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43 reviews in total 
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6 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
WHERE is the humor???, 14 January 2014

For a comedy show, this is possibly the most unfunny show I have ever seen. And possibly the most unfunny show Comedy Central has ever had on. I watched one episode this evening and didn't laugh ONE time. I didn't even chuckle. WTF?

Is it Kroll himself that doesn't know how to write good material? Or is it the writers? (Assuming the show has multiple writers.) I simply don't get how this can be on the air. And, I simply don't get how Comedy Central could be putting this on the air. Particularly when CC has shows like "Key & Peele" (generally an excellent show, although a few episodes have been weak) or "Tosh.0" (hilarious show).

How can any Comedy Central executive look at the Kroll show, and even think it comes close to being in the same league as "Key & Peele," "Tosh.0," "South Park," etc.? Either kill the show, or hire some good writers.

Hannah Takes a Dump, 7 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is of the so-called "genre" of films referred to as "mumblecore." Which are films made by twenty-somethings dealing with relationships. Thankfully, this appears to have been a very short-lived phenomena, not only because those filmmakers are now in their 30's but perhaps also because those films are inferior.

There are so many problems with this movie, where to begin?

1) It's obvious that this film was entirely improvised, and that is confirmed by the director in interviews he did. The problem with improvising a movie, is that MOST of the time it simply doesn't work. Not as a movie. Mike Leigh is one notable director (from England) who has done this numerous times with his movies; however, most of the time he has, it's not worked well. It did one time (with "Secrets & Lies"), but from what I read, they worked from a storyline. The director and actors here with "Hannah" clearly didn't. Consequently, there's no story arc. There's no arc to the characters, emotionally or otherwise. Nobody is any different at the end than they were at the beginning. At least if you watch paint dry, it's wet at the beginning and dry at the end -- and that's at least something.

The coterie of talent assembled here, by and large, do not have the talent to pull this off successfully. That's not really a slam against them; most people in the world cannot pull this off successfully.

2) The next biggest problem? Actors must be truly talented AT IMPROVISATION, to be able to do this engagingly beyond a couple minutes. These actors aren't. I don't mean to be unkind here, but being able to improvise is a particular skill in the acting arena, and not everyone has it. At least at the point this film was made, these actors -- all of them -- didn't have it. Duplass is a step above all the others, but even he doesn't pull it off as it could/should have been.

How do you know when an actor isn't really good at improvisation? Their performance doesn't grab you or entertain you. It's dull or mediocre. Part of this (but not all) has to do with non-specificity by the actor. Meaning, they're acting "generally" and without drawing upon "real" experiences. Every single performance in "Hannah" is general -- and that's due to the story being improvised, the scenes being improvised, and the actors doing NO homework/study on who they were, their characters or their backgrounds. Maybe it's because they're lazy. Or maybe it's because they don't understand what makes any performance a good or powerful performance. Even Greta Gerwig's emotional breakdown at the end is SO drab & boring & one-note that it simply does not captivate the viewer. Plus, it goes on forever, which detracts even further from the scene. Less is more. (That the director clearly didn't get.)

There's a reason certain actors are vaunted in our culture (or the world), like say, Meryl Streep. When you view any role she's ever done, her work is specific. So specific, it's captivating. Same with De Niro. Two actors, incidentally, who are notorious for studying and working on their roles before filming starts.

The actors in "Hannah" are neither captivating, nor even interesting. Which is mostly their fault, but also that of the director. With all the films the director has now done since this movie, I would hope he's better. He's far from exhibiting the talent of a Scorsese, Tarantino, Nolan, Aronofsky, etc., but perhaps he will in the future (or perhaps has with his later projects).

Lastly, I probably shouldn't be surprised given the nature of this film, but I was at the absolute lack of any make-up being used at all. Not even the use of "erace" or something similar to cover up some of the actors' acne. Two of the actors had issues with this, and it was quite distracting to see Gerwig in close-ups with a full-on pimple on her nose in a couple scenes. This isn't nor should be some "badge of honor" in the no-budget filmmaking world. Frankly, it's stupid. And so easily & cheaply remedied.

2 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
The WORST MOVIE of the 21st Century..., 31 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the worst movie of the 21st Century by directors who know better. Or should know better.

We all know that great directors will have failures -- they all do, from Scorsese to Coppola to Nolan. (No doubt some of you will disagree, but Nolan's "Inception" was fatally flawed.) And here we have the Wachowskis, who have literally made one of the greatest movies of all time ("The Matrix"), wrote an absolutely brilliant film directed by another ("V for Vendetta"), and many other accomplishments. But with "Cloud Atlas," they have made one of the worst movies ever made.

Now, non-linear storytelling is fine, if it works. Nicholas Roeg infamously used this technique successfully in a number of his films back in the '70s & '80s. If you're too young to have ever seen any of his films, then you think Quentin Tarantino is the "father" of non-linear storytelling. He's not. But Tarantino uses it quite astutely with his films, and probably no one today uses it better than him. But the Wachowskis? What DRUGS were they on when they wrote this script and/or edited this film? This is the worst use of non-linear storytelling I have EVER seen in my life. Abject failure.

The whole film is a failure, for way too many reasons to list here. I can only assume that those rating it highly, or calling it a "masterpiece" are either on the same drugs as the Wachowskis, or, they were won over by the cinematography, the special effects and the music. But these elements do not by themselves make a good or great film.

The overall problems:

SCRIPT/STORY: A mess. Not coherent, full of unmotivated actions by the characters, with plot points that don't make ANY sense, etc.

CAST: The entire cast of this film is bad. Mediocre acting from pretty much everyone, even Hanks. (Although to be fair, I think it's more the bad writing/dialogue's fault than Hanks. And the fault of the directors.)

DIRECTING: Horrible. F'ing horrible.

CINEMATOGRAPHY (and Production Design): Very nice. But I don't want to spend 3 hours watching something "nice." That's not what movies are about. If I want to look at nice images, I'll go to the f**king art museum.

So you've been warned. Watch at your own risk. As to the "point" of this story, about past/present/future lives, and how we may re-incarnate and reconnect with people we've known in other lives... I just couldn't imagine a worse execution of this premise than this film. There probably never will be a worse film done around this premise.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Total Crap!!, 27 November 2013

What a shame that Tom Hanks' company, Playtone, produced this piece of drek. This is a total whitewash of the Kennedy assassination, and a bad one.

Most of the evidence that is not congruent with the Warren Commission Report is missing from examination in this so-called "documentary." When I sat down to watch this, I thought, "Huh, Tom Hanks produced it... maybe it'll be decent." I didn't and wouldn't have expected total bullsh*t. But that's what we got.

For the few valid points raised by author Mark Lane, who believed it was more than Oswald involved, there were at least 2-3 talking heads spewing opposition -- all just hot air by people like Bugliosi. No facts, no examining of evidence, just vomit coming out of those who drank the Warren Commission's koolaid decades ago. In fact, Bugliosi at one point says Jack Ruby died of natural causes in prison -- which is a flat-out LIE. (He says this -- I guess -- to dispel the notion that Ruby sacrificed his remaining years knowing he would die -- to shut Oswald up.)

Fact is (and this is historical record, anyone can look it up), Ruby had lung cancer and died 3 years after killing Oswald. Oswald wasn't on the 6th floor shooting at Kennedy, numerous witnesses placed him in the lunchroom when the shooting occurred. Oswald's own words on news cameras when paraded by them were "I didn't do it, I'm the patsy." (Psychology 101: A lone gunman/killer who kills someone famous wants the world to know they did it. Just look at all the examples in history.)

There are hundreds of things (and eyewitnesses) that should have been in the Warren Report but weren't. There are examples of things, like: A news photo was shot of the front entrance of the book depository shortly after the gunshots. Jack Ruby is in that photo, near the entrance. But the Warren Commission CROPPED Jack Ruby OUT of the photo. WTF? Hundreds of things like this were done by the Warren Whitewashers.

Heck, look at the famous photo of Oswald supposedly holding his rifle. Look closely at the shadows of that photo. If you do, you will see that the shadows on Oswald's face do NOT match the directional shadows around him. Clearly a doctored photo. (Yes, even in 1963 before Photoshop it was possible to doctor photos.)

Bottom line: Avoid this whitewashed crap program like the plague!!

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Total Crap!!, 24 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What a shame that Tom Hanks' company, Playtone, produced this piece of drek. This is a total whitewash of the Kennedy assassination, and a bad one.

Most of the evidence that is not congruent with the Warren Commission Report is missing from examination in this so-called "documentary." When I sat down to watch this, I thought, "Huh, Tom Hanks produced it... maybe it'll be decent." I certainly didn't and wouldn't have expected total bullsh*t. But that's what we got.

For the few valid points raised by author Mark Lane, who believed it was more than Oswald involved, there were at least 2-3 talking heads spewing opposition -- all just hot air by people like Bugliosi. No facts, no examining of evidence, just vomit coming out of those who drank the Warren Commission's koolaid years ago. Avoid this crap program like the plague!!

Looper (2012)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Very Contrived!, 24 October 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As others have pointed out in reviews here, this movie is very, very contrived.

The biggest bullsh*t contrivance? Young Joe turns the gun on himself, to end the loop, save Sarah and perhaps change the future. HOWEVER, killing himself was NOT motivated. On the contrary, he's fighting for his life the entire film (after his older self outwits his younger self upon time traveling back). He repeatedly tries to kill his older self, and wants to "get right" with Abe. He's fighting the entire time to live and not be killed. Yet, now, at the end of the film, just after battling one of Abe's last men to stay alive and not be killed, he's NOW going to turn the gun on himself...???? What????

All he would have to do is just kill his older self who's 20 feet in front of him about to shoot Sarah. Kill his older self, and he SAVES Sarah and Cid. And then he can go on with his life, for the rest of his life. Simple, yeah? Any reasonable person would have made this choice.

Yet young Joe doesn't, but in fact does something unmotivated in killing himself. Makes NO sense, and destroys the movie. This last action of his is only there, I'll bet, to provide an unexpected twist. But unexpected twists must work, or the film fails.

Of course, the film was already problematic with other contrivances and story logic. But... this denouement really puts a wonderfully stupid cap on a movie that had much potential. Brilliant writing there, Mr. Johnson.

"Hostages" (2013)
29 out of 49 people found the following review useful:
Horrible show, 2 October 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I gave this show two tries, the pilot episode and the following one. The pilot wasn't the worst pilot I've ever seen, but at the very end of it, how could the doctor (Toni Collette) legitimately, possibly think that by not going through will killing the President during surgery, this would save her & her family from being killed? WHAT possible logic could she have at that point?

She returns back home, what would have stopped the assassins/crew from just wiping them all out??

There is no reason. Not a logical one. This plot, this show is SUPER CONTRIVED. I hate things that are super contrived. Allow logic to enter your brain, and the whole house (show) collapses.

Then it gets worse in the next episode. Now the whole assassination plot must be delayed, and magically the lead assassin (Dylan McDermott) is so well prepared, that he had with him GPS devices that can be implanted in each family member, to watch/track them for the next 2 weeks (until the president perhaps goes into surgery again). REALLY? You just happened to have planned for this contingency? LOL. I call bull crap. Particularly when his crew only expected this to be a 24-hour job and it would be over. And a crew that not one of them knew they'd be involved in a plot that would kill the president?

I'm sorry, but if you take criminals who have some semblance of a brain (as some of his crew displays), and all you tell them is they're committing blackmail for 24 hours and the job is over... yet then they learn it's NOT blackmail but murder, and not just a murder but murder of the highest order -- you're telling me the WHOLE CREW is going to stick around and see this out?? NO FRICKIN' WAY.

Bottom line, the writing is so bad and so trite, that various characters' motivations make NO sense, yet we the audience are supposed to believe them, because it's written that way. Who the hell are these writers? And why has Bruckheimer sunk so low, that he's producing (or his name is on) such a crap show? That's what I'd like to know.

This show will not last long.

8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
What a piece of shite!, 20 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Lars Von Trier is a moron. At least he is with this film. And he was in Cannes, too, when he said he was a Nazi. That's what I like about impromptu interviews or press conferences: You really get to see what someone is like. You get to see who someone really is, to some extent. With that press conference, we got to see that Von Trier is an idiot, and at least partially an anti-Semite -- if not a complete one.

Okay, so he wanted to make a movie about depression. Got it. Then write a f**king plot, idiot. What we get, is a camera that purposely shakes hard for 132 minutes (yes, this bad movie is THAT long), we get annoyingly continuous jump-cuts throughout, and NO plot. I think someone needs to tell this aging director, that this style of filmmaking is no longer in vogue. Some shaking of the camera, sure, but not excessively for EVERY SINGLE SECOND.

Of course, I knew this film was going to be horrible when the first 8 minutes -- yes, 8 minutes -- was a montage of slow-motion sequences that are meaningless. That really was a clue to delete the movie from my DVR right then and there. Guess I'm an idiot too, thinking "It can't be this bad throughout, can it??" (Yes, it can and was.)

The science is also non-existent, in this "real" story. A planet from outer space approaching Earth (or any body approaching Earth) is NOT going to be visible in the sky 24/7. Impossible. Yet Melancholia is visible at night, and during the day, from the estate where this all takes place. What is the Earth doing, standing still??? (Of course not.) Way to go on the science, Von Trier! Bravo. You are a *brilliant* director!! (Not.)

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Horribly written show, 25 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What promises to be a very interesting investigation into the way our brains work, and how we perceive reality, ends up being an endeavor of -- I wish I could at least say mediocrity -- but it's far worse.

For example, in the episode "Superstition," there's a segment about our beliefs about vampires. Okay, cool. We're going to find out how vampires came to be believed in by some. So we go back to the time of the Bubonic Plague in Bulgaria, when because there were so many people dying, they were getting buried in already existing graves. And as grave diggers dug up the earth for the new burials, they found some people who didn't look decomposed and had blood coming out of their mouths. Then the program's voice over says, "They believed these real vampires... (etc., etc.) and this supported the pre-existing belief that vampires existed." WHAT???

The program's voice over says the words "...these real vampires..." NO, they were not real vampires. And they began this segment leading us to believe we'd learn about the genesis of this superstition -- which we never do. Only that an incident in history gave credence to a belief at the time. This segment was HORRIBLY written. As are nearly ALL the segments I've seen now (2 show's worth).

In this same show, they have this magician who does a couple tricks. One of them is her predicting what celebrity card you'll choose. But if you follow closely what she does and what the narration says, the explanation for how the magician can "count the numbers down" to arrive at the number you chose makes no sense -- if the celebrity cards are not in the right order. Again, this segment was horrible written and done.

One of my pet peeves -- beyond the dreck produced above -- is a show that uses the SAME footage over and over, from one episode to another. This show does that in spades. I lost count the number of clips/footage in this show, from the one I watched before this. Is this show so cheaply produced, or on such a tight budget, that they have to use the same shots over & over again?? (Apparently so.)

The first show I watched of this series was not AS bad as "Superstition," but still really weak. For example, they show people on the street the famous Tiananmen Square image from 1989, where the guy stops a tank. But they doctor this image up, with crowds of people behind barricade, and then ask people to recall what they know about this scene. So everyone they interview make up all this stuff about crowds of people supporting this guy in front of the tank (because they see the crowd of people) -- all done to show how our memories are malleable and influenced by what we see. OK. Valid point. But why not show at least one person who isn't fooled by that image? Why not show at least one person who can recall what the face of a penny looks like, when presented with 9 options? (Another segment.)

They say, "No one recalled the real image of Tiananmen Square," or "No one could recall what the face of a penny looks like, even though they see it everyday." That's BS. As soon as I saw the Tiananmen Square image, I knew it had been doctored with a crowd of people. As soon as I saw the 9 options for the penny, I knew which one was the real one. My memory is not brilliant by any means, and I know lots of people watching this show would have been like me. So why have the narration be so black & white to prove their point? That is simply not needed. Not everyone on this planet is so severely memory-impaired to the point of ludicrousness.

Who knows, maybe the budget for this show is so small (I'm guessing so) that interviewing 5 street people is their max, and when they say "No one could recall..." -- it sounds like a lot but is really too small of a sample to make such grandiose claims.

This show could be a great show. But the producers/writers have produced crap. What a shame.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Bored on Wire, 22 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Good God, this is a painfully slow and boring documentary. It's talking heads for the majority of it, and the director often has more than one character in succession saying the same thing, but in their own different words. What are we, in kindergarten?? Your audience is not stupid, things don't have to be constantly repeated.

Parts of this story are told non-linearly, which is dumb. And I don't mean the current day with flashbacks/reenactments. I mean IN FLASHBACK (with current day voice-over), we get some of the non-linear storytelling. The editor should be shot for doing this, or allowing the director to dictate this. (If you've see the movie, you know what I mean.)

How this won an Oscar is beyond me. If this was the 1980's, okay, maybe I can understand the subject matter impressing the Academy's voters. But this was the late '00s, this is NOT good documentary filmmaking. IF this film was a 30 minute short, cutting out all the characters repeating themselves, and cutting out the incessant planning for the WTC walk, then it probably would have been decent. But apparently the director just got lost in being in love with characters talking, and talking about their plans, and reenactments of very unexciting moments. (Why?? Why would someone reenact unexciting moments??)

Now, if you happen to have the DVD and watch the short film in the Special Features section (the first one in the Special Features section), that short film is very entertaining. It moves, it's not boring, and you actually get MORE INSIGHT into Petit in this short film, than you do in the entire full-length documentary. That also is a failure of "Man on Wire"... that we learn so little about this man's take on life, when in fact the film should be about HIM. Not just on what he's done, but also about HIM.

Bottom line, this film is horribly directed, and while it could have been an interesting film, it's not. Skip it and watch the accompanying 15 minute short on the DVD.

My last issue, is that this film recycles the music/score from "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover." The composer really shouldn't have allowed that. It's good music, but every time it starts playing, I'm taken back to Peter Greenaway's film. Not good. This is why music scores are not repeated from one movie to another -- to avoid being identified with a previous film. Bad, bad, bad. Shame on this director.

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