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David Kusumoto RSS Feed (San Diego, CA United States)

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Amazon Echo
Amazon Echo
Price: $179.99

272 of 306 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I ALMOST RETURNED THE ECHO, but I changed my mind. Here's why., June 25, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Amazon Echo (Electronics)
* I was one of the lucky Echo beta buyers in January who finally received it in May 2015 with the remote control included. Future buyers who want the remote will have to pay more to get it, and that's a shame.

* I like the remote because while the microphones in the top of the Echo are fine, whenever I'm in another room, I have to pivot my head towards the Echo - and speak louder and enunciate more clearly - to get it to understand me.

* With the remote you don't have to say the Echo wake-up word, "Alexa" before every command. You just press the microphone icon on the remote - speak - and Echo will respond. This is handy when I'm not in the kitchen where my Echo sits. The remote also has "next," "back," "volume up" and "volume down" buttons - which come in handy when you want to skip news stories or music tracks from your music library, Pandora, etc.

* As far as the Echo itself, there have already been thousands of reviews, so I'll summarize the following:


1 of 5. - At first, its primary function seemed redundant in my home. It felt like just another music player, augmented with a way to provide weather forecasts and sports scores conveniently. I didn't feel I needed another radio or music player, especially one that isn't portable.

2 of 5. - The Echo remains VERY limited in what it can do. It can't provide answers to MANY questions. You'll still have to use search engine links on a smart phone or computer to get what you need.

3 of 5. - After initial set-up - the Echo is still disproportionately dependent upon the Echo App to execute "custom commands." For example, if you ask Echo for your favorite sports team's won-loss record, it's stumped. If you ask Echo to give you the latest news near your home, it can't. Echo can only give you "global news" you can already get on CNN.

4 of 5. - The Echo App is only available for iPhones and Android phones. It's not available for Windows Phones. However much the Windows Phone and the Microsoft name are denigrated by many - Windows Phones are still among the top three operating smart phone systems in the world with more than 35 million users. I know that's a tiny number compared to Android and iOS - but it's still significant. My workaround is to use my wife's Android phone - or to go to my desktop - to make adjustments - or to access my "to-do and shopping lists." (More about those "lists" below.)

5 of 5. - There will be "new and improved" Echos available soon. And this worries me. Since this is the first of what will be many iterations of this device - I'm concerned that within a year or two - an "upgraded 2.0-like" Echo will roll out, rendering the Echo I have now obsolete. I thought I might return this, hold off for improvements to be made and then pay more for them later. (Akin to how the original Kindle evolved from the primitive device it once was - into the Kindle Paperwhite that has near universal acceptance today.)


1 of 4. - Despite its limitations, the Echo is a game changer. The fantasy of talking to a device that responds to voice commands - in open space - without touching a button - like the Hal 9000 computer in 1968's landmark film, "2001: A Space Odyssey" - is steps away from becoming as common as a microwave oven. A lot of kinks still need to be worked out, but if we can put a man on the moon in 1969, then an Echo that can do almost everything - in multiple rooms - is now within reach for consumers.

2 of 4. - Despite the Echo App not being available across all operating phone systems - its best asset right now might be the management of the aforementioned "shopping and to-do lists." Shopping lists are created mostly as items pop in our heads. The same for "to-do" lists. After getting past my gripes about Echo's "fun" functions as a music player - I realize how much I've enjoyed the convenience of seeing my lists pop up on the Echo App on a compatible smartphone with a good data plan outside my home. Unfortunately, you can't delete items mistakenly added to your shopping list by telling the Echo to remove them. You have to go to your Echo app and physically get rid of them. That's an unnecessary extra step.

3 of 4. - The more you get familiar with the Echo and the Echo Remote - which are inextricably linked to the Echo App, things get easier. If you ask Echo, "Alexa, what's the traffic like?" - she'll give the estimated commute time from your location to your office. You must first set up your destination in the Echo App, but after that, you don't have to think about it. You just ask. Another plus is Amazon IS CONSTANTLY UPDATING the functionality of the Echo via the Cloud, sending me email notices a few times a week about a new feature that's been added, e.g., controlling MORE appliances via what's called a "WinkHUB" - or creating custom commands via a website called "IFTTT" ("If This, Then That" - over at - which isn't hard to set-up.

4 of 4. - Most important. I am betting - given Amazon's history of improving functionality of its devices - while anticipating potential customer irritation if it releases the next Echo too soon - that most future improvements will be introduced as described above, i.e., via the Cloud - and not require hardware changes.

*** CONCLUSION... ***

In sum, after initial set-up, I want the Echo to become a truly "hands-free" device. If it can provide news about what's going on in my region - AND - if it can get "smarter" by incorporating more "text-to-speech" answers from a search engine - (instead of forwarding search links with potential answers to the Echo App) - I truly believe the Amazon Echo will be transformed from being a "novelty" gadget - into something indispensable found in every home.

Grade: B.
Comment Comments (38) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 22, 2015 9:04 PM PDT

amFilm® Motorola Moto G (1st Gen.) Screen Protector Anti-Glare/Anti-Fingerprint (3-Pack) [Lifetime Warranty]
amFilm® Motorola Moto G (1st Gen.) Screen Protector Anti-Glare/Anti-Fingerprint (3-Pack) [Lifetime Warranty]
Offered by TechMatte
Price: $6.95
2 used & new from $6.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Customer support raises this screen protector into outer space, December 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
* I do not work for nor am I friends with anyone affiliated with this product.

* To me, applying a screen protector is the most aggravating part of "prepping" a new smartphone.

* Yet as I write this, the amFilm screen protector on my first generation Moto G is perfect. No bubbles, no aggravating dust particles, nothing.

* However, this took some doing and four protectors to get it right, even with the You Tube tutorial that can be reached via the link provided in the package. After I ran out of protectors, amFilm's customer service support (TechMatte) was great, sending out another batch of three (3) protectors that enabled me to "keep trying."

* Here's the twist. The "hinge" method recommended by most - didn't work for me. The included rubber bands - (which BTW, are clear, and NOT the more common which are tan) - hold the protector in place while you apply taped "hinges" which wrap around the long edge. When you take off the rubber bands, this allows the protector to lay down onto the screen. Well, in spite of numerous tries, the protector was always a tiny bit out of alignment along the edges. I took away a star because the squeeze card to remove bubbles - is made of hard cardboard and not plastic - and the corners can permanently bend, rendering them less effective.

* The weird thing is the "straight on" application method I've always used for smart phones - worked better for me. I washed my hands, went into a near-dust free room, turned off the heaters and A/C. I got some gloves, peeled off the protector, exposing the sticky side - and I lined up the bottom edges to my phone with my right hand. I used my left hand to hold the other end of the protector by its edges, gradually lowering and lifting the protector from the screen to remove stray particles or bubbles with the dust removal stickers that are included.

* The end result is perfection. The anti-glare, anti-fingerprint technology is wonderful. But this maker also deserves kudos for going the extra mile when it comes to service. The day after my order, I got an e-mail from the manufacturer - making sure I was happy - with a plea to let it know if I run into problems. I did - and I got a quick response and quick replacements.

* I think practice is critical, because every protector is different. I recommend this product because it's well made - AND because its makers will go out of their way to give you as many "practice runs" - with as many extra protectors shipped to your home - until you get it right. The manufacturer will NOT let you fail. Grade: A-.

Metamucil Orange Sugar Smooth Texture Powder  48.2oz/114 Doses
Metamucil Orange Sugar Smooth Texture Powder 48.2oz/114 Doses
Offered by DEALS FOR ALL
Price: $22.75
27 used & new from $14.60

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars WARNING - BE CAREFUL if you want to avoid sugar., August 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
* BE CAREFUL. The color scheme and markings for this product are nearly identical to the "sugar-free" version of the same thing.

* If you're watching your weight and want to avoid a lot of sugar, buy the Metamucil Psyllium Fiber Supplement Orange Sugar Free Smooth Texture Powder 180 Doses, 36.8 Ounce instead. It's 12 ounces lighter - but you'll get 66 MORE doses than the product you see here.

* I've tried both products and the sugar-free version - Metamucil Psyllium Fiber Supplement Orange Sugar Free Smooth Texture Powder 180 Doses, 36.8 Ounce - mixes better with tap water and leaves way less gummy residue along the sides of your glass - and tastes the same as the "sugared" version. The product you see here - requires warm water to mix properly.

* In sum, the "sugared" version costs less - but you only get 114 doses out of it - vs. 180 doses you get from the sugar-free version. The irony is the "sugared" version weighs MORE - but gives you 66 FEWER doses. This gives you an idea of how much thicker and heavier the "sugared" Metamucil is. Do the math and the "sugar-free" version is a better value. I hope this helps.

Duck Brand HP260 High Performance 3.1 Mil Packaging Tape, 1.88-Inch x 60-Yard Roll, Crystal Clear, 6-Pack + 2 Bonus Rolls (1067839)
Duck Brand HP260 High Performance 3.1 Mil Packaging Tape, 1.88-Inch x 60-Yard Roll, Crystal Clear, 6-Pack + 2 Bonus Rolls (1067839)
Price: $20.95
42 used & new from $13.90

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No more flimsy budget packing tape brands for me!, August 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
* You get what you pay for.

* After years of "cutting corners," buying packing tape that is as thin as tissue paper - I finally took advantage of a deal and bought 8 rolls of the Duck HP260 brand. I'll NEVER go back to using budget 2-inch wide packing tape again.

* The Duck HP260 doesn't tear, doesn't crease, doesn't go limp when you cut a piece - it lays on smooth and is very strong. It's not quite as strong as reinforced paper tape but who wants the hassle of licking paper tape all day long?

* This product is as tough as nails and is the "go to" product when it comes to reliable and strong plastic tape for packing boxes. It has the right thickness to stand "straight up" when dispensed - and then goes on smooth and molds and conforms to whatever box or doo-dad that you're packing.

* Thumbs up, all the way.

Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death
Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death
by Katy Butler
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.13
92 used & new from $1.43

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The path to a better way of death is strewn with obstacles., July 7, 2014
* For me, the key takeaways from Katy Butler's journalistic memoir, "Knocking On Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death" - were as follows:

1. Dementia is a miserable path to death. Do not draw it out.

2. Be aware that a giant chunk of your savings will be drained during your last few months on earth - because of procedures which are unlikely to improve the quality of your life - nor change the course of terminal conditions.

3. Embrace comforts wherever you can find them, otherwise you'll go insane.

4. Remember that a "911 call" about an aging parent is sometimes the gateway back into a health care system that places a ridiculously high value on prolonging life - even if quality of life has already fallen through the floor.

* While there are many other good points in this book, these were the most compelling for me. (As I write this, my father, who has terminal Alzheimer's disease, is in an assisted living facility with few if any coherent thoughts in his head.)

* This is an immensely readable book about the author's journey handling the decline of her parents. It's loaded with personal observations, hard-core stats and wrenching scenes of frustration, especially over failed efforts to convince health professionals to disconnect a pacemaker that prolonged the life of her severely frail, incontinent and dementia-riddled father.

* Butler's hard-to-please mother comes across strong-willed and bossy - however correct she turned out to be when her husband's death informed the way she took control of her own impending death - by rejecting life-prolonging medical procedures.

* I took away a star because portions of this book which deal with Buddhism and other spiritual coping strategies - didn't resonate with me. But this was a personal reaction on my part - and to be fair, this is a memoir that represents truths as the author sees them - which she's entitled to express. Most readers will be fine with her spiritual reflections - even though the concrete advice she gives readers near the end of her book - felt more practical to me.

* Katy Butler's past contributions to the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, the New York Times and other high-profile publications - gives her street cred as a journalist. In the end, "Knocking On Heaven's Door" provides, in my view, a good blend of journalism, memoir and "how to" advice - which makes it one of the best books I've read about aging parents - and their children like me who are caring for them.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 9, 2015 8:11 PM PDT

SOJITEK Nokia Lumia 520 Premium Anti-Glare Anti-fingerprint Matte Screen Protector [5-Pack] - Lifetime Replacements Warranty + Retail Packaging
SOJITEK Nokia Lumia 520 Premium Anti-Glare Anti-fingerprint Matte Screen Protector [5-Pack] - Lifetime Replacements Warranty + Retail Packaging
Offered by SOJITEK
Price: $3.34

5.0 out of 5 stars Highest quality, best value of the six brands I've tried so far., June 5, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
* I do NOT work for nor am I affiliated with anyone from SOJITEK. When it comes to your phone, there are few things more aggravating than applying a screen protector.

* Quick history - before I tried SOJITEK, I tried Illumishield, MPERO, Supershieldz, Fosmon and Archshield. In order of preference, I have to go with SOJITEK and Fosmon. Not all screen protectors are alike.

* I chose SOJITEK with the matte finish - with five (5) protectors in one pack. It's not only anti-glare, but it is ALSO anti-fingerprint. This is important. The surface of the SOJITEK is smooth to the touch but it's actually mildly textured to reduce oil left by sliding fingertips. If you've ever tilted your phone at an angle, you know how a reflective screen can look like you've got a virus living on it. (BTW, when your SOJITEK protectors arrive, they WON'T look like they have the matte finish, but the finish reveals itself after you remove the top layer.)

* SOJITEK throws in two (2) "dust stickers." It's not OIL - nor fingerprints - which are a pain. It's DUST. The tiniest particle is enough to leave a "bubble" beneath your protector. If you see one, lift the protector and take the included "dust sticker" out to blot it off your screen. They're sticky on one side.

* Make sure you line up the holes on the protector's edges correctly. On most phones, the holes are near the top where the earpiece is. In another words, don't apply the screen protector upside down, which is a rookie mistake. Be aware that even if you have the cleanest hands on earth, this protector will capture everything that comes in contact with its sticky side, including glancing blows from an edge of a table or from your palm. Turn off the A/C and don't do this in a carpeted room.

* Holding the SOJITEK protector by the edges, gently remove just 1/3rd of the protector backing, exposing the sticky side in stages. Don't remove the entire backing or it'll start twisting. PROTECT the portion of the protector that hasn't yet been exposed to air. When you line up the top edges and corners and freeze them into place, it should be a "straight down the length of your phone" movement, in small stages, lifting the plastic up and down, repeatedly taking out bubbles. Get the applicator card - and start pushing bubbles that are closer to the edges out. If the bubbles are in the center of your screen, lift the plastic a little higher and re-apply.

* Keep in mind, even with a SOJITEK, it's near impossible to get a 100% perfect application unless you're in outer space. But I like its anti-fingerprint treatment and the "extras" that are thrown in to cover every potential aggravation. I hope this helps.

Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir
Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir
Price: $11.99

209 of 215 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Wheel of Doom" and gallows humor about some grossly brutal truths., May 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
* As I write this, my 83-year-old dad is withering away in an assisted living facility, riddled with Alzheimer's. Sometimes I want my Dad to die now - because he's unaware of his suffering - and he'd cuss me out if he knew he is turning into what Roz Chast's mother describes as "a pulsating piece of protoplasm." I feel guilty feeling this way - but "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?" makes such forbidden thoughts feel normal.

* (BTW, don't buy the Kindle version. This title, with its colorful cartoons and photos - as well as its handsome construction as a hardcover book - truly belongs on your coffee table. I sampled the Kindle version, didn't like it, and bought the hardcover.)

* This book feels weirdly clairvoyant. It exposed my doubts, fears and paradoxical feelings about watching my parents die slowly before my eyes. I've read almost everything about the subject of aging and dying. And yet this is the first book that captures the exhausting experience of caring for aging parents, e.g., that it's sometimes gross - (see passages about hoarding, incontinence and "grime") - AND funny - (see "The Wheel of Doom" and Roz Chast's father's obsession with myriad bank books, decades old).

* The author's hand-wringing about whether there's going to be enough money to pay for her parents' care is spot on. How long will the money last if they live "X" more years vs. "Y" more years? I do these calculations every month, constantly updating and trying to prepare for the worst. Any savings will be drained by expenses which will have no effect on terminal outcomes. If the daily care and feeding of your parents doesn't kill you - then the avalanche of paperwork and legal stuff that must be done - will.

* Hence despite the preference to "talk about something more pleasant," if nothing else, this book demonstrates why planning for our parents' end-of-life care must begin NOW - not later.

* I recommend this book for every person who's on the brink of going insane about their aging parents. Give it to caregivers, give it to your siblings, give it to anyone who hates dark subjects - but who can handle them if they're presented in a disarmingly funny style that's accessible - yet still honest. (I don't think I can read another "text-only" book about the "death spiral" of aging parents.)

* In sum, "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?" takes the hard edges off some things while inflicting blunt-force traumas about others. Roz Chast nails the impending death of our parents in a way that feels like a landmark work. I know such praise sounds silly given the sea of excellent books out there about aging. But I've never seen this subject presented in an original, humorous and touching way, complete with hand-drawn illustrations and color photos. It avoids the trap of being overly optimistic, forcing us to confront the gruesomeness of mortality - while STILL providing an emotional "lift" about something universal.

* This book makes going through one of the darkest periods of my life - feel almost worth it.
Comment Comments (12) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 25, 2015 4:37 PM PDT

American Legends: The Life of Barbara Stanwyck
American Legends: The Life of Barbara Stanwyck
Price: $2.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Barbara Stanwyck's Life in 40 Pages..., May 12, 2014
* This was my first introduction to the Charles River Editors' "American Legends" series of books and I have to be honest and say it was a disappointment.

* Keep in mind, NO ONE ROOTS for any book they take the time to read - to fail.

* But if you're looking for an in-depth analysis of Standwyck's life and loves, you're not going to get it here. I understand now that most of the titles in the Charles River Editors' series are purposely structured this way, hence many of its efforts are either free to "borrow" if you're a Prime member - or priced cheaply for purchase.

* This Stanwyck book is written well enough to "zip through" in less than an hour, feeling like a long article found in a textbook.

* But this work has the look and feel of a "booklet" or a "pamphlet" - and NOT a book, thus leaving readers like myself unsatisfied. I do not recommend it as a outright "purchase."

* In sum, if you don't know anything about Barbara Stanwyck, this little work will give you a good introduction and a collection of "facts" about who she was.

* But if you already know more than a handful of the great movies Stanwyck left behind in her wonderful filmography, you can skip this. You can get just as much - if not more information about the life of Barbara Stanwyck - over at Wikipedia or elsewhere on the web.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 3, 2014 6:05 AM PDT

The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $11.91
748 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WARNING TO OLDER READERS ABOUT "The Fault in Our Stars.", May 8, 2014
This review is from: The Fault in Our Stars (Hardcover)
* I'm an old guy in my 50s and thus well beyond the target audience for this book - which to my puzzlement - has been labeled as a work of "Young Adult Fiction."

* I'm not going to waste your time and go over the plotting and themes of "The Fault in Our Stars." Many others - thousands in fact - have already done that in a wonderful way.

* I'll just say that before I turned to "page one" - that I went in with a healthy dose of skepticism about "The Fault in Our Stars" - because other so-called "Young Adult" titles - e.g., the "Hunger Games," the "Divergent" series and the "Harry Potter" series - in my mind, did indeed feel, in my mind, justifiably within the marketing implications associated with the "Young Adult" label.

* But in my view, "The Fault in Our Stars" takes a BIG fork in the road for many of us older adults - that's off-the-charts phenomenal. I read a lot of literature and non-fiction - and I myself could NOT believe how I got sucked into this book. Its content is so beguiling - and its prose so effortless - that I found myself not thinking about how well-written, how exquisitely expressed its themes - which in turn made the clock melt away. As I have often written elsewhere, this should be the dream achievement of all great writers, i.e.,, to compose words and phrases and ideas that makes me unaware of an author's writing style.

* I DID NOT have a problem with the hyper-intelligent teenage characters in this book - sounding wiser than their years. Please don't diminish the achievements of "The Fault in Our Stars" because of this singular criticism. Confession: I had a cancer scare when I was 19 and I know what went through my mind facing life and death issues - at an age when everyone else was out partying. I have kept a diary since I was 15 - and I know how this experience - accelerated my maturity and gave me a sudden grasp of what was, until then, impenetrable existential themes previously beyond my reach. The thoughts purveyed by the teens in this book came naturally - as I remembered how much my life back then - was freighted with more urgency, e.g., trying to put my "best face" on for pals - while coping with what felt like the "cruelly numbered days" moving forward.

* Please, for older adults having problems with the "overly wise" dialogue spewing forth from these teen characters, please do this: Just add three or four years to ages of the characters, i.e., pretend Augustus and Hazel are in their early 20s, pondering seemingly obscure life issues. I guarantee you, the believability of their dialogue will still feel authentic. I went through these very conversations and dark observations so many years ago. Regardless, I myself was fine with everything in this book. It did NOT feel pretentious to me.

* What's strange is "The Fault in Our Stars" has been out for more than two years. My regret is I was SO LATE to recognize its achievements - because I did not, until recently - seriously embrace the acclaim it has long received from its readers. So I apologize for my tardiness. This book ends beautifully - with worrisome clichés avoided.

* "The Fault in Our Stars" is, in my view, a major work of fiction in a suburban setting - with grand themes presented in a straight-forward way. It is tender and humorous and inflicts blunt-force trauma that bolts you to the floor. I confess I choked up many times, enough so that I said to myself - "you know, if I was a teen again - without the experience of the many years that have long since passed - that I would be a bawling wreck." I would've had a tough time going to work or school the next day, paralyzed by contrasting emotions of being in love for the first time - while being hyper-aware of our small place in a universe filled with billions of other humans for whom "life goes on" with seemingly less urgency.

* In sum, this book reminds me of how we're all "just passing through" - of how we're likely to be forgotten by other people arriving two generations after our demise - but who still, via the young words of Augustus and Hazel - can re-experience something beyond our earthly existence, something that feels eternal.

All Is Lost [Blu-ray]
All Is Lost [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Robert Redford
Price: $9.99
45 used & new from $4.25

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, but something's not quite right., February 12, 2014
This review is from: All Is Lost [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
* The problems minimalist films like "All Is Lost" run into - happen when they crash head-on into customers who feel justifiably ripped off because their expectations fell way short.

* Despite the high praise this film has received from critics - putting that praise next to negative reviews from actual customers - exposes a reality that can't be ignored. Something's not right. And keep in mind, NO viewer invests good time and money in something like "All Is Lost" - and roots for it to fail.

* The tip-off that "All Is Lost" is NOT a mainstream picture came last year - when I noticed it playing at mostly art-house theaters - and NOT at my backyard multi-plex. Uh-oh. "Indie picture, low-budget, not fast-paced, non-linear structure, probably lacks a strong payoff."

* So when I finally saw the picture last night as a rental - I was ready. I got into "All Is Lost." It gave me an idea of what it might be like to die on the ocean. (By the way, that last sentence was not a spoiler.) I could not turn this movie off. I already knew there would be little to zero dialogue - and yet I was engrossed with the idea of an almost entirely visual story whereby I would be forced to experience everything through Robert Redford, the only actor who's in "All Is Lost." I didn't feel I had to know much about his character, where he came from, how he got on the boat, etc. I understood what the director was trying to do.

* Note that most of the praise from critics has been about Robert Redford's "near dialogue-free" performance. Well, in my view, despite his status as a beloved icon, there are only so many ways Redford can express puzzlement and frustration. Deprived of an internal monologue, it's hard to emotionally invest in him beyond just wanting him to survive. If I was stranded on the ocean, I'd be talking to myself ALL THE TIME, with a lot of looney things running through my head. We get none of that from Redford.

* As a result, I think director J. C. Chandor's decision to move forward with an existential story without dialogue isn't a total success. His film is technically brilliant, jammed with wondrous sounds and images of a nature at war and peace.

* But the theme of "All Is Lost" never seems more ambitious than just showing what it's like to survive nature's fury. I've already seen that story elsewhere. In my view, a picture that tries to ask big questions without covering old territory - really requires an internal monologue or a moody atmosphere - or abstract images like what's found in "2001" or in "The Tree of Life" - films which force us to think beyond survival and more about our small place in this awesome universe. "All Is Lost" was NOT boring - but I did feel a little "clipped" at the end, and not in a good way.

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