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Falling Skies (2011)
This is a review based on watching all the seasons and from loving most of the first season I've become more and more dismayed by the writing since then.
I start to really care about a character (or hate them), then without any clear explanation that character is suddenly completely different. The latest example of this is that Anne the gentle doctor in the first season is suddenly the military leader of her small group looking for Lexi. She's making all the tactical decisions and ordering the much more experienced fighters around AND they're obeying her! Its totally ridiculous and there's no explanation of how this came about.
Also Pope is totally incomprehensible. He was one of the group who imprisoned and raped Maggie yet he's never actually been called to answer for this brutal behavior and since the first season, the writers can't seem to decide who he is. Is he the vicious rapist OR is he the villain with a "heart of gold". They seem to be leaning toward the latter assessment, but anybody who's watched the whole series isn't going to forget what he did!
Finally, how on earth can people so easily forget (and forgive) people like Lourdes who actually murdered several people. Yes she was "under the influence" of the Espheni but her crimes were so horrific that how could the group around her forget? I would probably want to stay as far away from her as possible. Well at least she's dead.
I'm still watching the show because I care about the Masons, but I wish the producers and writers had more respect for the fans' intelligence and would stop jerking us around!
Close Encounters (2014)
For Beginners Only!
Having read and seen a lot about UFO sightings, I was hoping this show would be informative and interesting. However all it does is rehash already widely known cases - and poorly! It's a 30 minute show which devotes all of 15 minutes to some of the most intriguing encounters ever. If you are totally new to this subject, you may find this interesting but I suggest that everyone else stay away.
There are some interviews with "experts" but none with the actual experiencers and they don't even show photos (except briefly at the end) of the people involved. I wonder why this show even exists. I don't mind hearing about old cases as long as they provide new insights or information - but this show doesn't!
The only plus is that the graphic representations of craft are very compelling. In fact these are the only reason I've watched a few of these shows. Of course, I have no way of knowing if the representations are close to what was actually seen, but they are "pretty" as an earlier reviewer mentioned.
Time and Again (2007)
Excellent script on a budget
I was really pleasantly surprised by this film. I didn't have any high expectations, but I'm fascinated by time travel and will watch anything built around it. This script was really interesting especially in using the idea of parallel universes, but I kept thinking how much better the movie would have been if more had been done with it. I figure that a lot of this had to do with budget. Stripped down scenes (i.e. the whole original accident scenario being condensed into one talk between Anne and her psychiatrist) could have been fleshed out and shown on screen. Also, It bugged me that "Anne" seemed to always be wearing the same, or very similar clothing and that her hairstyle never changed. Again I put this down to budget, but it was noticeable.
Brooke Burns was quite good but some of the other actors were marginal. The woman playing her psychiatrist was unconvincing and the couple owning the bed and breakfast seemed a bit corny. Although the "simple" young man acted okay, his role was never explained effectively.
I think this script was good enough to have been made into a feature with a few tweaks and a topnotch production team behind it. Some of the plot twists were obviously telegraphed (Susan being dead in the second scenario) and could have been more delicately handled. Also, I think the child predator story line was really lame.
But overall, there was a strong structure to the plot and the ending was satisfying. Maybe, it will be made again with everything just a little better. I'd be happy to see it.
Best prisoner of war drama ever made!
I watched this whole series on TV and have most of it on tape and think it's the finest, most realistic and most involving series about prisoners under the Japanese during WWII. I've seen almost every film and tv series made on this subject and TENKO is the best!
The actors are consistently wonderful and their circumstances truly harrowing. Anyone who is interested in what prisoners-of-war (and in this case, particularly women) went through will love this show.
I just wish it were available on tape in the US. My tapes were made from television and the quality is poor. I would buy this in a minute if it came in the format used here.
Conspiracy Theory (1997)
Mel Gibson wonderful, chemistry with Julia Roberts tops
The thing that stands out for me in this movie is the wonderful (and underrated) performance given by Mel Gibson. His part calls for an uneasy balance between a paranoid psychotic and romantic leading man and he treds that fine line beautifully. Despite all his craziness, he is totally likeable and his relationship with the Julia Roberts character is wonderfully complex and believable. Julia Roberts also gives an excellent performance and the chemistry between the two leads is perfect.
All in all, I loved this film and didn't understand why it was so underrated by the critics.
The Patriot (2000)
Good adventure but flawed history.
Although, the film was enjoyable and the actors excellent, I felt that the script was written with 21st century attitudes, not 19th. Often dialogue was glaringly modern as for example when a character says "It's a free country (pause), or at least it will be". This is a modern phrase and I doubt that anyone in the middle of a revolution in that time would have ever even thought in these terms.
Also, I felt that African-American characters and their interactions with the white characters were treated in a "politically correct" modern idiom, rather then a 19th century one.
As a lover of history and with a special interest in the revolutionary era, I found these types of errors really irritating, and although I can recommend the film as a good adventure, it has very little to do with reality.