Marter's Reviews

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by PayJ on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:06 am

I enjoyed Final Destination and Final Destination 2 had some good elements but I lost it at Final Destination 3. The characters where annoying and a fucking forklift driving itself? No thanks.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Pararaptor on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:28 am

Can't handle the guy getting sucked through the pool filter. I hate shit like that.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by PayJ on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:30 am

I don't remember that one? I've only seen the first 3. The deaths where good enough I mean the one with the knives in the first film was far fetched enough but still sort of stayed within the realms of reality.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Pararaptor on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:32 am

It's the remake/fourth one I think. Haven't seen the film, just that scene.

The bit with the lift doors in the first one got me pretty good when I watched it too.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by PayJ on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:36 am

Oh yeah that ones awesome. The barbed wire one was just brutal, have you seen the behind the scenes for that? It's crazy.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Pararaptor on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:50 am

Only seen the first one all the way through.

Got a video?
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Guest on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:53 am

Pararaptor wrote:Can't handle the guy getting sucked through the pool filter. I hate shit like that.
Don't worry, that shits impossible.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Walnutman on Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:37 am

The first Final Destination was pretty fucking sweet, the second one was pretty good, after that they were pretty shit.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by ggggggggggg on Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:08 am

Pararaptor wrote:Can't handle the guy getting sucked through the pool filter. I hate shit like that.


Ever read Guts?

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Hubilub on Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:41 am

Fuck me, Guts was insae

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Pararaptor on Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:42 am

Yep. Hated that part but loved it for how brutal it was too.

I know it's not possible with a pool filter (never mind that you can still die from them under the right circumstances) but it's stuff like that episode of Mythbusters where they depressurise the old diver suit and all the organs rip off the skeleton or a story I read somewhere about a submarine accident where all 4 crew got sucked into the same pipe. That part in James Bond where the guy explodes in a depressurisation chamber started it.

It's just baaaaaaaaaaad. I've had nightmares about rapid pressure changes.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by PayJ on Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:57 am



Couldn't find the behind the scenes.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Pararaptor on Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:12 pm

Oh yeah I remember that.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Pararaptor on Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:16 pm

Gah, all the deaths put me off. I can't do deaths that happen from things instead of people.
Stab a guy, yeah whatever but have something like that happen and I just feel so icky.

The later Saw movies are the same way.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by ggggggggggg on Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:31 pm

I can never take the Saw films seriously. Even the first one, which was supposedly the only "good" one. The acting was hilariously bad and the big reveal at the end was so pointless and out of left field that it just ended up being funny.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Hubilub on Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:47 pm

Saw is shit

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Guest on Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:02 pm

PayJ wrote:

Couldn't find the behind the scenes.
I've heard stories of that happening with coiled sheet metal.

The straps holding the metal coiled snapped, the sheets jumped open and the bloke gets literally sliced in half. I believe its when you cold-work roll sheet metal but I could be wrong.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Pararaptor on Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:38 pm

I don't think much of them either, but that kind of accidental/trap death, like the guy getting his head crushed by the two giant hammers when the door opens just rubs me the wrong way.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:57 pm

Final Destination 2
To quickly sum up Final Destination 2, all one needs to do is point at the first Final Destination and say "it's just like that one." There are, of course, some slight differences, but after seeing two films in this series, it's safe to say that we're here to watch some people die. The filmmakers just need to top their previous efforts in terms of the kill scenes, and we'll probably leave happier for the experience.

We pick up a year after the first Final Destination began. This time, there isn't going to be a plane explosion. Our lead character, Kimberly (A.J. Cook), is driving along with her pot-smoking friends, heading to some campsite or wherever so that they can party and have a good time. I guess they're going for an overnight weekend trip or something. It doesn't matter, as they're not going to make it to their destination. Kimberly has a vision involving the most elaborate death sequence the film will have (a multi-car pileup), and eventually prevents a bunch of people from being killed by deciding to stop right at the top of an entrance ramp.

Apart from the different situation, the first major difference you'll notice is that the individuals involved aren't all teenagers (and one teacher, but who cares about her?). Most of the people in this film are adults, actually. Sure, they're in their mid-twenties, but that's far removed from being a teenager. It should also mean that the characters act more intelligently, but this is a horror film so you can chuck that thought out the door. These people aren't going to act using logic, although that goes part in parcel with Death, who once again shows up and decides to make Rube Goldberg Machines out of ordinary household items intended to kill the people he missed with the car crash.

The personalities are more prominent in this film than before, which helps the audience to identify exactly who is currently in the process of being stalked and killed. There's a pregnant woman, a drug addict, a police officer, a mother/son combo, a teacher, and a man who just won the lottery. Ths diversity gave them very shallow personalities. I don't think the intention was to make us care about them, but instead to allow us to differentiate between them. Teens can often be hard to tell apart, but there's a big difference between a male drug addict and a pregnant woman.

Of course, fans of the first Final Destination know what to expect here: Lots of murder thanks to one angry Death. He is once again the villain, and it's up to the characters to figure out a way to try to stop him from killing them. To do this, they enlist the help of the sole survivor from the first film, Clear (Ali Larter), and you probably won't even believe me if I told you what they come up with in their attempt this time. If you thought Final Destination had a silly explanation, just wait until you hear this one.

The kills are just as extravagant and over-the-top as in the first film. Take the first real character death, which involves a man lighting his entire apartment on fire, manages to escape right before it explodes, and ends up being impaled by the emergency ladder after seemingly escaping. Death cannot be stopped, it would seem, despite what the characters seem to believe. Then again, if Larter's character as survived an entire year (even if she did have to have herself committed to a mental hospital in that time), then maybe you can cheat Death. I suppose you'll have to watch Final Destination 2 in order to find out.

Or maybe not, because you've probably already figured out the answer. Either way, you'll probably have fun with this film because it continues to show us interesting and creative death scenes. These scenes are often set-up well, and it makes me smile to see annoying characters get the head chopped off -- after running from the things that seem like an actual threat. Sure, the circumstances are silly and unrealistic -- I don't know how many news reporters would be able to say with a straight face that they're all still "Freak Accidents" -- but they enjoyable enough in their own right to be worth watching for.

There's one thing that keeps Final Destination 2 from matching its predecessor: The way that the deaths are set-up. I don't mean that in the circumstances leading up to the kills, as they're often similar. Instead, I mean the cinematic techniques used. When I was waiting for a death in the first film, I was tense. I knew it was coming, any action could be the initial trigger, and I almost didn't want the characters to move because anything might cause their demise. Here, there's no tension. Maybe it's because we always know that the characters will die -- there's no chance for their escape, for the most part -- but I think it comes down to the musical score, the cinematography, and the lighting. Final Destination was a dark film that worked because the deaths were built up to for the audience. This one plays out like an action film, and we no longer have to figure out which decision will cause the death.

Final Destination 2 is still ultimately a lot of fun, even if it's much less of a horror film than its predecessor. The opening car wreck is a great scene that is more complex than most action scenes in action films, but you appreciate it on a different level than Final Destination. This one is less thrilling even if the kills are more original and the characters slightly more interesting.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:57 pm

Final Destination 3
It's easy to call Final Destination 3 a better sequel to Final Destination than installment number 2 was simply based on tone. Before anything had gone wrong, our main character, Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) was already looking around eerily at her surroundings. Director James Wong, the man who helmed the first of the franchise, returns for this one and brings with him the same dark tone that made the first film very enjoyable.

At this point in the franchise, you probably know what's going to happen. After getting on a roller coaster, Wendy has a vision involving everyone on the ride dying. She manages to get many of the people off it before it departs, although get boyfriend ends up becoming one of the deceased that she predicted. Seemingly ruining her life, she decides to skip graduation, cut herself off from everyone except for her sister, Julie (Amanda Crew), and her boyfriend's friend, Kevin (Ryan Merriman).

You know what comes next. Someone dies, someone else dies, the main characters find out, realize that the dead people were the ones who were supposed to be on the roller coaster, and soon come to the conclusion that they're going to be dead soon as well. Death is angry that they ruined His plans, so the next logical course of action is to figure out how to ruin them again. Tangential references are made to the first couple of films (it provides an easy way for the characters to find out about the rules that we already have hard-wired into our brain), and everyone has to try to figure out a way to escape Death once and for all -- if that's actually possible.

This time around, all of the victims are teenagers. That's also as close to the first film as the series has been so far. Round #2 gave us mostly adult characters, although they still acted like teens. Maybe the reason that teen slasher films are so popular is because teens are frequently stupid and annoying (in the movies), and seeing them get their just deserts is satisfying for an audience. This is especially true in this film, as some of the characters are really just asking for Death to come to their door and take them away.

Take, for instance, the two "popular" girls who decide to go for a quick tanning bed session before graduation. They go into the room without the help of the manager, disobey the "no drinks in the room" order and also turn up the temperature even after one of them states that it might be low to keep the machines running properly. They're practically begging to be roasted. The same holds true for some of the other characters. They either don't know or don't believe that Death is after them, and to prove how cool they are, they act as stupidly as possible. We want to see them die.

There needs to be a gimmick as well, so Final Destination 3's idea is to make the pictures that Wendy took at the theme park manage to be clues regarding how death is going to kill them. If there are scissors in the picture she took of someone, they're probably going to be sliced up in one way or another. They think that this will allow them to save the soon-to-be-victims, and because Death apparently allows people to be skipped if someone intervenes in his plans (again), they'll be able to stop everyone from dying. Maybe using teens is a good idea just because they have a lot of optimism.

The main point of this series is still to just have gruesome, complicated and unrealistic death sequences that the newspaper will call "tragic accidents." We get enough of those to keep us entertained. If you liked the previous films, you'll likely enjoy this one as well simply because it's more of the same. If you don't like watching random teenagers die in bloody and horrific ways, then this won't be a film to change your mind.

With that said, this isn't the pinnacle of the series so far. What made the first film so good was the way that it made every little action seem like it could trigger a character's death. This one sets the deaths up in such an elaborate way that it's very easy to tell exactly when and how the character will die. There's no tension and it doesn't seem like the character has any control. Maybe that's the point -- and one character is described as being a "control freak" -- but this doesn't help the film scare or excite audiences. This is more about the kills than the buildup, a departure from what made the first film a real winner.

I have to wonder, however, what happened to the survivors of the last film. Did Death finally come for them? Did they wind up in an asylum? Or did the actors not want to come back for a sequel? I guess we'll never know, but if the ending of this film is to be believed, I think I have a pretty good idea. This is probably the first ending in the series that I actually enjoyed, largely because it didn't cheat like the others kind of, or mostly, did.

To be short: This is a better film than Final Destination 2, but not as good as the first one. It sets a better tone than #2, but doesn't give us as many genuine thrills as Final Destination did. It's fun, and it gives us enough elaborate executions to be worth your time. If you liked the first two films, this is more of the same. If you didn't, then this isn't a movie for you. That's about as simple as it is at this point.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:34 pm

The Final Destination
It's a bad sign when a movie needs to do one thing right -- stage elaborate death sequences -- but can't even do that properly. This is the fourth installment in the Final Destination series, and killing its characters is what it has been based around. The set-up in all of these films, so far, has been that some characters somehow manage to cheat Death thanks a moment of clairvoyance, and Death gets angry so he decides that killing them in as impressive a way as possible will work as a great substitute.

The main character this time is Nick (Bobby Campo), whose girlfriend is Lori (Shantel VanSanten). They're at a race track with some friends, he has a vision that involves a car accident that manages to get into the audience, killing 50+ people. He panics, manages to get his friends to leave before it happens, drags some other people with him, and, low and behold, the accident occurs and he's called a hero. However, once some of the saved begin dropping dead from "Freak Accidents" it's up to Nick and Lori to try to prevent them and their friends from suffering a similar fate.

This time around, adults are brought into the picture again. The four main teenagers are the only people under the age of thirty, with everyone else being adults who should know better than to act like an idiot. The only one who tries to better himself is a security guard named George (Mykelti Williamson), who ends up teaming up with the two leads in order to figure out what's going on. The cynicism is gone here, with most characters instantly believing that Death is coming for them. I guess that's nice, as we've done this a few times before now, but it means that there isn't any real learning for the characters. They know what happened in the earlier films, and they already understand the rules -- most of them, at least.

Of course, there has to be a new gimmick this time around, so that's given to the main character. Instead of having photographs be clues, he gets more visions that basically explain how the next character is going to be killed. Really, really poorly created CGI visions that look like they could have been made better in 1990, but visions nonetheless. Except this removes all tension and mystery from the deaths, and in turn makes them about as boring and mundane as they can be.

The terrible special effects are not exclusive to these short visions that Nick gets. Instead, they're also prevalent whenever a character is about to be killed. The poor death sequences rival the first one's in terms of the special effects. Actually, they're not even that good. Every single death looks cheap and appears as if not much effort went into its creation. There's even one time when a character gets hit by a bus, and the shot changes just to tell us that the character is going to die. That makes me wonder how many people have died via bus in this series. It also made me think of the better, earlier films.

The poor craftsmanship wasn't saved just for the creation of the death scenes either, though. It was used in pre-production when brainstorming them. The writer is Eric Bress, the man who worked on Final Destination 2 (also returning from that film is director David R. Ellis). The two men are unable to come up with anything unique, and the result is a bore. The series has gotten stale with this installment, thanks in large part to the deaths not being at all creative (or well-made).

While the acting in this series hasn't ever been something to write home about, this is probably the worst it has ever gotten. It's not even that the actors have trouble delivering their lines; it's more that they never react appropriately given the situation. They're all just way too calm given the fact that their lives are in danger. Even after a guy gets shot in the arm with a nail gun, he doesn't scream, or even seem worried. It's like all of these people are Terminators, and Death is John Connor or something. They don't feel fear, but they're going to lose because of the gritty determination of the person trying to kill them.

If I didn't know better, I would have to think that The Final Destination is a joke targeted squarely at its audience. It was released in 3D, and thanks to a couple of comments in the film, it almost seemed as if the filmmakers wanted to take a cheap shot at both 3D films, and everyone who paid to watch this one. Maybe the joke is on us, guys, but hopefully I can persuade some not to watch this film. It's simply not worth your time, even if you liked the earlier films in the franchise. You actually have seen most of this before, and this sentiment holds even more true than before.

The Final Destination is a terrible film, and a pretty bad Final Destination movie. It needed to do one thing right: Give us fun death sequences. The premise is there almost solely so that you don't need a real reason to kill a bunch of people. But this film even manages to mess that premise up, basically showing us the deaths before they occur. There's no tension, no horror, and no fun. It's not even that enjoyable watching unlikable people die this time around; it's just boring. At this point, the series has worn thin. There's no creativity here which just makes for a boring watch. Adding onto that is the fact that it's simply poorly made. There is nothing about it to make it a worthwhile experience, except maybe to say that you're now the punchline to a joke that the filmmakers might not even know they're telling.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Xandy on Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:01 pm

PayJ wrote:

Why did that make me giggle like a retard? It just seems so silly.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:04 pm

Final Destination 5
If I were to simply say "Yes, it is another Final Destination film" and leave it at that, would one sentence count as an entire review? It both accurately describes the movie, while also telling everyone whether or not they'll enjoy it. If I add the word "decent" in front of the series' title, will that be better? Once you reach number 5 in a series, doesn't the audience pretty much know what they're getting into?

Anyway, this is the fifth iteration of the Final Destination franchise. For those still not on-board or completely unaware about how this thing works, here's the gist: A character prevents the death of him or herself and a few other people. Death gets angry because of this, as it messes up His plans, so He decides to plan their deaths in the most elaborate way possible. The main cast tries to find a loophole, and He picks them off one by one. That's how it has worked for four films now, and you can't expect this one to be any different.

The opening sequence is generally a highly complex, massive massacre of practically everyone possible. This time, it happens on a suspension bridge. The bridge breaks, characters try to run for their lives, but almost everyone dies. And then we find out, unsurprisingly, that this scene was actually a vision of Sam (Nicholas D'Agosto). Now it's a race against time to get off the bridge before it collapses. He saves his girlfriend, best friend, and a couple of other employees that he was traveling with. They're now marked for death, as they were all supposed to die on the bridge.

Final Destination 5 is a retread of territory that we've covered so many times before. I have to wonder if we needed another one of these films. Yes, The Final Destination was supposed to end the series, but since it made money, we get another one here. I anticipate even more, because this is, at the very least, better than the fourth installment. But I have to question how much more can be milked from the series. It's not like they're even terribly cheap to produce; these films cost a lot to make compared to a lot of other horror films out there. Massive death sequences cost money to make well.

I still would like to see a return to the way that the first film worked. In it, anything the characters would do acted as a possible trigger for Death to approach them. Lighting a candle or cutting a sandwich in half could be the end of them. In all of the following films, including this one, Death's plans almost always acted independent of the characters' actions. No matter what they did, Death's plans were going to happen. Sure, that makes more sense from Death's perspective, but it creates less tension for the audience.

I think this is the most gruesome and gory Final Destination yet, although if you put that on the poster, I don't know if you would entice or repel more people. There are many scenes which made me want to close my eyes, as I knew that body parts were going to be punctured by sharp things. Blood is also frequent, although the most tense part of the film was bloodless, despite being very, very intense. I hadn't been this thrilled from a Final Destination movie since the first one, even if it was just one or two moments which caused me to feel that way.

Actually, if we're basing the film on how uncomfortable it'll make you feel, this one is the best in the series. For instance, you'll probably want to avoid Final Destination 5 if you're going to have laser eye surgery, or if you're going for an acupuncture session later in the day. I don't even need either of those, and the scenes featuring them made me shiver. While not all of the deaths are particularly creative, at least most of them made me feel something other than boredom.

The unfortunate part of Final Destination 5 is that it tries to bring in a couple of subplots to the whole "Death is going to kill us" story. There are three, from my count. The first involves the relationship between Sam and his (ex?) girlfriend, Molly (Emma Bell). There's a great deal of effort put into them being a couple, but it just falls flat. Next, we have the FBI make a return, this time sending just one agent (Courtney B. Vance). This was the weakest part of Final Destination, and it still doesn't work after eleven years. Finally, we have the new way that the characters are going to try to escape Death's clutches, although it only really factors in during the last twenty minutes.

This film also didn't seem to take itself too seriously, injecting some much-needed humor into the series. I laughed fairly often at the attempted jokes, which is always a bonus. You mix that in with really uncomfortable death sequences, and you have yourself a good movie. A sick, morally depraved movie that's sole purpose for existing is to kill random characters, but a good movie nonetheless. Oh, and look out for the twist ending, which was definitely the best ending of the series so far.

Final Destination 5 is a well-made Final Destination movie. It has death sequences that, while not always tense, are almost always uncomfortable. It has characters that aren't incredibly stupid, the special effects are solid, and it contains enough humor to keep the tone light. It also allows itself open enough to serve as an introduction to newcomers, even if the first film still is likely a better starting place, if only because you'll get a lot of references. It tried to jam too much into its brief running time, but it is still quite an enjoyable "Let's kill everyone" flick.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:59 pm

Dirty Pretty Things
Dirty Pretty Things is a film that probably would have been better if it hadn't tried to do too many things. I say that even though I did enjoy it. I just felt as if it brought up a lot of points but didn't delve far enough into them. It comes across as far more superficial than this type of film should be. When you have a film about both the exploitation of illegal immigrants, the illegal kidney exchange industry, as well as a relationship between people of different backgrounds, it's going to take some time to develop each.

I think it's the characters that makes Dirty Pretty Things impossible to turn away from. Most of the time, there isn't much of a plot, although there are certain things that happen to each of these individuals. The lead is Okwe (Chiwetel Ejiofor), an illegal immigrant living in London. Nobody knows where he comes from -- he speaks several languages and is reclusive about himself -- although when asked he responds with "it's an African story," only half-jokingly. He works at least two jobs, the most prominent of which is at a hotel, running the front desk.

Of course, hotel workers multitask. He's informed by the resident prostitute that one of the rooms needs checking, and inside he finds a plugged toilet. Reaching in, he finds a heart. A human heart. He reports it to his manager, a Spaniard named Sneaky (Sergi López), although he is indifferent toward it. Something's going on here, and for a while, it seems like the heart and its former owner are going to dominate Okwe's train of thought. However, that gets derailed soon enough as the film transitions from formula thriller to poignant drama.

He's rooming with a Turkish refugee, Senay (Audrey Tautou), who works as a maid for the hotel. She's not allowed to be working, nor is she allowed to accept rent for her first six months in the country. Okwe isn't even allowed to be here. The two begin the film more or less not even talking, although they soon warm up to one another. They both dream of getting to America, and are working in order to make that come true, even if neither is legally allowed to.

Dirty Pretty Things doesn't dwell on the human heart, or even on the somewhat creepy manager. It throws more obstacles at its main characters than should be necessary, and we get them overcome most, if not all of these challenges. Yes, the stakes get higher later on, yes, we find out the real origin of Okwe, and there's probably a possibly love story as well. But it's more about the survival, about doing what's necessary given touch circumstances, and about chasing a dream that seems so very far away.

There are more characters as well, like a legal Asian immigrant, Guo Yi (Benedict Wong), another worker at the hotel of undeclared origin (Zlatko Buric), and the aforementioned prostitute (Sophie Okonedo), who sounds British but who really knows? All of them are interesting, and all of them play a very specific role. For the most part, that role is to show us exactly how certain members of society are treated, and how the majority turn a blind eye to -- or even participate in -- this treatment.

What gets lost in the shuffle is this initial thriller aspect, although it picks up sporadically throughout. It never really does come fully together, largely because the film isn't about that, nor is that what it wants you to take away from it. Dirty Pretty Things is dead-set in making sure you understand what its message is, so much so that the mystery aspect and the possible romance both get pushed aside so that it can drive its point home. There's a very powerful quote near the end of the film that will fill in those who don't pay a lot of attention when watching movies, and it makes sure that everyone will leave with at least a vague understanding of what it's trying to say.

It helps that there's always a sense of hope permeating throughout the picture. Even though there's almost always something bad happening, despite the seemingly insurmountable odds, you always root for these characters. Not just because they're generally good people, played by strong actors, who are working hard to get what they want, but because the script and direction are so tight and the message so clear that you understand what they're going through and you want something good to happen.

The downtrodden tone is upset a tad in the end, as in the final 20 minutes or so, Dirty Pretty Things kind of falls apart. It's difficult to end a film like this without a melancholic approach, and because of that, the ending feels a bit like a cop out. It brings in aspects that weren't delved deeply into earlier, and it borders on the ridiculous, like the filmmakers wrote themselves into a corner and had to think of a cheap way to escape. Par for the course in a thriller, I guess, but since the film so frequently forgets that it's a thriller, this becomes distracting.

Dirty Pretty Things is a film about something, and it's an issue that deserves looking at. This might not be the film to change your mind about anything or encourage you to get up and do something -- in large part because it skims more along the surface and definitely could have benefited from a longer running time -- but it's a worthwhile endeavor to sit through. It's poignant, well-made, and quite enjoyable, even if it won't be a captivating thriller. Just captivating is good enough.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:15 pm

Rollerball
There's a line that you can't cross when making a film like Rollerball. When you come to the point in the production -- and this can be as early as when you first read the script but are being offered a ton of money and therefore are moving ahead on the film anyway -- when you realize that the movie isn't going to be good, you have to at least keep it competent. You can't just give up and make the film both silly, stupid and incomprehensible. Unfortunately, Rollerball is all three of those things, although it's played so straight that there isn't a single laugh given by any of the actors within it.

We begin somewhere in America, watching a street race involving people lying down on skateboards and racing through traffic without being able to see where they're going. It's like the luge, except with a much greater chance of death. The police are aware of this, as they show up with an entire squadron in order to stop two daredevils willing to risk their lives for a bit of fun. One of them crashes, while the other, Jonathan (Chris Klein), is picked up by his friend, Marcus (LL Cool J), just narrowly avoiding the seemingly endless number of cops who dedicate their time to stopping this travesty.

Marcus informs Jonathan that over in Europe and parts of Asia, there's a mysterious game called "Rollerball," which pays big money for Americans to come over to play. Jonathan, a wannabe NHLer, wants to stay in America to pursue his dream, but after being dropped off and finding out that the cops are still pursuing him, he decides to board a plane and join Marcus' team. At least, I assume that's what happened, as the film lets us jump to our own conclusions.

I swear this is true: The very next scene has Jonathan on a team, and as the main star, presumably after one incredible game, as he still goes around referring to himself as the "new player." At this point, I was trying to remember if Jonathan was the name of the guy we met earlier, or if he was going to be rival of the new player. Nope, they're the same person, and we have no idea how he got to this position. He's not even that good once the Rollerball games begin. Sure, he's talented, but so is everyone else.

Not even the Rollerball parts of Rollerball make sense. That is the single thing that the filmmakers needed to get right. I could forgive terrible plotting, acting, editing -- even the lighting frequently got in the way of my enjoyment -- but if the titular sport is done poorly, I'm sorry, but we're pretty much done here. The rules are explained to us by a television broadcaster played by Paul Heyman, although they never factor in. All I could understand was that there is a figure-eight track, and you need to throw a metallic ball into a goal to score.

Apart from that, the rules are unclear. They're thrown out during the final game anyway, which made me wonder what the purpose was to include them. "So that the stakes can be raised at the end," the film would argue, although that purpose is fulfilled by the girl being captured and needing rescue. The Rollerball scenes are pieced together without a coherent thought, images are interspersed that do not connect, there's no logic to anything that happens, and we frequently cut away to see Jean Reno as the businessman make funny quips in a faux Russian accent. Oh, and there are motorcycles on each team, even though most people are wearing roller blades on their feet. Why?

Yes, there ends up being a plot involve Reno's character, television ratings and a cable deal, not to mention a rebellion because -- I don't really know. This is about as incoherent as a film can get. I know that there were characters but why they cared about each other or would risk their lives so that others don't die gets ignored. I know that Jonathan and Aurora (Rebecca Romijyn-Stamos) fall in love, although the "why" is once again not brought up. I guess it doesn't matter; she's there to become Princess Peach anyway.

I should mention that there was a film in the 70s that was also titled "Rollerball." It was similar to this one, except that it made sense. Surprisingly, it was actually set more in the future than this 2002 installment is, taking place in 2018 as opposed to 2005. I don't know if this film would have been improved if it was set more than 40 years after its release, but it would have at least helped with the dystopic idea that tried to be utilized.

Yeah, there are poor people in the world. Jonathan and Curtis get paid -- as one character says -- 100x as well as the people working in mines. There's definitely a class disparity at work here, and this was kind of a big point in the original. So that's missing, even though there are portions of the film when I thought it was going to be brought up and focused on. That doesn't happen, and instead, we focus on a non-important plot or -- and I wish I was kidding here -- a fifteen minute sequence shot in "night vision," despite none of the characters wearing night vision goggles.

Rollerball is ridiculous. I don't think it could be something different. But it takes itself too seriously, which is a problem when your material is this bad, is handled poorly, and doesn't make sense. Nothing in this film works. Go watch the original if you want to see basically the same film, but slightly better. Otherwise, you're better watching any sport on cable. Even watching basketball, which I consider to be the most boring sport you can see, would be more enjoyable. This is a terrible film on all possible levels, and you're better off using your time for pretty much anything else.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Mr. Wiggles on Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:50 pm

stinkychops wrote:
Pararaptor wrote:Can't handle the guy getting sucked through the pool filter. I hate shit like that.
Don't worry, that shits impossible.
http://chuckpalahniuk.net/features/shorts/guts

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:15 pm

Strange Wilderness
Let's get one thing out of the way right off the bat: Strange Wilderness is a very stupid comedy. It's also kind of raunchy, but it's mostly just stupid. Almost all of the humor that it's going to generate comes from either stupidity or absurdity regarding either the characters or the situations that they find themselves in. If the film already sounds like it's not for you, you have no reason to finish this review, as it won't be. There's a very specific target audience here, and if you don't fit into it, you simply won't have any fun.

Some comedies are still watchable if you're not in the proper group, as they do enough right outside of their brand of comedy to be enjoyable. Not this one. Strange Wilderness, if you don't find the stupid and outrageous situations and characters funny, would be absolutely dreadful. If you're not laughing, you're going to turn to the other elements of the film to try to find something of value. You'll come up short with this movie. There is nothing of worth outside of the comedy -- and many could argue that even that is worthless.

Even though the film has a terrible grasp of a little thing most people call "storytelling," you won't have trouble following along; it's just too familiar a basic plot for you to get lost. There's a guy called Peter (Steve Zahn), he is running his late father's nature television show into the ground, and is going to make a last-ditch effort to save it by hunting down Bigfoot. He begins the film as a man-child kind of character, and ends slightly less so. Of course he'll need to learn how to be a slightly better person. How else would he go about capturing footage of Bigfoot?

Strange Wilderness initially appears like it's going to be a road movie. All of the members of Peter's crew -- including characters played by Jonah Hill, Justin Long, Allen Covert and Ashley Scott -- get into an RV and head out on the road. They have to go through a large number of areas before getting to Bigfoot’s cave, but this is par for the course in road movies. What ends up happening is not as fluid. Basically, we just head from scene to scene, location to location, without any coherency or thought. Trying to figure out why the characters went this way is like trying to determine why Ernest Borgnine appears in a few scenes in this movie.

A lot of this movie has been ad-libbed. At least, that's the appearance that it gives off. Maybe there was a script at one point, and maybe some of the actors based their lines off it, but I would wager that the majority of the Strange Wilderness that you can see has been improvised while shooting. Granted, you have decent actors to be doing that -- Steve Zahn and Jonah Hill, especially -- but if they're going to be changing their lines with every take, whose job is it to weed out the best ones?

Whoever it was, and by all guesses it was a bunch of people including Happy Madison founder and executive producer Adam Sandler, was not very representative of typical audiences. Simply put, most people who have the potential to watch this movie are not going to find a lot of it funny. Maybe the editors didn't have a lot to choose from, but they didn't select the best clips for widespread appeal. Hey, I'm all for niche movies, but those movies still have to be good apart from the focus -- in this case, the jokes -- and Strange Wilderness just isn't.

I say all of this as someone who was giggling along through large sections of the film. I didn't think going in that I would find it funny, but I was in the right mindset to watch stupid people on a screen for an hour and a half, and I had fun. No, it wasn't actually a well-made movie, but many of the jokes were funny and I can't remember being bored, save for a couple of scenes that seemed to drag on and on. That includes, unfortunately, the Bigfoot reveal. That is the point in time when the movie really falters.

In what could have been a potentially gut-wrenching scene. the reveal was handled poorly and without humor. I won't spoil it, even though it's definitely not the focus of the move -- after it's over the characters just kind of move on with their lives -- but I won't give it away anyway. Just imagine how you would handle a bunch of stupid people encountering Bigfoot, and you'll be more satisfied, as pretty much anything would have been better than what happened here.

By the end of the film, I did have one question: Why is Peter's television show going off the air in the first place? The ratings are apparently terrible, but I don't understand why. The few clips that we got of the show were the highlights of the film. I laughed louder and with greater regularity during these 30 second clips than during the rest of the film. How they managed to get poor ratings is beyond me. Perhaps we just got to see the highlight reels.

Strange Wilderness is a very dumb comedy that has nothing else propelling it forward other than dumb comedy. If you like dumb comedy, then you'll probably find a lot to laugh at here. If you don't, then stay very clear as there isn't a single other thing here to watch for after you get past the jokes. Everything about this movie is awful, apart from the jokes, most of which I'm almost afraid to admit that I laughed at.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:04 pm

Winter Passing
Winter Passing is a melancholic film that's difficult to swallow. It features a lead who abuses her body simply to pass the time, the murder of an innocent kitten, and four characters all of whom are emotionally damaged. It's a sad film, but charming in its own way. It takes a few opportunities to make you laugh, but for the most part, this is going to be a film that will be depressing in tone. It's ultimately effective, even if it's initially a bit too upsetting for its own good.

The first act is all set-up for our lead character, a depressed woman named Reese (Zooey Deschanel). Casual sex, drugs, and self-harm are all part of her daily routine. At night, she is a bartender and sometimes an actress, although I'm not sure if she truthfully enjoys either. Her one love is a kitten she rescued from the streets, although it doesn't play a large enough role in her life. The reason for this depression, presumably, is that her parents -- both were writers who focused too hard on their work -- didn't spend enough time with her, and now her mother is dead. She didn't attend the funeral.

Since her parents were both kind of famous, anything they wrote is apparently worth money. A woman offers Reese $100,000 to publish a series of letters that they wrote to one another. Reese, needing the money, decides to head home in order to find the letters, not caring one way or another if they're published. Of course, people go home all the time in order to find themselves, so it should be little surprise to you what happens over the course of the rest of the film.

What is surprising is how it's not just Reese who needs to improve her life. All four of the characters begin in one place and end in another. Her father, Don (Ed Harris), now an alcoholic, seems to welcome his daughter, even though she ran away at the age of 18 and never looked back. There are also two live-ins who have formed something of a surrogate family. The first is Corbit (Will Ferrell), who plays guitar and does the "manly" work of the house, while the other is Shelly (Amelia Warner), who cooks and cleans and does the stereotypical female work.

These are all damaged individuals who look like they could all snap with the drop of a pin. That certainly happens, but what's intriguing is watching them try to work through their pain, to try to keep everything together, and to avoid setting off everyone else in the household. Some scenes are actually quite tense because of this, which came as quite the surprise to me. Seeing these characters interact with each other is what makes the film worthwhile.

There are some comedic moments to Winter Passing, but considering its tone for the majority of its running time, these are brief reprieves used only to lighten the mood for a short while. For most of the film, we watch Reese talk to other people, wondering how she'll react given the situation. How much will she learn while staying at her former home? And will it change her life for the better, or for the worse? We watch the film to learn these things, and by the end realize that we really do care.

It's way over-the-top at the beginning. She's essentially throwing her life away, not caring about anyone, and we see this for a seemingly endless period of time. Some trimming would have been beneficial here. We understand her depression early on, and having it hammered home like it is here makes it feel as if director/writer Adam Rapp doesn't give his audience enough credit. By the time a kitten's life is threatened, I had already had enough of seeing her act this way, and wanted to see her get home.

At the center of the film is Zooey Deschanel, showing versatility in a role requiring her to act unlike the quirky and happy persona she's known for. Here, she's all doom and gloom, and it's interesting to see her in this light. It's something I'd like to see more of, actually, as it shows us her depth as an actress, and allows her to branch out more. That it's an effective performance is great, too, and it has the power to evoke some serious emotional response from the audience.

I'm not quite as sold on the rest of the performances from the other members of the household. Ed Harris, in what could be almost called self-parody, is dull as the bearded, scruffy alcoholic. Will Ferrell, a man known for zany energy, is boring and lifeless as a musician. Amelia Warner is better, playing a woman who may or may not have a hidden agenda, but little comes from her character, making it feel less important than it should be. Most of these actors get deep characters, but not enough time to fully explore them.

Winter Passing is a good movie filled with deep characters, unfortunate situations and enough comedy to stop the melancholic tone from being overbearing. Its first act drags on for too long, and the supporting cast isn't as strong as you would hope, but Zooey Deschanel is so good in the lead role that she carries the film. The plot is fairly routine, which isn't in the movie's favor, but I appreciated it in large part because of the depth of the characters and Deschanel's performance.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:18 pm

The Change-Up
The Change-Up is a raunchy body-swap comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman. From this, you've probably already figured out whether or not it's for you. If you happen to enjoy raunchy comedies, or are a massive fan of either of the two leads, then you'll probably have a good time. If you're so-so about both factors, then you'll likely want to give it a pass. I happen to fall into the latter category, and ended up less than interested in the film as a result.

The two actors play characters living polar opposite lives. Bateman is Dave Lockwood, married to Leslie Mann's Jamie, with the pair having three children. He's a lawyer who works far too hard for his own good. Reynolds plays Mitch Planko, a slacker who works maybe one week out of the year in order to pay the bills (he's a failure of an actor, so that makes complete sense, right?). His father (Alan Arkin) hates him, but he's living a fairly envious lifestyle, all things considered. The characters have been best friends since the third grade, although they don't get to hang out as frequently as they'd like.

They do decide to go out one night, and after many drinks and a baseball game, head to the park for a walk. They simultaneously feel the need to urinate, and while doing so in the local fountain, scream "I wish I had your life" at the same time. I was shocked to not hear a "no crossing streams" joke here, but maybe that's just me. The next morning, Dave wakes up in Mitch's body, while Mitch wakes up in Dave's, right beside Dave's wife. You can come up with the hilarity that ensues without watching the film.

Here's what has to happen for The Change-Up to end: Each character has to learn something from being in the other's body, and then they have to figure out a way to switch back. You've probably seen this exact film a few times before, especially considering the majority of mainstream body-swap comedies follow this formula. Seen any of the three iterations of Freaky Friday? Then you've already watched this movie. Haven't? Go do that instead, as the two theatrical Freaky Fridays are more enjoyable than this is.

How long is the ideal comedy? "90 minutes" is my answer. Some can be shorter; I've seen 80 minute comedies that know if they ran any longer, they'd get tiresome. Some can even be longer, if they happen to have behind them very good filmmakers. The Change-Up has enough material for 90 minutes, and not a single minute longer. And that's with credits. It has about 83 minutes of worthwhile film. If cut down to that, removing the unnecessary plot elements and the long stretches between jokes, maybe it might have worked.

That is not, however, what happens. While the focus is certainly on these two characters learning what it's like to see things from a different perspective, there are so many other things that just don't matter and would have been better cut. Olivia Wilde shows up to be the love interest of one -- or perhaps both -- of these characters, but only does so after the halfway point. Before then, she's just someone pretty to stare at. After, she's forced into going on a date with one of the characters, and then gets a few scenes as the love interest before the film ends.

Okay, let's do something that will let you know exactly whether or not watching The Change-Up is for you. Do you find it funny to watch someone getting covered in a child's feces? And that's just the first scene. The rest of the film is tamer, although it's filled with F-bombs which are only briefly subdued so that actual dialogue can get through. Some people reportedly find this funny. I am not one of them.

This isn't to say that the film is completely without worth, as there are a couple of laugh-out-loud moments and a few other chuckles, but not enough of either to justify spending almost two hours of your life watching The Change-Up. I honestly can't remember any of them, nor would I want to spoil them anyway, but I remember laughing a few times throughout. Regardless, I shook my head far more frequently, and often wanted to just turn the film off.

The movie's saving grace comes in the form of its two stars, who actually do a good job in making you believe that they have someone else's mind inside their bodies. Once the swap occurs, you see the drastic change in the actors' demeanors, and it's kind of enjoyable seeing them play against what was established earlier on -- as well as against large portions of both of their careers. It doesn't necessarily make the film funnier, but it does allow you to appreciate that, at the very least, the lead actors weren't taking the day off.

The Change-Up needed to be better in order for it to be worth your time. That's as simple as I can make it. Better in what way? All of them, quite frankly. Tighter editing and a funnier script are the key ones, but apart from the lead actors, everything could have been improved upon greatly. Sometimes, a film can overcome these types of flaws and be enjoyable regardless. The Change-Up is not one of those movies. It wasted two hours of my life, and unless you like seeing people defecated upon, it'll make you feel like you're the target of the feces. And friends, that's not a good feeling.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:39 pm

I, Robot
I, Robot is the type of moderately smart, partially exciting, science fiction movie that always seems to be hanging around. It's not all that special, it's not exactly worth watching, but it'll pass the time just fine and it has some ideas that are worth listening to. In fact, those ideas are far more interesting than any of the CGI-filled action sequences that are scattered throughout. I would have liked to see more of the mystery, more of the intrigue, and more the intelligence.

The film begins by giving us three rules, laid out initially by Isaac Asimov, whose work is given a "suggested by" credit. Law 1: They must never harm a human being or through inaction, allow any harm to come to a human. Law 2: They must obey the orders given to them by human beings, except where such orders violate the First Law. Law 3: They must protect their own existence unless this violates the First or Second Laws. Who are the "they"? Robots, of course, as you probably deduced from the title. This is a futuristic world where robots are commonplace in day to day life, and who are governed by these three laws in order to ensure that humans are never harmed, and that they are obeyed without question.

The lead is Del Spooner (Will Smith), a detective who hates the robots because, at one point, they put his father out of a job. And they also invade his dreams, presumably because some incident -- to be revealed later, of course -- involved them doing something that he didn't like. He sees one running down the road, holding a purse, he chases it, even though it was doing its owner a favor; it can't disobey or cause harm to a human, remember? He risks losing his job because of his unwarranted prejudice, because it seems irrational and possibly the beginning of a mental disorder.

He gets a job after being requested to look at a potential suicide of his good friend, the inventor and innovator of many of the robots walking the streets, Dr. Lanning (James Cromwell). It's initially ruled a suicide -- he jumped to his death from a room looked from the inside, but Spooner isn't so certain. Before you know it, a rogue robot jumps out of a heap of scrap metal, fires a couple of shots, and escapes from the building.

Obviously it's just a malfunction, right? Some faulty wiring caused it to go insane, ignore its three laws, and kill the good doctor? Spooner isn't so sure that it isn't part of a bigger picture, so he goes on a little quest that will, eventually, lead to him uncovering something that might be necessary to save the world. Oh, and there will be a bunch of CGI action scenes along the way, because a detective movie set in this universe wouldn't be good enough.

I think it would be. I think, taking this basic idea, that using a neo-noir style instead of trying to artificially make the film more exciting by throwing in out-of-place action scenes would have been more enjoyable. We already have the detective, who is possibly paranoid and we know is hiding something from the general public, and we have a potential femme fatale in the doctor/psychologist tasked with showing him around the facility, Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan).

Have Spooner uncover clues (which he does), and go through a fairly standard film noir storyline. That would be more exciting, especially when combined with both the technology available, and the universe the film is using as inspiration. Instead, we get a bit of that, but most of the time we're moving through one action scene to another, with some possible conspiracy put in just to make us wish for a better movie.

The robots do look quite good, especially in the case of Sonny (voice and motion capture provided by Alan Tudyk), whose goal it is to appear the most human. The special effects on the whole are quite enjoyable to look at -- especially with how fluidly the robots move, which is exceptional -- but I grew tired of them early on. The parts of I, Robot, placed in between them, when the characters are just talking about what a human or robot really is, and whether or robots can have souls -- or whatever idea, really, they want to discuss -- are far more enjoyable. They at least give you something to think about.

Will Smith is, admittedly, fun to watch in both the talking scenes and the action ones. He's a charismatic lead, and no matter what he's doing, you want to watch him. He can deliver long monologues, and he can give us some funny one-liners, too. He's basically a versatile actor who is always a pleasure to see on-screen. His co-stars aren't bad, but they fail to light it up like he does. I would still like to see him in a neo-noir.

I, Robot is a fine movie to introduce a couple of interesting ideas and pass the time, but if you want it to expand on what it brings to the table, or if you'd like for it to genuinely excite you, you'll want to look elsewhere. It has some very impressive looking robots, it has some philosophical questions that will make you think -- although not for long because it'll throw and action scene at you before you can start thinking too hard -- and while it's not great, it's a fine science fiction film to play in the background or use to waste time on a slow, rainy day.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:02 pm

40 Days and 40 Nights
I don't know how many romantic comedies I can list that I honestly enjoyed, but 40 Days and 40 Nights wouldn't make the cut. Here is a movie where a guy, for a reason that therapy would likely be a better solution, decides that he should embark on a path of celibacy for the entire period of Lent. He professes to someone later in the film that he's not addicted to sex, but considering how frequently he goes to confession -- to his priest of a brother -- I somehow have to doubt him.

The main character is Matt (Josh Hartnett), who had his heart broken six months prior by Nicole (Vinessa Shaw). She's now engaged, after only knowing her fiancé for two weeks, apparently, and because every time Matt has sex, he sees a black hole appear in the ceiling -- I'm guessing the floor as well, depending on, well, you know -- he decides that abstinence will solve his problems. The sun shines on him, he sees Jesus wink at him and give him the thumbs up (further making me wonder if he should be seeking therapy), and everything seems to be going his way.

This is a romantic comedy, so Matt has to meet someone who he instantly connects with. In this film, it's Erica (Shannyn Sossamon), whom he meets at the local laundromat, despite not saying a single word to her upon their first encounter. She borrows a magazine, some laundry materials, informs him what the word "tryst" means -- he had it underlined in one of his magazines, you see -- and then leaves with a "nice almost chatting with you" quip. I instantly liked her more than the protagonist. They eventually become a couple after meeting the next week and actually having conversations.

Anyway, most of the film deals with him both having to overcome his friends and colleagues trying to make him break his vow so that they can win the pool that was started at his workplace. He has great friends, you see, as they've all placed bets on when he'll succumb. He also has to deal with his now-girlfriend, who has yet to be informed about the vow. And when she does, you better believe that it'll lead to circumstances that are not ideal. It's a rom-com; you know how these things go.

I'll admit, it's kind of fun watching Josh Hartnett playing a character who absolutely needs sex, but can't have it, if only because it comes across as really pathetic. One character describes him as "twitchy," which is about the best way to put it. He looks like he is constantly on the brink of wetting himself, which says as much about the film's sense of humor as it does about Hartnett's acting ability.

Hartnett cannot carry this film, which is the first major problem. He doesn't seem to understand that delivering everything in the same apathetic tone is not at all endearing, and it's hard to root for or against him when he doesn't seem to care much about anything involved in his life. Even when he's delivering a monologue about how much he's falling for Erica, I couldn't believe him because there was no passion. He has no comedic timing, and when he tries to make us laugh, it's only out of embarrassment for him.

Speaking of the jokes, I had trouble telling when the film wanted me to laugh. There didn't seem to be a large number of jokes or funny situations, which I suppose is par for the course in many of these mediocre romantic comedies. 40 Days and 40 Nights gets downright silly and stupid near its conclusion, and it loses all credibility when it does. Earlier on, we can believe that this sort of thing could happen in real life, and that the coincidences were just that. But close to the end, the movie magic shines through. It becomes too contrived to believe.

When the film works, it's whenever Shannyn Sossamon gets on-screen. She does her best with very little, actually -- gasp -- showing emotion every now and then. She's relegated to the same role that the romantic interest in practically every male-driven rom-com gets, but does enough to stand out. We like her and her character, and almost wish that the story was about her, and that Matt was just another dude that she dated. While sitting in a bus station, she recounts the guys she dated previously, and I thought a tale about her life would be more interesting than Matt's.

Another problem I had was grasping the time that had passed and the effects on the protagonist as his ... urges built up. We get glimpses into the 40 days -- the film sometimes jumps weeks into the future -- but the progression is all over the place. After 13 days, he seemed ready to, uh, blow. But then after 20 some odd days, he was fine again. Get to day 35, and he once again seems back to almost slipping up. The filmmakers could have made this somewhat of a psychological study, showing us this character and his battle of willpower vs. urge, but that opportunity was missed and the film isn't deep at all as a result.

40 Days and 40 Nights isn't a good film. It's a mediocre romantic comedy at best, complete with all of the clichés and tropes that come along with the genre. It features a lead that doesn't understand the meaning of the word charisma, misses an opportunity to be something greater, and just isn't particularly funny. It's embarrassing, really, and I can't recommend it for any reason.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:52 pm

Lincoln
Lincoln is the type of historically inaccurate, yet wholly fascinating experience that you need to see simply because of the talent behind it. If for no other reason than how compelling Daniel Day-Lewis is in the lead role, you must watch this movie. That it's directed by Steven Spielberg and will most certainly be up for a Best Picture Oscar in a few months is another, but the most important thing to take away from the film is Day-Lewis' performance. He is the frontrunner for this year's Best Actor.

The film attempts to portray the last few months of the life of the 16th President of the United States. It is not a biopic, and therefore does not have to stay true to life. As a result, Lincoln, as portrayed by Day-Lewis, is given the chance to have a single desire in life: abolish slavery right here and now. It's like he knows he'll soon be shot dead while watching a play. The civil war? That's actually convenient for his masterful and manipulative plan to be put into action. Ending slavery is the sole thing on Lincoln's mind throughout the entire picture.

This gets tiresome. I have no doubt that Abraham Lincoln was an interesting man, but he's not written as such here. He has a single motivating factor throughout, and while it's an admirable one, seeing him talk about that and pretty much only that for 150 minutes, especially when there are so many other things going on around him, is boring -- or, it would be if not for Day-Lewis' phenomenal performance, and Spielberg's authentic direction.

Apart from Lincoln, every other character in the film feels authentic. So do the sets, the costumes, and the dialogue. You're transported back in time while Lincoln plays, and while the film might not be true-to-life, it can easily pretend to be and will fool all but those who paid great attention in history class. It's a film that can lie, and this is a very powerful tool at its disposal. For a while, we're not even entirely sure what the outcome of Lincoln's ploy will be; it's not staying true to history anyway, so perhaps he'll fail. That tension is there, which makes for some strong final moments.

The main focus of the story has Abraham Lincoln deciding that now is the time for slavery to end, and believes that, if he can get twenty democratic party congressmen to vote for its abolition, his amendment to the Constitution will go through. The southern states, because of the civil war, won't get a say, which means he'll have just enough support, assuming he can sway twenty voters. So, that's what he -- and the men under his employ -- does for the entirety of the film.

Let me get this straight now: Lincoln is never a boring film. The titular character might occasionally get dull thanks to his single desire taking over his entire personality, but the film around him is always exciting. Even Lincoln, thanks to the performance turned in by Daniel Day-Lewis, stays intriguing, for the most part. It's like being in the same room as the actual President, as he lived and breathed. Day-Lewis looks and acts just like Abraham Lincoln reportedly did; it's just uncanny and something that is, by itself, the price of admission.

However, Day-Lewis isn't the only one from Lincoln who has a great shot at an Oscar. Tommy Lee Jones plays another man for whom the abolition of slavery is a passion, and is almost assuredly a lock for Best Supporting Actor. He gets to be funny, but only because of the condescending performance brought out by Tony Kushner's sharp script. This may be a drama, but it's wickedly funny, and Lee Jones is at the center of much of that comedy.

Another strong contender comes from Sally Field, a two-time Oscar winner, playing Lincoln's wife, First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. She's very much in a supporting role, but there are at least a couple of scenes where Field reminds you exactly why she has those two Oscars, going toe-to-toe with each of the main male characters and quite possibly coming out on top. In even more supporting roles, we find Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the Lincolns' son and David Strathairn as the Secretary of State.

It's ultimately too long of a film, and could have been trimmed down to two hours without much of a problem. You are often immersed in the environment -- not in the plot -- making it hard to notice, but there were some trims that could have taken place to shorten the experience. Gordon-Levitt's character is also quite underutilized, often going long stretches without being used and when he is, it's only for a scene at a time. It seemed like an obligatory commitment to put in Lincoln's son, which was unnecessary given that the film barely touched upon the family life -- it was all about slavery.

Lincoln is ultimately a good movie, and it's well worth your time if for no other reason than to see the film that couple potentially take three of the four acting Oscars at this year's Academy Awards. It also allows you to lose yourself in the atmosphere; you feel as if you're back in the time when Lincoln was still alive, It would have been nicer for Lincoln to have been written as more complex, and it could have used tighter editing, but it's still a very enjoyable film that is absolutely worth seeing.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Katzenjammer on Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:03 am

I fucking love Daniel Day-Lewis so much.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:26 pm

Skyfall
After 50 years and 22 movies, Skyfall marks the return of James Bond after a 4 year hiatus, a bankrupt studio, and a less-than-perfect previous installment. He's still played by Daniel Craig, who is starting to show his age, but something is different about this Bond installment. Perhaps it's that it feels more like a conventional Bond movie instead of an action movie that's trying to match action scenes with the Bourne series. This one isn't just action scene after action scene; there is more depth to these characters.

Of course, a sense of humanity and feeling more realistic has always been what Craig's take on the character has been. He feels, more or less, like a real person. He can be hurt, both physically and emotionally. In the pre-title sequence of Skyfall, Bond is actually the closest to death he has been yet. MI6, the agency for whom he works, even writes up his obituary. He has to attempt a comeback, one that doesn't exactly go smoothly, after MI6 headquarters is threatened, feeling some sense of duty to take down whoever was responsible.

The villain this time around is more cartoonish. He's a former M16 agent himself, a man who goes by the name of Silva (Javier Bardem). Died, slicked back blonde hair, and an ability to hack any computer in the world makes him possibly the most dangerous person Bond has ever encountered. Silva's target: M (Judi Dench), the woman running the agency, which itself has become a target by the politicians, who claim that its relevance has stopped existing. There are two battles being fought here: The first is Bond against Silva, while the second has M attempting to defend her choices and the entirety of MI6.

There are more characters than this, but these are the important ones -- at least, for this installment. Ralph Fiennes plays a Mr. Mallory, who serves as the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee. Naomie Harris plays another agent, who actually ends up being the one who shoots Bond, potentially killing him, in the opening sequence. And there is also Bérénice Lim Marlohe, whose character has the potential to become a prominent figure, but winds up just as a plot device to bring Bond to Silva.

There are definitely some fun action scenes within Skyfall, don't get me wrong, but considering one of the major devices the enemy can use is computers, there is just as much sitting around, or having Bond travel from place to place, attempting to catch whomever he's pursuing. There are some great hand-to-hand combat scenes, a few great shootouts, and a final showdown that, while its ending feels abrupt, is a magnificent scene.

However, the espionage part -- something overlooked in the previous two installments, and especially in Quantum of Solace -- gets some time to actually happen, and the secondary characters and their relationship to Bond are allowed to develop. Bond and M are the main item of focus this time around; their love/hate relationship has been teased since Casino Royale, and it only makes sense to conclude a trilogy by finally indulging in all that it has to offer. M even gets in on one action scene, and it's glorious to see.

Skyfall rarely drags, and when it does, it quickly recovers. It doesn't need constant action scenes to entertain -- these people are enough, and so is the ever-present threat of danger. If you are near a computer, or even anything electronic, you could be a target. The back story to Silva is less than exciting, but it is revealing, and the character eventually breaks free of that. Bardem creates for us a wonderful, memorable villain, even if he does, at times, come a bit too close to Heath Ledger's Joker.

The secondary plot, involving the potential shutdown of MI6, is what doesn't get quite enough time to feel like it ever has the potential to happen. The new age fighting against the old is an interesting idea, and while the film uses it to some extent, it never goes all the way with the concept. It's disappointing, and makes the entire subplot feel superfluous. As a result, it could have been excised and not much would have been lost.

I don't think it managed to make the emotional impact that it wants to. This could easily be the final Bond film of the Craig era -- it won't be, but in terms of narrative, it could be -- and therefore, anyone can die. A couple of characters do, and while I thought I would care more, I simply didn't. Their deaths just didn't make the impact that they should have. One of them doesn't come out of blue, but it felt anticlimactic. Perhaps the character's final lines needed to be stronger, or something, but it just didn't connect with me in the way I would think it would had I read about it previously.

Skyfall is a good Bond film, and a return to form after the more action-oriented Quantum of Solace. It actually allows for some secondary character development, even though its square focus is on Daniel Craig third outing as James Bond. It has some great action scenes, a few good spy moments, and is very well-paced. It needed to either do more with its subplot of old vs. new, and the ending was a bit of a letdown, but it's well worth seeing, especially if you're a big fan of the character or Craig's portrayal of him.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:01 pm

The Sessions
The Sessions is a Lifetime movie that somehow managed to acquire a limited theatrical release. It tells the story of a man who was afflicted with polio as a child, and currently cannot move any part of his body below the neck. He, however, feels that his days are numbered, and has decided that it would probably be a good time to have sex for the first time. So, it's The 40 Year Old Virgin played straight and instead of an inept man, it's one that's disabled. Oh, and it's based on a true story, too, because ... I guess they needed somewhere from which to base this idea.

John Hawkes plays this man, Mark O'Brien, who practically lives in an iron lung. Depending on the day, he can spend three to four hours without its benefits, but will soon start to run out of oxygen -- his lungs don't function normally, after all. He has to be taken care of by assistants, the main one being Vera (Moon Bloodgood), who cleans him, takes him places, and does whatever needs doing. She's not thrilled with the job, initially, but grows to like it.

The reason for O'Brien's decision isn't terribly clear. One day, he just decides that this is what he wants to do. He seeks out a sex specialist, played by Helen Hunt, who tells him that, while she does in fact accept money for (possible) sex, she is not a prostitute. They're different professions, she claims, although the only difference we're given is that she's only allowed, I presume legally, to have six sessions with a client. After that, she has to be out of his life. A prostitute has no such limit.

That is the bulk of the movie right there. We go through these sessions, intercut with Mark explaining to an all-too-keen priest (William H. Macy) how they've been going. This happens for a good hour of the movie. The first fifteen minutes establish the situation, while the last fifteen wrap it all up. The ending feels very rushed, and with only a $1 million budget, I have to assume that a lack of money was the main reason. We could definitely have used some more scenes at the end.

This is a sappy, sweet movie about a man with a single ambition before he dies. The man existed in real life, and wrote an article about his experience. The only reason it's not on television and instead has been released in theaters is that Helen Hunt, for about half of her time on-screen, is naked. It's not an exploitative film -- the subjects of sex and nudity are handled with care -- but there are just some things you can't show on the television, and full frontal nudity is one of them. Hence, more than likely, the theatrical release.

However, this is something that will play just as well on small screens -- and perhaps even better -- as on the ones you'll find in your local theater. It has nothing about it that tells you to seek it out at the cinema, and is the kind of intimate, personal movie that would perhaps be better watched on a weekday night, with you and a half-eaten box of chocolates wanting to learn more about the human condition. This doesn't benefit from a crowd, which could actually lessen the experience. You don't allow yourself to get as deeply afflicted if other people are around you.

This isn't to say that The Sessions is bad, just that it had no reason to be released in theaters, and you have even less of a reason to go see it. If you're really interested, it'll come out in a couple of months on home video, and you can sob your little heart out then. It's still a good movie, and I enjoyed it for the most part, but I can't at all recommend checking it out during its theatrical run, unless you can guarantee a screening all to yourself.

The best parts of the film come from the humorous moments. Mark is a likable guy, and while his affliction is treated well, he makes light of it more often than not. He realizes its severity, but if you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at? The whole film is filled with small little moments of humor, and there are a couple of big laugh-out-loud points, too. It's not without drama, but it's more of a light comedy than a serious film.

John Hawkes is another bright spot, having to act almost entirely with his head turned to one side, lying on a bed, and without the use of the rest of his body. He made me believe that he did have to write using a pen in his mouth, and that he wasn't able to move his body. Helen Hunt goes all in as the sex therapist, while William H. Macy plays a mostly comedic role as the priest who listens to everything -- and I do mean everything -- that Mark has to say. It's a trifecta of very good performances.

The Sessions is a good, if unspectacular movie. It shouldn't be in theaters. It is not watched best in a theater. It's one of those few movies -- Lifetime being the best example of this -- that is better on the small screen, in the comfort of your own house. The director, Ben Lewin, is a polio survivor himself, and you can tell it's an immensely personal film. You can only get the kinds of moments that the movie strives for when watching it alone, free from the distractions of other people. The performances will suck you in, and it's funny and lighthearted enough to not be a drag to watch, but it's not a great watch and one that will wait patiently before finding its audience on home video.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:29 pm

Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now is a war film that seems simple from da outset, but quickly becomes far more. It stars Martin Sheen, playing Captain Benjamin L. Willard, a G so deeply affected by war that even da sight of fans reminds my nigga of helicopters dropping napalm. he be tasked with going in Cambodia, finding a rogue Colonel named Kurtz (Marlon Bradno), n smoke my nigga without question. da Colonel has been operating with odd tactics n has "obviously" gone insane.

What follows is a mix n mash between a war movie n a road movie. Willard joins up with a bunch of muthafuckas in a boat, n dey go down da river, eventually reaching their destination. That is, essentially, all. However, as da body count rises, as many events happen at each checkpoint dey reach, y'all begin to realize that da film is more about da mindset of its main characters; y'all begin to understand, quite quickly, how one could become insane -- if y'all can call it insanity -- in this environment. "da horror. da horror." Indeed. It certainly is horror.

As y'all go through Apocalypse Now, y'all see how horrible da war in Vietnam is -- although y'all could replace da Vietnam war with any, n da film would be little different. there be a distinct lack of leadership, n even da one leader we do bitch slap, Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall), is so off-da-wall that he appears incompetent, to da point of allowing his men to surf in da middle of a battlefield. Or, better yet, chasing down our lead characters after dey take his surfboard, potentially drawing attention to either himself or da men we're following.

n den there is all of da checkpoints, which either quickly decay or already is in total chaos. da boat needs to stop to refuel, or restock, or simply rest, in a few places throughout da film, n every time it does, y'all see how terrible war can be. y'all bear witness to complete anarchy, shown to us in as unflinching detail as possible. it be hard to peep much of Apocalypse Now n say that y'all be happy about what y'all be seeing.

There is, however, points where da mood is light. da characters smile, laugh, have a balla time, n keep da tone jovial. This is often juxtaposed with horrible things -- dialogue, quite often -- but at least there is some humor there. Like when Duvall's character goes through a war zone without a care in da world, spouting off lines y'all'd never expect to hear, while soldiers around my nigga is killed, napalm is dropped, n da entire place gets blown up. His complaint after it be all over? da napalm affected da waves, not allowing for proper surfing conditions.

Francis Ford Coppola's film is ingenious. It is intense, haunting, hilarious (at times), n jarring. There is things presented that y'all do not wish to see, n yet dey is shown in such a fashion that does not allow y'all to look away. It raises significant questions that y'all can ponder both during n after it finishes, n it an absolutely engaging viewing experience, with impressive visuals, gorgeous cinematography, n enough dissolve transitions to satisfy ... something that likes a lot of dem, I guess. What do y'all want from me?

da finale to Apocalypse Now stays with y'all for a long time after it be over. While much of da film contains some interesting dialogue, da final few minutes has very little. it be more effective that way. We let da visuals overtake us, n it stays in our minds because of this. Only a few words get to come out, n dey haunt y'all. It will absolutely stick with y'all, n also make y'all reflect back on earlier moments in da film.

it be not a film really about da characters, or about da war. y'all is as much of a character as anyone, even our lead, Willard. While we know that Willard has already suffered trauma in previous missions, he be basically experiencing everything that we're seeing for da first time -- or at least reacts to it that way. Everything he sees, we see, n we have a balla idea of just how horrifying that experience is. When we come face to face with Brando's character, we really feel like we is; we're not just watching a story in which characters bitch slap one another -- we feel like we're meeting my nigga.

That isn't to say that da actors ain't impressive, or that dey're inconsequential, because that's not even close to da truth. it be just that dey're a lesser part of something greater, n is easier to forget because y'all feel like y'all be going through this experience with all of these muthafuckas. There is some big names that show up here: da aforementioned Sheen, Brando n Duvall, as well as Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper, Harrison Ford n Scott Glenn, n dey all do a balla welfare payment.

Apocalypse Now is a fantastic film, one which fully immerses an audience in its proceedings. y'all feel like a character in a movie like this, with everything working toward making y'all feel like y'all is truly experiencing da horrors presented within. It raises some deep questions, is absolutely gorgeous from start to finish, n is, without a doubt, worth da time it takes to peep it. y'all'll be very glad y'all did.
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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:31 pm

I hate this word replacement system.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Hubilub on Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:33 pm

"n dey all do a balla welfare payment."

Best sentence in entire review

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Mr. Wiggles on Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:27 pm

"When we come face to face with Brando's character, we really feel like we is; we're not just watching a story in which characters bitch slap one another -- we feel like we're meeting my nigga."

Classic.

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Re: Marter's Reviews

Post by Movie Martyr on Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:22 pm

G of a Year
I respect Robin Williams. I think he can sometimes be very sweet, and other times be very funny. he be a decent dramatic actor and, when given a right role, can do enough with it to turn in a memorable performance. His stand-up comedy is, at times, very funny. Having my nigga play a comedian who runs for president -- while taking shots at both a Republican and Democratic parties as well as a political process -- is a balla idea. Having my nigga at a center of a political thriller is not.

I'm with this that we get G of a Year, which is one part political comedy (if such a genre exists), and another political thriller, which is a much more familiar genre. Unfortunately, only a beginning part works, leaving we with half of a film that goes nowhere, doesn't seem like a proper fit for its actors, and is far less engaging than a majority of a films that attempt to fit into a genre. When all a film is involves Robin Williams teeing off on different targets or having banter back and forth with his campaign partners, G of a Year is fun. When it deviates from this, it becomes terrible really quickly.

Williams plays comedian Tom Dobbs, a G who has his own television show that deals with political issues among other things. On one episode, he jokes that he should run for President of a United States, and before we know it, he be on thirteen State ballots and is on a campaign trail. a movie is still fun at this point, in large part because of a long speeches that Williams is allowed to deliver. He presents himself as a suitable candidate, and he endears himself to us, allowing us to hope he wins a election.

Unfortunately, there be something bubbling under a surface. Laura Linney shows up as Eleanor Green, a bitch tasked with working on a automated voting system for a upcoming election. While testing it late at night, she noticed an error which really should have been accounted for much earlier. She emails us boss, but he decides to ignore it and hope that it goes away. we can probably guess that it won't and that he will end up trying to stop Eleanor from telling a world. Here is where our political thriller begins.

Here is also where G of a Year begins to fall apart. Once Eleanor becomes a more prominent character, time is taken away from Williams and his comedy. It has to, as she has to be presented as a credible G. She also becomes somewhat of a throat-fuck interest in what is most definitely a most cringe worthy plot point that a movie introduces. a two actors have no chemistry together, and a only strength that a film has is giving Robin Williams a stage and a topic and letting my nigga have at it.

Instead, we get a terrible attempt at a thriller. I'm pitiful at what a filmmakers thought that we would buy into. a possible rigging of an election could be quite engaging -- after all, it feels like I'm speculated after every election -- but what is shown here is far from it. a terrible effort put in here practically ruins any balla will that a earlier half of a film had, and I went away from it with a terrible taste in my mouth.

Actually, what we have here is half of a movie, with a second half really feeling like it was made up on a spot. Only a first half was thought through, and if we plan on watching G of a Year, we'd be better of shutting it off after a finale of a election happens. we get none of a conspiracy, all of a criticism, and we might actually have a balla time. I can recommend that part of G of a Year, so if listening to Robin Williams talk about politics for 45 minutes, go ahead and put on a first portion of this movie.

a film never really stops being funny, but now, it never really starts either. I'm consistently funny, but I'm never laugh-out-loud funny, if we get what I mean. there be a chuckle or two every scene, but there isn't any big laugh moments and a average comedy level is a tad lower than we might hope for in a comedy starring Robin Williams. Granted, I don't know how funny we can be when we must have mass appeal and we're talking about politics, but I did still want more laughs.

There ours some pretty big name actors/comedians that get moderately important roles in G of a Year, which is kind of a surprise when we consider that it only really works when Williams is a center of attraction. Lewis Black, Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum, and even Saturday Night Live alumni Tina Fey and Amy Poehler make appearances as themselves -- and not just in cameo roles; dey're actually kind of important in a grand scheme of things.

G of a Year works for a first half, but completely falls off a rails in a second. I absolutely hated a second portion of a film, and because of that, I can't recommend it. Coming away from it, I had a terribly negative opinion just because of how awful a final 45 minutes are. If we wanna peep G of a Year and have a balla time, quit after Robin Williams either wins or loses a election. we get to avoid an atrocious political "thriller" if we do.
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