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Lots of fun. Not high art, but pretty entertaining stuff
I'm not sure what people are expecting from this movie. It's getting a lot of bad reviews and people seem to be having fun trashing Sandler. I don't know why. He did a respectable job, here. He didn't use an annoying, funny voice, he isn't dressed like a female version of himself, and his character isn't a pathetic loser, like in many of his films.
He does a good job portraying his character. Kevin James is likable, as well. They're pretty transparently shooting for a Ghostbusters vibe with this, but, it's forgivable, because it mostly works.
This is far from a perfect movie. I can't say I laughed out loud, partially because of the weirdly hostile audience. The folks I was watching the movie with seemed unwilling to give the movie a chance, so I think very few of them enjoyed it. Too bad.
Go see it expecting a fun movie, with a flawed plot, great special effects, and reasonably believable characters. Don't expect it to be "Gone With The Wind" and you might have yourself a nice time watching this. It helps if you were about 15 when Donkey Kong and Q-Bert hit the arcades. Or not. Lighten up and have fun with it.
BoJack Horseman (2014)
Gets off to a slow start, but stick with it.
An interesting show. I liked the first few episodes well enough. The main character is kind of intriguing, and the humor, while low-key is good for a few chuckles.
Right around episode four, the whole show takes a startling turn. I'm not sure I had a laugh for the rest of the season, but, didn't care. Please, if the first few episodes don't quite grab you, consider sticking with this 'til the end. I was glad I did. Will Arnett does the best work of his career in this slightly strange, primitively animated ditty.
The main characters are well-conceived, and they're people you come to care about. The plots are simple, and the story arc predictable, but it's about the journey, or course, you silly fool. Watching this show develop is like watching an ugly weed growing in a pavement crack blossom into something beautiful and cool.
I don't know if there will be a second season. I hope so. At the same time, I wouldn't mind remembering these characters as they stand at the end of season one.
The Eric Andre Show (2012)
Is This Comedy?
I'm not sure this is comedy. It presents itself as a talk show. The host, Eric Andre, seems to be trapped in the role. The show opens with Eric absolutely destroying the set. Within seconds, like in a bad dream the set magically reassembles itself and the show continues, the host, his defenses momentarily derailed declares, "I'm dying". There is something that appears to be comedy, but, all the while, the participants seem to be holding back a pent-up fear and generalized hostility, if not disorientation. The participants don't quite seem to be in control, and react to the hidden forces around them with horror. At one point, the show subjects Andre and his co-host to an insane game show, without warning, where Andre is drenched with scalding hot coffee after every question. We seem to be viewing some sort inescapable closed universe containing nothing but an endless slightly nightmarish talk show. It feels like a bad dream, half remembered. It feels like there's some unspeakable horror lurking just off-camera that the people on-stage can see, but, we can't, and they can only stay safe by pretending to ignore it.
I like what the show is trying to do, even if it's more unsettling, then funny, much like "Tim and Eric's Awesome Show, Great Job", produced by the same production company. There's just something kind of compelling, here. More so than most of Adult Swim's live action shows. It'll be interesting to see where they go with this.
Team Knight Rider (1997)
A good effort in a misdirected idea
I recall watching this a couple of times when it was new. My impression at the time was that they did a pretty good job on a fundamentally bad idea.
The original show focused on the relationship between one man and one artificially intelligent car. The show was cheesy, but the two characters were sufficiently well developed and portrayed that audiences cared enough to tune in. The original kept it simple and concentrated on making the car seem human and the overblown Hollywood star (Hasselhof) seem like a real person, albeit with unrealistic hair. The idea that one man can make a difference is enigmatic and inspiring.
The idea that a flock of five people and five vehicles working with a seemingly unlimited budget and with constant governmental oversight can make a difference is just oppressive and obvious. How do you keep the stories coherent and how do you keep the audience caring about ten characters, all of whom only get very limited screen time? You don't! You need a scorecard just to keep track of what car has what personality. I kinda felt pity for the poor criminals. It's hardly fair, in a story context, that they should have to try to stand up to this virtual army of foes, blasted about the world in a cargo jet, armed with superweapons and hyperintelligent computers. Give the poor crooks a break! With all that in mind, the production company did a pretty good job. The show looked great, the cars were jazzy and the voice acting was adequate. The effects were as good as should be expected and there was lots of mindless action. The vehicles had a mass produced feel, compared to the original KITT. KITT had a "one-off" feel to his design, apart from his evil twin, KARR. The five new cars had a consistency of design that made them feel less personal. It kind of contributed to the show's downfall, which was that it failed to focus on key characters that the audience could identify with and care about.
TV producers forget, in their rush to display fancy machinery, and car crashes, that the long-term success of a TV series is almost entirely based on it's portrayal of compelling characters. Design your characters first, flesh them out, make them human, make the audience care about them, and what happens to them. Put actors in the roles that match the personalities being portrayed and let them do their jobs. Create screenplays and stories that challenge your well-developed characters. Put them in situations that test their limits. After you've done all that, worry about special effects and stunts. It helps if you don't try to have ten central characters.
A Gem That Gets Better With Age
I originally saw this as a first run in the theater. My girlfriend attended with me, and she sat there, through the whole thing, silent as a stone while I guffawed and chortled my way to the very end, about to the point at the end where ***SPOILER CHARACTERNAME*** morphs into a ***SPOILER THING*** and ***SPOILER EVENT*** through an excellent piece of animation by the Chiodo Brothers. She turned to me as the lights came up and said, "Whattsamatta wit you? Dis a movie for children. You 30 years old!" I knew at that point that it was over between us. If she couldn't get Weird Al, then we had no future.
If you want to see more Chiodo Brothers stuff, definitely see "Killer Klowns From Outer Space", and "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" has a nice three second long sequence when "Large Marge", the truck driver lady turns into a monster and scares the bejeezus out of Pee-Wee.
I can't rave enough about THIS movie, meanwhile. It's silly, it's stupid, it's funny. You either love it, or hate it. I find I'm having to explain to young people what UHF is or was, though. They've never seen a TV set with those two big knobs on them. There are actually real American-type people alive today who never "surfed" the empty expanses of static on the bottom knob from channel 14 to 88. Occasionally bumping into an island of reception, usually kinda fuzzy or snowy. It usually showed reruns of "Ultraman" and "Gilligan's Island" and "Speed Racer". If you taped a metal coat hanger to the rabbit ears, you got rid of just a little bit more snow. You had to wait for the TV's tubes to warm up properly, to get the best reception.
It's a shame that this movie wasn't more of a success as anything other then a "bad girlfriend filter". Al had a movie career calling and we might have seen good things from him. Might still. Hollywood! Give Al another chance!
The Crimes of this Wonderful Movie...
...are too numerous to mention. I was tempted to add an entry into IMDb's goofs section, to that effect. There is visible duct tape holding sets together, numerous space things made of plywood, spray painted aliens. The movie builds the aliens up as mildly compassionate characters, then the human heroes laugh when they die. The film is grainy, the camera shakes, and I swear you can see wires on not just the cheesy spaceships, but also holding up the actors, the plot, the costumes...
One of my favorite movies. Truly horrible.
SPOILER!!! SPOILER!!! SPOILER!!!: It doesn't really matter. Your brain will be so traumatized by the time you make it to the end of this lovable, but toxic fiasco that you won't notice the ending, unless somebody tells you about it. Here it comes: They destroy the evil computer by lethargically throwing a small rock at it. Then the alien dies and everybody has a good laugh. The end.
The Most Depressing Movie of All Time
As observed in an earlier comment, "One nuke can ruin your day". I would be more inclined to say "This movie can ruin your day". The nuke, on the other hand, will ruin your entire life.
I remember seeing this in the theater when it first came out. I was playing hooky from work and just wanted to see _anything_. I had no idea what the movie was about, and just picked it at random. I went in happy-go-lucky and emerged in a funk that lasted for at least a week. I believe I took the NEXT day off from work, as well, just from being completely wrung out.
An outstanding movie. I highly recommend avoiding it at all costs, unless you enjoy seeing humans in utter despair, or if you derive perverse enjoyment from people giving up all hope and sitting around, waiting to die while they visibly bleed from their major and minor orifices. It rates right up there with "Saving Private Ryan" as an absolutely, almost perfect film that should never be watched, except by those who still think that "Mutually Assured Destruction" is a good idea, or that war is honorable and a viable solution to the world's problems. These people should be FORCED to watch these two movies, repeatedly, "Clockwork Orange"-style until they either get wise, or die trying. I hereby nominate the entire executive branch of the United States Government for this corrective treatment, starting this coming Monday morning, eight o'clock, sharp.
Saul of the Mole Men (2007)
I don't mind low budget...
...as long as there's something there, maybe a good script, an interesting story. This show has the tiny budget, but, but, it's just not funny. The riff seems to be on the old 70's Sid and Marty Croft live action adventures, but none of the jokes score a hit. You can see what they were _trying_ to do, but it all just falls flat.
I like the idea of killing all the heroic characters, up front, and just leaving the unheroic to deal with the adventures, but the "leftovers" have to be interesting or likable, to some degree.
It's obvious that Adult Swim is getting greedy and wants to see high viewership numbers on this with minimal budget, and that might be possible if there was actual cleverness or humor.
Oh, well. I'm basing this on only the first episode. Maybe the show will improve.
Blue Thunder (1983)
OK movie --- Shameless sellout of a TV show
Roy Scheider, as always, turned in an outstanding performance in this movie. As is frequently the case, the movie was not quite up to his performance (see "Seaquest, DSV" for an extreme example). The movie clearly identifies the use of hi-tech surveillance equipment and brute deadly force on citizens, in the hands of a civilian enforcement organization as unjust, unacceptable and fascist, in the extreme. This is in sharp contrast to the TV show which completely missed the point of the movie by featuring the odious, copter as the star, and a heroic symbol, to be used by square-jawed, law-enforcement aviators in the pursuit of Truth, Justice and the American Way.
There's no doubt that virtually ANY police department would be unable to avoid the temptation of misusing such a powerful tool.
Missing in America (2005)
Flawed, by very worthwhile
I could go on about the various flaws of this movie. There are problems with the screenplay, obvious manipulation of the viewer's emotions, some predictable characterization and plot development, but never mind that.
If I shove all that aside, I still find that I liked all of the major characters, and really cared about them. Danny Glover does a bang-up job. He has his character nailed, dead on. Zoe Weizenbaum is just downright stunning. Even if you're a misanthrope, like me, who can't stand children, you'll find yourself drawn in by her. Linda Hamilton, who we don't seem to see enough of, lately, plays a damaged, but likable storekeeper who pulls it all together. The actor who played "Red", even though he had no dialog, drew me into the horror of his past, in the scene at the cliff. For an instant I felt the pain of having his memories, which have left him twisted and isolated. Thankfully, only for an instant. I confess to having a few tears jerked by this movie. That doesn't happen often.
I find the word "damaged" coming to mind a lot while thinking about this movie. It's true that life has a 100% fatality rate, and hardly anybody reaches their last moment undamaged. Some people, like those who got stuck with the job of being soldiers in Viet Nam, got a lot more damage then some of us luckier ones. This is a movie about damaged people, doing what they can for each other, even when most of society has abandoned them.
I DO agree with a lot of the reviewers, here, that the ending unfolded in an unnecessary way. I can't say more without having to turn on the spoiler flag. I'm probably spoiled, myself, by the standard American cinema's penchant for "feel-good" happy endings, so don't you mind.
Go rent this. See it on cable. It'll provoke a thought, evoke a tear, enrich Blockbuster by about a dollar-ninety-nine and bring you 102 minutes closer to your last moment. A little better for it, maybe?
The Cookout (2004)
There Are A Few High Points
I have to agree with most of the previous comments, here, that this movie will most likely be pretty offensive to most black viewers. It's loaded with stereotypes and predictable humor.
That aside, I did get a chuckle out of a few of the characters. Tim Meadows' conspiracy whacko character was twisted and amusing. Meadows has a talent for subtle humor with over-the-top characters. This sounds like a contradiction, but it isn't. Danny Glover gets a few laughs in as the heavily "ball & chained" neighbor. It helps that his ball in chain happens to be Farrah Fawcett, I suppose. Both Mr. Meadows and Mr. Glover's characters were somewhat stereotypical and unoriginal, but both actors made them work, because they're pros.
I found Jennifer Lewis' character to be intensely annoying. She was supposed to come off as "strong" and as the pillar of the family, but if I had a parent like her, I'd go to huge lengths to avoid her. Just watching her in a movie made me uncomfortable. I'm surprised that Todd's prospective client didn't head for the hills, immediately.
This movie has more flaws then virtues, and it will certainly offend anybody concerned with improving the image of African Americans, but it does have it's brief moments. Wait for it on cable and watch it for free, when there's nothing else on.
Strangely better then the books
This movie fits into a small category of films which are actually better then their source material. The books, while occasionally interesting, are clearly aimed at a very young audience, and are predictably paced. An adult can pretty much read the entire series in an afternoon.
The movie, on the other hand picks and chooses the best episodes from the book series and blends them together into a passable story. The actors playing the children are convincing. On top of it all, the movie is visually stunning, portraying a bleak, timeless landscape that is sometimes present-day and always retro in a "Brazil" or "1984"-like way.
Kudos to all involved with this production for taking very marginal source material and turning it into a real treat, including Jim Carey, who does his usual over-the-top performance. It's perfectly appropriate in this film and he deserves points just for enduring that obviously painful makeup job.
Go rent it. You'll like it. As mentioned in other posts, a large portion of the movie may be a little advanced for your younger children. Show it to them, anyway. They'll enjoy it.
The Pink Panther (2006)
An odd but wise strategy
I can't say that I completely enjoyed this film. It does have it's moments and is good for an occasional laugh.
SPOILERS FOLLOW: The one main point that I want to make is that Martin's Clouseau is fundamentally different from Seller's. Peter Sellers played Clouseau as a genuine idiot. He really didn't have a clue and only solved his cases completely by accident. At the end of the film, after the case was solv-ed, he sometimes STILL didn't know who the killer was, despite being credited as the hero who solved the case. Martin's Clouseau, on the other hand, is believed by all to be an imbecile, but is really kind of an idiot savant. He cannot function as an ordinary person, but the peculiar mental state that makes him a walking disaster area seems to give him extraordinary powers of observation. He's the one who pulls the clues together and makes the connections, even while Dreyfus is attempting to arrest the wrong person after conducting a thorough, "by the book" investigation. Martin's Clouseau solves the case, not by accident, but by noticing what others haven't seen. This makes for a very different Clouseau. It actually works pretty well and brings the film to a satisfying ending. A wise choice.
Unveiling this new character as "Clouseau" probably wasn't such a wise choice. He would have worked better as a new character with similarities to Clouseau. There's plenty of room for a new bumbling detective.
Bridget Loves Bernie (1972)
A Standard Situation Comedy
A standard 70s sitcom, in most ways. I remember it as having the standard "wacky" plots and few, if any, real surprises. It was a cute show. I was prompted to look it up today because of the parallel nature of the plot with the more current "Dharma and Greg". Just replace Catholic with Hippie and Jewish with Staunch Republican.
I'm surprised that CBS actually caved-in to cancel a popular show, just due to hate mail. I didn't know anybody at the time that even remotely considered this fluffy, light entertainment program to be controversial, or shocking. If CBS had any sense, they would have played up the controversy to boost the ratings. No apologies!
It was simply a "feel good" show about a couple who lived in an apartment over a delicatessen who had nosy, annoying parents.
They Live (1988)
A Very Good Illustration of America
A movie that starts out a bit slow, peaks as Nada discovers the illusion filtering sunglasses, and kinda drags a bit at the end. The draggy end is inevitable as the movie's core message was delivered during Nada's first walk down the street with the glasses on. The rest of the movie is anticlimactic. A pretty good job by Roddy Piper.
The technical aspects and various merits of this film have been explored by others. I mostly wanted to point out that on 1/31/2006, the Sci-Fi channel aired this classic directly opposite George Bush's state of the union address! Many kudos to the brave closet subversive in the Sci-Fi Channel programming department. I'm sure if their upper management had a clue, that particular programming item would have been overridden, immediately.
B.C.: A Special Christmas (1981)
Fun, but somewhat cynical Xmas Humas
It's been about a dozen years since I've seen this. As I recall, Wiley comes up with a scheme to profit off of the holidays by selling gifts to his friends for them to give to one another. All the gifts are rocks.
The lead voices were done by Bob Elliot and Ray Goulding of radio fame. They provided a somewhat cynical edge to the humor making it, perhaps, a bit more advanced then the average overly saccharine Christmas special.
The animation quality was only average, which is appropriate as the style of the source artwork is minimal in detail.
I would like to see this again, though it's not easily available.