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There are good actresses in a very light script. What bothered me the most was that -- there was nothing new here and what was borrowed from other films was was easy to detect and predict. The idea of the film was a decent one, it just didn't come to focus. It was all over the place. Scenes that were meant to be "heartfelt", either made me laugh or wonder what it was in there for.
The idea of this film was about women who, for whatever reason, had difficulty getting "regular" jobs, ended up forming a team to drug and bilk wealthy men from Wall Street and the like in bars and strip clubs. Sadly, we may be aware that there are women who do this - making them seem human in doing it doesn't make it any better, and the big miss was human or not, I never grew to like or care about these women.
Oh yeah, this film could have been good. Coulda ...been. There were brief moments of "this may be going somewhere" like when the team broke up and the leader picked someone else to groom to help bilk men at clubs and now in her own lair. The part where the mom died, I thought she was asleep and I wondered why the character was crying.
If you're a fan of some of these actresses, ya might want to take a look - that is, if you can bare it.
This Changes Everything (2018)
The issue of the film defeated itsself -or did it?
Well, what can you review about a wonderfully made documentary, with the most powerful female film voices of our and previous generations making the argument about 80%-90% of males still running it and what do you have at the end credit?
A male director. Or was it?
Why? For all the reasons these women are saying - that this would not have gotten attention or distribution without it? Well, keep looking at the credits. Was this film/documentary EMPLOYING a bigger percentage of women than men? Ah-ha!
While the information is correct, educational and relevant - you have the BEST women in the film industry, the most established, on both sides of the camera, above and below the line, from all over the world and NOT ONE OF THEM thought to say:
"Hey dude, give us the camera and we'll make this documentary. Isn't this what it's all about?"
Could they be "pulling our leg" with an 'Alan Smithee' type thing...and Tom...is really...Tomisina...and these ladies...really lets it all sink in? If so, they did he most brilliant thing possible, and that is --made us all think about our own perceptions.
I like the 'fish out of water-but not really' type comedies and thought I'd give the first two episodes of Dave a try. First let me admit, I was way out of the intended audience for this, maybe that's why I didn't laugh once and found this fairly predictable.
In the commercial spots promoting this program, the lead character Dave had the potential of being the likable YouTube star wanting to make it big in the rap world by making inexperienced moves and being so trusting along the way. That would have been a funny show, but that didn't seem to happen here. Add in Dave's rap style...eh. Nothing out of the ordinary, it's passable but it took too long in the first episode to even get to it so I was checking out far before then.
There were ...curse words a-plenty, all the current culture 20-something Internet trappings: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. (and I was waiting for a tik-toc reference - its coming) drop beats, women who are the b-word (and worse) '50s-60s refurbished Straight Outa Compton cars, the poor wittle internet white rapper trying to get in with the famous black ones who are destined to not propel him but rip him off and other tired stereotypical norms they can throw in.
This is not to say I wanted or expected this to be a squeaky-clean show on FX - it's FX, of course not, and the premise didn't lend itself to be one, however so far, it's slow in going, and the show and it's attempt at comedy and rapping will get tired real fast.
Pet Sematary (2019)
Why? Just Why?!??!
The first Pet Semitary was ..eh. It was a good Stephen King book, and a fair movie adaptation for it's time.
So, I was very excited to see an update of it. To me, this was one of those films that I think really deserved a update. Boy, did they blow it. The "2" I gave it was all for John Lithgow. Remove him, and it has a zero from me.
I didn't care about the family at all. They were boring. That is not such a crime in the film, but what was...was the Pet Semitary. There was lots to work with there, and none of it happened. No scares, no thrills, no...nothing of what it had the potential of it ever to be.
Then, there's the Cat. Big opportunities missed with the Cat that started this all for the family. Even the Cat was boring, when it could have been so much more. Meow here, Meow there...and after being reanimated, it barely did jack. Heck, I've seen Garfield the Cat do more.
This was bad all the way around, even when they made the twist with Ellie, which didn't work for me. I didn't even know why it had to change. This was a good chance to re-make a chilling film, and it just fell flat.
A..."what if" ... done very well
Answer this quick: Who is faster - Superman or the Flash?
How about this one: Who would win in a fight, Robin or Kato from The Green Hornet?
Or this: Could Muhammad Ali beat Mike Tyson?
These are those nagging question for some that when asked, everyone has a view on. And there is really no right or wrong answer as there is passion on both sides of these questions.
This...is another take on the same concept, and it works very well. Quentin Tarantino takes a question that has been floating around for decades and gives us a look into "what if" or...as every fairy tale begins, "Once Upon A Time".
We get taken back to the 50s and 60s and how Hollywood was. Now I've gotta be honest, as I watched I sat there trying to figure out who was a composite of whom in Hollywood. For me, it was like trying to figure out who the character Warren Beatty was in "Shampoo" when I wasn't even around to understand it back then (i saw it 13 years later after it was out!), however it was fascinating to read it was a cross between Jay Sebring and Jon Peters. And this movie..has that Jay Sebring in it.
And that was the interest for me in this, and where Quentin does what he does well - mix the pulp, but give you lots. There was lots of nostalgia, and lots of "tell" of the Hollywood industry - back then...and some of now. Leonardo Di Caprio played what I saw as - "every actor in the world" - he was known and at the cross roads in his career, and his only friend was his stuntman played by Brad Pitt. Yeah -- you get that Brad's character should have dumped him years ago and went out on his own, but by the end of the film, you got something that is few and far between in Hollywood..."real friends". And you get to the point in the film where friendship is faced with "the end of the road".
There are great "cameos" in the film of both ACTORS and CHARACTERS of that time such as seeing the late Luke Perry made me choke up a bit, and it was full of "Tarantino -isms". The film may be long to some, I found the length fine. I found the story of this friendship coming to a head around one of the worst occurrences in Hollywood in the late 60s, done well. But make no mistake, the whole thing is based in a fairy tale, one that has all the fairy tale trappings including a happy-ever-after.
And you know what? After watching this and knowing what I know -- what we all know -- yeah, I wished it would have all ended that way. I wish the world was wonderful, and people were nice and kind, and that Hollywood wasn't so dog eat dog...maybe...Once Upon A Time....Once Upon a Time. Ah-ha!
A great break from all the Special Effects and Superhero films - a great entry into the nagging question and the fantasy aspect of it playing out -- while "telling" on Hollywood. (Make no mistake, Tarantino DID tell a lot of stories in this one!!!) This is truly...a great film.
Modern Problems (1981)
Modern Problems had modern problems
Let me take you back (and for those who weren't around - let me explain). There are two films that brought up the Reagan Administration's mandate of "firing all the air traffic controllers" - Summer Rental and Modern Problems.
These films did so because many of the experienced ones were replaced by low paying folks who worked double, triple, quadruple time - and were burned out beyond belief helping airplanes to land. These two films tried to make a bit of humor out of it, and how those who were burned out needed rest, or risk going nuts. Summer Rental went the family vacation route where Modern Problems went more towards the relationship route with a twist.
Chevy Chase's character Max was overbearing and egotistical to begin with, and his romantic relationship with his live-in love played by Patti D'Arbanville, Darcy suffered on both fronts. It all comes to a boil when Darcy packs up and leaves him, and of course, he doesn't get why. As we watch the film, we know why - he's burned out, overbearing, controlling and pretty much self centered. But he tries to get his love back by assuming that telling her he can change, he can change, but Darcy doesn't buy it. So one night as he is going home, he accidentally gets dowsed with some toxic waste and later finds out it leaves him with extraordinary powers.
I remember Siskel and Ebert reviewing this film and this is the one thing I agree with, they mentioned with such newfound powers, he didn't do enough with them. There are parts of the movie I found hilarious for 1981 - the nose bleed scene, the book PR club scene, the dinner table scene and of course, the ballet (the ballet of which I found the funniest and still do). Then there are some that didn't hit the mark for me and could have stayed on the cutting room floor for something comically better (the Darcy/Max bedroom scene, the voodoo powder scene) and there are characters that could had better scenes/writing - which includes Nell Carter, Mary Kay Place and Brian Doyle Murray. The miscast for me was the character Barry, who should have been more of the slimy PR New York Producer-type back then ( I think a Tony Bill's character from the movie Shampoo would have been a good type to copy).
And then there is Dabney Coleman and his character. Sometimes I wondered what would have happened if Dabney played Barry in the same manner he is playing author Max Winslow and just ran that through the film nixing the "book" writer altogether. It would seem that D'arcy would fall for an older, almost same as Max character with more clout and character. Dabney does steal the scenes he is in, I just wished it could have been better.
And one thing that annoyed me was the original score - for some reason it didn't fit for me, and when used it was a bit episodic TV for 10 years earlier. The opportunity they had for 1981 was missed until the end when they played "The Tubes" material, adapted it didn't work and I think it may have worked better with what was modern at the time more of the new wave then adapting it.
Modern Problems isn't a horrifically failed comedic entry, as for early Chevy Chase fans, this was after his many comedic hits of the 70s and times and comedic tastes were changing. What I think is overlooked is that Modern Problems tried to focus on 'many' problems of the time and the people in it and maybe that was too much and it collapses in the film as people were looking for a hilarious romp centered on a burned out guy catching a break through nuclear waste. It's a could-have film, meaning it could have been okay with various tweaks, but it's not so unwatchable either.
The Irishman (2019)
Outstanding Work to an Outsanding Story
Let me start out by saying when Jimmy Hoffa "disappeared", I was almost a teen growing up in the tri-state area. The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, TV & Radio like WWOR, WCAU, WNEW, WFIL, John Facenda, Larry Kane, etc...yeah, the locals and they gave us (with others) the news. And Jimmy Hoffa's "disappearance"... was all over the news there, but you know what...? I didn't know all of what Jimmy Hoffa was at the time, except for "missing union leader", and I had to ask my parents. I wasn't born yet in the 50s, and a baby in the 60s... so my parents filled me in about him, the Unions, Kennedy..and Nixon...the alleged underworld connectors, pensions, pardons....etc., etc. As a young almost teen - much of it flew over my head but, my parents were steadfast in their opinions over those years that Hoffa was dead, and it was a mob hit. End of tale for them.
As the years went on, the stories in the area of Hoffa being dead or alive were coming out. There was the "he's in the witness protection program" one, the Government killed him one, the mob killed him one, he moved to Burlington Island and shares it with the Jersey Devil one, and then my personal favorite...he's dead and buried in the Meadowlands.
So, I now lived long enough to watch the best of mob films and TV series, etc., and looking back, I think I now could believe any of those stories could relate to the Hoffa mystery, but if there was one to be told in film and who could tell it, I had no doubt it would be Martin Scorsese, and here it is.
This is an amazing piece of work from an amazing Director who is telling a "story", with his touches needed, but making you feel like someone at the end of their life, is telling you a story of a mystery - a story you believe, or you don't. But for me, I can.
Scorsese got the best actors in the roles to make this tale believable. Al Pacino rocks as Jimmy Hoffa, as I believe he was and there has to be an Oscar nod there. Robert De Niro, our storyteller, is utterly believable in his role, another Oscar performance there too. The question left for us is -- is "Mr. Paint Houses" telling real? Did it happen this way? And Joe Pesci...Joe Pesci -- my goodness -- he was phenomenal in this role because he was not playing what you expect, what you may have type-cast him in -- and because of which, he did it soooo well, Oscar nod...and dare I say shoe in win? We'll see.
For me, "The Irishman" took me back to those pre-teen days when this was unfolding and happening and in the news and the papers because when names were mentioned...I was like "Hey..! I remember that name!" And the hit at the restaurant - I remember that too, it was in the papers. I was remembering - because...I did...forget. And that to me was such an interesting part of this tale. I remembered. However, at the beginning and end of this film it was mentioned how this generation doesn't know about Jimmy Hoffa. True, but think about that statement. It's really a double edge comment, and gets to the heart of the telling of this tale.
And Scorsese unfolds this tale of admission. He has always told a story, but this is done in such a manner, it grips you. You question. You're not gonna get the high skilled kill mob count you might expect, as this is a tale about one, told by one you'll either believe...or you continue to chase after the other "theories" (which they GOTTA be doing because 30 years went by before they could check up on Sheeran's tale, and up to 2018 with the Documentary 'Riddle' we STILL don't know) --, but the time of Hoffa was more than interesting with government, FBI, the unions, crime, Presidents, paid pardons -- and there are parallels in this tale that remind you of what is happening right now -- which makes you wonder - gee, times may not have changed at all, which is why films like this -- are important to remind all of that very same fact.
A Man's Decent Into Madness
No, this is not the joker as you have seen him these past decades, it is what made him who he is - and at times, not a pleasant picture.
It has been sometime for films to finance and back character studies into "why". In the 70s, there were plenty of them, now its 2019, and here is one. It is Joaquin Phoenix's performance from frame one to the end. It's dark, you'll laugh, you'll possibly be shocked - but he keeps you engaged in his portrayal of the character, which in films like this, is of the utmost importance. It does take one back to that decade - all of it's color and darkness. And there is no need for an overkill in special effects and imagery. It's dreary, just like his life. But he becomes the epitome of what many have been holding back for years - and so, what will become.
I really appreciate this film because of that, as it does go back to a time before we got caught up in so much, we forget about the character itself, so know this is a character study of what we already know how it will turn out. So, why did I give the film an 8 instead of a 10? Well..I am a fan of the deep character development of ..Travis Bickle and...Randle McMurphy...and..Rupert Pupkin and for me there was a tad bit too much reference of them than an homage should be - but again, Joaquin Phoenix gives the best character performance for me since Gladiator and for a DC Comic Book character, one of the best without the 3 decades of cinematic bells and whistles .
You Better Watch Out (1980)
A Psycho-logical Xmas Thriller
Coming out along the time of the John Carpenter low budget 'Halloween' box office phenomenon, and a smidgen after the first Friday the 13th, comes this fare of a character who's problems revolve around his childhood trauma and Christmas time in New York. In a way you've got the same kind of psychosis of a Michael Myers in Halloween, a little boy seeing something he should not have of a sexual nature around Christmas time, and it affected him.
But this is NOT a Halloween knock-off because that is where the almost similarity ends. This guy WANTS to do good as he floats between Santa Claus and Krampus, and his psychosis is driven by each. I mean, he decorated his drab living space with Christmas time ornaments and trinkets and works in a toy factory. A recipe for disaster which has been boiling for years. When the toy company he works for decides to go off and do what he doesn't like, he goes full on Santa...or Krampus -making sure the good receives gifts and the bad -- receive death.
It's a misnomer to call this a slasher film as there isn't a 'slasher' body count per ce. This guy kills, but for a the reason at the time. One instance is where he is at a church and the (remember this is the beginning of the 1980s) snotty New York 'pre-yuppies' make fun. The other times -- well, they come off as a very dark comedic kill. You shouldn't laugh, but it is horrifically funny. And that's the rub - there are some very dark comedic late 70s, almost cultist bits in this that are just...well, brilliant.
You've got to give it to the actors as they make this quite a good film. Brandon Maggart who is the lead, is very effective in this role. And there is the late 70s, early 80s culture running through it that when looking at the film now (2019), I missed when I first saw it on the Z channel back in the 1980s. it does have its fair share of (what I see as) spoofs of those 70s police detective shows, and a short funny spoof of Gerardo Rivera of his time back then. Little throw ins like this make the film much more above a slasher film, but not quite the top of the line psychological thriller either.
You may find yourself trying to figuring out the character - don't. It's not that complicated really, as the director places it all in your face. If you're a viewer that is looking for a high body count, there isn't. It is a film of a guy unraveling by the frame , but so is everyone around him. But there is that late-70s-early 80s New York-ism in this too that seems so unbelievable, but those of us who remember it back then, can see how this turns out the way it did.
This film may seem a it bizarre and weird, it's that - and more. It's difficult to give it a sweeping classification as this is in a class all by itself for the time it was made..and a little hint..don't be surprised if at the very end you find yourself thinking that Cheech and Chong ... should have make a cameo.
For it's time, it made time and is a guilty pleasure
I was one of the demographic this film was to reach when it was released. This was not a film for my mom and dad - they had plenty, but this was a film that was part of that "remember the good old days your parents were in?" Yes, the Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Hee-Haw Honeys etc., TV shows to throw folks back to a time that was homey, fun and allegedly moral.
Then came a movie that too was aimed at my generation that dispelled all that "goodness it was so great and moral and no one talked about or had premarital sex back then.." and that was "Animal House". At that point, I looked at my parents and thought, "Oh, you did go to College and did more than go to class, and went back to your dorms and play tiddly-winks until next class. You too had nasty malcontents, behind-kissers, stoners, alcoholics, F-students...and, and...!!!"
The idea of a "simpler-time in the past" where everyone was wonderful and obedient and didn't get to third-base -- was wrong. In that same manner, after Animal House, 4 years later came this film, Porkys. The trailers to Porky's were awful, but my friends and I went because their friends saw the film and said we have to see it. So I went with my friends and saw it.
The film is set in the early 50's about, teen males in High School. Their hormones were raging. They had one thing on their minds, and somehow studies fit in there (they weren't boys who didn't like education studies, they liked it fine) but they were...teen boys too. Human. And they were obsessed about a place they heard about, that they had to get into. Porky's. They figured that it was time for one of their friends to lose his virginity, where else to go but Porky's where they imagined it would be easier to do than him stumbling around his high school to try to do. Their attempt as under-aged teens to try to get into Porky's didn't turn out too well, in fact Porky's had rules they adhered to, and a backwoods sheriff and Pork's owner embarrassed them - and as it goes in these films, now the teens needed revenge on the adults.
While that is basically the premise here, the comedy is raunchy at points, silly at points, making fun too of everything 'back in the day' like racism, ageism and sexism taken from a 1950s male teen point of view too. That's what made this film work for me. The era. The female characters were pretty much one dimensional, but this characterization helped deliver some of the funnier scenes. One of my favorites is with the character actress Nancy Parsons as the prudish female gym coach whose purpose here is of a foil to keep these out of control hormonal male teens away from her out of control hormonal female teens. When she catches one of the guys (funny scene here too) and he gets away, she goes to the HS Principal, with the male gym coaches and assistant coach, etc. to explain how to catch the perpetrator and hold him accountable. It was so silly, but the actors made this comedic bit work and that is the scene I laughed the most.
Porkys did okay for me for the first 1/2, the second half did go down hill with the laughs. But this was one of those low budget movies that "could". Lightening never strikes twice (See Pork's II:The Next Day) when you get a fluke like this, and I grew up so what was funny to me then, didn't all hold up a few years later. And years after that, only a few things still have me still chuckling and that's films like this go. The next generation has a film like this, and now this generation (2019) seems to have a film like this (i.e. 'Good Boys'), and so on this will go, but what worked for this film was when we saw it, it was not of our time, but of a generation 3 decades before, that WAS doing/thinking/exposed to what we were doing. That too made it funnier for us.
This was not meant to be Academy Award material. And if I remember correctly, even they were surprised at how well it did, and how it defined a film genre that for a bit the bigger studios tried to chase and failed. Porky's hit all the right chords at the right time. It was silly, amateurish, unreal - but it was Easter Break entertainment escapism at the time. Viewing it now may not have the same impact, all the jokes and situations may not land for all. But it may for some, just like it did back then.
Drunk History (2013)
Getting to of know History - and laughing all the way
Frankly, I don't care if these people are drunk or sober playing drunk, this is a today's concept for History to get through.
This is all the new generation has. They're not going in droves going to look at the History Channel documentaries, or any History documentary at all. They may not have History Teachers like I had that went all out, dressed up, took you to places -- gave you an experience about History beside the book. However, this is fun, entertaining and...they'll learn something in 30 minutes about History. And maybe take a minute to Google it to learn more.
The History is basically correct. The entertaining part are the actors retelling it from the drunken teller. I have laughed at each and every episode. It's like your drunk uncle, being in a bar or a barbershop with the drunk who knows everything sitting in a corner and chipping in when you didn't ask him/her. But later you find out, they were ....correct! So if they're not really 'drunk', so what, it's a hoot.
I recently watched one that I am so glad they did as it was on Cleopatra and her sister Arsinoe IV. I remember 'back in the day in elementary school the watered down version of the two, but it was great they chose this. Aubrey Plaza was Cleopatra, and was hilarious (as she has been in many of these Drunk History skits). This story was a crazy and devious as anything happening in government today -and that is why it's so important to study History, all of it. It's just more entertaining coming from someone who is lit-up and telling it, than your straitlaced teacher who is probably bored on the 100th telling of it. Let's be real, you'd probably retain more of it and talk more of it as it came from ...a drunk.
And that is the beauty of the program. Funny and educational.
I know we are never going to go back to
The Favourite (2018)
Not what I thought because I was led to think of another
I too couldn't wait to see this film. Now that I've seen it, I can't have un-seen it.
I like quirky period pieces. The comedic ones are hard to do, and this started out very funny. Then it took a turn that could have been more funny, quirky, satiric and turned into quite the mess. Many people say this is the work of the director, Lanthimos. Maybe, but the acts of comedy, pathos, ingenuity were there are points, but not enough. I do not think that was all the fault of the director entirely, the script had much to do with it, as did other things.
The man characters were fascinating, and watching another 'tables turn ambition film featuring women' was quite nice, especially with Stone and Weisz at the helm of the 18th Century's take on it, and Colman putting forth a great performance in it all as the (bipolar?) Queen Anne. That wasn't so bad, just not
What bothered me is that I kept thinking from time to time while watching, "What if ... Ken Russell did this film'?" For me, there in lies the criticism. Ken Russell would have done this as this work reminds me of a film much trying to be similar the work of his.
This film is not dreadfully horrible, but it's not what it could have all totally been towards brilliance either. However, it did make me miss Ken Russell and his type of touch to even it all out as it looks like this is what it was trying to go for.
A Star Is Born (2018)
Another generation, same tale, not much more new.
I saw all the "A Star Is Born" before this one, and so if you saw any one of them, you know how it's gonna turn out. This one is no exception. What I liked about this one was seeing actors I haven't seen in film for a while. And I liked seeing Sam Elliot in a role that was a more emotional role that he carried very well. I am sure Lady Gaga fans went gaga over her performance, and well they should as this was for them. For me, not a Gaga fan, it was not moving me so much.
For all the Star is Born films, this one was slower than molasses to get to wherever it was they were headed. I was trying to see the 'chemistry' between Cooper and Gaga's characters and ... there was more 'chemistry' between Cooper and Andrew Dice Clay than those two. This one seemed more about family - Cooper and Elliot's brother characters, than a love story which became quite secondary in this.
The songs that were part of the focus - eh. But I was not a fan of the songs in A Star is Born from the 1970s either. This film - tries but it is for this generation, and got this generation's star and that is the point. But for my review it was an okay film where it's heart was not in the love story, but the love of family and the 'you know it's coming" end like in all the Star is Born films that preceded it.
Long Live the King - fer sure!
Yes, I am a Godzilla fan from 4 years old. And yes, this is the type of movie an old time fan has been waiting for. Not just Godzilla, but the top Titans. And in that area, this film did not disappoint. It was beyond amazing seeing these Titans with up to date technology. Godzilla was very much bad to the bone. Mothra, was simply beautiful and tough. Monster Zero/King Ghidarah was the best ever on the screen, very hydra, very serpent. That made this a very good film for me.
The Titan who surprised me and I wanted to see more - was Rodan. His first appearance in this film was very frightening. It was so good, I wanted to see Rodan with more screen time. And he would have as Mothra should have as well if..and this was the weaker part of the film...if there wasn't too much on the humans.
As a fan, I was there for the Titans, and the fighting of the Titans and Godzilla. He was "God" +"Zilla" and much better than what he was in 2014. this film seemed like a good step up and onward as he was more in his element, but the humans inside that element were...distracting. It seemed like when the film was getting good with the Titans battling, they cut to the human 'family drama' and I got to the point where I didn't care. So, I won't mention them in this review beyond generalizations. Don't get me wrong, there should have been humans in the film, but it should have been an either/or proposition. Either take one human and follow it along, or leave the human stories alone and focus on the military which makes perfect sense in a film where big monsters are destroying themselves and cities. That's the draw. That's the interest and as interesting as these Titans were and their stories, there needed to be more on them, very little on the humans.
Jeepers Creepers 3 (2017)
A Good Cast, The Creeper - What's Not To Like? Lots.
I am a fan of Jeepers Creepers I & II. So much so, I wanted to see a Trisha story in II, but I wasn't angry that it wasn't and liked II more than I thought I would. Then came this one and ... I just don't know what to make of it except wrong, wrong, wrong. I tried to make heads or tails of it and couldn't.This was a total miss.
I've never done this in a review but for me to write this, I read what others wrote to try to understand why I was so bugged by this. Many said this was taking place BETWEEN I and II so I thought that would make a bit more sense to me. It didn't. But that is only a bit that made it more disjointed. The special effects were also off for me. I was watching it and thinking that was the mark of a first time director throwing them in almost anywhere to make what should have been a tiny action shot more longer and...excruciating.
There were actors of which I know their faces more than the names, and knew they are great at their work, but it was all lost here. I was trying to understand why their actions produced the results of the scene I watched. I was lost.
Now the part I found entertaining (meaning I laughed cause it was funny) was towards the end when The Creeper got a spike though his head, he lost his eye and tried to throw his javelin with the precision he used to have - and couldn't. There were a few other parts, and they only lasted seconds, but even then, not enough to make this make any type of sense at all.
The only thing I could deduce, was that this seemed like a bunch of 'something' scenes that maybe for budget reasons, or time or both -- someone went into the editing room and spliced some parts together and came up with this.How sad.
And let me do something I never did in a review talk about how the ending...actually seemed to be a beginning and you could tell for whatever reason, they had to go another way. Again, how sad. And I REALLY would have been interested in that so much more than this.
Leaving Neverland (2019)
An Intresting Documentary
In watching this documentary, how can your heart not be touched by their claims? That is the duty of a documentary, to lay out an account, hear from those involved, and we the viewers make the conclusion. This documentary is full of accusations and recalls of things NONE of us would know, except for the people involved. And this review is based on how the documentary film was done. And I see this was a big opportunity possibly missed, hence my low score.
As a viewer of documentaries for decades, it didn't go deep enough with the claims OFF an emotional narrative. It absolutely needed a hard investigative documentary style, not the emotional one. I will write this again: it needed a hard investigative documentary style with more undeniable, indisputable proof, to back up the emotion.
It relied too heavily on that, which leaves the audience to find holes. Which leaves the Jackson faithful to ignore the cries of these accusers. What is important to realize is that there has been possible abuse that they are claiming. And they needed o be more diligent in this as there are more reasoning against them than for them. They had cases to make, bottom line. Emotional cases are fine too, but the documentarian should have come out swinging and swimming with evidence, they did not. And that they are claiming abuse that their family members knew, and the courts have reviewed. That is the toughest part of a documentary like this. The victims wanted to be, needed to he heard. Not victimized again. So this is an avenue for that to occur, and bravo for them to go this route after all this time.
But they miss the most important part of a documentary like this. It's NOT to be cathartic -- it's to dig, research and present. Let's be honest this is not new news. However this documentary had the opportunity to give new news, and it did not. Accusations. Emotion. Each should have been 10% of this documentary and 80% of hard hitting information to back it up.
All sides HAVE to be presented. If not, we have what we have now. Fans still not seeing what may be a problem, victims being further victimized. The issue is very much multi-fold and because it was not addressed as it should via THIS documentary, again, I feel these accusers will not be taken seriously enough as this was their main takeaway for doing this.
Before CGI, there was Larry Cohen
I hadn't seen the film Q since I was a young girl and Showtime Beyond was smart enough to recently place it in it's 2019 showings, and thank goodness. This was one of those films that was shown "at the dawn of premium cable". What that means is that back int he say they constantly showed a handful of films in heavy rotation and this was one of them. Well, many of Larry Cohen's films were of that ilk. Made on a small budget, story not so bad and while watching it you WISH they had more money but all involved made the best out of what they had.
Let me take you back for a moment, to a time when entertainment was...entertaining and very much "pop" eccentric. Here's is how I would have described the film back then to people (and remember I was young): Shaft and Kwai Chang Caine ran into the wanna-be gangster but small fry boyfriend of the lady who was in American Graffiti. This flying bird was eating everybody including the NY mafia tough guys and had a nest at the place where King Kong was shot down or in that neighborhood. The police couldn't care less because they were thinking it was part of New York junkies and Prostitutes stories trying to get attention. Then, Kwai Chang Caine met with some guy in Washington who was like Mr. X from Watergate who gave him the history of the ancient bird and the New York police department finally hunted it down.
Honestly, that's almost about it. Now watching it some 30-odd years later, I find the movie nostalgic, funny and wishing there'd be a remake. I've seen a few of Larry Cohen's films of late and wish they were remade as well. He was a guy with ideas and $5.00 (jk) and boy, did he do what he could with it. And ...those films...were actually...good. "It's Alive" still scares me to today. "Black Caesar" is an underground favorite as well as "Maniac Cop". "Q" is another one of those films that really had something going for it, even though it had..3 stories going for it which made it somewhat confusing but..ahem..not or New Yowkers, so much. And Cohen knew New York, and made crazy, crazier and scarier and the question of "what lies underneath", mixed in with current issues that was going on and there results thereof, he gave you some pause of "maybe this" and if so, "this is how New Yorkers would respond". And it's entertaining.
Q could easily have been a part of that, Cohen and Company trying to give a metaphor for its time, or just a flying Aztec creature story that wasn't flushed out as well as it should, but that's not the issue. Q is interesting, a piece of film and NY society on film, and even with all it's 'faults' -- very little budget, elementary special effects and overacting to underacting...it's an entertaining film.
Fantastic Job by everyone
This was enjoyable entertainment, and a fantastic job done by everyone involved with this film. I can't speak too much on the DC vs. Marvel thing, I always liked Aquaman and saw him on par with Superman and Batman. I found him interesting BECAUSE he was part of the Sea. For years I heard rumors of a feature length film and was happy to finally see this one. It works!
What made the film first was the visuals. It's great to see, and I saw it in 3D. I will eat my hat if this team doesn't garner an Oscar nod, they deserve it. Then, there's Jason Momoa as Aquaman, and he fits the bill so much that you can't stop watching him. Aquaman has the difficult feat of being on land and sea, and Jason's portrayal gives you that struggle. And "that thing" about Aquaman that he can talk to the fish. He can. It was nice to see the beginnings of that.
Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Amber Herd, Wilem DaFoe and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II rounds it out great as an ensemble cast. And then there's James Wan, the director who made all this work - the actors, the special effects - what a wonderful triumph, once it got going, I could have watched more.
Aquaman is entertaining, it's family oriented and visually brings the undersea world to life.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Excting, heartbreaking and -- makes you think that even Heroes can't last forever.
Yes, this is a Marvel Superhero Movie. Many of the fan favorites are here. They are all doing what they are good at doing with their skill sets used for protecting the Universe. There are the fights, then the battle. Then they lose. They lose big. What? Yep. Why? Logically, how can they not? Logically, And that is the beauty of what is presented here. A bold move for beloved characters but it works.
These Super Hero characters are faced to confront the inevitable. How can they combat an egotistical maniac with power who thinks he knows what is good for the Universe as he sees it --and knows if he can capture the five stones that (basically) represent a corner of each existence to do so? Nothing will stop him. He will destroy family, friends, Nations, Worlds to get what he wants. And gets it. That..is Thanos. (What..? Who'd you think I was referring to? If so, then maybe that's why the film irritates some, and saddens others. It takes you from fiction to a possible reality and that makes you..think).
No plot? Really, it's the oldest plot in the world and presented here it is entertaining, but heartbreaking. Heroes win, don't they? Evil gets defeated, doesn't it within 2 1/2 hours with all your favorite Marvel Superheros at battle? This film starts with horror, and ends with it too. That is the beauty of this entry. Fans will walk away musing as things are left open (not unsolved). Fans also know that Thanos will not magically disappear and everything will turn out perfect. It didn't. It won't. Thanos is the part of the Marvel Universe you'd never expect to see in an entertainment film, but had to. And now is a good a time as any to do so.
Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Vision, Guardians of the Galaxy and all the characters that surround them are all here to battle to save the Universe. Universe. Big place. It was great to see them all on the screen, and as I've already mentioned, doing what they do best. The BEST part of it for me is seeing them act as teams to do so. But, they are battling a more than formidable entity no matter how much teamwork they try to overcome it.
Hope? Well, that I won't spoil for you -- but let me tell ya, the Marvel Universe is HUGE, and this film only touches the surface of what else can be introduced. And one part of the MCU I've been waiting for, is strongly hinted to arrive, and I cannot be more happier to see it (in the next installment, I'd bet big, yes!). Will there be a happier ending there, maybe? Um, not sure. But that what makes this a great film -more than just a summer blockbuster, more than just a bunch of Super Heroes in the screen mulling around the Universe. It actually makes you think.
Okay..it got me.
I went in with a preconceived notion of this film based on the trailers which I admit is something I need to stop doing. I am a fan of the original Saw - as it was an excellent concept for a horror film. Then came Saws upon Saws and I lost interest as it kept going through the Studio System "Money Grab" ploy. But then, this one came out, and while it had the same 'sorta' predictable elements - I waited until its cable debut to watch. And I grew interested as the story unfolded.
For me, this is not a bad installment, or a jump start into a new idea based on an old one. What was better for me was seeing Tobin Bell reprise the iconic role and not rely on the "Jigsaw" tag, but what started out as a good concept to begin with. No need to call him..Jigsaw. But please feel free to call imitators that if need be. And that is the point.
As I watched this I started thinking that the filmmakers were playing the audience for fools - a real big suspension of disbelief - to think that what inevitably happened to John, didn't. But I scored this high for the way the Speirig Brothers...actually didn't. So it got me there.
To be realistic, it comes down to what you are watching this franchise for...is it 'the games'? The equation of morals? The paybacks? Trying to figure out is this good or bad or somewhere in between? I find it's a bit of all of it and it comes together, even if it can be slightly predictable at this point. But this one had an ending that I didn't quite see coming in the way it did, and it made me checking this one out, more worthwhile than I would have thought.
It's a Cohen Brothers Film too - that's what you need to know going in.
Admission - I am a Cohen Brothers fan as I like the way they spin a tale. Nothing is ever simple. What you think you're seeing, you're not. What you believe is the story is - but told with questionable characters and very, very dark humor. And there is a mystery. Edge of your seat mystery actually. And quirkiness that can only be told this way by the Cohens. And coldblooded characters. And hate. And lies. And death. And...justice. Haven't seen a Cohen Brother's film (whether writing, directing or producing) without it. Suburbicon is right along those lines, and it is a very good film, and a very good directorial job by George Clooney.
It will strike a nerve for those who are seeking a political message rather than what it is doing, and that is telling a horrible story of a situation suburbia. Sure the film throws something out there, but it is a mere distraction from the real tale - one the Cohen brothers know how to tell, and tell well.
This is the story of the underbelly of Suburbia, where you are distracted by one thing, when the most horrific thing is happening right under your nose. Matt Damon and Julianne Moore are perfect 1950s suburban neighborhood replicas of the time. There is an adorable 1950s son, Nicky (played wonderfully by Noah Jupe) to whom I immediately was drawn to and as the film progresses, feel for.
But again, I digress. It's the distraction that makes the film work for me -and reading many of the reviews, the distraction n works because they never mention what the film is really about and --that, is what makes the Cohen's brilliant in their storytelling. How brilliant they are in taking the quirky and making it interestingly plausible, and how easy it is to distract from the real issue -- that is right in front of your face.
I'd also like to mention how Oscar Issac as the Insurance Adjuster is another 'bit' player in this film that absolutely makes the film for me even as short as his appearance may be. He is cast as the perfect Cohen Brothers insert -- and is there to drive the point of story distraction home. This is an amazing tale, makes the viewer wonder what is "the real problem" knowing that there never really is only one -- the Cohen's were very apt to present it to you multilayered. But were you distracted? I can see many were, and again, that is the beauty of this film.
The worst case of group ignorance ever!
My goodness, what a potentially good low-budget horror film that went south quickly. There are many reviews that mention trying to have a "suspension of disbelief" while watching to enjoy, and I have to agree. However, I cannot get that far with this. I mean, there is not way in Hades that no one could not see what this poor character is going through! Not friends, not the doctor, not lovers, not where she works...wow!
Najarra Townshend playing the title character lends decent acting to a bunch of unbelievable occurrences of character/characters in this story once she begins to deteriorate, and she does so rapidly. That part of this horror story does work well and creepy and disgustingly. Everything else, doesn't.
Najarra plays a lesbian (well, maybe, maybe not, she's confused-or at least I was trying to figure that out too) who drowns her sorrows at a party after fighting with her lesbian-lover, meets a mysterious man (who is out of focus so you never know who he really is) who spikes her drink and rapes her. The next day, she begins to display some very nasty symptoms. Watching her deteriorate is not for the faint of heart, but she IS deteriorating. She does all the right things - goes to the doctor, calls her employer, etc. but no one who sees her treats her like the walking disaster she is!! Granted, she tries to continue with her life, but she looks like crap and everyone around her treats her like 'well, it's not so bad-but please take care of it when you have time'. Even the physician, which really makes one think.
For me, I spent more time wondering about how bad her physician was once she began getting these weird symptoms than anything else that went on. I mean, she SAW all this and what does he do? "Get some over the counter creme". Really?!?! I had a time getting past that than all the things that happened because of it. Add on the self-centered oblivious mom, that you find out isn't really oblivious, but that she had to take care of her daughter during a difficult time and thinks this is it all over again - you sit and wonder, how much ignorance can these folks carry? Well, much - even if you try to suspend some of the actions of the characters. I just couldn't do it fully enough for this film. And the ending -- well, it wasn't very bad...it just could have been better given the circumstances leading up to it.
A Standout Film of The McMartin Preschool Trial of the 80s and 90s.
Let me begin by writing, one would hope not to be so close to many of the deemed sensational trials of the latter part of the 20th Century, - but I was one of those folks who got to be around two - The Menendez Brothers and this one, The McMartin Preschool Trial. One happened two blocks of where I was living at the time, the other a few blocks from where I worked. And this movie drama enactment was top notch for it's time.
There is no doubt about it, this was the most horrific thing I had ever heard of, and it was scary. It was scary because of the victims, the children and everything they were exposed to. I can write from first hand that this was a trying time in that area. No one was 100% in agreement with everything. Everyone had an opinion. People I was working with knew the accused and the accusers first hand. Those that lived in Manhattan Beach (and Hermosa and Redondo the adjacent beaches)absolutely had their views and you could NOT remove them from it. It was volatile. And the more the accusations came out, the more precarious it got. And this whole McMartin Preschool Trial...was almost a DECADE and 13 Million dollars of taxpayer of money (yep!) for acquittals ... and this HBO film hit the nail on the head.
This was well written, made your skin crawl, and that is how many were feeling. This did a great job of showing the jockeying between the children, the McMartins, the Attorneys, the child therapist, the teachers(!), the media (ugh!), the parents of the children. What I liked so much about this film --was it did NOT take sides, it presented it as it was, and the end still leaves you to...wonder. Make no mistake, this was real...this happened. And what happened...is more questions and accusations than answers.
HBO was starting to make its wonderful reputation of "HBO Films" diving into subject matter Networks were attempting to show but sugar-coated many because of Network Standards, HBO was being raw about their approaches. Actor Henry Thomas as Ray Buckey gives a standout performance. It is cold, chilling...scary. Actor Sada Thompson as the owner of the McMartin Preschool also takes you out of any comfortable place as you are wondering about the grandmother of Ray Buckey and her also as the mother of Peggy Buckey, Ray's mom portrayed by Actor Shirley Knight and it's a performance to behold). It was a family affair. James Woods gives another one of his best performances as Ray Buckey's Attorney Danny Davis against Mercedes Ruehl's spot-on performance as the Prosecuting Attorney Lael Rubin and this is something to watch --and keep in mind this is BEFORE the Menendez Trials and the OJ Simpson Trial in Los Angeles. This is how Los Angeles was...and this HBO film captures it's first case that (in my view) opens up a whole can of judicial worms to come).
The film shows also shows how the McMartin Preschool trial also became a web of mass hysteria and yes, 15 minutes of fame that ruined any real judicial hope of getting to the bottom of this. There were victims and they were the children (scared, abused, manipulated), and in this movie you will see that the child victims may have been victimized -- twice. This film does not display any easy answers (there really wasn't any) and you just can't leave it thinking there was a conclusion - the film is clear in stating there was not. Still isn't.
In 2017-2018 I am sure people notice that filmmakers are bringing these trials to cable/streaming/movies for this generation -- and they should because it is a not too distant past that no one has made a decent conclusion of. I know the McMartin Preschool Trial will be getting a re-do as well in the future. But before that, please watch this film first. Great performances, great writing, keeps you glued. Rent it, stream it -- as it is one of HBO's 10 best and as relevant today and it was in the 1980's. That is how good this is.
White Famous (2017)
Another...'this is how Hollywood Works' Show
After watching the first episode, I was ready to put it into the "stop wasting my time file" as I didn't find the main character's situation at all interesting --only because the premise has been done over and over and over again. The other reason for me is that when I "look" at this program starring Jay Pharoah, I am taken back to a film I absolutely loved from Robert Townshend called "Hollywood Shuffle". There was a scene in the movie where there was a casting for a film, and they were seeking "an Eddie Murphy-Type". This was because "Eddie Murphy" was "80s hot" and "bankable" then, and so that was what they wanted from budding African-American actor/comedians. NOt their individuality. In the audition room were actors all dressed up, mimicking, "Eddie Murphy" waiting to audition for the role. This is what "White Famous" reminds me of. And that is not a bad thing entirely, but hard to grasp for the main character in 2017.
This comedian wants to show how it would be to be "White Famous" defined as to be known and respected across the board (a cross-over artist) and get paid equally for it. This program, "White Famous" is not just for this African American comedian, but also 'the wish' for the people in his orbit trying to get him there, no matter what their racial background. It's the 'tag description' for ANYONE wishing to 'make it in Hollywood', and this show is letting the viewer know that's the "in-phase".
For this struggling comedian getting into acting in Hollywood, has his ideas, and they have theirs but the bottom line is both are seeking the fame and money in making this work. Is this a new premise? No. However to make it appealing to audiences will be the "likeability" of the characters. Jay Pharoah is at the decision-pinnacle of such a career, as we are all getting to know him, and are on the same journey as he juggles career, being a single dad, relationship whoa's and more.
For programs like this, the ultimate test of whether it works or not is if the viewer cares and roots for the subject to succeed. Currently, I am not getting a feeling either way. He's not very likable, but he isn't a horror either. His agent(s) aren't very interesting as they are stereotypical of Hollywood Agents and Manager and the Hollywood scene has been done over and over -- so I am not picking anything too interesting out of it above the norm in this show about them. I do somewhat like the "crazy-movie" producer/director played by Michael Rappaport as that character combines Hollywood's craziness into one ball as he too is looking to be "white famous". The fear is that this character needs to be taken in dribs-and-drabs as it is. More of a character like this would be overkill.
The relationship between his 'baby-mama' (and BTW, I dislike that phrase so much, it's a big turn off for me)and he isn't interesting beyond what is already established, and his comedy isn't making me stand up and cheer. As it has been said many times by other comedians -- 'stringing a bunch of curse words together for a laugh, isn't always funny'. I'm not familiar with his stand up, and this show doesn't quite move me to want to see it with any urgency -- meaning -- if I see it in passing, I may or may not stop to look.
There's some potential here, but I don't know if it will bring in enough viewer interest for people to want to witness it develop before it is canceled.
For Free TV...it's Okay
I had no idea who "The Inhumans" are, what MARVEL Comic series it came from, etc., etc...so this is just someone reviewing this with only the knowledge that it was from a comic book of MARVEL characters. The episodes I've seen so far is doing what it needs to: introducing you to the characters and conflict of these ..."Inhumans". It's not horribly bad as I expected from many of these posts I read on IMDb. But I think the advantage I had with it was to "binge watch" the episodes so far, and that helped.
In 'binge-watching' The Inhumans, it got my curiosity, and I wanted to know what was going on. I wanted to know the players and of course, "The Inhumans" and the conflicts, where they fit, and there are questions I am left with such as I don't think the King (Black Bolt) and Queen (Medusa) of Attilan had such a great Kingdom up there on the Moon. You do get early on that there are class struggles (people working in the mines who don't have any special powers, etc., etc.), entitlements of the Royal Family of Inhumans and those who want to pretend to be inhuman and that is before the conflicts of debating (or escaping, or...?) to Earth to be with 'humans'. Round and round it goes. However, this is very much to be related to the "times" (as I did have a hard time watching the street scene where Black Bolt was captured on Earth by the human police. Yikes).
And then there's the character of Ramsay Bolton...errr...Maximus. Well, therein lies another distraction in this series for me so far, The wonderful actor Iwan Rheon and yes, 'that character' has many similarities here. Maybe the casting people wanted that 'vibe', but every time Maximus sits on that Iron Throne..oh, darn there I go again! This could be a good thing or a bad thing, and I want to stick with this to find out.
My review (and criticisms) of The Inhumans also have a tad to do with...TV comic book series nostalgia. This series reminds me of the initial TV 'Batman' series of the 1960s. I am sure if it were done today, in the same way, there would be an uproar! I get it but get this: I was 'that audience' that TV series of the Caped Crusader was made for.
My older, very knowledgeable comic book weaned brothers? They were so angry at how Batman was developed for TV as they were the comic book, DC die-hard fans. They hated the "silly" portrayals of The Joker, The Penguin...etc., and absolutely hated the "wall climbing", the "made up villains" and a host of things.
Again, I knew nothing of those and was a child (okay, I was 4) who just enjoyed the weekly fun (yeah, and the merchandise that came with it I had to have!). The Inhumans kinda reminds me of another broadcast TV attempt to "walk the line" towards an updated updated comic book series made for TV, watered down but not so watered down to add in current relevance (well -- the 1960's Batman TV series did too with music and dance any even psychedelics of its time, it was the 60s...!). Although I wouldn't recommend this for 4,5 and 6-year-olds as it isn't as corny as the 60's Batman. Yes, the Inhumans had some corny in the pilot. But...it is broadcast TV, not cable, not streaming, etc., but 2017 broadcast TV with budgets getting lighter and lighter so the CGI and choreography aren't too polished --and the series shouldn't be deemed "horrible" because of it. However, by the 3rd installment, things got better. And that corny can either get more -- or fade away as the series continues. THe point is...I'll just stick around a bit more to find out.