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merklekranz

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1098 reviews in total 
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Jewtopia (2012)
Odd mix of ethnic and toilet humor ....., 3 September 2015
7/10

The initial idea is terrific. A Jew teaching a Gentile how to act Jewish in order to date a 'Jewish Princess". The execution however is a real mixed bag of ethnic jokes and toilet humor. Ethnic stereotypes are purposely on parade, and the cast gives it their all. John Lovitz as the "Embroidary King" and Peter Stormare as the beer drinking, moose hunting redneck are funny. However the sexual jokes mostly fall flat, except for the circumcision scenes. While most of the funnier lines are in the trailer, there are still enough outrageous situations to make viewing worthwhile. Fans of reluctant groom type comedies should find enough here to like. - MERK

Courage (1984)
The only movie I ever watched that made me tired ......., 2 September 2015
6/10

For sure I have watched countless movies that made me sleepy, but "Raw Courage" is the first one that made me feel tired. Three long distance runners running and running and running through the New Mexico desert. Their flight was initiated by M. Emmet Walsh and his ruthless brigade of weekend mercenaries playing war games. After one of the runners is killed, it's a battle of wits (the runners) vs. the nitwits (the brigade). While I enjoy these variants on "The Most dangerous Game", I would have preferred more character development and less running. This is certainly watchable, but expect nothing more than a relentless desert chase. - MERK

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Looking to bury a dead frozen animal kept in a cooler I prefer "Rubin & Ed ".., 1 September 2015
4/10

I mean as bizarre as "Rubin & Ed" starring Crispin Glover and Howard Hesseman is, at least it is not boring. "Cas & Dylan" on the other hand is a road trip that goes nowhere. The acting is strong by Richard Dreyfuss, but the screenplay meanders and quite frankly is sleep inducing. The subject matter borders on depressing, and suicide never has been dealt with very successfully, except perhaps in "The End", which is a hilarious "black comedy" starring Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise. "Cas & Dylan" has neither the outrageousness of "Rubin & Ed", or the "dark comedy" of "The End". So the movie really just sort of drifts along to the end. - MERK

"Spaghetti western" light ...., 31 August 2015
7/10

What immediately separates "Take a Hard Ride" from the multitude of post Sergio Leone "spaghetti westerns" is the preponderance of American actors in this film. Very little dubbing is the first thing you notice. The actors mouths are actually speaking. Second, for Lee Van Cleef admirers this is a real treat. He has lots of screen time, with plenty of his patented menacing closeups. Jim Brown and Fred Williamson play off each other quite well, and the entire cast seems to be enjoying their work. Though cartoon-like at times, this is easily overlooked in favor of the humorous touches. Though not exactly a parody of the fast fading "spaghetti western", "Take a Hard Ride" approaches the western in a light and fast moving manor. This is without a doubt one of the better "spaghetti westerns". - MERK

Rarely seen twister of a film ......., 31 August 2015
6/10

This is one of those movies with a mammoth "I did not see that coming" moment. The set up for this startling revelation is quite convincing, and Barry Newman's motivation for revenge is overwhelmingly strong. Unheralded character actor, Dolph Sweet, steals every scene he is part of. Ben Kingsley with hair takes some adjusting to, but his acting is solid. Unfortunately John Vernon was not convincing as the head bad guy, perhaps because I can't get by thinking of him as Dean Wormer in "Animal House". The movie itself is extremely uneven, with a grabber opening, followed by a prolonged car chase that seems like it was yanked right out of a "Smokey and the Bandit" movie. The actual plot is murky and difficult to follow, but is pulled together quite well in the showdown conclusion. Recommended for the unusual twisted plot and some solid performances. - MERK

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
"Bearly" watchable ......., 30 August 2015
5/10

Despite the presence of talented actors Billy Bob Thornton and Scott Glenn, this hunted by a bear in the woods scenario, is so familiar there is little here of interest. If you have seen "The Edge" then you will know you are on well trodden territory, only difference being that "The Edge" is a great film, while "Into the Grizzly Maze" is not. Billy Bob Thornton easily has the best line in the movie " Makes no difference to a hungry bear if it's a logger or a "tree hugger", they all taste the same." The writing is weak, the editing poor, and all of the characters underdeveloped. Not recommended and "bearly" watchable. - MERK

The most interesting cat in the world ........, 29 August 2015
7/10

Is dead, frozen in an ice chest, yet in life could water ski and eat a whole watermelon. Crispin Glover's quest to find the perfect burial spot for his beloved feline is a hilarious trip through the Utah Desert. This dark comedy demands multiple viewings to fully appreciate all the dialog driven drivel. "Rubin and Ed" is the quirky type of cult movie very few people are willing to "put eyeballs on", however the few that do will be richly rewarded. The film revels in it's strangeness, being a plethora of useless information. I mean how often do you wonder how many cats are injured by fan blades each year? Watch "Rubin and Ed" to illuminate yourself to this and dozens of other "never needed to know" answers. The Utah desert vistas are amazing, as Crispin Glover and Howard Hesseman form their symbiotic relationship, trudging towards burial utopia, for the most interesting cat in the world. - MERK

50 to 1 (2014)
Horse racing movie with wide appeal ...., 28 August 2015
7/10

Rarely do you get a film that can be appreciated by such a wide audience. Except for some barroom brawling at the movie's beginning, there is little reason "50 to 1" cannot be enjoyed by all ages, since there is no nudity, sex, or other than a fistfight, violence. The horse, "Mine That Bird" has an amusing personality, and the real life jockey, Calvin Borel is a joy to watch. I did not find the film to be overly dramatic, although cheering for the long shot in the big race is permitted. There is absolutely no gambling angle to this movie, other than a few bar bets, and the authentic feel and excitement of the Kentucky Derby is a highlight. Recommended for everyone who likes to root for the underdog. - MERK

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
"Hey man check it out !", 27 August 2015
7/10

"Rude awakening" is a creative "fish out of water" scenario, including a talking, pot smoking fish. Eric Roberts and Cheech Marin escape to a South American utopia, avoiding the Vietnam War, but returning twenty years later to help stop another war. Problem is the "Hippie Movement" has moved on to materialistic endeavors. Thus the stage is set for Roberts and Marin trying to adjust to their friends cop out lives. The supporting cast here is excellent, with Julie Hagerty, Louise Lasser, and especially Buck Henry and Cindy Williams as the "Stools". Disillusioned by the apparent lack of interest for their "save the world" cause, Roberts and Marin refuse to give up, and eventually succeed. The movie is a great nostalgia trip for the right audience. - MERK

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Flawed for sure ... but still watchable, 26 August 2015
6/10

Donald Sutherland plays a news reporter who goads a sport climber into challenging a legendary mountain climber. A 3000 meter supposedly unclimbable Patagonia peak is their place of destiny. "Scream of Stone" is an extremely uneven film, with abrupt editing and despite Werner Herzog directing, the whole thing really never pulls together. There is a battle of egos for most of the movie that eventually wears thin. I found the most interesting character to be "Fingerless", played by the always intriguing Brad Dourif. Despite the spectacular mountain vistas, the film has several near fatal flaws, including some really unfunny attempts at humor, a "bimbo" who's acting is atrocious, and an ending on the mountain that seriously lacks credibility. - MERK


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