Reviews written by registered user
|109 reviews in total|
Where is a blue light when you need one? If you take elements of I, Robot, The Matrix, Independence Day, Total Recall and of course Top Gun and put them all in a bowl and mixed them up, you would come up with Oblivion. This film was totally crazy and literally out of this world. And to top it all off, with all the previews and the length of this film be prepared to get butt blisters for two and a half hours. I do have to say that I thought the special effects were brilliantly done, especially with the ship that Jack is flying. I also liked the fact that explanations of what was going on were trickled in throughout the film, right up to the very end. Basically the film centered on a band of rebels that are left on earth after a planetary war who are fighting against the establishment. Jack (Tom Cruise) is a drone repairman with less than two weeks to go on his so called tour of duty. Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) is his eyes in the sky and takes direction from the control center that is wedged in space. As depicted in the trailer, Jack is captured by the rebel tribe and this is where the journey of discovery begins. Beech (Morgan Freeman) is the rebel leader and is determined to get Jack to see the truth. This is also the point in the film where there starts to be a lot of twists and turns. I did hear myself saying (a couple of times), "what the heck is going on here". This is when the fun started for me, because I started thinking about all the other films that this one stole from. I think that director Joseph Kosinski did a pretty good job considering the only other film that he has produced was Tron: Legacy. He is definitely headed in the right direction if this is the genre that he wants to stick with. Although the film was a little long for my taste, it was definitely not boring. The film moved at a steady pace and the little enlightenments along the way kept my interest. I think that this film does merit the price of a ticket for the CGI and cinematography alone. Oblivion did not leave me oblivious so I am going to go ahead and give this film a green light.
When I entered the theater I noticed a vast variety of folks coming to see this film; from the very old to the very young. There was even a coach that brought what seemed like his whole little league team. As you know I am not a huge fan of bio-pics, but I wanted to see this story just because of the amazing achievement of this man. I remember how hard things were in the 1960s, so I can't imagine how tough times were in 1947. The fact that Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) not only had to be a great ball player, but he also had to have the willpower to tame his temper. I am not sure that I know many men who would stand down to the abuse that he suffered. The verbal abuse that was lashed out by Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk) was really disturbing, but it did shed a lot of light on what Jackie had to deal with. Luckily Jackie had his wife Rachel (Nicole Beharie) to lean on. It was surprising that Rachel was a bit of a rebel herself, which made her very endearing. General Manager Leo Durocher (Christopher Meloni) was also a bit of a rebel; just a different kind. Leo was rambunctious and seemingly did whatever he wanted. He turned out to be a color-blind manager and he did not care what anyone else thought. Wendell Smith (Andre Holland) was the reporter tasked to chronicle this historic event. He would sit on the 3rd base line with his typewriter in his lap and capture all of Jackie's great moments as well as the intentional injuries that he incurred. Although Jackie is definitely a hero in this film, he is not the only one. Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) was a hero as well. You had to be a special kind of person to change the policies of an entire league. There were many reasons why he wanted to sign the first black player to the Brooklyn Dodgers, but I think that the one that he gave at the end of the film was the one that tugged at my heart. This is one film that I think everyone should see because there are so many lessons that can be learned and taught to the next generation. The one thing that I did not know was that during one game of every season, all the Brooklyn Dodgers wear number 42. Very cool. I give this film a green light.
Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor was conceptually a good film. It is basically about a couple who love each other, however things start getting a little bland at home and the wife feels like she is being taken for granted and things have gotten to be routine and boring. Judith (Jurnee Smolett-Bell) and Brice (Lance Gross) have known each other since they were children and they were destined to eventually get married and start a life together. Judith works for Janice (Vanessa L. Williams) at a high-end dating service. Janice has a weird French accent which struck me as kind of stupid. Her assistant is Ava (Kim Kardashian) who is a snotty (put expletive here). I am not sure if Ms. Kardashian had to do any acting in this film since I can totally see her saying everything that she said in this film in real life. Brice is your typical man and husband. He tries his hardest to keep Judith happy, but things are just not as exciting as Judith would like it to be. Brice works in a pharmacy and hopes to someday have his own pharmacy. Melinda (Brandy Norwood) is hired at the pharmacy and eventually becomes a major player in the story. Both Brice and Melinda work for Ms. Waco Chapman (Renee Taylor) who is the comic relief in the film. She had me cracking up. Basically, life is pretty normal and not that exciting. Along comes Harley (Robbie Jones) who is a multi-millionaire who is interested in investing in Janice's business. He is immediately smitten by Judith and the games begin. I think that the cast did an "okay" job, but I am not sure why there were so many skyline shots in the film. The film does deliver a good message, as all of Tyler Perry's films do. There is always a moral to the story and this one is no different. There is also the familiar religious aspect to the film. The one thing that I like about going to see a Tyler Perry film is that the audience reacts out loud and no one complains. I thought that the film moved at a good pace and there were a couple of twists and turns (which I totally saw coming), however the audience didn't. I looked around and thought to myself "ya'll didn't see that coming?" Apparently they did not. There were some things in the film that did not make sense to me, but I'll let you be the judge. Anyway, the film delivers a good message and for that reason I am giving it an amber light.
For those of you who are thinking that this film is a comedy, you would be wrong. It is more of a drama with some funny moments thrown in (although I never laughed out loud; not even once). As a matter of fact, by the time the film was over I was actually feeling a little sad. The story centers on an admissions officer for Princeton University, Portia Nathan (Tina Fey) who is responsible for combing through thousands of submission requests and evaluating who should be allowed to attend this prestigious school. On top of that, the current dean of admissions is retiring and Portia and her rival Corinne (Gloria Reuben) are both up for the job. Gearing up for her annual recruiting trip, Portia is contacted by John Pressman (Paul Rudd) to come and check out his somewhat fundamental and "earthy" school. Upon arrival John tells Portia that he thinks that one of the kids in his school is actually the child that she gave up for adoption when she was in college. Jeremiah (Nat Wolff) has been a slacker most of his life, but it turns out that he is a natural genius and was just bored in school most of the time. He gets very interested in attending Princeton and so the story begins. The film started out mildly comical, but as the story went along it became more and more serious. The two characters that did add a little light-heartedness to the film were Susannah (Lily Tomlin) who is Portia's mother and an eccentric soul. She is not much into relationships of any kind whether it is a mother/daughter or a romantic relationship. The other character that I really liked was Nelson (Travaris Meeks-Spear) who is John's adopted son who is just looking to be normal and to not go gallivanting around the globe all the time with his father. I think the cast as a whole did a really good job and the story was not boring, but I think that billing it as a comedy was the wrong way to go. The story was a lot more serious than I expected it to be, so I think that as word gets out, this film may not do as well as expected. It was not a bad film, but I am not sure that it is worth the price of a ticket. I am giving this film an amber light.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't know what the heck Todd Sklar was thinking when he wrote this film. I guess the best way that I can describe it is as a crazy dramatic comedy. While I was watching this film I kept thinking to myself, whose crazy family is this film based on? Hopefully no ones, because there were times that I thought these two brothers were going to kill each other. Dave (Alex Rennie) is the carefree younger brother who is homeless and is used to eating out of trash cans and seems to like his life just the way it is. He is really disgusting and does some outlandish crap (use expletive here). His older brother Jim (James Pumphrey) hunts Dave down because their father has died and they discover that they have inherited a cabin in Branson Missouri. A road trip ensues and the two of them hit the road. It turns out that the cabin is a total wreck and Dave decides that this would be a great brother bonding experience if they fixed up the cabin together instead of hiring someone else to do it. I was thinking that at this point in the film that Jim was the sane one since he has a family and a child; but that is not the case. For some reason (I think that it is guilt), Jim keeps doing whatever the heck his crazy brother Dave wants him to do. I just kept shaking my head. I don't care how much I may have ignored a sibling in the past there is no way that I would do some of the stupid stuff that these two do. At one point Dave swallows a handful of dog pills and I just knew that he would be dead in the next scene, but nope. The deceased father's business partner, Jon (Christopher Meloni) was responsible for handling the legalities for these two idiots. At first I thought that he might be nuts too, but it turns out that he was the smartest one on the screen. I almost didn't recognize Christopher because the wig and disguise he was wearing was so terrible. I guess the budget was not that big in the costume department. Anyway, although I laughed a whole lot in this film after it was over, I was just left blank. Like Emma, I am not sure what the title Awful Nice meant; but it is what it is.
This film is basically about having fun and creating scenes where things seem to be a little bland. The main character followed in this documentary is Charlie Todd who created "Improv Everywhere". The original stunt was that his friends rode on the subway with no pants on. I do not remember when the initial train ride took place, because it was apparently no big deal; but I do remember hearing about it when there were several arrests during one such occurrence a few years later. There are many more created scenes in this film and I remember most of them. One of my favorites (even to this day) is the frozen subway; where about a hundred people at a particular time scattered themselves throughout Grand Central Station in New York City and they stood immobilized for approximately five minutes. Then all at once everyone started moving again. It would have been so cool to be there for that one. However, I have to agree with one of the commentators that I would not have wanted to be kissing someone at the time. I think that would be very hard to do. I also think that the hypnosis stunt was pretty disturbing, but the more I think about it the funnier it is. This film addresses some folk's fears of hypnotist; which is that they hypnotize you and then they leave you that way. Like I say, disturbing yet funny. I also found it interesting (but not surprising) that the stunts became more popular as the technology evolved. Since there was no way to show the stunts that you had just filmed, the only way that you could tell people about what happened was when you wrote about it. Now this is called a blog; but then you had to build your own web page using html and it was very difficult to do, so I guess Charlie was very much determined that this is what he wanted to do. I also thought that it was ironic that the company that was the first to support him, then . turn him down, then . got re-interested when the videos started going viral, then .. interviewed him again to congratulate him on his success. Crazy. I also like the fact that they explained the difference between flash mobs and Improv Everywhere. For the most part, flash mobs have pretty much died out, but I bet that once a year, folks will still be riding the subway without pants .
I really thought that there were some things that were out of bounds in the film genre, but I guess I was wrong. This film gives one explanation on how some men can get addicted to erotic asphyxiation. There is a sentence I thought I'd never say. Kelly (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) is a strange girl who apparently grew up with some major issues. I mean, I have had some wild times in my day, but nearly strangling someone during sex is not anything that I have ever thought about. Strangling them after we were done, now that's a different story (smile). Kelly looked like she was about twelve years old. She was really super thin and had absolutely no shape about her. At one point she was sitting in front of some food and I was thinking, please let this poor child put some kind of nourishment in her mouth. Apparently the lack of sustenance did not hamper her ability to over-power; I guess she had the same bone structure as Wolverine. As for Victor (Julian Morris), he seemed like just an average single guy looking to score. He hooks up with Kelly who introduces him to this violent form of sexual expression. I guess you don't know what you like until you have it for the first time. Things get even tougher if it becomes an obsession and everyone knows how hard it is to kick when you are obsessed. Not only was this an independent film, but it was a foreign film as well. There was a lot of sex and nudity in this film, but that is not unusual for films from other countries (especially Europe). I can remember seeing nudity on television at a very young age (not sex; but just body parts) and it seemed normal. It always makes me chuckle when movie-goers are surprised when an unexpected body part flashes across the screen. I am glad that we are not giving ratings for this film because there were times that some of the scenes were uncomfortable to watch. The one thing that I will give the director is that he did manage to touch on a subject that is not well known and possibly misunderstood. Luckily, I watch enough of Crime Scene Investigation stories that I have seen this affliction before. I am not sure if this film will be in wide release in this country, but it may do very well in Wales.
I am just going to start out by saying that any critic that does not like this film has lost their inner child. When I first saw the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, I always wondered how the heck the wizard got there and why the wicked witch was so mean. I was delighted to finally have the answers to both of those questions. I saw this film in 3D and I can tell you that I made the right choice. Even from the opening credits the film is visually stunning. The writers of this screenplay did an excellent job paying homage to its predecessor. There were tidbits of the characters that would emerge in the future. The film centered on how the wizard came to be, but the characters that I liked the most were not even human. The faithful Finley (Zach Braff) as the flying monkey was charming and funny. He had some of the best lines in the film. China girl (Joey King) pulled at my heart strings and was a typical girl with a stubborn temperament. The CGI of these two characters were expertly done and someone should get an award. As a matter of fact the CGI throughout the film was breath-taking. I would have thought that they would have gotten someone like Johnny Depp to play Oz since these are the kind of roles that he seems to like, but I have to say that James Franco (Oscar Diggs) seemed to fit the role to a tee. Theodora (Mila Kunis) is the gullible and somewhat delusional witch, who seems to want to create a reality that does not exist. Evanora (Rachel Weisz) is the control freak who has an over-bearing power over her sister, Theodora. And then there is Glinda (Michelle Williams), the good witch who is surprisingly down-to-earth and is responsible for keeping the wizard grounded. I would be remiss if I did not mention the Master Tinker (Bill Cobbs) who is the mechanic tasked with creating "the great and powerful" part of this film. Although there were a couple of times where things jumped out of the screen that made some of the younger viewer scream, this film was a joy to watch. I think that director Sam Raimi hit it out of the park with this one and I hope that it becomes an instant classic. I am giving this film a green light.
I guess the remake of fairy tales is as popular as ever. With films like Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood and Snow White, it was only a matter of time until they got around to Jack and the Beanstalk. I thought about seeing this film in 3D, but after watching it (and having a brief discussion with Emma) I decided against it. I could visualize a lot of scenes that would have benefited from the 3D effect, but in the end I am glad that I did not pay the jacked up price. I also want to mention that I do not think that this film would be suitable for very young children. There were some scenes that were truly disturbing. I think I was a little impatient at the beginning of the film because I already knew the story and I just wanted it to get to the giants already. The CGI in the film was expertly done and I can see this genre of films exploding even more in the future. It seems as though Nickolas Hoult (Jack) has become very popular since he was just in the film Warm Bodies. He is very likable in this film, but for someone who had a supposedly wrenching fear of heights, he had no issue with climbing that seemingly miles long beanstalk. Eleanor Tomlison (Isabelle) is the damsel in distress and even though they stuck her in a suit of armor at one point, she spent most her time screaming and running. Stanley Tucci (Lord Roderick) was believable as the loyalist that turned to the dark side and wanted to take over the kingdom. Some people just can't handle that much power. Ewan McGregor (Elmont) did add a bit of humor to the film, but not enough to warrant a laugh. His unwavering bravery went way over the top at times. Bill Nighy (the two-headed giant General Fallon) was ruthless even though he had a mentally challenged being attached. I have to say that although I know this is all make believe, when the giants finally arrive in the kingdom of Cloisters (as depicted in the trailer) and the humans seemingly are equal in strength, it became very make believe at that point. I think that the film was well paced, but just not very interesting. It was also a lot longer than it could have been. For those reasons, I am giving the film an amber light.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I would normally expect to see Dwayne Johnson in either a silly comedy (Tooth Fairy) or an action packed drama (the upcoming G.I. Joe: Retaliation). This film was neither. There was not a lot of action in this film; it was more of a psychological thriller. I did not think that I would really like this film and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The trailer told the main gist of the film where John Matthew's (Dwayne Johnson) son is wrongly imprisoned and John will do anything to get him released. He strikes a deal with Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon) who is the federal prosecutor, to help catch bad guys. In order to even get starting in figuring out how he is going to help Jason (Rafi Gavron), John has to get introduced to the dark side (so to speak). He discovers that one of his new employees, Daniel James (Jon Bernthal) may have some insight and so the partnership begins. The roller-coaster ride that these two take definitely keeps the story interesting. With the introduction of the cartel and its regional leader Juan Carlos "El Topa" Pintera (Benjamin Bratt), things really start to heat up. I can tell you this much, by the time you get to the middle of the film you will be thinking, how the heck is he going to get himself out of this mess. This film is supposedly based on a true story; if that is true than our legal system has gone hay-wire and some laws should really be amended. I think that the film succeeded in delivering the message that it intended to deliver. I just want to add that it was hard to see the "Rock" as a guy who really didn't know how to fight, but he is still pretty easy on the eyes. This film was pretty fast-paced and there were not a lot of lull moments (although there were a couple), which gives the film added appeal. I am glad to see Dwayne stretching his wings. Is he ready to do Hamlet? No, but he was not terrible in this film. I think that former stunt coordinator turned director; Ric Roman Waugh did a halfway decent job for his major film. Kudos! Although I am teetering between amber and green for this film, I am going to go ahead and give this film a green light.
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