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Zero Dark Thirty (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
Zero Dark Thirty (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
DVD ~ Jason Clarke
Price: $9.99
91 used & new from $2.44

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "ZD30:" You Know It's Evil, But Is It Any Good???, July 3, 2013
From UNCLE RAY'S GUIDE TO TOP-RATED MOVIES,
by Uncle Ray Birney ("The critics LOVE it! -- should you BUY it?")

OK movie fans, you've heard about ZeroDT's blasé attitude about TORTURE, blah, blah, all true, but so what? Enough already, with the depressing bull-preaching -- let's talk about ... What do you GET if you buy your Blu-ray and a bag of popcorn???

Well, first of all, you get OSAMA. The Bin Man! 20,000 watts of the old BIN LADEN Star Power! This guy doesn't even have to SHOW UP, and you already got the premise for the so-called "Greatest Manhunt in History." Forget The Joker in Batman! Forget Doctor Octopus in Spider Man AND the evil Emperor in Star Wars!! Osama's the Mama of All Super Villains.

Watching the Binster read the Kor'an gave you chills, right? The dude could read the Manhattan White Pages and make you mess your pants. Somebody tell Freddy Kruger to put his slasher-fingers in his pockets and slink on outta here -- America's "MISTER Nightmare on CANAL Street" just became the Star of his own picture.

OK, so how're you going to tell the final chapter of the Osama story?

Well, right off the bat, you play a few selected 9/11 Emergency calls to the Nine-One-One operators, from the poor victims in those towering infernos. You open your picture by playing those frantic calls -- over What? Over a freakin BLACK SCREEN!

The screen is black so you can HEAR them better! (And, plus, it looks way more Arty.) And when you hear these tapes, whoa!! It takes you back. Back, back, eleven years back, to THAT DAY. Your guts start squirming around in your stomach and your blood starts pumping in your neck and your head. People are screamin for their lives, burnin up.

This is the REAL reality show stuff. Then, the phones go dead.... 911 operator says, "Is anybody there?" ... No answer! Silence.

The Horror of that day! Talk about your PTSD. OK, suck it up! Move on. We're gonna get the Monster that did this, and we're gonna blow his butt all the way to the Muslim Kingdom Come!

If we can only FIND the Bastard.

So, OK, black screen, over. Next off the bat, we see an Arab-looking dude strung up with ropes tied around his wrists, and he's got blood and lumps on his face. Good. The dude probably knows where the blinking Arab Potentate, Godfather "Binny" is hiding out! Go, C-I-A! Kick his butt, make him squeal!

We'd all have to agree: This movie is off to a flying start, and it's only, like, minute three!

So, OK, Spoiler Alert! Now, some boring stuff happens. They torture the guy, he doesn't talk; they torture the guy some MORE; again, he doesn't talk. It gets a little repetitious, if you know what I mean.

BUT, never fear, the picture has ANOTHER thing going for it -- Jessica Bleepin CHASTAIN. Hottest Babe, 2012, hands down. SO hot, she made the top "Professional Film Critics," of the male gender, drool all over their keyboards.

So, so far, the picture has two pre-dominating advantages -- JESSICA and OSAMA. Beauty and the Beast.

Is that ENOUGH to keep you sitting on the couch and eating your popcorn??? Let's find out. After Maya and her teacher Dan torture the Arab guy, they go to The Office -- the dark, dusty CIA office in Wherever-abad. Now the picture starts to bog down again. You get a lot of bulldooky office politics, uptight CIA bureaucrats, who don't give Chastain the time of day. They don't even seem to notice that she is the hottest freakin White Woman in all of Kissmybuttistan. How did they even get their CIA credentials if they can't sniff out such an obvious thing as this?

So here you got male-pig office politics dragging down the pace. Then Chastain starts playing DVDs of torture -- very fuzzy. So: Office politics, fuzzy torture videos; then, more office politics, and more torture videos. Then, a terrorist attack they didn't see coming! and more office politics. The only thing worth watching here is Chastain, watching videos.

Finally, they catch a Big Fish, named Faraj. Now Chastain gets to torture a guy all by herself. And THIS is where you begin to wonder if this All-American Beauty has any heavy-duty acting chops. She has Faraj beaten up; she has Faraj water-boarded; she even has her torture-flunkies pour this thick brown stuff into a funnel they stick down his throat. Yuck. Even I was grossed out!

But Faraj is tough; he doesn't squeal. She tells her mentor Dan, "Faraj is still withholding, and that's using every measure we have." Finally she tortures him so bad, and so non-stop, that he dies of it -- offscreen, thank god. We know this because one of the women in the office says, casually, like she's giving giving Chastain fashion tips, "So Faraj WENT SOUTH on you. It happens."

And this is where, in spite of all that creamy beauty, Chastain is in WAY over her head.

It takes a certain kind of woman -- a certain kind of person -- to do what Chastain does. We're talkin about cold-blooded murder of the most hideous kind -- murder by torture. The kind of person we're talking about here is vicious, tough, cold, fanatical, ruthless and merciless. Crazy with ambition. Charlise Theron could go that deep, Halle Berry; but not Jessica Chastain.

After Chastain commits these heinous crimes, nothing changes. You don't see it in her face, her attitude, the way she carries herself -- nowhere. She just keeps truckin along, on that trail of clues leading to the Big Trophy -- Bin Laden in a body bag. Chastain's idea of playing this demented CIA ghoul is to act like a college girl pulling all-nighters at final exam time.

Don't get me wrong. Chastain is still beautiful -- too beautiful, if you wanna know the truth -- something's off here.

You people never saw "Picture of Dorian Grey," am I right? It's this old movie about a handsome young dude who does a lot of sick you-know-what -- gets down with depravity; messes people up, so they wanna kill themselves; drinks, does drugs and generally wastes himself -- and still comes across as a handsome young dude! Meanwhile, up in his attic, he keeps a painting of himself that gets uglier and creepier and more disgusting with every evil deed he does.

Well, where is the "Picture of Jessica Chastain" that should be getting uglier and creepier, with every evil, torturing deed she does? Why don't we see the Chastain whose soul is crawling with maggots??? Liked her in "The Help." But she doesn't have the chops to do maggots.

OK, moving on. Only "moving on" doesn't move so fast. More desk-top gumshoe "detective" work. Bull-hockey, bull-hockey, they find a picture of Osama's trusted errand boy. Bullpuck, bullpuck, they get the errand boy's cell phone number and BORINGLY follow him until he leads them to the Holy Grail, Osama Bin-Bama's home-away-from-home!!!

Send in the SEALs and wrap it up, right?

Oh, we're sorry, you can't punch out until we give you another blood-pounding hour of bureaucratic bull-wash. "Are you SURE Osama is there? Are you REALLY sure?" "Well, we can't torture anybody anymore, so we can't REALLY be sure, but the Redhead says SHE's sure." Blasé, blasé, yak, yak, yak, around & around the CIA conference table.

FINALLY, the CIA Director tells the President -- it LOOKS like Bin Laden is REALLY there, so ...

Unleash the SEALs! Oh wait a minute! Takes about another half hour for the SEALs to get warmed up and THEN ...

Uh-oh. Remember when this raid ACTUALLY went down, REALLY went down on CBS and CNN and MSNBC? The real deal was two choppers full of the most pumped-up, most weaponized, adrenaline-heads, with night-vision apps up their butts VERSUS WHAT? A tiny fraction of Osama's Extended Family!

The real deal was kinda like this: A pumped-up L.A. SWAT Team bravely blasts their way into a candy store in East L.A., to whack a sick, old, alleged Mexican Mafia capo, who's hiding in the back room.

That's the blinkin CLIMAX of "Zero Dark Thirty"!

So how does the director make you NOT feel like all your sitting & waiting was in vain? Well, first of all, she shoots everything all GREEN and very fuzzy. Like you're seeing everything through the SEALs' night vision goggles. Sometimes she even makes the screen go black, so "realistic," like the goggles fritz out and the poor SEAL is as blind as all the unsuspecting people living there in the big house. Black screen -- SEALs whispering to each other -- scary stuff, very SUSPENSEFUL, so YOU won't remember this was the EASIEST job any SEAL Team ever pulled since they first crawled up on shore, what? fifty years ago.

So. One hundred and fifty-seven minutes of your time. And what would this picture be, without OSAMA, without the high-wattage charisma of THE MAN in "The Greatest Manhunt in History"? Without Bin Laden, you got one endless episode of "Cold Case"! I'm telling you, the Emperor is struttin around without a stitch on his carcass -- ZERO!

And you blew $15, maybe more. Know who gets the Last Laff? You guessed it -- ol' Ozzy Bin Lozzy. That wily ol' Nut Job CHANGED THE U.S. of A. like no politician and no CEO could EVER have done -- turned this country into a humungous Chicken Shack, ruled over by Giant Mutant Foxes. I swear he's cacklin away, down there, in his watery grave.


Disney's the Lion King (Disney Classic Series)
Disney's the Lion King (Disney Classic Series)
by Don Ferguson
Edition: Hardcover
137 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Well written descriptions -- NO CREDIT for writer(s), March 17, 2011
Why couldn't Disney at least name the writer, or writers, who wrote the descriptions of the movie scenes for the book? The prose is good. SOMEONE deserves credit. Disney is stingy. And mean. And the movie glorifies monarchy. Mufasa is a benevolent dictator. (Always benevolent? We don't know.) Simba will be his unelected successor-king. No room for democracy in Disney's Pride Land? Oops, I've misplaced my sense of humor! Darn that Disney.


The Migrants [VHS]
The Migrants [VHS]
VHS
Offered by astrodeals
Price: $6.99
8 used & new from $5.00

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lost television movie classic (suppressed?), March 11, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Migrants [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Advisory: I played a small role in this film -- Sissy Spacek's dying husband.

This is an extraordinary movie-for-television. Several stars, and stars-to-be. Very realistic depiction of the lives of migrant farm workers. Excellent script by playwright Lanford Wilson, in consultation with Tennessee Williams. Solid direction by Tom Gries ("Will Penny," "The Glass House," "QB VII" and "Helter Skelter").

The movie was nominated for seven Emmys, including the categories of direction, writing and leading actress.

"The Migrants" is a compelling story of a family that struggles to survive by working in the fields, from Florida to New Jersey. They travel from farm to farm in a beat-up station wagon. Along the way they stay in various run-down cabins -- farmworker housing, with no plumbing. You get a clear sense of the hot, dirty and exhausting work of harvesting the corn and tomatoes and other crops that feed the country.

The family drama is truthful and compelling. Cloris Leachman is the mother who keeps the family together. She becomes a grandmother when her daughter (Sissy Spacek) gives birth, in a tent in the fields. Leachman's husband (Ed Lauter) is a quiet man who gives his children the example of a steady, skilled, uncomplaining worker.

Ron Howard is the son who is torn between loyalty to his family and a desperate wish to break away and find a better life. His family is chronically in debt to the labor contractor (Mills Watson) who pushes the workers from farm to farm and goads them on to pick basket after basket of the crop of the day. The family's earnings are used up buying food and other necessities from the contractor. He overcharges, but the family never has time to go into one of the towns they pass and shop somewhere else.

Howard decides to earn some extra cash for the family by working nights in a canning plant, after his day's work in the fields. He meets another worker there (Cindy Williams). They're drawn to each other and they share their dreams of the life they might have, outside of the closed world of picking crops.

The family picture is brightened by the innocence and infectious energy of Howard and Spacek's two younger sisters.

And there's something inspiring about the way the family holds together and forges ahead. It's a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit.

After the movie's original broadcast in 1974, it was never re-run nationally, in spite of its high-profile cast and its widely recognized quality.

Why would CBS refuse to earn more money on its original investment by rebroadcasting its own movie?

In 1974 the U.S. was fighting the Cold War with the Soviet Union (USSR). The image of America was a key weapon in that bitter struggle. The U.S. had to make itself look good in the eyes of the world. Unsightly images, and unflattering stories, like those of the lives of migrant farmworkers, were believed to be harmful to America's war against the USSR.

According to director Tom Gries, the president of CBS Entertainment (1974) declared that "The Migrants" was an "Un-American" movie.

That is why a landmark movie in the history of American television remains vitually unknown today.

Monterey Home Video and the Monterey Movie Company have performed a valuable service in producing and distributing the high-quality video cassettes of this television treasure.

See it before it disappears again.
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