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Charlie Bartlett (2007)
Mixed messages of the worst kind.
What exactly is this film's point of view on prescription drugs? We have a kid selling his personal prescription's pills, (much too casually prescribed ), to schoolmates. After talking with the kids about their problems, he fakes their symptoms to his doctors to get an array of other drugs to sell. His shrinks are so willing to drug him up, that they immediately take his word on each and every problem he describes to them. Is this an indictment of the psychiatric profession's lack of any empathetic interaction with patients? Their zealous promotion of dangerous mood-altering drugs? It certainly could have been, and rightfully so, but no: When Robert Downey's "wise" character sincerely and authoritatively chimes in on the subject, it turns out that these drugs are fine, as long as they're prescribed by trained professionals. Wait one minute: They WERE prescribed by trained professionals!, with less depth of investigation than the kid did with his customers. So instead of ending with a valuable insight into some very real problems that we face, the film disregards the details of it's own story-line, and creates conclusions out of the blue. It's irresponsible, false, and harmful.
Reggie Perrin (2009)
A crucial mistake
Martin Clunes is the best in his field. His acting is meaningfully more authentic than the actors who usually do this type of comedy, (what can at best be described as mediocre comedy skits masquerading as a cohesive show). In fact, Clunes is good enough to have potentially rescued this series from its less than funny scripts, (if only the producers had realized how good he is), but for one additional mistake: The God-awful laugh track, so wrong, in so many ways: 1/ Laugh tracks always suck. 2/ This particular laugh track is unrelenting, barely giving us a chance to hear the last word of any of the supposed punch-lines, (and many lines that no sane person would consider to be a punch-line). 3/ Clunes' forte is dry humor, and it seems as though the writers, (within their talent's limitations), are aware of this, but the guffaws that follow his lines are -not- how one laughs at this type of humor. Thus, what might have been a passable comedy with a subtly entertaining lead character, is, instead, virtually unwatchable.
The Beautiful Truth (2008)
Even if it -is- "propaganda", turnabout's fair play.
Does anyone really dispute that mainstream cancer treatments are a miserable failure for 99% of cancer types? Allopathic medicine was once was one of -many- choices for medical treatment in America. As they gained financial & political power, they launched into a campaign of bullying & lies to force other practitioners to go to -their- schools & do things -their- way, or have their practices marginalized, even destroyed. We've grown up in an America that's been brainwashed by the AMA into believing that allopathic medicine -is- medicine, & every other mode of treatment is somehow -not- medicine. The AMA, ADA, & ACS exist only for the perpetuation of their own increasing wealth, & as an army in the war against all other medical philosophies. Personally I believe the information in this film, but in any case, what would be wrong with a little propaganda in the fight against the AMA / ADA / CDC / ACS / FDA / Monsanto / Dupont / Bayer / Dow / Johnson&Johnson / Pfizer /Roche / GlaxoSmithKline / Novartis / Sanofi / AstraZeneca / Abbott / Merck / Lilly / Bristol-MyersSqibb / Alcoa conspiracy? They're the largest propaganda machine in world history!
Professor Richards Dawkins: Whose side is he really on?
Beginning at 1:30:00, Professor Richard Dawkins, (the most public of modern Darwin proponents), makes two very important statements: 1/No one knows how life started. 2/Life may have been seeded on earth by a previously existing, more advanced civilization. /// At this point, Stein loses the thread: He's won the argument for the possibility of intelligent design. Stein goes on to argue about God. WRONG! Intelligent design is not the argument for the existence of God, it's the argument for admitting that we don't know how life started, and thus must remain open to possibilities other than Darwinism. When Dawkins softened his "seeded" statement with assurances that the possible previous civilization would itself have developed via Darwinian evolution, THE NEXT QUESTION STEIN -SHOULD- ASK IS: "And how did life start for THAT civilization?" The answers of course, are: "no one knows", and "perhaps a seeding by a previously existing advanced civilization", all over again, and again, and again....
Transcendent Man (2009)
I hope he's right...
....but this whole film seems to be based on the foundation that every prediction Raymond Kurzweil has made so far has been correct, and that every invention he's created has been successful. I find this to be disingenuous at best. The handful of correct predictions presented as evidence merely serves to make me wonder : Did Kurzweil only make this small list of correct predictions, and shut up the rest of the time? Was his plethora of correct predictions so overwhelming that severe editing was required for brevity? I find this impossible to accept. If you want me to be impressed with your successes, Ray, you must admit your defeats. Kurzweil's claim that man's lifespan used to be 25 years is a blatant misuse of statistics. His claim of rapidly multiplying information ignores that much new information disproves old information. I'll stop now.
A sweet story, but a missed opportunity.
In suspended animation for what might have been 40 years: "Time is distorted,jumbled, telescoped accordioned, but there is a sens of time even so." Were the scientists who invented this means of suspended animation aware of the mind's circumstance? The thoughts of an intelligent, isolated man for 40yrs, (suspended or not), and their effect on him, could be investigated much more deeply than a mere forty-year romantic obsession. (Scientists could include a method of sleep- education, but even un-aided, the mind would be greatly altered.) The astronaut could conceivably come back as the most enlightened being the world has ever seen , or the most insane, or both.
the reality of the gold
In answer to the reviewer who questioned the wisdom of taking a "mere" million dollars of gold through time: The price of gold averaged $35.25 per ounce in 1961. On May 18, 2011, (today, one-half the one hundred years in the story), it's valued at $1492.60 per ounce, over forty-two and a third times as much: That million dollars of gold would now be worth $42,343,262,40. Too bad they couldn't sleep for fifty years instead of one hundred. Inflation across the board has been 6.5472. Thus the gold will purchase 6.647 times in 2011 what it would in 1961, $6,647,384.84 in purchasing power as these men would understand it. Let's put aside the twist ending in the story: The reality is inflation will only get worse, and gold will only get higher. If the next fifty years repeat the first fifty, this gold will have *fourteen*! times the purchasing power that it had in 1961,(and that was already plenty).
Witch Hunt (2008)
Who originally accused the parents? We have the right to face our accusers. Surely we aren't considering the children to be the accusers; they weren't brought in for questioning out of nowhere. Even if the accusers were (wrongly) granted anonymity, all bets should be off after their accusations have been proved maliciously false. Send -those- people to prison for 300 years. ( My God, don't tell me these charges were brought on the basis of anonymous phone calls!)/// OK, the existence of the children's medical records was denied, but why didn't the - defense- DEMAND medical examinations?/// How much ignorance, incompetence, collusion, deception, careerism, and presumption of guilt can we tolerate while these political hacks continue to claim that there was no evil intent. How evil does evil have to be before we call it by its name?
The first "it's only a dream" movie I've ever accepted.
Spoiler: When the totem-top keeps spinning at the end of the movie, are we really supposed to wonder if it's going to fall or spin infinitely, (reality if it falls, dream if it spins)? Please! : It spins a LONG time. It's another dream. IE:The beginning, thus the whole movie, may be a dream. There's not necessarily any such thing as shared dreaming, inception, nor any real character except for the lone dreamer, & he's invisible to us: Not necessarily bearing any resemblance to his conception of himself in the dream. Is the ending a return to the 1st level or a deeper level? (I think neither: Speaking for my own "dreams within dreams", I've never returned "back up" through the levels. Lighter levels of sleep perhaps as wakefulness approaches, but new dreams from beginning to end.) As a rule, this sort of thing bugs me: Suddenly telling me the characters I cared about a minute ago were never real is cheating. "The Red Jacket" & "Jacob's Ladder", (dreams of dying men, but dreams nonetheless), come to mind as otherwise potentially good movies that ended by saying:"never mind, nothing's real". Why doesn't "Inception" bug me in the same way? I'm not sure. Maybe because Nolan was willing to take the concept so far that caring about characters was a non-issue. (We were never even really asked to sympathize with the lead character's elaborately widowed status.) Maybe because the bulk of the film was already known to us as a dream, I feel no need to complain that the dream's still a dream. In any case, well done.
This Is It (2009)
Michael the dancer.
The imperfections of a rehearsal actually resulted in a more perfect presentation of Michael Jackson the dancer than we have ever seen on film or video. A major issue that'old-school' dance fans had with MJ,(and all modern popular dancers), was the isolation shots of the feet, (or any other body-part), speed-ups, slow-downs, and any other camera tricks that took away from real-time, camera 'pulled back', whole-body shots of the dance. Here, for the first time on film as an adult, is MJ in full-body, real-time, unaltered shots for extended dances. The good news is that MJ's up to the challenge: He may well have been moving better than ever, with an almost supernatural relaxation even when executing the crispest of moves, and independence/coordination only apparent when we can see the whole Michael in the shot.