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21 reviews in total 
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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
pawn sacrifice.... so so, 8 December 2015

Toby McGuire has now been typecast as the psycho guy that excels in his undertakings and pawn sacrifice is just another nail in the coffin

Toby cranks out his now normal psycho guy poses and eye super close ups with his typical look.. it's now boring and this movie does little more than make the point that Bobby was mentally imbalanced. This film could have been so much more and could have given more depth to one of the most mysterious characters of post WWII USA... and it completely failed... I was really disappointed and wish the movie had been so much more.

This is basically a 20 minute statement that Fischer was a paranoid blown up into a feature film.

Usually not my thing, but this was pretty good, 29 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm not a big fan of horror and even less so of low budget comedy horror... but The Insatiable was pretty entertaining...

It doesn't attempt to be pretentious and has an interesting plot premise... the sexiness doesn't go overboard as often happens in these flicks.. and there are some unique moments comedy wise...

A couple of major plot errors and continuity problems come across as intentionally done for the laugh.... at 1hr 29m Tatiana is chowing a guys right arm and rips it off, he falls to the ground with his right arm fully intact, then a moment later a gruesome nub of bone and flesh with gallons of blood is back...

Michael Biehn takes the cake as the handicapped ex military believer in vampires and confidant of Harry... years ago everyone thought Biehn was gone, but he's become an acting boomerang and has carved himself a niche as the super worn and craggy tough guy both in comedic roles and drama... on a $700k budget, he must have been the top expenditure...

a guilty pleasure and better than almost everything in the ultra low cost horror genre... enjoy!

Eden (2012/I)
4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
disturbing to watch... very well made..., 30 November 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Eden is a movie that will stick with you... it is harsh, brutal really, and gives the viewer a look at human trafficking in the US that 90% of the audience will label as so over the top as to be melodramatic fakery...

That 90% of the audience is flat wrong... this is a true story by the real 'Eden', Chong Kim.... if you've seen the movie, reflect back on the things that happened in it for a couple of minutes knowing that they are true.....

EDIT: it has been since alleged, most likely correctly, that Chong Kim manufactured the story and was never actually in this position. While regrettable if true, it doesn't change the fact that the overall story is true to life.

It's a devastating and surprising story about the reality of slavery that exists here in the USA, today, in our cities. The relatively simple plot turns it into a pure acting display by Jamie Chung and Scott Mechlowicz.

The stark reality about how, while driving amongst our McDonalds and WalMarts, people can be owned, brutalized, used as money machines, then thrown out in plastic bags when they lose their usefulness is shocking, and both actors turn in great performances as the slave who turns to being a master to survive and the owner who teeters between monster and friend.

The winner here is Jamie Chung, who puts in a career changing performance with a LOT of raw emotion. She possesses such an incredible beauty that it's very hard to imagine her delivering on the 'mangled by life' emotion of her character, and while it did trip up a couple of scenes, she overall delivered in a big way that is sure to get noticed. It is a deep, moving performance. She was a reality star a couple of years ago, and now she's doing deep indie drama and pulling it off...

This very deserving subject was served well by an obviously committed cast and crew. Remember while you watch that tens of thousands are imported to the US as slaves every year and people can be bought for as little as $400 on the street... people...

Rush (1991)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
a career starter that stands the test of time, 26 November 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

24 years later, Rush is intensely interesting.... and is remarkable for being a piece of movie history where history was revealed, careers were started, real life relationships ended, and lawsuits were flying everywhere.

Jennifer Jason Leigh had a long career going before this, but prior to Rush, her only real critical success had been the super edgy and brutal but unknown Last Exit to Brooklyn. The very private Jason Patric had gotten lucky with Solar Babies and Lost Boys.... but really neither of them were flying artistically yet.... Rush changed that. Top flight performances from both marked them as first stop actors for real acting work in the decades since.

Kim Rozencraft's novel about her Texas undercover work in the early 70's is mostly represented well here except for the extraordinarily ugly real life ending of Kim's breakups, prison time, and eventually lawsuits over the movie for the real life Jim and Kristen.

Rush very faithfully recreates blue collar Southern Rock / Texas mood of the 70's along with drug culture and lax police oversight and case making.

The actors do a great job of depicting a cop couple doing a months long torturous circling of the drain while in love. They have obvious great chemistry as resulted in Jason Patric leaving Julia Roberts for Jennifer Jason Leigh in real life. To reflect back, that was as if in 2013 Brad Pitt left Angelina for Daniella Kertesz in World War Z... it was the biggest story in the world at the time.

Rush has some stunning scenes. Dancing together while Freddy Fender sings 'Last Teardrop Falls'. The defining moment of the movie being the table scene where coffee cups fly and Walker gets turned.

Great movie and now a true classic that I wish they would release on Blu Ray.

"Hunted" (2012)
13 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
Bourne better than Bourne, 18 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I started watching Hunted with some caution... some of the British produced spy / thriller stuff I've seen has been a little dry for my taste... but after watching 2 episodes, I've really been blown away by the quality of the show....

It got right to the point in the pilot with a compelling set of plot arcs... had some good action and top quality effects and cinematography.

What is most compelling about the show is, however, how Melissa George has found a glove like character fit. She has a unique quality of perfectly pulling off the desperate, effective ruthless, ultra strong woman part that we saw a hint of way back in the Alias days. She has a truly unique voice and affect that fits this part perfectly.... so much so that many of her parts in the last few years seem wimpy and that they vastly underused her talents.

So I'm on board for the duration of this show.... feature film quality with top flight acting.....

Here (2011/I)
8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
'Here' is very different, 27 July 2012

Here is different in many ways. Too many to really outline in a review... and different and great in one spot is really really hard to find in cinema these days...

I would say that it is a very refreshing, meditative work of art for those of us who seek more in life. If you are into self awareness and philosophy in life and can open up to it, Here will take you on a journey that is very interesting in a unique way.

A lot of films over the decades have attempted this, in spite of the virtual business suicide that they are, but Here presents it in a contemporary, realist, utilitarian view that is so new.

Ben Foster and Lubna Azabal are two very good actors who get to shine in subtlety... I really wish Ben got more big roles and especially that Lubna was better represented in American / English speaking roles....

Braden King struggled to make this and from looking at the website did some unusual fundraising to get it over the finish line.... he ended up with something well worth your time, I hope it gets some recognition for the top flight, non standard fare it is....

10 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
A top flight drama, 25 June 2012

Sorkin almost invented a genre with the very fast paced, intelligent dialogue drama with real world issue relevance when he did The West Wing.....

Once I got into The West Wing, all other TV Drama didn't quite seem to measure up.... sure there has been good stuff.... but nothing like the witty, snappy, engaging experience that show was capable of.

Well, it's back.... a shining light in the world of 90% reality shows.... I now have something worth watching each week that I can't fast forward through 80% of the show and still get it.

Thank God.

Blackthorn (2011)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A Surprisingly Good Modern Western, 23 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw an internet snippet about Blackthorn and was immediately surprised that it existed.. Then I saw it and was immediately surprised it was so good. The good modern western is a very rare animal, really only True Grit and Blackthorn.... really, the good western of any time is a rare one. Blackthorn is really good.

Sam Shepard puts in a top notch performance as a late life Butch, living a modest life in Bolivia and dreaming of going home 19 years after... well, you know what. He goes on to another adventure... with a new partner.

The pivotal scene comes about 46 minutes in when Butch, dealt a cruel blow, hands (and most will miss this detail) Sundance's old sheepskin lined brown coat to his new found friend, saying "maybe you can use this." But fate has an entirely different idea. Butch's sentimentality will also meet it's cruel end, and his new partner will badly misread what Butch really is.

The story is typical for a western, but done in a very subtle and contemplative way. If you are older and looking back at life, you'll appreciate it all the more.... the reality about good Westerns is they are about loss... they are all tragedies... haters of this movie are really film amateurs... it's an awesome film.

Top flight cinematography of the Bolivian high desert and the Salar de Uyuni (wiki that for a very interesting read) make Blackthorn truly exceptional. The Spanish Western blended soundtrack is unique, emotional, and haunting... it adds a deep level to the film.

I saw some crazy reviews on here, including a long one that got most of the movie, and Butch's real life wrong so I assume they didn't actually see Blackthorn, or know anything about the man....

Even without all the junk that's out there right now, you should see Blackthorn. I went back and watched the 1969 blockbuster "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (which I saw first run when it came out and loved) and came away feeling that it was kind of commercial and that Blackthorn was the far better film which is something that I never ever... ever.. thought I would say. Think about that: after 44 years, Blackthorn makes Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid look commercial.

I'm shocked, but Blackthorn easily makes it into the top 5 westerns of the last 40 years, for me the the top 5 ever... easily.

Hamlet (1990)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
High Quality introduction to Shakespeare, 8 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This title has fallen to the wayside over the last 21 years... Not mentioned much, if ever.

Even a very high quality Blu Ray release on July 5, 2010 (ASIN: B0040T7316) didn't wake up interest in it... though I believe it was a Australia only release, it's available at Amazon and various other outlets... including BestBuy.

It's a shame, because Zeffirelli's take on Hamlet occupies a very good niche... beautiful cinematography, perfect direction, and some truly breathtaking acting combine with a shortened story to bridge the gap between modern cinema and Shakespeare... no small feat

Mel Gibson gives a unique and sharp rendition of Hamlet and his madness. His delivery is effortless and entirely believable. He gives life to Shakespeare for the modern audience. Even my high school age kids now have a genuine interest in Shakespeare, which I doubt any mainstream American kid has actually had in the last 3 generations.

Helena Bonham Carter delivers the performance of her career with incredible affect... mesmerizing to watch.

Likewise Glenn Close performs the scene of her career begging Hamlet for mercy upon learning of her new found husbands treachery. A truly stunning scene.

This production cuts significant parts of the play as well as adding a prelude... but the story of Hamlet is told in a very artistic and true way.

Snooty Shakespeare snobs will write terrible reviews of this as if there is no room for alternative viewa in order to adapt his plays... but I would argue that NONE of his plays are suitable as-is for modern film.... the idea itself is absurd, so let them whine while you enjoy this film.

Anyone looking for a superlative introduction to Shakespeare in film should see this... a tour de force filled with subtlety... it's simply the best modern version of any Shakespearean play.

8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
top flight, but not for the usual reasons, 9 November 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I liked the movie, but that's because I've been an executive and a trader and immediately understood the implications, characters, motivations etc.

A junior analyst does some math and discovers a comet is about to hit them, they decide to let the peasants die so they can get out of the way, end of story.....

The real story, however, is yanking the veneer off the business so we the public can see how nonchalantly and arrogantly the people in real power in our country will devise a way to take money from us, then throw us to the wolves when it blows up.

That's why you've got a top flight cast doing this movie for nothing.

From that perspective it is a great look into what was probably happening at numerous firms involved in the MBS / CDO mess that started the current recession/ depression.

The casting was spot on for the various positions, their acting esp with regard to their motivations about money, career, and doing the right thing were pitch perfect....

So if you are looking for great acting showing what it was very probably like in real life, this movie delivers in a big way and includes a bunch of artful symbolism.

You guys should love it for being the truth it is.

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