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Not quite non stop action.
The term suspension of disbelief required here.
Liam Neeson plays a character flawed Air Marshall. He disables the lavatory smoke detector. Julianne Moore becomes the side kick. (Sandra Bullock would have landed the plane.)
The movie resets the clock every twenty minutes as those aboard the plane are killed on schedule. Soon you wish they were killing people on a ten minute schedule. Maybe they needed to illuminate the "fasten your seatbelt" sign to stop the killings? The one plane location gets a bit claustrophobic. Some scenes look like they were shot on a cel phone.
Any flight you walk away from is a good flight. So what if the plane blows up and crashes. So what if the movie is unbelievable it is a good time while watching. Get a boarding pass and take this flight.
The Lego Movie (2014)
A Lego up on the competition
Here's a movie based on a toy plastic building brick. Of course the early trailers looked lame and what are they thinking? Now the movie arrives and dominates the box office, because it is good.
Not too intense for kids and enough jokes for adults. There is a break neck pace, and a color assault on the senses. There's a catchy song and well voiced characters. There is even a fun twist that gives a sense of reality to the whole deal.
Here's a movie for the entire family. The 3D works and is worth the up charge. See it.
Based on the box office success expect more Lego movies in the future.
The Monuments Men (2014)
Clooney phones it in.
Here's a big cast on a big stage directed down enough to make it less then the sum of its parts. Perhaps Clooney tried to do too much as producer, writer, director and main star. What should be an action movie in the style of "The Dirty Dozen" is reduced to a stop, go and sputter with a number of "let's talk about it" scenes.
The question posed is art worth a life is dwarfed by magnitude of issues associated with World War II. Particularly troublesome was the ridiculous method of dealing with the holocaust reducing it to the Clooney character being able to get his bagel and coffee. George just jump across the table and break his other arm.
There is a good score and some good flag waving. The movie is very watchable but thinking back it should have been much better.
Labor Day (2013)
Not even Valentine's Day
Don't let the trailers suck you in expecting a touching love story. Maybe it was the intent but the movie misses the mark.
On the plus side, there are good performances and some excellent cinematography. Just couldn't buy the premise of the escaped murderer as the prefect new man and new father. So what if he cooks, cleans, teaches baseball, dances and bakes pies. The flash backs and dead baby stuff doesn't make for a good time.
Another problem is the well know television insurance guy in the role of the neighbor. There were good intentions but this one doesn't work. No need to see it in a theater as it will be coming to a platform near you soon.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)
Seems like you've seen it all before.
Chris Pine takes the role of Jack Ryan but has nowhere to go with it. Kevin Costner gets the worst of a cliché riddled script with lines like, "now you are operational". Perhaps they were going for comedy? Keira Knightly is capable of more. Kenneth Branagh makes a good villain.
The movie delivers about what you expect. There is loud music that gives away the suspense scenes. Cars crash about. Everyone you know will survive does and the world is saved for another day.
Everything is predictable. The only twist will be you in your seat as you hope for a fade to black. There's a reason this is a January release. Wait it will be coming to a platform near you soon.
August: Osage County (2013)
This is not a comedy.
Don't get sucked in by the ads that claim this movie is a comedy. There may be an intentional funny moment but this dysfunctional family is in the vain of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf", but not that good.
Meryl Streep gives her usual great performance. Julia Roberts smiles. The supporting cast is excellent.
The movie based on a play is dialogue driven. Little or nothing is done to open the play up. Sisters quibble at the dinner table. They talk in most rooms of the house. Occasionally they talk outside the house in an enclosed patio.
If you enjoy two hours of bickering sisters this is for you. If you are looking for a good movie or a good time at the movies pass on this one. Other then the cast, there is no reason to see this one. If you are inclined to see it, wait for it to come to a non theatrical platform in your home.
Grudge Match (2013)
Rocky vs Raging Bull?
Here's a good natured comedy. The premise of a grudge match for the AARP title allows for a lot of predictable jokes and this movie delivers. De Niro shows why he is among the best actors around. Stallone shows why he is best playing the Rocky like role he created. Alan Arkin is Arkin like and it.is good to see Kim Bassinger again.
The plot is on the thin side but the idea is high concept with the two stars and they carry the movie. There are plenty of jokes and most of them work.
Don't split too fast after a split decision. There are a couple of fun added scenes during the credits that should not be missed. If you are looking for serious cinema this isn't it. If you are looking for a fun popcorn movie, see it.
Her may like it, he will suffer.
Here's a movie set in the future where people spend more time on their devices and forgot how to interact in person. Not too far in the future.
The movie looks great with outstanding set design and art direction. There's a pleasant score and a catchy original song performed by the leads.
The premise works for about an hour. The movie is two hours long. It starts to feel long dull and boring. The supporting performances are note worthy. The operating system voice by Scarlett Johansson is the highlight. Joaquin Phoenix plays it softly and understated. Adjusting eyeglasses is business not acting.
By the time they send in the "I won't to share the love" girl you know things are just too weird.
No reason to see this in a theater as it will play well on home platforms. See it early in the day as you might doze off.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Decadent, salacious, excessive and fun.
Not since "Casino" and "Goodfellas" has Scorsese been this on target. DiCaprio is outstanding as Jordan Belfort who reaches new levels of greed.
The movie is long on debauchery and drug use is often repeated. Some may object to the total lack of any moral compass. The first Mrs. Balfort might have provided some grounding except she was quickly dispatched and never heard from again.
The movie is funny and very entertaining. It is frightening to think about how much Balfort got away with for less then two years in a country club Federal prison. The movie is worthy of the awards it will receive. See it.
Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
Bank on it
Emma Thompson gives an award worthy performance. Tom Hanks squints a lot as Walt Disney. Outstanding cinematography, costumes, and an original score are noteworthy. The movie cuts back and fourth effectively between the heart tugging back story and the Disney story. Young Annie Rose Buckley as Ginty lights up the screen.
There is considerable more then one spoonful of sugar poured into this one and it may be a bit too sweet for some tastes. Unlike "Mary Poppins" the movie may not be suitable for younger children. It moves at a leisurely pace and Colin Ferrell goes the way of "Old Yeller".
It's an interesting story. It is very well made. It is a good time at the movies. See it.