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Bridge of Spies (2015)
History written with excellence
History comes alive with Bridge of Spies. Mark Rylance is excellently cast as Rudolph Able, by all appearances, a kindly man who just wishes to be alone with his paint set. Appearances are deceiving, as we learn he is actually a Russian spy. Playing out as a secondary story, we watch as Francis Gary Powers is selected to fly a US plane in order to gather intelligence on Russia. Given a poison to take should he be captured, Powers realizes how dangerous a mission he was about to undertake.
James Donovan is charged with the task of providing Able a suitable defense, not unlike John Adams had been called to do nearly two hundred years before with the Red Coats who fired into the crowd at Boston. Donovan loses in court, but is able to spare Able's life, citing that killing him would only incite hostilities against the US by Russia.
Powers' mission is a failure as he is shot down, and tortured by the Russians. To add to the events, the Berlin Wall is going up in Germany, causing strife in that country as well. Fredric Pryor, an American college student studying abroad, is taken prisoner. Sent under orders to do an even change, Able for Powers, Donovan doesn't like the idea of leaving an American behind.
To the dismay of the US Government, Donovan begins to set negations to get both Pryor and Powers, telling the Russians that they won't get Able if the US doesn't get both of their citizens back. The drama intensifies as it appears Germany may balk at the suggestion of giving up Pryor.
The events come to ahead on a snowy bridge, as Able and Powers stand on opposite sides of the bridge, not knowing if they would step foot on the homeland again. At the last second, the Germans show up at Checkpoint Charlie with Pryor, and the exchange is made, and Donovan is happy with his success, yet worried about Able's fate, as the two have become friends amongst the madness of world politics.
The brisk pace of the movie, as well as the engaging characters make this a must see movie. Alan Alda proves he still has it, even though he appears briefly in the film. Both Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance both forth such amazing performances, that both should be considered Oscar worthy.
It's next to impossible to make a suspenseful film about a historical event of which you already know the outcome. Yet Spielberg is able to do just that. This is a true must see film! 10 out of 10.
Funny send up the Warriors is a home run
While the living conditions at the Springfield Retirement Castle are a part of the story, the best is the parody of the cult classic movie "Warriors. Bart is wrongly accused of attacking the leader of the Bullies, leaving him, Nelson, Jimbo, Kearny, and Dolph to make it back to their home turf. As in the movie, Bart and the boys encounter many themed bully gangs, including the Furries. In order to save his friends, Nelson sacrifices himself, flinging himself at the lone standing furry and they roll down the hill, and out of view. Bart and the crew trudge home.
There they encounter the main bully that set him up, Luther. Bart and friends are out numbered until Homer and Grandpa Simpson ride in and save the day.
The show does well to parody Warriors, exchanging the violence for some really good laughs. The story and jokes are proof that The Simpsons still have a lot of life left, and the writers can still come out with some good plots.
Somewhere in Georgia (1917)
Terrible early baseball fluff
Often cited as the worst baseball movie ever made, time hasn't exactly been kind. Noted only for Ty Cobb's appearance as the film's hero, the movie suffered badly from choppy editing, and a terrible plot.
The film is a about a baseball player (Cobb) who is a star. He's approached by gamblers about throwing a few games. When he declines, the gamblers kidnap and hold hims hostage. They bet large sums of money that Cobb's team will lose.
He manages to escape, and rides to the game on a donkey (yeah, you read that right) in order to get into the line up in the ninth inning, and save the day for his team.
Hard to watch, with a plot that had to seem silly, even in it's time.
The Simpsons: Sky Police (2015)
I have to say I was impressed with Sky Police. The writers managed to get more mileage out of the destroy the church gag. Last time it was Homer and an off course rocket that destroyed the church, which led to Mr. Burns buying the church, and changing it, which in turn, led to Lisa adopting Buddism as her religion. There was also the time Homer was injured on Church property, and won the church itself in the settlement.
Chief Wiggum receives a jet pack was had been destined for Clancey Wiggins, a military officer. We quickly get a funny montage of Wiggum singing Sky Police (Which includes a terrible fate suffered by two spray painting punks) until Clancey Wiggins arrives to claim his jet pack. Wiggum tries to escape, but events lead to the unmanned jet pack crashing into the church.
What happens next is a plan to recoup the money by card counting at the local casino. Thanks to help from Apu, Marge, Rev. Lovejoy and his wife Helen, along with Ned Flanders and Skinner's mom take the casino for as much as they can, returning at times dressed in various outfits.
This leads to one of the best gags of the show, when Marge arrives at Rev. Lovejoy's house to get the money back. The pit boss has taken Homer hostage until the money is returned. Marge is shocked to see Rev. Lovejoy still dressed in one out the outfits. He explains that role playing has added zest to his and Helen's love life. Helen, hearing Marge's voice, replies that if there is a woman at the door, that Rev. Lovejoy should bring her inside, implying that she is looking to have a swinging three way bisexual experience. Marge escapes from the Lovejoy love nest, and goes to the Casino. The Pit boss agrees to let Homer go, and Homer goes on a rant on how Card Counting isn't really against the rules.
Without a doubt this was a return to the envelope pushing that the show had been known for in the past. And yes they do overlook Marge's previous addiction to gambling that still doesn't take away from the humorous story.
M*A*S*H: The Billfold Syndrome (1978)
One of the best shows of the entire series, bar none
Without a doubt, this is one of the best episodes in the entire run. The story is acting with amazing brilliance, and Kevin Geer does an outstanding job as the ill-fated Sergeant Nielson.
In the subplot, Charles is upset that his post in Korea as port of the M*A*S*H unit has resulted in him missing a dream job in the states. During this time we are introduced to a fresh faced, yet seasoned Sergeant Jerry Nielson. Nielson is very much like Radar. On the outside, he seems like a miscast kid in a war who is able to handle things with such skill, you can only marvel. This is n display as Hawkeye compliments Nielson on the way the wounded have been bandaged and cared for. During a scene in the OR, Nielson admits that he wanted to be a doctor, but had to take care of his mother and younger brother.
Charles, the victim of a prank telegraph, vows to never to speak to anyone in camp again. The 4077 is again overrun with wounded. Neilson returns with the wounds, but Hawkeye and BJ realize via the poor job bandaging, that something is amiss. They soon learn that Neilson has zero memory of who he is.
Dr. Freedman is recruited to help, and gets BJ and Hawkeye to agree to react elements that may have led to Neilson losing his memory.
What occurs next is one of the most dramatic, engaging, and possibly tear jerking scene through the show's entire run. As BJ and Hawkeye react the sounds of bombs falling, and the voices of Neislon's comrades, that make a startling discovery to what led Neilson to lose his memory. Neilson had discovered the body of his brother, dead in a fox hole. As Neilson comments about his promise to look after him, because he's the oldest, Hawkeye grimly comments "Not that too!", giving the viewer an insight to the fragile existence of Neilson's family life.
Once the session is over, Freedman brings Neilson out of his hypnotic state. After realizing what happened, emotions overwhelm Neislon, and he leans forward, crying on Freedman's shoulder.
There have been many one and done characters through the shows run, but Jerry Neilson remains one of the most memorable. The story here is well told, and the viewer should a box of Kleenex handy for the pay off of the tale of Jerry Neilson.
One the most engaging documentaries of all time.
This was more than a documentary, it's many things on many different levels. It's about keeping a dream alive, it's about coming to terms with a friends death. It's about forging on when others tell you to quit, it's about the loyalties of the fans.
The film features posthumous comments from the late Kevin Dubrow, and it examines the close bond that he and Frankie Banali had. The seeds to Quiet Riot to tour again where sown, until Dubrow's unexpected death. After first saying that Quiet Riot will cease to exist, Frankie decides to resurrect the band, to keep Kevin's spirit alive.
After auditioning several hopefuls, the band settles on Mark Huff, a former lead singer from a band that never went anywhere. And while Mark's stay in the band starts off promising, it quickly nosedives into oblivion, as Huff routinely gets lost on stages, or forgets the lyrics to such well known songs like "Bang Your Head". The band quickly decides Huff is not the right guy, and he's fired from the band.
What's left is some soul searching from Frankie, we he is forced to not under come to terms with the possible demise of the band, but his anger issues with Kevin over his death. In one of the most emotional scenes of the movie, Frankie visits Kevin's grave, and is finally about to let go of the emotions that he'd been bottling up.
The band meets Scott, a professional singer who auditions for the band, and to everyone's amazement, is able to hit the high notes like Kevin. The band has several successful shows, and the future of Quiet Riot is bright. Though it's not explained why, Scott exits the band, and is replaced by Jizzy Pearl.
There are some comedic moments, such as Chuck Wright getting into a disagreement with a fan who doesn't believe Chuck when he tells him that he played bass on a few tracks of the album Metal Health. Chuck is the source of one the humorist themes as they poke fun at all of the times Chuck has joined and left the band.
Another memorable moment comes when a fan enters the sound check, and meets Frankie. After their conversation, Frankie gives the young fan both of his drum sticks, and promises him a meet and greet with the band after the show.
All and all, this is truly one of the better documentaries in a long time, and I highly recommend it.
The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2006)
Lennon was one of a kind.
There is a line in the movie from a former FBI agent. He said "If Lennon had just kept his mouth shut, and made his music, there never would have been a problem." And there is the fundamental issue. Here was John Lennon, who had fame and fortune as a member of the Beatles. Does he continue to write disposable pop tunes, or does he use song to uncover some of the injustice in the world? Thankfully for us, he chose the later.
John Lennon used his platform for the greatest good. He gave a voice to those who were shunned. He allowed Bobby Seale of the Black Panthers to have his say, and refute how the news media had portrayed him. Lennon was a man of peace, which made him a threat to men like Richard Nixon, who dedicated their lives to war.
The film goes into great depth Lennon and his views, as well as the infamous fight by the Nixon Administration to deport Lennon as an "undesirable alien" simply because he spoke out. The film features interviews with both Yoko and the attorney who fought the deportation and won.
The documentary focuses heavily on his activism, and reveals many details not generally known, even to the most hard core fans. The film makes great use of home movies and news clips as well.
One of the strongest uses of news clips comes at the end. The public display that went on for John Lennon was unmatched by anyone up to or since then. The raw emotions of the fans gathered for the tribute to him was grim, it was real, and it brought home how beloved John Lennon was to a people tired of war.
John Lennon isn't simply portrayed as a musician turned social activist. He's not portrayed as a superhero either. He's portrayed as a man who looked upon the world, and asked why. Why must there be so much death and destruction? And looking at the state of affairs in the world now, we really could use John Lennon.
The Hangover Part III (2013)
If you ever want a blue print for killing off a series
It's hard to fathom why this ever got green lighted. Even though The Hangover II wasn't as good as the first, it still had its charm. Stu hooking up with the transsexual stripper was truly one of the highlights of that movie.
Hangover III offers no highlights. The humor was cruel and crude below any level of laughter. Ken Jeong's Mr. Chow is pretty much the highlight of the movie, even if some of the humor seemed force and stupid on a Police Academy level. Alan always had a stupid Homer Simpson charm. In this one, he's pretty much an unlikable jerk. He lost that childlike persona that made him so likable in the first 2. Not even the return of Mike Epps as "Black Doug" saves this clunker.
The film starts off badly with the death of Alan's father, which was a terrible plot device for the film. Maybe having Sid pay Stu, Doug and Phil to take Alan and try to find him a woman would have been a better choice, if clichéd. Sid's the lucky one, he gets to drop dead and not live though this mess.
John Goodman is wasted as the main villain in the movie. Melissa McCarthy as Cassie is perhaps the most unlikable character in a film since Jar Jar Binks. To have Alan fall for her not only derailed the film off the cliff, but made zero sense. It seemed like they were forced together.
The Hangover series limped out to the back, and like Old Yeller, it was put out of its misery. Or was it put out of our misery. The only way The Hangover IV could ever be made is if the directors decided that this was all a drunken stupor dream by Alan at Mr. Chow's wedding.
I'd go more into detail about some of the funnier jokes, but outside the bit with Mr. Chow and Stu in Gangster Goodman's house, I really can't remember any, and indictment on the writers more than the viewer like me.
Over all, it's best to ignore The Hangover III like it never happened. Just stick with the first two, and treat the Hangover II like it was the final movie in the series.
However, if you seek a blueprint on how to truly kill off a movie series beyond all possible repair, please, watch The Hangover III till your hearts content. The rest of us will blissfully ignore it as if it never happened, sort of like a really bad date or job interview.
Alien Nation (1988)
New twist on buddy-cop film excels on all levels
This movie manages to marry several genres; Sci-Fi, buddy-cop films, and even has a blend of comedy and social commentary to it as well.
When the film starts off, we are introduced to a new race of beings whose ship has crashed on Earth. These beings were originally bred as slave labor. Once on Earth, the find new worlds opened to them they never imagined, and they also find the ugly side of bigotry from the humans.
So they begin to adapt to everything in the new world. From displaying intellectual strength, to falling victim to some of mankind's worse vices. And that is where this story comes into play.
Matt Sykes is a grizzled, jaded police Sargent played to perfection by James Caan. He's estranged from his daughter, despite her efforts to mend their relationship. He's also not a fan of the newcomers, often referring to them as "slags". One night, he long time partner on the force is killed in a shoot out by one of the new comers. Ordered not to investigate the crime, but looking for justice, Sykes plots away.
He agrees to team with Sam "George" Francsico (Mandy Patinkin), a police officer promoted to Sargent as part of a new policy implemented by the mayor. Sykes uses a partnership with George to investigate the death of his long time friend and partner.
Soon, he realizes he in for more than he bargained for as a seeking of revenge as turned into a fight against an illicit drug that if put on the streets, could make the newcomers slaves all over again. The man at the head of this crime wave, the same one that played a role in the death of Sykes partner, is newcomer William Harcourt, played by Terrence Stamp. Stamp plays a role just as evil as his classic General Zod from Superman II.
The issue is that Harcourt is a man held in high regard by Los Angeles society and powerful. He's won several awards for his charitable work. Now it's up to Sykes and Francsico to expose Harcourt for what he really is.
The climax of the film is a well staged and intense fight that takes place on a boat. Sykes dispatches Harcourt by shoving him into the water, seeing how the newcomers' bodies react fatally to salt water.
This was clearly one of the best sci-fi movies of the 80's and perhaps, one of the best all-time. It gives a flawed hero in Sykes who manages to overcome his own bigotry and forges a new friendship with his new partner, and friend, Francisco. The movie spawned a short lived TV series that become a cult classic.
I highly recommend this movie to any serious movie fan, because this film is so well crafted, it has appeal that reaches beyond any specified genre.
A Football Life: Jerry Smith (2014)
A life that should be known by all.
This episode of the NFL Network on going series focused on the life and playing career of Jerry Smith.
Smith was a star tight end for the Washington Redskins from the late 60's and into the 70's. The documentary tells the secret life Smith hid from many. Jerry Smith was a gay man in the NFL at a time when an openly gay player would not be warmly welcomed. The documentary focuses on Smith's life, his struggle to hide his secret life, and the ultimate price he would pay. Dave Kopay, who was a one time teammate of Smith's and the first NFL player to "come out of the closet", is interviewed. Kopay expands well on the friendship he had with Smith.
The show also focuses on Smith's life post career, and his continued struggles. Sadly, Smith would become the first American athlete to contract and die from the AIDS virus.
This gripping and tear-jerker stands out as well of the most emotional shows of the series. In the A Football Life extra. which aired after the show, two of Smith's former teammates are interviewed. Calvin Hill, and Brig Owens. Owens stated in no uncertain terms that if Jerry Smith had been a heterosexual man, he would have already been enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It's not often that one can write a review of any special involving the NFL, and use the term "tear jerker." This well produced documentary will tug at your heart, and give you plenty to think about.
Intergalactic Swingers (2013)
Erotic b movie fun
I the chance to check this movie out and have to see I was entertained. The plot is borrowed and the special effects are quite decent for a movie in this genre.
The plot involves two aliens (Christie Stevens & Krissy Lynn) trying to find a new planet for their species to harvest. They end up helping a scientist in blowing up an asteroid heading to Earth.
Both Stevens and Lynn give credible performances, both acting and in their sexual performances. Erika Jordan is also pretty good in this movie, though she seemed bored in her sexual scene with Ryan Driller. Jordan clearly prefers women, and that becomes clear during her lesbian encounter with Stevens, and later during a steamy three way between her, Stevens, and her other boyfriend. Lynn has a steamy encounter with Sophia Bella that is one of the best I've ever seen in a soft core film like this.
Overall, if you are a fan of the soft core direct to video movies like this, you won't be disappointed. It has a fine cast, acceptable acting, and decent special effects.
The Wild Rebels (1967)
Plan 9 of biker films
Let say, thank you to MST3K for getting me into this movie.
After years of searching I was finally able to locate a compilation DVD that had this film on it. I wanted to see the original version.
What I got was a movie that was so bad it's good, entertaining in a Plan 9 from Outer Space sort of way.
After wrecking his car during a race, Rod decides he's had enough, and is going to retire, and just enjoy life. He winds up in Florida at a go-go club. He carries his trusty guitar with him everywhere he goes. While at this bar, he is noticed by a group of outlaw bikers from a gang called Satan's Angels. One of them recognizes Rod from his race days, and a plan is hatched. They are going to hire him as their driver for a series of robberies. After Rod performs with the band, The Birdwatchers, a terrible Monkees clone band, that is playing at the club, they make they move. The use the seductive skills of Linda, (Bobbie Byers, a sexy woman that could charm anyone) who happens to be the girlfriend of the leader of the gang, Jeter.
Somehow, Rod ends up being followed by the Florida state police, and is used by them to infiltrate the gang to bring the them to justice. The film climaxes with a gun fight at a Lighthouse.
Yes, there are plenty of gaffs and continuity errors. You'll see a few scenes that are supposed to take place at night, but clearly take place later in the afternoon. You'll see guitars disappear and re-appear, People who seems to wear the same clothes everyday, despite this film's plot unfolding over several months. and you'll see plenty of vehicles that catch fire for no real reason.
The dialog is pretty bad, even worse then Plan 9, because even the actors seem like they are having a hard time saying them without laughing. Steve Alamio simply is a horrible actor, mediocre singer, and a terrible choice for the film's hero.
Add all of that up, and you have the perfect so bad it's good entertaining b movie that is perfect for a day when nothing good is on cable, and by judging of the play list for the premium channels as of late, that's a lot of days. I highly recommend this movie for all lovers of b-movies!
Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
Bad movie lives up to legend
From the opening, where we told about people testifying about future events that haven't happened, to some of the worst set designs ever, Plan 9 From outer Space lives up to the legend of it being one of the worst movies ever.
And this is where the movie is actually okay, if the plot could be co-herent. The plot, if one could call it that is about a race of aliens looking to invade Earth using an army of the dead, which can be controlled by Electro guns.
There are several cases of night turning into day, and day into night, and a scene where a police officer scratches his head with a loaded gun. This all in addition to severe overuse of stock footage to advance the plot.
That all being said, Plan 9 is not with out charm. It is the perfect b level low budget film. It is entertaining, funny in spots where its not supposed to be, and filled with enough over the top scene chewing acting, It really is a so bad it's good style movie.
However, I don't think that Ed Wood should still have the honor of being the worst director of all time. At least, not while Michael Bay is still making movies
J. Edgar (2011)
Eastwood misfires with the bio pic
I'm not really sure where to begin.
I could start with the consistent jumping back and forth in time. It happens at such a pace you can't tell when is the "present day" and when is the past. The script is rather tepid and poorly delivered. The set design is drab, and the consistent poor lighting is also a distraction.
One of the main sticking issues is..does Eastwood want to paint Hoover as a hero? Does he want to paint him as a gay man trying to lead a secret public life? Do we Pity J.Edgar? Should we despise him? When the film drags on and on, not really going anywhere, you find yourself not caring at all about one of the most controversial figures in modern American Times. And when the time comes for J.Edgar to pass away, the film treats it with a "hey look, he's dead" attitude.
I enjoy bi-op films, but this just really dragged on, like the dentist appointment from hell. Even if you are a die-hard fan of anyone in this movie, or of Eastwood's films, avoid this one as if it didn't exist.
Funny buddy film with a twist.
It is hard to figure out where to start as to why this film works on so many levels.
The movie opens as a young girl witnesses an UFO crash on her front lawn, in the process, squishing her dog Paul to death. We next catch up with Graeme (Simon Pegg) and Clive (Nick Frost) as two sci-fi fans who've come to America on holiday. After a less then friendly meeting with their idol, a writer named Adam Shawdowchild, the two friends begin to check out the many sights, running into some unfriendly hillbillies along the way. While trying to escape them, they witness a car crash. The driver is an alien named Paul, trying to get to a point where he is to meet the mother ship.
What happens is a buddy road trip film where Paul becomes friends with Clive, Graeme, and Ruth (Kristen Wiig, along for the ride after she and Paul get into an argument over the existence of God).
Throw in FBI Agents (Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, and Joe lo Truglio) on Paul's trial, and a very bad government agent (played with zest by Sigourney Weaver), and you have quite a funny movie that works on all levels. Paul even attempts to connect with Tara, now a grown woman who's life was turned upside down after her encounter with Paul as a child.
Paul is a movie that is funny, sentimental, creative, and at the same time, pays homage to sci-fi films like Star Wars, Aliens, and many other as it incorporates lines from those films into its own plot. The twist at the end works as well, as this movie is truly underrated. Yes, the humor may be crass at times, but there is also charm as well. A must see movie that is very underrated!
I thought I knew it all.
I should be clear that I am a film history buff, and i really thought I knew pretty much everything there was to know, until I saw Moguls and Movie stars.
The documentary starts off in the penny arcades, where we are told that films are considered the entertainment choice of the poor and less educated. This quickly dismissed medium soon takes the world by storm.
We then learn how powerful women where at the beginning stages of Hollywood, working as writers and directors, and producing some of the biggest films of the era. The documentary examines the pre-Hayes code films, and what Hollywood did to clean up its own image.
Hollywood's handling of Hitler and World War II is told with amazing insight, and it contains a real eye opening story on how Casleblanca may never had been made if it weren't for Pearl Harbor.
We then move on to the films of the 50's and 60's, and the story of James Dean is told. The series does end way too soon, as the 1970's, and the era of the cheap drive in flick don't get this stories told.
Christopher Plummer is amazing as the narrator, and makes the entire series enjoyable. Hopefully, another installment will be produced, connecting a hundred plus years of Hollywood. This is a must series for not only the true film buff like myself, or the novice with a new interest in the history of Hollywood.
machete is a true action film
There is a list I have. The list is exclusive, only a select few or on that list, and Machete is one of them.
The list consist of films that I don't care how farm in it is, I'm going to watch it when its on TV. It could be all done save for the last half hour, I'm going to watch it.
The film starts with Machete, then still a fed, on a case, hunting for a drug kingpin played by Steve Seagall, making his debut as a pure villain. Machete, much like the anti-heroes in Robert Rodriguez's other films, is forced to watch his wife be brutally murdered. The scene plays out in the opening segment.
When we later find Machete, he's slightly down on his luck, when he is approached by Michael Booth, played with evil delight by Jeff Fahey. The plan Booth hatches is for Machete to hatch a assassination attempt on the congressman that Booth works for, Sen. McLoughlin (Robert Deniro), Machete(Danny Trejo) shoots the senator in the leg, only to learn he himself is targeted to be a martyr so that the senator can conspire with a group of anti-immigration bigots led by Von Jackson, played with chilling effect by Don Johnson, playing against the type we are used to see him play. Machete is aided in exposing the plot by a rogue agent named Sartana (Jessica Alba), and a mysterious woman named Luz (Michelle Rodriguez). The supporting cast features fine performances from Lindsay Lohan, Tom Savini, Shea Wingham, and as the ill-fated priest, Cheech Marin.
The movie is amazing one of Robert Rodriguez gems, and the action is fast paced, and the soundtrack helps create the mood and setting of the movie. Yes its a little violent, but the violence is never not justified. And simply one of the best films released in 2010
La zia svedese (1981)
A true classic soft-core film
It's been well over 20 years since I last saw this film, so forgive me if the memory is a little foggy.
The Other Woman, known here in the states as My Swedish Aunt, is a well acted soft-core erotic film, with an attractive cast, wit, and some arousing erotic scenes. Marina Hedman ism a drop dead gorgeous Blond that many men would lust over, and Laura Levi is stunning as Alice the maid, a woman that everyone who's ever had a Maid fantasy would think about. Peter Thompson is great as the hapless, in over his head Marco.
The dubbing is bad, as sometimes, the lines come after the person has actually spoke. That is the only thing that is bad about this movie.
It would be great if Cinemazx and show time started showing these imported late 1970's and early 1980's soft-core films...something that helped spawn the cable networks success in the early days.
Catching Hell (2011)
Amazing tale of a man who should be forgiven
Im not sure how ESPN goes about choosing those who direct the documentaries in the 30 for 30 series, but they always seem to find the best.
The documentary is as much about Bartman as it is the overall reaction of long suffering Cubs fans. Add in the description of how the Cubs securities forces got Steve Bartman out of there alive, and you have a fast moving, very entertaining and informative docudrama.
And there is plenty of new light shed on the infamous incident. Testimonies from fans that sat near Bartman (many of whom sympathize with the hapless Cubs fan) and learning that Bartman was actually at the game with friends was interesting. However, this pails in comparison when there is focus on the little league team (whose sweater Bartman was wearing that night) that Bartman was coaching at the time, and those young ball players support of their coach.
If anyone comes out the villain, it's the arrogant Cubs fan who left his seats in the nose bleed section to yell at Bartman, a man who to this day admits that he'd do it again, and blames Bartman for the Cubs lose.
Moises Alou doesn't come off too good at all. Alou comes off arrogant, and dismissive of the suffering that Bartman went through. Even with Alou's thick accent, you can tell that he still deep down blames Steve Bartman for the Cubs never making it to the world series.
This film not only manages to shed tons of new details on the incident, but also manages to have the viewer walk away wanting to buy Steve Bartman a beer and pat him on the back, instead of crucifying him.
And maybe that's what the Cubs (and their fans) need to do. It's time for the Cubs to forgive Steve Bartman the way the Red Sox forgave Bill Buckner.
PS It was interesting to know that Buckner was wearing a Cubs batting glove on his hand when he missed the bunt from Mookie Wilson.
South Park: You're Getting Old (2011)
greatest episode yet
For the 35 years I've been alive, I can say that there are few times that I've been shocked. One was the season finale of House, and the second, was the episode of South Park that aired on June 8th of 2011.
The plot starts off rather standard, with Stan's parents at a crossroads because they are feeling out of touch with the younger generation. They also feel they are in a rut, repeating the same patterns over and over again. Little did they know, that this feeling is also being experience by Stan. This causes a divide between Kyle, Cartman and Stan. And while Stan tries to prove he hasn't outgrown that which entertains his friends, he fails badly. The boys agreed to see a movie, which resulted in Stan annoyed at the countless ads for movies featuring Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, and others. He sees, well crap where his friends see entertainment. After being critical of one too many previews, Cartman and Kyle leave him behind.
Stan pleads with Kyle to give him one last chance but is rebuffed. What follows is a montage where Stan comes to grip with his feelings, while its learned that the Marshes are leaving South park.
And this is where the shock comes in: You spend the time waiting for kyle to forgive Stan, and all to be well. The moment never comes, and we close with Stan laying in bed, in a brand new town. And as Stan lets up a depressed sigh, the closing credits roll. What is the future of Stan Marsh? While Kyle seek for him to return to South Park? we don't know.
It was Kyle, Stan, Kenny and Cartman in the beginning. Kenny has faded away, and it looks like Stan is a goner, leaving just Kyle and Cartman to carry the load. Since it debuted 14 years ago, South Park has relied on gags to shock us. Little did we know they could shock us with a little heart.
I'm already looking forward to the next season of South Park...the fate of Stan Marsh.
Bones: The Signs in the Silence (2011)
Amazing pace and performances save standard story
After reading a terrible review by someone who is not a fan of the series, I felt compelled to write this review.
Another IMDb reviewer was upset that Dr. Brennan treats the girl at first like evidence. Looks like he has never seen the show at all, or else he'd know that is Bones' process.
The team needs to figure out why a deaf teen girl is covered in blood. while Bones does treat the girl badly in the beginning, they form a bond when she learns that like her, the deaf girl is a foster child.
The hunt is on to find out the truth, and during the hunt, Booth has a moment in which is questions if he is more like his abusive father then he would like to admit, while Angela and Hodgins have close calls with Angela going into labor.
The bond between the deaf girl and Bones works, and McKenzie Applegate gives a simply amazing performance that leads one to think she has a major film career ahead of her.
One of the better episode of the season, bar none!
The Puppeteer (2000)
Dull sex scenes bore, not arouse
When you buy something on ebay, and the seller gives you a free gift, you know they just needed to get rid of something.
What we have is a great cast of adult film stars, however, they are lost in a pointless plot, slow sex scenes, and terrible photography. There are several sex scenes that are shot on a long lens, making the action look far away. Briana Banks looks simply bored in all of her scenes.
The plot, well, there really isn't one. And that being said, several times we are bogged down by pointless and poorly written lines, and chew the scenery acting. What an utter waste of time and talent.
Clever Premise adds to Standard story
I have to give credit where credit is due, the writers, Joe Menosky and Phillip Lazebnik really out did themselves. Given a rather standard story of opening communications with a new race of beings, they put on a very clever spin.
Where it would be very easy to research the language, The Tamarians speak in a way that outright confuses the Enterprise crew. Instead of using typical words, they speak and express themselves by example. Meaning their entire native tongue us based on events and examples that have already occurred.
To further complicate things, Captain Picard has been transported by the Tamarians (along with their captain) to the planet below. Little does Picard know that there is a deadly predator on the planet with the ability to turn invisible. While he waits for the creature to attack, Captain Dathon (Tamarian Captain), played by the late Paul Warfield, who played in Star Trek II: Wrath of Kahn, tries to communicate with Picard, who has no idea on how to understand what Dathon is saying.
Back on the Enterprise, Riker is plotting a way to get Picard back. After a failed attempt to communicate with the Tamarian vessel, Riker plots away to transport Picard back. Alas, it not only fails, but occurs at the worst time. The creature has attacked, and has Captain Dathon pinned to the ground. Free of the transporter beam, Picard runs over to the fallen captain. It is too late, the Tamarian captain has suffered mortal wounds, and is dying. However, he and Picard had finally been able to communicate to each other, and they spend the night exchanging stories.
Once back on the Enterprise, Picard speaks to the Tamarian vessel, and offers his condolences. At this point, Picard's name becomes part of the Tamarian language. The aliens leave, to which Riker ask of Picard "New friends?" Picard replies he's not sure, but at least they are not new enemies.
This is a very enjoyable episode, and it offers a very interesting look at how two completely different cultures can start to build a relationship, even when in the beginning, they literally don't even speak the same language. Too bad this marked the only appearance of the Tamarians in the TNG series.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
One of the greatest epics ever.
How does one make a film about a figure that just as many felt was a hero, as felt was a villain. That was the question posed to one of the greatest directors in American cinematic history, David Lean.
Strangely, the film starts off with the death of Lawrence in a motorcycle accident. We then see his funeral, complete pageantry befitting a man of Lawrence's accomplishments. And as one man tells a reporter that Lawrence was a great man, he takes no time to degrade Lawrence as the reporter walks away. This prompts an man eavesdropping to defend Lawrence, even though he only knew him through press clippings. And here is where the story begins.
We find Lawrence at his beginnings, a rather average British solider given a rather average task. He spends most of his days sitting behind a desk, until he gets an assignment. One that calls for him to seek out Prince Fiesel, played by Alec Guiness in perhaps his greatest performance. Torn between two countries, Lawrence is caught between what he feels is loyalty to help a struggling people, and the orders from the military in his native land.
Lawrence is a complex man who can be calm, and charismatically charming one moment, has shown in his concern for two orphans he takes under his wing, to a brutal man with the ability to kill without remorse.
The film makes no apologies for Lawrence, painting a brutally honest picture on the man, and leaving the question to the audience. Was Lawrence a good man, or an evil one with dreams of being a God? Yes the film is 3 hours long, but take heart, there is actually a intermission in the film. However, this film is paced well, the story is interesting, Peter O'Toole, Omar Shariff, and Alec Guiness are all amazing performers who each give the best performance. In a small role as a ruthless dictator, Jose Ferrer, and Claude Rains, know for his role as Captain Louis Renault, plays the role of Mr. Dryden. An epic movie made from a Hollywood that has sadly faded away. This is one of the movies they are talking about when they say "they don't make them like they used to."
Sequel not equal, but still entertaining
In 1978, an epic comedy film starring the Ramones, and not to mention the still beautiful PJ Soles, Rock N Roll High School was made. It centered around a young girl (Soles) and her dream to bring the Ramones to loosen up her uptight school. It worked, ending in Soles blowing up the school at the end.
Flash forward several years. Ronald Reagan High is led by an inept principal (Played in a too small of role by the great, late Larry Linville), and a celebration of Rock N' Roll High School day just happens to occur when a review board is on campus to over see the school.
Principal McGhee gets replaced by the cold hearted Dr. Vadar (played to perfection by b horror film star Mary Moronov). This time, instead of being led by the spunky Soles, the school is led by Jesse Davis (Feldman) who's band plays 1950's covers.
Jesse is joined by his band, Mag, Namrok, Jones, and Stella (Liane Curtis, who is frightening and sexy at the same time). Jesse and his band gets booted from being able to play the prom, and are replaced by a talentless band called zillion kisses. The squares are seemingly ahead when Jesse and the band vow to steal the prom. All the time this is going on, Jesse is trying to romance an attractive new teacher named Rita.
Goes without saying that in the end, Jesse and his band beat the squares, his gets Rita, and the school is exploded when Dr. Vadar crashes her car into the electrical room.
The film is full of many funny scenes, one of the best where Jones, Mag, and Namrok sneak apple juice into a drug test. They pour the apple juice into the cups, and then pretend to have "confused" their pee. They do a taste test of the "pee", much to the disgust of Vadar's guards.
Does the film equal the original? No, nothing can to be honest. Is the fact that a cool hip band is playing 1950's covers? No, but then again, the its actually some of the best music in the movie. Is the film a great guilty pleasure that will be perfect to pass the time? Yes. You won't be disappointed with Rock N Roll High School Forever. Just make sure the pluming works (must see film to get that joke)