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AaronCapenBanner

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2252 reviews in total 
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The Grey (2011)
Into The Fray, 7 January 2015
8/10

Joe Carnahan directed this taut existentialist adventure/drama that stars Liam Neeson(superb) as John Ottway, who works for a big oil company in Alaska shooting wolves and anything else that may threaten the oil rig workers. Ottway is depressed, as he is still grieving for his beloved wife. Things get even worse for him when the company transport plane he is on crashes in the snowy Alaskan wilderness, forcing him and six other survivors in a grueling trek for survival both against the bitter snow and cold, but also against a merciless pack of wolves that want them out of their territory, and will go after them one at a time to accomplish this, as Alpha male Ottway must ultimately go head-to-head against the Alpha male wolf. Intelligent film is quite well-directed and written, and overcomes having mostly unappealing supporting characters by getting better as it goes along, leading to a fitting end.

Will stay with you after it is over...

The Fifth Time, 6 January 2015
3/10

"How could the same thing happen to the same guy five times?"

That line isn't in this, the fifth "Die Hard" film, though that question may go through the minds of viewers. To be fair, there were five "Death Wish" films with Charles Bronson, and five "Dirty Harry" films with Clint Eastwood, so why not five with star Bruce Willis? A great pity that this film is mostly bad, with an uninteresting and confusing plot about John McClane coming to the aid of his CIA agent son Jack(Jai Courtney) in Russia battling various underworld forces. Lots of action scenes that are all sound and fury signifying nothing are of no help, and it looks like a video game passing itself off as a feature film.

Sorry John...

Gravity (2013)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Survival, 30 December 2014
7/10

Alfonso Cuaron directed this visually stunning film that stars Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone, who is on her first outer space mission aboard the space shuttle Explorer, along with veteran astronaut Mathew Kowalski(played by George Clooney) who get a massive shock when debris from a destroyed Russian missile causes a chain reaction in space, sending more debris hurtling towards them as they are away from the shuttle, which is destroyed, putting them both in a fight for survival to get back to Earth before their oxygen wears out, and more debris arrives... Marvelous F/X and direction really put the viewer in space like never before captured, even if the story and characters don't reach the same heights of inspiration.

Penguins At The South Pole, 27 December 2014
8/10

Fascinating and beautifully made documentary narrated by actor Morgan Freeman shows the migratory journey of a colony of emperor penguins at the south pole who must make the 70-mile trek from their shores inland in order to get to the mating grounds, where they face even more hardships, as it is the mothers who must make the return journey to the water in order to find food(evading waiting predators), and the fathers who stay behind to take care of their egg by concealing them under a flap of furry skin to shield them from the blistering cold, while they face starvation themselves. Even after the eggs are hatched(not all will survive) they face threats from predators and continued freezing weather, as they live in the harshest climate on Earth... A real achievement in filmmaking will resonate most with animal lovers, but will still appeal to all in fine family entertainment.

Holiday Mix-Up, 22 December 2014
7/10

Highly imaginative film tells the story of Pumpkin King Jack Skellington, who is the star of Halloweentown, where all sorts of scary monsters and bizarre characters live. Trouble starts when Jack finds himself getting bored with the routine of the Halloween celebrations, and after stumbling upon Christmastown, which is unlike anything he has ever seen before, decides to kidnap "Sandy Claws" and take his place that Christmas, only the toys he'll be delivering will be anything but merry... Though it may take time to warm up to, since most of the characters are quite(purposely) grotesque, once this story gets going it becomes most entertaining and surprising, though of course there is more Halloween here than Christmas...

Rescuers Return, 22 December 2014
6/10

Entertaining sequel to "The Rescuers" sees Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor back to voice the characters of Bernard and Bianca mouse of the rescue service, which operates out of the UN to help children in need, and in this tale a young boy living in Australia has been abducted by an evil poacher called Mr. McLeach(voiced by George C. Scott) who wants the boy to lead him to a large and rare eagle that he wants to kill, but the boy refuses. It is up to Bernard and Bianca to save the day again... Though not as charming and moving as the first, this still is a respectable effort, with a worthwhile message and an ambitious visual approach. Shame there wasn't a third adventure...

Sorry Babe..., 22 December 2014
1/10

Sequel to "Babe" picks up after the first one ends, with a triumphant babe returning home to Hoggett farm, but disaster awaits as farmer Hoggett(played by a sidelined James Cromwell) is injured in a freak accident, forcing his wife to take babe on a trip to the city to make money, only to be separated in an increasingly tragic set of circumstances, as neither of them may make it home again...Disastrous sequel is a complete botch from top to bottom, containing none of the charm and warmth of the first, instead contains an unappealing, unbelievably contrived story that goes nowhere, and an ending that is nothing but a bloated cartoon-like slapstick fiasco. Utterly pointless film is best ignored, as it can only mar an otherwise classic original.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Mutant Timelines, 15 December 2014
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Seventh "X-Men" film is the darkest yet, as lethal giant mutant-killing robots called Sentinels have hunted down nearly all mutants, leaving a handful of survivors including Professor Xavier(Patrick Stewart) and Magneto(Ian McKellen) who devise a desperate plan to send Wolverine(Hugh Jackman) back in time by sending his mind into his 1973 self, where he must convince the younger Xavier and Magneto to team up and stop Mystique(Jennifer Lawrence) from inadvertently causing the disaster in the first place... Though lots of skill is on display here, the use of time-travel is preposterous, not to mention disturbingly nihilistic(what's to prevent the past from being changed again, without some kind of order to stop it?) and ultimately self-defeating, trying to rectify previous films' perceived mistakes that really weren't, and only succeeding in creating a big mess itself far worse than the previous films! Should have left well enough alone without the contrived inclusion of time-travel, a real cheat and cop-out after the plot paints itself into a corner it never should have in the first place...

Two Dogs & A Cat, 3 December 2014
7/10

Disney adaptation of the Sheila Burnford novel tells the heart-warming tale of two dogs(a golden retriever & a bull terrier) along with a Siamese cat named Tao whose guardians go away on trips, and through an accident, the three animal friends are left behind so decide to make the long journey back to them because that is what loyal pets do! Along the way, they encounter various animals and people as they grow increasingly hungry and tired, and even get separated for a time before their absence is discovered, which starts a worried search to find these lost furry friends before it is too late... Pleasant and interesting film with fine direction will no doubt appeal most to animal lovers who will recognize the same traits in their own pets.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Eerie & Atmospheric Documentary Series, 1 December 2014
9/10

Surprisingly superb TV series first aired on the Discovery Channel and consistently offered atmospheric and eerie recreations of reputedly true cases of hauntings, which come in the form of both ghosts and demons. Every unsuspecting family or couple who move into a new house encounter increasingly sinister and hostile paranormal forces that compel them to seek the help of the Church and/or paranormal investigators, with varying degrees of success. Stylish direction & music creates a palpable feeling of menace and dread as events escalate in chilling fashion. Though always featuring re-enactments with on-camera interviews with the real life people, this approach still works, and results are better than you would expect from a "reality" series, of which this is the best contemporary version of by far, emulating earlier classic series like "In Search Of..." & "Unsolved Mysteries".


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