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Creed II (2018)
6/10
If you live long enough...
24 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
If you live long enough, you get to see history repeat itself. Although this movie has great warmth and heart, it cycles the old story of Rocky being beaten by Ivan Drago, and the former's steely comeback via a harsh, rigorous training program. The trick with this installment is that Creed is Rocky, and Victor takes on his father, Ivan's part. The warmest moments, for me, were when the movie departed from these predictable outcomes. Of course, to new eyes, much of this is hidden under a new slightly more involved story. Unlike the original, Creed, which I found to be incredibly moving, Creed 2 had its moments, and near the end, found the magic of Creed!
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Jason Bourne (2016)
5/10
Lacks visual pacing of originals and overall intensity.
30 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Although it is great to see Matt Damon reprising his role as super soldier, Jason Bourne, it's also almost 10 years later, and Damon is not a spry as he was back then. Damon still is convincing, though, a little more bulk and muscle but not possessing the agility of his younger self; and he's not an old man by any means. The biggest flaw in the movie, is the camera work, it is not as frenetically paced as the originals, there are bad angles, no shakiness, the sense of spying on a fast moving event. If you watch any of the originals and compare, you'll see what I mean. Having said all this, it's not all that bad of a movie and I'm glad I saw it, it has a good story with a few more revelations, but unlike the originals, they're not as intricately told and surprises are telegraphed and lose some of their punch. Acting is very good, from Damon, Styles, and Jones, with equally good performances from new characters! But a good movie could have been so much better.
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8/10
Fast paced adrenaline rush!
12 March 2011
I read many of the reviews and have to say to those who were disappointed, what did you expect? How many ways can an alien invasion be done and how many ways can it end for earth or for the invaders?? I took my girlfriend to see this movie and if she fell asleep during it, I know that it wasn't good; she falls asleep in a lot of movies! She didn't sleep through this one at all, and I thought it kept the adrenaline going to the end! I liked the shaky camera work, even liked it in Cloverfield, because it gives a realism to the scenes and increases the urgency. The acting, I thought, was great...given the subject matter, characters were quickly developed and then we got to the meat of it...no long drawn out developments with a horrid rush to the end; this movie was well paced.

Battle Los Angeles reminded me of the simplicity of the old SciFi invasion movies, like Earth Verses The Flying Saucers, but blended that with great special effects. I also like that the Aliens were very...Alien! If you are looking to get away from your troubles or just not have to do any thinking, this movie will fit your bill. If you are looking for anything much deeper or some new original theme on an alien invasion, well go make one yourself! The rest of us can just sit back and escape for a while,
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7/10
Nice on the Small Screen; see it if you're a fan of the original.
12 December 2008
First off, if you are a fan of the original, like me, you will see this movie in spite of all the good or bad reviews. It is a different take on the original while dealing with much of the same themes; namely,our tendency to destroy ourselves, others and everything. What I found fascinating was the film's take on the character of Klaatu, which seemed more realistic and more alien than the original. Also, I liked the reason for the the visitation...which, like the original, was not the conventional invasion theme. Unfortunately, this central reason, which lies at the core of the film, has been so frequently preached, that I felt it was basically lost on the choir. But if you can bear that and go along for the ride, I think you will enjoy it. Like the recent X-Files film, seen on a big screen, the CGI flaws and lack of big whiz bang special effects, will be very apparent and the film will seem more remote. But a smaller-artsy-screen (20'X 50')seems to make it easier to connect with; for this reason, I have a feeling that it will be a cult classic once it hits the DVD and large flat screen TV viewing crowd.

The movie could have done more character development and been much more complex, for our times. But in such complicated times, sometimes it's just nice to go see a simple movie with basic themes.
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Traitor (2008)
9/10
Thinking Man's Spy Thriller
26 September 2008
I usually go to Malco's reviewers and then Rotten Tomatoes, to see what the consensus on a movie is. Well after going to see this movie with some very hardcore friends/critics, we all agree, the professionals are getting paid off! If it wasn't for the good amateur Malco reviewers, I would have missed a very good thought provoking movies. I disagree that this movie stereotypes its characters, they are anything but. The acting is rich, the character's are memorable, very great acting on all levels, especially the main characters, and respect is paid to traditional Islam as opposed to its radical splinter. About Cheadle's character, you may have heard his performance is wooden, that is untrue, he delivers a moving portrait of a tortured soul subjected to a traumatic past and exposed to soul rending choices. If you follow it, Traitor will offer an excellent, thoughtful, journey into the heart of a complex issue.
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Babylon A.D. (2008)
5/10
Shades of what could have been.
29 August 2008
This movie has the feeling of a great movie that was either suffocated because of bad editing or bad directing or both. The movie starts off promisingly in an unconventional way in an unconventional but realistic future setting like "Children Of Men." The actors are convincing at first, especially Vin as his usual tough guy bad guy persona, but then we get a 1/3rd of the way through and he becomes a kinder gentler tough guy without any good reason; as if we missed some part of the movie, possibly left on the cutting room floor. The girl, too, who has special abilities, also becomes more vulnerable at the end; an ending, though somewhat emotional and bitter sweet lends to the question of, "WHY?" Much is left unresolved.

I really believe that very important parts of this movie were left on the cutting room floor, whether by the director, producer, the all powerful film editors. It jumps around and expects you to fill in the blanks but that's a tall order. When you leave the theater you will have the feeling that you just got to see shades of something that could have been so much better, more profound, and more fulfilling. But all you got were tantalizing scraps that someone threw together; cut from a much better more complete movie.
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The Happening (2008)
5/10
A character driven movie with shallow characters.
14 June 2008
Although I found the subject matter in the film engaging, I felt that Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel were miscast in their respective roles. Their shallow acting, except for a very few convincing moments, took the punch out of this movie. For me, I found the extras and minor characters more convincing; but for them, the movie would not have been engaging at all! The acting done by the couple who owned the green house, was especially good and they should have been the main characters as their relationship-their acting-was more convincing. The lady the main characters meet in the old house was also extremely well acted and riveting. The talents of the little girl and John laguzamo were also under used. But when it came to Mark and Zooey's performance, the air just went out of the balloon; no deep emotive content and very disconnected from what was happening. And deep emotive content is what was needed in this film, Mark and zooey would have taken the heart out of Sixth Sense, Signs, and Unbreakable; movies requiring mature acting; even the Village would not have survived. So M Night's character driven movie lacked just that, the characters to truly leave you with the impact of what was happening!
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10/10
If you enjoyed Iron Man, you will enjoy The Incredible HULK!
13 June 2008
This was a great homage to all the preceding HULKs, while maintaining its own originality! I was moved by a lot of the sensitive moments and the non stop action from beginning to end! Although I am one of the few that thought Ang Lee's take was also well done, this version makes that one pale in comparison. With great acting by Ed Norton, who captures the bittersweet struggle that Bill Bixby bought to the character, and excellent acting by William Hurt as the cold calculating General Ross; this movie has few misses. Liv Tyler does a great Betty Ross, but Jennifer Connelly would have been even better because she would have brought more emotional depth to the character.

All in all, money well spent and not too violent for the kids, as long as you go with them. I sat with a bunch of teens and preteens and they were really engrossed in the action, although they missed some of the more poignant homages. If you enjoyed Iron Man, you will enjoy The Incredible HULK!
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Speed Racer (2008)
8/10
Heart Warming...Go Speed Racer...Goooo!!!!!
9 May 2008
I watched Speed Racer as a kid and loved it! Now as a series, Speed Racer was not, generally, any deeper than its 2 dimensional rendition in anime, but the mystery surrounding his brother brought a few tugs. Now if you expect the movie to be some more realistic, darker, Speed, stay home because you'll hate it! But if you want to see a true homage to the original, then you will be happy you went!! This movie is definitely a family movie with a mix of camp humor and bubble gum colors for the kids, or the kid in you, and some excellent action and drama for adults and the adult in kids! But for me the heart warming moments were what made the movie especially between Speed and Rex his brother. Speed as a child and his moments with "Pops" and "Mom" as a kid and as an adult, were really well acted by John Goodman and Susan Sarandon. Emile Hirsch is just building a great resume' as a versatile actor, if you haven't seen "Into The Wild," I highly recommend you rent it; he does a great lead in that true but tragic story. As as Speed, Hirsch captures the fictitious character's determination and courage and amplifies on his inner turmoil and pain. Matthew Fox as Racer X was a great pick, and works well in the movie; nice to see his acting skills apart from his sojourn on "LOST." The music is excellent and although there are a few repetitive moments, some flat spots, and some over the top spots, I believe you will enjoy the ride; especially if you grew up watching the series!
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Cloverfield (2008)
9/10
Intense!
18 January 2008
I thought that this movie would have its best scenes in the trailers, so when I went in I did not expect too much. But I did expect that it would be different given JJ Abram's influence on Alias. Well, if you're not much for jumpy cameras and are prone to motion sickness, you probably will not stay too long in the theater. But if you can focus wide and not get caught up too much in the details, you are in for an intense and unique take on the monster hits a major city (New York) genre. Where does it come from? What is it? One can speculate, but the movie is really dealing with the trauma of a small group of party goers and their encounter with the extraordinary! The effects are amazing, the acting by relative unknowns, hits on all marks; making the movie all the more convincing to the very end. Not for the faint of heart or the under-aged; under 17s might be up nights with the shakes, definitely don't take preteens! Way better than, "The Mist," a must see for giant monster fans everywhere!
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The Mist (2007)
6/10
Great effects, so so acting
8 December 2007
Many will like this movie for its special effects and shear scare factor. But acting by Thomas Jane was questionable. Good at points, in his more crucial scenes, where he has to really emote deep grief, he tries but ends up straining at the bit. In fact he tries so hard that it comes off too strained. Marcia Gay Harden does a convincing role as a crazy religious fanatic, so good that you will end up hating her character. The little boy and the majority of the other actors do a great job, but where the rubber meets the road, on Thomas Jane's broad shoulders, it melts and flops. He is convincing for the strong parts but his deeper emotional value is not there, and this is crucial for the impact of the movie; especially at the end. Although you will probably get shaking by the effects and the out of the box thinking of the movie.
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10/10
Inspiring
19 August 2007
Although a very awe inspiring movie, probably one of the best about track and field and motivation of runners in the Olympics, it has a number of historical inaccuracies. But I believe these licenses were taken to promote dramatic tension and the underlying message of the lives of two very great men in a time of great men and women! Don't forget that this movie premiered in 1981 and many movies took dramatic license without declaring that they were based on...etc. Movies have done that more and more recently, and are less factual than Chariots ever was. Check out the Mothman Prophecies, it's just vaguely like the book. So I am not offended that Eric Liddell knew about the 400 a year in advance, or that Jackson Schultz never gave him that note, although in fact a note was given. Or that Harold Abrams ran in an earlier Olympics and won nothing although he was a great athlete and well loved by his schoolmates. But I believe that it captures the spirit of two very driven men and the differing motivations that drove them, and in so doing immortalizes them, the times, and those around them!
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10/10
Grrrrreat!!!!
10 August 2007
Excellent storyline and tie ins from the second movie, show the subtle genius of the best Bourne at least since the first! There is a really great story and plot line and tons of excellent martial arts and car chase scenes. By the way, this should not be the last Bourne, since a forth book by Ludlum, reveals all and shows why the spy chose to become what he became; from what I've heard, it is the best of them all. There is a possibility that there will be one more movie, but who knows, I hope so. Matt Damon does a great job a the tortured super spy who finally comes in from the cold...or does he; the viewer must determine that. But you won't regret seeing this adrenaline rush of a movie, one well thought out.
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Spider-Man 3 (2007)
7/10
Spiderman 3 a bit long...but
29 May 2007
Spiderman 3 is a bit long but gets its message of forgiveness and redemption across quite well. The other message; allowing one's dark side to take over and all the consequences, is very obvious; like StarWars, there are consequences or choosing a wrong path. Unlike the former installments, which used there time more effectively and told poignant stories. This installment is a bit too long winded and borders on preachy. But who cares, it's Spiderman and the special effects are great! There are also some memorable scenes between Mary and Peter and between Harry and Peter and even the Sandman. Forgiveness is the key that moves one from a dark past, into a brighter future.
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9/10
Convoluted? Are you kidding???!!!
29 May 2007
I almost did not see this movie because of a number of reviews that reported the storyline as convoluted. Convoluted, are you kidding?? This movie was intricate with an ending, I believe, few could have figured out. The effects were excellent, with some magically memorable scenes. But anyone but a child or someone who does not want to think while viewing this movie, would find it convoluted or meandering. Are there holes, sure, but I know of very few movies without them. Although it has what could be considered multiple endings, these are character resolutions that help to complete this installment. Make sure that when you see this movie, that you sit through the end titles, because, as usual, there is a surprise at the end. Who knows, there may yet be another installment, but I doubt it.
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8/10
The 3rd Time is a Charm!
12 May 2006
To be honest, I was not impressed with the first two Mission Impossibles. Why? Because they did not contain the Team concept of the original! In the first one, Ethan's whole team of some really good actors, are killed in the first 45 minutes or so of the movie! The second has him and Luther as the only real team members but still Ethan is a lone agent! Finally this one brings in a whole team while maintaining the heroism of it's central character. Also we have a somewhat complex storyline, a great villain, and some good acting! But the really big draw is the nonstop action and amazing stunts, many of which Cruise did himself!
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United 93 (2006)
10/10
Amazing..and a timely reminder.
12 May 2006
Like so many, I had to make myself go to this movie because I felt like it maybe too soon. But really, this movie is a timely reminder of 9-11, the impact of which, though still being felt, has been fading from the forefront of most of our minds. Our anger has faded and our determination compromised because of Iraq and the length of time it is taking to find Osama Ben Laden. This movie is like Pearl Harbor or Saving Private Ryan, in that it reminds us that people shed their blood and gave up their freedom for the welfare of others and therefore; they, and what happened on September 11th, should never be forgotten and should never fade from the forefront of those minds who witnessed this heinous act! We owe it to them and their families to remember why terrorism should not be tolerated and to endeavor to find a solution to this virus in every society.
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10/10
Why the Controversy??
23 March 2006
This was an excellent movie and probably most if not all of the reviews have said this. So why do some see this as a movie glorifying terrorism, rather than one denouncing tyranny and unjust governments?? This is a rallying cry for oppressed people to stand up against those who oppress them, whether as an individual or as a collective whole; to me this is the theme of this movie. Was Dietrich Bonhoffer a terrorist because he aided in a plot to assassinate Hitler?? Were the Founding Fathers terrorist or revolutionaries?? I guess like some opinions, it depends on which side of history you fall on. In the end, I think "V" would say; "think for yourself and come to your own conclusions.
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Serenity (2005)
10/10
Excellent!!!!
30 September 2005
I thought after seeing the very weak but promising trailer, that Serenity would be about a 2, maybe 21/2 star Sci-Fi flick! But was I presently surprised. I am a big fan of this ill-fated, quirky series that FOX put on it's Friday Night deahtwatch; unless it's on Sci-Fi Friday most Fox Friday series will only get a small following even if it is really uniquely good; aka, "Space Above And Beyond," among the few.

But due to an expanding fan base, due in part to the high DVD sales, FireFly, aka, Serenity, has gotten a new life. The movie is fast paced with great acting, a very good story, and great effects! Still maintaining that quirky space western feel, FireFly translates well to the big screen in Joss Whedon's deft hands. You can tell he did this one for the fans and for the new fans yet to come! It's a must see!
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10/10
Intense
29 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
War Of The Worlds is the second movie since the 50s version with Gene Barry, who makes a cameo appearance in this movie. This installment of the H.G. Wells classic is so realistic that you will experience the terror and dread of an alien invasion very unique to this genre but not unlike the dread caused by Orson Well's broadcast that caused a mass panic in this country. This Movie faithfully follows H.G. Well's book down to the general shape of the alien machines while paying homage to many key scenes from the original Movie, it is faithful to the book down to the ending, which will be understandable to those who have either seen the first movie or read the book but may be anticlimactic to those who haven't. The departure that this movie makes is that instead of concentrating on the central character(s)who narrates the book and original movie, this installment gets into the life of a family caught up in the terror. With amazing acting by all, especially Justin Chatwin and Dakota Fanning, who play Tom Cruise's children; this is a must see of the H.G. Wells classic! (Little kids should not see this movie, it'll probably give them nightmares, seriously. I saw one little boy jumping out of his seat numerous times out of shear fright.)
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Sin City (2005)
9/10
Captivating!
1 April 2005
Frank Miller's Graphic Novels are brought to life, in a way, in this anthology reminiscent of Pulp Fiction but uniquely different. This highly imaginative, violent, and provocative movie is set in the alternate reality of Basin City whose inhabitants are shades of grey to very black. Tough guys of dubious character, put their lives on the line defending or being defended by amazingly strong and deadly beauties. Filled with frames and photo works that are living portrayals of Miller's graphic novels, this movie will keep you hooked from the very beginning to its surprise ending! You'll be talking and thinking about this one, long after the credits have scrolled by.
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5/10
Could've been...
12 December 2004
Blade Trinity could've been the best of the three, but it became a disjointed execution. Not because of bad acting or to much humor, but because of poor direction and a choppy storyline. In movies, editing is everything. I have heard actors interviewed who having seen the first cut of their work and then were surprised to see the final result; a lot can be left on the chopping room floor. Why do I bring this up? Well when I first saw this movie at another theater, I only got to see it half way because I was called out on an emergency. When I finally got to see all of it at another theater, parts of at least one scene had been deleted.

Who knows , maybe when it come out on video as a director's cut, we might see a better version. Blade Trinity, a fair movie that might have been great.
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Alexander (2004)
9/10
Alexander was Great!
27 November 2004
I don't know why this movie is getting so much bad press. From complaints about the 3 hours plus running time, to assertions about wooden acting, I went expecting this movie to be a waste of time. But after watching the history channel's History or Hollywood, I decided to take a chance, since, apparently, this movie is very accurate-given the little that is known about Alexander's private life and thoughts.

I found that this movie is, first and foremost, for those who are into history and other cultures and especially Greek mythos and culture. The ethos and peoples of that time were, of course, different from those of our time and-specifically-our culture. In a thousand years, others will look back on our culture and time and find them very alien to theirs with few similarities.

Beyond that, this film shows the genius and humanity of this great man and what situations and experiences made him who he was. The bulk of the movie is couched between two great pivotol battles, the first against the Persian Empire and the second against India. Although I found these battles to be highly realistic and amazing, given the strategy that these peoples employed, the movie is less battle and more about character. If you go for blood and guts without substance, you won't like this movie; it engages the mind and emotions more than anything else. But the acting, I thought, was quite good; especially from Colin Farrell, Val Kilmer-not usually a favorite of mine, and Angelina Jolie-who has disappointed in the past. But decide for yourself, it is, after all, only my opinion. By the way, for me the 3 plus hours flew by pretty quickly. And all this from a guy who really prefers women.
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10/10
Magical and Meaningful
2 November 2004
This movie is among my favorite foreign films, some of the others are Amilee and My Life As a Dog. The similarities with those movies as with so many great foreign films, is that it takes a mundane slice of life and transforms it into a profound heartfelt lesson.

In Japan, a man who is bored with his mundane life and the rut of his married life, sees a beautiful Japanese woman staring out the window of a dance studio. In the instant that it takes his train to pass, he is enthralled by her. But is it only by her beauty, by her faraway glance, or a connection that they will both discover that they share?

Shall We Dance has memorable wonderful characters who have to deal with painful realities by transcending them through the world of dance. Breaking traditional moulds and stereo types of Japanese society, they risk all for happiness and find that joy is not too far away. It is one of those movies that is so magical and meaningful and, in itself, transcends the mundane by showing the true magic and miracle that life can be.
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10/10
Impressive!
14 October 2004
When my girlfriend dragged me to this movie, I went with her to treat her to part of her Birthday present; but secretly, I was dreading to see this movie. I thought that here's another "Christian" made production, many of which seem to suffer from lack luster acting and weak direction.

None of those elements exist in this riveting drama based on the composite experiences of various women encountered by TD Jakes through out his ministry. From the stunning beginning of the movie to its hopeful and heart warming end, I was enthralled by the very realistic characters(especially the main character), their various struggles, and their varying Faith, or lack there of, in God.

This movie does not milk-toast the church or sugar coat those who are True Believers, but shows us for what we truly are; real sinners saved continually by real Amazing GRACE and the Great Mercy of God.

For those who think you have to be lilly white to be accepted by God, I highly recommend this movie as a big dose of reality. But for those who just see the church as full of hypocrites, you'll come away with an appreciation for how much God loves us imperfect beings and why the Church is full of us!
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