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One of the worst episodes in several years, 19 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

How dumb is Lucy? Some guy shows up, says he's a Colonel and asks her to plant a tracking device on her father the general and she just does it? Besides, Flagg was already tracking him at the beginning of the episode. Why not just kill him then?

The Vigilante Registration Act comes out of nowhere. I'm not even sure what it would mean for vigilantes to register. It seems modeled on some similar bills in the Marvel Universe, but they were trying to get people to register based on their powers. Getting vigilantes to register would amount to licensing their actions, which is the opposite of what the act seems to do, not that it is ever explained beyond it being somehow anti- vigilante.

What the hell does Flagg think is going to happen if he kills Sam Lane? Killing a general isn't like killing a union boss or civil rights leader. If a major proponent of anti-vigilante legislation is assassinated, people are going to just give up out of fear. They will conclude, quite reasonably, that vigilantes did it and this is why we need them under control. The vote was the next day, apparently. How exactly would this convince any senator to vote no? For that matter, why did they have a military consultant on a bill that has no obvious connection to military matters? And why did Clark just hear about it now when his mom is in the senate and his girlfriend's dad was a consultant on the bill when both his mom and girlfriend know this is relevant to his interests?z

What really bugged me about this episode, though, was the fact that Sam is heavily anti-vigilante and very suspicious of his daughter's boyfriends and comes to suspect that Clark is a vigilante-sympathizer. He even has the Pentagon check him out. No one ever mentions that Lois dated Oliver Queen for most of season 6. It is public knowledge that he's Green Arrow. I'm pretty sure that the public would know that he and Clark are friends, too. When they need to tie Clark to a vigilante, they use his cousin, Kara, though.

For that matter, Kara apparently got clearly photographed when she rescued Gordon Godfrey a month or two earlier as Sam Lane recognizes her when shown the picture. It's understandable that the Pentagon missed the connection when doing their background check and she was never Clark's cousin on paper. That's just how he introduced her. However, didn't anyone who knew her in Smallville other than Clark see the pictures and start asking awkward questions? I suppose it's vaguely plausible the military got a hold of the photos and suppressed their publication somehow, but considering it happened at a press conference and they have no real reason to do this since the existence of super-powered people is public knowledge, so there's nothing to cover up, and having the public's help identifying one would make the whole registration thing easier.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Damned by faint praise, 14 April 2010

The cover of the Blu-ray for this movie proclaimed that Edward Furlong is fun to watch. You'll notice this isn't really praise for the movie itself. There's a reason for that: The movie is pretty damned stupid. Furlong does create a rather unique sort of serial killer character, but there's a reason this hasn't been done before. He's a master of ceremonies who does barely any killing himself, nor does he set up elaborate traps or make contestants kill each other for the most part (which would have made more sense thematically). He has a dumb goon do the killings on his behalf. The goon never really makes any sense in terms of his motivations nor does he tie into the themes of the movie in a discernible way.

Furlong's character is presumably supposed to be a commentary on the exploitative nature of TV production. It isn't very subtle, but this is a slasher film, or at least tries to be, so I won't begrudge them that. The only other characters of any significance are the contestants, who are of course a bunch of whiny idiots who only care about being on TV and all consciously adopt personas based on previously successful reality TV stars.

This sounds clever in theory, but doesn't work in principle. This is partly because the villain mainly set at a monitor yelling stuff into the intercom, partially because the actors are mostly bad and partially because many of its points that it seems to be trying to make about reality shows get lost in ridiculous set-ups. There are some legit criticism to be made here, but the movie mostly misses the mark. It doesn't help that I wasn't sold on it resolution either because of the writing or the the acting. I'm going to go ahead an give this a three, because the movie did seem to be making some effort to be good, just not enough.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
I am a worse person for having seen this movie, 28 March 2010

Beer League is for the most part competently made. The actors are believable and the sets look like what they are supposed to and the camera man doesn't trip with the the steadicam. That's about all I have to say about it that's positive. That, and that by IMDb votes, apparently only one girl in her tender developing years has been subjected to it.

Perhaps if the movie weren't so misogynistic, it would have been merely stupid. This movie isn't funny and has nothing valuable to say. Abotut he only use for it that I can think of is to demonstrate the virgin/whore dichotomy, perhaps more on display here than anywhere else. As of right now, this movie is only marginally below Ghostbusters 2 in its overall score. What is wrong with these people?

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Bad and dishonest, 7 March 2010

What's wrong with this movie? Let's start with how it was marketed. Katee Sackhoff is the only identifiable person on the artwork of the DVD and Blu-ray, but she isn't the lead. The tagline about ti coming down to one woman is similarly bullshit. Katee's just there so Don Wilson can talk to somebody other than his talking gun. She doesn't affect the plot much.

I'm not sure what the title even refers to. Tallis is never called a sentinel in the film, nor would this make any sense. Nobody else is the last of anything as far as I could tell.

Next, there's the plot. What the hell happened that made the world go all post-apocalyptic? It has something to do with drone police, but we never really find out what, exactly. Similarly, the premise isn't never really fleshed out properly. What is the eye-computer for, for instance? The execution is even worse. We basically have a bunch of awkwardly garbed bad guys who can't shoot worth crap, which is fortunate as none of the good guys have a lick of sense about fighting. They repeatedly rush the enemy to kill with knives and such or stand out in the open while firing. The editing often resorts to shots that last a fraction of a second during fighting.

It gets two stars because the actors, or at least the leads do the best they can with what they are given. Keith David, who's always great gets special recognition here. The supporting actors, particularly the scientist and the propaganda girl are not good.

In a better movie, not explaining the apocalypse might be a bold move to strip the genre down to its bare essentials and not distract from whatever the movie was really about, which might be something like what happens to people when civilization goes away. This movie doesn't actually seem to be about anything, save shooting and/or stabbing lots of drones. Frankly, this isn't enough to carry an hour and a half, even if we do get some side-boob along the way.

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Very funny, but doesn't make a lot of sense, 23 August 2009

Wake up, Ron Burgundy is allegedly made of deleted scenes from Anchorman, but while it's obvious how some scenes fit into the movie such as Ron's dangerous driving here leading to the parking scene in Anchorman, there's no way most of this would have ever fit. I assume a lot of last-minute re-shoots were involved.

Some elements work. The Alarm Clock gang is hilarious. They are a group with political goals, but seem unclear on what they are and lack any sort of grand plan. The bit with Amy Poehler as a bank teller who refuses to give them any money because they are so inept as bank robbers is one of the best in the movie. Justin Long as Ed's sullen teenage son, Chris, and Chad Everett as Jess Moondragon, Ron's mentor who won't shut up about how inappropriately he loves nature, also have some very memorable bits. Note that none of these (fairly significant) characters are in Anchorman.

Unfortunately, the movie is just a series of bits. It doesn't really come together. To some degree, this is to be expected in a movie assembled from deleted scenes, but it's more than that. The jokes get too much narrative priority, often leading to things that just don't fit in the context of the movie. Veronica Corningstone's personality is all over the place and Champ King's moment in the car goes on way too long, even though it starts well, for instance. This really hurts suspension of disbelief as it never really establishes any rules to play by.

This is a serious problem, but I'm giving the movie a 6 anyway, mainly because it made me laugh so hard I nearly vomited on several occasions, like when Brick explained what he was eating or any of Paul's attempts to explain the manifesto. In short, this is a great way to present deleted scenes. It isn't a great movie.

13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
The best episode of the show thus far, 11 December 2007

Pariah very deftly addressed pretty much everything that had been bugging about Smallville up to this point. This basic point of the episode is that all these mostly paper-thin Kryptonite weirdos who have served as the villains in most episodes are people, too.

From the beginning, the show had this ugly xenophobic undercurrent where anyone who is different must be evil. For a show about a literal alien, it should have known better. Here, we see Alicia Baker in a far more sympathetic light. This isn't a whitewashing. Her flaws are very much in evidence, but we can see that she is a flawed person, not just a freak. What makes this important is that it emphasizes the prejudices of every other character in the show and Clark and Chloe at least learn something.

Since it has some rare and much needed sympathy for the mentally ill, I am willing to forgive the obvious villain (Who's the bad guy? could it be the guy who was introduced out of nowhere and is getting a lot of screen time despite having no obvious connection to the plot?) and lame special effect for the villain. This is an episode that doesn't beat you about the head with whatever the lesson is supposed to be. It's the best I've seen so far.

1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A very special episode of Smallville, 11 December 2007

Lois and the football team and the larger continuity of the episode are great, but this episode really got on my nerves. It was chock-full of didactic and cloying after-school-specialness. If they are trying to tell us that we shouldn't be so concerned about looking good, how about putting an ugly person on the show? There are ways to treat this topic that would have worked, but this wasn't one of them. It just comes across as preachy and hypocritical, with a bit of the early season's xenophobia, which is a bad combination. The villain is terribly one-note and Abigail isn't taken seriously as a character. If not for the presence of Lois, this would rate even lower.

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Thoroughly mediocre, 5 June 2006

(some mild spoilers) Paint Your Wagon isn't a bad movie. it;s very watchable, but it just seemed to badly squander its potential. It has several major flaws. The first is a lack of a central conflict. The illegal mining plot which is the basis for the apparent climax of the movie is introduced more than halfway through. The love triangle which should be the basis of the conflict isn't very well handled. The filmmakers were apparently not interested in making any sort of point about multiple marriage and don't handle a lot different than any other triangle situation, nor are we ever really sold on Elizabeth and Ben.

The other major problem, and this is a huge problem for a musical, is that the songs seem to be essentially interludes in a straight movie, not integral like a movie should be. They serve to make the movie longer, but very few actually move the plot around, revolve around characters making decisions, etc as is usually the case. In fact, I can't think of any singing conversations. It's all solos and chorus stuff. The parody on The Simpsons was catchier than any of the songs actually in the movie. The song with the town-folk and the Parson in front of the whorehouse is the only song that actually seems like it belongs in this movie, though They Call the Wind Mariah is also decent. There are related problems with the music. For instance, the French tarts aren't given a single number, which seems like a huge oversight.

IMDb's trivia says that Paint Your Wagon went way over schedule and over budget. I'm guessing this was a case of too many cooks in the kitchen and with a tighter creative team, it could have been much better.

A Worthy Sophomore Effort, 30 May 2006

I really loved Night of the Living Dead. It's one of my all-time favorite horror movies. Despite this, I just now got around to watching this sequel, even though it came out a couple years before I was born. I watched the US theatrical version for this review.

The movie isn't quite as good as its near-perfect predecessor, despite clearly having some money (though not a bunch) to work with this time. The main problem is that it can be rather heavy-handed. Yes, we get that consumer culture makes us all into zombies. You don't need to spell it out for us every few minutes.

Unlike today's dead-teenager flicks (and the remake of Dawn of the Dead) with their plethora of expendables to up the kill-count, this movie gets it right. We have four main characters and we get to know them all, so when someone dies, it matters. It's pretty tight POV, like we're living in the mall with everyone and we get into everyone's life. It's alternately tense and funny.

Despite hitting you in the face with its themes half a dozen times, the movie really works, partially because it's still socially relevant (and there are some more subtle parts, too) and partially because of the well-developed characters. I recommend it.

15 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Bizarrely Hilarious, 29 May 2006

I've long held to the theory of comedy that says there's nothing funnier than a guy being a jerk for no apparent reason. This short is a perfect illustration. Robin is trying to have a quiet date when Bat-Man shows up uninvited, appoints himself wingman and proceeds to make an ass of himself. Justin Long does a good job playing the exasperated straight man as Sam Rockwell's Bat-Man becomes increasingly more bizarre and obnoxious. Meanwhile, his prospective date gets sick of both of them. The low-quality costumes and Bat-Man's beard just make it funnier. This is the best fan-made Batman parody I've seen. It's easy to find on the net. I recommend you do so.

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