Bill Weye

Tag: Reviews (page 1 of 2)

Classic 1 Star Reviews of Classic Movies — The Wizard of Oz

There’s something funny about people taking the time to write 1 star reviews of classic films, but in this case, the film is both classic and benign: The Wizard of Oz (ranked #10 on the AFI list of best 100 American movies).

On with the show:

The only reason to ever watch the Wizard of Oz is if you are playing Dark Side of the Moon at the same time. (after the third lion roar start up dark side.)

I do not like the Wizard of Oz. For one thing, I don’t like to watch things with witches in them, especially if one of them is portrayed as a “good witch” – that’s an oxymoron I can’t reconcile with. For another thing I don’t like Judy Garland’s breathless diction or Frank Morgan – The star I give this goes exclusively to the Tin Man, who was always my favourite and still is. But I can’t stand sitting through this movie just to watch him, though I might if I could fast forward the other parts. It’s all just such fantasy fluff, and I like something that has a bit more reality to it. This falls perilously short of the mark. Don’t bother with it.

Irony high and irony low.

Low irony: the soporific singing, combined with a pure-schmaltz storyline, guaranteed box office failure for every theater release and re-release of this film. “Just as good the fifteenth time as it is the first.” Of course, the movie has had outstanding success on television. TV success: Bravo!

High irony: the didactic and gold-plated Message that “there’s no place like home” takes more time to deliver on the bonus material of the DVD edition than the movie itself. Some bonus! Of course this message, like all “Messages to Wayward Children,” is beyond any child’s care or understanding.

This is not a film for children, rather, one for the “child inside every one of us.” One might well subject our inner-child to serial viewings (“Just as good the fifteenth time as it is the first”) in a futile attempt to hammer home the Message. No actual child would willingly submit to such torture.

This film is troublesome on too many counts to list here but I will try.

First, the story is implausible. Oz is not the sort of place children dream of, usually they dream of running or flying or getting lost. The “Oz” story was already a tired conventional hackneyed subject and should never have been filmed in the first place.

The characters are argumentative and malicious, bogged down in their own fantasies and “needs”. No child is going to relate to a woodsman, let alone a woodsman who has had limbs cut off one by one and replaced by tin. (By the way, I never once believed he was made of tin.)

When singing is employed in film, it should be in the background; the characters should not be lipsyncing to the music unless there is a radio playing in the background.

The concept of a “straw man” refers to a malignant red herring thrown into an argument to confuse the debate. Children are not going to pick up on this, and those that do are too intelligent to be watching movies like this.

The fixation with Judy Garland — why? Plain, too fat, simpering and controversial. She had — too put it mildly — a bawdy life as a teenager, and was held high as a role model until the Troubles began. If children read her life’s story, their blood would curdle. Who needs that?

Classic 1 Star Reviews of Classic Movies — 2001: A Space Odyssey

Before I even read the one star reviews on Amazon, I knew Stanley Kubrick’s film, 2001: A Space Odyssey was going to be a gold mine. This classic movie gets people upset. Interestingly, among the one-star crowd, it makes people feel stupid. I could have given you pages of accusations of intellectual elitism. On the AFI list of 100 best American movies, it’s listed at number 15, which is a little high, I think, but nevertheless a great film.

Let’s get on what we’re here for; enjoy the one star reviews of a classic movie:

Maybe the movie is a little too deep for me. I enjoy deep movies that make you think afterwards, but this is taking it too far. By eliminating anything resembling a coherent plot with interesting dialogue, it makes watching this movie a chore.

I know that as a film student, it’s my duty to like this movie, but I’m sorry. I just can’t. I saw it in a theatrical setting (ie. hard chairs, full-blast surround sound, large screen, but only one bathroom break) and it was easily the most miserable 3+ hours of my life to date. Sorry, but I resent any movie that leaves me with a headache and sick stomach.

Oh my Good! [sic] this movie is bad! It is the most boring movie i have ever seen! Don’t even think about watching it!

Sure, some of the “art” shots of this film were great eye-candy. Wonderful. Now what? Let’s pretend that this self-indulgent piece of “art” is a masterpiece. Why? Because no one could make sense of it. INCLUDING THE ARTIST HIMSELF!

(So much for the sycophant/”psycho”phant who claimed “You’re stupid if you don’t understand this movie.”) That’s right, Chester, there WAS nothing to understand.

Kubrick himself said that the meaning of this film was for each individual to determine. “You’re free to speculate as you wish about the philosophical and allegorical meaning of the film.
S. Kubrick” Well, Stan, if you had nothing to say, why did it take over two hours to say it?

Art is not good because people don’t understand it. Art is good because people DO understand it.

Classic 1 Star Reviews — 2001

Courtesy of the Website If we don't, remember me.

Is this the film that made current film critics think they had a talent at picking good films because they liked this one. Maybe I’m off my rocker (actually I slept through most of this one in my rocker) but this film can’t be the seminal moment in science fiction movies. This one makes almost as much sense as that other “great” science fiction epic, Rocky Horror Picture Show.

First, a note for reviewer J. Pauley, who has been nothing but rude to those who do not care for this film-

J. Pauley,

Though you insist upon licking the boots of the director you have yet to offer anything in the way of helpful commentary. All you do is ridicule those of us who dare to stain the honor of your dearly beloved Kubrick. If you have some great answer to the objections put forth by the “have-nots” who don’t care for 2001 then by all means let us in on the secret. And please be specific. You seem to love being derisive now let us see if you really have a clue.

To all of the other reviewers who liked this film and are upset in any way by our dislike of the same, or simply feel like being helpful, I would also extend a heartfelt invitation to tell us where we have gone wrong. I am earnest in this invitation and would like an honest discussion with you and will carefully consider your thoughts. Please, bear in mind that many of us fully understand the “deeper meaning” behind the film and still found it (other than the stunning visuals and HAL) to be a bore. Please steer clear of the “higher ideals and language” as some of my fellow reviewers are not philosophy majors and do not care to be beaten to death with over long explanations of a film they already do not like. Be direct. Be specific. Be respectful.

Thank You,
Ross

I couldn’t wait to get this fine example of self-indulgence off my hands. This is precisely why directors shouldn’t be given too much control over a movie. The movie can be summarised thus: Apes, Docking Sequences, Light Shows.

Most of the scenes are long, dull, and pointless. Even Kubrick himself said he wanted the film to be “enigmatic” (I think it’s in the DVD liner notes). Which to me means he wasn’t trying to say anything with the movie, and was hoping some people would regard it as a work of art, and hopefully, elevate it to “great movie” status.

I’ll admit to being influenced by by Roger Ebert’s review when I decided to buy the DVD; he thinks it is one of the “great movies”. Curse you Roger Ebert! May you spend the rest of your days watching docking sequences and stupid light shows!

Classic 1 Star Reviews of Classic Movies — Taxi Driver

After last week’s look at Raging Bull, I couldn’t resist another batch of reviews from the one star minds glowering at Taxi Driver (1976), another Martin Scorsese film.

Robert DeNiro and Jodie Foster the two most overrated actors, and Cybil Shepard was sleeping with a big Hollywood producer at the time. The actor that should have gotten allocades was Harvey Keitel who consistantly brings fine performances and never gets any credit. Well that’s show biz for ya. This was one of the most overrated movies of the time, I saw it in the theatre and fell asleep 1/2 way through. All the ingredients were there to make a interesting movie, wacked out vietnam vet, teenage hooker, sleazey politician, vapid blonde bimbo, what the heck happened?

Overrated piece of !@#$. Absolutely NOTHING happens in this movie other than being forced to listen to the same incredibly cheesy music over and over and over again. After an hour and a half of wondering if anything is ever going to happen, DeNiro shoots a couple people. The end. Wow. What was all the hype about? Genius? Artsy? I don’t see it. Don’t waste your time. Is this movie highly rated for any other reason than being one of DeNiro’s earlier films?

“Taxi Driver” changes gears so many times you really don’t know where this film is heading. It makes so little sense and De Niro’s performance is so uneven, you don’t know if he’s doing it on purpose or he’s just a bad actor.

A good date film? No, it will kill the mood. A comedy? You may laugh once but probably unintentionally. An adventure? Only if you consider watching the trials and tribulations of a wacked out taxi driver adventurous. This film is all over the place and it never lets you get a grip on what the director is trying to tell you. Oh sure, now, they tell you that it’s a genius of a film but while you’re watching it you’ll swear that the writer and director were using illicit substances while making this nonsense.

Anyone that can’t write a screenplay at least as good as this in one day, simply isn’t trying very hard. This movie is a tragic waste of time and your wife or girlfriend will leave the room while you sit there hoping it’s going to get better. Well, guess what. It won’t get better and you shouldn’t even spend one second giving any thought to renting or buying this over-hyped, over-acted lobotomy of a film.

This movie could have gone down in history as one of the all-time greats. Up until the last 30 seconds, I was eagerly awaiting the end of this great film when BAM! It ended! Just like that! What Happened! He adjusted his mirror? What does this mean? I am rather good at deciphering the meanings of films (check out my review of Brazil) but this one has me stumped. The reason I give it one star is because I feel that a lackluster ending is inexcusable. If someone e-mails me the meaning, I’ll be glad to change my review. But until then the rating stands!

I’ve wanted to see this movie for years, so I finally bought it. It was awful. The acting is great, but the plot line meanders all over the place. Jodie Foster is saved from a life of prostitution by a whack cab driver in an all too bloody shootout. I have nothing against sex and violence when it serves the storyline, but everything here was gratuitous, and the storyline seemed to wander all over the place. There were endless of DeNiro driving his cab, as if we needed to be reminded he was a cab driver. In the end, Jody goes back to her conservative family, and the wacko is hailed as a hero. Better she should have stayed on the street. The world doesn’t need more yuppies. I was really disappointed with this story. If you thought Pulp Fiction was art, you might like it. I prefer a plot line that wasn’t thrown together on the run.

travis-taxi-driver-ifwdrm

Courtesy of the Website If we don't, remember me.

Classic 1 Star Reviews of Classic Movies — Raging Bull

I’m just learning how to edit some compelling posts with this new feature. At first I thought all the classics would have great (read: head knocker) one star reviews, but that wasn’t the case with Casablanca. There were no reviews composed on planet I’m-On-My-Meds-I-Really-Am.

Here’s a more controversial film, Raging Bull. Now that has to have interesting scribblers dropping opinions:

Martin Scorsese isn’t a bad fellow, and he has a lot of talent, no doubt, but his influence on young American moviemakers has been entirely negative. The galloping illiteracy of this film, the first of Scorsese’s f-word festivals, has infected dozens of other directors and screenwriters, and has even spread to television, where we see a sewage backup like “The Sopranos” being acclaimed by many who should know better. The screenplay of “Raging Bull” is shot through with inaccuracies, and nobody who remembers Jake LaMotta performing on “Car 54 Where Are You” is going to accept him as a tragic figure. The real tragedy is the debasement of the English language and its inexhaustible variety by a film like this.

Just a few ways to describe this incredibly over-hyped movie. I sat down with some friends expecting to see a good film, hoping I’d get the Scorcese who directed Goodfellas and not the Scorcese who directed The Colour of Money. Well after sitting through hours of this sleep-inducing cypher of a film, I realised [sic] I had got something much worse. I still don’t understand what all the fuss is about. The plot is pretty simple – supposedly about a great but flawed boxer, it’s really about a selfish bum who cheats on his wife, knocks his girlfriend around, beats up his brother, then fades from whatever “glory” he once had into a life of pot-bellied obscurity. Whopee, just what the world needs – another film about a selfish, greedy, stupid *loser*.

Why do I hate this film so much? I hate the characters, none of whom have any redeeming features whatsoever. I hate the artificial and pretentious black & white. I hate the ludicrous boxing scenes. I hate the moronic and self-indulgent religious imagery. So Scorcese is a devout catholic? Well the Pope is too but does that make this a good film? I think not.

I really can’t believe everyone has given this film 5 stars. Looks like another case of “oh, all the critics like it, so it must be a great movie”. “I coulda been a contender,” laments the lead character at the end of the film. Sure buddy, and Porky Pig coulda learned to fly. Exploiting this line from a *genuine* classic is just the last straw.

The final verdict? Watching this film the cinematic equivalent of wading through a cesspit. That said, if you’re suffering from insomnia, I think I might just have found a cure…

Yet another exampled of a ‘great’ movie that is highly overrated.

La Motta was a jerk. Plain and simple.

The movie is well recorded, but that is it.

If you know why this is a ‘great’ movie, please email me and let me know.

I’m a boxing fan and train often but I have no idea why people like this movie. It’s a story about a cocky, arrogant jerk who likes to abuse the people around him both mentally and physically. Most of the movie is of him degrading women, screaming profanities to them and hitting them. In one scene he beats his own brother badly in a jealous rage, stomping him and then slugs his own 20 year old wife. The only thing I learned from this movie is that Jake Lamotta was one horrible person. This movie does nothing for boxing.

Lousy movie. Almost as bad as Lost in Space. I found it very amateurish – particularly the unsubtle operatic opening – and sunk with the weight of its own pretensions. I was a big De Niro fan after Godfather 2 and he’s probably the only interesting thing about this movie. But I couldn’t stand the little guy who swears a lot. Watching this movie was like being hit in the head repeatedly with a sock full of vomit. If it’s a good boxing movie you’re after try Fat City. Guaranteed no pretensions. And no overeating.

Classic 1 Star Reviews of Classic Movies — The Godfather

I have a new feature for you: once or twice a week you’ll find Classic 1 Star Reviews of Classic Movies.

People think strange sometimes. They don’t always agree with the movie critics, directors, and the historians that the American Film Institute pulls together to create their top 100 lists [Wikipedia]. Sometimes people are just haters, I guess. Who are we to judge? Let’s not judge, but enjoy how their minds work.

Here are some one star reviews of The Godfather, released in 1972 and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

When’s an editor when you need one? This movie is so long that I played it on my TV, drove across the state, and when I came back, it was still playing. Since when is a movie this long? Movies are supposed to be 1:30-2:00 hours long. Plus this movie is as boring as a trip to the doctor’s. No good violence, no hot sex scenes, and furthermore, it stereotypes Italians.

“The Godfather” has an ugly consciousness and a mean spirit. I see no justification for it, thoroughly disliked it, and have tried to forget it.

I did indeed sit through all 57 hours of the Godfather and not only is it one of the most boring movies ever made it’s completely pointless garbage. I have no clue why it’s considered the greatest film ever made but then again most people are dumb so yea no suprise [sic]. The only good thing about this film is the music, if you haven’t seen it don’t buy into the hype that’s all it is hype… BUT if you have insomnia put this movie in you should be asleep within the first 30 minutes.

I finally saw this movie with my family and after an half hour I was thinking of running out in the middle of rush hour traffic, that would have been more exciting than watching this all the way through…but I watched it anyway.

This movie was so violent I couldn’t believe it! On a scale of 1 to 10 on the violence in this movie I would give it a 9!

Courtesy of the Website If we don't, remember me.

Images Of The 8 Most Modern Libraries in the World

The blog Best Colleges Online has a review of the 25 Most Modern Libraries in the World, which they break out into categories: architecture, technology and innovation, digital collections. But, amazingly, they don’t include any images of the libraries they highlight for architecture. Well, I’ll do it.

A couple of notes: all of these images are from Flickr, which I use a lot for my podcast, Photo Share Podcast. I’ll give you one image for each library and a link to more images. Also, this is hard to believe, but I couldn’t find any images of the Library of Picture Books in Iwaki City of Fukushima Prefecture on Flickr. In fact, there are hardly any images on the Web at all. It’s actually pretty hard to find Creative Commons images to use for some of these libraries, that’s why I might give you a crappy photo, but there’s a link to better photos.

Which one is your favorite? Have you been to any of these?

Det Kongelige Bibliotek, Copenhagen, Denmark

photo from flickr
more photos of Det Kongelige Bibliotek

Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris

photo from flickr
more photos of Bibliothèque nationale de France

Seattle Public Library, United States

photo from flickr
more photos of the Seattle Public Library

Malmo City Library, Sweden

photo from flickr
more photos of Malmo City Library

Geisel Library, San Diego, CA, United States

photo from flickr
more photos of the Geisel Library

Halmstad Library, Sweden

photo from flickr
more photos of Halmstad Library

National Library of the Czech Republic, Prague

photo from flickr
more photos of the National Library of the Czech Republic

Top 7 Boston Red Sox Related Blogs

Rick “the rooster” BurlesonIn honor of #7, The Rooster, here are the 7 best Red Sox related blogs. What makes them the best? I said so, that’s why! Just kidding. These are the best blogs not because they are reporting any new information, but because they offer a unique perspective, are funny, or both. The bottom line is that these Red Sox blogs are entertaining, and they’ll make you think or smile. In no particular order:

  1. For overall reflection of the Red Sox Nation culture and cutting, insightful humor, Soxaholix might be the best blog. Without question, with its comics format and regular characters, its the most original of all the Red Sox blogs.
  2. 38 Pitches, Curt Schilling’s blog has to one of the best Red Sox blogs because . . . he plays for the Red Sox! There is also the fact that he breaks news, talks about more than just baseball, is a prolific writer, and seems willing to teach interested fans about the mechanics of throwing a baseball professionally.
  3. Allan Wood is an author with a published book. He also writes the blog The Joy of Sox. It’s a good blog because he writes regularly (in my book, that’s a must to be on this list), but there are some weird things about his blog: even though he’s a published author, it’s kind of tough to find his name anywhere; also, he points readers to his book website with the heading “Except for my book”. Rewrite! Where’s rewrite?!
  4. As its authors write, Surviving Grady is “like catching your mom making out with Rick Burleson. But online.” Not sure what that means, but it’s pretty funny, no? I’m partial to funny Red Sox blogs that realize they’re driving off the Zakim Bridge with their obsession. I dig the obsession, though I wish they weren’t trying to extract every last dollar from their site.
  5. Here’s one for you: Misery Loves Company. What a screwy idea: some Sox and Mets fans write a blog together, talking about their favorite teams and baseball in general. I like it! And they’re no fly-by-night operation: they’ve been writing since 2003.
  6. The House That Dewey Built gets mentioned because it has my favorite title, has been written continuously for a long time, has a clean design without advertising, and has a steady stream of Sox news. I wouldn’t say this is the most creative of the blogs, but it’s a good tool to have in your Red Sox tool box.
  7. Am I a sucker for gimmick blogs? Maybe, but I like to be entertained when I’m reading a Sox blog, and Yanksfan vs. Soxfan does that (hey, shouldn’t that be Soxfan vs. Yanksfan?!).  One thing that I like with just about all of these Sox blogs: they give you a list of other Sox blogs in their sidebars. Giving props to the rest of Red Sox Nation is a good thing.

Am I missing any good Red Sox blogs? What’s flying under the radar, or maybe some new blogs?

Tony Soprano’s last glance

The last look of Tony SopranoSunday night was the last time we’re going to see Tony Soprano (probably), and I want to make a brief defense of David Chase and company for how they decided to end the program. I’ve read and heard all the people who are upset at the way Chase ended The Sopranos, and that reaction has me confused. Do people realize what’s happened during the six seasons leading up to this moment (captured in the photo to the right)? I can’t say that all of the episodes were of the same quality, but this last episode really did wrap-up the story. The end was . . . there is no end. Tony and “this thing” they have goes on, unchanged, because the nut of it is they are cowards.

I agree with the response by David Chase after the finale aired: “I have no interest in explaining, defending, reinterpreting, or adding to what is there.”

Did people really think the end of the show would be Tony’s death in a blaze of glory (gory)? I didn’t. Chase wanted to do something different than most television; he wanted to short circuit our expectations for how television could or should be, and that last look did say it all. There have been many themes during The Sopranos run, and I found it awe inspiring that Chase was able to address each of these in the last episode.

Tony’s last glance holds a lot of meaning for me. Is that Meadow walking through the door? That isn’t clear because you never actually see her coming through the door, only approaching the door (unlike A.J., who we see walk through the door). And who were all those other people the camera (and Tony) focuses on? I think those people are all potential enemies of Tony and “his thing”: FBI agents, rivals from New York, black people, excreta. The all sort of resemble former enemies. Now look at that image capture again; is that a look of happiness at seeing his daughter? No. But that’s the look he will always have when the door opens; nothing changes because Tony is not strong enough and he is a sociopath (which Dr. Melfi finally realizes after being seduced by his charm for so long).

No, I’m glad Chase didn’t end the show like the ending of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Reviewing the new Apple Website: Overall

Apple home page on June 12, 2007 Apple has a new Website. The last time they had a major redesign was in 2001, coinciding with the release of OS 10.0 (you can review a lot of Apple homepage images on Flickr). Over the next couple of days I’ll review the different features and accessibility of the site, including the footer, main menu, the new slider menu, and support page.

My first impression was to like it. A lot. But why? (I guess that’s the point of reviewing something–giving your readers an informed opinion of why you like or dislike something). Well, there are many new things on the site, but they haven’t reinvented the wheel; the changes to the site are a development of the existing site without confusing their visitors.

adobe main website menuFrom the top, the new main menu is simplified version of the now iconic gel tabs (with horizontal sub-menu). My first thought was, “oh, they copied the new Adobe menu,” but it’s not really a copy despite their design similarities. The new menu doesn’t have a sub-menu riding along the bottom (nor is it a drop-down like the Adobe menu), but instead there is a new “slider menu” that appears on some pages (I’ll review that in another post). The new Apple page is 980 pixels wide, which gives the new menu room to spread. apple website sprite menuIn addition, unlike the Adobe menu, Apple’s is image based for a consistent look across all operating systems and browsers. Look at that Adobe image to the right; see how the “Store” item wrapped? I’m sure it’s fine on a PC, but on my Mac the execution is terrible. The new Apple menu uses a css sprite, first written about by Dave Shea on A List Apart (in 2004!). I’m a big fan of sprites, have used them many times, and don’t really see any downside. old apple gel tab menuApple gets a big thumbs up for the sprites. The gel tabs were getting tired.

In the next couple of days I’ll dig deeper into the new site, talk about the improved accessibility for people with disabilities, discuss the choices they made in regard to sub-menus, and the increased use of the black background color.

The Rockford Files, Season One DVD

Rockford Files TV Guide CoverThe character of James Rockford (Jim, Jimbo, Jimmy, or Rockfish to his friends) was one of the few television characters that appealed to me when I was a kid. Jim Rockford, the anti-hero, was someone a lot of people could probably identify with; for the most part Rockford was a regular guy with money problems, relationship problems, job problems, and father problems. But he was a clever P.I. (private investigator) that liked his work despite getting pounded on nearly every episode. In “The Big Ripoff” a woman asks Rockford, after seeing him get beat-up, “what won’t you do for money?” His answer: he won’t kill for money, and he won’t marry for it. Everything else is negotiable.

The Rockford Files, Season One DVDWatching the first season of The Rockford Files is a real treat. Is it just me, or do these shows stand the test of time? The writing, for the most part, is top notch; it has a wit and grit not often found in action/drama programs today. Actually, I think you can see a lot of that sensibility in The Sopranos, created by former Rockford Files writer, David Chase.

Angel!I think my favorite second fiddle character in The Rockford Files was Evelyn “Angel” Martin played by Stuart Margolin (actually, probably one of my favorite second fiddle characters in all of television). Angel was a con artist (not very good or lucky), shifty, would lie to his friends, sell them out for ten bucks, but still there was something lovable about Angel. He was a human that the audience pityed because you could see how his plans would always fail.

Here’s an interesting clip of James Garner talking about Rockford Files and the what it meant to the television detective genre, and how making this series took its toll on his body. I know it’s acting, but watch a few episodes and you can tell it was a rough job making this show.

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