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Life Itself

A Masterpiece!
The kind of movie that leaves you feeling wrung out and yet hopeful. The kind of movie where you find yourself constantly wondering how anyone could ever even conceptualize the plot let alone people it with perfect actors doing a masterful job of playing complex characters experiencing impossibly difficult and totally unexpected challenges. Before watching it I was feeling down after two weeks of enforced inactivity while waiting out the Covid 19 lockdown. Watching the screen credits flash by at movie's end the mother's parting words of wisdom to her son left me joyfully aware of the fact that Life Itself is worth living, that it's bigger than me, longer lasting than my brief moments and in the end very meanigful. My thanks to the authors, the director, the actors, and the crew! A magical moment for me and I suspect many others!

Modern Love

Wow! Wow! Wow!
Tempted to write a review for each episode but I've decided to just talk about the sheer brilliance of both the concept and the acting. The sort of series that makes you feel like metal attracted to magnet. The pull is that strong and even after the final episode has run its course the series just will not let go! Everything about it was wonderful and the overall effect was to leave you with a whole new very hopeful sense of the complex, intricate possibilities of love. Can't wait for the next season!

Concrete Canyons

Delivers on the promise...
This movie follows a very similar model to the Jesse Stone series even including Polly Shannon, Jessie's girlfriend. Like Stone Ben Sloane is highly intuitive when it comes to solving crimes, packs a mean punch when attacked, and is not a huge fan of stupidity. Unlike Jesse he doesn't carry a gun but he does drink a lot of whiskey...perhaps a dog's stony glare would have helped in this regard but alas there is no dog in the story. Like Jesse Ben also seems tormented by some past misfortune but I won't say what it is as I don't want to spoil things for you. All said and done this is an entertaining movie with Scott Patterson more than holding up his end of things and while the plot may be cliche ridden the overall tale is believeable and well told.


Thought Provoking and Incredibly Moving!
I spent more than 10 years working with horses on a daily basis and thought of myself as a knowlegable horseman. And then I saw the movie "Horse Whisper" which led me to reading the novel, which led me to learning about Monty Roberts and his round pen method of horse training. By the time I'd completed this process I'd discovered how little I really knew about horses. And then tonight I watched this excellent documentary and learned to relate to horses on an entirely different level. A wonderful movie that filled me with a sense of peace despite the fact that as a rule the mere term New Age prompts me to reach for the channel selector. Free of cliche this documentary flows like a peaceful mountain stream exploring uncharted territory be concerning the mystical connection between man/woman and the so-called lower animals. While horses, foals, a pony,and a steer play leading roles the women and man with whom they interact all have important stories to tell. All told I came away from watching this astounded by what I had witnessed, both in terms of the silent but powerful connection between the humans and horses, and the powerful it all had one me as I watched. Add to this truly immaginative camera work and you have a powerful package. I suspect I will watch it again.

Seven Seconds

May be the best movie I've ever seen!
A simply astounding achievement! Excellent script which painstakingly avoids the usual cliches of character, plot, and conclsuion. Superb acting, not only on the part of the leads, but throughout the entire cast! Great camera work with matching soundtrack. But above all else an honest, complex, and well informed inside look at racism, the Blue Line, and a legal system that ofttimes fails spectacularly due to human frailties and a strong need to believe in untruth. I first watched this about 6 months ago and watched it again over the past few days. If anything I was more impressed the second time round despite my having originally thought I could not have been more impressed...

To Keep the Light

Rang True...Clear As A Bell!
As a professional Maine boat captain I have more than a nodding acquaintance with lighthouses, with their function and history along the Maine Coast. When I chanced upon this film I very much suspected that I would find it sorely lacking. But such was not the case! In fact I was much impressed by how accurately the life of a 19th Century was portrayed. Great script, great acting, great cinematograpy! Loved the film and am looking forward to Erica Fae's next effort!

Outside In

Just when I begin to think that everything worth while that can be said in a movie has been said along comes a brilliant work like Outside In! Other reviewers have done a good job of sketching in the outlines of this unforgettable film so I'll just say that in a seemingly understated style the writer, director, and actors did a brilliant job of recreating the almost mind numbing complexities of what might at first appear to be a simple plot. There is an "authenticity" to this film that at first appears gritty but later turns out to be quite tender. Whatever life throws at the characters their response is reserved and measured. Sincere! Everyone but Carol's husband reaches out, tries to put themselves in the other person's shoes, and seems willing to put self interest aside. When tears are shed you don't find yourself wondering how the actors made themselves cry, when laughter occurs it rings genuine, not scripted. Complexities are not made simple, endings are left open, important details are left for filling until near the end. Time and again I found myself putting myself in the actor's shoes, trying to figure out why they said a particular thing, or why they responded to something said, or left unsaid, in a particular way. From beginning to end this film was so "real" that I felt like a member of the cast myself. Great film and I will be watching it again in a few weeks!

The Only Living Boy in New York

Stunning Piece of Work!
Can't remember the last time I enjoyed a movie as much as I enjoyed this! Wonderful writing, brilliant. concept, masterful acting, great cinematography! What's not to love? Jeff Bridges was the perfect choice for the difficult role he played, as were the rest of the cast. Certainly an original concept, one that reminds me that every time I think that subject matter and approach have been totally exhausted someone comes up with something entirely new. How anyone could not love this movie I can't even begin to fathom...

Our Souls at Night

Wonderful Movie!
Simply put the opening scenes of this movie are among the best ever filmed in Hollywood. From the first knock on the door through the first awkward attempts at conversation the viewer has the very real sense of being present. The word "Real" doesn't even hint at the overwhelming quality of authenticity that makes watching this film an almost unique experience.

A long time admirer of both Robert Redford and Jane Fonda I was slightly nervous when I began watching this movie. A lifetime of fine acting tends to build unrealistic expectations on the part of the viewer and it's not easy for older actors to live up to those expectations.

Happily by the time the final reel ran to it's final scene the performance of both Fonda and Redford had, if anything, far exceeded my expectations!

Great script! Great Acting! Wonderful camera work!

What more can you ask for...

The Trial

Well Done!
What's not to like about this movie? Wonderful script with almost every i dotted and every t crossed, and yet neither formulaic or predictable. All of the actors did an excellent job of interpreting and portraying their characters. The guy who played the hayseed farmer was so good at doing that he deserves an award for best supporting actor. About the only fault I can think of is that the motive of the bad guy was perhaps not made entirely clear.

All in all an excellent legal drama movie and well worth watching!

Five Minutes of Heaven

Wonderful Movie/Extraordinary Acting!
I've never done this before, but I read the review below written in 2012 and there's no better way to describe this movie. So I am taking the liberty of copying and pasting the review into this spot.

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Remarkable interior acting; never caught him acting once! Amazing resources; 3-D characterization, turning on a dime, caught my breath more than a few times. I'm 79 years old,a stage director, still looking for greatness in acting; this is the first time I've ever bothered commenting on any actors other than my own students. That last scene is unforgettable. Nesbitt is a wonder! If I've seen him in motion pictures before, he never registered. This role gives him a chance to stun. Great joy watching him. Having acted myself, I can't imagine how he achieved the depth of his characterization. Technique? Some. Style? Lots. Method? How about lightning flashes from one method to another, seamless. Stellar! I'm better for watching him in this flick; too bad I don't remember him from others. But I'll be watching!


Impressed With The Detective...
This was the sort of movie that was worth watching, but I wouldn't watch it again...if you know what I mean. The actor who most held my attention, although he didn't play a major role, was Kevin McCorkle. He delivered lines that in lesser hands would have come across as clichés and flat ones at that. And yet there was a sincerity in the delivery that made them ring true, and meaningful. Several times during the movie I said to my wife, "Who is the guy playing the detective, and why haven't we seen him before?"

If any casting people are reading this, I would love to see him again! This time in a bigger role!


Wonderful Film!
I hate writing reviews because if a movie is good enough to merit the effort it often seems like any attempt to describe it is destined to fall short. That said, as a one time social worker who has experienced up-close the miseries of those without home and hope I found this a remarkably accurate portrayal of the lives that can result. Having forgone the usual formulaic pap the author does an excellent job or recreating the "feel" of having no place to lay your head at night as well as the constant tension of never knowing who or what you can trust. The usual simplistic Hollywood garbage is happily absent and one finds oneself immersed in a world of bewildering complications and contradiction. Making it through each day becomes the goal and winning means little more than living to suffer another day. Such are the lives of far too many in America and elsewhere. Happily many of the "bad" guys are shown as victims themselves of a broken system rather than the arch villains of yore. Some try their best to accommodate, others try their best to take advantage of the person's vulnerability. You can't help but sympathize with the former and hate the later. While I can't even imagine trying to play the role of the two lead characters both did an excellent job and gained and held my sympathy from beginning to end. Jobs well done! And I can only guess at what cost. Camera work was excellent throughout with some of the dream like sequences outstanding. All in all a wonderful film and one I heartily will recommend to friends.

Wild Horse, Wild Ride

Wonderful! Wonderful!! Wonderful!!!
I misspent my younger years working as an assistant horse trainer and managed to work with two mustangs during that time. Thus I have a pretty good idea of how challenging the job can be. To say that I found the incredible accomplishments documented in this movie amazing would be to understate my reaction by more than a little. And for the results to be obtained in 100 days, more than amazing. Astounding would be the term I'd use. But the makers of this movie accomplished much more than a simple showcasing of competence on the part of the trainers portrayed. Although wild horses were the main focus the sensitive portrayal of human spirit is what I will never forget. In the future every time I get disillusioned with human misbehavior I will watch this movie again for a refresher course in the great things we are capable of achieving.

Least Among Saints

Wonderful Movie! Wonderful Movie! Wonderful Movie!
If there were any justice in the world...and who knows outside Hollywood and the idiot Critics who populate it maybe there is...this movie would have dominated the Academy Awards in the year it was released.

Great script, great director, great cinemaphotographer, great soundtrack, and wonderful actors to boot.

Better yet it manages to sidestep totally all the usual trite Hollywood BS and get right to the heart of things. From first scene to last it is blissfully free of the all the usual formulaic crap that allows even the most dim witted critic to have plenty to say...based not upon actually having stayed awake for the whole movie, but rather relying totally upon ideas memorized in Movie Critic Class in college.

If I sound angry it's because I am! Simply put within seconds of watching this great movie I came here to this site confident that I would encounter rave reviews written by critics hungry for something real and authentic. Instead I found just more the same limp wristed BS that so typifies so much of the garbage populating the movie critic scene these days.

Please ignore all that and treat yourself to one of the best movies you've seen in years!


Made For Ed Harris...
Having worked as a photojournalist in New Mexico I am always a bit hesitant to watch movies purporting to depict the "Border Problem." Thus when I ran into this movie on Netflix I was at first hesitant to give it a try. Happily, my reservations proved unfounded as this turned out to be one of the best movies I've seen in the past year or two. The lead role was virtually made for Ed Harris and his stoic, unwordy, acting style fits into the theme like a hand fits into a custom made glove...just right! Residents of the American Southwest are not known for wordiness and Ed's quiet although intense acting more than rings true throughout...lending an air of authenticity all too rarely encountered these days.

Michael Peña, Amy Madigan, and Eva Longoria were all excellent and the cast fit together as well as the hand fit the custom made glove referred to earlier.

As far as comments made by other reviewers relating to the movie sidestepping the more controversial aspects of the current immigration scene I'm not sure I agree. It's a complex issue and any movie attempting to render solutions will fall flat. Surely it's more than enough to attempt to put a human face on what's become a political hot potato and media frenzy bullseye and this movie more than succeeded in doing that.


In A Word: Quality!
Quality Concept, Quality Writing, Quality Directing, Quality Acting, Quality Soundtrack! If this movie doesn't win an Academy Award the Hollywood establishment is simply beyond hope!

Whenever I see Richard Jenkins' name on a production I stop and take a close look. He's the sort of actor who is so good at his job that it doesn't seem like "acting" at all. Thus when I noticed that he was part of the cast in Lullaby I pressed enter on my Apple TV control and settled back to enjoy the ride.

And what a ride it proved to be!

Terms like Gut Wrenching only hint at the roller coaster ups and downs of a script beyond excellent and words like "real" are so spot on that even the most rabid cliché hater must of needs use that descriptor...

One wonders how anyone could survive the writing of this script, or the directing of this movie, or the acting out of these roles.

Difficult conundrums faced with hesitancy but ultimately depicted with brutal honesty and yet delicate sensitivity!

The sort of movie everyone can be proud of being involved in...and that includes even the act of watching it.

Bravo, and thanks to all involved!

Jesse Stone: Sea Change

Good As It Gets!
If some archaeologist is digging around some 200 years from now and happens upon a copy of this film I only hope he's able to find a DVD player that will play it. Sea Change is that good! And unlike the usual junk passing for cinema these days this movie (and others in the series) displays a range of talent that will speak well of the 21st Century movie industry. Wonderful writing, wonderful directing, wonderful acting, wonderful sound track! But perhaps most impressive of all is the photography. In fact as a professional photographer specializing in landscape stills I was time and time again blown away by the powerful composition of the scenes, the originality of the camera work, the blending of subtle tone and color. As masterful piece of cinema-photography as I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing and memories of the most powerful shots shall inform my own work for years to come.

J. Edgar

Piece of Hollywood Garbage
How Clint Eastwood ever let himself get involved with this piece of garbage I will never understand. And once involved how was he able to stomach the day to day horribleness of the filming process?

While it may comfort some to think of ole JEdgar as a wonderfully patriotic Mommy's Boy who somehow got lost in the closet and thus occasionally was given to bouts of meanness I fear that he was a bit more sinister of a character than that. Just ask any one of the hundreds of folks whose lives he destroyed. Don't, by the way, look for any contact info allowing you to locate them in this script. Sadly, there are few concrete examples of folks attacked by JEdgar in this movie. And, of course, the 3 referred to are long ago safely dead and thus no longer a source of possible threat to the studio.

This is not to say, however, that the Kennedy and King family will not be quite put out by this movie. What is it exactly that ole JEdgar caught JFK and Martin Luther doing that merited his vicious attempts at character assassination? Oh there are a few veiled hints provided by this cardboard thin piece of Hollywood trash but no facts whatever to support the allegations.

I won't waste time on a blow by blow of just how poor the acting and cinematography was. This is not a movie of any subtly and the poor quality of both is so glaringly evident no one needs me to point it out.

Suffice it to say that JEdgar is little more than a repeat of DiCaprio's also cardboard thin Titanic which also somehow managed to trivialize its subject matter despite the fact that there was more than sufficient material there to have supported a great story line and cast.

The Forsyte Saga

Flawless In Every Respect!
At 65 years of age I have seen my share of movies and plays and I would have to say that this series is simply one of the, if not THE best productions I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. From camera work, through scripting, through character development it was simply beyond compare. The acting was of a level seldom encountered these days, or for that matter, any other days. Against this drama the threadbare nature of much of what today passes as entertainment is painfully evident.

I can't for the life of me understand why Damien Lewis and others were not immediately catapulted into the highest regions of recognition.

If it gets any better than this I've yet to experience it and I'm not holding my breath.


Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Might Be There Is Hope For The Science Establishment After All...
Might Be There Is Hope For The Science Establishment After All...

Could it be, I find myself wondering, that there may actually now be hope for the science establishment after all? After watching Ben Stein's courageous and long, long, long, long overdue look at the Naked Emperor of Science the answer now seems to be, "Perhaps."

Although certainly not an expert in evolutionary theory, I've misspent the past 30 years of my life conducting field research in ornithology so I have an at least reasonably good understanding of Darwin's theories. Based upon my personal experience in the world of evolutionary science Ben Stein is quite right in saying that there are Major Problems with Darwin's theories that have thus far resisted all attempts at resolution. These errors are due in part to Darwin having extrapolated too far and to fast from his work with barnacles, as well as by his having allowed his work to be published prematurely in an effort to avoid being scooped by Alfred Wallace.

In fact, Darwin himself came to the horrifying realization that he'd made terrible errors in his theory within a very short time of having published "Origin of Species."

Already turned nearly inside out by the fire storm of controversy ignited by "Origin of Species" and cautioned by his daughter/editor that any attempt at recanting would stir up an even more violent response from both clergy and scientists alike ole Charles proved not quite up to the task of fixing things. So rather than openly admitting his errors he simply published his "Descent of Man" and sprinkled it liberally with camouflaged recants.

You don't, by the way, have to take my word about all this as David Loye's most excellent text "Darwin's Lost Theory of Love" describes in great detail the many errors that Darwin made and the terrible consequences those errors have had over the past century. Anybody claiming more than a cursory interest in evolutionary biology owes it to him/herself to read this penetrating look at evolutionary theory and the ramifications of original error compounded by more than a century of True Belief on the part of the American Scientific Establishment.

While you are at it you might also want to read "The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time" by Jonathan Weiner. Another penetrating and thought provoking look at Darwin's theories from the perspective of a questioning rather than accepting mind.

Now as to Stein's specific assertions in regard to the American Scientific Establishment...

Some years ago I attended a lecture given by the Harvard's evolutionary luminary Stephen Jay Gould. Having filed into the auditorium with several hundred other scientists I took a seat with the expectation of being able to enjoy an hour or two of high level discussion of evolutionary theory by someone who had actually read Darwin's books. Alas I was to suffer severe disappointment.

For when ole Stephen Jay walked out on the stage the impression created was less one of serious scientific presence than of Movie Star Hubris. From first word to last it was clear that Mr. Gould took himself quite seriously and expected everyone present to do the same. In fact, when one attendee was so bold as to snap an admiring flash photo of the eminent man Gould stopped in mid sentence and announced that if one more flash flashed he would walk off the stage and go home (no doubt taking his baseball with him as well?)

It would be nice if one could attribute Gould's statement to shyness, or a dislike of the Fame/Fortune media lobby, but I very much suspect it had more to do with Mr. Gould's dislike of being interrupted in mid-pronouncement. A dislike painfully evident throughout the talk made plain by the near total lack of opportunity for anyone else to speak, let alone ask questions, or, heaven forbid, offer counter arguments.

In fairness to ole Stephen, compared to Richard Dawkins he comes off quite well. I once made the mistake of trying to read Richard Dawkins' book, "The God Delusion" but was only able to intellectually endure for 30-40 pages. That this masterpiece of True Belief ever saw the light of day is ample proof of the pressing need for a flick like, "Expelled."

I don't know about ole Richard Dawkins, but the scientific training I got generally pointed me in the direction of not reaching any conclusions until all the evidence was in whereas ole Richard begins his book on the possibility of there being an Intelligent Designer by stating that all this talk about God is clearly nonsense and then bores you to death with an after that fact attempt to substantiate his "belief".

Tempted to engage in a blow by blow discussion of all the horrific errors of reason Dawkins is guilty of (and proudly so I might add) I will simply point to his statement in Stein's film that a possible explanation of life on earth might be that a higher form of life in outer space might have created us...

Excuse me? A higher form of life in outer space created life on earth? Well then, dear Richard, who created that higher form of life in outer space? Surely you are familiar with the Chicken/Egg question...

That this dimwit is generally considered to be a member of the Best & Brightest Squad says a lot about the pressing need to take a good look at the Scientific Establishment...

I will close with a heartfelt thanks to Ben Stein for having the balls to make this long overdue film exposing True Belief in Science, as well as to those members of the American Scientific Community with enough courage to stand up and point to the Naked Emperor that the scientific community the world over seems so unwilling to clothe.

Things We Lost in the Fire

They don't get any better than this...
Rather than offering the usual trite "Make Sure You Don't Miss This Film" I will simply say, "Don't Bother Watching Anything Else In 2008"

Having worked as a drug councilor back in the early 70s I can assure you that this stunning film doesn't just get it right when it comes to the horrors of heroin addiction it provides powerful hints as to the best way for an addict to make good his escape! Anyone working in the field would do well to buy the movie and watch it over and over and over. NA might also put it to good use within its groups.

But this flick is much, much more than a primer on drug addiction. It is simply one of the most moving and motivating flicks I've ever seen on the potential for creative change achievable through the decidedly Low Tech technique of people realizing that in the end the Bell Tolls Today for us all. Better yet it illustrates beautifully and with great emotional impacting the almost unbelievable potential inherent in the process of one and all

working towards something a bit larger than making selfish self come true.

My hat is off to everyone involved in this stunning piece of work! Brilliant script, brilliant directing, brilliant acting and some of the most innovative and creative camera work that I've every had the joy of experiencing!


Slice Of A Life Worth Living...
In one of those delicious ironies I hungered to watch this flick again before I'd even made it through the first time! It is easy - perhaps too easy - to forget that "People" invented Rock 'n Roll and not corporations. Having been there when it was being "invented" I was fortunate enough to see the tremendous talent, energy, and love that were poured into the invention. More than 30 years later it was more than wonderful to see that talent, courage, love, and a willingness to do something with it outside the Corporate Envelope is still alive and well!

Great Flick, Great Video, Great Music all done for pennies on the dollar ,,, Hollywood, eat ya heart out!

Down in the Valley

Resistance That Came Too Late ...
I lived in Texas in 1969, New Mexico in 1970. In mid-1970 I moved to California and settled outside San Francisco after a brief (not brief enough!) stint in LA.

In my mid-20s by the time I reached the Golden State my first year there was clouded by preconceptions gained in the movie theaters of my youth. Calif was for me the place where "trends" began, the place where the "living" was easy, and pretty girls were "everywhere." In short, for me at least, California Dreaming had itself become a reality.

Thus for my entire first year in the hills outside San Francisco I somehow managed to miss that I was in fact living in the very same WEST that had kept me glued to the TV screen during my misspent youth. Surrounded by subdivisions and Burgher Kings, I felt I was living in a warmer, hillier, version of New York city with slightly more people and roadways.

During my second year in the Bay Area I met a beautiful blonde California girl whose Dad owned a one time ranch backing up uncomfortably against the borders of Briones State Park. From the living room window rolling yellow grassland hills marched towards the invisible skyline of Berkeley and Oakland.

Alice owned two horses and having grown up a horseman I was quick to suggest we saddle up and go for a ride in those golden hills ...

What I found during those excursions is a California that most Golden State residents never even realize exists. And by the end of my first 10 mile journey I also realized that freeways and Burgher Kings aside the Compass never lies and California is in fact very much a part of the West that once was.

This movie is about that. And about the "progress" that destroyed a land, and a people, and that is not yet done in harming everyone and everything that exists within the borders of the West that barely manages to exist these days outside of memory.

My advice is, don't miss it!

The Departed

So Graphic It Almost Makes You Puke, So Good You Can't Walk Out!
There are films you like because they are subtle. This "isn't" one of those.

There are films you like because of the acting. This "is" one of those.

There are films that are so graphic they almost make you sick to your stomach, This "is" one of those.

There are films that make you so sick to your stomach you walk out. This is "almost" one of those.

The trouble is the writing, acting, filming, and sound track are just so incredibly good you can't pull yourself away from the seat to do it!

When all is said and done, I want to see someone try and top this brutal portrayal of the seamy side of South Boston. But if someone ever manages to pull it off you aren't going to see me in the audience.

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