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771 reviews in total 
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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
worthwhile but tries to do a bit too much, 1 August 2015

Crucial times lie ahead for the IMF as their superiors question whether the agency is in fact an asset or a nuisance, and pressure is applied from bureaucratic CIA operatives who believe the agency should be disbanded and absorbed. This puts veteran IMF agent Ethan Hunt in a precarious position as he attempts a complex assignment to try and eradicate the Syndicate, an elusive and international crime consortium whose capabilities allow them to almost operate as an "anti-IMF." With time running short, Hunt recruits the few loyal members of the IMF to try and complete the task, with lots of unexpected surprises along the way. The cast makes the most of the material but there are so many twists, turns, double-crosses, and cover-ups—which are intended to be slick and suspenseful—but instead just end up dragging out the plot and making it a lot more convoluted than it needs to be. Some key action set pieces, stunt work, gadgetry, and visual effects do make it worth the price of admission, but it never has quite the impact that its immediate predecessor does. **½

Ant-Man (2015)
8 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
a potentially innovative setup that takes the "safe" approach, 17 July 2015

Dr. Hank Pym is a brilliant scientist responsible for the creation of "shrinking technology" that allows its user to become a formidable weapon, but not without dangerous complications. Fearing that his technology will fall into the wrong hands—thus creating worldwide ramifications—Pym finds his solution in the form of Scott Lang, an ex-con looking to go straight. One of the more unique additions to the MCU, this throws out some good (if derivative) special effects, and nifty action scenes, but stays strictly within the confines of the origin tale formula, thus making it difficult to shake an inherent feeling of déjà vu. Lacks a compelling villain or well-drawn supporting characters, and fails to take any real chances, but has enough gratuitous cameos and in-jokes to keep dedicated fans interested, and goes a long way on its sense of humor. Rudd does what he's supposed to do, easily inhabiting the skin of a flawed everyman seeking redemption, while Douglas brings considerable presence as his aged, emotionally scarred mentor. **½

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
watchable but doesn't bring much to the table, 11 July 2015

He always said he'd be back; well-crafted (if derivative) sci-fi/action movie/sequel initially begins in the year 2029 where Human Resistance leader John Connor launches a daring offensive against the nefarious machine empire Skynet. Staunch, resilient soldier Kyle Reese volunteers to travel back to 1984 to protect Connor's mother Sarah from being assassinated by a T-800, but upon arriving in the past Reese quickly learns that the timeline has been drastically altered and his mission is going to be much more complex than he originally anticipated. The rest of the film consists of time traveling, high-tech action scenes, and intricate plot twists, some impressive, some confusing, some which we've seen plenty of times already. First Terminator picture in six years covers familiar ground, and adds a few surprises here and there to liven things up, but nothing that really captures the intensity, excitement, or spine-chilling atmosphere of its superior predecessors. Schwarzenegger is true to form though, and the film benefits from a unique sense of humor. **½

Inside Out (2015/I)
3 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
an enjoyably unique studio effort, 28 June 2015

Highly imaginative, highly inventive, poignant and touching film from Pixar effectively recalls the sheer enjoyment and innovation of early studio efforts. Set in the mind of an innocent young girl born in the Midwest, the film focuses on her five personified emotions (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, Anger) who inhabit her mental "Headquarters" as they guide her through the various phases of her life. Things take an especially tumultuous turn when the girl's parents uproot her from the Midwest to the California coast, for the first time causing her to encounter loneliness, isolation, and other difficulties. Trying the best way they can, the emotions bond together to guide her, but not without complications and very surprising results. Pixar, having rightfully earned its reputation for creativity and storytelling savvy, is able to redeem some of its previously underwhelming efforts with this sweet, sincere, unpredictable and extremely well-crafted tale that is sure to touch both children and adults alike. The story goes in many different directions (at times too many for its own good), but pays back in spades with ingenious animation, dazzling voice work, and a heartfelt central theme. ***

2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
lacking in some areas but a good time overall, 14 June 2015

More than two decades after the disastrous events that occurred on Isla Nublar, viewers are taken back to the same site now featuring a fully functioning dinosaur theme park as originally envisioned by entrepreneur John Hammond. Seeking a way to boost visitor attendance and increase corporate profit, park scientists create a new, genetically modified hybrid dinosaur known as the Indominus rex…but just like in years past, they quickly learn it's unwise to fool with Mother Nature when the creature escapes captivity and threatens the safety of everyone (both man and animal) on the island. Now the race is on as the park's head trainer (Pratt) and operations manager (Howard) attempt to subdue the crisis before some venal corporate types can carry out their own agenda. When it comes to the innovative special effects and sheer imagination of the original this is nowhere in the same league, and lacks some important exposition, but as a non-stop thrill ride of action, suspense, humor, and crowd-pleasing moments, it definitely fits the bill. Lacking in the development of story, character, and science, but if you take it for what it is (a big, Jurassic action movie), then it should be great fun. **½

1 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
bites off a bit more than it can chew, but still delivers, 3 May 2015

With S.H.I.E.L.D. dismantled and ominous threats still looming worldwide, the Avengers are left to their own devices as they try and maintain their status as Earth's mightiest heroes. Seeking a way to preserve global peace after their latest mission to retrieve the Scepter turns out to be especially demanding, team benefactor Tony Stark (now more the mad scientist than the billionaire genius), unveils the "Ultron project" an artificial intelligence program that quickly evolves into a powerful sentient incapable of distinguishing between saving humanity, or simply eradicating it. Encountering new foes, familiar faces, and unexpected obstacles, time is not on their side as the team attempts to quell the latest crisis. Never quite as epic in scale as it predecessor this often feels more like a transition or prelude to the next phase of the MCU, but it still delivers some spectacular action sequences/stunts, memorable fight scenes, excellent visual effects, good lines, witty humor, and a colorful cast. Not particularly deep, as evidenced by its underdeveloped supporting characters and subplots, but it's still a lot of fun and most importantly leaves you wanting more. ***

Jumper (2008)
watchable but not memorable in the least, 11 April 2015

Insecure, neglected teenage boy whose mother abandoned him at the age of five, and whose father "isn't much of one" inadvertently discovers that he has the ability to "jump" from any location at will which, depending on your point of view, can be either a gift or a curse, especially when certain religious fanatics may see it as an ability that only God should have. The youngster decides to exploit his ability for all it's worth, and lives an adventurous life over the passing years, but like in so many films such as these…not without severe consequences. An intriguing if derivative idea to get the story set in motion, but despite all the vivid, globe-trotting scenery, and all the various plot elements about religion, ancient wars, great power and responsibility, family, love, and sacrifice, it really doesn't add up to very much; brought down by one-note characters and weak acting, despite the presence of reliable veterans such as Jackson, Rooker, and Lane; one of those films that you can easily sit through and then just as easily forget. **

Furious 7 (2015)
63 out of 149 people found the following review useful:
does what it's supposed to do, though unlikely to resonate for non-fans, 3 April 2015

The family of street racers are back…again; there are personal matters at stake…again; circumstances have forced them to team up for one last ride…again. Having successfully defeated criminal mastermind Owen Shaw, members of the crew have gone their separate ways. Little did they know about Shaw's big, bad—and ingeniously resourceful—brother Deckard, who comes lurking out of the shadows for revenge (heretofore unseen big brother comes to avenge little brother, truly a novel cinematic idea!). Add to the mix a few other ruthless bad guys, some shady and seemingly indestructible federal agents, a beautiful woman with brains, some rough-and-tumble fight scenes, one ridiculously over-the-top action sequence after another, and the stage is set for pretty much everything you've come to expect from this long-running franchise. Logic, character development, and story continuity/credibility take a backseat to needless exposition, crowd-pleasing one-liners, and superfluous action set pieces, like you'd expect, but the presence of series veterans, effective casting in key roles, and knowledge that this is the late Paul Walker's final film give it much more weight than it should. **

lacks the spark of its predecessor, 21 March 2015

Untimely second installment to the 2005 neo-noir/crime anthology, reuniting some of the same cold-blooded characters and adding some new ones as well...but with underwhelming results. Returning is Marv (Rourke), the rugged ex-con who finds himself in over his head, but with no clear memory of how he got there; newcomer Johnny (well-played by Gordon-Levitt), a cocky gambler who bites off a bit more than he can chew when he tries a deadly game of one-upmanship with the ruthless Senator Roark; Dwight (Brolin, replacing Clive Owen), whose attempts to put his violent past behind him are derailed when he tangles with a former lover and femme fatale; Nancy (Alba), deeply scarred by her past and seeking solace in the form of vengeance while haunted by the memory of the only man she ever loved. Cast makes the most of the material, and there are lots of flashy special effects and violence to please the eye, but unlike its predecessor it dulls down pretty quickly and fails to generate any genuine sense of excitement or anticipation. **

does what it sets out to do, 23 November 2014

Well...they're still dumb; it's twenty years later and lovable knuckleheads Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne each have half a brain, yet still only have…half a brain. Things get set in motion when Lloyd—having just shown true dedication to his craft by pulling off a decades long gag—reunites with his best pal Harry, who recently learned that he has an illegitimate daughter with their former mutual love interest Fraida. The two must then embark on another long road trip to find Harry's daughter, but as viewers would expect a lot of silly mischief and shenanigans occur along the way. Carrey and Daniels are still a likable duo, there are clever references to the first film, and there are some genuinely funny, even downright hilarious moments, but unless you're a true fan of the original, or just fans of the lead actors, the whole thing never really seems necessary. Enough childish antics, gross-out gags, and playful banter to find its target audience. **

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