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  1. #1
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    Default Blu-ray Review: KNOWING (Summit Entertainment/Escape Artists)



    Professional Review by Michael LoManaco, 07/07/09; Region 1 (U.S.) Release Tested

    WARNING: Varying degrees of plot spoilers below.


    Studio Name: Summit Entertainment/Escape Artists
    MPAA Rating: PG-13
    Disc/Transfer Information: 2.39:1
    Video Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
    Tested Audio Track: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
    Director: Alex Proyas
    Starring Cast: Nicolas Cage, Rose Byrne, Chandler Canterbury



    LoMANACO'S PLOT ANALYSIS:

    With the exception of some jag-off in an "At the Movies" section of another forum that began a thread with the title of "I'm Scared!" (not even spelled correctly or with proper upper/lowercasing) with regard to the 2012 film that's supposed to come out soon, the subject of this "end of the world" scenario taking place in that year has been taken seriously by most people since the rumors began. Yet, under it all, I think it's going to turn out to be the same kind of "millennium" bull**** this ridiculous country scared themselves into when all technology was supposed to break down and cause havoc in the streets -- remember that? Remember how the media scared the simple idiots of this planet into actually believing we would need extra water and supplies because of this -- and human beings actually went out and bought this ****? Ahhh. The human race. I am ashamed to say I am a member of it; but this subject of 2012 being the last year this planet shall see any life is indeed frightening -- if there's any truth to it. As I said, I think it's a bunch of government-controlled barn-stankin' bull****. The subject isn't a new one -- remember Armageddon or Deep Impact? How about more modern-day takes on completely empty city streets because something has wiped out mankind, such as I Am Legend? Alex Proyas' Knowing takes this theme and drags it right to the edge -- but you'd never know this was actually a film about alien involvement in the issue until the last half hour or so.

    Indeed, I can recall seeing trailers for Knowing and being very intrigued -- and while I can say the same thing for my initial impressions of the other Summit thriller to be released on home video today, Push, I'm not sure that's going to be more than a Jumper-type spinoff -- yet I missed the theatrical launch of the film. I'm not quite sure I saw Nic Cage in the role of an MIT professor struggling with "signs" of devastations that take place around him, but that's not really the crux of what needs to be discussed here. Initially, Knowing had great potential, right up until it gets just way too science fiction-ish by introducing an alien element; in fact, I was calling this one of the best science fiction films -- true science fiction films -- to come out in a long time as I got through the beginning parts. But the way the narrative turns towards the end just bugged me. I'll get to that.

    Knowing opens with a sequence depicting a Massachusetts elementary school and a girl in one of the classes who furiously scribbles lines of numbers as if possessed after her teacher tells the class they need to draw something for a "time capsule" they want to bury in front of the school to be opened 50 or so years from that time. While all the students draw pictures, the girl writes out these numerical codes; when the capsule is buried in the ground, the girl disappears. In modern-day Massachusetts, Nic Cage is John Koestler, a professor of what appears to be astrophysics at MIT, and whose son is now going to the school where the capsule was buried. When the ceremony comes to unearth the capsule, Cage's kid is given the envelope in which the numerical message was put in by the girl decades ago. Soon, strange dark figures begin appearing outside Cage's forest-encroached New England home...figures that bring with them a whispering presence.

    Unbelievably -- well, perhaps that's not so accurate because his character is, after all, an MIT professor -- Cage's Koestler character figures out that the numerical code on his son's "gift" from the capsule dig actually corresponds to dates in history in which horrible disasters have taken place, even September 11. He attempts to convince a co-worker of his, but he just thinks he's nuts. In the largest action setpiece of the film, Cage is on his way to pick his son up from school when he's caught in a thunderstorm on a New England highway. As he unlocks yet another numerical code from the page -- this one being coordinates for a location along with the current date -- he watches in absolute horror as a passenger jet flies overhead and crashes into a fireball yards from the highway. It seems one of the numerical codes indicated something would happen on that date -- in that spot.

    Traumatized by the plane crash in which he watched people burn alive, Cage's character begins delving into the history of the elementary school, and traces the class project back to the teacher of the girl, who is now an old lady. Apparently, the little girl grew up to kill herself by overdosing -- but she had a daughter along the way, and Cage seeks her out to try and figure out what's going on. He locates the girl's daughter (played by the deliciously sexy Rose Byrne) and tracks her and her daughter down to a museum, where he confronts her with stories of her mother's ability to see these events take place. Byrne, of course, acts as if Cage is crazy, and zooms off. Eventually, Byrne lets Cage into her life enough to tell him stories of her mother and the things she would predict -- she even leads him to the now-abandoned house she and her father were living in, deep in the woods. Inside, a room is littered with newspaper clippings about all the disasters she was able to predict. Byrne then reveals to Cage that her mother used to speak of the day Byrne was supposed to be killed.

    There's a lot more in the middle here, but to boil it down, Cage is able to decipher a final message in the numerical coding regarding what appears to be the final day of Earth -- he confirms this by gathering information at the MIT observatory, where it's concluded that some kind of solar energy attack will destroy the planet with radiation. In a last-ditch effort to find an alternative to this ghastly news, Cage's character furiously scribbles on an old door from the elementary school, where another code left by Byrne's mother (the little girl from the beginning of the film) reveals itself. But Byrne has run off with her daughter and Cage's son, desperate to head to caves to survive the coming solar Armageddon. Much of the end of Knowing seems borrowed from Cloverfield or the remake of War of the Worlds, what with emergency broadcasters telling people to get into underground bunkers, and mobs of panicking people looting stores and trying to escape.

    I had a feeling that the dark figures seen throughout the film that "whisper" to Cage's son and Byrne's daughter had something to do with aliens since their bodies seemed so elongated and their eyes seemed too black -- and, alas, Proyas introduces the extraterrestrial factor. This is where I thought things got a bit too Abyss or possibly Happening-like for me; apparently, these figures were actually ghost-like alien beings who arrived on Earth to pick some "chosen" Earthlings of sorts before the planet was destroyed -- Byrne's mother was seemingly one of the first to "get the signs" and the whispering messages by the aliens, and now it has been passed down to Cage's son and Byrne's daughter. How this all comes together and connects to earlier moments in the film is very hokey, and the Abyss-like special effects of the milky, whispery aliens going up into their "ship" didn't help, either. To make matters worse, the film starts and goes for awhile with a refreshing science fiction bounce to its step, but ultimately gets depressing and downright sad (a la the end of Deep Impact) as the aliens communicate through Cage's son that although Earth will be destroyed by this solar flaring, his son and Byrne's daughter will be two of the chosen Earthlings that will re-populate the human species on another world. But Cage can't come with them. It's a sad moment when Cage realizes he will be left behind to die, while he must say goodbye to his son while he and the girl go up on the alien spacecraft to repopulate this "new world." Pouring salt on the wound is the prophecy Byrne's mother predicted about Byrne's own death -- and how it's vividly realized moments before the alien encounter.

    I understand the message behind Knowing and I see what Proyas was getting at -- but the shift in narrative and emotion toward the end of the film was a bit saddening, and the wispy special effects of the aliens, their ship and then the new world the kids have been dropped on just didn't seem to fit all the stuff that came before it. It's difficult to describe; it would have been better if the film simply continued going in the direction it was headed from the beginning, such as a mystery/sci fi yarn about predictions and disasters -- like perhaps an updated version of Millennium or a non-teenage-oriented take on Final Destination.

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    VIDEO QUALITY:

    Clean. That's all I can say about this transfer. While the DVD cut of the film seems to be presented at 2.35:1 widescreen, the Blu-ray Disc comes in at a slightly odd 2.39:1. At any rate, black levels were spot-on, there was little noise or interference that could be caused from improper digital compression and colors were rich and saturated when they needed to be. Some darker scenes got a bit "twitchy" in their stability and attempt to hold a solid image -- but this was really nit-picking.

    Do we see a large studio future for Summit? :huh

    AUDIO QUALITY:

    Let me say something about the audio mix here -- when that jet airliner crashes into the New England highway, you better bolt everything around you down if your volume is cranked. I swear, it was as if that plane was coming right through our walls -- when the dynamics of the mix demand the extremities, this track delivers them. In spades. But the dynamic range is what also makes this track suffer.

    There's so much dynamic range here that the dialogue appeared hushed and almost muted against the action sequences -- I cannot recall how many times I needed to reach for my Onkyo's remote just to crank the master volume so I could make out dialogue, then suddenly needed to drop it again quickly because the multichannel action got so heated. This went on all throughout the feature, and it got really annoying after awhile. My system is calibrated with the center channel resting two decibels (2 dB) higher than the mains to compensate for dialogue intelligibility, so that can't really be the problem -- the dynamic range was just ridiculous on this track. Dialogue dropped to whisper quiet in most of the scenes.

    But otherwise? Rain, explosions -- you name it, the mix delivered it into the appropriate channels. Surround usage was plentiful, and comparing it to the standard DVD version's Dolby Digital track, the same impactful dynamics were on the 5.1 Dolby mix. Also of important note is the "whispering" effects of the aliens, which are rendered aggressively through the surround channels. But the standout moment in the mix has to be that aforementioned plane crash scene -- crank that one up if you have no neighbors, the wife isn't giving you **** about the bass or...well...**** it, just crank it up! :yippee::eyecrazy:bowdown:

    MY SUMMARY:

    It starts off as a great science fiction thriller, but in my opinion, Knowing gets a bit too alien-hokey for my tastes; of course, others will find different takes on it, and it's by no means a bad film. The home video version will take your system to new heights in certain sequences.

    MY RECOMMENDATIONS:

    I definitely recommend a rental. It's not a personal buy for me -- but I can see how many will enjoy it. The reality and saddening blanket of despair the final sequence exhibits was just a bit too much for me to sit through over and over again, much like Deep Impact.

    Well, that's all I can say, friends; let's hear what y'all thought about Knowing as you watch it and comment on it!

    Thanks, as always. ;)

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    I watched this one last night and I liked it, a lot. Kept me entertained from beginning to end. I thought it was a great movie. Great sound, some very nice effects.

    Oh, and no...I didn't read all that.
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    Not for nothing, but when you're writing a review, you should assume that you're writing it for people who haven't seen the movie. I know you gave a spoiler disclaimer from the get-go and I know that this movie's ending definitely merits some critical discussion, but you don't typically have that discussion in a review whose primary audience will be those who haven't seen it yet. I do, however, appreciate the review of the strictly technical merits, but I think you could have given your feelings about the events of this movie without ruining it for those who haven't watched it yet.

    Just my two cents. Not hatin'. ;)

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    Well, I did start reading, since it says this is a "Professional Review".

    But in the first paragraph I saw words like "bull****", which doesn't sound too professional.

    Then the reviewer says this is a "ridiculous country", so I stopped reading.
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    Here's what Mike said when I commented on his review style...


    Quote Originally Posted by Mike LoManaco View Post
    It's the style in which I write my reviews -- they're slanted this way for a certain audience in other mediums, and I do some altering for the online ones.
    Personally, I don't read them, after all, film reviews of any kind are no more then just someone's opinion (no more valid then mine or yours) and when it comes to films all our tastes varies way to much to bother. I'll watch the films and be my own critic. Plus, his reviews are way too long.
    If...
    Ron dislikes a film = go out and buy it.
    Ron loves a film = don't even rent.

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    My opinion...
    "Oh look! Nicolas Cage! This movie must be the equivalent of a has-been band performing at the county fair. It doesn't matter if you have talent; if you look, sound, and act the same for 20 years, you too can aspire to be mediocre but making money."

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    I think the term "professional review" is the first warning sign that you are about to waste your time reading it. And if it is a "professional review" I don't see any indication that permission to use the image was granted. I'll stick to the opinions of the regular people who post their thoughts on this forum.
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    Really guys, there's nothing 'wrong' with a professional review...and like someone said...you can take it as you wish.

    A professional reviewer has, hopefully, been schooled in film, its history and possibly film theory! Has spent a lifetime viewing film, possibly even taught a film class at the college level, etc. Now while that doesn't mean 'everyone' is going to agree with any single critic...some are far more versed and knowledgeable than the average movie-goer! To pooh-pooh that would be like saying well, when I read Shakespeare I'm going to utterly disregard decades if not centuries of research by Shakespeare scholars...and I'd never consider taking a college course with one! I'll decide what Shakespeare is saying and means and whether or not I like him or even if 'he' is good?

    Balance is necessary. Anti-intellectualism is a piece of our culture because it rubs against the grain of 'equality', i.e., the notion that anyone's opinion is as good as any other....but really? That's not even true on this site, is it?

    cnh
    Last edited by cnh; 07-08-2009 at 04:22 PM.

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    Finally!

    I love movies and love reviews but who here has ever read all the fluff that is typed. Also when my country wa insulted, eh I tuned out quickly.

    I think Polk would be better served with more brevity.

    That is all!
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    Since we're talking professional reviews, Roger Ebert's was one of the more interesting and generated a very intriguing follow up discussion. You can find the (spoiler-free) review here:
    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/...903189991/1023

    And for those who have seen the movie already, here's the discussion:
    http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2009...hose_dice.html

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    Wow -- unfortunate to see all the negative replies, fellas. I have to follow up with some things.

    Yes, Ron -- I DID reply to your statement regarding how to craft my reviews with that rebuttal. What you provided to the site in the other thread, and which was taken as a "review" by the member who replied after you, was absolutely NOT a review, and I needed to point that out. Whether or not you have a "personal problem" with the length of my reviews is irrelevant in that they ARE DVD/Blu-ray reviews. Your "two sentence reply" about the film wasn't a full title overview, which I am providing, and there's a difference.

    For the member who mentioned the plot spoilers not being good enough, well, that's PRECISELY why I provided that statement. If after seeing that you continue to read, who's fault is it? The plot analysis DID include degrees of spoilers and I pointed that out in BOLD type.

    As for those of you like Ricardo who are pulling links from the Sun Times to "discredit" my abilities over other "professionals" (many of which don't know a good piece of cinema from a rusted wrench -- TRUST ME, I know many) you don't have to bother resorting to tactics such as that. It's cheap, immature and won't discredit the work I have done in many publications and online. I AM a professional optical disc reviewer (this is DIFFERENT from being schooled in film for many years, which I actually have been at NYU and New York's Hofstra University) certified in being able to make out differences in DVD and Blu-ray transfers and such -- the reason why I used the experlatives in the review is because I slant these all differently for various mediums. Here, I felt a need to express how I believe the upcoming "scare" of 2012 is absolute BS -- that's right, I do feel that way because the media is feeding us a bunch of propaganda, as are books and articles on the upcoming "Armageddon" and I'm mad about it. It just makes people panic.

    I also feel VERY passionately about what is happening to this country and what the average public does to contribute to it -- it has NOTHING to do with being anti-American, because I AM CERTAINLY NOT. I love our country so much, it's killing me to see the average brainwashed American running to get barrels of water because the millenium was coming...I mean, you're going to criticize me for this? The government and lack of education in this country are elements which are slowly turning this nation into an embarassment, and for THOSE PERSONAL BELIEFS, I will not apologize.

    Remember how long it took FEMA to get water to the Superdome during Katrina? Good example of the "outstanding resources" this country exhibits. That's all I'm saying.

    Thank you, those of you who contributed to the thread in a positive way; getting back to the film, as I said, the end sequencing disappointed me enough to call this one a semi-tearjerker.

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    For the record, I wasn't posting the Ebert links to "discredit" you in any way. I was simply pointing that out as an example of how a professional review doesn't typically reveal the ending of the movie, and how discussion about the ending was kept entirely separate from the review itself so as not to spoil it. I'm not hating on your review in any way whatsoever, but there is a very interesting discussion on Ebert's page about the movie and I think the movie's fans would be interested.

    And as an aside, it wasn't FEMA's job to get water to the Superdome during Katrina (and indeed no one should have been in the Superdome to begin with). As a lifetime resident of the South, anyone here can tell you that the failing was solely on the part of Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco, both of whom completely failed in their official duties. Weeks before Katrina, Nagin was asked at a press conference if his office had a plan in place to evacuate the city and his response was that over 100,000 people would likely be stranded here. He knew. He did nothing, despite having enough buses in the city and surrounding areas to properly evacuate the city. New Orleans had 90 years since the last flood to prepare for the worst, and unlike the other Southern states typically hit by hurricanes (including my home state of Alabama), they did nothing to prepare and when hit, did not properly use the resources available to them. They simply froze... and then cried to the federal government to come do a job that wasn't theirs to do. Meanwhile, Mississippi, who I would argue was hit just as bad by Katrina, properly used FEMA's assistance in coordination with their own state resources and the situation was handled far better. And yet, for some reason, people need to blame the federal government for what was Louisiana's mess... probably because they forget that we are a republic of independent nation states and that the Southern states have an accord in place to assist each other during hurricane season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike LoManaco View Post
    As for those of you like Ricardo who are pulling links from the Sun Times
    For a professional reviewer, your reading/comprehension is a bit weak.
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    As a professional reviewer, I think your comments are laughable, and I don't think you have any credibility at all. Since to my knowledge we don't allow commercial postings in this forum, my vote is for you to go away. I'll forward the fact that you are stealing graphics for "professional" use to someone who cares about those things.
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    Sorry guys... I'm still convinced this is OnkyoFanatic.
    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...insaw+massacre

    Where's George Grand's pterodactyl?
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    Whats important is that when the jet plane does land in this movie, your room is going to SHAKE. I thought I had the volume down, but, no... a plane certainly crashed into the dual subs and surround channels.
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    If I may be allowed a moment here to address our reviewer...To me the ending of the film attempts to BLUR the lines between alien and angels....it is NOT entirely clear that these beings are simply ETs! This would be to disregard the subplot of the apostate-MIT-scientist disbeliever whose father is a pastor (and who just lost his wife to a senseless death that turned him away from the religious figure that is his father into an aimless wandering spiritual malaise he cannot escape) with whom Cage is reunited in a kind of Prodigal son moment. The aliens are depicted as ethereal beings with smoke-like winged emanations....their ship is an opening in the sky....the ships that take off are crystalline-LIGHT...the NEW planet the children are left on has something that looks like the TREE OF LIFE...that was in the garden of Eden.

    All these 'ambiguities' derail a simple 'science fiction' interpretation of the film...not that I thought it was a GREAT film--I didn't. But I think it is more subtle than described above. Let me elaborate. When Lucas forged Star Wars he did so, to a large extent, by mining the work of Joseph Campbell who was a follower of C.G. Jung's notions of the Collective Unconscious. Lucas melded science and technology with spirituality and mythology for a modern age. It could be argued that that was what mesmerized so many of its viewers (again, I was not necessarily one of them).

    This film tries to do something similar. There were any number of films in the 80s that also explored the line between the disbelief of secular rationalism and a belief in miracles and the miraculous...they did so through coincidences, synchronicity, and other means, i.e., juxtaposing the unbelievable/unexplainable against the rational and holding both sides of the equation in extreme tension without 'resolving' that tension...thereby forcing the Modern secular mind to leap past this impasse with a modern Leap of Faith (that was almost Kierkegaardian in structure)!

    While Knowing is not a particularly good example of this. It explores the line between the self and humankind in asking what does DEATH mean, if anything. We know the SECULAR answer! We know the RELIGIOUS answer. But in this time that we live in the TWO must ENGAGE each other and resolve past each other into a form of spirituality appropriate for the 21st century if there is such a thing. Hence the figures at the end. Are they aliens? Are they Angels? Does it matter? Doesn't what you think reveal your bias toward one or the other. Doesn't suspending an answer either way bring you into the great mystery of what we are and why we are here?

    And finally....what does Cage DECIDE they are! Do we really know?.. as he hugs his father the pastor, the prodigal son returned home as the world comes to an END! The Bible and Science mix in an ending that...may offend the sensibilities of some and may awe others.

    cnh
    Last edited by cnh; 07-09-2009 at 02:02 PM.

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    Awesome post cnh. Sincerely.
    However... let's put Nick Cage into perspective.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-LYb...rom=PL&index=7

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    Quote Originally Posted by zombie boy 2000 View Post
    Awesome post cnh. Sincerely.
    However... let's put Nick Cage into perspective.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-LYb...rom=PL&index=7
    Yeah Zombie,


    I couldn't agree with you more. Cage...is a one dimensional actor and Wicker Man..now that was 'bad'! Unfortunately, I have seen that one. I think he's gotten worse with age...there was something quirky and more like-able in the early Cage!

    cnh

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    Yuppers. I put his run as HI in my all-time top three favorite performances.
    Again.... excellent post. As a Philosophy/Anthropology double-major (yeah... laugh it up), I'm fairly familiar with your view point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zombie boy 2000 View Post
    Awesome post cnh. Sincerely.
    However... let's put Nick Cage into perspective.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-LYb...rom=PL&index=7
    That was almost funny enough for me to stop regretting watching that movie... almost. :p

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    Ive always liked Cage, most of his acting is really good, IMO. As for the review, it's a friggin' movie for god sakes, either enjoy it or turn it off.
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    Great Movie-Excellent sound(scene 6 plane crash):D
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuntasensei View Post
    For the record, I wasn't posting the Ebert links to "discredit" you in any way. I was simply pointing that out as an example of how a professional review doesn't typically reveal the ending of the movie, and how discussion about the ending was kept entirely separate from the review itself so as not to spoil it. I'm not hating on your review in any way whatsoever, but there is a very interesting discussion on Ebert's page about the movie and I think the movie's fans would be interested.
    I am going to reply to you, 'Kunt, and Ricardo below (because he deserves an apology -- even though his reply was a bit hard handed) and perhaps some of the members who have been commenting on the disc transfer itself, but I refuse to entertain people like "Zombie" (taking time to dig up old links on this site, apparently, to "prove" I am someone he thinks I am? Honest? )or the other asinine member who claims my comments were "laughable" and that he believes me to be completely uncredited because they're simply not worth my time any longer. I will say this again, and for the last time: I am a credited Blu-ray and DVD optical disc reviewer with published work under by belt, and these reviews -- this one in particular -- have been crafted and slanted to include personal feelings and expressions about a film. Because it's bothering everyone, I will remove the pro moniker from the beginning parts of the reviews, but what's more laughable than all this is the fact that these "members" actually believe that I am using images "illegally" or to benfit my "status" which THEY claim is bogus -- the're PUBLIC COVER IMAGES ANYONE CAN GET OFF OF Google images, or a dozen other sites. That's all I will say about that; the threats of "hope you will go away" are childish and lifeless in nature, and don't warrant direct response. Let them believe what they want; I am comfortable with my own credits and accolades.

    And as an aside, it wasn't FEMA's job to get water to the Superdome during Katrina (and indeed no one should have been in the Superdome to begin with). As a lifetime resident of the South, anyone here can tell you that the failing was solely on the part of Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco, both of whom completely failed in their official duties. Weeks before Katrina, Nagin was asked at a press conference if his office had a plan in place to evacuate the city and his response was that over 100,000 people would likely be stranded here. He knew. He did nothing, despite having enough buses in the city and surrounding areas to properly evacuate the city. New Orleans had 90 years since the last flood to prepare for the worst, and unlike the other Southern states typically hit by hurricanes (including my home state of Alabama), they did nothing to prepare and when hit, did not properly use the resources available to them. They simply froze... and then cried to the federal government to come do a job that wasn't theirs to do. Meanwhile, Mississippi, who I would argue was hit just as bad by Katrina, properly used FEMA's assistance in coordination with their own state resources and the situation was handled far better. And yet, for some reason, people need to blame the federal government for what was Louisiana's mess... probably because they forget that we are a republic of independent nation states and that the Southern states have an accord in place to assist each other during hurricane season.
    You seem to be taking what I intended as just a "point" of sorts way too seriously -- I disagree that it wasn't FEMA's job to get rescue aid to those poor people (not "poor" in that sense), but your feelings are your feelings. I was merely trying to defend myself against what everyone seemed to be accusing me of with regard to my comments about the state of this nation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lanion View Post
    Whats important is that when the jet plane does land in this movie, your room is going to SHAKE. I thought I had the volume down, but, no... a plane certainly crashed into the dual subs and surround channels.
    An important note about the mix; I agree, Lanion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricardo View Post
    For a professional reviewer, your reading/comprehension is a bit weak.
    I apologize for the misunderstanding over who said what, Ricardo; it was merely an error on my part -- not "weak reading/comprehension." That's a blurred line in any event; I have known, personally, excellent writers who didn't fare well in novel reading, believe it or not. But that's not the case here -- I simply mixed-up members and what they posted, which tends to happen when forum debates heat up. Again, my apologies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnh View Post
    If I may be allowed a moment here to address our reviewer...To me the ending of the film attempts to BLUR the lines between alien and angels....it is NOT entirely clear that these beings are simply ETs! This would be to disregard the subplot of the apostate-MIT-scientist disbeliever whose father is a pastor (and who just lost his wife to a senseless death that turned him away from the religious figure that is his father into an aimless wandering spiritual malaise he cannot escape) with whom Cage is reunited in a kind of Prodigal son moment. The aliens are depicted as ethereal beings with smoke-like winged emanations....their ship is an opening in the sky....the ships that take off are crystalline-LIGHT...the NEW planet the children are left on has something that looks like the TREE OF LIFE...that was in the garden of Eden.

    All these 'ambiguities' derail a simple 'science fiction' interpretation of the film...not that I thought it was a GREAT film--I didn't. But I think it is more subtle than described above. Let me elaborate. When Lucas forged Star Wars he did so, to a large extent, by mining the work of Joseph Campbell who was a follower of C.G. Jung's notions of the Collective Unconscious. Lucas melded science and technology with spirituality and mythology for a modern age. It could be argued that that was what mesmerized so many of its viewers (again, I was not necessarily one of them).

    This film tries to do something similar. There were any number of films in the 80s that also explored the line between the disbelief of secular rationalism and a belief in miracles and the miraculous...they did so through coincidences, synchronicity, and other means, i.e., juxtaposing the unbelievable/unexplainable against the rational and holding both sides of the equation in extreme tension without 'resolving' that tension...thereby forcing the Modern secular mind to leap past this impasse with a modern Leap of Faith (that was almost Kierkegaardian in structure)!

    While Knowing is not a particularly good example of this. It explores the line between the self and humankind in asking what does DEATH mean, if anything. We know the SECULAR answer! We know the RELIGIOUS answer. But in this time that we live in the TWO must ENGAGE each other and resolve past each other into a form of spirituality appropriate for the 21st century if there is such a thing. Hence the figures at the end. Are they aliens? Are they Angels? Does it matter? Doesn't what you think reveal your bias toward one or the other. Doesn't suspending an answer either way bring you into the great mystery of what we are and why we are here?

    And finally....what does Cage DECIDE they are! Do we really know?.. as he hugs his father the pastor, the prodigal son returned home as the world comes to an END! The Bible and Science mix in an ending that...may offend the sensibilities of some and may awe others.

    cnh
    Cnh,

    Thank you for your contributions; indeed, what could have appeared as "aliens" could have very well been "angelic representations" of sorts -- and we don't really know what they are. But the suggestion of a "ship" type device that delivers them and then brings them back "up" is what leads to most viewers' beliefs that this was an alien visitation, especially coupled with the underlying theme of the "passing on" of this "gift" the young girl had in the beginning, and subsequently shifting to Cage's son and the other girl.

    What I meant to convey in the review regarding all this was that the "wispy" "alien" effects seemed to take me out of the tense narrative that had come before it -- as if a supernatural National Treasure met The Abyss. ;)

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    Quote Originally Posted by danz1906 View Post
    Great Movie-Excellent sound(scene 6 plane crash):D
    Yes, Danz, the sound was great -- save for the dynamic range issues I explained with the dialogue and such.

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    Mike,

    I appreciate the effort in giving to the forum... however from an outsider's perspective, you come across with an attitude whether you mean to or not. I love a good movie review, but recapping the entire story in at least two pages of posts every single time, is just too much for here. We are all simple people who simply want to know the highs, lows and a personal opinion. Everyone's tastes are different, but I think you would be better served as not coming across as Polk Audio's resident expert on movies, as you have no idea the experience and tastes of those on this board. You joined a mere few months ago... don't be afraid to take the low road starting off.

    Again, my opinion is exactly that... mine.

    I, for one, know that I haven't read an entire post of yours merely from the fact that they are WWWWWAAAAAYYYY too long. I also don't want a recap of the story, just your view with little to no spoilers.

    Take it for what it is... free advice :D
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