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Christopher Kirk (1755 KP) rated The Last Dance in TV

Aug 6, 2020 (Updated Aug 6, 2020)  
The Last Dance
The Last Dance
2020 | Documentary, Sport
Some people’s worst nightmare isn’t just being forced to watch sport, but being forced to listen to commentary or analysis on sport. My passion for a competitive event, and appreciation for an acheivement at the highest level in any sport, is still there, but is a little cooler than it was when I was a younger man with the energy to get carried away, whooping and cheering on an underdog or applauding the very best in a discipline.

Basketball for me has never really been a thing. To be honest, I barely understand the rules beyond the basics. It just wasn’t something that was on British TV that often as I grew up, the Olympics being an exception. The skill level (and height above Sea level) needed to be good enough for NBA glory does not escape me though, and neither has the exceptional career of Michael Jordon, who is a clear contender for greatest sportsman of all time, in any sport.

What I do enjoy though is the drama of over-coming hurdles and records against all the odds. The underdog story really appeals to me, as does the story of an older athlete doing it one last time, when no one thinks it’s possible. The Last Dance is exactly that. But not told by actors in a Hollywood way, like the wonderfully under-rated Miracle starring Kurt Russell. This is a documentary, in ten parts, with the real guys, and some of the most comprehensive archive material you’d ever want!

In theory, the tale is about the whole team, and their final fling at winning a title before knowing the aging gang would be disbanded, with the key figures forced into retirement. But, it is about Jordan, of course it is. And as a document of a rise to fame, and how the man responded to that fame and increased pressure, it is simply the best sports documentary yet to be made.

Told in parallel timelines of the final year juxtaposed with the backstory of the previous 20 years, it shows in exquisite detail how a franchise was built, maintained and taken to the heights of being the greatest ever to play the game. There are tantrums, fall outs, walk outs, no shows, injuries, and some mind-bending successes riding on single moments of genius.

The main voices of Jordan himself, as he sits in retirement with a cigar and a single malt, Scottie Pippin, and bad boy Dennis Rodman, are in parts fascinating, eloquent and revealing. Even after many years have passed, the emotion of big moments and issues is still fresh. We see the joy, the pride and the exhilaration, but also the regret, the grudges and the pain. It shows every angle of what being an athlete at the very top means, and exposes what kind of mentality you have to have to be that person. To be a champion.

As with me, it really helps with the cliffhanger drama of it if you don’t remember, or never knew at all, the result of that “last dance” season in ’98. It also helps if watching sport raises the pulse, but I wouldn’t say it is essential, as it all plays like an ten part series full of drama, betrayals and gasp out loud moments. Ten hour long episodes is a lot. But this incredible production never out stays its welcome. Some acheivement, and testament to what a charismatic figure Jordan was and is on the context of sport history.

Of course, not every hero is a hero every minute of his life. And that is my final reason to recommend it. See for yourself what kind of personality virtual gods like these invent for themselves. Utterly compelling TV.
  
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Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)
Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)
2019 | Action, Adventure, Comedy
Ensemble cast (1 more)
Plain good fun
Little in terms of originality. (0 more)
Rebooted again, and just as fun.
One of the pleasant movie surprises of Christmas 2017 for me was "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle". I expected it to be a tired retread of the original classic, but instead it turned into a highly entertaining action comedy. Reading my review again, I was rather po-faced about it and scored it with a rather measly 7/10. But this rather belies my secret love of the movie: it is a film that I can invariably watch and enjoy again and again.

This was also a film that raked in a HUGE return at the box office, getting close to the billion dollar number on its $90 million budget. During the spring of 2018, this was an almost permanent resident at the multiplexes (until "The Greatest Showman" and "Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again" took over the residence for the rest of the year!) . A sequel was inevitable

We rejoin the cast some time after the events of the first film, and the geeky teenage lovers - Spencer and Bethany - are trying, unsuccessfully, to carry on their long distance relationship while at separate colleges. Spencer is struggling mentally; lacking in confidence and momentum and desperate to feel like 'Smoulder' Bravestone again.

On returning to his home town for the holidays, Spencer fixes the shattered game. But the console is unpredictable and when the game sucks people into Jumanji this time it's not just Spencer and two of his friends that go in, but Spencer's Grandpa Eddie (Danny DeVito) and his old friend Milo (Danny Glover).

When they get there though, things have changed and the mission is a different one. A "next level" indeed!

This is very much 'much of the same' from the first film. Yes, there's a different backdrop with desert and mountain 'levels' to play through. But the same fun, with exploding avatars and dangerous cake, is to be had again. The script team had to do something different here, and they did that by mixing up the avatars (including a surprising equine player) and throwing in the 'pensioners' to the mix. There is new fun to be mined here from the now nimble-again Eddie and the slow-talking and laconic Milo never quite getting to the point in time.

The stars were all persuaded back for another ride. The four avatar leads (Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black and Kevin Hart) all return, together with the young teens (Alex Wolff, Morgan Turner, Ser'Darius Blain and Madison Iseman). Nick Jonas and his older real-life player Colin Hanks are back. Even Nigel "Welcome to Jumanji" Billingsley (Rhys Darby) returns, this time swapping his jeep for a plane.

The newcomers to the cast are also welcome. Glover and DeVito are at their cranky best, and introduce a genuinely touching moment into the film. And a new avatar - Ming Fleetfoot - is fabulous in the form of Awkwafina, so brilliant in this year's "The Farewell".

There's not much more to say on this. If you liked the original, you'll enjoy this one too. Many of the same jokes are trotted out again. The villain (here Rory McCann) is as forgettable as in the first film. It's not breaking any records in terms of originality, but the producers won't mind about that as long as it drags the crowds in again. At the time of writing it has made $320K on its $125K budget, so that seems to be working.

Jake Kasdan is again at the helm. But I really hope enough is enough, and they leave it at this. The mid-credits scene might suggest though that greed is going to dictate a Jumanji 4 (or 5 in some people's books). The returns, I fear, from the franchise will be ever diminishing from this point forwards.

(For the full graphical review go here - https://bob-the-movie-man.com/2019/12/27/one-manns-movies-film-review-jumanji-the-next-level-2019/ .)
  
Dark Crimes (2018)
Dark Crimes (2018)
2018 | Crime, Drama, Thriller
great many of us film aficionados have, at one time or another, thought that they’ve seen so many films from so many different genres or written by so many ‘messed up’ writers or directed by so many warped minds that have simply ‘walked off the map’ that nothing and I mean absolutely nothing could shock us. We think we’ve ‘seen everything’ or have been ‘prepared’ for anything shocking that filmmakers might throw our way. As today’s film for your consideration will demonstrate, even folks like ‘us’ can be caught off guard by the occasional ‘curve ball’ by a writer, director, or actor/actress we’ve become acquainted with through their work over the years. I can say this much before we go any further … I have never seen nor did I ever imagine seeing Jim Carrey in a film like this.

Today’s selection is a 2016 Polish-American dramatic-mystery film entitled ‘Dark Crimes’. The film is based upon an article published in ‘The New Yorker’ in 2008 entitled ‘True Crime:A Post-Modern Murder Mystery’ by David Grann about convicted Polish murderer, writer, and photographer Krystian Bala. Directed by Alexandros Avranas and written by Jeremey Brock, ‘Dark Crimes’ stars Jim Carrey, Marton Csokas, Agata Kulesza, Kati Outinen, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Zbigniew Zamachowski. Jim Carrey is Detective Tadek. Formerly a highly decorated and respected detective, his recent work with the police department has been nothing more than administrative duties in the records department after a controversial case he was investigating involving an unsolved murder at a sex club was suddenly ‘shelved’ and he was relegated to his current desk job. A recent book by a controversial author Kozlow (Csokas), describes a murder almost identical to the unsolved murder of a businessman Tadek was investigating and even contains details that mirror many he discovered in his original investigation. After pleading with his immediate superior to allow him to continue examining the case, Tadek begins to delve deeper into the incident re-visiting the location of the murder and interviewing possible witnesses and others who may have been present or involved in the murder.

Soon Tadek’s determination overshadows everything else. He becomes paranoid and obsessed to such severity that he alienates his family and crosses lines professionally and personally as a sort of madness begins to take over. The moment he believes he has figured out the solution to the case that has become his obsession and cost him everything he has and the person he is, it all slips away as the truth about Kozlow’s involvement in the crime becomes clear and Tadek’s only remaining option is the one you don’t see coming.

This film is DARK and not for the faint of heart. The world knows Jim Carrey for comedy and that’s what he’ll ALWAYS be known for. This film metaphorically takes all that, throws it right out the window, then proceeds to run downstairs and then outside and stomp on it. Prepare to be shocked as this was Carrey like I’ve never seen him before. The film is dark, gritty, serious, and will tempt you to keep your finger on the ‘off button’ all the way through the film. In that regard, it is indeed a great film. It’s like a modern take on a classic well-written murder mystery novel where even in the end, the outcome is sometimes equal to if not worse than the actual crime itself. The world knows Marton Csokas for his villainous roles where he typically portrays Russian or Eastern European madmen and once again he does the same in this film with great flair. The film is rated R for strong and disturbing content and runs about an hour and a half so it’s most definitely NOT one for young folks. Which it late at night when it’s dark if you’re looking for something scary that will keep you awake all night. I’m going to give the film 3 out of 5 stars. It’s okay to see once but in all honesty, it’s nothing original that hasn’t been done in other films with other actors. This one is just a variation on a theme with deferent players and different aspects and details
  
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Lee KM Pallatina (819 KP) rated the Xbox 360 version of Duke Nukem Forever in Video Games

Mar 20, 2020  
Duke Nukem Forever
Duke Nukem Forever
2011 | Shooter
Comical dialogue, great boss battles, decent graphics, easy controls, game length. (0 more)
Way off track from it's previous instalments. Same old enemies. (0 more)
Hail to the clone baby
Contains spoilers, click to show
Duke Nukem was originally created in 1987 by chief programmer Todd Replogle of Apogee Software now 3D Realms as the hero the video game titled Metal Future, which was set in the then-near future of 1997.
 Duke Nukem's first appearance was in 1997,
Created by George Broussard; Scott Miller; Jim Norwood; Todd Replogle
Dukes last appearance was a Cameo in the 2018 movie Ready Player One.

The character first appeared in the 1991 video game Duke Nukem. He has since starred in multiple sequels developed by 3D Realms. Most recently in Duke Nukem Forever, released by Gearbox Software, which now owns the rights and intellectual property.

Duke Nukem has been listed on many "Best Characters" and "Best Heroes" lists over the years, including being listed as number one in ScrewAttack's "Top 10 Coolest Video Game Characters" list in 2007.
Featuring him in the section "top ten forces of good" in their 2004 list of top 50 retro game heroes, Retro Gamer called Duke "the ultimate cheese hero, and a true remnant of 80’s action flicks. He was listed at number 27 in the "Top 50 Video Game Characters" list by Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition 2011. GameDaily also ranked him sixth on their list of best anti-heroes in video games. In 2011, Empire ranked him as the 20th greatest video game character, calling him "one of the best action characters ever devised" and adding that "Film might have Schwarzenegger, but Gaming's got Mr Nukem"

Reception of the character by the time of Duke Nukem Forever's release was mostly mixed. Dan Whitehead of Eurogamer elaborated on Duke Nukem's decreased relevance since 1996, and added that the character's "half-hearted digs" at rival franchises were ill-advised due to the game's delayed release (Yet still quite funny).

Duke Nukem had become "a caricature of his former self. crossing the line from charmingly foul-mouthed to obnoxious and embarrassing. Others have been more positive about the character, finding him to be "genuinely hilarious" due to his tongue-in-cheek rejection of video game traditions (such as finding a key to open a door or wearing a special suit of armor) (looking at you Master Chief).

Plot:

Twelve years after he saved the Earth from an alien invasion, Duke Nukem is a worldwide icon, and has achieved great fame from his heroic deeds. After sampling a video game based on his past heroics (the game Duke plays is a revamped version of the final level of the third episode of Duke Nukem 3D), he arrives on the set of a talk show for an interview. On his way to the show, Duke witnesses a news broadcast announcing that aliens have once again invaded. Unlike previous encounters, the aliens initially appear peaceful and at first seem to pose no harm to the humans of Earth.

Duke's talk show appearance is cancelled to allow television stations to cover the alien invasion, and Duke retires to the "Duke Cave", his personal home. There, he receives a call from the President and General Graves of the Earth Defense Force (EDF). The President orders Duke not to harm the invaders, and adds that he is in diplomatic talks with the alien overlord. Duke obliges this request, but he and Graves remain uneasy about the whole situation. Before he can leave his chambers, he is attacked by hostile aliens who are swearing revenge on Duke.

Pig cops, flying Alien brains and a 3 breasted Alien are among the carnage that is a day in the life of the king.

DLC sub plot-
The doctor who cloned me:
After all the negativity duke Nukem forever received, this DLC was released in an attempt to undo some of the damage, this extension had you play as the Real duke, who wakes up to find and army of clones posing as him created by his old nemesis doctor proton, to which you/Nukem must take out all the clones and reclaim your Throne.
(The main game duke was a clone, if I wasn't clear :) )