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5 reviews in total 
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187 out of 281 people found the following review useful:
This is where we are as a culture, 28 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

How many millions of dollars went into this which could have been used better in some other venture? Sour premise of a dope-smoking, opportunistic junior high school teacher who skates through her job, looking for a way to fund her breast augmentation job so she can land a rich boyfriend. Ends up committing several felonies & getting a stuffy but honest co-worker blamed for everything (including drug use on school grounds) while she wins the day. The redemption is her hooking up with an angry gym teacher when he proves the affluent guy she's sharking for is a shallow imbecile.

Now, I'm not the sort of person who demands a moral message in every piece of cinema, but really? Who is the target audience here? To whom are the filmmakers attempting to appeal? This is just vile.

8 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
Most Impressive, 19 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I could literally go on for hours, but I'll keep this brief.

We have been so inundated for so long with the idea of the spunky underdog taking on corporate greed and corrupt businessmen whose sole purpose was to acquire—not make, but acquire—money, invariably by dishonest methods, that Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is difficult for many to accept. All their lives huge swaths of people have been taught to hate businessmen, Capitalists, industrialist, technicians & the men who make the world work—much like previous generations were taught to hate blacks, Jews and gays. Yeah, I went there. Deal with it, haters. Because the last, least protected minority in the world is the individual; the one that has to fend for itself against a typhoon of groupthinkers. The novel and film portray Capitalists the way Dances with Wolves portrayed Native Americans: as a noble people viciously slandered by ignorance and prejudice.

Everybody knows you can't fit an 1100 page book into a two hour film, and even tho they've parsed it into a trilogy a lot of back story & character development had to be dropped. Instead of doing what Lynch tried with Dune, they did what Petersen did with Neverending Story. The $10-15M budget, in comparison to other adaptations like Lord of the Rings and all the comic books that have come out over the last ten years or so was not calculated to impress. I went expecting a piece of work similar to Roger Corman's Fantastic Four from the early nineties, which was so bad that it collapsed under the weight of its own wretchedness before it got out of the gate. But Atlas demonstrates something VERY profound that I'd never considered about the novel: the events are not as big as the story. It's more about the characters' lives, the choices they're presented, how they make them and the inevitable consequences. En toto, I find that the adaptation is faithful to the spirit of the novel, if not the logistics.

Atlas has been compared to the low-budget, niche market productions euphemistically labeled "family movies," which are in reality Christian-agenda films. But there's a BIG problem with that comparison. Christian films are advertisements for tax-exempt entities which have a sixteen-century history of theft, rape, torture and murder committed against untold billions of human beings. There's no way of knowing how many $quadrillions has been stolen or extorted from private persons by the church over the last 1600 years. Atlas was funded privately and is about the right to keep the products of one's labor from the leeches who demand it as their right.

Full disclosure: about 80% of the people in the cinema were older than me, and I was wearing my D'Anconia Copper t-shirt from

The good stuff: they got it. The ideas of the first 1/3 of the novel are there, though told instead of shown. I can accept that under the circumstances. The premise that travel has become too expensive for air power has necessitated the return to locomotive power is reasonable given the "we're going backwards in the name of progress" theme of the novel. The Dow at 4000 is TERRIFYING, as is the $36/gal gas prices established right off the bat. I like that they updated the setting to reflect modern times instead of trying to do a period piece about a dystopian future, ala Bioshock. It followed the novel very well, and the recurring device of name/job/date gave it a hook, probably making it easier to follow for anybody who's not read the novel. The montage of Hank surrendering his diverse portfolio provides the viewer an outstanding sense of the extortions committed in the name of "social justice." The penultimate line of the film, spoken by the unseen hero, puts it all into context so that Americans in 2011 can understand what it's about and how it relates to their lives RIGHT NOW.

The not-so-good: Francisco! My favorite character is played straight and tragic, instead of the giddy & capricious fella he was in the novel. So much of his sense of humor has been sucked out and replaced by this brooding fellow with little sense of life. And there was no Money Speech, which is a pivotal event in the novel. Hopefully the blu-ray will feature an extended cut which includes more Francisco. So, too, a lot of the philosophical base of the story has been dropped in order to move the mystery story along. The film, like the novel, require a fundamental knowledge of how and why things work because they don't take time to stop & explain things. You are expected to know what a split rail means, how long construction can take, and that people who do revolutionary things do so with time, effort & devotion to their own passions to achieve. James Taggart is young and good looking, whereas in the novel he "looked like a man approaching fifty," and though he's clearly a punk he's not nearly as whiny and underhanded. There were no scenes in the cafeteria with Eddie. And I really wanted to see Ivy Starnes as she was portrayed in the book because I've known SOOOO many people just like her.

FYI - the first time we see Dagny in her apartment, as she's watching the TV report, look to the left side of the screen. On the computer monitor in the background is a black and white picture of Rand.

All in all, I give it 4.5 out of 5 on sheer chutzpah alone. I'm looking forward to the next two with great vee-gah.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Just so we're clear on the trilogy, 17 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

All evil comes from men. Not a single female is portrayed in a negative light during the entire film series. Women are either victims of circumstance & cruelty, or nigh-invincible warriors of truth crusading for the underdog. The final confrontation is two-fold, between a courtroom battle that's two women against two men (with a female lead judge) and a chase scene where our heroine uses the villain's (see "tree" below) greatest asset against him.

Men, by contrast, are conspirators, murderers, rapists, pedophiles, and one lumbering tree of a man devoid of personality. However, the good news is that there are less than half a dozen guys who, with the assistance of strong women, are capable of SOME good.

Mind you, it's a strong story and well told. It's just not terribly realistic since 100% of the Social Services personnel are male, and there's about a 20-year span of physical and emotional abuse that seemingly NO ONE caught on to despite the medical/psychological records meticulously kept by one of the main villains.

It's an overtly anti-male film series masquerading as a serious drama. So it should please its target audience.

Machete (2010)
89 out of 172 people found the following review useful:
Captain Planet meets a Junior High diary, 4 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Interesting to see all the boilerplate 8-10 ratings before the film came out. Typical WhollyOdd: front-loading IMDb with praise to raise a film's rating and coax people to see it.

This is one of those films that combines a half-baked political message with a thin pretense of story so that the filmmakers can bask in the glow of their supporters' praise while claiming "it's just a movie" when opponents point out the glaring falsehoods, rationalizations, dropped contexts and hyperbole. Gutless and petulant, it reminded me of Captain Planet, in which evil men set out to destroy for destruction's sake with no perceptible gain for their actions.

On the other hand, the script had to have been adapted from the diary of an 11-year-old girl throwing a tantrum because she didn't make the cheerleading squad, so petty and self-pitying as it is.

In a nutshell: ALL opposition to illegal immigration is based solely--that's right, there are NO other reasons--on sourceless hatred of Mexicans. That's it. The complex and far-reaching ethical issues, financial realities, social architecture, et. al. are reduced to "they don't like me!" Nothing about legitimate support for legal immigration, nobody claiming anchor babies, ZERO about the restrictive and racist policies of Mexican immigration... nada. Again, it's like an overlong and hyper-violent episode of Captain Planet written by a rejected tweenager.

The synopsis is something about a betrayed cop, but that's not the real story. Not that it matters, but the "plot" is a plan to restrict access to the US by electrified border fence which enjoys support from universally racist Texas citizens. But it's designed with strategically placed access points so the personal aide of a politician who opposes illegal immigration can get drug mules through. This would be pertinent if it weren't lost in the cloying miasma of race pimping.

Said politician makes campaign commercials and speeches straight out of the Leni Riefenstahl handbook, directly comparing Mexicans to roaches and maggots, repeatedly referring to them as terrorists (personally, I **don't know a single human being** who would remain in a room with, much less support, such a piece of crap). Happily, he magically realizes the error of his ways in a last-minute transition to Mexican identity (via poncho and hat, wouldn't it be great if that's all it took to change nationalities?) before he's gunned down by his daughter, and later by the very rednecks he's been aiding--who don't recognize his face in bright, revealing floodlight. Thus completes the adolescent fantasy of revenge, humiliation, capitulation, forgiveness--but he's still murdered by his own kind.

In the film, Mexicans are victims: virtuous, beloved of family, and utterly blameless across the board. They have no significant faults, but are incessantly harassed for existing.The biggest obstacle to their integration as productive members of society is the United States' refusal to treat them like human beings. At worst, a priest carries guns and kills, but only in self-defense before he's tortured and murdered, nailed to a cross for protecting his people against the evil whites. Plenty of symbolism there.

Whites are--let's see if I can remember it all--illiterate, uneducated, prone to vomiting at the sight of blood, hypocrites, sacrilegious, happy to shoot pregnant women and teenage boys in cold blood for a snuff video, unable to accept differences of opinion within their own communities, confused about their own beliefs, in the mood for sex with their own strung-out daughters (both mom *and* dad, no less), happy to torture and kill inside a church, and apparently the true benefactors of Mexican drug cartels.

Blacks and Asians happily serve whites to the detriment of their fellow minorities. Because they dislike Mexicans, too. Admittedly, that's the part that's NOT Captain Planet.

On the other hand, Michelle Rodriguez looks great with her pants almost falling off, even as she slaughters those other-than-la-raza.

And there will be sequels!

Avatar (2009)
2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Dances with Wolves inside Roger Dean paintings, 21 December 2009

Avatar is a technologically advanced film employing huge computing power and human achievement to assert that humans don't do anything but destroy without creating and that the natural world is more powerful than the man-made one. A military man enters a world of primitives to find that they're morally superior to his world because of their holistic connection to the planet. Naturally the invading humans (all white males) ignore his dire warnings and attack anyway. It's essentially Dances With Wolves, Ferngully & Starship Troopers on a huge budget.

It also prominently features scenery which is awfully similar to specific paintings by English surrealist Roger Dean, most notable "Floating Islands," "Arches" and various other pieces.

Not a bad film, but not a great one either. The story of repugnant human behavior has been recycled over and over since the 1960s, and amping up the effects budget doesn't do much to improve it. However, the effects alone are worth the ticket price so I'll see it a couple more times.