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Who am I?
Meet Joe Black (1998)
An underrated fairytale, perfect date movie
Who knows if Harvey Weinstein, from whom Carly Forlani has said she had escaped five times, had anything to do with the bad critical reviews this movie received. It was a bit of a box office bomb, so it took me two full decades to catch it. I wish I had seen it sooner.
This movie is epic. Watch it again, and a comment one of the daughters says at the beginning will make more sense. It's unrealistic in the way that truly grand tales are--if a woman meets a man in real life who forgets who he is, it's not a turn-on, but it is different when it happens to someone in a fairy tale. But this story is set in the real world, and so for the romantics among us, it represents something bigger than this world.
The length of the movie may discourage some, but this is a real story, and all stories don't come neatly packaged in 90 minutes. The B-story works too, until the very end, but that is the only reason I took a star off. It doesn't matter though. This is a love story of father and daughters, of love lost, of new love, of love regained.
Her Infidelity (2015)
What's wrong with the movie? Let me count the ways.
First odd thing you'll notice about this promising plot is Rachel Hunter's unconvincing American accent. It's so unstable and so bad when it's off that you wonder who thought it was necessary to make the movie work. Probably an American who finds foreign accents strange? Then you'll find that the women in this world have nothing better to do than spread their legs for the hot teacher. Yep, all the women have one taste and they have nothing better to do, including the married ones. Then there are the stupid decisions requisite of a slasher horror film, but this is supposed to be a psychological thriller. Well, I guess the writer couldn't find a way to make the story work otherwise.
And of course there's the title. The plot is more sympathetic to the woman than the title would suggest, though.
A good introduction, but unsatisfying
All in all, the documentary was an adequate introduction to a dying profession, but I wish more had been shown about what exactly the traders do. I have been trading stocks on the computer for many years, and I was still fuzzy at the end of the film about what these floor traders do.
And I wish the filmmakers had read Flash Boys. What remains in my mind long after I watched it was the scene where a trader, depicted as out of touch with technology (and he may have been), told his computer-savvy friend that the computer cheats. If only they had read Flash Boys, is my recurrent thought. He was onto something!
Andromeda: Point of the Spear (2003)
Another excellent episode, one of the best of the series
This is another episode centered around a battle, and tactics and twists.
The Pyrians, a species very different from humanoids in both appearance and motivations, confront the Andromeda in one of many battles in a major push across the galaxies. And people of uncertain motivations complicate battle strategies. What to do? Accompanying the excellent plot is excellent dialog, eminently quotable and very memorable. It tells us a bit more about a central mystery of the series, and develops other characters further. People act a bit strangely out of their characters, or do they?
Andromeda: The Honey Offering (2001)
One of the best episodes of the entire series
Once the show got into its stride, this episode represents the best the series had to offer. Sharp, witty dialog supporting suspenseful action. Beautiful characters. Great battle maneuvers. And Captain Dylan Hunt.
Science fiction, at its best, is human. This story portrays the different kinds of people that inhabit the Andromeda universe. The characters are multi-dimensional.
And did I mention great battle maneuvers? To be able to put that into a great TV episode is a treat. But it is one of those things that you can look back on, after watching the entire series, and see where Hunt outshines the Nietscheans.
An otherwise okay episode marred by the use of torture
It's a cheap emotional play for script writers to use torture as a device to extract information. It's wrong, it doesn't work in practice, and it needs to stop in the real and fictional worlds.
It does not matter who is involved. I know that this is the Castle-world, in which people involved with a victim in a case is allowed to work on the case. But it is exactly in this kind of situation that we show our true selves.
Just a few episodes before, Beckett showed herself to be a hero, putting justice above her emotions. Castle is never THE hero of the show, but Beckett in allowing him to do what he did is just as bad.
A rehash of the high school prom episode
The bad beginning of season 7 continues into this episode, which is little more than a rehash of the high school prom episode years ago. It is hard to find a great scene in the whole episode.
The jokes are obvious or fall flat. The characters rehash themes from their better days.
A highlight of this episode is the scene where... okay, I give up, I cannot think of one. There is no great acting, because the dialogues are so boring.
Sabrina can be better. This season just wades through water until it finds its footing in mud later on.
A duplicate of a first- or second-season episode
This episode is so bad, Harvey even uses the word "witch" as a derogative. Sure, it is difficult to break the millenia-old hatred toward "witches," but if this show cannot do it, why do the show? The start of season 7 is generally the worst of the series, and this episode, while not particularly bad, is no exception. It is not the worst, but it is poor enough. It is hard to find any good jokes--everything is well telegraphed or too cheap.
Little will surprise the viewer in this episode. The characters learn nothing. Sabrina learns the same lesson she learned so many years ago.
I miss the aunts.
One of the best episodes of the series
I'm watching this again years after the first viewing, and it's as good as I remember it. It is sad, yet hopeful. It is serious, but with humor, dark humor. It is poignant, and shows what could have been. And it is joyous.
Some shows aren't as good years later when you watch them again. Some episodes of Buffy, like many in the second season (besides the obviously pivotal ones, aren't as good as I remember them. But this episode shows two worlds without rushing through either. It is fast-paced, yet deliberate.
It is perfect.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Angel (1997)
One of the best episodes of the first season
We learn about the mysterious Angel in this tightly scripted episode. The extent of Buffy's feelings for him is also revealed. Comedic relief is provided by the vain Cordelia and Darla had some great lines, too. After a couple of episodes that filled out the other main characters but did not much further the plot, this episode moves along swiftly while providing the backstory to one of the most popular characters on the show.
For me, three episodes really stood out in the first season: the series premiere, which grabbed my attention with the first scene; this episode, which provided the first major twist in what would become a main character; and the season finale, which as is the norm in the story does not disappoint.
90210: Mother Dearest (2010)
The episode started off with a picture of "Mother Theresa."
I guess I should have known that this would be a subpar episode when it started with a media-created persona known as "Mother Theresa." Just as it would be blasphemous in polite society to question the real woman behind the persona, so it might to the 90210 fan to hear a question about the show. Well, I guess--I suppose--it was inevitable that a strong run of episodes would come to an end, but I did not figure it would fall apart so soon. I hope this is just an abnormality and that regular service will be restored next week. It would be nice to see a more realistic portrayal of the end of relationships, for example, although the show is doing an alright job so far.
Enterprise: Rogue Planet (2002)
Tradition must take second place to morality.
I think the other comment missed the point of this episode. There are villains in this story, the hunters who placed their enjoyment over the lives of their prey. Hunting sentient beings is so revolting I cannot believe I need to write a post to clarify the point. So what if the hunters have been doing it for generations? I am fairly certain some people used the same argument to defend slavery and fight abolition.
The conclusion of this episode was spot-on. The hunters knew what they were doing and would not be dissuaded from their blood sport. They would keep returning to the planet. The only solution, then, is to arm the inhabitants. One must not mistake practicality for morality, though.
Minority religions are easy prey to comedy.
I am not a Buddhist and do not have warm or fuzzy feelings towards the religion, but that is no excuse for the show's writers and producers to allow the use of a religious symbol to create comedy if they are not willing to do so with other religions.
What am I talking about? This episode showed the dropping of a Buddha statue, even though it was later implied that it was not damaged, I do not believe that the show would use a Christian or Jewish symbol in the same way. I do not believe that religion should be immune from comedy, oftentimes it invites them, but it should not be done at the expense of a minority.
V: The Final Battle (1984)
Religion spoils a show again.
Catholic influences are sprinkled throughout this science fiction adventure, taking shortcuts to material and moral dilemmas. Miracles replace human endeavors, while the species-centric nature of the writing glosses over genocidal decisions. The fifth column is reduced to helping in a lopsided partnership. Is that the best writers can do? I surely hope that the new series on ABC will do more justice to these not-insignificant problems, just as the early seasons of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica (another show ruined by unnecessary religious plot devices) did. Is religious fanaticism not the cause of untold crusades? What would it say about humanity if we must rely on religion to fight the dark forces?
Angel: Supersymmetry (2002)
So Fred made the noose that took out the evidence.
So to speak...
Unlike Buffy's defeat of Glory, the conclusion of this episode works a lot worse ethically speaking. I don't want to talk spoilers, but suffice it to say that Buffy made sure Glory was left alive. Getting off on a technicality should not be what life is about, what this show is about.
I've read that one difference between Buffy and Angel is that the former clearly delineated good from wrong. All too often, I feel, the latter takes the question too lightly.
This episode exemplifies that.
Dollhouse: Echoes (2009)
Not Whedon's best
"They don't care about souls, human OR animal." With dialogues like that, and ones more explicitly Godly, Joss Whedon has created a unique concept that is at the same time curiously non-atheist, unlike his previous series. Gone are the days when you find morality in Whedon's tales to be the results of thinking. Gone are the days when Whedon would say, "If nothing we do means anything, then the only thing that means anything is what we do." Or so it appears.
Anyone who does not harbor some rudimentary sense that cruelty is wrong is unlikely to learn that it is by reading. - Sam Harris, The End Of Faith
Voyage of the Unicorn (2001)
Show your children this film if you want to CLOSE their minds.
Some good eye candies are ruined in this movie by the most outrageous comments I've heard in a children's movie. "When it comes to magic, don't ask too many questions" came out of one child's mouth. The writer's obviously no fan of William Drummond ("He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; he that dares not reason is a slave"). Or how about some Socrates ("There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance").
"Faith precedes miracles" is another gem from the child. But when faith doesn't work, it's fate, or God's will, or a test, or, uh, mysterious ways.
The film also sets up from the start a false dichotomy about reality and magic. That, of course, implies a god of the gaps, and in any case, as Friedrich Nietzsche pointed out, "a casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything."
The funniest thing, though, is that the dad let slip that "snakes are common in mythology." Then the child devalues the library.
Then the dad attempts magic and the daughter an Indian dance. The story ends with the girl saying, "By believing one sees." That's all the evidence anyone has of faith: they must first delude themselves.
Whatever the tagline says, it's not fate!
Many people will see this movie portray what is often described as fate, but it is ironic that the protagonist is an atheist. That's right: he does not believe in any god.
I am glad to have caught the film on TV, even if I missed another program because I couldn't tune away from the channel. Yes, the acting of the two main characters was so strong, and they had so much chemistry together, that the sometimes predictable plot was more than made up for.
We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us. - Henry Charles Bukowski (another atheist)
I had so much hope for this episode.
This episode is, of course, a fictionalized (i.e., heavily re-written) account of the kidnapping and murder of the former head of American Atheists, an episode from which few except federal law enforcement came out with credits to their name. The institution did not have the best internal controls, and the local cops were of no help. So I thought it'd make a great story in the hands of this capable L&O franchise.
I could not be more wrong. Not only is the writing/plot below average, the writers obviously did not understand atheism at all. Most glaring is the last uttered words, "She didn't believe in heaven or hell, so how could she know that the Devil was doing her hair..." Seriously, that's the best L&O: CI could come up with? A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything. - Friedrich Nietzsche
We Were the Mulvaneys (2002)
Above average TV movie
It might be difficult for the younger generations to understand the progression of this movie's plot. We know now that women have rights, too, that they are sometimes violated against their will, and that hidden secrets have a way of coming out against our will.
But people just a few decades ago did not know that. Just three decades ago, a women was presumed to have invited a man to have sex with her if she cried rape. Sexual abuses were hushed, pregnant girls sent away in group homes.
I suspect that women from past eras will find this film provoking, and the younger ones will do well to see how much progress has been achieved since. We still have a long way to go, of course.
Intimate Stranger (2006)
Above average TV movie
This is one of those above average TV movies that you'll be glad to have caught on, well, television. I saw it on LMN, and it is definitely worth the while. There's not really a dull moment - and what a creep! The warning signs of an obsessive/abuser is well done--women and girls will be well advised to take heed.
If a guy moves too fast in the relationship, if he doesn't respect boundaries, if he can't take criticisms, if he starts making decisions for you, if you get a gut feeling...listen to your friends, but don't be beholden to them - unless they're warning you against an abuser. It's better to have love and lost then to hold on to an unhealthy relationship.
Some of these comments are so moralistic--exactly what the film's about!
Comments that blame the victim are exactly what the film was preaching against. No, this is no Academy Award-winning film. It didn't win any critics' award, or Sundance, or Golden Globe, but it has a point. Many people are hypocrites and they will find it difficult to find in favor of women who show any sexuality. To the poster who dismissed the girl because she took a drink from a stranger--imagine your daughter forgetting that rule for one moment--here are two quotes for you to chew on: Hell is the theological equivalent of "Boy are you gonna get it when your dad gets home!" - Jack Carlson The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists--that is why they invented hell. - Bertrand Russell
Wonderfalls: Wound-up Penguin (2004)
Faith is fantasy. How awful for this episode the perpetuate the myth.
Wonderfalls is well written, but it's just a light-hearted teenage (well, 20-something) detective show. It surely has the worst theme song ever. And in this third episode of the series, it affirms the existence of God.
Jose Ortega Y Gasset wrote in "The Modern Theme": "The superstitious mind is, in effect, a dog in search of a master. Slavery is its highest ambition." Why does this 20-something girl try to bring a former nun back to her futile position? Why would the ex-nun believe in the existence of a Devil if she no longer believed in that of a god? Kurt Vonnegut said, "Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile." And Friedrich Nietzsche said, "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything."
Friday Night Lights: Mud Bowl (2007)
Another failed attempt at a sexual assault scene
If I could ask the writers of Friday Night Lights one question, it would concern this episode, and in particular the sexual assault scene. Why couldn't they get it right?! There was nothing seriously wrong with the scene, but it does not bring with it the heavy emotions it should, either. Such ineffective scenes become unemotional and clichéd.
The only realistic scene having to do with rape I remember is in the last episode of Firefly, which showed the audience what rape really means to the victim.
It is time for TV and movie writers to visit a rape crisis center and speak with people who went through the traumatic experience, or people who work with such victims, before making another half-hearted attempt at a serious subject.
I Am Legend (2007)
Another good film ruined by the unnecessary intrusion of a god
As Laplace realized so many centuries ago, the world operates fine without the assumption of the existence of a god (and may I add, of any supernatural occurrence). By definition, whatever is is, and whatever happens happens. That is the basis of evolution and of every science investigation.
So why did the film feel the need to apologize for an all-powerful god? Why did it have to mention gods at all? The world operates without that assumption. We can ruin lives unintentionally, we can do stupid things intentionally, and we can even find a cure for a disease once in a while. The world operates without the assumption!