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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 9:52 pm 
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  Movie: Godzilla vs. Megaguirus


  Director: Masaaki Tezuka


  Year: 2000


  My Rating: 6 - Good

Godzilla is forced to battle large flying bugs and later, the giant dragonfly Megaguius, after Japan's test of a black hole guns releases the nasty critters. Actually, the black hole gun was designed to rid the world of Godzilla himself. What results are several battles between the megunula in its various stages, leading to the final showdown between the two kaiju.

The Godzilla suit in this movie looks good, although the spines are way overdone. Megaguirus is big and ugly and as usual, depictions of a kaiju in flight are less than convincing. Their final dustup is entertaining and a little goofy with nearly a wrestling feel to it. Almost as fun is Godzilla's encounter with the swarm of meganula. I didn't care much for the human characters and the team of G-Graspers aren't the most impressive fighting force you'll see Godzilla battle with.

The opening of this movie replaces the original Godzilla and its attack on Tokyo with this new-look Godzilla. It's a pretty neat trick to "photoshop" the new suit into clips of the original black and white classic.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 6:07 am 
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  Movie: Peeping Tom


  Director: Michael Powell


  Year: 1960


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

An aspiring director named Mark Lewis films everything, using his cameras as a means to satisfy his voyeuristic obsession. That obsession leads to serial killings and an uneasy relationship between viewer and voyeur.

This feels very much like the kind of suspense and warped perspective provided by so many Hitchcock films. That's not to say that director Powell is a Hitchcock clone, it's just a great way to explain what the film is like. It's not possible to see how any fan of "Rear Window", "Psycho", or "Vertigo" will not appreciate "Peeping Tom".

Carl Boehm plays Lewis and is amazing in the role. He generates sympathy for his illness, which was undoubtedly brought about by his biologist father, who cruelly experimented on him as child. Further, he filmed and recorded young Mark as he tortured him. This all sounds grizzly but the old grainy home movies that show these horrors are very tame when compared to today's violent movie fare. Yet Powell generates tension and thrills through the shadows and darkness of city streets and Lewis's darkroom.

There are some great scenes but most enjoyable involved interrogation of Lewis by sweet but curious neighbor Helen, a police detective investigating one of Lewis's murders but primarily when he's confronted by Helen's blind mother, who is the only person suspicious of Mark based solely on his mannerisms, detected without her sight.

"Peeping Tom" is a classic demonstration of suspense and the ability to present terror and psychological horror without buckets of bloodshed.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 7:19 am 
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  Movie: The Shrine


  Director: Jon Knautz


  Year: 2010


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

I've been watching a lot of newer and decidedly lower budget Horror movies lately, avoiding in-your-face gore when possible but looking for new depictions of Horror. I'm finding that most are of the found footage variety and while those are sometimes fun, I'm not shying away from different interpretations of familiar Horror movie tropes, either.

I watched "The Shrine" on a recommendation from a friend, which is often as much a miss as a hit. I found "The Shrine" to be a slow starter and it was only offering more of the same old, same old. A small group of people head off somewhere without telling anyone. Led by a spunky, determined leader, they quickly get in over their heads. Two of the three group members happen upon an evil statue shrouded in thick fog (in Poland, no less). They are chased by what appear to be members of a demonic cult, and even though this doesn't sound out of the ordinary, things start to unravel for the three group members in not so typical fashion.

I don't want to give away anything that happens from this point on, but just to encourage the viewer to stick with it until completion. You won't see anything that is particularly cinematic, and there aren't any directorial flourishes to nerd out over. "The Shrine" isn't a great Horror movie, but it's definitely worth its fun conclusion.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 5:17 am 
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  Movie: St. Vincent


  Director: Theodore Melfi


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

The entire cast does a good job of making this run-of-the-mill drama entertaining. There's nothing even close to original about the story but Bill Murray makes it not matter. He's great.

Melissa McCarthy plays it straight with Naomi Watts providing a lot of laughs, which is obviously the opposite of what you'd expect.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 5:36 am 
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  Movie: Big Ass Spider


  Director: Mike Mendez


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

A giant spider attacks Los Angeles. An exterminator and a security guard save the city despite themselves.

This is more of a buddy comedy than it is a giant monster movie or a disaster flick. The two main characters are really good. Greg Grunberg and Lombardo Boyar are a great pairing and provide plenty of laughs playing the unlikeliest of heroes. And to make the cast even better, the always awesome Ray Wise has a large role. He is strictly a straight man, but he's Ray Wise. I need nothing else.

The special effects are entirely CGI and they're not very polished but good enough. For viewers looking for city smashing action, there's only a few minutes worth. The best moment with the spider is a rampage through a park, where it kills dozens. It is very much like the attack of the bay monster during the Korean movie, "The Host".

It's accurate to call this a B-Movie, but it's way better than what you'd see on SyFy channel. It never stopped being fun.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 6:37 am 
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  Movie: Captain America: The Winter Soldier


  Director: Joe Russo, Anthony Russo


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 6 - Good

This is a fast moving, action-packed thriller. It is accurate when others refer to it as similar to a James Bond story. Chris Evans is as good a Captain as can be imagined and his supporting cast is solid.

However, I am getting very tired of superhero movies. I was never a comic book kid (or adult), but these heroes are so invincible that they're really never in trouble. Oh sure, they're in dangerous or perilous situations all of the time, but I've reached the point where I just sigh when the tension is ramped up. I know what's going to happen to the superhero and it's ultimately nothing.

Another issue is that while Captain America and crew are hard at work here, their lives would have been much easier calling in Iron Man or a god like Thor to do all of their heavy lifting. I know that the filmmakers try to explain why they aren't present, but Hell, Thor could get there in two minutes if he really had to. I hate picking nitz, but I'm almost empty in my enthusiasm for Marvel and its universe.

Captain America would be much better if separated from all other superheroes. That is, in a world with no Avengers. That's why Nolan's Batman movies worked so well. There was no Justice League. There was no one to potentially clean up the mess if Batman screwed up. In the case of Captain America, deep down you know that Thor is only a Mjollnir's throw away from pulling the Captain's ass out of the fire.

The best thing about "The Winter Soldier" is Scarlett Johansson. It's inadvertently become the "Summer of Scarlett" for me as I've seen this movie, "Lucy" and "Under The Skin" over the past few months. I also have to add her role as the sultry computer voice in the otherwise putrid "Her" to my Summer list. She is really proving to be a versatile actress and I'm at times even able to forget how easy she is to look at.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 7:07 am 
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  Movie: The Keep


  Director: Michael Mann


  Year: 1983


  My Rating: 5 - Good

The Nazis seize an ancient Romanian fortress and are predictably eliminated by something potentially more powerful.

This is weird, but not weird for weirdness sake. It's undoubtedly a tale of an evil having to deal with another evil, but everything feels so distant and unfamiliar. I don't want to make light of this because it's not a B-movie or anything. It is deadly serious. But it's so hard to like because its characters are cutouts of cliched evil. There's just no one to like in "The Keep". I do like the mystery of the fortress but it's not played up enough. The ancient evil within it is threatening but its depiction is underwhelming. The special effects are mired in '80's tackiness.

This is not a movie that I didn't care for, I just don't know how to grasp what its supposed to be. Normally that's an okay thing, but I thought I was watching a potential Halloween horror and my expectations were misplaced.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:44 am 
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whitsbrain wrote:

  Movie: The Keep


  Director: Michael Mann


  Year: 1983


  My Rating: 5 - Good

The Nazis seize an ancient Romanian fortress and are predictably eliminated by something potentially more powerful.

This is weird, but not weird for weirdness sake. It's undoubtedly a tale of an evil having to deal with another evil, but everything feels so distant and unfamiliar. I don't want to make light of this because it's not a B-movie or anything. It is deadly serious. But it's so hard to like because its characters are cutouts of cliched evil. There's just no one to like in "The Keep". I do like the mystery of the fortress but it's not played up enough. The ancient evil within it is threatening but its depiction is underwhelming. The special effects are mired in '80's tackiness.

This is not a movie that I didn't care for, I just don't know how to grasp what its supposed to be. Normally that's an okay thing, but I thought I was watching a potential Halloween horror and my expectations were misplaced.


Oh this movie gets the WhitAxe for me. I had read the Novel - F. Paul Wilson - about a year and a half to 2 years before the movie and was really looking forward to the movie. Man, I remember leaving the theater completely disappointed and vowed to never agin watch anything Michael Mann was associated with. He took all the pathos from the story and chucked it away for CGI - well 80s CGI - special effects. Eva was supposed to be plain, peasant dressed and non glamorous. Her father, Dr. Cuza, was slowly seduced by the Molasar and given abilities to free himself and his country from the Nazis. Molasar was a traditional looking Dracula-esque monster and not the behemoth represented. The final Climax was a long drawnout swordfight that later appeared in the "Highlander." Jürgen Prochnow and Gabriel Byrne were the only two characters that remained near true to the Novel - Pronchow was a soldier and not a member of the SS and ridiculed Byrne's SS ideology.

Read the novel and you'll enjoy the theater of the mind much more than this pitiful interpretation.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 10:54 am 
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Jarhead (2005)

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7 rating on 10 scale :clap:

Interesting film on the Gulf War since the only other one is the stupid George Clooney one. Based on a novel by former "Jarhead" Anthony Swoffard the film plays like an autobiography. Of course you have the standard War sucks and preparing for war and waiting for war sucks themes also. It does seem to give a somewhat realistic feel to a war that just happened recently and the film, although long, holds your interest. I think this is a very worthwhile film to see even though it seems to seek angst that really isn't there. BTC rates this a 7/10 and recommends it to his friends.

I'll see YOU, at the movies! :)

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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 6:29 pm 
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DrMoreau wrote:
whitsbrain wrote:
[film]The Keep ; Michael Mann ; 1983 ; 5 - Good ; The Nazis seize an ancient Romanian fortress and are predictably eliminated by something potentially more powerful.

Quote:

Read the novel and you'll enjoy the theater of the mind much more than this pitiful interpretation.


Yikes!!! I guess in an odd way I'm glad I didn't read the book.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:41 am 
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  Movie: Interstellar


  Director: Christopher Nolan


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

The idea of space travel is frightening and daunting. I personally would never be able to do the things that the characters in this film do. Imagine the claustrophobia within a space ship knowing that the expanse of Space is right outside the porthole. Regardless of whether you believe in God or any form of an afterlife, one of my sincerest hopes is to somehow witness the wonders of the Universe firsthand. "Interstellar" offers a glimpse into that possibility but is grounded in the limitations of Man's science and technology. Even though this film trumpets the need to explore the galaxy, it tethers itself by choosing to hammer home the message that the force of Love is greater than that of Gravity.

I am a parent that has watched one of my children grow into adulthood while the other is still a teen. It was very heartwarming but also sad to hear Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) talk to his daughter Murphy about how, the moment you have kids, you become nothing but a memory to them. A ghost. It turns out that this plays an important role in saving the world, but it emotionally pulls on you. It created tears that felt a bit manipulated. Most moviegoers put a lot of value in how a film affects them emotionally and "Interstellar" provides this in abundance. It wasn't to the abhorrent levels of, say, the final moments of "Toy Story 3", but it really killed what I ultimately hoped would be a greater exploration of the unknown. Cooper, the great explorer, is as much of a sentimental fool as I am. This is the biggest miss of "Interstellar". If I had wanted something this overwhelmingly emotional, I could have watched "Beaches" or something. Did people really see "Interstellar" to get a weepy drama?

My opening thoughts read as though I disliked this film. Fact is, I mostly enjoyed it. I was amazed by its use of sound more than the visuals, which I thought were purposely dulled. The color palette for space was nearly black and white but I tend to believe that space isn't "Star Wars" shiny, anyway. The planet-scapes were massive but a little disappointing. The wave world seemed to only exist within the context of the film to reinforce the plot's insistence on impacting the characters with the passing of time. The success of this is illustrated by the effect of time on Romilly back on the docking station. While Cooper and crew are only on the surface of the wave world for a few hours, they return to Endurance to find he has aged over 23 years! This moment hit me more than all others. Imagine being totally isolated for so many years. Romilly even chose to forgo cryo-sleep for the most part.

The TARS robot is potentially this generation's R2D2 and C3PO wrapped into one. At first it seemed like a clumsy square box, but it certainly was no such thing. It was the greatest creation the film offered. The teamwork of TARS and Cooper docking their ship had me leaning in my seat trying to help them lock on to the Endurance. Then, the two of them team up to battle the ominous black hole. And considering that moment, the sequence made astounding use of sound. I've read and tried to comprehend theories of what happens when you enter a black hole, but I've never considered it to be noisy. I thought there was no sound in space, but the on-screen action made me not care about such things. Since so much of time and space is theoretical, you can roll with Nolan's interpretations here.

The second act and its inclusion of Dr. Mann doesn't seem needed except to provide a couple of action sequences.

The final 20 minutes were pretty muddled and hurried. There are too many twists to comprehend and let sink in before the next one pops. A little less time crying and a little more time plotting would have been appreciated.

The dimensions of space and time as we understand them must be expanded here to allow additional theorizing, which was difficult for me even having the most rudimentary understanding of "how things work" (turns out, Math is hard).

So the bottom line is that "Interstellar" mostly worked for me. Since Christopher Nolan is held as one of the current great directors, I feel forced to compare his works against each other. This film was not nearly as successful to me as my favorite Nolan-work, "The Dark Knight", or even its prequel and sequel. It doesn't rank with "The Prestige", either. And honestly, I'd have to watch "Momento" another ten times to know what I think of that mind-bender. This does easily bypass the make-crap-up-as-you-go delivery of "Inception", though.

It is good to see someone being allowed to make big-budget films like this. While I have been complimentary and critical, I certainly lack the ability to do anything approaching this accomplishment. One of the most encouraging things about Nolan is that he's making movies that require people to pay attention in a culture that's losing the ability to concentrate and focus. Odds are that mankind's future is more "Idiocracy" than "Interstellar", but there may be still be some hope for the latter.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 1:57 pm 
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  Movie: Dumbo


  Director: Ben Sharpsteen


  Year: 1941


  My Rating: 6 - Good

I'd never seen "Dumbo" and for the legendary status its gained, I'm surprised by how sad it is. Dumbo, Mrs. Jumbo, and Timothy Q. Mouse are hassled and teased nearly every moment. Only the tenacity of the Mouse keeps Dumbo and his Mother from just giving up. Even though Dumbo wins in the end, the Mouse is the hero.

The animation is surprisingly simple and lacks detail and there is an incredibly odd five minutes late in the film when both Dumbo and the Mouse get drunk by accident (stupid clowns!) and hallucinate a troop of menacing pink elephants. It's a real "WTF" moment and it temporarily puts a halt to all the tears and teasing that Dumbo has to endure.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 8:02 am 
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  Movie: Video Games: The Movie


  Director: Jeremy Snead


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 5 - Good

"Video Games: The Movie" is a well-made, almost educational recount of the history of video gaming, but not so much video games. The business side of video gaming was interesting as was the history of gaming consoles. The way that the film maker presented the history timeline was very informative.

There were a lot of clips of video game play presented and it was fun to briefly see many of the games that I remember. Unfortunately, very little time was spent on the games themselves. If there is a documentary out there that recalls the successes and failures of the actual game play within select titles, I would love to see it.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 7:55 pm 
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  Movie: Night of the Creeps


  Director: Fred Dekker


  Year: 1986


  My Rating: 6 - Good

An alien jettisons an experimental test tube from its spaceship. It lands on Earth in the form of a meteor, releasing slugs that attack a college campus.

Sure, its a B-Movie, but it's a good B-Movie. A cross-section of Horror, Comedy and Science Fiction, "Night of the Creeps" stars Tom Atkins as Detective Cameron. He's cynical and impatient, but he's good at what he does. Atkins wise-cracks and complains his way through this entire movie and it's probably my favorite role that he's played.

The story waivers a bit from traditional zombie flicks. It's fun to watch and some of the kills are clever. The effects aren't great but they're effective and sometime a little gross. Chris, J.C. and Cynthia are the other main characters and they gradually endear themselves.

There's nothing too different about "...Creeps", but it looks good, there's some good gross-outs and it's funny. It accomplishes what it set out to do.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 8:28 pm 
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  Movie: The Town That Dreaded Sundown


  Director: Charles B. Pierce


  Year: 1976


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

This movie is based on the true story of a 1946 murder spree in Texarkana, where there's a hooded killer on the loose.

"The Town That Dreaded Sundown" was a real surprise. It starts out as a documentary and evolves into a terrifying recount of a masked killer that sadistically snuffs out young adults. I say terrifying because the masked killer is genuinely disturbing. And although there is not a lot of gore, the killings are extended moments and they are visceral. I was amazed at the depiction of what is largely the torture of the victims before their deaths.

This is difficult to explain fairly because this is not your typical slasher movie. The murders were never solved and were done without any detectable motive. The police and other law reinforcements try to catch the killer, but he always seems a step ahead of them. And why wouldn't he be? The "law" at times is portrayed as bumbling idiots. There's comedy in this movie, but it's not dark comedy. It tries to get laughs but ineffective police work isn't all that funny.

Contrary to what you'd expect, the story moves along at a good clip. Even those with a short attention span should be able to stay awake.

What an odd flick this is. I would rank it high on my list of '70s Horror.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:58 am 
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  Movie: XMen: Days of Future Past


  Director: 2014


  Year: Bryan Singer


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

There's too much Wolverine again, but the Raven/Eric/Charles conflict and a formidable enemy in Trask and his Sentinels make this a winner. The best thing about this movie? Magneto, the young or old version, is such a great character. And the "future" Sentinels are amazing.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:44 am 
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  Movie: Godzilla


  Director: Roland Emmerich


  Year: 1998


  My Rating: 2 - Poor

I recall seeing this in the theater on opening day. I was so fired up to see it. Over the weeks that followed, I tried to convince myself that I liked it. What a waste.

This movie is awful. The effects are dated. Everything is filmed in the dark and in a torrential downpour. It's tough to determine whether they were trying to hide the poor, early CGI effects or that Godzilla itself was nothing more than a giant lizard. No personality, no purpose. Just a beast wanting to lay eggs! Really...eggs?!?!

The characters are among the most annoying I have ever seen. The movie even goes so far as to try and recreate the raptors in "Jurassic Park" with its own version...baby Godzillas!!! Terrible does not begin to explain it. And to add even more insult to injury, this tries to be funny. Comedy entered into Toho's Godzilla series with 1964's "King Kong vs. Godzilla" and it carried it though to the mid-70s when the Showa Godzilla movie era ended. The Showa films were often juvenile and cornball, but if Emmerich's "Godzilla" is attempting to recreate that whimsy, it fails horrifically.

The only reason I rate this a tick higher is because I've always liked Jean Reno and the final chase scene is ridiculous but entertaining.

I brandish my mighty Whitsbrain Axe and thrust it down...down upon the neck of thee, Godzilla!
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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 4:19 am 
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Whit, Bravo on your Godzilla review.

This movie is just a disaster ( no pun intended). You are correct they gave no personality to Godzilla, When I think of this big green monster, I always think he is benevolent, here there was no rhyme or reason, and the offspring of Godzilla, is He a She? Just wrong.

I liked the special effects, liked the ads way better than the actual movie, I liked the rainy dark appearance, yet see how it may go against the grain of the earlier movies. Sadly Matthew Broderick and Jean Reno could not save this sad excuse for a movie.

Also, got to add the new 2014 movie is so much of an improvement over this film. Godzilla 1998 has no substance, awful plotting, and just is derailed from what Godzilla is all about.

I will go with you Whit, and give it a 2 rating.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:48 am 
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Whit, you do have brilliant revues of films and shows. I'm really conviced that you have a Million Year Mind and that Cathy didn't bring you back! :lol:

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:50 am 
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Well, thanks guys! I'm hardly in any position to be a critic and I'm clearly not a writer.

I just jot my thoughts down for fun and to see what other people think.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:50 am 
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Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:54 pm 
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Just came back from seeing Interstellar - I champion Christopher Nolan ever since seeing Memento, and I continue to enjoy just about every feature film he has made. This was simply awesome - I loved the characters, their humanity, the science, the space exploration, the various planets (dying, dry Earth vs. water world vs. frozen tundra). I was curious whether the film would have that Nolan touch of putting in some sort of twist (or two), putting pieces to a puzzle together, and they were there (to my delight). I've never been disappointed with any of his films, though I prefer some more than others. I even liked TARS and CASE - I felt like it could've been a modern day version of 2001, only this was not as 'artsy' and places more emphasis on human nature.

Here is a list of the movies Nolan has directed:
2014 Interstellar
2012 The Dark Knight Rises
2010 Inception
2008 The Dark Knight
2006 The Prestige
2005 Batman Begins
2002 Insomnia
2000 Memento
1998 Following

There isn't one in there I didn't like, thought I will say (as I've said before) Memento is my favorite, Insomnia my least favorite (though I still enjoy it). The Batman trilogy, for me, is almost in a class of their own simply because they're about my favorite super hero. I own all of his movies (except Following) and plan on purchasing Interstellar when it is released on Blu-Ray. Jonathan & Christopher Nolan wrote the story - they're just such good storytellers IMO. I probably rate this one an 8 or 9 (out of 10).

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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 7:11 am 
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lazyboyx51 wrote:
Just came back from seeing Interstellar - I champion Christopher Nolan ever since seeing Memento, and I continue to enjoy just about every feature film he has made. This was simply awesome - I loved the characters, their humanity, the science, the space exploration, the various planets (dying, dry Earth vs. water world vs. frozen tundra). I was curious whether the film would have that Nolan touch of putting in some sort of twist (or two), putting pieces to a puzzle together, and they were there (to my delight). I've never been disappointed with any of his films, though I prefer some more than others. I even liked TARS and CASE - I felt like it could've been a modern day version of 2001, only this was not as 'artsy' and places more emphasis on human nature.

Here is a list of the movies Nolan has directed:
2014 Interstellar
2012 The Dark Knight Rises
2010 Inception
2008 The Dark Knight
2006 The Prestige
2005 Batman Begins
2002 Insomnia
2000 Memento
1998 Following

There isn't one in there I didn't like, thought I will say (as I've said before) Memento is my favorite, Insomnia my least favorite (though I still enjoy it). The Batman trilogy, for me, is almost in a class of their own simply because they're about my favorite super hero. I own all of his movies (except Following) and plan on purchasing Interstellar when it is released on Blu-Ray. Jonathan & Christopher Nolan wrote the story - they're just such good storytellers IMO. I probably rate this one an 8 or 9 (out of 10).

That is an impressive list of films. I hate to be a fanboy but I saw "The Dark Knight" again yesterday. What a great movie!

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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:04 pm 
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I think Dark Knight is nolans best film, and I had no idea he directed Insomnia. I havent seen that since its release so it might be time for a second viewing. I thought it was okay and might have improved with age. I need to watch Memento Ive been faking on it for to long. It reminds me of The Machinist yet I have no idea how related they are.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 8:21 am 
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  Movie: The Tunnel


  Director: Carlo Ledesma


  Year: 2011


  My Rating: 2 - Poor

My addiction to movies about conspiracies drew me to this story about something lurking in the tunnels under Sydney, and the government isn't telling.

It mixes documentary style interviews with found footage from a camera crew that's hunted by the tunnel dwelling things. It's about as unattractive visually as you can get. The tunnels that the crew is trapped in are grimy and tight. Most of the footage is extremely grainy. If you are claustrophobic, you shouldn't watch this.

There were multiple occasions when I looked away from the screen. Not because of gore or even because something was scary. I just knew there was a cheap jump scare coming and I didn't feel like jumping off my couch. Of course, the same thing happens when my wife taps me on the shoulder when I don't know she's behind me. And guess what? That's not scary either. It's just a surprise.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 8:44 am 
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  Movie: Batman


  Director: Tim Burton


  Year: 1989


  My Rating: 6 - Good

After another viewing of Tim Burton's "Batman", I've come to the conclusion that it's a movie locked within the confines of its late 1980's culture. It was truly a big deal upon release and there was an overwhelming amount of hype surrounding it. Looking at it today under the light of the Nolan "Dark Knight" trilogy and some of the fine "Batman" animated films, it reveals itself as being horribly dated. It's absolutely a product of its time.

The rendering of Gotham is appealingly Burton-esque. Michael Keaton, while an odd choice for the title role, is fun to watch. Jack Nicholson's "Joker" is good and he's entertaining, but there's too much of Nicholson in it. The actor is so recognizable that you know you're watching Jack playing the Joker. Of course, that's pretty much how he is in every movie. I even thought that Kim Basinger was fine as Vicki Vale. Robert Wuhl as newspaper man Knox was annoying and unlikable.

Burton's "Batman" leans more toward "Batman 1966" than "The Dark Knight". That's not a bad thing. It's just that this movie doesn't hold up or live up to the pre-release hype that I remember.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 8:58 am 
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  Movie: I Know That Voice


  Director: Lawrence Shapiro


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 5 - Good

I consider myself an animation fan, and that I believe, requires me to be a fan of voice actors. This documentary certainly explains the challenges and techniques of being a voice actor. All of today's and many of yesterday's most talented voices are here. They don't disappoint, either. A lot of them perform the voices that most of us are familiar with and that makes this pretty fun.

The problem is that many of the actors do their voices but the documentary makers almost never supply an accompanying picture of the character that the actor is performing. This isn't nitpicking because the "impressions" come so fast that your brain doesn't have time to conjure up a visual of the character. It makes the whole documentary feel lazy and that it's really only for those already in the know. Or worse, for the "true" fan boys of animation.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 9:12 am 
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  Movie: Exists


  Director: Eduardo Sánchez


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

The Bigfoot craze is now in full force with the release of a number of Sasquatch themed movies over the past year. I don't see how any of them could be much better than "Exists".

This is a found footage movie that sets up in the Texas woods. A group of friends is headed to a remote cabin for a few days of partying and encounters a crabby bigfoot. So no. This isn't the most original setup, but it is exactly what's needed to move the story forward. The action starts quickly and the intensity stays high for the entire run time. As is required of cabin dwellers in Horror movies, there aren't many personalities that you will fall for. They exist only to be eliminated. There is a lot of bigfoot in this and that is a good thing. When the bigfoot is chasing one of the kids on his bike, it's simultaneously funny and scary. And there is an attack in the cabin that is one of the more visceral and terrifying encounters of recent memory. There is also a twist ending to this that I really enjoyed.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 9:49 am 
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  Movie: The Babadook


  Director: Jennifer West


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 9 - Excellent

"The Babadook" is about a single mother who is trying to raise her troubled son. Years have passed since the death of her husband and the behavior of her boy is pure Hell. And to make matters worse, he is now convinced of a monster living in their home. The monster is called the Babadook.

The most amazing thing about "The Babadook" is the number of ways that its story can be interpreted. You can view it as a story about the difficulties of single parenting, a tale about dealing with grief, a telling of living with a challenging child, or even just about battling insomnia. That's what makes this movie so good. Viewing this only as a monster haunting a house will bring disappointment. You might consider watching this through the same filter as you would "The Shining", with Mister Babadook in the role of Jack Torrance.

Contrary to some reports, this is not one of the "scariest movies ever". It brings the terror, but it is far from horrific. I really enjoyed Essie Davis's portrayal of the tortured mother and Noah Wiseman as the son may have been the most frightening thing about this. Mister Babadook is an interesting creation, a cross between Nosferatu and Mister Hyde. You don't see a lot of him and the creepiest moments are when he seems to appear in some old silent film footage playing on a TV on a particularily sleepless night. The color pallete is a depressing grey/black and the sound engineers really earned their paychecks.

"The Babadook" is a thought-provoking tale and one that should be experienced without any preconceptions. Watch it and roll with what it offers. You will more than likely come away impressed.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 11:41 am 
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  Movie: The Sentinel


  Director: Michael Winner


  Year: 1977


  My Rating: 6 - Good

This hits the mark somewhere between "The Amityville Horror" and "The Omen" as it covers both the evil house and demonic possession themes. Its effectiveness also lies somewhere between the two.

There is one particularly great scene when a shadowy figure behind the door is revealed. It blindly walks forward and our hero attacks it, hacking it up and even providing a little eye trauma.

The problems lie with whole "gateway to Hell" premise as it's not well represented or maybe more specifically, visualized. There are so many stars in this, even an unbelievably indiscreet self-gratification scene by a young Beverly D'Angelo. For my money, Burgess Meredith knocks it out of the park in this.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 11:56 am 
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  Movie: The Emperor’s New Groove


  Director: Mark Dindal


  Year: 2000


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

The voice work by David Spade, John Goodman, Patrick Warburton and Eartha Kitt is all kinds of awesome in "The Emperor's New Groove". This is a genuinely funny movie. It's so lighthearted and fun, bright and colorful, and even the villain is likable. This is one of my favorite Disney movies.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 12:07 pm 
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  Movie: Johnny Carson: King of Late Night


  Director: none


  Year: 2012


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

I have lots of fond memories of "The Tonight Show". Johnny was a funny guy, a great interviewer, and a genuine larger than life personality. This documentary really digs into Johnny "the man" and doesn't spend a lot of time with the history of "The Tonight Show". It turns out that Johnny was a very private guy and an extremely charitable person.

I didn't laugh much at this. Johnny was very successful but clearly struggled in his private life. It's not a story that I really wanted to hear.

There are many interviews in this with huge stars and the influence Johnny had on them and their careers.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 12:24 pm 
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  Movie: Patton


  Director: Franklin J. Schaffner


  Year: 1970


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

As much as this is going to echo what everyone else says, George C. Scott MAKES this movie. I was actually disappointed by the film. The war battles were large in scale but not convincing. I'm willing to dismiss that because this was made in the early 70s, but it doesn't erase the fact that it was kind of a let down.

Overall though, it doesn't matter because George C. Scott is so wonderful to watch. His portrayal of Patton is nothing short of amazing and is one of the more standout performances I've seen.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 8:30 am 
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  Movie: Dark Skies


  Director: Scott Stewart


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 5 - Good

I'm surprised by how run-of-the-mill "Dark Skies" is. There's nothing scary about it and there's not a lot of chemistry between the husband and wife. The most frustrating thing is that this is another example of the personal problems of the characters overwhelming what the movie is about...alien abductions.

I also can't get past the fact that the aliens' visitations of the family were accompanied by bright lights, loud noises, etc. This movie is set in the crowded suburbs. How do the neighbors not notice!?!?

I do like the alien design, even though they are basically the standard template "Greys". There is a twist to the story late in it's run time, also. It's not a big surprise, just unexpected.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 8:41 am 
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  Movie: Batman Returns


  Director: Tim Burton


  Year: 1992


  My Rating: 6 - Good

This sequel is the equal to its predecessor "Batman", in fact, I'd rate it a bit higher. Gotham is even more impressive in its look and style. Michael Keaton is also better the second time around. He seems more comfortable in the Bruce Wayne role (Batman is barely in this).

The addition of Catwoman is useful because it adds the extra conflict with Christopher Walken's "Max Schreck" baddie. I'm definitely not a fan of the portrayal of the Penguin here. He never materializes into a threat to me and I think the character's look and behavior is disgusting. There is no way the people of Gotham would consider him a mayoral candidate.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 9:00 am 
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  Movie: Pandora's Promise


  Director: Robert Stone


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

Before I watched this, I had already made up my mind that nuclear power is a clean and safe form of energy (about 15 years ago, I built a house about ten miles from a nuclear facility).

As was stated in this documentary, there is no way that we will be be able to provide power to satisfy growing demand with existing coal and gas. Wind and solar can't generate the power that will be needed, either. I had read about the breeder reactor and the capability to use the waste that is being stored currently. It is very encouraging technology, at least to the level that I can grasp it.

This documentary also talked about Global Warming, which I've never had much time for, remembering full well the Global Cooling panic from my youth. I have to say that the makers of this documentary made me consider that I should be aware of the details around the Warming theory. To make me rethink a position I've taken previously is the sign of a good documentary.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:21 pm 
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  Movie: Birdman


  Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 3 - Fair

I'll take some advice offered up by this movie. Critics can't do, which is why they're critical, so I'll keep it short. I could never make a movie. But I do have the capacity to either like or dislike a movie after watching it. "Birdman" featured the most pretentious, self-absorbed jerks I think I've ever encountered. I hated every character in this movie. Well, Michael Keaton's character was pathetic but likable. This pretty much confirmed everything I thought Broadway actors were like. If this isn't an accurate portrayal of stage actors, then why paint the characters in such a fashion?

I got sick of the camerawork. The extended shot silliness limited the movie and what it could offer the viewer.

I've read largely positive feedback from people that I normally trust regarding "Birdman" and I'm at a loss.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:59 pm 
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  Movie: Coherence


  Director: James Ward Byrkit


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

A group of friends that I'd never be friends with get together for a dinner party on a night when a comet passes close to the Earth's atmosphere. Alternate realities and Reality show-style bickering ensue.

I seem to be watching movies lately that contain characters that I dislike. It could be that I am getting old and grumpy and am having a hard time liking anybody or it could be that I'm sick of the overly character-driven story trend that now permeates TV and Movies. This story is about a comet that causes parallel realities. There are multiple versions of the same people coexisting within a confined area. The mystery is trying to figure out who is real and who has been duplicated by the comet. That's the story. Unfortunately, too much time is spent on the personal lives, the soap operas of the characters' screwed up personal lives. I wanted more about the science of what was happening not who slept with or cheated on who. I get that without characterization there's nothing to care about, but "Coherence" almost goes too far...almost.

Thankfully, the comet story line is grounded by "Em" (played by Emily Baldoni). She's the only character who keeps her head about her. In other words, she's the one character that keeps us focused on what the movie is about, which is the comet. I liked the ending and was intrigued by how Em evolves over the course of the story.

"Coherence" is not a Horror movie. It is gore free. It also uses something close to a shaky-cam technique, even though it's largely set-bound and occurs in one room. It doesn't look like much, but the story is a twisty good time.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:03 am 
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  Movie: Green Lantern


  Director: Martin Campbell


  Year: 2011


  My Rating: 4 - Fair

I liked the "Lanterns" and really enjoyed seeing their powers put to use. The problem with this is there's this amazing comic book concept of a team of superheroes who protect the Universe and we spend the majority of the time dealing with Hal Jordan being a screw-up in his job, life, and relationship with a woman. So, the majority of the run time is given to presenting Hal as a "regular Joe" instead of taking us through adventures featuring his incredible new powers.

I know special effects are expensive so next time, make a Drama or a Romantic Comedy instead.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:17 am 
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  Movie: Paranormal Activity


  Director: Oren Peli


  Year: 2009


  My Rating: 6 - Good

Watched this yesterday. Had trouble sleeping last night. Congratulations, "Paranormal Activity". Mission accomplished.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:38 pm 
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whitsbrain wrote:

  Movie: Patton


  Director: Franklin J. Schaffner


  Year: 1970


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

As much as this is going to echo what everyone else says, George C. Scott MAKES this movie. I was actually disappointed by the film. The war battles were large in scale but not convincing. I'm willing to dismiss that because this was made in the early 70s, but it doesn't erase the fact that it was kind of a let down.

Overall though, it doesn't matter because George C. Scott is so wonderful to watch. His portrayal of Patton is nothing short of amazing and is one of the more standout performances I've seen.


:o This is a great film and George C. Scott won an academy award for his performance which he refused. Interestingly this film was released during the height of the Vietnam War and was popular with hawks and doves. They both said it showed THEIR side. :wtf:

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:27 am 
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Beware The Creeper wrote:
whitsbrain wrote:

  Movie: Patton


  Director: Franklin J. Schaffner


  Year: 1970


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

As much as this is going to echo what everyone else says, George C. Scott MAKES this movie. I was actually disappointed by the film. The war battles were large in scale but not convincing. I'm willing to dismiss that because this was made in the early 70s, but it doesn't erase the fact that it was kind of a let down.

Overall though, it doesn't matter because George C. Scott is so wonderful to watch. His portrayal of Patton is nothing short of amazing and is one of the more standout performances I've seen.


:o This is a great film and George C. Scott won an academy award for his performance which he refused. Interestingly this film was released during the height of the Vietnam War and was popular with hawks and doves. They both said it showed THEIR side. :wtf:


Wait...I still rated it "Very Good", didn't I?

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:06 am 
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:D Yes, yes you did! That why you are the million year genius mind! :clap:

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:19 am 
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  Movie: Willow Creek


  Director: Bobcat Goldthwait


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 4 - Fair

The unfortunate thing about "Willow Creek" is that the two main characters are instantly likable and the chemistry between them seems very real. I knew they were going to run acrosss something in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, because that's what the movie is about, but I almost hoped that they wouldn't. When they do, it's so underwhelming and frankly, baffling, that I was mad that the enjoyable characters suffered their fate at the hands of something so lame.

If you want to get your "Bigfoot" fix, see "Exists" instead.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:42 am 
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  Movie: At the Devil’s Door


  Director: Nicholas McCarthy


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 6 - Good

This is an "Omen"-style demonic horror that pulls a "Psycho" and then ends with a whimper. I thought this was going to be a found footage movie but was pleased that it was not. The camera work is engaging. There are a couple of well-earned jump scares. They're not cheap and the source of the scares are compelling. It's no cat jumping out of the closet or jolt from a musical cue.

The ladies in the lead roles are attractive but I didn't buy that they were sisters. There is very little in the way of gore and there is some sustained mild scariness.

The red raincoat of the antagonist was reminiscent of scenes from the old Donald Sutherland flick "Don't Look Now". The demon is barely seen but looks to be a creative representation of the creature.

I had heard and read a few good things about this before I watched it. It was good, but nothing really separates it from other recent low-budget Horror films.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:05 am 
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  Movie: The Guest


  Director: Adam Wingard


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

Dan Stevens plays "The Guest" with about as much charisma as I can remember from any recent film lead. From moment one, the guy is as cool as can be. The guest's name is David and he is a mystery, but he is awesome in every imaginable way. From helping kid's with homework to carrying multiple kegs of beer to a party, David is nothing short of amazing.

The first half of this film is great but as David devolves into something else, so does the movie. The action scenes really fall flat and the climax is a cliched chase through a funhouse. Believe me, you've seen it before. The ending really doesn't close up the story. That's okay with me, but the other person I watched this with was annoyed by it.

Even with those faults, I would definitely recommend this.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:40 pm 
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I really enjoy your reviews of films whit, I probably haven't said that enough...(and I hope the others enjoy reading them also)

The time it takes into posting them here is appreciated , and I know you do it elsewhere too, I reckon.

I really wish you would do the same on some of the popular sci-fi tv (and similar) shows, but sadly.........you don't watch enough of those I suppose. :(


(and the way you look at many shows with scorn, it would most likely be largely unfavorable reviews, especially those with longer arcs) :ROTF:




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Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:56 am 
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TZ DZ Fan wrote:
I really enjoy your reviews of films whit, I probably haven't said that enough...(and I hope the others enjoy reading them also)

The time it takes into posting them here is appreciated , and I know you do it elsewhere too, I reckon.

I really wish you would do the same on some of the popular sci-fi tv (and similar) shows, but sadly.........you don't watch enough of those I suppose. :(


(and the way you look at many shows with scorn, it would most likely be largely unfavorable reviews, especially those with longer arcs) :ROTF:




TZ DZ fan

Well thanks, TZ! I have my own selfish reasons for posting these reviews, and I've probably mentioned it before. It has helped me to become a better writer. I'm never going to become an author of any sort, obviously. But it has helped me in my current job.

I don't know that I look upon TV series with scorn (well, maybe "Lost"), but I just don't like seeing 100 episodes of the same characters and story lines. That's all it is, really.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:09 am 
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  Movie: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey


  Director: Peter Jackson


  Year: 2012


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

This was unexpectedly good. I was surprised at how quickly this nearly three hour movie flew by. There's a lot of CGI but given the Fantasy aspect, it was almost perfectly used. The character of Bilbo Baggins is very likable and of course, Gandalf is the center that everything truly revolves around.

I had heard and read that this film is loaded with filler, but I really considered it to be smaller stories within a larger one. Kind of a Fantasy anthology. I still don't know why Gandalf doesn't just whip up his moth/eagles and fly everyone to their destinations but I suppose that doesn't make for much of an adventure.

This is a much better start to "The Hobbit" trilogy than I expected and I'm looking forward to the remaining films in the series.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:24 am 
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  Movie: Blood Glacier


  Director: Marvin Kren


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 6 - Good

The practical effects were lots of fun. There were some neat monster creations that were puppets, not pixels. I appreciated that the cast weren't a bunch of beautiful twenty-somethings placed in a perilous situation. The characters were mostly unattractive and aged. I wouldn't say many of their reactions to the dangers around them were logical, but it made for some entertaining side conflicts when they weren't being attacked by a horned beast or splattered with some sort of mutant goop.

I suppose the setting will remind many people of John Carpenter's "The Thing", as will the monster creations, but this is nowhere near that class of movie.

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