Reviews written by registered user
|465 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I see great things in America for Chris Lilley. I'm watching Summer
Heights High in America on our HBO cable network and this show is
hilarious! Chris Lilley's characters are indicative of high school
personalities we've all know/known no matter what part of the world
you're in. I'm especially fond of the "head of dramatic arts". It
doesn't matter what the title is - people like this go power hungry
with very little power given. This is a perfect example.
Ja'mie, well, you just want to slap her she's so pretentious. And my other favorite Jonah - you just know he's going to grow up to be Governor-General someday. So its fun to see those high school days.
I'm enjoying this show and I'm looking forward to the weekly episodes. Besides that, I'm looking forward to see what else Chris Lilley has up his comedic sleeve!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Another film favorite that was programmed on the Los Angeles Based Z
Channel, this was one that I kinda remembered, but had forgotten -
basically because of its sadness, and because it was shown in its
original language with subtitles. At that time, original foreign films
shown in subtitles aren't usually tops on the list of young movie
watchers at the time. So I had the opportunity to watch the 3 hour
movie recently again, older, wiser and much more interested, and I'm
glad I did. I remembered it. This is...a good film. Better impacted in
the 80's before we all knew what we know now, but it still does holds
This is a film of a man who fell in love with the most unpredictable woman he'd ever met. Her unpredictability attracted him, made him fall in love her, and that unpredictability was daring and unique. Going back to that time in the 80's who knew that she was more than just an unpredictable free spirit, she was on the brink of insanity and was losing her grip on what she thought she could control. He did too. And what you have here is a stunning film of love and acceptance of a strong life force entering a dull life and making that life realize that there WAS more to life than what he was living.
There is no doubting how the palate of the colors of this film is also central in telling the story, so as you watch, do pay attention for I think its deliberate. And I did love watching Betty as she was not "flawless" but as natural and beautiful as one could be with the nudity involved in the film. (That's why in my reviews I keep using the word "real"). There's some nudity but due to the pacing of the film, it just didn't bother me as nudity for nudity's sake, but just a part of the life these two lovers led.
Some will feel that 3 hours is a long time to look at a film, and it can be. But I've sat through 3 hour plus films such as Fanny & Alexander, Heaven's Gate and Das Boot back in the hey-day of the "Z" Channel - and because I found interest in them, the time flew by. Same with this one. It will grab your attention until the end.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am a fan of foreign films for they go directly to areas that American
Cinema "dances" around or softens sometimes just to make sure box
office receipts wont be affected. Make no mistake, this film may
offend, confuse but most of all make you discuss it's flaws or its
potential brilliance. For me, its familiar to flawed.
The first thing I have to point out that does add to the flaw is the American translation of the film's title. I am no French Language expert, but the translation of the title "Fat Girl" for American Audiences to the French words "With My Sister" means a lot to how one would interpret this film. The latter title is more fitting than the first - and that could be where those who see the film discover points of confusion.
For me, it was a "coming of age" tale that involves two sisters on vacation with their parents - one sister pleasantly thin, the other, obnoxiously fat. The film takes great pains to make sure the viewer is aware of the fat and thin differences. But it also gives you a glimpse into the heart of female siblings, one of the only redeeming characteristics of this film for me.
What comes between them besides food and the obligatory "take your sister with you anywhere you go" mandate is...a man. Nothing new here. Nothing new about this tale of coming of age of sexual discovery in female adolescence. And nothing new about the rivalry and jealousy between two sisters - be them fat or thin, younger or older on this subject. That interaction was clear and honest, and was the best part of the film for me.
Where the film drops from that peak into something so questionable is the ending of the film that begs to ask the question - "Why go there?". Is the director making a commentary on today's society as a whole? To make the viewer go back and look at the events of this family and how there wasn't any way for them to come to a conclusion of the events of this vacation other than this? Or was it for the viewer to pinpoint how ignored, alone and mentally abused this character was? This is something to talk about and discuss, I don't think with any clear endings albeit symbolic, abstract or spot on. Unnecessary...? Or more of an artistic license that is way over the top to make a small point?
This is a film for all who view will see that everyone has an opinion. It's fine that film can do that, and I love when it does. But on the other hand, this is not a foreign film I would care to remember or recommend unless I tacked on the phrase: "...if you have nothing else to see, check this one out."
Hilarious. Simply hilarious.
If anyone stops to look at this program for a few moments, it's easy to tell that this is a show about male entrepreneurs who've found another shallow hole to keeping some folks chasing after that "forever beauty" - this time with indoor tanning. It'll be no big surprise that "Sunset Tan" will be a mere passing-fad, an afterthought in a year or two. But for now, sit back and watch the fun.
Come on. You know this show hasn't any social redeeming value whatsoever. It's entrepreneurial greed for two middle aged men; it's superficial young folks just starting to work and learning a bad things about business along the way and quick beauty for those who chase after that sort of thing. Of course, it HAS to be in Los Angeles/Las Vegas so folks in other states can point and say "I told ya so!". (Turst me, there are decent families and young adults in both places, this is just a very small segment of people.)
What makes this "reality-bit" somewhat entertaining is watching these superficial folks trying to convince an audience of 'running a business' with the 'private lives' of these ultra fake human beings. Not many people who view are that dense. It's simple: There are those who think being a bit darker makes them more beautiful and will pay for the quick fix, just like BOTOX, et al. Bully for them - until the next fad comes along and these folks will move over and jump to that - just like sheep. The folks working their lives are about as interesting as anything else without substance and meaning.
And the managers? They've got to be kidding if they think that running a Sunset Tan store is akin to being Store Manager at...lets say...WalMart. In other words, increasing Sunset Tan's sales are nothing to loose sleep over. It's a niche market, small and select clientèle. That's why the window for sales opportunity is narrow-and its best to get young, empty headed, oblivious pretty young adults to buy into it. WalMart, well...ya know.
What I do enjoy about Sunset Tan: the 'Olly' girls (Molly and Holly). Only reason I watch. Without them - crappy show. You know what Molly and Holly are about. No pretension at all. And yes, I vote they should get their own show.
Everyone should watch if they do get their own show (you know they will!). You'll learn a very valuable lesson: Doesn't matter how much education you have, how much experience you have - let those two dim bulbs step in to your place of employment -- and someone's job security is crap. The employer who'll hire them will always find SOMETHING for them to do. They will always take credit for someone else's work as their own. They are the ones that will ALWAYS get a "new title" or "promotion". Stop wondering why - you'll SEE why on this show.
Try not to take yourselves TOO seriously Sunset Tan...if all we like are the "olly" girls...you know what's going to happen next.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't remember much marketing of this film when it came out, and I
stumbled upon it during one of my "nothing on TV" nights - but I am so
glad I did. This is a truly under-watched film - a Cohen Brothers film
through and through of black comedy & film noir.
Black Comedy?!? You bet. I found myself chuckling at parts...you're actually are supposed to chuckle at, and then become emotionally torn at parts that you wont see coming. That's a Cohen brothers staple, that and the quirky-almost real life characters.
Ed Crane (Billy-Bob Thorton) is a ..."quiet man". Usually, those are the ones we see running a muck on the evening news doing something so horrific, you never believe it. So is the case here. He's a barber, married to the bookkeeper (Frances McDormond) of the town's hoity-toity stores - Nerdlingers (come on, the name alone deserves a chuckle!). Ed works in the barbershop with his wife's brother - who can't stop talking for a moment (Cohen's mainstay Michael Badalucco who's always great in their films!) One day, opportunity walks through the door of the barbershop - and this sparks a 'fire' in Ed we come to find out has been dead for years. Dead...not "non-existant". That's the paradox of Ed Crane. But it also puts events into motion that makes this a twisted tale of greed, money, mayhem & pathos that only the Cohen Brothers could make in this manner.
One of the characters that comes along later in the story, the hot-shot, overly expensive attorney Freddie played by Tony Shalhoub, is marvelous, and is my favorite of the film. Listen to what he says as he puts together his defense strategies. And his scenes are dramatically lit - hits right on the film noir genre.
Scarlett Johnansen is just adorable as the 'sweet little innocent piano playing' teen "Birdy" - but what I found even more interesting was the short but pivotal part played by Adam Alexi-Malle as Jacques Carcanogues. Everyone is a critic and his critique of Birdy is quite ingenious for if you listen closely you can get whats coming later before it surprises you.
There are tons of parts like these from James Gandolfini to Christopher McDonald that garner your interest as they are each important to unveiling the life of Ed Crane and those around him. Ed is not a complex man, just a quiet one. He didn't live a complex life, just a deceptive one.
One more thing I adore about this film is its "quietness." Beethoven's underlying score ads to the film immensely, but this quietness speaks volumes as well. Again, a truly under-watched film - and I hope movie lovers find this and fall in love with it as I have.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a piece of history right in your face: Advertising and how it
began to shape "everything we are" right at the dawn of...television.
A lot of the references in AD Men are things you (have/had/will) see in media classes/advertising classes and justifiably so. New York was one of the places to be in the late 50's early 60's for advertising and it did change the world thanks to...television and its mass communication.
Here you have focus on one agency and the lives of those who have to constantly think of ideas and slogans to make crap look like shinola and give you a sense of "Happiness" every time you see it. So you'll do what? BUY IT. Men selling to women. Men selling to men -- and the dawn of a new medium that will send the advertising world into the biggest forum of their lives in anything and everything they do: television. Oh, what a wonderful time to be an ad 'man'.
That is - unless you were an ad man during that time. This was not a fun job. (Still isn't). You see the trials for having to be "creative" every single moment, the tolls it took on these men and their families, the back-biting, writer's block, the brown-nosing and the COMPETITION. Oh yes, there's a crap load of competition (Wait until the Mid-west gets into the game!)and everyone's neck is on the line, every minute of everyday.
But what I find most interesting in MAD Men is the "women" in and around Advertising. And since this is the late 50's early 60's, we wont see much of women in the top offices in Advertising for a long, long, long time. Sadly, it still is a rare thing today. Not as many as it should be women owned AD firms or women CD's or AD's! (And the same goes for African Americans, Hispanics and Asians in Advertising Offices/Agenies. Rare still - and this show actually shows you WHY.)
There is an gem of an episode where a woman who heads a department store was highly upset with the boring ideas these men in this ad agency had. She wanted her store to compete and be on the level of "Tiffanys", they wanted to give out "coupons for the housewives". When she voiced her view of how crappy and unimaginative this was, 'Don Draper' of the agency said, "I will not allow a woman to speak to me that way." Take note. Advertising then, advertising...now. That's the beauty of this show.
The smoking and drinking will offend some viewers - and it should, now. Don't pick up your pen and write your disgust to AMC. This is history. That's what they DID. And they are NOT trying to make those who watch think it's something they should do NOW. (If you think so, well, you've fallen into the advertising trap they're warning you about!)
They are showing you it isn't perfect. But that was then. They ate, slept and drank their business - their business was their mistress as well as the mistresses they had themselves. It's all about getting that client, keeping that client and getting more of that client and you're number one as long as you keep spitting out the ideas, the copy - at WHATEVER cost - as long as the agency makes its billings.
And this show is darn good at showing you the price from the bottom of the Advertising slime pool, all the way to the top.
This was a movie that was being talked about by Batman fans way before
the Heath Ledger tragedy - and one that was anticipated for this
summer. As the stories and fan-boys began "leaking" out information
about it, you knew this was going to be something special - and it was.
The bittersweetness of this is of course the sadness in Heaath Ledger's
death, for he made the Joker quite the nemesis of Batman that crawled
under HIS skin...as well as ours.
But here's something else I didn't expect while watching the film: fine casting. Sure, everyone is centering in on the central characters, (Batman, The Joker, Commissioner Gordon, Harvey Dent...etc.) of which they should, but if you look closely again, there are some glimpses and references of characters that will be showing their evil little heads (hopefully) later on in the Batman series. Casting from the smallest corner to the largest, these actors were 'right-on'. You can say that this was the best ensemble cast of actors you'll see so far this year. The Dark Knight (should/will) win the SAG award for that and justifiably so - the performances here are to "write home about".
Gotham is darker, is troubled and its people - confused. They don't know whom to trust. And "Batman" - what to make of him really? There's nothing like seeing a town in anarchy and Director Chistopher Nolan plays it all. Actually, the title says it all and that is quite the spoiler of this film - you'll understand after you see it.
Christan Bale's Bruce Wayne is quite the duel personality as well, finding out all too quickly how human he really is against what he really does - day and night. The Joker, played wonderfully by Health Ledger has become Batman's conscious - telling Batman things he did not wish to consider himself about how Gotham may see and eventually treat him, which had many grains of truth. Or does it? That's how crafty the Joker is, and Heath played him well.
Yes, there are wonderful gadgets, chases (the game of 'chicken' between Batman and the Joker on Gotham's streets deserves an Oscar on its own!), suspense, the cinematography is gorgeous, the set design makes Gotham come alive and the sound...the SOUND and score/music are all just perfect here. These are too key elements that add a lot to a film and all should be congratulated for placing together a wonderful film experience.
The Dark Knight is a film you must see at least twice so you can 'absorb' everything. A must see for the summer (try to see in IMAX if you can!)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When Nacho Libre first arrived in the theaters, I didn't have a big
interest in seeing it. As much as I like Jack Black, I couldn't wrap
myself around the marketing campaign enough to get me in the theaters
to watch this. But once it came out on DVD, I rented it, watched it
twice. Why? Nacho Libre has a 50's/60's type comedy wrapped up in an
independent Mexico/Spanish film quality. After repeated viewings, it
grows on you and becomes kinda ...cute.
What you have is an "out of the way" orphanage run by Fathers who have become the bottom of the barrel complacent. When one of their orphans now all grown up becoming a "priest to be" happens to see a wrestler being showered with attention, he visions an opportunity two fold - he himself wishes to be showered with attention, which is not a true path for a priest and also, a way to help the orphanage out of its complacency - with better food & needed transportation to get the orphans on trips. Add in a young, smart, pretty nun who captures the attention of him and another priest, and there begins the conflicts.
Jack Black plays the "preist to be" with higher aspirations to help his orphanage well in a very independent movie type vein. But independent film as it was back in the day from Mexico. The facial expressions of the actors, the pauses, etc. all are reminiscent and nostalgic of these 1950/1960 - even early 70's independent films and Nacho Libre catches them well. The "independent" wrestling matches too are pretty reminiscent of those times. While there is a bit of violence with the wrestling, there is no "sex" and the tale unfolds just as it would in family film fare.
Why is this film getting mixed reviews? I guess its all in how you see it, and what is attracting you. Obviously this is not a 'drop dead slapstick' Jack Black comedy, but to me a tip of the hat to independent film of old, with some inspiration of real people we would have never know about before behind it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The only thing I expected out of Hancock was summer entertainment, and
that is basically what I got.
And I enjoyed it, everything about it. What you have is a very troubled hero that thinks no one cares about him as a person, that he is alone in his quest and everything he does is taken for granted in this money effected world. I found the latter very interesting - and the one thing that was pretty evident in this film. A superhero who's feats of super-heroism always carried a price tag rather than a humanity tag - until a public relations pro steps in to try to change that.
Will Smith, Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman are all wonderful with what they have - and yes, I do agree at points you wish the script and story would have flushed developments out further. And the nemeses for Hancock? Could have been better when you consider what we find Hancock out to be, and have done. But ya gotta wonder - is that avenue on hold for a second installment? There's a thought - and probably an impending reality, where we will have a second installment that will be infinitely better than the first for the material IS there to work with and have not been fully explored.
I can also admit that I was a little kid when the term "summer blockbuster" began for Hollywood and Hancock reminds me of a summer blockbuster of way back then - CGI? What CGI?!? Blue screen, miniature models, imagination, lights and the wizardry of design and skill of special effects in make up and a GOOD story that is told well - yeah, those were the days. With Hancock, you DO have a "good story" that never gets its full due but while watching Hancock, I did get that "back in the day summer fare" nostalgic feeling...if only for a moment here and a moment there.
It would be unfair to say the film is completely uneven - it has its moments and when it clicks, good ones at that. But not enough to give it it's complete identity. What this has done is make me curious to see a "Hancock 2" -- errr -- with a completely different production, post production & direction crew and a newly committed writing team to take a stab at it.
The idea behind "Shear Genius" isn't bad at all, for it is noble to
have hair stylists compete against each other to be the best. What
disappoints me about this program is that you've seen the format before
many times...over..and over...and over again. By now, it's very boring.
Which makes THIS show - very boring.
You do want to watch this for the budding hair stylists and their creative creations that are judged by those in the field, and also let me add, by those who's hair is important to what they do.
For example, many people are voicing views that Jacklyn Smith is not the appropriate host for this - maybe so - but again -- the IDEA behind choosing someone like Jacklyn Smith is what could make this show pop. She and her fellow "Charlies Angels" cast members in the 70's had the most innovative and creative hairstyles of that day and this trend led many a woman to go into their salon and "demand" that style. That is, ahem, 'shear genius'. It's not just Jacklyn, but there are many actresses before her and after her, who's hair put focus on many hairstylists careers. so the idea of her as host, isn't a bad one.
But again, the idea. On screen, it doesn't work because of the cookie cutter reality show format makes it boring of it all. This show needs to "shake it up" a bit to be more interesting and take it out of that reality show cookie cutter format. This is hair - and hair IS fashion and can set trends. Which is why I am disappointed in how this show is being shown.
It would be nice if they did something unique...such as... pick six stylists that they would visit each week, in their own backyards. How about..getting stylists from all over the world?? Give them each the same challenge -- but none of them can see what the other HAD done and what it takes to get it done. Let the stylists work where they ARE most comfortable with their signature work - instead of this cattle call - in studio - bull-crap. And, at the end of each show, the judges would review these stylist in action, critique it and via internet conference let each them know their thoughts and why and choose the rest to go on. At the shows' finale, take the last two, bring them in for a live 2 hour creative show down of 'gigantic proportions', invite the TOP 2 stylists and TOP 2 fashion auteurs to give their opinions on the work, and let the home viewers choose the winner.
And one more thing that I found interesting about this show - what type of stylist is this for -- the unknown stylist trying to break in? Any stylist? Be more clear. Recently I was watching an episode where a "professional-award winning" stylist was placed in the group who had NO business being there with the other stylists. And it's just my point of view, they "punished" him for being there. They should be punished for adding him in. He had NO business being thereat all. That space should have been given to another amateur. This seems to be a show for amateurs who WANT to make it -- not for those who HAD. It wasn't fair to any of the stylists all around.
A good idea that needs a 'fresh cut', innovative idea and out of the box thinking to make it stand out amongst the rest of the reality show pack.
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