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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
How this film got made, 5 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

George: are you doing anything next summer? I'm thinking about shooting a movie near my summer house in Italy. It'll have me and Italian scenery, maybe some hot babes and guns. Cant miss being a hit.

Co-producer: but we don't have a script

George: don't need one. I'll be in every scene, often with my shirt off doing exercises or having sex with a beautiful woman. Since it'll have guns lets make it about me playing an assassin. If we get stuck we'll just shoot me walking down the same dark streets over and over again, or waking up in the mornings or looking out of a window or driving up and down the same road. It'll look like I really thinking about something or doing something profound. Lots of viewers will be happy to spend hours analyzing what he's doing or thinking. Plus I'll never change the expression on my face throughout the whole movie, everyone will think its great acting.

Co-producer: OK, looking out a window? whats he looking for?

George: Assassins who are trying to kill him. They keep following him, from Sweden to Italy, but he can never figure out how they know where he is.

Co-producer: Does he tell anyone where he is?

George: Only his boss Pavel. By the way Pavel's job is to send out assassins.

Co-producer: Sounds great so far. This guy, he's a successful assassin, why doesn't he just disappear?

George: Thats a stupid question

Co-producer: OK, who else in the movie?

George: A hooker and a female assassin. They are both 8's. No make them 9's. Heck lets go with 10's. We want realism. Oh, and Pavel will be played by a craggy faced guy who's main thing is to look increasingly annoyed every time our guy calls him.

Co-producer: Whats their connection to him?

George: Lets see...hmmmm.... the hooker falls in love with him. He doesn't have much charm, doesn't say much, would never tell a funny story, but he's got something that makes him really special to her. He even tells her that he's not with her to give pleasure, just to get pleasure. Thats when she really falls in love with him. We'll leave up to the audience to guess at why she falls for him. But we cant be too obvious, lets have her continue her career while they fall in love but he doesn't care.

Co-producer: What about the assassin lady?

George: She needs him to make a gun for her. She gives him a lot of technical specs about the gun she wants him to build.

Co-producer: Doesn't she know that she can get whatever she needs in Walmart or a gun store.

George: No she has a lot of meetings with him to show off her different outfits and hairstyles and to flirts as hard as she can though she can't seem to overtake that beautiful hooker.

Co-producer: Ah, so he's not just a shooter, he's a craftsman?

George: Yeah but he carries no tools, not even a screwdriver. Just like Tony Stark who built his Ironman suit in a cave, this guy makes precision guns in his kitchen using a hammer, a drill and parts he scrounges up around town.

Co-producer: Very clever.. no tools so no one will know he's an assassin. They'll never ask why he needs all these parts. And he can throw them off the track by repeating "I'm not good with machines", that'll fool them. But he needs a back story.

George: For some reason they really want him dead so they send two killers to his house in Sweden. They are skilled professionals. One goes down to the lake to shoot him, the other stays in the car far away so he'll be available if anything goes wrong. Thats how assassins do their jobs in Sweden: 2 guys travel there, one guy stays in the car.

Co-producer: How does this story resolve itself?

George: He hangs around, hangs around, walks down some more dark streets, has more meetings with the beautiful assassin. Pavel shows up, then they both die along with the beautiful assassin lady.

Co-producer: They're all killers we need a good guy.

George: OK, how about this. The audience will be thinking that the last thing this guy needs while hiding from assassins is to befriend a priest who wants to know everything about his life but thats how we fool them. Not only does he meet the priest again and again but he never catches on that the priest is scrutinizing him.

Co-producer: But where's the moral?

George: Our assassin not only figures out that the town mechanic is the priests bastard son but he tells the priest the exact location where the child was conceived. (No one else in the town ever caught on to their relationship despite many obvious clues). The priest shows that, following a major sin, redemption is possible.

Cohort: Sounds great. Lets start shooting in 3 weeks. Did we agree that the girls will be 9's or 10's? Oh, and, can we use my brother in law? He would be great as Pavel, he can do snarling really well.

George: he'll have to audition. I only do well planned and well executed movies. Cant have an amateur messing up a key part. By the way, we'll save a fortune if we reuse the scenes of me walking in the streets, driving up the same road, looking out the window, awakening, etc.

"Homeland" (2011)
3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Was Brody in Iraq or Club Med, 25 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Like everyone else, I've heard all the raves about Homeland. Finally last week my son told me he was hooked on it and got me to try it. I liked the premise and the pilot and watched the first nine episodes after which I was seeing just too many weakness, poor scripting, poor casting, poor acting. For example Carrie is a hardcore CIA operative who's determined head off the next terrorist attack. Her instincts are aroused by a returning pow. Shes convinced that hes a terrorist but she drinks with him, sleeps with him, falls in love with him and proceeds to tell him many CIA secrets. Yet her self esteem remains in tact as does her employment at the CIA. Lewis is totally miscast as the formerly gungho marine sergeant. Carrying himself in a casual posture, quick to smile and laugh, walking with toes pointed outward, hardly a man chosen and trained to project strength, power and deadly force. By contrast Mark Harmon of NCIS plays the older/former marine with appropriate focus and toughness. Whereas many soldiers return from war with PTSD, somehow Brody emerges from 8 years of isolation and brutality with a cheerful attitude more like someone who just spent a week at Club Med. Far from being cautious and disoriented, Brody is quickly telling jokes, charming powerful people and displaying dazzling abilities to manipulate situations. In one of the most unbelievable scenes Brody cons a senior CIA executive to give him access to a recently captured terrorist who is just about to cooperate. This not only results in the terrorists death but never results in anyone in power questioning Brody about it. In fact when Claire tells the CIA powers about her suspicions of Brody, they blow her off. Amazingly they are angry that she raises questions such as 'why did they keep him secret for 8 years?' Sure this is how they missed the 9/11 plot but still they cant all be this stupid after fighting terrorists for 10 years. When Brody went to Iraq he was just a sergeant, somehow the terrorists have taught him to be a tactical and interpersonal genius. I reached a decision point when we were given an explanation of why Brody changed sides. A boy he befriended while captive was killed by an American bomb. Thats it. Forget about the Marine Barracks, the Cole, the World Trade Center, etc. Brody decides that the Americans are evil and the Muslim fanatics are victims and that he's going to help bring down America. Have the writers ever been to the Middle East? They want us to believe that Brody loves his kids but that he wants them to live in a violent, impoverished, 10th century theocracy ruled by an Iman. I think I'll just wait for Breaking Bad's new season. Bryan Cranston brilliantly acts the part of a terrified chemistry teacher morphing into a drug lord. All the other characters are convincing and the script is exciting and believable each week.

42 out of 79 people found the following review useful:
They forgot the tsunami, 13 January 2013

I just don't understand how this movie got good reviews.

Imagine if James Cameron had filmed The Titanic entirely as closeups of people suffering in the hallways!!! Thats how the makers of The Impossible would have done The Titanic!!!! Closeups of people suffering as the hallways filled with water, then closeups of people suffering in lifeboats. With an initial 10 second opening shot of the ship, the ocean and other passengers.

I expected that this movie would be about one family's experiences set against a backdrop of unique natural tragedy that caused 400,000 deaths and left 500,00 homeless. After all, thats what made their story unique. Unfortunately the makers of this film pretty much omitted the tsunami from this movie. Also omitted, the ocean, beaches and all the people in Asia.

While the actual tsunami was a natural catastrophe of epic proportions, occurring in one of the worlds most exotic, beautiful and tranquil locations, the tsunami is only seen in this film as a wave entering the swimming pool area of the hotel.

After that its pretty much all closeups of Naomi Watts suffering and screaming. Except for the cuts and bruises, she could be in any puddle of water, say in a bad rain at a Florida Motel. Strangely, even though hundreds of thousands of other people were swept away, Watts is always alone, under muddy water, walking out of a swamp, sitting in a tree. She and her son are pretty much the only ones in the first half of the movie. Nor are there any buildings, cars, or anything else that might have been hit by the wave.

When she reaches the hospital there are a couple of dozen extras to represent the million people injured and dead. The hospital scene could have been filmed on Saturday night at any Brooklyn Hospital except that, in the movie, the scene was too calm. After 45 minutes of this we get closeups of Ewan McGregor yelling and suffering. Thats pretty much it, yelling and suffering, with cameras on their faces, almost never a reference to the scale and circumstances of the unique and colossal tragedy thats the basis for this film. We're left with one family having a bad day somewhere with palm trees.

Prometheus (2012/I)
14 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
How about science fiction, 24 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

These thoughts are for people who have already seen Prometheus:

Prometheus one third spectacular production, one third science fiction and, unfortunately one third cheap horror film. It starts with the question of finding our makers. Seems like a meaty enough subject. But sure enough, we're immediately taken into a dark, wet underground with relics, snakes, goo, cannisters and undead spacemen. From that point on its all Indiana Jones and no science fiction. In Prometheus, Guy Pearce spent a trillion dollars on this project to answer our fundamental question. But he apparently didn't have enough money to select a crew of competent people, opting instead to keep the missions purpose a secret and staff up with half wits that freak out when they learn what the missions about. No matter, the dying billionaire fakes his own death and hides out on his own spaceship. Why hideout? Who knows. Dave the robot seems to know too much about the aliens, then poisons one of the scientist while arranging for him to impregnate another scientist with an octopus like creature. Why impregnate her? I'd hate to think its just so she can give herself an abortion on screen. Why poison the scientist? Who knows, not me. The highly advanced spaceman wakes up and forsakes all his intellect and development to engage in a type of barroom brawl massacring humans. Why? W.K.N.M. The octopus and the awakened spaceman have a terrible fight. Why? W.K.N.M. Here's my idea for the sequel: lets wake up Issac Assimov and have him write a true science fiction script, no caves, no octopus. Just a solid exploration of a journey to meet our pro creators. Then lets lock Ridley Scott in a prop room and limit him to photography and special effects.