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74 reviews in total 
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Fare (2016)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Technically Competent and Sufficiently Performed, But the Story is Where It Collapses, 1 March 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Fare is the directorial debut of Thomas Torrey, who also wrote the script and played the protagonist. It's not a complete disaster, but even at one hour and fifteen minutes, the film feels like a writer's crisis.

The first minutes set the stage with Torrey (Eric) driving a couple of customers as a ride-share driver; of course the one customer that is of any significance is the one with whom he shares a philosophical -- and out-of-place, and rather unrealistic, to be honest -- conversation. Bits of the conversation become material for another key scene with Patrick, who is sleeping with Eric's wife and happens to get on his car (yeah, unlikely, but however unlikely, it's possible, I guess). By far this conversation between the victim and the villain(?) is the most intriguing sequence out of the entire film, and it sort of gets interesting when Eric's wife unexpectedly joins the conversation.

From there, however, it all goes downhill. There's no need to go into detail what transpires afterwards; it suffices to say that the film's final act feels like a writer just giving up because he can't come up with anything interesting. Still, the film is a technically competent one with decent performances.

Prometheus (2012/I)
2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
What It Lacks in Plot, It Compensates in Suspense and Philosophical Depth, 6 June 2012

It would be hard to compare this to Scott's introduction of the Alien species, but if I have to, I would say it lacks the kind of horror that Alien brought and its suspense falls flat, though not by much.

What it manages to do more than the first installment is that it adds a layer of philosophical, constantly in pursuit of the origins of mankind, and ultimately mortality. The visuals no doubt outmatched the original, thanks to modern technology, but the effects seem to be behind similarly foreign planets settings like Avatar.

The suspense is maintained since the arrival at the planet of our makers, and most would expect countless answers flooding in as the plot unfolds. That is not really the case. In fact, there are questions left unanswered. One thing is for sure, it is an enjoyment, though not the same kind when you are watching the original, and it seems to promise a sequel, which I will gladly watch should it come.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Big Miracle: Culturally Rich, Adequately Emotional Despite the Occasional Clichés, 1 June 2012

A film that takes place in Alaska, and offers great insight into the local culture, that's what Big Miracle ends up being. It is also fairly edited into cut scenes of appropriate length and relevance, with the insertion of layers of sentiments undoubtedly sufficient to please viewers. The performances differ, from character to character, along with the fact that screen time is quite split on account of a diversity of characters with different personality, but interestingly united under a shared purpose, to save three whales in great danger. It is not what you call an epic adventure, but it wields that kind of sweetness and authenticity to appeal. Notwithstanding the clichés that happen here and there, the film still remains a solid family experience and a great in-depth coverage of an alternate landscape and an alternate lifestyle in the Alaskan culture.

Battleship (2012)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Battleship: Heated Action Coupled with Disappointing Story, 28 May 2012

Another of Hollywood's great investment down the drain. A brief review is sufficient to sum up the entire movie.

There is no way one can deny the intense action and visuals going on, though the diversity of landscapes remains lacking, as most of the run-time displays a vast oceanic war between, well, battleships. Aliens' high-tech shape-shifting energy-emitting battleships versus the navy, to be precise. This is easily compared to recent The Avengers, which is definitely more story-driven and well-written, more commercially successful, and brings a higher degree and greater variety of action. Battleship falls flat in every single aspect in the match.

In other words, it is a Transformers-style effortless writing of a script that disappoints. Unoriginal and cheesy and a cookie-cutter action sci-fi, if you want to put it that away. If you are going to the cinema to watch this for the pure action, it may still be worth your money. However, if what you seek is something beyond, if what desire is a refreshing and creative plot-line, don't bother.

Iron Sky (2012)
2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Iron Sky: Journey to the Moon Packed with Action and Hilarious Moments, 28 May 2012

Boy, do we miss Mars Attacks!.

Iron Sky is a joint production from Finland, Australia and of course, Germany (The Nazis never get old in movies, sci-fi or not), a short journey to the dark surface of Earth's moon, a tale about a secret base constructed by the Nazis who fled to the Moon after losing the Second World War. There is no disappointment in the comedic aspect: it is a package comprising sidesplitting ideas, stereotyping-made-funny moments and sometimes comedy in pure action.

Mars Attacks! had a ridiculously stars-filled cast and criticism on acting is out of the picture, but Iron Sky proves that a well-written comedy may not need that. It is established as something equally funny and it has action - intense spaceship action on both our home planet and the frigid side of the moon.

In a comedic way, it also sets forth its message appropriately, and adequately in a way that it still maintains its nature of a light and action-packed comedy.

All in all, it is a great piece of science fiction filled with action and some silliness.

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A Single Mother's Journey to Reflection and Reconciliation, 24 May 2012

Notes from the Heart Healer is a light family film that attempts to discuss family ties and relationships between total strangers. It is a small-scaled TV movie that describes the journey of a single mother in a moderate pace and an appropriate tone throughout. The film begins with a dilemma of a single mother whose husband is no longer around, and sets off a journey to ultimate reflection and reconciliation.

Violet is a desperate mother of very young age, sick and has just been terminated from her employment. She comes up with a difficult decision - leaving the infant with someone who can care for him - and it is one that drives the drama into motion. What follows is an intact combination of dramatic elements and a sentimental trip from loss to being found.

Peyton and King, a newly married couple, are given the characters of total strangers, yet they remain also two main backbone characters that move the film forward as they are left with the responsibility of temporarily taking care of the abandoned child. Peyton is also facing her dark past, and is herself in a dilemma no easier to extricate from than Violet.

Violet eventually meets with Peyton, and they together form another intriguing relationship as more is revealed about Violet's family and her husband who is not here to help take care of his own child. It also brings out the husband's father, and ergo it leads to another troubled relationship between him and Violet.

Notes from the Heart Healer is a movie made for TV that is both moving and mind-stimulating, devoid of unrelated silliness or a pace too slow, and, pulls itself together by its meaning and emotional effect despite the lack of top-class acting.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
The Dictator: Nothing More...Nothing Less, 23 May 2012

Sacha Baron Cohen appears as the dictator Aladeen of his own dictated country, and as usual, it is a film similar to Borat, a successful comedy full of sidesplitting moments. It is the usual style of this writer-actor, translating the "wrong" ideas into constant laughter. Unfortunately it is a film that offers no clear message and seemingly over the journey of the entire film there is not much learned; the Dictator is still the same old Dictator, though he claims he understands more.

Anyway, it is still a pure comedy that shines with nicely written jokes, funny one-liners, and racism and sexism made laughable. To fully appreciate a film like this, all moral standards must exist, but it is a film that is asking you not temporarily care less about such rules.

There is no much in depth to say this film. It is a great comedy because it is funny. It is by no means a good drama not because it lacks the elements in its making, but because it wasn't intended for this to be a drama. So accept the fact that this is all comedy, and enjoy the fun that probably can only last through a one-time, yet worthwhile watch.

Me Again (2012)
16 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
Learning to Cherish the Things You Have, 22 May 2012

True, it is a story about a man learning a profound lesson through a trek of uncommon experiences. True, these experiences are somewhat supernatural and explained in the miracle-from-God cheesy style. And true, such experiences are by no means innovative and can be considered a fairy-tale enchantment. Still, it is a little gem that illuminates in a miniature yet successful way, thanks to its essential message, its gradual and managed delivery and its surprisingly good transition from what feels like misplaced pieces of chaos to a complete conclusion with an apt reflection.

The start of the film is the end of the film, though nothing is revealed (nothing but the message that it is going to be a family film classified within the usual formula and that it will end happily). The lessons learned and the process are indeed experienced through watching the story that fills the gap. Rich starts as a disoriented mid-aged man who has lost his purpose in life and prays in the hopes of being someone else, anyone other than himself, and for your convenience, indeed, what he gets is what he wishes for. The twist is that it happens uncontrollably. Rich begins to be able to control different individual, some seemingly being predetermined, while others feel completely random. Through stepping into others' shoes and viewing with different eyes, Rich slowly learns and grasps the meaning in life, along with other significant messages about family and love, and his marriage most noticeably. He decidedly turns his disadvantage into determination and strives for a new life and a place back to his family whom he misses. As the transitions between different living beings increase and the randomness seems to set in, a sense of unconstrained chaos arises, causing the film to be slightly off its track, but it is ultimately satisfying to see a nice conclusion and relation and at least some degree of relevance in the things and ideas involved.

The performances are mediocre but in no way hinder the development of the plot line and the display of message. The closure has the ability to strengthen the film and reinforce ideas, and conclude in a satisfying style and in a proper tone. All in all, the story is organized well and everything has the closure it deserves. Amid the silliness there are quite a few heartfelt and hilarious moments that adds a foundation of sentiments to this well-developed indie production.

Big Fish (2003)
An Admirable Art Form, 19 May 2012

You can say Big Fish is a queer kind of theme for the great plot and little stories it comprises, but undeniably it is a genuine piece of art that continues to amaze viewers in personal ways for each individual. It is the kind of film that is distinctively moving, special, and special in different, varying ways for different people.

On the surface, it is a son's penetratingly emotional journey to reconcile with his father. It depicts a story that reconnects a parting relationships, and experiences that inspire. The tone is light and easily manages to pull the audience in, without the usual cheesy elements. The film starts and ends with a big fish, and in between are uncountable stories that are intriguingly touching and inspirational.

There are no easy words to describe such a vivid experience that can only be experienced first-hand through directly viewing the bittersweet journey of a man's life and the underlying reflections.

5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Engaging Drama Set on a Truly Beautiful Island, 16 May 2012

The Diary of Preston Plummer was set on an island of great scenery and filled with the beauty of nature, gradually inserting elements of crime into what starts as a drama or romance.

Preston has just graduated high school, and meets Kate in a party. He takes her home and she asks for a favor - to drive her back home where her parents' hotel are - which he accepts. The true greatness of the countryside sets in, and at the same time we learn about Kate's family and her grandpa. Grandpa meets Preston, talks without making much sense, fills the conversation with seemingly inexplicable riddles and a plethora of unanswered questions. The story begins as develop, as both the romance and the secrets in this family are revealed. Preston becomes determined to look for the truth, and things come to a conclusion as the matters are settled.

This is an above average drama and delivers viewers a satisfying experience throughout. It is a love story, but one that has deeper layers, one that digs deeper into family secrets, which soon incorporate into the romantic relationship going on between the two young lovers. It is engaging enough to keep the audience attentive and entertained for a relatively short span of 80 minutes. But it is effective in bringing about its messages about greed and family relationships. On top of that, it is an unusual love story set in a different environment, which is refreshing with comforting music and the bless of nature.

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