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Special-K88

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789 reviews in total 
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
good to the point of unbearable, 23 April 2014

Excruciating and gut-wrenching drama based on the memoirs of Solomon Northup, a free-born New Yorker, musician, and family man, until he's kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Antebellum South. Director McQueen and screenwriter Ridley make no attempt to whitewash the graphic and unsettling subject matter, creating a vivid and compelling portrait of violence, brutality, and human cruelty, but at the same time glimmers of hope, strength, and inspiration, made all the more powerful by the film's autobiographical source material. A stunning and unflinching recreation of one of the most horrific periods in American history, tough to stomach at times, but so well-crafted, well-made, and convincingly acted that its impact can't be denied. Ejiofor perfectly embodies the gamut of confusion, fear, and determination of the beleaguered protagonist, Fassbender is disturbingly good as the vile, vicious monster of a plantation owner, while Nyong'o is simply heartbreaking as a demoralized slave girl. A monumental achievement and truly a must-see, but be warned: sitting through it more than once would be a difficult task. ****

1408 (2007)
63 out of 122 people found the following review useful:
a few effective moments here and there but lacks a good payoff, 25 June 2007

Mike Enslin is an intelligent but cynical, faithless, self-righteous paranormal investigator and novelist who's made a living by traveling from place to place and disproving rumors and superstitions about ghosts, poltergeists, and specters. He decides to investigate an allegedly evil room at the Dolphin Hotel in New York City where numerous guests and hotel staff have been killed over the years, and for the first time confronts what he believes to be a genuine supernatural presence. Despite solid performances from Cusack and Jackson, and some truly spooky moments, this horror-thriller is only marginally effective; the setup is familiar, and the whole thing builds to an inexplicable and unsatisfying conclusion. Kudos to Cusack though for being an effective one-man show. **

25th Hour (2002)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
a shining hour, 24 January 2003

Ambitious, absorbing story of a slick drug dealer who analyzes the choices he's made throughout his life, mostly about the relationships with his empathetic father (Cox), inimitable best friends (Hoffman, Pepper), and loving girlfriend (Dawson) in his final days before beginning a prison stretch of seven years. Sharply directed and thoroughly engrossing N.Y.C. drama from director Spike Lee with well-drawn characters and a convincing setup, though the film fails to tie up all loose ends. An imperfect script is elevated by a fine ensemble of actors, with Norton creating a sincere and sympathetic protagonist despite his immoral lifestyle, and Pepper magnetic as his cocky comrade. ***

elevates the standard genre, 16 September 2003

In contemporary Britain, a hospital patient awakens to find his hometown completely deserted. Searching for signs of life, he stumbles upon a handful of survivors and learns that the town has fallen victim to the spread of a highly infectious virus that turns human beings into flesh-eating zombies. Arresting from the moment it starts, this smart, original, often funny thriller has some truly spine-chilling moments that place it above the norm for films of this familiar genre. The story is never fully fleshed out, and the ending doesn't provide quite the impact you'd hope for, but it's still entertaining and sure to please fans who are just looking for something a little different. ***

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
bland sequel that reverts to an all-too-familiar formula, 27 December 2007

Several months have passed and Britain is thought to be free of the rage infection. A force of NATO soldiers have occupied the area only to discover that the virus has reconstructed, resulting in another horde of infectious zombies. Those who haven't been infected band together so they can (what else?) evacuate to safety. Follow-up to 28 Days Later starts off good but gradually falls apart as it goes along; unlike its predecessor it doesn't have much of a story to tell, doesn't provide a character to care about, and doesn't build any suspense or a genuinely spine-chilling atmosphere, instead relying heavily on gratuitous violence and gore for shock value. Script has its share of scientific gobbledygook, but nothing that really holds your interest or adds significance. **

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
a decent sequel, 15 June 2003

A pedestrian, but effectively action-packed sequel. Walker returns to his starring role, this time as an ex-cop on the lam making a living as a freelance Miami street racer. After being tracked down by the federal government, he agrees to go undercover and help bring down a ruthless drug lord. Unwilling to take the heat by himself, he recruits old friend Tyrese—a temperamental ex-con who does what he wants when he wants. If you're looking for a believable story with great dialogue and amazing character development look elsewhere; this supercharged no-brainer is just an endless exercise of intense action scenes, swift direction, and laugh-out loud humor, but the two leads do at least make a worthy team. **½

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
not for all tastes...that's an understatement, 18 April 2002

Pulp Fiction meets Ocean's Eleven with a bludgeon in this brainless action-heist film that would definitely be a candidate for the "just what were they thinking?" category. A group of baleful ex-cons—disguised as Elvis impersonators—come together so they can try and rob a high-rolling Vegas casino. Things don't go according to plan however and havoc, vulgarity, and violence galore ensues. Considering the premise, and the irrefutable level of talent involved, this should have been something memorable, but instead it's an endless barrage of bloody action scenes, senseless plot twists, and ridiculous dialogue. A first-rate cast is wasted on a script that really gives you no one to root for or even care about. Who wrote this anyway? *½

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
not as forceful or fiery as it could be yet a solid showing nonetheless, 19 November 2007

Ben Wade and Dan Evans; two men on opposite sides of the law. Evans is a Civil War veteran-turned-impoverished rancher, husband, and father of two driven by an uncompromising moral conviction that he hopes will allow God to grant him a break; Wade is a nefarious, elusive, immoral outlaw whose reputation makes him a lucrative target for lawmen. Their interaction is the basis for this test of wills tale set in the Old West, as the rancher goes on a courageous mission to turn the outlaw in despite the insurmountable odds that face him, including the outlaw's bloodthirsty henchmen hot on his trail. Long, with direction that's a bit too leisure, but made worthwhile by strong acting and good storytelling. Aussie Crowe and Welshman Bale are an uncommon casting choice for a film of this genre, but they're both effective in creating believable characters. ***

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
not the greatest film the genre has produced but still a step up above the original, 18 June 2007

The long awaited marriage of Mr. Fantastic Reed Richards and Invisible Woman Susan Storm is abruptly put on hold when the U.S. Army recruits the Fantastic Four for a mission to track down an astonishingly powerful cosmic being known as the Silver Surfer. It's a race against time for the heroic foursome when they learn that not only does his presence on Earth cause a drastic and threatening change in the environment, but that all of the planets he visits unexpectedly die eight days later. Sequel to Fantastic Four is never truly spectacular or awe-inspiring, but the story is interesting, the script much better than the first, and there are plenty of exciting action/effects sequences. Too corny at times, much like its predecessor, but pretty good entertainment for fans of this popular genre. **½

makes the most of a good setup, 9 February 2007

Clever, unconventional romantic comedy about a sly, womanizing Hawaii veterinarian who lives in fear of commitment and avoids serious relationships. He has a chance encounter with a local resident and sparks fly, but soon he discovers that she has a mental condition which prevents her from having any recollection of him. Convinced that she's the one for him, he has the difficult task of trying to get her to fall in love with him day after day. A reunion for stars Sandler and Barrymore who were an ideal romantic duo in The Wedding Singer; film pushes its unique premise to the limit, but it's sweet, funny, well-acted, and benefits from beautiful scenery. Suffers from some inane supporting characters and silly gags, but it's pleasant and charming in its own way. ***


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