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Like a movie about the NBA with an all white cast
Why make a Jazz movie and only cast white people?
Make the movie about classical music or cast black people. How hard is that?
If the movie had monsters or robots to distract us, it would be easier to not notice that everyone with major speaking roles is white.
This movie would be far more interesting, even with the same functional dialog, if the leads were both black women, and the music lessons were being kept a secret from our fascist alien robot overlords. The inhumanity of the mentor to build the humanity of the hero, to spite the inhumanity of the robots.
Instead we have a movie that endorses the abusive gravy-training of children. If your daughter hasn't mastered the viola by age 3, throw furniture at her until she does.
They Came Together (2014)
These writers can't write
These writers are really good at pointing out clichés in romantic comedies. Or maybe they are good at reading articles that point out clichés in rom-coms. What they are not good at is writing dialog for movies.
Everyone talks about the role in the plot. This is Porn-Level writing. "My name is Evil Galactic Lord and I am kidnapping the princess so that Star Trueheart will come and fight me."
I understand they think they were making a Spoof, like Airplane or Hotshots, but spoofs have crazy gags that you never see coming if you are really really stoned. The crazy gags in this movie are people reading their character descriptions as dialog.
There is no way to emotionally bond with the characters. You just wish the movie was a horror spoof so you can watch all of these inane characters get murdered.
What is truly sad, and makes the movie worthy of only one star, is the movie has a really great cast. Every scene introduces another sitcom or snl alumni. And apparently not one of these people had the ability to tell the writers or director that, "This is really lame. Are you sure this is the direction we want to go with this?"
Watching this movie is absolute torture.
Black Box (2014)
I really don't understand how this ended up on ABC.
This feels like nothing that has even been on network TV.
The subject matter is fairly dour for the TGIF network. But mental health is easily something our nation needs to have a discussion on. It is always a cheaper burden on the tax payer to pay for everyone's meds, than to pay for the aftermath of people not getting their meds. (Sandy Hook to name one.)
After just one episode, a quick search on Tumblr shows us the show already has a following. There are people who are going to champion positive representation on TV, as everyone who isn't a straight, sane, white male wants to see positive (possibly complex) portrayals of people like them on TV. But statistically I would guess the people with mental disorders who watch TV are a fairly small demographic. It doesn't seem like they could carry a television show.
And this show has made decisions specifically designed to not aim for a wide audience. Monk had very annoying mannerisms, but was portrayed in a comedic and enjoyable way. House was a psychopath/sociopath (not looking up the difference at this moment) who did horrible things to the people in his life. But this was done kind of on a slow reveal, so that over time we were shocked over and over again at his bad behavior.
Black Box starts off pretty much at 11 on the crazy/self-destructive scale. And the frenetic way in which the sequences are dropped one on top of the next never allows the audience to relax, to feel safe, or secure. And where that is probably a deliberate choice, it may not be the best choice for network television.
The last 2 or 3 seasons of House went to some crazy places, but they were able to break out of their mold after many seasons of establishing a very comfortable formula for each episode to follow. And where this episodes did have a couple of feel-good moments, but took us to some very dark places to get there.
After watching most of the titles from Amazon's recent pilot season, this feels like something that would be more at home there than on ABC. It is like someone at ABC had a Jordan McDeere and stole this show from Amazon to the consternation of her bosses. (The only thing people love more than the UN is subtitles.)
Stylistically, the opening bit seems to be heavily influenced by episodes of Showtime's Red Shoe Diaries. Which I guess has been 20 years so is fair game to be listed as an influence, it just doesn't seem like the best possible influence. I understand jazz as a metaphor for the mental illness, but it feels a little obvious. Like Al Capone if you were doing gangsters or Billy The Kid if you were doing westerns.
IMDb specifically list credits for 13 episodes, so I am assuming they were all in the can before the first episode aired. And where I don't want to hazard a guess how many will see air, I feel confident that ABC will not be order any more episodes beyond the 13. And where, for the good of the nation, I do hope ABC does take this show to at least season 2, I doubt I will make it to episode 3. This show may just be more challenging than I am comfortable with. I do wish everyone involved the best of luck.
I have to watch this last on my DVR
I save this show for the last of the night because the writing is so good and the characterization so subtle and amazing, that other shows have a hard time following it. Love the show. Love the character. Love the premise.
What I HATE HATE HATE is the references to Greta Van Susteren. Greta is one of many hacks on Fox News pushing an agenda of made-up scandals because they don't like the President being black and Billionaires want more power. Getting mentioned on a TV show will not legitimize Greta. This is fowl product placement of the worst kind and turns my stomach.
I am hoping episode 3 will drop the Greta references and not switch her out for some other blowhard from Fox News.
Bush Era Scare Fest
5 years after the worst decision making this country has ever seen, one would hope that the current and future Presidents wouldn't be this bad at making tough decisions if they were actually faced with extraterrestrial life.
Many reviews refer to this movie having a message about climate change, but Klatuu never mentions what humans are doing to destroy the planet, just that we are. And there have been no shortage of Sci-Fi movies and TV shows making the claim that we are destroying our planet since at least the 50's.
This is a contentious movie in a time when political views are sharply divided. I think this movie will find its popularity in decades to come.
I felt everyone did a great job with this movie, it is compelling through out, and leaves you with a haunted feeling.
Started great, went Matlock
This show aired on a Pre-CSI CBS. During the 90's CBS had a formula for tough Crime shows that appealed to fans of Murder One and Homicide: Life on the Street. Shows like EZ Streets, Feds and the Donnie Brasco miniseries. All were short lived.
Fall 1997 saw CBS pairing the David Caruso vehicle "Micheal Hayes" with this Danny Aiello show. The first 3 episodes hit it out of the park. Punch-in-the-face tough. With episode 4 the show softened up. And by the 6th episode it had turned into a Matlock clone.
It appears they retooled the show to appeal to an older demographic. KInd of a reverse Encyclopedia Brown. Hey look, old people can solve crimes too.
I think I gave up before the end series, but the end was not far off.
As badly as they messed up this show, I would love to see it again, as well as these other shows.
Different for Scooby
This Scooby Doo movie was a bit light on the Actual Scooby Doo. Whether it was just too hard to act with an imaginary dog, or too expensive to animate him into every scene, the gang spends a lot of time with out Scooby. Which makes the Mystery fairly easy to guess who the monster is.
On the up side, there are some great Rubber Suit Frog Monsters! And there is a wonderful "By the Light of the Moon" sequence too. Generally I hate songs in cartoons, but this one was awesome.
There was a lot of great touches that made this feel like a Japanese TV show of the likes of Ultraman or Masked Rider. The cartoon feel was prevalent, though many gags failed.
The cast was pretty good. Coming off the first one, "The Mystery Begins" I feel they gelled better this time out. Shaggy does steel the show.
I think more money and better production values would have helped, and maybe a better helmer, but I enjoyed it and look forward to the next one.
Star Quest: The Odyssey (2009)
All the budget went into Package Art
I rented this from Red Box. When I pulled the disc out of the case, I noticed the disc was super scratched on one side towards the edge. I wondered how it could get like that and still be in service.
Then I put the disc and and saw. No one could possibly get far enough into the movie to hit the bad spot on the DVD.
The movie opens with a 3 minute history lesson that seems like 3 hours. This is followed by a fight scene between 2 guys in an alley that goes on too long. Followed by an endless succession of people walking through weak sets talking about nothing vital.
Survival of the Dead (2009)
A Fun Romero Zombie Film!
Zombie films are separated into 3 distinct eras.
The Pre-George Romero Era of Automatons. This includes fun movies like King of the Zombies (1941) with Mantan Moreland.
Then there is the Romero era of Zombie films. Romero made Zombies dangerous Flesh Eaters. He made hyper-depressing sequels, and no end of Living Dead movies were made by others.
And now we live in the third Era of Zombie Films. The rebirth of fun zombies. These new zombie films mix fright with fun. Now movies like Shawn of the Dead and Zombieland can be made beside Resident Evil, Bio-Zombie and 28 Days Later.
Survival of the Dead does run with a very Romero-esquire theme with out sacrificing the fun on the alter of importance. I watched this on whim, as there were no other choice in the damn Red Box and was quite pleasantly surprised. I now feel compelled to lift my self ban on Romero and check out of "Land of" and "Diary of".
If you saw the original Romero Dead films in the theater or drive-in, you are most likely old and set in your ways. I for one revel in Romero's new direction.
Jonny Quest or Captain Planet?
Apparently the first team to work on the Real Adventures of Jonny Quest were hit and miss at best and this one lands squarely in the miss column.
The character design and animation, for not only the cast but the episode specific characters as well, is super weak. Looks like Captain Planet.
During the episode Race Bannon is flown to Moscow, Russia (they state this to make sure you know they did not mean Moscow, Idaho), in a SR-71 Black Bird or some other similar style low occupancy stealth plane. He is the only one seen boarding the plane. But then when he gets to the building in Moscow where he is meeting his contact, the 2 US officials who convince him to go from Cape Canaveral are now on the streets of Moscow in the same car. If they have this magical car, why did they need to spend the jet fuel to fly Race? Or is it just weak production?
The writing and dialog are also weak.
This episode is the 2nd appearance of recurring villain Ezekiel Rage. Though the first appearance S1Ep9: Ezekiel Rage aired later. Also features Jonny Quest, Hadji, Dr Benton Quest, Race Bannon, Jessie Bannon. Bandit is not in this episode.