24 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Miami Vice: Contempt of Court (1987)
Season 4, Episode 1
Disappointing start to a lackluster season
23 June 2016
"Contempt of Court" for me was a disappointment. It was a harbinger of things to come in season 4, in that it became increasingly apparent that Miami Vice had been burning the candle at both ends and was just getting tired of itself.

A large portion of this episode simply deals with tedious courtroom procedural. All the things that had made Miami Vice great and a pop culture and critics darling were merely glimpsed at, and viewers were made to sit through many minutes of courtroom talk that rarely felt this much out of place on the show that was Miami Vice.

It is said that this episode was chosen as the season opener to start the season with a bang, since Crockett is sent to jail for not giving up an informant. Well, that was an intriguing premise the first time around in "Give a little, take a little" in season one, but it says a lot that the best shot they felt they had at drawing in viewers was a recycled season one story line.

Season three was a slight disappointment in that the lighter tone of seasons 1 and 2 was given up in favor of endlessly brooding, nihilistic story lines that spent more time offering social commentary than staying true to Vice's original premise. On the other hand, storytelling wise, it featured some of the greatest moments of TV film noir in the entire series.

But season 4 was when Miami Vice didn't just jump the shark, but as somebody has said, was also doing back flips and singing show tunes while doing it. Very probably, the producers would have just had to continue the winning formula of seasons 1 and 2 and perpetuate and evolve it very carefully, without most of the radical changes that this TV series saw repeatedly during its five-year run. But Instead, season three first of all alienated viewers who had been tuning in for the gorgeous light pastels and the portrayal of easy criminal living in the Sunshine State, and then season four came along and made it worse by sometimes appallingly poor storytelling, and story lines that would have been too daft even for the campest of its TV crime drama contemporaries. Miami Vice by that point had become a self-caricature of its own former glory, a flaky and incoherent pastiche of elements of its former popular success.

My verdict is: Don't watch "Contempt of Court". Don't watch season four at all, or anything that came after it. Watch the first two seasons for their captivating vibe and gripping story lines, and a careful selection of season three episodes to witness the zenith of Miami noir. That will still leave you with a body of some 50 very watchable episodes, without staring into the abyss of burnout and hapless self-reference that was Miami Vice's latter two seasons.
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Miami Vice (1984–1990)
A good TV show is of its time. A great TV show defines it.
31 May 2016
Love it or loathe it, ridicule it, or (like me) be a lifelong fan of "Miami Vice"... this is the show which defined the 80s like few other cultural phenomena of its time.

I am currently in the process of, well, binge-watching as they now call it, the five-season complete box set, from beginning to end. And I have to say that "Vice", even if you've seen practically every episode, is still always a time capsule of the good old days that is without comparison. Even after the tenth time that you've watched certain episodes, even if you've memorized most of the dialogues, you can't escape the pull of Miami Vice. It draws you in, into the world of 80s cool and chic, with all the clothes, cars, music, and (on- and off screen) high rollers of the day.

The 80s never looked this sleek, this glitzy and fancy before, and certainly never again. Many crime dramas and other types of TV fiction in the 80s deserve a rightful place in the chapter of pop culture that was the decade. From Magnum P.I. to the A Team, or even Dallas, even Dynasty by some measure. But none of them quite had what "Miami Vice" so groundbreakingly exploded onto TV screens with when it first aired in 1984. I wasn't even a teenager yet at the time, but I remember from watching the first few episodes (on a black and white 12-inch TV in my bedroom, no less) that this show was just in a class of its own. Even on a dinky black and white screen. Stunning scenery, a style of filming that was just unseen and unheard of on television, and actually, pretty terrific storytelling, although that is often considered a weak point of the show.

What's true enough is that the whole package began to come apart at the seams somewhere midway into season 3. Most TV shows have inevitably, and therefore forgivably used up most of their best story lines after the first few seasons and then gradually just stay in it to milk the franchise that has been created. But Miami Vice, once the greatest thing since color TV, really started taking a nosedive from that point. The gradual departure of the show's original personnel, including most unfortunately Michael Mann, was sorely felt. Initially, the darker, grittier feel of season 3 was not such a bad thing. Even in the absence of all the lightheartedness of seasons one and two, some episodes had quite outstanding story lines and were beautifully shot. And that even though a closed-cabin sports coupé like the Ferrari Testarossa never quite felt right as a replacement for a convertible like the Daytona... in tropical southern Florida.

Missing the point that viewers weren't turning away because of the earth tones used in the visuals of season three but by a deteriorating quality of the aforementioned whole package, season four saw a return to pastels, but a departure from everything else that had made the show such a success. Desperately attempting to regain its former splendor, season five wasn't all that bad, but on the bottom line, it was a different show done by different people. The saddest part was perhaps that production values were visibly cut back. From scrimpingly outfitted action scenes to scenes supposedly shot in third world countries but which just screamed Universal Studios back lot, and for which they didn't even, like before, bother sending a camera crew to some two-shed town in rural Florida anymore. A fate which similarly befell shows like Dallas in their latter years, by the way.

Saying that all this was Dick Wolf's fault for running the show into the ground when he took over creative control of Miami Vice would be looking back in anger. What is sad though is that quite likely, Miami Vice would have just had to stick with its self-invented formula from seasons one and two and could have perpetuated that "package" well into the 1990s, after all a decade during which hedonism and conspicuous and often illicit wealth only just began to go full throttle.

The bitter irony is that a show which had clothes fashion, as well as music, car, lifestyle an even gun and power boat fashions so deeply ingrained in its own DNA ultimately proved to be a fashion fad in and of itself.

Still, if you ask anybody what they remember most vividly about 80s culture, or what their image of 80s culture is, somewhere between the mention of (literally) brick sized cell phones, hedonistic yuppies, shoulder pads and hair metal, the words "Miami Vice" will come up as one of the defining moments of 80s pop culture. And that is something that can never be taken away. Not from the creators of the show, not from its actors, and certainly not from the fans who still worship 80s culture.
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Interstellar (2014)
In what universe is this a good movie??
10 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Honestly, I have no idea why other people, and everybody really, has been giving this movie such high ratings and rave reviews. To me, the entire film is poorly thought out, contrived drivel.

It starts with the beginning of the story, where Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) more or less by accident tries to break and enter into government property by applying a bolt cutter to the gate of the secret government complex where the mission is being planned, and is subsequently enlisted as the mission head pilot, of all things. I don't care if we're told that he used to be an Air Force pilot and apparently a notable one at that with old acquaintances in high places; that was a big letdown in storytelling, erm, right out the gate for me. Just too lazy for a film of its (attempted) magnitude.

With all the good reviews in mind, I thought I was at least going to be wowed by the rest of the film's plot and the imagery. Well, with the cheap availability (in film studio terms) of pretty much even the grandest CGI effects these days, there was nothing about the imagery that "Elysium", "Oblivion" and particularly "Gravity" haven't already done in recent times, and better, and the whole plot not only disappointed with half-hearted but self-indulgently attempted forays into philosophy and some semi-spooky abnormal phenomena, but also by its ignorance of some quite basic natural laws. While the idea of time dilation within the gravitational field of a black hole was actually somewhat well explained, you just scratch you head at 500-foot monster waves on the water planet which suddenly rush across a vast expanse of otherwise knee-deep water that looks about as agitated as a reflecting pool (think Tsunamis back here on Earth). Also, there is no such thing as a more gentle black hole which won't spaghettify you as you approach it and therefore kill you dead. The list of errors goes on far beyond this.

And finally, the last 20 minutes or so sucked worse than the black hole whose (imagined) innermost we get to see. It felt like a bad rehash on acid of the scene in the first "Matrix" sequel where Neo meets the Architect. A culmination of all the things that make the plot of this movie so dreadfully banal.

Again, like I said, I just can't understand why people would think that this is a good or even an outstanding movie. Yes, I know that this is a film which would like to get you to think more deeply about the issues it raises, and pick up on its whole philosophical angle. And I generally really like movies like that. But sorry, there are many films which have done a much better job at this, without falling flat on their face in the process.

Long story short, after close to three hours, I felt about as robbed of my time as Cooper when he watched the video transmissions of his ageing kids from back on Earth.
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Disappointingly unfunny.
17 March 2012
Having long been known as a somewhat peculiar character, even among all the other peculiar characters on British telly, Fielding and his entourage of writers and producers spared no cost in treating us to yet another permutation of his off-the-wall and sometimes outright bizarre sense of humour.

That is, if you can call it humour. "Luxury Comedy" never delivers what it promises. It may be luxurious in terms of visuals, and perhaps even the concomitant production values (although looks may be deceiving, in this age of fool-the-eye cgi effects). But the show drops the ball where it really matters, and fails dismally in terms of actual funny-ness. It's almost as if all the creative potential that was expended on bringing this programme to life went into the (admittedly lavish) artwork, and nobody thought to hire writers to come up with things that the odd person who isn't a die-hard Noel Fielding fan might honour with even so much as a chuckle.

If you've seen Noel Fielding as a guest on any comedy panel show, you know that he is actually a pretty funny guy, capable of ingeniously hilarious one-liners and ludicrously bizarre takes on just about any subject. It's a shame that almost none of this comedic potential has surfaced on "Luxury Comedy", and it makes the experience of watching it even more disappointing. Apparently Channel 4 have already commissioned a second season - here's hoping that it will finally live up to its own name.
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A forgotten gem, lots of potential for a remake
29 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Like some other reviewers here, I first watched this movie when I was young, in, say, about 1987. It fascinated and intrigued me and I found the whole premise to be very unique. There have been meager attempts at knock-offs since, but none of them have come quite close to this one. And then, a while ago, the film was back on television, and once again, I was spellbound.

Meet Peter Proud, a young college teacher who is haunted by visions in his dreams about, as it turns out, a previous life. One by one, he follows leads as to who and where he was then. Finally, he finds out that he lived in a picturesque New England town some 30 years ago. He travels there and manages to track down his "wife" from back then and his "daughter". At first, they have no clue who he is and what he came ("back") for, but his wife, an alcoholic who is still guilt-ridden about secretly murdering him back then, soon gets a pretty good idea when she realizes that Peter's mannerisms and his behavior are a spitting image of her dead husband's. As time goes by, he slips into a romantic relationship with his "daughter", and his visions slowly subside - except for the one in which he is killed by his wife during a night swim in a lake. Irony has it that while Peter goes for a swim in that same lake to get rid of his last and most terrifying vision, his "wife" follows him, cursing him for coming back - and kills him again.

While the movie displays some genuine 70s cheese (and I don't just mean the music) and some mildly wooden acting, it still has that fascinating premise which in my mind still makes it stand out as one of those almost forgotten "twilight-zoneish" B-movie gems of that era. There has been talk about a remake, and I would love to see an updated version. If whoever will produce that movie plays it smart, they will have plenty to work with.
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delightfully crappy
23 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Now here's a real gem of a second-rate B-movie slasher flick. Very "80s" by the way. Here's the story: Some kid's parents get whacked by an out of control, armed and dangerous Santa - while he is watching. Deeply traumatized, he is sent off to a Catholic orphanage where he becomes even more instilled with guilt and fear. Years later, his boss makes him wear a Santa outfit for Christmas. All hell breaks loose, and the kid goes on a gory killing spree around town. He chops off heads, impales a girl on a deer head's antlers in her living room (now there's a really creative way to kill somebody!), strangles a guy with a power cord.... I lost count somewhere along the way, but he sure kills a decent amount of people. All to get shot in the back at the end while trying to swing his axe at the orphanage's mother superior. Poor boy.

Let's see... cheesy special effects, wooden acting, pretentious storyline that tries to scream "I have a deeper meaning" but eventually falls flat on its face... not much there for you, unless you have a thing for good ol' 80s B-movie horror. Movies like this are a dime a dozen, but still, if you grab yourself a couple of beers, they're not so bad after all. I'll give it a five out of ten, but only if Santa is not coming after me with an axe this Christmas.
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Beauty Shop (2005)
Yet another unimaginative chick flick...
26 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
What was I thinking when I agreed to watch this movie with my girlfriend? She had read about it in some women's magazine and from then on she was dying to see it.

go figure....

So here's this movie about (black) female empowerment, a perfect world where men are either complete insensitive jerks or just this big hunk of a guy who with all his gratuitously displayed muscle can't even walk straight. No wait, there's more, did I mention the sissified, braided-hair, pro-female-agenda metrosexual who drinks his coffee from a china cup with his pinky spread apart?

To get one thing straight, I am neither misogynistic nor do I have issues with female empowerment, but this movie about a woman trying to get by in a supposedly still male-dominated world is almost insulting to any self-respecting man.

That said, let's move on to the few upsides of this movie. Mena Suvari and Alicia Silverstone, two of the hottest babes under the sun, together in one movie, and Mena Suvari's character getting a boob job... now there's something to enjoy for a guy. It's a shame Alicia Silverstone never really became that big a name. She definitely still has potential and has come a long, long way since the days of being the "Aerosmith chick" or the "Clueless" valley girl. Please please, movie executives, find it in your heart to give her more challenging roles! Mena Suvari is stunning as ever. She, too, has evolved far beyond the goody-goody girl of "American Pie" and "Sugar and Spice" and just looks fabulous. I think we'll be seeing a lot of her in the future.

Maybe it's because I'm a guy and "just don't get it" - but I can't see this movie rating anywhere above three points, despite very entertaining performances by Silverstone and Suvari. My apologies to the girl nation out there... or maybe not.

P.S.: When we were done watching the movie and after my gf sat through the rant I was giving her about how this movie distorts the image of the modern male, she just quipped "...but that's how men really are!" -- You'd better hope the verdict is still out on that.
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24 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
When I rented this DVD, I thought a movie that has Mila Kunis in it can never be bad, and that just seeing her would make up even for the cheesiest, most far-fetched plot. Boy was I wrong. This movie is complete nonsense and so extremely predictable and unexciting, it's painful to watch.

On the upside, it's not really Mila's fault. She's cute as always and doesn't disappoint - after all, she goes to great lengths to stick it out against an absurd script like this and do what she does best- playing the intense, demanding, border-lined, obnoxious next-door-girl type. Think of her as Jackie Burkhart from the 70's show on cocaine. Something is definitely wrong inside this girl's mind. She goes on a killing spree around the campus when she finds out that there are more promising contenders than her for the position of teacher's assistant at her college. That's the story in a nutshell.

The movie attempts some sort of twist at the end, like the classic "Bet you didn't see that one coming" -- but again, too predictable and too cliché. If it weren't for Mila Kunis (and man is she hot), I'd give it a 2.0, but it has my vote for 5 points.
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The Ring (2002)
didn't sleep too well for days after I watched it
15 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Thank God I now sleep tight again. This doesn't really happen to me much after scary movies, but boy did it happen with this one. As far as the scariness factor goes, this movie has it all. Creepy story about a dead girl's ghost seeking revenge, very disturbing special effects that make you want to crawl and hide under your blanket, split-second shock effects that will bring you close to cardiac arrest... and an overall mood that is very dark and eerie.

Never mind the plot holes that some reviewers here have pointed out, this film has already become a modern classic for its unique attempt to leave the beaten path and try something not substantially new, but innovative enough.

At least I'll never look the same again at white noise on a TV screen late at night.. who knows what's gonna come crawling out?'ll know what I mean once you've watched it. But be warned - the worst setting in which to enjoy this movie is home alone at night after a couple of beers. And I should know...
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It's been a long time...
4 June 2006
...since a film has actually moved me quite like this. I had read about half of Dalton Trumbo's original novel before seeing the film. The book is sort of difficult to read, but the movie is one big revelation. It may be because Dalton Trumbo wrote the screenplay for it and directed his own original brainchild that this film is so incredibly dense and gripping.

Much has been said about the plot and storyline, so I won't get on that here. The bottom line is, this movie is as original and authentic today as in 1971 when it was made (Vietnam war era, no less!), or even as in 1939 (at the eve of WW II!), the year the novel first appeared on bookshelves. A timeless classic if there ever was one, and a glowing testimony to the eternal insanity of war. Oftentimes subtle and subversive, its dialogs fully expose the madness of the whole concept of it. But it doesn't stop there, the film also examines the conflict between religion and war and the absurdity that ensues from justifying bloodshed through creed.

I could go on forever trying to explain here why this movie is such a masterpiece to me, but maybe it's enough to tell whoever will read this to go buy the DVD. Like I said, it's a timeless anti-war classic that's worth every cent.
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