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The Shadow Riders (1982)
Even though these brothers don't call themselves Sacketts, the story really seems a prequel to the movie by that name since the brothers are all played by the same people, There names in the story are the same, and much of this story is connected to that story. In the Sacketts it starts out with Orin (Tom Sellick) as either the mayor or running for the job at the same time as getting married. So I found it a bit strange to basically have connecting stories...But different last names.
Unfortunately that was the least of the problems. The Sacketts must have been directed by someone else because that's a for TV movie that looks professional. This one comes across a pretty amateurish. Then again maybe they were working on a very tight budget so they couldn't do a lot of re-shoots or very extensive editing. It was a shame to see such a good cast sometimes come across as rookies. Had they been able to get better directing and editing this too would have been a pretty good western......Oh....And as someone else said...Drop that music that often didn't match the situation. I like the comparison to the Dukes Of Hazard....That's spot on in my opinion.
One last thought. As an old duffer that was around in 1979 when this was released....I remember TV back then, and I really can't be too tough on them because many of the shows were made like this. I think the Sacketts probably got more money because it was a bigger and longer production. Anything over one night kind of went into a Mini Series mode so the productions seemed bigger. Too bad they didn't meld the stories, but I suppose there was a issue if the brothers from Shadow Riders weren't Sacketts. Otherwise putting this as the first night followed by the next two parts would have worked out just fine.
The Lone Ranger (2013)
Nothing To See Here Folks
First off I need to point out that I saw this on my TV and not in a theater so I didn't have the over all visual effect that apparently made a huge difference for those who really liked this movie. Having said that though...The movie on its own accord was a real stinker. I just got fed up with it a little more than half way through (Close to an hour and a half for this movie) and erased it from my DVR.
I'm old enough to remember the original when I was a little kid, but even more so I remember the Lone Ranger comics. In the comics the Lone Ranger was basically Batman and Robin of the old west. The lone Ranger was a sharp shooter who could fight really well (And somehow still kept his clothes clean most of the time) and Tonto basically was a tracker who was also great with a bow, knife, and tomahawk. These guys like Batman and Robin also did a lot of acrobatics during their going after the bad guys. This movie basically avoided all that and made a bumbling Lone Ranger with a half nuts Tonto as a side kick. Instead of making it a serious crime fighting adventure they dumbed it down with comedy that was very hit and miss, and bad guys who were also very hit and miss for their extreme dumb and dumber routines.
One of the big problems Hollywood has with trying to remake classics (Especially classics that ran as TV series) is that they seldom understand what made them work in the first place. Quite often what played a big part was the times they were shot in. When the Lone Ranger was big it was in a time when John Wayne was king of cowboy movies and for the most part action adventures were either westerns or war movies. So to take a series from that era and try to make it this comic relief addition just misses the whole point. So once you lose the big screen special effects and have just the stories merit to go on....Well folks....There's nothing to see here
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
I've looked a bit through the reviews and found those towards the end were in high praise and those towards the beginning very disappointed in the movie. All the dates are in May of 13 so I'm not sure how that plays out. I'm guessing that many of those who were really blown away by the movie saw it in a theater where they really got into the special effects, where maybe the others were watching it a home like I did and wasn't so dazzled by the effects.....Where the movie has to stand on it's over all merit. In that case it really does come up short. In that case it comes across as a poor attempt, and often a bit silly because there's not much meat on the bone without the special effects.
Seven Psychopaths (2012)
I think that some of those with really bad reviews about this movie probably watched the trailer and went to it basically expecting the very kind of move it was spoofing. The kind of movie with loads of senseless violence because of some made up right and wrong story. The kind of story you've seen thousands of times that will get you rooting for the side of righteousness to just blow away the bad guys. Although that was in the story it was layered as a story to show just how foolish those kind of stories really are.
I thought the story was interesting and funny at times. Not a great story, but really entertaining. Some of these psychopaths like Woody Harrelson really don't need to step into character too much to play the part. They just be themselves and collect a pay check.
All in all it was good acting, interesting storyline, good writing, and a step away from the same tired out stories we generally get in this genre. I think that might have more to do with the negative reviews more than anything else. Like some other reviewer stated..."It's definitely not for everyones taste"
Maybe A Bit Too Dark And Gloomy
I recently saw this and like many others I had to wonder if inner city schools have become this dark and gloomy. I'm sure that a lot of the parental apathy and sometimes over all anger that occurs when the school is forced to deal with a student who has been disruptive is probably real. I just have a hard time believing that any school could deteriorate as bad as this unless of course the parents have basically thrown in the towel too as the movie suggests.
Every so often the movie industry seems to come out with a movie like this that basically shows the deterioration of the inner city school system. Blackboard Jungle was one of the earliest I can remember and the message about the problems of the inner city schools and how that effects the students wasn't much different than this movie over all. Since then there's been many other films basically pointing out the same thing...."Poor kids from inner city school systems have little chance of getting an education because it's a jungle out there....An by the way....If you're looking for help for the inner city schools...Write Santa...It'll get you about as far" By now we get it. The situation is dire and getting worse. We no longer need educated factory workers so the powers that be have all but shut down inner city schools because they think it's a wasted effort. To me...That's where the story really needs to go. Stories like this is only the end result of what's being done to the inner city by the movers and shakers. We know the results, what is needed is a movie showing the cause. Otherwise we'll just have more future movies showing kids in America living like they're in third world countries with basically no place to go to school anymore.
The movie is well acted with really good performers. I must say that as a fan of the show "Blue Bloods" I was really surprised to see the young actress who plays a very straight laced mature teen in that play a teen street hooker in this one. After only seeing her in that other character it was really strange to see her get street smart tough in this when we first see her. What was pretty cool though was the relationship between her and the teacher (Not a sexual nature) was a metaphor for what could be in regards to the school situation. At first it just looked like one bit of happiness in an otherwise gloomy movie, but then I realized it pretty much summed up what was happening on not happening between the teachers, students, and parents that brought the situation to where it was now......
I would have given the movie a ten, but I have a hard time giving such a high score to a movie that leaves me a bit depressed by the time it's over.
We're Alive (2009)
Interesting, But Way too Whiney
I've been listening to the pod-cast that's apparently been going on for a few years now. The first six episodes or so were OK, but I think that had a lot to do with everyone trying to find what their place was and what would happen next. What's become a huge disappointment to me has been this constant yelling and whining like a bunch of school kids. It's difficult to pull for the hero's when they're acting like a bunch of spoiled kids.
As for the general story line. They do have a pretty good story line that at least seems somewhat plausible if there were a zombie apocalypse. However....The dialog isn't always as good as the story. I get the feeling that the writer sometimes has no idea what to use for dialog in a part so it just gets winged in.
I'm a trucker and I do like listening to this at night while driving down the road. It's OK, but it could be so much better with better dialog and less child like bickering
The Oxford Murders (2008)
I've read some of the negative comments here and generally can't disagree more. I actually found this a pretty good movie in sort of a Hitchcock likeness. I mean throughout the movie I kept changing who I thought was the murderer. With all the twist and turns the number one suspect seemed to be a different person about every fifteen minutes or so...But then something would once again point back to someone else who was looking like less of a suspect. I just love that kind of intelligent sleuth work.
I had never even heard of the movie before I found it on one of the pay one of the cable channels....I'm glad I recorded it. The story was very smart and unusual because it used math and philosophy as part of the detective work (Granted this isn't a new concept, but they used it in reference to academics here so that was a bit unusual).
The acting was first class from everyone. Elijah Wood has been acting since he was a little kid.....I was amazed at how well he acted then, but as an adult he's one of those actors who only have an "A" game every time. Then there's the other long time vet John Hurt who seems to fit into any character with ease. I think most of the rest of the cast was from the UK so I'm not as familiar with their history, but good performances all the way around.
If you like good intelligent movies that keep you guessing all the way through....Then this is definitely for you.
How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
I gave this a ten because everything was just done well (Or well done at times too)I only seen this on HBO so I didn't get the full theater and 3D effect, but even so it was a fun movie for the whole family. There's an underline message about perceptions and prejudicial attitudes, but it's not something in your face.
The other thing that makes this so enjoyable is the animation itself. The animators have come a long way in really making the human subjects movements and actions seem really human. Even facial expressions is right on. On top of that they managed to get some good acting voices and everything just pulls together well. It's really just what it's supposed to be...Just a lot of fun....
The Other Guys (2010)
Makes Me Angry
This is another of those movies that makes me angry as hell because they get good talent and then they don't get a script. I looked up the movies the Massie Brohers have written and comedy isn't really in their line. Instead of spending huge amounts of money on massive chase scenes that really didn't add anything to the show they should have spent money on writers who know comedy. This really had potential with all that talent, but in the end it will be easily forgotten.....Not really worth all the money that went into making it.....Damn shame actually. I would have been even more angry had I paid to see this in a theater. I watched it off HBO where it was given a 3 out of 5 star rating....In my opinion that was 2 stars too many.
The Road (2009)
What A Downer
It seems the last few movies about the last survivors left on the planet have been movies where some epidemic wiped out all but a handful of people, but left everything else in tact. Those survivors had plenty of resources to choose from so even though life was complicated...It wasn't that dire of a situation for survival for those left. This movie is the exact opposite. In this world practically everything has been destroyed and what is left is in high demand by those who still live. Starvation is to the point where even cannibalism has become a source for certain packs of hunters. This is an extremely harsh and miserable existence. So bad that it's a wonder anyone would still feel a strong need to stay alive.
The acting was done well, and there were a few bit parts for some big time actors. So the movie is worth watching, but it's just so damn depressing. It didn't help that most of it was shot in an almost black and white tone to make the cold and cloudy nuke winter seem every bit as dismal as I imagine it would be.
I made the mistake of watching this late at night prior to going to bed. I had to put on a couple short sit-coms to watch prior to going to bed to not go to bed with that "I just went to a funeral" feeling prior to trying to sleep. So it is a good movie...But a real downer...