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Cold Pursuit (2019)
White Trash
8 May 2019
The movie is a ridiculous blend of "Taken" and Guy Ritchie violent pseudo-comedies. Liam N. wants revenge for the death of his son by a drug dealing gang, but no reason was ever given for the death of his son. Then Liam goes on a killing string where person A leads to person B leads to person C, fairly linear and boring, honestly. And who knew there was so much hard-drug use in such a small town?!

The story goes from Taken format to Guy Ritchie format with black humour comedic attempts and no plot logic. The last death was insanely idiotic and pointless. Liam said this was his last action film and it was obvious he did it for the money or a contractual obligation and not with the high hopes of respecting his performance or an oscar-worthy performance. A shame really. By the end, I just wanted the whole thing to be over.
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Downhill from the first
9 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
It would be difficult to recreate the novelty and nostalgic comedy of the first film. And this film doesn't even try. It looks firmly to the future of WiFi and social internet, the death knell of arcades everywhere. There is no optimism and comeraderie in this film. The entire premise is negative emotions like jealousy and insecurity. And it also throws on a great big dollop of men are bad, women are always good revisionism. While Ralph is loyal and caring, he is the anchor. I somply can't recommend this movie on several levels. There is really little entertainment, there is not much of a happy ending, and the movie is completely rife with product placements, making it look like a hi-tech commercial more than a movie at times. Can you guess 3 of the major retail and e-commerce brands that showed up? Sure you can, completely obvious. The film also seems to encourage poor and stupid online behavior as a way to make money. A lot of money.....simply by doing and posting stupidity. I absolutely hated that aspect. In short, it lost the charm of the first, it has a bad plot, it is biased, and it encourages stupid behaviors for unrealistic financial gain. It had some moments of amusement and it has a high production value, but I'd rather rewatch the first than ever watch this one again.
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Escape Room (II) (2017)
I'd escape the theatre and not watch this film and call it a success
10 February 2019
The acting is fine, nothing exciting. Even the premise could work... until the film ends and you realize that there was absolutely no point to the whole film. No point to it, and in fact you are not even curious enough to want to know. And that really is the most frustrating thing about the film. With certain movies you might be able to "play along" with the escape games. You might care about the characters. The characters migght even be overly singled out for special knowledge or abilities they have, like one being a history buff and another a math whiz. Nothing of the sort in this movie. Just some people thrown together who happen to understand various aspects of the escape room. But not the ultimate one which brings me back to my original observation, the film was pointless with no explanation and no real ending. Nothing was explained. The reason for the escape room never presents itself. I think the best thing to do is if you want to escape a room, go from your kitchen to your living room and watch another movie.
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I did NOT read the Books, but I have an opinion on the movie
9 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Perhaps I am the last person on the planet who did not watch the first movie or read the books, not even on Wikipedia so I knew what they were about. Nope, I approach this movie as a complete virgin, a blank slate ready to be entertained. My review does not compare the last movie or the books to this movie, it simply critiques this movie as a standalone feature film.

Honestly, the movie is erratic. We start with the girl showing chess genius, seemingly to emphasize her intelligence. And yet the entire rest of the film there was no real display of genius on her part. In fact the loser of that initial chess battle is the one who seems to be able to make all the right moves. Lisbeth somehow survives a fall and then somehow attains good fighting and hacking abilities, I honestly don't know how, but don't need a huge explanation. Let's take it at face value. So this girl who can hack into the most secure facility in the US cannot stop being traced, cannot stop a boy from being traced on his phone, cannot think of a better way to monitor a captive than literally place a camera on a fence. Inconsistent. This wild girl who can survive a major explosion by jumping into a bathtub of water, escape cops by driving a motorcycle on ice, make elevators stop on cue, struggle against drugs by snorting amphetamines, and is expert a pickpocket enough to perform one of the most obvious steals / plants in movie history, also can't help but give every clue to the authorities and her sister throughout the movie. We see no genius, but only luck, time and time again. No masterful planning. Just inconsistency. The plot itself was inconsistent -- somehow you have a piece of software that can hack into every country's most secure military assets, and the author of that software decides to endanger his only child as being the key. And somehow everyone knows the child is the key... Then there's the US agent and hacker who arrives on Swedish soil to be told by Swedish authorities that he will be deported if he is not a tourist, and yet his first stop is the girl's apartment, left unsecured, with valuable information left strewn about -- you know, after the explosion that wiped out everything except all the important bits that weren't picked up by the police so that any random stranger or intelligence officer could randomly walk in and miraculously find these essential bits of info... all without any sign of the Swedish authorities caring at all if he is not a tourist... The frustration is that most of the plot holes could have been easily fixed. This could have been a 9 or 10, to hell with relying on any book history. The elements were there for a great film. But it was let down by lazy script writing and inconsistencies. Such a shame... My rating of 6 is in support of the quality of acting and high production value of the film, but not for the writers or director.
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Fair acting and plot degenerate faster than the Zombies
27 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
What starts off as something interesting quickly descends into just another zombie movie, where the zombies move fast and the plague turns people into zombies faster. So one chomp and evidently the zombies aren't hungry for you any more as you are one of them. Makes you wonder what all the fuss is about since all you seem to have to do is tape their mouths shut or stuff a sock into it.

Virus outbreak zombie movies seem to fall into 2 camps, those with slow moving zombies and those with olympic sprinters. These are the latter. Despite epic levels of speed, they are blind in the "just dark enough" passages. Again, makes you think all you have to do is wait for dark, I mean dusk, and duct tape them all, threat neutralized.

I was willing to look over all of these shortcomings because you do find yourself caring about most of the characters presented. But then came the last 20 minutes where it was just so overdone and stupid that I had to write a review saying so. The ending is overly dramatic and totally predictable and immensely underwhelming. It really makes the previous time spent watching the film feel as totally wasted. Despite the high praise of many reviewers, I cannot echo those sentiments and think there are much better zombie movie alternatives out there.
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Ocean's Eight (2018)
An Awful Split Personality of a Movie
14 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Overall, one of the worst big budget films I've ever seen.

On one hand, it's exactly like Ocean's 11, just with a female cast. The plot is exceedingly similar, the characters are simply female versions of the original male characters and stereotypes, the set-up is similar; pretty much everything is boringly the same from one aspect.

From another point of view, it's completely different.....It had absolutely none of the chemistry of the original group, none of the suspense, none of the interesting and witty dialogue, the fun to watch nature of the original is completely absent from this poor mirror's reflection of a film.

The film might have been OK if it tried to start its own chapter in the genre of high-stakes cons. It could have walked on its own 2 legs and become a medium for women to shine. Instead, it is a poor attempt at a copy of a film where men are simply replaced with "empowered women" who copy men. This film is an absolute tragedy that I'd recommend avoiding at all costs.
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Tomb Raider (2018)
None of the Style of the Original
19 April 2018
I watched this garbage and then had to go re-watch the original to make sure that they fouled this character so badly. I can't imagine what went through the producers' minds when they were thinking this one up. Let's replace a stylish, charismatic, graceful woman with a street punk teenage crybaby. Let's replace a script that was fun and replace it with one that annoys you.

There really is no joy in this movie. Once you get passed the spoiled princess intro, you pass into an unbelievable and predictable plot that will leave you drained with its banality and unimaginative nature. I only hope that there will be no sequel. Watch the first movie again rather than this one. You'll thank me!
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Kill Order (2017)
A waste of time
2 February 2018
The acting is worse than wet cardboard and the plot is written on toilet paper. It's simply a kid getting the shite beat out of him before he hallucinates and his eyes glow and he wins every fight. It's boring. By the 4th fight, I was like, ok, when will his eyes glow? There they are. Now he'll win. And that's the entire plot of the movie. Eyes glow, boy wins. And I say boy.... the hero actor would be fine in other roles, but we're expected to look at the fittest, muscular blokes beat the shite out of this twig of a kid who could unleash a fury of thumb in fist beatings on anyone in a gym for more than 2 months without feeling anything, and we are expected to believe he's a lethal weapon. It's quite unbelievable.

Save yourself the time, don't watch this. Use the hour to take a walk with your dog, pet your cat, play a video game, or drill your own teeth with an awl, they would all be more pleasurable than having to watch this film.
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Free Fall (2013)
I'd like to Free Fall with these Guys!
13 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The movie follows a typical gay story arc -- one guy is completely comfortable being his gay self, the other is in the closet and uncomfortable with it. Yet somehow, they form a relationship, setting up the confrontation of uncomfortable guy having to choose between love and the societal comforts upon which he's built his life.

The story itself was quite mechanical -- perhaps not so surprising when thinking about the Germans. There are no campy gay scenes, only love and gorgeous lustfully-writhing German blond bodies. There is no gay drama scene, there is simply an efficient confrontation where one professes love and the other can't break the shackles of his straight life until too late.

Although the story is somewhat formulaic, you honestly cannot help but understand the smoldering attraction these 2 actors are able to project on screen. I'm told they are both heterosexual. You honestly wouldn't know it from their portrayals. I found myself understanding why the "in the closet" guy couldn't come out; and I sympathized with the more outgoing "comfortable being gay" guy. I sincerely and highly recommend this movie for the "sturm und drang" it is able to portray, that the actors convey, the importance of the choices each character makes, and the respect used with respect to each character.

After a jog in the woods, treat yourself to a German beer or two and this movie, you won't regret it!
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I Give Up
10 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This series started strong and interesting, intellectual with action. It has now devolved into trite scenarios and characters that I simply do not care about any more. In this episode, while we are supposed to be caring about Liz's baby, I can't help but think back a scant few episodes ago when Dembe was being tortured and his granddaughter was kidnapped. The man who should have shown the most loyalty was no where to be found. Now we have Red's family on the line and there's half an army of supporters. The main reason you like Red is his affinity with so many characters; his loyalty and his friendship in his own alternate world are what make you like his attempts at bridging the gap. But now we have unrealistic plots and characters I no longer care about. Did anyone else cheer when Liz "died"? Did anyone else hope that it was a final step? That she wouldn't be back? I'm so tired of her moral flip-flops with Red who has only ever shown his deep concern and love for her. Tom, Mr Super Spy has become a eunuch. This show had everything, but lost it all. The plot is now mind-numbingly predictable and boring, the characters have become one-dimensional and cardboard -- no one cares about them any more -- and the intellectualism is gone. For me, the most interesting character, at the moment, is Dembe. And that's because they don't focus on him, which is a travesty of story-telling.
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The Messenger (I) (2015)
Mediocre at best, annoying throughout
2 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I see dead people has been done before, and better. In this case we're drawn into the life of someone who has seen dead people for a long time. Instead of taking advantage of what would be an awesome ability, he wallows in self-pity, self-destruction, and stupid common sense mistakes (don't talk to dead peoples' families AT the funeral!).

The problem with this movie isn't the subject matter, or the ability to see dead people and want to complete a "mission" and speak to those still living on behalf of the dead person. The problem is that you never feel anything for the protagonist. He has completely abdicated any sense that his gift is beneficial; to him it is only an anchor weighing him down from doing....what? Night retail work at the local Tesco? Since you never feel any sympathy for the main character despite many flashbacks and inferences that he deserves our understanding and compassion, you never feel like he has been given anything less than a gift that he refuses to take advantage of. And the movie becomes frustrating throughout because of it. Frustrating, then annoying. You want to scream at the screen, just tell them something only a dead person would know about the circumstances, stop coming off like a stalker creep, oh and by the way brush your teeth, take a shower, and change your clothes.

A moment of validation wasted is when he is talking with his nephew and he finds they share a bond; finally, he knows he is not crazy. Easily that serves as a time when both could find solace in one another, provide strength, support...but no.

Strong acting by Sheehan can't save this rubbish heep from just wishing the movie would fast forward to something more substantial instead of the petty sobbing of a man who has been given an extraordinary gift and chooses to waste it.
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Final Girl (2015)
No reason to Watch
2 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The backstory is that a girl was taken to learn how to fight. Then proceeds to learn not to care. And then somehow everyone knows about these sadistic boys but the cops. The plot is thinner than cabbage soup, the acting is bad, but I think that's more the fault of the plot than the actors, and the reason this movie exists is non-existent.

Honestly, the movie thought it was going to be a Nikita meets Evil Gang when there is nothing to this but fluff and nonsense. The girl doesn't seem to be trained; the extent being she doesn't scream and knows how to crack her knuckles, and the boys seem to be rich kids with no supervision. And evidently the town has enough blondes to spare that they never make the connection of -- seen with the guy 5 minutes ago and she went missing but I don't know who to ask where she went.

Don't waste your time, there is nothing to watch here.
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The Guvnors (2014)
Not a Bad Neighborhood Crime Story
28 January 2015
Americans won't understand the references to the troubled 80's and the main character who was a skinhead frustrated rebel who created quite a bit of trouble, but ended up just a successful gay businessman.

The action takes place in a neighborhood embattled by the ghost history of the old versus the physical brutality of the youth. Simple plot really, but the sidetexts of violence begets violence through the generations, through genetics, and through entrenched poverty make this movie break away and become entertaining and contain more depth than a simple gang-turf warfare meaningless bit of film-making.

While not perfect, I make it out to be a fine example of its genre, something not intended to be Oscar worthy, but still gripping, entertaining, and worth some popcorn.
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Chef (2014)
A Nice Movie
8 October 2014
I don't mean nice in the way ex-dates told me their time was me was "nice" before I never heard from them again, I mean nice as in, it's a slightly comedic, slightly inspirational film that is enjoyable to watch. Does it give you bellyaching guffaws and out loud laughter? No. Is it a rom-com? No. It's simply enjoyable to watch.

And I liked the overtone that people should follow their dreams, shouldn't be trapped into doing the same thing for 10 years, that they should break out of their shells and try new things. How many of us actually wish we had the resources and support to do something so fun yet economically challenging? Chef is not great film-making, it's not the best plot, it doesn't have the best acting. But it is a nice film to watch and I recommend it!
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A Chimp Could Have Made a Better Movie
7 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
After the success of the first installment, one would think that it would be easier to evoke sympathy for the apes, the humans, or even the circumstances of this movie. But the only thing I can be happy about is that no chimps were harmed in the making of this movie because they are mostly CGI.

The CGI, although not perfect, is not bad. That's not my primary complaint, nor are any of the special effects the reason I rated this a very middling score. The humans are simply unlikable and you kinda want the apes to win throughout, since they seem to be the more sensible of the 2 groups. One of the opening scenes is with a human shooting and killing one of the apes because he was afraid, though the ape made no aggressive gesture. If someone killed your son, what would your reaction be? The apes make a decision far wiser than the one I would have preferred. Add to that the same character defies the truce agreement while the apes allow the humans to do something that benefits them only, and the wiser of the 2 groups is immediately seen. Humans could use some of that retrovirus to become smarter, because their actions throughout the movie again and again prove that they are the lesser race.

There is a bright spot in the movie and that is the acting done by Caesar/Andy Serkis. He brought a very humane character to life, and certainly made him the hero of the film.

The plot itself is stale. Humans live in a community where they state they have an energy crisis, but instead of seeming worried, every member seems fat and happy, and they have enough provisions to truck around the area without issues. The plot stated that they were running out of diesel, presumably for generators, however, since the world is lost, my guess is that there is a ton of fuel in trucks all over the area. But no, these humans have got to get to a dam, which evidently works on 1960s technology, doesn't offer any benefit to the apes, although the apes control that territory, and somehow half a city lights up after being in the dark 10+ years without anyone throwing on a switch, and without any dusty circuit breakers blowing. So this plot is extremely formulaic, without any human creativity -- introduce 2 groups fighting over some introduced conflict point, throw in some backstabbing and betrayal and some really poor leadership decisions, and voila! You have the plot for about every un-creative film ever created by Hollywood. Usually, you want the humans to win (you won't in this case), and usually there is a clear hero and villain (aside from Caesar, again, not the case). What you are left with is a bowl of porridge, unexciting in any way, and maybe even a little upset that someone had to expend energy in bringing you this poor dish.

This film could have set up the humans versus apes in a much better way. It could have introduced internal conflict and competing self-interest better, it could have done a lot of things. But it didn't. And that's why this film deserves its mediocrity. If not for the passable CGI and some very good acting, this film could have been made better with chimps writing the plot and directing.
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Dragon Day (2013)
Waste of Time
5 August 2014
I have never given such a low rating before, but this movie had no redeeming factors and it therefore deserved such a dubious distinction.

The acting was complete cardboard with most of the time my wishing the main characters would get killed off since they were so annoying. To add to the distaste, the characters simply weren't believable either.

Add to that an extremely poor plot with more holes than my grandfather's underwear, with a great big dollop of the incredulity bred of a hundred plot points where you yourself could think your way out of it or it simply wasn't feasible, and you honestly have a sincere waste of time.
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Excellent Alternative Life
17 July 2014
It cannot be a spoiler to say that the movie is about a man who led 2 lives discovered by one of them after his death. That is, in essence, the plot entirely.

But this movie becomes so much more than a search for truth. It tears at your heartstrings for the knowledge of life's imperfections, as demonstrated not only by the main plot, but also by her mother's subplot, i.e. her 9-year affair with "the general". This serves to emphasize the strength of human nature over cultural morals. No we shouldn't lie, cheat, steal, murder, etc. and yet it happens even in the most devout communities.

Speaking of communities, there are 2 advanced here. One, a staid, educated lifestyle, where everything is monitored (curfew!) and precise, and the other a vibrant, colorful yet exasperating community, full of caring, sharing, honesty, verbal barbs, and true compassion.

So why couldn't Massimo marry the 2 worlds? Are they contradictory? Is there no place for overlap? Could he not introduce one to the other? The answer is simply...No. Honesty kills as easily as a bullet. It kills friendships, lovers, whole families. I think Massimo was in love with 2 worlds and for different reasons, but that doesn't make him an honorable man. In fact I'd argue he was a bit of a coward. But how much are both worlds enriched by the presence of the other?! An accepting, straight, sensible woman enters the compassionate, energetic, hormonal, nearly-hidden world of Michele and friends and finds it vibrant and slightly alien. The allure is unrelenting as she returns again and again for larger doses. Does anyone think that her child will not become a player in this mural of excitement and lifestyle? Have the patience to watch the movie with an open mind. It touches on many social issues, it touches on gay and straight issues, but mostly, it touches the heart with strong acting and plot. Highly recommended!
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Animal (I) (2014)
Stuck in a Cabin AGAIN
20 June 2014
Let me know if you have heard about this plot about 1,000 times before. Backwoods, middle of nowhere, cabin with windows all blocked up, meanie outside. Why can't there be something more original?

I didn't find the acting bad, I didn't find the editing bad, but the plot stunk more than a rotting corpse.

Perhaps the director and producers thought this was an original take on an old theme, "updated". But no, there is nothing original here and nothing so good as to qualify for wasting 90 minutes of your life.

Google a cooking recipe. The anxiety over producing a great scrambled eggs will far exceed this movies' ability to produce any dread in you.

Avoid it. And that's my opinion...
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There is no plot
2 March 2014
This movie is extremely disjointed and lacks a good flow. The scenes simply do not tie together. Much of the movie are scenes where people philosophize at you, but do not progress any plot. Speaking of plot, there is none. Again, this is a series of random, only mildly interlocked scenes with almost nothing tying them together. You see the same actors, but upon reflection, nothing puts together scene "A" with the next scene "B", except there are the same actors. Please do not watch this movie.

I wanted to like this movie, it has a powerful list of actors. But honestly, the story is so contrived, so meaningless, so much ado about nothing, that you really don't care about any of the characters. And the last thing you want is for drug dealers to spend many minutes explaining morality and ethics to you, trying to be Mexican and American Buddhist monks. Because the beginning of the movie is agonizing to watch, and because at the end of the movie, you've gone no where, I highly recommend avoiding this movie.
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Iron Man 3 (2013)
Less Iron, more Panic
5 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
One of the most anticipated films of the year has done what few expected -- surprised many people. Not because of the amazing fight scenes or the evil dimensions of the bad guys, but because instead of focusing on the suits, this movie focuses on the man. Who saw that coming?! This film focused far more on Tony Stark than Iron Man, but it did not focus on the character extremely well developed over the last 2 movies, and in The Avengers. Somehow, Tony went from a confident swagger to an anxiety-ridden non-performer. Think of first love, the first fumbling, non-rhythmic, earnest but wrongfully directed energy of 1st sex, and that is what pops up here (no pun intended). Tony is his own worst enemy. Unable to coordinate moves, attacks, defenses... He is reduced to the figurative cave where he started where he has, not only himself, but mostly only himself to rely on. This being Tony, you know he can MacGyver a new suit out of a hardware store supply center and leftovers from Ikea, and it's that ingenuity that makes Tony the genius you want to see get physical. And he does! Only without the suit.

Wait, you ask, where did Iron Man go? And why am I watching a Bourne Identity rip-off? A James Bond impersonation filled with Q's brain children? And here is where you see the film peel apart the layers of what makes up Tony, and what makes up Iron Man. Unlike the Congressional testimony of films past where Tony states that you can't have "IT", referring to the suit, this film delves into the line, "I am the suit, the suit is me". Would Tony be as awesome with or without the suit? So at this point, you have to ask yourself, is this what you came to the movie theater to watch? Or did you want the Iron Suit replete with Tony's narcissism and genius? Luckily, the film never forgets to add humor throughout. Although Stark is at times paralyzed by anxiety, the witty banter portions of his brain do not seem to be affected. There are a serious number of one-liners that zing through the air like diamond-tipped arrows, and while your lungs are pumping out a good guffaw, your brain is shouting Shut Up, I'm going to miss the next line! Pepper Potts -- or is it Pepper Stark now? Pepper Potts-Stark? -- plays an integral role in this movie, for several reasons. But I thought she also lacked the confidence of old. Instead of the playful repartee of old, Tony and she are shackled by their love of one another. OK, so love is not a bad thing, the fact that they want to coo and apologize to one another is not a bad thing, but the sexually tense edge between them is gone.

Now back to the action. The 1st three-quarters of the movie having been the anxiety-driven and comedy-filled demoralization and deconstruction of Tony's world, it's time to build it back up. Yes, it tuns out Tony is James Bond's alter ego, yes it turns out that he has a back-up plan and more than a few suits in waiting to confront the evil that caused the destruction of his world. And both Tony and Rhoadie come back with a vengeance. The sequence is exciting, eventful, and reminded me of those comic sequences where you see a row of doors on either side of a hallway and characters run left and right going in and coming out of the doors variously chasing one another or running from one another for various reasons. The suits appear left and right in front of Tony, to be worn, destroyed, discarded... We have come full circle where the suit is just a suit, but Tony Stark is Iron Man! I cannot say that I liked the finale, which I won't describe here. And I never mentioned the "twist" because it is too important a plot point to describe. If you've not heard about the plot twist, do yourself a favor and do NOT read any more reviews about the movie until you see it. As in the movie "Crying Game", if you know the twist, it renders much of the movie pointless. So dazzling special effects at the end, a great fight sequence... I can't say I found the ending believable, or even gripping -- no where near as much as I liked IM or IM2's finales. Certain plot points were overlooked or sent to hyperbole, others were wrapped up way too fast, but I do recommend the movie. I'll just be watching IM 1&2 more.
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Big Stars, Black (plot) Holes, a White House
7 April 2013
First off, let me say that the movie is a high production Hollywood film meaning the guns look real, there is ample budget for Apache helicopters and realistic sets, professionally choreographed fight scenes, and the requisite amount of explosions and CGI effects.

However, looking at this film in terms of realistic plot and character development, it lacks quite a bit. Without giving anything away, if you saw the trailer, this shouldn't be a spoiler, we're expected to believe an outrageous number of defensive failures on the part of several security organizations -- enough to bring on a not-so-clever or intriguing attack on the White House. Let's just go with that for a moment, using our advanced sense of Hollywood suspended disbelief syndrome and hope that, although the plot is implausible, at least the characters make it real.

Morgan Freeman gives one of his most cardboard, stale acting appearances ever. The stereotypical military head says to blow things up, the more reticent advisers say to act cautiously, the President decries the inhumanity of killing staff members while the body count from the aforementioned guns and ammo displays and explosions count easily into the many dozens (hundreds likely, difficult to count). Our one last hope is Gerard Butler. I must say I like him as an action hero, and he played his role well here. But he was vaguely a man of action at the beginning of the movie, albeit at a desk for a few brief moments about 10 minutes in to 14 minutes into the movie, and he was a more defined man of action by the end of the movie -- don't look for any more character development from any character in the movie at any time. That was it; no development whatsoever. It's like asking for architectural and civil planning lessons from the suburbs of Detroit. The phrase "devoid of" comes to mind.

Watch this only if you want some mindless action without having to think at all. And once again you can wave a patriotic American flag at the end and put another point forward for American exceptionalism.
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I'd say it's more of the same but it wasn't that good
26 August 2012
This movie overlaps Matt Damon's Bourne and attempts to flesh out some of the reasons for the program's "success" in Bourne and others, positing that it wasn't through massive amounts of high-quality yet unethical physical and psychological training but genetic manipulation that made the operatives such a threat. This DNA manipulation was perpetuated through the use of pills devised and created by lowly lab technicians who didn't know the extent to what the little blue pills would be used for, or the green ones, or the yellow ones... Alice in Wonderland or The Matrix proposed a better use of ingestibles.

But even giving this plot line a pass, and just looking at the film itself, comparisons to Matt Damon's classic series is inevitable. This movie does not shirk from that comparison, but tries to interweave some plot points, unfortunately it also regurgitates many of the exact same scenes...with only the geography being different. But running on the roofs in Manila versus running on the roofs in Tunisia, motorcycling through narrow streets add nothing to the overall skill sets we are looking for in genetically altered and able to wage urban warfare" men and the similarities do not bode well for the capable acting skills of Jeremy Renner (he had better fight scenes in MI4: Ghost Protocol). It's been done before and it's now boring, AND Matt Damon did it better, mostly because the plot was better and really worked in his favor.

Treadstone, Blackbriar, and other failed government programs are re-written here for no apparent reason. There was no true ultimate villain, there was not a series of trained operatives fighting one another, there was simply a few flashbacks, a lot of cops, security guards, some agents clearly over their head, and the pills as the major protagonists.

Wait for Netflix/Red Box/cable whatever, this really isn't anywhere near the calibre of the previous Bourne movies.
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Battleship (2012)
Exactly as you thought
26 May 2012
If you are one of the people who elected to watch this movie -- or you are one seriously thinking about it -- then you are probably not the kind of person who waiting in line for a midnight showing of The King's Speech. This movie can scratch the itch for mindless fun, semi-action, suspension of disbelief, refusal to allow the laws of reality to cloud your judgement, a realization that this is a Hollywood movie that will end "well", etc.

I really do not see why the game Battleship was brought into the mix, as the ships only tangentially used a similar methodology at one point; you could just as easily name the movie "The Navy Fights Aliens". There are some cute tie-ins to pop culture - see if you can find them (or just Google and say to yourself, Oh yeah, I remember that!").

In short, if just wasting some time because you are tired of talking about The Avengers, then have at it -- it's not as bad as you think.
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The Ledge (2011)
Psychological Thriller
19 September 2011
I have rarely seen such an understated, effective movie before. Parts of the movie can be seen as completely predictable, but wait for it...think about it. I walked out of this movie thinking I could take it at face value and yet it nags me, makes me think. It demands attention, and discussion.

I have a tear in my mind, I'm slightly outraged; no predictable film should have such an effect on me. And yet...

Viewers of the film may nitpick the details, but they must stop at the fringes to be concerned with the superficial-alities. The meat of the film lies in debate and action - what the characters do, not blowing things up kind of action. Are you willing to put action to your most devout beliefs?

Fine acting, a fine plot; I wholeheartedly recommend this film.
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Wasted on the Young (I) (2010)
Lord of the Flies meets Facebook?
7 August 2011
Australia has no adults nor authorities. This is a movie that at any time could have a realistic plot with the addition of post-teenage rationalism, but instead we are stuck with hormones and sterile egos.

Is this what happens when there are no adults, no teachers, no authority figures, no police, no post-pubescent neighbors observing the self-servient and egotistical world of over-indulged, extremely privileged teens? This is Lord of the Flies redone with text messages. There is really no creativity here, no reality. The movie pits the brainiacs versus the jocks; the entitled versus the proletariat.

Kudos to the acting skills of several of the members and the film crew did a good job. It's the plot that disappoints. There is no higher meaning, no layers to scrape away and discuss after the credits roll. This movie is obvious, superficial, and without redemption.

Save time and instead of watching this, read something.
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