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The Deuce (2017)
One big, beautiful hollow bunny
The show looks great. I wasn't born yet, but it's how I imagine New York City in 1971. But I can always just look at photographs from 1971 if all I want is a picture. I can do it at my own pace, and may not spend an hour and a half doing it. The problem with setting up a story for 84 minutes is that no story gets told. There's nothing to get invested in. It's not necessary to take the Guy Ritchie approach and introduce everyone in flashy nanoseconds of high octane action, but I would have preferred it to this.
About the nudity. I guess dick is the new pussy. Male full frontal is the only way to come off as edgy, so they made sure to include three or four cock shots. One of them was completely natural, but two of them felt too forced (and fake), just dick for dick's sake. It makes me wonder why they didn't cast Chloë Sevigny instead of Maggie Gyllenhaal.
The sopranos had a slow buildup, but the Sopranos pulled it off. That chocolate Easter Bunny was high quality chocolate and solid all the way through. The Deuce may come from a great mould and look delicious, but once you sink your teeth into it, there's nothing but air.
The Paperboy (2012)
Probably a good book, but not a good film
The film is visually appealing, most of it anyways.
The cast is--or at least should be--great. It's not like there's anything wrong with anyone's performance, it's just the script doesn't allow for them to be great.
It's evident The Paperboy is adapted from a novel. The film starts out at a nice pace and then seems to flip through a bunch of pages, that were perhaps covering some background on the characters, setting, etc. It then catches its breath, but just for moment, before jumping forward again. It then seems to skip an entire chapter or two, giving a critical juncture about 3 seconds of screen time.
Peter Dexter (author) and Lee Daniels (director) share the screenplay writing credit. Sometimes the originals authors are the worst choice to adapt their work. Who knows, but Daniels as writer and director is the only one to blame for this mess.
The end result is a disconnected shambles, a wasted opportunity of what could have been a great film.
A Great Start Gets Lost
The World of Kanako ("Kawaki" or "Thirsty" in Japan) is based on the 500+ page novel "Hateshinaki Kawaki" ("Neverending Thirst") by Akio Fukamachi.
Without giving the end of the movie away, it's as though this film had two different directors at the helm. The first half of the movie is a stylish and frenetic (yet cohesive) ride that is one part "Oldboy", one part "Battles Without Honor and Humanity", topped of with "Batman" from 60s TV.
For the first half of the movie, the plot seems to be going somewhere. Characters are introduced, investigated and revisited. Each scene is a step forward.
Then it gets messy. Characters and subplots appear out of nowhere. The Batman graphics are forgotten. The homage to the 70s is forgotten. The plot is in disarray and scenes are dragged out miles beyond their nodding-off points.
It is clear they tried to cram every bit of the novel into the film adaptation, which usually results in such a mess. That's a little more frustrating considering its coming from a culture where it's generally accepted that less is more and what's left unsaid is often more important than what is stated. And in this case, after two hours, this film does really feel "Neverending".
I Am (2010)
Pointless, self-ingratiating tripe
Does Shadyac want a medal for moving into a (rather nice, upscale) mobile home lot in Malibu?
This movie has no point. It is 90 minutes of some rich Hollywood guy who almost dies, has an epiphany that "Hey, maybe I've been a greedy bastard these past 20 years and maybe there's more to life than private jets, luxury cars and fancy homes," and makes a movie about it. In which he shows picture after picture after picture of his luxury homes and himself standing in front of a private jet and a luxury car. Three times we see the same photo of him standing on the tarmac.
The thesis of his movie is something along the lines of Nature is holistic, all Living Things are of One, Man is by his own nature Good and full of Empathy and the Heart is more powerful than the brain. He takes sound bites from interviews with some popular academics such as Noam Chomsky and David Suzuki (neither of whom I think actually buy into his hippy Gaia hypothesis full scale). We are programmed by society, by competitive sports and spelling bees, to go against our Nature of Cooperation. Everyone is nice if just given the chance!
He argues that Man can have revolution through peaceful means and that one person CAN make difference. And then he uses Gandhi as his example. Wow, one example out of thousands of years of war. He also gives a nod to Mandela, the Dali Lama, Martin Luther King. But he doesn't delve any deeper than that. He does not ask why Man can be Bad. But he is ecstatic that he can make yogurt smile.
He really does not SAY ANYTHING in this winding, melancholic ramble. He does not offer The Answers. Which is kind of important seeing as he begins the movie asking his Two Questions. It is basically 90 minutes of being privy to some guy wonder about stuff. Wonder about Life as he stares up at the clouds and out at the rolling waves of the ocean from the private beach in his gated (mobile home) community.
Shark Night 3D (2011)
A Good, Fun PG-13 Horror Flick
For a PG-13 horror movie that is not overly gory, or full of nudity and profanity, Shark Night delivers better than expected. I don't have kids so I'm not generally concerned with it, but I gather that "PG-13 Horror" is a very tough market - both to find a good movie, and even harder to make a good movie. However, I didn't even know this movie was PG-13 until I read some comments on it - AFTER I'd seen it. And both my girlfriend and I enjoyed it WHILE we were watching it.
As with most movies in this category, the story is predictable, with foreseeable but fun twists along the way. The CGI is also not what I'd expect from a $25 million dollar price tag, but it doesn't detract from the movie too much if your goal is just to enjoy the ride.
You don't watch Shark Night 3D expecting to see Jaws, just like you don't watch Final Destination 2 (one of the director's earlier films) expecting to see The Shining. It's called "Shark Night 3D". If you want brilliant, highbrow suspense, go see something else. If you want "Shark Night 3D", watch this.
American Horror Story (2011)
Overrated, Disppointing and NOT Scary (Season One)
I just finished watching Season One based on the recommendations from many friends.
I was under the impression that this was an anthology show - that every episode would be a different scary story with different characters. So i was a little disappointed when I realized it was a season-long story. Oh well, we'd watch it anyway with open minds. An ongoing story line could still be scary.
However, this was not scary. There were a few creepy scenes, but that's about it. Each episode starts with a little scene from the past to establish where the ghosts came from. The show could have been helped A LOT by focusing more on THOSE stories rather than the house's current residents - an annoying Bostonian psychiatrist and his family. There is so much they could have done with this show - but didn't.
Even though I had been less than impressed with the show, I made it through the season and still held some expectations for the final episode. Unfortunately, the final episode was the worst of the lot. The ending was a terrible, predictable, cop-out leaving a number of loose ends.
I had to stop watching to write this. There's no way I'm going to finish watching the rest of this rubbish. I'm just 30 minutes in and it feels like I'm still watching opening credits that are "setting up" the movie. But THIS IS the movie!
Titles keep popping up for each new location - so often I'm surprised they don't start with "INT/EXT", "DAY/NIGHT", etc. One of them actually states (and this is no joke) "Friday 4:00PM ... 60 Hours Till Monday." What??
Whenever a new character appears, half the screen goes black and a white title appears to give their name and occupation/relevance/etc. Even if it's their only scene! One guy gets shot and killed 20 seconds after his name is given. But who cares... I don't even remember any of their names anyway.
The film editing is atrocious... constantly going into slow motion, freeze frames, or flashes of light and dark.
The actors are terrible and sound like they're reading lines. The rape scenes are not horrific OR haunting because it all feels so scripted.
This movie is without a doubt one of the most ANNOYING films I've ever seen.
Open House (2010)
Not even saved by sex or gore
There is absolutely nothing of value in this movie. First of all, forget about the tension or suspense or mystery - because there is none of that. The plot is so hollow that you could seriously not care less what happens next - except looking forward to the end credits. For an R-rated film about sex and murder both of those things are suspiciously missing. Sure people are killed, but they are killed with cutaway shots and splashes of raspberry jam against the wall or window. And the "sex" scenes make old episodes of The Love Boat look x-rated. I guess it was writer Andrew Paquin's sister who got him the chance to make this horrid screenplay into a movie. And if she bankrolled it too, then it's probably his last. Well, it's probably is last anyway.
I can usually even enjoy watching bad movies... but not this one.
Port of Crap.
Whoever thinks this is "black comedy" is more stoned than Cage's character.
Nic Cage is terrible to an embarrassing degree. (Worse than "Ahh the bees!") And I like Nic Cage. I like Vampire's Kiss. I loved Wild At Heart. But this movie is just crap. The script is crap. The acting is crap. Everything about it is crap.
The story was crap. The pace was crap. The acting was crap.
There is no black comedic element whatsoever. It doesn't push any boundaries. I didn't even find anything taboo or excessive or offensive about it. I don't know why it got an R-rating... probably just for the drug use... which didn't even seem that pervasive. Big deal -- he snorted sh!t every now and then. And gambled. Wow. This may have been pushing the limits for 1960, but nowadays? Not at all.
This movie challenged me on no level whatsoever.
And some of the shots? Was Herzog trying to be David Lynch with that alligator scene on the side of the highway? Whatever it was, it failed.
I don't even know why they attached the Bad Lieutenant tag to this film. Just to tarnish the (amazing) first one? Film snobs who think only they can appreciate the genius of a bad film will like this and that's about it.
Intelligence: Pilot (2005)
Finally... Canadian TV that kicks ass
It seems like every new show on television is some crime-related, CSI-inspired, Oceans Eleven rip-off. I was thinking about this earlier today before I'd even heard about 'Intelligence'.
I just viewed the 2-hour pilot. As far as Canadian TV goes (actually as American TV, or even as far as movies go) this is good. Better than good. It's real. It's near-perfect. It's about time.
If the series continues to be anywhere near the calibre of the pilot, this show should have a good run, and find a dedicated audience in more than just Canada.
While there were "cliffhanger" moments at every turn, they weren't the unbelievable kind you find in most American shows (see Prison Break, CSI Wherever, Without A Trace). There were no far-fetched plot devices, no heavy-handed jingoistic elements, no "super-heroes", and no unrealistic special effects or sets (ex: the ridiculously blue-lit CSI work environment) to make up for a lack of substance.
The acting of the incarcerated brother was somewhat weak and annoying (yet maybe that just made it more "real"), but other than that, the cast was solid.
It's not often that TV (Canadian, American, or other) gets this good, if it ever has. Intelligence lives up to its name.