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SeriousJest

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103 reviews in total 
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Watch this and then try to complain about your "first-world problems.", 2 July 2014
10/10

I kept hearing that this movie was good, but I never got around to watching it. Having glanced at its cover before, I was expecting something different…more of a sappy romantic tale. Instead, I discovered one of most poignant, suspenseful, exciting, and action-packed tales of a place that I've only heard stories about. It catapulted me through a wide range of emotions. Watch this and then try to complain about your "first-world problems." The City of God is shockingly poor and frighteningly dangerous, yet culturally rich and unexpectedly beautiful.

Meirelles and Lund manage to convey a stark realism through a cast made up largely of actors from Rio favelas who had never acted before, but who stepped up to the task in an amazing way with some intense coaching. The film even features some takes which were not scripted, as well as real coverage from true events. The music masterfully complemented the mood of each scene, while staying true to the beauty of Brazil. The camera work was top-notch (especially for 2002), both in César Charlone's skillful employment of the equipment and in the scenery that he captured. Daniel Rezende, the film editor, presented Charlone's vision at a wonderful intersection of deliberate and thrilling, ensuring that the viewer's attention stayed captive throughout.

This flick is so good, I wanted to watch it again immediately after the credits rolled the first time around. You will be hooked from the moment the chicken starts running for its life. Make this film the next one you watch.

For more reviews and a kickass podcast, check out: www.livemancave.com

A Very Dark Version of Scream, 1 July 2014
7/10

This film is like a very dark version of Scream. While I enjoy horror movies, haunted houses, etc, not many of them raise my heart rate anymore. A good thriller, however, may still get my blood pumping. Enter this unique take on the serial-killer thriller. Haneke uses a calculating and methodical tempo, a Hitchcock-style method of making your brain fill in the gore, and an expert contrast of peaceful music with obnoxious music to keep the viewer's eyes glued to the screen. The movie is like a soccer match: stretches of anticipation, with exciting moments happening very quickly and with little warning. I had the good fortune to watch the film without knowing what it was about, so those payoffs were even more exciting for me.

And like Scream, while the director showcases his ability to make a proper killer thriller, he also sends a message to the viewer in a creative and artistic fashion. According to IMDb, Haneke told producer 'Veit Heiduschka' during the production that if the film was a success, it would be because audiences had misunderstood the meaning behind it. It could potentially get frustrating to watch a well-executed thriller color outside of the lines all of a sudden, but if you keep an open mind, you might realize that such creative license actually adds to the thrill.

It would be wrong to end this review without mentioning the actors, who all performed very convincingly. A great game plan is of no use if the players don't execute it well.

In closing, I would also be remiss not to mention what I saw as the most important lesson of all to take from this film: a man should have the physical ability and disposition to protect his family. Just ask Muhe's character. Moreover, when presented with a threat, passive compliance is not always the best answer. Act decisively and before your situation has worsened, and you might just catch the enemy in the OO of his OODA loop. Sometimes you just have to fight with a busted knee.

For more reviews and a kickass podcast, check out: www.livemancave.com

Like watching my neighbor on Jerry Springer, 29 June 2014
5/10

This flick has the video quality of a 1990s health class film, and features a town that looks like it is the product of generations of inbreeding. At first, the residents' rally against the incumbent mayor is comical in a campy way, but then the documentary drags a little bit. Specifically, I started thinking of how depressing it would be to live in Bogota. About halfway through, however, one of the campaigns gets a game-changing injection, and so does the film. I grew up in New Jersey and currently live close to Bogota, so, all in all, this flick was worth watching for me because it's like one of your neighbors appearing on The Jerry Springer Show. Plus, it's got a real human aspect to it…both good and bad.

For more reviews and a kickass podcast, check out: www.livemancave.com

"Oz" (1997)
Makes you wonder how you'd do in a max-security prison, 23 June 2014
7/10

When this show debuted, my friends and I would make sure our schedule was clear to catch each new episode live. I have heard it accurately described as a male soap opera. Every week, something crazy happened. Network television wasn't playing anything like this. The character development available in a mutiple-season series was impossible to achieve in a two- or three-hour film.

This show constantly made me wonder how I'd fare in a maximum-security prison. It convinced me to prioritize a spot in my budget for Home Box Office (HBO). With one of the Ghostbusters at the helm, a plethora of cameo appearances by hip-hop stars and professional athletes, and an unforgettable theme song, the first hour-long drama that HBO ever produced also put Harold Perrineau, Simmons, Dean Winters, Eamonn Walker, and BD Wong, among others, on the world map.

Over time, especially in comparison to HBO's later projects, some of the scenes seem a bit hokey. Also, shotgunning episodes can be a little depressing, given the subject matter. Still, this series is a pop-culture requirement.

For more reviews and a kickass podcast, check out: www.livemancave.com

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Love Louis C.K., but I didn't relate to some of this material., 17 June 2014
6/10

Louis C.K. is one of my favorite comedians. As usual, he charismatically delivers brutally honest material that leaves you simultaneously uncomfortable and laughing. Some of the material in this special, though, especially the stuff in the beginning involving offensive words, I just don't relate to. Before you get all "that's what's wrong with 'Murica" on me, I'm not saying he was wrong for going there, but I just didn't find that material very funny…just like I'm not much into toilet humor. If you love that stuff, go for it…if you're offended by my lack of enthusiasm for it, though, I cordially invite you to pound sand and kick rocks.

For more reviews and a kickass podcast, check out: www.livemancave.com

Too Real for Me, 17 June 2014
6/10

After the meet cutes, after the romantic courtship, and after the weddings that their viewers rooted for, the couples in our romantic dramas actually have to live with each other…and it's not always happily ever after. This film is about that later scenario. It is uncompromisingly real. The actors managed to channel raw emotions that make it very difficult for the viewer to stay detached. And to really drive the point home in an artistic and interesting way, the film is split with flashbacks to that amazingly cute romance that no one would ever think would fail. Overall, this is a very good movie, and it deserved every award and nomination that it received.

I guess I've just seen and experienced too much heartbreak in my life to want to spend another 2 hours living in someone else's broken dreams, though. I found this flick difficult to watch for that reason. I found myself strongly disliking Williams's character. I found myself wanting to cite this film as an example of the crappy things that (some) women do. For some people, this movie is a Must See. For me, it is a very real and moving film that brings up feelings I do not really care for. That being said, I respect it as a great movie, and would not say you're wasting your time watching it. Be careful who you watch it with, though, as it could lead to an argument.

For more reviews and a kickass podcast, check out www.livemancave.com

THE Seminal Zombie Flick, 17 June 2014
7/10

It's black and white, and the special effects are primitive, but this is THE seminal zombie film. Like all good horror flicks of its era, it stays compelling through suspenseful storytelling and making its viewers think they saw more gore than they actually did…although some of the cannibalism scenes were more gory than I would have expected for a film of its time.

This movie, Romero's feature debut, was made in the true spirit of an independent film. The line between cast, crew, and producers was virtually non-existent, with actors serving as screenwriters, producers, stuntmen, makeup artists, electronic sound engineers, and still photographers. Romero manned the camera himself for some scenes, as well. According to IMDb, Romero borrowed the house in which most of the movie was filmed from an owner who was going to have it demolished anyway. However, the house did not have a true basement, so the basement scenes were filmed in the editing studio's cellar. Romero also borrowed the car featured in the film. To simulate blood, he used…Bosco chocolate syrup.

Romero was a Carnegie-Mellon Institute graduate, and, also according to IMDb, this was the first movie filmed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Pittburgh police even provided personnel and equipment. The day that the final editing and voice-over dubbing was completed in Pittsburgh, Romero and Russo put the reels into the cans, threw them into the trunk of the car, and drove straight to New York City that night in hopes of having it screen at any willing theater. However, the film's world premiere ended up taking place at the Fulton Theatre in Pittsburgh on October 1, 1968 (At 8PM, admission by invitation only). The movie was met with a standing ovation.

Per IMDb, this film became one of the most successful independent films ever made, one of the last big hits of the drive-in era, and one of the first movies added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Nonetheless, Romero saw very little profit from the film since, thanks to his lack of knowledge regarding distribution deals, the distributors walked away with practically all of the profits. Since the film makers forgot to include a then-required copyright notice in the movie, it slipped into the public domain.

This flick is also a great example for discussions concerning African Americans in film. Film historian Donald Bogle believes that most black people in 20th-century American films can be classified into one of five categories: Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks. However, according to IMDb, the character of Ben was originally supposed to be a crude-but-resourceful truck driver, with no specification to race. After Jones, in real-life a self-serious, erudite academic, auditioned for the part, Romero re-wrote the part to fit his performance.

Furthermore, the character of Ben was originally written as an angry person, and, upon receiving the role, Jones expressed concern that the character be rewritten to remove some of the anger – such as the scene where Ben hits Barbara – afraid of how it would be widely perceived in the United States at the time to see a black man acting in this way. The nation was plagued with high racial tensions during the late sixties, and the film was released to theaters shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Nonetheless, Romero and most of the rest of the predominantly white crew decided against it, thinking they were being "hip" by not changing it. Years later, Romero lamented that he had not taken Jones' concerns more into consideration, and thought that he was probably correct. Romero expressed that he wishes he could speak with the late Jones again, asking him how he felt about the film's legendary status, and believes Jones would just say "Who knew?" and laugh.

For my part, it was pretty cool to see a black man in a 1960s film play such a confident leadership role amongst a white cast. It seemed to me that the part of Ben could have been played by an actor of any race, as long as he was good, and Jones performed very well.

For more reviews and a kickass podcast, check out www.livemancave.com

Kill List (2011)
Inspires reflection afterwards, 15 May 2014
6/10

This movie is suspenseful, well-acted, and interesting in a wide range of ways, including an insightful look at the aftermath of the sacrifices that soldiers make in war. It has a realistic feel, even with the injection of the occult. I thoroughly enjoyed this flick…until the end.

The ending may leave you needing more of an explanation…in my case, it did. I had a better understanding after reading the explanation on Holy Moly, and additional reflection yielded my own interpretation. Still, I felt that the jump to the final "twist" needed much more development to get there. Ironically, so many of the characters and relationships in this film were extremely well developed, but this ending left me with theatrical blueballs.

After further reflection, however, I drew my own conclusions as to the meaning of the movie, based on my military background. Maybe a deeper understanding of the occult and its symbolism would have allowed me to better catch the intended meaning of the film, but, all in all, this film was worth watching for me because it inspired deeper thought hours after watching it. I'd be glad to discuss any reader's take on the meaning in the comments, but please remember to adequately mark SPOILERS.

For more reviews and a kickass podcast, check out www.livemancave.com

Probably De Niro's, 14 May 2014
9/10

These are some of the best acting performances I've seen from De Niro, Rourke, and Bonet. It is probably De Niro's creepiest role. It's also amazing to see the huge difference 25+ years has made in Rourke's appearance, while how little Bonet has aged.

This flick has the ingredients to keep you on the edge of your seat. Aside from the great acting, it is a film noir featuring murder, sex, the occult, two major cities with very different cultures, and a very solid mystery with a twist that I didn't see coming. If you predicted the latter, please let me know in the comments, but precede your post with "SPOILER."

While the quality of the video, effects, sound, etc, is not on par with today's technology, which could easily render most movies with such a dark tone sleepy, its aforementioned strengths make this movie a classic and one that you will want to watch more than once…probably not right away, but somewhere down the line, someone will say that they never saw this film, and you will suggest that you both sit down and watch it together. You will probably enjoy watching it the second time around, knowing what to look for.

For more reviews and a kickass podcast, check out: www.livemancave.com

Stir Crazy (1980)
Love the Bromance, But the Jokes Aren't So Funny Anymore, 13 April 2014
4/10

Don't get me wrong, I love the bromance between Wilder and Pryor. They were both very charismatic in their films together, their comedic chemistry was synced up like the periods in a women's barracks, and they didn't rely on their differences in race to establish a masterfully balanced contrast. But, over time, the jokes that used to kill back in the 70s and 80s just don't have the same impact anymore.

Also, is it just me, or is it a little unbelievable that a prison rodeo would draw the huge crowd seen in this film? I had similar thoughts during The Longest Yard, and I love football.

This movie is amusing, and it's not bad background, but it's not worth dedicating an exclusive 2 hours to. On the other hand, I'm definitely going to try to incorporate "kiss the baby" into a future conversation.

For more reviews and a kickass podcast, check out: www.livemancave.com


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