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Being There (1979)
As long as the roots are not severed, all is well in the garden. Being there is worth being there to watch it grow in popularity.
I can't wait to rewatch this 1979 movie in a big theater, once again. It's one of my favorite movies of all time. Nevertheless, if you can't see this movie directed by Hal Ashby at the Cinema. It's a film worth watching at home. It's very entertaining. For those who don't know, what this movie is about. It is a great political satire about the media circus that comes with American Politics, told through a simple-minded, sheltered gardener named Chance (Peter Sellers) whom becomes an unlikely trusted adviser to a powerful businessman and an insider in Washington politics. Without spoiling the movie, too much, I have to say, what separates the plot of 'Being There' from the other misunderstanding screwball-comedies is the decidedly smart direction in which, they had everybody that surround Chance, being fool. Chance's well placid bearing, his manners, the soft-spoken and guileless manner of his speech, and the blandness of his personality, appeal to the image-obsessed upper-crust blue bloods around him so much, that they're so asinine obliviousness to the fact, that he doesn't know, anything about politics. Of course, since Chance is mentally-challenged, and does not understand the bulk of what's going on, around him; he does not challenge or correct anyone's misapprehension of him. He just goes with the flow. At no point does Chance intentionally mislead anyone. He just trying to live a simple life. It's like the 1970's version of 1994's film, 'Forrest Gump'. However, this film is not as cynical as that movie, nor the book of the same name in which this film was based on, by writer Jerzy Kosinski. While, the Konsinski's book has the over the top bourgeoisies as more cartoony stereotypes of decadence and degeneracy politicians. This film goes the other route, by making Chance extremely lucky in meeting somewhat likable realistic flesh out characters who happens to be gullible. There is nothing really too sinister about the people that surround Chance in this movie. That's why this movie is so likable. It's more realistic and easier to digest, because it's not so pessimistic. Regardless of the original tone, actor Peter Sellers was particularly touched by this successful satire story; that he heavily plead to Hollywood to play the titular character even if his career by the late 1970s has hit rock bottom and no studio in Hollywood would work with him. He was so determined to play the role in a film that he waited for seven years for the film to get off the ground. It wasn't until the success and revival of the Pink Panther series, that Lorimar Pictures finally greenlit the project. For the most part, the wait was worth it, as I really can't picture anybody else in the role. Sellers was amazing. He put a lot of work, into it: such as recording his voice over and over again, experimenting with different styles and tones. He chose a deliberately blank style to convey the character. From what I can get from the film, I think Sellers and the filmmakers were trying to pull, a 'what-if' scenario of a biblical Adam-like character, untouched by the original sin, having to live, outside the Garden of Eden, while still, dealing with his relationship with Eve. However, the way everyone felt good about themselves when he was around and the pure innocence he possessed shows that he was full of good intentions, makes him, seem more like Jesus or any other heavenly body. Hints the odd, out of context twist ending. Nevertheless, I just glad they didn't go with the original look for Chance; a graying overweight stereotypical Yahweh or Santa Claus type being. Not only was it, not good for Sellers because of his chronic and worsening heart problems, but it would be, a little too jarring; if they went with that, seeing how they made it look like the unseen Old Man in the beginning could be God. In the end, all of this heavenly body talk could be for nothing, or it could be too esoteric for us, common folks to understand. Regardless, I thought the supporting cast of this film that includes Shirley MacLaine, Richard Dysart, & Jack Warden was just as great. Also, Melvyn Douglas deserve the Supporting Actor Oscar win for his role as Benjamin Rayd. He was wonderful. I also love how well the movie was shot and how sparingly the locations were used. A good example is how they introduce the Washington D.C settling. You would never knew, where you're at, until you left the garden. It gives you, the same viewpoint as Chance got, that catapult him up the political ladder after years of isolation. However, the movie does have some faults. I really didn't like the soundtrack of this film. There was barely any original harmony and what little music, they used, didn't fit with the tone of the film. I don't get the Eumir Deodato jazz/funk arrangement of the opening fanfare from Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss. It sound too bizarre. Another thing that kinda hurts the film is the end credits bloopers. Seeing footage of Sellers's constantly breaking down laughing during a monologue that was ultimately cut from the film, probably indeed cost him the Oscar. Sellers also agree with me, as he thought this was a violation of the movie's tone and tried to have them removed. It was awful. Overall: If life is a state of mind. Then, 'Being There' was a great dream. A must-watch. Highly recommended. Plant it and let it grow on you.
1926's Moana indeed made waves with me! It was a pretty unique documentary set in paradise.
With the recent surge for anything 'South Pacific' thanks to the 2016's Disney animation film 'Moana', I thought it was a great time to look back to one of the films that probably help influence it: the original 'Moana' from 1926. Originally, directed by Robert J. Flaherty of 1922's 'Nanook of the North' fame & produce by Paramount Pictures studio head, Jesse L. Lasky, the purpose of the film was to capture the same magic, he had making 'Nanook' in the Artic with the Inuit People, but except this time in the Oceania with the Polynesians People. They hope that audiences would be just as intrigued with the rich culture of the South Sea, as much as they were with the people of the Far North. However, it wasn't the case. Greeted with indifference during its initial theatrical run, the silent feature was rescued from obscurity by the director's daughter, who decided to record her own soundtrack for the silent movie in 1976 & also returning to the tropic islands to add additional voices & atmospherics. For the most part 'Moana with Sound' kinda work. The result is impressive, working through age and softness, bringing out detail on island life and the participants, displaying surprising clarity for a nearly 100-year-old film. Contrast is generally secure, while delineation doesn't solidify. Damage is still present on the source, but it's gracefully dialed down, leaving some mild scratching and speckling. While, 'Moana with Sound' doesn't represent the initial artistic intent. It did rescue the film from the depths of disintegration & expands on what was already a very fascinating feature. A documentary film rich in cultural history and importance that it was restored yet again, a few years later and put into the National Archives in Washington DC. For the most part, all three versions of the original film are pretty fine, entertaining films. I found Robert J. Flaherty did a good job for what he could had done at the time. He did put a lot of work, with the project, even choosing to live with his wife and their three daughters in British Samoa with the Savai'I tribe for more than a year, with Flaherty arrived in Samoa in April 1923 and stayed until December 1924, with the film being completed in December 1925. He did this all, by developed his film as he went along, in a cave on Savai'i. In the process, he inadvertently poisoned himself and required treatment after he drank water from the cave that contained silver nitrate, which washed off the film stock. The silver nitrate also caused spots to form on the negative, but thank god, it didn't destroy all the beautiful footage, he shot. Although the film was visually stunning, however, like his previous movie, he went well beyond the recording the life of the people of Samoa as it happened. He staged them, leading to some controversy if this movie is even a documentary, even if writer John Grierson first coined the term with this film. In 'Moana', there were many cases of Flaherty interfering & concoct with the people that being portray in order to make a more traditional tribal style movie. A good example of that is the way, the Savai'l tribe dress. At the time of filming, most Samoans, by this time were typically wearing modern Western-style clothing under the influence of Christian missionaries and spoke English. However, in order to produce a fictional account of ancient Polynesian life; he persuaded the tribe to don outdated traditional tapa cloth costumes for the film, as well, as have the women all go topless, while also, using potentially photogenic performers to use more body language. Not only that, but Flaherty also ask them to perform a coming-into-manhood ritual in which the young male lead underwent a painful traditional Samoan tattoo, a practice that had already become obsolete by the time, that they were filming. Those devices have led to Flaherty's films sometimes being categorized as "docufiction". For the most part, these manufacturing of mythology really didn't bug me, as it did help inform and educated the public of what the culture used to be. However, I didn't like how Flaherty needed to create fictitious family relationship in this ethnofiction movie in order to create drama. I get that, he was concerned that there was no inherent 'man vs nature' conflict that he used in 'Nanook' & 1934's documentary 'Man of Aran' in the islanders' way of life, to draw people in, but seeing the day to day basic of the culture should be captivatingly enough. The idea of staging a love story in paradise, between Moana (Ta'avale) & Moana's unnamed fictional fiancé (Fa'amgase), felt a little forced. It kills what the basics of the pure form of documentary, this little has left. Overall: While the film should be shown in Anthropology classes around the world due to its easy accessible and how it conveys lifestyle and ideas of a different culture. I just believe that dramatic should be limited in educational documentary like this. In the end, while "Moana" succeeds in some parts, it could do better in others. Still, it's a documentary worth checking out, regardless.
Royal Rumble (2001)
OH HELL YEAH! 2001 Royal Rumble is indeed one of the greatest, pro-wrestling PPVs, shows of all time! Grab some Bourbon and enjoyed.
It's the Stone Cold truth! 2001 Royal Rumble was indeed, one of the best wrestling shows, I ever saw. The show at New Orleans was truly packed from the opening to the closing, with some of the greatest competitors that ever lived. It was a night worth remembering for. However, there were a few faults, I can't overlooked even for my nostalgia love for then WWF (WWE), like comedian, Drew Carrey awkward appearance in the Royal Rumble match, when he clearly isn't a fan of pro-wrestling, to a few too many filler vignettes, to unwatchable taboo Crash TV angles, that were a bit too dumb, over sexualized, or extremely violence for even my taste, at the time. While, some of the stuff, they did back then, was truly amazing. Rewatching it, there were a lot of things that now, really bugs me, like the chair shots to the head, or the overuse of blading. Nevertheless, the show is still watchable. Just note the cringe-worthy moments are just a little bit more noticeable, now. Some parts of the show, hasn't aged well. Let's start with the pre-show episode of Sunday Night Heat, in which, Lo Down (D'Lo Brown and Chaz) faced Kaientai (Taka Michinoku and Shoichi Funaki) in a tag team match for a chance to take part in the Royal Rumble. Not only, are the wrestlers playing politically incorrect somewhat racism stereotypical characters of Arabs & Japanese, but the whole angle of seeing, what tag team was more evil, is kinda cringe-worthy, when looking back at it; seeing how WWF Magazine also printed a poster to Kaientai destroying New York City with the World Trade Center on fire in order to make them look more popular. Yes, this really did happen, a few months, before 9/11 happen. Look it up. While, I can still get a laugh at how over the top, these acts, I still kinda think of it as offensive. Added to that trouble; it's funny that the match didn't really matter, as Drew Carey wound up being entered instead. It's so bad. Despite that, the preliminary matches on the card were a lot better. The opening match to the card, saw the Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray & Devon Dudley) defend their tag team championship against Edge & Christian. It was a very nice opening, with both teams being red hot. However, it was a bit hard to watch, due to the concussion angle that probably can't be done, in today's wrestling world. Nevertheless, both teams put on a show that might be, overlook, by some fans, because the lack of table shots. This brings us to the Ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship between champion, Chris Benoit and challenger, Chris Jericho. What a great match with a great angle. Lots of sick looking bumps, using Benoit's head. Hard to watch at times, due to what happen to Benoit, later on, his career. Women Championship was next, with champion, Ivory facing challenger, Chyna with Right to Censor member, Stevie Richards at ringside. Alright match for the most part, but the whole broken neck angle doesn't make much sense, seeing how unrealistic fast, Chyna recovers from neck surgery in kayfabe terms. I know, it was done to make it, look like Ivory got a fighting chance, but gees louise; it kinda undermined Ivory's talent a bit here. It's sad, because I always found her to be a better wrestler than Chyna. The WWF Championship is next, with champion, Kurt Angle defending his belt against challenger, Triple H. As much as the match was great. I hatred the angle. It was so McMahon family driven. It was a bit awkward to see a heel vs heel match as one of the main event of the show. The fans didn't know, who to choose, here. In spite of that, the 30 Men Royal Rumble that follow that mess, was truly the right choice to end the show, with. Without spoiling it, too much, some of the best highlights from the match, has to be the hardcore rumble parts with Kane doing the most single eliminates in a Royal Rumble match in his career, the return of Honkytonk Man, and The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin facing down. It was amazing match, worthy to be talk about in the same astrosphere as the 1992's 'Royal Rumble', 1998's 'Royal Rumble' and others. It was one hell of a performance. Overall: Because how good, most of the matches, were. I have to say, Royal Rumble 2001 is a must watch PPV, I highly recommend seeing this show, despite some flaws.
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
This remake is not quite as beautiful as the original 1991 Disney animation movie. It was a paint by number cash grab
When I first heard that Walt Disney Pictures was remaking the 1991 Disney animation movie of the same name with director, Bill Condon. I was really looking forward to this. Maybe, this version could breathe new life into the traditional classic fairy tale. Sadly, it does not. Instead, the film, of course, not only simply replicating the original movie content i.e.: its script, and with this also its corresponding themes, music, moral framework and "message", but also its nearly identical "frame-to-frame" camera shooting, despite not being animation, features a different cast, have a few new songs and some fixing of loose plot line from the first movie. Both movies tells the same tiresome semi-disturbing story of a bibliophilic young woman, Belle (Emma Watson) developing "Stockholm Syndrome" for her captor, the terrifying beast (Voiced by Dan Stevens), because she sees some humanity within him. Without spoiling the movie, too much, while, the first movie is a generally highly critically respected as a work of art, because how well-delivered and well-written, the songs, script and animation was, this film doesn't really stand out on its own, compare to the other classic live-action versions of classical Disney animation movies like 2016's 'The Jungle Book' & 2016's "Pete's Dragon'. Even mediocre films like 2014's 'Maleficent' & 2015's 'Cinderella', at least, try to do something innovative with the material, they were given. As much as I kinda like 1991's version, I have to say, I kinda don't want the same story, retold to me, again without something fresh. It's sad, because I was really hoping that this movie would be more of a hybrid of the first movie and the traditional story that was written by author, Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. Who knows, maybe this film could had reintroduce us, to the original idea of the fairy tale that full of surrealist romper, metaphor and allegories imagery like the 2014 remake of the Jean Costeau's 1946's version, while keeping some of that Disney magic around. I wanted to see the version where Belle's father, Maurice (Kevin Kline) is a merchant, having adventures at sea, only to find his treasures in ruins; meanwhile, Belle's sisters and brothers trying to tame the beast and steal his loots for their own, but failing, because they don't see the beautiful inside of the creature. I wanted to see the Beast's treasure turn into rags! It's a powerful message. Better yeah, I want to see the version by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve where Belle is not really a merchant's daughter but the offspring of a king and a good fairy; whom a wicked fairy is trying to killed, in order to marry her father the king; with the Beast, the only creature who can protect her. At least, that version would make more sense with the backstory of the two lovers past being brought up. In this movie, it's pretty pointless, as the tragic of their families don't led to anything. Plus, the whole ex Machina 'magic book' twist would had more purpose in Villeneuve's version than this film where it was rarely picked up. Despite that, the mediocre story isn't the only problem, I have, against this film. The movie pacing is a bit off. There is a lot of filler, that wasn't really needed, like the murder plot of Maurice, instead of going straight to the asylum subplot. One of my biggest complains about this film, is how this movie felt too much like an English accent driven West End stage play with most of the cast, being over theatrical in their singing, and dialogue reading than a realistic French movie. Don't get me wrong, Emma Watson and Dan Stevens are fine performers, when given, great direction, but I felt that, the chemistry for these two, just didn't click, even if the Beast was lot nicer in this version and Belle wasn't such a stuck-up. Maybe, it's because how fake looking, the CGI was. The Beast, never really looked like, he was really there. So, I never really got the idea of them, connecting. The same with the walking, talking home furnishings played by great supporting performers like Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson. I found them to be, alright, but a bit disjointed. The same can be said about the locations, like the village of Villeneuve and the Castle. It looks like sets with limited structures, filled with a lots of blue screen that was built in a staged studio than real-life locations in France. It was really jarring. I wish, the movie took advance of filming outside, more. Everything looks too control. Even the controversy idea of the movie, introducing more minority and LGBT friendly characters with LeFou (Josh Gad) & Gaston (Luke Evans) wasn't really a big deal, as there was nothing in this, that seem insulting. In the end, it was alright movie to watch in theaters with your kids. Just note that the movie will feel a bit pointless after watching it. After all, you could had save money and just rewatch the first movie that was nominated for Best Picture at home. At least, that is what I felt like.
While, this animation short film is indeed a product placement commercial. It did lyft my spirits.
While, it's true that I'm more likely to get a ride from Uber, more than I would with the car sharing ride company, 'Lyft'; I do like this San Francisco company; a little bit more as a customer. Don't get me wrong, the ground level of service, for both companies are excellent for the most part, with most of the drivers, they hired being friendly, community oriented people who most part, drive a car in good working condition; however, there were some occurrences, I went through, where the driver was awful in their jobs, but things like that, were very rare. I just know, at least, most of these people are trying, their best with their jobs; even if it seems like the CEOs of these companies is scamming them for their hard-work money. At least, I know that Lyft CEO isn't putting sexual harassment allegations about him, under the rug and trying to join Donald Trump on his anti-immigration crusade like Uber. So, I might be a little bias, but I will try to evaluation this short film by Academy Award-winning director, John Kahrs, with sound judgment, both by praising what the company does well, but also exposing 'Lyft' flaws. Without spoiling the 7 minute movie inspired by real-life Lyft driver stories, too much, I have to say, I love the story that they were giving the casual audience that might be unaware, what 'Lyft' offers, without being too heavy handed on why they're better than trains, city buses and taxi services. It also really didn't felt like a silly nonsense commercial that had nothing to do with what they were selling or too direct that it comes off, as being annoying and forceful. It gave a touching, warm cozy story about trying new things, through the eyes of the elderly black woman, June Avery (Voiced by Tierre Mayden), whom discovering the car sharing service for the first time, after the recent death of her husband. For the most part, the animation movie delivered in its promise without being too sugar coated or commercialized. There was some truth in the film to what type of challenges that drivers had to deal with, from bad weather to mediocre customers. I resonates with what was going on with the likable characters. The story was very well told. Not only that, but the 1960's flat cutout looking digital 2D animation by artist, Kevin Dart and his crew was incredibly stylish. It was unique. The vibrant colors gave me a warm feeling. I also dig the jazzy soundtrack by Emmy Award-winning composer, Christopher Beck. It was fantastic. Even the song 'Moving' written and performed by former Lyft driver, rapper, Sir the Baptist was pun intend, moving with me. I like how many of his songs, drew inspiration from interactions with his passengers. Most of it, holds together wonderfully and is very positive. It was a great movie worthy for "Lyft Driver Appreciation Day'. However, there is a few things wrong about this movie. First off, it doesn't explain, how Lyft honestly works, that well and how much information is needed to be, approve to drive for Lyft and how long it takes. It may takes up to a month to be approved. Also, that drivers are not employees, but classified as independent contractors, therefore not subject to federal employee guidelines such as federal minimum-wage or health insurance. However, Lyft does offer each driver, a $1 million commercial liability policy for any damage to their car, during shifts, but fuel expenses, car payments, other car insurance and depreciation on your vehicle are not cover, and in many cases may cause you to actually lose money. Nor does the movie, explain the offers, the app gives, such as the different types of Lyft rides, which are Lyft Line, Lyft Plus, and Lyft Premier. Other parts of the app, not well explain by the film is the rating system. It does not state, the reasons why it's there. One thing that disturb me, about this film is how much, they market 'Lyft' as a great way to get connection, with your fellow human being, yet they're planning to begin testing self-driving cars within the next couple of years. That's pretty shady. Despite that, and the continuous protest of taxi companies around the world. I think this short film is a great example of how to do advertisement. Overall: As much as I hate certain commercials on how annoying, they are. This is one, I wouldn't mind, rewatching time after time, again.
Blue Jeans (1975)
There was a lot of stains on this Blues Jeans. This movie was gross & nasty.
The 1970s was a decade where the disco craze was in a fever pitch & fashion styles like the short shorts was queen! So, why didn't I find this movie directed by Mario Imperoli to be, as hot as movies featuring actresses Catherine Bach and Lyndis Carter in hot pants. Well, it's because, this erotic coming-of-age-comedy movie about a young free-spirited nymphomania drifter, Daniela 'Blue Jeans' Anselmi (Gloria Guida) falling in love for an older man, Carlos Anselmi (Paolo Carlini), who might or might not be her long-lost father is disturbing to watch. It's awful, because how shallow, the story is. There is barely any character development for the nearly unlikeable title character. I really thought the movie was going for a 2006's 'Black Snake Moan' tone of the film, where Carlos Anselmi would try to attempt to cure her of her extremely nymphomania sexual urges, however, it doesn't do that, instead, he fall from grace due to his & her temptations for sex, which destroy his life. The movie plays it off with the music, as if it's a good thing, but the truth is, It's was really depressing to see him separating himself from his friends and girlfriend, Marisa (Annie Karol Edel) to get closer to Daniela. Also, the character development of the two leads, falling in love comes out of nowhere, as they barely share anything together. Even the third act murder plot 'twist' with Sergio Prandi (Gianluigi Chirizzi) felt somewhat forced and rushed. The incest driven love story, was a risk that didn't payed off. I found myself, throwing up, than sympathize with them. Don't get me wrong, the actor playing the father is decent, but I was kinda glad for the tragic ending. It's just too bad, that Blue Jeans didn't died as well. I think the film was trying to go for a 1962's "Lolita' vibe, but all the graphic nudity really put the story in the backburner. It's shamefully exposed everything as if a glorified porno. It's might as well, because there is nothing is subtle or smart about this movie. It didn't even get it fashion sense, right. Gloria Guida barely wears blue jeans in the film at all. That's if, she wearing any clothes, at all. Don't get me wrong, Gloria Guida looks especially good naked, along with Annie Karol Edel. However, Guida was probably too voluptuous, at age 20 to be believable as a seventeen-year-old street hooker. I was really turn off, by the fact that she was playing an underage street hooker character that sleeps with ugly-looking senior citizens for money. It made the film, less sexy. Not only that but all the attempted rape, made it hard to watch. Also, what was the point of having scenes like Daniela taking a pee!? Are we supposed to find that erotic? How far, does this movie need to go for its perversion? Is the long opening ass sequence, not, good enough for the horny bastards; that we also need pointless scenes of Daniela interrupting two people having sex by stealing pajamas!? Also, what is wrong, with this movie, and using random shots that has nothing to do with the main plot!? Why were there, long sequences of Carlos buying Daniela's clothes, intercut with random people doing random chores!? I get that, the movie is trying to make it seem like the town folks are looking at how Daniela is, dressed, but some of the shots, the filmmakers use, clearly shows them, not paying any attention to them. The movie is full of stupid fillers like this. Scenes like Daniela exploring the castle and going to a local festival in Sermoneta and the Castello Caetani, went a little too long for my taste, even if it was beautiful shot in the style of cinematographer Romano Albani. In the end, the pacing was just bad. The English dubbing was just as awful. My DVD version was so crappy, that I just watch the English subtitles, instead. I have to say, this Italian movie is also not as funny as it should be. What could had been, a fun sex-rom comedy about a father trying to deal with his daughter's open sexuality, turn into awkward Electra complex that gave little laughs. In spite of that, the music by composter Nico Fidenco was excellent. The title song was also pretty catchy. Overall: While, the movie has a lot of nice T&A action, this contemporary Italian was far from being entertaining. I really can't recommended watching it.
WTF, am I watching!? Moonwalker is so lunacy.
Singer Michael Jackson's death in 2009 was indeed tragic, however, it still didn't magically absolve all the controversy & weirdness surrounding him. Nor does it, excuse him, for how awful, nonsensical this movie is. Rather than featuring one continuous narrative, the film is a collection of distorted fast cutting random theme short vignettes about Michael Jackson; with several of them being long-form music videos from Jackson's Bad album. Because of this choice in direction, I have to question, the people who made this movie's ability as filmmakers. This movie is so confusing and nearly unwatchable. It's an acid trip movie that's easier to hear, than see. I really don't get, what happening! One minute, the film has Michael Jackson trying to escape from grossest stop motion paparazzi in a rabbit mascot costume, the next minute, it has him, turning into a robot spaceship battling a drug-dealer named Frankie Lideo AKA Mr. Big, played by Joe Pesci. For a movie that has anti-drug message, it really does felt like this film was made by people on drugs. Also, this movie doesn't really doesn't make Jackson, look good. He looks like a lunatic for the most part, who has no clue, what's he talking about. Lots of contradictions. Some good examples is how he sings about telling people to leave him alone; only for later, to sing about having people be together and work out in harmony. Even, his famous songs don't add up. I like how he's singing about world peace in a live performance of "Man in the Mirror" at Wembley Stadium; while featuring a montage of clips of pacifist leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Jesus Christ, and other historical figures; only to be singing later, about finding a bloodstained carpet and an unconscious body with 'Smooth Criminal', while shooting off, a tommy gun at the villains. Don't get me wrong, I like both songs, and music videos, but it give off, mixed messages for the audience, especially the children that look up to him. In my opinion, why couldn't this film, just establish that we're just watching a bunch of new music videos. It would have been stronger and more memorable. Why did we need, all those confusing mucho jumbo retrospective sequences!? It just shows the same old crap that would show up in later segments, like the Claymation, the transformers, and Gilliam's style moving cutouts from antique photographs. Plus, the songs while covering the early years from the Jackson 5 was nice to hear, again; felt wasn't needed. After all, this movie was market to promote Jackson's newest album at the time, 'Bad'. So, why didn't they use more songs from the album like "Liberian Girl' or 'Another Part of Me', than old Jackson 5 hits!? Those songs rarely got feature in any music video. Another thing, that was bizarre about 'Moonwalker', was the kidz bop version of 'Bad' with Brandon Quintin Adams. I get that, it's a parody, but the comedy seem oddly place, seeing how it came out after the retrospective sequences. Are we the audience, supposedly to find Michael Jackson's career, as a joke!? Were, we supposed to laugh on how bad, the music video 'bad' was!? I don't get it. I thought, they wanted us to buy that album! It's seem so out of the blue. Honestly, if I can be truthful. The only good thing to come out of this movie, was, the 'Smooth Criminal' sequence that was influence by the movie, 1953's 'The Band Wagon'. A great homage to the works of Fred Astaire, even if it was kinda ruin by the weird interlude silence moaning interpretive dance in the middle. It looks like everybody at Club 30's, was having a giant stroke. Nevertheless, at least, it was better than the 'Alien Ant Farm' version. I don't see Dryden Mitchell trying to do anti-gravity lean, anywhere in that music video. Anyways, every other sequence in 'Moonwalker' seem pretty much below standards, because how much, annoying the vacuum of praise for Michael Jackson, is. We get it, he's incredibly talent, but he's not Jesus. He was heavily flawed human being with a man child complex. Please stop acting like he is the Messiah; and stop rubbing it, in our faces that he's better than us, when he clearly, wasn't. For a man, that mocks the media for unnecessarily sensationalized his life; he does help feed that BS that the world circle around him. Because of this, I really couldn't stand watching this strange ego trip of a movie. Overall: Michael Jackson is a smooth criminal, but his movie was nowhere near that. It was rough.
Leprechaun 3 (1995)
The odds are not in your favor. Leprechaun 3 comes a little short. What a sham.
Top o' the morning to ye! Unlike Lucky Charms Cereal, the Leprechaun Series of Movies has never been magically delicious. The original movie was shite & every one of the sequels, was equally as crappy, because how ridiculous, non-continuity, the films were, and how none of the settling for the movies, matches with the 'Irish Luck' premise of the killer Leprechaun. 'Leprechaun 3', somewhat continues with that, as none of the characters from the first & second film aren't seen or mentioned at all in the film, also the movie doesn't explain, why Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) is frozen in stone, unless this is a sequel to 2003's 'Leprechaun Back 2 tha Hood', which I doubt. In truth, the Leprechaun is supposed, to be blown up in the last movie. So, how in the hell, was he able to put himself, back together!? Also, why a man with missing limbs named Lucky (Richard Reicheg) has him!? Who is this guy!? He wasn't in the last movie! In spite of that, at least, the third entry directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith had the most grounded of settlings for the Leprechaun to run amok at: Las Vegas. It makes a lot of sense for him, to be there, terrorize horrible folks. Once again, the makeup work for the Leprechaun was great, and Warwick Davis was a treat to watch, as the short status villain. It's too bad, that his rhyming puns weren't really that funny. Despite that, another thing, great about this movie, is the addition gimmick that one of the leprechaun's gold shillings grants whoever holds it, a wish. Because of this, it allows for more outlandish fun than the previous movies, were, missing. It's also adds to the clever death scenes, as well. I love how each of the characters meet their demise, related to their own selfish greed and faults. For example, one of female character is killed by her shallow wish to become beautiful & another is killed, by his pride of becoming the best magician in the world. It reminds me so much of the crappier version of 2000's 'Bedazzled', in how the leprechaun twist their wishes, against them. It was memorable for the low budget, they had. Even the gore effects were alright, even if you can clearly see, white foam stuffing in the exploding models. However, it does ask the question, why the leprechaun was unable to hurt the holder of the gold coin, in the last movie, but he somewhat can in this movie. It's so weird, that the stipulation was abandoned, just like the magic MacGuffin of the gold medallion that turns the walking talking symbol of St. Patrick Day into stone. Another confusing thing that the film added, was the addition gimmick that anybody that the Leprechaun bites, turns into one, themselves. I get that, they wanted to put a little more tension between the human characters and the mythological creature, but it never quite have the impact that it could've had. The turning of a Leprechaun by Scott McCoy (John Gatins) rarely adds anything. In short, the human characters are just not that strong or interesting. They also just aren't the best actors around. Scott McCoy comes across, as a creepy stalker than a likable main lead & Lee Armstrong gets annoyingly bad at times as Tammy Larsen, a magician's assistant trying to make a better life for herself. The only redeeming qualities of her performance was the little striptease, during the middle of the film. No wonder, why she quit acting, a year after, this film, released. Her acting was mediocre. The supporting characters that surround the main actors, are also borderline shallow one-dimension cardboard stereotypes that for the most part, are not that important, for the film to invest, so much time into them. The editing lacks the precision needed. Certain scenes like the pawn store, lags, and others felt a little too rushed like the outside scenes. It's seems to me, that film doesn't take much, advances of being filmed in Las Vegas. You don't see, many Las Vegas landmarks. I get that they couldn't film in famous casinos, due to licensing issues, but at least, have scenes with Vega Vic or the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign", more in the film. It's sad that most of the film was filmed at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. None of the set pieces fully plays up to their kitschy nature. As well, as the music score by composer Dennis Michael Tenney fails to heighten any of the thrills. Even, the shots of tits, couldn't save this film from being a failure. It's weird to hear that the movie was first considered for release in 3D. By the time the movie began production, the idea was abandoned. In my opinion, it could work. At least, it would made this movie stand out, more. Overall: You may not find a pot of gold in this particular Leprechaun movie, but you might a get a laugh or two out of Davis' patently hyperbolic performance here. Other than that, Leprechaun always struck me as a poor's man parody of the horror genre rather than a serious attempt at being a legit comedic horror film. It's can kiss my clover. Nevertheless, it's by far, the least annoying movie in the series. Still, don't pressed your luck. Watch something else if you can. Leprechaun 3 is only fun to watch if you're drunk. Like a beer, this direct to video film was totally wasted.
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
This Viet-Kong Monster Movie is not quite king, but it was entertaining. It could be, a little bit better.
Sadly, this movie is not as iconic as the first movie. When first released in 1933, 'King Kong' broke all previous box-office records, becoming one of the very first blockbuster in film history. It was a phenomenal, influential landmark film that raised the bar for special effects for many decades. It was so good, that the film was remade, multiply times; most famous in 1976 and 2005, in lesser favor. In 2017, Merian C. Cooper's work was reboot, yet again, this time, very loosely with 'Kong: Skull Island'. While, both movies have the basic plot of a group of explorers going to a remote and exotic location, only to find out that, the island is home to many gigantic beasts, in which they must escape from. The movie directed by Jordan Vogt Roberts goes with a different vibe than the traditional plot of Hollywood filmmakers trying to film a movie. Instead, this film set in 1973, has a group of helicopter squadron pilots and group of scientists going to the island for a survey mission, only to find hell on world. In many ways, Skull Island serves as social commentary about the morals of the Vietnam War, with the American soldiers not quite understanding, who or what they're fighting for or with. Like the war in Vietnam, it's a world of hurt; with dragons like creatures acting like Communist 'Tunnel Rats', and King Kong as giant gorilla moral burden on their backs. Because of this, I felt that this movie is trying to be smarter than it looks, but it's trying too hard to appease to the general audiences with it's over the top, somewhat cartoony action that it lost some viewers, looking for something more sophistical in their B-Movie experience. Nevertheless, the movie still has many subtle sequences of this film, that still kinda work, but it just didn't click for me with, the sillier parts of the movie. Although, some comedy scenes are patch, awkwardly to horror & action. I do have to say, the movie does flow in an enjoyable paced. However, I just wish, the movie had a little more suspense with how they dealt with Kong, as I felt that they were delivering all their cards, way too early. Unlike director Gareth Edwards' 2014's film, 'Godzilla', Vogt-Roberts wastes little time introducing Kong. Much like the last remake, Kong was portrayed via motion capture, specifically by Terry Notary, whom previously did motion cap work on many various movies, including the Planet of the Apes rebooted films, with some assistance from Toby Kebbell whom is also part of the human cast as the character, Jack Chapman. However, Kong was missing a lot of elements that make Kong into a sympathetic tragic character. While, I'm glad, they didn't add the weird awkward love affair, Kong has for human females; I think the movie should had explain more, why a giant gorilla is protecting the tribe from the skull crawlers in the first place. As much, as I hate the originals for its savage portrayal of the island people; at least, those primitive versions have the tribe, do something for Kong; here not so much. Why is Kong allowing these freeloaders to live!? Also, how does an island have a self-containing storm, surrounding it, years long, yet the island hasn't caved in, due to having a hollow earth!? It doesn't add up. Film would, had work, better, without all of the BS science, mucho jumbo. Despite that, the movie was still beautiful shot and the CGI was great. Many of the sequences remind me of 1979's film 'Apocalypse Now", ranging from a psychedelic, napalm-scented, Helicopter carpet bombing to the 'Heart of Darkness' boat ride from hell. It's clear that the three screenwriters for this film, Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein & Derek Connolly were indeed fans of author Joseph Conrad & director Francis Ford Coppola's works. However, some parts of it, did go a little overboard with the writing, like how they portrayal Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson). I get that, he's sees the fight with Kong as a way to justified his service for his country, due to the failure of the Vietnam War, but by 2017, the "Crazy Vietnam Veteran", who was suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder is way too much of a common stock character. It felt like Samuel L. Jackson playing as insane Samuel L. Jackson. Still, I had to give him, some credit, he stood out, more than the other characters in the film, like James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) & Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) whom I found forgettable. They weren't even acting right. There was no sense of fear, between these two actors. They encounter several dangerous exotic giant creatures, and they act like they were only minoring annoyed. It was crappy. The rest of the soldiers were a little more developed, but there was a little too many to remember, plus, they were quickly getting eliminated like a bunch of red suits. The only other character that kinda stood out, besides Colonel Packard, was John C. Reilly's character, Hank Marlow, an eccentric but wise and virtuous WWII pilot who spent 28 years stranded on Skull Island. He gave the movie, some of its greatest moments, besides the sound editing and the blood-pumping 1970s rock soundtrack. Even though the movie has no shortage of scary or violent moments, that borderline what PG-13 can show; I was a bit disappointed that there was no scenes in New York City in the second half. It was a bit strange. However, I did like the hints on the future movies, at the end of the post-credits. I can't wait for other Monsterverse, (Kaiju-based Shared Universe) to come out. Overall: Although, it was cheesy, clichés and absolutely terrible at parts. Warner Bros.' newest attempt at bringing back the King was alright. Worth seeing it in IMAX and 3D.
Notes on a Scandal (2006)
Takes some notes, people. I tell you why this how scandalous & amazing this movie is, while exploring some of its flaws.
It's been years since this movie was first released, and I'm still mad that the 79th Academy Awards for getting it all wrong, with 'Note for a Scandal'. It sad that this movie did not win anything. In my opinion, I thought, Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett's performance in this movie was very virtuous. Glad, they were nominated, but they deserve to win, along with the soundtrack by composer, Phillip Glass which was very haunting. Not only that, but the adapted screenplay written by Patrick Marber was equally as powerful and thought-provoking as the 2003's novel of the same name by author Zoë Heller in which the film is based on. Set at a comprehensive school in London, the movie directed by Richard Eyre tells the story of a veteran high school teacher, Barbara Covett (Judi Dench) torn by a dilemma in which, she has to choice in reporting, a fellow colleague Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett), who she caught having an affair with one of her 15-year-old student, Steven Connolly (Andrew Simpson), or losing the only friend that she has, who she secretly is attractive to. Without spoiling the movie, too much, I have to say, from the very beginning we are taken into Barbara's world, through her eyes, and supposedly narrating from her diary that she conscientiously writes. The diary was a great added in, to the story as the film is more unforgiving, cold-eyed, wickedly look about keeping secrets, trust, and love in the work place, when it comes to revealing the solid truth. It helps understand the inner working of a mind of a lonely stalker. However, I thought the epistolary take of the book, was somewhat better, as it allows more mystery & doubt in the perspective of Barbara of Sheba, rather than straight forward action to what Sheba certainly had done. Something similar in a way, like how 2008's film 'Doubt' question the ambiguous relationship, a teacher had with a troubled young student. I like films that doesn't show if the sexual act, honestly happen or not. However, since this movie doesn't do that, its falls into the category of being somewhat predictable. Despite that, I do like how the film focuses primarily on the relationship between Barbara and Sheba. In the novel, it is way too broad, focusing too much time on not needed supporting characters, such as both women's huge families, as well as the other teachers at St. George's School. I get that, the original writer want to see, what outsiders thought about the scandal, but I like the intensely between the two main women on their journey in manipulation, loneliness, crises, fear, and forgiveness. It's far more appealing to me than outside opinions. I fascinated to see what drove Sheba to such behavior, and why Barbara would fight so long to try to keep it, a secret. I also like how the film depicts Barbara and other characters in a more favorable light than the novel. I always felt that the book was too cynical for my taste. Don't get me wrong, both Barbara and Sheba are still an incredibly sinister, bitter, manipulative people, but at least, they seem more like a real-like human being with flaws that could be friends with each other, than the unrealistic unlikeable forced duo that they were in the book. Yet, I do kinda hate that the film, clearly albeit discreetly reveals Barbara's wish for physical intimacy with Sheba, rather than allowing it, to be vague and uncertain. I would love to the filmmakers leave that to audience interpretation. Instead, it gave off, the negative attachment that all 'repressed lesbianism' is bad; which might offend some feminist and lesbian groups. Despite that controversy, I found the film to have bigger faults, such as the very anticlimax weak ending, with the movie downplaying, Sheba's punishment for her sins, to the point that the thriller might end bittersweet rather than downright tragic. I don't know, screenwriter, Patrick Marber wanted to show gender bias & discrimination message with his version of the end, but I felt that the ending in the novel was better, as it was creepy & subtle enough to be more open-ended, as it does not revealed whether or not Sheba is imprisoned or not. Plus, it really didn't like the last minute, add on, character, the film goes with their version. Either way, regardless of the movie and source material, the age of consent in England is far too young. Overall: I have to say, 'Notes on a Scandal' is a lot better than those Lifetime: Movies of the Week that are little bit too straight forward, heavy, or too melodrama. What saved this book from being a daytime made-for-TV movie is its smart commentary on class, obsession, liberalism, and borderline of sisterhood and sexual lust. It's a twisted and complicated tale revolving around relationships that will make your skin crawl. A great movie that deserve more praise. It's fascinating.