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Taken 3 (2014)
Very Impressed, Good Story, and Average Action
Liam Neeson has done it again. Quietly, he has become one of the most dominant action stars in Hollywood. This third movie in the Taken series actually deviated from the plot line of the first two movies and also had a few plot twists that made the movie even more interesting. Although we have become used to over dramatized action scenes, Taken 3 has a toned down action sequence with more foot chases, hand-to-hand combat scenes, and also uses quick high-action scenes instead of long drawn-out scenes, that we have become accustomed to seeing quite often. The story was actually quite strong too and Forest Whitaker did an amazing job of adding spice and balance to the overall plot.
If you are a fan of the Taken series, I believe that you will like this fresh new-look plot. It was a well-balanced movie that brought back almost all of the characters that we gotten to know over the last two movies. I would recommend that you go out and see this movie, even if you have missed one or the first two in the series.
Entertaining, Great Acting, And Definitely Worth Seeing
This movie had a great cast, great story, and was very entertaining and well written. David Oyelowo, although a tad inconsistent early on, elevated to another level when he transformed before your eyes to a dynamic and vulnerable Dr. Martin Luther King, JR. Toward the end of the movie, his performance was so strong, if he was not actually shown on the screen, you couldn't tell if if was an old recording of MLK or David Oyelowo himself.
As for the story, yes, it was not "historicly accurate," but it flowed well and Ava DuVernay and Paul Webb did a wonderful job of making it family friendly, which is very hard to do with such a sensitive subject. I would compare it to Disney's "Remember The Titans" on how they changed the story to make it more entertaining and also family friendly.
Overall, I would highly recommend this movie. It did a great job of showing me a bit of the past that was before my time and I am grateful for that experience.
The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
An intriguing and diverse journey
In an attempt to give away as little as possible about this film, obviously so that you can enjoy all of the phases as I was able to do, I would like to simply highlight my opinion about this movie. It was a great film and was very entertaining. I'd recommend you take a chance and go see this film. Expect some theatrical diversity and in the end it all comes back full circle.
I have nothing negative to say. The acting was mature and accurate. Each character was playing a role that suited their own set of talents superbly.
Try not to read too many reviews and just go and see this movie. You will not be disappointed.
The Rum Diary (2011)
A well made adult-themed movie that did not disappoint.
Based on the novel of the same name by Hunter S. Thompson, this movie was entertaining and well-balanced. This movie introduces you to Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp), who is an itinerant journalist that left New York for an opportunity to work for a newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I actually liked this movie even though it was a drastic change from past roles that I have associated with Johnny Depp. This movie was not an action movie like the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, nor a drama or thriller like Finding Neverland or The Secret Window. However, Johnny Depp doesn't disappoint in this movie and puts on a believable performance to keep you entertained throughout the entire film. As you may have seen in the previews, Paul Kemp's love interest Chenault (Amber Heard) is very easy on the eyes and also gives a bit of flavor to the movie.
I would expect that an older demographic is going to enjoy this movie. The story may appeal directly to the baby-boomer generation and those of us who know a bit of what was common in that area. The movie is worth seeing at the theater if you are a fan of Johnny Depp and are looking for a good movie that will tell you a story without the use of action, suspense, or elaborate computer animation (although there may be one scene in there, just for good measure).
Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
Bait and switch, slow moving, and lacking an effective climax.
I did see the original Paranormal Activity and it I did enjoy the movie for the most part. I skipped the second movie in the series and now I am on to Paranormal Activity 3. Just like the original movie, I was prepared for the movie to drag on as the story builds. It is an expected style for this type of movie so to be fair I am not holding that against it in my review. I did however, dislike some of the building scenes that really didn't fit the storyline of the movie. I felt almost lost at times since there was really no clear roadmap to the plot until the end of the movie. As for the acting, it was on par with a bigger budget movie. The child acting was believable and did not take away for the flow of the movie. One other thing that was a bit annoying was the preview for the movie showed a scene that was not even in the theatrical version. The preview was very creepy and scary on it's own and it does not even occur in the movie. I was very frustrated with that and feel like it was a true bait and switch.
If you are a fan of the series, you may like the movie overall. I however was very disappointed with the movie and would not recommend this movie to any of my friends.
The Thing (2011)
I wasn't impressed, but it was not a bad movie.
I guess I should have taken the time to watch the original movie before seeing this one. I also admit that I can be a bit harsh on horror movies since I don't tend to scare easy. All that being said, in review, The Thing, just seemed like another attempt at a plot that seemed very familiar to me in Alien Vs Predator. The movie really didn't make a lot of sense to me. I guess most aliens have the intelligence to travel billions of billions of miles just to crash land on Earth and then get frozen in the most inhabitable part of our planet. I know, I know, I am over analyzing it all, but it just seemed a bit off to me.
There were a few scary scenes and some creepy creatures, but it all seemed a bit too much. If you are just looking for a scary movie that will hopefully get the person next to you to jump into your arms, this may be the right film for you. If you're like me and looking for a good thriller or psycho drama, I'd recommend that you pass on this one and wait for a better thriller to see in the theater.
Real Steel (2011)
An Excellent Family Movie with Action, Warmth, and a Happy Ending!
Warning!!! If you're expecting Hugh Jackman to play a rough and somewhat edgy character in this movie, similar to his Wolverine character in the recent X-Men movies, this movie is not for you.
In this movie, Hugh Jackman is Charlie Kenton, who is a retired fighter that now fights robot fighters and is also a "bad bet," as stated in a scene in the movie. Rather than explain the plot and the dynamics of this movie, I would rather focus on the facts that I feel make this movie worth going to see.
Yes, the movie is predictable. Let's be honest, a lot of movies today are but that being said it is a "feel good" movie and it did follow a common evolution that we have seen in many other good movies. Where I feel that Real Steel differed is that it was a fresh take on a very common storyline that did add a new twist of action and entertainment. I found the movie very positive and enjoyable and was actually disappointed that I wasn't able to share the initial viewing with my two son's, who I believe would have enjoyed the movie also.
I would recommend this movie as an excellent family movie that is well worth the new movie ticker price.
Dream House (2011)
It sounded like a great storyline but the movie fell very short.
Promoted as a Drama, Mystery, and Thriller, Dream House dragged on with a bit too much drama, it lacked enough mystery, and it drastically fell short to even qualify as a thriller on today's cinematic standards. The acting was on par with most A-list movies, but the delivery of the storyline left you feeling disappointed upon the ending of the movie. You will find yourself waiting for a twist and turn to occur at numerous times in the movie only to be disappointed when the scene changes and the movie continues to roll on to the next act without a noticeable climax to the scene that just passed. As a thriller, you will experience more suspense and fear by looking at the promotional marketing for this film than you will ever experience by actually watching this movie.
I'm giving this movie a 6 out of 10, due to the fact that the storyline actually had a lot of potential, so I actually wanted it to be good. Also, the acting was very good and the movie was only about 90 minutes long, which did help a lot since it did drag on at times. Other than that, it wasn't very thrilling, some scenes tended to seem noticeably unrealistic, and the lack of suspense during the movie, left you eager to just get to the end of the movie.
I'd save your new movie release money and just wait for Dream House to show-up as a low-budget rental in a few months.