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samkan

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244 reviews in total 
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3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Awesome Display of Talent Lacking Point, 30 August 2013
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Cate Blanchett will probably Oscar for her performance. Scenes stand out memorably (e.g., tears in supermarket, Saarsgard on patio, Baldwin's denial, etc.). The films goes (veers?) from amusing ("Who was that woman on plane?...), to refreshing awkwardness ("Wahddaya gonna study?...) to downright chills (Jasmine lecturing nephews in café.). I never knew Andy Dice Clay could act and am looking forward to seeing him in a bigger role. Notwithstanding, I had trouble developing empathy or sympathy for Jasmine. Almost instantly we're asked to despise her behavior, point of view, etc., which undergoes zero transformation. Indeed, the Jasmine in the last scene is the same Jasmine traveling first class in the first scene. Depiction alone; i.e. without transformation, can be artful and entertaining but that of a female in the 1% being reduced to poverty seems exploitive and pandering to crass tastes. Woody Allen is above such commercial schlock and I'll assume he was aiming for something else. But there is no "story" here. It's neither something we did not suspect nor food for thought. It dazzles though lacks substance.

Elysium (2013/I)
4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Disappointing, 20 August 2013
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hailed as this Summer's break-though extravaganza may not be saying much in a season of big budget flops. ELYSIUM has received a fair amount of critical acclaim and, yes, it has better acting, plot, writing, etc., than many films of it's ilk. But in the end ELYSIUM is just another post-apocalyptic survival movie. Matt Damon, presently risking over-exposure, does his usual fine role. Jody Foster is perfectly cast and wonderful in her role but her demise is premature and extremely disappointing. The "baddie" character is ill defined and, frankly, unnecessary. The fight scenes are chock full of the now-overused "jerky camera" technique. But again, I was led to believe there was something "special" about ELYSIUM but in the end we've the same populist tripe: Poor is good and virtuous, Wealth is evil and a conspiracy NOTE: Diego Luna is just a treat and would have been better cast in the chief of the resistance role rather than killed off so early.

Hesher (2010)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Entertainment Value But........., 3 August 2013
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hesher is fun to watch with some comical and touching scenes. All the actors perform very well, especially Devon Brochu, the young man at the center of the film and especially Piper Laurie as his grandmother. Gordon-Levitt's character's actions are funny but confusing: They're inconsistent with reality, well beyond plausibility. Unless there are no police in the subject area of California one cannot understand how Hesher continues to exist. Yet the film is not comical, surrealistic or forgiving enough to overcome such exaggeration. But by applying an undeserved suspension of reality the acting fused with the comic -and sometimes poignant- scenes will pull you in. If you're like me, merely finishing a film on Netflix assigns it merit. Pretentious Spencer Susser got lucky. Hesher is not the insightful masterpiece he may think it is, though it succeeds for other reasons.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Every Scary Movie Ever Made, 29 July 2013
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Okay, let's go over this checklist one more time! We got THE EXORCIST covered?" /Check/ "How about THE SHINING?" /Check/ "Enough stuff and folks tossed around for POLTERGEIST's sake?" /Check/ "Did we remind 'em that pets have a sixth sense?" /Check/. "Toss in the usual stopped clocks, kid's imaginary friend, bumps-in-night?" /Check/Check/Check/"Wait, this is 2013, gotta have paranormal investigators and their gizmos!" /Check/. Don't forget to sprinkle some prerecorded-footage stuff through out the film!" /Check/. "Need evil doll, dammit! We got Chuckie's sister?"/Check/. "Spread the usual cringy stuff like monsters-under-bed /Check/, dead animals /Check/ we-just-moved-here /Check/, secret passageways /Check/, underwater bodies in white gowns?" /Check/. "And, of course, we've pretended that paranormal investigation is a legitimate profession allowing a lucrative lifestyle, prestige, and scientific acceptance, right?" /Check/ "Last but not least we...hee, hee....indicated that the devil is...guffaw.....real and that.... chortle....this is a really true story, correct?" /Check/. "Okay, let's throw it at 'em. They gotta be tired of super heroes by now!"

The Attack (2012)
6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Almost An Obligation To Watch, 18 July 2013
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Having said as much in my comment's title, as a film THE ATTACK is almost perfectly done. To say the it never drags for a second is understating it's compelling drama and story telling. To say it's artfully shot, scripted and directed becomes almost unappreciated and taken for granted in light of the movies' other attributes. To say the actors are magnificent makes one wonder how come many viewers have probably never seen any of them perform before. So intriguing and intense is the work that captivating suspense is almost a by-product. Putting all of the above together would make an Oscar-worthy film if the subject matter was aliens or teen love. But the subject matter is the contemporary Middle East tragedy. Such roughly parallels the lives of the USA's baby-boom generation and tends to become invisible by, ironically, the groaning decades of conflicts, bombings and hatred blurring into episodes with interchangeable parts. For my 17 year old son sitting next to me, I truly hope THE ATTACK served as a primer on the horror and tragedy of the Middle East today. Certainly the film must instantly be recognized as a must- see not just about the Israel-Palestinian conflict but religious and cultural dogma in general. Presently the film sits in my mind for many reasons, one being as a twisted bookend to EXODUS, which I first watched almost a half-century ago. If you're a serious film buff, don't miss this work!

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Drags Then Makes Comeback, 10 July 2013
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I walked into the theater curious about how anyone could succeed in the now overused vehicle of global viral attack in general and zombies in particular. Kudos to the decision to immediately introduce the pandemic, avoiding the slow intro from carrier #1 to the rest of the population. Then WWZ curiously drags with a domestic venue period followed by a darkened screen trip to South Korea that, while ultimately providing key data, has a slow down drag effect on the forward movement. But WWZ picks up spectacularly beginning with the trip to the Middle East. Difficult thing to make such a comeback. There is unnecessary literary dialog here and there; e.g., a "Join the Team" pep talk given our hero, a pearl of wisdom offered by a Jewish senior, etc.. But the special effects, action sequences and, toward the end, suspense, ultimately won me over.

Lore (2012)
6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Arresting, Great Filmmaking!, 12 June 2013
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've written close to two hundred IMDb film COMMENTS and this is the first dedicated to my distaste of other comments, herein those of rickcafe419 and kathleen-wedderburn. Both assigned LORE a single star, as they are certainly entitled to do. But read their respective entries. Rick struggles with a blind rage at Germans in general and Nazis in particular. To him, any treatment less than INGLORIOUS BARTARDS appears insufficient to fuel outrage. He is annoyed that LORE was "designed to engender sympathy" (where did this occur?) to unspecified Germans, apparently assigning children the capacity to independently come to conclusions about good and evil. Rather, LORE did a wonderful job of, inter alia, depicting human denial and hypocrisy. These traits outrage Kathleen so she decides to hate the film for arousing her emotions. Kathleen and Rick are as certain that all Germans (kids too) were in on the atrocities as terrorists today believe all Americans participate in warmongering, drone strikes, etc. Likewise they apparently lack the understanding that circumstances painted by an artist, filmmaker, etc., do not necessarily support that person's endorsement of the attitudes, actions, etc., of the characters involved. It upsets me there exist those who, while so vehemently challenging the right to an opinion, so blatantly suggest that their opinion is better informed. In such event I may be accused of being as guilty as rickcafe419 and kathleen-wedderburn for writing this comment. But I will only go so far to say that rickcafe419 and kathleen-wedderburn's comments are better than no ones.

The Edge (2010)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Spectaculor, 9 June 2013
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There is little about THE EDGE that is not extremely well done. The setting and props are authentic and make you want to pull up a blanket to keep Siberia out. The photography and editing are topnotch; e.g., no lazy cameras, obnoxious close-ups, etc. All characters act according to their described circumstances. I'd bet the script is great but of course I was limited to subtitles. But the most intriguing item about THE EDGE is the plot; i.e., the storyline. Arguably the tale twists but whatever such may be the two lead characters are single-minded and riveted to their goals. The IMDb (and I assume the film's) poster picture is misleading as it suggests some superhero-like character with a Transformer-sized train. Such is decidedly NOT the case. However, the actual train devise becomes even more thrilling because of a plot predicament I won't give away. If I haven't already said so the male and female leads give awesome performances. I rarely gush so much about a movie but how THE EDGE slipped under the critics radar baffles me. Doctor Zhivago has nothing on this film. I predict great things for Anjorka Strechel.

LolliLove (2004)
Light Fun, 31 May 2013
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched this nine years after it was made; i.e., post Jenn Fischer fame. Although nothing daring or inventive (Hollywood airheadedness has been spoofed since...well, Hollywood.) Gunn and Fischer play off one another so very well and manage to come off marginally believable in a satire that is decidedly unbelievable. Interestingly, the use of profanity is put to great effect to contrast people who have deluded themselves yet momentarily step into the real world and therein swear like sailors. Had you asked me in 2004 I'd have guessed Gunn would be the one placed in a hit TV show, though Fischer shows some real acting chops here (in fairness, THE OFFICE never challenges Jenn). In contrast to one of the COMMENTERS suggestion that LOLILLOVE might have been made longer to achieve feature length, I think editing off 10 or fifteen minutes would better serve the work. Would like to see these two in another spoof though that'll never happen as they were married when LOLLILOVE was made but are now divorced. I'm wondering if the wedding footage in LOLLILOVE was the real thing.

21 out of 39 people found the following review useful:
Pandering and Contrived, 20 May 2013
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'd have totally panned TOTL if not infatuated with the beautiful Elizabeth Moss. Peter Mullen is always great and Holly Hunter never less than fun But there's nary an original idea here. The whole format isn't just borrowed but lifted from David Lynch's TWIN PEAKS, herein relocated to New Zealand. The "detective on loan" device is as tired as it is inauthentic. The "weirdo" elements are provided by Hunter's traveling guru group who supply much of the gratuitous nudity in the form of older women far better left clothed. Mullen is the tortured sullen baddie who is, of course, simply misunderstood. Real villain can be seen a mile away. Moss' love interest is a tattooed slacker who we never get into. No facet of TOTL is less interesting than the main plot item and we quickly lose interest in the poorly cast youths. There's no passion behind this effort, which seems to be a manipulating effort to tweak our sense of "cool". Same old stuff: Good equals youth and innocence. Bad is old and in- the-way. But I can watch Miss Moss through seven episodes!


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