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This is one intensive, edge-of-your-seat-movie. A warning to some; if you like a movie that at least makes you grin, smile or laugh at least once during the film – this is NOT the movie for you. Anthropoid is a rigid, matter-of-fact, historical-based movie about the perils of war and the nail-biting pressures associated with trying to assassinate someone in an occupied territory. I would put this movie in line with 'Black Mass', regarding its callus subject matter and lack of any joyous moments. However, with all that said, I enjoyed the movie for its frank delivery. No-frills were added to this one, just so they could appeal to everyone. A very good WWII movie about the occupation of Czechoslovakia.
The Magnificent Seven (2016)
The Drab Seven
Another MADE-FOR-TV movie brought to the screen.
More of the same from Hollywood.
Lets re-make a classic, but ensure it's politically correct and an absolute that it represents every race, so as not to step on any toes.
Oh,and lets give everyone modern-day attitudes and dialects, because apparently no one has the capability of acting with the original language or mannerisms associated with the time-period depicted.
Filling a movie with a handful of 'regular stars' does NOT assure the film will succeed. This one is like the recent 'TARZAN' movie.
Save your money and watch the Seven Samurai & The Magnificent Seven (original) to see film beauty and entertainment.
Stunning to watch, but misses the mark
Briefly – this is one of the more visually stunning movies to watch. The graphics and CGI scenes are remarkable, but the storyline falls short and tends to stumble over itself too many times throughout the plot.
I don't understand why it is that Hollywood, or perhaps it's Disney, that seems so intent on retelling stories and twisting the plot around. Villains in movies are meant to be villains – leave them as such and please stop trying to re-cast them as somewhat good or simply shaded characters to feel better about yourself, and them. If you want to put the evil-doers in a 'good' light – then come up with a whole new original tale! In the case of re-telling Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent starts out as such a promising film, and then decides to make sudden changes, for no apparent reason. The plot ends up becoming too confusing, frustrating and much to 'wait a second...!!!!'
Had Disneystuck to the original storyline – which we were all waiting to see – oh how wonderful this film could've been! What's next suddenly Disney is going to make the wicked stepmother in Cinderella the true 'good-fairy', and Cinderella is now the spoiled brat? Keep the original story – just give it to us in an updated and fresh live-action tale that we've never seen.
Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
An actor's movie
A very well done docu/drama about the making of Mary Poppins.
The movie has enough to entice you, make you smile and make you appreciate what goes into making movies from the perspective of the producer and story writer. The acting, sets and 60's period costumes are wonderful. Not a movie children will enjoy, or even understand, but worthy of adults who want to see something that is rather anti-climatic and lends itself quite well to the subject matter.
A good portion of SMB provides us background details which prompted the writing of the books in the first place, while the other half focuses on the challenges and frustrations both the studio and Mrs. Travers endured when they tried to come to terms with the screen adaptation.
Stick around for the credits to see the actual pictures and hear the tape recordings of the events.
The Book Thief (2013)
Wonderful! I never read the book, therefore I had no expectations which needed to be satisfied from this movie, so whether or not it lives up to the printed version doesn't matter to me – from that perspective this is a WONDERFUL movie! I wish they made more movies like this, where the violence doesn't have to be graphic and realistic, or the language becomes embarrassing, even though dealing with such a humanistic and horrific situation as WWII. It seems you can no longer take your kids or grandkids to movies that simply tell historic stories, without the screen flashing nudity, violence and rough language to give it 'real' feel.
It was absolutely refreshing to experience this story from the child's point of view, and to have the narration done by DEATH - that added to the flavor of the movie and made it easy to follow. It also takes adults back to our youth, when we can remember going along or doing things simply because the adults were doing it. The acting is wonderful and the story is priceless.
On a side note, I read a review by a critic that gave The Book Thief a poor rating, indicating that if you want to see a war movie done like Disney would do it, this one would be perfect for you. I think that was the critic's problem, this isn't a war movie; it's a story of coming of age and dealing with challenging issues when you are growing up, which happened to occur around Stuttgart, Germany during WWII. There are plenty of war movies you can't take younger audiences to that are already out there, this was a welcome relief.
Do not miss this movie!
Fast moving & fun!!!!!!!!!!
Well worth it!
Do not be swayed by those who claim 'this would never happen'. This isn't a movie based on a true story, nor is it a NASA documentary, or a premonition of something to come–it is entertainment, and to that degree, a top notch motion picture! The editing, visual displays and acting are unforgettable and should not be missed, particularly in IMAX if possible. You come out of this movie before you can truly catch your breath – the fast pace and stunning images will mesmerize you and I pray a great many directors and studios follow suit. Set the camera and let the story tell itself–wonderful!
Oh yes, back to my opening, for those who claim all of this is impossible–next time do YOUR homework, because Alfonso Cuaron DID his research and recent interviews with NASA have verified elements of the movie could, or have happened. The odds are greatly against all of this happening in conjunction with one another, but bear in mind we are talking entertainment here. Ham radios CAN be heard in space and the stations are equipped with them just for emergency purposes. Space debris CAN and DO hit objects, it doesn't happen often, but it does. YES, there are operational manuals on the stations and, if can translate them, you can control other crafts. You CAN access modules and crafts from the outside, it has to be set up right, but it can be done. YES, astronauts have communicated with Huston "in the blind" and are taught to do so when they do not receive responses. Now granted this movie happened to throw all the intangibles into a huge crock pot and the story is fascinating to the point we aren't expected to believe it could be duplicated during real missions, but WOW, what a ride and how thrilling it was to be a part of it!!!
The World's End (2013)
Fun and entertaining - see it with a group of friends!
It wasn't 'hilarious', nor was it probing and overly imaginative. It was fun and entertaining and that's exactly what I expected out of it. It became a little too over-the-top and almost 'huh?' 'wh-at?' when trying to explain itself in the last fifteen minutes, but even that wasn't enough to dampen the spirit of the overall experience. I was happy with the movie and recommend it, especially if you're going to see it with a group of friends – trust me – there are dozens of scenes you and your friends will absolutely relate to and start elbowing each other over! Good enough for anyone in their late teens and older. Teens will have something to look forward to – and those of us past our thirties, will get embarrassed reliving the same stunts we used to pull, or associating with friends 'just like some of those guys'.
Good acting but lacking appeal overall
Copperhead offers an alternative to movies of late, which are inundated with CGI special affects and machine-gun pacing. It is a welcome departure from the current Hollywood format; however that alone does not make it as appealing as it could have been.
Copperhead's storyline development is more suited as a TV mini-series drama, with a strong emphasis on the dialog and drama–period. The acting alone does not save the film, despite the fact the script is exceptional well done and true to the period, as is expected from director Ron Maxwell. After an hour and a half of character development and setting the stage, the final thirty minutes of the movie leaves you wishing there was more to it. The movie ends as it started–relaxed and waiting for something more.
The acting and cinematography is worthy of note, but the screenplay-pacing is not enough to propel the film. A little extra effort and this could have been a classic film.
The Kings of Summer (2013)
Decent but nothing special
Kings of Summer brought a smile to my face a few times, but I was expecting more and when I left the theater feeling as though it could have been much better.
The first half of the movie was good. The setup was done well, the interaction with the families and friends was entertaining, but then once the boys moved into the forest, the film drags until everyone is reunited in the hospital.
One of the issues with the film was buying into the notion that the boys managed to build the house depicted, in a matter of a week or two. The house should have been a shack at best, instead of a two story, multi-room structure, framed by 4x4 beams, partial sheet metal and plywood siding and roof, furniture inside and out, AND a slide staircase! No one is buying that. For as 'remote' a setting as this is supposed to be, we are expected to believe that these three kids somehow hand-carried several tons worth of metal and wood through a dense forest, not to mention furniture, and then threw it all together seemingly overnight? If it was intended to be something we could believe in, have the kids buy and set up a three room tent and then add a lean-to onto it–that I would have accepted. Once the guys moved in, the movie really had nowhere else to go and we are left waiting, and waiting, and waiting for something to happen, other than where the chickens come from and dancing next to a pipe. When the end finally rolls around, the visual display is more like a couple of bottle rockets popping off in the distance, instead of a grand 4th of July fireworks extravaganza.
I also wish movies these days would give the audience a little more credit, and not make films expecting that we don't know much, or will pass over things without raising our eyebrows. Case in point is realism. I already touched on the aspects of the house being believable, but I have a few others. Can someone nudge a director and let them know that a little make-up can easily cover up pierced ear lobes on males! If you are going to show close-ups of males, and you don't want us buying that the character (Frank in this instance, played by Nick Offerman)wears earrings, then for crying out loud throw a little make-up on Nick's ear lobes so we don't see the holes! Studios go to lengths to hide all sorts of things on actors, like tan-lines of wedding rings and wristwatches, and to cover over tattoos, scars and hairlines, etc.–why not extend that to piercings? If you also want us accepting that the snake is a poisonous copperhead, then by all means pay a little extra and get a hot-snake (poisonous snake) handler on location and film a real copperhead–not a regular ol' bull snake (which is not poisonous)!
The six stars I give this film are for the scenes with the parents of the boys, and the few minutes afforded to the romance trends between the teenagers, but the rest of it (second half) was too humdrum to hold my interest.
Mai wei (2011)
Not at all close to Saving Private Ryan ...
I took a chance on this movie based on the acclaim and reviews it was receiving on IMDb, and I ended up somewhat disappointed.
THE GOOD: It's based on true story and I don't doubt SOME of the events depicted here happened. The relationship between the two main characters certainly goes in many directions, and that alone is compelling enough to watch for the most part. Overall the battle scenes are entertaining – but only when the director gives us a few seconds of wide-angle aspects. The best part of this movie happens in the beginning (pre-war) and the end (D-Day invasion).
THE BAD: The director's over use of cuts is enough to give you a headache watching this movie! Every two seconds this movie flashes from one close-up to the next, or one view to the other, as if the editor was getting paid by how many chops he made. After just twenty minutes I was ready to give up on it. What ever happened to just filming actors act? The director seems intent on not giving any credit to the actors or the scene, instead relying on flashing back and forth with ever spoken phrase or twist of the head to tell the story. You can't even 'study' what is being filmed because the constant cuts makes you feel like you're in a blinking contest.
THE UGLY: Too many liberties with showing harsh elements of prison life for the sake of showing them. The movie over extends the Russian Gulag-style prison camp, as though the director refuses to let up on the constant pounding of how bad it was and how much everyone seemed to hate everyone else at this stage of the film. I almost thought the film was trying to get bonus points for seeing how long it could drag-out the prison sequence. The emotional twists and turns turned almost ridiculous at this point in the film.
SUMMARY: To compare this movie (as many of these reviewers seem to do) to Saving Private Ryan is giving it far more credit that it is due. This is NO Saving Private Ryan! In comparison, Saving Private Ryan was much more realistic, compelling and more believable than this 'based on a true story' is. After so much harsh 'reality' and 'cliff-hanging escapes', the film reaches a point where you simply grin to yourself and mutter 'yeah-right!' Trust me, you will run out of fingers and toes counting the number of times the two main characters are in the middle of explosions and situations that would kill them – yet they stagger away and survive everything thrown at them. Eventually you just start giving up on all the characters and just want to get onto the next segment. I'm usually one who enjoys long movies, but this is a case where an hour could have been trimmed from this film (most of the Russian prison episode) – which in my opinion would have made it much better.
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Tremendous – gripping and thrilling!
Short-n-sweet because this movie
was AWESOME, and I don't want to ruin anything for you!!!!! Kudos to any movie that does not Hollywood-ize a true topic – ZDT does exactly that and perhaps better than any other true-life story made to date.
Do not get caught up in some of these reviews that claim 'torture scenes' will turn your stomach, or that the first part of the movie is slow and boring – I found the first hour of this movie to be extremely well done and absolutely necessary to establish what the CIA went through to find OBL.
There are many scenes in this movie that will leave you on the edge of your seat and startle you, but do not expect to see over-the-top writing or easy-n-cheap one-liners that most directors would have thrown in the movie to draw attention to themselves – again, this is NOT a pro-Hollywood movie. Which is probably why Kathryn Bigelow was sniped of any Oscar best-director possibility.
The depiction of the raid which kills OBL is one of the best/realistic scenes every filmed. I was very pleased with the length of this film and the attention to detail. Despite some reviewers who claim human sentiment is missing or that the characters are shallow – don't believe a word of it. This entire film is overflowing with emotions and the story lines of these characters are spectacular – don't forget for a minute that these are CIA operatives, whose job it is to find and kill OBL.
Well done Kathryn Bigelow, VERY well done!
A fairly decent movie, but not The Hobbit you may have read...
I will do my best to keep this review short, like the story Tolkien created, NOT like Peter Jackson is doing by making this into a trilogy.
I will start by telling you that all the special effects and CGI magic works well for visualizing an adventure story. The settings, the costumes, the filming, yes it all works well and looks marvelous! For that reason alone, and the wonderful soundtrack, Hollywood will love this movie. But... I came to the theater to see The Hobbit, and this is not how I remember the book to be. This is a drawn-out, over done attempt to milk the viewers for 6 plus hours and a lot of money, for a story that can easily be told in 2.5 hours.
The Hobbit is a very simple story, if you bother to read the book. It tells about a brave little creature teaming up with a band of hard-nosed dwarfs, who head out to fight a dragon.
Peter Jackson has taken way too many liberties with the film by adding elements which were not a part of the book, and by dragging everything to the extreme just to lengthen his movie(s). He is trying to make this into another LOTR, which was not Tolkien's intention, and why Tolkien wrote The Hobbit first - THEN went on to write LOTR. A prime example of this is the first 40 minutes of the movie, which was covered in the book by just a dozen pages! Go see the movie to whet your appetite for some spectacular scenery and action sequences, but please do not think that these characters and the storyline were as they appeared in the book. I urge you to read the story if you haven't already, so you can understand how the focus was on a timid little character who managed to survive perilous situations. It seems that Jackson is more intent on making EVERYONE a hero, a fighting master, a focal point and portraying them ALL as main elements to the story.
Old-school Bond - Welcome back!
Briefly - This one will take you back to the time when the good Bond movies were based on a relatively simple plot, great villains, pretty girls and the focus stayed on getting rid of the bad guy at all cost.
Don't buy into these nay-sayers claiming the plot doesn't make sense or that the movie abandons ideas before they fully develop - nonsense! The only reason they are saying that is because they are too ignorant to figure things out on their own.
If you want to enjoy a Bond movie where 007 is not some Super-Spy-World-Is-At-An-End heroic figure, but instead is brought into play because the villain needs to die - this one is for you.
I enjoyed the gritty edge to this one and a plot that stays the course, with the usual mix of a few fantastic chase/fight scenes and some good twists to keep you sharp. Keep makin' 'em like this one and I'll keep comin' back for more!
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
A fantastic movie about a princess and step-mother determined to kill the other!
I find it curiously ironic that critics who vocalize frustration with 're-makes', now critique SW & H as being 'completely adrift from the original story'. Shouldn't THAT be the criteria for making a re-make? First of all – what 'original' are they comparing this movie to? If they are comparing it to the original story, then THIS movie, more than any seen, is closer to the original. The original story of Snow White can be very disturbing and tremendously violent. That tends to happen when converting books to movies, especially children stories (i.e. the book The Wizard of Oz tells a much different story from the popular 1939 movie version). In this instance, if the critics are comparing SW & H to the Disney animation – then quit complaining because SW & H gives us a different twist and makes the notion of the re-make entirely acceptable.
So much of this movie is truly spectacular. The scenery, the characters, the special effects and the best part not everything is explained from A-Z! Thank you for that. I don't need to know which hero Snow White will or won't end up with, or if she even picks one or the other – romance isn't the focus of this version. I don't need to know exactly how her step mother received or elects when to utilize her powers. I don't care how an enchanted forest and a dark forest manage to flourish side by side. Let us not forget that this is a fairytale. It's all make-believe. It's all magic. It doesn't HAVE to be explained. Just watch it and enjoy the story – SW & H delivers perfectly on that end. And can we please stop with all the realism comparisons or faults that are found with these fantasy movies 'How can a girl run around in a full suit of armor and fight?' Ummmm, a fairytale princess can! I enjoyed this movie – more than I expected. I would caution that this in NOT a movie for kids under 9. It will be too violent and not at all what they are expecting. For older kids and adults this movie is fast moving, keeps your attention and despite some whining from those who wanted to see more of the 'prince-charming' version – this one stands on its own. I think what most are failing to accept with this version, is that Snow White is set on killing her step mother just as passionately as her step mother is out to kill her. Revenge and greed is the focus on this movie, so keep that in mind and don't try and force this movie into being the prince/princess mushy love story. Let your own imagination fill in the blanks, answer the questions and determine the ultimate conclusion to this movie!
John Carter (2012)
Great movie for the whole family ...
A wonderful movie! If you long to see an adventure movie that you can take children to and not have to worry about sexual innuendos, foul language – then do yourself and the family a favor and go see this while it is still playing on the big screen. I don't agree with the reviews that claim '...seen it all before
' – which is like saying Saving Private Ryan had already been done to death, just because it happened to be a WWII movie about Americans fighting Nazis. John Carter is a throwback to the cliff-hangers that used play in theaters until the end of the 60's. It is entertaining and action-packed with a few good twists thrown in to keep you guessing what might happen next. I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly entertained. I would like to see more movies like this one.
The Debt (2010)
An unfulfilled debt!
The best aspect of this movie is the acting, the suspenseful editing and the pacing of the film. Unfortunately it ends there and the most important part of the movie, the storyline and script, suffers.
Too much of The Debt seems forced upon the viewer. We are expected to believe and accept the story because that is what is being shown to us. I went in expecting more out of this film and instead I found myself sitting through little more than a forgettable made-for-TV drama.
There were a few aspects of this film that spoiled it for me. (SPOILER ALERT!) First and most noticeable, such things as micro-chip high-definition cameras which could fit into a piece of jewelry the size of a thumbnail, did not exist in the 1960's. Without this piece of modern day equipment, apparently our heroes weren't going to be able to prove the existence of 'The Surgeon', so what the hell, give these' 60's spies a piece of technology twenty to thirty years before it even existed.
Next, do not be fooled into accepting that a West Berlin train station stop existed between the divided cities and the only thing separating the two sides was a chain link fence and a squad of guards. Also, don't accept that there was a factory with different shifts of workers who were working ten yards from this so called 'highly guarded and secure' border crossing. I lived in West Berlin from 1970-71, the communists went to great lengths years before I ever got there, to clear out kill zones, and construct walls and mine fields between any area that separated the east and west. Any building, like this supposed factory next to the train stop, would have had all the windows and doors cemented over so that it was impossible for any resident of East Berlin to even see into West Berlin. The entire escape sequence in this movie was too far-fetched and left me wondering if this part of the script had been written up as a last minute 'oh what the hell, let's do this ' Clearly someone forgot to do their homework.
Why is it that the movie never explains how it is that a doctor can be kidnapped, and a few weeks later he manages to escape, yet no police or agents from East Berlin bother to investigate him or the incident? Wouldn't you think that his wife would have gone to the police? You don't think that the secret police of East Berlin or the KGB would have raised an eyebrow and wanted to find out how this doctor came up missing – or that he just reappeared? I guess we aren't supposed to ask such questions or try and fill in the missing time line. And don't you think that just once, sometime during the end of WWII, the Russians would have been out looking for this doctor as well – and yet here he is, operating under their very noses? Don't forget that the Russians hated the Nazis even worse than the Israelis did. But I guess that doesn't come into play in this film.
So, we are just supposed accept the fact that somehow this maniac doctor made it back to his wife and practice, and then years later he ends up in a mental hospital thousands of miles away – for no apparent reason or explanation. Gee – I'll bite, I've come this far how much worse can it get? If all of that wasn't hard enough to swallow, oh wait a second, now our hero is going deep into Russia to kill him again, only now it's not really him. But worry not, because he'll just coincidently happened to be walking by in the wing of a mental hospital, and our super spy who has been out of work for years, will see him out of the corner of her eye, chase him down and kill him. Of course she will – I should have seen this one coming.
I'm not that naive to buy this story – but apparently I was duped enough to go see this movie.
If all you are looking for is some decent acting and good suspenseful editing, and you don't care how ridiculous or silly the storyline is, then this is a movie for you. If you want something that gives you a little better of both, pop in The American (starring George Clooney) into the DVD and watch something a little more acceptable.
Whoever was responsible for approving this storyline – did so because they needed to throw 'something' together to pay off a personal debt!