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On the Verge (2021)
No, Sorry, Just No, Please!
I can't go on. I couldn't get past episode 2. Do we always have to have things be about issues? And it's not that I mind listening to women complain about their lives and what a-holes men are, but would it kill you to have a story? And by "story" I mean a narrative that isn't just moving from one train wreck to the next? And if you can't do that, then how about a few jokes? EP02 had the idea that a joke could be avoiding everything Italian because the guest of honor's wife had oral sex with an Italian guy. Hilarious, right?
If you can get through the dinner party conversation in EP02 without turning this off, you have a completely different sense of quality writing than I.
Only Murders in the Building (2021)
Defintely not a 10 Star Series
This is little more than OK, if that. The reviews are being bombed by first-time reviewers obviously with an agenda in mind that has nothing to do with the actual quality of this show. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say they are either paid to score this a 10, or they are somehow part of the production.
It's nothing special. If you are into whodunits, this may be your thing. They almost always turn out to be a lot less clever than they think they are. They are trying to be super-campy but I find the series falls short and is just sort of boring. I have no desire to keep watching and I can already see the story unraveling and not making much sense.
I gave up before the end of episode 2. There was nothing that made me want to keep watching. It wasn't funny and the mystery bit wasn't interesting.
The Chair (2021)
Sanctimony as a Film Genre
The biggest problem with this series is that the conflicts are completely ridiculous, and that's sort of a major flaw. Even the snowflakiest students in the world wouldn't have gotten that bent out of shape over such a stupid incident. No Nazis at Pembroke. Please. Phone-obsessed hipsters win!
This is billed as a comedy, but it's way too preachy to be funny. The very first gag stinks. The chair breaks, get it? That is just really weak writing. Then, the male protagonist tips over the golf cart he stole, and then he falls off his scooter. Hilarious, right? I defy anyone to point out a joke. And why would anyone give a Nazi salute? In front of a class? He deserves to be rail-roaded out of the school.
People of color? I thought we were supposed to stop saying colored people? Old White men are the root of all evil and, of course, the Black woman is the perfect teacher and human being. The script for this is boiler plate PC clichés. It's like the old Westerns with only two colors of hats to differentiate between good and bad, but here ethnicity and color are the good guys while old White people are the villains.
Where this really went off the rails for me was the mention of Herman Melville as a wife beater by a student in a lecture, a student who probably couldn't be bothered to read Moby Dick and instead read a 120-character Tweet about Melville. What if Johann Sebastian Bach had beat his wife, or uttered the letter-before-O-word? Would that invalidate the Goldberg Variations or The Book of 48? Not that any of the millennial idiots baying for blood in that scene would know these work by the maestro.
Then this tenured professor, a writer, and intellectual, can't out-argue a group of moronic, cultural-revolution pin-heads? At no point is any of the sanctimony directed at the students, obviously they are too pure to be criticized. They are the hysterical woke mob (Mao's Red Guard) and are as much to blame as the entitled elite they march against, ready to fly off into another frenzy on the basis of one Tweet.
There was some great acting. I liked the old broad (Holland Taylor) and the little girl the most. It's too bad they made them out to be ridiculous. The kid insulting her own mother at every step, and the old professor just being absurd and silly with material right out of I Love Lucy. The writing was just uninspired at every turn.
Terrible Script, Nice Scenes of Lovely Greece, Not Worth Your Time
Right off the bat, before I've seen a single frame of the film, I can tell that it's too long at 1h50m, or probably too long. This is a common problem with Netfix movies I've noticed. Just because we are watching these movies in the comfort of our own homes doesn't mean the runtime can overstay its welcome. A thriller should be 1h30m. Everyone knows that. Twenty extra minutes can be an eternity.
Even the title is stupid.
I can tell them how to cut out ten minutes: lose the first ten minutes of the guy and his wife. We know from the trailer that she dies in a car accident, so start after that. We don't need to see him killing his own wife by driving while sleeping.
Some truly awful action scenes, but more than anything, this was just a complete mess. Hire a competent writer would be my recommendation. This made almost no sense.
Best President in American History Honored
Obama was more intelligent and a better man than anyone who's been in the White House in a long time. Period. His detractors can't argue this, and they hated him for it. They would rather see Obama slandered than see America progress in any way. What strange patriots.
I loved this president and this documentary is more a celebration of the intelligent people working with and around Obama. Compare his people to the yes-men morons in Trump's circle, or the war criminals telling GWB what to do at every step. Obama continues to be a shining light and an example of American greatness, while Trump is still saying the election was rigged liked Captain Queeg and his strawberries.
What really drove conservatives crazy about Obama was that they could never get any dirt on the guy. They talk and talk about family values and whatever, meanwhile they elect a human pig who was married three times, paid a porn star $100,000 to try to shut her up, and said on TV that he grabbed women by the crotch. Obama has a wonderful wife and two great kids, his administration had zero in the way of scandals. Zero. That's why conservatives lost their minds over Benghazi because they finally thought they had something, but after a ridiculous investigation that was longer and more expensive than 9/11, they found zero again.
Conservatives spent so much time and energy trying to make Obama fail. They didn't care if what they were doing wasn't in the best interests of the country. How do I know this? They said so. All the cared about was making sure he was a one-term president, even after he inherited the disastrous economy Bush left behind in which we were losing hundreds of thousands of jobs every month. Then they immediately started screaming about the national debt, something that didn't trouble them when they started two costly and ill-fated wars.
Miss Sloane (2016)
So The Gun Lobby Loses? Never Happens, Unfortunately
America is being turned into a failed state because the gun lobby has convinced a lot of foolish people that somehow firearms are the only thing that makes us free. This was a decent drama and you could only hope that in some parallel fantasy world, this would really happen.
The Unit (2006)
Too Awful To Even Hate-Watch
You have got to be kidding? This is like a really bad parody of a military/family drama and it's hard to tell which side they do worse.
The Unit - Never heard of it. First of all, there is nothing on network TV that is even a little bit good. 22 episode seasons is simply undoable. Period. Only when TV stopped doing this did we have anything approaching quality, and this was all on the cable stations like HBO.
Nine Films About Technology (2021)
Moments of Clarity Mixed with Whining and Poor Writing
The idea of this was great: give short films a chance on Netflix. The execution was poor, for the most part. There really wasn't a winner in the bunch. Poor writing sank this project.
I kind of liked some of these, but as an American living abroad as an immigrant (sort of) I thought the shorts with the older Chinese woman and her plight with a young woman boss was lame. Here's an idea: if you're an immigrant, try assimilating. Work harder at learning the language instead of making food for your spoiled son or pining for the homeland.
In a million years I would never fault anyone where I live of discrimination because my Spanish isn't up to par. That's on me. If you aren't comfortable with that, maybe you'd be more comfortable to be back home. No one asked me to come here, and I'm positive no one asked that old broad to emigrate to the USA.
I loved the episode where the mother and daughter both died after falling into the outhouse hole going after a phone. Very poignant.
Mare of Easttown (2021)
Easttown: Where Everyone is a Suspect
I hate whodunits, and this is the grand salami of whodunits because literally everyone in the town is a suspect. There are so many red herrings dumped on viewers that you'll need a lifeboat to stay afloat. The "case" in this series is pretty weak and just seems like a rehash of The Killing, which wasn't interesting at all, either.
They make such a big deal out of Kate's accent, but so what? Try learning another language and you wouldn't be impressed by faking another accent in your own language. I think she's a good actor, just saying that this accent thing got blown way out of proportion.
I can't believe that anyone who sat through every episode of this was satisfied with that ridiculous finale. Why not just say the butler did it?
Out of Death (2021)
There's Nothing about This Film That Isn't Awful
You are welcome to look for yourselves, but I'm sure that everyone will agree with me. This is a monumentally horrible movie from start to finish, from the flashbacks at the very beginning of the movie-yes, at the beginning. What are you flashing back to? The movie hasn't even begun. It's like they only did it to remind the audience that Bruce Willis is going to be in it. Once you see him, you may want to reevaluate your relationship with the former star who looks to be about a month away from buying one of those rascal scooters.
Even the title is awful.
There's a lot more bad to come, like the horrible music sequences, which also start at the opening credits. Then there's the bottom-of-the-barrel acting crew who they seem to have hired at a Home Depot parking lot, although I always blame bad acting on the bad director.
On one side of the equation, we have a group of criminals who are "intellectually and developmentally disabled," at least that's what I was coached to say because, evidently, it isn't cool these days to call them morons or half-wits so as not to cause offense.
Storyline: A corrupt Sheriff's department in a rural mountain town comes undone when an unintended witness throws a wrench into their shady operation.
This seems to have been the entire script and everything in the movie was simply ad-libbed by the "actors." The dialogue was pure boilerplate writing and clichés you've heard a millions times in every lousy movie of this genre.
The "action" scenes are hopelessly stupid and very poorly choreographed, but why bother with logic when everything else is such a disaster? And what do you expect from villains when one of them is called Billie, which I assume is short for hillbilly. And you can just forget about character development as that wasn't in the budget, but they got Bruce Willis, , man.
"...due to COVID-19 shutdowns, Willis could only be on set for one day. Therefore, they filmed all of his scenes in a single day."
Unfortunately, for half of Bruce's work day he seemed to be taking his nap. It looks like the entire movie was made in one day from the script to the final edits.
I'd estimate that Bruce is at least thirty years past his expiration date as an action hero. Maybe he is opening up an entirely new genre at the cinema: action grandpa. Or how about an action hero grandpa with Alzheimer's? For this, all they would have had to do was dress Bruce in pajamas for his stroll in the woods.
Till Death (2021)
The Same as Every Other "Hand-Cuffed to a Corpse" Movie
If you think this ridiculous premise can get you through a 1h28m feature film, good luck with that. Equal parts bloody and stupid with every horror/thriller trope thrown in like they are making a bad movie potluck dinner. I wish that I could have been there at the meeting when they decided to give this story a greenlight. You have to wonder about what they rejected to push this into production: half a Siamese twin you have to drag around? How about a 160-pound tumor? She can't remove the leash from her pet wolverine? Two women have to share the same pair of pants for the day? I can keep going if you want. I can do this all day.
Here is the storyline: A woman is left handcuffed to her dead husband as part of a sick revenge plot. Unable to unshackle, she has to survive as two killers arrive to finish her off.
You could rearrange those words in just about any order to come up with a better movie.
The Tomorrow War (2021)
Why do they have to make so much noise?
There is so much screeching and lousy music and bombs exploding that you can't hear yourself think about how stupid it is. Oh, now I get it. Sorry for asking.
The typical paradox I see in most of the genre of film is that they never really define what kills the aliens. From one combat scene to the next, the rules seem to change on how to kill them.
They fire a million rounds into them with no effect whatsoever. Bellies and necks we are told are their soft spots. So, should we rub them or shoot them? And like all of bad movies of this genre, you can only kill them when it is necessary for the plot for them to die.
The aliens are fast enough to run down a moving vehicle, yet sometimes the her can outrun them.
They have advanced combat aircraft, yet the choose to fight with foot soldiers carrying small caliber weapons.
I Was Sold by the Trailer - Brilliant
Four episodes in and I'm thoroughly hooked. There are so many great characters in this that every one of them could run off on their own and build their own colony (I think they call that a spin-off series). I love how everyone had a lot more to them than meets the eye. Just when you think you've run into a stereotype or a cliché, that person surprises you with an original take on what you had already mapped out in your head.
At the end of E4 Eva makes a joke about how she doesn't know how to swim. I won't spoil it except to say it was a great joke.
I love the thirty minute episodes as opposed to the sometimes lumbering forty-five minutes of most dramas which take a lot of commitment for a show you may not every like all that much.
The Devil All the Time (2020)
Great Story, Superb Cast
Super creepy, but in a good way.
I had just finished the book "The Devil All the Time" by Donald Ray Pollock when I got around to the film. I highly, highly recommend the book, and you should read it first. The film version was excellent, although I don't understand why the director felt the need to throw in lines that weren't in the book. I just didn't see the need in it as the book covered everything quite well.
The casting for this was phenomenal and probably was the most difficult part of the film's process. The book was so highly entertaining that it seemed to me like a lay-up for a filmmaker. This guy hit the lay-up, and then some.
Master of None (2015)
Some Fine Ideas But They Can't Get Away from the Bad Writing
I tried to watch this when it was first released and the dude just bugged me. I started watching again and stuck with it. The truth is that I didn't totally hate it, not S01 anyway. And it had a few redeeming points. Unfortunately, none of the points were in the humor category. They kid just isn't funny, not for me. He just seems like the dorky kid who had a couple geek friends who laughed at him and he ran with it.
Not only is he the least sexy man alive, he's also kind of a creep with women, and I'm not talking about his problem with his date from hell, I mean his persona on the show that he created. The Finale of S01 when he is agonizing with his girlfriend about whether he is 100% certain with her, he just shows himself for the little creep that he is.
The episode on the first dates was a great idea but they really dropped the ball on the writing. It's like the jokes are written by people who have never actually heard a joke before and are writing jokes from an instruction manual on how to write 1950s sitcom gags.
On just about every episode where they are really out to dramatize an issue, they just come across as after-school-specials and fall flat. They just weren't funny, not at all. A lot of what passes for humor his him trying to be cute and charming with women and it's just not funny. There are a couple of strong supporting actors, thank heavens, that carry some of the burden of the under-written script, but they can only do so much.
Season three was as boring as watching a security camera in a department store. I just couldn't watch it.
Jarecki Treats Murderer Durst Like a Movie Star
While this was well-researched, and I know journalists and documentary makers are supposed to be objective, I thought Jarecki treated a serial killer piece of filth like some kind of star. He never even really asked him any difficult questions or tried to get at the horrible crimes this man obviously committed.
It's astounding how useless the prosecutors were in the murder trial in Galveston. Without any legal training other than what I've seen on TV, I could have slam-dunked that conviction. When Durst was on the stand, the prosecutors allowed him to continue his ridiculous narrative that he acted in self-defense and then carved up the corpse like a Thanksgiving turkey.
The guy is going on trial once again in California. Perhaps this time justice will be served.
Wrath of Man (2021)
Guy Ritchie Makes an Itchy and Scratchy Movie Staring Jason Statham
One more lousy action film with a plot that has yet another hole punched in it with every shot fired-and there are a lot of shots fired. These movies need to come with a count that shows total people killed and rounds fired. This was Ritchie's homage to Michael Mann's Heat. Ritchie comes up empty handed.
You know the brand, the movies where Statham is such a tough guy that bullets are afraid to hit him. He goes up against highly-trained ex-military criminals, yet his are the only bullets that can hit their targets. And he's so cool that he shoots a pistol with one hand.
The final heist scene was REALLY stupid. For arch-criminals making a plan, it wasn't much of a plan at all, at least one that had the slightest chance of success. Basically, they walk into an armored car company's cash depot and have a shootout. While waiting for the police to arrive.
There were a lot of dumb characters, but my favorite was the cowardly lion.
The soundtrack was weak, like listening to a slight variation of the "Song of the Volga Boatmen" on a constant loop. The title is also sorta dumb.
The zigzagging timeline thing got old almost immediately: three months ago, five months later, yesterday, and whatever. Should I write all of this down to keep score? Sometimes flashbacks are necessary, but to use them as a gimmick is annoying.
The really stupid aspect of the movie is its raison d'être. Wait for it...it's a revenge fantasy. How original. Of course, this means we have to introduce the person being avenged, in this case his estranged son. If he loved the kid so much, maybe he should have stayed with the mother...and not chosen a life of violent crime. "He killed my son whom I see twice a year by order of my divorce decree." The final act of revenge in these tales is always supposed to come as some sort of cinematic answer to the orgasm. In this case, as with most films of this ilk, you'd think this climax was written by a prepubescent kid who's never had one before. I didn't feel anything except relief that it was finally over.
By the way, his name was Doogie Howser.
Mississippi Burning (1988)
The FBI Were Not the Good Guys In the Civil Rights Era
This movie is a joke, historically-speaking. As a film, about the only bright point is Gene Hackman's performance. In the end, a couple of hicks went to jail and almost 60 years later we're still a mess when it comes to race in America.
Taking Chance (2009)
No Politics, Just Honoring a Soldier
It's hard to believe that with all of the garbage they crank out in Hollywood, they manage to produce a little film like this every once in a long while. This was a bt maudlin at times, but considering the subject matter, they didn't go overboard on.
Kevin Bacon is awesome in this. He may be my absolute favorite actor.
If there is a message in this movie, it should be that as a nation we need to be completely sure about our military actions. In our democracy, we refer to the military as "national defense." Our wars in Iraq weren't really about that. The best way to honor our soldiers is to never put them in harms way unless we have no other option.
While I rated this a 10, I can also understand people who ranked it a 1 for not addressing the politics of the Iraq War, a war almost no one defends at this point in history. It was a terrible mistake. I opposed it from the beginning.
Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021)
Dumstper Fire of a Movie - Stupid from Start to Whenever I Stopped Watching
Wow, this was just painfully bad. Just looking at the protagonist I wanted to reach through the screen and apply balm to her bloated and chapped Botox lips. A forensic accountant feels the need to tell his ten-year-old son his work against organized crime or whomever. They were like the team that plays the Harlem Globetrotters: completely inept at the job they are supposed to do, but, man, they are good at killing innocent people.
Ugh. So dumb. Next, at the first trace of lightening, Angie dives off the tower and falls at least twenty feet flat on her back. Why did she jump? Why isn't she in a wheel chair for life? I guess the director just thought, "Let's throw in some action." That was just about the dumbest scene I've ever seen. Then they cut from her falling on her back, to her standing by a stream pulling porcupine quills out of her hand with a knife. Did that make sense to anyone? She backpacks in to the fire stand like it's a major accomplishment, then the little kid shows up after running about a half kilometer from the highway.
Crack assassins can't seem to kill some schlub accountant? Then the cop just happens upon this crime scene that starter out in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Wow, what a coincidence. Don't you just love those for advancing a plot? This occurred literally minutes after the crime.
How could she even make this horribly maudlin piece of dreck movie? It's embarrassing for me to even watch it alone at home, so how could she shoot this trash in front of a crew?
On top of all of that horrible., she had a back history. Of course. I didn't focus on that part and turned it off, but I'm sure it was just as awful as the rest of the story. It was some trash about kids burning up while she just cried watching them. Great job! Seriously, did someone get paid to write this? There wasn't a single honest or believable moment in the entire film.
Do yourself a favor and find a book to read.
The Woman in the Window (2021)
In a World Without Curtains
The movie was almost as bad as the novel, and considering how bad the novel was, I think that must have been hard to do. A neurotic, drugged-out wino spies on her neighbors constantly. Not only is the movie shockingly boring, but it's almost entirely shot in very dim light so you can barely see anything. It just seems that if you are going to limit the visuals in a movie to this absurd degree, you should have thought about just making it a radio drama.
Gutsy Move by the Obama Administration
This is an excellent, step-by-step account of how the United States intelligence services first tracked down, and then eliminated Osama Bin Laden. Was it worth the money and effort? I would say that it wasn't, but it certainly showed the effectiveness of our intelligence agencies and their military extensions.
One aspect of the hunt for OBL that always troubled me was the debacle at FOB Chapman. How did the CIA allow that to happen? How could they have screwed up so desperately? Seven dead and many more injured. Why wasn't the guy searched first? The whole crew just standing around waiting for him. It just seems like a screw up of titanic proportions.
With the security people behind a blast wall, they could've asked the guy to get out of the vehicle and show what was under his robes. The absolutely should have known better at that point in the game.
Hannah Gadsby: Nanette (2018)
No One Cares About Hannah Gadsby's Gender
Waiter: Excuse me, sir. Are you ready to order?
Hannah Gadsby: How dare you? I am NOT a man.
Waiter: Like I give a flying freak. Are you ready to order or not?
The morale of this story is that the Hannah Gadsbys of the world shouldn't blame the waiters of the world, most of whom really don't care about your gender issues. If you don't want to be mistaken for a man (the worst animal on the planet, in Gadsby's opinion) you can't blame anyone for that but yourself.
As if anyone cares whether Hannah is a he or a she. Her entire act is based on her assumption that her boring sexuality matters to anyone other than Hannah Gadsby.
This is basically a thoroughly humorless-and I mean thoroughly and utterly humor-free-lecture about how horrible men are and how we all need to just laugh more. OK, I'm waiting.
I would imagine that the only people who found this funny and, gulp, brilliant, all look like Hannah Gadsby. Hannah Gadsby certainly finds this stuff hilarious because she laughed at it more than I did, but I didn't laugh at all.
Lesbians have feedback, men have opinions, because men are all such monsters. Like no lesbian has ever been a loud-mouthed creep in the history of lesbians.
That Damn Michael Che (2021)
Funny and Well-Crafted Episodes
I rarely watch SNL so I didn't really know Michael Che well. I saw him with Seth Meyers on his show and I was convinced to check out this series. Glad I did.
I like that each episode has a recurring theme that they play around with like jazz improvisation. I'm on episode 3 as I write this and I've already laughed out loud (Yes, you can actually write that all the way out) several times. What would be mind-bogglingly absurd for most people (Whites, and anyone living where I do in Europe) is somehow routine for American Blacks-like taking the train to the hospital after a gunshot wound because the ambulance is too expensive.
"Know what I'm saying?" It's more like a comma. Now I know.
Philly D.A. (2021)
Can We Change a Completely Broken System?
"It's nice to have power instead of outrage."
- Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.
I haven't lived in the USA for a while, so forgive me if this is all new news for me. I was hooked from the very first scene in which Krasner and his team are in the process of ending "stupid" which in this case consisted of completely draconian laws regarding victimless crimes (minor drug possession and prostitution).
Krasner's basic philosophy is to end incarceration for petty crimes and use the money for other, more beneficial programs. If anyone still believes that we aren't putting enough people in jail in America, perhaps they would be more comfortable living in a dictatorship?
Krasner just seems like a really decent human being. He has been married to the same woman for three decades. He is committed and idealistic. OMG, the conservatives must totally hate him for that.
Ever since I was probably sixteen years old, I've felt that where a person stands on the death penalty is a litmus test for character and consistency. Krasner ran and won partly on his views against capital punishment. Obviously, many people in Philadelphia agree with him.
Too much weight has been given to John McNesby, the FOP chairman and a disgusting slob of a human being, not just because of his appearance, but for his Neanderthal views on the criminal justice system. McNesby claims that Krasner was never pro-law enforcement. A district attorney doesn't have to be pro-law enforcement, especially if he doesn't agree with the corrupt and racist practices of that department.
The former supervisor of the D. A. Juvenile Division was shown repeated on camera in direct opposition to the policies of the incoming new District Attorney, yet she seems surprised when she is replaced. Get with the program, lady, or hit the streets. The DA is a political appointment, he has to win an election which means he is going to be held accountable by the people who vote him in. He would be failing to serve the public if he allowed someone like her to sabotage his administration and their mission.
It's unbelievable that many people within the law enforcement system in Philadelphia wouldn't even give Krasner's policies a chance, like that bald judge shown in the series, for example. He claims he's been doing his job for thirty years...he says this without even a trace of irony as he presides over a completely failed system.