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4 reviews in total 
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16 out of 38 people found the following review useful:
Great action, but marred by forgettable plot and flat acting, 11 February 2012

This could have been a much better movie, but is delivered mixed results instead.

Much has been done to inform us that active duty SEALS were cast, because actors just can't portray the roles realistically nor with enough authenticity. That's a load of puffery; an actor's job is to portray, and make you believe that they are telling the truth. Train the actors: teach them how to move, how to hold their weapons, and how to react. They don't actually need to be SEAL qualified, just enough to perform the correct actions, because that's what movies are all about: making what's on the screen look believable.

What Act of Valor has instead are real-life SEALS pretending to be actors. You can tell who the non-actors are because all their lines are delivered as if every sentence is a declarative statement: flat and without emotion.

As long as the SEALS don't talk, the scenes are brilliant. Military fans won't be disappointed with many sequences showing what SEALs do best: raids, room clearing, firefights, insertion by SDV, and HALO jumps. Act of Valor also marks the first time that I've seen SWCCs and MEATS (Maritime External Air Transport System; underslung boat delivery by CH-47) represented in any movie. In fact, the scene where the SWCCs come in with mini-guns blazing is one of the highlights of the movie.

The movie plays like a 101-minute long first-person-shooter video game. The SEAL team is largely reactive: being dispatched globally from one skirmish to another, where accomplishing one mission just means earning the opportunity to move on to the next mission level. When you really come down to it, the plot doesn't much matter for this movie, serving largely as a vehicle to showcase military hardware and delivery of tactical missions.

Go watch this movie for the action, for SEALS serving their quiet and brutal profession. Everything else in the movie, from the storyline to the acting, unfortunately don't quite do justice for these elite warriors.

The Vow (2012)
48 out of 67 people found the following review useful:
It's a wonderful movie, 11 February 2012

The Vow is a wonderful little movie. At first blush, the movie seemed like it's another 50 First Dates, but without the comedy. The only similarity to 50 First Dates is that both the female leads suffer from amnesia with their respective significant others trying to win her heart. The Vow actually comes across having a feel more like The Notebook.

It's the story of the romance between Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams), and who are victims of a car accident. Leo recovers, but Paige emerges with no memories of her whole relationship nor marriage to Leo, and he must now make her fall in love with him again. In her mind, as Leo says in one of the trailers for this movie, she's still engaged to her ex-fiancé.

The movie manages to avoid cheap Hollywood writing, and gently leads you down its plot. Just when you think you might know where the story is going, it heads in a different direction. Details are revealed to you layer by layer as Paige discovers them. Tatum's voice-over was somewhat annoying, and unnecessary.

In trying to remember her memories, Paige manages to gain a new life. Opening in time for Valentine's Day, this makes for a wonderful date-night movie.

Deja Vu (2006)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Very tight screenplay that had me satisfied in the end, 27 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie sneaked its way up to release without a lot of fanfare, which is unfortunately because this is a really well done movie.

In simplest terms, Denzel Washington is ATF agent Doug Carlin investigating a New Orleans ferry bombing, and ends up falling in love with a woman victim of the incident.

*** SPOILER WARNING *** Quite early in the movie, we are introduced by a new piece of surveillance technology that is capable of seeing anything that happened exactly four days and some hours prior to the present. It also turns out, that some of the present time can leak back into the past to the subjects being surveilled. With this equipment, Carlin has to piece together the events leading up to the ferry bombing, and perhaps influence the past enough to prevent the bombing from happening at all.

Given this premise, the first third of the movie needed a stronger than usual dose of suspension of disbelief in order to accept that the smoke-and-mirrors bill-of-sale the operators (which to some extent remind me of the Lone Gunmen trio from the X-Files) of the machine tries to unload on Carlin in trying to explain the technology at work. Bear with the story however, and you will be rewarded in due time with a more proper explanation of facts. Keep watching the movie, and you will see all the loose ends tie up nicely.

This is a very well written and tight screenplay. Give it a bit of slack at the beginning, and you will come out content.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A wonderful movie about fate, destiny, and mortality, 14 November 2006

This movie was such the pleasant little movie, and shows Will Ferrel's ability to take on weightier dramatic roles far different from his old school Old School days.

At its heart, the movie is of Ferrel's Harold Crick, a go-nowhere IRS auditor with no friends, living a self-imposed regimented life of constant monotony, doing the same things the same way in the same sequence every single same day. Until one day, he hears the voice of writer Kay Eiffel (played by Emma Thompson) narrating his life, in particular a line of prose hinting his "imminent death," whereupon his life take a turn away from the mundane. Faced with the certainty of his death, he seeks the owner of the voice in his head, and trying to divine whether the way he lives his life is influencing the narrative, or whether Eiffel's writing is directing the path of his life. In the midst of this, no longer fettered by his self-imposed boundaries due to his imminent death, Crick develops as a person aided in part by a renegade baker (in the form of Maggie Gyllenhaal) and finally coming to grips with his mortality.

It may sound like this is a tragic movie of gloom, but in reality, it is a comedic tragedy, delivering humor in the unusual. This may be one of Will Ferrel's best and least annoying roles. Emma Thompson is wonderfully on the edge of breakdown as the death-obsessed author.