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FilmLabRat

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87 reviews in total 
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
fun show, 20 May 2010
7/10

This is not a particularly deep show, but like Columbo before it, detective work can be really fun when it involves ratting out the culprit using a subtle but brilliant reading of people and clues.

Patrick Jain can be arrogant and annoying yet witty and clever - a fascinating and strangely lovable (not to mention hot) protagonist. The supporting characters are likewise amusing. Show also has great dialog.

I'm curious to see where Jain's feelings for the psychic lead... this is a new development in his character, and he's a little hard to read. Anyway, it's one of only two shows I try to watch every week - excellent writing, acting, casting directing.

18 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
totally unrealistic to the point of ridiculous & annoying, 20 May 2010
3/10

Sadly overacted, unrealistic, predictable series with 10 carbon copies of one character. The surgeons & residents all stammer, grow speechless, have the same tone, similar reactions, lines, mannerisms, tears streaming down their faces... and these are doctors in a hospital. Have the show's creators and writers ever been in a hospital? It's all unheard of.

I worked in a hospital with surgeons for 7 years and never ever saw one of them cry or scream of grow out of control the way these characters do every day on the job. It's totally ludicrous - doctors are very cool-headed in their work, to the point of almost lacking compassion at all - especially surgeons. They are criticized for being totally heartless, but you have to be to cut into human flesh. THey are never melodramatic the way ALL of the characters on this show are... not to mention the rotating bed partners and switching up sexuality -- although most surgeons are sleaze-bags, the philandering is usually with nurses, not with other doctors and never same-sex. Grays features all kinds of unrealistic craziness. Please give the American public a break and stop producing and airing this silly junk.

25 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
well-written medical drama, 9 May 2010
7/10

Very nice medical drama - not too different from ER, with great characters and some depth. Much better than the uber-soapy, silly, superficial Gray's Anatomy.

One downside: way too much makeup on the female actors - they are too glossy & hair perfect, etc. such that it takes away from the story (I used to work in surgical settings, and this is far from realistic & really distracts from the content) - the men are much more true to life, and the women should look similarly simple Nice production, pretty good acting, great writing... the lead character is very interesting

Taken (2008/I)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
fast-moving action thriller keeps surprising, 17 March 2009
7/10

Good movie in many respects - twists and turns and fast-paced drivenness keep you on the edge of your seat. Neeson was great as usual. The actress cast as his daughter was too flighty and silly for my taste - I wouldn't let a hyperactive, over-emotional screaming-prone teen go to Europe, either. She acted like a tiny child without a thought. Anyway, I like how the film opened up with Neeson protesting the trip and also liked many of the mysteries along the way and his awkward but caring relationship with his silly daughter.

Don't think they should have included Neeson shooting the French police exec's wife's arm though - seemed incongruent with the character's moral bent and history with her. Point about sacrificing a family member is not well-made with faint apology afterward.

How is it that Neeson is instigating showers of gunshots and never takes a hit until right before finding his daughter? we don't even see him put on a bulletproof vest or see any reason to believe this at all. And what happened to the girl he rescued in order to sober her up and ask about his daughter? I'd like to see that thread sewn up, as long as we're dealing with as heavy a subject as sex trade - as long as we're taking on the social blight, why not some resolution to the system, somehow? At least a suggestion that there's a care beyond family. A few regrettable points where the script missed and perhaps overly choppy camera-work - do we have to become dizzy to get his frantic emotions? it's too forced. The ending is clapped on cliché - why not show the difficulties they would obviously have leaving the country in the wake of the father's blood-bath? And some deeper, wizened daughter. How is is that through all this, she doesn't even change? Yeah right. More character development is a must. Overall a fine story and nicely made film with important subject matter and potential for more thought.

Where have we seen this script before? Perhaps reworked in many scripts, but especially from 'Target' from the 80s starring Matt Dillon as the rebellious teen and Gene Hackman as the former FBI father who surprises his son with his know-how, savvy and worldly connections when the mother/wife is kidnapped? All teens need their parents to be a brave role-model, so this kind of film fulfills those fantasies. Plus a nod to social commentary on sex trade without sugar-coating makes this worth seeing.

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
excellent real-life film, 17 March 2009
8/10

This film masterfully avoids the Hollywood glitz and hype (and message-drivenness of late) by following the antics of a slightly dysfunctional but not ridiculous American family. (no 'Royal Tenenbaums' here) The scenes are 'everyday' and easy to relate to while carrying meaning, engaging and moving the audience forward.

The "everyman" sense you get from the father especially and the "everytown" feeling you get from their small town really connect with almost anyone from a "real" family with generic problems.

Good script and casting.... love the "D-ball" town rivalry and simplicity of relationships - in all their evolving glory. The awkwardness and sports-talk speaks volumes of truth about the divide yet understandings between generations.

I can't believe this was produced on a low-budget. Really a breath of fresh air, this year. See and support this film! I hope we can see more of these produced.

Duplicity (2009)
9 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
fun but a bit disappointing, 17 March 2009
6/10

I was really looking forward to something like the Bourne movies... another from Tony Gilroy who seems to be making a splash these days. But these "who's telling the truth and who's a trickster?" films are getting old. Too many are rolling out of Hollywood. I thought 'The Departed' by Scorsese did the best job in recent years - a much more satisfying movie, in my book. With meaning. Dealing with pizza and baldness for the sake of wealth? Not very high stakes.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a fun romantic comedy, this does combine that element with the spy/intrigue/thriller. It was fun fluff - more like the Oceans franchise - and don't mind leaving the theater saying "what for?" or wanting something mindless with eye candy, this is a film for you. Not bad or a waste but don't expect a work of genius.

Taking Chance (2009) (TV)
17 out of 120 people found the following review useful:
advertisement for Marines, 12 February 2009
5/10

I seem to be one of the few.... the proud... no I mean I'm in the minority to be left feeling emotionally manipulated rather than inspired by this movie. I do have a couple family members who have served in the armed forces, but this was not a story so much as a travelogue and commercial for servicemen (specifically the Marines).

I too was glad the production was devoid of the usual Hollywood political agenda, but I was wondering if there was any point to this movie other than to tell a story that was important to someone for purely sentimental reasons, or maybe in hopes of comforting those who have lost someone at war. Maybe since I've lost people in other ways, it seemed a bit hollow. Many people live heroic lives and die tragic or heroic deaths. Many are killed in the line of duty - police, firemen, airplane pilots, etc. It seems like this film was a tribute for the sake of those who want to know how their deceased KIA was handled but not a film for the public on the whole.

Alexander (2004)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
overblown gore-fest, 23 June 2008
2/10

I like many epics and spectaculars and I love historical dramas, but this tale of an important classic figure is unfortunately a self-conscious parade of high emotion and gore instead of story or art. schmaltz everywhere - seriously over-directed, over-acted and emotionally manipulative with cameras and ECUs (extreme close-ups).

with an serious line-up of A-list actors (although I've never liked Angelina Jolie - Ferrell is great as the star and Anthony Hopkins narrates with Val Kilmar playing an interesting role), it's not the casting that tanks it. the use of the actors and the cameras and editing flamboyance and the lack of dialog are the downfall of this pretentious drama. Unless you like long, drawn-out battle scenes with everyone bleeding and heads rolling, this is not worth seeing. even without paying extra, watching the pic on TV is a complete waste of time.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
great film but conclusion flawed, 21 May 2008
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

this was a great film... I expected clichés and there were some, but it still really got me in a big way.

However, I was sorely disappointed at the assumption that a teacher staying with the same students over many years is ideal - the conclusion was flawed. As a teacher, I did this for a few (4th - 5th - 6th) and that was nice in some ways, but I don't think it's always ideal for three reasons: (1) students need new mentor-blood in their lives - teachers have weak spots and one of the problems with homeschooling is that one lifelong teacher prevents students from being well-rounded and growing (2) a gifted teacher can influence a group of kids in one or two years - doesn't have to become like a permanent parent to have impact (3) schools that lack effective teachers need to spread the blessing to other classes and students too - it's good for the school to have an effective teacher impact a new batch of students (perhaps the same result would have come with a new group who also needs it) after a year or two (4) some teachers don't see improvement in a student up close - in their mind, they may have labeled a kid. This can hold a student back in old patterns and prevent growth. Kids need fresh eyes to show them who they are in order to develop healthy identities, to recognize their full potential and gifts.

The only positive aspects of the suggested approach would be it's benefit for the teacher - it's easier to not have to start over and encouraging to see the long-term effects up close. There is some benefit for the students in retaining the emotional bonding, in the continuity and healing of trust issues. But should other kids miss out for this benefit for one class?

The movie was not a slam dunk for me simply because these issues were not hashed out in conversation, drama and debate for the audience.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
movie sermon about how awful Christians are, 12 February 2008
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

wow - if there was ever a "message movie," this has the most ridiculous caricatures of Christians I've seen yet from Hollywood - the font of Christian bashing.

I've never met any Christians like these clowns - and I've known literally thousands of Christians (and have been hurt by many and seen hypocrisy and countless atrocities - but far MORE acts of good will, honest, kind and ever-giving hearts). Beyond the obvious "Christians are mean-spirited, busy-body, judgemental kill-joys" theme, and the rest of the plot is a total cliché: feel-good, rich-boy-meets-poor-gold-digging-whitetrash-girl ...and they really fall in love, only to have him cut off by his rich father but they marry anyway and show THEM by living happily ever after. Never seen this story before.... ho hum. Acting is even overdone and unbelievable. While I endure many a boring, sappy movie, this one has nothing at all to offer - complete waste of time. skip it.


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