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39 reviews in total 
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10 out of 40 people found the following review useful:
Not as biased as it might first appear., 12 December 2016

Fasten your cerebral seat belts, its going to be a bumpy ride. Superb writing and performances, especially by Jessica Chastain. It was exhausting just trying to keep up, especially since there isn't any physical action that would allow you to rest and recoup the contents of your brain pan. My only fault is that it tries too hard to be even handed, switching back and forth on the 2nd Amendment issue a dozen times, up until Sloan reveals the depth of her and the Establishment's bankrupt souls at the end. For physical action junkies, there is one sequence involving guns, but I'm sure that won't be nearly enough for those who require a "Fast and Furious" level of check-your-brain-at-the-door action.

3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Do you Like Puzzles?, 2 November 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Calling this an action movie is like calling Romeo and Juliette a romance novel.

**Contains one spoiler, but it's recommended that you read it anyway before viewing, to enhance your understanding of the story, unless you're an actual art expert**

This is a puzzle in the form of one of the best action movies in a couple of years. And to emphasize the point, the autistic-savant main character, Chris Wolff (Affleck), is shown at the start as a child putting together a jigsaw puzzle as fast as he can lay them down, backside up! But this is an "action" movie with a lot of meat on it. Perfect casting, an ironclad story, lots of off-hand/dark humor, and an important message that's handled perfectly instead of presenting it as a cause.

Some people don't like Anna Kendrick in this part, but if opposites attract, she's the outgoing spark that matches his autism. She's the catalyst to the only scene in the movie where Wolff gets truly excited about something. The lunch scene is exquisite, as is the one on the couch where Wolff delivers the lines, "I have difficulty socializing with people...but I want to", soon followed by the most jolting segue ever, "Crazy Eddie and the Panama Pump!" The most important piece of this puzzle is a painting. Two are used in the story, a Renoir, and one of Jackson Pollock's cynical abstract abominations (in my not so humble opinion) which a little research revealed was titled "Free Form". But the one in the movie has a small alteration, the profile of an eye looking askance from the center of the surface, which jumps out at you for the 3 seconds they show it on screen. But it isn't in the original, and it changes everything. It hearkens to a line from the song at the end, "I can get through the wall if you give me a door." Instead of being pure red, white and black noise, an eye (of an autistic?) is added at the center of that noise. It's probably the harshest form of critique, to show something of what Pollock could/should have done, and do it for him.

Wolff's mentor in prison tells him to find just one person he can trust. But he finds three. There are several reveals, but the story behind the SIRI (Wolff's artificially intelligent personal assistant) is a real kicker.

I agree with the public on this one which gives it a high rating as opposed to the critics who don't, for reasons I can't fathom. When there's a split, I'm usually on that side. This is the director's (Gavin O'Connor's) second major film, after "Warrior", which was only OK, but this is a masterpiece IMNTBHO.

Rated R for prevalent violence, and some profanity.

Sully (2016)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Hanks and Eastwood a great team, 10 September 2016

While this may not be Hank's most demanding role, I think it will certainly be one of his most memorable, along with "Forrest Gump" and "Saving Private Ryan". And Eastwood met the challenge of telling the truth of the story in an engaging way without loosing the audience in tedium or BS. And I was glad to see that serious attention was paid to aeronautical reality in a movie--for a change. For those interested in how well the movie does stick to the facts, re: the go to source for that, . For me, one of the two highlights of the film was what happened after the aircraft was ditched, in how the passengers didn't panic, and how well the rescue effort went. The other was the climax with Sullenberger's & Skiles testimony before the NTSB investigation (read "trial") which was in a much larger venue than I would have thought.

The one thing the movie (and the actual investigation, apparently) didn't cover was how things are changed when making a dead-stick (no thrust) landing in an airliner, which without thrust, have been likened to flying a brick. With a runway, you have only one shot aiming for a specific point--in this case surrounded by many tall buildings, and they didn't exactly have much time to see how far they could glide anyway. Better to have something flat, very wide and very very long, even if it is wet. The space shuttle is the only large aircraft that routinely does (or did) dead stick landings; and that's with much study, training, practice, and (at least at first) landing on a dry lake bed--offering plenty of wiggle-room.

What Sullenberger told 60 Minutes had to have been going through his head that day, "The only viable alternative, the only level, smooth place sufficiently large to land an airliner, was the river". The only semi-error they made was not to hit the ditch button which would have sealed the vents in the airplane (though the tail section was breached on landing) because it was at the end of the checklist which they didn't have time to complete. They made a big deal out of his starting the aux power unit (APU) out of checklist order. Just sayin'. That should have been the co-pilots's cue when Sully looks at him 10 seconds before ditching and asks, "Any ideas?". (A "DITCH" button, who'd've thunk.)

Nerve (2016)
2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Should teens see this?, 28 July 2016

So, should you let your twixt-ten-and-twenty kids see this? Superb story line and execution with little to no use of formulaic plot devices or simplistic teen music--which makes it easier for adults to watch. It's basically a Pokeyman Go game with money and FAME as the rewards, only with increasingly dangerous dares. It's right into the wheelhouse of its "I'm bulletproof" target teen audience. It shows exactly how addicting something like this would most likely be, as well where this out of control path to daredevil thrill/fame seeking so often takes us.

I see plenty of movies for younger kids since they usually have material adults can appreciate mixed in. But as a rule, I avoid movies directed straight at teens, especially horror. This, however, is about as good as I can remember a movie for this particularly audience being. In fact, when I saw all the teens, mostly girls, coming into the theater, for a 1 PM showing, and then several teen slasher previews, I almost walked out. But the premise made me stick it out, and I'm glad I did.

As for the opening question, I recommend a very hearty but advised, yes. Adulation derived adrenaline could well be the new drug of the future, and it's always better to face something head on than to ignore it. With caring parents and relatives, this can actually be a good source for a life lesson discussion--and to its credit, the movie is on your side. But you really need to see it too (separately?) so you can help them think through what really happens, so they don't just conclude, "well I would do it better". The message for the "watchers" at the end is the real point, in tandem with the insanity of excessive physical risk taking.

210 out of 433 people found the following review useful:
An Expose of History., 20 July 2016

It doesn't open wide until Jul 22, but 3 days prior there's already an enormous canyon between the critics (10%) and the audience (76%) on Rotten Tomatoes. What did we expect? The movie opens saying it was based on truth, but I think it's better to say that it's a documentation of suppressed history. I learned a lot and it confirmed a lot. One newbie for me is Ida B. Wells, one of the founders of the NAACP, who was a Republican and worked for a Republican newspaper in Chicago, documenting lynchings, working for women's suffrage, and was even thrown off a train for refusing to give up her seat on the first class ladies coach in 1884. (In a twist, she sued the RR but lost when her black lawyer sold out. Then she hired a white lawyer and won! But that was overturned by the no doubt all white, Tenn Supreme Court). Her home is a Chicago landmark, but till now she's a near nothing but a footnote to history, and an embarrassment to the Democrat Party.

The high point for me was when D'Souza came through and revealed facts that showed Lyndon Johnson to be the corrupt, vulgar racist he always was and remained, and explained why Johnson did what he did. It is a very powerful sequence. And of course the details of Hillary's background are eye-openers if not stomach grinders.

The actors, when used, are pretty cheesy, but otherwise it's a respectable production. The facts are there for all to see and take home to verify. Those already on the political right will appreciate the details and confirmation he provides, and it will certainly help tip the scales further away from Hillary by Independents.

20 out of 31 people found the following review useful:
A rebellion against the rebellion, 24 June 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A powerful action-drama about a local Mississippi rebellion against the Confederate rebellion, brought about by Southern corruption, conscripting men, and confiscating supplies and livestock, without reimbursement, in order to support the army in its fight for the Southern plantation system. The last straw for the main character, Newton Knight, superbly played by Matthew McConaughey, was the passing of the 20 slave law that exempted 1 white man for every 20 slaves—in order to prevent a slave rebellion what with so many white males being off to war. It's a gritty depiction of the sordid underbelly of an already corrupt slave economy. It's a reminder, as if we needed one, of the reprehensible conditions some of our ancestors (on both sides) imposed on their society; but neither justifies either hate or guilt this far removed from it or the Jim Crow laws. It also depicts the courageous good things that others got right. The end of the movie balances things with a political statement when it shows a mixed-race group, armed with guns I must add, marching into town on election day and demanding Republican ballots. It's easy to forget that Lincoln and the Abolitionists were Republicans; while Klansmen (including "former" Klansmen) occupied some of our highest offices, and were allied with Democrats into the 21st Century.

6 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
I tried but I can't say enough bad about it., 14 May 2016

A Christian ambush piece that nobody's gonna see but other evangelical Christians--well almost nobody. I stuck it out for 30 minutes but I couldn't keep my jaw closed, so I bolted. The "actors" must have gone to some retro golden age of 30's era faux overacting school. Yes, "freedom is knowing who you are", but what does that have to do with this? Just the opposite. No way this is a 7.9 without ballot stuffing. Oh, and the music is probably why so many people think of heaven as hell. 0/10 The bot is telling me I don't have enough lines but what can you say when if you say anything more it would be like piling on. When the horse lies dead in the street, how shall the oats pass through for the sparrows. Keep kicking it I guess. There.

13 Hours (2016)
8 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Remember the Alamo, 17 January 2016

It's impossible to separate the politics from this "true story" of valor, but I can't imagine why anyone would even try. It's blatantly obvious that security at the compound was woefully inadequate, which was brought up by Ambassador Stevens and others down the chain; but the lack of response using F-16s and a C-130 gunship which were standing by cries out for Administration transparency. Instead, we were told it was an impromptu demonstration generated by a video on YouTube. Even if that lie had been true, so what? Does that mean those assets should not have been used and the security team told to "stand down" The movie doesn't offer any explanations for why no response was authorized, though it does beg the question for the reason for such a lack of response. The closest it comes is to show an image of the White House just after the attack begins, with the subscript, "The POTUS is briefed". Technically, the movie is pretty phenomenal in it's recreation of the events, though it is hard to follow at times--though that could be written off as an accurate portrayal of the fog of war. But enough already with even its occasional use of the shaky-cam. At times it looked like I was watching it through helmet-cams like someone playing "Call of Duty", which I guess could be considered a compliment to the film and/or the game.

One of the six, Mark Geist, equated this battle to holding the Alamo, though this turned out better for all but four of the defenders. That's a good analogy, with Al Qaeda standing in for General Santa Anna; but the likes of those "Texians" such as Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett, didn't have cameras from above beaming their actions back to Washington--or reinforcements being held idle only minutes away.

5 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
One-Sided Story, 25 December 2015

OK, first off, there ain't near enough humor in it for it to be labeled a comedy by the awards shows. And yeah, it's an incomplete picture, but only because it pulls up short at every opportunity it had to present the whole story.

The scene with the model in the bubble-bath sipping champagne while mulling over the implications of all those sub-prime mortgages came as close as it got to spilling the beans. Then there was the ditsy former government regulator who was now on the payroll of the people she used to regulate (or vice versa). And amidst all the international chaos, it never mentions Canada which never succumbed to the politically correct pursuit of "affordable housing" which mandated that lending institutions ignore minimal prudent background qualifications for a mortgage--and thus avoided the crisis as much as it could in such close proximity to the US.

Yeah, the banks ran with it when the saw Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac buying up all that bad debt. But who started the whole thing and who enabled/forced it on the banks? With all the technical talk they get into in the banking end of the mortgage industry, it never mentions the Community Reinvestment Act (which goes back to Carter), or Dodd/Frank.

The production quality and cast of the movie is way above a 7/10, but this one-sided aspect to the story drags it down to the category of propaganda. It more than just ignores the cause of the problem.

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Outstanding, 29 September 2015

Biggest disparity between a box office and my score, ever. An indescribably small $1.3 mil ($1.6 including international !), though the ratings are relatively high by those who have actually seen it. Excellent performances by Maguire, Schreiber and especially Sarsgaard, who was the character I identified with the most. I'm guessing most of the subtle humor wasn't obvious, to most--some of it being Chess humor. The movie perfectly portrays the fact that we'll never know how much of Bobby was show and strategy, and how much mental problems.

Excellent to outstanding use of music, especially "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane from 40+ years before--which beyond doubt had to have been written and performed expressly for this move. If they'd have included "One Night in Bangkok", at least in the credits, it'd have finished it off exquisitely, "I get my kicks above the waistline, Sunshine"---but I'm obviously in a very small minority.

P.S. You don't even have to know how to play chess, because they don't dwell on the actual play.

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