Reviews written by registered user

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792 reviews in total 
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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

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
good ingredients are undermined by sloppy storytelling, 7 August 2016

With an ominous worldwide threat coming to the fore and no remaining options to put it to an end, no-nonsense government official Amanda Waller decides it's time to fight fire with fire and recruits the most heinous, imprisoned supervillains to complete a black ops mission. The only question is can this 'team' of unpredictable, unhinged sociopaths band together and get it done? The setup is good, the cast is game, and there are some visually impressive feats, but the execution is surprisingly mediocre; action scenes are redundant, key characters are either never developed or left completely in the background, and the film never really gives you anyone to root for. Smith is in good form, and Robbie really goes for broke with her giddily insane persona, but beyond that it's a loud, uneven mishmash of music, action, and gratuitous cameos, with occasional touches of colorful dialogue and humor. Starts strong, but all the fun drains away long before the finale, making this another miss for the expanding DCEU. **

0 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
worth watching but feels recycled at times, 10 July 2016

Only 'one year' after Finding Nemo, Pixar Studios dives back into the aquatic world in this fun but uneven follow-up. This time around the focus of the story is Dory, the amnesiac blue tang fish who has a sudden yearning for her missing family. With clownfish pals Marlin and Nemo in tow, she sets out blindly yet determined to reunite with the parents she once knew. Visual effects are impressive, clever gags are plentiful, and there are an assortment of new characters—including a slick, scheming octopus voiced to perfection by O'Neill—but there are some story lulls here and there, and it doesn't quite rise to the level of awe or heartwarming emotion as its predecessor. Still good fun, especially as it nears its frantic finale, but unlikely to make viewers forget the first film. **½

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
retread of source material, 25 June 2016

Twenty years have passed since the initial alien invasion; in that time humans have united all over the planet, avoided armed conflict, and made significant technological advancements to ensure their safety and survival. Humanity's strength is suddenly put to the test when a new wave of alien forces invade Earth, only this time armed with much more strength and savvy than in decades past. Will humanity find the resolve to fight back? Despite some returning cast members, references to the previous film, and the expected catastrophic action scenes and special effects, this can never quite overcome that feeling of being untimely and unnecessary; the plot is far too convoluted for its own good, attempts at a sense of humor feel forced, and the characters are pretty thin. Not needed, but easy to sit through at least once. **½

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
nothing we haven't seen already, 28 May 2016

Just ten years after an event that forever changed history, trouble still lies ahead for both mutant and human populations when the original, all-powerful mutant En Sabah Nur awakens with a mission to 'cleanse' the world and build a better one. Naturally, this attracts the attention of Xavier, Magneto, Mystique et al who are caught in the path of his destruction. Lugubrious addition to the X-Men saga initially seems ambitious and exciting, but stumbles over its excessive narratives, provides little in terms of character, and fails to overcome a feeling of redundancy. Livens up a bit in its third act, but till then it doesn't bring much of anything new to the table, nor does it provide an honest ending to resolve any of the series' long-standing continuity issues. **

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
for dedicated fans it should be a blast, 7 May 2016

Despite all of their heroic deeds, the Avengers have left an extensive trail of collateral damage causing politicians to view them as vigilantes who've operated outside the boundaries. When the 'Accords' are passed to regulate superhuman activity, tensions mount and definitive lines are drawn between moralistic Steve Rogers—who sees regulation as an infringement upon their right to choose, and repentant Tony Stark—who believes they should be put in check for any catastrophes they've caused. With new and very personal threats emerging, Earth's mightiest heroes suddenly find themselves engaged in conflict with their former comrades-in-arms. Not so much a Captain America solo adventure as it is an Avengers free-for-all, this is a unique and exciting blend of comic book adaptation and political thriller, with compelling themes of friendship, loyalty, and betrayal, not to mention the sheer joy of seeing so many superheroes engaged in a smackdown of epic proportions. There are too many characters to do all of them justice, but with great lines, spectacular action scenes/effects, and laugh-out loud humor, this is still a comic book geek's dream that only heightens anticipation for the future of the MCU. ***

6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
given the gravity of the occasion it should've been a lot more fun, 26 March 2016

Second installment in the new 'DCEU' is the long anticipated matchup between comic goliaths Clark Kent, aka Superman, and Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. Majority of the incoherent story consists of a buildup to their inevitable encounter as the Gotham City billionaire and socialite—having seen firsthand the destructive repercussions of the battle of Metropolis—attempts to preemptively combat the man of steel whose otherworldly abilities have made him a controversial figure in the eyes of government officials. Dark, grim comic book adaptation succeeds at bringing the two iconic superheroes to the big screen, but strips away all traces of humor and humanity, can't seem to decide which story it wants to tell, and ends in anticlimactic fashion. Not only that, but the action scenes are presented with such bombastic overkill that they fail to generate any real tension or excitement. Affleck and Cavill carry their weight admirably, but there isn't much in the way of character arc or development, and a woefully miscast Eisenberg certainly can't fill the shoes of Hackman or Spacey as Lex Luthor. Delivers on its promise, but a showdown of this proportion deserved a much better script. **

Deadpool (2016)
1 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
a shocking take on the comic book genre, 15 February 2016

Flip, foulmouthed, hilariously self-referential comic book adaptation is the long-awaited solo project for infamous Marvel character Wade Wilson, a savvy ex-mercenary who makes a living as a 'bad guy' paid to take out 'worse guys' in the big city. Having found some degree of stability in his violence-prone, unpredictable life, he receives some devastating news, but then undergoes a rogue experiment that grants him accelerating healing powers and the potential to become a superhero—that is if he can keep his thirst for vengeance and various other antihero qualities in check. Fans that've gotten tired of conventional origin stories will be surprised to find that this lacks any of the usual qualities of a traditional comic book tale; amusingly demented and unapologetically profane, with over-the-top violence and sexual underpinnings to boot, this earns its 'R' rating with a big smile on its face. Reynolds' ebulliently vulgar approach is perfectly suited to the material, and helps overcome any predictable story elements. Subversive, loud, flashy, and literally in-your-face this is certainly not for everyone, nor is it the most memorable film that the genre has ever produced, but it's a twisted guilty pleasure for sure. **½

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