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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)
Pretty dull first few episodes and then it becomes great
I've watched many Josh Whedon shows and enjoyed most of them, especially Buffy, Angel and Firefly. I can happily state that "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." carries on the Whedon torch.
The first nine episodes are a hit and miss, seem uncertain in their purpose, the characters feel one-dimensional, and nothing really engaging happens. Then something happens by episode 10, the characters get deeper and the story becomes more engaging."
And then it finally happens. Episode 17: "Turn, turn, turn" changes everything. That episode is a tie in to "Captain America: The Winter Soldier", and while I really enjoyed that movie, I absolutely loved this episode. This single episode is just as good as "The Avengers" movie, and in my opinion, better than any of the other Marvel movies. It pulls a real punch. After that, there is no turning back, and the show is able to keep the momentum going until the very end of episode 22, which has a classic scene at the bottom of the sea, a rare nasty kill by the main villain, and some Nick Fury action.
I enjoyed the addition of Bill Pullman, Saffron Burrows, and Samuel L. Jackson to the show, and by the day's end am satisfied with the recurring staff - both the heroes who stick to their guns and the villains who just follow orders.
My advise: Don't quit this show even though you may find it a dull start. Give it a try until episode 17 and then you will not be able to let go.
A pleasant surprise
I caught this movie on Netflix. Had never heard about it before, and was pleasantly surprised. The characters are deep, the dialogue is fun, the action is fantastic, the story great, and the special effects OK. Most impressive of all was the solid acting, especially during the final fight sequence. Lovely stuff.
This movie brings me back in time, into a dark movie theater, at the very end of 'The Matrix', back in 1999. It had such a promising ending, and then they announced sequels that turned out to be poor.
Even though 'Woochi' is not a sequel to 'The Matrix', it feels like a movie that successfully went where those sequels didn't go.
Highly recommended for those who enjoy fantasy, action, and a bit of time travel.
The movie attempts to tell "a" true story of what inspired the ancient myth of Theseus and the minotaur. This version isn't bad at all.
Strengths go to story, acting and directing. Obviously, this movie is made with an abysmal budget, but Tom Hardy is able to keep it floating above average, along with Rutger Hauer and some other decent actors. The story is logical enough, and the conclusion smarter than expected.
The special effects are poor. They take you constantly out of the movie, and the acting is a bit inconsistent. While the prisoners running for survival in the labyrinth are quite good, Tony Todd hams it up overacting as a high priest, still entertaining though.
I expected nothing when starting the movie, and got nothing meaningful out of it, except for a little thrill by watching a CGI monster chase hapless victims, who fortunately fight back to give us a good show.
I have seen much worse movies with fancier and more expensive special effects.
The Chase (1966)
A hidden treasure
I had never heard about The Chase. Rented it from the local library, since it starred Marlon Brando and Robert Redford. Just watched it this morning. It blew me away. Without a doubt it is the best movie I have seen in 2009, and one of the movies to remember.
It does have some problems with editing and music at the outset and feels oddly paced in the first half hour, but when it finds its tone and picks up the pace, it's a true roller coaster ride of emotions.
The characters are archetypes, and the story aims more for dramatic effect than realism.
Brando is fine as the honest Sheriff, and Dickinson puts in excellent performance as his supportive wife. Redford is the outlaw on the run as an escape convict, even though he seems to be one of the most decent people around. Jane Fonda is his wife, who has fallen in love with the town's prince, played by James Fox who is on his own parallel escape from his father's (E.G. Marshall) money and materialism. Robert Duvall also gives a nice little supporting performance.
The villain is mob behavior, corruption, and a society that looks for pure pleasure instead of some sense and meaning. Honest and decent people are on the run from society's destructive tendencies, and the only one to protect the innocence of society is a single Sheriff, who does everything in his power to protect the law that nobody respects but himself.
Perhaps I am giving The Chase such a high rating partly because I had never heard about it before, and was completely blown away. It contains a lot of complex characters, and feels in the opening more like a play than a movie, but if you give it a chance, you may be pleasantly surprised.
I think it should belong to the Western genre, even though it takes place in the 60's. It got guys in cowboy hats, an outlaw, a sheriff, a rich man that is taking over everything, some romance, bystanders that aren't very innocent, and a wild bunch that happens to hide within a very disturbed society.
Broken Circle (2006)
Excellent directing and acting
Broken Circle takes place in an apartment of a former priest, Mitchell Stevens (Michael Badalucco), who still goes on supporting the less fortunate ones. He is called upon to give shelter to a Spanish speaking woman, Perla Rosarez (Delilah Cotto) that has been beaten up by her husband.
Mitchell is on a path to improve his life, and is struggling hard for that change to take place. He finds a great opportunity for redemption by taking in that young woman and helping her to solve her problems; to not only break his own vicious circles that he needs to get out of, but to break her circle as well.
This movie is about the effort it takes in order to change ones own life and habits, and what happens if you decide to change the lives of others with your own purpose in mind.
If you struggle with changing your own life for the better, are you still capable of helping others to improve upon theirs? Part of the movie is in Spanish (without subtitles), but that didn't bother me, since my Spanish and English are equally fluent. The quality of the Spanish dialog is equal to that one of the English one. This is actually an interesting director's choice, to not translate the Spanish into English, in order to make the comprehension of the context easier on the audience.
Well, I love this short movie, and can't wait for the next project to be made by the writer/director Aaron Sawyer.