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Taking Earth (2017)
No excuses: Bad film is bad film.
When a movie isn't very good, it just isn't very good. When you rate a film higher than it should be rated because a) it was made by your friends, b) it was done on a really low budget, c) it was made in a country where they usually don't make movies, d) gosh, they really tried hard, etc. then you're not being honest. "It's good for what it is" doesn't make it good. This movie isn't very good. Yes, the cinematography, at times, is the best part of this film. Some of the CGI is passable. One or two actors were OK, at times. Sadly the majority of this film comes off as amateurish and juvenile. The acting is high-school drama-ish. The script feels like it was written by a teenager. It's derivative of so many other films, in particular, "I am No. 4." The music isn't terrible, but it's placed inappropriately throughout the film. And the pacing, the timing, the editing... it's laborious.The romances were entirely unnecessary, and the film shifts focus so many times that it's hard to know what it's about. I think the film was hurt most by a lack of a consistent production design. It's all over the place and lacks continuity in look and feel. I think, as a project, it's a good first attempt by young film-makers, but it fails to stand up with serious, professional productions. If you take the time to watch it, (I saw it for free on Netflix) be prepared and don't expect much.
Love & Teleportation (2013)
Quirky Indie film short on craft, big on story.
The moment I saw the titles, I wasn't expecting too much. There are a lot of things in this film that reek of low budget and inferior craftsmanship. The acting is adequate, although strained at times. The special effects are sufficient, though not mind-blowing by any means. There are times when the story drags a little. All of that said, though, there are some bright spots. Robin DeMarco is really strong as the love interest, and the loan shark's thugs are pretty good, too, if not a little stereotyped. What really shines here is the story. In the end, it turns out to be more than you expected and there is a pretty decent twist a the end that I honestly didn't see coming. This isn't a big-budget sci-fi, but the film makers did a good job of making a compelling story and entertaining film with what they had. It's definitely worth the watch if you know what your going into.
Great thriller with a classic Bad Guy
Step aside Darth Vader. Meet the new best movie villain ever, Moke. Villain Moke is right up there with Vader, the Kurgin, and other great movie villains. For Dar Robinson's performance as Moke, alone, this movie is a must-see. Burt plays Stick, a fresh-out-of-prison con trying to make over his life. He gets unwillingly sucked back into the underworld and has to fight to survive. Dar Robinson, stuntman extraordinaire, puts in a fantastic performance as Moke- an albino hit-man who has it in for Stick. There are some amazing scenes in this movie, and I think it may be one of Burt's best performances- if not the best.
The Apocalypse (2007)
Worst movie, ever.
Oh brother. This is a real stinker. I don't even have words to describe how bad it is. All right, let me break it down: Acting: Bad. Screenplay: Bad. Direction: Bad. Cinematography: Bad. Special Effects: Pathetic. Sound and Foley Work: Horrific. If I could give it less than a 1, I would. I've seen every bad "Christian" end times film there is, and most of them are stellar compared to this one. Even "Left Behind" (which I think I gave a very generous 3 or 4 our of 10 to) is a masterpiece compared to this drivel. Avoid this film at all cost. I know most reviewers here have given it a 1 or a very generous 2- trust them. DO NOT trust the guy who gave it a good review. He probably worked for the production.
Madison: Insert Sport Here
I really like Jim Caveizel and I really wanted to like this movie. But as it went on, even though it is supposedly based on real events, I found the story to be predictable and very unoriginal. All the classic elements of the underdog sports figure story are present: the semi-evil rival, the misunderstanding wife, the idolizing son, the driven hero, the supporting townsfolk, and all the tragedy and obstacles that must be overcome. I don't know anything about boat racing, but as the film went on, one could easily have inserted any sport and still had the same story. I'm sure that the original story was worthy of telling, but I find it hard to believe that the original story was as formulaic as this script was. I'd have to say the producers did the memory of these events a disservice in the writing.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Chase movie with eye candy...nothing more.
I just watched this film again last night - right after I watched the last 20 minutes of "The Blues Brothers." I could have sworn I was watching the same movie- a chase movie. Lots of chasing and crashing and so on. Yes, the original has that component to it, but the heart and soul of the first film is the love story which is totally lacking from this film. There are moments in the first film that are terrifying. Nothing about this second installment impacted me in the same way. The suspense just wasn't there. It's also hard for me to care about any of the characters. Furlong's debut performance is two-dimensional: cocky and arrogant or screaming and whining. Arnold is much better as the cold-hearted villain- a element of the story that Robert Patrick's character, the T1000 falls short of delivering; and a twisted Sarah Connor that has little or no resemblance of the original character from "The Terminator." The dialog throughout the movie is corny. Trying to humanize the Terminator machine is ridiculous. ("Now I know why you cry." ugh.) There is no denying that the movie has amazing special effects- though dated now- and that the chase/action scenes are ground-breaking. But to me, the things that make a movie great are well-developed characters and a story I care about. I own this film, and think it's a fair sequel. But it is hardly the masterpiece that many make it out to be.
Mission: Impossible: Pilot (1966)
The imminent use of atomic weapons at the hands of a South-American despot seems a bit far-fetched, but it sets the tone for the import of the IMF's missions. Straight out of the gate, the format is established with leader Dan Briggs (Stephen Hill) getting his orders from a disintegrating LP and then choosing his agents from the leather-bound IMF agent portfolio. (I remember, as a kid, I always thought those first few minutes of every episode were awesome.) Martin Landou as Rollin Hand, master of disguise, establishes the series soon-to-be-famous motif of impersonations. Barnier Collier, played by Greg Morris, is the original McGyver. His gadgets and tricks, a bit underplayed in this pilot episode, always added to the IMF team's trickery in an interesting way. We're also introduced to series regulars, Barbara Bain and Peter Lupus, one of only two actors (Greg Morris) who were with the series entire run. The great Wally Cox makes his only series appearance in the pilot as a safe-cracker. While not one of the series strongest episodes, it was suspenseful and compelling enough to make you want to see more. The potential for where the stories could go was limitless.
Mission: Impossible: Wheels (1966)
Great appearances by...
In this episode, we find our agents trying to keep a potential despot from rigging an election. They are not charged with altering the outcome, but with keeping the outcome honest by undoing the mechanisms put in place by the corrupt candidate, played by Mark Lenard. We also see Percy Rodriguez as the candidate's puppet police captain. His presence is imposing and he adds a bit of dread for how he might discover our agents whenever he is on screen. The suspense is added to in this episode as Barney, the only agent capable of manipulating the machines to accurately report the vote, is shot and it is uncertain as to whether or not he can complete the mission. Lenard and Rodriguez - both Star Trek alumni as well - are great as the diabolic duo in this installment. For me, the idea that the IMF agents were charged with keeping the election honest - even if it meant the less-favored party might win - was compelling.
Hell's Angels (1930)
Incredible Aerial Fight Scenes
For the most part, I could do without all the melodrama and the hackneyed acting i this film. The leads are barely watchable and the overacting almost embarrassing. But when it comes to the aerial action, this movie is simply unsurpassed. The dogfights and the zeppelin scenes in this movie...Wow. I saw it for the first time last evening and was on the edge of my seat in total disbelief over the dogfights in the last third of this film. The realism- they were real planes- and the pilot's deaths - Amazing. I will own it JUST for those sequences. The special effects are still some of the best I've ever seen. It's hard to imagine this film was made in 1930.
The Last Child (1971)
So how about that movie?
The Mod Squad's Michael Cole heads up this great made-for-TV thriller about a young couple on the run from authorities in a near-future world where couples are limited to one child per family. I saw this film several times on Saturday afternoon TV- gosh I hate infomercials. I miss great Saturday afternoon movies. The story in "The Last Child" takes place in the United States in a near future where population growth has caused the government to control the birth rate. Families are limited to one child. What makes this story compelling, is that the couple in question has had a child that died, and this "second" child is not permitted under the law. They are on the run for nearby Canada (of all places) where the law is not so imposing. Now, this is where I could digress into all kinds of political rhetoric, or force my own opinion on you, but in lieu of that, I'll tell you that the ensuing "pursuit" is what makes up the meat of the story. There are stereotypical "bad guys" determined to stop the couple from having their child and there are "sympathetic" good guys who endanger themselves by helping the young couple flee to safety. There's some low budget special effects, but over all, this is a good film for its time that imposes some compelling questions about how far political agendas should be pushed, etc. Personally, this stands as one of the best made-for-TV sci-fi films ever made. The acting and script make up for any technical shortcomings. If you can catch it- go for it.
The Island (2005)
Bay's Best? Maybe. Revisited Material? Definitely.
I, for one, have never been a big fan of Michael Bay's films. His action sequences are always far too over-the-top. He also tends to use the same mechanisms in all of his films: Shaky zoom camera work in the car chases, things falling off a truck into traffic, every scene shot in late- afternoon sunlight, etc. His style is easily recognized, and I have always thought his films to be too much style over substance. The Island is no different. A good story is given second seat to outrageous action sequences. Unfortunately, with the story not getting the attention it deserves, it falls flat. There are many films that have dealt with similar subject matter that this film borrows heavily from. The Island is made up of bits and pieces from "THX 1138," "Logan's Run," "The Sixth Day," "The Darker Side of Terror," "Coma," and even, "The Matrix." I give it a 7 for technical merit and production values, but it will most likely not make my list of films to own, unlike some of the others I mentioned.
War of the Worlds (2005)
Hard to not give it a 10.
I've read the knit-picky reviews here and am saddened that people can't be entertained anymore, even when the entertainment is as great as this. The cynical criticism - hating a movie because it wasn't written a particular way or because it had a discontinuity here or there - is really too bad. The reality is, Spielberg has captured the heart of H.G. Wells work and translated it more than a century into the future, making it relevant to we who are alive today. The technology he chose to use for the invaders tripods is so raw- almost steam-engine like- capturing the look and feel of the invaders from Well's original story, and yet the weaponry hearkens back to the terrifying ray weapons from the 1953 classic film. There are nods to the original film, but done with a Spielberg twist that takes the whole thing up a notch. The family dynamic that Cruise, Fanning, and Chatwin bring to screen is awesome. Some have argued that the gushy family stuff could be done without- but what is a story if not about humanity and human relationships? I'm not interested in a shallow and sterile shoot-em-up. I want a film to wrench at my heart and make me care about the characters. Otherwise, what's the point? This is a great movie. Terrifying, heart-wrenching, hopeful. I thought hard to pick out something that would make me not give it a 10. If I were cynical, like others, I'm sure I could find many reasons, but for now, I am astonished and entertained beyond my expectations.
Almost as Good as the First
I watched this film again the other night and it continues to grow on me. In fact, I upgraded my vote form an 8 to a 9. This film is so much better than T2. I know it's devoid James Cameron and some feel that this film lacked his vision and leadership. But somehow, I feel that Cameron has lost his ability to tell a story without a $100+ Million dollar budget. I like this story because it relies on and clings to the original premise unlike the second film. To me, T2 was all about eye candy and had very little to do with story. T3 returns to the gritty hard-core reality of a post-nuke world at war against SkyNet and the machines. I get chills at the end. I also love the return of the Love Story element. The first film is a love story as much as it is an action film. THat element was totally lost in T2. Congrats to the producers and all for returning the franchise to its roots.
Nothing like "Dude..."
Unlike the hilarious "Dude, Where's My Car?" this film appealed to the most base elements. Eight grade toilet humor is not smart or funny. The language was unbearable- I was embarrassed to sit next to my wife while we watched. The "F" word is not smart or funny. There is rampant gratuitous sexual innuendo and nudity that is totally out of place. Makng fun of women who will readily expose themselves to get high is not smart or funny. And The way this "film" glorified drug use was abominable. Having no life and endangering your job to get high is not smart or funny. I didn't enjoy this "film" at all. I can't recommend this "film" to anyone - at all. I rarely do it, but this one gets a "1."
Ying xiong (2002)
All style, no substance.
This film is NOT "Wo Hu Cang Long" ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"), nor
should it ever be confused with it. They are two completely different animals. (pun intended) The fight scenes in this film fall very short of the magnificent choreographed spectacles in "Wo Hu Cang Long," and with all respect for Jet Li, he is no Chow Yun-Fat. I could hardly bear one more sappy tear-drop, or one more flashback within a
flashback... And weepy pacifist messages are not the best fodder for Chinese
Martial Arts films- which is what this is when you boil it down. (C'mon...
calligraphy and sword fighting? HUNH???) Puhlease. Sigh. 5/10 at best.
Maybe some people just don't know what a good movie is...
One of the reviewers here wrote: "Good acting, good special effects, great
location. Even better ending. " All I can say is, "Ugh." This movie was painful to watch. Let me start by saying this: I am a Christian- considered extremely conservative by many people I know. So, what I am about to say is not biased by the
"Christian content" of the film. I'm not gonna bash it because it's Christian. I am gonna give it a 2/10 because it's a horrible movie. The writing is bad- over the top, WAY too preachy, and much of the "preachy" stuff is just plain irrelevant to the story. It just makes for bad scriptwriting. Whether I agree with the
screenwriter's beliefs is irrelevant- make a good script that flows well, stays on track, and is believable. The acting was amateurish at best. But hey, when you cast amateurs, you get
amateur performances. Dirk Been may have been on "Survivor," but that show
requires ZERO acting ability. Playing on his name and reputation to sell units is in bad taste. Cast unknowns who can act and you'll have a much better film. The effects were HORRIBLE. The scene with the hail and the subsequent falling of the stars was embarrassing to watch. And what was so great about the ending? It made no sense.Yeah, I know what
Tim Chey was going for, but it missed the mark, big-time. I bought this film and expected so much more based on reviews and the
misinformation on their website. And, although I was hoping for more, I got what I always get when I watch "Christian" films- an under budget, poorly written, pathetically acted, badly produced piece of ka-ka. Maybe someday, someone will finally step up to the plate with an end-times film as well-written and as well-made as Gibson's "Passion..." was. 2/10 stars.
bad, badder, baddest
ugh. It just gets worse. Perhaps the positive reviews here are by the Lalonde Brothers themselves. I don't know. BUT they can't be serious objective reviews. Bad acting. Badder writing. Baddest direction. God is worthy of better than this trype. How long must we wait for a good Christian-themed film? Everything I've seen is bad or after-schoolish. We are capable of better than what the "world" produces, no? PLEASE!! STOP THE WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY!
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
nice work of fiction
Leave it to a Brit to tell us how "factual" Michael Moore's movie is about
American history. How laughable.,
This movie is ANYTHING BUT FACTUAL.
Boo and shame on you, Mr. Moore. Do us all a favor and return your Oscar.
Best of 2003
I can't explain the extreme views that people hold on this film. I've seen thousands of films (over 2000 of them documented here on this website) and only a very small percentage of them- far less than 5%- ever earn a "10" from me. Seabiscuit gets a 10, and to those who are critical of editing, or the story winding down, or bad horse stand-ins, etc.: you must have seen a different film. Jeff Bridges rarely disappoints, and in Seabiscuit, he makes no exception.>
Seeing him in this film, there is little wonder he is my favorite actor. Chris Cooper is fabulous, too, and shows why his Oscar win for Adaptation was not a fluke. I am not a big horse fan, and rarely look forward to a movie about horses, but this film just spoke to me in a way I never would have expected. It's just simply excellent. It's Oscar worthy.
I know that LOTR ROTK will probably take it, but that just seems so easy. I think it's time the academy recognize great filmmaking that doesn't rely on 12 months of post-production so every cgi shot is perfect. It almost reminds me of what happened to music when the synthesizer came along.
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
Hunh?? Did we see the same movie??
The Matrix Revolutions is a beautifully filmed movie with mind-boggling action sequences and incredible special effects. Unfortunately, the special effects were not what made "The Matrix" a one-of-a- kind film. The Matrix is a near flawless piece of science-fiction action that moves at a perfect pace, with purpose and intelligence. It leaves one wondering-
excited. I still walk away with chills every time I see that original film. Revolutions does not deliver on the same level. Not even close. And all those questions you had from the second movie- expect to have them still, plus more. Anyone who says that this film answers the questions raised in Reloaded, didn't have the same questions I had at the end of Reloaded. And someone here said that the movie didn't end with the happy Hollywood
"sunset" ending. Uh, yes, it did. The last thing I saw on the screen was just that- a happy sunset. The Matrix was built on the genre of the graphic novel and japanime- the
Brothers broke that pattern by giving us a feel-good ending. IT should have
been a dark, morose, twilight-zone like ending. Well, see it for yourself, and make your own judgments. I was greatly
disappointed. 5/10 for visual greatness.
The Good, the bad, the absurd.
The Good: Production values were amazing. Great sets, great cinematography, great
special effects. The Bad: Horrible acting, horrible script. The Absurd: The premise and the outcome.
This movie could have been so much more. With just a little bit better casting, and a rewrite or two. I can even live with the premise if they explore things a little deeper. But who, what, when, where, and why are never explained when it
comes to the discovery of alien life on Mars. And the whole air, water, lichen thing is never explained. Yeah, I like to think, but I also like to be told a somewhat believable story. If I'm willing to suspend my disbelief to accept a mission to Mars and the discovery of a dead civilization, at least respect me enough to give me an explanation. Oh, and one more thing: Keep it in your pants, Luca :)
The Hunted (2003)
Falls short of what it might have been...
It's been said here before, and I'll say it too, Rambo meets the Fugitive. As to the gentleman who thinks we got it all wrong- the Abraham/Isaac
connection was obvious. Yes, Tommy Lee is the Father Figure that must
discipline and ultimately bring down his own son- his own creation. What is unfortunate is how reminiscent of The Fugitive this film was.The pursuit even takes us to a river and a dam, and reminiscent of "US Marshals" is the
scene on the commuter train. Moral messages aside, I just didn't think this film had anything new or original to say, and some of the violence was absolutely unnecessary. And in regards to
moral messages, I don't think that Del Toro's character had evolved higher on the food chain, but rather he had become judge and jury to those he felt were disrespectful of the order of things. Anyhow. Friedkin is a hit or miss director. Three classics to his name, yes. But he has a lot of bombs in his resume as well. This, apart from cinematography, is one of them. 5/10 stars- generous for high production values.
An interesting attempt at a visual representation (set to Paul Scoffield's narration) of the book of Genesis. For the most part, the opening creation is a montage of unrelated images. Then the film moves to a somewhat abstract portrayal of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Tubal Cain, then Noah and his family. Throughout are some quotes from the Psalms, Song of Songs, Isaiah, and I what I am certain are extra-biblical references. One sequence I found very interesting was the use of modern images of war and frenetic city life intertwined with portrayals of ungodly lifestyles in Noah's day to communicate that we are on the verge of God's coming judgment, just as his culture was. Very well done, I thought.
Overall, I give this film a 5/10- I wanted to give it a lot more, but it moves along at too slow a pace, with much of the film work seeming like filler material. This film is a lot less than I expected and I'm not sure I'd have been so quick to buy it ($5 at a garage sale) if I knew what it actually was.
The Hours (2002)
Suicide is never brave...
This movie, the whole story, is a horrid tale of self-absorbed selfish people who are miserable because they seek to live for and serve themselves rather than
live for and serve others. Mother's abandoning children and husbands to pursue their sexual desires
rather than live out the commitment they made at the altar. Husbands who are
so blinded by circumstances and living the "happy" life that they miss their
spouses true emotional distress. Ex-lovers who would rather commit suicide
when faced with trials (self-inflicted, btw) than live out their lives, giving to others. Even the one character who seemed to care for others was doing it for herself, trying to regain a lost happiness- brought to an emotional low when confronted with the man her ex-lover chose over her- disregarding those who love her so
she can have the unattainable. It's pathetic. Yes, it's a very well made movie, and the score by Philip Glass is superb, but as a tale goes, alas, who cares?
Moonlight Mile (2002)
The only 10 I've seen this year...
Wow. (I've just read a bunch of the other reviews, and I've decided that people have stopped going to movies to experience them, but to be critical of them. I will come right out and say that I am not fond of Hoffman or Sarandon's politics, and I might have let that influence me. Some of the criticism's I just don't understand. Accept that there are atheists and people who are angry with God in our culture and they might be realistic characters in a piece. Accept that in 2003, we are revisiting 70's culture and style, so recognizing a period piece might be a little more difficult than it was in the 90's or 80's. And yes, people do fall in love at first sight.)
This film... wow. This cast is phenomenal. This script is amazing. I don't even like Dylan, the Stones, or Van Morrison, but I was moved deeply by songs of theirs I don't know that I've ever heard.
I give this film a 10. I'd say more, but I just wanted to contrast the negative stuff I've read here that I can't even fathom. Is is fashionable to consider oneself a film critic and then bash a film? I'm at a loss on this one.