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The Secret of NIMH (1982)
My favorite animated movie as a child
That said, this movie is too dark and scary for young children ( I suppose that is why it is rated PG). The themes are very mature and I found myself explaining a lot of plot details to the kids. My children were required to read (or have read to them) The Rats Of Nimh, so we cheated and watched the movie. There is quite a departure from the book FYI. The kids love it but are confused by the ending. There were also elements that were confusing as well as elements that were so scary they left the room. Some unanswered questions remained. Did the rats get exterminated? I suppose we will check out the sequel. Mrs Brisby has been my hero since I was 9 years old and I am happy to share her braveness with my kids.
Missed the mark
I was really looking forward to this movie so it was very disappointing that it really didn't accomplish what I felt it should have (inflated expectations? Maybe so!).
The story is fascinating and dramatic. The acting was strong; the cast was excellent. Great cinematography.
My problem was this movie just fell short of portraying much depth in the relationships. Had it done this, the emotion towards one another, the disappointment and the tension would have all been much easier to understand. The viewer was expected to assume a lot of the love, anger, and ultimately resentment the characters felt towards one another without really exploring and showing the viewer WHY the characters really felt this towards one another.
Solid acting, but both Carrell and Tatum show that they are not acting powerhouses. Ruffalo was solid as always. He has a real screen presence. Shone above the other 2 actors IMO.
An excellent movie about a mentor/protégé that captured all the emotions and tension very well this year was Whiplash. Whiplash had a very similar love, hate, and ultimately fall from grace between the mentor and protégé. This movie fell far short of accomplishing what that one did. Plus this was a true story! Very disappointed.
The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)
Like a huge helping of cheese
that was delicious to the last bite.
Yes, the movie is extremely clichéd and polished. The characters are one dimensional. The scenery is impossibly cutesie.
That said, I think this kind of movie is good to watch once in a while. Nothing really bad happens to anyone. Everything turns out OK. The actors are extremely cute; the two young leads are impossibly adorable.
Normally I love documentaries and gritty character driven pictures. But I did not mind this sweet cookie of a movie. I was honestly entertained and I'd recommend this movie to anyone.
Soundtrack unfortunately is over the top and annoying even for this sugary obvious film.
After Innocence (2005)
I knew from reading and research that the criminal justice system was deeply flawed on many levels. This movie beautifully and powerfully illustrates all that is wrong with our system. Men are incorrectly identified by witnesses; even after being excluded as the perpetrator by DNA wrongfully convicted individuals sit in jail as part of a show of force by the DA. Once released, some still have criminal records and find it difficult to get jobs. Some have difficulty acclimating to life outside of a cage. They have no skills. They have no money. They are broken. They are angry, and you will be too after watching this. Wilton Dedge's broken spirit will stick with you. Fortunately, he received 2 million dollars for 22 years in prison.
On Death Row (2012)
A deeply flawed but thought provoking series
I watched this series on Netflix which showed 4 episodes. Every episode featured on Netflix was complex, thought provoking, and well done. I later learned there were 3 more episodes which I watched on youtube.
It is an interesting series that is not easy to watch. Herzog shows the viewer that these monsters who have committed horrific crimes are still human beings. Some actually show some insight into their choices and how it resulted in their current fate. Most do not, and this can be frustrating. Several proclaim their innocence.
The great strengths of this series are (1) Herzog's ability to let each interviewee to speak without being guided or biased, (2) the balanced presentation of crime, victim and inmate and (3) an unsympathetic view of execution.
I will admit I am conflicted regarding capital punishment. I believe many of these vicious animals deserve to die. But I acknowledge it is a flawed system that is racially and financially biased.
You've Got Mail (1998)
Terrible...yet still kind of charming
This movie is so cliché, melodramatic, and cheesy. The characters are so terribly one dimensional. Also, they are not at all steeped in reality. Joe Fox is supposed to be some cutthroat businessman, yet you never see even an inkling of that in Hanks' performance. Meg Ryan is over the top cutesy to the point of inducing nausea. This is a business savvy New Yorker? She seems to barely have the wherewithal to tie her shoes let alone own a store. The supporting characters are weak and completely waste the talents of Parker Posey, Greg Kinnear and Steve Zahn (all awesome actors). Even Dave Chapelle sucked, but to be fair he had nothing to work with and had no real character at all. What a waste!
Perhaps it is the on screen charisma of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks that made me watch this inanity to the end.
It's bizarre to me that Meg Ryan was nominated for a Golden Globe for this. Her acting strength lies in When a Man Loves and Woman.
Anyway, this movie makes for a decent rainy Sunday. I wouldn't pay $$ to stream or rent this. But if it's free - go for it.
Started out interesting, then sucked balls
I started watching the first season after reading how horrible this show was on other websites; I guess you could call it a morbid curiosity. I was pleasantly surprised and watched the entire first season. The show was quirky and I liked how Lena Dunham dared the audience to deal with her nude body that didn't fit conventional Hollywood norms.
Then came the second season which was total garbage. The characters were gross and the writing was unbelievably bad. Tina Fey wrote a terrific show for 7 seasons; Lena Dunham couldn't even make it for 2. Not a witty line in a whole season. How is that possible? Anyway, I look forward to this show ending. I gave it a shot but it just crashed and burned.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
THIS is what a movie should be
Movie based on a true story, incredibly hot and talented actors and actresses playing the leads, great screenplay, great acting and incredibly awesome directing. This is what a movie should be. Scorsese delivers a phenomenally directed film with incredible acting. This movie was over 3 hours long and I wasn't ready for the movie to end. I usually check my watch during long movies...but I didn't during this one.
Seriously, Leo needs to win the Oscar. It may not be this year but it needs to be soon. The guy is incredible. I also very much liked Margot Robbie. WOW. What a performance. Anyway, see this numerous times. i will surely go see it again. Highly entertaining.
American Hustle (2013)
Highly entertaining though not perfect
Pros: Tremendous acting, wonderfully directed scenes, great music, awesome costumes. In particular, Christian Bale and Amy Adams give superlative performances. J Law's scene in the restaurant where she says she doesn't like change was some amazing acting. Renner was solid. I really liked the fact that this film didn't have nonstop action and rather focused on character development. Every character in this movie was interesting and very well developed.
Cons: Dragged a bit at over 2 hours, payoff in the end was weak. The improvised dialogue was bad at times. Plot kind of convoluted.
I won't see it again but I really did enjoy seeing it once. I liked this film MUCH better than Silver Lining's Playbook.
28 Days (2000)
Could have been better
I saw this movie on a lazy Saturday morning. I like Sandra Bullock, and the subject matter sounded interesting. I thought maybe I'd see Sandra in a meaty dramatic role - an alcoholic hits rock bottom and rebuilds her life.
Instead what I saw was worse than a Lifetime movie of the week about alcoholism and rehab. The potentially powerful storyline just lacked scenes or dialogue that carried any gravity. It seemed as though the beginning of the movie where Sandra's Gwen was a thoughtless, disgusting alcoholic with no consideration for others was supposed to be some kind of slapstick humor. Oh look, what a goofball! She stole a car, drove drunk, and crashed into a house. Whoopsie!
Rehab was a mish mash of clichéd characters and stereotypical behavior. A couple of things I did appreciate during the rehab scenes were (1) Sandra's performance regarding the physical withdrawal from substances, (2) the scenes when Sandra flashes back to her childhood and her mother's alcoholism, and (3) the touching, well acted scene between Gwen and her sister Lily at rehab. Other than that, the other patients at rehab were caricatures of typical addicts and were so silly it was offensive at times.
Sandra gives a nice performance. Steve Buscemi is always great and he gives some gravity to his brief role. Other than that, it's not that good and I can't recommend it.