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Lo And Nothing To Behold
May include spoilers. If you truly want to understand something of the history of the Internet and how it has influenced human civilization this documentary is not for you. I so wanted to be impressed...but this came off more like a Sarah Palin speech than a deep examination of the subject. Perhaps if each of the ten segments had been given an hour there would have been some meat to devour. As it's presented however, it's a huge fail. "Does the Internet dream?" Well, no. stupid question. Next? And what does A. I. or robotic technology have to do with the Internet? Altogether unrelated issues. Cyber security, a very significant topic was given a mere 15-20 min segment. Last, the segment about the California family who sued the Highway Patrol for posting photos of their daughters horrific car accident on line was just bizarre. The mother accused the Internet of being the anti Christ, while the living daughters acted like zombies in the interview. Yes, they were sent disgustingly insensitive emails by total strangers which is a very sorry happening, But the internet is a mere projection of humanity at large. There is good. There is bad. It's not the Internet that is responsible...it's people.
I spent $7.99 to watch this on Amazon video. I suggest saving your money.
Sent from my iPhone
Fear the Walking Dead (2015)
Three Strikes Your Out
I LOVE 'The Walking Dead,' a show I still can't believe came out of nowhere and took me in by storm. It remains one of my favorites. The acting, characters, plot (refreshing and unique), and sets are just spot on entertaining.
I've watched the first two episodes of this spin off and have been thoroughly underwhelmed. It is sooooooo S L O W. It needs professional writers. It need professional actors...but most of all it needs characters I give a damn about. If that can all materialize in episode three (which I rather doubt) then I will continue on. So far however, I think on all levels it's a complete fail.
I suspect AMC hires people to write glowing reviews because unless your TV watching standards are challenged, this show does not deserve a rating of 8.0 on The Database.
Elizabeth Gaskill...The Alternative Austen
First, I'm a big Elizabeth Gaskell fan. I had just reread Cranston last winter...so starting this series, I was really confused and frankly worried about the age of my brain...until I realized that the plot was an amalgamation of three different Gaskill stories. I'm not such a purest that it bothered other than not being aware of it at the onset.
Actually, I was just grateful that anyone was paying attention to Elizabeth Gaskill in the first place. No doubt there are those of us who adore Jane Austen but she always gets all the attention in movies and TV, what with the oodles of remakes and re releases and her immense popularity. But Gaskill is just down right hilarious to read...so hurray for the old new comer!
There's a wealth of material here and BBC put a lot of effort and time into making this a worthwhile production. I agree that the music was really sappy, but the script and the fine acting made up for it. Of course the costuming was fabulous! There were a lot of belly laughs surrounding the escapades of the ladies of Cranford...Mrs Forrester's cow, the misbegotten meaning behind gifts and letters, hair dying, much gossip, of course...even lace eating cats! As character would demand, Eileen Atkins was a tour de force as Miss Deborah...in fact, the entire cast was astounding! All together a remarkable entertaining miniseries!
In Treatment (2008)
Has teeth and knows how to use them!
The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and Rome ending, left a gaping hole in the heart of HBO for me.
I was ready to drop my subscription when I realized that Gabriel Byrne was going to be a key player in the new series, In Treatment.
WOW! I'm so glad I stuck it out...Gabriel Byrne...I first admired him years ago when he played in a robust movie called "Into The West" which I now own on DVD. He is one damn fine actor in a tour de force of a show that he can easily sink his teeth into.
Diane Wiest as the therapist's therapist is noteworthy as well!
The plot is addictive...I quickly became committed to the weekly patients, some of whom I really hate. The script is detailed, intense and very well written. The simple sets and the subtle camera action during emotional moments, serves well to keep one purely focused on the drama. And man what drama! Even though it has no comedy, In Treatment is almost destined to be another big hit for HBO.
Some one suggested Robin Williams should have had the part of the psychoanalyst...what? I hope that was a joke.
An HBO flop
Everything and everyone involved in this production was presented in such a way as to be a cliché, an unfortunate stereotype of the real events and people this show was based upon. It's really sad because I would have expected so much more from HBO. In past programs they have done such an excellent job of portraying an era, Rome being one very effective example. And it even more of a shame because the book this material is based upon was so thoroughly unique. I read "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" the summer of the year it was published. I was a senior in high school on my way to college and I was really taken aback by it's powerful and intense telling of those years in American history.
The book left such an impression on me. I felt so angry and mistrustful toward the traditional telling of history, or our "not" telling of history that I spend a great deal of time talking with my relatives and grandparents about their recall of native people they had known and worked with.
My paternal grandparents were from Topeka Kansas and my uncle had worked for a number of years at the Bureau Of Land Management, which had reservations as one of it's concern. My uncle eventually told me the reason he left, was he just couldn't deal with the wretchedness of the whole affair. He said the health of the Indians was appalling and that the money they were supposed to be getting never got to whom it should. It finally depressed him so much he transferred to another area of government. I always remembered my grandfather, who was not a wealthy man, donated much money to what he used to call "The Indian Missions". They were always sending him Christian paraphernalia as thank yous, which he kept in special alcoves and shelves in his bedroom. To my child's mind they were magnificently beautiful... most of them were plastic and many lit up in the dark. I used to sleep in that room when we visited in the summers. He always had a special place in his heart for the mission people, and since he was a really kind and generous man, I realized they must be too. In those days Indians were still outsiders and while my own family may have thought otherwise, many of the people who lived in that part of the country regarded anyone who was not white as sub-human. I never got to ask my grandparents about the Indians because they were dead by the time I read this book and got curious.
Anyway, that is all a tangent story. The fact remains that this production falls way short of the base material and is an HBO flop as far as I'm concerned. Maybe they should have made it a full fledged mini series and explored the richness of the characters further, particularly the Ghost Dancer, because it's a gripping story well worth big attention.
Casa de Areia (2005)
Perspective Is Everything!
Maybe it's a male/female perspective (the mother daughter relationships were so spot on), or an American/Brazilian difference in perspective, but I can not understand all the negative comments on the board regarding this movie! To me it is a haunting little masterpiece I will not soon forget. The standout acting, the stunning yet eerie landscape setting, the subtle plot, and the music are reminiscent of Kurosawa's deeply minimal but hugely philosophical dramas. Add to that, a brilliantly BIG viewfinder of a camera and a really superb space science sub plot this movie is almost epic. I was surprised by it's simplicity and astonished by it's depth. The director may be young but his soul is ever so old.
L'emploi du temps (2001)
Akira Kurosawa On Downers
Curious that one person discussed their total hatred of this movie (because of the upbeat ending) on the message boards and got really flamed for doing so. I wondered why was everyone going off on this person because he hated the ending? If the ending was supposed to be as he suggested...too unrealistically positive then I dislike it as well because it would not be in keeping with the character of Vincent. Maybe I am confused because I do not understand French and I was relying on the English sub titles but I got the impression that the end was actually very bleak because while Vincent is sitting hearing about the job of a lifetime...he is also being told that he has to invest his own personal moneys to have it work. I took that to mean that the job was a scam on a bigger level that what he had perpetrated on his friends. He said he wasn't scared because it was just more of the downward spiral that he was obviously never going to get out from under. To me that would be in keeping with his character...accepting a slow death. And even if it was a great job he was in no position mentally to make the most of it.
And oh I loved the cinematography!
The really sad aspect of this movie is how honest a reality this has become for many people in the world..with down sizing and out sourcing and the "Starbucks on ever corner of the road in the planet" corporate culture...ordinary people just do not matter a speck in the big scheme of things. We lived through the Dot Com bust here in the San Francisco Bay Area and many of our friends have never recovered financially. At one point 6 of our 10 best best friends were unemployed for eight months to over a year. They have all gotten work since but many are working at lesser paying jobs with little or no security. Add to that the fact that there jobs are not nearly as exciting as the old ones...driving to and from work can actually be the best part of their day.
Mapp & Lucia (1985)
I've always said that finger bowls are entitled to doilies.
If this is a "poor adaptation" then by all means I will have to get my hands on the original books because I really loved this production! It's an absolute hoot of a good time! I find it hard to believe it is over twenty years old! It's seems like it could have been made just yesterday.The character studies are pretty much timeless. London Weekend certainly didn't skimp on the sets or costumes and the acting was all around superb. It was a little difficult at first to adjust to Mapp and Lucia's exaaaaaggerated voices but by episode two I was laughing so hard...I no longer cared. As a comedy it succeeds on all levels but it's also somewhat intriguing as a period study as well. It recreates a time in post WWI England when people could be leisurely enough to care about the superficial things of everyday village life and when class was so important it actually dictated how people related to each other. Before the fall I guess you could say. Similar to east coast America before WWII or the over the top Regan years and eons before 9/11.
The cast includes the many favorites that others have already listed but I have to reiterate the brilliance of Nigel Hawthorne as Georgino mio and the endearing pair of Mary MacLeod and Cecily Hobbs as Godiva and Quaint Irene...in fact all the minor characters were brilliant and so believable I felt like they were family. I am truly sorry the series didn't go on to include all the books. All I can say is it must have been a lot of fun to act in this series and if you enjoy light hearted English comedy...you will really want to take a look at these episodes on DVD.
The Poseidon Adventure (2005)
This whole movie is a spoiler!
OK. I liked the original in a really good B kind of movie way and I was feeling under the weather so I figured I would couch potato the night away with this made for TV movie...which turned out to be a worthless piece of Hallmark American family propaganda with some T&A thrown in for the men folk...first...Steve Guttenber ...who is this guy and why is he allowed to take up perfectly good acting space when someone even half as worthy is out of work? And the same can be said for the writer and director of this horrible miss-adventure! How can these people continue to get work in TV if this is the best they have to offer...no wonder cable is king! If only that was the worst of it...unbelievable stereo types and really bad special effects left nothing nothing but character development to save this show...but whoa....the characters were all so dreadful I really didn't care if any of them survived! I think the terrorist won this attack not by blowing up the ship but by leaving enough actors to torture us with this looser movie for three hours!
The Jacket (2005)
Poor Man's Jacob's Ladder
Poor mans Jacob's Ladder (one of the 10 best movies I have ever seen) but a lot more pleasant to watch as it is basically life affirming. You'll have to watch with a blind eye to obvious plot flaws...such as the the highly unorthodox treatment given the patient. And even if the premise is a familiar one...this is well done and beautifully filmed with a big surprise talent coming from Kierra Knightly...did not think she had it in her. Arain Brody is his usual intense and spiritual self...a good choice for this particular character. However, I fear he is being type cast which is a waste of his abilities.
As I remember...Jacob's Ladder was the first time I experienced a movie that portrayed psychosis in a way that I could identify with what it must be like for the person suffering from it....schizophrenia in particular. I have always wanted to watch it again to see if it has held up over time but it was such a painful experience...don't know when I can muster up the courage to re-watch it.