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A 2 hour ordeal - movie torture
First off, this felt (at least) 3 hours long, but was only 2 hours, to my great surprise.
Ugh. Where do I begin. My friend dragged me to see this, I warned him ahead of time that it was directed by an artsy type director. We had seen another truly awful movie by this same director many years ago - Pi.
This movie is one of the worst movies of the decade, if not the century. It's painful to see how self-important, pretentious and eager this movie tries to be, as if its some sort of artistic film. It fails totally.
Jennifer Lawrence - what was she thinking? Worst career move in recent history. I just hope this movie doesn't end her career - yes, it is THAT bad. I really liked her acting and performance in the Hunger Games movies, but here, even her star power can't even barely make a dent in the utter awfulness of this film.
I can only say that watching this movie was an ordeal, and I'm shocked more people didn't leave the screening earlier, but like me and my friend, most stayed and watched it all the way until the bitter end, waiting for a miracle that it might get better - it never did.
Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Has all the trappings of sci-fi movies from the past, but with no identity of its own
The general look of the film is very good, and reminds us of some of the classic science fiction movies of the past. The Matrix films especially. That said, there is a feeling of being too generic at the same time. The film doesn't create anything new. More of a homage to some of those (much better) previous films.
Scarlett Johansson isn't good in the film. She looks very attractive and eye pleasing on screen, but with no personality. She has no charisma. Any fashion model type with a pretty face could have done this role just as well. She has no presence in the film. You can try and excuse it by saying she is trying to act robotic, but no, that is just a lame excuse. She must bring something to the table, instead of being a non-presence. She can't carry a film, not going by this example, at any rate.
I'm being very generous by giving it a 6, just because it has a few good action scenes, nice set design, and a few good one-liners said by some of the other characters. And the film does not feel too boring, but moves along at a good clip. Most science fiction fans will probably like and enjoy this film, even though its nothing special.
Jason Bourne (2016)
Best movie in the series since The Bourne Ultimatum, A Must-See
Matt Damon is back, and better than ever in the role of Jason Bourne. Incredible thriller, with a frenetic pace and bone-crushing action in another outstanding entry in the series by brilliant director Paul Greengrass. This movie is the must-see movie of the summer, in my opinion. I had high expectations going in, and this movie not only lived up to them, but surpassed them. From car chases to fight scenes, the action is exhilarating, non-stop, and very brutal and "macho" in the film, and Matt Damon obviously put in a lot of hard work on his physique in order to get into top shape for the movie. Matt Damon was born to play this character, he is truly amazing as Jason Bourne.
Other standout performances were the actors Vincent Cassel as the cold-blooded assassin, "the asset", and I especially loved the character Heather Lee (played by the wonderful Alicia Vikander). I thought she was one of the best characters in the film, besides Jason Bourne.
I loved this movie, and would put this as ranked second best in the whole series, only beaten by the masterpiece, The Bourne Ultimatum.
A couple minor criticisms are: there should have been a few more "quiet moments", my friend who saw it with me remarked that the music seemed to always be going and was loud throughout the film, and there weren't enough parts to catch your breath. The only other criticism is the story line is kind of simple and straightforward - not the most interesting story in the world, but it is serviceable to the great action. I can only hope this movie is the first of many sequels in the series starring Matt Damon and directed by Paul Greengrass, because these guys are an incredible team, who know how to make an outstanding action/thriller!
The Call (2013)
Good thriller that keeps the tension high
This was better than you might expect, and is worth watching. The best part of the movie is the pacing and how it manages to keep a high level of tension throughout the film. I also really liked how realistic the movie seemed - for most of it - and the no-nonsense showing of the super intense and high pressure conditions a 9/11 operator must work under.
Halle Berry is very good as the veteran operator, who, against her training, gets too deeply involved with a harrowing emergency call she receives. She then has to deal with the consequences of the aftermath, and her emotional state is deeply affected. Berry's especially good at showing this vulnerability and her human side here. When another emergency call comes in later in the film that echoes the previous one, she sees a chance for redemption.
The acting is very good from the large cast of characters all around. Every actor seems to be portraying a realistic character, and has good believable dialog.
The only major flaw is the ending, which was a letdown, and just too unbelievable. However, despite that miscue, which can be overlooked as its relatively brief, this is a good thriller. Another thriller that excels this one and has tension and suspense dialed up to the breaking point is "Breakdown", which I highly recommend if you like this movie.
No One Lives (2012)
Just OK, another film with similar themes is much better
Instead of this movie, another film covers the same kind of territory that this one does, and in a much more interesting and compelling fashion. "You're Next" is the movie I would recommend to watch instead.
This horror movie has both pretty bad acting combined with dumb and dull characters, and just feels cheap. The budget must have been low, and it shows. Compared to the far superior film, "You're Next", this movie pales in comparison. If you like routine slasher horror films with a lot of gore, then this will fit the bill. The one bright spot is the leading actor is pretty good. But if you are looking for something more interesting and with much higher quality across the board, then look elsewhere, such as my recommendation.
You're Next (2011)
Very funny black comedy/horror
An unusual horror film with a lot of black comedy and a very good twist. What would happen if in a standard horror movie, the tables were all of a sudden turned? Excellent acting by all involved, and I really liked how it started out as a bog-standard horror flick and then became something else. Lots of (intentionally) very funny scenes and the black comedy bits are consistently funny. I was laughing out loud often throughout the film. Even though the film has buckets of blood and gore, it was not the centerpiece of the movie, like all too often many cheap horror films have as their focus these days. So the excessive gore didn't bother me, because of the light tone and black comedy themes of the movie. I would recommend this movie to hard core horror fans.
Silliness echoing across multiple time dimensions
I'm a time travel and science fiction fan, but this movie was just way too preposterous and nonsensical to take. The plot is laughable, and its basically something you might catch on a really late night playing on the sci-fy channel, that kind of low-rent quality level. The only bright spot is the emergence of a new actress I had never heard of or seen before, the interestingly named Sarah Snook. She does a superb job with her character, and is much better than the movie deserves. I wish the whole movie had centered on her character, and then also had had a halfway decent story line too, instead of the ridiculous plot that is on display. 4 stars for her performance only, even though its wasted in a stinker movie like this one.
The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
Superb sequel and one of the best horror/thriller movies in some time
I was blown away at how good this movie turned out to be, and a sequel to a fine horror movie in its own right no less, which is rare these days.
The movie created a palpable and tense atmosphere from the outset, when a young innocent couple is stranded on the freeway when their car breaks down. The couple are now faced with surviving alone and unarmed in a big city full of thugs and killers on the prowl, when its the one night a year that all crime is deemed legal, including murder.
The sense of menace and atmosphere is prevalent throughout the movie and really well done, and the story is very interesting and exciting, as a group of innocent people must cope and try to survive a night of brutality and horror where there are no rules. There are plenty of thrills and twists and turns, and the movie creates a very real sense of chaos and danger lurking around every corner.
The setting of the cold and uncaring big city of Los Angeles is excellently shot, with great cinematography. The pacing is amazing and gripping. There is even a theme of redemption in the movie, it is not just a cheap and hollow typical horror film, with guts and gore as the only elements, like so many other lesser horror movies.
The Purge and its sequel have proved to be one of the best horror franchises in some time, by outstanding director James DeMonaco. I only hope he directs a third movie and that it lives up to the first two!
Gone Girl (2014)
Like 2 and a half hours of fingernails on a chalkboard
I was reading some other reviews with people saying how shockingly bad this movie was and I had the same reaction.
This was the most annoying movie I have seen in a long time. The lead woman character has this really annoying and nails on the chalkboard sounding voice, and she narrates long stretches of the movie with that horrible voice. It's not just the way her voice sounds either, her vocal style and the way she uses words compounds the offense and insult to the ears. I was thinking that instead of using torture, they could just put this actress's voice in the film on repeat with a loud speaker, and strap a terrorist suspect in a chair, and he would confess to anything within a half hour!
This movie is also very slow and boring, with the actors seeming to play their roles in a hammy fashion, not taking any of it seriously. It fits the movies plot though, because it is utterly ridiculous and contrived, one of those types of movie plots that no one would ever imagine happening in real life. 2 and a 1/2 hours of this was torture.
A good, if standard, science fiction themed effort
Saw this at a free screening. It turned out to be better than I expected. Johnny Depp plays a brilliant and eccentric scientist who is a leading expert on artificial intelligence, and when he is mortally wounded by an anti-technology extremist/terrorist group, he and his small inner circle of fellow genius scientists embark on an ambitious experiment that will test a radical theory of his.
The plot and overall story is pretty standard fare for science fiction, but it still manages to keep things interesting, with various echoes of other classic sci fi movies like 2001: A space odyssey in there as well. The visuals can be really striking at times, with long, brightly lit white hallways that seem to go on forever in an advanced scientific lab, and neat-o computer-like visualizations of cities. The best part of the movie is the last segment, with some really good twists. No spoilers, but the ending is particularly interesting and well done. There is a nice ambiguity and there can be different interpretations of the overall message of the movie. My friend and I disagreed on what the movie was ultimately saying, for example. It's no masterpiece though, but science fiction fans will like it.