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Rim of the World

Difficult to Review
This movie is difficult to review. Overall it's well made. Some of the special effects are a bit cheesy, especially when the alien first appears on earth. On the surface, it's a silly summer action film. It doesn't try to be more and is entertaining for what it is. The problem is that it appears to be aimed at 10-14 year olds, but the language and much of the content is clearly unsuitable for that age group. The sexual innuendo and right out sexual comments are wholly inappropriate for this age. It's a shame, because it could've been a great family film.

Avengers: Endgame

Oh. My. Gosh! What a boring movie!
The alternate title for this film: "How to Cram a 90 Minute Movie Into 3 Hours."

A Million Little Things

So Far, So Good.
I like this show a lot. Emotionally, its very similar to "This Is Us." But, T.I.U. has begun to feel manipulative to me. I just can't sit through those episodes anymore.

This show has enough mystery and intrigue between the characters that it keeps me hooked. Looking forward to the fall for the story to pick up again,

Standup and Away! with Brian Regan

Love Brian Regan - This show, not so much
If you're new to Brian's standup act, you may find this very enjoyable. Otherwise, it's a lot of recycled material. Some of the acted out bits are pretty funny, others not so much. The interaction with the "floor manager" and the audience seems forced overall. Was hoping for better.

Welcome to Marwen

A very well made film.
The movie making involved here is top notch all the way. Can't really say that it's an enjoyable or entertaining movie because it's a tough story to tell. Because it's based on a true story, I'm glad I saw it. If it were fictional, I'd have different expectations for the plot and character development. We're left wondering about certain characters and their backgrounds. But, isn't that the way life is?

I've read some harsh viewer reviews on this site and others. Many seem to think the movie is just too weird. They don't want to see a movie about a man who plays with dolls because he can't deal with reality. All I can say is that the top grossing movie this weekend is about a man who is king of an underwater kingdom and fights crime. Perhaps a lot of people have weird ways of dealing with reality.


Good Story, Weak CGI
Enjoyed the story of this movie a lot. But the CGI is weak compared to recent movies - most notably Disney's live action Jungle Book. These animals look too stiff and not very lifelike. The Legend of Tarzan (2016) had the same problem where the CGI just didn't quite cut it compared to the Disney film, although I felt Tarzan's CGI was better than this Jungle Book's. The story is compelling and interesting. The young man playing Mowgli gives a fine performance. Over all an entertaining movie.


A Competent Film on a Serious Event
The movie is well made, moves a little slowly but is compelling due to it's subject. The actors do a superb job. Even Ed Helms and Jim Gaffigan manage to make you forget who they are.

Kennedy and his handlers do not come off well, of course. It's a not a documentary and I do not trust Hollywood or the media to portray anyone historical character completely accurately.

For me, there are 2 take aways from the movie:

1. This was a sincere young lady whose life was cut much too short. It was difficult for me to watch her on screen knowing what was about to happen to her. She deserved better. Sadly, she is a footnote in history. We should refer to it as the Mary Jo Kopechne scandal, not Chappaquidick.

2. The end of the film featured "person on the street" interviews from 1969. It was amazing to listen to the ones who dismissed his short-comings and continued to support him. Seeing those interviews in the Trump era makes for an interesting perspective. Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton or Donald Trump, the American voter on both sides of the aisle will look past a man's sins if they think that person will advance their political agenda. The opposite is also true: People will mercilessly and unflinchingly condemn a person for his shortcomings if they don't agree politically. This was true during the 2016 election cycle. It was never about Hillary or Trump's demons, it was always politics. Until that is understood, people will never get why Trump has support.

The biggest unanswered question for me is: how did Kennedy get out of the car. If the doors were jammed shut and the windows unbroken, which kept anyone from getting Mary Jo out of the car, then how did he get out?

Alien Intrusion: Unmasking a Deception

A Strong Scientific Foundation for ET Visitations
A strong scientific foundation is laid out to explain why alien visitation from other planets is virtually impossible. Yet, people are experiencing abductions and close encounters. The obvious conclusion is drawn that these beings are from another dimension. After pointing out that the basis for string theory and multi verses have no basis in provable science, the documentary then explores the spiritual dimension.

Be aware, this film is produced by a Christian ministry, so of course Bible verses are quoted. However, secular sources are quoted as well. A compelling case is put forth that deserves consideration.

Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi

The difficulty in making a Star Wars Movie
The difficulty in making a Star Wars Movie is trying balance doing something new with giving fans what they expect. As I read other user reviews, it seems that they're mostly angry that the movie didn't do what they wanted it to do. They went in with such pre-defined expectations that they missed how well this movie was written.

There are so many complaints about Luke's behavior in this film. He was such a hero in the original, it's said that he would never give up. They seem to forget how reluctantly Obi Wan was brought back to fight in the original, how he fought Vader as a diversion to aid in escape from a trap and ultimately how he disappeared after that fight before Vader could actually kill him. Luke's life parallels Obi Wan's in so many ways. Thinking he could train the next generation, losing his prize student to the dark side, surrendering to despair, coming back for one last heroic deed. In fact, that's one thing I love about these last two films: history repeats itself with parallels in each generation.

I also appreciated that the attempts at rescue in the sub-plots were not successful. Viewers often complain that victory is too predictable. It was not in this case. One thing that made this movie enjoyable was it took unpredictable turns.

After seeing Empire Strikes Back in the theaters when it first came out, my friends and I all hotly debated whether or not Vader was lying when he told Luke he was his father. It was so unbelievable compared to everything we thought we knew about Luke. There was no internet to serve as an echo chamber for the debates in those days. I really wonder if Empire would have been universally panned by fans if it were. I thoroughly expect that we are not finished with Rey's backstory and Ren's manipulation of her. Time will tell.

My only complaint about this movie - and the reason for nine out of ten stars - is that for me many of the fight scenes dragged on too long. I feel this way about many recent movies: Thor, Guardians II, Batman Vs Superman, etc. I'm bored by the relentless fighting, let's see who wins and get on with the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movies as did my family members who saw it with me. It's entertaining and engaging, occasionally lighthearted and fun. Highly recommended!

The Orville

It will be a great show when it decides what it is...
I avoided this show when it premiered because given MacFarlane's involvement and the way Fox was advertising it, I assumed the entire thing would be a comedy farce. That's fine, but I find MacFarlane's humor tiresome and adolescent, so I passed. Then I read reviews about it being more "Trek" than "Trek" and gave it shot.

This show is amazingly well done. The stories are thought provoking. The effects are good. It's nice that all the aliens are not humanoid.

The problem is MacFarlane's humor. It is jarringly out of place. You have a serious scene and then all of sudden he utters, "Dude, you have been a colossal dick all day - shut the hell up." In another scene, a blob creature gets an erection while trying to convince the doctor to go out with him. It's a funny jab at how Captain Kirk always seemed to be sexually compatible with aliens, but seems out of place in such a weighty episode.

If the show wants to be a comedy with a light message, a la "Galaxy Quest," it should go there. If it wants to be a worthy successor to ST:TNG, it should go there. For me, it's not working trying to be both. If it decides soon in favor of the latter, I'll stay with it. If it rides the fence or degenerates into typical MacFarlane fare, I'll find something else to watch.

Parting zinger - I won't choose "ST:Discovery." I already pay for Netflix and Hulu, not paying for CBS!

Lost in Space: The Hungry Sea
Episode 5, Season 1

Science Fiction without any Science is Just Fiction
While the drama is compelling and the performances are solid, the underlying story is ridiculous. The planet could not possibly move fast enough in it's orbit to cause the weather extremes depicted. If the planet was moving that fast, they would've observed that when approaching the planet in the first place. And then there's the idea that they could've survived under solar blankets - also pretty ridiculous.

This episode is one of the first several that were cobbled together with scenes from the unaired pilot. As a result, some for the dialogue also doesn't make sense. Penny asks Will if they are on Mars. Clearly, she would've known they were no where near Mars.

The dialogue about having the radio on during the lightning storm was also pretty ridiculous.

As escapism entertainment, its a decent episode. Just go along for the ride and don't think too hard along the way.

Into the Woods

The movie is well made, the source material is the problem
As a musician who has played in pit orchestras, done lighting and acted in supporting and leading roles, I really want to love "Into the Woods." I remember hearing about the show when it first opened. All of the ingredients were in place for the perfect show: cast, composer, story concept. What could go wrong? Turns out, pretty much everything.

Sondheim, as he often does, tries too hard to be clever as a composer. He composes wonderfully complex scores that are admirable achievements. Problem is, they're not entertaining to listen to. He needs the melodic skills of Richard Rodgers. The show becomes tedious in the second act.

That tedium is the fault of the book as much as the composer. The plot moves too slowly and wanders too far. It should have wrapped up in half the time. By the end, the viewer is begging for conclusion.

The biggest mystery of all, to me, is the perverse sexual innuendo thrown disturbingly into the story. It's not needed and is completely out of place. The implications of the lyrics sung by perpetrator and victim are deeply troubling. Fortunately, the presentation in the movie is whitewashed a good bit compared to the stage version. Even so, it is a rabbit trail that leads nowhere good and has no redeeming value.

The movie itself is well made and well performed. The acting and singing are very fine, the orchestra is beautiful. Too bad all that effort was put into this show.


In the end, its just a rat movie.
I really wanted to love this movie. I read reviews that said things like, "funniest Pixar movie ever!" I have loved every other Pixar movie and was really looking forward to this one. It wasn't that funny.

It's cute and mildly entertaining, but not great. I didn't hate it, just wished it was a better movie. I found myself checking my watch several times throughout the movie - not a good sign.

I think part of the problem is that too often the rats look too much like... well, RATS! Their movements were too rat like. I would start to get caught up in the story and then all of a sudden a horde of rats would come on the screen and I'd think, "GROSS!"

The movie is gorgeous to look at - Pixar does their homework on the way things look and move. But to make rats sympathetic, they needed to look a little more "human."

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