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Noah (2014)
20 out of 47 people found the following review useful:
Catastrophically Abysmal ** May contain spoilers, soy, peanuts, milk, gluten, 9 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hey, it made a fortune for a bunch of people. And wasn't that the only real point for making it? Can't wait for the sequel.

The actors did their best with a script from the depths.

Noah, the Biblical story, isn't much of a story, for all its popularity. And it isn't significant in any moral way. It is merely a retelling of older flood stories, most notably a story from the Sumerian "Epic of Gilgamesh." But it is, for some reason, very popular.

The problem is, it has no real plot. Build an ark. Get on ark. Wait of rain. Wait for rain to stop. Get off ark. No. No. Not exciting.

The stories of Sh'ton, Waayru, and Magoth are equally interesting, but were so less popular that they didn't make the final draft of the Bible. Each of Sh'ton, Waaru, and Magoth, like Noah, was told to build an ark to save himself, his family, and the animals from a great flood. Each devotes his life and the lives of his family to building the ark. But then there is no flood. And each dies without having accomplished much. Their families are pinda kissed, too.

The story of Begroth is a little different. He and his family built their ark and loaded animals. And there was a great flood that killed everything. But then Begroth's ark turned out not to be so watertight. Again, not such a great story. Also, there was that nagging question about how we could all be here after that. So, it too didn't make the final draft.

The Biblical Noah is good. Very good. The goodest. Hence is he chosen. Note that the only thing we see about Noah is that he is obedient to God and that he gets drunk and naked in his own tent. Apparently, given the actions of his sons, being naked in one's own tent is very bad thing. But he is righteous nonetheless.

The natures of his sons and their wives, who will thenceforth be the forebears of humanity, are not given. Except that son Ham is bad for seeing Noah naked. (Note that "naked" might not be the best possible translation of what Noah was (doing) when Ham saw him.) As it turns out, Noah's sons and their wives might not have been the best choices. See, for example, the news.

Is the Noah of the film "Noah" good or, as he says, *** SPOILER ALERT *** merely a man trusted to get the job done? Regardless of what his wife might think, "Noah" 's Noah is brooding and heartless. Sorry, but among other things, a decent person does not *** SPOILER ALERT *** permit an innocent young woman to be trampled to death, regardless of what that person believes is his own purpose in life. A decent person does what can be done to help others and anguishes over the suffering of others. A good Noah would say to Tubal-cain that he (Noah) was sorry that he (Noah) was unable to save him (Tubal-cain).

Ham of the Bible is someone for whom I am sympathetic. He sees Noah naked in Noah's tent and tells his brothers. His brothers then cover Noah without looking at him. For this, Noah curses Ham. Of course, this little piece of the story was inserted by people who wanted to denigrate Canaan, hence, they inserted that Ham was the father of Canaan and he and his descendants, the Canaanites, are cursed to be slaves to his brothers and their descendants.

Ham of the file "Noah" isn't a person I can respect at all. *** SPOILER ALERT *** I would have fought harder to save, or at least stay with, Na'el. And, failing that, I would have returned to her and died too, rather than get on the ark with Noah. There would, after all, be no point to surviving on the ark. Ham doesn't do much else. He *** SPOILER ALERT *** permits Tubal-cain to stay on the ark and to eat animals and to try to kill Noah. None of which is good at all. Okay. He *** MAJOR SUPER ULTRA SPOILER ALERT *** ... well, if you don't know, I'm not going to tell you. But everyone else knows. Even so, it does not redeem him.

The rest of the actors are little more than window dressing. They contribute neither to the plot nor to any character development. There is no character development.

Jennifer Connelly is hot (still). So, yeah, I like her in pants. But, pants, really? Tight pants. In the time of Noah?

Emma Watson is hot, too. So, you know, you might not want to make her up to look like Zero Mostel (e.g., *** SPOILER ALERT *** in the scene where she's standing on the ark holding the babies).

The battle scene is pointless. *** SPOILER ALERT *** An army rushing the ark, fighting the Watchers and Noah. And then, the Army is just washed away. 'cause, you know, the Creator can do that. And, for that matter, why wasn't Methuselah there to help Noah? I mean, after all, *** SPOILER ALERT *** remember from early in the film what he did when men were killing the Watchers? That's the kind of guy you would like to have defending the ark. Or, at least, his sword.

Which brings us to the absurdly depicted *** SPOILER ALERT *** water shooting up from the earth and later rushing from all around the ark to slam the ark on all sides. The ark is three stories tall. The water is as high as the ark. Three stories height of water crashing into the ark from all sides. That is REALLY good construction.

2012 (2009/I)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
talk about the end of the world, 22 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

They should have released this movie on December 21, 2012.

Here comes an earthquake. What are we going to do? Let's talk about it. Don't worry, it's a slow moving earthquake. In fact, we can outrun it.

Here comes a building crashing down on top of us. What are going to do? Let's talk about it. Don't worry, it's a slow falling building. In fact, we can outrun it.

Here comes a volcano erupting all around us. What are going to do? Let's talk about it. Don't worry, it's a slowly erupting volcano. In fact, we can outrun it.

Here comes a tsunami. What are we going to do? Let's talk about it. Don't worry, it's a slow moving tsunami. In fact, we can outrun it.

And the cause is ... mutant neutrinos. I kid you not. So, maybe this is a comedy.

Titan A.E. (2000)
2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Bad in every way, 25 November 2011

"Standard" characters, meaning the kind of characters that have been used for a very long time, but never in a good film (and this is no exception). The soundtrack is abominable. There is, of course, plenty of sound in space and pretty much a complete absence of anything resembling science. Ladies and gentlemen, FYI ICYDNK, hydrogen is not explosive. The plot is bad. The dialog is bad. The animation is bad. Reminds me of 1960s TV, e.g., Jonny Quest (1964) - no, I suppose the animation really is more like Heavy Metal (1981), but it still reminds me more of Jonny Quest. In fact, now that I think about it, yeah, i think this film as a whole is pretty much on par with Jonny Quest.

"Chopped" (2007)
34 out of 65 people found the following review useful:
fed up, 20 October 2011

I really enjoy watching the contestant chefs prepare elegant gourmet dishes from surprise unusual ingredients. For a while, that worked for me. But the more I watched, the more disgusted I became by the judges.

Of course, we, the audience, don't see everything that happened, only what the directors splice together for broadcast. And we can't taste the food. We can only hear the comments of the judges and the contestants. And we can only see the scenes cut from the various cameras, scenes provided obviously out of their natural sequence and spliced together to provide a feel for the competition rather than a raw presentation of it.

That is what the audience has and it is all the audience can use to judge the program. If the directors have omitted important information that would change our opinion, too bad.

The show's host gives the rules at the beginning of the show. Each dish will be judged on presentation, taste, and creativity. But creativity rarely gets the judges' thumbs up. The contest begins with each of four chefs preparing an appetizer. The chef with the "worst" appetizer is chopped and each of the three remaining chefs prepares an entrée. The chef with the "worst" entrée is chopped and each of the two remaining chefs prepares a dessert. The winner is chosen based on all three courses.

Given that scenario, a chef who is second worst in both the first and the second rounds should have a nearly impossible task of winning. However, it happens more often than we would expect. The judges' critiques of the first two courses are shown again along with their critiques of the final course, but the judges' interpretation inexplicably changes so that one final contestant, who earlier was deemed by them to be far inferior to the other final contestant, in the final analysis becomes a close competitor and even wins.

Worse for me is that chefs whose dishes appear to be quite beautiful and are given only mild negative comments by the judges, are chopped over chefs whose dishes appear to be quite unappealing and are given far more severe negative comments by the judges. In too many cases, judges have chopped chefs, not for any objective flaw, but because of the judges inappropriate subjective criteria, e.g., the absolute quantity (i.e., not the relative quantity of how much of one thing versus another thing was on a plate, but how much in total was on a plate, e.g., one clam was not enough for an appetizer, a sandwich was too much), the sweetness of a dessert (one judge likes things very sweet, another judge doesn't), the sweetness of an appetizer (one judge doesn't like sweet appetizers), the degree to which something should be cooked (some judges prefer rare, some prefer medium, none like well done).

Recall the criteria: presentation; taste; and creativity. Portion size is not among the criteria, unless we stretch presentation to cover this, and that would be quite a stretch. Taste, I think, means that it should taste good, that the flavors of the required ingredients shine clearly and are well balanced. Again, it would be a stretch to include in the taste criteria whether an appetizer should or shouldn't be sweet. Of course, any dish, even a dessert, may be too sweet. And that would be factor in taste, along with too bland, too salty, too sour, too bitter. But too sweet is not at all the same as sweet or not sweet. And the degree of doneness (rare, medium, well) clearly does not fit under any of the criteria.

There are things that must be cooked to a minimum degree (e.g., chicken and pig). And anything can be overcooked. No, these don't fall under presentation, taste, or creativity. Nor does chef's blood, but getting your blood in the food is also a no-no. As is double-dipping, i.e., tasting the food from a utensil and putting the utensil back into the food. Indeed, sanitary conditions aren't among the criteria. But these are universal rules and properly implied. Things like rare, medium, well are personal preferences and not properly implied.

To be fair, if the judges have a standard by which dishes are to be judged, they should inform the contestants beforehand. But they don't. After a while, the show became, for me, an exercise in watching mediocrity win $10,000. I am not entertained by watching mediocre chefs play it safe with their cooking. I see nothing interesting. I learn nothing interesting. For those reasons, I had to chop this program from my schedule.