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977 reviews in total 
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Lights Out (2016/II)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Powerful movie., 22 July 2016
10/10

This movie is great. It immediately engages and then keeps the audience's attention. The story is compact, the acting strong and ending plausible. Perhaps the strongest performance is that of Marie Bello, who plays an emotionally disturbed woman. However, all of the performances are outstanding. The movie succeeds in creating a mood of foreboding as all are engaged in a fight for survival against an unknown malevolent force. The movie avoids the pitfall of becoming just another scary movie with contrivances that inspire laughter. Instead, it succeeds in telling a story and building the tension to its inevitable climax. That is the hallmark of excellent story telling and why this movie is worth watching.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Intense drama., 22 July 2016
8/10

This is an intense movie, one that is well worth the time to watch. There are two main characters, the surfer and the shark. They are in a struggle for survival. One of the reasons why the story works so well is because of the way the shark is depicted. Here the shark is shown to be a territorial creature whose area has been encroached by humans. That intensifies the conflict between the surfers and the shark. Blake Lively gives a strong performance as the surfer who unwittingly invades the shark's domain. She is in virtually every scene and carries the movie. The only problem with the movie is the way it ends. At that point the movie opts for a more conventional ending of the story, which, given the nature of the interaction between the two protagonists, is contrived. The ending will not be revealed here. However, it does bring the story to a close, albeit in a way that does not keep open the option of a sequel, at least one involving that particular shark.

Unsatisfactory ending., 16 June 2016
7/10

The episode manages to build up tension, and then, inexplicitly, the tension is diffused leading to a dramatically flat ending. The change is so sharp that the episode, in effect, becomes two separate stories. The first part depicts bullying, which includes some graphic scenes showing a teenager being physically assaulted and humiliated, and the second, depicts the same teenager terrorizing an entire school with a gun and shooting people, but then being talked out of committing further mayhem, not by the police but by an unarmed teenage girl. The first part is completely believable and depicts people in direct conflict; the second part completely undoes the dramatic build-up. The idea of a young girl being able to reason with an enraged teenager with a gun simply defies plausibility. Then comes the mood music that is so out of context with the violent nature of the story that the ending is completely muddled. What took forty-five minutes (including commercials) to carefully build a story becomes undone in a flash. Dramatic depictions of difficult and troubling situations end not with a powerful message, but with a sappy ending that denies the dramatic catharsis that would have this episode so powerful. That's too bad because the episode started out so strongly and seemed to be trying to take a police drama to a higher literary level, but could not sustain it, leading to the unsatisfactory ending.

Possibly Hedy Lamarr's best movie of her career., 16 June 2016
10/10

This is a great movie, utterly impossible not to like. A hero with flaws betrayed by a woman who later has regrets and wants to atone. Victor Mature plays Samson and Hedy Lamarr Delilah. The chemistry between the two is immediately apparent. This drives the entire story and provides its emotional power. The story itself is intense. It is about political oppression and redemption. Lamarr gives a powerful performance as Delilah. Her character undergoes a dramatic transition from sinister vixen to s strong and dignified woman. By the end of the movie, she is a figure worthy of admiration. Although both Samson and Delilah are principal characters, the movie ultimately is about Delilah, the agent throughout Samson's destiny is realized. This movie is outstanding.

A thief, stalker and bully as hero., 16 June 2016
8/10

This movie tries to pass off a thief, stalker and a woman beater as a hero. Tyrone Power does a great job playing the miscreant pirate, Jamie Waring. There is nothing too low that Jamie will not do. He assaults, beats, stalks and kidnaps a woman who is engaged to be married. How twisted is that? His brutality is a source of commentary throughout the movie. Even the other pirates find his behavior offensive, yet he does not stop. The purpose of such offensive depictions is unclear. However, it does add a morbid element to what apparently was intended to be light fare about pirates. Tyrone Power is exceedingly believable as an abusive pirate/marauder and Maureen O'Hara gives one of her better performances as a woman who is the target for Jamie's harassment and abuse. Indeed, so depraved is Jamie's behavior that he cannot understand why the woman keeps rejecting him. Indeed, nothing in the movie, including the intercession of other pirates, can dissuade him from pursuing a damsel who is in distress entirely because of him. Whether this movie is meant to be a spoof on chivalry is unclear. What this movie definitely is not about is women's rights.

Strong movie but with an unsatisfactory ending., 16 June 2016
8/10

The movie withstands the test of time, meaning that the story still resonates, decades after the movie's initial release. It depicts prisoners of war and deals with ethical issues that transcends time. A British commander deludes himself into believing that he is doing something good when in fact he is a shameless collaborationist who is selling out his country to satisfy his own vanity. Every member of the cast deliver excellent performances. That is especially true of Jack Hawkins and William Holden. Alec Guinness plays the Colonel. His performance is singularly impressive and iconic. He sets the standard for the depiction of the pompous and arrogant military officer type. The problem with the movie is its ending. It is too abrupt and given the Colonel's intense and deep emotional investment in the bridge, there is no way that he would suddenly realize the reprehensible nature of his actions. He is too deluded. But the movie redeems him, raising him to the level of a tragic figure, the good man who goes astray. The question is: was he really a good man?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The movie has flaws, but also has a strong story., 28 May 2016
7/10

The movie contains a lot of cheesy, stagy acting. The story is choppy and there is excessive use of flashbacks. The movie has an almost amateurish quality to it, as if it was filmed in one take and then quickly edited and put together into one reel. Nevertheless, the movie tells a good story, about a young man struggling to be a success in the mean world populated by a lot of shady people. The movie succeeds in making the audience care about what happens to him. To be a winner he has to overcome numerous obstacles. Of course, the premise is contrived, but that aside, it still succeeds as a story. One leaves the theatre feeling good about the young man and about all he has to go through to achieve redemption. That the story is set in Brooklyn, New York gives it a gritty quality which further strengthens the movie. Although this movie has its flaws, it also has its strong points, and is worth watching.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Not a bad movie, overly long, some strong acting., 28 May 2016
7/10

Simple plot, lots of special effects, predictable outcome. This is the formula that drives Hollywood movies today, and this movie is no exception. The movie contains strong acting, but that is totally upstaged by the immense use of special effects which gives the movie a cartoon-like character. As this movie is based on comic book characters, that should not be surprising. The premise of the story is a shaky one - humans divided into two subspecies, one mutant and the others normal. The cause of this division is not explained. For the story to be engaging, this division has to be accepted without question. Otherwise the entire story is meaningless and contrived. The movie offers two and a half hours of almost nonstop special effects. There is some character development which adds some substance to the plot, and makes the movie more watchable. But about two-thirds of the way into the movie, the story becomes rather tedious as it moves to its inevitable outcome. The problem with comic book characters is exactly that - they are comic book characters, and frankly, how emotionally invested can anyone really become in characters that by their very nature are pure fantasy?

5 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Serious theme gets lost in stagy production., 18 May 2016
6/10

This is a good movie. It has some strong dramatic moments, but fails to sustain a high level of tension. The premise is good. It's just that it becomes stagy with a weak ending. That's too bad because the movie contains some strong performances. Julia Roberts provides the strongest performance as the television director who does not bail out. George Clooney is also good as the TV celebrity who has to come to term with the fact that he is a sham. The problem with the movie is the man who plays the gunman. There is just too much overacting. And the dialog between him and his girlfriend is forced, contrived and corny. The movie is critical of the ethics of television reporting that packages advice in the form of entertainment and then refuses to take responsibility for the consequences. That's serious. Unfortunately, the stagy production and cheesy dialog transforms this movie into a interesting but tepid polemic on the evils of unfettered capitalism. That people got hurt is reduced to an unfortunate afterthought.

9 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
People want heroes, not laughing stocks. This movie delivers the latter., 18 May 2016
4/10

A bunch of cartoon characters making a lot a noise and fuss for reasons that remain a mystery. There's a lot of fighting and mayhem, along with the usual dose of high-tech special effects. The problem is that the story is so shallow as to render it almost nonexistent. Good guys fighting good guys for reasons that are so contrived that even for comic-book characters it simply is not enough to justify all the mayhem. Would be like the Lone Ranger fighting Tonto over politics. Who cares? The formula just does not work. Plus, the movie has a lot of silly dialog, which provoked unintended laughter. There is little attempt at character development. Soon it becomes apparent that there are no good guys or bad guys, just a bunch of guys flexing their high-tech muscles. The use of flashbacks just adds to the confusion. The Spiderman character is incredibly mushy, even for a comic book story. The only character that has some depth is Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr. It seems that much of the plot centers around him. But he does not carry the story. The movie failed to engage the audience's attention. Even a story based on comic book characters has to have some dramatic content. Otherwise, as in the case of this movie, the entire story becomes stagy, shallow and noisy. Noise is no substitute for drama. The audience wants characters they can care about, not laugh at. Listen Hollywood: people want heroes, not laughing stocks. Have Captain America fighting Nazis, not his friends. Have Tony Stark save people in distress. Have the beautiful Black Widow show the world that she is great. Have these super heroes do superb things that win them real acclaim. If it wants to, Hollywood can write those kinds of stories.


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