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57 reviews in total 
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A Work of Art, 7 July 2016

Knight of Cups is not a movie. It is a work of art. Meaning, you know when you go to an art museum and you stand in front of a huge rectangular painting on the wall that is the color red and you say to yourself "That isn't art" but you know the artist thinks it is, he likes it, he enjoys it, he thinks it's great, and the reason he created his red painting was for him, and not for the masses to enjoy? That's Knight of Cups.

What Knight of Cups lacks: 1. A beginning, a middle, and an end. Meaning, a story. 2. Letting the audience know what the story is about within the first ten minutes. This is because the movie is expressed in vignettes. 3. A lot of dialogue. Instead, Christian Bale narrates over the vignettes.

That's it in a nutshell. Obviously, some people think Mr. Mallick wanted and created an inapposite flick to satisfy his needs. Still others will lump Knight of Cups with other avant- garde flicks.

Either way, Knight of Cups is not for everyone. Just like a big, red rectangular painting hanging in an art museum isn't going to float everyone's boat. Me?

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Written for Morons, 16 April 2016

Who writes this crap?

A crew of American astronauts leaves one of its own on Mars thinking he is dead. That's right, intelligent movie-goers, the astronauts don't even bother to check on their fellow astronaut to gather the facts.

Why didn't NASA's crew of astronauts check on their fellow astronaut? A severe storm caught them off guard. Actually, they knew the storm was coming, but had no clue to its severity. A little far-fetched unless the writer includes in his screenplay WHY the astronauts are able to receive storm information, but not the severity of a storm. Since back on earth the Weather Channel app I have on my iPad can upgrade and downgrade all types of weather. In this movie, NASA is unable to do the same for their astronauts on Mars.

I turned my DVD player off after Matt Damon's character taped his cracked helmet with duct tape to prevent his oxygen from escaping so he wouldn't die.

Conclusion: This movie was written for morons. Fact: This movie lacks suspense. Suggestion: Intelligent people should complain to Hollywood producers that they're churning out crap and helping to dumb movie-goers down. Hollywood producers don't know a well-written script from a poorly written script. Probably because they have the attention span of a two-year-old and don't read a single script they green light. Instead, they TALK about the scripts before and after they make the actors read them. Then they convince the actors that it's a great movie by pimping them with outrageous sums of money.

Again, who writes this crap?

What a waste of Sean Bean's and Matt Damon's talent!

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Kid movie, 29 November 2015

Astronauts on Mars try to fend off fellow astronauts-turned-Zombies hours before a shuttle is to pick them up and return them to Earth.

Three things you should know about Last Days on Mars: 1. The screenwriter steals scenes from other, more popular science fiction movies. 2. The screenwriter can land a crew of astronauts on Mars, but can't provide them with space age weaponry or better flashlights. 3. The screenwriter created some of the dumbest astronauts ever portrayed in a movie.

If those three facts don't insult your intelligence, then Last Days on Mars is right up your alley.

Detachment (2011)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Story not on par with the acting, 29 November 2015

Henry (Adrien Brody), a substitute teacher, is a fragile, broken, complex man who, according to Director Tony Kaye, "lives in his mind and doesn't want to come out of it." Henry encounters a runaway girl who lives on the street and a troubled teen in school who - during his one month stint teaching at a high school - try to pull him out of his contained life.

The problem with Detachment is in the storytelling and the flashbacks. They are too convoluted. Most egregious is how the runaway, the high school kids, and their parents are portrayed - in an over-the-top stereotypical way.

It is too bad Detachment's execution is not on par with the superb acting of Adrien Brody, James Caan's, Christina Hendricks, and the rest of the talented actors and actresses involved. If the writer had taken the time to rid the story of some of the unnecessary issues and characters, and the stereotypes, perhaps Detachment would have resonated with more viewers and film festivals.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Lacks Original Thought, 14 November 2015

A widower with two kids goes into space and a black hole to save the world.

Interstellar is an unsophisticated story filled with clichés and recycled scenes from other movies. It also contains dialogue that should have been rewritten by a script doctor with a keener ear for normal and compelling dialogue.

Interstellar also lacks a talented DP, director, and editor. We rarely see two conversing actors in the same frame. As a result, it makes one wonder if actors were even on set at the same time when their scenes were filmed. As a result, most of the crucial scenes fall flat.

In addition, throughout the movie, the writers have their characters talk and explain their every move, thought, and action. That clearly is a sign of unsophisticated story-telling.

If you like reprocessed story lines, don't care how scenes are edited, and need to have every bit of action explained to you, then you will adore Interstellar.

Those of you looking for a more entertaining, memorable, and succinct science fiction movie, go back in time and watch one of the hand-full of classics.

Little to tell us, teach us, ruminate on, 28 August 2015

Family members with secrets and chips on their shoulders gather when the patriarch passes only to be ambushed by the matriarch with her insensitivity and vitriol.

A play is a live, intimate experience between performers and their audience. And because plays are a live experience, anything goes. Not true with film. There are rules when telling a story for film. And when you don't adhere to those rules, or you do not adapt according to those rules, you wind up with a flawed script. And that is exactly what August: Osage County is, flawed.

For the stage, two hours of constant bickering among family members and revealing secrets on the fly are welcomed. It is not only welcomed, it is expected. The more tension, drama, and hi-jinx the better so that when intermission comes one can take a breath and then eagerly head back to his/her seat for round two.

With a movie, however, you can't keep the switch on high voltage the entire 121 minutes. And because the screenwriter does just that, we are left without the highs, lows, bass, and treble. Without that variety the story is reduced to one long drawn out series of squabbles with little to tell us, teach us, or ruminate on.

Unfortunately, even some of the performances can't save this unvaried, uneventful, uninteresting, and wearisome yarn.

Most disappointing with August: Osage County is that crucial connection between its characters... even when they are arguing.

Plays are plays and movies are movies. Playwrights and screenwriters should learn the differences.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Poor Writing Sinks All is Lost, 28 August 2015

An elderly man, played by Robert Redford, is cast adrift after a metal shipping container puts a hole in the side of his boat. His predicament goes from bad to worse when he is forced to climb aboard his small, rubber boat.

Simply put, All is Lost is boring and poorly written.

All is Lost lacks backstory - no photo in his wallet, no photos on the shelves in the boat? (Then what is the point of the voice-over in the beginning?)

All is Lost lacks suspense. We do see sharks in the water. But all they are doing is nothing but looking National-Geographic-pretty in the writer/director's one artistic shot.

Because there is no backstory and no suspense, why should we care whether this individual lives or dies? We don't.

Disappointing is the lack of emotion Redford's character shows. I blame that on the director, not Mr. Redford. And the couple of times Redford's character does show emotion, it is very wooden. Again, I blame that on the director. If you don't have the balls to direct your actors - whether they be movie stars or newbies - then don't direct.

As far as whether or not the character is an inept seaman is up to the experts. However, I couldn't help but wonder why the character didn't have any rescue beacons on board - personal or otherwise.

And finally, for the ending, the writer/director uses a scene similar to another movie's that was a blockbuster hit. See above: poor writing.

If you want to watch a well-written, suspenseful movie with more than one person adrift in the sea in a small boat, watch Hitchcock's Lifeboat. You won't be disappointed.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A Lot to Say About Love... Love lost and true love, 24 July 2015

Interesting movie (adapted from the book by Jack Engelhard) with a lot to say about love... Love lost and true love.

Did this movie go over the heads of those who gave it a poor rating?

Indecent Proposal is not about sleeping with someone for money as other reviewers have stated. It is about a man who missed the opportunity to be with his first love, and a happily married couple who lose sight of their values and vows.

When John Gage (Redford) first sets eyes on Diana (Moore) at a Casino pocketing chocolates, he's smitten. We assume he's eyeing her because he's a dirty, middle-aged rich man. It isn't until later in the movie - during one of the many touching scenes - that we learn Gage isn't going after Diana because he can. He actually is experiencing love at first sight. Unfortunately, cupid has sent him a happily married woman.

Despite that Diana's married, Gage makes his proposal: One million dollars to spend the night with him. Gage's proposal is an interesting one because it tells a lot about David (Harrelson) and Diana. And it is their decision to accept Gage's proposal that causes their marriage to slowly sour and eventually implode while Gage sits back and patiently waits for Diana.

There are a number of touching moments in Indecent Proposal. One is when Gage tells Diana about the girl he fell in love with during a fleeting moment on a train.

Toward the end of the movie Gage and Diana are in his car. Gage goes into this discourse about other women. It is the most touching scene in the movie because it reveals the kind of person Gage is - someone who realizes what true love is.

Redford plays Gage brilliantly. He was made for the part. Gage is patient and expressive without saying a word. Just a smile or a playful look and you know what he is thinking and feeling. Harrelson plays the loving, then anguished husband well enough. Moore is miscast against both Redford and Harrelson.

Despite this flaw, Indecent Proposal is worth watching because we step into the world of a happily married couple who assured themselves they would survive an unorthodox way to solve their problems. We also step into the world of a man looking for true love.

One last thought: Adaptations are usually a bitch for most writers. I did not read Engelhard's novel. So, I do not know what was added or subtracted to the screenplay. Either way, I found the story nicely paced, well-told, and with no loose ends. Bravo Amy Holden Jones!

Gone Girl (2014)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Unsophisticated, ending a big let down, 4 July 2015

A woman tries to frame her cheating husband for her disappearance and murder.

There are a number of serious issues that makes Gone Girl a mediocre story:

The police look like idiots. Their investigative process is nothing like what happens in the real world. The story lacks suspense. The ending is a huge let down.

It is unfortunate the author of Gone Girl was given the job as screenwriter. Perhaps if a seasoned screenwriter had been given the adaptation job, Gone Girl would have been a clever and sophisticated movie instead of what it is: mediocre.

Don't waste your time with Gone Girl. Skip it for a the tautly suspenseful Tell No One.

"Houdini" (2014)
1 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Terrible, annoying mess, 6 February 2015

Harry Houdini (1874-1926) was a famous Hungarian-American escapologist- somebody who escapes from seemingly impossible combinations of locks, chains, and boxes.

Houdini (Lionsgate) is a TV movie I watched for thirty-five minutes. Then I ejected it from my device and returned it to my local library.

I suppose one cannot blame the writer entirely on this epic failure. The DP should also be scrutinized.

This mess of a TV movie was clearly not a collaboration. Houdini appears to be several people's "ideas" who all wanted included in this film to satisfy their own individual needs and not the audiences.

That being said, Lionsgate's Houdini is a terrible movie with terrible visuals and a story no one cares about. It is a movie suitable for a teenage video-gamer who hated studying history while in school, and was nursed on CSI and bad CGI.

Poor Mr. Brody! So talented. Poor Mr. Houdini. This TV movie will surely make people forget him.

Here's the bad: 1. The voice over. It is painfully annoying. Writers learn that voice overs should be kept to a minimum. Preferably, not used at all. Why? The actors and the visuals should tell the story.

2.The writing. There is very little compelling dialogue or action to help tell Houdini's unique story.

3. The visuals. The ones in this movie overpower the acting. The DP annoys the viewer with unnecessary slow motion, unnecessary closeups, and other unnecessary camera movements. Therefore, we do not experience - or are awed by - Houdini's physical feats, or Brody's interpretations of those feats. For example, we are shown one of those typical, typical, typical CSI shots of the inside of a lock being picked. Really? That's all you got?

4. The costumes and makeup. The costumes are clownish. The makeup overdone and not accurate. Think Rocky Horror Picture Show.

5. The music. Annoying and not appropriate for this story. Also, music is supposed to dwell in the background of the story and help set the tone.

6. The feel and tone. There is none. The turn-of-the-century is not a difficult time in history to authentically capture.

Lionsgate's Houdini regurgitates way too many concepts and ideas already seen on TV and in movies that, basically, did nothing for those shows/movies, too.

Again, a teenage video-gamer would probably enjoy Houdini since teenagers also regurgitate the same old same old while glued to their violent video games creating nothing new or noteworthy in their lives while sucking on the visual stimulation teat rather than the mentally stimulating teat.

I doubt the screenwriter of Houdini studied adaptation. I know writers who have studied adaptation and could have done the book justice. In the business of entertainment, your d**k would appear bigger if you just tucked it back inside your pants, took a step back, and hired the right person to do the job. When you don't, well, you get Houdini (Lionsgate). You also get a super-inflated ego until the bad reviews start coming in.

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