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These are the movies that left me thinking for days or weeks - sometimes popping into my head over years. Some can be viewed repeatedly, some absolutely require it, others don't improve with multiple viewings. But they all stick for a long time.
IMDb promises Drama, Horror, Mystery, and Fortitude delivers
The best summary I saw here said, "Superb show not for faint hearts or the lazy." That about sums it up. I'm shocked at all the negative reviews here.
I just finished Season 1. The story can be very hard to predict at times. When it's predictable I still wasn't *sure* I was predicting correctly.
Other reviewers' complaints: Character names aren't realistic - I don't care. Characters seem to act stupid or erratic - I agree, but that's part of the mystery of the story. Characters don't zip up their coats properly for the supposed temperature - really? Norway doesn't have sheriffs - this show is clearly intended to attract a global audience, not just Norwegians, so who cares if some aspects get watered down a bit for the general viewing public? Story is boring - I'm sure they didn't watch the same show I did.
There are a LOT of characters in Fortitude. It's the new style of TV, and it works here. There's a lot going on, including a lot of back-story explained along the way. And, most important to me, the characters are easily distinguishable. They look different, dress different, have unique faces (some are actors I recognize which helps). The casting here is superb and really helps one follow the twisting storyline.
Dark, moody, cold and somehow claustrophobic, Fortitude is a very fun show. Sort of like Northern Exposure but with the creepiness of X-Files.
The Last Man(s) on Earth (2012)
So good it almost doesn't deserve to be called a "B movie."
This movie is fantastic. Hilarious, weird, offbeat, mostly unpredictable. It starts weird and just gets cooler and cooler.
I watched this by accident, thinking it was the pilot episode of a TV show everyone is raving about (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3230454/). I was amazed at the quality and style of this new TV show! It felt like something FOX would air in the early 90s - like In Living Color (www.imdb.com/title/tt0098830/). This is something totally new and different. I've never seen a movie quite like this.
Yes, it's a bit low budget. But the low budget quality actually fits the style of the two characters' YouTube videos. And key ingredients are definitely A-grade: lighting, acting. If you can enjoy seriously stupid funny, like Tucker and Dale vs Evil (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1465522/), then this movie is for you! This movie deserves so much more than its current 3.6 rating. And right now it's free on Amazon Prime! Enjoy.
Event Horizon (1997)
Tense, honestly scary sci-fi
You want to be scared? This movie scared the bejeezus out of me. So much so I didn't watch it a 2nd time for eighteen years.
This movie is just a wee bit rough around the edges. Some moments are filled with a tad over-acting, or over-writing, creating drama artificially. And one or two little nit-picks in the story don't keep up with today's technology. But they don't stop the story. Still, overall, this movie freaks me out. There are scenes so slow and brutally honest where I had to cover my eyes still.
You want sci-fi horror? This is it. I'm surprised at the low rating.
... well according to IMDb I cannot post a review with less than 10 lines. By my math the above review contains 12 lines. So I'll throw this on here to hopefully convince the bot. Still, this is an awesomely scary sci-fi movie which mostly holds up from the 1990s to today. Highly recommend if you've seen all the biggest blockbusters.
The Equalizer (2014)
Mostly atmosphere, zero story
At the end of it all, I found this movie very boring. The story is old as dirt. The plot is so obvious that as soon as characters appear on screen one can identify, "He'll be killed," "She'll be kidnapped and used as bait," "Something bad's gonna happen to him," and my all-time favorite, "He's the innocent, likable guy introduced early then ignored for 90 minutes (so we'll forget about him), only to have him turn up as a hostage in the big showdown." And every prediction is spot-on.
Example of bad writing: Two thugs walking up to a door. The last thing Thug 2 says to Thug 1 as they approach the door, "Whatever you do, don't call him Little John." Very next shot, inside the door, Thug 1 starts talking smack... and guess what he does? When the setup is literally 5 seconds earlier, we all see it coming. Give us the setup in a different location, maybe? Or at least disguise the setup amidst a longer, funny/entertaining conversation? Nope, just lay out that one line setup, then walk on in. We the viewers will just deal with it.
Denzel's character is likable. I mean, insanely likable. Beyond the depth of my willful suspension of disbelief likable. He's always friendly, always in a good mood, always smiling. He's ecstatic just to be alive. Everyone loves being near him. He's never "just a guy." He's more helpful than a college professor, more inspirational than a priest, more motivational that a fitness instructor. Every scene in his workplace (which is visited repeatedly throughout the movie) includes no less than 2 background guys smiling giddily when Denzel arrives to work, and laughing loud at every word Denzel speaks. Going to work at Home Depot - sorry, "Home Mart" - surely isn't like that in real life.
But there's more to Denzel, isn't there? Who is this guy? Where'd he come from? Who knows? We'll never know. But clearly he's bad-ass. More moves than Shakira and deadlier than Seal Team Six. He seems to know how to handle any situation and any number of attackers - just because. No reason; he's just awesome. If you ever saw the classic comedy PLANET TERROR, just think of the scene, "Give him the gun. Give him all the guns." Because, ya know, he's just so bad-ass for no logical reason.
The bad guy was awesome. While Denzel's fight scenes were a lot of super-close blurry shots, the few scenes where the Bad Guy establishes his badness were rather good, very tense, very violent and cringe-worthy.
THE EQUALIZER has all latest bells and whistles with music, atmosphere, and build-up. The one female lead is developed nicely (especially compared to every other innocent victim who may as well have stepped out of Little House On The Prairie). Much of the movie is very tense, and keeps you hanging on to each scene, waiting to see what happens next. But ultimately, we all know Denzel will kick ass, so it's all just a waiting game. It felt very long. The wait is made so much worse when the viewer knows exactly what's coming. There's just no surprises here. You've seen this movie 500 times, I'm sure.
Oh yeah, and Denzel knows everything. He appears magically inside buildings and rooms where one shouldn't be able to sneak in. He has cell phone numbers one shouldn't have access to - the characters even comment on it, "How the hell did you get that number?!" No answer. Doesn't matter. It's a movie. Just turn off your brain and enjoy the tension building. How does Denzel know when the bad guys will appear at a time and place, so he can intercept them in the night? Don't know, doesn't matter, I guess. How does Denzel sneak into a closet-sized room without the occupant noticing? How does Denzel have time to set up his trap, rig wires, etc, without anyone seeing this work being done? Who cares, the resulting deaths are cool.
Go to sleep. Tune out. Enjoy. But don't expect to take this movie with you. You'll have forgotten it by the time you leave the parking lot.
Man of Steel (2013)
Clear your mind of the past 75 years, and you can enjoy this SUPERMAN
I owe much thanks to another IMDb review that stated essentially that - just forget everything you know about the Superman story, and you can enjoy this movie.
It was impossible for me not to draw parallels with Christopher Reeve's 1977 Superman. This story is certainly based on the history of Superman we all know. But it's been modernized - big time. So just brace yourself for this update, and you can enjoy this story.
The number of coincidences in the plot were annoying. Sometimes inconvenient loose ends are simply dropped and ignored (but try as I might, I couldn't forget them). And the shaky cam, while improved here, in my opinion, was still overused and over-the-top.
Unlike the 1977 movie where Reeves follows a straight path from Krypton, to farm boy, to hero, this Superman meanders. He struggles to figure out where to go, how to live his life, etc. I think this is why other reviews call the story line a "mess." But it's intentional. He's an outcast, in hiding, without an instruction manual. So his story is directionless and confused, for a long time. That's the real story arc of this movie. It's Clark Kent figuring out - what next? I was thoroughly entertained, thanks to the warning to clear my mind of expectations.
Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
Just okay. Decent action, but somehow just too trite.
It's impossible not to think of other movies to compare while watching OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN. And that's the first clue that you're watching a mediocre movie.
Most key elements of this movie are very predictable. Either we've seen it before, or it was simply directed and edited in a way that foreshadows the next scene, and ruins the excitement factor.
Characters repeatedly do things the typical viewer would do differently (and would do better/smarter/faster). That makes it impossible to truly care for the characters.
The lead actors are pretty good in their roles, but there's little heart. I felt more of a connection to random background characters than I did to the stars. The audience should very easily relate to the hero. But he felt nearly paper thin. He had the strength of character, good morals, higher than average intelligence and balls to do the job, but I just didn't care too much about him.
It's decent action flick with lots of guns and explosions. But save your money and wait for the rental. You're not missing anything special here.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The Dark Kni - ho-hum! yawn. excuse me - ight Rises
The Dark Knight - it looked good. The music score was great. It had mood - lots and lots of mood. The antagonist stole the show every time he walked on screen. Bane looked and sounded good. Every time I was stuck watching someone else, I wished Bane would return just so I can listen to him talk (and yeah, you had to focus, at times, to understand him).
They did a great job letting us know who was "in on it." One can easily see - and is often reminded, with great repetition - who knows Batman, who likes him, who distrusts him, etc.
By my lord, what a boring movie. I just didn't care one bit about anything on the screen. I was rather begging for it to end. This one I should have saved for a $1 rental. But to be honest, if I watched this from my sofa, I would never, never stay away two and a half hours through this.
My thoughts are with the families in Aurora, Colorado. I love the movies - particularly big-bang movies on the big screen. And I went to see The Dark Knight Rises partly out of sympathy and support for both the victims of that awful event, and also for the love of my summer pastime, movies on the big silver screen. So, you see where my heart is. I really wanted to like TDKR. But sorry, this movie was just plain boring.
I immediately voted this a 9-star. But a day later, I've upped my opinion to full 10-stars. I cannot think of a way to improve TED. It was simply hilarious.
As you might suspect, there's a lot of stupid humor in TED. When I saw the dumb jokes coming, I would mentally prepare myself to simply hold my breath until it was over, knowing that more intelligent humor would follow. But more often than I care to admit, the "dumb" humor wore me down until I burst out laughing like I haven't laughed at a movie since PLANES TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES or FAMILY VACATION. In my opinion, TED is an instant classic like those movies.
Sure, TED is offensive and gross. But it's freakin' funny.
I heard the "FAMILY GUY" connection only *after* seeing the movie. I had no idea who Seth MacFarlane was, nor this movie's relationship to FAMILY GUY. Full disclosure: I cannot stand Family Guy. I tried watching it long ago, like three times. Each time I lasted about two minutes and had to turn it off. Just terrible. But TED is hilarious. So if you hate Family Guy, that doesn't necessarily mean you won't laugh at TED.
There are lines, entire scenes, and facial expressions re-running through my head all day today.
Full-stars, thumbs up, all that. If you can stand some foul language, and foul jokes, and you enjoy cultural references (going back to 1980), then run, do not walk, to see TED.
The Hot Chick (2002)
so much better than the 5.4 rating
Was this movie kinda stupid? Yes. But you should know that going in. And knowing that in advance, you should allow yourself to enjoy it.
I just randomly caught this movie on TV and was very pleasantly surprised. It's silly, it's stupid, it's often over the top, it's heartwarming, it's well filmed.
And Rob Schneider was AWESOME in this movie. I was stunned. He really, truly, was fantastic playing the part of a teenage girl. It was as if Rob Schneider didn't know he was in a stupid, slapstick comedy. And as a result, he sells us the story even more completely.
I'm a child of the 80s, and this movie reminded me a bit of the original "Just One Of The Guys." For a simple good time, this movie will do just fine.
Man on a Ledge (2012)
6.6 is too low - It's better than that
Sure, the whole story is completely implausible. Then characters are cliché, and the story is trite. But I don't care. MAN ON A LEDGE worked for me.
I wanted some basic action flick, and this delivers. I watched the movie without watching the trailers, or even the clip loop at the beginning of the DVD. They do reveal too much of the story. Not knowing anything (much) about the story, I was able to enjoy some of the twists and turns. As thin as the plot was, it was still fun.
Don't expect too much and you won't be disappointed. It's good, basic action and suspense, and leaves you feeling, "Eh, I was entertained for a while."