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Goliath: The Subsidence Adventure (2019)
What in the world happened?
Take one of the best casts on TV, add a fascinating story, drop acid, and write a script. Seriously did someone decide that since Sherilyn Fenn , is in the script they needed to go all grade D David Lynch with the script? Three attacking crow scenes in the first two episodes. Three or four hallucinogenic scenes and several scenes where we have to figure out if they exist because the characters are high, or the scriptwriters were high. Confession I am two episodes in and I switched to Peaky Blinders. I was in entertainment heaven before this experience. In one day Peaky Blinders, Goliath , Joker are released. Next week El Camino, and the first reviews for the Irishman are out notching my anticipation to see that film which was already high, way up. I see people are liking the next few episode. I am gonna finish the darn thing I guess. But man, what a fricking mess so far. Any more rooms full of 200 Dennis Quaids doing Elvis impressions and I am outta here. (I have to admit I liked that scene though)
Much better than the critics are saying.
I gave Red Sparrow and Atomic blonde 7s and this an 8. And though all three leads are three of the most beautiful women in the world Sasha Luss is probably the sexiest of the three. She is also the least skilled actress of the three, but fairs by far the best in pulling off the brilliant action scenes choreographed and created by the talented Luc Besson. This is my second favorite film of his next to the Professional.
I have never been into pure martial arts films but I love Asian thrillers like A Bittersweet Life, Oldboy, and The Man from Nowhere, that are known for their great fight scenes. The action scenes in this film reminded me of those films and also the terrifically successful John Wick series. .
Along with the great action is a plot full of clever twists. Unfortunately Besson can only pull the whole story off with a lot of flashbacks and shifts in time that are slightly annoying to follow.
Helen Mirren is fantastic as always and the rest of the cast is uniformly solid. Perfect summer popcorn movie. Why the studio spent about 12 cents in promoting it is beyond me other than the fact that Sasha Luss is no household name. I think it is a film that will be discovered more on cable, which is too bad because the action is best enjoyed on a big screen. Sexy, over the top, extremely violent. Anna is a solid B movie. It is almost certain to develop future Cult status that I hope will elevate the film's success so that Anna 2 is made. Highly recommended.
Northern Rescue (2019)
I have to point out something that really bugs me. Of the 14 10 star reviews, 11 of the reviewers have never reviewed anything before this show, and the other other 3 have horrendous taste I guess.
This episode sure does not help with the effort to bring back this great show.
Worst episode in the series, BY FAR. Did not work on any level. Not sure what the writers were thinking on this one. It may have been the episode when one would say , "This is when Good Behavior jumped the shark" only we will probably never know. My bet is that Blake Crouch and the rest of the folks involved have a ton of great stories left in them for this show. HULU or Netflix need to realize how this show had such a large streaming audience after being buried on TNT for two years and order new episodes. Just don't watch this particular episode when deciding. RIP Good Behavior. Too bad you died with a whimper instead of a bang.
Cold Pursuit (2019)
Odd year so far at the movies for me.
This was my third film in the theaters this year. But my second American remake. I don't like when the haters come out and diss American remakes, but I am going to kind of do that here. I much preferred the original in this instance. But there are probably 2 major reasons for this. The director of this film also directed "In Order of Disappearance" , the source for this film. So using the same director did not give the film any original twists. It was almost identical to the first. Same shots, different actors. The second reason is that the new film is set in Denver, my hometown. But man is it a fictional Denver. So that may be unfair.
Since I gave the original 8 stars, maybe going into this film with no expectations from having seen the first would have raised my rating. I love Liam Neeson, but Stellan Skarsgard is also an excellent actor and maybe played the role just a little better.
By the way I also saw the Upside which was a remake of what I thought was a fairly mediocre French film, but I am in the minority there. I loved the Upside and feel that the American cast was far superior to the original.
Black Monday (2019)
What a train wreck
I cannot think of any Wall Street themed movie or show prior to this that I would not have given a huge thumbs up to. I actually could not finish the first episode. It was so over the top and not in the least bit funny. I think it is trying to set a Wolf of Wall Street sort of tone. It fails so miserably.
I am a big fan of all the talent involved in this show, but this debacle is not something any of them should keep on their resume.
Maybe I was a victim of the hype.
This is getting Universally strong reviews and I was very psyched to see this due to many talented individuals attached to the project. I have never much liked Michelle Rodriguez,but am a great fan of everyone else from Steve McQueen right down to the little known Jackie Weaver from the great film Animal Kingdom. Unlike a lot of the reviewers I enjoyed the twists and the final act probably even more than the first 90 minutes, but if you come expecting a great action film you are likely to be disappointed.
I did not come solely for the action. I enjoy art house cinema and mindless action films equally. This was a cerebral action film. I just found it a little slow, a little cliched and pretty run of the mill when you remove the shiny veneer of the A list talent involved..
Maybe my favorite takeaway from the film was discovering the incredibly sexy Elizabeth Debicki . One stunning tall drink of water.
Not a bad film at all. Still gets a thumbs up, but cannot think of one deserving Oscar nod and the hype had me call this ultimately disappointing. Wait for the small screen is my advice.
What I don't get about Ozark
Season one came out and it had pretty terrific reviews. I watched it right away. I judt don't have enough TV time to watch a tenth of what I would like to. So I rely upon critics a lot with television more than movies. If enough critics pan a TV show I know I am gonna dislike it as well. So critics were not kind to season two. Many said the story was being stretched and so on. Well I am 6 episodes through season 2 cause a coworker told me don't believe the critics. I am certainly glad I gave this season a try. So far it is even better than season one. I don't understand the tepid reviews. This is the Breaking Bad of Money Laundering and it is so rich with great characters and subplots. One of television's best shows at the moment.
The best Rob Zombie movie ever made.
I am not at all a Rob Zombie fan, but I think if I were I would have given this film a ten. It has a very slow setup and the title character creeps me out beyond belief.Is she supposed to be sexy and beautiful, or it that a joke? I am just not sure. What I am sure about is Nic Cage's great second half performance. I found the look of the film with the constant colored filters quite annoying most of the time. If you want to make a low budget film look even more low budget shoot everything with read and yellow filters. Still I give the film an 8. Too many cool and unique elements to offset the many flaws of this truly odd film.
The Nun (2018)
Not the worst in the series. Annabelle holds that title .
But easily second worst. It is a very odd film. I felt like I watched 90 minutes of variations of one theme. You know how a lot of times comedy films get criticized and people say it would be a great sketch but it was a lousy film cause it was basically one joke? The Nun is kind of like that. It has a couple good scenes and it is non stop with the scares after a short set-up, but man it is basically the same scare done literally 40 or 50 times. There is only so much you can do with a scary Nun and 3 main characters. But again if you are going to see it, and I would not recommend it, see it in a theater. I am sure it plays a lot better than on a small screen.
A Prayer Before Dawn (2017)
The Haters are put off by the unique style of this film.
Yes, there is little dialogue in the film, and yes the film as long odd stretched of the narrative not really moving forward, but I found it fascinating and riveting. The filmmaker does a lot of interesting things. This does not quite flow like any film that I have ever seen. It is almost like snippets of Billy's memory being filmed where long portions are cut out and we go from a an odd confrontation in a group cell to a quick cut of being in the middle of the fourth round of a fight. A combination of one giant dream and a documentary style that may be unique but that I found truly enjoyable though very depressing. I see why people hated this, but if you like the works of filmmakers a little off the mainstream, give this a try. I kept being reminded or the great Alan Parker film Midnight Express due to subject matter, but stylistically the film reminds me of The Florida Project. This isn't Rocky by any means.
Solid, and well made but a little slow and unsatisfying as well.
Top notch acting and directing , and I probably would have given the film a 7, but I found the ending very unsatisfying. It was almost as if I wanted a second part to the story. I won't go further because I want this to be a spoiler free review. The ending felt rushed and the true consequences of the ending should have been explored a little more than a final one minute scene. I will say that I was deeply involved throughout the film, though it did have a couple times where it dragged a bit. I would ultimately recommend this film though, you won't be bored watching it.
I enjoyed Season 2 almost as much as 1. Sure the bad guys this time were WAY over the top and yes there were some really gross scenes, but it is so great to watch Billy Bob do his thing. Unlike season 1 this season ended with a lot of loose ends so I am thinking season 3 is going to continue with the story so far. I, for one, cannot wait.
Surprised in particular by the critical response to this one.
Winchester has a 28 on Metacritic and I really don't get it. It is not a particularly scary film, though it does have a couple effective jolts. The cast is solid , the production is first rate and the story about the Winchester home and family is fascinating. I am sure that no small percentage of viewers will Google Sara Winchester and the Winchester home after watching this film. I was not bored for a second. I surely recommend it as a nice diversion.
Great Show- hard to watch
Not hard to watch for the reason that you might think. Hard to watch cause of the most Godawful Heavy Metal soundtrack ever. Hard to mess up an interesting subject like this, but the inept documentarians behind this show sure do their best.
Feel threatened much?
I totally understand not liking this film. It is darn bloody which is something that is going to turn off a large segment of moviegoers, but criticizing the film for appealling only to gays and female men haters is way over the top and there are a few of those reviews here already.
This film is one of the most bloody films that I have watched, and yes it is a film that requires you to suspend disbelief, but most those people criticizing the film for the over the top absurdities of the action are probably the same people that have watched every film in the Marvel Universe.
There are only 5 actors in this well put together thriller. One is a handsome guy that one reviewer said is naked in the film for the last 40 minutes and a couple talked about penises flailing about and naked cyborg guy and Vampire woman. Really odd takeaways from all. For the record maybe 5 seconds of penis and 3 minutes naked male butt. I am not gay, but I would say that titillation is the last thing that would be on the mind of a gay male watching this film. I was however titillated constantly by Matilda Lutz's magnificent callipygian form. This is a solid debut from a talented filmmaker. See it, unless you voted for Trump or something and you feel threatened by strong women.
First Project of Andrew Niccol that I really did not care for.
I like Andrew Niccol and especially his two previous sci fi films Gattaca and In Time (Not a Simone fan but still better than this.) but this one was a bit of a snooze fest. Amanda Seyfried is a solid actress and for the first time in her career she was very hot. She is an attractive woman, but I think dark hair suits her and there is some nice sex in the film. Clive Owen is excellent as always. I just wish I had not spent 100 minutes of my life watching this. It started off promising. The ending was not terrible, but it sure dragged in the middle. I was also bothered by trying to follow the input that the characters were receiving which showed up as data and disappeared rapidly as characters took in information. It was cool at first and then became annoying.
Solid acting, but so darned slow
I am one of those viewers that really relies on critics overall opinions when it comes to film. If a film is in the red category on metacritic, I stay away. It is rare that I disagree with the consensus on well reviewed films but this is one of those times. Not one character in the film had a shred of redeeming characteristics. In fact , Olivia Cooke's opening scene establishes her as way more despicable than anything she does throughout the film.
The director employs some nice styles in the film but uses the same one several times with very long shots on a character that is doing nothing while something significant is happening off screen. I am reminded of Jim Jarmusch films in that way, only his thing was to kind of keep a shot on a character after the action had subsided . Those were ten and twenty second shots. The scenes in this film were a minute or two. Translation-slow and boring. Avoid this one other than to see Anton Yelchin for the last time, but his role was not a huge part of the film or at least not screen time wise.
Annabelle: Creation (2017)
Sucks in comparison to the first.
Said no one ever. Seriously this is a really solid horror film. I pretty much detested "Annabelle". Especially in light of the fact that it rode on the coattails of the excellent "The Conjuring". You will see a lot of comparisons to Ouija 2 when people discuss this film, which managed to pull off the same difficult feat. And they both do it as prequels to the previously awful franchises first films.
Creation takes awhile to pick up speed. And the director does something very interesting for the first half hour or so. There is barely a note of music. Silence creates all the jolts. It worked really well though I thought it was going to be odd to sustain a horror film with no music at all. Not to mention that sitting next to an IMAX theater playing Dunkirk kind of detracted from the silence thing.
As it gets into a more haunted house story and the music kicks in, the film really takes off. Lots of excellent scares. Creepy kids always help. Not to mention the fact that more than one inanimate object is depicted.
Solid horror film that proves that dishing out horror on screen takes a special group of talent, starting with a competent director. Horror is the most difficult genre to pull off. It is tough to elicit laughs for instance, but it is ten times tougher to scare someone on screen.
Micro as opposed to macro version of the battle
Saw an early screening tonight in Denver.
I don't know where to begin. So I will start at the weakest link. The acting. Still great, but any passable actor could have been given any of the major roles and done a great job. I know almost no more about the battle of Dunkirk after seeing the film than I did before, and I am not exactly a WWII historian. Truth be told, I learned all I know about the battle of Dunkirk from the movie poster. Does that weaken the film? Hell no, this is a film about survival. The opening scene tells it all and sets the stage as we get our first glimpse into a young soldier's need to stay alive, and his creative attempts to do so. That actor may even be considered the main character of the film. More words have been written so far in this review than he speaks. And I have no clue who the actor in that role is. It is humorous that Tom Hardy looks like Bane through most the film in the role of a pilot wearing an oxygen mask throughout. Kenneth Branagh is the only officer with any lines in the film, so that should give you an idea of the POV that we experience. We are the enlisted man trying to find a way to stay alive in a chaotic and harrowing battle. Though I believe Dunkirk will win every single technical Oscar, I would be surprised if it has any acting nominations at all.
How does Nolan elevate this above other films of a similar nature? I think he says it best himself, when he describes Dunkirk as a thriller more than a war film. He pulls that off superbly.
When a ship starts to take in water as numerous bullets penetrate its hull, I wanted to jump out of my seat and cover up the holes myself.
The film has three separate stories that are titled Mole, Sea and Air. And we all know where Moles live. The way the narratives of the three stories unfold and how they are all tied together is what makes the film a masterpiece. Much has been said about Nolan using IMAX film cameras and how the film is enriched by this. I don't know. I doubt I saw actual film being projected at my screening. Every frame looked terrific though.
So what is the most superlative aspect of the film? Gotta be the soundtrack. Hans Zimmer will win the Oscar for this without a doubt. So , so brilliant. This is not a soundtrack that I would buy at the store and play on my stereo. This is a soundtrack that weaves throughout the three narratives seamlessly and creates this phenomenal sense of tension. There are times when a two or three minute tense orchestral passage plays continuously as the story shifts from the ground to the sea then to the air and the music draws the three stories together. Zimmer's soundtrack reminds me of the way that Bernard Hermann's work was so vitally important in building suspense in most Hitchcock films. Though that description almost sells Zimmer short. His soundtrack is that good.
I don't think this is a film that will retain even half of its strength in your home theater. No folks, this is a film that you cough up for an overpriced IMAX ticket and rationalize it by knowing that experiencing Dunkirk in any other fashion will just not cut it.
Baby Driver (2017)
Believe the hype
Everything about the film is pretty much pitch perfect if you ask me. Lets start with the cars. I have not been a fan of Fast and Furious films, but the chase scenes in this film run circles around that series if a certain reality of the moves matters to you. This is more in line with Bullit,French Connection, and the Italian Job films as far as great chases.
The music, fun, simply fun. Songs from every decade of my lifetime.
Action best pure adrenaline action in years. You will be truly on the edge of your seat during much of the film.
Humor, what can I say, love Edgar Wright's humor and this is his best.
And oh what a cast! Loved every one of the leads performances. I think Ansel was a standout, but come on Jamie Foxx, Spacey, Hamm and the beautiful Lily James. And the other leading lady, Eiza Gonzalez, was unknown to me, but she was great with one terrific diner speech in particular. I was lucky enough to see this at an early screening in Denver. I will be seeing this in the theaters once again when it opens, and I very rarely watch movies more than once.
Sometimes when I see a review fawning over a film like this, I think troll. Best way to check that out is see how many films the reviewer has reviewed and rated. I have over 4,000 rated films here. Not a lot of tens either.Best film so far this year.
Great B Movie.
The film takes about 20 minutes to take off, but once it gets going it is an exciting ride. The haters talk about the lack of realistic situations in Extortion, and I get it, but it gets your adrenaline going.
Probably seen Elon Bailey dozens of times but this is his first starring role that I have seen. He is good not great. Bradley Cooper light I guess.
Always nice to see Danny Glover and the bad guy from Captain Phillips does a solid job in a similar role from his Oscar nominated performance.
A couple nice , oh wow I did not see that coming moments really added to my enjoyment.Get out the popcorn for this one and have a good time.
The Phenom (2016)
The people that would like this film probably would not watch it.
This is a strong character study. I really enjoyed it, but it is not a sports movie, at least not what one thinks of a typical sports movie. Strong acting throughout elevate this from being a pretty run of the mill character study. I really enjoyed hating the Ethan Hawke character. At times I thought the character was slightly over the top, but I still liked it. Worth watching. Just a word of warning, if sports movies are your favorite genre, you may want to reset your expectations a bit before watching. You will probably enjoy it more.
Weakest Episode of the series so far
This is basically a side story that has little relevance to the main story whatsoever. It felt like filler the whole way through.Who knows , in a few episodes we may be revealed the relevance of this story, but I doubt it.
I enjoyed the first two episodes this season, but will be surprised if I end up liking this season as much as the first two.
Slow and disappointing
Although I consider Obama the best President in my lifetime, I consider this film the worst film made about a President who lived during my lifetime. I had to write this review because when I saw the low IMDb rating I figured it was due to typical site trollers that never even saw the film. But the truth is that this is not a very good film.
The acting is all solid, but the script is trite and boring. I don't think it revealed a bit about Obama that most people did not already know.
When tackling the issues of race that have to be tackled in a biography of a young Obama, it would be very easy to come off as clichéd. And unfortunately that is the way it comes off. If you feel like watching a film about recent Presidents there are several films about Nixon and JFK and Stone's Bush bio that are certainly worth watching. "Secret Honor" is a gem you should seek out in particular. But you can skip this one.