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Somewhere Between (2017)
A definite miss.
It could have worked. Everything is there. It just is a little off. This series shows what happens when everything could work, but it doesn't.
The premise is simple. What would you do if you could go back in time knowing what you already know and save the killing of your loved one. An interesting premise. They just don't pull it off.
The main two problems (and they are main) is the nitty-gritty writing and direction. I can live with the fantastical elements in the plot. It is the mundane ones that sink the story.
There is no way a Govenor of a state would re-instate the death penalty because a serial killer is slaughtering his citizens. There is no way a child would run away to a stranger's party without Child Services being called in. There is no way a husband could put his wife on a No-Fly List for a personal reason without a court hearing. The number of "there is no way"s on the most mundane plot points is staggering.
Then there is the acting. It is so over the top. The director seems to let everyone work at 10 when 5 would have made more sense. And the little girl at the center of the story (the McGuffin) is so obnoxious, the viewer wishes the murder to happen sooner and not later.
In more capable hands this could have been something.
Downward Dog (2017)
How much can you really enjoy spending time with such a clinging obsessive dog.
In 1955 Americans were introduced to a basset hound named Cleo in a sit-com called "The People's Choice". Her owner played by Jackie Cooper as Socrates Miller just tried to make it through life. Cleo, as all good basset hounds do, would comment on his foibles in a funny and endearing manner. The comedy was funny (1950s TV style) and lasted for 104 episodes. It really was funny.
In 2017 Americans were introduced to a mixed breed named Martin in "Downward Dog". His owner played by Alison Tolman as Nan just tried to make it through life in the 21st Century. Martin as all good mixed breeds do would go on and on with some of the most depressing and obsessive commentary that any good health care professional would find deeply disturbing and lasted 8 episodes. It was a dramaedy that was depressing and not very funny.
As talking dog shows go, Downward Dog went. Dear comedy writers...next time, make it funny.
On a purely technical note
it is a Dolby Vision to enjoy. I realize that most reviews will talk about story, acting, etc the essence to any good review.
If you have a 4K TV with Dolby Vision you are in for a treat. As of mid 2017, program content in Dolby Vision is pretty rare. Netflix is offering GLOW in Dolby Vision and it is beautiful.
Even if I hated GLOW (I don't), I would watch it more than once. You have to see it to be believed.
Technically speaking, it will open your eyes.
A confused 17 yr. old faces the horror of going to Harvard University in the fall.
Oh the inhumanity of being wealthy, young and over privileged while living the easy life in Manhattan. His parents are divorced (though he "works" at his mother's art gallery and has full use of his father's beach front "cottage"). His grandmother dies and leaves him her home and it's contents. To think his parents want him to sell it all for...money! Such heartache. Such drama.
The acting is first rate. Cinematography and production values are good. The one problem is the script. When the revolution comes, these people will be the first ones put up against the wall.
The characters are unsympathetic. The problems are nonexistent. It's not funny enough to be comedy and not serious enough to be tragedy. All it is, is a group of self-centered rich people stroking themselves. What a waste of 95 minutes.
Fan boys/girls will enjoy the casting.
Actors from the Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, V and Babylon 5 universes meet in this low budget sci-fi picture.
The premise is different. A man gives birth to a being from outer space. And unlike John Hurt's character in "Alien", he survives. The script does ask some interesting question as to what is the definition of Human. (Shade of Gene Roddenberry)
This could have been a much better picture. The director and cinematographer are not very good. For such a veteran cast, many of the performances play the same one note stilted performances. The lighting is too bright and almost flat. I've seen sit-coms with more atmospheric lighting. In more talented hands, this could have been a much better picture. You can easily see the possibilities that would have made it better. Sadly, it is what it is.
Still, nostalgia alone makes it worth a watch.
Wolf Creek (2016)
Entertaining...if only it had ended.
As an American, I enjoyed seeing a part of Australia that rarely gets seen. Southern Australia offers an incredible landscape with wonderful vistas...and it would seem, a great many flies.
The acting is first rate. The story is compelling. This series offers us a world we do not often see.
But like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger and Michael Myers before him; Mick Taylor has one flaw that I find irritating. Why is it these serial killers simply do not die at the end? Could it be as simple as that the storytellers want to make a sequel?
Please, someone, kill the bad guy off just once! Despite this, I enjoyed Wolf Creek the series almost until the final shot.
The Neon Demon (2016)
The visuals are pretty.
Just saw this on a German 4K blu-ray import w/o HDR. (The US blu-ray is only standard HD.) It looks wonderful. If you need a beautiful silent picture running in the background...this is for you.
As for the actual film...it's slow. Very slow. The acting is incredibly stilted. The plot's silly. It's not scary or frightening. There is no build up of tension. Neither cannibalism nor necrophilia even make this one dimensional story interesting.
It is difficult to say much about a movie that knows nothing of character development (there isn't any), plot (minimal) or emotional impact (none)...but it looks great on my 4K TV.
Una vela para el diablo (1973)
Aka A Candle For The Devil
Every movie is made up of a series of edits to what the filmmaker originally shot. This can turn a good film to bad and vice versa. The most famous is the very different versions that exist of Orson Welles' "Touch Of Evil". "Night And The City" and "Mad Wednseday"/"The Sin Of Harld Diddlebock" exist in two different version of the same source material. That is also true with "It Happened At Nightmare Inn" and "A Candle For the Devil". It is sad that IMDb does not see the difference in these very, very different cuts of the same source material. But the versions are all different from their counterparts.
"It Happened At Nightmare Inn" is not very good. The more sexually charged "A Candle For The Devil" is far more interesting. In 1973, "Candle" probably could not be shown in the U.S. The theme of sexual repression caused by religious fervor is very different from a couple of crazy ladies who like to kill young women.
Pass on "It Happened At Nightmare Inn". "A Candle For The Devil" is worth a look.
The Night Shift (2014)
Blue medicine in a red state
This show has very strange politics.
The emergency room is having a hard time staying open because of "cut backs and Obamacare" is this fictional Texas hospital.
But the poor infant can't have dialysis because of no insurance. (Had Texas increased medicaid coverage as offered by Obamacare,the child would be covered.) The hospital janitor's daughter can't get a scan of the lump on her abdomen because of no insurance. (But if she's under 26 years old, she's covered under her father's policy under Obamacare.) The hot Doctor's medical education was paid 100% by the U.S. Government because he was in the army at the time. I'm confused. Is the message: The government should have universal health insurance coverage and pay for the education of our doctors...even in the state of Texas?
That said... The characters are no strangers to medical dramas. There is the tough administrator who may have a heart of gold; the second in command who is smart, very good looking and compassionate; the macho closeted gay doctor, the nurse who... well, you get the idea. It's been done before in countless number of medical show that barely made it to 13 episodes. Still, if you like that sort of show (and I do), it's worth a watch.
Man in the Dark (1953)
Should be seen in 3-D
This is a tale of two films.
The 2-D version is a decent 1950's film noir. Edmond O'Brien and Audrey Totter, both veteran actors, give superior performances. Production values are solid. But you might scratch your head over some of the strange actions (ex: the scared bird and the position of the scalpels). Such visuals slow down the action. And that brings me to the only way this film can be appreciated for what it is. That's in the 3-D version.
"Man in the Dark" is the second 3-D movie that had a major film release. It was preceded by "Bawana Devil" and was followed by "House of Wax". It's 3-D they way it was first thought of. Objects fly at the screen. There's a natural multi-layer depth. The all around feel is "it's 3-D, look at me!". And that at times makes it a real hoot.
The one disappointment is the rear screen shots. The action in the front is 3-D, but the rear projection is just 2-D which is a bit jarring at first.
The 2-D version is fine. But to appreciate "The Man in the Dark", you must watch it in 3-D.