Reviews written by registered user

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476 reviews in total 
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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
With No Pre-Conceptions I Thoroughly Enjoyed The Dark Tower, 16 August 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Dark Tower doesn't seem to be quite getting the rating this viewer thinks it deserves. Perhaps it's a luxury not being versed in the Stephen King novel? Coming into it with no prior knowledge may be good since I had no expectations. What I experienced was quite good Sci- Fi. It's a usual battle between good and bad in which the lines take a bit of time to sort out. Nothing is revealed too soon, but flows well. A child named Jake is the central figure and young Tom Taylor plays the part well indeed. In NYC he's pegged by his parents and his school as a gifted and troubled student. His trouble is he's seeing things no one around him can and it's really dark. The darkness is getting closer and it's actually crossing over as evidenced by earthquake like tremors that all in the city feel and fear. Jake knows it's something more and he is quite unsettled thus his troubles. It's an excellent setup for the convergence of different worlds and times through which Jake stumbles into a time and space portal. He is soon, through his unique gifts, brought together with "The Gunslinger" in a much different reality. The Gunslinger is bent on killing the central figure of all that is dark named Walter. Think of him as the devil who is attempting to destroy all worlds. Walter is played steely cold without any bombast by Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey brings a level of black evil that is palpable and we're not just talking about his black uniform. So we have a tight and focused excellent cast with Idris Elba as Roland The Gunslinger, Jake as the troubled gifted psychic child, and McConaughhey as their ultimate enemy.

Why I feel the movie is really good is that no matter how it adapts the story, the story is realized very well. The movie seamlessly travels back and forth in time and worlds to create an ultimate battle between good and bad. Yes, it has some familiar western genre elements, but it doesn't try to be a western in the least. It just uses some familiar themes from them and creates a Sci- Fi- piece of it's own. The movie makes investment in the characters of Jake and The Gunslinger into ones the viewer gets behind very organically, not forced, but quite easily. It also makes the viewer detest Walter immediately just as well. What is so well done, I feel, is that the viewer never questions the segueing between the supernatural and the everyday world. You totally accept what is revealed in each scene. And there is little waste here in stringing it all as a whole. You get on board and your mind is taken on a ride. In spite of the current rather pedestrian rating of 6 as well as the divided critical views this is, IMHO, an excellent movie that keeps you rapt right until the final battle ensues. I give it an 8 and I think if you don't worry about a book adaptation, and you like Sci-Fi, you will be entertained from beginning to end.

Goldstone (2016)
Classic Western Morality Play As A Topical Australian Drama, 9 August 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Goldstone is driven by the two central characters who are quite apart when the story begins. The Australian outback would be the other central character which at times is so atmospheric it eclipses even the story itself. That story is a stark morality play. centering around corporate greed in a place the corporation feels it can act autonomously. Goldstone blends elements all seen previously yet does so so bare bones it works. Nothing flashy here in the least as director Ivan Sen keeps the production as stark as the landscape. The two leads are excellent especially the native Aboriginal detective role played by Aaron Pedersen It should be mentioned the musical score is a haunting sweeping one also by the director, it adds great depth and drama.

Icarus (2017/I)
6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
When The Truth Has The Heaviest Consequences...The Grigory Rodchenkov Story., 8 August 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a explosive expose that really started with amateur world-class biker Brian Fogel's exploration of personally doping himself with performance enhancing hormones for the world's premier amateur cycling event held annually in Europe. The word explosive is in no way hyperbole. Fogel's desire to test negative led him to Russian chemist Grrigory Rodchenkov. Fogel soon became immersed in how Rodchenkov, the head of the system the Russian State drug testing lab, might be able to help him be able to pass drug testing while doping. After an introduction was made by a reputable US scientist Fogel and Rodchenkov became partners of sorts.

Rumblings surrounding the rumor that somehow Russian athletes dope while testing negative became louder. A few cracks opened and Rodchenkov looked like a goner. He even became temporarily institutionalized for his well-being. After a Putin reprieve he was once more doing The Russian State's work, but things were different. He now knew his safety was in jeopardy. He was a pawn, a slave, and he could just as well be expendable should another situation arise. This time preservation of life was his top priority as he decided to come to The US hopefully acquiring asylum. It would explode into a situation in which a deal to testify would be his only chance of remaining in The US as some of his fellow Russian collaborators met mysterious deaths back in the mother country.

Suddenly Rodchenkov became the epicenter of the entire world's doping problem. You think Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong's cases, and troubles were big, Rodchenkovs were on a whole other scale as in life or death. This was one man accusing Russia of heinous crimes on a world stage and Vladimir Putin as the master criminal.. Because he could tie the various players in this illegal doping, right up to Putin, he had to give up everything and remain in The USA to insure his safety. His wife and child's passports were taken by the Russian government in attempts to rein the, now, criminal dissenter in. It's conceivable he may never see them again.

Icarus is a real-life high-stakes story of a man who dared to come clean about the work he was doing at the direction of the most powerful men behind a country that still believes The Olympics are their finest world showcase of superiority…that is outside of the unthinkable. You should give this a watch as it's as worthy a thriller as a Ludlum novel only the stakes are real. Brian Fogel may have never became a professional world class cyclist, but with this movie he makes a strong case that he is that league of documentary makers.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The Royal Family Joins A Huge Mass Of Grieving Souls In England & The World, 4 August 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I think many people will get a glimpse into something seldom seen here. For people who were not yet born when JFK was assassinated it is hard for them to wrap there mental acuity to the immensity of that event. Much the same here, but I as an adult at the time of Diana's untimely death wasn't even aware of all that is presented here. This documentary goes a huge distance in giving a bigger picture as well as more unique inner glimpse as to the the people of Britain, the Royal Family, and the beloved Diana. Curiosity made me click on this documentary with little expectation that I'd be interested enough to watch it through. I underrated how well it documented the significance of what proved to be the largest public outcry over another human being ever. The old phrase "in for a penny, in for a pound" comes to mind as if you just watch for a few minutes you find yourself committed to watching in it's entirety. This is a well-done look at one of modern history's most unique events which, instead of the typical divisiveness of humanity, ends up celebrating a rare unity. RIP Diana, you are truly missed…And missed by those who never even actually knew you, but nonetheless were deeply moved by you and your spirit. That's a lovely tribute and this document nails it.

Definitely Intriguing With Lingering Questions, 31 July 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This story is about a man who defies the effects of cold weather and ice. That isn't all though as he wants to explain to others they too can stand for hours naked in sub-freezing temps through harnessing the breathing for starters. The breathing is the crucial, apparently, first step in him teaching others to basically use more of their potential than they currently use...much more. So much more it goes beyond just the control of the body's temperature culminating in the immune system. That opens up healing which our bodies are capable of but may always take to the most powerful levels without our help. This is a bit repetitive and attempts to scientifically explain the whole phenomenon seems a bit uncertain even as it gives a few answers. Even when it drags there is something highly unusual going on with Wim Hoff. Maybe he's what we're suppose to be more like and therefore we're the unusual ones? At any rate the man has tapped into something and the body and mind responds. Whatever is happening this is an exceptional situation with the potential to unlock more of what we as humans are actually blessed with but have failed, or forgot, to use. I think that makes this film both a curiosity and potentially groundbreaking. Wim Hoff is genuinely a man whose control of his body is amazing and, in turn, what all of our bodies can do is even more so.

Food As A Wacky Roadtrip....Pure Fun As Well As Inspiring For The Burgeoning Cook., 23 July 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Certainly there's places in the TV culinary world for diverse shows and talent to exist with each having their fans with even an overlapping portion. Ask anyone who comes to mind as of 2017 and don't be surprised if you get the answer Guy Fieri. Guy has changed the landscape. Starting out with a somewhat "unconventional conventional" cooking show, he found his massive audience with the seemingly ubiquitous Food Network show called Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives in which he does no actual cooking himself instead finding some talent that is mostly obscure outside of their locality. This is like mining and finding gold because it's a synergistic match between the host, viewers, and the food auteurs profiled. It is in no small part due to Guy who started out a bit edgy in his earlier show, but became more warm and fuzzy as his wise-cracking good-time dude persona fully formed. A wide audience accepted him as the wacky relative that no get together is complete without.

The simple concept behind "Triple D" is brilliant. It's one almost everyone can relate to since these places are almost all universally inexpensive and accessible. Even if you haven't been to a single "joint" you've seen on the show you've probably found a similar place at some time in your life and you know it's a special kind of fun. The hard to define part of DDD is that without smell or taste the viewer joins in on the on-screen fun. In my best analysis I credit this to the intersection, or collision if you will, of the personable host and plenty of inspiring cooks plying their trade with true passion outside of any glamour or glitz…save their less than 15 minutes of fame with Fieri.

When I first started seeing Fieri I wanted to dislike him because he seemed like a kind of poseur who wanted to be in The Red Hot Chili Peppers or ape the style of his friend Sammy Hagar but with food. As I watched more and more Triple D shows he won me over. Regardless of if it was a created character I started to just connect with Fieri's obvious love of what he's doing. He makes it look so easy and natural to which I know it's not since he often starts very early and works for several days to do a short profile on each food establishment. If you say this couldn't be the real deal since every place he visits has food that is wonderful you'd not be out of line. Well, you have to realize that due to costs of production the places are carefully vetted after coming to the attention of either Guy or his producers. The idea is to profile only the places doing something just slightly amazing - and if the place itself is humble, the owner/cook eccentric,or a blend of cuisines against the grain that's even better. These things are what makes the show a winner. And as a bonus aspiring cooks can actually learn something just by watching actually making it a tool to propel future talent or just help one raise the bar at home.

I imagine there are those for who Guy's style is a turn-off. He has his critics in the industry no doubt to which if you're interested it's easy to Google. But, for many, and I include myself, even though I'm not going to start bleaching my hair and wearing bowling shirts I find his style engaging. After watching so many cooking shows where there is too much seriousness ,and dishes I can't easily replicate ,this seems like a great blend of a food show where I can come away with some fresh ideas and I'm supremely entertained. It's an every-man's food show that is truly fun.

The Circle (2017/I)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Continues Hank's Decent Into Mediocrity...What's Next...Lifetime Movies?, 6 July 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This Circle isn't a thriller nor is it much of a drama either. It fact it would be a totally lame if it wasn't for how funny the mirror it turns on a thinly veiled tech billion-dollar corporation becomes. its this exaggeration of the ethos of a holier than holy tech company - and it's worker bees as well as mindless acolytes. If just a tenth of this is true for any corporation then I presume that company is in cahoots with the devil himself.

The central themes are how much personal privacy is acceptable for a perceived societal greater good? Can world-wide for profit corporations have morality and ethics that supersede greed regarding it's employees, the public, and competitors? And, finally, can the government represent the populace instead of being corrupted by these powerful corporate entities? Pretty weighty stuff which, unfortunately, comes off plain silly more often than upsetting and compelling.

I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend this flick. The best thing about it is it's unintentionally funny with it's kernel of truth inside layers of overkill and exaggeration.. Tom Hanks can't even make much of a dent saving this one. I will give him credit for his character that seems like a mash-up equal parts Robert Schuller with Steven Jobs. This is slumming for Hanks and another waste of his time. Hope he's getting big paydays because his credibility as a seriously great and versatile actor slips more here.

Dark Western (Mid-Western That Is) Morality Play, 29 June 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Perhaps the ending of Fargo's third season wasn't as pat as many had hoped. That slithery snake VM didn't die but Emit did. It invites a lot of mental processing left to the individual. Leaving it for each viewer's own interpretation, as well as a hanging open final scene, isn't anything new. But, it has to be said it's equal parts brilliant as well as frustrating.. One thing seems to hover above it all which is that it was a simply a classic morality play not unlike a great western.

What makes Fargo so good is the inventive stories surrounding the characters and how their intersection occurs. Ewan McGregor's two roles were very strong to the point as a viewer you felt cheated when Ray was accidentally killed half-way in. And as in previous seasons the other reoccurring characters were rich. They made this season work even when the plot took hard to swallow turns. Varga was brilliant: purely evil in an insidious way. Niki was dangerously out there continuously ramping up her character's response to the unfolding mayhem. And Gloria was the smartest law enforcement agent who saw the connections of all the characters while being a normal single mom - you had to hope she would win regardless of her own self-doubt and constant sidelining. It's no accident then when as the third season fades to black it comes down to her versus Varga. You'll have to make your own decision as to who won.

This was another fine season. It was different while it had loose connections to both of the previous seasons. It had a feel closer to the Coen brother's movie which inspired it all too. It's truly hard to say which season is the absolute best as they, mostly, can stand alone- all uniquely great. The stories, I believe, were better previously, but possibly the dual role of McGregor's characters as affected by Varga's manipulations raise season three to being a worthy contender. Try not to be put off by the somewhat ambiguous ending as it comes down to the two best representations of good vs. evil which is entirely fitting. A kind of simple brilliant ending that actually speaks volumes.

This Guy Is Living The Dream & Taking It To The Bank...Fun To Watch Too!, 23 June 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Of course there is no way to be absolute in a topic such as "best bars", but this show hits some nice highlights. Often there is a theme such as bars on water or even haunted bars too. Foremost this is a fun show. There's plenty of interesting watering holes with unique flavors and locales. It's likely you'll actually want to visit many of these bars if you are ever vacationing closely. That's a pretty good recommendation for the show. Jack Maxwell is hard to beat as a host unless his high- voltage bubbly personality rubs you the wrong way. I'm guessing he won't as he's a lot like you and me except he seems never to have a "down day", at least on screen. Seriously he's a guy you'd be welcoming to plop down and drink with. Though this is slightly heavy on "trendy" watering holes there's always a few "corner bar" types, but usually with a twist on build and presentation. It adds up to a great travelogue for those who insist on unique and tasty drinks and food. If you're wondering I think it's grand fun and love it. I don't envy Jack when on "The Booze Traveler" he's roughing it or drinking snake blood, but with this related show I'd have to say he truly has "The Best Job In The World".

A 100 Proof Travelog You Should See, 14 June 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Booze Traveler is Jack Maxwell's particular slant on a travelogue show. Jack often takes roads less traveled too ending up in remote and exotic locales. The common denominator is what the locals imbibe alcoholically. It's a unique mixture. It leans heavy to local culture as filtered through the indigenous drinks. Hopscotching through whatever country it blends education and entertainment with the element of a travelogue show.

Jack Maxwell is a personable host. Jack's on-screen persona is what you might call "uber chipper". If he's faking he's giving it everything. Maxwell seems to love his work even when he's in, for lack of better terms, quite depressing and backward cultures. For pure fun the similar show "Chug" is more pure entertainment, but Maxwell's take on world drinking is actually more educational while still retaining his ever present optimism.

I've watched more than half of the available episodes and I'm hooked. I feel I'm seeing things I'd never be able to experience in one lifetime as well as gaining a bit of insight of how besides math alcohol is universal. If I had to recommend one episode it would have to be the season two number 3 one where Jack goes to Finland. Not only is Finland wholly a unique and mystical place but it has the greatest cocktail mixing scene of all time at the end of the episode. The drink called "sudden death" is a spectacle. It makes the bottle juggling scene in the movie "Cocktail" look as stupid and baseless as it really is. This is one you've got to see!

Booze Traveler might be primarily for the drink enthusiast, but it has a richness of culture that separates it from the small genre it lives in. Jack is the prefect host as he is almost too genial and upbeat, but certainly a man on a mission who loves his work. IN some ways this is actually both art and educational while being quite fun to watch, a rare combination indeed and not unlike a magic elixir bringing disparate people together in a unique way. I think this show rocks!

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