Reviews written by registered user
|15 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I gave this picture one star. In truth, it's not THAT bad; it has
enough redeeming features to get, say, 3/10. It's just that the
annoying elements are irritating to such a degree as to totally
disannul any bright points. What, out of interest, might those be?
Well, the movie has some neat SFX. There are a handful of witty quips.
Um... Yeah, that's about it.
What's wrong with it? (1) The ineffably TIRED HACKNEYED VAPID recipe of one "regular guy" using a series of brilliant, superhuman feats of body and mind to foil a sophisticated scheme dreamed up by highly-trained, determined pros. Oh, did I mention that the "regular guy" has a dysfunctional family? Why, nobody ever did THAT before! (2) The malefactors shoot up the entire White House. Scores of the best military and intelligence personnel on the entire planet are smoked in a matter of minutes by barely a dozen disaffected ex-commandos. Our "regular guy" though manages to get shot at by thousands of bullets and escape with nary a bruise; not only that, but he cracks wise along the way.
(3) The "regular guy" singlehandedly dispatches practically all the terrorists. Oh yeah, he thwarts -- singlehandedly, naturally -- the outbreak of World War Three as well. Really, I don't know why we bother having the entire U.S.A.F., DoD, special forces, intelligence agencies, etc. when all we need is someone like Agent Cale (one per city, or even one per state, should more than suffice!).
(3) The antagonists (whom, despite my fervent patriotism, I couldn't help but start rooting for barely 20 minutes into the movie) drop hundreds of people coldblooded precision; yet, El Presidente and the obligatory precocious-yet-vulnerable kid are kept alive forever for ZERO good reason except to be "heroically" saved by our "regular guy." I therefore nearly creamed my pants when El Presidente got shot. Just a flesh wound though; he survived. But of course. Talk about anticlimactic. Not only did he survive: After lying "dead" for ten minutes he got up unaided and made a quip, too.
(4) Speaking of which, the tone and appearance of "the president" are extremely evocative of Obama. I don't know why they bothered conjuring up the name "President Sawyer." I also don't get how come they released the picture after the 2012 presidential election. Obama couldn't have *paid* to have such flagrant propaganda churned out by Hollywood at his behest. Oh, and not only is "the president" depicted as a multifaceted, multitalented super-Obama, but the movie is laden with cheap political potshots at the military, the "right wing," the Republicans, Speaker Boehner-equivalent, the advocates of military action against Iran, etc., etc.
(5) The pathetic, eye-rolling ad misericordiam invoked every ten minutes. No, by Jupiter, we WON'T bomb the White House because of the 60-odd hostages' lives in there, even if it means millions of people dying as a direct result. Yeah, LET'S convince Obama -- I mean, Sawyer -- to launch the nukes aimed at tens of millions of Iranians by putting a gun to the cutie-patootie girlie-twirlie's head. (Naturally, the scene is not played out because, deus ex machina, the "regular guy" creates a diversion.) (6) The amount of deus ex machina is just astonishing, even for the level of asininity this excuse for a movie scrapes. Just when you dare to begin hoping the "bad guys" are about to drop one of the annoying protagonists, something happens to sidetrack them.
(7) What was supposed to be one of the most poignant scenes, to wit, the cutie-patootie girlie-twirlie running outside the White House and maniacally waving the Presidential Standard, easily wins THE most groan-inducing scene award. And for a movie chock full of such scenes, that's some accomplishment! (8) The liberties taken by the producers concerning the Constitutional procedure are stupefying. Presidents are sworn in, sworn out, installed, toppled as if it was the Tonight Show! (9) Coup d'etat; I mean, coup de grace: The closing scene. President's helo. Six people. Three African-Americans. One strong, confident, high-flying woman in a power-suit. One early-teen cutie-patootie girlie-twirlie who -- despite all the carnage she just witnessed -- show not a hint of P.T.S.D. And one "regular guy" :) *sigh* I mean, what to say... This is just so f**king laughable and pathetic and silly and ludicrous and jaded and idiotic as to defy any analysis.
When we get a Stallone or Schwarzenegger (or even Will Smith or Tom Cruise) picture, we know what we're in for. Forget suspending disbelief; we suspend all higher brain functions.
This movie though aspires to something more serious, something more cerebral. It fails abysmally.
I wasted two hours of my life and I lost two dozen I.Q. points.
Forget waterboarding. If we want to make Gitmo terrorists talk, play them this movie on a loop. A couple of times should be enough to make even the hardest of them crack.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The plot is interesting. Some complain about the development being too
slow, but I found it to be all right.
So, on those points, this is a good show: Watchable and intriguing.
What irks me a lot is the message subtly being disseminated throughout. Moslems are not at all bad people. Look at the main protagonist: He converted and now prays daily -- together with all the ablutions and incantations -- but he's a loyal soldier and a steadfast American patriot. How freaking sweet. And the imam: He clearly knows something about the ticking-timebomb terrorist and his mosque was used by the same to evade capture by the police, but he is continually said to be a "good man," and is begged to divulge information rather than have his six shipped off to Gitmo. The arch-terrorist himself is a doting family man. Seriously? So, let me guess: All these supposed "moderate Moslems" we keep hearing so much about haven't been able to convince us that they're nothing to be feared from, so now we need "Homeland" to give that piece of propaganda a shot? Pathetic.
Oh, and a C.I.A. agent decides to schtup a terrorist suspect?! And then, in an isolated location, she confesses her suspicions to him!?! Speaking of which, I do not care for the sex scenes. Now, I'm no puritan by any means and have no objection to supposed nudity and violence on T.V., but what, exactly, is gained from shots of people bumping uglies?!? Honestly, if that is how C.I.A. agents operate, then the American people should be very, very afraid.
Those are some of the criticisms leveled at the movie.
Forgettable? I don't think so. I rewatched this picture three times in the space of eight or so months, and am sure to do so again. I love politics and anthropology, and this movie goes a decent way toward depicting the transition-South-African psyche and events.
Inaccurate? Maybe. But, then, this is not supposed to be a documentary. For dead-on accurate features one usually goes to the History Channel.
Predictable. Aside from a few tense moments, yes.
However, none of the above detracts in any way from this movie. It is interesting, fast-moving, does not contain gratuitous violence or sex or C.G.I. It is thoughtful and thought-provoking. It is also very poignant. Though not a fan of the A.N.C. and having reservations about Mr. Mandela himself, I have no shame in admitting I was moved to tears a number of times. Pres. Mandela is rightly portrayed as a statesman and a mensch who averted disaster and bloodshed upon the dismantling of the reprehensible Apartheid regime.
The message conveyed through this picture gives hope, particularly to those of us in the Middle East. If the bitter enemies of decades of turbulent strife can get along, there might be hope for us yet, too!
P.S. The musical score is also excellent!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
...I'd rather have 90 minutes of great movie and 13 minutes of a
disappointing conclusion than vice-versa.
The introduction and body of the movie are fantastic, full of drama, suspense, and a continuous emotional roller-coaster.
As many, I wasn't happy with the ending. But, then, how was it ever going to end anyway? The protagonist could either have met his death or he'd have been sentenced to multiple, consecutive life sentences. He was never going to be released, that's for sure. So, given those choices, the first wasn't such a bad one.
More disappointing is that the protagonist is turned into the "bad guy" toward the end, even though I personally didn't buy it. He may have gotten a bit carried away with his attempt to blow up the mayoral conference, but I'd say his heart was in the right place.
In any event, the movie, including the finale, got us all talking. Isn't that a hallmark of a good picture?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I say "boring," I don't mean the story. The story is actually very
interesting, as that whole period of our history is anyway.
No, "boring" is for the production. The blood, the gore, the sex... It's mildly curious (entertaining, even?) the first couple of times stuff like that is shown but then it gets tedious and predictable. As others have stated here: It's GRATUITOUS. I never really knew what the concept of "gratuitous" meant in practice, but THIS, is it! Now, I'm no prude. I don't swoon at the idea or sight of blood, guts, decapitations, etc. on television or in video games, nor do I think they should be banned or even regulated all that strictly.
It's just that having what-looks-like gallons of blood splashed across the screen every five minutes or having 3-4 soft-sex scenes per episode does not contribute to, aid, or benefit the show in any way. It doesn't make it more realistic; it doesn't make it more entertaining (unless you're a cocooned 12-year-old seeing "violence" for the first time); it doesn't make the viewer feel more involved or sympathetic. It appears that such scenes are there only to shock the prissy old grannies who still care about violence on T.V. It's like: "Hey, look at us, we've got blood galore and sex galore on a show about a historical topic. We're real f!@#ing pioneers!!" Give me a break.
And what's with the British accents?!? Has Hollywood's supply of talent and wannabe talent dried up? Or is it that, for some reason, a show cannot possibly be "historical" unless the actors speak in an English that's spoken by a tiny fraction of global English speakers?
First of all, I have to confess to not having found any of the previous
Vacation installments particularly funny. They elicited a few chuckles
but were otherwise so jaded that my eyes nearly fell out of their
sockets with all the rolling I made them do.
This abomination of a movie is so bad as to be positively criminal. Forget waterboarding; THIS is an example of a cruel and unusual punishment if ever I saw one. Christmas Vacation 2 is not only not in the least bit funny; it is actually just plain stupid to boot. The characters don't look, talk or act drolly, nor do they find themselves in comical situations. It's all terribly contrived and slap-stick (well, far more slap than stick, and I mean a slap in the VIEWERS' faces!). It's a testament to my masochistic tendencies that I braved through about a half of it, albeit over the course of three hours: I just had to stop and take sanity breaks after pretty much every scene. I gave up at that point and went out for a walk in a thunderstorm, hoping a lightning might bring me sweet relief.
Even the presence of the jaw-droppingly stunning Sung-Hi Lee could not salvage this train wreck.
I know this is not constructive criticism; it's just that this picture is beyond any meaningful critique.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is tendentious in the extreme. Its anti-government,
anti-establishment credo permeates just about every scene. Rachel
Armstrong is portrayed as a victimized hero, and those trying to get
her to talk are bullies. They're anti-democratic brutes whose principal
aim is to shield an overbearing government from accountability and
I'm all for upholding the Constitution. I cherish the First Amendment as the encapsulation of our values, and indeed as what ought to be the foremost aspiration of the human race. It's what America is all about; it's what humanity's future is (hopefully) all about.
Nor am I fan of secretive governments. I firmly believe in a government of the people, by the people, for the people; open, transparent, approachable.
However, not everybody in the world sees it that way. There are some who given half a chance would like to overthrow our country and our values. That makes it necessary to have secrets, and secret government agencies, and secret government operators, and secret government officers. Jeopardizing that secrecy imperils real people: Agents, their families, and ultimately the country. Some things -- the barest minimum -- HAVE to be secret, and those who violate that secrecy have to be made to regret it.
In this movie, however, this dilemma is not even the main point. Rather, it's something much more trivial: This movie is about lionizing obstinacy and selfishness. Armstrong's goal is not to expose corruption (as was the case with, say, the Watergate scandal). No; she's after a good story. That's her principal concern. And if anyone has any doubts about her morality, such doubts are ably dispelled in the last scene where her primary source is finally shown: She had cynically used an innocent kid.
Only well into her incarceration experience does her egocentric motivation metamorphosize into the defense of a -- fairly laudable -- principle, namely, that revealing her clandestine source would dissuade other potential sources from ever divulging their information. Of course, no distinction is made between a source with information about criminal acts vs. a source trying to do something patently against the law (revealing secret agents' identities, for instance). It jives well with the overall shallowness and agenda of the movie.
Thus, if the question was about the quality or nature of the message this picture so brashly assays to send, I'd give it a 0 / 10.
Moreover, not just is the main issue presented simplistically; the characters are, too. They all to one lack nuance: A character is either a sinister, menacing government agent or apparatchik, or an independent-minded, stick-it-to-the-man revolutionary. Van Doren is the only character with a modicum of complexity, which is probably why she gets bumped off barely halfway through. Oh, and her assassin is some schmuck nobody, without a particularly strong reason or rationale.
One thing I'll give the movie: It IS thought-provoking, and for that and that alone it deserves some degree of plaudits.
Aight, the picture itself is not too bad. It's clichéd, shallow, crude,
predictable. It's replete with impossibly talented non-entities
cracking wise left and right. Both women and men, gay and straight, are
portrayed as annoying jerks, without any old-school values or
integrity. If the human race ever devolves to the specimens as depicted
in this movie, I'm getting a one-way ticket off the planet.
All that, however, can be glossed over.
What REALLY got to me, and which got me to write this feedback is the supremely irritating muzak. I mean, literally EVERY SINGLE scene concludes with a score, and each and every score is basically some schmuck banging on a guitar and intoning nondescript, forgettable words. It's the kind of thing that passes for "profound" in a hippie commune with everyone stoned and half-comatose. I don't know what genre it officially is... - "indie," is it? I know the said "music" is meant to give pause for thought, reflection, to make us pensive... - but it's just imbecilic and bland. It totally lacks any character. Jeez Alou, you could literally replace all the so-called lyrics with "nya nya nya" in the style of someone who takes a break from drooling into a cup, and the effect would be identical.
Anyway, so the O.S.T. entirely ruined for me what would otherwise have been a 5/10 feature.
I had watched a few episodes of Home Improvement now and then back in
the late 1990s and for some reason--nostalgia, I guess--decided to
re-watch the whole show recently.
I didn't love it and I didn't hate it; I'm kinda blasé about it. It's all right as something running in the background while you do other things, such as browsing the Internet or playing Minesweeper but hardly something to dedicate a half hour to at a time.
The show IS funny but is decidedly low-brow, which I suppose it was aiming for anyway. I did laugh a fair amount, but instead of the guffaws produced by the canned "audience," mine tended to be chuckles. The plots were average, nothing captivating or inspiring but, then, this IS a sitcom, not the Discovery Channel.
Many segments showing tool-work were interesting and that is what carried the show. The scenes involving the characters in family settings were distinctly unremarkable, notwithstanding the occasional witticism, particularly on the part of the boys.
A few specific annoyances:-- Tim: Has his moments but his overall character as a wannabe alpha-male grates. He represents the view that for a man to be a Real Man(TM), he has to dress, act, walk, talk, think and smell like a gorilla. How tiresome. Those WERE the 1990s though; I like to think the world has moved on since then...
Jill: Another cliché. She is incredibly smart, put-down-upon, unappreciated wife to a next-to-useless husband. I suppose she is part of the faux-feminist propaganda machine whereby the woman, though intellectually and often otherwise superior to a man, is downtrodden by him and through various contrived situations she gets her own back, showing him up for the loser he is. Seen it a million times before, such as with Everybody Loves Raymond's Deborah. I guess in Hollywood a woman is either a vacuous tottie playing arm-candy to some superhuman superhero, or an intellectual giant in her own right dealing with exasperating, hapless men... - in other words, a Hollywood woman is everything EXCEPT a man's equal.
Wilson: An interesting and novel concept to begin with, his idiosyncrasies and prowess eventually became his undoing. Finding ways to conceal his face was mostly amusing, but casting him as a person of incredibly many talents, interests, aptitudes, skills, knowledge and experiences became REALLY old halfway through the show. It came to a point where, on seeing the opening shot of him doing some--forgive me--batshit ridiculous thing in his yard, I just groaned and rolled my eyes.
Al: By far the most amiable character. But what's the deal with him and his mother?! That angle was overdone and made him look pathetic and weird, to the point of perversity (Oedipus complex, anyone?).
The Taylor family: I quite liked the boys and it was fun seeing them grow up through the eight seasons of the show. Watching the entire run across a few weeks, I basically witnessed three kids getting eight years older. They had quite a few droll moments. It would have been nice to have had a girl instead of one of the three of them, but then the whole dynamic would have been different, and not necessarily for the better.
Overall: O.K. and just that.
The premise of the movie is somewhat interesting if totally
unrealistic. It showcases some sweet special effects. It... - hm, no,
that's about it as far as the positive.
The negative? It's deja vu to the point of pathetic and beyond.
An everyday Joe-turned-superhero? Check.
Joe's dysfunctional family brought to reconciliation thru a disaster? Check.
Joe's precocious multitalented kid? Check.
Joe's kid's cute floozy, also boasting nigh-on preternatural abilities (except when she has to play the damsel in distress for Joe's kid to save)? Check.
Politically correct side-characters (e.g. the African American hobo with the intellect of an Ivy League chaired professor)? Check.
Intransigent, maladroit, aggressively stubborn politicians (American, of course)? Check.
Barely 20 minutes into the movie I was rooting for them to perish. Now, THAT, would have been a movie!
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