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Special-K88

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766 reviews in total 
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0 out of 5 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 turns out to be especially demanding, team benefactor Tony Stark (now more the mad scientist rather 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 chapter 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. **

60 out of 84 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. **

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
doesn't go out with a bang but still entertains, 9 November 2014

Having made his mark in cerebral explorations and superhero adventures, director Nolan takes his unique talents to sci-fi odyssey in this gripping and thought-provoking story of hope, survival, and love. In an unspecified future, Earth has become an agrarian society without formal government structure and little time left to sustain human life. McConaughey is a former NASA test pilot-turned-farmer and father of two who becomes the "chosen one" to lead an expedition to the edge of Saturn when a wormhole is discovered that could be the key to finding the next habitable planet. Even with the fate of humanity hanging in the balance, he's given the nearly impossible choice of saving the world or saving his own family. With a director of Nolan's ambition at work you know there'll be plenty to take in as the film boasts a compelling story, marvelous visual effects, enthralling action scenes, and the sheer strength of the human spirit…if only it didn't turn overly sentimental and revert to convention in its final act. McConaughey gives a passionate, emotionally-charged performance—one of his very best, and Chastain is also riveting as his headstrong, determined daughter; their powerful performances, along with the aid of a well-chosen supporting cast, help overcome any sloppy, melodramatic storytelling. ***

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
doesn't bring anything new to the table, 16 August 2014

Well…it looks like the boys are back in town; third entry in the testosterone-fueled series begins with things really no different than usual for the Expendables: clandestine missions, eminent danger, masculine bravado, etc. Their usually unwavering camaraderie is suddenly in jeopardy when team leader Barney Ross is drawn back into the past by Conrad Stonebanks, a former ally-turned-notorious arms dealer. Foreseeing no good results, a remorseful Ross selects a younger generation of recruits to try and take down his latest foe. Trying to describe the plot, or decipher any twists and turns, or criticizing the acting in this type of film is a waste of time, but even with all the big names, relentless action, corny lines and in-jokes, there's little tension, excitement, or fun to be had. Returning cast members do what they do, meanwhile adept Snipes, glib Banderas, and laconic Ford are welcomed additions, but unfortunately bad guy Gibson isn't really given much to do. Easy to watch if you want to see this cast at work, but it just seems to be going through the motions. **

2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
so much fun you that you can forgive any shortcomings, 5 August 2014

Look…it's the Avengers in outer space! Hip, funny, totally irreverent take on the usually more serious and somber Marvel Comics sagas set in the far reaches of the galaxy spotlighting a group of outcasts with little in common who—through a series of complex circumstances involving a powerful mystic orb—are brought together and reluctantly decide to unite and foil the treacherous plot of a Kree fanatic bent on power and destruction. Setup is familiar, but with impeccable casting, flippant dialogue, superior special effects, a rocking soundtrack, and enthralling action scenes, it pays back in spades. Non-comic aficionados may be completely unfamiliar with the characters and see this as a thinly veiled hybrid of the Avengers, Star Trek, and Star Wars, but the finished product is just so much fun to watch that it really doesn't matter. A worthy, memorable, and distinctive addition to the Marvel universe. ***

Her (2013)
strange material made worthwhile by strong cast and crew, 11 July 2014

An unusual but sweet and palpable drama about a lonely, introverted, soon-to-be divorced writer looking to fill a large void in his life. Rather than meet or interact with another person, he purchases an artificial intelligence operating system (OS) with a female voice and adaptive personality, and soon forms a real romantic relationship with it! Director Jonze—known very well for his off-the-wall themes and storytelling methods—somehow manages to take this surreal setup and run with it, creating a deep and genuine story about human emotions, frailty, isolation, and loneliness. In this era of technological advancement (Siri, facebook, twitter, et al), the premise is only all the more fascinating. Phoenix is excellent as the awkward protagonist, and Johansson provides terrific vocal work as his "nonexistent" girlfriend. Stretched beyond credulity at times, but consistently interesting throughout. ***

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
a story of loss, hope and survival that effectively redeems its predecessors, 24 May 2014

Ambitious, exciting, exceedingly well-crafted chapter of the X-Men saga begins in a dystopian future where both mutant and human populations have been ravaged by extermination robots known as Sentinels. Desperate to restore the world to what it once was, the remaining mutants unite and transport Wolverine back to 1973 to prevent an event that will stop the war before it ever begins. Once there, he's given the difficult task of trying to persuade an embittered Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and a maniacal Erik Lehnsherr (Fassbender) to work together to avoid future annihilation. Those who may have grown weary of all the excessive characters and subplots in the previous films will be pleasantly surprised as this tense, epic-scale saga provides multiple narratives skillfully woven together, breathless action scenes, superior special effects, an ensemble cast, a witty sense of humor, and elements of tragedy balanced by just as many genuine displays of heroism. Singer's use of past and future tense is both clever and confusing, but it's still compelling and guaranteed to pack a wallop for series fans. ***½


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