Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Kinda a Cross Between Jim Jarmusch and David Lynch...
If you like these directors, you'll probably like this series. I've been binge watching it and found it enjoyable and, at times, quite humorous, and you can never predict what happens next. Graphically, it is like Paterson, but with the lead character unhappy and potentially dangerous while trying to cope and be personable. He's constantly struggling to deal with multiple different but overlapping plots, sometimes completely out of his depth and other times pulls things off with remarkable skill. Visual plot elements wander in and out of scenes, often in the background, Tati style. The settings go back and forth from rusting heavy industrial manufacturing buildings and yard with it's corporate offices, and Luxembourg, and having spent some time there makes it more interesting for me. Viewers on Rotten Tomatoes didn't seem to like it, but there are no written reviews as yet that I can find. I can't imagine how critics will deal with it. I just hope it gets renewed for another season.
My adult techie, Star Trek kids loved this movie and encouraged my wife and I to watch it. Both of us were disappointed and had trouble understanding why they liked it so much.
This movie is kind of like a boring Close Encounters. I kept having problems with suspending disbelief with things like the fact that these incredibly advanced aliens had no clue about how to communicate with humans and left the translation attempts entirely on us. With their technology, they hadn't listened to any of our radio broadcasts or deep space probes? And they can't figure out how to squirt ink patterns in human language even after being tutored?? Or that the alien's "written" language is so readily and quickly deciphered by the experts? The plot develops slowly and ultimately doesn't make a lot of sense in terms of time travel/displacement, with the heroine's "prior" loss of her child from cancer emerging as the primary underlying theme. Meanwhile, the world is reacting to these non-threatening aliens like the Zombie Apocalypse? Total worldwide diplomatic breakdowns over the misinterpretation of a single word?? Can you imagine how differently Steven Spielberg would have done this?
Other complaints are: The military aspects seem wrong. While Amy Adams seems OK in her role, Jeremy Renner seems totally miscast, a wise-guy in a role that should be sensitive and romantic. I hated the music which seems sappy, trite, and out-of-place and is always reminding you of itself. What's wrong with NOT having orchestra music to help you with your emotions? And the last-second "save" in the climax scene with Amy on the sat phone in the decontamination room just doesn't make much sense from a dramatic, let alone technical standpoint. I've seen and read enough sci-fi about time-travel/shifting to know that this is an especially tricky concept to deal with both logically, scientifically, and philosophically, but this film misses the mark on all 3.
The Pillars of the Earth (2010)
Read the Book OR Watch the Series, But Not Both
The book on which this miniseries is loosely based was selected for a book-club my wife and I attend. The book is 1000 pages of historical fiction (not a single credit or research cite, in fact no index) which could have been easily edited down considerably without harm to the story (in fact may have improved it). The story is as engaging as any Ken Follett book, and the over-written text lends itself to skimming without missing a thing of importance. I found myself becoming resentful of the books length as I progressed, even with the speed-reading, but to be honest, I could not put it down. I was glad when it was over so I could go back to my more satisfying historical non-fiction.
The book is very loosely based on a few historical facts, culminating with the murder of Thomas Beckett, although the author takes liberties even with that. As there is not a single diagram or glossary (the book IS about building a cathedral), I took out David Macaulay's "Cathedral", which very much made up the difference, and only took maybe an hour to study to fill in the gaps. Notable is that Macaulay's cathedral took like 150 yrs to build.
I ordered the mini series via Netflix so my wife, who did not have the time to read the book, could see the story and participate in the book club discussion. The movie series is the opposite of the book, in that it compresses the bare bones of the story into the few hours running time. Suffice it to say, the scriptwriters took many liberties with the plot of the book to make it fit the time. We watched the first episode and part of the second before giving up on it. It's a pretty movie with nice sets and good actors, but the plot moves with too much speed and confusion while giving up the plots in the first hour that were not told in the book until the very end. Primary characters suffer major changes via plot conveniences. I found myself thinking about how Dune was made into a movie; it has the same feeling of being absolutely hurried to be able to reach fini in time with the basic plot outline more or less intact.
My advice is to either read the book and skip the movie, or skip the book and see the movie, but not both.