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Awful, not even cheesy enough for some good laughs
From the outset, the main character is unsympathetic and leaping headlong into the depths of the misery of her own making. Through a series of bad decisions, she ends up getting her father and at least one other person killed, herself nearly crippled, suspended from the 911 call center, and stealing evidence. She pouts and binge-drinks her way through the first third of the movie, whenever something seems not to go her way. She appears to be emotionally stunted and in no way someone who would have passed the mental criteria that a police officer must meet. If the acting had been credible, hinting at some deep pain underlying her behavior, her actions might have garnered some sympathy. Unfortunately, she was played as being a "tough girl" with a vulnerable (read pouty and immature) side.
I don't really expect a lot from Lifetime movies. I do, however, expect a main character that I can empathize with, if that is what the viewer is intended to do. I wouldn't waste my time with this one and wish I could get the time back that I did invest in watching what I did.
Reisen til julestjernen (2012)
Wonderful, sweet movie
I really, really enjoyed this movie. As another reviewer said, it does not hit you over the head with Christmas themes. There are no flying reindeer or Christmas gifts and there is no Baby Jesus. But it does touch on wonderful Christmas traditions, such as the mistletoe and the lighting of the Christmas tree, as well as giving some insight about what Father Christmas knows and how he knows it. If I had any complaint at all it was that the story moved a little too quickly--it would have been way too easy for me to watch another 20 minutes or so, so that some areas could have been expanded upon. The villains were a bit one-dimensional, but as they were not crucial to the plot, I forgave that. All in all, a very enjoyable movie and one that I would be happy to add to my DVD collection if at all possible.
Comforting Skin (2011)
Self-absorbed, navel-gazing, porn.
Brave? Darkly beautiful? Um, no. Couldn't care less about the characters. Constant use of the F word does not make film edgy. I have to admit, I turned it on because Netflix selected it as something I'd watch--probably because I'm a horror fan and the whole "talking tattoo" thing. The main character writhing around with her fantasy lover was the final nail in the coffin for me. Even that would have been tolerable if I could have cared even a bit for the main character, a person who was never shown to have any redeeming qualities that the audience could identify with. If there had been even one character with redeeming qualities, it might have been worth sitting through, but it didn't. The movie consisted of nothing but laconic, boring, self-absorbed people obsessed with their sexuality. I wish that film-makers would remember that sex can be the moving force behind a drama without it being the focus of the movie.
A Dangerous Place (2012)
It just wasn't that good (may contain spoilers)
The movie should have been a good one. It had several story lines that could have been compelling: the sale of the company, the TB outbreak, the mystery thrillers. But while these stories would have been good paired in several movies, their use in a single movie mad for a disjointed movie whose action was too frenetic. It could have been a decent ghost story about a woman who lost her husband in the 9/11 attacks and who is "losing" her son and wants to sell her business from grief and stress. It could have been a story about a company that is going underwater and created a phony crisis in order to capitalize on a drug to which only they had a patent. It could have been a great "ticking clock" story that had an a woman infected by a disease created by the research for an unlicensed drug and she's running through the movie to save her distant son and her suspicious mother-in-law.
However, with so many story lines in a single movie, the pacing cannot help but be frenetic. Someone on the message boards pointed out that the scenes were short and disjointed, with each scene lasting about five seconds or less. The longest scenes take place when the main character is hiding in the office building cubicles and at the end, when she's under attack. As a result, the dialogue is rushed. Every character speaks at the same tempo and usually with an angry inflection. The dialogue was enough to give me a headache by the end of the movie.
Finally, the character development was poor. We were never allowed to develop any empathy for the main character, her mother-in-law, or her son. Even though they had suffered great loss, all we ever saw from them was anger and abusiveness toward each other. We never developed any empathy for the company employees, who were combative over the settlements their work superiors were going to receive. We never developed a clue as to why the person who poisoned everyone did what he did--his was just a typical villain monologue before he was overcome. At the end, it didn't matter to me who got their comeuppance, who lived, who died, or got rich. It's too bad, because the movie had a lot of unrealized potential.
Really, really awful
I genuinely liked 11/11/11 and, when this film came up as an option after watching the other movie on Netflix, I thought I'd give it a chance. That's 10 whole minutes of my life I will never get back. The entire period consisted of screaming, gross-out sfx, and random cursing. I cannot think of a single moment of character development--absolutely nothing that would make the viewer care about the foul-mouthed characters on the screen. I'm never impressed when a character's entire vocabulary consists of the "f-word," but some movies I'll give a chance despite it ("The Grey" springs to mind). There was nothing worth giving a chance here. Avoid it like the plague or don't say I didn't warn you.
The Amityville Horror (2005)
Horrible, nonsensical farce of a movie
This "retelling" of the Amityville Horror was a horror in and unto itself. It bears absolutely no resemblance to the original story, except for the names of a few of the characters (including the dog!) and that a family was killed before the events of the story. The producers could have set this travesty anywhere and maybe made a fair ghost story out of it, although the acting was pretty terrible, too. Instead they tried to draw viewers in with a familiar name and created something that would leave those same viewers disappointed.
MINOR SPOILERS! In addition to the terrible acting and the deviation from the original story, the inability of the writers to provide motivation for any actions in the story is evident from beginning to end. What mother in today's world grabs a name of a babysitter from a grocery store bulletin board and doesn't check references? Why is the mother so blind to everything going on at all? How could she not see George splitting the wood with her son *holding* that same wood (and except for the throw-away line of it being cold in the house, why is George splitting wood at all)? Other than his office being in the basement, why is George turning into such a rotten person? Why did whatever-it-was decide to lock the babysitter in the closet--was it really just for telling her stories? Bad, bad movie. I don't see how it got to having a rating over two, let alone having one at almost six.
It's Complicated (2009)
*meh* It wasn't horrible, but . . .
it wasn't romantic, it wasn't funny, and it didn't seem to have any redeeming qualities. Infidelity and pot smoking apparently have no consequences in this couple's world and people have a flat acceptance of outrageous situations that would result in emotional trauma outside the movie. I didn't choose to watch the movie this time and I certainly would not choose to watch it again. It's a shame. Normally I enjoy Meryl Streep, but her talents were wasted in this movie and, while I don't usually care to watch Steve Martin, I know he's more talented than he appears in this travesty of a movie. I also thought that the pot smoking scene went on way too long and felt that it added nothing to the plot or character development. 3 out of 10 is being generous, in my opinion.
Popcorn romp, good for a laugh
At first I was going to change the channel when this movie came on, but it was a SciFi Channel original flick that I hadn't seen before so I gave in to my curiosity.
When it comes to SciFi flicks, I always set the "degree of difficulty" score really low. That way whenever the film is halfway decent, I'm always pleasantly surprised. On the whole, this movie was a fine popcorn romp for people who enjoy their horror films with a campy flair and with villains that wield axes with cartoonish exaggeration. Mind, I'm saying that with the utmost of affection. I thought it was funny, however, that after reading that Willy the horse played three different parts I began to look for his appearances as if I were trying to find Hitchcock's appearance in one of his films. And he does, by the way: 1) a workhorse/cart horse in the beginning, 2) a riding horse in the middle, and 3) a carriage horse. Willy is awesome. He deserves a raise.
The acting in this film, as in most SciFi films, is not stellar. Most of the characters have pretty flat affect, which disturbed me a great deal. (Willy the horse, on the other hand, had a very emotive tail--even raising it to, well, you know, during a fight scene. The editor or director should be credited for cutting away quickly.) It was interesting that the soap actress had the most realistic emotions of all of the human actors. On the other hand, that isn't saying much.
Oh, and the flying angel affect when Jennifer's mother comes back to speak to her? Um. Yeah. I'm sure that somewhere a high school production of Peter Pan wants their equipment back.
Still, despite all of its faults, I couldn't hate Ghouls. I may or may not actually tune in when it comes on again, but not because it was the most awful film out of the box (I think that SciFi's pterodactyl and Rock Monster films--not to mention Mansquito and Sssssss! are worse), but simply because I had a hard time caring about what actually happened to the characters. The ending was a little unexpected and kind of fun, considering how many people get their comeuppance. To sum it up, if you don't expect too much of it, you might actually enjoy Ghouls.
The Grizzly Man Diaries (2008)
Celebrates a person with no grounding in reality
Timothy Treadwell had a fantasy about what nature was all about. He romanticized nature and came up with creative explanations for the bears' behavior. He made no studies, kept no notes, and attempted to interact with them like he would the family dog. When he saw Melissa and the other cubs eating the cub Rainbow, he romanticized the act with the explanation that Rainbow loved her mother and now sustained her mother as food. When the two cubs Emmy and Letterman *who he called "the tykes") appeared to be abandoned by their mother, he convinced himself that he taught them to fish. Treadwell was a sad and deluded man and his name should be allowed to mercifully slip into obscurity instead of being perpetuated. Not only did he do potentially do harm to the bears by letting them become acclimated to him, he also caused the death of himself and his girlfriend by becoming too familiar and careless with the bears and forgetting that he was in no way in control of these massive and ferocious wild animals.
The photography, however, was lovely. It would have been much nicer if it had been shot by a professional cinematographer on assignment with a legitimate study expedition, though, and Treadwell had not been speaking in his little girlie-girl voice throughout most of the footage. Too bad there's no zero score--this travesty deserves it.
Training Day (2001)
What was the point of this movie?
The viewer is supposed to believe that all of these events took place in a 24-hour period. If I believed that the cops in my area pulled that much stuff in one year then I would want to have them run out of town on a rail. Worse, we are not given any strong reasons for the characters doing what they did. It was like "let's make a dirty cop movie and throw in all of the ugliness that we can" and the plot went no further than that.
I kept waiting for something redeeming to happen in this movie and it never happened. It was an ugly, obscenity-laced piece of garbage that presented black cops in a negative stereotypical light. All it did was further the glamorized hip-hop gangsta lifestyle and pound another nail into some poor viewer's coffin. I usually like Denzel Washington, but in this film I felt ashamed for him. I originally gave it a four, but I'm changing it to a one, now that I've had the chance to think about it.