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Special-K88

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762 reviews in total 
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The Grey (2011)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
entertaining if not always on target, 4 February 2012

A ragtag team of oil drillers get stranded in the Alaskan wilderness after a devastating plane crash. One of them in particular (Neeson) is deeply troubled following a personal tragedy, yet tries in vain to lead them to safety. Not only are they caught in freezing cold temperatures, but they must also contend with a pack of savvy, bloodthirsty wolves in their midst. Man against Mother Nature thriller can't avoid some of this genre's usual clichés, and when it tries to tackle larger themes like faith and religion it doesn't always succeed, but it's exciting, the acting is solid, the characters make sense, and director Carnahan creates a genuine atmosphere of dread and foreboding making it worth a look. **½

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
highly watchable despite its flaws, 3 February 2012

Gritty, gung-ho post-apocalyptic tale about a lone wanderer (Washington) traveling across the desolate west in possession of a sacred book, fiercely protecting it from anyone who crosses his path. Along the way, he wanders into a bleak little town where he runs afoul of its sinister boss (Oldman) who covets that very same book to advance his own personal ends. More of a backstory would have been nice, but the actors are in good form, the vision of this gloomy world is impressive, and there are more than enough violent action set pieces to grab your attention. The ending—even for a film of this genre—requires a greater suspension of disbelief than usual. **½

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
some of the same flaws as the first but still entertaining, 24 December 2011

With much time having passed since their last daring adventure, the capricious sleuth Holmes and the fickle Dr. Watson reunite to celebrate Watson's long-awaited marriage…but the marriage quickly becomes a secondary concern when a formidable adversary—the maniacally brilliant Professor Moriarty—unleashes a devious, elaborate scheme that spells trouble for all those who oppose him. Slow going at first, and—like its predecessor—bogged down by a convoluted plot, but eventually kicks into gear with tense action scenes, nifty special effects, witty humor, ingenious twists, and of course the joy of seeing lead actors Downey and Law play their parts to perfection. ***

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
good fun for series fans, 24 December 2011

Held responsible for a bombing at the Kremlin in Moscow which they had nothing to do with, the IMF is officially disavowed by the U.S. government. Covert agent Ethan Hunt is given his most difficult assignment yet when he's "unofficially" assigned to initiate Ghost Protocol, a rogue operation in which he and his team must go deep undercover and seek out the guilty parties, but if caught Hunt and his team will be branded as traitors and hung out to dry. A fourth yet surprisingly fresh, fast-paced, and fun installment of the MI series is a globe-trotting extravaganza with sophisticated gadgets, inventive, eye-popping stunts, and slick plot twists. Eventually succumbs to the obvious, but director Bird's staging of action scenes is exceptionally good, and guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat; an espionage thriller in the truest sense of the genre. ***

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
more of the same for series fans, 20 December 2011

Despite all his past heroic deeds, and support and affection of his new girlfriend, Sam Witwicky can't seem to get any respect or even find a job. Meanwhile, a high-tech Cybertronian spacecraft has been discovered on the moon and the intrepid Autobots—still acting as the unofficial protectors of planet Earth—are determined to try and stop the evil Decepticons from acquiring it…or something. Story is confusing, the action scenes hollow, the characters one-dimensional, the special effects no longer special, and to make matters worse it goes on forever. An overlong, overblown sequel that's sure to find its target audience. *½

an effective, well-cast legal thriller, 8 November 2011

Martin Vail—a former prosecutor-turned-cocky, big shot Chicago defense attorney—takes a seemingly dead-end case to defend Aaron Stampler, a young altar boy accused of brutally murdering an eminent archbishop. Not only does all the evidence seem to point to Aaron's guilt, but the case is further complicated when Vail's adversary turns out to be old flame and former protégé Janet Venable (Linney), who still happens to work for Vail's unscrupulous former employers. Gere is perfect as the self-important lawyer, Norton (in his screen debut) riveting as his client, and Linney gives an effectively understated performance as a prosecutor who can hold her own. An absorbing, well-acted, and believable courtroom thriller with just enough twists and turns to keep things interesting throughout. ***

G.I. Jane (1997)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
some good ingredients but doesn't quite hit the mark, 8 November 2011

A senior member of the U.S. Senate Arms Committee is critical of the Navy's progress—or lack thereof—in gender neutrality, and wants the full integration of women into all branches of the service. Enter Lieutenant Jordan O'Neil, an intelligence officer handpicked as a test subject for the CRT, a rigorous SEAL training program with a 60% dropout rate for men in the military. Despite all the bureaucratic red tape in Washington, O'Neil is determined not to be shown special treatment and tries to progress through the unrelenting, nearly inhumane training regimen. The setup has potential, Moore is effective in the lead, and Mortensen has an especially intriguing role as her austere Master Chief, but—despite holding your attention for the most part—it all builds to a conventional, contrived, and unsatisfying finale. Highly watchable, but not very compelling considering its promising premise. **½

solid acting and effective twists make for good entertainment, 3 November 2011

Mick Haller is a hotshot defense attorney who works out of a Lincoln Town Car and has a track record for successfully defending thugs and other L.A. lowlifes. It's a dream come true when he's handpicked to defend Louis Roulet, a rich young playboy charged with the brutal sexual assault of a woman. To Haller it's an open-and-shut case and Roulet can't possibly be guilty…at least not at first. Imperfect in its final act, but gripping, well-acted, and—like its lead character—slick and meticulous. McConaughey, as an attorney trying to do his job and find his conscience at the same time, is in peak form, and has solid support from Phillippe, Lucas, and Macy. ***

we've seen it countless times already, 6 September 2011

On the way to a company retreat, a group of workers are able to cheat death when one of them has a premonition of a suspension bridge collapsing and killing them all in horrific ways. Unfortunately for them—and interested viewers—death doesn't like to be cheated and begins to "hunt" them down one by one. A few twists here and there that are meant to be clever, and some gross-out effects intended to capitalize on the use of the 3-D format, but once again this is the same old tiresome scenario that—while once clever—has now become routine, predictable, and dull. Unrelenting, unnecessary, and uninspired, so hopefully this time death stays dead. *

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
not quite as compelling or awe-inspiring as it could be, 17 August 2011

It's the early 1940s and the United States military has employed all of its resources to try and bring about the downfall of the Nazi regime. Steve Rogers is a feeble but courageous young man from Brooklyn who's only goal in life is to join the military. Having been continually passed up for enlistment, he volunteers to become the first test subject of a "super soldier" program that grants him enhanced strength and ability. Not only does this boost the morale of his country, it also makes him the only suitable candidate to combat the HYDRA—a scientific Nazi faction led by the maniacal and astonishingly powerful Red Skull. The latest comic book adaptation to be set in the Marvel universe has special effects to please the eye, a vivid sense of time and place, and the expected action scenes, but without a compelling story, a sense of wonder or excitement, or an effective climatic showdown, it feels like just another run-of-the-mill origin tale. Evans acquits himself well as the hero, and Jones provides some fun as his ornery commanding officer, but both Weaving and Atwell are underused as the villain and love interest. As a whole, film just serves as a prelude to the much anticipated Avengers film. **½


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