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631 reviews in total 
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Gone Girl (2014)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Too Drawn-out and should have stayed a book, 11 February 2015

On the morning of his 5th wedding anniversary Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) returns home from his bar to find his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) missing and the house looked like that there was a struggle and there is blood that was cleaned up. He calls the Police and they sympathize for a while, but later they feel that Nick knows more than he is telling. Did he kill his wife? He claims not.

I suppose the book was pretty good, this movie not so much. The story had a sort of beginning, and a middle where it stayed for most of the time, too long a time; and although, we in the audience, believed that Nick had nothing to do with Amy's disappearance we couldn't help but get bored with everything as this was really dragged out. The ending is too bizarre to go into at this point.

As the police investigate, they find more clues to show that Nick did kill his wife, but everything is circumstantial as there is no body. The police entertain the prospect that Amy was kidnapped and still hold Nick as a person of interest. Nick hires celebrity lawyer Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry) who believes Nick is completely innocent. Nick wants to tell the police that everything looks like he was set up but Tyler Perry won't allow this at the moment.

This movie may have had better intrigue and impact if it was much shorter. I am sure the book had erotic moments as we do see some sex scenes, but these scenes were not at all erotic. Again, maybe the book was better, this movie, not so much. Also, there is sexual language, at times, that use the C word along with other f-bombs.

The movie does go into what actually happened and this gets dragged out too. We keep asking when will all this come to some conclusion? Hey, we can't stay up all night with this the way it is going. We need our sleep. We come to our conclusion that this should have stayed a book.

When we learn everything there is to know we finally get to the ending, which, of course, is dragged out too. It is bizarre and maybe the director or writer was trying to make statements about marriage and the reasons many stay together. You can figure this out and debate it among yourselves.

Our conclusion: too drawn-out and should have stayed a book. The acting was okay, and the story may have had better impact if the movie was compacted so we didn't lose interest. (3/10)

Violence: Yes. Sex: Yes, several times Nudity: Yes. Language: Yes.

John Wick (2014)
3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Well Done Hit-Man Movie, 10 February 2015

Mob hit-man John Wick (Keanu Reeves) promised his wife he would quit the business and he does so for 5-years. Then she dies and for him not to be alone she had arranged for a Beagle puppy delivered to him at home. Then the son of mob boss Viggio (Michael Nyqvist) - who John Wick used to work for - wants his car ( a souped-up 1969 Mustang ) beats him up and kills the puppy. John Wick recovers and knows what he has to do. Let the games begin.

Most hit-man stories have the hit-man (or a narrator) tell about his life and the specific numbered rules he lives by. And during the time of the movie, we will see this hit-man break every rule he has. This time it's different. This time it's pure revenge. We don't know the rules John Wick used to live by. But make no mistake about all this, now John Wick is out to make things right…………his way (get chills saying that?).

To be clear we learn that everyone, including Viggio, is afraid of John Wick, but Viggio must protect his son from John Wick.

The rest of the movie is a well-orchestrated choreography of gun fights. Some special effects regarding vehicles are included and are quite good. The cinematography in this gun-fest is also quite good. The music is non-stop heart pounding throughout.

Hit-man Marcus (Willem Dafoe) is contracted by Viggio to take out John Wick. This is insurance in case Viggio's men don't get the job done.

Keanu Reeves is the right actor for this movie. As John Wick, he doesn't talk much but his stares speak volumes (don't forget his guns too). In fact, I have always seen Keanu Reeves as the right actor for any movie he is in. After his character's beating when the car and the dog were gone I felt his pain and loss.

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

Rating: B

The Judge (2014)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Good, Not Great, 7 February 2015

Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr) a lawyer and estranged son of Judge Joe Palmer (Robert Duvall) defends his father accused of a hit and run accident that resulted in a death.

The movie should have been titled The Son because it is mostly about Hank Palmer and his wayward ways growing up in the Joe Palmer household. Hank's mother has just died and now Hank must deal with his set-in-his-ways father. We hear all the non-compassionate and brash ways the young Hank treated everyone as he climbed the ladder to success. The family is dysfunctional in many ways, but other issues crop up to complicate matters.

These back stories about the family are fine, but we kept looking for an edge that would prove The Judge not guilty of the charges. So we kept watch with every conversation that Hank has with friends and family to see if something they said would cast some light into getting a not guilty verdict. At the same time we kept hoping for a bonding between father and son although we knew this was next to impossible.

There should have been more tension between father and son and even in the courtroom. I didn't feel that tension. Maybe you will. I kept hoping for a bonding and something that would help the Judge. There should have been tons of tension, and I didn't feel any. I guess, to be honest, I didn't care for either the son or the father the way I should have. Maybe. I just felt something wasn't right (could it have been the dialogues?) Hmmm………..

No Oscars as the acting all around was good, not great. Supporting cast members: Billy Bob Thornton as the opposing lawyer, Dwight Dickham; Vera Farmiga as Samantha (Hank's high school love); Ken Howard as the Judge in Joe's trial; Vincent D'Onofrio as Glen (Hank's older brother); and Jeremy Strong as Dale (Hank's younger brother) were all very good.

To be honest Billy Bob's character as opposing counsel Dwight Dickham was so good I wanted to give him an Oscar. He is that good. He out-shined both Downey Jr and Duvall.

I really liked that silver metallic ring that opened up into a drinking glass for Billy Bob Thornton's character Dickham as he displayed it on the table in the courtroom. Hey, I need to get me one of those.

The ending was kind of inconclusive and you will have to read into it what you want. I mean there were many threads that started in the beginning and they never came full circle to resolution. So you may have to come up with them yourself. They in themselves are not important, but they were there. I'm just saying. (7/10)

Violence: No. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Language: Yes, some not all that much.

0 out of 4 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)
2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
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)
12 out of 16 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)
3 out of 5 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.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Watchable. Sometimes Funny, 4 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

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.

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