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diggers Diggers did not dig deep enough.  I was truly excited to see this film because I have been on a Paul Rudd kick as of late.  He has a great filmography minus ‘The Object of My Affection.’  Lately, he has been seen in comedies such as, ‘Role Models’, ‘I Love You Man’, and here, in this 2006 film that I didn’t know about, is a chance to see him in a different genre and see how good he can be.  Rudd, as Hunt, is not bad in this movie and I get the Paul Rudd performance that I was looking for, but the script limits his ability to demonstrate who his character is.  Yeah he is dealing with the death of father, what he values, and how to break away from this small town but as I have written it here is all you get.  The relationship he develops with Zoey is trite and  I really wanted him to discover his talent as a photographer on his own and then realize photgraphy as his avenue for escape.  But instead she discovers it for him in their dead end relationship that was not interesting to watch.  I think there were too many characters and stories in this film about four working-class friends growing up in Long Island, New York, as clam diggers.

I really wanted to follow Ken Marino’s character, Lozo, and his family.  Number one, he stole the show with his comedic interludes that all can laugh at but especially fathers.  And yes I have sat on the pot while my son sat next to me and then asked my wife to look.  Those moments alone make the film worth watching but they also make the film disjointed because they cut into the somber mood of the film and made me ask what kind of movie is this?  Number two, I thought Lozo’s storyline was more interesting than Rudd’s whose story I have seen before.  Lozo is a young at heart husband and father of too many kids, working a job that is disappearing to a corporate clamming company trying to balance family, survival and independence while being swallowed up by it all.  We only get glimpses of his torment and are bogged down by Maura Tierney and Ron Eldard’s disinteresting relationship and random scenes of potsmoking by Josh Hamilton’s, Cons.  Again I only say this because they are underdeveloped.  Watch this movie for Ken Marino and when you are desperate for Paul Rudd.  I am drinking a quarter cup of coffee.

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The film begins in a slow and graceful mood, a relaxing feeling is placed upon the viewer as they become a guest of an upscale dinner party. We are gleeful, stress free, and blissfully ignorant… that is until Edward R. Murrow enters the room. The camera slyly shows Murrow behind the curtain, smoking a cigarette before his speech. He takes one last inhale as a regular man and exhales as the eloquent TV legend. Murrow’s speech sets the mood for the rest of the film, he is here to do his best to examine and deliver the truth, no matter whom it hurts and whom it benefits.

The film is delivered in a shaky and disorganized manner, which gives us a realistic, chaotic and unrehearsed look into this time in history… much like the spontaneity we encounter in our daily lives. That is, until “See it Now” begins. Here we get a glimpse at the man the nation knew… smooth, cool, and confident.

When the show begins, the cameras, as well as the characters, become smooth, subtle, and flawless. These men are at their best when the cameras are rolling, and this movie reiterates this. Moments before the episode that begins it all, Murrow turns to Fred Friendly and says, “It occurs to me, we might not get away with this one.” Murrow shows his doubt and uncertainty only seconds before he goes on air, but as soon as the cameras roll, he is completely collected and confident… as he would always have the nation believe.

Silence also plays a powerful role in this film…whether it be in an office, in the newsroom, or on an elevator. Silence becomes a powerful entity, and almost its own character. These men are strong and commanding when they are speaking, but when silence takes over, they posses doubt and skepticism just like the rest of us.

Another prevailing theme in this movie is the use of archival footage used throughout to provide us with a basis in reality and the ability to see the lives most directly impacted by McCarthy’s harmful attacks.

The film leaves us with a much different tone than it greeted us. It leavs us with a powerful and eloquent speech trailed by silence… a silence that calls us to reflect and examine the final thoughts expressed by Murrow. He reminds us that we should not become despondent and apathetic, but we should fight for what we believe and remain true to ourselves and others

In a time of fear, uncertainty, and opposition, Murrow and his team at CBS had the courage to stand up for what they felt was right, even if it meant jobs and revenue lost. With global connection readily at our fingertips, we have the opportunity to speak against injustices and oppressions now more than ever. In a time when our televisions beam images of scripted murders and “reality” drama, perhaps now is as good a time as any to follow the words and the hopes of Mr. Edward R. Murrow, “if this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost. This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. Good night, and good luck.”

This is a second opinion on Evan’s review of Logan’s Run, make sure to read his review below and pour yourself another cup.  No room… thank you.

Logan’s Run.  Ahhhh… Logan’s Run.  You have a special place in my heart.  As a young boy I watched you many times on TV.  I believe you were on the Super Station as it was called then beginning 5 after the hour.  If you can’t tell Logan’s Run was a favorite of mine growing up.  I still enjoy the movie and will watch it again and again because the base of the movie, the message, still holds up today.  But I must say that on this viewing with my keen adult eye, I did notice more faults and inconsistencies that my younger more forgiving eye looked past.  Evan’s review, although poking a coffee stir stick into my heart, is accurate.  The basic message of the film is the one saving grace.   Question social norms and don’t blindly follow your government.  But where the movie falls short from truly being a timeless classic is how it injects the decade that it was made into the film, the 70’s.  Namely the freelove orgy scene and Farrah Fawcett-Majors that are both distractions.

But my main problem with the film now is the main character, Logan.  For some reason I always thought he decided to run because he was turning 30 and then realized carousel was bunk.  But no he is given a secret mission to seek out the missing runners and destroy sanctuary by the governing computer system who speeds up his life clock so he can pass himself off as a runner.  And this would not have been bad if he had not, at the beginning of the film before his mission is ordered, questioned the whole system.  Right here is where I have problem.  He has no reason to question the system or believe that carousel is a fraud until his mission is given to him when he actually learns that carousel is fake.  This really bothered me this time around and all I could do was shrug my shoulders while pouring another cup of coffee.

halfAs can be seen by my mug, I was split down the middle on this one. On one hand, you have a great underlying story that shows the importance of questioning standards and practices we do not fully understand. On the other hand, you have a poorly conceived movie, with all the wrong symptoms… bad acting, laughable dialogue, cheesy effects, and a mood that just doesn’t fit.

     The basic message of this movie is to question social-norms and fight for what you believe in. If there is a universal message we should all believe, this is it. The people trapped within this future society blindly follow a faceless governance and question very little. People are killed to prevent overpopulation, while being told they will be “renewed” with a new life. The vast majority follows this system, and those that don’t are quickly killed. The moments that show the enduring human spirit are few, but powerful. Also, in a similar fashion as Soylent Green, the old and wise man saves the film with his displays of love and compassion and with his knowledge of how life used to be. The message of rebellion and freedom is what saves this movie from a bleak eternity, but there many things too dreadful to overlook.

     From laughing aluminum foil robots, to a pretentious and stuffy Michael York…Logan’s Run is far from perfect. I find it rather easy to look past dated effects in movies, but not bad effects. The robot “Box” was a prime example of a bad effect, it was cheap, quite immobile, unnecessary, and a little too reflective (boom mics, ladders, and stage hands can all be seen on his mirrored surface). Also, I have a sneaking suspicion that Michael York will not be getting my best actor award for this film fest. His level of over-acting is unequalled, and his mind-numbing dialogue is nauseating at best, “Sad or not, you’re beautiful…let’s have sex”. Bad dialogue of this caliber can be found throughout the film and is too ghastly to be ignored. Much of this film comes off like a cheap Disney adventure… tip-toeing enemies, evil doctors, lost feral-children, and an “epic” battle between old friends.

     Upon initial viewing, I would have likely given Logan’s Run an empty mug, but after going over the story beneath the faults, I chose to be a little forgiving. If you can look past some of the glaring imperfections, there is in fact a powerful and heartfelt message within Logan’s Run.

Starring Gregory Harrison as Logan seen here on the cover of the popular magazine, Dynamite.  Tons of street cred if you grew up with issues of Dynamite laying around.

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This is a second opinion on Rik’s review of Soylent Green, make sure to read said review below.

         I went into this movie under undesirable conditions, years ago I had the ending of the movie spoiled to me… and understandably so, the final lines are ever so quotable. However, I was still satisfied and surprised by the plot’s outcome due to how well the story worked. This movie, with some imagination, is quite relevant to our current “Green Revolution”. The writer Harry Harrison has a creative take on what will happen to this rock we live on if we continue to consume, and consume without replenishing what we are destroying.         

         That being said, please do not let what I have said market this as a great film. I felt, even for as short as this movie was, it moved far too slowly, lost focus, and relied far too heavily on gimmicks.

         Half the movie is spent with Thorn telling us what their world doesn’t have… “Ah soap, I’ve never had soap… Ah, whiskey, I’ve never had whiskey… Ah, strawberries, I’ve never had strawberries…” and so on, and so on. Yes, I understand you have few amenities, I caught on to that concept rather quickly. Yet, Thorn feels it necessary to tell us what we no longer have in the year 2022. I liked the idea of a culture desiring and dreaming over all we take for granted, but the movie used it as a crutch. Whenever the story was losing momentum, it threw in yet another attempt to shock us with how little these people have.

         This movie also fell into the 70’s-era trap of adding a token love interest in an attempt to add feeling and emotion to a character… ATTENTION, not every film needs a bedmate to drive the story further. And I, much like Rik, found myself laughing at Thorn’s empty romance. Heston’s character, perhaps to a fault, is a cold unfeeling character with little stake in his world.  Simply adding a pair of hips and lips does not make him a complete compassionate character. I didn’t need the feigned love interest to make me care for this character or provide him with relatable emotions.

         One thing I did like about this film was sweet, sweet Sol. Sol, the film’s oldest character but perhaps its most relatable. A man who treasures the finer things in life, who cares about books, history, and love… this character (Edward G. Robinson’s final performance) adds heart and soul to this movie.  He seems to be one of Earth’s last romantics… and man who wants to see the world made well again, but who will likely just die with it.         

         This film ultimately fell short but did hold some saving graces… The character of Sol and the film’s relevant and imaginative story line are the two things that save this movie from a dark and bleak history. I found myself entertained but wanting…a little more green.

 

-Evan

 


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In the year 2022, Earth is a chaotic, overpopulated, pollution filled planet run under marshal law.  Food is scarce and is now artificially created in the form of chips created by a company named Soylent.  There are yellow, red, blue versions of Soylent and the latest is the highly nutritious and energizing green.  Thorn, a detective played by Charlton Heston, is sent in to investigate the death of one of Soylent’s wealthy executives, Simonson.  During his investigation we see snapshots of this future society.  Modern society and the comforts associated are gone.  Unemployment is at a ridiculous high. All businesses are gone minus the government and the Soylent company.  Thorn eventually uncovers that Simonson was murdered as part of a cover up concerning the secret of Soylent Green.

Science fiction movies can be an opportunity for filmmakers to make social criticisms that show us what our world and society could look like.  Good science fiction movies are driven by story and not by special effects, modernized sets and hi-tech gadgets.  Support of this claim can be found in the new Star Wars trilogy and the sequels to The Matrix.  The characters and the acting only have to work with within the framework of the film and are not required to be great or stand out, simply competent.  This is what makes Soylent Green a good science fiction movie.  I firmly believe that Charlton Heston was cast, based on Planet of the Apes, to deliver the notorious last line of the film.  Thorn’s character and motivations are never fully developed but apparently he has a strong sense of justice.  I would like to have seen more of his relationship with Sol but we get enough through dialogue to fill in the blanks.  The scenes between Thorn and the girl are laughable as is some of the technology used but I was glad they didn’t go 70’s hi-tech with many of the devices used.  But that aside, the message is clear and for that my overall opinion of the film is positive.  We can shape our future but if the everyday working class people don’t stand up for themselves and voice their opinions the government and the wealthy will strip you down until you have nothing and you’re eating… well, yourself.

-Rik

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watch the trailer…

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