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391 reviews in total 
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33 out of 57 people found the following review useful:
Excellent, 3 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hammer and Depp play well together in retelling of classic early television western. Hammer is district attorney sent back to his boyhood frontier town in the midst of "progress" - the linkage of continental rail service, dealing with the local Comanche tribe, and exploitation of silver deposits. Hammer is deputized when his brother, a Texas Ranger, needs a posse to chase the evil Butch Cavendish gang. Depp is solo Comanche shunned by his own tribe who is entangled in the various doings. Having Wilkinson as the local authority is worth at least one additional star, Depp is worth one or two extra stars himself for his very amusing if mildly predictable playing of Tonto. Some of the location scenery is spectacular. The movie doesn't quite make a 10 because it's a tad too long and the special effects are just a tad too unbelievable. But well done, and the telling of the story from Tonto's point of view is a bonus. There's nothing groundbreaking here but it's a fun ride.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Excellent, beats the first, 18 May 2013

I am really enjoying the re-revival of cultural stuff from when I was a child of the 60's, particularly Star Trek and most of the Marvel movies. I have always felt a good Star Trek movie is pretty much equal parts characters, plot and believable special effects. In the first run of six Star Trek movies - I don't consider Next Generation to be "Star Trek" - they got thinner on the plot as the movies went along (sort of like in the original TV series). In its second revival this one is actually better than the first. I think Pine has more range than Shatner as Kirk and also can show a vulnerable side, although for a 60's TV show Shatner's bluster was effective. I can't speak as highly for Quinto, but I don't think there's a man alive who can out-Spock Nimoy. Nimoy WAS Spock so that Quinto acts like Nimoy more than he acts like Spock, if that makes sense. Quinto comes across as too accessible and almost effeminate. They need to show a tougher, quieter side of Spock next time around. And no one would ever call Nimoy effeminate. Urban does much better as McCoy than in the last movie. Scotty does very well despite his visual difference from the original, Uhura and Sulu are fine also. This movie starts out a little slow and over-CGI'ed -- a common major problem with current films -- but picks up speed as it goes along. I like the references to existing ST stories but of course they risk credibility each time they do that in terms of series to series continuity. Admiral Marcus could have been played by Robert Lansing but he's been gone for years. Very well done, keep 'em coming!

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Enough already, 13 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really liked the original of this. Arnold was, well, Arnold, but Sharon Stone fit the wife role to a T, Rachel Ticotin was great and the plot was obscure but in the end if you thought it through it sort of made sense. Some special effects but not so it runs the movie, Then there's this. Colin Farrell is okay as the fit, tight-lipped hero, Jessica Biel is ALWAYS welcome as the best looking girl in movies (and a fine actress), and Kate Beckinsale is almost equally appreciated as the nice looking witch. So the first hour or so runs okay, the problem is the eventually endless sequence of Colin with or without Biel gets free, the bad guys corner him in what looks like certain doom, somehow Farrell gets loose, Beckinsale is mad.....repeat 10 or 15 times. The escapes get increasingly unbelievable and other than the above recipe there really isn't much going on. I DO like watching Biel and Beckinsale but I did what I rarely do this far into a movie, at 1:15 or so I shut it down and never looked back. Some good elements, pretty much wasted.

4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Well well, 12 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is what I wrote after the first two episodes. I don't get this at all. They have all these production values, a huge audience, the best stories out there, nice actors, so why do they have to do their own thing? I've been teaching Sunday School for the last 22 years, I'm excited that my young kids are more interested in the Bible because of this series, they do a nice job with much of this. But ninja angels at Sodom? A black Samson? A middle-aged David taking Goliath down? I don't think so. And I'm only two episodes in. There's so much that can be done with the actual, real stories that these deviations are at least a distraction and at most something much worse. People shouldn't be telling "Bible" stories with their own other agenda, then that's no longer the Bible.

This is how I would qualify that after seeing all of the episodes: I don't like the divergences from the Bible, I just think they are a distraction and worse. That being said, I think their treatment of Jesus was pretty darn good, although I personally could have gone for a few more post-resurrection stories of Jesus. Pilate in particular was played so darn well it's scary, that was like Emmy stuff. Their treatment of Acts and Paul was pretty good too, something usually ignored in these spectacles. So I've upped this a couple of points and pretty much recommend it, nice job with the exceptions noted.

33 out of 49 people found the following review useful:
Very good fantasy, 1 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Wow - very cool. A good retelling of an old story without any smarmy adult jokes or insinuations, although I must say some moderately rough visual moments. But nothing my 7 year old couldn't handle. Commoner Hoult finds himself helping out princess Tomlinson on more than one occasion, the most serious being when she's held or chased by giants. Of all the actors McGregor charmed me the most in a calmly confident role as head of the king's Guardians. Hoult and McGregor battle the giants in the clouds and then engage in round two when the giants come to earth. Tucci is good, as always, in this case playing the villain. The special effects are well done but not overdone (as is so often the case nowadays). The story is pretty much told straight, without a lot of fluff, although the running time of about two hours was probably more than it needed to be. Somewhat derivative but very enjoyable nonetheless, it's recommended.

The Matrix meets The Graduate, 13 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw the ads for this when it was out, it looked pretty good but I forgot about it until it hit cable recently. I really like Matt Damon best in quietly underplayed roles, and he works effectively in that style in this movie. Damon is politician who has chance encounter with the stunning Blunt after an embarrassing photo kills his election hopes. He becomes magnetically attracted to Blunt and her to him - with one problem - she's not part of the "plan" for him. See, there's a group of advanced folks around making people follow the "Plan", and making adjustments when there's a deviation from the Plan. They soon make themselves known to Damon and make it clear that 1) he isn't supposed to be with Blunt, and 2) he can't squeal on them. It's really sci fi and chick flick all in one, but it mildly worked for me including the upbeat wrap up.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Holy Cow what a disappointment, 13 January 2013

Should I start with what this movie has going for it? Excellent if grossly overdone CGI special effects and a stunning (and I mean STUNNING) heroine in Lynn Collins. But I defy anyone living to explain the ridiculous twists and turns of the plots of this movie. And if you haven't read the books you have NO CHANCE. When I was a kid I lived on two fantasy authors - Tolkien and Burroughs. I probably read every other-world fantasy book written by Burroughs several times each, and there were quite a few. The Mars series was as good as anything he did. And it was somewhat involved - not as involved as this mess - but pretty involved. So what they SHOULD have done was dummy down the plot, make it real simple, enjoy the characters and go for the ride. What they DID do was make it even more complicated (with implications for life on Earth, at least I think...) and delivered this turkey. Bottom line - they could have done a far better job with much less on the plate. Small chance of any sequel to this cleaning things up, waste of a great series of books.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Yeccchhh, 4 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

And who picked this anyway? The Role Playing Game Association? I'm always amused by "Top XX Greatest" lists (like TV Guide's Top Star Trek episodes of all time, which was absurdly off target). I understand that my tastes aren't going to match someone else's tastes, but when the list seems arbitrary or worse it does seem a joke. And I admit that I'm not an RPG enthusiast beyond Castle Wolfenstein. Figure on this going in - a bunch of role playing games interspersed with some games that were fun to talk about (like Burger Time - you got it, Burger Time!).

Some of the comments on games I liked were fun, but I can tell you I DVRed the whole lot (5 one hour shows) and was able to watch everything I wanted in about 30 minutes total. I would like to see some channel take this on seriously next time out.

9 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
Too much CGI, otherwise okay, 15 December 2012

I loved the Tolkien works so much as a kid that I often have mixed feelings with Jackson's work - he does a great job of casting and cinematography, but goes overboard where I don't think it's necessary. That holds true here, where the CGI just gets out of control too often in what is otherwise a fairly spectacular if overdone film. The Hobbit was more of a fairy tale than "serious" fantasy, so I don't take Jackson to task for any plot deviations from the source work. Actually, he develops another wizard, Radagast, in a way that was unfortunately ignored by Tolkien. And he also wraps in familiar characters from the trilogy that fans of those movies will appreciate. His idea to take a book shorter than any of the trilogy and expand it into three distinct movies is also inspired. Great stuff, only marred by the excessive CGI and a way too long running time with too much filler. Unlikely that he will tone it down for the second and third parts but you can always hope... P.S. I have watched the LOR movies many times each. I have no interest in ever seeing this movie or the sequel again. I don't know what that means except it just feels really overlong and overcooked.

5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
It all fits together, 22 June 2012

The most recent Marvel comics film efforts have had several things in common - excellent casting, just spot on casting; great characters developed for years through the Marvel comics; good dialogue; but often muddled and/or derivative plots, and usually overlong. For example, Spiderman 3 had chunks of useless segments and a plot shamelessly recycled from earlier Spiderman movies, interspersed with some gorgeous moments of action. This one is interesting. It wouldn't have been as effective without all the introductory movies for many of the characters, including Captain America, Iron Man and Thor, which actually set the table for this main course. The collection of heroes make this movie greater than the sum of the individual works, it just fits like a glove. There are so many good performances - Evans is good again as Capt. A; Downey has made Iron Man his own, and he's got most of the best lines; Ruffalo is amazing as The Hulk; Johannson is solid as the Widow; Jackson and Gregg fit as Nick Fury and his top agent; and just maybe Renner trumps them all as the unflappable Hawkeye. I saw this with my youngest in 3-D, the next night I went back with both my kids and saw it again in 3-D and enjoyed it just as much. Hiddleston does an admirable Jaye Davidson-esque turn as the bad guy, with some help from an other-worldly invasion force. The CGI stuff works, interspersed with some eye-opening live action. The best moment comes when the camera does a slow 360 degree circuit of the Avengers circling the wagons in NYC. There's a lot going on here, and there still is some fat mixed in with the meat, but as a whole this thing just works grandly. Very highly recommended.

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