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Motivations (2009 Video)
8/10
It's all about the "why"
17 June 2019
This consists of interviews with the cast and crew, all of whom have something to add within their area of expertise(and there is a very clear love of what they're working on), clips from the show, behind-the-scenes footage, and incomplete effects shots.

It's 10 minutes long. This is found on the season 2 Blu-Ray release of The Sarah Connor Chronicles. It spoils a lot of the show, but this review won't.

"Death is always present in The Terminator world. It's reflected in the title. In the storylines that have been done. You can't let audiences feel safe all the time. It was a question of "who's working. Who are we enjoying writing for. Who's got a good storyline going. Who's contributing to the overall kind of arc of the season". It's not only about the visceral aspect of, "oh my god, somebody just got killed. Somebody that we liked in the story just got killed". It's really about the theme. That ultimate sacrifice is necessary for us all to survive."

I recommend this to any fan of the series. 8/10
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Setting the Tempo (2009 Video)
8/10
Keep it up
16 June 2019
This consists of interviews with the cast and crew, all of whom have something to add within their area of expertise(and there is a very clear love of what they're working on), clips from the show, behind-the-scenes footage, and incomplete effects shots.

It's 13 and and a half minutes long. This is found on the season 2 Blu-Ray release of Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles. It spoils a lot of the show, but this review doesn't. This closes on an uncut, a capella version of Shirley Manson Samson and Delilah.

"The most challenging part of score in the show is keeping up with all the different character arcs. It's not like a typical show where you have the hero and the villain and the way they interact is always the same. I do have a very strong sense of what I want from music. And it's really kind of about the level of emotionality vs sentimentality. And how much can you play tension. How much of it feels real vs just sort of false ginned up tension, which I feel like I get a lot on TV soundtracks. We started talking about the music of the original two movies and how much it meant. And how well it worked in that context. And they asked me what I would want to do for the show. And the first thing I said was "we need to drop on that sound. We need to make the show connect with the universe in the movies". From there, I also knew that we had to take it in some other directions. Mainly because it explores Sarah's character more than movies ever did. We're probably 99% score and we have very few songs".

I recommend this to any fan of the series. 8/10
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7/10
Well-travelled, yet doesn't go very far
16 June 2019
What starts out looking like standard fare turns out to be a potential threat. Who can solve the mystery? Well, here's who'll have to: Agents H( Hemsworth, who used to be capable, now he's let himself go) and M(Tessa Thompson, who spent 20 years looking for proof, and is on a probationary period, determined to prove herself).

The two Leads have a buddy cop/romantic comedy vibe, and excellent chemistry. Pawny(Nanjiani, devoted to her, despising him, and very happy to express both, as a literal living chess piece who has lost his queen, and thus very briefly his purpose, until he accepts her as the new one to serve) is a real standout, consistently hilarious, particularly when they all find themselves having to repair a vehicle. All three improvise lines really well, as do others, such as Spall(a consummate professional who occasionally gets remarkably petty). The script has some interesting ideas. This does not feel like it's just trying to do the first movie over again, like the second one. It's about as good as the third one, and is definitely not on the level of the original. The direction is very capable, albeit workmanlike.

Unfortunately, that is all the good that there is to say. About half of the comedy just is not funny. A lot about this is incredibly bland, including the villains. It feels like a bunch of executives determined every aspect of this based on what audiences have responded to in other films. There is passion in parts of this and pay-cheque-cashing in others. Riza(Ferguson, who I'm not certain if she is a great if unconventional choice who has fun hamming it up as an alien, or is terribly miscast and, poor dear, flailing due to her inexperience with this sort of role. She definitely gives it a shot, throwing herself into it) is a mild letdown after a lot of build-up.

I recommend this to those who very badly want another entry in this franchise. Personally, if they make more, I'll keep watching, but if this is the last they make, at least for a long time, it's not going to give me sleepless nights. 7/10
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War Stories (2009 Video)
8/10
They're not boring
15 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This consists of interviews with the cast and crew, all of whom have something to add within their area of expertise(and there is a very clear love of what they're working on), clips from the show, behind-the-scenes footage, and incomplete effects shots.

It's 9 and and a half minutes long. This is found on the season 2 Blu-Ray release of Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles. It spoils a lot of the show, and so will this review so that I can go into more detail.

"We have a lot of difficult production days. The level of organisation just prior to executing the script is almost like a military operation. There is a balance that you have to find when you're making these, between pushing your actors and challenging them and pushing them too far. The fight with Bonnie in the elevator was the night that would never end. It was so difficult because it was supposed to be in a tiny elevator and we had a bunch of big guys that run the cameras, who are trying to do their jobs and light around us. In the script we designated that the fight should be different than what happens between a Terminator and a human. So that presents special challenges."

I recommend this to any fan of the series. 8/10
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Choreographing Chaos (2009 Video)
8/10
Doing it for real
14 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This consists of interviews with the cast and crew, all of whom have something to add within their area of expertise(and there is a very clear love of what they're working on), clips from the show, behind-the-scenes footage, and incomplete effects shots.

It's 7 and and a half minutes long. This is found on the season 2 Blu-Ray release of Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles. It spoils a lot of the show, and so will this review so that I can go into more detail.

They talk about that: "in all the episodes that involve action we try to move the story along with it, as opposed to just creating explosive eye-candy. Always the most challenging thing is trying to get drama and emotion within the context of an action scene which we try to do a lot, our show has always had sort of an old school approach to these things I mean if we can do it practically we want to do it that way. In stunts you really need somebody has done it for a long time. To quote James Cameron: "I'll shoot until I can't. Everything I can shoot real I'm gonna shoot real". In the opening episode Samson and Delilah with a spectacular stunt you flip a car that Sara is driving. Of Cameron wedged in-between two cars: we shoot Summer against green screen reacting to what the impact would do to her and then they'll via computer they'll be drawn in later. And the way David shot the close-up sequences it looked like she was just wedged in there but it's all prefabricated.

I recommend this to any fan of the series. 8/10
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Blood and Metal (2009 Video)
8/10
Of blown off heads and plasma burn damage
13 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This consists of interviews with the cast and crew, all of whom have something to add within their area of expertise(and there is a very clear love of what they're working on), clips from the show, behind-the-scenes footage, and incomplete effects shots.

It's 7 and and a half minutes long. This is found on the season 2 Blu-Ray release of Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles. It spoils a lot of the show, and so will this review so that I can go into more detail.

They talk about making sure that there is a credible reality created, when there is a fight between one Terminator and another, or between one and a human. Summer Glau: "I'm really proud of what he's been able to do. I don't always love the hours that I have to spend in his chair. But I've got a system where I fall asleep and wake up with half my face missing". Garret dillahunt: "you're never not hurt in a fight, you know. Unless you're Superman. So it makes you feel like you've been the fight. Like you've been through something. It's kinda nice. You can feel some blood running down".

I recommend this to any fan of the series. 8/10
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Designing Destruction (2009 Video)
8/10
Great sets make our jobs that much easier
12 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This consists of interviews with the cast and crew, all of whom have something to add within their area of expertise(and there is a very clear love of what they're working on), clips from the show, behind-the-scenes footage, and incomplete effects shots.

It's 7 and and a half minutes long. This is found on the season 2 Blu-Ray release of Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles. It spoils a lot of the show, and so will this review so that I can go into more detail.

They talk about that production design is how they expand the cinematic scope of the show, which they wanted to do in the second season. The biggest difficulty is the time frame: they have very little time, two weeks, and most have to put together a new concept; they built Catherine Weaver's office, which is on the stage is supposed to be on the 26th floor building downtown. They wanted to achieve a minimalistic look, very modern, high tech architecture which is not too futuristic it's an expensive set, they ended up using it for two episodes which is great. They built a nuclear sub in looks better than a lot of feature versions of it. Summer Glau: "I think my favourite ones are the ones in the future, more than anything. Those are the ones that really take me to new places. And I feel they have really done some beautiful ones. And my favourite one, I think, was on Allison From Palmdale where I'm running through tunnels.

I recommend this to any fan of the series. 8/10
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7/10
Audiences will be amused, amazed, and moved
11 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This consists of interviews with the cast and crew, all of whom have something to add within their area of expertise(and there is a very clear love of what they're working on), clips from the movie, behind-the-scenes footage, and incomplete effects shots. It's 26 and and a half minutes long. This is found on the Blu-Ray release of Men in Black3. It spoils a lot of the film, and so will this review so that I can go into more detail.

They discuss how it's a homecoming. It's about how you know something other people don't know. The script has to deliver something the people expect from the franchise and something more than that. The series is ultimately about the characters, the relationships between people. Smith did some of his own stunts. With time travel there's always going to be a question you can't answer but it does give you great opportunities. It's fun to see Agent J interact with 1969 society. Brolin didn't want to just impersonate Lee Jones. The chemistry was the same whether Will was working with Tommy or Josh. This is the story of a long lost villain going after your partner. To Boris, English was his second language. Jemaine Clement is big and imposing even though he is a comedian. Griffin was written as a combination between physics theory and Zen master. While the new leader, O, is strong and sardonic like Zed was, she's also really funny. On set it doesn't feel like a big movie, rather, a typical Emma Thompson movie and that's remarkable. If there are aliens on Earth, where would they be able to pass? New York. Though there are extraterrestrials in the background, you have to look close to spot them. Effects are gritty and realistic, more a part of the world. The Mono Cycles sort of existed, obviously not quite the way they look and move on screen. Rick Baker made more creatures for this film than the first two combined, times ten. Barry sonnenfeld being eccentric. The decision to end the movie on the Apollo launch.

I recommend this to any fan of the flick. 7/10
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Dark Phoenix (2019)
6/10
Crashing and burning
9 June 2019
After a mission in space, Jean Grey(Turner, really goes for it) finds that her powers are expanding, and that she is yet again having trouble controlling them. The Dark Phoenix becomes a grave threat, not only to her enemies, but her friends, the hard won peace between mutants and the rest of the world, and most of all, any hope that the Fox version of the team would go out with a bang rather than a whimper.

This is neither as bad(keep in mind that the 22% it has on Rotten Tomatoes is based on a pass/fail counting system. It means that only a fifth of all the critics gave it a positive review. It does not mean that all of them thought that it was the worst entry in the franchise, even though it now has the lowest score) as some make it sound, nor as amazing as a few claim it is. There are most definitely great, even excellent, elements in this. The big problem is how poorly executed basically everything is. If Simon kinberg ever directs again, I really hope that he learns from the countless mistakes he made here. While this was apparently a passion project, you'd be forgiven for perceiving it as someone trying desperately to avoid being assigned a certain job ever again. Regardless, I'm not interested in focusing on what doesn't work, in this review. I'm going to get into some of the things that really could have been impeccable.

The character driven drama has good developments, and the decisions made surprised me without losing credibility. This builds on the relationships set up previously. For the first time in this entire continuity, when two teams face off, the individuals have complex reasons for fighting the others. We're not simply, yet again, getting "all the members believe that their leader is in the right and the other one is in the wrong". I'm not going to give away details. However: It just doesn't take off. There is soap opera level melodrama all throughout this. This film is under the mistaken impression that the closer the camera is to the actors face, the more intense it is. Instead, it's awkward. The action scenes are few and far between, and outside of one part near the very end, it's unmemorable. It does have great match-ups, and uses of superpowers.

I recommend this only to those who insist on watching every single movie in a series. 6/10
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Conceptualization (2009 Video)
8/10
Seeing is believing
6 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This consists of interviews with the cast and crew, all of whom have something to add within their area of expertise(and there is a very clear love of what they're working on), clips from the show, behind-the-scenes footage, storyboards, and incomplete effects shots.

It's 8 and and a half minutes long. This is found on the season 2 Blu-Ray release of Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles. It spoils a lot of the show, and so will this review so that I can go into more detail.

They discuss that they have a limited time to turn around the special effects, the main focus of this. How the biggest challenge has been to make the Terminator future familiar. Not doing fx for their own sake. How on set, things may change, so they have to think on the fly. That there's a science behind it. How, after T2, *everything* was morphing. They go into tons of individual ones: Weaver cutting down men and the urinal turning into her, Cameron pinned between cars, the machine heart, etc.

I recommend this to any fan of the series. 8/10
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8/10
Even *that* part was for real?!?
5 June 2019
This consists of interviews with the crew, all of whom have something to add within their area of expertise(and there is a very clear love of what they're working on), clips from the show, behind-the-scenes footage, and storyboards. It's 5 and and a half minutes long. This is found on the season 2 Blu-Ray release of Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Almost 2 whole minutes of this is the fight rehearsal. They taped it to get across an idea of what it would look like to those who did not have time to be present during it. Then you get the whole thing again but now with an in-frame comparison to the way it ended up looking in the episode. And finally, about half a minute of discussion at the end.

Of course it looks amazing once it's completely finalised. You know that if you watched the episode. However. Being able to view it like this really helps you appreciate all the talent involved. The choreography. Both performers being able to go through all of those moves within the time. those of us who don't do that kind of thing professionally do not have that level of stamina! And as we heard when this was originally on the air, yes, "Rosie" was actually able to do those contortionist moves for real. It wasn't a cleverly, and carefully, edited in dummy.

I recommend this to any fan of the series. 8/10
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War Is Hell (1914)
8/10
Incredible
4 June 2019
Adoplphe is studying to be a pilot, and while training at the aviation school, stays in the neighboring country with fellow flier Sigismond where he lives. When their two countries start a war with each other, these two friends find themselves on opposite sides for no good reason.

This is the first of a quite a few anti-war films. It appears to be unique in that it actually predates WWI. The tensions were rising when it was made. And it would appear that this was made in the hope that it would convince those with the power and influence to prevent it from happening to do so. As we all know it failed, meanwhile, the ambition is immensely admirable. This has flying bombers, even though flight was in its early days, and in fact this predicted that the military would use them. In addition to being made in the early days of film as a medium. There are even images clearly captured by placing the camera on one of the planes. It visualizes concepts that would get boring to read about(keeping in mind this has no spoken dialog, as it predates it. There is a little singing), including heart-ache from missing a loved one. The battles are big, with dozens(at one point, possibly a hundred or so) of extras, which lead one to ponder the cost in human lives, many explosions, and a lot of destruction. Thus, in what is ultimately not a lot of screen-time, this conveys the vast and meaningless devastation of war.

I have found two versions of this, both available for free, online, with subtitles in English and Dutch. One is on YouTube with the original music. The other is on Wikipedia with hand colouring. If you simultaneously play both and look at the image of the second one, you get the effect of both. The latter was where my father and I found it. We had just finished yet another of our countless viewings of both versions of All Quiet On The Western Front, and decided to look up just how old the sub-genre is. It is a real shame we didn't already know of it. When I write this, there is only one other review here on IMDb, and links to two external ones, one of which appears to no longer be up(the site is, though). Nothing on Rotten Tomatoes or MetaCritic, both of which have ones for, say, early adaptations of Robin Hood, one of the sites including the one from 1922, so, other "old" pictures.

I recommend this to everyone. 8/10
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Write the Future (2009 Video)
8/10
The Write Staff
4 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This consists of interviews with the crew, all of whom have something to add within their area of expertise(and there is a very clear love of what they're working on), clips from the show, and behind-the-scenes footage. It's 12 and and a half minutes long. This is found on the season 2 Blu-Ray release of Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles. It spoils a lot of the show, and so will this review so that I can go into more detail.

This is entirely focused on the process of writing. We see a lot of the actual writers' room. A lot is discussed. They wanted to have clear goals for the 22 episodes, including an expanded scope which means being on location a lot more. What's the residue for the damage to Cameron's chip and how has that affected her relationship with John. She wants him to love her: so how can she seem, or even be, more like a human being, so that will happen? They wanted to have the emancipation from his mother. Tear the family apart and put it back together again.

We learn a lot about what the "environment" is like. That everyone feels free to bring up and "defend" their own ideas. There is a healthy debate. those in charge do want to hear every single idea. Sometimes they do get into arguments. However: "If we're on the attack, we're after each other's ideas not each other as people". It's like a dysfunctional family of brothers and sisters. The process is extremely collaborative. They break stories collectively as a team, and then each writer takes one episode write it from start to finish.

When comes to deciding what they want to do, the show creator is the final arbiter. "There needs to be and is on the show a central vision or aesthetic. It was not just about "what are mythology beats". It's how we tell the story. How we use language. How we use voice over. Those kinds of things need a very specific aesthetic".

I recommend this to any fan of the series. 8/10
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8/10
It's good to be bad
3 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This consists of interviews with the crew, all of whom have something to add within their area of expertise(and there is a very clear love of what they're working on) and clips from the show/movie.

After one minute(and before another little bit) of the content I described above, this shows, for another 70 seconds, a comparison between the the titular scene itself and the storyboards used for it. More specifically, the last little chunk of the sequence: John struggling to start the car he's in, his mother ramming it with the one she's in, and finally, Cameron pleading and verbally manipulating, in an attempt to get out of being disabled with the screwdriver.

The full 3 minute presentation is well worth watching to get a good sense of how useful this element of pre-planning is. It is included on the Blu-Ray release of the second season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

I recommend this to any fan of the show. 8/10
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9/10
We did this. As a team. Millions of people are going to see that and that's an enjoyment
2 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Since this is about the(more specifically, this one portion of the) season 2 finale of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, it spoils that episode and so will this review so that I can talk about it in more detail.

This 58 minute and 23 second Blu-Ray special feature uses a branching system where you can jump between the four different aspects: production, direction, special effects, and VFX. There's also the audio only multi-view one. Regardless of which you are watching, the progress bar at the bottom will show you where you are, as well as allow you to jump to the start of any section: Planning, pre, shoot prep, shoot day, and Post Mortem. At any time you can immediately switch to any of the three others, which play out in a thumbnail format. So if you suddenly see something that you feel compelled to check out, you can do so. If you want to make sure that watch everything obviously the easiest way is to simply watch all of one, then start over to watch all of the next, so on and so forth.

The show creator compared the event to 9/11. The suddenness of it. It really is an absolutely huge sequence, which took a ton of work in different areas. And it came together incredibly well. They ended up having to do more than one take, and they discuss exactly why that is. The actors, of course, had to be on green screens, since they were literally crashing a moving physical object against one that was still. It would have been far too dangerous to have anyone in there. Some of the fire you see was real! As well as some of the explosions! Instead of two months, as on a movie, they had to do it in two weeks! They didn't have the luxury of testing so they had to try to figure out as best they could. In addition to being destructive and impressive looking, it also had to be something that could be easily reset.

I recommend this to any fan of the show. 9/10
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Creature Featurettes (2002 Video)
5/10
Demonstrative in a way it might not have meant to be
30 May 2019
When I write this, the exact presentation, and nature, of the material herein has already been described quite well by the reviews of movieman_kev23 and bob the moo. So I'm going to approach this in a different way, so as to not be redundant. This was on the DVD, so I sat through it. It's rare I don't. And now that I have, I'll write about it, as I always do.

Filmmaking is hard work. Hours, days, months, sometimes even *years*, working on just one movie. And sometimes that flick ends up not even being particularly good. As is the case with second Men in Black movie. Some of it is the fun, "you get to be really creative" kind of thing that people who haven't tried it, yet badly want to, think it is. Or even if they know that's not all there is to it, that's the part they focus on. Honestly, it can be very difficult to keep putting in the work if you aren't always thinking about that aspect.

Once you have settled on how to, say, bring to life a certain alien, it's not necessarily going to continue to be enjoyable. It's tedious, sometimes it feels like it will never be over. And when you finally reach that finish line, either you just have to start back over with the next one, or you might be left feeling like all of your effort was in vain. You might look at what you have and ponder, "was it really worth what I put into it?"

I don't know if that is how it felt to do the effects for the terrible, misbegotten sequel. But stubbornly watching the 21 minutes(22 with end credits) of these 7 featurettes that go into it? It's exactly how *that* felt. So I find this to be immensely educational, albeit probably not in the way it was intended. 5/10
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10/10
Compiling the concepts
29 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
There are spoilers all over this thing(and this review, so I can go into detail) for season 1 of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, of course, since it explores some of the later episodes of it, and is found on the Blu-Ray release for it. It is made up of 3 parts, entitled "Re-Boot", "Future War" and "The Demon Hand", that come to 39 minutes altogether.

This consists of interviews with the cast and crew, all of whom have something to add within their area of expertise(and there is a very clear love of what they're working on), clips from the show, behind-the-scenes footage, and incomplete effects shots. They get into a lot of different subjects and dive into a few key episodes, rather than tediously trying to find something to say about every single one. They don't go into them chronologically either, it goes by topics. It does expect you to have watched the series up to that point, and does not try to bring you up-to-date on what has happened in it.

They of course get into the relationship between T:TSCC and the movies. More specifically the first two. The aesthetic of 2029 LA and how grateful they are that it was inexpensive and low-tech to recreate. In addition to the physical set they did of course add to it: with 3D CGI, which today has replaced the model shots, as was used in the 1984 original. For that one scene, you know the one, they made sure Cameron moved and looked exactly like Robert Patrick as the cop in T2. Summer Glau in general working on getting the Terminator mannerisms right. Her performing ballet and how that affects Derek is discussed. Brian Austin Green acknowledges the pressure on him to live up to Michael Biehn's legacy. They put a lot of effort into building the endoskeleton as a real life prop, having usually used animation to recreate that. They analyse the design of the T888 when compared to the T800. How the time travel machine works. The new flying HK. Their decision to risk alienating fans through the adoption papers plot point.

There is disturbing content and violence in this. I recommend this to anyone who wants more insight in the tremendous effort that went into making the title. 10/10
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7/10
"He never asked"
9 May 2019
This goes into the various efforts in the 90's to take down the President.

I would have to say that the single most noteworthy thing about this is the manipulative, sometimes outright deceptive, editing: one of the very first things said in this is that many of the people wanted to bring down Clinton considered him a traitor, and thus wanted him shot, which is paired with what appears to be video of actual executions(!). Elsewhere(seemingly not there. However, even if I am incorrect about that, it is a dirty trick to pull, which is ironically what it is decrying), it uses stock footage, and clips from movies, when describing things that were done or discussed, with the obvious intent that the viewer connect the two. It features filmed material making the people who fought Bill look ignorant and ones to dismiss, which, if you record someone enough, you can get of just about anyone, whether they're someone that should be taken seriously or not. The music is overdramatic, as is the narration by the immensely talented Morgan Freeman. It would be silly to suggest that any of this was by accident. As this was cut together by one of the two directors, it's clear this wasn't taken away from the filmmakers and turned into something it wasn't.

Several interviewed Conservatives admit they knew these were lies. Some are said to(not on camera by themselves) regret their involvement. The most compelling part is the story of Susan McDougal and her husband. Especially how horribly she was treated in prison, as countless inmates are. One almost wishes they had used that as a jumping-off point to talk about the conditions those live under, instead of the actual subject. And I say that as a life-long Left-winger. I do appreciate that this lets the viewer know, if he did not already, that she has since advocated for reform. That is very admirable. Many refuse to help those who are in an awful situation, once they themselves get out of it.

I recommend this mostly for those what a career in cinema, studying how to most effectively get certain reactions out of an audience. The information featured herein can be found elsewhere in less partisan form. My rating is based purely on the technical expertise featured in this. 7/10
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Two and a Half Men (2003–2015)
10/10
Hilarious throughout its entire run
5 May 2019
When his wife kicks him out of his house, a man is forced to move in with his brother in the latter's beach house in Malibu. Over the course of this he will try to move back out. It does not go well. No one really wants to live with him and he can't afford to live by himself. Really, the only reason he is allowed to stay there at all, is that his 10 year old kid is adorable. Stupid, yes, cute, also yes. And they are a package deal. Later a young rich guy moves in. These are our four leads.

Alan(Cryer, incredible) has been a people pleaser since childhood. Teacher's pet. Straight A's. It never worked particularly well for him. No one can stand him except for teachers and their ilk. He's been bullied forever, by peers and elders alike. He makes a living, such as it is, as a chiropractor. No one in his family wants him to treat them, in general people don't want to do things for him, and everyone makes sure to tell him that, in their opinion, he's not a real doctor. While he gets better at flirting, he certainly isn't what you would call "adept at it". Almost no women want anything to do with him. This means he gets incredibly excited when one does. And that he finds himself engaging in perversions. The ones he's developed over a lifetime of abuse. And those of anyone desperate enough to get with him. Yes, those are connected. It's not just that he's creepy by default. It's also in the things he does. What he says, what he thinks about. And he's never particularly capable of hiding those from others. His low wages and the high cost of his alimony payments leave him with very little money to spend. Even so, he is immensely cheap. This drives away a lot of his limited selection of lovers. He does have an on again off again relationship with Lindsey(Thorne-Smith, amazing). And that's where he gets a real taste of his own medicine. He is demanding, passive-aggressive, and despite sometimes making an effort, does simply not live up to others' expectations. And she can be the exact same. Right back at him. A bunch of the time he does, just barely, give her what she wants. Still, she knows she can do a lot better. She's settling for him. And boy does she let him know that that's what's going on. No, she has no trouble getting someone much better. She's just relieved that she doesn't have to try hard. What's he going to do? Find someone else? Yeah. When pigs fly.

Charlie(Sheen, fantastic) never had to work hard for anything ever. His jingle writing is ridiculously easy. It pays extremely well, let him buy a big place. All he has to do to convince a woman to have sex with him is show that he has the aforementioned. However. After a while he is no longer satisfied. Yes, he was always quick to lash out, whenever he isn't drinking, gambling or humping his way through life. Make snide personal remarks at someone who doesn't deserve them. Out of the blue. Anyway. He tries to make long-term relationships work. And it is outstanding. Will it work with Mia(Vaugier, who tries to improve his lifestyle)? Maybe Chelsea(Jennifer Taylor, who wants more out of being with him then take out, TV and copulation)? What about Courtney(McCarthy, who seems like exactly his type - including that you can't depend on her)?

Jake(T. Jones, great) is lazy, dumb, perpetually hungry, and basically never wants to do anything other than eat and play video games. Over the course of this he changes. At first he isn't interested in a girlfriend. Later he will do absurdly poorly on dates. He will genuinely believe that his crass, puerile interests will, at all, impress any female, and when talking about them, he shows that he can really dig deep into a topic and analyse it. It's just never something that he can actually use. Not in school and not in life. This show focuses a lot on how he is negatively influenced by his uncle. As he grows up he is no longer too young for all of it. And yet there is a lot that no one should ever engage in regardless of age.

Walden(Kutcher, phenomenal) became a billionaire when he sold to Microsoft something he didn't have to work on for very long. Then he married his high school sweetheart. He was 19 years old at the time. As he hasn't matured emotionally since then, she divorces him. He tries to get a new monogamous partner. Might it work with Zoey(Winkleman, British and refined)? She's a lawyer and finds his immense generosity very attractive. The two have strong on screen chemistry. Her hostile ex-husband is the bane of her existence. They did have a sweet, now 6 year old, daughter together. And he does grow to be a more adult person. Some of the inventions he comes up with are genuinely right out of science fiction, including mind reading. He starts working with his old partner Billy(Oswalt, always good to see him in things) again even though the two of them despise each other. The man had a complete nervous breakdown!

This has an endless stream of racy material that just barely got by the censors, and it gets increasingly offensive each season. I very rarely give a perfect rating to something I review, but this continued to make me laugh throughout the entirety of every single episode. Since I had heard that it did not remain hilarious all the way, I kept waiting for the quality to drop. And it never did. It continued to change enough elements every so often that it remained fresh for 12 years. I recommend this to anyone who likes raunchy, dialogue driven jokes and sitcoms. 10/10
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10/10
Smooth landing to an amazing 11 year ride
26 April 2019
This is made by people who do, for people who do, and this movie itself, does, love the MCU. You can think of it as a TV show finale. After 21 episodes that are all feature length. And before you can even say "oh no those are all terrible", this immediately proves itself to be an exception to that rule. Where the equally masterful Infinity War was almost one long action climax, this is less about fights. Which doesn't mean it doesn't have any. Or that they're anything less than excellent. And this film is definitely never boring. This focuses on character exploration. Every member of the original Avengers team, and a handful individuals that aren't, all get significant depth. I remain one of the few people who argue that Age of Ultron did deliver that, albeit in small concentrated format. This easily tops that. Everyone is pushed into a situation new to them. The trailers hint at some of these, whilst leaving others as incredible surprises. Make sure you avoid spoilers before watching this.

This picture moves fast and packs a lot into its not quite lean running time. In other words, it's directed by the Russo Brothers. The length is justified. I wouldn't cut anything from this. The emotional moments don't feel sappy. The countless callbacks and references don't feel like they're just there to make you feel good for paying attention to all that lead to this one. The acting shows just how well all of these performers understand the characters. And the screenplay does the same for the writers. The effects are astonishing, yet again getting us to care about individuals that we know are all CG. It uses the varied skills, equipment and the like, of the unique heroes and villains, creatively. This delivers deeply satisfying closure. It truly is a conclusion. It's not trying to get you back to the theatre for the next adventure. The few currently confirmed entries into this franchise don't need hyping, anyway. Spider-Man with Mysterio? Another Black Panther story? The unfairly fired James Gunn returning to round out the trilogy of the Guardians of the Galaxy? Solo Black widow, *finally*? More Dr Strange? Shang-Chi, The Eternals, Blade? Keep 'em coming.

I recommend this to everyone who's taken this entire journey. And if you're someone who's skipped some, or held off on this series up to this point, this is an excellent reason to address that. Unless they're simply not to your liking. This is not going to change that. It's not meant to. 10/10
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Shazam! (2019)
8/10
Magic, indeed
7 April 2019
Billy Batson(Angel, charming, snarky, ultimately sweet) has gone from one foster home to another. Now he's put in a group home. And if the characters and pathos therein don't stir up any emotions in you, you are made of stone. At first he resists becoming part of their family. In his mind only blood relatives count. And his mother is still out there. And when he finds her everything will be perfect again. Over the course of this he grows to be more responsible, more caring, and opens up. A wizard(Hounsou, determined if aging) finds him pure of heart, even though he disagrees with that assessment. As such he is made the champion. Given the abilities of ancient gods. Put in the body of a grown man. Faced with this fantastical set of circumstances, he does want any of us would do. Any that are teens or in contact with the inner child, that is. He shows off, charges people for selfies, and buys beer and does other things only adults are allowed to. Meanwhile, Dr Thaddeus Sivana(Strong, sinister) has spent almost half a century trying to find the man who deemed him unworthy. Something his brother and father were already calling him regularly. When he does, he unleashes the Seven Deadly Sins, creatures made up of nothing but evil and mostly convincing CGI. Honestly it's only really when they are touching a live action element that it looks dodgy. These two superpowered people are the only ones who can injure each other. Who will win?

Given the tone I would only show this to someone 13 or older. It simply gets too graphic, scary, intense and disturbing at times. Also, there are jokes that push it to that level, though none going as far as those of Deadpool. They have slightly different audiences, intentionally so. This does subvert expectations and have a lot of fun with its concept. Hilarious from start to finish. It is also an incredibly big-hearted film. Among its beautiful messages are "while nobody's perfect, if you find someone who loves you, you should give them a chance". Good and Evil is not a matter of what you can do, rather, it's about what you choose to do with what you have. The climax is grander and more effects-driven than what came before. I completely disagree with those that say that it then becomes exactly like lesser movies like it. It went in a direction I didn't see coming, and I felt was hugely satisfying, building on elements that had been given a lot of attention.

I recommend this to anyone that finds the core idea even remotely appealing. 8/10
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7/10
A mixed bag
19 March 2019
5 years after the '84 film, the team are broke, have split up and are working separate jobs. Basically the idea was to try to make the structure of this similar to that one. While I'm not sure it was the best choice, they get there. The majority of the supporting players return, even if some of them have to be crowbarred into what this needs them to do, particularly Dana and Louis. Sequels are often a case of diminishing returns, moreso when it comes to the genre of comedy. I haven't watched the TV show, however, I'm told it's why the tone is so different. This definitely does have more kid friendly jokes, and even gets very childish at times. At more than one point someone literally hits the top of the head of someone else like they're The Three Stooges. I would say at least half of the material is genuinely funny.

A lot happens that involves the baby. Some of it is awkward pandering. But that's also where this scores serious points. Can you imagine many things more terrifying than to lose your infant? That is something this uses well. When this goes for horror it almost always nails it. The slime and its gradual buildup is genuinely immensely creepy. This time the evil force has a face from the start, and it is genuinely an effective element. You can't possibly tell me that you've never looked at a painting of an awful person and thought that there was something innately malevolent about just the representation of them. That it never felt like it was watching you somehow. The climax is equal parts corny and cool. All of the ghost designs and effects are incredible. The character of Hardemeyer is a poor substitute for Walter Peck. Run DMC's version of the main theme is superior to Ray Parker Jr's original, which was already great.

I recommend this to fans of the first movie who are willing to adjust their expectations. 7/10
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8/10
Easily one of the most powerful in the franchise
7 March 2019
Vers(Larson, strong, not always embracing her humanity, stirring. Just like the film itself) has only a fractured memory of her past. Over the course of this, she recalls many of the most significant parts. Originally from Earth, she was given a new life and set of abilities by the Kree, an alien race. She's now part of an elite team of theirs. Don't worry about the other members; you're not going to remember them, or need to. They're like less developed "Warriors Three" from Thor: though, I realise they're from the comics, if you had shaved it down to maybe just one, then that person could actually get something substantial. To do, say, be. Anyway. She has to keep a secret weapon out of the hands of the shapeshifting Skrulls. Through certain circumstances, She ends up back on this planet, and immediately attracts the attention of young desk jockey SHIELD agent Nick Fury(Jackson, less cynical than usual, which is a welcome change. Not that I didn't love him before. but it would be annoying if he was like that this whole thing. Instead we get a buddy comedy dynamic), who comes out of the de-aging looking real, and rookie Coulson(Gregg, less confident), who, in contrast, at times looks like he considers petroleum jelly a form of makeup.

The action is great and plentiful, the effects are stunning, the 3D adds depth and atmosphere, the twists and mysteries keep you guessing, the villains are compelling, and the humour nearly always works. Then again, that isn't only true of this entry. So let's focus on this being the first of them that is feminist. That aspect is less focused than in Wonder Woman - the DCEU has always been taking bigger risks than the MCU, and that was one of the times where it paid off. Aquaman is the other one. Fingers crossed Shazam will be the third. It would not have been difficult to make this more about empowering women: for one thing simply make more of the characters female, even if they are men in the source material, and add more of the issues that they face. So I would say it's a case of simply being too scared to go for something unusual for them. I guess they figured they couldn't repeat the success of Black Panther, which delved incredibly deep into racial issues. Like WW, however, this will inspire young and old Members of the gender: where that motion picture was very much about feminine qualities and values solving problems that masculine ones cause, this is more about meeting the standard that men set, and surpassing it: hence, "higher, further, faster". While I tend to consider the former as the more progressive of the two, obviously there are a lot who want to do certain things, and are told that they can't live up to the requirements, for reasons physical, emotional, and psychological. Those saying no may even pretend that there's no sexism involved. And this will urge them to keep trying, with aforementioned three word motto serving as a rallying war cry, if you'll permit a portmanteau.

There is a little strong language in this. I recommend this to everyone, XX-chromosomes in particular, not exclusively. 8/10
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8/10
Mostly great
18 February 2019
Alita(Salazar, handling every single of the countless facets of the role perfectly) is found and repaired by Dr. Ido(Waltz, a father figure with a secret), making her one of the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of cyborgs that he fixes. She has no memory of her past. However, when she gets into violent confrontations, she gets flashbacks that help her figure it out. Almost immediately(to the point where it's silly), she falls in love with Hugo(Johnson, charming yet covering up something), and he with her, as the two yearn for something better than the paltry existence in the harsh environment of Iron City. Their romance is a major element in this. And like with most of those, while I thought it worked well, clearly many do not agree. And I do understand why. Ultimately, your mileage may vary.

Let's tackle the big one: is the titular character an example of the uncanny valley? It was a gamble to make her resemble the manga version so closely, most of the excellent redesigns going at least a little further. I would argue that it works. It's not as though her face is the one thing that reveals we're not looking at a human actor: almost no part of her entire body is flesh and blood. Do note that a number of other characters in this have proportions that are much further from humanoid. I suppose that's the point others are making - she does look a lot like, but not quite exactly like, a human. It will work for some, and not for others. The CGI is photo-realistic, and the world building is incredible. You completely believe that this is a place that people live and work; not a series of sets. That it's massively populated; we're not just seeing a lot of extras. The 3D, too, is an upgrade from Avatar, adding depth and atmosphere, rather than being cheesy and calling attention to itself. The action starts out very good and gets better with each scene. This has uneven pacing, and suffers from trying to fit in every single thing from the first two volumes of the original work. Reading them I didn't get the sense that Yukito Kishiro intended for them to be translated directly into a massive Hollywood blockbuster. While they're compelling, they don't fit that format too well. The ending reveals that without at least one sequel we simply will not get a conclusion to the story this sets up. I think this would have fared better if it had gone with some of the later books, such as the "tuned agent" storyline, which, I would say, lends itself better to this sort of thing, and could have closure.

There is a moderate amount of strong, bloody, brutal violence in this(since they're part robot, it gets away with it with a PG-13), albeit it does do away with the most horrifying material(which would have landed this an NC-17, easily) from the graphic novels. I recommend this to any fan of speculative science fiction. 8/10
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Planet Terror (2007)
8/10
Being good at being bad never looked so great
26 January 2019
Rural Texas. A weapons deal gone bad leads to massive amounts of gas being released into the air which mutates people into hideous zombies. A small group of survivors try to escape: The former go-go dancer Cherry Darling(McGowan, born for this), her mysterious ex El Wray(Rodriguez, badass), brothers and owners of the soon to be award-winning barbecue place J.T.(Fahey, who'll never give up his recipe) and Sheriff Hague(Michael Biehn, cool as always), etc.

This is a tribute to exploitation films. It's bigger, faster, and much more well produced than those, and subverts the tropes of the subgenre. Every single role is perfectly cast, including the ones where it's non-actors portraying roles. All the characters are memorable, and I love how every single one of them is in some way related to at least one other of them. It manages to somehow balance both postponing something we want from it, with us enjoying that delay. It's rare to see so many subplots interact with each other so naturally. This is a spiritual successor to From Dusk Till Dawn: over the top gore, gross, with tons of undead dying, and killing, on screen.

I recommend this to anyone who likes the work of its writer-director, and/or who finds the trailers for it even remotely appealing. 8/10
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