Jul 20, 2016

The Big Blue (Le Grand Bleu) (1988)

A film that depicts the intensity of championship deep sea free diving and one mans love of the water. An odd movie that can drag at times in this director's cut, but still held my attention throughout.

Rating: C

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

Something different. Could easily be written off as an actor’s film with limited appeal designed to garner award nominations. Which is all true. But for those who do take the time to see this, I think most will generally walk away entertained. It’s bizarre, and a tad bit claustrophobic. I think I appreciated the middle section more than the beginning and end. A film that will be appreciated more for its parts than the total sum.

Rating: C

We Were Soldiers (2002)

Just as graphic, if not more so, than Saving Private Ryan. Very effective film. Nice to see them attempting to show both sides of the war for a change.

Rating: B-

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015)

Outside of the South Park episode and the movie The Master, I didn’t know a whole lot about Scientology. Watching this documentary was an eye opener to say the least. Fascinating and shocking come to mind. Really curious to see where the story of Scientology ends.

Rating: C+

The Jacket (2005)

To me, this was an updated version of Somewhere In Time, that slow, boring, chick flick which nearly put me in a coma. Both involve finding one's true love in another time after lying down. Only, with The Jacket, it involves restraints and some serious drugs.

Rating: C

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)

The gorgeous visuals and striking cinematic compositions are back. This graphic novel-film mash up really does it for me. The original Sin City is one of my favorite films of all time, so any sequel has impossible shoes to fill. With that said, A Dame To Kill For is very entertaining. Many of my favorite characters from the first are back, plus a few new ones. I didn’t find the plot quite as gripping as the original, but it does the job. Definitely worth seeing.

Rating: B-

Afghan Star (2009)

A culturally important and interesting subject that suffers in this documentary due to poor production and editing. If anything it leaves you feeling a bit sad for how depressing Afghanistan looks in this film.

Rating: C-

Cartel Land (2015)

Not your average documentary by any means. The filmmaker was given unprescidented access to two vigilante groups, one on each side of the border. The more interesting one follows Grupo de Autodefensa, a grassroots movement to rid Mexican towns of the Knights Templar cartel. It’s gripping stuff. Raw emotions and violence are on display. Not for the squeamish, but I recommend seeing it anyway.

Rating: B

Pacific Rim (2013)

What’s the point in defeating your enemy if you end up destroying what you are trying to protect in the process? These giant robots appear to do more damage than the monsters they are trying to stop. The notion that this would ever be the world’s defensive solution is ludicrous. Thus, this film is yet another steaming pile of Hollywood crap.

Rating: D-

Horrible Bosses 2 (2014)

Another unnecessary sequel. Some mildly amusing parts, but not enough to warrant getting the cast back together.

Rating: D+

Holes (2003)

Much better than I thought it would be. Could have been way cornier.

Rating: C

Turbo Kid (2015)

A post-apocalyptic movie that takes place in 1997, filmed in a 1980s style? Yes please. Violence and gore are over-the-top. The cheese dial is turned way up, but everyone’s playing it straight. The whacked out robotic girlfriend was a nice touch. If you are in the mood for something different. This definitely qualifies.

Rating: C+

The Brothers Grimsby (2016)

Painfully unfunny. The entire film is a crime against humanity.

Rating: F

Gone Girl (2014)

A throwback to some of David Fincher’s earlier films where things aren’t what they seem, and the twists keep coming. I enjoyed the ride. Puzzle pieces were revealed at the right pace. The shifting timeline worked. I can’t say I’m happy with the ending, but it makes sense in the context of the film.

Rating: B-

Appaloosa (2008)

Terrific opening scene and story set up. I was truly excited to see how everything would unfold. Loved the idea of lawmen for hire coming into town ad setting up Marshall law. Then Rene Zellicker stepped off the train and everything went down the shitter.

Not only did she massacre the character she was playing, but she brought down every scene she was in. They literally could have hired any actress off the street to play that roll and the results would have been better. How Rene continues to get work while holding the title of worst actress in Hollywood is beyond me.

Rating: C

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015)

A by-the-numbers Hollywood spy thriller with one impossible scenario after another. Looks slick on the surface, but not much going on under the hood.

Rating: C-

Jul 18, 2016

Saint Ralph (2004)

A Canadian indie about going after the impossible dream - in this case, a 14 year old boy winning the Boston Marathon. Campbell Scott is great here as the mentoring priest. The movie is lighthearted at times, but nothing to write home about.

Rating: C

Kill The Messenger (2014)

Heavy drama based on the story of the CIAs involvement with the drug trade and Nicaraguan Contras. Renner does a fine job as usual. It’s a satisfactory project, but nothing that will get your heart pumping.

Rating: C

Accepted (2006)

Good for some laughs, but like the "students" who attend this university, you'll need to check your brain at the door.

Rating: C

Terminator Genisys (2015)

Tons of time traveling and quantum physics nonsense wrapped up in a cliché. This franchise died a long time ago, yet Hollywood keeps going back in time to resurrect it.

Rating: D+