westsideschl

IMDb member since January 2008
    Lifetime Total
    1,000+
    IMDb Member
    13 years

Reviews

Dispatches from Elsewhere
(2020)

A Lecture?
1. Strange trivia: Fred poured an entire container of powdered matcha green tea into a glass. Why did it turn brown? He drank it all, but that's enough tea for 20 large glasses. Not healthy. 2. Are Team Blue & Team Red a comment on political division. 3. Peter: You have to be in a game to feel like you are somebody while looking inside to discover who you are. Peter is you, so is your story a comedy or tragedy? 4. Simone is you if always feeling let down. 5. Janice is you if you ever worried that your best days are behind you. Janice is the surrogate of us. 6. Fred is you if you sensed things are not as they appear; that there are mysterious forces at play. 7. Question: Are the viewers participating in a game w/Clara (Lee) creating the supposed conspiracy thus our mystery. 8. Question: Was it all an augmented spooky & surprises reality? Was it a self, and all of us story/movie/picture within a self, and all of us story/movie/picture? 9. Is the movie's theme a contradiction? "You are you". Change comes from finding one another. No me, no you, only us. 10. In counterpoint to the perhaps movie's central theme is this: 2163 billionaires have more wealth than 60% (4.6 billion) of the world's population. Global inequality exists resulting in short & often miserable lives, and females are disproportionally affected.

Vitalina Varela
(2019)

Dark is Good?
Mostly filmed in a poorly lit (candle; open door for daylight; small window) very small adobe house. Most of the film is visually dark, and silent except we hear the thoughts of the ex-wife who has arrived in Portugal from Cape Verde shortly after her separated husband has died. Few others are seen except the husband's hanging out mates, and a priest. We get little snippets of his life; none of which is interesting or unusual. Very little acting required. For those who like to search for meaning in an obtuse, obscure artsy presentation.

Tenet
(2020)

KISS
Couple of problems. Didn't enjoy the movie. Lacked clarity and despite it being a fantasy the often overused factual science errors made it cheaply implausible. Actors chosen seemed dull, lifeless; not believable. The overall theme of someone in the future traveling to the past (our present) is (a.) not possible; period (b.) to destroy this past (our present) so that there is no future seemed absurd (duh, future us there are easier ways). Although, at the rate we're going with our environmental destruction we're doing it well enough on our own. Didn't get the plutonium angle as it's easy to get a small amount for a single bomb. However, not explained in the movie, but building the fissionable bomb apparatus is no walk in the park. The nine containers of code made no sense. Just an excessively complex script that should have adhered to the KISS principle. On a positive note extra star for the background to the movie as explained in the special features - the intricacies & expense to create the scenes was more fascinating than the movie. Also, all the site locations: Estonia; Italy; U.K.; Denmark; India; Norway.

Roadkill
(2020)

Dirty Laundry
Just what we need right now (COVID-19 times) is to watch a show on flawed, selfish, greedy people. Couldn't find a likable person amongst the dozens presented. The usual immoral sex, unethical pursuit of more money and/or status. Can't really trust anyone. Anyway cabinet level politician is our focal point, and not too realistically is likely to become Prime Minister. Of course, he has family issues, and past issues (the usual money & influence) all of which fill the storyline. OK, if you like watching dirty laundry in your spare time. A few loose skeletons to parse out thus a likely season 2. I was hoping for a Trumplike politician to laugh at, but no such luck.

Better Call Saul
(2015)

Season 5 - Lots of Talking
Doesn't go anywhere just repetitive, lots of talking (fits the lawyer theme). Feels like you're watching dirty laundry, e.g. lots of drugs, vandalism, nastiness. Not too likable anybody including lead characters. Just a few interesting, different episodes & scenes. The one with the home owner in the midst of desolate nothingness being chased out by big corp. was funny, but not too insightful into that issue. Ending scenes with Cartels was dramatic.

Are You Afraid of the Dark?
(2019)

Teen Formula
A Nickelodeon series which should tell you the targeted demographics. Lacked subtitles for the elderly, disabled, hearing impaired, and ESL viewers. Disrespectful & cheap on the part of the producers especially when audio & enunciation is poor. Written to appeal to, thus sell to, middle & high school teen interests using fantasy romance & horror, and the over-used backdrop of a child kidnaping circus/carnival show. Usual cheap scares (flashing lights; endless dark barren hallways; jump scares; odd characters; many poorly conceived & enacted dreaming vs. reality scenes?). Usual eye candy love interests. Usual one Afro-American; one Asian ; one nerd for diversity. Slightly different, yet OK, backdrop of having to write a good horror flick in order to belong to the group.

The Gulf
(2019)

Detective Crime Series Seen Too Many Times Before
Another person trapped in sinking car scene; repeated endlessly in flashbacks. Yes, eventually, at the end you are given the significance which plays on another popular suburban housewives' fear. More screen time has been given to our lead detective taking her methadone & flashbacks of her sinking car than the crime scenes. Usual personal & family issues. Do all these crime movies try to make their leads relatable in that way? By having everyday problems. Usual detective whiteboard presentation to team addressing a crime investigation. Usual interdepartmental conflicts. Script makes money off of the uncommon but emotionally feared crime of trafficking children for sex.

Positive: Nice scenery.

Ava
(2020)

Not Believable
Nothing too creative. Script has been done many times before. Very cliche. Troubled female w/military trained fighting skills now a hired, by some semi-secret organization, assassin. Worst part is somehow a small, at least fifty+ pounds lighter & non-musculcar, skinny female takes out scores of much larger & skilled males. Sure! Usual flying kicks; arm twisting pull overs; near deadly punches. Bullseye shooting under adverse conditions. The film's theme for viewers is "Who are you?" (i.e. Ava) meaning we'll probably get her in a sequel turning her life around.

Lucifer
(2016)

Season 4 - Stuck in a Rut Script
1. Overacted like reciting highly scripted very fake dialogue, and all in sequence as if after every short line the director pauses to allow the actors to memorize the next line. And, of course, practice a devilish smile. 2. Over reliance on romance issues with the usual eye candy actors. Lucifer, of course, has short beard growth (very manly fake) as if the devil really needs that along with muscles (shown frequently). Why for someone with God like super powers. To showcase the body we have a very fake (and overused) holding up a car as it's wheels spin in trying to get away. 3. The usual 10 seconds of staged dead body scene (very cheaply popular in crime series); the usual interdepartmental detective conflicts & issues. 4. Special effects consist mostly of two cheap (thankfully always brief) film items: Colored eyes (seen in all superpower movies), and wings that are so cheap they would fall apart if moved. 5. Hell looked like a studio CGI quickie: A background of trees; above are clouds; the throne is a jagged rock nestled amongst other fake jagged rocks. Huh! Not the Hell I know. Anyway, gotta have a King to sit there to stop (contain) the demons of Hell from coming to Earth. Please, send the demons, they would be a lot more interesting than this script.

Sa-rang-eui bul-sa-chak
(2019)

Formula
Very typical Korean production: Male & female become love interests; usually from very different backgrounds. Usual emphasis on attractiveness in actors. Usual emphasis on wealth. Usual parent and/or offspring conflicts. Typical confrontational style behavior (is this a Korean behavior norm?) Very predictable ending.

Movie starts out with a very cheap CGI of a tornado (especially the whirling farm tractor), and very fake sucking of hang glider into it; surviving completely intact (a little dirt makeup). The worst part was the script's downplaying of North Korea's totalitarian control of it's people. Besides being poorly educated; fed the same propaganda for memorizing; facing imprisonment or death for voicing an opinion (also Russia & China in that cadre); using it's resources to maintain the military while ignoring the feeding & health of it's people. The script, probably for political reasons, whitewashed all of that while portraying most of the North as kind & thoughtful of others.

Sanctuary
(2019)

Strains ...
Series of events so unlikely that it "strains credulity" to imagine that all (100%) of these sequential events are destined to imprison this woman. Seems too many made-up for TV unlikelihoods - just a big guffaw! Acting, was a bit staged to make matters worse. However, on a positive note, the background scenery is fantastic. Maybe have our imprisoned lady solo climb the face of one of these peaks in one of her, probably, several escapes (seasons 2 of course).

NOS4A2
(2019)

Season 2 - Deteriorated
Season 1 was novel; creepy. The series has potential, but needs better intelligent creative writing. Season 2 showed the same ol', same ol' w/fewer, and cheaper predictable effects, e.g. buried explosives, metal crushing. Even the hour glass mind controller (done in other movies) seemed haphazardly tossed in. The motorcycle Wraith chase scene with 17 shots fired (Did the director lose count?) at the car window was boringly cliche. Acting was lifeless & stale - adults & children.

The Rental
(2020)

Rerun
Not creative; same old story of several people renting a remote house where bad things happen to them. So many done (many times) before scenarios. Starting with opening scenes of future victims driving in car on their way to the inevitable. The only question is how many survive, and as always some more likable than others. Usual cliff by the ocean for you know what. Not believable were the unlikely technical use of cameras; the lack of disappearance investigation. Usual poor decisions. The ending was very unlikely dumb so must be setting us up for a sequel.

Note: Lower rating for another IFC Midnight production where they force you to sit through their previews. I just

The Irishman
(2019)

A Contemporary Version Exists
How many movies have been made of mob activities during the '50s to '70s especially with northeastern US mob activity & labor union tie-ins? They all look and sound the same. Even the actors chosen seem stereotypic for that genre. Felt very dated (as it should). The usual club scenes; usual museum looking cars; usual quick kills; usual immaculate wardrobe. Must say the mobster's venture into illegal, but made legal investments in hotels, casinos, real estate must have influenced the Trump family in their wealth acquisition (and tax avoidance).

The Secrets We Keep
(2020)

Slow
Is he the one she most fears; one of the German WWII soldiers who terrorized her & other women. Many years later (1950s) how likely is it that they cross paths in a small American town. Is her memory accurate enough to know with certainty it is him. If it's that soldier he has changed now with a loving family, but she can't forget a face or has her memory also changed. The movie presents one solution, but might there be a better one? I should say that Jewish historical recreations continue to take contemporary advantage of those atrocities.

From Iceland to EDEN
(2019)

Not Another Drug Movie
I'm sorry, I must be dumber than a chicken w/out it's head. Didn't get where the story was going so lots of ff. Lots of flashbacks of two babies crawling about. Lots of drug buying & using scenes. Usual party drug scenes. Guy & gal inadvertently team up to become sellers; make money; spend lavishly & as usual go a bit far & try to take drug money from a kingpin. A couple of baddies die, but not sure if our duo end up the same way, but we get to see an Icelandic hot spring pool. Nominated in editing category by an Icelandic film award group.

Hidden
(2018)

Season 2 - For Once Acorn Got It Right
The UK's Acorn TV finally has a quality, creatively written crime series. "What lengths you go to, to feel like you belong." sums up this murderous escapade. Good use of background scenes, cinematography, music/sound effects, character presentation & associated acting in particular Elwy as Mia. Her creepiness reminds me of "Killing Eve" - Villanelle, and "Castle Rock" (sea. 2) - Annie. Wouldn't be surprised if they find a way to continue season 2 in a later season. Note: Mia, unblinkingly, "It doesn't matter where I go, I always make new friends." Question: Do we have sociopathy, or psychopathy?

The Good Fight
(2017)

Season 4 - Does Trump Deserve to be Picked On?
Yes, there's a lot on Trump this season. The Epstein episode seemed well documented. A bit of character background: Trump has had servants his entire life (spoiled?); judge that as you may, he avoided the Vietnam war draft with a common escape at that time an ailment that couldn't be challenged (you just take their word for it, and twice which is odd), Plantar Fasciitis, with the family's well paid doctor co-signing it (Note: I had a severe form for several months & it only bothers you for half an hour upon rising each morning). His well documented inappropriate sexual contact with young females (26 women) along side being married, each increasingly younger, three times, suggests? His not paying (or paying absurdly little) taxes. His early real estate connections to Russia leading to positiveness toward Putin. Video of him partying with Epstein (if you don't know his history, well) at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate along with lots of young cheerleaders.

Looking for Alaska
(2019)

Cliches & Stereotypes
Best part was seeing someone use Mapquest in a movie. Basic storyline is a semi remote Alabama boarding school for what is a bit too writer's hyperbole portrayal of unrealistically intelligent, mostly rich, white students (exception, they did show diversity w/one black; one Asian student). Viewer demographic is most likely 15 to 20 year olds. The usual teen romance, but unrealistic in a boarding school that they were not monitored (lawsuits galore) except with one very stereotypical administrator always showing up at inopportune times. Usual drugs, alcohol, sex, parties, nighttime escapades, pranks, secret meeting place, bullying by bigger athletes. Had cliches to the extreme. Only positive was the ending theme that there are consequences for our actions. Why there is a season 2; who knows.

Vuelven
(2017)

Mexico + Drugs
Say two words (Mexico; Drugs) and we have fulfilled our image of that country. Now add homeless street kids and the fantasies they may have, and you have an idea of what this movie is about. A bit too fantasy driven with moving graffiti on walls & other weird imagery to really get a feel for these kids' lives. Best part was the intro graphic of "Drug wars since 2006 of 160,000 dead, and 53,000 simply disappeared."

Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs
(2019)

A Korean Disney
One of the best animated stories to come out of Korea. Positive message storyline that beauty in a person is not in their appearance. Good modeling; good compositing; good animation; good voicing; fun dialogue. Ten years in production from initial concept to fruition. Like w/Disney it takes a week of studio time to make 3 sec. of animation. Note: Producers say that one of their goals is to have Korean animation better than Disney. I disagree with that attitude. It should not be about competing with another company, but doing your best for the audience. Note 2: Chloë in video special features is shown w/excessive very bright red, very heavily applied (looked like plastic) lipstick which not only is unhealthy, but counters her role model message of females not selling their bodies.

Bacurau
(2019)

Weird
A bit like "Surviving the Game" and other people hunting people for sport (or other reasons) films except we have some nefarious characters going after a whole Brazilian back country town. Besides the novelty of this story is that the supporting background acting is by actual Brazilian townsfolk. Good prosthetic effects, and interesting twists. All add up to to some unique panache.

Relic
(2020)

Creepy
Forced to sit through previews of other movies courtesy of Scream & IFC Midnight. Usual cheap opening scenes of overhead view of car traveling on road - a dead giveaway to cheap.

Really slow (90% of the movie) spending time on the relations between Gran (nie), daughter & granddaughter. Eventually we get to a rather well done creepiness, although seen many times before, of being confined in an endlessly repeating dark hidden passage (although the house itself looked fairly normal); the growing creepy mold everywhere; of course sounds & shadows; finally grannie is getting weirder. Fairly abrupt ending didn't make the why & how clear.

The Other Lamb
(2019)

Meh!
Cults with a male central god & female flock occur, but rarely. More common in some religions is for a male to have several wives. Of course, most common is a flock of one. Dialogue, acting, obedience by the flock all fairly interesting and possibly showing the reality of this relationship. Not shown, but would have made the film a bit more exciting would be how the shepherd is treated in the end. Not too believable was the walking trek to a new home. Not shown was resolving male birth.

The New Mutants
(2020)

Been There, Done That Many Times Over
How many times has this story been told almost verbatim. A short list follows: 1. Youth with super powers. One of whom is more super than others. 2. Being institutionalized (usually hidden or remote) by some entity (government; corporation; etc.) for probably nefarious reasons. Evil doctor(s). 3. Usual fire controlling bodies; usual force controlling things; usual flying/levitating; usual invisibility; usual mind control. 4. Colored eyes as usual representing some force. 5. Evil creature represented by dark ashy swirling cloud (became a pop tool 10 years ago w/advanced computers & CGI). 6. Usual teen romance. Usual escape in the works. 7. New Mutants is more like Redux Copycat Mutants.

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