Talk: Movie Reviews

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10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

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We went and saw 10 Cloverfield lane. On Rotten Tomatoes it was getting a 90/84% -- so the kiddies and reviewers really liked it. I liked it, but it had Hitchcockian pacing. My wife didn't at all. One reviewer summed it up perfectly, "If Hitchcock had ever directed an episode of The Twilight Zone, it might have looked something like this." I could tell you more about it, but it would all be spoilers. So this a movie best to watched without any taint.

13 Hours: The secret soldiers in Benghazi

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A documentary by Michael Bay? What is this world coming to? While it seems like an oxymoron, and there was plenty of explosions and some jitter-camera effects, it was more Saving Private Ryan and true to history than anything Oliver Stone or Michael Moore has done, and those are called documentaries. And it was a good motive, and mostly historically accurate based on the people that were there. So worth seeing, if you want to see an action film based on real life events.

The Accountant (2016)

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I went and saw "the Accountant". Rotten Tomatoes gave me low expectations with a 51% reviewer rating, but the 86% audience score gave me some hope that it wouldn't be horrid. It was a completely watchable semi-action thriller. In fact, it's probably the best Assassin with Aspergers film you'll see all year. Think Rain-man meets The Professional, without the academy award performances, and half the intensity, and a little more shlock and clichéd.

After Earth (2013)

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Reviewers seemed to hate it (11% approval). But it was much better rated by viewers (36%). And I thought it was about as good as the Star Trek movie. Not as good of action, or even pacing, but the story was much more unique. And made some effort to be original with their view of Tech Advances, and coming up with original lines. That isn't to say it was great, it was barely good. But it was a watchable way for Will Smith to help his son advance his floundering acting career, that seems to be going nowhere.

Arrival (2016)

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A good but slow “first contact” sci-fi thriller, written about a cunning linguist who slowly discovers how to communicate with aliens. The movies style is very first person, and doesn’t explain a lot as you go — you have to let them leak reveals in dribs and drabs. It gets there, but it’s certainly no Independence Day or Aliens action sci-fi film. There was some Hollywood clichéd stereotyping, but the larger arch of the story made up for it.

Atlas Shrugged (Movie) (2011)

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I recommend it with reservations. How much you like it will be influenced by how much you liked the Book (and how high your expectations are). Basically, it's long-winded Animal Farm or the inverse, what happens if the producers stop producing. Ayn Rand never believed in saying in a sentence, that which could fill a chapter, and the movie follows suit by taking a Trilogy to fill out a 90 minute storyline. Not as bad as the Hobbit at that, but it's certainly not an action flick.

Bad Teacher (2011)

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It certainly won't be up for any awards or offer many surprises. But it wasn't quite AS bad as the reviews. If you go in expecting a shallow plot, a few laughs, and fluffy stoner humor -- and that's exactly what you get. I wouldn't exactly recommend it, but it was an excuse to ride to a theater and better than top-chef reruns.

Battle L.A. (2011)

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Deeper than Independence Day, has a plot, but still, "another Alien invade earth" total shoot 'em up movie. Since it is L.A., I'm always kinda rooting for the Aliens to win. In the end, it didn't pound on every cliché, and fi you go in with low expectations, it should easily exceed them.

The Blind Side (2011)

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Really good movie, better than the 66/85 on Rotten Tomatoes (in my opinion). Best of this list of 2011 flicks, by far.

Some people got bent about the cliche's of white family saving a black kid, or the black kid turning out to be a star athlete. (Playing to some stereotypes). And there is that. But this one is more or less a true story. Race is a part of the story, mostly in overcoming different worlds -- but it's more just a human interest story about how people from dramatically different realities can impact each other (in good ways).

Bridge of Spies (2015)

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A good, slow, historical drama-thriller type movie. Almost a monologue. While based on real events, Hollywood took liberties with the timeline/truth (as usual).

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

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Rented two movies this weekend. I picked Capt. America -- wasn't bad for a Alternate Universe Steam-punkish Super-Hero flick. You have to like the genre, but if you're looking for a Buck Rodgers type retro-futuristic super-hero / alternate universe kind of film, you'll like it. If that doesn't sound appealing, then save your redbox money and watch something else. For me, it was worth every penny of the $.99 spent, but not a penny more.

Green Lantern (2011)

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OK. Completely predictable, simple plot, nothing too racy. But nice effects, and entertaining. Great for kids/teens. I preferred XMen much more and Thor a little more to it, but those were both really good for the genre. So worth the money if you like the genre.


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Hanna (2011)

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Saw it. Meh. I was expecting something between kick-ass and born identity. Right idea, but a lot slower and nothing vaguely related to a surprise. I wouldn't rate it as bad, and I don't feel ripped off for my $7. But I think the reviewers definitely mismanaged expectations. It got 77/66 on Rotten Tomatoes, and I think the 66 was a little high. I would have been perfectly happy to wait for video or see it on a plane going somewhere. A friend summed it up as: "I was looking forward to a 17 year old kicking ass and raging all over the place. Instead they spent over half the movie being all touchy feeling and focusing on the 'plot'. Normally, that wouldn't be bad, except there was no plot." The first 20 minutes were definitely the most entertaining.

Jobs (2013)

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Hollywood has this attitude that fiction is more interesting than real life. It is more interesting to people that don't care about the truth as much as they care about shallow entertainment and becoming more misinformed about a topic or person. I'm not their audience, and this movie wasn't made for me. Walter Isaacson's book was pretty good, but flawed. This movie omitted the former and exaggerated the latter.

Rise of Planet of the Apes (2011)

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Not bad. Predictable but entertaining. I don’t usually like remakes — but this prequel worked well.


Redstate (2011)

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Wife rented Redstate because it was a Kevin Smith movie and she thought it might be funny. Wow. Not funny. Not good drama. Just depressing homophobic religious serial-killers get taken out by the even worse government.

Only about one movie a year (or less) gets my stinker award: this earned one.

Salt (2011)

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This movie wasn't worth its salt (despite the 62/59 it got from Rotten Tomatoes). Sometimes it's the little plot devices that annoy in movies like this, in this move it's all of them. More cliche's than a Piers Anthony book. Less depth than a playboy centerfolds interview. The ham-handed dialog of an Arnold movie: without the humor. If Mystery Science Theater 3000 did action flicks, they would pick this one to pan. It probably wasn't the worst movie of 2011, but it would take work to guide low enough where people would come out thinking, "it wasn't THAT bad'.

The Shack (2017)

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This isn't about a basketball legend, it's an introspective about the origins of faith and religion (specifically Christianity). The Shack is a story about loss and suffering. It is about the arrogance of holding on to anger/resentment, and judging others (or judging God) with your partial understanding of everything around you — it is a reminder about letting go and forgiving. Good people die. Bad people sometimes get away with it. Most people have burdens you can’t understand. Stop judging: resenting others for their flaws and failures is a waste of both your time. Accept who they are (warts and all), and either let them in, or avoid their toxicity — but pick a path and move on. While I'm an atheist, I liked the messages.

Steve Jobs (2015)

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A fictionalized drama-mentory retelling of Steve Jobs life, by an ultra-Liberal director (Aaron Sorkin). Reviewers preferred it more than audiences +13% (86/73). While the dialog and story is the best of the rash of Steve Jobs pseudo-biographies, this one captured the spirit of many things better, while getting too many actual facts wrong. It would have been great, if only they were fictional characters.

Thor (2011)

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Went and saw this (rode over). Wasn't horrible. Wasn't deep or great. Lots of backstory, and really predictable dialog -- but I didn't go expecting the 6th sense or anything. And actually the lack of over-action throughout the entire movie made it better than some crazy, flying place-to-place non-stop movies that just tire you out. It will keep the kids entertained. So for pretty fluff, with some action, it was good. I don't know if I'd give it the 77/76 it got on Rotten Tomatoes, but if you want a super-hero movie, it probably won't be the worst one you'll see this year.

The Tourist (2011)

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I was hoping Depps acting could counteract Jolie's. I didn't like any of the characters, and figured out the plot in about 5 minutes. It was an action, drama, romance, thriller that managed to achieve none of the above for me. Watch it if you're stuck on a plane, but there'd have to be very few other options before I'd recommend it. My wife liked it more than I did. But I didn't hate it. To me it was like neopolitin ice cream: it isn't great ice-cream... but it's still better than no ice cream at all.

Tower Heist (2011)

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We went and saw Tower Heist: surprisingly, not horrible

Amusing, cliché, and about as believable as Beverly Hills Cop, but some funny lines and entertaining.

Better than the movie of the week on TV. (A lot better than Red State was). If you go to a matinee with low expectations (as I did), you'll walk away feeling you got more than your money's worth.

Waiting for Superman (2011)

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If you're looking for a slowly paced, poorly supported documentary that trashes the American School system with all the lack-of-balances of "An Inconvenient Truth" director can muster, then this will be the best option for the year.

The premise is the failure of the American school system, as told from a far left-of-center director, which will go for tugging at the heart-strings (and person interest stories), instead of offering facts and data to support them.

What's your numbers? (2011)

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I did my husbandly duty of seeing the chick-flick (romantic comedy) with my wife... and it made Something about Mary or a Kevin Smith dialog seem G-rated. Funny movie, with some real hysterical lines, and quite a bit better than I expected... but very adult shock-humor type jokes.

Plot, with the help of her man-whore neighbor, the lead character (Anna Faris) browses back through the past 19 mistakes she's made (failed relationships) and ponders if she missed, "the one". It works, if you like the crass humor genre.