Movie Review – Mad Max: Fury Road

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Jun 072015
 

Mad Max: Fury Road Movie PosterAn apocalyptic story set in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and almost everyone is fighting for the necessities of life, especially water. Within this world exist two rebels on the run who just might be able to restore order. There’s Max, a man of action and a man of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos. And Furiosa, a woman of action and a woman who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland.

Director: George Miller
Writer: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris
Stars: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Josh Helman, Nathan Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntingon-Whiteley
Runtime: 120 min; Rated: R; Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi; Released: 15 May 2015

We watched this at Britton Plaza Theater a couple of weeks ago. I was surprised at how much I actually liked it. I was set for the disappointment that sequels usually bring. However, Mad Max: Fury Road is a visually stunning masterpiece by George Miller. It’s been 30 years since Miller’s last project: the last of the original Mad Max films, starring Mel Gibson. It delivered exactly what it promised. Continue reading »

Fury – A Movie Review

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Feb 212015
 

Fury Movie PosterApril, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and his five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Out-numbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Stars: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña
Runtime: 134 min; Rated: R; Genre: Action, Drama, War; Released: 17 Oct 2014

I watched this on my day off for President’s Day at home. Continue reading »

Feb 162015
 

American_SniperChris Kyle was nothing more than a Texan man who wanted to become a cowboy, but in his thirties he found out that maybe his life needed something different, something where he could express his real talent, something that could help America in its fight against terrorism. So he joined the SEALs in order to become a sniper. After marrying, Kyle and the other members of the team are called for their first tour of Iraq. Kyle’s struggle isn’t with his missions, but about his relationship with the reality of the war and, once returned at home, how he manages to handle it with his urban life, his wife and kids.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Jason Hall, Chris Kyle (book), Scott McEwen (book), James Defelice (book)
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Kyle Gallner, Cole Konis, Ben Reed
Runtime: 132 min; Rated: R; Genre: Action, Biography, Drama; Released: 16 Jan 2015

We watched this one in the theater a couple of weekends ago. I’m sorry to just now be getting around to writing my review. Me and Lay both thought this movie was OK. I suspect he liked it a bit more. I had some trouble separating the politics, the biography, and the movie. Continue reading »

Lone Survivor – A Movie Review

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Jul 152014
 

[imdb id=tt1091191]

 

We had the nephews over a couple of weekends ago, and got this movie from Redbox.

I’ve seen some user reviews comparing Lone Survivor to Saving Private Ryan. I’m sorry, but Lone Survivor, while a pretty good movie, is just in the same league with Saving Private Ryan.

The acting was not terrible, and overall it was a good story (based on a true story of course), but some of the dialogue was a little strained. The cinematography and sound design were excellent, and I believe it received a couple of Oscar nominations for these technical aspects. I can see why. Continue reading »

The Hangover Part III-A Movie Review

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Jun 012013
 

Click to view the trailerIn the aftermath of the death of Alan’s father, the wolfpack decide to take Alan to get treated for his mental issues. But things start to go wrong on the way to the hospital as the wolfpack is assaulted and Doug is kidnapped. Now they must find Mr. Chow again to surrender him to the gangster who kidnapped Doug in order to save him.

In Theaters: May 23, 2013; MPAA Rating: R (for pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity); Genres: Comedy, Sequel; Run Time: 1 hour 40 minutes; Distributors: Warner Bros. Pictures

Director: Todd Phillips

Writers: Todd Phillips, Craig Mazin

Stars: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Ken Jeong, Mike Epps, Heather Graham, Justin Bartha, John Goodman

Lay was off Tuesday this week, so we went to see Hangover Part III. It was a worthy successor to the franchise. It was a great follow-on to the previous movies, but would also stand on its own.

The original Hangover film is a classic and introduced the world to the genius that is Zach Galifianakis. It was fresh, original, shocking and hilarious fun. The Hangover II was not only one of the weakest sequels ever made but also one of the saddest excuses for a comedy. It lacked any originality and came off more as a bad remake than a sequel. For instance, instead of Las Vegas it was Bangkok. Instead of a baby, they had a monkey. Instead of a rooftop, it was an out-of-order elevator. The only bits that weren’t the same as the original were more low-brow shocks. Continue reading »

Fast and Furious 6 – A Movie Review

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Jun 012013
 

Click to view the trailerSince Dom (Diesel) and Brian’s (Walker) Rio heist toppled a kingpin’s empire and left their crew with $100 million, our heroes have scattered across the globe. But their inability to return home and living forever on the lam have left their lives incomplete. Meanwhile, Hobbs (Johnson) has been tracking an organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers across 12 countries, whose mastermind (Evans) is aided by a ruthless second-in-command revealed to be the love Dom thought was dead, Letty (Rodriguez). The only way to stop the criminal outfit is to outmatch them at street level, so Hobbs asks Dom to assemble his elite team in London. Payment? Full pardons for all of them so they can return home and make their families whole again.

In Theaters:   May 24, 2013;  MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action and mayhem throughout, some sexuality and language); Genres: Action/Adventure, Sequel; Run Time: 2 hours 10 minutes; Distributors: Universal Pictures

Director: Justin Lin

Writers: Chris Morgan (screenplay), Gary Scott Thompson (characters)

Stars: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson

Oh boy. This is not a movie I would have gone to see, but we had the nephews over spending the night, and it’s what they wanted to see, so off we went.

I can’t believe the reviews it got, and not just from views, but from critics as well. Many claiming it’s the best movie of series. I was no fan of the others, so that would be a low bar for me, but this movie just didn’t make much sense from start to finish. The acting was bad and the dialogue stilted. I realize it is just an action movie designed for fun, but Star Wars was more believable. There were unbelievable scenes throughout such as: A thin, metal cable that can immediately stop a semi going at 70 MPH, and doesn’t tear out of the wall/cut the semi in half; A tank that drives at 70 MPH on a highway; Said tank, that after crushing dozens of civilian cars, for some reason doesn’t crush the car of one of the protagonists; A character that can jump across bridges, catch another character, land on a car, and be fine; People who get hit by cars multiple times and get up. Continue reading »

Apr 302013
 

Oblivion Movie Poster-Click to view trailersThe year is 2077: Jack Harper (Cruise) serves as a security repairmen stationed on an evacuated Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying alien threat who still scavenges what’s left of our planet, Jack’s mission is almost complete. In a matter of two weeks, he will join the remaining survivors on a lunar colony far from the war-torn world he has long called home.

Living in and patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, Jack’s soaring existence is brought crashing down after he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Drawn to Jack through a connection that transcends logic, her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he thought he knew. With a reality that is shattered as he discovers shocking truths that connect him to Earth of the past, Jack will be pushed to a heroism he didn’t know he contained within. The fate of humanity now rests solely in the hands of a man who believed our world was soon to be lost forever.

Release Date: April 19, 2013; MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sci-fi action violence, brief strong language, and some sensuality/nudity); Genres: Action/Adventure, Adaptation, Sci-Fi/Fantasy; Run Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Writers: Joseph Kosinski (original story); Karl Gajdusek and Michael DeBruyn (screenplay)

Actors: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Morgan Freeman, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo, Andrea Riseborough

The new film from the director Joseph Kosinski who directed 2010’s Tron Legacy, has two things going for it, his great visual style and a fanstastic score provided by M83. The film is beautiful, having been filmed with 4K cameras which is definitely the way to see it as it was stunning. Underneath the film is an amalgamation of a number of sci-fi films that came before. One reviewed said it was the most expensive episode of “The Twilight Zone.” I couldn’t agree more. It is definitely not a masterpiece, but to the open-minded viewer it provides more than enough to give you an easy two hours of entertainment and interesting landscapes. Continue reading »

The Bourne Legacy – A Movie Review

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Sep 062012
 
The Bourne Legacy Poster

Watch the trailer

An expansion of the universe from Robert Ludlum’s novels, centered on a new hero whose stakes have been triggered by the events of the previous three films. To become an elite government operative, a man hands himself over to the same agency that birthed the likes of Jason Bourne, but he’s eventually forced to go on the run.

Genre: Action/Adventure/Sequel/Thriller; Running Time: 135mins; MPAA Rating: PG-13

Directed by: Tony Gilroy
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton

I am kind of trying to take some time off this week, but did have some work to do Tuesday. Lay was off. Once I was done, we went to the Britton 8 to watch The Bourne Legacy.

We weren’t rushing to see this one, as the reviews have been mixed and a little on the low side. I felt it kept to the spirit Of the Bourne series and kept me interested. It ended kind of abruptly after an unnecessarily long chase scene, but I am still glad I went to see it. If you’re a Bourne fan enjoy, you’ll most likely find it acceptable. Continue reading »

Town, The – A Movie Review

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Sep 182010
 

Doug MacRay is an unrepentant criminal, the de facto leader of a group of ruthless bank robbers who pride themselves in stealing what they want and getting out clean. With no real attachments, Doug never has to fear losing anyone close to him. But that all changed on the gang’s latest job, when they briefly took a hostage–bank manager, Claire Keesey. Though they let her go unharmed, Claire is nervously aware that the robbers know her name and where she lives. But she lets her guard down when she meets an unassuming and rather charming man named Doug not realizing that he is the same man who only days earlier had terrorized her. The instant attraction between them gradually turns into a passionate romance that threatens to take them both down a dangerous, and potentially deadly, path.

Genres: Drama, Romance, Crime/Gangster and Adaptation; Running Time: 2 hrs.; Release Date: September 17th, 2010 (wide); MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use.

Directed By: Ben Affleck

Starring: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Titus Welliver, Pete Postlethwaite, Chris Cooper

We went to see this movie this afternoon at Veterans 24. The theater was pretty full even at 1:30.

Ben Affleck has proved he is a competent director. That’s not to say this was a mind-blowing movie, but it was solidly directed, well acted, well directed movie with some humor at moments and some intense action sequences.

The movie follows Doug MacRay, a bank robber who pursues a woman he and his crew had taken as a hostage during a heist. Relationships get complicated and the usual drama follows. Ben Affleck can be surprisingly affecting in his roles – he is a rather likable character despite being a crook. His other crew are not so memorable – Jeremy Renner is an interesting portrait, but nothing seen before. He is the typical bad ass who eventually steps beyond his bounds. Honestly, I don’t even remember or care about the other two guys.

The woman, played by Rebecca Hall, does a solid job as Claire Keesey. We see her hardships, her torment and anguish (albeit a bit too much). The chemistry between her and Affleck is not really there, but hey, it’s basically an action movie. Blake Lively seems out of place as MacRay’s former lover. Jon Hamm plays a standard role as the hard driving cop who will stop at nothing. And Affleck’s bosses are funny but not really memorable.

Most action sequences are fast paced and suspenseful (though the heist all seem like I’ve seen them before).

The plot was stretched a bit thin, and some of the motivations of the characters baffled me a bit. Some things were just unclear with the characters, and a lot of loose ends were not tied up. However, it’s not really a big deal to me, as I enjoyed watching it and I took it for what it was: an action film with a little heart.

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Expendables, The – A Movie Review

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Sep 122010
 

A group of mercenaries is hired to infiltrate a South American country and overthrow its ruthless dictator. Once the mission begins, the men realize things aren’t quite as they appear, finding themselves caught in a dangerous web of deceit and betrayal. With their mission thwarted and an innocent life in danger, the men struggle with an even tougher challenge — one that threatens to destroy this band of brothers. Barney Ross is a man with nothing to lose. Fearless and void of emotion, he is the leader, the sage and the strategist of this tight-knit band of men who live on the fringe. His only attachment is to his pickup truck, his seaplane and his team of loyal modern-day warriors. His is a true cynic who describes what he does as “removing those hard to get at stains.” The team behind him is made up of Lee Christmas, former SAS and a savant with anything that has a blade; Yin Yang, a master at close-quarter combat; Hale Caesar, who has known Barney for ten years and is a long-barrel weapons specialist; Toll Road, a skilled demolitions expert and considered the intellect of the group; and Gunnar Jensen, a combat veteran and an expert in precision sniping who struggles with his own demons. When the mysterious Church offers Barney a job no one else would take, Barney and his team embark on what appears to be a routine mission: overthrow General Gaza, the murderous dictator of the small island country of Vilena and end the years of death and destruction inflicted on its people. On a reconnaissance mission to Vilena, Barney and Christmas meet their contact Sandra, a local freedom-fighter with a dark secret. They also come to learn who their true enemy is: rogue ex-CIA operative James Monroe and his henchman Paine. When things go terribly wrong, Barney and Christmas are forced to leave Sandra behind, essentially giving her a death sentence. Haunted by this failure, Barney convinces the team to return to Vilena to rescue the hostage and finish the job he started. And to perhaps save a soul: his own.

Genres: Action/Adventure and Crime/Gangster; Running Time: 1 hr. 43 min.; Release Date: August 13th, 2010 (wide); MPAA Rating: R for strong action and bloody violence throughout, and for some language.

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts
Directed by: Sylvester Stallone

I tried to take the past week off. One of the things I like to do when I take time off is go see a movie in the afternoon. Somehow it’s a great feeling of playing hooky. It definitely makes me feel like I’m off. I elected to go see The Expendables, as Lay wasn’t interested. That would make him the smarter of the two of us.

It is a typical action film. If you’re expecting any sort of Oscar Award performances or screenplay, you will be disappointed. If you want to see typical and predictable action, this film offers about as much as any.

Barney Ross (Stallone) leads the his mercenary group ‘The Expendables’ across the globe, taking care of hostage situations, government reorganizations and all manner of dubious military undertakings. His right hand man, Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), helps run the crew and has an ongoing debate with Barney regarding Lee’s penchant for knives vs. Barney’s love of guns. To round out the crew there is the martial arts specialist who is constantly (and inexplicably) asking for more money, Ying Yang (Jet Li), Toll Road (Randy Couture), the automatic shotgun toting Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), the possible junkie giant, Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) and the retired patriarch,Tool (Mickey Rourke). They are going up against General Garza (David Zayas) who is backed by the mysterious James Monroe (Eric Roberts) and his hulking bodyguard, Paine (THE Stone Cold Steve Austin). Usually I wouldn’t go through the entire cast, but so much of the little enjoyment in the film is realizing ‘HEY, I know that actor from before, in my childhood!’

The film is nothing if not violent, with bodies exploding, cars riddled with bullets and many, many throats getting knifed. Unfortunately, for a film that is so manically driven, none of the action seems fresh. The martial arts feel redundant, the Mexican stand-offs predictable in their lunacy, the explosions so commonplace they become yawn inducing. Even the ‘casual banter in a high tension situation because they are so professional’ gimmick wears painfully thin.

So, it’s probably best to wait until you can get it at a Redbox, and don’t have any high expectations, and it could be fun to watch.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (1 votes, average: 4.00 out of 10)
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Robin Hood – A Movie Review

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May 172010
 

In 13th century England, Robin and his band of marauders confront corruption in a local village and lead an uprising against the crown that will forever alter the balance of world power. And whether thief or hero, one man from humble beginnings will become an eternal symbol of freedom for his people.

“Robin Hood” chronicles the life of an expert archer, previously interested only in self-preservation, from his service in King Richard’s army against the French. Upon Richard’s death, Robin travels to Nottingham, a town suffering from the corruption of a despotic sheriff and crippling taxation, where he falls for the spirited widow Lady Marion, a woman skeptical of the identity and motivations of this crusader from the forest. Hoping to earn the hand of Maid Marion and salvage the village, Robin assembles a gang whose lethal mercenary skills are matched only by its appetite for life. Together, they begin preying on the indulgent upper class to correct injustices under the sheriff.

With their country weakened from decades of war, embattled from the ineffective rule of the new king and vulnerable to insurgencies from within and threats from afar, Robin and his men heed a call to ever greater adventure. This unlikeliest of heroes and his allies set off to protect their country from slipping into bloody civil war and return glory to England once more.

Genres: Action/Adventure and Drama; Running Time: 2 hrs. 11 min.; Release Date: May 14th, 2010 (wide); MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence including intense sequences of warfare, and some sexual content.

Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, William Marshall, Mark Strong, Mark Addy, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston, Eileen Atkins, Kevin Durand, Max von Sydow

Directed By: Ridley Scott

We went to see this film at an earlier showing Friday evening to avoid some of the crowds. The film is no Gladiator, maybe one of the best films, but it is a decent movie. I got my money’s worth.

One of the problems with the film is a sense of urgency. Instead of sometimes lingering to develop the story, it often charges ahead and can seem somewhat aimless. Also, often the music overpowers the dialog. Combined with the accents, it can be hard to understand.

Crowe and Scott reunite again and Crowe gives a solid performance as a rougher and tougher Robin. Blanchett too is solid as an older Maiden, showing she is a tough woman who also willing to fight: a woman that properly would not have existed in this period. Strong shows once again that he is an excellent villain, having stared in Sherlock Holmes and Kick-Ass, a man who thinks about his own self-interest. Strong has been making a good career as villain for hire and he was the strongest actor in the film. The American in this English set film did well, William Hurt was very strong as the wronged advice in the King’s court, whilst Huston seemed to be having a blast as Richard I and obviously shows he is not as noble he seems.

This film felt like an origins story, a start to a new film series. This is Robin Hood that has not been seen on-screen like this before. I actually hope there is a sequel and the Merry Band get more film time.

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