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Reviews

Everything Everywhere All at Once
(2022)

I enjoyed this even though it did get too silly at times
The movie is very Asian. The overall story arc is exploring family relations in an inter-generational family. Between daughter and mother, husband and wife, (grand)father and daughter. Expectations, disappointments, maybe lack of expressing love and emotion, all play a part in this film. It's framed in a sci-fi/fantasy thriller, that overall, doesn't QUITE make sense. I guess the director, who previously did the oddball Swiss Army Man, wasn't content with doing a straight up drama.

I am leaning to the belief that what happens is more of a construct of Michelle Yeoh's identity crisis as she reaches a crossroads in her life and her business. She escapes into the alternate reality to process her feelings and emotions for everything. That's the only thing that makes sense to me anyway.

The action was decent, but it's not the focal point of this film. There are scenes with fights, some really well done. There are some groan worthy moments, sexual innuendos during the fights, and so on. But overall, they're somewhat straight forward fight scenes. I guess Dan Kwan took some inspiration from the over the top CGI comedy of Stephen Chow's action films like Kung Fu Hustle.

I'm not sure if this film resonates with non-asians. They might not relate to the cold, judging motherly character of Michelle Yeoh, and not understand why she is distant with her daughter. But judging from all the positive reviews, it sounds like it has appealed to a wide audience.

Everyone does a great job in their roles. I can't believe James Hong is still acting. He's several years ago away from being 100 years old. And great to see 'short round' Ke Huy Quan in a movie. His voice hasn't changed much since his child acting days lol. The actress who played the daughter was also really good. And of course Michelle Yeoh sells the character, and all the alternate universe versions.

At 2 hours, the movie flies pretty good. There were some moments that were silly, and probably could have been shortened or left out, like the rocks and pinata moments. Otherwise, an entertaining film.

Raging Bull
(1980)

Raging Baloney
I put off watching this movie for a long time, even after I'd seen many other Scorsese flicks. When he's on top, Marty delivers the goods. When he's not, it's a chore to watch. This movie is somewhere in the middle. It has received many accolades, but I didn't care for it.

Frankly, I only stuck watching the film all the way through, was for the infamous line 'you f*&( my wife?'. I never saw the scene, I just heard the quote many times over the years.

Well, it wasn't worth the wait. The movie was pretty bland. I was hoping for a lot of good fight scenes, but it's not a boxing movie. I was hoping for much drama, but nope, it's all about Jake LaMotta being angry, being a jerk. There's not much range here. And there isn't any original story arc or plot. So much stuff just jumps around, we're basically watching a highlight clip of the guy's life.

There's a few gimmicks to boot. Shooting it in black and white was interesting, but doesn't add to or improve the quality of the viewing experience. And DeNiro's wait gain was impressive, but was it really worth it? I'm just glad he was able to drop the pounds after. He did the same weight gain for Untouchables, which was much better as his heavier self was featured in most of the film.

This is not a movie that will enlighten you, or change you, or change your opinion of LaMotta, if you even had one. It's just there. I don't get the love for it, it's not outstanding in any way. Perhaps the only true highlight of the film is Joe Pesci's big time breakout performance. He really steals the movie. But he does become a victim of his own success, but playing the same character in every movie after this one.

I would only recommend this movie for anyone who is a Scorsese completist and just wants to finish seeing all his flicks. If you don't ever get to see it, you aren't missing much.

Quincy M.E.: The Cutting Edge
(1983)
Episode 24, Season 8

Backdoor Pilot, Fans of Quincy Take It In The Backdoor
I just watched this episode and I can't believe that this was the actual series finale. They couldn't do a proper episode where the characters say goodbye? Instead, Quincy appears on the scene, not even a coroner case, then just fades away as the episode goes on? Fans deserved better. Adding insult to injury, the series wasn't even picked up.

Passengers
(2016)

Cute, but not very Scientific!
This has been playing a few times on TV lately, so I've watched it a couple of times and have noticed things I didn't see the first time around.

Everyone has commented on the romantic aspects of it, and Pratt and Lawrence deliver. I wish Fishburne had been in there longer, he pretty much blows the other two actors out of the water.

Now the nitpicking: The damage that occurred should have registered in more than one place. It shouldn't have been something that would be invisible. Where are all the cameras? There should have been a camera in the engineering around to record the collision.

Why is it that Fishburne's character wakes up, and does have some medical diagnostic done ASAP. And no explanation as to WHY he had so many problems.

All those power shortages, wouldn't those have taken people out of suspension? Shouldn't everyone have died while they slept.

The whole space walk thing was silly. They've got such an advanced ship, yet they can only use tethers to the outside, and crawl around? No space pods, or suits with jets?! And as someone pointed out, only one automatic med device for the whole ship? And it requires medical clearance to use? What happens if the nurses and/or doctors died?

How did the trees and plants grow like that, was there something watering them after the two had long died?!

Okay, that's enough nitpicking. It's a good little afternoon movie if there's nothing else to watch. I wonder how many picked up on the Shining reference, with the bartender and bar? It's a bit of a red herring, it doesn't go sinister like it did in that movie.

Car Wash
(1976)

Much Deeper Than Its Comedic and Musical Reputation
Most people when thinking about this movie, remember the comedy and of course, the wonderful music provided by Rose Royce, and the one singing sequence with The Pointer Sisters.

But this movie is actually multi layered. It depicts one day in the life of a bunch of workers at a Car Wash, with a white owner. The workers are the poor, not all ethnic or black. We see life at the business from the viewpoint of the workers and of the owner. Things aren't always rosy at the top. There is also the one black worker who insists he's above the others, and they mock him as well.

Plot? Not really. The movie almost takes a dark turn towards the ending. But again, it just shows regular working class guys just getting by, and making the most of life without dwelling on their financial situation or social status.

And did I mention the great funky music?!

Fear the Walking Dead: Breathe with Me
(2021)
Episode 4, Season 7

What the hell has happened to the show?!!!
This isn't even the SAME show as last season. They're using the same actors, same characters, but it's NOT the same show. It's like someone decided to start it from scratch. The whole nuclear wasteland angle is really stupid. It looks like it's all shot on a sound stage, it just looks cheap, like some horrible B movie set. The editing is horrible.

I see they are wrapping up World Beyond as well. I guess the Walking Dead franchise has finally reached the end. I am okay with Fear also being put out of its misery, if this is the new direction they're going to take. I bet Alicia doesn't even return, that's how bad this season has been.

Mommie Dearest
(1981)

I Don't Get The Hate
I finally got around to watching this film. Over the years, I've heard how it's over the top, camp, etc... And it has been given 'cult' status.

But I really didn't see it that way. Yes, there was some over the top melodrama. Faye really went all out on the anger scenes. But the movie wasn't just about Joan losing control. There were some scenes of tenderness and vulnerability as well. I think much of the hate are those who refuse to accept that Joan could be such a character in real life. Granted, even the real life daughter said a number of the scenes in the film didn't happen, and there was dramatic license with having the one maid Carol Anne being present throughout the whole film, instead of really happened (there were many different maids in real life). But the film moved really well. It doesn't really give any message or moral, which reminds me of the recent Eyes of Tammy Faye movie. It's just checking off the various points in Joan's life, just like that other film did with Tammy Faye. It still is engaging.

What I find most attractive about the film, though, isn't really touched on by other reviewers, is the LOOK. The film LOOKS great. I thought this was shown in theaters in Academy Ratio (full frame), because when I streamed it, that's how it was presented. So not only did it look retro, it was framed retro, adding to the authenticity of the presentation. The colors were amazing, I really felt they went for an early Technicolor look for all those scenes pre-1960s. There were moments when I thought I was truly watching a film from the 1940s.

So, this much maligned film, I would say, is quite well done. It helps to also understand how childhood abuse and trauma can create the type of personality that Joan exhibits in this film. And the abused then becomes the abuser. In the early 80s, nobody talked about child abuse and its affects on a person into adulthood. I'm glad I viewed it now, with that extra bit of knowledge. I don't view Joan as a monster, she was trapped in her persona, and lived at a time when one didn't seek therapy for childhood trauma.

Doctor Who: Flux: Chapter One - The Halloween Apocalypse
(2021)
Episode 1, Season 13

How the Flux did this get over 7 rating?
This episode was horrible. The beginning played out like a Fast & The Furious or Harry Potter movie. Then you get Yaz able to unlock alien tech that was supposedly booby trapped. And then this new guy who supposedly will be the new companion has the charisma of a door stop. And nothing about the story makes sense, now they're going to have a nonsensical season story arc. This better end with a regeneration, back to a male doctor, and a new writing team or show runner.

Doctor Who: Flux: Chapter One - The Halloween Apocalypse
(2021)
Episode 1, Season 13

How the Flux did this get over 7 rating?
This episode was horrible. The beginning played out like a Fast & The Furious or Harry Potter movie. Then you get Yaz able to unlock alien tech that was supposedly booby trapped. And then this new guy who supposedly will be the new companion has the charisma of a door stop. And nothing about the story makes sense, now they're going to have a nonsensical season story arc. This better end with a regeneration, back to a male doctor, and a new writing team or show runner.

The French Dispatch
(2021)

Just say 'no' to Wes
I've tried watching Wes Anderson's films. I've sat through most of them. And I still dislike him. The problem with his 'style', is that it's all that there is. The stories are bland, the characters are lame. If you like watching a movie that screams hipster and 'ain't I'm clever', then this the movie for you. Wes' movies are good for screenshots as computer desktop wallpaper, but taken as a whole, they leave you feeling empty and wondering why you wasted so much time.

Fear the Walking Dead: Six Hours
(2021)
Episode 2, Season 7

Keeping Up The Tradition of Alternating Good & Bad Seasons
Last year was spectacular, so sadly after two episodes, it appears we're heading down another weak season. The usual alternating good and bad seasons that have plagued Fear The Walking Dead.

I'm not loving this whole nuclear fallout world of walking dead. Seriously, they're still alive living inside that dark haze? None of it makes any sense.

Episode was particularly bad. You Grace acting all strange with a new baby, then you see they've been living in the nuclear submarine the whole time. Just cringe worthy forced drama. Then they meet up with the same two people that Grace was hiding from in the beginning of the episode. They were driving for how long? So how did Grace get there?

Then towards the end, the story seems to fall apart. You get these zombies that come and go, one minute they're not around so they're repairing the car in the middle of the street, next thing, they're all over the place.

Then Morgan and Grace leave that woman after Grace has just shot and killed her husband, and it's like it never happened. Would the woman be kind of upset?

And then what was up with that last scene, with the guy and the box with the head? I

It seems like they're going for a zombies meets Mad Max type of season. I sure hope it gets better.

Innocent Blood
(1992)

A Novel Idea That Fails In Execution.
The concept of tying in vampire lore with a mob movie was quite interesting. Mob movies were the rage in the late 80s, early 90s, so this could have been added to that sub-genre of crime film.

But sadly, this movie suffers from poor direction and poor story writing.

Let me first start with the technical problems. I found the editing really really bad. Scenes would end suddenly, then jump into another scene you thought was related to the previous scene, but then it turns out they were either happening miles apart, or at a different time. It was really poorly done. For example, the scene where Anthony LaPaglia first meets Marie, this is right after him and Chaz. Palminteri had their heart to heart talk, then he walks off, I'm guessing, to go to his car. LaPaglia is about to get into his car, has an interaction with Marie, she decides he's not worth eating, and walks off. Next second you see her cross the street, and get hit by Chaz's car. And then there's a huge yelling. Anyway, it feels like LaPagia's character should have been just across the street and come over to smooth things over, but that's not what happens. That's just one example of where the editing is weird and the flow of the story is jarring or thrown off.

As another reviewer mentioned, the whole plot of the Mobsters getting turned into vampires is interesting but goes nowhere. Well, one problem is right after Marie bites Robert Loggia's mafia Don character. For whatever reason, she doesn't run away before the cops arrive?! She was already out of the apartment, and was on the roof, and so she waited there until LaPaglia finally shows up, at which time she decides to run?!! That made no sense.

Anyway, as the movie progresses Loggia just keeps biting one mobster after another, and they all brag how they're going to 'run this town'. But we never see who the competition is. Who are these other organized crime groups they are up against? All you see is just this one family and so the movie feels half thought out by the end.

One thing that bothered me was Landis was sloppy with his vampire tropes. We never get to see them dispatched the usual way. I mean, when has a vampire died from a gun shot to the head? I understand if you blow off their WHOLE head, that's hard to come back from. But a small handgun shot? There were no stakes to the heart, holy water moments. Heck, this 'vampire' Marie even had a reflection and she was running around inside of a church! WTF?! I was beginning to doubt she was a real vampire, just someone faking it, because of those non-vampire characteristics.

There are a few 'cute' moments when you see cameos by horror royalty, like Tom Savini as a paparazzi, Sam Raimi as the meat locker employee, and Dario Argento as an EMT. And oddly, in January, there's an abundance of black and white, horror movies on TV.

Otherwise, this semi-homage to classic horror, falls short. Still worth a watch. Some find it fun, but it's far from Landis' best work.

Valerie
(1986)

Feel Good TV
I remember watching Valerie when it first aired. And I remember the huge deal when she left the show, and it continued on. It was one of those rare shows that keep going even after the title character has left the program. I don't remember if I followed the show on it's entire run.

Fast forward to 2021. Over the years I've been a huge fan of Jason Bateman's work in the movies. He's one of the best straight man comedians on the big screen today.

I'm flipping the channels and come across the Hogan Family on TV. Mind you, it's at the Sandy Duncan years. I'm actually enjoying this show. It's not irreverent comedy like Arrested Development, or gut busting hilarious like Seinfeld. I would put it more in the 'feel good' category. I guess it's more of a male-oriented program, considering it's about 3 sons and their father (and aunt), so I can relate to a lot of the issues they talk about.

So if you want to watch something that's entertaining, and like I said, feel good TV, give this show a shot. Give it a shot again, if you hated it back in the day, too. Maybe as you've gotten older, you can appreciate the more simpler times in this sitcom.

Cruising
(1980)

Cruising Nowhere
I haven't watched this movie before. I've constantly read about it, and every time it's talked about it, it's referred to as gritty, dark, and has an elevated status as a cult film.

Well, I enjoyed Friedkin's earlier work, French Connection, and Exorcist. Those were truly brilliant, and have earned their reputations.

Cruising is a different story. You would think a pairing of Friedkin and Pacino would yield the ultimate movie, but nope, this is a complete washout.

The movie starts promising, where the viewer is witness to a couple of murders. You clearly see the killer's face, there is no ambiguity. This seems like the perfect setup for a cat and mouse, intense thriller. But that is not the direction this movie goes.

Al Pacino is a great actor. He really brings himself into every role he does. This is a rare case, where he just phones it in. His undercover police officer character is so bizarre. He stands out like a sore thumb wherever he goes. Then after a night of hanging out in the gay clubs, he goes and sees his girlfriend. I thought he was undercover? Aren't cops undercover supposed to avoid seeing people who know them, in case they are spotted? The girlfriend played by Karen Allen doesn't seem to care about his new attire? The movie is just ridiculous on a relationship level.

Then we are introduced to different characters, different angles, that go nowhere. Like the two cops who are hustling gay prostitutes for free tricks; or the angry roommate of Al Pacino's neighbor; or the strange guy in the park who appears to give the last guy Pacino goes after, some sort of order, making you think this is some kind of 'Manchurian Candidate' angle.

And the whole second half of the movie is just Pacino and the cops bumbling through mistaken arrests. What was the point of this? To show that the cops were biased against gays, so they weren't doing a proper job to find the killer? What happened to the actual killer? He disappears in the second half of the movie. Remember, the viewer got a good look at him in those first two murders or so. So those false arrests, false leads, well, the viewer already knows they were innocent.

Then the icing on the confusion and messy cake of a movie, is the last moment in the movie when Al Pacino is looking into the mirror and camera. What was the point of that? To put a question mark on his character? I didn't see any real change to his behavior or character that would warrant a 'twist' ending. If that was the intent.

This movie is worth a watch, just to see what the fuss is about. But honestly, it's not a well made movie. Maybe the cult status should be for it being a poorly made film.

Ojing-eo geim
(2021)

Squid Pro Quo
There's a lot of hype surrounding this series. I thought it was okay, I almost didn't finish walking it after stopping halfway into episode 1. The problem is that it gets into overly melodramatic family issues, and the protagonist is very unlikable.

After fast forwarding to the subway station scene where he meets the guy who eventually gets him into the game, I stuck with the show.

So the show is visually interesting. I guess people get intrigued when they see photos of the sets.

Unfortunately not all of the games are created equally, and not all of them are based on 'kids games' as we were led to believe (what kid game involves crossing a glass bridge? What kind of kid game involves cutting out a shape out of a cookie?!) There were quite a few irritating characters. Very stereotypical gangster type. You'd think if the director was clever, he'd have the gangster character redeem himself near the end of his appearance, but no, he goes down still being a jerk.

And he is brought down by an equally irritating character, the woman who is introduced as being someone who wanted to leave, but then later turns out to be just as ruthless as the gangster guy.

The pakistani guy seems like someone who you can root for, but over time, he does get a bit irritating in his excessive naivety. The old man is also irritating, and honestly, the twist at the end is dumb. But I'll get back to that later.

Over the course of the show, you only learn little bits of this place. There are a few foreshadowings that give away twists a bit too easily. You also learn this 'game' has apparently been happening for decades. Strange, nobody seems to notice hundreds of people disappearing at the same time of year? And in all that time, none of the winners ever talked to anyone else about surviving the game?

The series has pretty good energy until the last two or three episodes. Then it just loses steam and gets dumb. The introduction of the VIPs completely takes you out of the story. It's so badly handled, you'd think you're watching another show.

The final three scene is also inconsistent with the show. Why are they given knives?! I thought the rules were they can't harm each other, because if two of the three were killed, there would be no final game for the VIPs to bet on.

The final game is way too predictable, in that, you know it's coming. And it doesn't even play out all that well.

After a series of 30 minute episodes, the show ends with a super dull, 50 minute final episode that meanders. You find out about the old man, but you never learn the reasons for the game, other than it's a rich person who is bored. What's dumb is that the old man participated in these dangerous games, and could have died many times. And when we hear him getting shot, how did he NOT get shot? The workers wouldn't know who he was.

They never explain who the workers are and why they participate, and how they trust these people won't talk. I guess they stay on the island all year? Or they all go back to their regular jobs.

See, so many questions, so many holes. The final ending is also pretty bad. Not sure if they are setting it up for a sequel, or they just wanted a clever, open ending.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye
(2021)

She's got Tammy Faye eyes....
The trailer is really well done, and appears to show a movie that may be part satire, part biting commentary, and all retro. Well, they got the retro part right. But the movie, is a pretty basic, color-by-numbers production. It feels like they had a check-list of the key moments of Tammy's life, and made sure those were in the film. But there wasn't really much of a 'story', or even a message. By the end of the film, you're feeling 'okay, so what was this movie trying to say?' The acting is okay. I'd say Andrew Garfield's acting is great, while Jessica Chastain's singing is great. What I really really hate, is the prosthetics. I haven't been so distracted since Looper. I get it, the actors don't look exactly like the people they are portraying, so don't force it. Maybe when they were older, it would have been okay to do. But in their younger selves, who cares. They both looked like they were infected with the mumps. And Jessica Chastain in that final scene looked like Jay Leno in drag, it was so bad.

This movie not only doesn't say anything, it pretty much just skims the surface of everything. Yes, you see the scandals and the troubles in Tammy Faye's life, but there is very little emotion behind it. I didn't feel any empathy for the characters, not even for Tammy Faye. Perhaps it was confusing that they had her seem naive on the one hand, but assertive on the other.

Vincent D'Onofrio's Jerry Fallwell seems almost unnecessary. He appears here and there, but really doesn't command a presence or really feel like a key player in their lives, even though he kind of was. I like D'Onofrio, but this was pretty unremarkable.

This won't be getting Oscar noms, and no, 'These Eyes' is not used in the film.

The World According to Garp
(1982)

Disappointing
I remember watching 'Garp' sometime in the late 80s or early 90s, and thinking it was okay. The scene with the car crash definitely made an impression on me at the time, it's the only part of the film I remembered.

I decided to watch it again recently, and honestly, I don't really get why it has all the accolades.

The movie doesn't have any kind of story arc, except that Garp gets older, has a family, has some bad things happen, the end. There isn't any full circle symbolism, except maybe the very ending when he's ambulanced off in a helicopter, which is odd - you'd think that they could have just sent a regular road ambulance, but I guess that's for the effect of the finale.

Ultimately, this is a movie about nothing. It feels very disjointed and every scene seems to have a punchline, or gag, to keep in line with the absurdity of the situations. It's like watching a series of skits in a comedy variety show, except every skit has the same characters.

And there are so many dark moments, that really make this movie uneven in tone. Is it a black comedy, a satire, a commentary on anything?! I didn't see it. The shooting scenes, if they were in the book, just feel shoehorned in for shock effect. I guess we are supposed to have that 'ah ha!' moment when the shooter at the end is the same girl who sicked the dog on Garp when he was a little boy. But why? What is her motivation, and why is she acting like she's Garp's nemesis. No context in her character whatsoever.

John Lithgow seems like the only believable character in the movie, even if he is playing a transvestite.

Garp's outrage over the driver of that pickup truck was odd. Firstly, why didn't he call the cops on the guy? He was 'terrorizing' the neighborhood, surely a well-place squad car could have ended that. Secondly, if Garp is so angry about people driving recklessly in the neighborhood, why does he engage in the same behavior when he shuts off the engine and lets the car coast (at high speed mind you), down that same residential street. You see how that reckless behavior ended up costing him.

Overall, the movie is a real downer. You don't feel like you've learned anything by the end. None of the characters earn any empathy, so you really don't care about what happens to them. It's one of those movies you just keep watching because you're hoping something is going to happen to give it meaning, and it never does.

Gorky Park
(1983)

The Sith Emperor Has No Clothes
This movie appears to have pretty high ratings, but upon watching it, it's very weak. I am not surprised this is from the same director that brought us The World Is Not Enough.

How is the fact that all of the Russian characters are speaking in English and with British accents not an issue? Okay, you could argue that they are all really speaking to each other in Russian, but then you have these American characters who speak to every Russian in their American accents and hear everyone speaking in English in their British accents lol. Even if they couldn't get the scenery disguised as Moscow correct, the director could have at least made an effort on the accents.

Then there's the plot. Or Plod. It's really too convoluted for it's own good. The basic premise is that three people were murdered and William Hurt's Russian cop has to investigate. Along the way you get KGB involvement (what else would you expect from a Soviet setting) and of course American intrigue too. But none of it makes any sense. As you learn the identities of the dead and what they were doing, it just gets more and more confusing. I mean, ultimately, why does Osborne kill the very people he used to help him get Sables out of the country? Nothing pointed to him being double crossed by them, or that even his little operation was in danger, as he had many moles in the KGB.

The only good thing about this movie was seeing Senator Palpatine/Sith Lord Emperor Ian McDiarmid without all the makeup and robes. But even his character feels thrown in, his character just comes and goes like half the characters and plot lines in the movie.

Now, the one to watch is Joanna Pacula, she actually was pretty good. No, the relationship between her character and William Hurt's Reko, is forced and unbelievable, and they clearly have no chemistry. Hurt's Renko likes to HURT Pacula's character. And there is one mandatory love making scene, required for these kind of movies.

I remember as a kid, seeing the trailer on TV for this film and being intrigued. But over the years, I had no interest in seeing the film until 2021. Now that I've seen it, I clearly didn't miss anything. A bit of a hack of a movie. Not the film noir/spy thriller/political intrigue slow burner that many of these reviewers are trying to portray it to be.

The Suicide Squad
(2021)

Gunn Misfires On This One
I liked Groot when he was a tree and not a Shark! Or a Weasel. Just sayin. And killing off the group of 'heroes' early on, right after they were assembled, well, seemed a bit too similar to what happens in Deadpool 2.

Speaking of Deadpool, they really tried hard to make this a swear fest, but it comes across as pretty juvenile. The gore was good, but all of this could not make up for the fact that the dialogue was weak (humor? I didn't laugh), and the plot made no sense. If their mission was to destroy the evidence, why didn't they just send a drone or fire a cruise missile covertly and blow up the installation. It made no sense, whatsoever.

The worst part about this movie was there was no charismatic lead. Yes Harley Quinn took up a lot of screen time, but she was NOT the lead. She was still a side character to the main group of Suicide Squad characters led by Idris Elba. Idris is a wonderful actor, but a lead in a dark comedy, he does not carry it at all. Will Smith, maybe could have pulled it off if he had returned, Idris is just too much like Jason Momoa, delivers the line, looks pretty, but doesn't have much range.

So if you're looking for a poor man's Guardian Of The Galaxy meets Deadpool ,then this is your film. Otherwise, if you skip it, you won't be missing anything.

The Tomorrow War
(2021)

Does not work, on so many levels
Firstly, this movie is too long. Feels like there's a lot of padding here, especially in the pointless family drama scenes.

Secondly, the time travel aspect makes zero sense. Okay, they're sent into the future, but they come back. So why isn't anyone developing extra armor to deal with those flying spikes, or better weapons instead of low caliber assault rifles?! And nobody has grenades or bazookas?!!

And of course, they have the escape helicopter as far away from the important lab facility as possible. Why wasn't anyone monitoring that female creature? The daughter Colonel Forester even says earlier in the scene that she needs hourly injections of the tranquilizer. What a lame setup for everything else that came.

I also didn't understand Pratt's character's rationale for not wanting to 'leave' his daughter in the future. How stupid was he, as soon as he went back with whatever serum, and if they conquered the aliens early on, her future would have changed anyway.

The ending is also dumb. The government is unwilling to help them locate the aliens in Russia under the glacier, it doesn't want to spend the money. So somehow, they're able to put together a crack team with all that gear that flies they into Russia from the US, with what MONEY?!!

Then they march all the way to the glacier to inject the sleeping aliens one by one with that serum, but ultimately just end up blowing up the whole ship....which they could have done anyway! The very act of injecting the serum was pointless because it just woke them up. Which means, the whole act of even getting the serum and mass producing it, was pointless. And how did that comic relief character know where to find JK Simmons and Chris Pratt when they had taken off on their snowmobiles in a random direction to track the female creature. And wasn't he hurt, hence leaving him there?

So, if you can watch this for free on Prime, good enough. I'm glad I didn't spend money at the theater to watch this mess.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
(2017)

Watched It Again, Still Don't Like It
This movie doesn't work on a number of levels. First of all, nobody, not the protagonist, not the supporting characters, are likeable. Or relatable. A dysfunctional town where you don't really care about what happens to anyone, because they're all jerks.

The second thing that's bad about this movie is it isn't focused. The side story of showing Woody Harrelson's character's family life just grinds the movie to a halt. It's like you're watching two movies in one. It takes away the momentum of the movie.

Lastly, the terrible, open ending. Typical 'I'm gonna make it artsy by leaving it without a proper conclusion' b.s.

I guess I could make a more eloquent review with more detailed reasons why this movie didn't deserve all the accolades it got. But it doesn't deserve it. The director did have some good earlier work, and those I would recommend. This movie, nope.

Soul Train
(1971)

I'm surprised there aren't more reviews for this show!
I love Soul Train. I was too young to remember the original airings in the 1970s. But I did catch them on recent reruns almost 10 years ago. Every show was amazing. The energy, the love of music, the dance moves! I wasn't as interested in the later 1980s stuff, but the 1970s period, especially the early 1970s material, really caught my imagination. It's been disappointing that the show is still off the air, and not available to watch anywhere. I'm hoping that will change in the next few years. Soul Train is a show that can uplift all of us, especially in these depressing times. If anyone sees it airing anywhere, please post it here in the reviews!

The Relic
(1997)

Jaws In A Museum. Don't Lose Your Head Over This One!
I hadn't seen this one in years, decades? So I dug it out recently. I liked some of the build up, but at the end of the film, I really found it still unlikable. Many things are not explained in this film. For example, why did Dr Whitney change? I mean, he was fine when he ran to the shipping docks in Brazil to try to find his crates. And why would he need those crates, when he could just get more leaves in Brazil, if that's what he was craving? The ship - how did it make it all the way to Lake Michigan from Brazil? Not only would it have had to navigate the Atlantic Ocean, it would also have to pass through the St Lawrence Seaway, 3 great lakes (including the Welland Canal). The assumption is this creature was so crazy hungry for pituitary glands, the crew would have been wiped out within days, so who piloted the ship? Then we get the 'Jaws' type angle, where some important event needs to happen, and rich people have to attend, so closing the museum is not feasible. So after they catch who they thought was the killer (no explanation why that guy would have belongings from the ship in his possession), they consider it case closed and go ahead with the event. And of course, and all hell breaks loose. Then you get one decapitation scene after another, while much of that final act is in very dark and hard to see. Not sure why that was done, they had already revealed the CGI monster. By the end of the movie, it's still not clear what the monster was looking for or why it needed the leaves. The typical Michael Bay like ending, where explosions are happening all around a protagonist running from the flaming creature, and she just barely gets into some storage container as the place blows up around her. If you're looking for a mindless monster gore movie, this is the movie for you. Don't expect a tight script or a well-though out final act.

Envy
(2004)

A Satire That Doesn't Work, the Spray Should Have Been Used On This Script
The first act of this movie is excruciating to watch. Why are Jack Black and Ben Stiller acting so strange? They were overdoing it. It took me a while, but I figured out the director was going for SATIRE. This whole movie is a satirical look at someone getting rich quick, and how his best friend reacts to it. Much of the humor does not work. Much of it is predictable, you know it's going to go in a particular direction. It's very dated, feels like something out of the 70s or early 80s, but those really bad comedies from that era. A good comparison with a recent contemporary movie, would be that sci fi comedy, Evolution, with David Duchovny, which also had similar dated humor. These characters are all under developed and don't grow at all. A few are superfluous, to the point that they even disappear for the majority of the movie. Amy Poehler, who plays Jack Black's wife, is barely in the film, compared to the wife of Ben Stiller, played by Rachel Weisz. And the kids! Why were there even kids in the movie. They were under used, and just seemed like an excuse for Jack Black's character to have a silly horse, archery range, and a full sized merry go round in his yard. The kids completely vanish for huge chunks of the movie, I forgot the couples even had kids. And Christopher Walken's character...what was that? He was unrealistic, was able to get his hands on expensive equipment or gear, but never demonstrated he had the money to do so. And is just an overall waste of time. Even his attempt to blackmail Ben Stiller's character was pointless. The writing was way below the quality Jack and Ben usually deliver in terms of comedy. I feel like they must have done this movie as a favor. It would have worked better if Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau had played the best friends. So, if you're up for a brainless, very SAFE, comedy, attempting to be satire, you might enjoy this. If you're a fan of Jack Black and Ben Stiller, avoid this movie.

The only GOOD thing about this movie is that I discovered the Four Tops did an Italian language version of Can't Help Myself, which I never knew about. Beyond that, this movie deserves it's place in freebie streaming services.

Avanpost
(2019)

A Flawed But Decent Alien Invaders Movie
I was curious to see what a Russian scifi movie would be like. I've seen a few dramas, and they were usually pretty bleak. This one kind of was, but the ending I guess was 'hopeful'? The version I saw was an english dub, and the voices really didn't feel like they matched the actors, so if you can seek out the original language version, that might enhance the viewing experience. The direction is okay for this film. The action sequences and special effects are fairly decent. I would say on level of some Hollywood TV movies. But...one problem with this movie is the time jumps. This movie keeps jumping ahead without warning, or meaningful transitions, making it awkward to watch at times and confusing. One big example was one character had to be flown out of the battle zone, and head back to Moscow to recover from his injury. But it almost felt like the next scene he was back in the thick of the battle. It may have been a few scenes later, but that's the problem with the film, it's hard to get a sense of the passage of time with the jumps. It's almost as if it was made to be a 7 episode series of 1 hour episodes, and was edited down to 2 hrs. The other problem with the movie is the ending. The showdown between the two alien creatures was confusing enough, the explanations as to how Earth would be saved by killing the other bad alien who was controlling all the 'dead people', was also confusing. But then after they kill him, they start fighting each other. Eventually they kill the guy who helped them, but then a ship lands and just sits there. Huh? Wouldn't there be a crew on that ship to not only make sure the area was secured, but that the occupants were protected? So the survivors go onto the ship, start killing the occupants, but then stop as soon as they see the kids. The weird vag-faced children all awaken, cut to the end credits. Again, huh? So where is this supposed to go, they have no idea what these kids are going to eat, or if they'll be just as dangerous as their adult counterparts. Is this a set up for a sequel? lol So, if you are looking for a different non-Hollywood movie, this is a good one to see. But don't expect a clean, air-tight experience from the script or direction.

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