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Vengeance: A Love Story (2017)
This movie showed great potential in the very beginning. There were good characters and great plot development. Then it just fell flat. I guess the vengeance was supposed to be due to the connection between the detective and the victim, but I never felt any connection between them. The actual vengeance was poorly developed and the ending was pretty lame. There are better movies to watch.
A Christmas Story Live! (2017)
Another movie that should not have been made into a musical
First then good. The actors for the father and teacher did quite a good job and obviously have had extensive stage experience. The costumes were accurate and some of the characters looked very much like the original movie.
The bad. The rest of the cast would appear to have never seen a musical let alone sing in one. I have been to a lot of musicals and often there is a guest star who does a passable job in a role while the rest of the cast is superb. This was quite the opposite. There were new scenes and almost unrecognizable old ones, but the worst was the butchering of the funniest scene in the movie just to make the restaurant scene politically correct.
This will not become a classic like the original movie. Will have to watch the movie to erase the thoughts of this one.
The Orville (2017)
Give it 3 episodes and you are hooked
Star Trek fans will really enjoy the story lines of this new series. Some were obviously influenced by the preceding series. The Orville is actually closer to The Next Generation than the original Star Trek series. There is homage paid to Worf and Data with only thinly disguised characters, while Seth McFarlane's character is closer to Kirk than Picard.
The first couple episodes contained a little too much sophomoric humor to suit me, but the story lines were well written. As the series progresses, the jokes are more subtle and tasteful while the writing continues to be very good. Is it a comedy or a drama. Well, a little of both but it seems to be more sophisticated as it progresses.
Even die hard Star Trek fans should enjoy this series.
Will & Grace (1998)
Not the old Will and Grace
I was a fan of the original Will and Grace. This review will be short because I turned it off after less then 10 minutes. It soon becomes evident that the show is just a platform to bash Trump and the administration. The "acting" seemed forced as they seemed to all try to be caricatures of the original characters. The "jokes" fell flat as they were nothing that we have not heard before. I was looking forward to this show, but the network ruined it. Pass on this one.
Star Trek: Discovery (2017)
That was a huge disappointment
I have been a Star Trek fan for years and was looking forward to this new series. It started off boring and then just went to bad. The boring part reminded me of the first Star Trek movie with the endless views of the Enterprise. Then we had a rip-off of "Gravity". Then bad part was no character development, poor acting and thin plot. If you have not already watched this episode, save an hour of your life and skip it.
I did not initially know that this series was going to be available on streaming only for a fee with CBS all access. CBS made a big mistake by putting out a free episode. Few people who saw it will fork out the money for their service to see this series.
Boring, boring, boring
I imagine this film was trying to be the new "2001" or "Close Encounters" but missed by a mile. The concept was a little different but it was just a slow, boring movie. I just can not see why it got so many good reviews from so many people. I think it was because they wanted to see a deep meaning in the movie and it was just not there. Save your time and money and watch something else.
Rogue One (2016)
Unnecessary but entertaining
I guess you would call this an insertaquel as it is inserted between episode 3 and 4 and fills in a couple gaps leading to the very first movie released. There are certainly some characters from previous movies throughout this one. It does take 2 hours of your time to fill in the background on how the information for attacking the death star came about. That could have been accomplished in about 10 minutes. There were some good battles with good graphics and they sure were better shots than any of the other movies. I think the biggest benefit will come in marketing new toys of the new spacecraft that appear in this movie
Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Best actor? Maybe compared to Ben Affleck
I just need to stop watching movies that get high marks from the critics. Most of the time it leads to disappointment and this was another case of just that. The story had potential, but it just went nowhere. While the lead acting was not bad, neither was it Oscar worthy. It was very one dimensional IMO. After over two hours of waiting for the kid to make a change in his uncle's life, the movie pretty much just ends. Boring.
Dirty Dancing (2017)
Just like Dirty Dancing without the dancing and emotion
First of all, the good. The music was fairly good. If the actors did their own singing, they did a decent job. Also, once you got past the two leads, the actors were pretty good.
The bad was the dancing and connection between the main characters. Unlike the original, you see no emotion between them. The dancing was not even near the original in quality. While the backup dancers were very good, the leads reminded me of the week 4 participants on "Dancing With The Stars". Most of the dancing was shot around the dancing. Few full body dance steps were seen as most shots were upper body shots leaving us to wonder what their feet were doing.
I did like the idea that Baby was watching the stage version and reminiscing about that summer. The ending gave some closure to their future lives.
I have seen the original, the stage version and now the remake. The original is still far and away the best, the stage version a distant second and the remake not worth your time. Neither capture the character development and emotion of the original.
13 Reasons Why (2017)
A must watch for parents with your teens together
What a great show, what good writing, what an original concept. I have never given a 10 before on INDB so this is a first for me. Who of us has not been bullied, been shunned by a friend, left out of a group, had a rumor spread about you, had people snicker behind your back or just made to feel inferior? Who of you were the bullies, the top of the pile, the jocks, the popular kids? How did you treat those that you felt were below you, did you ridicule, mentally or physically abuse, bring them down to make yourself look better to your friends? Most of us have experienced some of this on both sides of the line. High school is tough. bodies are changing-emotions are changing. This series forces you to look at yourself and those that gave poor rating had a nerve struck.
AS the story goes, a teenage girl commits suicide. But, before she does, she make 13 cassette tapes for the people who have treated her badly in her opinion. They are passed from person to person in order an all listen to all the tapes. Although each person may not have done anything you would gauge as bad if you had done it, it is the entirety of work that creates the results.
The great thing about this series is that it forces you to look at what you have done, what has been done to you and how it could affect lives. It is a perfect opportunity for you to explain to your teen that actions have consequences. It just may cause them to think before they act.
Finally, a show with good writing
It is indeed a rarity to find a show that depends on good writing rather than car chases, explosions and shoot-outs to keep our attention. The pilot will get your attention and the subsequent episodes will keep you coming back.
Unlike most shows, you really have to watch this one and pay attention to what is happening. In the pilot there is a car crash and either the detective's wife or son die in the crash. Every time he goes to sleep and wakes up, he is in an alternative reality with one or the other of them being alive. The alternate realities interact with the current case he is working on. The writing tightly links the realities except for some supporting character changes. He is seeing a psychiatrist-well actually two of them, one for each reality-to work through his issues. We have no idea which is real or which is a dream. There are times when you start to think maybe they both died and it is all a dream. Maybe he was in a coma and the son and wife were fine. My wife and I never figured out who was dead or alive until the last couple minutes of the series. This one will keep you guessing.
The Legend of Tarzan (2016)
That was terrible
I can not imagine how this movie rated a 6.3 score. It you only take the graphics and scenery into account, you get a few points. If you are looking for a plot or good acting, you need to look elsewhere. To me, this story bears no relationship to Tarzan. In this movie he is more of superhero. He can single handed take on dozens of attackers, be they man or animal. If you are looking for an action hero movie, you will like this. If you are looking for a Tarzan movie, check out some of the previous offerings.
They tried to cram too much in
While this movie was much anticipated and had the potential for a good movie, it fell short. There really was not a consistent plot line. It seemed that they just tried to get too much into one movie. We pretty much know the background of Batman and Superman, so those sequences did little more than disrupt the flow of the movie. Some background on Wonder Woman might have been more useful. There were just too many characters and too many sub plots to have a movie with any character development or plot continuity. I am surprised that they did not send Aquaman in to save Lois Lane in the drowning scene. With the scope they tried to cover, this should have been a 2 part or trilogy event.
Could not finish the pilot
I really like legal dramas and there have been a lot of good ones that I have watched over the years. This will not be one of them. The dialog did not seem at all natural and was very quick and choppy. It seemed that the characters were supposed to be acting cute, but came off as more childish. The soundtrack was poor and distracting. This is no Goodwife, Boston Legal, Suits etc. There are just too many better series on Netflix or Prime to wast your time on a show that this seems to be. If you can not grab me in the first half of a pilot, you lost your chance.
The Accountant (2016)
A good movie that works around Ben Affleck's acting ability
I almost skipped this movie because it starred Ben Affleck. I have always been amazed that he can get so many rolls and is considered one of Hollywood's A list actors. In all of his movies, he is a non emotional, bland character that lacks even the most basic facial inflections. In this movie, they have made him a character that embraces all of his shortcomings-and it works. Casting him as an autistic adult allows him to make the role work. The fact that he is surrounded by some stellar actors and the good sense of the writers to not give him an overabundance of lines also works well.
Now that I have bagged on one of my least favorite actors. I must say this was a pretty good movie and I was pleasantly surprised. There is some good acting, enough violence to satisfy all but the most action/violence addicted fans and a well written screenplay. There is actually a story line and some character development. As the movie progresses, there are some flashbacks to fill in the characters. Best of all, there is even a well written ending with a bit of a surprise twist.
Pros. Good acting, good plot, good writing, good action and good ending.
Cons. Ben Affleck - Sorry, this movie did not change my overall opinion of him. Still one-dimensional.
More great competition for the networks
While this is not the best series I have seen from the alternate sources such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Showtime, HBO etc, it is a lot better than most of the shows that the networks have been pushing on us. I have only seen 4 or 5 of the 8 episodes so far, but it is getting better and better as the episodes progress. Competition like this can only make it better for those of us that like the episodic dramas like this one. I love a series that completes a season in 8-12 episodes and creates a new story line for the next season rather than leaving us with a cliff hanger or just canceling without closure. After stopping a lot of shows after watching less than a couple episodes, this one keeps you coming back.
London Has Fallen (2016)
Plot??? We don't need no stinkin' plot!!
My title pretty well sums it up. Why bother with writing a good script when you can blow things up? With all the money spent on ammunition, explosives and vehicles to demolish, you would think you could hire a decent writer and director. Sadly this movie tries and fails to capitalize on "Olympus Has Fallen" and "White House Down" both of which were halfway decent movies. After a fair opening scene and potential for a good movie, this one digresses into a continuous chase scene that pretty much destroys everything in its path.
The one redeeming value of this movie is that it will give you a chance to show off that subwoofer you are so proud of.
No wonder this one made it to Netflix so quickly.
Children of Men (2006)
Unbelievable that anyone actually thought this was a great movie. There is virtually no plot. No children born for 18 years and then one is born. What are they going to do about it? Why are people trying to kill them (everyone)? If you like senseless chases, explosions and gunshots, this movie is for you. If you like a movie with a good story line and character development, I suggest you look elsewhere. I am not even sure who the good guys are-if there actually were any. The only way to describe this movie is Mad Max with a baby. Julianne Moore and Michael Caine are billed in this movie and usually that is a good indication. Unfortunately, they get killed off early in the film. Why? Probably because they read the rest of the script and wanted out. That was a couple hours of my life I will never get back.
Season 2. The stupidity continues
I watched season 1 and was sure it would not be renewed. When it was, I swore I would not watch it. Well. I gave it just to see how they got out of that car in the cliffhanger finale last year. Putting the car in reverse was one of the last smart things they did.
To its credit, the first episode was more suspenseful and exciting than most of the previous season. The plot changes direction to another predator. Still, a few things bother me. First, I always thought fire kept animals away. Seems flares actually attract them and once you throw them away, the animals can not find you with their other senses. Good to know. Also, an elephant can run a little faster than the man he is chasing but can keep up or gain on a car going as fast as it can. Also very interesting. Did I hear them say that the vultures could fly at 40,000 feet? Probably, because they are a lot bigger than I imagined. Now, Imagine that you are alone in the woods and come across a police car with a dead officer in it and the car will not start-do you abandon any weapons and go off in the woods? You do if you are part of this cast. At least I learned an invaluable survivor tip-if you are freezing to death, stick your fingers in your armpits.
Last season I kept watching because I thought it just had to get better. My hope is still alive.
Free State of Jones (2016)
Much better than the critics would have you believe
I have always enjoyed movies based on actual events or real people, so I was anticipating going to see this movie. I did a little research on the history it depicts and it was a part of the Civil War that I knew nothing about. I was quite disappointed when the reviews came out and most of the critics rated it very low. If you are looking for a war drama that is non stop action with lots of battles, massive explosions and bloody scenes from start to finish, you will be disappointed. If you like a movie that has good writing, an actual story and good acting, you will like it.
The movie starts pretty much like any Civil War movie with battles, death and bloody bodies, but it progresses past that to the point where some people rebel against the Confederacy for the atrocities they commit against the southern farmers. The story is well told with some actual dates and facts flashed on the screen from time to time which sort of gives it the feel of a documentary. It helps keep things in perspective without being intrusive.
If I had anything to complain about, it would be then length and scope of the film. The movie ran about 2-1/2 hours. At about 2 hours, I thought it was over but then it moved into the Klan, voting intimidation and general mistreatment of the freed slaves as well as having a 100 year tie in to future generation. It was as if they tried to jam these events in to make it more politically acceptable to Hollywood. I just felt that they went beyond what the movie was actually to be about.
The Boy Next Door (2015)
You have seen it before-only done a lot better
Totally a formula movie. We have seen the plot a dozen times with a mentally deranged person who is obsessed with another person, works their way into the life of that person and becomes dangerously deranged. Similar plot to films like Fatal Attraction, The Babysitter, The Stepfather and dozens of other films on the Lifetime Network. What really amazes me is that well known stars will actually accept rolls in films like this. Do they need the money that badly? Maybe with American Idol ending, Jennifer Lopez felt she would need a little cash to hold her over to the next gig. Bad acting, bad writing, bad character development, bad plot. The best part was the end and the worst part was that it did not come soon enough.
Different viewpoint, but I expected better
Zombie movies quite popular now due to the great popularity of the Walking Dead TV series. Unlike the usual offering, there is little action or violence in this movie. Instead, it slows down the conversion from human to zombie and tries to show personal relationships with the characters as they make the change. While this is an interesting concept, the movie moves at a snail's pace and we never really feel the emotional interaction that we are supposed to experience. Arnold is a great action character, but he just did not connect with me as the conflicted character he was supposed to portray. Perhaps he just does not have the depth to pull it off. A little more character development would have gone a long way in making a promising concept more than a slow moving, boring movie.
Fear the Walking Dead (2015)
Needs to improve
I have been a long time fan of the original Walking Dead series but have felt that it was running out of material and becoming repetitious. They seem to be moving around to different locations but not getting any closer to reaching an end. I was hoping that the prequel would breath new life into the series by giving us the back story of what caused the epidemic. I am still hoping. I have watched the first two episodes and the cause is not yet disclosed, just isolated zombies showing up. The second episode was a lot better than the pilot and maybe it will continue to improve. I will continue to watch the series to see how it goes. The cast does not appear as strong as the original but given time for character development, that opinion could change.
Old Fashioned (2014)
A very pleasant departure from most current films
My wife and I have been waiting for this film to come out for a long time. We lived in New Philadelphia, OH in the 70's and 80's and were friends with Rik's mom when he was just a kid. We have kept in touch and have known about the movie for a long time.
What I did not expect was how good this movie actually was. Without giving any plot away, this was a boy meets girl film with a plot similar to many others I have seen although with a little quirky twist. The character development was quite good and you grow to like the characters. This was a fun film to watch and many times laughter broke out in the audience and it was done without any crude jokes.
Pay no attention to the "professional" critic reviews. Since the film contains no profanity, sex, violence or nudity, I guess they just lost interest. For me it was a pleasure to watch a well written story rather than chase scenes and explosions for a change. My only complaint was a couple of "slow" places in the film that could have been eliminated.
While it was great to see some of the old landmarks like Joy Manufacturing, Buehlers grocery, House of Stones, the Courthouse and the beautiful country in Tuscarawas County-I would have enjoyed the movie just as much if I had never heard of the place. A great low budget film without the feel of most independent films I have seen. Good cinematography, good acting, good soundtrack, good story and overall a good family film.
The showing we went to on Valentines day was sold out. The audience applauded at the end of the movie. That last movie I attended that they did that was "Les Miz" and I can not remember the one before that. Quite a testament to the film.
Looking forward to more
I have been a long time fan of Michael Connelly and have read most of the Harry Bosch novels as well as the Mickey Haller and Jack McElvoy novels that features him. For the most part, the casting was pretty good although I pictures Bosch as a bit bigger and a bit younger. The attitude was captured quite well with the exception that in the books, Harry uses much less profanity. Harry Bosch is a gritty, seasoned detective that skirts on the edge of what is acceptable and what would be off limits in his investigations. The series seems to have started to develop this character and I hope it continues. They certainly captured his house as I pictured it from the books.
The pilot episode appears to be following the "City of Bones" novel which I read several years ago. I may go back and re-read it to refresh my memory while I wait for the next episode. All in all, a good start and with a few minor tweaks, could be a very good series.