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Money Monster (2016)
a very basic film with no real surprises and not much depth
George Clooney and Julia Roberts are very good as usual. The movie itself felt shallow to me or at least not as complex as I was expecting it to be. It's a very basic film with no real surprises and not much depth. The hostage taker is indeed the basic angry moron that the trailers make him out to be. As pure Hollywood norm, Wall Street and big money are the heartless bad guys and the Stock Market is rooted in evil. Yet despite the hypocrisy (as if Clooney and Roberts are diversified heavily in stocks) and the clichés, the events in the TV studio are captivating and intense. Place logic aside and it really is quite entertaining. The movie definitely loses steam when it breaks from the tension of the studio/live hostage situation setting.
Overall, it's entertaining enough to overlook all the flaws.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
One Of The Best Movies Of All-Time!
This movie will surprise a lot of people with its heart while sacrificing none of the thrills. All too infrequently, a much hyped blockbuster hits the mark right on the spot. Captain America Civil War is such a movie. It's the best big budget movie that I've seen since Avengers. It hits a high standard of excellence by combining an intriguing plot, breathtaking action sequences, a heavy dose of self discovery and realization, charisma, a dash of true patriotism, honor, duty and puts it all together in one amazing package.
The inner turmoil worked well, the beautiful thing is that we can relate to each character. They turn convention on its ear by making Steve Rogers' flaws more apparent in this film and at the same time making Tony Stark's journey and growth very sympathetic. Steve's never say die attitude and heart of a champion makes him a true hero but those traits can lead to something not as noble. As in real life, never say die can turn in to painfully stubborn in a hurry. Both these character's motivations and journeys are more interesting then most. Can Steve remain the "good man" his creator instructed him to be in the very first film even through the most trying of times? Can the once cocky Tony Stark continue to learn and grow and work to humbly serve others even thorough anger and his own selfish tendencies?
This movie delivers on all that and on every level. It does so with great emotional moments and it's a movie that lives up to all the hype it has generated.
13 Hours (2016)
An Absolute MUST See... Michael Bay actually pulled it off!?! A remarkable film.
Telling this story needed to be done and done right. Amazingly, Michael Bay achieves true greatness with this effort. I'm overwhelmed because no one could have known Bay had this movie in him as a director.
This is a masterful film in almost every aspect and certainly in every way that truly matters. Maybe knowing the real life set up and cover up to these events helps elevate the appreciation of what hits the screen but the film holds up well even if a viewer is unaware of world affairs. The premeditated, brutal attack in 2012 on two United States installations in Benghazi, Libya is a dark chapter in not only the war on terror but in U.S. history in general. Expertly depicting the events surrounding those attacks with such tension and emotion is a credit to this film and those that made it. This includes the remarkable cast who each were superb in their roles. Maybe the first act was a bit long as characters were established and maybe the over use of shaky cam early can be considered technical flaws but when a story is this well told and this well crafted, flaws like that fall quickly by the waste side.
The movie draws you in and makes you feel like you were there on that fateful night. Without getting overly political, it informs the viewer of what happened in riveting detail. It leaves the "why did this happen and who is to blame" for the viewer to decide. The courage on display and the charisma of those that serve comes across in a big way. That (along with current political consequences) is reason enough why this story needed to be told. Thank God that they did it justice.
Draft Day (2014)
An interesting effort but one long ESPN/NFL commercial with no depth
The title doesn't lie. This film is all about the NFL draft and draft day to a mind numbing degree. Being a true fan that actually watches all rounds of the real draft, I was interested but I could see non-football people's eyes just glazing over.
They tried to hammer father/mother and relationship issues in to Costner's character along the way but it feels tacked on. It's as if the producers pulled the writer aside and forced it in to the script after it was finished. It's clear that the NFL was in full support of this movie but that spun in to an almost propaganda type cooperation. Also, the actual draft moves made by Costner are insane but they call it out themselves as if that makes it more plausible.
All in all, this movie is an interesting effort but one long ESPN/NFL commercial with no depth.
Packs a high standard of excellence. One of the Best All-Time.
All too infrequently, a much hyped blockbuster hits the mark right on the spot. Captain America The Winter Soldier is such a movie. It's the best big budget movie that I've seen since Avengers. It hits a high standard of excellence by combining an intriguing plot, breathtaking action sequences, a heavy dose of self discovery and realization, charisma, a dash of true patriotism, honor, duty and puts it all together in one amazing package. This movie will surprise a lot of people with its heart while sacrificing none of the thrills. The inner turmoil worked well, the beautiful thing is that we can relate to each character, especially that of Steve Rogers. His never say die attitude and heart of a champion makes this hero more interesting then most. He remains the "good man" his creator instructed him to be in the first film even through the most trying of times.
This movie delivers on every level and does so with great emotional moments and it's a movie that lives up to all the hype it has generated.
The Avengers (2012)
Great Movie and Easily the New King of the Genre
Everything has converged perfectly, delivering what is now the new king of the genre. The Avengers is certainly the best overall comic adaptation film ever made. Really, how could it not be? They positioned this thing with FIVE other set up films that were each remarkable in their own right. Not only does it all come together but I'm happy to say this amazing cast delivers in every way. Believe it or not, every single character featured previously in those five films gets time to really shine at one point or another in this astounding movie. Even though the set up has been epic, the result was anything but assured. It would have been easy to be overwhelmed by the task of putting all these great character together and making it click but they pulled it off perfectly. Maybe it's because the characters themselves are complex and intriguing and that they have been brought to three dimensional life by people that really care. Whatever the case, EVERYONE hits a home run here. They fleshed out perfect cohesion while remembering to include the fun and humor that have made those other five films good. If you define those films as good then you'll define Avengers as great. It's a unified step up and I didn't think that possible. What's also amazing is that I think this movie works without having seen any of those other films. Then, the fun factor will be enjoyed by those that didn't care about the other movies. The depth and amazement will come from those that have invested in to this universe. What they've done is transcend any other of this genre's films by going deeper and doing so in spectacular fashion with Oscar caliber performances. Again, easily the new king of the genre.
Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
Zero Fun... What were they thinking?
A movie with this title that delivers zero amount of fun really has to be considered a failure. The concept starts out fine but almost every scene that goes by peels away an uncomfortable layer and the film slowly degenerates in to an unpleasant time at the cinema. How did they end up doing that to this concept? Both leads start off as genuinely unlikable characters. As they move through the film, they slowly find redemption and win over the audience. By that time, as mentioned, the movie itself fizzles. The writers try and flesh out Harrison Ford's character but fail. Olivia Wilde's character is truly a contrivance and really makes no sense at all. The makers of this film in the absence of fun jam in death and semi-horror in hopes that something sticks. Overall, this is a mess of a movie from a cast, director and producers that really should know better.
THE best big budget movie of 2011
All too infrequently, a much hyped blockbuster hits the mark right on the spot. Captain America First Avenger is such a movie. It's the best big budget movie that I've seen this year. It hits a high standard of excellence by combining a cool plot, breathtaking action sequences, a heavy dose of self discovery and realization, charisma, a dash of patriotism, love and puts it all together in one amazing package. This movie will surprise a lot of people with its heart while sacrificing none of the fun. The inner turmoil worked well, the beautiful thing is that we can relate to each character, especially that of underdog Steve Rogers. His never say die attitude and heart of a champion makes this hero more interesting then most. Captain America delivers on every level and does so with great emotional moments and it's a movie that lives up to all the hype it has generated.
Everything has converged perfectly, delivering what is now the best summer movie season in recent memory. It's certainly the best overall summer for superheroes. The cast is obviously stellar but that doesn't always mean greatness. (American Gangster, Wanted, Sphere, etc.) I'm happy to say this amazing cast delivers in every way. Believe it or not, Chris Evans himself delivers one of the greatest performances in a comic adaptation film EVER. Maybe it's because the character itself is one of the most complex and intriguing that any genre has to offer but that doesn't diminish just what a home run Evans has hit. They took the character seriously but still remembered to include fun and humor. I almost can't convey how much I enjoyed this film.
The curse of the number three movies continues... Terrible
Most of their demographic seemed to like the first one. Then they "kinda tolerated" the second one. Logic dictates that the third one "sucks". Logic is right.
The curse of the number three movies continues. This movie is indeed worse than its predecessors and with Transformers, that's really saying something. While that may spell big box office, it doesn't spell long-term staying power and of the three films in the Transformers trilogy, the final installment may well go down as the biggest disappointment of them all. It's wild but it's as bad as most feared. The CGI action is indeed over-the-top and may induce some popcorn merit but there simply is not enough of the things that matter. All that video game action starts becoming dull without a film or characters we care about to hold it together. It's easy to see where they went wrong but the formula led to two big paydays, why would they change it now?
X: First Class (2011)
MARVEL is definitely on a roll. Superb Film!
MARVEL is definitely on a roll! It all started with the huge success of X-Men over a decade ago. So, it's fitting the high water mark comes this summer with X-Men First Class right in the middle of it. Thor was great earlier this summer and Captain America looks even better. Iron Man and the Hulk kicked butt recently. So, if Marvel gets their hired out characters rolling, the sky is the limit. I don't know about Sony's Spider-Man but Fox managed to return the X-Men to greatness. Can't wait to see what Fox does with the next Wolverine and the whole world is eagerly awaiting the Avengers to assemble!
One of the best improvements about First Class over X-Men is that much valuable screen time is spent on background character development. They actually pick up from the scene of young Magneto shown in X-Men. I believe that was probably needed in the first film, but they had so much else to introduce that they got away with showing much less. That's the beauty of this film and now I see why they choose to save Scott, Jean and Storm's introduction for future films. Taking the proper time to establish Charles and Erik was a must and it is very well done. Even in X2, the newer characters that were introduced got very little time devoted to their past. It worked but the way new characters are introduced here works better. People in general are smart and can read between the lines, thus negating the necessity for cumbersome background information in general. Some of that is on display here but they truly flesh out the characters that need it the most. Apparently the director figured out this delicate balance because First Class flows smoothly, with hardly a stutter along the way to break up the action but still delivering an intelligent and moving film.