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Brick Mansions (2014)
Skip this one
I was looking for some mindless entertainment with some good action. Unfortunately, the script was so mind numbingly poor, with so many gaping holes in the logic, it took all of the fun out of it. Every few minutes of the movie, something else would happen that simply made no sense. I often wonder about the writers and producers of these movies -- don't they have anyone read the script beforehand to ensure nothing nonsensical makes it into the script?
The one thing that I really did enjoy, was the choreography of David Belle character (Lino). I don't know if he did half of the things as portrayed on the screen, but some of the action was amazing.
Need for Speed (2014)
If all you want to see is a bunch of nice cars racing in populated areas, risking the lives of others, I guess this would be a must see. I guess this is also true to the Need for Speed video game franchise. Overall, I think the acting and cinematography were solid. It was just the script that stank.
For me, I want much more from movies. I cringe when I see movies that glamorize people risking the lives of others for fun and profit. I also have difficulty when movies do things that don't make much sense, and there were many holes in the script. For instance:
The main character owns a business and he is offered a minimum of $500,000 to complete a build of a Shelby Mustang. Apparently that isn't enough for most of them, and his friends think him crazy for accepting the project -- albeit from a person he doesn't like. While I thought that pretty ridiculous, it is something that could happen.
We have a two people in a 900hp Shelby Mustang driving insanely fast to get across the country to attend a race. However, they have a truck with their friend following them in a run-of-the-mill truck that amazingly keeps up with them -- starting in the same spot, meeting up with them in several spots across the country and ending up at their final destination on the same night.
We have a professional race car driver that enters into an illegal street race where the winner keeps all of the cars in the race -- cars worth several million dollars. Someone pays him $5 million to enter the race. Why would anyone pay an individual 5 million to go in a race where the upside is only a potential 7 million (I assume retail value)? By the end of the race, only one car remains. All of the others appear to be either totalled or in need of major repairs, making them worth far less by the end of the race.
The victor of the above race is driving a car that he "borrowed" and that he could not have provided to another if another person won. However, he is allowed to participate.
The car that the victor is driving was evidence in what would probably be deemed a manslaughter case of the driver's friend. I have to think using it in the race would have greatly reduced the car's value as evidence.
A spectacular movie
With the ever-growing number of poorly construed movies out there, it is great to be surprised when a movie is so much better than you expect. When I saw this movie, staring Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame, I wasn't expecting anything overly spectacular. I was wrong.
The movie extended far beyond what could have been a run-of-the-mill, coming of age movie, to a thought provoking look into some of the challenges that face young adults as they work their way through high school. The movie takes you through a number of highly relevant issues in an intelligent way, with very good acting. It looks at early relationships, homosexuality, mental illness, bullying, and sexual abuse as well as our concepts of self-worth.
This was a wonderful movie. One of the best I have seen in a long time.
In Time (2011)
Great start, decent follow-through.
As others have said, the idea of this movie was excellent. You could call it a skeptical analogy of what is happening in some parts of the world the richest people of the planet abusing poor.
What I liked about the movie, especially in the early stages, was how much the movie made me think. It was also bizarre to think of what things would be like if nobody looked older than 25. The movie played upon the possibility of multiple generations would look the same age at least for those rich enough to afford to purchase the additional years. The story was also well thought out in relation to how people would act within the differing classes of society: the rich would take their time and take few risks. The poor would treasure their time, moving quickly, and, with less to lose, would be less risk adverse.
Great premise, great start to the movie, decent follow-through. Although I wish the strong start was able to be carried throughout the movie, I found this movie quite enjoyable to watch.
War Horse (2011)
After seeing the trailers for this movie, I was excited to go to see it. Spielberg has directed some many excellent shows; I expected no less for this movie. I expected a gripping tail with excellent cinematography. I ended up sitting through over two hours of a boring show that did not seem to know where it wanted to go. One of the other reviewers summed it up nicely, stating that it seemed like Disney's attempt at a World War One movie. The only partially redeeming area of this movie was some of its cinematography. Unfortunately, the movie did not keep you engaged enough to truly appreciate the nicer looking scenes. In addition, many of the scenes seemed overly contrived. I found myself looking at my watch an hour and a half into the movie and being disappointed that I still had about an hour to go before the end. What frustrates me most about a movie such as this is that it will likely make out great when it comes to awards such as the Oscars solely based upon the name of the director; the movie did not excel in any area.
I have to wonder how this movie is rating so high; if I was a pessimistic person, I would almost think that the movie studios must be hiring people go on sites such as this to boost the ratings of their shows.
Save you money and your time. I can't even recommend that you wait to watch this movie on video.
The Invention of Lying (2009)
What a disaster
I greatly appreciate Ricky Gervais's sense of humour. Upon hearing the plot line of this movie, I thought it was going to be a slam-dunk -- perfect for his brand of humour. However, the movie was a disaster. Script lacked any semblance of humour. It was like an elementary school student wrote the script; after the story went off the rails, it just kept going on and on, getting less and less humorous. I can't tell you how the story ended. 3/4 of the way through, it became too painful and I stopped watching. Are you looking to take in a good Gervais flick? Check out Ghost Town. It was a hoot -- thoughtful and very funny. His show the Office (British version) was also great.
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Not so incredible
Not so incredible. I was anxious to see The Incredible Hulk because of the ratings on IMDb and the trailers looked intriguing. Perhaps due to high expectations, the movie left me expecting much more.
If you want to see a good super hero flick, see The Dark Knight a superior show in every respect. Although Iron Man was not as good as the Dark Knight, it was also substantially better than this movie.
While the movie did not get off to an overly poor start, it quickly lost its footing. It became slow during the sappy portions of the film. While I generally like Liv Tyler, I found her miscast in this movie. She just does not strike me as the academic type.
The movie wasn't all bad. Edward Norton was good as always. I also thought Tim Blake Nelson had a semi-interesting role.
Is this really worth a 3? Maybe a bit higher, but I wanted to add some balance with regards to most of the other ratings this movie has received.
The Dark Knight (2008)
It is that good!
I was beyond shocked to go to this movie and have it live up to the hype. Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was how good Heath Ledger was in this movie. I expected his death to be playing a major part in the reviews I have heard regarding his performance. That is not the case; he was great in this flick. My wife even liked it, and I have to drag her out to films like this.
Does this movie deserve a 10 out of 10? No. I would only rate it that highly if it was one of the best movies I have ever seen. However, in the sea of mediocrity that has pervaded the movies over the last couple of years, this movie clearly stands out as a must see.