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The Beguiled (2017)
I saw this one a couple of weeks ago. I didn't know of the 1971 version so I thought it was a good film. But now I have seen it I see there are a couple of issues with this script. What happened to Hallie? She was a good character bringing additional dynamics but it seems like she had to go to make it more PC so as not to offend anyone?
Also, in the 1971 movie I finally understood why he went to the "wrong" bed. In this version, that is a meaningless thing to do.
There are more issues that other reviewers have pointed out, but the general feeling I have now is that thew new version is sterile in many ways, and that didn't need to be the case.
It's still worth seeing but it does appear like a textbook example of "why the original was better".
I watched SVU a lot before but now it's just soap all the way. Just sad to watch really.
Ali's Wedding (2017)
It's a lighthearted comedy that promotes the "right" ideas but it also feels very much like Australian TV, so don't expect complex characters.
Good story, bad science
I was half worried that this film would be very single minded, but since I quite like Alternative Reality, I thought I had to see it. It was generally quite clever What makes the film is characters that you can like and good storytelling, even though the subject can get serious. Also some absurd moments.
The only thing that irked me was that it is written from a ideological blank slate perspective with no respect to actual biology. Damien has a negative childhood experience which is presented in the beginning as the root of his womanizing behaviour. Then later in the film he not only behaves and dresses as the other society expects, but he starts to react more emotional to movies in private, which is meant to show that faced with this society, he transforms. This would not happen since he would still have his old genes.
There is an embarrassing drunken reference to evolution too, which wile not being meant too seriously works like a strawman.
Other than that I liked the movie, but I would have liked to see a story like this without bypassing biological explanations entirely.
Good plot, good filming. However, the crew makes one bad decision after another, so in the end I don't care. "Alien is really smart, what could possibly go wrong". "Whoops, alien is eating our buddy, let's open the hatch and see if buddy is alright".
Welm done social science comedy
This movie is a lot better than what the current rating of 5.7 suggests. I think to fully be able to enjoy it, you need to be familiar with the nature / nurture debate and also enjoy the somewhat dark comedy. You can not expect the science to be sound. Helium does not explode, and the experiments would be a failure from start to finish in real life. Still, there are actually people who think that nurture is everything and the movie is best seen as playing around with this idea plus some added drama and warmth.
The Sunset Limited (2011)
A film about alienation rather than atheism
This is a good film, with great acting, provided you don't think it's going to be an atheist/theist discussion film. I see many people think that, but that's not what this really is about.
The atheist is suicidal, so he isn't representing a typical scientific, optimistic outlook on life as we have grown accustomed to from argumentative professors lately. In fact, most atheists will feel quite uneasy with many of his arguments.
To him, everything is futile. You need to see this in the context of the post WW2 era, since he's very much caught up in the holocaust which to him made everything pointless. This is interesting, but in a sense, this is also the film's weakness, that I get the feeling that they have made a film out of a 50 year old drama.(I haven't found out when it was written but it doesn't seem like it was staged before after 2000) You should think that this is a timeless subject, but things have changed.
While the preacher, being a lay preacher with a prison background, uses 50 year old arguments, this is not so uncommon for this type. However, in the beginning, I got annoyed when the professor couldn't counter these fairly simple arguments. This may have been the whole point, that the professor was a bit out of it. However, in the end, the professor completely rips through the preacher's arguments as he unleashes all his inner darkness.
His depression and bleak outlook of life is what makes the film good. Don't expect to find good arguments for a happy godless life, because there aren't anyone in this movie.
Dude, where's my camera?
This movie was awful. I can't understand why it gets the high rating. First things first, the beginning. Why spend so much time on a boring party? Considering that there's not a lot of intelligent dialogue in the rest of the film it's not like you have to learn much at all about the characters. So, they had sex. Now that's going to matter a lot to Blairzilla. This part could easily have been cut down to three minutes. And in the tunnel, where did these bugs come from? They looked like they'd been hanging around for ages, but apparently they'd just washed up on land and went straight for the tunnels. When Marlena was starting to feel queasy I had hopes that she would become a zombie, but no. Her head just exploded.
The only good thing about this film is that they had a really good camera that survived a nuclear explosion.
Vägen hem (2009)
Murders in the dark
This is a real crime TV movie on the murders in Knutby, Sweden, 2004. I remember the case, but as with most murder cases, I tend to tire of them quite fast and literally lose the plot. The chance to see a movie that sums up the events was quite welcome. However, the events on the actual murder nights kept me in the dark. There's even a previous murder in 1999 that was mixed in and which made me believe they happened around the same time. Since the murderer confessed I fail to see why we could not get the full story. Having said that, I'm no Real Crime buff and watched the movie for the religious aspect.
The acting in this movie is a bit stiff, like reenactments on National Geographic. However, Anna-Lena Strindlund playing Åsa Waldau, aka, "The Bride of Christ" aka "Tirsa" (see Song of Solomon 6:4) was eerily similar and quite convincing. The movie has live audio from sermons so you can hear the real speeches on top of the acting in the film. In addition there are recordings from wired tapped phone calls, and there are real interviews with some of the main characters. These audio parts, especially the phone calls, were quite revealing.
Family Guy: I Dream of Jesus (2008)
I sure have heard
I saw this episode yesterday and enjoyed it quite a lot. I've always thought Surfin' Bird was a cool song. I first heard it in a commercial for a chocolate in Norway (similar to Mars bar) then later in Full Metal Jacket. Now, here's Peter spelling it out the lyrics for me as well. I loved how he was always setting up situations where he could start singing Surfin' Bird. There's also something oddly familiar about how certain songs get to you. Honestly, I didn't tire of it and the last joke completely cracked me up. Then there's Jesus... I always enjoy a good religious satire. In this case, Jesus got off a bit lightly compared to say... James Woods, but all in all a funny episode.
I remember seeing this on TV when I was a kid. Not sure if they did a rerun, because I was only three years in 1978, and I was older when I saw it I think. I didn't remember much, and wasn't even sure if this was what I had seen when I recently ordered the DVD. But one thing had etched itself into my brain and that was the footage from the mysterious planet Rossum: The scary people with scythes. And yes, it's what I had seen, and the scythe wielding farmers were a bit scary today as well.
At first I was less than impressed with the footage from space, and "pappmaché-planets", and why didn't they sleep in some "real" hibernation chambers? Was this "Fjernsynsteater in Space?" However, I knew they didn't have a lot of money to make the film and tried to forget about 32 years of progress within special effects and rather focus on the story. The storyline is good, and I knew it was futile to look for the most suspicious crew member. Still, when the stowaway was exposed, I was surprised at how easy it was done. Imho, the stowaway (being so adaptive) would have been able to keep it up so to speak. Or, the stowaway should have been exposed earlier.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed seeing the series again quite a lot, and it left me thinking that it's about time with the second Norwegian sci-fi film now that Norwegian films generally have become a lot better and special effects are a lot easier.
The Trials of Ted Haggard (2009)
The film was a refreshing look at Ted Haggard. Living in Europe, I'm not that deep into the whole evangelical thing, but I knew him first from The Root of All Evil, that was made by Richard Dawkins. And I knew the scandal of course. But I didn't know that the aftermath would be like this. I had sort of expected that the church would somehow gloss over it, and that he only had to keep a low profile. (On the other hand they let him back to Colorado after a year and a half.) I could certainly sympathize with him.
Anyway, what I thought was a problem with the documentary was that while on the one side, he was confessing, confessing and confessing. Plus, he was giving a couple of kicks to the church for being very unforgiving. All very well, but what if there was something wrong with the ideals of the church, religion and bible in the first place? Maybe he didn't betray the church so much as he betrayed himself? I would have liked to see some probing into whether or not he had given this some thought, rather than very predictable Christian masochistic repentance. Maybe it's too early for real soul searching, but I couldn't help feeling that he just wanted back in to continue as he had done before.
How to deal with psychics
I loved this episode. Psychics pop up in a lot of crime series, and it's always interesting to see how they're treated. Most of the time, they're not taken entirely serious, until finally, the body really was found "nearby water"(which is the most common place to be found anyway). So, it's like "maybe he was a psychic after all". But always, it's steady police work that saves the day, not fragmented "visions".
In this episode, however, all tricks are exposed right away, and in a very amusing manner. At the same time, the victims mother is completely fooled by the psychic. I don't want to say much about the plot, only that if this is a subject that interests you, then this episode is a must.
Religion, Inc. (1989)
Evangelical meets Ayn Rand
With all the negative comments posted I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents. If you want a comedy with big laughs all the way, then this is not for you. And the production etc. is obviously not much to speak of. But if you're in for a little satire on religion, then you might as well watch this. It doesn't go after any of the known religions, but rather after mass hysteria, preachers as well as greed and egoism. There are some unfulfilled premises, like what happens with the short-sellers, and the traditional religions in the end. The acting is so-so, but Gerald Orange is for sure a very believable preacher. It's not one to buy, but if it's on TV, then have a look.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Dazed and plot less
I was born in 1975 so I sort of understand that people like this film as a travel back in time, but as a story, it sucks. The fact is: there is no story. None whatsoever. Apart from the beating of the freshmen(which I've never experienced), I've been to better and more interesting parties than the one in this film, and I've never thought that those parties where film material. Style over substance all the way. The best thing about is the music, but I find it hard to believe that in 1976, they only played songs that were later to become classics. I guess they also played songs that were forgotten as well.
And it is not a comedy.
The Body (2001)
Good film overall, bad ending
Just saw this on TV now, and I thought it was a good one in exploring - quite realistically - what would happen if they truly found such a body. Politics and the clash of religion/science was very well done.
I wasn't too happy with the end though. It seemed like a compromise: "OK, so now we've rattled the believers here, let's call it a day and make them happy".
It not being Jesus, but "David"? Seems the Romans must have been on repeat, then. Complete with legs, spear, crown of thorns not to mention the victim even being a carpenter. Also, the priest was too much of an honest person not to lose his faith over this. People have lost their faith over smaller things than finding what they think are the bones of Jesus. I'd say that losing faith, while not spreading the word for the sake of the "millions of believers" would be more his way of doing it.
Rules of Engagement (2000)
What happened to smoke?
When I saw how the mission unfolded, and how they were almost sitting ducks for the terrorists, I just thought: "Well, if they can't shoot back, whatever happened to smoke?" Smoke could have made it impossible for the terrorists to see what they were aiming for, but instead they kept taking bullets. And when enough was enough, they ended up with a massacre.
So I missed this aspect of the film. There was never questions how they could have done the job without exchanging bullets. It was as if Childers had only two options: kill or be killed. And then you end up thinking that the crowd had it coming, and it becomes another propaganda movie with crazy Arabs, sleazy politicians and spotless marines.
Having said this, it was an OK movie, and Samuel L. Jackson is always a fave of mine.
Great film, no allegory
I saw this on TV the other night, and liked it quite a lot. The reason why I felt the need to write about it was a comment by some other guy that the film had "very heavy religious overtones". I think that's wrong, because I'm quite wary of things like that and I watched the whole movie without giving the possibility any thought. (I only saw the comment after wards, and I'm glad it didn't affect me when I watched the film.)
Spoiler below: In particular, Starman did use violence when threatened. The man on the road & the hunter both had it coming. In the end when there was a big hunt, he was clearly less powerful and could not use his abilities. Besides, the religious "allegory" alternates between Starman being "Jesus" (healing the sick and awaking the dead) and Starman being "Gabriel" (impregnating the woman).
A hint of religious inspiration? Maybe. "Very heavy religious overtones"? Not at all.