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1230 reviews in total 
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One of These Little-Known Vietnam War Films!, 20 July 2014

Being such a movie geek, I have generally heard of nearly every film out there. But somehow, this film sneaked under my radar and when I finally came across it, I was astounded to realize I have never heard of it before, especially with Gene Hackman in the lead. While not the greatest film on the subject, Uncommon Valor is a marginally effective war film and is a story on friendship, courage, and what it takes to see the ones they love again.

Ted Kotcheff, who you many recognize as the director of First Blood, directs a film about a retired colonel who spent ten years trying to find his son, who is listed as missing in action. After all his efforts fail, he organizes a team that includes former colleagues of his son and they begin a courageous effort to bring back American heroes from Vietnam.

The acting is pretty good, actually. Gene Hackman is always good so it was no surprise here to see him give a committed performance. The other guys, you may not be so familiar with. My favorite character was played by Randall "Tex" Cobb and his character was so dumb and silly, but always made an effort to get the job done.

Overall, Uncommon Valor is a decent war movie led on by the values of family and friendship. It's not the greatest war film because of it's uneven pace, spotty directing, and loose plot points. But with all these values and how the actors are able to bring these values across, this turns out to be an irresistible war film. I rate this film 8/10.

Surprisingly Good Thriller!, 19 July 2014

Dead Man Down is actually not a good thriller, but it is a great thriller. Some things may not be entirely believable, but then again we are often told to suspend our disbelief in these kind of movies, which I did. This thriller is a slow-burn thriller that focuses less on the action, but more on the characters and the retribution.

Oplev's film has a distinctive European feel to it and that is how I like my thrillers. But this film is about a man named Victor who is the right-hand man of a crime lord named Alphonse and has a very mysterious past. But he is seduced by a car crash victim named Beatrice, who is a mysterious woman herself. But together, they plot to bring Alphonse to justice.

For a film such as this, it has a pretty talented cast. Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace share such intimate chemistry with each other. It's a shame Farrell is not a high box-office draw these days because he got so much talent. Terrence Howard does a very good job, and it's nice to see him shine in a villainous role for once. There is a nice cameo by F. Murray Abraham as well and I like it because we definitely don't see much of him anymore.

Overall, Dead Man Down is much better than what people are making it out to be. It's a slow-burn thriller, not an action shoot-em-up as apparently people were expecting. There are going to be logic issues, but I'm very good at suspending my disbelief, because I'm watching a fictional movie. But this is a well-acted thriller and one of the better films of 2013. I rate this film 9/10.

Fantastic Baseball Movie!, 19 July 2014

The Natural is one of the better baseball movies that have ever been filmed. It may be sentimental to a fault and a little corny at times, but this is a sports film that one cannot resist, baseball fan or not. Plus the ending leaves an open-ended discussion to be had and one that promotes some thinking. While this is a baseball movie, I also find this to be a character movie. This movie is about the characterization of Roy Hobbs, not about how Roy Hobbs can hit home runs.

Barry Levinson's film is about a man named Roy Hobbs who has a mysterious past and came out of nowhere to help a ragtag, losing baseball team become winners. Along the way he has to encounter evil sportswriters, devilish owners, and tough managers.

This film has a large, well-known cast and all of them were excellent. Some people question the casting choice of Robert Redford and his age, but I think he did a magnificent job despite looking a lot older than the film claims his character to be. Glenn Close does a solid job as one of Hobb's love interests and so does Kim Basinger as another. Robert Duvall does an excellent job as the writer who does anything for a story.

Overall, The Natural is not only an excellent sports film, it's an excellent drama that revolves around it's characters. But of course, it's nice to see these home runs destroy items around the ballpark. This film also has a magical taste to it, which we see every time Hobbs does something special at the plate. Maybe it's the iconic score by Randy Newman, but this film has magic in the air. An incredible baseball film that makes use of all its talents. I rate this film 9/10.

Comedy Gem!, 19 July 2014

This is the seventh episode of the second season of 30 Rock and as usual, it is incredibly funny. The story lines seem ludicrous, but somehow everyone is able to get everything to work. The acting and the screenplay are usual standouts and this episode joins a growing list of my favorite 30 Rock episodes.

In this episode, "Cougars," Liz is given a hard time at the office when she begins to date a 20-year-old delivery man. Directly related, Frank decides that he is gay for one person, which happens to be the delivery boy. Also, Jack and Kenneth decides to help Tracy manage his pathetic little-league baseball team.

Overall, this is an excellent episode and pure comedic gold thanks to the quips of Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey. I rate this episode 9/10.

Weakest Die Hard!, 19 July 2014

I have enjoyed every single Die Hard to this point, including the fourth one that no one seemed to like. So naturally, I was excited for the fifth film, A Good Day to Die Hard. Unfortunately, this film turned out to be rather mediocre and unlike the others, it did not feel much like a Die Hard film. Sure, the action is good as always, but the screenplay was muddled and the direction was rushed. While I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, I couldn't help but feel a little letdown when the credits rolled.

John Moore's film brings us the return of the wise-cracking John McClane and this time he ventures out to Russia to find and rescue his son, who has been up to very bad business in Russia and now working together, they must avert a nuclear crisis.

The acting is pretty good. We all know what to expect from Bruce Willis and we got his typical, sardonic personality as McClane. Jai Courtney did a rather good job as McClane's estranged son. Sebastian Koch was a nice baddie. However, I should mention that the villains are also weakest in the series. But then again, who can compare to Hans Gruber?

Overall, I still found this film to be mildly enjoyable despite being the weakest of all five. It's a welcome return for the R-rating, since they botched up McClane's signature line in the last film. But the action is good as we expect, but they could have done a little more with the story and characterization. If they make a 6th, I hope it will be a true classic. I rate this film 7/10.

Best Episode This Season....So Far!, 18 July 2014

This is the sixth episode of the second season of 30 Rock and I can happily say that it is the best episode of this young season. It's very funny, has sharp writing, relies intensively on the comedy from the actors, features not one, but two welcome guest stars, and the story lines are just funny. The guest stars are the always-funny Kristen Wiig and Edie Falco, who funnily seduces Jack.

In this episode, "Somebody to Love," Jack has a one-night stand with a Democrat named Celeste Cunningham who has brought forth a lawsuit against NBC's sister company. Meanwhile, Liz suspects her neighbor is a terrorist and Kenneth is trying to raise money to buy Jack a new pair of pants.

Overall, this is a absolutely hilarious episode. I loved the plot line with the terrorism and it's just so blatantly funny. Tina Fey is really comedic gold. I rate this episode 10/10.

WarGames (1983)
A Movie That Is Ahead Of It's Time!, 18 July 2014

WarGames is your typical 80's action/teen angst flick on one hand, but on the other hand it is a very intelligent film that seems to be ahead of it's time, or rather a type of film that wouldn't be made on a regular basis for another decade. I like how the film doesn't overstuff us with computer terminology, but it also doesn't think it's audience is dumb. It's filled with good special effects, an intelligent story (involving supercomputers), good acting, and is practically your perfect 80's film.

John Badham's film is about a young computer whiz named David Lightman who hacks into the government computer system and he begins to play a game with the computer. But little did he know that he just started the process of a World War Three.

The acting is rather good, though one could say this film is more about the computers, rather than the human characters. Matthew Broderick was a special actor in the 1980's and was one of the better teen actors. we might remember Ally Sheedy from her role in "The Breakfast Club," but she does good for the most part. We also get some quality supporting turns from Dabney Coleman and John Wood.

Overall, WarGames is a movie that is ahead of it's time and it should be every computer hacker's dream movie. This is another film that has computers too smart for it's own good, and I was reminded very much of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Both of these films are very smart sci-fi movies. This movie is also realistic and pushes across the thought on what would happen if technology took over the world. I rate this film 9/10.

Environmental-Friendly Episode!, 17 July 2014

This is the fifth episode of the second season of 30 Rock and once again, it's another excellent episode. The jokes and the one-liners are getting stronger and stronger. With this episode, it is hard to point out a weak spot. This season has a knack of excellent guest stars and that continues with the addition of David Schwimmer, who is just awesome as Greenzo.

In this episode, "Greenzo," Jack hires an actor named Greenzo to help promote a green environment. But Jack gets angry when Greenzo begins to abuse his power and publicly calls out Jack and his company. Meanwhile, Liz suspects that Pete may be cheating on his wife. Kenneth holds a party, which ends up being the craziest party ever.

Overall, this is a very strong, funny episode. My favorite part had to be Kenneth's party. The aftermath was just ridiculous and it had me in stitches. This is one excellent episode. I rate this episode 9/10.

Earns My Appreciation and Respect!, 17 July 2014

Stand Up Guys is a low-budget film not only should earn appreciation by the older audience, but it certainly earned mine. I wasn't expecting anything crazy here, but I got a low-key drama featuring three very fine actors admittedly in their twilight years, a relatively good script, some good comedy, and the theme of friends being reunited after 28 years.

Fisher Stevens directs a film about a man named Val who has been released from prison after 28 years for being a stand up guy or a loyal friend. His best friend and partner named Doc has been ordered to kill him, but before he can follow that order, Val, Doc, and their other friend Hirsch decide to have one last night together.

As many people pointed out, I will admittedly watch anything on-screen featuring these trio of actors. They all done much better roles, but they are still good here. Al Pacino is of course a screen legend and his performance gave me some flashbacks. Christopher Walken is another screen legend and does a great job as the calm Doc. Alan Arkin, who seems to be having a career resurgence, does an excellent job in his limited role.

Overall, Stand Up Guys is not the greatest movie about friendship, but it is effective enough. The direction seems a little faulty at time and I was a little disappointed with the ending. It didn't end the way it should have. But the chemistry between these three acting greats is sky-high and it's nice to see together for one last hurrah. It wouldn't be a film featuring these older actors without those Viagra jokes. But the film can be funny, sweet, and dark and it also has some killer songs by Jon Bon Jovi. I rate this film 9/10.

Fantastic Episode!, 16 July 2014

This is the fourth episode of the second season of 30 Rock, and it is utterly fantastic. It vastly improves from the last episode, but like the last episode, this episode features a very funny guest star. This time, the cameo appearances in the form of none other than Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher. She was hilarious and I loved how she spoofed Star Wars with her famous quote, "Help Me, Liz Lemon. I'm you're only hope!"

In this episode, "Rosemary's Baby," Liz goes to a book signing of a comedy writer from the 1960's whom she idolizes. After Rosemary was hired, no one agrees with her ideas and eventually both Liz and Rosemary are fired. Meanwhile, Jack has to stop Tracy from dogfighting and Jenna almost starts a trivia war between Kenneth and his rival.

Overall, this is an excellent episode and Carrie Fisher's cameo is one of the early highlights for this second season. One thing I've noticed and that is how the guest stars have a higher pedigree this season. But I think that is a good thing. I rate this episode 9/10.

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