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Buffalo Rider (2015)
8/10
After School Special meets Thailand.. but more engaging...
26 July 2019
Astonished to see this film has not been reviewed. Onward.

Would be easy to assign words like cute, warmfuzzy, heartwarming, warming, warm.. It's much more. Yes, themes are pushed, metaphors placed front and center, gentle twists and turns in the plot, character developments easy to pin, goodness and evils clearly defined.

Formulaic I guess. A bit of an After School Special: Thailand. And I say good. Couldn't take your eyes off of some of the characters, the kids and the adults Easily drawn to how it was shot and presented the performers. And the buffalo(s). Simple simple. And lovely. Take the time and begin watching it... and betcha good chance it will hook ya. Two hours I won't get back, and I am very happy for it. Because the film left me... happy. A complete blubbering mess at the end of the singing silent ones. Well done.

And the basketball too.. and finally smiling elder.
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6/10
Realness
8 July 2019
The most real thing in the movide was Lady Gaga. Very much appreciated her realness. Mr Cooper, Meh. Story, slightly better than Meh. No need to "method act" the voice. Punchy exposition of the story. Points made. Discomforting metaphors expressed. Got it. But must return to Lady Gaga. Realness. Couldn't take your eyes off of her which makes sense given she is Lady Gaga. Was not partial to the direction, directing. Punchy. And have to further say.. couldn't take your eyes off of her from the first moment. A star wasn't born in the movie. She stole the whole thing because did I mention.. she is Lady Gaga. Found it most excellent that for a performer who is about theatre... did I mention she is most real in this film.
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10/10
Critical, vital, mesmerizing..
13 November 2018
Peaceful. Human. Beautiful. As have said about our future on this rock, so they go, so we go. As in the path of extinction. The information imparted by the vested parties in this is a superb blend of the cat... its past, present and hopeful future. And why we should care.

We should care because as they go, so do we. The people in the film care. It becomes infectious how much they care. And it presents like a beautiful soft jazz piece. Where the silence between the notes are as important as the notes.

Yes, wistful descriptions. But that is what comes across. Oh, the visuals are stunning.

Well done. Was completely mesmerized by this. Sad to see others who did not resonate with it. Personally was completely drawn into this. The cats.. I want success for this.
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I Feel Bad (2018– )
10/10
Great. Wonderfully great...
28 October 2018
Came back to add... having seen more episodes... pluuuuze keep this show. Give it a chance to settle in. I think it is great. Bummed to see some of the less than stellar reviews. So just returning to say keep this program. It is tightening up each episode and is simply a fantastic treat to view.

First review:

Title says it. Am not that thrilled with TV, hence TV shows. Rare is when something comes along in any genre that grabs my attention. This did. It is terrific. The writing, directing and performance is top shelf. Quick, quip-y, wonderfully sharp. And the themes. Terrifically handled. The commercial performers are tack sharp. It all comes together. Such a bummer to see such negative reviews because when it is all put together, this is wonderfully entertaining. Pluuuuuuuuze, keep up this great effort. This is absolutely a terrific show, soup to nuts.
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Inhumans (2017)
1/10
Please... stop.
1 October 2017
Please. Stop. Who ever allowed this to get out of concept and into development needs to not work in the industry.

Concept - dull Writing - horrendous Direction - impossible to make compelling, nay, tolerable, without decent writing, which this has none. Editing - impossible to make compelling, nay, tolerable, without decent writing, which this has none. Acting - impossible to make compelling.. dittos above Costumes - impossible to.. dittos above. Sound track - impossible.. dittos above. CGI - imposs... dittos above. Everything else - dittos above.

This is just plain bad. I cannot drum up enough imagination to add more commentary because it is impossible to write compelling commentary when.... dittos above.

OK, let me add one creative nit pick. If they are on the moon, which has 1/6th gravity, at least try and act like there is 1/6th gravity. Is that asking too much? Of course it is. Buck Rogers from 1939... muy better.
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Dunkirk (2017)
1/10
Nawp... unremarkable.
23 July 2017
Was not thrilled by it.   Should have listened to my gut... that when thou dost protest too much, as in the over amplification of commercials, buzz, pronouncements of grandness, etc... something is amiss.  It was.   Too many clever tricks.  Writing was pedantic.  As historical events being explained during what should have been just normal conversational exchange.  Flashbacks were way too clever-ly exploited.  Too much cleverness.   This epic story did not leave one feeling one was experiencing expanse. This extraordinary historical event that could have changed the world was made, small.  Characters were not really allowed to develop.  Exposition was the ticket, but due to the unevenness of the writing, as in people don't talk like that, it didn't work.  For me at least.  The whole thing had a sense of blocky-ness... as in film this sequence here, film that sequence there... never had a sense of flow.

And the overuse of rah rah historical clichés was that, overused.  If you're going to go for it, go for it. Vamp up a cliché. I don't know how many times "home" was used... but fer crissakes, it has to be a build up and culmination of a moment. It never was, each time. Where there should have been moments that swelled up to the sense of grandeur, they were more like deflated balloons.  I was in particular wanting to see the much touted scenes and representations of the Hurricanes and Spitfires.  A lot was made about how this was filmed using different techniques than before.  Yawn.  It would have been far better to utilize real footage of aerial combat.   The air combat was less than interesting.  In large part due to the breaking up of the exposition due to flashbacks.  The expanse of for instance the Heinkel aircraft doing its attack was so unrhythmic, it created far more distraction to flow of those moments in the film. So the aerial scenes were a let down for sure.

And methinks I just nailed what bothered me the most. Felt the writing was poor. But more so felt the sequencing of the scenes jerky, bothersome. One never got the full sense of a scene, and event, because the whole movie attempted to tie itself together through over-cleverness of sequences. Made it very hard to get fully engaged.

A snarky way of saying... I was mostly bored trying to let the flow, flow. There was little flow. The direction attempted to make the story metaphorical. Story flow or metaphor... both failed.

The only character was a father who brought his pleasure boat into the fray.  He was the only one with real moments.  Everything else was unremarkable.  Even the epic-ness of saving 300,000+ men from the shores of Dunkirk was a dud.  They never developed an immense sense of what this was about.  The portrayal of what should have been hundreds of small boats instead of British destroyers was less than remarkable.  Even the officer who was a character meant to provide exposition, Kenneth Branagh, was a yawner.  The story which should have been epic managed to be small, and the dialogue which should have given the actors a sense of epic-ness, or at the least metaphor on a grand scale, managed to create a sense of smallness.  So while am at it... the biggest annoyance was the damned soundtrack. Could not be clearer... the incessant drone of the soundtrack was a huge distraction. Drone is the right word. Loud, pounding, distracting. When you pound away like that, you exhaust the theme and have no where to go. This was repeated, over and over. It grew absolutely tiresome hearing this... made the entire movie which was already uneven in its writing and sequencing, even more distracting. Seriously folks, you have no where to go when one pours in a loud, neverending, repeated theme. You have no where to go. And it got there early on. No bones about it... I hated the soundtrack. It gave distracted support this already difficult to be engaged with film.

OK, this is an unremarkable review but mainly because it was an unremarkable flick.  Had to write it out because I was left disappointed in every aspect.  I so wanted at least the Hurricanes and Spitfires to be cool because I understood they used real vintage planes.  But nawp.  How they managed to make this extraordinary historical event small was a disappointment.  As mentioned, the only real moment was the father and the events with the son.  Give it a 4 out of 10.  And by the way... we went and expected the theater to be packed or at least populated two days after the opening.  Also nawp.  It was spartan.  Not even 10% full.  Says a lot there. Oh well...  wait for it to come out on DVD.  I enjoyed the previews on a big screen far more than the movie which managed to make this extraordinary historical event, small.  Or a better wrap up would be... the film managed to make a remarkable event, unremarkable.
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The Shack (I) (2017)
1/10
Always trying to be reasonable... but....
25 June 2017
Where to start. I know, how about the end. I was so extremely happy when this ended. Never have I engaged in a flick that made me not just uncomfortable, but aggravated. To the core.

There is this little thing called storytelling. I don't care what kind of messages the movie, and I suppose the book, wanted to impart. The art of storytelling matters. This did not get past first base in this most basic function... how to tell a story. It was just one point nailed into your brain after the other. I may as well have just read a scientific journal or the periodic chart or the ingredients of a box of corn flakes and garnered the same bullet points.

I cannot even delve further into things like the acting, the production value, the... aw... fugetaboutit. That this failed on the most fundamental level of telling a story, it is senseless to examine anything else deeper. Absolutely dull as... well.. this will now be my new standard to when articulating the definition of empty, dull, gutless... a full expression of a vacuum.

To the writers, directors, those who fund things like this... stop. Pick another field. Storytelling is not something you understand, so stop before you try it again.

An absolute zero of a film.
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Anne (2017– )
10/10
Writing, production, performance
14 May 2017
Have been reading the several 'disappointments' and learned they all stem from either knowing and further being faithful to the writings of L. M. Montgomery, or the Canadian TV series, or the numerous plays and additional representations. Or - What Is Patriotism But The Love Of The Food One Ate As A Child? – Lin Yu Tang Absolutely understandable, purists to the original, or re-representation originals.

Having not read the books, or seen the Canadian productions that draw on the originals, I don't have that patriotism. What I do is is production, and performance. What I see is excellence. It is not always easy to parse out the differences between writing, performances and production.

Let me be blunt... brilliant. Every aspect of this, from the re-staged colloquialisms in the writing, and let's face it.. odd colloquialisms that do the bridge from now to them type thing which can be like nails on chalkboard for a moment but moving on, to the set designs and overall visuals, and of course the performances by every actor is top shelf. Absolutely captivating. And this goes to the hand of the director(s) and production team. Well conceived, very well executed. And the direction to draw the performances from these wonderful, superb actors... absolutely delicate and substantial.

Are there mistakes? Sure, if one wants to look for them. In the writing. Visually. Incongruous reality checks. But I myself am absolutely captivated by this offering. I look to the performances of the actors, driven by the hands of wonderful directors. Continuity is one thing in films. But for those of us who are not hindered by purist-isms, and not a thing wrong with that as I am caught in a different art form with the same purist leanings, one can be so lucky to immerse into imagination, like Anne, like The Little Prince, like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and so on. This production is beautiful, because it encourages my imagination over nit picky-ness. Personally, I prefer imagination over anything else anyway. And if I could ask Anne, would be she would agree.

And to circle back to the actors. Absolutely wonderful performances. Each and every actor. This is a testament to the director(s) and production atmosphere. And these excellent actors.

Well done. I will hope for more seasons. Thank you Canada. This is how it can be done. And you're doing it superbly well.
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Lie to Me (2009–2011)
9/10
Please, please bring this show back...
15 December 2016
I know. Pie in the sky request. But for whatever it is worth, felt the premise of the program to be most excellent. Scintillating. Tim Roth's performance was spot on. Just enough quirky, just enough over the top, just enough. Supporting cast also excellent.

But in hopes that someone hears this... please bring this back. Given the recent election cycle, there is more than enough mendacity to supply a plethora of scripts and story lines. We need Dr. Lightman now more than ever today. And no problem to bring along Lightman's sub plot of his daughter who would be in her 20s.

It would be the berries to bring this back.
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Goliath (2016– )
9/10
Very, very interesting...
12 November 2016
Started out watching the series over the shoulder of my better half. Cynical me, am always ready to start out being underwhelmed.

The opposite. Drawn in from the very start. The writing is mostly compelling. It occasionally lapses into some forced 'conflict' which is TV 101 exposition.

However, I wanted to get that out of the way and recommend that what draws you in are the terrific characters. Billy Bob Thorton is top shelf. TOP shelf. I do not think the William Hurt character is that compelling, not very well written, and the actor makes some lazy choices. But the supporting cast, terrific. Nina Arianda, terrific. Tania Raymonde, terrifc. Damon Gupton, terrific. Julie Brister, terrific. Very drawn into their circumstances. And their performances. Makes ya want to watch.

Kudos for the director(s) for letting them work.

The story foundation is compelling. It holds together more than enough to provide for the characters to do what they do which is make you want to watch them. To the story again, I do wish they would go a bit more into the trial itself. It instead is driven more by the interactions, the backstory of the characters. It can border on contrived, but hey, it is after all, entertainment.

Which is the real strength of the series. I have to say, and it takes a great deal to draw me personally into series like this, but this is danged well worth watching all 8 episodes for Billy Bob Thornton. And the supporting cast. Mega props to the actors.

So much so, rare that I would say this but I DO SO HOPE it is renewed for a season 2, and 3. This is well worth the return folks. Are you listening Amazon. Bring this back. Well done Amazon. Well done.
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The Path (2016–2018)
1/10
Dullsville
25 May 2016
Where to start? It is virtually impossible to make an assessment of The Path as it projects as close to zero in the compelling department.

Let's break it down in simple TV terms. Where is the conflict? The writing is so abysmal, the writing moves at glacial speed, it is impossible to get a grasp of character development. So character conflict is painful to determine.

As a result there are zero sympathetic characters as a result.

Storyline. Can we find conflict there? What storyline? It crawls along with complimentary droning background music, so that doesn't help. I found myself completely disinterested in whatever story they were trying to project so I could hardly express what conflicts the story built.

Seriously, after trying to watch a couple of episodes, I cannot find a single redeeming feature of this TV effort. And effort is not a good word to describe this. Who in the world approved this project, beats the heck out of me.

I am dragging this out so I meet the minimum number of lines to be able to post, as I am motivated to express how absolutely dull this is. I have zero constructive criticism because there is zero to get interested in. The only thing more boring than trying to watch 2 episodes would have been to try to watch 3 episodes. Dull dull dull. Sometimes one can derive interest by watching commercial actors try and extract some level of energy out of supremely bad writing and direction. This is so dull, I cannot even make entertainment out of bad writing, bad story, bad production, bad everything...

And just as I am about to post this my spouse turns to me and says "I wish they would pick this up a bit. It is slower than molasses". Gee, no kidding.
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Daredevil (2015–2018)
9/10
Terrific, involved, thinking, stylized...
2 April 2016
Lots of words in the subject that are evoked by this series. I am not much of a TV watcher. I am far less as in never a Marvel comic fan. As in never read a single one, and I am not young.

This has changed all that. This is a terrific concept and from what I have read a scintillating representation of the comic series.

Regardless of all that, yes, it took a but to get involved with the first few episodes. Being a martial arts person in addition to having been in the performing arts at high levels, the martial arts aspect kept me engaged. Well, it was into the second season, with introduction of The Punisher, that a switch flipped. A particular episode where the writing, the direction, and the performances were spot on. Everything just worked at a stylized high level.

The episode which I believe was season 2, episode 3, so captivated me, I regretted having never looked at comics in my youth. It was that stimulating.

Well done to the actors, extreme kudos to the directors and the concept/continuity team that threads it together. EXtreme judos to the martial arts choreographer, the camera crews. None of this happens by accident.

Years ago while in NY, and many memories of visiting co-actors who lived in Hells Kitchen, when cable TV was beginning to form, there was much speculation about where all this could potentially lead. As in work for actors beyond Broadway, off-Broadway, off-off-Broadway, traveling shows... there was much excitement. THIS is what I felt could happen. The Daredevil is what I felt could happen 30 years ago.

Very behind this work. Because this is what can happen when smart people come together. Well done ya'll's. I see this is evolving into another series. I hope so. For someone who does not care for television that much, this I can get behind.
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Fury (2014)
1/10
It takes a lot to get me revolted....
31 December 2015
Once in awhile one sees a movie where you want to tell Hollywood that all of the people involved, the director, the writers, the actors, the producers... everyone... needs a time out from making movies for like 5 or 10 years because what you just saw was atrocious. Fury is worse than that. Do not ever allow David Ayer to make a movie again. This flick is an insult to the senses, the sensibilities, the everything. What character development? What plot? What... aw, I could go on but why? As someone else said, what's the point? This easily had to be the worse war movie I have ever laid eyes on. I ended up skipping ahead on the remote control, it was that bad. One of the worst insult to the senses were the scenes with the women. Absolutely pointless. Scripts, scenes, lines, are intended to advance the story. It was an absolute black hole of uselessness. Those scenes with women were not only useless, they were reviling. Yeah yea, the fog of war, high emotions, youth (tho these "commercial actors" were in their 30s and 40s when tankers in WWII were fer crissakes, 20s)… not only were 100% of the men offensive, the scenes served absolutely zero purpose in creating advancement of, oh right, what story. In terms of character development, Pitt was a empty can of nothing. Why in bloody hell was the direction to just sit there like nothing is going on? I found these scenes to be vacuous and insulting. Created not a scintilla of emotional attachment to any of the characters. I could wax on with analysis about those scenes but, why. They were an insult to... there were an insult. The fighting scene at the end has been examined ad naseum... also an insult to everything a thinking, person, aware person would know. Pauses from githing for emotional responses. Completely opposite of the rest of the movie. I cannot express enough how I found this movie revolting. What lingers in my mind were seeing seeing previews where the "commercial actors", and I use that term derisively as there are actors, then there are commerical actors which are a dime a dozen of which this is the latter... but remember the promos where these people were going on about how proud they were to get thumbs up from real tankers from WWII. I have news for you commercial actor kiddies... these men were likely thrilled to be recognized by Hollywood. This movie is pure and simple crap. Red Tails was a bad movie. This exceeds that movie by magnitudes. An insult to moviegoers, to WWI vets, to vets everywhere, to what the hell.. to the Waffen SS. Do not give any money to the director for any more way efforts. Do NOT do it. I have not been this reviled by a movie in a long, long time. This one did it.
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2/10
Where is the soul?
19 November 2015
I really struggled with whether to even write anything because also working at the highest level of ballet, dance, in the USA, as some others have said too... this Flesh and Bones could be, should be, would be, an insult to the senses of anyone who has been at high levels of dance. Hence the critical reviews by those who have been in the trade. But then that is what cracked it for me... Flesh and Bones is not about ballet. Or a ballet company. Or professional dancers working at the penultimate levels that are required to sustain as a dancer. This is not about ballet. It is about TV. And self indulgent writers. And clichés. And... you get the idea. It is about drama. And conflict. And the creation of. In addition to dance, having written some screenplays too, the first time I ever pitched one I was shocked and dismayed when during the pitch meeting, my first, the questions focused on "where is the conflict". It initially ruined me, until I realized and accepted story and reality and believability and so on were secondary to.... captivation. Conflict. That is Flesh and Bones. I too really REALLY wanted to see some dancing. I was disappointed. So I lowered my expectations after the second so called dance scene and then things almost became OK. Except they didn't. Because after I accepted the fact this was not about ballet, I was waiting to be interested in the characters, the people, a story, themes. I am still waiting. Their is more than enough conflict to go around in people's personal lives without having to manufacture as someone else articulated, incest, sodomy, drug addiction, prostitution, rough sex, harassment, masturbation. It's just not gripping. Any part of this. Gratuitous comes to mind. So I lower my expectations even more and am left with production value. How it is shot, direction, you know... the stuff you are left with. I'd examine this level too but... why? What I am left with is... I really would like to know about the people who are "acting" in this because that is all I am left with. Not the episodes, but the performers. So I guess I will wait for my missus to let me know when they see so-and-so on a talk show so I can watch to see what they are like in pseudo real life. Because I am left empty. And there it is... what I was searching for to describe Flesh and Bones. It has no soul. I really really REALLY suspended my personal experience which could be extremely critical of the non reality of all this, and waited for it's soul. That never came. If there is a second season of this, for crissakes sakes, if anyone from that production team group is reading this... find its soul.
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Texas Rising (2015)
3/10
Why oh why do things like this happen??
1 June 2015
It is official. The entertainment industry is out of ideas.

OK. Let's talk about what this is not, or should not be.

This is television. So straight away we need to suspend reality and look towards what we can grab on to. That would be entertainment.

Let's look at good character development as entertainment….

OK, after searching for a few minutes, I had to discard the notion of good character development. There was none. It was exclusively cliché's. I could elaborate but one would need some meat to elaborate on.

Why was there vacuous character development? Well, one needs to look to a crackling script. Which contains a story,, and language. A compelling reference to historical events. I personally prefer winners. The premise was based on The Alamo. A loss. Granted the history eventually leads to a win…. but Texas is well known for erecting statues and monuments to losing efforts. Now that I got that out… sure, a reference to this historical event situates us into a frame of mind. Let's proceed.

If we're to look at historical events, why in the bloody hell are we constantly drawn into these inane side frames. Watching the character Emily West creeping behind horses while listening to Santa Ana plan strategy. Did they run out of sets? There has been extraordinary mention about how none of this resembles the terrain of the historical geography… but people people people, we are after all expected to suspend reality. On the Texas landscape, suspension granted for the moment. But watching the Emily character lurk in the background of a stable listening to war planning…. a bathtub scene, the two moron young characters. All depicted to draw us into an emotional response. I have a new flash to the producers, developers, and writers…. Epic Fail. You are writing, directing, producing, in clichés. I sh'ant explain. If you do not understand, you will not understand.

I move on. It does not deserve comment as it is too absurd.

Moving on, since historical reference has failed us, and that the character development is an oxymoron of the phrase, let's look at…. dialogue. What would compel is would be, crackling dialogue. Let me reference other reviews that have pointed to colloquialisms that are again, absurd. I could go back and draw on quote precisely. Buy why? The dialogue is underwhelming, at best. It does not crackle. It moves along like a series of clichés strung together by writers who grew up on too much TV. It blatantly encourages the commercial actors to resort to modern cliché'd responses.

And keep in mind, this has an overwhelming color of we are not into about our 3rd generation of TV babies. Who are drawing upon their language and clichés based on, TV. This stinks of TV generation DNA. Long way of saying.. the crackling dialogue does not crackle. It stinks.

Case in point. Brendan Frazier as a native American. Says his son only has 2 scalps in a scene where Sam Houston is spared. This could not be more snarky, junk writing if one tried. Well, they did try. Kinda. It is just junk writing. We know the writers all think they are clever. They are not. The writers have been given permission by being paid to write pure drivel. This is not clever writing. It is junk.

Moving on… direction. This has more to do with being a traffic cop organizing story boards and locations than direction. Shame on the direction. It is not direction. It is nothing more than making sure the 'talent' had motels rooms and there were enough horses to go around for a scene.

Moving on…. the cinematography. Look folks. The whole thing is a piece of dismal bull dung poopy. So what are we left with? The visual. So fer crissakes….

,=…..they blew that. Forget authenticating historical accuracy. This is TV and we are commanded to suspend reality. That is a given.

But fer crissakes, of all things I knew this production team, this writing team, the history channel execs, the commercial actors who probably tried to make sense of a tired script before the first second of filming began… of all the things they could have done, getting the visual to be appealing might have been possible.

No.

They blew that too. And in a masterfully mediocre way. That washed out, paladium-y, harsh-y sun baked appearance of south Texas….

Let me be ultra clear on this one: rhey consistently and completely blew out the skies.

Fer crissakes, if nothing else, they could have at the least hired someone to understand how to blend foreground with sky. I mean, at least attempted some of ideas similar to the great cinematographers like Gregg Toland or Bert Glennon who understood light. Skies. Scenery. Washing out the appearance at the expense of losing the skies is Unforgivable. How in the bloody hell can you lose the great expanse of western skies? They managed to completely underwhelm an already underwhelming thing. I cannot call it a film because that would be degrading to the term, film. For cripes sakes, how in the heck you can blow managing the appearance of the grand Texas skies, even if it was not a real Texas sky… how you can manage to diminish the visual appearance in this day and age of digital technology… shame on you people. Shame on you. That is Unforgivable.

Look folks. This effort is a dawg. It is slightly entertaining in its effort to provoke googling historical records. But there is nothing, not a doggone thing that makes this redeemable.
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Aquarius (2015–2016)
4/10
We, pardon, they have run out of ideas
28 May 2015
No doubt this will be a hit, with Mulder in the title role.

Why? We need strong, well defined characters to grab our interest.

Or, eye candy.

We need strong, compelling story lines that are somewhat trackable out of the gate.

Or, one can trade on historical records to reference interesting things.

We can use useful locations, sets, creative camera work.

Or, visual clichés.

We could use some helpful crackling dialogue when all else fails.

Or, it fails.

Aquarius is all "Ors". It was already a tired, unimaginative effort in the first 10 minutes.

Yeah, it might be slightly interesting, more of a curiosity to see if the blatant clichés drawing on police strong-arming, political foibles and the secondary personal conflicts and observing how clever the writers and developers think they have been in drawing... gag me with an anything to say this.... parallels, to present day.

I take that back. It will not be slightly interesting to see where the writers and developers wish to show how clever they think they are with layering of stories and entendre.

The only thing I find interesting about this will be where the young commercial actors will land in a few years. Other than that, dull and tired. Wish it weren't so.

Oh, and by the way... the soundtrack does NOT save this effort. As a side note to the writers and developers of this... stop trying to be clever and write something interesting and compelling. This is not a worthy retread on any level.
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Extant (2014–2015)
1/10
On no oh no oh nooooo...
24 January 2015
You have got to be kidding me. You have GOT to be kidding me..

Where to start? Concept. Is this really a decent concept? I think not. Every cliché from sci-fi flicks and and TV attempts thrown at the wall. Splat. Doesn't work. Really doesn't work. We are left with splat.

Try as I might, there is nothing redeeming which one can usually dredge out of a mess like this some where.

The acting is just god-awful because...

... the scripts are horrendous. The dialog is appalling because...

... the scripts are horrendous. The scene construction is non existent because...

... the scripts are horrendous. The special effects are, oh sorry...

... what special effects? 'Beings' just come walking into camera out of nowhere. Suspend reality sure. But this is so poorly executed that, well, there is just no way to critique this aspect of Extant. There is nothing compelling at all about the effects of anything.

Directing? Same. Direction is horrendous because the writing is horrendous.

OK, so we're left with personalities. Are we the slightest drawn to any of the personalities? Cute kid? Cuter Ms. Berry? Eye candy men? Nawp, nawp and nawp. There is nothing redeeming in the characters or personalities at all. Without looking, name one character's name right now. You can't.

This is a hot mess of the first order. And they are schedded for a second season? You have got to be kidding me. Who is thinking what? Is television in that bad a shape that no one can come up with better concepts, story lines, characters, special effects, easy on the eye people, something?? If I hear "My baby" one more time my brain will seize up. Please take the wordprocessors away from the production people because this should go on a long space mission and never come back.
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Peter Pan Live! (2014 TV Movie)
6/10
Hooray for NBC bringing another musical to TV
4 December 2014
Yes, hooray for NBC bringing a musical to television. What is old is new again. Mega props for the production.

Production-wise, very nice. Pleasant. Captivating. Well done across multiples of scenes.

Now the nit picking picking of nits.

The first scene fell flat. This is straight forward theater 101 stuff... the first scene needs to pop. To establish. This looked glossed over, from direction to the preparation and involvement of the actors. Gave the first scene a D+. The firsts scene should have received far more attention, from the actors to the staging, and camera work.

Next, and this is stating the obvious. Do not sent a commercial actor to do the work of a stage actor. Ms Williams is lovely, nay... beautiful. It was impossible to hide her beauty inside Peter Pan. Her interviews were warm fuzzies, including her backstory of as a kid her attachment to Peter Pan, her dad, all that. All very nice. She is also not a stage actor and it again, shows. As it did in Sound of Music. Do not send a commercial actor to do the job of a stage actor. It simply does not work. Rarely has. Likely rarely ever will. The difference between those who have had stage training and experience vs. the non's is glaring. I for one would far prefer a lesser known stage personality and experience over TV personalities. It does not work, and did not work here. One could drill down into Ms William nuances of performance and character but.... best to say Ms Williams, take the time and gain stage experience for the next 10 years. The *it* thing of stage experience would come into place.

Mr. Walken was however an exception. He did fairly well. Fun to watch him and transcend his commercial personality with her performance.

The fake English accents... people, they do not work. Newsflash for future efforts at any level... don't do it. Don't try to fake it. It doesn't work and it is distracting. Very. It gives pause in the brain while watching for entertainment.

The choreography by Jerry Robbins was and will always be cute and fun.

Overall enjoyable. And Pluuuuuuuuuuuze, keep bringing musicals to the television. As said, what is old is new again, and can be wonderful.

This was enjoyable yes.Yes, hooray for NBC bringing a musical to television. What is old is new again. Mega props for the production.

Production-wise, very nice. Pleasant. Captivating. Well done across multiples of scenes.

Now the nit picking picking of nits.

The first scene fell flat. This is straight forward theater 101 stuff... the first scene needs to pop. To establish. This looked glossed over, from direction to the preparation and involvement of the actors. Gave the first scene a D+. The firsts scene should have received far more attention, from the actors to the staging, and camera work.

Next, and this is stating the obvious. Do not sent a commercial actor to do the work of a stage actor. Ms Williams is lovely, nay... beautiful. It was impossible to hide her beauty inside Peter Pan. Her interviews were warm fuzzies, including her backstory of as a kid her attachment to Peter Pan, her dad, all that. All very nice. She is also not a stage actor and it again, shows. As it did in Sound of Music. Do not send a commercial actor to do the job of a stage actor. It simply does not work. Rarely has. Likely rarely ever will. The difference between those who have had stage training and experience vs. the non's is glaring. I for one would far prefer a lesser known stage personality and experience over TV personalities. It does not work, and did not work here. One could drill down into Ms William nuances of performance and character but.... best to say Ms Williams, take the time and gain stage experience for the next 10 years. The *it* thing of stage experience would come into place.

Mr. Walken was however an exception. He did fairly well. Fun to watch him and transcend his commercial personality with her performance.

The fake English accents... people, they do not work. Newsflash for future efforts at any level... don't do it. Don't try to fake it. It doesn't work and it is distracting. Very. It gives pause in the brain while watching for entertainment.

The choreography by Jerry Robbins was and will always be cute and fun.

Overall enjoyable. And Pluuuuuuuuuuuze, keep bringing musicals to the television. As said, what is old is new again, and can be wonderful.

This was enjoyable yes.
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8/10
Campy is good
1 November 2014
Perhaps the more entertaining thing about offering a review on this is reacting to other reviews.

Phrases like "Didn't like it", "Self indulgent mediocrity", "No plot, no acting, no drama, no fun", "don't bother", "hustle, hustle, hustle", "Over-hyped, Under-developed, Over-acted, & Under-performed"... and so on.

To the naysayer negatatory nancys who found this flick vacuous.... I firstly say, It Is A Movie. Movies can be entertaining. This movie was entertaining. Very much so. It is a campy movie. It is a self indulgent campy movie. It is a self centered self indulgent campy movie. It is a narcissistic self centered self indulgent campy movie. I could keep going, but stated simply... it succeeds on these and many other fronts. Perhaps the more entertaining thing about offering a review on this is reacting to other reviews.

Phrases like "Didn't like it", "Self indulgent mediocrity", "No plot, no acting, no drama, no fun", "don't bother", "hustle, hustle, hustle", "Over-hyped, Under-developed, Over-acted, & Under-performed"... and so on.

To the naysayer negatatory nancys who found this flick vacuous.... I firstly say, It Is A Movie. Movies can be entertaining. This movie was entertaining. Very much so. It is a campy movie. It is a self indulgent campy movie. It is a self centered self indulgent campy movie. It is a narcacisstic self centered self indulgent campy movie. I could keep going, but stated simply... it succeeds on these and many other fronts.

It is well written. It is sequenced wonderfully. It is shot wonderfully. Kudos on the direction. Mega kudos on the actors and their choices.

Kids, this is a fun flick. Fun and entertaining. It evokes ideas and emotions on levels. A view of the 70s. Corruption. Male v female dynamics.

Am in no way comparing this to Shakespeare execept in one aspect. If you do not think this is your cup of tea, sit still, relax, and let the thing happen. One can dial in to the dialogue and the ideas if one just sits still and let's it happen. I was ready to not like this, but by sitting still, like Shakespeare, and letting the words flow... the ideas and entertainment began to make sense and I dialed in. I give many props to the writing, props to the driection, props to the actors and their choices. If one just sits still and let's it happen, this is a wonderfully rich flick.

Campy can be good.

In this case, campy is good.

Especially tip 'o the hat to Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell. Well done. It is well written. It is sequenced wonderfully. It is shot wonderfully. Kudos on the direction. Mega kudos on the actors and their choices.

Kids, this is a fun flick. Fun and entertaining. It evokes ideas and emotions on levels. A view of the 70s. Corruption. Male v female dynamics.

Am in no way comparing this to Shakespeare except in one aspect. If you do not think this is your cup of tea, sit still, relax, and let the thing happen. One can dial in to the dialogue and the ideas if one just sits still and let's it happen. I was ready to not like this, but by sitting still, like Shakespeare, and letting the words flow... the ideas and entertainment began to make sense and I dialed in. I give many props to the writing, props to the direction, props to the actors and their choices. If one just sits still and let's it happen, this is a wonderfully rich flick.

Campy can be good.

In this case, campy is good.

Especially tip 'o the hat to Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell. Well done.
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The Sound of Music Live! (2013 TV Special)
6/10
kudos for going live
22 December 2013
First, kudos for creating a live television presentation.

Please please please... more. I and I know many would flock to this kind of live performance.

Next, too easy to do the comparison thing. But unavoidable... so must qualify this by declaring the obvious intimacy of film versus the live TV/stage adaptation. And there it is... intimacy of film. One is hard pressed to not draw those comparisons in spite of this.

So let's... first Ms Underwood. Most excellent to give this a go. She is also not an actress. It was obvious. There is no substitute for having worked on stage, as an actress. There was a distinct lack of depth to the character. And the vocal performance that is markedly different from people with great voices as Ms Underwood has, and seasoned stage actors and actresses as for instance Ms MacDonald has. Ms Underwood hit her marks. And her voice is superb. But the performance lacked that *it* thing. If she would commit to doing more stage work, her depth would grow. As it was, it was a thin performance.

All the other performances were serviceable, and some good. Or as in Ms Audra McDonald, she was superb. Ms McDonald of course is a trained stage actress, and it screams so.

The production quality not the least of which was the musical production was top shelf. And choreography. Well done here.

There was one huge mistake that overtook the entire production however. It must be pointed out. The lack of a live audience was a huge misstep. The 1965 version had the huge advantage of the intimacy of film. In choosing to do a live TV version, what would have bridged that difference would have been to honor what live stage productions have... and that is a living breathing audience. The energy, the ambiance, everything would have been greatly influenced by this. Not having it in my opinion crippled the experience. If there is a future attempt at a live TV production of anything.... do not make this same mistake. You must must must have the energy that a live audience brings to a production. This would have without question made a significant difference in this current production. Am not sure why there was a choice NOT to have a live audience....

Still, that this happened at all is big. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeze take on another one, and another one. As the ratings would show, this art, this craft, is alive and quite well. I give mega props for taking this on and hopefully the learning experience will go into future productions...
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Ironside (2013)
10/10
Cancelled?? No way should this have been cancelled.
23 October 2013
Cancelled? You have got to be kidding. This is really too bad.

This program had pop. It had edge. It did not amble along like soooooooooo many other TV programs.

The flashbacks were very interesting.

I felt the actors took the dialogue and added grit. Underwood is excellent. Supporting actors developed their characters quickly and each one stood out.

Felt the directing furthered the edge and grit.

So when reading the negative feedback from the beginning really baffles. I guess folks want bland formula.

This is really too bad. This was one of the very few shows that had legs and wanted to see go. Goes to show mediocrity prevails. This show was not mediocre... but average tastes prevail. Disappointing to see this cancelled.
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Walkabout (1971)
10/10
Hearkens back...
20 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
... to my youth.

I saw this film when it first came out, and my hormones were just starting to spiral. Much of what was being presented I did not understand because of my youth, and it made deep deep sense. No, not an oxymoron. A more cliché'd response would be it resonated with me.

Clichés and me aside... this is a beautiful tone poem. I just saw it again after years and it was so deeply impressionable then, the sense of awe and fulfillment came rushing back each scene. My partner asked me why did the father start shooting at the children? Why did he commit suicide (sorry, spoiler)? Why this? Why that?

I kept saying to sit back and let it waft in like a breeze. It is a tone poem. Which is my review. It is a tone poem. The segue into finding the ramshackle house in nowhere's-ville says it all. The Ab carrying the radio. The Ab with the preppie jacket wrapped around his waist. The girl barefoot. The young boy barefoot and sunburned. I mean, the metaphors were simultaneously slamming one upside the head like a cast iron skillet, and gentle breezes at the same time.

I could go on and on. This is simply one of the great films, ever. It strips away yet simultaneously must utilize modern conventions to convey the story. The sexual references at the same time sledge hammered into the lens yet human beings are wired to respond to these slices of life.

The only thing wish is for me, and yes it is a selfish aspect of the review, for me... I want to be able to step through the screen, through time, and go back to the moments I first saw this film and experience the feeling of wonderment and awe I felt then... except I felt them again 40 years later. Selfishly, I also would want to be able to step through the screen and stand with the actors as they scenes are happening, again. It stimulated me to want to be transported... into the scenes, into the presence of the actors, into the Australian countryside, into time. Even the credits reminded me of greatness... Phil Ramone produced the music. A Rod Stewart song. The endlessly beautiful didgeridoo.

Hardly clichés. These are ephemeral things that speak to us. Which is the point of my review. This is a movie that speaks to us regardless of..... anything. Time. Historical knowledge. Anything. It speaks to us. I want to go Walkabout.
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4/10
Yawn
6 April 2013
Let's see. I've seen comments like shallow, slow, inaccurate, and so on.

Well, yes.

The instant I hear anyone associated with a film start talking about a character's "arc", run for the hills. For that is exactly what I did NOT see.

The novelty of rush to production was beyond evident here. At the risk of dredging up a very bad moment in history, this reminded me of 9/11 in reverse. Instead of watching a suspense thriller (after all, this is the movies and a certain amount of acceptance towards suspension of disbelief has to be, well, accepted), I felt like I was watching a slow destruction of history, in backwards deconstruction. I could not decide if I should get behind the characters and this so called "arc" (I did say run for the hills when you hear that word), or the historical unveiling of events, or just the spectacle.

When the movie ended, I was unable to get behind any of these.

Let's make it simple. Disgruntled employee rises above. Hang hat on premise for 2/3rds of the story. Sorry, worn out premise that fell on its face here.

A good script and good story telling backed by solid characters makes for good flicks. This had none of them. If it had been told in documentary form, it might have stood a chance. That this thing was up for best film of the year is a testament to the fickleness of human nature to back the wrong horse because it might have had an interesting pedigree. In this case, the pedigree was a historical event. This horse needs to be given over to the humane society and delivered to a nice family with a pasture, which is where it should be retired to.

PS, because extra additions are now part of a film's experience (DVD), I must add... when the materials focus on things like "being proud of" or "strove for accuracy" or such things... run for more hills. I find films that are worthy stand on their own with great writing, great stories, great direction, essentially greatness which none of this had. The most memorable take-away of watching this is when one remembers the phrase "they are taking themselves way too seriously". When the work stands, little needs to be said. When productions take themselves too seriously, keep running for them thar hills. This effort took itself way too seriously, down to the extras.
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Red Tails (2012)
4/10
Big Sigh....
24 May 2012
I am stealing the first line of another review as it sums up much of my impression: "Weak story-line, one dimensional characters, cheesy dialog, cheap looking CGI, and an out of place love story all make up this lousy movie." I would back off the word lousy and use some other phrase like, less than mediocre.

Cheesy is another word. It just lacked any semblance of continuity. Odd love story inserted into odd vignettes. Sub plots that just went no where. I can't blame the actors because it is very hard to work with a crummy script. And yes, it was a crummy script.

I have had the opportunity to meet several of the pilots from the Tuskegee Airmen, several times. To hear real stories from the real pilots who did real things. Admit it messes up a movie experience. But will say the movie was just not very good. Mediocre. Uneven. Poorly written. Big sigh...
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Black Swan (2010)
2/10
I Don't Get It
31 January 2012
How to fill up 10 lines to say, I don't get it.

The ratings this film has received. Why? It flat did not work.

Realism? Forget it.

Surrealism? I've seen far better. Think A Beautiful Mind that weaves the descent into darkness.

The storyline? Confused and a rehash at best. And predictable as hell.

If you want to see a real story with real emotions and real moments surrounded by surreal affects... watch The Red Shoes.

As far as this flick goes, I do not understand why people are so enamored with mediocrity, which this is.

The only reason I gave it a 2 is that they got the movie made. Other than that, Oscar? Hardly.
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