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32 reviews in total 
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Nebraska (2013)
9 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Pointless and slow as molasses, 2 January 2014

The movie is dull, pointless, depressing and presents nothing new or interesting. The characters are a bunch of low-lives who have nothing interesting to say because they are basically dull people. The main character, Woody Grant (played effectively enough by Bruce Dern), has no redeeming virtues at all, and you wish someone would just give him a swift kick in the butt.

The plot, such as it is, moves at a snail's pace, inducing boredom and, ultimately, sleep. I went with two of my adult sons and about halfway through we had it and walked out. I almost never walk out of a movie I've paid good money to see but I just couldn't sit through this one.

The Master (2012)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A wasted 144 minutes. Avoid at all costs!, 31 March 2013

Pointless, plot-less, slow, meandering, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, way too long, devoid of any redeeming value. This is the worst movie I've seen since Mulholland Drive--maybe since Eraserhead. Joaquin Phoenix is even homelier than in previous movies and way too old to play the part of a sailor leaving the service after WWII. His acting is wooden and stylized, like he has an acting coach pulling his strings in every scene. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who is one of my favorite actors, is wasted on this train wreck of a movie. All the actors go through the motions of delivering their lines, obviously having no clue what emotion to put into them, because they are as confused as the audience about what the heck is going on. The writer/director shows obvious contempt for the audience by larding the movie with gratuitous disgusting scenes. How they managed to bamboozle the public into shelling out $32M at the box office is beyond understanding. All those critics who recommended this stinker should never be trusted again.

180 out of 307 people found the following review useful:
Electrifying from beginning to end, 25 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was convinced Atlas Shrugged could not be put on film, but this movie proved me wrong. It has a contemporary look and feel, while retaining the Art Deco elegance of Rand's novel. The acting is superb, particularly Taylor Schilling as Dagny Taggart and Grant Bowler as Hank Rearden. Bowler manages to cram more meaning into a half-cocked eyebrow than most actors in a dozen lines of dialogue, and Shilling captures the sleek, cold elegance of Dagny, while giving just a hint of the passion simmering beneath the surface. Indeed, all the performances are impeccable.

This is a beautiful movie to watch, with sets, locations and costumes that are both gorgeous and convincing. The run of the John Galt Line is thrilling, and when it crossed the bridge made of Rearden Metal, I wanted to stand up and cheer.

Director Paul Johansson (who also plays John Galt) obviously knew exactly what he wanted to put on the screen, and manged to do it. He is faithful to Rand's story, and in particular to the philosophical message that is at the heart of the work, while maintaining the excitement of the plot.

During her lifetime, Rand did not allow the novel to be made into a film, perhaps for fear that the movie would not be faithful to the book. It's too bad that she didn't live to see this movie because, I believe, she would be surprised and pleased by how well it captures the essence of her work. This is clearly a labor of love that will help make Rand's ideas accessible to many who have not yet read her work. And it's exciting and rewarding for those of us who have been Rand fans for many years. Can't wait for Parts 2 and 3.

14 out of 59 people found the following review useful:
Stupid, boring and pointless, 31 December 2008

There's nothing here--don't waste your time seeing this. The movie tries hard to be artsy and gropes for some meaning, but succeeds only in being slow and dull. The characters are unattractive, the story line is largely non-existent and the film meanders for 114 minutes but seems much longer. To the extent it tries to be a horror flick, it fails as well as it's not the least bit scary.

If you want to see something good in the theater, go see Doubt, Slumdog Millionaire or The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. On the other hand, if you liked Eraserhead or Liquid Sky, you may think this piece of drivel is swell.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Frank Langella IS Nixon, 26 December 2008

Frank Langella delivers a stunning performance. For those of us who remember Richard Nixon as President, he comes to life on the screen. The face, the stoop, the mannerisms--they're all there. This is not an actor playing a role; it is as if Nixon himself is on screen. And it's not a wholly unsympathetic portrayal. Nixon does not come off as a monster or as deranged, more as someone to be pitied than despised.

The other performances, including Michael Sheen's, are very solid, but Langella has done something truly extraordinary by removing the impression of an actor playing a part. I'll be very surprised if he doesn't earn an Oscar nomination, or even and Oscar as best actor for this performance. Langella has certainly come a long ways from his excellent performance in the underrated 1970 Mel Brooks film, The Twelve Chairs.

Forst/Nixon as a whole is riveting. Given that it's a fairly simple story with a known ending, this is quite an achievement. You don't have to be a Watergate junkie to enjoy this film; even a passing familiarity with those momentous events in our history is sufficient. Not a moment of the 122-minute running time is wasted--or dull.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A feast for Beatles fans and maybe also for those who aren't, 28 October 2007

I'm not a fan of Julie Taymor (I hated Titus) so I was a bit leery about going to see this movie. Still, as a Beatles fan, I decided I should see it on the big screen. I went with my 19-year-old son, and we both enjoyed it very much. The film is a visual and auditory feast--sort of like a long music video--yet connected by a linear plot and sub-plots. For those of us who came of age during the 'Nam era, this brought back some vivid memories. But it's the music--a continuous parade of Beatles hits--that is the real treat. Somehow the plot, the (sometimes surrealistic) imagery and the music blend together for a sensual tour de force. Don't miss this movie while it's still playing in theaters; it just won't be the same on a small screen.

9 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
A sorry excuse for a movie, 22 October 2006

There is nothing profound or interesting about this movie. It is choppy and confusing, and seems like it drags on forever. It has long series of plot holes instead of a plot. The two main characters are neither interesting nor likable. The main premise (which leads to the great "denouement" at the end) is not only obvious, it's ridiculous. The movie says nothing about ambition or the quest for perfection or any of the other deep stuff people pretend to see in it. It's about a couple of guys so consumed by mutual hatred and envy that they can't seem to get a life of their own. This movie makes The Illusionist seem plausible and coherent by comparison. A waste of talent, especially Michael Caine's.

King Kong (2005)
6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
I'll never see another Peter Jackson film again, 24 December 2005

This giant turkey flew in late for Thanxgiving, but it managed to waste three precious hours out of my life anyway. Interminable and self-indulgent director's shots, action that defies even the most determined effort at suspending disbelief, terrible acting (especially by Jack Black, who should never, ever be given more than a cameo role), a muddled plot that moved like molasses in winter and huge CGI effects that look very much like CGI effects--all of these make this a movie to be endured, not enjoyed. The ape alone was good, but his relationship with the Naomi Watts character is hardly any more understandable than in past King Kong movies. No doubt we have to believe that Kong sees her as beautiful and delicate, just as we do--which means that he must see himself as brutish and ugly. That is a problem that plagues all Kong movies but I had hoped that this one would somehow solve it, but not a chance. This is not a director that's interested in plot or character, or even in making the movie intelligible to viewers. This is self-indulgent directing of the worst kind.

Serenity (2005)
4 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Weak, cheesy, trite-- with some pretty good special effects, 3 October 2005

I wasn't planning to write a review, but after reading all the gushing comments by others, I feel an obligation to do so. I've never heard of Firefly and walked in having no idea what to expect--except that the movie had gotten so much hype. I was severely disappointed. It's not the worst movie ever made--or even the worst sci fi movie, but the movie is weak in just about every way that counts. There is nothing new about the plot or the action--small band of rebels fighting evil empire. Where have we heard that one before? The largely unknown (to me) actors were just not very good or very subtle; the roles they played were cardboard cutouts; the action meandered over an interminable 119 minutes, though it seemed much longer. (And yes, I had was able to get a soda refill AND a bathroom break--without losing much continuity.) The special effects were pretty good, especially in the beginning, but if I see another movie where fleets of spaceships slam into each other while battling in close quarters, I'll surely scream. And then there were the really cheesy and wholly inexplicable items, such as, why does one of the characters traipse around in a spaceship wearing a new evening dress in almost every scene (and how did she manage to get all those dresses on board anyway)? And, why does the captain speak lines that sound like they come from a combination of GI Joe and Max Headroom?

But the worst part is the really poor payoff, after having to endure what is essentially a soap opera for almost two hours. The big secret they're chasing down--the big, BIG truth that will bring down the government, turns out to be sort of silly. Would anybody really care 15 years later? I sort of doubt it.

Anyway, I can't say I hated the movie--at least I didn't fall asleep. But don't be fooled by the hype. This is an utterly forgettable movie, and you can easily wait to catch it on a long flight or on DVD. Or miss it altogether.

The Return (2003)
1 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Not much of a movie--slow and pointless, 11 September 2005

There is very little new in this movie--or much of anything at all. There is hardly a plot; the action, such as it is, plods along at a snail's pace. The acting is fine, but none of the actors display any emotional range. The father is always subdued; Andrei is always bushy-tailed; and I wanted to slap Ivan around hard for his constant belly-aching and the sour faces he kept putting. Had I been the father, I'd have been tempted to drown him in the lake with my own hands.

The nice scenery and pretty good photography just don't carry this film. There's no there there. When you're done, you want to punch someone for the two hours out of your life you lost.

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