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6043 reviews in total 
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Louis is on another level, 5 October 2015

Louis is performing in Boston in 2006.

I love him. I love his show. And I love his takes on risky subject matters. I'm not sure how he gets his material. He must take the word fagget as a dare and he has to make it funny as a straight man. It's always fascinating how his humor also makes the audience think. It's a different way to look at the n-word. I just love the way his comedic unconventional takes on certain things. Of course, he also does the more traditional jokes about him being fat, unhealthy and old as well as jokes about his kids and his incompetent sex life especially with a cat.

Norman (2010)
such a crazy lie, 5 October 2015

Norman Long (Dan Byrd) is a dissatisfied high school kid. He lost his mother and his father Doug (Richard Jenkins) is dying from cancer. He falls for new student Emily Harris (Emily VanCamp) and she's taken with his awkwardness. His teacher Mr. Angelo (Adam Goldberg) is forcing him to do a speech. He has a fight with his best friend James and tells him a crazy lie. Soon everybody at school thinks he has cancer.

I like Dan Byrd as an awkward sarcastic teen and Emily VanCamp is super cute. They're a little old to play high school kids but they could still pass. I like their sweet cute relationship and then there is the lie. It's such a weird thing to say. I wish the script adds more of a prompt for Norman to go to that place. Maybe James should ask if he's sick. Maybe James could find the scans first. I just need him to be guided there a little more. The other problem is that he's lying to Emily. Emily already likes him before the lie. The lie doesn't make her like him more. It just makes everything awkward. It would make more sense that he would tell her the truth. Of course, Norman doesn't have to make sense.

deliberately weird, 5 October 2015

Benjamin Purvis (Michael Angarano) is a quiet awkward teen home-schooled by his mother (Jennifer Coolidge). He has written a sci-fi fantasy novella about Bronco (Sam Rockwell) based on his father. He's befriended by Tabatha Jenkins (Halley Feiffer) and Lonnie Donaho (Héctor Jiménez). Tabatha is the first person to read his book and she loves it. He goes to writing camp Cletus Fair where he meets his idol Ronald Chevalier (Jemaine Clement). Ronald is rather pompous and needs a new book before his publisher drops him. Ronald steals Benjamin's book. Unbeknownst to Ronald, Lonnie buys the rights to Benjamin's book and makes an indie. Ronald claims that Benjamin is the thief.

I like these characters to a certain extent. Weird characters have become a trademark of the Hesses but I always struggle to actually laugh in their movies. This one comes close. I like Angarano who gets better along the way. Tabatha's first scene isn't good because she's kind of callous and oblivious to Benjamin's feelings. Also the Bronco scenes could have tied in with Benjamin and his struggles more. It's a missed opportunity. If Sam Rockwell is suppose to be his father, there is no reason why Jennifer Coolidge could not be the heroine in those scenes. Jemaine Clement could play a villain of the book. The whole book could be a parallel world. I still like Benjamin but almost none of it made me laugh. Tabatha aggressively kissing him after he throws up is a fun scene. That comes closest to being funny.

nice haunted performance by Binoche, 5 October 2015

War photographer Rebecca (Juliette Binoche) is filming a female suicide bomber's preparations. The bombing goes wrong and she is severely hurt. Back home with her family, her husband Marcus (Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau) is struggling to hold it together. He demands that she stop endangering herself. She relents and goes on a safe job in Kenya with their daughter Steph (Lauryn Canny). When gunshots ring out, she can't resist.

This is a quiet poignant performance from Binoche. The wars have taken a toll on her and it shows in her eyes. She has this haunted look that is so effective in this movie. I wish the movie pushed the drama more because the story needs a more definitive climax. At one point, Rebecca takes her two daughters in her car. I really wish she had driven off with the girls. It's an opportunity to elevate the drama if she could break down at that point and then later return the kids home. It would make the final decision even more poignant.

interesting confusion, 5 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

David Aames (Tom Cruise) is a vain publisher playboy in NYC. His friend Brian Shelby (Jason Lee) brings his date Sofia Serrano (Penélope Cruz) to a party and David finds the love of his life. Volatile ex Julie Gianni (Cameron Diaz) drives his car off a bridge to kill herself and disfigures his face. At a later time, he is wearing a mask in jail charged with an unknown murder as he recounts his story to psychologist Dr. Curtis McCabe (Kurt Russell).

This is a confusing movie. I'm not sure Cameron Crowe is the guy to adapt this strange Spanish movie. I think it would be more compelling to have more of this movie to be dreamlike in a visually surreal way. Cameron Crowe is not a visual director. The empty streets of New York are an interesting way to start but he needs to do more. It is a pretty interesting confusing movie but something keeps bugging me about it. My take on the ending is coma but it could mean so many things.

arrogant douche documentary, 4 October 2015

Jacques Vergès has been the defense attorney for members of the Khmer Rouge, Algerian FLN, Palestinian PFLP, and other terrorists. It starts with him as a French foot soldier. As a young lawyer, he's contacted by the Algierian resistance and he became their sympathetic disruptive famous lawyer. Using footage from "The Battle of Algiers", it tries to explain the struggle. It's mostly his friends, clients and supporters in this movie.

The movie starts with him defending Khmer Rouge leaders and that's really annoying. This is very much an one-sided monologue. It's somewhat interesting to follow his life and career but he's a fanatic. He's not some ACLU lawyer looking to ensure rights of the condemned. This guy has no objectivity or sympathy other than for his clients. It feels like the movie is preaching to the choir. There is also an arrogance to the man that is off-putting. I don't know why he won't reveal where he was for those years. He's there smoking his cigar and I'm sure the documentarians must have asked. It's part of his superiority complex. It's not until the Nazi connections that the movie gets interesting but that takes over an hour to get there. However the movie fails to connect all the dots. This documentary fails to answer some very basic questions about who this guy is and where he comes from. The investigation is incomplete.

Then there is the style of the documentary. It is non-stop talking heads make it rather boring. It's like trying to cobble together a narrative with each witness giving one or two sentences. Most docs use a narrator to direct and drive the discussion. This one needs something more than talking heads talking. This feels like a rambling run-on sentence.

story is messy but fights still good, 4 October 2015

Dragon Ma (Jackie Chan) is back as a H.K. Water Police. He is assigned to clean up corruption and lawlessness. They catch a couple of thieves stealing a money box from Yesan (Maggie Cheung) collecting for the Nationalist cause. Yesan runs away fearing the corrupt cops. The cops promptly release their client thieves and try to beat up on Dragon. Dragon takes over the precinct to take on crime lord Wolf. Dragon faces off against many-headed corruption while the Empress's men are after the rebels.

This is not as comedic as the original. Jackie handcuffed to the inspector is fun. The various people hiding in Yesan's room isn't as funny as it should be. There are lots of fight action stunts. There are a ton of jaw dropping stunts. Jackie doesn't do anything too risky in this one but he does do a Buster Keaton bit with a facade falling on top of him. The story is pretty messy that has multiply interconnected villains and some that go both ways. I love the fighting stunts but the story is too twisty. This one does have the final extra clips with the closing credits.

Project A (1983)
Oh that's gotta hurt!, 4 October 2015

It's late 19th century Hong Kong. Sergeant Dragon Ma (Jackie Chan) leads his men in the naval guard. They plan a big raid against the pirates. They have an unfriendly rivalry with the Hong Kong police. When pirates destroy their ships in the harbor, Dragon and his men are transferred to the police under the command of bitter rival Hong Tin-tsu who is the nephew of the incompetent Captain Chi. When Chi interferes with Dragon, Dragon quits the police force. Dragon is joined by old acquaintance Fei (Sammo Hung) as they try to thwart the pirates buying police rifles and save Admiral's daughter Winnie.

As a story, it's a bit silly. It's physically funny but not necessarily a verbal comedy. The action is non-stop. Some of it is quite impressive. Many of the stunts land these guys on pretty hard surfaces. Several times, I end up saying "That's gotta hurt!". Falling off the clock tower is insanity. Jackie landed on his face. That doesn't happen anymore and if it does in today's movies, everybody would think it's CGI. It's that unbelievable.

Tiger Eyes (2012)
coming-of-age movie, 4 October 2015

Davey Wexler (Willa Holland) is struggling after her father was killed. Her mother Gwen (Amy Jo Johnson) has withdrawn. She, her mother and little brother Jason move from Atlantic City to New Mexico to stay with Gwen's older sister Bitsy Kronick (Cynthia Stevenson) and her husband Walter. At the new school, she's befriended by partygirl Jane Albertson (Elise Eberle). While walking alone in a canyon, she is found by native American Wolf who connects with her. She tells him her name is Tiger.

This movie is based on Judy Blume's novel directed by her son Lawrence Blume. It's a teen girl struggling with some difficult issues. The difficulties are large and varied. It's a bit scattered. Willa Holland is quite effective holding the film together. Her performance adds the sensitivity needed although I'm not sure the material is used to its most effectiveness.

love the noirish crime drama but it doesn't maintain to the end, 3 October 2015

School reporter Robert 'Gar' Gartland (Haley Joel Osment) is best friends with basketball star player Matt Morrison (Ryan Merriman). Gar is attracted to new student Bridgette Bachman (Danielle Panabaker) from California who doesn't understand the fascination with basketball in this Indiana school. Matt's older brother Keith (Kenneth Mitchell) who is estranged from their father gets out of jail early. Keith has a job for them to steal from a drug dealer. Matt pushes Gar to join in the caper. Things go wrong.

I really love the noirish crime drama in the middle of the movie. I don't like the happy ending which really screws up the tone of the story. I like Matt's relationship with Keith. Haley Joel Osment has not grown into a great actor. I love the hard-boiled crime thriller so much that I'm willing excuse a lot deficiencies in the rest of the movie.

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