18 Reviews
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Heroes (II) (2006–2010)
Best new show of the year...
25 October 2006
This show is a pleasure to watch. So far, "Heroes" is well scripted and paced; has a cast that is easy on the eyes and entertaining; and functions as Science Fiction that does beat you over the head with deep histories and nerdy-ness. The key words are "So far" though. This is the same way I felt about "Lost" when it started and that show is quickly coming apart at the seams.

"Heroes" is the story of a scattered group of people, who are separately discovering that they have special abilities and perhaps share a destiny. To me, it is a blend of X-men and Unbreakable. These people might have super-powers, but they are not yet super-heroes. They have normal problems and lives which are just exacerbated by their new abilities.

The show is clearly well funded by NBC the effects, writing and settings are top notch. And if "Heroes" keeps pulling in 18-30 year olds they way it is now, it will be around for a long time. The writing is following a central storyline, which in comic book style, centers on saving planet earth from destruction.

When you take everything as a whole this show has all the makings of a TV pop culture hit. The bonus for us is that it seems to a brain as well. They just need to keep it on track and it can be a classic.
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Battlestar Galactica (2004–2009)
Simple: the BEST show currently on TV...
23 October 2006
Battlestar Galactica is so well done that it will leaving you wonder why all other TV shows, and Sci-fi in general, can not be this good.

The cast of characters is deep, complex and sexy. You'll love the heroes to death and you will love to hate their enemies with the white hot passion of a thousand suns.

The writing is smart (they even found a nice way to curse on basic cable). The camera work is more than your simple static TV standards. And the action scenes are as good as any big budget space movie.

This is the re-birth of a not so hot, '70's, cheese show. Battlestar which tells the story of a small group of human refugees, floating through space after the apocalyptic revenge of their once subservient robots, Cylons. Through the stars, this small group is still pursued by their creations, who have evolved to appear human.

Unlike other sci-fi, which is built on distant histories, odd creatures and inhuman concepts, BSG built on the characters and their struggle with what it is to be 'human'.

As another review said, this truly is Sci-fi for grown ups. Start from the beginning, with the Mini-Series and catch up quick, because Battlestar Galactica is worth your time, it is heading somewhere special, and it keeps getting better every week.

Again, the best show on TV... it will have you on the edge of your seat and jumping out of it.
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One of the most deserving Oscar winners in years...
27 July 2005
A few years back, I came to the conclusion that if you really want to know how great a movie is, have someone tell you the ending... if you watch it and are still enthralled by it, then it's probably pretty good. It's an unfortunate test really, because I love suspense in movies, but quiet true. It began when I first saw Apollo 13. I knew the history, yet i still sat on the edge of my seat, stupidly holding my breath, wondering if the crew would survive re-entry. Now a number of people told me how Million Dollar Baby ended, and dare I say it made the movie better in someways.

Eastwood creates some of the most human and endearing characters ever produced on film. I feel in love with every single one and simply found myself hoping everyone had lied to me. That somehow my copy of the film would be different... it was not. This is a touching and perfect film. Mr. Eastwood, the director, creates his most artful and technically skilled film yet, cementing himself among the great directors of all time. Swank has become the best/least known actresses in the history of film. An actress with the ability to become her role. All this is guided by the smooth voice of Freeman, making for 2 of the best hours film has produced in the past few years.

A beautiful film.
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Garden State (2004)
Our Graduate... a wonderful film.
4 January 2005
Sure it's a lofty comparison, but it's one that has to be made and Garden State measures up. Braff really does create what could be the quintessential coming of age film for this generation. The story of a suburban kid who returns home to find it just the way he left it, and realizes, he may have out grown the place and the people.

Portman and Raff (not to mention the wonderfully vibrant supporting cast) give great heartfelt performances, and his writing will ring true with anyone who has faced that moment of having to let go of "home." Partially because of all the crap Hollywood puts out, I kept waiting for the melodramatic twists to happen, but they never do and the movie is better for it. The film reminds me of a more sedate Kevin Smith style, character and dialogue based… must be something in the Jersey water… strike that Jersey water will just kill ya. Anyway, this is a beautiful film that may seem to drag at the start, but is really just it's character waking up to life and taking the audience with him. One of my favorites this year, with a great soundtrack.

(oh and if you are not watching it already, catch Raff on SCRUBS... best comedy on TV.)
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Taking Lives (2004)
Someone has a Netflix subscription and no talent...
27 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
because basically, 'Taking Lives' is a train wreck, retread of sooooo many thrillers, that too list them might violate IMDB's words limit.

Jolie is the beautiful and brilliant fbi agent, with a masculine last name and the skill to "get inside killers minds." What those in the "know" call a "profiler." Sound familiar yet???

She is summoned to Montreal... which is actually Quebec City... and is actually populated by French cops who are helpless to stop a killer that is leaving them clues and odd witnesses all over the place. She ofcourse figures out the "pattern" in the first half hour or so and then spins her wheels for the next hour and a half, getting herself into one obvious jam after another. The killer is killing people and then living their lives. Gee I bet this all ties back to his mom not loving him. And I am not even getting near the patented twist ending.

This last complaint might be a bit of a spoiler, so don't read on if you want to experience the badness yourself, just know the Jolie nude scene is needless and yet the highlight of the movie. A very disappointing follow up to "The Salton Sea." (go rent that for a good crime flick)

To me the most glaring and annoying plot-whole of the film is that, they set up the killer's mother who has not seen him since he was a boy, but can instantly recognize her son's eyes. Then they have a suspect/witness in custody. But the genius fbi agent never bothers to show dear old mommy dearest a picture of the man. I mean come on. This is just a bad flick. How DO they get made?
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Timeline (2003)
FANTASTIC!! No matter what they all say.
9 August 2004
I usually consider myself a decent judge of movies, but apparently I am way out on an island... a deserted island which has yet to be discovered by man when it comes to Richard Donner's Timeline, because I loved it.

It is a time travel movie in the spirit of 'Quantum Leap,' and it is one of the few time travel movies that actually makes SENSE when you REALLY think about the chain of events. Now, yes the characters are sort of thin and yes it is one action scene after the next, but most movies are, and most have half the brains.

One small aspect of the film that shows Donner's great touch is the way those "paper thin" characters react when they kill someone for the first time. I love in other action movies when the nerd turns into an action star and suddenly he can kill off 10 guys and not bat an eye. Donner doesn't let his characters get away that easy. When these normal people are forced to kill, we actually see them feel it and react like... well probably like you and I would react. This is realism is reflected two other places as well, which make Timeline stand out from other typical flicks.

When the characters talk, they actually sound like normal people, instead of sounding like a writer sat there for hours and said "what would sound REALLY COOL right here." AND (baring one instance) when the bad guy meets the good guy and there is that stand off which leads to the BOND-esc, lock him up so he can escape in the next seen moment... well Donner actually has the bad guy haul off and just kill the good guy sometimes. (not any of the beautiful people of course... I mean it still is a movie)

And the corny "TBS like" actions scenes (as Ain't it Cool News put it) are in actuality, are fantastic. Donner didn't upload his battles from some Californication Apple G4 harddrive... the man went out, built catapults, built bows, and hurled flaming debris across the night sky. The results are fight scenes that rival any blockbuster, yet actually FEEL real. Let's see lucas and his green screen nerds do that.

To me the biggest thing Timeline has going for it is a brain... maybe that's why people don't like it, they don't get it. This is a well constructed and to me impressive tale. I was pleasantly surprised.
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The Village (2004)
A mixed bag, but still rather good.
1 August 2004
The Village is by far the weakest of M. Night's last four films... but even with that, his latest tale is an engrossing, well acted picture.

Yes, there is a twist and no it is not that good of one, but to me, basing the whole film on the twist is a crime.

This time M creates a LOVE STORY. While love has been at the root of his previous four flicks as well, this understated romance is far more moving than it's predecessors. Joaquin Phoenix, as the stoic Lucius Hunt and new comer Bryce Dallas Howard as the breathtaking Ivy Walker create such a powerful bond of young love that this movie becomes a pleasure to watch.

Add in the other great performances, the BEAUTIFUL camera work, some political questions and a few (and i do mean few) scares and you've got a movie that is far better than most. So no, the village is not as good as i would have hoped... but it's still pretty damn good.

(for anyone who remembers the scene in Last of the Mohicans when the younger sister jumps off the cliff... it's that kind of love. Bryce Howard, daughter of Ron, is going to be a star... a very big star.)
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Mad About You (1992–1999)
Makes me want to run out and get married.
9 June 2003
This show is a classic. The seven season story of two neurotic New Yorkers, Paul and Jamie, as they fumble their way through love and marriage. In-laws, illegal cable, English neighbors, brushing their teeth, buying a parking space, remembering their first meeting and their VERY first meeting; this couple is adorable, touching and utterly hilarious in everything they do.

In the leads Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt have the best chemistry since Ricky and Lucy. Truth be told, you either fall in love with Paul and Jamie right away or not at all. But once you do fall for them, you will wish their marriage, was your marriage. Now available on DVD, check it out.
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X2 (2003)
2 May 2003
Singer handles the comic myths about as perfectly as anyone could have. This is not just a popcorn flick made buy some budget hack director, this is a filmmaker at work. His characterization and attention to detail is breathtaking. This is as good as a Summer Blockbuster can possibly get. I pity everyone who has to try and follow in these huge footsteps.
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Like life; it's heartbreaking, funny and touching all at once.
14 March 2003
Moonlight Mile is loosely inspired by writer/director Brad Silberling's own experiences. He was dating actress Rebecca Schaeffer at the time she was killed by an obsessed fan in 1989.

The film is set in the early 70's and centers around Joe Nast (Jake Gyllenhaal), a young man who's fiancee has been killed. He quickly finds himself playing surrogate son to the girls grieving parents (Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon). Moonlight examines the stress of moving on and how people relate to each other when the things they share in common are taken away. It's also an interesting and different take on how we all react to death.

The film is touching and well written. It is in truth a comedy that happens to center around a tragedy. Silberling creates a beautiful tapestry of Cameron Crowe-esc characters that are a joy to be with, but just happen to be going through a dark period in their lives. The cast is amazing and it is a shame the Academy has such short memories. Also like Crowe's films, it features a wonderful rock inspired score.

The personal nature of the subject matter comes through, creating a poignant, but more importantly truthful film about the grieving process. While thoughts of death may scares off many viewer, it shouldn't. You may need a few tissues, but over all Moonlight Miles provides more laughs than tears.
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Tigerland (2000)
Among the best of 2000. Superbly acted.
13 March 2003
TIGERLAND covers ground well treed, grunts suffering through boot camp on their way Vietnam and war they don't want to be in. Still, this film is fresh and should rank among the best war films made over the past decade. There are really two reasons for this.

The first is a baffling one, the Director Joel Schumacher. A man who directs such crap as Bad Company, 8MM and the franchise derailing Batman & Robin, shows a flash of his potential brilliance. Schumacher creates a beautiful, 16mm style that places us IN the boot camp with the characters, without drawing from the story. Tigerland seems to prove necessity is the mother of invention, shot with a reported $7 million dollar budget, Schumacher does wonders.

But what really makes this movie, is Collin Farrell. He has a truly breakthrough performance as Bozz, a young man rebelling against army training and himself. Before getting to the big time in Minority Report and Phone Booth (also Schumacher), Farrell was discovered here. Bozz should go down as a classic unlikely hero, in the vein of The Cooler King. It's a moving and brilliant performance.

With Hollywood breaking the bank and turning out junk, they should take a lesson from TIRGERLAND. It's gritty, beautiful film, with great performances.
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Old School (2003)
I almost wet myself! This movie is why I hate most critics!
22 February 2003
This move is stupid. It is also the hardest I've laughed in a theater since My Big Fat Greek. (By the way Old School has more laughs.)

You can't trust critics about movies like this and I hope people don't. I went with seven friends, guys and girls, and we were all crying, we laughed so hard. Now a days most films' funniest moments are followed by the thought, `Oh, I saw that in the commercial.' With Old School you think that... and then something even more gut-bustingly hilarious happens. Wilson, Vaughn and Ferrell are funnier than they have ever been. And their supporting cast is stocked with character actors who are perfect. (Even Andy Dick is funny in this movie.)

I understand that not everyone is going to love Old School. But critics need to learn that not everything is The Hours. Sometimes it is okay to just have a little, stupid fun. It seems now a days, critics write reviews for two reasons; First to get their name in a commercial (I'm talking to you Peter Travers!) and secondly, for other critics. They have forgotten who they are writing the reviews for. They have forgotten to use an objective eye. Reviewing Old School and saying it's stupid is like reviewing a Cartoon and calling it immature. It is stupid... it's supposed to be stupid. Most critics have let the kid in them die (and even before it was dead I am betting that kid got beat up, a lot). Old School is hysterical. Lighten up, watch it and almost wet yourself.
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The bastard child for a reason.
19 February 2003
Imagine, if you will your oldest brother becomes Pope... your second oldest brother then cures cancer... and you, the baby, are an accountant.

This is the fate of Godfather III. It follows in the footsteps of what could be two of the greatest films of all time. Add to that; casting, set and script problems, and you have your explanation why very few people acknowledge its existence.

Sophia Coppola belongs behind the camera and not in front of it, we all know that. But you can't just write that off as a small detail. She is supposed to be one of the driving forces in this film, and she is horrible. Imagine I & II with a young Chevy Chase trying to play Sonny ... (shivers!). The spectacular supporting cast of mob characters is missing as well. Replaced with bland filler rolls.

Having just watched III, for the first time in a long time, I also find that this film, unlike the last two, lacks the charm and flavors of its supposed time period, 1979. When you watch I & II you can't just tell the time period, you feel it. It was a character, especially in II where we are jumping back and forth. In III it could take place in the 70's, 80's even the 90's. Coppola never places us in the era. Lord knows the costumes are not circa '79.

Finally the script. It has two great actors in Pacino and Garcia (who should be a huge star), but it lacks key aspects which make I & II great writing and cultural icons. The classic one liners (`leave the gun, take the canolli's' or `I'll make him an offer he can't refuse') are gone. All anyone remember is Pacino's pull me back in line. Also it strays too far from the gangster genre, instead getting buried in random acts of blasphemy and Catholic guilt. It's one thing to walk in with a gun and knock off a few high placed gangsters, but the Vatican is probably a bit more strict on firearms. And can you even really stab someone with plastic glasses.

Over all, Godfather III is a beautifully shot film, which provides and end to Michael's story. And for fans of the first two, it was fun in a way to travel down memory lane. But in the end that is what you are left with... a film trying to reminisce and rekindle the magic of the past, that winds up constantly reminding you that it is not as good, tight or original as its predecessors. Godfather III is the bastard child, and deservedly so.
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My So-Called Life (1994–1995)
Perfect. Proof a long run does not mean quality.
4 December 2002
My So-Called Life is one of those instant classics. A brilliant show, it just came along at the wrong time and was subsequently canned after one season. But that only adds to it's legend and in a small way makes the series even more enjoyable now on DVD. The writing never got a chance to waiver. There was never really a bad episode. The cast never had to grow up and face "the college years" or even prom. Instead we are left with this one season, this one year of high school, with a brilliant group of characters who are locked forever in youth.

The shows are great. Claire Danes took the Golden Globe and was nominated for an Emmy. And when you compare this one series with two High School dramas it was sandwiched between; the richy richy farce of the early 90s' Beverly Hills 90210 and the glossy junk of the late 90s' Dawson Creek, you see how true, poignant and amazing these 19 hours My So Called Life truly are.

This was a real classic. That it was canceled so quickly only proves Networks know NOTHING about quality.
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Sting and the police should sue...
25 September 2002
This want to be Manhunter (1986), is an uninspired police procedural flick. I had heard this was a smart film and a change for Sandra Bullock, well they were sort of half right. Bullock channels the spirt of her role in Ms. Congeniality and gives her a few more scars, mental and physical. In the area of smarts this film really falls short. Two high school kids pull off `the perfect crime'.... oh did I forget to mention one of them pukes on the crime scene. Chief Wigam could have nailed these two. We know who the killers are from the start, we know the crime, we see how they did it and we know all their mistakes... the only thing we don't know is when this movie will finally end and who ends up dead. I kept sitting there waiting for a brilliant twist and it never came. I have seen Law & Order episodes that were more intelligent and more disturbing. These kids seem less scary and more like confused, crazy, wimps. In all, this movie leaves you feeling robbed, there is no mystery to solve and there are no thrills.
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Signs (2002)
What if Hitchcock directed an "X-files" episode??
9 August 2002
Answer: he would make this movie. Everything about this movie is subtle; the lighting, the acting, the special effects and most importantly the HORROR. I avoided every commercial, review and preview for this movie and it paid off. Mel Gibson is a farmer with kids and crop circles, was all I knew and all I wanted to know. This movie is terrifying. Shyamalan has become a master of tension. He creates great characters, blends mystery, with horror, warm and humor like he has been make movies all his life (he has by the way).

If you like Hitchcock, if you like the X-files, or if you just like a

good scare, you will love this movie.

**see the movie then come back and read this last part...

What I love about Shyamalan's films is that all three major releases, Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs, are total fiction; a ghost story, a comic book and alien sci-fi. But he handles them with such plausibility that they we connect effortlessly to them and are touched by them. Whether the emotion be fear or sympathy we feel for these sci-fi characters, because they act like real people. We let them get to us faster. After you get past the shock of the twisted endings, the films take on a new feel. Signs is what would ACTUALLY happen if alien landed in your backyard. No laser blasters, no fast acting military, no scientist or flashing ships. A family barricaded in their house watching the news. Someone I saw this film with complained that all they did was watch tv in the movie. Well I think we all remember sept 11th, what happened... we all planted ourselves down and watching thinks unfold on a small screen. Shyamalan's three films are fantastical, but grounded in reality. Because of this, things like swings, end tables, dogs barking and train stations, things familiar to our everyday, have the power to thrill or terrify us. I hope M. Night is around for a very long time.

Go see Sign.
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An American Classic.
17 July 2002
This is truly one of the greatest animated films ever made. It's the story of Hogarth; an imaginative, young boy, growing up with out a father, at the height of the 'red scare.' When he crosses paths with a alien robot fallen to Earth an amazing friendship, adventure and education begins.

This is a heartfelt, E.T.-like tale which should be a classic in every child's video collection. It teaches of acceptance, non-violence and true friendship while never hitting you over the head with morality or gitty music numbers. But what makes this film even more amazing is that it is just as entertaining for adults, as it is for kids.

In 1999, two classic animated films were released; one by the goliath of animation, Disney, and the other by Warner Brothers. Toy Story 2 went on to gross over $200 million, while The Iron Giant grossed only $23 million. America missed this film while it was in theaters, but we have a second chance on video. Get this film for your children... for yourself. I assure you, Hogarth and his Iron Giant will win a permanent place in your video collection and your hearts.
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An Instant Classic . . .
10 August 2000
The smartest, slickest crime drama to come to the screen in years, maybe ever. In the tradition of Chinatown and Double Indemnity this instant classic, follows five career criminals as they seek to pull off one simple heist as revenge against the NYPD. But when Keyser Soze, "the devil himself" enters their plans, all they can do is try and survive. Don't even blink, this mystery doesn't stop for moment. The actors give the performs of their careers, capped by Kevin Spacey's Oscar winning performance as Verbal Kint and the often over looked Benicio Del Toro as Fenster. I would put this up against any film out there.
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