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Hellmant

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1422 reviews in total 
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Definitely more hit, than miss., 19 September 2016
8/10

'POP STAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING': Four Stars (Out of Five)

A pop music spoof, starring Andy Samberg. Samberg plays a former boy band member, that will try anything to remain popular. The film was directed by Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone (who also costar in the movie), and it was written by Samberg, Schaffer and Taccone (the three also worked together on'Saturday NIGHT LIVE'). The movie also costars Tim Meadows, Sarah Silverman, Chris Redd and Imogen Poots. It's received mostly positive reviews from critics, but it still bombed at the Box Office. I really enjoyed it.

Conner4Real (Samberg) is a world-famous pop-rap recording artist. He used to be a member of the popular boy band The Style Boyz, and the group had a horrible falling-out. Most of Conner's fans really want the band to get back together though. When Conner's second solo album bombs, Conner becomes desperate to regain his popularity. He refuses to make amends with his old group though.

The film plays out like a spoof of Justin Bieber documentaries (or similar movies). I've never seen any of those films, so I can't give a comparison, but I think this movie is hilarious (mostly). It's definitely more hit, than miss. Conner4Real is too unlikable a character though, so I didn't really want him to succeed. Even so, Samberg is great in the role; and the ending is pretty satisfying (to me). So I mostly liked the film, because it is really funny.

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The movie is about as slow-paced, and aimless feeling, as most biopics., 15 September 2016
7/10

'HANDS OF STONE': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

A sports biopic, based on the life of professional boxing legend Roberto Duran. The film stars Edgar Ramirez, Robert De Niro, Ana de Armas, Usher Raymond IV, Ellen Barkin and Ruben Blades. It was written and directed by Venezuelan filmmaker Jonathan Jakubowicz (in his English-language film debut). The movie has received mixed reviews from critics, and it's been a bomb at the Box Office. I think it's a decent boxing film, and biopic, but nothing spectacular.

The story focuses on the relationship between professional boxer Roberto Duran (Ramirez), and his trainer (who's equally legendary) Ray Parcel (De Niro). The two had a troubled relationship (at times), but one that equally involved a lot of respect; and both men learned a lot from each other. The movie begins with Parcel discovering Duran, in an early fight, it then goes to flashbacks of Duran growing up in Panama. The film also focuses on Duran's relationships with his estranged father (Eliud Kauffman), his wife Felicidad Iglesias (Armas), and legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard (Raymond IV). It also (very dramatically) depicts the two epic fights between Duran and Leonard.

The movie is about as slow-paced, and aimless feeling, as most biopics; but it does have it's moments. The fight scenes, between Duran and Leonard, are pretty well done; they're both intense and involving. The performances are mostly decent (especially Ramirez and De Niro), but Duran was not a very likable guy (not according to this movie). It's hard to root for someone like that; but the film does do a pretty good job of showing all the hardships he had to go through (so some of his unpleasantness is understandable).

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A decently made little date movie., 15 September 2016
8/10

'SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU': Four Stars (Out of Five)

A romantic drama biopic, based on the true story of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama's first date (if you can call it that). The film stars Parker Sawyers, as the future President, and Tika Sumpter (who you may remember from the 'RIDE ALONG' movies), as the future First Lady. It was written and directed by debut feature filmmaker Richard Tanne. The movie has received rave reviews from critics, and it's been a successful Box Office hit (at indie theaters). I enjoyed it.

The story is set in Chicago, in the summer of 1989 (on one day). A young business associate, named Barack Obama (Sawyers), takes a young lawyer, named Michelle Robinson (Sumpter), out for the afternoon. Barack tries to court her, the entire time, but Michelle insists it's not a date; since the two work together (and she thinks it would be inappropriate). They go to an art exhibit together, a community meeting, and a movie ('DO THE RIGHT THING').

The film is a sweet little romance, and a nice little character study as well. It's definitely slow-paced, and nothing we haven't seen before, but because it's about the President, it seems a lot more interesting. I like how the movie points out that he smoked a lot of weed, and was always late to everything; it definitely makes him seem a lot more like an everyday person (with a lot of flaws like everyone else). I also think Sawyers does an excellent job in the role (and he looks a lot like him too). Sumpter, on the other hand, looks nothing like Michelle Obama; and her performance reminded me nothing of the First Lady either. She does give a good performance though, and she looks really beautiful, in her own way, as well. If you take out the fact that the film is based on the President, and his wife, than it's definitely nothing that memorable. It is a decently made little date movie though.

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Equals (2015)
Very reminiscent of other (classic) sci-fi dystopian movies., 15 September 2016
8/10

'EQUALS': Four Stars (Out of Five)

A sci-fi dystopian romance; about two people that fall in love, in a futuristic emotionless world. The film stars Nicholas Hoult, Kristen Stewart, Guy Pearce and Jacki Weaver. It was directed by Drake Doremus, and it was written by Doremus and Nathan Parker. Ridley Scott was an executive producer of the movie. The film only received a limited theatrical release, and it got mixed reviews from critics. I liked it.

The story is set in a dystopian/utopian future world; where all emotions have been eradicated (and forbidden). If anyone does experience any feelings, they're told they've contracted a disease; and need to be treated for it. If the treatment doesn't work, harsher punishments are enforced (including death, by forced suicide). When an illustrator, named Silas (Hoult), falls for his writer co-worker, Nia (Stewart), the two must fight to stay alive; and to keep their love alive (as well).

The movie is beautifully shot, and I really like the concept behind it. It is very reminiscent of other (classic) sci-fi dystopian movies, but I've never seen one quite like this. It's interesting, and even somewhat romantic. Hoult and Stewart are also both fantastic in it. If you like distopian sci-fi movies, I'd definitely give this one a try.

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Sully (2016)
A well made crowd-pleaser, that's for sure!, 15 September 2016
9/10

'SULLY': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

A biopic based on the story of Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger; the pilots Captain who heroically landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River (in January of 2009), and saved all 155 people on board. The movie stars Tom Hanks, as Captain Sully, and it costars Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Anna Gunn, Mike O'Malley and Jamey Sheridan. It was directed by Clint Eastwood, marking his 35th theatrical film as a director, and it was written by Todd Komarnicki. The script is based on the 2009 memoir 'Highest Duty' (written by Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow). The movie's received mostly positive reviews from critics, and it's also a hit at the Box Office. I found it to be very intense, and involving!

On Thursday, January 15th, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 hit a flock of Canada geese (shortly after departing LaGuardia airport), which disabled both it's engines. With no airports in safe landing distance, Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (Hanks), and First Officer Jeffery Skiles (Eckhart), were forced to land the plane on the Hudson River. All 155 passengers on board (miraculously) survived the emergency water landing. The media and public praised the pilots as heroes; but the National Transportation Safety Board was beginning an investigation which could discredit the men, and possibly destroy Sully's career.

I knew nothing about the investigation into pilot negligence, by the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), so this movie was very interesting to me. I also enjoyed seeing the epic events of the 'Miracle on the Hudson', recreated for the big screen (they're intense). The film is very inspiring, and involving. I love seeing a story where the little guy takes on the establishment too; in this instance it was definitely self defense, but it's still incredibly moving! Eastwood is great at directing this type of movie, and I actually think it's one of his better films. Hanks is also spectacular in the lead. It's a well made crowd-pleaser, that's for sure.

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Quite a moving film, especially for anyone who feels different!, 15 September 2016
9/10

'JANE WANTS A BOYFRIEND': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

A romantic comedy, about a young woman with Asperger's syndrome; that's trying to find her first boyfriend (with the help of her overprotective older sister). The film was directed by William Sullivan, and it was written by Jarret Kerr; the two also teamed up (performing the same duties) for the 2012 feature 'PERCIVAL'S BIG NIGHT', and the 2012 short film 'COMEDIENNE'. This movie stars Louisa Krause, Eliza Dushku, Gabriel Ebert and Amir Arison. I really enjoyed it.

Jane (Krause) is a young woman, with Asperger's syndrome, who lives with her parents (in Queens, New York); she's also never had a boyfriend. Bianca (Dushku) is her overprotective older sister; who's now moving to Brooklyn with her fiancé, Rob (Arison). Jane's parents are moving away, and they want Jane to move in with Bianca. Bianca and Rob aren't sure if they're ready for that kind of responsibility though, and to top it off Jane decides she wants her first boyfriend. Bianca's friend, Jack (Ebert), is quite interested in Jane, but Bianca is afraid he won't treat her right; due to his past womanizing ways.

The movie's subject interests me, because I have multiple friends that have told me they think I have Asperger's. I'm quite certain I don't (especially after watching this movie), but I could still really relate to the lead character. I do have some similar social issues (and anxiety problems), and people around me often don't respect my individuality. I also have romantic troubles; but still my issues are quite different than Jane's (and similar at the same time). I still love the movie though, because I think it is inspiring (and very emotional); because of these themes. I think it's beautifully acted, written and directed. It's quite a moving film, especially for anyone who feels different!

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Operator (2015/II)
Wasn't quite feeling it., 13 September 2016
6/10

'OPERATOR': Three Stars (Out of Five)

A 6.5-minute dramatic thriller short film; about an emergency- services operator, that's trying to help a frightened woman, and her 3-year- old son, escape a house fire. The short was written and directed by actress, turned first time filmmaker, Caroline Bartleet. Kate Dickie stars in the movie, as the operator. I think the story is a great idea for a short flick, and I really respect the people who actually do those jobs (and have to deal with real life scenarios, like the one in this movie), but I still think the film could have been even better. The acting is decent (from Dickie), and Bartleet does an adequate enough job building some tension; but I think a lot more could have been done with the material. I just wasn't quite feeling it. I also saw a similar short film, called 'THE PHONE CALL' (a few years ago); that actually won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film (in 2014). That short is about a crisis center hot-line operator, that has to deal with a very intense suicide caller. It's a much better film, by comparison.

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Not something I'd ever want to watch again., 13 September 2016
6/10

'THE GOOD FATHER': Three Stars (Out of Five)

An 18-minute dramatic thriller short film; directed by Marek Ryszard Dojs, and written by Daniel Bielinski (who also stars in the flick). It tells the story of an extremely lonely man (Bielinski), that kidnaps a child; who he thinks is being abused by it's parents. The short is really dark, and depressing; which could have been cool, but it doesn't really work here. The film doesn't have any character development, or key plot points explaining why it's lead character is the way he is. I think if I knew a little bit more about him, I might have cared a lot more about the whole story. As it is, it's just creepy; and really dark. It's definitely not something I'd ever want to watch again.

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I look forward to seeing a feature length film on the subject., 13 September 2016
7/10

'LOS NINOS SICARIOS': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

A 10-minute crime-drama short film, written and directed by Rob Lambert. It tells the story of a teenage hit-man, that's given an assignment to assassinate a high profile target. The boy experiences a lot of trauma from the experience, as well as from his past training (when he was even much younger). The movie is inspired by real events, and it informs the viewer how American teenage boys (usually Mexican-American) are recruited by major Mexican drug cartels all of the time (along the southwestern border states), as young as 12- years of age. They're given 9-months of intense training; and then sent to live in sleeper cells, in American suburbs. They're then assigned targets in the U.S., and Mexico, and their pay ranges from $10,000 to $50,000 (for each assignment). The short does a great job of educating the viewer about all of this. It's also extremely graphic, in a seemingly realistic way; I had a hard time watching it. The short is a great 'day in the life' type story; but at just 10-minutes, it leaves a lot unexplained still. I look forward to seeing a feature length film on the subject (hopefully from the same filmmaker).

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Stars (2015/II)
It works, because of the carefully constructed backstory., 13 September 2016
8/10

'STARS': Four Stars (Out of Five)

An 8-minute dramatic short film, written and directed by first time filmmaker Krista Vernoff (who has a lot of experience writing and producing television shows, and TV movies). The short stars Abigail Spencer, Wes Brown, Madeleine McGraw, Jeanine Mason and Josh Kelly. It tells the story of a mentally disturbed mother (Spencer), that makes a horrible decision regarding her daughter; due to disturbing memories from her own childhood (involving abuse). The film is beautifully shot and structured; I think Vernoff makes a brilliant directorial debut here. Spencer is also outstanding in the lead role (and stunningly beautiful, like always). The short is very disturbing, shocking and depressing; and I like all of those things in film, if it's done right. It works here, because of the carefully constructed backstory. I really like the way this short plays out.

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