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253 reviews in total 
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Frozen Assets, 15 January 2017

Talented and charismatic stars turn what is a special effects dumpster fire into a somewhat entertaining special effects dumpster fire.

The Huntsman: Winter's War is both a prequel and a sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman and in the very least is not burdened with that film's ridiculous premise that Kristen Stewart is more "fair" than Charlize Theron. (Not to mention the even more ridiculous theory that Kristen Stewart is Snow White. Unless giving the director's wife a poison apple counts but I might me mixing up my characters.)

Unfortunately, despite this leg up, the sequel fails in the story department. The plot is the not Snow White but a live action version of Frozen. I know that sounds pretty cool. So how does one start such a film? A musical number? A colorful recap of the first film showing what its characters are up to now? Does somebody build a snowman?

If you're a screenwriter you, of course, start with a brutal remake of the opening act of Conan the Barbarian. And of course, make sure you have plenty of voice over narration. People love when someone simply tells them a story rather than show it with the action on screen. (Yes, I know the Original Conan the Barbarian had plenty of voice over narration. In all fairness, though, it starred early 80's Arnie who spoke like a dozen words of English)

This is the second film I have seen this week that glorifies child soldiers (the first was an even worse 5th Wave), whom barely make sense when you have machine guns and suicide bombs but make zero sense when the swords weigh more than they do.

The Huntsman: Winter's War also continues the somewhat disturbing trend of having regular size actors play dwarfs. Which has always struck me as some weird digital blackface preventing actual dwarfs from being hired?

All this aside it is certainly worth the watch for the actors on display. Jessica Chastain is stunning, Charlize Theron is still the fairest of them all and Chris Hemsworth brings his goofy broad charm that a movie about child slavery so desperately needs.

The actors, costumes, sets and most of the special effects guys are absolved of all their sins. The director, however, deserves an eternity of building a snowman and screenwriter needs To be crushed, driven before us all to a soundtrack of the lamentations of his women.

Murry Christmas everyone, 13 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I can't quite put my finger on it. This special starts out bad, possibly purposely so, with Amy Poehler hamming it up something awful. But it grows on you with memories of Christmas's past. By the time Murray is singing a surprising non-rapey version of Baby it's Cold Outside we are in full Christmas swing. Capped off with a blast of nostalgia for Christmas Specials past with a surprisingly talented Miley Cyrus and a ridiculously charming George Clooney.

I used to be a Love Actually Christmas Eve traditionalist. This however has been my go to Christmas special the last two years and I see no reason not to continue that tradition again next year.

Bourne Again, 12 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Jason Bourne Story so far. Jason became a superspy after the death of his father but it turns out his father wasn't killed by a runaway sled named Rosebud but by his Uncle played by Tommy Lee Jones. Who then marries his mother played by Julia Stiles which means that his mother is now both his sister and his aunt. So Jason starts therapy but it goes sideways when it turns out that the therapist is a double agent and a ghost.

I am pretty sure that synopsis is fairly accurate. The movie starts with a decent action scene in what is both supposed to be and clearly is not Athens and ends with a great action scene in what is supposed to be and clearly is Las Vegas.

In between these two tentpoles I have a couple of issues besides the incomprehensible plot (see above). First of all, if you are going to put up a title card for Berlin, London, Athens or Las Vegas you really don't need to give us the country. Second, while the dynamic shaky cam is useful during dynamic chase scenes, though honestly I am not a fan, it needs to be turned off when characters are looking at their phone or just having coffee. Third yelling enhances computer monitor will not turn a dozen blurry pixels into Julia Stiles.

And last what is it with modern movies showing our intelligence agencies murdering all their henchmen like some particularly demented James Bond villain. I noticed this silliness in Suicide Squad of all things but it is even sillier here. You just can't go killing your own agent's willy nilly. Workplaces simply don't work like that. Everyone is going to call in sick if the boss is whacking their cube mates out of plot convenience.

The action bits make this certainly watchable and the scenery is nice (except for that graffiti hellhole Berlin. Seriously Germans clean that up will you. Nobody is impressed). The acting is decent and entertaining. Only real shame is the plot is such an incomprehensible silly mess.

Pride goeth before the fall., 11 January 2017

These types of films often confound me. Romantic costume dramas are what we would call a gift film for that significant other who drove an hour to the theater with you to see the limited run of the new Godzilla film. So imagine my pleasant surprise when the picture itself was not just bearable but one of the best films I have seen this year.

Fortunately, I saw Pride and Prejudice and Zombies before this flick so I was able to follow along with the story. The costumes, sets, cinematography, and acting are all simply spot on. There is no reason to make any more versions of Pride and Prejudice they have hit perfection.

Really not much more to say. I teared up a bit at the end when the poor girl with only a few servants marries the rich man with dozens of servants saving her from a life of living in a house with only one parlor for fainting.

Anywho. This is one of the finest costume dramas I have "suffered" through. I did miss the lack of zombie action, however.

Wave this trend goodbye, 10 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The first half hour is decent enough. Heck. The first scene is the best thing in the movie. It's like something out of a Fallout or State of Decay film adaptation. If the movie itself was anything like that first scene it would be fantastic. It isn't.

First the positive. Outside of Maria Bello hamming it up, the acting isn't that bad. And that is about it for the positives. The special effects and setting make this seem more like a made for TV or perhaps a headlining SyFy movie rather than a Triple-A theater release. The story telegraphs twists that Ray Charles would find hard to miss. The turncoat good guys practically twist their invisible mustaches. The good guy child soldiers are dressed in black ninja cameo and yet all wear giant led flashlights on their head. I am no military expert but that seems like a no-no. The invading Aliens plan makes zero sense and each twist brings the film closer into The Happening territory.

As someone who can watch the similar themed Red Dawn and leave logic comfortably outside the room, all this doesn't kill it for me. Then the movie goes full Twilight. You never go full Twilight. They were going for Buffy and Angel and ended up with Xander and a Praying Mantis. The romance seems like that between an injured kidnap victim and the creepy guy at the gas station who still goes to high school parties.

Poor Chloë Grace Moretz just wants her own YA series to complement her own serious films like Jennifer Lawrence got with The Hunger Games. Instead, she got a ripoff like Shailene Woodley got with Divergent. To make matters worse unlike Divergent this Turkey is unlikely to get the two sequels no one is asking for.

Silent Night (2012/I)
Ho Ho Ho, 9 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As targets for remakes go Silent Night Deadly Night is a pretty good choice. While fondly remembered by some as that film everyone was protesting way back when remaking the guilty pleasure few actually have seen seems a pretty sure thing.

Of course, nothing can go sideways as quickly as an eighties horror remake (I'm looking your way Children of the Corn.) Silent Night avoids the various pitfalls of the genre to deliver a solid horror film with a good sense of humor and some great set pieces.

Malcolm McDowell chews scenery admirably while Jamie King is solid as the straight woman lead. The film rises above the average with the chase of Cortney Palm ending in a Fargoesque way is so well done it simply raises the film well above the average. That scene along with some impressive stunt work throughout and a story that doesn't get in the way of the fun creates a film that is simply better than it had to be.

An entertaining time if Santa slashing various townspeople entertains you.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Suicide is never the answer, 8 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What a mess. Decent performances by Will Smith and Margot Robbie fight against this chopped up train wreck. In the end it is passable entertainment but it certainly isn't what was meant by the filmmakers. Way too many characters almost all of which are criminally underdeveloped. The so called bad guys actually never do anything worse than say the Avengers would which takes away from the entire premise. The tone is all over the place.

This was clearly a different movie originally before a panicked DC Universe chopped it up trying to make it more Guardians of the Galaxy. The Joker is half in and half out and Jared Leto becomes a decent scapegoat for what went wrong, but substituting him halfway through for a 90's villain that looks like he came out of a Street Fighter film is not an improvement.

The movie suffers from both attention deficit disorder as being a showcase for the crimes against show don't tell. The movie tells us Rick Flag is in love with June Moone / Enchantress a silly device much of the plot rests on and yet Cara Delevingne and Joel Kinnaman have zero chemistry in their scenes together. Harley Quinn and Batman have a more convincing relationship in this movie,

Watchable in a turn your mind off kind of way. Just don't think what could or even should have been.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
We are going to need a $%^#load of Dimes, 7 January 2017

The Magnificent Seven is yet another remake that suffers in comparison to its original source. Denzel Washington does a fine job in the Cleavon Little role and Chris Pratt does a nice turn in the Gene Wilder role. The script though simply lacks the punch of the Mel Brooks original… I mean the filmmakers were certainly aware they were doing a scene for scene remake of Blazing Saddles right? I mean there is a bean eating scene for the love of god…

The movie ditches the original Magnificent Seven's plot (Americans travel down to Mexico to save villager from Banditos)and replaces it with a the exact plot and story beats of Blazing Saddles right down the town meeting in the Church. Some of the cast (particularly the townspeople) seem well aware they are in a Blazing Saddles remake while other, including I suspect the director, are clueless.

The movie is entertaining enough and is a fun old fashioned western. I just they had Mongo in the remake.

The Bronze (2015)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Gary Cole gives the standout performance, 6 January 2017

The Bronze: An appealing comedy looking at a part of America only seen in Dan Bell's Dead Mall videos and during political campaigns about "Real America" . Gary Cole gives the standout performance as the put on dad sporting a Tom Skerritt mustache and the rest of the cast redeems themselves well. The film does bite off a bit more than it can chew trying to replicate two separate Olympic games and missing some easy targets involving NBC style coverage of same.

Some might find the main character abrasive beyond redemption but the movie sells that redemption arc adequately. An overall fun film with some good laughs.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Below average Charles Bronson vehicle, 11 February 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Below average Charles Bronson vehicle marred some really poor supporting acting particularly by female lead/love interest Brooklyn born Theresa Saldana. She seems to have no real purpose in the plot except to scold Charles which makes no sense considering her role in the film. And while she is a very poorly written character that makes little sense Theresa's performance certainly doesn't help things.

Charles looking great at 62 does the Death Wish thing throughout scenic Mexico and has some nice takes on the character particularly when he pretends to be a swinger to pick up a bodyguard or hides under the bed during an unexpected lesbian tryst.

The final is,also well done with a nice Freaks vibe to it. Overall an okay mix of some nice standout scenes and Mexican locations mixed with some really poor acting and unfortunate pacing.

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