Reviews written by registered user
|788 reviews in total|
1st watched 11/23/2013 8 out of 10(Dir-Jimmy Hayward): Hilarious & inventive animated movie about two turkeys who go back in time to try to change the fate of future turkey's ending up on the dinner table during this festive time of year. The writing in this comedic tale is spot on -- while the voice performances and animation are very well done. The only downside to the movie, in my opinion, is the lack of inclusion of the song Free Bird but seriously this was a laugh-out-loud movie that really only slows down during an attempt to throw in some romance. Owen Wilson is the voice of the one-of-the-kind turkey in a stupid current flock as the only one who knows they are getting fattened up to enter their death. The president pardons him from being the main course on Thanksgiving and he is living the good life until he runs into a wild turkey searching out a time machine to turn things around for his kind. Woody Harrelson is the voice of the wild one and the time machine, "Steve", leads them back to before the first Thanksgiving. There is some amazing and hilarious animation done between Woody's character and the leader of the pack in the old world when they try to outdo each other in a macho contest. I was wildly surprised with this movie with it's lame idea but the humor and pacing was great --- the turkey love part was a little much but other than that this animated movie was excellent. If you are looking for a satisfying and fun time at the movies where you and the kids can enjoy it at the same time see this movie!!
1st watched 11/22/2013 - 4 out of 10 (Dir-Francis Lawrence): Lesser sequel to the original Hunger Games movie doesn't have the bite or allure of the original. The setup and lead-in to the games is very flat and sometimes downright corny. The viewer also doesn't see the purpose behind everything that is happening as clearly as with the original. There is really nothing terribly wrong in the performances with Jennifer Lawrence in the lead as Kat, but the direction doesn't seem to pull in the emotions or necessity for the story. The main characters emotions are very evident almost too much so but the other characters are pretty bland as far as their direction towards their purpose. The story starts with Kat being called out of her hunter's life to leave her current boyfriend to go on a victor's tour with her winner & co-partner for her zone which quickly becomes a tournament to cover up the actual turmoil and possible revolution in the real world. The game provides a little bit of puzzle solving as it is setup like a clock, but not enough to make it very interesting or much fun. There is a hardness to this movie that is actually pretty tough to take in a world that makes the normal folk kill each other as entertainment for some reason that is not real clear. Overall this is a just a pretty un-satisfactory movie experience for a franchise that promises at least two more movies .hopefully they pick up their game or it will lose it's audience despite the book series popularity.
1st watched 11/17/2013 -- 7 out of 10 (Dir-John Huston): Well played drama about a couple of down-and-out American's in Mexico who come upon an older prospector to help them find Gold in the Sierra mountains. Humphrey Bogart plays the more emotionally unstable of the two, and Walter Huston plays the older experienced slightly crazy gold seeker. The theme of the movie is pronounced by Huston's character early on where he says that gold changes men. Bogart's character insists this is foolish talk, but gradually degrades from a man who just wants life to turn around for him -- to a man obsessed with getting as much as he can once they find their gold. Tim Holt plays the third man in the group and fights to keep his conscience clear despite all the temptations. This ensemble piece keeps you interested as you watch the characters react and change as they mine more of the gold dust. It is also an educational movie, because the process of mining is taught by Huston's character to his two younger students in different parts of the movie. The pluses of this movie are the story by the Director John Huston, the characters, the actors, and the simple pacing without a lot of extra un-needed fluff. Today's moviegoers might have a problem with the lack of booming special effects and fast paced action but it isn't needed for this movie. Bogart, in my opinion, was deserved at least an Oscar nomination for this portrayal -- as his feelings are so evident by his facial expressions. Bogart's rough outward appearance and his ability to portray emotions so effortlessly along with his everyday-man appeal made him a famous actor -- but this was not a popular character and he pulls it off perfectly. This is a very well done drama by a much heralded director and it doesn't disappoint and shouldn't age because of how real it comes across.
1st watched 11/3/2013 -- 8 out of 10 (Dir- Abel Gance): ** version watched w/music score by Carmine Coppola, 235 minutes, best available on media currently ** Amazingly ahead of it's time representation of Napoleon's early life and battles. This silent movie uses a lot of techniques that had to be extremely difficult for the time -- including an attempt at widescreen using 3 separately filmed sections shown together in the final scenes, hand-held cameras, and extremely inventive flashbacks. The movie itself is enthralling most of the time with a slight lull in the section where Napoleon is on trial(seems to be missing some things). It start with an epic snowball fight with Napoleon as a child where conquest is encouraged by the school masters. Napoleon, of course, wins the battle which starts his foray into being a leader on these fronts. The French film uses a very skinny actor in Albert Dieudonne to portray the character who has a very eerie gaze that almost hypnotizes people into following his commands. The movie follows the path thru the ranks until he eventually becomes a general. His relationship with Josephine is also represented as he is shown multi-tasking his love life and his conquering in an almost comical way. Josephine early on becomes infatuated by his presence and the slightly plump actress, Gina Manes, portrays her well. A downfall is that the movie pretty much portrays everyone else as incompetent and is pretty one-sided emphasizing Napoleon's brilliance. The film teaches as well as entertains especially for those who really don't know much about the character besides the famous painting. The length of the movie didn't phase me -- in fact I'd like to see the original 330 minutes --- once it's available. The movie kept your interest despite this and is not to be missed for anyone who would like to know more about Napoleon Bonaparte or just want to delve into silent movies.
1st watched 10/25/2013 -- 7 out of 10(Dir-John Ford): Epic silent movie about the path to the completion of the transcontinental railroad seen thru the eyes of the son of a dream-filled mid-westerner, played by George O'Brien in adulthood. This movie does a pretty good job of portraying the conflicts in the effort -- while throwing in some romance with a few fist fights. John Ford, the King of the Western, directed this early movie and is not afraid to show men having emotion and being aggressive as males are expected to be. George's character, Dave Brandon, travels with his father to the west in search of helping the railroad get built, but his father is killed by a white man dressed as an Indian and traveling with their tribe. This man becomes the evil character in the film an we find out he also is tight with the railroad executives and owns a lot of land. We believe his intention is to make sure the railroad goes thru his areas so they will thrive and make him money although it is not really dramatized. This piece is somewhat historical in nature with some comedy, romance and violence thrown in coming a lot from the romantic triangle between Brandon, his childhood girlfriend and her new fiancé. The fight scenes are a little corny and sometimes un-necessary but some of the emotions come out due to this and help the film, in my opinion. Ford makes the film entertaining and not just a bland documentary which it could have been. His ability to entertain an audience shines and the film also teaches which is a positive thing as well. Overall -- a worthwhile film although not perfect.
1st watched 10/20/2013 - 4 out of 10(Dir-Rex Ingram): Heavy handed anti-war movie comes across very one-sided as far as the perspective on a war between Germany and France in this epic family drama, love story & war movie wrapped into one package. Rudolph Valentino plays a son of a Parisian who departed to Argentina fleeing the country from an earlier conflict, but returns after his grand-father's demise. The son has a weakness for the woman-folk and becomes involved with the wife of one of his German cousins causing scandal between the two families. He is an artist who lives off his father's money until he decides to join the cause of the war. The four horsemen come into play as an allegory against the biblical reference(referred to in the movie as an old book) in Revelations where each horsemen represents a different side of the results of war activity and the movie does some special effects introducing these horsemen at different points of the movie. Rudolph's father hordes antiques in an old castle in France, but it's destroyed by the German's in an almost naturally occurring guilty verdict on his original escape from the draft. This is a departure from the rest of the movie's otherwise emotionally pointed view about the negative perspective on war. There is not much detail given to the war only that Germany is the conqueror and France takes the blunt of their blows. I believe the piece would have been stronger if the motivations of both sides would have been revealed better. The romance in the story is lessened and seems to just be an opportunity to show off the good looking Valentino's occasional dancing with the ladies. I'm sure the actual re-percussions of World War I prompted the novel and the movie and this played real well to packed houses in America when it first came out, but doesn't play as well to the current age. Overall, I just didn't see that the movie made it's point very effective -- which appeared to be that war should be avoided. In my opinion it wasn't bold enough in it's assessment.
1st watched 9/27/2013 8 out of 10(Dir-Bryan Singer): Very well done re-imagining of the Jack and the Beanstalk story with a screenplay that flows unfettered from beginning to end. The movie begins with the story being told to two children which makes for the bookends to the film the one child is Jack, played by Nicholas Hault as an adult, and the other is a princess, played by Eleanor Tomlinson upon being grown up. Jack is a farmer's son who comes upon some beans when selling his horse in town to a monk. Those beans get wet and a stalk grows trapping his house with the princess(who when running away came upon his house) in it above the clouds. The King's men with Jack then proceed to climb the stalk to rescue her, but there is a traitor among the group played by Stanley Tucci who has other plans. The basic storyline is expanded to include action and romance(between the two main characters) with a back-story including a Gargantian race of people who love to feed on human flesh and have revenge on their minds for the miniature humans. Tucci's character, for some reason, wants to lead the Gargantuan's to accomplish their plot. The movie keeps your interest in every frame and Singer, who is an expert in Superhero movies, creates a Superhero-like story out of this small idea and runs with it. The only real downside to the movie is Tucci's character due to his acting, and the fact that the why behind what he is doing is never explained. The story is told using computer animation for the Giants similar to the movie '300' but not as life-like seemingly using real actors for the models with real live characters for the people below. Despite the movie's ads directing this to kids it's really a little too gruesome for younger ones with a small bit of 'r' rated cursing, but very enjoyable for adults.
1st watched 9/13/2013 -- 7 out of 10(Dir-Ken Annakin): *DVD I watched entitled just "The Story of Robin Hood"* Entertaining and informative telling of the Robin Hood story does a good job of keeping your interest and helping the viewer to understand why Robin became the outlaw Hood, and placed himself in the position of the leader of the group in the Sherwood Forest.(Aka. The Merrie Men) This is a Disney live action movie that actually has less fluff than others and is pretty straight-forward in the telling of the tale. Richard Todd plays the main character as a playful yet purposeful hero of the poor folk in the area after King Richard goes on a crusade and his brother takes advantage of his position by over-taxing everyone and trying to rid the forest of what he considers riff-raff(the Forresting folk). The first culprit of his arrows is Robin's father(thus providing the primary purpose of Robin's exile and revenge mindset initially). Quickly though the stealing from the rich and giving to the poor became a necessity for the poor folk to survive. The sheriff of Nottingham is the primary vehicle for brother Richard's type of thievery and justice, and eventually Maid Marion(played by Joan Rice) finds out what's going on and begins to help the Merrie Men. This live action piece seems to be a possible guide to the later animated Disney film, but some of the stronger emotional pieces were removed. I haven't viewed many of the versions of this story, but this is the best I've encountered so far because you understand Mr. Hood's plight and purpose. There is a little fun to be had with the Merrie Men and Robin & Marion's teasing, but primarily the completeness and clarity of the story is what makes this film work.
1st watched 9/1/2013 7 out of 10(Dir-Aleksander Nordaas): Extremely well paced fantasy/horror/drama film about a couple of clean-up guys from murder scenes who discover a girl alive in a basement dwelling who may be something other than just a girl. This movie does a great job of revealing bits and pieces of the story as it goes along until you finally understand everything at the very end. The main character(found in the basement), Thale, is one of a few of her kind but she was kept away from the others by a slightly-abusive but mostly fatherly scientist in hopes of keeping her away from the scarier characteristics(like eating people) of the rest of the Tailed-group. This movie mixes many different genre's but keeps the main focus on the story when it could have become overly filled with special effects, gore or sex appeal(which would have happened if it was American made). A sequel is supposedly coming in the English language with the same director and hopefully it isn't butchered by American influences. The movie focuses primarily of where Thale came from, how she became who she is, and where she is going in the end. A clichéd side story about government cover-up is the only downside to the movie, but at least this is kept to a minimum. This is very similar to Species but with some different twists to the story making it unique enough to be seen. Please watch this you will definitely be engrossed for 76 minutes. This is another foreign film that deserves more attention by Americans.
1st watched 8/9/2013 7 out of 10(Dir-Shane Meadows): Charming slice of life drama about a couple of young boys in London who don't have much for themselves at the beginning of the movie but find friendship kind of accidentally, which provides for them the support that they both need. One is from Nottingham, named Tomas, who decides to travel to London because there is nothing for him in Nottingham(according to his point of view). The other is a son of a Polish immigrant who is part of a broken family, and basically has nothing to do while his father works in the daytime until Tomas comes on the scene. They both are mischievous and definitely not saints, but their charm is in how they have learned to survive. Tomas uses any means to get by with occasionally stealing food and conniving people, and his newfound friend kind of goes along with him. The Polish son has an infatuation with a French waitress which Tomas meets and also begins the same. Their pursuit of her makes up the rest of the movie, and it isn't an American-type perverted pursuit but rather they figure out ways to win her heart. This is the kind of film that will leave a lasting impression to it's viewers but never make a lot of money. It is about real people with real problems who find real solutions to at least get by. A colorized ending is attached to this otherwise black and white film leaving the viewer wondering if this actually happened or was a dream sequence. What the movie does do is make you believe that pursuing your dreams is a positive thing none-the-less. These are the kind of movies I could watch everyday and wish Hollywood would pursue similar fare(at least once-in-a-while).
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