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Buried (2010)
10/10
Phenomenal Ryan
29 November 2019
This film proves that Ryan Reynolds can do anything. Any script about any topic. I think he's really great in comedy (duh) he is a solid dramatic actor and this film really is extraordinary. 90 minutes of edge-of-seat drama. He blew me away in this incredible performance of anger, frustration, doubt, pleading, hope and love. A true esprit de corps performance.
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9/10
Hudson's film
29 November 2019
Kate Hudson (one of a handful of women on the planet that can pull off a yellow dress ) shines in this adapted Taming of the Shrew with her brilliant comedic timing. There are some real belly laughs in the first half of the film when she goes over the top to make herself dumpworthy. Matthew McConaughey is also very good and comedy is definitely one of his strengths. Bebe is terrific.
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The Crown: Moondust (2019)
Season 3, Episode 7
10/10
Bravo, Tobias
28 November 2019
I have been a fan of Tobias for a long time from Casino Royale to Game of Thrones and several other films. Casting him in this role was a brilliant decision (kudos to Nina Gold).

His delivery and performance in this episode was a perfect 10. I enjoyed every moment
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Friends: The One Where Everybody Finds Out (1999)
Season 5, Episode 14
10/10
Multiple belly laughs
3 November 2019
I watch this at least once a year .. and it's remains the most hilarious episode of Friends of not any TV show. Really shows off Jennifer Aniston's superb comedic timing.

Rachael: I can't believe Chandler would .... wait .... Joey??? Do they know we know they know ?

Joey: They know you know.

The whole thing starts to unravel when Monica realizes they have been busted ( by a terrific Courteney Cox), After that the hilarity just doesn't quit. Kudos to Lisa Kudrow who is perfection.
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Searching (III) (2018)
10/10
RIVETING
27 October 2019
Ten minutes into this film I almost turned it off because I found the format so annoying. After all, who needs to watch google searches, visits to Facebook, messaging and video conferencing. We spend most of our day online so who needs to watch it at the movies ?

But then it took the first of many twists and Debra Messing is just so compelling and interesting to watch. I am also a big fan of John Cho. I decided to give it a few more minutes and I am so glad I did.

Messing delivers one of her best performances ever. Cho is superb as always. The amount of effort that went into constructing the story with the format that was used is extremely impressive. Actually it's masterful. A technological marvel. Great writing with a plot that will not disappoint. Messing is so convincing that I wonder if the ending was kept from her until they got there. It's one of those films you want to watch a second time.

I hope John Cho does another thriller or two. He's very good in this. Great directing. I think the making of this film would make a good documentary.
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Judy (II) (2019)
6/10
Excruciating pace
17 October 2019
I am OK with a slow paced film if there's a good reason but I didn't see that in this case. Renée Zellweger obviously did her homework and worked very hard to capture the essence of Judy Garland's final year. But when you see a movie about Judy Garland you want to hear Judy Garland. As good as Zellweger is it just doesn't feel like a film about the spectacular Garland. Solid performance by Rufus Sewell who is always good and Finn Wittrock also very good. But overall I struggled to understand just exactly what story this film was trying to tell given there is no classic plot. I could definitely see why this would make a better stage play.
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Succession: This Is Not for Tears (2019)
Season 2, Episode 10
10/10
A Reqium for Logan Roy? Or ...perhaps not.
14 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
One of this show's great attributes is the magnificent Nicholas Britell music and scoring. Britell is a highly recognized composer and winner of multiple awards for his original compositions so of course we all expect his work on this show to be fantastic. And he delivers some beautiful symphonic sounds. His music for this series pays homage to the greats, for example, Prokofiev's Dance of the Knights from Romeo and Juliet.

In the season finale the score is not unlike some of the great requiems by Mozart or Bernstein. Bravo, Nicholas Britell.

This finale is so complex but there is some critical and subtle subtext as is characteristic for Jesse Armstrong. Shiv's brilliant navigation of political landmines has been incredible especially how she turned the tables on Rhea, not once, but twice (though she has yet to be rewarded for her single-handed move that saved the entire organization, but that will come in Season 3).

BUT SOMETHING ELSE IS GOING ON. The scene were Kendall learns from Logan that it is he that will be the sacrificial lamb was preceded by a subtle nod from Shiv to Kendall (the scene where he lifts his headphones as Shiv approaches). Shiv was clearly pulling the trigger on something in her signal to Ken.

THEN, Logan is remarkably calm as Kendall throws him under the bus at a live television press event. As the sh** hits the fan and people start FREAKING OUT Logan directs those in the room with him to be quiet ...but he does this with absolute serenity. He is not in shock, he does not even act surprised. That made me wonder if the three of them are colluding. Of course, if they are all short selling the stock that would be hugely illegal and they aren't that dumb. BUT, WHAT IS GOING ON WITH LOGAN, KEN AND SHIV?
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Into My Heart (1998)
10/10
Lovely, sad film
25 September 2019
Wonderful performances by all with Rob Morrow and Jake Weber as childhood friends that stick together in adulthood and find themselves caught in a situation neither certainly intended. You can't help who you fall in love with. But, due to cruel, unreasonable social norms, two people who should, and could, be happy together are full of guilt that is nobody's fault. A story of self-torture for all the wrong reasons. Jayne Brook is the standout in this painful story of people that choose not to be together because it feels improper, inappropriate and wrong. I thought all the performances were extremely well done, very sensitive and thoughtful. The beginning line said it all, "My dad said we were two olives in a martini, but we really weren't." Yes, they were, but circumstances that were unavoidable screw things up. A very sad story of how two people, crazy about each other, can't muster up the strength to bear the cost of what being together will do to others that unfortunately will become collateral damage.
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The Meg (2018)
9/10
Great ride
23 September 2019
Jon Turteltaub's finely directed film pays homage to a number of adventure/fantasy films that came before it from Fantastic Voyage, Close Encounters, Jurassic Park, and a bit of Alien to Star Trek lV, Star Wars and of course, JAWS. Beautifully shot (lots of great aerial in New Zealand, China and on the water). Shooting on open water is tough and expensive, hence the $140 M price tag. A very visual film of course and the suspense just keeps on coming. Jason Statham a great choice for the lead (his following just keeps getting bigger and more faithful) with great contributions from the terrific Cliff Curtis and the great Page Kennedy. Some lame dialog which didn't add anything to the story (what I call, "throw away lines"). But all in all, a fun time at the movies. Jason Statham rules the world.
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10/10
A film I will surely watch multiple times
20 September 2019
One of the most enjoyable times I've had at the movies in years. DiCaprio is simply wonderful complimented by a nuanced, delicious Brad Pitt. Margo Robbie is stunning and delivers a very sensitive, lovely Sharon Tate. Can't wait to watch it again and again. Kudos to Kurt Russell. Truly one of Tarantino's best. Bravo
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Succession: Argestes (2019)
Season 2, Episode 6
10/10
Deals, deals, everywhere
16 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Jesse Armstrong's background in comedy comes to a head in this absolutely marvelous episode that takes place at a ski lodge called "Argestes." Nan Pierce is appalled at just about everything, which shows just how ballsy she is given her company has suffered eight, count 'em, eight successive quarterly losses. In my world, three quarters of loss gets you fired ... and finally Rhea gets the sack, though for her Logan infidelity.

The Roy children can't even get along when it's in their own interests. They insist on one upping each other wherever they are. I get the Tom/Greg thing but after a while, watching grown men act like 14-year-olds gets creepy (which is likely writer's intent).

Once again, Nicholas Britell's symphonic score is magnificent, ending the episode with the most wonderful brass point-counterpoint, rather fitting for the final blowup between Nan and Roy.
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Deadpool (2016)
10/10
Ryan Reynolds is ....
13 September 2019
.... brilliant. An incredible performance on so many levels. He is insanely funny and also touching at the same time.
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Succession: Safe Room (2019)
Season 2, Episode 4
10/10
I absolutely love this show
12 September 2019
Wow just when I thought I'd seen the best episode of the season I watch this one and it blew me away. Bravo, Holly Hunter who played the rival CEO brilliantly (" if things don't work out we will always have the panic room"). Her delivery was stellar.

Superb writing. Jesse Armstrong's skill for creating complex, multi layered characters that navigate equally complex storylines is masterful. Final scene with Strong's controlled emotions was made even more perfect with Snook's wonderful nuance (she is a huge talent). I am so impressed with this series. And the musical score is soooo haunting and beautiful. It's sort of Bartok and Prokofiev rolled into one ( appropriate given Logan's shades of Stalin). Wow.
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Succession: Hunting (2019)
Season 2, Episode 3
10/10
So many Belly Laughs.
12 September 2019
Oh my God Jesse Armstrong and Brian Cox are officially having way too much fun on this show. Logan's tactics and metaphors are hysterical. LMAO all through this episode. Dynasty meets Deliverance. Roman's BS finally catches up with him.

Shiv wasn't kidding when she said monogamous marriage doesn't work for her. And she has great taste in her "open relationship" choices. Go Shiv.

Just hand Brian Cox the Emmy already.
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Succession: Nobody Is Ever Missing (2018)
Season 1, Episode 10
9/10
LEVERAGE IS WHAT DEALS ARE MADE OF...
11 September 2019
.....Not to mention a little itty bit of extortion

"it could be what it should be ....nothing at all. A sad little detail at a lovely wedding where father and son are reconciled," says Logan Roy when he realizes Kendall's second attempt to overthrow him has crashed and burned. Realizing he has huge, really huge leverage ... Logan doesn't even gloat. He's done this before. With great irony he tells Kendall " you are my number one boy." Make no mistake, Logan is pure, cunning evil. Logan, 2, Kendall 0.

What a truly chilling finale. Kudos Jesse Armstrong and Mark Mylod. Another fantastic episode.
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Succession: Pre-Nuptial (2018)
Season 1, Episode 9
10/10
Addicted
11 September 2019
Another amazing episode with subversive cat fights all over the place. Shiv keeps getting more and more fascinating. The score is fantastic. Roman gets all the good lines.
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Succession: Which Side Are You On? (2018)
Season 1, Episode 6
10/10
WOW (the downside of high risk, high reward)
10 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Adam Arkin directs a phenomenal episode that I watched twice. While Kendall realizes the risk, he maintains confidence that his surprise attack on his father will ultimately succeed. But, when his calculations move onto thin ice, he helicopters out to Long Island to reverse a board member's vote.

With nail-biting suspense the drama builds against the backdrop of Nick Britell's terrific sound track. When things go wrong, even Roman (who is becoming my favorite character) is speechless. This episode is a teachable moment showing that the other side of high risk, high reward just might be an irrecoverable crash. Logan's firing of half the board is fantastic.
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Widows (2018)
9/10
Great ride interleaves relevant social and criminal issues and motives
8 September 2019
Steve McQueen brings an intriguing edge-of-your-seat thriller loosely based on Lynda LaPlante's novel of the same name. It's a tangled web but very realistic based upon corrupt money, big crime bosses, public elections, driving while black and police brutality. I appreciate the other reviewers who wanted the story to be simplified but I think the complex web of connections is what makes this film far more interesting and realistic given its plot and themes.

Viola Davis once again demonstrates her superb acting chops as she masterminds a significant robbery that her dead husband was planning to conduct.

She engages the questionable skills of three reluctant women who, but for their simultaneous status as widows would never even know each other ( brilliantly played by Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo). Jackie weaver delivers a terrific cameo

Daniel Kaluuya, who just keeps getting better and better, fulfills the role of a nasty, often terrifying, brutal opponent. The wonderful Garrett Dillahunt is excellent as a somewhat innocent, but sympathetic bystander who pays a big price for protecting his employer (delivered with empathy but not overly sentimental; bravo Garrett).

Small but important hints are revealed along the way that tie things together at the end. A touching epilogue delivers a final note of clarity.

Hans Zimmer's score is perfect and almost plays a supporting role in itself. A delicious dramatic thriller fulfilled with first-rate actors and MCQueen's competent direction. Beautifully shot with most scenes at night across a full span of Chicago neighborhoods. I thoroughly enjoyed this film.
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Ballers: Ends (2015)
Season 1, Episode 7
10/10
Marlo Thomas as usual lights up the screen
4 September 2019
She is such a joy to watch. She and Troy are perfectly matched as mother and son. I enjoyed this episode, seeing more of Spence the nice guy and Jason, great sense of humor as always.
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Divorce (2016– )
10/10
Funny, quirky ensemble
3 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Sharon Horgan maps the journey of two people, Frances and Robert, who make the decision to divorce after one of them cheats (32 times, but who's counting).

What follows is a difficult parting with the usual sparring lawyers, kids taking sides, awkward dates, interference of caring friends, community property, child custody decisions and the ultimate signing of the divorce documents. What is so wonderful about the show are all of its quirky situations and unexpected belly laughs, usually initiated by the great Molly Shannon, who masterfully plays Frances' friend, Diane.

Though Robert and Frances are angry and hurt, they manage to create a calm after a series of re-emerging storms given they have two children (realizing they are stuck with each other for life, whether they like it or not). While Frances and Robert aren't above acting childish, they always manage to rise above their spats and find a way to move forward, ultimately realizing they need to create some semblance of stability. Both take their jobs as parents seriously.

But, they also have a matrimonial past which drives many decisions (there's a particularly touching episode when Frances joins Robert at the bedside of his ill father, also choosing to fend off Robert's evil sister, brilliantly played by Amy Sadaris). These two people care about each other even if they often want to occasionally kill each other.

Robert, like so many men, finds it impossible to navigate single life, hence he quickly acquires another wife. Frances, the more evolved of the two, has no desire the re-marry, though she struggles when the guy she's dating (James Lesure) announces he's permanently written marriage out of his future. Frances starts to end it, but being more introspect than her ex-husband, is willing to consider alternate lifestyles, including one without a spouse.

Though SJ Parker is clearly the star, it's a highly character-driven ensemble with well-thought out casting decisions. Jessica-Parker and Haydn-Church are a terrific pairing and Tracy Letts, known for his talents as a playwright, is often the show's scene stealer with his fantastic acting choices as the couple's friend, Nick.

Lett's character has a complex relationship with his wife Diane (Molly Shannon) and is wonderfully played out with unexpected twists, turns, and hilarity thanks to Horgan's gift for comedy. Fortunately, Shannon and Letts are able to pull off the writer's vision for Nick and Diane, who deliver some of their best acting to date.

Horgan is tough. When a character achieves a victory, it's quickly followed by disappointment. But, all of the characters are good at getting back on the horse when life gives them a kick - and through the support of friends, realize one has to play the cards one was dealt (even if they don't like it). The exception is Robert's new younger wife who clings to the idea that she shouldn't have to accept trade-offs, naïve in thinking her marriage to a recently divorced man with two teens would be a cake walk. Compromise is not her thing.

Other great casting decisions are the terrific Talia Balsam as Dallas, who plays Parker's friend and previous shrink. The kids (Sterling Jerins and Charlie Kilgore) both have a future in comedy. Guest stars come and go, but not after delivering some great performances (Dean Winters, always hilarious), Dominic Fumusa as the sexy basketball coach (hopefully we will see him again), Steven Pasquale, Roslyn Ruff, Tom Lapinski, Paul Bartholomew, Robert Forster and the always-good Marton Csokas, who briefly steps in as a rival gallery owner to shamelessly steal Frances' headline artist.

Veteran acting giant Harris Yulin enters as Diane's new love interest, which she can't resist given his offer to return her to her previous privileged life. Overall, a wonderful quirky, always funny ensemble about people that ebb and flow around unions, divorces, victories and failures.

Even so, an optimistic light often shines in each episode, skillfully woven by the show's highly competent, skilled producer and star, Sarah Jessica Parker.
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10/10
Abuse is crippling
2 September 2019
Unless you've been through something like this you have no idea how crippling it is when you become an adult.

Abusers warn you not to tell over and over and over and over (using threats) and when you are seven years old not emotionally developed it burns into one's memory. Fear takes over. Fear takes hold and doesn't let go. Shame only reinforces the fear.

Too many people look at these experiences that happened to people in childhood and view it through an adult lens. This is what Michael Jackson defenders fail to comprehend. Children depend on adults to protect them not abuse them. Expecting a child to respond to abuse through an adult mindset is just absurd. Listening to people defend Michael Jackson in part 2 was really painful. Bless the beasts and the children for in this world they have no choice; they have no voice. Keep them safe.
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Big Little Lies: Tell-Tale Hearts (2019)
Season 2, Episode 2
10/10
Laura Dean loses it
31 August 2019
In addition to one of the great lines of all time " I will not not be rich" Laura Dern has several great moments especially when she absolutely loses it while driving her Tesla, which she is quick to explain is "her car". Hilarious. Renata Klein is such a great character .
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Boston Legal: Glow in the Dark (2008)
Season 4, Episode 13
10/10
Scott Bakula
29 August 2019
About time ...he's terrific and what a pleasure to hear him sing.
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10/10
Guilty pleasure
8 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I admit I played the scene where Lindsay leaps across the table a couple of times. It was just too good ... and justified IMO. Elanor hit way below the belt.

Lucy's line impeccably delivered: " they are just strategizing."

Re the killing of an innocent animal. Anyone who has ever owned a pet knows they are family members; we give them names, they have personalities. I was surprised that no one ever brought up that famous line "A society is judged by the way it treats its animals." Not sure who said it may have been Mark Twain ( i'm paraphrasing).

The killer did get jail time .... three months but nevertheless I thought it sent a message that killing someone's beloved pet for fun is not right. It's horrifyingly cruel And as the judge said it was a crime against humanity.
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10/10
Beautiful film
3 August 2019
Gideon Raff has gifted us a moving story that needs telling. Terrific performances by some of the best actors of their generation, particularly Chris Evans and Sandro Nivola ( Who just gets better and better). Haley Bennett, Michael Kenneth Williams, wonderful Michiel Huisman, Alex Hassell, Mark Ivanir, the fabulous Chris Chalk, Greg Kinnear.

Wonderful wonderful score by Mychael Danna. The film hits all the right notes at all the right times; actual footage from real events at the end is extremely moving. Must see movie. I watched it twice
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