12 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Ignoring Darwin
4 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I gave this "documentary" a 4 for some nice photography and reenactment of Darwin's time period. Otherwise, this film is superficial and trite on both sides of the controversy. There is little shown of the massive amount of physical evidence, gathered by thousands of scientists from different cultures over the past hundred years, which supports the theory of evolution. Mainly the film dwells on Darwin's angst at where his studies led him. The religious side is treated unseriously, mainly being a string of earnest Christian fundamentalists stating that they can't believe in evolution because then they would have to reject the absoluteness of the bible being literal truth (God's word). There is actually no "Questioning" in "Questioning Darwin". Everything portrayed is either accepting or rejecting the notion of evolution. Nor do I recall much attempt to explain any pseudo scientific alternative to evolution, such as "intelligent design" or "irreducible complexity", other than a brief visit to the silly Creation Museum in Kentucky. Pretty well missing were representatives from the millions of believers in God who do not see a conflict between evolution and a belief in God. (Or a mention that some atheists insist that there is a fatal conflict between evolution and religion.) Also missing are representatives of other religions who also adhere to creationism. It is not just a Christian eccentricity. This film is basically a shallow, missed opportunity to thoroughly dissect an important issue.
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Spiral (I) (2007)
Completely Missed Opportunity
10 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This could have been a different and much better movie. Apparently I saw a potential depth to it that completely escaped the filmmakers. So I find myself in the odd position of disagreeing with all the other reviewers. What they hated about it I liked. What they liked about it I hated. I was unaware of the filmmakers' link to the splatter film "Hatchet", which I have not watched and have no intention to. So my review of this film is based solely upon its own merits and not on any similarity or differences to some other movie. So, what's right about this movie? I actually liked the slow development of the characters. I came to care about them. I began to root for the budding relationship between the two leads. Was Mason actually autistic, or was he a victim of emotional trauma? Was there hope for him to come out of his shell with the help of his quirky girlfriend Amber? Silly me. I found out too late that the movie makers didn't give a damn about the characters. They were merely fodder for the clichéd "twist" ending. What a letdown. They threw away all the potential for a serious movie by capping it with a cheap Hollywood trick from the threadbare "Screen Writing for Dummies" handbook. So, if you want a "mystery thriller", then the ending of this movie is for you, but you will become impatient with all the unnecessary character buildup preceding it. On the other hand, if you go in, as did I, unwittingly willing to care about people, especially those marginalized by society, and root for them to triumph over adversity, then skip this movie. The buildup will intrigue you and make you care. But the ending will terrifically disappoint you.
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Cloud Atlas (2012)
Muddled Mashup of New-Age Mysticism
28 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
If you are the type to choose all-you-can-eat buffets for the quantity of food, with little regard for quality, then you may enjoy this movie. Unlike other detractors, I found the acting and photography mostly well done. I did not mind the same actors playing different characters (à la Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove). After all, that is their profession. Objectively, I would have given Cloud Atlas 2 or even 3 stars for cinematography. However, I have given it only 1 star to help counter the outrageous over-rating it has acquired from the easily impressed. Cloud Atlas serves up several different, conflicting film genres, with bits stolen from better movies, without a single original idea of its own. It starts with a nicely realistic South Seas mutiny-type adventure reminiscent of 1984's The Bounty. Then it switches abruptly to an Amadeus type tragedy of a talented composer's life cut short. After a brief paean to the gratuitous violence of a Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, it unexpectedly flips to a light-hearted version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Of course, it throws in the liberal de rigueur anti-nuclear and anti-big oil diatribe from The China Syndrome. Abruptly abandoning all realism, it adds a splash of stylistic action and wooden acting fluff from The Matrix, conflated with a '70's throwback to Soylent Green. Plop on an ending from any post-apocalyptic movie from the past 30 years. Finally top the whole mess off with meaningless new-age beatnik style drivel from Roger Corman's 1959 Bucket of Blood. Taken separately, these different episodes would make a mildly diverting all-night B-movie marathon. Unfortunately, they take this clashing cacophony of different film styles, from well-done realism to silly sci-fi, and intercut the stories in a totally random manner as if they are all related. Really? These stories are all connected by - what? Karma? Love? Fate? Bad makeup? No, silly. They all have the same birthmark. Get it? As long as coherent story-telling and originality are not important to you, then at 3 hours, you will get your money's worth of decent acting and pretty pictures tossed at you in a diverting kaleidoscope fashion. This is to keep you from thinking about what a mess the whole thing actually is.
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Delta Farce (2007)
Much better than I expected
11 October 2013
This is a very well done movie and deserves a much higher IMDb rating, if you like comedy for the common man. On the other hand, if you use "red neck" as an insult, then you should avoid watching movies like this to begin with. Why anyone would go into a movie with Larry the Cable Guy thinking they are going to see a sophisticated Shakespearian play is way stupider than those who enjoy this kind of humor. Larry The Cable Guy, Bill Engvall, and D.J. Qualls are excellent in the 3 Stooges style of slapstick idiocy. While it also gave Keith David and Danny Trejo the opportunity to show they are wonderful with comedy. People who complain should at least be honest. Just because you don't "get" this style of humor does not entitle you to pan it as poorly done. The jokes are funny and the acting was right where it should have been for a farce. Next time, pay attention to who is in a movie and its title before you subject yourself to all the angst you suffered for watching a very funny, if lowbrow, comedy.
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A Crime (2006)
Stupid ending negates all that preceded it...
24 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
What is it with screen writers and their slavish hunger for a twist ending? This movie had potential, poorly realized, but promising enough for me to stick with it until the end. Then it fell completely apart, so that they could have a twist at the end.

Spoiler Alert - Apparently it is okay to pick out a complete stranger and set him up to be murdered, because, golly, he might accidentally turn out to be the actual bad guy anyway. See? That makes it okay. Oh goody, our two would-be, cold-blooded murderers can go off to live happily ever after, after all.

All in all, not much about not much. Barely tolerable, with a complete let down at the end.
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Killer Joe (2011)
Vile and disgusting, only for the sick and depraved
24 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
A completely repulsing film. It is NOT a comedy, black or otherwise. It is no more than a gratuitous look at truly depraved people with absolutely no redeeming qualities at all. How bad was it? Even with full female nudity, I am sorry I watched this. To be fair, all the actors performed their roles very well. Technically, the movie is well made. But for what purpose?! NOTHING! There is nothing worthwhile about this film. Why would accomplished actors like Matthew McConaughey and Thomas Haden Church even want to make a film like this? To see it rated so highly is to make me despair for the future of our society. IMDb suggested "Lady Killers" as similar to this. Absolutely NOT! "Lady Killers" is actually a funny, well-done black comedy. "Killer Joe" is worse than a waste of time. It will take something from your soul and self-respect, leaving you worse off for having watched it.
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Give it a chance
26 January 2013
I was almost dissuaded from watching this because of the mediocre reviews, even though the plot sounded good, in an off-beat kind of way. Well, the wife and I watched it and enjoyed it quite a bit. It was very refreshing and the characterizations were all very well done. Sure, it may be made only a level above the old Hogan's Heros TV show, but then I enjoyed that, as well. If you (as I) are tired off all the bloody shoot'em ups, gravity defying car chases, and uber explosions, then give this small movie a view. It is not big budget, but all the acting and production values are good. And all the people are warm and genuine.
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The Debt (I) (2010)
Does for the holocaust what Cameron did for the Titanic
5 January 2013
I will, no doubt, be chastised for my poor rating of this movie, should anyone happen to stumble across it. The acting is great and the cinematography is very well done. In fact, it is the quality of the film-making that initially fools one into thinking they are seeing a meaningful story. But when the movie ends and you actually reflect upon what you have seen, you find a tepid story not worth telling. Basically this film does for the holocaust what James Cameron's "Titanic" did for one of the greatest maritime disasters in history. It trivializes it with a ridiculous fictional story of self-absorbed, small people, when there must be abundant truly engaging real-life stories available from that era of larger than life heroes.
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John Carter (2012)
Much better than expected
5 January 2013
I am sorry I did not go see this movie in the theater. It is spectacular on a large television screen. It must be astounding on a giant theater screen. Not just fantastic special effects, but a great story and good characterizations, as well. This should have made a billion dollars at the box office. I can only think that the title may have helped suppress its audience. "John Carter" just did not draw me into the theater, whereas "The Princess of Mars" might have. Or "John Carter on Mars". (Or if I had bothered to view the previews.) In any case, I like this movie much better than "Avatar". I agree with those who think its popularity will grow the more people discover it.
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Very good for its type
26 August 2012
Okay, I'll admit 10 is a little high for this movie, but it has been unfairly panned by those who just don't like this kind of movie. As someone said in the review of a different movie, some people don't know the difference between a badly done movie and one they just don't like. This movie is not for everyone. It should only be watched by those that like dark (very dark, black even) humor. Outrageous characters with malice in their heart. If that is your cup of tea, then you may find this, as did I, very surprising and funny. It has top people in it playing it up to the hilt, as they should have. Cary Elwes, Christopher Lloyd, Elaine Hendrix, and Mary Steenburgen like I've never seen her before. Some have complained about Cary Elwes' acting in it. I thought he was priceless, playing a role very much against his usual type. The whole thing would not have been near as compelling had Cary Elwes not played it as he did. I found this movie very funny, but please note my warning at the beginning. This is for folks who enjoy plots wildly outrageous, their characters ridiculous, and their humor dark.
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Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
More than I expected
5 August 2012
Yes, this is a B-movie. But what a B-movie! I can't believe that I just stumbled across this gem on late-night cable. I like Bruce Campbell, but had no real idea what to expect. Bruce's performance as an old Elvis Presley is fantastic. He does character development way beyond the needs of a cheap horror flick. Ossie Davis and Ella Joyce are excellent in supporting roles. After being disappointed by one hugely expensive A-movie after another, this one was a welcome relief. Those that think it is slow are just not receptive to learning and feeling about the characters. They were expecting only gore and action shots. This film took time to explore what it would be like to be an old Elvis. So, go into this one expecting low budget and campiness. You will get that and more. You may be as pleasantly surprised as I was.
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Truly awful story
8 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
A movie can be made well (cast & photography) and still not have a worthwhile story to tell. This is such a movie. If you enjoy brutal rape, forced incest, and a serial killer who tortures young women before he butchers them, then you will like this movie. If, instead, you are in the (apparently) shrinking population of movie goers who wish to come out of a movie feeling better, not worse about the human condition, then you should avoid this movie like the plague. It has 3 (not 1, not 2) separate unredeeming stories each more depressing than the one before it. What this movie is not is a mystery story. Because of Hollywood's inability to think beyond typecasting, as soon as I saw the opening credits I knew who "did it" even before I learned what the crime was. If you want to see female nudity in movies, I recommend porno films. At least the women in those appear to be having fun. This movie is for masochists who only enjoy inflicting pain on themselves, or sadists who enjoy seeing pain inflicted on others.
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