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254 reviews in total 
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River (2015/I)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A Mess Without Direction trying to Force Suspense, 13 August 2016

2.3 of 10. Nothing like a river in its style. Though the title and the story do eventually connect, that's about the only connection you feel from this. The thrills/suspense all feel artificial, forced without anything to be of a concern. The running looks more like jogging.

Maybe the lead actor's connection to a Hollywood star is what gets this some free publicity, but it's not the story or his acting. This would be better setup as a tragic comedy about a naive American in a foreign country, but nobody involved seems to recognize it and you end up with a film taking its actors far too seriously.

I wouldn't recommend this on any level. It tries to provide some meaningful commentary on international problems, but even that feels concocted within this film.

Lights Out (2016/II)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Basic "Scares", like a child sneaking up behind you and yelling "BOO", 8 August 2016

2.9 of 10. If there was a ranking of horror film categories that are the worst types of horror film, this wouldn't be the worst type, but it would be in the top 3. It's about as scare as a child sneaking up behind you and yelling book as you walk into a dark room. That's also pretty much the extent of what this film does, and thus the film title, which is the best part of the film.

Imagine you use your smartphone camera to film your son/daughter/little brother/sister wearing a long-haired wig backwards while they sneak through a dark house and wait for someone to turn out the lights and go to bed. Then they walk into the room as you hit play on a boombox with a loud, disturbing sound plays. Well, you'll get more entertainment out of that then this film, and that's pretty much all you can expect from this film, without having the benefit of having an amusing home video to play back.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Grunge Family Superhero, 2 August 2016

9.5 of 10. It's tempting to give it a perfect rating. This is the kind of film that should win an Oscar. Genius story telling combined with perfect social timing.

With grunge-era people now in full family mode or just escaping it, it fits that there should not only be a film set in a grunge utopia but complete with the filthy, tragic, painful aspects of life that grunge art is in large part dedicated to portraying.

One of the few drawbacks was its placement of Bikini Girl's "Rebel Girl". It's a great song that should be in the soundtrack, but they missed a few more ideal places for it. Otherwise, the soundtrack is a key part of keeping the film moving along.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
You'll feel like you've had a bird crap and vomit on you, 29 July 2016

3.4 of 10. If having a bird crap and vomit on you is your idea of a good time, you may enjoy the green pork and white eggs this film offers. I'm not sure how they coaxed Sean Penn into this. Maybe a favor for a friend. The rest of the cast isn't surprising or add anything to it. Probably just happy to get a good paying Sony gig.

The animation and drawing is solid, more natural and better than a game, so game and cartoon lovers might get some enjoyment out of that. But beyond the technical visual and sound aspects, the story and characters are disappointing and poorly thought out.

About the only story element that I enjoyed involved how communities openly trusting and welcoming of traveling carnival acts passing through town are likely to be conned and lose heavily in the deal.

8 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
A Rarity that Completes the Trilogy, 4 July 2016

8.75 of 10. It's a rare trilogy that the last film is both the best and smartest of the 3, and this is one of those rarities.

After suffering a dropoff with the second, Anarchy, from the first in the series that created a world we wanted to see and know more about, we're back to wanting to see more. On the other hand, this completes the series perfectly, or as close as it may ever get to it, and they should let it end here.

Once again, this is not sci-fi. That hasn't changed. What we have is an expansion and development of the dystopian, modern-day alternate reality the first setup so well. We also get a longer film with more plot and character that doesn't attempt to rush through it like a conventional action/horror flick.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A Comedy of Fears - and Crazy, 3 July 2016

6.5 of 10. Whereas we frequently get comedies of errors, and this certainly has that, this is primarily making comedy out of fearful and even horrific situations. I imagine this will be a favorite among social workers and psychologists.

Besides the frequently referenced farting and massive piles of bear poop, this treads in a lot of areas people would prefer not to talk or think about - not just because they are gross. The highly unusual if not unique element is the fear and crazy combined into humor. I can't think of anything that's not psycho horror that combines the elements of this film into something intriguing to watch.

Unfortunately, there are more than a few clichés and well worn melodrama for losers that hurt the originality of the story, plus some unexplained shifts in clothing/appearance that take away from the immersion.

Not a theater film, but worth seeing, secretly with your stuffed raccoon, or with your friends and biggest bear.

12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Civil Wars for the Rich, 29 June 2016

9.25 of 10. The many shades of slave and involuntary servitude come to light in this story. A film that's true enough that it deserves to be something shown to students to help their interest and expand their understanding of American history, but too gruesome, violent, and explicit in language for the typical school.

It may also be a little too quiet and slow moving for some, but the depth to which the film explores obscure American Civil War facts and events, both during and after, makes one curiouser and curiouser to see where it goes.

This is a rare film that you can watch a trailer of, or not, and not have it ruin the film. In fact, it would be very difficult to anyone to write a spoiler for this. It's also something you want to watch from beginning to end, or at least until the credits shift to white text on black. It may not be the ideal theater film, but it definitely is worthy of a hard copy for your book/DVD shelf.

Colonia (2015)
3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Great Tale of History Removed of Oscar Status by Over-Directing & Acting, 10 June 2016

7.5 of 10. As many of the top reviews mentioned, this a true story, or "inspired" by them, that needs to be told about relatively recent but virtually unknown history of Chile.

I'm adding a review to the mix because the other reviews really didn't capture the problems of this film. The few that did were too fixated upon them and essentially didn't consider anything else the film has to offer. Then there were the usual fanboy reviews of one of the film's significant problems - Emma Watson's acting. During the most significant parts of the film, she was stuck. In the less important parts, she was cliché, stereotypical, and showing about as much skill as a teen horror chick.

The other problem is that the director also failed in the same way, cliché, stereotypical melodrama hurting a story that didn't need it.

Fortunately, the story and most of the other actors overcome the over-direction and naive acting. Not enough, however, to turn it into an Oscar nominee that it deserves to be.

Allegiant (2016)
2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
The Best and Only Sci-fi Divergent Yet, 26 May 2016

8 of 10. The series keeps getting better and it finally becomes science fiction as opposed to just a dystopian alternate reality.

The first thing you need to do to fully enjoy this is not read the reviews and especially not the reviews of the book readers. The books may or may not be better. Harry Potter sucks no matter what. The Lord of the Rings is only good if you're a kid who hasn't read anything but a bible, Greek mythology, Dracula, or some other weak horror and fantasy.

Here we have a series that seems like little more than imitation Hunger Games complete with an imitation blond girl, but as it turns out, there's more too it and, finally, actual sci-fi.

The first 2 films act as a setup for what and why there is a dystopia in addition to not providing any science fiction, so this pays off the way a mystery book with a long plot does, even if the want-to-be book reviewers haven't read enough to develop the needed attention span to put this trilogy together.

Bite (2015/I)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Insect Horror meets Sci-Fi, 20 May 2016

6.25 of 10. If you're looking for something beyond another spider film, The Fly, Spiderman, or the Thaw, this adds something new to mix. It's also ahead of the curve on the zika-like infections.

Excellent visual and sound FX for a low-budget, indie film where the writer and director are the same person.

So much horror is fantasy based that another strong part of this film is that there's reality/science integrated into the horror. If you want horror that's not based purely on nonsense, you'll definitely appreciate this film.

The only weak part of the film involves the casting. With more budget and bigger actors, this could have easily been a more recognized film. As it is, it will probably pick up a cable audience and eventually turn into a cult hit.

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