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People Will Talk (1951)
Remember history to avoid making the mistakes over again
The understated theme of Trump's MAGA is to return to the days of McCarthyism, Jim Crow, and overall intense intolerance for opposing (particularly liberal) viewpoints. This movie is masterful at presenting the opposition in a forceful but non-confrontational way. Such as when Dr. Praetorius chides a nurse for her unsympathetic comments about Miss Higgins' pregnancy by reminding her of her profession and gender, and how they should make her more understanding.. Or when he's encouraging Miss Higgins to tell her story without judgement or rebuke.
The events of the investigation into his "earlier life" were telegraphed long in advance, and the outcome was a foregone conclusion, yet it was a satisfying scene anyway.
My favorite line however, is in the wake of the model train wreck, Dr. Praetorius argues with Prof. Barker about smashing things, and says "Everything isn't atoms", to which Barker replies, "Yes, it is."
I wonder how many people today knows that is the truth?
Thriller: Cousin Tundifer (1962)
All the start are for Sue Ane
This episode is chaff for the few scenes with Sue Ane Langdon. I've never seen her in a bad show (and yes, I saw her episode of Police Story :) ).
She has a natural charm and sexual energy.
The rest of this show was not very good. And the music during the time travel was maddening.
Good thing Sue Ane came to the rescue.
House of Cards (2013)
Everybody seems to agree on Season 6
I felt that the whole series wasn't all that great. There was so much hype that I had to watch (and my OCD wouldn't let me stop halfway :) ).
Any interesting storyline dissolved when the Underwoods took over the Oval Office. There was no next level for their ambition to take them.
And there were too many holes about the risks they took with no consequences. Much of that was too hard to suspend disbelief about.
But Season 6! It made the rest seem like the pinnacle of genius.
It would have come in last in a race against crippled snails. Slow and plodding. And why did everyone whisper all the time, even when they were the only people in the room? It had no logic at all. Why did Claire pretend to be crazy, to the point of nearly getting ousted, only to show up and fire the cabinet all at once? That didn't make her seem less crazy.
Why (and how) did she pretend to be manipulated and somehow turn the tables?
And the ending? What was that? I had to check to make sure it really was the last episode. She kills Doug in the Oval Office? There were better ways to get rid of him. And what about the Shepards? They were still after her. Or the journalists? Or the military? Or most of Congress and the Senate?
And why did nobody challenge that her baby was Frank's? It clearly wasn't.
So many idiotic loose threads with no logic as to why they were even there, much less not tied up.
Reminded me of a Lower East Side theater production
I liked this show from the start, but the last season or two has become a soap opera. Every crisis fades into another.
This episode has the death of a likable main character. But the scene where she dies is very staged. Like a small theater production where the actors stand still for dramatic effect.
While one inmate is going berserk, a guard doesn't notice he's crushing another inmate with his knee. She has no way to squirm out from under him or push him off. When everyone finally realizes what's happening, nobody gives any first aid at all. Nobody tries CPR. Then all guards make a circle around the dead inmate while all the other inmates are arranged around that circle. Everyone is still and silent.
There was nothing remotely realistic about that scene.
To top it off, the berserk inmate was supposed to be taken to the dreaded Psych ward (where unspeakable horrors occur), or even to the SHU (Solitary Housing Unit?). But no, she's back in her minimum security bunk in gen pop. This is the day after she beat another inmate senseless (at a sadistic guard's urging).
And speaking of minimum security, there are a lot of very hardened criminals who had committed extremely violent crimes. I doubt they'd be sent to such a lenient prison.
It's getting bad (and that ain't good)
Bad story. Bad acting. All wrapped up in horrible music that just won't stop.
I usually don't give up on a series, even when it's past its prime, but I might make an exception for this show. Especially if they continue to have multiple slo-mo scenes with the most awful repetitive music.
I had never watched Veronica Mars until I binged the whole thing over the last month. The last season was different, but it was from a streaming service instead of network TV. There's going to be a very limited audience for it.
I think the last season was OK. I don't want to judge how it could have been different. That said, some things were sort of tossed out to end the stories. Keith getting a miracle cure to dementia, the Senator having no repercussions to paying for a hit on his brother's fiancee's family, even though a xenophobic racist had the details. No consequences for the hitmen. Maddy selling a much sought after valuable ring (was there no insurance on the motel?). And of course, Logan.
These were all quick fixes that did not play very well. The network series didn't clean up its side stories like this in season finales. Even in season 3, which probably wasn't expected to be a series finale.
I was lucky to catch the movie around the time I was finishing season 3, so I've completed the Veronica Mars universe. If Hulu has a 5th season, I'll watch it.
Fear the Walking Dead: Channel 4 (2019)
What is going on behind the scenes?
Every so often, FTWD puts out an episode where you wonder if the producers are hoping that every viewer will turn it off midway and never watch another show, ever again.
This is one such episode.
The Twilight Zone (2019)
The creators of this reboot need to exhume Rod Serling, reanimate him, and apologize to him.
It's that bad.
I paid for 1 month of CBS All Access for my wife to watch another series. She wasn't interested in anything else. Since I have paid for it, I am watch a few other shows. This one kept coming to the top of the recommendations list.
It is convincing me that canceling CBS AA is the correct decision.
I've read a few reviews that agreed with my thoughts about how every crisis is secondary to the characters discussing their feelings non-stop. Or that seemingly Control was destroyed so it wasn't necessary to send Discovery into the future.
But into the future it went anyway. So my concerns there were what happens next? Since Burnham set the jump to coincide when her mother arrived in the future, then why would the mother have kept coming back with seemingly no knowledge of her daughter's existence in the future. Unless they are forking into multiple timelines.
And Burnham having to create the markers before she could jump to the future had too much of a Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure approach to fixing things up.
It was enjoyable to make fun of the silliness in a MST3K kind of way. So I increased my original rating from 3 to 4 stars.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
In a nutshell
This is a movie about a woman who didn't pay her exorcist.
So she was repossessed.
Is Archer still in a coma?
The last 3 seasons have been different from the rest of the show. First it was a film noir detective show, then a tropics based Indiana Jones vs Nazis adventure, and now a 1990s era sci-fi story.
In the season before all these stories, Archer was badly injured and left drowning in a pool.
I think these last 3 seasons are dreams he's having while in a coma.
Anyone else agree?
The Adding Machine (1969)
A great dramatic role for Phyllis Diller
When I was in high school in the early 70s, we studied The Adding Machine in an English class. For some reason, I remember that we focused on the scene where Mrs. Zero nags Mr. Zero mercilessly. We kept reading that scene over and over. A few months later, this movie aired on PBS. I was mesmerized by Ms. Diller's portrayal of Mrs. Zero, particularly that scene that had bored me to tears in English class. I had every word in her lines memorized. She brought the role to life.
It's too bad that she didn't get more dramatic roles. I understand that she was a concert pianist and was a trained singer, but her trademark laugh ruined her singing voice. What a shame.
The Walking Dead: The Storm (2019)
A mediocre end to a mediocre season
The show is officially out of ideas. All they've done for the last 3 seasons is recycle the plot where they fight some formidable enemy army. Be it the saviors or the whisperers, or that other group that came in between.
And "The Storm" was the season in an episode. Lots of speeches about how noble they all are and not much else.
And the storm itself. It sure seemed bad. And people wondered off at the risk of getting lost and freezing to death, but everybody was fine in the end. Nothing to worry about.
My experience with storms like that is that the next day, there's 3 or 4 feet of snow on the ground, not counting the drifts. But there was maybe 3 or 4 inches.
And the scene with Alpha getting whipped seemed to be happening in the summertime. What was that about?
Is Jack the most powerful being in the universe or not?
How long before Jack gets some wherewithall? Doesn't being the most powerful being in the universe give him a leg up on getting up to speed with the ways of the world?
I actually am writing about the death of this week's monster. I lived in California for a few years, and our house had giant jade plants flanking the front door. We had a frost where the temp went to the mid-20s for about 5 nights in a row. Those jade plants melted into piles of goo. It looked just like the monster. Except it took the plants a few weeks to dissolve.
That scene brought back memories.
Company Business (1991)
Simple, yet enjoyable
This isn't one of those elaborate spy movies with many twists and duplicitous characters. In fact, when you think a double cross is about to happen... it doesn't. There aren't a lot of characters that keep coming and going to keep track of.
Hackman and Baryshnikov are OK in their roles. They don't ham it up (too much) and keep a reasonable degree of seriousness of the fact they're "out in the cold" and will be probably be killed on sight by their respective spy organizations. I'd say this movie is about 60/40 comedy/drama.
I was disappointed in the ending. They've finally laundered the marked bills (maybe a bit too easily), but Grushenko (Baryshnikov) is wounded and they're stuck in a restaurant near the bottom of the Eiffel tower after having killed a CIA senior officer. Boyd (Hackman) talks about disappearing to the Seychelles with the laundered cash because it has no extradition. But they still have to get off the tower and out of Europe. Plus, I doubt the CIA and (remnants of) the KGB care much about extradition. Their biggest worry should be how to get across the street. Then the movie just ends. The voice mail left for the mysterious sweet toothed "Donald" seems to be the potential solution. But how? Was the jar of jellybeans supposed to be a clue? "Ronald" Reagan was known to like jellybeans, but he was out of the government and would be a very unlikely ally to a former Soviet operative.
Don't deny this truth
To those who think this didn't happen or can't happen again, wake up.
Look at the show named "Hate Thy Neighbour" where this terrorist mentality is exposed.
It's the not so secret meaning behind "MAGA".
The Last Man on Earth (1964)
I have to agree with the other 1 star reviews
I have a pretty high tolerance for bad movies, and this one put it to the test.
Others have commented about the bad writing, acting, pacing, continuity goofs so I'll just agree that they were spot on.
Plus, the living dead made no sense. Were they vampires or zombies? How come Ben Cortman is the only one of them who could talk? Granted, he didn't have much to say. And as far as I saw, they never hurt anybody. Probably not for a lack of trying, but Morgan and Ruth's tribe did a number on them.
And if Morgan had a theory that his blood could be a cure, why didn't he test it on his wife and daughter? Or test it in the lab where he worked? And at the end, why didn't he send Ruth out to explain to her group that he could offer them a permanent cure?
Plenty of other silly things, like he goes into a police station at night with no electricity but all the rooms are well lit.
About the best thing in this movie was watching the car switch between left and right hand drive.
Watchable, but flawed
Just finished binging on Travelers over the last few weeks. It's interesting that the episodes are enjoyable enough that it's no problem to watch several in one sitting without getting too bored. Some episodes are better than others, as you might expect.
One of the problems I kept having was the concept of a traveler being put in a person who was about to die. Fine. But then the person's body doesn't die, it's just overwritten by a person from the future who has very little understanding of the 21st century and far less knowledge of the host's life to that point.
This means that the traveler would walk right past people who the host knew very well. I would consider that to be a very likely occurrence. The show didn't delve into that flaw very much. Hardly at all, in fact.
The director should have arranged to have travelers immediately check into a service that would provide new identities and credentials, then ship them to other nations, very far away. To make it nearly impossible for them to accidentally run into any of the host's former acquaintances.
There were other nitpicky things I felt weren't great, like the director having real-time conversations with people 431 years in the past, or in mid-crisis, not giving important points, but rather waste time with unimportant information. That kind of thing... But hey, it's just a TV show.
A time capsule of 1935 cinematography
The thing that kept me interested in this movie was how clunky it is. Many of the actors are much too old for their characters, and they all seem to be clinging to their silent movie era acting style. They have long, over-emoted expressions which slows the pace to a crawl.
Some parts are very detailed as to make the viewer almost forget why the scene is happening. And the total non sequitur of the prosperous (meaning fat) Mayor's over the top luxurious dinner made no sense at all.
Much of the filming seemed to be done with very bad cameras. Out of focus, overly high contrast and much too dark to properly see what's happening on the screen.
But the strangest part was how they completely erased Scrooge's past. His lonely childhood in a boarding school, with his sister as his only friend. This is a very important explanation of why present day Scrooge is so angry and bitter. His beloved sister died in childbirth and he deeply resented his nephew because of it.
Still, it's worth watching to see an epoch of the evolution of film. Not much more.
Mary + Jane (2016)
Clever running gag with the restaurants
I know this review is very late, but I was at a party last week and I was reminded of this show. I couldn't remember the name until a few days later.
I liked this show. It wasn't always spot on, but it did better than the vast majority of shows on either network or cable channels.
I particularly liked the running restaurant gag. It was really a setup to give the characters a place to have a longish dialog. Most every episode, they would go to the newest trendy restaurant. The line was always down the street. But the restaurant concepts were very funny. One served nothing but dry toast (for $7). No spreads were allowed. Another restaurant made you bring your own plate to eat from. Another (named Shh) wouldn't allow the diners to talk.
It was a great parody on the millennial/hipster fashion trends.
Audrey doesn't get many of the zingers but Megyn Price is expert at delivering them. At breakfast in the diner, Jeff is picking his teeth with the edge of a sugar packet. He's about to put the packet back in the holder and Audrey warns him that she will divorce him if he does that. He tries again and she shoots daggers from her eyes and says "I.divorce.you.". He puts the packet in his pocket and says "You won". She flashes another withering expression and says, "Did I?".