Reviews written by registered user

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480 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

Pixels (2015)
86 out of 174 people found the following review useful:
Fun Fun Fun, 25 July 2015

I suspect those panning this film didn't live in the 80s. This is fun from the word go as Dinklage, Gad, Sandler and James save the world from an invasion of 80's arcade monsters. When the going gets tough, the nation has to turn to the nerds as an alien race attacks the Earth with warriors based on old arcade games. A ship was sent out to contact other races in the 1980's, and what was meant as a peace gesture was interpreted as a threat. I found some of Sandler's recent movies not as funny, but to me this one puts him right back in the comedy driver's seat. All the supporting characters are right, including Dinklage as Sandler's old arcade nemesis. Ignore the other reviews and go and enjoy enjoy enjoy.

1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Amazing - this was actually pretty good, 10 July 2015

I was a tad shocked when I got part way into this non-stop sci fi actioner and realized I liked the characters and they were believable, the plot made sense, and there wasn't the obligatory gore like when Spielberg is in charge. Pratt and Howard (a fetching Gwen from Spiderman 3) did very well as the two people most involved in handling the mayhem that results when things at your favorite dinosaur park don't go well. Unlike many recent movies, this one did have a soul and didn't just feel like plug-in formula garbage. I like Pratt, I didn't know him before, he gets my vote as a good one for any new upcoming Marvel superhero. Also nice to see geneticist BD Wong back from the original, although apparently learning nothing from his first time around. Recommended.

Minions (2015)
21 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
Why was this movie made?, 10 July 2015

I'm sitting in the nearly vacant theater on premiere night and thinking somewhere there must be a struggling movie maker pondering how Hollywood could pump millions into this pedestrian cartoon babble and not into his or her creation? If you feel like you have to see this movie I have four suggestions: 1) pop in any CD of Back to the Barnyard and watch 3 episodes, 2) pop in any Penguins of Madagascar CD or its variants, 3) watch the Croods, but with the sound off, or 4) bang your head against the wall with medium impact for 1 1/2 hours. The best thing about this movie was the short running time, even with the pressure these days to fill and expand movie lengths this was so spare to begin with that they had no place else to go. One other alternative is to watch the trailer 100 times. My son just barely made it through, he gave it a 6 1/2 on the way out. Most of the (unintelligible) lines are in Minion gibberish, maybe this was a good thing? I mean it when I say pass 'em by.

City Hall (1996)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
I really like this movie, 30 June 2015

So it's New York City, Al Pacino is the charismatic Mayor with White House ambitions and John Cusack his southern(!) Deputy Mayor. There is a shoot out between an evil drug dealer and a cop, both of them are killed as well as a young child caught in the crossfire. The drug dealer is part of a notorious crime family, and the media discovers that the last time in court he should have gotten 10-20 instead of probation, and should have been long off the streets. Cusack is troubled by how this could have happened and jumps in with both feet, attractive Fonda tags along because she is counsel for the cop's family once the cop becomes disgraced. There you have it in a nutshell. I am sure there are issues with the realism of this including how and why a Deputy Mayor would get so deeply involved in this sort of investigation, but Pacino plays the Mayor to a textured T and Cusack is always fine as the idealistic young man. My favorite performance, an even more textured one, is by Danny Aiello as the local political boss dealing with eerie mobster Tony Franciosa. I like every twist and turn of this movie and every major role; whether it is realistic or not the interaction between the players is superb. I have seen it several times and rate it Highly Recommended.

0 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Disney Pop Culture 201, 30 May 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Or maybe "Salvation through Disney". I gave my review a spoiler alert although I'm not sure I understood much of what happened, so I'm not sure how much I could "spoil" anything. Before the movie started I was wondering randomly whether I really wanted to continue seeing Disney movies, their God-less, asexual, politically correct orientation has so little interest for me.

I say with a little trepidation that this could have been an interesting movie. But beyond the Peter Pan Disney culture which permeates this movie, there were two major problems: 1) similar to other recent movies, there wasn't much character development, so we understood that this character had these traits, but we never really understood why they do what they do (including the bad guys); and 2) this was way too complicated. And add 3), some stuff happens that looks good but doesn't make much sense. For example, late in the movie the good guys arm a bomb and then seem relieved when it explodes harmlessly. Huh?

But in the end my biggest beef is with Disney's sterile, infant's-eye view of Nirvana - which, in shameless self-promotion, seems to be sponsored by Disney. I'm not sure I can agree that "Imagination is greater than Knowledge" (aren't they both important?). So it's the pretentiousness of this I find most offending. I gave it a 7 because it moved along fairly well and was visually interesting. But I certainly didn't join in the sparse clapping in our theater at the end.

8 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Absolutely inane, 15 May 2015

So I sort of checked in once in awhile, it seemed like a lot of it was speculation passed off as hard-science possibility (a general trait of the Discovery cable group). Then I watched the episode on the extinction of religion. The theory was that when something reaches a percentage "tipping point" it is headed for extinction. To prove that religion might be headed for extinction the "mathematician" went into a store and ordered something in a no longer used Incan dialect. No one understood him (he wouldn't have been understood using many existing languages, but whatever). Looking at a decrease in religious affiliation, he hypothesized that at some point religion will also hit a "tipping point" like the Incan language, where it heads towards extinction. Now this all assumes that religious affiliation will continue to decline (who knows?) and also ignores that the Jewish religion - a distinct minority since its inception 4,000 years ago - is still going strong. Figuratively I sat with my mouth agape. As the teacher said to Adam Sandler in Billy Madison, we are all dumber for having listened to you. Pass 'em by.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Sort of Goofy, 10 May 2015

I got sucked into this movie just because I'll watch almost any Tom Everett Scott movie. Tom is a former Navy Seal but he may be the third or fourth best fighter in this movie (the Seals may have something to say on that). I wasn't familiar with Orlando Jones but he is one scary dude at the start of this, I thought he played his role effectively. So as park ranger at Kings Island Tom gets simultaneously confronted by Jones for personal reasons and Van Damme seeking out sunken drugs. Elements of this seem like they've been done a thousand times before and I don't like the way in which Van Damme hurts/kills people. I don't know who gets into that aspect of Van Damme, but I know I won't watch it. I also thought some of Scott's dialogue was lame. But Jones and Von Damme were intriguing along with attractive Cocker as the love interest so I'm settling on a 7, at least I made it all the way through.

3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Pretty good Marvel effort, 10 May 2015

Seems likes its all or nothing on Ultron reviews, I would rather put this in the workmanlike Marvel category. It wasn't as outstanding as the first Avengers. On the other hand it wasn't forced or formula (yet), but it didn't seem quite as snappy and fresh the second time around. And the (intelligent) plot went in unexpected directions, which also led to a zig zag feel as we went down the road. The short version is that Hydra's experimentation with the teserak and artificial life leads, with some help from Mr. Stark, to the development of an apparently unbeatable being along with his associated minions.

I want to discuss Phil Coulson. I didn't like killing him in Avengers 1, I don't like when movies kill characters off, it seems like a cheap way to develop gravity or drama. I don't need for any good guy to get killed for the movie to mean something to me or to hold my interest. And of course Coulson was such a great character that they couldn't actually keep him dead. I was trying telepathically to connect with Mr. Whedon (I actually did try to get an email address) to suggest that he bring Phil's twin brother back for the next movie, have him be just like Phil, it could be a running joke about how much alike they are and lead to an endless line of twin/triplet/quadruplet brothers if and as they got eliminated.

But back to the main issue, there were some wrinkles to this (and the post-party Thor's hammer stuff was just great), but surprisingly some of this seemed a little tired even though the Avengers aren't really very old. Also, the original comic had a problem around issue 15 or so when the team got so good that it was hard to imagine a bad guy that would give them a good fight. It sounds like going forward this and the tired angle won't be as much of a problem, I will be interested in what Avengers 3 looks like. With all that's been said, I would still give this a solid 9.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
And Now You Don't...., 23 April 2015

As with several other movies I see, I tuned in on cable the first time part way through, saw other bits and pieces down the line and finally covered all parts of this movie about the 4th or 5th time around. I've still never seen it in one sitting from beginning to end but I think I got it all now. During staged acts the Four Horsemen, ace magicians all, appear to be invading bank vaults or bank accounts and distributing their contents to the unwashed masses. What is really going on and why? You'll have to watch and find out. Mark Ruffalo, my new favorite actor, plays the FBI agent working with an Interpol agent to break the Horseman. Add Michael Caine, wealthy owner of an insurance company/victim, and Morgan Freeman, the great debunker of magicians, to the mix. Ruffalo and, of the Horseman, Eisenberg, are just great and this is good if somewhat complicated fun. Docked a point because the audience to the big stage acts comes off strangely unreal and hokey, otherwise just grand.

12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Absolutely Fantastic, 23 April 2015

I didn't like Sinatra as a kid of the sixties, he was my parents' star. I never appreciated his style of acting, it seemed too damn smug. I never understood the folks my age who would listen to Sinatra for hours. I always thought The Chairman was vaguely scary. All that said, this is just about the best damn documentary I have ever seen. Framed by songs from Frank's first "retirement" in 1971, it combines voice-overs by friends and family with fantastic film clips and pictures from the 60'a and 70's and beyond. For somebody who lived through this era, even if you never liked the guy this is a great walk down memory lane. And love, like or hate him, Frank led one driven, distinctive and fascinating life from beginning to end. Very highly recommended.

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