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A Ghost Story (2017)
7/10
May not be for everyone, but amazing how a sheet can make you feel
31 January 2019
I came across this movie by accident. I saw a still that made me think it was some atmospheric horror movie. After seeing the synopsis, I gave it a shot anyway.

What this movie is not: not a horror/suspense movie. Not a lot of dialog. Not any sort of traditional story. Not something with a firm resolution.

Without explaining some of the points, it's hard to describe this movie. There are parts that move very slow. Parts where you wish something would happen. For much of the movie, it is long slow shots of Casey Affleck in a white sheet.

But somehow it works. It makes you feel for this sheet. It makes you feel the loss. It also makes you wonder why sometimes. So much of what happens is left up to the viewer to try and make sense of or interpret what is meant.

While it may not have much rewatch value to it, if you have 90 minutes, it is worth watching once.
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Lethal Weapon: In the Same Boat (2018)
Season 3, Episode 1
8/10
Good recovery from casting changes
26 September 2018
While sad to see Clayne leave, I don't have my head up my rear like some people and will give things a chance. They did a good job of coming up with a replacement for Riggs, something I didn't think they'd be able to pull off. And they did so with a story that doesn't just pretend nothing ever happened. While a little different, the spirit of Lethal Weapon is still there.
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Lost in Space: Mutiny in Space (1967)
Season 2, Episode 19
3/10
God awful!
18 July 2018
I've been watching the whole series in order, and so far this is the absolute worst episode. The whole thing seems to be a vehicle for Ronald Long to do his best Brian Blessed impersonation and just yell a lot.
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Ocean's Eight (2018)
6/10
Better than Ocean's 12
10 June 2018
I enjoyed Ocean's Eight. We'll start with that. It was better than 12. Sandra Bullock fits in the family. Anne Hathaway was great in her part. But otherwise, there wasn't really anything to invest you into the rest of the crew - for example Rihanna could have been traded out for any other hacker.

The story line was very straight forward - a normal heist movie - scout, execute, outfall. No real twists - until near the very end.

It worked as a movie, it fits well into the Ocean series, it just didn't bring anything new to the table.

Perhaps a little more time to flesh out the team relationships - though I've seen three movies with the other team, so maybe that's why I think they are a little more fleshed out. Also, a little more humor.

But if they come out with a sequel, I'd go see it.
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3/10
Bad movie, worse sequel
6 June 2018
As a thriller movie, it's almost passable. It has a couple moments, but it ranks up there with The Net as far as "computer does anything." or Person of Interest for computer surveillance. In other words, you need a lot of suspension of belief.

As for a sequel, it is horrible. Where War Games was marginally plausible, and more of a movie about characters and surviving pursuit, this pile of trash took the main concepts from the original, and tried to put the technology and wow factor first and failed horribly.

And all that doesn't even touch on how wooden all of the acting is.
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Lost in Space (2018– )
7/10
Entertaining, but a different take than you may be used to
16 April 2018
I have vague memories of the old series. I also may be one of the few people who enjoyed the 1998 movie. I found this series to be interesting to watch, however the Universe seems to be populated by people who make stupid decisions.

Without getting into spoilers, the characters are going to be different from the past iterations. West is not military (and really my biggest complaint about the series is how he is treated), the Robinsons are not the perfect family, Will is still bright, but not the usual prodigy. On the plus side,we get some better rounded female characters who are not just add-ons.

Dr. Smith is still Dr. Smith, however a darker version than the original one. One of my favorite lines from the movie "Evil knows evil" would fit this new version very well. And the infamous robot - completely different from before.

And Debbie even makes an appearance, albeit very different from the original and 1998 version.

Overall they seem to have modernized the original concept, added some family tension which fits more with today's society, removed some of the humor and light heartedness, and planted them on a planet where if something can go wrong, it will. If you remember how many disaster movies came out in the 1990's, this planet may have been the inspiration.

I'm not the best judge of acting, but I liked Molly Parker a lot in this, found the kids did a good job, as did most of the cast. Toby Stephens reminded me of John C. McGinley, so I didn't see John Robinson as much as I did Dr. Cox from Scrubs, but I really did like the way he handled the role of basically a shunned father.

If you're looking to see the original series redone with new fx and in color, you're not going to like this. If you remotely liked the 1998 film, you'll probably like this. If you don't mind some stupid decisions made by characters (and writers included) and can just enjoy something, this makes for a great weekend binge.
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6/10
Not Shakespeare, but an enjoyable sequel
25 March 2018
I went into this with low expectations, which may have helped. The trailers did a good job of not letting on to what was going on in the movie, so I wasn't expecting much.

As long as you can let go of any tethering to reality or physics, this was an enjoyable sequel. The plot is a little more straightforward and formulaic, but it still managed some surprises in the plot. There were some predictable situations and a Checkov's Gun scenario you could see coming an hour in the first 10 minutes.
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Just Add Magic (2015– )
6/10
Lightweight kids show with some decent messages
21 March 2018
I was told about this show because of the magic component to it. I'm obviously not the target demographic, but it has an interesting storyline, usually has a good message to it. Full of cheesy humor, but there have been a few genuine laugh out loud moments. As for the acting, the main kid characters do a pretty good job, but the adult actors take you out of it. Their acting is so wooden and tends to kill the scene when they are in it.

The music can be a little cheesy when they start cooking their recipes, and they usually have one of these cheesy scenes per episode. But there is something hilarious when they say "We need to cook." making me think of young teen Walter Whites.

Overall a good show with some good role model characters for young girls.
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6/10
Good movie up til a point, then too much deviation
19 March 2018
I can understand some changes to make a book work as a visual entity, or to take some stuff from the 60's and update/modernize it. This movie was working pretty well for me up until they reach Camazotz.

At that point, they took a drastic change from the book, which I think caused the movie to suffer. The book had so many layered themes in it, and I can understand not being able to show them all effectively, or some upgrades from the cold war era feel, but to pretty much chuck the whole second half of the book out in favor of some hard to follow mind trip really suffered.

If you can get past that, overall it wasn't bad, but it also wasn't great. Visually it looked great. Kudos for the director for working with kids and getting a decent performance out of them and doing a good job with what they were given, but the writer should have worked a little more on the screenplay.
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5/10
Not much to see...good characters though
1 August 2013
This movie felt like it wanted to try and be the Shining, but just couldn't pull it off. There really isn't that much too it. The "scares" are minimal and pretty ineffective. It never really seems to get to anywhere.

The only thing that saved this movie was the two main characters. Think about people working in pretty much a dead end job at a closing down hotel. I think the two nailed it - both with how they handled the guests to how they had their own quirks and routines. There is a mom with her kid at the hotel who they should have expanded upon - the situation she's in, I actually felt the most empathy towards her.

Overall, not too great, but better than most of the limited-release (aka almost straight to DVD) movies out there.
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Pandorum (2009)
5/10
Looks great - story is nothing special
19 June 2013
I'll admit, I watched this because it had Antje Traue and I had just seen Man of Steel. I didn't know much more than IMDb's brief description going in, but set in space sounded good to me.

Overall it's not a bad film. It looks amazing. The set pieces for me really worked. Darkened hallways I guess all look alike after a while, but you really got the feeling of a very large ship.

Yes, there is a twist or two, and you can see at least one of them miles away. Overall the story in not that bad, and it would be interesting seeing more tales set in this universe. But it is nothing that hasn't really been done before either. The bad guys are pretty generic. I actually think it would have been a better film without them.

The biggest issue to me was the sound. You have some loud noises when things happen, and the bad guys are pretty noisy. And then the main character talks in a gravelly whisper for much of the time. It was very hard to understand what was being said for a lot of the movie, at least to me.

Probably a little bit better than Event Horizon.
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Red Dawn (2012)
3/10
Nothing special
12 June 2013
I will admit the original was something I loved. I went into this with an open mind, and was eager to look for references to the original.

My take-away was instead of them concentrating on the characters, they decided to re-film scenes from the original, throw them together in a random order with a lot of fast-paced edits.

It sort of worked. There are some departures and change-ups which were a surprise. There were some unique moments and a few laughs, but for the most part I just didn't care. This did not feel like a sweeping epic or engrossing story. It was an invasion, a montage, and a bunch of action shots.

The Korean army had three identifiable characters and ran the town like the Marx brothers. A scout troop could have held them off.

If you want a vapid action movie, this is it.
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The Ward (2010)
5/10
Horrible...no wait, not too bad
2 May 2013
As a horror movie, this fails. All the jumps are telegraphed far in advance. You can pretty much go 3..2..1...jump-scene. The acting comes and goes. It would be interesting to watch it again to see what I think of the acting. It wasn't horrible, but just uneven.

I usually don't pay much attention to camera work, but after a few "found footage" movies, it caught my eye. I thought it was shot well...some shots here and there.

As for the story, which is what I care more about than visuals. At first I was wondering why I was watching all of it. It seemed it couldn't tell what it wanted to be...but in the third act it REALLY delivered.

Surprisingly, there really wasn't much in the way of gratuitous gore, and even though there is a shower scene that goes on way longer than it should have, no nudity either - so kudos to John Carpenter for not sleezing it up.
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6/10
Not what expected, but passable
23 November 2012
Based on the trailers, it appeared to look like your typical haunted nuclear disaster town story. However, that was not the case. A weaker movie would have worked in some way for the girls tops to come off, but instead the characters seemed somewhat realistic, at least until everything got going, then the average IQ dropped pretty low as is typical. The acting wasn't as bad as I expected, in fact there were some good performances instead of the usual "oh..something bad happened, let me scream".

The opening credits may make you think it is a found footage style movie. Thankfully it is not. There is only a small bit of found footage and it is worked in very well.

Anyone who has seen a movie with something after you will find this very familiar. The backdrop of the movie does make it something special. The ghost story would have worked much better with it. If you like Wrong Turn and stuff like that, this will be right up your alley. If not, then the first bit of them exploring whatever it was that stood in for Pripyat is still haunting to look at.
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Dark Shadows (2012)
6/10
A quirky story
26 May 2012
Based on all the previews, one would think that this was a remake of Love at First Bite - a fish-out-of-water comedy, with Barnabas coming to terms with 1972. These trailer scenes probably make up 80% of those jokes for the movie. It is not a comedy that the trailers would leave you to believe.

Overall it is a quirky retelling of some of the elements from the original series. I did enjoy it for what it was. You do have to go in with the expectation that this is a Burton/Depp film. Johnny seems to play one character for Burton - pauses in his speech, some weird walking movements, and lots of hand waving. A little more of a darker side would have fit this film perfectly.

While the rest of the cast does a good job (Michelle is great as a matriarch) the biggest problem I had is that characters appear when needed and then go away for long spells. I had almost forgotten that Victoria was a role she was off screen so much. Same with a few of the other supporting characters.

Don't expect anything super serious or super funny.
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5/10
Funny and decent low budget flick
15 April 2012
I love zombie movies and they are always hit or miss. This one started out as a miss, but quickly turned into a decent movie. Good production unlike most, and understandable sound. Too many of these low budget releases try to use the camera mic for the dialog and fail. It is full of funny lines, reoccurring jokes, and references to other films. Some of the acting is stronger than others - but for the most part is a little wooden in the delivery. The main characters do a decent job delivering. The visuals range from weak to funny to decent. Overall if you don't expect something that changes your life, it's worth watching. And if nothing else, pretty girls to watch (however some of the worst fx are the plastic surgeries on some).
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Not bad, has it's moments
25 October 2011
I usually like the Pang Brothers so gave this a shot. It was better than a lot of works that get over here, but not exceptional. The story was not that convoluted that it could not be followed. It was a straight-forward ghost story with some redemption - nothing surprising for fans of The Eye.

Originally this was done in 3-D and you can tell some of the scenes were designed to take advantage of that, but it was not too over-the-top about it. It works quite well in 2D.

Some of the acting feels a little weak, but it is not bad enough to be distracting. A few tense moments where they don't go for an obvious scare, even after a large build-up. Refreshing that not everything is predictable.
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4/10
Pretty torn as to like or hate it
26 March 2010
As a big fan of the first one, I was happy to finally get to see this. I figured a new team down in the cave, not a direct followup. I saw the original ending of the 1st which left Sarah in the cave, so that had me confused for a bit until I remembered the US ending had her getting out.

The first one was a mental journey that had you feeling like you were in that cave. The sequel had a bit of that, but it seemed they wanted to see how much blood they could squirt out instead.

The characters are so vanilla - cave leader, cave girl, guy who makes sex comments at girl, gruff old lawman, younger law-person. I think that some of the crawlers got more development. They seemed to be too interested in working in a couple one-liners, and trying to go for a tough girl lead.

Overall it wasn't bad, but the ending was, well...just plain stupid. Nor reasoning behind it, just out there to get you talking about WTF? Combine that with plot holes you could drive a truck through and you're kinda left wondering if it was good or not.
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6/10
A good non-Hollywood zombie comedy
24 March 2010
I didn't know what to expect going into this other than Zombies. I was really surprised. A lot of people have compared it to Shaun of the Dead, and there is some definite homage there. No offense to the actors in this, but they just aren't Simon Pegg. There are really no scares that I remember, but the effects themselves are not that bad (remember - non Hollywood!) I really laughed a lot at this flick. Some of it was at corniness, some was some good humor. At one point I did think that this would be a good candidate for an (over the top) Americanized version of Shaun of the Dead. It really picks on so many aspects of culture.

The lead actress really did a good job, as did the two playing Lance and Tom. I think "Lance" gets some of the best lines and has some good comedic timing.

As long as you don't mind a little poking fun at yourself and are not looking for the next over-the-top, over-polished Hollywood turd, this is a very enjoyable movie.
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The Prisoner (2009)
4/10
Take a difficult show and make it impossible
20 November 2009
The original show was kinda hard to follow at parts, but if you paid attention you could follow along.

While this show had promise at first, it became pretty evident that the writers had no clue how to proceed. They then picked a bunch of random ideas to try and make it so incomprehensible that they could just claim it was too advanced for normal viewers.

Here is a show that could have been done so well with so much progress that turned out to just be a pile of crap with a few homages to the original here and there.

Be seeing you.
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Autopsy (2008)
3/10
Bland and disappointing
6 May 2009
For some reason I was really looking forward to this movie - the description, the poster, something just made it good. And I may be a bit harsh because I felt let down. It had some good parts, and gore if you like that.

The plot, pretty basic, reminded me of Night of the Dead: Leben Tod for the most part. It is pretty straight-forward and predictable, and I think about 3 good jump scenes. I was worried at first with the Mardi Gras footage that it was going to be another "handheld" style, but that was just for the credits thankfully.

A couple of rewrites could have made this work a lot better. The main problem is you really don't care. You don't care about the kids, you don't care why the bad guys are doing anything - there is just nothing. Robert Patrick's Doctor could have had some real depth to him if they tried. The nurse is so stereotypical it's not worth it. The lead actress did deliver a good scene, but that was an exception to the script.

All in all, it had some memorable moments for those into the Saw/Hostel style gore, but mostly it was forgettable.
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5/10
Not as good as the first, not bad though
5 October 2008
I realize I may be in the minority liking the first, then again the IMDb boards seem to be there only to complain.

Rest Stop was a bit of slasher with a ghost story thrown in. There were several places where you just kinda went "oh...didn't see that coming". In part 2, it seems like they tried to duplicate those, but after seeing the first one, they didn't have the oh-wow value.

The ghost sequences were all pretty obvious (sans one) and the whole Family is a known from the first one so that wasn't a surprise.

As for the background they tried to give the people from the first one, while somewhat interesting, it just didn't seem to fit or feel quite right. One can only hope that if they make a third one it will all payoff. However, they need to finish the story instead of trying to keep stretching it out as it's getting a bit thin and there will not be much more you can do with the story.

If you liked the bit of gore from the first one, this one has taken it up a few steps. If you like the spooky atmosphere, that is there, but not as present as the first one. If you like old Ford trucks, you're in luck!
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5/10
More of the same - not bad, nothing great
26 July 2008
This is pretty much another Onryo story. It wasn't that bad and did have some interesting points and plot turns, but in the end, it felt like Dark Water without all the interesting bits.

My daughter came upstairs while I was watching it and as I was trying to explain to her about the concept of Asian horror and vengeful spirits, it made me realize that this movie had bits of everything that had been done before and was pretty much just another cookie-cutter style movie.

The story, while vanilla, still had enough to keep one interested in what was going on. A couple of very predictable jump scenes here and there.
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29 February (2006)
6/10
Simple and predictable, but decent
10 July 2008
This was pretty easy to figure out from the beginning how it would end. Also many of the jump scenes were predictable. However, the rest of the story was actually pretty good, As others have said, the atmosphere was done very well in this film.

Some of the camera shots they chose were rather interesting (in a good way). There is a short scene at the end of the film after the credits which actually had a very spooky feel to it.

There are some shots which you could look at as being stolen from (or in tribute to) other j-horror movies.

Other than that, not much really to say about this one way or the other.
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The Booth (2005)
7/10
Impressive for a small cast and minimal locations
24 June 2008
I liked this movie because it basically did more with less. It could have been made more interesting if they had kept it confined to the studio even more (though some of the plot elements would have been harder to develop).

The guy playing the DJ did a good job of showing someone spooked out and haunted by his memories. I also found his dialog with the callers pretty funny.

While parts of the movie you can see coming a mile away, other parts you do not expect to turn out the way they did.

I thought it was a pretty minimal ghost story for the most part, concentrating more on the living side of the equation. The last 5-10 minutes were pretty well done as everything is being revealed.

While it was a shorter movie, it felt to be just about the right amount of time to tell the story. Any more and it would have started to drag.
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