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Frontera Verde (2019)
This series is truly unique as a Bogota detective sent by the Attorney General investigates the deaths of 4 missionary girls and one indigenous woman who is more than she seems, in many respects. Wonderful photography, great acting, and a mythical script combine to keep you watching episode after episode. The use of flashbacks is excellent, though may be confusing for some.
Then it hits the wall. After 5 great episodes, the story veers off track. I don't want to give up the twist that's coming, but it's a poor one from my POV and detracts from what was otherwise a marvelous series. Despite this tragic flaw, the series is well worth viewing. It's a 10 if it wasn't for this plot flaw.
Good Boys (2019)
Best film of the year
This film is a riot from start to finish. It's about 6th graders coming to terms with life, friendship, relations, school and just about everything else. The central problem is how to get the drone back from the older girls, to avoid being grounded, then go to the party to kiss the girl and live happily ever after without disrupting the Bean Bag Boys. Everyone does a great job.
The Food That Built America (2019)
"The Food that Built America" is another in the series about how American was "built". Previous series include "The Men Who Built America" (2012), "How Booze Built America" (2017), and "The Men Who Built America: The Frontiersmen" (2018). Each one is exceptional as is this one.
The Kitchen (2019)
Clever premise but that's all
The premise of the film and some of the unexpected twists make this a compelling story, but with terrible acting and poor timing the merits of the fl;m are lost. All 3 main actors do a terrible job acting - it's called "phoning it in" and they are in a competition to see who can do less. And the attempts to fuse humor into a film that has been being beaten or killed all the time, fails miserably.
Bishop and Pike indeed
If your main characters are going to be called Bishop and Pike, you damn well better make a great product. Instead this is a relatively unimaginative and poorly developed series. The heavy British accents probably don't help.
For older kids
Took my 6 year old grand daughter and her 8 year old friend. They were unimpressed. I think the film is geared more to pre-teens and high schoolers.
It's always a problem when the central characters are all blond women and men with half shaved faces. Are these different people or the same people at different times? Who knows? Who cares? Is this a film about an assassin, or corporate espionage,or a pair of lovers? Who knows? Who cares? Did someone get a discount on a guitar player to score the entire film? Who knows? Who cares?
Perpetual Grace, LTD (2019)
For over 100 years films have been used for entertainment (think MGM), social comments (think Warner Bros.) and education (think Merian Cooper). Many films had elements of two or three of these factors, but most films could be classified into one. About 20 or so years ago films added a fourth dimension - complexity. The best example I can think of was "Memento". This element is a tricky one, because complexity can detract from a film especially when the audience is lost, which isn't uncommon.
Perpetual Grace is entertaining and has some minor social commentary. As such it is almost a perfect series, with wonderful acting, a great concept, and good photography. But I fear that someone decided to add complexity into the mix, and so the series may lose some viewers.
The Fugitive Kind (1960)
What a combination
The actors in this film (play) are among the finest of that generation, and it shows. The photography is also stunning. Directed by Sidney Lumet, the film could easily be used in any acting class. It's an adaptation of a Tennessee Williams play, so you have to take that into account when viewing.
Doesn't get much better than this
This TV series is a prequel to the Batman series, looking at Bruce Wayne's father (Thomas) and his first encounter with the man who would become the Wayne Butler (Alfred). The first episode is set in 1960s London in an alternate reality that is only slightly askew. Acting, story, and photography are all top notch. I only gave this a 9 because it's the first episode. If it stays this good I'll give it a 10.
Once Upon a Time Tarantino Could Make a Movie
This isn't a bad movie because it isn't a movie at all. It's collection of scenes, most of them boring and overly long, stitched together, trying desperately to represent LA, and more particularly Hollywood, in the late 60s. I endured it for 2 hours and then left. I guess it eventually ends, buti by the time I left I really didn't care. And I was by no means the first to leave the show. Smarter people started leaving after about 30 minutes. I stayed. I thought "Tarantino:" - wrong! I thought - "Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio" - wrong! I thought "Charlie Manson from a new angle" - wrong! I thought "Al Pacino, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern" - wrong! What a total waste of time and talent.
This filmed stand-up routine in front of a large audience is no doubt funny. Sometimes even very very funny. But even my loose sensibilities found some of the material offensive. If you're a fan then you'll really enjoy this film. If you're not. be prepared to be offended by some of the sexual and anal references.
Après Hitler (2016)
This documentary will take you further than any other documentary examining the post-war Europe and the emergence of the cold war. If there is any barely noticeable weakness in the film is that it tends to skip around a bit without any apparent rhyme or reason. Otherwise it is well done, great footage, and very informative.
Death Wish (2018)
Better than the original
This is one of the few films where the re-make is better than the original. The 1974 film with Charles Bronson had the advantage of being one of the first films of this genre, but otherwise it wasn't that great a film, apart from the contributions of Vincent Gardenia as the detective. The 2018 version has a better story line, better acting, and a more balanced feel.
This is an eye-opening story with information even a die-hard WW2 enthusiast like me had never known. There are two themes. The one had been covered before - Hitler's use of drugs. But this documentary has much more detail, including dates, dosages, amounts, etc. They use data from Hitler's physician's diary and it's incredible. The second part of the documentary is about the drug use by the Nazi soldiers. Once again, incredible and it helps explain some of the seemingly incomprehensible behavior of the hard-core Nazis. Anyone interesting in WW2 needs to watch this program.
I gave it an 8. I would have given it a 10 if they had spent a little time showing how the facial and bodily changes in Hitler correesponded to the changes in drug regime.
Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939)
Early Nazi opposition
This is one of the earliest films to openly criticize the Nazi government and it's remarkable that it was made when it was. It's based on a true story and the film reflects its origins. It comes at a time when Edward G. Robinson was moving away from his gangster roots, and he does a good job as an FBI agent.
This Land Is Mine (1943)
Laughton at his best
Charles Laughton (1899-1962) was among the finest actors of the 20th century and his abilities are nowhere better on display than in this film in which he plays against character. Of course for a man like Laughton, there are so many fine performances (Hunchback of Notre Dame, Henry VIII, Mutiny on the Bounty, Witness for the Prosecution,m Les Miserables) but what distinguishes this one is his character is a timid school teacher living with his mommy. Laughton is ably assisted by Maureen O'Hara and Una O'Conner.
Somewhere in the second season I stopped watching Suits. It started off with a bang but just got tiresome and more like a soap opera than a legal show. Pear son has one of the lead characters from Suits as a continuing character in a big city politics drama. Unfortunately it isn't starting with a big bang but it does seem a big soap opera-ish. It also doesn't look like big city politics and certainly nothing like Chicago big city politics. The first episode isn't so bad that I won't watch #2, but it does need to get better and seem more real.
42 Ways to Kill Hitler (2008)
Not all 42 but
Truth be told, this documentary gives us only a few of the plots to kill Hitler, but most of those plots are not well known. Worth a look.
The Fallen Sparrow (1943)
Check it out
There are 2 great reasons to see this film. First, Maureen O'Hara has never been more beautiful that she is in this film. Second, John Banner has never been so skinny. If you want more, there is another very good performance by John Garfield.
Silver Lake (2018)
Maybe it's just me, but the characters in this film are un-engaging. The dialogue looks like it was taken from tape recording of a writer who simply went around and taped his friends. And the acting is on par with the dialogue.
Waste of talent
This film has some really good actors whose talents are wasted on a dull and predictable plot.
The Movies (2019)
I'm a big movie fan so I was looking forward to this series. Episode 1 is a big disappointment. It's nothing more than a collection of films from the 1980s slapped together with some commentary, mostly from the people who made the films. There is no attempt to analyze what was going on in the film industry itself, how economic and political events influenced the films, nor how the 80s represented any trends that occurred earlier. No one squandered a single IQ point making this series. Think of it as a "coming attractions" that goes on and on. Some people will enjoy it. I did. But how much more valuable would this have been had they made an attempt to do more than show us a bunch of films. FWIW - Episode 2 shows the same trend. A great for movie fans but a missed opportunity to really inform.
La battaglia di Algeri (1966)
Photography yes, Character development no.
The film has some of the finest photography anywhere, making it look like a documentary instead of a film. But where it break down is in the character development.There is no one to whom we can feel much of a connection, partly because the film virtually follows no one and what we do get are mere sketches of people.
Besson ala Tarantino
Luc Besson adapts a time tripping narrative for his latest film, but he doesn't really have the comfort or skill in this area so well done by Quentin Tarrantino. But Besson retains his excellent directorial skills and his ability to write a film with intersecting 3-dimensional characters. Unfortunately he is mutating to the comic-book violence so popular now, but which wasn't a part of his best films (Nikita, Professional). You can never go wrong with a Besson film, and even his flawed films are better than most everyone else's endeavors. The cherry on this one is a great campy performance from Helen Mirren and good supporting jobs by Luke Evans and Cillian Murphy.