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McCartney 3,2,1

Conversation for the ages...
One of the greatest music producers interviews and converses with maybe the greatest living musician/writer. A lot of Paul's stories have been told before, but some of them are new and some of the old ones are presented in new and fresh ways. One of my favorite moments is in episode one when Paul is talking about the Beatles creating Sgt. Pepper as a response to the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. But the way it's told here, and the way the music is edited in- wow, the impact is so different and you can almost feel Brian Wilson die a little inside when the opening track starts to play. And hearing other songs stripped down- the isolated bass part to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" - wow. Paul was so ahead of his time as a bass player. I love this series so far and can't wait to see the rest of it.

The Tomorrow War

5/10 for all that money they spent...
There's no denying that this is a high budget sci-fi thriller with lots of action, amazing special effects, and a great cast. I give it five out of 10 stars for that. But gosh this movie is just so stupid. Story really does matter. I'd rather watch a really great story on a low budget (i.e. Memento) than one more brainless, big- budget action/adventure film. I mean, how much does a good script actually cost? It's such a small part of the budget. There are so many ways the story could've gone that would've been so much better, and even with all the adventure and action, there were still times I found myself bored. Can't we have big budget with a great story? Can we have both? Please?

Tales from the Loop

Excellent first season, but want to see more of...
Simon Stålenhag's concepts. I've been a huge fan of Simon's art for several years and was so excited to hear about a series in development. The production designers did an amazing job of capturing the feel of his art. In the first episode alone, the robots, the furniture, the lamps, the cars, the clothes - even Cole's jacket - feel like they were lifted right out of Simon's paintings. My only complaint is that the show, thus far, doesn't capture the scale of some of Simon's work. I'd love to see more of the abandoned machinery, buildings and giant robots that give his work such a unique feel. I'd love to see the show explore the backstory of the world he usually paints. Where did that technology come from? What was the technology used for? That said, the show's stories are great and I can't wait for more. I'm sure there are those who feel it's a little too slow, but the sometimes meandering feel of the stories is perfect for the world that Simon has created. Loved it and can't wait for season two.

Tin Star

Brilliant. Even Season 2.
Tim Roth is brilliant. The more his character unwinds, the more despicable he becomes, the more fun it is to watch. The storytelling is unique and original, requiring your full attention at times to understand what's going on. It expands way beyond the original premise and reveals a deep, dark past that better informs Roth's character. And there is tons of dark humor. Unlike others, I found season 2 to be amazing. The personal conflicts with his wife, daughter, coworkers, and the sect/colony are compelling and heartbreaking. And the finale of season 2 had me on the edge of my seat - it was gut-wrenching. Can't wait for season 3.

Terminator: Dark Fate

The death nail of any action film: It's boring.
The Terminator franchise was one of my favorites. I love time travel, the apocalypse, etc. and the first three -maybe 4 - movies work for me. Genisys was a betrayal of all that came before and violated the continuity of the time line. This movie... sigh. First, it has an obvious social agenda- feminism - SJW - pro immigration - I don't want my action movies to preach at me. Just blow stuff up. Next, there are long stretches in this movie where nothing happens and I was bored to death. I was actually checking my watch hoping it would end. There's also too much fighting. Yeah, we get it already. You can't kill this thing with conventional means, so stop trying, already. The futility is exhausting. And from a production stand point, the movie is visually dark. It's actually hard to see what is happening sometimes because everything is so dark. Arnie and Linda mailed in their performances. And there's the total ignorance of everything that came before. Hey- you don't like where the story went after T2? Then fix ti from where we are. Don't completely ignore the timeline. Ignore Genisys- yes, but pick up after Salvation. Show us the discovery of the time displacement lab. Well, on second thought, just leave it alone now. It's broken beyond repair.


Wow. A new twist on time travel.
"Loop" is a Hungarian film that you must watch in its original language with sub-titles. It's very well paced, filmed, and acted, with some great editing. Long story short, a drug runner ends up with multiple opportunities to save his pregnant girlfriend from being hit by a car. But this isn't your typical time loop movie. There's a real twist here. The writers are brilliant in the way they present the "loop." I've never seen this before and it was refreshing and exciting. I was on the edge of my seat, trying to keep track of what the he** was happening and the ending was thrilling. Future and past take on new meanings. Big kudos to these filmmakers.

The Meg

Good Summer Fun, but that's all.
Let's face it: no one lining up to see a movie called "The Meg" that is a blatant "Jaws" -inspired ripoff is expecting an award-worthy film. I mean, no knock on Jason Statham, but can you really expect a critically-acclaimed film with him attached as the star? So, I'm not entirely sure what people were expecting. The ultra-low reviews are uncalled for. This is a fun film with lots of humor, jump scares, etc. and it leaves you with that same pit-in-the-stomach fear (endless, bottomless black sea that can hide anything until it's upon you) that most films of this genre do. The acting here is adequate. I think the producers were smart to include Asian cast members to appeal to the Asian market. They are all excellent and bring an almost "Godzilla" - like element to the film. The CGI and special effects are decent enough. That technology has come a long way and you've got to be particularly knit-picky to even notice it. The story is a little lacking, but apparently sone of it was made-up on the fly. In the end, you get a half-decent Jason Statham movie about a big-a** shark. I watched it with my son, and in spite of our shared apprehension, we enjoyed it. We laughed, we jumped; there was one point my son pulled his legs up on the couch... Worth the watch if you're into the concept. Just don't expect too much.

The Gathering, Part II

Sadly Misses
The original "The Gathering," was a heart-warming and heart-wrenching film that demonstrated how love should triumph over all things: our pride, our ideals, etc. The performances there are fantastic in the original- particularly that of Ed Asner who is missing from this cast. It's a sad attempt to recapture the magic of that first film. As such, it's a huge disappointment - nothing more than a forgettable episode of Love Boat.


It's clear from the bad reviews that few have the patience or good taste to appreciate this great work. Well paced, superbly acted with clever writing, and a unique directorial style. And the soundtrack is awesome. I'm hoping I can buy the soundtrack.

The Titan

Average sci-didn't film with original premise
Ignore all the hate. Decent film with interesting premise. Well acted. Script might have been better, but this movie is far better than the 1 and 2 star ratings it's getting.

Taking Earth

No excuses: Bad film is bad film.
When a movie isn't very good, it just isn't very good. When you rate a film higher than it should be rated because a) it was made by your friends, b) it was done on a really low budget, c) it was made in a country where they usually don't make movies, d) gosh, they really tried hard, etc. then you're not being honest. "It's good for what it is" doesn't make it good. This movie isn't very good. Yes, the cinematography, at times, is the best part of this film. Some of the CGI is passable. One or two actors were OK, at times. Sadly the majority of this film comes off as amateurish and juvenile. The acting is high-school drama-ish. The script feels like it was written by a teenager. It's derivative of so many other films, in particular, "I am No. 4." The music isn't terrible, but it's placed inappropriately throughout the film. And the pacing, the timing, the editing... it's laborious.The romances were entirely unnecessary, and the film shifts focus so many times that it's hard to know what it's about. I think the film was hurt most by a lack of a consistent production design. It's all over the place and lacks continuity in look and feel. I think, as a project, it's a good first attempt by young film-makers, but it fails to stand up with serious, professional productions. If you take the time to watch it, (I saw it for free on Netflix) be prepared and don't expect much.

Love & Teleportation

Quirky Indie film short on craft, big on story.
The moment I saw the titles, I wasn't expecting too much. There are a lot of things in this film that reek of low budget and inferior craftsmanship. The acting is adequate, although strained at times. The special effects are sufficient, though not mind-blowing by any means. There are times when the story drags a little. All of that said, though, there are some bright spots. Robin DeMarco is really strong as the love interest, and the loan shark's thugs are pretty good, too, if not a little stereotyped. What really shines here is the story. In the end, it turns out to be more than you expected and there is a pretty decent twist a the end that I honestly didn't see coming. This isn't a big-budget sci-fi, but the film makers did a good job of making a compelling story and entertaining film with what they had. It's definitely worth the watch if you know what your going into.


Great thriller with a classic Bad Guy
Step aside Darth Vader. Meet the new best movie villain ever, Moke. Villain Moke is right up there with Vader, the Kurgin, and other great movie villains. For Dar Robinson's performance as Moke, alone, this movie is a must-see. Burt plays Stick, a fresh-out-of-prison con trying to make over his life. He gets unwillingly sucked back into the underworld and has to fight to survive. Dar Robinson, stuntman extraordinaire, puts in a fantastic performance as Moke- an albino hit-man who has it in for Stick. There are some amazing scenes in this movie, and I think it may be one of Burt's best performances- if not the best.

The Apocalypse

Worst movie, ever.
Oh brother. This is a real stinker. I don't even have words to describe how bad it is. All right, let me break it down: Acting: Bad. Screenplay: Bad. Direction: Bad. Cinematography: Bad. Special Effects: Pathetic. Sound and Foley Work: Horrific. If I could give it less than a 1, I would. I've seen every bad "Christian" end times film there is, and most of them are stellar compared to this one. Even "Left Behind" (which I think I gave a very generous 3 or 4 our of 10 to) is a masterpiece compared to this drivel. Avoid this film at all cost. I know most reviewers here have given it a 1 or a very generous 2- trust them. DO NOT trust the guy who gave it a good review. He probably worked for the production.


Madison: Insert Sport Here
I really like Jim Caveizel and I really wanted to like this movie. But as it went on, even though it is supposedly based on real events, I found the story to be predictable and very unoriginal. All the classic elements of the underdog sports figure story are present: the semi-evil rival, the misunderstanding wife, the idolizing son, the driven hero, the supporting townsfolk, and all the tragedy and obstacles that must be overcome. I don't know anything about boat racing, but as the film went on, one could easily have inserted any sport and still had the same story. I'm sure that the original story was worthy of telling, but I find it hard to believe that the original story was as formulaic as this script was. I'd have to say the producers did the memory of these events a disservice in the writing.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Chase movie with eye candy...nothing more.
I just watched this film again last night - right after I watched the last 20 minutes of "The Blues Brothers." I could have sworn I was watching the same movie- a chase movie. Lots of chasing and crashing and so on. Yes, the original has that component to it, but the heart and soul of the first film is the love story which is totally lacking from this film. There are moments in the first film that are terrifying. Nothing about this second installment impacted me in the same way. The suspense just wasn't there. It's also hard for me to care about any of the characters. Furlong's debut performance is two-dimensional: cocky and arrogant or screaming and whining. Arnold is much better as the cold-hearted villain- a element of the story that Robert Patrick's character, the T1000 falls short of delivering; and a twisted Sarah Connor that has little or no resemblance of the original character from "The Terminator." The dialog throughout the movie is corny. Trying to humanize the Terminator machine is ridiculous. ("Now I know why you cry." ugh.) There is no denying that the movie has amazing special effects- though dated now- and that the chase/action scenes are ground-breaking. But to me, the things that make a movie great are well-developed characters and a story I care about. I own this film, and think it's a fair sequel. But it is hardly the masterpiece that many make it out to be.

Mission: Impossible: Pilot
Episode 1, Season 1

Strong kick-off.
The imminent use of atomic weapons at the hands of a South-American despot seems a bit far-fetched, but it sets the tone for the import of the IMF's missions. Straight out of the gate, the format is established with leader Dan Briggs (Stephen Hill) getting his orders from a disintegrating LP and then choosing his agents from the leather-bound IMF agent portfolio. (I remember, as a kid, I always thought those first few minutes of every episode were awesome.) Martin Landou as Rollin Hand, master of disguise, establishes the series soon-to-be-famous motif of impersonations. Barnier Collier, played by Greg Morris, is the original McGyver. His gadgets and tricks, a bit underplayed in this pilot episode, always added to the IMF team's trickery in an interesting way. We're also introduced to series regulars, Barbara Bain and Peter Lupus, one of only two actors (Greg Morris) who were with the series entire run. The great Wally Cox makes his only series appearance in the pilot as a safe-cracker. While not one of the series strongest episodes, it was suspenseful and compelling enough to make you want to see more. The potential for where the stories could go was limitless.

Mission: Impossible: Wheels
Episode 7, Season 1

Great appearances by...
In this episode, we find our agents trying to keep a potential despot from rigging an election. They are not charged with altering the outcome, but with keeping the outcome honest by undoing the mechanisms put in place by the corrupt candidate, played by Mark Lenard. We also see Percy Rodriguez as the candidate's puppet police captain. His presence is imposing and he adds a bit of dread for how he might discover our agents whenever he is on screen. The suspense is added to in this episode as Barney, the only agent capable of manipulating the machines to accurately report the vote, is shot and it is uncertain as to whether or not he can complete the mission. Lenard and Rodriguez - both Star Trek alumni as well - are great as the diabolic duo in this installment. For me, the idea that the IMF agents were charged with keeping the election honest - even if it meant the less-favored party might win - was compelling.

Hell's Angels

Incredible Aerial Fight Scenes
For the most part, I could do without all the melodrama and the hackneyed acting i this film. The leads are barely watchable and the overacting almost embarrassing. But when it comes to the aerial action, this movie is simply unsurpassed. The dogfights and the zeppelin scenes in this movie...Wow. I saw it for the first time last evening and was on the edge of my seat in total disbelief over the dogfights in the last third of this film. The realism- they were real planes- and the pilot's deaths - Amazing. I will own it JUST for those sequences. The special effects are still some of the best I've ever seen. It's hard to imagine this film was made in 1930.

The Last Child

So how about that movie?
The Mod Squad's Michael Cole heads up this great made-for-TV thriller about a young couple on the run from authorities in a near-future world where couples are limited to one child per family. I saw this film several times on Saturday afternoon TV- gosh I hate infomercials. I miss great Saturday afternoon movies. The story in "The Last Child" takes place in the United States in a near future where population growth has caused the government to control the birth rate. Families are limited to one child. What makes this story compelling, is that the couple in question has had a child that died, and this "second" child is not permitted under the law. They are on the run for nearby Canada (of all places) where the law is not so imposing. Now, this is where I could digress into all kinds of political rhetoric, or force my own opinion on you, but in lieu of that, I'll tell you that the ensuing "pursuit" is what makes up the meat of the story. There are stereotypical "bad guys" determined to stop the couple from having their child and there are "sympathetic" good guys who endanger themselves by helping the young couple flee to safety. There's some low budget special effects, but over all, this is a good film for its time that imposes some compelling questions about how far political agendas should be pushed, etc. Personally, this stands as one of the best made-for-TV sci-fi films ever made. The acting and script make up for any technical shortcomings. If you can catch it- go for it.

The Island

Bay's Best? Maybe. Revisited Material? Definitely.
I, for one, have never been a big fan of Michael Bay's films. His action sequences are always far too over-the-top. He also tends to use the same mechanisms in all of his films: Shaky zoom camera work in the car chases, things falling off a truck into traffic, every scene shot in late- afternoon sunlight, etc. His style is easily recognized, and I have always thought his films to be too much style over substance. The Island is no different. A good story is given second seat to outrageous action sequences. Unfortunately, with the story not getting the attention it deserves, it falls flat. There are many films that have dealt with similar subject matter that this film borrows heavily from. The Island is made up of bits and pieces from "THX 1138," "Logan's Run," "The Sixth Day," "The Darker Side of Terror," "Coma," and even, "The Matrix." I give it a 7 for technical merit and production values, but it will most likely not make my list of films to own, unlike some of the others I mentioned.

War of the Worlds

Hard to not give it a 10.
I've read the knit-picky reviews here and am saddened that people can't be entertained anymore, even when the entertainment is as great as this. The cynical criticism - hating a movie because it wasn't written a particular way or because it had a discontinuity here or there - is really too bad. The reality is, Spielberg has captured the heart of H.G. Wells work and translated it more than a century into the future, making it relevant to we who are alive today. The technology he chose to use for the invaders tripods is so raw- almost steam-engine like- capturing the look and feel of the invaders from Well's original story, and yet the weaponry hearkens back to the terrifying ray weapons from the 1953 classic film. There are nods to the original film, but done with a Spielberg twist that takes the whole thing up a notch. The family dynamic that Cruise, Fanning, and Chatwin bring to screen is awesome. Some have argued that the gushy family stuff could be done without- but what is a story if not about humanity and human relationships? I'm not interested in a shallow and sterile shoot-em-up. I want a film to wrench at my heart and make me care about the characters. Otherwise, what's the point? This is a great movie. Terrifying, heart-wrenching, hopeful. I thought hard to pick out something that would make me not give it a 10. If I were cynical, like others, I'm sure I could find many reasons, but for now, I am astonished and entertained beyond my expectations.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Almost as Good as the First
I watched this film again the other night and it continues to grow on me. In fact, I upgraded my vote form an 8 to a 9. This film is so much better than T2. I know it's devoid James Cameron and some feel that this film lacked his vision and leadership. But somehow, I feel that Cameron has lost his ability to tell a story without a $100+ Million dollar budget. I like this story because it relies on and clings to the original premise unlike the second film. To me, T2 was all about eye candy and had very little to do with story. T3 returns to the gritty hard-core reality of a post-nuke world at war against SkyNet and the machines. I get chills at the end. I also love the return of the Love Story element. The first film is a love story as much as it is an action film. THat element was totally lost in T2. Congrats to the producers and all for returning the franchise to its roots.

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

Nothing like "Dude..."
Unlike the hilarious "Dude, Where's My Car?" this film appealed to the most base elements. Eight grade toilet humor is not smart or funny. The language was unbearable- I was embarrassed to sit next to my wife while we watched. The "F" word is not smart or funny. There is rampant gratuitous sexual innuendo and nudity that is totally out of place. Makng fun of women who will readily expose themselves to get high is not smart or funny. And The way this "film" glorified drug use was abominable. Having no life and endangering your job to get high is not smart or funny. I didn't enjoy this "film" at all. I can't recommend this "film" to anyone - at all. I rarely do it, but this one gets a "1."

Ying xiong

All style, no substance.
This film is NOT "Wo Hu Cang Long" ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"), nor

should it ever be confused with it. They are two completely different animals. (pun intended) The fight scenes in this film fall very short of the magnificent choreographed spectacles in "Wo Hu Cang Long," and with all respect for Jet Li, he is no Chow Yun-Fat. I could hardly bear one more sappy tear-drop, or one more flashback within a

flashback... And weepy pacifist messages are not the best fodder for Chinese

Martial Arts films- which is what this is when you boil it down. (C'mon...

calligraphy and sword fighting? HUNH???) Puhlease. Sigh. 5/10 at best.

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