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An Amazing Movie! The BEST Performances of the Year.
6 July 2012
This has to be under everyone's radar and that's a true shame. I can't recommend it enough if you're looking for a truly moving film about fractured families and fractured souls.

I was completely blown away by this movie and by every single performance. If I were an Academy member and I saw this film I would immediately place the names Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks and Michelle Pfeiffer at the very top of my Oscar nominations lists. Honestly, everyone is just that good in these roles especially Banks. Hers is the best performance I've seen this year bar none. The movie itself is so wonderfully written and packs true emotional resonance. The plot may sound cliché but nothing is handled in a predictable or unreal fashion. Secrets are revealed and it sheds new life on family and the meaning of love. To paraphrase: what seems important now really isn't and what's may seem not important now really is… there's a lot to digest about this film. One thing's for sure, if you "lean in to it" and give this movie your time and undivided attention you will not be sorry that you saw it.
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Lockout (2012)
Guy Pearce Good. Plot Awful.
19 April 2012
I don't know why I expected more but this movie delivered nothing above a bad Sci-Fi Channel made for TV movie. Guy Pearce elevates it from complete crap levels but it's so badly written that it's hard to take anything that hits the screen seriously. The plot and the logic make no sense whatsoever. I did like the concept and the cast. It's too bad that they fumbled this badly and delivered something this shallow and unimpressive. I also hate the way they resolved the whole situation. It was genuinely unsatisfying how the bad guys met their fate.

Like many have said, Guy Pearce is incredibly good in this despite the bad writing and I think he could have a really nice career as an action hero, but this movie is incredibly silly, idiotic, and derivative. What a waste of a cool concept.
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The Avengers (2012)
They balanced everything masterfully. As Good As It Gets!!!
19 April 2012
If you're a fan of epic adventure movies, then this is your dream come true. This is the type of film you fantasized about growing up! It really is the ultimate superhero mash-up and it's done perfectly. The makers of this film certainly understand spectacle but they also get the intricacies and depth these type of characters can provide. That right there assures this instant classic will be thought of as the best as well as the biggest film of 2012. The depth of this movie really did surprise me. Even though the high quality of the actors involved and there previous work as these very same characters seemed to indicate otherwise, I was expecting a wild popcorn movie. I was wrong in thinking it was too much to convey in one film. I couldn't be more pleased because they balanced everything masterfully. Sure, there's the popcorn fun we were all expecting but there's also a definite soul to the film and a smart plot as well. It's truly a stupendous movie regardless of genre.

Marvel did it, they pulled off the culmination of a master plan that's been taking shape for years. They deliver a movie the likes of which we've never seen before and as good of a film that's ever been made in its genre.

There's a reason this grand of a movie has never been attempted before now. How do you fully flesh out, care about and establish this vast group and still deliver a fun, crisp and coherent story? It's extremely difficult to navigate that edge-of-your-seat excitement while at the same time caring about each one of the characters and their struggles. One of the most impressive aspects of The Avengers is that they managed to get each hero their time in the spotlight and their own character arc. Every single main lead steps up and is treated with remarkable intelligence and given room to shine.

I loved that the stakes in this film are ridiculously high and the threat so impressive that there really is a need for these diverse characters to come together. That could have been a stumbling block in terms of story but it's treated just right. It's also a great idea that they chose to introduce all the characters to the audience as if you've never seen them before. Sure, the other films set up and give depth to each character but even if you missed their solo films, you'll still know and care about them in this movie.

It's also wonderful that everything is as big as it should be. This truly is the comic book epic of our lifetime (the fanboy version of Gone With The Wind circa 1939 if you will) and it all shows up on screen. Everything looks GREAT and feels epic. The equipment (love that Helicarrier), the relationships, the stars, the characters themselves and the battles are all huge and as fully mesmerizing as they should be. There are scenes that are emotional and there are scenes that are going to make any audience member scream "BADASS!" and mean it.

I'm serious when I say that the big, explosive moments are as grand as they should be but it's the smaller character moments in this film that really take it to another level. At this point, we've all seen how good some CG action can get but grounding it with a great story and with meaningful quieter moments is what makes a movie good. That's the ace up the Avengers sleeve. This is NOT some CGI video game movie. Cut out the action and I'd still want to see this movie. So, it's safe to say that they are replicating the comic book experience on the big screen. Years of depth coupled with spectacle and advanced fiction is a treat for non-comic book and comic book fans alike. That's is The Avengers greatest power... the ability to entertain all comers!
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A fun and truly stupendous movie regardless of genre!
31 July 2011
The depth of this movie really did surprise me. Even though the high quality of the actors involved seemed to indicate otherwise, I was expecting a lower level movie. I was wrong and I couldn't be more pleased. It's truly a stupendous movie regardless of genre.

Most Superhero comic book movies seem to share a problem in tone. Most films try to cope with wild concepts by emphasizing darkness, even over-emphasizing it. Troubled, brooding characters, black leather and anger rule the day. Here, Cap's creators mix everything so well. It leans away from dark but touches on it just enough. Maybe it's the character or maybe it's because they wanted genuinely real dialogue but the movie feels real and believable. It's truly better than most comic-book movies have ever delivered. So much of the humor works because of this and all the dramatic beats really click. Steve Rogers is so well written and displays true character establishment and development over the course of the film. Even the longing and then flirtation between Steve and Peggy has the undertow of lonely romantic longing and implications. What's also rare for any popcorn movie is that just about every scene packs real emotional weight. This is what you get when you mix fine acting talent with outstanding material. They make it shine and give you a remarkable summer movie. Oh yeah, did I mention that Cap kicks butt and is loads of fun too? That you could tell from the flood of action clips seen leading up to the movie. What was a pleasant surprise was that Captain America is a complete and very well done movie.
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Just A Bad Film - I Feel Bad For The Talent
31 July 2011
Oh, I just came back from a screening of Cowboys and Aliens and all my worst fears came to light. Yes, this film is as bad as everyone is saying. Now, I really liked most of the directors films (The Iron Man films are awesome). So, I defended this team and this film saying it would be good but they made a liar out of me. I'm all out of praise for them. I just went off on my friends about how much this movie sucks, so I probably won't have much left to say. I wanted to like this film; I was going to cut it all the slack that I could manage. I'm sorry but even given that factor, this movie falls so flat. Even trying to fool myself, it is bad. I literally could sit here all day ripping apart the poor dialogue, the multiple tones, the dumb concept, etc. It's such a shame that a director that maybe was on his way to being called one of the best working today seems to have stubbed his toe big-time here. Hopefully, Cowboys & Aliens marks the bottom of the barrel and we can all forget this thing ever happened at all. I kind of feel sorry for Harrison Ford. He's too great of an actor and too much of a legend to be staring in a movie that's this bad.
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Green Lantern (2011)
Star Wars Cantina Meet Catwoman... a near incoherent mess of a film.
14 June 2011
This entire movie looks like a spin off of the Star Wars Cantina scene... much like the Ewoks "movie," a generally bad idea. General audiences loved Star Wars because of the heart and story. Cutting that but focusing on the wild video game quality of the Green Lantern characters and crazy universe is as bad of an idea as possible for a summer film. General Audiences are going to ignore this film in droves. The ones that do take a flyer will savage it and word of mouth will be awful from the non-fanboy non-super sci-fi crowd. Trust me, it's a bad and near incoherent mess of a film.

What's really sad is the fact that the movie itself seems to be one big parody of the sci-fi genre. The film's laughably bad because the dialog is one long joke and the live action cartoonish stuff never rings true. They try to inject humor and even sentimentality where there's really no place for it at all. Even as a live action cartoon, this film just doesn't work.
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Super 8 (2011)
Unremarkable Movie In Every Way.... Blah.
14 June 2011
This is a rather unremarkable movie in every way. The pacing was poor and the effects far below average but what really hurts this film is the fact that everything feels forced. You can actually feel the creators of the film try to inject humor or sentimentality where there's no room or where such things aren't earned or warranted. Even the drama feels forced and the danger not very palpable. Trying to tie the loss of a mother or the guilt of an alcoholic to a creature feature may seem like it adds emotional depth but when it's done wrong, it just comes across as shallow. Toss in an evil military presence and dumb as dirt town folk and I'm not sure even the creators of the film knew what they wanted this movie to be about. I was somewhat interested as to the outcome as a viewer so, I guess the movie did it's job but, again, does so in a completely unremarkable way.
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Thor (2011)
Agree With the Critics... GREAT Film!
14 June 2011
Now everyone can see why they cast Hemsworth. He's perfect because he certainly fits the part physically but, more importantly, he's able to play Thor both as a mighty pompous loose canon as well as being a big lovable "god out of water" unable to adjust to human ways. Both are absolutely crucial to the character winning audiences over, especially those who may not be familiar with the character from comics. Hemsworth and the script does this with style. I also love the texture of this film. Example: The power struggle within Asgard between Thor and his brother and Thor and his father, Odin. It feels very relatable and very passionate. Their passion and rivalry was something anyone can absolutely relate to in their own lives.

No wonder all the big time critics love this movie (Travers, Roeper, Joyce, Maltese, etc) It's amazing! I can't wait to see it again! Thor is a magnificent thrill ride that even the most cynical viewer or critic will realize delivers a fantastic and fantastical reason to make the trip to the cinema. That's why even the jaded or cynical critics wanting to hate on yet "another comic book film" can't bring themselves to hate it. Those watching with an open mind will absolutely adore this film. Once seen, it's easy to see why critics are basically in agreement regardless of their previous dispossession. As good of a summer movie that's been released in years.
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The tone is breathtakingly perfect.. GREAT Film!
14 June 2011
After seeing this wonderful film I have to ask one question... can certain fanboys please shut up now about how this thing differs from their comic books? Apparently, a few fans couldn't leave their own expectations, cartoons and comic books at home. Too bad they assume "they're doing it wrong" by judging the film they see versus the one that's running in their fanboy head. Maybe that matters to a few but when the people involved deliver such an outstanding movie, does it really matter?

Bring on Scott, Jean and Ororo in the sequel and in Xavier's true solo "first class." A movie this good is guaranteed at least a few sequels. Personally, I love this movie. It rivals X2 as the best of the bunch. The tone was breathtakingly perfect. Setting it in the early 60's was brilliant. This gives the film something no one really has seen before in these type of films and certainly elevates it from the X-Trilogy. As a fan of that trilogy, it is everything I was hoping for and maybe a bit more. This is the Xavier and Magneto story everyone has wanted to see since X1 and it's done remarkably well. There's no question that this film is going to surprise the doubters and frustrate the haters. There's no way anyone could hate anything about this movie unless they went in to view it wanted to hate on it. Wonderful in every way.
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RED (2010)
Pure FUN!
15 October 2010
This movie may define the term popcorn film for me. It's pure fun... pure DUMB fun but fun nonetheless. How can anyone not absolutely love the entire cast??? I'm glad I didn't see or know much about the film prior to seeing it because when actors like Brian Cox and Richard Dreyfuss started to come out of the woodwork, I just loved it. (Yes, Ernest Borgnine as well!) The ads claiming this is the best cast in light action history may be right on the mark. John Malkovich steals the show! Bruce Willis is the perfect lead and Morgan Freeman is, well, Morgan Freeman. The story flows well and the fun never stops. For the most part, check your brain at the door, sit back and have a riot.
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Iron Man 2 (2010)
Movie Of The Year !
9 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Iron Man 2 is everything a summer movie should be, and much, much more. There's a serious subtext to the story and it leaps out of the very first moments of the film. The playboy, hard-drinking, fast-talking, now public superhero (and all the pitfalls of such fame) thrills from opening scene until the last.

The movie gets everything right but maybe its number one strength is the casting. Downey again brings a winning personality to play as Stark; he finds his pathos, too. Don Cheadle certainly has the acting chops to hang with Downey as does Mickey Rourke. Rourke's Whiplash is the perfect foil and perfect villain because he's no one dimensional character. His Whiplash is on a par with Heath Ledger's Joker (but with less screen time). Sam Rockwell is also perfect in his role. Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson add more sex appeal than any summer film in memory (what outfits for Scarlett) but they also deliver real performances. Pepper Potts is every bit the wise yet sexy match for Stark. The interaction and the relationships all work well and is one of the highlights of the entire movie. All the dialogue is superb. You would expect nothing less from a Jon Favreau film. (Who's also great as Happy Hogan, that fight scene raiding Hammer HQ is priceless!) A lot of superhero comic book movies seem to share a problem in tone. Most films try to cope with wild concepts by emphasizing darkness, even over-emphasizing it. IM2 is darker than the first but keeps in line with the wonderful tone it already established for this character and universe. Again, Iron Man's creators mix everything so well. It leans towards dark but touches on every other tone and emotion. Maybe it's the character or maybe it's because they had Downey's talents to play with but Downey's performance leads to more clever banter and genuinely fun dialogue than most other movies have ever delivered, regardless of genre. So much of the humor works because of this and all the dramatic beats really click. Downey's Stark is glib and even obnoxious at times but he never loses his likability and grows in to something more, drinking problems, fear of dying and all. That's true character establishment and development in a summer film!!!! What's also rare for any popcorn movie is that most every plot turn carries some emotional weight. This is what you get when you mix great acting talent with outstanding material. They make it shine and give you a remarkable summer movie. Oh yeah and Iron Man kicks butt again both with and against War Machine! The CG is perfect and the action is intense and very well done. That's no shocker. What was a pleasant surprise was that Iron Man 2 is now officially in the running for best movie of the year, again regardless of genre.
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Doesn't Know What It Wants To Be
17 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This movie, while gripping, is wildly implausible. It falls apart with an incredibly dumb third act. Even in the trailers, it's obvious that this film had structural problems right from the start. It really doesn't know what type of movie it wants to be. It tries to be a mixture of "Taken," "The Punisher," and "Seven" but ends up being less than the sum of its parts. It's a revenge flick that turns on itself and the viewer doesn't know who to back and who to root for. I'm sure that's the point, to unsettle the viewer and make them think but the results aren't very entertaining. The "accomplice" plot twist is completely implausible if you think about it.
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Unremarkable In Every Way
12 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
A very ordinary movie that is unremarkable in every way. Even the presence of great stars like Denzel and Travolta offer nothing extraordinary. Their talent was caged all throughout the movie by a dry and predictable story. Director Tony Scott bizarrely tries to inject life and action in to the film but those endeavors seem forced and even laughable. A cop caravan races across town to deliver bags of money and periodically we see cabs crashing, motorcycle cops flipping and car crashes for no real reason. It's like they declared this was a big budget movie and we need to see car crashes, damnit! I was actually snickering by the time of the final silly crash. Why didn't this hostage situation deliver any real tension for the viewer?
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a BAD movie that relies solely on religious controversy to sell tickets...Don't waste your money.
11 June 2009
Basing a film on pseudo-historical claims can be a good idea but it's too bad that isn't the case for this awful, awful movie. What the heck were they thinking after Da Vinci Code? This movie may be less controversial but it certainly is just as bad in movie terms. Forget religion, it's just a bad movie. Worse, a bad movie that relies solely on religious controversy to sell tickets means there's no pressure on a studio to make a coherent film. They sure didn't here, it's not smart, not interesting and it certainly isn't any fun. Don't waste your money.

Ron Howard really is at it again. He gave us the biggest film-making "FU" to the viewing public of all time with the Da Vinci Code. ("Sure, it's bad fiction but I love to rile up them there Catholics.") This new "FU" aside, all Ron Howard proves is that when he tries to craft a thriller, all he can produce is turgid mediocrity. As a film, Angels and Demons is a sad endeavor to say the least.
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Terrible. It is so bad that it completely degrades the movie goer.
23 May 2006
The minute they decided to shoot this lousy script is was all over for Tom Hanks and company. Was the book this bad? Could this movie have possibly been any worse? This movie was so uninteresting that I was tempted to get up and walk out, but I was still curious if they were going to actually find a conclusive end to their story. I'm sorry I stayed.

Unfortunately, Davinci Code is possibly the worst film I have seen at the cinema this year. It is so bad, in fact, that it completely degrades the movie goer. Of all the theories of where the plot may go I had read, or come up with myself, the book or Ron Howard's answers were so incoherent and downright unintelligent that none had even suggested themselves as possible solutions. This is shameful laziness for a film of (supposedly) such profound scope. Thumbs way down.
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Sin City (2005)
Trendy Overrated Trash
2 April 2005
This movie just kept getting cheesier and cheesier the longer it ran. By the end, I couldn't care less if Hartigan made it out alive or not. For some insane reason every leading character had a force field or something around them that prevented them from dying, no matter how many bullets hit.

My theory is that there are 3 types of people who LOVE this movie: (1) Violence whores (2) Sin City comics fanboys (3) People swayed by peer pressure to convince themselves they saw a "great" movie because its trendy. Shame on all of you weak willed fools who fall under number 3 and shame on anyone who promotes this woman hating ultra-violent waste of film and waste of time.
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Daredevil (2003)
The Director's Cut is GREAT!
6 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoyed the original version but the new director's cut version of this film is just fabulous. I really like fact that Matt/DD was more a tortured loner (no Priest confidant, no Elektra love scene). The fight sequences are much better and much more complete. Make no mistakes about it, the director's cut now makes Daredevil a great action flick that's the proper mixture of quality acting, deep emotion and dark violence. The plot is now much more coherent .... (for instance, now we know why the police came for the Kingpin at the end of the movie!) The Daredevil DC is a shining example of vigilante-style justice done right. It's also yet another comic book adaptation done properly.
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Closer (I) (2004)
Lose the "C" in the title ... "LOSER"
6 December 2004
They really should lose the "C" in the title and re-title it "LOSER" ! This is one putrid story about four people who absolutely deserve each other. The viewer grows to loathe and even despise EVERY one of these despicable human beings. I don't care how good the acting is, the story and the characterization is just awful. Save your money at all cost. For a movie that was so over hyped, I'm glad that it was surprisingly a commercial flop. It's gotten to the point where large critics make me sick. They praise inferior stoiries because they either admire the actors or receive kickbacks. Ebert & Roeper got me out to see this movie. I should have known better. This one's not just overrated, it's a flat out bad movie.
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Open Water (2003)
Worst Movie of the Year
31 August 2004
From a morbid ending to jittery camera work, this movie leaves you feeling a combination of cheated and nauseous as you walk to your car shaking your head at the futility of having actually spent money to view this crap. This revolting and poorly done film has to be the absolute worst movie I've seen in years. The acting is putrid. All I could think of when I watched the actors stumble through their lines to start the film was, "So, if Charlize Theron couldn't act, this is what her films would look like?" Despite a brief nude scene from this Theron clone, there is absolutely nothing of redeeming value in this entire waste of film. The only thing that comes close to a redeeming virtue is that this depressing film is only an hour and nineteen minutes long.
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I, Robot (2004)
The first half is a bore, with awful dialogue, and a predictable climax.
23 July 2004
People with low expectations will be satisfied, but those who were eagerly anticipating Proyas' return to the genre may find themselves crestfallen. Murky plot clarifications, cop-movie conventions, and awkward comic relief intervals are ultimately to blame for this misfire. It's very shallow. It was just another action sci-fi movie trying to cash in on the summer. Actors Will Smith and Briget Mohnahan were not a great combination either. Will Smith tries to be the multimillion dollar action star while Briget Mohnahan was clearly not a star at all. They're awful combination and took away the movie's direction, which should have been more focused on action or the plot. The lack of substance was the real let down however.
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King Arthur (2004)
Dull & Tedious
7 July 2004
King Arthur was the most average movie I have seen in quite some time. It was average to the point of tedium. There is really only one battle scene in the entire film. Most of the time, the viewer is `treated' to a dark pondering film. This set up was dull and so very uninteresting. When Arthur and his knights set out on their last mission, the film's director chooses to spend over five minutes of screen time of them opening a giant door and them riding through the rain. I remember my eyes glazing over and being forced to look around in the theatre. It was the equivalent of filming someone tying their shoes very slowly. YAWN. Keira Knightly fans will be disappointed. She only appears at the halfway point and has a total of about 20 minutes of screen time. When she does appear, she's usually dungy and dirty. This dull cast gets lost in this period piece. One question, what kind of strategy did Arthur employee during the final battle? He had catapults and plenty of archers but choose to abandon the walls and their advantage. He simply opened the gates and invited the larger army in to do battle? Huh? Smoke screens aside, not very smart…just like this entire film.
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Van Helsing (2004)
Truly Awful...ultimately so absurd that it's a $150 Million B-Movie
11 May 2004
It's built on a shaky foundation of impossibilities. Willing suspension of disbelief is expected with any film, but this movie asks you to swallow a lot of stupidity. It's ultimately so absurd - and sometimes so downright unintentionally laughable - that nobody associated with making this movie can possibly emerge unscathed and that's a shame. Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale are just too good for this type of lame-brain summer movie. Was that the absolute worst Dracula in the history of the cinema? EVERY line that two bit actor delivered was so cheesy and over the top that it my me grimace in disbelief. A film of singularly boneheaded conceits...populated by, and appears to have been made by, stoned college dudes more hung up on oh-wow twists than the need to make sense.
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Van Helsing (2004)
This was just bad at every turn - Terrible CGI
7 May 2004
Each scene is even more laughable then the one before. Not fun mind you, laughable. Every single time one of these vampire supercreatures has the edge they stop to talk, gloat, or toy with Kate or Van Jackman. This was just bad at every turn. You know they're over doing the fake CGI when in the middle of an action sequence I was more fixated on Kate Beckinsale's perfect behind then on any of the `spectacular' CGI shots going on around her. Yes, she's extremely gorgeous but I'm not that big of a horndog. I just was tired at looking at silly CGI that offered nothing new. Hugh Jackman had better shelve this franchise and get back to the clever franchise that's made him a star. The X-Men franchise is everything Van Helsing isn't. Hugh can play a hero with memory problems that can kick ass there but he can do it with a real character and a real director.
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Man on Fire (2004)
Depressing Ending + Nauseating Edits = Unsatisfying Mess
24 April 2004
Trust me, this is one let down movie that you want to avoid and this comes from one huge Denzel Washington fan. The frustrating part is that it's 1/3 of a GREAT film. The first part of this movie does an exceptional job of setting up the characters and the new relationship between Creasy and the girl he's paid to protect. The trailers to this movie all mention that she is kidnapped. So, I'm giving nothing away when I say that the film degenerates into an almost unwatchable mess after she's kidnapped. Whatever the director was trying to accomplish, all he succeeds in doing is making the audience literally nauseous. Rapid, frantic and choppy cuts follow for the next half-hour as Creasy tracks down the perpetrators. These cuts are so unnatural and nauseating that all they do is to jolt you out of the story. I'm sure the director thought that this unsettling way to present the story signified a change in Creasy's character and signified that a different movie was to follow. Well, he was right. The movie that followed was complete and unsatisfying crap. The result of which is a depressing ending that ruins even the quality first forty minutes of the movie.
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Man on Fire (2004)
HUGE Disappointment and Extremely Unsatisfying
23 April 2004
Trust me, this is one let down movie that you want to avoid and this comes from one huge Denzel Washington fan. The frustrating part is that it's 1/3 of a GREAT film. The first part of this movie does an exceptional job of setting up the characters and the new relationship between Creasy and the girl he's paid to protect. The trailers to this movie all mention that she is kidnapped. So, I'm giving nothing away when I say that the film degenerates into an almost unwatchable mess after she's kidnapped. Whatever the director was trying to accomplish, all he succeeds in doing is making the audience literally nauseous. Rapid, frantic and choppy cuts follow for the next half-hour as Creasy tracks down the perpetrators. These cuts are so unnatural and nauseating that all they do is to jolt you out of the story. I'm sure the director thought that this unsettling way to present the story signified a change in Creasy's character and signified that a different movie was to follow. Well, he was right. The movie that followed was complete and unsatisfying crap. The result of which is a depressing ending that ruins even the quality first forty minutes of the movie.
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