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rivertam26

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212 reviews in total 
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9 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
d.o.a., 13 March 2014
1/10

Wow so I just returned from seeing need for speed based off the popular plot less video game series. Well those of you hoping for a two hr and ten minute adaptation that sticks close to the source material are in luck because this film is dreadful. Undeveloped barely one dimensional characters, an endless amount of clichés, uninspired direction, some truly terrible editing, sloppily executed cinematography and non existent 3-D. It's just too bad that Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul the main reason I saw the film shows up in a star vehicle doomed to fail and with a one note unintentionally funny, overly dramatic and forced brooding "I swear I'm a bad ass with a heart of gold " performance. Along for the ride are lots of annoying supporting characters a metro sexual non threatening villain and lots of pretty cars that get bashed up in the most ridiculous ways. those searching for a shred of believably should turn their sights on the fast and furious franchise because this franchise nonstarter is D.O.A. The worst movie I've paid to see in a decade or at least the last five years. .5/5

Gravity (2013)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Cinematic Brilliance, 4 October 2013
10/10

When I see a truly great movie it leaves me speechless. There's so much going through my mind. Because a great film is one that can't be taken at face value it inspires thought and leaves an imprint on you. At it's surface Gravity is a Hollywood popcorn movie about survival in space during a horrific accident but underneath it and most importantly it is a film about the human experience. From it's wonderfully entrancing opening shot Director Alfonso Cuaron immerses you in the environment of space. It's the closest experience many of us will get to actual space travel. We meet our central characters executing their assigned tasks and goofing off a bit, and than they get an emergency message that debris from a damaged satellite is heading towards them. It strikes with no sound, because there is no sound in space. it's a truly nightmarish sequence that leads to some of the most horrifying moments you've ever seen on screen. The film is a tour de force from beginning to end. A monumental technical achievement, terrifyingly beautiful but what makes this film so successful is in the way the heavy effects that drive the film blend with it's emotional core making for a truly engaging experience. When Sandra Bullock sheds her suit and floats in a fetal position you can feel the subtext of rebirth as well as finding the will to survive and echoes of that in the films conclusion. Gravity is a film about death but it's also a film about life and loss and the will to survive not just in the events that are happening on screen but everything that happens to us on a day to day basis. Director Alfonso Cuaron a master film maker directs the film with an eerie simplicity challenging us with nearly unbearable tension and delving deeper into something truly spiritual. George Clooney leaves a charismatic imprint in a small but important role and the central performance by Sandra Bullock is truly remarkable and quite possibly the best of her dramatic career. She's a definite shoe in for a best performance nod and anyone going against her will have a hard run of it. The movie flows like liquid cinematic poetry covering every inch with cinematic brilliance. Gravity isn't just one of the best films I've ever seen it's an amazing experience. *****/5

4 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
disappointing, 12 September 2013
5/10

James Wan is hot right now. After establishing himself in The Saw Series and than bludgeoning that franchise into the ground he made a huge return with Insidious establishing that he was great at setting a suspenseful mood enhanced with nightmarish imagery. He solidified those talents with this year's genre masterpiece The Conjuring, the scariest movie I've ever seen and an absolute instant classic. With hopes raised so high it's hard for Insidious Chapter 2 to not be a disappointment. I just never thought it would be this big of a disappointment. Following the events of the original movie we once again find ourselves with the Lambert clan as the mystery is enhanced and unraveled concerning the demonic presence that wanted to get into Josh's body. I really loved the first film. The first half is absolutely terrifying in an expected sort of way but when the plot veers into astral projection it lost a lot of people but not me it was so bizarre and twisted I found myself even more freaked out. People who had a huge problem with the film's second half will have an even harder time with this film because it mostly takes place in that bizarre universe. There are some clever goods here not to spoil anything for those intent on suffering through it. But despite the cleverness it's feels overly gimmicky, a lot of it just doesn't make any sense and the attempts at juvenile humor are only partially funny because of their forced absurdity and not that they are breaking any of the film's tension like in the first film. As for that heavy dread induced atmosphere he has become such a master at. it's not existent here we are instead punished with bouts of forced melodrama, insane campiness and one cheap scare after the next (I mean really this baby walker needs to go). Sadly there are some good ideas here. The only summation I could come up with especially with the vastly superior Conjuring and this film coming out so close together is that he spent all of his time executing that first movie and when approached about a sequel to Insidious he said awesome I have a great idea for that flick and than just kinda lost interest. Too sad because what could have been a unique spin on the haunted movie sub genre has instead become a by the numbers unintentional laugh fest. Not to say it's the worst film I've seen this year or the worst horror sequel (the grudge 2) but it's definitely a franchise killer. **.5/5

2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
fun but shallow, 29 August 2013
6/10

There's been a lot of positive buzz around this movie and it mostly delivers. It's not the generic slasher film the trailers present it to be, it's a bit more complex. The film centers on a upper class couple celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary who invite their kids and their significant others up for the weekend. But their celebration is cut short when a couple masked weirdos in animal masks crash the bash with cross bows and axes and begin dispatching the guests in gruesomely hilarious ways one by one. There's a lot to like here, the execution by Adam Wingard is clever the family dynamics and the victims reactions are the best parts because their played up for laughs.The film is neither a sort of send up of the material like Cabin in the Woods or a satire like Scream. Which makes it more of a straight forward horror film than both of those which is the films biggest flaw. Because in that way it doesn't really deliver. The film lacks a strong, confident atmosphere instead opting for laughs and fun rather than powerful, nightmarish moments like the strangers and it isn't very ambitious in terms of it's subtext either like The Purge. In fact the film becomes a little to complex midway through and looses any type of scary edge the film may have possessed when revealing the incompetent villains. There's definitely something to be said about leaving more to the imagination.The film lacks the polish of more standard Hollywood fare and sometimes comes across a bit too amateurish. So what we are left with is an entertaining, clever but not overly intelligent horror film that feels a bit hollow. It's certainly not on the same level as this year's horror masterpiece The Conjuring. But surely there is enough promise and entertainment value here to merit a recommendation. That being said I don't think it's necessary for a theater viewing. I feel like it would work just as well on DVD at home with a bunch of drunken friends so you can enjoy all of the funny stuff loudly, intentional or otherwise. All in all it's a fun ride but there's very little you haven't seen before and most of it has been executed better elsewhere. 3/5

Better than 3 and 4, 29 August 2013
5/10

Everything and the kitchen sink defininitely describes this overworked franchise perfectly. As the latest installment spoofs Paranormal activity, Mama, Black Swan, inception, Evil Dead, Madea and so many other films. Like the last 3 installments most of the jokes are misses but some of them hit way better than they should. And with that being said I'll say that the latest entry is the best the franchise has been since the second film for better or worse. As the film opens Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen are in a bed ready to get it on as they spoof their various life choices cleverly for the most part. But as they are murdered by a sinister force their three children go missing. Months later they are found in the woods "Mama" style by a couple of stoners (Snoop Dogg) and returned to their Uncle (sexy Simon Rex) and his new wife (a perfectly vacuos Ashley Tisdale). Moving things along a spirit haunts their house, they have a super religious hispanic maid, Tisdale rediscovers her love for the ballet with a jealous new lesbian understudy and they go ins earch for an evil book that they changed the ghost into what she is. It's all fairly nonsensical but some of it is actually funny not enough to merit a recommendation but if your super bored or feel you must you could do a lot worse like Scary Movie 3 or 4. **.5/5

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Return to form, 29 August 2013
7/10

A vast improvement after the dragged out and seemingly unnecessary sequel Hatchet 3 returns with an electrifying opening scene returning it mostly to it's gory roots. Along for the ride this time around are a cast of horror vets including Caroline Williams of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Derek Mears of the Jeepers Creepers films and a few others. Danielle Harris reprises her role as Mary Beth much better and contained in this installment. After murdering Crowley she returns to town blood soaked with a rifle and is immediately arrested. But a curious reporter joins forces with her to end it once and for all. There are some super impressive death scenes as should be expected including a face fisting, many creative decapitations and countless other body parts being removed. but what makes the material work most of all in this sequel is that it has a point and is heading towards a slightly rushed but fulfilling conclusion to the Hatchet trilogy. One can only hope for more carnage with a sequel that hopefully moves the action into the mainland and Mardi gras. ***.5/5

7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Worthy Successor, 29 August 2013
7/10

Those hoping for another Shaun of the Dead will be disappointed but this one fares much better than hot fuzz. Not to say any of them are bad at all. This one centers on a group of friends reuniting to do a legnday pub crawl they couldn't accomplish in their younger years. But upon returning they discover the town has been overrun with alien robots. Many laughs ensue as well as touching on thoughtful, emotionally resonant themes like friendship, growing up, and discovering ourselves. It really is a mostly great film almost perfectly engaging until a strange drawn out secondary finale unfitting the material and it's direction. Still it's a solid flick that boasts more laughs than most of the films this year. The second best comedy of the year behund this is the end. ***.5/5

36 out of 55 people found the following review useful:
Brilliant and painfully honest, 29 August 2013
10/10

You know when you see those movies and you say they just don't make these anymore. Well this is that type of movie. Joining the ranks of the best teen movies ever made and possibly the most honest of the bunch The Spectacular now is absolutely brilliant. The film centers on Sutter played charmingly by Miles Teller a charming teenage alcoholic who after a breakup with his girlfriend Cassidy befriends a painfully Naive young girl names Aimee played effortlessly by the mega talented Shailene Woodley. Both of the characters are so complex and so is their story. Like so many other films concerning this age group it is coming of age but unlike most others it doesn't fall into any clichés and offers no easy answers. Equally moving, touching, hilarious and even a little shocking this film is painfully genuine. A true testament to the choices and experiences that shape you as a person. Miles Teller is brilliant as Sutter he's charming and damaged you go back and forth between loving and hating him and easily relatable sometimes in the worst ways and very reminiscent of a young John Cusack in his hey day. Shailene Woodley is so confident in her portrayal of Aimee so naive, vulnerable and insecure desperately in search of acceptance and love because of her home situation. But that's not where the great performances end. Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Sutter's sister Holly steals her scenes, Brie Larson as his girlfriend Cassidy, Jennifer Jason Leigh as his hard working mother Sara, Kyle Chandler as his father and just the whole cast feels so real. The Spectacular Now isn't just the bets film of the year it's an incredible experience. It's the type f film you leave haven't learned something. A film that inspires you to make changes. 5/5

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
disappointing, 22 August 2013
5/10

Oh I'm not sure I have enough time to list all the things wrong with this adaptation. But let me begin by saying that it's not the worst movie you'll ever see. Based on Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instrument series which I have read the film centers on the plot line in the first book the least good one in my opinion, As a young woman Clary whom discovers her hidden birth right when her mother is contacted. It's all very complicated. Let's just say it involves witches, warlocks, vampires, werewolves, a mortal cup, demons and shadow hunters. The main problem here isthe insipid rushed direction of Harold Zwart who did so much better with The Karate Kid reboot. There's no growth for any of the characters or storyline and the film feels jumbled and clunky. It has a very hard time finding any flow. The sad thing is that for the first half it's pretty entertaining before receding into some abc family nonsense. It also doesn't help that the costumes and makeup are laughably bad and the film's casting director should be shot. We have Lily Collins well enough in the lead role but Jamie Campbell Bower as the sexy, brooding, sarcastic, pigheaded Jace is a major miscast. Let's forget for a second that he looks like a crackhead lesbian his mannerisms are completely off and he doesn't have a lick of masculinity or sexual prowess that made him so alluring in the books. The roles of Isabelle is played decently but lacks the fierce sexy edge that she had in the books and Kevin Zegers as Alec really??? he's not unattaractive but he's in his 30's supposedly playing like a 15 yr. old. Magnus Bane, Simon and Luke fare a bit better but their characters aren't given much to do. Only Lena Headey as Clary's mother and Johnathan Rhys Meyers(except for those braids) raise slightly above the material. It's really a sad thing because although the book franchises standard of quality doesn't match up to the harry potter, twilight or hunger games series it still had quite a bit to work with. Instead it's a soul less, rushed cash in on the material that has it's moments but ultimately falters under a desperate attempt to create a new mega franchise that will never be. 2.5/5

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
disappointment, 31 July 2013
5/10

I love Superman. He is my favorite character of all the DC and Marvel line up. He's virtuos, brave and loyal an outsider who puts others before himself with a high moral standpoint and a strong defense, he only uses when it's absolutely necessary. That being said I don't know much about the comics or history and wasn't a huge fan of the original movies although I did really like the first one. The one that I loved was Bryan Singer's now all of a sudden frowned upon reboot. Superman played by the perfectly casted Brandon Routh was heartbreakingly beautiful not just in his physicality but in his delicateness. Never before had his and Lois's relationship felt more prevalent or his connection to humanity felt more real. There was a real sense of awe and wonder in that film. Most people had an issue with that film because of the lack of action but most importantly the story was there and a real depth of emotional resonance. So with that I am sad to say that Man of Steel was such a huge disappointment to me. I didn't have the highest of hopes despite some amazing trailers the buzz began to come back very mediocre (not that you should always listen to it) and with the presence of a once promising Zack Snyder directing after many failed experiments( Sucker Punch, questionably Watchmen and even the visually strunning but ultimately souless 300. To this day his best film is still the Dawn f the Dead remake) I had my doubts. And it's kind of the same scenario here although not as huge of a misstep as sucker punch, Man of Steel lacks any real depth or story continuity. It feels rushed and forced with a ton of unnecessary action sequences and just not enough of anything that really counts to back any of it up. This is not the Superman that Christopher Reeve or Brandon Routh played. This version wants to be darker but ultimately comes off a bit too goffy with a frat boy sort of edge and a huge emotional imbalance. It doesn't help that the lead character is played by an actor that spends all of his time working out and none of it in the acting classes he should be taking. Not to say he was dreadful it's definitely a step up from his unintentionally funny turn in The Immortals, and he does have a few silent moments that felt just a little endearing. As for one of my favorite actresses Amy Adams as Lois Lane, she's not developed enough to be much of anything. Sure she's a bit feistier in this version and not much of a damsel but since there's no real emoitonal girth to any of it, it's hard to make any real relatable connection to their characters or their material. And they have zero chemistry. The wonderful Michael Shannon(so amazing in Take Shelter) hams it up as General Zod with some questionable performance choices as does Diane Lane as Superman's earth Mom. The only two people that stand mostly uneffected by the material except for a few goofy scenes are Russell Crowe as his real father and Kevin Costner as his earth father(the tornado scene aside). Oh and let's not forget the always dependable Chris Meloni as well. Despite an amazing setup the film slowly begins to fall apart into silliness from one shirtless Henry Cavill scene to the next. Everything thing feels rushed and none of it feel as engaging as it should be. The special effects seem to be the star here and they are impressive especially in Imax 3D, this is the first time Snyder had worked with a budget of this magnitude and he does have a bit of fun with it. As for the action scenes, they are cool but begin to get very repetitive and confusing. I can see that he was trying to do something new with all of it but it doesn't seem to translate as well as he hoped. And that really is the ultimate summation of this film. It's a decent effort but the direction is the real problem here it's ultimately to weak which leaves Man of Steel feeling joyless with no sense of wonder or emotional pull and just a tad bit dull. 2.5/5 LikeCommentShare


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