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Community (2009–2015)
Lots of laugh with an underlying sickness
29 October 2017
This show can be hilarious, often, but it's got an ISIS-like attitude underneath that rears its head occasionally. One of the best (or worst) examples is the "Glee" episode where they argue for getting Jesus into public schools. Even worse was the documentary episode where Abed took over Shirley's idea and played Jesus in his own film. At the end Shirley stormed in and smashed thousands of dollars worth of equipment in the name of the lord. Some people claim they want to fight against Sharia laws but then when it's Christian laws they are gung-ho about it. Well, institutionalized, politicized religions are repressive by nature.

When a TV show endorses destruction of property and violence for religious reasons, we are in dark times.
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A lot of great special effects, ruined by a dumb thesis
29 August 2017
Like many classic films, the pace is slow and takes awhile to get going. There are some amazing special effects for the era. But ultimately, like the Canticles of Liebowitz (novel), it's undone by the final act that reveals a very old, uninteresting idea. Only goes to show how much anguish, fear, and suffering the world comes from people believing in the most far-fetched stone-age ideas. Totally unnecessary.
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Ex Machina (2014)
This movie is not about AI
27 August 2017
Yes, the dialog is a bit stilted but not as revelatory as you may expect. But once you realize what the film is really about, everything will make sense, and the ending that leaves so many viewers dissatisfy will turn out to be far more perfect, and far more twisted, than they realized. How much you understand this film depends on how gender biased you are. There's an excellent explanation of the film (with SPOILERS, of course) on Quora dot com that you can easily find through your favorite search engine (). But you will SPOIL the whole film if you read it before watching the movie.
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Not like the Godfather. Better.
25 March 2016
OK, the plot, the directing, etc. aren't as good. But it sticks with reality and paints a lease glamorized vision of the mob than Hollywood it the streets like to depict. The ending is logical, doesn't flinch from either side. It's almost funny the mobster review slammed this film as government propaganda. Obviously he doesn't have a brain or just skipped the last five minutes.

I'd like to remind everyone that no federal eyewitness who followed protocols have ever been killed by the people they informed on.

The only quibbles I have are with the actions being pushed towards the end, so the climax was a bit rushed. But then, that is what happens when the Family finds out that it's found out.
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Romantic movie for the religious
22 November 2015
I had a feeling this movie wasn't as good as some people made it out to be. You really have to be religious to enjoy this movie from beginning to end. It's very simple, predictable, even vacuous, if you're a bit skeptical.

The brilliant female surgeon, who spots an angel, was made to renounce all her scientific beliefs, even training. She was reduced to asking what her roles or actions meant if people died on God's schedule.

The answer may have been glossed over a little, but the movie did not offer any alternative. The answer was most emphatically not much.

That's the kind of attitude that you need to enjoy this movie. Otherwise, stop after the first half an hour.
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The Prophet (2014)
A children's movie (is the book like that?)
6 September 2015
I have a feeling, although this movie is more philosophical and only mentions God a little, that religious people may find this film revelatory, despite the extremely simple messages that you've heard many times elsewhere.

The poetry's nice, the songs melodic, the animation's pleasurable, and the voice-over is very well done. So it's worth a view on TV or something, and maybe the book (which obviously don't have the songs) is worth a read.

But the movie itself really has only enough materials for children or the simple-minded.
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Remington Steele: License to Steele (1982)
Season 1, Episode 1
The plot is so sweet
1 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I'm sure there are flaws, but besides praising the plot, can I just say, Laura Holt was so smitten at the end.

And that makes me forget whatever imperfections there were, if any.

The way Laura wanted to know if "he" will call, and disappointed when told "he won't". The way, after she ushered the client into "Mr. Steele's office" and hearing him greet "Mr. Steele", she was so happy she didn't know what to do, and her smile when she saw "Mr. Steele" sitting at the desk.

It all seemed so perfect a start.

Wow, I'm smitten too.
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Agora (2009)
This is a work of fiction
6 February 2011
So it's comedy to accuse it of "inaccuracies".

No one ever has claimed this is the true story of Hypatia. It's not perfect, and it's not for everyone, but like Agora said, question everything. Including this movie.

It's not like early Christians didn't slaughter women and children of the unbelievers. It's not like they didn't chase out the Jews. It's not like they didn't murder one of the brightest female (and human) minds ever.

If you're so focused on defending your faith, maybe you've missed the whole point of the movie.

So get over it.
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Forget the "Lifetime Movie" tag
10 October 2010
Lifetime movies have a certain reputation, and when I saw it in the name of the movie, currently available on Hulu, I was going to pass it up. But the title was atypical and intriguing, so I looked it up on IMDb and saw a good review (although I thought it was rated 5 at the time, and now it's apparently at 7; mystery). I decided to give it a try, and was very pleasantly surprised.

The acting was, for the most part, fantastic. The camera-work was competent, and the story intricate. The dialog is well-written and when I thought I figured it out, there was another twist. It was very well worth the time.
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Controversial - actress forced to perform for film?
26 June 2009
According to the article at, one of the actors in the film, Carina Lau, was forced to appear in this movie for free. She was the victim of an infamous kidnapping shortly before this movie was made, and later photos of her in distress were published in a magazine, which has since been forced to shut down and its publisher sent to jail. The actress denies she was assaulted but there was a movie leaked on net that allegedly showed her being gang-raped. (The Hong Kong press, out of respect for her, has mostly refused to report on the incident, but google will turn up a few articles about it.)
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State of Play (2009)
A must-see for the American public
26 April 2009
Character-wise, this movie doesn't have the complex figures of the best political thrillers. Dialogs are the brightest. Editing is great and the music's appropriate without being too prominent. But those are small quibbles when it comes to one of the most honest major features to come out in a long time. You'll hardly know where the facts end and where the fiction begins, because so much of it, barely obscured by a change of name, is real. As much a fiction this movie is, it may as well be a documentary.

I watched this in a mostly empty theater on a Sunday night. Americans, they told you so.
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Sands of Oblivion (2007 TV Movie)
Not as bad as the rating suggests
26 December 2008
I'm rating this movie based on the average tripe that shows up on Scifi, often unfit for the name of the channel. Having said that, this is still an enjoyable escape for an afternoon or evening.

The plot is quite original, and it's a shame it wasn't used in a major feature production. Still, the plot was fast-moving and not too hole-y. And while it was a budget production, the effects were very serviceable and did not detract from the film. The second-to-final fight scene, in particular, sums that up. It has to be seen to be believed.

Having two leads from the Firefly cast didn't hurt, either. So it was a real surprise to find it getting 3.7 on IMDb. I think a bit of it has to do with a question posted on the message board here: what's an Egyptian God, "a false god", doing with the Ten Commandments?

If you're not a fundamentalist like that, I think you can enjoy this film.
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Rock Monster (2008 TV Movie)
Dumb characters ruin a non-story
8 June 2008
The story is not predictable, because you can describe it in a short paragraph. The rest of it was simply filler - a guy trying to walk to another town after failing to do so in a car and seeing it destroying two vehicles; the rock monster being blown to the ground after hitting a car with its fist and making it explode, but not at the least bit affected by a grenade; the monster throwing trees and cars around at attackers, but does nothing except getting stabbed by a guy coming at it with a sword. that sort of thing.

I don't want to call anyone names, but I think the only people that calls this movie good is either involved in the production, or, well, let's not go there.
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Beautiful country, ugly nations
6 April 2008
"Ryan's Daughter" is a story about Ireland, and an unwitting one of religion. It is difficult otherwise to portray scenes of a man being blown away by a shotgun from behind, crawling vainly away, or of women and children picking up ammunition and dynamites.

The plot revolves around Rose, a young woman who married her idol, local schoolteacher Charles Shaughnessy. She discovered on her wedding night that he is, well, frigid in bed. When a young English major arrived in town, predictable problems arose.

Father Hugh, described as sympathetic, helpful, and heroic, slapped Rose when she asked for more from her passionless marriage. This action, ultimately, made those of the protagonists inevitable.

The scenery is fantastic, however, with giant waves crashing against rocks on the beach, sun set over the horizon, grasses over the rolling hills. If only it could compensate for the formulaic, leaden script.

To be humane, the writers allowed Charles, the husband, to be understanding and offer half of their property when he realized how much Rose and the major were in love. In reality, Ireland did not remove its constitutional ban on divorces until 1996, in a move opposed by no political party, but the Catholic Church and Mother Teresa, who flew half way around the world to campaign against such an immoral act.

Without religious admonitions to the contrary, men and women would discover more about each other before committing to lifelong contracts.

And what of the political and military conflicts underlying the Irish story? They were not struggles for democracy. They were caused simply because one group, the Protestants, historically held the upper hand, but eventually another, the "Irish" would have it no more. Indeed, a more accurate description would describe the conflicts as between those two religious groups, not the English or Irish. After all, Northern Ireland would not have been a problem if there weren't those, the Irish Protestants, who had little problem with British rule.

And so without religions, most of the conflicts portrayed by this movie would have frittered away.

Oh yes, the acting is quite wooden, in no small part due to the one-dimensional characters.

You may wish to fast-forward through the scenes and immerse in the visuals. Five years and $12 million, that's what it took.
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OK, what's the point?
3 April 2008
I like drama. I like deep emotions and great acting. This movie has some of the former and much of the latter. But at the end, you'll still be wondering why Muriel, a virtually flawless woman (except for, if you want to put it that way and as far as I can tell, a physically weak kid), want to put in all that work into restoring the life of Macon. It's not even that the death of his own child led to a cocooned life; it turns out all his siblings are like that, if not more so. In real life, a very attractive woman like Muriel is not going to put in that effort to transform a man, because if she does it for one why wouldn't she do it for all the others? I find the supposed blossoming romance totally unrealistic. Like Macon realized, he's no catch, while she's the best thing that could ever come along. And that's the way it would have stayed - in real life. She had to do all the work to get him to open up, literally giving her body in the process to do so. It was all give and no take. Ain't gonna happen, my friend.
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Arctic Tale (2007)
Must-see climate change film for young and old (spoiler at the end)
30 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I wasn't going to comment on this film, but seeing the negative reactions of so many on this site, I couldn't let them have the say.

Yes, this is not a true documentary, and it shouldn't have been presented as such. It's a melodramatic, overly so at some points. It is not as high-quality as some people would like, or demand. But it saddens my heart that that's what they care about, because in their overzealous want for entertainment, they forget the problem they produce.

What's more crass than blaming the bears and walruses for becoming extinct? Never before in the history of Earth has one species destroyed, and continues to destroy the habitats of almost all major animals in the world, except those that have been domesticated or useful in some way. Volcanoes and asteroids may have led to the extinction of huge numbers of species at regular intervals; one group - the dinosaurs - may have dominated the world and probably made certain animals extinct. But it was a natural world. New species arise where others fall.

When we have melted - judging from the negativity here, it's a matter of when - the frozen poles, we not only have destroyed mighty species like polar bears to the history book, we'll have made sure that nothing but much smaller and less unique ones will fill their place. Evolution doesn't take decades to produce replacement. It needs hundreds of thousands, millions of years, and with human depopulation of the natural world, nothing will have the chance to do so.

This film should have made skeptics think twice and change their ways. That it fails to do so in so many cases shows what humans are capable of, not in compassion, or generosity, but in greed, self-importance, and apathy.

*spoiler* The walrus that gave its life for a "kid" walrus probably would have done better were it as "intelligent."
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Carolina Moon (2007 TV Movie)
Better than your average TV movie
16 March 2008
Once it started rolling I forgot this is a TV movie, until I chanced upon the IMDb page and started reading the comments. I'm very surprised to see a few very negative comments about this film. It may not be the perfect supernatural thriller or mystery story, but it's got great acting and some beautiful actresses, which let's face it, does help, and I'm not talking about supermodel, centerfold kinds of looks. (For those interested in men, they aren't bad either. Well, most of them.) It is of course about a psychic woman, but only touches upon the supernatural and does not run away with it. It has a villain, a serial killer, but keeps you guessing at who he, or she, may be. And unlike so many stories set in America's Bible Belt, you can't tell the good and bad guys based on their religiosity, their gods. It does confront, somewhat in passing, many grave societal issues, including child abuse, religious violence, gender inequality, and others, without being overly dramatic or moralizing.

This movie is a breath of fresh air, made with care not only about the writing, the dialog, but also a care to avoid the clichés that make most TV movies so pedestrian and predictable.

I never read the book, so it could well be superior. All I know is, Carolina Moon ain't bad at all.
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over-rated religious tale
5 March 2008
No doubt the performances by the three leading actors are magnificent. But the film ultimately proves a vacuous morality tale that's as clichéd and stereotypical as they come. Right, Manhattan's the devil's playground, and money and sex are so tempting, a man risks losing his soul. Really, if someone needs to know the Bible - or worse, this film - to know Kevin Lomax was veering off the path of goodness, as some of the comments here implies, they need to look at themselves and figure out where they lost their conscience.

Oh, and the movie tempts you with some of the very same things "John Milton" used to tempt Lomax. Try to figure out what.
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Stigmata (1999)
Many lessons in this religious film
23 February 2008
This film is a great introduction to religion on quite a few things. I highly recommend everyone to see it.

1) Religion is about fear of death. The last spoken line in Stigmata promises everlasting life for believers - exactly the same as the most translated passage of the Christian Bible.

2) Religion = violence. Ever wonder why virtually every popular, religious film is brutally violent? Ever wonder why most wars around the war involve different religious groups on each side?

3) Religion lies about its critics. Lilacs and roses didn't just spring up out of nothing. It took billions of years for life to evolve from basically self-replicating chemical compounds to flowers. The "scientific priest" in the film completely misrepresents evolution and science.

4) Religions lies about itself. There's no scientific investigative branch in the Vatican, or any other church for that matter. There's no scientifically satisfying explanations for incidents of stigmata because there are scientifically demonstrated cases of stigmata. When the Vatican looks into supposed miracles, such as the woman that supposedly was cured of sickness that didn't respond to medication, they ignore evidence, such as the doctors that insist she had a simple illness and was treated with drugs, or her husband who later corroborated the doctors' account.

Curiosly, the film talks about videotaped stigmata on a subway with nearly two dozen witnesses. It's not a coincidence that no real-life "miracles" happen that way?

4) Religion denigrates those who do not follow its teachings. Why must an atheist be so stereotypically a drug-using hedonistic party-goer? Sure, it doesn't really say it's wrong to smoke, or drink, or club, but all that combined is nothing but a stereotype that cannot help but be negative. Frankly a visit to a secularist group will shatter it in a second, but of course, religion is about belief despite the evidence.

5) Religion kills. Exorcism is still promoted by the Church and practiced by people around the world. American children have been killed but due to our religious population, most culprits are not even punished. It's not just limited to a defender of the Vatican Church.
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The Contender (2000)
Much-Needed but Unwanted Moral Lesson for America
27 January 2008
The relatively low score this title received is expected. But hopefully in a few decades, the movie will be recognized as a prophetic critique of and a blueprint for our political system. Half of the country will not like this movie. Perhaps half of the rest will be apologetic about certain statements in it. To truly understand how ground-breaking it is, the viewer must lay aside stereotypes, double standards, and other views that divide people into groups. This movie is not afraid of any ideology, gender, or even religion, and it will not be appreciated the way it ought to be until and unless we as a people become one people.

The acting is magnificent. The plot is intricate. Violence and nudity, even action, are minimal (but they ought to be there; this is probably the one movie ever that can completely honestly claim that the nudity is necessary), yet you will not notice it.

Very few films dare to be honest because of the divisions in our society. Fewer still do not placate anyone. And among them, perhaps this alone should not, and did not.
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Good intentions, not so good film
8 January 2008
I remember being "forced" to watch Miss Congeniality. Having no respect for pegeantries, which I still do not follow at all, I could not imagine that it would lead me to have respect for the contestants. But it did.

I consider golf as much of a sport as video games, but remembering Miss Congeniality, I gave it a chance. I was underwhelmed.

The tale of Bobby Jones deserve to be told many times over. The world would be a far better place if people are impressed and inspired by such characters.

This movie, unfortunately, forgot at times it is titled Bobby Jones, not the game of golf. As I watched it, I thought to myself that all the beautiful scenery and mesmerizing musical scores only served to confirm my view of golf. It was not until it ended and I read various reviews that I remember the central character.

This story spanned roughly two decades. Unfortunately, we did not get to know the supporting cast beyond the simple and the obvious. We didn't even see Jones much outside of golf.

While this may stem from the director's desire to keep to historical facts, an admirable aim, it restricted the depth of the story. I'm not a film buff so I can't tell you what should have been done, but I can tell you it could have been much more than a golfer's favorite movie.
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A feel-good movie without cheap tricks
6 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The score given to this film on IMDb almost discouraged me from seeing it, but I knew Claire Forlani would put on a great performance. I wasn't disappointed.

Like many other reviewers have pointed out, this movie lacks explosions and world-saving heroes, big bad conspiracies or someone with terminal illnesses. But it's honest and warm.

I wish Forlani would be given more lead roles. She has one of the most expressive faces in Hollywood - count the number of scenes where she doesn't speak a word. (Unfortunately, in last year's Carolina Moon she appeared to have caught the contagious Hollywood disease of anorexia.) Harvey Keitel seems relaxed and comfortable despite - or perhaps because of - this being an atypical role. He played it perfectly.

Joshua Jackson was probably weakest, partly because I felt his character wasn't as filled out as it could have been. Having "killed off" his family back in London and giving him a job with poor prospects, it seemed too easy to make him stay in Tuscany. The movie was about Keitel, though, so the producer or director probably didn't want to clutter it with too much going on. Jackson did the job though and supported by a talented cast, it was more than enough.

Not a movie to watch if you want to be thrilled or scared or interested in the lives of celebrities, but a good weekend afternoon experience it was for me.
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Inescapable (2003)
A well-made soft-core film
28 October 2006
I made the mistake of watching this "movie" with the idea it's a drama. Maybe someone should correct the categorization here on IMDb.

A good portion is filled with sex scenes which would keep viewers from thinking too much about the non-existent plot. As a film where two people from separate relationships come together to have sex, you would probably expect a bit of back-story to establish it as cheating. But it virtually started out with unfaithfulness as a premise, thus making the cheating emotionally empty - why would they be so worked up about it then? And then there's the "love" that apparently developed between the two leads. It really seemed nothing close to it, as they rarely conversed and mostly just "got together." So maybe I'm wrong about it. As a drama, it really really sucked.

As erotica (for a lesbian audience), I guess it would be quite passable.
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In this day and age
10 August 2006
I couldn't sit through the whole film. It's really disturbing that something like this can happen around Year 2000. I'm not talking about rape. It happens every day. I'm talking about the failed prosecution (under whose administration...), the way some really twisted frat boys got away when the crime is recorded on tape. If the woman's so below them, like the guy kept saying, then why did they hire her? If her "stripper" profession's so disgusting, who does the hiring? If they were honest on tape about smearing her character (calling her "crackwhore" etc), why did they also call what they were doing "rape" in the same sentence? Again, what's horrifying is not the crime itself, but that people can watch it and think it's not. How far have we gone in the last four decades? In this day and age.
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Stand by Me (1986)
a reflection of life in a small town
8 April 2006
I'm not going to belabor the point everyone makes about this "genuine" story, how it's true-to-life, all that. Perhaps some people like this kind of life. Perhaps others didn't experience something different, but I, having grown up in two metropolitan cities, find the lives of young people portrayed here, well, empty and reminiscent of other "docu-dramas" like Kids. Indeed, even adults, as portrayed variously by the junk-yarder and his dog, and those at the pie-eating contest, are no more than grown-up teenagers.

Why is meth so pervasively destructive in rural counties and states from Kentucky to Kansas? Why are mass shootings disproportionately a suburban/rural phenomenon? I don't won't to cross the line here, but Stand By Me, while undoubtedly poignant and innocent, is deeply unsettling to me, simply because of that which made it great.
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