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Star Trek: Picard (2020– )
Did all the money go to hiring Patrick Stewart?
20 February 2020
I have been thinking I needed to write a review for anyone who might not have seen the show, then felt I needed to even more when I saw the 8+ rating on IMDB. However, the first few reviews I see here seem to be in the same vein.

The first episode was quite good... the second was weaker... and then I started wondering if all the money went into hiring Patrick Stewart and making a great first episode. Admittedly, I have seen neither Enterprise nor Star Trek: Discovery because I did not hear good reviews about them, but I had hoped that with this show the producers of Star Trek would have been past hiring actors that can't act (I won't be specific because I realize they are real people); they obviously aren't. It also seems that they can't afford decent writers, because twice in the first three shows I saw a dialogue contrivance of character A earnestly submitting a shocking idea, character B scoffing at the idea, and then effectively saying, "you're serious?" as character A maintains the earnestness. There was also the shockingly bad confession after "can you keep a secret", and the relationship between Narek and his sister is painfully laughable.

Both Allison Pill and Patrick Stewart have been given material that they must be wincing at. I know Allison Pill is a good actress, but it would be very difficult to tell just from this show; she must be a diehard Trek fan to have taken on this role. And Patrick Stewart must be wondering what he got himself into after the promising first episode descended into episodic TV. For a show that is about one story arc, they needed to not cheat the fans and simply turn it into a miniseries featuring only the number of episodes needed to tell the story. This show has gone downhill in a hurry.
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Spare yourself the time, unless a sequel is made.
24 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
(I am saying this contains spoilers to not run afoul of a possible rule, but it's only about the way the movie ends rather than the content itself.) "Uneven" describes both the story and some of the acting in this movie. It opens interestingly enough, but it becomes difficult to take seriously when the boyfriend-interest comes along--if he is a good actor, we don't see that here--as it does with the associated motorball sequence(s) that has the Bruckheimer movie feel of something that is supposed to be cool but isn't. Jennifer Connelly and Mahershala Ali also have to overact for their roles; one wonders why they agreed to take them. Then the movie feels like it is building to an inevitable and satisfying climax... but ends without doing so. I haven't been that unhappy with a movie ending in quite some time. Don't waste your time on this movie unless a sequel is made so that you can see it right before seeing the sequel. If no sequel is made, it isn't worth seeing in the first place.
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Major directing flaws detract from already weak basis for a movie
1 December 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was not *uninteresting*, but it was not *strongly* interesting. The basic story has been done a number of times before in settings all over the world: child wants to do his or her own thing but is held back by culture-bound father. But in this case the child's obsession with one particular songwriter's lyrics is easy to pass off as juvenile and lacking in depth, especially when it prevents him from seeing value in other art forms that are motivational to those around him (there a couple of instances of that). But the reason I rate it as low as I do is due to two problems: one is that there are two instances where the director suddenly tries to turn the movie into a musical. Except in movies where everything is intentionally a joke, viewers are left scratching their heads when characters suddenly start running around to music that isn't actually there unless it's a musical format from the start and the characters themselves are singing the songs. The second was with a monologue at the end of the movie that should not have been permitted to be a monologue because it was to have been done as a reading of the main character's writing; this would in actuality have drawn some confused looks from the audience and teacher, but in fact was completely ignored by all in attendance.
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Wasn't what it could have been, but still worth watching
21 September 2017
I was surprised that so few people went to see this at the theater at least once out of curiosity. It was difficult to tell from the trailers if it would be good--being heavy on the visual aspect of it--but that applies to an awful lot of movies. I found it interesting from the start, but without particular depth until much later into the movie. At the end of the film, I had to give myself some time to think about it, and concluded that I do want to see it again and will look to buy it on Blu-ray. I do think Besson shot himself in the foot by not providing hints of the seriousness of the central story earlier, however.
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11 December 2013
I have given this a "10" rating. There was one minor issue I had with the movie that would make it not quite that in my mind, but a "9" rating would be an injustice to this extraordinary film and, since I'm unable to give it a 9.75 or something like that, "10" it is.

This movie strikes an incredible balance between indy/art-house and Hollywood epic. The pathos of the main character is well-captured in subtle ways, as are the feelings of triumph when he is able to go beyond his own self-imposed limitations. The cinematography is extraordinary-- this is a drama that *must* be seen in theaters. I expect that most adults with any sensitivity at all will find this a highly satisfying experience that speaks to their very cores. My wife and I were privileged to see it in an advanced screening, and can't believe we have to wait another couple of weeks for the official release to go back and see it again.
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Horrible writing, poor acting by Keanu (but what's new?)
25 June 2007
Yes, I could write a detailed commentary supporting the summary, but I don't feel it's worth that much time. Suffice it to say, "watch the part where it starts to snow and Keanu sneezes." I don't think I've EVER seen such a poorly acted sneeze. But one couldn't expect much more from a movie where the writing doesn't have the characters act with extreme incredulity when faced with the premise that they are communicating in different times. It isn't a science fiction movie, after all. Just tried to post, wouldn't let me without 10 lines. OK, a little more comment: I think the only reason this movie got rated as high as it did on IMDb is that Keanu is a female favorite, and too many women are willing to put up with Keanu's acting limitations because of his pretty face.
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Serenity (2005)
Couldn't get as excited about this as others did.
8 February 2007
I rented this movie because I had heard positive reviews. I found the story line thought-provoking, but my enjoyment was diminished by the acting, dialog, and production quality. The opening sequence was sufficiently compelling, but the movie immediately had the feel of an "Outer Limits" episode--good for a TV show; lacking for a movie. Some of the humor worked, but much of the dialog was cheesy. To top it off, many of the characters (the captain, in particular) seemed mere caricatures with little depth. Overall, a disappointing effort. I thought that the same story line could have been turned into a much better movie by someone else.
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40-year-old heterosexual male finds surprisingly good music.
18 April 2005
How's this for a commentary on the music in this movie: I sometimes specifically ask my wife if she has it in the car to listen to, pushing out Duran Duran or other music from the golden age of the early 80's. I am skeptical of musicals by nature, so when I heard that the Barbie people had produced a musical, I could only imagine how shallow the music was going to be, seeing that it would be directed towards our 7-year-old daughter's age group. I of course had no choice but to hear it several times after we bought the movie and our daughter and 3-year-old son wanted to listen to the CD in the car. I was surprised beyond anything I could imagine to find that there is some serious quality among the songs that are done here. As for the movie's animation, it may be my imagination that the production skimped a bit in that area to pay for the songwriting. And of course the Barbie series' animation was already nothing to get excited about in this day of Pixar, Dreamworks, and Blue Sky producing top-notch computer-generated material. But the music itself is really a find, and I would recommend it to anyone.
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The Village (2004)
A lot of people not likely to get it.
31 July 2004
I saw the movie opening night, and again the next day. Along with a lot of negative reviews I've heard, I also at the theater heard teenagers in particular saying they didn't like the movie. Right off the bat, I expect very few teenagers to like this movie. I also expect those adults with, shall we say, a lack of depth of experience, to not get this movie either. Just as "Signs" was not an alien invasion movie but rather a movie about faith wrapped in the summer crowd-pleasing guise of an alien-invasion movie, "The Village" is about so much more than what it appears--even more so than was "Signs". "The Village" is neither a psychological thriller as was "The Sixth Sense", nor does it have the aliens angle of "Signs", so it isn't going to appeal to people from either of those crowds. I'm sure I wouldn't have gotten it as a teenager, and I likely wouldn't have appreciated it much without children. Let's face it: it's a movie for adults, and I mean adults with real concerns about living in the world that exists today. Anyone with an extraordinary concern for their children will get it. Unfortunately for the box office, that segment might not be as large as M. Night Shyamalan would like. But for my money, I agree with Shyamalan in feeling that this is his best work yet. It's without a doubt one of the best movies I've ever seen.
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Wish I had checked the comments here before watching.
25 April 2001
I had heard fairly good reviews of this movie. I didn't realize that I'd be subjected to the Matrix-inspired fad of slow motion and stupid (some say cool) -looking martial arts. Now, I didn't mind it in the Matrix because it seemed to have a purpose. It doesn't here or in most any other movie. I am SOOOOO glad I didn't pay to see this at the theater. As it is, I feel like I wasted money on a 99-cent one-day special DVD rental. And the thing is that it wouldn't have been that bad if they would have stayed away from the gimmicks. 3 out of 10.
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The movie with no story! One of the worst I've ever seen!
14 February 2001
Wow! How bad can a movie be? Actually, you get a pretty good idea when you see MICHAEL IRONSIDE in it. Incredibly bad dialogue, extremely forced character development; although, what do you expect--there simply wasn't a story here other than a boat went down in a really bad storm. Glad I didn't pay to even RENT it--I got it at the library on DVD for free and was able to watch the lame subtitles on double-speed.
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The movie that shows Japanese they can stand up for something.
28 December 1999
This is a very fine movie, definitely worth seeing, but as much as being a good film, it tells Japanese that they can stand up and act for themselves. The Yakuza have been successful at intimidation because of the Japanese propensity to feel that something is "shikata ga nai", or there's nothing they can do about it. This movie has a final scene that shows people standing up in the face of very real threats to their safety. This is not so unusual in an American movie because, for all our collective faults, there is usually someone here who will not put up with injustice and will do something heroic to change it. This is still highly unusual in Japan, and the fact that Itami Juzo made this movie and then suffered a knife attack by Yakuza for doing so, will hopefully produce a few more heroes there.
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