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Special-K88

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768 reviews in total 
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Cars 2 (2011)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
a nice looking film let down by weak writing, 18 March 2012

Pixar takes audiences back into the world of cars in this sequel to the 2006 hit. Lightning McQueen, having achieved much fame and success for his multiple Piston Cup awards, returns home to Radiator Springs to take a break and bond with his best friend Mater. Having been goaded by the supercilious Francesco Bernoulli, McQueen decides to enter the World Grand Prix and takes pal Mater along with him, but things quickly go askew when a case of mistaken identity plunges Mater deep into an espionage plot. Fantastic animation (especially key locations throughout Europe), and a stellar cast of voices can't overcome the clichéd themes and convoluted plot which even adults may have trouble trying to comprehend. Shows some life in its third act with relentless action scenes, but the film's overall impact is muted. **

a good showing, 1 March 2012

Having recently graduated from law school at the University of Memphis and unable to find lucrative employment, an earnest, idealistic young lawyer (Damon) begins working for a ruthless ambulance chaser (Rourke), then finds himself going head-to-head with an unscrupulous insurance company and its smarmy, overpaid legal defense team (led by Voight) after they failed to pay a claim for a young man diagnosed with leukemia. At the same time, the lawyer finds some degree of solace by becoming the unofficial "protector" of a battered woman (Danes). Superbly cast, with sure-handed direction, pitch-perfect performances, and good, intelligent storytelling. A bit on the long side, but still a respectable and well-made adaptation of John Grisham's novel. ***

The Firm (1993)
7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
has some quibbles that can't be overlooked but it does entertain, 29 February 2012

Mitch McDeere is a brilliant young law student, happily married husband, and—despite some shady family ties—has a bright, ambitious future in the legal community. About to graduate from Harvard in the top five of his class, he agrees to join Bendini, Lambert & Locke, a prestigious Memphis law firm that makes him an offer he can't refuse. All of his dreams seem to be coming true, but he quickly learns that his new firm isn't as virtuous as it seems. Based on the novel by John Grisham the film benefits from interesting characters brought to life by an excellent cast, and it effectively builds an atmosphere of suspense and intrigue, but they're marred by the film's long running time, an odd (and inappropriate) score, and a third act that runs around before finally arriving at a resolution that's much too pat. Highly watchable, but only if you can accept the obvious flaws. **½

16 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
easy to watch but not particularly memorable, 13 February 2012

Not so much a sequel as a new story altogether comes this likable—if unnecessary—adventure about Sean Anderson, a callow youth and "Vernian" who receives an encoded message then becomes obsessed with the idea that it was sent by his absentee grandfather who may or may not have discovered a mythical island that may or may not really exist. Accompanied by his stepfather, a frugal pilot, and the pilot's attractive daughter, Sean travels across the Pacific to the island where the group encounters an assortment of wonders but just as many dangerous perils. Uninspired, fairly predictable, but Johnson and Caine give the film some much needed gravitas, Guzman adds his trademark comic relief, there are some good effects and exciting moments every now and again, but the subplot about parents and their children doesn't really resonate. A good family-oriented fare, just nothing special. **

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
pretty much delivers what you'd expect, 9 February 2012

From actor, co-writer, and director Sylvester Stallone comes this old-fashioned, ensemble action romp about a group of elite mercenaries who are hired by a shadowy figure to travel to a small island in the Gulf and do battle with a tyrannical general who's overthrown the government…but upon their arrival they learn that there's a lot more to the job than they anticipated. Pretty much what you'd expect, with gratuitous cameos, corny lines, ultraviolent action scenes, and lots of things getting blown up real good. Doesn't utilize the full potential of all the members of its cast, but action fans just hoping to get a kick out of watching these actors work together may not mind; watchable, but nothing special. **

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
entertaining, multilayered adaptation, 4 February 2012

The familiar themes of jealousy, betrayal, revenge, hope, and love are all effectively intertwined into a swashbuckling tale in this exquisite adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas classic. Set in 19th century France, the film chronicles the life of simple man Edmond Dantes (Caviezel) who's betrayed and unjustly imprisoned in the Château D'If, only to spend better than the next thirteen years plotting his vengeance against those who wronged him. Although it makes some significant changes from the novel, goes on a bit longer than it needs to, and arrives at an inevitable resolution, it's still thoroughly engrossing, well-cast, and lavishly produced, with well-choreographed action scenes and a vivid sense of time and place. ***

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. ***


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