Reviews written by registered user

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789 reviews in total 
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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
good ingredients but with familiar results, 10 March 2017

In the early 1970s, a government team is assembled for a portentous exploration of a mysterious, uncharted island in the Pacific. Among them are a former British SAS officer paid to act as an expert tracker and mercenary, a government agent who may know more than meets the eye, a fanatical U.S. Army officer commanding the military escort, and a photojournalist with a different agenda all together. Naturally, their journey turns into one of nonstop peril when they encounter a various assortment of dangers along the way. Well-cast, occasionally exhilarating, with more than enough special effects to please the eye, but doesn't provide much of anything that you haven't already seen in previous renditions. **½

Logan (2017)
a very unique take on an iconic character, 8 March 2017

One of the X-Men's most venerable members returns for this compelling tale set in a bleak future where the mutant population has been ravaged to the brink of extinction. Acting as a caretaker to the ailing Charles Xavier, the weary Logan is suddenly drawn into a dangerous quest when he encounters a remarkable young mutant with a unique gift, and runs afoul of the sinister forces in dogged pursuit. This isn't the usual flashy, lightweight, or humorous mutant concoction; it's a gritty and raw saga with thought-provoking themes, in-your-face action, and dark subject matter. In what is reported to be his final time taking the reins, Jackman—playing an aged and much more vulnerable character—is sensational, creating one of his most memorable and distinctive interpretations to date. An impressive showing, one that isn't really made for fans of its predecessors. ***

2 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
not bad given the source material, 30 January 2017

Picking up shortly after the previous installment, the stage is set for an all-out war as Alice seeks an opportunity to take down the reprehensible Umbrella Corporation once and for all, but in order to do so she'll have to return to where it all began: Raccoon City. With new and uncertain alliances being formed, it's a race against time as the last bit of humanity attempts to restore the undead, apocalyptic world to what it once was. Let down by a minimal storyline, poor editing, and sloppy camera work, but made watchable by an ongoing sense of urgency, appropriately gross and violent action scenes/effects, along with a near-indestructible Jovovich to anchor the proceedings. Considering it's one of the longest known video game-turned-movie franchises, this is a decent way to go out if, in fact, it really is the final chapter. **

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
it's definitely NOT the time for a new breed of secret agent, 30 January 2017

Vin Diesel—presumably thinking he's doing audiences a great favor—makes another belated return to yet another franchise in this third installment of the XXX series. Thought to be long dead, extreme sports athlete-turned-government agent Xander Cage emerges from self-imposed exile following an accident involving a trusted colleague. The result: cool guys take on bad guys, mindless action scenes, occasionally meaningless exposition, thin characters, and really not much of a plot. Doesn't make much sense (did we really expect it to?) and vacillates between action-thriller and self-parody, but there's some humor, things get blown-up real good, and not much thinking is required. Diesel struts around, acts cool, and delivers the kind of lines you'd expect in this type of film, the only problem is that we already saw that—done better—fifteen years ago in the original. Easy to sit through, but the overall results are pretty bland. **

Baby Boy (2001)
good talent elevates some of the more familiar elements, 19 January 2017

Coming-of-age story set in South Central Los Angeles is director John Singleton's 'counterpart' to his 1991 debut Boyz n the Hood about a puerile, twenty-year-old black youth named Jody who lives at home, mooches off his mother, and refuses to embrace manhood despite having fathered two children with two different women. His life reaches a crossroads when his mother's ex-con boyfriend-turned-legitimate businessman Melvin (Rhames) moves into their house, and his girlfriend's volatile ex Rodney (Snoop Dogg) is released from prison. Covers familiar ground, to be sure, and is excessively raunchy at times, but there and poignant and compelling themes, startling, authentic scenes, and top shelf acting from a supremely talented cast. ***

14 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
multiple elements that aren't effectively woven together, 12 January 2017

Actor/writer/director Ben Affleck tries his hand at a period piece in this ambitious crime saga beginning in the 1920s Prohibition Era. Joe Coughlin—the son of a renowned Boston police officer—is a small-time crook looking to make a name for himself in the ruthless underworld of organized crime. After a series of tragic circumstances, he relocates to the South to become the frontman/muscle for an Italian mafia bootlegging operation, but quickly gets plunged into the seedy, seductive world of money, power, greed, and corruption. Intriguing at first, with tense moments of action and character interactions, but goes on too long by following too many unrelated story threads, features ineffective casting in key roles, has too many familiar elements, and concludes in pat, sanctimonious fashion. Despite some flavorful ingredients, Affleck's attempt to create a potent, moralizing amalgam of The Town and The Godfather doesn't quite succeed. **½

20 out of 41 people found the following review useful:
Bad Decision, 24 November 2016

Strained black comedy sequel reunites—for no reason that really makes any sense—Willie, the world's most vile Santa and his feisty, foulmouthed dwarf sidekick Marcus for yet another score, this time at a Chicago charity event on Christmas Eve. That darn kid returns, only this time he's a man (sort of), and as what is supposed to be an added bonus: Willie's equally crass mother (Bates, though even she is helpless against this flimsy material). Unnecessary, uninspired, and untimely follow-up doesn't have much of a plot to keep it afloat, playing mostly as an exercise in unfunny jokes, profane dialogue, and bodily fluids. Forced and forgettable, worth a few fleeting chuckles thanks to a well-chosen cast that elevates it as much as they possibly can. **

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
the source material helps overcome some of its more familiar elements, 11 November 2016

Biographical war movie from director Mel Gibson tells the story of Desmond Doss, a WWII veteran, Army medic, and steadfast conscientious objector who—despite the danger, hostility, and disrespect it brought upon himself—stayed true to his principles and refused to bear arms while witnessing the firsthand horrors of war during the bloody Battle of Okinawa. The film chronicles his early days on a farm in Virginia, his strained relationship with his father (a traumatized WWI veteran), and his eventual enlistment and deployment where he saved the lives of countless fellow soldiers despite his pacifistic nature. The script is full of conventional elements, and you've no doubt scene similar characters and depictions of battle in plenty of other films, but the performances are good, the frontline war scenes are compelling, and the biographical source material gives it added weight. **½

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
a unique blend of elements make for good storytelling, 11 November 2016

Marvel Comics adaptation highlights the spiritual odyssey of Stephen Strange, a distinguished, self-important neurosurgeon whose skill and arrogance have virtually overtaken his entire life, until a devastating accident takes away the use of his most prized possession: his hands. Still stubborn and conceited enough to believe that he can defy the odds, Strange embarks on a journey of healing, seeking tutelage from the Ancient One where he learns about the metaphysical world, alternate dimensions, and the all-powerful Eye of Agamotto. Extremely well-crafted chapter of the MCU is a visual candyland of mysticism and magic, with phenomenal visual effects, thrilling action scenes, a colorful assortment of characters, and a witty, mischievous sense of humor. Cumberbatch is faultless in the lead, surrounded by a noteworthy supporting cast. Eventually succumbs to the obvious, but still a lot of fun. ***

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
familiar but not without entertainment value, 7 August 2016

Jason Bourne is back again…roughly a decade after exposing Operation Blackbriar and going off the grid, the titular ex-operative is once again pulled back into the fray after new information is leaked from the CIA that could finally give him some closure regarding his ambiguous family ties—but that's only the beginning. A reunion by director Greengrass and star Damon who teamed up for the franchise's second and third films; although this doesn't cover much new ground, and has a plot that would be impossible to describe in a few short sentences, the film benefits from excellent casting (especially Jones recalling his Oscar-winning turn in The Fugitive), and has some tense, skillful action sequences that rarely let up. Difficult to follow, yet still sure to leave you on the edge of your seat. **½

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