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98 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
If you've ever dreamed of seeing Meryl Streep in concert..., 29 January 2016

... then this is the movie for you. Unfortunately, neither my wife nor I had that dream. When there was dialog, it was generally entertaining, but way too many songs were played in full, and the movie seems to have been written for the baby boomers who want to reminisce to the music of their youth. The storyline itself was OK, but I'd have liked to have seen more interaction between the mother (Meryl) and her kids. As always, Streep is very good, as are the other actors, but I just don't think there was way too little story and way too much performing. Really, we could get the gist of the meaning behind the songs with regard to the storyline without hearing the whole thing.

7 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Spectacular, yet spectacularly slow, 9 January 2016

The visuals in this film are stunning, and it absolutely draws you into the atmosphere. I can't imagine what all involved went through to capture some of these scenes. It deserves to be seen on the big screen, and, perhaps, is the only way it will really be appreciated since the cinematography is really the star here. What action there is is spectacular, but the film moves along at an extremely slow pace. In one scene where characters were sleeping, I heard snoring, which seemed rather appropriate. However, when I continued to hear the same snoring during other scenes, I realized one of the patrons near me had fallen asleep (and slept through most of the film). A man sitting next to me also spent a large amount of viewing time with his chin on his chest. I personally fought off sleep a time or two as well, but never succumbed.

In short, the filmmaking itself is a spectacle to behold, and the special effects are fantastic, but this isn't an action epic, so I'd suggest not going to the theater tired. Oh, and I'd also suggest eating BEFORE you see this, because you might not have much appetite afterward. Reasons will become evident if you see the film.

7 out of 69 people found the following review useful:
More focused on science than anything, 3 October 2015

My feelings mirror much of what nemenemenes said below in his review. In terms of marooned characters, I felt comparatively little for Damon's here than I did for Hanks and Bullock in 'Castaway' and 'Gravity,' or for the astronauts in "Apollo 13." The only explanation I can think of for this is that absolutely no relationships were established for Damon's character prior to the isolation, so you had no point of reference for the type of person he was. You only knew he was smart.

From a technical standpoint, the film is amazing. A huge amount of work and detail went into creating the sets and verbalizing the science (which most lay people would assume was accurate, but amazing even if fabricated), but that seemed to be where all the attention went. Frankly, I was bored with most of the film. One can only listen to someone spouting scientific formulas for so long before nodding off.

The film finally picked up for me in the final act, so to speak, but that wasn't worth the price of the ticket. And I don't think I would have missed anything by watching it in 2d either, as I didn't see a lot of 3d effects.

I actually feel bad for not liking the movie because of the tremendous amount of effort that went into making it, but unless I feel something for the characters in dramas such as this, even if it's negative, I'm generally left feeling disappointed.

For Ellen (2012)
A study in closeups where nothing happens, 2 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Caught this while flipping through premium channels one afternoon. Dano usually plays the same character, so I was anxious to see if he'd do something different here. He doesn't. I missed about the first 20 minutes of the film, so no idea if anything happened then, but I can assure you nothing happens after. I got rather frustrated waiting for something of interest. In the toy store scene with the little girl, you'll see one of the most painfully slow scenes in the history of cinema. I guess it was rather realistic, but realism can be painful. Dano's character in 'Little Miss Sunshine' is a younger version of his character in this film, but much more volatile and interesting to watch. Perhaps this is a 'thinking man's' movie and I'm just not smart enough for it. I will say that some of the cinematography, particularly with wide shots, was quite well done at least.

Mr. Turner (2014)
1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Couldn't wait for Turner to die, 24 July 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Saw previews for this at the theater and wanted to see it when it first came out, but didn't get around to it until it came to on-demand (yes, some of us still watch cable (or FIOS in this case)). My wife also saw a review on one of those 'newsertainment' morning shows, and was further enticed to see it. It started slow, as many dramas do, but we were sure it would get better. Over 2 hours in and after one more excessive bit of mumbled dialog that was preceded by the music that had us reaching for the volume button throughout, I uttered an obscenity and decided I'd had enough - and the wife felt similarly. So we literally could not wait until Turner finally died at the end (or so I assume he did). If this was all there was to his life, I have no idea why anyone thought it would make an interesting study for a film. Really one of the more boring movies I've ever seen. I'm ticked we spent $6 on it, but grateful we didn't waste theater admission.

Lucky Them (2013)
6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Deserves better than it's IMDb rating, 27 January 2015

Came across this on one of the premium channels on cable. Liked the looks of the cast, and it was just starting (as opposed to most movies I come across on the premium channels, which are usually in progress when I find them), so decided to watch. It was excellent. Toni Collette does great as usual, and Hayden-Church, playing somewhat of a variation of his 'Sideways' character, provides most of the comic relief and a great companion to Collette's more serious role. All of the characters had some likable qualities and were overall decent people, and I enjoyed the story as well.

I had no idea what to expect from this, but it did remind me of 'Sideways,' one of my all time favorites, in that it featured a couple of 'pals' (or acquaintances anyway) going on an adventure and encountering some interesting characters and situations along the way. Well worth an evening's viewing.

No idea how it ended..., 9 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

... because I couldn't get through it. I don't think there was an original line of dialog, and the story was as old as movies themselves. Andy Garcia still appears in an enjoyable film from time to time, but I have no idea what happened to Forrest Whitaker. He's become one of those people who, when you see them as part of the cast, make you think 'well, that has to be crap.' At one point in this tripe, Garcia has the line "I've done some things I'm not proud of," and I was sure he was thinking "like this movie" in response.

His radio-show dialog is supposed to be deeply philosophical and wise, but it just comes across as hokey and clichéd, and everyone who 'calls in' sounds like they are in the first day of acting class.

If you are perusing through your on-demand menu looking for an entertaining show, skip this one. Even when not original, a film can still be entertaining to watch, but Garcia's performance in this is so unemotional it basically puts you to sleep, and he's the exciting one! It gets a 3 only because I've seen worse, though I can't think of what they are at the moment.

Unbroken (2014/I)
3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Utmost Respect for Ms. Jolie, 5 January 2015

First, I did not read the book, so cannot make any comparison. My wife and I were interested in seeing this movie after seeing an interview with Louie on 'CBS Sunday Morning.' We both enjoyed the movie. Obviously the entire book would not fit into the time allotted for a feature film, but we felt this captured the most significant part of Louie's story, his survival when faced with ridiculous odds. Yes, it might have been interesting to see more of his pre-war days and his post-war days, but the film was more about one man's incredible spirit rather than about the man himself.

Some have indicated they thought the movie dragged on, but I never had any sense of how long it was. The action scenes were expertly done and very realistic looking, at least to someone who never experienced similar moments, and I thought the portrayal of the prison camp gave a good sense of the suffering involved.

But the most amazing thing to me, and why Ms. Jolie jumped a peg or two in my eyes, is that I don't recall a single vulgarity in the film, and that's unheard of these days, especially a war film. Don't get me wrong, I've cursed plenty and have no problem with cursing in films, but I do think it gets overused and often has no relevance to either the story or characters. It was very refreshing to watch a film where the director (or perhaps writers) felt similarly.

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
The clues are all there, 30 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My wife and I decided to watch this after seeing the previews (always a bad way to make a movie-watching decision), and as something of a tribute to Robin Williams, who has done some work over the years that will always remain with us, for good reasons. We also gave Robin's latest series, 'The Crazy Ones,' the same chance, only to finally stop watching after three weeks and absolutely no laughs. Unfortunately, this movie left us with the same taste in our mouths. It simply wasn't good. The public may never know why Robin Williams killed himself, but I suspect it was partly because he felt his career was done. He had to know this movie wasn't very good. When it tried to be sentimental, which it did often, it was merely sappy, and William's character was overdone and cruel to the point of exaggeration, but perhaps that was supposed to be funny. I don't know if he ad-libbed, but if he did, it added nothing to the entertainment value of the movie. One of the more obvious attempts at stirring emotion in the viewer, where Robin's character visits his son at the dance studio, actually provided the biggest laughs for me, which I don't think was the intent.

It had to be nearly impossible for Robin Williams to stay 'on' for his entire career, and I suspect when he realized he was 'off' and not coming back, he couldn't figure out how to handle it. Thank you Robin Williams for all of the fond memories. Unfortunately, this movie will not be among them.

45 out of 77 people found the following review useful:
Wild West Bandits Stoled My Money Too, 1 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Let's just say that the beginning of the film is symbolic of what Seth McFarland and his gang are going to do to you. My wife and son seemed to enjoy the movie, but I laughed more at my wife laughing than at the movie itself. First, pretty much all of the supposedly-funny scenes were shown in the previews. Second, use of the f-word in itself is not funny unless it's used by someone totally out of character, like grandma or a nun. Simply throwing it randomly in every so often is not comedy. "Let's get effed up," Seth utters in one 'hilarious' scene. Ha, ha, ha. Hadn't realized I'd walked into a spring-break movie aimed at teens.

Basically, the dialog is not very funny, and the physical comedy mostly relies on grossing you out.

I enjoyed 'Ted,' but will not likely rush out to see Seth's next offering after this nonsense. This is right up there with the same crap Seth Rogen makes. And to think I actually named one of my children 'Seth.' I thought it such an innocent choice at the time...

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