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4/10
"At this point..." = the repeated voiced phrase, which signifies the script writer's signature
18 September 2018
This reviewer found that the first episode of Scariest Night of My Life, Season one, was quite well produced, considering the limits of the genre. Alas, by the second episode all was not so well. For the scriptwriter's handiwork becomes all too visible IF you would listen carefully....

Why do so many of the shows presumably independent contributors, speaking (one must assume) of their own volition, have to say the phrase "At this point...", at least once!?

Is it at all plausible that in so many episodes, no matter what is the social background, gender or age, of any given narrator - during their narration, the phrase "At this point...." will still be voiced by so many of them? In life, I might say that I know perhaps two people who will regularly say "at this point" when recalling what happened to them one remarkable day, but by no means do most persons say that phrase , using those exact three words, when retelling any story. And I'm confident the same applies to you too.

The other problem with this series is the formulaic way by which all recounts increasingly build towards an apex of scariness and then just end, once the most fearsome 'money' shots are delivered. There is no provision for any "what happened next?"or "...so did anything like that happen again?" type of queries.

Despite its production and acting being otherwise reasonable enough - why produce this series as a 'documentary' at all, when the evidence suggests otherwise? That is, to pad it out with any scripted BS, is arguably also to disrespect the few who have come forward bravely to tell their tales, as such happened to them; not to mention its viewers!

Lastly, in saying as above it is also conceded as follows: It may well be that one or two contributors, are fond of saying 'at this point' when retelling stories to friends, and family. And, that, of course, may well be so - with all respect and no offence whatsoever to those few who happen to say so naturally. However, please don't blame the messenger - especially when you can listen for yourself, for that surprisingly over-present signature. Besides which, it's accepted that not everyone who appears on this, is dancing 'only to the production team's tune'. Nonetheless, it just can't be that so many different narrators who appear on Scariest Night Of My Life, just happen to say that same distinctive phrase, at some point, during all too many if not all given reminiscence. Surely not!?
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6/10
An Art Movie: At Times Existential. At Times Bland. Not For The Mainstream.
2 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The movie's lead, Bale, is in almost every shot, saying little of lasting value and often doing even less. More often than not, he is portrayed as a passive observer - all very post-modern. "But wasn't post-modernity so '2002', darling?" Which is to ask - does that sound exciting to you? Well... does it!?

Many have said that this is like watching a two hour perfume commercial. And in many respects they're right. Even the de rigueur svelte fashion models bless several frames to complement Bale's masculine beauty. Sigh, if only its ultimate message (assuming, that is, that there even is one!) wasn't so enmeshed in stratospheres of the sublimest 'artsy-fartiness', this film might have been a near masterpiece. As it stands, it's no more masterly than that last Gucci double spread, from yesterday's Vogue.

But perhaps this movie was quite deliberately a homage/tribute to the ephemeral, the spiriting, the dispiriting, the transient, the fleeting, the obscure, the vapidity and the listlessness found in many lives. If so, it sort of succeeds - to an extent.

It's beautifully shot. Its Narrative content/screenplay just isn't up to par.

Those who haven't an idea what this movie is about, are on the right track. This is a movie which isn't so much about anything: Moreover, it just is.

For those few who can find profundity in a glistening grain of sand, this is your movie. For everyone else, you will likely be bored &/or confused senseless, before even half an hour has passed.
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Robert (2015)
8/10
Very Well Acted, Produced And, At Least Some Times... Genuinely Scary.
25 August 2015
I have only been scared by three movies in my life: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original NOT the remake), The Shining and Event Horizon.

As a horror movie, 'Robert The Doll' was not only very watchable, it was also very well acted; and was, moreover, compelling from its beginning onwards. Not once did I have to check my watch. And it's, indeed, very rare that I could say that of most movies nowadays... Hmmm. I don't wish to give too much away, but I would highly recommend this film to anyone who is both open minded to the possibility, that this might just be based on a genuine case, and also looking for a good scare.

By the way, whether the story is true or not, is almost irrelevant. Or at least it should be so, while modern science firmly rejects the notion of anything being haunted! OTOH, if you are prepared to accept that there is likely a haunted 'Dybbuk box' in this world, or that there is also an 'Annabelle doll' (as featured in the well received, and reasonably good movie known as 'The Conjuring'), then you might be prepared to accept the premises of this movie too. Then again, if you should take the side of contemporary science as regards anything even vaguely reputed to be 'haunted', then you will not enjoy this movie in the slightest. At this point I should add that I was bored senseless by the Annabelle movie. Make of that what you will, but it's no exaggeration to say that this movie is far better.

In conclusion, this viewer was both unquestionably and pleasantly surprised by just how watchable 'Robert The Doll' was. Suffice to say, it's definitely different from most run of the mill horrors, in the respects which matter.
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Money Talks (2014– )
8/10
Watch A Fool And His Money Meet Cunning Sharks With 'Gambling Plans'...
6 May 2014
"Without news our business is finished". That essentially sums it all up for a certain sports betting consultancy. To those who don't know it already: This show is all about a "betting consultancy" business. They desperately seek new clients at any given moment, precisely because their old clients are always prone to wake up & move on - each eventually being left with an expensive bill to pay.

Basically the show depicts their spending all day trying to tell a few impressionable (& usually 'cold called') rich folk, what to bet on with their money. Their bets are all based on certain US sports picks. BTW - Who even dreams up exactly why their victims, (I mean "clients) should 'take a line on the under' or "play the spread" on certain bets, is anyone's guess. For all the viewer knows, they may be entirely random picks! So far the show hasn't adequately explained their formula for 'pick success' - apart from concentrating upon the other angle, that is: call as many people as possible, and hopefully you'll eventually reel in your fish. Nonetheless, the cameras repeatedly show that their staff are spending hours of every day, doing just that - cold calling new leads (AKA 'news'):

"Good morning sir. Do you like making money? I KNOW you like making money. Now LISTEN TO ME, I CAN MAKE YOU MORE MONEY IN ONE DAY THAN YOU CAN MAKE ALL MONTH - DOES THAT SOUND ATTRACTIVE??? DOES THAT SOUND... (CLICK) Dammit he hung up on me!" This show is essentially all about a few sharks eating rich supplies of fish. And by the way, it's fascinating to watch.

Chain smoking S.S., the lead shark, and conspicuously 'HIGH' Octane 'Mr. Pirelli', are always ruthlessly predatory. For these are highly intelligent people praying on the highly gullible and greedy. What's more, because there is no shortage of such 'fish', their business seems to go from strength to strength. Or, does it? Still, their business always needs a constant supply of gullible new clients just to keep it ticking over. Otherwise there is no business. And where are their long term, old clients!? Exactly! Yet we are supposed to believe that their gambling picks are averaging yearly returns of at least 60%! Sure they are! And my old man's 'Santa Claus'.

Don't miss this most brilliant series. It's a fascinating window onto the psychology of sharks and fish. As such, it is indeed unmissable.
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The Auction (2013)
8/10
Canadian Filmaking Excellence In The Tradition of European Independent Cinema.
22 April 2014
When people call a film 'intelligent' I usually shudder. Nonetheless, this one is clearly made for intelligent people. There is no doubt about that. Here is an inspired and contemplative movie about an old farmer's life, played excellently by Arcand, which moves along at almost a sedate pace. Yet, it's still very cleverly exacted - insofar as few scenes, if any, are served without building upon overall purpose. Story too is carefully crafted, and I mean 'crafted' in the sense that there was definitely much thinking going on, in the director's mind, to craft such a sublimely ruminative movie out of its many transcendent elements. In particular, regarding its screenplay - had this movie stated that it was 'based on a true story', then I wouldn't have blinked an eyelid. Need more be said? The reality is also that few viewers will like it. Mass appeal and this movie will 'ne'er the twain meet' - as there are no bangs, 'naughty affairs', nor 'action sequences' herein; unless, that is to say, the shearing of a sheep counts as an 'action sequence' in your life! On that note, please know that I'm not someone whose attention is easily maintained. Nonetheless, despite my declaring as much, I can still assure you that here is a movie which still held my attention from its beginning to its end.

Here is a sensitive movie which should be watched by anyone who truly appreciates the true art of narrative driven, independent cinema. That is to say, if you need an adrenalin hit from your movies, then steer well clear of this one. For those few of us, who can appreciate when much thought and sensitivity has gone into the making of a movie, this is nothing less than quite masterly, in almost all respects - from its lilting musical score to its direction and acting. Even the movie's supporting roles were played with absolute credulity.

A 'near' masterpiece perhaps? Had its ending been better, that is, more conclusive and satisfying, then I would unquestionably have give it the full '9/10'. For in only that respect (its weak and inconclusive ending) can one point towards a negative; but please don't let its only weak-point put you off. Instead, please revel in the ninety five percent of the movie which equates to true cinematic greatness - in the tradition of independent European cinema; A cerebral landscape - where realistic narrative drives the movie's increasingly reflective story forward: sort of 'Rohmer comes to Canada'! In conclusion, at (its current) 7.x out of ten, this is, alas, one of the minority of movies on IMDb which is rated fairly. Yet, were it not for its inconclusive ending, then I'd have had no difficulty in calling it a 'masterpiece'. Still, I gave it an 8/10 for the foregoing reasons. Savour and Enjoy.
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I Am a Girl (2013)
8/10
Interesting, sensitively filmed and well edited biopic.
21 April 2014
This documentary features, just as the cover suggests, six girls from disparate countries around the world, telling us (the viewers) about their most contrasting lives. So we have, for example, the middle class first world girl versus the teenager from Gabon about to be married to a middle aged man. Each tell their stories, with absolute conviction, in snippets of several minutes before cutting to the next girl - where we get to learn more about her story. Thus each story builds.

This documentary *might have* come across as unstructured, possibly boring and uninvolving, but no - instead it simply works - engaging the viewer, solely because every single one of the girls, that they feature, have clearly been carefully chosen for the fact that each one has an interesting life story to tell. The stories are unrelated save for the fact that each is told by a young woman, in today's early twenty first century world; with each from a completely different culture, compared to the others'. For this reason, the movie works to define, in the biopic sense, what it cumulatively means to be a young woman in this world today.

As someone who has issues concentrating on anything even remotely boring, this documentary still managed to hold my attention throughout, and for that reason I strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys being educated as to how other people live. Or at least, that is how I took this film to be. However, if you are the sort who likes loud bangs and 'action sequences', then not only is there no hope for you, but you also won't enjoy watching this much, if at all.
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7/10
Sure it's not the life that most of us choose, But...
1 April 2014
Firstly, each of their lives is clearly a young person's life, devoid of responsibility and the pressing constraints of normal societal mores, values & boundaries. What they'll one future day put on their CV's, when they eventually stop being young and need more sustenance than dumpsters provide, is anyone's guess! Nonetheless, their chosen life is in fact only possible when young - not having to worry about health, back pains and retirement plans, all easy when young. But as a short term choice, their North-western European Eco-collective, as wackily irresponsible as it may first seem, still somehow makes absolute sense - or, at least, to those who live it. That much is clear from this reality/documentary. Just how they manage to bond together is fascinating to watch. They somehow find meaning in their lives in a way that most couldn't possibly understand nor even want to do so. No wonder the other reviewers to date hated this documentary. Many just won't get it.

Having said that, I couldn't help thinking, while watching this, that here we have the modern day renaissance of the once failed 'hippie dream', fueled by utopian ideals of saving the trees, worshipping mother nature etc. Yet, when either old age, or the mounting demands of being human among humans, set in, then the dream ends: alas, almost always by middle age.

But for the time being, why attack them? They mean no harm to others. They may be unconventional to the rest of us, but their ideals and efforts to achieve 'change' are, no matter how largely (if not ultimately) futile, are, at least, admirable in part. Nature does need people who value it more than they value conventional living. We are indeed taking more from the planet than we are giving back. And there really is too much waste and pollution of precious resources. Could you honestly take exception to anyone who works (however futile such may be) to try and effect at least some ecological change? What's more, much as it could be easy simply to dismiss them as a bunch of idiots, they evidently aren't. What unifies them more than anything else, is a fanatical desire for ecological change & social cohesion. Again, if you think about it, despite their going about same in a 'different way', there is still arguably much wayward method to their apparent madness.

Watch this documentary with an open mind, and try to remember that they mean no harm to others. For if you can keep unbiased mind, you might even find this documentary - which provides glimpses into the protagonists' daringly alternative lives - to be, dare I suggest, interesting. As someone who is no longer young, I'll admit that I still found this to be a compelling documentary; not because I'd ever choose their lifestyle, but because they are still interesting to observe from afar, in all this film's unpolished, and at times charming, candour. Now... I finish my review without even mentioning that four letter 'f' word. Why? Because you might also find that there is a lot more to this reality/documentary than that.
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3/10
Utterly boring portrait of at least two cardboard personalities. Nice cinematography though...
19 September 2013
Wow! What the point of this movie was about - absolutely eludes me? Sure the basics are that a man and his friends meet a woman in a foreign land but then it would *almost* be giving the whole movie away to say - that pretty much nothing of any consequence happened afterwards: move along now please, there's nothing much for you to see.

And there isn't! To put things into context, my nym might suggest that I'm some some 90-ish IQ "Trashformers/Die Hard 4" fan who just happened to be trapped into seeing this movie, by someone near infinitely smarter. But, if you thought that, then you'd be absolutely wrong: For I'm a great fan of many of Eric Rohmer's movies. What's more, I rate many independent and foreign movies among my favourites. So, I've no issues with waiting for a wonderful movie to develop. It's just that 'Must Have Been Love' could just as easily have been titled "Must Have Been Love, But... We're Not Sure". Yes, it *is* that pretentiously banal!

Love amidst foreign climes is supposed to be rooted in intrigue, mysterious doubts & heady romance. Yet The people depicted in this movie have about as much personality as a pair of bus tickets to nowhere. In all honesty, its screenplay writer could not have written a more boring movie if he tried.

I give it 3/10 because it is well filmed, directed and scored. Apart from the aforesaid, the movie left my wondering aloud: 'what on earth was the point of that movie!?'
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Simon Killer (2012)
9/10
Masterly and All Too Rare: An Utterly Realistic Portrayal of a Sociopath.
1 September 2013
Within its first 5 minutes I could already sense that I was about to watch a masterful movie. For this is a most brilliant study of, and glimpse into, the life of a sociopath. At times, it is so 'fly on the wall', and so brilliantly acted, that I almost had to remind myself that this was fiction I was witnessing.

It's written and directed by Antonio Campos, who is admittedly not so well known as a screenwriter, having written only one other feature length movie back in 2008; A fact which is moreover, and to my belief, a tragedy for Campos - because he has most certainly proved himself with this movie, to be an exceptional screenwriter. Simon Killer is, in other words, extremely underrated. Nonetheless, as for its direction, production, acting, screenplay and musical score - all come together in an all too rare, & near perfect, unison.

But why is it underrated? Basically, people cannot and just won't 'like' this movie, precisely because sociopaths are nasty people who callously make the lives of everyone they contact, worse for knowing them. Accordingly, watching a movie about such a person, even one that is as interesting and accurate as Simon Killer, is not therefore a fun or enjoyable experience for any typical audience - at least in the sense that 'enjoyable' should bring a smile onto one's face. For this movie won't endear smiles at any point.

Whereas DeNero's studied psychopath, in Taxi Driver, occasionally brought a wry smile to one's face, and was popularly received as a bit of a misunderstood 'anti-hero', Brady Corbet's Simon is not only always engaging as a character study, but he's always, also, all too steely manipulating, and disgustingly self absorbed. Frankly, of the many movies I've seen, I can think of no other movie, before this, which so realistically portrays how a sociopath engages with other people who pass through his life. And, as such, I cannot recommend this movie highly enough, particularly for those of you, who are analytically minded enough, so as to appreciate its utter brilliance. Again, I'm not promising that anyone will, or could possibly 'like' this movie. Rather, I believe a minority of others will deeply appreciate its very excellence.
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8/10
A Very Interesting Movie, BUT ONLY IF You Are Open To The Belief That Hauntings Could Happen
12 August 2013
People like to dismiss the Amytiville horror as a hoax: "oh, didn't you know it was all made up to make money" they all too assuredly declaim. However, look closer at the evidence and you'll find that, at best, a case was made that it was hoaxed; And the more you examine that 'case', the more you'll find that its arguments are greatly based on conjecture & hypothesis than on any hard evidence of its being hoaxed. Well, I've spent hours looking at the evidence, and I could not now argue that it was definitely hoaxed. Or at least I couldn't - without ignoring the great deal of documented evidence, which compellingly suggests that there was more reality to the Amytiville haunting than most people are prepared comfortably to accept. So, please research the evidence yourself, and examine *both* sides of the arguments surrounding the events presented. What's more, you could do a lot worse than watch this documentary...

Please watch this documentary or not, solely depending on what your views are on the 'Amityville Horror'. If you believe it was a hoax, concocted to generate publicity. then just stop reading my review now, and please just find some other movie which in your opinion would be a better use of your time. Seriously, if you've also no belief in hauntings then you're really wasting your time trying to watch this. Seriously! It's not even the type of documentary which you might laugh at! Nonetheless, if and only *IF* you are open to the possibility that it was no hoax, and that hauntings could possibly happen, then and only then, watch this documentary. If you believe that hauntings could occur and the Amityville case was real, then definitely watch this documentary which tells what happened from, what was at the time, a child's point of view.

Daniel Lutz does not endear himself to most people. He is an angry, expletive loaded, blue eyed person, who's not at all in his teens - he's even beyond mid life crisis years - as he is in his fifties, yet happens to play guitar the way most guitar beginners dream of. He also, through no choice of his own, lived for a month, as a child, in what was once the most reputedly haunted household in America. At best, he calls the fact that he experienced such a bizarre haunting, 'a gift' - one which he definitely didn't ask to receive & experience. But he did.

This documentary tells his story in his words. As such, I found it fascinating. But again - unless you are open to the belief that hauntings may occur, trust me - you won't find it interesting in the slightest. Most people do NOT believe that houses could become haunted, which is partly why this documentary has such an undeservedly low rating. Most folk simply view this guy as a half crazed, formerly abused man, seeking publicity.

Regardless, I am pretty good at seeing through life's 'BS artists', and believe me, if I could put money on it, I would certainly bet that Daniel Lutz has told the very chilling truth in this documentary. The fact that I can tell he is not lying, greatly added to my enjoyment of this documentary; yet (sorry for drumming home this point, just I don't want you to waste your time watching this if you just aren't the type of person who could find it interesting) for most others who don't find it so easy to tell a BS master from... e.g., a respected doctor, then believe me, this documentary will be a reasonably frustrating waste of time.

So I say - watch this documentary ONLY IF (1) you are open to the possibility that the Amityville Horror was no hoax; and/or (2) you are one of the few people in this world who can easily sense who is speaking the truth and who is not. Now that I have outlined what type of viewer should avoid this documentary and who should watch it, I rest my case, by saying I hope those few who might just enjoy it, for the reasons I've given, do get to watch it.
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8/10
So, here's why you see a ridiculously low rating...
23 June 2013
This is really no worse than Pawn stars, and in some ways it's better. This series concentrates more on either of the following dimensions: (1) the pawn aspect of the business; or (2), the petty squabbling between the leading brothers - each trying (sometimes irritatingly) to prove he's the better/smarter hustler. Whereas Pawn Stars is a loosely bound mix of lighthearted pawn (in which, as most realise, gullible fools take far less money for valuable items than they'd get on the auction site), family squabbles and the occasional extra curricular outing.

I feel the low rating for Hardcore Pawn Chicago is more to do with the fact that both of the leading hustler brothers (and they don't try to hide the fact that they're hustling) in this show, are the type of person that most people would find detestable. The low rating has therefore nothing to do with poor production, lack of anything interesting etc. What's more, there's no 'chummy' dumbo in this programme (as opposed to 'you know who' in Pawn Stars) to make almost anyone feel like they're far smarter "...than that idiot!!". Here you're watching smart folk who make an honest living off the majority of less smart folk; which is also the all too real reason this reviewer argues that it suffers in its ratings.

The program should really be entitled "Pawn Sharks Chicago", and again, its rating is ridiculously low, due to the above reality, and not because its uninteresting in any way: Most folk simply despise watching not particularly nice, 'clued up' brothers, making a crafty living from ordinary folk, who've nonetheless clearly taken their dislike of this pair of sharks by rating it far lower than it deserves. Meanwhile, for the few people who can still appreciate that there is an element of skill in doing what they do, please do watch this show only if you can stomach the reality of the pawn business.
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9/10
Alas, reality offends for the majority of people here. Open minded people may well enjoy this show,
24 May 2012
I am outraged. Not by this show but by the sheer number of closed minded people who just don't get it.

"This show portrays woman as gold-diggers" No! This show portrays SOME women as gold diggers. ...SOME...! Which is absolutely true. Some women, yes... some women, that is to say, a minority are so cash poor that it actually starts to make sense that they could, by meeting a man with more means than sense, infinitely improve on their situation. And besides, people should realise that a woman who is very pretty, single and waitressing can either continue waitressing or... take a chance on meeting a millionaire - AND NOT all of the aforesaid are awful, fat old men either.

"...This show just milks the stereotype of a rich old man seeking a young beautiful woman for a lifelong bed partner" Firstly not everyone on this show is a poor woman seeking a rich man. Many of the female seekers are not waitresses or students but engaged in worthwhile occupations! Some are also poor gay men seeking a rich gay man too! And some are rich women seeking a rich (there's that word again!) good looking male! However the majority of people would prefer to believe that it is either immoral or particularly "stupid" to be poor and deliberately seek a richer partner in this appallingly awful economy. Of course, none of whom take the time to explain exactly why it is a sign of stupidity to be a poor beautiful woman who would prefer to better her life. But perhaps that says far more about the reviewer...

Sigh, it's very obvious that those who rated the whole series of shows at one star barely watched a whole episode - let alone the whole series before reviewing! Please try watching more than one episode before reviewing the whole series on it! So, having watched three series of this show I can tell you angry one shot, one star reviewers that: it's not just about cash poor bimbos hoping to solve their life problems with male millionaires. In some episodes (that you didn't bother to view) it's a rich, single older woman, cougar who is seeking a young playboy. Why then are there so many scathing reviews here? Well, it's not because the show is poorly produced, or uninteresting. Fact is: Most people just can't handle the truth that for a minority of beautiful, but cash poor people (regardless of their assumed intellect, or lack thereof)there is a potential easy way out - meet and marry a person with means, and bye bye money problems! That that solution is only open to a very few people makes it an unpopular one and, by definition, an unpopular show.

Meanwhile, the very real reason that Millionaire Matchmaker is rated so lowly is this: People want to believe that the only MORAL way to success is to slave away for years on end and hopefully be one day promoted. They hate to think that for a very few - there is a short cut to success which is not available to them. And this show is based on that indigestible reality which pains so many people who have taken out their anger at the unfairness of such near instant, luck blessed success - by repeatedly rating this show at a just as unfairly low one out of ten. In other words, sure - life sucks for most of us, but at least this reviewer very much enjoyed watching many episodes of this most interesting show, simply by - keeping my mind open.

The fact that this show rubs instant success in the faces of so many who are unqualified for the fantasy within - because most male AND!! female millionaires on the show really are seeking an unusually attractive partner with which to settle down. Also if people bothered watching more than one episode they might find it interesting that quite a few of the so called millionaires are more dumb than the women they are seeking to date, which is very amusing to watch. Anyway, please blame nature for the unfairness of the reality within this show. Thankfully it's also the nature of a few which makes this show so interesting.

Take the show with a pinch of salt and you should enjoy it far more than the majority of closed minded, 'morally superior' folk. BUT please don't blame this show - at least without giving the reason for your blame some cold+hard+truth analysis!
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5/10
This One's Strictly of Any Interest for Sonic Youth and Die-hard Nirvana Fans Only
21 January 2012
First of all, this movie's production must be commented on. It's very home movie-ish. That is to say, expect lots of randomly edited, disjointed, shaky clips which all add up to a collage of cinematic noise - perfectly complemented by the many clips of noise inspired (if... 'noise' could be of inspiration to anyone...) music, which permeates this film.

Sure, I like quite a few Nirvana songs, but not much Sonic Youth. Albeit in her day, I'll safely say that their bass playing girl was extremely cute. Her cuteness does not, however, eclipse the fact that their noise bound music was not exactly what one whistles on the way to work.

Yes, I was very disappointed by this, in spite of its high rating; mainly for the reasons stated in 1st para above. However, if you adore Sonic Youth then you'll probably like this enough to rate it highly, in spite of its many productive shortcomings. Just don't expect any great story, revelatory insights, or any thing remotely meaningful to be found lurking behind all the disjointed clips plus occasional cameos from Kurt and friends.

All in all, this is a very average experience and you could safely live your life, and say you've lived without needing to watch this first. 5/5 at best for most folk, and 7+/10 for lovers of Sonic Youth's sound.
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The Way (I) (2010)
5/10
The Way is a perfectly average movie which soon loses its way in banality.
26 November 2011
I completed the first half of this movie, and here's why I struggled to watch even another minute of its second half.

This movie's problem is thus: it's boringly pseudo-profound (cue movie's theme: every journey must have a meaning, which leads onto self discovery... as opposed to most journeys in the real world which are merely to get from place A to place B, as quickly as possible) while being smothered in plodding layers of screenplay inanity. Then, throw in nice rural European scenery, the occasional stereotype, a sad undercurrent for a story, plus at least one man who needs to find himself on (once again) a long (yawn) journey. Let's face it: When you have a Frenchman with a roll of garlic around his neck, or a Dutchman who dabbles in more than just 'ambien' to get him off to sleep, then you may be unquestionably assured that your brain is about to be patronised.

Lazy screenplays contain such stereotypes. The direction, acting and musical score were all professionally competent, by the way.

Nonetheless, by the time this movie's first half completed, I neither cared nor was in the slightest bit interested in what was to happen next to any of its mounting array of sometimes irritating, albeit always forgettable, characters. The screenplay is just that: dis-engagingly vapid. Period.

What would be more boring than this movie? A sequel - whereupon our ageing protagonist had to redo every step in reverse, just to find his lost wallet, or a missing airline ticket etc., and all the while just to get back to humdrum reality while (wait for it...) re-discovering himself. Oh puhleeeeaaase....

As for those who praised it - I'd really not be surprised if such persons found epiphanies in discarded cardboard. Otherwise if your life is simply too exciting, this movie "The Way" is your perfectly banal antidote.
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Men's Group (2008)
3/10
Boring. Disjointed, Structureless. Effortlessly random screenplay. Plus no Steadycam.
29 October 2011
Here is the truth. I give you nothing but the simple truth about this movie:

The other people writing the positive reviews here must, undoubtedly, find dish-washing machine manuals to be the greatest works of literature, in the entire history of humanity, ever produced. I can think of no other reason why they found any single aspect of this rottenly dull movie to be interesting in any possible way. Period.

You know how it feels to sit at a restaurant table and overhear the mind numbingly boring conversation wafting over from the adjoining table as you await your girlfriend's late arrival!? You do? Well this is a movie which perfectly captures what it's like to overhear the most typically boring, structureless, banal conversation. The scriptwriter could not have written a more boring script if he tried. In fact - no one could write a more boring script and screenplay if the tried their very hardest to do so. Dull as dishwater is the phrase which perfectly captures the very essence of this movie. This production is almost tortuously boring. I could repeat any two minutes of the script here and you'd have the antidote to insomnia in words. Some writing here, have even claimed that the acting was "great"!?? Well how difficult is it to recant near endlessly boring conversations? Need more, I say?

And lest I forget... did I mention the hand-held lack of steady-cam? Need I really, really say more?

Awful. Awful. Awful in the dullest sense of the word. I give it 3/10 probably because my finger fell asleep on the "2" button as the credits (most thankfully) rolled, and accidentally hit the "3". If anyone, in your company, happens to "like" this movie then I would strongly advise you to give them a cup of hot cocoa, as you defensively insert your wax earplugs (to prevent yourself from hearing another dull word from their lips...) and prepare your bed for sleep - the only escape from the countless legions of thoroughly uninteresting people.
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Hello Ghost (2010)
4/10
Falls between two stools - this forgettably average movie neither scares as a horror nor humors much as a comedy.
25 October 2011
Sorry, but... to date "0/17" liked my review!? I am amazed that there are so many who disagree with my saying that "Hello Ghost" a very average and overrated movie. Regardless, even if seventeen people condemn my review to their popcorn bins, I still believe that there is intelligent life in the universe - somewhere, and just in case such comes across this page someday, I leave the following review:

A very average, forgettable and overrated movie is Hello Ghost. Why? Well, it just doesn't work as a scary movie - which given that we know that he is supposed ghosts it could've/should have been; and it certainly falls flat as a comedy. Instead, the movie gently meanders along - the cinematic equivalent of a department store elevator. Ultimately, such is the muted development of character and story that we care little about its protagonist (who's really just in the movie as a 'stooge' for the sfx dept to stage mundane gags/scenes etc. with the said ghosts appearing on cue - JUST when you... least expect them to appear: zzz ZZZ zzz). What's more, it neither thrills to extreme nor humours to any memorable extreme. Instead, 'Hello Ghost' enjoys the middle, safe ground of unadulterated mediocrity. This is one of those all too common 'switch your brain off as the movie starts and turn it back on when the credits roll'. Otherwise you'd have wasted all 15 watts of your cerebral thinking processes: which is quite frankly, and absolutely, unnecessary to enjoy it. The great majority of folk may well revel in it - and, more power to them! But I prefer more daring, thoughtful, avant garde film making - which this was not. Period.
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Wasted on the Young (I) (2010)
2/10
Vapid Screenplay. Vacuous Structure. Meaningless & Confused Drivel Dressed With Style
23 July 2011
Here is an absolutely useless, waste of a time type of movie that starts off trying to be too cool for school and ends up being so disengagingly meaningless that just getting from one minute to the next, in this movie, was a struggle. This is a lesson in how not to make a film if ever there was one. It's as if they took the theme of "wasted" and did their best to make every element of its production wasteful. What a mess. absolutely everything about this movie is simply banal, meaningless drivel, with the occasional pretty girl thrown in for good measure.

Frankly it's so lacking in anything equating to engaging development of plot & structure that just writing a review about it is tiresome in itself. Watch this movie if only to know what it means to waste money on a production which should never have seen the light of day. I'm left wondering why I even gave it as much as 2/10...?
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Phobia 2 (2009)
2/10
Brilliant Direction + Puerile Screenplay = Appallingly Pedestrian Nonsense.
12 July 2011
Direction was very polished, first rate even. But that's where any attempt at greatness departs. The problem with every segment of the five short horror movies, was... in every single case, and without exception: screenplay. Hackneyed shock noises and age old visual jolts are used to move the seen it all before "horror" along to stories that are so fast-forwardable - my remote control (when called for) simply couldn't get through this effort fast enough. Admittedly, I did attempt to watch the whole thing without fast forwarding, but tedium was stretched ad infinitum. Overall Phobia 2 (i.e., "Trang 5") was as just as forgettable as any average movie usually is. Shame, though that the direction, cinematography and production were all first rate. But a movie needs a good scare story and not just the same old shocks (yawn) in order to deliver.

In conclusion, this was a perfectly forgettable movie which should not be watched by those with more than half a functioning brain.
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8/10
Strong On Theme - Compelling & Realistic Screenplay: This is How Art-house Movies Ought To Be.
3 July 2011
This movie simply oozes with theme. There is a strong thread woven with loneliness and despair running through the opening minutes of this movie which seems relentless. It is excellently directed, acted and produced. I found myself glued to every moment, wondering how it would transpire for our protagonist, Karen: Nether hero nor 'anti-hero' - but purely human, with problems, seeking resolve in the life in which she finds herself.

Loneliness and alienation are most compellingly what drives this movie thoughtfully forward. Yet it is, surprisingly, not a depressing movie. Moreover, it is very much that rare thing nowadays: a great movie. At times subtle perhaps even whimsical overtones of hope perfectly complement the engaging story of Karen who first appears to us, crying, lonely on a bus, traveling somewhere; And yet, in a sense, nowhere. But where is she going, and why? Screenplay is first class as is everything else about this production. Albeit its musical score is perhaps underplayed. Still, that's hardly a fault. Direction, as mentioned, is as masterful as everything else about this starkly believable movie. So the only element which could possibly have been improved upon in this movie was its understated musical score. And if that's the only criticism one could say of a movie, doesn't that suggest this is something very special?

Our interest as viewers is perfectly piqued from the offset. And our hold remains throughout this true little gem of a movie. I hope you'll find it as stimulating in so many ways as I did. For this is a very human movie which is also existential, and angst driven. This movie is quality throughout. All in all, 'Karen Cries On The Bus' is a most excellent, realistic and very human film.
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3 Backyards (2010)
2/10
This is a Love It Or hate it self indulgent Artsy and Incoherent Movie, With Boring Screenplay
3 July 2011
So... no prizes for guessing that '3 Backyards' did indeed also bore me to tears too. The contrasting reviews here are interesting: there are those which praise the gentle tones and sensitive depictions etc. of real 'non-Hollywood' life. And then, there are those reviews which most artfully hit the nail on its proverbial head: the movie is boring, self indulgent, and stretches the limits of one's concentration span just to get from scene to scene - never mind to the movie's end! While watching this movie, I was reminded of sitting at a table in a restaurant which is sited inches too near to the next table, while my infinitely more interesting companion is late. Thus, I must be forced for a certain period to listen to the most gruesomely banal conversation, leaking from the suited bores beside me; that is to say, people who couldn't string one original idea together - if their very lives depended on doing so. Alas, the screenplay writer from this movie must've learned much from folk none too dissimilar to those nondescript inanities, sitting beside me then - because this movie lacks even half of a moment's worth of brilliance.

A miserably boring, exercise in futility. "2/10", is its true rating, this reviewer declares, and not "1/10" - solely because the production and acting were not at all bad. Watch this movie if you must, and if only to know how an arty movie can also fail to engage its audience. Gladly, I very much know that not all Art movies are as boring as 3 Backyards, for I'm no 'Trashformers' fan!
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Ghost Adventures (2008– )
2/10
"Did you hear THAT!? OMG did you HEAR That!?? "
28 May 2011
"... I mean it was like a girl screaming. I'm getting it again. And just look at my heat sensor. I just got a blast of cold air. Wait a minute, what was that sound!? Oh my gosh - Did you hear it? Yeah, that was so freaky, dude, it sounded like a door... shutting. But we're the only ones here. And my light didn't even move dude. I know it's dark in here, I mean it feels dark in here. It's so bad. We shouldn't even be in here. I'm getting it again. The residuals... Wait - was that footsteps? Run the EVP's - let's a getta cap of that when we stopped being locked down here." Etc.

--

The above quasi-dialogue is roughly typical of what may be said at some stage in any given episode of this frighteningly average "standard issue" ghost hunting show. Zzzzzz zzzzz.

Basically a bunch of 'time-rich' mid-kids (+ the lead's pretty handsome to rope in the girls), got some cool cameras and a few other bits and pieces (Motion sensors, EVP & temp meters etc.) and decided it was better to make a ghost hunting show, than get what is otherwise referred to as: "real jobs". The economy sucks and all, anyway. The plan being that if the show's successful it would then become their real job. So, next thing you know it's 2011, and whaddya know... another ghost hunting show became popular, owing to its usual plethora of bumps, grunts, disembodied voices and disembowelled shadows which move through walls on cue. ("Disembowelled shadows"!!? lol ouch) Call me old, but these kind of shows get boring after you've watched a couple of disembodied episodes from one series, and this is no different.

"What was that!? Did you see that!?" It was like the sound of something or someone... I mean someone... changing the channel dude.
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7/10
Pretty Compelling Above Average Romantic Movie.
24 April 2011
Oddball Juggler lusts after (FHM's 77th hottest) gal next door (...or close enough), with whom he shared a childhood. Alas, this movie takes off where childhood is no more - so what will become of our pair, for whom time has moved on? In some ways this is an enjoyable, flirty little number; in others, it is the tale of unrequited 'what if's'. Yet, when all's said and done, this movie is not perfect. It's still a reasonably engaging, very human tale. Acting and direction are pretty good.

The protagonist is (just as the poster shows) an unlikely, pyjama loving, bowler hatted someone who can barely afford to live. Such is American cinema that if he should choose to escape his plight, in the usual manner, he'd routinely be found bereft of life, a few scenes later. Instead, he overdoses on dreams of his childhood sweetheart, thus to escape the uncertain pains which life besets upon a man of his standing. Yet we must be prepared to accept that a certain Miss foxy 'hot-thang' would possibly give him more than the time of day/evensong/etc. Or, will she? Indeed, I found it hard to stomach the movie's very premise: that here we have arguably one of the hottest women in America who might even talk with a man whose preoccupation is profitlessly offbeat, to say the least. In his defence, as the marketing blurb will tell you, they shared a childhood. But will that be enough? Again, this is primarily a romance movie, and why should any realities have any potential to ruin the possibilities? Or, do they? Watch and see: I give nothing away.

If you're between 16 & 24, female, or in a relationship, or just romantically inclined, then this movie is for you.

Its rating, currently 6.8/10, is surprisingly on the ball. Most people here have got this one right. And as such it is a movie worth watching. You might even consider it as being like a less garrulous, 'home baked' alternative to Linklater's superior 'Before Sunrise'.

Lastly, I hope that they make a sequel to this movie, by the way, as this reviewer personally felt that its ending left some curious questions open. Will you agree... Please watch and see!
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The Super (2010)
2/10
In the 'good old days' a movie as sick as this wouldn't be allowed a general release.
22 April 2011
I gave it 2/10 only because I abhor what this movie stands for, and yet it is still, this reviewer must reluctantly admit, in some ways a masterpiece. If the subject matter is psychopathic depravity and that's really what interests you, then this is the movie they made for you; while you're awaiting dinner in whatever secure institution you find yourself in, as you read this.

The movie is, in exposing just how sick in the heads a few people can be, quite brilliant. Unfortunately, the purpose of movies, as far as I am concerned, is sometimes to challenge one's views, and mostly to engage and entertain. This movie is utterly, utterly repulsive and at the same time it is, again, dare I admit: borne of a certain twisted genius.

It will always have a low rating solely because (even slightly) normal people (of which I am still thankfully one) will find this movie to be unquestionably vile & disgusting. Trust me, I need give nothing away, but you will find this movie to be premised upon a most sickeningly depraved dystopian nightmare, which just happens mostly to be set in an urban apartment block, where George is the caretaker anti-hero (to put it mildly).

This is also the movie which proves why you shouldn't take lifts with strangers, because a few people in this world, whom you'd do well to avoid, have extremely disturbed minds.

Those who can stomach the most repulsively dark elements of depraved abnormality may well love this movie. However, most people (and that includes most clever people too) will be unable to watch much of it without wanting to turn it off, in disgust. It's a shame that the writer, actors, director and admittedly the whole team behind this movie will ultimately not be rewarded for what they've accomplished. But that's not to say I feel sorry for them: if commercial success was what they thought would come from this movie, then they should have realised that in this world, even a movie which is meant to appeal to an arty audience must at least not want to swamp its audience in the most repeatedly vile visions of depravity in the name of entertainment, otherwise it will be doomed to fail as a commercial venture, no matter how clever was the screenplay, acting etc. Needless to say, this movie will fail, not because it lacked a sense of depraved genius, but because in the real world, very few people would find what happens in this movie to be that which they'd look forward to seeing, after a hard day at the office.

Come to think of it, this is the kind of movie which in the 'good old days' never even saw general release. "I spit on your grave" is a picnic in the park with a few nettle stings, compared to this movie!

Anyway, it is much as I hate to say it, a 9/10 if you're either a very depraved person, or you are very interested in psychopathy. For everyone else, that is to say, if you are even slightly normal/sensitive in your disposition, it's a 2/10.
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2/10
Unoriginal, Brainless, Run of The Mill Attempt At a Suspense movie.
17 April 2011
My review is as in the subject above. By all means waste a tiny fraction of your life watching this, if... you absolutely must.

If you must read more of my review, then here goes: it is a standard issue suspense movie, which takes everything from the genre and gives back pulp suspense for pulp brained viewers. Most people will probably quite enjoy this in the sense that most people think Richard Dawkins is a pompous arrogant man whose theory of evolution is at variance with the truth etc. (and not an extremely intelligent, most gifted scientist). Anyway, enough digression.

The Dark Hours = A mundane exercise. As the cover blurb informs - it is indeed just another usual lonely cabin in the woods and vulnerable few staying there until the inevitable (yawn) probably starts zzz zzz zzz. I'll leave the events for your imagination, of course. Sorry, but I've given nothing particular away that you can't know already from simple reading about the movie and yet, it really does indeed do nothing more than what it says on the tin: Lazy, unoriginal film-making, neatly packaged into the average "suspense" genre.

A movie rated 1/10 is so bad you can actually laugh at it. This movie, isn't bad enough to laugh at. It's just boring & unoriginal. So, it is indeed one of thousands upon thousands of instantly forgettable 2/10's
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6/10
Light-hearted, Flirty, Hong Kong "RomCom"
5 April 2011
Reasonably entertaining Chinese "rom com" with a delectably pretty actress or two - depending on your taste. This movie doesn't aspire to much apart from light hearted entertainment and the occasional funny set up; as its leads are about to be married - but have they finished being naughty just yet...?

Anyway, the movie's not bad, quite watchable, especially one of the girls, whom I found to be most particularly watchable (the one who has a crush the male lead). But by no means is this a serious movie. More like bubble gum for the eyes, to borrow a quotation. It's really a reasonably humorous , average movie.

If you speak Cantonese, you might even enjoy this as a "date" movie. Others, may find that the subtitles require some concentration to follow, that is, if you are even up the the task of taking this movie *that* seriously. Hmmm. Anyway, I've little more to say about it, just as you may find upon watching it. In fact, this is about as far from a memorable movie as London is from Hong Kong. But what a deliciously cute, lovely girl... :-) A light-hearted, flirty and non too serious 6/10!
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