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915 reviews in total 
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True Story (2015/I)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
An unlikely friendship., 26 April 2015
9/10

The issue of journalistic integrity comes to the fore in this excellent story about two men who form an unlikely and bizarre friendship. Both men are emotionally damaged, both have had run-ins with authority and each identifies with the other. That one is disgraced journalist and the other a mass murderer makes the story even more intense. The movie brings out how emotions can distort reasoning and cause people to project all kinds of feelings onto another until truth becomes blurred. It is the blurring of the truth that takes place here. The movie does an outstanding job of showing how, in defiance of the intense pressure that was being applied to both men to end their communications, the friendship evolves. It occurs in stages. The details of how it happens and how it effects both men is what this movie is about. Jonah Hill and James Franco are outstanding in their respective roles as the journalist and the mass murderer. For further details, watch the movie.

Outstanding performance by Blake Lively., 26 April 2015
10/10

It is categorically impossible to dislike either Blake Lively or her character Adaline Bowman in this movie. Lively and Bowman were meant for each other. This movie is about them. It is both Lively's movie, she carries it successfully, and Bowman's movie because the story is about her. As for the story, it is wonderful. Although a fantasy, the story has enough plausibility to make it watchable and enjoyable. Adaline has cause to stay within herself, and those who discover who she is has cause to be shocked. The cast is excellent. Harrison Ford delivers a stellar performance as the man who loved Adaline in the past and becomes the catalyst for a lot of the action in the story, which builds in intensity. There are also some amusing scenes involving Adaline and her daughter, excellently played by Ellen Burstyn, who engage in role reversal. This movie has everything a movie should have - solid acting, an engaging story, wonderful cinematography - and for this reason is well worth watching.

6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Powerfully entertaining., 13 April 2015
10/10

This movie is excellent. Everything about this movie is entertaining. The tribute to Paul Walker is appropriate and tasteful The movie contains many humorous one-liners. Many of the actions scenes are incredible. The entire cast is excellent. Tyrese Gibson provides wonderful comic relief. Michelle Rodriguez is ... it is a virtual impossibility not to like her in this movie. Once again, Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson form an action duo that, if they continue working together, should set the standard for action teams. Jason Statham plays a wonderfully entertaining bad guy. He is brutal but has style which makes him more than just another Hollywood bad guy. Actually there are many more elements of this movie worthy of praise. If you are looking for pure entertainment, this movie will fit the bill. Indeed, the movie is proof that when it wants to, Hollywood can still produce action movies that keep an audience engaged without sacrificing plot.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A man in search of spiritual fulfillment in a material world., 10 April 2015
9/10

This movie is about aging and about finding a reason to live. An aging rock star, Danny Collins, who is still popular, receives a letter from a famous rock star, forty years after the letter was written. The letter contains advice that if followed, may have changed Danny's life for the better. Basically, the letter's message was that you don't have to let material things erode your creativity. The problem for Danny is that after forty years of performing, he now finds himself wallowing in that creative and spiritual rut that the letter warned him about. He hasn't written a new song in thirty years and the material he does perform over and over again is stale to the point of being toxic. None of his props - his huge house, expensive car, young fiancé, the alcohol, the drugs - help inspire him. He feels an emptiness that is nagging him. After reading the letter, Danny decides to retire. He does this in order to try to revive his creativity and prove to himself that he can still produce. The rest of the movie reveals more about Danny's character, showing that under all the the boozing and drugging there exists a decent person. To find out whether Danny finds happiness and fulfillment, watch the movie. Al Pacino gives a strong, yet appropriately nuanced performance as an aging man who is searching for meaning in his life. After decades of using music as much as an escape as well as a source of income, he finally begins to confront the truth about himself. What he discovers makes this movie worth watching.

Being an explorer has its challenges., 9 April 2015
7/10

Being an explorer can be a tough business, especially if you lack money. This is the theme of this movie. Christopher Columbus is portrayed as a petulant adventurer who has an idea for sale, and is looking for a buyer. After a buyer is found and is expedition launched, his problems only escalate. The problem with the movie is its superficial portrayal of a complex character. The movie seems to gloss over some of the most momentous moments in history. They're mentioned, but that's about all. The geopolitical consequences of Columbus's achievement are barely mentioned. The Spanish court is also treated in a rather offhanded manner. The king and his ministers are portrayed as petulant fools; the only person with depth is Queen Isabella, who takes a liking to Columbus. The movie tells a story but that's about all. It lacks depth and fails to dramatize the truly momentous aspect of Columbus's voyage. Christopher Columbus was a great explorer whose achievement rates a movie of commiserate quality. Even the scenes showing Columbus being arrested fail to fully convey the sense of tragedy and defeat that marked the final years of Columbus's career.

Comic actors playing serious roles., 1 April 2015
7/10

This is a good movie, and for one reason: Danny Aiello. He carries the movie. The other characters are shallow two-dimensional facsimiles of gangsters. Aiello injects an element of reality into the story. His character is malevolent, and explains why his is angry: he observes all around him that crime pays off while he, a police officer, has nothing. This theme, that crime pays, pervades the entire movie. Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor are not properly casted for their roles as gangsters. They cannot transcend and suppress their comical natures. The problem is that their characters are not funny. Hence, their performances come off as phony. This is a problem for the comic actor: to be taken seriously when performing a dramatic part. Also, much of the acting is stagy, with the exception of Aiello's and Redd Foxx, who delivers a surprisingly serious and subdued performance in a supporting capacity. Yet, despite these shortcomings, the story is engaging and is worth watching.

What's a guy to do when he finds out that everything he believes in are lies?, 1 April 2015
9/10

What is someone supposed to do when he realizes that he has been living a lie? That everything he values is a fraud? These are the questions that this story raises. Kirk Douglas gives another incredibly strong and compelling performance, this time as a police detective whose arrogance and pride blocks him from realizing the realities and shortcomings of his own life. The story is a tragedy. The principle character has many virtues but is brought down by his character flaws. He is on a personal crusade, not knowing, or refusing to acknowledge, the real target of his scorn. To face the truth would mean to question the purpose of his life, and whether his life his worth living. The production is stagy, the story a little contrived, but Kirk Douglas and the rest of the cast, including Eleanor Parker, manage to transcend those limitations and deliver performances that galvanize the story and keep the audience engaged. This movie is outstanding.

Whiplash (2014)
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
The pathway to perfection is not an easy road to travel., 25 February 2015
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are many reasons to dislike this movie. It shows a teenager being psychologically and physically abused. It shows art being portrayed as something painful. It shows someone abusing his authority. It shows the collapse of a romantic relationship, causing deeply hurt feelings. The story in general comes off as being contrived. Yet, this movie is great. It is highly entertaining, the reason being its theme: what is an artist supposed to do to satisfy his quest for perfection? In this case, the metaphor for perfection is Buddy Rich, who was a famous American jazz drummer. In this movie, Rich's work is used as a standard for artistic perfection, in this case, artistic expression through the playing of percussion instruments. The structure of the plot is simple: a music teacher, Fletcher, wants to bring out the brilliance of his student, Andrew. He believes that the best way to accomplish this through humiliation which will test the level of the student's commitment to achieving greatness and perfection. The student becomes the tool through which the teacher can vicariously achieve perfection. For this story is about the teacher. He is the principal character, the one around whom the action takes place. The teacher is a metaphor for all the artists in the world who are striving for something that they themselves cannot achieve, and so seek it out in others. To bring it out is the challenge, and that generates conflict, as the teacher must first break down the student's resistance, which is a painful and risky process. Painful because it involves elements of abuse; risky because he may lose the student. The acting is superb. J. K. Simmons's gives a terrifically powerful performance as the teacher, Fletcher, and Miles Teller gives a tremendous performance as the student, Andrew. The story moves at a brisk pace and achieves moments of extreme intensity that alone make the movie worth watching. True, the movie includes brief but graphic scenes of physical violence perpetrated against a teenager, but this takes place within the context of an extremely emotional and volatile relationship which drives the story, and without which the story may lose some of it strength.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Does it all come down to politics?, 29 January 2015
10/10

Even in the middle of war, politics can gum up the works. Military people are told to fight a war, and then are second-guessed by the very same people who told them to fight. That is not fair. This movies dramatizes how politics directly influences command decisions. The movie portrays the top brass as being sycophants who are terrified of disappointing those who fund their projects and career, and what happens if one of the generals refuse to kowtow. This has nothing to do with legitimate civilian oversight of military operations. Rather, it is about how the military is rendered subordinate to politicians who are more interested in making political points at the expense of the military than actually winning the war. Edward Arnold gives a command performance as a US senator who uses his position to try to bully the military to the point that it poses a direct threat to military operations already decided upon at the highest levels. Clark Gable gives one his stronger performances as the general who maintains his integrity and belief in the mission. To commission soldiers to fight a war and then rag them for doing exactly what they have been ordered to do is the height of hypocrisy. Yet, sadly, it is all too true.

As entertainment, this movie delivers., 25 January 2015
10/10

This movie is hilarious. It is also an excellent musical. Thus, the movie gives you laughs and song; can't go wrong with that combination. There is chemistry between Clark Gable and Marion Davies, who play the title characters. Gable's comedic ability is once again evident. He was a great comic actor. As for Marion Davies, no could have done her role better. The story is amusing; Roscoe Karns again shows that when he came to comic roles, he was among the best. The story itself is amusing and endearing. Every character is likable. The movie depicts working class people in a positive, upbeat way. The entire supporting cast is excellent, especially Allen Jenkins. As entertainment, this movie delivers. The movie gives you laughs, music, a wonderful plot, and characters to whom the audience can relate. If that isn't enough, then maybe watching movies isn't for you.


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