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Extras (2005–2007)
Absolutely Awesome !!!
28 October 2005
Ricky Gervais is a comic genius. He's totally relaxed and confidence is has delivery and as a writer, he and his partner are brilliant. The British ability to mix clever word-play and physical humor without being overbearing. I'm an actor who started as an extra and he has hit the nail right on the head. The only thing that's missing is the 'retired' extra. The man or woman who is over 65 who has nothing to do but sit around and knit or read trashy novels when they are not asking the cast and crew annoying questions. I have not seen "The Office" so I can't make the comparison that everyone else is making but I hope that HBO continue this series. The cameos are brilliant. With guest stars like Samuel L. Jackson and Kate Winslet, this series cannot hit a wrong note.
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A Wonderful Childhood Memory
2 September 2005
I saw this movie at the tender age of ten. My best friend's parents wanted to go to the drive-in but they couldn't get a sitter, so Lonnie and I went along. I told my mom that I was going to the movies with the Hughes family and she say "Okay". She asked me what movie I was going to see and I said that I didn't know. That was the end of the conversation. Needless to say, at breakfast the next morning, when mom asked me what I saw, I made up the most elaborate lie that I could. Thank God for the Hughes family and all other COOL adult that let kids do what they aren't suppose to. I have seen all of Mr. Meyers' film since then and I am a fan. Sitting in the backseat with Lonnie, sipping pop and eating popcorn while I watched a parade of voluptuous woman and geeky, hillbilly males go at it tag-team style over a background of bad 70's waa-waa guitar solos prepared me for likes of Andy Warhol, John Waters and David Lynch later on in life. I recommend this film for anyone who likes unapologetic. artsy trash.
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Young Filmmakers could learn from this Film
27 August 2005
It's unfortunate that the genre of Privae Eye/Caper films is dead. Comtempary flicks of this ilk are vapid and weak compared to this flick and the reason is that the new stuff lacks in "coolness". Sinatra is 'cool'. Dan Blocker, Raquel Welch and Lainie Kazan are real actors not tabloid/celebrates making movies between their appearances on awards shows and Saturday Night Live. The dialog is hip and snappy. Their is no political correctness to be found. There is only the hardcore, survival instincts of people living on the underside of society. The set designs are intense in its detail and the world that is created by this filmmaker is believable despite its garishness. The array of different personalities have not be seen since Gordon Parks' Shaft and the rest of the Black Exploitation films. The person that has come close in recent history has been David Mamet (Heist, House of Games) and the adaptation of James McElroy's novel.
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Pretty Things (2005 TV Movie)
Awesome Documentary marred by Filmmaker's Agenda
27 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Filmmaker Liz Goldwyn has done a fantastic job in helping to tell the stories of these interesting women of the Burlesque art form. Unfortunately the film is marred by the Ms. Goldwyn interjection of her own personal pseudo-feminist agenda. The high points of the film are diverse stories told by an array of very different personalities such as Zorita and Lois De Fee. The low points are when the Ms. Goldwyn decides to let us in on her own personal triumphs and failures as a female in search of confidence and personal expression. As a personality, Liz Goldwyn is no match for these older seasoned women who have lead "real" lives as opposed to the life of an unfulfilled person who is on the outside looking in. The finale drags the whole movie down. If Ms. Goldwyn was attempting to contrast the personalities of these hard-scrabble broads with her own whining, self-indulgent, psycho-babbling self she sure did succeed. If I could cut out the parts where Liz Goldwyn talks I would. The result would be an awesome documentary about smart, confident women who survived in a harsh world by using their instincts instead wallowing in academic, navel-gazing.
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One of the Greatest Movies ever Made !
25 August 2005
I saw this movie as a triple feature with Eraserhead and Freaks. I was fourteen years old. I saw the poster for Eraserhead in the theater window and thought that the haircut was real cool, so I bought a ticket and went in. Six hours later I emerged from the theater in a daze that was way more intense than any drugs I've ever taken. Rocky Horror is actually a very old fashioned musical. That's why its survived for so long. That is why millions of people know all the words to all of the songs. At the age of fourteen, i found the cross-dressing to be shocking and kind of scary. But in the context of the story it was so believable. This movie is very similar to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Facory in that the director create a 'complete' world. Everything is plausible and anything is possible. This film is not self-indulgent like Warhol's Frankenstein. This film welcomes the audience into its world and takes them on a journey like Alice down the Rabbit Hole or Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road. This film changed the way that I saw movies. I put this film in the same category as Greaser's Palace, Fearless Frank and much of David Lynch's work.
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Catwoman (2004)
A Good Idea Badly Executed
24 August 2005
There have been many movies made from comic books lately. Some good (Road to Perdition, Spiderman, The Hulk and some of the Batman flicks). Some bad (Daredevil and some of the Batman flicks). Where these movies succeed is in there simplicity and straightforwardness in its storytelling. Where they fail is found in their excess. Catwoman is a failure because they took a good actor(Benjiman Bratt, Alex Borstein, Frances Conroy) and paired them with gorgeous but lukewarm talent like Halle Berry and Sharon Stone. Couple these casting faults with an overuse of CGI tricks, gaudy set design and cutesy music video moments and you have this movie. The plot line put forth by Ms. Conroy's character should have been the focus of the movie instead of putting so emphasis on the damned costume and the overbearing soundtrack and violence. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed watching Ms. Berry and Ms. Stone having their cat-fight but I think that the audience is smart enough to have had a little "story" thrown their way. It's a crying shame that so much money and time was wasted for so little return.
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Garden State (2004)
Great writing, directing and acting!
20 August 2005
This film is great in its scope of subjects that it touches upon. This film is very similar to Harold and Maude, Ice Storm and Six Feet Under(among others) in its treatment of so-called "bad" or "dark" themes like death, suicide, accidents and insanity. Its also funny which keeps it from being totally morbid. Zach Braff is a young genius in his ability to write and direct a film that assembles such a great story that has so many moments of mystery and revelation to it. The sense of place(home), location(New Jersey) as well as the use of an awesome soundtrack. The emotions of these characters are honest and raw. It is a film for this current generation like The Big Chill, The Breakfast Club and Less Than Zero were for past generations. The cast is superb. Natalie Portman shows that she is the best actor in her age group. Peter Sargaard shows that he is perfect in roles allow him to be engaging and frightening simultaneously (see Shattered Glass). Anne Dowd is good in the supporting role of the bizarre head of a bizarre family. And Ian Holm is brilliant as usual. This film stands out in sharp contrast to any film made in the last few years. I highly recommend watching this movie, renting it and owning the DVD.
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Perfect "Outsiders'" Film
10 August 2005
Jared and Jerushka Hess have created a film that is in the traditional of all films about outsiders. This film joins Edward Scissorhands, Freaks and Geeks, Eraserhead, Raising Arizona and a host of others in its ability to draw the audience into a world that is unique and complete. The characters' personalities are painted in broad brush strokes but I bought into them hook, line and sinker because the actors went all at their tasks with 100% commitment. Tina Majorino was a pleasure to watch in her role as Deb. It's wonderful to see that this actress has grown out of her earlier film roles playing opposite performing seals. Jon Heder in the lead role is hysterical as the mouth-breathing, bad dressing, moist-at-the corners-of-the-mouth loser. You got to love this guy because he tries so hard to rise above his hostile surrounding. Jon Gries is downright diabolical as the smarmy uncle. Haylie Duff did surprisingly well as the queen bitch, Summer. The vastness of the landscape, the dull primary colors of the hallway lockers, the slick wood paneling of the basement were depicted with such detail that I could feel the falseness and desperation of the 70's. The actress named Shondrella was a pleasant surprise as well as the guy plays Pedro in that they added racial diversity to an otherwise white world. Good job done by all involved.
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Medium (2005–2011)
I Love Medium !
30 May 2005
Medium is a great show. The story-line is intriguing. I'm surprised that it's taken so long for the networks to produce a series about police psychics. It's unique, it's "real" and the casting and writing is excellent. Jake Weber as the long- suffering husband and Patricia Arquette as the woman torn between career and family are perfect together as a couple whose marriage is not perfect. Their relationship with their kids is also "real" in that they have "conflicts" with their children instead of "issues" (like so many other family shows). I think that Ms. Arquette has the same appeal as actresses like Lili Taylor, Joan Cusack and Martha Plimpton in the sense that their attractiveness is not so much about their physical appearance but their sense of self. They are confidence and sincere. Patricia does what all good actors do. She draws us into the world that the writers have created and makes us want to follows her on her journey. Mr. Sandoval's character needs to be developed more. The relationship is very similar to the two lead characters in Patricia Cornwell's novels. I hope the writer continue to create interesting plot-lines. This show and its supernatural premise has so much potential because of its otherworldliness.
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Funny, Touching and Totally Bizarre
27 May 2005
My wife and I were channel surfing and came across stop at this film when we saw Kathy Bates' face. We are big fans of hers. As the film progressed we were pleasantly surprised at the ability of screenwriters P.J. Hogan and Jocelyn Moorhouse to weave an intricate tale that was both meaningful and a bit silly. Leave it to a couple of Australians to make a movie that addresses love, gay issues and singing without being preachy or stupid. Meredith Eaton was fabulous. I had never seen her before but I will seek out her other films. If you liked the film Little Voice, you'll love this one. The celebrity cameos were hilarious. There were moments that were absolutely surreal but did not distract from the message of the story which is tolerance for people who are different. This is destined to be a cult classic. I can actually imagine seeing this in a theater where the audience reacts to it in the same way that they react to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
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Flawe and Inexcusable
2 May 2005
With the cast that was assembled and the director chosen, one would think that this movie would have been better. Rosie has shown that she can act (Sleepless in Seattle, League of Our Own), Ms. McDowell is amazing with the right script (Crush, Groundhog Day, etc). Anjelica Huston, with her lineage (father John Huston) could have easily brought a better artistic vision to a story that was worth telling. One only have to look at depictions of mentally challenged people to know that this has been done before and with better results. Look at Leonardo DiCaprio's performance in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? and Juliet Lewis' performance in The Other Sister. Rosie's performance was delivered with one monotonous note and Andie(though looking interesting with no make-up on) was not convincing as a professional photographer. What were these guys thinking? Was Rosie's Executive Producers' hands gripping the reins too tightly?
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Normal (2003 TV Movie)
Superb Cast / Touching Story
16 January 2005
This movie is the kind of film that I would normally shy away from because it deals with family and sexuality. Those two subject, in the realm of television, are often treated either in a "Hallmark Hall of fame" way or it is totally dark and nihilistic. Writer/Director Jane Anderson has done a superb job in presenting the many layers of these complex people and their complex lives. Each family member is given their due in the sense that Ms. Anderson gives each of them enough time to show who they are. I think that it was pure genius to cast Jessica Lange as "the wife". From my point of view, her dynamic feminine presence made his choice to become a woman more compelling. Was he measuring his feminism against hers? how could he give up a woman like Ms. Lange? The last words spoken are the core of the film's message. It is worth the wait.
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Pigeon and Jones steal the show!!!
28 December 2004
Pigeon and Jones are the emotional hub of this cinematic wheel. The female actors triumph in this English period piece. Mr. Mamet and Mr. Rattigan did an excellent job in their adaptation of the stage play. I enjoyed the story. It was very 'English' in that its passion was both exposed and repressed as the authors saw fit. A volcano rumbling, simmering, until the climax. Jeremy Northam is an exquisite actor. He has shown time and time again that he can handle himself in front of a camera. Ms. Pigeon is by far the best female actor of her age group. For all those out there that think that she gets work because she's married to Mamet should see her in Heist, The Spanish Prisoner and Homicide. the rest of the cast did admirable jobs. I recommend this movie.
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An admirable re-make of the 60's version.
28 December 2004
I was worried that this re-make would be disappointing because the 1960's Rod Taylor version made such a monumental impression on me as a child. If if wasn't for the immense talent of Guy Pearce, Jeremy Irons, Orlando Jones, Sienna Guillory and Ms. Mumba, this would have been another CGI-laden piece of pseudo-scifi crap. The love story was brought to the foreground more than it was in the 60's version. The comedy provided by Mr. Jones was much appreciated. Ms. Guillory is beautiful and wholesome unlike most of the young actresses of this era. Ms. Mumba was a breath of fresh air as a woman of color in a major role. She is passionate, beautiful and sincere. I hope to see more of her in the future. The set designer deserves an award. The 'time machine' was an interesting piece of machinery. The time change sequences were believable and exciting. I whole heartedly recommend this film.
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Mr. Wrong (1996)
Ellen's brand of Comedy is funny and smart
22 December 2004
I wish Ellen made more movies. The talk show is cool but I think that she's wasting her talent. "Mr. Wrong" is a good case in point. Ellen is totally convincing in her role of a woman disappointed by, and still searching for, love. The casting was brilliant. Hope Davis, Bill Pullman, Joan Plowright, Dean Stockwell and Joan Cusack are an awesome ensemble. The premise of the movie is simple and straightforward enough to be believable but broad enough to allow for any number of crazy things to happen. Her character's job as a talk show producer is brilliant because it allows for cameos of all of Ellen's comic colleagues. It is also an old-fashion comedy in the tradition of It's A Mad, Mad, Mad World, and all of the other 60's comedies showcasing stand-up acts like Martin & Lewis, Bob Hope, etc. This movie was a lot of fun and I've seen it quite a few times.
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The Muse (1999)
Brooks is brilliant !
13 December 2004
Albert Brooks is funny. He has an interesting and unique way of telling story with humor, wit and sincerity. He is not afraid of appearing to be 'un-hip'. Actually that is the charm of most of his work. He has been compared to Woody Allen but I

think that his work is much more universal. Woody's giant persona gets in the way of his stories whereas Brooks actually becomes a character. He does not

play himself and does not comment of things. He 'plays' characters like a real actor. The Muse is just as brilliant as Defending Your Life and Across America. Andie MacDowell is good when a good script guides her. Sharon Stone was

made for the role of the Muse. Her energy is sexy, ditzy as well as forceful. There are some cameos in this movie that are priceless and lend an air of

authenticity to the side of Hollywood that most people have no access to. I have seen this movie a hundred times and it never fails to make me laugh.
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Heaven (1987)
Fun with Fundamentalism
12 December 2004
Diane Keaton is brilliant in her ability to be funny and poignant . I was raised as a Pentacostal and it was a join to see someone not take religion so seriously without being offensive. She does manipulate the subject matter a bit but she is not cruel about it. The people she interviews are honest and quirky. I also

enjoyed seeing the vintage T.V. footage of 50s and 60s Christian faith healers. It was intriguing to see how little things have changed in the world of saving souls from evil. I wish that Ms. Keaton had made other movies in this genre. She

showed herself to be a lot more interesting than Woody Allen in the realm of

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Confidence (2003)
Perfect mix of Intelligence and Entertainment
4 December 2004
Smart script. Cool cast. Awesome vsiual style. Edward Burns is a smooth, good- looking and honest actor. Rachel Weisz has the best chops of all the young

female actors in film. She was a perfect mix for Birns. Paul Giamatti is surely going to go down in the history of film as the perfect comic/character actor. He's Tracy Walters' evil twin. I just saw him in Safe Men with Sam Rockwell. He stole the show. Morris Chestnut has finally stepped out of his sugary, sweet romantic comedy mode and done something that's on the level of Denzel Washington's

turn in Devil in a Blue Dress. Morris could easily step into Don Cheadle's shoes with roles like this. Dustin Hoffman was excellent. This role gave him a perfect setting for his intense energy. Luis Guzman was his perfect, weird but talented self. He and Giamatti are in the same league. Good movie on every level. John Carrol Lynch (whom I studied under at the U. of Minnesota) proved once again

how a good actor can disappear into a part. He's in a lot of movies but no one I know can tell me his name. Good Movie on all level.
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Safe Men (1998)
Funny, Risky and Well-casted Film
4 December 2004
What's more funny than a couple of lounge singers, Jewish gangsters from

Providence and unrequited love. The cast is amazing. Sam rockwell is a genius. Wheter he's in drama (Heist) or comedy(Welcome to Collinwood) he's seems to

enjoy his work and when the actor is having fun the audience will follow suit. Mark Ruffalo, Steve Zahn(totally underrated), Paul Giamatti and the old

schoolers, Michael Lerner and Harvey Fierstein make this one of the best cast films in recent memory. Christina Kirk is sexy and funny and tough. The guy who plays the MC at the Bar Mitzbah is awesome. I laughed my ass off from

beginning to end.
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The Wool Cap (2004 TV Movie)
Macy's on a winning streak
27 November 2004
Macy and his partner, Steven Schachter are rolling sevens. They are making the sappy "Johnson and Johnson presents" genre hip. Usually these presentation

are a bunch syrupy-sweet, message-laden, no talent crap but now things have

changed. I kind of wished that the promos had not let on that Macy's character was mute. It would have been even more interesting to wonder why this guy

never spoke instead of being told ahead of time. Keke Palmer proved that child actor don't have to be annoying and Don Rickles and Catherine O'Hara were

awesome in there smallish parts. Ms. O'Hara was excellent in a serious role that had many layers and hardly any time to show all of them. She added the sexy- mature female element the Kathy Baker showed in Macy's other project, Door to Door. Rickles was actually funny without being offensive. Rickles has stood the test of time. William H. Macy is sincere, likable and emotionally and morally complex. Ned Beatty, in the role of Macy's dad, is a solid, consistent actor who never fails to be "real". you can see him in another awesome role in the film, Spring Froward.
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Witch Hunt (1994 TV Movie)
Wonderfully Weird w/ a Message
27 November 2004
This film was a pleasant surprise. The mixture of historical set design, good plot and political satire was refreshing in an age where everything political is

hammered home in a pedantic monotone. Sheryl Lee Ralph was excellent and

her dynamic presence begs the questions as to why aren't there more black

females playing prominent roles in movies that have nothing to do with gangs

and drugs. Dennis Hopper was actually playing a character instead of playing

himself as he usually does. Julian sands was his slick and sinister self. I don't know why he wasn't chosen for the role of Lestat instead of Tom Cruise. Eric

Bogosian was awesome as the corrupt politician. The special effects were great in that they were not like the CGI crap of recent films. They were old fashioned special effects in that they were not added to make the unreal look real but to make the unreal look...well, unreal. I recommend this film for all fans of

Hollywood nostalgia, costume-period pieces and political commentary.
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Slo-Mo (2001)
hip, funny, clever and deep
27 November 2004
This film is a perfect mixture of reality and fantasy. It's smart in its treatment of the life of an artist. I hope that this director gets a chance to make a longer version of this piece. It was very concise. There was not a word or visual wasted. No "fat", no filler. Raven Snook was sexy and sharp-witted. The lead actor had the same physical chops as any of the big stars like Jim Carrey and was, unlike Mr.

Carrey, actually likable and believable. Usually films about artist are whiney. This was addressed the problem then dealt with it. If the director gets a bigger budget, I hope that the big stars that are thrown at him by his producer don't muck up the clarity of the piece. The last thing that this film needs is a bunch of mugging and product placement. Raven Snook should be brought back. I can't

think of a bigger star that has her individuality. Maybe Melinda Clarke. The lead could easily be played by Kiernan Culkin.
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Something the Lord Made (2004 TV Movie)
Finally!!! A Rapper who can act!
12 October 2004
With the exception of Queen Latifah, Mos Def is the only rapper who should be allowed to act in movies or television. His small part in Monster's Ball proved that. Now he is in this wonderful bio-pic which (I'm ashamed to admit) is a bit of African-American history that I knew nothing about. Alan Rickman was his usual, wonderfully posh self. Mary Stuart Masterson's performance made me wish that she was in front of the camera more. She's so sexy. She has that same masculine/feminine mix that Holly Hunter, Frances McDormand and Jodie Foster have. Gabrielle Union's character needed more to say and do. She's (along with most black females) is woefully underrated and underused. This director has an artist's eye. There was obviously some research done in Art History because some of the scene(especially the the scenes in the O. R.) were taken directly from the famous medical paintings from the late 1800's(by the painter whose name escapes me now). GOOD FLICK.
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Heavy (1995)
Easy paced, small town, slice of Life tale
30 August 2004
Witha quirky cast of actors playing misfits Mangold succeeds in telling an honest story about people in a small town who are having trouble escaping the

emotional holes that they have dug for themselves. All the characters have redeemable qualities despite their obvious short- comings. Liv Tyler has always fascinated me with her ability to be beauty,

sensitive and truthful in spite of character's perdicament. Pruitt Vance is at his best doing what he does best as the 'lovable loser' trapped between his

obligations to his mother and his job. Mom is played by Shelley Winters whose talent is still sharp. Joe Grafasi is ablaze with drunken chivalry with the hopes of connecting with Deborah Harry's character. Deborah Harry is excellent as the

vemonous, sexy and fatigued waitress with a checkered past. Her conflict with Winter's character is deep although mostly unspokened. Everyone is in need and they desperately try to be happy. They fall on their

faces and get back up. In the end, things work out but not as expected.
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In the Cut (2003)
Clever, Interesting but No one to root for
5 August 2004
This is not the kind of movie that I would've expected from J.

Campion. This is good. I'm happy to see directors stretch. The film

has an interesting visual style in that it was shot very much like a

slow-pace, episode of NYPD BLUE in soft-focus. The performances were god but actions and motives of the characters

were negative and no one seemed to thriving for anything.

Everyone seemed to be wallowing in their own egos and I couldn't

find anything I liked about any of them so why should I care if they

lived or died. Lots of whining and psuedo-new-age, Mamet-like

psycho-babble. I couldn't even enjoy seeing Ms. Ryan naked for all

the moping and dreariness. The young man that played Ms.

Ryan's pupil was interesting but just seemed to be a plot

distraction. The climax was interesting but such bold behavior

would have been useful earlier in the film to keep my interest.
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