matukonyc1

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Reviews

Napoléon
(2002)

Hilariously Dated
Watching this all-star, low-budget 2002 mini-series in 2020 is like watching a relic of the past. It's easy to forget how much better most television has become in the last two decades, but watching this is a real reminder. Stilted dialogue, bad wigs, cheesy battle scenes, and dubious historical accuracy make for a very old-fashioned viewing experience.

The dialogue is so cliched that at first I thought the dialogue was dubbed into English, but careful watching proved that the actors' lips were, in fact, actually uttering things like, "It's you who have defiled everything! I never want to see you again!" or "Napoleon! I believe in you!" or "France is so weak now. The people cannot stand another revolution!" I'm still not convinced that every actor is, in fact, speaking the dialogue in English.

As long as you're in the mood, you'll be entertained. And you will appreciate the quality entertainment to which we've become accustomed.

Lída Baarová
(2016)

Sad Czech Debut
I could not watch this film in its entirety. It has all the hallmarks of a bad television movie, and is possibly the worst thing I've ever seen from Netflix. The production is silly, the plot pedestrian and oddly framed. The scene where Magda Goebbels fights with Baarova while swimming in the Wannsee made me laugh out loud, it was so preposterous. It really was a waste of a good story, and it succumbed to the same shallowness exhibited by its characters.

Indebted
(2020)

Dated and Unfunny
As I watched the pilot episode, I thought, "Surely, this is a parody of a 1990s three-camera sitcom with a laugh track," and I kept waiting for them to break character or something, but the tired old jokes just kept coming and coming. I cannot believe that in this day and age anyone green-lit a sitcom so trite, shallow, and nonsensical. Why are 35-year-olds with young kids presented as if they're empty-nesters? Why do all of these people live in Stamford, Connecticut and yet are now bankrupt from knee surgery? How did so many talented people end up in this turkey?

Dirty John
(2018)

Great Adaptation
I read the story in the Los Angeles Times and heard the podcast, and this is an excellent, well-written adaptation with superb performances, from Jean Smart and Connie Britton especially. I like how it plays up the angle of the Christian mother and the effect of her denial on the family. Definitely a must-watch series.

The Worst Week of My Life
(2004)

Painfully Unfunny
This show should be funny, yet it's not. It has some of the best comic actors in it, and the writing isn't bad, but for some reason I didn't laugh once, and k watch UK television almost exclusively now. I can't put my finger on what isn't working, but it just isn't working.

Can't Cope, Won't Cope
(2016)

Realistic-Very Realistic
Watching this made me think of things that I did in my 20s that I hadn't thought of in years. This was a brilliant depiction of living in the big city as a young woman, and the nature of friendships.

All Roads Lead
(2013)

I Liked It!
Like others, I thought this was an actual documentary, since it was recommended by Prime Video in the true crime category. I thought I recognized an actor, then I also thought, "Wow, these Rust Belt residents are pretty articulate and philosophical" until the woman playing "Francesco's girlfriend" appeared and I sensed something was not ringing true (I'm a black woman, so it wasn't about that). Some really great acting in this movie-especially David Yow, who gives a stellar performance.

Insatiable
(2018)

Quirky Show
I too first heard about how 'offensive' this show is, and was surprised to see that it is everything but. As someone who used to be a teenaged girl who wasn't thin enough (or so I thought) , it seems very real to me, and in other respects just silly and funny. The writing and the acting are good, and it's very life-affirming without being preachy. I would have loved to see a show like this when I was a girl, and I'm enjoying it very much now.

In retrospect I seem to remember the first bad review was written by a man-how would he even know what's offensive to women?

Bancroft
(2017)

More Thriller Than Police Procedural
I had put off watching this, as at first I assumed it was yet another Northern England police officer procedural, but it's really a thriller that happens to be set within a police department. The acting is superb, and Sarah Parish is outstanding as the title character. I wholeheartedly recommend "Bancroft".

At Home with Amy Sedaris
(2017)

Brilliant Show
How anyone could call this show "hipster humor" (Sedaris is over 50) and "unfunny", I cannot fathom. This show has great characters, surreal writing, and is the most original thing on cable television at the moment. Perhaps it's on the wrong network and attracting negative attention from people who like to watch things like "Hardcore Pawn" and "Lizard Lick Towing".

Shrink
(2017)

Fantastic Show
A truly original show with some of the most talented comic actors around. So funny I've watched it twice, and was genuinely upset when I heard Seeso was shutting down and there'd be no more episodes. It has a wry humor that I very much enjoy.

The Slave Circle
(2018)

Interesting Amateur Documentary
"The Slave Circle" is a very low-budget, amateur documentary that is informative and watchable.

I stumbled upon "The Slave Circle" while reading a website about scam businesses and multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes. It's obvious that the director/narrator has had personal experience with the multimillion-dollar in-store product sales industry, and probably made this documentary as both an act of revenge and a cautionary tale, and it was for this reason alone I watched it in its entirety. I applaud it.

Anyone who's seen people at a booth inside a big box store handing out free samples will relate to the experience of being a target for these people, and after watching "The Slave Circle" we will all probably have more sympathy for the promoters and also stop buying the crap products they hawk.

Stylistically, it's really more like an episode of "Frontline" than a Michael Moore exposé. The cultish business or businesses (referred to as "Devil Corp.") that serves as the subject is never named, but in the larger picture, it's about the hegemony of the gig economy and how it exploits the dearth of good jobs and lack of economic mobility in the 21st-century United States. It's an important work for and about the desperate, ambitious, and hard-working people who can fall prey to classified ads promising entry-level "marketing" jobs with management potential that require no experience. It's also important for consumers.

Friends from College
(2017)

Fantastic Writing, Rings True
Frankly, I'm shocked that others here don't share my very high regard for this series. I also found it hilarious.

I'm 10 years older than the characters, but I spent my 30s as part of a "friend group" in New York and the show rang totally true for me. We weren't all authors, actors, lawyers, or just rich, it's true, but every series set in NYC has those types of characters, because otherwise the poor quality of real lives there would detract from the entertainment value.

I thought the show very nicely turned some tropes and clichés on their heads, maybe recycled a few, maybe might have avoided some, but the ensemble really makes it work.

I suspect there are trolls in these woods.

Life with Mikey
(1993)

Complete Turkey
I can only imagine that the rave reviews here are solely due to fanatic adoration of Michael J. Fox. This is the worst sort of movie-making, no better than than the worst amateur effort. It's embarrassing to think that Fox had to do this sort of thing, and that in the 80's-90's Hollywood failed him and us so miserably.

It's dull, poorly conceived, and poorly executed. Miscast, misguided and miscarried. Bad writing, no story, no production values, no plot. It's not even about anything, much less what it aims to be about: show business. Hands down, it's the worst movie Fox ever made, and that's saying a lot, because most of his movies were unworthy and unforgiving of a great talent.

The Sopranos: Made in America
(2007)
Episode 21, Season 6

Life
This series used the "mobster" genre to explore life. Life with its difficult choices, lies, and reality. How can you end a life? When life ends, the lights go out, and for all of us who felt Tony Soprano as alive, it just had to end. What happens? What happened was that we no longer have access to Tony Soprano's life. It's over, it's sad, and even if he lives on, our relationship with him in real time is over, finis.

Whatever you believe after life, or life after death, the fact is that relationships end. Our collective relationship with these people is over. It's not Al Pacino, it's Tony Soprano, and that's an amazing achievement.

The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin
(1976)

Ask BBC America to release FRRP on DVD!
Let's try to get the BBC to release Reggie on American format DVD!! Apparently, BBC America is responsible for all commercial content in the States, and I was given the following information by BBC in the UK.

Write or call:

BBC Worldwide Americas 747 3rd Avenue 6th floor NY, NY 10017 USA Tel: 001 212 705 9300 Fax: 001 212 888 0576

It's available in the UK, I just think they don't realize what a fan base there is here in the US. I just re-read both "The Fall and Rise of" and "The Return of" for the hundredth time, but I'd give anything to own the series.

The 300 Spartans
(1962)

Cinemascope Shlock
Richard Egan gives a wooden performance as Leonidas in an alliance with a scenery-chewing Ralph Richardson (billed here as "SIR Ralph Richardson," no doubt to add an air of legitimacy this poorly-executed costume drama.

You know how sometimes even bad movies in this genre are fun to watch? Well, I found "The 300 Spartans" to be a snooze-fest, from beginning to end. It would have been excellent "MST3K" fodder; making fun of it out loud was the only thing that kept me awake.

I can only think that the reviewers here who love it actually like the story more than the movie, because frankly, even as someone who read Ancient Greek I could find nothing in the movie with which to amuse myself.

If you like swords and sandals, rent "The Long Ships," which at least has professional actors in it!

Criss Cross
(1949)

Only Fair Film Noir
Any Burt Lancaster movie is worth two hours of one's life, but in general this Universal picture is a disappointment. Lancaster is Lancastrian, but DeCarlo and Duryea are rather wooden, and they all suffer from a boring plot and the B-picture production values all too common in Universal features of the era.

Highlights include the feature film debut of young Tony Curtis, a blink-or-you'll-miss-it cameo by Raymond Burr, a fantastic Miklos Rozsa score, and a nice sinister turn by character actor Percy Helton as the bartender. Movie buffs will remember Helton in the most memorable uncredited role in movie history, namely, "Sweetface" in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

The Bob Newhart Show
(1972)

The Gold Standard of 70's Sitcoms
"The Bob Newhart Show" is possibly the most brilliant of the "adult sitcoms" of the early 1970's. Along with "The Odd Couple" and "Mary Tyler Moore", this show exhibits a subtle, mature humor that has all but disappeared from television today. Great actors make this show with a simple "situation" -- adults working, talking, eating, and going to bed -- hilarious and reflective. Bob Newhart's unique comedic style finds a perfect outlet in "The Bob Newhart Show." For the uninitiated, it might be compared to "Seinfeld" in that it is a "show about nothing" that derives humor from the interactions between people and not "jokes."

Blood on the Sun
(1945)

Entertaining Espionage
Jimmy Cagney is like a firecracker in this movie, set in pre-WWII Japan. In some ways it's a cross between Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon and sometimes it's silly (e.g., white actors in Japanese makeup), but it's one of the most entertaining movies of its era. It reminds you how much of a talent James Cagney was - he carries the picture. There are also excellent character performances by Wallace Ford and Porter Hall. Even Sylvia Sidney as an unconvincing half-Chinese vixen has some good moments.

Beware of the DVD, however - the audio is mixed so badly that at times you'll have to put your ear up against the TV to hear the dialogue.

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