I feel sorry for Marky Mark - but I'll bet he can get an episode or story arc out of this experience for Entourage.

7 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
You may be surprised at how much this film doesn't suck., 16 January 2008
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Most of us know that 99% of the films released between January to mid April pretty much suck, it's been Hollywood's dumping ground for years. This film may just change that and may lead the way to better films being released this time of year. (yah right)

If you like the horror genre and of course Godzilla monster movies then you should have a blast with this one. The unique angle to this film is how the story unfolds, through the lens of one very lucky camcorder (because obviously it survived).

The first 25 minutes of the movie unfold slowly but help us get to know the characters through small snippets of reality recorded (and over recorded) onto the camera - in a fashion pretty much how we all use camcorders - candidly, sporadically, erroneously and spontaneously .

This may try your patience but look at it as the ride to the top of a roller coaster, enjoy the pretty people and get to know them. This will help to make what comes next even more entertaining and suspenseful.

The script does a good job of escalating the horror and for the most part it feels real, as much as one might expect given the circumstances.

Three suggestions for seeing this film, - see it in the theater (don't wait for it to come out on DVD) - see it in as big an audience as you can for the group reaction - avoid seeing any spoilers that show you the actual monster. I say this NOT because the monster is surprisingly original, it's just that the less you know what to expect the better the suspense. During the film you get caught up in the discovery of 'it' and in the small doses one might in real life.

Bonus extra suggestion, sit as far back in the theater as you can - at least that helps me to deal with all the hand held footage.

##2ND VIEWING UPDATE: After the first viewing I had the oddest experience in that I kept expecting to turn on the news to get an update on how things were in NYC, very much like post 9/11, 'it' had left that much of a resonance in my head.

So, I went to see it again with a bunch of friends and found the movie to be even better. I was able to pick up on many of the little details that I missed the first time. For me, this is a film that improves the more you see it.

3rd Viewing notes:(yes I've seen it 3 times now) In the previous two viewings I didn't stay for the credits. The music is AWESOME, and there is a geek tease at the very end. The very last bit of audio, but you have to record it and reverse it to hear what is said. (and that's all I'll say about that).

*********************************** Technical Spoiler section ***********************************

The Monster – Not a great design (my opinion) and kind of a cliché style - I can see why it was kept a secret. At times it reminded me of Violator, other times like the Rancor Monster from Star Wars. (ewww what if Violator and Rancor mated???) I'm sure it's real hard to come up with genuinely original looking monster these days. Frankly a large crab would have been as effective. :)

The smaller Monsters – looked pretty much like the bug monsters from Star Ship Troopers, again not original but still fun to have attacking people.

The star of the film, the Camera (and this comment is VERY petty): The film was shot on a tape based camera (the film presents itself as a single tape recording) 80 minutes is too long as most camcorders by default are set in SP mode giving you 60 minutes tops. It could have been set to LP mode (about 95 minutes) but it's not likely.

Oh and for you American Godzilla fans there is one shot in this that should come across as sort of an homage.

##2ND VIEWING UPDATE: The film opening said it was found on an SD card / camera. SD video is recorded in individual files with each start and stop of the camera, plus the actors refer to the tape a number of times. This is another petty technical over site, BTW.

##3rd viewing note: At the end, you find yourself looking out at the ocean, keep a close watch just to the left of the boat near the shoreline. Something falls from the sky and splashes into the water. No smoke trail.

Also - the reversed audio at the end of the credits sounds like Rob saying "It's still alive".

293 out of 629 people found the following review useful:
The Pilot should have been Terminated, 10 December 2007
3/10

OK, that was too easy.

Note: This review is solely based on the pilot, I've not seen any of the follow-up episodes (and most likely won't).

While watching this all I could think was who green lights these projects? It was classic bad TV writing, exploiting a franchise bringing NOTHING new to the story.

Now if you like WB class shows you're probably going to like this as it's full of cheesy lines, plot holes and classic time travel paradoxes.

I do have to wonder the reason they gave John a hot teenage terminator as a guardian (Cameron). Was it so he can teach her to love and they'll have sexual tension between them? (ugh) And why does "Cameron" need a bra? There's a "harness those" scene where Sarah was getting an eyeful of Terminator Tata that certainly was gratuitous but are we to believe this model has soft bouncy fun bags?

At some point (for my sake) the writers will need to explain why the future brains sent a teenage class terminator. Sending something Cameron size just doesn't make sense as her body mass can't possibly be enough to fight with the full sized terminator. It's like watching a VW fighting a Mac Truck and yet magically she can beat the juice out of her opponent.

And what is up with these terminators after John, they can't seem to find their target, in classic action crap fashion they're always a foot behind or delay a second too long to fire. No wonder they're losing the future war.

So, why did this get a green light again?

19 out of 44 people found the following review useful:
No happy ending (Season One) / Season two was a vast improvement., 30 November 2007
6/10

Just finished watching the full first season and I'm sorry to say it didn't deliver.

The show is a SexCom (fantasy) about L.A. life that starts out as a writer (Duchovny) is dealing with his crippling writer's block. It ended up being a typical RomCom with tired cliché setups and failures.

As the series drew on, the writing grew more sophomoric and sloppy (especially when compared to shows on HBO. )

It's POSSIBLE the show's problems are not the writer's fault (but hard to believe.) It could be bad editing choices or pressure from producers to ignore the huge holes and plow ahead with predictable story arcs. Regardless who's at fault, the final product suffers and by the time the we get to the last few episodes the plot holes are so huge you need to really be forgiving to ignore them.

I could go into spoiler details about what went wrong with the story but for the most part I'll just tell you to set your expectations low for the last few episodes and be prepared for a shockingly insulting and ludicrous freeze frame at the end of the season finale. (ugh)

Now, if you like David Duchovny (despite his often wooden delivery) you will no doubt find yourself liking Hank. I can't say so much for the rest of the cast. With the exception of the daughter Becca (Madeline Martin, who is cute as hell and a great little actress) no one really is that appealing.

Bottom line, I hope they can up the quality for the next season, at least if they want me to get back into bed with this show.

***FOLLOW UP: They did!! Season two was so much better in writing it totally made up for the first season short comings. The Lew Ashby character was wonderful, and the characters have significantly improved.

At this point I'm looking forward to Season 3.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Oddly compelling, 22 November 2007
10/10

This film isn't perfect but it does get under your skin. The music combined with the war footage can evoke feelings you might not have expected. Even though the songs were not written to be the soundtrack for World War II, they have been remixed here to do an unusually evocative job.

This film for sure was ahead of its time, mixing media from generations to help convey a time in our history where civilization was on the brink of destroying itself.

Most people don't realize that many of our first rock and roll 'heroes' were WWII War babies, the music that came out of them was planted by the experiences they had as children growing up in a war torn country. So though it was not written for collage of WWII footage, there's an eerie fit.

Keep in mind that when watching some of this footage, there are real lives being lost. The sacrifice of that generation should not be forgotten and this film helps to preserve it a little.

BTW - If you want to see this film, write me.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
There will be no church erected but maybe there should have been., 19 August 2007
9/10

I REALLY liked this series, so few have ever given me vivid dreams but this one did. I think it's because, JFC takes you to a world where God has gotten his fat ass off the couch and is making an attempt to straighten things out.

But JFC was no doubt too much of challenge to most viewer's patience. When one of my 'watching buddies' couldn't get into it and the web buzz wasn't positive, it became clear that it would be a long shot for HBO to stick with it.

Like Carnivàle (also canceled too soon) this saga holds a lot of the story close to the vest, only giving us a tiny peek each successive episode. JFC spends most of the first season building the ensemble and the foundation for something that could have had a big pay off in successive seasons. The most common comment people made was 'I don't get what's going on' – not a good sign.

The show wasn't perfect - I did have some problems with the casting and some of the direction. For example the young actor playing Sean Yost (Greyson Fletcher), though authentic was not well suited for such an important acting role. It was best when he was surfing and/or didn't have lines but even his blocking in scenes was stiff. That aside, Chandra West as Sean's mother was GREAT physical casting and very believable as a porn star.

On the other extreme, Rebecca De Mornay's character (who looked hawt!) was written and directed so over the top it really challenged me to stay with the story. There were moments when it worked , and you get a better understanding for what's going on with her about mid season, but many of her scenes were very disruptive to the story flow.

All the rest of the cast (especially the carryovers from Deadwood) were impeccable and a delight to watch. There were so many layers to JFC it's sad we won't get to see them explored in greater depth. Ed O'Neil gave an Emmy worthy performance as the ex-cop widower suffering from what he thinks are early stages of dementia. I think I loved this character the most but it's a close call between his and Dayton Callie's portrayal of a Hawaiian drug dealer.

The Shakespearian quality dialog, like in Deadwood, was poetry to listen to, it's unexpected and fresh and for most scenes it was delivered on a golden platter by the cast. Especially the exchanges between Freddy, Palaka and Bill.

Obviously HBO didn't get the buzz they were hoping for, that's too bad because a second season (or at least a full 12 episode first season) might have been enough to get some people over the hump.

If you decide to invest some time watching the series, be patient and remember that they only built the foundation here. There will be no church erected.

"Weeds" (2005)
32 out of 55 people found the following review useful:
Weeds – not my bowl of hemp, 12 August 2007
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I had heard (and read) so many good things about Weeds that I was looking forward to getting hooked on another great cable Series (like Entourage, Sopranos or Mad Men) but that slowly eroded away with each episode I watched from Season One. (didn't make it past the first six episodes)

The writing was unoriginal, contrived and the portrayal of Blacks embarrassing. The dialog felt forced, like the writers are trying way too hard to be clever and hip . It was a rare moment when I actually emitted an audible laugh.

The characters never developed enough for me to care about them, they were selfish and unappealing. I absolutely HATED the addition of the Brother-in-law (who should have been hauled away on To Catch A Predator) and the removal of the Hodes' daughter Quinn from the cast by sending her to boarding school in Mexico was so unoriginal and cliché, I had to conclude the writers were testing the viewer's loyalty.

Episode after episode I liked the characters less and couldn't get past many of the technical flaws in the story line.

Add to that I heard that Season Two wasn't as good, so I lost all motivation to continue to watch this play out.

If you're a fan of good casting and writing, I suspect this show will be a challenge for you to like, unless of course you're stoned and then all bets are off.


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