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10 reviews in total 
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Thor (2011)
103 out of 202 people found the following review useful:
God of Slumber, 8 May 2011

Hmmm, Thor… where do I begin? I have long since given up the erroneous notion that superhero movies should be true to its comic book counterparts. I also have lived long enough to see superhero titles rebooted so often that they bear no r...resemblance to their origins as told in my youth (Jane Foster is an astrophysicist stormchaser?) So, I entered Thor with absolutely no expectations. Good thing, too, because if I had any, they wouldn't have been met. First, I must agree with Sir Anthony Hopkins and state that there is far to much CGI in this film and not enough character development. There were opportunities to delve into characters and their back stories that were simply ignored.

Other problems include: Fight scenes that played out like video game ads, with actors trying to strike the right "badass" pose for the cool action shots. Annoyingly silly humor that wore thin quickly. Conflicts that were one-dimensional and built no real suspense. A forced love story. And I understand that even a god of thunder must have a character arc, and Thor's was a common one that I could have overlooked… had it been better acted, and yes, better directed.

The whole movie lacked gravitas. Plain and simple.

There are some that have said it's nothing more than a two-hour preview for the upcoming Avengers movie and I can't totally disagree with that. But it is not the worst superhero movie ever made (far from it), it is simply the weakest Avengers prequel movie made to date (and yes, I'm including Iron Man 2 in that category).

Who knows? Check your brain at the door and you might just enjoy this special episode of "Donald's Creek."

Hanna (2011)
2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
"HANNA" Seen it… not sure how I feel about it, 1 May 2011

I can hate a film at twenty paces and not lose sleep about being the odd man out. I don't hate this film. Problem is, I don't like it, either.

Saoirse Ronan does an excellent job pulling off wide-eyed wonder, vulnerability and is a convincing cold, dispassionate killer and I'll doff my cap to both Cate Blanchett (though that Southern accent started grating on my nerves) and Eric Bana for their performances. Tom Hollander? Not so much.

The film itself could have been a unique actioner that explored life on the run through the eyes of a deadly-yet-naive young girl. What it actually is? A modern day fairy tale that lapses into techno-beat-driven-music-video-jump-cut action sequences, all built on the foundation of an old, worn out premise.

"I just missed your heart." Hanna states that twice in this film and that just about sums up my feeling about this flick.

I just missed its heart.

Win Win (2011)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
In the game of life, you can't lose them all..., 1 May 2011

The third film for director Tom McCarthy (The Visitor and The Station Agent) and he's batting a thousand with me, as I thoroughly enjoyed this film (shut up, it happens from time to time.) And, to be totally honest, I never doubted that I ...would.

I hate using film descriptors such as "charming" but Win Win is just that. It's a slice-of-life hard-luck story that celebrates the little things so well that you don't mind watching the predictable moral fable unfold before you.

And the cast couldn't have been handpicked any better. Paul Giamatti excels as the everyman's underdog that seeks to do no harm but has a momentary lapse in judgment, as does Amy Ryan in the role of his bitingly sensible wife, and even first time actor (and real-life wrestler) Alex Shaffer manages to hold his own as the troubled Kyle.

If you haven't seen in yet, definitely try to catch it in the theaters while it's still out. Films like this need your support far more than "Sucker Punch" and the like.

Definitely a Win Win in my book (okay, that was cheesy… sue me.)

38 out of 76 people found the following review useful:
Bad Code, 1 May 2011

The fact that so many people liked this film makes me scratch my puzzler. It asks the question: what do you get when you take a touch of "12 Monkeys," add a dash of "Déjà Vu" and sprinkle on a smattering of "Groundhog's Day?" The answer? ... A whole lot of "meh." Aside from reeking of been-there-done-that syndrome, this film is reminiscent of the Star Trek: The Next Generation (STTNG) episode "Cause and Effect" in which the Enterprise was caught in a time loop in which it kept getting destroyed until the crew sussed out how to avert the tragedy. "Source Code," in similar fashion repeats an 8-minute event on a train before its destruction as a result of a terrorist bombing.

Unlike the STTNG episode that featured characters that fans (read as: Yours Truly) grew to know and love, the "Source Code" cast is unfamiliar and underdeveloped just enough for me to absolutely not care about them or their predicament.

Jake Gyllenhaal does a serviceable job as the confused, reluctant protagonist, and though I love Vera Farmiga, she simply doesn't have that much to do here. The ending I saw coming a mile away (and it even lifted a bit on the UK TV drama "Life On Mars") so I can't say I really liked this film, but hey, I'm in the minority here, so you might just enjoy it.

God have mercy on your soul, if that's the case.

96 out of 139 people found the following review useful:
Atlas Shrugged… and so did I, 1 May 2011

I have to admit that it's been years since I read the book (required high school reading) and while I struggled to get through it, I did appreciate the concepts of a dystopian United States, the philosophy of Objectivism and the idea that civilization and society simply cannot continue to exist where there is no creativity.

Almost none of this is covered in this first part of the trilogy. Don't get me wrong, the film covers a lot of ground, in fact it's front-loaded with heavy doses of exposition. The problem is the film is shot like a PBS made-for-TV movie (mainly a series of talking heads) and the stiff dialog is lifelessly delivered by TV actors that lack big screen presence.

Now, don't mistake me for one of those people who feel the subject matter of the book is too didactic for mass appeal, I just think this low-budget and amateur version lacks the fire and fury that Rand's novel deserves.

I'm not saying not to see it, just avoid the mistake I made. Go in with no expectations.

Hell, it might even make you want to pick up the book and give it a read.

5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
High Cost? Not really…, 1 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is another of those grey area films for me. Not because of the acting, I think Zach Braff and Isabelle Blais hand in some solid performances. Not even for the definitely overall indy film feel of the movie, which serviced the story ...well. The problem lies within the premise itself.

I'm not one to issue spoilers in a review, so you'll just have to view the trailer and suss out the plot for yourself, but there are situations that are introduced between the main characters that simply do not ring true, do not support the weight of the plot, and do not convey a strong enough emotion at times when the events eventually payoff.

Despite all this, I don't actually hate the film and found myself wanting to like it more than it probably deserves (despite a second act that dragged on a little longer than it should have.) Currently one of the films screening at the Tribeca Film Festival, I say, when it hits theaters, if you've seen all the other films you wanted to see, find yourself with nothing to do on a particular day, have a little extra spending cash burning a hole in your pocket, and you absolutely must sit in a theater and watch a film… why not? There are worse films you could watch.

I'd say: Give it a watch..., 1 May 2011

First, let me state that the film was brilliantly shot and costumed and felt like an actual period piece (you'd be surprised how many big-budget Hollywood films fail to pull this off), and I went into the film knowing nothing about the even...ts that took place after Lincoln's assassination, so it was fascinating to learn about this little-known (to me, anyway) historical event.

The pace of the film is a little unhurried and it did have a sort of made-for-TV History Channel reenactment feel to it at times (especially the courtroom scenes, which were a little stiff), but I think Redford did a fair job with the material. Robin Wright has a quiet strength that is powerful at times and the rest of the cast had their moments as well (with the exception of Justin Long and Alexis Bledel, either of whom I could take very seriously).

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
An interesting look at a relationship that never existed..., 1 May 2011

This film is definitely tailored for the art-house crowd and being French, it is purposefully ambiguous, and while I don't like ambiguity in most of my films, it works here.

Juliette Binoche and William Shimell are strangers who are mistake...n for husband and wife and they keep up the pretense, continuing their day discussing love, life and art.

At first it's a game, but the underlying reality of relationships rears its not-so-pretty head and the pair begin behaving like a long-married couple.

It is slow moving at times and a little repetitive, but I enjoyed it.

Monogamy (2010)
7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
More like "Monotony", 1 May 2011

This indie film walks the well-beaten path of a couple with commitment issues and features a silly plot device that allows one of them to obsess over an absolute stranger. The "twist" couldn't have been better spotted miles off if it were surrounded by road-flares.

And I'm getting a little sick of poorly written dialog in screenplays hiding behind what used to be called "cinema vérité". If you're not shooting a documentary, write dialog that either progresses the plot along or drop the stuttering, meandering "realistic" speech patterns altogether. It's boring watching actors stumble their way through scenes in which they need to communicate verbally.

On a side note, it's such a shame that Rashida Jones can't land better roles. I think there's some untapped potential there. Or maybe it's just because I think she's cute. Who knows?

88 Minutes (2007)
222 out of 340 people found the following review useful:
88 Minutes of Subpar Thriller Fare, 26 January 2007

I will not discuss any of the plot point of the film, as I do not wish to spoil any "surprises", but I will say that it's a sad state of affairs that a movie of this caliber is considered even nearly good. The characters are one dimensional, the plot trodding on all-too-familiar themes, and the acting is abysmal. Al Pacino, who used to be a fine actor, sleep walks his way through this movie and delivers the exact same performance as he did in "Two For The Money", "Insomnia", "People I Know" and "Simone" (I will admit I liked him in "Merchant of Venice"). This movie is not's not even good. Al, this is a wake up call to please return to the realm of acting instead of collecting the first paycheck that comes your way.