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Silver Linings Playbook
Silver Linings Playbook
DVD ~ Bradley Cooper
124 used & new from $0.12

20 of 76 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolute tripe., March 7, 2013
This review is from: Silver Linings Playbook (DVD)
This has to be the worst Mental Health film ever made. When you decide to go into the area of psyche you are going up against such heavyweights as "Cuckoo's Nest", "Awakenings" and even "Fight Club". The writer and director are simply in over their heads. The whole movie is poorly cast, poorly written and poorly acted. De Niro and Weaver have got chops galore but even they cannnot save it.

It WAS great to see Chris Tucker back in form but Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence have no business being in a movie like this. Mental Health has to be handled sensitively, tactfully and above all SLOWLY. They both lack the maturity and expertise to handle the task and the pacing on this is way off. If you want a modern Mental Health movie, check out "Robot and Frank". It is far superior to this drivel. The pacing is perfect and Langella is THE MAN. This movie is just an insult to the subject of Mental Health. It is all flash and cash with no artistic smash. Not recommended.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 15, 2013 6:35 PM PDT


Chained
Chained
DVD
Price: $2.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Acting and direction = 5 stars but major plot holes lose 2, December 21, 2012
This review is from: Chained (Amazon Video)
The big problem with this perfectly acted and directed movie is that the writing is so poor. As you watch each scene the same question will keep coming up: Why? Why doesn't the boy stab him to death while he sleeps or poison his food? Why didn't the mother grab one of numerous gardening tools off the wall in the garage and attack the serial killer? And so on.

SPOILER ALERT

The big one though, which is never answered, is why does the father/husband pay his brother to kill his wife and son in the first place? One other problem is that the killer is supposed to be so strong that he can simply overpower any of his victims but he does no exercise, eats nothing but junk everyday, drinks beer and watches TV every night and slobs around driving a cab all day. In the final scene Tim kills his father but his fathers second wife calls the police claiming it was the result of a break-in. The problem is there are no other prints to be identified in the loungeroom but the family and Tim's which means that he would be found anyway. This then raises the question as to why didn't the police check out Robert's place when they were searching for Tim and his mother?

We are expected to believe that the police wouldn't have questioned ALL the relatives of a missing boy and his mother. Not once during the time that Tim is captive does anyone come to the house so what this means is the serial killer and his hostage live in some kind of 'Superhouse' where nothing ever breaks down or Bob is Mr. DIY to the power of 1000. Another big detail that is overlooked is if the serial killer does NOT work for a cab company, surely someone would have noticed that a guy driving around in one of their cabs who doesn't actually work for the company.

This could have easily been a 5 star movie if Lynch had of written her characters with much more of a sense of fight instead of simply resigning themselves to their fate. Either that or the serial killer could have used some kind of drug to dull their motor skills. Tim actually does fight back in an early scene but then instead of grabbing a knife or fork from the kitchen draw and stabbing the crap out of the antagonist, he just sits there waiting for him to recover.

On the plus side, you will be absolutely floored by the performances of all of the cast as very few of the crimes are committed on camera but you do still believe that they really happened and at least Lynch didn't end this one like Boxing Helena with the dreaded, "It was all a dream."
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 1, 2013 9:27 AM PST


We Need to Talk About Kevin
We Need to Talk About Kevin
DVD ~ Tilda Swinton
Price: $19.59
24 used & new from $2.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Did Eva create Kevin or did Kevin create Eva?, December 3, 2012
This review is from: We Need to Talk About Kevin (DVD)
5 Stars. The performances are all brilliant. Even the little kids which is unusual. This is actually still in sequence but the past scenes are told more in flashback which makes it far more effective than having them in order as this way you see the effects of the killing first and the movie can gradually build to the final conflict. Every scene is boiling over with tension and suspence even when Kevin is not in the room, but the big question that you take away from this is Did Eva create Kevin or did Kevin create Eva?


The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight Rises
DVD ~ Christian Bale
Offered by Perception Products
Price: $5.75
171 used & new from $0.01

53 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but the first two are both better., November 17, 2012
This review is from: The Dark Knight Rises (DVD)
4 Stars. This was pretty damn good but it definitely had its problems. Bane's voice was almost impossible to make out most of the time. The addition of Catwoman was okay but nothing really extraordinary. There was very little screen time for Bale which he probably wasn't happy about so this really came off more like 'Bane and Robin' rather than 'Batman and Robin'. The biggest problem though is the first act.

It really drags and they could have lost about 10 or 15 minutes to tighten up the pace. Once the second act kicks in though, that's when the whole story becomes really engaging. It's awesome how Bane unintentionally 'recreates' Batman without knowing it. There is definitely some repetition of ideas from the first two which is probably why this is the last one but overall it is probably the darkest of the three. This is definitely better than the latest Spiderman.

The criticism about this third chapter not fitting in with the whole series could not be further from the truth. This one really represents the bookending of the entire series. In the first chapter Batman does NOT exist until he escapes from the League of Shadows and the same is true when he escapes from the prison in this one. The great irony of both these movies is that the antagonist in each case actually creates Batman, the only person that can stop them. This is why the first fight with Bane is dismal. It is not because of a lack of physical conditioning, it is because this is not Batman fighting Bane but Bane fighting Bruce Wayne doing the best he can. So in reality it is the second chapter that does 'fit' because Batman already exists from start to finish.

This is really the genius of Nolan in full effect. If you can overlook the flaws in directing you will be in a perfect position to see the brilliant story arc and also the spirit of Kane's creation represented accurately in all three films. In other words, Batman is not a suit or gadgets or cars and bikes etc., but a belief and mindset. When Alfred tries to explain this to Bruce, that he has not been 'Batman' for years, it does not register. No amount of physical training or gadgetry would give him the mindset of the Batman.

If you keep this in perspective that Batman is an internal mindset when watching all 3 chapters and not about discrepancies between page and screen that are really the external details, you can see that the essence of Batman has been presented here perfectly.


Drop Dead Diva: Season 2
Drop Dead Diva: Season 2
DVD ~ Brooke Elliott
Offered by MightySilver
Price: $10.78
57 used & new from $1.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Full of surprises yet again., November 5, 2012
This review is from: Drop Dead Diva: Season 2 (DVD)
All the other reviews for this show pretty much cover the brilliant writing, direction and acting especially Elliott. Hers is such a challenging character to play convincingly but she brings so much subtle detail to every scene that you actually believe there really ARE two people in there.

The main difference between this season and the first is the progression of Levering's character 'Kim'. There is a little less of the completely unlikeable antagonist in these episodes and more a case (get it?) of her rock-solid honesty shining through under any circumstances. Although she still has the emotional intelligence of a bar of soap, (she is the antagonist to Jane's protagonist remember), this second season puts her in a little more human light than the first.

One strange thing about this comedy/drama in general though is that Cho, the only stand-up comic in the whole cast, has probably the least funniest character of them all. Without a doubt, Bowlby as Stacy is the show stealer for any scene she is in. The chemistry and comedic interplay between her and Elliott is undeniable and like one of those magic pairings that can make a break a series. In this case, they make it big time.

5 stars!


Young Adult
Young Adult
DVD ~ Charlize Theron
Offered by Perception Products
Price: $8.25
63 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you don't understand irony, you won't get it., October 24, 2012
This review is from: Young Adult (DVD)
Everything about this movie is perfect. From the casting to the writing to the direction and acting, it's all here. There are no cliches, predictable happy ending where she "gets her man" or even a real clear sense of who the protaganist is. It is a very slow burn so if you are looking for gags and a quick pace this is not for you today, but come back to it when you want a movie that smacks of realism. If you are a writer, then you will definitely see yourself in this character.

Theron is flawless as the lead character, hurtling toward 40, but with a clear case of arrested development who ironically makes a living writing "here today, gone today" teenage novels for readers who are the same age mentally as the author. She gradually becomes the character in her latest manuscript and just as the end of the series is inevitable, so too is her time in her home town.

This movie works on so many different levels that you can definitely watch it twice and you can definitely watch the drink-driving scene over and over. It's hilarious!

Recommended - 5 Stars.


The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos and Improvisation
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solos and Improvisation
by Michael Miller
Edition: Paperback
33 used & new from $6.10

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go straight to page 153., October 18, 2012
There are many great pieces of advice in every chapter but the most powerful of them all is definitely the section, "Playing with-and Against-Your Fellow Musicians". You don't even need to know anything about improvisation to get this. Just go straight to this section, read it first and then everthing else makes perfect sense. You will play better than ever because you are "in the pocket" with the other players.


The Office: Season 8
The Office: Season 8
DVD ~ John Krasinski
Offered by Outlet Promotions
Price: $18.85
32 used & new from $15.49

1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It's getting worse., September 20, 2012
This review is from: The Office: Season 8 (DVD)
The only way this series can be saved is if David Brent takes over as manager in Season 9. This will bookend the whole series with Brent opening and closing the entire sitcom. Gervais and Merchant can help raise the quality of the writing and Christoper Guest and Fred Willard should be brought in as characters somewhere as Spinal Tap is the whole reason why The Office exists in the first place anyway. Otherwise, no one will remember the great work done in the first six seasons but instead how bad the last three are.


The Office: Season 7
The Office: Season 7
DVD ~ Steve Carell
Offered by amazingwildcat
Price: $12.79
37 used & new from $7.69

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very inconsistent., September 10, 2012
This review is from: The Office: Season 7 (DVD)
This season really is all over the place. There are definitely some great episodes but there are an equal amount of straight-ahead mundane ones. The strength of this comedy-drama from series one has always been that you are laughing or feeling the tension from the drama, but with this season there are several scenes which are neither.

The big news is that Carell is leaving but this isn't nearly as much of a problem as Daniels and Schur having already left to create the infinitely tighter and insanely unpredictable Parks and Rec.

The main problem seems to be a lot of the dialogue probably reads really well on the page but needs to be streamlined big time for the small screen. There are numerous excrutiatingly long rants and monologues from various different characters which simply bog down the pace and mess with the comedic timing in general.

Even though Season Six was also wildly inconsistent due to the ridiculously high number of writers, Bates and Carell were still able to hold it all together due to their chemistry and a kind of 'mother and son' dynamic.

If they cannot get Daniels and Schur back pretty soon it may be best to quit while they are ahead.


The Last House on the Left (Unrated & Theatrical Versions)
The Last House on the Left (Unrated & Theatrical Versions)
DVD ~ Tony Goldwyn
Price: $4.99
131 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars With Bergman as an influence, how can you lose?, September 10, 2012
If you haven't seen The Virgin Spring then it's probably a good idea to see Last House On The Left first. If you have already seen Bergman's classic then you will more than likely be disappointed by Craven's attempt in the original or the remake.

Compared to the other big remake, I Spit On Your Grave, this one is far superior. There is even the addition of a hospital scene to give you some back story about Mari's father. This also helps everything add up perfectly when he has to operate on one of the thugs and his own daughter towards the end.

This is simply a much tighter and slicker version of the original although the Sadie character in the original was played a lot more maliciously by Jeramie Rain while 'Krug' in this version is a little too pretty-boy compared to David Hess so only 4 stars. Obviously the acting is going to be a lot better overall than decades ago because Craven has a lot more cash to spend on the remake than he did for the original.

The addition of a fourth antagonist was a surprise in the first act but by the end you realise how essential he is to the plot overall.

Craven clearly still had a pretty tight grip on the reins creatively to make sure all the details locked in like a well oiled machine. He was especially careful to show how much of a masterful swimmer Mari is in the opening scenes. This seemingly trivial detail is anything but though because she just makes it back home, after being beaten, raped and finally shot, obviously due to her many years of dedicated training in the pool etc.

While I Spit On Your Grave in remake is seriously flawed, (see my review), this one is far more successful. The exclusion of the 'castration' scene will more than likely annoy fans of the original but the 'waste disposal' and 'microwave' scenes should be enough of a compromise.

Some people complain about the music in the original but a lot of the music (mostly by Hess himself) including the theme is clearly a major influence for bands like Zero 7, Kaki King and the like.


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