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Grow a pair Darren! (Semi-autobio about the writer/director.)
A talentless writer with an ego the size of a hot-air balloon is suffering from writer's block. He invites strangers into his home and life - who he later calls friends - at all hours of the day and night to get his creative juices flowing at the expense of his relationship with his wife and child. The people he invites in want a piece of him - his attention, his food, his house, his newborn, his toilet bowl to piss in.
Clearly this is Aronofsky's own life played out in Mother!
If only Aronofsky had given us a simple story. A straight shot of honesty and reality that we could sink our psyche's into, and relate to. Instead, Aronofsky hides behind silly horror-like scenes to confuse viewers, be "different", and mask what Mother! is really about. Him.
Grow a pair Darren! Nobody likes to watch a movie while driving in a car with insects hitting the windshield and their wipers broken. If you're not going to be honest with your audience, then take your freakin' fingers off the keyboard and write historical fiction. That is, if you can stand being in front of your computer for more than a week. Just don't dick around with movie-goers. You are going to lose their respect and attention.
Jennifer Lawrence, as always, nailed her character.
The movie is a mess. Don't waste your time.
If you like magic and fantasy, don't miss this
While the Napoleonic wars are raging, one powerful British magician has many reasons why he won't help another powerful British magician as he uses his magic on the battlefields and at home.
Thoroughly enjoyable grownup fantasy based on Susanna Clarke's award-winning novel with several subplots that keeps the viewer, interested, guessing, and entertained.
If you love unusual stories having to do with magic, love period pieces, love magical special effects, noises that make you jump, and actors who take their craft seriously, then you'll keep your remote on play until you've watched all 406 minutes.
PRETTY AWFUL... BECAUSE AN SNL WRITER WROTE IT?
Serial killer Ben Keller (Colin Hanks) murders a woman and steals her winning lottery ticket. After his newfound "luck," coworker Lucy (Ari Graynor) - who has known Ben since childhood, but have never given him the time of day, decides he's a catch. When Lucy finds out Ben is a serial killer, she helps dispose of the bodies. Then she decides she wants to wait until the next lottery check shows up in the mail box, take it, and skip town without Ben.
There is a lot wrong with Lucky. First, the story. It's lame. (See above.) Second, the writer assaults the viewer with bland one-minute SNL-type scenes that are just not funny. Three, because the one-liners sink this movie like an iceberg hitting the Titanic, Ms. Graynor appears like she is overacting.
The only reason I popped the DVD in was because Ann-Margret was in it.
Lacks suspense and so much more
Detective Ray Archer (Al Pacino) and his partner, criminal profiler Will Ruiney, (Karl Urban) try to catch a crazed serial killer who uses the game HANGMAN to keep them guessing where he will strike next. Crime journalist Christi Davies (Brittany Snow) tags along to report on the grisly murders. Yet, the detectives' crippled Captain Lisa Watkins (Sarah Shahi) prevents the journalist from writing a single word. (Then why create the journalist character???)
Every mystery has at least two plots.
Hangman's story/script lacks suspense, a subplot, and red herrings. And because it lacks these crucial elements, we are left with characters telling us what is going on, and when the next gruesome murder is going to happen.
Hangman also lacks pace. Pace is not just running from incident to incident like the detectives do in Hangman.
The actors: If you're an Al Pacino fan, you will like him in Hangman. He uses the same gestures and facial expressions you've seen him use over and over again in every movie and play he's been in. And, at times, Mr. Pacino speaks with a strange, slight southern accent.
Karl Urban does a good job trying to sink his teeth into his character and the messy script.
Both Brittany Snow (journalist Davies) and Sarah Shahi (Captain Watson) stay in their one-dimensional lane. Note: we should have seen way in the beginning that Captain Watson was a cripple. Show us, don't tell us. Perhaps then we'd have some empathy for her.
There's lots of poor continuity throughout Hangman. Those that notice will find those particular scene cuts annoying.
There are also lots of questions: How did the detective get inside a locked school? What meat processing plant leaves hacked meat laying out during the night? Why wasn't a SWAT team sent to the Captain's house? I could go on and on...
The only good thing about this movie is Joe Anderson. I was riveted to his performance. I thought he might be British so I looked him up. I was correct. Here is an actor who really sunk his teeth into his character. I doubt Mr. Anderson will ever use the same facial expressions he used in Hangman, again. Kudos, Mr. Anderson! Too bad we only see you for a few minutes.
Lastly, Hangman lacks a rousing climax and denouement.
Hangman will definitely be a waste of your time. So skip it.
Instead, if you like crime drama, feast your eyes on a classic: Diabolique (1955) Black and white with English subtitles.
Victor Frankenstein (2015)
Good try, but...
Nothing beats Mary Shelley's story. Nothing. However, that doesn't mean a writer shouldn't try to write his/her own adaptation.
In this adaptation, we have an interesting change of events and characters. We have Victor Frankenstein (McAvoy) rescuing Igor (Radcliffe), a circus hunchback and self-taught doctor and transforming him into his medical partner. We have a Scotland Yard detective hot on the duo's tails. We have not one, but two monsters. We have several typical formulas (perhaps too many) already seen in other movies. We have too many conflicts muddying the story, and we don't have Shelley's message... Or any message at all.
Both McAvoy and Radcliffe have created interesting characters, but never really take us deeper. Even when we learn that the untimely death of Victor's brother is what turns him into a "mad scientist".
Charles Dance, as father Frankenstein, is riveting. Unfortunately, he only has a few lines. He should have been used as the antagonist instead of the religious detective who is on Frankenstein's heels throughout the story. Who can relate to a religious zealot detective these days? Especially, when the writer doesn't give us any back story other than his wife is dead. On the flip side, most everyone can relate to father/son squabbles.
The CGI sets, costumes, and props in Victor Frankenstein are colorful and full of rich detail. However, dazzling us with fake backgrounds and antique-looking objects doesn't help to elevate this story to Shelley's masterpiece novel. And neither does the adaptation. Read Mary Shelley's book. It's a masterpiece with a message that will live on forever.
Lacks everything that kept us on the edge of our seats with Alien
The movie's script reads like someone entered it into a screenplay contest, but was too cheap to pay for feedback.
I am not going to bother including a synopsis. Instead, I'll include a warning: The writing is amateurish, the dialogue is horrendous, the characters idiotic, and the script reads like two teenage boys wrote it.
Prometheus lacks everything that kept us on the edge of our seats with Alien.
An example of a poorly written scene: The Captain is inside the ship. Two characters are outside the ship exploring. The Captain warns them that there is a life form near them, then tells them "it's gone now, it's probably just a glitch, I'm going to sleep." Are you kidding me?
Where does Hollywood get these lousy screenplay writers and why do they employ them?
And as far as CGI? Less is more, Hollywood.
The Girl on the Train (2016)
Somebody missed his/her mark in interpretation and adaptation
The Girl on the Train is about Rachel (Emily Blunt) an alcoholic, who can't remember whether she murdered a neighbor, or not. Then there's Megan (Haley Bennet) an unhappy married woman with a past and a present secret that keeps her perpetually depressed AND sexually willing to whomever drops his pants in front of her. And Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) a wife who doesn't trust her husband's ex, Rachel.
This movie could have been a whole lot better. Unfortunately, the screenwriter missed her mark in her interpretation and adaptation of the book.
Example: The writer gives scant backstory to all three women. Therefore, we don't really know anything about them. Nor do we give a rat's ass about them.
Although touted as a thriller, The Girl on the Train is anything but. There are no clues dropped, no red-herrings, no guessing who-dunnit, no tension. The story jumps back and forth and back and forth in its story-telling. Eventually, everything is revealed in a rather typical way. Meaning, we've seen this type of ending before.
Every character - with the exception of the adorable baby - is one dimensional and morose throughout the entire movie. Is that the fault of the writer? The director? Or both? Thank goodness for the small parts played by Allison Janney, Lisa Kudrow, and Laura Prepon, who add a tiny bit of dimension to a one-dimensional story, with their acting abilities.
Producer, Marc Platt, said "The adaptation of the book, The Girl on The Train, was particularly challenging because the book employs the kind of literary devices that don't easily adapt into cinematic experience." Perhaps that should have given the producers a clue not to make the movie, or request several rewrites AND a script doctor.
Some books should NEVER be adapted
This one included.
After 30 minutes, everyone in the room wanted me to turn the DVD player off. I did.
High-Rise sucks because of its storyline: A doctor (Tom Hiddleston) is haunted by the memory of his dead sister and moves into a high-rise high-tech apartment building where the tenants in the upper and lower floors start a violent class war as the building's services break down.
Glad to know Hollywood isn't the only abyss to churn out crap by choosing novels that are not screen-worthy.
All I can say is, I was surprised that Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons signed on after reading the script. If you lose ten people in 30 minutes you either need a script doctor, a different novel, or a writer who writes original screenplays.
If you like themes that don't resonate, boredom, and watching actors going through the paces because they know their parts aren't meaty or Oscar-worthy, then this movie is for you.
Pick you adaptations wisely, people!
After the Harvest (2001)
Nice period piece about human psychology without the Hollywood producers sticking their crap up our butts
Engaging look into the dynamics of a wife and her children totally controlled and manipulated by her husband. Second storyline involves a young teacher who comes to live with them, and finds love.
Didn't read the novel so I can't comment on the adaptation, just the screenplay. No doubt Norwegian-born American writer and teacher, Martha Ostenso, drew from her life experience as well as her creative mind when she wrote her novel. That being said, the script is well-written with very minor hiccups. The only downside to the movie is the cinematography. It's consistently drab. The director and the DP failed to remove the drabness from the few uplifting scenes to underscore them and balance out the dramatic scenes. Because they didn't, the happier moments don't stay with us.
All the actors put in fine performances. Even the minor ones.
Interestingly enough, even though Caleb, Sam Shepard's character is a prick, you can't help feeling sorry for him for a few seconds during his final scene. (Well done Mr. Shepard. Too bad they didn't give you a few more lines.) No doubt Caleb, too, has some scars and wounds. Why else would he only care about himself?
If you don't understand human psychology, and can't sit still and watch a story unfold without special effects, unrealistic dialogue, and a moronic plot line, then this is not a movie for you.
Precious Cargo (2016)
Who is the idiot reader at Script Pipeline who made this a finalist in their 2010 competition?
Another poorly written heist movie with Bruce Willis as crime boss Eddie, Claire Forlani as Karen the thief, and the writer/director looking like a neophyte.
The writer blatantly uses/rips off lines and scenes from other movies. A definite no-no if you are a writer with a degree who has studied his/her craft.
The acting all around is disgraceful. Blame the green director. That being said, Script Pipeline, how and why did Max Adams' screenplay become a finalist in your 2010 competition? Something definitely smells rotten over at Script Pipeline.
If the biased readers and judges at screenplay competitions and their producer sidekicks keep green lighting these horrendous flicks, the film industry will turn into an even bigger joke than it is now, and actors will go back to making 1950's wages. Wise up actors!!! Stop encouraging these poorly written screenplays to get made, and neophyte directors to direct you.
Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)
Poorly written, directed, and edited. A female writer/director should have been at the helm.
Clouds of Sils Maria is about a renowned actress, Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche), who must confront her past demons as she reluctantly prepares for the part of an older woman in the same play where she once had the young starlet's role.
The problems with Clouds of Sils Maria are many. Here are just a few:
1. The writer / director is male. Men should not write female dialogue because they cannot get inside our heads. All three actresses come off highly masculine-sounding. The result? They show no vulnerability and give us nothing female movie-goers can relate to.
2. The direction. Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche showed no range or femininity. Especially, Ms. Stewart. This is the director's fault.
3. Editing. Scenes abruptly stop. Scenes go nowhere. Example: Are we to guess that because Stewart's character is vomiting on the side of the road, she is pregnant? And why does Stewart's character just abruptly disappear from Maria's employ? Why does Maria's hair go from shoulder-length to butch? For her part in the play? Of course that is the reason. But we shouldn't see her head of hair just go from point A to point B with no explanation. It's little things like that...
Clouds of Sils Maria would have been much better if told without a lot of the unnecessary extraneous nuggets the writer included like the boyfriend and his wife's attempted suicide. Both unnecessary characters.
Clouds of Sils Maria would have rolled in like the real Clouds of Sils Maria had a female directed. A female director would have been able to help find the actresses' unique voices in their characters' flaws, and strengths, as women.
In addition, the story would have been richer if Chloe Grace Moretz's character had physically come into the story much sooner, and the writer had nixed the storyline about the boyfriend and his wife's suicide attempt, focusing more on- and building up to- Binoche and Moretz's confrontation and collaboration.
Lastly, if the director was trying to show us at the end of the movie that Maria DID have an epiphany, he definitely didn't allow Ms. Binoche proper time and acting to transform herself to show she had that epiphany. The movie just abruptly ends.
Don't waste your time with Clouds of Sils Maria. Just because it was officially selected in three film festivals doesn't mean it is a well-written or a well-directed movie. In this case, it probably means the film festival directors selected the film to draw in audiences using the stars' names and popularity.
If this were a perfect world, and people gave a crap, they would insist more female writers/script doctors and more female directors are at the helm of every movie where the subject involves more than one female.
Crimson Peak (2015)
Sick, twisted love story within a love story... Hauntingly creepy and beautiful
Crimson Peak is a love story within a love story told using stunning set decorations, eerie ghostly figures, and fine performances by its three principle actors.
Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), an inventor, and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain), leave England and go to America to find Thomas an "investor" and a bride. Thomas meets Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), a young aspiring writer, who sees and hears dead people, and whose father has money to back Thomas' new invention, but won't. Thomas sweeps Edith off her feet and takes her back to England after her father is murdered.
Thomas and Lucille's ancestral home, Allerdale, is not your normal English Gothic edifice. It's terrifyingly beautiful and strange and holds secrets, sounds, and spirits that Edith soon encounters. Meanwhile, Thomas and Lucille's highly "unusual" bond drives them to engage in certain activities so they can remain close and so that Thomas can get his invention working.
Personally, I would have liked to have seen Thomas and Lucille's backstory shown/hinted at when they were children and not told by Lucille. That would have been a monumental challenge for Mr. del Toro and exciting for those moviegoers clever enough to pick up on it.
If you are a del Toro fan you will enjoy the imaginative set decorations, feminine costumes, and the sick, twisted love story within the love story.
Crimson Peak is a true Gothic story: it combines fiction, horror, death, and romance. Unfortunately, for some people, they think a horror movie equals Freddy Krueger. All horror fiction has to do is elicit an emotional reaction that includes some aspect of fear and dread. And Mr. del Toro succeeds with Crimson Peak. Well done!
Knight of Cups (2015)
A Work of Art
Knight of Cups is not a movie. It is a work of art. Meaning, you know when you go to an art museum and you stand in front of a huge rectangular painting on the wall that is the color red and you say to yourself "That isn't art" but you know the artist thinks it is, he likes it, he enjoys it, he thinks it's great, and the reason he created his red painting was for him, and not for the masses to enjoy? That's Knight of Cups.
What Knight of Cups lacks: 1. A beginning, a middle, and an end. Meaning, a story. 2. Letting the audience know what the story is about within the first ten minutes. This is because the movie is expressed in vignettes. 3. A lot of dialogue. Instead, Christian Bale narrates over the vignettes.
That's it in a nutshell. Obviously, some people think Mr. Mallick wanted and created an inapposite flick to satisfy his needs. Still others will lump Knight of Cups with other avant- garde flicks.
Either way, Knight of Cups is not for everyone. Just like a big, red rectangular painting hanging in an art museum isn't going to float everyone's boat. Me?
The Martian (2015)
Written for Morons
Who writes this crap?
A crew of American astronauts leaves one of its own on Mars thinking he is dead. That's right, intelligent movie-goers, the astronauts don't even bother to check on their fellow astronaut to gather the facts.
Why didn't NASA's crew of astronauts check on their fellow astronaut? A severe storm caught them off guard. Actually, they knew the storm was coming, but had no clue to its severity. A little far-fetched unless the writer includes in his screenplay WHY the astronauts are able to receive storm information, but not the severity of a storm. Since back on earth the Weather Channel app I have on my iPad can upgrade and downgrade all types of weather. In this movie, NASA is unable to do the same for their astronauts on Mars.
I turned my DVD player off after Matt Damon's character taped his cracked helmet with duct tape to prevent his oxygen from escaping so he wouldn't die.
Conclusion: This movie was written for morons. Fact: This movie lacks suspense. Suggestion: Intelligent people should complain to Hollywood producers that they're churning out crap and helping to dumb movie-goers down. Hollywood producers don't know a well-written script from a poorly written script. Probably because they have the attention span of a two-year-old and don't read a single script they green light. Instead, they TALK about the scripts before and after they make the actors read them. Then they convince the actors that it's a great movie by pimping them with outrageous sums of money.
Again, who writes this crap?
What a waste of Sean Bean's and Matt Damon's talent!
The Last Days on Mars (2013)
Astronauts on Mars try to fend off fellow astronauts-turned-Zombies hours before a shuttle is to pick them up and return them to Earth.
Three things you should know about Last Days on Mars: 1. The screenwriter steals scenes from other, more popular science fiction movies. 2. The screenwriter can land a crew of astronauts on Mars, but can't provide them with space age weaponry or better flashlights. 3. The screenwriter created some of the dumbest astronauts ever portrayed in a movie.
If those three facts don't insult your intelligence, then Last Days on Mars is right up your alley.
Story not on par with the acting
Henry (Adrien Brody), a substitute teacher, is a fragile, broken, complex man who, according to Director Tony Kaye, "lives in his mind and doesn't want to come out of it." Henry encounters a runaway girl who lives on the street and a troubled teen in school who - during his one month stint teaching at a high school - try to pull him out of his contained life.
The problem with Detachment is in the storytelling and the flashbacks. They are too convoluted. Most egregious is how the runaway, the high school kids, and their parents are portrayed - in an over-the-top stereotypical way.
It is too bad Detachment's execution is not on par with the superb acting of Adrien Brody, James Caan's, Christina Hendricks, and the rest of the talented actors and actresses involved. If the writer had taken the time to rid the story of some of the unnecessary issues and characters, and the stereotypes, perhaps Detachment would have resonated with more viewers and film festivals.
Lacks Original Thought
A widower with two kids goes into space and a black hole to save the world.
Interstellar is an unsophisticated story filled with clichés and recycled scenes from other movies. It also contains dialogue that should have been rewritten by a script doctor with a keener ear for normal and compelling dialogue.
Interstellar also lacks a talented DP, director, and editor. We rarely see two conversing actors in the same frame. As a result, it makes one wonder if actors were even on set at the same time when their scenes were filmed. As a result, most of the crucial scenes fall flat.
In addition, throughout the movie, the writers have their characters talk and explain their every move, thought, and action. That clearly is a sign of unsophisticated story-telling.
If you like reprocessed story lines, don't care how scenes are edited, and need to have every bit of action explained to you, then you will adore Interstellar.
Those of you looking for a more entertaining, memorable, and succinct science fiction movie, go back in time and watch one of the hand-full of classics.
August: Osage County (2013)
Little to tell us, teach us, ruminate on
Family members with secrets and chips on their shoulders gather when the patriarch passes only to be ambushed by the matriarch with her insensitivity and vitriol.
A play is a live, intimate experience between performers and their audience. And because plays are a live experience, anything goes. Not true with film. There are rules when telling a story for film. And when you don't adhere to those rules, or you do not adapt according to those rules, you wind up with a flawed script. And that is exactly what August: Osage County is, flawed.
For the stage, two hours of constant bickering among family members and revealing secrets on the fly are welcomed. It is not only welcomed, it is expected. The more tension, drama, and hi-jinx the better so that when intermission comes one can take a breath and then eagerly head back to his/her seat for round two.
With a movie, however, you can't keep the switch on high voltage the entire 121 minutes. And because the screenwriter does just that, we are left without the highs, lows, bass, and treble. Without that variety the story is reduced to one long drawn out series of squabbles with little to tell us, teach us, or ruminate on.
Unfortunately, even some of the performances can't save this unvaried, uneventful, uninteresting, and wearisome yarn.
Most disappointing with August: Osage County is that crucial connection between its characters... even when they are arguing.
Plays are plays and movies are movies. Playwrights and screenwriters should learn the differences.
All Is Lost (2013)
Poor Writing Sinks All is Lost
An elderly man, played by Robert Redford, is cast adrift after a metal shipping container puts a hole in the side of his boat. His predicament goes from bad to worse when he is forced to climb aboard his small, rubber boat.
Simply put, All is Lost is boring and poorly written.
All is Lost lacks backstory - no photo in his wallet, no photos on the shelves in the boat? (Then what is the point of the voice-over in the beginning?)
All is Lost lacks suspense. We do see sharks in the water. But all they are doing is nothing but looking National-Geographic-pretty in the writer/director's one artistic shot.
Because there is no backstory and no suspense, why should we care whether this individual lives or dies? We don't.
Disappointing is the lack of emotion Redford's character shows. I blame that on the director, not Mr. Redford. And the couple of times Redford's character does show emotion, it is very wooden. Again, I blame that on the director. If you don't have the balls to direct your actors - whether they be movie stars or newbies - then don't direct.
As far as whether or not the character is an inept seaman is up to the experts. However, I couldn't help but wonder why the character didn't have any rescue beacons on board - personal or otherwise.
And finally, for the ending, the writer/director uses a scene similar to another movie's that was a blockbuster hit. See above: poor writing.
If you want to watch a well-written, suspenseful movie with more than one person adrift in the sea in a small boat, watch Hitchcock's Lifeboat. You won't be disappointed.
Indecent Proposal (1993)
A Lot to Say About Love... Love lost and true love
Interesting movie (adapted from the book by Jack Engelhard) with a lot to say about love... Love lost and true love.
Did this movie go over the heads of those who gave it a poor rating?
Indecent Proposal is not about sleeping with someone for money as other reviewers have stated. It is about a man who missed the opportunity to be with his first love, and a happily married couple who lose sight of their values and vows.
When John Gage (Redford) first sets eyes on Diana (Moore) at a Casino pocketing chocolates, he's smitten. We assume he's eyeing her because he's a dirty, middle-aged rich man. It isn't until later in the movie - during one of the many touching scenes - that we learn Gage isn't going after Diana because he can. He actually is experiencing love at first sight. Unfortunately, cupid has sent him a happily married woman.
Despite that Diana's married, Gage makes his proposal: One million dollars to spend the night with him. Gage's proposal is an interesting one because it tells a lot about David (Harrelson) and Diana. And it is their decision to accept Gage's proposal that causes their marriage to slowly sour and eventually implode while Gage sits back and patiently waits for Diana.
There are a number of touching moments in Indecent Proposal. One is when Gage tells Diana about the girl he fell in love with during a fleeting moment on a train.
Toward the end of the movie Gage and Diana are in his car. Gage goes into this discourse about other women. It is the most touching scene in the movie because it reveals the kind of person Gage is - someone who realizes what true love is.
Redford plays Gage brilliantly. He was made for the part. Gage is patient and expressive without saying a word. Just a smile or a playful look and you know what he is thinking and feeling. Harrelson plays the loving, then anguished husband well enough. Moore is miscast against both Redford and Harrelson.
Despite this flaw, Indecent Proposal is worth watching because we step into the world of a happily married couple who assured themselves they would survive an unorthodox way to solve their problems. We also step into the world of a man looking for true love.
One last thought: Adaptations are usually a bitch for most writers. I did not read Engelhard's novel. So, I do not know what was added or subtracted to the screenplay. Either way, I found the story nicely paced, well-told, and with no loose ends. Bravo Amy Holden Jones!
Gone Girl (2014)
Unsophisticated, ending a big let down
A woman tries to frame her cheating husband for her disappearance and murder.
There are a number of serious issues that makes Gone Girl a mediocre story:
The police look like idiots. Their investigative process is nothing like what happens in the real world. The story lacks suspense. The ending is a huge let down.
It is unfortunate the author of Gone Girl was given the job as screenwriter. Perhaps if a seasoned screenwriter had been given the adaptation job, Gone Girl would have been a clever and sophisticated movie instead of what it is: mediocre.
Don't waste your time with Gone Girl. Skip it for a the tautly suspenseful Tell No One.
Terrible, annoying mess
Harry Houdini (1874-1926) was a famous Hungarian-American escapologist- somebody who escapes from seemingly impossible combinations of locks, chains, and boxes.
Houdini (Lionsgate) is a TV movie I watched for thirty-five minutes. Then I ejected it from my device and returned it to my local library.
I suppose one cannot blame the writer entirely on this epic failure. The DP should also be scrutinized.
This mess of a TV movie was clearly not a collaboration. Houdini appears to be several people's "ideas" who all wanted included in this film to satisfy their own individual needs and not the audiences.
That being said, Lionsgate's Houdini is a terrible movie with terrible visuals and a story no one cares about. It is a movie suitable for a teenage video-gamer who hated studying history while in school, and was nursed on CSI and bad CGI.
Poor Mr. Brody! So talented. Poor Mr. Houdini. This TV movie will surely make people forget him.
Here's the bad: 1. The voice over. It is painfully annoying. Writers learn that voice overs should be kept to a minimum. Preferably, not used at all. Why? The actors and the visuals should tell the story.
2.The writing. There is very little compelling dialogue or action to help tell Houdini's unique story.
3. The visuals. The ones in this movie overpower the acting. The DP annoys the viewer with unnecessary slow motion, unnecessary closeups, and other unnecessary camera movements. Therefore, we do not experience - or are awed by - Houdini's physical feats, or Brody's interpretations of those feats. For example, we are shown one of those typical, typical, typical CSI shots of the inside of a lock being picked. Really? That's all you got?
4. The costumes and makeup. The costumes are clownish. The makeup overdone and not accurate. Think Rocky Horror Picture Show.
5. The music. Annoying and not appropriate for this story. Also, music is supposed to dwell in the background of the story and help set the tone.
6. The feel and tone. There is none. The turn-of-the-century is not a difficult time in history to authentically capture.
Lionsgate's Houdini regurgitates way too many concepts and ideas already seen on TV and in movies that, basically, did nothing for those shows/movies, too.
Again, a teenage video-gamer would probably enjoy Houdini since teenagers also regurgitate the same old same old while glued to their violent video games creating nothing new or noteworthy in their lives while sucking on the visual stimulation teat rather than the mentally stimulating teat.
I doubt the screenwriter of Houdini studied adaptation. I know writers who have studied adaptation and could have done the book justice. In the business of entertainment, your d**k would appear bigger if you just tucked it back inside your pants, took a step back, and hired the right person to do the job. When you don't, well, you get Houdini (Lionsgate). You also get a super-inflated ego until the bad reviews start coming in.
Dumbest movie ever made
A weak, whiny, female astronaut (Sandra Bullock) survives preposterous events in low Earth orbit - approximately 220 miles (354 km) above earth - after the International Space Station is destroyed. Her colleague, played by George Clooney, disappears mid-story.
This has got to be the dumbest movie ever made. There is SO much information available on the Internet and at local libraries to study space, view actual footage of the ISS and it's astronauts as they go about their daily business, and info/video as to how those astronauts work outside the ISS. Because there is so much information available, why should we suspend our disbelief and watch unrealistic crap? We should not. When we do, writers and directors like Alfonso and Jonas Cuaron, and Warner Brothers get away with dumbing their audiences down.
In addition, there are very few good roles for women in Hollywood because Hollywood is notorious for keeping women writer / directors off the set. Why then would Sandra Bullock even consider the role of a weak, whiny astronaut? Ms. Bullock should be ashamed of herself.
The CGI? Forget it. It isn't that great. If you want to see spectacular low earth orbit shots of space and the earth, view the real thing taken by our astronauts. There are "artistic" shots of Ms. Bullock's reflection in several windows, and her slowly turning around like an arthritic circus performer. (The shot looks fake.) The DP stays on these shots too long making them tedious, then boring. Also, these shots exist only to counterbalance Ms. Bullock's incessant talking to herself.
The script? It needed a polish. For example, while outside the ISS, George Clooney's character asks Bullock's character if she has a family. One would think that after spending several months with Bullock's character aboard the ISS, he would already know if she had a family or not.
Gravity is a big waste of time. Skip it and watch Alien if you like to suspend your disbelief, like strong female characters, and enjoy cinematography that intensifies the story and its characters.
If You Want Great Science Fiction, This Is Not It
Elysium is about bringing the Hispanic people left behind on earth - who live below the poverty level - to Elysium, a gigantic-looking steering wheel in space that houses rich white people. If you think that's a trite plot, I agree. Why are all the people left on earth Hispanic? Take it up with the writer, Neill Blomkamp, who also directed Elysium.
That being said, if you watch the special features on the DVD, you can't help but notice that the writer/director spent way too much time wanting to create the special effects and very little on creating a fresh story, creating an exciting plot, and creating a character we want to root for.
Most annoying about Elysium is bad guy Kruger, played by South Africa native, Sharlto Copley. 1. What ever accent he was using, it was overdone. So much so that most of his dialogue cannot be understood. 2. His teeth are way too white for a bad guy made to look dark and sinister. Come on, Mr. Director, he's your hero's nemesis, not a spokes model for Crest Whitestrips 3D. Did I say the writer/director spent way too much time on special effects?
If you want great science fiction, Elysium is not it.
Mad Men (2007)
Started out mildly promising... Quickly turned into a joke
A NYC advertising agency mixes business with pleasure (over and over and over and over again) while focusing in and out of main character Don Draper's (Jon Hamm) sexual and psychotic escapades.
If you grew up in the 1960s, you won't find Mad Men different or original. If you worked for an ad agency during that time period, you'll recall that people did not behave unprofessionally. If they did, they would have received a pink slip. That being said, Mad Men started out mildly promising, but quickly turned into a joke.
The problem with Mad Men is: too many writers; writers who don't know how to tell a story; writers who don't want to tell a story; and writers who don't know how to write believable dialogue and action for women and children. In addition, the writers dumb viewers down by teaching them that a series of snippet scenes are acceptable. Well, they're not.
Mad Men is like an awkward comedian telling crappy one-liners. Crappy one-liners become monotonous and stale. And that - unfortunately - is exactly what Mad Men becomes after season one. By Season Six, the scenes and dialogue are way too imbecilic to sit through. But don't let that stop you 1960s neophytes from singing its praises.