I am a big fan of the Ian McEwen novella and even though I am a great admirer of the three leads, I felt they were all miscast. In the book, Robert is charming and likable but with Walden, there's a sense right away that this guy is "off". And Harold Pinter is a brilliant playwright & has written some very good films, but this is not one of them. And Paul Schrader is an amazing filmmaker (I'm a huge fan of his Patty Hearst movie and his recent First Reformed w/ Ethan Hawke) but everything feels heavy handed and by rote so that when the reveal comes, it's like "Yeah, okay" as opposed to the true page turner the book was.
Vera Drake (2004)Towering Lead Performance In A Powerful, Sad film
1 August 2019Warning: Spoilers
Mike Leigh and his fascinating way of making films is not for everyone - and he has certainly made some movies that I am not crazy about, but he has also made films that I love, that wow me with their simplicity, honesty and amazing performances. Leigh always gets the most out of his actors. But films like LIFE IS SWEET and SECRET AND LIES are some of my favorites and VERA DRAKE can be added to that list. VERA DRAKE is very sad but a searing, honest look at the working class in 1950 London. Good, hard working simple people who just a roof over their head, a warm bed and a nice cuppa - maybe a few biscuits. And Imelda Staunton's performance is truly remarkable and she got a well deserved Oscar nomination for this. She is so bright eyed and happy through much of the film but once the police show up and she realizes she is in serious trouble - you see her internal light go out. It's a stunning piece of acting - without a word - Leigh's camera just stays on her face and fear and regret consume her soul. And as you watch her get smaller and smaller and during the hearings and the trail, she see her break. It's truly an amazing piece of acting - in fact, everyone in the cast is excellent but Staunton gives one of the best tragic performances I've ever seen.
Bootleggers (1974)BOOTLEGGERS - Good Ol' Fun With A Terrific Paul Koslo
18 January 2019
I saw this in the theatre when I was 13 and I loved it! Plus it was when the actor Paul Koslo was in a groove - I saw him in The Omega Man, Mr. Majestyk and then Bootleggers - all around the same time. So I was very aware of him and he's terrific in this as is Slim Pickens and a very young Jacklyn Smith! Good regional filmmaking.
Steve McQueen: American Icon (2017)Very Incomplete Documentary
12 March 2018
As others have mentioned, this documentary just feels "off" - for real film buffs - they barely cover the films and the actual artists who helped him, discovered him - three separate times they just refer to "the director" as opposed to mention John Sturges by name. Sturges - the guy who cast him in a small role in the forgettable NEVER SO FEW but instantly saw the star potential - well, it was surges who then cast him in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and then THE GREAT ESCAPE. So to not even mention Sturges by name is just lazy - McQueen would have had no career without Sturges. And I know McQueen loved cars and motorcycles but they spend more time on fast cars than they do his films. So it's really not what it claims to be. If you nothing about the actor, I'm sure you'll learn about him and enjoy it but it is rather lame and thin when it comes to a true reveal of the man.
Extraordinary Mission (2017)Great Stunts, Explosions & but Character Study, too.
4 March 2018
This action film but not be for everyone because by many other action standards it could be considered slow. But my movie group liked it - they take time with the characters - they explore their backstories, there are quite a few characters to follow but hang in there. Because there are some set action pieces that are gangbusters. In fact whoever did the main motorcycle stunts and car crashes deserves high praise. Some real stunning stunts - especially when the guy rides his motorcycle from one building to another! Plot wise you've seen it all before - cop goes deep undercover as he tries to bring down vicious drug cartel, but it's handled well and the acting is pretty good. So we recommend EXTRAORDINARY MISSION for the action & stunts!!
Garage Sale Mystery: The Beach Murder (2017 TV Movie)Ho Hum
13 February 2018
The hardest thing to deal with in this TV movie mystery is what Lori Loughlin has done to her face. It's sad. She's obviously had plastic surgery but she just looks IRONED. Her face has NO wrinkles but no expression either! Just this shiny plastic sheen. I know it is really hard for actresses once the hit their 40's, let alone their fifties, but there's nothing wrong with some wrinkles and looking your age. Loughlin is fine in the lead role but I did find her "frozen face" distracting.
Mighty Med (2013–2015)Well Written With Terrific Cast
24 June 2014
MIGHTY MED is my two kids' favorite new show! My wife and I will watch it with them sometimes (we all like super hero movies). The show is very well done. The cast is full of exciting young talent and there are jokes for young and old! The zany head of the hospital is hilarious! Plus the action and special effects look great! The kid from Ant Farm has really grown and has great timing. And the kid from GLC is perfect playing off of him. My son loves the idiot clerks who work at the comic book store. My daughter loves the female super hero who lost her powers. Please bring it back, Disney! We love it! Our DVR is set for every single episode! Go Mighty Med!
Warm Bodies (2013)Clever Twist On Genre
16 November 2013
WARM BODIES marketing campaign probably hurt it cuz you couldn't tell if it was a romantic comedy WITh zombies or a zombie movie WITH comedy. But we finally watched it and I thought it was very clever and funny. Hoult & Palmer were terrific. The opening monologue was hilarious and immediately showed how funny sharing the inner thoughts of a zombie would be. LOVED that John Malkovich was the militaristic leader. Haven't liked most of the other films Jonathan Levine has made but this was very well done. Romeo & Juliet with a BITE! They satirized everything from makeover montages, sidekicks, zombie folklore, etc. And the music used throughout was GREAT! Bravo! Hoult has really grown up since being the little kid in ABOUT A BOY!
Pacific Rim (2013)Giant Monsters/Giant Robots/Giant Fun
18 July 2013
I guess I was just in the mood for a Giant Monsters/Giant Robots movie and didn't even know it. PACIFIC RIM has its faults but overall, it packs a punch! Good fun entertainment. I loved the way the monsters looked and overall, I thought the special effects were excellent. Del Toro is such a talented director - I loved PAN'S LABYRINTH as well his early underrated vampire flick KRONOS. The acting is rather uneven in this film - the lead guy seemed a bit dead eyed and stiff but I loved the Asian actress from BABEL. The wacky scientists seemed to be in a different movie but I loved their story line. I can see how this might not be everyone's cup of tea but I really enjoyed it.
Photographic Memory (2011)Father & Son
26 May 2013
I am a big fan of Ross McElwee's work - SHERMAN'S MARCH is brilliant and I've seen & enjoyed all of his other documentaries. While recently sick & laid up in bed, I was thrilled to discover this on Netflix. While I enjoyed it, the film is so slight, so scattered that in the long run one feels like "meh". I know his son is 21 and that is a tough age but Adrian comes off rather spoiled and in fact, I couldn't help but feel that the main reason Ross went back to France was to just get away from his surly,pampered texting son. There are nice moments about memory & youth & getting old but this is definitely the weakest entry in his body of work. (Just play Cat Stevens' Father & Son instead).....
Girls (2012–2017)GIRLS - Overrated
19 March 2013
I admired Lena Dunham when she had her success with TINY FURNITURE - I didn't like the movie, but I was impressed she wrote,directed and starred in her little indie and got such amazing press for it. Good for her - but now with GIRLS - again, huge success but everything that left me cold in her film does the same with her HBO series. First off, I don't think Dunham is that good of an actress - she has this sing song manner that I find irritating and as a writer - I find that she is kind of lazy - it seems like when she gets stuck in writing a scene and doesn't know what to do - she'll just write in an awkward, humiliating sex scene and boom - wow - it's like life man! Yes, I know things like this happen in life and there are girls and boys like this in life, but that doesn't make it entertainment. There's also child rape and animal cruelty but that doesn't mean it should be a series - hey wait a minute!!! But seriously, Dunham seems to think she can just write something shocking or vulgar and pass it off as insight. The show is incredibly overrated to me - I find the emperor has no clothes! Literally!
The Sarah Silverman Program. (2007–2010)Really Wrong and Really Funny
5 February 2012
This show is not for everyone. It is insensitive and rude and harsh and mean but it is brilliantly written, savagely funny and her lead character is a great satire of selfish and narcissistic people.Silverman is so good at playing this kind of person. She loves to really go as far out there as one can and really pushing the envelope - whether its AIDS, sick kids, being gay, etc. The supporting cast is strong - the gay couple next door really make me laugh - and the Offficer Jay character is also funny (he was a regular on the fantastic Mr. Show). The fist season of this show is really super funny. The second season wasn't as good and you could tell they were running out of steam. Hats off to Comedy Central for putting on to begin with.
The Super (1972– )Good Show
3 February 2012
I remember this show as well. THE SUPER was funny and led by the supremely talented character Richard Castellano. He would also try sitcoms again with Joe & Sons (I believe that one had Jerry Stiller has his sidekick). But this one had Bruno Kirby as his son and they played well off of each other. As they mention on this page, Kirby would go on to play Castellano's infamous GODFATHER character, Clemenza, in the flashback sequences in GODFATHER 2. This show had a good cast and good writing and embraced the blue collar people in the urban cities. But soon, cosmopolitan settings and Love Boat and such were big and people wanted to "escape." I personally like these kinds of shows and much later down the line, ROSEANNE came on and showed people truly living paycheck to paycheck.
Paper Man (1971 TV Movie)Well Done Thriller
15 January 2012
PAPER MAN was ahead of its time. A computer system ends up taking control over a scam a group of college students start with a stolen credit card. The movie is well acted and well written. Dean Stockwell is very good as the computer expert who first goes along with the con. Of course, for 1971, all the computer stuff is incredibly dated. The "computer" is actually two rooms full of equipment with flashing lights and reel and reel tape, computer cards, etc. Dean Stockwell even has to explain that he is "logging in". So, the dated computer aspect just makes it even more fun but the plot works. It's fun. It's well directed too. Check it out.
The Freeway Maniac (1989)He's A Maniac, A Maniac.....
27 September 2011
Wow - this film is fun. Inept in every way - our group just LAUGHED at everything. The acting is horrid - the filmmaking is terrible, there are some decent stunts but the script sounds like it was written by drunk 7th graders trying to write a slasher film. The film wastes no time. A little boy kills his slutty mom and her lover with a giant fake knife. And then of course he's put in the nuthouse, where I guess he had a personal trainer and access to a 24 hour gym and a personal hair stylist. And this escaped maniac justa starts killin'. And one bimbo gets away and he must have her - he must kill her. And of course she is cast in a sci-fi film (where the auditions are held in a school auditorium). And the maniac follows her to the desert where they are making the film and starts picking off people one by one. (too bad he didn't strangle the real director of the film). The scene where he kills a rattlesnake and then "eats" it is hysterical. The quickly made prop looks like a Snake Sub - he is so clearly eating bread that has been covered in green food coloring. Actually Rural Dirt Road Maniac is more accurate.
One of the Funniest Ones Yet!
16 September 2011
This episode tonight was one of the funniest Ant Farms yet. Rain, Snow in the hallways! Skidmore wont pay to fix it. Lexi lies to win a beauty crown. Cam agrees to help her dressing up as old guy. Gibson is fired to make room in the budget to pay for new heating system. The Ants have a webathon to raise money to save Gibson and this is when the episode got really funny! Olive as Ime Fraud was hilarious. One of the best things they had her do yet! China playing the water glasses! Skidmore pretending to call in. Fletcher getting yelled at for his ideas. Hysterical!!!!! All the weird Gibson jokes were good. But the best was when all the ants dressed up as Gibson. LOL!
So Funny and Silly
9 September 2011
This is one of our favorite episodes of ANT FARM. They really found Olive's voice and she is hilarious in this episode. I love how clueless she is about bugging China's brother. China and Olive are the best thing in this episode though. They r believable as good friends and I loved how she tricks her into coming to the school at night. (Pin the Tail on the donkey !!! LOL!!!) Fletcher's story with the mean Principal was also funny. When Olive lists all the things she is afraid of, we laughed so hard. My sister wrote the list down and has it up on her wall. A haunted locker is a good idea. Trying to get someone to move away from your locker is an even better idea. And China and Olive playing games in the locker as they wait was really funny. Ant Farm rocks!
Paul (2011)Funny Ride
20 August 2011
I am a big fan of Pegg & Frost - SPACED and SHAUN OF THE DEAD are amazing pieces of comedy. And even though HOT FUZZ has some funny moments - its kind of a mess. And when I first watched PAUL, I enjoyed it but thought the beginning was rather slow and forced. But I watched it for a second time because my wife hadnt seen it and I really enjoyed it much more the second time. Pegg and Frost have such great rapport and chemistry and the film is full of terrific actors - Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Jason Bateman, etc. The film pokes a lot of fun at ET and other sci-fi alien films. I really liked the Wiig character and that she was a repressed woman trapped at a RV park by a crazy religious father. As she tasted freedom for the first time with the guys, she tries to make up for last time w/ cursing and partying. Some nice cameos by Jeffrey Tambor, Jane Lynch and also Sigourney Weaver. This isn't quite as clever as SHAUN but it is fun and exciting. Well done, mates.
I Saw the Devil (2010)Brutal & Brilliant
14 August 2011Warning: Spoilers
I SAW THE DEVIL is a brutal, bloody, shocking and very effective crime drama. A psychopath has killed many young girls and when one of them turns out to be the pregnant fiancé of a government agent - the agent takes matter into his own hands to track down the killer and make him pay. Now in many American movies, the hero would spend the whole movie tracking the guy down then finally have him cornered on the roof of a skyscraper or the edge of waterfall, etc and then he'd say a corny quip and blow the guy away. But in this amazing Korean film, the agent finds the killer early on and injures him badly and then says "this is just the beginning" - planting in this killer's mind the fear that he will come back for him - he doesn't know how or when. The psychological aspect of the hunter and the hunted is very powerful and the performances are incredible. One of the best actors of the planet (Min-sik Choi) who was so brilliant as the lead in OLD BOY, is once again, fantastic as the twisted killer. This movie might not be for everyone - the camera never flinches from any brutality and violence. But the under the surface sorrow and pain of the agent carries the emotional wallop that punches the viewer at the very end.
Battle Los Angeles (2011)I'm A Veterinarian
4 August 2011
BATTLE LOS ANGELES has some things going for it - first off, you do get see most of L.A. in smoldering flames overrun by high tech alien killing machines, awesome battle scenes and...that's about it. But if you don't mind every war movie cliché there is just laid out like on a bulletin board, then you will probably enjoy it. Eckhart, a good actor, does what he can with what he has to work with, but heck - I'm sure he needed a paycheck and probably had some fun playing G.I. Joe. The opening is just badly written "pipe" where we quickly learn about all the one dimensional walking clichés who will quickly become alien chowder. But once the attack happens, it is pretty brisk and there are some well shot battles and action scenes. I'm A Veterinarian is one of the best lines in the movie - in a jail when they find the first wounded alien and wonder how they can possibly understand this foreign living thing, a woman civilian trapped in the jailhouse smiles and says, I'm a veterinarian - and then helps autopsy it. Of course you're a veterinarian! Sheesh. But its a fun film to watch collapsed on yr sofa after a long day.
Rubber (2010)Different For The Sake Of Just Being Different
26 July 2011
RUBBER sounds much more interesting then it really is. Like many comments here, I agree that I expected to like it. Film is a great medium to just say "Screw it - let's shake things up." But aside from the tire being able to destroy things, there is nothing that unique about the movie. And the opening - which hits you over the head to set up the "no reason" theme of the script - just does not work. The actor is not very good who delivers his monologue to the camera and also - some of the examples he uses of other famous movies that have things happen for "no reason" fails miserably with the Pianist - he asks "why does he hide?" "No reason." Uh - no. Sorry. he's hiding from the Nazis who want to kill him. That is a damn good reason to hide. The film is well shot but that's about it. The concept, the script, it's all a mess. I think this French director had too many long lunches with too many glasses of wine as he conceived this. Maybe you do need to be drunk to like this. But I sure didn't.
A.N.T. Farm (2011–2014)Really Funny
18 July 2011
ANT FARM is a new show on Disney and it is really funny. What I like about it is that is just straight forward jokes. It is just trying to be funny and they have a great cast that knows how to play the humor. I love the theme song and the lead girl is super talented. But I like how they have not been cramming songs down the viewer's throat every episode. Olive and Fletcher are really funny and how they play off of everyone else. Lexi, Angus, Paisley are funny too. In the adults, I like how mean Principal is and Gibson is an idiot but he really makes me laugh. In the pilot I was not so sure about the brother. But he was super funny in the haunted locker episode. Hi, Locker Neighbor! Yes, I would want Olive to move as well. I now never miss an episode - DVR'd for Friday night!
The Last Days of Pompeii (1935)Entertaining Guys In Togas Disaster Movie
12 June 2011
POMPEI is a lot of fun - well made, some good acting and the sets and the special effects are pretty impressive for its time. GLADIATOR has a lot of the same plot points. A man starts to fight for money to save his ill wife. When tragedy ensues, he throws himself into arena fighting and becomes a legend. (Of course, there's a smoking volcano behind them at all times - reminding us that all of this will soon be gone.) There's definitely some cheese in the film - some hokey dialogue, silly costumes, but there are times when the film has some real grit. Willis O'Brien who did all the special effects for the classic KING KONG does the effects here. The destruction of the city has some effective moments and a few stunts that are very well done. Basil Rathbone chews up the scenery as Pontius Pilate and yes, there's even a cameo from the big J.C. himself.
Twin Dragon Encounter (1986)See, They're Twins & Their Twin Mustaches Mean Business!
28 March 2011
What fun. My Bad Movie group is constantly amazed when we can uncover a whole nother genre and/or filmmakers and the McNamara Twins are da bomb! Obviously very accomplished martial artists - they decided why not try and be action film stars as well - the heck with Van Damme or Chuck Norris. We're REAL identical twins! That's our gimmick, but sadly neither one of the twins can act. At ALL! One is dull and the other one is duller. Their mustaches give better performances than they do. We were howling at the horrible editing, terrible acting and cheesy dialogue. There'a great scene where one of the bad guys has once again snatched one of their girlfriends and is holding her around the neck. One of the twins has a crossbow and obviously if they really had a stunt coordinator, they could stage a scene where the arrow would take out the guy - just missing the girl by inches, but nope we cant possibly pull that off - so suddenly the bad guy lets go of the girls' neck with one hand and places it against a tree. Like - here - try and hit my flattened hand on this large tree - here's a target, Mr. Crossbow Hero - so the twin shoots his hand with an arrow - the bad guy pulls out the arrow and then....runs away. Yep. That's it. End of showdown. Plus the bad guy has a blond mohawk and always has a REAL short cigar in his mouth and his voice sounds like he's auditioning for Bluto in the Popeye cartoons. We loved this movie - for all the wrong/right reasons!!
Scary Hair (2005)Wigged Out!
13 February 2011
The Wig is a well made, creepy horror drama from South Korea. I can see why many people might find it slow or hard to follow, but if you do - god forbid - pay attention, the complex plot does work. There are also many scenes that pack a wallop. It is beautifully shot, well acted and has an effective score. There is one shocking scene in a traffic tunnel that is particularly well done. If you stay with it, it comes together. It is sad, scary and creepy and some of the shocks and gore are exceptional. The two lead actresses are lovely and give terrific performances. And yes, long black hair is scary. You may never go in a wig store again!!! :)