Reviews written by registered user
nolarobert

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15 reviews in total 
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Prometheus (2012/I)
3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Fascinating exploration of Human Desire, 10 June 2012
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the one movie this summer that you need to go into without knowing anything that is to come. I thought the story did an excellent job in exploring the human need to connect with something greater... for some it is "god, for some it is eternal physical life, for some it is material and financial profit, for some it is the desire to know what is out there and for some... well, they were programmed to be the way they are. Human desire drives this film and it can take humanity to some very dark places before it is over. Prometheus is a cautionary tale about being careful in getting what you most desire. For fans of Alien & Aliens (like me) Ridley Scott provides the foundation of what is to occur in those films. The revelations were delicious treats for such fans and I know we appreciate them greatly. The writers of this story realized that a lot of the viewing audience would not know the Alien mythology so they wrote the story in such a manner that you can come in not knowing anything about the Alien franchise and being just fine. Actually, it would be even better to know nothing and see Prometheus and then watch Alien & Aliens to go in chronological order. I am really looking forward to the sequel to Prometheus because I get the feeling that payback will be a bitch. This is not a film for the young because it gets quite intense & it explores deeply philosophical issues that lead humans to some very dark places. Teens & adults will appreciate the serious storytelling while admiring the fantastic cinematography which is best appreciated in Real 3D. The cast is brilliant, the relationships intense and the discovery of the creators may not be as pleasing to the religiously faithful versus what they find in their holy books. - Now the part that contains spoilers. - I see where some have had a field day in picking the plot to pieces with criticism on how it wasn't scientific enough for them. I agree that the writers clearly had these humans do some stupid things if this were a purely scientific expedition to look for new life. NASA would do it much differently than the crew of the Prometheus. Instead to drive the story about humans on a search for their desires, some material and some spiritual, you have to suspend your connection to the rational world because this is mythological storytelling. You even get a miraculous birth thrown in but it ends a bit differently than the Jesus story. Dr. Shaw is looking for the Biblical Creator and she is the Ying of this adventure to the David/Weyland Yang of looking for the secret to eternal physical life. Weyland and his corporation have their own agenda which lives on in the evil found in Alien & Aliens. Now that everyone has had their hopes and desires crushed by what they found on LV-223 it will be interesting to see what Dr. Shaw and the newly liberated David find on the Engineers' homeworld when they find it & bring a dish of revenge which is best served cold... and it gets very cold in space. So go see this movie without dissecting every little thing that happens and just enjoy the philosophical exploration of the human condition.

6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Tripping Through History, 9 April 2011
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Colin Quinn wrote and starred in this adapted Broadway show where he takes the audience on a trip through human history. He discusses human civilization down through the ages starting with the Greeks and running through most of the major cultures through the ages ending up with the state of modern America. Quinn does a great service to history by showing the impact of the connections that cultures have had on each other for better and for worse and he makes these stories about humanity interesting, funny and poignant. If we taught history in this manner maybe more people will take it seriously and learn from it rather than writing history off as being boring, dull or having nothing to do with their lives in our modern world. This comedy special is well worth your time and effort to watch and enjoy. It will hopefully heighten the viewer's appreciation of human history and help them understand why England has a crush on France and how the nations of the world wound up in a bar fight at 3 o'clock in the morning. I hope HBO adds plenty of extras from Quinn and director Jerry Seinfeld when this is released on DVD.

3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Nice Popcorn Movie, 29 May 2009
7/10

If you enjoyed the first "Night at the Museum" then you will likely enjoy this sequel. It doesn't really break any new ground but the story provides plenty of opportunity to bring historical characters and animals to life. The highlight of the movie for me was Amy Adams as the free-spirited adventurer Amelia Earhart. I did find Hank Azaria's "Kahmunrah" amusing but I think they went a little too far in allowing him to chew up scenery.

The movie offers some fun moments for the immensely likable Ben Stiller. He is the anchor for all of the chaos of the plot. He plays his role straight which works well in the context of this comedic romp. I did feel bad for the Dark Lord of Sith. You know that the economy is bad when Darth Vader & Oscar The Grouch can't get a job. Also, a great inside wink to fans of Apollo 13 with the cameo by Clint Howard.

My biggest disappointment was that the authors of this screenplay didn't take advantage of one of the biggest attractions of the Air & Space Museum... The original model of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701. All that was needed was just a quick glimpse of the mighty Enterprise getting underway and going to warp and disappearing out into space. Just 15 - 20 seconds of screen time is all that they needed to pull off such a cool scene. Sigh. Still, a fun, family friendly, popcorn movie.

Star Trek (2009)
3 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Star Trek is Back and Better than Ever, 8 May 2009
10/10

I have been a Star Trek fan since I caught the Original Series in reruns back in the early 70's. I am a huge fan of TOS and I was a bit concerned that JJ ABrams would turn this franchise into a 90120 in outer space and abandon the core values of Trek left to us by the Creator, Gene Roddenberry. After seeing the movie last night at our IMAX theater, my worries evaporated and morphed into uncontainable excitement and wonder. This new Trek was a mind-blowing experience, the stunning visuals and special effects, Abrams was able to communicate the spectacular feeling of being in space and truly showing how magnificent the USS Enterprise is in her element.

The actors were amazing and brought each of the icons they were playing to life. Chris Pine oozed cockiness and leadership, Zachacy Quinto made you feel Spock's inner turmoil and conflicted emotions and Karl Urban WAS "Bones" McCoy. The rest of the cast was, pardon the pun, stellar. Zoe Saldana brought a great charm and intelligence to Uhura, John Cho exhibited his swordsmanship and humor and the oh so young Alton Yelchin played Chckov's accent up in a believable manner yet got to show off his mad science skills. Special kudos to Bruce Greenwood for bringing Captain Christopher Pike to life and being a mentor to the rebellious young Kirk.

This is the best Star Trek since The Wrath of Khan. It has the depth of emotion we expect from Star Trek while still telling an amazing space opera story that takes you into the depths of outer space as well as the depths of human & Vulcan emotion. Eric Bana's Nero is the weakest element of the story. With a running time just over two hours, they just couldn't fit more of his back story in which leaves his character a bit unfinished in the movie. The writers of the film did do a prequel graphic novel that explains how the events of this movie were triggered and fills out the Nero back-story. If you love this film and want to know more, I highly recommend the Star Trek: Countdown graphic novel. Otherwise, this movie blew all of my expectations out of the water and more than thrilled me with the confidence that JJ Abrams and company know exactly how to make a Star Trek epic. This franchise will boldly go and live long and prosper with this cast and crew. A must see movie for Trekker and newcomer alike.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Time is the measure of all things, 12 January 2009
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The story starts off slowly but poignantly in a "retirement" home in New Orleans. The people that populate Benjamin's world are all at the end of their mortal existence while Benjamin is headed in the other directions. Also, one learns that there are many places one may be struck by lightening.

The special effects & makeup that altered Brad Pitt's appearance as he de-aged during the film were amazing. I found myself getting lost in the story despite the amazing lack of car chases, explosions and cheap sexual titillation. A very mature presentation on how time changes us all and how the choices we make or ignore have lasting impact upon us until the day we die.

The acting was sublime and superb by all concerned. Cate Blanchett did an amazing job of handling the demands of showing the complicated emotions and conflicts felt by Daisy as she deals with the truth of her relationship with Benjamin. Kudos also to Taraji P. Henson's soulful depiction of Benjamin's "mother," Queenie.

Being a resident of New Orleans, the most poignant part of the film was the ending. I found the death of Daisy coinciding with the arrival of Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of the warehouse holding Monsieur Gateau's "The Reverse Time Clock" hit me literally where I live. The movie made liberal use of showing off New Orleans but that ending was emotional as Katrina still haunts us to this day. Also, I learned I would never want to stay in Murmansk in winter.

This is a must-see movie for those who love movies rather than soulless SFX spectacles. Brad Pitt & this film better get some Oscar love or a whole lot of folks will be upset.

Hancock (2008)
151 out of 276 people found the following review useful:
Will Smith Delivers another Summertime Movie Treat, 30 June 2008
8/10

I caught a preview showing of Hancock tonight. I enjoyed it for what it was which is a fun, mostly fast-paced popcorn flick. The writers of the film also tossed in a nice plot twist that I didn't see coming but it turned out to work just fine. This isn't Shakespeare so I don't demand a lot of deep thought just some escapist fun. Will Smith does an excellent job of playing the disinterested superhero with an existential crisis. It was good to see Jason Bateman again but a bummer as well seeing how he has aged. This means I am not so young myself anymore. Jae Head didn't overact nor did the script writers push the "cute" button to the point of being saccharine. It will be interesting to see how this movie performs to see if Smith wants to do a sequel. So I am more than happy to recommend Hancock to fans of the "Summer Blockbuster" and those who enjoy Will Smith.

9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
A Thrilling Winter Ride, 21 December 2007
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My wife and I were able to attend a sneak preview offered by Disney at our local AMC Theater. The theater was packed thanks to the local radio station giveaway of passes. I enjoyed the first movie but it wasn't on my Top 100 movie list for great films. It was what it was, a fun, ahistorical excuse to put Nicholas Cage in the middle of an Indiana Jones-esquire adventure. It entertained but had the substance of cotton candy, as once I was out of the theater the movie left my memory. So I went into this screening of Book of Secrets with middling expectations. I will have to admit the writers did a good job of constructing a cool story to serve as the catalyst to send Nick "Ben Gates" Cage and his posse on an adventure worth the space in my memory.

I am sure the story has been summarized well already. So I am cutting to the chase (or chases) in what I found appealing in this film. Ed Harris as the bad guy worked as I found Ed's character to be sufficiently creepy as the pseudo-Blackwater chief "Mitch Wilkinson." He could have been the cookie-cutter foil but the writers added a nice twist at the end of the story that redeems Wilkinson and raises his character above the stock movie nemesis. Helen Mirren was a delight as Ben's Mom who happened to be an expert in dead languages. Mirren and Voight had good chemistry as a long-separated couple who could have benefited from marriage counseling all those years ago.

Yet what I enjoyed the most was the interplay within the triad, Ben Gates, his ersatz ex Abigail Chase and the everyman hero, Riley Poole. They played off each other as if they had known each other for years. Cage as Gates, pulls off the insufferable but lovable ex so well that you buy into the plot line that has the lovely and sharp Diane Kruger, as Abigail Chase, fall in love with Gates all over again. This could slide into treacle without the valuable contribution of Justin Bartha as the long-suffering, unacknowledged action hero, Riley Poole. His humor was always timely and never forced. It was also gratifying to see that he did get the girl and the car in the end.

Am I the only one who thought that Bruce Greenwood brought a Kennedyesque air about his portrayal of "The President." Maybe it was due to his excellent work as JFK in "Thirteen Days," but he actually convinced me we could have a President who was intelligent and well-spoken. Also, he has me curious as to what was in the Presidents' book and how that will be played out in "National Treasure III: Page 47." So I hope they invite him back to join Gates in the next installment.

So if you loved the first movie, you won't be disappointed in the Book of Secrets. It is a better, more coherent film that the first one with a great cast that worked well together. What more could you ask for in an adventure film released in December rather than summer!

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Quirky Heart-Warming Film, 27 July 2006
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I rented this film because of its connection to Louisiana. The acting is absolutely superb in this German movie about a man who retires and finds his passion for life has gone until he discovers Zydeco music. This is not the typical Hollywood tale but rather a very foreign, in this case German, look at how a person deals with the end of their life. I watched this film after Hurricane Katrina, so it was good to see some of the old local landmarks like the Rock'N Bowl being used as a location. The storyline had me hooked from the very start as Schultze and his friends drew me into their world and everyday mundane lives and following Schultze's evolution. This is a story that resonates for all of us as we must one day face the question of existence like Schultze's character did and I hope I do it as well as he did by seizing the day. If you enjoy a good old-fashioned story that doesn't rely on juvenile humor, huge explosions or gee whiz special effects, then go rent this movie today.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A truly old-fashioned quality animated tale, 2 May 2006
8/10

I was surprised by some of the criticism of Hoodwinked. I know that people have been spoiled by the high-dollar, high visual quality releases from Pixar but that doesn't mean we should trash everything else. I like all kinds of movies and I try not to prejudice myself before I have actually seen them for myself. I took Hoodwinked for what it is... a low-budget animated film created by a devoted core group who had their own vision. The story is a very witty take on the "Little Red Riding Hood" tale. It is a very tongue-in-cheek take on our modern world without offering the corporate cuteness that can make other animated flicks feel so cold. I think that DVD Talk did the best review I have seen of this movie. Check it out at http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=21298. Also, you might just watch this movie first and come to your own conclusions.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
A great mythical sci-fi tale for the ages, 30 April 2006
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

JMS really put together an excellent series with B5. The use of the 5-year story arc really gave the show an epic mythological feel. As with the best work in sci-fi, B5 explores the human condition through the interaction of the human players i.e., the B5 station crew vs EarthGov and in the interaction of humans and aliens i.e. the B5 station crew and the Minbari, the Narn, the Centauri, the Vorlon, the Shadows, etc. But the best part of JMS' storyline comes in what each alien race represents which to me is an aspect of our current humanity.

What impresses me is how JMS' storyline of B5 having to battle a conspiracy within the Office of the (EarthGov) Presidency to destroy Democracy and replace it with the tyranny of fear and hate. Just change the name of President Clark to President Bush in the B5 mythos and you'll think JMS as being clairvoyant! Along with Star Trek, B5 represents the best that the medium of television has to offer an intelligent audience. It also shows the high quality of storytelling ability and insight on the human condition that can be performed by an Atheist.

B5's storyline reminds me of what Founding Father James Madison once told me, "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." JMS obviously understands history and the future. Watch B5 in the order of the episodes and you won't be disappointed.


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