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6033 reviews in total 
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flat comedy, 17 September 2015

Gilbert Rolfe (Ron Silver) is a pushover at work. His mother Estelle (Anne Bancroft) is an opinionated crusader who frustrates him. His wife Lisa (Carrie Fisher) tries to get him to work for her parents but he refuses. Jane Mortimer (Catherine Hicks) is his flirtatious co-worker. His father Walter (Steven Hill) divorced Estelle long ago after tiring of her relentlessness. Then she's told by the doctor that she has 4 to 6 months to live. She's a Greta Garbo fan and wishes to meet her. He decides to do all he can to talk to the reclusive Garbo.

This is set up for a fun comedy. I can see the movie is trying to do a comedy. However it soon becomes obvious that the comedy isn't hitting right. I think Anne Bancroft tries her best but Ron Silver is no comedian. He can't make it work. It also isn't much of a drama. It's obvious from the start that Gilbert will learn from his experience and stop being a pushover. Everything in between falls flat except for Bancroft. She's great.

interesting character study, 17 September 2015

Jo Armitage (Anne Bancroft) seems to be losing it while her husband Jake (Peter Finch) is unable or unwilling to help. In flashbacks, Jake is shown to be her third husband after having several children. She continues to have children with Jake. Jake sends Jo to a psychiatrist. He suggests that Jo wants to sanctifies sex by reproducing. While Jake is a good provider, she suspects him of improprieties. After getting pregnant, the psychiatrist and Jake suggest getting an abortion and sterilization. After the operation, things are going great and then Bob Conway (James Mason) brings evidence that Jake is cheating with his wife.

The title refers to the nursery rhyme Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater. Jo is a perplexing character. She is struggling but she is not crazy. It is an interesting character but I am of two minds about it. It allows Bancroft to do some good acting but it is also hard to fully invest in her. There is an attempt at surrealism with the cigarette smoke going backwards. Maybe more of that surrealism would allow the audience to feel her troubled mind.

great singing and blah story, 17 September 2015

In small town Georgia, Vi Rose Hill (Queen Latifah) and G.G. Sparrow (Dolly Parton) don't really get along. When the choir director G.G.'s husband dies unexpectedly, Vi takes over with the support of Pastor Dale (Courtney B. Vance). Vi is raising her kids Olivia (Keke Palmer) and Walter with Asperger while her husband returns to the military. G.G.'s rebellious grandson Randy Garrity (Jeremy Jordan) comes to town and falls for Olivia. The local choir struggles to find their sound to win the Joyful Noise Competition.

The singing is great and I love Keke Palmer's voice. The actors are all very good but the story lacks cohesion. This is a slice of Christian Mingle, a dash of awkward comedy and a handful of melodrama. I like all the actors and Keke Palmer is adorable but the story keeps hitting the wrong notes. The characters go off on weird tangents. This is a great musical that gets broken up by the need for a story.

white washed history comes alive, 17 September 2015

It's 1943 Algeria. Muslims are recruited to fight for France. They go to Morocco to train and then arrive in Italy in 1944 to fight with the Allies. Saïd Otmari is poor illiterate mountain goat herder. Messaoud Souni is well spoken and falls for a French woman. Sergeant Martinez is a hardened leader willing to send the green recruits into suicidal charges but he hides his personal Arab connections. The men face racism in many blatant ways and Abdelkader gives voice to getting more equality.

This is an interesting part of the war that has been white-washed. The movie does struggle with a simple message as the men themselves have infighting about the war and their cause. Some of them fight for the money while others bought into the slogans. There is some good action and a solid final battle.

a bit rough but compelling gritty doc, 17 September 2015

It's 2004 in the slum of Cité Soleil, Haiti. 2Pac and Bily are brothers and two of the leaders of the Chiméres, loyal violent young gang supporters of President Aristide. Lele is a French aid worker. Billy likes Lele but she gets involved with 2Pac. As opposition forces rise up to take on Aristide, the brothers clash over loyalties and the mounting pressures. Eventually Aristide is overthrown and the brothers are hunted by the new government.

This documentary is a bit rough and muddy. It has the gritty streets of Cité Soleil. It has great access to these guys and brings the camera right into this disturbing world. Some parts of this documentary seems to be random which leaves me questioning if any of this is manufactured. It's always tough to figure out whether 2Pac is sincere or simply full of bravado. The movie needs to dig a little deeper into the brothers. It may not be possible but it would be great for the brothers to have a heart to heart without the machismo. It also needs a narration or a presenter to clarify the situation in their lives and their feelings. For example, 2Pac was arrested by Aristide's men but the movie doesn't really explain what happened.

Home (2015/II)
adorable aliens for the little ones, 16 September 2015

The Boov is an alien race that is good at running away. They are being chased by the scary Gorg. Captain Smek (Steve Martin) has picked Earth to take over. All the human population is peacefully relocated to Happy Humanstown. Oh (Jim Parsons) tries to invite his new Boov neighbors to a party but nobody wants to go. He sends an invitation. His mistake is sending the invitation to ALL in the universe including Gorg. He becomes a fugitive Boov and encounters Gratuity 'Tip' Tucci (Rihanna) who was missed during the human round up.

The aliens are cute and this is one of the most adorable alien takeover of the Earth. Their broken English is also adorable. The girl character is fine. The adventure is lackluster. It's not terribly exciting. It should be good for the little ones who can't take the excitement. Even the happy party ending is nice and easy which is geared to the little ones.

scattered parody, 16 September 2015

It's the last day of Camp Firewood 1981 in Maine. Camp director Beth (Janeane Garofalo) is interested in physics professor Henry Newman (David Hyde Pierce) who lives nearby. Gene (Christopher Meloni) is the volatile Vietnam vet cook. Susie (Amy Poehler) and Ben (Bradley Cooper) intends to put on a show. Andy (Paul Rudd) is the bad boy making out with Katie (Marguerite Moreau). Gail von Kleinenstein (Molly Shannon) is the art teacher struggling with her divorce. Victor (Ken Marino) is a bumbling womanizer wannabe. McKinley (Michael Ian Black) is in a secret relationship with Ben. None of the camp counselors are terribly concerned about the kids' safety as craziness runs rampant.

This is a scattered parody filled with random crazy characters and ridiculous situations. I first saw this a couple of years ago. The cast is a who's who of today's hottest stars. They seem to be having crazy fun doing silly skits. It's definitely a hit and miss proposition. It misses more than it hits but it misses with a charming stupidity.

potent mix of sex, blues & the bible, 16 September 2015

In rural Mississippi, Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson) is a fire and brimstone blues musician farmer. He's full of rage especially after his younger wife leaves him for his brother. Rae (Christina Ricci) is a wild sex addict who is struggling after her boyfriend Ronnie (Justin Timberlake) leaves for the military. She gets trashed at a party and left on the side of the road. Lazarus finds her bloodied unconscious body and tries to treat her. He finds that she's got the Sickness and chains her to the radiator to keep her from running away.

Some take offense to the perceived misogyny and the sexual content. I don't dispute other's perceptions. Everybody is entitled to their own. The movie can definitely be seen through that light. It's actually kind of funny with a potent mix of southern style, sex and religion. The two actors are dynamos powering a very charged movie.

Animals (2014/III)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
simple without much flash, 16 September 2015

Jude (David Dastmalchian) and Bobbie (Kim Shaw) are drug addicts. They steal and pull small cons in order to get the next fix. They drift through the world on their own struggling to get by. They suffer illnesses and get robbed by avenging cops. Sometimes their cons don't go well. Jude gets hospitalized and they must face their impending fates.

This is a simple druggie couple movie without too much flash. Dastmalchian doesn't write big scenes in this and he has the feel of a drug addict. Shaw brings a little vulnerability to her role. It's a well made indie with good solid performances on a well worn story path.

follows "Are We Changing Planet Earth?", 16 September 2015

This is the second part of the program following "Are We Changing Planet Earth?" David Attenborough examines the computer climate change models and predictions of the future. It uses a fictitious family called Carbons to lay out the emissions from an average family.

This is the more speculative of the two program especially trying to predict the future with computer programs. At least Attenborough asks how reliable are these models. The answer is not convincing enough.

The Carbons family is a silly conceit. There is no need to use fictional families to demonstrate energy use when the program could use real people to give real intensity to the discussion. The whole show feels like it's talking down to the audience which takes away from the impact of the real information.

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