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629 reviews in total 
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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A Big Miss, 29 January 2015

Magician Stanley (Colin Firth) is hired to debunk a Medium: Sophie (Emma Stone), but has reason to believe she may be the real deal. Then he discovers something else: he may be in love with her. Since Magic is in the title, watch the stripes change direction on Stanley's tie.

I think it's time to put a fork in Woody Allen's movies. He is hit and miss. This is a miss, a big one. The premise sounds interesting, but as we go along we are terribly bored with everything. We knew there was a con at work, but hoped not, but deep down, we knew the con was on. And, we (okay, I) figured it out almost immediately.

Most of the time I was terribly (like that word, don't you?) bored with Stanley's long winded spiels that told me he liked the sound of his own voice. Not to take anything away from Colin Firth as he is just following director instructions and the script - hey, he used to be King – (you won't let that go, will you?)

Ah, the script………….. really bad. Half the time the dialogues almost sounded like they wanted to break into Iambic Pentameter. See?

There were no funny lines in here despite Allen's penchant for comedy back in the day. This had all the feelings of a play in which nothing happens. The characters also acted like they were in a play reaching the audience in the back of the theater. Many dialogues sounded too pompous.

Yes, the surrounding scenery in France is quite good, but they were brief.

I was so terribly (again?) bored that I forgot to watch to see if the stripes on Stanley's tie changed. If the stripes did change, that was the only magic in here, but why do that when everything else was a con and not magic? This was a big miss. (3/10)

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

Fury (2014)
Cinematography wins this good war story, 28 January 2015

Tank Commander Sgt Collier (Brad Pitt) is ordered to hold an intersection so the German troops won't get thru. The problem is that the Sherman tank (Fury) is disabled and the Germans are marching their way. This can't be good.

What makes this a good war story is the cinematography. It is better or on a par with all previous war movies we may have liked. No, I changed my mind as I feel it is better than all other war movies. You almost feel like you are there. That is how good the cinematography is. The photography and the details shown are incredible. Kudos.

I kind of wished this was a true story and maybe it did have elements of some true stories. I mean there is nothing new under the sun (except for CGI and Star Trek type stories) and the cinematography and heroics seen gave this impression to me. Also, in the beginning we are told by notes on the screen that the German Army possessed far superior tanks than us and we know our forces will be in for the fight of their lives.

The acting all around was good. No Oscars, but good. The supporting cast (Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal) were spot on and when soldiers kill for a living and don't like anything to get in their way, they have a sort of superior attitude about everything. This showed up in spades. There was some very uncomfortable moments when Sgt Collier and Norman (Logan Lerman) the new guy to the tank crew, find a German woman and her cousin and decide to have dinner with them. Then the rest of the crew find them and well, here we go with the uncomfortable moments with these "superior" soldiers.

Downside: The tank is immobilized. The Germans find them. The spare ammo is attached to the outside of Fury. Why is this when they know they will be in the fight of their lives? Whaaat? The Germans fire RPGs and miss. Whaaaat? Germans run in plain sight of Fury so Sgt Collier can mow them down. Whaaaaat? Two hand grenades go into Fury next to Sgt Collier and later we see Sgt Collier intact and not blown up. Whaaaat?

Those were the most glaring errors or mistakes I saw. But this does not take away from the movie as a whole. There is enough tension and suspense to hold you throughout the entire movie. Keep in mind this is a movie for entertainment purposes, but it also shows us the brutality of war.

When the credits run we see footage of soldiers on both sides during WWII.

Again, it is the cinematography that makes this a very good war movie and yes, I did wish this was a true story, and I have to satisfy myself with knowing that some elements were true. (you said that before) (7/10)

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

Boyhood (2014/I)
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Title is Misleading. No Humor and Too Long, 20 January 2015

We watch Mason's (Ellar Coltrane) life from age 6 to 18 as he goes thru his mother's (Patricia Arquette) marriages and divorces.

Here's the thing: Most stories have a beginning, a middle and an ending with some kind of conflict in between that is eventually resolved and everyone goes home happy. Here we have an extended Seinfeld story without any comedy/humor and where nothing happens. And this goes on for nearly 3-hours. 3-Hours!!! And, we are not happy.

The real pull (or why everyone wanted to see this) in here is watching a movie that took 12-years to make and noticing the growth and development of all the cast concentrating on Mason, of course.

Here is what Mason sees: adults arguing, fighting with sister Samatha (Lorelei Linklater), looking at a catalog of women bras and panties, email, some politics resulting in ranting by his Dad (Ethan Hawke), listening to adults cursing in front of him and his sister, getting an overbearing abusive stepfather, getting another stepfather who is okay but has overbearing structural issues for Mason, smoking, drug use, alcohol. Generally Mason has no structure, no ambition, and doesn't know what he wants out of life. Add to this: a protective mother who doesn't really do that good of a job. Plus all the moving from city to city.

Here what we don't see: Mason's first kiss, prom night, getting a driver license, having a really good friend to confide in at each new city, any real ambition within himself. And we don't see humor anywhere. That's sad.

To be fair, there are some characters who do try to instill some structure into Mason, but he takes all this with a grain of salt and doesn't see the point in anything when he feels he is the controlled. He does have a talent for taking photos but even he isn't too thrilled with his talent.

Ethan Hawke is a good actor but there were times as Mason's dad where he was annoying trying too hard to connect with Mason and Samantha. Eventually, this leveled out thank goodness.

Too many scenes jumped around without any explanation. The mother is married again, divorced again, in a new house again, in a new city again. Sub titles on the screen may have helped to show time marching on. Didn't happen and we were left to figure it out for ourselves.

Patricia Arquette as Mason's mother steals the show. Her scenes show the most concern with that pleading voice that is so correct for any situation. She was the only one who was animated in a good way. In the end we do see that she didn't pay enough attention to Mason as she should have. She had her issues.

This movie is wrong in showing a boy's life as it tells us that parents' divorces and marriages are the norm. And, they are not. For this reason, the divorces should not have been a part of this movie with this title. The title is misleading.

Again, this is way too long and not representative of a boy's life for the reasons described above. And, again, the title is misleading. And again: 3-Hours???!! Give me a break. (4/10)

Violence: Yes, briefly. A stepfather losing it Sex: No. Nudity: No. Language: Yes, at times

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Slow Moving, but Enjoyable, 14 January 2015

Former NYC Detective - now a P.I. - Matt Scudder ( Liam Neeson) helps Kenny Kristo (Dan Stevens) a drug dealer whose wife is missing. Scudder believes the woman is already dead, but takes the case anyway when he learns that the two bad guys kidnap women and hack them up while asking for money. Oh, there is a rumor that these bad guys are DEA informants. See, it gets complicated.

If you are looking to see something along the lines of Taken, Taken 2 and Taken 3 you will be disappointed. Scudder does say "when I find you, I will kill you." And you think here we go but we really don't. Scudder has all the skills like his Taken character, but is more subdued. Well, until the ending anyway, and then it's not an easy row to hoe.

No, here you will become a detective, sort of, along with Scudder. He and you will do it by good old-fashioned police work. He even walks (you remain on the couch) everywhere like a gumshoe (hope you know what that means). A homeless young boy TJ (Brian Bradley) attaches himself to Scudder. TJ has good drawing illustration skills, wants to become a detective like Scudder and he wants to help solve the case.

This is not as intense as it could have been. In the beginning we see a woman (Kenny's wife) fearing for her life as she is tied up and abused; and the scenes could have given an impression of something erotic, but that is not the case. Those scenes were the most intense.

The movie is slow moving to remind some of us (maybe) of the Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade stories and these two crime fighters are prominently mentioned in here. Slow moving, but enjoyable.

Good acting all around and here Liam Neeson - as Scudder - is acting more like a detective and not an Action-Hero. (7/10)

Violence: Yes. Sex: No. Nudity: Yes, paintings on a wall. Language: Yes.

Reclaim (2014)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Disappointing, 8 January 2015

Steven (Ryan Phillippe) and wife Shannon (Rachelle Lefevre) get caught up in a child trafficking scam when they go to Puerto Rico to adopt a young girl.

The above is all you really need to know. If you take the language out this would be a tepid made-for-TV movie. The script is lame, the acting is okay but there is no pull here. In other words no real reason to continue watching. There are no twists. What you see is what you get and that is not saying much. If you are not familiar with human trafficking then this is a primer for you: Human Trafficking 101.

Very disappointing. It should have had more impact, importance that would have showcased a very big worldwide problem: human trafficking. Didn't happen.

Normally, I run to a John Cusack movie. Now I have to rethink that. Like I said: disappointing. (3/10)

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

Watchable. Sometimes Funny, 4 January 2015

Real Estate Agent Oren Little (Michael Douglas) has a hard time getting over the death of his wife and is mean and crotchety to all who invade his path. When his son drops off daughter Sara (Sterling Jerins) while he goes to prison, Oren is beside himself. Neighbor Leah (Diane Keaton), a wanna-be lounge singer, tries her best to help.

This is watchable and funny at times with Oren's blunt honesty to all. Now you know Oren will change his ways, in time, but until then he is a trip and you never know what he will say next to offend someone. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes not.

The chemistry between Oren and Leah is okay, but sometimes the dialogues were cut short and should have been longer.

The ending was rushed and we really don't see complete resolutions. What we do see are loose ends. Does Oren change his mind and not go to retire in Vermont? We do see him turn around, but does he stay? Do Oren and Leah get married? Does it matter?

There are some scenes that didn't really need to be in here: a young boy exposes himself while changing clothes near a plastic wading pool, a woman shouts to Oren, "Blow me." And a big dog pooping a couple of times, and that same big dog humping a large stuffed bear. See? Quite unnecessary and not funny.

Watchable, funny at times but instantly forgettable. (4/10)

Violence: No Sex: No. Nudity: No. Sexual language:: Yes. Language: Brief soft stuff only.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Unvelievably Good and Seamless, 1 January 2015

The surviving Humans (from an animal virus) want to restart the generators for the city. The Apes say okay and the only condition is that no guns be allowed. All agree. Yes, Apes talk. Now you know this isn't going to work, right? Each side has its own hothead who wants nothing to do with this. Let the games begin.

I don't know if there were real acting Apes in this, or there were CGI Apes, or Humans made up to look like Apes. This was unbelievably good and everything regarding the Apes was seamless. Hard to believe, I know. Okay, Andy Serkis was Caesar the Top Ape so we know he was dressed as an Ape. There were others, too, dressed that way.

The story is a simple one as you may have already figured out. It's the cinematography, photography and CGI that win in here and hold you. Like I said it's all seamless. The CGI is unbelievable. You will believe. And, you may find yourself caring for the Apes.

When you see the Apes fighting and swinging among trees you may ask yourself: are they real? These scenes are that good.

Nice to see Jason Clark, who did a good job playing Malcom, finally getting a movie shot as he had been in some TV police dramas that didn't run too long and that was sad as those shows were very good as was he.

Gary Oldman and Keri Russell were good in supporting roles as were the rest of the cast.

We last saw Andy Serkis as Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He played Caesar in that movie and again in this one. He plays Caesar to perfection.

The over-riding slogan in this and all Planet Ape movies is: Ape does not kill Ape. Too bad Humans have learned nothing from the Ape movies.

Because you may have seen The Planet of the Apes back in the day, you may suspect who is going to win in this one. There may be another Planet Ape movie before we get to see the remake of Planet of the Apes. I am sure there will be a remake. Will check to see if Vegas has book on it.

Over all this is very good, seamless as mentioned and the pacing is spot on. You won't be bored. (7/10)

Violence: Yes. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Language: Yes, near the end.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Most Entertaining, 31 December 2014

Retired CIA agent Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) tries to lead a quiet life, but a near-death beating of escort/prostitute Alina (Chloe Grace Moretz) by the Russians changes that quiet life.

This movie is based upon The Equalizer TV show in the mid-1980s starring Edward Woodward. A good show btw.

In the beginning of this movie we are shown a statement by Mark Twain that says there are two important days in a man's life: the day he is born and the day he finds out why. This applies to Robert McCall as you will see.. And yes, it applies to all of us too. That is probably the most provocative thing Mark Twain has ever said.

McCall is the Calm before the Storm and then he becomes the Storm as you will see. Okay, a Quiet, Controlled Storm.

The movie starts off slowly to set things up for McCall to help Alina. McCall tries to buy Alina's freedom from the Russians and you know that won't work. There is only one thing left to do and he does it.

Problems continue when the big boss Pushkin (Vladimir Kulich), in Russia, sends his top enforcer Teddy (Marton Csokas) to find and kill McCall. You will note that McCall calls Teddy, Nicholi. Csokas does a very good job of being McCall's antagonist and I am sure we will see more of him.

The acting all around is excellent. The fighting scenes are brutal and intense. You will see blood. The music is heart-racing all the way through and pretty good too.

A downside I found was the big fight scene within the place McCall works, Home Mart (like Home Depot). Too many scenes in the dark . Still good, but in the dark (you said that already).

Move over Jason Bourne, Bond, James Bond and the Liam Neeson character with the skills to right all wrongs, we have another player, a Vigilante, if you will, who has decided he knows why he was born. At the end McCall becomes The Equalizer as we see him offering to help someone as he replies on his laptop. Did I hear someone say "Sequel?"

This is most entertaining and we like the quiet, controlled storm Denzel Washington brings to Robert McCall, the Equalizer. (9/10)

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

Watch it for the choreography, 28 December 2014

Damien Collier (Paul Walker) is a Detroit Police Detective and he must go under cover into a walled city (Brick Mansions) where all the most dangerous violence happens to bring out Crime Boss Tremaine (RZA), and defuse a bomb. Because too much violence and crime occurs in this neighborhood, the city thought it best to wall it off from the rest of Detroit. Damien must use the help of Lino (David Belle) an ex-con. The inhabitants of Brick Mansions robbed an armored car and came away with a box that contained a bomb. Once the box is opened the bomb starts ticking the countdown from 10-hours. And, of course, Tremaine opens the box. This can't be good.

This movie is all action and the fight scenes choreography is fantastic. In the beginning we see Lino running from Tremains's men and the choreography is something to behold. You cannot help to be impressed with his moves and this continues the rest of the way with Damien helping with his moves. David Belle as Lino is really good. He's like an Escape Magician. One would think that this would become tedious, but it doesn't. Go figure.

The supporting cast, acting and dialogues all around are suitable for what is going on. There is a big twist near the end. (7/10)

Violence: Yes. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Language: Some soft stuff only.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Simply Terrific, 27 December 2014

The November Man (2014) Pierce Brosnan

Simply Terrific

CIA agent Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is lured out of retirement to extract Natalie (Mediha Musliovic) who is working for Federov (Lazar Ristovkski) the Russian candidate running for the presidency and she has evidence (a woman's name) that he participated in war crimes in the Chechen War. Devereaux needs to know who that woman is (Olga Kuryienko as Alice) so she can be protected to insure Federov doesn't become the Russian President. Devereaux is pitted against Mason (Luke Bracey) who he had trained and now Mason is ordered to take Devereaux out. Seems the CIA doesn't appreciate Devereaux's involvement. Oh, oh.

This is a well told and well paced movie with many twists and turns. Brosnan will remind you of characters: Jason Bourne, James Bond, and a Liam Neeson character when he protects his family with his "skills." So it's all good and we hope Brosnan continues in this arena. I would nominate Brosnan for an Oscar and the Academy needs to recognize that many of these Action Hero characters are very good actors who provide a wealth of entertainment.

No CGI was in evidence, but there are some excellent car chasing and fight scene stunts.

A great supporting cast help make this a must see terrific spy movie. You will learn why Devereaux is known as The November Man. Ha! (9/10)

Violence: Yes. Sex: Yes, twice in darkened scenes and they don't last long. Nudity: Yes, brief. Language: Yes, not much.

Rating: A

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