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Le Bazar de la Charité (2019)
could have been a great two hour film
The 6 stars I give this series is based upon overall production values. The sets are really fantastic. superb cinematography. As an historical eye on late 19th century France it feels accurate; the divide between rich and poor, the hatred for Germans nicely conveyed The locations are generally not Paris, but I suspect are Bordeaux, never the less, they are pleasing. The story is awkward, repetitious to the extreme. The casting is spot on, the direction passable, the problem is taking a two hour story and making it an 8 part min-series. A pity, as I think this could have a great theatrical run.
irish films are unique
Every irish film I've watched, from 'eat the peach' to this one, never conform to amerikan models of film making. they are painfully true and often hard to watch. I hope they never change this style. It is a unique form of story telling that actually sticks with you and makes you ponder about issues in life. Erin go bra less as we'd always say on March 17th.... and this film hits all the marks
The Laundromat (2019)
only has 50% of the story
Yes there are crooks. they have lawyers and bankers in their employ and they cheat on taxes by being clever. however what is not stressed in this film is what corrupt gov'ts do with taxes..... 18 years of war in afghanistan has built dubai with stolen u.s. taxpayers trillions. kellogg, brown and root---a cheny subsiduary made billions in iraq and afghanistan. taxes should be paid and the 1st purchase should be guillotines to rid us of corrupt politicians and lobbyists. who wouldn't want to pay taxes to heal the sick, educate the ignorant, feed the hungry, clothe the naked? but why pay to kill, main, orphan and widow millions of yellow and brown people for the benefit of zionistas and the politicians they control.....the real movie they missed is how every part of amerika has been corrupted to the core and only radical surgery will correct this creeping cancer
slick, but really stupid
Great shots. great characters. terrible execution. too many unfinished subplots felt like writer/producer was begging for season two. waste of time and someone's money, but very slick.
This Way Up (2019)
comedy should be funny
Like both leads, but this is not a comedy. scatterbrained is more accurate. it is allover the place and after two episodes, that's it for me. too many characters, so we get to know none. there was a similar show around twenty years ago about teaching immigrants english. it was a flop too.
kill it now. give the slot to real comedy
Would have been better if the sound wasn't so muted and bassy. that's the point of dailies and post; fix these essential elements. if you can't do that put subtitles on the film. southern accents are a problem especially when they mumble as they do here. the single guitar sound track is annoying a screams low budget; better have no music than poor music.
The Son (2017)
an indictment of amerika?
Who but amerikans could commit massive genocide and despoil the best part of a continent in such short order. i am embarrassed and ashamed there is a series more or less celebrating this. I approach 70 and feel such shame for what has happened in amerika. I see the big homes, the private planes and islands and want to vomit about what happened to amerika.
Zone Blanche (2017)
these reviews seems to be bought
No way this is a highly rated series. yes the cinematography is great, but the plot itself is all over the place. too many subplots that don't off. sort of a ripoff of the original french series "the returned." reading the reviews and the praise they had for this series it struck me they have bought and paid for or written by an AI program. not compelling at all... in fact humdrum when compared to the great french drama series' cain, engrenages etc...
The Big Combo (1955)
This what noir is all about.
Noir depends on strong plots, great dialogue, superior direction, careful casting. amazing lighting and camera work as opposed to explosions, car chases and SFX so prevalent in today's films.
The Big Combo hits all buttons. The women cast in this film are the most gorgeous women I've seen in a film without having heard of them until today. I mean 10/10. The casting is perfect. Richard Conte is always a smooth as silk and more so playing the head mob guy in this film. Lee Van Cleef as his chief heavy is dark, brooding and loyal. Brian Donlevy's character is bitter, underhanded and totally abused and denigrated by Conte who has swallowed all of Donlevy's former assets The rest of this well cast film sparkles with familiar faces.
There are plenty of twists, turns and surprises. The soundtrack is there, but never in the way, excepting the odd classical piece that is part of a subtext of the lead actresse's character. This is a film so good that you'd watch it on a poor quality scratchy print, BUT you don't need to. It has been re-mastered and is clean and crisp.
I'm pushing 70 and fear running out of film noirs, having seen so many, though it has been pointed out that as I age my memory will fade and I can watch films like this, White Heat, Double indemnity, etc. etc. and will perhasps feel I'm watching them for the 1st time
Isn't It Romantic (2019)
Hit every mark
Film is such a collaborative effort and so often you can see the potential hasn't been reached and it sad; this is the contrary.
I generally don't watch ROM/COMs, finding them insipid and predictable, but this started with a genius script and it was executed to perfection. I saw no flaw. I laughed out loud and as an old man, living alone I seldom laugh aloud, but rebel wilson has the magic and the rest of cast and crew jelled to work magic.
This is so far outside of my general viewing---- film noir- White Heat, Treasure of SierraMmadre, French film noire (anything by Melville) Bob La Flambre etc. Italian realism- the Bicycle Thief, The Nights of Cabiria, Serbian Underground, Nine Queens etc.... nothing like this, yet this has the magic like Muriel's Wedding or Withnail and I; you need not put your finger on it, it's there.
Kudos to cast, crew, backers etc. I hope it makes a yacht sized box office and everyone seeing it enjoys it as much as I did. Cocoon had that same bizarre vibe; everyone from 8 to 88 got it and liked it. What a pleasure writing a positive review
Might work as a film
A film of this subject with a three act structure might have been good, but as a series and after the 1st episode I think the ratings will tank.
Stereotypical card board caricatures of the PR industry saving troubled lives of Stereotypical card board caricatures of celebrity industry--- closeted gay footballer, cheating celeb chef publicly known as a wonderful family man; think Ray Donovan without violence and Ray Donovan without violence is pretty lame.
Again we see wanton unsatisfying sex, throwaway emotional scenes about the lead's dead mom, lots of drugs, lots of booze and cigarettes. Overall boring and with nothing redeeming or new. As a rom/com movie of 90 minutes or so it would have a chance, but I don't see a rabbit being pulled out of a hat.
variation on lost
America television has for the most part fallen to a new nadir. Think of the wire, deadwood, chuck, the shield, paladin..... now what are left with are fragments of good drama; an action scene here and there, something spooky; flash of sfx to cover poor writing and knowns to bring in the traffic. some people killed every form of art in amerika, leaving us with dregs like this is music, tv, film and theatre....
Stan Lee's Lucky Man (2016)
Goofy but good
Dspite a comic book caper story, this show has, in no particular order, great casting, fabulous set dressing, tremendous cinematography, a musical score so subtle you don't hear it (that's perfection in my mind) tight writing with great development of plots and subplots, superb editing.... and no I do not have an interest in this series other than being a lucky viewer
Kudos to all involved on camera and behind the production, this will be a timeless series that appeals to anyone, anywhere with access to a TV; it really is universal, crosses all age, language and cultural boundaries.
Romper Stomper (2018)
trite, poor writing, bad acting,
What a mess. a shame and a stain on Australian film. too many plots that never tie up. the whole mess with proper writing and direction might have made a 90 min. straight to video bit.
not a loveable or memorable character, despite having scores of actors with speaking roles. the producers and creative team should migrate as it is unlikely they'll ever get work down under again. i can never blame actors as they neither write or direct pictures and i will give a shout out to the camera crew.
otherwise don't waste a moment here. there is so much good to see instead.
i suspect friends in high places commissioned this mess and likely prevented good drama from being greenlit. pity.
heads should roll over this travesty.
who cast John Malkovich?
Enjoy this show immensely. Totally topical, great story, characters and character arcs. Skillful direction; top rated writing; music that must be there, but you never hear it; smooth subplots, in other words one of the best shows on TV today.
Into this, someone tries to sabotage the show by casting John Malkovich as an evil, rich, Russian oligarch complete with thick accent who abuses women and causes children to disappear. I hope he takes him money out of Ax Capital soon and exits stage left.
I can't imagine the original casting director made this gros faux pas and it should serve as a painful lesson to never ever cast a well known American actor in the role of a foreigner complete with phony accent. An unknown American actor, okay. A known or unknown foreign actor, better, but John Malkovich? Never
Shahs of Sunset (2012)
Absolutely shows Americas diversity
A group of Persian refugees fleeing the Iranian Revolution of 1979 arrive in California and embrace or define the American Dream. They drink their faces off, have petty squabbles, cover themselves in jewels and gold, have extensive plastic surgery and the totally mad and open gay guy, must be the envy of every gay person in Iran; I think they kill people there, but if I'm wrong, I know they don't accept a gay lifestyle. This is the best way for America to overthrow Iran; show how much fun it is to be Western and free.
I only see this series when traveling and in hotels or motels with cable and always look forward to seeing their antics. I'm not clear on where their money comes from as they don't seem to work, so I presume they were fortunate enough to load up their coffers before fleeing Iran. I don't think this show costs a lot to produce ---perhaps that's where their money is from?---- so I suspect it will have a long run and we'll be blessed to watch the cast grow old and die over the coming years.
Having lived 20 + years in southern California, I can see this format being adapted to a wide range of transplants that make America so culturally diverse; Israeli's of Fairfax, Russian Oligarchs of Rodeo Drive, Chinese of Monterrey Park, Japanese of Palos Verdes, Koreans of Cypress, MS-13 of MacArthur Park....it's endless, but it will take a lot to top the Shahs of Sunset
In the Long Run (2018)
Genius heartfelt show. I held off on a review until episode 4. I was fortunate to grow up in a city where many commonwealth students went to school and as I grew older it was normal to hang with them as it was to hang with locals. Pity those without that enriching experience. This could have been set in Halifax N.S. or Toronto, as the same b.s. happens. But this show treats it right.... and with humor. I'd like to say more, but will settle on 'just watch it.'
Casting is genius, music sublime. I seldom give anything a 10, but this deserves it. bravo. Hope there's a few more seasons.
another radio play pretending to be a film
Why producers and directors of a government funded organisation permit shooting in the dark is beyond me. This another in a long string of expensive period piece shot with "available light ' to look more "natural." This experiment failed 20 years ago. Why spend money on expensive sets and costumes when no one can see a thing most of the time? Why not just put it on the radio and then at least our imaginations can see the settings, costumes etc.
This is so distracting that I'm not certain I can actually give it a fair chance. What I have seen so far seems stilted and wooden. I very familiar with the Gunpowder Plot and in the day likely a supporter. But the focus seems to be a preamble to set up the story; perhaps this is a paean to the dumbing down of the audience. Yet, I see few yobs wanting to watch this type of series; making me question who but cast and crew was this dark dark dark, "natural light' mini series is made for as it won't garner an audience or critical acclaim?
i wrote an extensive review a number of years ago
it was deemed inappropriate.... realize i'm a 67 year old white guy from nova scotia, sorry 66 year old white guy, but this show which i generally like offends me in its portrayal of urban African amerikans. in the prior review i railed against the black producers perpetuating a myth of afro-amerikans as cold, mean, murderous and worse. i suspect this review will be pulled... but i live deep urban and afro- or latino- or whatever amerikans are people i do not fear, nor they me (after a while... come on, what is scarier than an old white man?) power is not the wire and doesn't aim for that; but my issue is how they portray afro-yanks; quick to kill etc which so plays into the suburban zeitgeist of fear. Or as a genius who picked me up hitchhiking in the u.k. during that sweet summer of 1972 said, "peasants always fear the unknown, which keeps them peasants" 50 cent etc. need to accept responsibility for this show and be ashamed for how they portray afro-amerikans. if i was myron cohen and wrote a series about a bunch of jews running a bogus cancer treatment center.... no matter how dramatic and well written it was it won't go anywhere. yet this, which plays into every afro and celtic amerikan myth walks free. it speaks more volume than those soros funded riots. all of us need to get along, stop fearing each other and actually reach out and be together.....a few do not want that and perpetuate hate with sophisticated/subtle propaganda. it is here, there and everywhere and i say shame on you hatemongers and accomplices. if this review is taken down, you prove my point and there's no animosity
En immersion (2015)
A mere shadow of what has been coming out of France of Late
The look is right; Paris, how can you miss? The music is dramatic. The camera department have got their chops down. The sfx are nothing new, but still are interesting. The premise is meh, but okay. It is the writing that turns "En immersion" into a 5.
There are plot holes you can a truck through. I can't comment as even with a turkey like this I'm not going to give away a spoiler. There are too many characters---- and most are just stock characters doing stock things. Actors just do what is on the page and this case they've little to work with, though they try. There are subplots that are underdeveloped, perhaps 5 or 6. Characters come and go, yet never move the story forward.
It was like this was conceived on a Friday night. Written over the weekend. A week of pre-production and casting and shot the following week using that 1st draft. It's almost as if you can hear those words, "don't worry we can fix that in post. We'll have cool sfx, a dramatic score and great editing." All in all I'd say give it a pass and watch something else. Spain, Italy, Belgium, Holland Denmark, Argentina, Scandinavia, Chile have fine cop thrillers; most countries have cop thrillers better than "En immersion." Look around you deserved better.
The Loch (2017)
great locations, great cinematography, very passable sound track, great actors, shite story. i used to look forward to bbc series, think luther, pleasant valley, life on mars etc.... but of late they've lost the narrative of good TV. i think they seem to look to the west, i.e. Hollywood for inspiration instead of where television is cutting edge; nordic nations, south Korea,Germany, italy, France,spain, all of europe. i speak of inspector montalbano, spiral, the clan, follow the money (bedrag), these, and others, have raised the bar on television.The Loch seems like another low brow amerikan mystery. some heads should roll at bbc drama and with no knowledge of their inner workings, i suspect they've been infiltrated by yanks who serve up this pap. i give it a 5 for interesting locale, interesting architecture, without these i'd give it a 2 or 3. At no point was there an engagement between the characters that felt real. it was stodgy enough to be a stage play. i'm sure this was not a cheap production and if i lived in the uk, i'd ask my mp who is responsible for this waste
The Handmaid's Tale (2017)
great production values; costumes, sets and action sequences, but terrible writing and the direction was abysmal -----has there been a show on TV that is this slow? Did the broadcaster want 10 episodes and they only had scripts for five and the production team said no problem and them made every scene 3 times longer than necessary?
I felt and then confirmed the directors were more cameramen than story tellers; i.e. in love with this long long shot that is pretty but doesn't move the tale along
overly flashbacked, filled with narration; all back enough but the worst was slamming on the brakes to take us into "Lucas on the run story." that's when i realized there were too too many producers on the project and none had the character or personality or strength to rein this in.
As it looked very expensive---and that cast isn't cheap either yet they've ended up with a dog's breakfast of a series instead of a quality project.
I also want to mention how I, and so many others that make up the "audience" are so fed up with that "natural" light movement from Denmark that started 10-15 years ago. Natural light does not mean you can't see anything; there is a lot of room between a sitcom and a drama in terms of lighting. Only north America is still hooked on this "convention," and it screams follower and hack, rather than cutting edge.
Major Crimes (2012)
Just a by the book police show similar to those of the e 50s,60s and 70s; that is a cast of stereo-typical characters, solving stereo-typical crimes in stereo-typical Los Angeles. In other words, a good mind numbing show to complete chores around the house, ironing clothes, or doing dishes; what you see is what you get type of series.' The big big problem on the show is "Rusty" and not because he is gay, but because he is such a whiner and adds zero to the show, in fact, less than zero. I keep wondering if he had a major blow up with a writer or a producer on the show and every week he has to go through some angst purposefully written to make look like an asshole. I'm fairly certain not a single soul in the audience cares about Rusty. Yet, I'm certain 30-40% cringe when he walks on set.
Perhaps this is planned career destruction by a thousand cuts as I doubt if this typecasting will ever get him a role again. Perhaps this an insiders' joke on the title "Major Crimes?"
Black Mirror: Nosedive (2016)
Is it the Americans?
Black Mirror was one of those rare beasts that actually said something important while providing top flight entertainment. I'm not giving up yet; this is only the first episode in this run. I wonder if getting into bed with a Netflix co-production has hurt the "franchise" or only this episode. I had become used to seeing Charlie Booker's lean, barbed, writing and as I watched this, I kept wanting to edit it down; it dragged on beating the same drum. In the "olden days", that is, seasons one and two, this would have been a 15-18 minute bit. It would have speed, power and cut deeply into what ails society. In this episode we see the point over and over and over again, complete with a telegraphed ending. If you've not seen Black Mirror before, I suggest you do not watch any of season three until you've watched seasons one and two; they were, are, superb. I ranked those very high, a 9, a number I seldom am able to use sadly. Ever the optimistic young man, I look forward to better future viewing, unless (shudder) it's another UK show dumbed down for American viewers. Time will reveal all things.
The Living and the Dead (2016)
could be good
Having just watched the first episode in the series, I suspect this just might be a compelling miniseries. The casting is great, the locations evoke the settings' era justly and background story of industrial change sets a "peasants fear of the unknown" tone well. My main issue or complaint center around the preponderance of terribly annoying "mood music." whenever there isn't dialogue; a trend I see more and more frequently in UK period productions. I am not against music at all, but it should not be front and center in scene after scene forcing the mood; the camera and acting can and should do that with music being an accompaniment.
My second issue, and this not only pertains to this series, is the use of "natural lighting" which leaves us in dark interiors where one cannot see anything. I know this became trendy 20 + years ago with Lars Von Darkness, but I really can't stand it. I don't think we need to light like the 40s or 50s, but goodness me, shine a F*#%*ing light on the set; I know it's 19th century and it was dark. I'm giving it a 5 until the end of the series.