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Intriguing Premise Wasted
25 August 2015
I was drawn to this film because of its interesting premise; that a group of children were being groomed as organ harvesters. However, this premise was never logically developed. For instance, we are never told why they-or anyone-is being forced into donating their organs. Who chose them? Why did they, and their families, submit to this maniacal program? And most importantly, who are the organs being harvested for?

One can assume it is the very wealthy who are receiving all these organs, and living a much longer life span. This longer life span is briefly noted at the beginning of the film, which is curiously set in an already passed late twentieth century. It seems more natural to create a dystopian future. The screenwriter certainly should have explained something about how this scenario came about. Again, one can imagine an uncaring elite using these poor subjects for their own benefit, but nothing like this is ever even alluded to.

Finally, while the two actresses who played the female leads at a younger age morphed into older actresses that looked much like them, the young Tommy was supplanted by a really unattractive actor that bore no resemblance to the good-looking youngster we saw in the early stages of the film. I found this distracting, and a thoughtless casting decision.

I kept waiting for not only some background on this odious new world, but for the lead characters-or at least someone-to attempt a revolt. After all, they knew their fate, and had nothing to lose. Perhaps it's a parable on the mindset of the modern-day sheeple.
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Horrific, Bloody, Politically Correct and Incomprehensible
7 February 2015
There is so much not to like about this film. First of all, the nearly non-stop slow motion effects during the endless fighting scenes. Then there was the morbidly gratuitous glorification of blood, with streams of it spurting out from necks and bodies over and over again.

Is it really believable that a woman in ancient Greece could control, dominate, and rule over an army of muscle-bound Spartan soldiers? Talk about a feminist fantasy! And the audience is given not one, but two fantastic female sword fighters. These waif-like, 100 lb. gals can take on multiple, larger trained male soldiers at once, and easily defeat them. In one particularly ridiculous scene, the primary female leader proves her worth by returning to her king with three heads in hand.

The plot was so convoluted here, and so secondary to the bloody, slow-motion battle scenes, that it was impossible to tell who was fighting whom. And in a further gesture of political correctness, the "Persians" all had their faces camouflaged in some way, to hide their ethnic features. Can't have any Persians looking too Arabic, I guess.

The original 300 movie was pretty good. This was about as bad a sequel as has ever been made. The director and screenwriters behind this mess should be embarrassed.
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The Letter (1929)
What A Ridiculous Film
3 March 2014
What are the reviewers here smoking? Jeanne Eagels turned in perhaps the worst acting performance I've ever seen in this movie. And she was nominated for an Academy Award? Her indistinct, overtly affected accent was grating on the ears. Her facial expressions were hardly better- grade school drama productions feature more credible acting. And when she shot her lover; there are no words to describe how laughable she appeared, as she waved the gun in spectacularly unconvincing fashion.

The screenplay was awful as well, like it had been written by the nephew of a local dinner theater owner. All the actors delivered their lines in wooden, disinterested fashion, but Eagels was in a class of her own here. As for the Chinese mistress, who can believe that anyone in 1929 would have chosen this decidedly plain-looking actress over the still very attractive Eagels?
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Cellular (2004)
Unusually Courageous Hollywood Effort
26 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is not only a solid, spellbinding thriller; it is a rare example of Hollywood taking on truly powerful forces. The issue of police brutality has gone viral since this movie was made in 2004- one can see new, horrifying examples of it every day on You Tube.

What makes this film so daring, so bold, and so unique is the fact it doesn't follow the normal mainstream media mantra of ignoring police corruption. It certainly doesn't glorify the police, as so many insipid television shows and movies do. It postulates a believable premise; that these corrupt officials would resort to killing an innocent family who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Looking at the writers and the Director (who died early this year at a premature age- no cause listed that I could find), there is not much to suggest a piece of work like this. But they certainly deserve credit for exposing a very real problem and creating an entertaining drama.

I highly recommend this film to everyone.
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Meet John Doe (1941)
Capra At His Best
27 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
"Meet John Doe" would be the finest movie ever made, in my opinion, except for the ending. Director Frank Capra filmed several different endings, and probably chose the best one, but ultimately found them all lacking in some way. I share his view, but even without a satisfying climax, "Meet John Doe" represents the motion picture industry at its absolute best.

Gary Cooper is perfect as Long John Willoughby, a homeless ex-baseball pitcher with a bum arm. Walter Brennan turns in perhaps his greatest role, as "The Colonel," a grumpy fellow who calls people "Healots" and utters the memorable line, "I know the world's been shaved by a drunken barber." Barbara Stanwyck, as always, turns in a compelling performance. Capra invariably supplied his movies with a wealth of strong background characters, and "Meet John Doe" is no exception. Regis Toomey, at one time a leading man in the early talkies, is particularly good as Bert the Soda Jerk.

The script sets up one of the most intriguing premises imaginable; reporter Stanwyck, in a bid to save her job and build circulation, invents a character, "John Doe," who threatens to jump off the roof of the highest building in town on Christmas Eve, if people don't start being nicer to each other. His column "I Protest," becomes so popular that the newspaper has to produce an actual "John Doe," and Cooper wins the part. Gradually, the naive, well meaning Cooper begins to believe in what "John Doe" is saying, and falls in love with Stanwyck, who has been co-opted by powerful forces, led by the dastardly Edward Arnold, playing the evil tycoon Norton.

James Gleason is great here, as the drunken editor who tries to warn Cooper that Stanwyck is a phony. He's perfect for Capra's type of movie, so it's a surprise that this is the only one he ever appeared in. The drama in this film is everywhere; Cooper's affection for Stanwyck, whose hard boiled heart begins to melt, the burgeoning populist "John Doe" political movement, and the uncertain resolution to "John Doe's" dilemma.

As it becomes obvious that people are not going to start treating each other better, the question becomes- will Cooper actually jump on Christmas Eve? Does he still believe in an ideology that Stanwyck created, for dishonest and cynical reasons? "Meet John Doe" features Capra's typical dark look at humanity, as exemplified by Stanwyck's deviousness, and the ugly mob mentality of the "John Doe" supporters as they turn on Cooper. However, again as always, Capra turns that pessimistic view into a fairy tale-like optimism, as Stanwyck comes to believe in Cooper and thus her own philosophy, and the mob realizes realizes the error of its ways.

In Capra's films, no matter how extensive the corruption appears, justice always triumphs and the little guy always wins. Thus, it was predictable that Capra would choose the happiest ending possible, with Cooper being saved from jumping at the last minute, by an ill Stanwyck and the mob, represented by Toomis's soda jerk and his wife, as Gleason utters the line, "There you go, Norton- the people! Try and lick that!" I suppose there was really no adequate way to resolve a plot line like this, and Capra did the best he could. Regardless, "Meet John Doe" is head and shoulders above almost any other film Hollywood has ever produced.
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Mary Poppins (1964)
Disney's Finest Achievement
27 August 2013
Walt Disney was one of the most iconic figures of the twentieth century. He left a legacy behind filled with classic, unforgettable films like "Show White," "Sleeping Beauty" and "101 Dalmatians." With "Mary Poppins," however, he reached his zenith and produced perhaps the greatest musical ever made, a beautiful film for both adults and children.

While the movie doesn't exactly do justice to the wonderful P.L. Travers' books, its originality and charm is as magical as Mary Poppins herself. Julie Andrews is perfect for the title role; pretty but cold and firm. Dick Van Dyke really shines here as Bert the chimney sweep; it's perhaps the only time he was allowed to display the full extent of his prodigious talents. Andrews and Van Dyke clearly have a great chemistry together.

Disney filled "Mary Poppins" with top notch character actors, like Reta Shaw, Elsa Lanchester, Arthur Treacher and Ed Wynn. Reginald Owen is a treat as Admiral Boom, along with Jane Darwell as the old lady behind one of the many unforgettable songs in the film, "Feed The Birds." Glynis Johns is cute as a very innocent suffragette, and David Tomlinson plays the role of distracted father/crusty banker to the hilt.

But it's the songs that really make "Mary Poppins" so special. Every Baby Boomer knows them by heart; my personal favorite is the soaring (no pun intended), "Let's Go Fly A Kite." The film deserved all the accolades and praise it earned, and it remains one of the finest films in motion picture history.
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The Greatest Film Ever Made
27 August 2013
Frank Capra produced a quartet of timeless films that managed to combine a heartwarming sentimentality with hard edged social commentary. "It's A Wonderful Life," which was initially a box office disappointment, is his masterpiece. In my view, it also represents the apex of cinema, the finest achievement in the history of motion pictures.

The irresistible plot borrows heavily from Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," but manages to put a unique twist on it; instead of Ebeneezer Scrooge being reminded by the spirit world of just how horrible a person he's been, George Bailey is reminded by the spirit world that he has touched the lives of countless people, and that the world would be a horrible place without him.

James Stewart is perfect as Bailey, somehow 'aging' throughout the film, beginning as a believable college aged man even though he was thirty eight years old at the time of filming. Donna Reed is lovely, and the rest of the cast is filled with the type of character actors Capra's films were noted for. There is an interesting cameo from Carl "Alfalfa" Swtizer, grown from his "Our Gang" days into a gangly, rather homely teenager, whose prank sets off the unforgettable scene where Stewart and Reed Charleston their way into a swimming pool.

"It's A Wonderful Life" is that rare film that never gets old, never ages. The viewer can jump in at any point in the movie, and feel satisfied. The movie used to be played repeatedly by numerous channels during the holiday season, but in recent years copyright issues have reduced air time to only one or two broadcasts by NBC.

Everything about this movie is first rate. The dialogue can be, and should be, quoted endlessly; it is filled with Capra's trademark pro- little guy populism. The final scene, where the cast sings first "Hark The Herald Angels Sing," followed by "Auld Lang Syne," never fails to bring a tear to my eye, from the moment younger brother Harry Bailey proposes a toast, "To my big brother George, the richest man in town."

Capra's movies always inspired, but this one is in a class of its own. To watch James Stewart, cradling little Zuzu in his arms, while his friends and neighbors shower him with money and affection, is to understand how powerful this medium can be, and how in the hands of a truly good soul like Capra's, that message can be positive and uplifting. The lesson everyone should take away from this film is: "It IS A Wonderful Life."
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The Birds (1963)
Hitchcock's Finest
27 August 2013
I may be in the minority, but I feel that "The Birds" was Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece. The basic premise of the movie is as compelling as any can be; the feathered creatures in the trees and in the sky, which we all take for granted, suddenly begin acting strangely, attacking humans.

Tippi Hedren is incomparably lovely as the heroine. One can understand why the sexually frustrated Hitchcock was so obsessed with her. But she's not mere candy for the eyes; Hedren turns in a compelling, underrated performance. Rod Taylor is fine, but is overshadowed by the stunning Hedren, who steals every scene she's in.

One of the most memorable, visually impactful scenes in the history of cinema occurs in "The Birds," when Tippi Hedren sits down on a bench at the school playground to smoke a cigarette, and a huge number of birds, with eerie silence, gradually gather on the monkey bars behind her. Another classic moment comes in the diner, where the patrons express the growing panic of the sleepy little community, and an elderly woman, who is an ornithologist, defends the birds, and regarding any war with them, declares, "Why if that happened, we wouldn't have a chance!"

There is a bit too much gore in the film for my taste, and the ending has always struck me as unsatisfying, but overall "The Birds" is a brilliant piece of work, by one of the all time greatest directors.
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Underwhelming And Predictable
31 July 2013
There are some good moments here, and the concept has potential; old time scout battling the new computer age. However, Clint Eastwood, as usual, is brutal as the central character. He has now turned completely into Grumpy Old Man, and hasn't departed from that role for several years; still whispering and squinting his eyes, and under-acting to the point of absurdity. At times, Eastwood barely seems alive on screen, an animated corpse whom the audience is supposed to love, in spite of his gruff, unemotional, unaffectionate personality.

Eastwood's unfriendly old man persona is just one of the clichéd, overdone aspects of this film. How many times has Hollywood featured an old guy that is too proud to admit an illness, unwilling to show his feelings for his children, and too stubborn to change his ways? Wouldn't it be refreshing if Hollywood produced a movie about an old guy who didn't cuss, wasn't angry, was emotional and affectionate to a fault with his family, was religious and not obsessed with sex and had no stubborn streak?

Other parts of this film revolve around the film industry's hackneyed political correctness. Gee, who could have predicted that the arrogant young prospect would be white? And who could have foreseen that the humble and lovable "peanut boy," as the white jerk hotshot derisively calls him, would be Hispanic? And, more importantly, be a truly super pitching prospect who humiliates the white jerk in his practice debut?

Amy Adams plays another oft-seen character, the strong, self-assured young woman who can outdo the boys at anything. It's actually amazing she didn't punch out at least one white guy during the film. If you enjoy the overrated Eastwood, you'll enjoy this film. If you have little patience with clichés, predictability and political correctness, you should look elsewhere for entertainment.
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Source Code (2011)
Potentially Intriguing Turns Into Predictable Propaganda
6 July 2013
This movie could have been far more satisfying. You have to suspend your sense of logic, as you do in most sci-fi movies, to accept the premise that a dead soldier can be transported into the body of another man about to be blown up on a train. One question that is never addressed is; where did this man's soul, his personality, go during those eight minutes when Jake Gyllenhaal's character took over his body?

Gyllenhaal is okay in the lead role, but how he can be sold as a sex symbol is beyond me. Those huge, bug eyes of his alone should turn off a lot of people. The lovely Vera Farmiga is excellent here, as always, but it's a thankless role and she isn't given much to do. Michelle Monaghan's character seems shallow and isn't developed at all (actually, none of the characters are developed whatsoever and come off as empty shells).

The movie trots out two of its favorite, stereotypical casting devices; the head of the super secret project is one of those incredible black computer geniuses, which are usually played by Morgan Freeman. In any event, they are plentiful in Hollywood. And the bad guy, the lone "nut" terrorist who is singlehandedly holding the country hostage, is a dumpy, very innocent looking white male. Wow- didn't see that one coming! Does the movie industry really think no one notices this kind of stuff?

The movie borrows heavily from "Groundhog Day" and other superior films, but the premise was interesting enough that, with a little more creative thought, and a better lead actor, it could have been much better.
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Our Idiot Movie
4 July 2013
This movie was actually not as offensive as virtually every "comedy" has been for the past decade or so. Paul Rudd isn't terribly unfunny, in the vein of "comic" actors like Sandler, Rogan, Ferrell, etc. But despite some decent moments, the movie ultimately fails to impress.

The potty humor here is kept to a real minimum, in comparison with the way all other "comedies" now are exclusively fueled by it. But on one front "Our Idiot Brother" touts the new party line; there are lots of gratuitous male nude scenes, but no female nude scenes. This strange phenomenon is a 180 degree shift from Hollywood's norm in the 1960- 1980s, wherein sexy females were the ones disrobing on screen. Now, it's only the males, and they usually aren't "sexy." In this film, we had two gorgeous actresses, Zooey Deschanel and Elizabeth Banks, but they remained completely clothed throughout, while at least three males managed to get naked for us.

This is anti-art for its own sake; a literal repudiation of the concept of beauty. Nudity in films now is not done to titillate the audience, or simply to display a beautiful form, but is entirely for comedic purposes, to poke fun at the males who reveal themselves to us. This is simply another way of bashing males, only instead of beating them up, the screenwriters humiliate them by incorporating needless, ugly nudity with only them disrobing.

I also didn't like the use of the disgusting word "retard" a few times. So three stars for rising a bit above the Judd Apatow school of "comedy," but ultimately this is an unsatisfying film.
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Hall Pass (2011)
Yet Another Putrid "Comedy"
1 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I must sound like a broken record, but once again this horrid film proves that Hollywood simply cannot make a decent comedy anymore. This one has the same things they all do now- tons of juvenile potty humor, gratuitous male nudity (and in a rarity, a brief topless female), and a predictable, disastrous message. The male nudity, by the way, includes a close up view of a male's penis.

As usual, the males in the film are made out to be the bad guys. Two hapless husbands, who are guilty of nothing more than ogling women here and there, are granted a "hall pass" by their wives. This idea comes from their friend, played by the odious Joy Behar, who is no actress and can barely recite her lines. The men are told that for one week, they can do whatever they want, and pretend they aren't married, while the wives take the kids out of town.

In an utterly foreseen twist, the guys turn out to not even be capable of talking to girls, let alone sleeping with them, while their wives are partying up a storm with hot younger athletes. Meanwhile, we are treated to a running gag that could have been penned by most third graders, of the guys' fat friend constantly uttering "I have to poo." In a truly artistic scene, we are treated to this man's fat bare bottom taking a dump in a sand trap on a golf course. Talk about hilarious!

Owen Wilson eventually turns down the hot 21 year old who had been his children's babysitter, her hot 40 something aunt, and the gorgeous blonde Australian chick who had been the object of his fantasies. He doesn't even get to kiss any of them. His hapless friend is similarly unlucky. Meanwhile, Christina Appelegate, as the other husband's wife, does sleep with a younger guy. Afterwards, she says "this can't happen again- I love my husband."

This is the message that has been coming out of Hollywood for some time now- a wife can have an extramarital affair, but the husband cannot, or at least if he does, the marriage is over. We saw this even in Family Guy, when Lois slept with Bill Clinton, but Peter inexplicably backed out of sleeping with his date, so the writers solved that by having Peter sleep with Bill Clinton, too. Ugh.

When the hapless other husband reunites with Christina Applegate, he gets down on his knees and apologizes. "For what?" the audience might ask. He didn't really do anything wrong. But his wife sure did. And does she admit this, or apologize herself? Nope. Guess again- she accepts his ridiculous apology with a canary-that-ate-the-kitten smile. Nice message there for everyone.

This movie was not as awful as the Judd Apatow stuff, or quite as unfunny as most of Adam Sandler's and Will Ferrell's "gems," but it is still thoroughly offensive.
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Margaret (I) (2011)
Pointless Plot,Way Too Long With Unlikeable Characters
21 January 2013
I would echo many of the points made by previous reviewers. This film is far too long, and might have been better if an hour or so was edited out. Anna Paquin plays a totally unsympathetic character; like so many "troubled teens," she is a rebel without a cause.

But then again, why is a 29 year old playing a high school student to begin with? Did the producers really think Paquin looked and seemed like a teenager? Actually, all the "high school students" in this film were too old, and acted unconvincingly.

As has been stated, why was Paquin haunted by the accident, to the extent she felt compelled to go on an intense crusade to get the bus driver fired, yet somehow was immune from the guilt most of us would have felt, since she was the primary cause of the accident? Did anyone, upon seeing the working stiff bus driver and his wife, empathize with Paquin's herculean efforts to ruin his life? What was her motivation?

Why did Paquin abruptly decide to "lose her virginity," by contacting a kid we'd never seen up until that point? Why not just choose the nice guy who liked her, and whom she was making out with shortly before that? Why were we treated to a brief but completely unnecessary nude scene with Anna's not so young looking mother?

The character playing Emily, the victim's friend, was even more annoying than Paquin's was.Thus, it's probably natural that they would gravitate together, and form a powerful partnership devoted to "getting" the bus driver, whose recklessness was caused by Paquin. Why the strident "Jewishness" on the part of Emily, to the point where she explodes in anger at Paquin's mother's boyfriend, who is really the only halfway likable character in the film? Combined with the gratuitous, unconnected classroom arguments about Israel and the Palestinians, one wonders if the screenwriter had some sort of agenda in this area.

There is seemingly no logical source for Paquin's hostility towards her mother, who seems like a distracted but basically decent parent. It's hard to have a watchable film when the main protagonist is someone the audience cannot possibly like.
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Shallow Hal (2001)
Decent Premise, Absurd Casting
20 July 2011
I've gone through several of the reviews here, and it amazes me that no one else has commented on what is the most glaring problem with this film. Hal is shallow, and only loves women for their looks. Okay, fine. His friend, played by Jason Alexander, is even more shallow, finding the smallest flaws in even beautiful women to be unbearable.

Have any of you looked at Jack Black and Jason Alexander? Are either of them remotely attractive? Both are fat, which makes their fat jokes that much more inexplicable and unfunny. If you're going to go with this premise, you need to cast believable actors in those roles. They must look the part of superficial males concerned exclusively with looks. Obviously, neither of these actors do.

The film is decent other than that, but it's kind of hard to get past the main character and his sidekick. Especially obscene was the bald, overweight Jason Alexander snidely referring to Paltrow's character as a rhino. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! I gave the film only four stars because of the actors in the lead roles. With good looking guys (and ideally, a real overweight woman), this could have been a very good film.
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Boring, Transparent Propaganda
26 June 2011
I waited in vain for any real suspense, any real showdown between the Earth and the aliens in this terrible film. Instead, I was subjected to what was essentially a marathon military training film. It was like watching a war movie. There was really no science fiction in it at all. The few scenes of the aliens were cheap and unconvincing.

For most of the film, we see bombings. Lots of them. It was like watching the Gulf "war" again, back in the early 1990s. Or maybe a video game. Were the makers of this film trying to recruit for the Marines or what? The propaganda was overbearing; how many oblique references to "civilians" were there? There was no real characterization here, no human interaction beyond fellow soldiers "covering" each other, or carting other wounded bodies around. Evidently, the "battle" in this film didn't include any noteworthy "civilians," since no one outside of the vaunted military was depicted. Guess their stories weren't compelling enough.

We aren't told why these aliens invaded. What was their motive? Who are they? We learn nothing about them- in fact, as noted earlier, they were barely shown. Even the special effects were lacking- no cool tsunami-type scenes, no crumbling buildings that we can recognize. This was insipid propaganda that disappointed on all levels.
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Bad Teacher (2011)
America Continues To Sink
26 June 2011
Another comic "gem" to satisfy the cravings of an increasingly stupid viewing audience, "Bad Teacher" is accurately titled. Cameron Diaz, who is also a bad actress, is indeed very, very bad in this film. Her character is entirely absent any remotely positive traits. There's nothing to like about her, and yet we are supposed to root for her. A film with a title like this would once have been relegated to the porn industry. Now it's just part of mainstream "comedy," right there alongside other immortal classics like "Super Bad," "Jack Ass," "Kick Ass," etc.

Yes, it was awe inspiring to watch dear Cameron fire balls at the heads of little boys. Not little girls, of course- that wouldn't be funny. It's only humorous to watch little boys in pain. Ha Ha. Think of it- the writers are depicting an adult abusing children, and we're laughing at it! Reverse the roles- can you imagine a "comedy" where a male teacher abuses little girls, and the audience is amused by it?

Several obvious sequels spring to mind here; Bad Student, Bad Principal, Bad Janitor, Bad Cafeteria Lady, etc. The possibilities are endless. The American idiocracy apparently have an unlimited appetite for these mindless, immature "comedies" that could all have been written by 12 year old boys. I guess these "writers" never run out of ways to portray farting, male asses and men getting hurt (usually by getting hit in the crotch). Thank goodness their "talent" was recognized and is being put to such good use.

Everyone who had anything to do with this monstrously bad movie should be ashamed of themselves. The messages it sends are horrendous. If "bad teachers" start popping up in real life, they should never be held accountable for their actions, no matter how despicable they are. After all, Hollywood has told us that such creatures are hilarious, even lovable. So lighten up, it's all in good fun!
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Bridesmaids (I) (2011)
Fart Comedy Meets Chick Flick
28 May 2011
Every time I think Hollywood can sink no lower, they do. I guess this film is considered a great "advance" in the field, because now these horrendous script writers and directors have shown that the girls can fart, defecate, curse and inflict "funny" pain just as well as the boys.

When will this idiocracy we live in finally get sick of "humor" that would have been considered immature for 12 year old boys as recently as twenty years ago? When was the last time a "comedy" was produced in Hollywood that wasn't based exclusively on potty humor and hapless males getting hit in the crotch?

Lorne Michaels should be ashamed of himself, for forcing all these monumental no-talents on America. Kristen Wiig is merely the latest in a long series of thoroughly unfunny, untalented, obnoxious "actors" like Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, David Spade, Rob Schneider, etc. Big screen comedies basically have been taken over by the pathetic alumni from SNL and the just as sordidly horrific "talent" emanating from the stable of Judd Apatow.

I wonder if Maya Rudolph-yet another ex-SNL cast member-can appreciate the irony of her appearing in a work of "art" like this, considering that she was one of the stars of Idiocracy. Probably not, considering that none of the SNL people seem to have the slightest appreciation of the brilliant satire Mike Judge employed in that film. Instead, they continue to collect hefty paychecks for contributing ever more filth to our decaying cultural landscape.
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This Is A Classic?
28 May 2011
I'd heard only great things about this 1955 film, so I was eagerly looking forward to finally watching it. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I was astonished. I was appalled. I was embarrassed for Charles Laughton and Robert Mitchum.

What can we learn from this film? Well, for one, could Laughton and the always overrated James Agee make their anti-Christian bias any more obvious? Okay, we get it- preachers are hypocritical and can sometimes be criminals. Do you have to hit the audience over the head with that for nearly two hours? I've never seen one theme pushed so relentlessly. I'm guessing Laughton and Agee weren't believers.

The acting, as others have noted, is laughable. No, it's almost surrealistic; but awful in a way that can't be enjoyed, like a cheesy sci-film from the same era. I disagree with some of those who lambasted the performances in this film, but exempted Robert Mitchum. In my view, Mitchum's character was a more unbelievably heavy-handed villain than Snidely Whiplash. I winced when he informed new wife Shelley Winters that they would not be having sex. Ever. Who came up with this kind of impossibly unrealistic stuff? The Church of Satan? The dialogue is almost incomprehensibly bad. There is not a likable character in the film, nor a single light hearted moment. How about a bit of comic relief? Why not take five minutes off from the nonstop bashing of Christianity? The fact that this film is so well respected by critics reminds us once again about the importance of thinking for yourself, and not mindlessly following the advice of alleged experts.
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Kick-Ass (2010)
The Title Says It All
19 April 2010
It was really only a matter of time. The culmination of decades of brainwashing, dumbing down and awful, awful artistry have resulted in "Kick Ass." Yes, it was also only a matter of time until someone produced a movie with that title. Now that another cultural barrier has crashed, look forward to movies with cherished words like "Retard" and "Balls" in their titles. Use your imagination- it's easy to envision really profound titles by sprinkling in all those formerly forbidden words.

As for the movie itself, Hollywood takes its most prevalent theme- that of females beating up males- and speeds it up to a wharp factor. First, the female doing all that ass kicking is 11. ELEVEN. And she isn't content to knock them out with one punch from her dainty fists. No, she gruesomely kills them. While enjoying it immensely. She also enjoys mutilating them in the process.

The fact that any audience, anywhere, finds this graphic filth- which should by all rights be considered child pornography- entertaining at all is yet another sad indication that our civilization is beyond all hope. The violence in this film is so gratuitous, so disturbing, especially because it involved such a young girl, that it really wouldn't be any more offensive if the preteen actress was wandering around naked and having sex with adults, instead of gleefully murdering them.

If there is any justice in this world, "Kick Ass" will continue to under perform at the box office. The less money it makes, the better.
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V (2009–2011)
Elizabeth Mitchell Must Be Stopped!
27 March 2010
This show is really not that bad. In fact, it might be really good. The problem is, the main character, played by Elizabeth Mitchell, is so utterly annoying that she makes "V" nearly unwatchable.

Mitchell plays a middle-aged FBI agent. So far, she has displayed remarkable fighting prowess for a not overly imposing looking middle- aged woman. Most of us don't normally think of middle-aged women getting into first fights all that often. Actually, if any of us saw a middle-aged woman punching anyone, we'd probably keel over from the shock. This is not only because the notion is preposterous, but because such behavior is simply not acceptable in a civilized society.

Mitchell's character easily overpowered her "alien" male partner in one episode. In another, she raced about 50 yards in a straight line towards an armed assassin, who was aiming his weapon at her the entire time. Oh yes, she was not holding a weapon. And yes, there were tons of larger males in the building, who stood there frightened until the powerful middle-aged warrior showed up and saved them. Think about that-what screenwriter has a middle-aged woman running a good distance towards a man holding a machine gun, who can see her the entire time? Fortunately for Mitchell's character, the assassin neglected to fire at her as she trotted towards him, waiting patiently instead for her to knock him down and overpower him easily.

This intense propaganda is now the most prevalent theme on television and in movies. According to Hollywood, virtually any female can beat up virtually any male, even when the male is holding a weapon and the female is unarmed. It is a relentless theme, and this new television show employs it liberally, utilizing Mitchell's middle-aged FBI character to do so. It is offensive and, even if it were not so laughingly unrealistic, incredibly trite and unoriginal at this point.

When she is not beating up men, Mitchell's character is delivering her lines with the actress's patented smirk and singular lack of emotion. Mitchell's one expression is deadpan, and her voice is invariably quiet, almost mouse-like. This makes her "tough guy" attempts at intimidation all the more ridiculous. How she ever became a star in Hollywood is a great mystery. She must be related to someone, because even by the low standards of network television, she is a one dimensional, boring and unskilled actress.

With another actor in the lead role, this might be a completely different series.
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Another Gem From Hollywood's Most Obscene Director
23 August 2009
What is the fascination with Quentin Tarantino? He is the Larry Flynt of violence; reveling in it, smearing it all over the screen, forcing the viewer to overdose on it. His films are all about violence for its own sake; there is no greater artistic merit to this filth, no matter how many allegedly intelligent critics effusively praise it.

The message this movie sends is truly frightening. The "good guys" set out on a mission to brutalize the "bad guys." Our "heroes" do nothing laudatory at all throughout the movie, except to violently destroy "bad guys." They have no scruples, no principles and no morality. This is typical of those who inhabit Tarantino's warped, pornographic world. As another reviewer noted here, this film unintentionally causes the viewer (at least those viewers with any semblance of decency) to sympathize with the Nazis. That certainly can't be what Tarantino was trying to achieve.

"Inglorious Bastards" is political correctness gone amuck, armed with an electric buzz saw. The cartoonish caricatures, the vapid, sophomoric revision of history, the profane "might makes right" credo- all of it should make any halfway intelligent and sensitive person cringe in disbelief. Brad Pitt's accent is about as ridiculous as any I've ever heard; he would have been laughed off the stage of most elementary school productions.

Those who think our civilization is collapsing will not be comforted by this film. Tarantino is an overrated, vile filmmaker who has perhaps produced his "masterpiece" here. Or at least we can hope.
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Another Indication Of The Depraved State Of Modern "Comedy"
14 July 2009
Each new "comedy" released from Hollywood these days seems to have one primary goal in mind; to be even more distasteful and sickening than the previous one. "Borat" has been lauded by critics and fans alike. This is clear cut evidence that it is already too late to save our civilization. I don't want to sound like an oldster disparaging anything new; pushing boundaries can be done well, as is witnessed by the hilarious television shows "Reno 911" and "South Park."

The "comedy" in this odious film is more mean spirited than the geekiest nerd could ever experience at the hands of his high school tormentors. The entire premise is borrowed from Howard Stern, who used it to much greater effect with Stuttering John, as he ambushed celebrities and asked them embarrassing questions. Of course, the gimmick was invented by "Candid Camera," which was original and kind of funny. Too bad it cleared the way for foul mouthed carbon copies like "Punked," and eventually this obscene movie.

Cohen doesn't seek to skewer the powerful and pompous. He chooses the predictable targets in our politically correct society. How often can we point out that rednecks are stupid and gullible? Why is it still funny? But then again, how many times can Hollywood have a super model punch out a huge man, without people questioning it? The excruciatingly long nude wrestling scene in this movie qualifies as one of the most offensive (and pointless) in the history of cinema. Why does nudity in films now consist primarily of unattractive males showing off their decidedly non-appealing bodies? Are the makers of these "comedies" trying to turn people off to sex?

"Borat," like the super bad films of Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Mike Myers, etc., is your standard "comedic" fare for this day and age- male nudity, loads of juvenile toilet "humor," repeated jabs at Christianity and southern white males, men getting hit in the crotch, etc. I can perhaps understand why 11-12 year old boys find this disgusting stuff funny, but the sad reality is that many, many allegedly educated and supposedly mature middle-aged adults do as well.
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Forrest Gump (1994)
Overrated And Unbelievable
3 July 2009
The fact that a movie of this caliber is given such an overall high rating reflects the disintegrating state of our civilization. Tom Hanks, as always, is obnoxious and unlikeable. How this guy garners such critical acclaim is totally baffling. It's almost like he didn't cut his acting teeth on the immortal "Bosom Buddies." Oh, wait, he has become a brash public believer in the impossible Oswald-acted-alone fairy tale. That always helps careers....

To anyone that has a loved one with development difficulties, or has worked with handicapped people, Forest Gump is a pathetic and unrealistic caricature. Hanks's voice for the character is grating and unlike any I've ever heard, in the south or from any developmentally delayed individual. What kind of ridiculous accent is that? Even Rosie O'Donnell's laughable performance as a mentally challenged person was more believable than Hanks.

The plot is beyond preposterous. All those famous people, all the crucial events of the times (at least by Hollywood historical standards), and this one very challenged guy just happens to be in the right place at the right time, over and over again. I love fantasy and far fletched plots, but this is not remotely possible under any circumstances.

Again, those with personal life experiences in this area, know all too well just how horribly the handicapped and developmentally delayed are treated by all too many "good" and "upright" citizens. Gump seemed to avoid most of that, when he wasn't altering history. This film makes a mockery of those whose real disabilities make every day a real challenge. It's typical Hollywood, but even worse than usual. Maybe with another actor in the lead, who could give even a somewhat acceptable performance, this film might have been better.
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Batman: Gotham Knight (2008 Video)
Someone Stop The Anime Madness, Please!
19 July 2008
What is it with the fascination with anime? "Gotham Night" is awful, absolutely dreadful stuff. The anime results in a Gotham City where everyone looks like Speed Racer. In one of the six episodes, Batman is drawn with a huge stomach and spindly legs, kind of like Hank Hill. Why can't the alleged artists of anime draw human beings? I agree that often the backgrounds in anime are wonderful, but the human figures always look the same- just like Astro Boy.

Even getting past the ugly, childish human figures, the stories in "Gotham Night" make no sense. There is no real drama, and the action is too focused on showing blood at every opportunity. And political correctness runs wild throughout; Russian gangs ruling the criminal underground in the city? And their arch enemies are some kind of Irish-1930s-Warner Brothers-type of nondescript (and, needless to say, totally unrealistic) outfit. I expected them to be brawling over bootleg liquor at any given moment. What are these writers thinking? Is there any city in modern America where the criminals look and talk like this? This is par for the course in Hollywood, but it still irks me.

I love Batman, but other than Kevin Conroy's always magnificent voice, this movie has almost nothing to recommend it.
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A New Low, Even For Hollywood
10 June 2008
I knew Adam Sandler was one of the most monstrously untalented "comedians" ever to disgrace the American scene, but this "Zohan" movie is even beneath him. First of all, can someone interview Sandler's elementary and middle school teachers, to find out just how bullied and abused he was? This guy has the most ridiculous self-esteem issues I've ever seen; in every movie, he has to be the "tough guy," beating up much bigger opponents with ease. Considering how small and nerdy Sandler appears, this might work once or twice if played for laughs, but it is presented in dead seriousness in every film he makes, and we are supposed to swallow it. Now, however, his laughable Zohan character is not only "tough," he also has a big penis. Really big. And the audience is reminded of this over and over again, with shots of his childishly padded crotch, which he also grabs constantly for emphasis. This is the kind of "humor" that is momentarily popular among the more immature 11 or 12 year old boys. Anyone older than that who finds this kind of "humor" funny should not be allowed to vote. I won't repeat the stuff others have, about Zohan servicing old ladies so hard they can barely walk afterwards, or the typically gratuitous and utterly offensive use of toilet humor. That is Sandler's "comedy" trademark, and it has, incomprehensibly enough, made him a huge fortune.

I would urge everyone who has any self-respect to avoid this film like the plague. Any amount of money it makes is too much. The fact that such an odious film can be made, and given a rating that ensures a lot of kids will see it, is a clear indicator of just how far we've fallen as a civilization. Not so long ago, no self-respecting adult would use an offensive word like "retard" in public. Now, everyone feels free to do so, and no one seems to care. It would have been unthinkable, even 20 years ago, for any film to feature the farting, vomiting, peeing, etc., that is the foundation of every "comedy" plot in Hollywood now. While the aptly titled "Superbad" seemed about as horrendous as any film could possibly be, "Zohan" has accomplished the nearly impossible task of actually being worse. You'd have to call this one Super Super Bad. While I don't think Sandler, or Jack Black, or Seth Rogan, or any of the other bright young "stars" of Hollywood, can reasonably hope to make a movie that is more objectionable, less watchable, or all-around awful than "Zohan," I certainly wouldn't say it's impossible. They seem intent on constantly "topping" themselves, but it will be an arduous task to outdo this totally abominable film.
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