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Star Trek: Discovery (2017)
Took a while, but won me over
The first few episodes were really hard for me to watch. Too many Klingons and long, slow scenes of Klingon dialogue. I gave up for a while, and months later I tried again and hung in there, first because I had run out of favorites to watch, and then because I like the character of Michael Burnham portrayed by Sonequa Martin-Green.
*** Spoilers ***
Once the initial foundation of a war with Klingons was established, they were able to move into more characters and plot twists that hooked me. For starters, Michael in prison. What a fascinating, dark, edgy twist for a Star Trek semi-vulcan officer who was on track to become a captain! Branded as a traitor for mutiny and blamed for starting the war with Klingons, she is plunged into a strikingly unique role in the saga.
Then there is the ship's distinctiveness. The show is named "Discovery" not because that is the mission, but because that is the name of a very special experimental ship that did not belong to Star Fleet. It was an elaborate R&D vessel with an experimental new propulsion system, until Star Fleet confiscated it for military purposes. The Discovery's crew resents that. The new captain from "Fleet" is nothing like any we've seen before. He is rude and uncomfortably borderline unethical. He does not have the same values we are accustomed to seeing Star Fleet officers have - except in the occasional episode where an Enterprise crew encounters a rogue or alien-influenced captain. He recruits the traitor and exploits her situation and her unique skills.
Since the show is only available via the CBS All Access streaming outlet, they have decided they can drop an F bomb now and then. The first time I heard that it was a shock. I'm not shocked by F bombs, but this is Star Trek! I'm not sure I like them messing with Gene Roddenberry's vibe, but I will give them a pass as long as they don't go berserk with their newfound freedom to drop an occasional naughty words. Don't turn into Veep! I love Veep, don't misunderstand me, but this is Star Trek! Respect the creator's vision.
I absolutely adore the spore drive! That entire concept, with the tardigrade and fungi in the universe and zapping into or through other dimensions - APPLAUSE!!! CHEERS!!! WHISTLES!!! Really cool, exciting, imaginative, innovative ideas! Now, don't tell me somebody else already thought of that, I don't care if it was suggested or written elsewhere, I love what this show did with the idea.
I love that Michael Burnham has extraordinary empathy.
I love that some of the characters are uncomfortably dark because they come from an alternate universe.
I especially love the diversity seen in this cast and in the characters they bring to life so exquisitely.
The show totally hooked me by the end of Season 2 such that I feel great anticipation about Season 3 and confident these writers, actors, and artists of every kind it takes to create a great Star Trek series will deliver years of satisfying relationships, twists and plausible surprises.
Did I forget to mention Spock? No, I would never forget my favorite Vulcan. What a pure delight this version is! I was a little hesitant to like this "Spock has a sister" bit - but now I see, now I see why and how we have never heard Spock speak of Michael Burnham.
I could go into more details about what I love about each character, particular episodes, and the arches, but I have said enough to let the producers and investors know this is a fantastic success and to deliver a big thank you and well done to the cast and crew!
Period. End of Sentence. (2018)
Only wish it told more of the story
This short documentary is so enlightening and such an important, wonderful way to reveal the struggles of women in poverty and in cultures where this subject is still so taboo they can't talk about it, that I really wish this was a full-length documentary. There is so much more to the story than this well done short reveals. Very well done! I am so glad it was honored with an Oscar, I would not have known about it, were it not for the Oscar ceremony, which I always watch, and then watch the nominees and winners that I haven't heard about before the show. Thank you!
The Vietnam War (2017)
Enlightening, Riveting, and Deeply Revealing
When I first saw that Ken Burns had taken on the Vietnam War as a topic, two things happened. First, I felt eager to see it, and then I dreaded it. I knew I could trust Burns with this sensitive topic; and I knew he would leave no stone unturned. He creates, for my taste, the best documentary possible of every topic he engages.
Then a third thing happened: I learned things I had never heard before. I am sixty years of age, I've been having conversations, reading news, listening to radio, watching television, for decades in America, and there are certain facts revealed in this series that shocked me. I thought I knew everything I needed to know about the Vietnam War. I was wrong.
And Justice for None
I write this with the children and grandchildren in mind. I want you to know that what I find most appalling in this documentary is the perjury and conspiracy of justice officials whose sworn duty is to objectively collect and faithfully document and report evidence--not to falsify and withhold facts to bolster one side's theory of what happened.
This is one of many times that the justice system has been rigged by false reporting or withheld facts. There was news years ago of another crime lab in Texas, where many cases were overturned because of fabrication and tampering of evidence and outright perjury on the witness stand. This case was only one that was impacted by the lies of SBI Agent Duane Deaver. It completely undermines society when this type of corruption and conspiracy occurs. I have completely lost faith in the justice system.
Furthermore, if I had been on that jury there is no way that I would have convicted. Deaver's experiments were absurd--I would have seen that, and I would have believed the experts of the defense--their theory of how Kathleen could have slipped on the third step, hit the back of her head on the molding, slid down, slumped over, tried to get up and slipped on the blood and fell back again, coughed up blood--that was completely more believable to me than the idea that someone stood in that staircase beating someone and did not get a single spray of blood on their shirt or the ceiling.
The entire situation is so very, very sad and tragic. I don't believe for one second that anything nefarious happened to Elizabeth Ratliff in Germany. She had a stroke and fell.
I find it very sad and telling that the sisters of Kathleen were supportive until they learned that this man had private fantasies that of course nobody knew he had--that doesn't make someone evil or suddenly they're completely somebody else.
The judge was wrong to allow the State to prejudice the jury. The State should have been limited to present the facts of this incident on its own forensic evidence.
In addition to the perjury of the SBI agent and the obvious bias and inflammatory comments of the medical examiner, Deborah Radisch, who also seemed to be playing judge, jury and executioner, the police knew about the supposed mysteriously missing murder weapon and hid that fact too. It's all so corrupt and hideously wrong, it only leaves me disgusted with the so-called justice system, and feeling tremendous sympathy for the family members who have been torn apart and put through hell.
Duane Deaver should go to prison. That would be justice!
Instead, we have justice for none. The system failed because not one single honest person came forward in time to stop this hell from being perpetrated on this family. It is deeply disturbing!
A Star Is Born (2018)
Flawless and Extraordinary
There are few films that have caused my anticipation level to reach the point of buying advance tickets and counting down the days to the premier. As soon as I saw the first trailer for this fourth, flawless and extraordinary version of a story that never gets old, I began watching everything I could... interviews, red carpet appearances, Lady Gaga music videos, and of course, I had to watch the Barbra Streisand movie again!
We saw this film last night, on it's opening night in California, and it did not disappoint one bit! I do believe Lady Gaga will earn an Oscar for her performance--she deserves it! And Bradley Cooper deserves an Oscar for directing and acting as well. I absolutely love everything about the artistic choices in this movie! From the moment Ally first went on stage with Jack, I decided I had to see this movie again on the big screen.
I also pre-ordered the soundtrack and was happy to have it available to play this morning. All day I have been thinking about this movie. I am so glad it was made, glad Lady Gaga was chosen, and utterly impressed with the entire cast, writing, production, and above all, the music!
Being John Malkovich (1999)
Unforgettable and it set the bar high for dark comedy
I have seen this movie multiple times. I thought I had already reviewed it, but as I looked back over my reviews on IMDb, realized, I had been silent on my favorite dark comedy. A failure I must amend immediately.
What made me think of this movie today is Catherine Keener in Get Out, the 2017 gem created by Jordan Peele, which I had to praise after watching it last night on HBO. I think it was a really smart choice for Peele to cast her. I will never forget her, since seeing her in Being John Malkovich.
What I love about this movie is, well, everything--no, let me take away 1 star and give it 9, because as I recall, the ending did get a little too drawn out and overstayed its welcome. The ending did remind me of a lesson learned at UCLA Screenwriting taught by Professor Richard Walter, about beginnings and endings and when to exit the scene, and examples of sometimes when directors can't get off the stage. But it wasn't too bad, the ending, it didn't spoil the whole movie, it just went on beyond what felt like a good ending.
As for the 9 stars I give it--everything, from the moment the story begins, drew me into this deliciously weird world, and it was as funny as it was mesmerizing!
Every time I mention this movie to someone, I feel the urge to watch it again. And every time I have watched it again, I fall in love with its weirdness and humor all over again. So it should definitely be on the watch list of anyone who has not seen it, who likes dark comedy. I can't think of a better dark comedy than Being John Malkovich!
Get Out (2017)
The Right Amount of Bizarre
I am not going to spoil the fun for anyone who has yet to engage in this cinematic treat! The first I heard of it was during the Oscars show on March 4th--Jordan Peele wrote, directed & produced an Oscar-nominated movie? Where have I been, in a cave? Well, sort of, yes...I don't hang out much on social media, and I've been watching commercial-free on-demand shows for quite some time. And since the wildfires destroyed my home in northern California in the wee hours of October 9th, I haven't been in the movie market!
I had to see this. And now I have to see it again, even though I watched it last night--it's that fun--it's that strange--it's that good! It's the right amount of bizarre. I mean, seriously--these actors who are playing these characters are so perfect, I really want Jordan Peele to hear this virtual applause!!! The casting is great, and the direction made it perfect. I really had no idea what this plot was about. I had not seen a trailer or anything. All I knew is that Jordan Peele, a favorite comedian since Key & Peele have been busting my gut for years, was nominated for a movie that he wrote, directed, and produced. Must see. And wow, it did not disappoint me at all.
The tension built ever so slightly and carefully. The characters showed just the right amount of bizarre--I wasn't sure--is there something wrong with that person? Is there? That was a little odd, okay...that was...I'm not sure.
I loved the reference to "Eyes Wide Shut"--hilarious!
I was feeling Twilight Zoned. It was like Stepford Wives meshed with The Help. It's so much FUN!!!
I rarely give a movie all 10 stars because most movies do have room for improvement. I gave this movie 9 stars because it is that close to perfection as an artistic expression of oh so much more than its surface--this movie runs very deep in my humble opinion--it made me think very deeply, it is provocative in an enjoyable way, it is metaphorical and philosophical without being preachy or evangelical. Really well done, Mr. Peele! And kudos to the entire cast and crew! Thanks for this gem!
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
The most intriguing threesome in cinematic history
It's Saturday morning. Blade Runner 2049 officially released last night, the reviews are in, my husband tells me a headline written by someone who is clearly disappointed--in the money that came in? I can't imagine being disappointed in the movie!
I can imagine a slow build at the box office for this epic scifi sequel, because young people with whom I've spoken were utterly unfamiliar with the fact that Blade Runner is one of the top 3 scifi films of all time.
Scifi doesn't get better than Blade Runner and 2049.
I told two colleagues yesterday that I'd seen the movie on Thursday night and restrained myself from hyping it too much...I hate to hype it up and ruin it for others. I hate spoilers. I hate reading reviews before I see a movie, and more often than not I hate reading reviews after I've seen a movie because it taints my experience. I write reviews when I feel strongly about applauding the work of a great crew and cast, or explaining where it lost me for the artisans of future movies and series.
Let me just say that not only does BR2049 feature the most intriguing threesome ever filmed--which is saying something--it also moves and twists in mysterious ways, in plausible ways, in deliciously gritty and dirty and sensual ways. This is film noir at is utmost best.
I love that it starts out with minimalism and slowly builds with perfect foreplay and a climactic ending that I will not forget.
I love that Ryan Gosling is the star, the protagonist, the leading man, the blade runner of 2049, and I love that I had to wait to see our beloved Mr. Ford until exactly the right moment in the telling of a complex, rich & believable plot.
I love/hate this world. I adore the cinematography, the characters, the way they're portrayed. I rated this movie 10 stars because I find no fault with it. It is a magnificent work of art, it is a great movie, it is everything we want a movie to be. And it is rare that an almost 3-hour movie doesn't feel like one.
At no point while watching did I feel restless, bored, irritated, impatience, or "that's ridiculous". Solid plot. Outstanding performances. Excellent dialogue. Perfect audio, visual, special fx, makeup, wardrobe, music... it's all so smoothly blended, one doesn't notice it while watching, one is simply, blissfully engaged.
My absolute favorite comedy show on TV!
I fell in love with this show in the first ten minutes and have loved every episode since! My only complaint is that the seasons are so short and too far apart--it's agony waiting for it to come back! But when it does finally come back, it never disappoints!
The mixture of these two comedic genius writers from Britain and Matt LeBlanc, with all the nuances--I do not want to spoil the joy for anyone, I only want to go on record as saying this is one of the funniest comedy shows ever and it is a must-see!
I just love what they're doing in the current season--coming back strongly hilarious!!! THANK YOU.
Laughed Out Loud
I'll admit I am the worst kind of friend you want to watch a horror movie with because they don't scare me at all, they are all so ridiculous! Going to see "IT" was not my idea, I tagged along with a group that wanted to see it. I really tried to suppress my giggles, but I just couldn't help it.
First of all, let me tell you the only horror movie that scared me as an adult was THE SHINING. Not because of any of the ooky-booky stuff like redrum or blood floods, but because crazy drunk people are scary! Crazy drunks are real monsters and you never know when they're going to get too drunk and too crazy--it happens suddenly, and what are you going to do--leave your sleeping child with them? Run out into the freezing night half naked?
Clowns are a joke. I can understand why a little kid might be afraid of some clowns, but come on--teenagers--are you seriously afraid of clowns?
This particular plot is so full of holes it was too funny. First it's a ship going down a sewer drain. Then there's red balloons. And we all float down here. And then the spooky house. Blood coming out of a sink. None of it tied together. It's a hodgepodge of imagery and nonsense. It's like seeing a little kid's imagination for over two hours. I just had to laugh.
Cinematically it was well done. The actors were all good. As usual with a teen story, they had to exploit the little girl. They had to oggle her training bra. Of course all the pervs needed to see that scene for just a few more seconds.
The clown himself--Pennywise the Dancing Clown that never danced--was iconic and the makeup was a great choice.
The movie was well done, and I don't blame the genre, so I give it 7 stars because it's pretty good, but come on...this is NOT a "Great" movie!
13 Hours (2016)
I am giving this movie only 7 out of 10 stars because I think the producers and writers did not go far enough to clarify why more help did not come. It is nice to see the humanity and heroism of some of the people who were there when the ambassador was attacked. It was informative to see how it unfolded according to those who were on the ground, assuming the storytellers were true to their accounts and their accounts were objective. To be objective means you have to recognize that you don't know what you don't know and you might be wrong about what you think you know.
So it was an interesting movie to watch, a sad story, a mess, maybe a stupid mess, but every person who was there had a choice whether or not to be there. Personally, I don't understand why any sane person goes to the Middle East. If you choose to put yourself in the middle of that mess, don't expect me to sympathize or cheer when you survive their tribal egomania.
The Middle East is a lost cause, that's what this film confirms. It reminds us that outsiders don't belong there. It shows us why it was a mistake to get involved in their tribal conflicts. We have better things to do - there are many places in this world where the majority of the people and the governments want our help and we do not give them our help - that is the question. Why wasn't there better security for this small group of Americans who shouldn't have gone there in the first place? That's someone else's question, not mine. My question is why are we in the Middle East at all? Why aren't we "helping" Africa and/or South America? Why aren't we helping the governments and people who have real problems and who want our help to become more civilized? Why is that conflict - in that region between those tribes who have hated each other for thousands of years - why is that conflict worthy of the sacrifice of our sons and their children?
Yes, the people who were there and were faced with aggression and certain death were remarkable in their struggle to survive. It's a bit like cheering for someone who survives diving into a snake pit.
Don't dive into snake pits.
Some train wrecks are unwatchable
I can usually see beyond the spiritual gore of these types of shows enough to appreciate the performance art, even in a horror story like Shameless, unfortunately, this series lost me as a viewer a long time ago. The characters are simply too repugnant. I tried repeatedly to find some entertainment value, but it was not worth the effort. Every episode took another little piece of my heart and did not give anything back. I am starting to lose respect for Showtime. I don't know why - I mean, it's all there in the title, isn't it? Shameless. A show about people who have no shame.
In Aristotle's textbook about the performing arts (Greek theater, what worked, what didn't), he talked about characters who were too repugnant. Showtime seems to be toying with that line to see how far they can push the boundary, but there is such a thing as becoming boring - like watching a cat play with a dead mouse, eventually you take the dead mouse away and throw it in the garbage where it belongs.
Showtime has done a lot of these repugnant type shows - but some of them they are doing with genius, like Ray Donovan and The Affair, which are poignant and have some real soul and depth and range.
A better title for Shameless would be Senseless!
I really hate these types
I love the actors, but I hate the types of people portrayed in this series. It is almost too repugnant. I must admit the casting and performances are excellent, as is the production quality and writing. Nonetheless, watching the show leaves me feeling nauseated, disgusted, and depressed because deep inside I know that although this is fiction, this is probably more true than any of us want to imagine.
I think this is why the 99% hate the 1% - because we know the only way to get there is corruption. And they are not merely corrupt themselves, they are corrupting others along the way. Corrupting and destroying all the possible good in the world. What's worse, they make grand charitable gestures to mask the greed and avarice.
I am so sick of their truffles and fetishes. The only reason I rated the series 8 is because of the quality of production and performances. I think the writers can do more to make the series less depressing. These people have no redeeming traits at all. They're all jerks with no souls. That's too one-dimensional for me, but because I love Damian Lewis and the new character Taylor is interesting, and because I still have a tiny thread of hope in me that someone is going to do something redeeming - I just can't believe every single person is going to stay on their corrupt trajectory - surely one of them will say "this is all wrong and I am not going to let you get away with it!" I guess deep down I still have hope in humanity, though this show gives me little reason to think anyone cares about anything more than their ego.
Bates Motel (2013)
Poignant, deeply affecting and darkly humorous
I have been watching this series from the start and it has never let me down. It is one of those rare shows I look forward to with great anticipation, and already feel sad that we are in the final season. What started out as an interesting backstory to Norman Bates and his corpse of a mother as we know them from the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie, Psycho, has become an outstanding invention of a very plausible tragedy that pulls at the heart strings while it repulses, surprises, and sometimes amuses us. As other reviewers have stated, it is riveting!
This is an artistic rendering of a topic that is socially relevant, as society strives to de-stigmatize the 10% of the human family who struggle with mental health issues. I have personally known two people who had been diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder, who shared their stories with me, and taught me about the difficult and delicate process of integrating the personalities and becoming more functional (no or less blackouts). Neither of the people I knew had homicidal urges, as Norman Bates does, but the blackouts and alter egos were very frightening and disruptive to them. I have also grown up with an older brother who became schizophrenic at age 19, so I have first hand insight into that struggle for sanity and survival. My brother was also never violent or dangerous to others, though he attempted suicide more than once and finally ended his life in 1983.
Having had these experiences seems to give me a special sympathy toward Norman as a character. Freddie Highmore has been an outstanding actor since childhood. Most people probably recognize him from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). My favorite early film with Freddie is Finding Neverland (2004).
I cannot say enough good things about this series. Everyone involved in the production of this unforgettable backstory which has given Norman Bates and his mother more depth than I expected! And to do it with touches of comedy at the same time has made it all the richer.
Bates Motel is a must-see for every fan of Psycho, and for the younger generations who didn't grow up with that classic horror movie, I recommend watching that first. This series has made me want to go back and watch it again.
The Good Wife (2009)
The Good, the Bad, and the Noisy
I recently started "binge-watching" this series, so my views are different from viewers who have watched the show on a weekly basis, and I am going to do all I can to avoid spoilers.
While this show has a great cast of actors and a slew of interesting characters, there are too many episodes that rely on noise as drama. Too often, I find myself irritated by the frequency of manic lawyers shouting over each other in a court or conference room. The writers should stop relying on this device as a method of creating dramatic tension. More often than not, it merely annoys viewers and makes us reach for the remote.
The loss of a significant relationship gave the writers an opportunity to grow the main character in imaginative, innovative, fresh ways. Instead, they shoved her into politics against her will. I am quickly losing all compassion for the protagonist. I also find myself caring less about other characters as the story sprawls into implausible reaches.
Depending on what happens in Season 6, I may or may not care enough to watch new episodes when I catch up to the current season. I hope they steer away from campaigning. Maybe this is 2016 election year nausea talking.
American Horror Story (2011)
Clever and endlessly twisted!
I have to say I am loving this Roanoke Nightmare! It's so much fun watching the story about the story, then the reality show about the reality show - it's so deliciously convoluted! It is great to see all the familiar faces playing different roles! Can't wait to see the next episode!
Horror has never been my thing, the only reason I tuned into AHS was Lady Gaga, and then I began to see why the show had won Emmy Awards, a decided to watch Seasons 1-4. And now this, those hillbillies crack me up! The backstory is plausible. The blood moon theme is fun. The cast and crew have really outdone themselves!
Biblically Correct, mostly:)
As a teen, I had to study the Christian Bible (King James Version) every single night. We went chapter by chapter, as a group, from Genesis to Revelations and then started over. So there isn't much I don't know about what is in there and what isn't, and this series, Lucifer, shows that the writers have done their homework!
They are taking poetic license to flesh it out in this storyline of the devil taking a vacation on Earth, and it's a lot of fun if you aren't superstitious about it! I am sure the title alone is terrifying for some! But for me, well, I have always felt sympathy for the fallen angels because, according to biblical scholars, there is no redemption for them. It just doesn't seem fair. Why are humans eligible for salvation up to their last minute of death--all they have to do is cry out to Jesus for mercy, right? Not so for Lucifer and the fallen ones.
And besides the eternal punishment, why is there no mention at all in the Bible of the heavenly mother? Is God a hermaphrodite?
Anyway, I am really laughing my guts out at this series because this concept of Lucifer in modern times is truly hilarious and very well done! But I'll warn you, there is a whole lot of shaking' going on, so brace yourself for a little guilty pleasure!
This movie is EXCELLENT!
This movie is EXCELLENT! The only reason I am giving it 9 instead of 10 stars is that the volume of the dialogue is often so soft, captions are necessary. However, they did everything else right! First of all, the writing is solid. The characters, plot, dialogue - it's all there, done the way movies are supposed to be.
The casting is excellent. Every actor gave a completely believable performance.
The directing is excellent. There is a lot of dramatic tension conveyed through nuance. I love that it is not over-the-top drama. It is exactly as it should be for a movie about a society that hates emotion.
At first, I was a little disturbed by the blandness of the setting, but that too is perfectly in line with the plot.
So I highly recommend this movie. Its subtlety is perfection for such a deep subject and disturbing concept. This is a universal concept, for misfits who learn young to hide what they really think and feel in order to avoid being ostracized, but here the impact is much worse than merely being outcast.
I do not know or care why others did not like it (it had only 6-star average rating when I wrote this, and Rotten Tomatoes was at 31%) - I have no idea why it received such low ratings. This is a very striking movie that will tug at your heart strings! Cheers!!!
Not usually a fan of time travel stories, but...
This is a Hulu Original and it is obvious that the Hulu team invested a worthy amount of time and money, teaming up with J.J. Abrams, and this show lives up to his reputation in the art of visual storytelling. I am not usually a fan of time travel stories (except for Bill and Ted's), but my better half persuaded me to give this one a try and it helped that James Franco played the lead. Everything about this series is done right and it is a spectacular 1960-63 period piece.
*** Spoilers ***
The ending, the plot itself, is where I felt disappointed because I have seen the "Dark Legacy" documentary which presents overwhelming evidence about suppressed facts related to the murder of JFK. Knowing these facts made it impossible for me to appreciate a story that points to Oswald as a lone fanatic. Once 11.22.63 went there, I was disappointed, but I cut Stephen King some slack because he wrote the novel in 2011, and because it has been very unpopular to theorize that the CIA was behind the murder of a president. So for me, the plot was dull once it focused on Oswald as the culprit. Furthermore, the last episode completely lost me when it showed the world worse off as a result of preventing the assassination -- that makes me angry at Stephen King for suggesting that the world could possibly have a better result when a world class peacemaker is murdered. Ugh.
Nevertheless, set aside the disgust with King's ideas about Oswald and JFK, and you can enjoy what is a very good series that the crew and cast should be very proud of. Very well done!
Battlestar Galactica (2003)
Notes from a UCLA Screen writing Student
This DVD was a Christmas present from my son in 2015. I binged on the entire series in a two-week period. As a writer, watching stories is a study in the art and craft no matter how hard I try to watch like a non- writer. I can't unlearn what I've learned about this ancient form of expression (storytelling). So forgive me if it seems I am nitpicking, and don't read this review if you don't want spoilers. Read this review if you are in the film industry and want feedback on how they pulled off this magical experience.
During the first episodes, I commented to my husband that I thought the writer(s) were referring to Mormon mythology by naming a planet where gods and people lived together "Kobol". He confirmed my insight--Glen Larson was a Mormon, maybe still is, and so what. I was raised in Utah, part of a big Mormon family, and I left the church at a young age and never regretted my choice. I mention this because there is a lot of Mormon stuff in this series. There's nothing wrong with that, it is simply an interesting fact.
Mormons teach that there is a planet on the other side of the sun where God lives with people, sort of. Mormons teach that God was once a man and that men (and women) can become gods (eternal fathers and mothers populating worlds). I could not help but see woven throughout this storyline and dialogue the inner struggle of one who has been taught both one true God and gods. The fact that the concept of the one true God came from the robots, the centurions, amuses me to no end.
The significance of Free Will is a core value of the Mormon religion (and a few other religions tend to also chalk up everything that is "wrong" with the world/humans on free will)...that said, I will always cheer the moment of truth when the genius, Baltar, suddenly recognized that it is all God's doing and therefore it is all perfect as is... the universe unfolding as it should.
The struggle between believing in fate/pre-destination and free will is ever present in this story. Was Starbuck pre-destined to be a crass drunken brother fracker? Was Ellen programmed to be a verbally abusive, manipulative wife? In a word, yes, for the sake of drama. Does art imitate life--does God love drama and is it true that God is having a good laugh?
These views of suffering and evil are always treated the same by Christian/Western writers, and I have grown weary of this perspective which is so commonplace in America that most Americans are painfully unaware of how prevalent it is in our national culture, our collective creations, and the fact that a good chunk of humanity has a very different point of view.
Eastern philosophy, Buddhism, Zen, Tao teaches that we are one with everything--you, me, trees, rocks, stars, dark matter--we are uniquely observing life and the on/off nature of it all. Egotism is the source of all suffering and evil. I would enjoy seeing more of this woven into future series.
Bottom line, they pulled this off by creating a visually stunning soap opera. They know when and how to skim over inexplicable loose ends. Movies are about feelings, and they made us feel deeply. Well done!
Soaked in Bleach (2015)
Tragic, Compelling, Disgusting, Undeniable
What impressed me about this documentary is how well it is laid out and substantiated by a variety of forensic experts and recorded conversations. Even if the viewer dismisses the obvious bias, the evidence and facts themselves make it clear that Kurt Cobain's death investigation was royally screwed up and it warrants re-opening the case. It's good that his daughter is now a young adult, and one would hope that she inherits his estate in full, because clearly Courtney Love deserved none of his royalties.
After viewing this last night, we can't stop talking it over and feeling disgusted by Courtney Love's actions and focus in the days before Kurt's body was found.
The whole thing is more than suspicious. It's ludicrous to imagine that anyone could or would do what they said Kurt did, under any circumstance, it's physically not possible.
Reese Witherspoon does a great job bringing this character to life, and the supporting cast is all very good too. The story itself is interesting, and what makes it most poignant is the line, "My mother was the love of my life." I suppose one would have to have such an extreme bond to go to such extremes as this woman did over the death of her mother. It is hard to imagine going to the extremes she did before she took on the Pacific Crest Trail.
I was hoping to see more of the PCT, it's something I have heard a lot about and I would have liked to have seen more of it, but the focus tended toward showing memories of her mother that didn't quite do enough to make me understand her grieving process.
Overall, it's a good movie, it's engaging, and worth seeing.
The trailer hyped it up too much, setting the expectation of a very intense drama. Jennifer Aniston did a great job of bringing this character to life, as did the entire cast. The story is told in a minimalist way, on the low-key side, and very slowly reveals what's going on. There were a few choices I found distracting. One was the overdone scars and bad skin makeup on Jennifer Aniston's face and neck. We all know she has flawless skin and in this character it looks like she has really bad skin plus scars, and it was just a bit too much texture. I was also distracted by the timing and style of appearances by Nina.
The timing of William Macy's character was too convenient and unbelievable.
I found myself waiting for this movie to become a gripping movie and it almost got there. I nearly cried a couple of times. Jennifer Aniston was very believable in the dramatic moments, however, the story lacked something, I'm not sure what. Still, it is a good movie, a good story, and well acted.
Masters of Sex (2013)
This show is indescribably delicious! Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen are fabulous - really, EVERYONE in the cast is perfectly fabulous, and the writers ROCK!!! Nuance perfected. Social significance unprecedented. Universal. Diverse. Raw. Honest. Subtly gut-wrenching. Nothing is included that doesn't need to be there, and nothing is overlooked that is worth coming back to. For anyone reading this review, if you haven't seen this show, savor it, it's too good to binge-watch. It's so hard to wait between seasons, but always worth it. I hope this series lasts for many years, I hope the actors enjoy these roles and continue to give us these provocative stories for a long time!
7 Days in Hell (2015)
I'll watch this whenever I need to laugh uncontrollably!
Maybe it's because I'm a fan of Game of Thrones and Masters of Sex (TV Series) that I fell in love with these characters right away. All I can tell you is the previews didn't do much to entice me, but there were no new free movies available on demand at the moment, so I figured I would give it a shot. There are so many movies I start and stop, they're just too cookie- cutter boring, but this comedy was a total surprise! My husband and I were both laughing uncontrollably at times and laughed all the way through it. We especially appreciated seeing Michael Sheen play the antithesis of Dr. Bill Masters! OMG, he is a superb comedic actor! It was great fun watching the very serious John Snow (Kit Harington) play Charles Lloyd Poole, and really every cameo appearance was perfection! Bravo!!! Congrats to everyone involved in the creation and production of this piece. It will make millions laugh for many years! I'm sure I'll watch it a few times, as I have most of my other favorite comedy films.