Reviews written by registered user

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41 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Best Show Ever On TV, 12 November 2017

OK, we all know the synopsis: gifted but henpecked high school chemistry teacher gets lung cancer and decides to cook world class meth, hijinks ensue. But it's much more than that.

The show is written VERY realistically. Because Walt starts out as such a real human being, in every scene, in every episode, right to the end, the viewer finds him or herself asking, "What would I do in the same situation?" No other show has managed to do that.

And as the show goes on, one's answers diverge more and more because we're less in Walt's position with every episode. How would a normal person go about making and selling drugs without getting caught? What would we do when our competition came to kill us? Those may be pretty simple. But what would we do when our loved ones found out, and keeping it quiet meant harming them, for whom, we tell ourselves, we have taken all this risk in the first place?

They say there are only seven basic plots, and America's clear favorite is "overcoming the monster," but this is not that kind of story. It's a "tragedy" much like the greatest story ever told: The Iliad, and it has elements of a dark comedy in it. Walt is Achilleus. Gus is Hektor. The DEA and APD are the gods, not knowing who to help and where to strike, and not entirely good guys in any case. The intelligent viewer will go from rooting for Walt to hating him just slightly less than his enemies. The less intelligent viewer will go from loving Walt to merely hating his shrewish but sensible wife. But all will enjoy the show. Buckle up for the ride of your life.

very enjoyable, but expect a weird film, 11 November 2017

A minor criminal is exiled to a fenced off wasteland that used to be part of Texas with all the other undesirables (a la Escape From New York) and is immediately captured by cannibals. After her escape, the only safe place to go is a camp where a sex/drug cult leader is building his paradise and trying to impregnate as many followers as possible. The main character doesn't exactly love this setup either, so she at first goes looking for revenge on the cannibals, but ends up kidnapping the daughter of one of them, and the father comes looking for her.

I'm kind of surprised so many people didn't like this. It wasn't billed as a big action sci-fi kind of movie, and it's not. The director, Ana Amirpour, has been compared to Tarantino, but I feel she's the exact opposite of Tarantino. He's all about lots of dialog, skipping around in the story line, very little in the way of visuals, lots of jokes, etc. This is slow paced, very little dialog (almost none really), but it's telling a story in the style usually called "realism" where the textures of the world come through. It's a very good soundtrack, great visuals, the director makes full use of sight and sound to tell the story, which I have to say is what cinema, as opposed to books and radio, is all about.

It doesn't really have a straightforward plot with a simple conflict or obvious good and bad guys, but the director is not known for those Hollywood style movies at all. She's known for being very unconventional (her other big film was an Iranian vampire western) so just expect that it's going to be a weird film.

Mother! (2017)
4 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
If you liked The Fountain, you'll like this, 21 September 2017

Well, I can definitely see why it's a "love it or hate it" kind of film. It's not a horror movie at all, it doesn't even have horror elements, though IMDb classifies it as one.

I don't want to spoil it, so I'll just say the film is not a straightforward story. If you're the kind of person who likes formulaic films with simple moral messages, who hates being surprised by Shyamalan type plot twists, who thinks that any style of photography or sound even slightly out of the ordinary is "pretentious" and therefore insulting, you'll hate it.

If you love open-ended interpretations, symbolism, beautiful tactile films, and trust that Aronofsky, Bardem, and Lawrence will take you somewhere, you'll like this film. That's how I went into it, and I loved it. Aronofsky is not quite as inaccessible as David Lynch, but think along those lines, and you'll be prepared.

I will say that the first half features a lot of tight closeups and hand-held camera work, so those who get motion sickness from such things might want not want to see it in the theater.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Excellent parody while still being a slasher film itself, 21 July 2017

I really enjoyed this, and I think it's under rated. It's very difficult to make a film that is at once a parody of a genre that fans of that genre can enjoy, and still be a decent film within that genre. But like the original Scream, Behind the Mask pulls it off.

It's got humor, as the slasher they're following around, plain as day, explains his plans and the trouble he runs into (has to do tons of cardio so he can keep up with everyone while they're running off and he looks like he's standing still), and fear because you wonder if the documentary crew are just going to let this man butcher a bunch of horny teenagers, and if not, what will happen to them. Obviously it's not super scary because you get to know the slasher, but there are enough surprises to be suspenseful.

I didn't really notice any plot holes on the first viewing, and that's really all I ask, so I would recommend it if you liked Scream or other mockumentary films like Trollhunter or What We Do In The Shadows.

Maggie (2015/I)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
great film, but not a horror film, or sci-fi, 20 December 2015

I loved this film. I have kids, so it really got to me. I think most people didn't like it because 1) it was slow paced, and 2) it was a drama. It was not a horror/sci-fi action film, no hack and slash, not real scary, nor was it meant to be. People wanted Yet Another Zombie Film, and they don't like to be surprised.

But if you're not one of those people, I think you'll like it. It's well acted, it's the only zombie film yet that deals with loss of family in a realistic way, and like The Walking Dead it puts the question to the viewer, "What would you do in this situation?" because the protagonist, Maggie's father, is just a regular guy we can identify with, even if we would never want to be in his position.

The conflict is clear. Maggie is going to turn into a zombie soon, and her father wants her to spend as much time with him and she can, but if he waits too long before sending her to quarantine she could turn and kill everyone, and his wife (Maggie's stepmom) doesn't have the stomach for it, and the cops keep threatening to come by and take care of the problem early. What he will do with her? How long will he wait? How can he handle it if he waits too long? These are on his and our minds the whole time.

3 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
the filmmakers actually kill a lion and a boar, 30 January 2012

I'm a big fan of B movies, particularly these caveman/barbarian things, but about 10 minutes in a boar is killed on screen, and maybe 10 minutes later there is a scene where the main protagonist/villain, Vood, takes his volcanic forged iron weapon and kills a lion, and I couldn't continue watching. The lion is not stabbed on screen, but it is shown first violently convulsing and then dead, so I assume it is all real. I understand filmmakers were very inhumane to animals, particularly horses, in Hollywood's Golden Age, but this was Italy in 1983 A.D., not the Roman Colosseum 81 A.D. For such suffering to occur for sheer entertainment is unacceptable. If someone could point me to some evidence of how this was all a clever fake nothing would make me happier than to be able to withdraw my review.

0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
a good thriller and a good story, 26 July 2008

This is a message film, a bit like The Village in its moral tone but on a different subject. I can't say a lot without giving away the trademark Shyamalan plot twist, but this film is different from his earlier works in that it is shorter, and within the first half hour he pretty much gives you all the explanation you're going to get, and the rest is just playing out the situation to its conclusion. Wahlberg, Deschanel, and Leguizamo do a good job, and the child actors as well.

It is similar to War of the Worlds, the H.G. Wells book (not the recent special effects filled film), in that the world is falling apart and nobody can find out how to fight or hide from what is happening, but in this case the enemy is far less conventional than invading Martians, and that is one of the things I like about Shyamalan's films. They are very original. For one person to write and direct six halfway original films in a row is, in itself, fairly amazing. Each is a good story, well told, and this is no exception.

There's a certain percentage of moviegoers that just hate the type of movies Shyamalan does, although they continue to see them and complain about them, but there was nothing wrong with this movie. Some people don't like it when they can't figure out the twist, when the bad guys aren't easily recognized and impaled at the end, or worse yet, when there are no traditional character villains at all, such as in a couple of his earlier films.

They are frightening, and this film has a horror movie feel to it most of the time, albeit a PG-13 treatment of one. If you like interesting plots and being scared and surprised, check this film out.

90 out of 109 people found the following review useful:
Finally! Some real sci-fi., 19 August 2007

It's so refreshing to get back to a show with some real, pure science fiction. This isn't your "aliens, robots, and spaceships" sci-fi of Star Wars (more properly called space opera), it's not filled with meaningless techno-babble that grabs randomly at today's scientific buzzwords like Star Trek, or your partly supernatural plots of The Outer Limits, but short stories from proved science fiction writers of the past several decades put to film, and so far it's well done.

It doesn't concentrate on special effects, but more the human questions, both spiritual and political, that advances in science or future fortunes force us to answer. That is the type of thinking man's (and woman's) science fiction that made the genre a success in America in the 1950's and when most of the greatest writers, and even the movie plots of today, got their start. It says, "What would YOU do in this situation?" "People can create androids that think. Do you treat them like humans?" Or "Aliens demand we decide whether we trust other nations or risk certain nuclear annihilation. What would you do?" So far the acting has been really good, using first rate movie actors, with the first episode starring Judy Davis, the second Terry O'Quinn, and the third Anne Heche and Malcolm MacDowell.

Unfortunately for the show I've seen a lot of negative comments about it from the self-appointed judges of all that is quality TV since it doesn't fit in the cookie cutter mold made for it by all the previous "science fiction" shows that showcase a lot of large breasted female cyborgs, space dogfights, laser gunfights, and alien forehead prosthetics. Seeking only escapist entertainment, they claim it has politics and real issues, so it must be worthless. I say, if it doesn't have those, what worth is it? But it is the only true science fiction show in recent years, and one that I intend to continue watching closely for as long as it is on.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
a great film, not a preachy political statement, 17 December 2006

The film is a virtual documentary or fictional documentary about something that never happened, the assassination of President George W. Bush the Younger, in October 2007. It's an incredibly innovative piece of film-making, similar to such method writing/directing pieces as The Last Broadcast, The Blair Witch Project, Interview With The Assassin, or more recently, Borat. However, this film uses a great deal of real film footage pieced together so cleverly you'd think it had yet to be shot, and that it was really about the assassination of Bush. The crime is still unsolved as of the start of the film, and the film goes over how such a lapse in security could happen and how and why the assassin evades justice.

The film doesn't spend a lot of time on fake newscasts, mostly on calm after-the-fact interviews and analysis. The parts that are new, filmed with actors, are, if possible, even better than the edited real footage. The virtual filmmaker interviews a spectrum of people including a former Bush former speech writer, a secret service agent assigned to protect the President when he was killed, the head of Chicago PD, an FBI evidence analyst, a few of the suspects who were picked up by the police that night, and some historians or political analysts familiar with the incident. The writing is incredibly good. The language the actors use and their emotion is perfect. It's clear the film's writers studied a lot of interviews and comments by similar people over similar types of events.

I'm not sure why, but a good third of the pro-Bush people post comments on IMDb like, "This is sick!" and a good third of the anti-Bush people post comments like, "Of only this were true!" The fact is that the film is not a political statement, not about Bush, at least. Personally I think it's a lot less controversial than most people, who probably haven't seen it, are assuming.

The film is a statement about the times we live in, who the government fears, who they don't fear but maybe should, and what that says about America right now. It presents people as they are: the cops as mainly consumed with maintaining order at the expense of civil rights, the radical anti-war/anti-environmentalists as dogmatic and unyielding, the pro-Bush administration as unquestioningly loyal and inspired by Bush as a person, and the suspects as very troubled but basically good people.

13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
good if you like William Gibson or Abel Ferrara, 29 May 2006

I think this movie got a bum rap. I actually enjoyed it much more than that travesty Johnny Mnemonic (my apologies to Gibson, I know he liked it). Note to Hollywood, Ice-T does not go good with everything, and the deranged preacher bit has been overdone. But here I think Abel Ferrara really made a world in line with what I envisioned when reading the short story, any of Gibson's short stories. It's not a future where everything is blinking lights and super speed CGI, it's a future where most people live in the slums, and the rest have a clean, aerodynamic, one-button-for-everything lifestyle.

The premise, a couple of corporate "headhunters" trying to seduce a brilliant researcher away from a billion dollar multinational with a geisha type mole, is the kind of premise that Gibson is famous for. It's a single incident revolving around human emotions but having worldwide implications because the man is so brilliant he could change the course of science.

The acting is great of course: Willem Dafoe, Christopher Walken, and an early glimpse of Asia Argento. The story doesn't hit you over the head explaining events like most films, but Ferrara never does, and half the fun is suddenly realizing what's happened, the check mate, on your own.

If you want action, go see Johnny Mnemonic, if you want deep, see this film.

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