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Contact (1997)
6/10
Contact - 20 Years Later
12 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This will be my first review that contains spoilers because I don't believe I can say what I want to say without that tag.

The idea of the movie is great, going through what it would be like to discover an alien signal for the first time is an intriguing idea. However the premise of the movie isn't what bothered me, it's more of what the movie was actually about.

Contact begins very awkwardly, it tries to give you some sort of backstory on the main character and it my opinion it was completely unneeded. The story about her father dying should have been irrelevant to a story about aliens, right? The problem was, the movie isn't about aliens, it's about religion vs. science. You don't notice this at first, but it becomes painfully obvious after the first hour.

Forgetting the first part ever happened, the next part of the story is quite entertaining. The scene where they are first getting the signal was incredible and the subsequent scenes of dissecting the code was just as good.

Matthew McConaughey plays a religious man that is the love interest of Jodie Foster's character and from what I gather the producers decided to do this to play to audiences emotions, I guess? When you look at great sci-fi movies like Alien and The Thing, imagine if they had shoe-horned a romance in there, would they had still been great movies? To this day this kind of thinking in Hollywood exists, they feel as if they don't have a romance in their movie it would be incomplete which is ironic because the opposite is true in my opinion.

The entire religious aspect of the movie was also unneeded. I am not a religious man, but the way they portrayed the religious people in this show was ridiculous. The LAST thing you would expect in a sci- fi movie is a heavy religious overtone.

Looking at some plot-holes, why didn't they stock Ellie's capsule with food in case she was gone for a long time? No space suit either? It seems like these people are some of the most unprepared astronauts ever. Also Vega is 26 light years away, which is actually right next door to us, to think an alien civilization that is capable of opening wormholes doesn't utilize radio waves is a bit unbelievable.

All things considered, it's a good movie with a ton of bloat. It could have easily have been 90 minutes long if they had cut out all of the things I mentioned above. It would have been an 8/10 if it hadn't of tried to give us a moral lesson.
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Tyrant (2014– )
8/10
A summer program worth watching?
15 July 2014
I will go through a few points about various elements of the show.

Casting - It doesn't seem like anyone is out of place, but there were a few confusions about child versions of a few characters. One of the children looks nothing like the adult version of the character, I was confused and had to look up the cast. Other than that the cast is solid.

Writing - Generally well written with a few odd circumstances but nothing that cannot be explained later in the show. I am glad the writers were up to the task because the show is very dialogue based there isn't a lot of action but I was still pulled in episode after episode.

Acting - Adam Rayner is the main character is this show and as far as I know it's his first lead he has had for a major network. All I can say is that he is playing his role right. This can be said for the rest of the cast with a few exceptions. I cannot say too much without giving away spoilers but I have no complaints about the acting.

Set - Most of the show was filmed in Morocco, the show is not set in Morocco but it had me convinced it was a middle eastern country.
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The Strain (2014–2017)
5/10
Finally an infection series that doesn't have zombies!...oh wait
15 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Disclaimer: I am only reviewing the pilot.

I had no idea what this show was until I saw it was premiering the night I happened to be watching TV. It looked good, no mentions of zombies that I could see.

First 10-20 minutes was pretty good, introducing characters was decent. I cannot say anything terrible about the acting even though some characters seem to be completely bland. The show fails to put a face to an antagonist unless you count old men with no emotional expression. How are you supposed to build a television show around an antagonist you don't even dislike? Maybe they will become unlikable in the future, but I doubt it.

In terms of actual writing and content, The Strain doesn't have an original scene in the script. A scientist doing work alone in a lab full of dead bodies that mysteriously died, what could go wrong? A gang banger is trusted to do what these people wanted? An old man that works in a pawn shop is some kind of commando? This is the kind of crap that Hollywood gets a bad rap for. It doesn't make any sense and is not the least bit believable. The worst part is they find a parasitic worm and they find out that there is a small hole in every victims neck and fail to put the two together, this actually made me chuckle.

To top it all off ZOMBIES. Yes, they went there and it doesn't matter where they are going with it because zombies have been so overused in the past decade that I never want to watch another.

I guess if you can overlook plot holes maybe you will like this show. If you are one of those people that sees plot holes and it bothers you, stay away from this show because you are in for many of them.
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The Lifeguard (2013)
6/10
Bad Plot Development? Oh well, Kirsten Bell!
1 August 2013
Going into this movie, I didn't know much about it. I had seen a few previews in theaters and I had seen it promoted online a few times. Beyond that, I hadn't even thought about this movie.

As far as comedy goes, the movie isn't really funny. It has a few "haha" scenes but I don't see why they labeled this as a comedy, it has very dark themes such as depression, drugs, and sexual relationships with minors.

I didn't know where they were trying to go with the plot. It was undeveloped and shallow. I didn't have any idea what kind of people the characters were even by the end of the movie, there was little to no background on all of the characters. The most comical of all of the characters was the seeming role reversal of two of the characters, you had a control freak husband and all he cares about is starting a family, while all the wife wants to do is go out and have fun. It just doesn't seem like it was practical. The relationships are just off.

I will say that Kirsten Bell looks fantastic in a swimsuit. If that's all you care about, you may enjoy the movie. However, if you expect a movie with a decent plot and story, you should probably skip this one. The Lifeguard certainly misses its target as a deep-thought movie.
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World War Z (2013)
8/10
Much better than expected.
21 June 2013
I usually do my research on movies before seeing them as I do not like wasting my time on terrible ones. This movie did not seem to have outstanding reviews or anything, the featured review was one star. I really felt like going to the theater and I had already seen everything there pretty much. So you can say I wasn't expecting much, even though there was a lot of hype for this movie.

The main complaint behind this movie is that it is PG-13, which means it has minimal blood/gore. What this movie lacks in that aspect it makes up for it in thrill. You feel like you are on the edge of your seat the entire movie. There are also many scenes that will make you jump, the movement of the zombies is also quite frightening.

The movie wasn't too predictable and this is one of my complaints about most movies, typically natural disaster movies where no matter what at the end of the movie, it's "happily ever after". Up until the end you didn't know what was going to happen, although a few hints were dropped into the movie at previous points.

In general most people might be turned off by a few things they see before they see the movie, but it genuinely is worth seeing, it's not your run of the mill zombie movie, it's actually quite thrilling.
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Hemlock Grove (2013–2015)
9/10
Stop Comparing This Show!
20 April 2013
I can't help but find it funny that everyone that has written a review has been comparing it to other shows. If you go into this show expecting it to be like House of Cards, you are not going to like it. Same with comparing it to other Sci-fi TV series'. It's comparing Apples and Oranges.

You have to give credit where credit is due, Hemlock Grove is unique, it isn't a generic or cliché TV show likes we've all seen one hundred times. The writing may not be the best and at times it can be quite confusing.

Give the show a chance, it's not as much of a "horror" as IMDb and other sites peg it to be. It's really not that scary. It's an interesting show to say the least.
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The Following: Pilot (2013)
Season 1, Episode 1
9/10
Crime - Check, Drama - Check, Thrill - Check
22 January 2013
Okay so most shows labeled thrillers usually are, well, not thrilling. I can honestly say the pilot gave me a thrill and kind of scared me, not in the classical sense, but it got my heart going.

Kevin Bacon is was outstanding and I can see why he took this role, the script is quite amazing. Kevin Bacon plays ex-cop Ryan Hardy who was taken out of the field after getting stabbed near the heart by a serial killer he was chasing while saving a girl.

James Purefoy plays Joe Carroll, who is the primary antagonist. Carroll isn't any regular bad guy, he's a genius and an artistic man. He thinks himself as a modern day Edgar Allen Poe who thought "The death of a beautiful woman is the most beautiful thing in the world".If you've seen the movie Law Abiding Citizen, well he is kind of like that guy, he maneuvers his killings from prison. He really is the perfect villain as the protagonists can maintain contact with him, even visually, they still know he is the one who is perpetrating the killings. Making this show very unique.

With an above average plot and two very good actors, how could this show go bad? If the rest of the series is anything like the pilot, this show will have great success. This show isn't just another sheep in a field of snow, it's new, different, and has a twist.
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Cloud Atlas (2012)
8/10
Great Film for People that Pay Attention
29 December 2012
I watched Cloud Atlas with my family and at the end of the movie it was apparent that most of them did not get it. The reason for this was that my family does not pay attention well.

This film is deep, really deep. So deep that some may have to watch it twice to fully understand it (I don't recommend it as it's almost 3 hours long). So for the sake of your entertainment or time, pay good attention to what is going on in the film and take a mental note of what is going on.

Cloud Atlas is one of those movies you really have to think about. To truly appreciate the film you have to buy in to the idea that everything you do has an effect in some way and that a soul lives on forever and can be changed.

Tom Hanks was fantastic in this film, he played 5 or 6 roles, so did the other actors.

Cloud Atlas will be remembered as a strange movie with a deeper meaning.
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Lincoln (2012)
9/10
Accurate Portrayal of History
29 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Like many others, Lincoln is one of my favorite U.S. Presidents. His role in the abolition of slavery was vital to the country.

In a movie like this, historical accuracy is important for the simple reason that people don't like inaccuracies. There was no sacrifice of precision for entertainment purposes in this film and I was pleased with that fact.

This movie was not about the life of Abraham Lincoln, it was pretty much exclusively about his life during the civil war. In fact, the movie is more about the 13th Amendment than it is about Lincoln himself. This kind of surprised me as Lincoln was quite the interesting man even prior to his presidency. He was known for being very persistent as he ran for office many times and lost. His life is also the perfect story of rags to riches. Anyhow, Spielberg chose not to include these things in the movie for his own reasons.

I consider myself an educated man and I can honestly say I learned a few things from this film. Unless you are an avid fan of Lincoln, you will learn something while watching this film, some may even be shocked.

However, this film was not perfect. I was quite disappointed that the film did not include some key events that happened in Lincoln's presidency such as Willy's death and Lincoln's death was not shown first hand. The man hunt of John Wilkes Booth was even left out.

I did enjoy the movie though as it features incredible acting from Daniel Day-Lewis and the supporting cast.
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Rear Window (1954)
10/10
A great movie that sadly, the modern generation will not see.
28 December 2012
First off, hats off to Alfred Hitchcock, he's one of the greatest directors ever. This is certainly one of his masterpieces.

Now for the movie review. This is what a thriller mystery should be like, I look at all of these modern films and with most of them you just don't get that feeling that movies like this give you, the real thrill.

Hitchcock did a great job of not letting the audience in on what was happening and giving a genuine first person view. If you don't know what I am talking about, just look at most of the modern thrillers/horrors. Most of those movies will give little hints as to when a scary part is coming or when the movie is about to climax. As a fan of the cinema, I do not like that. I like to be surprised and this movie did just that. You will not have any more knowledge than the lead protagonist does during the course of the movie. This is important for the development of the mystery.

The setting is quite simple, it's an apartment building. This is perfect, as the main character is in a wheelchair and cannot leave. Therefor the plot has to develop while being in the apartment building. Most of the movie takes place looking out a window. The main character observes his neighbors actions, and well, I'll leave it at that so I don't spoil it for you.

The acting is superb, as expected from a Hitchcock movie. There are not many actors, well, not that many that actually talk.

Overall, this movie is a must watch. Don't let that 1954 year dissuade you from watching, you'll be missing out on a classic.
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9/10
What a Nostalgic Feeling Watching this Movie.
27 December 2012
I was a big fan of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, it felt like it had been so long since I had experienced a movie like the series.

While the story line is different, the general feeling of the film while watching it really brought me back to the first time I ever watched Lord of the Rings in theater. There is all you can ask for; Golem, Orcs, Goblins, Dwarfs, Elves, and even Gandolf.

The casting is incredible, I am so glad they stuck with as many LotR characters as possible. Peter Jackson did a great job of putting characters in their roles.

Upon entering the theater I did not really expect a action packed film, but was I wrong! Once the movie gets rolling it almost seems like you are part of the adventure, like you want to jump in the movie. It really does look fun albeit dangerous.

What really surprised me were the phenomenal graphics throughout the movie. There is no doubt this movie was carefully made with the best in the profession of CGI.

Overall, the movie was awesome and I would recommend it to anyone with a good taste of action and adventure. The only reason I do not give this movie a ten is because I have to wait a year to see the second installment. Which I knew I would have to do prior to viewing it.
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Mad Men (2007–2015)
9/10
Really Captures the Late 50's - Early 60's
28 June 2012
Mad Men, the show that so many recommended to me, I was hesitant to watch it because of the plot. Now this is not a show that everybody will enjoy, there will be some people who will dislike the seriousness and complicated nature of this. If you're looking for a show with a lot of action or comedy, turn around now because this is not what you're looking for.

Initially I was surprised that I continued to watch, the plot is interesting, but very slow. Somehow I was convinced to watch episode after episode and by the time I got to the second season, I was completely pulled in and couldn't wait to see the next episode. I have watched a lot of television shows and I can tell you for sure that there is no other series like this one.

Adultery, Fraud, and Blackmail. What more could you ask for in a 60's themed show? Mad Men is about love and business, it certainly is a show for sophisticated people.
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Entourage (2004–2011)
8/10
Could Have Been Great
30 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I watched all eight seasons of "Entourage", every episode had its own story.

The casting is superb, I cannot imagine another actor playing a different role. The basic plot is four guys, two of them being actors, the other two being support and the actor's manager. It's centered on how life is in show business and in Hollywood. The main character, Vincent "Vinny" Chase is an A List actor, he is very generous to his friends, who are basically family to him. His brother Johnny "Drama" Chase is a C List actor who stars in television shows. Eric "E" Murphy starts out as Vincent's manager , they were best friends growing up in Brooklyn. Salvatore "Turtle" Assante has no solid job, but he starts businesses and drives the group around Los Angeles.

Another character worth mentioning is Ari Gold, a hard-headed agent of Vincent Chase, he is tough, but will do anything for Vincent.

All around this series is a must watch. The only reason I gave it eight stars instead of ten, is its abrupt ending. I was shocked when season eight ended the way it did. It just did not feel right.
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Lost (2004–2010)
10/10
The Good, the Bad, and the Lost
23 July 2011
Let me say first that I watched Lost beginning to end, every single episode. Somehow every episode had its own mystery, a mystery that would later be solved. Even the very last left us wondering.

At times it seemed as if the producers were making it up as they went along. Even if they did, it still turned out to be one of the best produced, directed, and acted series ever. The pilot was absolutely brilliant, I think it was the main reason everybody got so gripped to it.

There could not have been a better cast, it is as if the cast members were born to play there roles. The Good vs. Evil plot was a little odd, and became a little confusing toward the end which is why it did not receive a perfect score.

Some questions were left unanswered, kind of like a cliff-hanger which left me searching for answers at times.

Overall a Great series though and a must watch!
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Suits (2011– )
9/10
Just what I was looking for
20 July 2011
After finishing every available episode of House, Bones, Fringe, and Prison Break, I found myself at a loss of what to watch. So as I was browsing for new TV Shows, I stumbled on this one and decided to give it a go.

I am very picky about TV series' but this one really captured me. After not expecting much, it really caught me by surprise how great this was.

It reminds me of Law & Order but with more drama and a following into the characters lives. It reminds me of "House" in many ways. It features a strict boss that will do anything to get the job done, and an employee willing to do anything for his boss.

It is certainly a new age show that will bring in audience from all ages from teenagers to seniors. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed with this show, as many new shows have disappointed me.
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Falling Skies: Live and Learn (2011)
Season 1, Episode 1
6/10
Disappointment at the very least
20 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I planned to watch this series because I thought it would be different from the rest of the alien shows and movies. But its just the same old things, the aliens are "reptiles" and have somehow built huge spaceships and laser firing fighter droids...

There is no introduction to the characters at all, so at the end of the episode, I was left guessing as to who everybody was. If you like Sci-fi you might like this series, but like I said before, I expected this to be better.

If the shows producers have a plan for this show, it better be good because the pilot was a disappointment and some things need to be improved.
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