Monday, 15 December 2014

Gone Girl (2014)

One of the most clever plots in years. It was Directed by David Fincher who has some great films like Fight Club in his resume. I can see a best Director Oscar in his near future. At two hours and 25 minutes the movie does drag a bit in the second half. It was a really well acted movie with lots of Oscar nominations I'm sure.  Gone Girl was a critical and box office smash. I was disappointed at the ending but admit it was the correct one. Overall a very worthy production, and a terrific satire.

Four Stars

The Equalizer (2014)

Antoine Fuqua is an American film director. He directed the film Training Day as well as The Replacement Killers, Tears of the Sun, King Arthur, Shooter, Brooklyn's Finest, Olympus Has Fallen and The Equalizer. The Equalizer is probably the worst movie on that list. 

I love Denzel Washington. So this movie staring Denzl Washington with his old Training Day director had me pumped. Most of the air had left my balloon after the first ten minutes of nothing interesting going on. The movie takes way to long to take off.  Denzel Washington's character would be more at home as a member of the Avengers. The Russian Mobster chief villian looked way to much like Mr Bean. It was hokey and unoriginal.  It still managed $100 million domestic.  Rotten Tomatoes was less generous with a 61%. I would not go that high. There will likely be a sequel and hope it turns out better.

Two point six stars.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Fury (2014)

Fury is one of those slice of life during wartime postcards from hell. A collection of cliches driven by a tank named Fury. Without knowing any better I would say the movie was based upon GI Combat comic characters and the Haunted Tank. Its a pretty good movie. Not on par with Saving Private Ryan, but all things being equal due to fantastic production values up there with movies like the Dirty Dozen. The Tank battle scenes are fantastic. David Ayer was the screenwriter on Training Day and other notable movies. As a director he is certainly more than capable. I wish he would avoid the cliche like a Canadian avoids saying Eh!  Maybe he could not stop Brad Pitt from mouthing some of the most ridiculous dialouge ever. Rotten Tomatoes loved it and the studio is trying to create some Oscar Buzz. I hate to be a buzzkill but this movie will never make a top ten war movies list. War is hell but making a WW2 movie that will crack the top ten needs some kind of Miracle.  I suggest a movie about Hitler escaping the Bunker. I read a great book like that but can not find it now.

I just remembered it was the Berkut. It would make a fantastic movie.

Three point three stars.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Timequest (2002)

A very interesting movie answering the question many have pondered. What would happen if I went back in time and warned JFK just before he departed for his date with assassination. It would have been a much better movie if the actors portraying Jack and Bobby Kennedy had been as compelling as Caprice Beneditti who did the best Jackie Kennedy ever. Larry Drake as J Edgar Hoover was a perfect, and the smackdown scene with Bobby Kennedy was a highlight. Despite the shortcomings the movie is every conspiracy theorists fantasy. 

You would almost think there was some kind of conspiracy to keep this movie on the fringe. No box office details, no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes but curiously a audience rating of 24%. This movie needs a big budget remake. 

Four Stars
The trailer is nothing but a spoiler, do not watch if you intend to watch this movie.

Monday, 8 December 2014

The Siege of Firebase Gloria (1989)

A movie that captured the spirit and horror of the Vietnam war with a bit of a history lesson surrounding the Wars Seminal moment: The Tet Offensive. B movie actors, director and atmosphere.  Three quarters of people who saw it liked it. I will join the crowd. It was a good B war movie.

Two point seven five stars

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy(2014)

Awesome, best movie of 2014 so far. Interstellar is going to have to be very good to top it. I put Guardians of the Galaxy in the same league as Star War, Star Trek and The Fifth Element. However it would not win a playoff round. Chris Pratt was great but he was not fantastic, same for Zoe Zalandra. But this is a franchise with legs so hopefully they will hit nothing but home runs next time. The rest of the ensemble cast had Vin Diesel and Bradly Cooper lending their voices two two of the best most human CGI characters ever. The wrestler Dave Bautista was also very good in his role as Drax.  I am sure in a theatre some of the funny lines would have worked better. Rotten Tomatoes loved it with a 95%. It did $330 million domestic and close to $800 million total. Its sure to be the top Blu Ray of the year. They have created a universe where anything is possible and a crew that overall can go toe to toe with some of the finest ever assembled.

A sample of a much better review.
Marvel does it again with Guardians of the Galaxy being one of their best and most accessible films to date. Director, James Gunn, gives us one of the most unique, entertaining, and hilarious adventures ever put to film. It is like a combination of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Mass Effect, and Firefly, packed full of 80s references, action, and absurdly lovable characters. Even if you have never seen a Marvel film, there is so little connection to the main universe that it does not matter, yet there are still plenty of Easter Eggs for the fans like myself.

Five Stars

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The Zero Theorem (2014)

Its a Terry Gilliam movie. (12 Monkees) If you don't know he was an integral member of Monty Python shame on you. He has made some great movies and some interesting ones. This was one of the interesting ones but more normal than some of his wildest flights of fantasy. The movie is set in the near future. The protagonist played by Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained and Inglorious Bastards). Quohen Leth is an ageing super nerd who punches the clock for the MAN. Of course he is unhappy. Gilliian creates one of his patented high stimulate and spot on commentarys of the world. He has a modern love interest played by French Actress Mélanie Thierry. An enchanting sexpot who can act. Matt Damon has a cameo as The Man.  This movie is deep and dark and I have to admit early on I came close to walking out.I concluded this was more a work of art and philosophy about longing, belonging and mortality than a movie. If your a student of the human condition this belongs on your curriculum. Its more disturbing than entertaining although it ends well.  Rotten Tomates barely passed it. I am going to have to use Cloud Atlas as a benchmark and give it a decent score. Do not be confused this is a far better movie than Cloud Atlas. It also looks like The MAN made sure no one in America saw it.

Three point seven stars.
Warrning!!This is a movie where you should not watch the trailer! The Man is trying to fuck with you again.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Young Ones

I am a sucker for authentic visualisations of a dystopian future. As a movie the Young Ones was a interesting time waster. The future is presented to the viewer in small bites and it is not until the final reel you really get a look at the world. Character development is sparse, the director assumes you know these people. Its Jake Patltrow's third motion picture. He has also directed a year of Boardwalk Empire, another name to look for in the future. Micheal Shannon best known for Boardwalk Empire  shares the staring role with Nickolas Holt and Kodi Smit-McPhee (is an Australian actor known for his roles as The Boy in The Road, Owen in Let Me In, and Alexander in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.) Kodi in particular puts in a superb performance. He is going to be a major star.The other star of the movie is a mechanical burro. What sunk in days later is just how realistic this movie could be. Rotten Tomatoes hated it. I liked it.

Three point two stars

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Still looking for something worth reviewing

 crickets, Edge of Tomorrow I want to see again on DVD but its a four star, would have been five if not for Tom Cruise baggage.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Still viewing

Man lots of trash  to move to find some diamonds on the sidewalk.

Capetian America is all i really got, but I have watched a ton of b stuff and I have to let it sit if I want to recommend it anymorel

Thursday, 17 July 2014

RIPD (2013)

Robert Schwentke  of RED and Flightplan fame directed this Men in Blackish bomb. It has a  great ensemble cast Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges made a great team. The story is excellent. In fact I found it a near equal to Men in Black and Superior is some ways. I cant figure out why it was such a bomb and why Rotten Tomatoes gave it only 13%.  For sure it is a high sixties movie and one of the first in while I have felt deserved a review. If you like Men in Black you should watch this, its a very good movie viewed from that reference point.

Three Stars

Friday, 20 June 2014

Movies I did not hate but can not recommend

Small Time- just a exercise in drama

Follow you down - time travel story wrapped in enuei.

Transcendence - ouch, ouch ouch

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Into the Sun (2005)

I am a huge Steven Seagal fan. After disappearing for decades he now has 22 B movies floating around out there. This is the best of the bunch by far. I am also a big fan of Japan and in this movie you see it through Seagal's eyes as he co wrote the story and screenplay. If you like Hard to Kill and above the Law this movie is for you. Steven Seagal is a very interesting character, and a pretty good musician, several of his songs are on this soundtrack. Rotten Tomatoes did not score it but I will give it about 75%

Three point five stars

The full movie is on You Tube check it out.

Now You See Me (2014)

A very clever plot with lots of tells. Three of four horsemen leave a lot to be desired. I found them collectively annoying. They are Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg ,Isla Fisher, the fourth Dave Franco does a respectable job.  Morgan Freeman mails it in. The other major star Mark Ruffalo is great. Melanie Lourent the French actress who lit up Inglorious Bastards also shines. Louis Leterrier who has a couple of Transporter movies under his belt directs with authority. A movie that was not magic but deserved better than the 50% Rotten Tomatoes gave it. If the horseman could had have galloped it would have been a huge hit.

Three Stars

Friday, 6 June 2014

Far Cry (2008)

How did I fail to notice this flick. The original video game released in 2004 was a mega hit and defined the modern FPS. The movie version takes place on a British Columbia Island not a tropical paradise. The plot remains the same, a dropped out special forces soldier takes a journalist by boat to the Island. Then all hell breaks loose. Uwe Boll has a terrible reputation as a director, Far Cry proves he does have and A game.  Emmanuelle Vaugier caught my eye with a superb performance as Valerie Constantine the Lois Lane type reporter who gets word of genetic super soldiers being developed in a mad scientists lair. Certainly she would have been a better choice than Amy Adams for the latest Superman. Til Schweiger is fantastic as the hero Jack.  A German actor who has done some work in Hollywood, but this should have been a breakthrough for him Chris Coppalo as the bumbling right hand was also great. Why this movie was not a major hit is a Far Cry.

Three point five Stars

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Dragon Day (2013)

An extremely low budget movie with  bad acting from unknown actor. The only thing it has going for it is a cool plot. What if the Chinese foreclose on America? I would not invest any money to watch this movie. For free it just meets the bar as a timewaster.

Two point three Stars

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Non Stop (2014)

Liam Neeson is the John Wayne of the 21st century. For his audience he does not make a bad movie.  He really broke through with Schindlers List, but it was Taken that made him iconic. This movie like Known has a very Taken flavor. I did not recognize any other actors in this movie. Michelle Dockery is very well known to Downton Abbey fans, in a very similar movie and role (Executive Outcome)Halle Berry was more compelling. Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o is no more than a placeholder here.

Jaume Collet-Serra has directed a handful of movies Known and Non-Stop amongst them. He is someone to watch. You cant take your eyes off the screen for a second in Non Stop, he keeps the atmosphere tense and suspenseful right to the end.

Rotten Tomatoes gave it sixty percent with lots of criticism for the plot. I disagree its hard to bring something new to a two hour movie that takes place at 35,000 ft. While this movie does not quite soar, it is a superior effort all round.

Four Stars

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

3 Days to Kill (2014)

The script is by French Icon Luc Besson.  He also had a writing credit in the very similar movie Taken. However in this movie Kevin Costner has the Liam Neeson role and his daughter is never really in danger. The movie goes awry for this reason. Sometimes the dialogue and father daughter relationship just does not fit.  I would call it Taken lite and poorly. If you like Kevin Costner, and I do, you will like this movie. But I would not invest a great deal in it. Rotten Tomatoes crushed it  but I will give it a solid pass.

two point six stars

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Timebomb (1991)

A Jason Bourne type B movie starring Michael Biehn and Pasty Kensit of Lethal Weapon 2 fame. Richard Jordan is another well known face in this thriller. Also a novelty item Boom Boom Mancini has a bit part. It holds up reasonably well for a movie Rotten Tomatoes gave 35%. If your a fan of Bourne type movies its worth your time.

Two point five two stars

Monday, 31 March 2014

Anchorman 2 (2013)

Anchorman One was a extended SNL skit that barely succeeded. Anchor man two is more of the same. Encouragingly lots of thought has gone into this satire.It has a central narrative that moves this movie into Jonathan Swift territory. Mocking Fox News with great effect is the hook that sews all the stupid corny obvious activity into a experience that will make you laugh out loud several times.  For a movie to make me laugh out loud in this century is like time travel,  once thought impossible but some mad scientist have made this possible. Conventional wisdom says there is a circle where genius and insanity intersect. As an aside I think smart people are driven insane by having to deal with normal people. This is a movie where this theory is tested. Stupidity made brilliant by authenticity.

Three point four stars

Friday, 28 March 2014

American Battleship (2012)

From the prolific producers of modern B movies Asylum comes this direct to disc mockumentary of the giant bomb Battleship. Mario Van Pebbles gives the performance of his career as the Captain of the legendary USS Iowa. I also enjoyed Johanna Watts as his leading lady. Hopefully its just a tease and not a spoiler to say this movie has a certain resonance  with the Philadelphia Experiment and The Final Countdown. For this genre one of the better efforts.

Two point seven stars

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Secret of the Incas (1954)

A movie very notable because it is the template for other movies all having the name Indiana Jones in the title. While this movie can in no way compare it is an interesting film. It stars the legendary Charlton Heston and Nicole Maurey. She also starred in the classic Day of the Triffids. Lots of gorgeous scenery and fifties style romance.  Watch it here. (or below) This is a very cool and legal website that has hundreds of copyright free movies from forties to the sixties. I liked the movie, of course the pace is slow, the dialogue ridiculous and the action scenes laughable by today's standards. A great movie for a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon. Just remember it inspired Raiders of the Lost Arc and have fun!

Two point six stars but for its time at least four.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Snowpiercer (2013)

Snowpiercer is a Korean film based upon a French Graphic Novel. The version I watched had no subtitles, fortunately most of the dialogue is in English and you will see many familiar stars like Chris Evans, John Hurt, Ed Harris and Tilda Swindon.  Jamie Bell who was Chris Elliot and Alison Pill the love interest from Goon also have nice turn here.

When global warming gets out of hand humans try and adjust the temperature, what could go wrong? This movie spin dials the climate back to a world wide ice age. The only human survivors live on a sustainable habitat train created by billionaire prepper with a God complex. In some respects the train is the biggest star in this movie  Bong Joon Ho directes this metaphor for mankind beautifully. Its an above grade morality play. Think of Cloud Atlas crossed with a Clockwork Orange in a Braveheart like story. For sure Bong and supporting actor Sang Kang-Ho will become international superstars.

There has been continuing controversy surrounding this movie. The owners of the US rights wanted to dumb down the movie and remove about forty minutes form this 126 minute film now scheduled to open summer 2014. If you have a chance to buy the original version on Blu Ray do it. This is a movie you will want to hold on to. Destined to be a cult classic on the Bladerunner scale. This movie pulls no punches and neither will I.

Five Stars

Saturday, 15 March 2014

The Internship (2013)

If you do not like Owen Wilson stop reading. I love the Owen Wilson, his stich makes me laugh. Combine that with Vince Vaughn and in my book you get some kind of comic genius. The script was written by Vaughn  and he drifts successfully into Jonathan Swift territory. This is a better movie than the smash hit Wedding Crashers. Its a feel good movie thats totally predictable but the boys make it fresh. If you think there is a Harvard of online universities you will want to be one of the viewers that graduates from experiencing this movie. Rotten Tomatoes was way way off on this one.  I give it at least double their rating.

three point nine nine stars

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

This is a important movie. Quentin Tarantino's directorial debut has been hugely influential. The backstory device or as some call it the non linear narrative. The street level dialogue, and the bloody scenes and scenery. Last but not least perfect execution of the soundtrack.

This is a tiny movie, very few sets, all sets simple, the actual robbery is not even shown. With a totally character driven story where the action has to be carried mostly by conversation, the actors have to be terrific. The ensemble cast is fabulous. Harvey Keitel is good. Steve Buscemi is better, but Micheal Madsen's performance is spectacular. He gives the movie legitimacy. Not that Micheal has not had a respectable career but he should have been a superstar.

I watched the 15th anniversary edition. Only relevant because the remastering renders the movie magnificently. I saw the original release of the movie and owned the original DVD. Its been well over ten years since I last watched. Time has been mostly kind to this flick. Some of the dialogue seems more corny than I remember but overall still a great movie. It remains a critical success, and is a true classic for the ages.

Four point two stars

Thursday, 20 February 2014

The Company You Keep (2012)

I had no intention of watching The Company You Keep, but the DVD literally fell into my lap. I expected another Lions for Lambs. Which was not a bad movie but it was so treadworn. However I was pleasantly surprised to find The Company You Keep was a very good thought provoking movie.

Directed by and staring Robert Redford supported by an A list cast from 1972. Shai Le Beouf is actually believable as a smart ass reporter who pulls on a string that unravels an unfinished bit of weather underground business. Lots of drama, twists and turns and the intensity of a manhunt. While she only has a small role special mention to Brit Marling for being special, why is she not an A list star?

There is a powerful message well delivered for you lousy kids. I say you lousy kids because both you and the adults totally ignored this film. It did five million domestic, and double that worldwide. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 55% with the not unwarranted criticism that it burned slowly. It was a message movie but I loved the message and the medium.

You do not have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Three point eight stars

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The Hunger Games Catching Fire (2013)

I thought the first movie was a mediocre made for TV movie from the seventies. Of  course I am not a young girl for whom this franchise is made. The budget for catching fire was bumped from $80 spent on the first to $130 million.  Jennifer Lawrence got bumped from a half a mill to ten mill. The look of the movie is much better and the story is also more interesting to a male adult. I maintain that the Predators franchise and Running man are better movies of the same type. However Catching Fire did lite me up. I look forward to Hunger Games 3. It was a huge box office smash and generally reviewed with more stars than I give.

Three Stars

Friday, 17 January 2014

The Hangover 2 (2011)

I laughed hard and long at Hangover One. It was a blast of extended freshness in a stale comedy world. I laughed hard and long at Hangover Two. It was a blast of familiarity that avoided being stale. Zach Galifianakis was not as funny, in fact he bordered on annoying at times. The plot is the same, the Thai location trumps Las Vegas as a backdrop. The story stretched the envelope of suspended disbelief but never broke the spell. 
Mostly due to terrible reviews, RT gave it 34% I had not watched it until now. That was a mistake I was missing at least a half an hour of gut busting laughter. If you liked the first, you will not be disappointed in number two.

Three point eight Stars

Enders Game (2013)

Based upon an extremely popular 1985 Sci Fi novel that was a bit of a crossover hit. Having won both the Hugo and Nebula awards needless to say it was a good book. Maybe it was not a good book to make into a movie.

 For a 12 year old boy this may be the best movie ever. However adults and fans of the book are going to be Meh! The film never really generates excitement. The CGI, acting, and story are all great but the end product is nothing special. As was its Rotten Tomatoes rating of 61% . A box office bomb, unlikely even worldwide to make back its $110 million production budget. If you read the books see the movie, otherwise kids only.

Two point seven Stars.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Not really a spoiler but this is a true story.  Most of the people in the movie especially Jordan Belfort who is played perfectly by Leonardo Di Capri are real characters. The real Jordan also has a walk on speaking part. According to the real Jordan what you see in the movie is all true. Some of this is easy to verify. My first reaction to the movie was that Martin Scorsese was doing a remake of Up in Smoke using Wall Street as a backdrop. I freaked later learning of the Tommy Chong connection.  The direction is top notch Scorsese. I found this movie laugh out loud funny for at least an hour. American Hustle by comparison was a small movie, this was a spectacle. I still think Bale will beat Leo for Best Actor, but for best movie, screenplay, director its going to be a battle. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 79%.  It cost $130 mil to make and is struggling to break 100 at the domestic box. I think its one of those love it or hate it movies, I totally loved it.

Five point five stars out of Five.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Dredd (2012)

Not to in any way be confused with the less than stellar 1993 Stallone Interpretation.  The writing team includes the co creator of the Dredd comic character and writers behind 28 Day Later and  the book A History of Violence which was adapted to make one of David Cronenburg's better movies. Two of this group also wrote the Stallone movie, I wonder if Sylvester has an unaccredited credit for the finished product. Danny Cannon a veteran TV director makes a heck of a rookie debut commanding the big screen.

The dystopian city of the future is perfectly realistic. Interesting that it was filmed in South Africa. Keith Urban was totally convincing. As was Lena Headey of GOT and the 300 fame.(playing a character inspired by Patti Smith) Relative newcomer Olivia Thirby steals the show.(playing a character inspired by Debra Harry) She reminded me of Starbuck at her best. I just finished my second viewing and liked it better the second time. The slow time improvement on bullet time was a significant advance in technique. One of the best comic book adaptation ever and a terrific Sci Fi movie that is totally captivating. It did not resonate with the mass audience making only about 40 million USA. Its on the bubble for a well deserved sequel. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 78% and it had widespread critical acclaim. I judge it to be a movie fans of female punk rockers, fans of Science Fiction and fans of good storytelling must see. Notable similarities to the equally well done The Raid Redemption, see them both.

Four Stars

Friday, 3 January 2014

American Outlaws (2001)

A revisionist look at the James Younger gang.  Jesse James is played by Colin Farrell in his followup to Tigerland debt.  Even though this is a mediocre movie his charm and chemistry with Ali Larter push this movie into entertaining territory. Timothy Dalton is authentic as Alan Pinkerton. Fans of westerns and Colin Farrell would find this movie a pleasant way to spend a rainy afternoon. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 14% and are way off the mark. It a good B Western.

Two point five nine stars.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

American Hustle (2013)

A masterpiece. It was funny, it made me laugh out loud, it was ironic, clever and poignant and best of all mostly true. Credit should start with an outstanding complex script written by Eric Singer and David Russell.  Russell was the directorial tour d force behind American Hustle. He is no one hit wonder having Silver Linings Playbook and Three Kings amongst other hits. A totally unrecognizable Christian Bale plays real life alleged con man Melvin Weinberg. It Oscar time for Bale, Russell, Singer and nominations for Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and maybe Jennifer Lawrence. Fantastic cameo's by Robert Dinero and Micheal Pena. The sound track rocks.  A movie crafted in the old world way. Loved it loved it loved it.

Five Stars

The Hobbit:the desolation of Smaug (2013)

A state of the Art fairy tale. Move over Walt Disney, Peter Jackson is a cell phone to your landline. I have read Lord of the Rings three times twice by my own choice. The Hobbit was a good story but Peter Jackson has made it a great story.
The CGI is outstanding, the scenery breathtaking, whats not to love. I am a little old for fairy tales but this movie brings out the kid in me.

Four point one stars.