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An outstanding documentary attack on academic fascism
I marked the "contains spoilers" box because it is impossible to discuss this film (or really any documentary) without spoilers, but it's not like we don't all know the ending. In fact, it is not the ending that creates the controversy here, it is the beginning. How did life begin? Nobody knows. That answer comes back from every scientific mind interviewed. Yet in every single case they also said, "but Intelligent Design cannot be the answer." Why not? By looking at every aspect of the battle against Intelligent Design, Stein does an outstanding job of using the scientific method to explore this fight. If the Theory of Evolution explains the "Origin of Species" (the rest of the title of Darwin's book) and it is so universally accepted, why is Intelligent Design such a problem that it must be stamped out at every opportunity? Follow the movie from its opening discussion about freedom of speech through the discussion of Eugenics to the final comparisons to the Berlin Wall and you will see exactly how dangerous it is to fight against thought.
"Expelled" should be on every family's bookshelf and in every DVD collection.
Worst episode ever
What a long, boring episode! Cheesy attempts to create suspense, almost none of the elements that make CSI what it is, and actually repeats the same theme as an earlier episode! First, there was very little suspense. The flashback mechanism didn't work at all because we knew the outcome before we saw the danger. We see Sara struggling to get out of the trunk of a car, but we already know she doesn't get away. That's not suspenseful, it's just dumb.
Next, there was almost no science. In a very early episode Grissom uses infrared to not only find a women in the desert, but she was buried alive. Where was that technology while looking for Sara? I was actually getting interested at the point I thought Hodges might actually contribute and find Sara. But alas, no--just another dead end. Watching the team trudge through the desert was just monotonous. And then add a helicopter hovering 10 feet above the convoy of cars heading into the desert--what was the point of that? I guess it made a "cool" visual shot, but that's not at all how the helicopter would have been used.
Finally, how was this different than the desperate search to save Nick (except, of course, the Nick episode actually required forensic science to solve and this one did not). Both are two-part episodes. Both involve someone coming after the CSI team intentionally. Both put a team member in prolonged danger waiting for the rest of the team to find them. Both showed the victim showing their own resourcefulness to survive. Both lead the audience to believe the victim has been found only to shift gears and add a twist putting them in danger again. This was very repetitive.
I'm not even going to comment on the writing or acting. I didn't feel that much concern for Sara because I didn't see much concern from the CSI team. But had I been of the actors I would have had a hard time getting enthused about doing that show--again!
The Career Killer
Troma Entertainment is not known for quality films, but this one is really bad. This movie has it all: bad acting, bad directing, bad writing, bad set design, bad costumes and even a bad soundtrack. The best part of the movie is watching for the sight gags behind the main scene, like the heart attack victim being revived by jumper cables. Although the DVD seems to be marketed as soft porn (the actresses featured in lingerie on the cover) that isn't at all what this film is about. The intro says its about women's lib--maybe barely. There are lots of really bad jokes, including vaudeville style jokes shoe-horned into the script despite the fact that they do nothing to advance the plot (lots of farces do this, but this wasn't supposed to be farce--at least I don't think it was!).
But the most remarkable thing about this movie is that it seems to have killed the careers of almost every actor who appeared in it! There are 214 credited parts, and of those 157 actors never appeared in another film. None of the three female leads ever did another movie or TV show.
I think it is quite possible that this movie ranks as the all-time leader in "last movie they ever did" category.
There are a couple of actors who actually survived the film. In the intro to the DVD they mention Chris Noth (Big on "Sex in the City"; "Law and Order") and Larry "Bud" Melman. Noth has no lines and is barely recognizable in the 10 seconds of screen time; Melman has two lines. Anthony John Denison has a major part (Moe), and amazingly went on to have a very successful career. He is definitely the exception; everyone else in the movie must have changed careers.
Look @ Me (2006)
Surprisingly good, low-budget film
Solid performances, solid direction and a solid plot lead to a surprisingly good film. Clearly made with a low budget, they spent the money on taking the time to find decent actors and a good director. They clearly didn't spend much on sets, but since most of the movie takes place in the main characters' basement cell it needed to be fairly stark.
I enjoyed the development in the main character, who transforms from an opportunist using her beauty to get ahead to damsel in distress to a woman capable of making the choice she eventually has to make. The weakest part of the movie is the policeman, a part I think would have been much stronger had it been given to one of the other fans or her friend Kate. The police were clearly not interested in the case and I'm not sure why the director/writer continued that particular story line. The movie would have been stronger without it.
I recommend this as a rental. Don't rent it for the sex as there is none. And don't rent it expecting a great mystery or thriller. But it is worth the rental fee as a good story and character development.
I Am a Sex Addict (2005)
Self indulgent, but a fascinating psychological study
Obviously not a Hollywood, high-budget film, but if you can get past that it is really interesting. Yes, the Producer/Director/Writer/Star is being very self indulgent. Of course you learn from the film that he has always been that way. But this film is an outstanding a study of a male viewpoint of relationships and sex.
He repeatedly says that all he wants is someone he can be totally honest with, and he hears several women tell him they want that honesty. Of course the truth is that we only want our partners to be honest when it matches our own view of reality. When their truth conflicts with our view of reality we either try to argue them out of their truth or force them to deny it. In fact, as much as Caveh wants the freedom of being honest with his partners he never gives them that same freedom.
Don't rent this for the sex scenes and don't rent this for a great plot. But if you like psychological studies of relationships, this film is well worth the time and money.
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
Worst possible ending for a trilogy with such promise.
What was the point of this trilogy? Why take the pill to begin with? What were they fighting for? In the end the free humans settle for survival, and trade slavery for the rest of humanity for their own survival. If "peace" is the most important thing, why start the fight? In the first movie they tell us that freedom is the most important thing--without it you aren't really alive. It's worth giving up your life in the matrix; it's worth living a life underground in sewers and caves; it's worth fighting and dying for. By the third movie freedom wasn't as important as any of that. Leave humanity in bondage to the machines. Leave the matrix running and leave the free people in their caves. Just give us peace.
There was so much promise. Not only did the Wachowskis not meet that promise, they wimped out completely.