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 Posted:   Jan 1, 2013 - 10:46 AM   
 By:   CindyLover   (Member)

Rise Of The Guardians. Although mashing up Christmas and Easter won't please evangelically minded viewers, it's pretty good entertainment. 7/10.

 Posted:   Jan 1, 2013 - 11:49 AM   
 By:   Michaelware   (Member)

Hamlet (Olivier)- 9/10 ****
Looking before and after, the pentametered, pentagramic mousetrap of the mortal coil- Olivier's is the best, as a movie anyway, just very precise and cleanly spoken by a perfect cast.

 Posted:   Jan 1, 2013 - 12:21 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

Rare Exports - I agree with Mastadge: a 6 out of ten. It starts as a very promising dark disturbing twisted horror tale, and then morphs (due to lack of funds?) into a slightly twisted comedy. Unfulfilled potential.

Although I enjoyed the film immensely, I'm not sure I understand why so many people seem to think it's a comedy. Yes, it has some moments of humor, but I don't see how it can be classified as a "comedy." It's more of a dark fantasy/adventure.

Easy: the last quarter of the movie is unmistakeably comedic. This is in stark contrast to the much more threatening ambiance of the first 3/4.

It changed...

I guess we have different mindsets then or something. I saw no sign that it had suddenly changed into a comedy, unless those who call it that only do so because, to them, they thought the climactic action was too goofy, with the kid hanging beneath the helicopter leading the helpers away and all of that. But I found that to just be part of the film's fantasy/adventure charm. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. Aside from not delving into the myths of the Finnish Santa as much as I had hoped it would, I thought it was a terrifically fun little movie.

 Posted:   Jan 1, 2013 - 12:50 PM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

I saw Rare Exports at the cinema a couple of years ago (a freebee at a press showing) & thought the first half was far too bleak & the ending was too Disney, the kid was very good. I'm sure I read somewhere that Hollywood was was going to film a version of it, but it doesn't seem to have happened.

 Posted:   Jan 6, 2013 - 10:38 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

The Bourne Identity (2002) dir. Doug Liman -- A superior action thriller. Better than I remembered.

The Bourne Supremacy (2004) dir. Paul Greengrass -- Where were all the people who whine about how AlienĀ³ diminished Aliens when this came out? Annoying camerawork, but overall an above-average action thriller. Weakest of the trilogy, though.

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) dir. Paul Greengrass -- Better than the second, but not as good as the first. I like the way it parallels the first. The superheroics do get a little over-the-top, though.

Looper (2012) dir. Rian Johnson -- Goofy, unnecessary prosthetics distract from an otherwise okay time travel actioner.

The Almighty Johnsons: Season 2 (2012) created by James Griffin and Rachel Lang -- Preposterous goofy fun.

Rock of Ages (2012) dir. Adam Shankman -- I was skeptical of all the negativity, going in, but it really is amazing how badly this film misfires on nearly every conceivable level.

 Posted:   Jan 6, 2013 - 5:14 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

The Impossible (2012) - 10/10
"The Impossible" was released in Spain in 2012 although it didn't make it to the US until 2013. Though it is a Spanish production featuring a Spanish composer (Fernando Velazquez) the film is almost 100% in English except for a few short scenes in Thai. The film tells the true story of a family of tourists who survived the Tsunami in Thailand in 2004. The original family was Spanish but they are portrayed here by two well-known white actors (Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts).

The film is beautifully shot and will tug at your heart strings. While some may find some aspects to be overly manipulative, I really like how the music is prominent at key points of the film. Fernando Velazquez wrote a beautiful orchestral score that fits the emotions of the film perfectly. It is at times highly emotional and other times accentuates the tension in dangerous moments.

The cast is amazing, with some especially impressive performances by the younger actors. From how good they are on screen, you wouldn't know that this is the first live action film any of them have been in. Tom Holland plays the oldest boy and he captures your attention every time he comes on screen. Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts are simply electrifying in their roles, giving some of the best performances I've seen from them in a long time.

The shots of the Tsunami in this film are so realistic I wondered at times how they could have possibly been filmed. Some of the underwater shots were especially astounding. Though there have been many similar disaster films before, none felt quite as real as "The Impossible." This is the type of film where you really want to hold your loved ones close as you watch so I was especially glad to be able to hold onto my boyfriend throughout. "The Impossible" is an impressive production and well worth watching in theaters if you get a chance.

 Posted:   Jan 6, 2013 - 7:32 PM   
 By:   Mr. Jack   (Member)

Mary & Max (2009): 10/10

 Posted:   Jan 6, 2013 - 7:48 PM   
 By:   Storyteller   (Member)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 8/10 Saw it in 2D (the only way I will) and loved it. I have some small quibbles, but they are all small. My biggest gripe remains having to wait for two more films instead of one. Still, cannot wait to see them.

 Posted:   Jan 6, 2013 - 8:20 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

Pillars of the Earth - Miniseries - 8/10

World Without End - Miniseries - 7/10

Just finished watching World Without End. Having read the books for both before watching them I found the series to be quite rushed although they were well done for the most part. Pillars of the Earth was much more effective in many ways than World Without End although both cut significant portions of the books in order to present the story in 8 episodes.

My boyfriend, having not read the books found them more enjoyable than I did but agrees that Pillars of the Earth was better. Despite World Without End being slightly inferior, the score was much better in it than Pillars (Mychael Dana's score for World Without End was better than Trevor Morris' score for Pillars of the Earth.)

In short - read the books if you have the time although the TV series each generally capture the majority of the major plot points well in the time they have. The books aren't without their faults though either. The books get quite repetitive with many quarrels repeated multiple times so in that sense the TV series is more streamlined. Still I wish they had not cut out so many of the minor characters and stories.

I also should note that there are a few short gay sequences in World Without End that may make you either like it more or less depending on how you fall on that. Neither one is particularly heavy on sex scenes though both have quite a few rape scenes.

The actors were more interesting in Pillars of the Earth so that may have been a lot of what made it much more entertaining.

 Posted:   Jan 13, 2013 - 8:29 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Rock of Ages (2012) dir. Adam Shankman -- I was skeptical of all the negativity, going in, but it really is amazing how badly this film misfires on nearly every conceivable level. I had to watch it over several nights because I couldn't sit through more than 30-45 minutes at a time.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012) dir. David O. Russell -- A well-made if slightly overlong and predictable comedy. I'm not sure why it was getting Oscar buzz, but it was a lot of fun. Its biggest problem is that in the final act it betrays its characters by allowing them to find catharsis through the mechanism of a sports drama, which really cheapens their pain from earlier in the film.

Liberal Arts (2012) dir. Josh Radnor -- And another decent comedy (or dramedy), easy to watch, slightly more thoughtful than average, with some pretty good performances. Given how little I care for Radnor in HIMYM it surprises me how much I enjoyed this flick.

Strictly Ballroom (1992) dir. Baz Luhrmann (DVD) -- I consider myself moderately fluent in the language of cinema, but Luhrmann's dialect never fails to throw me for the first few minutes of one of his movies before I get used to it and find myself completely rapt. Plotwise it's a fairly standard movie of its type, but its execution sets it at the head of the pack.

Ted (2012) dir. Seth MacFarlane -- Occasionally marginally funny. Mostly unappealing. Nice score. People really thought this was such a hilarious movie?

Dredd (2012) dir. Pete Travis -- Huh. A solid, surprisingly dark, surprisingly thoughtful and exceedingly violent action flick bolstered by a trio of good performances. Liked it more than I expected to, but didn't love it. Also, a lot of the sequences filmed for 3D looked odd on a 2D screen.

The Bourne Legacy (2012) dir. Tony Gilroy -- Solid performances bolster a pointless movie. This could have been a decent if forgettable action thriller, but it needed to be at least 20 minutes shorter, and it would have been a much stronger film if they hadn't tried so hard to tie it to the other films. Which is to say that at the beginning they were right to show that these events were spinning out of Bourne Ultimatum, and to show a picture of Bourne to remind audiences that he is not Renner, but after that the stuff with Landy and Vosen really needed to be excised because it really didn't fit this picture at all. Also the random superhero villain at the end was boring; the reason the other Treadstone agents worked in Identity was because we actually got to see them as characters a bit. Suddenly introducing a nameless superagent in the third act is a horrible idea.

Frankenweenie (2012) dir. Tim Burton -- A frustrating movie that should have stayed a short. Once we get past the cute/sweet tale of a boy and his dog, the movie doesn't know what to do, so goes off on an extended, mostly idiotic riff on the classic movie monsters. Plus it's one of those annoying movies that pretends it's pro-science but is actually anti-science ("Ask questions, boy! That's the key to science! Well, one of the keys! The other is the magical power of love!"). And this seems to be one of those movies with a very limited audience: it plays more to aging fans of early Burton than to anyone else.

 Posted:   Jan 13, 2013 - 10:10 AM   
 By:   quiller007   (Member)

THE MASTER TOUCH (1972) 10/10
starring Kirk Douglas, Florinda Bolkan, Giuliano Gemma
directed by Michele Lupo; music by Ennio Morricone


 Posted:   Jan 13, 2013 - 12:23 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

Ted (2012) dir. Seth MacFarlane -- Occasionally marginally funny. Mostly unappealing. Nice score. People really thought this was such a hilarious movie?

I thought it was hysterical! But I also liked it because underneath all the crass humor was a story that's pretty sweet and had a heart, something that's missing from a lot of comedies these days. I'm looking forward to the sequel.

 Posted:   Jan 13, 2013 - 4:01 PM   
 By:   TominAtl   (Member)


As good as I had hoped and had read. What surprised me was how "unHollywoodish"(if that is a term) this production was. Its not melodramatic, its not nihilistic, its not a morality play, but it has received its fair share of criticism from both the left and right in regards to its unflinching portrayal of the use of torture to get information. In my view, the movie makers were not out to make a political point but told it forthrightly and as accurately as possible. The movie doesn't make any moral or ethical judgements: it just shows you what transpired over the past decade's manhunt of Osama Bin Laden, the largest of its kind in history. And lest anyone forget what we as a country went through during and after the Sept 11th attacks, it won't ruin the movie to note that the opening moments is entirely in black screen with only a series of 911 recordings being replayed right after the planes hit the towers. It was certainly a sobering reminder of what those poor people in the towers went through moments before their death. Its a not a gruesome moment, but a painful one nonetheless.

The film is based on factual accounts given to the filmmakers and from those involved in the manhunt, for good or bad, rightly or wrongly, due to the use of torture by American CIA agents, bit by bit they got information. As silly as it sounds, even some members of Congress are calling for an investigation on who gave what information to whom and how much.

The film is shot in hand held camera style but its not nearly as nausea inducing as some experienced in The Hurt Locker or other films. Its been a while where I saw a film and felt I was right there in it. The cast is spot on as is the script and dialogue. The characters come off as real people doing their jobs as best they know how to capture the most wanted man in history.

I really liked this film and it deserves to be in the running for best picture at the Oscars and its a shame that Bigelow didn't get a directors nomination, which is ridiculous.(Afflecks absence is just as much of a shame). While I hope that Lincoln actually wins, I wouldn't be disappointed if Zero Dark Thirty edges out a victory.

 Posted:   Jan 13, 2013 - 7:16 PM   
 By:   Storyteller   (Member)

Skyfall- Well after much hype, and much waiting on my part I finally got to see it. I am a long time Bond fan and was excited to hear that the new one wasn't another Quantum Of Solace.

I have to say that the film feels like two separate films. The first half is a slow, near dull search for the men who stole a hard drive containing government secrets. The second half, a tighter faster paced thriller dealing with a man who has an ax to grind with MI6 and M specifically. The first half is pretty, but next to nothing happens. The one liners are few and not very good. There is an odd moment when Bond could stop an assassin from killing a man, but doesn't. We never even find out who the victim was. Just odd. The second half is a lot of running, but has the added feature of a brilliant turn by Javier Bardem. In fact, most of the cast delivers an excellent turn in this film with the exception of Craig who honestly looks as if he is going to fall asleep any minute. I have to say that his performance in Casino Royle was far better than here. He just doesn't do any actual acting. Sorry, but I hope his turn is over.

Which brings me to my final point.

Despite my negative points, I did enjoy this film. The addition of Skyfall into the films story was a nice touch for those familiar with Bond's back mythology. It doesn't add much to the story as a whole, but was probably added more for the 50th anniversary angle. The last few minutes of the film were actually my favorite moments in the whole film which got me excited for another chapter... as long as it doesn't return to the dreary nature of this film. I want the old Bond back. Smart, confident, and easy with a quip. Mopey Bond just isn't doing it for me, and I think it's time for a return to formula and a new actor to usher it in.

I give Skyfall 6 1/2 out of 10 stars.

 Posted:   Jan 18, 2013 - 2:54 PM   
 By:   Michaelware   (Member)

Gangster Squad- 0
So hilariously inept I just laughed. More standard issue limbic negativity and hatred of life. That slitty mean look all these actors use now makes me laugh. The whole film was poses and cliches. Also, don't these ppl know how boring graphic body destruction is? Every movie now has to top each other in extreme scenes of bodies being ripped apart, and why the new fixation on dogs eating guts? Bravo. Didn't they see Monty Python and the Holy Grail, or do they actually think this crap is badass lol. I'm sure this movie has lots of fans who think Sin City is a classic because they never saw anything before that. When you have instant access to real movies with considered cinematics like De Palma's The Untouchables and The Black Dahlia, or Heat or L.A. Confidential- it's like having real sushi crafted with talent and care from quality ingredients, so then why would you ever settle for pure crap, like Gangster Squad.

Zero Dark Thirty * 1/10
Thanks Hollywood for the propaganda nobody dares criticise.

The Hobbit *** 7/10
I liked it basically, though it had about thirty min. of story padded out to 3 hrs of walking and running and walking and fighting overly epic all out battles one after another with nary a tea break or time out for necessities. Didn't Peter Jackson make Meet the Feebles? The feebles would have taken time out for necessities. Never mind me, movies bore me now. I liked The Hobbit in Imax though that ticket cost a lot of money.

Loved the score though. Oddly I never cared much about Shore's Lord of the Rings scores. No explanation. Bye.

 Posted:   Jan 18, 2013 - 3:12 PM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Compliance (2012) dir. Craig Zobel -- I've heard acclaim for this film, saying that it effectively allegorizes the loss of civil liberties during the Bush and Obama administrations. I've heard contempt for it, complaining that it's nothing more than an exploitation film with impossibly stupid characters. Unfortunately for the latter argument, it hews very closely to the event it's based on -- an event which itself has happened repeatedly. While this movie is unpleasant, it is well made, and I watch it as an exploration of cognitive dissonance in action and as a reminder that, yes, normal people often do impossibly stupid things and that, as easy as it is to revile and ridicule them, when it comes down to it many if not most of us number among them.

Inglourious Basterds (2009) dir. Quentin Tarantino -- Watched this for the first time since it was in theaters -- wanted to watch Tarantino's Jewish revenge fantasy again before I see his slave revenge fantasy next week. Still like this one a lot, think it has moments of greatness but on the whole falls a bit short of great. As usual for Tarantino, impeccably crafted, grotesque, and often hilarious.

Pitch Perfect (2012) dir. Jason Moore -- This movie's a hoot. As it happily points out, there's no big social issue being explored here -- it's just a fun musical comedy that amuses for a couple hours.

The Possession (2012) dir. Ole Bornedal -- This movie is a watchable horror flick, thanks largely to its creepy child star and the dependable Jeffrey Dean Morgan, backed up by Anton Sanko's effective score and decent production values, but unfortunately it's full of plot holes and plot . . . omissions? It constantly introduces elements that should have some bearing on the characters but ultimately don't, not to mention characters whom the movie just sort of forgets about until it's ready to remember them. This has been a sad year indeed for horror fans. frown

 Posted:   Jan 18, 2013 - 3:23 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

Gangster Squad- 0

Zero Dark Thirty * 1/10
Thanks Hollywood for the propaganda nobody dares criticise.

I appreciate your review of Gangster Squad. I'm skipping it for other reasons. I'm curious though what about Zero Dark Thirty makes you call it propaganda? Most reviews I've read have said that the thought that it is propaganda is silly. If it is propaganda, what is the message? Your previous posts have been enjoyable because you explain what the message was that you thought was not proper.

 Posted:   Jan 20, 2013 - 8:51 PM   
 By:   Michaelware   (Member)

oh never mind, not worth it.

 Posted:   Jan 20, 2013 - 8:54 PM   
 By:   Michaelware   (Member)

The Last Stand 7/10 ***

I thought it was a good movie. All movies must now have mandatory sadistic scenes of body destruction for some reason, and that takes me out of the suspension of belief zone and into zzz, but the movie overall is inventive and has at least a trace of heart and feeling. You probably won't like it, but I did. Arnold doing what he does best with a touch of mortal grace and grit. Not even close to Commando, but more than OK.

 Posted:   Jan 21, 2013 - 10:54 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

The following are all films I've seen for the first time in the past several months:

Captain America (2011) -- 6/10
incredible action sequences, poor villain, bland lead actor, bland lead actress, loved Tommy Lee Jones

Fear Island (2009) -- 6/10
underrated and obscure horror film with great characters, light on gore but a nice whodunit, Aaron Ashmore was a great lead

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010) -- 6/10
alan tudyk is awesome in anything and tyler labine was a lot of fun, kristina bowden was gorgeous but the main villain was ridiculously lame...sort of a one-joke film but the two outstanding leads elevated the material as much as possible

Contraband (2012) -- 5/10
interesting film with fine actors but takes too many wrong turns and ill-conceived plot development...kate beckinsale was kind of a waste but mark wahlberg, giovanni ribisi, and ben foster were all terrific

Feast (2005) -- 4/10
admired its audacity but ultimately it was too cheesy and trashy and full of itself

The A-Team (2010) -- 7/10
pleasantly surprised by the terrific patrick wilson villain who was damn hilarious, silvestri's score was awesome and some nice performances but ultimately too over-the-top for its own good...bradley cooper was pretty good in his role as face

Garfield (2004) -- 5/10
loved garfield growing up so this gets 5 points for nostalgia and i dig brecken meyer and jennifer love hewitt, but just got more and more stupid as it went on

Cowboys and Aliens (2011) -- 3/10
the first ten minutes were quite good, the rest of the film was dull with no sense of fun and an uninteresting plot, very disappointed in alex kurtzman and roberto orci because they are capable of so much better, although i understand this film featured a hodgepodge of writers

My Bloody Valentine (1981) -- 7/10
surprisingly good slasher film with likeable characters you actually care about, and a terrific third act set in the claustrophobic mine shafts...inventive gore too, saw the unrated version

Night of the Demons (1988) -- 2/10
two points for truly nightmarish makeup but a huge waste of time

Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol (2011) -- 9/10
loved the alias writing team of josh appelbaum and andre nemec who were a perfect fit for the MI franchise, reminded me how much I miss that show...brad bird's direction pulled off the astonishing feat of matching JJ Abrams' brilliant execution of MI3, awesome actors and awesome characters, a touching ending

Bandits (2001) -- 7.5/10
surprisingly good old-fashioned madcap screwball comedy with a lot of witty dialogue and banter like something out of the 1940's or 1950's I would imagine, Billy Bob Thornton did an exceptional job in this film and it's one of the rare Barry Levinson comedies (or films for that matter) that really clicked with me...cate blanchett's character was unfortunately a bit too unbelievable

The Grey (2011) -- 7/10
gripping and thought-provoking, very well-done and directed, terrific performance by Liam Neeson but was very happy to see Frank Grillo get a wonderful role after his performance in My Soul to Take, can't wait to see what he does in Zero Dark Thirty and the upcoming Captain America sequel -- he could be a terrific leading man...speaking of which, great to see dermot mulroney back in action!

The Hunger Games (2012) -- 10/10
highly entertaining, moving, unique...many different elements came together to create this stylized and singular narrative much hype for this movie but it really delivered for me

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) -- 8.5/10
couldn't stand kristen stewart but charlize theron has never been better and chris hemsworth was so much better here than in Thor, very likeable and funny...didn't care for the blond villain, he was too strange and whenever he was on film it took me out of the picture...wonderfully directed with expertly integrated and unique fx

April Fool's Day (1986) -- 8/10
extremely funny film, consistently made me smile, featured the Friday the 13th Part 2 goddess named Amy Steel and a funny Thomas F. "Biff" Wilson from the Back to the Future films. A very likeable cast and fun characters and an enjoyably unpredictable plot

Thor (2011) -- 6.5/10
fell in love with jaimie alexander on this one, natalie portman was ok and really enjoyed a rare good-guy role for Stellan Skarsgard, amazing fx and sets and cinematography but ultimately didn't care enough about the story...enjoyed idris elba too...tom hiddleston is a fine actor, i thought he was a suitably complex villain but the plot didn't do his acting or his character justice

Salt (Unrated) (2010) -- 10/10
a tremendous action film, an amazing performance by Angelina Jolie and the underrated Liev Schreiber, enjoyed the unrated cut even more because it fleshed out the backstory between Salt and her husband, making his fate even more devastating and there were multiple times when the unrated cut made the already sharp edges of the film even more razor sharp (for example, Schreiber killing the President)

The Campaign (2012) -- 2/10
like Will Ferrell very often and also Zach Galifianakis, but this film had no idea of how to be funny so just tried to see how many jokes about genitalia as possible as a substitute for humor, an ugly and crass attempt at comedy...however there were one or two funny parts, as in when Ferrell got bitten by a snake and had a hilariously oversized swollen arm and claimed it hurt more than "stapling your tits to your balls and trying to do situps"

Stranger than Fiction (2006) -- 8.5/10
brilliant concept and film on many different levels, instantly likeable, expert direction and script, great performances...this movie was quite funny but i was surprised at how emotionally involved i got by the end of the film...Ferrell really was very good, and Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman stole the show...might be my favorite maggie gyllenhaal performance and i could even tolerate queen latifah!

The Tourist (2010) -- 3/10
achingly dull film and story unspooling at a snail's pace, but beautifully shot and fun to watch Johnny Depp being chased across Venice rooftops in his pajamas...ultimately very forgettable...felt very old-fashioned in a good way...paul bettany was awful in his role as was the 80's rolodex villain Steven Berkoff

Man on a Ledge (2012) -- 9.5/10
a superior thriller, everything the similar The Negotiator should've been, namely exciting, engrossing, and nail-biting with great characters...Sam Worthington has never been better, Jamie Bell was quite good, Ed Harris was a lot of fun as (one of) the bad guy(s), and thoroughly enjoyed the smaller performances by two of my favorite character actors, William Sadler and Titus Welliver...this film expertly balanced the different character storylines to come together at the end in a very satisfying way

Trouble with the Curve (2012) -- 9/10
very emotionally honest and resonant film, unjustly maligned and very entertaining...formulaic in the best sense of the word, it hit many familiar movie tropes and beats but did them all very well and produced a small, intimate character and relationship study with an ending that made my heart smile...justin timberlake (his best role to date) and amy adams had great chemistry as did adams and small performances by john goodman and matthew lillard as well

Prometheus (2012) -- 10/10
astounding, phenomenal...better than Scott's Alien, although not as good as Cameron's Aliens...the fx were unbelievably good, the pace was just perfect, and the story and characters all clicked very well, introducing interesting and occasionally fascinating concepts and ideas while retaining visceral horror...I think Damon Lindelof's scriptwriting was unjustly maligned and he proffered many open-ended questions that lit a spark in my imagination, just as he did on Lost

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