ramair350

IMDb member since October 2000
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Reviews

The White Lotus
(2021)

A brilliant adult comedy / drama
I suspect that to appreciate this show to the fullest you need to be of a certain age or at least have some life experiences under your belt. But for me (late 40s viewer) it absolutely nailed it. Funny, moving, witty ... just amazing and fun to watch. The cast is stellar, and each scene is interesting to where I could not stop watching. Probably the most fun and tuned into a show since Six Feet Under for me. It is very different, but the comic yet serious adult and social themes create a perfect show. Well done by the cast and entire crew (no I had nothing to do with the production, seriously I'm just an IT guy that works in government).

Our Friend
(2019)

Exceptional little film, this is why movies are still relevant
Before all of the "best" content was in the form of streaming over a bunch of episodes, there were these things called "movies" that sometimes conveyed a great deal of storytelling and emotion in a 2 hour format. I am glad to see that the "movie" format is not dead (well, it lives to tell tall tales of meaningless violence, but I digress).

Seriously, this little film popped up on my Amazon suggestions, and I figured it would give it a shot. And wow was I blown away by the performances and excellent crafting of a complex narrative. It is a moving story, and this film delivers in telling the story in a two hour format. Absolutely worth viewing for anyone looking for actual storytelling and great acting.

9/11
(2017)

Expected the worst, pleasantly surprised, fiction but CLOSELY mirrors a true story
Like anyone else who is old enough to really remember 9/11 like it was yesterday, I am always interested in the different forms of storytelling and narrative that capture this horrendous but incredibly important event in our history. This movie popped up on my recommendations, and despite the horrible reviews, I decided to give it a shot.

And I'm so glad I did. This movie is not perfect and certainly does not have the budget of other films about the topic, but it is an interesting concept and one that is well executed overall. And no spoilers, but after the movie if you do a little research you will find that while the movie is based on a play, there was a real-life event on 9/11 that is incredibly similar to this story (enough that I would not have minded if this was labeled "based on a true story").

If you are looking for a broader view of 9/11 and want to see more carnage and "action", there are plenty of documentaries out there. This film is adapted from a play, and that is effectively what you get on screen. For me, it was absolutely worth the viewing. Never forget.

Witness to 9/11: In the Shadows of Ground Zero
(2020)

Exceptional piece of history
This an excellent perspective of 9/11 as viewed from people on the streets of NYC. It is a snapshot, not a documentary. If you are not old enough to remember 9/11, skip this one and save your one star reviews for the latest superhero movie. This is a moving and emotional part of history fir lots if us, and I appreciate this film. Never forget.

Godzilla vs. Kong
(2021)

Terrible, sad to see King Kong put in a lousy circus of a movie
Absolutely one of the most ridiculous movies I have ever seen. I felt like I watched a 5-year-old's crayon creation come to life, you know where a little kid tells a crazy story that makes no sense, "and then Kong did this, and then Godzilla does this, and then they go to the center of the Earth, and then Kong flies around because there is no gravity, and then there is this giant robot, oh and a bunch of buildings get knocked down." But I guess it pays the bills for lots of people, money talks, and if this is what the people want, so be it. I'm just not one of those people. I give it 2 out of 10 for the special effects, which was basically a 2-hour-long continuous special effects shot. I'm more entertained watching someone play a video game. An Atari 2600 game. ET. But even the world's worst video game had a plot.

Block Island
(2018)

Best movie in history with a < 4 of 10 on IMDB
I was browsing my Amazon Prime videos, and sure enough came across this film. It sounded fun, and so despite the reviews, I gave it a try. And I'm glad I did ... no spoilers, but it is a totally fine film for what it is, and I consider it "mission accomplished" for a lower budget movie that conveys a reasonable sense of drama and fear.

Will it win Academy Awards? Of course not. But I thought it was well filmed and the acting was decent. My wife (also usually very critical) also enjoyed it and we both give it the "worth watching" thumbs-up if you are looking for a decent (not "amazing thrill ride", but just more of a low key) non-supernatural scary / thriller on the water.

As much as I'm tempted to overcompensate on the score to "average out" the bad reviews (which at the time of writing are less than 4 out of 10), I will be honest and give it a 7 out of 10 in good faith. Go in expecting a decent "B" movie and you'll enjoy it ... certainly worth a late-night watch.

Black Summer
(2019)

Give it a real chance - FAR better than most reviews claim - more 28 Days Later than Walking Dead
This is overall an excellent show for what it is: a tight thrill ride into the world of a zombie apocalypse. The momentum never slows, and this is indeed a fun and dark ride that is far better than most of the B movies in recent years that have attempted to cash in on the Walking Dead's success. Sure, the production and storyline is not going to be as intricate as the Walking Dead, but on the flip side, the threat posed by the zombies feels infinitely greater with this show versus TWD. The production isn't perfect and there are some occasional continuity errors, but overall the style puts you right in the middle of the action, and there are plenty of genuine surprises that kept me entertained up to the last minute of the show. Note that this review is for all of season 1 (which is a nice self-contained little series worth watching), and thankfully season 2 is on the way (and hopefully more beyond that). Overall I give it a solid 8 out of 10, or an A-. Know what you are getting into (which is NOT a show with "bottle" episodes and lots of character development), and sit back and enjoy the ride!

Cats
(2019)

I intentionally took a "cat nap" during the show
Look, I want to be fair, so I won't give the film a 1 out of 10, solely because of technical achievement and that it is a replica of the Broadway show.

But it is nothing more than a CGI version of the Broadway show. Same music, songs, etc. So if you LOVE the Broadway show, you will enjoy this film.

But I have seen the Broadway show, and really didn't care to see the EXACT same show again. If anything, they should have done one of those broadcasts of a live performance of Cats, paid Taylor Swift to participate, and called it a day.

Three minutes in I knew I was in trouble and would be bored to tears, so I intentionally took a nap while my wife and mother suffered through the film. I actually did sleep for a total of about 20 or 30 minutes, so who knows, maybe I missed the "good part" ... but based on the reviews, I don't think I missed much.

Modern Love
(2019)

A really special series for the right audience
This is an amazing show for more mature audiences. Each love story is special, and each love story is quite different. I say it is best for mature audiences in that if you have experienced a good amount of life you will at least identify with the characters, and you likely will have a number of knowing smiles and nods as the characters navigate the difficult waters of love. By the way, I'm an older motorsports lovin' / football watchin' redneck guy from Texas, so if this series could move me to dust off my IMDB password and log in to submit a review, it must indeed be a special little show!

Career Opportunities
(1991)

John Hughes is a legend, but legends can still have a bad movie (a 2019 review)
As a mega Hughes fan, I found myself somewhat surprised to learn that there was a Hughes film that I managed to never see (I saw most of his films in the 80s, yeah I am that old).

Although this movie is not rated as high as other Hughes films, I figured that I would appreciate it, as Hughes has proven his brilliance time and time again. Unfortunately the brilliance is in short supply for this movie. There are just ridiculous scenes that are not funny, and the characters are incredibly underdeveloped. It just feels like the film was thrown together and filmed in about a week, with a rush job at editing, and with the poorest musical choices in any Hughes film (which are usually a strong point).

While there are a few (I mean VERY few) enjoyable moments, I just cannot recommend the movie in good faith to anyone except those that perhaps saw this when it was released and would enjoy it as nostalgia from a gone era.

Midsommar
(2019)

More art film than horror
This movie just wasn't my cup of tea. I wanted something different, and yes I will award 3 stars for creativity and beautiful filming. But the story could have been so much better and more interesting, plus the film is in great need of some serious editing. At least the film was memorable, but unfortunately for me the memory will be of a wasted afternoon in the theater.

Fear the Walking Dead: The Little Prince
(2019)
Episode 6, Season 5

Possibly the weakest episode of either show
I am a mega fan of both Walking Dead shows, and while they both have ups and downs, one strength overall has been that the actions of the characters typically feel genuine.

However, this episode set a new low bar in that the major sequences that occurred were simply not believable, nor were they decisions that rational people would make in those situations. It is painfully obvious that a theme was chosen for this season, and by god the writers MUST write a story that fits neatly with the theme. But at the expense of having anything that remotely resembles a believable story.

Sure, anyone watching the show is willing to entertain what happens in an unreal world, but when common sense no longer applies, enjoyment of watching the show no longer applies. I will still give it a 4 stars because there are still technical aspects to the filming that are well done, and the actors are doing an admirable job to deliver bad material.

Please AMC - we need new showrunner(s) immediately.

Friday's Child
(2018)

Artsy. Moving. Exceptional.
I was incredibly fortunate to get to view this film at a special screening in Austin, Texas. I have nothing to do with the film or production, by the way. Yes, it is art film, so don't go in expecting to see an Avengers movie. But make no mistake, while it is far from an action movie, I was riveted to the screen throughout the entirety of the film. It is beautiful to look at, and just makes you FEEL what you are seeing on the screen. And it has an amazing, cohesive story (which often falls short in art films). The cast is incredible as well. In summary, this is an exceptional film, and an exceptional piece of art - go see it!

Pet Sematary
(2019)

Just "ok" - should have done 1) sequel, 2) prequel, or 3) mini-series
The book far exceeds either the '89 version or the '19 version - let's just get that out of the way.

The '89 version is just a fun B+ horror movie. Sure, a little bit dated now, but still an overall solid adaptation.

I was hoping the '19 version would take a new direction (thinking the recent "It" remake versus the '90s "It" version), but it just fell short for me. Perhaps it was the locations (NOT filmed in Maine - there is no substitute for actually filming in Bangor and surrounding areas like the original '89 version did). Somehow the atmosphere just didn't feel right. I sadly wasn't emotionally attached to the characters (the acting ranged from fine to great in some scenes - not the fault of the actors that the film wasn't better). To be fair, it would have been hard to meet my expectations, but when you truly do a remake, expectations ARE going to be very high.

In hindsight, I think the production would have been much better suited to either A) a sequel, B) a prequel, or C) a mini-series (a-la "Haunting of Hill House" / "Castle Rock" / etc.). I think the same writers, cast, and crew could have been much more successful with one of these other formats.

Friends from College
(2017)

Effing amazing
A brilliant, smart, silly, amazing comedy. Great cast and wiriting!

The Haunting of Hill House
(2018)

The best horror show ever, period
If you insist on having one cheap scare per minute with no story, then skip this. But if you want a riveting story, drama, and the scariest and creepiest horror scenes in the history of television, give this a try. This makes "other" horror shows just look dumb. Awesome!

Fear the Walking Dead: ...I Lose Myself
(2018)
Episode 16, Season 4

Simon says: "BUUUUUUUUUULL SHI....."
First of all, I assume people reading these reviews watch the main show. If so, then perhaps you remember a scene where Simon gave a nice little speech and concluded it with the most perfect "BS" statement ever (just Google or YouTube it - well worth the 6 second watch!). I had an inner Simon voice that kept repeating this sentiment when viewing the FTWD Season 4 finale for these reasons:

1). Texas and Mississippi are practically neighbors, right? Surely the Interstate highways are open for business; no barriers or problems, right? And walkie talkies in Texas can easily pick up radio waves from a "whopping" 50 watt transmitter in Mississippi, right?

Simon says: "BUUUUUUUUUULL SHI....."

2). Can't get the ethanol tanker open, so when the liquid is literally pouring out after being shot with bullet holes, I guess you just admit defeat and die rather than put the container under the steady streams (pick one!) of enthanol, right? Oh and I guess all of the liquid would drain out of the holes that are halfway down the tank, right ... no point in opening the valve at the bottom anyway?

Simon says: "BUUUUUUUUUULL SHI....."

3). Morgan talks about Alexandria the whole season. The whole group is totally on board with joining a larger community to rebuild. Oh but wait, at the last minute, let's pretend we are the A Team and just drive around looking for people that were on old videotapes to see if they are just waiting around for much needed assistance ... MUCH better plan than trying to rebuild civilization in Virginia (which probably is only a half day drive per #1 above)?

Simon says: "BUUUUUUUUUULL SHI....."

I could go on, but I won't. There is GREAT camera work. GREAT stunts. A GREAT crew. GREAT actors (yeah you can guess what Simon thinks about killing off the "real" main characters of the show this season, but the new folks are also solid actors). Part of great writing is being unpredictable. But unfortunately the writing was only unpredictable in a LAZY sense. Perhaps the writers have zero common sense and are abstract artists. But at least deal in reality that is consistent with the ground rules of the Walking Dead universe. I will keep watching for a few more episodes next season, but I am getting close to calling it quits, largely because of this horrendously poorly written episode and the direction the series has gone.

The Americans: START
(2018)
Episode 10, Season 6

Nailed the landing.
The quality of the finale even exceeds the excpetionally high quality of the show. I will reveal nothing, except to say that it is satisfying to anyone who has watched the series from start to finish. I will truly miss the show, but I am thrilled to see that the the series was concluded the way any great story should end (with great writing, and not due to internal network politics or advertising dollars). A+

Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi
(2017)

see it at the theater - just keep expectations low - 2nd worst SW film for me
While there are great moments and great scenes in this movie, there are several major issues with the film. Much like Phantom (E1), I expect to see an "unofficial" edit that could bring this movie up to a 7 out of 10. But look, it is a Star Wars film, so go see it and have fun and enjoy the special effects and music.

Twin Peaks
(1990)

I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time - but in 2017 the 1990 version is, well, just bad
First of all, let me state that I am viewing the show from the lens of 2017, which is a fantastic era for television. For the last 20 years we have seen dozens of "top shelf" dramas, many which probably were inspired (to some degree) by the original Twin Peaks. I have no doubt Twin Peaks was an important show and helped build the foundation of TV greatness today. At the time, I have no doubt that it was light-years ahead of the garbage that was airing on the major networks (and honestly still is ahead of most of the major network programming, although that isn't saying much).

Now on the my review, which reflects season 1 and season 2 of the original Twin Peaks show. If you are tuning in for the first time to these shows like me (I was in college when the shows originally aired and I did not watch them), then I would advise you to skip them. If you want to watch the "new" version of the show, I would recommend just going to Youtube and finding a nice summary of the original series. Because I promise that watching 30 hours of the original series is NOT time well spent, at least for my wife and I.

My expectations were not real high as I knew that the show would be dated. I knew it would be quirky. I knew that the director has some real oddball stuff, and that of course is part of the appeal. But the show is just bad. The acting in some cases is so bad that I was not sure if it was supposed to look like bad acting, or if it was just bad acting. The story line started off good, and honestly season 1 is tolerable and had some fun moments. And then season 2 kicks it up to a ridiculous notch and never gets grounded for the run of the series. What started off as a murder mystery turns into a complete mess that reminds me of something Stephen King would have written during his drug-altered years (Dreamcatcher anyway? Yeah, that kind of bad). I love David Lynch, I love Kyle MacLachlan, and I love Stephen King for that matter. But this show is just a steaming pile of crazy bad television. Incredibly unsatisfying to say the least.

So I know I will get lots of non-helpful votes, and I'm fine with that. If you love the show, good for you, but ask yourself if you love the originality that the show brought in 1990, or if you really think this is great television in 2017. I'm sure a 1990 Corvette scored high marks by the auto magazines in 1990, but a 1990 Corvette evaluated by 2017 car magazines would slam it for being a slow piece of junk that is unreliable, gets terrible gas mileage, is very uncomfortable, and is much slower than a 2017 Toyota Camry. Since we live in 2017, my review is written from a current perspective.

Bottom line, if you have never seen the show, I advise you to skip it and instead jump into something like Fargo (a quirky screwball show but it is very well done and ultimately is satisfying to watch). Thanks for reading my review.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
(2015)

Feels like a mediocre 1990s comedy - not edgy or funny
I wanted to like this show. My wife and I watched several episodes, and unfortunately just did not care for it. To be fair, we just finished binge-watching three seasons of Grace and Frankie, which is a sharp comedy with great acting and interesting story lines. Unbreakable just felt silly for the sake of being silly. It feels like a comedy that would have aired on a major TV network in the 1990s and been canceled after a few episodes (not that the 1990s didn't have some great comedy shows, but there were also some awful ones). There obviously is a large audience for the show; I mean no disrespect in saying that this show probably appeals to "the masses" but if you are looking for a more edgy and unusual comedy that you would expect from a Netflix, Amazon, HBO, etc, this is NOT the show you are looking for.

Get Out
(2017)

Lives up to the hype
I decided to see this film at the theater after hearing some of the hype (which was basically that it is an excellent horror film that is told from the perspective of a black man).

Well, I can see this would be truly the worst nightmare of a black man (and really the worst nightmare for us all). This is NOT a film that tries to make the viewer feel "sorry" for black people, nor is it at all preachy, but it is just a good old fashioned horror film with a fresh new setting. I'm an old white guy by the way.

The acting is wonderful, and directing is amazing. The film, while mostly horror, is actually completely hilarious in some parts, making it the funniest AND scariest movie I have seen in ages (no easy feat). It is a shame that the film will likely not be regarded in the company of Academy Award potential nominees, because the directing and acting is honestly Oscar worthy. Again, no small feat for a horror movie that is also funny.

In summary, this is a MUST SEE at the theater and one of the best films of the year. It is a fun ride that is very well done!

Captain Fantastic
(2016)

Portlandia: The Movie (mixed with shades of Into the Wild)
I really liked this movie. As a fan of the excellent comedy show "Portlandia," I couldn't help but draw parallels in some of the seemingly ridiculous antics of these characters. However, this is a serious movie, and the central themes of learning, growth, and what is important in life resonate throughout the movie. I cannot possibly recommend this for everyone, but for some people the film will really connect. In some ways it also reminded me of "Into the Wild," which is one of my favorite films of all time. Excellent acting, excellent location shots, and a decent script form a recipe for an independent film winner.

Into the Wild
(2007)

A truly exceptional film in all regards
I saw this movie when it came out, and at the time I really liked it. After a few years passed, I couldn't stop thinking about the movie. I read the books about the same true story. I became even more fascinated. I finally saw the film again, and enjoyed it even more the 2nd viewing and FIRMLY place it in my top 5 films in history (yeah I'm typically a mainstream guy ... Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Lord of the Rings are also in the top 5, but this one even shines above those in many ways).

The acting, directing, and adaptation of a true story are wonderful. The real settings (not some studio back-lot) are apparent. You are really brought along for the journey. There is something primal in all of us, and this movie points that out better than any other movie out there. While I can't say I will ever have a journey like the one in the movie, I can say that it is something of a fantasy to shed the shackles of "normal" lives and just go out into the world and really live. Chris McCandless really lived, and to some degree he will always be a hero and inspiration to me thanks to Sean Penn's amazing film.

Santa Clarita Diet
(2017)

Walking Dead meets Desperate Housewives ... yep, that bad
I love the actors in the show. That is the only nice comment I have to say.

The show feels like it was pitched as a comedy combo of Walking Dead, Desperate Housewives, and a touch of True Blood. In their own way, all of these shows succeeded, but unfortunately this show does not.

The show is just flat and not funny. At all. It is the worst show I have seen, and I have watched some real steaming piles. Sorry Netflix, but this one is your biggest dud by far.

I wish the best fir the cast and crew, and I am truly sorry that I cannot find anything positive to say on this one.

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