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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:54 am 
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  Movie: Harbinger Down


  Director: Alec Gillis


  Year: 2015


  My Rating: 6 - Good

This is just a retelling of John Carpenter's "The Thing" on a ship, but it did have some goofy effects that won me over. I wouldn't say they were good effects, but they were weird. I also wouldn't call the monster anything other than hard to define, but I was strangely fond of that, too.

And you can never go wrong with Lance Henriksen. This is worth a watch.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:24 am 
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  Movie: Kingsman: The Secret Service


  Director: Matthew Vaughn


  Year: 2015


  My Rating: 4 - Fair

I've been forcing myself to always write a blurb about every movie I watch. I don't think I have anything earth-shattering to say, but anything that improves my keyboarding skills is a plus. Well, that's not the only reason. Sometimes it's fun to get your thoughts typed out and see if maybe someone will offer their own opinion.

I have been dreading the thought of laying out a few thoughts about "Kingsman: The Secret Service". I really, really want to like this movie. I think it looks great, has cool performances by Taron Egerton and Colin Firth, and spoofs spy flicks, which is always fun. But this movie is too mean-spirited for me to get past. The slaughter scene in the church, even if everyone there is being driven wild by Samuel Jackson's evil bad-guy plot, is cowardly. The message is that it's okay for everyone in that church to be disposed of because their personal beliefs and opinions are stupid. I'd bet a little digging would find that the filmmakers have a distaste for silly, religious people. I don't expect movie makers to always offer two-sides of every coin (i.e., not all religious people are crazy), but this movie chose to victimize a group that based on their beliefs would choose not to fight back.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 8:50 pm 
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  Movie: Elf


  Director: John Favreau


  Year: 2003


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

This is the Christmas movie that the ladies of my house like to watch over the Holidays. For the men, "Christmas Vacation" is the preferred flick. This past Christmas, I agreed to watch "Elf" again but I griped about how I didn't really like it. But, once I sat down and paid attention I realized that this fish-out-of-water tale is a lot of fun.

Will Farrell is as subdued as is possible (for him) and the first half of the movie is really good. When he helps Santa get his sleigh out of Central Park on Christmas Eve in the final act, it really loses momentum.

The best part of this is the interaction between Buddy the Elf and his gruff, businessman father, played by James Caan.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 9:09 pm 
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  Movie: Contact


  Director: Robert Zemeckis


  Year: 1997


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

The first time I saw "Contact" I was thrilled by its story of a woman (Jodie Foster) that travels somewhere else in the Universe. I loved the discovery of the signal, sent by unseen aliens, which turns out to be "blueprints" for the construction of a transportation device. The thought of traveling through space to planets and galaxies that are light years away is something that I hope is part of the deal in the Afterlife.

Anyway, the build up to the assembly of the device is entertaining. I was really pulling for Ellie and could sense the excitement and fear she was going through. Unfortunately, the movie stumbles when Ellie reaches her destination, but it's mostly rescued by what I consider a satisfying twist ending.

This film pits faith in God against Science, which is a polarizing topic among those who love or hate "Contact". Watching it a few times over the years, it's never been as interesting as my initial viewing was, but it's still a solid Sci-Fi drama.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 9:26 pm 
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  Movie: The Frame


  Director: Jamin Winans


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

Two people's lives collide in an alternate reality, where together, they fight an evil entity who is trying to destroy the world.

You want a movie that is tough to categorize? This is one you could choose. There were moments in this when I actually got a little freaked out. Primarily in the first act when our two main characters first encounter each other. I'm not going to say how this happens because it's the most enjoyable part of the movie.

There is also some extremely strange interaction between the characters and we, the viewers. I wouldn't say it's breaking the fourth wall, but one of the characters actually alters the "frame" of the movie. It's quite strange and in the end, I'm still not certain I understand what I watched. But I don't care because it was interesting and different.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 9:47 pm 
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  Movie: Splice


  Director: Vincenzo Natali


  Year: 2009


  My Rating: 4 - Fair

"Splice" turned out to be a disappointment. A couple of brilliant but pretentious scientists create a being that brings them closer together. Later, one of them ends up maiming and the other screwing it. So, yeah...it went there.

This could have been a smarter tale of Science sticking its syringe where it shouldn't have. Instead, it tried to be a Horror movie but wasn't scary. The ending didn't come as a surprise but it did make me wonder what the future of the being might be.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:46 pm 
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  Movie: Cold In July


  Director: Jim Mickle


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

Another really good film by Jim Mickle. It changes directions a number of times to the point where I had no idea what was going to happen next. The story really turns ugly about two-thirds of the way through. But the strength of the characters, particularly Sam Shepard and the scene-stealing Don Johnson, keep everything from getting overwhelmingly dark. And let me just say that the crimes committed are shocking.

I'd personally score this even higher, but it turns into too much of a typical gunfight at the end. Did I mention how good Don Johnson is in this?

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 6:55 am 
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  Movie: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation


  Director: Christopher McQuarrie


  Year: 2015


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

Tom Cruise's action movies just keep bringing the goods. The fact that this guy does most of his own stunts is a big selling point for me. I think he's insane, and his stunt-work solidifies that. But the best thing about this movie was Rebecca Ferguson. She was without question one of the most capable special agents I've seen, man or woman.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:13 pm 
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  Movie: The Vanishing


  Director: George Sluzier


  Year: 1988


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

This Dutch film tells the story of a woman who disappears from a cafe and her lover who searches for her for the next three years.

This is a slow film without any action to speak of. I never got impatient with it because I was interested to see whether the man finds out what happened to the woman. He does.

In what has to be one of the most shocking endings I've ever seen, "The Vanishing" reveals what it's known for: a dark, merciless conclusion.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 8:58 am 
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Director: Micheal Bay Year:2015 My rating: 7

This is an urban warfare movie and not much of a political thriller. The action scenes are fantastic but there doesn't seem to be much reason or rhyme in what's going on in Libya. The reaction from the US Government is very interesting and some say this isn't going to be helpful for one Presidential candidate but you don't really get that from the film. It is VERY long so go to the restroom before it begins. Action scenes good, dialouge and thoughfulness, meh.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2016 9:35 am 
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  Movie: Q


  Director: Larry Cohen


  Year: 1982


  My Rating: 5 - Good

Q is for Quirky...as in Michael Moriarty's performance. The impression I got before going in was that the winged beast would be the strangest thing in this movie. Instead, it's Moriarty. I shouldn't stop there. David Carradine is odd, too. In fact, most everything here is off a step. The dialogue is goofy and the conversations between characters is poorly timed or something. It's almost like they were ad-libbing much of the time.

The stop motion animation is pretty weak, but it's good enough to make the final battle between Q and the police at the top of the Chrysler Building a lot of fun. It ultimately makes the movie worth watching.

There are a lot of nice, early-'80s aerial shots of New York City and it makes me wonder how much of it that director Larry Cohen was responsible for. This is the guy who directed classics like "It's Alive" and "The Stuff".

There were many times that "Q" gave me the same feeling I get when watching old episodes of "Kolchak: The Night Stalker".

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:02 am 
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  Movie: Children of Men


  Director: Alfonso Cuarón


  Year: 2006


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

Ten years after its release, I finally watched one of the most respected and raved about Science Fiction films of the last...well, all-time. I think this is a case of personally waiting too long and hearing too many amazing things about a film. My expectations were sky high.

What I know I liked immensely were the extended war zone scenes. How something like them was directed, that one uncut scene near the end of the film, it was jaw-dropping. I don't think I've seen something quite like that ever. I also liked Clive Owen as the reluctant guardian of the first child born in decades.

But I was not wowed by the story. It's not an earth-shatteringly inventive story. It's not the most interesting, everyone-is-dying scenario that I've seen or read. And that is just my personal opinion. I'm sure many like this particular depiction better than many that I enjoy. I like the gritty, grimy dystopian look, but maybe I've seen and played too many video games that look just like it.

I'm not rating it as I am because I don't think it's artistically deserving of a higher score. It just didn't impact me as it has others.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:29 am 
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  Movie: Nightcrawler


  Director: Dan Gilroy


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 9 - Excellent

I first watched "Nightcrawler" about six months ago and was so blown away that I didn't jot down any thoughts as I normally do. I like to record my opinions on things like movies, books, and music because I am a mostly obsessed record keeper. I kept thinking that watching "Nightcrawler" was so unexpectedly enjoyable that I must not have been paying full attention. I've never been a Jake Gyllenhaal fan at all and I'd never even heard of this Dan Gilroy guy. I kept telling myself that I needed to just watch it again, but my movie watchlist kept calling to me, so I never watched it again...until last night.

Last night's re-watch confirmed my first viewing. Jake Gyllenhaal is mesmerizing as Louis Bloom, the thief who stumbled upon the wonderful world of TV news. Louis is sympathetic and despicable. Is he the pro or antagonist? I still have no idea. He's criminal and hero at once. The things he does are rotten. He's so weird and dysfunctional, yet smart and manipulative. He's seriously one of the neatest characters I've seen in a long time.

Rick (Riz Ahmed) is the guy that you really want to pull for. He's Louis's first employee and pathetically naive. Until the final act, when he actually manages to manipulate Louis. Again, does this film know what it wants me to think or believe?

Nothing is really as it seems here. This is a fun, tense film that will keep you guessing and entertained.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:02 am 
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  Movie: Pod


  Director: Mickey Keating


  Year: 2015


  My Rating: 3 - Fair

The opening scene of "Pod" does a nice job of setting the mood for what I anticipated would be a little story about a monster that terrorizes a snowy winter cabin. I mean, I wasn't expecting anything more than that. What I got was nothing of the sort.

The first 50 minutes of "Pod" is comprised of three people yelling at each other with one guy acting insane. Well, overacting actually. The final half hour offers one suspenseful moment that is ruined by an actress that hysterically screams for way too long. There was also one moment when the main character thinks he sees something in the cellar. It's a good moment for certain, but it's later ruined with a cheap jump scare.

There's also an instance when I was surprised by a secondary character and his actions, which almost paid for the debt incurred by having to sit through the first hour. But the whole thing is ruined (again) by the very last second of the movie, a manipulative wink of the filmmaker's eye toward the viewer.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 6:59 pm 
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  Movie: Gone Girl


  Director: David Fincher


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

This has been out for over a year but I still don't want to take a chance on spoiling any of the many surprises it has in store if you haven't seen it yet.

I normally don't care for films like "Gone Girl". When there's little to no redeeming value in any of the characters, it always concerns me that the general public thinks this is the way most people behave. And speaking of the public, they are portrayed here as easy manipulated by the media. This is of course, largely true and I think Fincher nails it. I personally hate the news media and hopefully a film like this might open the eyes of many who lap up any and every thing they feed us.

As I mentioned, there are a lot of twists and turns here. I didn't find much to like in Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike). One is more despicable than the other, but both are immensely warped. Nick's sister Margo (Carrie Coon) and Detective Boney (Kim Dickens) are a couple of neat characters, both presented here as well adjusted and caring toward family and career.

I would have rated this higher except for a dissatisfying ending. It features a conclusion that I would normally like (it's pretty dark), but the overall statement it makes seems like a finger pointed back at the viewer, asserting that it's generally the way that real life couples think.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:34 am 
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Hey whit-
As always I enjoy your reviews, I pinch myself here and there and make sure I remind you in this thread. Some of us do read these. :dance:

And I appreciate the fact that you generally stay away from spoilers, which I am overly anal about.


Anyway- I have stumbled on a site online, where I can stream many current movies. Well, current as in the last few years anyway.
My plan is to start watching one here and there.
As you know, I'm more of a TV kinda guy, but I need to start slipping in a good sci-fi movie here and there.

I will probably start asking your opinion here in this thread, or list a few choices then proceed from there.
Like , "Whit, which of these do you recommend first, A,B,C" or something like that.
This thread is mammoth now, there are hundreds of reviews at this point.

Keep the reviews coming sir.
BTW- Unless the board info was wrong, you just had another birthday. Happy birthday brother- 29 and holding right? :ROTF:



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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:50 am 
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Thank you sir. I did have a birthday.

Cool! I'd be glad to offer recommendations. I've been watching a lot of movies lately, thanks to the usual cruel upper Midwest winter. Can't wait for April.

I also track all of my movie watching on Letterboxd.com, which I have a link to here in all in my posts' signatures. It's the same thing as I post here, but it looks snazzier and shows Lists that I create (Best of/Worst of lists, Watchlist, etc.). One other thing I like on Letterboxd is that you can click "Tags" and it will group things by whatever tags I've specified and also allow them to be sorted anyway you like. It's pretty much a way to get recommendations from me without asking.

I basically have been tracking movies there for my own reference, but it's certainly a great way to share socially.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:17 am 
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TZ DZ Fan wrote:
Hey whit-
Some of us do read these. :dance:



Co-Sign. Ive seen about 75 percent of all the films Whit has reviewed, and have actually watched quite a few films based on his recommendation.
Ive avoided quite a few as well. :evil:


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Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:53 am 
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Awesome! I wouldn't say I'm the great purveyor of movie expertise, but I'm glad you guys look at these. It's fun for me.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:55 am 
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  Movie: Avengers: Age of Ultron


  Director: Joss Whedon


  Year: 2015


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

Another super hero movie. They're becoming less fun overall because they have to keep topping themselves. Bigger action. Badder villains. I think there is a time coming very soon when people are going to tire of them.

I have to give this a "very good" rating. It's amazing visually. The actors are enjoyable. The action is crazy. The villain is great with Ultron being the best thing about the movie. There. Done.

Here's what bugs me (and to be fair, they're not all exclusive to this movie):
Every hero has to have several of their own moments.
You know none of the main heroes will die.
Attacks from the villains are always turned away, no matter how massive.
Thor is too powerful when compared to the others. Why not call Thor every time there's a problem?
Where does Tony Stark find the time?

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Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 9:14 am 
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  Movie: The Equalizer


  Director: Antoine Fuqua


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 6 - Good

Where does McCall the Equalizer rank with all the other super secret agents out there? How does he compare with the likes of "John Wick", "Taken", or "Kingsmen"?

Denzel Washington is cool. There is just no way around it. His humble demeanor and the way he shows no rage adds to his character. He's got a license to kill, but regrets his actions. But those bad guys, they're just so...bad. He has no choice. McCall knows it. And I know it too because the bad guys have lots of blue tattoos of skulls and demons and stuff.

The secret agent genre is flourishing but I think more accurately, the geriatric secret agent genre is growing. It's like there's a Senior Secret Agent tour if you're 50 or older.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:59 pm 
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  Movie: Xtro


  Director: Harry Bromley Davenport


  Year: 1982


  My Rating: 2 - Poor

I can't believe all of the positive reviews for this mess. How high were the people that made this? Its disjointed scenes, especially in the second half, made absolutely no sense. I get that the abducted father comes back to Earth as an alien to retrieve his son. But then he, with help from a midget clown and its egg dispensing nanny machine, leave little Xtros to seed the Earth. I think?

I love practical effects. Even the old, 1950's Sci-Fi movies with the stiff monsters with no range of movement. But the only effects I cared about in "Xtro" were the first few minutes that featured the crab-walking alien in the woods. I can't even bring myself to give it credit for being one of the weirdest movies I've ever seen.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 2:32 pm 
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whitsbrain wrote:
Xtro ; Harry Bromley Davenport ; 1982 ; 2 - Poor ; I can't believe all of the positive reviews for this mess.
How high were the people that made this?
Its disjointed scenes,
I can't even bring myself to give it credit for being one of the weirdest movies I've ever seen. ; Image


I have heard that Xtro was a great low budget classic. I have also heard it was a low budget piece of trash. I haven't even been able to find any films in this series ever, so Ive yet to take the Xtro plunge. Did you find this on DVD? I cant imagine it being played on TV, not in the US, and not for many years.

I don't suppose you will be watching Xtro II: The Second Encounter or Xtro 3: Watch the Skies anytime soon then? :D :ROTF:

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Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 12:57 pm 
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StillValleyBard wrote:
I don't suppose you will be watching Xtro II: The Second Encounter or Xtro 3: Watch the Skies anytime soon then? :D :ROTF:

I found Xtro on YouTube and watched a crappy copy of it there for free.

And no, I will not be watching Xtro 2 or 3.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 7:55 pm 
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  Movie: The Martian


  Director: Ridley Scott


  Year: 2015


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

This wasn't really what I expected. Turns out, "The Martian" wasn't entirely about a man stranded on Mars. Sure, there was a lot of that, but there was almost as much time spent back on Earth with NASA, planning and plotting the rescue of Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon).

This was also quite funny. I'm not a Matt Damon fan, but he was really easy to pull for and there was nice chemistry between him, NASA, and the crew that had accidentally left him stranded on Mars.

It's gotten to the point where a lot of special effects are so good, you just forget about them and lose yourself in the story. "The Martian" was one of those instances. The red planet was incredible.

I did think that the world coming together, pulling for Watney's rescue, was well intended but a bit corny. Maybe that's because I've been reading about the horrors of World War I and the millions of dead that were basically brainwashed into fighting a meaningless war. I've gotten cynical to the point of not believing so many resources would have been brought to saving just one man. Or maybe even more cynical in thinking it shouldn't have been attempted.

Watching what Ridley Scott has created here has made me want to go back and give "Prometheus" another try (almost). And while I was watching, I couldn't help but think how much I preferred "The Martian" over the other most recent near-Earth space adventure, "Gravity".

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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:47 pm 
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I have debated on watching this one recently. The Martian.



Seems to have enough going for it, and it certainly looks right in my wheelhouse.

I may just cave in soon.



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Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 am 
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TZ DZ Fan wrote:
I have debated on watching this one recently. The Martian.

Seems to have enough going for it, and it certainly looks right in my wheelhouse.

I may just cave in soon.

TZ DZ Fan

Try it. You'll like it.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 9:44 am 
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  Movie: Collateral


  Director: Michael Mann


  Year: 2004


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

This isn't anything too earth-shatteringly different from a story perspective, but was still very engrossing. Two things stand out. The film looks great. There are plenty of amazing city scapes that'll drop your jaw. Second, Tom Cruise as bad guy is loads of fun. Plus, I like the silver-haired look.

I've seen plenty of Tom Cruise movies, especially the more recent stuff he's cranked out. For my money, I don't think there has been a more enjoyable and consistent action-movie actor than Cruise over the last 15 or 20 years.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 9:57 am 
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  Movie: Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles


  Director: Chuck Workman


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 6 - Good

Given the subject matter, I found this to be kind of underwhelming. There is a very short list of moments in Entertainment that exceed the significance of the radio broadcast of "War of the Worlds" and the influence of "Citizen Kane". Even to my talent-less eyes and ears, he was a master.

I would recommend this documentary as a lesson in Film history. But I was a bit letdown. Maybe it scored lower with me than I thought it would because if I had ever met Welles in real life, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have liked him.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:24 am 
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  Movie: Creep


  Director: Patrick Brice


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

Mark Duplass was really good as a weird man that hires another guy to follow him around and film him all day. This was a strange movie. It manages to be funny and scary but really frustrating, too. It's a found footage flick, but keeps the format fresh by surprising you with different perspectives from time to time. There are a few twists and turns that I didn't expect, and I didn't really know what the characters were going to do from one moment to the next.

But above everything else, I think "Creep" contains a few perfect examples of the difference in what is truly scary and what is only a shock. In other words, there are several moments of true terror combined with very silly and self-knowing jump scares. In fact, I think the director was actually making fun of how stupid jump scares are. There are a number of times the main character jumps out from behind a door, out of the bushes, etc. There is nothing scary about these moments, it only makes you jump. I am so sick of people thinking that this translates to scary. It's no different than if someone taps you on the shoulder from behind when you aren't expecting it. This is typically what stupid teenage moviegoers think is scary.

But there are a few very cool scares here. I won't spoil them but one features a mask and the other a window. You'll know them when you see them.

By the way, there is no gore in this movie. I can't remember ever seeing any blood at all. So if you are someone who doesn't watch Horror because of the potential for blood and guts, that won't be an issue if you watch "Creep".

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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:32 am 
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  Movie: Extraordinary Tales


  Director: Raul Garcia


  Year: 2015


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

This is an animated Horror anthology film featuring five Edgar Allan Poe stories. They are all beautifully drawn or computer generated. It's clear that this was a passion project for the filmmakers.

I think my favorite of the lot, both in animation and narration was "The Tell-Tale Heart" featuring the voice of Bela Lugosi. I don't know the history of the Lugosi voice track, but its scratchy, popping quality really added to the downright otherworldly animation.

The other stories featured are "The Pit and the Pendulum", "The Fall of the House of Usher", "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar", and "The Masque of the Red Death". I think of these, the comic book animation stylings of "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" resonated the most with me, while "The Masque of the Red Death" looked great but offered no narration and is a bit tough to follow unless you know the story already.

"Extraordinary Tales" isn't scary or horrific but it's pretty amazing to watch and has a few eerie moments that make it fun. I'd recommend at least two viewings to appreciate it the most.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:02 am 
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  Movie: Bug


  Director: William Friedkin


  Year: 2006


  My Rating: 6 - Good

I thought I was this huge William Friedkin fan. Then I realized that the only movies that I've ever seen that he has directed are "The Exorcist", "Cruising", and "Deal of the Century". Not exactly high-ranking on my personal favorite Directors list.

One other amazing thing he directed was a story featured in the 1980's revival of "The Twilight Zone" called "Nightcrawlers". "Bug" feels a lot like a new interpretation of that same "Nightcrawlers" story. That's a good thing.

"Nightcrawlers" was intense and so is "Bug", but "Bug" takes some hard turns into weirdness that I still can't tell if I enjoyed or not. I don't want to spoil it even though this is ten years old, but I'll just state that I want to view this as the conspiracy theories of Peter (Michael Shannon) being true as opposed to psychosis. And while I'm on the topic of Shannon, I couldn't help but laugh at him jumping around a bedroom naked for about 10 minutes. Friedkin manages to hide Shannon's naughty bits similarly to how Jay Roach kept Mike Myers's family jewels concealed in "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery". It was inadvertently funny and took me out of the story. Set that aside though, and Shannon is off the rails nuts and excellent at it, by the way.

Ashley Judd is pretty amazing here. I'm not a fan, but she impressed me a lot. I liked her character until the end when she falls off the deep end. I'm wondering what the average Ashley Judd fan would think about "Bug". Actually, I'm having fun imagining the shock they would be in.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:20 am 
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  Movie: Wild Tales


  Director: Damián Szifrón


  Year: 2015


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

I like that anthologies seem to be gaining in popularity. I've always loved short stories and the way that they are easily translated to movies. "Wild Tales" is a release out of Argentina that features six stories that range from air travel to wedding receptions.

As is the case with any anthology, there were some stories that I preferred over others. But I was entertained by every one of them. Each brought a healthy dose of suspense and the ones I liked more than others were largely based on how each one ended.

These shorts all look great and are all subtitled. If you are someone who won't watch something because it's subtitled, all I can offer is that you grow up. You won't even realized that you are reading subtitles after about two minutes.

My favorites segments here occur early in the movie. I'll rank them:

1. Gabriel Pasternak (the one with the plane)
2. Road Rage (funny)
3. Parking Ticket (kind of a "Falling Down" storyline)
4. Restaurant
5. Proposal
6. Wedding

The first three are very fun and the bottom three are entertaining but end pretty flat.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:21 pm 
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  Movie: 10 Cloverfield Lane


  Director: Dan Trachtenberg


  Year: 2016


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

I am a big fan of "Cloverfield". I loved the monster, the effects, the viral marketing, even the shaky cam. It's the best found footage movie ever.

Like everyone else, I was shocked to hear they were making a "Cloverfield" sequel. I watched the first trailer for the new movie and searched for any kind of a hint that this would be a continuation of the original story. I never found it, so I decided to stay away from any other information prior to the release of "10 Cloverfield Lane".

If you're reading this, you've heard that there isn't a giant monster here. That is, unless you count John Goodman. After seeing this, I can see how the movie could be tied to the first, but it's by the slimmest of threads.

The cast here is great. The direction is terrific. I had no idea that Dan Trachtenberg could do this. He'd been nothing more than the quiet one on the old Revision 3 web show, "The Totally Rad Show" (I miss it). It's going to be fun seeing what he does next.

John Goodman is awesome as a mostly calm, psychotic survivalist keeping two hostages. This is a really taut thriller. It kept me riveted and constantly guessing what would happen next. The last 20 minutes is bonkers. The story takes a hard left turn into the unexpected. The only thing that knocks it down from a potentially excellent rating from me is the last moment of the film. It didn't quite satisfy, but I want to see it again to judge my initial reaction.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 5:01 pm 
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  Movie: The Forbidden Room


  Director: Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson


  Year: 2016


  My Rating: 1- Poor

Oh! I understand. I'm not supposed to understand. Wow! Isn't that cool...

I somehow managed to watch this until there were 38 minutes left. That's when mustache hair started to dream and that's when I decided I had better things to do.

It looked neat, though. There is some kind of compliment to silent films here...I suppose.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:44 pm 
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  Movie: The Descent


  Director: Neil Marshall


  Year: 2005


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

This is a really well made Horror film. It's got a lot of tricks up its sleeve. It's claustrophobic. It's dark. There's questionable motives and morals. And, there's meat-eating monsters. Other than that, there's nothing to be scared of.

I wouldn't say that I loved this movie but I'm scoring it high because I respect how well it does what it sets out to do. I personally was a bit turned off at how a couple of the girls turned into action heroes. They were regular killing machines. There were also too many jump scares but they were balanced by some good suspense.

The R-rated ending can be interpreted a few ways, none of which I really cared for. But this was a well acted and well directed 90 minutes.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 5:18 pm 
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  Movie: Spectre


  Director: Sam Mendes


  Year: 2015


  My Rating: 4 - Fair

I still think Daniel Craig is a great James Bond. However, everything else about "Spectre" is flat and boring. Another movie with Bond going rogue. Has every one of Craig's Bond adventures had that story element? I can't remember at the moment, but it sure seems like it.

I don't know how the villain of this movie could have possibly planned things out to the extent that he did to get Bond into the position he needs him to be in to endlessly monologue and torture him. There are so many ridiculously silly things that the villain forgets to do to ensure that Bond can't escape with one of his gadgets. You've got him all tied up. Just shoot him already!

But the worst and most disappointing thing about "Spectre" is that Bond survives most of the predicaments he gets in with nothing but dumb luck. I think Q must have developed a lucky horseshoe gadget that 007 has shoved up his ass for the duration of this movie.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 5:40 pm 
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  Movie: Tales from the Hood


  Director: Rusty Cundieff


  Year: 1995


  My Rating: 5 - Good

A very different anthology Horror with stories about monstrosities that aren't what you'd expect. "Tales From the Hood" is harsh and features terrible people doing horrible things. Through the first half of the movie it played like typical Horror, but as it neared it's conclusion, it turned into a shocking and brutal movie.

This is filled with social commentary and is loaded with stories where the bad guys are punished for their evil ways. The vengeance of the victimized is paid in full here and the ending is shocking and vicious. I did not have much fun watching this, and to the film maker's credit, I think that was the goal.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 6:15 pm 
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  Movie: San Andreas


  Director: Brad Peyton


  Year: 2015


  My Rating: 6 - Good

"San Andreas" was just as big and stupid as I thought it would be. It reminded me of every other big disaster film of the last decade or so. You know, "The Day After Tomorrow", "2012", "Dante's Peak", that type of deal. But for as corny and predictable as this movie was, I was totally entertained.

Somehow, Dwayne Johnson's character was able to fly around in a rescue helicopter and actually save no one. Well, other than his wife and daughter. Anyone else caught along the entire crumbling California coast was toast, because Dwayne wasn't saving them. But then, who can blame him. He's married to Carla Gugino. I'd take the straightest line possible, too.

I found myself feeling a bit guilty for a moment or two about how much I was getting a charge out of the total carnage. Skyscrapers toppled, the ground split open and swallowed up whole suburbs and neighborhoods. And then to top if all off, look out for the Tsunami! Freighters and battleships were no match for Nature's wrath, as they were washed up over the Golden Gate bridge and into San Francisco, left hanging precariously from shattered buildings.

But Mother Nature herself was no match for The Rock. Anything in his way. Anything falling from above or falling out from under him was merely delaying his inevitable success in saving his family. It had me in stitches. I was laughing and shouting, "Hell Yeah, Dwayne!!!"

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Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 7:14 pm 
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  Movie: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice


  Director: Zack Snyder


  Year: 2015


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

I've always been more attracted to DC Comics than Marvel. Which is why it's been a bummer that other than Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy, DC has under-performed. I did like "Man of Steel". Its scope and incredible action, to the point of almost being too much, was memorable. Its scenes have stuck with me as much as any other action movie of recent years.

I've never gone into a super hero movie expecting an incredibly tight story but always with an expectation of amazing sights and effects. And that is exactly what Zach Snyder serves up here. The positives of the film far outweighed the negatives for me. The opening action that follows Bruce Wayne racing through Metropolis, a scene stitched into Zod's terraforming attack from "Man of Steel", was inspired. And I have to say, Ben Affleck's portrayal of Bruce Wayne and Batman is nothing short of fantastic. I thought that Batman would be flat and uninteresting here, but he's been positioned as a capable member among the gods being assembled for the Justice League. I loved his hand-to-hand fights with mob members. There's a great moment when a police officer spots the Dark Knight clinging to the ceiling of a darkened room. Batman is truly scary here and called the Devil by the very people he's saved.

Superman has his own set of problems. Time has passed since the destruction in Metropolis and many blame him for the thousands killed during his battle with Zod. The political underpinnings and moral dilemmas presented here weren't exactly heady, but were accentuated by the sheer rage of Bruce Wayne and his suspicion of Superman's motives. Or at least what Superman would be capable of if dissatisfied with something or anything occurring in the world.

Yes, the fight between Superman and Batman is memorable and worth the price of admission. The performance of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jr. is not. While superheroes fly at supersonic speeds, deflect pummeling with iron and concrete, and even survive nuclear explosions, the most difficult thing to believe was that this version of Lex Luthor could plan a trip to the bathroom much less the destruction of Superman.

The final battle doesn't live up to the first half of the movie, even though Superman and Batman are joined by a feisty and very satisfying appearance from Wonder Woman. She practically steals the final scenes as she attacks the final "boss". She gets hammered but shakes it off with a smirk, clearly enjoying the chaos.

I'm going to be a bit disappointed with a lot of the criticism this movie will receive. There are some problems with story continuity, not to mention the sloppy way that the recruitment of future Justice League members is staged. Personally, I'm not exactly overwhelmed with the film, but I find myself repeatedly impressed by Zack Snyder's ability to convey amazing sights and action. I guess I'm stating that I will dismiss some loose ends for the adrenaline rush of great action and exciting visuals.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:20 am 
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Star Wars The Force Awakens

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Director JJ Abrams noitce the picutre above

Year 2015

My rating 8/10

Basically if you've seen the first 3 Star Wars films, NOT the prequels thank God, then you will have seen this film with new and old characters woven in. It is a JJ Abrams film so if explosions are your thing you are in fantastic luck here. Yes, they are stetting it up for sequels but it's basically for a new audience of Star Wars fans.

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Unread postPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 1:18 pm 
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whitsbrain wrote:
TZ DZ Fan wrote:
I have debated on watching this one recently. The Martian.

Seems to have enough going for it, and it certainly looks right in my wheelhouse.

I may just cave in soon.

TZ DZ Fan

Try it. You'll like it.


It was good, but i don't think it was best picture worthy. Brian de Palma's mission to mars was done years before the martian and seemed to be the same premise more or less. Let alone interstellar the year before. Ridley Scott can keep making space movies all he wants I'll still watch them :ROTF:


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Unread postPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 5:53 am 
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  Movie: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies


  Director: Peter Jackson


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 4 - Fair

Even with a promised battle of five armies, this was pretty boring. I was most entertained while trying to find all of the CGI shortcuts taken. So much fighting, yet so many yawns.

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Unread postPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 5:56 am 
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  Movie: Eyes Without a Face


  Director: Georges Franju


  Year: 1960


  My Rating: 6 - Good

Pretty neat Horror movie. Creepy imagery. Great mask. Face-lifting scene is grueling. The "dog prison" is a cool set.

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Unread postPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 5:59 am 
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  Movie: The Hallow


  Director: Corin Hardy


  Year: 2015


  My Rating: 6 - Good

I liked the practical effects and the movie looked good. It wasn't scary or too gory. It was just a fun monster flick and I'm always good with that.

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Unread postPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 6:02 am 
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  Movie: Containment


  Director: Neil Mcenery-West


  Year: 2015


  My Rating: 4 -Fair

I've just seen too many movies like this. "Right At Your Door", "Hell", "Mulberry St.", etc. The problem is this one had no one to really cheer for. That, and nothing really happened..

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Unread postPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 6:09 am 
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  Movie: Fury


  Director: David Ayer


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

There's nothing very original about "Fury", but it's a tight, engrossing war film with decent action and characters that you care about.

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Unread postPosted: Sat May 21, 2016 6:13 pm 
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  Movie: The Witch


  Director: Robert Eggers


  Year: 2016


  My Rating: 9 - Excellent

"The Witch" is a fantastic period piece. Part fable, part fairytale, and all atmospheric Horror. I say Horror because that's the genre this film is being dumped into but it's not really that scary. It was all mood, conflict, and suspense, which was awesome. There are no cheap jump scares.

The acting was great and it looked beautiful, though accurately drab. There are some disturbing scenes of atypical gore but thankfully, the director cut away from the violence at just the right time, which made my imagination fill in the blanks.

Again, the sets and dialogue make this film seem like it must be a very accurate reproduction of Puritans or Separatists life in the early 1700's.

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Unread postPosted: Sat May 21, 2016 7:02 pm 
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  Movie: CreepTales


  Director: Tim Boxell, Stephen Hegyes


  Year: 1986


  My Rating: 6 - Good

I have a friend who seems to be an expert with obscure Movie and TV fare, especially from the '80s and '90s. He recently recommended an old '80s anthology Horror movie that I had never heard of before. It's called "CreepTales" and was without question, an attempt to ride the coattails of Romero's and King's "Creepshow".

"CreepTales" was low-budget and low on scares, but it was kind of funny and pretty entertaining. Since this was an anthology, there was a wraparound story called "Halloween Night". It was a not very good or just mostly annoying story featuring two monsters that steal their dead Uncle's DVD, which just happens to contain the following stories:

"Warped" - A young niece visits some weird old women in a big old house

"Snatcher" - A purse snatcher should have heeded the warning of the old woman who owns the purse he's stolen

"The Closet" - It's a stormy night and a little boy is tormented by his closet door

"Groovy Ghoulie Garage" - Two young men attend a party in a small town while their car is being repaired, but the town has a surprise in store for them

"Howling Nightmare" - A posse hunts for a werewolf on a dark night in the woods

"Sucker" - An evil vacuum cleans up the house of an angry housewife

Setting the wraparound story aside, I'd say the best of these is "Sucker", "Warped", and "The Closet". "Sucker" was the most well-made and also the only tale that got a little gross. "Warped" played a lot like an entry from the old "Tales From the Darkside" TV show and the very brief "The Closet", ended with a surprise.

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Unread postPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 5:17 pm 
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  Movie: Gamera vs. Viras


  Director: Noriaki Yuasa


  Year: 1968


  My Rating: 4 - Fair

Gamera movies were made for the kids at this point in the series. The human heroes are two boy scouts who are captured by aliens. The aliens arrive in a segmented spaceship that looks like five wasps abdomens connected in a circle. It may not sound cool, but if you're a fan of old Sci-Fi, you've probably seen it before. It's kind of iconic.

The boys end up thwarting the aliens' plan for Earth's annihilation because they have been pranksters in the past and use one of their switcheroo pranks on the aliens. So kids, the lesson to take away from this movie is to be deceptive and mischievous!

One of the things about these old Gamera movies is that they have some strange gore in them. This time an alien throws its severed arm at the boys and Viras stabs Gamera in the soft underbelly with its spear-shaped head. I'm not sure how Gamera could surive an open would of that size, but no worries, in a few moments it appears to be completely healed!

There is a lot of stock footage from the first three Gamera movies in this entry. The final monster battle is not the best because the squid design of Viras is a little limiting in what it can do. Viras is hilarious looking. Those eyes and the bird beak are pretty cute.

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