I finally figured it out... same exact plot of BSG, when the Cylons come and bring the apocalypse. This show even mentions (homage?) the Sec of Education as next in line to succeed the president, but here it's a run of the mill congresswoman. At least BSG had Mary McDonnell as SOE turned president, who is an expressive, original multi-faceted actor. Here we have the most interesting character of Y as president, which isn't saying much because she's not, really (and tied with Agent 355 for that honor).
Instead of Battlestar Gallactica and the Fleet, we have the Pentagon as the lifeboat of government. The Pentagon can't make faster than light jumps, which is a shame. There's nothing here that is engaging, tense, or interesting. Like the writers were on "just put out a middling series, that hits as many target demos as possible"). Sadly, there are no wise seniors, like BSG's Commander Adama and his Exec, Colonel Saul Tigh. We would need our elders, who have the experience and sometimes vision to lead us through or at least as a calming force.
For BSG's Starbuck we have Agent 355, but with no personality and she's humorless. We don't get the swagger, intensity, and completely loose cannon that makes Starbuck captivating, nor do we have her important relationships which add great depth and interest.
For BSG's Baltar we get the Last Man, again, devoid of humor or the wit which made the hated Baltar not only tolerable but welcome (imagining what James Callis would do with the part of the Last Man; certainly not chasing monkeys around! (he'd be after a tactical nuke lol). The Last Man is a juvenile grown man, who doesn't have a lick of sense before the "event" and certainly is just irritating and more lacking in common sense after. Why is he even in the show? To make us not want to watch. And I hate shows which have to resort to cliche animals, esp monkeys, to make up for lack of plot/direction/writing/acting.
For the Cylons, we have Karens lol. Imagine, a world left with most of the Karens and conspiracy theory girls surviving. The only thing this show gets right is that if we did suffer such a fate, we wouldn't bond together as we would have in years past, to focus on the survival/rebuilding tasks at hand. Sad. Hopefully the giggles of the fun of conspiracy theories and personality cults would quickly fade as the realities of surviving kicked in and a constant diet of those websites and news channels was replaced by finding safety, firewood, food, water, shelter. Ditto the fashion liberals that us real libs love to hate.
A big issue this series doesn't show is the fact that woman still only comprise a fraction of the professional jobs that men do which are sorely needed after this sort of event (engineers, scientists, etc). Or even jobs like power plant operator, etc. It's better than it once was, but still, without men, it would be twice (or more) as hard to staff up the important jobs of rebuilding and science, medicine, etc. Not through any fault of the women and women are just as capable in these jobs, it's just that our society prioritizes men in STEM over women. The huge problem would be IT, because women are still so unwelcome and such a minority. I speak from experience.
Back to the BSG comparison. BSG had some of the best ensemble acting in any series, ever. Such a well crafted series bible, superb writing and direction, and the freedom to run with it. So I would suggest just finding BSG instead of this lousy rerun of unoriginal ideas. Plus you get 5 seasons and films to binge. No waiting around for the next episode or season.
I had high hopes for this into the 1st episode, but then the extremely unlikable characters started piling up (the almost likeable ones are so weak that I can't stand them, either). The acting is full B horror movie. And things don't make sense with plot dead ends, or unexplained. Lot of cliches. Typical bad network TV fare, which NF should not try to emulate.
I'm in the 3rd episode but only because I'm doing other things. Probably won't finish the season because my main reaction is wishing all the characters would get done in. Esp the cra cra sister, who is a good example of why you shouldn't overact. Did anyone notice that they cast this with some of the most odd looking actors? They have amazing/interesting faces, but when unlikable characters pull all the overacting faces pulled here, just uber B horror movie reactions. If this was an arty/edgy series, they would fit (and hopefully better acting), but it's just...clickbait.
I didn't realize or forgot that the Mennonite Mob was a real thing, starting back in the 90s, under El Chapo. The Canadian/Mexican connection is that the original Canadian colony (or colonies) split off to create the Mexican colony, thus ongoing family connections between the two. At one time, they were moving thousands of tons of weed and coke in the US and Canada. Plus some murder, extortion, etc. The things human beings become involved with, regardless of religion or creed. Note that there are many kinds of Mennonites (Anabaptists), from the most conservative Amish to very progressive Mennonites who don't live in colonies, use technology and dress modern. This series certainly covers all of the spectrum, but may jumble several groups into one, although I read that even within sects, there can be major differences. So there's not ONE Mennonite stereotype, of course.
Season 1 isn't a Canadian version (CBC production) of the quality of Breaking Bad, but it 's good enough to binge and sustain my interest, although predictable and cliched. Noah is acted and written as an intriguing character and even Bronco, the cop, adds a good counterpoint to the Mennonite "blandness", even if he is a cliche. Rose Perez is a bit of a disappointment because someone thought it would be a good idea to have her speak with a heavy (and bad) Southern US accent. Her real accent is what makes her compelling and adds to her whole package, so why a cop, based in El Paso, would be from the Southern US (Texas is NOT the traditional "South", esp not far West Texas) and be more interesting or realistic than a Latina cop, who knows. Doubt that subtlety carries over into Canada. I just hope that such errors also don't encompass the Mennonite portrayals and dress.
But the 2nd season season is almost unwatchable. It's the same basic plot, without a couple of the more interesting characters. Noah's wonderfully expressive face has been covered with a huge beard, so he's effectively been neutralized and he's not the main character anymore and his replacements can't carry the show. I'm on episode 3 and Rosie Perez has yet to make an appearance (we are presented with a lot of cop changes). The plot jumps are astounding, with no reason for them given or even implied. There's a serious lack of realism at every turn. And WHY was Noah and his family excommunicated for what they did in the 1st season? Makes NO sense. That's not a spoiler, as it's in the S2e1 description. The acting is sub-par and having an Irish/German accent can't cover up bad acting/direction. I'm about to give up on this one. It's so implausible that I even re-watched the first 2, 2nd season episodes to make sure I hadn't missed a ton of backstory, but alas, I hadn't. Season 2 is one of the worst seasons of any series I've ever seen, and that's saying a lot. Like a class of kindergartners wrote it. Enjoy the first season and move on.
Nothing to do With the Original, Other than Michael Douglas
And Douglas has lost the edge he once had, which made the original Wall Street what it was. The reviews weren't great, but it finally came on streaming, so I checked it out. The acting, by almost everyone, is beyond bad (the Charlie Sheen cameo, really?). I'm stumped why Douglas agreed to be in this. Surely he read the script first? I can't imagine he's so broke he had to do this, unless Stone paid him an amount he couldn't refuse.
The script is one of the worst I've seen lately. Just garbage. Whiny, meandering, obvious, silly garbage. Not one line that would have been in or fit in the original. No edge whatsoever, yet it deals with the 2008 financial crisis. But there's no message here worth hearing. The dumb fusion energy thing (which is a terrible investment at this point unless you have a billion $ to wait 20yrs for the return)...who knows. Like the rest of the script/plot. Just avoid this attempt for Oliver Stone to be relevant again. Or pay for his houses, w/e. I think he threw the fusion thing in to assuage his conscience for making so much money from this subject matter. So he should have never...oh nvm.
I was 18 in 1971 and the good music just kept coming. But it had been for many years already, yet there was a change in 1971, typified by The Osmonds and other bubblegum creeping in, as this docuseries well shows. But it was an amazing year, coming off several amazing years for music. As a teen, I was drinking it all in and it was just a stunning time to be alive (and also very tragic). I really hope these filmmakers will do other years or decades.
It's always hard to quantify the 60s and 70s without musical bias, so this was a monumental task. Usually, it's talking heads, so one person's opinion, or the same celebs over and over. Or they only hit the Top 40 bands and give the "establishment" or record label view of the situation. But this series only uses interviews of artists, producers, DJs, journalists, politicians (but very few) and other snippets from that year over the appropriate footage, so a kind of audio cinema verite, if you will. There's no narrator. It reminds me of the style of films like Woodstock, which let the event (or time, in this case) speak for itself. The choice of artists and music was generally good (compared to what else is out there). It could have been better, but I'll take it. You can't cover everyone, even in 8 episodes. At least, like with their brilliant "Amy", they go beyond the tabloidy or even nightly news, into what we, as young people, were actually experiencing.
I'm so happy they included Soul and funk music and the issues surrounding civil rights at that time and the awakening of Black consciousness. That's an important story, of course, but also really a story for everyone, as it also meshed into the other movements of the time and white kids and Black kids had many areas in which they crossed over. And they widely supported each other, which was very new for that time, as most white kids had never been around Black kids (busing was still blocked by the courts in my school in 1971). Vietnam and music were important bridges for that, as well as for the first time, white kids were treated somewhat like Black people had been for decades (well, centuries), with disdain, violence, discrimination, and police brutality. So a great empathy came out of that time for what Black people were going through, which has sadly been forgotten now by many who subscribed to it then.
While a lot of the footage has been shown in other music and cultural docs, there's a lot of obscure or rarely seen clips, so new ground is definitely covered, which is a huge thing as that era has been done to death, at least culturally, but this series melds music, the counterculture, Vietnam, civil rights, drugs, and the overlap between them all better than any I have seen. The clips of Black musicians and leaders makes me sad for today, how we need them now instead of the fashion brand gangsta rap celebs more interested in bling and riches than much needed civil rights, their voice diluted by the same. In those years, you had people who were well read and educated in human rights and activism, now just pop stars with quick money. On all sides. The establishment definitely won.
Living through that time and also being in the music business, I feel like I have a good take on music then, but I learned a few things. The clips of Bill Withers just being a singer/songwriter are revelatory. His big hit was mired in strings and popish, so he didn't stand out to me then, but definitely more there than I knew. I thought the great Staple Singers were singing "going to the races" instead of "lying to the races"! That was a brave thing to sing then, although I imagine many mis-heard it like I did.
I think they missed a few really important bands, like Jethro Tull (Aqualung was released in 1971, following the brilliant Benefit), Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Yes (although they showed Yes for 2.5seconds) both early synthesizer adopters of the new prog rock, although they mentioned the snobbery of that genre yet never uttered the words "prog", Derek and the Dominoes (Eric Clapton before he preached racism) Layla was released in late 1970 but the the unknown name meant there was a delay in people hearing/buying it, The Allman Brothers (Live at Fillmore East), The Eagles were debuting (they opened for Jethro Tull, and they were great, but they were heralding in the new, less socially conscious regime that was to take over), Led Zeppelin released Untitled (Led Zep IV) which was monumental, Hendrix died in fall 1970, but was still a huge force and had been the main artist who transformed rock into hard rock. Motown was still huge, Wilson Picket, and War. And many others. Spirit was a timely and important band and had just released their seminal album, Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. Or that Graham Parsons greatly influenced the writing of The Stone's Exile on Main St, as he was Keith's buddy in the south of France.
They stick a bit to the Rolling Stone party line of the time, which was everything Rolling Stones, Bowie, and a few others. That was frustrating then, as there was so much more (which their reviewers were constantly panning, unless their "pets", like Springsteen later). But the filmmakers don't get too mired in RS nor were they mainly influential here. Nor was any one label, as far as I can tell (but they are all one, now, it seems).
The same pop pablum of The Osmonds (mentioned here as a sad harbinger of things to come) and The Jackson 5 was definitely happening with bubblegum pop and other mindless bands and artists (Monkees, Grassroots, Carpenters (but you can't deny Karen Carpenter), etc. The counterculture that crept into Top 40 pop earlier was pretty much gone by 1971. No more flowers, beads, or born to being wild.
I am surprised there is a 4th season, as season 3 wrapped things up so well, and seemed as if it was written for to end there. The obvious didn't have to be shown, not every ribbon had to be tied. Perhaps the popularity caused them to continue beyond season 3. The tight, understated horror of an extreme theocracy, wonderful acting, and amazing art direction of the first 3 seasons is just gone in the 4th season. There is nothing more to see here except a terrible action series watching Elizabeth Moss being overly melodramatic in boring chase scene after chase scene, needless suspense. The range of her "OMG, they're after us!" and "Oh, the horror!" expressions is amazing. And sad. Scream queen she is not, but that's all there is here. The plot lines are also repeating, which happens when a series has run its course yet continues on like a bad marriage. Did we endure 3 seasons to find ourselves back at square one? Yes, sadly. I decided to stop watching after S4E4, but checking in with episode 5, but it's just laughably bad. Season 4 could have gone somewhere new, and if had sustained the tightness and "beauty" of the first 3, it might have worked. It's like the writing and direction of season 4 were by a whole new crew.
DO watch the first 3 seasons, which are some of the best ever in the series genre, but leave it at that. Nothing worse than loving a series and then getting such a bad taste by a season too far (GOT, talking about you, too!).
This text box is suddenly not taking my line feeds. I have tried escaping them, which appears to work, but ultimately may not. Sorry if it runs together. '\012' '\012'
Imagine that the season of Einstein didn't include the Theory of Relativity. So how in the world can you do a bio on Aretha and not include her greatest, most iconic music, the very things that showed her genius the best? The songs that changed music were totally missing from this season (and sung by someone not up to snuf; there's only one Aretha). I realize they didn't have the cooperation of her family, nor the rights to her most famous and world-changing songs, but really? This is a season with no teeth, dentures out. I wouldn't have watched it if I had known. '\012' '\012'
THIS is Genius/Legend: I think the first song I heard of hers was Respect. It blasted out of my 60's radio like a bomb, like nothing anyone had heard before; completely original, like The Beatles (my dad hated it just as much, too). She used her gospel foundations to morph music into something new. It's how her feelings, her anger, her power, and her epiphanies transmitted the depths of her SOUL in a way that no popular singer had before. The sentiment of Respect (and other powerful songs not in this series) pushed my teenage girl's dreams higher, and I realized that I, too, could demand R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Women were being freed then and this song was the first anthem. I realized that it was also about the Black struggle, but I'm just saying how it spoke to ME, a white girl from the 60's suburbs. The artist-centric producers and record men included in this series (spoke more to their genius than hers, alas) were vital to the music then (and sorely missed now). They inspired me to enter the music business; she gave me the courage that I, too, could be a producer someday. It's not terrible and certainly watchable, but I just couldn't give it any stars for that. '\012' '\012'
Besides the lack of music and voice...if they could have worked with the family, how much more rich and illustrative of her genius? I can only imagine an arrogant, cheap studio like NatGeo (Ron Howard, REALLY???), etc, would rather do a partial job contrary to the series title, sans her greatest assets, than give in to some demands. I don't know what happened with the negotiations, but then why continue with the project if you can't get music rights or the insight of the family? You can get better info from YT and the internet, plus her VOICE, her greatest music, and plenty of reasons she was a genius and a legend.
What a delight finding this is. Patrick Stewart beautifully carries this delicate film. A complete tour de force of acting. It is slow to develop, but the turn is brilliant, thanks to the writing and direction. Stewart is aged, but he ups Captain Pickard at his most powerful here, and in a way that isn't trading on that meme. This film is surprising and unexpected. It almost wholly takes place in an apartment, it's not much about dance (other than the zen of it), it's not about romance, it's not about even being a father, it's about life and choices. And forgiveness, the lack of which will eat you alive. As a senior, I can very much relate. Those choices can't be undone and you don't know at the time you make the choices how they will impact you or others.
I cried from the brilliant turn to the end, and am still tearful, which is a considerable time. Granted, I am losing my father (step-father, but such an ugly word, for the man who loved and raised me), but this is the first film to bring me to tears in a long time, and I watch a lot of them, so I don't think it's just my current state of emotions. My birth father was not much in my life, until just before he died, so there is that, too, and perhaps that is what is stirring me. I don't spend much emotional time on that, so a little undiscovered country there. If you have any of these issues, then this film is cathartic, instructive, and sensitive. If you don't, then just enjoy it for what it is, an amazing, rare piece of art from gifted actors and filmmakers.
Not Bad, NBC, Great Production Values (music, effects, tone)
Edit after episode 4 (rating taken from 8 down to 3): OK, wham, whoosh, officially off the rails. This script seems written about as fast as a human body can apparently remake itself for chlorine respiration (hint: you would die first). Really BAD writing and impossible science (and no, they aren't going to tell us about key uber futuristic tech they've been using, seemingly developed out of nowhere; the hand waving escalates). In opposition to many other reviewers, I first thought this was much, much better than Fringe (at least the props weren't bought at Walmart and the writing and acting were better), but it's devolving into, well... a bad Fringe, i.e., meaning worse than bad. I feel sorry for the actors as there's just nothing to work with here beyond, "It's what's right!!!" said with overly furrowed brow and too earnestly. What's with the Spanish accents? I first thought the farm characters were from Eastern Europe, not Hispanic migrant farm workers (I don't think all the "Hispanic" actors are). The lead guy needs a language coach, too... Just sad. He seems to have lost some lines in this episode and further recedes into the background; I had hopes for him, but, nahhhhh... Doubt I will be watching anymore, I see where this is going.
Original review after episode 3: Saw the first 3 episodes on Hulu, thinking I could binge the whole season. But noooo.... And by the 3rd episode, I am hooked, although in some ways, this one is weaker than episode 2 (writing, science). Can't wait for episode 4 tomorrow. Granted, my bar is low due to it being a major network series, which I rarely, if ever, watch, as the quality is usually really low and majorly formulaic. I am also a futurist and science nut, and there are admittedly a few issues here, but that's true of most every sci-fi show. But nothing I can't hand wave away, yet, well, other than that the extra dimensions being...oh never mind, well, anyway. I'm hungry for sci-fi and hope that this one pans out and NBC doesn't ruin it. One way they can ruin it is to add in more superstition and woo-woo stuff, like they flirted with in episode 3. String theory meets Poltergeist? Yeah, I won't be watching if episode 4 gives way to that. We didn't get to 2021 to have to rely on 19th century spiritualism or 1970's Carlos Castenada.
Strange choice for lead male. But nice to see something different, like a regular person. He definitely settles in better by the end of episode 3 and he is more "gettable". The female lead is great, if a bit too much like Minnie Driver (could be worse), although she often doesn't have much to work with (they really need to drop those formulaic lines). I'm shocked (why?) that people can't wait for the plot and sci-fi to develop, but I guess that's lazy network TV watchers over cable. Some of the best cable series take the entire season to reveal, but the content is so good that it's worth it, plus not being spoon-fed every 5sec, but I doubt it would make any difference to people who expect procedural nonsense every week.
The look is of higher end sci-fi, love the sound fx/music and the fx are very good. Like the editing and sudden cuts. I don't need to see people traveling or driving down a long and twisty road. Dark production values of Devs a little, but this is more accessible with no need for String theory knowledge, like Devs required quantum mechanics (oh, but so love that it did).
Which is scant praise indeed, as that Billie Holiday biopic was mostly a Diana Ross vehicle complete with cover tunes. And while she gave an enjoyable, Oscar nominated performance, the film really sold Holiday, and especially her music, short. It should be noted that most of the lyrics of Strange Fruit were omitted. So much so that I didn't even 'get' that song when watching the film upon its release.
But this film puts Strange Fruit right, although it takes an agonizing hour and a half to hear it. But it does little else right. It's a huge, huge disappointment. Within the first 5 minutes we have terrible acting (Jimmy's mom, clearly dubbed), a very kludgey script, and lots and lots of ho-hum-ness. Hard to believe that this was directed by the same person who did The Butler and Empire.
It seems as if the director was trying to make a highly stylized, tongue in cheek film about Holiday's legal and political problems, and thus a less than obvious statement about America's sketchy racial past. Instead, it's too obvious, gratuitously anachronistic, as if only to please modern (young) audiences, and otherwise useless. With two, count 'em, two, big budget, high profile biopics about Holiday, you'd think one could get her right, esp this one, with the benefit of hindsight help from the first film.
Andra Day is fine as an elegant Holiday, and my few stars are for her and some of the other cast. The sets and costumes are great, if much out of time. Day's gowns are real eye candy, for sure, and Day is stunning, from her perfect hair down to her perfect shoes. Unfortunately, none of this makes the plodding, clumsy, retread rote grade school wokeness (and I'm usually all about woke, but can't we have a smart, grown up approach?) of this film worth it. Huge waste of money, talent, and Billie Holiday's memory. Please, would somebody get her legacy on film right someday????
I almost rated this film 8stars, for Streisand's relentless performance, but a film has to have something else going on. If not for Streisand, and Sharif, who is perfectly cast as her playboy, gambler husband, I would probably rate this a 5 or 6.
Streisand has a lightness and more vulnerability than we'd ever see again in this, her first film. She literally rewrites the book on musical theater personality and is captivating as the Broadway (more vaudeville) star Fanny Brice. She out-Channing'd Carol Channing, expertly, almost improvisationaly mugging her way though every scene (and she is in all but a couple scenes in this film). The editors, producers and director knew gold when they saw it, in this otherwise very mediocre screenplay.
Although this film was released when I was 15, I didn't see it until much later. I was naive to the real story behind the subjects, and also under the considerable spell of my not-so-secret celeb crush, Omar Sharif. But now, with 6 additional minutes added to its already 2.5+ hr length, it's often tedious and unsatisfying. The 1st act, which is background and setup, is way, way too long (takes 42min for her to make it to Broadway!) and boring, and it's at the expense of the more interesting story of Brice's later career. life and relationship with Nicky Arnstein. Everything after their marriage is glossed, with no substance (the birth of their son is even left out). This lends credence to the argument that this film is nothing more than another Streisand TV special.
Sharif's Arnstein character, who in real life was a con man already taking advantage of Brice for 6yrs before their marriage, spends the film (was this a direction or did Sharif contrive his character?) speaking to Streisand/Brice like a small child. Due to wanting to make Arnstein likeable (par for the course then), the filmmakers didn't give him the proper con man backstory, so perhaps this extreme talking down to his "love" was our main clue that Brice was just another mark to him. Although this was common behavior then from men toward women, here it is pushed too far and just irritates.
There is little chemistry between Sharif and Streisand as well, which is bizarre as they were engaged in a romantic/sexual affair for the duration. Their screen kisses are just that, not what you'd expect from a couple with real chemistry. That Sharif's Arnstein character speaks to Streisand's Brice like a child is probably a big factor as well. Sharif had more chemistry with his Dr. Zhivago love interests, with whom he supposedly had no affairs. His normally exceptional acting skill seems blunted here. Possibly he was overrun by Streisand or her interference in the production threw him off. He is only saved by his casting being perfect, as he was the hot film star at that time, and is quite a striking figure in a tux, although by the end of the film, takes on a rather sinister and mottled or sickly appearance. Was that by design, to subtlety clue us into his criminal nature, or was something actually wrong with him?
It's a film that should be seen, for cultural and period significance, as well as a fine soundtrack (if not so fine vocal performances from Streisand at times), and, except for the 1st act (FF through it), is not torture. A highlight for me is the Swan Lake act, which Streisand pulls off amazingly well, as she was not a dancer (she was rehearsed by a ballet dancer for 10wks for this sequence). But the film very sadly shows that even with the counterculture and feminism, women as doormats, who should be grateful that a man will love them, with the greatest goal that of being Mrs Somebody, was still alive and well in the late 60s.
Biden is a VERY moderate Dem, just left of center, but those who only listen to their own echo chambers don't seem to know this and have been dishonestly terrorized that a Dem win will turn the US into a communist country with no basis in fact. Dinesh D'Souza is a far-right political commentator, filmmaker, and conspiracy theorist, so keep that in mind as you watch this compendium of far right wing clips and pundits. If you want to believe this conspiracy theory, then you will, and avoid any critical thinking when watching this. But I urge you to at least give some thought to facts and fact checking. Saying that a very moderate Dem will turn the country socialist/communist (really no difference in the far right's eyes, as many haven't a clue the definitions of either). I think they would be shocked to know that Social Security is a socialist program, as is Medicare, public education, the post office, military benefits, tax breaks, student government loans, basic infrastructure and utilities, corporate welfare, Medicaid, SNAP, and on and on. It is impossible to have a modern, wealthy country without any socialist programs. It would be medieval. I have to wonder how many people on Social Security or Disability watch this and nod their heads in agreement while anticipating and being grateful for their checks every month!
Since Republicans have to endure a Dem president, Biden is the best one for them. While he must cooperate with the main Dem base, he is about as far from instituting a socialist/communist as it gets. Just as the GOP has its far right wing people (the former president being one is the real problem; there is no analogue for that in the Dem Party, tg and even Bernie is a very moderate democratic socialist), so the Democratic Party has its farther left, but the mainstream and top leaders of the Dem Party are very moderate, and the fact that Biden won the nomination is telling. Too bad the GOP is no longer as moderate or even a party with candidates I might vote for, as in the past..
This 'doc' is no more than a campaign ad for Trump using the desperate lies and fears drug up from the Cold War (soon we who experienced it will be gone, and an end to 'red scares', hopefully). I lived through the Cold War and we are not even remotely close to going communist or even as socialist as the UK (I lived and worked there in the 70s, and as a taxpayer, used healthcare (Affordable Care is nothing like it) and other services).
The whole "our country will be destroyed" if a Dem president, with Trump being our only hope (Really? There isn't a better Republican, anywhere in this country?!) is a desperate attempt to get Trump elected by a party in tatters, running an unpopular, incompetent candidate who will encourage election lies and go to any lengths to stay in power, including encouraging the attack on the Capitol (and he is still spouting The Big Lie, into Feb 2021). This is not someone who has the best interest of the US at heart, but a would-be dictator who has little love for real democracy. Cries of "martial law" are NOT democratic and not American. We change leadership every 4 or 8yrs, no matter what. If we didn't, we would be Russia and have Putin as our dictator for life. But I guess that's what the GOP want? Hard to tell the difference from this film...
Usually, I am rating a film lower than everyone else, so this is weird. Not sure why this film has SUCH a low rating, yet so many other worthy films for this low a rating don't? Like recent Batman, superhero, Star Wars, Star Trek sequel of sequel, completely unoriginal movies. Or any other Sienna Miller vehicle, many of which have a rating over 7starsd. This film is typical of releases of the 2010s, in that you wonder how/why people greenlight scripts for millions of $ that are this mediocre.
It's certainly not terrible terrible. My main problem with it, other than it being slow and not being particularly compelling (took me 2-3 attempts to finish) is that Sienna's character lives in a multi-million $ penthouse and Sienna resembles not so much a writer, but a supermodel, yet we are supposed to take this character study Oscar Seriously? Films have generally improved in this area, as used to, nearly all the subjects of films were upper class, wealthy, etc. If you are going to do such a limited set character study (most of it takes place in her penthouse), then at least make it realistic so people can relate, empathize, and buy into it. Otherwise, we know she can just hire the best attorneys around, if the murder is real, right? Not very interesting OR Oscar-worthy. Oh, and yeah, for such a penthouse denizen, she can't afford a computer or iPad to write on? Just a .99 spiral notebooken... A rich person would at least have a trendy bullet point journal!
Other than that, it's slow with a few silly, cheap effects scattered here and there (not a Fellini film). The acting is ok, nothing special, and it's one of the worst Alec Baldwin vehicles and performances (to be fair, his part is small), at least that I can recall atm (he's the main reason I watched it, other than being desperate for something new on NF). If this is the very best that Ms. Miller can do, then she needs to return to action and rom coms. The main reason I finished it is that while not original, the plot is interesting and I wanted to see if she "done it" and/or if the film would go anywhere. The end reveals that, but it's so unsatisfying as nothing with her character is resolved and the other main plot point just left in thin air.
OK, so maybe 6stars is a bit high. But I could not, in good conscience, rate it lower, as that would just be going with the crowd, which I think happens here a lot.
I don't usually rate movies 10 stars, as none are perfect, but this film brought me so much satisfaction, has such richness, such scope of detail open to interpretation, that I have to, esp when you consider how low the film bar is as 2020 draws to a close.
I can't believe I have not seen this 2017 film until today! Perhaps I should start paying attention to the Oscars again as no streaming service will ever feature this kind of film up top (I was digging on Hulu when I found it). I almost didn't watch it, as I'm kind of tired of British costume dramas about the upper classes (usually a fantasy about "the great old days"), but I couldn't resist a costume drama about costumes, and Daniel Day-Lewis. He generally chooses good projects.
There is so much more to this film than the smarmy "dressmaker meets willful waitress" teaser that is so typical Hulu. Alma is a waitress for about 2.5 seconds. After the meet, there is an amazing depth of detail, as we examine who the dressmaker, Reynolds (Day-Lewis) is and how the waitress fits into his life. Much food for thought, about love and sex (there is none on screen, which makes it almost scandalous) and the complications of categorizing and analyzing love and attraction. About the needs we carry from childhood into adulthood (a bit worn Freudian, but can be excused as all of us just want to be unconditionally cared for, don't we?). And, of course, about the stiff, too-silent, stuffy (literally, the dust coming from old wool rugs), fatally boring, typical higher class British environs (granted, I haven't lived in the UK for 45yrs, but I'm sure my experience applies to the 1930s). A world in which one views a pot of tea as the ultimate (only) rescue. I am also suddenly struck at the willingness, in our society, of women to lavish love and attention on complete, although handsome and talented, rude jerks (I think it's called "male privilege").
The directing, set designing (I could almost smell the rooms) and cinematography are outstanding, as is the script. The acting is as physical as it is verbal. The body language, the sighs, the "hmmmms", the silence, the routine, but here disturbing, sounds of daily life. Day-Lewis is typically uneven, as he phones in his more banal lines, but does bring the meat of his character when it counts (we always forgive him!). He is perhaps the best physical actor of his generation (who will replace him?), so I can see why he was cast. Vicky Krieps, as Alma, the waitress, is so seamless that you might forget her, but that's the beauty of her performance. Gina McKee (the amazing Irene from The Forsyte Saga) has a cameo (what a waste!) in the 1st act, but I can't help wishing she was in the Alma role. She is still younger than Day-Lewis, which could have worked better, as Krieps' youth compared to Day-Lewis' lack of, is often shocking and distracting, as it surely would have been in the 1930s. Lesley Manville, as Cyril, the assistant, does a stunning job and really, really keeps us guessing.
I wish PTA had explored the anti-Semitic times better here, or just left the few lines out entirely. As it is, they come off as hastily tacked on, at odd times, and very clumsy; almost insulting to the issue. There are other films which address the issue completely, but this isn't one of them, as it's a limited character study about 3 people and their private environs.
For this dross of a film where absolutely nothing happens. Or that venerable producer Mitch Glazer let slip through his fingers as is. I haven't liked a Sofia Coppola film since Lost in Translation, which this film sadly tries to emulate. But Bill Murray only does Bill Murray Shtick in this and there are none of the other bright lights, or even much of a script. Perhaps Murray is doing hasty improv, as if he is really reading his text msgs under the table? He can be a great dramatic actor but there's nothing for him in this script and not funny.
The older man senior crisis thing, where he tries to be wise but turns out to be just a regular human (perhaps after Francis Ford?) doesn't work this time. Then there's the silly homage to the movie "10", thrown in for who knows what, maybe so we can compare Blake Edward's genius to her wannabe? Cough. The same blandness that was in her failed acting attempt, which seemed original in an ingenue director, now kills her films. She also needs to look past her own affluent life and outdated upper class views on women, men, dads, marriage and fancy jewelry. Adding diversity, while laudable, here is just lazy, clueless fashion. Buh bye.
It's kind of laughable when Barbara Walters describes herself as a "reporter" in one of these episodes. She hasn't been a real journalist for more than 55yrs, and I don't think she could ever be described as a "reporter".
These episodes are the most sensational cases, media-wise, since the media began emphasizing tabloid TV over hard news. There is a lot of ridiculousness here, to be sure. But, for someone who saw all these events as they unfolded or were tried in court, there is no new info here. Maybe a couple tidbits, with Barbara's bias thrown in for free. These cases show the worst of public opinion, and the rise of mob mentality which social media capitalized on, with the internet. To be fair, I think most people were outraged and sickened by the media's titillating and double standard coverage of these cases, but Barbara doesn't care here.
I'm not sure what is wrong with Barbara Walters, but any respect for her I had is now gone after watching this. Not only does she reinforce the racial stereotypes that are a big reason we find ourselves at the point we do in 2020, but the double standard and defense in the face of all reason of Mary Kay Letourneau is outrageous.
Mary Kay was a married with 4 children, elementary school teacher who had an affair with her 12yr old student, then discovered, arrested, imprisoned. She gave birth to both his children in prison. These children are now grown and Letourneau and Vili have been together, off and on, for 25yrs, married for 14 or so (by 2019). The media has always treated this case much more favorably than if a male teacher had had sex with a 12yr old female student. And it doesn't get any better in this 2015 interview. Worse, in fact. Barbara gives a good impression of trying to be tough, but really, she's just swept up in the "romance" of it all. Letourneau is either incredibly naive or it's an act ("I didn't know it was a crime."). Barbara would NEVER have spent an hour interviewing a male predator like this (A priest? Not likely! (Letourneau is a conservative Catholic)). One has to wonder how the case would have been covered if Letourneau wasn't attractive?
I think these two, and people who think that a young boy's fantasy of sexual escapades with an older woman justifies this, are blind to all the costs and pain that their relationship has caused. There isn't much talk of her 4 children from her first marriage, who no doubt have suffered the most. There is no association made made between Vili's vast personal problems (drugs, suicide attempt, hs drop out) and his victimization, not to mention the effect on her 6 children. A lot has happened since this program, so worth a search. Esp her family's high political connections in the G.W. Bush and Trump admins, her father's affair with HIS student and their 2 children (hmmm, Barbara missed that opportunity), and on and on. A sad group of narcissists/sociopaths and their long 15min of fame.
Maybe 5.5. Are these reviews rigged or is the bar really this low now? This film is not in the company of the usual over 7 film, as can be seen by the external reviews. Just made me want to go watch Salton Sea, Gattaca, and Limitless/Lucy again.
Of the old school kind. I started reading science fiction at about age 10, when the heyday was beginning. When the great authors were publishing. Most of it was very emotional, and some was basic genre stuff that I avoided. What people call SciFi today. Action and suspense with little in between. True science fiction includes how we react/interact with the future and the dramas that ensue. This IS science fiction and if people bothered to watch all the episodes, they would have seen that. Yes, it's in the near future, but the future nonetheless and no, much of what's in it is not current technology. A pared down Starship is making 300ft test hops, not even flying to low Earth orbit yet. We are basically still using 1960's technology for the upcoming stripped down Moon mission.
This series, sadly cancelled, reminded me very much of Devs, with a similar style and emotional pitch. Devs badly devolved toward the end of the season, but it was renewed and this wasn't, go figure. Otherwise, it had me feeling Bradbury's very emotional and character driven Martian Chronicles (although that drama takes place mostly among native Martians), Rocket Man, Major Tom, 2001, and a little Interstellar, and something...else. It's flawed and slow, but I don't mind slow if there is something in it for me. Some plot points went nowhere and had those been edited out, it likely might have survived. The fx were sufficient and acting good. Sean Penn, at 60, was not quite believable on a crew to Mars, but he was enjoyable to watch and gave the role what it needed.
I rated this perhaps a bit highly, due to the final episode. Like 2001, it ignited feelings of consideration only born of being there. I realized that what all the first astronauts (and everyone since) saw was what we can see in high res at any time from the ISS cameras, but what I always thought of as the B&W or grainy color I saw back then. But they saw it all, from the first time, our beautiful jewel, protected by that thin blue line. I will never take that view for granted again. I'm not sure this particular show meant to cause that epiphany, but that it did, says a lot. I had a lot of those while watching it. The music, while at first derivative of space exploration films, by the end, added to the emotional pitch and allowed my mind to travel far, from Earthly matters and family to the stars and the never ending romance that stirs.
Hulu used to be the worst of the streaming services, but it's original content is now among the best, esp in this kind of genre, like Handmaid's Tale, Devs, etc. So hats off to them for doing what the Big 2 could not.
It is beyond belief how a supposedly accomplished director and documentarian could take a character like Gertrude Bell, in a land like the Middle East, during a pivotal time in history, and turn it into a mere costume romance, White Savior (I suspect she was more the problem than any solution for the region, like the men) and totally blind orientalist film which mashes dates up unashamedly ("historical" my foot). It's definitely a chick flick (massively boring one!) with little meat at all. What a great insult to trivialize Bell, who, in spite of her machinations in the region, was apparently a real outlier in her time. Even painting her with the same evil brush as the men would have been far more interesting and realistic. Does Herzog (and Hollywood - no, don't answer that) really think that women only care about romance? That we'll sigh and turn it off if there is anything intellectual or interesting whatsoever? Please give us more credit. I'd rather see what made Bell tick, why Middle Eastern men welcomed and perhaps respected her (besides wisely realizing they needed to network the powers that be), and more realistic conversations, not just, "I am honored...". This film begs comparisons to Lawrence of Arabia, not in scope, but T. E. Lawrence is a character here and was a "friend" (not sure how to describe him) of Bell's. Yet even Lawrence was somewhat trivialized by director David Lean in Lawrence of Arabia, in favor of scope, 70mm, and desert romance. But this film doesn't have the outrageously, gloriously filmed desert, Omar Sharif, or the amazing overacting of Peter O'Toole to save it.
Herzog is apparently blind to the realities and ethnicities of the Middle East, correct languages (would a Brit speak French in Britain?), and on and on. While there are actors of Middle Eastern descent, their ethnicities don't always line up correctly with the region or character (and Herzog, as an experienced documentarian, should know this and care about all these things). Not that any actor is unable to play any part, but it's an historical film (or purports to be) and this is a symptom of a disrespectful disease in film re non-Western characters and actors. And of course, there are European actors playing Middle Eastern characters. Not a lot, and mostly incidental, but the Shop Keeper is very European and dubbed, and quite embarrassing. Hard to take the historical aspects of the film seriously after his appearance.
This is no low budget flick, with great locations, if not claustrophobic, cinematography, with wonderful costumes, yet Herzog turns it into a movie of the week which could have been shot on the back lot. Kidman, who I normally love, just phones it in here and cannot save this pile. She is one note throughout, and not displaying the range and charisma I have come to expect from her. She is not a good simpering romantic and to cast her in such a flacid role was a mistake. Herzog should have just hired a young (we are supposed to think Kidman is 20+ yrs younger), shallow, actress and saved some money.
I very much liked this documentary while watching it. I have little knowledge of this issue (other than Franco being barely to the left of Hitler, his ally during WWII, with similar racial policies), as it has been forgotten or tried to be by almost everyone, esp the US, as Spain was a needed ally for a military base, and a handy anti-communist state (oh the terrible right wing regimes we have backed for that reason!). There was a lot of satire about Franco in the 70s, and then Juan Carlos after that, particularly by Sat Night Live, but other than that, not much info going around.
This is a very focused film, only about the lawsuit filed in 2010, and I appreciate that. It is very well done and doesn't pander to the viewer's sympathies. It is only near the end that the emotional intensity is raised. Now I'm ready to learn more about both sides. I see in the critical reviews, some predictably claiming that both sides did things, which is the usual defense of these things, as well as the accusation of "revenge" aimed at the victims or families of Franco's regime, as if that makes hundreds of thousands killed and tortured by Franco's (and following) regime ok. But my further research (don't look to Wikipedia, strangely lacking on this matter) will enlighten me. I will search for other docs on this matter and the history of the Spanish Civil War and following era.
As the families of murder victims know, there is little closure if the body is not found, or the murderer are not found or tried and/or punished. War crimes involve the addition of mass graves and that the families know exactly how their loved ones were jailed, tortured, and murdered. For their beliefs (not any better than someone being murdered for the change in their pockets). The real shame here is in the last grave shown and that Franco and his minions learned from the fate of their friends Hitler and the Nazis.
It's like a really bad low budget 60s Italian film, in Italian, but dubbed into English (dubbed into Italian, then back to English, rinse, repeat), except they are obviously speaking English. The reason becomes obvious during the non verbal ("See, I'm struggling, screaming, mmmm, oh, pose, pose!"). This confirms that really fake reviews exist (duh). How anyone could seriously rate this 10/10, even for the erotic (there is no chemistry, so not) factor, is crazy, as there is much better FREE erotica (sans terrible pop songs) on the internet, unless your country or your parents have it blocked (more like). The frequent terrible pop songs (one of which I think was by the lead actor, who can't sing) don't help. If the writing, acting, dubbing, directing, producing, cinematography, assistant directing, and wigs don't drive you away, the music surely will.
This movie not only makes the director, writers, actors, and all the crew look bad, but Italians, Poles, gangsters, parents, besties, assistants, cars, boats, wigs, men, and women. And yes, nothing makes me want to fall in love with a hideous hairy cartoon bully monster than getting kidnapped, tied up, knocked about and thrown off a yacht by the same obsessed, violent moron with whom I have no chemistry.
If not for a certain virus, and Netflix constantly pounding this movie into our heads, I doubt this movie would even be in anyone's bottom 10. I think the Netflix honchos are working from home a little too much...
Gaspar should go study both Nymphomaniac films by Lars von Trier. Von Trier managed to keep his audience interested for two feature films' worth, yet I couldn't get halfway though this...mistake.
The script was 7 pages long for a feature film, and it really shows. The two female stars weren't actors, but picked up by Goe at parties ("beautiful people"). Beautiful doesn't mean compelling or deep or interesting and they aren't. The all too real sex is kind of creepy, as they seem like children playing at it. For real sex, they are very disengaged. No one climaxes, no one ever breathes hard, except the guy, who gets too wrapped up in his sexual goals. Thus, there is a good reason, beyond the obvious. why sex should be acted, although I've seen much better in amateur porn vids. People who I would gladly watch a movie about afterwards. But these people...no. I was more irritated by them than anything and the terrible acting and many voice overs didn't help.
If not for the sex, this film would have been lost to obscurity and thought of as Goe's unfortunate career moment. Real sex in film is not an oddity, there are millions upon millions of porn films and videos on the internet, so I'm not sure why Goe, some viewers, and some of his peers in the film industry think this is so precious and artful. What is artful about setting a camera and telling your "actors" to have sex? Maybe he should have told them to act like they care.
Warning - has some very rough animal testing lab undercover footage. I was very upset after watching this and crying. We should see this stuff, but not for kids.
As a vegan, I watched this with interest. But, as a counterculture teen in the 60s, I never agreed with violence to achieve means to an end, or even the smallest advocacy of that. As I saw with MLK, the government will jump on anything, anything, to discredit a movement which is not in agreement with the corridors of power or political strength. So why give the govvy the ammunition of even a hint of a connection to violence or, gasp, putting in on your website? It's just stupid and counterproductive. Do certain things that go on make your blood boil? Yes, but you can't do as you will and assume that your intentions will win out. Against the US government? These activists are just naive and stupid. Saying you support the violence, although you don't condone what they did? This is language parsing in the extreme. You attract more flies with honey than vinegar, as has been shown by non-violent movements in the past.
If SHAC truly had a legit 1st amendment case, don't you think the ACLU would have represented them? They didn't. The SPLC has compared SHAC to anti-abortion extremists.
Who do SHAC members think has agreed that SHAC's voice gets to be heard, unrestrained? Then why shouldn't neo-Nazis be able to recreate the actions of the notorious Nazi "brown shirts", who went about terrorizing Jews and other marginalized groups? Why can't extremists of any stripe go around collecting money and proselytizing on every street corner? Where does it stop? Like yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater, you have to be responsible with your speech.
This doc is not really complete, and while even showing a little footage which seems to support the government's claim, doesn't always compare both sides. It only shows one political stance of the House hearings on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (bi-partisan bill, authored by 2 GOP and 1 Dem), doesn't delve into the close association between certain genres of punk rock (anarcho-punk, straight edge) and militant animal rights politics, the Hare Krishna, and militant veganism, which links militant groups like SHAC, Earth First, and Earth Liberation Front, etc.
Are there hideous things which go on in slaughterhouses, farms, and labs? Yes, and that is the primary reason I am a vegan and I am steadfast in that, for myself, even though disabled and limited financially. Do I still materially contribute to the bottom line of these industries? Yes, but we all do. It's a huge and often expensive job to rid your household of every cleaner, article of clothing, and toiletry that is tested on animals or otherwise irresponsible.
Does the US government abuse its citizens? A loud yes. Do they often meet peaceful protests with heavy violence, often death (Kent State)? Yes. Is big business out of control and unregulated? Yes. Does money = power in Washington (and other seats of power)? Yes. But none of this justifies SHAC's idiocy or connections. You can't fight city hall with no brains. Of course all of this needs to stop, but you have to be intelligent about it.
Mainstream animal rights groups have succeeded in raising our awareness on many issues. Getting cosmetics companies to claim "not tested on animals" (but that is getting watered down, for, yep, China) and "no-kill" animal shelters another. SHAC has not been responsible for any of this and took things over the line, mostly having no intelligent leadership, or trying not to have any central leadership. Thanks a lot, SHAC, for making animal rights and vegans even more silly than many think they are.
I do NOT agree with the assertion, by the academic or whatever he was, that "so-called" non-violent movements were due to other, violent forces, esp the 60's ones I lived through. Took off a point for that weird guy. I won't be too hard on Joaquin Phoenix for executive producing this film (among 12 other producers), as that usually just means the money, but he is an animal rights activist. He has been involved with other good animal rights docs, so I am kind of surprised with this one.
While this doc isn't a sober and scientific look at psychedelics, it fulfills some of that in a good way. It uses comedy and satire to make its points. If you are looking for serious information about them, then look elsewhere. While there are some facts here, this doc uses mostly tripping anecdotes from famous people, but also includes a psychotherapist and Deepak Chopra (not an expert on anything, IMO, and the one low point of this doc). It satirizes ridiculous 60s & 70s anti-drug movies and propaganda by winding an LSD After School Special throughout the film, which is as original as these things can be, and very humorous.
The filmmakers are careful not to proselytize psychedelics, although they come close, but the "it's not for everyone" warnings are here, as well as the usual "set and setting" importance. There is emphasis on psychedelics not being the "usual" drug you use to escape, but an internal "trip" in every sense of the word, with planning and intent necessary.
Even though the release date of this is shown as 2020 and "new" by Netflix, Carrie Fisher and Anthony Bourdain are both in it. She died in 2016 and Bourdain in 2018. Fisher is really funny, as always, and one of the high points of the interviews. Bourdain just looks depressed, which begs the question of why he was left in this doc. Kind of bad taste, due to the manner of his passing, and affected my rating a little.
I think the audience for this is probably people who have experience with psychedelics. Otherwise it will have little meaning. I've had most of the experiences chronicled here, including the cliche "McDonald's trip" (I didn't know it was a 'thing'!). Odd to see Sting in a somewhat reflective, very personal state, although psychedelics no doubt have a huge job making a dent in *his* ego. So kind of ironic interviewing him for this doc. The other people are entertaining and usually funny.
The animation is very well done and the pacing very good. I have done a lot of psychedelics and was mostly a "seeker" with the intent to learn from psychedelics, as are most of the people in this doc. If you are so serious as to be offended by a comedic look at psychedelics...yeow. You have GOT to have a sense of humor while tripping!
As a doc, it covers mostly all the bases and is heartfelt without being sugary sweet. You get a feeling for the times, the various areas of civil rights and political action (before that mean PAC). Finally getting the ADA signed and enforced was a 20yr struggle I remember well. I had forgotten that some politicians you'd think would have been supportive were not and visa versa. In those days, with no social media, if you weren't voters (or not perceived as such) and didn't get news coverage, politicians generally had little interest. However, one big counter argument against few benefiting (even though those "few" were/are the biggest minority) was overlooked here, otherwise I would have given it a 10/10:
After I had my first knee surgery, I had complications. I spent a long time on crutches. I went to physical therapy daily but the restroom in that building was incredibly tiny, with two stalls you could barely get into, much less with crutches and a backpack on (forget wheelchair). And that was a medical building in one of the largest medical centers in the US! It was 1988-89. So a great argument against few benefiting was that many able bodied people would spend some time as a disabled person and I saw those people every day in PT, a lot of them. I ended up having 5 more knee surgeries so spent lots of time needing accommodations. I still use a ramp as stairs are not my friend and I'm happy for other accommodations as well, esp as I get older. It shouldn't take my experience to have empathy, but empathy is a greatly underdeveloped organ in humanity.
It's amazing to me that a country that saw the polio epidemic render millions disabled, that saw wars disable millions of young men (Vietnam in particular in those days), and on and on, had such a hard time finding empathy and a few dollars so that everyone had access and opportunity, which saves money in the long run because less institutionalization is needed and more people can work and contribute. It is amazing that many still are the heirs to the nasty undertones of the kind of thinking that delayed this legislation for so long.