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Frontline: Storm Over Everest (2008)
Disappointing in its lack of depth
I found this complementary to Krakauer's Into Thin Air. Yes, it was great to hear the individuals speak but they weren't given much time. In contrast, into Thin Air gave much better explanations, quotes, and analysis of why people were making such (seemingly) bad decisions, namely the thin air and its dramatic affect on mental function. In contrast, Storm Over Everest makes it sounds like it was just that a freakish storm that caught them all by surprise. And because the only people interviewed were the survivors, Storm Over Everest barely scratches the surface of what the leaders (Rob Hall and Scott Fischer) were thinking.
Million Dollar Money Drop (2010)
I love Kevin Pollak's work but this is not the vehicle for him. It was quite clear he was just going through the motions, delivering his repetitive lines with all the enthusiasm of a turtle. Sorry Kevin. Go back to feature films, please.
The game is unfortunately too predictable and the speed of the game (how long can you draw out 7 questions?) makes the whole thing an unentertaining experience. The only positive thing was seeing people face to face with millions of dollars and watching the way they handled it, gingerly at first and then roughly as time ran out on the clock.
While watching it, I could only imagine that all of the couples on the show will spend the rest of their lives repeatedly reminding each other of the mistakes they made on the show. I don't ever want to watch this show again.
The Philanthropist (2009)
product placement won't save this dog
The plot is weak and the leads are even weaker. Thoroughly unconvincing opening. But each scene is even worse. For example, how did he get bailed out of jail - he buddy called the White House, sure, but how did they even get news that he was in jail in the first place? And the scene with the doctor and later, the DEA letting him go, what? The only thing I liked was his confusion over the place names. That seemed like the first thing that was realistic. I liked the scenery too. But let's here it for some outrageous product placement. While she "googles" using Bing which just happens to be the show's sponsor, the camera moves artificially to focus on the Bing logo. Sigh.
This Matter of Marriage (1998)
very poor chick flick
The acting was excellent but sabotaged by a poorly-written story. Too bad because the basic idea was good but the details stunk.
For example: They went to the well way too many times with the plumbing problem as an excuse to have them drop in on one another. How lame.
And the initial building proposal was absurd. There was nothing original there - just some towers. How did a proposal for an office building suddenly become a proposal for a community? But by far the worst was when the hero showed no interest whatsoever in her career ("So you're an architect. So how's the weather?") until later in the movie, he's basically drooling over her community design. It wasn't bad acting; it was bad writing.
It was apparent these two had nothing in common other than living next door. She had no experience with relationships. He had one experience - and didn't understand why it failed. And there wasn't even a glimmer of sexual passion between them. Prediction: One year max before they get divorced.
What a sad waste of good acting in a terrible movie.
Faith of My Fathers (2005)
lot of beatings, no plot
Basically a 2-hour film showing McCain getting abused as a POW. I learned nothing about McCain from this except that he was horribly abused. Even how or whether he stood up to it was deliberately left unclear. Or maybe I dozed off in the middle and missed it.
What's left out was his reaction, his growth, what he thought about during his time, and what he did when he got out that made him enter politics. In other words, the movie was totally lacking in merit. I gotta figure that McCain's book (on which the movie is based) had to provide all this detail but the producers had no interest in that aspect.
As for Scott Glenn, I cannot understand how he agreed to this role. There was no meat here for him to sink his teeth into. Anyone can play the role of a father that never shows his emotion. But the opportunity to go into his inner conflict between being a major leader of the Vietnam conflict and his son's confinement was dealt with in less than 1 minute of the film.
Acting from other players was similarly disappointing. For example, there was no in-depth struggle by the actors playing the soldiers who confessed for fear of more torture.
What a disappointment.
The Daily Show (1996)
more accurate than any other news show
Jon Stewart's timing and delivery is incredibly good. The writing is fantastic. Of course, with material provided fresh daily by the US Congress and Administration, writing humor probably isn't all that challenging. It must be frustrating that they don't have enough time to cover more "news" in each half-hour segment.
I'd give anything to buy a "Best of the Daily Show" on DVD (especially the one with "the Congress condemning sex with a turtle" episode).
Lost in Translation (2003)
Plot lost in translation
This would be a great film if it had a plot. Unfortunately, it didn't.
Actors were good but who needs to watch Bill Murray act bored for half the film? If I want detachment and depression, I'll watch About Schmidt which does it much much better.
The premise, such as it was, was just absurd. No young woman would've found any interest in a totally boring over-the-hill character. And the film was filled with cliches such as the repeated (and repeated and repeated) showings of the Japanese bowing/ gifting/etc. Clearly, the director had nothing of value to fill the 2 hours.
rent it (you won't want to see it twice!)
Actually, most entrants DO finish. This film is a little misleading about certain things and this is one of them.
Here's another that had me wondering - the race was originally designed to run from the lowest point to the highest point in the continental US. They never said that because the race doesn't quite reach those goals any more. The last ten miles to the peak of Whitney is inside a park which doesn't allow racing. Thus, the original 145 became shorted to 135. That's why it appears to end in the middle of nowhere. Contests may go on to complete the 145 on their own. Hey - they're already half dead - what's another 10 miles uphill?
Nonetheless, it's a GREAT film. (Just don't try to eat anything while you're watching it.)