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The Comedian (2016)
Ugh. Too crude for me
So I bought this instead of renting. Shame on me. I want my money back.
This movie is far too crude for me. I'm no prude, but it's a bit much. I like the actors and thought they would create something fun. But so much of it is bathroom jokes and crude sexual jokes.
I think the acting was probably good. I can't tell, really. I love comedy but I never liked crude comedy. The trailer didn't really represent the kind of humor in this film. And SOOO much time is dedicated to the standup.
Plot is okay. I guess.
The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)
I SHOULD have looked it up - another stupid zombie movie
SO mad at myself for not looking this film up. I despise zombie movies and am looking forward to their fading away to make room for the next fad.
Acting was good. Set, directing, etc. I think the writing was good, too - with an unexpected ending. But at its core, it's just another zombie movie. I don't need to watch actors in zombie makeup eat people. I hate that stuff.
And the ending may delight some because it's unexpected, but I find it cynical and depressing. The whole film is. Even if those children have promise as the next um... step in evolution, I suppose - they'll end up eating all of the animals and they will starve. Ultimately. And that sweet teacher will die - and that's the end of it all.
I want my time and money back. Never again! I'll use movie plot spoiler websites in future.
REALLY miss the message boards!
The Missing (2014)
Halfway into season 1, it's a love/hate thing for me
Or really like/find irritating.
LIKE: Acting, setting, direction, writing, help with my French.
I like so much about this - but the police are such idiots I CANNOT believe they are so stupid and incompetent in France. They get an address for the scarf and in that basement there is the EXACT drawing that boy makes... the reactions of the police - the way they keep saying "no concrete evidence" - has me almost yelling at my television. BOTH of those things absolutely ARE concrete evidence.
The way they closed the case so early? Don't they keep them open for decades in France? Surely, they do. And such an issue reopening it? C'mon!
The mother agreeing with the police on those points is absolutely absurd. NO loving mother would act that way.
Those things, which are so basic to the plot, are driving me nuts. And I CAN'T talk about it on the message boards because IMDb took them away from us! Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!!! Would LOVE to discuss these things with others.
Grumble... grumble... grumble...
I'm going to keep watching, but I am quite irritated by these things.
The River Thief (2016)
Well... I don't like faith-based films, not because of religion, but because they are always so awful. Not sure why.
From the get-go, the characters are painted like cartoon characters. The bad boy is terrible - far beyond reason. His behaviors, the things he says, and the things he does are nonsensical and not something the worst troubled kid would do. They exaggerate his negative attitude and his rude comments and behaviors don't serve a purpose for the character.
The grandfather's poorly dyed hair was very distracting. He is a handsome older fellow... without the horrid dye-job. His character was too sanctimonious.
The girl was OK.
The bad guys were ridiculous. Like cartoon characters.
The writing was absolutely ghastly - some of the worst writing I've seen in film. Possibly, those actors have skills that were invisible given the terrible material they were given.
The direction was absolutely terrible - but he was limited by the awful writing. However, given that the director wrote the thing, I give him a big "F" on the entire project. None of the characters were believable except the grandmother, who was only a gravestone, and the granddaughter, who was a fair rendition of a "good girl" at her age.
Some of the religious themes came of a bit ridiculous for me - but I prefer logic.
Overall, I would like my time back. I was in bed with a bad cold. Should have chosen something better for that time while I was curled up in bed with the cat.
For me, this film is a big thumbs down. If I were a fundamentalist Christian, I probably would love it because it's a Christian film. But as a liberal Christian, I judge it on its actual cinematic merits - it's a big fail.
A Better Place (2016)
Quite possibly the worst film you will ever see
I am a nice person. I am kind. I do not like to criticize because I know that when people create things, they put their energy, their creativity, and their time, money, and wishes into them. But this movie is so terrible I must criticize it. My apologies to the gods of film review kindness.
It starts with a fantastic story idea. I love the story idea and somehow I had it in my head that this would be like one of those wonderful Stephen King stories that are about kindness and the good things in mankind that contrast with the bad things. I think this story idea had that same sort of thing in mind, but the screenplay was so terrible, I sat here thinking it is quite possible that my cat could've written a better screenplay. She is a smart cat, although I have never seen her writing.
I utterly despise soap operas and have never made it through one episode of one though I gave it a valiant effort. I would rather watch a soap opera than a movie like this. The story was probably at the level of a fourth or fifth grader. I am not making a joke. It was incredibly juvenile with the characters completely flat and one-dimensional. There was not a molecule of good or of inner conflict in any of the truly evil characters. And the good characters were saintly. There was no real motivation for all of the horrible things the evil characters did. The motivation that the story did provide would've been carried out very different ways. The actions of the antagonists in this story were ridiculously evil at a level that you just don't see in real life. No adults would take in this story and say, "yes, those bad guys really need to be stopped!" Indeed, what an adult would wonder about is exactly what kind of brain injury the antagonists in the story had sustained to cause them to be so simpleminded and illogical in their evil doings. And there were so many of those characters. A small town with some incredibly evil people. Nonsensically evil.
I have no idea if the actors have any skill, but it is impossible for me to believe that they had anything to do with how bad this film is. It is simply statistical nonsense to suggest that every actor in this ghastly thing is a terrible actor. They would have, by sheer chance, found one or two good actors for the film if they had actually been looking for bad actors. You cannot make a Rolex watch from a few pieces of wire and gears that you found in an auto salvage yard. I think the screenplay is of such low quality that the finest actors in the world would've looked terrible in this film.
I cannot tell if the direction was good or not, but I suspect it was not very good. I wrote a few screenplays in my past and you always include a few instructions for direction in them. But the director has some freedom, of course. There were some very weird instances in this film where the timing did not make any sense or times where a character had no awareness of what was going on just a few feet from him. Also, characters did not look at or intervene in situations. The dance between directing and screenplay is a complicated one that I know very little about. And I don't know how much freedom the director had, but if it was a skilled director, it must've been terrible for him to direct this awful thing. Just as terrible as it was for the actors, no doubt.
I am pretty sure my six-year-old granddaughter could have written more realistic dialogue. I cannot get my time back, but in an effort to be a positive force in humanity I must humbly suggest to any reader here that instead of putting time and a few dollars into watching this film, you get out all your sweaters, sit down, and pluck those little lint balls off them. There will be four advantages to this activity. Your sweaters will look pristine, you will be much richer with three or four dollars you don't spend renting this film, you won't lose that little bit of IQ that surely dissolves from taking in such a bad story, and you will be much more amused by the plucking of lint than watching this film.
Wuthering Heights (2011)
Oh... I don't know what to think
First, it's been MANY years since I read the book. It is not a book I plan to read again... too dark and depressing.
That said, I felt, with all its flaws that have been pointed out here, the film did a fine job conveying the mood of the book. Dark, hopeless, despair... all of that. I always wondered about that Bronte sister... what was her emotional state most of the time?
I found the dark, foggy, muddy location to be perfect. And the actors really got filthy - they lived in mud. That's how it would have been there.
I disliked the animal cruelty, but I'll give it a pass, as it probably is realistic for the times and for people in such ongoing despair. But I did fast forward through those scenes. I don't need to see that and I cannot understand why the filmmaker felt compelled to put them in there. And Heathcliff walking away at the end whilst that boy hung those dogs? Wow. That was very off-putting.
I felt the actors were splendid. Every one of them inhabited their character with brilliant skill. I felt the direction was perfect. Some may find the time spent on shots of the surrounding moor to slow the whole thing down too much, but for me, it fit the mood.
The wild characters fit my memory of the book. Cathy was as fickle, selfish, cruel, and passionate as I felt she was in the book... which I read decades ago, so memory can certainly be wrong.
I loved the black Heathcliff. Although he certainly was not black in the book, I felt that was a creative re-imagining.
I sat through the film whilst working on paperwork. I had no interest in investing in intently watching. The book had nothing positive in it for me, and I dislike depressing stories. I felt the film represented the mood, tone, and message - if you will - of the book. I wasn't crazy about it... but I didn't like the book, so it seems to fit.
I vote an 8 because of these things. I knock 2 points off just because I dislike the story.
6 Month Rule (2011)
SPOILERS! DO NOT read if you don't want to know the ending.
I enjoyed watching this unfold. I liked the actors very much - I liked the character development and wasn't the least bit bored. And I often find romantic stories boring.
I enjoy a story wherein a person gains insight - where someone is personally challenged by his/her own flaws and struggles with those challenges. I like stories where "self" becomes the biggest obstacle. That's how it is for all of us. That is a story we all relate to.
BUT I hated the ending. If I'm invested in the characters, I want to see everyone happy in the ending. Yes, I know that's not real life. I know every story does not have a happy ending. I see enough pain in REAL life. I don't need depressing endings to enhance my film experience. I rely on movies to ENTERTAIN me... I want to feel HAPPY at the end of a film. So - I hated the ending of this film. Yes, I want the formula happy ending. I'm simple minded that way. Harumph.
Phoebe in Wonderland (2008)
SPLENDID FILM, depicting Tourette's syndrome AND obsessive-compulsive disorder
Acting, directing, costumes, cinematography all splendid. Elle Fanning is a brilliant actress - such a delight to watch. Everyone was marvelous.
The film is artistic, passionate, compassionate, REAL, heartfelt, intelligent, insightful... it skillfully brings the viewer into the life of a family struggling with a difficult and baffling problem. Why does a person in a loving family behave in ways that cause problems? Just STOP DOING IT. That's how it feels - the family members, school, and the person with the problem ALL want to know what the heck is going on. The film does a beautiful job showing this.
I'm baffled to see all this talk about - and in the filmmaker's description apparently, Tourette's syndrome but not OCD. Absolutely baffled. Did the screenwriter not know he was creating a character with a pretty bad case of OCD? I'm completely flummoxed by this.
In fact, the most obviously evident symptoms, very early in the film, were those of obsessive-compulsive disorder. I think the film did a SPLENDID job of showing the torments of OCD. It's an anxiety disorder that can be crippling. So many of her behaviors were textbook OCD. The things she had to do to be sure she got into the play - or to protect herself from bad things happening, the excessive hand washing. I don't know what was up with her knees - I must have missed that.
The Tourette's was less prevalent in the film. It caused problems, that's for sure. But OCD is more prevalent in the film - it's the symptom we see the most of. Spitting is uncommon with Tourette's - thank goodness. And swearing is uncommon, as well, although people often thing that's the only symptom. Tics are small motor movements and sounds such as throat clearing, sniffing, coughing etc. are quite common. It's common to see blinking, shrugging, grimacing or mouth opening, kicking...
I've been asked if I thought she was psychotic. If she literally was seeing and hearing those characters, then yes, there was a psychotic disorder. But psychosis is so rare in young children. She's so young - and I don't know if the filmmaker was depicting her fertile imagination, so it's impossible to say. Psychosis is not a symptom of Tourette's syndrome or obsessive-compulsive disorder. I love to see films that depict these sorts of problems and show the full complexity of the PERSON. I loved how the mother was angry at the doctor and refused to accept it. I loved how she accused him of not really caring, of wanting to just shove her daughter into a diagnostic box and medicate her instead of really being helpful. I loved that because I've sat in a room with that very same mom a number of times. A mom with ENORMOUS love and concern for her child - Felicity Huffman was brilliant. Bill Pullman was brilliant, as usual. Bailee Madison gave us a perfect little sister - a tough spot for a child to be in.
Love the film. Is shows a REAL family with REAL struggles. It shows REAL parents trying to weave their way through the difficult and confusing waters of a troubled child. It shows a REAL child who doesn't understand what the hell is going on and is frustrated because she doesn't know how to articulate what she's experiencing.
I don't hate the shrink; I often do in films. He's okay. Not great, but not horrible. I'm accustomed to shrinks in films being idiots. Or lechers. Ugh. I wasn't all that crazy about him, but he wasn't horrible. The way he handled his pad and pen... c'mon! You don't do that! It's a splendid way to SHUT IT DOWN. If that was the filmmaker's goal, it was spot-on. A sort of averageish or maybe a bit less than average - shrink. Good job with that.
The high school principal was an idiot. I hope there isn't ONE like that in the world. Probably is. Sigh...
This film is wonderful. I strongly recommend it to anyone... it should be shown in schools. It should be shown in homes. It should be shown in churches. It shows REAL people - parents with their own personal struggles and disappointments dealing with a difficult child and staying together, loving each other, accepting all their flaws and CHOOSING LOVE - choosing to stay together and live each day together - through struggles and through happy times. It is REAL.
NOT for kids - cliché ending
How many films have this ending? Seriously - it was cliché. You have a magically unusual kid? Okay... let's see what to do... oh, I know! Let's KILL HIM in the end! Oh, that'll really get to the audience. Great idea!
I'm sorry, but that's cliché. We have enough films with really special kids who die. Off the top of my head:
My Girl Pay it Forward Bridge to Terabithia Simon Birch
There are more, but I can't recall the names. Why does a happy ending mean something is "predictable" or profound in some way. THIS ending was ENTIRELY predictable. Of COURSE they'll kill the kid in the movie. We figured that in the first few minutes that the boy was on screen.
How about having him live and be special - AND adopt the little girl at the end? Why couldn't they do that? This film is very upsetting to children - and it ticked us off. For us, the film could have been fantastic... but they had a predictable, cliché ending. Kill the magically special kid.
I do not recommend this film.
Young Adult (2011)
NOT a comedy
If the word, "comedy" wasn't in the genre, I might feel more generous. But as I like the actors - a lot - and I like comedy - a lot - I really hated the way this film came together.
It was depressing. It was disturbing. The actors did a great job, but our protagonist is such a messed up, angry, depressed alcoholic - she's so mean and selfish - that you don't really care about her. I kept thinking about her obvious psychiatric problems and how they could be treated... I didn't enjoy spending this time watching this depressed train wreck of a person engage in a campaign to destroy a family.
I want my 80 minutes back.