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Hancock (2008)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
I liked this superhero movie., 13 June 2009

I didn't see this one for awhile as the reviews seemed to hint that it was intended as a comedy and that it somehow fell short.

When I saw it I realized that it was a good fresh-from-scratch (as far as I know) superhero story. Sure, there was humor to the plot that was introduced (a down-and-out type with Superman-ish powers and an image problem because he keeps screwing up) but I thought the character development was decent for a quick new superhero story, and I also liked the love story element. The hero's weakness was I thought a "good" one (it made me think a bit), and the love story aspect to the movie was something that worked OK I thought.

There were values championed here that I didn't entirely agree with. The whole generic off-the-shelf anti-profit save-the-world-through-charity theme didn't seem to find enough contrast, I thought, though there was maybe a "tiny" bit. Still, some of us are accustomed at this point to having to overlook that sort of theme in order to find the elements of a story to like and I'm not sure Hollywood writers allow themselves to do many superhero stories that don't have this sort of theme hardwired into the plot whether we like it or not.

What they didn't seem to have here was years and decades of comic books upon which to rely for their plot and villain and story-line development and so the movie may seem a bit more sparse than one of the big DC or Marvel Comics or other comic-book-based superhero movies, but I was very good with it, and while it may help really fill up the screen for 2 hours if you are doing a movie about 10-70 years' worth of comics, I suppose it might also weigh it down.

I liked Charlize Theron. I'm not sure if it was her role, her look, her acting or the chemistry with the other actors or all four.

I give it 8 stars, and would look forward to another installment if Smith and Theron really honestly wanted to do it (i.e.: if it came across as not being just about the money of a part II). I mention further development in part because I thought the basic aspects and powers and weaknesses of the superhero they created were "not bad at all" and so there could be other story possibilities.

Mastergate (1992) (TV)
6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Excellent Satire Of Washington Government, Written For The Stage, Made For TV, Apparently Not Available (As Of This Writing) on DVD or VHS, 10 October 2006

Oct. 10 2006

It has been many years since I saw this on TV, but I remember liking it, and wish to recommend it as best I can to my fellow readers.

This recommendation is compounded by the fact that it is not available anywhere, except I think sometimes it is performed as a play, which I think is its original form (I have not seen or read the play).

Writer Larry Gelbart's mastery of quick language humor is evident and recognizable from his role as a (writer/"creator"?) of the TV Show Mash (though he did not originate the book upon which the Movie Mash and the TV Show were based). Mastergate is a Stage Play where the author had a chance to sit down and pack it full of good writing, and so perhaps that is why it comes across that, in terms of the jokes and mood, it is sort of like watching a Mash episode where the writers had a chance to pack it full of more good quick language-joke ideas than usual. And perhaps when a writer finds particularly fertile territory, they get in a groove.

For me, when I saw it (on HBO or some such?) years ago, it wasn't so much a belly laugh as a very amusing and intelligent satire of the Iran-Contra hearings, and that type of Washington Boondogle. The acting includes good performances by James Coburn (as the Oliver North type character if I recall), Mash vet David Ogden Stiers, and Ed Begley, Jr.

I wish there were a place on the internet where we could communicate to executives in the Movie Business when we think there is a movie some of us would like to see and where we think they are missing out on sales. As yet, when we participate on websites that seem to take our wish-listing of a film, that does not seem to translate into the idea "registering" with film industry executives that they might be missing out on on sales. I would say that Mastergate is a Made-For-TV tape that I would pay a standard DVD price to see again, if there were a place to get it.

28 out of 29 people found the following review useful:
A subtle and intricate film, 6 July 2004

I don't like "grade inflation" but I just had to give this a 10. I can't think of anything I didn't like about it. I saw it last night and woke up today thinking about it. I'm sure that the Hollywood remake that someone told me about, with J Lo and Richard Gear, will be excellent, but this original Japanese version from 1996 was so emotional and thought-provoking for me that I am hard-pressed to think of any way that it could be improved, or its setting changed to a different culture.

A story I found worth watching, and with o fist-fight scenes or guns going off or anything of the sort! Imagine that!

All the characters seemed well-developed, ... even non-primary characters had good character-development and enjoyable acting, and the casting seemed very appropriate.

It's always hard to find a good movie-musical in our day and age, and perhaps this doesn't quite qualify (there is plenty of learning how to dance, but no singing) but I really think that Gene Kelly and others who championed a place for dance in our lives would have thought so very highly of this film and the role of dance in helping to tell a story about a middle aged man, successful with a family in Japan, looking for something... he knows not precisely what.

To the team of people in Japan who contributed to this film, thank you for creating and doing it.