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10/10
Nothing like anything that's come before
25 March 2016
The characters development is sufficient, the connections to the protagonists are established easily, and the visuals are stupendous. One of the best parts of this movie is the way they film and present Supermans powers. This is nothing like the Avengers (which I also loved), it's just a different way of presenting super-hero stories. Highly recommended; it's something to see, with iconic screen moments that have to be viewed in a theater. The fighting is over-the-top awesome, without contrived action just to drag out the movie. Lastly, the references to additional characters that will be appearing soon are dropped in just briefly enough to draw a connection without trying to do too much. Long story short: It all works, and it works very well.
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9/10
Please no more "Got a gun but can't shoot" titles!
11 February 2016
Because Blockbuster video had a section titled "Westerns" people seem to have come to the expectation that anything taking place during the 1800's has to follow a certain formula, centering around gunfights. But really, "Western" is more a category for it's time placement, which can fall into different genres. Jane Got A Gun is first and foremost a Drama-Suspense-quasi-romance; it's a story that could be told, in the large view, anywhere or anytime. But then there are the particular details of this story that make it unique to the west and help to dictate the decisions that have brought the characters to where they are in life.

The good-guy vs bad-guy line of this movie is somewhat standard, but the characters who are caught up in it have a uniqueness to them that makes the story worth seeing. Of course, with sub-par acting it would not be so easy to take, but each of the main characters plays their roles very effectively; especially Natalie Portman and Joel Edgerton.

Some have complained that the movie is not feminist enough, but you can't end the movie with Portman being elected the first female president in 1880. No matter how cool that might seem for some, it would take the movie from a well-grounded, realistic western to the realm of fantasy. This is a much more pragmatic feminism that doesn't get caught up in anachronistic wish fulfillment (think of Mattie Ross from True Grit).

Lastly, I'll say that the movie (and director Gavin McConnor) does a great job of giving just the right amount of insight to each of the characters to give us the proper level of connection to each. There are ways in which we could have become too overly sympathetic, or conversely, too jaded to certain characters, making it difficult to reconcile the ending, but as it was it all wrapped up efficiently and effectively.

Definitely recommend this movie, but keep in mind it is a slow-build, character driven, western story. Not a bang-bang shoot 'em up.
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3:10 to Yuma (2007)
1/10
Western Fantasy...and not a good one
13 August 2015
I know there is supposed to be an element of depth as rancher and father Dan Evans (Christian Bale) struggles to find out what kind of man he is, but the process of how this plays out is just painful. Aside from Bale's performance, the majority of this movie is really just silly in it's ridiculous story execution. Too many elements don't play true to the old west. In this movie the setting of the old west is just that and nothing more; it's a backdrop to a story. But it's not real enough for the environment and place-in-time to be something that really impacts the characters.

As an example, in Tombstone, the atmosphere contributed to the circumstances. The time and place, and the political entanglements, fed directly into what was going on with each of those characters. Conversely, in Yuma, the "Old West" is just a back drop and the setting and characters are worked to fit the twists and turns of the plot. It could easily be told in modern times, or probably any other time.

I do think that the movie could be a lot better if the characters were shaped to behave more like real people from that time. However, as a fun western it is totally understandable that the average movie-goer would enjoy it, but as a well-done western it really is lacking.
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Legends & Lies (2015– )
3/10
Not what it should be
19 April 2015
When someone claims to be dispelling histories lies it would be best if they had information to offer that would bring the truth to light. Unfortunately, this show, which I was eager to see, only perpetuated many of the problems with historical research of the old west. Bill makes claims that are supposed to be laying down the truth for all of us in the dark. Problem is, he merely takes a point of view on an issue that is still undecided by both historians and historical information and proclaims it to be established fact now that he has said so (Thanks Bill, glad you could do that for us!).

How does Bill O'Reilly know more about Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp than the hard working researchers who have dug and dug in order to bring forth the most information possible to this point? Obviously he doesn't, but the problem is that this doesn't stop him from delivering his claims with bloviating conviction.

If a person watches this show for entertainment, great; there are a lot of westerns I enjoy that are factually mistaken. But if you watch this to learn something, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, for your sake and the good of our collective community intelligence, do no repeat what you see on this show and assume you are passing along wisdom.
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Man of Steel (2013)
10/10
A lot of different reports on this movie...all are accurate
14 June 2013
Having read everything the "audience" was saying along with all the things that the critics were saying, I wasn't at all sure how this movie would be. But...I would say that everything I read is correct. I guess it just depends on what holds your focus most as to who you will feel was right: those who praised or those who criticized.

The opening act up to the destruction of Krypton was amazing, as was the fight scenes towards the end. When Superman and Zod fought, in particular, was in my opinion the top rung so far in super-hero movie action scenes. The movie felt disjointed, yet at the same time felt powerful. It seemed to lack a story at times and at other times brought me in to the solitary life that is a growing Clark Kent's.

I don't want to say too much or get close to revealing any spoilers, so I am keeping this review fairly brief. I will say that the movie experience I would most compare it to was when I saw the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie. I just had a kind of sense of awe, like "Wow, that was a lot of stuff".

I loved it in spite of the fact that I thought it missed on a few elements. Perhaps the director and all involved didn't feel it missed where I thought it did, perhaps it was how they planned it. But all in all I think this movie is one to be highly recommended. You may like it you and you may not, but I very much feel that reading the reviews (the good and the bad) can not give you any idea of if you are going to like it or not; you just have to see it for yourself. And I strongly recommend that you do.
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Wonder Woman (2011 TV Movie)
6/10
Not a bad pilot, should have got picked up
19 September 2011
The Wonder Woman pilot that is floating around on the internet is an unfinished work designed to function as a display for potential companies to sign it and assign to their network. Some of the digital effects are not finished and this apparently makes some people say that the show is low quality. Therefore if you are going to watch this you should be aware that it is in an UNfinished form and will likely not be finished anytime soon. Expect to see ropes occasionally, the jet is not always properly layered against the sky, and occasionally colors are not digitally balanced accurately.

I really enjoyed this pilot. From what I had been hearing I was expecting dreadful, but by comparison to what is on TV today on most channels I'm really disappointed that it won't be on in the fall.

The dialogue runs dry in a couple moments, and some of WW's facial expressions seem to be a bit forced, but these are common in pilots. It's almost like a dress rehearsal where you put it all together and attempt to get comfortable with it as you figure out what needs to be improved.

I think the main fault found in this show was that WW's "story" had been changed a bit from the comics. Who she is and how she lives her public life and private life are altered, but not out of character for who Wonder Woman is. She is still an active and aware female doing good in a mans world. She is fierce and well natured all in one. Granted, the actress needed time to grow in to the role, but I felt that she was a good choice and could have smoothed out her portrayal had they been given a season to air.

The main problem that any comic-based superhero TV show or movie faces is that the comic readers develop a sense of ownership over the characters that they feel they deserve due to years of faithfully throwing away money on their books, so when a show or movie is made they view it through a lens of religious zealotry and assemble in screaming protest at any slight variation from their favorite stories.

Thus was the case with Wonder Woman. It was not a bad pilot, but of course had it's rough spots and could use some tuning. The cries of die-hard comic nerds, ranting in unison on the internet and scaring producers is getting to be something like squatters-rights on creativity. With Wonder Woman, and others, it would be nice if we could say "Oh, this studio is going to do something based on this comic-book, lets see how it goes". Had Wonder Woman been given a full season I think we could have had something fun.

Keep in mind that pilots are usually a lot rougher. Seinfeld was almost painfully dry. The Dukes of Hazzard was an almost completely different show (A couple of my favorites) and by comparison I think that Wonder Woman should have gotten a shot.
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