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J. Martin (New York)
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Eyes Wide Shut (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1999]
Eyes Wide Shut (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Tom Cruise
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £17.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why not?, 10 Aug. 2015
Fans of the movie need not read this review. It's not for you. In fact, it's not for anybody who has already seen Eyes Wide Shut, whether you liked it or not.

I've reviewed hundreds of movies, and this is the very first time I've written a review of a movie I haven't seen. Here's why I'm writing it anyway:

There may be others out there who, like me, still have not seen Eyes Wide Shut, more than 16 years after its release. They (again, like me) may be huge movie fans, even huge fans of Kubrick's earlier movies, but for some reason this particular Kubrick movie hasn't drawn them yet.

They may feel sometimes (like me again) that they OUGHT to see it, but for some reason they just haven't. If you're in that state, hearing my reasons may help you decide to see it, or it may help you reconcile yourself to never seeing it. This review is for you and you alone.

I've read a LOT about this movie, about the circumstances under which it was made, the challenges Kubrick and others faced in making it, its unique position in the history of making and distributing movies. I've read dozens of reviews of the movie, by professional critics whom I respect enormously (and some I don't) and by amateurs like us here at Amazon, IMDb, Netflix, etc. I've seen many clips from the movie, official trailers as well as pirated clips posted online, including some that are hailed as the very best scenes in it by most fans of the movie.

The thing is, not once in all that time have I ever read or seen anything that made me want to see the movie. Not for one second did I see a clip that made me want to see more, read anything that made me want to experience it directly instead of second-hand. There just is not anything about it that appeals to me. Nothing.

Nearly every movie I see I see because a trailer, or a clip from the movie, or a comment I read somewhere stirred up something in me that wanted more. Often the full movie turns out to be disappointing or even unwatchable, but I have found a few real jewels that way. But nothing has ever caused me to want to see this one even slightly. I WANT to want to see it, but I just don't.

Since it's unlikely that anything new will be discovered in this movie now, anything that would light even a tiny spark of interest in me, I just need to accept the fact that I don't want to see Eyes Wide Shut, and I most likely never will, and that's okay.

So I'm giving this movie one star because it hasn't even succeeded in making me want to see it, which is about the biggest failure a movie can have.


The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best [DVD]
The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ryan O'Nan
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £3.34

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ryan O'Nan's vanity project, 27 July 2015
Brooklyn Brothers is a good example of a vanity project, which is when a marginally successful person creates something in order to showcase his or her own talents and charm.

Ryan O'Nan wrote, directed and stars as a deceptively self-deprecating loser wannabe musician named Alex, who goes on a "life-changing" road trip with an even bigger loser named Jim whose function is to be extremely wacky and give Alex lots of opportunities to look good. Alex's strait-laced, uptight older brother performs the same function from the opposite direction. A girl is thrown in to let us know that Ryan--I mean Alex--is also irresistibly sexy.

There are some funny moments and lots of hip, quirky, darkly soul-baring songs written and sung by O'Nan, plus some amazing triumphs of his incisive wisdom over other people's dullness. After 90 minutes of hip cleverness and charm laid on with a trowel, the movie ends on a surprisingly mean-spirited note, but maybe that's just how it goes in O'Nan's world.

If you're a big fan of Ryan O'Nan or of hiply quirky, navel-gazing, guitar-strumming singer-songwriters, you'll probably love this movie.


Nebraska [DVD] [2013]
Nebraska [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Bruce Dern
Price: £5.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars irritating movie about obnoxious people, 23 July 2015
This review is from: Nebraska [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
Nebraska is an unbearably annoying movie about the most obnoxious people I've seen in years.

David should have minded his own business and let Woody walk to Nebraska as he wanted to, dying in a ditch somewhere along the way. That's where he belonged. But even Ross and Kate's plan--to put Woody into an institution of some kind--would have been better than the pointless and moronic road trip to Nebraska.

I hated Woody, and I hated David even more, and I hated Kate, and Ross, and Ed and the disgusting cousins and everybody else. I HATED this movie.

Alexander Payne seems to be everybody's darling, for some reason that I cannot even begin to understand, but after suffering through this one I'll avoid his movies like the plague from now on.


Cake [DVD] [2015]
Cake [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Jennifer Aniston
Price: £6.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars annoying, phony, stupidly written and directed movie, 6 July 2015
This review is from: Cake [DVD] [2015] (DVD)
A very annoying, phony, stupidly written and directed movie. Nobody ever says anything a real human being would say or does what a real human being would do.

Aniston is pretty good playing angry b!tch in pain, but she's completely--and I do mean completely--unbelievable as a civil-liberties lawyer and as a grieving mother. Nobility doesn't suit her at all.

The guy who plays the suicide's wimpy husband is awful, and so is the woman who plays the Mexican servant. Even Huffman and Macy are bad.

That means it's the writer's and director's faults. Might have been worth watching if those two had been competent, but they seem to have been working toward an Oscar for Aniston and let everything else slide into the sewer. Either that or they just don't have what it takes to make a good movie. This one is really stupid.


The last straight man [DVD]
The last straight man [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mark Cirillo
Offered by Gayfilmlover
Price: £9.09

1.0 out of 5 stars excruciatingly bad, 20 Jun. 2015
This review is from: The last straight man [DVD] (DVD)
I tried really hard--several times--to watch this movie, but it's just so bad in so many ways that I finally had to give up.

The two guys are not at all attractive, but I've seen both actors before separately and not thought that, so it's just something about their pairing in this movie. I cannot believe that anyone would want to spend even a few minutes with either of them.

But that's not all. Every word of the dialog is stilted and coy and totally unnatural, and it's delivered in weird, almost screechy voices that make my skin crawl. On top of all that, the very first scene (and it's a LONG one) is of a female stripper giving lap dances at a bachelor party, with either her boobs or her thonged butt bouncing about six inches from the camera most of the time. That is NOT what I want to see in a gay movie, or anywhere else.

Another reviewer said he's willing to give Mark Bessenger (this movie's writer and director) another chance, but I can't go along with that. Life's too short.


Blue Skies
Blue Skies

2.0 out of 5 stars Not bad as a romance, but with serious flaws as historical sci-fi, 31 May 2015
This review is from: Blue Skies (Kindle Edition)
Reviewers in the US who rave about this book must not read much, and they must not know much. Although there are elements in this book that make it enjoyable occasionally, so much of it is either preposterous or plagiarized that it's hard to take seriously. It tries to combine historical realism with romance with science fiction, and the only one it even partially succeeds at is romance. The writer would be better off setting her romances in a universe she actually knows about instead of in one she clearly knows very little about.

The central device in this book is a sort of time machine that works when lightning strikes it (that's revealed almost immediately, so this isn't a spoiler). That's fine, since it's fiction; time machines don't really exist, so giving it lightning power is as good as any. The problem is that in choosing lightning she chooses something that DOES exist, and the general principles of its operation are well and widely known. EVERYBODY knows that lightning rarely strikes the same place twice - even lightning-attractors like skyscrapers, church steeples and broadcast transmission towers.

This story requires that lightning strike a single old house on the Bowery in New York City (where the time machine is) repeatedly, often more than once a day. That simply could not happen. She would have been wiser to have her time machine powered by solar flares instead of lightning, or something else whose operation is a mystery to almost everybody.

If she had solar flares happening right when she needs them, who'd know whether that's possible or not? No one. But anybody over the age of 10 is going to know that lightning MIGHT strike a particular house in the center of a large city once in 200 years, but even that would be extremely unlikely. Repeated lightning strikes (every time it rains) to a three- or four-story house surrounded by skyscrapers (as it is in the 2014 segments of her story) is totally, categorically, absolutely impossible. It makes her time machine ridiculous.

Besides that, the writer has lifted the whole story of Susan in the insane asylum almost verbatim from Nellie Bly's remarkable Ten Days in a Mad-House, which she wrote in 1887 based on her personal undercover investigation while working at the New York World newspaper for Joseph Pulitzer (founder of the Pulitzer Prizes). Although Bly's book is now in the public domain and what this writer did is legal, such extensive plagiarism without giving the original writer any credit is inexcusable.

The writer of this book does mention Bly very obliquely in her Acknowledgments, but she obscures the extent to which she appropriated Bly's work. She says, "I have to include my heartfelt admiration for Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman, author of one of the most compelling resources I've ever come across."

First of all, she uses Bly's real name, not the pen-name by which she is known for her remarkable and pioneering investigative reporting and under which she was justifiably very famous more than a century ago. Few people nowadays recognize even the name Nellie Bly, but practically no one knows that her real name was Elizabeth Cochrane (Seaman was her husband's name, whom she married after she gave up investigative reporting).

Second, she doesn't even give the name of Bly's book, vaguely calling it a "resource". If she HAD given the book's name, at least she could get credit for pointing readers to the source of the most dramatic parts of her own book, so that they could discover the amazing Nellie Bly for themselves.

Third, "admiration" is grossly inadequate for the plagiarism she actually committed. Anybody who has read Bly's Ten Days in a Mad-House will see immediately that this writer just changed some names and added some characters, but the story in almost every detail is Bly's, not this writer's.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 11, 2015 11:00 PM BST


Hard Candy [DVD]
Hard Candy [DVD]
Dvd ~ Patrick Wilson
Offered by Clearance Game Deals
Price: £3.00

1.0 out of 5 stars mean-spirited movie about two repulsive people, 18 May 2015
This review is from: Hard Candy [DVD] (DVD)
This is an unpleasant, mean-spirited movie about two repulsive people who talk constantly and never say one word that rings true. The writing is awful, wordy and pretentious, and the director should have stuck with music videos, which this seems more like than a real movie.

The only suspense or thrill involved is wondering if there isn't some way to kill off BOTH of these obnoxious characters before the end of the movie.

Both Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page are at their worst, and Page is extremely lucky that (for some reason that I can't imagine) Jason Reitman cast her in Juno based on this performance; this movie is so bad that I doubt her budding career could have survived it without a much better movie right on its heels. Juno is exceptionally good in every way; this one is exceptionally bad.


Still Alice [Blu-ray]
Still Alice [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Julianne Moore
Price: £13.00

6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Idiot directors trash Moore's great performance, 14 May 2015
This review is from: Still Alice [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Moore is great throughout, and Stewart is good, but only at the very, very end when she reads from Angels in America (she's embarrassingly bad doing Chekhov earlier). Otherwise this movie is terrible.

The incompetent directors made a potentially moving story trite and insulting. It's written and directed like a bad soap opera, with loud, heavy-handed music forcing us to feel sad when they want us to feel sad, tense when they want us to feel tense, etc. They didn't trust Moore to put it all across or us to get it without their larding on the schmaltz with a trowel (a shockingly un-kosher metaphor). They must have assumed Moore and all of us are as stupid as they are.

I would give it more stars if Moore alone had made this moronic movie worth watching, but no actor is that good. Todd Haynes's brilliant Safe is infinitely better than this awful movie is, with an even more powerful performance from Moore that he nurtures and enhances, instead of trashing her genius as these morons do.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 27, 2015 4:59 PM BST


Grey Gardens [DVD] [2009] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Grey Gardens [DVD] [2009] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: £3.76

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars adds nothing but bad impersonations to the Maysles' fantastic original, 23 April 2015
Show business sure is weird.

Edie Beale was a charming, fascinating person who never made it until she played herself for the Maysles brothers. Drew Barrymore is a nice person with less talent and charm than Edie had in her big toe. Both came from famous families. The one with far less talent became a big star, and the other died in obscurity.

I truly like and admire Drew Barrymore as a person, and I had hoped that this movie would prove me wrong about her as an actor, would prove that she DOES have talent and CAN play characters who are not herself, but it didn't. None of the Barrymores could; they all had such strong, distinctive personalities that they were always the Barrymores, regardless of what characters they were supposed to be playing. It was true about Lionel, Ethel and John, and it's true about Drew. She can't help it; she has those Barrymore genes.

I watched her pretending to be Edie Beale for almost two hours, and every second of that time I was yearning for the real thing. This is a trashy TV movie that adds nothing worthwhile to the real, original, fantastic Grey Gardens starring the real Beales instead of Hollywood stars trying and failing to impersonate them. But the hordes of TV addicts who can't get anything until they see it acted out on TV by famous actors think this is a masterpiece. Go figure.


Grey Gardens - Drew Barrymore & Jessica Lange [DVD] [2009]
Grey Gardens - Drew Barrymore & Jessica Lange [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Michael Sucsy

1.0 out of 5 stars adds nothing but bad impersonations to the Maysles' fantastic original, 23 April 2015
Show business sure is weird.

Edie Beale was a charming, fascinating person who never made it until she played herself for the Maysles brothers. Drew Barrymore is a nice person with less talent and charm than Edie had in her big toe. Both came from famous families. The one with far less talent became a big star, and the other died in obscurity.

I truly like and admire Drew Barrymore as a person, and I had hoped that this movie would prove me wrong about her as an actor, would prove that she DOES have talent and CAN play characters who are not herself, but it didn't. None of the Barrymores could; they all had such strong, distinctive personalities that they were always the Barrymores, regardless of what characters they were supposed to be playing. It was true about Lionel, Ethel and John, and it's true about Drew. She can't help it; she has those Barrymore genes.

I watched her pretending to be Edie Beale for almost two hours, and every second of that time I was yearning for the real thing. This is a trashy TV movie that adds nothing worthwhile to the real, original, fantastic Grey Gardens starring the real Beales instead of Hollywood stars trying and failing to impersonate them. But the hordes of TV addicts who can't get anything until they see it acted out on TV by famous actors think this is a masterpiece. Go figure.


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