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1204 reviews in total 
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A Solid Historical Drama, 21 February 2017

Credit must be given to the director, the writer, and Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds for making this somewhat obscure episode in recent history about reclaiming stolen art back to its rightful heirs into a an interesting and involving film experience. It's hard to imagine how such a fictional plot could have been made better for its low key nature. Yet the personal trials, the international significance of the portrayals offered in this movie keep the movie compelling sustaining the emotive interest and the historical value for its viewers.

A Great Ensemble Drama, 20 February 2017

This Stand by Me (1986), The Breakfast Club (1985) coming of age ensemble movie for adolescents and young adults focuses on real emotional and testosterone issues of males facing important decisions in their lives towards becoming men. The way males think and feel about girls, women are honed into pure lusty obsessions on screen that resonate in the loins of horny thoughts and desires. At the same time, this ultimately reflective and facing up to the real world of relationships offers a sobering look at the complexities, consequences, and hopefully some alternative perspectives when it comes to male behavior relationships with women.

A later comedy version of the older "female" perspective is found in The Women (2008) or musical older "female" theme in Mama Mia!! (2008).

A Challenging Twisting Psychological Thriller, 20 February 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This Silence of the Lambs (1991) themed psychological thriller with two major twists offers the audience by the end of the movie a startlingly lighter touch than strongly suggested of the movie. Their a rather implicitly grotesque images as well as a surrealistic bifurcated scenes with and without various characters. The audience is introduced to a surrealistic world of delusions and crazed but stylistic and intriguing performances. The way this movie was shot is almost unique in mainstream cinema history and offers an appealing, mind-jarring experience as the characters seemingly pop into and out of existence. The ambiguity of the moral tone of the movie can be wrenchingly voyeuristic as what seems to be an evil character may actually be more than is seen. Overall The Perfect Host is readily a visual treat, an eerie descent into a form of madness that attracts by its seeming weirdness.

A Fresh Perspective on Sniper Movies, 19 February 2017

This rather mainstream, action-thriller incorporates the penchant of bigger and thus perhaps better movie making philosophy by taking some good sniper movies and placing them in a somewhat larger geo-political arena and using a large special ops team instead of the individual sniper and spotter concept. A superb comparison is Jean-Jacques Annaud's Enemy at the Gates (2001) starring Jude Law and Ed Harris one of the most psychologically intense and balance movies about snipers, this one set during World War II Germany. Another nice comparison for super-charged, hi-tech political thriller would be Tony Scott's Spy Game starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt that came out the same year.

Sniper has the exciting, energizing musicality of The Bourne Identity (2002) and the rich exotic flair of foreign Cityscapes of Bond movies. What Sniper offers is the incorporation of the fascinating intensity of specialized lethal killing along with the use of technology and teamwork against an almost as astute adversary. Yet this movie falls a bit short of the adversarial balance of Enemy at the Gates and the complex machinations of Spy Game.

Dune (1984)
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Aging with Wrinkles, 17 February 2017

The primary reason one might allow this original Dune movie directed by David Lynch is that it retains some of the breakthroughs in set design and images as well as its decent, but by now stilted attempt to bring one of the most difficult film adaptations of the classic Frank Herbert sci fi novel to the big screen. Elements later can be seen in Star Wars (1977), Star Trek: The Next Generation television series and the Borg, even epic royal court attempt of Jupiter Ascending (2015).

Nevertheless the special effects are apparently out of date, there are places of stiff acting performances, and some uneven editing. Yet the ambiance captures the original novel and even that of some of Iaasc Asimov's classic Foundation trilogy.

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Alien or Aliens?, 13 February 2017

This movie has some comparisons to those people who loved the sequel to Ridley Scott's original 1979 sci fi classic Alien better than James Cameron's Aliens (1986). However in Ridley Scott's movie Alien, it won out by just a bit. Nevertheless, John Wick: Chapter 2 suggesting a Chapter 3, offers up bigger stakes, bigger death totals, and a nice wrap around to references to shall we say Chapter 1. The audience gets to see deeper into the "professional" assassins supposed subculture of rules, loyalty, and integrity like a voyeuristic treat and often with dry humorous effect. John Wick in this case, seems to reprise his horror movie character role of Constantine (2005) and its own salacious but compelling underbelly of demons and Satan all the way to the darker and nasty world of martial arts where Keanu Reeves directed and played a sinister darknet master in Man of Tai Chi (2013).

Unlike the almost stylized and slick death scenes from Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol. 1 where Uma Thurman slices, dices and chops assassins up, director Chad Stahelski who appears to come from a stunts man background seems to up the ante in the physical fighting arena, with plenty of apparent judo moves, karate chops, and head shots, but not always with the Tarantino finesse. Like Aliens (1986), the bigger bang approach is not always the most emotionally riveting for those who prefer Alien's (1979) where the original focused on the personal emotive psychology and authentic experience of a space monster with more of a covert Hitchcockian style. With Chapter 2, there is more emphasis on the overt action and bloodshed of Aliens.

Chapter 2 while good, there will be a continuing likely unresolved debate whether it is better or worse than its original.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Love that's almost out of this world, 7 February 2017

With great pacing, good editing, and energizing use of melodious music, this transcendent love story avoids the typical hyped-up special effects (that are amazing but remain appropriately in the background except when a character's own experience makes into the main part of the theme of the scene), overly dramatic action adventure like The Demolition Man (1993) and focuses primarily on the emotional evolution of special relationships that matter to human beings. Gary Oldman finally gets of delicate and surprisingly riveting role if one pays careful attention, unlike his overly serious, rather superficial role in Lost In Space (1998) or even the more traditional yet still two-dimensional character from The Dark Knight (2008) and maybe more in line with his performance in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011).

The melancholy of relationship bonding lost, found, threatened with lost, filled with regret, discovery, and longing are infused throughout this movie. Elements from D.A.R.Y.L. (1985) about a robotic boy, Kate & Leopold (2001) about a man from the 19th Century ending up in the 20th Century, Meet Joe Black (1998 with Brad Pitt playing death, or even The Prince and Me (2004). The storyline never veers off into the outrageous and keeps the plot pretty normally "weird" and remains believable for the most part. Overall, this movie at its core remains human in its diversity and speaks to the power of connection as the most important human experience regardless of distance or time something that many movies don't do as well.

Big Eyes (2014/I)
A Sweet Untold Story, 27 January 2017

It's hard to judge a movie when the topic of the movie is, in part, about artistic quality itself. Is the art displayed in this movie great art or not? In some ways, the commercialization and popularity of mass public dictation of art as presented in this movie can be distracting to the more intriguing and powerful issue of intimate relationships around which this movie is primarily centered. With grand strokes, Amy Adams takes on the relatively unknown backstory to a truly "cute" big eye artistic technique that is now seemingly found everywhere in every store in America. What she experiences in the 1950s and 1960s in terms of women's rights and dignity is as relevant as the civil right movement of the times. And with today's racial issues still simmering today, the concept of power and domination still resonant today.

The portrayal of Margaret Keane is an eye opening and told in magnificent brush strokes with close attention to a color palette. The director has managed to incorporate in lightness even within the emerging darkness of the storyline. Somehow the movie is sustained by the sad big eyes and the real-world response to the sparkling popularity of the emotion-laden products that seemingly permeate American society. There is initially hope then growing anger and frustration dripping from the storyline and yet based on a secure foundation that this is a movie about a hidden strength and personal integrity to be found and revealed to the world.

Big Eyes is actual simple in its true to life concept and yet told in a way that is emotional riveting, maintaining a strong sense of the story to be told.

Haunter (2013)
A Spectacular Minimalist Horror Film, 17 January 2017

The amazing substance of this horror movie is that it relies mostly on the story and not the expensive special effects, the gore, nor the spectacle. In perhaps the finest tradition of storytelling, it is the brain twisting plot and the eerie performances that capture the fearful imagination and plays with our mental haunting. Inverting the horror theme in a The Lovely Bones (2009) manner that included a performance by a wonderful Saoirse Ronan, Abigail Breslin of Little Miss Sunshine, brings her sparkling and anti-haunting presence to this feature movie.

Unlike The Cell (2000), Dark Water (2005), Silent Hill (2006), 1408 (2007), Haunter unfolds more in the tradition of The Sixth Sense (1999), Passengers (2008), The Thing (2008), Shutter Island (2010) but even in a more convoluted, claustrophobic, trapped, and frightful manner. Except a decent but not brilliant ending of Haunter, Awakenings (2011) might be considered the deliciously spookier of the two.

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A New Twist on the Action Thriller, 15 January 2017

Take a high functioning Autistic adult, a brutal and demanding father who requires such a son to be able to take care of himself, and using a familiar action thriller plot and you have The Accountant. While the potential of such a movie might have been pretty manipulative, exploitative, and mildly stupid, somehow the director, Ben Affleck, and the screenwriter put together a consistently, well executed action thriller with a new take on a Bourne Identity profile.

With echoes from Keanu Reeve's Constantine and Matt Damon's Bourne proficiency in getting the job done, Ben Affleck gets to handle himself in a similar, but distinctly different style that is as riveting as Keanu and Matt. There are actually two story lines, possible even an emergent third storyline that are intertwined all in a mysterious cloak of investigative convolutions that begin to be unraveled in a delicious unclocking among the fascination of Ben Affleck's autistic performance.

This is an entertaining and illuminating experience of both action and revealing psychological unveiling of the mental human differences.

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