Reviews written by registered user

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16 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Follow up, 5 July 2017

This is not as much a review as it is information about the short film (no spoilers here).

If you haven't watched this short film, you should watch "I Am Michael" first (an OK movie), the story for which this documentary short is a follow up. Or, at least google the story so that you can have context.

If you have watched it and feel unsatisfied with the content, do the above as well. It would have been very difficult for this short to have included all of the back story and details necessary to have the viewer completely understand the catharsis here. Think of this short as a starting point that triggers a curiosity to go and find out what led these three to this point.

What I appreciated about this short documentary is really what wasn't included: possible very personal conversations between the two men about their relationship; possible conversations with Rebekah. It's nice to think that some personal things can and should stay personal.

The things I did appreciate that were included (and more telling than the conversations) were the facial expressions while someone else was talking; the subconscious, or unconscious, movements (playing with wedding ring, toes flexing, rocking, physical contact, etc.). All of these spoke volumes.

All in all, it was very nice to 'meet' the people whose story I was familiar with and have a bit of an update.

I also very much appreciated that some people are starting to find that Christ is really about kindness and being helpful to others, not about judging, condemning, and casting aside.

Life can be a struggle and I hope that those struggles will lead to finding peace and happiness.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A Comedy on Par with the Classics, 3 February 2017

Watched the pilot last night with a few friends. We were laughing from beginning to end. Funny, irreverent, creative, with great writing.

A fantastic ensemble cast that includes such brilliant veterans as Judd Hirsch and Katey Sagal. And a brilliant 'newcomer', Jermaine Fowler (there are hints of an early Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock, and just as dynamic). Let's not forget the inimitable Maz Jobrani, perfect for the part (necessary for what's in the wind these days).

This particular episode was rife with intelligent jokes, cultural insights, and sharp repartee. We all hope that this level is maintained in the upcoming episodes so that we can become longtime loyal fans.

Check it out.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Illogical, 30 October 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Normally I don't review TV shows, but...

Generally, I like the show, entertaining, action-packed, if a little corny.

Usually the plot moves forward without any major plot holes worth mentioning for the type of show it is.

This week, however, there's a little girl held as bait to get to her father. The agents are there with the father. The girl is in a barrel among thousands of barrels. The villain won't say which one, but she has less than two minutes of air. Even after they hand over the father, they're not told where the girl is, but they let him go anyway.

Illogical !

16 out of 24 people found the following review useful: far !!!!, 21 September 2016

Please take note that this is a review for only the first episode, so things may change; but, I certainly hope that they don't.

Just finished watching the first episode. Seriously funny (and that is both an oxymoron and a wordplay)! Sooo good to see some great old-school comedy writing and not have all the characters operating in irony. The characters, so far, are not flat, but have rather three-dimensional qualities. It shows that well-meaning people aren't nice all the time, the strong have moments of weakness, vice versa, etc.

Basically, it shows that all anybody wants is to be treated with dignity and respect as a human being. And that some people overcompensate, while others do nothing to help.

Shout out to the actors for a great job and they are perfectly cast. And also the writers for giving them all equal-opportunity time with equal-opportunity funny.

I hope it continues to keep its level of combined sardonic humour and physicality.

Episode 1 rates a 9/10. The series will have to wait for it's rating, if ever

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Romantic Comedy: Nice with the Romance, Feh with the Comedy, 13 April 2014

I gave the movie a six, not because it's a better than average movie (if not by much), but because if you ignore all the clumsy, cheap, and crude attempts at comedy, it's actually a pretty sweet story and quite romantic.

About twenty minutes into the movie, I thought to myself, "I bet the director also wrote the screenplay." And as the end credits started, boom, there it was: directed by, screenplay by. Granted, it is adapted from a French movie. But along with directors directing their own screenplays, English adaptations of French comedies are my biggest pet peeves. The comedy just does not translate; watch the original with subtitles. Please. And the list is endless: Jungle to Jungle, The Birdcage, Dinner for Schmucks, True Lies, Mixed Nuts, and more. Some may even end up being blockbusters, but it's like reading the 8th sheet under the carbon paper*, it's a very pale replica and you can barely make out the comedy, or the charm.

* For those who do not know what carbon paper is, it's a pre-historic method of making copies. Google it.

What I enjoyed about the movie is the following: the romance, the sweetness, the touching moments. There was an abundance, but ruined by a heavy, clumsy punch line every time.. I wish that one person had read the adapted screenplay and had mentioned that it wash't funny, at all.

The actors also made it easy to watch. All veterans, even the younger cast, they were each able to give heart to their characters. Beautifully acted.

So if you are one of those people who can separate the two, enjoy the storyline and ignore the comedy. Good luck to ya!

Any Day Now (2012/I)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
As real as it gets..., 11 April 2014

What a wonderful film:

Emotionally authentic, nimbly avoiding the sappiness and heavy-handedness of other similar stories, Any Day Now is a real diamond amongst the cubic zirconia world of Hollywood movies. The writing is lush and well-edited, shirking any extraneous bells and whistles; the characters are presented clearly and are captivating; the cinematography artful; and the direction gives breath to the actors and to the story.*

* One of my pet peeves has always been with a movie having the same writer/director. It usually means editing problems leading to a long-winded film that is more a self-indulgence than good story-telling. That is not the case here; a perfect exception.

It should also not go without saying that Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt give outstanding performances, as do Frances Fisher, Alan Rachins and Gregg Henry (the consummate 'weasel'). But, Isaac Leyva is the heart of this movie. He not only gives a brilliant, quiet performance, but also captures your heart, drawing you in with every blink, smile, and furrowing of brow. I can't say enough about him; he is AWESOME!

Also noteworthy is Mindy Sterling: what she does with her barley-two-minute role is proof positive that "there are no small parts,...". Brava!

Engaging, beautiful, sad, loving...especially the ending: very unexpected choice and brilliant not to fall into either the 'people-pleaser' trap of the Hollywood 'happy-', or the ambiguous 'don't know what's going to happen-' endings. The film takes an unapologetic stand against a flawed system and the empowered people who perpetuate its shortcomings. Doesn't always happen in real life, but, it's good to see when some people are shown the consequences of their small-minded actions (regardless of whether they stem from pettiness or ignorance, or if they were purposeful, or just easier).

A very human story.

PS One downside to the movie, probably shouldn't mention it, but it really has no bearing on how good this movie is, so, please ignore the gawd-awful wigs, really just terrible. OK, that's all I'm going to say.

Why all the comparisons?, 22 December 2013

There are some who compare the live TV production to the 1965 film; others compare it to the original Broadway production. Although such comparisons may be inevitable, I think that things should stand on their own merits and deserve to be seen in their own light (I mean, no disrespect intended to the extremely brave and wonderful Von Trapp family, but has anyone compared them to the Broadway and/or Hollywood version of themselves).

My impression of the 'live' production was that it was quite a Herculean task to pull off and they were certainly ambitious in their efforts. And, everyone involved should be applauded. However, when dealing with such a huge undertaking a subject matter, as well as such iconic roles, casting becomes a huge issue.

Yes, Carrie Underwood is a wonderful singer and can hit the high notes, and yes she is popular, but her acting is nowhere near up to snuff. I would go as far as to say she was wooden and lacked all of the charm the role needs. I'm not saying this to be malicious. It is only my impression of her in this particular role, not a criticism of her as a country-western performer, nor human being.

Yes, Stephen Moyer is handsome, dashing, and can carry a tune. But he does not have the charm, nor charisma of a Captain Von Trapp. He seemed lost and too concerned with hitting his marks.

And, who can ignore the enormous vocal talent that is Audra McDonald. But even she was far from believable as the Mother Superior. She seemed to be playing the role of a 'Grande-Dame of the Stage', dressed in a habit.

What it comes down to, for me only, is if a production has the combined chemistry of all of its parts to draw me in and make me care for the characters, feel their emotions, and invest in their outcome. For this group, I did not.

I may say 'A' for 'ambition', but a definite 'D' for 'dull'.

Sum-total of our experiences - in film and otherwise, 16 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a lovely film that borrows a little from everything and everywhere. It borrows from other films, directors, characters, other eras, and even music. We have seen a little bit of this story in other places, these same characters played by other actors, directed by other directors. I like the fact that you cannot pinpoint the era in which the story takes place. It is for this very same reason that I enjoyed this version of this story. We have seen all the different permutations, and for once, I like the fact that there is no moralising, no long, drawn-out monologue, or proselytising. It was said of Billy Wilder that he gave as much importance to what wasn't written on the page. It holds true here.

We glimpse the non-judgmental nature of an innocent who knows nothing of sex and sexual love, therefore she isn't shocked by two men sleeping in the same bed. We witness the Mother Superior's fervent faith that this is her calling, to raise a child in perfect purity. We see that this child is the one chance for the Sisters to know the love of a daughter. We find love in humankind, sibling or other, that exists. We observe the evolution of how a simple, though some may argue necessary, lie can unravel and destroy. And we see what real, true, pure unadulterated love can mend, and help flourish.

It touched my cynical-yet-idealistic heart.

8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Read This Review: Trauma is Rarely as Melodramatic as in Soap Operas or Movies, 15 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I hope you get to read this after, or instead of, the other reviews. Firstly, I do respect every person's personal point of view. What we take away from a film is subjective and a reflection of our own experiences.

This is supposed to be a true story, and I don't doubt it.

A brother and sister are forced by kidnappers to do, what in my mind, is probably one of the most traumatic things imaginable, have sex with each other. The emotional trauma is unfathomable on many levels. Put yourself in one of their shoes and think about how you would feel, and how you might have reacted in that situation.

What is successful about the movie is the realism with which the incident is filmed: there is no soundtrack of ominous musical creepiness. And then, how the shame, fear, "lost-ness", sadness, depression, and emptiness that follows are portrayed. As victims, how do they cope with all of that at once? They certainly can't look each other in the eye after such a horrific experience. Nor can they tell their parents. She is older and gets herself to a therapist. He is much younger and flounders, even as she tries to have him accompany her to sessions. Even when things seem to get better for one, the other's hurt manifests itself in tragic ways.

There is none of the anger and object-throwing that would be seen in a Hollywood-type movie. None of the melodrama of a Lifetime movie. What there is in the movie is the beauty of the director's quietness, and the restrained acting ability. This allows the feeling of horror, and the anguish that follows to permeate us, as it does the victims. Every emotion is legible on their faces.

This is not an easy movie, by any means. It is not meant as 'life's-horror-story" entertainment. It is a reality that seems very far away from our own, but, with a little bit of empathy, can be deeply felt.

Not for everyone, but definitely worth seeing.

The Words (2012)
8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Interesting Concept...Okay Delivery, 11 September 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Interesting concept for the plot, but mired in screenplay editing and, surprisingly, some weak acting.

Not sure if I'm spoiling anything, but:

The movie starts with the author at the reading of his book. The plot of his book is that another author steals the work of an unknown writer, becoming famous, and then meeting an older gentleman (the actual writer). Lots of rich soil to harvest many, many themes from, both moral and psychological.

Sounds great, but...I'm not quite sure if it's the writing, the directing, the screenplay editing, the movie editing, or a combination of all of these, but this is not the best opus from a group of seriously good, if not great, actors. It seemed that the first forty minutes was just a warm-up, because the acting was far superior in the second half of the movie.

Normally, Bradley Cooper is wonderful at playing the small stuff that makes a person humanly interesting. Not here. Dennis Quaid, at the reading of his own novel, is monotone; not very engaging when you're trying to sell a story (both his book & this movie). Even Jeremy Irons, an acting icon, doesn't deliver in the beginning. An example that may be a bit cliché, but it's about facial expression: you know when film characters reminisce, they look off into the distance as if they are peering deeply into the rich haze of their past? Here he seems like he's just looking at something across the way. But, like I said, much improved in the second half.

Zoe Saldana is charming; strong, yet vulnerable. But the real kudos go to Ben Barnes (Jeremy Irons's character as a young man) and Nora Arnezeder. During these segments the movie shines. Beautifully acted as well as filmed. A story you can sink your teeth into: meaty; one that moves you. This is the story stolen by Cooper's character. But then when the movie cuts back to Quaid and his audience, or to Irons and Cooper, the story doesn't seem to have registered with them at all; at least not until much later.

And the writing has something to do with it. When a movie plot hinges around characters that are writers, the screenplay better be damn good. This one hits with World War II-era Paris, but misses with modern New York. The lovely Olivia Wilde is an example. And her character is supposed to be lovely, and smart, and seductive. But here she comes off as a little creepy; a little stalker-ish.

There is another difference between the flashbacks and the present. The flashback characters have less proselytising. Back in the present, when every little thing that your character is feeling, thinking, or learning, is spoken out loud, it almost seems unnecessary to show emotion and thought through facial expressions, body language, gestures, or looks.

There are definitely exceptions, and this an excellent effort. But it takes a lot to balance the passion of directing your own writing with the distance needed to tell a story successfully. And it usually lies with the trimming of the fat. That's why authors need editors.

Again, a potentially great concept, but with okay delivery.

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