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American Jobs (2005)
Good, but definite room for improvement
This documentary is about outsourcing in the U.S. and its impact on the average American worker, especially in the wake of the jobless economic recovery following 2001. The film is basically comprised of interviews with people who have lost their jobs due to outsourcing and interviews with various professionals about said subject, as well as NAFTA.
The film's strong suit is the interviews with the workers. What I would have liked to have additionally seen are three things.
First, the writer/director/host is a little bland. I know this is a documentary on an abstract topic, but he's still bland even considering said factor.
Second, it's too short, and this could have been remedied by the third thing I would have liked to see, namely some interviews with people who disagree that outsourcing is bad for the U.S. economy and/or proponents of NAFTA and other free trade agreements. If credibility is key then you need opposing viewpoints. Of course maybe such people were asked and all declined, but if that was the case this should have been mentioned.
All in all worth seeing. If you are completely in favor of outsourcing you will definitely find the film to be biased though.
La vendetta (1989)
obscure Roundtree flick (possible minor spoilers)
FBI agent Roundtree picks a fellow Vietnam vet acquaintance out of the gutter to help him catch another guy they both know from Vietnam to stop him from dealing arms.
This is obscure, and obscure for a reason, as it's not very good, and probably wouldn't be known or even still exist if it weren't for Roundtree. I like Roundtree but here he isn't very good, and doesn't seem to be getting the aid an actor requires from the director.
This Italian film (horribly dubbed) is pretty cheap, has stock footage, a little nudity, no violence you haven't seen before, and is sometimes quite poorly lit. It looks like it was made earlier, I'd say 1984.
I only suggest this for completists and buffs of obscure 80s B-films.
B.S. I Love You (1971)
pretty much a mess
The basic plot of this film is about a producer (or was it director?) in the advertising industry and his problems with his profession and women.
This had been described to me as a satire on advertising, but it really isn't (though it does poke fun here and there). I won't dislike a film for not being what I thought it would be, but I will if the film isn't what it tries to be. Half the time I didn't know what it wanted to achieve, and during the first half hour I often found it to be a little confusing. It almost seemed like it had been heavily cut, and since I saw it on FMC maybe it was.
The main reason this film fails is because it can't decide if it wants to make a statement, be a comedy, be hip (for the time), be different, be traditional. It pretty much tries to do all that and it doesn't have the ability or resources to do so.
The last twenty minutes or so really sunk the film for me, when it decided to try and become dramatic but instead became what almost seemed like a parody.
If you find 1970s cinema or culture interesting you may want to watch it. I do give it credit for being somewhat distinct, though I think that happened accidentally.
Youth Runs Wild (1944)
youth runs not so wild (possible minor spoilers)
Despite being an overall mediocre film, YOUTH RUNS WILD is nevertheless interesting for juvenile delinquency fans and film buffs in general as it is a real curio.
Unlike similar films in the 1930s dealing with drugs, teen pregnancy, prostitution, etc. and those from the 1950s (everything from hot rods to turning into a monster!) this entry is comparatively low key, simply dealing with a handful of teens (and some non-teens too) who find themselves with a dearth of adult supervision due to the war, with enlistment and factories running overtime. If you consider ditching school, leaving home because your folks and their drinking buddies are jerks, or stealing tires to be 'wild', then you may feel that the title is accurate and not deceptive marketing.
Ultimately this isn't good or bad enough to warrant a watch, so only check it out if you're a buff and/or you enjoy doing the MST3K thing at home. To my knowledge it hasn't been released on video.
worthwhile for those who are game
I've seen a lot of documentaries, and this film is up there in terms of unique, bizarre subject matter. I find it to be fascinating; I really can't think of another movie like it.
The low budget helps the overall feel because it adds to the realism. The attitude is neutral, neither viewing the subjects as freaks nor as victims, and is another asset. All sides get a voice, and the viewer gets a good perspective.
This film is both informative and moving. All in all, an excellent watch for those who aren't turned off by the topic.
Hopefully the director will make more stuff this distinct.
Fresh Cut Grass (2002)
script lets the film down, 4/10 (spoilers)
I felt compelled to comment on this film after coming to this site to vote and seeing it had an 8.6 user rating; I almost fell out of my chair. Not that this is a bad film, it's just that a rating that high is ridiculous and misleading. Of course, only 13 people have voted so it's bound to come down somewhat-I wonder how many of these voters were involved with the film?
The film has some positive qualities. I have to say that overall what I liked most was the look of the film, very minimalistic, unpretentious and just a tad ethereal. The cast is good too, and the idea of trying to find oneself after college is an appealing theme.
The script is what ruins the film. It's on cruise control and things happen arbitrarily to the point where you begin to long for a cliché or three. This trait of the script really lets down the cast, since they are decent actors but even the best actors can't overcome mediocre writing. It bit off more than it could chew too-romance, finding one's self, overcoming personal issues, getting back together w/old friends...it just doesn't work. There's a lot of contrivance about too, particularly the initial meetings of the leads and how the protagonist's boss/friend happens to have contacts in the publishing industry so our protagonist (who of course is a great writer-if only he had the courage to share his work :)) can get published. I officially lost interest when the protagonist's coworkers had a philosophical discussion about mowing grass.
I probably sound harsh, but there was potential here and it's too bad it fell through.
I'll end this with two observations from the film that raised my eyebrow:
-when going inside the restaurant where his to-be girlfriend works, the protagonist is offered a job completely out of the blue by her boss.
-at one point the protagonist tells his girlfriend how, when he was younger, he stuck an action figure completely up his posterior. THAT is a new one by me folks.
Six She's and a He (1963)
not for those who can't appreciate camp
As of this writing, nobody else has commented on this film, and it still lacks 5 votes. This surprised me, as I thought this was some sort of cult classic. Surely someone else has seen this besides me.
The basic plot of this short film (25 minutes) has a serviceman stranded on an island inhabited by women who enslave men. The ingredients here are women dancing in bikinis, cheesy dialogue, bad jazz/lounge music, and some gore.
You can probably tell right now if you will like this or not. I did; it's not a classic but it is funny and entertaining, and more enjoyable than most stuff out there.
Just wanted to add a few things that I recently learned. First, I was wrong, this is not a short film but actually a feature that is partly missing. I honestly wouldn't have guessed that after watching what existed at the time-I say at the time because apparently another chunk of the film has been found, though it is still incomplete.
Beyond Desire (1995)
Film starts out below average and worsens; last 20 minutes are especially bad as it completely falls apart. Awful script and except for Forsythe (who deserves better than this tripe) the performances range from weak to embarrassing. Film has perhaps the dumbest mobsters in the history of cinema. Occasionally the pathetic nature of the film provides unintended laughs but mainly is just dull and desperate.
The Assassin (1990)
The basic plot of this film concerns a secret service-esque man in Mexico battling personal demons who discovers a conspiracy behind an assassination attempt on a visiting American senator.
This is one of those films that is below average but not bad enough to strongly dislike. It is watchable.
Its problem is that it suffers from cliches and unintentional hilarity, as well as uninspired action scenes. The characters too often become brain dead simply because the script requires them to do so.
I will say that the plot background (political conflict in Central America) was more interesting than in most action films.
An American Vampire Story (1997)
make it stop
To date I have seen over 1100 films, and I try to watch a variety of movies with regard to year of release, country of origin, budget, genre, quality, from films everyone has heard of to films that are amazingly obscure. For me this was a new low in cinema.
It was so difficult to sit through this film and finish watching it. It is simultaneously amateurish (in a bad way), boring, irritating and painful. If you can sit through this then you deserve a special prize, like never having to work for the rest of your life.
I would say that this would have been an ideal film for the MST3K crew-but I could not have them go through the agony of dealing with this torture.
The absolute pits.
Reckless Ranger (1937)
Cattle rangers conspire to get rid of sheepmen so they can have their land.
In spite of some questionable contrivance (which is pretty much a given for the genre in this era) this is a passable time killer. A better script could have made this quite good actually...
Contract on Cherry Street (1977)
nothing new (minor spoilers)
Thoroughly average TV film has Sinatra and fellow cops resorting to murder of gangsters to alleve their frustrations.
Early on I thought this would be an above average time, but it soon descends into the routine. Its main problem is that it's inconsistent in its pacing. Plus it is ridiculously overlong.
Only recommended to Sinatra fans; personally I got tired of viewing his tough cop bit.
Jane Austen in Manhattan (1980)
mixed bag for a narrow audience
First off I want to say that this is more of a drama with comedic overtones. The comedy is very subtle and dry. Of course, I'm not very familiar with Austen's work, so I'm certain that some of the jokes were completely over my head.
This film is too flawed for me to recommend, but I wouldn't dismiss it either-you know the type. It is somewhat pretentious and at times incomprehensible. The pace is very slow; a trait which here works equally for and against it I think.
What I did like was that, for a drama/comedy, it has a very weird vibe, almost dark at times. Or maybe it was just me.
It all adds up to a film that was alternatingly boring and intriguing. I say only check this out if you like seeing something different and don't mind a slow pace. I would be interested in seeing what a Jane Austen fan thinks of this film.
Night of the Living Babes (1987)
I don't know...
What can I really say about this? It's a cheap, obscure film that runs for about an hour. I guess the makers were aiming for a John Waters type atmosphere.
In spite of its flaws, I kind of enjoyed this-though do understand that I live for obscure, unknown curios. I can't think of an audience to recommend this to. Definitely the type of film where mainstream viewers would feel stupid or ashamed for having watched it! Too bad that once the film started to get interesting it fizzled out.
And now I bring this vague, unhelpful review to a close.
American Movie (1999)
Ebert and Sundance loved it...WHO CARES
I love documentaries. They are among my favorite genres of film. Before seeing this film I hadn't seen one that I hadn't liked.
The premise for this film is a great one. The execution is well done. There were some times early on when I laughed and smiled. Yet as the film went on the more tedious and irritating it became. This could have been something special had the subject not been such an inarticulate, childish, inept putz. I appreciate his passion for film, but quit your whining. If you're short on funds, maybe you shouldn't have so many kids, or spend so much money on alcohol. Maybe you should have gone to film school, or at least graduated from high school. Maybe you should have lived life and gotten perspective and experiences that could add to your vision.
There are so many people out there with stories that are interesting, funny and poignant. To see this guy chosen over any of them is nothing less than crass. If you want to do a documentary on a film maker, why not do one on someone from China or Iran, a film maker with REAL problems?
Two final questions:
Who takes a little kid to see Apocalypse Now?
How many times did this guy say "man"?
Wild West (1946)
what you'd expect (minor spoilers)
"Retired" lawmen return to service (after they said they wouldn't but are then convinced because one of their friends died) to stop bandits who are teaming up with a corrupt judge and manipulated indians to stop the coming of the telegraph so they can hold on to their lucrative lawbreaking activities.
40's B-western is formulaic and has some major contrivance; nevertheless is relativly watchable. Shortness helps too.
The Tiger Makes Out (1967)
I didn't really care for this. Had they gotten rid of the comedy/slapstick and focused on the dramatic/philosophical aspects of the script, this might have been worthwhile.
The more the film went on, the less I liked the protagonist/mailman. He does have interesting things to say, but he's also a hypocritical, insecure jerk.
Border Badmen (1945)
decent for what it is (possible spoilers)
This isn't bad for a 40's B-western. One thing I liked was that the villains weren't as cliched as most are in this genre, and the plot (inheritance fraud) was a nice change of pace from the usual revenge/robberies formulas. The comic relief was actually pretty good too, unlike most of its contemporaries (i.e., annoying).
For me though, two things let the film down. First, occasionally the script has some really dumb lines (e.g., "I wonder what they want with the identification papers"). Second, the villains give up way too easily after all the trouble they've gone through. Were it not for these shortcomings of the script, this would have been a good film; as it stands, it is only above average.
West of Shanghai (1937)
This somewhat obscure film is helped by a quick running time and the presence of Karloff. On the downside it is overly talky and the few battle scenes it has are generic.
The script is decent though, and my interest in the film was undoubtedly bolstered a bit because I find contemporary Chinese history to be intriguing (not that this is a textbook reproduction of the period. :)
6/10. I wouldn't recommended it, but at the same time I feel it is above average with everything considered.
Wild Country (1947)
This is the worst western I've seen to date. Poor editing, technically inept, lame dialogue and a wooden protagonist, to name a few problems. And of course, being a 40s western we must have the obligatory songs that are out of place. At least it's short...
Neon City (1991)
I'm pretty apathetic towards this film and don't like or dislike it. It has good cinematography and decent direction. It's just that the script is...eccentric. And the times when it tries for comedy are very tedious. The action scenes are boring, and...well, this is an example of a flick that is average in every sense of the word. Ironside is excellent.
The Dentist (1996)
waste of time
Looking at the other user comments here I was really surprised at all the praise heaped upon it, as some of the comments have said that this film is weird, funny, and has good gore. Everyone is entitled to their opinion-but I gotta say that if one feels like the aforementioned about this film then they must not have seen many movies...
Bernsen does a good job with the mediocre script and shallow character he has, but there's too many other problems. In spite of being only 90 minutes or so it seems much longer than that as it takes too long to get where it's going. Yeah, occasionally I laughed or was entertained by the gore...but it's miniscule compared to the boredom and frustration I felt for the majority of the flick.
I will say that I thought the direction was effective (which I think accounts for many of the comments on how this film is 'weird') and the premise had promise. But weird black humor drenched gore films come in much higher quality. And the ending eats bat guano.
One other thing: the style and verve of the film reminded me a lot of horror flicks from the second half of the 80s in spite of it being made in 1996 (unless it sat on the shelf?...)
Blood Red (1989)
give it some credit...
So many people seem to hate this film! Yes, it's flawed (script is generic and predictable) but I still liked it, as it entertained me and had interesting subject matter. And an interesting cast too... At least check it out to hear Hopper's Irish accent.
Pros & Cons (1999)
go to the dentist instead...
...because a trip to the dentist is less painful and you'll laugh more at his/her jokes than the ones in this 'comedy'...
I had been on a roll for many months, not seeing any really atrocious films, but the streak died here. This attempt at screwball comedy is populated exclusively by either morons or despicable one dimensional cliches.
You'll recognize a handful of the actors/actresses here, who must have really needed some money or failed to read the script, which has dialogue that theoretically could have been written by a lobotomized earthworm.
I gave this a 2. The only reason I didn't give it a 1 is because I derived a miniscule amount of entertainment belittling the film's ineptitude. I don't recall this being in wide release (though I could be wrong)-what a shock.
The Whistle Blower (1986)
It was nice to see a film about cold war paranoia that was about the U.K. and not the U.S. Caine is very good, and the script is above average. A good thriller that doesn't resort to inane/unrealistic violence to keep interest.