Lone Survivor – A Movie Review

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Jul 152014
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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 »

Lovely Bones, The – A Movie Review

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Feb 152010

Movie Poster for The Lovely BonesSusie Salmon, a young girl who has been murdered, watches over her family — and her killer — from heaven. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal. Based on the best selling book by Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones is the story of a 14-year-old girl from suburban Pennsylvania who is murdered by her neighbor. She tells the story from Heaven, showing the lives of the people around her and how they have changed all while attempting to get someone to find her lost body.

Genres: Drama, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Thriller and Adaptation; Running Time: 2 hrs. 19 min.; Release Date: December 11th, 2009 (limited); January 15th, 2010 (wide); MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material involving disturbing violent content and images, and some language.

Starring: Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli

Directed by: Peter Jackson

Lay and I watched this movie a couple of weekends ago. Obviously I have not been posting much lately due to work demands, but hopefully I’ll be back to a more regular schedule.

This is an extremely dark story from a well written book. It had the potential to be an excellent movie, but managed to fail pretty significantly. The characters did a very good job with the parts they were given. Mark Wahlberg was excellent, showing great depth of character and subelty. Stanley Tuccia, a great actor managed to play his part very well. He maintained some great tension, but was just a little bit over the top with the creepiness.

We see a lot of the little girl in this “in-between place” she inhabits as she works to help the family move beyond the situation. Most of that did not make a lot of sense. Those parts of the movie, combined with narration by this character just didn’t add a lot to move the story along in a meaningful way.

I thought this movie came across as a college class assignment in cinema. It’s like the students had access to some cool CGI software, so they decided to try every tool in the palate during the scenes from the “in-between place.” There was a symbol (I won’t give it away), that seemed to be there for no reason other than an instructor might have said that some thematic convention was needed throughout the movie. There was even a love scene al la “Ghost.”

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The Happening – A Movie Review

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Jun 152008

The HappeningA family is on the run from an inexplicable and unstoppable event that threatens not only humankind–but the most basic human instinct of them all: survival.

Genres: Action/Adventure, ThrillerRelease Date: June 13th, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating: R for violent and disturbing images.

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, Spencer Breslin, Ashlyn Sanchez

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

I thought the Sixth Sense was a good movie with a great plot twist. Shyamalan’s movie Signs was a true horror sci-fi classic, but I’d change the title of this movie “The Not Happening.” I view this as a complete loss of 90 plus minutes of my life.

I’ve even come to like Mark Wahlberg, and he and the other actors did the best they could with the material they had, but there was nothing here. The scariest part of movie involved their interactions with an old lady living alone, and that was only a minor part of the story.

The main message I’d leave you with is, DO NOT see this movie. Don’t even bother to rent it once it comes out on DVD. This movie gets a single star only because you can’t give it a zero.

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 Movies, Politics  Comments Off on Shooter
Jul 072007

Movie Poster for ShooterBob Lee Swagger, one of the world’s great marksmen and the son of a Congressional Medal of Honoree, is a loner living in the Rockies. He’s left the military, having been hung out to dry in a secret Ethiopian mission a few years before, when he’s recruited by a lisping colonel to help find a way that the President of the US might be assassinated in one of three cities in the next two weeks. He does his work, but the shot is fired notwithstanding and Bob Lee is quickly the fall guy: wounded and hunted by thousands, he goes to ground and, aided by two unlikely allies, searches for the truth and for those who double-crossed him. All roads lead back to Ethiopia.

Antoine Fuqua

Action, Mystery, Thriller

Mark Wahlberg, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Rhona Mitra, Danny Glover, Lane Garrison, Mackenzie Gray, Adrian Hughes, Elias Koteas, Darren Massey, Rade Serbedzija, Jonathan Walker (II), Justin Louis, Tate Donovan, Alan C. Peterson (II), Ned Beatty

Lay and I watched this movie on DVD last night. We’d tried several times to rent it, but it was always out. My overall impression of the movie was good. I think Wahlberg has matured into an excellent actor. While I have not yet read the book from which the movie was adapted, it seem to be a fairly complete story.

My main concern was the “love interest” that developed in the story. That was just way too predictable. Ned Beatty, as the crooked Senator, actually made a few good points about how the world operates today. So, on the whole, I consider it a well made film, and definitely worth watching.

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 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on Invincible
Oct 152006

Invincible.jpgFrom the producers of “The Rookie”, this inspiring sports movie will star Mark Wahlberg as a Philadelphia Eagles fan who has just lost his wife and his teaching job. He decides one day to show up for an open tryout for his favorite NFL team, only to see his wildest dreams come true.

Directed by
Ericson Core

Drama, Sport

Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, Elizabeth Banks, Kevin Conway, Michael Rispoli, Kirk Acevedo, Dov Davidoff, Michael Kelly, Sal Darigo, Nicoye Banks, Turron Kofi Alleyne, Stink Fisher, Michael Mulheren, Michael Nouri, Jack Kehler

*** This comment may contain spoilers ***

Never underestimate the power of a good story, decent acting and a great soundtrack. That’s what Disney’s “Invincible,” starring Mark Wahlberg and Greg Kinnear, brings to viewers.

“Invincible” is the biographical tale of down-on-his-luck Vince Papale (Wahlberg), who is a pretty fair street football player in Philadelphia in the mid-1970s. He is also a substitute teacher, but when he loses that gig, is forced to tend bar part-time.

Meanwhile, his team, the NFL Eagles – mired in several seasons of last-place finishes (making the franchise the joke of the NFC East) – hires a new head coach, Dick Vermeil (Kinnear), who decides to hold an open tryout for players. It’s looked upon as a joke, and hundreds of untalented and out-of-shape clowns show up at Veteran’s Stadium for the event, even Vince (who never played college ball and is sure he is not good enough to get a second look). On a fluke, however, he is the only walk-on allowed to go to training camp.

Meanwhile, he becomes sort of a neighborhood celebrity, and develops a sweet love affair with his boss’ cousin, Janet (Elizabeth Banks), a die-hard New York Giants fan.

He impresses Vermeil enough to make it down to the final cut, but what happens after that, you’ll have to find out yourself.

Wahlberg might be a tad bit small for an NFL player (he’s much smaller than the real Papale), but he is appropriately well-built; and his low-key performance gives real pathos to his character.

Lastly, since the story takes place in 1975 (the year my old favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals, won the NFC East), you would expect the soundtrack to blast some high quality tunes. In this respect, the film does not disappoint. Tunes from The Who, Jim Croce, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Canned Heat, Edgar Winter Group, Grand Funk Railroad, Rod Stewart, Elvin Bishop, Rare Earth and others, highlights this movie-going experience.

A bit sappy, at times, but overall, a nice little biopic that is one of the more inspiring movies of 2006.

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