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3321 reviews in total 
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The Attack (2012)
Gripping first half, 10 September 2014

Dr. Amin Jaafari is a non-practicing Muslim who is a celebrated surgeon in Tel Aviv. He still faces suspicions and racism but he seems to be the pinnacle of integration and secularism. Then everything changes when his Arab Christian wife Siham becomes a suicide bomber who killed 17 people including many children. He is devastated and isolated. He goes to seek the truth by himself.

This movie takes the intractable Palestinian-Isreali conflict down to a personal level. The first half is filled with great tension. However it doesn't carry it all the way through. The reveal, if it could be called that, is not compelling enough. It hints on something more shattering. Also the use of a Christian wife demands something more than the unity-of-oppression argument. It seems like an unnecessary side trip. Mostly it worked because the first half is so strong, and the second half isn't too bad.

Capital (2012)
would be better if it got darker, 9 September 2014

Marc Tourneuil (Gad Elmaleh) is an ambitious executive of the French Phenix Bank. When the CEO becomes incapacitated with cancer, he handpicks Tourneuil as the replacement CEO. He's surrounded by enemies. When he starts pushing to be more than a figurehead for the old CEO, he even loses that support. The only support comes from an American hedge fund minority shareholder Dittmar Rigule (Gabriel Byrne). The problem is that his support comes with strings attached. There is also underwear supermodel Nassim that has caught the eye of the married Tourneuil.

This starts off well. I like the corporate intrigue and the paranoid backstabbing. Some of the arguing from the wife and their family does border on naivety. I like the morally dubious protagonist better. However the movie slips as it tries to shoehorn a Hollywood happy ending. It would be better to keep a noir edge to the end. The last half has too many simplistic turns. I would be much happier with a murkier darker progression.

beautiful but slow, 9 September 2014

It's 1946. Alec Ramsey (Kelly Reno) is traveling on a ship with his father. There is a wild Arabian stallion on board. The ship sinks and the boy becomes stranded on a desert island with the horse. He is eventually rescued and returned to his mother (Teri Garr) with the horse. When the horse runs away, trainer Henry Dailey (Mickey Rooney) catches him. Together, they train him to race on the big tracks.

It takes a little too long to get going with a very slow start. The ship sinking is exciting and the island is beautiful. I think the island is actually a great place for the boy to speak. It would give him real personality. The music and the lack of dialog makes the movie beautiful to look at but it could have been more. With great writing, the boy could have delivered a compelling performance like 'Cast Away'. However he's never given the chance and the movie moves along slowly but beautifully. Considering the drama in the story, the movie really lacks tension. When they're off the island, the movie takes its time. It wants to be atmospheric and mythical. The second half never gets any of that. It feels tired and formulaic. The first half is a beauty but the second half is lacking.

Rocky IV (1985)
Classic 80s cheese, 8 September 2014

After beating Clubber Lang, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is content with the easy life. Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) is the undefeated heavyweight world amateur champion from the Soviet Union. He is going into the pros and Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) is itching to take on the challenge. Rocky advises against it but he stays by Apollo's side. Drago cold-heartedly kills Apollo in the ring when Rocky is unable to throw the towel in. Rocky climbs into the ring to avenge his friend's death and is even willing to go the Soviet Union. Also starring Brigitte Nielsen as Drago's wife. Talia Shire and Burt Young return once again.

This is high 80s cheese or low camp depending on your perspective. James Brown is performing 'Living in America'. There's even the Gorbachev double who starts the slow clap. Dolph Lundgren and Brigitte Nielsen look like superhuman specimens. Apollo's death is the only good drama in this. The rest is nothing more than formula.

Has a few good moments but, 8 September 2014

Kevin Pope (Chris Rock) was an undercover CIA agent who sacrifice himself for his fellow spy Gaylord Oakes (Anthony Hopkins). In order to maintain the cover identity Michael Turner, Oakes has to recruit Kevin's twin Jake Hayes to pretend to be his brother. Jake is a street smart hustler and very different from his brother. Jake doesn't even know he had a brother and they only have 9 days to negotiate a nuclear weapon deal with villain Adrik Vas (Peter Stormare). There is a terrorist group competing for Vas' nuke and trying to kill him. Meanwhile, his girlfriend Julie (Kerry Washington) is leaving him for Seattle.

My one big problem is that this is not funny. It's either a waste of Chris Rock or a miscast for this character. Joel Schumacher just doesn't know how to make funny jokes and Rock can't do it by himself. The movie is better off getting a tough guy to play this seriously. It's an almost functional spy thriller with some passable action. Hopkins and Rock have no chemistry at all. Sometimes the movie has good moments but overall it is not really that good.

Annoying and not funny at all, 8 September 2014

Pistachio Disguisey (Dana Carvey) is a waiter at his father Fabbrizio (James Brolin)'s restaurant. For centuries, his family has used skills of disguise and mimicry to fight evil. However Fabbrizio decided to keep Pistachio out of the life. Fabbrizio and Mother Disguisey (Edie McClurg) are kidnapped by archenemy Devlin Bowman (Brent Spiner) who is using Fabbrizio to steal the world's treasure. Grandpa Disguisey (Harold Gould) shows up to teach Pistachio the family business. They hire Jennifer Baker (Jennifer Esposito) as the assistant.

"The silly voices, the making faces, it was fun for one second, OK!" The Bo Derek bit is cute but the annoying accent just .... annoyed the heck out of me. Dana Carvey is just mugging for the camera, not in a funny or likable way. It's at best tiresome, at worst racist. At some point, I don't even count the stereotypes as a deficiency. Jennifer Esposito's character is mildly embarrassed by Pistachio and I think she's mildly embarrassed by this movie in real life.

misses Taylor, 7 September 2014

Following directly from the first movie, Taylor (Charlton Heston) and Nova (Linda Harrison) are in the Forbidden Zone. They encounter apparitions and Taylor disappears. Astronaut Brent (James Franciscus) crash lands on 3955AD following Taylor's trajectory. He's the sole survivor. Nova with Taylor's dog tags comes riding along alone. Hoping to find Taylor, Brent rides with Nova back to Ape City to find Zira (Kim Hunter). Gorilla General Ursus is agitating to invade the Forbidden Zone against the advice of Dr. Zaius. With Zira's help, Brent and Nova escape into the subway tunnels. They discover a group of telepathic humans worshiping a nuclear bomb in St. Patrick's Cathedral.

The originality of the first is gone. While trying to expand on this future world, it becomes a lot more cumbersome. It's a bit of a mess when they can't even get the dates right. However it does go someplace even crazier. I do have to give credit to a movie that has more outlandish makeup than apes. It is strange that they got a younger Heston lookalike while they can't keep Heston himself. The movie works marginally. It's more camp and inferior. It could have gone all wrong but somehow it stays afloat.

Sci-fi icon, 7 September 2014

George Taylor (Charlton Heston), John Landon, Stewart and Dodge are astronauts on a near light speed spacecraft. After around 18 months in hibernation, they crash land on an unfamiliar planet. The year outside is 3978 AD around 2000 years after launch. Stewart is dead. The three survivors escape the sinking craft with almost no supplies. Primitive humanoids with no language steal their supplies and clothing. They are also raiding a corn field. Then they are set upon by a hunting party of apes.

The apes don't show up until 35 minutes. When they do show up on horseback, it becomes movie history. The story is compelling to the bitter end. Charlton Heston has his John Wayne swagger. He is the big American iconic superior man. Sci-fi had an interesting run in the 60s and this is definitely part of it. Then there is the ape makeup. That's the biggest danger of this movie. It could have gone terribly wrong. However for its time, the makeup is done very well. The mouth moves a little. The main ape characters can show some emotions. This is a well made sci-fi icon.

Massive performance from James Dean, 7 September 2014

In 1917, Monterey is a rough and tumble place. Cal Trask (James Dean)lives in the quiet neighboring farming community in the Salinas Valley. He doesn't get along with his father Adam (Raymond Massey). His brother Aron is the more liked especially by their father. He found out that his mother isn't dead but just left their family. He finds out that his mother is Kate (Jo Van Fleet) who runs a brothel in Monterey. He's a tortured soul who hates both his mother and his father but he's constantly trying to impress his father. Aron's girlfriend Abra (Julie Harris) grows more and more attracted to him. His father loses a lot of money when he tried to ship lettuce with ice on the train. He aims to recover the lost by growing beans for the war but he needs $5k which he borrows from a reluctant Kate.

It's a massive performance from James Dean. He's all emotions and no reservation. He's throwing everything into his character. There is an undirected energy about him as he flail away for his father's approval. I try and can only envision a bland unremakeable film without James Dean. He makes this movie unique and he's not overpowered by the scale of this Steinbeck novel.

Slow murky jigsaw puzzle, 7 September 2014

This movie is shown with many flashbacks. A body is found in the desert of west Texas. Pete Perkins (Tommy Lee Jones) is the ranger who befriends an illegal Mexican cowboy named Melquiades Estrada. Belmont (Dwight Yoakam) is the sheriff in town. Mike Norton (Barry Pepper) is a new border agent. He and his wife Lou Ann (January Jones) buys a trailer and moves into town. Rachel (Melissa Leo) is the married waitress who is sleeping around.

This is written by Guillermo Arriaga who has made a career with stories that goes forward and backwards in time. Tommy Lee Jones keeps the directions simple and lets his actors act. The back and forth in time is complicated enough. There is no need to get too fancy with the direction. It delivers a low level intensity in a desolate place. The movie takes its time. The story is a jigsaw puzzle that takes effort to put together. It slowly dawns on the audience what happened and it's a real moral quagmire. What seems simple at first starts getting more and more complicated. It is quite a piece of work.

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