Reviews

150 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Ghost Rider (2007)
5/10
No Boo Here
18 June 2007
Johnny Blaze (Cage) sells his soul to the devil (Fonda) to help his father and his girl friend (Mendez)

The Ghost Rider is based upon a Marvel Comic character. I never read that one.

This production was very good as far as the CGI went and some auto stunts as well. Nicolas Cage is one of the actors I really enjoy watching, the others being Jack Palance, Patrick McGoohan, and sometimes Jack Nicholson. But, on the whole, there was a big letdown for me.

The movie started too slow with too much time spent on Johnny Blaze's youth before he became the Ghost Rider. The dialogue here suffered too between Johnny and his father (Bret Cullen) and Johnny and Roxanne (Mendez) and Johhny and the Devil (Fonda). Hope they didn't use the dialogue from the comics. In comics the dialogue works, but to actually say the lines in a movie…..well, they don't always translate well. OK, forget the Batman comic, TV dialogue.

There was too much watching Ghost Rider with head, arms, legs and bike all aflame. That was okay, but I came to see Nicolas Cage one of the actors I really enjoy watching. When Cage did appear without flames he didn't disappoint. He is always good.

The rest of the cast were fine, stilted dialogue and all. Can't blame them, but the director should have upgraded conversations to present-day give and take. The best dialogue was between adult Johnny Blaze (Cage) and Sam Elliott, the caretaker (of the cemetery). Someone forgot to tell Peter Fonda that this wasn't a play and a little too much soliloquy crept into his lines, but I am being picky here. He was fine. Not often that we see him.

The cops treated the Ghost Rider as Public Enemy Number One and we really didn't see an acknowledgement that the cops realized Ghost Rider was one of the good guys. Maybe Ghost Rider II, eh? And, I do hope Nicolas Cage plays the part again because, as noted, he is one of the actors I really enjoy watching.

Violence: Yes, Sex: No, Nudity: No, Language:No
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7/10
Good Western. Keeps your Interest
20 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Something happened at Seraphim Falls and that is the reason Carver (Neeson) has been chasing and trying his best to kill Gideon (Brosnan).

It is not often you watch a movie and do not know who the good guy or the bad guy is. This movie goes on for such a time without telling you that you are left to wonder: are Carver and Gideon both good guys? Well, one is constantly shooting bullets and one is dodging those bullets and this goes on for quite a while and still we don't know who the good guy is. So it keeps your interest.

Good performances by all, not just Neeson and Brosnan, who were perfect. I couldn't help thinking that Brosnan's role of Gideon could have been played by Dennis Quaid because he looked like Dennis Quaid for most of the movie. Maybe it's just me. Maybe it was the beard.

The cinematography was very good as were the stunts and no CGI here. The stunts looked real. The dialogue suffered in places but that was just so we in the audience were not to know what was really happening in the story until the end. So it keeps your interest. It's annoying, but it does keep one glued to the seat and questioning everything.

Two things I found wrong. One: Angelica Houston's snake oil sales woman with wagon in the desert and the Indian at the Spring were totally wrong. If hallucinations were meant, they were out of place. The dialogue here really suffered and it wasn't so that the audience was still to be kept in the dark. The movie could have been shortened without losing anything if those scenes were cut out. And, two: I have learned enough from Louis Lamour novels to know that if nothing grows next to a Spring in the desert, it is probably poisoned. Nothing was growing near that Spring where the Indian sat. Yet both Carver and Gideon drank from that spring and lived. Hmmmm.....

There is something else that bothered me. None of the characters seemed concerned that the horses weren't given anything to drink in the desert. They, of course, drank generously, from their canteens, but the horses were not considered. Nothing for the horses. A Louis Lamour character would never let the horse suffer like that.

Aside from my misgivings, I did think the movie was good and entertaining. Now, who was the good guy? I'll never tell.

Violence:Yes, Sex: No, Nudity: No, Language: only a couple SOBs and GDs
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The Queen (2006)
10/10
First Class all the Way
28 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The Queen Queen Elizabeth II, James Cromwell, Michael Sheen

First Class all the Way

Queen Elizabeth takes too long acknowledging Princess Diana's death in 1997 to the point some are talking about abolishing the monarchy in England. Oh, oh, this can't be good.

(Bob, you put Queen Elizabeth down as one of the actors) --Yeah, so? She did a good job-- (Yes, but Helen Mirren played the part of the Queen) --You sure? She was really believable, awfully good—

Any time Inquiring minds can take a peek into the lives of the monarchy in England, we and the rest of the world are there. We want to see how the other half lives, the half that we can never be and have no real interest in becoming. We want to see how they break their bread at the table, what they consider when they dress themselves, and, yes, what they think of the rest of the world.

This movie could be considered embarrassing to the English monarchy. Why did the Royals wait so long to see they were making a huge mistake in not showing the proper timely grief in Diana's death? It could have cost them the monarchy had they not given in to Tony Blair's (Sheen) suggestions. We shall never know. But, could it be that they knew something we can never know for sure? Was the whole story told here? There are some reports that Diana was never in that car with Dodi Fayed and that it was someone else, a decoy. Okay, enough conspiracy.

After the Oscars for which Helen Mirren won the Award for Best Actress, she told one interviewer that she was to have a meeting with Queen Elizabeth. My question is who will emerge from that meeting to the point no one will notice who the real Queen is? Now, that would be a movie.

And, when they do meet I am sure they will laugh out loud together regarding Mrs. Blair's curtesy. It was described to the Queen as "lame" and when you see it and also see the Queen's reaction to it, you will laugh as I did. I am still laughing.

The whole production was first class. The performances by all were simply outstanding.

But, since we peered in, what other things did we learn about Queen Elizabeth? She was a mechanic after WWII; she keeps a diary; she drives vehicles around her property without security guards; she wears glasses that are too big for her face; she is called "cabbage" by Prince Phillip; and despite how she acts before her people, she is most loved and always forgiven.

Another thing I learned was that performances by the British about the British should have their own Oscar category. To put them in the same ring with US gangsters, cowboys, businessmen, etc, just doesn't do the British justice, but they will win almost every time. We don't stand a chance.

(So you liked the movie and Helen Mirren's performance?) --Yes, but are you sure Queen Elizabeth didn't play herself in this? Wonder what is in that diary?--

Violence: No, Sex:No, Nudity: No, Language: Yes, Mrs. Blair (Helen McCrory utters one F-bomb)
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5/10
Watchable
27 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Larry Daley (Stiller) is down on his luck and needs a job. He takes a job at the museum as a Night Watchman and has no idea that the exhibits in the museum literally come to life each night.

The Promos kind of ruined it for me. There were too many of them and they appeared too often. Oh, they were good as Stiller has the timing thing down. In some ways he is reminiscent of the old time comedians who could do a certain thing over and over again and each time you watch it you would laugh. That is because they had timing and it never got old. The problem here was the promos were the best part of the movie and there was no real surprise when you saw them again in the movie. Yes, they were still funny and the rest of the movie was okay, but there were no real belly laughs. I kind of expected more. And, there were no really good lines.

I hate to say this but the dialogue was too predictable. I mean if I knew what a character was going to say before he/she said it, then it is too predictable and not worthy.

The CGI was fantastic, and the best scenes were with Larry and the T-Rex. No matter, kids will love all of it.

One thing I really liked about the movie was the star-studded cast. It was nice to see Dick Van Dyke, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Mickey Rooney (he's still alive?), you only hear Brad Garrett's voice, and Anne Meara all having a supportive role. And, BTW Anne Meara, who played Debbie, the Employment Counselor is, in real life, Ben Stiller's mother.

All in all this is watchable and good family fun but it is mostly for the kids. They will feel good at the end of it.

Violence: Not really, Sex:No, Nudity: No, Language: No
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Deja Vu (2006)
9/10
Solid All Around
25 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
ATF Agent Doug Carlin (Washington) gets called in by a secret government agency to help out in the bombing of a ferry boat with 500+ passengers aboard in New Orleans.

There is something to be said about a Denzel Washington movie: it never disappoints.

When you watch a movie you want the beginning of it to really capture your attention and this one does that. Fantastic scenes is all I can say. Kind of unbelievable too.

The secret gov't agency Task Force Leader, Pryzwarra, (Kilmer) has some new toys to help catch criminals and it involves time-shifting technology that allows looking 4-days into the past into any area via the use of triangulations of digital satellite imagery. That's as far as I am going to go with that technology as it does become complicated, but extremely interesting to watch. This is a thriller of the highest order, and there is no way you will figure out the twist at the end.

Performances all around are outstanding. And, yes, Paula Patton does indeed resemble Halle Berry, who is now the standard for beautiful black actresses. The cinematography is also outstanding, and the dialogue is believable.

You know, I have this feeling that I wrote this review before……Hmmmm………….. You know, I have this feeling that I wrote this review before……Hmmmm…………..

Violence: Yes, Sex, No, Nudity: Partial, but in a darkened scene. Can't see much. Language: No
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7/10
It Was Okay
24 April 2007
Scotsman Dr. Nicholas Garrigan (McAvoy) graduates from school and decides to make Uganda his first practice. He is befriended by Idi Amin (Whitaker) who makes him is personal doctor.

I remember reading things about Idi Amin when I was working overseas and the movie hardly touches on the brutality this man was capable of. And, through the eyes of Dr. Garrigan, the movie touches on Amin's violent mood swings, but doesn't go far enough. He almost becomes likable and I hope that wasn't the intention.

Looking back on it there is probably no one better to portray Idi Amin than Forest Whitaker. He did a good job and was rewarded with an Oscar Nomination for Best Actor. The rest of the cast and crew were very good too, and James McAvoy could have copped the Best Supporting Actor Award, but no one thought of him. Too bad as he was the barometer we gauged Amin by and he performed exceptionally well. Too bad no one thought of him.

Now, what does all this have to do with the title of The Last King of Scotland? Idi Amin liked Scotland and it's people and referred to himself that way at times. Nothing has been given away and the movie is worth seeing to catch a glimpse of what this evil man was about. And, again, the movie hardly touches on his brutality, and the director wanted you to get some sleep at night after seeing it.

Violence:Yes, Sex: Yes, Nudity: Yes, Language: Yes
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Bobby (2006)
8/10
Impressive
15 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is the story of some hotel workers and some guests leading up to the moment that Bobby Kennedy is shot on that fateful day by Sirhan Sirhan at the Ambassador Hotel in California.

This is impressive. I thought I was going to see the same type scenario regarding Bobby Kennedy's last moments on that fateful day. I was not prepared for the angle the director (Emilio Estavez) took and was pleasantly surprised. I am going to assume that research was done regarding those hotel workers and guests and what they were involved in that day prior to Kennedy coming to the hotel, but if not, it doesn't matter what was true and what was not true. But the stories were probably true. Well, some of them anyway. Doesn't matter.

The editing is superb mixing the film with real footage of Kennedy at different campaign stops including the Ambassador Hotel. This editing, especially at the close of the movie, is something to see. You would think Kennedy was shot at the end of the movie during the making of the movie. That's how good it was.

In flashbacks you do hear Kennedy on various topics, the Viet Nam War, the closing of coal mines, and what he thinks we can do as a country to get the United States moving again. But, these flashbacks are short and quick and to the point. It's the stories of the workers and some guests that carry you to the final moments, and nothing is belabored here with many quick scenes and the movie never drags. Early on in the movie, it becomes clear to you why you are seeing what you are seeing and what will happen later on. Still, when the shots are fired you are not prepared.

The list of actors in here is impressive too and a good job was done by all. This is the kind of movie the stars would probably pay to be in. Okay, just a thought.

Violence:Yes, Sex: No, Nudity: No, Language: Yes
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5/10
Long and Boring
4 April 2007
Edward Wilson (Damon) is a career CIA agent who is trying to unravel the mystery of who caused the Bay of Pigs operation in Cuba to fail. The story goes loosely into the beginnings of the CIA as well and some Russian defections.

This movie reminded me of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. That, to me, was long and boring too, but admittedly, a better told story on film. I think for viewing future spy movies we should be equipped with the Green Night Vision Glasses and one of those large hearing discs along with earphones. Too much in this movie was in staged in dark, shadowy areas; and too much of this movie was barely audible due to "well, you know, we have to talk softly so others can't hear." The Director didn't let the audience hear too much as we might endanger national security. I gave up rewinding the DVD to determine what was going on at times.

The acting was dead-pan all around except for a couple outbursts by Wilson's wife, Margaret (Jolie), and she was totally underutilized. Where is Laura Croft when you need her? This could have used some humor too.

I need to explain something. It is my understanding that the Wilson character was based on a real live CIA agent, who actually, was the way Matt Damon played him in the movie. So we can forgive the dead-pan portrayal by Matt Damon as he was doing the right thing. That doesn't forgive the rest of the cast or the director who needed to put some life into this. I mean we can't have Angelina doing an outburst too often.

You know, if truth be told, being a Good Shepherd is a long and boring job too.

Violence:Yes, Sex: Yes, dark scenes but you know what was going on. Nudity : No, too dark to see anything Language:Yes, there was some, not much
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8/10
This is a must see
3 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is based on a true story. Chris Gardner (Smith) has a hard time selling bone density machines to doctors and hospitals and looks for another way to help his family. He takes an internship at Dean Witter, a prominent brokerage firm. Problem is the internship pays no salary and he must prove himself for 6-months and still there is no guarantee of a salaried job.

This is a not an easy movie to watch. No other way to say it. No matter what events are true or embellished by Hollywood theatrics, Chris Gardner had it extremely tough. Obstacle after obstacle is thrown in his path and yet he knows giving up is not an option.

This could have turned into a real sappy mess, but it didn't. You get caught up in Chris' drive to succeed and along the way there is some humor to blunt the adversities that come his way. And, it was this humor that helped us believe that Chris might make it, but we kept asking when will this turn around for him as so much is thrown his way. He keeps asking his son to trust him and his 5-year old son always complies in the affirmative. I think many men would have given up or done something different, but Chris Gardner had something he could count on and he knew it. He had a talent. He was good with people and with numbers and for him that had to work in his favor.

Will Smith and his real life son, Jaden Christopher Smith, make this a memorable movie. The performance by Will Smith is Oscar caliber and he was nominated for Best Actor in this movie. The rest of the cast performed well, but it is Will Smith, who alone, makes this work.

Violence:No, Sex: No, Nudity: NO, Language: No
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8/10
Quite Good (little did I know)
2 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
IRS tax auditor, Harold Crick (Ferrell) is a character in a story being written by author Kay Eiffel (Thompson), but he can hear Kay's voice telling him, in the third person, what he has already done since he got up in the morning. We assume that, as Kay speaks, she is typing as well. All gets worse when Kay lets slip that she is looking for a way to kill off Harold Crick in the novel. Harold hears this and is now more than worried. Who wouldn't be?

Little did I know that I would ever be praising a Will Ferrell movie, but that is exactly what I am doing. Finally, he is doing what he should be doing and that is acting in a dramatic role (selling cars was my second choice for him). His performance is perfect. There I said it.

Dustin Hoffman, as a literary analyst, is always good in his dead-pan way. Emma Thompson shines as the author, who constantly searches for a way to end her novel and the life of (gulp!) Harold Crick; and Queen Latifah, does a good, but understated, job as a literary enforcer trying to get Kay to finish the novel for the publisher. But, we fell in love with a baker: Maggie Gyllenhaal almost at first sight and Harold falls for her too and doesn't want to die. We just hope her tattoo's are washable.

Yes, there are some laughs in here - very subtle ones - but nothing memorable to write about. And, "little did I know" is a clever catch phrase in the story and you will see how it's tied in.

This movie should win, hands down, for Original Screenplay and writers and authors will take note and understand the concept of parallel universes which would offer an infinite number of events. So be on the lookout for copycat writers using a mix between fictional characters in a story and real people. To analyze this any further would get us into time travel, chicken or the egg……well you get the idea. We should get some interesting reading and maybe a movie or two.

Actually, I did know that Will Ferrell would be good in a dramatic role. I have always said that. An Oscar nomination for him? Um, maybe. Will I get a finder's fee? Hmmmm………… Probably not.

Violence: No, Sex: No, Nudity: Yes, backsides only as characters pass within a men's shower on the way to the swimming pool, Language: Yes, I think I heard Hoffman drop an F Bomb
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