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The Layover (I) (2017)
7/10
A fun watch
22 July 2018
Get your mind out of the gutter - these two ladies aren't going to take it off for your premium cable viewing pleasure like Cinemax soft-core stars.

They're just a couple of beautiful women looking to break out of that mute object of desire/rescue/affection model by doing a fun Bridesmaids/Girls Night/Sweetest Thing misbehaving ladies comedy so there's poop jokes and simu-sex a la Melissa Rauch in The Bronze.

You get some watchable chemistry between Kate and Alexandra and Matt Jones adding some fun - it's good to see Badger getting work.

Check it out - some laughs and there's a couple of cheesecake scenes but not going to need any blurring in the cable version - R is for language and drug use.
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Piranhaconda (2012 TV Movie)
5/10
Reminds me of Andy Sedaris movies
3 August 2014
You know the story, and it doesn't matter all that much if you don't. Tacky effects, great scenery - Hawaii gorgeous as always, hot actresses and actors with serviceable acting ability and that guy who was in that thing that one time many years ago.

The only thing that keeps this from being an actual Sedaris movie is the absence of Andy or his son from the producer list and the lack of nudity since this is basic cable broadcast. The production companies should make these shows in dual-format for Syfy (who tragically lost their spell checker some years ago) and for Showtime or Cinemax.

The effects are really bad, I mean REALLY bad but the acting is OK and movies like this keep the majority of Hollywood in business, plus at least these actors got a trip to Hawaii, so I will give it a thumbs-up. Check it out.
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Jug Face (2013)
7/10
Creepy and effective
22 June 2014
A reclusive backwoods society maintains their way of life by making sacrifices to an unspecified monster. When a teenage girl discovers both that she is pregnant and she's the next sacrifice, she tries to escape her fate.

Some blood, but mostly just creepy and sees the ending through with more focus than A-List movies.

Acting is not just serviceable but good, especially since it deals with backwoods archetypes that it's hard to not turn into a parody. This thing is deadly serious and realistically portrayed even with the supernatural elements.

Good movie - kind of a different take on "Winter's Bone" if you liked that. Check it out.
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UnHung Hero (2013)
7/10
A story about different kinds of shortcomings
7 June 2014
I didn't hate this documentary. I heard about it a few times, and mainly that it was fake. Wanted to find out for myself.

It's not very polished, but it's sincere - he's open-minded and respectful to the people he interviews. I liked his style as he participates in the narrative without falling into that bland overly-PC lack of reaction.

There's just one unfortunate exception and it should not have been in the movie. Like most young people he is insecure and like most documentary filmmaker he's narcissistic, and it results in one unfortunate segment where he tries to film in a Korean sauna.

It's sort of slapstick-funny when he's caught and those guys react like you would expect showering men discovering someone sneaking a camera into the shower would react, but it's neither informative or entertaining - just creepy and borderline racist. Shouldn't have been in the film.

It's kind of interesting how this issue is viewed in other cultures - the weight-lifting segment is pretty surreal, and when he backs down from a needle in New Guinea - yeah, that's cause for reflection. The segment where he considers surgery - this is not a joke for some people, it's really that important to them.

Some of it is Spurlock-type selfie time and it's a little forced when he slaps a meta-layer of narrative about not being sure why he should finish the film and a date turning the camera back on him, but I think he/his crew really wanted to make a documentary and this issue seems very personal to him.

He goes around the world and meets people and talks about this issue, and makes some discoveries about this topic and about himself, which is what a documentary is for.

His interview with the guy who is in the other direction is interesting for the other perspective, but comes across a little as the rich man bemoaning the loneliness of wealth.

It's not for everyone but some people will find it interesting to examine an issue that, while rarely treated seriously by most, is deadly serious for some men.

He makes an entertaining show out of it (with a single exception) by talking to different kinds of people, examining the subject from different perspectives and learning as much about himself as he does about the topic.

Check it out.
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The Blob (1988)
8/10
Much better than the rating
23 October 2013
This movie is rated 5.8? Really? And crap like Saw > 1 is rated higher? Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Yes it's from the 80s but don't let the age fool you - this remake of a 1958 classic is pretty scary. The monster is fast and relentless and everyone is a target sympathetic and nasty alike. Not exactly a "Game of Thrones" plot but the action pulls you along enough to not look around too much.

Most remakes (lookin' at you, Rob Zombie) bungle almost everything that made the originals good, but this one cranks up both realism and intensity. Worthwhile movie, even with Kevin Dillon's '80s do (stay strong, Bunny).

Watchable for: Candy Clark, Jeff DeMunn in a pre-Walking Dead lead role, the crazed preacher at the end, Shawnee Smith bein' cute and the effects are actually kind of special for 1988. Plus the safeties are definitely off in terms of usual movie tropes for the era. Check it out.
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The Lost Future (2010 TV Movie)
6/10
Decent on its own terms, much better than SyFy average
13 July 2013
A post-pandemic world is the setting for a very watchable morality tale about obligation to others and sacrifice for the collective good.

Some klunk here and there but the sets, costumes, performances and themes are well above the very, very, very, very low bar set by SyFy (e.g., "Mega Python vs. Gatoroid"), in fact far enough above that this is a decent movie in its own right.

Sean Bean is a decent actor and does well in this movie along with no- name cast, to a unusually deep level. Good action scenes, too; fights from horseback, group hand-to-hand combat, interiors and exteriors.

The major characters all have interesting conflicts and the interaction is believable (though as some have said, they are all waaaay too pretty). No eye candy shouting their lines; the actors modulate well and for a very large part play their roles believably.

There's also a nice structural component with parallel story lines, unusually nuanced for the media. The story lines alternate well between the questing leads, the tribespeople trapped in the cave, and Gagen's self-justifying depravity, are better than expected for the genre.

One of the other reviews said "Good bones, bad carpeting". That's well put - I'd say the carpeting is cheap, not bad, but that's just semantics.

To be clear - this is not an A-list movie; it's entertaining but low budget. The primitive tribespeople are groomed to the max and comically articulate, the effects are serviceable but still almost all CGI, one of the leads father seems to have somehow taught -himself- to read in the absence of any other literate persons (??), etc.

All of that notwithstanding, I have sat through way worse Hollywood crap with 100X the budget and one-tenth the script. Not Inception or anything epic, but worth a watch if you are looking for a couple of hours of entertainment.

I make all these points because the people who make these movies work just as hard as the Hollywood A_listers but don't get the recognition.

Just because it's a B movie doesn't mean there should be no standards. When a movie crew puts time and effort into making a structurally good movie, it deserves recognition even if it's never going to be on "Entertainment Tonight".

There should be a genre name for these films which not quite A-list but better than traditional "B movies" - decently made, not great art, but decent entertainment. Maybe "paperback movie" is a better title - other examples are "Snitch", "The Naked Kiss", "Love and a .45", or "Red Eye".
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The Shortcut (2009)
7/10
Good horror is hard to find....
19 February 2011
There are other reviews, this is just a comment. Movie is decent, ignore the haters.

Does have some issues (didn't know Nazi Germany was still fighting in fall of '45), plot meanderings, weak points and not exactly a master thespian cast but has some good horror moments, decent banter and semi-plausible character interactions.

The interesting thing about this movie is its orientation toward not showing the ultraviolence in all its dripping glory. The most visually graphic scene is when one character has his finger broken.

Personally, I am utterly sick of watching 80 minutes of CGI anatomy trying to take the place of a story. This movie has the sense to use the cutaway (ha ha) approach to violence and I respect it.

I would watch this movie 100 times over any of that Saw (post Saw 1, which I thought was pretty good) / Hostel torture voyeurism or Rob Zombie crap remake any day.
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Post Impact (2004)
6/10
Why I watch SciFi
29 August 2010
(as they were known before their spell checker stopped working).

Don't understand the venom here. The movie isn't great, but it isn't terrible either; don't know the preferences of the other reviewers but I would watch movies like this before crap like Hostel or another remake of a 70s movie that wasn't that good the first time.

Post-Impact is a mid-Europe production crew making a movie with an interesting premise; a comet strike renders northern Europe uninhabitable. After a rescue mission is destroyed by a microwave satellite controlled from the impact zone, a team moves in to discover the truth. The source is found, and it turns out not everyone on the team is working with the same agenda.

Yes, there are Euro-accents all over the place, the equipment is wrong, wrong, wrong (the .22 inserts on the M16s, and, well, pretty much everything about the military and government aspects). Sometimes it sounds like Hanz und Franz from SNL wrote and directed an action movie. But it's a interesting premise, Dean Cain hits the marks and says the lines and it brings an interesting setting into your living room. Some characters have good turns.

No, it's not great. Nevertheless, I find SciFi (no, I'm not going to write Syfy, because I am not Hooked on Phonics) movies more interesting than 99% of the crap and recycled garbage that comes out of the big entertainment houses these days.

No, really. No matter how bad the acting, how laughable the special effects, SciFi movies nearly always have a gem (sometimes a very tiny gem) in there, a premise or a characters or a setting which transcends the Robert McKee/focus-group fueled McMovies. Yes, you have to reach pretty deep into some of those things to pull out the diamond but it's nearly always there, and it's there in Post-Impact. Look for it.
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9/10
You can't handle the truth
11 April 2009
This is a great movie. Some criticism is that the movie is too many things; I think it's actually one of the film's strengths.

One of my favorite parts of this film is the university students forming their group and deciding to take action, then seeing their action not have the effect they hoped it would. You can see Amber having a formative experience in her life, and her eyes opening into a larger world and that's worthwhile for anything else.

I didn't really care for Ethan Hawke dropping the same slacker science bit he did in "Reality Bites" ten years ago, but no film can be perfect.

I believe this movie should be rated higher than it is, as a reflection of our times. I think the food companies want very much to trivialize it and most people don't want to face up to the impact that the choices they make have on the lives of others.
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2/10
Pretty harsh for '54
26 March 2009
Not a very good movie but according to the info it's pretty accurate in depicting torture techniques. The purpose of the film was to show the brutality of the NK POW camps and that's done effectively enough, with surprising frankness for the time. Whatever technical flaws exist (and there are plenty) by watching this you'll see a forgotten corner of a forgotten war and some pretty nasty stuff - again, nasty because it's being done north of the DMZ and not in Guantanamo Bay.

I don't think any of the Korean veterans brought up his torture when running for office, and if you watch the movies like this one and Pork Chop Hill in comparison to the Vietnam films. I don't know if it was the people in '54 being trapped in the WWII concepts (the boys tend to wisecrack a lot) or the war or what, but it's interesting to see this from the same system that 16 years later would be making movies like "Go Tell The Spartans".
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Kid Nation (2007)
9/10
The Kids Are All Right
23 October 2007
This is my favorite show of the 2007 season. I agree with the other comments about the "child labor" commentary - in America you can always find a university professor/media gadfly/reporter desperate for something to talk about somewhere willing to voice clucking concern.

Some people reflexively see anything not involving indulgent, extensive and repeated -heart-ing of kids is torture and abuse. And we must be suspicious of the artifices and manipulation of reality television. I don't care for all the Burnett-style time-lapse shots and really dislike the way tyhe general store has started to play up the play-drinking aspects. These kids watch TV too, and when you give them shot glasses for root beer and water you're encouraging them to act out.

But for me the watchable part of this show, the thing I tune in for every week, is the way these kids found so many ways to cope, to live together and deal with the situations that came up without all the lies and self-aggrandizement and duplicity most adults engage in.

They're so wonderfully honest, and sometimes they like each other and sometimes they hate each other but they crash into things, look around, dust themselves off and move right along. They are all right, and they find their way, and their strength and resilience makes me feel better about the future of the world for an hour on a Wednesday night.

All of the episodes have been fascinating to watch - during the election show when Mike realized that every single kid on his team had voted against him, he visibly sank. Then he picked himself up and took his place among those who had voted him out. You know that will be an event that will always be part of his life, and maybe it will make him a better person and maybe it will undermine him, and instead of "ooh, isn't it cool?" I wanted to show this to my nephews and say this kid is demonstrating what you should do in the world when it hands you failure - you sink for a moment, and then you pick yourself up and deal with what's left.

I highly recommend this show, at least so far.
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Fridays (1980–1982)
8/10
Needs to be released on DVD but doesn't seem likely...
4 February 2007
Note to those under 30 - this show dates from a time when most TV stations still went off the air at midnight/1 AM and most adults went to bed after the 10/11 o' clock news. It was hip and edgy in those days largely because no one was watching, so they could get away with more, and most of us were pretty young and this had never been done before so we thought it was pretty cool. If you ever saw it, you would yawn and go back to your YouTube NC-17 stuff, so move along please.

I remember watching it as well, but also I remember it not being so much about sex but about drugs. Lots of drug humor but also some very creative skits, it (and SCTV, and Almost Live) get contrasted with SNL because SNL always lives in that attenuated narrowcast of comedy where they're imitating something or other. These shows couldn't do that because SNL got there first, so they took chances in other directions.

Sounds like Michael Richards and Larry David don't want this released to DVD - too bad. I'd think it might be like The Velvet Underground - not that many people would see it but most people who did would start making their own shows.

Eh, well, maybe Michael will be looking for cash after the N-bomb incident and Larry will feel sorry for him, and maybe it will come out. And then, it will never be as special as our collective memories have made it, so maybe it should stay in the can.
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Watchers 4 (1998)
6/10
Not all -that- bad.
12 January 2007
I loved the book too, and yes it's not exactly a blockbuster level of quality but it's workable. The story has been refactored for frugality but the basics are still there.

The dog hits his marks and plays along, it's nice to have Hamill roll out the drama in something serious and Lisa Wilcox makes a sincere effort at the cheesecake part. The outsider is cheesy but let's face it, to create the outsider the way that Koontz wrote it you'd need $10 million worth of CGI and it would still look fake.

If you haven't read the book in a while you can enjoy the memory. This does have an oddly dated feel to it, but then it is nine years old.
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9/10
The Naked Kiss is one of the reasons why I love B movies
5 August 2006
B movies lack money so they have to compensate everywhere else; they take chances and risks and try to patch the holes with creativity. Most of them stink but there are a few true gems and this movie definitely belongs in the jewelry case.

This film is ostensibly about a hooker trying to go straight but it's really about the dark subcultures of our world which feed on the urges "normal" people must deny to maintain civilization.

Mainstream Hollywood loves the shiny parts of those subcultures, the random encounters, sexy young things and "pimps up, hos down" trappings of that darkness. But when it comes to showing the whole of the poisonous ecosystem, the popreligion-fueled evangelistas and their sycophantic bean counters in the MPAA and studio system have no interest in acknowledging, much less depicting, its existence.

The studios are happy to show you the yards of sweaty flesh and the figurative hunt/kill part of the act but the process someone goes through to try and get out of that world? Oh, that's a NC-17 art-house flick starring Jennifer Jason Leigh. The mainstream producers prefer to focus on what they think you want in a drama: achingly beautiful people living in penthouse apartments on a plumber's salary acting out plots lifted from "Search for Tomorrow". But what about real drama, the infinite and often-lost battle that stems from the eternal, fundamental conflict between what we wish and what we are? Save it for Sundance.

This movie is far from perfect but it gets so many points for originality and effort I'm giving it 9/10. It tells a difficult story with a very offbeat lead (a strong woman), a underused setting (I was one of those kids in the orthopedic ward for about a year in the mid-70s and when I saw them performing that odd yet haunting musical number I was really moved) and slightly unusual viewpoint and style (shoe-cam, the use of Beethoven, etc).

Constance Towers strikes the right note of bravery and inner strength without turning into a hard-hittin' miracle woman caricature and Grant strikes just the right note for playing a molester; despicable in action but also showing that basic human need to give and receive love, even in his twisted way. Griff moves the plot along, not the greatest acting chops but he hits the marks and reads the lines.

Definitely worth a rent. Check it out.
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King Kong (2005)
8/10
One aspect not much discussed in other comments...
26 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
-------- THIS COMMENT DEFINITELY CONTAINS SPOILERS

-------- STOP READING NOW OR DON'T CRY TO ME ABOUT IT

I liked the movie and with 226 comments can't really add to anything about the movie itself. I also haven't looked at every other comment so I might have missed some that discuss it.

Prelude: I am a schlubby white guy toiling away in a life of quiet desperation wageslavery. I have no agenda, I do not represent anyone, and I'm not trying to claim racism is endemic in America (at least not overtly).

Peter Jackson is a smart filmmaker and one of the great things about this movie is how it strikes a balance of large set pieces and quiet human characterization. The scene between Jimmy and Hayes about "Heart of Darkness" is a good example of the high quality of the storytelling in this movie.

BUT...

Why is it so hard for directors to make a movie with a noble or sympathetic black character in a major speaking role THAT SURVIVES THE FILM? I mean -come- -on-. Aside from "Dawn of the Dead" original (Ken Foree is The Man For All Time as far as I'm concerned) and Curtis in "24" (who wound up taking a bullet but surviving), most of the major studios films I see have a sympathetic minority character who is strong and capable and winds up getting offed like a punk.

What the hell? Is this some kind of Noble Minority Martyr syndrome? Does someone in Hollywood require this? Why is it that at the end of King Kong it's only a bunch of white people and Kong, who they all cooperate to kill? Choy dies, Hayes dies (bravely, nobly, but just as dead in the end).

Honestly, you can do better. It isn't so hard. Just once, one time, have one of the 900 other Caucasians in the film step in front of the bullet/monster/beam of light from outer space and save the life of your Noble Minority Martyr. Just once. You'll feel better, trust me.
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6/10
You could do better... or a lot worse.
12 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Summary: If you liked "Race With The Devil", this is about 2/3 as good but is worthwhile for fans of the genre to check out due to the somewhat unusual quality of its viewpoint and style.

It's cheaply made, exploitative...and a perfect representative of its genre. A few touches make it noteworthy if you live for the B-card: the funky surf-music soundtrack, a few surrealistic camera touches, the endless road scenes, the naked snakedance.

Of course it's also incoherent, saddled with a mechanically downbeat ending that totally betrays the setup of the beginning, and let's face it; when you have zero budget you save the werewolf effects for one or two scenes at the end of the movie.

Get the DVD and listen to the commentary track - the filmmakers talk about how there are about 6 "real" actors and everyone else is crew and actual bikers (this movie does get points for authenticity in look and feel) and it's entertaining to listen to them reminisce about making movies in those days and how the, um, "props" were 100% authentic and the movie was kind of a rolling party that they happened to bring some cameras to.

Like most things, the kind of thing you'll like if you like that kind of thing, that kind of thing in this case being crappy outlaw/devil movies from the 1970s. If you're a fan of the genre you'll like this, otherwise if you liked Easy Rider, Race with the Devil and Werewolf of Woodstock, and don't want to take the time to watch all of them, this is kind of a compressed verion of all three movies.
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6/10
This is what "24" needs more of.
18 January 2006
Think about it - Jack Bauer plus Julie K. Smith? Are you kidding me? The other networks might as well just show a test pattern in that timeslot.

Actually these movies are kind of entertaining if you think of it as the progeny of Russ Meyer making films for the post-cable generation. Not great art, not good art, not really even art, but certainly not the worst stuff in the world.

As another review said, you can watch it with the sound turned up and the plot isn't any more BS than what you'd see on 24.

Makes you miss the days of "Hard Ticket To Hawaii" and "Picasso Trigger". Better than two dustballs talking about their PSP.
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Oil Storm (2005 TV Movie)
And now Hurricane Katrina has dropped by...
30 August 2005
NO is flooded, oil platforms are drifting in the Gulf and oil just went over $70/barrel. And guess what? They can release all the crude they want - turns out the refineries are the weak link. It's like the old line-based games; you can have all the raw material you want, but if the processing capacity isn't there the raw material sits and waits. Hello, $3/gallon gas...

Huh. This show might be the "China Syndrome" of we-had-30-years-to-get-off-foreign-oil-but-gee-I-feel-safer-in-a-SUV self-delusion. I wonder if the makers feel vindicated or saddened. I wonder if F/X will reshow it.

The cascade of events in the movie is a little choreographed, but it is certain that other ports will have to pick up the slack, and they're operating at capacity as is, so that's part of the chain of events. Add in a cold winter, instability in Saudi, and who knows? They might show this as a documentary.
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The Incident (1967)
7/10
Bernie Goetz's amicus curiae
17 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I think Bernie probably saw this film. Two toughs terrorize a subway car until one person on the train, with no real interest in the situation and a handicap, stands up to fight them.

Someone said Martin Sheen had a great performance here - ?? Most of what he did was stand around and say "yeah baby" like his SNL appearance in the "Martin Sheen" hair product commercial. "You wouldn't hurt the environment, would you Martin?" "No way, baby".

Anyway, Tony Musante needs the credit because he's who makes the punks impossible to ignore and possibly dangerous enough to be feared. Some tough subjects for '67, homosexuality (watch how that guy acts in the bar again after you see this movie, or since you know about it it might be more obvious to you than it was to me at that point), race-baiting (I agree with Ebert's review that the black character's change of heart was more than ridiculous, he would have pulled a Jules Winnfield on them just to watch Whitey's expression change).

Still, very intense and well done, wish they showed this in high schools to lead discussions about who is (and should be) responsible for what in society. Yes, the characters are straight off the American Archetype Pez Dispenser, but they're -supposed- to be; they're placeholders for us to project our own feelings, not independent agents.
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4/10
Something's a little weird about this movie...
17 July 2005
It was released in '67 so let's say it was shot in 66. The sets and the tone of the movie seem to be from the 1950s, from the tight living room and hospital sets to the cops who look like they walked straight of 1956.

I don't know if they just relegated this production to a back lot or what but it seems to have been made in a different era. This might be a fun comparison with Faster Pussycat! some night if you've got the time for comparative film viewing.

It's not stupid or even especially bad, just corny, and it seems out of place for '67.
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Battleground (1949)
9/10
Need a history paper idea? Compare this movie with Band of Brothers...
4 June 2005
This is one of my top favorite movies of all time because it tells the story without loading up on SFX and subplots. This was the definitive Bastogne film until Band of Brothers came along (besides the ponderous "Battle of the Bulge").

It would be interesting if AMC would show this film and the BoB episodes back-to-back. BoB has the CGI with the exploding heads and whatnot and was made for the post-Vietnam generation who needed some explaining about what this was and why it meant something. Battleground was made in the time by and for people who lived through it. Those 1948 audiences didn't need to be told that Bastogne was cold, or that the 101st was cut off and surrounded or be shown what battle casualties looked like.

Even the combat scenes are interesting, because BoB shows so much detail about the injuries and the units while Battleground focuses on the soldiers just trying to make their way. In Battleground, there is one scene of hand-to-hand combat where a character rips out an enemy's throat with his teeth, but it's all shown as kicking boots and a wipe of the mouth.

I'm not criticizing BoB; it's a very reverent effort by Spielberg-Hanks to show modern Americans why those old guys at the parades deserve our nation's eternal gratitude. But that's just it; it's -reverent-. It takes the facts and, not inflates them so much as makes a lesson out of them. Battleground is more just telling one set of experiences from the war. BoB is a planned history lesson; Battleground is like reading a memoir from someone who was there.

Never been in it so I can't speak to the veracity of the depicted conversations, but I have worked plenty of jobs with long, boring nights spent with the same group of people (like I'm sure most of you have) and I can imagine that the infantry is not much different in that regard. You can find yourself talking about some pretty weird stuff and you may bitch and bicker but when it's time to go to work, you go.

Remember the study of WWII soldiers by S.L.A. Marshall; the vast majority of them said that the thing that kept them fighting when they were sick or tired or scared wasn't the flag or freedom; it was their buddies, the guys they spent all of their time with. Battleground shows you how the people of the time saw those relationships.

Anyway, great movie. Check it out.
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Barking Mad (1999– )
Great show!'
12 April 2005
As an American I find this show interesting all on its own culturally, because it shows real domestic life in England but the pet advice is fascinating too!

Premise: Mark and Philippa meet people who own pets with behavior problems. They (and several animal behavior specialists they have on call) work with the owners to address the problems.

The thing I like about this show is that they take the time to explain how what the pets are doing makes sense from the animal's perspective and what the owner needs to do to deal with it. Most of the incidents are sort of entertaining (the dog attacks the vacuum cleaner, the cat is licking himself bald, the female chinchilla can't stand the male chinch, etc) but sometimes they're pretty serious (like fear-biting dogs and horses who like to throw their riders).

I have learned something from every episode I've watched. Animal Planet is showing them at noon Central during the week, it's great if you tape it or don't mind Billy Mays SHOUTING ABOUT HIS CELL PHONE HOLDER EVERY FIVE MINUTES. It's from the late 90's but holds up well, Philippa is cute and watchable without being a cupcake and Mark makes the animal behavior understandable and interesting.

Check it out. Fun show to watch with the family. I wish American TV would copy these kind of English shows instead of the ones with weirdly tattooed media weasels sitting around sniping at each other.
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8/10
Interesting contrast with WWII movies
31 January 2005
Made while Korea was still an active conflict, this movie is interesting in its disregard for ideology. Most war movies made during a conflict (and especially those made during and about WWII, which had just ended six years before) make a point of talking about what they're fighting for.

This movie isn't interested in that. It's a soldier picture, conflict between enemies and between friends. It's easy to relate to the cross-section of guys; some are goof-offs, some are noble, some are incompetent. The enemy is cunning and relentless and the weather seems to be trying to kill you all on its own.

Good movie. Movies about the Korean War are interesting because they're so rarely about ideology. They're just about what war really is - ordinary people engaged in a killing contest.
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8/10
Nice use of archetypes.
6 January 2005
Other comments cover the quality; the interesting part is how the Germans identify the weaknesses of each man and play to them. I don't know if the Nazis were always as subtle as this (I imagine a lit cigarette to the groin or pulling out a few fingernails to a subject or his friends would encourage a frank and open discussion).

Good film, relatively propaganda free. It's interesting to watch the way American WWII propaganda treats the Germans as opposed to the Japanese. The Germans are usually portrayed as sophisticated and slimy while the Japanese are shown as little more than cunning animals. Compare "Identification of the Japanese Zero" with this film.

Watchable on its own terms, interesting to watch the Germans working on each guy in their own way and piecing together the scraps they get from each man to finding the whole story. I imagine the black-bag boys at Gitmo are doing much the same thing.
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Medium (2005–2011)
I'm rootin' for the show
4 January 2005
Patty Arquette is a cutie who takes the offbeat choices and I'm happy to see Jake Weber get a series after his fine turn in "Dawn of the Dead". Hopefully it will bring some of that law enforcement procedural thrill with some mysticism. Watching the Tivo recording for about half an hour and it looks tolerable.

The challenge will be to make the paranormal relevant while avoiding turning into "Beverly Hills Psychic" where she's some kind of omniscient force ala Eddie Murphy in the Beverly Hills Cop movies.

The promos are in waaaay too heavily but I'm still hoping it will find a niche.
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