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Major improvement over the original series.
This series is a definite improvement over the original Star Trek. It has a better cast, better stories, much improved special effects and the production is much less stagy. Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner deliver superlative performances. Some episodes are especially dramatic. The problem is with the premise of the series. It's about a star ship, which is an instrument of war, going about the galaxies. It's security is constantly being breached and it's prone to break down under stress. These are literary contrivances. Ideally, the star ship should be impervious to being invaded, but if that were so, then there would be no story. Many of the crises in the series are caused by the Enterprise itself. It ventures into places that it is unwanted and is constantly a target for other alien life forms, some almost human, who want nothing to do with humans. The mere presence of the star ship provokes conflict. The star ship is not a research vessel, it is a warship, armed with an array of weapons that can destroy planets and which the crew is willing to use. This series raises a question: is it right for the human race to go to places where it is not wanted?
Star Trek (1966)
Beam me up, Scotty!
It's a television series with stagy acting and contrived plots. With the exception of Mr. Spock, all the main characters are hysterical, some even unlikeable. Dr. McCoy is the worst. He is shrill, argumentative, and abrasive. And that's the medical officer. Then there is Scotty, the chief engineer. He's always on the edge of having a nervous breakdown. The slightest demands on him send him into a tizzy. Then there is Captain Kirk. He has no business commanding anyone. He is temperamental, moody, easily excitable, and bossy. The only character who has any substance is Spock. That's because he's not even fully human. How he manages to tolerate the rest of the crew is a mystery. Without Spock the command structure would immediately break down. That's not saying much for human beings. Also, the mission of the star ship is murky. What is a rocket ship doing going throughout the galaxies searching for new planets? Who asked them to? The military aspect of their mission is unmistakable. They have the fire power to destroy entire planets. For what? In addition, who would let humans beings operate this craft in the first place. The ship's security is constantly being breached. The Star ship routinely transport on board all kind of alien creatures, some more humanoid then others but definitely not human, without taking any precautions against possible contamination. Also, Kirk gets himself involved in situations that a more mature, thoughtful and disciplined officer would easily avoid. In fact, the biggest drawback to this series is a Captain. His rashness stretches literary license to the limit. His decision-making is so readily influenced by emotions that it is a miracle that he makes any decisions at all. Whenever he is stumped, he invariably turns to Spock who at least demonstrates an ability to think clearly. Indeed, in almost every episode it is Spock who guides the ship out of crisis. It is not surprising that this show was cancelled after three seasons. Nor is it surprising that years in syndication later the show took on a new life, capturing a new audience that apparently was more forgiving then the network executives who probably had their fill of outlandishly ridiculous plots and corny acting that needed to be beamed out to some other place where such mediocrity could find a home.
Snowden - hero or traitor? You decide.
This movie is proof that when Hollywood wants to, it can make a great movie that grabs the audience's attention and makes you care about what is transpiring in the story. The movie directly poses this question: Is Edward Snowden a hero or a traitor? This movie depicts what he did, explains why he did it, and leaves it to the audience to decide. Although set in a hotel room, this story is anything but static. It deals with issues that are directly relevant to every American and to all people everywhere. This movie is intense and takes the audience on a trip into the inner workings of some of the most secret agencies inside the government. One person does something that actually changed the world. His actions brought to the public's attention a whole bunch of stuff that was going on under wraps and gave them an immediate transparency that was both disturbing and refreshing. One can either resent or admire what Snowden did, but one cannot be indifferent to him, which is why this is such a good movie.
Enterprise crew revealed to be a bunch of pampered spoiled brats
Wow, what a strong episode. Ryker reveals himself as being a real twerp. A new captain comes on board and Ryker immediately cops an attitude. He reacts like a child. He doesn't like taking orders. He is inflexible and selfish. Instead of trying to help the new captain, Jellicoe, Ryker pouts and sulks. All this while Jellicoe has to negotiate with a belligerent alien race that is openly hostile and threatening to invade a planet. The rest of the crew isn't any better. They are serving on a warship, yet are openly annoyed and distressed at Jellicoe who wants to prepare for the possibility of war. The only way to get the aliens to back down is to show them that the Federation will not budge. Instead, Jellicoe is getting no support from the crew, which makes it even harder for him to deal with his adversary, and which puts the ship at risk. For a television sci-fi series, the dialog is excellent, and the story intense. That is surprising.
The quintessential hero.
This is a great movie. It's about a regular working-class guy who does something heroic. The movie is also about New York City. It showcases New York City at its best. Sully is the kind of movie that is so good that it can't help but put you in a good mood, and make you believe that decent, caring people are still out there. A pilot is flying a plane and when confronted with impending disaster maintains his self-control resulting in a lot of lives being saved. Yet, what makes the movie even more enjoyable are the qualities of the hero himself - modest, caring, loyal, and professional. The movie manages to make you care about him as a person and in the process come to appreciate who he is and what he did. Tom Hanks warrants accolades for his fine performance has Chessley Sullenberger. The rest of the cast is excellent too. But as the title indicates, the story centers around one man who showed the world true heroism in the fullest sense of the world.
Young Man with a Horn (1950)
On a scale of 1 to 10, this movie rates an 11.
There is so much one can write about when a movie is bad, or flawed, or poorly acted, or has a contrived story, lack of continuity, no feeling, or shallow, superficial, or without any artistic value. In this case, there is little to say, so excellent is this movie. This movie warrants only superlatives, in all aspects of its production: from the production, to the direction, to the story, to the cinematography and to the acting. All those elements combined to produce a masterpiece. The movie is about life, and about people living that life. People who are vulnerable, flawed but caring. Nothing in the story is corny or contrived. It's about working class people in a working class society who want to achieve, to do something, be something, and above all to live and make a difference. This movie features Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Doris Day, and Hoagy Carmichael. All delivery outstanding performances. The music is great and figures directly in the story. But most significant is the horn. To find out why, watch the movie.
Lights Out (2016)
This movie is great. It immediately engages and then keeps the audience's attention. The story is compact, the acting strong and ending plausible. Perhaps the strongest performance is that of Marie Bello, who plays an emotionally disturbed woman. However, all of the performances are outstanding. The movie succeeds in creating a mood of foreboding as all are engaged in a fight for survival against an unknown malevolent force. The movie avoids the pitfall of becoming just another scary movie with contrivances that inspire laughter. Instead, it succeeds in telling a story and building the tension to its inevitable climax. That is the hallmark of excellent story telling and why this movie is worth watching.
The Shallows (2016)
This is an intense movie, one that is well worth the time to watch. There are two main characters, the surfer and the shark. They are in a struggle for survival. One of the reasons why the story works so well is because of the way the shark is depicted. Here the shark is shown to be a territorial creature whose area has been encroached by humans. That intensifies the conflict between the surfers and the shark. Blake Lively gives a strong performance as the surfer who unwittingly invades the shark's domain. She is in virtually every scene and carries the movie. The only problem with the movie is the way it ends. At that point the movie opts for a more conventional ending of the story, which, given the nature of the interaction between the two protagonists, is contrived. The ending will not be revealed here. However, it does bring the story to a close, albeit in a way that does not keep open the option of a sequel, at least one involving that particular shark.
Flashpoint: Perfect Storm (2009)
The episode manages to build up tension, and then, inexplicitly, the tension is diffused leading to a dramatically flat ending. The change is so sharp that the episode, in effect, becomes two separate stories. The first part depicts bullying, which includes some graphic scenes showing a teenager being physically assaulted and humiliated, and the second, depicts the same teenager terrorizing an entire school with a gun and shooting people, but then being talked out of committing further mayhem, not by the police but by an unarmed teenage girl. The first part is completely believable and depicts people in direct conflict; the second part completely undoes the dramatic build-up. The idea of a young girl being able to reason with an enraged teenager with a gun simply defies plausibility. Then comes the mood music that is so out of context with the violent nature of the story that the ending is completely muddled. What took forty-five minutes (including commercials) to carefully build a story becomes undone in a flash. Dramatic depictions of difficult and troubling situations end not with a powerful message, but with a sappy ending that denies the dramatic catharsis that would have this episode so powerful. That's too bad because the episode started out so strongly and seemed to be trying to take a police drama to a higher literary level, but could not sustain it, leading to the unsatisfactory ending.
Samson and Delilah (1949)
Possibly Hedy Lamarr's best movie of her career.
This is a great movie, utterly impossible not to like. A hero with flaws betrayed by a woman who later has regrets and wants to atone. Victor Mature plays Samson and Hedy Lamarr Delilah. The chemistry between the two is immediately apparent. This drives the entire story and provides its emotional power. The story itself is intense. It is about political oppression and redemption. Lamarr gives a powerful performance as Delilah. Her character undergoes a dramatic transition from sinister vixen to s strong and dignified woman. By the end of the movie, she is a figure worthy of admiration. Although both Samson and Delilah are principal characters, the movie ultimately is about Delilah, the agent throughout Samson's destiny is realized. This movie is outstanding.