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The Champions (2015)
What an incredible documentary
Neutrino and I watched the whole thing. Couldn't look away. Eye-opening, tender and sweet, smart -- it has it all. Great music, bringing variety and little tonal changes-of-pace.
Makes you want to have a shelter, or wish there was no need for one.
Pet stores should be required to show documentaries like this on a continuous loop. Selling a different message from the "buy a puppy" one.
The Champions are also the incredible people and families who helped rescue these dogs.
Hard to imagine the states and cities that ban pit bulls. One of the great injustices of our time.
If you can watch this movie and not shed a tear, or ten, then you in particular need to rescue a dog. As soon as possible.
A Life Ascending (2010)
I've not voted for this movie because I might be biased.
I worked in the Rogers Pass, drove through and shopped in Revelstoke, and was born and grew up in British Columbia.
This is the story of an alpiner. Swiss-born, transplanted to the wonderful snow and mountains of British Columbia.
A guide. With an engineer's level of thoroughness.
And snow. Lots and lots of snow.
Railways try for the lowest route through mountains. Still, the Rogers CP Rail camp got 10 feet of snow a year. I was the chief shoveler, otherwise known as a Signal Maintainer's helper. But I liked shoveling. It kept me warm when it was 40 below.
Where this family live, and guide, they seem to get two or three times as much snow.
Worth a watch, even if you don't love mountains. Or snow.
The credits have rolled. I return to my warmer world. Changed a bit.
The Summit (2012)
Emotion over reason
So-so documentary portrays events of 2008 on K2.
Things are getting crowded on mountain tops. We had the massive loss of life on Everest this year. And Krakauer's documented event on Everest. And 2008 on K2.
- Bad things happen when too many people hook onto a rope.
- Slow climbers slow all climbers.
- Dependency on ropes is similarly fatal, and attracts novice climbers.
Pity this documentary focuses on after events, instead of pointing out that (1) leaving too late in the day, with (2) too many climbers on the same route at the same time, and (3) mixing in novice teams, on a mountain as deadly, unpredictable and daunting as K2 is a recipe for disaster. Throw in a dash of summit fever -- people not knowing when to turn around and live to climb another day -- and you have K2 in 2008.
Noticeably absent from this documentary is the voice of Ed Viesturs -- perhaps the safest high altitude climber of them all.
For what it is worth, I would have appreciated the dramatization moments being labeled as such. Or be removed/replaced with voice-over of the people involved and still/video images of K2.
Neither a great nor an awful documentary, let's at least try to learn from it and other sources. That would be showing respect for those who have gone before us.
The Enemies of Reason (2007)
(1) dousing. A farmer neighbor, one of the most modest people I've ever known, used dousing to find running water.
The douser walked a field and, when they walked over flowing water, their douse dipped. If you kept walking, it dipped again. And both the depth and flow rate of the water could be determined. He also cited numerous examples of people who used dousing to select a water well site, drilled there, and got water.
Here the water was not flowing, not a stream or flow to be crossed. Here people, sacks of 135 pounds of water, were trying to find 2 or 3 pounds of static water.
As to the douse, our neighbor cut a switch, a branch from a fruit tree on our property. He then demonstrated and, before our eyes turned the switch into a living thing, as he walked over a covered part of a stream that flowed through our property.
The douse tugged at the ground, and bent to a tremendous degree.
The swinging Bar-B-Que tines used in this film could not pull downward, but only swing in a plane parallel to the water.
The farmer even showed us how relaxed was his hold of the switch. By the way, my father ran the Instrumentation dept. at B.C.I.T., and I'm a chemical engineer.
(2) readers. There are sensitive people, who can read others Edgar Casey is perhaps the most famous example. It is important to emphasize that he did not like doing it. And with good reason -- being sensitive to and picking up the thoughts of others is a "negative" thing to do, opens the door to obsession and is very draining.
(3) astrology may be rubbish, but that doesn't prove there are not cycles, just that Astrology is flawed.
(4) vaccines. Some STILL include mercury. And did you know the average child gets about 100 of them now vs the handful given to children fifty years ago. Check out the documentary "The Greater Good" for more on this.
Waiting for Lightning (2012)
OK, not many have comment here.
So probably only Danny's biggest fans have left comments.
Here is a comment from a Joe Average.
- lot of build up for a pretty lame stunt, frankly.
- Jackass guys do this kind of thing routinely.
- shows a lot of the negative side of skateboard culture.
- lot of skateboard breaking.
- sequence at end of movie, after the great wall stunt, is ultra drawn out and boring -- Matt Hoffman does this...in his back yard.
Who the heck am I? At age 56 I recently took up skateboarding.
I got a longboard and use it daily. So I am not just some random outsider who "doesn't get it".
Bottom line: overly slick at times (opening & closing credits), very drawn out "main stunt", easily beaten by YouTube videos. Disappointing.
Visually annoying, but the content is profound
The writer/director made a big mistake, in my books, by making almost every graphic annoyingly jerky. I get why he did this, but a big mistake. Anyway, on to the content.
Cell phone radiation could be (appears to be) the cause of colony collapse disorder, and many types of human disease.
We are now bombarded with one million times the microwave radiation of a few decades ago. The same type of radiation that cooks food in your microwave oven.
I first found this video on vimeo...
I'd recommend a watch. I wish it wasn't so visually annoying. It would be worth a re-edit/redo on the visuals, imo.
AFV, the Movie
Why is America's Funniest Videos so popular? It is people more clumsy than ourselves. People falling and things breaking. Makes us feel great about our own life. So we like it.
Which brings us to Fargo. A movie about goof offs. There isn't a bright bulb in the package. Doesn't that make us all so special then.
No. It makes Fargo a "good" movie, when it really isn't. We are told it is good, it gets a 4 star rating according to the cable guide, so we all do as we are told and go along with it.
In reality it is a tale of pathetic souls. It is rarely funny, dramatic or insightful. We never end up caring for any of the characters, and none of them go through an ark of progression.
It is, in short, pointless.
There are a number of Coen movies I like, but this certainly is not one of them.
To each their own and mine is elsewhere.
Robot & Frank (2012)
So much more than most
It is nice to read the other (few) comments. Each comment is different from the other. Just like this movie is so different from other movies.
The tone of this movie is a delight. The music is perfectly chosen. Frank L. could not be better, nor could Peter Sarsgaard's voice.
And this is the director's first movie?! Truly can not wait for his next creation.
It is the perfect complement to the river of "meh" that Hollywood forces out each year.
One for the ages. And for all ages. Literally.
Simply awesome, in such an understated way. Enjoy.
So bad, in a series that is so good
Difficult to know where to begin.
Most 90 minute episodes of Sherlock feel like they are 45 minutes long.
This one felt like three hours in a torture chamber.
Annoying flashbacks? Check.
Hyper simplistic storyline? Check.
Ghosts and goblins? You bet.
Everything a complete imbecile could hope to inject into his retina.
Just a little heads-up for those who have enjoyed Sherlock up to this point and would rather not be subjected to one of the worst things ever "made for TV" -- pass on this episode.
For those considering the series, by all means watch everything BUT this episode. Or watch this first and then immensely enjoy the other episodes.
Fat Head (2009)
I like Morgan Spurlock and I liked Super Size Me. I wasn't expecting to like Fat Head. I certainly didn't expect to agree with it.
Tom Naughton won me over. He makes a lot of good points. But first, let me say that there is no point in complaining about Tom's comedic style. Morgan has plenty of that as well. Let's judge both directors on their facts.
Fat Head brings up important points about how Super Size Me presented information (or neglected to do so). FH also rips the government, and rightly so.
Got me researching Glycemic Index/Load, backing up what I was taught as a child (Adelle Davis household).
Well done, Tom. A worthy effort.
Boys of Fall (2010)
Brings tears to a grown man's eyes
This movie having just 10 votes and no comments a year after its release is what is wrong with America.
The best coaching minds together in one place -- what more could you want?
The true shepherds of human potential. Jon Gruden, John Madden, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning talking about what made high school football great -- goose bump material.
Yet apparently few gave this movie a shot.
Few see the importance of coaches.
Few understand that leadership, work ethic, grit, determination, motivation, honesty, and true teamwork don't happen by chance. They aren't something you are born with. They can't be bought at Abercrombie & Fitch.
See this movie. Let it change your life. Then go thank a coach.
The Green Hornet (2011)
I frankly do not understand the 'plethora' of 1-star comments. This movie had it all. Comedy, story, action, effects. Even chemistry, but not between the usual characters. The thing is it is uncommon to have an action-comedy film that keeps the right balance, but the balancing act is carried off in this movie. This movie had the best of Batman-style movies. Casting was good, although my better half thought the female lead was miscast. I have watched it twice now and it is getting better with each viewing. Anyway, I am posting this to counter the lunacy of the 1-star comments. Normal people will not be disappointed. I'm buying a copy of this one.
Loving Lampposts (2010)
A step in the right direction
This documentary exposes a wide range of viewpoints.
It demonstrates the flaws in the "mercury vaccine cause autism" argument.
It shows how different families handle the every day reality of living with and empowering autistic people.
It considers the effect of environment, and diet.
Personally, I've got the most mileage from "Disconnected Kids".
I now have optimism that Autism and ASD can be eliminated in some cases and certainly improved in all cases.
We will all need to become experts in Autism, Asperger's and ASD.
This movie has helped.
Oliver Stone's America (2001)
Worth a listen
Few will stumble across OSA as it seems to only be part of The Oliver Stone Collection.
The Oliver Stone Collection is an exceptional value, by the way. 10 Special Edition versions for about $25 at Amazon.
Anyway, OSA is basically Oliver Stone talking for an hour plus. Occasionally he is asked questions but mostly he takes us where his thoughts naturally lead.
Unlike 90+% of directors, Oliver Stone knows how to make a useful point in a film. If you have listened to any of his commentaries you will already know this. OSA is an even more concentrated dose of Oliver, and it worked for me.
OSA rates a 3.5* out of 4*. Spring for The Collection -- more than worth it.
My first comment submission was ignored/discarded for some reason so this is a re-submitting.
Guilty, of over acting
I must have watched a different movie from the "10 out of 10ers". This movie is obnoxious, tedious, and ridiculous. The accents made it hard for kids to understand the characters. The shotgun blasts made it hard for me, a parent, to enjoy the supposed family-friendliness of this movie.
Above all, the relentless over-acted character conflicts are sickening. Guys, if you can't make a kids movie without this level of conflict, you need to start making Rambo 6 (or is it 7?) The graphic animations are inconsistent -- the rats look rat-like while the people look like the result of Tim Burton stylizing a Dick Dastardly cartoon.
Oh, we just lost one of the kids -- he found something better to do.
So what on Earth is all the hype about on this one? Of course with under 500 comments, it is easy to imagine that most of the comments here are paid to be here.
Avoid. Skip the rental even.
Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
Bruce, FX = Yes / Everything else = No
Casting was horrendous. Maggie Q scored high on the politically correct casting scale, and a zero on the scale that matters. Cliff Curtis is incapable of acting, yet was cast as a big boss -- painful. Ham hock has never done anything worth anything, and never will. The Mac guy sidekick thing didn't work worth at all this time round. The only plus was Bruce himself.
FX were as good as any blockbuster but what do you expect for a $100M budget movie? The computer stuff was unconvincing, as usual. Too bad it was all over this movie. Bruce is at his best in a more physical movie and this wasn't that, except for when he gets thrown around like a rag doll.
Dialogue was clichéd, plot nothing interesting, so basically it was hard to watch this movie without getting fidgety. This despite fairly decent editing.
The tie breaker comes down to the director. Incredibly, he is a first timer (or the next worst thing to it) which is pretty bizarre considering how important this franchise has been. He ain't up to the job here I'm afraid.
Not much to like here. Hope you didn't waste ten bucks at the cinema for this one. Five out of ten.
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
TBU is utter crap. Unbelievably stinky smelly garbage. An unfit sequel, just like the second was.
There is no excuse, reason or need for shaky cam. Maybe if we called it idiot cam it would just go away. Whatever we do "going forward", we are still left with two ruined movies.
The dialog is painful. Try it, try listening to people talking (or not talking like Bourne's latest love connection). A total lack of effort went into the stuff that people are supposed to expel from their mouths.
Bourne himself is some kind of super human being. He can fall 20 feet backward and get up, Terminator style, and continue on with his mission. If he is so omnipotent, how can his character progress? Oh, by pursuing his past. Right, that will be a hoot to watch.
The music is completely inappropriate and monotonous. Here's a clue stick: if you are looping the same stuff for most of the movie then yank all of it out and throw it in the trash. This is supposed to be a spy movie. You know, intrigue? Suspense? Well, if there was any of that, it could stand on its own without "suspense music". It reminded me of the stuff ESPN plays when they show basketball highlights -- absurd and harmful to the main task.
Damon is the only redeeming actor. In other words, given how horrendous the script is, he was the only one to somehow break free from its considerable suction.
This movie belongs in the IMDb Bottom 250 for its dialog and shaky cam. Vote it down, people. Then maybe the studio shills will stop stuffing the comments section.
1* out of 10*. Awful. About as awful as The Good Shepherd and The Departed. Matt, you need to choose some better scripts!
The TV Set (2006)
Very much worse than should be possible
Ah, another example of everything that is wrong with Hollywood. Garbage script gets "star treatment" and the go-ahead from the big kahunas. Next it is on to the marketing machine. The result? Why, two thumbs up of course!!! Let's put it this way: I picked up the phone and made an appointment with my dentist while watching this movie. One thing just reminded me of the other I guess.
Boring subject matter. Right up there with "Watching paint dry" and "Trading Spaces: They Hated It".
Fake characters. Too many swear words. Some movies choose their one magic F bomb with care; this one fires them out like farts from a teenager.
For David D. fans, save yourself an aneurism and fire up "House of D" again. Sigourney fans, you're on your own, I've never cared for her. Wait, what about "Working Girl"! Of course, there is a soccer game scene, but no fair asking for the final score. You'll just have to rush on over to Blockbuster to find out.
The Hole Story (2005)
Worked for me
"And thank you for supporting independent films." So starts the movie, and how appropriate.
In this age of "blockbusters" that turn out to be duds, comic book features that should have stayed comic books and humans injecting their foreheads with deadly poisons so they can continue to be considered "actors", modern movies are suffocating us with garbage.
What we need are more breaths of fresh air, more peaceful and serene imagery and less artificiality. "The Hole Story" delivers this, and more.
One of the delightful things about this movie is that it neatly avoids being stereotyped. Let's see: no overblown scenes between male and female leads = not a drama. No guns or ten gallon hats so it can't be a western. If there were action movie special effects I missed them. Yet the story is compelling.
Maybe it is a 'who dunnit'? If you've seen the movie you probably smiled at the idea. So then it must be a comedy! But it is mixed with tragedy, so that would make it a farce.
Nope, it is "just a documentary". That will actually engage instead of repulse you.
Great rental for those with functioning synapses.
As good as movies get
It has been quite a while since I saw The Efficiency Expert on VHS. I liked it at the time but it was so relatively unknown I couldn't get a copy from any library or video store despite years of trying. Then I happened across it in a DVD discount bin and snapped it up.
I think this movie started me down the road to further enjoyable Aussie film viewing, including The Dish. Like The Dish, this movie has a different pace (wildly different) than most North American movies -- a natural, delightful, unpretentious, genuine pace that no doubt had kept it from most people's tellys. Can't be watching anything to rational now, can we.
Well today was a third viewing and even better than the first two. This could be due to my political enjoyment of this movie. And how wonderful that George Orwell's name is dropped during the feature -- missed that the first time.
In an age where the iron fist is revealed more each day, it is incredibly important to take a moment to, er, smell the stock car races.
Get this movie. Support people who care.
Next Stop Wonderland (1998)
Half an hour in and bored stiff
Love that jerky camera work. Not.
Love the going nowhere story. Not.
Wait, does that leave anything? Nope.
Now to pad this review to the appropriate length...
This movie is currently rated 6.3 out of 10. Given that it is a 1 or 2 out of 10, that must mean that the votes higher than that are studio shill votes. Well done lads and lassies.
Seriously, what on Earth is to like here? It is filmed in the most amateurish way imaginable. There is no story, none. There is no character that we care about. Music is non existent or forgettable.
This movie is great for taking a shower to. Or to view while shredding a large number of credit card offers. Or while taking a long walk.
Save yourself the disappointment a rental will bring.
No stars out of 4.
I Am Sam (2001)
I Am Sam continues to work for me
It's been 6 years since I saw this movie in the theater and it continues to serve an important role in my life. "I Am Sam" is my people filter -- if you don't like this movie, I won't like you.
Sean Penn is a brilliant unconventional actor, perhaps a bit like Paul Newman (who quickly abandoned Hollywood) in that sense. I recall how the critics and IMDb commenters didn't much care for this movie when it came out (check out 2 of the first 5 comments). Astounding, frankly.
I think I enjoy the Beatles covers in this movie more than my "1" CD. My first awareness of Sarah McLaughlin was her cover of "Blackbird" in this movie and my wife today is a big SMc fan.
The story, always the most important part of a movie, is immediately familiar and relatively common. So once again we have to appreciate what a superb job of direction, production, acting, editing and general creativity went into this gem to cause it to rise so high above the average.
On the downside, of Hollywood not this movie, what frosted my socks the most was that Sean didn't win best actor for this, then won a token Oscar the following year for Mystic River -- a horrendous movie that never appears on TV and is fit only for torturing an Arpaio prison population. OK, I'll let that go, I promise.
Test this movie on yourself. If you don't care for it, try it again a year later -- you deserve at least two chances to become a better person.
Amazon sells this for well under $10. What are you waiting for?
The Insider (1999)
Boredom reigns supreme
This movie has a pencil-thin plot -- man builds a case against big tobacco. Whoop. At most, this movie should have been a short documentary.
Strangely enough, it gets the super star, super director treatment. And chokes on its own boredom.
Someone said it needed an editor. That would have brought the length down...to about 5 minutes.
Far and away the most interesting thing about this film is that critics loved it. If that doesn't tell you something about the rancidity of the movie industry, nothing will.
I defy anyone to watch this movie the whole way through without yawning. I also defy any fan of this movie to watch it more than once.
Sleep inducing. 3 hours spent on a 5 minute news story. What a waste.
The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
I don't get it
I'll give this a 3 out of 10 for trying to be an epic. The music that everyone raves about is, frankly, ordinary. Try a movie like Legends Of The Fall if you want truly great music.
As to war movies, The Patriot beats this movie by a factor of ten. For one thing, Mel Gibson's character is a suitable centerpiece whereas this movie lacks one.
Some of the scenes are truly bizarre. Have a look at that "tea in a field" scene in the first hour of the movie. Why on Earth were they in the middle of a field having tea? And why did the camera zoom back to show us this highly improbable location? This "Director's Expanded Edition" DVD has a bunch of stuff removed from it (according to other comments). This is a major drawback, and goes against the name (Director's EXPANDED Edition), yet 19 of the 20 most recent comments give this movie nothing less than an 8 out of 10. Most give it 10 out of 10. This DEE DVD has no commentary, no extras of any kind. Why? Because this is one very ordinary movie, people.
Some poor movies are sleep inducing, others simply fail to draw the viewers in. This movie is in the latter category -- without merits, frankly. The only reasons I can think of for the high votes are (1) the usual ballot stuffing by studio shills, (2) those who love blood and guts movies and enjoy seeing realistic scalping scenes.
Michael Mann makes great, and awful, movies. I've got the Special Edition of Heat and like it a great deal, but both The Insider and Collateral were immensely awful.
No reason to see this movie. Rent something like The Prestige or The Guardian instead.
Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
Super script, cast, direction and use of FX = success
Will Ferrell's star continues to rise. Emma and Dustin perform as brilliantly as ever. Maggie G is wonderful and a great contrast to Will's character.
The FX, most visible at the start of the movie, are tasteful -- helping us through the credits, having a purpose, then disappearing for most of the movie.
The biggest praise should be heaped on the script. Original, and very humorous. The ending was excellent as well.
Will does great in a straight part. Hoffman's coffee antics were excellent. Emma did a great 'haggard'. And an honorable mention to Emma's 'apartment' -- Solzhenitsyn would be right at home.
It all works. See it, own it. **** out of ****.