Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
Great sci-fi movie; Kong is magnificent.
What a great movie. Action packed, wonderful acting, tremendous story, fantastic special effects. Instead of being a re-tread of the classic Kong story, it is an original take, with a new plot that fully engages the audience. From start to finish this movie warrants only superlatives. Samuel L. Jackson does some of his best acting in this movie and the rest of the cast provides equally strong performances too. Yet the real star of this movie the c-g of Kong. Kong is what makes this movie happens, Kong is strong, brave and dignified. On the island Kong is a god and a protector. In fact, the special effects department deserves praise for their work in putting together this movie. None of the special effects are gratuitous. Every scene adds to the story's suspense. This is a great movie, definitely worth watching.
In the Heart of the Sea (2015)
Solid story about economic heroes.
A prequel to a work of fiction. The conflict between the captain and first mate, mentioned near the beginning of the movie is not borne out by the rest of the movie. In fact, all the characters are secondary to the whale whose presence dominates the story. It's all about the whale that refuses to die and trashes an entire ship. The movie does a good job in depicting the challenges associated with whaling and why it was such an important industry. Chris Hemsworth offers an excellent portrayal of the first mate, Chase, who is at odds with the captain, Pollard, who got the job through nepotism. The movie tries to play up the class differences separating the two men, but the captain isn't arrogant enough nor the first mate resentful enough to generate any intense drama. Whether all the crew will survive is another question, and it is that aspect of the story that gives the movie its dramatic power. These men risked their lives to fuel the country and were the heroes of their time. The movie shows that and for that reason is worth watching.
Draft Day (2014)
Good movie, with flaws.
There are some holes in the story, such as the owner, Molina, being able to travel almost instantaneously hundreds of miles, and having an unexplained change of mind regarding Weaver's moves, but all in all, this is a good movie. Kevin Costner gives an excellent performance as a football general manager who has to weigh loyalty versus expediency as he tries to put together a winning team. The movie does a good job in conveying the sense of pressure as teams compete with each other to parley draft picks. The movie shows how a mere rumor can effect the draft, and the critical role of the general manager in trying to separate fiction from fact when determining who to select. The movie also does a good job in dramatizing what happens when confidence in the general manager erodes. The movie shows the general manager, Weaver, making some really questionable moves, such as trading away THREE future number one draft picks for a number one draft pick that the GM has not fully vetted. Also, other stuff that's pure Hollywood is the quarterback trashing the GM's office (never would happen), one GM calling another GM an expletive, the GM's mother berating her son while he's deal making, the head coach negotiating behind the GM's back, and the GM having a sexual relationship with the team's financial officer (who just so happens to be a young and attractive lady). Nevertheless, the movie's basic story line, a general manager operating under pressure to make decisions that effects an entire football team, remains intact. For that reason, this is a movie that is worth watching. Just remember, however, that this movie is fiction.
Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
Missed opportunity to make a great movie
This is a movie that turns a story about how the government and media join together to manipulate facts for political and economic purposes into schmaltz. Everything about this movie is pure Hollywood, from the corny and hokey portrayals of the characters, reducing real-life heroes into caricatures, to the stagy acting, the phony theatrics, and the unbelievably simplistic depiction of President Roosevelt. The movie inspires not one iota of feeling of drama, including the battle scenes that are little more than computer graphics in back of a sound stage. If the intent of this movie was to make a political point, or any point, that message is at best blunted. The flag-raising scenes are glossed over, the the first one is barely mentioned, and the assertion that the US was ready to sue for peace because the country was low on funds is grotesque. The Battle of Iwo Jima is one of the iconic battles of history. The American troops demonstrated a level of valor that the movie fails to convey. True, Americans are shown being involved in battle, but these scenes are so obviously staged that they lose their dramatic impact. Over six thousand Americans died on Iwo Jima and many thousands more were injured. The Japanese garrison defending the island was practically obliterated. It is probably impossible to make a movie that can adequately rcreate the intensity of the fighting. This movie tries to do that and fails, not because they omit scenes of battle, but because the battle itself is reduced to a backdrop for a story that has to do more with politics than war. That the second flag raising got play while the first flag waving was ignored is perhaps an injustice. But to take that and make it the central theme of the story is almost sad because there was so much more that the movie could of depicted, and did not.
Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
Sympathetic depiction of a demonized enemy.
This is an American take on what it must have been like to be a Japanese soldier on Iwo Jima. The movie is fiction. No one can know for certain what the Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima were saying because so few of them survived. The movie provides a sympathetic portrayal of the Japanese soldiers at Iwo Jima. The movie replaces the stereotypical portrayal of the Japanese soldiers as bloodthirsty sadists, instead depicting them as as people who are doomed, and know it. The question is whether the sympathetic portrayal is misplaced. Should the audience, especially an American audience, care about these soldiers? It would be like trying to get an audience to care about what the SS had to endure while defending Berlin against the Russians in 1945, which was another lost cause. Even the SS must have performed individual acts of heroism in defense of their country, but is that worthy of admiration? The same applies to the Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima. They were the bad guys and they were fighting for a cause that today is completely discredited. Yet, despite ll that, they were devoted to their emperor and to doing their duty. Whether that is worthy of admiration, only the audience can decide.
Where to Invade Next (2015)
Commercial movie trying to make a political point.
To take this movie seriously, one has to accept its premise: that other countries, especially European countries, have anything to offer to the United States that's worth learning and adopting. That premise is hard to accept or defend. If anything, the rest of the world relies on the United States to solve problems, not the other way around. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, which occurred four and half decades after Europe ceased being the center of world power, the United States emerged as THE dominant country on the planet. That fact the movie omits. That omission seriously erodes the movie's credibility as a serious social commentary. Instead, Moore seems to revel in his dual role of American tourist/amateur cultural anthropologist. His admiration and interest in other cultures seem superficial and entirely staged, which is not surprising since the movie is not an academic project but rather a commercial product meant for an American audience and meant to promote a political agenda. This movie is another example of a movie maker using entertainment to make a political point. The formula certainly is not a new one. Whether it works in this case is up to the audience to decide.
Band of Brothers, German version, but with some differences.
Any movie set in World War Two which depicts German soldiers as being just like any other soldiers in the war is at best naïve if not downright ridiculous. This movie is the German version of Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan. It is an attempt to depict the war from the German soldier's perspective. The problem is that despite the excellent acting and the harrowing story, the movie fails to generate any empathy or sympathy for the principal characters, all of whom are invaders. They suffer, yet it is suffering that the brought on themselves as representatives of Hitler. This factor cannot be ignored. It's too bad that the these soldiers went through a grinder, but they did it to themselves. Unlike the German soldiers in All Quiet on the Western Front, for whom the futility of their suffering and their alienation generates real sympathy, the German soldiers depicted in this movie do not deserve an iota of respect. That the movie does a great job of depicting the battle from the front line soldier's perspective is commendable, but the movie comes up empty as dramatic story because we already know the ending, and it's not heroic.
Excellent interview of a historical figure.
This is a great interview. But before explaining why, it must be noted that Baldur von Schirach is no Albert Speer. He does not provide any broad or spectacular insights into the inner operations of the Third Reich. He lacks the temperament and the political background necessary entice the audience with all kind of delectable tidbits about the Fuhrer. Nevertheless Schirach is a good candidate an interview. He knew Hitler personally over a period of many years. For a while he was part of Hitler's inner circle, which included being a welcome guest at Hitler's home. So, whatever Schirach has to say has some value. Schirach comes off as a non-repentant Nazi. He offers no apologies for the roles he played in the Nazi regime. Yet, he is willing to respond to sensitive issues, even if his answers are evasive. He doesn't complain about any of the questions. That is a tribute to David Frost's skill as an interviewer. He manages to get Schirach to respond, which is a tremendous accomplishment. Schirach believes that Hitler was "mad." He denies responsibility for deportations of the Jews from Vienna while he was the Gauleiter of Vienna. He says that Hitler had a sense of humor. He describes his 20-year incarceration as "ridiculous." Confronted by these comments Frost keeps his poise. Instead of getting into an argument with Schirach, or re-litigating Schirach's case, which would have made the interview pointless, Frost gives Schirach an opportunity to explain himself and reveal some interesting, if not particularly exciting, observations about his patron, Adolf Hitler. For that reason alone, the interview is worth watching. As for whether Schirach deserved to be showcased, that's a judgment call.
Great movie. Madoff as scapegoat for a corrupt system.
This series chronicles a tragedy. A man who is flawed invites disaster to others, and especially to his family. Bernard Madoff did not start out as swindler, but became one. To the movie's credit, it offers a candid and plausible portrayal of the disaster that became Bernard Madoff's life. One comes away from this movie asking: How could he have gotten away with it for so long? Madoff didn't make any special efforts to conceal his activities. He banked the money in a major bank, was audited by government agencies, and his clients were sophisticated investors. Yet, it was only after being turned in by his own sons that the Madoff swindle finally stopped. Richard Dreyfus gives one of the great performances of his career as Bernard Madoff, and Blythe Danner is equally convincing as Ruth. The movie avoids demonizing Madoff, instead portraying him as someone caught up in a process that he could not stop. He knew what he was doing was wrong and kept doing it anyway, as long as he could get away with it. It's what happens when his world begins to crumble that provides the drama and the lessons. As the movie shows, Madoff was not operating in a vacuum. He was operating in the open. As long as his customers and enablers were profiting, no questions were asked. It was only after the scheme collapses and people are losing money that Madoff gets in trouble. And for that, he paid the price.
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
The making of a hero.
Desmond Doss is a hero. In the middle of total carnage he is out there saving lives. This should serve as the basis for a great movie. This movie comes close to being just that, a great movie, but just misses the mark. It has lots of action and excellent acting set in a time and place that is still known and remembered with reverence today. But most of all, it is about a man who stays true to his principles, and against all odds triumphs. The battle of Okinawa is depicted in all its gory violence. Soldiers on both sides are dying by the hundreds. Through it all, Desmond Doss does his duty, which, as a medic, is to save lives. Nothing stops him, not even a grenade. And if that isn't enough, he's married to a beautiful young lady who adores him and whose photograph he carries in his Bible, which she gave him as a present and which he takes into battle. To tell this story, the director Mel Gibson, pulls out the stops. It is Hollywood through and through. From the confrontation scene in the barracks, to the presence of the overbearing sergeant, to the inclusion of the devoted girlfriend, the hero perseveres and finally proves himself on the battlefield, proving all his detractors wrong. If someone wants to become a hero, this is the movie to watch.