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150 reviews in total 
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Fury (2014)
8 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Clichéd War porn, 20 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There is an ongoing trend in movies about World War II to be "gritty", in other words showing as many body parts flying as possible. Be it a leg amputated by machine gun, or a head vaporizing from a shell. While perhaps it is "realistic", it isn't necessary, and hides the fact that this movie is a string of clichés, with a few trite expressions thrown in to make Brad Pitt seem Oscar worthy.

The most obvious cliché is the innocent kid getting thrown into the war and seeing how gruesome war is. He tries to maintain his ideals in the brutal face of war. Everyone else is already hardened and cynical and on the brink of being animals. The spoiler here is obvious, the innocent boy starts enjoying killing Nazis. The turn is actually terribly done, since basically he ends up killing some Germans and suddenly likes it. Just like that.

Aside from the clichés and gore, it isn't badly done for a war movie. I have to sat Shia Lebeouf probably does the best acting of his career and probably does the best acting of any of the main characters.

3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Crass, but funny at times, 2 June 2014

There were significant portions of this movie that were quite entertaining, but there was also quite a bit of very low brow humor. It gave the movie an uneven feel, but I think most fans of Seth McFarlane are used to that. Actually, it really saddens me how crude a number of the jokes/sight gags were, since there were also quite a few very clever bits.

The story is pretty straight-forward, which works well for a comedy. McFarlane gets dumped, gets mopey, then the new girl comes to town, she teaches him to believe in himself, etc. Basically it's Better Off Dead set in the West.

For a movie titled A Million Ways to Die in the West, there were actually relatively few deaths. Relatively being only a dozen or so, and most of the totally random ones were shown in the trailers. Instead there were a lot of bodily function jokes (including sex/prostitution jokes).

But the bottom line is, if you've enjoyed other Seth McFarlane movies/TV Shows, you'll enjoy this. If you don't, then you should probably stay away.

5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Biggest disappointment of the series, 16 February 2013

I have to say I was very disappointed in this installment of the Die Hard series, and I would say it's the worst one. The wisecracks and humor that are such a large part of the franchise are missing, and those that are there are weak or played out.

It's a bad day for a movie series, when it relies too much on nostalgia for the previous movies. I understand including references to the previous movies, such as cracks about Cowboys, or roof top fire hoses, but to add them in willy-nilly to prove that the director/writer has seen the previous movies is cheap and tawdry.

There are a few other things that raised my hackles in regards to this movie... Like the use of the shaky cam. The really sad thing is that it wasn't just used in action scenes to force a sense of chaos, but a few times in scenes where they are just walking around.

As for the story... It's passable for the most part, but it really relies too much on John McClain trying to be a good father but realizing he failed for most of his son's life. In other words his son hates him. I won't go into too much detail about the various plot twists and turns, but there are a few and they are rather predictable.

One line from the movie sums up the feelings for this movie, "It's always about the money."

11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
CGI Jet Li, 3 September 2012

I have to say I was a disappointed in this movie. If you are going to have Jet Li as the main character, why CGI so much of the martial arts? Almost none of the martial arts scenes were live action, and those that were live action were sadly lacking in clarity, the director preferring quick cuts and flash over substance.

The story itself wasn't bad. It is a bit more complicated than the average kung-fu movie, which explains the two hour run time of the movie. Sadly, much of the depth in the movie felt added on, as if they took a chunk from several movies and added them together.

Also, I have to say, the opening sequence reminded me of something your would see at the beginning of a video game, rather than an actual movie.

I would wait to see this one on video.

Battleship (2012)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Cheesier than I thought, 18 May 2012

A six out of ten rating might be a little generous, but I was entertained by the shear amount of cheesy badness the movie produced.

I always endeavor to keep my reviews spoiler free, because those are the most useful. In this case it is a bit difficult to spoil if you have any understanding of foreshadowing. All I will say in that regard is they went to extraordinary lengths to create a tie-in to the Hasbro game.

What I can say without spoiling the one or two plot twists, is that this movie is a string of clichés, pretty much from beginning to ending. It also features some very obvious foreshadowing. But in spite of the clichés, or perhaps because of them, it was a rather enjoyable experience. Although I do foresee a number of Razzie awards in the future!

6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Unrelenting action/violence, 9 April 2012

Alright, the action isn't quite non-stop, but it is pretty close. That being said they have actually managed to get a bit of a story thrown in, a relatively solid story at that.

The premise is that a SWAT team, mostly full of rookies, is sent in to an apartment building to extract a crime lord. They have to deal with the fact that most of the tenants of the building are criminals, there are lookouts on every floor and a video surveillance system. It also becomes clear rather quickly that the lieutenant leading the assault isn't on the up and up.

The first portion of the movie starts with the SWAT team doing what they do best. Methodically and quietly clearing the building as they move ever upward. Then things fall apart and they are in an extended gun battle.

The action in the movie isn't limited to gun fights. There is a scene that reminded me of the hallway scene in Old Boy, but with knives, tonfa (police baton) and one cop marching through dozens of bad guys. There is also time for a couple of brutal hand-to-hand fights.

The plot I alluded to earlier is hard to outline without spoiling the movie. It is clear that ulterior motives abound, most obviously in the lieutenant who arranges the raid. But as the movie unfolds, it becomes clear that there is more going on. I'm not saying the plot would win any Oscars, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well it played out.

Real Steel (2011)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Robot Rocky, 10 October 2011

This movie really channeled a lot of inner Rocky. The underdog fighter getting a chance to fight the champ. The movie also channels some of Rocky 4, since the bad guy is a technological marvel and "Whatever he sees, he destroys." Alright, in Real Steel the line is "he kills"... Kind of sad that they didn't just take the quote directly.

Overall, this is the story of a down-on-his-luck robot boxer, he controls the robot via remote control, who gets his son dumped in his lap. A son who he never talked to, and he doesn't even know how old he is. Hugh Jackman's character reluctantly drags the kid around as he tries to get his career back on track. In the end the kid teaches his father to believe in himself.

Yes, it is a pretty sappy movie in a lot of ways. It's loaded with clichés and terribly trite one liners. But I have to say the audience ate it up and was cheering during the boxing matches, and laughing at the jokes. While it's not a great movie, it's fun, especially if you go in with the right frame of mind.

69 out of 109 people found the following review useful:
Surprisingly Flat, 25 September 2011

I'm not sure what it was about Killer Elite that disappointed me, but it just didn't seem to live up to its potential. It might have been that the movie relied on Jason Statham to act, instead of just do action. He plays a retired hit man who gets pulled out of retirement to save a friend's life. But it just doesn't work, he's unconvincing. The retirement isn't convincing and neither is his reluctance to return to work. He was much better in the Mechanic which dealt with similar issues.

Overall the movie doesn't hold together very well. There is too much that they are trying to accomplish, but not enough gets developed. For instance, the romance between Danny (Statham) and Anne (Yvonne Strahovski) just seems to be cut in to the movie in a few places. The Feathermen (the group about whom the book the movie draws from is written) appear in a few scenes, yet they're role is barely explored. They are spliced in just enough to give Spike (Clive Owen) a support system.

It's not a terrible movie, but it could have been much more. I think it would make a better mini-series, so that the different parts could be explored properly. If not, eliminate the things that aren't given justice.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Formulaic and drawn out, 7 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've seen many movies that are much worse, but the opening 20 minutes of this movie were terrible. The next twenty minutes were tolerable, the last twenty minutes were another descent into banality.

To fully appreciate the problems with this movie, I have to offer "spoilers". I put the spoilers in quotes because the movie is a bit too predictable to be spoiled. So Mewes and his girlfriend are ring shopping, but she's basically fallen out of love with him. Robbers break into the store, and while they are shooting the place up Mewes and his would be fiancée are having trading nastiness while hiding behind the counter. Did I mention the shootout started with five guys having their guns aimed at one guy, and yet somehow the one guy gets to cover? They are blasting away for five minutes, but nothing and no one gets hit. They are in a jewelry store and there are no exploding cases or anything. Even before that when they are robbing the place, no one's actually stealing anything. Eventually all the bad guys run out of bullets and they fight with knives. Mewes and his girlfriend start to sneak out, but oops, they are caught. Mewes goes nuts when lone standing bad guy starts groping his woman, so he attacks and knocks the guy out. Now his girlfriend all the sudden thinks he's hot stuff, and apparently no longer minds that Mewes said she's a cold fish...

Oh, I forgot to mention that the script was so clever as to have the dialog exchange between Mewes and the girl matching the dialog between the two sides of the bad guy confrontation. Instead of cringing in fear they are breaking up.

Basically this is a low budget movie with a couple of familiar names and faces. The dialog was drawn out to try to make up for the lack of action. The characters are mostly caricatures and often a poorly chosen caricature for the part. The most believable acting is by the guys who play the two brothers, and they are just about the worst characters in the movie.

6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Started Strong and Faded, 8 August 2010

I thought this movie started out pretty well. In particular an early scene between Wahlberg and Ferrel had me rolling. But after that the movie went flat. There were still some good moments throughout the movie, but for me a lot of the jokes were flat. Actually, from the response of most of the audience that opening bit was the comedic high point.

Also, the movie did get preachy about the current economic crisis, corporate bailouts, etc. This was especially the case at the end of the movie and current the closing credits. It was all to make a single joke that no one in the audience laughed at.

Action Comedies are tricky and require the proper cast to pull it off. Will Ferrel did a pretty good job, but wasn't perfect. Mark Walhberg however didn't uphold his part as the straight man. Rather than play it straight, he was just flat, he played Mark Walhberg.

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