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Surprisingly Bad, but Fun
SPOILERS The bad: 1. Formulaic: Abrams took familiar characters/plots/and scenes and repurposed them into a new Star Wars TM product. (and another Death Star, really?) 2. Feminist Vapidism: The new female lead is perplexingly better than every male in the film, whether it's teaching herself the force (Luke took 2 movies worth of training), beating a Sith Lord in a light saber battle on her first day as a Jedi, being a better star pilot than Han Solo, or more knowledgeable engineer than Chewbacca; all skills that she somehow acquired as a scavenger on the desert planet Tatooine? Huh? 3. Civilization is Blown Up, No One Cares: the new "First Order" starkiller blows up no less than 5 planets representing the Republic (apparently they learned nothing from Alderan), and the characters barely care. Meanwhile, the Republic doesn't have an army? 4. Nothing says originality like the Nazis: the "First Order" is based on the Nazis. Yawn.
5. We could have had acting: but instead Han and Leia get to talk mostly about their idiot son and the dumb plot.
The Good: 1. The backgrounds/visuals/landscapes: are beautiful. One department did its job.
2. The formula: Lots of lasers, lightsabers, explosions, aliens. If that's all you want in a Star Wars movie, than it's a success.
3. It's fast-paced: Lots of action: better than the soap-opera of the Prequels. That said, Abrams probably can't do dialogue.
The Outlaw (1943)
Witty and fun - not an action movie
Quite a fun movie - rather silly in the tradition of "Bringing Up Baby", but a delightful gem for people who have a sense of humor. This movie is less about action and more about gunmen playing a constant mental game of wits trying to fool and outsmart each other. Fastest hands or not, you quickly see that it's Billy's wits that keep him alive, and Jack Buetel does a fantastic job of portraying a Billy the Kid that-could-have-been. It's also a buddy movie with friendship and camaraderie: the central conflict comes about when Doc Holiday takes to Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett feels cast aside, and it's interesting to watch the changing dynamics and friendship and respect even among those trying to kill each other.
Flawed, yet better than CGI Samurai robots or Chitauri
The good - 1. no CGI - all the crashes are real, refreshing break from crappy digital effects action movies. 2. The plot - starts out strong, setting up a mysterious voice & mysterious plan, but as it progress it doesn't quite deliver (I can imagine much more interesting directions the story could have gone). 3. Selena Gomez is cute - she can be my road buddy. The average: 1. Ethan Hawke is mostly convincing in his role, although his performance is a bit reminiscent to me of his performance in "Before the Devil Knows Your Dead", I also think in real life the character wouldn't have been so cool under pressure. 2. The dialogue is nothing special, and they don't develop the characters beyond the bare minimum needed for the plot. The bad: 1. it's essentially a long car chase movie - it's cool for awhile, but eventually gets boring. 2. a lot of "no way" scenes where it's hard to suspend belief. Overall, though I must say I did enjoy it.
Iron Man Three (2013)
Downey Jr. always good, plot not so much
I would say this is the weakest of the 3 Iron Man movies. Downey Jr. is good as always, but the plot is a hot mess. The movie could have developed a bad-ass villain to rival Iron Man 2's Whiplash, but perhaps decided it couldn't pull it off and left us with Iron Man fighting some real lame-o's. There's a lot of plot holes and internal logical problems in the story. The special effects, as always are good, but I felt disappointed by the end. The supporting characters were fine (Ben Kingsley does well with what he has to work with), but unfortunately its the same damn plot in every action movie this summer about the President or VP being in danger, which makes you feel like they're not even trying.