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1368 reviews in total 
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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
I enjoyed it, but I also found it to be disappointing., 25 July 2016

'STAR TREK BEYOND': Four Stars (Out of Five)

The 13th 'STAR TREK' movie (and the 3rd installment in the reboot series). This one has the Enterprise crew stranded on an uncharted planet; after their ship is nearly destroyed by an unknown alien race. J.J. Abrams (the director of the previous two films) returned this time just as a producer (so he could focus his time on 'STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS'), and Justin Linn (of 'THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS' fame) helmed the movie. Simon Pegg (who also plays Scotty, once again) co-wrote the screenplay, along with Doug Jung. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho and Anton Yelchin (in one of his last film roles) also reprised their parts (from the previous two movies). Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella joined the cast. It's received some of the best reviews, of any film in the franchise, but it's not performing as well at the Box Office, as the last two installments. I enjoyed it, but I also found it to be disappointing.

While attempting to help another space crew, the Enterprise is attacked by unknown aliens. They're lead by a warlord named Krall (Elba). Krall is looking for an alien artifact, on board the Enterprise, that's the missing piece of an ancient weapon. He captures a lot of the crew, but Kirk (Pine), and a few others, escape to a nearby planet. There Krall, and his followers, continue to hunt them.

The movie is action packed, and the visual effects are impressive. Even with all of the spectacular action scenes though, I still found the film to be a bit boring. I wasn't involved in the story, or any of the characters' drama. It definitely feels like a film where the story serves the action, rather than vice versa. Still, the movie is somewhat entertaining, and it's pretty funny as well (in places).

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Decently entertaining., 21 July 2016

'THE INFILTRATOR': Four Stars (Out of Five)

A crime drama flick; based on the true story of an aging U.S. customs agent, named Robert Mazur, that helped take down Pablo Escobar's enormous money laundering business. The film was directed by Brad Furman (who's also helmed other crime flicks; like 'THE LINCOLN LAWYER', 'RUNNER RUNNER' and 'THE TAKE'), and it was written by first time screenwriter Ellen Brown Furman; the screenplay is based on Robert Mazur's autobiography (of the same name). The movie stars Bryan Cranston, Diane Kruger, John Leguizamo, Benjamin Bratt, Amy Ryan and Olympia Dukakis (Cranston and Leguizamo also costarred in 'THE LINCOLN LAWYER', and Leguizamo also starred in 'THE TAKE'). The film has received mostly positive reviews from critics, and it's made a small amount of money at the Box Office (although it probably won't make a profit until video). I enjoyed it.

The film is set in the 1980s; when Robert Mazur (Cranston) was set to retire from his job, as a U.S. Customs Service special agent. He then decided to take on a dangerous new assignment; infiltrating drug dealers, that were trying to clean up their dirty money. Robert used an alias, known as Bob Musella, and he got assistance from two other agents; Emir Abreu (Leguizamo) and Kathy Ertz (Kruger). It was Ertz's first undercover assignment, and Robert was worried about her safety (and putting the job at risk). The assignment also ended up putting Robert's whole family in danger.

The movie is a little routine, and unoriginal, but I think the cast, and direction, make up for that. It does, at times, have a strong TV feel to it; but the Furmans are able to breath some intense drama, and excitement into it. Cranston, Leguizamo and Kruger all do what they do best (as well); and Kruger looks stunningly beautiful in it, too. The film is decently entertaining, I'd say.

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The BFG (2016)
1 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Classic Spielberg, but not quite., 20 July 2016

'THE BFG': Four Stars (Out of Five)

Director Steven Spielberg's new fantasy adventure flick, based on the classic 1982 children's book (of the same name) by Roald Dahl. It tells the story of a young orphan girl, that befriends a 'big friendly giant'. The two team up, on an adventure in 'Giant Country', to stop other giants from eating human children. The film reteams Spielberg with actor Mark Rylance (who won an Oscar for Spielberg's last film, 'BRIDGE OF SPIES'), and screenwriter Melissa Mathison (who also wrote 'E.T.', and a segment of 'TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE'; which Spielberg also directed). Rylance plays the title character; and the movie also costars Ruby Barnhill, Jemaine Clement, Penelope Wilton, Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall and Bill Hader. The film was a bomb at the Box Office, but it got decent reviews from critics. I enjoyed it as well.

Sophie (Barnhill) is a ten-year-old girl, that lives (unhappily) in a London orphanage. One night she witnesses a 24-foot elderly giant (Rylance) outside her window. The giant notices the girl has seen him, and he snatches her up (kidnapping her). He then takes Sophie to 'Giant Country', where the gentle giant is an outcast among other (meaner) giants. The two later start a friendship, and an adventure together.

The movie is almost classic Spielberg, but not quite. It's definitely not in the same league as 'E.T.' (or 'TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE'). I did enjoy the film though, and it does feel like the type of movie I would have really liked as a kid. If I remember correctly, it also does decent justice to the classic source material; and it's somewhat nostalgic seeing that story depicted on screen again. The visuals are also stunningly beautiful to watch. I definitely wouldn't say it's a disappointment.

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7 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
Undoubtedly superior to 'GHOSTBUSTERS II'!, 20 July 2016

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

A reboot to the classic 1984 sci-fi comedy hit, and it's 1989 sequel. This modern update has four women starting a New York City ghost-catching business together. It stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones (as the four leads); and it features Chris Hemsworth, Andy Garcia, Charles Dance, and most of the original movie's cast, in supporting roles. It was directed by Paul Feig (who previously directed McCarthy and Wiig in the hit comedy flick 'BRIDESMAIDS'), and it was written by Feig and Katie Dippold (who also wrote 'THE HEAT'; which was directed by Feig and costarring McCarthy). Ivan Reitman (the original two films' director) returned as a producer of this installment. The movie has received mostly positive reviews from critics, and female fans alike, but it's also taken a lot of sexist backlash from misogynistic moviegoers. It's been a hit at the Box Office as well (so far). I really liked it.

Dr. Erin Gilbert (Wiig) and Dr. Abby Yates (McCarthy) co-wrote a book on the existence of ghosts, many years earlier. Gilbert has since attempted to distance herself from the publication; in order to become a teacher at Columbia University. Yates has continued to study paranormal activity, at a technical college, with her new colleague Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon). When Gilbert is approached about a possible ghost sighting, she reunites with Yates (in order to investigate it). Gilbert, Yates and Holtzmann later start a 'ghost busting' business together; where they're soon joined by a subway worker named Patty Tolan (Jones).

The movie is without a doubt funny, and also aptly made. Feig is definitely a talented director, and he and Dippold wrote a great script together. The cast is all exceptional as well. While the film is definitely not as memorable as the classic original, it is undoubtedly superior to 'GHOSTBUSTERS II'. I think it has the perfect combination of supernatural thrills, intelligent humor, and nostalgic magic. As far as your average reboots go, it's nearly flawless. The movie is also a very noticeable crowd-pleaser (at least at the theater I saw it at). It's definitely a lot of fun!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Several great scenes, scattered throughout a meandering (and very depressing) historical fiction tale., 20 July 2016

'FREE STATE OF JONES': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

The new Civil War drama flick, starring Matthew McConaughey and directed by Gary Ross (who also helmed 'THE HUNGER GAMES', 'PLEASANTVILLE' and 'SEABISCUIT'). Ross also co-wrote the movie, with first time feature screenwriter Leonard Hartman. The film is loosely based on the life of Newton Knight; who lead a resistance group, of deserters and slaves, against the local Confederate Government (during the Civil War). It also costars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali, Keri Russell and Jacob Lofland (who also costarred with McConaughey in 2012's outstanding 'MUD'). The film received poor reviews from critics, and it also bombed at the Box Office. I found it to be good, but somewhat disappointing as well.

The film is set during the Civil War, and it tells the story of Newton Knight (McConaughey). Knight was a Southern farmer, who deserted the army and fled into the Mississippi swamps (in Jones County). There he befriended several runaway slaves, and later lead a militia (of other deserters and slaves) against the corrupt local government. The movie is a fictional account of his dramatic adventures.

The film has several great scenes, scattered throughout a meandering (and very depressing) historical fiction tale. It's either too long, or the producers cut too much out of the movie; because (either way) the film's pacing is severely off. It does have many exciting action scenes though, some hard-hitting drama, and some inspiring rebellious moments. McConaughey (once again) gives a great performance, and Ross's direction is decent. The script and editing could have used a little more work though.

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Race (2016/I)
Kind of settles for a lot of overdone clichés., 19 July 2016

'RACE': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

A biographical sports drama flick, based on the 1930s track and field star Jesse Owens; who won four gold medals (a record) at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The movie stars Stephan James, as Owens; and it costars Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons, William Hurt and Shanice Banton. It was directed by veteran action filmmaker Stephen Hopkins, and it was written by Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse. The film performed moderately well with critics, and at the Box Office. I enjoyed it, to a moderate extent, as well.

The film tells the story of Jesse Owens (James); as he first begins college (the first member of his family to do so) at Ohio State. He struggles with racism, and finding work to provide for his family (back home), while becoming a world famous athlete; under the tutelage of his coach, Larry Snyder (Sudeikis). After he's accepted to the Olympic Games, Owens must also decide if he wants to compete (in a Nazi Germany controlled 1936 Berlin). After America also debates this decision.

The movie is highlighted by the performances of it's two leads. I'm a huge Jason Sudeikis fan, and I really like seeing him try different things (like this). I think he pulls it off. James is good as well; and the parts of the movie that deal with their characters' friendship (which is a large part of it), are the movie at it's best. The rest of the film feels like it could have been more inspiring though; as it kinds of settles for a lot of overdone clichés instead.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Not a great comedy, but..., 15 July 2016

'MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

A raunchy romcom, based on the true story of brothers Dave and Mike Stangle; who famously took out an ad on Craigslist, looking for wedding dates. The film stars Zac Efron and Adam Devine, as the Stangle brothers, and it costars Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Sugar Lyn Beard, Sam Richardson and Stephen Root (most of the four leads have previously worked together, on multiple other movies before). It was directed by Jake Szymanski (a veteran TV director, making his feature film debut), and it was written by Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O'Brien (who previously co-wrote both 'NEIGHBORS' films together, also starring Zac Efron). The movie's received mostly poor reviews from critics, but I thought it was mildly funny.

Mike and Dave Stangle (Devine and Efron) are two brothers that run an alcohol selling business together; and they also party excessively. They're notorious, among their family members, for always ruining family get-togethers. So their sister (Beard), and father (Root), both insist they bring wedding dates to their sister's Hawaiian wedding (to help them avoid having another accident). In order to find dates, the Stangle brothers put up an ad online (which goes viral). Two other 'hard-partying' friends (Kendrick and Plaza) see them on television, and decide to trick the brothers into inviting them (by posing as nice girls).

The movie has a great premise, I think, and it's definitely funny (at times). The cast is all great in it, and the direction is decent. The script could have used a few more rewrites though; the genuine laughs are just too few and far between, and a lot of the line delivery seems forced (at no fault of the actors, I think). A lot of comedy flicks fall victim to these flaws though; just none of the great ones. This isn't a great one.

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A lot of fun, especially if you like creature features., 14 July 2016

'CHRONICLES OF THE GHOSTLY TRIBE': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

A Chinese fantasy action flick; about researchers, that discover ancient creatures, in the mountains near the Mongolian Border (in 1979). The story also takes place in modern day New York City (when the monsters reappear). The movie was directed by Chuan Lu, who also co-wrote the script (with Bobby and Nick Roth). It stars Mark Chao, Yao Chen, Rhydian Vaughan and Wang Qingxiang. The film is cheesy, and sometimes hard to follow, but it's still a lot of fun (especially if you like creature features).

The story begins at the 1979 Mongolian Border; where the fossils of monstrous creatures have been found. A research team has been assigned to head into the mountains, to investigate the findings. They're lead by a professor (Qingxiang), his daughter (Chen) and an adventurer, named Hu Bayi (Chao). After the team is attacked, by various different beasts, Bayi is the only survivor. The film then flashes forward, to present day New York City, where Bayi now works as a librarian (studying demonology). He's called back into action, when he hears about more monster attacks (in Northern China).

The film has some fantastic visual effects (the creatures look amazing)! I had trouble keeping up with the subtitles sometimes, and also the story, but I still really enjoyed the movie. I love monster flicks, and this one is definitely a fun one. I couldn't have cared less about the human characters, or any of their drama, but I loved watching the creatures; and the amazing special effects!

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Green Room (2015)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Unbelievably intense!, 14 July 2016

'GREEN ROOM': Five Stars (Out of Five)

A crime-thriller/horror flick, written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier (the man who brought us the outstanding 'BLUE RUIN', 2 years ago). The film is about a punk band, touring through the Pacific Northwest, that's terrorized by neo-Nazi skinheads (at a remote Oregon club). It stars Anton Yelchin (in one of his final film roles) and Patrick Stewart (Chekov and Picard, together in a movie!). The film also costars Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Mark Webber and Macon Blair (who also starred in 'BLUE RUIN'). It's gotten rave reviews from critics (91% positive on Rotten Tomatoes) and fans alike (including director Quentin Tarantino). I loved it as well.

Pat (Yelchin), Sam (Shawkat), Reece (Cole) and Tiger (Turner) are members of the punk rock band 'The Ain't Rights'. As the movie opens, they're traveling to a show in Seaside, Oregon. When they get there, they find out that the gig has been canceled. The radio host, that set them up with the show (David W. Thompson), sets them up with another gig instead; at a secluded club outside of Portland. The band soon learns that the club is a neo-Nazi skinhead hangout. After Pat witnesses a crime there, the establishment's owner (Patrick) won't let them leave.

I was a big fan of 'BLUE RUIN', when it came out. I've been eagerly awaiting Saulnier's next movie, ever since (especially after seeing Tarantino's review for it, and every other critic's). I definitely wasn't disappointed in it! It's involving, from the opening scene to the very last shot, and it's beautifully filmed as well. It's also unbelievably intense (like one of the most intense movies I've ever seen). It's gory, and graphically brutal, but all in a very realistic (yet disturbing) way. It's touching seeing Yelchin again, and he's amazing in the film too. Stewart also makes a very memorable villain. The film is sure to become a cult classic, it's a must see!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A hell of a lot of fun!, 13 July 2016

'THE SHALLOWS': Four Stars (Out of Five)

The new 'killer shark' horror flick, starring Blake Lively (Mrs. Ryan Reynolds!). The film tells the story of a surfer, that's stalked by a great white shark; just 200 yards from shore. It was written by Anthony Jaswinski, and directed by Jaume Collet-Serra; who's also helmed such other horror flicks as 2005's 'HOUSE OF WAX' remake, and 2009's 'ORPHAN' (as well as three Liam Neeson action movies). The film has done surprisingly well at the Box Office, and it's also gotten mostly positive reviews from critics (and audiences) as well. I loved it.

Lively plays Nancy; a medical student, that decides to go surfing at the same remote Mexican beach that her mother did, many years earlier, when she was pregnant with Nancy. Her mother recently passed away, and Nancy is thinking about dropping out of school (because of it). While surfing, Nancy is attacked by a great white shark (just 200 yards from shore). She then becomes stranded on a reef, with a wounded leg, where the shark continues to relentlessly stalk her.

The movie is one of those classic survival horror flicks. It's cheesy (at times) and a little unbelievable, but it's still suspenseful; and a hell of a lot of fun! Lively delivers a great performance in it, and I enjoyed Collet-Serra's stylistic direction (the movie always looks beautiful). Even though it seems like it could be a rather slow- paced film, it never is (it pretty much flies by). I'd definitely recommend it.

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