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Enemy (2013)
Fantastic, Clevel Film
26 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I won't offer any major spoilers and hopefully you have avoided a lot of the information on this film. Nevertheless I noted that this review contains spoilers because really knowing anything beyond the basic synopsis will spoil a little bit of this movie for you.

What makes this film great is that it has a few levels and it doesn't try to spell every single little thing out for you. On the surface the film is simply about a man who sees a doppelganger version of himself in a film and becomes obsessed with meeting him. Upon doing so he quickly realizes it was a mistake and becomes a little afraid realizing they don't just look exactly alike but also have a similar scar. Adam is a calmer more polite but subdued man he spots Anthony the actor who is more arrogant and aggressive.

What this is about on a deeper level is the loss of individualism in a totalitarian state. How they convey this is something you have to find out for yourself, this really isn't a film that can be discussed too deeply before hand. Its almost like there should be reviews for those who have seen this and reviews for those who haven't.
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The Master (2012)
a let down of a film
10 July 2013
There Will Be Blood was a masterpiece, a truly great film. So I had big expectations for this follow up and I was let down on just about every level. The film follows Phoenix as an alcoholic war veteran who comes back from war and has no real direction, he works briefly as a photographer but his anger takes over and he can't hold a job.

Being jobless he stumbles onto the boat of a con man Philip Seymour Hoffman and thus begins a relationship thats highly unusual and destructive. Hoffman is supposed to be this L. Ron Hubbard type a man who invents a religion for profit. I thought that would be the center of the film, following Hoffman as he cons people but that is all a side note. For some reason the focus of the film is not on Hoffman's character but on the highly delusional and destructive and less interesting Phoenix.

Had they focused in on the intricacies of Hoffman's charismatic con man this film might have been better but the scenes never really explore him. The previews were all misdirecting in that sense, you were to think that this film was really a Hoffman vs. Phoenix showdown, a low level member of a cult (Phoenix) turning on the lead of that cult. That's not what this film is about though, Phoenix only once really attacks Hoffman over his crimes and lies and soon he forgets it.

The acting in this film is good and so for that reason I gave it a 4/10 but on the level of story I would have to hand this film a 2/10 or maybe less. Considering Paul Thomas Anderson was behind this project I really expected a lot more.
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decent but I wasn't able to get past a few plot holes
8 July 2013
I want to say first off that a lot of people will like this film, its light and carefree and Phillip Seymour Hoffman is good for a couple jokes. Some of the jokes are a little too gross out for me, but thats fine.

My main objection to this film is I never buy for a moment that Polly (Aniston) really actually likes Reuben (Stiller). The whole film I get the impression that she is a little inconvenienced by him and that she lets him tag along because she doesn't care if someone wants to hang out with her.

So anyways the premise is paper thin and simplistic, Stiller marries a woman who leaves him on their honeymoon and he meets Polly. The problem is Polly is care free and Reuben is uptight. This has been done plenty of times before, what would have made this project more solid would have been getting some verification that they really are both good for each other.

Without even knowing the Messing character (his wife who left him) I was rotting for her and him to get back together as it seemed far more sensible.
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A Truly Bad Movie and I was a huge Before Sunrise fan
20 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I can consider myself a fan of the before series of films, I saw Before Sunrise years before the sequel came out and hipsters started jumping on the band wagon of this film. To explain why before midnight fails I need to explain the film from the perspective of both Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.

Now Before Sunrise was a slightly flawed yet still really captivating and original film about two people who randomly by chance meet in Europe, Jesse the American and Celine the french girl. They walk around together for a day until dawn and then Jesse must catch his plane back to America and thats it the end, they agree to meet up again a year later but as we find out in Before Sunset that falls apart.

Now Before Sunrise is cute because they are both supposed to be 23 in the film and its OK for 23 year olds to have stupid ideas or be overly dramatic because hey they are young and thats how it works. In Before Sunrise the cracks started to show, the film still held up but the plot began to meander into strange directions, first off when they meet up again they still decide to be "cutesy" around each other which is a little odd for people in their thirties to be that way. But the cuteness of the situation is allowed as they haven't seen each other in a long time, also the weakness of Before Sunset exists because get this Jesse writes an acclaimed book to get Celine back and the book is about how they both met.

The concept of Jesse as an author is weak because it is very apparent that the guy is kind of stupid and a goof, there is never any indication of depth or being an articulate human being. The other thing is in Before Sunset you get the feeling these two should not be together, they are different and Celine gets annoyed by Jesse but that of course is all very slight. The "celine getting annoyed by Jesse" plot line takes the front and center part of the stage in Before Midnight.

Really this should have just been two movies, I truly believe that. In part one they separate at the end and in part two they get back together and stay together and just leave it at that. Before Midnight first off doesn't function quite well because of this fact, Jesse and Celine still have stupid cheap back and forth banter between each other except that doesn't make sense because now they aren't 23 and they definitely haven't gone a long time without seeing each other so they are 40 somethings who argue about nothingness.

During the first segment of the movie, Jesse and Celine driving back from the airport with their daughters in the back, Celine gives Jesse a hard time about eating one of their daughters apples but in a way a 14 year old would taunt another 14 year old not the way a couple in a long term relationship would act. There are many examples of that and thus begins a two hour long film filled with Celine's passive aggressive and aggressive aggressive attitude towards Jesse.

You get the feeling Celine truly and genuinely hates every aspect of her life, she is with a guy that she thinks is dumb, she has two kids when she never wanted any kids, her environmental job always results in failures and having to work with idiots shes annoyed by every aspect of her existence and its truly miserable to have to watch her. There's nothing entertaining or charming about Celine, she is simply very very bitter at Jesse for "ruining" her life by getting involved with her.

Now the argument here is "well this is reality" OK watching paint dry is also an element of reality it doesn't mean I want to go to a movie theater and experience it. This film is different there's none of that whimsical carefree attitude that exists in the first two movies. The few brief moments of entertainment come from Celine not being around, Jesse has some conversations early on with some author who invited him out to Greece to stay with him.

Also when Jesse and Celine arrive at the hotel the owner of the hotel asks Jesse to sign a copy of the books he has written then begs Celine to sign them which she refuses because being angry and bitter is all she knows how to be in this film. Finally Jesse pressures her into signing them, but shes angry as always. Also twice Celine is on the phone with Jesse's son and then hangs up before he has a chance to chat with him, which is actually pretty rude.

This was such a garbage movie, an utter waste of time and talent, although probably not that much of a waste of time for those who made it I am sure they shot it and scripted it in about 5 days. The critics have all praised this movie but they only praise things that are different, and sitting and listening to two people argue incessantly on screen for 2 hours is certainly different but also stupid.
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Man of Steel (2013)
Ultimately a weak and cheap film
13 June 2013
Maybe I was wrong to expect plot, character development and emotional engagement. This film is all special effects, superman running around. Whats stupid though is that there is almost zero back story what so ever. We see superman on a fishing boat early in the movie for about 2 seconds before he goes off to be a hero, and that was supposed to be like a big emotional arc ohhh he worked a regular man's job.

I found myself about halfway through completely disengaged from this film and had I not been with friends I probably would have left. Now don't get me wrong I like entertainment I enjoy Iron Man and Thor but this movie was just lacking any kind of personal connection.

There are also long sequences of Superman fighting these other alien villains in the film who are also generally unbeatable so there's no suspense and its pg-13 fighting so you don't want to actually show anything.

I wasn't expecting much going in to this film and I got even less than I expected, all the reviews that are on here are from pumped up fanboys who have been waiting for this movie for months. I am sure if you are into special effects and mindless action you will enjoy this but if you want something more you won't get it.
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Nobody Walks (2012)
Pretty Entertaining
31 May 2013
Maybe I just got my expectations down to that special level of low, I find Lena Dunham stuff to be horrible, tiny furniture was just one of the stupidest things I have ever seen. So I think seeing her name attached to this helped me enjoy it because I thought okay this will be bad, and when it turned out to be good I was happy.

What makes this movie entertaining is you can watch any of the actors involved on their own, they could have made any of the characters the lead or the main focus and you would have been into it. I actually thought the length was a huge negative, ended maybe a good 15 minutes too early, from opening to credits it was a mere 78 minutes long although it might claim to be longer.

There isn't much of a plot, an artist moves in with a family she stirs things up, I won't give away too much but she's an attractive woman around men who like attractive women so its not that difficult to figure out. The movie does a good job of just sort of moving along without being about anything. One of the weak links was this sub plot with an Italian teacher, I could have done without that it was a little odd.

The young lead actresses India Ennenga who plays the sixteen year old step daughter to Krasinski, and of course the artist woman Olivia Thirlby held it all together and kept it interesting even when it dragged along. I don't know why this movie made so little money, it was decent, maybe it didn't get a big release. I just found it via netflix as I am sure most other people found it that way too.

I would say watch this with no expectations, and if you like movies with lots of action and dramatic arcs then just skip this one, this is more of an experience film.
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all the critics loved it
26 April 2013
So yes the critics thought it was brilliant, which is usually all the information you need to know that a film will be downright terrible. the problem with film critics is they are paid to watch movies all day, as opposed to the regular person who goes in once or twice a month. Therefore the critic gets sick of anything that is similar to something else and when they see something different they praise it. Yes upstream color is different, but also it's just a terribly bad film.

I went and saw Primer just on random chance when it was in theaters, I was in LA on a trip and decided I needed to see something very indie since where I usually live doesn't have independent theaters the way LA does. So I didn't necessarily like Primer, but I made a mental note of it and told myself to remember the director. Because while Primer wasn't particularly good I could tell that at least the guy who made it had potential. My main issue with Primer was the super flat acting along with the monotone delivery of lines, and if the acting is no good then you don't connect with the characters, with no connection you just don't care.

We got the same problem here, the acting is bad but in a way where you can't really blame the actors I feel like the direction just isn't there or maybe its the script. Either way the acting is flat and dull and the reading of lines is just said in a way where it sounds like someone is reading from a page. I gave this film a solid 30-40 minutes where I refused to judge it, but after that long the film just wore me down and I realized it just was not good. I really wanted to like this one, but I mean at a certain point a film needs to like give the audience something, this is one of those art films where you would imagine the filmmakers behind it would say well we don't care if anyone sees it.

Save yourself some time and skip this one. What a bad film.
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Trance (I) (2013)
A bit of a let down
13 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Full disclosure, I might not have been as harsh on this film if Danny Boyle wasn't the director but with Boyle I expect more, Trainspotting was a very cool film. I have always given Danny Boyle films a chance, even if they don't appeal to me, after Trance I will stop that. Trance didn't look that interesting to me, but I thought I would give it a shot and it just didn't quite add up. I mean at best you could say yea its an average decent film, not bad, but i was expecting good or great even possibly.

The basic plot is this, and I am sure I will hit some spoilers so be aware of that. The film starts and you aren't sure if McAvoy is a victim or in on the crime of stealing the painting, he narrates the first segment of the film and from that I was excited that this would be a good experience. So McAvoy works at an art gallery, some guys come to steal a piece of painting they get it or they think they do but McAvoy has hidden it. Problem is during the robbery he got hit in the head so he can't remember. Thus they go to a hypnotherapist - Rosario Dawson.

From there everything turns into a mess, up until he goes to see the hypnotherapist the film is at 10/10 really great. It slows down when she comes in because things start to just get illogical, she goes from mild mannered therapist to wanting in with the criminals who at this point McAvoy turns out to be in with to a degree as well.

The arrangement was McAvoy had a gambling debt, Cassell has some money so he paid the debt off with the understanding that McAvoy would assist with getting a very valuable painting. Now here's where it gets all spoilery, McAvoy really has no reason to keep the painting for himself so why would he be so stupid to keep it those thugs would just come after him. Well the reason is because he used to date Dawson the therapist and he became abusive, so she stopped dating him but he kept coming to sessions where she brainwashed him into forgetting her and bringing her a valuable painting.

OK now none of this makes sense, why would Dawson turn out to be this vindictive and willing to involve herself in crime and it is never indicated that McAvoy is a violent sociopath who would become obsessed with his girlfriend and beat her. Thats my huge problem with this film that the character make absolutely no sense. So as a viewer I feel cheated, I feel like the filmmakers think I am too stupid to question the flow of things so they can just throw stories at me as facts and I will accept it without needing any kind of visuals to back them up.

So apparently this film thought it would get points for plot twists, and while plot twists are appreciated in films you need evidence to back them up later which we do not have. There is nothing earlier in the film that would support why or how Dawson would want to involve herself in criminal activities, and there is no indication that McAvoy goes around beating women. This film demands too much in the way of suspension of disbelief.

Also they pull one of the cheapest tricks that I hate, where an action scene goes down, you are all intrigued and excited and then ohhh wait never mind all fake it was all a hypnosis dream. from that point forward I couldn't really trust this movie and I was largely just annoyed by its presentation.
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To the Wonder (2012)
Really Fantastic
12 April 2013
This film got a VOD release same day as its theatrical release which I really appreciate. I paid 8 dollars to watch it on demand and I would have paid the same or a bit more to see it in theaters with noisy people. It's not just the convenience its just I do not want to be interrupted while watching a Malick film and people's theater manners are horrible in Texas (where I live) I mean there's no sense. So I don't want to deal with laughter from people laughing at un-funny moments or things like that. I will pay to go see this in the theater next week I am sure as I want to experience the big screen version of it, but the first time I watch something I know has the potential to be great I really need to focus in on it.

I waited a few weeks to see the Tree of Life because I wanted to go when it wasn't crowded, because of Tree of Life I decided to watch this the same day it was released. I have always known of Malick more or less, or at least since I became aware of cinema and his first four movies I appreciated and respected but I didn't necessarily enjoy them. These last two I mean he has really hit his stride and I look forward to all of his upcoming stuff.

I read a fair amount of reviews before seeing this film and each one was all over the place, some praising this film others saying it failed so I went in with a pretty level head knowing this could potentially disappoint somewhat but still be beautiful to look at. I suppose the fact that I watched the trailers for this film at least 50 times should have indicated to me I would be into this style. What you need to understand is dialogue is not very important in this film but I actually found it more accessible than the Tree of Life. I really enjoyed the Tree of Life but it was pretty heavy, there wasn't too much lightness to it, which isn't to say To The Wonder is all care free and light hearted but its a little easier to swallow than Tree of Life.

The plot isn't that important, the images are whats important here, and the voice over which is all over the place. I didn't think this would be better than The Tree of Life, I mean it's no small thing to top that film but I am proud to say I think this is Malick's best it's just really very beautiful and subtle. A lot of people will go to see this and just be confused and angry at the flow of things, how the camera and scenes drift but I enjoy it.
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Your Highness (2011)
Big Swing and a Miss
29 March 2013
You can see what they were going for with this film, and had it gone right it would have been a fantastic film, gone down as a classic but it misses the mark. Natalie Portman and James Franco do their best, but with minimal direction and the entirety of the film on the shoulders of Danny McBride it just couldn't hold up. Basically this film failed for a few reasons but really it failed because Danny McBride couldn't piece together an interesting character, like he had material to work with he just didn't make it work. Had this film been a success then McBride would still be making films of this level.

I think the main problem is, you don't like the protagonist and the film is a little bit too crude, crude can be funny but its a delicate balancing act it can come off as just obnoxious. I think everyone involved in this film realizes it didn't quite reach the level they wanted it to. When you add it up, its actually amazing that there were no laughs in this film. Oh well, I would say skip this, if its on TV and you are too tired to change the channel then you won't mind watching it, but still its a shame because it could have been better.
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James Franco saves this film from being bad
29 March 2013
I think this film was given the greenlight because it was going to be called "Spring Breakers" and it would have Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, and James Franco in it and ultimately they knew they could bring in some of their fan base to this very odd art film because they wouldn't know Harmony Korine. On that business level I respect the people who funded this, knowing it would at least bring back its 5 million dollar budget, and who knows maybe it would turn a profit which I think it has to a degree.

I have always wanted to like Korine's films, and Harmony himself is usually pretty funny, just youtube any interview he's ever done but his films never manage in my opinion to be anything other than just different. Now in this cinematic landscape some people are so hungry for different that they immediately equate different to genius but thats not the case. So yes Korine's films aren't normal but you also can never get attached to any of the characters or interested in the plot because there rarely ever is one.

Here's what I thought Spring Breakers was about - four girls go partying, get arrested, Franco's character bails them out and in return requests that they help him do some robberies / illegal drug stuff. In actuality it was that formula except when Franco bails them out he tells them they can leave or stay with him, or do whatever they want. But thats the whole premise, not much plot beyond that, oh yea and three of the four girls violently rob a place to get money for spring break. Although with a film like this plot is secondary if that.

Whats most important for Korine is interesting images, which this film is actually oddly short on, everything becomes pretty redundant, neon lights, cameras that are far too close up for you to get any concept of space which maybe was their intention but still. Regular camera shots mixed with low grade cameras.

This would have been a much better film if Korine had just reined it in a little bit and allowed for the audience to know anything about the female characters. Until Franco's character shows up I had a few thoughts that maybe this was going to actually be a horrible movie, once Franco is there you have at least one rounded strange character you can understand. And Franco has a great time hamming it up, but it isn't just that he actually delivers a really great performance. For his role as Al / Alien almost any actor could have taken it on and delivered enough to allow the film to be but Franco adds a lot more to this role than anyone else would have which I found to be impressive.

Now as for the nudity, yes this film has lots of it, but of the four girls only Rachel Korine has some nude scenes. Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson have a few implied nude scenes, and Selena Gomez has none. But this film still has lots of nudity because of strip clubs, and various other scenes with random women. Most of the nudity is from women who have no lines in the film and are just there. Having said all of that I don't think I've ever seen a film where the nudity was less played up, like made to sort of entice or seduce the audience, all of the nudity here is just sort of very very un-erotic, like its just sort of there, which maybe was the point, although I think a lot of it had to do with the odd camera angles involved, neon lights etc. Not that I really care, its just people will be curious about this aspect of the film.

Ultimately I think Korine wanted to have an excuse to party at spring break, which I think he has owned up to in interviews and so this movie is a product of that. I gave it 5/10 its not really bad or good, nor would I recommend it to people or persuade them not to see it, its just something to check out at some point. I paid 10 bucks to see it in the theater, probably should have waited for video or to see it at a discount theater but oh well.
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Broken City (2013)
Surprisingly Bad considering the talent involved.
7 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Before I even get into a review I just have to mention something thats rather annoying, I am not a conservative but I am certainly not a liberal. But when forced to pick sides I go with conservatives, anyways this stupid film had the audacity of making the Crowe character into a total republican thus heres the subliminal message for you moron movie goers, republicans are greedy and liberals are always pure and noble socialists who just want to abuse those very rich snobs. Of course we all know how that really goes, they say they'll tax just the super rich and me a guy who makes 1600 a month working at a grocery store gets hammered with that 2 percent payroll tax, thanks liberals, jerks.

So anyways I went to see this at my discount theater today, and it was discount day at the discount theater which means I paid $1.50 to see this turd of a movie. I thought hey even if its bad its got Russell Crowe and he usually doesn't star in garbage, well so much for that. This was just bad all around.

It was a plot you could see coming a mile away, Wahlberg at the start of the movie guns down a black kid for raping his girlfriends sister. It was murder but he got off because he's a cop. Anyways so later Crowe the corrupt and of course very republican Mayor needs a favor and calls in the dependable Wahlberg to use his super rare skills of taking pictures of people having affairs.

Heres where it gets stupid, Crowe with all his mayor connections has to call in two bit hood Wahlberg to track his wife. Sure makes sense.

So Wahlberg does his job but then the guy he was spying on ends up dead, turns out it wasn't an affair but Crowe's wife leaking information to an aide to the opponent.

Wahlberg feels bad, and yea you can figure out how the rest of this movie goes. I mean its bad enough the plot sucked but they gotta throw in their little high and mighty we are Hollywood and thus we understand politics better than you so be sure to notice how Crowe is a republican and his adversary is a liberal.

From a purely cinematic view point, all political frustrations aside this film fails because you never for a minute care for any of the characters. Whats so great or interesting about Wahlberg's guy, seems to be an emotionless jerk. As for Crowe he's not a good enough villain because you never think for a moment he could outsmart anyone so you know how the film will conclude. And Catherine Zeta Jones, why was she even in this movie? Can she just not get good parts now, it was a nothing role and she did nothing with it. I might have to remember to miss the next couple of generic Wahlberg films that come out. They are usually bad but you can still watch em, this one was a new low of dullness.
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Community: Virtual Systems Analysis (2012)
Season 3, Episode 16
Community's streak of good episodes ends with this one.
20 April 2012
Community is one of my favorite shows, its only real flaw is that out of every season of 20 or so episodes you get five episodes that are bad, maybe 3 that are average, and the rest are good to brilliant. The brilliant ones are the ones that keep me coming back, for example last week's episode where Britta has to be kept away from her ex boyfriend Blade was a hilarious episode 10/10.

This one fails, not big time like a few of the other community episodes but it attempts to be different and in the process forgets that it also needs to be entertaining. The ultimate problem is that this episode leans largely on a very weak plot-line in community one that should only really be touched upon jokingly and never focused on fully. For example in the 11th episode of this season, Troy and Abed decide they need to be "normal" for Shirley's wedding so they go in the dreamatorium to weird out for several hours and normalize themselves. In that context its funny, its touched upon briefly and if you think the dreamatorium is a stupid plot-line gimmick you don't have to deal with it for long.

In this episode Annie and Abed go into the dreamatorium, a room in their apartment that they have painted with stripes so that they can go in there and play make believe for several hours. At one point during the dream sequence Pierce say's "can I just say I have no idea what is going on here." That line was essentially throwing the casual viewers a bone, saying look if you don't get this don't worry it doesn't make that much sense anyways. So Annie and Abed go in there to play make believe and Abed soon gets bored with Annie since she doesn't know how to play in his make believe world of inspector space time, so he develops a game where by Annie is a hospital administrator, something she wants to be in reality, and from there the show goes on in a strange direction where Abed's social awkwardness is further explored and examined.

Here are a few of the inconsistencies with this episode, we are shown two things Abed weirding out big time, and Troy having an obsession with Abed. While Abed does get weird, and while Troy and Abed have a strange relationship, its not the the extent that this episode shows it. Troy would be able to go and have a good lunch with Britta as it has been shown many times before that they have a solid relationship that may be more than a friendship.

There wasn't really any of Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) in this episode and he is basically the necessary anchor within this show, he is shown a few times but in the dream world where Abed is essentially playing Jeff as the way he thinks Annie perceives him. So a Jeff-less episode already had the odds set against it, and by focusing the action all on the dreamatorium this episode just drifted too far off into weird land.

Here's the other weakness of this episode, usually we have two or three plot lines to follow, so in case we find one dull at least we will be entertained by another. For example last week episode 15 of this season, we see Britta freaking out at Annie's apartment, Jeff and Shirley teaming up to investigate Blade, and Pierce attempting to become best friends with Chang. All three funny story lines, if you didn't like one then you'd like the other two at least. Where as this episode has its one and only plot-line of the dreamatorium, I briefly was hopeful that they would flash over to show Britta and Troy eating lunch but we didn't get any of that.
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Community: Regional Holiday Music (2011)
Season 3, Episode 10
I think you have to be into Glee to like this one
29 March 2012
One of the weaker Community episodes, save for one part where Annie seduces/convinces Jeff to get on board with the whole glee club thing. Anyways, the basic plot for this episode is filled with glee references, so if you are into thats how this might help convert you over to the community world but as for the rest of us, i would recommend skipping this one, no significant plot points are touched on, and it made me miss the show less when it went into its forced hiatus until march. But now that its back, its back with a vengeance, thus far three good episodes following this one. Usually what can make a community episode work, is that even if you don't like one plot line some of the other characters are usually up to something entertaining, so you can then ignore the plot you aren't into and focus in on the other stuff. anyways in this case it all flows together in a glee mess, so thats what weakened this episode for me.
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Abed is Batman now - Christian Bale
29 March 2012
Any community episode that involves Abed dressing up as Batman is an instant classic in my opinion. The two main plot-lines in this episode are that Annie breaks Abed and Troy's exclusive Dark Knight DVD and lies about it causing Abed to go vigilante to discover the truth. Meanwhile Jeff and Shirley get involved in some foosball competition and in the process discover that they share some similar memories.

Highlights from this episode include - as mentioned before Batman Abed, but also Jeff and Shirley morph into Anime characters when they play each other at foosball and some hostility arises.

Also at the very end Leonard gives a review of some pizza, which is funny, Leonard is a good side character.
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Community: Documentary Filmmaking: Redux (2011)
Season 3, Episode 8
One of the Best, if not the Best Episode of Season Three
29 March 2012
This episode was hilarious from beginning to end. The title of this episode Documentary Filmmaking: Redux is a play on the Title Apocalypse Now Redux, Apocalypse Now is referenced a few times during the show saying that Hearts of Darkness (the documentary about the making of the film Apocalypse now) was actually far superior to the film it was documenting.

Dean Pelton is one of the best characters on the show, alongside Senor Chang, and it is nice to see him at the forefront of an episode as the main protagonist.

The basic plot of this episode is that the Dean is given some money to make a new commercial for Greendale Community College and instantly takes on the persona of an out of control director claiming no one understands his artistic vision. Slowly everyone becomes a little bit crazy at the stress of it all.

Jeff films some of his scenes in front of a Luis Guzman statue knowing that legally they can't use those images without Guzman's consent, when Guzman is notified of this he volunteers to be in the commercial further pushing the Dean's ego as artistic visionary.

This episode is just full of hilarity from beginning to end.
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community utilizes subway to stay afloat
29 March 2012
Commmunity is (or maybe was) on the verge of getting canceled so what do they do, plant a big subway restaurant in their school so we see and hear about subway for the whole episode.

I guess I can't be that hostile towards this, I like the show, I want it to stay on TV but not if they have to work in commercials into the layout.

The best part of this episode is a side-plot where Jeff finds out from Annie that they were all assigned lockers to use for school, Jeff finds a bunch of old ads in his locker along with a note from someone angry at him. So they go and check that out.

Troy and Abed get into it over whether or not to make a blanket fort or a pillow fort, and Pierce and Shirley use Britta to try to take down a Subway representative.
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Community: Contemporary Impressionists (2012)
Season 3, Episode 12
solid episode
29 March 2012
Abed has run up a huge tab with a celebrity impersonator company so that he can re-enact a number of his favorite movie scenes in person. This leads to his friends having to work off that debt for French Stewart who is playing a former French Stewart impersonator.

To pay off the debt, Shirley plays Oprah, Britta and Troy play the two versions of Michael Jackson, Annie plays Dorothy from the wizard of oz (i think), and Jeff plays Ryan Seacrest.

Jeff is also taking anti-anxiety pills and as it turns out the slight amount of anxiety he carried helped to deflect full out narcissism from forming.

At the end of the episode we have the second appearance of Dark Abed, the Abed that was formed during the episode that showed alternate timelines deviating from who had to go get the pizza.

All in all, good!
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Community: Epidemiology (2010)
Season 2, Episode 6
One of the Lesser Episodes
27 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
In principle this episode is okay as far as jokes provided, but I just have a problem with the general principle in the over-arching community storyline that this episode causes. This show does get wacky, and over-exaggerates a lot of the groups experiences, the paintball episode could be an example as could the mafia chicken fingers spoof but both of those episodes worked for me because they didn't go too far.

This episode's weakness lies in the fact that we really have to buy that they all got a horrible zombie virus and then got their memories of the evening erased. That was just taking it too far for me, I still want to believe that Community is based somewhat in reality. I like to think that for all of the absurdity the plot and characters of community are based in at least a semi-reality. This zombie episode kind of squashed that for me, I almost have to ignore it in the larger community plot line.

Okay, they all get turned into zombie's, biting each other, the dean sees this all go down but then later doesn't care. The memory erasing, it was all a little too far. And some would argue that the paintball episodes of season one and two surely cross some lines, paint splattered everywhere, the society and culture rapidly falling apart and mini towns being set up like Pierce's wild west. But in that case I own that up to the fact that when you are playing paintball you really do allow that element of absurdity into your mind where you do think you are in a sort of war-zone and everything is over-dramatized.

I really like this show, just not every episode, but most of the episodes are great, and the characters are hilarious. I am definitely on board as someone who is actively participating in keeping this show on the air for as long as possible. But this particular episode I almost have to choose to forget because I find it out of place with the feel of the show.
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Safe House (2012)
Decent Movie, but a waste of some real Talent
10 February 2012
My rating of 5/10 is at once both generous and not. Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington do the best they can but ultimately the director hits the wrong tone and the cinematography is at times distractingly bad.

Here's what the previews led me to believe, Reynolds is young and driven but inexperienced as the keeper of a safe house, Washington is an old professional rogue agent who will offer him advice. None of that advice was ever really shared, I thought a certain bond would be formed between Washington and Reynolds or at least a hesitant mutual respect but none of that took shape.

I kept waiting for that point where one character proves to be more than what we were led to believe early on that they were, but no. Washington and Reynold's characters of Weston and Tobin stay the same throughout the whole movie, Weston is none the wiser because of Tobin and thats all there is to it.

Still there's enough basic action and minimal suspense to keep you entertained during a matinée showing so on that level I can't knock the film. The problem is there were several moments where I was left wondering why not a little more exploration into these characters or the story.

Also while watching the movie I just assumed it was PG-13, I never pay attention to the ratings but none of the violent fight scenes were that particularly violent so I told myself oh it must be because they needed to maintain the PG-13 but no, this movie is an R and yet they still avoided showing brutal fight scenes. All of the violence was so rapidly edited together and shot from such obscure angles that you can barely even tell what is going on.

I give credit to Washington and Reynolds for doing the best they could to overcome weak direction, editing, cinematography, and screen writing.
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Another Year (2010)
Interesting, but not necessarily good
11 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of those films that film critics will love, just because they see over 100 movies a year and praise anything different. First off I should say that I went to the movies to waste some time and bought a ticket for the movie Biutiful but after about five minutes of that film I realized I wasn't in the mood for Inarittu's classic dreariness and despair, so I noticed Another Year was playing in the theater next door and starting twenty minutes after Biutiful so I wandered into the Another Year theater. Which I realize isn't okay, but don't worry I'll go buy a ticket for another year and then wander into Biutiful perhaps, or see Another Year again.

Anyways thats all beside the main point, now on to the film.

First off Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen play Tom and Gerri a nice older couple who (as all the synopsis' will tell you) have their life together but their friends are all a mess.

The main people involved in their life are there son Joe who is decent, and Mary who is an alcoholic mess, and Ken who is nice enough but probably drinks and smokes too much as well.

Ruth Sheen and Jim Broadbent were in their late fifties when this film was shot, and while I knew Broadbent was around that age I thought that Sheen was maybe late sixties, for the majority of the film I assumed these were a couple in their late sixties, actual age is never established but Tom's brother is said to be 70 so maybe they are meant to be around that age. Mary is a woman who is around 50 but could pass for 45 or somewhere in there.

The one major fault I found with this film was that Mary who is around 50 was attracted to Tom and Gerri's son who was said to be 30 in the film. Everyone else in the film seems to think it goes without saying that Joe is not interested in Mary, so no one says outright to Mary that it doesn't make sense. Joe is completely uninterested in an older woman who is also an alcoholic. And in reality a woman like Mary would be aware of this, yet in the film she is completely taken off guard when she meets Joe's girlfriend.

Early in the film Tom and Gerri seem to take kindly to Mary, but I guess around the point she is rude to Joe's girlfriend they decide they are annoyed by her.

There's no real plot to the film, and some people will find it absolutely unbearably slow. I found it interesting enough, the Mary character didn't quite hold up for me though. This is a somewhat flawed film but still worth checking out just to examine Mike Leigh's work.
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Herzog's Masterpiece
11 September 2010
On the DVD for Herzog's film The Wild Blue Yonder there is an interview with Brad Dourif (the star in that film and the guy who plays the uncle in this one) and for some reason he mentions the script for this movie saying it was unmade but brilliant. So true, this film is absolutely brilliant, Herzog destroys conventional filmmaking with this, within the first five minutes you know everything that any other film would take 2 hours revealing.

Then after that, after the five minute mark pure Herzog madness sets in and its beautiful. Also as for the Lynch association, the movie starts with David Lynch Presents that was just Lynch offering his name for selling power. He was never on set once and Herzog only referenced him once when Brad is walking around a hotel and sees a man with a breathing device walking on a treadmill.

I have always been convinced that Herzog is a great documentary filmmaker (although he refuses to call his documentaries documentaries) but with this he has proved himself fully capable to me as a narrative director. This film is extremely strange but in a good way, sometimes you see strange films that are just odd for attention. The film is distorted and strange but it is meant to represent the main characters mind and its insanity in full.

You'll either be on board with this movie or you won't be but I think everyone should give this film a chance.
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Spread (2009)
Fails on almost every level
26 January 2010
Honestly, even with all the bad reviews I knew full well what I was getting into but I didn't care because this film looked at least mildly distinct with a few familiar faces. Yes, its a bad film, very little on the side of character development and you do find yourself near the end wondering if you even care about these characters.

Here's the premise, Kutcher plays Nikki a dude who is homeless and lazy, so he scouts out slightly older rich women to seduce and then mooch off of. Eventually he meets a woman he actually likes (i guess, its hard to tell what is sincerity in this film) which causes problems.

Heres the main issue, Nikki is essentially a jerk with no ambitions, his voice over narration tries to give a sense of direction to this film but that fails. The main girl he falls for isn't a knockout in looks or personality, I mean shes decent but there's not much there.

I cant complain much though, because I rented this DVD just wanting to have something nice to look at. It did sort of deliver this, but the attempt by this film to try to be significant ruined much of the entertainment, just admit you aren't a good movie and get on with it.
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2012 (I) (2009)
About as Absurd as you would expect
18 November 2009
I knew this film wasn't going to go down as some sort of Classic, or Best Picture winner. Look at the director, all he does are crazy action movies. So going in I knew what to expect and it delivered on most levels. The only real problem I had was how it got all drawn out and preachy near the end, I was like COME ON, get over yourselves. So they could've easily shaved off 10 minutes to this already long film and in the process made it way better.

Its really a very ridiculous movie but the special effects are enjoyable and both John Cusack and Amanda Peet are capable actors so even if you find the other subplots unbearable (which some of them almost are) you will still like them. The action sequences did make this worth watching on the big screen, big explosions, earthquakes, tsunamis and so forth are trippy. Just don't go in expecting a bearable plot or highly intellectual dialogue. There are about 10 blatantly obvious plot holes but who cares.

I'd say this film is slightly better than most of the crap showing in cinemas currently.
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Plenty of One Dimensional Characters
18 November 2009
The plot is simple, some guy has wrong done to him so he gets revenge but then goes overboard and kills people only slightly associated with the crime committed against his family. We never get inside the head of the Gerard Butler character and we never care about the Jamie Foxx character. Everything is relatively predictable in this film and while its going on it interests you but when it ends you can't help but to feel cheated. Like oh so they never even intended on elaborating these characters backstories.

I thought this would be a good clever thriller but actually its pretty run of the mill. Not necessarily horrible but definitely nothing new going on here.
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