Reviews written by registered user
Hugh Sullivan

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14 reviews in total 
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"Bankerot" (2014)
Disturbing, 15 July 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Generally speaking, I like dark stuff. Even in comedies. There's something mean spirited about this one. Thomas is a nice guy who gets taken advantage of. Dion the cook is one of the people, and his father is just unreasonably nasty. Dion is in trouble with the local gangster, and so violence is perpetrated on him, and by him. I suppose it's the sex I found most troubling. Dion has sex with everything that moves. Thomas is fond of the manager that they hire, and she is fond of him. That doesn't matter to Dion. At one point Dion is confronted by her for his deceptions, and he just bends her over table and starts ramming. In all likelihood Dion also had sex with Thomas's wife.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Too much Mankoff, not enough Booth, 18 October 2016

To me it's absolutely ridiculous that one man has so much power at The New Yorker to control the content. Yes, I understand that it goes through David Remnick, but if they really want diversity, as they go through pains to show you, then that job should rotate. I also understand that this was made partly to promote Mankoff's book, but they didn't spend enough time with the other cartoonists. Of all the cartoonists, clearly the one they didn't spend enough time with was George Booth. Mr. Booth is in a special class of cartoonists. With a lot of cartoons, it's just about illustrating a punch line. They could be drawn by anyone. Like Mankoff. With Booth, George Price, Edward Steed, and quite a few others the image is funny even before they've written the caption. But George Booth also represents the history of the magazine. Which would be very interesting to hear. And then there is that hierarchy that they insist on displaying before their name. "This is Joe, and he only has 5 cartoons published. What a loser." In general that is the tone of The New Yorker. "We are the elite. If you don't get our jokes, then you're not smart enough." In the end you could see that Mankoff's wife knew that he was full of himself, and wanted to show off for the women.

Asfalto (2000)
It's not about the action, 1 September 2014

Yes, it has moments of violence, but that's more a reflection of the 3 main characters lack of impulse control. The violence is more of an expression of their emotions. It's really a story about the 3-some. Many have praised Najwa Nimri's performance as Lucia, but I think they're missing the point. The heart of the piece is Chino. Gustavo Salmerón really steals the show with his sense of desperation and betrayal. It's hard to see what Lucia's motivations were, other than making a quick buck. I would have given it a higher rating if they had made the coming together of the 3-some were more realistic. Lucia says, "Things just happen." I don't think there's an actress alive who could make that line work. The relationship between the brothers was crucial to making this film work, but the mother-daughter thing seemed more like a plot device. Juan Diego Botto does a good job, but he doesn't have much to do.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Nihilism, 20 July 2014

I enjoyed the film, but it also annoyed me. That's not necessarily bad.

Just to clear some things up, the main character is not a young man. He does not look like a young man. He did not act like a young man. He acted like a wise predator.

He's not giving anything away in his demeanor, which helps in his line of business, but it also acts as a bit of a prison. He treats his women badly, and they seem like little more than toys for him to play with. He wants to be a mystery. He has lost the ability to connect.

It was as if he just wanted to maintain his emotionless facade all the time. When he does show emotion it doesn't necessarily make you empathize with him. This results in a kind of nihilism which can also make it difficult to connect with the film.

With really great actors, they can find ways to show a bit of vulnerability which you can latch on to. I don't think that's what the director/actor was interested in. In that respect I think he was successful, but maybe the nihilism isn't my thing.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Authenticity?, 20 January 2014

They say that this show lacks authenticity.

They say that it should not really have women actors, because the source material has very few women. They say that the 1995 version is better. They are wrong and misguided. This period in Chinese history (220–280 AD) is rich in material, and the series is based on Luo Guanzhong's 'Romance of the Three Kingdoms'. It's NOT the authoritative historical record. That is Chen Shou's 'Records of the Three Kingdoms'. So we're not dealing with history, really. We're dealing with a very popular account of that time. The complainers are just married to the first version they saw. Not to actual history.

What is so interesting about this is that it's about military and political strategy. The Han dynasty had a crisis in leadership and the warring factions do battle. The clever ones survive. Everyone uses some form of strategy to get what they want. It's very much 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu and 'The Prince' by Machiavelli.

"Alice" (2009)
4 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Which one was the cowardly lion?, 13 December 2009

The minute I started watching it, I knew it was from those guys who did Tin man. For some reason the creators can't seem to get Oz out of their heads. It's about a young woman who travels to a magical land to overthrow a wicked woman. On the way she meets the Scarecrow (Mad Hatter), the Tin Man (White Knight). They're off the see the Wizard of OZ (Catepillar). Even Toto makes an appearance as Dinah the Cheshire Cat. At the end she realizes she doesn't have to look for Dad anymore. Everything she needs is at home.

So who was the cowardly lion? Was the White Knight supposed to be both because he was cowardly?

24 out of 154 people found the following review useful:
Imagine, 29 September 2008

Imagine there was a show out there that sucked. Rhymes with Psych. It has a good premise, but it sucked. The lead actor was channeling Tom Cruise, and wasn't much of the sharing type. Would you mind if some other show with better actors took the premise and actually did something with it? Of course not.

OK, Simon Baker is not doing all that much sharing right now, but he's trying to show that he, the character, is also selfish. And just a bit of an egomaniac.

If the show starts to go the way of 'The Closer', with its insistence on having Kyra in every single possible scene, then you may feel free to stop watching it. I do still watch and enjoy 'The Closer', but it has more to do with the rest of the amazing cast. They do so much with so little screen time.

Edit - 3 months later

OK. I don't watch the show anymore because the show is just about him, and how clever and wonderful and whimsical he is. The writers don't even bother dealing with plot anymore. He isn't in every scene, but somehow you can picture him somewhere off screen strolling among the daisies, and always being the smartest one in the room.

I do like character based shows, but even Monk wore thin after a few seasons. Monk has such a successful formula that they seem afraid of having any character development.

I thought 'The Mentalist' could have been a good show. Whoever created the show is probably a big fan of Derren Brown. I have seen at least 4 or 5 of his routines on the show. What a shame.

The Mist (2007)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Changing the ending, 31 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Most of the time Stephen King doesn't seem to know how to end his books. It's as if he writes and writes and then gets tired of it. I think the novellas and short stories often make better movies. I was surprised how well the book ended, and so I was disappointed with the movie. I am not a purist. I prefer the movie of The Shining by Kubrick to the book, and they are very different animals.

The nice thing about the ending in the book is that things were open-ended. There's a balance between the stupidity of the people (the ignorant and the willful ignorant) and the stupidity of our government scientists who have created the mess in the first place.

What the screenwriters did was to show the government fighting back and winning the war on terror. Who is punished in the end? Those stupid people who weren't patient for the government to save us. Subtext, anyone?

The Idiots (1998)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Challenging, 5 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I think I would have had a much different view on this film if I hadn't seen Borat. Borat uses the same type of humour, but in his case the people aren't in on the joke. That's a kind of humour that I laugh at, but it makes me very uncomfortable.

It was the juxtaposition between knowing that this is a movie, and that Borat used real people that didn't make this as uncomfortable about it. What really makes it uncomfortable is the fact that I have spassed myself.

I don't have much of a defense of my behaviour other than I didn't plan to do it. I was bored, sitting with a hospital administrator and so I started rocking in my chair. This was misinterpreted, and I went along with it. It was a bit of a thrill ride, because I didn't know where it was going.

I was scared witless and laughing at the scene at the bar with the bikers. I saw him getting beat up or worse, and I felt bad for what I had done. Not bad enough to say that I would never do it again. Because I approached is as an experiment, and it was very interesting to see how people treat you.

I think that if you make the decision to go down that road you have to accept the consequences. Getting beat up. Having people slap you. I think what Borat pointed out is that we have some fairly condescending notion about people from other countries.

Some of the reviewers were happy when Karen returned to her home, spassed and then got slapped in the face. I thought it was the perfect conclusion to the film. It's easy to spass when there isn't much to risk.

I think it was important to know the various reasons that the people had for what they were doing. So when Karen thanks everyone, she doesn't thank Stoffer, because she knew that his motives were suspect. He has a bit of the Borat cruelty in him.

So she picks the kindest of the group to go with her. So she can see what a miserable place she left. And she can watch the self-destruction. Because Karen wants to make a statement about the group and what they did, and that it meant something to her.

As far as the nudity is concerned, I saw the uncut version, and of course it's much ado about nothing. The nudity is not sexy. These people are taking their ideas to their logical conclusion. The whole idea behind being a spass is that you don't understand convention.

Convention tells Karen she has to stay in that creepy house with all those people and their expectations. I think we'd all like to be free from that type of oppression. People grieve in different ways, and it didn't look like there was much understanding.

Ultimately, I didn't like Borat, but I really did like this film. I think the filmmaker took on some challenging themes, and did an excellent job with them. Much credit has to go to the excellent acting job of all involved.

12 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
CGI ruined this movie, 1 January 2008

I was very excited to see this movie. I had high expectations due to the talent that was allocated for this film. Unfortunately some bad decision making went into the process when they decided to use CGI for the baddies. CGI can be used quite effectively, as it was used to transform NYC. However, the use of CGI for moving objects has not yet reached the maturity level where they become realistic. So what you have is blurs that streak across the screen meant to approximate motion. In the end it was quite disappointing. If they had just spent the money on actors and good makeup. 28 weeks later did a much better job overall. Sigh.

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