Reviews written by registered user
Willie-12

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82 reviews in total 
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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Not Bad...But Not Even Close To Affleck's Previous Work, 8 March 2017
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ben Affleck has already made his way into the elite status when it comes to directors. His previous work has illustrated that truth. Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo...all superbly done...all deserving of the acclaim they garnered. And so it would seem that the streak could not last forever. Mere odds would tell one that eventually Affleck is going to miss. And miss he does here with his latest effort behind and in front of the camera. Now don't get me wrong. This is not a bad movie. Not by a long shot. It is a near miss, but a miss nonetheless. LBN is the type of movie that a director like Affleck has the right to make. He's already shown us brilliance. And an abundance of it at that. So he deserves a film like LBN. It's obvious this is a film that he's wanted to make for quite some time now. It is clear that he loved making this film. It is, technically speaking, quite the movie. It has an awesome, old fashioned car chase that's one of the best I've seen in a while. It has some very effective and stylish shootouts. It has a few scenes that I think are quite shocking. And so there are all of these well done parts that, for some reason, do not add up to a great film. I'm not completely sure, but I think part of that may have to do with the fact that Affleck is returning to some very familiar themes here. But that really shouldn't be a problem. I am one who doesn't care if I feel like I've been down this road before. It doesn't really matter if the movie had been well made. And in that way, LBN is a somewhat disappointing film...the first for Affleck as director. But like I said. That's o.k. Affleck has the collateral to make such a film. The benefit of the doubt is still very much his. I am still looking forward to whatever film Affleck is going to be directing next. Anticipating a return to greatness after this mere bump in the road. But that's just my opinion.

2 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Goes Down As One Of The Best Films I Have Ever Seen, 3 December 2016
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It doesn't happen very often. Sometimes you think it's going to happen...and then all of a sudden the rug gets pulled out from under your feet...usually in the last 20 minutes or so. What the heck am I talking about? I'm talking about movies being masterpieces. I'm talking about movies that go down as the greatest ever seen. I'm not talking about them being great. I've seen some great films in my lifetime. In fact, there's usually, at least one great film every year. Every year I make a top five for the year list, and the top of the list is reserved for some pretty great films. For example, two years ago it was Gone Girl at number one. Last year is was The Revenant. And while those are great films, I (personally...my opinion only) don't consider them to be masterpieces. This year there is a masterpiece that will sit at number one on my top five list. And that masterpiece is Manchester By The Sea, starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, and written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan. I like the work of all of them. In particular I liked Affleck in Good Will Hunting (in a little bit smaller role than his brother, but very well played) and especially Gone Baby Gone, my favorite movie from '07. Williams was stunning in Blue Valentine and Shutter Island. And Lonergan's You Can Count On Me has always been one of my favorite films from 2000. So, with that much talent, I expected Manchester to be, at the very least, a pretty good movie, with the potential to be great. What I got was much more than that. This is one of the best films I have ever seen from, not just this year, but from any year. It's power is overwhelming. It really is. Manchester is so moving, that I found my self doing something that I have only done one other time in my life while watching a film. I shed a tear. Usually I try and fight back any tears that might try and stream down my face, but with Manchester, I was so involved with the characters and their lives, that trying to fight back any tears was of no use. And I'm not talking about tears that have been melodramatically manipulated out of someone. The tear I shed in Manchester was earned. Very seldom can a writer and director have that much control over their films without the outcome seeming fabricated. Casey Affleck's brother has that kind of control over the movies he's directed. And, it seems that Lonergan does to. This movie is also pretty darn funny at some points. Again, difficult to pull off in such a heavy and heartfelt drama. I love this film. And I know for a fact that no film will come out in the next four weeks or so that's going to top it. Like I said, masterpieces only come once in a great while. The last one I saw before Manchester came out nine years ago. The one before that...about 23 years ago. So enjoy this one. It is, by far, the best movie from 2016. And goes down as one of the best films I have ever seen. As always...want to make this very clear...this is just my opinion.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A Powerful And Moving Triumph About The Will To Survive, 7 November 2014
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

How bad do you want to live? It's interesting. I see some of the negative reviews on here and I get it. I understand that everyone has an opinion. And the last time I checked, we all have the right to express that. And that' fine. But I dare say that most of the people who have given this film a negative review have more than likely never had to fight for anything in this world...especially their lives. Rescue Dawn is a movie about just that...the fight for life. And regardless of what some have said about it, it is a powerful and moving triumph about the will to survive. Christian Bale gives a performance worthy of award recognition (and unless I'm mistaken, he didn't receive much of that, if any at all, for this role). As does Steve Zahn. You can't help but become engrossed in their characters interactions with each other, and with the environment they find themselves in. I can't imagine a more difficult place to try and survive than Vietnam in the 1960s. And the obstacles they faced were as daunting as they were deadly. But, as is the case with so many who have faced life and death circumstances, they did not let it get the best of them. Even when Zahn's character makes a very abrupt and surprising exit from the film, Bale's Dieter Dengler did not let that stop him from finally finding the rescue that he had desperately been seeking for a good portion of the film. Which, in the long run, leads to a conclusion that is powerfully emotional. Indeed, it's one of the best endings I've ever seen in a film. And the fact that it is based on true events makes the movie all the more compelling. I cannot believe that it didn't receive more award recognition. Especially when there are so many films out there that do get nominated and it boggles the mind. If you are interested in stories that are real, and that are filmed in an almost documentary style that makes you feel as if you're right there in the middle of the action, then Rescue Dawn is a movie that you should not miss. And as is always the case when one reviews a film...that's just my opinion.

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Very Tarantino...And Yet This Time That Was Part Of The Problem, 20 January 2013
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well I finally saw Django Unchained last night, and I've got some good things to say and some not so good things. First of all, I am a Tarantino fan...always have been ever since Reservoir Dogs. I know what to expect when it comes to his films. I expect a lot of blood, over the top violence, great dialogue, interesting characters, dark humor, and one heck of a story. And all of that was present in Django Unchained. So why do I feel like, somehow, Django missed the mark a bit. Well...and I never thought I'd ever say this about a Tarantino movie...I guess I wish he'd just restrained himself somewhat. For about 80% of DU, we have a masterpiece. At that point in the film I honestly felt that I may be watching Tarantino's best movie ever. And then something happened. Tarantino got in the way of Tarantino. And here's what I mean by that. 80% of DU is a classic buddy movie with some of the best interactions I've seen in quite sometime between characters. Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz (who, once again, gives the best performance in a Tarantino film) are brilliant. There was so much chemistry between them, that their growing friendship and partnership in the bounty hunter profession was the most authentic thing about the film. You honestly come to care for both of their characters. And don't get me wrong. There was plenty of ruthless bloodiness along the way, and as always, the violence was quite graphic. But then, with about a half hour, or so, to go in the movie Tarantino ratchets up the bloodiness to Kill Bill levels. Now, that type of exaggeration was fine in the Kill Bill movies. Heck, that type of exaggeration is fine in just about any Tarantino film except Django. Here I wish Tarantino would have pulled the reigns in. Because what was, up until that point one of the best movies I've seen in a while, just becomes more grind house, comic book-esque entertainment. Of all his films, this should have been the one where Tarantino said, "This time I'm going to come at a film in a more serious manner." The plot certainly lent itself to such seriousness. I'm not saying there shouldn't have been any bloody violence. On the contrary, and again because of the storyline, a lot of violence should have been expected. And it was there. But then Tarantino turns the knob up so high, that the full-blast nature of the carnage actually gets in the way of this otherwise brilliant film. Now...all of that being said, I still liked this movie. There are so many things to like about this movie. But the ending isn't really one of them. Too bad...because what came before the preposterous conclusion was so doggone good. But, as I've said before, that is just my opinion.

Argo (2012)
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
It's Time Affleck Gets The Attention He Deserves, 21 November 2012
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's not an accident. There's a reason that Ben Affleck continues to shine as a filmmaker. As an old professor of mine once said, "Consistency will expose you...either for good, or for ill." And consistency has exposed Affleck as one heck of a filmmaker. He has now directed three films, and every one of them have been tremendous. First there was Gone Baby Gone, a film that was at the top of my list of best movies of 2007. Then there was The Town. Now, even though I didn't think that The Town reached quite as high as GBG, the difference between them was negligible at best. It's like saying which one is better: A million dollars or $950,000? Obviously a million's better, but I'd take the 950 Gs in a heartbeat. And now we have Argo. For me, so far, this is hands down the best movie of this year. Now that might change over the next 6 weeks or so, but I don't see that happening. Once again, Affleck directs in a way that makes it very evident that he has complete control over every detail of a film. I mentioned this in my review of The Town, but I'm going to mention it again. There are very few directors who can achieve that type of meticulous control, and still deliver an almost perfect product. And make no mistake about it...this movie is darn near perfect. Especially considering the fact that I knew how everything was going to turn out, and yet towards the conclusion of the film, I was on the edge of my seat. And so it's time now. It's time that Affleck gets the attention that he deserved to get with Gone Baby Gone, and The Town. And the attention better come in the form of two Academy Award nominations: One for Best Picture, and one for Best Director. If it doesn't happen this time around, then the Oscars will have comprehensively, and epically failed to accomplish their goal of nominating the very Best Pictures of the year. The only thing that I'm disappointed about, is the fact that we're probably going to have to wait two years or so before Affleck's next film. But I guess that's o.k. I'll just pass the time with a few more viewings of Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo when it comes out on Blu-Ray.

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Improvement For Radnor...Not Great But Has Its Moments, 16 November 2012
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was a bit rough on Josh Radnor in my review for his first film, Happythankyoumoreplease. Now, I meant every word I wrote in that review. But I was a bit harsh. And I ended that review with this statement: "Hopefully what we have here with HTMP, is a first time director/screenwriter who is learning as he goes, and ironing out the kinks. If that is the case, then perhaps it has done some good for Radnor as he sharpens up his skills as a movie maker. If that's not the case here, then Radnor better not quit his day job anytime soon." So I guess the question is, does Liberal Arts make the case that Radnor's first film has helped him and made him a better filmmaker, or should he stick to his day job (which, at this point would be acting, and more specifically acting on How I Met Your Mother). Well, I think the jury is still out on that one. But I can say this, Liberal Arts is definitely an improvement for Radnor. It's not great, but it has its moments. And one of the best decisions that he made here had to do with the casting. I know the role of Professor Peter Hoberg was written specifically for Richard Jenkins, and that's the second best decision that Radnor made here. Jenkins is one of the best character actors out there today. And to be honest with you, I think he should be cast in the lead more often...something that 2007's The Visitor is a graphic illustration of. He always gives his roles everything, and because of that, he's very convincing as his character in Arts. And the best decision that Radnor made here was to cast (or at least to listen to his publicist who suggested he go with Olson) Elizabeth Olson as Zibby. Olson has quickly become one of the best actresses in Hollywood. Her performance in Martha Marcy May Marlene was not just one of the best acting jobs from 2011. It's some of the best acting I've ever seen. And she is the best part of this movie. No matter how many times I felt like Arts was beginning to stray and feel somewhat manipulated and manufactured (and there were multiple moments where that happened), Olson consistently brought the film back with her genuine, and somewhat heartbreaking performance. It was very hard not to feel sorry for her in the scene where Radnor's Jesse Fisher brutally, and yet rightfully rips her heart out by refusing her invitation to stay the night in her dorm room. Now, it should be noted that some of HTMP's tarnishes were evident in Arts. Radnor still seems to struggle with when and when not to develop certain sub-plots (i.e. the scenes with Dean), transitioning from scene to scene, making scenes believable, and making dialogue seem authentic. But thankfully here, his cast saves him. And even when the film began to stray into mild absurdness (like Zac Efron's bizarre, almost Bagger Vance-like character, or Jesse's interactions with his old Literature professor), it still didn't derail the film completely. And I will say this: When it comes to the conclusion, Radnor nailed it here. Let's face it, a conclusion can make or break any film. Fortunately, in Arts, it made it. And that, along with the cast, probably saved this film from being mediocre. So has Radnor improved as a filmmaker? Definitely. Can he get better? Definitely. And Liberal Arts has made me believe in him. I actually am looking forward to his next screen writing and directing endeavor, whatever that may be. After all, if he makes the leaps that he made from HTMP to Arts, then his next film may just be the "one" that propels him to the next level as a filmmaker.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Almost Completely Derails In The Third Act, 19 May 2012
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Finishing is what counts. Starting is great. If you don't start something then you'll never be able to even have the opportunity to finish it. But in the end, it's the finishing that counts more than anything else. And The Five Year Engagement (TFYE) is a disappointing, almost perfect illustration of that. Here's a film that not only started, but started well. The set up was perfect. The two main leads obviously had a lot of chemistry between each other. The script was smart and funny. If one has to see a Romantic Comedy, it seemed at the start of TFYE, that this was one that could appeal to both men and women. But then something happened. It's almost as if a completely different film was spliced into TFYE at about the 2/3 mark and, it almost became bizarre (probably beginning with the food fight liaison). And what started with so much promise began to spin out of control into the absurd and ridiculous. I don't know if there was a rush to finish the script or a push by the executives to make this film not take itself too seriously or what, but unfortunately what began with so much promise ended up like so many other garden variety romantic comedies that are a dime a dozen. It should be noted that the film tries to right itself towards the end and definitely makes a valiant effort to do so. But the near derailment is just too much to overcome, and thus, for me anyway, makes this movie not one that I would recommend until it's out on DVD or blu-ray. And even then I'd wait a while.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Just A Darn Good Little Film, 15 May 2012
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Every now and then you come across a movie that just hits the right note at the right time in life. I had heard of Calvin Marshall before, but never really had much interest. It's not that I don't like baseball. I do. And It's certainly not that I don't like movies. I love 'em. But this is one that, to be honest, I don't even remember being released in theaters. And if it was, it must not have turned very many heads. In fact, I wasn't surprised at all to find Marshall to be one of the movies available on a certain internet movie rental company's site that makes a majority of its money on a streaming service. And the reason I wasn't surprised is because these are the exact types of movies you find on that streaming service. They're the "rarely ever heard of." They're the rejects. And most of them really aren't that good. And so after searching for quite a while tonight for something to watch, I finally just went a head and hit the button on Marshall. And I have to admit, after a bit of a slow and somewhat confusing start, this movie grew on me. It's not the best baseball movie you'll ever see. The script is decent, but nothing earth shattering. The acting is fine (with Zahn shining most). But what raises Marshall from the level of "mediocre" to the level of "pretty darn good little movie," is its characters. It is, in the truest sense of the phrase, a character driven story, and it, like its title character, has a lot of heart. And in the end it left me with a smile on my face. And let's just say that recently, the smiles have been few and far between. So, for me personally, that alone is enough for me to recommend Calvin Marshall. It really is a pretty good film that, unlike so much other stuff out there, should have garnered more attention than it did.

4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Very Impressive And Well Worth The Wait, 4 May 2012
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It has been a long time since I've anticipated a summer movie season as much as I've anticipated 2012's. And what better way to kick it off than with one of the most anticipated movies of...well if not the decade, then at least the last 5 years. The Avengers was a very impressive accomplishment by Joss Whedon, and it was well worth the wait. This is one of those movies that had its work cut out for it for quite some time. This was going to take some skill as a movie-maker. How in the world would anyone be able to bring all of these larger-than-life characters together in such a way that it would not seem too jammed packed and jumbled up for its own good? How would all of these heroes be showcased in a movie that is almost all main-character and lead actor? And to answer those questions, all I can really say is this: I don't know. And after seeing the movie, I still don't know. All I know is that it was done, and it was done very well. I have to admit, when I found out Whedon was going to be at the helm for this one, I had some doubts (which, I'll admit were only based on my lack of attention to most of his work as a writer). However, after seeing Cabin In The Woods a few weeks ago, I saw what Whedon was able to accomplish with what was, technically a film that goes into the horror genre, but really was one of the best and unique films I've seen in a long time. And even though he was only a script writer for Cabin, anyone who knows anything at all about screenplays knows that that was one that was penned by a very talented and creative guy. So at that point I was more than convinced that he could pull off something great with The Avengers, and after seeing it tonight, it's safe to say that Whedon was certainly quite up for this task. If you love movies then go see this one. It has the action, it has the acting, and more than anything (and is so important when it comes to a film like this) it has the story and script. This is the quintessential summer movie that everyone hopes for. But, and this is the good part, it's also got so much more that makes it so much more than the quintessential summer movie. So, the summer movie season has officially arrived. And now, the rest of the season has its work cut out for it.

The Grey (2011)
5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Better Than Most January Releases...But Still Had Problems, 29 January 2012
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love movies. Always have. And if there's one thing that I've learned over the years when it comes to movies, it's this: Don't expect a whole lot out of January and February releases...and see them at your own risk. But over the last couple years there have been some pretty decent movies released early in the year. A few years ago it was Taken. About a year after that it was Shutter Island. And this year we have The Grey. Now, I will admit, I didn't like this one as much as the other two I just mentioned. But it was still a lot better than most movies that get released this time of year. The acting was very good, and there were some pretty compelling scenes (i.e. the "you're gonna die" scene right after the plane crash, and the final scene where Neeson's character gets prepared to do battle with the Alpha). And the cinematography was absolutely perfect. The desolation and emptiness in the landscape had a strange beauty to it that was a bit mesmerizing. I even didn't care that the ending left much to the imagination, even with the after-the-credits scene. However, what was a bit problematic, and is always going to knock a score down pretty significantly in my book, is a weak screenplay, and a lack of believability. And unfortunately The Grey had both. The dialogue, at times, was o.k., and at others was...well just not very good. And I think much of that had to do with the fact that the characters were forced to make decisions that didn't seem real simply for the sake of advancing the plot to it's nihilistic conclusion. And so what could have been an excellent film ended up just being a decent one. Still, one could do much worse when going to see a film that was released in January.


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