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I need a little help.
20 January 2018
The Man In The High Castle, by Phillip K. Dick, is one of the most captivating books I have ever read. I literally found it difficult to stop reading in order to interact with my family and live my life. So I would dearly love to see the TV program, especially since it has received such good reviews here on IMDb.

But I can't actually review this show because I don't know how to view it!

What I'd like to know, please, fellow IMDbers, is this: can I buy some or all of "The Man In The High Castle" on DVD? I'm older than old school and I'm afraid that's the only way I'm ever going to see it.

A little help, please?

Pat Squire
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Legend (I) (2015)
1990's "The Krays" is a much better film
9 December 2017
I finally watched "Legend" in the hope that it might equal "The Krays" (1990) which is a very fine film. Unfortunately it falls far short of that lofty goal. Tom Hardy is excellent in his dual role which is, of course, a marvel of modern film technology. Both Krays appearing in the same scene, both facing the camera, played by one actor in seamless perfection is technically impressive.

However, the story telling is a.) uneven, b.) incredibly slow and boring at times, and c.) not nearly as insightful as "the Krays" and lacking the visceral impact of that powerful movie. Just reciting a series of historical facts and asking your lead actor to put some emotion in them, doesn't add up to good movie making. A lot of talent was wasted in the process, especially Tara Fitzgerald and Taron Egerton who were reduced to wallpaper roles. Emily Browning's impressive efforts in portraying poor love struck Frances are above par but they pale in comparison with those of Kate Hardie who played that role in the 1990 version.

I would have rated this movie higher than the 4 I gave it, if it were not for the odd stretches of prolonged dull scenes of, well, nothing. The 1990 original is much better on many levels.
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Hard driving fun movie
22 July 2017
So here I am *70 YEARS OLD* and I'm going to a DRIVE-IN movie for the first time in 42 years for really only one reason: the star is from my old home town. Dane DeHaan of Emmaus, Pennsylvania, who is Emmaus's first movie star in its 200-plus year history!

So what happens? There I am sitting forward in the seat of my pickup, riveted by the action which is smooth and makes good sense, and I find that I'm having to tell myself to sit back and relax! Frankly, at my age and having no background about the story beforehand, I couldn't follow some of the plot twists and turns. But that didn't matter because the movie flows beautifully and I just went with the flow. A lot of the theme and mood music is unusually effective, too. I'm glad I saw it. I enjoyed it and I think you will too.
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Nurse 3D (2013)
Camp humor, facetious and bloody
9 July 2017
Nurse 3D revives the camp genre that is so often misunderstood, as evidenced by the negative reviews we see here. Some people just don't get it. They've written their reviews as if they expected to see a movie of high drama, pathos and some kind of serious message. That isn't this movie!

On the other hand despite lots of nudity, some of it *very* graphic, Nurse 3D is hardly a sexy movie. It's a camp thriller and gore-fest that runs at a fast pace, unabashedly, self-consciously and with glee to a frantically gory ending with an intelligent twist in the closing scene. I'd say it lives up to its creators' aims admirably.
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Kontroll (2003)
If you CAN find it DO watch it.
21 January 2017
I've always remembered this movie since seeing it on late night American TV many years ago. It's so good that it has stuck with me (unlike the vast majority of movies I've seen). Details escape me now because it's been so long, but the enjoyment I got from it, the intensity of the story, the characters and direction were all of highest quality. Also, it's a good look at a style of film making we don't see much in the U.S.A. It ought to be required viewing in the curriculum of American film students.

I recommend it, and I have just rated it 9 out of 10. I have a personal collection of almost 1500 movies and I regret that Kontroll is not included in it. During the years that the big VHS/DVD rental stores were winding down I scoured the sale shelves looking for classics (I found the uncut original Killer Elite and Hopscotch among other treasures) but I never came across Kontroll. I wish I had.
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PARENTS BEWARE: slow, dark, scary
4 October 2016
I expected a nice, magical, brightly lit movie about special kids and a special teacher. I expected a story with some drama, lots of laughs, and probably a beneficial lesson or two. You know, "it's OK to be different" and that kind of thing.

WRONG! This is a *very slow-paced* dark, creepy movie that barely moves along and never seems to get very far. It's sure to frighten little kids, so parents be careful. Eventually it lulled me to sleep! Some very loud booming noises woke me up and I left without the slightest concern for how it might come out in the end.

This is not a happy-go-lucky children's movie at all.
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The Intern (I) (2015)
Humorless drama
16 October 2015
In its television advertising The Intern is made out to be a comedy of some sort, perhaps a rom-com, maybe a dram-com, but anyway a light-hearted movie full of laughs.

It is not.

The Intern is just a lukewarm drama with a very few laughs. What a shame. It has a story line which is rich with possibilities for humor. It could have been filled with moments of laughter and enjoyment. Instead it marches (at a v-e-r-y slow pace) right past many, many chances for delightful byplay between and among its characters. Wasted chances and wasted time. DeNiro was repressed and restrained by the director, so much so that this powerful, spectacular actor adds little to the movie by his presence. Again, what a shame.

It's hard to sum up my disappointment with this movie. 3 out of 10.
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Trainwreck (2015)
I walked out after 1 1/2 hours!
25 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is *not at all* the movie they're advertising.

I expected a hilarious, raunchy romp. What I got started off gross, although not very funny, but then it slowed down. Before long it became tedious, with some touching scenes with the father, which carried it along for a while.

By the 1-hour mark I was willing to stay but waiting for it to end. Then it really started to drag. It's like somebody said, "Let's make a really, really bad imitation Woody Allen movie without the comedy or the genius."

When I finally just couldn't stand another minute I got up and got out. I knew it must be near the end, but it didn't matter. I did not care what happened to the two protagonists *in the least.* UGH! LEMME OUTTA HERE!

***SPOILER*** I don't actually have a spoiler, my whole review is a spoiler. The movie makers seemed to get desperate after the 1/2-way point. They threw in random scenes, apparently trying to spice it up, but oh, my, are they dumb.

Lebron James is a big surprise. He is good, and funny, and fresh. Tilda Swinton's prodigious talents are curiously wasted. Marv Albert, Chris Evert and Matthew Broderick must cringe at the very thought of what they had to put on the screen to get their paychecks.

Trainwreck is a very surprising huge disappointment.
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St. Vincent (2014)
5-stars only
6 November 2014
I've never done this before, but I'm rating this movie at 5 stars exactly. It is perfectly mediocre. The bad, boring, dull, predictable parts perfectly balance the good, nice, mildly heartwarming parts. Nothing more can be said of it than that.

I wish Bill Murray would stop proving how great an actor he is, and start having fun again. He's a lot of fun when he's fun. He's a genius at comedy, and a good actor. Give us the comedy, PLEASE! Just as I am not the 68 years of age my birthdate indicates (I'm actually about 22) so Bill Murray is not the 64 his birthdate says he is. To me he's about 25, but I'll bet he thinks more along the 22 line also.

So please, Mr. Bill Murray, stop acting your age! Give us some more funny! Please!
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A great film, wonderfully written and acted
25 May 2014
I never understood the appeal of Albert Brooks as an actor, until now! He and Leelee Sobieski are marvelous in this movie, and their chemistry and interaction make the movie a joy.

I watch it every couple of years, and I make sure to give myself a solid block of quiet time in which to enjoy it. It's that good. The dialog is witty and insightful. Once you get to know Leelee's character you pick up on her delightfully wry humor. She misses nothing about the world around her, but she keeps her rapier-like analysis of it all mostly to herself. Fortunately she comes to know some characters to whom she can reveal herself. It's all about intelligence and acuity, and she's lucky (anybody is) to make some good, smart friends.

I rate My First Mister a 10 out of 10, and I do not hesitate to recommend it to my friends, and to you readers.
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American Gun (2005)
A political diatribe
8 February 2014
Whenever Hollywood decides to "teach America what it should think" the result is a lousy movie. And this waste of time is really a lousy movie. Why sacrifice an hour and a half of your life being lectured to by a film, when you could just read a Handgun Control, Inc. leaflet and get just as much misinformation? But at least you can see this one coming a mile away. Sometimes Hollywood's elite moralizers sneak the message in without letting on that it's a "message movie." I really hate it when that happens. "The Adjustment Bureau" (2011), I think it was, ended with an endless lecture about personal choice and personal responsibility, taking a merely goofy movie right down the drain.

I can't recommend this one AT ALL. I'd give it a "0" but IMDb will only let me rate it a 1.
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The Blacklist (2013– )
Yes, off to a great start
24 September 2013
James Spader is the most interesting actor in America, bar none. So casting him as the lead in this tense new drama was genius. Instead of the terrific Mary Elizabeth Winstead we get Megan Boone, a relative newcomer who has that same indomitable look and so far is up to the task.

Right now it's hard to figure if Spader's character is just out for himself or Doing Good For The World.

The action is bang-bang and first rate. The plot is slightly formulaic, but the evolution of the mysteries (and the glimpses we got in the pilot) seems to be high-caliber, high-concept and well executed. Lots of promise. I intend to keep watching! If you missed the pilot catch it sometime before Episode 2.

The only slip in the writing was a measure of unnecessary cuteness when the voice-over called Spader "the concierge of crime." Since the rest of the writing is excellent, let us hope this is the only gaffe.

Oh, and as usual they goofed the firearms action. An agent fires two shots from his automatic pistol and then it's empty with the slide locked open and the barrel exposed. Hollywood hires expert professional gun handlers, so why don't they take their advice?
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Ray Donovan (2013– )
Hoped it would be good - WRONG
8 July 2013
OK, so it's a jumbled mess, far too convoluted and confusing to even try to take it seriously. But worse, it's mean-spirited. Nastiness in about every-other scene. No, make that two out of three scenes.

I'd hoped it would show us the talents of Liev Schreiber to advantage, and that he would carry the show along in an entertaining way. Instead he's a closed-mouth, terse, laconic character who is about as frozen as a Popsicle. He's a great actor, but in this show the director reins him in so tightly that his prodigious talents are wasted.

They surround him with a huge ensemble cast, the result being that we get about one total minute of this guy, two total minutes of that guy (chopped up in pieces throughout), and Elliott Gould mumbling Yiddish and stumbling around fully clothed in the surf. OY!

Wanting a good new series to watch, I pinned my hopes on Ray Donovan. I might better have pinned a tail on a donkey. It would have been more fun.
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Yuck (spoilers)
18 January 2013
I went to see an Oscar nominated comedy. I got a grown man punching his mother in the face with a vicious sweeping elbow and knocking her flat. I got the man's father pushing him down, landing on top of him and beating him with his fists, slapping him and screaming at him. Oh yeah, people in the audience were rolling in the aisles laughing. In every scene there was nothing but tension and conflict. I kept waiting for it to turn around, for the "good parts" to show up, but they never did. OK, here's a pleasant break, let's see what happens now. Oh no, this is worse than before. On and on like that.

You want to make a movie about mental illness, fine. You want to bill it as a heartwarming comedy, NOT fine.
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The Debt (I) (2010)
Too bad........
31 August 2011
Sorry folks, but not much joy in this brief review. Ciaran Hinds is great, as usual, but there's little inspiration in the rest of the cast. Kudos to Jessica Chastain, who plays the young version of Helen Mirren. She's all that saved her half of the movie.

Shaky-cam, ultra-closeups and jagged, quick cuts are the sign of a director who says, "I don't know to create tension in a scene, I know I'm a buffoon when it comes to staging an action sequence, but maybe if I make it unwatchable, if they have to divert their eyes, nobody will notice." It's all in here and it works, you can't watch what should be the exciting parts.

I could go on and on, but I'll stop with the slowness of the movie. It's excruciatingly slow for long periods. I almost left two or three times but finally, after what seemed like forever, there was a twist which led eventually to a rather mundane ending.

The good parts, and there are a few including a slam-bang beginning, are too few and far between. The old Nazi, alas, is mostly squandered, with only brief hints of what could have been high drama.

I can't recommend this movie; I wish I had my two hours back.
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Depressing anti-romance
31 July 2011
Some Hollywood writer who's been burned at love decides, "Hey, if I have to be miserable, I'm gonna make everyone around me miserable too." Thus is born Crazy, Stupid, Love.

But to sucker the public into the theaters they have to market it as a rom-com, so the stars do the publicity tours and call it a wonderful, funny movie. Then you go see it hoping to get what's been advertised, but it soon takes a turn away from the nice, funny story it starts as and harps endlessly about infidelity, child porn, the futility of trying to get back together and the hopelessness of life.

Against all this negativity and depravity they throw in some really ham handed slapstick (the actors must have been embarrassed while they shot some of these scenes) and a cute kid, the boy who plays Robbie and steals the show, and some surprise twists. A twist is OK, it spices up a movie, but you know they're desperate when they put in another surprise twist, and then another one, and then another one.

And then they end it all with a lecture delivered by the leading man, whose embarrassment at delivering the lines seems to go beyond acting to reality.

I tried to give this movie a 3 rating because of the humor, which is good in places, but I just couldn't. On the IMDb scale of 10 it gets a 2.

There are Tragedies and there are Comedies, and if you are one of those people who likes Tragedy I guess you'll probably think this movie is OK. It's pretty much the opposite of a romantic comedy.
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Laugh out loud film, great acting
7 January 2011
A preliminary comment: I just don't understand all these bad reviews. Are these reviewers the same people who flock to Jason Statham movies, Angelina Jolie movies and SAW movies?

OK, it's not the greatest rom-com ever, but it has four superior points going for it, and they more than carry the day.

1. There are dozens of great, even laugh-out-loud lines in it, written by some very smart, funny people. And all the characters get their share, and deliver them perfectly. Great writing like this makes a movie delightful and delicious.

2. This is the best acting by Jack Nicholson in years and years. He's at the top of his form and a pure joy to behold. It's a performance like his in this movie that inspires people to want to become actors, to try to emulate what he can accomplish when he's at his very best. I'll see this movie again just to watch his subtle, emotional, wonderful elevation of his character far beyond the highest expectations and hopes of the writers and director.

3. Owen Wilson. For years he's just cruised through role after role delivering lines, relying on his smirk and physical presence to carry him, and becoming one of the most boring actors in the business. Here he absolutely shines. He acts! He acts the simpleton, but with the simplest of deliveries, and with a control and restraint (that seem new to him) which are perfect for his character. Wilson is challenged to play a purely straightforward, intelligent, friendly, honest, clueless misogynist, and he carries it off like aces. He doesn't go for a laugh once, but is the funniest thing about this whole funny film.

4. Kathryn Hahn. WOW! What a tour de force by an actress who has spent so long delivering straight lines to carry stories along. If Owen Wilson shines, then Kathryn Hahn must be the very sun itself. Her part is limited but she throws off sparks in every scene she's in. There are many highlights in this film, and all her scenes are among them. I quickly found myself waiting and hoping for her next appearance.

And frankly, while I'm not giving them their own numbered paragraphs, Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd, who have the workhorse roles and the responsibility for carrying this movie on their shoulders, really come through. She in particular looks great, better than ever, and they both give natural performances with difficult lines. These two are starting to put their contemporaries in the shade, blow their doors off, leave them in the dust, outdistance them by furlongs, etc., etc., etc.

So let the moron reviewers have their say, but close your ears to their ignorance. This is not the best romantic story since Adam and Eve, but it's good and it's funny and it'll soon be one of the staple features in all the acting schools in America.
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Predators (2010)
One hell of a monster movie!
27 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is a first-rate movie made to the highest standards all the way. It addresses its status as a sequel in all the best ways, and at the same time forges ahead into new ground, new adventures and new characters.

It's also a subtle film, filled with homages, probably more than I caught, because they are so low key. They are just in there for us to see, not trumpeted with splashy fanfares. If you keep your eyes open for them they add a lot of enjoyment and richness to an already high quality film. The story was thoroughly developed, crafted, revised and thought through. It shows the depth and refinement of a good collaborative effort between the writers.

So what's all this highbrow analysis doing in the review of a monster movie? Well, this is one hell of a monster movie! It works on all levels. It's certainly a slam-bang action movie. It challenges fans of the original movies (You think predators are bad? Welcome to the home planet, where they've got predators that hunt predators!) and delivers it all with proper respect, and in a logical way.

And then the twists. I think there are two big ones, you may think there are more. And when it comes to one big revelation, even though it doesn't take long, it's executed in full scale glory, spectacular as can be, and it stands up to and surpasses the similar scenes we've been treated to in many, many space epics since the beginning of sci-fi.

I was hoping for an interesting story, a bunch of human killers, each one different but the elite in their own ways, pitted against those tough, wily, technically superior predators. I just hoped it wouldn't be flat, predictable and boring. What I got was a nice big surprise: a class- A film that draws on the originals, delivers creative new developments, has a well thought out story line, good acting and great directing. All you could ask for and more in a good old fashioned monster movie.
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The modern, unwatchable, movie...
5 July 2009
What a shame. Of all directors, Michael Mann, who has proved that he can make good films again and again, goes off the deep end. Maybe he feels he's getting old and wanted to prove he can use the hippest, grooviest new style just like the young people do.

Whatever his reasons, he has rendered an unwatchable movie, coalescing all the worst techniques into one long aggravating disaster. Shaky-cam, jerky-cam, bumpy-cam, jitter- cam. Long, lingering ultra-closeups obscuring high tension action sequences. Disgustingly self-indulgent directing in which Mann as much as says, yeah, there's a lot going on back there but I'm not showing it to you. I'm showing this part of a guy's face, and that's all you get to see.

The movie hardly tells any story at all. There are long, elaborate sequences of events that NEVER HAPPENED IN DILLINGER'S LIFE. Important characters in Dillinger's life go unnamed in the movie, events are shown and not explained so today's audience misses their significance. And so little story is told, that it's as if Mann thinks he's made a film for a new generation audience who don't care to know anything about the people and events, all they want is the barest thread leading from action sequence to action sequence.

And maybe he's right. This may be the wave of the future, unwatchable movies that don't tell a story about famous names from our past, names everybody recognizes but nobody remembers much about, so writers can be free to make up anything at all and not be tied down to actual events. Wonderful.

I spent about a third of this abomination with my eyes actually closed, trying to avoid a headache. Most of the rest was marginally viewable and deadly dull. I actually reviewed all the teams in the NFL for a while trying to think of the answer to a TV game show question, "Name two of the 5 NFL teams named for birds." The contestant got the Cardinals and the Eagles so the show didn't show the other 3. I got the Falcons and Seahawks right away, but not number 5. Two days later, during this movie, I took the time to review all the teams geographically starting in New England and going counterclockwise through the northern states, down the west coast, across to Florida and finally up the east coast to the Baltimore Ravens. That's almost the whole NFL, and it provided a nice vacation from the dreck on the screen.
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The Delphi Bureau (1972–1973)
A fave TV show (not to be judged on one episode)
22 August 2008
Wow! The commenter who called this show "dull" based on viewing a single episode was way off base.

This was one of the first intelligent series! It had a highbrow star, Laurence Luckenbill, who was *supposed to be* not your typical action hero. He was a genius with a photographic memory, but he had little experience in the ways of the world, the ways of spies, and certainly the nefarious ways of Bad Guys.

Not only was the concept intelligent, the execution was all that and funny, too. I remember clearly the hero getting into as much trouble as any action hero ever can, being chased around a field of crops by a guy in a harvester whose blades threatened to chew him up. He kept dodging around until finally he ended up hanging from the undercarriage, bumping along while the driver tried to figure out where he'd gone. Suddenly his perfect memory kicks in as he examines the machine from below. Technical diagrams go through his head and he sees a hydraulic line within easy reach. Aha! He can disable the threat! So he gets out his pocket knife and cuts through the rubber hose. But when he does the black liquid squirts out and gets him right in the face! Sure, he was brilliant, but he couldn't think things through with any kind of common sense.

They had a lot of fun with the concept, and Luckenbill was just the right man to star in the role. The rest of the cast and the guest stars each week, as you can see here on IMDb, reads like a who's who of the top actors of the time.

This was a first rate, light hearted TV show, and I think it helped pave the way from Dragnet and Gunsmoke to the modern era of much better programming.
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Next (2007)
Far more than I expected
5 May 2007
Next is a much better movie than I expected to see, having read some of the reviews which called it disjointed and silly. Quite to the contrary, I found it deeply absorbing. I quickly picked up on the elements which must have caused some reviewers to accuse it of being disjointed, and began enjoying them. Of course silliness is part of any sci-fi story, we suspend our critical senses in that regard or we do not become sci-fi fans.

I single out one performer among a fine cast. Julianne Moore has really established herself as *the* deadpan action queen. She was a better Agent Starling than Jody Foster was, and she's a terrific, dominant presence in this film. Kudos to her for propelling herself to the top of a tough genre. She makes films more interesting to watch, by dint of her strong performances.

I read Phillip K. Dick's "The Golden Man" many years ago and still remember a lot of it. When I first began hearing about this movie I immediately flashed to it and wondered if this was a movie of that intriguing story. The answers are "yes" and "no." "The Golden Man" is a much more ordinary story, but with resounding insights on the consequences of his existence. And his skin was a compellingly attractive rich golden hue, which helped make him irresistible to women. None of that fits this new story, and was properly omitted.

What is translated so well from the written page to the screen is the government's intense interest in him (although for different reasons), its efforts to get him under official control, and the exceeding difficulty of doing so. And of course, the story ends in a wholly different way than the movie, a very satisfying and inevitable conclusion that bolsters Mr. Dick's reputation for opening the future to us.

*** OK, ONE LITTLE SPOILER ALERT *** READ NO FURTHER (unless you don't mind) ***

I just have to add, the flurry of action sequences which come like a staccato rendition of The Flight Of The Bumblebee during his escape from custody, is thoroughly delectable and brought more than one involuntary "Ha!" from the audience I saw it with, including from me. It's one of the tastiest treats in the film.

And finally, yes, I too wish I knew who the heck these terrorists were and what the heck they were trying to accomplish with their nefarious plot. But I guess that's the brave new world we live in. We just don't get to hear the bad guys' dialogue, their reasons for doing the things they do. In that way Next is giving us another insight, not dropping us cold as others have complained. The only legitimate beef I agree with is the entirely unnecessary and just plain goofy Nicholas Cage business during the final pursuit. It looks like it must have been an idea of somebody too high up among the moguls to deny, but it is a definite distraction causing "Huh? What?" moments when the action is at its most intense.

All in all, a feather in everybody's cap and a movie I fully recommend without reservation. Drama, humor, really fine action sequences, twists, great characters. As baseball great Yogi Berra once said, " Don't miss it if you can."
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Grindhouse (2007)
It Was Not Very Good...Then It Went Downhill
7 April 2007
I was not prepared for these movies to be SO BAD!

The critics supposedly liked Tarantino's half, Death Proof, better than Rodriguez's Planet Terror, so I was hoping for a lift during phase two. Uh-uh. Tarantino's film is mostly sheer boredom confused with some truly nonsensical plot twists and spiced up with "action" sequences that drag on and on and on. The Dukes Of Hazzard did it better every week. People in the audience started walking out after about 10 minutes, and the trend continued almost to the end of the movie. One time a whole group got up together and left, it was that dull.

Speaking of homages there are a lot of them, some of which are so obscure that I'll explain a couple. The three names on the drink cup, Automatic Slim, Fat Ed and T-Bird were bad guys in a terrific Vietnam revenge movie called Rolling Thunder (1977) starring William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones as returned American POW's. According to the IMDb's Trivia entry for Rolling Thunder, "Quentin Tarantino said that this film was his favorite vengeance-movie. 'I saw it on a double feature with 'Enter the Dragon,' and it's better than 'Enter the Dragon,'' Tarantino said." If you can find a copy, I recommend you buy it and watch it in one sitting with few distractions. It's a classic. Luke Askew, one of the all-time underrated bad guys of film, plays Automatic Slim.

The other comes from a movie called Telefon (1977) which is a Charles Bronson CIA vs KGB action adventure, in which Donald Pleasance triggers secret agents with the Robert Frost lines, "The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep." There are lots more.

The fake trailers, called "Previews" on screen just like in the 1970's are the best little bits, but that's the problem, they're just little bits. I liked "Machete" the best but they're all good and they're all pretty hilarious.

Planet Terror is the better half of this twin-bill, but that's not saying much. It certainly has a cast that's head and shoulders better, and it's much better acted (although Kurt Russell does his usual amazing job in Death Proof). Plus the story is coherent with a beginning, a middle and an end, and the plot is well developed. It's just not very good. In its favor it has one or two real surprises and a good deal of humor.

If this is a must-see for you, fine, go see it. But if you're on the fence having trouble deciding, save your money and your three hours plus. If you're a real fan of good movies and good movie-making, wait for Rodriguez's next effort. As for Tarantino, he's going to have trouble digging himself out of this hole. Death Proof actually makes me wonder if the years of excess have gotten to him.
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Ghost Rider (2007)
Pretty bad, pretty good, pretty cheesy and sometimes...
26 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
...and sometimes incredibly boring. I actually went out to put more butter on my popcorn. Believe me, I didn't miss anything important.

If you had a really low roller-coaster you could call this movie a roller-coaster ride. It goes from bad to worse a lot more often than it rises to anything like good, so don't envision riding on a roller-coaster that has any real high points.

When Walt Disney's animators were just learning their trade, working out the kinks 60 or 70 years ago and more, they were doing a better job than the people who superimposed those demonic faces on the faces of the actors in this movie. Where was the director, or any decision maker, to say, "That looks amateurish, if you can't do it better we'll get somebody who can."? So once you've been subjected to that clownishness, the fire effects just don't dazzle. They probably would, they're pretty good, in a better made film, but here they're dragged down to ordinariness by the rest of the production.

The story was so laughable, and a lot of the acting, too, that I finally started to realize this was supposed to be high camp (or low camp) like the old Get Smart TV show or the Naked Gun movies. But then, no, it turned out they were really trying to make a movie. It was just bad. And then they inserted scenes that dragged along agonizingly, at which point our roller-coaster descended to lows that were actually below ground and rolled up out of them so slowly you thought it'd never, ever make it, ever.

There were some lovely turns by Peter Fonda, Sam Elliott and Donal Logue, although the director suppressed their performances like a novice throwing his weight around. If he'd let these fine actors put a little something into their scenes it would have been an enormous improvement.

It seemed like nobody who had to scream in agony (there's plenty of that) knew how and there were no acting coaches available. The screams and the faces the actors made were laughable and were part of the reason I thought the whole thing was a put-on for a while.

It's just a comic book adaptation. I know. But Aeon Flux and even Elektra were done with so much style and imagination. Couldn't these people have tapped into at least a little of that? Didn't they watch Sin City and see how CGI should really be used?

I'm not saying don't go see this movie. If you're a Ghost Rider fan you'll look beyond most of the lame stuff as much as you can. And no matter who you are, please go ahead and get your free popcorn and drink refills at just about any point in the movie. When you get back you can find out what you missed from the guy in the next seat. If he's not asleep.
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The Associates (1979–1980)
Dear IMDb: Your listing is in error
25 November 2006
Dear IMDb:

In the listing for the American TV show entitled "The Associates" (1979), which you enumerate as tt0078563, you are missing the ENTIRE principal cast. This was made up of the following actors:

Short, Martin (I) as Tucker Kerwin; Regalbuto, Joe as Eliot Streeter; Mills, Alley as Leslie Dunn; Smith, Shelley (I) as Sara James; Thomerson, Tim as Johnny Danko; Hyde-White, Wilfrid as Emerson Marshall

I can't find any other way to tell you that you should correct this omission. I hope you read these comments.

This was a fine, funny TV program. It was the first wide exposure for Tim Thomerson, who was hilariously hip and cool, and for the sensationally beautiful Shelley Smith. But the man who stole the show was Wilfrid Hyde-White as the senior partner whose off the wall reminiscences always ended with an unexpected kicker that usually left you rolling on the floor.

I don't suppose there will ever be a way for those of us who watched and laughed at this show to see it again, or for the unfortunate millions who never had the chance. More's the pity, for it was first class entertainment. But I hope at least that IMDb can correct the credits problem.
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Nasty Boys (1990– )
One of the worst shows that ever made it to the TV screen
6 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
These people went absolutely the whole Hollywood hog. It was almost, but not quite, laughable. They strained to be oh, so hip and oh, so cool. The dialog was ludicrous, seeded deliberately with "cool" lines that sounded phony and were often not even appropriate to whatever action was on screen.

But wait, there's more. They preached PC! The writers adopted Politically Correct causes and wrote scripts around them! You almost wanted to puke. In one episode, the only one I could make myself watch all the way through, the cool, hip Nasty Boys got nasty on some illegal gun runners. At the end they swooped down on the bad guys, caught them red handed doing the deal (without a shot fired, of course; can't show anybody getting hurt) and when everyone had surrendered they said something like, "All right you guys, get out of here and don't you ever do anything like this again. It's a good thing we got here in time. Now we can get these guns off the street." They arrested the guns and let all the criminals go!

It was a classic, all right, a shining example of Hollywood PC claptrap.
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