leftbanker-1

IMDb member since December 2008
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Reviews

Disturbia
(2007)

Nothing Good Happens in Disturbia
So the kid kills his dad in a car wreck because he's a lousy driver and was talking on the phone and tailgating another driver., then he punches out his Spanish teacher because he's too stupid to learn Spanish (it's the end of the year as the kids are talking about what they will do that summer, so the kid has had at least one full year of Spanish, yet he doesn't know anythin), then he treats his mother like a servant, he's just under 18 and can't take care of himself, and he's basically a brain-dead product of too much TV and video games. This is how the story begins. If the kid dropped dead, I think the world would be a better place for it.

This set-up was just poorly written and conceived, and I'm only 16 minutes into it. If his father was such a great guy, why is his son a moron? Of course, the family is rich (their neighbors have a pool) because this is Hollywood and they probably think that people who live like this are middle class.

Yet another story that is almost entirely predicated on the fact that no one closes their curtains, ever.

The girl was gorgeous, but that just ain't enough to carry such mediocrity.

It's a Wonderful Life
(1946)

Not My Cup of Tea
I much prefer Groundhog Day to this sappy mess. I don't think that I've ever watched it start to finish, just seen bits and pieces the million times it's been on TV during the holidays. I think it's OK for me not to like this.

Silicon Valley
(2014)

Dark, Intelligent Humor and Fantastic Characters
I turned this down when it first came out, like a venture capitalist passing on a promising start-up. I didn't give it much of a chance because I think that I probably watched five whole minutes before turning it off, for whatever reason I had way back then. My brother recently binged the entire series and told me that I needed to give it another try.

I'm not afraid to admit when I'm wrong, I actually love it when I'm wrong. In this case, being wrong meant that I waited until the series had wrapped and I didn't have to wait around to watch episodes week-to-week like an animal, as they make you do on the network that put this out. So, I won.

Every character (except one) is a scream. They could all (except one) walk off this and have their own series.

Of course, Gilfoyle has almost all of the best jokes. Who could better deliver the darkest of dark humor than a devout Satanist? Take him out of the script, along with all of his lines, and you'd have, I don't know, some crappy show like Friends of whatever. Imagine Friends with lines like, "If my mother were naked and dead in the street, I would not cover her with that jacket."

Baghead is funny in a very different sort of way. He's like the most existential human being ever portrayed on screen. That's what he brings. Just that. That's huge.

Jian Yang is goofiest stereotype of a Chinese person ever put on film. It's not racist or bigoted because he's freaking cool. Period. He should have his own series.

It's Richard I can live without. I don't like his character and he's never fun to watch with all of his "I Love Lucy" situation comedy baloney. The end of the series was a huge disappointment, especially considering how great the rest of it was. The last gag with looking for his pen drive in yet another "I Love Lucy" gag.

Midway
(1976)

Midway (1976) vs Midway (2019)
For the life of me, I barely remember why I shied away from seeing the 1976 version of the dramatization of this epic battle in the Pacific. I figured it was one of those horrible Hollywood star-studded turds, like The Towering Inferno. Even all those years ago, I had decent taste in movies and books.

I recently watched both films back-to-back and I was very pleasantly surprised with the 1976 version. It was a lot less corny than the 2019 movie which places most of the story on the hot-shot pilot who did his best Tom Cruise impersonation throughout.

I liked this snappy line from a conversation between the navy captain played by Charlton Heston and the intelligence analyst played by Hal Holbrook. They were talking about what little of the Japanese radio conversations could be deciphered by Holbrook's men.

"One word in ten? For Christ's sake, Joe, you're guessing." "We like to call it analysis."

The 1976 version relies a lot on stock footage of real air attacks and naval vessels. I have to say that this looked better than the special effects of the modern film. The old movie also did a much, much better job of explaining the tactics and the course of the battle from start to finish.

I like the fact that the modern movie has the Japanese actually speaking Japanese, although both films treat the enemy with a great deal of magnanimity, something you wouldn't see in films before the 1970s.

The 1976 versions wins by a slim margin.

Midway
(2019)

Midway (1976) vs Midway (2019)
For the life of me, I barely remember why I shied away from seeing the 1976 version of the dramatization of this epic battle in the Pacific. I figured it was one of those horrible Hollywood star-studded turds, like The Towering Inferno. Even all those years ago, I had decent taste in movies and books.

I recently watched both films back-to-back and I was very pleasantly surprised with the 1976 version. It was a lot less corny than the 2019 movie which places most of the story on the hot-shot pilot who did his best Tom Cruise impersonation throughout.

I liked this snappy line from a conversation between the navy captain played by Charlton Heston and the intelligence analyst played by Hal Holbrook. They were talking about what little of the Japanese radio conversations could be deciphered by Holbrook's men.

"One word in ten? For Christ's sake, Joe, you're guessing." "We like to call it analysis."

The 1976 version relies a lot on stock footage of real air attacks and naval vessels. I have to say that this looked better than the special effects of the modern film. The old movie also did a much, much better job of explaining the tactics and the course of the battle from start to finish.

I like the fact that the modern movie has the Japanese actually speaking Japanese, although both films treat the enemy with a great deal of magnanimity, something you wouldn't see in films before the 1970s.

Skin Deep
(1989)

Not Funny, Not Romantic, Not Memorable
I had forgotten this movie before I even made it to the end. I grew up in the era of Three's Company and thoroughly hated it. I doubt I watched a single episode. Blake Edwards was never my cup of tea, either. The story for this goes absolutely nowhere. He shags a bunch of women who fall all over themselves for him for no apparent reason. His ex-wife doesn't seem like his type and the tension between them is mostly phony and not even approaching interesting. This movie hasn't aged well at all.

Stephen Fry Live: More Fool Me
(2014)

Inconsistent and Hypocritical
This guy is so full of horse manure that I'd like to throw him down a flight of steep stairs. He's made a career of being a devout atheist, yet he tells a story here in which Prince Charles and his idiot wife are like deities who condescend to visit his humble home. He slobbers over the mere thought of Princess Diana (the dead one) as if she were a goddess. Very disappointing to this atheist and republican who doesn't believe in the power of the church or monarchy.

There was absolutely nothing even approaching humor in this; it was basically a canned speech for a book tour of a memoir I wouldn't read on a bet.

Messiah
(2020)

It's About the Silliness and Stupidity of Religion, at Least for Me
Imagine Jesus or Mohamed or Buddha or the Great Pumpkin as an arrogant hippie. Beware of anyone who professes to have answers, especially when they come on the form of greeting card platitudes, like in every religion. If you must, follow those who are asking the right questions.

This is a ginormous bore. Almost nothing happens, so if you're into that sort of narrative, plow ahead. I don't think this series is geared towards atheists like me. If the whole idea of prophets and messiahs seems like a huge pile of crap to you, this series will probably seem like a huge pile, too.

I must say, hats off or chapeau for using the languages that the people would be speaking instead of having everyone speaking in English. In the beginning it's not exactly a rollercoaster ride; it's pretty slow-going, like they don't have a lot of story to tell and way too much time to tell it. Instead of a rollercoaster, it's like your grandpa is supposed to be pushing your stroller, but he keeps stopping to talk about all of his personal problems to anyone who will listen.

I was intrigued sufficiently to keep watching, even at the snail's pace they set. I was waiting to have my intelligence completely assaulted and then I'd stop watching. This happens quite a bit in movies and TV series.

OK, it doesn't get completely stupid, but it's like an airplane that takes 20 kilometers of runway to take off. This was painfully slow. Then it crashed immediately after take off.

Ford v Ferrari
(2019)

Hollywood, But in a Good Way
Yet another example that the adjective "Hollywood" is not always a pejorative. This movie had all of the elements of a big Hollywood blockbuster: a noble goal, two attractive protagonists fighting against the odds, an evil power-broker, and a wrench. The wrench part only makes sense if you've seen the movie, although I wouldn't classify this as a spoiler.

It's based on a true story, but there probably isn't any more history to back this up than there was for the Star Wars movies, but we get it. As facile and cliché as this was at times, there were some great performances and just enough solid drama and humor to pull it off. Like so many films these days, I thought it was a bit long at 2 hours and 32 minutes, but it wasn't intolerable.

El vecino
(2019)

The Stoner Guy (Litos or Camello) Steals the Show
If you're looking for a superhero series, this isn't for you. This is based on a small group of people living mostly next door to each other and one of them just happens to have super powers. The rest of the story comes from their interactions. This series is about real human beings, so if you're after something else, go elsewhere.

The series deserves a lot of praise for attacking a parasitical industry in modern Spain: the now ubiquitous neighborhood casinos. They have truly become a plague in the country and amount to a heavy tax on the underclass.

The short episode format is a definite plus as so many series on Spanish TV run way too long (as well as every other country these days). I'm so sick of two hour movies that shouldn't even run 90 minutes. 23 minutes isn't much of a time commitment.

It's billed as a comedy and it is very funny at times. To be exact, it's funny in every scene in which Camello appears (or Litos "Soy Litos, solo mi madre me llama Carlos"). He is the marijuana dealer for the apartment block and he is freaking hilarious. He has brought to life a new archetype of the Spanish stoner. He's so much funnier than Sean Penn's Spicoli or Keanu Reeves's forays into playing druggies.

It's a simple idea and an even simpler execution. The budget for this was probably twenty thousand times less than any series on Netflix. The only places where the low budget is problematic are in the special effects scenes which are so awful that they should have just left them out altogether. Lots of shows have great special effects and they are complete rubbish. This show has real people which I don't se very often on TV.

If the writers of this show are reading this, humor isn't about awkward situations. Most of the attempts at "humor" in this show are I Love Lucy crap from the 1950s.

Even though I gave this 10 stars and said some good things about the series, my review hasn't been well received, so it's time to take the gloves off (I also lowered my rating, for F you all). There were a million ways this series could have gone, yet they chose the most tedious path imaginable. Without the humor of Camello, this would have been a total disaster. Unfortunately, he plays a minor role. The two principals are annoying, at best.

Hernán
(2019)

Film School Tricks Ruin What Should Have Been a Great Series
I really wanted to like this series, but with all of the flashbacks and jumps forward in time, I'm getting seasick. Just tell a story and don't try to be so clever. They make this same mistake in the series El Marginal.

This playing around with the timeline isn't clever; it's highly annoying and takes away from what could have been a great narrative. They have squandered a big budget and some fine actors by resorting to film school tricks.

Jojo Rabbit
(2019)

Best Cinematic Depiction of Hitler
Anyone who thinks that it is some sort of a sacrilege to treat Hitler and the Nazis with humor should just go jump out of a twenty-story window (hopefully they will land on a like-minded person and kill two birds with one stone, so to speak). I always thought that had someone stood up in one of those Munich beer halls and laughed at Hitler, showing the rest of the deranged crowd what a ridiculous little a-hole he was, we could have side-stepped the worst chapter in human history.

Laugh out loud funny at times. The bit about the mix up of the dogs was my favorite joke in the film, giving the very funny Sam Rockwell the best line in the movie.

The acting was superb all around. The little boy was masterful. I always blame good and bad acting on the director, so chapeau to Taika Waititi. Getting a good performance out of a child is always a masterful performance by the director.

6 Underground
(2019)

Violence Is So Much Fun! Part MMXIX
My thoughts on actions films in a nutshell:

Instead of fifty car wrecks, 100 gory death scenes, a million bullets flying, and about a billion euros in property damage, just have one, well-choreographed event. I am so tired of the school of film-making that says, "if one car wreck is cool, let's have dozens of them." The problem is that there is no tension, and action without tension is boring. Violence without consequences is a cartoon

Just the amount of money spent on the ridiculous opening sequences could have funded ten good films.

And it keeps going, as I write this in real time. I suppose they think they can just completely overwhelm the mouth-breathers by never stopping-or even slowing down-to have any sort of story.

I have a rule. If the trailer has more than one explosion, the movie is a huge dump fit only for disturbed adolescents. My rule is almost always true.

Once Upon a Time ...in Hollywood
(2019)

Mediocre, But Still Better than Most Films Lately
Better than most films today, but that isn't saying much in superhero and comic book land that is Hollywood today.

It was too long and rather pointless, but somehow compelling. Tarantino can do that, make a 3-hour movie that is mostly stupid but it's entertaining. I can't even explain it except the actors are good. It's almost like a magic act in which the Great Tarantino pulls away his cape and three hours have passed. Taa Daaa! Where has the time gone. However, Tarantino's walk down memory lane was mostly way too slow. Had this movie clocked in at the appropriate 90 minutes, I think it would have been greatly improved, but who am I?

The golden age of Hollywood? Not really, and definitely not a good time for TV. Sorry Tarantino, The FBI was the worst TV show in history, even as a bored-as-hell kid I couldn't make myself watch it. I'd rather be water-boarded than forced to watch an episode of that TV turd. Now he wants to resurrect the career of Sharon Tate, as he did for Pam Greer (and others).

So, it was basically a 3-hour movie to justify a two-minute revenge fantasy about the Manson Family? Over-the-top violence because they are the Manson Family...except before the Sharon Tate murders, they were just stinky hippies so this violence was hardly apt. The Manson cult played the part of the Nazis in this story.

Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland
(2018)

Arresting Cop Should be in Prison
I can't even believe anyone would defend the arresting fascist moron in the video. Failure to signal a land change? OMG, if I were pulled over for that, I would have lost my mind. He just couldn't get over the fact that she wasn't in awe of his small penis, or whatever his problem is. Police who defend this creep only work to further alienate police from the population that are paid to protect and serve. Protect and serve. Didn't see anything approaching that in the repugnant video which clearly show an officer of the law abusing his position to simply mess with a black woman. She was being so incredibly reasonable and anyone who can't see that is a completely unreasonable human being, and I use that word loosely.

Work in Progress
(2019)

Humor-Free Zone: Not Liking this Show Isn't A Hate Crime
First of all, if you don't want to be mistaken for Pat from SNL, then don't go way out of your way to look like Pat from SNL. That would be like me complaining that everyone calls me Krusty when I wear a clown suit.

From the first episode and the trailer, it looks like the show is all about getting in the face of the frat boys who tormented McEnany (see how I just use a proper name to avoid those tricky pronouns) in the past. I wasn't a frat rat, I never picked on anyone, and I don't need a lecture, so count me out. I don't care about your sexuality, not in the least. You can't blame me or anyone else outside of your immediate famly for your problems, and your problems appear to be legion

She confronts another white male and lectures him, "It is not the job of the queer community-in this case, me-to teach the straight, cis community-in this case, this (as she/he/it waves her hands judgmentally in the direction of the white male) something they could easily learn in a public library." I would turn this sentiment around by saying that it isn't my job to give two hoots about your sex life. I can't imagine anything more boring. Speaking of boring, there is a scene in some sort of sex club. No matter what your orientation, strip clubs are gross, especially whne they are filled with very unattractive people.

Isn't McEnany's love interest way too young, or is that OK except for white males? More than a 25-year difference in ages? I guess that isn't creepy for whatever is going on here. She is the Woody Allen of dykes (not a word that I would use, but it's in the series description).

P.S. I'm not a conservative, not even a little bit, not on any issue. Sorry if this disappoints your narrow view. I despise most right-wingers. I also don't like people who are so wrapped up in gender politics that they can't see the forest through the trees on the major issues facing America today. Hint: gender identity doesn't break into the top 20 issues.

I think people believe that we're supposed to be entertained simply because they think this show is breaking some sort of new ground. Sorry, how about writing some decent jokes? I can't believe this is billed as a comedy. As far as I can see, this isn't a documentary, so how about less lecturing and try some humor?

Reversal of Fortune
(1990)

American Justice for Sale
Bravo, Alan Dershowitz, for letting some rich creep off the hook, just like OJ. His parents must be so proud. I can't believe this case made his career, or at least made him as famous as the creeps he defended. I mean I totally get it that everyone deserves a good defense in court, just don't rub our noses in it when some rich creep buys his way out of jail.

The movie was very good. The case makes me ill.

The Morning Show
(2019)

Unfulfilled Potential
Is it just me or does the story just play into the catty women scenario? It's no fun to watch, that much I can say for sure. I want to throw a bucket of cold water on both of them and tell them to grow up. There is nothing very difficult about working together on a project, even if you don't like the other person. Just do your damn job. Or are women too emotional to put aside petty grievances to work together? Because this is what I am taking away from this. I thought it was going to be about empowering women.

Reese Witherspoon is all wrong for the part. Almost everyone else nails it, some of the bit players are better than the stars, like Reese's new producer and the story scout (sorry, don't know names-they both should or will be stars). Reese is just too dumpy for this role. Don't they have pilates in her neck of Hollywood? I can imagine so many other talented actors in this role.

At the beginning, the show is a lot of fun even though it sheds light on a world I care nothing about. A morning news program? Eeew! I can't imagine how or why anyone would watch that sort of piffle. Ditto that for TV news in general. Still, I was enjoying the story through the fourth episode. I was anxious to see how they would address the whole #MeToo thing. They began with a few good points on the subject.

Every time Mindy Kaling came on, I wanted to throw something at the screen. Her constant harping about the whiteness of her TV rivals I found to be insulting, as if being a different skin color somehow makes you superior.

The drama surrounding the news stories The Morning Show will and won't produce is a ridiculous plot device. TV news is mostly garbage, everyone already knows that, so why does Witherspoon's character act like she is hearing this for the first time? TV news would never report on anything that would upset their sponsors. That's just the way it is. Get over it.

And please, please can we get more scenes of an utterly spoiled teenage daughter who treats her mother like some guy screaming obscenities at her from a construction site? I love that. Always. File it under abysmal parenting. You raised a particularly horrible kid. Live with it. Cut her off, let the little creep make it on her own, because the very last thing this world needs right now is an over-privileged brat who will step to the head of the line without waiting, like waiting for infinitely more qualified kids to earn their way to the top.

The worst thing about The Morning Show is that in seven episodes there was never much in the way of dramatic moments. Drama, yes, like soap opera drama. Women breaking down in hysterics is not really drama, it's clichés plagiarized from other TV melodramas.

The way the series has been rolled out is a mystery. Why would they release the episodes at their leisure instead of dropping the entire season in one swoop so viewers can watch it at THEIR leisure? I also see how they are hemming and hawing at the story so they can spin it into another season, instead of just telling a single story. I really hate that about TV. If you have a story to tell, tell it. Don't beat around the bush as you consider ways to stretch it out so you can run it for years to come.

Margin Call
(2011)

Overlooked, Underrated, and Criminally Ignored
This film is absolutely brilliant from start to finish, from top to bottom. There are no weak links, boring moments, or breaches in logic. It addresses one of the most critical moments in world history: the destruction of the world financial markets, yet we seem to pay more attention to blood-thirsty revenge porn movies like Taken or whatever.

Every actor gives an outstanding performance, from the huge stars to the little-known people working their way to stardom. It's like everyone steps in, one at a time, actor after actor, building to the crescendo at the board meeting in which Jeremy Irons literally and figuratively takes control of the panic that has been cascading downward from the opening scenes.

I always blame good acting and bad acting on the director, and this guy has created a masterpiece. Of course, this movie was ignored at the Oscars which gave the best picture award to a movie about a stuttering moron British monarch.

This movie definitely is in my Top 10.

Rambo: Last Blood
(2019)

The Only Things More Gruesome than the Violence Are the Dialogue and Story
This probably appeals to folks who like snuff flicks and torture porn. The entire script must have been scribbled on a cocktail napkin in the time it took to drink a shot of cheap tequila and a beer. Stallone mumbles through it and spews some truly horrible lines about family and blah, blah, blah. He kills about 100 human beings, although they are all painted as evil Mexicans who all deserve their fate. A rip-off of Taken, which was a godawful film.

Is this really what he wants to do with his career?

Joker
(2019)

Is This a Musical?
Because there is a lot of singing and dancing, way too much singing and dancing. There was also a lot of slow, brooding music, long takes of nothing much, and even less in the way of dialogue, more long takes of JP's face, and lots of laughing. We get it: the dude is major-league crazy. The film runs over two hours and you don't have much more information than after you watched the minute and a half trailer: a guy in a clown suit who is insane and possibly dangerous.

Had there been nothing from the Batman legend connected to this movie, it wouldn't have made a lick of sense. How this mentally ill, mental midget is to go on to be a criminal genius is a mystery. A terrible script with not a line of memorable dialogue.

Dulcinea
(2019)

Spend Some Money to Hire a Writer for Your Next Project
What this film has to do with Cervantes and Dulcinea wasn't apparent to this viewer. It begins with a watered-down couple of paragraphs from Don Quijote and quickly devolves into a boring confrontation between a dumpy white schlub and his ex who is now his brother's current squeeze.

Some whining and crying later, and he has the magic ability to go anywhere in the world. He's still monumentally boring and pointless in his wanderings and the film never makes even a shred of sense.

Diego Maradona
(2019)

The Italians are the Villains in this Story
So, Napoli and a lot of the south of Italy is basically run by gangsters, yet the legal authorities chose to go after an Argentinian footballer who had been responsible for "the sewer of Italy*" winning its first football title in forever. What a sack of ungrateful creeps! They should all be so ashamed of themselves. When Argentina eliminated Italy in Napoli, did the Italians expect Maradona to take a dive?

Maradona wasn't driven out of football through his own excesses, it was the vengeful Italians who killed his career when he still had many years left to play. It's sad to think about what else he could have achieved in the sport had they not vilified him in the city that he had almost single-handed raised out of its nadir.

I hope Italy never wins another title. They don't deserve it. I was so happy when Spain eliminated them in penalties in the 2008 Eurocopa and then humiliated them in the Eurocopa final in 2012.

*"The sewer of Italy" describing Napoli aren't my words, but those of other Italians mocking this city considered a backwater (or much, much worse) before Diego Maradona raised its prestige through his play on the pitch.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
(2019)

A Very Mediocre and Way Too Long Episode of Breaking Bad
Here's the main problem with this movie (and it has lots of problems): the series had an incredible ending. There was absolutely no need to go any further. Better Call Saul has had a few moments telling the back story, but mostly it's long-winded and hugely boring. El Camino is a ginormous bore.

This movie didn't have enough chops to support even a single episode of the series yet it was TWO HOURS LONG! Endless shots of the desert, and a really boring scene in a restaurant.

I think that you can put all of the great reviews of this down to nostalgia for the series.

Godfather of Harlem
(2019)

Could Be a Landmark Series
Two episodes in and I'm hooked. However, they are already showing signs of going in a direction that I find tedious: the family drama. If you want to make a family drama, then go right ahead. I won't be among your viewers, but lots of people eat that stuff up. If you want to make a crime drama, make a crime drama.

I don't care about his daughter the crack ho, or whatever she is. I care about the big picture they are painting with this series. The role of Malcolm X is particularly interesting in this, even though we know how the story ends. Or do we? The actor playing this part is superb and steals the show, at least this far in.

I'm not a big Forest Whitaker fan. I think he almost single-handedly ruined The Shield when he entered the series late in the game. His over-the-top antics seem to have been reeled in for Godfather of Harlem. All of the other actors are excellent. Vincent D'Onofrio as Chin Gigante has been a big surprise as I never knew he had these acting chops in him.

Just two episodes in, the story is intricately layered and complicated-so the daughter soap opera is unnecessary and I'm hoping won't be a big part of the story. There is just the right amount of intrigue, violence, and tension to keep you riveted.

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