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Subtle but mesmerizing film that will stick in your head
Black and white is back....'Bait' is a fine piece of visually stunning filmwork.....a bloody work of art. It also includes a cast of many first timers that pulled their weight like big Hollywood stars.
A subtle story with a huge message. As a coastal Floridian USA, I know exactly what this film is talking about, only this film says it much better. I'm not even sure I have the intellect or the vocabulary to offer a satisfactory review or critique of this film.
A simple story with complex characters. Dialog is sparse but adequate and spoken visually with few words. The old time black and white ambiance is the perfect foil to portray the flawed nature of character.
A love story shown from many perspectives. A one time fishing village now in flux and weathering out the new reality. A fisherman unwavering and unwilling to change with the times. I widowed father doing what he needs to survive for his son. The city folk looking for peace and quiet weekend. The Inn keepers building a summer business. Teenagers coming to age and looking for relationships and purpose. The bar, and owner at the center of town serving her patrons and trying to stay afloat. They all revolve each other as each character reaches for what they believe is most important. Tragedy strikes and we see what's truly the most important.
This is a must see film and direction, location, content, casting, script, audio, visual, media, production, editing, etc, etc....were all well defined and executed. I rated a 9, excellent, although this type of film might not be everyone's cup of tea.
Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)
Disappointing to say the least
Well as much as I liked the first Zombieland film and was eagerly looking forward to Double Tap, this second installment of the Zombieland franchise, it failed horribly to live up to the first in almost every instance. Yes zombie films are usually shallow blood fests with thin plots and polar opposite characters trying to survive their circumstances together in close quarters trusting each other with their lives and then throw in the reality check that brings on the drama or comedy or romance.....for at the heart of every great film is a love story and this one is no different. The problem lies with a completely rediculous plot, rushed script, and unbelievable characters. Even a lot of the dialog seemed forced and out of character. The actors tried their best but the script was a very heavy weight to lift no matter how talented they are. So while this was still a fun watch, I had to rate it only a 6, which is just a watchable movie on my scale. I know sequels usually dont stand a chance and this one falls right into place.....far below the first.
Barely watchable rubbish
How does one describe and give review of such an obviously poor movie.....well here goes. First off, this was basically a love story wrapped in hatred and jealousy and topped off with revenge plus a tad bit of guilt and atonement...of course I don't want to spoil the overall plot. It's a common recipe that's been done countless times and sometimes it works brilliantly and sometimes it works out like this film did.....very poor. The script was full of holes, implausable scenarios, unnatural dialog, hollow characters, and forced drama. The action, special effects, and stunt work were unrealistic and almost laughable. The overall production value was worse than a made for TV movie. To finish off, this film was led by some fairly decent acting talent, which was the only reason I watched to begin with....but the script was so bad that no amount of acting talent could help. In fact, I'm really surprised some of them even signed on to this project, they must not have read the script or something. Anyway, I rated this film a 5, which is barely watchable on my scale, so don't waste your time.
The Umbrella Academy (2019)
Super heros with heart, drama, and pain
This series starts out a bit slow but quickly kicks into gear and brings the mystery, intrigue, action, drama, character development, special effects and direction by the end of episode one and forward. It can get a little bogged down in back stories and inner-family drama for an action super hero series, but if you can stick through those segments the overall plot and story along with enough action and special effects should be enough to hold your attention and make you like. The characters all have their own stories and personal drama going on as subplots and they're also all involved in the overall main plot. The acting was excellent, camera work, special effects, and directing were as well. The musical score was perfectly timed and matched to the in sequence of action taking place on screen as a very creative use and blend of sound and visual stimuli. My main complaint occured in the last episode where I thought a focal characters inner conflict seemed juvenile and way over blown and dramatic. Hard to believe someone is going to just stand still and let there throat be cut too. Also, throughout series, the writers made drama where none was needed and forced it along by not allowing the characters to simply communicate fully and accuratly with each orher. I guess that's how the writers thought they had to write in order to intensify the drama but what happens is the characters look inept, juvenile, and not very realistic. For the audience, it makes the character interactions in the series annoying and implausible. At any rate, the extraordinary powers genre is getting more and more crowded each year but this series is a top contender and looks like it is going to stay there.
Extracurricular Activities (2019)
Tightly woven dark comdramady
This was a fun film with a very well written script that will keep you entertained till the very end. The plot was simple and the acting was excellent. Even though some scenes were sort of predictable there was enough twists and turns to keep it smart and interesting. Definitely worth a watch as I rated it a solid 7, for very fair.
Castle Rock (2018)
Season 2 is way better than season 1
I almost gave up on this series during season 1 as it didn't have a very cohesive plot and was a bit of a snorefest. I liked the way Kings books (adapted from) make up all the plots and subplots but there wasn't enough scarey horror thriller mystery genre stuff in the first season. Well that all changed in season 2 and thankfully so and even I almost missed watching it but decided to give it another try anyway....and thankfully I did. This season 2 blended Salems Lot into the mix, although an adaptation, and really turned on the firehose of what this series should deliver on.....plenty of suspense, murder, thriller, mystery, psychosis, satanism, witchery, raising the dead, body snatching, etc, etc, King style. So be prepared for a way better story, better actors and acting, and at a much faster pace than s01. So if you liked s01, you should love s02....so much so it might even gain an extra star rating.
Artistic sensual romantic period drama you want to see
Perfect example of how a real piece of art should be made. Start to finish this film was full of beautiful scenery, woman, and dialog. The plot, theme, and story were all very well developed and slowly but deliberately laid out in front of you throughout the entire piece. The lead female actors were beautiful, their acting believable and wonderful, very sensual and erotic, and made the film a perfect gem. Less is more sometimes and this film gives you just enough of what is needed to fulful your appitite for a wonderful love story.....subtle, believable, and very sensual. Using art and artist as a medium to develop the relationship between the leads was executed perfectly with a brilliant script that gave life and love to them. Direction, production, and everything in between also made this movie a hit. It may not be for everyone but once you start watching you will want to see its entirety. This film is even with and may be better than 'GirI with a Pearl Ear Ring' which I also rated high. So I gave this film a very well deserved 9, for excellent.
Queen Marie of Romania (2019)
Slow boring and hard to get into.
I can't comment on the historical accuracy so this review is just about the film as a period drama. I found it a bit slow for my tastes. The characters were dull and boring. Any actionable drama seemed forced and somewhat out of character for the characters. I'm guessing the writers and producers wanted it that way and maybe it is historically accurate but the pacing and dialog practically put me to sleep. Sorry this was only watchable, a 6 for me.
The Informer (2019)
Only a fair movie at best.
This was a good story but the finished product just didn't have enough punch to make it a good film. They had good actors but wasted their talent with a hurried rushed script that didn't give them enough believability that opened up plot holes the size of the grand canyon. I really like Joel and Rose and tried to give this film some scenic leeway but it tried to be something it wasn't and ended flat. I think with a better script, more grit, and clean up some of the plausibility problems then rhis could have garnered a better score. As it stands its only fair....and barely.
Lost in Space (2018)
I really wanted to like this series as I grew up on the original 1960's version and loved that. The characters of this new Netflix series are almost polar opposites of their original counterparts which at first was tolerable and interesting way to redevelope them and bring the franchise into the 21st century, but as the series progressed they became increasingly more and more annoying with their completely idiotic decision choices or implausible fears etc..... After all, these are the best of the best space pioneers right?....wrong!! What's even more annoying is the writers consistently and premeditatedly and forcefully break my number one rule having characters do the most implausible things that absolutely nobody in any frame of mind would do.....seemingly or supposedly smart people doing the dumbest things just to invent some on screen drama. What's more is that every episode is packed full of the most innacurate science and then on top of that every character is a conspiring backstabbing selfish self interested person, even murderous to some extent, except of course the Robinson family who repeatedly get blindsided out of stupidity by all the liars and backstabbers, yet never learn from it. The writers of this series must really have no imagination since they have to continually force events and actions by costars and periphery characters and nature that anyone with half a brain would not step into or allow. The final blow is the depths at which they sunk Dr. Smith down into. Their character is just so over the top annoying that nobody in their right mind would have allowed them to continually plot against the welfare of the rest of the pioneers.....just ridiculous. Over and over and over nobody seems to learn from past experiences and they are supposed to be the best of the best of earthlings chosen to go on this space mission to a new world.....but the writers make them so flawed that it's hard to believe they even got off the ground. If it weren't for the very high production value I would rate this a 5 for barely watchable....fortunately the special effects is the only saving grace and bumps the score to a 7, just fair. I really wanted to like it but just to many idiotic plot holes and bad science the writers could have fixed if they researched better or just flat out had more intelligence.
The Dead Don't Die (2019)
All star cast wasted on boring zombie script
This was just a watchable film and rated 6 as the slow subtle humor was dished out by an all star cast that seemed to miss the mark on every strike. Even the talking zombies tried to deliver their version of dry humor that most often fell flat.
Dark and disturbing, but worth the watch.....
Three episodes detailing the dark and disturbing mind and actions of a media spotlight hoar and the group of outraged and compassionate men and women who tracked him down and brought him to justice. This documentary is very well laid out, executed, and explained bit by bit and with real testimony from each and every person involved in the effort to bring this psychopath to justice. The use of intertwining actual real life news clips and security cam footage along with internet photos, videos, and message threads were knitted together into a cohesive story easy to follow and understand. The narration keeps the timeline in order and shows what the investigators were feeling and dealing with over the 18 mos cat and mouse chase it took to solve these horrendous crimes. The visceral accounting of the perpetrators murderous actions of kittens and more with just enough actual uploaded video by the villian himself will tear at your heartstrings and turn your stomach inside out.....so be prepared to head for the head if you get queezy as this series will rip you in half. Thank god and the hard work of these justice seekers that was finally stopped. So watch this documentary if solving major crimes and the steps taken by all involved to get there is in your wheelhouse of intellectual programming. I rated a 9 for excellent. PS....who was the third hand?
We Used To Know Each Other (2019)
Tight little rom/com/dram that's worth a look
I saw this film as a testament that it doesn't take a big budget or lots of Hollywood talent to make a good movie......it's all in the writing and this one was very well written. In fact, almost to realistic that it reminded of the exact type of conversations I had with many long time girl friends in the past....some very awkward moments. This film was directed perfect, well cast, and well edited. Location worked good too. It was full of subtle humor and some laugh out loud humor and of course a few dramatic moments. The subject matter was spot on and perfectly crafted such that the flow of the film kept a good pace and didn't bog down on any one topic....it just kept delivering on the relationship conundrum that can sabotage and castrate a strained relationship or perhaps build it into something that is so strong nothing can break it down.....hard to tell. But this one rated a solid 8, a good movie on my scale, which means definitely worth watching.
After the Wedding (2019)
I agree with NO American remakes of great foreign flicks
Not much to say about this American remake.....the Danish original with Mads was so great. Foreign films don't work in America.....completely different cultures.
Code 8 (2019)
A fair film most scifi techies and mutant power lovers should like
I'll start off by saying I was pleasantly surprised by the special effects in this movie. I thought they seemed realistic and as good as any x-men effects. The plot and story were not unoriginal but they have definitely been played out in other film genres. So for that the film was a little predictable. The actors all did well and casting seemed legit. As stated before, the special effects really made this movie work and looked realistic. You could tell the producers worked hard on this because the end result was a pretty tight, gritty little movie, with a well written script, and enough twists and turns, special effects, murder and mayhem, cops and robbers, drug busts, killer robots, cool drones, mutant battles, gun play and action, plus some back stabbing, etc etc to make most folks enjoy it, but in the end its still a love story....and only a fair one at that. The intro was very well written and produced as well......sort of like the 'Edge of Tomorrow' intro.
A fairly good cops and robbers and drug dealers drama
I went in thinking this was gonna be cheesy....the kind of movie where the characters do implausable things that make no sense and nobody with half a brain would do them just for the sake of the writers who couldn't come up with anything better. Well after watching I was pleasantly surprised. Yeah there were a few moments that it got that kind of cheesy but for the most part the drama and action was spot on. The film was interesting and engaging and well directed. All the actors did well.....the dirty cops seemed a bit overboard at times but the entire premise and plot twists worked pretty good. Even the dog did a good job. I rated it 8 for good.....maybe a bit generous but I liked seeing the guy from Pusher I, II, and III, Zlatko Buric, so I bumped it from fair to good. See, it does matter who you put in your film. In the end, this is a gritty, cops v robbers v drug dealers played out in nyc with plenty of action, killing, and drama with an overall good script, directing, acting, location, and stunts not to mention a love story thrown in for an extra jab.
Little Joe (2019)
Slow but compelling
This was an overall somewhat creepy film. Even when the characters were themselves they were still creepy. I rated a 7, fair. The directing and chop suey like sound score really hit hard and gave the film it's teeth. The timing of the score with the camera work was very tight and deliberate, and kept the creepiness factor going throughout. Casting and acting were correctly matched, special effects worked well although a little more action from the antagonists might have highlighted the 'body snatcher' mechanism a little better but then again the writer and director obviously wanted it vague to keep the suspence and audience guessing till the end. Which still has me wondering even a day later. This slow moving film won't disappoint but it also won't wow you. It will however keep you engaged, stimulated, and guessing throughout. Is little joe happy with my review lol?
Daniel Isn't Real (2019)
A fair movie that will keep you engaged till the end
I rated this film a 7, fair, which isnt a 10 or a 1 which this film is neither of anyway. It's worth watching, good storyline, casting was good, directing was really good and maybe helped garner the rating for me, special effects were even fairly good, one scene in particular and several others were close. What docked the points was it felt a little rushed at times, some of the acting and scenarios were cheesy and seemed out of character, especially the doctor. The final solve seemed sort of pushed out and not pulled out with some logical investigative deducements. So then the end was a little hard to decipher and didnt really fit with the rest of the movies flow and style and here was also some very bad special effects happening that was distracting from the cohesiveness and melodic translation of the first 3/4 of the film. So its definitely worth a look, prepare to be pleased but not rocked, but also not skunked. It's only a fair movie but I think most thriller/horror/drama fans will agree.
The Man in the Trunk (2019)
Just watchable but pretty good story though
I rated this film a 6 which on my scale a 5 is a barely watchable movie, so a 6 is just a bump up. For a low budget film the overall production wasn't all that bad and the acting was ok too. It's just that the picture and production value on a whole was just fair, like down in the 6 range. The story on the otherhand was up in the 8 range, like a good movie, but the acting and special effects, etc.....dropped it down. The script also had a few implausable scenes that really didn't make sense. Too bad someone didn't buy this script and throw some serious money at it, might have got a much higher score. Something to consider.....a terrible bad guy that hurts people needs to not only look like one, which he did, but he needs to sound like one...which he didn't. So casting was not accurately portrayed in my opinion. I think a guy with a shovel trumps an injured guy with a crowbar??? Keep going though because I think you got it, just need to convince the ones who are paying the bills. This was a very clean simple fairly well written script that had all the earmarks of a tight suspensful thriller drama, yes a fairly well written script, good character arcs, etc....but casting, a few cheesy scenes, and some directing and camera flaws brought it down a bit.
Wanted to like it, but by S02 the angry little girl got too grating on my nerves.
This is sort of a scifi in that the scifi part is only about 10% of the show and the rest is about this angry little girl that screams and fights with her mother, friends, and the cops the whole time, useless drama in my opinion. The characters should have been well developed by the end of S01 and lets get on with it already. Basically this is about the main character Henry who has a special ability she cant come to terms with.....anyone normal would embrace it and learn to control it and use it either for good or bad....but not Henry. Her personality is basically that of an angry little school girl that grates on your nerves from the beginning....a serious personality defect....for whatever reason. There are some other, sort of, intertwining sub and parallel plots going on too, some add to the show, some don't. Overall it's fair but I think it could have been better and worse. So only a 7 but could really go in either direction if she doesn't wise up. Maybe high schoolers will like this....
Maybe the best Finnish series at its time, but still only fair-good IMO.
I was lucky to watch this series, even though not until 2019, as it definitely has some good points to it. It has a pretty good plot and storyline with many subplots and quirky character interactions which provided subtle humor throughout. The action and special effects were sort of amaturish, and maybe done intentionally to match the style and era of the times, but if not, then looked sort of lame but still worked well enough nothing was ruined by it. It ran 12 eps which seemed a little long for the actual amount of content and could easily been cut down to 10 eps and maybe even 8 eps with nothing lost. At 12 eps it still maintained my attention but tested it. Most of the main characters did their jobs well but the whole series had sort of a 70's - 80's feel to it, but with cell phones, even though in 2000 cell phones were still fairly big and bulky and not everyone had one yet and this was evident. The characters were all very well developed and also coincidentally all intertwined and related throughout the main plot and all the subplots, go figure right. It's always amazing that the guy your looking for is an old partner or ex girl friends father is seeking same info or the ex pro criminal always seems to be one step ahead of the police in solving the crimes. The body count was massive, just enough sex and relationship trip, the usual police higher ups are idiots, corrupt, or in on it, and plenty of very quirky snitches, homeless, bums, and bad guys. This could almost be a dark comedy but is really a dramedy. I rated this an 8, good, because of so much to see and understand, but just barely.
This film is by no means even close in comparison to 'The Witch'.....but it is still watchable. By prepared for an extremely slow film with very little dialog.....the crying baby probably had the most to say. The scenery, cinematography, location, etc.....were some of the best aspects of the film. Acting was minimal as nobody really ever did anything. There was no real story per say, more of a day in the life type film with what the film maker tried to make creepy and scary with scenery and sound track......just didn't work for me. In my opinion skip this and see 'The Witch', you'll be better served.
Dogs of Berlin (2018)
Huge mix of social discord across a multitude of social structure.
First off, this could have been so much better had it been grittier with more realistic violence, more and better sex, social 'clash' and ethnic conflict, not to mention more believable scenarios, characters, and timeline. All the characters in this film from neo nazis, drug dealers, game fixers, protection extorters, illegal gambling promoters, corrupt cops, homophobics, ethnic infiltrators, debt collectors, rappers, blackmailers, etc, etc....across different politics and ethnicities were just not quite believable because they all seemed to lack that 'edge'. Half due to acting and half to the script. Some seemed over acted and dramatized and maybe over fictionalized even....and some were just flat out not credible at all, but others were good enough to keep things interesting and wanting to know more and go on to the next episode. But with a title like 'Dogs of Berlin' I expected some extreme chatacters with a lot of violence, sex, and self destruction. If you're a bad guy then you got to portray a bad guy even when being good, its all about demeanor ...it has to be believable or its just not credible. That said, the dizzying array of plot points and twists and turns definitely made the series interesting enough to keep watching till the very end. The main actors did well but some of the periferie were totally lame. It just wasn't dark enough for me. I was expecting someting across the lines of 'Braquo', French, and 'The Shield', American, with a little 'Umbre', Romanian, thrown in, all rated as 10's in my book, off the richter. Sorry but this only garnered a 7, fair.
Very well told story with a little humor and subtle drama.
This was a fairly enjoyable film. The characters were well developed and the actors made them believable. The plot was interesting enough that I wanted to know more and to see what would finally happen. The concept was simple but it worked well because of some very creative writing with just enough humor and a mix of drama to keep things moving at a good pace. The setting and effects added to the intrigue and mystery of what was going to happen next moments. Someone mentioned 'Man from Earth' and I would totally agree. You'll be pleasantly surprised as I rated this a 7, a fair movie.
The Hole in the Ground (2019)
Super boring, bad dialog, poor character development, barely watchable.
This just didn't do it for me, sorry. There were a few creepy scenes and that's about it. I could barely keep my eyes awake. The dialog was unimpressive and flat out boring. I think this might have worked as a 6 or 8 part mini series, with better writing, stronger character development, better expaination of the town, people, the big ass hole in the woods, just for starters. The way they went with just a regular movie with no explaination or development of anything, especially about the hole, once that was glossed over I pretty much knew it was all in her head, but was it.....???