Reviews written by registered user

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109 reviews in total 
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Teddy Bear (2012/I)
8 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Teddy Bear or Mama's Boy?, 20 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I can see why this film won the directing award at the Sundance Film Festival. This film totally pulled you into the title character fairly quickly. Right from the start you could tell that Dennis (Kim Kold) was very socially inept and was so endearing that you almost felt sorry for him. Director and writer Mads Matthiesen framed this film very well and kept you rooting for Dennis , hoping that he would gain enough courage to stand up to his dependent (and possibly also socially inept) mother. By the way, I was recently educated on the name Mads and it is a very common name in Denmark (in case anyone was wondering). Dennis, who is a championship body-builder is a very dedicated son and has apparently been his mother's sole friend all of his life. Once he sees that his friend has gone overseas to Thailand and return with a wife, Dennis decides to do some wife hunting of his own. The fact that he has to lie to his mother about where he is going is a strong indication of how unhealthy their relationship really is. Once in Thailand, Dennis discovers that there are not a lot of "good" girls around until he stumbles upon a gym and meets the owner Toi (Lamaiporn Hougaard). The fact that Toi takes the time to show him around the city and introduces him to the local culture quickly brings her up to the level of "potential" wife. Once Dennis is back home in Denmark, the lies continue and mom is thrilled to have him back home under her control (or so she thinks). There are really no surprises in this film, but it was very entertaining to see it play out. I guess the film proves that although you may be able to lift small trucks over your head, you can still be very vulnerable and unsure of yourself. In the end, Dennis did turn out to be a big ole teddy bear; however I would have probably considered calling the film Mama's Boy (smile). I am not sure if this film will ever be released to the general public, but it is one of the better foreign films that I have seen. I do have to warn that there are some sub-titles in the film, however they are very few and not at all difficult to keep up with. I liked the film, but did not love it so I am giving it an amber light.

Flight (2012/I)
17 out of 33 people found the following review useful:
Buckle up, folks, 3 November 2012

When I first saw the preview for this film I had no intention on seeing it. I already have panic attacks every time I know that I am going to have to fly somewhere. I was feeling every bit of turbulence that the folks on the plane were feeling. I hate to fly and this film did nothing to sway my concerns in this mode of travel. As shown in the trailer, at some point the airplane is actually flying upside down. At that point I would no longer need to worry because I would be dead of a heart attack. Although this film centers on the plane crash event, it is not the main focus of the film. The main focus centers around pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) and the issues that he is dealing with. Charlie Anderson (Bruce Greenwood) and Hugh Lang (Don Cheadle) arrive on the scene and try to help mitigate the situation, but they become enablers just like almost everyone else in the film. I think that there were two bright spots in the film. The first one was Derek Hogue (Dane Davenport), who is a guy dealing with cancer and has gained a whole new perspective on life. The second character was Harling Mays (John Goodman) who is what can only be described as a closer. He was hilarious. Margaret Thomason (Tamara Tunie) played a huge part in saving the majority of the passengers on the plane although her participation was not acknowledged in the film. I think that the writers kind of dropped the ball a little bit here. I just want to say that I have always wanted to get a sneak peak at Denzel's backside but now that I've seen it, it was really no big deal. The film was definitely good enough to hold your attention although it was longer than it needed to be. There was no real surprises in this film and it was pretty predictable from beginning to end, but I think that director Robert Zemeckis did an excellent job telling this story. For those of us who are fearful of flying, this film will just add to your anxiety and it puts yet another scenario in your head of what could happen as you're cruising at 30,000 feet, but I say, turn off all your electrical devices and buckle down and go and see this film. I give it a green light.

Red Tails (2012)
31 out of 61 people found the following review useful:
History.... People!, 20 January 2012

I want to start by saying that I had a great big smile on my face before the film even started. For this to be the opening showing on Friday afternoon, there was a pretty decent crowd. And virtually every adult coming to see the film had young people in tow. I was also thrilled to see the diversity of the film-goers. We've come a long way since The Color Purple. I guess the first thing I want to do is to give props to the director of this film, Anthony Hemingway. You might remember him from such brilliant films as Changing Lanes, ALI and The Manchurian Candidate. He definitely kept on track with Red Tails. Although most (some) of us know the story behind the Tuskegee training program during World War II, Hemingway brought the story closer than ever. This does not detract from The Tuskegee Airmen film made back in 1995 starring Laurence Fishburne and Allen Payne, which was also brilliant. Now, on to the cast…… Howard and Cuba and Nate….. oh my!!!! I am not sure if the writing was brilliant or not, but I thought that the acting was exceptional. Terrence Howard (Colonel A.J. Bullard) took the reins by getting his troops the credibility they deserved. Cuba Gooding Junior (Major Emanuelle Stance) maneuvered his company through the never ending red tape that came with war back in 1944. Nate Parker (Marty "Easy" Julian) took the lead in this amazing cast of actors. I could go on naming cast members for another 2 or 3 hundred words, but I won't. The one thing that I will say is that it was nice to see Nate Parker and Tristan Wilds (Ray "Junior" George) reunite again after their appearance in The Secret Life of Bees. I know what you're thinking…… "Aren't you the same person who hates biopics?" The answer is "yes, I am". However, it is so difficult to get gripping stories about minorities (any minority) on to the big screen that I have to rejoice when it happens. Finally, I want to say that I had another smile on my face when at the end of the film, the audience applauded. I definitely think that this film is worth the price of a ticket, so I say fasten your seat belts and hop into the cockpit and go and see this film. All engines are "Go" with a green light.

Cake (2014/II)
This Cake Has No Frosting, 1 July 2015

There isn't a lot out in independent films this week so I thought that I would turn to Netflix since they have a whole category for independent films. When I saw Cake on the list, I was kind of surprised because I wasn't sure that it would be going to Netflix; but there it was. The main reasons that I wanted to see this film is because it was nominated for a golden globe and Jennifer Aniston was also nominated for a couple of awards. I have to say that Jennifer was not her glamorous self in this film. She was pretty badly scared up. It is not really apparent what happened to her for a very long time into the film, but you immediately know that it was something very tragic and painful. I was almost in pain just watching her. Emma and I watched this film together and I even stated to her that if I was ever in that much pain, I don't think that I would want to live. She assured me that I would, but I think it was that shot of tequila that we had (smile). Anyway, it was also not apparent why the film was called "Cake". You basically found out at the end, but I still think that it was a stupid title to this film. Silvana (Adriana Barraza) was Claire Bennett's (Jennifer Aniston) helper, maid, best friend…. Etc. She went above and beyond to make sure that Claire's needs were met and that she was taking care of herself. The main gist of the film centered on her friend Nina Collins' (Anna Kendrick) suicide. I know that suicide is a cowardly and selfish way to go, but being in chronic pain every minute of every day makes you wonder and probably a little empathetic. After sitting through this film for about two hours, Emma and I were just starting to complain about how long it was when the film suddenly ended. When I say suddenly; I mean suddenly. The film went absolutely nowhere and it left me wondering "what was the point?" I am not saying that this film was terrible, but in my opinion it was unfinished. I am not sure that I want to recommend this film, but let me just say this….. take this film with a grain of salt (or a shot of tequila).

Pretty Super, 15 June 2013

This film could have actually been three separate films; the destruction of Krypton, the little boy wonder growing up in Smallville and aliens invade the earth. There were plenty of special effects in this film, almost to the point of overkill. I actually liked the Krypton special effects the best. I thought they were the most creative. When I called my sister and asked her how she liked the film, the first thing that she said was "it was long". I must say that I could not agree with her more on that point. The last 30 minutes of the film was a continuous brawl and had me thinking that it would never end. While I was watching Kal-El/Superman (Henry Cavill), the thought that kept running through my mind is that Superman is not all that super (although he was ruggedly handsome). I think that one of the most cleaver things about this film is the way that they kept Jor-El (Russell Crowe) incorporated in the film. That was pretty creative and unexpected. Lois Lane (Amy Adams) was a lot tougher than her predecessors. She was tough and gutsy which was a breath of fresh air from always playing the victim. Perry White (Laurence Fishburne) on the other hand was more docile than I expected. I remember in the comic books there were always a lot of symbols in his dialog box (smile). I didn't expect cursing, but I did expect him to be meaner. Speaking of mean, General Zod (Michael Shannon) fit the bill to a tee and I have to say, he was a tough one to beat. I think that the DC Comic franchise still has a little bit of catching up to do to the Marvel franchise. Unlike the Marvel films, there is no humor; it was straight drama. I never really developed an emotional connection to the character. I also think that I would have liked the film more if the story had been told sequentially instead of filling the screen with an over abundance of retro-vision. I do think that this film is theater worthy, just because of the CGI, but pack a lunch because you are going to be there for a while. This is one of those times that I wish we had a blue light (somewhere between amber and green), but because I am feeling pretty generous today, I am going to go with a green light.

Welcome to the Circus, 7 January 2012

This adaptation of John le Carre's book was interesting and somewhat dull at times. I do not generally like period films, but this one is somewhat of an exception. Let me just say to start out with that this was a long film and I was a little anxious to get it over with. If you are looking for the usual action scenes that normally come with these types of films, then you are going to be greatly disappointed. This was a more subtle film with a lot of whispering and back stabbing. The fact that they called their intelligence agency "the circus" was mildly amusing to me since that is the way I always think of any government agency. In my opinion the film was very slow to get started and there was a lot of jumping around and flash-backing, so there was no time to have your thoughts wonder or drift into a quick nap. It almost seemed like the director Tomas Alfredsen filmed a lot of little segments and then pasted them together like a collage. There was a sub-story in the film where Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) engages in a friendship with one of his young pupils. I remember thinking at the end of the film that they probably could have left that sub-story out. It did not play to the plot at all. I do have to tip my hat to Gary Oldman (George Smiley) who was very believable as the trench coat sudo-detective weaving in and out of the streets of London. This film definitely had that "independent film" feel to it. I found it interesting that John le Carre made a cameo appearance in the film. I guess he plans on being the next Alfred Hitchcock. The story of the film was very good, but I have to say that I miss the action. I am not sure if I was entertained by the film. It sort of made me feel like I was watching a docu-drama about the European Central Intelligence Agency of the early 70s. I think that if you are into slow-moving, however highly intelligent films then this is probably worth the price of a ticket. If you more of a "Bourne" action film person, then this might not be for you. As for me, I am the latter, so in saying that, I will not try to perpetrate a cover-up and I am going to give this film an amber light.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Great Change of Pace, 27 June 2014

I figured that most folks would be transforming this weekend and I didn't want to get caught up in the hype, so I decided to take the road less traveled and went and saw The Immigrant. I've seen lots of movies on how my father's ancestors (African-American) got to America, but I really didn't know all that much about my European heritage and what they might have had to go through. So I figured what the heck; I'll go check it out. The film takes place in the early 1920's, right around the time of prohibition. I just want to stop here and say that you know those old pictures that you've seen of your great grandparents (for folks my age) and how rustic they look; well almost the whole film was filmed this way; although every now and then there were subtle splashes of color. Anyway, Ewa Cybulska (Marion Cotillard) arrives at Ellis Island with her sister Magda (Angela Sarafyan) and it is very noticeable that Magda is very sick. The thing is that if you were sick when arriving at Ellis Island, you were quarantined until they figured out what was wrong with you and you got better. Meanwhile, Bruno Weiss (Joaquin Phoenix) has been lurching around the admittance section like a vulture. All of a sudden it has been discovered that there are some scathing rumors that Ewa had done some unquestionable things during her journey across the great pond and she is going to be deported back to Poland. But wait a minute, in swoops the vulture that has been skulking around just in time to save the day. What a coincidence. Anyway, the story takes off from there and I must say that it was not as predictable as I thought it was going to be. I can understand why this film was nominated and won at various film festivals. The story centered on so many human issues including family loyalty, survival, trust, forgiveness, shame, rivalry, sacrifice, I could go on, but it would take all day. I have to say that I did enjoy the film and it was nice to get away from all the larger than life mega-hero movies, but to be honest, I probably will be transforming sometime this weekend. As a side note, my mother's ancestors arrived in America around the same time and I understand that I had a great, great, great uncle that helped carve Mt. Rushmore. Who knew?!?

42 (2013)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Excellent Story and Acting. Great!!!!, 13 April 2013

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.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A Film for Grown Folks, 25 November 2012

This film is about a 36 year old man who spends most of his time in an iron lung. He is completely dependent on others for his care and goes through several caregivers. He finally settles on Moon Bloodgood who plays Vera and accompanies him on his journey to sexual discovery. He is transported on a gurney from place to place. John Hawkes (Mark O'Brien) ends up doing most of his acting with only his face; which he did brilliantly. He befriends the local priest, Father Brendan (William H. Macy), who quickly becomes his spiritual leader as well as a very good friend who listens to the plights of Mark's experiences (which is not always easy to do as a priest). I know that it kind of sounds like it would be a depressing movie, but I laughed more in this film than I thought I would. Mark has a wicked sense of humor. One of the funniest lines in the film was "I think Germany is the only country where a sense of humor is illegal" (or something like that). Being half German, I was slightly offended until I realized that it was probably true (smile). Mark eventually hires sex therapist Helen Hunt (Cheryl) who helps him discover his sexuality in six allotted therapy sessions. This film is rated "R" for a reason. There is very frank dialog and sexual content in this film, so if you are thinking about taking one of your kids (under 18) with you to see it, I would not recommend it unless you are prepared to cover their eyes for most of the film. I think the thing that I liked most about this film is that sex is dealt with on a mature level and looked at as being a human need regardless of the limitations of the body. The subject matter for this film is fresh, imaginative and touches on a subject that few able-bodied humans give much thought to. I think that the honest performances of the actors made a seemingly sad and depressing situation, an actual uplifting film. I can see why this film got so much attention at recent independent film festivals. If you are looking for something original, I highly recommend that you get out and see this film. It is a good story and you will leave the theater with a smile on your face. I am giving it an uninhibited green light.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Comic Con Insights, 20 April 2012

I had heard of comic-con before but never really understood what went on there. I was a huge comic book fan (X-men, Tales from the Crypt and Archie, etc.) but I really did not think that they were still all that popular, especially with the all the electronic gadgets that are out today. As the film illustrated, there are still folks out there that love to draw action figures (my brother being one of them) and are looking to break into the comic book industry. The two gentlemen depicted in this film are adamant about the opportunity to show the portfolios of their art and this film takes us with them on their journey on trying to get there and get someone to look at their work and hire them. I actually started to feel sorry for one of the guys because he was really heart-broken and I felt his pain. The film also showed other aspects of the convention like what goes into actually making some of the costumes that are showcased and what the sales folks have to compete with trying to sell their books in an electronic age. I enjoyed the film about the inter-working of the convention that is held in San Diego annually; I just had no idea that so many people attended and how many geeks (me being one) are actually left in this world. Emma and I are planning on attending the one that will be held here in Irving, Texas next month. That should make for some interesting pictures (smile). If you are a lover of comic books, action heroes and all related stuff, this would be an excellent film for you to experience.

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