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Piranha 3D

How desperately low in cash can a celebrity be?
I don't know whether I laugh or cry. Why in the entire world did Mr. Dryfuss and Ms. Shue accept to play parts in this movie? Maybe they just wanted to have some dubious fun. Maybe they were misled. Or maybe they just ran very low in cash and had to accept any movie thrown at them.

Mr. Dryfuss' character is killed by piranhas about one minute into the film while fishing in a boat on a peaceful lake, right after the murderous little beasts were released from the pits of hell by an earthquake. That of Ms. Shue's finds the corpse of the first partially destroyed by the piranhas from hell about five to ten minutes later.

Meanwhile, many gorgeous, young, "free-spirited" girls are partying during summer vacations. Not much later two of them start swimming together in, I suppose, the same lake. They jump in the water and... take their thong bikinis off, and entangle skin-naked (with flippers) with each other in a sensual underwater ballet. What ???!!!

Then I changed to another channel, thus the spoiler ends here.

Richard Dryfuss was so great in Close Encounters, Jaws and so many other movies. Elisabeth Shue is also a great performer. Now I'll have to add a stain and a red flag on their resumes...

The Green Hornet

What Can I Say? I'm Sorry, but I Loved It!
I'll stand my ground in face of all the very bad reviews: I just love this movie! It's one of those that I can watch again and again every time is aired on cable TV. I can't get tired of it! Why? I have no clue.

Maybe because it has nothing of the things I hate in a movie.

Maybe because I don't know Seth from other movies, or because I just enjoy Seth's way as an actor.

Maybe because of the basic story (rich orphan boy becomes hero; side kick is a genius; wonderful gadgets etc.). Certainly the Black Beauty.

Everyone plays his or her role just as he or she should. Cameron is perfect. Kato's fight sequences are original and, yet, pay homage to the hero played by the great Bruce Lee in the Sixties.

The story is interesting. Lot's of things are really original, not the least the combat sequence within the newspaper's facilities.

The Green Hornet has a "yummy" quality for me, which I can't and didn't try to reason about. The are many movies that don't have this quality. Avatar is one of them: I don't know why, but once is enough...

It's just the popcorn movie I seek for when I go to the cinema...

As I said, I'm sorry, but I really love The (new) Green Hornet.

The Untouchables

The Movie, the Actors and Everyone Else Deserved Oscars
I must start by warning those who don't know it that this movie is a work of fiction - but what a fiction!

"The Untouchables" is one of those great movies which, I don't know why, didn't get all the load of Oscars it certainly deserved. Awarding just one to Sean Connery is a flagrant understatement of this great achievement of all those who made it.

The sound score is brilliant and inspiring. Cinematography is at its best.

The outstanding train station shooting scene surely and eternally ranks among the top ten or top five scenes in Cinema's history. It's one of my favorites.

Costner, Connery, Garcia, Smith and, of course, De Niro deliver great performances, no exception. All the other bad guys are excellent, too.

Again, in my view only one Oscar for this masterpiece is a clear understatement. If you don't believe it, just watch "The Untouchabels" and judge it yourself.

A Few Good Men

Top Star + Tog Gun = Top Ten
"A Few Good Men" is one of those movies I never miss the chance to watch when it's aired on TV. It's such a great movie. It's so good, that all stereotypes and other possible flaws one might point don't prevent me to give it a perfect 10.

Jack Nicholson IS Colonel Natan Jessup, USMC. He IS! You can swear he has always been a Marine and nothing else. He delivers such a performance that you just forget he's the most Oscar-decorated male actor ever. Just amazing.

Tom, Demi, Pollak, Bacon, Keith, Walsh, Marshall, Bodison and Preston are great, too. I't's not so easy to forget that Tom is Tom and Demi is Demi, but not to the point of either impairing suspension of reality or immersion in the movie. Pollak IS a Navy lawyer, Keith IS a USMC Lieutenant, Preston IS a judge, and Bodison IS Corporal Dawson.

The script is intelligent; the cinematography, perfect - colors, shades, mood, everything; the sound track, engaging; direction, magical: speed, rhythm, flow, everything is in place.

The superb performance of the close order drill demonstration squad close to the movie's beginning cleverly acclimates the viewer to the military establishment the story is about and where all the drama will unfold. It reminds that the movie is about a noble entity - the United States Marine Corps - whose members abide to a strict code of perfection and fitness to perform its solemn duty to its Country, thus setting the stage for a story about the conflict that steel tempered men face when one of them under-performs and their difficulty to demonstrate, feel and act with any degree of softness towards their own.

The verdict is perfect in its moral, making the experience of watching this movie completely worthwhile.

There couldn't have been a better closing theme song than John Philip Sousa's "Semper Fidelis". It's a smart move: it absolutely pins you down to the seat and forces you to read all the credits right to the end.

"A Few Good Men" is one of the best movies of all times.


Mixed Feelings About This Movie
1) Chris Hemsworth DOES deliver. Perfect performance. Charisma, physical attributes, acting, character immersion. He IS Thor. 10 from start to end.

2) Sir Hopkins is great as usual, but fame and age makes it a bit difficult to forget the actor in favor of Odin. Not his fault, of course.

3) Gorgeous concept and outstanding rendition of Asgaard, the city of Odin and his people, and the heavenly night sky above them.

4) The rainbow passage is used excessively in the movie. It looks like a metro station. This vulgarizes the concept and diverts much of story's focus to the passage and its not-so-reliable Asgaardian guardian. Also, one can't avoid but compare the interplanetary shuttle device to a gigantic, upside down ice cream ball and its cornet.

5) Action on planet Earth pales in time allocation and intensity when compared to those developed on the other worlds. Original Thor comic books are about defending earthlings and Earth against outstanding threats.

6) Compared to Thor, his semi-god friends seem a bit weak...

7) A few scenes are a bit longer or a bit slower than adequate for this movie genre.

8) Finally, Natalie Portman... Plain and clear exploitation of her name and fame. She doesn't look like trying to immerse in her character. She's just Natalie, that's all. Very dull most of the time, very exaggerated in other occasions. Or just poorly directed, or a poorly developed script for her.

9) No! I almost forgot it: What is Rene Russo doing in this movie?playing the mute mom of Thor? Were they two or three lines she said the entire movie?

Notwithstanding the shortcomings, I'll certainly watch this beautiful movie of supernatural wonders in Bluray, or when it becomes syndicated.


Beautiful but Stereotyped
I'd rate this movie a 10, but the prejudice it displays prevents me to do so.

There is a recent trend in the movie business to tell stories about Rio de Janeiro's slums. Such is the case of the last Hulk movie, a good part of which was set in the Rocinha slum.

Not everything in Rio de Janeiro is a slum. There are slums everywhere, as there are high, middle and low class, non-slum neighborhoods.

And not all bad things in Rio happens within slums. Bad and good people live in and out of slums. So "Rio" displays double prejudice, about Rio de Janeiro city as a whole - it's much more than slums - and about the slum's inhabitants - bad people exist inside and outside the slums.

Of course, no movie about Rio could forget Carnaval and football. That's OK. I'd just add that Carnaval doesn't happen only in the Sambodromo or in the slums.

As for the rest: (a) The story is pure fantasy, where animals think and act as humans in disguise. But this is what fables are for: conveying human messages in a playful way. (b) Rio de Janeiro is pretty accurate geographically, except for the remote, jungle airport from which the bad guys take off to take the stolen, hero birds away, as there is no such airport anywhere near this city.

Please, film-makers: when you consider making a movie about Rio, try to provide a balanced instead of a prejudiced, biased view of my worldly famous "Wonder City".

10 Items or Less

How can one not love this movie?
Seriously, how? It's truly a very engaging movie, beautifully conceived and performed. It's one of those movies I'll watch again and again to be delighted, to learn and, of course, to feed my eyes, my heart and soul with Paz Vega's perfections. It's showcase that demonstrates why she and Morgan are GREAT. Everyone else add their talents to make it the gorgeous movie it is. Only Jim Parsons could deliver those brief but tremendous lines. To watch Morgan learning to sell house cleaning stuff, washing and polishing cars, and doing many other ordinary, common, earthly things, create a relaxing and intimate atmosphere that makes you join the cast and travel along with its two main characters. The finale couldn't be better in its message: respect, honor and character are still alive, and remain as valuable as ever. From start to end, a story made to sooth and heal sensible, tired and hurt souls. I love it. It is certainly good use of time. What else can I say? Just watch and see.

On the Beach

The Noble Role of Arts
This masterpiece shines among the movies which the cinema industry produced to help us humans to gain consciousness of the madness of the war doctrine known as mutually assured destruction. We will probably never be able to assess how much "On the Beach", "Dr. Strangelove" and other movies covering this most important theme contributed to world peace - or to nuclear peace at least, but they certainly influenced all who watched them.

"On the Beach" is art performing its noblest role: educating people for the highest good of mankind. And what a movie! All actors and actresses perform admirably, no doubt about that, but it must be said that Anthony Perkins and Ava Gardner are absolutely fantastic, both exploring a full range of emotions that few actors can cover. The plot is just perfect; the film is skillfully constructed from start to end. Watching it is a great experience.

Needless to say, we remain very much in need of movies like "On the Beach" up to this day.

The Karate Kid

You Gotta Be Kidding...
1. The little actor plays EXACTLY the same part he played in "The Day Earth Stood Still": a VERY annoying, disrespectful brat who lost his father and so has a reason to be VERY annoying and disrespectful. Exactly the same role as his previous movie! He doesn't come a thousand mile close to Ralph Macchio. In the original K.K. series, I did like the kid, notwithstanding the absolute implausibility of the story (a few karate classes turning him in to a karate champion - impossible, period); this is not the case with this sad remake. The character is not funny, nor likable.

2. The wushu championship: what kind of parents, relatives and friends are those who cheer when their beloved ones throw a punch on the face of a knocked-down opponent? WHAT KIND OF LESSON this miserable movie intends to convey???!!! And those were NOT the bad guys cheering: they were the "good" guys' moms! I can't believe this happens even in China! I was forced to explain to my nephew that that is not acceptable by any known civilized standard!

3. The "training": no comments...

4. "The final": after just a few weeks of training, the child manages to launch a Bruce Lee loop kick to win the match, after having one of his legs almost destroyed. They managed to produce a remake even more absurd than the original K.K.

A very bad movie. Period.

Surf's Up

A Masterpiece Second to None
I have NO doubt that Shakespere, Beethoven, Da Vinci and many other great artists of the past would be amazed seeing the huge amount of wonderful artwork packed in this gracious, lovely movie.

No amount of praise would suffice to pay due honor to all those involved in the creation of Surf's Up. I can only thank you all for the superb inspiration, work, sensibility and craftsmanship.

Everything is in place. C.G., score, storyline, humor, mood. Lighting, colors - amazing colors, amazing score.

Surf's Up is truly a masterpiece, second to none.

That's the kind movie that really makes you feel joyous, that makes you realize that life is worth living, if not for anything else but for experiencing moments like those I experience whenever I watch this beautiful animation.

Apollo 13

No representation could come closer.
What could anyone possibly want beyond "Apollo 13" for a historical movie? Nothing at all. Perfection is the only quality that could be attached to this masterpiece.

Starting by the HUNDREDS of zero G parabolas in the Vomit Comet. My goodness! The soundtrack, the performances, spacecraft interiors, Houston control - Everything! Everything hits the mark!

I remember praying to God every night when I was child, along my mom and my sister, for the safe return of the three astronauts. It was a great joy when they came back safe and sound. The movie entirely honors that unique event in space flight and all those who lived an died to conquer the space.

While "Apollo 13 the actual mission" was a "sucessful failure", "Apollo 13 the movie" was a "superlatively successful success".

There are movies that, however great, you don't feel like watching more than once. There are others that are not necessarily that good, but I feel like watching again and again. "Apollo 13" is great, and I never get tired of watching it whenever it's aired.

If you haven't seen it yet, give it a try.

Temple Grandin

Now THAT's what I call a movie!
Just amazing! Flawless from beginning to end! Technically perfect! Funny! Great script, direction, acting and everything else! Truly inspirational!

Autism is such a puzzle and such a burden on parents, relatives and friends, that is not unusual for families stricken by this most strange and still largely unknown condition to break apart. And here is hope, and a real life testimonial that hope translated in dedication, planned action and persistence can make all the difference in the world.

Results won't be the same for everyone, as autism is such a generic term to describe an incredibly large amount of disorders, with a broad range of severity. But everyone will profit in its own universe of possibilities.

It was SO good to watch a movie like this many years after "Lorenzo's Oil".

It makes you feel humble. It makes you... love. It makes you care.

To all Temple Grandin's makers, actors and crew: THANK YOU! WELL DONE! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!


Unnoticed Milestone
Would you believe if you were told that two of the most memorable scenes of the worldly famous Jurassic Park franchise are direct copies taken from a mostly obscure, B-class movie shot decades before Michael Crichton conceived his blockbuster, genetic dinos? A T-Rex crushing a land rover under its foot in J.P. I; and a dinosaur killing another by twisting and breaking its neck in J.P. III. The land rover scene is almost a replica of the original; in the second case, the main differences in the remake are that the T-Rex is now the victim instead of the culprit, and its neck is snapped broken, in contrast with the slow twist the T-Rex applied to kill its opponent, a friendly brontosaurus. As the old saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...

But this is just one reason I chose to review Dinosaurus! It was my first dinosaur movie in the big screen, and I left the theater in ecstasy. In fact, the second one was Jurassic Park, twenty years plus later, and the feeling was about the same. I watched all other dino-movies in-between on TV.

That was a time when the only book published in my country about the wonder-beasts was a great little book authored by Roy Chapman Andrews. I was blessed to have a set of slides of prehistoric animals. TV was black-and-white. So that movie did leave an impression! Dinosaurus! fed my imagination and my soul for a very long period, so I'm very fond of it, and that's why Í chose to review the title.

On the technical side, one should compare it to other of the same technological batch. Yes, it would still be a B- or C-movie in what regards to dino-mation, but sufficiently passable for an eight-years old kid who hadn't seen anything alike, even less superior to it. All in all, it "delivered".

About the story, who cares??!! I was seeing gigantic, in-color dinosaurs at the cinema! It was good enough to make the story flow.

Take a look and watch for yourself...


A Good Man
Those who came out with the idea for the series were really inspired. The actor who played the hero's role couldn't have done a better job. Columbo is just perfect. It sensibly balances the harshness of murder crimes with the righteousness, the cleverness and the humanity of police lieutenant who investigates them. You see humans rather than monsters, lifelike behavior instead of extremely abnormal mental patterns. It doesn't feed on the spectator's anguish, neither intends to terrorize the audience. It relates the exploits of Lt. Columbo, a modern detective as honorable, cunning and effective as Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. Columbo teaches and delights the viewer, without shocking him or her. It should be rerun frequently so as to allow for contemporary TV buffs to compare current, sadistic shows with a sample of the best tasted shows delivered.

The Dark Knight

A Sad Movie
As much as Adam West and Burt Ward took the Caped Crusader to the goofy extreme of his incarnations' scale, this movie took him to the opposite, un-Batman-like, dark extreme of it. You leave the movie with a very bad feeling, that's all. If I wanted to see what the movie shows, I wouldn't have looked for a Bat-movie. It's just one very sad movie.

Impressions aside, here is a more objective analysis: 1. Why can't screen writers just change the plot when an actress doesn't feel like reliving her role? If Katie Holmes didn't want a rerun, why just not leave her character out of the movie? Using another actress to replace her is just a very bad idea! It doesn't work. It didn't work.

2. One more comic hero movie where a recurrent villain in the comics dies at his very first appearance in the movie. Hello Harvey! Adieu, Harvey! It looks like those guys can't resist the temptation of repeating that bad formula, as well as the equally bad formula of putting at least to recurring villains together in the same movie...

3. Just one more Joker-movie...

4. Bat-fighting: Batman Begins hit the spot in terms of choreography, fighting style and speed, but failed in what came to camera angle: you just couldn't see anything, so close the camera was and so fast was the action. Dark Knight tried to correct those flaws, but in turn the fight speed and fluidity was totally lost. It looked as if Christian Bale didn't rehearse as much as he should.

5. The old problem with the cowl... Batman gained a new, flexible cowl, thus somehow solving the "stiff neck" issue that plagued the character since his first appearance in the movies. However, in doing so, Batman lost its famous football linebacker neck. I'll give you a hint for the next movies that will resolve this dilemma once and for all; something you've never heard before: C.G.

House M.D.

A.k.a. Wacko's Haven
What kind of movie is this??? It is so absurd that it prompted a guy to write a book explaining why the renowned Demented Diagnostician is more incredible than the Incredibles themselves. Nobody on earth could ever achieve such a semi godlike status acting like him. He wouldn't have survived first year in any college! It's just ridiculous. And that other African-American doctor? Nice guy! He injected his own doctor teammate with a deadly substance to insure that she would do all she could to find a cure for him!!! What does such a nut job show teaches you, or at least adds for your welfare? Nothing; absolutely nothing. The sadness and the lunacy overwhelmingly surpass the funny jokes and the clever diagnosis processes that once made the series watchable.

Human Target

A show worth staying up late at night.
Monday night is good TV night: Mentalist followed by Human Target. I don't bother waking up next morning in the red: the show delivers.

It didn't take me long to blow the dust away and remember that in my teenager days there was a side story in Batman magazine about a guy who worked as... a human target! One single tread left in my memory closed the circuit between then and now: a scene where the H.T. was practicing judo with a guy bigger than him. The guy tries to throw him down with a seoi-nague move, and there goes the H.T. flying over the opponent as he was supposed to fly. In the next frame, however, instead of landing on his back, he manages to move in the air so as to land on his feet - perfectly positioned to apply a seoi-nague on his opponent and trow in onto the ground! How would I forget it?

It was a nice surprise to meet again the Human Target in the screen three decades later, and in such a great fashion! The movie is GREAT!

Best of luck for all Human Target's team!

The Invaders

The Quintessential James Bond
I gave some consideration before reviewing this much-loved TV series of my youth. Watching it again more than 40 years later is another experience entirely. What I recognize now is the greatest big- and small-screen hero of all. Who else but David Vincent, an ordinary man with steel nerves, solely equipped with a .38, short-barreled revolver and huge, boat-like automobiles, depending totally on his personal budget, could have single-handedly disrupted, time and again, the most elaborate plans set off by an army of invading extraterrestrials with their advanced, technological prowess relentlessly committed to take our beloved Earth for themselves? Double-O-Seven pales in comparison; a real sissy, actually. Only Captain James T. Kirk comes close in street-fighting skills, resilience and resolve. On top of all, a humble guy who is polite to a fault, cool and smooth as none. These are some of the reasons that not only make this Zen-mannered architect an unforgettable character, but testify as well to the outstanding acting skills of the venerable artist who gave him life, Mr. Roy Thinnes.

The Hurt Locker

Nothing but Politics
Mo'nique's statement about the Academy "showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics" was a blatant exception in 2010's Academy Awards ceremony. Acclaiming "The Hurt Locker" as a greater film than "Avatar" - and, for this matter, the even better sci-fi drama "District 9" - is preposterous. It was all about politics, period. The conferred awards were about the United States once again being entangled in a questionable war, and about many young Americans dying in a far country for dubious reasons. It was certainly about the first Oscar winning female director. Ironically, the movie did not need such undeserved appraisal from the Academy members to be respected both for its form and its content. "The Hurt Locker" is a very good movie, unarguably very well planned and executed. Nevertheless, it is an American movie for Americans, as the immediate social and political concerns that its creators planned to convey are not easily transferred to other audiences.

District 9

Avatar What?
No doubt, Avatar is a great, wonderful movie, worthy every second of it - but District 9 is a top notch sci-fi drama, outstanding in all aspects, the like of which very rarely emerges on big or small screen. Avatar is a ride on a theme park attraction; District 9 penetrates your heart and soul and stays with you long after the play is over. It has that quality, that something that can't be explained, but makes all the difference. It's not a movie for the general public or the weak of heart, though, as it's loaded with tension, suspense, and death, all of these masterfully conceived and executed. Temptation to go for a sequel should be resisted: this one-of-a-kind opus should probably be better if left alone, notwithstanding the (probably intentional) minor plot holes and the story's outcome making space for at least one more look at the "prawns".

Star Trek

Great Kirk and Spock! Other things could be better...
The actors who played the roles of Kirk and Spock do deliver; they make you feel you're watching the originals once again. This is no small feat. However...

A number of things in the plot are meaningless. Young Kirk doesn't care for his own life or any form of authority, yet he enters Star Fleet Academy quite easily. He goes from nobody to captain in a few years. Spock is a poor victim, losing the command of Enterprise due to a plot set by his best friend Kirk and masterminded by... himself!

Some unnecessary, hard-to-believe skydiving, as if no other advanced, more effective and safe way were available five centuries ahead in the future to get the job done. Each of the skydivers using shinny, color matching suit and helmet, one color for each guy. Blah!...

Eric Bana is Eric Bana; he will never pass as a disgruntled Romulan captain. This is not his fault; he is just one of those guys whose fame and outstanding performance make it hard for the viewer to forget who he is and accept him as a part of the Star Trek lore.

The Romulan engineer who designed Bana's ship must be a lunatic, as notwithstanding being capable of creating a time traveling starship, its interior is full of deadly dangerous, absolutely nonsensical pitfalls.

And what happened with that beloved Trekkie planet called Vulcan??!! It seems it was destroyed in a time before the original series! I still don't know. I hate time loops.

Finally, the Enterprise... In sharp contrast with the beautifully rendered, all-glass bridge, it doesn't take much to realize that the engine room is just an old, ordinary, 20th century industrial plant used as a studio set, without any preparation whatsoever except for some bad C.G. to create a useless tube full of liquid. My guess is the budget had already been spent when the engine room's shootings began.

Bottom line, I admired Chris Pine's and Zachary Quinto's great performances, and those of other very good actors, but the things aforementioned caused some distractions that prevented me to fully enjoy the movie.

Eleventh Hour

Best in recent years.
Among the many things make this show highly enjoyable, it's worth mentioning the absence of non-sense, low grade, soapbox drama, no abnormal, twisted minds, demented characters sold as heroes, the engaging scientific quests, and the great individual and teamed performance of both leading actors. Personal drama is added in the right amount to make the characters real and likable, never diverting the focus from the original concept and plot lines. Two very plausible professionals, each very skilled in his/her trade, just trying to do their best to save other's lives and honestly earn their salaries. The show delivers week after week. It took just one episode for acquiring the taste. The gap caused by the show's cancellation will be deeply felt. Please: GET THE SHOW BACK ON!

The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John

A movie worthy of its main character...
A vibrant, inspiring, faithful, no non-sense portrayal of the Gospel according to John. It provides a very solid presentation of the book, adding nothing to it and omitting only a few minor, ancillary passages that do not alter anything of the situations to each they would refer. Miracles and miraculous occurrences are treated in a light tone, with the clear, successful intent of preventing FX to drive the audience's attention way from the story. It's a very good choice for those not familiar with the Bible who want to be acquainted with Jesus's good news, nature, mission, power and love. It certainly makes for an outstanding gift and a great, up-to-date educational aid.

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