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41 reviews in total 
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Cooties (2014)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
What a PC POS, 28 January 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Wow, this "comedy" was unwatchable almost from the start, but I gutted it out (as it were) for about 40 minutes before turning it off and begging the gods to send ravens to pluck out my eyes so that I'd never have to watch something so execrable again.

Yeah, I wasn't impressed.

Your almost guaranteed tip-off that a film is going to be creatively lazy and kool-kidz masturbatory media is when it has a "Christian" character is who is a complete caricature or, even more originally, a hypocrite (yuck, yuck, just like all the kool-kidz know they are). This particular piece of cut-and-paste mastery of the "everybody knows" tropes featured the Christian woman teacher as a gun-lovin', rape-fearin', foul-mouthed harridan. Wow, there's a character we've never seen before.

Then there were the other sparkling bits o' wit, like the obnoxious, abusive school kid named "Patriot" who was born on September 11 and when he turned 18 is going to become a Marine so he could kick some "towel-head ass."

Oh, Noel Coward just wishes he had the faintest hint of the skill of the screenwriter of this vomitous collection of left-wing goodthink clichés about the Un-Kool Kidz.

Do not waste your time, and don't even have pity for Elijah Wood, who somehow was convinced to appear in this festering cinematic abomination.

36 out of 75 people found the following review useful:
No Oscar for DiCaprio, 3 January 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After viewing this movie, one realizes this film will be remembered more for one harrowing scene (the well-known Grizzly Bear attack) and the way it was made, rather than for the quality of the story or filmic experience itself.

DiCaprio, as Hugh Glass, does an adequate job, although 2/3's of his acting involves emoting-through-wheezing. For that alone, almost any competent actor with a range greater than Adam Sandler could have done the part. We get brief glimpses of interesting characters (Domhnall Gleason's Army Lieutenant for one) and way too many scenes of a one- dimensional antagonist, Tom Hardy's Fitzgerald. And the film could have been 20 minutes shorter by eliminating long, meditative (or creatively masturbatory) shots of trees.

Already dining out on the "we shot in only natural light! Shot over nine months in the miserably cold outdoors," the film-makers seem unaware that a difficult production with good actors does not necessarily a great movie make. Just ask the folks who made (or un-made, depending on who you ask) "The Island of Dr. Moreau." Tough shoot...apparently a terrible movie.

"The Revenant" isn't terrible, but it's nowhere near great.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Almost instantly forgettable, 14 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

They had about 60 minutes worth of story, and padded it out with long shootouts.

And more long shootouts through what looked like drywall.

Which should have ended the "standoff" in about 3 minutes, with the folks on the other side of the drywall dead.

Then they padded some more, by (tiniest of SPOILER) giving us an interminable (and terribly acted) scene full of meaningful glares in a moving vehicle. Stretching the scene out, even more, with freeze frames and supplying us with the names of the disposable bad guys. Names that had no importance or meaning to the rest of the film. At all.

Which is too bad, really, as I have a suspicion that Scott Adkins might actually be able to pull off a good leading role if he had an actual script to work with. And perhaps an actual director who wasn't trying to channel Sergio Leone meets Shaw Brothers.

Had the potential to be a decent, gut-bucket B-movie, but the delusions of being better than it was defeated everyone involved.

5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
A waste of time, 8 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The show felt incredibly padded and I feel incredibly ripped off. Most episodic shows need to extend their story lines by a series of forced misunderstandings, missed clues, etc. But, jeepers, I think they had story enough for maybe five hours here, not 13, which necessitates making characters endure a lot of moral/character conflict only for the purpose of prolonging the "drama." What it actually does, though, is make the characters appear frankly stupid when they act contrary to their nature.

SPOILER: When Special Ops dude is watching Killgrave from his car, knowing he's a menace, why doesn't Special Ops Dude take Killgrave out from a distance. Hell, even kneecapping him would have worked. But he doesn't. (Episode 7 of 13).

SPOILER: Jessica Jones, standing (of her own freewill) in front of Killgrave, not 18 inches away. She's supper strong. She's super fast. Why not a quick punch to his throat. End of problem, for the most part. But,again, as it is Ep7 of 13, that would end the show too quickly.

"Dramatically convenient stupidity." Avoid it in your own writing.

Last Shift (2014/I)
17 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
Competent and Creepy without being cheap, 19 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Clearly, a low budget film. Good film-makers, when confronted with a lack of funds, will compensate with a lot of creativity. "Last Shift" falls squarely into this category. The film makes good use of their locale, and builds an air of dread that slowly begins to pay off.

One nice touch is the use of quiet to build tension. In a few places, the music becomes intrusive, but a lot of the creepiness is in odd sounds (with nice use of the 5.1 surround mix). Only once or twice did they go for the "booga booga coming out at you out of a dark place" shtick.

I thought the lead actress was very believable through most of the film. If the film faltered anywhere, it was nearer the end, when the lead character began to respond in more typical "illogical victim," but one could almost understand that given the psychological state of that character.

SPOILER The only major way this film let me down as at the end.

They had to go for "the twist," and in this case... was "evil wins," which I find is something I don't care to spend nearly two hours of my life watching. Otherwise, very solid effort, making an authentically spooky and fairly original film on very little money.

8 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Beyond Stupid, 17 July 2015

I only stuck with this series through the first season for the actors, especially Corey Stoll (very fine actor, was great as "Hemingway" in "Midnight in Paris.") They did improve on the first book in the series (aka "CSI Transylvania"), but still kept it chock full of the same moments of "dramatically convenient stupidity" to prolong the story that made the first volume such an exercise in frustration.

Still some good actors in the batch, even if they are wickedly under-used, such as the criminally under-rated Kevin Durand and the afore-mentioned Stoll.

Alas, the "dramatically convenient stupidity" has been cranked up a notch in Ep1 of Season 2 (who goes hunting known vampire master in the dark without backup?) and the intellect of the characters seems to have been largely dialed back this season.

Life's too short. Watch something else.

2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Better than most, not as good as expected, 24 June 2015

The first 30 minutes are a struggle. Sure, a lot is happening, but mostly I noticed that George Miller, action director extraordinaire, was cheating. Almost every action beat (fight or crash or whatever) was speeding up the film, which is the lazy way to make it look fast, exciting, whatever. Mostly, it made it look like a cheap, direct to DVD foreign action flick.

Tom Hardy, for a lot of the film just grunted. Throw that in with the jerky and very obviously sped up film and it was painful.

Finally, about 45 minutes in, the story became more interesting and compelling, but the homages seemed to cry out "creatively" tired. I'm referring of course to the Jawas on Motorbikes, which seems like bad fan fiction, rather than an original creation. Other images seemed lifted from "The Dark Crystal," and were strange retreads of Miller's own work.

The few moments of real excitement and adrenaline only made the rest of the films flaws more pronounced and sad.

The Voices (2014)
9 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
Unsatisfying, Unsuccessful mess, 8 February 2015

First, this is no reflection on the main actors. Man, when is Ryan Reynolds going to be good in a good movie, instead of good in junk? He's pretty good in this, but it's an awkward genre (comedy with serial killing? Can't think of one that actually worked). Great work by Gemma Arterton (so good she takes you right out of the comedy to wrenching horror), with Anne Kendrick who is so personable and nice. All of them wasted in this misguided effort.

It would be hard to ID the blame for the mess this film is. There were some genuinely funny moments (Ryan Reynolds almost can't not be funny), but then there would be a jarring change of tone to slasher horror and well-acted scenes of people suffering their last moments. And then some none-bloody stuff that was cleverly done and authentically creepy. And then it would veer back to some slasher film, while the end credits, an almost Bollywood dance number with a little Christian mockery, feel like WTF filler.

I saw a comedian tell a joke once that went: "They captured this serial killer and he said the Voices made him kill all those people. I've always wondered, why don't the voices say 'Go Dancing?' "

That would have been a movie worth seeing. This, on the other hand, was a waste of my time, and sadly for the talented people on screen, a waste of their time, too.


Calvary (2014)
6 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Tedious, masturbatory failure, 30 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

How can a movie with this much acting talent be a failure? There's an old play with a title something like "Five Characters in Search of a Play." This is the reboot: "Bitter Irish stereotypes that are great for actors to play without needing to come to a resolution or have much of a plot." My goodness, I want to avoid spoilers, but I want to make sure you Avoid Losing Two Precious Hours of Your Life to this misguided, yet professionally produced twaddle (that also throws in predictable cheap shots at the Catholic Church). Things happen. People reveal their inner ugliness or despair. Horrible things occur. Brendan Gleeson does a tremendous job of acting. Antagonist revealed. More horribleness. Film over. DON'T SEE THIS FILM.

11 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
Unexpectedly funny., 5 May 2014

First, Elizabeth Banks is one of the funniest women working in film today. The fact she is also smokin' hot might bring to mind mid-career Monroe, but Ms. Banks doesn't feel the need to play down her intelligence.

That being said, the set up of the film is pretty simple. Very tightly controlled woman finds her life going out of control. Half the comedy is from her trying to regain control, half the comedy is seeing how bad she is at it. Banks is game for most anything, including pratfalls, and thankfully the director had the good taste not to have to humiliate her character excessively (see: Ed Helms in "Hangover 2").

Also full of some fun supporting characters and a nice turn by James Marsden. Check it out...very date night worthy.

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