ironhorse_iv

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Reviews

The Canyons
(2013)

This movie was not grand at all! It was really below average.
Lindsey Lohan's huge return to the big screen after her sixth stay in rehab for addiction problems in 2013, did not revitalize her career at all. If anything, this low budget independent motion picture directed by Paul Schrader probably killed what left of it. Without spoiling too much of this Hollywood manipulative and scheming thriller, the plot written by Bret Easton Ellis is supposed to be about a sleazy sex fiend young trust fund movie producer Christian (Brian Sevilla AKA James Deen) learning of a secret affair between his girlfriend Tara (Lindsey Lohan) and the lead actor of his film project Ryan (Nolan Gerard Funk), resulting into his psychological and sexually-charged breakdown; however the themes of sex, control and obsession was not well delivered. Things happen way too quickly without much breathing room. Look I get that the rough cut of the film was 1 hour 44 minutes long, but there were some certain moments that need to dragged to show realistic crock pot emotional brewing. After all, themes like Christian's love/hate struggle with homosexual come across as half heated somewhat left out microwave melodrama that barely had any deep connection to the main story. Then there are other scenes that are not needed that goes a little too long. Such the case of the long drawn out shot of Ryan visiting his visiting his bartender's job and getting hit on. It has little to do with the main plot. Because of that, the film pacing was a bit off. Also, everything is told in badly told over wordy exposition dumps rather than just shown. This wouldn't be much of a problem if the dialogue was a little slyer. Yet it wasn't. None of them were really that memorable. To add onto that, the way these talking sequences were shot is highly distracting with UPS trucks about to plow into them at a restaurant table before turning or focusing the camera in another scene on background characters mouthing silence sentences as the main people speak. It's so bizarre. If that wasn't bad enough, the acting is also not really that good. Lohan really gives a dead eye bland, uninteresting performance throughout most of the film. Little emotional depth. It's clear that the former child actress's mind is on other things such as partying with Lady Gaga that often cause her to miss shoots than bringing the snobby golddigger unfaithful Tara to life. Her repeated absences got so bad that Schrader had French actress Leslie Coutterand on call throughout the entire shoot to replace Lohan at a moment's notice. Even when she did show up. She would drink, both on camera and behind the scenes. Allowing her to do that on set probably wasn't the best for her. She really seemed wasted or suffering from a hungover in certain moments of the film. It doesn't help that Lohan felt very uncomfortable with the nudity and the sex scenes. Having the director show his junk on set to come down her nerves probably make it worst. Getting a lot of Harvey Weinstein-like vibes here. No wonder why she never helped promote the film with Schrader afterwards. As for her onscreen counterpart, James Deen. the director was just as mad at the actor with his absences to shot porn during production. Yet his performance was surprisingly decent that the director forgave him, even if Deen's role in this movie is not that far off from what he used to do as a former pornstar. I guess he projected just the right amount of cocky sex appeal with an edgy demanding tone as Christian. I kinda do see it even if the trust fund baby wasn't as much as a pathological control freak as people within the story make him out to be. Still the character is really nothing new. After all, Ellis been writing for years deliberately unlikable completely unsympathetic and borderline sociopathic rich people who engage in self-destructive behavior that it became a common trope. Many of Christian's action felt clichés such as attacking people with knives while having threesome. We seen this done better in the way better horror film 2000 'American Psycho'. Christian felt like low budget Patrick Bateman. Better yet the leftover troll remarks that Ellis doesn't write on Twitter. As for Ryan. Nolan's acting works as we really do see glimpse of his character's over submissive behavior. Yet like Tara. Ryan is a terrible person not worth rooting for. The only courteous character in the film is the naïve Gina played well by Amanda Brooks whom tries her best to help everybody. I know the movie is called 'The Canyons' as the movie is supposed to be about people within Hollywood sink to new depths of awfulness, but it sucks that we the audience never got to see a happy ending for her. In the end, two versions of the film are now available: the normal version and unrated director's cut which feature a minute of additional footage of a guy masturbating. In truth, both are not really worth watching. Overall: While Lohan's reputation in the media did hurt the motion picture. The movie was still badly made. It sucks because it could had been a powerful film about the magnitude of the troubles within Hollywood when it comes to sexual harassment. Yet it doesn't work that way. Even the metaphor of the decay of the American Dream with the all the shots of the rundown theaters didn't quite land with most people. It didn't get through. In the end, this movie was rough around the edges. Mostly empty and void of life. A true canyon of a film.

WrestleMania 35
(2019)

WrestleMania 35 was not quite the rowdy spitfire as it should had been. The show was just decent in flair.
Yet WWE didn't even bother making the set seem grand. Look I get that the event was not hosted from a historical location like Madison Square Garden in New York City; but instead at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. However, they could had at least, dress up the set to seem like it was held in the city that never sleeps like they did with WrestleMania 29 with the replicas of the city skyline and Statue of Liberty. I would even take a cheesy big red apple around the ring. Yet they choose to do nearly nothing. The giant Titan Tron stage looks like a black television set & the ring dressing looks plain. It certainly didn't have the extravaganza look to it; but how about the match card. Did that at least live up to the value? Not really. The event was way too long. Not close to a New York Minute at all. From the pre-show opening to the sign-off, the show has a runtime of 7.5 hours. A really grueling watch for one sitting. Like the previous three WrestleManias before this, some of the contests probably could had been cut like the warm up crowd title match between cruiserweight champion, Buddy Murphy and challenger, Tony Nese. The move sets were botchy causing Murphy to accidently bleed above the eye and the in-ring story was not there. Forgettable. The Women Battle Royal was next. Despite the fact that WWE use the same finish as the previous year Battle Royal and a few wrestlers like Dana Brooke making a fool of themselves. The contest was a lot more eye catchy than the 205 live one. Then there was the Raw Tag Team Championship match. I love the storyline of Curt Hawkins along with Zack Ryder trying to break his 269-match losing streak versus the champions the Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson). Compare to the others, this simple underdog story was by far the best in the preshow. Men's Andre the Giant Battle Royal was the worst. I really don't like the barely athletic comedic celebrities taking hard working wrestlers spots gimmick even if they don't win. It's annoyed to see them in these matches. Anyways that brings us to real opener of the show Seth Rollins versus titleholder Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. The buildup to the match was perfect and the ring work while short did its job. It was nice. AJ Styles versus Randy Orton was also pretty damn good. However, WWE kinda ruin the match with leaving the bright lights on. Because of this, the crowd were more focus on yelling for them to turn it off, in order to see the fight. It's sad because the build up to the brawl was decent. Talking about just okay. The Women Tag Team title match between the champs 'Boss 'n' Hug Connection' (Bayley and Sasha Banks) Nia Jax and Tamina, Beth Phoenix and Natalya and 'The IIconics' (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce) had solid in ring work rather than chaos. The Miz versus Shane McMahon fight continue the tread as the brawl lived up to the hype. It's just that some of the shaky camera movement zooms were making me nauseous to the point that I miss the Rey Mysterio and Samoa Joe squash match due to getting water for the headache. That US championship match was highly disappointing. I really wanted to see Samoa Joe show his stuff after years not being on the card. However, it was understandable due to Rey being injury. At least, the WWE Championship match between title holder Daniel Bryan and challenger Kofi Kingston was amazing. Love the storyline behind this contest with Kingston overcoming the odds to get a chance to be champion. The next series of matches probably should had been cut for time or shorten. For example, the Fatal Four Way match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship between title holders, The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) Aleister Black and Ricochet, Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura and The Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus) was meh. It could had been played out on Smackdown. The same goes with "The Demon" Finn Bálor versus belt holder Bobby Lashley for the Intercontinental Championship for RAW. The whole bit with John Cena assaulting Elias should had been combine with the Kurt Angle's farewell match by having the Doctor of Thuganomics team up with the Olympic champion to fight off the drifter and Baron Corbin. Instead Cena's actions play out very similar to the previous year's event and the Corbin's match suck the air out of the room. Then there is Triple H's No Holds Barred retirement feud with Batista which could had been shorten due to the individuals well past prime ages. Regardless, it was alright despite the odd choice of comedy spots. Roman Reigns versus Drew McIntrye was also decent for a hoss fight, but it could had been reduced as well. The crowd went indifferent after a while even if both could work, due to McMahon's standards of forced pushed rather than organic fanfare. That brings us to the main event. The Winner Takes All triple threat match between Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair for both brands women's championship. First off, it's nice to see that an women match could indeed be the headliner for WrestleMania, but the buildup was awful with the whole killing kayfabe on the internet, clumsy injury angle and Flair being intercede into the feud when she wasn't needed. As for the contest. It had everything. Great moves, story telling and selling. Yet the awkward finish kinda hurts it. Overall: While the long running time is something to wrestle with. 2019 WrestleMania was suitable for the most part even if the show dragged at parts. It's all worth a watch. So, check it out if you want to. Take a bite out of this big apple.

The Natural
(1984)

This movie was enjoyable but not quite a home run hit.
For the better part of the last hundred years, baseball has been the natural pastime for the United States. To protagonist Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford), a prospect, the sport was the American Dream. He truly desires to be the best that ever play that game. Yet there are those around him that doesn't want to see Roy succeed. They would do anything to stop Hobbs from reaching his goal, in order to gain more money by scheming. This is the main conflict within 'The Natural'. Adapted from the 1952 novel of the same name by author Bernard Malamud & loosely based on a number of real-life ballplayers such as Eddie Waitkus, Billy Jurges, Ty Cobbs, Ted Williams & Shoeless Joe Jackson. The Tristar Pictures film directed by Barry Levinson didn't quite cover the bases, as it should had. For starters the structure and pacing could had been a lot better. The whole opening scene with Roy waiting for the train to arrive could had been cut out, as it didn't bring anything to the table. That scene kinda interfere with the later flashback scenes near the railroad tracks as Redford is playing both the young up and coming pitcher version of Roy and the far ahead one. It's very confusing. The filmmakers really should had hired a different actor to play the younger Hobbs. 48 years old Robert Redford doesn't look convincing as a fresh out of high school 18 years ballplayer. Nor does Glenn Close as Roy's childhood sweetheart, Iris Gaines. Honestly, it's better off if the movie opens with his childhood playing catch as the film end in a similar matter. Then cut to sixteen years later with an older Roy meeting the lousy New York Knights team manage by Pop Fisher (Wilford Brimley) to add more mystery. Then you can slowly intercut with small hints of flashbacks of his younger self throughout the movie's runtime as exposition on why he's starting so late to becoming a baseball player. Use the director's cut with the deleted footages of Hobb's visiting his childhood home if you have to. It would add more thrills and suspense rather than waiting patiently for the supporting characters to figuring out something about Hobbs that the audience already knew with the standard linear timeline. To add onto that, some of the film's conflicts are resolved in a very bizarre and easy matter. For example, it was a bit too convenient for Bump Bailey (Michael Madsen) to goofily run into a wall, so Hobbs would be able to play full time rather than to continue to fight with him over the spot. The film could have been a lot better if Bailey was trade to the pirates, so that Hobbs can once again overcome and face the arrogance that turn decent players into smug jerks. It would had made the whole scene with the young Nebraska's pitcher seem more compelling because Roy almost became one when he was with Bailey's ex, Memo Paris (Kim Basinger). Putting this, would add more depth into that metaphor of Hobbs facing his past self in the finals. Instead that conflict felt like a throwaway that was forgotten very quickly; along with Hobbs encounter with the fictional Walter "The Whammer" Whambold played by Joe Don Baker, based on Babe Ruth. Just think, how cool it would had been to see Hobbs go toe to toe with that legend in the end as well. Even sport writer Max Mercy (Robert Duvall) could had been a little more depth as a side character. Make Mercy into a shifty individual that help Hobbs out only when it benefits his newspaper, then disowned him when Roy is in a slump. Sadly, instead the movie has a one-dimensional flat approach toward good and evil. Don't get me wrong, I do get what the writers were trying to do with the Bane like Judge played by Robert Prosky & the bookie Gus Sands played by Darren McGavin. They're pretty much share similarities to Greek mythology Hades & the Cyclops for the hero to slay. Nevertheless, they come across as silly over the top cartoon Bond villains than realistic people with complex flaw views. Thank goodness, the screenwriters Roger Towne & Phil Dusenberry didn't keep the profane dwarf from the book. However, it's the women in this picture that really get the short stick. Pretty much, they're view as sirens and muses for the hero to idiotic fool around with. Prizes with hardly any depth. There is nothing in Glenn Close's acting that made her stand out to be nominated for an Oscar in the Best Supporting Actress category. Visually, that's another thing. The iconic moment of her in white standing in the stands under a sunlit halo was well shot with Memo in all black. Site location and costume design are top notch. While somewhat over whimsical & heavy-handed spiritualism. I surprisingly like all the moment that Roy break things ranging from the light fixtures to clocks. The ending is really epic & iconic despite the other team not getting another chance at bat. The symbolism of the breaking of Wonder Boy is the end of his childhood dream and the Savoy Special is the start of the rest of his second life. Glad they went with that Arthurian tale happy ending rather than the book's depressing climax with the foul Hobbs accidently killing his talent scout. To top it off. Redford's performance throughout this is great. He really could play ball and acted. A knight in shining armor. The music by composer Randy Newman also really bring the magic to the home run. Easy listening. Overall: Regardless if you find this movie on DVD with the many documentaries discussing the production of the film, streaming services on the internet like Amazon Prime or just on cable television. This is one film worth taking a swing at. It's a must watch for any sport fan. Highly recommended even with its flaws.

Avatar
(2009)

This 20th Century Fox blockbuster spectacle was to some extent worth opening Pandora's box, with its incredible visual effects and stereoscopic 3D IMAX presentation.
The female lead Neytiri (Voiced and Motion Capture by actress Zoe Saldana) was kinda right. The world that director James Cameron made was definitely worth seeing at the time. The mixing of live action with photo realistic CGI really work so well with very few fake looking scenes. The vibrant planet with its motion capture blue skinned Na'vi characters were quite beautiful and breathtaking with its floating mountains, wing creatures and neon glowing plant life. Nevertheless, the main story about a human soldier Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) torn between his military orders to find a rare natural resource and his love for the native people didn't live up to the eye candy visuals. The main plot didn't feel that unique. It was too similar to clichés from Best Picture 1990 Oscar Winner film 'Dances with Wolves' mixed with Disney 1995 animation movie 'Pocahontas' with bits from 1992 'FernGully: The Last Rainforest' cartoon motion picture. To add onto that, the whole earth mother indigenous people allegory message felt a little too heavy handed and preachy for a popcorn escapism film. It really does make you feel the blues about trying to enjoy yourself for only a few hours. That film's message is also somewhat hypocritical in a way as the flick was later oversaturation with a large amount of consumerist tie ins. After all, they did clear 12 acres of swamp land to build a theme park attraction based on this movie due to greed. That's a lot of home trees. Certainly not conservationism actions at all from somebody that once stop the construction of a proposed dam in Brazil. Also, the whole idea of Deus ex Machina Eywa coming alive in the end for Jake Sully felt a little forced; seeing how he isn't originally from their world. It's like saying a well-funded New Age hippie from the city is more in line with mother nature rather than the Native Americans that lived there. It's kinda an insult. It's also weird that he was chosen over Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) whom spent her own life trying to protect the Navi. Regardless I did dig the whole operation of walking in somebody shoes with the genetically engineered body subplot. It reminds me so much of the avatars of the blue deities in Hinduism and their belief of reincarnation. Because of that, we really got to learn the tribe's culture, but also with that, the awkwardly somewhat disturbing alien hair like Kama sutra bonding scene with other creatures. Nevertheless, all the exploration of the Navi didn't work to expose much of the individuals of the clan personalities. Besides Neytiri, I hardly remember any of those characters. Nobody stood out from their overall stereotypical noble savage ways. As for the human characters. Sam is alright in the role even if his character's paraplegic subplot doesn't add much. He was a bit cookie cutter. Yet it's Stephen Lang as Colonel Quaritch & Giovanni Ribisi as Parker Selfridge as the over the top villains that really stood out for me. Lots of well delivered memorable lines from these two actors even if their dialogue was a bit cheesy. I especially love the action scenes involving the Colonel. The 'mask on' shoot out and the nonchalantly way he puts himself out after catching on fire was certainly badass. While a lot of people are saying that the film is pushing an anti-American militarism message with its imperialism depictions of the space marine. The main different is in real life, the groups responsible for committing the most war crimes against humanity are not the American occupying soldiers, but those extremists domestic to the area especially in what happening in Afghanistan and Iraq. Still I do see some similarities what happening in the film with the search for unobtainium what happening in our world with oil along with the phrase 'winning the hearts and minds'. Regardless of that, the music composed by James Horner and singer Leona Lewis does take you out of the real world into one full of adventure and wonder. Yet the sound effects for this movie doesn't sound otherworldly. Much of the noises for the creatures in this film does seem recycled from other blockbuster flicks like 1993 'Jurassic Park'. It's a bit annoying. As for the humanoid aliens, sounds like a car alarm don't really give off the idea that they're living beings. Just saying. In the end, this flick became one of the highest grossing films of all time, surpassing Cameron's previous movie 1997 'Titanic' until finally beaten by the Russo Brothers comic book masterpiece 'Avengers: Endgame' ten years later. Much of this was aided by higher ticket prices for 3D screenings. Because of that success, studios became to request post production conversion into 3D for some of their films, although the success rate widely varied such in the case of the once titled 'Avatar', 2010 'The Last Airbender' that was universally panned by critics for how bad the flick's visuals was upon its release. In the end, very little post 3D films have match Cameron's success at the box office. Another thing 'Avatar' did good at was the home market release. It pretty much help save Blu-Ray in the high definition optical disc format war. The flick also scored a number of accolades with most of the wins involving the technology aspect of the film. The movie had so much success and praise that it's been reported that there will be sequels in the works being filmed back to back. It will be interesting where they take the story from here whenever those flicks come out. Overall: Once in a blue moon a film come out that everybody has to see. This is that movie. It's an epic watch. One worth waking up to.

The Lighthouse
(2019)

The Lighthouse is a shining example of a semi good psychological Lovecraftian horror movie.
It's time to shed some light into this A24 motion picture directed by Roger Eggers. Let's first start with the movie's premise. The plot is not much of a guiding light as we have seen the story about lightkeepers slowly losing their minds done a few times before like 2018's 'The Vanishing'. Nevertheless it's 2016 British psychological thriller drama film of the same name that has the biggest similarities. The flick directed by Chris Crow was also somewhat based on the Smalls Lighthouse incident which occurred in 1801 that inspire author Edgar Allan Poe's fragment work of the same name. To add onto that the movie also have two wickies characters named Thomas; one semi religious, the other a bit nihilism going crazy after being strand by a storm. The use of repetitive sounds is also noticeable in both films. I love the random tapping of the lifeless hand upon the window. While in Eggers version, the creepy foghorn works so well. I do dig that both films include scenes with a large amount of drunken singing of sea shanties/fighting between them, nightmarish dreams of getting lost in foggy rocky shores and talks about curses. Yet the visuals scares in the 2016 movie were not quite as over the top as we got here with surrealism visions of artist Sascha Schneider's 1904 hypnosis painting, one eyed seagulls, mermaids, giant octopuses and Greek mythology like Prometheus/Proteus metaphors. Certain scenes here felt a bit cartoony. It made me unintentionally chuckled. Nonetheless, the most deeply unsettling visual this grim old timey black and white period piece features is the orthochromatic like photographic cinematography of the island. All of it is filmed elegantly in narrow squarish smaller 1.19:1 aspect ratio. It really does spells isolation & constricting for Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) and Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe). I'm just surprised that the film got amazing shots with what conditions were like there in Nova Scotia with all the rain and fog. I'd heard that one scene had to filmed 25 times due the absolutely bad weather. Even when weather was good. The performers were often sprayed with a fire hose to give off the image that the island was in the middle of a storm. At nights since the film was shot on Double-X stock black and white, which requires much more natural light to get exposure, crews put flickering period correct kerosene lamps that were only a few feet away from the thespian's faces to get results; making it blindingly bright with the actors barely seeing each other. They did this so much that Pattinson nearly came close to punching out the director. Despite that, the actors did give a hell of a performance even if the amount of sea lingo jargon dialogue was somewhat overwhelming with how confusing they were, along with the deceitfully like flip flop ambiguous gaslighting. Mad props go to Dafoe for making cheesy lines sound somehow menacing with his repeatedly and ominously growling. He probably deserves a best supporting actor nomination at the Oscars that year. As for Pattinson. He really went to some crazy lengths to show that he can portrayed the mentally deteriorating Winslow such as staying in character at the hotel getting so drunk that he's piss himself and actually vomit. Talk about dying for your craft. Hopefully he doesn't gain alcoholic habit in real life because of his method approach. He doesn't need to go that far to prove that he can act. Anyways, while Pattinson stayed at a normal place with the rest of the film crew during the shoot, Dafoe lived in a little fisherman's cottage in solitude researching marine works. While both of them had radically different approaches to acting. The chemistry between their characters works so well. It is believable that both would be trying to lust for power & knowledge; while trying to control and underhand the other, violently mentally, physically and even sexually due to that obsession. In other words, be the biggest dick. According to the actors, the phallic imagery of the lighthouse is explicit toxic masculinity as its worst. After all, the film was originally meant to include a very juvenile transition shot of a lighthouse morphing into a giant penis. Although this cut was removed upon request by sponsors. I kinda do get what the filmmakers was going with the shots of characters pulling up their suspenders and such without being too pretentious or not articulating enough. Another thing that I notice is the conflict between man vs self, especially when it comes to dualism. Both men could be the same person slowly eating away due to past mistakes with young Thomas being the body and old Thomas as the soul. Hints no coexisting and harmony. Regardless of the meaning. The director cleverly crafted pieces of cinema that really plays with its audience minds to simulate a feeling of insanity and immense atmosphere. Overall: While you don't need to be fond of me lobster. You do have to check this movie out. It's one worth spotlighting.

Electrocuting an Elephant
(1903)

This short film is disturbing shocking!
First off, let's talk about the elephant in the room, the Wizard of Menlo Park. Contrary to popular opinion that dictates that Thomas Edison oversaw the execution of the elephant, in order to discredit the new form of electricity; alternating current made famous from inventor Nicolas Tesla. This backstory of the film might not be accurate. Edison didn't even bother showing up at the event in Luna Park nor anybody of Edison's correspondence besides the film crew. Also, the idea that Topsy was the victim of the so-called War of the Currents is far reaching. In truth from the late 1890s through 1906, Tesla was more focus on trying to develop the transmission of electrical power without wires than running an AC company to fight Edison Electric. Entrepreneur George Westinghouse on the other hand would, but by 1900 the battles between his company & Edison's ideas use for direct current was pretty much over. Much of this was due to investors such as J.P Morgan. Because of him, Edison has become marginalized within his own company having lost majority control in 1889. The merger that formed General Electric also spell doom for Westinghouse as both companies were now marketing alternating current power with GE outlasting Westinghouse out in the end. While it's true that Edison company had electrocuted several animals in the past to display the supposed danger of AC power. By early 1900 the inventor and his company admit that they had underestimated the developmental potential of alternating current and wouldn't mind anybody using it. So, the idea that Edison still holding a grudge and staging an 'electric wire panic' anti-alternation demonstration at this stage of his career is very unlikely. If anything, this film by the Edison Studios could had been use to promote the potential power that AC might bring. After all, many people believe that riding the lightning at the time was a convenient and humane way to executed the condemned. The director for this short film Edwin S. Porter even shot a similar sentence in 1901 with the reenactment death of Leon Czologsz, the anarchist that killed President William McKinley at the electric chair. While Topsy was also a murderess, I doubt her execution was as humane as Leon with the combination of poisoning and strangulation if the electrocution didn't work much like the botch killing of Jumbo II, two years earlier in Buffalo, New York. Originally the park owners Frederic Thompson and Elmer "Skip" Dundy just wanted to hang the creature similar to the way Mary the elephant was hung from a crane years later in 1916 by the town folks of Erwin, Tennessee, but the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals objected to the idea. Instead they turn to extreme measures. They would use the park's unfinished electrical lines for the Electric Tower to kill the beast and charge admission due to the fact that they couldn't make money selling her. Topsy was led out of her pen into the unfinished Luna Park as shown in the video, but refused to cross the bridge over a lagoon which was cut from the film. Because of that, they decided to rig the electrical lines where she stood. They sent 6,600 volts into her body for 10 seconds, toppling the elephant to the ground. While a lot of spectators says that she died suddenly without making a sound. I really doubt it as the elephant seem to struggle for a while after being electric shock, but who knows, it could be after death convulsions or the steam powered winch tightening the two nooses placed around her neck. Regardless the death was still not needed as she could had easily put back into the wild or a local zoo at the time. While it's true that she was a bit troublesome; unlike the popularly belief that she was a baby elephant. In truth she had a long history of abuse done to her. Hearing stories about Topsy getting burn by a lit cigar and struck by a pitchfork is sad. To add onto that, most of her bad reputation was cause by abusive drunk zoo keepers whom allow misbehavior like her running free in the streets of Coney Island and attacking a police station. Sadly, none of this information could have save her. Regardless, the same electricity that killed Topsy would end up killing the park in 1944 as it burned down. As for Edison Studios, while they market the snuff film as a morbid curiosity under the guise of wholesome family friendly entertainment. The documentary didn't do good. It would end up being one of the worst selling coin-operated kinetoscopes short films during the turn of the century. Ironically the man who brought light to the world would end up having a permanent blemish darkening his record. Overtime the graphic film was mostly forgotten until the rise of the internet where it is available to watch on Youtube. The black and white footage has certainly hasn't aged well with all the grain marks if view. Overall: Regardless of its historical value. This short film about a notorious publicity stunt will still not get no elephant salute from me. There is no electric love here.

Glory
(1989)

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! This is truly one of the best movies ever made about the American Civil War. It will continue to march on.
Glory be! This motion picture directed by Edward Zwick was a splendid achievement of cinema. It was well made. Based off the historical accounts from 1965 novel 'One Gallant Rush' by Peter Burchard & 1973 novel 'Lay This Laurel' by Lincoln Kirstein. The film written by Kevin Jarre depicts the soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts African-American regiment under the command of Union Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick) from the formation of their unit to their heroic actions at the Second Battle of Fort Wagner. Without spoiling the movie too much, despite the fact the majority of its supporting characters were fictional such as Corporal Thomas Searles (Andre Braugher) and Major Cabot Forbes (Cary Elwes). Each of them do represented the archetypes of the real people of the regiment so well. While a lot of people like Denzel Washington as Private Silas Trip and so do I. There is a part of me that felt that his character was a bit out of place with his modern-day use of an offensive racist term, the street angst language and attitude that came with it. It seems like Washington was channeling the anti-establishment feelings of black men in the late 20th century rather than the ones that went through harsh realities of slavery during that time period. Nevertheless, he still deserves his win for best supporting actor at the 62th Academy Awards. And no, it's not because of the gruesome flogging scene which in reality could had been avoid if the characters involve spoke to each other in clear communication. It's for the very good two interaction with Morgan Freeman's character of Sgt Mgt. John Rawlings during a campfire. Morgan Freeman was amazing. His speech about wanting to fight and confronting Trip was really powerful. Matthew Broderick not so much. He didn't connect with anybody. He also isn't really the intimidating commanding type. Nor did Broderick couldn't really deliver with showing emotion with Shaw's PTSD subplot. To add onto that Broderick did momentarily forget his lines at certain scenes. At least he tried. Sad that he and Elwes wouldn't get along. Lots of their scenes were cut. Still the movie could had done a little better by establishing more actors playing real life people into the unit like Fredrick Douglass' sons Lewis & Charles. It would add more stakes to the conflict. Another person worthy to be in the movie would had been Sergeant William Harvey Carney whom was awarded the Medal of Honor during the course of the war. Yes, I get that most of these men were living freely in the North when the war started but the impression that the film tells with most of the 54th being escaped slaves was a little inaccurate. The 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment was more like that. To add onto that, they were also the first African American regiment in the Union despite what this film is telling. They as well were the first to see combat in late 1862. The 54th didn't start training until early 1863 because the governor of Massachusetts wanted them to be an elite unit that can read and write. Because of that, most of the men of the 54th were educated in real life unlike this film. Nevertheless, the film certainly doesn't sugarcoat the challenges that the men had to go throughout the war, both in battle and at home. While the flogging scene never happen in real life due to the practice being abolished by the U.S Army in 1861. They still dealt with some racism. Not to the extreme like reduced to marching barefoot in cold mud as the film depicts, but for example with the pay. That part did happen and a boycott did follow, but in real life it was led by the commander rather than the soldiers. Despite that, I do like how the movie didn't go too far into the white savior narrative. However, I do feel that the addition of voice over reading from the real letters to Shaw was a little too much. Show. Don't tell. Regardless I did like how the movie show the Battle of Antietam, Grimball's Landing and Fort Wagner with diehard civil war reenactors who did the film voluntarily and without pay. They really put a lot of work into the reenactments especially the ending. Despite a few changes like not showing General George Crockett Strong (Jay O Sanders) joining them in the raid on the beach fort, Shaw volunteering to lift the flag and the actual attack occurred from the opposite direction with the ocean on their right parallel to the regiment. It was still a great way to end the film. Bittersweet. While the film's closing statement says that the Confederate fort was never taken by Union forces which is technically true. It was finally occupied by the Union in September 1863 after the fort was abandoned. Another thing, while there isn't a lot of gore in the battle scenes. The movie doesn't play the action safe and all whimsical romantic PG. It does shows how chaotic brutal and bloody the violence can get with its R rating. The profanity is much the same. It's used sparingly and wasn't overwhelming. Composer James Horner's score not so much. The whimsical patriotic tone did feel a little forced. Regardless, it's beautiful to listen to. Overall: There are tons of powerful scenes in this movie that can related to today's world especially in 2020 such as slicing up watermelons to destroy the negative stereotypes of black people, showing why looting & property damage can only lead to fueling more hate and the debate for or against nation pride with Trip wondering if he should bear the flag or not because of what the future might or not bring. In the end this movie was glorious. It's a must watch.

Universal Studios Theme Parks Adventure
(2001)

This video game was not fun to play. It was an awful misadventure.
As one of the most successful theme parks in the world, Universal Studios has a number of locations around the globe that offers guests attractions to ride the movies. One of them is locate in Japan which this Nintendo Game Cube game is set in. Published by Kemco & developed by Nai'a Digital Works, the license video game was supposed to help promote the then new park out of the gate by previewing what rides & shows they showcase there. Yet most of the gameplay is spend on exploring the overworld studios lot farming such as picking up barely noticeable specks of trash and tossing them in rare bins to collect small points. All of this seem it was programmed by their janitors. It makes no sense as the gamer plays as a guest and not an employee. Furthermore, wouldn't the studios get in trouble with child labor laws as the game has us playing as one of six kids? Anyways after picking up garage this is close follow by the player having to cash a certain amount of random points with certain park employees to gain hats just to get into some of these attractions. If you don't do this, you can't get on any of them due to annoying waiting lines of people led by Woody Woodpecker after a limited amount of free entry. Nevertheless, there is still plenty of other things you can do around the overworld like talk to people that has nothing interesting to say, collecting hard to see lettering that spell out 'Universal Studios' and do meet/greets with costume characters to get further points. All repetitive tedious and boring after a while. To make it worst the camera angles are in fixed position and only switches to another angle when you reach a certain point on the screen. Combine that with overlaying crowds, this can make it hard to determine the gamer character is located. Sometime you would find yourself far into the distant background having to make your way back through invisible walls to the foreground without even knowing what's ahead as the camera view radically changes perspective in every new scene. There will be plenty of times where the player would find themselves backtracking and heading in the wrong direction rather than forward. Even if the gamer finds the guy with handing out the map in the beginning; it's still not very useful. It has no clear paths how to get to certain locations. All it does is show the player current general vaguely position in relation to the seven mini games attractions. Unfortunately, not of them are really worth finding despite offering a different playstyle. For example, the ride semi based off the 1975 film 'Jaws' has players on a vessel fighting off shark attacks by throwing barrels as it approaches the boat. Not quite accuracy to the actual ride but good enough. Nonetheless the controls for this game are very stiff. It's difficult to aim projectiles or hit the shark with the precise timing without taking damage. That brings us to the other water-based attraction. The one model after 1993 movie 'Jurassic Park'. This one is far from being accurate to the actual ride as it's more gun rail shooter from a jeep than a boat ride. The targeting system on this mini game is buggy and sometimes doesn't seem to hits the dinosaurs if you aim right with the crosshairs. You have to aim well outside the target to really score points. At least the Wild West shooting gallery sequence has better marksmanship. It's just really hard to beat the A.I without shooting the glowing cans and balloons. There is no room for error. Another game that is really hard is the 1991 'Backdraft' film attraction which let children without protective gear run through a burning building putting out sentient fires to save a random amount of people. It's certainly far being from the accurate of the actual show. Like the overworld, you have no control over the camera, and may not even see a fire until you run into it. It's trial and error. To add onto that the controls for the water hose are very unreliable. As for the ride loosely based off the 'Back to the Future' movies (1985-1990). The top down chasing racing game mimics the short actual ride quite well with players speeding after the antagonist of those films in a DeLorean through time. It was somewhat entertaining. Another experience in the game that was similar to the actual dark ride was 'E.T' based off the 1982 film of the same name. In this game the player takes control of a bicycle to get to the alien home in less than four minutes. The controls are hard to handle as the player will tend to fall off a lot. Like the Atari game, this also isn't much fun. Then there is the stunt show based off 1995 movie 'Waterworld'. It turned out that the game version was nothing but a poor visual experience rendering of the seaplane crashing through the atoll from the show in an empty arena. Nothing more. It's clearly a disappointment that nothing is playable. To add onto that while other games are replayable to gain more points, halfway through the gameplay this attraction will closes without warning and cannot be accessed again until you start over or beat the game. You have to witness it early. Anyways once you get all the fetch quest done. You will gain stamps to play the Movie Trivia sequence with cartoon characters to finish the game. The questions ranging from common knowledge to tough. Even a movie buff would have trouble with this. Overall: While the game consists awful pre-rendered dated backgrounds and blurry texture character models. The licensed music was used well. It's just that the horrible mechanics that makes this game really unplayable both in one and two player modes. One certainly not worth visiting.

Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker
(2019)

Star Wars: Episode IX the Rise of Mediocrity. The Skywalker Saga has fallen so low.
It's clear now that this film franchise was doom from the start when Disney buy out Lucasfilm. Nobody had a clue how to further tell the story. So, director JJ Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy closely just rehash the same formulaic tropes of the original trilogy again with a few lazy reconstructing twists. They didn't even bother using with any of the establishing lore from books that could had made the films seen somewhat unique and new. Look, as much as people hate the prequels. At least, they gave us somewhat of a beginning tale that somewhat fit into the continuous story of the originals. As for these sequel series, they really do hurt most of the canon lore. This movie being the worst. It ruined the whole Skywalker redemption arch by having Darth Sidious (Ian McDiarmid) return with yet again with the over clichés easy to pick off out of nowhere planet killing ships rather than going all in with more complex well-acted Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). It also gave the whole Chosen One prophecy to somebody else. Perhaps the biggest let down in the movie was finding out that semi alright Rey (Daisy Ridley) does indeed have a grand gifted lineage rather than the idea that great power within the Force can manifest in anyone. Don't get me wrong, having Rey be related to the real villain is not a bad idea. It just shouldn't be biological parental because it's a bit off putting that somebody pork her grandfather. Instead she should be one of the many female Sith cultist clones that was model after Sidious including trailer fodder Darth Rey. Emperor Palpatine that died previous should be the male clone also separate from Sidious. It would better explain why the ancient dark lord look like in bad shape as he made copies upon copies of himself over time and why he can heal himself back once a clone like Rey dies. As for the old Supreme Leader. I would love to think that the reason why he looks rough was because he was one of the very few copies of the demise Darth Plagueis. It can explain why Sidious was able to gain control of him so easily. All this would make more sense than what the film gave us. Another thing that was disappointing is having Ren work with Sidious and Rey trying to burn the lightsaber. It dropped the ball with Rey's beliefs of preserving the past to gain knowledge and strength was counterpart to Kylo's wants to destroy it as he felt that it binds people to weakness and ignorance. The film also ignored their dyadic idealistic understanding that future peace can only be made with the meager of the cookie cutter light and the dark side of the force into the grey area way. It sucks. Also having Rey fall in love with the man that killed all her mentors is an unhealthy forced romantic relationship. Such a turn off more than the last movie. That was one thing that should had been retcon! At least Abrams keep the good thing about their communicate. The idea that they can move items through their mental and physical force powers despite not being in the same location was cool to witness even if it never established or used in the original or prequel series. Yet the used age of the new half-baked force healing was not well done. It makes demise seem like a game of hot potato. Likewise, if the force can straight up heal people and even bring them back from near death. Why would Jedis forbid the practice? It sounds like they could had saved the universe all this problem if they taught a certain Skywalker how to do it many moons ago. To add onto that the idea that most of the dead Jedis would be alright in helping Rey rather than any of the previous heroes like Luke (Mark Hamill) is such a cop out. She is more prone to use her anger and fear. Also, the idea that Sidious is able to use all the powers of all the Sith to knock out all the whole fleet through force lightning is over the top silly more than the Holdo maneuver, not only because every dark lord in the past has betrayed each other but as well their long history belief to limited their numbers to a very few. It makes no sense. Along with that, the whole 16 hours ancient Sith dagger wayfinder fetch quest really felt like wasted nonsense filler. The idea that the blade edge lines up perfectly with still surprising mostly intact wreckage of the Death Star was outrageous dumb luck seeing how the explosion burn it up nor the tough waters eroded the metal over time. The story pacing is kinda hard to believe like Rey fixing Luke's old ship in a few hours after years being underwater. It kinda like how they never explain how Maz Kanata voiced by Lupita Nyong'o got a hold with Luke's old lightsaber or what Finn (John Boyega) had to say to Rey. It's really bad editing. While the performers are great, their characters are wasted along with less annoying Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). Also, the death of Carrie Fisher in late 2016 caused major problems in production as well. The repurpose unused footage of Leia was kinda jarring. The visual/special effects from ILM were still impressive along with the sets & costume but some of the action scenes does cause dangerous photosensitive epilepsy. Not good. At least the film score by John Williams was still amazing. Overall: This movie is a mess from start to the cheesy name changing finish. I can't act like the previous two were perfect, but this seems especially maclunkey. I didn't like it. At least 'the Mandalorian' TV show is giving new hope for Star Wars because this movie certainly tries to kill it.

Mr. Nanny
(1993)

Oh brother. Mr. Nanny was truly rough stuff.
Well let me tell you something dude. If you like being body slam and getting a leg drop, then this family comedy is for you. It's painful to watch. Even without a stupid shiny metal plate. You'll surely get a migraine. The pressure is too much. Directed by Michael Gottlieb, this kid's movie has Hulk Hogan as a fictional version of himself named Sean Armstrong being hired by tech firm CEO Alex Mason (Austin Pendleton) as a bodyguard for his two children Alex Jr. (Robert Gorman) and Kate (Madeline Zima); while Mason developed a new anti-missile system. As it turns out, the two children are highly mischievous psychopaths who vie for their absent father's attention by making their nanny's life a living hell. While the 1990s over the top unrealistic cartoony booty traps slapstick pranks on Sean are play out as laughs. In truth they're quite deadly and sadistic like electrocuting him while he takes a shower or choking him while he was lifting weights. Many of them were so dangerous that whole scenes were censored in VHS versions around the world like the ones in the United Kingdom. These pranks could had cripple or killed Armstrong. I feel bad for him as he really didn't do anything wrong. It's not like he was really physical or sexual abusive with them. While he does hate children, he quickly bonded stereotypical with them by helping the children with their over clichés problems such as poorly dealing with Alex's lunchroom tormentors by allowing him to bring a taser like weapon to school rather than talking to the bully's parents. Plus, he did get all dress up and read stories to Kate even with her over demanding semi demonic nagging. Even with that, in the end when Sean and the family are really getting along, these children are trying to kill him by sabotaging his ride. Tampering with a motor vehicle is a federal offense. They could had killed harmless drivers or pedestrians with that recklessly. Its surely not like 1990 'Home Alone' where the child has to defend themselves from a criminal. Sean was hired to protect them. If anything, the traps should had been left for the over the top hammy 1960s James Bond like villain Tommy Thanatos (David Johansen) and his goons in the climax. Sadly, the action in the end felt like rehash to scenes we saw earlier with electricity. It was not impressive. In summary, these children are just awful unlikeable brats. I really couldn't stand these characters who willing to set an innocent woman on fire. To add onto that the acting from the child performers were not that good. Don't get me wrong Hogan's performance is not any better. Much like his stunt brawling, his acting skills was pretty mellow and standard. Still I really have no clue what the filmmakers were going for with the pro wrestling PTSD nightmares Armstrong was dealing with. It's not he dealt with the kayfabe heels in the ending. It really doesn't go anywhere. Probably also not the best to have a fake concussion angle on a children movie during a time in real life where Hogan faced allegations of steroid use. While the cameos from pro wrestling was kinda cool to witness. It was a bit odd seeing Brutus Beefcake dress up as a Zodiac character, two years earlier before the character debut in WCW. Makes me wonder if he wrestled as him overseas in Japan or something. To add onto that, the whole flashback connection with Armstrong with the villain is very far-fetched. It doesn't really mesh well. Taking about weird surreal cameos. What was the deal with the man in the motorcycle montage background throwing a dog into a body of water!? It really did look like animal cruelty. Disturbing. I wonder if he ever got caught by the police. Anyways, the filmmakers must have took a sick day if they didn't notice that in editing. They really goofed there. Much in the same way they couldn't find a realistic stunt double for Sherman Hemsley in the shooting off the rope scene. Ok acting, but weird that the character Burt Wilson didn't blow his hands off. Still much of his scenes felt like unneeded filler. The running gag of his house getting evicted felt a bit unrelated. Could had been cut in editing. As for the quality of the footage. It really does look like it aged badly on DVD on its own. Even with the Family Double Feature with the other Hogan flick 1991 'Suburban Commando', the footage still looks washed out with a lot of aliasing and shimmering. It was a crappy transfer with such shoddy detail. The old VHS tape are even worst with its tracking issues. A good copy is somewhat hard to find on the internet on streaming services. Another thing that didn't work for this movie is the soundtrack. The songs that singer David Johansen from the New York Dolls & Buster Poindexter's fame made, sounds a little too familiar to other more popular tunes. Not only that, but the lyrics felt repetitive simpleminded over exposition dumps. Not bad, but not worth listening to. Overall: No amount of saying your prayers and taking your vitamins will save you from how awful this children movie was, if you choose to watch it. So just don't. This is one flick I can't recommended even if you're a diehard Hulkamanic. Better to stay away.

Pa-dak pa-dak
(2012)

Holy mackerel! This computer animation motion picture is really disturbing!
Coming from one of the world's largest consumers of Ikizukuri sashimi marine products, South Korea. This film is intensely raw! Written and directed by Lee Dae Hee. The animated movie released by E-DEHI studios tells the story of a fish known as Padak (Voiced by Hyeon-ji Kim) desperately trying to return to the ocean by escaping the captivity of a seafood restaurant before she finds herself on the chopping block. Without spoiling this survival fish tale too much, while parts of the plot might sound reminiscent of Pixar's 2003 film 'Finding Nemo'; it's far from being a kid's movie with the large amount of fish gore and violence throughout the 1 hour and 18 minutes runtime. Lots of visual shock value scenes of marine life slowly being eaten alive after being decapitation slice and dice through fish lens pov. None of it was done in a comedic effect like 2016's film 'Sausage Party' with a similar premise. It was done in a way that would make anybody want to join PETA or go vegan. Along with eating scenes, the way the human pack marine life into cram tanks for transfer reminds me so much of the train carts of the Holocaust. The dark grey cell shading animation really does work for these types of visuals. This is followed up with a trippy psychological series of nightmarish song montages that further drill into the audience's brain how horrifying the eating situation really is. While jarring; the surrealism visuals are beautifully done with different art styles ranging from tradition 2D hand drawing, water painting to Ukiyo Era artwork. All of them somewhat relating to what is happening at that specific part of the story. For example, the choppy cut out animation in the first song really does captivate the fears of not seeing fully your own demise. This is followed close with a 1982 'Pink Floyd The Wall' sequence echoing ideas of alienation. Then there is the jazzy well sung lyrics of second musical number 'Think about it' is about accepting the nihilism fate of the doom situation while the visuals of joyful Hayao Miyazaki's anime style play in the backdrop. 'Forgive Me' is by far the most powerful with its simplistic relax drawn animation about the twist and turns of faith. While, somewhat over the top preachy and heavy handed with church metaphors. You still really get the idea that as crooked as a hook gloomy cold fish Master (Si Yeong-Joon) might have change for the better after that song even without out of the blue deux ex Machina holy like lance to help him. If not, there's nobody really worth rooting for in the end. After all the bait and switch climax was truly shocking. The posters for these films were very misleading. Added the disrespect to the corpse with the cigarette. You can't help feeling mad. While the ugliness of the human beings both visually and morality was 99 percent intentional. I don't find the movie to be racist or full of ethnocentrism beliefs. Personally, I have no problem with people eating marine life as I do the same, but I do agree with the idea that animals used for consumption should be killed humanely. Nevertheless, I do see the cultural relativism of Ikizukuri style cooking. However, the other South Korean Padak dish made from fried chicken and scallion sounds a little more appealing and delicious than any of the alive dishes here. The meals here are troublesome. To add onto that the realistic fish cannibalism parts can also be hard to swallow. Especially when the protagonist is forced by hunger to eat the smaller clownfish in one of the aquarium tanks even if the creatures kinda deserved it for being semi discriminatory. To be fair, this wasn't the restaurant owner's fault or farm raise producers. Carnivore Fishes like the ones shown in this film do tend to eat anything for protein even other marine life in the wild, both dead and barely alive. Just nothing near the amount of meat that this film is portraying them eating. Those meal sizes are way too large. Despite that I do like how the film is also packed to the gills with references to Plato's allegory of the cave that I found fascinating. Nevertheless, the metaphor of dehumanizing prison rape with the animals trying to caught tail of fresh meats to break in the school of newbies to the pecking order harsh life in the aquarium tank was still quite upsetting. No wonder why the movie bomb at the box office. In the end, since its initial release in South Korea. The film has found it way onto online paid subscription services such as Steam and Amazon Prime under the title 'Swimming to Sea' with English subtitles. As of this writing an English dub version has yet to be released. To be truthful, I hope that day never comes because the Korean voice acting throughout this was amazing. Overall: With the semi good animation, catchy tunes and heartbreaking story. The movie is quite a catch. I can only hope that the flick can gain a cult following in the years to come. It clearly got me hooked, lined and sinker.

Nazty Nuisance
(1943)

It truly was a nuisance to watch. I will give the film that.
Also known as 'Double Crossed Fool' and 'The Last Three'; this wartime short 1943 comedy released by United Artists was a loose sequel to 1942 'The Devil with Hitler'. Yet the story felt more like a prequel. If it was not, the motion picture has a lot of plot holes. Directed by Glenn Tryon, the film written by Earle Snell and Clarence Marks abandoned the outcome of the last flick, by having the now alive Adolf Hitler (Bobby Watson) along with his allies, Benito Mussolini (Joe Delvin) & General Suki Yak (Johnny Arthur) make a top secret trip to the Arab world to gain support for the war only for it to run amuck. There is no mention of Hitler going to hell and competing with the devil himself played by Alan Mowbray. The actor nor that character doesn't even appear onscreen here. That also includes Douglas Fowley as out of place American Insurance salesman Walter Beeter and Linda Kraus as Marjorie Woodworth, the German Spy working for the US government that cause Hitler's demise in the last picture. Now the heroes are Benson (Frank Faylen), a seaman who supply ship was sank by a Nazi submarine & his over bubbly love interest Kela (Jean Porter) a beautiful magician assistant. Two mediocre characters that didn't really get the job done as they ran their capture sub aground. Probably dooming them all on a desert hostile island with little food and water. Their mission was not a roaring success. The ending was truly really lame. The poster was really a lie. Nowhere in the film was Hitler strap to a bomb and drop onto Berlin. The closest was him being shot out a cannon and landing headfirst into a pile of sand with his feet treading empty air in a cartoony way. He pretty much lives through this which is disappointing. I kinda would like the 1964 'Dr. Strangelove' ending with Hitler riding a bomb. Regardless just like the previous making fun of the leaders of the Axis Powers Streamliner featurette also produce by Hal Roach. The comedy has the same old schtick. It's poorly written not clever childish jokes. Spiking the served soup with pepper & switching the guests' wine with kerosene is not the best this movie could do for laughs. I know because the last movie was far more explosive. Also, I had seen better slapstick humor in the Three Stooges Tripartite Pact routine with 1940's film 'You Natzy Spy' and 1941 'I'll Never Heil Again'. It's certainly not in the levels of sophistical jokes that 1940 'The Great Dictator', 1942 'To be or Not to Be' or 1943 'Der Fuehrer's Face" has. Instead the comedy is just now a little more offensive as the film make a long comedic gag where people wouldn't tell the different between the Yellow Peril caricature of a Japanese leader and an orangutan. A less racist caricature of Hideki Tojo or Emperor Hirohito would be better in familiar and in tone than what we got here. At least, that actor that played Paj Mab didn't spoke in broken English with his awful middle eastern make up like Arthur did. Regardless, I have no idea what real life leader, the film was trying to mock here. His American accent was seeping in and was somewhat kinda jarring. As for Watson, his reprise over the top acting as Hitler has really gotten tiresome and old by this stage as he played the leader two times previous with 'The Devil with Hitler' and 1942 'Hitler: Dead or Alive'. Can't believe that he continued to perform as him in 7 more movies after this. He was really typecast much like Delvin who played Mussolini four times in his career. As for supporting actors like Rex Evans as Hermann Goering, Wedgwood Nowell as Heinrich Himmler and Charley Rogers as Josef Goebbels. They were alright, but their characters were not in the film that much. It was kinda disappointing not to see Hitler's inner circle not meet their end in the climax. Overall: This 44minute US propaganda motion picture hasn't seen better days since it was first released. The black and white footage is kinda grainy and out of focus. Even the enhancement DVD pristine version is not that great in video quality. Yet it does do a better job in reducing noise than watching the film on Youtube. So that's at least is a plus. To add onto that, the musical score by Edward Ward fits in well with most scenes even if it's does sound like stereotypical and racism region music. All versions of the film do a good job on that. In the end, it's still certainly not worth watching. It is a flaw movie. A film that's not all Reich.

Mousehunt
(1997)

This rat race dark comedy truly does take the cheese. For the most part, it was a very entertaining funny film.
Are you man or mouse? For Ernie (Nathan Lane) and Lars Smuntz (Lee Evans) that is the question they must ask themselves when they found themselves as poor as a church mouse after their once wealthy father Rudolf Smuntz (William Hickey) dies. Left with only an outdated string factory and a broken drown mansion; the brothers hope to properly restored both in order to recover their lives. However, a clever smart pesky house vermin stands in their way. Directed by Gore Verbinski in his directorial debut & written by Adam Rifkin, the film released by DreamWorks Pictures has tons of things that might be view as today as not suitable for children depending on the parents. While there are a lot of humor involving bodily fluids that are common in most kid's movies and cartoony violence. There is surprisingly a large amount of sexual innuendos moments. One such example was the yarn balls dropping to the floor after a nude man see a woman in stimulating lingerie. To add onto that, there is even a sequence where the two leads are digging their hands down the dresses of two women and unzipping their fly to get a mouse out; meanwhile yelling at each other using profanity. Yet the most surreal humor in this film has to do with the topic of death. Seeing a minor character died by choking on a cockroach and the brothers dropping their father's corpse down a manhole is an odd choice to see in a kid's movie. Probably the worst has to be the acts of fictional animal cruelty. For example, the scene where a cat might had possibly got murder when falling down a dumbwaiter shaft and another one being gassed at the pound. It's never really proven if the creatures lived or not. It's really disturbing and morbid. As for the human characters dealing with the rodent. I really surprised that the main characters were able to endure the pain that they went through without several injuries. In real life, they would had died a thousand times especially when two huge bombs gone off. While the action can be jarring because how a mouse could do unrealistic harm to them like possibly disconnect the sewage pipe and connect their vacuum to it. Better yet, locking them in a truck case. I still wasn't taken too much out of the film. I was just deeply surprised by all this being in a silly cat & mouse 1990s 'Home Alone' style movie rather than a dark 'Addams Family' like flick. Either way, the film was indeed fun to watch at times especially whenever Christopher Walken's minor hammy character Cesar the eccentric exterminator is involved, but I doubt this is comedy that most young kids will get. After all, how many of them will know who Fidel Castro is. This film is not appropriate for a PG rating. It's more like a PG-13. Small children will indeed be frightened by certain things. As an adult. Certain parts are hard to watch now, knowing that performers like Hickey was indeed seriously ill and died in real life during the film's production. I was really surprised that the filmmakers didn't recast his part or make any major changes to the script to accommodate his death. It really feels surreal and cringe-worthy seeing his scenes in this flick. To add onto the awkwardly there also unexplained supernatural scenes of where a painting of his character magically changes moods throughout the film like he was watching the events unfold like a ghost. The film also acts like the mouse could had Rudolf reincarnate with the sandwich hint, but it really doesn't go anywhere. Plus, it doesn't look good seeing if he was the mouse, he really put his sons in harm by trying to kill them. Because of that parts of this movie don't make any sense. Yet the main reason why this flick didn't do so well with some audience members is the fact that two main characters and the titular mouse are really not that sympathetic. Especially Ernie who is really cynical, greedy and selfish. He's so unlikeable. The fact the mouse and him take turns destroying each other's lives like a personal mission while no backbone Lars flip flop between killing the mouse and leaving the rodent alone is somewhat nerve wrecking. The out of the blue forced Deus ex Machina happy ending with all three making up is just as annoying; seeing how the mouse just minutes earlier ate their father's lucky string and the rodent losing his home to unrealistic water damage. I really couldn't buy it with all the suffering and punishment each character put each other through. It's also bit jarring to see them have all that success seeing how the film left them two with no money, no employees and no home. I doubt Lar's money hungry ex-wife April (Vicki Lewis) came to save them again once more. That the problem with this movie. It has really bad pacing. First off, the mouse doesn't appear until 20 minutes into the film and the conflict is solve way too quickly in the climax. Despite the story not being that good. I did like the acting and the humor. The insider jokes involved the 1994 animation film 'the Lion King' references and cameos are some of the best. Also, the CGI effects and puppetry were indeed pretty decent for the time. Nevertheless, the look of the film was tops. Love the retro art deco neo noir look of the film even if the time period of the settling is a bit confusing. To go along with it, the film's original score by composer Alan Silvestri is really catchy. It has been extensive use for commercials as well as other films. No wonder why this film was a financial success. It's bold but subtle. Classical yet nontraditional. Overall: It's one movie clearly worth hunting for.

All Elite Wrestling: Double or Nothing
(2020)

All Elite Wrestling: Double or Nothing once again score a touchdown! It was a very entertaining show!
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, large crowds were not able to attended the event, in fear of getting the dangerous virus. Because of that AEW could not held the event at the original scheduled place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Paradise, Nevada. Instead it was moved to the Jacksonville Jaguars complex in Jacksonville, Florida, with most matches taking place in Daily's Place, an amphitheater adjacent to TIAA Bank Field with only rosters members & backstage employees in attended ringside. As for the Stadium Stampede main event. The vast amounts of empty seats are a little more apparent. There was no way to hide that, but just think how cool the match would had been if a limited amount of wrestling fans were allow around in key areas of the football venue. It could had added a lot. Hopefully one day they can use the venue to the fullest and have a huge 'WrestleMania' pay per view like astrosphere. Regardless, All Elite has always done a good job in making their shows not seem too awkwardly quiet by allowing the employees to chant, cheer and boo the wrestlers during the matches. It's something that WWE really should had been pick up early for their shows; instead of having death silence for most of their filming during this coronavirus crisis. Although tonight crowd doesn't really play too much of a factor in improving this show like the others. For a show called 'Double or Nothing' we didn't get shots of people gambling or setting up bets. Nevertheless, I did dig the Casino Vegas entrance way setup despite being a bit jarring in a football venue in Florida. The digital slot machine video screen and giant poker chips on the entrance way were a nice touch even if parts of the sets like large wooden playing cards laziness put on the floor looks very cheap looking. It was far better than the bland looking early 2020 'Revolution' pay per view recycled parts setup. Anyways that brings us to the first part on the card between Private Party (Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen) & Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent) for the No. 1 contender for the World Tag Team Championship during the preshow. Compare to last year '21-men Casino Royale' opening. This was nothing really that meaningful. There was hardly any built on the feud on television for this. To add onto that, the series of noticeable slipups and a lack of chemistry between the two teams kept this match from being truly great despite some nail biting near falls. Somewhat forgettable. Thank goodness the Casino Ladder Match for a Future World Championship Match was a lot more memorable. While this contest also had a lot of botches mostly involving Darby Allin doing crazy spots. The mystery competitor was a huge surprised. I love all the scenes involving him getting buried in the set by Colt Cabana & Scorpio Sky and Joey Janela replacing an injury Rey Fenix doing a Death Valley driver on Orange Cassidy onto that said pile. That was crazy! As for the comedic spots, I was not really a fan of it. At one point in the match Luchasaurus and Frankie Kazarian nearly killed each other with a botch trying to pull one off. Then the 'Royal Rumble' entering style got really convoluted as allies of Kip Sabian, Jurassic Express and Orange came into the match to interfere. It was really hard to figure out who is in the match and who wasn't. Nevertheless, it was wild enjoyable affair. MJF (with Wardlow) versus Jungle Boy was next. It was a solid contest as both prove without a doubt that they're the future of this promotion as great heels and babyfaces. Cody (with Arn Anderson) vs Lance Archer (with Jake Roberts) for the tournament final for the Inaugural TNT Championship was also very good. I just wish that Mike Tyson play more of a part in the match. He should punch somebody. Sadly, the next two contests were not any better. Kris Statlander facing off the injury Britt Baker replacement Penelope Ford was decent. While Dustin Rhodes fighting with Shawn Spears was probably one of the worst matches in this young promotion to date. Playing it off as badly done short comedy was not the direction I was hoping for. Especially how menacing Spears was nearly a year ago with his match with Cody. As for the No Disqualification Women Championship match between champion Nyla Rose and challenger Hikaru Shida. It was fine for the most part. Then there was World Championship brawl between title holder Jon Moxley and The Exalted One Brodie Lee; which surprisingly mirror the woman championship match quite well. Both were decent to watch. Nevertheless, it was the main event that takes the ball and run with it. While I'm not a huge fan of silly over the top cinematic shot style matches that Matt Hardy help make famous that been popping up all year. I have to say this is by far one of my favorites. Everybody involved ranging from the pool area shot involving Kenny Omega, Hardy, Santana and Ortiz to Adam Page riding a horse to chase down Sammy Guevara to Matt Jackson jumping off a field goal post to hit Chris Jericho and Jake Hager was entertaining. Overall: Even without spectators, All Elite Wrestling did a good job of making sure the event lively. While not as good as last year. It was indeed one worth the watch. AEW truly played their cards right.

Midsommar
(2019)

This movie may become a cult classic. It's a Smörgåsbord of weirdness.
Originally pitch as a straightforward slasher film about a group of American tourists being killed off by a surreal but vicious pagan cult during their midsummer festival in a remote Swedish village. The film directed by Ari Aster added elements to the concept about deteriorating relationship between the emotional trouble main character college student Dani Arbor (Florence Pugh) and her emotionally distant cultural anthropologist boyfriend Christian Hughes (Jack Reynor). This was done in order for Aster to cope after he just experienced a difficult breakup. For the most part, this extra subplot was fine for most audience. After all it somewhat works as a semi metaphor for the rapid decline of Abrahamic religions within the western society. The phone calls in the beginning is one such example. Much like a prayer I like how the film is shot set squarely on the character's face implying that she's talking to somebody who isn't fully there to help her. Nobody home. Even with people in her presence, the movie views those discussions through reflections of glass. In spirituality, mirror is said to reflect the act of continual self-evaluation regarding the consequences of thoughts and actions. It shows how detachment she is in this somewhat cold alienating world only wanting to egocentric procreate. That's why it makes sense that Dani would eventually fell seduced by the warmth of Harga community after first rejecting them after the public Ättestupa senicides. She slowly sees that the villagers repeatedly appear to share feeling including pain and pleasure. They're also seem supported and only produced what seem good for the community rather than selfish means. Being more in line with nature's circle of life than it seems. The metaphor of the grass growing on her, represented Dani's rebirth as a seed rooting herself back into the society after burying herself with haunting guilt of a past tragedy. The more she spends in the bright light of the community, the more she becomes willing to pollinated through Harga own means. By the end, she has become the new definition of the flower generation to the point of absurdity. She found free love and peace in an unusual way. As for the other characters, their wiliness to stay after the senicides seem a little more baffling than Dani. Especially when it comes to their very lack of reaction to death. Even with the amounts of drugs in their system, the brainwashing of both Josh (William Jackson Harper) & Christian are really not well established. I get that Josh is an apolitical scholar just looking for fame and Christian is an unsympathetic opportunist what a be savior. Nevertheless, fighting over a thesis is not a great justified for them staying at Harga after witnessing people getting killed. There has to be something more which the film fails to mention. Then there is Mark (Will Poulter) whom impulsive dumb character seems really out of place and not needed as much of his story about wanting to score could had gone to Christian. After all, there was no good exposition dump on why he wasn't around the cliff to witness the senicides. Also, to add onto that, what happen to the rest of the tourists that came to the village on the first day? They all seem to disappear along with the baby. I doubt that the cult killed all of them for no good reason. There is no way the villagers will be able to get away with all that death rituals in the cellular age without a family member finding out. Since we on the topic of the ceremonies. The film is a bit unclear about the rituals and how often they do it. The 90 years exposition seem to be a bit muddled. I didn't know it meant the barn burning until I listen to the director's commentary much later. It's that confusing. Still it does still beg the question how Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren)'s parents died in a house fire if that wasn't it. To add onto that weird mess, it seems like some of the rituals could had cut out as many of them didn't really add much to the main story like the subplot with the cult's inbred oracle. They did truly come across as unrealistic drawn out sensory overload surrealism that was somewhat funny than frightening. Despite that I felt that cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski did a great job with most of the shots. While super long, the whole establishment opening was a masterpiece. It was super creepy & disturbing. Very scary. There was also a lot of foreshadowing Easter eggs like the 1939's 'Wizard of Oz' references, bear artwork and the bouquet behind the photo of Dani. Even the very first shot of the film shows a full frame medieval folk pagan mural detailing roughly the entire sequence of events that will unfold. I also like how the film communicates the near constant hallucinogenic induced state by distorting and warping the scenery. For example, seeing Dani's family haunting her & turning the camera view upside-down on the Highway to Halsingland scene. Lots of rewatch value. I would love to one day watch all of the director's cut of the film. It's just over a half hour longer and contains more looks at both the American characters' dynamics, some cut rituals like the drowning kid and overtly supernatural elements like feet levitating off the ground. It might be interesting to look at and listen to, along with the full dark ambient eerie soundtrack composed by musician the Haxan Cloak. Overall: While the costumes might look nothing like Swedish culture & nobody really speaks with the region appropriate accent. I still said it's worth watching despite some people finding the film depiction of an iconic good nature Swedish holiday offensive and racist. It was still well shot, had fine performances even with the goofy memeable faces and downright entertaining for the most part. It's one trippy movie.

Jackass 3D
(2010)

Does this movie deserve a high five? Not quite but it's entertaining at parts. Semi watchable.
From all the movies based on the hit MTV show 'Jackass' (2000-2002) my favorite has to be the second one as it has the newest most ridiculous clever pranks and dangerous stunts taking place all over the world. Plus, it was mostly well shot. Sadly, I cannot say the same with the third picture from the series. While the opening and closing sequences feature a very clear image of the cast lining up and then being attacked by various objects in slow motion which was fun. The movie hardly used the in your face 3D effects afterward. It felt like a last-minute sensationalistic gimmick employed by the studios for monetary gain rather than enhancing the quality overall of the feature. To add onto that, as this stage of their lives most of the cast & crew of the show including Johnny Knoxville were in their early 40s, already married with some of them fathers by the time production started. Because of that and the lack of alcohol & drugs; most of the cast were sober enough to think straight about going through some of the more dangerous yet unique innovating skits pitched to them. Don't get me wrong the cast did risk their lives for our entertainment especially Bam Margera whom suffer three broken ribs, a broken shoulder and a twisted ankle following one stunt while also dealing with internal bleeding in the brain due to a off screen assaulted by a fan at a bar with a bat, but director and producer Jeff Tremaine with help from the cast choose to play it somewhat safe by revamping most of the old well tested stunts from the original show into the movie such as the poo cocktail supreme. Others stunts in the film like the Lamborghini tooth pull was originally shot for 'Jackass Number Two' with Margera's uncle, Don Vito in 2006 before getting cut from that movie. So diehard fans didn't really see much of anything new if they seem any of the old episodes or the trailer for the second film. That's somewhat of a shame. Sadly, this movie also doesn't even have any old classic stunt movies nods like the previous one did with its Busby Berkeley's 'The Best of Times' style musical number. The explosive climax with Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture while fun was really short compare to the epic scope of the last movie. As for pranks. It didn't help that some of the talent are now so famous that public jokes were nearly impossible to shot. Because of that, most of the movie was filmed in private property or studio sets in the US with hardly a crowd around to reaction. Also compare to the last movie, there was even barely any new celebrity cameos in this movie besides Seann William Scott, a few footballers and minor D-List personas. Most of the ones that does appear like crew member Spike Jonze, skater Tony Hawk and animal expert Manny Puig has been seen before. Besides Loomis Falls and Margera's parents, most don't add as much to this film as with the previous. To add onto that the film has way too many grossed out jokes like sweat suit cocktail and poo volcano! So much that it made me want to skip certain parts due to how unpleasant & disgusting it was. Don't get me wrong the first & second movie also has toilet humor moments, but they're not as cringeworthy drawn out as this flick. Skits involving bodily fluids during this movie seem to go for nearly forever. Plus, it borderline into heavy pornography scat as you can clearly see liquid come from the Margera's meatus and Dave England's anus. Once again Steve-O vomiting barf bag act is just as tiresome. It's not for the weak stomach. Yet, I just glad to see him clean and sober now. Then there is Ryan Dunn on the motorbike jumping the snake river scene. Any stunt involving him going at top speed is kinda hard to watch now; seeing that he died prematurely 8 months after the film was release in a car crash. It does bring back awful memories. No wonder Margera fall off the wagon in alcoholic depression after this movie. Dunn's absence in any future sequels will indeed be missed. Hopefully if they do make a fourth movie. I would like to see more fresher younger cast members and women doing stunts to give the franchise some new blood. While it might hurt the homoerotic humor a little bit, it's really needed since the original cast is really banged up including Knoxville who nearly died while filming 2018's comedy 'Action Point'. It's going to look like 'Son of Jackass' if they don't. Regardless if this movie is the straw that broke the donkey back or not. Until that fourth film is product, we as fans have the 2011 bonus film 'Jackass 3.5' composed of unused or outtake footage shot during the filming of this movie with interviews from cast and crew to check out. Overall: While media watchdogs and moral guardians might hate this film for its perceived indecency and encourage of dangerous reckless behavior. For me I always look forward to hearing 'Corona' by the band Minutemen play even if this movie is my least favorite. While I found the film not quite hitting the jackpot. It still had parts that were. It didn't suck donkey's balls too much. It's only mediocre at best.

The Invisible Man
(2020)

What a pleasure surprise! This horror movie is clearly worth seeing!
This loose adaptation of author H. G. Wells 1897's book of the same name was initially going to be an installment in Universal Picture's share cinematic dark universe with Johnny Depp in the titular role. The movie handled by screenwriter David S Goyer would have the Invisible Man infiltrated Czarist Russia as a spy for the British Empire. However due to the underwhelming performance of both 2014 film 'Dracula Untold' & 2017 movie 'the Mummy' at the box office; the concept was then shelfed. Then the negative press about Depp's ugly divorce from wife Amber Heard began to surface as talks about domestic abuse hit the rounds. This cause Universal to drop the actor in favor of writer and director Leigh Whannel's progressive version in which the titular character now serves as an antagonist in a spousal abuse story to save face. For the most part, the plan kinda work. The film produced by Blumhouse didn't feel too misandry or over feminist propaganda. It really did find the balance when telling the tale of Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) being haunted by her abusive ex-lover Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson Cohen) after the inventor's apparent death. The thriller was mostly well shot. Stefan Duscio's cinematography was very effective. All the visuals ranging from establishing the coastal locations of the bay area to the spotless overlooking glass house give off a coldness feeling of being watched. The film never lets you forget the Invisible Man could be anywhere, with the camera often focusing on empty wide shots and the subtle clicking noise. I like that we never get a good look at villain's face until the very end of the movie. Even the opening 10 minutes of Cecilia trying to escape the house with little to no forced sound effects, dialogue and music was outstanding creepy. Show don't tell approach work so well during these moments. It's only after that, the film somewhat loose its edge when twist and turns are introduced such as Adrian wanted a baby from Cecilia. Then why does he put her in so much physical harm that might cause death or a miscarriage? It's jarring. Another thing, the whole inheritance subplot really doesn't go anywhere. If the idea is to make the woman go crazy to the point that everybody else would distance themselves and she will have no choice but to seek help from the Griffin family. Then why give her lots of money? I get that Adrian wanted to give her a false hope because he is sadistic, but that would only draw more people to help her overcome her problems. Theoretically it makes more sense to use the wealth to make Cecilia and himself disappear easier, seeing that everyone thinks he's dead & Cecilia just some insane woman. After all it did look like he made an invisible suit that is easy for Cecilia to control and wear. Plus, if anybody did find out the truth that he could just paid them off. Instead the ending really come off as very unrealistic. I really couldn't believe that the villain got away with the crimes nor he wouldn't see his demise coming. He had to knew that two of his suits were out there. Regardless Leigh has a very impressive eye for unusual action sequences. The hospital scene makes you wonder if Griffin had super strength and durability or was that coming from the suit. Even so it does beg the question why the villain didn't get a heat stroke in that suit as there seem to be no cooling setup. In real life he would be super weak and his smell would be very overpowering as he wouldn't be able to gain or save energy. At least in this version he wouldn't go immediately blind due to light not being able to hit his retinas as that would be protected. Regardless I doubt he would be able to see that good to fight off people. Regardless the first fight scene in the suit was intense and impressive even if it was bit odd that the Lanier family would leave Celica alone in their own house. Don't get me wrong the supporting cast was fine in their acting, but their characters really need to be expanded more. As for the main character. Moss's acting is solid. You really get the dread and anxiety. You can tell that Celica has it rough throughout the film. I just wish the movie play off the mystery more that it could all be in her head. The movie is way heavy handled when revealing the invisible man. Like the trailer, the film kinda spoils the mystery early on by illogically showing the killer using his cell phone when he really didn't need to. Despite that I really did like the foreshadowing involving the mosaic, jellyfishes, and mental health posters. I also found the symbolism with the names given to the character very interesting. After all Cecelia means blind, but everybody calls her C. Another thing I dig was all the shout outs and nods to the more well-known appearances of the Invisible Man including a scene where a fashion dummy wore similar clothes to the 1933 James Whale's film of the same name and much later a patient is shown in the mental hospital covered in bandages. Even the idea of Cecelia trying to clear her name is from the 1940 sequel 'The Invisible Man Returns'. It was also cool to see the mention of the tech company Cobolt from Whannel's 2018 Sci Fi flick 'Upgrade'. Along with that the dark ambience music from composer Benjamin Wallfisch was also nice to hear. Overall: Compare with Paul Verhoeven's 2000 film 'Hollow Man'. This movie certainly stood out for its better loosely modern fresh take of the novel. The movie is easy to find as it was made available on video on demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It's one flick that you shouldn't turn a blind eye too.

Manchester by the Sea
(2016)

This movie about trying to keep your head above water is somewhat over drowning in misery. It will be hard to beat.
For a picture who's titled is supposed to represent a relaxing location full of scenic beaches and vista points. 'Manchester by the Sea' is truly a grim watch. Written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, the film tells the story of Lee Chalder (Casey Affleck) a depressed man being asked to take care of his teenage nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges) after the boy's father Joe (Kyle Chandler) falls ill. Without spoiling this movie too much, the series of inserted semi unannounced nonlinearly flashbacks can be a bit confusing and annoying. Especially when the sequence goes a little too long such as Lee talking to Joe's lawyer about the guardianship. It's very awkward to see Chalder's mind drift off while looking out of the window with the long pause of no interrupting dialogue. It seemed somewhat a clichés way to cut to a very long flashback about what happen to his own children long ago. The whole past exposition dump with the police really add to the length that I nearly forgot what was happening presently. Along those lines the beautiful music from composer Lesley Barber that goes with it is very angelic loud, to the point that it's ear piercing. It's felt very forceful preachy and gimmicky at times. Don't get wrong not all the flashbacks dramatic effects are bad. I kinda like the slow motion far distance wide cinematography shots with muted people talking in the background. It felt somewhat dream or nightmare like as if feeling disconnected and alone. An out of the body experience. As for current day; most of it was also well shot. I love how the location is framed with everything looking so cold and dead due to the winter months when Lee arrives back in Manchester. It reminds him so much of the fatherhood, soul mate and human connection that he lost over the years. Then how the city is framed during the spring month where everything is thawing. It represented the character slowly overcoming his grief in order to find his humanity again. The visuals are far clearer and stronger to understand than any of the dialogue being said. I mean that. Characters are constantly sounding inarticulate. It doesn't help that the thin Boston accent with the slangs is equally hard to understand at times. I get that they were going for realism in order to show Lee's sense of awkwardness and difficultly in reconnecting with others but gees it was somewhat irritating even with the humor. It takes forever for people to speak the simplest of little things. I know that a lot of people are giving Affleck a lot of praise, but the truth is; I found his acting not that special. Casey here is pretty much playing his standard role: the not much for words somewhat selfish jerk to some degree sympathetic recluse full of self-pity. I felt I was watching 2006 'Lonesome Jim' yet again. Regardless of my opinion, I didn't mind his Oscar win. While, I get that the decision to give Affleck the award has caused controversy due to the sexual harassment allegations brought against him in 2010, but let's note that the award is based on an actor's performance in a film, not if they were a good person in their personal life. As for the supporting cast. Michelle Williams as Randi, Lee's ex-wife was really good. That scene on the street where Lee & her character talk about the blame and the grief of their own personal loses was compelling as hell. You can really tell that Randi feels guilt for the way she treated him and desperately wants to apologize so Lee can regain some semblance of a life again. It's very powerful. It's kinda sucks that Williams is only in ten minutes of the film. I really thought she would be in more scenes; seeing that Michelle is on the movie's poster. Regardless most of the supporting cast screen time is spent with Hedges. He was fine as Patrick despite the character having subplots that felt like filler such as dealing with his awful multiple relationships. I really couldn't care less about those selfish actions. Nevertheless, I'm not going to freak out over frozen chicken as I found the subplot of the son trying to reunited with his mother Elise (Gretchen Mol) somewhat compelling even if Matthew Broderick's comedic appearance as the fiancé Jeffrey did took some viewers out of the film. It was very interesting. I also love the subplot of Lee & Patrick having to find money to fix Joe's boat. Despite the odd Deux Ex Machina with expensive collection of guns solution, I kinda dig the metaphor of them trying to fix their relationship and hold something that can remind them of good times with the family. After all that's what Joe's last act was about. It was an attempt to have Lee reengage with the world. That's what the movie should be about not about the kid can get laid. At least that was the ideas that producer Matt Damon & John Krasinski wanted. Thank goodness they kept that and cut the whole CGI whale scene idea. That would had been cheesy. Overall: This movie is certainly not a popcorn flick. It feels more like a character study and like that should be examine. In spite of the movie leaning toward a more cynical end. Many of the themes about seeking closure for past mistakes and dealing with loss are very relatable. It's worth checking out in Minnetonka, Minnesota and elsewhere.

Joker
(2019)

No joke here. The phoenix has truly risen. Joaquin really deserve his Oscar.
Todd Phillips has a very unique approach to writing and directing a comic book flick. Instead of having a lot of typical fantasy like tropes. This motion picture went for the more ground crime drama character study story with DC Comics Batman's arch nemesis 'The Joker'. Something that a lot of fans kinda wanted. After all, while a number of backstories have been given in the comics, a definitive one has not yet been established for the clown prince of crime. However, fans of the psychopath criminal mastermind version of him will probably not like this movie. This form has him as a somewhat mentally disable impoverished depress comedian Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) whose descent closer into insanity and nihilism when disregarded by society in a decaying Gotham City during 1981. Let's face it. The character is far cry departure from the versions we got in previous movies. He's less a villain and more like an antihero in this film. Arthur just wants people to be happy. Losing 52 pounds, Joaquin does portray the naïve starving artist well. The scenes where his rib cage is visual are quite upsetting. The way Phoenix walks up the stairs with his shoulder slumped down show how downtrodden Arthur really is. Great use of body language. The facial expressions including the makeup run offs that Joaquin does are also well perform. Whenever Arthur's condition caused him to uncontrollably laugh. His mouth opens way too wide that it looks distressing. On several occasions they are indistinguishable from his sobbing. It really illustrated Arthur's declining mental state. However, the film is so heavily influence by Martin Scorsese's 1976 movie 'Taxi Driver' & 1982 'King of Comedy' that many of this film scenes felt like clichés reenactments like the fake out shot me sign moment involving love interest Sophie Dumond (Zazie Beetz). Another bothersome I got was due to the character's chronic daydreaming, it makes the audience question just how much of the film, we see is happening in real time and how much of it is Arthur's fantasizing. Because of that the movie has a lot of deliberately somewhat annoying open-ended plot holes. For example, how he was able to get away with so many murders. Killing a patient at the hospital without setting off the alarm on the heart monitor machine and even being allowed in the building after an infamous previous gun accident seem unlikely. That or the cops really slow to arrested people. After all Arthur has plenty of time to sleep, get dress, eat and murder a coworker after breaking in a neighbor's room. The logic in these scenes are a bit annoying as the entire ending plays like a deranged hallucination rather than a genuine series of events. The whole idea of the Wayne family seeing a movie during the riots seem a bit forced. In truth I don't think the film never really figured out a true decent climax. That's why I believe when Arthur told the psychiatrist that she wouldn't get the joke. I think the whole story might have been made up, in order to troll the whole audience to feel sympathy for him and his crimes. Whether Arthur becomes the actual Joker as seen in traditional Batman lore or inspires a separate character is ambiguous. Either way, Arthur will be an old man by the time Batman is established. Regardless the film is a little too heavy handed and preachy when it comes to dealing with people with mental health. After all, none of the supporting characters Arthur hurts really deserve their punishment besides the three oddly seem out of place rich guys on the train. None of them are fully evil to be sympathetic. Some of them honestly are friendly and help Arthur more than they harm such as giving him protection and a chance to redeem himself on television when they could had run away. As of Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen) he gave Arthur the truth about his origin even after what the unstable man did to him. Although how much of a jerk he is left up to the viewer's interpretation of what Arthur's origins truly was. With that it's really hard to believe that Fleck would repress the abusive memories of his past for that long. Still I do dig the theories involving that. I just wish the film had more comic book references rather than the small mentions. As for shouts out to other media. The best use has to be Charlie Chaplin's 1936's film 'Modern Times'. Not only is the movie's footage visual in the movie, but the cover of "Smile" is haunting along with Stephen Sondheim's 'Send in the Clowns' song. I like that the music is generally discordant, unsettling and tonally dissonant. It reflects Arthur's feverish mental state so well. The sequence involving dancing on the stairs is so iconic. I really like how the sets & locations looks. It's an urban nightmare. No wonder why Arthur went crazy. As for the controversy surrounding the film revolves around being sympathetic towards killers & this movie might inspiring copycats. I understand why. It wasn't even shown in certain parts of Colorado due to the 2012 Aurora shooting. Many police forces and even the US Army were also put on alert when this flick was released in theaters. In the end, the film still got the last laugh as it made a ton of money. However, Warner Bros did make a movie that push buttons with its themes in class warfare and gun control that I doubt a sequel would be made. They don't even considered part of the DC Extended Universe. Instead, it is an Else worlds story. In the end, while entertaining & thought provoking at certain parts. It's still a disturbing film. The film presents no solutions, promotes despair and really is a glorification of violence. Just know that when seeing this movie. It's one film that certainly not to have a happy ending.

Pride and Prejudice
(1940)

Here is my first impression. This movie didn't quite bewitch me body and soul as it should had. The film was mediocre at best.
Adapted from Jane Austen's 1813's novel of the same name. This 1940 MGM gold diggers comedy partially written by Aldous Huxley & Jane Murfin involving a family of sisters finding prosperity & love before their estate get destitute in Regency England felt a little rushed. The film directed by Robert Z. Leonard was jarring with its pacing. One such example is the assembly ball where Elizabeth Bennett (Greer Garson) meets Mr. Darcy (Laurence Oliver). It's weird to see Darcy ask Elizabeth for a dance just minutes after insulting her in earshot. I doubt he overcame his pride in a few seconds after seeing her face for the first time. In the novel he stated out that she was not attractive enough to dance with him. He declined in the book. Yet in the movie she is the one that says no and chose to dance with George Wickham played by Edward Cooper instead. A character who happens not to be at that event in the novel. To add onto that it wasn't until much later that Darcy starts to respect her strong will approach when they spent time in his estate of Pemberley; which the movie also cut out. It's a shame because that location was a symbol for their budding romance when both Elizabeth and Darcy cross the small bridge to reach an understandable with each other when it comes to class prejudices. Here both of them has little to no connection. Furthermore, the voice over readings of love letters in the novel is none existed in this film. To make it worst the thespians had hardly any chemistry with each other in any of the romantic sequences. Even the new scene at the semi entertaining archery garden party was somewhat of a letdown. To be honest none of the relationships in the film felt genuine. That also includes Liz's sister Jane portrayed by Maureen O'Sullivan and her suitor Charles Bingley played by Bruce Lester whom barely get any screen time beside the first act to establish themselves. Then there is Charlotte Lucas (Karen Morley) who comes out of nowhere to marry Mr. Collins (Melville Cooper). The film really doesn't explore how they met at all. At least she wasn't cut. Two characters I was really surprised not to see in the movie was the Gardiners and Darcy's younger sister Georgina. In the novel they were instrumental in bringing Darcy and Liz together. Here they're just name drop comments. Honestly, I would love to see them over Colonel Fitzwilliam (Gerald Oliver Smith). At least I would totally believe the exposition dump they give to Elizabeth rather than the colonel offscreen chat with her. Don't get me wrong I do understand that adapting a 300 pages book for a 2hour watch will call for combining and condensing major plot points and characters. Still the film failed to keep the essence of the novel and maintain the overall narrative arc. In short it fundamentally changes who these people are and the society that they live in. For instance, we see a much more personable and charming Darcy & more determined and sarcastic Elizabeth in order to please the audience to liking them more. Then we have Lady Catherine de Bourgh (Edna May Oliver) whom is transformed into a matchmaker whom test relationships. It seems out of character seeing how in the novel her ardent desire wanting Darcy to marry her own daughter Anne (Gia Kent). I would rather have this redemption arc go to Mrs. Bennett played by Mary Boland. She is the one that go too far at times like risking her own daughter's life in the rainstorm sequence. It makes more sense for her to redeem herself by making sure Darcy and Elizabeth's love is sincere. As for Mr. Bennett portrayed by Edmund Gwenn, he really didn't seem like he was dying like he was in the book. I guess the movie wanted to make the comedy merry and not focus too much on confusing dated entailment laws. They also change Wickham. The filmmakers cut down on how much of lying pedophilic vermin he is; so that climatic wedding with a 15 years old Lydia (Ann Rutherford) isn't as disturbing. That being said the performance is a mostly a miss from me. Much of this comes from the really dry somewhat rushed delivery of satirical lines. Don't get me wrong I know that the performers will have to hold back some emotion in order to show the pressures of social etiquette of the time. Still certain actors were playing this, a little too somber for my taste. Oliver was one of them. He really wanted his wife Vivien Leigh as Elizabeth and it kinda show. He seems mostly depressed than fun. Then there is Greer. She acts and looks really out of place here. She doesn't come across as natural nor youthful. Even the hoop skirts she wore make her look like a sassy mother hen than nonconforming young woman. It should also be noted that the costumes in this film was recycled from the 1939 film 'Gone with the Wind'. The studio was on the verge of bankrupt so they took many shortcuts as they could. They didn't care if the production didn't match the time period. That's why the 1995 BBC television adaptation is better. It was faithful to the novel. To add onto that it utilized moving cameras, outdoor locations and a musical score better than this movie who overused sets and melody like the Mr. Collins theme. Overall: While the novel has since been adapted into several more films over the years. This is sadly not my favorite. I'm not like Ralph Waldo Emerson who hate the story so much that he found suicide more respectable. I just found the story and this movie not my cup of tea. Sadly, I don't love it most ardently. It could had been better.

Lady Bird
(2017)

Watchable but not really that unique of a movie. Birds of a feather truly do flock together.
Diehard fans of this coming to age teen angst motion picture written & directed by Greta Gerwig will indeed give me the bird; but they can't deny that this loosely semi-autobiographical fictional version of the director time in Christian high school has a lot of clichés & standard tropes and archetypes that are very common in other high school genre films. For example, the sequences where Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) get a makeover and ditch her nerdy friends to join the popular crowd, only to find out that they were awful people before reconciling with her original friends is something seen a lot, especially in comedies like 1987 'Can't Buy me Love' & 2004's 'Mean Girls' which this movie surprising mirrors a lot. Not really Best Original Screenplay material. Regardless of that, I did like how writer Greta choose 1934 George S. Kaufman & Moss Hart's Broadway production 'Merrily We Roll Along' as the school stage performance as the plot of that play details young friends who gradually drift apart when one of them became obsessed with being popular. It's a great use of foreshadowing. To add onto that, it was also a nice touch to see Julie Steffans (Beanie Feldstein), the best friend that Lady Bird dumps plays Mary the character in the play where the main character abandons. Nevertheless, the film continues to fall into recycled common threads such as the uber large unrealistic full of booze party at a rich person's house with no adult supervision and everybody trying to lose their virginity in every room cliché. That also has been done to death. Yet the biggest similarities of this film to others has to be 2012's drama 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' with the way the pacing of that movie highlights major events of the high school year. While Stephen Chbosky's film has a clear path direction in what sequences they wanted to show. Greta's movie is surprising all over the place with moments of Ladybird dealing with her parent's financial struggles, making friends and even life post high school. While this large range might make the film seem more well verse; there is a lot of things that the film tackles that has no pay off or resolution such as supporting characters struggles with suicidal thoughts, cancer and coming out gay. We never really get any full details what happen to them. Even the idea of having the settling take place in a strict Christian institution in Sacramento during the beginning of the 2003 Iraq War doesn't really come into play that much. No signs of Islamophobia toward Muslims Americans. No debate if the war was just cause or not. Not even a mention of side characters wanting to join the military for patriotism reasons or protesting against it. The movie doesn't even talk about the insane couther culture of California that much despite having the quote from author Joan Didion in the beginning. Nor why Christine choose the nick name 'Lady Bird'. A metaphor meaning should been mention. After all, it could had represented the complain that spending more money on questionable just international conflicts like the Iraq War does indeed choked off services better suite to fight the war on poverty. Similar in the way people argue that Vietnam War cause harm President Lyndon B Johnson's 'Great Society' in the 1960s. There is a lot of comparisons between then president George W. Bush's action with that of LBJ. Sadly, none of this is explored. It's clearly no 1968's 'Slouching Towards Bethlehem'. Instead the film had a small discussion about abortion which doesn't really led much to anything. It is mention but never really explored. After all, I'm still wondering by the end of the film how she was able to come back to school after the whole pro-life/pro-choice quarrel suspension. Then there are pointless redundant scenes where arguments randomly break out and quickly disappears as soon as they came. Did we really need the forced drama for the sake of loud yelling in the clothing store? The opening and give me a number sequence were good enough. Honestly a lot of these small conflicts with her strong-willed mother Marion (Laurie Metcalf) really felt like mindless futile first world problems filler for the movie to reach a one hour and 34 minutes. Some of the drama was really avoidable. Regardless of the fact that their characters can come across as somewhat self-centered, nasty and temperamental at times. Both Metcalf & Ronan give out a really good overall performance that highlight how very complex, misunderstood, and flawed their characters really are. It made the time comprehending their feelings worth investing. After all, they're not quite annoying awful people. Both actresses deserve their Academy Award nominations. Ronan's Irish accent is barely noticeable. As for the supporting cast, they were equally as impressive despite their limited screen time. As for the comedy. The humor was mostly a miss than a hit with me. The cinematography was shot well, but not as special as people make it out to be. In the end; the film is pretty average for a best picture nomination movie. No wonder why it didn't win any Academy Awards. Still I'm glad it wasn't a mumblecore like movie. Things honestly get done in this film. I really hope that Gerwig does indeed make a spiritual successor to this movie modeled on the Neapolitan Novels of Elena Ferrante. That will be very interesting. Overall: Lots of poignant, even tragic moments mixed with all the ridiculousness of youth but clearly not the best I seen from Gerwig and Ronan's work. 2019 motion picture 'Little Women' is much better. Regardless it's still an entertaining movie. It just didn't soar high with me.

Onward
(2020)

This enchanting motion picture is truly magically. It's worth seeing. Onward!
This contemporary fantasy about two elf brothers Ian (Voiced by Tom Holland) & Barley Lightfoot (Voiced by Chris Pratt) on their quest to find a resurrection gem that will bring back their departed love one home for one day was majestic & spellbinding! Those are the words that best describe the first non-sequel flick produced by Pixar for Disney since 2017 animation feature 'Coco'. Much like that holiday picture directed by Lee Unkrich, this movie also dealt with the themes of love and loss in a similar way. However, the film written and directed by Dan Scanlon doesn't reach the high levels of tear jerking emotional from most of Pixar's previous movies due to the absence of establishing who the demise father really was even with the powerful scene with the tape recording. Don't get me wrong, the film is still moving, but just think how much more powerful the movie could had been if they add surrounding characters POV musical perspective flashbacks of him rather than hard to connection sign language gesture with footsteps of the silence man trying to emote feelings. The film could also had put a little more pressure into the race against time concept with the father slowly disappearing due to the spell not being completed. It would had made the quest more compelling. Another problem with the movie is that the world building. It's not quite as rich and epic as it had. Don't get me wrong, the urban fantasy is done better here than films like 2017 'Bright'. However, it does lean too heavily on clichés modern day society tropes and archetypes. For example, their society has cars that looks like it was built for humanoids when the world is made out majority of creatures that isn't that shape. It kinda bug me. Another is how similar the technological innovation of their world match ours. Rather than phones, I wish they had advanced scientifically crystal balls or cauldron like machines. Lots of unique miss opportunities here. It's especially disappointing when you compare this settling to their past works like 2006's 'Cars' and more recent Walt Disney animation movies world building locations like 2016's 'Zootopia' & 2014's 'Big Hero Six'. Look, I get that the world of 'Onward' abandoned magic but the idea that science and inventing is a lot easier to learn than mystics is jarring when Ian figure out a lot of spells in the course of one day. Then there is the idea that many of the residents are unaware of their species basic abilities. For example, if the pixies don't use their wings much due to technology, wouldn't evolution take those abilities away seeing how science exist in this world? Also, even if they could use them; it takes creatures several weeks to learn to fly even in life or death situation. As for the treasure hunt; there is several problems with the logistic of it. First off, I can understand how the two can find their way back home after going to Raven's Point. After all, they didn't really start their adventure until reaching the tavern at a different location. So, they had to travel further miles in the complete opposite direction to find the enigmatic foundation which they didn't know they could have skip. What I don't get is how they reach their own city in time; seeing how they walk the last third to Raven's Point & then took a slow boat ride back to town. It does not match with the many hours they spent driving to the point in their van the first time. Unless, ships made out of food in this world move in supersonic speeds which I highly doubt. To add onto that, the clichés third act in which one of the members abandoned the mission only to return is really overdone. There is no way they can reunited on time. Nor would any of the supporting characters and their magic sword join them as they wouldn't have that knowledge of the fountain location as well. Furthermore, the establishment of the quest is not well explained. Who hid the phoenix gem in the first place and created a trap filled dungeon? Also how did the father gain access to the first gem? It's seems unlikely that a very ill elf went to a similar journey to find one. The repetitive narrative opening and climax doesn't really help, because of that the story is very inconsistent even with the film's strong use of foreshadowing. Regardless, I did like humor and nods to the board game Dungeons & Dragons and company time as a subsidiary of Chuck E. Cheese. It was funny. As for the acting. The two leads were decent even if their characters can be a bit annoying at times. Yet, their performance just doesn't stand out as much due to how similar their roles in this film when compare to the characters, they played in the Marvel movies. Nevertheless, the supporting cast was also pretty good. As for the animation. Even with the Guinevere controversial, I still find the movie stunning. However, I really do believe that Pixar has stolen another artist's unicorn themed mural. After all, the artist has a good case as the company rented her vehicle for a festival. They look nearly alike. The film also featured the first post-20th Century Fox acquisition. The Simpsons animated short 'Playdate with Destiny' that played before the feature film was fine. Still it was weird to heard that this movie & it's short was banned in the middle east due to an off end improvised line about a lesbian couple. Nevertheless, unfortunately, you can't watch 'Onward' no longer in the theaters because of the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the company made the unprecedented move of making the film available for digital download on Disney Plus. Even with the service many flaws. The movie is worth checking out on there. So, grab a second breakfast and seek this out.

Fatal Deviation
(1998)

A pint of Guinness, please. Watching this movie felt like a fatal deviation kick to the skull. A drunk loopy headache.
This Ireland low budget shot on home video film directed by Shay Casslerly & Simon Linscheid, is the best known as being their country's first full length martial arts movie. Produced in 1998 as a vanity show reel to Hong Kong Cinema of their real-life martial arts enthusiast Jimmy Bennett. The motion picture has Bennett starring as a version of himself looking & acting in a role very similar to his idol Jean Claude Van Damme in 1988 martial art flick 'Bloodsport', 1989 'Kickboxer' and last 1993 action movie 'Hard Target'; all in a European fighting tournament settling. The film also stars boy band member Mikey Graham of 'Boyzone' fame as a gang member also named Mikey trying to stop Jimmy from winning the contest, in order to gain control of their town of Trim. If this plot sounds very confusing; then you're corrected. The story is indeed utter nonsense. There is little to no reason why this Irish mob needs to win this underground fight to the death in the first place. There is no prize money. It is not like the monks are rich and powerful. They don't hold any office in the city. Also, I really don't get why the monastics there would host a very illegal fighting brawl in Trim Castle in the first place. Are they a secretly cult of past their prime fat & old Friar Tucks outlaws trying to recruit younger criminals? Who knows! They don't seem like shaolin kung fu types. Also why is one of them trying to help Bennett win? That's seems somewhat unfair to the others. To add onto that, the police is nowhere to be founded. It seems like Trim is lawless state. I'm deeply surprised that cops never shut these events down. The murder rate for this quiet town must be really high. After all Jimmy does indeed kill a lot of middle age men acting like young hoodlums. The action scenes in this movie are quite laughable with people being slowly timed kick into giant tower of toilet paper in the middle of the small alley in a grocery store and Jimmy unnecessary combat roll over and back across the bonnet of a car during a fight as it offers no tactical advantage whatsoever. Then there is the scene where the hero goes surfing onto a motorbike while shooting a gun that has odd sound effects and has a muzzle that smokes too much. The stunt work, the special effects and sound mixing during that sequence are really poorly done. Although some of the fighting moment in the film was somewhat decent. The choreograph bar fight was a highlight even if it was mindless filler. The real car crash scene toward the end of the film was intense although it wasn't really intended. That was crazy to see! However sadly that was then ruin by a pointless unfunny comedy bit where a man in a cowboy hat get naked in the public to take a bath in an old tub. His sudden presence in the film was never explained. I don't get why the producer who play the man Justin Harmon wanted to show his balls and butt so randomly. Is he secretly a flasher? It's so bizarre! As for the other performers. Jimmy looks great, but most of Bennett's acting is pretty stiff and wooden. However, he is far away from being the worst. Michael Regan as Mikey's drug lord father Loughlan is the definition of untrained local amateur. He is so discomfort with the language that he trips over the lines when he's reading them out loud. The heavy exposition sent off one liner exchange between Bennet & him in the climax take the cake of awkwardness. Surprisingly it's Mikey Graham the singer who does the best from all of them and this was also debut role. Nevertheless, the acting wasn't the only problem with this movie. The lack of proper microphones makes everybody seem like they're whispering in a public library. I can barely hear what they're saying. It's doesn't help that everybody already has a thin deep Irish accent; including actress Nicola O'Sullivan who played one dimensional damsel in distress Nicola who sounds like a guy. Along with the nonsensical heavy dialogue; the film also suffers from bewildering inappropriate music that doesn't match well with some of the visuals. To add onto that some of the scenes are so poorly lit that it makes parts of the film very unwatchable. The black and white flashbacks are just too pitch dark and blurry for my taste. To make it worst barely any of the location visuals were attractive enough to look at in the first place. Everything looks dirty. I don't know if that was the films intend, but it was certainly a turn off. The only one I really like was seeing the ruins of Trim Castle. That was quite beautiful. Even the dated 1990s window computer visuals title effects were nothing really worth looking at. No wonder why the movie went straight to video without a theatrical release at the time. The film really only gained its 'so bad, it's good' cult popularity status after Youtube came around. Overall: While 'Fatal Deviation' was indeed badly made. I can't hate this film. A lot of heart went into it. It seems like from the peculiarly placed bloopers that the people that made this motion picture had a lot of fun. Plus, I kinda dig the live life, love and survived song. Still it begs the question is the movie worth seeing? Not really, but it certainly evoked some laughter from me. In the end, it might not have the luck of the Irish. However, the film does have its charm.

Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!
(2017)

Don't chicken out! Super-Size Me 2: Holy Chicken is truly worth seeing!
2019 was indeed the year of the chicken sandwich. It was so popular that fast food companies like Popeyes nationally sold out their sandwiches within days after first introducing them due to high customer demand. Other companies that has them like Chick-Fila & KFC continues to sell well throughout the year. Even some restaurants where chicken sandwich is not a specialty are starting to get into the game. Why is that? Well filmmaker Morgan Spurlock believes that beef consumption like hamburgers is in the decline as consumers are becoming more health conscious and want to choose sandwiches with leaner meats. With this knowledge, he hopes to capitalize on the craze by building his own fast food joint while meanwhile exposing the truth about the chicken industry to the public and the health halo marketing that goes with it. For the most part he does, however don't count all your chickens before it hatches. The idea that contract growers are frequently lowballed and mistreated under big chicken corporation tournament system is not quite accurate. The majority of seasonal boiler chicken growers are given the same access to veterinary care and reduced the economic cost of feed as others. Because of that the majority of growers are quite satisfied with their relationship with the corporations. With 95% of them continue to retained their business year after year according to the records from the National Chicken Council (NCC). The chances of getting sick birds are very slim. If there were, field technicians are specifically employed to assist them in raising the healthiest chickens possible as its economic in both parties' interest to see that the chickens are healthy and treated with care. Nobody wants a dirty ill bird to be serve to them. If technicians find the facilities uncleaned or discover illegally dumping of untreated wastewater, it would lead to the termination of a grower's contract. The same goes to over cruel abuse of any kind to the animal past or present. All of this has been documented in the past, which sadly the film doesn't explore much. Along with the practice of growers hiring illegal immigrants. While the movie does show the cost of retaining houses with many of them being quite high to the point that the facilities are often small and crowded. Surprising compare to other segment of livestock the loan default rates of these owners are among the lowest. Such a track record speaks to the stability of the system, which has worked well for decades and kept tens of thousands of families working who otherwise would have had to get out of business altogether. As for the myth that the system makes it impossible for new growers to compete. It's a lie. According to the USDA, the grower market has increase by more than 67 % within the last four years. They are more than 220 regional food hubs in operation around the country more than the five big corporations that the film mentions. To add onto that, the idea that growers can be 'sued into bankruptcy' by chicken companies for discussing ranking along each other is bit exaggeration. There are federal regulations in place that require the grower be given a logically reason for breach of contract. Most companies wouldn't fire them over something silly like that or try to lowball them into bankruptcy. It's not good business. To add onto that the image of contract growers as impoverished serfs is not an accurate reflection. Those growers who invest in more advance bigger houses are indeed more likely to be rewarded for their effect. If not, the government will help enforced it. After all, federal oversight within the poultry industry is not as weak as the film makes it out to be. Chicken companies are highly regulated by USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). Still I do agree with Spurlock that the current USDA labeling approval process is terribly misleading for consumers. Words like 'free range' and 'natural' don't really mean nothing as the film shows that due to extensive breeding selection of the boiler chicken rather than hormone injection or steroid usage for rapid early growth. They're very susceptible to the elements due to their skeletal malformation and congestive heart conditions. Thus, management of ventilation housing must be evaluated regularly to support a decent welfare of the flock until the slaughter. With the help of growers Jonathan and Zack Buttram, Spurlock somewhat does that. While most of the humor and heartening that goes along with those sequences can be seen as too morbid, depressing or disturbing. We can all agree that the cartoony colorful graphics & data are very informative. As for the climax of opening his own fast food restaurant. It didn't quite have the impact as it should had due to the filmmaker admitted to sexual harassment in a New York Times article in 2017; causing the movie to be shelf for two years by distributer YouTube Red until being picked up by Samuel Goldwyn Films. In the end, despite the film feeling like an odd mixer of 2004 'Super-Size Me' with 2011 'The Greatest Movie Ever Sold'. It's certainly still worth flying the coop for.

1917
(2019)

I can't stay quiet on the western front. This war movie needs to be heard. 1917 is an intense powerful film.
This 2019 motion picture tells the harrowing story of two British World War 1 Tommies soldiers William Schofield (George MacKay) & Thomas Blake (Dean Charles Chapman) who are ordered to deliver a message about a German ambush before it's too late. Without spoiling the movie too much, composer Thomas Newman's music is jaw dropping haunting yet beautiful to listen to. 'The Night Window', 'Gehenna' and 'Sixteen Hundred Men' are some of the best tracks I ever heard in a war movie. Along with that, the visuals by cinematographer Roger Deakins with his crew are epic. They really did capture the perspective of what a soldier from the first world war will go through with the visuals. Everything about the camera work was near perfect. To add onto that the film was so meticulous edited that it really did look like the entire film was shot with one continuous real time seamless take. It's hard to spot where the cuts are. While some people might think that this way of shooting is highly distracting and gimmicky. The long take sequence wasn't too much of a turn off for me. I think that way of filming works within the story as it shows how vast the scale the dangerous journey is and how much time it takes to get place to place in order to save lives. However, the contrived coincidence moments involving the milk and the truck transfer just appearance out of nowhere was kinda jarring. Plus, I would had like to see the film done without the whole black out intermission flash forward sequence. That took me out of the story a bit as I was reminded that I was watching a film rather than real time occurrence but that's nitpicking. If anything, most of sophisticated camera movement was surprisingly smooth for a war movie. Glad to see that they went the spiritualism third person viewpoint rather than the first-person shaking cam look with their plan sequence. You really get to see all the details such as the vast number of extras with historical well-made accurate costume & make up work trapped in a claustrophobia sandbag trench surround by muddled empty field of craters full of corpses, barb wire, and shell cases. Then there is the wore down farm house including the burn out ruins of the urban settling that reminds the audience that the battles of WW1 weren't always fought in nowhere trenches, but also around people's homes. Surprisingly for a war movie, there was a very limited amount of action scenes here. Instead most of the film has the characters move from one upsetting site to other to build fear and suspense. For the most part, it kinda works. I would rather have that rather than a poorly done large CGI battle. The fake looking special feature failure of Schofield jumping off a cliff into a river to escape the Germans was enough to prove that direction would not work. Instead just seeing them scout around was very intense as invisible enemies are always hinted to be nearby. The acting from these two along with the supporting cameos of several seasonal performers like Colin Firth, Mark Strong & Benedict Cumberbatch was top notch. You really do see the anxiety and heart break spill out within their faces. The movie could has work with just the two main characters being silent and letting the body language speak for itself. However, I do get that it might cause the characters to seem more fictional shallow one-dimensional everymen that the audience can put themselves into rather than realistic living breathing human beings. Nevertheless, I felt that most of the dialogue between them could had been more detail. I really didn't get a grasp of who these characters really were. Regardless I did like the small semi conflict between the two over patriotism and just wanting to survive the war. After all, WW1 by contrast was a global conflagration in which nationalism was the spark. While other war movies might pick a patriotic or antiwar side. This movie was just more focus about the goal of enough saving individuals as possible rather than making a political statement for or against war. There is no better example of that than the beautiful reading of Edward Lear 'the Jumblies' poet sequence & the haunting singing of 'I am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger' later on the film. The character at first feels like he is just a wander in a deadly nonsensical world. Until he finds purpose by seeing unsung heroic done by his comrade for the immediate love of the family unit. That's deep character development. We also see this with the symbolism of the white cherry trees throughout the film. They are use to represent both death and life. For example, the cutting of the trees are the first signs of the salt the earth strategy employed in the war, yet the film points out that in the long run it will result in even more cherry trees growing in the area. The movie even opens and closes in a tree of life settling. It's very powerful metaphor. Fortunately, contrary to many other works about World War I, the film makes no attempt to show sympathy with enemy soldiers. Germans troops in the film are portrayal as uncivilized brute killers when in truth, most of them hold the same moral valor and honor as the allies. While the movie does take others artistic liberties such as the mixer of British units when most of them were regionally recruited and weapons like Mark II tank yet to made. For the most part, the film is historical accurate despite most of it was loosely based on various real-life accounts that director and cowriter Sam Mendes's grandfather told him in his youth. Although the screenplay by Krysty Wilson Cairns might be fictional set in a real historical backdrop; '1917' is one film worth fighting in the trenches for. Highly recommended.

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