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573 reviews in total 
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Enjoyable and Funny, 19 April 2014

Each winning one fight, former rival Pro Boxers Razor Sharp (Stallone) and Billy the Kid (DeNiro) consider a re-match 30-yrs later. And, there is a reason they don't like each other.

I didn't think this would be any good at first, but this movie made sense because both Stallone and DeNiro starred in fight movies in the past: the Rocky series and Raging Bull.

However, this was very enjoyable and a lot of fun. Many LOL funny lines throughout helped by toe-tapping music in the beginning and an excellent supporting cast of Kevin Hart as Dante Slate: fight promoter, Alan Arkin as Lightning Conlon: Sharp's trainer, and Kim Basinger as Sally: the love interest. And, it is here that De Niro shines with comedic lines and Stallone had his share as well as did Kevin Hart who kept everything upbeat. Quite funny at times. Kudos.

And, a shout-out should go to screen writers: Tim Kelleher and Rodney Rothman as both combined to do funny stuff.

There are some bumps in the road, too, and we get sub plots that almost stop the fight from happening, but the fight does go on. The fight scenes were pretty good too. Nothing like the Rocky or the Raging Bull fights, but good nevertheless. No disappointment here.

The acting performances all around were very good.

A cameo by Rich Little as the Ring Announcer was a nice touch. And, we see Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson as themselves at the end of the movie. (7/10)

Violence: Yes. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Sexual Content: Yes. Language: Only soft stuff.

Philomena (2013)
Quite Enjoyable, 18 April 2014

This is based upon actual events

When she was pregnant as a teenager Philomena's (Judi Dench) Irish father gave her to a convent. She earned her keep by working 24/7 and could only see her son, Anthony, one hour a day. Anthony was eventually sold to an American couple. Now, 50-years later Philomena wants to find out what happened to her son. Journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) helps her in this quest.

There is a lot going on in here: Philomena's unshaken faith, criticism against the Catholic Church, a kind of detective story putting clues together that may lead to what happened to Anthony, some humor between Philomena and Martin who is really down on Catholicism and is no longer a believer, an acceptance of homosexuality and most important: the forgiveness factor fostered throughout by Philomena.

I honestly didn't think this would be as good as it turned out to be. The acting performances of Dench and Coogan made this good and sometimes the dialogues were spot on. There were some good lines in the beginning that kept me keeping on.

Also, when they go to America, Philomena talks to a Mexican food server at an upscale hotel and says that she had never been to Mexico and sure it is lovely, apart from all the kidnappings. We get the impression that Philomena isn't all that isolated from world affairs although there are times she is clueless. Philomena is overly impressed with the size of the food portions Americans give out and is afraid that her son may be obese because of it. Martin is the one who keeps her focused.

About half way through Philomena finds out what happened to Anthony and we ask: Is this over? Not a chance. There are more things to discover and off we go and glad of it. From time to time, we do see her son, Anthony, in flashbacks.

This is a good movie, but nominated for Best Picture? Hmmm…… However Judi Dench was nominated for Best Actress should have gotten it. Didn't happen. Well, at least Bond, James Bond has a very competent boss (she's M in the Bond stories). So that's something, but why can't she be nominated for something in those Bond, James Bond movies? Huh? (7/10)

Violence: No. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Language: Yes, not much though.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A Thriller in Name Only, 12 April 2014

Russell Baze (Christian Bale) is released from Prison, and finds out his brother, Rodney (Casey Affleck), is mixed up with Harlan DeGroat's (Woody Harrelson) fight-game mob and owes a lot of money. When Rodney doesn't come home one night Police Chief Barnes (Forest Whitaker) tells Russell to let him handle it. Russell knows the police are afraid of DeGroat and his gang and decides to take matters into his own hands even though he knows this may send him back to prison.

This film went by so fast I couldn't believe it was over. My popcorn was hardly touched. It's not that the characters weren't developed, the story wasn't either. The only time the camera lingered was when we see Russell thinking about………well, who knows? That became annoying because it gave us an opportunity to make mistakes about what he was thinking. Okay,we believed we did know what he was thinking: should he let the police handle things or do something himself and chance going back to jail and also how to get Lena (Zoe Saldana) his old girlfriend back. She is now with Chief Barnes. The Lena thing was a wasted storyline. What was annoying was the length of time the camera spent on Russell's face. To sum up: there must have been a time limit for all other shots.

But, what I really couldn't understand was why were all the stars (Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Sam Shepard, Willem Dafoe and okay…..Casey Affleck) in this? Their on screen time was very, very short and no one stood out. Didn't make sense to me. All were essentially cameos. All we really needed was Casey Affleck whose Rodney was the catalyst for all that Russell does. We didn't need those other stars.

Okay, only one star stood out and that was Woody Harrelson as DeGroat even though his on-screen time was also pretty short. The story made it clear that everyone was afraid of him. Hell, even I was hunkering down on the couch.

There is no thrill in here. Yes, we did expect Russell to become a Liam Neeson character when a family member is in trouble. When we see how Russell is going to handle things, we kind of wished Liam Neeson was actually in here. Would have been more exciting, or more "thrilling." Didn't happen.

The ending was a real piece of work. Here we had to use our judgment to decide what happened and we really didn't have much to go on. We were left clueless. Bummer.

The title should have been: OUT of the OVEN, because the story was not done yet and needed more time and should have been shoved back in. Very disappointing. (5/10)

Violence: Yes. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Language: Yes.

The Dialogues Make This Good, 10 April 2014

Beverly Weston (Sam Shepard) commits suicide and all the family gathers for the funeral. Beverly's wife Violet (Meryl Streep) has cancer of the mouth and is addicted to drugs to calm the pain. The daughters come home with bitterness in their hearts and anger toward the mother who they considered mean; and secrets spill out that end up changing everyone's lives.

This is based upon a play by Tracy Lett (he also did the screenplay) so you know it's going to be talky, talky, talky. But, wait a minute: the dialogues are spot on, quick and there is no long catharsis by anyone. Catharsis yes, but not long ones. This helps. The pacing is very good and you become engaged (as do other Inquiring minds) and want to know what everyone is holding back until it cannot be held in no longer. The funeral dinner is the catalyst that brings almost everything out into the open. The daughters have issues with their mother and feel they had been wronged growing up. But, Violet has an ace up her sleeve and she lets loose with things her children do not know. But, now they do.

There is big secret later on and this brings everyone to the moment of truth. And, also it is here that Violet gives up another ace. Nothing - you will learn- nothing gets by Violet.

The movie made a big deal about the heat in this part of Oklahoma in August, but the heat is forgotten as soon as we get into the meat of the story. Well, I guess they had to talk about something as the family members gathered.

The best line to come out of this is uttered by Julia Roberts as Barbara Weston and goes something like: "Thank God we can't see the future. We'd never get out of bed." I suppose there is some truth to that.

This is a very good supporting cast with Violet's daughters: Julianne Nicholson as Ivy Weston, Juliette Lewis as Karen Weston and Julia Roberts as Barbara Weston. Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Dermot Mulroney, Abigail Breslin, Margo Martindale and Benedict Cumberbatch round out the rest of the cast. No matter what cast member was on screen, you were attentive. Kudos to all.

Meryl Streep received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress; and Julia Roberts received one for Actress in a Supporting Role. They didn't win, but both were deserving.

The snippy/snappy, quick, and heartfelt dialogues make this very good. (8/10)

Violence: Yes. Johnna (Misty Upham), the maid, whacks someone with a shovel. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Language: Yes.

Homefront (2013)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Pretty Good, 9 April 2014

A biker drug deal had gone bad whereby the Leader's son was killed and he blames undercover DEA Agent Broker (Jason Statham) for that. Widower Phil Broker decides to leave the DEA Service and retire away from that violence to a quiet country town with 9-yr old daughter Maddie (Izabella Vidovic). In school, Maddie beats up a bully and the parents are all upset and want an apology after Broker takes down Jimmy Clum (Marcus Hester) the father of the bully. But wait: the jailed Biker leader sends his biker men to avenge his son's death. This can't be good.

We can see that Broker has a lot on his plate, but we know he can handle everything, but a new wrinkle is his daughter Maddie and she must be kept safe. This is a typical Jason Statham movie and we know he will prevail, but what makes this more compelling is the daughter as we watch and care because of Maddie. We may be seeing a newer side to Jason Statham's movies in that this is the second time he has worked with a child as in the movie SAFE, which was very good btw. There is very good chemistry between Statham and Izabella Vidovic and she also performs well.

The supporting cast of James Franco, Kate Bosworth, and Winona Ryder make this a must-see movie as I think some, if not all, of them were going for Oscar nominations later on. They were very good.

Guess who helped write the screenplay for HOMEFRONT? Sylvester Stallone. And, of course, the dialogues were spot on.

Tension and suspense is felt throughout even though we know that Broker will get the job done protecting his new Homefront. Pretty exciting ending. (7/10)

Violence: Yes. Sex: Yes, briefly from a distance. Nudity: No. Language: No.

Well Told. Gripping., 6 April 2014

This is based upon a true story.

In 1841, freeman Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), married with children, in New York is kidnapped and sold into Slavery in Louisiana. He is given the name of Platt.

Watching this you may ask yourself: how can people treat people this way? There is a lot of cruelty in here and I think the point is to show us that Slavery was indeed cruel and brutal. White Slave-owners took the claim of Slaves as their property way too seriously. True, there were good Slave-owners and we see one with Benedict Cumberbatch as Ford, but that time didn't last long and even Ford was wary of his Overseers and sells his debt (Platt) to a very cruel Slave-owner: Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender).

We see a lot of beatings and we cringe a lot. Yes, this is only a movie, but consider back in those days that things were probably much worse than what we see on the big screen. So think "much worse" when you watch. If you think the beatings were overdone, think again.

The acting all around is good. I thought the best performances in here were by Benedict Cumberbatch as Ford and by Michael Fassbender as Edwin Epps. Fassbender was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and should have gotten it. Ejiofor was nominated for Best Actor and he was okay, but Matthew McConaughey was the buzz saw in DALLAS BUYERS CLUB and it was no contest within this category.

Lupita Nyong'o as Patsey won the award for Best Supporting Actress.

The picture itself won for Best Picture. Did I think it should have won Best Picture? Glad you asked. No it shouldn't have. I thought CAPTAIN PHILLIPS was the better movie. Seems that true, almost true or based upon actual events stories get the nod for an Oscar Nomination. My other choices would have been DALLAS BUYERS CLUB or THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, both based upon true stories. Maybe there should be a True Story category as they seem to have the edge. Hmmm………

Sometimes the dialogues reminded me of the TV show DEADWOOD when we heard an almost poetic and most annoying cadence by all the characters all the time. At times in here, the dialogues were too convoluted (read cadenced) especially when a character went on explaining something as when Brad Pitt as Bass talked about coming changes in society. I am saying sometimes the dialogues did not ring true to me. People didn't talk like that. There were other times - and too often - these annoying cadence-laced dialogues were spewed out by other characters.

The Ending (thought you would never get to it) was okay. I mean what else could be expected? He was gone for 12-years and believed dead, and his family had moved on. So no brass band celebration. I thought this Ending was the right touch. (8/10)

Violence: Yes. Sex: Yes. Nudity: yes, male and female. Language: No, soft stuff only and not much of it.

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Bad and not in a good way. Really bad., 3 April 2014

Newsman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is fired, and then goes to work at Sea World where he seen by Freddie Shapp (Dylan Baker) who produces the Global News Network (GNN). Burgundy is hired and gets his old team back together. They go to New York.

I needed to get this out of my system. From the promos a while back One would think this is the biggest and hottest movie in some time. One would think, but One would be wrong. This is not funny, the promos weren't funny either. Before the movie was released this Burgundy character was all over the TV airwaves selling Chrysler cars and trucks. Unbelievable. Why? Why? Why? This is what One mumbles to Oneself 24/7.

It is very hard to believe that adults actually made this movie. Nothing worked. No funny lines, no funny sight gags either although they did try especially with Steve Carell's character Brick. I have other words for this movie in mind and I am trying myself to restrain myself. I never saw Anchorman 1, so I cannot make that comparison. Why? Why? Why? See, still doing it.

They even took a page from the first Borat movie when Burgundy is invited to his girlfriend's house for dinner. And, of course, disaster ensues. Again, I am restraining myself. Can't you tell? Huh?

I will have to go on bended knee to the Movie Gods and ask their forgiveness for watching something that should not be watched much less having been made in the first place. I have vowed once again to never watch a Will Ferrell movie unless it's a drama (he's good at that). I hope the Movie Gods will be merciful.

There is absolutely no point in continuing with this. Why? Why? Why? Still at it. (1/10)

Violence: Yes in an alleged comical way that wasn't so humorous. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Language: No. Some soft stuff only and not much of it.

0 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Enjoyable, 30 March 2014

This is based upon actual events as told by Jordan Belfort in his books on his life. Many names have been changed in here.

Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) builds his empire with penny-stocks defrauding stockholders and raking in millions.

The movie is 3-hours long and it went pretty fast because the pacing, dialogues by all and the narratives by DiCapiro as Belfort were very good.

When a movie is based upon real life over-the-top partying and drug addicts we should be aware that what we see and hear may offend. We see Belfort with a partying life style and hooked on drugs. The partying or more correct term "sex-orgies" show up many times. Nudity abounds as do simulated sex scenes and lets' not forget sex talk throughout and the accompanying language.

Still we understand that most of what we see and hear did actually take place according to Jordan Belfort's books on these parts of his life. Mr. Scorsese, the director, opted to show all and tell all.

Did we need to see the clients who were defrauded? No. If this was brought in the movie may have been 1-hour longer. Just hearing about those defrauded was enough. We didn't need to see and hear any sad stories.

Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for Best Actor and he could have gotten it, but he ran into a buzz-saw by the name of Matthew McConaughey in the DALLAS BUYERS CLUB. McConaughey had a small part in here and was extremely good. Actually, Leonardo DiCaprio should have gotten the Best Actor Award for many of his previous movies. As I have said before and will say again: he is a class act and he makes everyone else better.

We do hear some good lines with humor, but we also see some silly and stupid sight-gags and keeping in mind these may have actually happened, we cannot fault Hollywood this time. Many of these instances involve Jonah Hill as Belfort's partner Donnie. I found these scenes to be extremely annoying. Jonah Hill, I believe, still thinks he is a comedian. Not a chance. When he slows down and performs in a good dramatic fashion, he is very good.

Take from this what you will, but I did find it to be enjoyable.

If you want to know more about Jordan Belfort, look him up in Wikipedia. (8/10)

Violence: Yes, kinda when someone gets punched. Sex: Yes, throughout. Nudity: Yes, throughout. Drug Use: Yes, throughout. Language: Yes, throughout.

Gravity (2013)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Over-Rated. Somewhat Entertaining, 28 March 2014

Astronauts Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) and Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) are repairing a telescope in space when a Russian satellite explodes and sends the debris their way at very fast speeds.

The beginning of this movie feels like it's the end of a movie when disaster strikes and they overcome it and we all go home. But, that can't happen as this just started. Bummer.

Gravity would be better viewed in 3-D if you can manage it. The CGI visuals are truly outstanding even in 2-D. We see Kowalski and Ryan try to get back to the ISS (International Space Station) and one would think there would be tension and suspense during this attempt to get back, but this didn't happen for me. But, if you watch in 3-D you will be ducking debris every 10-seconds. Quite exciting though. For me, the tension and suspense came much later when Ryan was by herself in the abandoned Chinese space station. Hey, wouldn't you be tense in a space craft where all the buttons and controls are in Chinese and you don't know the language. Huh?

Gravity was nominated for Best Picture. Say what? Give me a break. Sandra Bullock was nominated for Best Actress. Huh? The Academy must have had their collective heads in a Black Hole when they made these nominations. Sandra Bollock is a good actress, but it didn't show up in here. George Clooney was good, but his character acted too much like the disaster was a walk-in-the-park (I guess he knew this was only a movie).

Still, this was somewhat entertaining, but highly over-rated. The dialogues between Kowalski and Ryan were lame for the most part. No good lines, nothing funny. The star of this movie is the CGI visuals and again, they are spectacular. But, that's it. View it in 3-D and enjoy it. Otherwise, it's a "Help, I've fallen in Space and can't get up" type movie. (6/10)

Violence: No, not between the characters, just the violence that occurred in space. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Language: One F-Bomb uttered by SB.

Good, but no Oscar, 19 March 2014

FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) convinces Irving (Christian Bale) and Sydney aka Edith - Prosser (Amy Adams) to run a con on Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) because he feels the Mayor is dirty. Later this scenario is expanded to include some members of Congress. And, still later the MOB gets involved. Oh oh!

While watching for the first half hour when nothing really happens except to get us to know that Richie and Edith run cons and make a lot of money, I couldn't help being mesmerized by seeing if Edith's breasts (no bra) would pop out of the thin bands of cloth covering them. This went on for quite a while. They didn't, but I focused anyway.

This was nominated for Best Picture. Did I agree? Not really because this should have been seamless and it wasn't. It was okay, but the real winners in here were Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence (Rosalyn, Richie's wife). Not to say that Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper weren't good, they were but nothing special (no Oscars for them, eh?). I don't think this movie would have been as good as it was if Adams and Lawrence were not in it. They were the breaths of fresh air for me. They made everything make sense when this meandered a bit in places.

There seemed to be an obsession with hair. Richie had the worst comb-over of all comb-overs and why they went with this was a mystery. I felt like screaming at him, "get a wig or go bald" as either one of those choices would have been better. I kept waiting for another character to brush his head in a friendly gesture. And, then there is Mayor Carmine's hairdo. It was an imitation of Steven Van Zandt's (Silvio in the Sopranos TV show) pompadour. When Jeremy Renner was on screen all I saw was his hair. As for Jeremy Renner himself I felt he felt somewhat out of place not being in a bomb suit or combat dress with an assault rifle in his hands. But, he did a good job as did everyone.

Humor was attempted by Richie constantly asking his boss Stoddard Thorsen (Louis C.K.) for money, a plane and hotel space to further the sting on the Mayor and the Congressmen. Oh, yes, an Arab Shiek (Michael Pena) was also involved to look like the sting had impeccable backing. The confrontations between Richie and Thorsen were not funny to me, but this is the closest they came to humor. Pity.

The reason I said this was not seamless was because too many of the stars in here had too much screen time and a lot of dialogues so it was hard to concentrate - as we normally would have - on the Star of the movie. They were all- of- them, the stars. See?

Oh, Robert DeNiro had a cameo in here. (9/10)

Violence: Yes, not much though. Sex: No. Nudity: No, but they came close. Language: Yes, but not too much.

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